According to the then-Russian Chief of the General Staff, General Nikolai Makarov, in 2009, “The strategic nuclear forces for us are a sacred issue…” Senior Russian officials often make nuclear threats, including threats of direct targeting and threats of preemptive nuclear attack, against US allies. There are only two countries in the world that do this routinely – Russia and North Korea. China is a poor third in this arena, but is swiftly moving in their direction.
Russia routinely exercises its nuclear forces against NATO and the U.S. Two weeks before the 2012 US election, the Kremlin announced “strategic nuclear forces’ exercises,” in which President Putin “oversaw test launches of strategic and cruise missiles which reached set targets at various military testing grounds.” Moreover, Russia routinely flies nuclear capable bombers into the air-defense identification zones of the U.S., NATO nations, and Japan.
Russia has virtually ceased eliminating legacy strategic forces. Russian data, released by the State Department in April 2013, record that Russia has increased its strategic delivery vehicles in the two years since New START has been in effect. The number of deployed warheads has decreased by 57, but this is apparently largely the result of New START’s not counting warheads on submarines that are being overhauled.
Tag Archives: kremlin
In Russia, a decision to go public with Fogle could have been made only at the highest level of political authority. Apparently, Putin gave the go-ahead after his first meeting with Kerry last week in the Kremlin. He evidently decided the Barack Obama administration is an easy pushover, which needs Russian cooperation on Syria and other issues so badly, it will swallow with hardly a whimper the use of a US diplomat as PR fodder together with the deployment of S-300 missiles with Russian crews to Syria. In Moscow, Secretary Kerry, among other things, agreed to sponsor together with Russia an international conference on Syria that would bring together the Syrian rebels and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. After a meeting in the Kremlin, Kerry told journalists: “A good new relationship with Russia is beginning” (Interfax, May 8). After the Fogle scandal erupted, Russian journalists triumphantly reported on State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell meekly insisting the affair would not spoil relations: “We have a very broad and deep relationship with the Russians across a whole host of issues and we will continue to work on our diplomacy with them directly” (RIA Novosti, May 14).
Since Surkov’s departure from the presidential staff, veterans of the spy and security agencies and other conservatives known as the “siloviki”, or men of power, have gained the upper hand in shaping Putin’s thinking and are behind what the opposition sees as a Soviet-style clampdown on dissent.
Putin has in the past two years been abandoned by, forced out or become distant from the more liberal thinkers who once influenced him, leaving him politically isolated as his popularity wanes and the economy slides towards recession.
“I won’t say that power is slipping from his hands but he is not as strong as he was,” said a source once close to the Kremlin and the government. “At the start of the 2000s, he was a unifying figure. He is no longer that.”
One year ago on May 7, President-elect Vladimir Putin‘s motorcade traversed the empty streets of Moscow, cleared of every living soul by the police, to his inauguration in the Kremlin. This anniversary passed mostly unnoticed by the public and mainstream media. The reason is not so much that it was overshadowed by Victory Day celebrations and protest demonstrations but because there was nothing much to celebrate.
The country is not in better shape than it was a year ago, a fact that even Putin loyalists admit. Journalist Vitaly Tretyakov wrote on his LiveJournal blog: “The leaders of the ruling class are out of control. Reforms have been either unsuccessful or were transformed into business opportunities for bureaucrats. An innovative economy has not appeared, and there are no prospects for it in the near future. And the population hates the greedy ruling class more and more.”
Today, it is absolutely clear that the liberal “Putin 2.0″ predicted by his fans did not and will not appear. What Putin has achieved over the last 12 months fits perfectly into the description articulated by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Dublin last December: re-Sovietization.
