Today’s Putin Quotation

I am deeply convinced that we won’t have any development and the country will have no future if we suppress civil freedoms and the media. This is my deep conviction. It is a key institution that prevents the state from slipping down into the quagmire of totalitarianism. We have already lived in a totalitarian system and no matter how hard it tried to adapt itself to the external world, it didn’t work economically. A free press is the key instrument that guarantees the health of society.

Phone-in interview, ORT, 8 Feb 2000.

Really Stupid Things Said About Russia

Moscow is being forced to play these aggressive and risky games out of desperation. The country is in bad shape and it is getting worse. [Not according to Bloomberg which says it’s out of the recession.] The once great superpower now has an economy smaller than Canada’s and it continues to shrink. [This is just stupid and a byproduct of exchange rates. Russia is one of the very few “full service” economies in the world. Canada is not one of those]. Even though they spend 5 per cent of their GDP on defence, Russia’s military forces have grown so rusted out they can barely get their last aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean and back without breaking down. [Even so, it got where it was going, did what it had to do, and got home again]. Even the ragtag Ukrainians have fought them to a standstill. [They wish – they’ve been beaten by a civilian militia]. Diplomatically, Moscow has never been so isolated and powerless. You can count its friends on one hand, and it’s not an impressive list: Syria, Iran, Belarus. [Oh, and China too.]

Russia’s coming attack on Canada by Scott Gilmore, MacLean’s, 8 March 2017.

[My comments]

Russia the Eternal Enemy Quotations

The world now faces a choice between the cooperative exploitation by the East and West of natural resources or a wasteful struggle that could cost a fortune in blood and treasure. Regional conflicts in the Caucasus and Central Asia threaten to deny Western access to the vital oil and gas reserves the world will need in the 21st century. The wars in Chechnya, between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and in Georgia were started or exacerbated by the Russian military, and the outcome of these wars may determine who controls future pipeline routes. Moscow hopes that Russia will. Powerful interests in Moscow are attempting to ensure that the only route for exporting the energy resources of Eurasia will pass through Russia.

Ariel Cohen, Senior Policy Analyst, The Heritage Foundation “The New ‘Great Game’: Oil Politics in the Caucasus and Central Asia”; 25 January 1996.

Russia the Eternal Enemy Quotations

NATO has proved itself to be peaceful and the West’s CFE commitments add to that assurance. But as Russia recovers and rearms, as history suggests it will, Moscow’s imperialist urge might well rise again. Then it will be too late and ‘provocative’ to redraw the defence line.

William Safire, “U.S. can’t let Russian paranoia determine defense of Europe“, 3 October 1995

Really Stupid Things Said About Russia

It is not prudent to deny or forget a thousand years of Russian history. It is replete with wars of imperial aggrandizement, the Russification of ethnic minorities, and absolutist, authoritarian, and totalitarian rule.

My comment: Substitute any other country here and what difference would there be? Note in the thousand years he ignores periods in which Russia was prey and not predator – the Mongols, the Time of Troubles, Teutonic Knights and so forth. A fine example of selective facts and how much easier it is to say something than it is to refute it.

Ariel Cohen (Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation) “A New Paradigm for U.S.-Russia Relations: Facing the Post-Cold War Reality.” 6 March 1997.

Russia the Eternal Enemy Quotations

the mood and the actions of the Russian generals recall those of the German Reichswehr under the Weimar Republic…In the meantime, Russian generals, with the support of Yeltsin’s government, are laying the groundwork for the restoration of the empire. The Russian ruling elite has not reconciled itself to the separation of the fifteen dependent republics… Russia has introduced thousands of its troops into all the former republics of the Soviet Union except the three Baltic ones and Azerbaijan….Georgia which had been compelled to accept a Russian peacekeeping force to maintain order along the ethnic border separating it from the Abkhaz minority whom, coincidentally, the Russians had incited to rebel has not been able to get the visitors to leave….

Richard Pipes: “Russian Generals Plan for the Future”; 3 July 1994, (referred to at http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/pub142.pdf)