Putin defies call to withdraw from territories - September, 2008

Russia Resolute on Troop Levels

Joy and tears as nation is born: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAH-WBXoPCQ

September, 2008

Putin defies call to withdraw from territories

Thumbing its nose at Georgia and the United States, South Ossetia rolled yesterday what Russian media said were captured American-made jeeps and Georgian tanks through the streets of its capital, Tskhinvali, in an Independence Day military parade. Thumbing its nose at Georgia and the United States, South Ossetia rolled yesterday what Russian media said were captured American-made jeeps and Georgian tanks through the streets of its capital, Tskhinvali, in an Independence Day military parade. Only Russia and the "countries" of South Ossetia and Abkhazia will decide how many troops Moscow can keep on their soil, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said yesterday, signaling that the Kremlin will do as it pleases in the separatist Georgian regions regardless of Western demands.

The statement was in frank defiance of calls by Georgia, the United States, and the European Union for a withdrawal of most Russian troops from the breakaway territories, which only Russia and Nicaragua have recognized as independent nations. Thumbing its nose at Georgia and the United States, South Ossetia rolled what Russian media said were captured American-made jeeps and Georgian tanks through the streets of its capital in an Independence Day parade. The developments underscored the reality taking shape following last month's war. Putin stressed that Russia will adhere to its promise to pull back from the strips of land surrounding South Ossetia and Abkhazia once European Union monitors are deployed. Those areas are Georgian territory, he said.

But he said any "possible" Russian pullout from South Ossetia and Abkhazia themselves was a "separate issue," suggesting Moscow's recognition of the separatist regions as independent nations has changed the rules. "The question of the presence of our armed forces in South Ossetia and Abkhazia will be decided bilaterally," Putin said after a meeting with Prime Minister François Fillon of France. According to the ITAR-Tass news agency, he added that such decisions will be based on "international law and agreements between Russia and these countries." The remarks indicate Russia will continue to ignore Western calls to pull nearly all its forces out of Georgia under a cease-fire deal brokered by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France to end the five-day war that erupted last month in South Ossetia.

The United States and European countries say Russia is violating its commitment to withdraw its forces to preconflict positions. Russia has announced plans to maintain nearly 8,000 troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, far more than in the months before the war. Putin said Russia has no intention of annexing any land, saying it was "solely a question of providing security in the region." Putin suggested that by backing Kosovo's independence declaration in February, Western nations had ruined any argument against Russia's recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. "It is not we who opened this Pandora's box," he said.

In the war-battered South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, residents lined streets to watch South Ossetian soldiers and military vehicles roll by, behind what state-run Russian media said were Georgian tanks, armor, and military vehicles - booty grabbed as Georgian forces retreated. Russia's First Channel showed what it said were American-made military jeeps and an armored vehicle. In an evocation of a World War II victory parade on Moscow's Red Square, Georgian flags were thrown to the ground in front of a podium on the central square. Amid increasing Russian support and mounting exchanges of fire, Georgian forces launched a large-scale offensive targeting Tskhinvali on Aug. 7. Russian forces repelled the attack and drove deep into Georgia.

Source: http://www.boston.com/news/world/eur..._troop_levels/

In other developments:

Russian Moves Show Military Ambitions

Chavez wants stronger arms trade with Russia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJpqEC9eJ6c

Russia stepped up efforts to project its increased might on the world stage on Friday, welcoming President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela by signing a $1 billion military loan to Venezuela and announcing wide-ranging plans to modernize its nuclear deterrence. The Russian Navy also dispatched a warship to the Indian Ocean to try to intercept a Ukrainian vessel carrying 30 battle tanks that was seized by pirates, as the United States also sent a warship in hot pursuit. After a military exercise in the southern city of Orenburg, near the border with Kazakhstan, the Russian president, Dmitri A. Medvedev declared that by 2020 Russia would construct new types of warships, including nuclear submarines carrying cruise missiles, and an unspecified space defense system.

"A guaranteed nuclear deterrent system for various military and political circumstances must be provided by 2020," Mr. Medvedev said, in comments reported by Reuters. "Large-scale construction of new types of warships is planned, primarily of nuclear submarines armed with cruise missiles, and multi-purpose submarines," he was quoted as saying. “A system of air and space defense will be created.”

