The Washington Times - July 17, 2013, 10:51AM

The bear never sleeps? Why, it seems like old times. Russia President Vladimir Putin has journeyed to witness his nation’s biggest military maneuvers since Soviet times, and some observers say, in modern history.

On the march across Siberia: 160,000 troops accompanied by 5,000 tanks and 320 tons of equipment. And in the Pacific, there are 70 ships at sea, and 130 combat aircraft overhead, including nuclear bombers.

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Mobile radiation, chemical, and biological defense units plus amphibious units have also been deployed in the surprise readiness exercise, which continues until Saturday.

But not to worry. Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has reassured foreign military attaches that the display was “not a flexing of muscles” but simply regular combat training.

Some beg to differ, however.

Alexander Khramchikhin, an independent Moscow-based military analyst, insisted “the land part of the exercise is directed at China, while the sea and island part of it is aimed at Japan,” according to the BBC.

Konstantin Sivkov, a retired member of the Russian military’s General Staff, told the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper that the war games were meant to “simulate a response to a hypothetical attack by Japanese and U.S. forces.”

There’s some economic intrigue for Russia as well this week.

According to the a newly released World Bank analysis, Russia has overtaken Germany in terms of its purchasing power parity, now ranked fifth on a list of 214 nations. The U.S. is in first place, followed by China, India, Japan, and Russia.

Germany, Brazil, France, Great Britain and Mexico round out the top 10.

“We have a lot of areas that still need special attention,” Mr. Putin said in the aftermath.