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Old 02-16-2007   #1
Stan
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Default Reviving the Evil Empire

Moderator's Note

This is a merged thread after a review; a Russian military thread remains intcat and a few historical threads.


http://www.citypaper.ee/paper/articles/1841/

Quote:
Pundits are offering theories that Putin’s Munich speech reflects Russia’s desire to re-establish the lost grandeur of the Soviet times and bring Estonia and other prodigal sons back under the Russian sphere of influence. That’s what the local pundits say. But if you ask us, there’s little more annoying than having everything interpreted for us simply because we’re too lazy to read. Why not read Mr. Putin’s entire speech and make up your own mind? Visit http://www.kremlin.ru/eng/speeches/2...9_118135.shtml

Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-19-2012 at 08:42 PM. Reason: Add Mod's note
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Old 04-12-2007   #2
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Default RU - Ultranationalists Shift to Terror Tactics

ISN Security Watch, 12 Apr 07: Ultranationalists Shift to Terror Tactics
Quote:
...There have been documented cases of employees of Russian nuclear facilities stealing enriched uranium and plutonium. There was also one case in which a Russian nuclear physicist stowed away his own stash of plutonium before retiring "just in case" he might need it. In comparison, Vlasov's case represents a dangerous phenomenon: Here, a veteran of the Russian nuclear industry has committed a grave crime based on his racist beliefs, rather than greed...

....Vlasov's act also raises grave concerns given the emerging trend of increasingly violent ultranationalism - a trend that once only included an arsenal with metal bars, knives and other individual weapons, but has lately grown to include more lethal weapons, such as explosives as well as mercury....

...agencies must diversify their counterterrorism efforts to focus not only on jihadist groups based in the North Caucasus, as is now the case, but also on the increasing propensity for terrorism among ultranationalist groups with special attention paid to the prevention of nuclear, biological or chemical attacks by xenophobic and other ideologically motivated insiders.

In particular, increasing use of terrorist methods by individual ultranationalists and groups requires urgent joint action and coordination between counterterrorism, anti-extremism units of national law-enforcement agencies and security services and those units which monitor personnel and general security at nuclear facilities....
The SOVA Center is a Russian NGO with a particular focus on this topic.
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Old 05-28-2007   #3
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Default Reviving the Evil Empire

28 May LA Times commentary - Reviving the Evil Empire by Niall Ferguson.

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... Seven years ago, the economist Brigitte Granville and I published an article in the Journal of Economic History titled "Weimar on the Volga," in which we argued that the experience of 1990s Russia bore many resemblances to the experience of 1920s Germany...

Yet this is not Cold War II. Unlike in the 1950s and 1960s, Russia is not self-confident but insecure. It is reliant on exports of natural resources, not its own ability to match American technological accomplishments. It is a waning power. The value of the parallel with Weimar Germany is precisely that it captures the dangers of a backlash against such weakness...
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Old 05-28-2007   #4
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I would never believe that Putin would give in, but my military friend in Norway just responded to your post with this (he's shy and relatively silent):
Quote:
Good evening to you too!

Stalemate!

Russia has offered to extradite Lugovoy in exchange of Berezovsky.

No link. Just got from a family member in the business.....
Should be extremely interesting

One second ago, a tad more

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I was told that it was proposed by the Chairman of the Russian Security Comittee Vladimir Vasilyev

Last edited by Stan; 05-28-2007 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 07-26-2007   #5
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Default Russia to Increase Military Might and Spy Efforts

26 July AP via NY Times - Russia to Increase Military Might and Spy Efforts.

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President Vladimir V. Putin said Wednesday that he intended to strengthen Russia’s military capacity and to step up spying abroad in response to plans by the United States to build missile defense sites and deploy troops in Central Europe.

“The situation in the world and internal political interests require the Foreign Intelligence Service to permanently increase its capabilities, primarily in the field of information and analytical support for the country’s leadership,” Mr. Putin said at a meeting with senior military and security officers in remarks that were posted on the Kremlin’s Web site...
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Old 07-26-2007   #6
Dominique R. Poirier
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Default What Did You Say?

