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Posts tagged ‘Putin’

Cheney: Obama Has No Credibility With Allies on Russia Sanctions.


Image: Cheney: Obama Has No Credibility With Allies on Russia Sanctions

By Greg Richter

America has no credibility with European allies following the Syrian crisis last year and will have trouble getting them to agree to sanctions against Russia as a result, says former Vice President Dick Cheney.

“We have created an image around the world … of weakness, of indecisiveness,” Cheney said Sunday on “Face the Nation.”

While President Barack Obama is trying to take all the diplomatic steps he can, he has no credibility with U.S. allies, Cheney said. Allies were ready to move against Syria in late summer when the Bashar Assad regime used chemical weapons against his own people, Cheney said, but Obama backed off at the last minute.

“He seems to operate that way most of the time,” Cheney said.

He also blasted the administration for taking military options off the table early. There are military options that don’t involve troops on the ground in Crimea, he said, suggesting a reinstitution of the missile defense program in Poland and the Czech Republic, joint military operations near the Russian border and military assistance for Ukraine.

Cheney also noted that although Putin has threatened to cut off natural gas and other energy it sells to Europe, such a threat is a “double-edged sword.”

Russia relies on such energy sales for half of its GDP, so it is unlikely to follow through on the threat.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Oliver North: Obama is ‘Jimmy Carter on Steroids’.


Oliver North, calling President Barack Obama “Jimmy Carter on steroids,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “handed” Ukraine because Eastern Europe was left without leadership.

“If you could have imagined that someone is happy that Obama is president, it has to be Jimmy Carter because he is no longer the worst president in our history,” the former Reagan administration official told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on his show Wednesday, reports The Washington Free Beacon.

Story continues below the video.

But North does not advocate sending American troops to the Middle East or to settle the protests in Ukraine, where fierce clashes between police and protesters — some including gunfire — shattered a brief truce in Ukraine’s besieged capital Thursday, killing at least 19 people.

The latest deaths came in a new eruption of violence just hours after the country’s embattled President Viktor Yanukoyvch and the opposition leaders demanding his resignation called for a truce and negotiations to try to resolve Ukraine’s political crisis.

The decades-long battle is raging over the nation’s identity, where loyalties are divided between Russia and the West.

North said Wednesday that the lack of American credibility in Ukraine, as well as in the Middle East, indicates a “total failure of leadership” by Obama.

“Proof that the old axiom ‘into any vacuum a leader will eventually come,’ Putin has been handed this by what is essentially Jimmy Carter on steroids,” North told Hannity.

Putin is “literally taking Obama to the cleaners … by that I mean, from Syria, Iran, Egypt, the Middle East, Ukraine, on every level,” Hannity said. “And earlier, Poland and the Czech Republic. Putin literally is taking over in areas where Russia was — and the former Soviet Union were long gone.”

North said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shares the blame for the problems, but Obama has “left us bereft of leadership in the part of the world where we desperately need to have it.”

North insisted he is “the last person in the world” who would advocate sending American troops to help stop the Ukraine protests, and civil wars in Kiev, Syria, and Egypt.

“But it would have been nice to have had the credibility, of being at least respected by adversaries or admired by our allies,” North aid. “And we have neither as a consequence of [Obama’s] total failure of leadership.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Putin Sends New Year’s, Christmas Greetings to Obama, Netanyahu.


The Kremlin Wednesday said President Vladimir Putin has sent Christmas and New Year greetings to President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among other world leaders, McClatchy reported.
In his message to Obama, Putin reportedly “emphasized that the events of the past year clearly demonstrated how, acting in the spirit of partnership and on the basis of respecting one another, Russia and the United States are capable of making a real input into supporting global stability, resolving some of the most difficult international problems.”
According to the Russian announcement, Putin “confirmed his desire to maintain a constructive dialogue and continue joint work to strengthen trust and mutual understanding in Russian-US relations, to broaden cooperation in the economic, science and technology, cultural, and other areas,” McClatchy reported.
Already strained relations between the United States and Russia were exacerbated by Putin’s decision to grant asylum to NSA defector Edward Snowden.
Putin also sent a message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to Putin’s presidential website
, the Russian leader noted “the dynamic development of relations between Russia and Israel in 2013 and the significance of the summit meetings held in Russia that confirmed mutual interest in close cooperation on the issues of bilateral agenda as well as on numerous regional and international issues.”
Israel has a large Russian-speaking population.
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© 2013 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.
By Elliot Jager

Putin Vows to Annihilate ‘Terrorists’ After Suicide Bombings.


