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ABOUT RUSSIA WITHOUT ILLUSIONS

By Dr. Miklos K. RadvanyiFrontiers of Freedom

According to Matthew 12:36, Jesus said:  “And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself.”  The absolutely unjustified, illegal and genocidal war of the Russian Federation against the sovereign state of Ukraine cannot hide the former’s uncompromising war with itself.   Indeed, present-day Russia is being thoroughly devastated by all the accumulated evil demons of a millennium which have been born from the enduring despotism as well as the inherent barbarism of the violently uncivilized and uncultured core mentality of the Russian people.  Moreover, the reality of the West’s enduring superiority over Russia’s historically underdeveloped state of affairs is again materialized in the former’s impressive unity against the antediluvian hatred of the Russian political elite toward the rest of the world.  Literally, Russia’s abominable past is killing the present post-Soviet regime of President Putin.  For this reason alone, the dead soldiers and civilians have more power over the despotic regime of the Kremlin than all of Russia’s nuclear arsenal with its awe-inspiring destructive powers.

Clearly, the disintegration of President Putin’s despotic regime was evident on May 9, 2022, by the scaled down parade and by his lackluster speech about the war and the purported heroism of his Potamkin military.  This military might still achieve partial victories in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, but the costs of the war have further sharpened the deepening chasm between the West and Russia, between Russia and Ukraine, and between Russia and the rest of the world.  The increased insubordination and brutality of military commanders and their soldiers, the use of illegal methods as killers in uniform have become heroes for the majority of Russians, and the pusillanimous cowardice of the badly trained conscripts, all point to the diminishing control of the President and his close circle over the mainstay of the regime. 

In the economy, the burgeoning effects of the sanctions, the uncertainties of the duration and final outcome of the war, combined with the growing unemployment, will certainly lead to the loss of credibility of the regime.  Judging by President Putin’s victory day speech, he and his administration are badly divided and even clueless about how to extricate themselves from their self-inflicted misery.  Granted that there has been no shortage of able bureaucrats in the Central Bank of Russia and the ministries responsible for the economy, but they do not have the political power to change the ossified and obsolete parts of the existing corrupt structures.  In this manner, President Putin and his entourage can only rely on the bastions of the regime, the collection of various police forces and the faltering military.  Facing humiliation in the battlefield and marching toward an economic as well as financial abyss, President Putin’s despotic regime will be incapable of embracing reality in a constructive way.  The power of reason will be defeated by the fear of collapse that, in turn, will prevent developing a strategy which could enable Russia to change course and finally begin progressing toward a normal political harmonization.

Where does all this leave President Putin and Russia?  It leaves both in a bottomless vacuum filled with innumerable crises.  It leaves him personally in an unenviable position of becoming the prisoner of his own fantasies and illusions.  It leaves him, if the war does not go his way, in desperate denial and even nihilism.  It leaves him no choice but to increase oppression by new concentration camps, inhumane prison conditions and execution squads against everybody who even slightly expresses doubts about his narcissistic as well as delusional course of Russia.

Himself possessed by the demons of the past, namely, the never existent greatness of Tsarist Russia, the misleadingly fallacious strength of the former Soviet Union and the foul semi-Christian doctrines of the official Russian Orthodox Church, President Putin does not comprehend his country’s actual place and importance regionally and globally.

Aiming at destroying the entire European political system in order to restore the so-called Soviet Empire, President Putin has signed his and his country’s death warrant.  Surely, Ukraine is going to turn into Russia’s greatest disaster, because President Putin and his comrades do not have the wherewithal to make genuine peace.  By stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the sovereignty of the formerly Soviet Republics, every illegal Russian military invasion will be nothing but a truce, by which every fleeting victory will only feed the Kremlin’s growing paranoia.  In the twenty second year of his despotism, the 69-year-old president and his small group of like-minded advisors have lived too long in their own cocoons; not being able to grasp the ubiquitous depravity of the monster that their predecessors and they have created.  Imprisoned in their own lies and deceptions, President Putin and his comrades will remain ruthless manipulators of their nuclear prowess without any redeeming principles. 

Thus, devoid of the gift of seeing clearly the realities of the world, their lives will continue to be uncompromisingly hellish.  In order to prevent the total breakdown of the international order and to accelerate the demise of this wicked despotism, all states must remain firmly united in their uncompromising resolve to stop once and for all this cancerous growth from destroying the world.


Putin The Barbarian

By Dr. Miklos K. RadvanyiFrontiers of Freedom

The annals of human history are filled with innumerable acts of barbarism and tyranny committed by ruthless warmongers, religious fanatics and their ethnically hate-filled genocidal followers.  After the countless battery of heinous crimes committed by Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union and Japan’s Imperial Military before and during World War II, it was rightly expected that the light of humanism finally would emerge triumphant over the dark forces of Fascism, National Socialism, military Imperialism and the Soviet Union’s depraved utopian Communism.  However, while Germany, Italy, Japan and their former allies completely renounced Imperialism, Fascism as well as National Socialism, Russia’s leaders have never abandoned their tyrannical and revanchist domestic as well as foreign policies to restore the putative “greatness” of the thoroughly discredited Soviet Union with its colonial empire.  To wit, by the leaders of the newly minted Russian Federation, the terms Fascism, Nazism and Imperialism have been misused to emphasize their irreconcilable enmity and their fallacious use of the most strategic engagement in their quest for the restoration of the status quo ante – their uncompromising confrontation with the United States of America as well as the rest of the world.

