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Thread: What do you think of this article about Russia?

  1. #1
    Hanna
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    What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Quote Originally Posted by esauder
    According to this analysis, it is actually Russia which has orchestrated this coup in Kyrgizistan.
    http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100412 ... bd51836d10
    The bit that I am quoting is mostly NOT about Russia orchestrating anything in Kirghiztan. It's just something else that was quite interesting, and I wonder what you think about it?

    Unlike some other people who commented, I have never heard about the "Stratfor" magazine. Who issues it; does it have an agenda or is it supposed to be objective?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratfor magazine
    Russia’s resurgence is a function of its extreme geographic vulnerability. Russia lacks definable geographic barriers between it and other regional powers. The Russian core is the swath of land from Moscow down into the breadbasket of the Volga region. In medieval days, this area was known as Muscovy. It has no rivers, oceans or mountains demarcating its borders. Its only real domestic defenses are its inhospitable weather and dense forests. This led to a history of endless invasions, including depredations by everyone from Mongol hordes to Teutonic knights to the Nazis.

    To counter this inherent indefensibility, Russia historically has adopted the principle of expansion. Russia thus has continually sought to expand far enough to anchor its power in a definable geographic barrier — like a mountain chain — or to expand far enough to create a buffer between itself and other regional powers. This objective of expansion has been the key to Russia’s national security and its ability to survive. Each Russian leader has understood this. Ivan the Terrible expanded southwest into the Ukrainian marshlands, Catherine the Great into the Central Asian steppe and the Tien Shan and the Soviet Union into much of Eastern and Central Europe.

    Russia’s expansion has been in four strategic directions. The first is to the north and northeast to hold the protection offered by the Ural Mountains. This strategy is more of a “just-in-case” expansion. Thus, in the event Moscow should ever fall, Russia can take refuge in the Urals and prepare for a future resurgence. Stalin used this strategy in World War II when he relocated many of Russia’s industrial towns to Ural territory to protect them from the Nazi invasion.

    The second is to the west toward the Carpathians and across the North European Plain. Holding the land up to the Carpathians — traditionally including Ukraine, Moldova and parts of Romania — creates an anchor in Europe with which to protect Russia from the southwest. Meanwhile, the North European Plain is the one of the most indefensible routes into Russia, offering Russia no buffer. Russia’s objective has been to penetrate as deep into the plain as possible, making the sheer distance needed to travel across it toward Russia a challenge for potential invaders.

    The third direction is south to the Caucasus. This involves holding both the Greater and Lesser Caucasus mountain ranges, creating a tough geographic barrier between Russia and regional powers Turkey and Iran. It also means controlling Russia’s Muslim regions (like Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan), as well as Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

    The fourth is to the east and southeast into Siberia and Central Asia. The Tien Shan mountains are the only geographic barrier between the Russian core and Asia; the Central Asian steppe is, as its name implies, flat until it hits Kyrgyzstan’s mountains.

    With the exception of the North European Plain, Russia’s expansion strategy focuses on the importance of mountains — the Carpathians, the Caucasus and Tien Shan — as geographic barriers. Holding the land up to these definable barriers is part of Russia’s greater strategy, without which Russia is vulnerable and weak.

    The Russia of the Soviet era attained these goals. It held the lands up to these mountain barriers and controlled the North European Plain all the way to the West German border. But its hold on these anchors faltered with the fall of the Soviet Union. This collapse began when Moscow lost control over the fourteen other states of the Soviet Union. The Soviet disintegration did not guarantee, of course, that Russia would not re-emerge in another form. The West — and the United States in particular — thus saw the end of the Cold War as an opportunity to ensure that Russia would never re-emerge as the great Eurasian hegemon.

    To do this, the United States began poaching among the states between Russia and its geographic barriers, taking them out of the Russian sphere in a process that ultimately would see Russian influence contained inside the borders of Russia proper. To this end, Washington sought to expand its influence in the countries surrounding Russia. This began with the expansion of the U.S. military club, NATO, into the Baltic states in 2004. This literally put the West on Russia’s doorstep (at their nearest point, the Baltics are less than 100 miles from St. Petersburg) on one of Russia’s weakest points on the North European Plain.

