Well it does, but only IF it still finds a role with combating US exceptionalism wherever it finds it. You only have to look at what happened in 1962 when it thumbed the nose of the US on its own doorstep. They didnt have the naval structure to call their bluff.
Is it worth the money to underwrite that kind of foreign policy? From my perspective, no. But then Putin and most of the Russian General staff clearly dont view the world from my kind of perspective. If they envisage out of area operations like Syria as typical for the future (even the limited operation in Sudan) then they probably want their own portable airfield to backstop it.
Even for matters of prestige, a big chunk of steel you can sail anywhere around the world with its own airwing has something to commend it. And the Kremlin as ever is still wedded to its own prestige. I can think of no other reason than the doomsday missiles its embarking on.
For better or worse, prestige has historically been a naval mission, particular for major powers in their dealings with others. The nomenclature imposed upon the Japanese Navy for the better part of the last century was based on a recognition of this.
Whether it will hold for the better part of this century remains to be seen.
As I say, I dont see anything happening with Putin in harness, but he isnt going to last forever.
Russia can be stubborn in its rugged political individualism in that way, as Abe's 26 meetings for little tangible result with him have shown, unfortunately.
Edited by Nobu, 18 September 2019 - 1150 AM.