My first post, sure to offend some and bore others, hell, I may not have even put this in the right topic section.
On March 14, 2004 Russian voters will go to the polls and elect the next Russian President. Of course current Russian President Vladimir Putin is
expected to win by as much as 70 per cent of the Russian electorate.
However, it is still imperative that Mr. Putin project himself in the most favorable light possible, especially after the recent and increasing
terror attacks in Moscow and other major Russian cities.
These terror attacks are just more of a long line of humiliating circumstances for the Russian people, and Putin who is an old KGB hand no doubt
understands how a political contagion can spread through a population until it becomes too great to contain. After all, it was the spread of
democratic idealism that led, in part, to the collapse of Soviet communism.
What the US and other western entities need to realize is that what we (the west) have embraced and percieved as Russia's 1990's democratization and
subsequent opening up to the rest of the world has also led to a current sentiment of national humiliation, and this is a sentiment that Putin is
seeking to remedy.
For decades the Soviet Union was a world superpower with but one viable rival. Life may have been hard under the soviet regimes but the nation had
power, pride and prestige.
As the 1990's brought a fall to the soviet regime the Russian people were hopeful that they would quickly regain the world status they once enjoyed
under democratic rule, but those hopes have been met with frequent "percieved" setbacks:
1. Sunk along with the Russian submarine Kursk some 20 months ago was what remained of Russian military pride. Impoverished, demoralized and rusting
away, Russia’s armed forces stand humiliated by the spectacle of American military prowess and its dazzling display of high-technology war.
2. Moscow cannot be pleased to have U.S. troops operate out of former Soviet bases in Uzbekistan and to know that former republics like Kirghizistan,
Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Ukraine have offered their assistance to Washington. This is not the new world order the Kremlin leadership
was hoping for, nor is it the legacy that Putin wishes to leave his nation.
3. President Bush's termination of the 1972 ABM Treaty, the administration's reluctance to sign a full-fledged arms-control treaty. Far from being a
real concern about U.S. unilateralism, these are fears of Russia's imperial decline — fears that have been heard for the last twelve years.
4. Various terrorist attacks continue to plague the Russian populace, along with memories of the failed hostage rescue attempt in the Moscow theater
where so many civilians died at the hands of their would be rescuers... all of this as an ongoing conflict in Chechnya drags on.
Putin knows that to restore national pride means the restore national power and prestige to the Russian people and to a lesser degree the rest of the
This can be noted by the symbolic gestures of new bombers, the restoring of the old soviet "star" back onto the Russian military flag, war games and
yes even nuclear war games.
Putin plays for the cameras like a seasoned western politician, promoting a group of top military commanders and presenting himself to the public as a
defender of the country's armed forces.
The current set of war games will end in an ICBM launch and a resulting resounding victory that will repel the "aggressors." Footage of Putin at the
helm as commander-in-chief may well be used as electioneering fodder just as we expect to see footage in the US elections of George Bush landing on
the aircraft carrier to announce the end of major combat in Iraq.
The Solution's Humiliation:
The problem with the current war games is that something went wrong, leaving the Russian military's public relations dept. scrambling to gloss the
problem over to save face for both the military and for their leader Putin.
The 2 ICBM's with dummy warheads were due to take off from the nuclear submarine "Novomosskovsk", while Putin watched with top military brass from
another submarine, the Arkhangelsk.
Interfax and Itar-Tass, quoting an unnamed navy officer, reported that a signal from a military satellite had blocked the launch thus causing the
error. No further explanation was given.
What can we conclude?
We can expect more symbolic gestures by Putin to help inflate the pride or the Russian people who need something to be proud of once again.
Such symbolic gestures may include more military enhancements such as advance aircraft being fielded in small numbers and other high tech weapons
being developed - certainly with Putin in front of the cameras getting his well deserved publicity as he struggles to rebuild Russian self-esteem.
The Jamestown Foundation, Washington DC,
"The Monitor - Russian Analysis", Ilya Malyakin, Oleg Varfolomeyev and Ilias Bogatyrev.
The Rand Corporation "Assessing Russia's Decline"
The BBC news.bbc.co.uk...
The Moscow Times www.themoscowtimes.com...
Russian Electioncast Sergey M. Mironov, Centre TV
Thanks to INTELGIRL for her technical assistance!
[Edited on 17-2-2004 by bios electric]