Putin’s Russia: From basket case to resurgent superpower

In this photo taken on Friday, March 2, 2018 and released Saturday, March 10, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview with NBC News’ Megyn Kelly in Kaliningrad, Russia. In the some times combative interview Putin denied the charge by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November 2016 vote, claiming any interference was not connected to the Kremlin. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

 

MOSCOW (AP) — Vladimir Putin and his Russia look more invincible today than at any other time in his 18 years in power.

Since Putin last faced an election in 2012, Russians have invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, blanket-bombed Syria, been accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election and claimed to have a scary new nuclear arsenal.

“No one listened to us. You listen to us now,” he said earlier this month, boasting about those weapons. Continue reading

Germany: Chechen Sharia Police Terrorize Berlin

Chechens have said in interviews that expectations for behavior are more rigid and strict in among Chechen emigrants in Germany than in Chechnya itself — “a competition in righteousness.” Threats of violence against “errant” women are viewed as “acts of patriotism.” Pictured above: A volunteer tutor (left) instructs an asylum-applicant from Chechnya in a German-language class, on November 10, 2015, in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

 

  • Threats of violence against “errant” women are viewed as “acts of patriotism.
  • “They have come to Germany because they wanted to live in Germany, but they keep trying to turn it into Chechnya with its medieval ways.” — Social worker interviewed by Meduza.
  • “Everyone’s attention is fixed on the Syrians, but the Chechens are the most dangerous group. We are not paying sufficient attention to this.” — Police in Frankfurt (Oder).

A hundred Islamists are now openly enforcing Sharia law on the streets of Berlinaccording to local police who are investigating a recent string of violent assaults in the German capital.

The self-appointed morality police involve Salafists from Chechnya, a predominantly Sunni Muslim region in Russia. The vigilantes are using threats of violence to discourage Chechen migrants from integrating into German society; they are also promoting the establishment of a parallel Islamic legal system in Germany. German authorities appear unable to stop them. Continue reading

Putin Warns America “Has A False Sense That It Can Do Anything Without Consequences”

 

In the first episode of Stone’s hugely anticipated Showtime series, which aired Monday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled no punches claiming US is to blame for the rise of Al-Qaeda and its late mastermind Osama bin Laden, which it empowered to fight Soviet troops in Afghanistan, adding that there is proof the CIA supported terrorists in Russia’s Chechnya.

 Al-Qaeda is not the result of our activities. This is the result of activities of our US friends. This all started in the times of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, when the US security services supported different movements of Islamic fundamentalism in their struggle against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan,” Putin told Stone, adding that the “US side has nurtured both Al-Qaeda and [Osama] bin Laden.”

“It always happens like this. Our US partners should have been aware of it. It is their fault,” Putin said. Continue reading

The EU as Soviet lite: I’ve seen this movie before and it does not end well

After the Brexit and recent attacks against migrants in Britain I can’t get rid of the deja vu feeling. I’ve already watched this movie, a quarter century ago. I know how its ends.

In summer of 1989, the Lithuanian Sejm decided to withdraw from the Soviet Union and establish Lithuanian laws in the country. It was the beginning of the end for USSR — a giant corrupt monster, which for 70 years had bullied the world and its people under the pretense of communist ideology.

Intimidation and sanctions could not prevent the collapse. The fabricated artificial entity, thoroughly impregnated with falsehood and lies, fell apart like a house of cards. Continue reading

Russia wants to fly surveillance planes over US with advanced cameras, congressional staffer says

Russia will ask permission on Monday to start flying surveillance planes equipped with high-powered digital cameras amid warnings from U.S. intelligence and military officials that such overflights help Moscow collect intelligence on the United States.

Russia and the United States are signatories to the Open Skies Treaty, which allows unarmed observation flights over the entire territory of all 34 member nations to foster transparency about military activity and help monitor arms control and other agreements. Senior intelligence and military officials, however, worry that Russia is taking advantage of technological advances to violate the spirit of the treaty. Continue reading

Great Power Realignment – To Russia?

  • As the Russians insist that the Assad government is the only legitimate government, all anti-Assad fighters — ISIS, al Qaeda-related, or U.S.-backed or Turkish-backed “moderates” — are, by definition, terrorists.
  • Russian — and in particular Syrian — tactics are appalling. Washington would rather not be associated with them, but has a horror of the vacuum that might emerge if Assad is swept aside. Mainly, the U.S. has hung its hat on the International Syria Support Group. The U.S. is muddled, as usual, without a clear goal, clear allies or fixed positions beyond support for a “political process.”
  • The U.S. is looking less and less relevant, as historic Great Powers do what they have historically done best — fight for their national interests as they define them. President Obama appears to be conceding the lead to Russia and Russian aims.