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Old 07-26-2007   #7
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The main designer of the Bulava, Yuri Solomonov, has in the past attributed the multiple mishaps of test-launches to the progressive degradation of the Russian defense industry, the inferior quality of Russian-made components and materials, and the “loss” of key military technology (VPK, April 4). This apparently unstoppable degradation means that in the coming years Russia will be unable to arm its forces with modern weapons. Russian arms exports are also affected. Alexander Brindikov, deputy chief of the Russian arms trade monopoly Rosoboronexport, explains: “We are encountering colossal problems fulfilling existing export contracts and are withholding from signing some new ones, because we cannot figure how they may be fulfilled” because of the degradation of the Russian defense industry (VPK, March 21).
Quote:
In the future Russia maybe forced to begin procuring Western (i.e., U.S.) arms and defense know how, or its forces will have no new weapons -- and perhaps none at all. Why would Putin pick fights with the West on any possible issue when it is becoming obvious that Russia is becoming dependent on Western aid and good will? Perhaps Putin’s actions are not foolish, but the product of deliberate misinformation about the true state of the Russian military and defense industry.
http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2372316
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Old 07-26-2007   #8
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Default Il a besoin des cornes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dominique R. Poirier View Post
Where are his horns, Dominique?

Mama Bouchet (mother of my role model native Cajun, Bobby Bochet) would say, "Putin is de debble!"

Tom
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Old 07-26-2007   #9
Dominique R. Poirier
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Tom,
don't worry about it. One of his good old loyal servitors is going to give him a pair of good ones which still have got a few years' use left in it...

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Old 08-25-2007   #10
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The Economist, 23 Aug 07: Russia Under Putin: The Making of a Neo-KGB State
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....Just before he became president, Mr Putin told his ex-colleagues at the Federal Security Service (FSB), the KGB's successor, “A group of FSB operatives, dispatched under cover to work in the government of the Russian federation, is successfully fulfilling its task.” He was only half joking.

Over the two terms of Mr Putin's presidency, that “group of FSB operatives” has consolidated its political power and built a new sort of corporate state in the process. Men from the FSB and its sister organisations control the Kremlin, the government, the media and large parts of the economy—as well as the military and security forces. According to research by Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a sociologist at the Russian Academy of Sciences, a quarter of the country's senior bureaucrats are siloviki—a Russian word meaning, roughly, “power guys”, which includes members of the armed forces and other security services, not just the FSB. The proportion rises to three-quarters if people simply affiliated to the security services are included. These people represent a psychologically homogeneous group, loyal to roots that go back to the Bolsheviks' first political police, the Cheka. As Mr Putin says repeatedly, “There is no such thing as a former Chekist.”

By many indicators, today's security bosses enjoy a combination of power and money without precedent in Russia's history.....
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Old 08-26-2007   #11
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I'd like to add 1 reading material to Jedburgh's post. It contains also Kryshtanovskaya's tables.

Quote:
This issue of the Russian Analytical Digest discusses the role of "Siloviki", appointed politicians and high-ranking officials with a force-structure background, in Russian politics and within the Putin administration. The issue further also looks at developments in Russian military reforms.
http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/rad/deta...ng=en&id=29428

Last edited by kaur; 08-26-2007 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 08-28-2007   #12
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Default Police officers in Russia’s diplomatic missions abroad

Spies in the Russian Embassy you say ?

Russia's Daily On-Line Kommersant reports "Putin Sets Up Police Attaché Positions in Russian Embassies".

Quote:
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree establishes positions for police officers in Russia’s diplomatic missions abroad, said RIA Novosti news agency with reference to the president’s press service.

The total number of Interior Ministry officials and their deputies is restricted to 41 people. The decree states the police officers in the embassies abroad will cooperate with their foreign colleagues in the struggle against transnational crimes.
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Old 09-04-2007   #13
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"Russia is not self-confident but insecure. It is reliant on exports of natural resources, not its own ability to match American technological accomplishments. It is a waning power."

This seems to be somewhat true, but the bulk of Europe is growing much more dependant on oil from Russia and is more likely to make concessions to Russia to keep the taps open. Putin seems to be drumming up the countries paranoia and nationalism to try to recover its self confidence and in a world where Americas influence is being questioned he's trying to get his country some prestige as an alternative.

