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Lunatock
19 Dec 03,, 18:02
http://www.newsmax.com/cgi-bin/printer_friendly.pl?page=www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/12/16/232628.shtml


Reprinted from NewsMax.com

Dangerous Russia
Christopher Ruddy
Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2003

The major news this month may not be that Saddam Hussein was captured, but that a silent coup has taken place in Russia all but confirming a new dictatorship there.

Since 9/11 America has been focused on international terror and the likes of Saddam, bin Laden and others.

Watching those targets should not mean we dismiss other worldwide developments that may pose an even greater danger.

While I realize it flies in the face of conventional wisdom, I believe that Russia today remains America's No. 1 danger.

Why?

For two reasons.

First, the old communist KGB elite have confirmed their ongoing coup in parliamentary elections this month.

Second, Russia remains the only country in the world that can destroy the United States in 30 minutes.

Leading Russia today is its president, Vladimir Putin. Putin is a former KGB official who makes no bones about his desire to bring Russia back to the good old Soviet days.

This month, Putin's party won control of the Duma.

Columnist William Safire detailed what happened: "By taking over the mass media and seizing the political opposition's source of funds, Vladimir Putin and KGB cohort have brought back one-party rule to Russia."

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it appeared that Russia was on the path to democracy. Old ways are hard to die, however.

Even before the Russian Duma election, Newsweek recently offered a special report on Russia, one that received little media notice but has grave implications for the West.

Newsweek revealed that Putin has systematically filled positions in the Russian government with dreaded KGB henchmen from the Soviet Union police state.

The magazine said that the Russian bureaucracy teems with members of the siloviki former officers of the Soviet secret police.

Typical of the breed is Vladimir Kulakov, identified by Newsweek as a former midlevel KGB officer who today is the elected leader of the 2.4 million residents of Russia's southern Voronezh region.

"At every level of government former secret police agents are grabbing power, digging in and recruiting old KGB friends. More and more they are stepping in to 'manage' Russia's fledgling democracy."

Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a top Russian sociologist, tracks the activities of the old KGB men.

She told Newsweek that rumors of what she called a "creeping KGB coup" are borne out by the facts.

At the top of the KGB pyramid is Putin, who has surrounded himself with former companions from the Committee for State Security (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Besopastnosti).

Kryshtanovskaya cited deputy chiefs of administration Igor Sechin and Viktor Ivanov as two top former KGB officers.

The magazine notes that half the members of what she calls Putin's de facto Politburo are siloviki or members of the military or the FSB, the new name for the KGB.

When Putin divided Russia into seven districts, each run by a bureaucracy of about 1,500 bureaucrats, he named members of the siloviki to head five of them. Said Kryshtanovskaya, the siloviki now account for fully 70 percent of all senior regional officials.

Moreover, outside the Russian government tens of thousands of ex-KGB officers now work for private security companies, which function as "sleeper cells" primed to spring to life at a critical moment.

Says Kryshtanovskaya: "In the past we had a socialist totalitarian state. Now we have a capitalist totalitarian state."

However one describes this monster that has developed in Russia, it remains a danger.

Take ex-KGB official Sergei Ivanov, who recently warned that Russia would re-examine the defensive nature of its nuclear strategy and spoke ominously about taking pre-emptive nuclear strikes against unspecified international targets.

Clearly the madmen who made up the Old Soviet Union are back in the driver's seat.

They also control the world's greatest nuclear arsenal.

Though Russia's conventional army has weakened since the collapse of the Soviet Union, its nuclear forces have remained robust and may have even grown.

During the same time, America has been dismantling its nuclear deterrent at an alarming rate. In the past 10 years alone, the U.S. scrapped nearly its entire inventory of tactical nuclear weapons.

So, yes, capturing Saddam is a major victory in the war on terror. Still, we must remain vigilant to other potential threats to our security.

