Putin, Russia and the West

#1
“ Come with us now - to those thrilling days of yesteryear ”

Relive the cut and thrust of learned opinions, forensically dissected with counter arguments. Who was closer to what did happen - Domovoy or Whitecity?

Whilst half of ARRSE, where in the attic looking for mess tins, berets, and webbing, most of the rest were on here, arguing if NATO should/should not, assist Georgia against Russia.

Would Saakashvili cause WW3?

Did Condoleezza Rice manipulate Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov?
(The answer is YES. See Episode THREE!).

BBC said:
This four-part series is made by Norma Percy and the team at Brook Lapping with a track record for getting behind closed doors with multi-award-winning series like The Death of Yugoslavia, The Second Russian Revolution, and Iran and the West. For the first time Putin's top colleagues - and the Western statesmen who eventually clashed with him - tell the inside story of one of the world's most powerful men.

Vladimir Putin, after eight years as president of Russia and four more as prime minister, is stubbornly holding on to power. He has announced his intention to return as president and declared his party the winner in parliamentary elections that are widely seen as fraudulent. In Moscow 100,000 protesters have taken to the streets in the largest demonstrations since Putin took office.

Putin began his career as a KGB spy but when he became president, he made himself a valued ally of the West. How did he do it? And what made Washington and London turn against him?
For completeness, a copy will be posted in the original forum
“Georgia guilty of starting the conflict in South Ossetia”.

BBC said:
Episode ONE

In this episode, George W Bush meets Putin in June 2001 and declares he looked him in the eye and 'got a sense of his soul'. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice recall their discomfort. But Rice, the only Bush adviser in the private talks, reveals that, three months before 9/11, Putin gave Bush a prophetic warning about Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Taliban. After 9/11, Putin describes how he convinced his shocked colleagues that Russia should align with the West. Sergei Ivanov, Russian's defence minister, tells how the Taliban secretly offered to join forces with Russia against America. (R)

Broadcast on BBC Two, 9:00PM Thu, 19 Jan 2012
Available until 9:59PM Thu, 16 Feb 2012

BBC iPlayer - Putin, Russia and the West: Taking Control
BBC said:
Episode TWO

The second episode includes an extraordinary interview with former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, who was widely thought to be responsible for murder, corruption and sanctions-busting. He tells how, in the 2004 election, he set about getting his chosen successor elected president - with the help of Putin and his Kremlin advisers. The opposition candidate, Victor Yushchenko, tells what it was like to be poisoned during the election campaign. It won him many voters and exit polls gave him a clear lead, but the Putin/Kuchma-backed candidate was still declared the winner. This result sparked the Orange Revolution.

Kremlin officials tell how they made sure that Putin would not face a similar revolution at home. It is claimed critics of Putin, including the British ambassador, were intimidated and some were even murdered. Tens of thousands of young Russians were mobilised to fight the threat of democracy.

Broadcast on BBC Two, 9:00PM Thu, 26 Jan 2012
Available until 9:59PM Thu, 16 Feb 2012

BBC iPlayer - Putin, Russia and the West: Democracy Threatens
BBC said:
Episode THREE

The third episode tells how, in August 2008, Russia went to war with America's ally, Georgia. Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev and Georgia's president Mikheil Saakashvili reveal why each decided it was necessary to make war on the other. Former American secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and former secretary of defense Robert Gates describe what happened inside the National Security Council as President Bush considered whether to send in ground troops to save Georgia's capital. They reveal just how near to war the conflict brought the two nuclear super-powers.

Broadcast on BBC Two, 9:00PM Thu, 2 Feb 2012
Available until 9:59PM Thu, 16 Feb 2012

BBC iPlayer - Putin, Russia and the West: War
Episode FOUR

YET TO BE BROADCAST - on BBC Two, 9:00PM Thu, 9 Feb 2012
 
#2
Good and interesting series. Putin's 2nd term is going to be very problematic.
 
#3
bump . . .


“ come with us now - to those thrilling days of yesteryear ”

relive the cut and thrust of learned opinions, forensically dissected with counter arguments. Who was closer to what did happen - domovoy or whitecity?

whilst half of arrse, where in the attic looking for mess tins, berets, and webbing, most of the rest were on here, arguing if nato should/should not, assist georgia against russia.

Would saakashvili cause ww3?

Did condoleezza rice manipulate russian foreign minister lavrov?
(the answer is yes. See episode three!).


for completeness, a copy will be posted in the original forum
“georgia guilty of starting the conflict in south ossetia”.


episode four

yet to be broadcast - on bbc two, 9:00pm thu, 9 feb 2012
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
Russia's foreign policy seems to grind on unchanged from the Soviet era (and indeed before that) in the sense that it sees all the 'minor' states around its periphery as duty bound to follow Russia's line, together with believing it has the right to invade and bash them up if they think or act otherwise. They are still bears in suits, and quite unable to see themselves as cooperative Europeans.
 
#5
The last thing Russia needs is to be surrounded by the EU.
This is the great fallacy at the heart of Putin's mindset. Look at Russia on a globe (rather than a map projection) and ask how it is "surrounded" or "hemmed in" by the EU/ NATO/ the US/ Democracy/ Etc.

Russia's problem is the extreme backwardness of its internal institutions and development - all due to the mediaeval power structures that still exist. There still isn't even a proper road that connects the west of the country with the east. Putin feels "hemmed in" because all of Russia's assets are in a belt of western Russia cities that have developed only because of their proximity to the West.
 
#6
This is the great fallacy at the heart of Putin's mindset. Look at Russia on a globe (rather than a map projection) and ask how it is "surrounded" or "hemmed in" by the EU/ NATO/ the US/ Democracy/ Etc.

Russia's problem is the extreme backwardness of its internal institutions and development - all due to the mediaeval power structures that still exist. There still isn't even a proper road that connects the west of the country with the east. Putin feels "hemmed in" because all of Russia's assets are in a belt of western Russia cities that have developed only because of their proximity to the West.
The Russian obsession with the "near abroad" stems from the fact that they have no defensible geographic features to hide behind. Thus defence in depth is the only viable solution. Add to this a history dominated by various showers of bastards cruising in and giving them a kicking and you start to understand their paranoia. They like strong leaders as all their history teaches them that they are the only way to live in peace.

Hence the goal of Russian foreign policy has always been to gain sufficient control over their neighbours to ensure that possible enemies are held at arms length. Today that doesn't mean ruling them as in the days of the Warsaw Pact; it does mean making sure that they conform to Moscow's wishes where it matters.

The preoccupation of the US with the Middle East post 9/11 has allowed Russia to push back hard on the loss of influence they experienced in the '90s. This has been little reported but the US has had to grin and bear quite a lot of unlubed diplomacy in eastern Europe. They use their relationship with Iran, their influence over the northern supply route to AFG and so on to exploit matters further.

Indeed, the US can do little to meaningfully affect Russia's slow, inexorable expansion of their sphere of influence until they pull out of the Middle East. Like that's ever going to happen. The real reason Bush never got involved in Georgia - well, apart from the whole don't start a war with a nuclear power that is quite happy to use nukes first to produce a tactical victory angle - was that he had nothing meaningful to send and the US would not pay for another long term commitment of blood and treasure.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
Because most Americans would assume that by 'Georgia' was meant that bit just south of S Carolina, and they think they marched through it once already.
 

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