But Lavrov, a diplomat since the Brezhnev era who has spent a lifetime haggling, blustering, scheming, and speechifying on behalf of the battered Russian state (“his religion,” one top U.S. official told me), chose to go in a different direction, right back in history to Alexander Gorchakov. He cited the princely foreign minister as an example of the blunt style in Russian politics, as a reason for why Russia has absolutely no intention of following America’s lead in the Arab world — or, by extension, anywhere else. Gorchakov, Lavrov proudly noted, had managed “the restoration of the Russian influence in Europe after the defeat in the Crimean War, and he did it … without moving a gun. He did it exclusively through diplomacy.”
When Lavrov did get around to the question at hand, of foreign policy in Putin’s Russia, he offered a sharp lecture on how the Kremlin’s boss had managed to make Russia great again after the indignities of the 1990s — and, more to the point, how a great Russia can once again afford to have an “assertive” foreign policy:
Putin ordered Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to convene a special meeting of Kremlin and government advisers to come up with a response to a warning that Russia was nearing recession.
The Kremlin chief sternly cautioned that “the global crisis is obtaining ever more dangerous contours that will inevitably impact us, too.”
“This happened in 2008 and this is what we are witnessing today,” Putin said.
Is Russia Heading For Crisis?
Ben Judah, author of Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In And Out Of Love With Vladimir Putin, argued that Putin’s ruling model is no longer functioning. Judah thinks Putin hasn’t yet realised that the Russia of the 2000s, the Russia which “fell in love with him,” no longer exists. His paper identifies five ”traps” which Putin now faces: an increasingly demanding middle class, the Internet, popular culture, falling oil prices, and corruption:
1. The affluence trap: As living standards rose over the past decade and a new middle class emerged, so too did expectations of better governance. Putin gutted all of the institutions that could have challenged his power, but by doing so created a predatory and corrupt bureaucracy that Russians identify with him.
2. The technology trap: Kremlin-controlled television news is no longer the only source of information for Russians. On the contrary, Russia now has one of the most vibrant online communities in the world.
3. The culture trap: Putin is out of date – his neo-Soviet slogans no longer resonate with a large segment of society, particularly in Moscow which is a very young city.
4: The financial trap: By increasing spending since the 2011 protest movement, Putin has bet the house on the price of oil, the one thing he can’t control.
5: The anti-corruption trap: Seriously cracking down on corruption, which would be popular among the public at large, risks undermining Putin’s support base, which depends on corruption to survive.
JOHNSON’S RUSSIA LIST » Putin’s Commitment to ‘Stability above Everything’ Promises Anything But, Moscow Experts Say
A report by the Inter-Regional Association of Young Political Scientists notes that Vladimir Putin has changed his language to reflect is “commitment to stability above everything else,” a conclusion that one Moscow commentator suggests fails to capture just how dangerous Putin’s position is for Russia as a whole.
Satarov has written, Petrov says, that Putin’s obsession with stability is disturbing because it “clashes with the demands for change which were clearly articulated by society in 2012.” What exists in Russia under his rule is “not stability; it is stagnation” and a stagnation that points to decay and collapse.
Clearly, when the authorities “constantly talk about stability,” that raises questions not only about how fearful they must be of any kind of instability but also and perhaps even more disturbingly about “what they have in mind” for themselves and their country when they talk about stability.
Talk of stability is a disaster. That just locks in all the bad things in society that will continue to grow and grow. Stability means society goes along until its reaches a crisis.
… “Putin has no real allies left in Europe,” says Mikhail Dmitriev, president of the Centre for Strategic Research, a think-tank.
The Kremlin had hoped that its anti-American policy would have no effect on Europe, where politicians and businessmen were too wet, greedy or desperate for gas to confront Mr Putin. But as Mrs Merkel has shown, European patience has limits. Moreover, the value of Russia as a source of natural gas for Europe has been undermined by the proliferation of shale gas.
The recent Cypriot bail-out highlighted Russia’s inability to influence decisions touching its financial interests. Russians not only hold some €20 billion in Cypriot banks but often use Cyprus as a hub for merger activity (a quarter of inward investment in Russia nominally comes from the island). “Russian firms cannot comply with the tight regulations in mainland Europe and in America and it would be hard to replace Cyprus as an offshore centre,” says Mr Dmitriev. The problems caused to Russian business by Mr Putin’s anti-Western rants are becoming more obvious.
