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Russia: Back To The Future
   Next Article → AIR DEFENSE: Estonia Fights In The French Style

September 10, 2008: The new, aggressive, Russia has generated some interesting reactions. Initially, most of Russia's neighbors were reluctant to criticize, or sanction, Russia for invading and dismembering Georgia. But within a few weeks, new reactions emerged. The Russian invasion has triggered an arms race among Russian neighbors. Sweden, for example, despite its decades of neutrality, and recent aggressive defense budget cuts, is planning to build up its military capabilities. The Baltic States want more NATO (and especially American) troops stationed on their territory (to further ensure reinforcements if the Russians invade.) Ukraine is openly planning to revamp its military defenses.

If Russia believed its Georgian operation would discourage its neighbors from joining NATO (to gain protection from Russian aggression), it didn't work. But Russia is not discouraged, especially since the Georgian operation is enormously popular inside Russia. The events in Georgia are interpreted quite differently inside Russia, where some politicians see this as an opportunity for the rest of Europe to join with Russia in an anti-U.S. coalition. Russians really believe this stuff, partly because the government has, in the last few years, taken control of most mass media in the country. Russia also has a new set of "satellite states" (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) who all expressed approval of the "peacekeeping operation in Georgia." These Russian allies are all nations that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, and are still dependent on Russia for economic or political aid.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has provided Georgia with a billion dollars of economic and military aid. This includes NATO sending technicians and equipment to link Georgia's air defense radars with the NATO system. That means anything the Russian Air Force does over Georgia, will immediately show up in NATO air defense command centers. The U.S. is also believed sending new anti-aircraft weapons (most likely Stingers.) This aggressiveness is partly in response to Russian sales of air defense systems to Syria and Iran. The new Cold War is heating up.

The pressure from Western Europe, UN and the U.S. has resulted in Russia saying it will pull all of its troops out of Georgia before the end of the month, and never turn off the natural gas supplies for Western Europe. These troops are mainly manning roadblocks (where even UN aid trucks are being halted) and teams of troops who go around destroying Georgian military equipment. Russia also announced that it would station permanent garrisons (of nearly 8,000 troops) in Abkhazia and South Ossetia (which Russia now recognizes as independent of Georgia, and sort-of part of Russia). Russia is also looking to build more natural gas pipelines, so that it has other customers for all that gas (all of it goes to Western Europe now, which is why Russia can promise to not cut off the supply to the only customer for the stuff.)

September 9, 2008: Although Russia deported 150,000 illegal migrants last year, it's estimated that there are at least ten million people living illegally in Russia. Most of these people have come from less prosperous neighbors, looking for employment in Russia's booming economy. These migrants will often find help from legal Russian residents belonging to the same ethnic group, as during 70 years of Soviet rule, there was a lot of population movement between the Slavic Russian heartland, and the non-Slav borderlands (which became 14 new nations when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991).

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trenchsol       9/10/2008 10:29:05 AM
I don't agree to the remark about "satellite states" entirely. None of those countries recognized breakaway regions as sovereign states.  I think that some of them are afraid of Orange and Rose revolutions in their countries. Threat of Russian intervention is supporting the regimes in those countries. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Belarus have all the political power centralized in the person of the president. Tajikistan is still recovering from civil war, with tensions still unresolved, and Russia played part in ending the open conflict. Armenia is partly inclined towards Russia probably because Azerbaijan has close ties to US.
 
There is an open threat from Islamic radicals for Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and, to a lesser extent, for Kazakhstan. They probably expect Russia to send troops immediately in the case of emergency, without much diplomatic overture and discussion. Let's face it, an important part of the opposing force in Tajikistan were islamists. If they managed to overtake the country, West was probably not going to do anything about it. If any new threat emerges to those countries Russia would send troops within days if not hours.  
 
I doubt that those countries, with exception of Belarus, are willing to follow Russia in all future international "adventures", in a manner the countries of former Soviet bloc did.
 
