President Vladimir Putin, a former secret police (KGB) officer has given the
Russian people what they want. That is, a market economy that actually grows
and works, and enough of the old Soviet police state to keep the crime rate
down. Putin regularly scores very high in opinion polls, despite state control
of most media, and new laws that make it more difficult to oppose the party in
power. The new Russian democracy brings with it better security at nuclear
power and weapons facilities, and long over-due military reforms. Some fear it
will being back the bad-old-days of a full blown police state. But that hasn't
September 3, 2007: Russia
is threatening military action if Kosovo is given its independence from Serbia
(a largely Slavic state, and thus under the "protection" of Russia).
It was this kind of "big brother of all Slavs" attitude that
triggered World War I in 1914. That also involved Serbia. Russia is also
unhappy with U.S. efforts to set up anti-missile systems (to protect against
Iranian missiles) in Eastern Europe.
September 2, 2007: Three more road mobile Topol-M ICBMs will be
deployed before the end of the year. There are already three of them cruising
the roads of rural Russia, to avoid a first strike by an enemy missile force
(the U.S., France, Britain and China are believed to still have missiles aimed
August 31, 2007: In the Caucasus, a car bomb killed four
policemen in Ingushetia. While the violence in neighboring Chechnya is much
reduced, it is still there, and has spread to neighboring provinces. It's
mostly related to Islamic radicalism, and the banditry that has been prevalent
in the region for centuries.
August 30, 2007: A Russian general was dismissed from the
military for not carrying out orders to halt the hazing of young soldiers under
his command. This abuse of new conscripts (usually men in their first of two
years of service) has gone on, and grown worse, since the late 1940s. Several
attempts to halt it have failed. This time around, the brass are being told
their jobs are on the line if they don't get creative and stop the violence. In
this case, a young soldier was beaten to death. Each year, hundreds of young
conscripts are killed or maimed in these attacks.
August 24, 2007: For the first time, Indian troops (Special
Forces) will train in Russia. The exercises will take place in mid-September.
Russian troops participated in similar exercises in India last year. Chinese
commandoes are also coming to Russia this year for joint training exercises.