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Found 10 results

  1. If the Ukrainian - Russian war will end with some sort of agreement or cease-fire, in my opinion, one man will come out of all this as a sort of Messiah: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the meeting between the US and Russian intelligence services was important to prevent an "uncontrolled" escalation in the field, the Turkish presidency announced on Friday, Reuters reports. Lesson for people out there. If you have issues in life, think about Erdogan, this man barely survived an internal coup to come back with an image as a saviour. And not only that, Turkey is pulling strings and benefits from both sides in this conflict. This man is what I call a skilled politician for one side. Now I understand why his people died in the streets in Ankara, Istanbul against the Gullen attempted coup to maintain his power. but this man has issues too, authoritarian issues, but that is for another thread. You don't have to like a man to respect his commitment to his interests.
  2. ---> in Europe, it seems the French and Germans want to lead, it makes sense for the U.S. to focus more on China, however one analyst that I was listening to at a European think tank was theorising that America does not really wants to do this, they invested a lot in Eastern Europe to just allow Western Europe/Old Europe to collect the fruits. Anyhow here is an article about US, China & Russia: Taking on China and Russia via Foreign Affairs. Meeting at the Madrid summit in June, NATO leaders issued their first new “strategic concept” in a decade. As expected, Russia took centre stage in the document, and the heads of state declared Moscow a manifest threat to the transatlantic alliance. In a joint statement, they pledged their commitment to Ukraine “for as long as it takes” and committed to spend more on defence. Russia, however, was not the only major threat identified in the new strategy. For the first time, the allies said China posed “systemic challenges’’ to “Euro-Atlantic security,” and that its ambitions and policies challenge the alliance’s “interests, security and values.” To drive the point home, leaders from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea were on hand to demonstrate unity and resolve. NATO’s new focus is just one of many indications that a new strategic era has begun. The Biden administration’s national security strategy, for instance, states that “the most pressing strategic challenge” is from “powers that layer authoritarian governance with a revisionist foreign policy.” The new U.S. strategy, which was released in October, labels Russia “an immediate threat to the free and open international system” and China as the only competitor with the intent and power to reshape that system. Today Washington has chosen, perhaps by default, to compete with—and if necessary, confront—both Russia and China simultaneously and indefinitely. This new geopolitical reality is only beginning to register among policymakers and experts. As the strategist Andrew Krepinevich has observed, at no time in the past 100 years has the United States faced a single great-power competitor with a GDP equal to or greater than 40 percent of the U.S. GDP. Yet today, the Chinese economy amounts to at least 70 percent of U.S. GDP, a figure likely to grow. Each is a nuclear-armed state able to project political, economic, and military power on a global scale. China and Russia are also working together. Although there are clearly limits to Russia and China’s “no limits” quasi-alliance, each appears bent on revising what they consider a Western-dominated global order. In 1880, the Prussian leader Otto von Bismarck contended that “as long as the world is governed by the unstable equilibrium of five great powers,” Germany should “try to be one of three.” Among today’s three great powers, two are far closer to each other than to the United States. There is little prospect of any near-term change in this basic strategic equation. As a result, how Washington should operate in a world with two great-power antagonists is the central question in U.S. foreign policy. Competing with China and Russia on every issue, and in every place they are active, is a recipe for failure. It is also unnecessary. A foreign policy that manages these twin challenges requires setting priorities and making difficult tradeoffs across regions and issues. That will be far easier said than done. Full Article: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/united-states/taking-china-and-russia
  3. The Long-Term Costs of the Ukraine War Will Be Staggering: After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the Russian economy seemed destined for a nosedive. International sanctions threatened to strangle the economy, leading to a plunge in the value of the ruble and Russian financial markets. Everyday Russians appeared poised for privation. More than eight months into the war, this scenario has not come to pass. Indeed, some data suggest that the opposite is true, and the Russian economy is doing fine. The ruble has strengthened against the dollar, and although Russian GDP has shrunk, the contraction may well be limited to less than three percent in 2022. Look behind the moderate GDP contraction and inflation figures, however, and it becomes evident that the damage is in fact severe: the Russian economy is destined for a long period of stagnation. The state was already interfering in the private sector before the war. That tendency has become only more pronounced, and it threatens to further stifle innovation and market efficiency. The