Streetwise Professor

April 3, 2010

More casualties of the “humiliating raw materials dependence”

Filed under: Energy,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 3:09 pm

Ralph Peters considers why Russia has not been able to “crush” its Islamists.  He also analyzes why Russia feels compelled to wage a bitter battle for a backwards corner of the old empire inhabited by poor and largely ignorant people who are truly alien to most Russians:

After 300 years, the Russians are still seen as occupiers — and see themselves as such. Yet Putin can’t bear the thought of letting Daghestan or Chechnya go — for two reasons: As a rabid nationalist, he won’t give up another inch of the Russian empire. And he fears that letting one small territory secede might trigger a rush for the exits on the part of other frustrated Russian regions.

Yes, nationalism, imperialism, and reputational effects are part of the Russian (and Putin’s) bloody minded determination to keep Chechnya and neighboring Daghestan and Ingushetia in the Russian Federation.  But remember, this is not only a Putinist determination.  Yeltsin, who was content to let the USSR collapse, and who didn’t thirst to maintain Russian hegemony over the wreck of the USSR (and the Russian Empire), launched the first Chechen War.  The motive for this war in the Caucasus lies at the heart of the Russian state.

There is something more going on here, and that something is energy.

With the construction of the Baku-Novorossiisk bypass in 1999, and the Azerbaijan-Georgia pipeline, the pipe through Chechnya was not the sole route by which Azeri oil could be transported.  This reduced Chechnya’s direct relevance in the oil game, but Chechnya borders Daghestan, and Daghestan borders the Caspian.  In the 1990s the war in Chechnya threatened to spread to Daghestan, and even today, Daghestan is rent by violence.

The division of the Caspian and its massive energy riches has been stalemated for years.  There are competing proposals on how to divide the Caspian seabed.  The Russian one would base the division on the length of coastline.  Without Daghestan, Russia’s claim would shrink by almost 80 percent.  Clearly not acceptable to a natural state whose elite subsists on resource rents, and which views energy as the key to its retaining at least a simulacrum of great power status.  So, poor, backwards, and essentially non-Russian Daghestan is a vital to Russia’s energy ambitions.  And since an independent, Islamicist Chechnya would destabilize Daghestan, it is war to the knife in Chechnya and its environs.

In brief, the overriding reason that the Russian government fights so ferociously for Chechnya (but really for Daghestan), is the overriding reason it does most everything: energy rents.  And it is willing to do so even though that routinely brings the war to Russia proper, at the costs of hundreds of lives.

In the aftermath of the Moscow Metro bombings, Russians should consider whether “????? ?? ?????” is such a good deal after all.

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  1. Because defending your territorial integrity is “rabid nationalism” and fighting terrorism is “blood for oil” (when Russia does it anyway). Your hypocrisy really knows no bounds.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — April 3, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

  2. S/O. Your hypersensitive knee-jerkism knows no bounds. NB. “Rabid” was a quote from Peters. I allowed that nationalism is no doubt part of it, which I think is undeniable, but I didn’t use nor do I agree with the “rabid” modifier.

    The issue I was trying to address is: why would Russia fight so ruthlessly for a backwards, godforsaken place occupied by poor and largely ignorant people whom most Great Russians think beneath contempt? Why would it pay such a price, financially and in human lives, for such a place? Is territorial integrity that important? If it were, why would Yeltsin, who was perfectly willing to let large swathes of former Russian dominions go, launch a war over Chechnya?

    Peters’s analysis is insufficient to answer those questions. I think that the explanation I advance is the most reasonable one. And since the direct consequence of the decision to fight for Chechnya and Daghestan is chronic terrorism (numerous bombings in Russian cities, of which the Metro bombing is only the latest; Nord Ost; the Nevsky Express (twice, I think); Beslan; and on and on), the question immediately arises: is it worth it? For if my diagnosis of the reasons for the actions of the Russian government is correct, it is quite clearly a trade between blood and oil.

