The Epiphany


Justin Smiths provides tongue-in-cheek repentance for being a Conservative after experiencing Leftist Enlightenment.

JRH 3/18/19

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The Epiphany

Now I See The Light

 

By Justin O. Smith
Sent 3/17/2019 4:01 PM

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, all the other Democratic presidential candidates, and all the other communist and socialist curiosities have finally broken through my clouded, obtuse logic, with their resounding, sublime and superb nuanced intellectual arguments, and now I am proud to say that I have finally awakened to just what an ignorant reprobate and low-life sinner, living in moral darkness and beyond redemption, I have been. Their efforts have led to my reformation, and now I join them in their calls for white people to pay reparations for slavery, even though I once thought anyone calling for this was as crazy as Ol’ Uncle Buttermilk, living under the bridge on South Church St. and roasting fat rats on a spit.

 

Once, it seemed to me, as though someone had put brain-softener in the water coolers in the halls of Congress, daft as most of the leadership had become; but now I say, “bring on the reparations for everyone who has been a slave and pay them an enormous amount of the federal taxpayers’ dollars, without any exceptions”. Reparations are not a joking matter for anyone.

 

My life was changed by the young and old Communists alike and the epiphany that followed and made me release all my slaves by that evening’s sundown. My brother helped me count them up, not an exact count but by even dozens, and I resolved to be certain they were paid the million dollars owed them. Not one would want for a five-hundred dollar pair of Jordans. My conscience is washed clean as the driven snow in the Light of the Lord.

 

I confess my crime of having once been a conservative thug, who wanted to bomb every country that wasn’t allied with America, and some that were. But Praise Heaven — I’m now a liberal, from Google to Facebook to Twitter, and I now don’t have the sense God gave a crab apple, as they used to say in Craigsville, W. VA., and I’ve crossed the aisle.

 

The liberals, the commies and socialists, all once seemed so desperate to find something to claim as their guilt, their burden, so they could atone as publicly as possible and hold it over the rest of society, the Conservatives and Christians, airing out their inner goodness like washed white sheets on a clothes line. Since most of them had never done anything wrong, they had to find something they hadn’t done. Surely slavery fit that bill.

 

This opened wide horizons of the burdens of guilt-cleansing and the satisfaction of penance. Yea, I say verily unto thee, my brothels and cisterns … Eerrrr Uhh… Brothers and Sisters, I have discovered the deep well of sins that I had no part of committing and for which I must repent: the Rape of the Sabine Women, the sack of Constantinople in 1204, and many others. Oh what guilt! I will send Prime Minister Erdogan and the Turks twenty dollars U.S. in the mail today.

 

In those dark days of erroneous conservative views and false righteousness, I thought blacks owed whites reparations for burning America’s cities, like Ferguson and Baltimore. Rebuilding them is a great inconvenience to all Americans and costs the states and the nation billions of dollars.

 

However, this presented me with a problem, I haven’t quite figured out yet. Keeping everything politically symmetrical, if you can be guilty of something you didn’t do, perhaps you can’t be guilty of something you really did do — You know — like turning a habitable, productive city into a burned out shell of a no-go zone.

 

This made me also consider affirmative action. I have shocked my own senses by the reprehensible things I wrote in my former state of racial villainy. Galled to my very soul. I am shamed by my suggestion, that if you were good enough you didn’t need affirmative action, that if you needed it you weren’t qualified by any merit, and if you accepted it you were a parasite. Truly, this was unpardonable.

 

Still confused, I wonder, if we hire people because they can’t do a job, shouldn’t we favor the functionally less capable even more? Shouldn’t we discriminate in favor of the slightly incompetent at the expense of the hopelessly incapable? Using incompetency for hiring qualifications is the only baseline and the road to social justice.

 

Logically, this brings up cultural appropriation. Whenever a white person wears a Mexican sombrero to  a Cinco de Mayo celebration, they are appropriating the Mexican culture without a license, and God help them — if permitted by separation of church and state proponents —  if they should attend a costume party as Michael Jackson. These actions are horribly atrocious and barely distinguishable from torching entire cities.

 

America should democratize all of these new ideas and any solutions that result should include everyone. Nothing could be more fair than making everyone eligible.