only way to preserve the viability of the Russian economy is either through major reforms—which are not in the offing—or an institutional disruption similar to the one that occurred with the fall of the Soviet Union. The misapprehension of what sanctions against Russia would accomplish can be explained in part by unrealistic expectations of what economic measures can do. Simply put, they are not the equivalent of a missile strike. Yes, in the long run, sanctions can weaken the economy and lower GDP. But in the short run, the most one can reasonably hope for is a massive fall in Russia’s imports. It is only natural that the ruble strengthens rather than weakens as the demand for dollars and euros drops. And as the money that would have been spent on imports is redirected towards domestic production, GDP should in fact rise rather than fall. The effect of sanctions on consumption and quality of life take longer to work their way through the economy. At the beginning of the war, in February and early March, Russians rushed to buy dollars and euros to protect themselves against a potential plunge in the ruble. Over the next eight months, with Russian losses in Ukraine mounting, they bought even more. Normally, this would have caused a significant devaluation of the ruble because when people buy foreign currency, the ruble plunges. Because of sanctions, however, companies that imported goods before the war stopped purchasing currency to finance these imports. As a result, imports fell by 40 percent in the spring. One consequence was that the ruble strengthened against the dollar. In short, it was not that sanctions did not work. On the contrary, their short-term effect on imports was unexpectedly strong. Such a fall in imports was not expected. If Russia’s central bank had anticipated such a massive fall, it would not have had introduced severe restrictions on dollar deposits in March to prevent a collapse in the value of the ruble. Economic sanctions did, of course, have other immediate effects. Curbing Russia’s access to microelectronics, chips, and semiconductors made production of cars and aircraft almost impossible. From March to August, Russian car manufacturing fell by an astonishing 90 percent, and the drop in aircraft production was similar. The same holds true for the production of weapons, which is understandably a top priority for the government. Expectations that new trade routes through China, Turkey, and other countries that are not part of the sanctions regime would compensate for the loss of Western imports have been proved wrong. The abnormally strong ruble is a signal that back-door import channels are not working. If imports were flowing into Russia through hidden channels, importers would have been buying dollars, sending the ruble down. Without these critical imports, the long-term health of Russia’s high-tech industry is dire. Even more consequential than Western technology sanctions is the fact that Russia is unmistakably entering a period in which political cronies are solidifying their hold over the private sector. This has been a long time in the making. After the 2008 global financial crisis hit Russia harder than any other G20 country, Russian President Vladimir Putin essentially nationalized large enterprises. In some cases, he placed them under direct government control; in other cases, he placed them under the purview of state banks. To stay in the government’s good graces, these companies have been expected to maintain a surplus of workers on their payrolls. Even enterprises that remained private have in essence been prohibited from firing employees. This did provide the Russian people with economic security—at least for the time being—and that stability is a critical part of Putin’s compact with his constituents. But an economy in which enterprises cannot modernize, restructure, and fire employees to boost profits will stagnate. Not surprisingly, Russia’s GDP growth from 2009 to 2021 averaged 0.8 percent per year, lower than the period in the 1970s and 1980s that preceded the collapse of the Soviet Union. Even before the war, Russian businesses faced regulations that deprived them of investment. Advanced industries such as energy, transportation, and communication—that is, those that would have benefited the most from foreign technology and foreign investment—faced the greatest restrictions. To survive, companies operating in this space were forced to maintain close ties with government officials and bureaucrats. In exchange, these government protectors ensured that these businesses faced no competition. They outlawed foreign investment, passed laws that put onerous burdens on foreigners doing business in Russia, and opened investigations against companies operating without government protection. The result was that government officials, military generals, and high-ranking bureaucrats—many of them Putin’s friends—became multimillionaires. The living standards of ordinary Russians, in contrast, have not improved in the past decade. Since the beginning of the war, the government has tightened its grip over the private sector even further. Starting in March, the Kremlin rolled out laws and regulations that give the government the right to shut down businesses, dictate production decisions, and set prices for manufactured goods. The mass mobilization of military recruits that started in September is providing Putin with another cudgel to wield over Russian businesses because to preserve their workforces, company leaders will need to bargain with government officials to ensure that their employees are exempt from conscription. To