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Old 01-28-2008   #41
bourbon
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Default wow

It is being reported that Semion Mogilevich has been arrested in Moscow.
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Old 01-28-2008   #42
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The brainy don caught for tax evasion....I wonder how many oligarchs pay taxes? anyone know what the percentage of Russian citizens pay taxes? How many are prosecuted? Not that it really matters...

The bigger story is the links to New York Bank, and alleged sales of arms and tanks to Iran...He laundered $10 billion through the Bank of New York in the 90s, but...

Quote:
Last year the company settled its part of a federal investigation into a Russian money laundering ring, agreeing to pay $26 million in fines and repay $12 million in fees to other banks that may have lost money.
Ouch - that almost hurt

http://www.forbes.com/2007/05/17/bon..._0517suit.html

Also note that:

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Russia’s customs service said that it was suing the Bank of New York for $22.5 billion (£11.3 billion) in compensation for an alleged money-laundering scheme in which US companies colluded with Russian banks to defraud its Government.
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/to...cle1805811.ece

I wonder now if "Russia's Customs Service" will now be compensated for the wrongs done to them by this bad, bad man...

Of course, all these excesses of the 90s are now cleaned up and our illustrious financial institutions have much tighter controls...

I'm sorry, but the only way to approach this subject is to pour on the sarcasm and let it drip...
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Old 01-28-2008   #43
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Default $500 Million Scam

"It's an international spy nest," Tretyakov said of the UN

From oil for food scandals, Anti-American information to a nuclear bomb stored in a shed

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UNITED NATIONS -- A former Russian top spy says his agents helped the government steal nearly $500 million from the UN's oil-for-food program in Iraq before the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Tretyakov, former deputy head of intelligence at Russia's UN mission from 1995 to 2000, names some names... a Canadian nuclear weapons expert who became a UN nuclear verification expert in Vienna, a senior Russian official in the oil-for-food program and a former Soviet bloc ambassador. He describes a Russian businessman who got hold of a nuclear bomb, and kept it stored in a shed at his dacha outside Moscow.

Tretyakov, 51, had never spoken out about his spying before this week, when he granted his first news media interviews to publicize a book published Thursday. Written by former Washington Post journalist Pete Earley, the book is titled "Comrade J.: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America after the End of the Cold War."
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Old 01-28-2008   #44
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Originally Posted by Beelzebubalicious View Post
I'm sorry, but the only way to approach this subject is to pour on the sarcasm and let it drip...
Sarcasm is always appreciated on my end. I think a healthy cynicism on this matter is more than warranted, and any questions we may have here about justice should be deferred for the time being. What does this mean though? Is this related to the power struggle? Windrow dressing for the rule of law?
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Old 01-31-2008   #45
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Default Russian army prepares for nuclear onslaught

RIA Novosti Opinion & Analysis, In a move that mirrors recent discussion amongst Russia's own top brass, NATO's April summit in Bucharest is widely expected to discuss a report on a potential pre-emptive nuclear strike.

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If General Baluyevsky's words are heeded, Russia will have to equip all services of the Armed Forces with permanently combat-ready nuclear weapons. Nobody can guess who will use them first. If the new doctrine endorses the General Staff's nuclear ideas, we will have new armed forces, with all the ensuing consequences.

First, these forces will become strictly offensive because of the very nature of a pre-emptive strike. This will require totally different mobilization plans and a new approach to recruiting for the Army and Navy. Considering the number and geography of military-political conflicts in which Russia is in some way involved, this will require the deployment of mobilized troops on a territory stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific.

It is not difficult to predict the economic consequences Russia would face in this case. But let's come back to the Armed Forces.
More at the link
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Old 02-13-2008   #46
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Default Wrap: Russia, Ukraine agree on gas, discuss NATO

Putin wasted little time last night with a soft spoken message for President Yushchenko. With the gas problems clouded over for now, it was time to pull out the cheap threats.

The Stick
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UKRAINE-NATO COOPERATION


Commenting on Ukraine's bid for NATO membership, Putin said it was the country's internal affair, but called on Kiev to think about the consequences of the move.

"Joining NATO means Ukraine having its sovereignty limited. If Ukraine wants its sovereignty restricted, it is the country's own business," Putin said.