    Washington next encouraged pro-American and pro-Western democratic movements in the former Soviet republics. These were the so-called “color revolutions,” which began in Georgia in 2003 and moved on to Ukraine in 2004 and Kyrgyzstan in 2005. This amputated Russia’s three mountain anchors.

    The Orange Revolution in Ukraine proved a breaking point in U.S.-Russian relations, however. At that point, Moscow recognized that the United States was seeking to cripple Russia permanently. After Ukraine turned orange, Russia began to organize a response.
    The Window of Opportunity

    Russia received a golden opportunity to push back on U.S. influence in the former Soviet republics and redefine the region thanks to the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the crisis with Iran. Its focus on the Islamic world has left Washington with a limited ability to continue picking away at the former Soviet space or to counter any Russian responses to Western influence. Moscow knows Washington won’t stay fixated on the Islamic world for much longer, which is why Russia has accelerated its efforts to reverse Western influence in the former Soviet sphere and guarantee Russian national security.

    In the past few years, Russia has worked to roll back Western influence in the former Soviet sphere country by country. Moscow has scored a number of major successes in 2010. In January, Moscow signed a customs union agreement to economically reintegrate Russia with Kazakhstan and Belarus. Also in January, a pro-Russian government was elected in Ukraine. And now, a pro-Russian government has taken power in Kyrgyzstan.

    The last of these countries is an important milestone for Moscow, given that Russia does not even border Kyrgyzstan. This indicates Moscow must be secure in its control of territory from the Russian core across the Central Asian Steppe.

    As it seeks to roll back Western influence, Russia has tested a handful of tools in each of the former Soviet republics. These have included political pressure, social instability, economic weight, energy connections, security services and direct military intervention. Thus far, the pressure brought on by its energy connections — as seen in Ukraine and Lithuania — has proved most useful. Russia has used the cutoffs of supplies to hurt the countries and garner a reaction from Europe against these states. The use of direct military intervention — as seen in Georgia — also has proved successful, with Russia now holding a third of that country’s land. Political pressure in Belarus and Kazakhstan has pushed the countries into signing the aforementioned customs union.

    And now with Kyrgyzstan, Russia has proved willing to take a page from the U.S. playbook and spark a revolution along the lines of the pro-Western color revolutions. Russian strategy has been tailor-made for each country, taking into account their differences to put them into Moscow’s pocket — or at least make them more pragmatic toward Russia.

    Thus far, Russia has nearly returned to its mountain anchors on each side, though it has yet to sew up the North European Plain. And this leaves a much stronger Russia for the United States to contend with when Washington does return its gaze to Eurasia.

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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Well, the start was not so bad. There is a kind of intellectual game: to argue a casual connection between a couple of random facts. Here they were: plain landscape and vast territory of Russian state. OK. It was argued both not so bad and not so brilliant. Level of above average college student.

    But than the author has gone into some stereotypes like "pro-Western color revolutions", "pro-Russian government was elected in Ukraine" etc. etc. which are proper for some leisured old-age pensioner but completely inappropriate for a self-respecting intellectual person because of their vulgarity. It was written too many times with the same words and all newspaper parrots are able to make an article with that stuff.

    It is just boring.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Yes, funny stuff to read but it has almost nothing common with the reality.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

  4. #4
    Hanna
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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Seems that's rubbish then! OK.

    I just thought it was interesting, because I had never thought of Russia as a "vulnerable" country that needed to go to such extreme lengths to protect itself...

    But I guess like you said, that's just ONE way to look at things... It was incredibly simplified though! The Soviet Union was definitely about more than just Russian defense politics, just for starters...

    I knew of course, that any European country worth its' salt has attempted to invade Russia at some point or another... And eventually suffered a massive defeat.

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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Unlike some other people who commented, I have never heard about the "Stratfor" magazine. Who issues it; does it have an agenda or is it supposed to be objective?
    The Mossad/CIA (same difference really.)
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Stratfor was founded by a man named George Friedman. Friedman (and by extension, Stratfor) basically consider geopolitics and nothing but geopolitics when making his "forecasts" and predictions.

    This guy recently wrote a book called 'The Next 100 Years', in which he attempted to predict the events of the next century. This included the following:

    * 2020: China Fragments.