    You can take two intellectually respectable tacks to counter my argument: you can try to demonstrate that I have erred in attributing Russia’s determination to fight to the knife in Chechnya to energy, or you can argue that it is, in fact, worth it to pay the human and financial cost in order to fight for Caspian energy. If you choose the latter, please tell me how you’d counter Medvedev’s complaint alluded to in the title about humiliating raw material dependence. Do you disagree with him? If so, why? If not, why would you find it defensible to fight such a war in such a place in such a way for such a reason?

    Oh, and “whataboutism” (suggested in your initial comment–I’m so shocked) doesn’t count as intellectually respectable.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 3, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

  3. blood for oil

    The sources of conflicts in these geographically and politically different regions are quite dissimilar but Russia’s involvement and persistent attempts to secure for itself the leading role in their management bind them together – and in fact reduce the opportunities for their resolution. Russia certainly does not have a consistent and coherent strategy for stabilizing its southern neighborhood but is extremely concerned
    that ‘hostile’ geopolitical penetration by USA, China, Turkey, Iran or any other potential competitor would undermine its influence.

    The narrowly-defined Caspian security agenda, including, for instance, the problem of maritime borders delimitation or the problem of on-going militarization of the Sea, makes very little impact on the energy-related developments and is essentially deadlocked. The hugely important bi-lateral relations between Russia and Iran, which in principle could have constituted a major part of this agenda, are perceived by both parties more in the global context, involving, in particular the non-proliferasjon dimension, and so have very little of a specifically Caspian projection. The so called‘war against terror’ or the US-led struggle against Islamic terrorist networks that has since autumn 2001 reshaped the security agenda in many parts of Eurasia, has remarkably little direct relevance for the three hydrocarbon-rich Caspian states –Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.3
    A broader perspective on the Caspian (non)region immediately brings into attention several seats of conflict that saw violent unrest in the first half of the 1990s until it was extinguished through Russian interventions and has since remained suppressed (the popular term ‘frozen conflicts’ is slightly misleading since it implies that sooner or later they would reignite).4 This pattern of latent conflicts in the wider Caspian neighborhood largely dominated by Russia was distorted only by the Second Chechen War, but since the start of 2005 it has de-escalated into wide-spread but low-intensity
    violence that Moscow portrays as ‘normalization’. There are, however, new features in the security dynamics that indicate that this pattern might be broken already in the mid-term. Fifteen years into implementation, state-building projects are showing distinct signs of possible break-down due to various combination of strains, from poverty and overflow of ‘petro-dollars’ to corruption and growth of drug trafficking .

    Comment by ?????? ???????? — April 3, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

  4. 1. Re-whataboutism. I’ve never bought that as any less intellectually respectable that the double standards which are its cause. See here under “Whataboutism” Argument for an explanation why.

    2. Energy plays a role, but there are far, far more important things. One, that Chechnya will (and has) degenerate into anarchy that overspills into bordering regions should it lack a strongman at the helm. That is exactly what happened in 1996-99. Worse, it will incubate extreme strains of Islamism. The Islamofascist Caucasian Emirates envisioned by the jihadis is profoundly not in Russia’s interests, Israel’s or the West’s interests, and perhaps not in the interests of the Caucasians themselves (at least for peoples like the Daghestanis who quite emphatically reject radical Islam – which raises another complaint, how you group together diverse peoples like the Chechens and Daghestanis and Ingush etc as one unit in the classic Orientalist manner).

    3. On energy. The energy “rents” to be gotten from the North Caucasus are minimal. As you should know, the bulk of Russia’s oil industry is in Siberia. You might make an argument that control of pipelines is important (and it is), but that just emphasizes the geopolitical importance of the North Caucasus and why keeping it under Russian control is important for the Kremlin.

    4. I can only imagine how you would react to someone calling for an end to the “war on terror” or Iraq (a classic oil war if there ever was one – even Greenspan admitted it) because it increases anti-Americanism in Muslim countries, hence increases the chances of terrorist attacks and American deaths. My impression from your posts is that you would call them Islamists, or appeasers, etc.

