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Vladimir Putin “I slept with a SHOTGUN beside my bed”

Even Putin didn’t feel safe during the 1990s

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Vladimir Putin is the LAST person I would imagine could be intimidated, and even if he wasn’t afraid, he was concerned enough for the safety of his loved ones, to sleep with a pump-action shotgun beside his bed during those dark times of the 1990s. He explained he had two young daughters when he even considered a job as a taxi driver, so as a result, his concern was not only for himself, as he explained:

In my country home, I had to put a pump-action shotgun near my bed, this is true. But these were the times back then – better to be safe than sorry,”

I thought about what to do, thought about maybe seeking work as a taxi driver. I am not joking, I had to do something, I had two small kids. So, when they offered me legal work in Moscow on the presidential staff, I agreed and moved.

The 1990’s were among the four worst periods in Russian history, which collectively were

  1. The Mongol Invasion of 1240
    1. Including all the events that went with it, the fall of Kiev, the sundering of Ukraine and Belarus from the territory of modern Russia, their partition into Lithuanian Rus’, and later Rzeczpospolita (Poland-Lithuania).
  2. The Time of Troubles 1598-1613
  3. The Bolshevik Revolution (1917) and events that followed
  4. the 1990s (which happened in the 1990’s believe it or not)

There have certainly been other periods of suffering, but those where the ones which left the most lasting effect on the Russian conciseness, particularly the Mongol Invasion, the Bolshevik Revolution, and the 90’s.

During the 1990’s, Russian people almost lost Russia, she was almost sold off and out to the highest bidder, by unscrupulous capitalists and westerizers. This period is perfectly depicted in Glazunov’s monumental work “The Marketplace of Our Democracy” or Rinkok Nashei Demokratii in Russian.

The 1990’s were particularly terrible, because they were actually the first time when Russians felt collectively they couldn’t trust their own government. That is a highly subjective statement, as opinions differed from person to person, but in broad strokes, Russians have always had a close trust for the leadership of Russia (collectively) throughout history.

That doesn’t mean they always thought it was perfect, or they didn’t even fight, but in general, in most periods, they believed the state as a whole was working in the interest of Russia collectively, even if that didn’t mean that of every last Russians. Russians are after all, a collective, communal minded people, not prone to individualism which exalts the individual over Russia itself.

But the 90’s brought a time when even those in power were against Russia, selling her out to the west. Some government figures were more loyal to the Clintons and western businesses than to Russia.

Even Monarchists who despise communism could see that the western capitalists and their allies were not restoring the glory of Imperial Russia, they were trying to dismantle and prostitute her, as they still do in Ukraine. Of course, in Stalin’s days, individuals had the purges to fear, and Holy Mother Church (The Orthodox Church) suffered tremendously under Lenin, but from a broader political view, during the Soviet years, there was no doubt the government was acting in favor of the Soviet state – even if not all Russians agreed it represented Russia. They weren’t acting intentionally for a foreign state.

In the 1990’s, may believe factions within the government were openly betraying Russia in ways which never happened before. Russians never felt this uncertain, as before, there had always been a guiding, infallible ideology: Orthodoxy, The Czar, Communism, etc. but in the 90’s it was like all those giants faded into history, and only ashes and embers remained of a once great flame.

Eternal Russia

The 90’s may have been the greatest period of Ruin ever, even Putin was worried in those days, but this is exactly why he is so respected, why he has become a living legend. Putin has revived Russia from the ashes of those dark days, earning him his legendary status, which Russians will never forget among the leaders from Saint Vladimir Svyatoslavich to Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin].

While he is now a colossus, and its impossible to imagine him in danger, it is amazing to hear his account of the days before, when even Vladimir Putin slept with a gun beside his bed. RT reports:
Vladimir Putin had to protect himself with firearms due to criminality in Russia during the pro-market reforms of the 1990s, and even considered taking a side-job as a taxi driver, the president revealed in an interview.

The revelations emerged in a documentary about Putin, made by Russian journalist Andrey Kondrashov. In the film, one of the president’s friends, famous cello player Sergey Roldugin, said Putin used to keep a firearm near his bed during the 1990s.