Russia, irritated by Western recognition of Kosovo’s independence, NATO’s expansion into the former Soviet realm, and the United States’ insistence on establishing a missile defense system in eastern Europe, has become increasingly keen to project its military might, defiantly ignoring American and European warnings when it sent troops into Georgia last month. In a sign of increasing antagonism, Russia has withheld some cooperation with other Western countries on international efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The Russian government said Tuesday that it would boycott a meeting that had been scheduled at the United Nations for Thursday to discuss a fourth round of sanctions to force Iran to give up what many countries think is a program to develop nuclear weapons. The session was to have included the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany. The Russian announcement was viewed by many diplomats as retribution for a tough speech that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered last week in which she denounced Russia’s behavior in the Georgian crisis.

On Friday, Russia and the United States agreed to seek a new United Nations resolution calling on Iran to comply with earlier demands to suspend uranium enrichment — a sign that the two countries at least were talking, but the statement only reiterated previous positions, The Associated Press reported.British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the brief resolution will affirm the three previous ones, which imposed progressively tougher sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt its enrichment program and urged Tehran to comply, The A.P. reported. Emboldened by lucrative oil revenues, and the United States’ distractions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia has also said it wants to build alliances to stand up to American power in the world, and has sought closer relations with Mr. Chávez, a longtime critic of the United States. Mr. Chávez, on his second visit to Russia in two months, met with Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin on Thursday, and on Friday traveled to Orenburg to meet with Mr. Medvedev.

The $1 billion loan for arms purchases and military development was announced in a Kremlin statement released Thursday night. The statement said Mr. Putin and Mr. Chávez had spoken on enhancing economic cooperation and trade in commercial goods as well as military technologies. The $1 billion loan will help finance programs related to military-technical cooperation, the statement said. The Kremlin would not elaborate on the details of the deal. Between 2005 and 2007 Venezuela has signed 12 contracts for weapons purchases from Russia for a total of more than $4.4 billion, the Kremlin statement said. The move is the latest gesture of military friendship between Russia and Venezuela, two counties that have increasingly positioned themselves as mavericks vis-à-vis the West. The Kremlin says its economic and political stability have allowed it to broaden the scope of its military and economic cooperation beyond what it calls its traditional sphere of influence.

Earlier this month a pair of Russian Tu-160 long-range bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons received a warm welcome when they landed in Venezuela. Russia has also dispatched a squadron from its North Sea Fleet to the Caribbean to take part in joint naval exercises with the Venezuelan Navy sometime in November. “Latin America, of course, is becoming an obvious link in the chain making up a multipolar world,” Mr. Putin said during his meeting with Mr. Chávez. “We will allocate more and more attention to this vector of our economics and foreign policy.” Russia has already delivered Sukhoi Su-30 fighters, Mi-17 transport helicopters, and thousands of Kalashnikov assault rifles to Venezuela. There are also plans to build a factory in the country that will manufacture these weapons under license.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/27/wo...russia.html?em

Russia Flexes Muscles in Oil Deal With Chávez

Russia continued its international muscle-flexing on Friday, strengthening its ties to Venezuela through a $1 billion military loan and a new oil consortium as it announced an upgrade of its own military focusing on nuclear deterrence and permanent combat readiness. After a military exercise on Friday in the southern city of Orenburg, near the border with Kazakhstan, the Russian president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, declared that by 2020 Russia would construct new types of warships, including nuclear submarines carrying cruise missiles and an unspecified air and space defense system. The moves point to continuing tension between Russia and the West after the five-day war in Georgia. Response in Washington was muted, as officials weighed whether the moves were merely a restatement of existing initiatives or should be interpreted as one early sign of a new, if slow-motion, arms race. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an interview with Reuters: “The balance of power in terms of nuclear deterrence is not going to be affected by those measures.”