Referring to U.S. plans to deploy missile defense elements in Europe, the Russian leader said, "We believe that they are aimed at neutralizing our nuclear missile capability, which means Russia is faced with the necessity of responding."

"It is terrifying even to think that in response [to Ukraine allowing anti-missile defenses to be deployed on its territory] Russia could target its nuclear missile systems against Ukraine. This is what worries us," Putin said.
The Carrot
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URANIUM AND MORE

The two presidents reached an agreement to consider Ukraine joining the international uranium enrichment center in Angarsk, East Siberia, which will operate under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The two parties also agreed to draft an agreement to regulate intellectual property rights and an intergovernmental program for state support to companies implementing projects in high-technology and for the resumption of production of the An-124 Ruslan high-capacity aircraft.
More on the gas at the link
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Old 02-13-2008   #47
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Yeah, if you want to face nuclear annihilation, that's your choice....and if Ukraine wants to bind itself to a foreign power and limit its sovereignty, then let it do that...Does anyone here have any irony? Do they hear themselves talk? Do they think anyone will buy this?

It's not so much a fraternal thing as a mother-child relationship. The Soviet family is broken apart and Ukraine not only chooses to live on its own, breaking mother Russia's heart, but then turns around and tries to screw mother russia. What's a mother to do?
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Old 02-13-2008   #48
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Is the current political scene in Russia due largely to Putin's ties to a reminiscense of the good old bad old days of the hard line Soviets? One would seem to think that the end of the era would have indicated an end to that school of thought.
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Old 02-13-2008   #49
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Originally Posted by Tankguy View Post
Is the current political scene in Russia due largely to Putin's ties to a reminiscense of the good old bad old days of the hard line Soviets? One would seem to think that the end of the era would have indicated an end to that school of thought.
Hey Tankguy !
I wouldn't go as far as saying 'reminiscence of the good 'ol days'. Putin's nowhere near Soviet mentality, but he maintains Russian perceptions and how their history still dictates current thinking...threat of domination from western powers.

This current row with The Ukraine and Georgia is all about closing up the borders. With NATO and perhaps EU and WTO memberships, Russia's favorite concern with Serbia and (break away) Kosovo will be overcome by events. Imagine Serbia as Russia's only remaining ally, but not able to support them (other than flying or sailing around Europe to get there (hope they're not in a big hurry for resupply !).

Here's a quick and excellent 7-page read from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Quote:
Russia's Security Policy Grows "Muscular": Should the West Be Worried?

Expanding demonstrations of the dilapidated strategic arsenal increase the risks of technical failures but fall far short of initiating a new confrontation of the Cold War type.

The most worrisome point in Russia’s ambivalent power policy is Georgia, which has been the target of choice for multiple propaganda attacks, but which now faces the challenge of an external intervention in its domestic crises since Moscow has built up usable military instruments in the North Caucasus.

Russia’s desire to secure higher international status does not amount to malicious revisionism; so over-reaction to its experiments with muscle-flexing could constitute a greater risk to the Western strategy of engagement than underestimating its ambitions.
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Old 02-13-2008   #50
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I am familiar with the Russian fear of invasion by the West, but I cannot see how a missle defense system is viewed as an offensive threat by the Russians. From Putin's comments, it would seem that the perceived threat stems from the missle defenses neutralizing the Russian nuclear arsenal. That would be a defensive move would it not? I can appreciate that it is on the Russian door step, but can't Russia appreciate the fact that we are bit busy at minute to be planning an invasion of the Motherland?
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Old 02-13-2008   #51
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Tankguy - don't constrain yourself to just thinking about paranoia or fear, there is also opportunity to gain power, or to deny it to others. There is money to be made, and there is political power to be wielded - even if you don't know what's in the tree - you might shake it a little to see what comes loose - if you don't like it, just leave it laying on the ground, or shake it some more.

My point is that these guys are great at figuring out ways to get what they want, and from a cost benefit sort of perspective - raising hell about Missile Defense - something we really want is bound to produce something they would not have gotten by being silent - combine that with their oil wealth and power (in terms of the greater European sense), and you get some pretty good political credibility - we can't just ignore. They don't have much to lose by raining hell, but they do stand to gain.

