[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]here are about 20 million ethnic Russians living abroad, of which 17.3 million, or 86.5%, are in Russia’s Near Abroad. Russia has therefore to provide them efficiently with normal embassy services like visas, passports and protection in a foreign country. Russia is also concerned about the coloured revolutions that are being fostered against Russia, like the Rose Revolution in Georgia, Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan.
Apart from the crisis in Ukraine and Syria, Russian strategists have to plan a “Third Front,” for its Near Abroad. The rise of IS along the unstable Afghan-Turkmen border will need seven new armoured battalions, else there is likely to be a migrant crisis into Russia, bigger than the one to Europe. In Tajikistan, the moderate Islamic Party of Islamic Rebirth has already sworn allegiance to IS. ISIS is gaining momentum as it pays its fighters seven times what Al Qaeda does.3 South of Russia, Turkey is beginning to flex its muscles as its air space is theoretically being protected by US war planes.4
Commentator Sridharun5 echoes Russia’s concerns when he notes that Russia’s main worry is a series of threats from NATO and the coloured revolutions. NATO is also capable of using biological weapons and indulging in cyber warfare. Russia also sees an increase of military infrastructure on its borders. In addition, Britain has a thousand troops in Poland, and seems to be fighting a proxy war in Yemen. Poland and Yemen are on the borders of Russia’s “sphere of influence.” As the “world’s police,” NATO frequently breaches international law. Russia therefore sees it necessary to adjust its national security position, once every six years.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]U[/dropcap]S Senator Rand Paul6 would like to see Russia labelled a “highly dangerous country.” By America’s Security Act, visa clearances would take a month and it would place Russia with many Muslim countries on the danger list. As Rand Paul is no longer a presidential candidate, his suggestion might be ignored.
For his obstinacy and stubbornness, Putin has been targeted with a smear campaign. He is blamed for imprisoning and killing his opponents. Mikhail Khodorkovsky comes to mind. He was imprisoned for ten years for allegedly killing a Siberian mayor in 1998, and for fraud, tax evasion and embezzlement. His political spokesperson may have hit the nail on the head when he said that Khodorkovsky was a “prisoner of conscience.” His son, Pavel, said that he was a “moral leader.” Khodorkovsky wanted his party, Open Russia, to promote more democracy. Khodorkovsky was the richest man in Russia: among his assets were 9.5% shares in Yukos, valued at $11 billion. With other friendly oligarchs who had political clout, he brought Boris Yeltsin to power and gained commercial privileges. Khodorkovsky was released from jail in May 2014, when he promised to leave the country and stay out of politics.7
Part 1 can be accessed here. To be continued…
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
- Michael Hudson, “The IMF changes its rules to isolate China and Russia,” counterpunch.org, December 18, 2015.
- “Putin won’t dump Russians living abroad,” pravda.ru, November 6, 2015.
- Paul Goble, “Moscow may have to open ‘Third Front’ in Central Asia to prevent refugee influx into Russian cities,” atimes.com, January 19, 2016, also in Eurasia.com.
- Vasudevan Sridharun, “NATO dispatches AWACs planes and troops to protect Turkish airspace over Russia spat,” ibtimes.co.uk, January 1, 2016.
- Sridharun, “Russia sees threats from NATO and coloured revolutions,” ibtimes.co.uk, January 1, 2016.
- “US Senator Rand Paul suggests labeling Russia as a ‘highly dangerous country,’” pravda.ru, 19.1.2016.
- Nick Enoch, “Putin sees me as a threat: Russia’s former wealthiest man says he may seek asylum in Britain after he is arrested in absentia in Moscow,” dailymail.co.uk, December 24, 2016.
- “Arrested oil tycoon passed shares to banker Rothschild,” the washingtontimes.com, 11-3-3?
- Leah Maclaren, “Poisoned diplomacy,” MacLean’s Magazine, February 8, 2016, 35.
- NATO intimidates its members with Russian nuclear strikes,” pravda.ru, 4.2.2016.
- Peter Spence, “Russian economy in turmoil as Putin is battered by falling oil price and sanctions,” telegraph.co.uk, January 25, 2016.
- Reuters, “Russia allots $1.3 billion for real recovery,” arabnews.com, January 24, 2016.
- Said Gafurov, “Russia’s budget 2016: Handling the crisis, pravda.ru, 18.1.2016.
- “Soros: Russia’s international reserves enough for two years,” pravda.ru, 22.1.2016.
- Donald Trump, current leader of the Republican Presidential race, 2016.
- “Russia’s FM Lavrov excludes ‘business as usual’ with the West,” pravda.ru, 26.1.2016.
- “Japan’s Abe: ‘We need Russia for global peace.’” Themoscowtimes.com, 18.1.2016.
- “Egypt wants to bring Russia and Saudi Arabia closer,” pravda.ru, 27.1.2016.
- Paul Craig Roberts, “About war in Syria and World War III, pravda.ru, 28.1.2016.
- “Poroshenko speaks about threat of open war with Russia,” pravda.ru, 3.2.2016.
- Kozin was interviewed by Pravda editor Inna Novikova.
- “Ten regiments of Russian Strategic Missile Forces on high alert,” pravda.ru, 26.1.2016.
- “Putin prepares bitter and hysterical missile surprise to ‘American partners,’” pravda.ru, 16.1.2015.
- Lyuba Lulko, “Russian armed forces returning to Latin America,” pravda.ru, 27.2.2010.
- Frank Nelson, “Vladimir Putin’s invisible empire,” telegraph.co.uk, 22. 2016.
- James B. MacGuffin, “Soros – Doctor Evil,” pravda.ru, 19.1.2016.