The shelling of Syrian soldiers by the Turkish military is one more step back into Great Power politics — historic Turkish-Russian enmity played out over Kurds and Syrians. The U.S. appears to believe 21st century wars cannot be won by military force and that battling parties can be induced to set aside their national and religious aims for a negotiated “peace.” Meanwhile, the parties to the conflict are using their armies to pursue victory.

Continue reading

Kremlin strategy does not change

On the last day of 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree approving an updated national security strategy of the Russian Federation. This document is Russia’s main plan and the program of the country’s foreign and domestic policy as Moscow is crazed up solely on own security, the search for external and internal enemies, and ways to neutralize them, as well as for the survival recipes in a “besieged fortress” mode.

So, what is the plan Putin and his entourage have prepared for Russia and the rest of the world in 2016? Since the Strategy is the basis for the formation and implementation of state policy on national security, it makes sense to look at the goals of the Russian government in this field. Continue reading

Ex-FSB officer to TSN.Tyzhden: Russia involved in London, Paris attacks, ISIS

If you haven’t heard of pink, grey or red terror, you might want to do yourself a favor and read the following from Soviet defector Viktor Suvorov, entitled “Spetsnaz. The Story Behind the Soviet SAS”:

Chapter 15. Spetsnaz’s First World War

An excerpt:

All these operations — because of course none of these events is an accident — and others like them are known officially in the GRU as the ‘preparatory period’, and unofficially as the ‘overture’. The overture is a series of large and small operations the purpose of which is, before actual military operations begin, to weaken the enemy’s morale, create an atmosphere of general suspicion, fear and uncertainty, and divert the attention of the enemy’s armies and police forces to a huge number of different targets, each of which may be the object of the next attack.

The overture is carried by agents of the secret services of the Soviet satellite countries and by mercenaries recruited by intermediaries. The principal method employed at this stage is ‘grey terror’, that is, a kind of terror which is not conducted in the name of the Soviet Union. The Soviet secret services do not at this stage leave their visiting cards, or leave other people’s cards. The terror is carried out in the name of already existing extremist groups not connected in any way with the Soviet Union, or in the name of fictitious organisations.

The enemy behind the enemy is the issue. Take the San Bernardino terrorist attacks, for example, where some level of Russian connection and possible influence is apparent.

The links are there. All you need to do is connect the dots. America is under Russian attack.

Note: Most of the article will remain here, as all others needing more special attention.

 

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A former FSB officer tells TSN journalist Andriy Tsaplienko about Russian special services’ involvement in London and Paris attacks / Screenshot from tsn.ua

 

The TSN.Tyzhden weekly TV program has broadcast an interview with former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer, which may trigger a real spy scandal. It has been speculated for long that the Kremlin’s puppeteers are behind terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States, but no confirmation has been presented. The experienced agent, former FSB officer specializing in terrorist organizations and counter-terrorism is now giving his testimony.

Such an interview is an extremely dangerous step for the FSB agent with high-level access, alias Yevgeniy, but he has decided to break with the past. The reason why he fled Russia is not that ideological, it is rather personal, according to TSN.Tyzhden. Continue reading

Fear This Man

From time to time, there’s a must-read article worth posting in its entirety or a majority of it in tact. This is one of those articles.

 

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Caption: Russian President Vladimir Putin (Yuri Kadobnov/AFP)

 

Those who underestimate Russia’s Vladimir Putin do so at their peril.

In the West, many see Russian President Vladimir Putin more as a schoolyard bully than a ruthless tyrant. He’s mischievous and unfriendly, but his behavior, we tell ourselves, is the result of insecurity. If we ignore him, he’ll grow out of it. Many are amused by and even admire Putin’s personality and behavior. He is the John Wayne of world politics: decisive, uncompromising and masculine. He is the antithesis of the soft, politically correct Western politician. He’s traditional, conservative and pragmatic in a world growing ever more liberal, secular and dangerously idealistic.

But we must not be deceived by Vladimir Putin.

Continue reading

Syrian war gives Russia a chance to test weapons

As was mentioned in a previous post. Syria is just a new playground for Russia & Co.. The “Blazing Sun” missile is but one (latest) example.