    However, in Russia’s case all this is “blood for oil” – a very leftist and unpatriotic phrase when applied to US foreign actions, is totally unjustified in Russia’s merely domestic actions, and in fact the terrorist killings must be appeased by handing away Russia’s lands to the people behind them.

    Mark Adomanis has described your situation well.

    I actually think on this issue the conservatives are more right than not: clearly the Chechen conflict has a number of root causes including the region’s crushing poverty,poor governance, and deep history of violence. But it is hilarious, in a really dark and twisted way, to see American conservatives try to identify the “root causes” of a problem that, in their own understanding of the situation, proceeds directly from the fact that Muslims are irrational, freedom-hating beats who only understand the language of force.

    So to recap: America must never negotiate with Islamic terrorists, since such terrorists are irredeemable monsters who are as untrustworthy as they are dangerous, and has done nothing that could possible serve as a motivating force for terrorist activity. Russia, on the other hand, must make a point of negotiating with people who gun down its children and, has only itself to blame if a few psychopaths set off nail bombs on the Moscow Metro.

    I mean, who could possibly find any inconsistency in that analysis??

    PS. And please spare me the “whataboutism” critiques. Your double standards overload calls for it.

    5. Re-“If you choose the latter, please tell me how you’d counter Medvedev’s complaint alluded to in the title about humiliating raw material dependence. Do you disagree with him?”. Quite frankly, using your logic Russia’s best bet for reducing raw material dependency would be to nuke its entire extractive materials infrastructure, or at least get rid of all the territories east of the Urals. Voila! Problem “solved”.

    6. Re-“Is territorial integrity that important? If it were, why would Yeltsin, who was perfectly willing to let large swathes of former Russian dominions go, launch a war over Chechnya?”

    First, I would note Yeltsin’s historical approval ratings are in the single digits or thereabouts – and even in his defense (oh my God I can’t believe I am defending Yeltsin), he was merely breaking up the USSR by not renewing the Union treaty, along with other national leaders, as a tool in the political struggle against Gorbachev. At least there was some kind of legal pretext to it.

    That is not at all the case for the Russian Federation, or any other self-respecting state. Any President who allows formal independence for any of the Caucasian republics in response to violent insurgencies is either a traitor (and would be seen as one) or a complete idiot (it shows an utter weakness to hold to one’s position and will only encourage neighboring states to pick away at what remains of Russia like vultures). And they’d be totally right to do it.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — April 3, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

  5. One more thing.

    NB. “Rabid” was a quote from Peters. I allowed that nationalism is no doubt part of it, which I think is undeniable, but I didn’t use nor do I agree with the “rabid” modifier.

    Quoting something generally implies some level of approval or agreement, and since you did not challenge Peters at all that is a fair judgment. However, I do not exaggerate when I say that quite simply, anyone who describes Putin as a “rabid nationalist” quite simply doesn’t know **** about him or probably Russia, and has zero credibility. It would serve Peters well to know that Russia’s real “rabid nationalists” despise Putin and view him as an agent of the Zionist Occupation Government. It is only in the Western chauvinist metaverse that standing up for genuine national interests against the US is equivalent to “rabid nationalism”.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — April 3, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

  6. What a suprise. SWP supports a “solution” to terrorism in Russia whose main consequence for the people around Chechnya is their being subjected to continual raiding and hostage-taking from a sanctuary that Peters and SWP want to provide them.

    After all, the Russians have stifled the “markets” for labor that were free to operate in Grozny while it had been liberated from the evils of Russian occupation. What greater sin against the Spirit of Freidman can there be?

    Comment by rkka — April 3, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

  7. Russia has neither oceans, nor mountains separating her from the barbarians. So you either discipline the barbarians, or they discipline you. Bringing the Chechens to heel was important, because despite their small territory, and due to Stalin being so inept at genocide, the small proud people are the most numerous ethnos in the North Caucus. Dagestan, OTOH, is a patchwork which makes the Balkans look like Sweden. But you are right, the first Chechen war was certainly absurd. Little and White Russia had recently become sovereign states, while Yeltsin was hanging onto a bunch of mountain sheep shaggers.