Image: Putin Vows to Annihilate 'Terrorists' After Suicide Bombings

VOLGOGRAD, RussiaPresident Vladimir Putin on Tuesday vowed to annihilate all “terrorists” following two deadly bomb attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd that raised security fears ahead of the Winter Olympics.The uncompromising remarks in a televised New Year address were Putin’s first public comments since suicide bombers killed at least 34 people in attacks less than 24 hours apart on a railway station and a trolleybus on Sunday and Monday.

But after two decades of violence in the North Caucasus, Islamist militants continue to pose a threat beyond their home region. Russia’s Olympic Committee chief said no more could be done to safeguard the Games since every measure possible was already in place around Sochi, beneath the Caucasus mountains.

The bombings just ahead of Russia’s biggest annual holiday followed another suicide bus blast in Volgograd in October and came little more than a month before the start of Games on whose success Putin has staked his personal reputation.

“We will confidently, fiercely and consistently continue the fight against terrorists until their complete annihilation,” he said in remarks from the far eastern city of Khabarovsk, where he met victims of severe floods.

Acknowledging “problems and serious tests” in 2013, including the Volgograd bombings, he vowed to ensure the security in the year ahead, when Russia stages the Winter Olympics from Feb. 7-23.

Putin, who came to power when Boris Yeltsin announced his resignation on New Year’s Eve 14 years ago, won popularity early in his presidency by crushing efforts to forge an independent state in Chechnya but he has been unable to stop Chechen and other Islamist militants across the North Caucasus.

Police detained dozens of people in sweeps through Volgograd on Tuesday but there was no indication any were linked to the attacks, for which no one claimed responsibility.

Mourners laid flowers at the site of the bombing that tore the bus apart and left residents fearing further violence.

“I’m frightened,” said Tatyana Volchanskaya, a student in Volgograd, 400 miles northwest of Sochi. She said some friends were afraid to go to shops and other crowded places.

SOCHI SAID SECURE

Putin ordered tighter security nationwide after the blasts, but Russian Olympic chief Alexander Zhukov said no additional measures would be taken at Sochi: “As for the Olympic Games, all necessary security measures have been foreseen,” Interfax news agency quoted him as saying on Monday.

“Additional measures will not be taken in Sochi as a result of the terrorist act. Everything necessary has been done as it is.”

Putin has staked his prestige on the Games in Sochi, which lies at the Western edge of the Caucasus mountains and within the strip of land the insurgents want to carve out of Russia and turn into an Islamic state.

Insurgent leader Doku Umarov has urged militants to use “maximum force” to prevent the Games from going ahead.

Russia drove separatists from power in Chechnya in a war that boosted the popularity of Putin, a former KGB officer.

But the insurgency that spread across the North Caucasus region in the aftermath of that conflict has persisted despite Putin’s repeated, strongly worded pledges to eliminate the militants whose attacks have cast a shadow over his rule.

As prime minister in 1999, he vowed to wipe the militants out and in 2010, after female suicide bombers killed 40 people on the Moscow metro, he ordered police to find those who had directed the attacks and “scrape them from the bottom of the sewers.”

Less than a year later, in January 2011, a bomber from the North Caucasus killed 37 people at a busy Moscow airport.

The rail station bombing in Volgograd was the deadliest attack outside the North Caucasus since then, killing 18 people. Citing unnamed sources, Interfax said the suspected attacker was an ethnic Russian convert to Islam who moved to Dagestan where he joined militants early in 2012.

Investigators said they believed a male suicide bomber was also responsible for Monday’s morning rush-hour blast.

