Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Putin’s Rogue State; Russia’s New Foreign Policy Looks Old and Soviet; Ukraine Will 'test and use' Any Non-Banned Weapons to Retake Crimea, Russian Special Forces Suffer Heavy Losses in Ukraine, Changing Dynamics of War, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

WSJ: Putin’s Rogue State
The Russian regime’s years-long descent into lawlessness and autocratic rule prepared the way for the arrest of a Wall Street Journal reporter
Evan Gershkovich, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, was detained on false charges of espionage on March 29, 2023, in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. Vladimir Putin’s government has been harassing Russian journalists, through intimidation, arrest and murder, since he came to power in 2000. But the fact that Mr. Gershkovich is the first accredited American journalist to be arrested in Russia since the end of the Cold War has brought an unusual degree of international attention to his arrest—as those who signed off on it must have wished.
Mr. Gershkovich’s arrest attests to two long-term trends in Russia. The first is Mr. Putin’s arrival at unmitigated dictatorship. Today, the Putinist social contract is clear: People in Russia will be left alone by the state only if they do not meaningfully contest the government’s good reputation or decision-making, which is what bona fide journalism does almost by definition. The second trend is the establishment of a lawless foreign policy, in which the autocrat can rewrite the rules of the international order with impunity. As a journalist and a foreigner in Russia, Mr. Gershkovich has the misfortune of standing at the very point where these two trends meet.
The Russian word for arbitrary rule, proizvol, has a long history. Its origins lie in czarist Russia, where autocratic rule was entrenched. Proizvol could and did co-exist with bureaucracy and laws. It merely meant that the law was negotiable. Nikolai Gogol satirized this state of affairs in his classic 1836 play “The Inspector General,” a comedy about official corruption that is reputed to be Mr. Putin’s favorite work of literature.
The Soviet Union inherited these political traditions, combining arbitrary rule with a new degree of state violence and terror. Joseph Stalin used hunger to subdue populations that he suspected of disloyalty and deported vast numbers of people for political and economic reasons. A conspicuous example of Stalinist lawlessness was the execution of approximately 20,000 captured Polish officers in 1940, with the aim of destroying elite resistance to Soviet domination. The Soviet Union blamed the crime on Nazi Germany, and the cover-up lasted for decades.
When Boris Yeltsin became the first post-Soviet leader of Russia in 1991, he was eager to shed the darker legacies of the Soviet and Russian past. He accepted the existence of political parties and a free press. He did not relish violence, grumbling about NATO expansion without actively trying to reverse it. Yet in 1993, Yeltsin deployed the military against the Russian parliament, whose challenge to his authority had led to a constitutional crisis. And in 1996, he employed state resources to ensure his own reelection. In a stupendous instance of proizvol, he arranged to have his hand-picked successor appointed as acting president just a few months before the 2000 presidential election. That successor was Vladimir Putin.
By contrast with the erratic Yeltsin, Mr. Putin promised to bring stability to Russia through personal discipline and a selective embrace of globalization. Once Russia had a stable government, he argued, capital would flow into the country and a middle class would emerge. --->READ MORE HERE
Photo: Alexei Babushkin/Pool Sputnik Kremlin/AP
WSJ: Russia’s New Foreign Policy Looks Old and Soviet
Vladimir Putin signed a foreign-policy strategy document last month that signals Russia’s troubling return to Soviet-era rhetoric and objectives. The document, whose creation was occasioned by Mr. Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, offers insight into the Russian president’s mind-set and strategic goals. In particular, it reveals a persistent fixation on anti-Western sentiment and the establishment of a new geopolitical order.
One of the most striking aspects of the new document is Russia’s self-positioning as an “original state-civilization,” distinct from the West and forming a unique “Russian world.” Propaganda terms such as “Russophobia,” “neo-Nazism,” and “collective West” appear throughout, casting the West as fundamentally hostile. The term “Anglo-Saxon states”—which had previously been used only by informal patriotic groups—has now officially entered the Russian foreign-policy lexicon and signifies a growing hostility to the U.S. and U.K. This shift suggests that Moscow is more than willing to amplify nationalist sentiments and distance itself further from Western powers.
The document also plays down Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, referring to the fighting indirectly and blaming the U.S. and Europe for initiating a “new type of hybrid war.” This rhetoric contrasts with the previous strategy document, which emphasized cultural and spiritual ties with Ukraine. Additionally, the document expands on Russia’s “right to self-defense,” raising concerns about further military aggression.
Russia’s newfound restraint in its language regarding China and India—despite its previously announced “no limits” partnership with Beijing and warming relations with New Delhi—highlights a cautious approach to these emerging powers. The increased attention to Latin America, the Islamic world and Africa is also new, indicating that Moscow now places greater emphasis on relations with non-Western countries. Brazil, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela get special mention, as do Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The United Arab Emirates is notable for its absence. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Ukraine will 'test and use' any non-banned weapons to retake Crimea: official+++++

+++++Russian Special Forces suffer heavy losses in Ukraine, changing dynamics of war – Pentagon leak+++++

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