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Russia: Paranoia as a National Strategy
   Next Article → MORALE: No Good Deed Goes Unexploited
March 9, 2007: There are Russians who would like to see their country join NATO and the European Union. This group is a minority. Most Russians would like to see Russian strong again, a superpower like the Soviet Union. This makes Russians neighbors nervous, because a "mighty Russia" implies some of Russians neighbors becoming part of Russia once more. This has caused many of Russians western neighbors to join NATO and the European union. The "mighty Russia" crowd sees this as preparations for an invasion of Russia. Yeah, that sounds nuts, but that attitude resonates big time in Russia. Seventy years of Bolshevik propaganda about the danger from the West have had a long term effect. More sober minded Russians realize that a more realistic danger is from the east, where China has claims on much of eastern Russia, and is more likely to become unstable and militaristic than Western Europe. But it was France and Germany that have most recently marched into Russia, so the official Big Threat is to the west.

March 8, 2007: Georgia, Russians nervous neighbor to the south, is sending another 1,200 peacekeepers to Iraq, to join the 800 already there. Georgia is being really cozy with the United States and Western Europe, in an effort to join NATO. Since NATO is a mutual defense organization, joining would provide Georgia with a strong defense against Russia. Georgia, one of the few Christian regions in the otherwise Moslem Caucasus, had been a part of Russia for nearly two centuries. Russians were disappointed when Georgia chose to become independent after the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. Russia has interfered in Georgian politics ever since, and the Georgians have not been able to the Russians to back off.

March 5, 2007: A Russian air force general announced that his bombers could quickly destroy the American anti-missile systems being built in Poland and the Czech Republic. This indicates the degree of paranoia rampant in Russia. The anti-missile systems are there to protect Europe from Iranian or North Korean missiles. To many Russians, including air force generals, this is seen as a ruse, to cover the construction of anti-missile system meant to stop Russian missiles.

March 3, 2007: Several thousand Russians protested against the government in St Petersburg. While most Russians support their government, a large minority wants more freedom, and better relations with the rest of Europe.

March 2, 2007: The Chechen provincial legislature approved a new head (president) of Chechnya. Russia, as it has done many times in the past two centuries, found a group of Chechens who will be allowed to run the province, as long as they keep Chechnya reasonably (by Caucasus standards) quiet, and keep Chechen criminals from creating another crime wave in southern Russia. Russia doesn't care how brutal the Chechen government is, as long as the violence stays in Chechnya.

March 1, 2007: Western European groups are condemning Russia for its brutal treatment of the Chechens. Russia accuses Europeans of ignoring the lawless and brutal behavior of the Chechens over the centuries, and demand to know what better way to deal with the problem. The Europeans cannot comprehend what the Russians are talking about, and vice versa.

February 28, 2007: Russia has told the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas, that it will help try and persuade European nations to resume economic aid to the Palestinians. That aid ended last year, when Hamas won elections and took control of the Palestinian government. Hamas refused to change its long held goal of destroying Israel. So over a billion dollars a year in aid that went to the Palestinian government, stopped.

February 27, 2007: Construction has begun on a Russian satellite launch facility in French Guinea. Being so near the equator, you can put more weight into orbit, than you can launching farther north. European nations already have a launch center in there, and the Russian facility will conduct its first launch next year.

Next Article → MORALE: No Good Deed Goes Unexploited
  
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