The United States has effectively canceled the final phase of a Europe-based missile defense system that was fiercely opposed by Russia and cited repeatedly by the Kremlin as a major obstacle to cooperation on nuclear arms reductions and other issues.
Russian officials here have so far declined to comment on the announcement, which was made in Washington on Friday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as part of a plan to deploy additional ballistic missile interceptors to counter North Korea. The cancellation of some European-based defenses will allow resources to be shifted to protect against North Korea.
Yes, Stalin may have been killed by poisoning. But why?
Some think he was planning a war with the US. Another idea is that his death averted a holocaust for the Jews in the Soviet Union. So did a Jew do it? Also, he was plotting to kill Yugoslavia’s Tito, but Tito got to him first.
Check out the articles below and see what you think.
Fifty years after Stalin died, felled by a brain hemorrhage at his dacha, an exhaustive study of long-secret Soviet records lends new weight to an old theory that he was actually poisoned, perhaps to avert a looming war with the United States.
That war may well have been closer than anyone outside the Kremlin suspected at the time, say the authors of a new book based on the records.
The 402-page book, ”Stalin’s Last Crime,” will be published later this month. Relying on a previously secret account by doctors of Stalin’s final days, its authors suggest that he may have been poisoned with warfarin, a tasteless and colorless blood thinner also used as a rat killer, during a final dinner with four members of his Politburo.
The authors, Vladimir P. Naumov, a Russian historian, and Jonathan Brent, a Yale University Soviet scholar, suggest that the most likely suspect, if Stalin was poisoned, is Beria, for 15 years his despised minister of internal security.
[Originally published on March 5, 2003]
Did Tito poison Stalin? Historian claims Yugoslav dictator killed rival after being the target of 22 Soviet assassination attempts | Mail Online
Tito’s letter in Stalin’s office read: ‘Stop sending people to kill me. We’ve already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send a second.’
Now a Slovenian historian suggests Stalin was poisoned rather than suffering a fatal stroke – and points the finger of suspicion directly at Tito.
In his book Tito In Tovarisi, historian Joze Pirjavec puts forward mainly circumstantial evidence to support his poisoning theory. Crucially, however, he has used former Yugoslav archives that have been overlooked by many historians.
Did a Jew kill Stalin? Stalin had big plans for Jews in the Soviet Union. He was planning another holocaust shortly before he died.
Had Stalin lived, it is very likely that he would have set into motion a second Holocaust less than a decade after the first one ended with the defeat of the Nazis.
Stalin’s Last Crime: The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953
A new investigation, based on previously unseen KGB documents, reveals the startling truth behind Stalin’s last great conspiracy.
On January 13, 1953, a stunned world learned that a vast conspiracy had been unmasked among Jewish doctors in the USSR to murder Kremlin leaders. Mass arrests quickly followed. The Doctors’ Plot, as this alleged scheme came to be called, was Stalin’s last crime.
In the fifty years since Stalin’s death many myths have grown up about the Doctors’ Plot. Did Stalin himself invent the conspiracy against the Jewish doctors or was it engineered by subordinates who wished to eliminate Kremlin rivals? Did Stalin intend a purge of all Jews from Moscow, Leningrad, and other major cities, which might lead to a Soviet Holocaust? How was this plot related to the cold war then dividing Europe, and the hot war in Korea? Finally, was the Doctors’ Plot connected with Stalin’s fortuitous death?
Brent and Naumov have explored an astounding arra of previously unknown, top-secret documents from the KGB, the presidential archives, and other state and party archives in order to probe the mechanism of on of Stalin’s greatest intrigues — and to tell for the first time the incredible full story of the Doctors’ Plot.