Thursday, December 02, 2004


Thank God Bush looked into Putin's eyes...

...and found a kindred spirit. At least, if we have to fight another Cold War with Russia, it'll be a kinder, gentler Cold War.
Russian Talk on Ukraine Recalls Cold War


MOSCOW, Dec. 1 - The Kremlin's words reached a shrill peak on Wednesday over the election crisis in Ukraine, as Russian officials here dusted off cold war vocabulary and summoned bitter visions of lost imperial ambitions and fears of Western meddling in Russia's sphere of influence.

The words began flowing in earnest over the weekend, as a Kremlin political strategist, Gleb O. Pavlovsky, voiced what many Russians fear is the true cause of the Ukrainian political crisis: that the West is using Ukraine as a testing ground for a "revolution" that may subsequently spread to Russia. "We will have to prepare ourselves to deal with not political technologies, but revolution," Mr. Pavlovsky warned Sunday in an interview with NTV television.

Sergei V. Yastrzhembsky, Russia's representative to the European Union, echoed Mr. Pavlovsky, and hinted that who was behind all this was no secret. He pointed to what he said was the similarity between street rallies in Kiev in support of the opposition candidate, Viktor A. Yushchenko, and earlier demonstrations in Poland and Belgrade. "Possibly, the money came from the same purse, and there were the same puppeteers behind the scene."

The Kremlin under President Vladimir V. Putin is vastly different from what it was in the early post-Soviet years under Boris N. Yeltsin, who embraced the West and broke with traditional allies such as Belarus. Mr. Putin served in the security services and has publicly rued the end of the Soviet Union, and the Kremlin today views Ukraine in many ways as belonging to Russia.

Even young, successful Russians, whose memory of Soviet times is mostly of product shortages, share Mr. Putin's political views on Ukraine. "My Russian colleagues completely bowled me over, saying things like 'Russia should be sending the tanks into Ukraine - right away'," said a British-born banker who works at a Russian company here.

At a more basic level, events in Ukraine have crystallized fears in Russian society, which is trying desperately to rebuild law and order, maintain economic growth and stem endemic corruption. Culturally and historically, Ukraine is "in many ways the mother of Russia," explained Oleg D. Kalugin, a former Soviet-era K.G.B. general who fled to the West and now lives and works in Washington.

Those fears are deeply rooted, a United States official said. "There is a real fear that if Ukraine turns away from Russia, Russia's physical security is put at greater risk," he said. "It involves centuries of wounded imperialism, foreign invasion, centuries of fears of foreign influence and that the West can't be trusted."

Some of that mood seemed to be captured in the words of Kirill A. Frolov, a conservative commentator and Ukraine specialist. He said outsiders must understand that Mr. Yushchenko and his supporters are not democrats. While conceding that Russia and the West "are not still enemies," he said, "the main mistake of the West is helping Yushchenko and a new socialist regime."

"They don't want to understand Ukrainian nationalism is the enemy of democracy," he said. "Yushchenko is the banner of this nationalism. It's a brown regime. The West will help Yushchenko and have a great problem. It's a mistake."
First Chechnya, next...Ukraine? If I lived in Lithuania, I'd start studying Russian again...

But who gives a shit about Ukraine? All they have is coal. No oil in sight...
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