    Comment by So? — April 3, 2010 @ 11:17 pm

  8. Putins blood for oil

    From China to Central Asia to Ukraine, from its covert efforts to maintain Saddam in power to its more or less unashamed patronage of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Moscow has been at odds with Washington over every key geopolitical issue, and a few non-key ones, too, culminating in Putin’s tirade to Bush that America was flooding Russia with sub-standard chicken drumsticks and keeping the best ones for herself. It was a poultry complaint but indicative of a retreat into old-school Kremlin paranoia. Putin was sending America’s chickens home to roost. I wonder if Bush took a second look into the soulful depths of Vladimir’s eyes and decided he wasn’t quite so finger-lickin’ good after all.

    Russia’s export of ideology was the decisive factor in the history of the last century. It seems to me entirely possible that the implosion of Russia could be the decisive factor in this new century. As Iran’s nuke programme suggests, in many of the geopolitical challenges to America there’s usually a Russian component somewhere in the background.

    In fairness to Putin, even if he was ‘very straightforward and trustworthy’, he’s in a wretched position. Think of the feet of clay of Western European politicians unwilling to show leadership on the Continent’s moribund economy and deathbed demography. Russia has all the EU’s problems to the nth degree, and then some. ‘Post-imperial decline’ is manageable; a nation of psychotic lemmings isn’t. As I’ve noted before in this space, Russia is literally dying. From a population peak in 1992 of 148 million, it will be down to below 130 million by 2015 and thereafter dropping to perhaps 50 or 60 million by the end of the century, a third of what it was at the fall of the Soviet Union. It needn’t decline at a consistent rate, of course. But I’d say it’s more likely to be even lower than 50 million than it is to be over 100 million. The longer Russia goes without arresting the death spiral, the harder it is to pull out of it, and when it comes to the future most Russian women are voting with their foetus: 70 per cent of pregnancies are aborted.

    A smaller population needn’t necessarily be a problem, and especially not for a state with too much of the citizenry on the payroll. But Russia is facing simultaneously a massive ongoing drain of wealth out of the system. Whether or not Dominic Midgley was correct the other day in his assertion that the émigré oligarchs prefer London to America, I cannot say. But I notice my own peripheral backwater of Montreal has also filled up with Russkies whose impressive riches have been acquired recently and swiftly. It doesn’t help the grim demographic scenario if your economic base is also being systematically eaten away.

    Add to that the unprecedented strains on a ramshackle public health system. Russia is the sick man of Europe, and would still look pretty sick if you moved him to Africa. It has the fastest-growing rate of HIV infection in the world. From virtually no official Aids cases at the time Putin took office, in the last five years more Russians have tested positive than in the previous 20 for America. The virus is said to have infected at least 1 per cent of the population, the figure the World Health Organisation considers the tipping point for a sub-Saharan-sized epidemic. So at a time when Russian men already have a life expectancy in the mid-50s — lower than in Bangladesh — they’re about to see Aids cut them down from the other end, killing young men and women of childbearing age, and with them any hope of societal regeneration. By 2010, Aids will be killing between a quarter and three-quarters of a million Russians every year. It will become a nation of babushkas, unable to muster enough young soldiers to secure its borders, enough young businessmen to secure its economy or enough young families to secure its future. True, there are regions that are exceptions to these malign trends, parts of Russia that have healthy fertility rates and low HIV infection. Can you guess which regions they are? They start with a ‘Mu-’ and end with a ‘-slim’.