Accordingly, from his original installation by former President Yeltsin as the new tyrant of the Russian Federation at the end of 1999, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has labored to recreate the Soviet Union under the old Tsarist ideology of Official Nationality.  Composed of Pan Slavism, known also as transcendent Christian Orthodoxy; Autocracy, meaning the so-called governing elite’s tyrannical supremacy; and Nationality, depicted as the racial superiority of the Russian narodnost cum  nation.  Moreover, in his capacities as President and Prime Minister, Putin has been on a mission to reassure the Russian people that the Soviet Union’s disintegration was due to the hostile machinations of foreign powers, not to the internal and international weaknesses of the pseudo Communist empire.  The empire was only gone temporarily, he concluded.  The emergence of the Russian Federation, like the mythological Phoenix rising from the eternal fire, constitutes a victory, not a defeat, he stated.  Finally, the resurrection of historical Russia is the clearest proof that the sufferings of the Russian nation will be reversed by him.  Be patient and courageous, he intoned, and I will conquer Russia’s enemies and the world.

Concurrently, a succession of American presidents have labored under the assumption that the leaders of the Russian Federation desire to politically democratize and economically modernize their realm.  The common characteristic of their views of Russia has been the utter lack of knowledge and understanding of Russian history, Russian culture and the mentality of the Russian people.  Hence, President Clinton’s “peace dividend,” President George W. Bush’s “I looked the man in the eye” amateurish fallacy, President Obama’s vainglorious belief in his imaginary brain powers, President Trump’s faith in his “art of the deal” ability, and  President Biden’s non-existent experience as well as almost zero knowledge of European and world history, have only contributed to the enhanced geostrategic confusion of the post-Soviet era.

As historians and politicians incessantly remind us, the histories of individual countries, regions and continents are interconnected.  In general, they also note that the more things change the more they remain the same.  Lastly, they bemoan the fact that the ever changing politics of the day usually negatively affect the appreciation of history.  Yet, interconnection does not mean uniformity, advancement does not always signal progress, and politically tainted interpretation and reinterpretation of the past as well as the present do not necessarily result in positive transformation of nations and societies.  Objectively, the histories of different countries that are interconnected have shown, more often than not, distinctly disparate interpretations of real as well as invented traditions, leaving their histories with substantive triviality which prevents these societies and nations from proceeding toward establishing complete democracies.

Russia’s war on Ukraine is an unrelievedly grim tale of both countries’ historical inability to overcome the past collapses of their antediluvian orders.  The resulting political, intellectual, cultural and moral madness always led to extraordinary convolutions.  Specifically, behind the demolition artist Putin there lurks the primitive, misinformed, exploited and wretched masses of the Russian people.  Conversely, behind the increasingly heroic persona of Zelenskyy stands the combined force of the heterogeneous Ukrainian nation that in its overwhelming majority desires to move west from its traditional eastern roots.

Contrary to the superficial and thus erroneous  impression of most politicians and media analysts, Putin has been a living enigma without a rational reason.  Obsessed by his Russian inferiority complex and fear of Western intellectual and cultural superiority, Putin was awestruck by the alacrity of German reunification.  These feelings of citizen Putin were compounded by the chaotic and violent events of the first decade of the newly minted Russian Federation under President Yeltsin.  Thus, when appointed Prime Minister on August 9, 1999, his first act of revenge was his brutal military operation against the independence movement of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria against the Russian Federation.  For Putin, the two-year war in Chechnya, dubbed the Second Chechen War, was also a crusade to prove that in Putin’s Russian Federation the right of self-determination of peoples and nations will not be tolerated.  More importantly, he showed that the strongest nation in the region has no legal or moral responsibilities to respect international and domestic laws which it signed, such as the Peace Treaty of 1997 after the First Chechen War between 1994-1996.  The 1999 war on Chechnya demonstrated that the mightier nation can murder indiscriminately, steal, rape and lie at will.  The result was deep hatred toward Putin and everything Russian by those whom the former should have respected and treated as equal.  Even more egregiously, Putin’s war against the Chechens was an unambiguous declaration that he does not recognize self-discipline as a guiding principle of any political order, be it domestic or international.  By doing so, Putin made it crystal clear that as president he will be driven by ruthless and indiscriminate violence as well as horrible inhumanity.  More than two decades later, in February 2022, he proved that his infinite barbarism knows no bounds, and that his lack of self-control could become suicidal.

His illegal war on Ukraine is only the first salvo in his relentless and uncompromising quest to establish a new world order.  According to numerous statements by President Putin and his Foreign Minister Lavrov, Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has been designed to put an end to the US-dominated international regime:  “Our special military operation is meant to put an end to the unabashed expansion [of NATO] and the unabashed drive towards full domination by the US and its Western subjects on the world stage,” did the latter intone on Rossiya 24 news channel.  Moreover:  “This domination is built on gross violations of international law and under some rules, which they are now hyping so much and which they make up on a case-by-case basis.”  Finally, he blasted the European Union’s foreign policy commissioner Josep Borrell thus:  “When a diplomatic chief …says a certain conflict can only be resolved through military action…Well, it must be something personal.  He either misspoke or spoke without thinking, making statements that nobody asked him to make.  But it’s an outrageous remark.”  In closing, he assured his interviewer that Russia wants a negotiated peace with Ukraine.  

What hypocrisy?  What outrage? What lies?  Starting with the Kremlin’s declared objectives when the illegal invasion begun to “DeNazify” and to “teach Kyiv’s drug edicts” to implement the Minsk agreements signed in 2014 and 2015 respectively, and concluding with the demand that Kyiv recognize the illegal annexation of the Crimea as well as the fraudulent independence of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Luhansk, the Kremlin has incessantly upped the ante against Ukraine.  Most recently, President Putin has demanded that Kyiv officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO and the European Union. 

