Putin: Are the changes he is making cause for concern?

The US is expressing everything from concern to grave concern over Putin's changes in the power structure of Russia.

For the non-Russian, the fall of the Soviet Union was a simple pen stroke on a piece of paper, and Russia fell into an open market world. Communism had bankrupted Russia years before. With the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia fell into what can be rightly called “Controlled Chaos”, and in the process burned out two leaders – Yeltsin had a heart attack, and “Gorbe” as we called him, needed a very long vacation just to recover.

Putin was elected to oversee and lead a country that had no constitution, no money, a military that was half dead, and an infrastructure that was not far behind. Putin's job would have made hash out of lesser men.

Putin is also faced with police corruption, narcotics, the mafia, and Chechnya.
He met with Bush, and somehow Bush seemed to have gotten the idea Putin was begging for advice, counsel and leadership from Bush. Well, Bush is not in a position to make comparisons and he can't manage the US, let alone telling Putin how to manage Russia.

Putin is confronted with something Bush has not had to face as Russia has been hit by terrorists more than any country in the world. Bush knew 9/11 was coming; Putin got blind sided every time.

The separation between the two leaders has been building since Putin was at Bush’s ranch in Texas. Call it personality clash, call it what ever you want to call it. There remains cooperation between Russia and the US – that is also true. But I think Putin decided to be his own man and lead Russia without some Texan telling him how to run things.

When the theater was hit in Moscow, the US was quick to discuss, in harsh terms, Putin’s delay in response. As if 9/11 was anything to chime about. Putin was under a very large microscope on the world stage – if he reacted too quickly, the world, especially the US, would have screamed: “Look, he is using soviet style tactics – no diplomacy. Bad Putin”. Putin was in a dammed if you do, dammed if you don't situation. I didn’t envy the man at all.

The Beslan school – another situation where Russia was hit and was hit hard. This time there are some indicators there might have been some inside help. This turns a tragedy into a very grave concern.

We can't fault Putin for having a KGB background – we had a president who had been the head of the CIA. The CIA and the KGB were birds of a feather – just on opposite ends of the telescope. Same skullduggery, different acronym.

We cannot judge Putin's new changes because look what Bush brought us: Rumsfeld and Ashcroft. The Anti-Terrorist Act reads very close to one of the proclamations Hitler wrote. The Home Land Security has powers that rival that of the old KGB. We are not in a position to fault Putin in the least.

America is not in a position to dictate to Putin either. He is not one of our lackeys and never will be. We were critical of Putin because Russia felt there was another way of handling Iraq, we fail to see Russia is in the majority crowd on this one.

The US did not help cooperation and understanding when we gave that Chechnya terrorist leader asylum – this man is wanted in Russia, and we are harboring a criminal under Russian law.

Chechnya is a Russian republic that is in a state of rebellion. How quickly we forget our own actions when 11 of our states seceded from the union, or one of our ‘protectorates’ decides to venture too far from party line – Grenada? During the War Between the States, the north committed some of the worst atrocities the world had ever seen. From the complete burning of Quaker communities in the Shenandoah Valley to Sherman’s March to the sea – we killed civilians, stole what they had, burned them out of house and home and summarily imprisoned anyone we thought might/could possibly be a southern sympathizer. We glossed the Elmira POW camp in New York whose death toll outstripped that of Andersonville. We committed cold blooded genocide during the Indian Wars.

We have no basis for complaining about human rights violations in the Chechnya conflict, considering what is surfacing from Iraq at our hands. Or our own homeless and people without jobs and health insurance.

We are now hinting at military intervention in Iran – there are a great deal of Russian businesses that have contracts and working relationships in Iran. What kind of a fuss would we put up if Russia whacked the Philippines and trashed our holdings and interests? We’d declare war.

If Putin wants to stack the Russian government with people he knows, that is his choice, but he is being honest about doing it. Our own upcoming election using the Diebold equipment is already flawed as more and more information comes out that the equipment is rigged and Bush has already ‘won’ the election – and nobody has even voted yet.

Our Patriot Act was introduced and passed in a very short time and there was no debate on the implications. Clearly a ramrod effort to get a law passed that no one knew, or still really knows, anything about.

Putin is being forthright and honest about what his intentions are – he is laying the cards out on the table for everyone to see, which is something we are not doing as we prefer to work by stealth, cash, and under the table.

Given the choice between how Putin is handling the terrorist threat henceforth, and the way Bush is going about it, I like the honesty and I wish some of it would rub off onto our leaders.

I admire a leader who is honest about his/her intentions and actions. Besides, WC Fields said: “You can't cheat an honest man”.

Michael Berglin

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Author`s name Andrey Mikhailov