Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

16 September 2014. As Seen by Vitaly Podvitsky. They’re My New TARGETS! 2014

00 Vitaly Podvitsky. Nope, New targets! 2014

They’re My New TARGETS!

Vitaly Podvitsky



The USA boasts of its “overwhelming conventional superiority”… that isn’t so… it’s never been so… it won’t be so in future, either. Note how unwelcoming the Eastern Europeans became to American plans for ABM bases after Russia said, “Fine… if you allow such bases, we’ll install Iskander SRBMs in Kaliningrad Oblast”. You see, the Iskanders would hit their targets before any ABM system would lock onto them. Czechia and Poland suddenly lost interest in such bases, reasoning that they didn’t want to become Priority One targets for Russian strategic assets. Fancy that…

“Overwhelming superiority”, indeed…



Friday, 11 January 2013

USA Riled by Russian Strategies

00 USA Russia Collage. 11.01.13



Nowadays, political strategies and show biz have become so intertwined that it’s hard to tell the former from the latter, and vice versa. For Washington and Moscow… two old-time friends and rivals… the year 2012 ended with the announcement of the arrival of a new period of confrontation, which one observes at the parliamentary level now, but it could grow into something much more serious. Having shaken off the “archival dust” of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, the USA quickly replaced that obsolete document with the Magnitsky Act. Russia responded with a blacklist of Americans that it’ll deny Russian visas to and imposed a ban on the adoption of Russian children by US citizens. Like in chess, the game between Moscow and Washington is developing on the basis of a logical scenario.

International Grandmaster Aleksei Kuzmin thought, “The methods the two countries resort to aren’t important, after all, as the relations between the two countries were destined to deteriorate anyway. The political duel between the USA and Russia will assume yet more threatening proportions in 2013. Given that the two sides exhausted all their arguments concerning a European missile defence system, Iran, Syria and the evergreen issue of a Middle East settlement, there are practically no chances for striking an easy deal. In chess, a player often confronts difficult choices, where he has to decide whether the oncoming worsening of his position is beneficial. Every grandmaster knows how to provoke their opponent into making a move that could seem dangerous, but yields good fruit in the long run. A provocation that fails to hit its target makes your position weaker”.

International Grandmaster Vladislav Tkachiev noted, “Whatever moves Russia and the USA choose to make, they’re unlikely to grow into a full-fledged conflict. No high-profile moves, like the Magnitsky and Dima Yakovlev Lists, the creation of new missile defence systems, or support of one of the parties to the Syrian conflict, can spoil relations between Russia and the USA. As always, the USA is feigning interest in what Russia has to say, but it does as it pleases. It reserves the right to set its own rules of conduct. Like in a game of chess, Washington controls the key fields of the chessboard while feeling free to decide whether to exchange pieces or launch a direct attack against the king”.

According to Aleksei Kuzmin, “The recently signed Dima Yakovlev Bill and the law that bans corrupt American officials from opening accounts in Russian banks or entering Russia are strategic moves designed to provoke the opponent into taking symmetrical measures, which in turn could strengthen President Putin’s positions on the ‘domestic policy section’ of the chessboard”. On the other hand, Vladislav Tkachiev observed, “All these moves are but red herrings, whilst Moscow consistently pursues its agenda, moving slowly, but surely, towards the ‘main target’. This is what’s bothering Washington”. In general, Russia is against “blacklist wars” or games for raising stakes. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said a few days ago that the only reasonable way of handling international relations is a dialogue. However, a dialogue presupposes two parties.

29 December 2012

Igor Siletsky

Voice of Russia World Service


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Putin Sez US Military Won’t Let Obama Get Flexible on Missile Shield


President Vladimir Putin said US President Barack Obama is willing to revive deadlocked talks on a planned American missile shield in Europe, but that the military lobby in Congress and a “conservative” State Department are holding him back. Putin told the RT international news channel in an interview, “Is it possible to find a solution to the problem, if President Obama’s re-elected for a second term? In principle, yes, it is. Nevertheless, this isn’t just about President Obama. My feeling is that he’s a sincere man and that he sincerely wants to implement positive change. However, can he do it; will they let him do it? There’s the military lobby, and the Department of State, which is quite conservative”. Putin also emphasised the need for dialogue on the controversial shield, but said he was “not sure” that Washington was “ready for this kind of cooperation”.

Negotiations between Russia and the USA on the missile defence project stalled over Washington’s reluctance to give Moscow legally-binding guarantees that it won’t use the shield against Russia. Washington and NATO say they need the shield to defend Europe against a possible missile attack from Iran. Russia says the project could pose a threat to its national security and threatened a host of countermeasures. In May, the Russian General Staff said it didn’t rule out a pre-emptive strike against the American shield in the event of an “aggravation of the situation”.

Earlier this week, the US Democratic Party said in its 2012 national platform that if re-elected, President Obama would “move forward” with the missile shield programme, regardless of Moscow’s stance. However, Putin told RT that a unilateral move would “not enhance global stability”. He added that Russia would “have to think of how we can defend ourselves” if the United States proceeded with the shield, saying, “You also have to think about its strategic character, even if it’s built not for a year or even a decade”. He also said chances that a figure like Obama’s Republican challenger Mitt Romneywho famously described Russia as the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe”… could come to power in the USA were “quite high”, asking, “So, what are we supposed to do to ensure our security?”

In 2010, Obama scrapped the previous Bush administration‘s plans to deploy an anti-ballistic missile defence system in Czechia and Poland, in a move welcomed by Moscow. However, later, Washington announced it’d replace it with a reconfigured system that they’d eventually deploy in the Mediterranean, Poland, Romania, and Turkey.