be sure, the Russian economy has long operated under a government stranglehold. But Putin’s most recent moves are taking this control to a new level. As the economists Andrei Shleifer and Robert Vishny have argued, the one thing worse than corruption is decentralized corruption. It’s bad enough when a corrupt central government demands bribes; it is even worse when several different government offices are competing for handouts. Indeed, the high growth rates of Putin’s first decade in office were in part due to how he centralized power in the Kremlin, snuffing out competing predators such as oligarchs operating outside of the government’s fold. The emphasis on creating private armies and regional volunteer battalions for his war against Ukraine, however, is creating new power centers. That means that decentralized corruption will almost certainly resurface in Russia. That could create a dynamic reminiscent of the 1990s, when Russian business owners relied on private security, mafia ties, and corrupt officials to maintain control of newly privatized enterprises. Criminal gangs employing veterans of the Russian war in Afghanistan offered “protection” to the highest bidder or simply plundered profitable businesses. The mercenary groups that Putin created to fight in Ukraine will play the same role in the future. Russia could still eke out a victory in Ukraine. It’s unclear what winning would look like; perhaps permanent occupation of a few ruined Ukrainian cities would be packaged as a triumph. Alternatively, Russia could lose the war, an outcome that would make it more likely that Putin would lose power. A new reformist government could take over and withdraw troops, consider reparations, and negotiate a lifting of trade sanctions. No matter the outcome, however, Russia will emerge from the war with its government exercising authority over the private sector to an extent that is unprecedented anywhere in the world aside from Cuba and North Korea. The Russian government will be omnipresent yet simultaneously not strong enough to protect businesses from mafia groups consisting of demobilized soldiers armed with weapons they acquired during the war. Particularly at first, they will target the most profitable enterprises, both at the national and local level. For the Russian economy to grow, it will need not only major institutional reforms but also the kind of clean slate that Russia was left with in 1991. The collapse of the Soviet state made institutions of that era irrelevant. A long and painful process of building new institutions, increasing state capacity, and reducing corruption followed—until Putin came to power and eventually dismantled market institutions and built his own system of patronage. The lesson is grim: even if Putin loses power and a successor ushers in significant reforms, it will take at least a decade for Russia to return to the levels of private-sector production and quality of life the country experienced just a year ago. Such are the consequences of a disastrous, misguided war. https://foreignaffairs.com/russian-federation/russias-road-economic-ruin
  4. Party lawmakers were blindsided by Monday's release of a letter calling for direct negotiations in Ukraine, according to several people familiar with the situation. House progressives on Tuesday retracted a letter calling on President Joe Biden to engage in direct diplomacy with Russia, less than 24 hours after it sparked intense backlash from other Democrats. The about-face comes as some Democratic lawmakers vent their fury that the letter backing talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin — originally drafted and signed in June — wasn’t recirculated before its public release on Monday. https://www.politico.com/news/2022/10/25/house-progressives-russia-diplomacy-00063338
  5. Since the first days of March EU and NATO have begun execution of their plan of global isolating Russia. Putin’s invasion to Ukraine was used as an excellent reason. This plan contained several actions which should have destroyed Russian economic and technological sectors and included strong sanctions, ban of the Russian energy import, including natural gas, oil and coal, declining Russian cooperation with the biggest world companies, cutting off their main banks form SWIFT, etc. Moreover, European countries began to intensify arms supply to Ukraine to withstand Russian aggression. At least 21 countries sent their weapon systems and supplies to the fighting zone, including tanks, helicopters, MLRS, UAVs and so on. NATO instructors were appointed to provide combat training to Ukrainian armed forces. One of the main goals of European leaders was to support Ukrainian refugees. To achieve this aim several actions were taken – simplifying border policies, creating all possible conditions for accommodation. It looked like Europe while being involved in escalating conflict would unite and follow one way together. But while European leaders are busy in dealing with foreign policy questions, Europe have begun to divide inside. Natural gas & inflation When the war began, democratic world responded with far-reaching sanctions against Moscow. In response to that Putin declared that “unfriendly” countries would pay for Russian natural gas in rubles, and if not import would be stopped for them. Of course this demand caused great indignation of European leaders, which unanimously rejected it on the G7 meeting saying that “all G-7 ministers agreed completely that this (would be) a one-sided and clear branch of the existing contracts”. That moment can be called the beginning of the European crisis. It’s important to