Clearly, President Putin’s goals are unattainable by peaceful means.  His stated intention to reestablish the Soviet Union and beyond means wars that will rapidly multiply without ends in sight.  Moreover, these wars will become so lengthy, so bloody and so costly, that they will surely destroy Russia and at least the neighboring countries.  Finally, the attacks on the well established principles of international law, humanitarianism and reason, will elevate brute force and unlimited violence to the supreme principle of international relations. What President Putin really demands is the complete barbarization of the world through ubiquitous militarization.  This demand, however, demonstrates that he lacks even a modicum of educated intellect to comprehend the realities of world politics.  Most importantly, he is absolutely oblivious to the fact that wars for the sake of mindless destruction and which never end will lose their political efficacy.  The world cannot allow itself to be led by a barbarian with sub-intelligence to total annihilation.  Shockingly, the Biden administration has chosen from the beginning of the war Obama’s “leading from behind” approach.  Personally, President Biden is mentally unfit to lead anything.  He is a failed president who belongs to a mental institution rather than in the White House.  In the presidency, his shuffling connotes stagnation and even walking backwards.  In politics, this kind of glaring weakness exposes a politician to assault.  Ignoring President Putin’s grand design will result in worldwide catastrophe.  Unless Congress realizes that the world is at a crossroads and forces him to change course, the world will perish.  The United States of America cannot be wrong a second time.  For these reasons, if the United States of America will not lead the world and do not unite against President Putin’s barbarism, the Ukrainian genocide will become the beginning of the end for human civilization on this earth.


Putin Can’t Be Appeased

But he can be resisted

By Matthew ContinettiThe Washington Free Beacon

Russia's President Vladimir Putin Annual News Conference
Getty Images

Vladimir Putin has deployed some 100,000 troops to Russia’s border with Ukraine. He has moved fighter jets and antiaircraft defenses into neighboring Belarus. He has around 6,000 soldiers, as well as air and naval assets, in Crimea, the peninsula in south Ukraine that he annexed illegally eight years ago. His insurgents have waged a “frozen conflict” in east Ukraine for close to a decade. His digital army launches routine cyberattacks against Ukrainian infrastructure. And yet, if you listen to “realist” foreign policy analysts, all this is somehow America’s fault.

It was a mistake to allow former provinces and satellites of the USSR to join NATO, we are told. It is hubris to believe that one day Ukraine might join NATO and the EU. It would be reckless to deploy U.S. troops to defend Ukraine (a policy President Joe Biden has ruled out explicitly). America is overstretched, the realists go on. It is inward-looking and uninterested in the fate of freedom in Eastern Europe. Better to provide Putin an “off-ramp” from the present crisis. Better to declare, once and for all, that Ukraine will never join the Western alliance. Putin might be satisfied with a veto over NATO membership. He might stand down. He might save face.

True, Putin might not invade Ukraine if America and NATO acquiesce to his most recent demands. But he would soon make new demands, new threats, and new incursions. History teaches as much. Appease Putin? The West has tried exactly that for over a decade. And the West has nothing to show for it. Putin hasn’t been satisfied with diplomatic overtures. He isn’t deterred by slaps on the wrist. Putin keeps asking for more.

The Russian strongman announced his turn toward bellicosity at the Munich security conference in 2007. Flush with cash from high oil prices and gloating over America’s difficulties in Iraq, Putin assailed the “unipolar model” of American global leadership as “not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world.” He called the deployment of antiballistic missile systems in Europe provocative and the “next step of what would be, in this case, an inevitable arms race.” He said that NATO expansion was “a serious provocation” intended to weaken Russia. The history of his country “spans more than a thousand years,” Putin lectured. Russia “has practically always used the privilege to carry out an independent foreign policy.” This wasn’t an academic lesson. It was a warning.

Message delivered. The implicit threat split Europe. At the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008, President George W. Bush wanted the alliance to issue “Membership Action Plans,” or MAPs, to Georgia and Ukraine. He was overruled. No MAPs were offered. Instead, NATO promised that one day both countries would be members. NATO thought it could placate Russia. Ukraine and Georgia tried to make the best of a wispy, abstract pledge. They held out hope that NATO would make good on its word. They were naïve.

Putin read the situation more accurately. Europe was trying to be nice, to keep the bear happy. He could carry out his “independent foreign policy.” A few months later, Russia invaded Georgia on the slimmest of pretexts. Russian tanks approached the capital, Tbilisi, before falling back to the line of control. Georgia’s democratic government was preserved—for a while. In the years since, Putin manipulated Georgia’s politics by proxy and diminished the country’s hopes for independence, for a flourishing civil society. The Western response was light—a rush to negotiations, a few economic sanctions, a lot of “concerns” and “calls.” Not enough to reverse Putin’s gains.

Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 was an alarm. We slept through it. One of the war’s many consequences was that Senator Barack Obama named as his running mate the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. Once in office, Obama, Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched an effort to “reset” relations with Russia. Obama canceled missile defense systems in the Czech Republic and Poland. He signed the New START Treaty limiting nuclear weapons. He involved Russia more closely in nonproliferation efforts and in diplomacy with Iran and North Korea. He aided Russia’s effort to join the World Trade Organization. According to a White House press release issued in 2010, “President Obama and his administration have sought to engage the Russian government to pursue foreign policy goals of common interest—win-win outcomes—for the American and Russian people.”

Putin doesn’t believe in win-win outcomes. He believes in win-lose outcomes: Putin wins, you lose. Obama crashed against a wall of atavism and paranoia. Putin became convinced that Hillary Clinton was behind the 2011 antigovernment protests in Moscow. He blamed U.S. officials, not native Ukrainian sentiment, for the 2014 Maidan protests that toppled the government of pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovych. (Yanukovych fled to Russia, where he remains.) Weeks after the Maidan revolution, Putin ordered the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of east Ukraine. The West responded with another round of denunciations and sanctions. Putin shrugged them off. In 2015 he deployed Russian troops to Syria. In 2016 he interfered in the U.S. presidential election. Obama left office with U.S.-Russian relations at a low point. The open hand had been met with a clenched fist.

