Russia and ex-Soviet Union (English)

Recent elections were either a triumph of the will or a confirmation that Russia has found itself, writes Eric Walberg
6/12/7 -- If Time magazine had a "country of the year", in 2007 it would surely have been Russia, despite its colourful competition, Iran and Venezuela. All three dominated headlines, tripping up the United States in its 21st century drive for world hegemony. Venezuela held a referendum 2 December which failed by a whisker, while Russia held parliamentary elections the same day confirming its transformation from a weak kleptocracy, servile to US wishes, into a vigorous and confident opponent of the US.

Vlad refuses to play by his erstwhile friends' rules and is not afraid to tell them so. Eric Walberg watches the schoolyard antics
18/10/7 -- 9-16 October 2007 was a busy week for Russian President Vladimir Putin. First he had a visit from French President Nicolas Sarkozy 9 October, followed by both United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates 12-13 October, who were in Moscow for talks with their Russian counterparts the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. He then squeezed in a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas prior to departing to Wiesbaden to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Then he set off to Tehran to meet Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, despite reports that suicide terrorists had been trained to assassinate him in Iran.

The cancellation of the CFE treaty by Russia and the tit-for-tat expulsion of Russian and British diplomats -- seemingly unrelated -- have strong parallels in Cold War mythology, according to Eric Walberg

26/7/7 -- The decision in July 2007 by the Russian government to withdraw from the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty negotiated in the dying days of the SU comes as no surprise. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev gave the US the shop, being more concerned about domestic reform and Western aid, convinced that Reagan's US was really a peace-loving sort.

Litvinenko brandishing a Chechen sword Last week's cancellation of the CFE treaty by Russia and the tit-for-tat expulsion of Russian and British diplomats -- seemingly unrelated -- have strong parallels in Cold War mythology, according to Eric Walberg

26/7/7 -- Four Russian diplomats were expelled from Britain last week as a pressure tactic to try to force Russia to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, the key suspect in the death of a former KGB officer and proud new UK citizen, Alexander Litvinenko. The expulsion came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was pulling out of the CFE treaty and as Polish President Lech Kaczynski was visiting Washington to finalise the US missile bases in Europe. What a coincidence.

A romp on the seashore gives Eric Walberg a chance to reflect on the Bush-Putin legacies

5/7/7 -- Wouldn't the Bush-Putin saga make a wonderful comic strip? The two most powerful men in the world first meet in June 2001, a few months before the Attack of the Evil Jihadis. "I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul," Captain Bush praised his new friend Darth Putin. Perhaps the zenith of this farcical replay of the wartime Roosevelt-Stalin alliance was Bush presiding over the Red Square military parade in Moscow the following May as Darth's guest of "special importance", celebrating the victory over Nazi Germany, where the leaders signed a landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty and agreed to a broad cooperative agenda. The Alliance against the Evil Empires -- old and new -- was in good hands.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html