 

What happens if the land offensive started by Assad’s forces Wednesday with help from Iranian troops and the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia fails to recapture lost territory? Does Russia have a specific goal or at least a time frame? What about an exit strategy?These questions matter only if Russia is in this for the long haul. It has done nothing to suggest that it is, however. The Kremlin only appears to be setting short-term tactical goals for now because it’s not heavily committed to an outcome in Syria. One of these objectives is to battle-test and show off new hardware. Continue reading

Syrian Military And Political Opposition: Russian Forces In Syria Are Occupation Forces, We Will Expel Them From Our Country

Following media reports of an intensification of the Russian military presence in Syria, some elements from both the political and military wings of the Syrian opposition clarified that they would consider Russian forces in Syria as “occupation forces” and threatened that they would fight them and strike at them until they expelled from Syrian soil. They said that they will transform Syria into “a graveyard for the Russian forces” and stressed that Russian forces in Syria would have no sense of and that Russia would sustain a severe defeat. Continue reading

Putin is turning the Syrian coast into another Crimea

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For years, Russia has been helping Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad cling to a diminishing power structure in a shrinking territorial base without trying to impose an overall strategy.

Now, however, there are signs that Russia isn’t content to just support Assad. It wants to control Syria.

The Putin treatment is reserved for countries in Russia’s “near neighborhood” that try to break out of Moscow’s orbit and deprive it of strategic assets held for decades. Continue reading

U.S. training helped mold top Islamic State military commander

Batirashvili’s battlefield successes, including orchestrating the capture of Syria’s Menagh Air Base after two years of failed attempts, “helped to legitimize ISIS in militant circles, including in the North Caucasus,” Cecire said.

“Batirashvili’s ability to demonstrate ISIS’ tactical prowess attracted fighters in droves from other factions and tipped the scales in foreign fighter flow and recruitment,” Cecire said. “In the North Caucasus, young people no longer wanted to fight in Syria with the increasingly marginalized Caucasus Emirate (groups), but wanted to fight with the winners – ISIS.” Continue reading

What Is Moscow’s Game?

Also, don’t forget that Russian nuclear missiles are reportedly back in Cuba.

 

In an article titled, Russian General Warns of World War 3, Russia’s Nuclear Plans for The World, we read that Moscow is engaged in joint defense projects with China, India and other countries. Colonel General Leonid Ivashov is quoted in Pravda as saying that the U.S. has “not upgraded one single ballistic missile, and they do not build new ones either.” He bragged of Russia’s nuclear advantage. “This situation has changed dramatically,” Ivashov noted, “and we are standing on the brink of a war – not a cold war, but a hot war. Therefore, today Russia hastily takes efforts to rebuild the defensive capacity of the armed forces and change military doctrine.”

On a related matter, a Ukrainian analyst privately commented on the allegations of Pavel Gubarev (in East Ukraine) that Putin’s man in Chechnya, Ramzon Kadyrov, was behind the terrorist attacks in France the week before last: “If Gubarev says Kadyrov is involved in the terrorism in France, it is probably true.” He then added, as an afterthought, “Russia is full speed on the war-threat model.” Continue reading

The Psychopath Under the Bed – PART ONE

Because we can see that there is a complex and clever system in Russia, quite opaque and full of interesting details and inner rules, we should conclude that the system came about by intelligent design. But how? The evidence strongly suggests that it did not come about by chance. This book firmly rejects the ideas often promulgated in Western academic circles that Putin is an ‘accidental autocrat’ or a ‘good tsar surrounded by bad boyars.’” – Karen Dawisha, Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?

The elite [are] the ultimate authority [in Russia]: it provides the collective leadership of which [the president] is a member and which decides, among other things, how long he should serve as President. The elite has to have some mechanism at its disposal through which such decisions can be reached and through which controlled political events can be coordinated. It is essential to the success of the strategy that this mechanism should be well concealed from the West. I lack the facilities to study how it might be operating. The likelihood is, however, that it functions under cover of some openly acknowledged body. The National Security Council might be a candidate for investigation as a possible front for this secret mechanism. – Anatoliy Golitsyn, Memorandum to the CIA: 1 October 1993

I want to warn Americans. As a people, you are very naïve about Russia and its intentions. You believe because the Soviet Union no longer exists, Russia now is your friend. It isn’t, and I can show you how the SVR [Russian Foreign Intelligence Service] is trying to destroy the U.S. even today and even more than the KGB did during the Cold War. – Sergei Tretyakov, as quoted by Pete Early in Comrade J, 2007 Continue reading