If the stories of incursions into Georgian airspace are to be believed, it's possible these are meant as either intimidation and/or to gauge world reaction (none I know of).

I think the planting of a Russian flag on the ocean floor at the north pole is a similar attempt to shore up Russias confidence and another way of testing the worlds reaction (quite a bit more reaction).

Bottom line I think most of it is for domestic consumption, as a way to focus eyeballs outward and to foster nationalism.
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Old 09-04-2007   #14
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Default EC May Ban Gazprom Investments

Maybe there's still hope that the EU will actually 'bite' this time around with all the howling they continue to do. Russia's recent threats "No more cheap gas for Russia's neighbors" to increase gas prices to the Baltic States by 40% didn't come as much of a surprise here.

Quote:
In a few days Russia is to commence talks over gas prices with Latvia and Estonia, and in October with Belarus and Ukraine. Lithuanian distributors have already received offers to buy Gazprom gas at $280 per 1,000 cubic meters (the current price is $190). The same price is going to apply to the other Baltic countries. Belarus is most likely to pay $125-150 for Russian gas in 2008 (it is paying $100 now). The price for Ukraine is expected to be raised to $180 from the present $130.

Currently, Russia's closest neighbors, former Soviet republics, are paying about 40-70% of the average European price. And these prices are set by the market, not by the gas monopoly.
But the EC's latest decisions were indeed a welcomed surprise.

Quote:
The ban will last as long as Russia keeps closed its crude oil/gas production for the EU companies. The current laws of EU prohibit any discrimination of investors for reasons of nationality. What's more, EU cannot pursue the special economic policy in respect of Russia without jeopardizing its own principals of free economy. The draft of new energy laws of the EU will be promulgated September 19.
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Old 10-02-2007   #15
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Default Russian elite power struggle?

RAD, 2 Oct 07: Political Opposition in Russia

The Russian Analytical Digest is a bi-weekly internet publication jointly produced by the Research Centre for East European Studies [Forschungsstelle Osteuropa] at the University of Bremen and the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich). It is supported
by the Otto Wolff Foundation and the German Association for East European Studies (DGO). The Digest draws on contributions to the German-language Russlandanalysen, the CSS analytical network on Russia and Eurasia, and the Russian Regional Report . The Russian Analytical Digest covers political, economic, and social developments in Russia and its regions, and looks at Russia’s role in international relations.
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Old 11-01-2007   #16
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Default Russian elite power struggle?

Russian ex-KGB chief warns secret elite over feud - Reuters.

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - The former head of the Soviet KGB warned on Wednesday that a conflict between rival Russian security services could lead to "big trouble" and urged feuding clans to unite around President Vladimir Putin.

Details have emerged of a feud between rival groups of secret service officers who form the bedrock of Putin's team. Observers warn it could split the ruling elite at a critical time when Putin is preparing to leave office.

The battle came to light this month after agents from the Federal Security Service (FSB), controlled by Nikolai Patrushev, arrested senior officers from the anti-drugs service, controlled by Viktor Cherkesov, for corruption and abuse of office ...
Mark Ames at the Exile has a longer, more detailed take with extensive background. He sees the feud as perhaps leading to a collapse of the current dominance of the siloviki over the Russian system, just as the Yeltsin-era oligarchal system gave way to the rule of Putin and his security-service brethren.

Quote:
Something big is happening in the world of Russian power. And it ain't pretty.

Two weeks ago, Viktor Cherkesov, the don of one of the main siloviki clans, published an open letter in Kommersant. Reports in the English-language press focused on how unusual it was for a silovik to take his problems public in the Putin Era--particularly a silovik of Cherkesov's stature. As head of the Federal Anti-Narcotics Agency, Cherkesov essentially runs a kind of FSB-2. And given the recent slew of high-profile arrests, along with Cherkesov's open letter, it looks as though FSB-2 is at war with FSB-1.