Best, Rob
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Old 02-13-2008   #52
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Neutralizing the Russian nuclear deterrent could be seen as the first step to allowing offensive moves against Russia, since the U.S. will have removed Russia's strongest shield against conventional invasion. Combined with extending NATO to Russia's borders, it is easy to see how that Russia would feel threatened by this on a grand strategic level.

We would never countenance Mexico joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, for instance, especially if China had the beginnings of a way to neutralize our nuclear deterrent.
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Old 02-13-2008   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tankguy View Post
I am familiar with the Russian fear of invasion by the West, but I cannot see how a missle defense system is viewed as an offensive threat by the Russians. From Putin's comments, it would seem that the perceived threat stems from the missle defenses neutralizing the Russian nuclear arsenal. That would be a defensive move would it not? I can appreciate that it is on the Russian door step, but can't Russia appreciate the fact that we are bit busy at minute to be planning an invasion of the Motherland?
Missile defense defends the Western from retaliation by a Russian missile attack, should the West elect to start offensive (nuclear or conventional) operations against the Russians. Back in the good old days of Cold War deterrrence via mutually assured destruction (MAD), the Anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty was a way to prevent the same kind of protection of one's own forces (or territory, since the Sovs were putting their ABMs around Moscow IIRC), which would have made MAD a non-starter. Historically, Russia has tried to protect Mother Russia by putting a belt of client buffer states between its enemies and its heartland. This is arguably the same thing that the US is now trying to do with its forward deployed missile defense system, or at least this may be a russian perception off what is going on. Having client states also has other benefits with regard to economic exploitation; they can serve as both a captive market for one's exports and a potentially cheaper source of raw materials (which also includes labor).

And as Rob pointed out, this posturing may be little more than a ruse to try to extract concessions in other areas that are important to the Russian leadership. It could be as simple as Putin's needing to look tough to the folks at home so they think he is really showing a strong hand leading the country--sort of a Potemkin village to hide other woes.
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Old 02-13-2008   #54
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Hey Eric !
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beelzebubalicious View Post
Yeah, if you want to face nuclear annihilation, that's your choice....and if Ukraine wants to bind itself to a foreign power and limit its sovereignty, then let it do that...
The President took the whole Carrot
Quote:

From the Urban Dictionary
: an expression meaning a situation in which one factor alone can change or cancel out everything
Well now, looks like Ukrainians will no longer have to concern themselves with being annihilated as the former Russian red-headed stepchild (damn, we need a rocket scientist herein to explain ballistic missile trajectory that close to the launch pads).

Quote:
MOSCOW. Feb 13 (Interfax) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said in an attempt to allay Russia's concerns that the Ukrainian Constitution rules out the stationing of foreign military bases on the country's territory.

"If the issue is that our neighbor worries about the deployment of a NATO military base, then apparently this issue will never be on the agenda. As you know, the Ukrainian Constitution stipulates that the Ukrainian territory cannot be used for the deployment of foreign military bases," Yushchenko said at a meeting with the Ukrainian diaspora in Russia on Wednesday in Moscow.

"If there are topics sensitive to Russia, we are ready to discuss them. We do not want to damage [Russia's national interests] by our moves," the Ukrainian president said.
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Last edited by Stan; 02-13-2008 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 02-14-2008   #55
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Question curious

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Originally Posted by Stan View Post
Hey Eric !


The President took the whole Carrot
Well now, looks like Ukrainians will no longer have to concern themselves with being annihilated as the former Russian red-headed stepchild (damn, we need a rocket scientist herein to explain ballistic missile trajectory that close to the launch pads).

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Ukrainian territory cannot be used for the deployment of foreign military bases
Does that mean absolutely no Russian bases either??
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Old 02-14-2008   #56
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Does that mean absolutely no Russian bases either??
There's nothing absolute out here. What's the definition of a military base or deployment or foreign? What about the autonomous republic of Crimea? Is that technically Ukrainian territory? What about th e Constitution? Does is even matter?

I agree with Rob that it's about raising hell and I think Putin and company enjoy it.

As for the carrot, Stan, Yuschenko has taken a whole lot more than that. ...
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Old 02-29-2008   #57
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This is a pretty good little article on Russia's use of soft power. Besides this, there's the recent signing up of Serbia and Hungary to the South Stream gas pipeline. Russia is winning this economic battle vs. the U.S. and EU...