PUTIN’S LEGACY

Volgograd — formerly Stalingrad — is a city of a million and a transport hub for an area of southern Russia that includes the North Caucasus.

A car bomb killed a prosecutor’s assistant in Dagestan on Tuesday and two people were killed in a bomb blast there late on Monday, authorities said.

In Volgograd, more than 5,000 police and interior troops were mobilized in “Operation Anti-terror Whirlwind”, Interior Ministry spokesman Andrei Pilipchuk said. He said 87 people had been detained after they resisted police or could not produce proper ID or registration documents, and that some had weapons.

State television showed helmeted officers pushing men up against a wall. But there was no sign any were linked to the bombings or suspected of planning further attacks.

Itar-Tass news agency said police were focusing on migrant workers from the Caucasus and ex-Soviet states — groups that rights activists say face discrimination from police.

The success or failure of the Olympics will form a big part of the legacy of Putin, 60. He secured the Games for Sochi in 2007, during his first stint as president, and has not ruled out seeking a new six-year term in 2018.

Intended to showcase how Russia has changed since the collapse of Soviet communism in 1991, the Games have also been a focus for complaints in the West and among Russian liberals that Putin has stifled dissent and encouraged intolerance.

This month, Putin freed jailed opponents including oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the Pussy Riot punk band in what critics said was an effort to disarm Western criticism and improve his image.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Ex-CIA Officer: Putin Must Tread Carefully after Terrorist Attacks.


Russian President Vladimir Putin must tread carefully in responding to domestic terrorist attacks with the 2014 Sochi Olympics on the horizon, former CIA officer Peter Brookes told Fox News’ “Happening Now.”

“(Putin’s) not saying much right now. I think there is reason for that. He wants to be very cautious. He doesn’t want to turn visitors or heads of state . . . or even athletes, from coming to Sochi in the coming days,” Brookes, also a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said Monday.

“This is a major event for Russia. It’s not only a domestic audience for Putin. He wants to look as the leader of the country. But, it’s also an international event,” he said.

Story continues below video.

Two separate bombings in a 24-hour period rocked Volgograd, in southern Russia. The first killed 17 people in a railway station Sunday, and the second blast targeted a trolley bus a day later, killing 14. Similarities in the bombings indicated they could be related, but no group claimed responsibility.

Brookes suggested Chechnyan Islamic militants from the Caucasus region were behind the attacks. He said they had sought an independent Islamist state and had recently “decided to target civilians, as well as the Olympics.”

The Olympics are set to begin Feb. 7 in Sochi in southern Russia. Brookes said the back-to-back attacks had already succeeded in seeming to cast a pall over the Olympics. He said he thought the Chechnyans had the advantage “because of the possibilities for a public relations victory for them.”

“Russia looks insecure. Putin looks bad. And, it’s going to be very difficult for them to react in a way that will not make the situation worse, while at the same time providing security for the people of Russia and all those people coming to Sochi,” he said.

Brookes called terrorism a “psychological game.” During the Olympics, he suggested terrorists do not have to target the Olympic site at Sochi “to make an international splash.”

“While the Olympics are going on, they could attack Volgograd again. They could attack Moscow. They could attack St. Petersburg,” Brookes said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Wanda Carruthers

Putin Sets Rival Billionaire Khodorkovsky Free.


Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, left prison on Friday after a pardon from President Vladimir Putin ended a decade in jail that many saw as the fallen oil tycoon’s punishment for daring to challenge the Kremlin.

Russia’s federal prison service said Khodorkovsky was heading for Germany following his release and that his mother, Marina, was undergoing medical treatment there. German officials confirmed he arrived there earlier today.

Khodorkovsky was freed a day after Putin unexpectedly announced he would release one of his most powerful critics. A government source said the move could deflect criticism over Putin’s human rights record as Russia prepares to host the Winter Olympics in February.

“He has left the camp. That’s all I can say,” Khodorkovsky’s lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant told Reuters by telephone.

Putin surprised Russians and cheered the business community by announcing he would free the 50-year-old businessman because his mother was ill. Investors said it could ease entrepreneurs’ fears of the Kremlin exploiting the courts for political ends.

