Putin says foreigners meddling in Russia - 2007

Putin Says Foreigners Meddling in Russia

President Vladimir Putin charged in a combative speech Thursday that foreigners seeking to thwart Russia's resurgence are increasingly interfering in its affairs. Putin also called for imposing a moratorium on Moscow's participation in a key Soviet-era arms control deal, which regulates the deployment of non-nuclear heavy weapons around the continent, until the United States and other NATO members ratify it. In his annual state of the nation speech that was delayed two days by the death of his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, Putin declared that he will not seek a third term, but refused to suggest a successor and said nothing to quell speculation that he seeks to remain in power behind the scenes. Putin's second term in office ends in 2008, and he is constitutionally barred from seeking a third. While many observers have suggested he would try to stay in office, Putin again dismissed the idea. "The next state of the nation address will be given by another head of state," he said.

He acknowledged expectations that he would take advantage of his speech to reveal his choice for a successor, then drew a laugh by saying, "It is premature for me to declare a political will." Russia enters a high-stakes political season this year with parliamentary elections in December, followed by presidential elections in March. Russian officials in recent months have complained that Western countries are trying to meddle in the political process by funding pro-democracy organizations, and Putin echoed those allegations. "There is a growth in the flow of money from abroad for direct interference in our internal affairs," Putin said in his address, delivered to members of both houses or parliament. "There are those who, skillfully using pseudo-democratic rhetoric, would like to return to the recent past — some to loot the country's national riches, to rob the people and the state; others to strip us of economic and political independence," Putin said. Putin did not cite specific countries as sources of the funding. The Foreign Ministry this month complained extensively about U.S. funding of democracy-promoting organizations in Russia.

Officials contend that such funding aims to provoke mass opposition protests such as those that helped propel pro-Western leaders into power in neighboring Georgia and Ukraine in recent years. Police have cracked down on a series of opposition protests this year, beating some demonstrators and detaining hundreds. Opposition forces charge that Putin is strangling democracy through an array of measures to centralize power and increase the influence of large political parties such as his allied United Russia party, which dominates the Russian parliament. This year's parliamentary elections will see seats distributed entirely on a party-list basis, eliminating the opportunity for small parties to win seats through strong local support in particular districts — a change that critics say is among the measures to smother opposition. But Putin, in his speech, said it was part of "a revolutionary step modernizing the elections system ... (it will) help the opposition widen its representation."

Putin launched another attack on the West over the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, whose amended version was signed in 1999 to reflect changes since the Soviet breakup. Russia has ratified the amended version, but the United States and other NATO members have refused to do so until Moscow abides by its commitment to withdraw troops from the former Soviet republics of Moldova and Georgia. "Our partners are behaving incorrectly, to say the least," Putin said. "I consider it worthwhile to declare a moratorium until all NATO countries ratify it ... and begin to strictly abide by it," Putin said. The death Monday of Yeltsin has drawn new attention to complaints that Putin is heading the country away from democracy. Yeltsin, as Russia's first post-Soviet leader, worked changes that encouraged pluralism and nudged the country toward democracy. But Putin clearly aimed to portray himself as the curator of Yeltsin's legacy. He began the speech by calling for deputies to stand in silence in memory of Yeltsin and later called for a national library to be established in his name.

Putin also praised the development of Russia's economy, which has soared during his presidency, driven largely by high world oil prices. But he called for more revenues to be applied to improving the lives of its citizens, many of whom have been left behind in the boom and find themselves with insufficient pensions and unable to afford to move out of deteriorating Soviet housing. He proposed a $10 billion fund to repair housing and resettle residents, saying "It is inadmissible for a country with such reserves accumulated from its oil and gas revenues to be at peace with the fact that millions of its citizens live in slums." Putin also called for initiating a program under which the government would match every $40 that citizens put into private pension plans.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070426/...u/russia_putin

Soros: Trouble with Russia

Russia’s position on Kosovo is more dangerous than that concerning the U.S. missile defense shield, George Soros says. “The fact that Russia is trying to take over the Kosovo issue is more dangerous for Europe than Kremlin’s criticism and resistance to the U.S. plans to place components of its anti missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland,” the American billionaire told the Czech Radio in Prague. “If Russia really does veto [a UN Kosovo resolution], this will be a serious problem for Europe, causing divide within the EU as some countries favor Kosovo’s independence while others do not. Precisely this will demonstrate the lengths Russia will go to in order to create trouble in the world,” Soros was quoted as saying. “Kosovo needs calming down and consolidating. That is what people in Kosovo are demanding and unless they are granted independence, they will declare it unilaterally. That would create a really huge problem,” Soros continued. Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) vice president and cabinet minister Aleksandar Popović criticized the comments sharply, saying that Soros saw fit to engage in Serbian internal matters, advocating dismemberment of the state and snatching of 15 percent of Serbia’s territory. “Serbia never called on Soros to deal with her state borders or the issues of her territorial integrity. Perhaps Soros wishes to assume the role of the United Nations Security Council, carving up borders as he sees fit and as fits his capital,” Popović said.