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Pentagon news conference that his Russian counterparts had in the past made it “very clear to me that their intention was to modernize their strategic forces.” The current plans, he said, are consistent with Russian policy going “as far back as a couple of years.” But the war in Georgia has clearly reordered priorities. With Europe and the United States united in condemnation of Russia’s military actions, Russian leaders began reaching out to countries like Venezuela, which are eager to provide a counterweight to United States power. On Thursday, Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez, arrived on his second visit here. On Friday, Mr. Medvedev said the conflict also proved “the acuteness” of Russia’s need to modernize its military. Defense spending will increase by 26 percent next year, bringing it to 1.3 trillion rubles ($50 billion), its highest level since the collapse of the Soviet Union. “Just recently we have had to rebuff an aggression by the Georgian regime and, as we found, a war can flare up suddenly and can be absolutely real,” he said. “Local, smoldering conflicts, which are sometimes even called ‘frozen conflicts,’ will turn into a real military conflagration.”

The conflict in Georgia flared on the night of Aug. 7, when Georgia ordered an attack against Russian-backed separatists in South Ossetia. In response, Russia sent troops flooding over its border and deep into Georgia. Russia has recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a second separatist enclave, as sovereign states and plans to defend their borders. The conflict revealed serious weaknesses in Russian military readiness. Georgian air defenses shot down at least six Russian jets, pointing to poor maintenance and inadequate training. Russians took losses because they lacked air cover as they entered South Ossetia, and a Russian general, apparently operating without sufficient intelligence, was wounded when he led a column into Georgian ambush. By 2020, Mr. Medvedev said, Russia will shore up nuclear deterrents like nuclear submarines armed with cruise missiles and a combined air-space defense system. In the same period, he said, the Russian armed forces will be upgraded to a state of “permanent combat readiness.” He said Russia would also improve military training and research. “We should seek superiority in the air, in carrying out precision strikes against ground and sea targets, and in the prompt redeployment of forces,” he said, according to a statement on the Kremlin’s Web site.

Aleksandr Golts, an independent Russian military analyst, said the announcement conveyed a clear message, both to Russians and foreigners: that Russia “has risen from its knees.” “Russia wants to behave as a great power,” he said. “I have to agree with Mr. Gates, your defense secretary, who said that the existing Russian armed forces are only a shadow of the Soviet ones,” he said. At a meeting with Mr. Chávez, Mr. Medvedev agreed to a form a Russian-Venezuelan energy consortium that would share resources to produce and sell oil and gas. Russian companies are already at work exploring oil fields in Venezuela, but the agreement will allow them to expand their reach into more areas, including fields in Ecuador and Bolivia. Mr. Chávez described the agreement as “a colossus being born.” More cooperative efforts are in the works: On Thursday, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin said Russia would consider working with Venezuela to build nuclear power facilities. Mr. Chávez said he would like to see the two countries join forces to create a Russian-Venezuelan bank, and the two countries are planning joint large-scale naval exercises in late November.

Mr. Chávez reaffirmed his support for Russia’s military campaign in South Ossetia, saying Venezuelans were “well aware of the reasons behind the conflict — who attacked the people of South Ossetia and how.” He also passed on greetings from President Raúl Castro of Cuba, whom he recently met in Havana, and from the Chinese president, Hu Jintao. Admiral Mullen, of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, played down the joint efforts. Russia and Venezuela, he said, have the right to work together “if they see fit.” Some White House officials have privately urged a more punitive response to Russia’s invasion of Georgia, but Ms. Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have urged a calm and deliberate response as being less likely to escalate tensions. That strategy has been adopted by the Bush administration.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/27/wo.../27russia.html

Russia to Modernize Nicaraguan Military's Arsenal

Russian warships head across Atlantic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jSjTtq18M8

