Russia: The Curse of the Soviet Union Lives On


December8, 2006:   Russian president Vladimir Putin considers the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 as one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century. His attitude is shared by many other Russians who came of age during the twilight of the Soviet Union. These people are running the country now, and they are not afraid to express nostalgia for the lost glories of the Soviet era. But the kids who came of age after 1991, are less impressed with the Soviet era, and not automatically ant-American. But for another generation, a Cold War mentality will live on among the Russian ruling class.

A recent survey found that 68 percent of Russians believed the breakup of the Soviet Union was a mistake, and 51 percent would vote to restore the Soviet Union. Similar surveys found that in some former parts of the Soviet Union, lots of people were in favor of re-joining the Soviet Union (45 percent in Ukraine, 36 percent in Belarus.)  

December 7, 2006: Russia has destroyed 15 percent of its Cold War era chemical weapons stockpile, and expects to destroy at least another 15 percent by next Spring. This program was long delayed because of problems in constructing the equipment needed to safely neutralize these weapons. 

December 6, 2006: British police have concluded that former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London last month of radiation poisoning, was murdered. The investigation has spread to Moscow, but the Russian government will not allow any suspects to be extradited to Britain. The Russian government is saying the killing was probably a contract murder by some gang. The British believe the Russian government was behind it. 

December 1, 2006: Venezuela received its first two Su-30 jet fighters, and Indonesia is negotiating the purchase of over a billion dollars worth of weapons. Russian arms salesmen are getting very good at picking up customers who cannot, or will not, buy from the United States. 

November 30, 2006: In Chechnya there are believed to be only about 700 rebels left, and the local Chechen earns the money it receives from Russia, by making sure these Chechen rebels do not cause much trouble outside Chechnya.