point out that the EU depends on Russia for about 40% of its natural gas. So, if Europe admired to stop using it they should be able to find something that could be an equal alternative. As for now they could not deal with it. It’s undeniable that the gas prices had been already high before the war started. But when Europe refused to pay for natural gas in Russian national currency the “inflation bomb” finally exploded. As it’s presented in the graphics, inflation in Europe hits its celling for the first time in 40 years. Moreover, it’s not even a limit as experts make their predictions that CPI will be higher than nowadays. It’s not a secret that high inflation has an influence on a price of at least everything – from similar goods to high technologies and energy resources. It’s interesting to note that European leaders’ attempts to make an excuse for this serious fail looked very humiliating. Moreover, all their actions which were taken to stabilize the situation make the crisis in Europe more and more visible. For example, Romanian Deputy Prime Minister Hunor Kelemen said: “First of all, we, the European Union, will have to pay for the sanctions against Russia… Truth be told, we will all pay the price this winter while, unfortunately, there are no signs that the end of war is near… It well be a harsh winter, perhaps the harshest one in the last 40-50-60 years.” What’s the reason of such an aggravation of the problem? Despite the fact that G7 leaders decided not to pay for natural gas in rubles, some countries took a step back and did completely the opposite. And it was the key moment when national interests collided with alliance direction. This map shows which countries agreed (green) and refused (red) to pay for natural gas in rubles. Russia has already cut off supplies to Poland, Bulgaria and Finland. Countries which are highlighted by green are said to accept Russian demand and open ruble accounts at Gazprombank. At the beginning of July the European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said: “Energy prices are high. People – rightly so – expect us to do something about it.” So what’s the announced decision? Not so long ago EU Commission revealed their emergency plan which calls for public, commercial buildings and offices to be heated to a maximum of 19 degrees from autumn. EU does not want to pay Russia for natural gas but in fact they have got no choice. They should deal with this winter and then develop the plan what to do next. And it feels like European lives doesn’t matter because it’s clear that EU Arms supply Since the conflict broke out, European countries had begun to actively supply Ukraine with amount of weapons. But how was declared earlier, everything has got its limit and when it was clear that war would be long and slow, arms supply strongly reduced. The first country which was criticized for it became Germany for its decision not to send heavy weapons to war zone. While Ukraine strongly needs this kind of weapons not so many countries are ready to give it to them while being aware of potential escalation of conflict with Russia. Germany is not an exception. Now their government is catching critics not only from EU/NATO partners but from opposition parties inside the country. It’s truly disappointing for German chancellor Olaf Scholz, whose approval rating sinks lower and lower every month. One more European country which refused to send weapons to Ukraine was Bulgaria. Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov confirmed that his government has no plans to send heavy weapons to Ukraine, saying that Bulgaria has “done enough” to help Kyiv with humanitarian relief. “We’ve done enough and we’ll continue to support Ukraine,” he said. Moreover, Switzerland also didn’t allow the re-export of Swiss war material to Ukraine. Following their policy of military neutrality it was declared that Bern rejected Berlin’s request to send around 12400 rounds of 35-millimetre Swiss ammunition for self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, and for Piranha III wheeled APCs to Kyiv. Similarly, Switzerland denied Denmark’s request to send 22 Swiss-made Piranha III wheeled APCs to Ukraine. Switzerland also vetoed Poland’s request to send Swiss-made war material to Ukraine. Hungary Decision-making inside the coalition is not as simple as it looks. There are a lot of examples when representatives from different countries cannot deal with each other discussing various types of questions. But Hungary made a significant step aside if we consider cooperation with EU and NATO. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during his race for election to a fourth consecutive term said that Hungary would stay out of Ukrainian war. “Russia looks at Russian interests, while Ukraine looks at Ukrainian interests. Neither the United States, nor Brussels would think with Hungarians’ mind and feel with Hungarians’ hearts. We must stand up for our own interests,” Orbans said. “We must stay out of this war… therefore we will not send any troops or weapons to the battlegrounds.” As a result, Hungary not only doesn’t support Ukraine by weapons but doesn’t allow the transit through its territory. It’s the whole opposite position in comparison with EU/NATO members. For example, nobody was surprised when Serbia declared that they would not join overall sanctions against Russia and its government while being considered one of the Russian allies; however, when EU and NATO member concludes that participation in the conflict even by supplying Ukrainian army would be harmful for the country interests, it feels at least unusual. This opinion