    So the world’s largest country is dying and the only question is how violent its death throes are. Yesterday’s Russia was characterised by Churchill as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Today’s has come unwrapped: it’s a crisis in a disaster inside a catastrophe. Most of the big international problems operate within certain geographic constraints: Africa has Aids, the Middle East has Islamists, North Korea has nukes. But Russia’s got the lot: an African-level Aids crisis and an Islamist separatist movement sitting on top of the biggest pile of nukes on the planet. Of course, the nuclear materials are all in ‘secure’ facilities — more secure, one hopes, than the secure public buildings in Nalchik that the Islamists took over with such ease last week.

    Russia is the bleakest example on the planet of how we worry about all the wrong things. For 40 years the environmentalists have warned us that the jig was up: there are too many people (see Paul Ehrlich’s comic masterpiece of 1970 The Population Bomb) and too few resources — as the Club of Rome warned in its 1972 landmark study The Limits To Growth, the world will run out of gold by 1981, of mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead and gas by 1993. Instead, poor old Russia is awash with resources but fatally short of Russians — and, in the end, warm bodies are the one indispensable resource.

    What would you do if you were Putin? What have you got to keep your rotting corpse of a country as some kind of player? You’ve got nuclear know-how — which a lot of ayatollahs and dictators are interested in. You’ve got an empty resource-rich eastern hinterland — which the Chinese are going to wind up with one way or the other. That was the logic, incidentally, behind the sale of Alaska: in the 1850s, Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich, the brother of Alexander II, argued that the Russian empire couldn’t hold its North American territory and that one day either Britain or the United States would simply take it, so why not sell it to them first? The same argument applies today to the 2,000 miles of the Russo–Chinese border. Given that even alcoholic Slavs with a life expectancy of 56 will live to see Vladivostok return to its old name of Haishenwei, Moscow might as well flog it to Beijing instead of just having it snaffled out from under.

    That’s the danger for America — that most of what Russia has to trade is likely to be damaging to US interests. In its death throes, it could bequeath the world several new Muslim nations, a nuclear Middle East and a stronger China. In theory, America could do a belated follow-up to the Alaska deal and put in a bid for Siberia. But Russia’s calculation is that sooner or later we’ll be back in a bipolar world and that, in almost any scenario, there’s more advantage in being part of the non-American pole. A Sino–Russian strategic partnership has a certain logic to it, and so, in a darker way, does a Russo–Muslim alliance of convenience. In 1989, with the Warsaw Pact crumbling before his eyes, poor old Mikhail Gorbachev received a helpful bit of advice from the cocky young upstart on the block, the Ayatollah Khomeini: ‘I strongly urge that in breaking down the walls of Marxist fantasies you do not fall into the prison of the West and the Great Satan,’ wrote the pioneer Islamist nutcase. ‘I openly announce that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the greatest and most powerful base of the Islamic world, can easily help fill up the ideological vacuum of your system.’

    In an odd way, that’s what happened everywhere but the Kremlin. As communism retreated, radical Islam seeped into Afghanistan and Indonesia and the Balkans. Crazy guys holed up in Philippine jungles and the tri-border region of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay which would have been ‘Marxist fantasists’ a generation or two back are now Islamists: it’s the ideology du jour. Even the otherwise perplexing enthusiasm of the western Left for the jihad’s misogynist homophobe theocrats is best understood as a latterday variation on the Hitler/Stalin pact. And, despite Gorbachev turning down the offer, it will be Russia’s fate to have large chunks of its turf annexed by the Islamic world.

    We are witnessing a remarkable event: the death of a great nation not through war or devastation but through its inability to rouse itself from its own suicidal tendencies. The ‘ideological vacuum’ was mostly filled with a nihilist fatalism. Churchill got it wrong: Russia is a vacuum wrapped in a nullity inside an abyss.

    Comment by ?????? ???????? — April 4, 2010 @ 4:55 am

  9. The attempt to argue that Putin is not a “rabid nationalist” is so idiotic and childish that it bespeaks mental illness and is surprising even from the braying Russophile jackasses.

    Putin one said that THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON in the entire KGB who could be capable of bombing Russians so as to blame Chechens.

    No more insane, rabidly nationalistic statement could be made. Case closed.