Interesting country is Turkmenistan. They had some conflicts with Russia over natural gas export in the past. After the death of Turkmenbashi, they sent some cautious signals that they are willing to improve relations with the West. They have Russian minority, within borders, too.
 
 DG
 
 
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newjarheadean    Global Balkans!   9/10/2008 9:25:43 PM
AHOY
Trenchsol, sounds like the political history of the CARs has been on your radar. Thanks for the insights and from what I have read from time to time your information is correct. However IMO the CARs have been setting in the parking lots for the last 18 years. What saves the governments from the Islamist is the COLD winters. Location is everything. Russian or any body elses troops well never defeat any guerilla forces, only the locals can do that and what is going on in their minds is what we here little of.
Are the Russians still on board the ISS? Or are they standing in the corner?

 
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Jeff_F_F    Or maybe it worked perfectly   9/11/2008 10:00:29 AM
Thinking of the old hippie line, what if they threw a war and nobody came?... Maybe it is hard to throw a cold war if no one else wants to play along? Now they can say to their people, look--those scary Swedes are bulding up their military, better follow us or they'll take over! Not that building our defenses is the wrong thing to do, it is absolutely the right thing, but that doesn't mean it isn't to Putin's benefit.
 
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trenchsol       9/11/2008 8:00:26 PM

AHOY

Trenchsol, sounds like the political history of the CARs has been on your radar. Thanks for the insights and from what I have read from time to time your information is correct. However IMO the CARs have been setting in the parking lots for the last 18 years. What saves the governments from the Islamist is the COLD winters. Location is everything. Russian or any body elses troops well never defeat any guerilla forces, only the locals can do that and what is going on in their minds is what we here little of.


Are the Russians still on board the ISS? Or are they standing in the corner?

I have found some news claiming that there are 3 Russians aboard ISS.
 
CARs are, I assume, Central Asian Republics ? Do you think they could resist the insurgency as intensive as one going on in Afghanistan alone ? Except Kyrgyzstan, they are police states, that is working to their advantage.
 
Anyway, my point was that CARs have interests in close relationship with Moscow, and they do recognize those interests. But the nature of relationship is not the one to be called "satellite states". Maybe "mutual interests" is a better word. There seems to be no end to Russian suprise over fact that the same relationship does not work with European countries like Ukraine, Georgia and even Azerbaijan. And it might not work with Turkmenistan.
 
 
DG

 
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trenchsol       9/11/2008 8:13:16 PM

Thinking of the old hippie line, what if they threw a war and nobody came?... Maybe it is hard to throw a cold war if no one else wants to play along? Now they can say to their people, look--those scary Swedes are bulding up their military, better follow us or they'll take over! Not that building our defenses is the wrong thing to do, it is absolutely the right thing, but that doesn't mean it isn't to Putin's benefit.
Don't be mistaken to think that anything has been solved. Situation calmed last two days, but gas and oil in Central Asia is still possible competition to a one from Russia. Russians are still trying to gain better foothold in Middle East and South America. Many old hippies didn't have real estate, so no one could come and claim it.
 
DG


 
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newjarheadean    Trenchsol   9/16/2008 7:02:26 PM
AHOY
 
Central Asian Republics yes, I just think the term CARs was put in US print to encourage them and now that it has not worked out its been place back on the shelf. And how interesting that everyone printing fallows suit. Its like the many different pronunciations of various names of people and nations. IMO it has something to do with weather to take what your hearing as true or propaganda etc. and one might alternate meanings of various pronunciations with odd or even dates on the calendar. All this so CIA agents could utilize mainstream media openly. And I still say the cold and snow has a lot to do with keeping momentum of any kind from gaining any strength.
G-day!
 

 
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newjarheadean    Trenchsol   9/19/2008 8:09:42 PM
AHOY,
On the info about ISS that most be a scene right out of space odyssey however the CIS crew most likely dose not look as good as that Siberian girl. I've been watching a little NASA TV it's a shame they don't give reason a chance to counter all the hoop and hype on earth. Maybe if they moved the security council to ISS for 6 mouth (get something done sessions) we the people would stand a chance. LOL  G-day 

 
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