Why? Because Putin’s aims are different from our own. He wants to resurrect the Russian empire. He wants to undermine the post-Cold War settlement. American foreign policy, meanwhile, alternates between bouts of democratic idealism and episodes of sullen retrenchment. Putin is lucky: His rule coincides with a long spell of American self-doubt and withdrawal from world leadership. Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, also tried to reset relations with Russia. He wanted to appeal to Putin on a personal level. It didn’t take. Putin doesn’t want a friend. He wants facts on the ground to strengthen Russia’s international position. He wants to solidify his rule. On this and other topics, the Trump era had a schizophrenic quality. Trump had nothing but nice words for Putin, yet Trump’s energy, defense, and strategic weapons policies undermined Russian interests. Neither the first nor the last man to be confused by Trump, Putin bided his time.

His moment arrived in 2021. Joe Biden is now the fourth U.S. president to take office with the desire to improve relations with Russia. Biden immediately renewed New START. He took little public action to respond to Russian cyber-offensives. He canceled the Keystone XL pipeline at home and didn’t apply sanctions to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would feed natural gas directly from Russia to Western Europe. He involved Russia in talks to resume the Iran nuclear deal. He left Afghanistan in violent chaos. When Putin built up his forces around Ukraine in the spring of 2021, Biden granted him an in-person summit in Geneva and launched a U.S.-Russian nuclear dialogue. When Putin resumed pounding the war drums, he and Biden held a remote summit last December. Biden took Putin’s phone call on December 30. He and his secretary of state maintain that there is a diplomatic resolution to the conflict. “So, there’s room to work if he wants to do that,” Biden said at his press conference the other week. “But I think, as usual, he’s going to—well, I probably shouldn’t go any further.”

No, Joe, you really shouldn’t. It’s far past time to recognize that Vladimir Putin can’t be appeased. He can only be deterred and resisted. And the moment to act, to establish facts on the ground that serve our purposes, is now. Before Putin asks for more. Before it’s too late.


The Belarus Uprising: A Repeat of Ukraine?

The United States should be prepared to act if Putin tries to repeat in Belarus what he did in Ukraine.

By Russell A. Berman, Kiron K. SkinnerThe National Interest

Image: Reuters

America’s great power competitors, China and Russia, are pushing back against the free world. China’s arc stretches from Hong Kong and the South China Sea through the Himalaya border with India and along the Belt and Road intrusions far into Europe. Its debt-trap strategy on the African continent is binding ever more governments to it. Meanwhile, Russia continues its expansionism from Syria, through Crimea and the Donbass all the way to Libya. Across these vast regions, they trample on democracy and the rule of the law, with the ultimate intention of pushing back against American influence. Belarus is becoming the latest theater of competition. Washington should make it unambiguously clear that Russian meddling against the democratic will of the Belorussian people will not stand.

President Donald Trump has succeeded in keeping out of new wars. His firm declaration of his intent to safeguard American national interests has held adversaries at bay, and he has maintained a strong enough defense posture so as not to have to respond to provocations, such as from Iran. Yet an aggressive move by Russia in Belarus on the scale of what took place in Ukraine would be another matter altogether. It is urgent for the United States to underscore how serious the consequences will be if Moscow takes an adventurist wrong step. Vladimir Putin should not think that he can occupy Minsk the way Brezhnev occupied Prague—but the United States should be prepared to act if he tries. This requires mobilization on multiple levels.

First, it is urgent to launch intensive diplomatic consultation with all the NATO members. The transatlantic alliance is not in the best of shape at the moment, to say the least. Some European allies bear a lot of the blame. The world just witnessed the vote of the Security Council where England, France and Germany chose to abstain from extending the arms embargo on Iran, as if more arms in the hands of the Mullahs will bring peace to the Middle East. The E3 are clearly upset at the Trump administration on a range of issues. Plus, European leaders tend to underestimate security threats. In contrast though, the prospect of Russian troops marching through Belarus to the border of the EU may prompt them to think again about the need for a robust defense cooperation. A repeat of the Yugoslav wars may be looming in the European northeast, including another wave of refugees, and Europeans will have to rediscover how much they need the transatlantic alliance. It is time for Washington’s diplomatic corps to be reminding them of the dangers in their neighborhood.

Second, diplomacy has to lay the groundwork for a suspension of the 1997 NATO Russia Founding Act. That post-Cold War document was premised on a non-adversarial relationship with Russia, and the expectation that Russia would contribute to European stability, democracy and peace. Moscow has broken that agreement time and again, in Ukraine, through assassinations in the United Kingdom and in Germany, and through the suppression of democratic forces domestically. The hour has long passed when NATO and the U.S. in particular should be reticent about stationing troops in the Central European countries that became free after 1989. NATO’s European members should hear America make that case and join in supporting defense build ups along the new eastern front that stretches from Estonia to Bulgaria. That troop repositioning will take considerable diplomatic and logistical efforts. The time to start is now. The decision to move troops from Germany to Poland is an auspicious first start.

Third, precisely those eastern flank countries need clear reassurance of American support. Fortunately, the Trump administration has succeeded in building firmer ties in this “new Europe,” but more could be done. A ministerial level gathering in Washington in the fall, including leaders from the Baltics, the Visegrad four, Rumania and Bulgaria would be an opportunity to signal Washington’s firm commitment to friends in those countries and to counteract the Kremlin disinformation campaign that is persistently active and outstrips the State Department’s own meager communication strategies. Yet of equal importance, a Washington gathering of the partners in Eastern Europe would signal to the world that the front line of freedom will not be surrendered to Putin’s addiction to military adventures abroad.