RUSSIAN SOFT-POWER INCREASING IN AZERBAIJAN

By Fariz Ismailzade

Friday, February 29, 2008


Following Ukraine’s Orange Revolution in 2004, political analysts predicted that the Kremlin would step up its efforts to conquer the hearts and minds of people living in the post-Soviet region. This “soft diplomacy” has long been a powerful tool for Western democracies, and it is no longer a secret that Russian political experts have advised official Moscow to use similar tactics to overcome the Soviet successor states’ obsession with Euro-Atlantic integration.

http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2372845
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Old 03-01-2008   #58
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International Affairs, Mar 08: 'New Cold War' or 'Twenty Years' Crisis'? Russia and International Politics
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The debate over the dynamics of Russian foreign policy has become ever more closely tied to controversy over the ‘regime question’: the problem of the nature of the political system that took shape during Vladimir Putin’s two terms as president between 2000 and 2008. Indeed, it appeared that one could not be understood without the other being taken into account. While foreign policy can never be dealt with in isolation from domestic constraints, the collapse of the one category into the other in the discourse of the late Putin years is reminiscent of the essentialism that characterized debate in the Soviet era. This is just one example of the way in which, in a structural sense, Cold War patterns of thinking have once again surfaced in discussion about Russia and its role in the world. Putin’s second term as president from 2004 was accompanied by ever more insistent suggestions that a new Cold War was in the making. This article will try to place these concerns in context and to provide both an empirical and a theoretical analysis of why the notion of ‘Cold War’ has returned to haunt us once again. It will deal with issues both substantive—namely, whether we are indeed entering a period that can be described as a Cold War—and discursive—why the category of Cold War remains so stubbornly entrenched in our understanding of international politics in general, and in relations with Russia in particular. I will begin by looking at the framework of Russian policy between 2000 and 2006, a period characterized by what we call a ‘new realism’. From here I will move on to the unravelling of the new realism from 2006, and will then consider the features and causes of the putative ‘new Cold War’......
Complete 27 page paper at the link.
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Old 05-24-2008   #59
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Default Send me to Siberia

"Oil transforms a Russian outpost" from the June edition of National Geographic. They have spiffed up the attached map from the EIA but I am unable to find National Geo's map to upload.

Quote:
The pumping heart of the boom is western Siberia's boggy oil fields, which produce around 70 percent of Russia's oil—some seven million barrels a day. For Khanty-Mansi, a territory nearly the size of France, the bonanza provides an unparalleled opportunity to create modern, even desirable living conditions in a region whose very name evokes a harsh, desolate place. Khanty-Mansi's regional capital, scene of the holiday revelries, is being rebuilt with oil-tax proceeds. The new structures include an airport terminal (once a wooden shack with an outhouse), an art museum featuring paintings by 19th-century Russian masters, and a pair of lavishly equipped boarding schools for children gifted in mathematics and the arts. Even the provincial town of Surgut, a backwater only a few decades ago, is laying out new suburbs and is plagued by traffic jams.
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Old 09-13-2008   #60
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Default Narrative building in Russia

The Problematic Pages

by Leon Aron
To understand Vladimir Putin, we must understand his view of Russian history.
Post Date Wednesday, September 24, 2008

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On June 18, 2007, a national conference of high school historians and teachers of social sciences was convened in Moscow. The agenda called for the discussion of "the acute problems in the teaching of modern Russian history," and for "the development of the state standards of education." It soon became clear that the real purpose of the gathering was to present to the delegates--or, more precisely, to impress upon them--two recently finished "manuals for teachers." One of them, to be published in a pilot print run of ten thousand, was called Noveyshaya Istoriya Rossii, 1945-2006 GG: Kniga Dlya Uchitelya, or The Modern History of Russia, 1945-2006: A Teacher's Handbook. It was the work of a certain A.V. Filippov, and it was designed to become the standard Russian high school textbook of Russian history, scheduled to be introduced into classrooms this month.
http://www.tnr.com/booksarts/story.h...8-5875a0ce6fb6

Flirting with Stalin.

Quote:
"Dear friends! The textbook you are holding in your hands is dedicated to the history of our Motherland… from the end of the Great Patriotic War to our days. We will trace the journey of the Soviet Union from its greatest historical triumph to its tragic disintegration."
http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/a...s.php?id=10356
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