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    Saturday, July 14, 2007

    Back to the arms race?

    So Russia today officially suspended its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. It's been coming for a while now, but it's still stunning to contemplate: one of the agreements that brought an end to the Cold War has just been tossed out the window.

    Yes, the updated (1999) version of the treaty had never been ratified by NATO (Russophiles will highlight this part). Yes, Russia had never fulfilled its promises to remove its troops from breakaway regions of Georgia and Moldova (Russia-bashers will emphasize this). Yes, there's a 150-day window before the Kremlin's announcement comes into effect (cooler heads will note). But the fact that the withdrawal happened says a lot about how bad relations between Russia and the West have gotten in the past seven years, and is a stark warning about how bad they could get unless both sides find a common language to speak in.

    I for one can't wait until we get some new faces in both the Kremlin and the White House so that they can start undoing what the ex-KGB man and the son of the CIA boss have wrought. Today's announcement again makes plain how little friendly substance there was behind those phony smiles at last week's "lobster summit" at the Bush family residence in Kennebunkport.

    On another front, I don't need to repeat how dismayed I am that the effort to find a single liberal opposition candidate for the 2008 presidential elections has collapsed. But Viktor Andreyev's eyewitness report over at Robert Amsterdam's blog was particularly depressing. Someone tell Oborona that it's all for naught if Russia's dwindling number of pro-Western liberals can't even agree among themselves.

    I'll bet the revolution-makers, oops, democracy promoters over at the National Endowment for Democracy are in full panic mode just now.


    Oleg Kozlovsky said...

    In fact, it's not news that Russia will not have several "single opposition candidates" in 2008. Even if Kasparov and Kasyanov didn't split up, Yavlinsky and Zyuganov would run for the elections--and the Kremlin would surely help them. Now, we have good chances to have 5 or even more "single opposition candidates" (e.g. Geraschenko, Gulyaev, Kasyanov, Yavlinsky, and Zyuganov), each having his own "coalition" and his own "primaries".

    So the best option we now have is to make the number of opposition candidates as small as possible. There is a little chance that Kasyanov will finally come to an agreement with the Other Russia, or that Yavlinsky will change his mind after the (inevitable) defeat in Duma elections.

    Sometimes it looks like our politicians just don't take seriously everything that's going on in Russia. They still think it's a game, it's all virtual. Khodorkovsky probably thought the same until one day he found himself in prison...

    La Russophobe said...

    I don't think Oborona has anything to do with the failure of the liberal coalition, perhaps you meant to refer to Other Russia? The kids at Oborona just have their nose to the grindstone, working daily protest actions with little fanfare or recognition (this is a tragedy of the Western press that you might try to rectify).

    I also don't think it's accurate to equate George Bush Sr.'s brief administrative tenure at the CIA with Vladimir Putin's lifelong service as a chekist, nor do I think there is any evidence that Bush Sr's activities had anything to do with his son's policy towards Russia, which is an abject nightmare. In fact, had the CIA been more influential it's likely we wouldn't have nearly the same kind of problems we see today, because when Bush looked into Putin's eyes he would have seen an evil spy trying to destroy him, and proceeded accordingly.

    To be sure, though, the liberals have shown what a basket case Russia really is -- but the Russian people are ultimately to blame, since they don't protect opposition activity and don't support it. Russia begins to reveal itself as an uncivilized nation, Zaire with Permafrost, a lost cause.

    Anonymous said...

    "but the Russian people are ultimately to blame, since they don't protect opposition activity and don't support it"

    What a silly stupid conclusion.

    Russian people don't need any opposition leading the country to another type of the "color revolution". Russian people don't need any Georgian-type government paid by George Soros. Russian people don't need any artificially created "orange coalition" which will cause permanent political crisis in the country. Russian people don't need any Kyrgyz scenario performed by marauders and criminals. Russian people don't need another Serbia. You are dreaming of further disintegration of our country? Good luck, guys. We are strong enough to kick your asses. Want to live in a "free" country? There is no barrirs. Get out!