    Comment by La Russophobe — April 4, 2010 @ 7:21 am

  10. S/O–Yawn.

    Re quoting. That’s in the running for your lamest response ever. (Quite a vigorous competition, that.) Let’s see, you’ve quoted me (including in one of the tagline quotes on your blog). So I guess that means you agree with everything I say. Which would be a good move on your part, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Re your explanation of Yeltsin’s action. That’s supposed to be a defense of Russia and Russians? It was an attempt by a flailing politician to restore his ebbing politician? And Russians fell for it? That sort of validates the nationalism explanation–and a particularly retrograde variety to boot.

    Re your quotation on conservative views on Chechnya, and applying it to me. Sorry, doesn’t fit. I’ve never advocated that Russia negotiate with the Chechen terrorists, and think it would be a bad idea. But that doesn’t imply that the current Russian policy is superior. That’s the false dichotomy trap. The Russians are currently caught in the doing the same thing and expecting different results cycle. They don’t have great choices, but the obsession with retaining control over this area is a recipe for continued terrorism.

    The “overspill” is directly attributable to the control obsession, and would almost certainly abate if Russia let the Chechens and Daghestanis go their own way. Not disappear, but abate.

    You either completely misunderstand, or deliberately misstate, my point on energy. I never said, nor do I believe, that energy rents in the northern Caucasus per se, is the driving force. I also defy you to point to any sentence in my post that says that. To the contrary, it is the Caspian energy rents that matter. That’s what I state clearly in the post. If you missed that, read it again. Loss of control over Chechnya destabilizes Daghestan. Loss of control over Daghestan dramatically reduces Russian leverage and influence in the Caspian. And the energy rents in the Caspian are anything but “minimal.” Have you been paying attention over the last 5 years to the inordinate amount of time, effort, and money Putin and Medvedev in the Great Game in Central Asia and the Caspian? Hell, even the Georgian War is inseparable from that dynamic.

    Re nuking the extractive infrastructure. Puh-lease. Reductio ad absurdum. Too silly to respond to.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 4, 2010 @ 9:34 am

  11. The Islamists are finished whether you like it or not. Isolated instances of terrorism and banditry do not prove a trend to the contrary. I hear neocons talking about victory in Iraq, although it is not hard for me to find them the latest instances of bloody violence griping that country, I stopped doing that a long time ago. I understand their point, the coalition casualties are at all time low, the deaths of Iraqi’s have also gone down significantly.

    So please, don’t get wet whenever a last ditcher terrorist makes his last stand.

    Comment by Leos Tomicek — April 4, 2010 @ 10:07 am

  12. Phoby, Phoby, Phoby…

    For an education about what radical nationalism, I’d suggest Mein Kampf.

    It is clear that you and SWP have not the slightest idea what radical nationalism is.

    Here’s a hint: it takes a lot less than massed rocket artillery strikes on ones soldiers or ground attacks by ~2000 militants armed with automatic weapons to move a radical nationalist to military action.

    On the other hand, wars initiated out of the lust for the control of land and it’s resources under the pretext of a vastly exaggerated threat looks a lot like radical nationalism. See Case White, Operation Barbarossa, Operation Iraqi Freedom, etc.

    Comment by rkka — April 4, 2010 @ 10:19 am

  13. Putin has taken the first step towards wiping out samizdat by moving to register all copy machines in the country.

    I’d like to hear the Russophile jackasses tell me that America is doing exactly the same thing, so it’s just fine!

    These kinds of moves are the only option for a man whose rapid nationalism has brought the nation to the brink of collapse, as rising popular outrage made clear even before the subway bombings.

    Comment by La Russophobe — April 4, 2010 @ 10:19 am

  14. If I were Russia I would just put all my $ into making drones. Let the drones kill the terrorists. Nobody cares what drones do

    Comment by lisa — April 4, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  15. Phoby, Phoby, Phoby…

    Samizdat? With copiers?? And in a time of visa-free travel between Russia and Israel?

    Please enter the 21st Century.

