How Putin’s KGB past shapes his autocratic rule
It was January of 1990, and a middle-aged, overweight Vladimir Putin was depressed.
Working as a paper-pushing KGB intelligence officer in Dresden, Germany, Putin spent most of his time attempting to recruit undercover foreign agents and writing reports. News from back home in the Soviet Union caused great concern.
Mikhail Gorbachev had ascended to the head of the Communist Party and was pushing liberalizing policies, and by 1989 the KGB leadership had begun to back some of his reforms. Hundreds of thousands protested in the streets of Communist East Germany for reunification—culminating in the fall of the Berlin Wall in November.
On January 15, 1990, protesters stormed the Stasi state security building where Putin worked in Dresden. Putin called for military assistance, but it only arrived hours later after approval from Moscow. Moscow had kept him waiting. Continue reading
Political correctness was invented by Marxists to destroy Western society from inside…. And in Russia, there is no political correctness at all! The reason is that Marxists do not need to undermine the Russian society from the inside, because it is already Marxist.
– Konstantin Preobrazhensky, “How the West Was Fooled by Vladimir Putin”
Then there is Russia’s military potential. With regard to major opponents, the West seriously underestimated its enemies twice during the last century: first in 1939 when the Allies believed they had boxed in Nazi Germany with their “guarantee” to Poland; and again, with sanctions on Japan in 1941. In the first instance Germany smashed Poland and crushed France. In the second instance, Japan destroyed the American fleet at Pearl Harbor, defeated the U.S. forces in the Philippines and captured the British forces in Singapore.
Some may argue that Russians are not as capable as Germans and Japanese. After all, Russia is a backward country; the Russian economy stinks; Russian equipment is obsolete and their people are demoralized. Even more egregious, Russian commanders are political stooges. But wait! Russia put the first man into space. Russia launched the first satellite. Russia built the first operational version of the hydrogen bomb. Let’s not make the mistake of underestimating Russia.
“We have to strike Poland and the Baltic States, where there are NATO rockets and aircraft. Since we cannot allow one plane to take off and strike Russia – we will have to strike first – half an hour before takeoff. And to be sure, we will be carpet bombing. America is not a threat, but the small midget states of Europe will cease to exist. They will be wiped out. Then NATO will have to beg us for negotiations. Otherwise we will give them again a May ’45.”
– Vladimir Zhirinovsky, August 2014 (Television interview, 8.08.2014.)
“In my book I wrote, more than ten years ago, that 2015 and this year is the break-point of Atlantic civilization.”
– Dr. Victor Kulish, 12 July 2014, author of Hierarchic Electrodynamics and Free Electron Lasers
Last month the grand old man of Russian politics, Yevgeny Primakov, made some rather telling statements during an interview for Russia Beyond the Headlines. Of course, Primakov justified Russia’s annexation of Crimea, but admitted that any insertion of Russian troops into southeast Ukraine would prove to be a “dead end.” According to Primakov such a move would effectively curtail trends which Russia is relying on for future success.
What are these “trends”?
Primakov did not directly say, but a short list might read as follows: Germany’s gradual drift into Moscow’s orbit, the establishment of Russian military bases in the Caribbean, the rise of Chinese military power in the Pacific, and the ongoing decline of the U.S. economy. Russia stands to gain from each of these “trends.” Even if Moscow is eager to smash Ukraine’s independence movement, it is best to wait. Why disrupt an otherwise favorable situation, especially as the United States continues to weaken? Continue reading
Washington: US intelligence officials are frustrated that the Russian government is withholding information about threats to Olympic venues coming from inside Russia, several lawmakers said on talk shows on Sunday.
“We aren’t getting the kind of cooperation that we’d like from the Russians in terms of their internal threats,” Representative Adam Schiff, a Democatic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Fox News Sunday.
“It means that we’re less effective in protecting our people, and that’s a frustration,” Mr Schiff said. Continue reading
With violence in Xinjiang continuing and tensions in Chechnya and Dagestan back in the public consciousness, it seems almost cliché to say the end of the sprawling, imperial nation-state is here, or at least not far off. Hell, a couple thousand signatures for an independent Texas got the foreign press questioning if even the U.S. wasn’t immune from secessionist conflict.
Now, have the massive, multi-ethnic superpowers of the modern world really reached their breaking point? The answer’s a big, emphatic no. While there’s certainly no shortage of secessionist claims in Russia, China, and the surrounding geopolitical region they dabble in, it’s unlikely we’ll see any new (internationally recognized) countries emerge from the Caucuses or Central Asia. A major precedent — any one secessionist success story — could set off new fervor in any number of independence-minded areas that could radically undermine the neighborhood superpowers’ international standing. For the leaders of Russia and China, maintaining their borders against secessionist challenges is an essential part of maintaining their political legitimacy. Sorry, Tibet. Continue reading
Last year, Russian state-controlled oil conglomerate Rosneft became the largest oil company in the world after acquiring one of its major competitors. The company has had its sights on tapping Russia’s vast, treacherous Arctic reserves, and after making a few huge deals, it looks like it now has the resources needed to do so.
Russia’s Arctic is estimated to have 25 to 30 billion tons of recoverable oil reserves, which is stunning when you consider there are around 359 billion proven reserves worldwide, including shale oil and oil sands. The only problem is that the Arctic reserves are incredibly hard to exploit, as we saw with Shell’s platform disaster earlier this year. Fields in the Kara and Barents Seas are stuck in incredibly cold and rough seas, and the huge reserves in Siberia’s Laptev, East Siberian, and Chuckchi Seas are additionally separated from population centers by thousands of miles of tundra.
Those vast oil and gas fields aren’t impossible to tap, just expensive. With oil platforms in the farthest reaches estimated to cost somewhere between $5 billion and $8 billion apiece, it should come as no surprise that the Arctic has remained quiet this long. (It’s also a reason why Soviet scientists wanted to melt the whole thing.) Continue reading
A former agent of the CIA has revealed that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has died of natural causes five years before the US announced his death.…
“In September of 1992, I was in Chechnya, that’s when I first met the man whose name was Bin Laden. This meeting took place in a two-story house in the city of Grozny; on the top floor was a family of Gamsakhurdia, the Georgian president, who then was kicked out of his country. We met on the bottom floor; Osama lived in the same building,” Yashar said.
According to the former CIA agent, he personally knew Bin Laden’s three Chechen bodyguards, who had protected him until his death and witnessed his death on June 26, 2006.
“Only three Chechens buried him, according to his will” in the mountains on the Pakistan-Afghan border, he said.
Yashar added that the CIA abducted one of the bodyguards, Sami, before the announced killing of Bin Laden last year.
He says the bodyguard disclosed to the US the exact place of burial in the mountains.
“There was no assault. I know the American operations from the inside: they find the grave, dig out bin Laden and tell everyone about this. They need to show how technologically the security services worked, how each step was controlled, and then present it as a great victory to show that taxpayers are not paying taxes for nothing,” he said.
Washington announced on May 2, 2011 that Bin Laden was killed by US forces in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The lack of transparency over bin Laden’s death has cast further doubt over the announcement.
Full article: Bin Laden died of natural causes: Former CIA agent (Press TV)