There seems to be a trend emerging in the face of the Russian rape of Georgia that’s very informative about what it’s like in the “Russian Sphere of Influence.” If we don’t close our ears to it, that is. Georgia made an admittedly bone-headed play to take back Russian Encroachments of their territory, trusting that the US military would protect them. That’s quite a gamble given the depth of US involvement in the War on Islamic Terror. Nevertheless a new wind of freedom, courage, and defiance is blowing across Georgia, the Ukraine and Poland that puts the crisis in perspective by its very audacity. These former Soviet client states are being nicked and dimed to death by the Russian thug, Vladimir Putin, and they’re refusing to go gently into that good night. These nations, in their defiance of the Russian Strongman Putin, are risking their national lives to draw attention to what Russia has become and their willingness to die rather than return to Russian rule. Their desperation to get away from Russia has given them courage beyond words; to defy a 21st century dictator whose unchecked power has given a troubled world another existential threat. Far from dissuading any further protests in the former client states of the Soviet Union, the action in Georgia is becoming a rallying cry and a heartrending scream of terror at what Russia has become under Putin.
The courage to flirt with certain destruction can’t be faked and if you investigate the killing of journalists, political opponents, and even the central banker of Russia, who was bent on policies not to the liking of Vladimir the Great, you see the depths the country has fallen into a neo-fascist dictatorship. Putin doesn’t like it when anyone disagrees with him and he’s created a new KGB/Gestapo to wreck havoc with anyone who is less than impressed with Putin. The world was silent as Putin shot journalists and poisoned foreign leaders with radioactive isotopes because Russia was making such strides in its business policies. As business takes hold, and the money rolls in, the taste for dictators and authoritarian rule is supposed to wane as liberty and freedom become the focus of newly independent peoples. We tell ourselves that having a McDonalds in Moscow gives Russia a stake in the new global economy that’s more powerful then the siren song of a dictator and his ballad of nationalist glory regained. That’s what’s supposed to happen…… Vladimir the Great has a 70% approval rating and the Russians adore him because he ended the clownish antics of Yeltsin the Drunk and has made the trains run on time in the face of rampant corruption that was called “democracy”. Clearly the Russian people are fully behind him while the NATO alliance has bogged down under its own self destructive politics, and America has been weakened by debt and dependance on forign oil.
The former Soviet Client States have made much greater progress toward a functioning democracy than the Russians who seemed to wallow in corruption and poverty. In Russia a few self starting ambitious dirtbags seized power in their respective territories and supplanted rule by weak democratic institutions with Mafia rule. It was Putin and his control of government that either destroyed or reformed the corruption to make Putin the Kingpin of the new Russia. It would seem the Russian people are very grateful indeed and like what Putin has been doing. They matter again and life is better than it was under Yeltsin but they still pine for state control in any number of areas. There’s a nostalgia for the Soviet Union and the illusion of security it provided that’s taken on a more rosy glow in the face of the mess that was democracy.
Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, all have taken steps to further antagonize Putin in the face of the brutality Russia is unleashing in Georgia. They well remember what it was like to serve as the Russians buffer to the world and the very idea of going back to those days is compelling the Polish to sign off on a Missile shield, Ukraine to restrict Russian warships, and Georgia to continue being the worst propaganda setback Russia has ever had. Some Russian general has been clear in the idea that defiance of Russia requires “punishment” for offending nations like Poland but still they defied Putin and signed off on anti missile batteries. I believe Putin has cut off energy recourses to Ukraine in the past, and they certainly could do the same to the West if they chose to flex their muscles further, but that didn’t denture the Ukraine from attempting to deny Russian Ships access to their territory. These nations have placed themselves in terrible danger and risk everything to warn the world of the danger Putin’s Russia represents to the world but will it work? What will be the outcome of such naked courage in the face of Russian brutality? Time will tell.
I understand that the Russian Government is spinning these events as the sinister hand of Dick Cheney trying to scare the electorate into voting for John McCain. It was Cheney who urged the Georgians to resist, the Ukraine to deny access, and the Polish to ok anti ballistic weaponry on their soil! I must admit to some surprise and a dry chuckle or two at this news because, if it were true, it would serve to make Cheney the most admired man in Russia: if he were Russian! When the press and the state are in bed together you get stories like this that proclaim, for all to hear, that the silly season has returned, and Russia’s experiment with a free press is over.
Three brave states have risked their lives to get our attention: are we listening? Do we care? Do we remember when anything mattered as much to us?
PS. As I finish this article the Associated Press is reporting that Russia has threatened Poland with nuclear attacks if they take those missiles. I am including the URL.