Preparing for War – Part 2

TimeWatch Editorial
October 21, 2016

The British Broadcasting Corporation published an article on
Monday, 25 April, 2005 which quotes Russia's President Vladimir Putin describing the collapse of the Soviet Union as "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century. Mr. Putin’s biography as found in the Free Encyclopedia reveals his continued involvement in the political and military history of the Soviet Union beginning in the year 1975. Born in Leningrad on October 7, 1952, he received a law degree from Leningrad State University. He joined the KGB in 1975 and retired in the year 1991 as a lieutenant. He became an Adviser to the Saint Petersburg administration from 1991 until 1997 when he became Deputy Chief of Presidential Staff to Boris Yeltsin. He was elected Prime Minister in 1999, and when Boris Yeltsin resigned, he was made Acting President of Russia on from 1999 to 2000. Putin was first elected President of Russia in the year 2000, and served until 2008. From 2008 until 2012 he again served as Prime Minister and after constitutional changes allowed him to run again, was elected President once more in 2012. He continues to carry the office of President.

“Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, has made no secret of his ambition to restore his country to what he sees as its rightful place among the world’s leading nations. He has invested considerable money and energy into building an image of a strong and morally superior Russia, in sharp contrast with what he portrays as weak, decadent and disorderly Western democracies. Muckraking journalists, rights advocates, opposition politicians, government whistle-blowers and other Russians who threaten that image are treated harshly — imprisoned on trumped-up charges, smeared in the news media and, with increasing frequency, killed. Political murders, particularly those accomplished with poisons, are nothing new in Russia, going back five centuries. Nor are they particularly subtle. While typically not traceable to any individuals and plausibly denied by government officials, poisonings leave little doubt of the state’s involvement — which may be precisely the point.” , “More of Kremlin’s Opponents are Ending Up Dead,” The New York Times, August 20, 2016

Mr. Kramer’s article is quite extensive, revealing a long list of victims of this national method of coercion and restraint. What is perhaps quite troubling is that as sobering a revelation Vladimir’s methods might be, there is still not a great deal of awareness of the possibility that his aggressive approach to international affairs might not just be for political influence only but might genuinely reflect an extension of his tried and true coercive methods to other nations. Listen to how Mr. Kramer continues:

“Other countries, notably Israel and the United States, pursue targeted killings, but in a strict counterterrorism context. No other major power employs murder as systematically and ruthlessly as Russia does against those seen as betraying its interests abroad. Killings outside Russia were even given legal sanction by the nation’s Parliament in 2006. Applied most notoriously in the case of Alexander V. Litvinenko, a Putin opponent who died of polonium-210 poisoning in London in 2006, murders and deaths under mysterious circumstances are now seen as such a menace that Kremlin critics now often flee the country and keep their whereabouts secret.” , “More of Kremlin’s Opponents are Ending Up Dead,” The New York Times, August 20, 2016

The revelations that are available globally are presently being ignored beyond the shores of Russia, but Russian citizens know that the hand of the Kremlin can reach beyond the shores of their homeland to punish and to intimidate. What is even more troubling is the fact that there does not seem to be a statute of limitation on any offense that is considered by the Kremlin to be an act of opposition to the government. Mr. Kramer says:

“Among those fleeing Russia recently is
Grigory Rodchenkov, a whistle-blower in Russia’s sports doping scandal. This is not without reason. In the case over state-sponsored doping, two other officials with knowledge of the scheme died unexpectedly as the outlines of the scandal began to emerge. Just this month, another whistle-blower, Yulia Stepanova, a runner in hiding with her husband in the United States, was forced to move amid fears that hackers had found her location. “If something happens to us,” she said, “then you should know that it is not an accident.” Most recently, a coroner ruled that blunt-force trauma caused the death of a Kremlin insider, Mikhail Y. Lesin , 57, in a Washington hotel room last year, not the heart attack his colleagues first said. In July, the Russian Interfax news agency reported that Aleksandr Poteyev , 64, an intelligence officer accused of defecting and betraying a ring of Russian spies living undercover in American suburbs, had died in the United States.” , “More of Kremlin’s Opponents are Ending Up Dead,” The New York Times, August 20, 2016

All of this should certainly be considered as a part of the context of the recent bold actions being taken by Russia. These bold actions would include the invasion of Ukraine, the control of Crimea, the movement of weaponry to the borders of NATO, the aggressive interference in the elections in the United States and more. But perhaps the most subtle of all the actions being taken is the assault upon the Constitution of the United States.

Be warned!

Cameron A. Bowen

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