It's fitting that this war comes exactly 10 years after the outbreak of the Banker's War under Yeltsin, when the oligarchs divided into two mortal enemy camps in the fight over the last of Russia's unprivatized spoils. On one side of the Banker's War were Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky; and on the other side, the "baby billionaire" (to use the Washington Post's Fred Hiatt's own words) Vladimir Potanin and his men-in-power, the so-called "young reformers" headed by Anatoly Chubais, Boris Nemtsov, and Alexander Kokh. When the Berezovsky-Gusinsky clan felt cheated out of the privatization of Russia's telecommunications giant Svyazinvest, they took their war to the media, which they largely controlled through television stations ORT and NTV, as well as to the Russian security services, which they used to drudge up damaging kompromat. The end result of the Banker's War was the end of the oligarchy itself. Within a year of their feud, they and the system that made them collapsed.

Cherkesov warned in his letter that this very same suicidal scenario is playing out all over again today: as we near the end of the halcyon Putin Era, the once seemingly monolithic siloviki have divided into two warring camps struggling over power and assets. In one camp is the Cherkesov Clan, FSB-2; in the other, the clan headed by the FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev and his Kremlin allies led by the Presidential Administration deputy and Rosneft chief Igor Sechin. "We must not allow scandals and infighting," Cherkesov wrote in Kommersant. "There can be no winners in this war... There is too much at stake." He argued that not only would both clans lose, but the system built up in Putin's reign, the "corporatism" which Cherkesov argued has saved Russia from chaos, would go down with it.

If the "corporatist" system collapses, then it's back to chaos, just as the Banker's War ended in 1998 with the financial collapse and end of "liberal reforms ..."
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Old 11-01-2007   #17
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There have been divisions nearing coup in Russia since the breakup. Yeltsin's famous storming of the Duma being just one. Another was near the end of the Kosovo war when the Butcher of Chechnya was appointed. That put an end to the idea of a coup then by what became Putin's government - they knew that general would bomb Moscow if ordered. A lot happened that May after Yeltsin's people finally figured out what was going on.

I'd view this as a kind of continuation housecleaning by the "forces of clean" (AKA Putin's boys) with posturing by the "forces of crime". For what it's worth, the drug administration is corrupt as hell. How do you think they supported themselves the last 17 years? (By the way, the kosovo war was a bonus baby for that part of the FSB, because it hurt the drug pipeline into Europe through Albania that Osama's boys were running.)
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Old 11-02-2007   #18
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Default These werewolves in epaulettes

The Moscow Times reports "Putin scolded Cherkesov in Kommersant for publicly airing dirty laundry but on Oct. 20 created a new state committee to fight illegal drugs and named Cherkesov as its chief."

KGB Vets Call for End to Turf War

Quote:
A group of retired senior KGB officials have called on the country's security services to end a turf war between competing agencies that has turned into a bitter public conflict.

In an open letter published Wednesday in the ultranationalist newspaper Zavtra, the retired officials -- including General Vladimir Kryuchkov, the last KGB chief -- warned security services of the consequences of infighting.

Security services should be a source of stability in the country, not one of discord that can be exploited by "foreign and domestic destructive forces," they wrote.
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Old 12-29-2007   #19
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Default Carnegie Russia Analysis

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The View from Moscow

Ironically, at the beginning of the twentieth century the Soviets were fiercely ideological, and the West was essentially practical and pragmatic. Now, the Russians have transformed themselves into raw-and-ready capitalists, and the West is lecturing them on values. From the Russian perspective, there is no absolute freedom anywhere in the world, no perfect democracy, and no government that does not lie to its people. In essence, all are equal by virtue of sharing the same imperfections. Some are more powerful than others, how-ever, and that is what really counts.
http://www.carnegieendowment.org/pub...19111&prog=zru
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Old 12-29-2007   #20
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Default A walk on the dark side

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ACCORDING to VeriSign, one of the world’s largest internet security companies, RBN, an internet company based in Russia’s second city, St Petersburg, is “the baddest of the bad”. In a report seen by The Economist, VeriSign’s investigators unpick an extraordinary story of blatant cybercrime that implies high-level political backing.
www.economist.com (Aug 30, 2007 Article ... you will need a subscription)
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