December 19, 2011: The Russian leadership (Medvedev and Putin) are openly criticizing anti-corruption demonstrators and foreign (especially American) politicians who criticize the recent Russian elections. Putin is also accusing the United States of helping organize the demonstrations in Russia. Several thousand protestors have been arrested and many (those considered leaders) are still in jail. Vladimir Putin thought he was doing what most Russians wanted, by bringing back an authoritarian state pretending to be a democracy. But most Russians don't want another czar or Stalin. They want prosperity and honest government. While Putin has done a lot for the country many Russians are unwilling to pay the price demanded. Putin wants to bring back the corrupt dictatorship which, during czarist and communist times "got things done." Putin, Medvedev, and company believe democracy is only a veneer, not a form of government. While most Russians are not democracy fanatics they are enthusiastic about the clean government and more vigorous economies the Western nations have. Russia wants that, not another dictatorship.
Opinion surveys indicate that most Russians are angry because of corruption, and the ways in which that makes it difficult to get a job or make a good living. Those who do have good jobs (and these appeared to be the majority of those out demonstrating) want rule of law. The lawlessness of politicians and big businessmen has become too obvious, and very offensive, to most Russians. While Russians believe Russia is "different" they no longer believe that Russia can only be ruled by a corrupt tyrant.
December 18, 2011: This month the Russian Air Force has received six more Su-34, two seat, fighter-bombers. These 45 ton aircraft are variants of the Su-27 and are similar to the U.S. F-15E.
December 17, 2011: There was another round of demonstrations protesting recent vote rigging. But the total turnout (from several cities) was less than 20,000 people and continued through the weekend. The government has sought to discourage protestors through public and private threats.
President Dmitri Medvedev called for reforms of the election process to prevent fraud. Medvedev called for politicians to pay attention to the will of the people. Medvedev is departing from his ally, Vladimir Putin's criticism of the demonstrators. Many believe this is a ploy by Putin and Medvedev to try two different solutions to the unrest to see which one works.
Medvedev has, however, been energetic in fighting corruption. Yet Medvedev has also been submissive to his strongman patron, Vladimir Putin.
India has bought another 42 Su-30MKI fighters, bringing the total on order or delivered to 272. Russia has been supplying these aircraft to India for nearly a decade.
December 16, 2011: In Moscow, radiation detectors went off at the main airport and a search of passenger luggage found a bag with eighteen small metal items contaminated with radioactive isotope Sodium-22. This stuff had to come from a nuclear reactor. The owner of the bag was on his way to Iran but is now being held and questioned.
A Russian Soyuz satellite launcher took off from the European Space Agency space port in French Guiana (South America), carrying six military reconnaissance satellites (for several countries). This was the second launch of a Soyuz rocket from the French Guiana facility.
In Dagestan, a journalist critical of government policy in the Caucasus was shot to death. This sort of thing happens frequently in the Caucasus, journalists continue to uncover corruption and illegal acts by the government, which creates support for local rebels and Islamic terrorists.
December 15, 2011: Prime minister Vladimir Putin publicly mocked the anti-corruption demonstrators and denied that there had been any fraud in recent elections. Putin has also accused the United States of causing all the unrest in Russia and promises to retaliate in some unspecified way. Putin is being criticized by Russians by trying to become "president for life". Despite vigorous efforts to burnish his image Putin is now being publicly mocked.
December 14, 2011: A Russian Navy squadron, on its way to Syria, took shelter from bad weather in Scotland. The Russian ships are being shadowed by British air and naval forces as they entered and left sheltered Scottish waters.
Two executives at state owned media outlets were fired for allowing positive coverage of anti-corruption demonstrations. At first it was thought that the government was allowing fair coverage of the election fraud, but it later became obvious that journalists in state owned media were risking their jobs to get the true story out.
In the Caucasus (Kabardino-Balkaria and Dagestan) four Islamic terrorists and one police commander were killed in two separate incidents.
December 10, 2011: There were demonstrations protesting recent vote rigging. The total turnout (from several cities) was over 50,000 people.
December 8, 2011: A prominent Russian space scientist made a public apology for the failure of the Mars probe mission. Launched on November 8th, flaws in the probe caused it to be stuck in earth orbit. The probe is now expected to burn up in earth orbit next month. Prime minister Putin blamed the United States for the failure.
December 6, 2011: In northern Russia, the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov left a naval base near Murmansk, escorted by a destroyer and several supply ships and heading for Syria and other stops in the Mediterranean. There the Kuznetsov squadron will be joined by other Russian warships.
In Moscow, large anti-corruption demonstrations caused the Defense Ministry to put troops in the area on alert for possible crowd control duty.
December 4, 2011: National elections for parliament resulted in several shocking developments. First, Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia Party lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament. In fact, Unite Russia only got 49.32 percent, and that was only because of massive corruption (tampering with votes). This produced a widespread outcry for an end to such corruption. United Russia still controls Parliament (and the government) with 238 of the 450 seats in Parliament.
In South Ossetia, an unofficial part of Russia in the Caucasus, the pro-Russian candidate lost the recent election for president of South Ossetia. Russia is trying to get the election results and the winning candidate (Alla Dzhioyeva) thrown out, but is not having much success. Two years ago, Russia took over border security in South Ossetia (population 50,000) and Abkhazia (population 200,000), two areas formerly part of Georgia. In 2009 these two ethnic separatist areas declared themselves independent but they have actually become part of Russia. Georgia has a population of 4.6 million and a hostile relationship (going back centuries) with Russia. Now Georgia has to live with the fact that Russia annexed six percent of its population and territory and no one can do anything about it. This annoys the UN but Russia pays no attention to any criticism of its actions down there.