Former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev raised eyebrows this week while promoting his new book “After the Kremlin.” The 83-year-old told The Daily Mail that Russian President Vladimir Putin “thinks he [Putin] is second only to God.”
“He has started picking up the same illness which I suffered from earlier – self-confidence,” states Gorbachev in the Daily Mail’s report, further warning Putin: “Don’t get a big head. That is what ruined me.”
Gorbachev lamented that former KGB spy Putin avoids substantial one-to-one meetings with the elder statesman.
“I need to participate, and I will. Nobody will shut my mouth, even though people wanted me to emigrate,” stated Gorbachev, who warned earlier this month of a possible new Cold War. Read the rest of this entry »
(Reuters) – Explosions caused by a fire killed at least 10 people at a munitions depot in eastern Siberia and temporarily closed a section of the Transsiberian railway, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.
Engineers found a truck with 10 corpses in the early hours of Wednesday, a Defense Ministry spokesman told Rossiya-24 television, which carried pictures of flames swirling high in the night sky and turning it red.
The blaze broke out on Tuesday at the depot near Bolshaya Tura village, some 6,200 km (3,852 miles) southeast of Moscow, caused by a wildfire raging nearby. More than 1,000 residents were evacuated, the local Emergencies Ministry said. Read the rest of this entry »
Moscow voted in favor of a Security Council resolution that stands up for Libya’s sovereignty. The resolution condemns any attempt to steal oil from the North African country, which holds the ninth largest proven oil reserves in the world. Earlier this month, a rebel group sailed off with a tanker full of Libyan oil in a brazen attempt to sell it to an unknown buyer. On Monday, US Navy SEALs retook the tanker in the Mediterranean at the request of Libya’s government. Read the rest of this entry »
As Russian forces begin exercises on Ukraine’s border and continue their hold on Crimea, I worry about military escalation—unintentional and intentional. What fuels my concern about unintentional escalation is a disconcerting interaction I had last year with a Russian general at a NATO conference in Europe. I was leading a breakout session with a dozen generals and admirals from the region. I was taken aback as many of the Western European NATO officers began lamenting their individual countries’ declining defense budgets and their inability to keep up with American military capability. As complicated as things might be inside NATO, and as difficult as it is to rally collective action at times, NATO is still the premier military alliance in the world. No one is giving up on it, I assured them.
When the Russian general spoke, he leaned into the table and said, “When I was a young soldier in the Soviet Army during the Cold War, I thought of NATO like this…” and he held his hand into a powerful fist. “But now that I am serving with NATO as a liaison, I am thinking, this…” and his hand went limp and wobbly with a whiny sounding sigh. If this small interaction reflects in any way a wider view of NATO by Russian civilian and military leaders, NATO has its work cut out for it in demonstrating to Vladimir Putin that continued military aggression in Ukraine will be challenged. Read the rest of this entry »
By targeting the Ukrainian government with a cyber weapon, the Russians are able to effectively engage in an aggressive, kinetic act without actually declaring war, or other countries reacting like it is an act of war. This will not last forever.
Edited time: March 06, 2014 13:03
An anti-government protester sit near the bodies of two demonstrators killed by a sniper during clashes with the police in the center of Kiev on February 20, 2014.(AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)
The snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were allegedly hired by Maidan leaders, according to a leaked phone conversation between the EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign affairs minister, which has emerged online.
“There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition,” Urmas Paet said during the conversation.
“I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh,” Ashton answered.
The call took place after Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited Kiev on February 25, following the peak of clashes between the pro-EU protesters and security forces in the Ukrainian capital.
By Eli Lake March 2, 2014 4:40 PM The Daily Beast
The last time Russian troops invaded one of its neighbors, the U.S. intelligence community was also caught off guard.
The year was 2008 and the country was Georgia instead of the Ukraine. And just as in 2014, back then there were early signs that Moscow was serious—it was issuing visas to ethnic Russian speakers inGeorgia, like it’s doing now in Ukraine. U.S. analysts just didn’t believe Russia would go as far as it did.
Today, as in 2008, American policy makers have found themselves burned after trying to make Vladimir Putin a partner when Putin himself sees America as a rival. This has often led Republican and Democratic led administrations to find themselves flat footed in the face of Russian aggression and U.S. intelligence analysts racing to explain how they misread Putin’s motivations.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 – 04:13
Stratfor By George Friedman
The struggle for some of the most strategic territory in the world took an interesting twist this week. Last week we discussed what appeared to be a significant shift in German national strategy in which Berlin seemed to declare a new doctrine of increased assertiveness in the world — a shift that followed intense German interest in Ukraine. This week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, in a now-famous cellphone conversation, declared her strong contempt for the European Union and its weakness and counseled the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to proceed quickly and without the Europeans to piece together a specific opposition coalition before the Russians saw what was happening and took action.
This is a new twist not because it makes clear that the United States is not the only country intercepting phone calls, but because it puts U.S. policy in Ukraine in a new light and forces us to reconsider U.S. strategy toward Russia and Germany. Nuland’s cellphone conversation is hardly definitive, but it is an additional indicator of American strategic thinking.
An estimated 100K Russian security personnel involved in protecting Olympics
Author: By Tim Lister CNN
Published On: Feb 05 2014 09:35:29 AM EST Updated On: Feb 05 2014 11:17:12 AM EST
The Russian security operation surrounding the Sochi Winter Olympics is massive and multilayered. But it only takes one flaw for terrorists to strike, and the Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus sees an attack at or around the games as a glittering prize in its struggle against the Russian state.
The Emirate, born out of the bloody Chechen insurgency of the past 20 years, has made no secret of its aims. Last year, its leader Doku Umarov said the Olympics were to be held “over the bones of thousands of Muslims who were killed and buried on the territory along the Black Sea,” and fighters must not allow that “by any means.”
English: President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev signing the INF Treaty in the East Room of the White House. Français : Ronald Reagan et Mikhaïl Gorbatchev signant le Traité sur les forces nucléaires à portée intermédiaire dans la salle Est de la Maison Blanche. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
MICHAEL R. GORDON JAN. 29, 2014
WASHINGTON — The United States informed its NATO allies this month that Russia had tested a new ground-launched cruise missile, raising concerns about Moscow’s compliance with a landmark arms control accord.
American officials believe Russia began conducting flight tests of the missile as early as 2008. Such tests are prohibited by the treaty banning medium-range missiles that was signed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader at the time, and that has long been viewed as one of the bedrock accords that brought an end to the Cold War.