    * 2050: Global War Between U.S., Turkey, Poland, and Japan - The New Great Powers. (and Japan will attack the US from it's bases on the Moon)

    * 2080: Space-Based Energy Powers Earth.

    * 2100: Mexico Challenges U.S.

    He also claims that Estonia will, at some point, invade St. Petersburg.


    The guy is a quack.
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    SAn
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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    The paper is not bad, I think. But it presents only one point of view, leaving no opportunity for unsufficiently informed readers to think or criticise this point. The one-paged paper trying to explain everything. You know, the complex reality can not be simplified so much.

    Thus far, the pressure brought on by its energy connections — as seen in Ukraine and Lithuania — has proved most useful. Russia has used the cutoffs of supplies to hurt the countries and garner a reaction from Europe against these states.
    Concerning the cutoffs of gas flowing through Ukraine. The official point of view presented by our government was following:
    1. Russia wants Ukraine to pay more for the gas. Obviosly this is a reaction to pro-Western and anti-Russian politics of Ukraine. If you hate Russia and want to be part of Europe, then please pay for Russian gas as much as other european countries. Ukraine from their side promise to cease giving Sevastopol for Russia to rent.[/*:m:1uvj0hiq]
    2. Ukraine refuses to sign gas delivery contract.[/*:m:1uvj0hiq]
    3. Russia reduces gas volume entered to the pipeline by amount of Ukrainian gas.[/*:m:1uvj0hiq]
    4. Ukraine does not stop consuming the gas. This is approved by international observers on measurement stations.[/*:m:1uvj0hiq]
    5. European countries receive insufficient amount of gas, and their reaction is against Ukraine.[/*:m:1uvj0hiq]

    This version can, in turn, be oversimplified, one-sided, and so on. I just want to present it here.

  8. #8
    Hanna
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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Thanks for the explanation SAn. Personally I was broadly aware of the situation with Ukrainian gas. Seems fair that if Ukraine want "friendly" gas prices it has to behave like a friend... Most countries wouldn't give friendly prices to any countries, including their neighbours, so it's not a bad situation.

    From a wider angle Ukraine seems to be in a difficult position; not yet accepted by the EU as a membership applicant; and tied through history, culture and language to Russia. Only the very richest or largest European countries can "afford" not to be part of a regional alliance. Seems to me they've got to pick a course and stay on it!
    But that's easier said than done, of course...

    Quote Originally Posted by почемучка

    He also claims that Estonia will, at some point, invade St. Petersburg.

    The guy is a quack.
    "Estonia invades": Russians, you've been warned... !

    Haha,,, has he BEEN there? No way they'd ever invade any country. The whole country surely has less people in it than half of St Petersburg.

    Actually, maybe it's not COMPLETELY impossible --- if a NATO puts lots of bases there.. and then falls out with Russia. They could launch a land attack from there, I guess..

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    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    ...

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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seraph
    Missing something very important. Russian people themselves. The actual key to Russia's security, progress, success, is the people themselves and their society. People succeed, in spite of leaders, and invaders.
    *whirr* *hiss* *beepbeepbeep*

    [robot voice]
    People? Society? This does not compute. This does not compute.


    Geopolitics....

    Geopolitics...

    Geopolitics...
    [/robot voice]

    *whoosh* *crack* *boom* [the smell of smoke rises in the air]
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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    "Estonia invades": Russians, you've been warned... !

    Haha,,, has he BEEN there? No way they'd ever invade any country. The whole country surely has less people in it than half of St Petersburg.

    Actually, maybe it's not COMPLETELY impossible --- if a NATO puts lots of bases there.. and then falls out with Russia. They could launch a land attack from there, I guess..
    Stratfor and George Friedman, essentially, are in the entertainment business. Their articles are amusing if nothing else. Occasionally they write good ones, but usually they are way off base. They specialize in telling people (American corporations) what they want to hear. Obviously, the US is going to rebound and have another tremendous century, while decrepit, sad, old Russia is going down in flames due to demographics and general Russian-ness.

    Anything is possible, but Stratfor tends to find a conclusion they like and then find evidence to support it. Sometimes you'll get lucky and be correct anyway, but that doesn't mean anybody should listen to anyone who uses those kinds of methods.