In a presidential decree signed on Friday, Putin said he was “guided by the principles of humanity.”

Putin had said after a four-hour, end-of-year news conference on Thursday that Khodorkovsky asked for clemency. This took his lawyers by surprise and they said they were checking with their client.

“PUTIN’S PRISONER”

He was scheduled for release next August but supporters had feared the sentence might be extended, as it was once before.

Reporters waiting outside Penal Colony No. 7 at Segezha, near the Finnish border, 300 km (200 miles) south of the Arctic Circle, did not see Khodorkovsky leave. He has spent the past few years working in the camp, in an area that was once a notorious part of Stalin’s Gulag system of labor camps.

In the eyes of critics at home and abroad, his jailing was a significant stain on the record of Putin, 60, who was first elected president in 2000 and has not ruled out seeking another six-year term in 2018.

Khodorkovsky came to represent what critics say is the Kremlin’s misuse of the judicial system, curbing the rule of law, and of its refusal to permit dissent.

The authorities deny this, saying judges are independent and that Putin has not cracked down on opponents. The president has, however, singled Khodorkovsky out for bitter personal attacks in the past and ignored many calls for his release.

Thursday’s surprise announcement underlined Putin’s confidence that he has reasserted his authority and is in full control of Russia after seeing off street protests and winning a third presidential term in March 2012.

Putin would not have allowed Khodorkovsky’s release if he saw him as a threat, political strategist Gleb Pavlovsky told Ekho Moskvy radio. “Khodorkovsky is Putin’s prisoner,” he said.

With reporters scrambling for scraps of information and a glimpse of Khodorkovsky, his release echoed the arrival in Russia last summer of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, who was kept from the public eye for weeks in what appeared to be a tightly choreographed game of cat-and-mouse.

Putin said two members of the Pussy Riot protest group will also be freed, under an amnesty passed by parliament this week.

Khodorkovsky had been in jail since his arrest in October 2003 in what supporters say was part of a Kremlin campaign to punish him for political challenges to Putin, gain control of his oil assets and warn other tycoons to toe the line.

END OF EMPIRE

The oil baron fell out with Putin before his arrest as the president clipped the wings of wealthy “oligarchs” who had become powerful during the chaotic years of Boris Yeltsin’s rule following the collapse of Soviet communism.

His company, Yukos, was broken up and sold off, mainly into state hands, following his arrest at gunpoint on an airport runway in Siberia on fraud and tax evasion charges.

Yukos’ prize production asset ended up in the hands of state oil company Rosneft, which is now headed by close Putin ally Igor Sechin. Sechin said on Friday that he saw no threat of legal action from Khodorkovsky, state-run news agency Itar-Tass reported.

Russian shares initially rose after Putin’s announcement on Thursday but later settled back.

A sustained rally would require “a consistent track record of implementation of market-friendly reforms – in particular, of steps to improve the judicial system, so that decisions are more predictable and property rights better protected,” a Moscow-based economist at an investment bank said.

Putin has staked a great deal of personal prestige on the Winter Games at Sochi on the Black Sea and is under fire abroad over a law banning the spread of “gay propaganda” among minors.

A government source said the pardons would deprive Western critics of a cause: “I think the decision to free Pussy Riot and Khodorkovsky was taken just before the Olympic Games so that they will not be able to wield this banner against Putin.”

President Barack Obama and the presidents of France and Germany will skip the Olympics, and the United States has named openly gay athletes as members of its delegation in an apparent message to Putin.

Putin’s amnesty is also expected to end the prosecution of 30 people arrested in Russia over a Greenpeace protest against oil drilling in the Arctic and allow the 26 foreigners among them to go home.

They faced up to seven years in prison if convicted in another case that has harmed Putin’s image in the West.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Putin Pardons Top Foe: Long-Jailed Oil Tycoon Khodorkovsky Released.


MOSCOWMikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, left prison on Friday after a pardon from President Vladimir Putin ended a decade in jail that many saw as the fallen oil tycoon’s punishment for daring to challenge the Kremlin.