Leader
20 Dec 03,, 01:49
Scary...But the article is a little dooms dayish. Russia still has elections, and well if it turns in to a dictatorship, the people voted it in to office. The US also still has plenty of nukes to deter any Russian aggression. Not to mention that Russia economy quite frankly sucks. So the Russians are in their box for now, and if they become a threat again, we'll simply kick their ass like we did in the last war.

Trooth
20 Dec 03,, 02:14
Which war was that? Did i miss one? There are a lot going on. Do you mean the Cold War?

I am not sure the Russia wants to go back to MAD, but then i am not sure that Russia is actually that interested in the US. As you point out they are in their box for now and they have enough to be doing as that is a scary box. The one thing that needs to be watched is if the "elected dictatorship" then turns to nationalism. Exactly how the Nazis did and how the none elected, but still supported by the populace, October revolution went.

At some point Russia will ascend back up the super power stakes. That is fairly inevitable. As will China and India. Time will show and sheer weight of numbers will provide the means. But i think we are decades away from it.

Leader
20 Dec 03,, 02:28
Originally posted by Trooth
Which war was that? Did i miss one? There are a lot going on. Do you mean the Cold War?

:roll


At some point Russia will ascend back up the super power stakes. That is fairly inevitable. As will China and India. Time will show and sheer weight of numbers will provide the means. But i think we are decades away from it.

For a verity of reasons none of those counties will ever be super powers. Russia because without the other countries of the Soviet Union, it just isn't enough of an economic power house, nor will it be. China because it's a dictatorship and there is going to be a revolution one way or another, and the population is so large that it will out stripe the countries recourses. India because it is not united and the same population problem as China. Not to mention the very real possibility of war with Pakistan.

Trooth
20 Dec 03,, 02:33
India and Pakistan, i can see as an arguement. The population argument itself does not take into account the scale of those countries.

Was i right about the cold war? I'd hate to think there was a shotting match between the US and Russia I had missed.

Leader
20 Dec 03,, 03:28
Originally posted by Trooth
India and Pakistan, i can see as an arguement. The population argument itself does not take into account the scale of those countries.

Those countries are no bigger then my country and my county couldn't support 4 or 5 or 10 times the population that we have. If they don't get there population under control (which is virtually in possible in a democracy) they are going nowhere in comparison to the US.


Was i right about the cold war? I'd hate to think there was a shotting match between the US and Russia I had missed.

Shooting or not they were defeated all the same.

Trooth
20 Dec 03,, 04:17
Originally posted by Leader
[B]Those countries are no bigger then my country and my county couldn't support 4 or 5 or 10 times the population that we have. If they don't get there population under control (which is virtually in possible in a democracy) they are going nowhere in comparison to the US.

I think the US can support a lot more people than it currently has. Remember my little country has about 1/36th the land mass of the US but only 1/5 the population and so on.

I don't think China and Russai are standing room only yet.

India, and China are hoovering up foreign investment. India is hoovering up lots of software positions and customer srevice positions.

Russia is indeed in a complete old mess. The oligarchs are still around. Howeve ri don't expect that to saty the same forever, and i then see Russia starting to hoover up foreign investment as well.

ZFBoxcar
20 Dec 03,, 06:22
well China will probably become a super power, but i think it will happen over the course of the next generation or 2. Due to the 1 child policy there are going to be a lot of old people to support, but once they get past that hurdle, they might very well be a super power. Their middle class is growing at a incredibly fast rate, they are the fasting growing auto-market, their east coast is practically first world (well its a stretch, but not that much of one), and their economy is growing rapidly. I dont think there will be a violent revolution, because the government, although not really liked by the people, has taken enough civil rights and economic reforms to keep the people pacified.

Russia...who knows? If their population keeps declining like it is now, no way in hell. If the trend reverses, and the country remains stable, capitalizes on its oil wealth, and maintains strong growth, then they could become a superpower...but they have a longer way to go than China.

India...I dont think so. Naval super power maybe, they do have an impressive fleet, and they seem to be making it much bigger.