Tag Archive for ‘Russia’
The geopolitical framework for an upgrade in Russian-German relations.
Recent developments in Moldova have placed the former Soviet republic, strategically placed at the hub of Central and Southeastern Europe’s energy corridors, at the center of Russia’s occasionally tense relations with the West. On February 7, Senator Richard Lugar, a leading NATO expansionist and Russophobic hawk, demanded that Obama put pressure on Medvedev to “solve” the issue of the Trans-Dniester region that seceded from Moldova in the early 1990s.
WikiLeaks documents reveal that Russian operatives may have been tracking the assassins of rogue intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko well before he was poisoned in London in November 2006. The agents apparently wanted to prevent his murder not because they cared for him, which they did not, but because they knew that Moscow would be blamed for the deed.
It was another episode in a series of shocking crimes against children. Little Sasha, just three years old, was pulled from the frigid waters of the Pekhorka River in January 2009. He was bound to a car battery with adhesive tape, his body battered and bearing the marks of cigarette burns. It was the second death of an adopted child in the Grechushkin family: The December before Sasha’s body was discovered, their one-year-old’s death had aroused suspicions. The third child was placed in an orphanage, and the adoptive parents were arrested.
In August, the Georgian navy seized a Turkish tanker carrying fuel to Abkhazia, Georgia’s former province whose declaration of independence a year ago is recognized by Russia but not the West.
The Turkish captain was sentenced to 24 years. When Ankara protested, he was released. Abkhazia has now threatened to sink any Georgian ship interfering in its “territorial waters,” but it has no navy.
The recent invasion of South Ossetia by the U.S.-trained and -equipped Georgian army turned into a debacle for both Tbilisi and Washington. It also demonstrated that, for the U.S. government, the fall of the Soviet Union on December 8, 1991, did not mean the Cold War had ended.
According to all accounts, the United States faces its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with $2 trillion in near-term financing needs for bailouts and economic stimulus. This is an enormous sum for any country, especially one that is so heavily indebted that it is close to bankruptcy. If the money can’t be borrowed abroad, it will have to be printed—a policy that carries the implication of hyper-inflation.
In normal life, a borrower who must appeal to creditors makes every effort to bring order to his financial affairs. But not the Bush regime.
The out-of-pocket costs of Bush’s Iraq war are about $600 billion at the present moment, a figure that increases by millions of dollars every hour.
“I hope for constructive dialogue with you,” said Russia’s president, “based on trust and considering each other’s interests.”
Dmitry Medvedev went on that day, in his first State of the Union, to charge America with fomenting the Russia-Georgia war and said he has been “forced” to put Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad to counter the U.S. missile shield President Bush pledged to Poland.
As of Saturday, 16 August, both the Russian and Georgian sides of the conflict over the “unrecognized republics” of South Ossetia and Abkhazia had signed a six-point cease-fire agreement stipulating that Georgian forces must move back to their bases, while Russian troops are supposed to draw back to pre-conflict positions. The agreement does, however, leave the Russians some room to take additional “security measures” and reports continue to come in of Russian troops moving closer to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. Russian forces have been destroying Georgian military installations and equipment as well.
A week after Georgia’s failed attempt to conquer the breakaway province of South Ossetia, the crisis is over. The only major issue still unresolved concerns Mikheil Saakashvili’s motivation. His order to attack on the night of August 7-8 was a breathtakingly risky move; but was it a calculated, or reckless gamble? That Saakashvili acted with the tacit approval (if not active encouragement) of the United States is reasonable to assume, considering the presence of over a hundred U.S. military advisors in Georgia. Actively involved at all levels of planning, training and equipping the Georgian army, they could not have not known what was coming. Had the Bush administration wanted to stop Saakashvili it could have done so.