"Wet on me, and I will have your mother shot."
When President Obama took office, he promised a re-set in Russian Policy and a radical approach in ‘soft diplomacy.’
It is a tragic mistake many make in dealing with other cultures, putting your ethic in the minds of those of another mind-set.
The Westerners who showed compassion to the Indian thought the warriors should respond in kind.
The warriors merely believed their Medicine was strong, and the White Men were weak.
European politicians tried to placate Hitler and millions died.
Now, we are going down a similar tragic path.
"Oh, but you do not know Putin," I hear many wail.
Many consider Vladimir Putin to be roughly a cross between Joseph Stalin and Sauron.
I jest but it is only because the man is truly scary:
Putin's parents lived through the siege of Leningrad in World War II, his father was probably a KGB agent,
and none of their neighbors remembers little Vladimir even existing as a child younger than about seven or eight years old,
so there is some speculation that his very existence began with theft, when his "parents" stole him from his real parents.
These are the type of things that can happen in a country ruled by Josef Stalin.
But whether he was kidnapped or sold or honestly born, Putin had a deceitful streak from a very early age, as any good son of the KGB should.
Those who claim to remember what he was like as a child (including himself) will tell you that he was a tough kid,
he ran with a bad crowd and was often the leader of it, and he would stop at nothing to punish anyone who crossed him.
As he matured, he got his act together just enough to become a KGB agent.
Russians in the 1990s were looking at an exciting but confusing new world.
Vladimir Putin is plucked from obscurity out of the St. Petersburg local government apparatus by President Boris Yeltsin and named Deputy Chief of Staff.
In June, he defends his PhD dissertation in “strategic planning” at St. Petersburg’s Mining Institute.
Later, this document proves to have been plagiarized from a KGB translation of work by U.S. professors published many years earlier
(as if nobody would notice, and in fact for quite a while nobody did).
In a second inexplicable move, Yeltsin names Putin head of the KGB (now called the FSB).
Less than four months after Putin takes over at the KGB, opposition Duma Deputy Galina Starovoitova,
the most prominent pro-democracy Kremlin critic in the nation, is murdered at her apartment building in St. Petersburg.
Four months after that, Putin will play a key role in silencing the Russian Attorney General, Yury Skuratov,
who was investigating high-level corruption in the Kremlin, by airing an illicit sex video involving Skuratov on national TV.
Four months after the dust settles in the Skuratov affair, Putin will be named Prime Minister.
Completing a hat trick of bizarre spontaneous promotions, proud KGB spy Putin is named by Yeltsin Prime Minister of Russia.
Almost immediately, Putin orders a massive bombing campaign against the tiny, defenseless breakaway republic of Chechnya,
apparently seeing the reassertion of Russian power there as key to overall resurgence of Russia’s military and state security apparatus, his primary political objective.
On August 26th, he’s forced to acknowledge the horrific consequences of the bombing. Hundreds of civilians are killed and tens of thousands are left homeless as civilian targets are attacked.
NEW YEAR'S EVE, 1999:
Boris Yeltsin resigns the presidency of Russia, handing the office to Putin in order to allow him to run as an incumbent three months later.
[Between April 2000 and March 2002, Russia plunges into a nightmarish conflict in Chechnya eerily similar to what America now faces in Iraq.
Opposition journalists, especially those who dare to report on what it going on in Chechnya, suddenly start dying.
In 2000 alone, reporters Igor Domnikov, Sergey Novikov, Iskandar Khatloni, Sergey Ivanov and Adam Tepsurgayev are murdered --
not by hostile fire in Chechnya but in blatant assassinations at home in Russia.]
Sergei Yushenkov, co-chairman of the Liberal Russia political party, is gunned down at the entrance of his Moscow apartment block.
Yushenkov had been serving as the vice chair of the group known as the “Kovalev Commission”
which was formed to informally investigate charges that Putin’s KGB had planted the Pechatniki and Kashirskoye apartment bombs
to whip up support for the Putin’s war in Chechnya after the formal legislative investigation turned out to be impossible.
Another member of the Commission, Yuri Shchekochikhin will perish of poisoning,
a third will be severely beaten by thugs,
and two other members will lose their seats in the Duma.
The Commission’s lawyer, Mikhail Trepashkin will be jailed after a secret trial on espionage charges.
Today, virtually none of the members of the Commission are left whole, and it is silent.
Nikolai Girenko, a prominent human rights defender, Professor of Ethnology and expert on racism and discrimination in the Russian Federation
is shot dead in his home in St Petersburg.
Paul Klebnikov, editor of the Russian edition Forbes magazine, is shot and killed in Moscow.
Forbes has reported that at the time of his death, Paul was believed to have been investigating a complex web of money laundering involving a Chechen reconstruction fund,
reaching into the centers of power in the Kremlin and involving elements of organized crime and the FSB (the former KGB).
The murders of Putin's opponents keep piling up year after year after year after year ...
On July 14, 2009, leading Russian human rights journalist and activist Natalia Estemirova, a single mother of a teenaged daughter, was abducted in front of her home in Grozny, Chechnya,
spirited across the border into Ingushetia, shot and dumped in a roadside gutter.
The shooting down of a passenger jet over Ukraine – with the loss of nearly 300 lives – is a human tragedy and a moral abomination.
Part of the outrage is that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is trying to avoid culpability. His hands are bloody, or should we say bloodier.
Russia started this confrontation with Ukraine and armed pro-Russian separatists with surface-to-air missiles
that almost certainly brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
Putin and his minions can’t now disavow the horrible consequences if trigger-happy separatists mistook the Boeing 777 for a Ukrainian military plane on Thursday.
This is a conflict of polar opposites. On one side of the terrifying crisis blowing up on the borders of Russia and Ukraine stands
Vladimir Putin, the ruthless former KGB officer, focused with deadly intent on rebuilding the Soviet empire.
On the other are
the frivolous, dithering politicians of the West, high-fiving each other at summits and conveying their condolences, after a monstrous atrocity, on the teenagers’ medium of Twitter.
It is Hitler and the dithering politicians of the West once again ...
but this time the weapons of war are truly monstrous.