    Perhaps Russia should advocate for an arms sale ban in Estonia just in case.
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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Well, there's definitely a grain of truth in the article. It's quite interesting (not that there's was much new to me, but still), articulate and well-presented. Yes, we have a huge territory, boundaries with many countries, and no natural obstacles to possible invaders.
    Alice: One can't believe impossible things.
    The Queen: I dare say you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Quote Originally Posted by starrysky
    Well, there's definitely a grain of truth in the article. It's quite interesting (not that there's was much new to me, but still), articulate and well-presented. Yes, we have a huge territory, boundaries with many countries, and no natural obstacles to possible invaders.
    All this is true, but you simply can't evaluate Russia's ability to defend itself without considering its nuclear arsenal. The possession of more than a thousand nuclear weapons is a bit more important than a long, flat border with Kazakhstan, Ukraine, or Belarus.

    What I object to about Stratfor is the importance and intensity of the situation are blown out of proportion. Russia and the US might be competing for influence with a new government in Central Asia? Well, blow me down. Nobody saw that coming.
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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    ...

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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seraph
    Russia would be impossible for any one now days to invade.
    I agree. I don't think it would happen in the observable future. Even without the mountains. A so-called 'coloured revolution' - maybe, but not an invasion. And the exact colour of that revolution is hard to predict. For example, there might be some sentiments among the people to follow the so-called 'Chinese model', so a 'coloured revolution' might be of that type as well.

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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seraph
    Conducting an invasion into a foreign territory requires extensive/expensive supply logistics. Russia actually has a huge barrier to invaders. Conducting an invasion is actually very difficult in modern war, very different from old style. Invaders cannot expect to live off country that is invaded.
    OK, there are supply logistics and things but somehow these considerations didn't stop previous would-be invaders. I mean, Hitler apparently learnt nothing from Napoleon. Like, it's cold here. Yes, I know he just didn't have brains enough to even consider the possibility that with such a vast country it might take a bit longer than three months to conquer the whole of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crocodile
    I don't think it would happen in the observable future.
    No, I don't see Russia invaded in foreseeable future either... But still, I'm not overly optimistic. It happened before, it might just happen again.

    Quote Originally Posted by почемучка
    All this is true, but you simply can't evaluate Russia's ability to defend itself without considering its nuclear arsenal. The possession of more than a thousand nuclear weapons is a bit more important than a long, flat border with Kazakhstan, Ukraine, or Belarus.

    What I object to about Stratfor is the importance and intensity of the situation are blown out of proportion. Russia and the US might be competing for influence with a new government in Central Asia? Well, blow me down. Nobody saw that coming.
    Well, it's just as I said -- there's definitely a grain of truth in that article with respect to how it was in the past but now it's all a bit more difficult than that. But our geographical situation is still what it was -- somewhat precarious, so...

    I don't know why I'm even writing this as I've absolutely no knowledge or competence in such things.
    Alice: One can't believe impossible things.
    The Queen: I dare say you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Quote Originally Posted by starrysky
    I don't know why I'm even writing this as I've absolutely no knowledge or competence in such things.
    You obviously aren't familiar with standard practice regarding the discussion of politics on internet message boards. The goal is to confidently state your opinion and out-bluster your opponents, to ignore and/or twist counter-arguments, and to never, ever admit weakness.

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  18. #18
    Hanna
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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Quote Originally Posted by почемучка
    Quote Originally Posted by starrysky
    I don't know why I'm even writing this as I've absolutely no knowledge or competence in such things.
    You obviously aren't familiar with standard practice regarding the discussion of politics on internet message boards. The goal is to confidently state your opinion and out-bluster your opponents, to ignore and/or twist counter-arguments, and to never, ever admit weakness.
    Actually, one of the reasons I enjoy this forum is because most of the regular participants are NOT arrogant and aggressive about their views, despite being knowledgeable about a wide range of topics...

    I.e. they are smart enough to know that the world is not totally "black and white" -- that there can be different ways of looking at something and that there is no need to get aggressive and defensive just because someone holds a different view.

    No, I don't see Russia invaded in foreseeable future either... But still, I'm not overly optimistic. It happened before, it might just happen again.
    But invading Russia would be suicidal wouldn't it? I mean, Russia has nuclear weapons! Although countries that have them don't want to use them... (exception 1945..), but still - it's a very effective deterrent!