 

Whenever blacks and most Native American tribes (Seminoles the exception) use arithmetic, writing and automobiles and cellphones, they are committing cultural appropriation of white European culture, and they have been for years, which is extremely shocking. Clearly reparations must be required from them, retroactive. I accept cash or money orders.

 

In considering this injustice, one must agree that the only way to attain the righteous pinnacle of the socially correct socialists and communists of America is to license white culture. A pay by the use method, say so much per hour for listening to Isabelle Geffroy or Tchaikovsky, or so much per book read, would be tedious, so we could just provide a fixed yearly amount for all members of Black Lives Matter and La Raza [Blog Editor: NCLR & LRU], for unlimited reading, arithmetic, the use of buildings, television and antibiotics thrown in for good measure. Essentially, to avoid a massive data transfer, the license fee for using white culture should equal the amount of reparations paid for them not having been slaves, that would make it a wash.

 

Once a thuggish conservative — Oh the torment — I saw racism as an insidious evil devouring the very heart of society, like a piranha gnawing through a fallen cow. Racism revealed itself everywhere, or so I thought: in the Knockout Game that hospitalized whites; in the murders of Dallas Police Officers and the assaults on white speakers by Black Lives Matter and in entire neighborhoods where a white man did not lightly dare to walk. And now I see these are simply troubled youths crying for help, pleading for understanding by delivering concussions.

 

I understand now, and so, I’m moving to Venezuela. [Blog Editor: Venezuela Marxist analysis – HERE & HERE]

 

By Justin O Smith

______________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Source links and text embraced by brackets are by the Editor.

 

© Justin O. Smith

 

The damning proof of innocence that FBI likely withheld in Russian probe


Here’s another Sunday cross post some piece you may find interesting or fascinating. Again YOU may have read, BUT I’m guessing many have not read.

 

The theme of Solomon’s piece is the FISA warrant standards presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to look at Carter Page and George Papadopoulos did NOT include the exculpatory evidence a FISC Judge probably would have denied a warrant.

 

JRH 3/17/19

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The damning proof of innocence that FBI likely withheld in Russian probe

 

By JOHN SOLOMON, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR

03/14/19 04:00 PM EDT

The Hill

 

If President Trump declassifies evidence in the Russia investigation, Carter Page’s summer bike ride to a Virginia farm and George Papadopoulos’s hasty academic jaunt to London may emerge as linchpin proof of FBI surveillance abuses during the 2016 election.

 

The two trips have received scant attention. But growing evidence suggests both Trump campaign advisers made exculpatory statements — at the very start of the FBI’s investigation — that undercut the Trump-Russia collusion theory peddled to agents by Democratic sources.

 

The FBI plowed ahead anyway with an unprecedented intrusion into a presidential campaign, while keeping evidence of the two men’s innocence from the courts.

 

Page and Papadopoulos, who barely knew each other, met separately in August and September 2016 with Stefan Halper, the American-born Cambridge University professor who, the FBI told Congress, worked as an undercover informer in the Russia case.

 

Papadopoulos was the young aide that the FBI used to justify opening a probe into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016, after he allegedly told a foreign diplomat that he knew Russia possessed incriminating emails about Hillary Clinton.

 

Page, a volunteer campaign adviser, was the American the FBI then targeted on Oct. 21, 2016, for secret surveillance while investigating Democratic Party-funded allegations that he secretly might have coordinated Russia’s election efforts with the Trump campaign during a trip to Moscow.

 

To appreciate the significance of the two men’s interactions with Halper, one must understand the rules governing the FBI when it seeks a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant such as the one secured against Page.

 

First, the FBI must present evidence to FISA judges that it has verified and that comes from intelligence sources deemed reliable. Second, it must disclose any information that calls into question the credibility of its sources. Finally, it must disclose any evidence suggesting the innocence of its investigative targets.

 

Thanks to prior releases of information, we know the FBI fell short on the first two counts. Multiple FBI officials have testified that the Christopher Steele dossier had not been verified when its allegations were submitted as primary evidence supporting the FISA warrant against Page.

 

Likewise, we know the FBI failed to tell the courts that Steele admitted to a federal official that he was desperate to defeat Trump in the 2016 election and was being paid by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to gather dirt on the GOP candidate. Both pieces of information are the sort of credibility-defining details that should be disclosed about a source.

