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The competition heats up: Russia has announced it has begun construction on a manned lunar lander, set for its first unmanned test flight in 2015.
There have been many such announcements from Russia over the past decade with few ever coming true, since such announcements are generally nothing more than a public relations lobbying effort to get funding.
The most intriguing part of this article however was this quote:
Last week, head of the Lavochkin Scientific and Production Corp. Victor Khartov said Russia must “return to the Moon in 2015 in a Soviet style, to prove everyone and ourselves that we remember all the Soviet Union could do” at the Farnborough air show in Britain.
I would interpret this statement as a desire for Russia to compete more aggressively with the U.S. and others, as they did back in the days of the Soviet Union. It was also in that time period that the Lavochkin center was in its heyday, with lots of money and research work.