can be a little bit controversial but at least it deserves some respect. When the interests of alliance contradict national interests and nation’s leader is brave enough not to blindly follow EU/NATO recommendations but stand on his way to improve lives of his country’s citizens – it’s kind of question for European leaders to think about. Who orders the music? It’s not a secret that armed conflict has got some visible reasons of its escalation and it serves for the people who are interested in it. On the one hand, it could be quite logical to find one to blame in conflict’s escalation but the complexity of this situation mean that it should be viewed not only from one side. If we are going to suggest that this war will end with Russia achieving all its goals – the so-called “release” of Ukraine and annexation of its territories as it was with Crimea – the last guy who laughs will be exactly Putin. But it’s not the only way possible. It’s important to find out who makes profit from the situation that armed conflict in Ukraine hasn’t any tendency to end soon. Anybody quickly can think about the United States, who has got their own interests in this war. US government is fighting for saving US dollar as a main world currency. The reason is that some countries including China and Russia are step-by-step refusing from mutual payments in dollar and beginning to make payments in national currency. This fact of weakening dollar of course is confusing US when they are fighting for its strengthening and, as a result, for stability of their economy. Moreover, Russian energy ban opens doors for the increased energy import from the US. The US will send 15 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the European countries. As a result, US economy will feel safer and Europe will depend on US stronger. In addition to that, also Russia in the last 20 years developed their economy as well as their armed forces. Putin declared that time for mono-polar world was over. It’s doubtful that US will agree with this statement so easy, and it’s indirectly confirmed by US enormous arms supply to Ukraine, including HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) which made a significant shift in this war. If we talk about arms supply - war in Ukraine is a good chance for some countries including US to send Ukrainians their old weapons and equipment. While it’s off to Ukraine, US supposedly will update their weapon systems. It will be wrong to admit that only US is making significant contribution to the Ukrainian conflict continuation. But it’s a matter of fact that US are trying to strengthen their position as a world leader by way of supporting the prolongation of this war. It’s not a secret that the large part of the above-mentioned problems – natural gas prices, inflation, pro-Russian governments – had existed long before the Ukrainian war escalated. Unfortunately, at this moment actions of the European countries’ governments and Russian counteractions have leaded only to negative consequences concerning EU citizens’ wellbeing. It’s the stalemate situation – on the one hand if EU/NATO countries follow US requests and approve economic sanctions against Russia it causes financial losses not only for Putin’s government but for themselves (for example, not so long ago dollar for the first time in 20 years exchanged for euro equally) and without any doubt makes their citizens angry. As a result British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi have decided to leave their posts because of their lack of ability to handle the situation. On the other hand if European leaders refuse to take measures against Russia which is based on their desire not to leave their citizens without cheap gas and fuel, - they are going through tough critics form their colleagues form EU and NATO. We can suppose how the situation in Europe will develop in the upcoming months. First variant – Europe follows its way of absolute support of Ukraine, refusing the cooperation with Russia, what makes a great advantage for US but not for Europeans. Second way is to stop confrontation with Russia and search for peaceful decisions of existing problems with Putin as well as between European leaders. Why is this variant look quite acceptable? Everything depends on the war ending and timing; analysts are making the different predictions, European leaders strongly hope that everything would be solved before the winter begins, but nobody truly believes it. Moreover, they don’t approach the end of the war while giving Ukraine enormous amount of weapons. What we have for now – Europe is frozen in waiting for the winter and its consequences, searching for US and Middle East natural gas and it is not clear now how long they could live using only their resources. Anyways, the majority of European governments would have decided to buy natural gas in Russia despite the fact that it would strengthen Russia’s economy. In a short-term perspective a lot of these problems could be solved by way of compromise and restarting the dialogue with Russian government. Can Europe follow this way? Without a doubt. Will they have a chance to do it? Probably not, because Europe depends on US as well as it depends on Russia. How can they find a decision which would be acceptable for anyone? It’s kind of question which can’t be answered for 5 months. It’s clear that Europe will soon collide with very cold winter. How is it justified and what will be Europeans attitude for these events, – upcoming half of the year will show us that. We can only wait what decision will be made by the leaders of “free” and “independent” Europe.
