Putin’s Russia in biggest Arctic military push since Soviet fall

Atomic icebreakers Russia and Yamal are seen moored at Atomflot (Rosatomflot), the operator of Russia’s nuclear icebreaker fleet, base in the Arctic port of Murmansk, Russia December 22, 2011. Picture taken December 22, 2011. REUTERS/Andrei Pronin

 

MURMANSK, Russia (Reuters) – The nuclear icebreaker Lenin, the pride and joy of the Soviet Union’s Arctic great game, lies at perpetual anchor in the frigid water here. A relic of the Cold War, it is now a museum.

But nearly three decades after the Lenin was taken out of service to be turned into a visitor attraction, Russia is again on the march in the Arctic and building new nuclear icebreakers.

It is part of a push to firm Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States, and Norway as well as newcomer China. Continue reading

Revisiting the ‘Revolution’ of 1917 to put the Putin of today in context

History is a living philosophy, and those who “just watch it as it happens” will never understand it.

With Lenin’s death, Russia had a good riddance. He was born in 1870, and in 1924 he was reported to have died of “old age” — he was 53-years-old!

After Lenin’s death, the intrusion of those who had grabbed the power in Russia continued in all fields of human endeavor. To emigrate from “Soviet Russia” became impossible. Erelong, no one could publish anything on his own: Soviet “government” publishers kept censoring out any personal creative thought.

The same happened to all arts. Ironically, there appeared the new Soviet mediocrity in all spheres of life — arts and literature were taken over by newly created Soviet hackers. This government-produced mediocrity was sanctioned by those in power and was glorified and generously rewarded by the regime: “The Soviet violins at the world contests sound better than any other!”

Now, after the events of 1917 shook the entire world, the country again faces its unknown future. For a while, with the meteoric rise of Vladimir Putin, the former KGB official of the Soviet secret police, with his “liberal authoritarianism,” there was a short-lived illusion that things might change, that those Western democratic values would take root in the country: people were free to travel, express their opinions, form political parties, and even openly demonstrate their opposition to the regime.

Only very few realized that all those so-called “freedoms” were never guaranteed by the constitution; people had no right to bear arms to defend themselves, and all power rested with the unelected government. Those temporary freedoms were nothing more than erstwhile Soviet-style permissions of the Putin government, which had the final say and the military power to cut short all those permissions at any time. Politically, Putin had introduced tighter controls over parliament and the media and his opponents — moves which are reminiscent of the Soviet era.

And this is exactly what has happened: Putin’s victory last week, which was absolutely predictable to those familiar with the post-Soviet political history of the country, became a fait accompli.

Full article: Revisiting the ‘Revolution’ of 1917 to put the Putin of today in context (World Tribune)