    Goble/Phoby short version:

    Rusian MVD fights counterfeiting.
    Goble snarlz.
    Phoby frothz, bleatz, and poutz.

    Comment by rkka — April 5, 2010 @ 4:45 am

  16. Robert Merkulov, you were a great speed skater unlike some of your political observations.

    Sublime Oblivion, has Mark Adomanis said anything that can be considered original in thought?

    Professor, Ralph Peters is off in his views. The appeal of separatism in Chechnya has declined considerably. It hasn’t been much of a factor in Dagestan. The socioeconomic problems in Russia’s northern Caucasus are a main destabilizing factor.

    Comment by middlefinger — April 5, 2010 @ 7:20 am

  17. You sir are no different than the ‘cicadas’ that Oriana Fallaci heard saying ‘chickens have come home to roost for America’ while the bodies were still being pulled from the warm rubble of Ground Zero on 9/12. You are Russia’s Ward Churchill. You are personifying everything you despise about the Leftists in America but for Russia. Shame on you.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 5, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

  18. rkka, thanks for the link.

    I have a feeling if this blogger spouted this same Bzrezinski-ite ‘Russia hangs on to oil and gas for blood’ nonsense in Tel Aviv he would have few takers. If Russia pulls out of Daghestan and lets Chechnya revert to the state of paradise it was in the mid-90s, lets the Ossetians get slaughtered like Basayev’s men did to them at Beslan, that’s going to be just a ok for Europe? For the world?

    Maybe this guy should organize a rally covered by this same Zombietime blog in Moscow? You know ‘1999 Apartment Bombings Were an Inside Job’ and ‘No Blood for Oil’…there would be just as many Soviet hammer and sickles with the Limonov Bolsheviks present…and the Wall Street Journal can talk about how these people are liberal dissidents while their U.S.A. ilk are dangerous radicals. And so and so forth.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 5, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

  19. While energy interests play a role, I think the Professor exaggerates its role.

    First, the constituent republics of the Soviet Union had a de jure right to secede from the Soviet Union (even if this was never really a practical option until the very end). Boris Yeltsin was the leader of the Russian Federation and not the USSR. The dissolution of the Soviet Union did not present a real legal obstacle, nor did it affect Yeltsin’s ability to govern Russia. Separatist movements inside the old Russian Federation did not have that same legal right to secede and did provide a real challenge to Yeltsin’s government. Also, at the time it happened, I know many people thought that the Commonwealth of Independent States would play a much more significant role than it actually did. The creation of the CIS might have disguised for some people the fact that Moscow had truly lost control.

    Furthermore, even if there was no real opposition to the dissolution of the USSR by most people at the time, it does not mean they did not feel some sort of loss. Nor does it mean that they would continue to not care by further loss of territory. People set limits, and once those limits are crossed they can act very differently from how they did before. Hitler didn’t think Britain would change its past behavior of abandoning its allies in Eastern Europe, and therefore discounted Britain’s guarantee to Poland. Why would Britain fight for Poland when it wouldn’t for Czechoslovakia? He failed to see that his own past actions had changed previous British attitudes. Similarly, Al Qaeda didn’t think the US would react to the September 11 attacks because the US didn’t really respond to the earlier embassy attacks and Yemen. It didn’t forsee that the US treat an attack on its own soil as far different than those abroad. Saddam Hussein didn’t realize that those attacks also caused the US to reevaluate its position on Iraq’s non-compliance with the 1991 cease fire. He based his decisions on how the US previously handled that non-compliance instead of its new level of tolerance. We make the same mistake when asking why Russia reacted so strongly in regards to Chechnya when it didn’t when it came to the USSR’s other republics. The situations are not the same, and it would be a mistake to act like they were.

    Comment by Chris Durnell — April 5, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  20. RKKA:

    You seem to think that Paul Goble is a crackpot. However, he writes for major publications from the New York Times to the Moscow Times, and has an advanced degree in his subject. What major papers do YOU write for, and what degrees do YOU hold that entitle you to look down on him?