In an interview for the documentary, the Russian leader said modern crime drama tended to exaggerate the level of lawlessness in the country at that time, but said “in general, the situation was quite militant.”

In my country home, I had to put a pump-action shotgun near my bed, this is true. But these were the times back then – better to be safe than sorry,” he said.

The president also revealed that he thought about taking a side-job as a taxi driver after his friend and mentor Anatoly Sobchak lost the 1996 governor elections in St. Petersburg. “I thought about what to do, thought about maybe seeking work as a taxi driver. I am not joking, I had to do something, I had two small kids. So, when they offered me legal work in Moscow on the presidential staff, I agreed and moved.”

Putin has repeatedly described the “shock-therapy” reforms of the 1990s as a mistake that led to poverty for the majority of Russians, while few chosen ‘oligarchs’ gained tremendous riches. Last year, Putin reiterated this position when speaking to an international economic forum, blaming the gap between the richest and poorest Russian citizens on a “nasty tendencies” rooted in 1990s.

Those were truly dark days – it can be hard even to speak of, but with the work of Putin in restoring Russia, God forbid that any Russian should ever feel like that.

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US continues to try to corner Russia with silence on Nukes

Moscow continues to be patient in what appears to be an ever more lopsided, intentional stonewalling situation provoked by the Americans.

Seraphim Hanisch

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TASS reported on March 17th that despite Russian readiness to discuss the present problem of strategic weapons deployments and disarmament with its counterparts in the United States, the Americans have not offered Russia any proposals to conduct such talks.

The Kremlin has not yet received any particular proposals on the talks over issues of strategic stability and disarmament from Washington, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS on Sunday when commenting on the statement made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton who did not rule out that such talks could be held with Russia and China.

“No intelligible proposals has been received [from the US] so far,” Peskov said.

Earlier Bolton said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis aired on Sunday that he considers it reasonable to include China in the negotiation on those issues with Russia as well.

“China is building up its nuclear capacity now. It’s one of the reasons why we’re looking at strengthening our national missile defense system here in the United States. And it’s one reason why, if we’re going to have another arms control negotiation, for example, with the Russians, it may make sense to include China in that discussion as well,” he said.

Mr. Bolton’s sense about this particular aspect of any arms discussions is correct, as China was not formerly a player in geopolitical affairs the way it is now. The now all-but-scrapped Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, was a treaty concluded by the US and the USSR leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, back in 1987. However, for in succeeding decades, most notably since the fall of the Soviet Union, the US has been gradually building up weaponry in what appears to be an attempt to create a ring around the Russian Federation, a situation which is understandably increasingly untenable to the Russian government.

Both sides have accused one another of violating this treaty, and the mutual violations and recriminations on top of a host of other (largely fabricated) allegations against the Russian government’s activities led US President Donald Trump to announce his nation’s withdrawal from the treaty, formally suspending it on 1 February. Russian President Vladimir Putin followed suit by suspending it the very next day.

The INF eliminated all of both nations’ land based ballistic and cruise missiles that had a range between 500 and 1000 kilometers (310-620 miles) and also those that had ranges between 1000 and 5500 km (620-3420 miles) and their launchers.

This meant that basically all the missiles on both sides were withdrawn from Europe’s eastern regions – in fact, much, if not most, of Europe was missile-free as the result of this treaty. That is no longer the case today, and both nations’ accusations have provoked re-development of much more advanced systems than ever before, especially true considering the Russian progress into hypersonic and nuclear powered weapons that offer unlimited range.

This situation generates great concern in Europe, such that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on both Moscow and Washington to salvage the INF and extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, or the New START as it is known.

“I call on the parties to the INF Treaty to use the time remaining to engage in sincere dialogue on the various issues that have been raised. It is very important that this treaty is preserved,” Guterres said at a session of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Monday.

He stressed that the demise of that accord would make the world more insecure and unstable, which “will be keenly felt in Europe.” “We simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War,” he said.

Guterres also urged the US and Russia to extend the START Treaty, which expires in 2021, and explore the possibility of further reducing their nuclear arsenals. “I also call on the United States and the Russian Federation to extend the so-called New START Treaty before it expires in 2021,” he said.