Fourth, it is time as well to pressure “old Europe,” especially the former front-line state, Germany, to live up to its commitments. At stake is not only the evergreen problem of burden-sharing, German underspending on defense. Even more glaring is Berlin’s persistence in collaboration with Russia on projects like the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, despite objections of its European neighbors, despite Crimea, and despite killings carried out by Russian agents in Berlin, nearly in the shadow of the Chancellery. Germany should use its considerable influence in Moscow to forestall any meddling. To do so, it could make completion and operation of the pipeline contingent on Russia staying out of Belarus. Putin already has too much foreign fighting on his hands.

Belarus is part of the European theater, but it is also a piece of the encompassing global competition. Weakness in Northeast Europe will tempt adversaries in East Asia. One has to plan for worst case scenarios: a conventional Russian advance in Belarus could be followed by a Chinese move on Hong Kong or even Taiwan. Preventing such catastrophic developments requires clear expressions of commitment, fortifying our alliance and building a defense posture appropriate to today’s circumstances, not to the last war.


The Yanukovichization of Belarus

By Dr. Miklos K. RadvanyiFrontiers of Freedom

In Ecclesiastes 1:4-11, the author muses over the eternal cycles of human existence.  Among the many examples that he brings up, the most compelling one states the following:  “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”  

To illustrate the sagacity of this insight, it should suffice to examine the history of minority rules.  From times immemorial, all forms of minority rules have been based on mutual fears.  Majorities have been afraid of their kings, emperors, dictators, and despots.  In turn, the rulers have feared the people, because their reign has been based on oppression and not the consent of the governed.  Ultimately, these cycles of mutual fears have always grown exponentially until they have led to violent and all consuming political explosions.    

Belarus (in Russian:  Belorussia), ruled with an iron fist since July 20,1994, by President Alyaksandr Ryhoravich Lukashenka (in Russian: Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko), is no exception.  Prior to being engaged in politics, President Lukashenka was the director of a Soviet-style collective farm, called kolkhoz.  Before this job, he became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and a uniformed guard of the Soviet Border Troops.  Having been appointed as a deputy to the Supreme Council of Belarus, he earned the dubious distinction of having cast the only vote against the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Having been labeled “Europe’s last dictatorship,” President Lukashenka has steadfastly prevented Belarus to even begin its transformation as a sovereign state from a Soviet-style dictatorship to a more Westernized pluralistic country.  However, like Stalin’s constitution of 1936, the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus of 1994, are modelled in its language after the Western constitutions and at least formally entails all the institutional as well as the personal guarantees, rights and freedoms of a normal, pluralistic state.  Accordingly, Section One solemnly declares that the government of the Republic of Belorus belongs to the people.  The government is defined as a multi-party representative democracy.  While the government guarantees the protection of rights and freedoms of all citizens, Section One also states that the individual citizen “bears a responsibility towards the State to discharge unwaveringly the duties imposed upon him by the Constitution.”

During Lukashenka’s reign, there were three crucial Amendments to the constitution.  All Amendments were designed to significantly enhance the powers of the presidency.  Approved by a fraudulent national referendum in May 1995 by a majority of 77%, the First Amendment authorized the President to unilaterally disband the Parliament.  

The Second Amendment, unilaterally initiated by President Lukashenka, further strengthened his powers.  The unicameral parliament, fittingly named the Supreme Soviet, was simply abolished.  It was replaced by the National Assembly, a bicameral parliament. Demonstrating President Lukashenka’s increasing arrogance and megalomania, this Amendment was allegedly approved by 84% of the electorate.  As a result, all opposition parties were excluded from the new parliament.  To wit, due to the lack of transparency as well as ballot stuffing, the United States of America, the European Union, and many other states refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of either Amendment.

Finally, the Third Amendment abolished the presidential term limits in its entirety in 2004.  Again, approved by a national referendum, 77.3% of the people consented to President Lukashenka’s demand to serve in the highest office for life.  As with the 1996 referendum, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) called the legitimacy of this referendum into question.  The organization bluntly declared that the referendum did not meet the requirements of “free and fair elections.”  To add a final political insult to the death of legality, the Minister of Justice of Belorus and almost all the legal scholars in the country came up with a completely novel interpretation of the rule of law.  In their opinion, laws are constitutional if they follow the will of President Lukashenka and the people.  Those laws that do not fall into this category are non-existent and shall be ignored.  As a result, the Constitution and most of the legal provisions are in contradiction.       

 Similarly, the economy of Belarus, which is the world’s 72nd largest, is almost totally controlled by the state.  Dubbing his economic policies “Market Socialism,” he reintroduced in 1994 a purely Socialist economy in Belorus.  Politically motivated Russian oil and gas deliveries have rendered Belorus completely energy dependent on the Kremlin.  President Lukashenka’s feeble attempts to flirt with the West only made him another East European political prostitute of the region.

The most recent Soviet-style presidential election, held on August 9, 2020, delivered the expected result.  Proving that in an orderly dictatorship there are no miracles,  President Lukashenka beat the stand-in candidate of the opposition for her jailed husband Sergey Tsikhnousky, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya by 80.10% to 10.12%.  The opposition cried foul, while President Lukashenka declared that “You speak about unfair elections and want fair ones?  I have an answer for you.  We had the elections.  Unless you kill me, there will be no other elections.”  The ensuing protests have been answered with brutal and ruthless crackdown.  Calling the protesters “bands of criminals” and “rats,” President Lukashenka has pleaded with Russian President Putin to come to his rescue immediately.  Meanwhile, thousands have been detained and at least two persons have died.  More importantly, however, President for life Lukashenka has proved again that the mentality of the Soviet Union is well alive and kicking strongly in the eastern part of the continent.

