Russia: The Good Old Ways


October 18, 2006: Georgians living in Russia, usually without the proper immigration permits, are still being deported. Some 700 high profile Georgians have been expelled so far, but there are over half a million Georgians in Russia. Only those living in large cities, and easily identified by the police, have been taken and expelled. Police are also investigating Georgian businesses, and finding illegal operations (like money laundering or illegal import/export activities). In normal times, the government looks the other way, as long as these operations do not bring attention to themselves, and bribes are paid to the right people. Apparently these actions against Georgians will go on until Russia is satisfied that Georgia will toe the line, in the future, when it comes to dealing with their big neighbor to the north. Russia is returning to its old ways, insisting that neighbors do what Russia wants, or else. This has, for centuries, made the Russians unpopular, but the Russians never seemed to be bothered by this, and even get indignant when the neighbors protest this rough treatment.

October 16, 2006: Police arrested three men, including two contract killers, for the September of Central Bank official Andrei A. Kozlov. No information on who ordered the hit, but the most common reason for these killings is money. Organized criminals, including large scale corruption among government officials or wealthy businessmen, often resorts to such killings to "eliminate obstacles" to their illegal dealings.

October 15, 2006: Russia and NATO are holding a third joint-missile-defense exercise later this month. Work on coordinating defenses against short-range ballistic missiles has been going on since 2003. These are planning exercises, with NATO and Russia sharing information on who could do what with what in the event of a ballistic missile fired at Europe or Russia from, say, Iran or North Korea. Russia, NATO and the United States continue to cooperate on counter-terrorism operations as well.

October 10, 2006: While Russia has brought down the crime rate in the last six years, organized crime still thrives, and nationalistic young men still menace and murder non-white foreigners. There are still high profile assassinations, the most recent ones being a senior banking official and an investigative reporter. But street crime is down, and some corrupt officials are being prosecuted. Most importantly for the majority of Russians, the economy continues to grow. There are jobs, lots of construction and Chechnya is becoming more of a Chechen, and less of a Russian, problem. Islamic terrorists are on run in Russia, and a sense of optimism is returning. Also returning is an angry nationalism, and hostility towards foreigners.


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