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Posts tagged ‘Eurasian Union’

Why A Free Ukraine Is Putin’s Worst Nightmare.



The details still need to be decided, but the revolutionaries have won in Ukraine. Some elements of the old regime may survive, but that is precisely why the protesters on the “Maidan” (Kiev’s main square) don’t trust the mainstream politicians who claim to be negotiating on their behalf.

The politicians in suits can do the donkey work – writing a new constitution to improve on the old one they have just restored, and trying to save the collapsing economy. But the Maidan leaders in the fatigues and helmets will set the agenda on justice – dismantling the militia and reworking the corrupt legal system, so that the many guilty end up behind bars. And there are credible reports that the snipers who killed more than 70 on Thursday were based in the government buildings that are already being occupied by protesters combing for evidence.

Once the world knows who gave the deadly orders, justice will decapitate the old regime. And the “official” opposition will be radicalised by the need to compete with the moral authority of the Maidan.

All of which is the Kremlin’s worst nightmare. When the protests started back in November they were about a trade deal with the EU. Russia was ecstatic that it had persuaded Ukraine to walk away from that deal, and was picking off the other states in the EU’s “Eastern Partnership” programme (Armenia caved in September, Georgia and Moldova were expected to come under enormous pressure in 2014). Russia hoped to drag them into its alternative Eurasian Union instead, which is due to be launched in January 2015.

But this is 10 times worse than Brussels expanding its bureaucracy to Russia’s borders. A real democracy in Ukraine is an existential threat to the entire system that Vladimir Putin has built since 2000. Ironically because Putin is right – most Russians regard Ukraine as a kin state, or not really a different state at all. They are used to stepping in tandem; so if something changes in Ukraine, why not in Russia too? And now the dominoes might fall in the other direction. Other Maidans might appear in other neighbouring states – maybe first in Moldova where the Russia-backed Communist Party was hoping to return to power in elections due in November.

Putin marginalised his own protest movement after the last Russian election cycle. He does not want to see that flare up again. So far, the Russian opposition has been quiet. Few have supported the Ukrainian Maidan, even fewer sound inspired to copy it – for now. But Putin will need to come up with something more convincing than the scattergun propaganda the Russian media has pumped out to date. source – Independent UK.

by NTEB News Desk

Putin: NGOs mustn’t meddle in Russia’s affairs.


  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Angel Gurria during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Maxim Shemetov, Pool)View PhotoRussian President Vladimir Putin, …

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned foreign-funded non-government organizations against meddling in the country’s affairs.

Putin also angrily lashed out at recent U.S. criticism of the Russian-led post-Soviet alliances.

Speaking at a meeting with top officials of the main KGB successor agency, Putin mentioned what he described as “recent nervous statements about integration processes in the former Soviet lands.”

While Putin didn’t name any names, he appeared to refer to a statement by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said in December, while still in the job, that Russian-led regional alliances represent an attempt to restore the Soviet empire.

Putin has described the existing economic and security groupings of ex-Soviet nations as precursors to a stronger Eurasian Union, which he pledged to form by 2015. He insisted the new alliance would help Russia and its neighbors boost economic efficiency and compete more successfully in global markets.

Putin said Thursday that efforts at closer economic and political integration between Russia and its neighbors “can’t be stopped by shouts or calling down.” He told officials of the Federal Security Service, known as the FSB, they must be prepared to thwart foreign attempts to derail the integration plans.

“They may use various instruments of pressure, including mechanisms of the so-called ‘soft power,'” he said. “The sovereign right of Russia and its partners to build and develop its integration project must be safely protected.”

Putin, who won a third presidential term in a vote last March, has taken a tough posture toward Washington, accusing the U.S. State Department of fomenting protests against his rule in order to weaken Russia.

After Putin’s inauguration in May, the Kremlin-controlled parliament quickly rubber-stamped a series of repressive laws that sharply hiked fines for taking part in unauthorized protests, extended the definition of high treason and required non-government organizations that receive foreign funding to register as “foreign agents,” a term that sounds synonymous to spies in Russian.

Leading Russian NGOs have vowed to ignore the bill, which also allows an unlimited number of inspections and checks that could paralyze the activities of NGOs.

Putin on Thursday strongly defended the bill in language that reflected the Kremlin’s view of NGOs as an instrument of Western pressure.

“No one has the monopoly of speaking on behalf of the entire Russian society, let alone the structures directed and funded from abroad and thus inevitably serving foreign interests,” he said. “Any direct or indirect meddling in our internal affairs, any forms of pressure on Russia, on our allies and partners is inadmissible.”

While Putin avoided direct reference to the U.S., FSB director Alexander Bortnikov said, according to Russian news agencies, that Washington and its allies last year “raised geopolitical pressure on Russia, whom they continue to view as a major rival in the international arena.”

Putin said the FSB last year exposed 34 foreign intelligence officers and 181 of their agents. He didn’t name the countries they were spying for.


Nataliya Vasilyeva contributed to this report.



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