6 September 2012



Editor’s Note:

There are no planned ABM sites in CONUS. NONE. That means that the rhetoric that ABM forces are “defensive” is lies. Iran is no threat to Europe or the USA in the near or middle future. Indeed, it’s hard to see it being a threat in the far future (a generation from now). In short, it’s all a gigantic lie… it’s actually an attempt to try to decapitate the Russian strategic offensive forces.

The USA, unfortunately for it, believes its own propaganda. No ABM system can destroy all outgoing missiles. Under current plans, there are no ABM sites in CONUS to protect American cities from re-entry vehicles of ICBMs that evade the (rather leaky) ABM net. In short, it’s a massive boondoggle… a cornucopia of corruption and boodle for defence contractors and their One Percent investors. You see, the Eurasian ABM deployments would be reachable by Russian SRBMs… and their flight-time is so short that the ABM interceptors would be useless against them.

That is, the USA is playing with hand grenades with the pins pulled out. If the last twenty years have taught us anything, it’s that the USA is a reckless rouge state, especially under Republican rule. The USA didn’t learn a lesson when the Russians handily defeated their Georgian clients in ’08… they remain juvenile bullies. The only good thing is that so-called ABM defence is unfeasible technically and unaffordable financially (the Bush wars and tax cuts saw to that).

God save the world from the USA.


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Russia and the USA: A Precarious Balance


The joint statement released by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama after their meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, is a masterpiece of diplomatic correctness. Perfectly neutral and entirely constructive in tone, it sounds as if leaders trying not to say nor do anything that could set off an avalanche made it. In short, they followed the first rule of medicine, “Do no harm”. Putin hasn’t met with a US president for nearly three years, since early 2009, when Obama first came to Moscow and Putin was prime minister. It was a remarkable meeting. In response to Obama’s polite greeting, Putin delivered a very emotional speech lasting 45 minutes, addressing the Kremlin’s complaints against Washington. Putin last spoke with Obama’s predecessor, George W Bush, during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, although not about sports. He demanded that Bush stop Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, who had launched a war against South Ossetia that day. Bush didn’t cooperate on this.

The last time Putin as president held full-scale talks with his American counterpart was in Sochi in April 2008, when Putin and Bush adopted a framework declaration on USRussian relations. It was a balanced and positive document, which included the agenda for the future reset policy. The collapse of bilateral relations later that summer was largely due to the fact that practical policy, in particular US policy, veered dramatically away from the partners’ constructive plans. In other words, Moscow decided that Washington had deceived it. Unfortunately, for bilateral relations, two of the strategic priorities that the Bush Administration saw as part of its foreign policy legacy had a direct bearing on Russian interests… drawing Georgia and the Ukraine into the NATO orbit and deploying missile defence systems in Eastern Europe. The August 2008 war in South Ossetia was a logical consequence of the attempts to translate these priorities to reality. Russian-US relations under Putin and Bush culminated in a fatal loss of Russian trust in the USA, which has continued to affect bilateral relations to this day. Putin’s convinced that no gentlemanly agreements or heart-to-heart talks are possible with Americans, only tough and lengthy bargaining for legally-binding agreements.

On the other hand, the reset policy launched in 2009 became possible only when Moscow decided that Obama, unlike his predecessor, would keep his word. Obama promised to review Bush’s missile defence plans for Poland and Czechia, and he has done so. Moscow’s shown that it’s always willing to reciprocate. Then-President Dmitri Medvedev stated that Russia would look into approving sanctions against Iran the very next day after Obama buried Bush’s missile defence initiative in Eastern Europe. However, the US-Russian relationship is now strained and the fruits of the reset policy have spoilt. Putin refused to attend the G8 summit at Camp David after Obama said he would not attend APEC Leaders’ Week in Vladivostok. Hillary Clinton and Sergei Lavrov never tire of exchanging words over Syria. US senators accused Rosoboronexport of aiding the Iranian missile programme.

The US Congress will likely approve legislation to normalise trade relations with Russia by repealing the obsolete Jackson-Vanik Amendment. However, the new legislation is to be accompanied by the passage of the Magnitsky Act allowing sanctions against individuals who were allegedly involved in the death of a lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, in 2009 and similar crimes. Given the US criticism of Russia over the new Assembly Law and the police searches of the homes of several opposition leaders, the missile defence dead-end and the now customary diplomatic scandals involving Ambassador Michael McFaul, the general picture of US-Russian relations looks gloomy. However, in fact, it’s better than it seems, as the meeting in Mexico has shown. Tough bargaining with elements of propaganda warfare aimed at forcing the opponent to compromise is normal practice in relations between great powers. As they say, “Nothing personal”. Nevertheless, differences over Syria and Iran are important, as the situation in these countries is approaching a showdown. Although US-Russian relations are far from friendly, they aren’t unusually hostile either.

The important thing is what the US administration does to minimise damage from its political sorties. The State Department and the White House have publicly supported the Republican advocates of the Magnitsky Act, whilst at the same time trying to limit its negative effect. The State Department adopted its own, reportedly short, Magnitsky list last year to prevent Congress from denying entry visas to Russians indiscriminately. The Pentagon, where Russian complaints over Syria and Iran are directed, hasn’t rushed to punish Russia and has officially dissociated itself from Clinton’s accusations. It hasn’t the time for political games because it needs Russia’s sustained cooperation in Afghanistan (equipment, cargo, transit, routes, and other technical matters).

When you consider the complex multilayered relations between these two countries that were just recently mortal enemies, you should expect to see some clouds. What matters is whether they are set for conflict, or whether tensions are the result of objective structural factors. The USA and Russia are currently not set for confrontation, at least not at the highest level. There’s no friendship or sympathy between Putin and Obama, and there’s unlikely to be any in the future. However, it’s more important that they see each other as trustworthy partners. Their latest joint statement indicates that this is possible.

21 June 2012

Fyodor Lukianov



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