  6. NATO stirred the pot decades ago when it refused admission for Russia and encouraged former Soviet republics and satellites to join the western alliance at a time when the Cold War appeared to end and the opportunity for warm relations with Russia finally arose. Most Crimeans want to stay in Russia. It was originally part of Russia. Russia wanted the Donbas region to be independent because of the mixed groups (Russian and Ukrainian) and old Russian territory claims. Ukraine supported this plan in the Turkey summit with Russia until they realized that the US, Canada, and other countries would fund a proxy war. Now there’s no political resolution and endless suffering and war in Ukraine. How many more billions are Canadians willing to pay for Freeland’s war? We need a concrete timeline for a political solution.
  7. According to a CIA assessment, Russia's interference in the 2016 election was intended to help one candidate: Trump. Predictably, the Trumpkin spin factory is in overdrive, trying to undermine the CIA and denying that the interference influenced the result. However, they're missing the point. As Evan McMullin (former CIA operative, former policy director for House Republicans) tweeted: At the very least, Trump actively encouraged foreign interference in the election and is now preparing to cover up and evidence of it. This alone should make Americans enraged. Of course, in the current, hyper-partisan environment, Trumpkins will doubtless have no trouble rationalizing this immoral (and probably criminal) behavior. But the real question isn't even being seriously asked. The real question is how much did Trump know about the interference. Was he or his organization actually involved in some way? The relationship between Trump and Putin has not been thoroughly investigated or documented. Trump himself made several contradictory statements about his relationship with Putin. Senior people associated with his campaign and cabinet have questionable associations with Putin's Russia. Former campaign Paul Manafort is under investigation by the FBI for his dealings. His Secretary of State pick, Rex Tillerson received the Order of Friendship, one of Russia's highest honors, from Putin. So, is it credible that Trump knew nothing of Russian interference?
  8. “Gerasimov’s Doctrine” – a key to Russian Success On the 22nd of September at the Finnish government’s Koningstedt residency in Vantaa a meeting took place between General Velery Gerasimov the Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of United States General Mark Milley. Military Commanders have held internal negotiations in the past – in 2019 in Geneve, Switzerland. As always, official information on the agenda and results of meetings of heads of general staffs of two strongest armies on the planet stands out in laconism and restraint. According to the press-service of the Ministry of Defence of Russian Federation the Military Leaders discussed “issues of mutual interest including lowering the risks of occurrence of incidents during military activities.” In the Russian Defense Ministry, by the tradition, which has settled in the international diplomacy, it has been noted that the meeting "carried constructive character". The Pentagon stands in solidarity with the Russian colleagues that, by the way, happens not so often. Mark Milley's press secretary colonel Dave Butler with the reference to the chief has noted efficiency of the meeting. According to him, Valery Gerasimov's dialogue with Mark Milley "became the next stage of the negotiations directed at improving the communication between the military management in order to decrease the risks and find ways of evading conflict situations". As reciprocal curtsey to the Russians, Butler has shared Milley’s reverence for mister Gerasimov, having specified that both military leaders have not failed to show sense of humour, of course, "when it was pertinent". In spite of the fact that Valery Gerasimov's negotiations and Mark of lasted nearly six hours, details have remained in secret. Such state of affairs in the Pentagon was explained as "established practices". The surreptitiousness of negotiations between Valery Gerasimov and Mark Milley, on one hand, has strengthened the mysterious atmosphere around the Russian army and, first of all, it’s military leaders, on another, it has led to the rapid growth of interest among the western experts in modern Russian commanders. Special attention of the American and the European analysts is directed at the general Valery Gerasimov which is quite understandable as the head of the Russian General Staff for the last several years remains a recognized ideological leader and the mentor of Putin’s group of elite commanders. Among our military experts there isn’t one, who doesn’t have a strongly established opinion about the Russian general. He is characterised as a man with stone-cold face, he keeps confidence and calm in most extraordinary and unusual situations. Mister Gerasimov along with his immediate charismatic superior Minister of Defence Sergey Shoygu permanently accompanies the Russian leader Vladimir Putin on military venture, tests of the new Russian weapon, and also international visits (especially, to traditionally unsteady Middle East) and meetings with world leaders (as it was at the June summit of Putin and his American vis-a-vis Joe Biden in Geneva when the general Gerasimov was part of the Russian delegation). The trust of the head of the Kremlin Vladimir Putin the chief of the General Staff shows the high status and weight of the general Gerasimov in the Russian military and political elite is unprecedented. Cardinal difference between him and his predecessors, in our opinion, lies at mister Gerasimov’s excellent