The UN chief recalled that the treaty “is the only international legal instrument limiting the size of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals” and that its inspection provisions “represent important confidence-building measures that benefit the entire world.”

Guterres recalled that the bilateral arms control process between Russia and the US “has been one of the hallmarks of international security for fifty years.”

“Thanks to their efforts, global stockpiles of nuclear weapons are now less than one-sixth of what they were in 1985,” the UN secretary-general pointed out.

The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) entered into force on February 5, 2011. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers. The new START Treaty obliges the parties to exchange information on the number of warheads and carriers twice a year.

The new START Treaty will remain in force during 10 years until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement. It may be extended for a period of no more than five years (that is, until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent. Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay the issue of extending the Treaty.

 

 

 

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Ariel Cohen exposes Washington’s latest twist in anti-Russia strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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Even a Vacuous Mueller Report Won’t End ‘Russiagate’

Too many reputations and other interests are vested in the legend for it to vanish from American politics anytime soon.

Stephen Cohen

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Authored by Stephen Cohen via The Nation:


Russiagate allegations that the Kremlin has a subversive hold over President Trump, and even put him in the White House, have poisoned American political life for almost three years. Among other afflictions, it has inspired an array of media malpractices, virtually criminalized anti–Cold War thinking about Russia, and distorted the priorities of the Democratic Party. And this leaves aside the woeful impact Russiagate has had in Moscow—on its policymakers’ perception of the US as a reliable partner on mutually vital strategic issues and on Russian democrats who once looked to the American political system as one to be emulated, a loss of “illusions” I previously reported.

Contrary to many expectations, even if the Mueller report, said to be impending, finds, as did a Senate committee recently, “no direct evidence of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia,” Russiagate allegations are unlikely to dissipate in the near future and certainly not before the 2020 presidential election.

There are several reasons this is so, foremost among them the following:

  1. The story of a “Kremlin puppet” in the White House is so fabulous and unprecedented it is certain to become a tenacious political legend, as have others in American history despite the absence of any supporting evidence.
  2. The careers of many previously semi-obscure Democratic members of Congress have been greatly enhanced—if that is the right word—by their aggressive promotion of Russiagate. (Think, for example, of the ubiquitous media coverage and cable-television appearances awarded to Representatives Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, and Maxine Walters, and to Senators Mark Warner and Richard Blumenthal.) If Mueller fails to report “collusion” of real political substance, these and other Russiagate zealots, as well as their supporters in the media, will need to reinterpret run-of-the-mill (and bipartisan) financial corruption and mundane “contacts with Russia” as somehow treasonous. (The financial-corruption convictions of Paul Manafort, Mueller’s single “big win” to date, did not charge “collusion” and had to do mainly with Ukraine, not Russia.) Having done so already, there is every reason to think Democrats will politicize these charges again, if only for the sake of their own careers. Witness, for example, the scores of summonses promised by Jerrold Nadler, the new Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
  3. Still worse, the top Democratic congressional leadership evidently has concluded that promoting the new Cold War, of which Russiagate has become an integral part, is a winning issue in 2020. How else to explain Nancy Pelosi’s proposal—subsequently endorsed by the equally unstatesmanlike Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, and adopted—to invite the secretary general of NATO, a not-very-distinguished Norwegian politician named Jens Stoltenberg, to address a joint session of Congress? The honor was once bestowed on figures such as Winston Churchill and at the very least leaders of actual countries. Trump has reasonably questioned NATO’s mission and costs nearly 30 years after the Soviet Union disappeared, as did many Washington think tanks and pundits back in the 1990s. But for Pelosi and other Democratic leaders, there can be no such discussion, only valorization of NATO, even though the military alliance’s eastward expansion has brought the West to the brink of war with nuclear Russia. Anything Trump suggests must be opposed, regardless of the cost to US national security. Will the Democrats go to the country in 2020 as the party of investigations, subpoenas, Russophobia, and escalating cold war—and win?

Readers of my new book War With Russia?, which argues that there are no facts to support the foundational political allegations of Russiagate, may wonder how, then, Russiagate can continue to be such a major factor in our politics. As someone has recently pointed out, the Democrats and their media are now operating on the Liberty Valance principle: When the facts are murky or nonexistent, “print the legend.”

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