    What’s that you say? NONE?? You’re just a little scurring cockroach trying desperately to fling bits of exrement from the pile you live in? You don’t care about being sued for libel because you are unemployed and live in a dung pile? Ah, vsyo yasno!

    Meanwhile, your attempt to claim the registration of photocopiers is all about fignting couterfeiting is truly hilarious. Thanks for the deep belly laugh! You may not have heard, but Russia is one of the most corrupt countries on the planet and its efforts to fight corruption are the laughingstock of the world. That’s apart from the fact that your claim is simply idiotic on its face, classic neo-Soviet gibberish. We’ve heard it all before little boy. Yawn.

    Comment by La Russophobe — April 6, 2010 @ 11:40 am

  21. Goble doesn’t write routinely for the New York Times, he’s a former CIA and State Department employee, and we all know how you react to Prof. Panarin talking about separatism in the USA (Texas, Alaska seceding, etc.) given his background.
    S/O has the story here on Goble’s unsupportable claims and Promethean propaganda

    Don’t care about being sued for libel? If you used your real name you would have been sued a long time ago.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 6, 2010 @ 11:57 am

  22. What do you expect from a twit like LR?

    Comment by Mr. Y — April 6, 2010 @ 6:51 pm

  23. Phoby, Phoby, Phoby…

    Counterfeiting using copiers is a serious problem:

    The MVD are right to be concerned about it.

    And who would rely on copiers for samizdat when there are thumb drives? Or even floppies?

    Gullible is of a vintage that he remembers the ’70’s dissident, hunched over a typewriter. There’s computers now.

    Gullible is just snarling at Russia through propagandizing, as is his wont.

    And you froth, bleat, and pout.

    Like I said, get into the 21st century.

    Comment by rkka — April 7, 2010 @ 4:00 am


    Yeah, ‘she’ is so popular the host of this site has to repeatedly disavow any knowledge of who or what ‘she’ is.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 7, 2010 @ 11:24 am


    You are a liar, Goble is often in the NYT, which highly respects his views, most recently here:

    Your mendacity is truly repulsive. The NYT is hardly famous for touting the views of rabid CIA spies.

    It’s truly hiliarious that rodents like you can manage to imagine themselves qualified to question an international expert like Goble. You’re an utterly obscure blogger nobody reads or cares about, and you publish material on Russia Blog, operated by a Russian citizen as a shameless propaganda exercise on behalf of the Kremlin, in cooperation with state-sponsored RTV (incidently, Russia Blog hasn’t received single comment in months after being obliterated by LR).

    Once again, your ignorant lies make Russia look like a nation of apes, with only the likes of you for her “defenders.”

    Comment by La Russophobe — April 7, 2010 @ 5:28 pm

  26. I’m not Mr. X, retard.

    I couldn’t care less which papers Goble writes for.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — April 7, 2010 @ 6:26 pm


    HA!!! You go by lots of different aliases but not THAT one, and we should just take your word for that, right? Just like we should take Vladimir Putin’s word for the birthrates. Now it all makes sense!

    So, uh, lemee see if I understand. If the NEW YORK TIMES published YOUR views, that would mean NOTHING and you would IGNORE it, right?

    Don’t you ever get tired of telling such absurd, transparent lies?

    Would even you dare to claim that your credentials are even REMOTELY comparable to Goble’s?

    Comment by La Russophobe — April 7, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

  28. No need for projection. Just because you have armies of sockpuppets, doesn’t mean other people do too. I always stick to one name during any discussion and 90%+ of my posts at SWP are under “Sublime Oblivion” or “Da Russophile”.

    My credentials are poorer than those of Goebbels too. Doesn’t mean I have any desire to be like him (or Goble).

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — April 7, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

  29. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Siram. Siram said: More casualties of the “humiliating raw materials dependence” […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Streetwise Professor » More casualties of the “humiliating raw materials dependence” -- — April 12, 2010 @ 10:26 am

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