expertise in the field of military diplomacy that has proved itself during numerous meetings with heads of the foreign states and the governments. Besides, there is no doubt that the role of the general Gerasimov as a head and the organizer of modern Russian military science derived from the first Russian emperor Peter the Great, the creator of the regular army. By definition the head of the Russian General Staff is obliged with key functions of development and practical introduction of scientific concepts of the military constructions. His predecessors – Georgy Isserson, Alexander Svechin, Mikhail Tukhachevsky, Boris Shaposhnikov, and many others gained outstanding practical achievements due to a theoretical judgment of character and forms of future wars. General Valery Gerasimov who looks good as the army commander, managed to be a successful leader and coordinator of modern military science. At the same time Gerasimov had a great luck to check the effectiveness of his means and ways of conducting modern war on the ground. Russia relying on its military force got back its status of a key power in the Middle East despite skepticism of its geopolitical competitors. Roger McDermott, professor in Jamestown Foundation said Gerasimov's role as president of Academy of military sciences (AVN) marked an important step in further improvement of the Russian army. He stressed that Valery Gerasimov's election as the AVN chair in December, 2020 was caused by his aspiration to let the academy revive the interest in military science and art of war. Being an inspirer of the Russian military science, Valery Gerasimov does his best in summarizing the modern armed conflicts experience and modeling of future wars. Meanwhile, his American colleague Mark Milley is not involved in any kind of scientific research and the analysis. Mister Gerasimov is widely known in Russia as the author of a number of articles in which he comprehends the experience of wars and military conflicts of the past and defines the character hostilities of the future. Mark Milley, the graduate of Priston and Columbia University is a rather a politician than a military theorist. Such differences between Russian and American military chiefs can be explained by differences of military systems of the two nations. The U.S. Joint Chief of Staff is initially engaged in combat operations planning, the Russian General Staff also conducts scientific forecasting. The American military analysts point to these disproportions in powers of Russia’s and U.S. military staffs. “The General Staff of Russian Armed Forces solves a much bigger range of problems than simple planning of operations. It is also responsible for development and improvement of the theory and practice of future war by forecasting. In the Russian military system the forecasting is directly connected with military science”, – Charles Bartls and Lester Grau wrote in the book “The Russian way of waging war”. Being directly involved into multi-level scientific researches on forecasting of the future conflicts, the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian army is a key coordinator for the enterprises of country’s military and industrial complex. Possessing information on perspective weapons of potential foes, every head of the Russian General Staff, as a rule, personally supervises development and tests of the weapons of deterrence. Eventually, specifics of Russia’s political system in which military command is most distanced from election processes allow the Chief of the General Staff to concentrate on his professional duties only. The U.S. political system expects that the chairman of Joint Chief of Staff shows flexibility to minimize political risks as the White House administrations change. Theoretical concept of Chief of Russia’s General Staff caused discussions among military experts. The so-called “Gerasimov's Doctrine” is the concept of “new generation war” or the “hybrid warfare”: simultaneous use of power methods, information campaigns, political pressure, and economic sanctions. For the first time this term was used by the British researcher Mark Galeotti in February, 2013 – almost immediately after Gerasimov’s speech Russia’s AVN conference and the publication Gerasimov’s article “Science’s value is in foresight” in “Voyenno-promyshlenny Kuryer” newspaper. The article included ideas about a combination of military and non-military methods of armed struggle between the states. Afterwards Gerasimov’s article was also published by “the Military Review”, the popular English-language magazine, and was repeatedly quoted in European and American mass media. The research associate of the Kennan Institute in Washington Michael Coffman wrote that the term “hybrid warfare” was first mentioned in an article in 2005 by Americans James Mathis and Frank Hoffman, who used this definition to describe the nature of the military conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Coffman considers that Gerasimov precisely described the western model of “hybrid warfare” in the Big Middle East and tried to explain how the West succeeded in use of non-military methods against its foes. Despite the intrigues around terms, “Gerasimov's Doctrine” is an issue of a great interest as it describes the scale of Kremlin’s foreign policy claims and effective actions of the Russian military using methods of “new generation war”. Helsinki meeting did not become a bright political event or a breakthrough in relations between Russia and the West. But the quiet Finnish capital once again gives a hope for the military chiefs of two nuclear powers mutual understanding. In a situation when politicians fail to find a common ground, military professionals are able to avoid new global shocks.