Russia's ambassador to Managua said Wednesday that his country will replace the Nicaraguan army's aging weaponry. Ambassador Igor S. Kondrashev said there are no plans, however, to expand the Central American country's military arsenal. Nicaragua acquired most of its arms and military equipment from the former Soviet Union in the 1980s, when the leftist Sandinista government was fighting U.S.-backed rebels. The army has insisted it needs new helicopters and Navy ships to patrol Caribbean waters, where there is a boundary dispute with Colombia. Kondrashev made the comments in an interview with Canal 8 TV station, but he did not say if Russia would ask for financial compensation or would simply replace the equipment as a gift to Nicaragua — which was one of the first nations to support Russia in its war against Georgia. Kondrashev applauded President Daniel Ortega's government for formally recognizing the independence of the Russian-backed breakaway Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on Sept. 5. Kondrashev also did not say the plans included replacement of Nicaragua's shoulder-fired SAM-7 missiles. The United States has been trying to negotiate destruction of those weapons to keep them from landing in terrorists' hands. Last year, Ortega promised to destroy more than 650 of Nicaragua's remaining 1,051 Soviet-made missiles in exchange for hospital equipment and medicine from the United States. Russia also has been building military ties with Ortega's ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Kondrashev said a group of Russian experts would visit Nicaragua next month to identify other potential joint projects, including petroleum exploration in the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean and the construction of roads and bridges.

Source: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5j...pzW_AD93DATH80

Nicaragua Stirs Cold War Ghosts

Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega has revived Cold War ghosts by recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia, supporting Russia's stance on the breakaway Georgian regions. Ortega, a former Marxist guerilla leader who had close ties to the ex-Soviet Union, went further than other leftist Latin American countries in his defiance of Washington over the Georgia conflict by recognizing the independence of the rebel regions. In a speech to celebrate 29 years of Nicaragua's army - which he founded during the 1979-90 Sandinista revolution - Ortega also accused NATO of "building a military fence against Russia." Nicaragua "recognizes the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia" decreed by their respective parliaments in August, Ortega said Tuesday evening. Nicaragua also completely supports "the Russian government's position," added Ortega, who returned to power in January 2007 having led Nicaragua through revolution and a civil war. Russia sent tanks and troops into Georgia on August 8, a day after Tbilisi launched an offensive to regain control of breakaway South Ossetia.

Moscow halted its offensive after five days but refused to withdraw all its troops, saying they are on a peacekeeping mission. Georgia has labeled them an occupation force. Ortega took a more strident stance on the conflict than Venezuela and Cuba, which have both nonetheless sided with Russia. Venezuela accused the United States of "planning, preparing and ordering" the conflict in Georgia. "We support Russia, we're with Russia and with the worthy action of Russia," Chavez said on August 29. Cuba, which received economic oxygen for 30 years from Moscow, also closed ranks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and accused Georgia of complicity with the United States, in a declaration on August 11 signed by President Raul Castro. Former Cuban president and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro warned Washington it was playing a threat of "nuclear war" and trying to reward Georgia for serving as "canon fodder" for Moscow.

Meanwhile, the president of Cuba's parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, said Thursday he respected Nicaragua's decision. "Nicaragua is a sovereign and independent country and can take the decisions it wants to. I respect Nicaragua and Daniel Ortega a lot," Alarcon said. Many observers said Ortega had made a dangerous gamble. Ortega's statement puts "Nicaragua's foreign policy in a position of great controversy from the point of view of the international community and the United Nations," Luis Guillermo Solis, a Costa Rican political analyst, told AFP. Solis said he was unaware if Ortega's decision was a deliberate provocation or not, but predicted that it would have a significant impact internationally, and would "complicate things, not facilitate them." It was an "unwise" decision, Emilio Alvarez, former Nicaraguan foreign minister, told AFP, saying it evoked the "nostalgic attitudes of Mr Ortega."

Alvarez said that Ortega's decision could have consequences for Nicaragua in its negotiations for an Association Agreement with the European Union, which, along with the United States, leads the rejection of the independence of the two separatist republics. However, Carlos Tunermann, former Nicaraguan ambassador at the Organization of American States, branded Ortega's comments a "rhetorical declaration" that "does not have great significance for the conflict." He said Ortega's comments were "possibly" inspired by political reasons "to express the rejection of the attitude of the United States in that region." Since his return to power, Ortega has cultivated links with Iran and Libya as well as Venezuela and Cuba, defying Washington despite more than 500 million dollars of U.S. contributions to Nicaragua in bilateral cooperation. Nicaragua's exports to the United States, meanwhile, grew by 60.2 percent in the first semester of 2008 compared with the same period the previous year.

Source: http://www.canada.com/topics/news/wo...f-a6b8abd0d84f

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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.

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