Russia In Growing Role Of Special Services - 2007

The following is another political essay right out of my desk drawer, this time dating back to the year 2000. I believe that this report should be closely examined and pondered for it may be a crucial key in helping one understanding just how Vladimir Putin wrestled power from the hands of western supported Russian oligarchs soon after his rise to power in the Kremlin. The report also helps us see how the geopolitics of the region was being assessed by Moscow at the time. We see in the report the evolution of Russian-Iranian and Russian-Armenian relations, which at the time were shaky to some extent. What's interesting here is that the political dynamics in Moscow as highlighted within the article reads eerily similar to what occurred within the United States in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Whether it was elements within the Russian government that carried out the bloody terrorist attacks in Russia at the time or not, the end result was that Vladimir Putin solidified his hold on government and enabled Russia to finally push itself back into the Caucasus region and thereafter onto the international political arena.



Russia In Growing Role Of Special Services "Caucasian Rhomb" Myth

August 11, 2000

Terror acts in Moscow prompts political leaders in government and Communists alike to call for emergency powers to be given to special services and police. Moscow seeks to establish control over Trans-Caucasian republics as part of plan involving partnership with Iran. One of the consequences of the August 8 explosion in Moscow's Pushkin Square is the fact that Russian politicians are once again calling for expanded powers to be given to special services and law-enforcement bodies because they say otherwise these agencies will be unable to either investigate such crimes or make effective efforts to prevent them.


Even politicians who are not among Putin's loyal supporters have been talking in the same vain. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, for example, has said that the communist faction will support any tough measure to combat terrorism and organized crime. The paper notes in this connection that, according to Zyuganov, he held two hours of talks with the president on Wednesday, August 9. NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA examines the idea of forming a "Caucasian Rhomb" with the aim of countering Washington's policy of extracting Trans-Caucasian republics, notable Azerbaijan, from the sphere of Russia's interests in the area. Basically, the plan provides for the formation of two hypothetical axis: Moscow-Yerevan-Tehran and Moscow-Baku-Tehran, incorporating strategic regional cooperation between Russia and Iran. The purpose of this partnership is to prevent US-Turkish infiltration of the region and end Western influence in the Trans-Caucasus republics. The key element of the structure is efforts to resolve the conflict over Nagorno-Karabagh, which largely determines relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and between them and principal "regional" players.

Many analysts, however, are doubtful of the chances of the idea being implemented since it does not accurately reflect the geopolitical realities of "the Euro-Asian Balkans." To start with, Moscow and Tehran are engaged in separate games in the region and their interests do not always coincide. especially in the context of Iran's current efforts to activate its policies in the region. Curiously enough, several analysts in Washington feel that if Tehran consolidates its positions in the Trans-Caucasus (if only in small measure), this will benefit the United States in so far as Moscow's influence on the foreign policies of the countries of the region will be determined.

Secondly, it is doubtful that the Moscow-Yerevan-Tehran axis cold be established in view of Yerevan's declarations in favor of a "complementary" and balanced foreign policy. It is a fact that [Armenia] is greatly dependent on US financial and economic institutions, including the World Bank and the IMF. Moreover, Armenia's balanced approach enables it to pursue a most effective policy on the question of a Karabagh settlement as well as in international affairs. Characteristically, one of Yerevan's latest statements says "the scales of Armenian diplomacy could tip either towards Moscow or Washington, depending on how much a particular situation will conform to Armenia's interests." At the same time it should be recognized that the military-strategic alliance of Moscow and Yerevan and Armenian's regional partnership with Iran are quite stable and institutionalized. A cardinal change in this supra-regional balance may trigger a devastating geo-political earthquake or even a new war.

The formation of the Azeri component of "the Caucasian Rhomb" is an even less feasible task. Relations between Baku and Moscow on the one hand, and between Baku and Tehran, on the other, are in themselves more than problematic, and the emergency of a Russian-Azeri-Iranian triad seems to be altogether unreal. That course of events would mean the total collapse of Turkey's regional policy and the United States' complete ouster from the Caucasus and Central Asia. Yerevan is still Moscow's only geopolitical ally in the Caucasus. Most important in this respect are the military and political factors, with the two military departments maintaining close cooperation. Armenia is the only Trans-Caucasus country which does not have contacts with Turkey, that regional bulwark of the North Atlantic Alliance. It is obvious, however, that Moscow's long-term program provides for the establishment of dominant influences over the entire Trans-Caucasus, notable oil-rich Azerbaijan.


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