    I can't see any country in Europe invading Russia (again) EVER. So many countries have lost empires after trying to invade there; it's just not possible to succeed, and European countries are not expansionist anymore anyway.

    Could you see China as a threat to Russia now, or in the future?
    I don't know too well what the relations are... But Russia has some things that China needs; space and natural resources. On the other hand; China as a rule doesn't invade other countries.

    As for the US; its' strategy seems clear; it would like to have lots of influence in the countries on Russia's borders; and ideally NATO bases too, if possible. But, the more Russia becomes "Westernised" in every sense of the word, the more the US would probably lose interest.

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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Quote Originally Posted by почемучка
    You obviously aren't familiar with standard practice regarding the discussion of politics on internet message boards. The goal is to confidently state your opinion and out-bluster your opponents, to ignore and/or twist counter-arguments, and to never, ever admit weakness.
    Oh, I am familiar with this phenomenon, actually. My local forum is chock-full of obnoxious, stuck-up types. I've found a lot of Russian message boards are like this -- people really can't accept the idea that other folks might have a different opinion. Though it really depends. MasterRussian is an exception, I s'pose. Americans seem to be very nice online. I think it's that freedom of speech and ingrained notion of "I might not agree with what you say but I would die defending your right to say it." Or I just visit the right places.
    Politics and geo-politics is not my forte by any means. I'd definitely stay away from such discussions if the atmosphere here was more heated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Actually, one of the reasons I enjoy this forum is because most of the regular participants are NOT arrogant and aggressive about their views, despite being knowledgeable about a wide range of topics...
    Uh-huh. Most people here are real nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    But invading Russia would be suicidal wouldn't it?
    Some German politician said/wrote (before WWII) something to this effect: "Attacking Russia to prevent it attacking Germany is suicide." I guess no one listened to him.

    As for China... It'll probably be more like Mexico conquering the US through mass immigration.
    Alice: One can't believe impossible things.
    The Queen: I dare say you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

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    Re: What do you think of this article about Russia?

    Quote Originally Posted by starrysky
    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Actually, one of the reasons I enjoy this forum is because most of the regular participants are NOT arrogant and aggressive about their views, despite being knowledgeable about a wide range of topics...
    Uh-huh. Most people here are real nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    But invading Russia would be suicidal wouldn't it?
    Some German politician said/wrote (before WWII) something to this effect: "Attacking Russia to prevent it attacking Germany is suicide." I guess no one listened to him.

    As for China... It'll probably be more like Mexico conquering the US through mass immigration.
    I agree, it is comfortable here. It is good to have a basic part of character about keeping mind open, eyes open. This seems to me a big problem with some message boards, people with closed minds, prejudisms, and agendas. This reminds me about painting by Иван Николаевич Крамской. Quote from wikipedia:
    "Portrait of an Unknown Woman (also known as The Unknown Woman,[1] An Unknown Lady or Stranger[2]) (Russian: Неизвестная) is a painting by the Russian artist Ivan Kramskoi, executed in 1883. The identity of the model is unknown and depicts a woman of "quiet strength and forthright gaze".[4] It is one of Russia's best-known art works, although a number of critics were indignant when the painting was first exhibited and condemned what they saw as a depiction of a haughty and immoral woman..." and "....Portrait of an Unknown Woman caused a sensation when first exhibited, more as a result of the subject matter than the aesthetics of the work.[1] A number of critics presumed that the woman was of ill repute (that is, a prostitute). One critic described the painting as a portrayal of "a coquette in a carriage", while another wrote of "a provocatively beautiful woman, all in velvet and fur, throwing you a sneeringly sensuous glance from a luxurious carriage..." end quote.

    This painting is is like a story by Gogol. Крамской has defined the woman as unknown, or stranger. As soon as person says she is this or she is that, they have violated the definition. Critics fell into trap and immediately show prejudisms, projecting their own corrupt mentality, showing what is wrong in their hearts. Essential feature of criticism is that it tells more about the critic than the subject of criticism. This is going on in message boards frequently, people projecting their own problems, trying to destroy, showing their hate.

    On this message board, it seems people are trying to learn, create, communicate, improve.


    Неизвестная

    Crafty Крамской.

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