Scandinavia and the World
Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9703368:

Do you smell that? 25 11, 6:28am


"But claims of US intelligence agencies about "russian meddling", I point to you, can be fabricated. Majority of information is classified, rest looks practically weak, if we take out the confidence and trust people have towards organisations of one single country saying same thing."

No, not "one single country". As I said, other western intelligence agencies have reported the same pattern of Russian attempts at interfering in their elections as well.

"Organisations made for espionage, investigation, and defending interests of state that owns them, not always in a just and honest ways. So, why am I supposed to trust CIA, or FBI? Organisations labelling my country and people as "enemy" and provoking rest of their country to take hostile actions against mine?"

Because they have no reason what so ever to lie.
The west won the Cold War - the Soviet Union lost.
I know that might hurt some Russians to admit, but that's the simple fact. The Soviet Union collapsed and lost all serious ability to threaten the west.
IF western intelligence agencies and military had felt the need to keep Russia around as a "bogey man", as a dangerous enemy, they would have done so a decade ago - but they didn't.
And the west has never labeled the Russian people as our enemy - we've had problems with your leaders and their actions, and we still have.

Instead terrorism has taken over as the major threat to the west - in large part helped by Bush's war in Afghanistan and Iraq of course.
Russia haven't been viewed as a threatening enemy for a decade in the west - believe me - and no one have needed you as an enemy either, as there have been other threats to deal with.

"If we speak in serious manner - scandal around "russian meddling" is getting constantly inflated, and used as leverage to put pressure on specific politicians and replace them, to instigate additional economic and political sanctions against individuals AND enterprises of my country, including corporations, banks, and infrastructure services - all things important for healthy economy. It allows to make accusations towards few of our enterpises active on international market, thus cutting our economic ties with rest of the world and possibilities of our economy recovering from crisis we are in since early 2014."

When Russia invades it's neighboring nations, that's not "inflating" anything.

The simple truth is Putin fucked up when he invaded Crimea and the Ukraine.
He thought the west would just accept that like we did with Georgia. But he didn't understand the difference in attacking west. Most Europeans might not care much about Georgia and hardly knows where it is - but we do know where Crimea and the Ukraine is, and we know it neighbors countries in the EU.

So that was a bridge too far.

Especially when Putin first claims no knowledge of the army of "little green men" that invaded - and then months later is having his photo taken awarding medals to Russian soldiers for the successful invasion of the Crimea.
He's publicly flipping the whole world of because he want to look like a big man at home - not a smart move if you want to keep diplomatic relations good.

And talking about having to invade Crimea to "protect ethnic Russians" is EXACTLY what Hitler did when he invaded Czechoslovakia and then Poland to "protect ethnic Germans" in 1939 - and Europe can't let that stand.

There are "ethnic Russians" in all the Baltic states and Poland as well, so accepting that kind of rational is inviting WWIII.

So Russia was hit with general economic sanctions - because of Putins invasions. Cause and effect - very simple.

But what really bothers Putin is the specific economic sanctions targeted against him personally and a small group of people around him - the so called Magnitsky Act.
This is named after a Russian lawyer that was murdered in Russian jail after he uncovered evidence of massive corruption and tax fraud among friends of Putin.
The act punishes those individuals thought to be responsible for and benefiting from his murder - and is a list of people close to Putin.

It freezes their personal wealth in foreign countries which is a terrible blow to Putin and the group around him as they've stolen billions from the Russian people and stashed it abroad for the future - and now all that wealth is untouchable to them.

Putins main objective is to get THAT sanction repealed. He's far less worried about what happens to the Russian people then what happens to his and his friends wealth abroad.

I don't know if you have any free media left in Russia by now, but if you've heard about all the meetings Trumps people had with different Russians before and since the election ALL the Russians ever wanted to talk about was rescinding the Magnitsky Act - or "adoptions" as it's know in their speech.
That's because Putins response to the Magnitsky Act was to ban the adoption of Russian children to the US. Adoptions really has no connection what so ever to any of this of course - it was just one of the few ways Putin could hit back at the US.
So anyway, whenever you hear Trump or his people talked about "adoptions" with Russians - it's always actually about Putins burning wish to see the Magnitsky Act lifted.

"That scandal gave USA opportunity to revive image of external enemy, and to excuse constant political agression and supression of my country. You claim that this goes along with interest of Putin... One man. One politician, even if influential. He is not all-powerful, and he has his restrictions. Behind him is a giant "United Russia" political party, full of people with their own interests. People of all ages, people who certainly do not plan retiring any time soon, people who hardly fond of idea of open and direct confrontation with any other influential country. And you assume that all that giant system of bureaucrats has nothing to do but to "sow discontent" and "weaken democracy"."

Putin is the de facto dictator of Russia. I guess your state run media don't tell you that - but that's the fact.
You could easily see that in the strange dance when he a Mevedev traded places for a few years only for Putin to come back as president. That was all done for Putin to abide by the letter of the formal law as he then couldn't officially be reelected as president. But regardless if he had the title of president or prime minister, it was always he who was actually in charge.