Source: http://www.b92.net/eng/news/comments.php?nav_id=41012

[Fugitive oligarch] Russia billionaire says planning revolution

Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky said he is planning a revolution in Russia to topple President Vladimir Putin, in comments published on Friday. "We need to use force to change this regime," Berezovsky, who has received asylum in Britain, told the Guardian newspaper. "It isn't possible to change this regime through democratic means. There can be no change without force, pressure." Asked if he was fomenting a revolution, he said: "You are absolutely correct." Berezovsky, a vocal critic of Putin, said he was in contact with members of Russia's political elite. He said these people -- who he did not name because, he said, that would endanger their lives -- shared his opinion that Putin was eroding democratic reforms, centralizing power and infringing Russia's constitution, according to the Guardian. "There is no chance of regime change through democratic elections," Berezovsky said. "If one part of the political elite disagrees with another part of the political elite -- that is the only way in Russia to change the regime. I try to move that." The businessman said he was offering his "experience and ideology" to his contacts, adding: "There are also practical steps which I am doing now, and mostly it is financial." Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned the comments as a criminal offence and hoped they would prompt questions about Berezovsky's refugee status in Britain, the Guardian said. "In accordance with our legislation (his remarks are) being treated as a crime. It will cause some questions from the British authorities to Mr Berezovsky," Peskov was quoted as saying. "We want to believe that official London will never grant asylum to someone who wants to use force to change the regime in Russia." Last month, Berezovsky met Russian investigators in London to answer questions over the killing of ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko. He has also launched a $500,000 foundation in honor of Litvinenko who was poisoned and died in London last November.

Source: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2...ent_849906.htm

Russian tycoon Berezovsky tells of plot to assassinate him

The police said on Wednesday that they had arrested a man last month on suspicion of plotting to murder the Russian exile Boris Berezovsky, a prominent critic of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. A police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the suspect had been arrested in London on June 21 and then handed over to the immigration service two days later, without being charged. The suspect, the official said, was a Russian national who was then sent back home. The news followed a day in which Berezovsky publicly spoke of the plot against him, saying that he had been compelled to leave Britain temporarily last month after the security services warned him that a Russian assassin had arrived and intended to kill him.

"A month ago, an officer from Scotland Yard said a person came with the task of killing me, and that I knew this person," Berezovsky said by telephone. "They said I should meet with nobody, and I should leave the country."

Berezovsky described the plot - outlined further to him by Russian friends "who are connected to the special services," he said - as involving a lone gunman who would lure him to a meeting and shoot him. Then the gunman would turn himself in to the British authorities, serve a long sentence in Britain for murder and return to Russia to collect "a large reward and Hero of Russia medal," Berezovsky said. Berezovsky, who parlayed once-close ties to Putin into a sprawling industrial empire and vast wealth, fell out with the Russian president and sought refuge in Britain. He was granted political asylum in 2003 and is wanted in Russia on charges of fraud, embezzlement and fomenting a coup.

In London, Berezovksky, 61, became close to another critic-in-exile of Putin, Alexander Litvinenko. Litvinenko, a former KGB agent, was poisoned with the radioactive isotope polonium-210 in London last November. He said that Putin had ordered his murder. Berezovsky, who in Russia once survived a car bomb that decapitated his driver but left him unharmed, added that after being warned that his life was in danger he left London for about a week and returned when the British authorities said it was safe. He declined to say where he traveled. Neither he nor the British authorities would provide specific details about the supposed murder plot, or say who the suspect was. The Russian ambassador to Britain, Yury Fedotov, told the BBC that Berezovsky's claim that someone wanted to assassinate him was "quite strange information." He added: "I have nothing that could confirm it."

Berezovsky said that he had received numerous threats against his life over the years. "All these threats bear the hallmark of Russian security service activity, and of course President Putin changed the law last year to empower agents to commit murder overseas," he said in a statement. In the interview, Berezovsky said he was grateful the British government had undertaken to protect him now, because "only a government can defend me."

The latest round of intrigue comes two days after Britain said it would expel four Russian diplomats and inflict other penalties on Russia in retaliation for Russia's refusal to extradite the key suspect in Litvinenko's death. The British authorities say they have enough evidence to prove that the suspect, a former KGB agent named Andrei Lugovoi, administered the poison to a pot of tea Litvinenko was drinking at a meeting in the Pine Bar of London's Millennium Hotel on Nov. 1. Litvinenko died three weeks later, claiming that Putin had ordered his assassination.

