The fundamental problem of the Russian economy is that, having abandoned central planning, Russia has yet to stand on its own feet as a free market system. The corrupt liberalisation of the economy's commanding heights in the mid-1990s under President Boris Yeltsin, whose family had fingers in the pie, discredited a very necessary process and … Continue reading Entrepreneurs Won’t Play Ball
It was Nikita Khrushchev who boldly exposed Stalin's crimes at the 20th Party Congress in 1956, opening Pandora's Box and unchaining the Soviet Union from the evils of the recent past. But a reaction set in with his ouster and the emergence of Leonid Brezhnev as Party Secretary in October 1964. The Central Committee began … Continue reading The Reluctance to Condemn Stalin
President Trump's hasty withdrawal from northern Syria clearly applies only with respect to the Turkish invasion. The White House, mainly under Pentagon pressure but also no doubt to ease the troubled minds of agitated Republican senators, decided to hang on to the country's oil fields to the south-east merely to deny them to the Assad … Continue reading Further Signs that the Military Are Unhappy
Only four days ago, we took a look at the de luxe Sochi summit on Africa. The President of the Central African Republic, Touadéra, heads a landlocked former French colony blessed with diamonds but rent by ethnic division, endowed with a benighted climate where it is either too dry or too wet but always too … Continue reading A Base in Darkest Africa?
Searching Russian television sites is, I must confess, not my métier. Contrary to what I previously concluded, Zvezda television has, in fact, now broadcast two episodes online of its new documentary on the "legends" of Soviet Intelligence . The first, on Konon Molody (alias Gordon Lonsdale), focused on the creation and operations of the Portland … Continue reading Legends of Soviet Intelligence: The Cohens
Courtesy of Russian foreign intelligence (SVR), the Russian TV channel Zvezda, which is owned by the Ministry of Defence, is now broadcasting a series of documentaries about successful officers and agents of the Soviet foreign intelligence service (civilian.) It is called "Legends of (Russian) Secret Intelligence." The first features the origins of the Portland Spy … Continue reading “Legends” of Soviet Intelligence: An Outstanding New Russian Documentary Series about Soviet Spies under Deep Cover
Today Pervyi Kanal on Russian TV headlined Russia and Africa to celebrate a massive summit with African leaders and hangers on you had no idea that is taking place, apparently courtesy of the Russian taxpayer, in Sochi, on the Black Sea: a favourite wintering hole for Stalin where he is reputed to have wiped out … Continue reading Russia and Africa
The vacuum created by the United States in northern Syria can only extend. On Sunday Vladimir Putin received a royal welcome in Saudi Arabia, his ally in the intermittent attempt to sustain oil prices and from whom he hopes to extract more than token inward investment. Only Russophile Washington commentators could imagine that this demonstrates … Continue reading The Russians Are Being Sucked Further into the Middle East: A One Way Street?
Russia has yet to draw hard and fast conclusions about the consequences of President Erdogan's invasion of Syria. Once Turkey decided to go in and take over the Kurdish-held region in the north of the country, the United States under President Trump had little choice but to concede or undertake a serious military commitment to … Continue reading Russia, Turkey and Syria: No Obvious Exit
Presidents Trump and Obama have, believe it or not, much in common (sorry Hillary). Both have long tried to withdraw U.S. forces from unending conflicts that bleed the United States of treasure and lives. No end of unpopular, corrupt and dictatorial leaders of the most loathsome kind have thrived on the downpour of dollars. Witness … Continue reading Trump’s Trap Sprung in Syria