You can forget about every one in "United Russia" and even Medvedev - none of these other people hold any real power compared to Putin.

"This is a treatment of a "boogieman", no sane politician would be deliberately trying to undermine image of democracy. And "authoritarian criminal" who, trust you me, stole his portion of statebudget, is still depending on democracy. Depending on good international relationships, and on satisfaction of political party backing him up. This is not 2004, Putin is not a some sort of rising political superstar. From how things going so far it seems he will not be even participating in elections next year..."

It was the entire mission of the KGB to undermine the very concept of democracy, as that was seen as both a threat to the Soviet Union and a strength to the west. And Putin is of course an old KGB officer.
The KGB employed the exact same overarching tactic for decades against the west - the entire point was to try to paint democracy not as strong, but as filled with conflict and internal tensions in contrast to the image the Soviet Union wanted to portray of itself as monolithic and in total control with everyone happily marching in the same direction towards the promised happy utopian future.
Of course none of that was true. The Soviet Union was rife with internal division but it was dealt with not by open debate but firing squad or the Gulags.

"So I highly doubt this discontent comes from Putin and his administration. I highly doubt that people's distrust towards how democracy works comes from "an evil plot of evil authoritarians". Every country has corrupted politicians, every country has those who are actually ready to go for a crime to save their priviliged places in state administration. In every country there can be always found overlooked or opressed minority, being it ethnic or social. In every country happen unfair, unjust things. Issued unfair laws, or made inefficient decidions. "

You're perfectly expressing the worldview the KGB promoted here - there is absolutely now difference between nations, they all have problems so don't believe it's better in the west but just be happy under your leader and do your work without complaining.
But it's not true of course. It wasn't during the Cold War and it isn't now.
We in the west have democratic freedoms you in Russia don't have, our societies are less corrupt and our press is free.
I'm not saying that to be mean to you - it's just the truth. I wish it wasn't - the Russian people have done noting to deserve being lead by autocrats, but you unfortunately have throughout history and now is no different.

That's not to say that everything is perfect in every other country - of course not. But society is a whole lot more democratic in every single western nation then it is in Russia and that's just a fact.
But Russian staterun propaganda will - as during the Cold War - use any excuse to try and paint the west as just as corrupt and undemocratic as Russia itself, pushing the image that there is no real difference.
And then they par that with all this "the west is decadent" social stuff, because we don't mistreat homosexuals.

"This is how democracy works - people grow discontent with things, and they express this discontent. They *tell* when they do not like something, for one or other reason, and they have to be heard. When they are ignored or repressed - they usually start taking various actions - changing their votes, gathering rallies, even rioting. It happens in healthy democracy, it is normal. It is a sign of politicians being not good enough, putting not enough effort in their work, not fulfilling their electoral promises and committing acts of corruption. And it is a sign of people not being passive towards that."

You can tell me how democracy works the day Putin is removed from power in a democratic election.
And I'm not talking about another of those dances where he takes another seat for some years, while in actual fact still running the country from that seat.
When he's voted out of office like our leaders are and actually retires and looses all power - then you can talk to me about democracy in Russia.
And I'm afraid we'll probably have to wait a long time for that to happen.

"And when that happens - competing politicians use such issues to gain popularity and get into office, if they can. So trust me - all the problems of so called "western" countries are coming from them selves. Inefficient policies, wrong decidions, disappointing outcomes - all do happen, and you do not need a "big evil empire" for people to be angry about that. Otherwise Eltzin would've stood on that tank alone, making a speech to an empty street. "

Well obviously Russian propaganda and psy-ops are based on real conflicts that exist in western nations - they can't invent those. But they can certainly deepen them by spreading false information and sowing decent in any number of ways - and they are still doing it.
There are thousands of Russian intelligence controlled bots spewing out stuff on FB and Twitter and everywhere else online as we speak. I guess you don't get to hear that in Russian state media, but it's obvious to us in the west.
There aren't really that many people in the west that think Putin is a GREAT GUY you know, so it becomes fairly obvious at times that the "person" posting praise for Putin is probably not sitting down the road from you.
And no - we're definitely not talking about any "Evil empire" - no one in the west is. This is about Putin and the group of cronies around him who run Russia as a mafia state for their own personal enrichment.

All this "Russian Empire" stuff Russian state media sells you is just for internal consumption. It's intended to sell nationalism to the Russian people and paint the picture that Putin is the strong leader the new, strong Russia needs. It's just for show.
In reality Russia is no where near the power the Soviet Union was - and it doesn't have to be either!
There doesn't have to be any conflict between Russia or the west - just stop invading your neighbors and messing with our elections and no one in the west cares what you do.
But Putin wants the conflict and he want to fan the flames of Russian imperialism - because that's what he thinks will see him stay in power for as long as he wants too.
And sadly he'll probably be, because Russia sadly isn't the democracy you seem to think.