In another incident, a spokesman for the British Royal Air force said that it had scrambled jets on Tuesday to intercept Russian strategic bombers headed toward British air space. Russian officials said its planes were on a routine training flight over international waters. The spokesman, Wing Commander Andrew McGill, by telephone Wednesday it was "just speculation" that this Cold War style brinksmanship over the North Atlantic coincided with heightened tensions over the poisoned-spy scandal. The Russian Tu-95 bombers, called "Bears" by NATO, turned back before entering British airspace, he said. Russia's ambassador to London said his government was not behind any alleged plot. A spokesman for the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, said the government would not comment on speculation about security matters.

Berezovsky, who says he wants a "bloodless revolution" in Russia and the end of Putin's rule, said on Wednesday he had spent $300 to $400 million funding opposition groups in his former homeland since he went into exile in 2001. Britain has refused to extradite Berezovsky to Moscow, where he is being tried in absentia for theft. He said he had had many death threats in recent years and accused Russia's security service of being behind them. Asked why he thought the Russians would want to kill him, Berezovsky, a colorful character who speaks broken English, said it was because he was a key witness to Litvinenko's death and the main funder of Russian opposition to Putin.

Source: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/07/18/news/poison.php

More on the criminal Berezovski:

Godfather of the Kremlin: The Decline of Russia in the Age of Gangster Capitalism

Book Review

Mr. Paul Klebnikov makes a rather unusual declaration at the beginning of his book by stating that what is about to be read may be difficult to believe. As this work is non-fiction the comment would seem misplaced. However once the reading has begun it not only proves to have been appropriate, but is a fact you will keep reminding yourself of. The Author relates what is arguably the greatest theft in History, and if he had decided to change some detail, he could have had an outstanding novel. That the events he relates actually took place makes for a reading experience no novel can compete with. I have been following Mr. Klebnikov's stories in Forbes, since December of 1996 when he introduced Mr. Boris Berezovsky as Russia's Godfather. That first article in Forbes brought the wrath of Mr. Berezovsky to bear on Forbes and the Author, but he continued with his research and lived to write this book. Whatever his personal motivation was, and continues to be, is remarkable. This man worked for years on the home field of a variety of people who were capable of removing him from the living, with a glance, and without any fear of consequence to themselves.

The dysfunctional, amoral, nothing is out of bounds world, that was Boris Yeltsin's Russia, truly is difficult to get your mind around. Some minor details that will prepare you for the real story; when Gorbachev was still in power the government budget received 25% of its revenues from where, from the Government monopoly on Vodka! The ruble of Gorbachev was worth approximately one U.S. dollar. At the close of 1992 one dollar would cost 415 rubles, and when Yeltsin finally left office in an alcoholic haze, if you wanted a dollar you needed 28,000 rubles! The "Voucher Auctions" that took place in 1993 and 1994 would not have been condoned much less implemented by a student with a semester or two of Economic study. Gazprom, which owns one third of the planet's Natural Gas, was "auctioned" for $250 million dollars, the truer value, if valued as a Western Company, would have had its gas reserves alone valued at between $300 and $700 BILLION. These numbers do not take into account that the company was basically a monopoly supplier to the entire former Soviet Union, and much of Western Europe as well.

To put a more familiar face on these numbers, at the very lowest estimate, you could have bought Exxon and had $12 billion left over, at the high end you could have bought General Electric, the most valuable company as I write, and since you might be thirsty after the effort, you could pick up Coca Cola with the change left from the GE purchase. You will learn how Mr. Berezovsky privatized the cash flows of companies like Aeroflot, companies he did not own, and by using little money, if any at all, and if he needed any the seller, The Government would supply it. He was not the only man to take advantage of Yeltsin and his hand picked group of incompetents but he surely was the master at the game.

This book will leave you stunned. How much to buy the election for Yeltsin, read the book, how often Yeltsin was sober, the facts will alarm you, how Tanya his beloved daughter who knew nothing that qualified her for Government, became the power behind her Father, often doing the bidding of Mr. Berezovsky, who are you ready for this, was appointed to the Government by good old Yeltsin himself. The wholesale rape of Russia's assets is worse than any damage that Russia has ever been through. Those who dared to challenge the system of "Kleptocracy" were easy to identify, they were either already buried, were bleeding, or about to be assassinated. You played by the rules of thieves or you were removed, it was that simple.