Russia’s federal prison service said Khodorkovsky was heading for Germany following his release and that his mother, Marina, was undergoing medical treatment there. German officials confirmed he arrived there earlier today.

Editor’s Note: Outclassed Chinese Navy Defies Outnumbered 7th Fleet

Khodorkovsky was freed a day after Putin unexpectedly announced he would release one of his most powerful critics. A government source said the move could deflect criticism over Putin’s human rights record as Russia prepares to host the Winter Olympics in February.

“He has left the camp. That’s all I can say,” Khodorkovsky’s lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant told Reuters by telephone.

Putin surprised Russians and cheered the business community by announcing he would free the 50-year-old businessman because his mother was ill. Investors said it could ease entrepreneurs’ fears of the Kremlin exploiting the courts for political ends.

In a presidential decree signed on Friday, Putin said he was “guided by the principles of humanity.”

Putin had said after a four-hour, end-of-year news conference on Thursday that Khodorkovsky asked for clemency. This took his lawyers by surprise and they said they were checking with their client.

“PUTIN’S PRISONER”

He was scheduled for release next August but supporters had feared the sentence might be extended, as it was once before.

Reporters waiting outside Penal Colony No. 7 at Segezha, near the Finnish border, 300 kilometers (200 miles) south of the Arctic Circle, did not see Khodorkovsky leave. He has spent the past few years working in the camp, in an area that was once a notorious part of Stalin’s Gulag system of labor camps.

In the eyes of critics at home and abroad, his jailing was a significant stain on the record of Putin, 60, who was first elected president in 2000 and has not ruled out seeking another six-year term in 2018.

Khodorkovsky came to represent what critics say is the Kremlin’s misuse of the judicial system, curbing the rule of law, and of its refusal to permit dissent.

The authorities deny this, saying judges are independent and that Putin has not cracked down on opponents. The president has, however, singled Khodorkovsky out for bitter personal attacks in the past and ignored many calls for his release.

Thursday’s surprise announcement underlined Putin’s confidence that he has reasserted his authority and is in full control of Russia after seeing off street protests and winning a third presidential term in March 2012.

Putin would not have allowed Khodorkovsky’s release if he saw him as a threat, political strategist Gleb Pavlovsky told Ekho Moskvy radio. “Khodorkovsky is Putin’s prisoner,” he said.

With reporters scrambling for scraps of information and a glimpse of Khodorkovsky, his release echoed the arrival in Russia last summer of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, who was kept from the public eye for weeks in what appeared to be a tightly choreographed game of cat-and-mouse.

Putin said two members of the Pussy Riot protest group will also be freed, under an amnesty passed by parliament this week.

Khodorkovsky had been in jail since his arrest in October 2003 in what supporters say was part of a Kremlin campaign to punish him for political challenges to Putin, gain control of his oil assets and warn other tycoons to toe the line.

END OF EMPIRE

The oil baron fell out with Putin before his arrest as the president clipped the wings of wealthy “oligarchs” who had become powerful during the chaotic years of Boris Yeltsin’s rule following the collapse of Soviet communism.

His company, Yukos, was broken up and sold off, mainly into state hands, following his arrest at gunpoint on an airport runway in Siberia on fraud and tax evasion charges.

Yukos’ prize production asset ended up in the hands of state oil company Rosneft, which is now headed by close Putin ally Igor Sechin. Sechin said on Friday that he saw no threat of legal action from Khodorkovsky, state-run news agency Itar-Tass reported.

Russian shares initially rose after Putin’s announcement on Thursday but later settled back.

A sustained rally would require “a consistent track record of implementation of market-friendly reforms — in particular, of steps to improve the judicial system, so that decisions are more predictable and property rights better protected,” a Moscow-based economist at an investment bank said.

Putin has staked a great deal of personal prestige on the Winter Games at Sochi on the Black Sea and is under fire abroad over a law banning the spread of “gay propaganda” among minors.

A government source said the pardons would deprive Western critics of a cause: “I think the decision to free Pussy Riot and Khodorkovsky was taken just before the Olympic Games so that they will not be able to wield this banner against Putin.”

