Russia: It's 1914 All Over Again


September 4, 2007: 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 happened yet.

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 at Russia.)

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.




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