I have read many metaphors in other places that compare the Mafiyas' in Russia today to the Robber Barons of this Country of a century or more ago. Anyone who puts forth this argument is painfully ignorant of History. It is true that the men who carried the sobriquet Robber Baron were not individuals whose paths you would have wished to cross, for as businessmen they were ruthless. That is where the comparison ends, for the bottom line is that they built this country, and while there were times violence took place it is only the inept that would compare it to the thousands murdered, and the millions who died as the result of Russia being taken apart and given away. Russia was eviscerated with the Government's consent and its participation, and the consequences to the citizenry at large had not been as premeditative in their design or as destructive since Stalin. I liked this quote from a top Russian Official, "it is very difficult to determine whether it's incompetence or embezzlement".

Source: http://ftrreading.blogspot.com/2006/...f-kremlin.html

In related news:

U.S. concerned over Russia's intelligence ops

Russia's foreign intelligence operations against the United States are currently at the same level as during the Cold War, the U.S. national intelligence chief said. Michael McConnell said Tuesday that Russia and China are the most aggressive countries at gathering information about American sensitive technologies, including projects under development, and the scale of their intelligence activities is at Cold War levels. Last month McConnell, who assumed his current post in February, circulated a draft bill allowing the U.S. government to expand its powers under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which could include planting listening devices and hidden cameras, as well as breaking into houses to make copies of computer hard drives. Relations between Russia and the United States heated up after the U.S. announced plans to deploy elements of its missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland, to counter possible attacks from Iran or North Korea, as well as to finance nongovernmental organizations and opposition parties in Russia in a bid to improve the country's democratic record. Russian President Vladimir Putin compared last week, U.S. plans to deploy its missile defenses in Europe to the deployment of Pershing cruise missiles in the 1980s. Russia, which has been anxious about NATO bases that have appeared in former Communist-bloc countries and ex-Soviet republics, considers the plans to deploy anti-missile systems in Central Europe a national security threat and a destabilizing factor for Europe. The current situation closely resembles the events of the 1980s, when NATO decided to deploy U.S. Pershing II and Tomahawk missiles in Western Europe. In the event of a military confrontation between the Soviet Union and the West, those missiles could have quickly destroyed the largest Russian cities, while the United States would have remained invulnerable. The Kremlin launched at the time a worldwide protest campaign against the deployment of U.S. missiles in Europe. As a result, the former Soviet Union and the U.S. signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) December 8, 1987. The agreement came into force in June 1988 and does not have a specific duration. The INF treaty eliminated nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (300 to 3,400 miles). By the treaty's deadline of June 1, 1991, a total of 2,692 such weapons had been destroyed, 846 by the U.S. and 1,846 by the Soviet Union. On February 10, 2007, Putin declared that the INF Treaty no longer served Russia's interests. On February 14, Gen. Yury Baluyevsky, the chief of the Russian General Staff, said Russia could pull out of the INF unilaterally, which sounded a strong warning to the U.S. regarding its plans to deploy elements of its anti-missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. While the U.S. claims that Russia has intensified its intelligence activities a major spying scandal clouded relations between Russia and the UK at the start of last year, when Moscow claimed four British agents in the Russian capital had been caught procuring information from a high-tech communication device hidden in a rock.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/world/20070502/64750046.html

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Dear reader,

Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years or so has also helped me see Russia as the last front against scourges of Westernization, Globalism, American expansionism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. This realization compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and the only voice preaching the strategic importance of Armenia remaining within Russia's orbit. From about 2010 to 2015 I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

When Armenia finally joined the EEU and integrated its armed forces into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago, I finally felt a deep sense of satisfaction and relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back, as I really needed the rest. Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal. Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say something if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important. I will however continue moderating the blog's comments section on a regular basis; ultimately because I'm interested in what my readers have to say and also because it's through readers here that I am at times made aware of interesting developments.

To limit clutter in the comments section, I kindly ask all participants of this blog to please keep comments coherent and strictly relevant to the featured topic of discussion. Moreover, please realize that when there are several anonymous visitors posting comments simultaneously, it becomes very confusing (not to mention extremely annoying) trying to figure out who is who and who said what.Therefore, if you are here to engage in conversation, make an observation, express an idea or simply attack me, I ask you to at least use a moniker to identify yourself. Moreover, please appreciate the fact that I have put an enormous amount of information into this blog. In my opinion, most of my blog commentaries and articles, some going back ten-plus years, are in varying degrees relevant to this day and will remain so for a long time to come. Articles in this blog can therefore be revisited by longtime readers and new comers alike. I therefore ask the reader to treat this blog as a depository of important information relating to Eurasian geopolitics, Russian-Armenian relations and humanity's historic fight against the evils of Globalism and Westernization.

Thank you as always for reading.