His soulmate in governance, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been strangely silent throughout President Lukashenka’s ordeal.  Clearly, he must have learned something from the events that surrounded former Ukrainian President Yanukovich’s dismal performance at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 in Kyiv and across Ukraine.  President Putin’s restraint might have also been motivated by the potential threat of additional sanctions against his country.  Be that as it may, Russia would only save President Lukashenka’s hide if Belorus would move decisively into the orbit of the European Union and NATO.  Otherwise, a relaxation or even the demise of President Lukashenka’s severe dictatorship would not rattle the Kremlin.  

Yet, the people of Belarus deserve the sympathy and support of the rest of the world.  Russia’s eventual intervention should not discourage the United States of America and the European Union to provide political and any other support for the people who have unequivocally expressed their desire to finally live free in a democracy.  Clearly, President Lukashenka’s days are numbers.  Politically, he is done and not even Russia could save his dictatorship.  In the Kremlin, President Putin and his colleagues must finally comprehend that the days of dictators in Europe are coming to an end.  In case they would resist, their countries would become not only the graveyards of failed ideas, but also the economic catastrophes of the rest of the world.


The Destructive Idiocy Of The Anti-Trump Resistance

By Miklos RadvanyiFrontiers of Freedom

With the exception of an infinitesimal number of individuals and media outlets, the hate filled, asymmetrical political warfare against President Trump is continuing with unwavering vehemence. The latest fuel on the seemingly eternal fire of the anti-Trump resistance was supplied by his trip to Europe and, in particular by his meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

As a prelude to President Trump’s visit to Brussels, London, and Helsinki, the usual pack of anti-Trump Democrats, Obama appointees and their allies in the highly politicized media started a full throated campaign against the Putin meeting. The narrative was as primitive as idiotic. Accordingly, President Putin was declared a superman, the embodiment of the most perfect statesman in human history, while President Trump was depicted as a bumbling amateur who will be consumed by Putin the master spy within minutes. Indeed, they demanded in unison that President Trump cancel the meeting all together or, at least, be surrounded by an army of advisors. Clearly, all of sudden there were millions of little presidents who felt empowered to render their authoritative opinions on the most complex foreign policy matters.

Of course, President Trump ignored their advice. Conversely, the irrational politics of hatred continued unabated. Since Helsinki, this has centers around President Trump’s answers to Jeff Mason’s and Jonathan Levine’s questions, in which the President appeared to side with President Putin and not with the assessment of the US intelligence agencies concerning the so-called “Russian Interference” in the 2016 elections. The Reuters correspondent’s question originally was directed at President Putin. In essence Mason challenged the Russian President by asking why should the Americans and President Trump believe his statement that Russia did not interfere in the election, given the evidence the US intelligence agencies provided. President Trump’s answer was more complex than reported in the media. “….the concept of that (namely interference) came up perhaps a little before, but it came out as a reason why the Democrats lost an election….” He continued by saying: “….there was no collusion with the campaign….” Jonathan Levine of AP followed up with a more direct and clearly provocative question: “Just now President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every US intelligence agency concluded that Putin did. My first question for you, sir, who do you believe? My second question is would you now with the whole world watching tell President Putin – would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?”

In his reply President Trump first addressed the issue of the Democratic National Committee’s server. Rightly, he pointed out that the Committee’s refusal to hand over the server to the FBI for inspection is inexplicable. Most probably, the examination of the server would have supplied important documentary evidence as to who was responsible for the hacking. Moreover, it would have provided the FBI with a true record about what really happened. Barring excess for the FBI clearly meant that the Committee had something to hide or, in the alternative, the results of its examination of the server failed to conform to the narrative of the rigged elections. Then President Trump continued thus: “I have Mr. Putin. He just said it is not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really want to see the server.”

As usual, President Trump’s answers were immediately taken out of context and presented as proofs that he is not an American patriot, but a Russian stooge. Never mind that during the 2008 presidential campaign Barack Hussein Obama regaled the attendees and the world in his Berlin speech as being “a citizen of the world”, while his better half opined about being proud of America only because her husband was elected president.

But more importantly, President Trump’s answers must be viewed within the framework of his opening remarks at the press conference. There he said: “As president, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics or the media or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct. Constructive dialogue between the United States and Russia forwards the opportunity to open new pathways toward peace and stability in our world. I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics. As president, I always put what is best for America and what is best for the American people.” Then he went on to say that he thought the best way to discuss interference and related issues is in person with Mr. Putin, which he did.

Placing his answers to the correspondents’ questions in the context of his opening remarks make it abundantly clear that President Trump behaved as a statesman, while his critics took a very narrow tactical approach to US-Russia relations. As president, he had to focus on the big picture, which is the overall strategic relationship with Russia, and leave the other related matters to future negotiations. Once agreement is reached on the nature of the strategic relationship and a measure of trust has been established between the two states, most, if not all, the outstanding matters can be discussed and hopefully solved within the framework of such a strategic understanding.

To place the entire anti-Trump mania into an even broader context, the United States of America has been since November 2016, in a rapidly worsening democratic anarchy. For this reason alone, the American citizenry cannot remain indifferent to what is happening to the constitutional Republic. Moreover, it would be a grave misconception to suppose that if this democratic anarchy is allowed to fester unchecked, the already chaotic situation abroad would not be affected. On the contrary. The vicissitudes that the world has suffered since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the emergence of the People’s Republic of China as a formidable military, economic, and financial power, and the unrelenting invasion of the developed world by the army of desperate migrants, compel the United States of America to assume once again the leadership role for the rest of the world.

Leadership, in turn, means that the president and the congressional leaders must not dwell exclusively on the past but deal in a bipartisan manner with the challenges of the present and their repercussions for the future, unless those challenges will remain unresolved. More importantly, no one should search for artificial causes to seize and maintain power. Rather, policymakers must look for solutions to remedy as many problems as they possible can across the globe. Clearly, this is not the time for hesitation, vacillation, oscillation, and sanctimonious speeches that are not followed by decisive actions. Indeed, every responsible politician in Washington, D.C. must defend the interests of the United States of America and that of its allies throughout the world.

