Russia: Nostalgia for the Good Old Soviet Days

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September 20, 2005: Theft and embezzlement are a growing problem in the air force. Known losses, for the first half of 2005, were $21 million. This was four times what it was last year.

September 19, 2005: Chechen, and Chechen inspired rebels, are a growing problem in Ingushetia, a normally quiet province next to Chechnya. Anti-Russian attitudes are common in the Caucasus, but usually there is violence only in Chechnya (which has a long history as being the most violent part of the region.)

September 17, 2005: Russia backed off from its offer to send Palestinians fifty wheeled armored vehicles, when Israel protested. The Russians like to maintain good relations with Israel, which is the source of some of the most modern military technology.

September 16, 2005: Violence continues in Chechnya, with six police, and a rebel leader killed in several actions. The Islamic terrorists are on the run, because most Chechens have turned against them. Most of the police are now Chechen.

September 15, 2005: More violence in the Caucasus, with terrorists firing on a police post in Dagestan, killing one policeman and wounding another. 

Meanwhile, Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko openly got nostalgic for the Soviet Union days, and complained of the poor treatment given to fellow dictators in Iraq and Yugoslavia.  Lukashenko is widely considered the last dictator in Europe, presiding over a corrupt, neo-Soviet government in Belarus. Such sentiment survives throughout the former Soviet Union. In Russia, opinion surveys indicate people more concerned with "strong leadership" (Stalin is often mentioned) than democracy (which is associated with chaos and corruption.)

September 13, 2005: The government made a stink over the Czech Republic selling weapons to Georgia. Back in the Soviet days, Czechoslovakia was a "satellite" of the Soviet Union, and used its long time expertise in weapons production to supply the Soviet Union (which then included Georgia.) But today, the Czech Republic (which has since split from Slovakia) is a member of NATO, and still selling weapons. But anything that reminds Russians of the lost glories of the Soviet Union, generates a grumpy reaction.

 

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