"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Russian Power: How Putin Outfoxed the West

The Czar of Russia

Editor's Note  -  The American media is vaguely aware that the rest of the world exists, but they would rather spend their time reporting on car chases , why we should love Socialism and celebrity breast implants.  Below are just a very few small portions of a huge article from Germany's Der Spiegel magazine on Putin growing the power of Russia.  There are details of events that I never knew happened (thanks US media).  A link to the full article is below.

(Der Spiegel)  In one of his many foreign-policy successes this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has used power politics and blackmail to bring Ukraine back into Russia's sphere of influence.

President Vladimir Putin has led this country for the last 14 years, but 2013 has been his most successful year yet. Forbes has just placed him at the top of its list of the world's most powerful people, noting that he had "solidified his control over Russia." According to the magazine, Putin has replaced US President Barack Obama in the top spot.

Indeed, at the moment, Putin seems to be succeeding at everything he does. In September, he convinced Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control. In doing so, he averted an American military strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and made Obama look like an impotent global policeman.

The article you are reading originally
appeared in German in issue 51/2013
(December 16, 2013) of DER SPIEGEL.
In late July, Putin ignored American threats and granted temporary asylum to US whistleblower Edward Snowden, a move that stirred up tensions within the Western camp. The Germans and the French were also outraged over Washington's surveillance practices.

Since then, Putin has scored one coup after the next. In the fall, when meaningful progress was made in talks with Tehran over a curtailment of Iran's nuclear program, Putin once again played a key role.

And now, by exerting massive pressure on Viktor Yanukovych, he has persuaded the Ukrainian president to withdraw from an association agreement with the European Union that took years to prepare, just a few days before the scheduled signing at a summit of EU leaders. In doing so, he brought Ukraine back into Russia's sphere of influence, at least for now.

Putin is a man who rules in the style of a 19th-century despot, one who does not feel committed to the European political model. He favors a feudalistic approach instead, with a dominant state; courtiers who fulfill their ruler's every desire, no matter how arbitrary; an economy that purely serves the interests of politicians; and a motto that reads: "What's mine cannot be yours." And now the events in Ukraine and the role Putin has played in them raises the question, once again, of who the man in the Kremlin really is and what he wants. Is Ukraine, as it descends into turmoil, symbolic of a new turning point in the relationship between East and West?

In recent years, Western capitals have viewed Russia as a difficult but stable country -- and, most of all, as one that had lost much of its significance on the world stage. The conflict over Ukraine illustrates that the fate of not only 143 million Russian citizens, but also that of most of Russia's neighboring countries within the former Soviet empire, hinges on Putin.
Putin - 100% Russian

. . . . Some might be surprised by Russia's blatant efforts to pressure Kiev. But Ukraine, whose name is derived from an Old East Slavic word that means "borderland," is Europe's second-largest country, and Putin needs it if he hopes to build his planned Eurasian economic empire. Kiev is also the historic cradle of the Russian nation, and the first East Slavic realm was established there in the 9th century. In his speeches, Glazyev repeatedly spoke of "our shared intellectual and historic tradition."

In Moscow last Tuesday, 444 of 450 members of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, adopted a statement in which they accused Western politicians of "open interference …in the internal affairs of the sovereign Ukraine."

Russia looks very good on paper, with a budget that has been almost balanced for years and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 14 percent (compared with 80 percent for Germany). But growth rates of 6 percent and higher are a thing of the past. The Kremlin expects a growth rate of only 1.3 percent this year, which is too low in light of the country's massive need for modernization.

In his address to the nation, Putin conceded that bureaucracy and widespread corruption are stifling innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in Russia.

For the full article go to Spiegel.de/International.

Into the Arctic
The Arctic Ocean is another place where the Kremlin is trying to impress the world. To gain access to the mineral resources hidden under the ocean floor, for which Russia is competing with other countries bordering the ocean, Putin instructed his defense minister last week to "expand Russia's military presence in the Arctic." This means rebuilding 10 Soviet-era bases on the Arctic Circle and beefing up Russia's Arctic military presence.

Like the Czars - A Church & State Alliance
Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all of Russia, recently gave Putin a certificate honoring him for the preservation of greater Russia. "We know," Kirill said, launching into a hymn of praise for Putin, "that you, more than anyone else since the end of the 20th century, are helping Russia become more powerful and regain its old positions, as a country that respects itself and enjoys the respect of all others."

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