President Barack Obama and the presidents of France and Germany will skip the Olympics, and the United States has named openly gay athletes as members of its delegation in an apparent message to Putin.

Editor’s Note: Abe Transforming Japan’s Defense to Counter Chinese Threat 

Putin’s amnesty is also expected to end the prosecution of 30 people arrested in Russia over a Greenpeace protest against oil drilling in the Arctic and allow the 26 foreigners among them to go home.

They faced up to seven years in prison if convicted in another case that has harmed Putin’s image in the West.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Putin to Pardon Jailed Tycoon Khodorkovsky.


Image: Putin to Pardon Jailed Tycoon KhodorkovskyA demonstrator holds a portrait of Mikhail Khodorkovsky during a rally marking the 50th birthday of Russia’s former richest man in Moscow on June 26.

MOSCOWPresident Vladimir Putin is to pardon one of his best known opponents, jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in what may be a gesture to critics of his human rights record before Russia hosts the Winter Olympics.

Putin made the announcement that he would soon free Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, after a marathon news conference in which he exuded confidence that he has reasserted his authority in the face of street protests.

Editor’s NotePutin Looks to Build on Foreign Policy Successes
Khodorkovsky, 50, spectacularly fell out with Putin a decade ago and had his Yukos oil company dissolved following his arrest on fraud and tax evasion charges in 2003.

He became Putin’s nemesis, a symbol of what investors say is the Kremlin‘s abuse of the courts for political ends — and share prices rose in Moscow on the news he would be pardoned.

Putin has long singled out Khodorkovsky, who would be due for release in August, for bitter personal attacks, once saying that “a thief should sit in jail.”

On Thursday, he said: “He has been in jail already more than 10 years. This is a serious punishment.”

Saying that Khodorkovsky’s mother was ill, he added: “I decided that, with these circumstances in mind, we should make a decision to pardon him.”

Russian stocks rose by 1.3 percent after Putin’s comment, even though his lawyers and mother said he had not asked for a pardon. One of the lawyers said, however, that Putin did not need a pardon request to release him from prison.

Investors had long seen the treatment of a man who built a business empire on the ruins of Soviet communism as evidence of the weakness of property rights and the rule of law in Russia.

Supporters say Khodorkovsky was jailed to curb a political challenge to Putin, bring his oil assets under state control and send a signal to other wealthy “oligarchs” to toe the line. His assets were sold off, mainly into state hands.

In the eyes of Kremlin critics at home and abroad, Khodorkovsky’s jailing is one of the biggest stains on the record of Putin, who was first elected president in 2000 and has not ruled out seeking another six-year term in 2018.

Khodorkovsky’s mother, Marina, who will turn 80 next year, said she had just heard the reports and was unaware of a request for a pardon.

“I want to believe he will pardon him,” she told Reuters. “I want to believe Putin is not totally lost.”

Khodorkovsky is due for release in August. But he has previously had his jail term extended on other charges and analysts have said Putin would allow Khodorkovsky to walk free only if he no longer regarded him as a political threat.

Editor’s Note: North Korea’s Brutal Purge Raises Serious Security Questions 

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Putin Envies Obama: ‘He Can Get Away With’ Spying Revelations.


President Vladimir Putin says Moscow isn’t controlling National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who has asylum in Russia.

Putin said at a news conference Thursday that any revelations published by Snowden must have come from materials he provided before landing in Russia.

He reaffirms that Russia made providing refuge to Snowden conditional on his halting what he called ant-American activities.

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Putin says he hasn’t met with Snowden and insists that Russian security agencies haven’t worked with him and have not asked him any questions related to NSA activities against Russia.

He says that NSA surveillance is needed to fight terrorism, but that rules and norms must be followed. He says that he “envies” President Obama because — referring to the Snowden revelations — “he can get away it it.”

Putin says that Russia hasn’t deployed missiles to its westernmost Baltic exclave, but sees it as a possible way of countering the U.S.-led missile defense system in Europe.

Putin was asked at a Thursday news conference about a report claiming that Moscow stationed its state-of-the art Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region that borders NATO and EU members Poland and Lithuania.

