There are Russians who would like to see their country
join NATO and the European Union. This group is a minority. Most Russians would
like to see Russian strong again, a superpower like the Soviet Union. This
makes Russians neighbors nervous, because a "mighty Russia" implies
some of Russians neighbors becoming part of Russia once more. This has caused
many of Russians western neighbors to join NATO and the European union. The
"mighty Russia" crowd sees this as preparations for an invasion of
Russia. Yeah, that sounds nuts, but that attitude resonates big time in Russia.
Seventy years of Bolshevik propaganda about the danger from the West have had a
long term effect. More sober minded Russians realize that a more realistic
danger is from the east, where China has claims on much of eastern Russia, and
is more likely to become unstable and militaristic than Western Europe. But it
was France and Germany that have most recently marched into Russia, so the
official Big Threat is to the west.
March 8, 2007: Georgia, Russians nervous neighbor to the south, is
sending another 1,200 peacekeepers to Iraq, to join the 800 already there.
Georgia is being really cozy with the United States and Western Europe, in an
effort to join NATO. Since NATO is a mutual defense organization, joining would
provide Georgia with a strong defense against Russia. Georgia, one of the few
Christian regions in the otherwise Moslem Caucasus, had been a part of Russia
for nearly two centuries. Russians were disappointed when Georgia chose to
become independent after the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. Russia has
interfered in Georgian politics ever since, and the Georgians have not been
able to the Russians to back off.
March 5, 2007: A Russian air force general announced that his bombers could
quickly destroy the American anti-missile systems being built in Poland and the
Czech Republic. This indicates the degree of paranoia rampant in Russia. The
anti-missile systems are there to protect Europe from Iranian or North Korean
missiles. To many Russians, including air force generals, this is seen as a
ruse, to cover the construction of anti-missile system meant to stop Russian
March 3, 2007: Several thousand Russians protested against the government in
St Petersburg. While most Russians support their government, a large minority
wants more freedom, and better relations with the rest of Europe.
March 2, 2007: The Chechen provincial legislature approved a new head (president)
of Chechnya. Russia, as it has done many times in the past two centuries, found
a group of Chechens who will be allowed to run the province, as long as they
keep Chechnya reasonably (by Caucasus standards) quiet, and keep Chechen
criminals from creating another crime wave in southern Russia. Russia doesn't
care how brutal the Chechen government is, as long as the violence stays in
March 1, 2007: Western European groups are condemning Russia for its
brutal treatment of the Chechens. Russia accuses Europeans of ignoring the
lawless and brutal behavior of the Chechens over the centuries, and demand to
know what better way to deal with the problem. The Europeans cannot comprehend
what the Russians are talking about, and vice versa.
February 28, 2007: Russia has told the Palestinian terrorist
organization, Hamas, that it will help try and persuade European nations to
resume economic aid to the Palestinians. That aid ended last year, when Hamas
won elections and took control of the Palestinian government. Hamas refused to
change its long held goal of destroying Israel. So over a billion dollars a
year in aid that went to the Palestinian government, stopped.
February 27, 2007: Construction has begun on a Russian satellite
launch facility in French Guinea. Being so near the equator, you can put more
weight into orbit, than you can launching farther north. European nations
already have a launch center in there, and the Russian facility will conduct
its first launch next year.