  9. During the final press conference at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), held in Vladivostok from September 4 to 6, 2019, a journalist from the Japanese broadcasting organization NHK made a question about the construction of a fish processing plant on the island of Shikotan, which is a part of the Russian Kuril Islands Chain. The journalist tried to find out the attitude of the Russian government to the Japanese protests against the construction of this plant. According to a statement by the representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Far Eastern Federal District, Y. Trutnev, Russia will continue to build new plants on the islands, because they are part of Russian territory. He also noted that «it is strange when someone protests against the construction of enterprises in our territories». It is important to emphasize that the position of the President of the Russian Federation V. Putin to the ownership of the islands remains unchanged. Indeed, during the Forum, he noted that if the issue of the territorial affiliation of the Kuril Islands is considered from the point of view of 1945, «there are no questions». Despite the fact that Russia and Japan continue to cooperate closely with each other in the trade and economic sphere, it is obvious that Moscow is not going to transfer islands rights to Tokyo.
  10. Due to historical events, Alaska, which came under US administration on October 18, 1867, and the Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia), becoming independent states on September 6, 1991, ceased to exist as Russian lands on the world cartography. Russia then established diplomatic relations with the Baltic countries, and during the sale of Alaska, relations between Russia and the United States were at the peak of friendly relations, and there were no grounds for political conflicts between the states. However, today the situation between these states is different, partly due to the unresolved Ukrainian issue. Washington is not satisfied with the activity of Moscow in the Arctic zone, which is considered as one of the main potential areas of the future military conflict due to the huge deposits of oil, gas and the favorable location of the Russian Northern Sea Route. For example, on January 11, 2019, the US Navy Minister Richard Spencer announced his intention to strengthen the US position in the Arctic and respond to Russia's "excessive claims": P-8 "Poseidon" ships and anti-submarine patrol aircraft will be deployed in the Adak Island area to monitor the activities of the Pacific fleet of the Russian Federation. In turn, the State Duma of the Russian Federation believes that the actions of the United States are aggressive in nature and do not exclude that Americans will disregard the rules of international law. Moreover, Americans today are creating the necessary infrastructure for the operational redeployment of troops and in the Baltic States, against the background of the supposedly existing threat to the Baltic countries from Russia. It should be recalled that in 2017, the US Vice President Michael Pence in Tallinn said that Russia poses a threat to the Baltic States and promised that NATO will strictly adhere to the fifth article of the alliance's charter, according to which an attack on one of the NATO members is an attack on all members of the North Atlantic Alliance. Speaking about relations between the United States and Russia, Pence noted that President Donald Trump is ready to improve them, but "first, the Russians must stop the hostile actions that led to the adoption of sanctions". At the same time, Moscow has repeatedly stressed that Russia will never attack any of the NATO countries. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, NATO is well aware of the absence of Moscow’s plans to attack anyone, but simply uses the occasion to deploy more equipment and battalions near the Russian borders. For example, the Americans place their military bases and ranges in the territory of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, having even signed a joint communiqué between these countries in November 2018, where they expressed their determination to continue to increase military budgets. But, despite the statements of the Baltic countries that their military doctrines are exclusively defensive in nature, it is obvious that the government of the US President D. Trump, sponsoring Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in the military sphere simply invests the budget in itself, imposing three countries their ideas and crushing them under their control. And also, strengthening its position in the former territories of Russia, including Alaska, clearly demonstrates attempts to influence Russia, acting together with these states, making them puppets, continuing to fuel the confrontational line that stems from the unresolved Ukrainian issue. Therefore, we are witnessing the process of increasing the grouping of the US and NATO troops on the western borders of the Russian Federation. And it is obvious that in response to this activity of the Pentagon, Moscow will take retaliatory measures.
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