Both nations have expressed concern, and Washington warned Moscow against making destabilizing moves.

Putin says Russia has long considered the move, but adds that “we haven’t made the decision yet” on deploying them.

ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts 

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Putin Defends Russian Conservative Values.


Image: Putin Defends Russian Conservative Values

President Vladimir Putin cast Russia Thursday as a defender of conservative values against the “genderless and infertileWestern tolerance that he said equates good and evil.

Putin’s 70-minute state-of-the nation address marked a determined effort to burnish Russia’s image that has been dented by Western criticism of an anti-gay law which has stoked calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, his pet project.

Putin’s speech also contained a strong warning to those abroad who he claimed were seeking a military edge over Russia – a clear nod at the U.S. effort to develop long range non-nuclear weapons that Russia sees as a threat to its nuclear deterrent.

Russia has insisted that a law banning “propaganda of non-traditional relations” does not discriminate against gays, but gay rights group say it has given a green light to harassment and intimidation.

Without directly referring to the anti-gay law, Putin focused on upholding traditional family values, which he said were the foundation of Russia’s greatness and a bulwark against “so-called tolerance – genderless and infertile.”

Putin’s posture as a protector of conservative values and his scathing criticism of the West have been part of efforts to shore up his domestic support base of blue-collar workers, farmers and state employees against mounting criticism from the urban middle class. But his speech also was pitched to conservatives worldwide.

“Many countries today are reviewing moral norms and erasing national traditions and distinctions between nationalities and cultures,” Putin said. “The society is now required to demonstrate not only the sensible recognition of everyone’s right to freedom of conscience, political outlook and private life, but also the mandatory recognition of the equivalence of good and evil, no matter how odd that may seem.”

He argued that the “destruction of traditional values from the top” going on in other countries is “inherently undemocratic because it is based on abstract ideas and runs counter to the will of the majority of people.”

Without naming any specific country, he blasted “attempts to enforce allegedly more progressive development models” on other nations, saying they have led only to “decline, barbarity and big blood” in the Middle East and North Africa.

In an apparent jab at the U.S., Putin said that Russia is not “seeking a superpower status or trying to claim a global or regional hegemony … not trying to patronize or teach anyone.”

He denied that Russia was trying to coerce Ukraine into joining a Moscow-led free trade pact. The Ukrainian president’s decision last month to spurn an alliance with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia has triggered massive protests in Ukraine’s capital that have been going on for three weeks.

Without naming the United States, Putin described the U.S. program of developing “prompt global strike” weapons as an attempt to tilt the strategic balance in its favor and vowed to counter it.

The U.S. program envisages creating long-range non-nuclear weapons that could strike targets anywhere in the world in as little as an hour with deadly precision.

Putin said that Russia sees the effort a threat to its nuclear deterrent and will take countermeasures.

“Expanding the potential of strategic non-nuclear precision weapons along with developing missile defense systems could nullify all earlier nuclear arms reduction agreements and upset the strategic balance,” Putin said. “Russia will respond to all those challenges, both political and technological. No one should have an illusion that it’s possible to achieve a military superiority over Russia.”

He boasted about the nation’s nuclear arsenal, saying that foreign powers will have to catch up with the level of new Russian nuclear weapons.

A day earlier, a senior Russian official warned that Moscow reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to a conventional strike.

Russia-U.S. relations long have been strained by a dispute over the U.S.-led NATO missile defense system, Moscow’s human rights record, and, most recently, Ukraine.

Putin also announced a sweeping crackdown on Russian offshore companies to bring billions of dollars home.

“You want to have offshores? Fine. But get the money here,” he said.

For years, many Russian companies registered in countries such as Cyprus or Luxembourg to avoid Moscow’s heavy-handed regulation and unpredictable legal and tax practices.

Putin insisted that foreign-registered companies that operate in Russia and are owned by Russian citizens should be obliged to pay taxes in Russia.

He said that Russian companies registered offshore will not be allowed to bid for state contracts, a major source of income for many Russian businesses.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

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