Presently, President Trump appears to be the only adult in the playground sandbox. Sitting down with his Russian counterpart is not treason. Neither is it collusion, nor is it interference. It is diplomacy that allows two heads of states to explore common interests. Common interests, in turn, will enable them to communicate and hopefully reach compromises peacefully on major and lesser challenges too. Among those challenges the overall situation in the greater Middle East is the most explosive. Within the Middle East, the Syrian problem has the most potential to trigger a regional war. Information available of the two hour private meeting and the follow-up lunch in Helsinki indicate that a broad agreement on the principles of de escalating the conflict has been reached. Accordingly, both presidents have agreed that the security of Israel is paramount. Secondly, they have been in agreement concerning the destructive role of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Syria, in Lebanon, in the Gaza Strip, in Yemen, in Libya, and beyond. To counter the Mullahcracy’s appetite for steady expansion, the two presidents have resolved to limit Iranian military presence and political influence in Syria. Thirdly, the fate of the Assad family remains on the table. Finally, if provoked, Israel will have a free hand militarily to retaliate in a proportional manner.

As far as Islamic terrorism is concerned, Russia is exposed to it more closely than the United States of America or Europe. Clearly, President Putin is not averse to reach an agreement on this topic.

The Ukraine is not just a political and strategic question for Russia, but also a historical and emotional one. After all, the cradle of today’s Russia was the Kiev Russ in the 9th and 10th centuries. For the United States of America, the Ukraine has been a sovereign country since the late 1990, the boundaries of which have been violated by Russia continuously since the overthrow of the late President Viktor Yanukovych. On this issue, an agreement that would satisfy all the parties involved will need more time and negotiations. For now, the objective should be to arrest the conflict that will provide for the restoration of domestic tranquility. As a first step in this direction, the United States of America should push for the quick conclusion of a permanent armistice between the opposing forces.

Russia’s relations with the rest of Europe, in particular the European Union are multifaceted and thus are more complex. Again, it is important not to rash to premature judgments, and allow time for all the parties involved to find a modus vivendi among the conflicting political positions and interests. The principle of non-intervention in the affairs of all parties must be made sufficiently plain. The continent needs a new equilibrium through additional treaties to show that the Russian Federation will adhere to its responsibilities, in order to provide neither reason nor pretext for military conflicts in the future.

In closing, President Trump is absolutely right to pursue good relations with President Putin. Only through continuous dialogue between these two preeminent nuclear powers could the maintenance of universal peace guaranteed.


Three Questions We Need to Ask on Trump and Russia

By Peter RoffNewsweek

It is virtually impossible to have a sane, temperate conversation about President Donald J. Trump and what the Russians might or might not have done to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. From the corner bar to the White House briefing room, folks have their heels dug in and aren’t budging, with each side passionately determined to prove the other wrong.

Most Republicans—except the ones who somehow manage to show up on the news chat shows with astonishing regularity—seem to regard the whole business as a tempest in a teapot at best, and at worst, a Machiavellian effort undertaken by entrenched liberals inside the U.S. government to remove Trump from office.

Democrats, meanwhile, mainly think that Trump and the Russians conspired to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton. How could she have possibly lost the election otherwise? Continue reading


The Past, The Present And The Future of US-Russian Relations

By Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi & Dr. Laszlo KemenyFrontiers of Freedom

Nobody can ever wholly escape the mixture of positive and negative influences of his or her times and country. Neither are politicians across the globe exempt from the deeply ingrained ethical, cultural, and intellectual foibles and prejudices of their respective societies. Accordingly, trust among political leaders of all ages and places has always been either non-existent or of short supply. This dearth of trust, fundamentally rooted in a mutual failure to comprehend the other nation’s mentality, has characterized the over two centuries old history of US-Russia relations too. Avoiding the temptation of expanding on this history, suffice it to state that as Russian domestic and foreign policies could not be understood by the pragmatic, result oriented American mind, so has been the emotional mindset of the Russians mostly incapable to objectively judge the domestic and foreign policies of the United States of America.

The “Cold War” ended with several agreements between the two states. At the Malta summit in December 1989, then President George H. W. Bush assured Mikhail Gorbachev that the United States of America will not take advantage of the unfolding events in Central and Eastern Europe. The same assurance was echoed by then Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher of the Federal Republic of Germany on January 31, 1990, in the Bavarian town of Tutzing. Less than a month later, Continue reading


Spiteful Obama Lashes Out at Netanyahu and Putin (and Trump) But Hits America Too

by Dimitri K. Simes and Paul J. Saunders • National Interest

One need not admire Benjamin Netanyahu or Vladimir Putin or, for that matter, approve of Israeli or Russian conduct, to see Barack Obama’s recent efforts to punish the two states for what they really are. Indeed, Mr. Obama’s efforts seem directed more at his successor than at any serious U.S. foreign policy objective. The outgoing president’s efforts to tie President-Elect Donald Trump’s hands in both domestic and foreign policy appear particularly un-presidential after his petulant complaints that America should have only one president at a time—a rule he apparently sees as applying in only one direction as he defiantly disregards the deference typically shown to an incoming commander-in-chief.

On Israel, Mr. Obama had to know that America’s abstention in voting on a United Nations Security Council Resolution critical of Israel would neither change Israeli settlement policy nor undermine Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political standing in his country. Continue reading


Maintaining American High Tech Defense Superiority Must Remain Job One

America’s warfighters are the best and most effective on the planet. But if we hope to maintain that advantage we have to continue to give them the best tools and the best information. Our access to space is critical if we hope to provide our warfighters with the best information, positioning, coordination and integration available.

