Monday, December 17, 2007

Soviets In Sheep's Clothing

It hasn't been long since a truly autocratic Soviet Union controlled a sizable chunk of Eastern Europe and Northwest Asia. Less than two decades after the crumble of the Evil Empire, all signs point to a legitimated revitalization of Soviet practices under the guise of democracy.
  1. Vladimir Putin isn't going anywhere. At the least he will leave the post of President and assume the role of Prime Minister. Under a worst case scenario he'll become the puppet master in control of the new Soviet Russia. (source)
  2. Russia is getting rich off the "privatization" of its resources industries. A quick look at the list of Forbes rich list shows nearly all Russian billionaires in their 40s (the oldest being 61). (source) This could be a coincidence or a cleverly perpetrated hand-off of the state-owned companies to tycoons friendly to Putin. One who didn't fit this mold was Mikhail Khodorkovsky, jailed former CEO of Yukos and at one time th 16th richest man in the world. Mr. Khodorkovsky supported closer ties with the United States and was said to be financing Putin's opponents. (source)
  3. Russia is supporting the Iranian nuclear program and has become friendly with the voraciously anti-US leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. (source & source)

Who can say for sure whether these points are intertwined or just part of Russia's natural angst for America and the West in general. Whatever the case may be, the evidence points to a resurgence in anti-capitalist, anti-freedom rhetoric and policy in Russia. Its support for authoritarians around the world and animosity towards the West are at the least signs of its foreign policy intentions for years to come.

1 comment:

James said...

I believe that it is fair to assume that all those points are most certainly intertwined. Russia is in a delicate transition period right now, with many powerful factions fighting inside the Kremlin.

Putin is probably not as powerful nor stable as he may seem, but in order to hang on to what has been created, he may have to follow the path of least resistance and make a show of force. Same goes for the new guy, who some of the hawks will probably goad into proving his mettle.

Stop by Robert Amsterdam's blog for more information and opinion about these issues.