By George LandrithTownhall

America’s warfighters are the best and most effective on the planet. But if we hope to maintain that advantage we have to continue to give them the best tools and the best information. Our access to space is critical if we hope to provide our warfighters with the best information, positioning, coordination and integration available.

After the Cold War ended in the early 1990s, there was significant concern within the U.S. Government that scientists and engineers of the former Soviet Union would sell critical technologies, particularly ballistic missile and weapons technologies, to U.S. adversaries and rogue groups. Given its low cost and outstanding performance, the RD-180 rocket engine was at the top of that list. The U.S. made the decision to buy these engines instead of making investments in developing new advanced rocket engines of our own and today we lack the high performance capability the Russian engines provide. Thanks to Congressional pressure and funding, we are well down the road towards a new American made engine to replace the RD-180 and this problem will be solved by the next presidential election. But in the meantime, we have to put in place some stop gap measures to ensure we don’t see our access to space compromised or see our high tech superiority slip. Continue reading


The ABC’s of Nuclear Deterrence: Lessons for the Second Nuclear Age

by Peter Huessy and Franklin Miller

For the past 25 years, arms control has been a key driving force behind how many Americans view our relationship with Russia. In that period the two countries have agreed to the START I, Moscow, and New Start nuclear weapons agreements that has successfully reduced the strategic warhead arsenals on both sides by over 90%.

But relations between Moscow and Washington are not good and since the 2010 New Start agreement, the Russians have flatly rejected discussions of further reductions in nuclear weapons. The Russians have also stopped cooperation under the Nunn-Lugar agreement, named after two US Senators that put together a program to safeguard and eliminate nuclear material and warheads in the former Soviet Union subsequent to the end of the Cold War. Other agreements between the two countries have also been put on ice by Russian President Putin’s government.

At a seminar on Capitol Hill on April 20, 2016, two distinguished experts—Steve Blank of the American Foreign Policy Council and Mark Schneider of the National Institute of Public Policy—spoke about the need to refocus our relationship with Russia away from arms control and more towards managing an increasingly troublesome and dangerous relationship. A key part of that strategy must be the full modernization of our nuclear deterrent, they both emphasized. Continue reading


Putin Tells Defense Chiefs to Strengthen Russian Nuclear Forces

by Stepan Kravchenko     •     Bloomberg

putin russiaPresident Vladimir Putin ordered defense chiefs to strengthen Russia’s strategic nuclear forces amid rising tensions with the U.S. over the global balance of power.

New weapons should go to “all parts” of the nuclear triad of air, sea, and land forces, Putin told a Defense Ministry meeting in Moscow on Friday. Action must also be taken “to improve the effectiveness of missile-attack warning systems and aerospace defense.”

Russia’s military will have five new nuclear regiments equipped with modern missile complexes next year, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told the same meeting. More than 95 percent of the country’s nuclear forces are at a permanent state of readiness, he said. Continue reading


Russia ‘tried to cut off’ World Wide Web

A failed experiment to cut Russia from the World Wide Web stokes fears of Chinese-style online censorship

Internet1

The objective was to see whether the Runet – the informal name for the Russian internet – could continue to function in isolation from the global internet.

by Roland Oliphant     •     The Telegraph

Russia has run large scale experiments to test the feasibility of cutting the country off the World Wide Web, a senior industry executive has claimed.

The tests, which come amid mounting concern about a Kremlin campaign to clamp down on internet freedoms, have been described by experts as preparations for an information blackout in the event of a domestic political crisis.

Andrei Semerikov, general director of a Russian service provider called Er Telecom, said Russia’s ministry of communications and Roskomnadzor, the national internet regulator, ordered communications hubs run by the main Russian internet providers to block traffic to foreign communications channels by using a traffic control system called DPI. Continue reading


How America can counter Putin’s moves in Syria

by Condoleezza Rice and Robert M. Gates     •     Washington Post

Vladimir-Putin-006One can hear the disbelief in capitals from Washington to London to Berlin to Ankara and beyond. How can Vladimir Putin, with a sinking economy and a second-rate military, continually dictate the course of geopolitical events? Whether it’s in Ukraine or Syria, the Russian president seems always to have the upper hand.

Sometimes the reaction is derision: This is a sign of weakness. Or smugness: He will regret the decision to intervene. Russia cannot possibly succeed. Or alarm: This will make an already bad situation worse. And, finally, resignation: Perhaps the Russians can be brought along to help stabilize the situation, and we could use help fighting the Islamic State. Continue reading


From Russia with Poisonous Love

Craven American leadership harms the cause of peace and stability, and only benefits the world’s dictators and aggressors.

by George C. Landrith & Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi

ObamaPutin copyVladimir Putin is a gambler. He has a weak hand. But he will bluff, pretending that he holds a good hand, until someone in power calls him on the ruse. While President Barack Obama’s hand is not weak, he behaves as if he holds no cards at all. Thus, Obama plays into the hands of Putin who is pleased at his good fortune to have an anemic and spineless American president unwilling to call Putin’s bluff or reveal his untenable position.

Putin’s willingness to bluff despite his weak hand is at least in the long run quite risky. But given Obama’s consistent and demonstrated weakness, why would Putin do anything else?

Putin is devoid of sentimentality. He is pragmatic in the extreme. Some say he longs for the days of Soviet power and prestige. No doubt power and prestige are of interest to a vain and ambitious poser like Putin. But his main objective is to rescue his rule at home by diverting attention from the near bankrupt Russian economy. By giving his countrymen the impression that he is restoring “Russia’s greatness” abroad, he hopes to neutralize the total failure of his economic policies and the financial pain that Russia is experiencing. Continue reading


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