 

What remains uncertain in the court of public opinion is whether the FBI possessed evidence suggesting Papadopoulos and Page — and, thus, the larger Trump campaign — were innocent of collusion. Republican lawmakers have suggested for months that such evidence existed and was hidden from the courts, but none has emerged in public.

 

My reporting from more than two dozen sources, many with access to the FBI’s evidence, suggests one answer to that question lies in Halper’s interactions with the two Trump campaign advisers, some of it documented in FBI records. And interviews with both men reveal just how much they told Halper about their innocence.

 

Page, an avid biker, rode his mountain bike on Aug. 20, 2016, to a Northern Virginia farm after being invited there by Halper for a casual Saturday visit. Page met Halper weeks earlier when invited by Halper’s assistant to a Cambridge academic conference. The two corresponded by email around the time of Page’s trip to Moscow and arranged to meet in Virginia.

 

By the time Page arrived at Halper’s farm, he had been rattled by media calls during the prior week in which reporters alleged having information that Page met with two senior Russian intelligence figures in Moscow. The reporters suggested his trip might have been part of a larger plot to coordinate with Russia to benefit Trump’s election as president.

 

That allegation, it turns out, was one of many in the uncorroborated Steele dossier guiding the FBI’s collusion probe.

 

Page told me he was incredulous at the suggestions and told everyone he knew, including Halper, that he had not met either Russian intel figure and knew of no Trump-Moscow coordination.

 

“I’m certain that nothing I said that day at the professor’s farm could be deemed as anything other than exculpatory. And once again, in September, I explained reality to the FBI. Contrary to the DNC’s false reports, I have never met those Russians, and I did not know of any effort to coordinate, collude or conspire with Russia. Period.”

 

Page said he went to Moscow in July 2016 simply to give a speech, at the same university where former President Obama spoke a few years earlier. And he said he consciously did not take any actions with Russians that might raise concerns, especially after helping U.S. prosecutors and the FBI in an earlier Russian criminal case and meeting with federal authorities as recently as the previous March.

 

“I’ve never done anything even vaguely resembling illegality throughout the countless trips to Russia. But I was exceptionally meticulous that trip to carefully avoid anything that could be remotely construed as questionable,” he told me.

 

Page’s recollection is backed up by a letter he sent to then-FBI Director James Comey a few weeks after his Halper meeting. “For the record, I have not met this year with any sanctioned official in Russia, despite the fact that there are no restrictions on U.S. persons speaking with such individuals,” he wrote in September 2016.

 

Multiple sources tell me none of the FISA applications the FBI submitted to judges over the course of a year’s surveillance of Page made any mention of exculpatory statements or protestations of innocence that Page made to informants.

 

If such statements exist, in the form of a tape or a transcript or an FBI interview report — three routine investigative tools the FBI uses when managing informers — then it would be a huge omission that likely violated FBI rules.

 

A month later, in London, Papadopoulos was paid $3,000 to present a foreign policy paper to Halper. On the second day of his visit with Halper, Papadopoulos said the conversation turned from academic work to a barrage of questions about Russia, Trump and collusion, including whether the Trump campaign had conspired with Russia on the hacked Clinton emails or changed the GOP platform on Ukraine to appease Vladimir Putin.

 

Papadopoulos told me he pointedly remembers his response: “I made it clear to Halper that what he was suggesting did not only amount to treason, but that I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about and had no information at all about anyone involved with the campaign who might have been involved with a conspiracy because there never was a conspiracy and no one was colluding with a foreign power, especially Russia.

 

“Furthermore, I made it clear to him that Ukraine should be supported and that Russia will always remain a competitor, even if Trump decided to work with Russia to stabilize Syria and East Ukraine while checking China’s rise.”

 

Sources familiar with the FISA applications say they contain no evidence that Papadopoulos made exculpatory statements unwittingly to an FBI informer.

 

Again, if such statements exist in transcripts, tapes or FBI reports, they’re a major omission.

 

Page never has been charged with wrongdoing. And Papadopoulos, after an exhaustive investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, was not accused of conspiracy with Russia; instead, he pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI about a months-old conversation with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer regarding a rumor that Russia possessed embarrassing emails from Clinton.

 

The crime was deemed so minor by the presiding judge that Papadopoulos was sentenced to a mere 14 days in jail.

 

If Page’s and Papadopoulos’s recollections of what they told Halper are accurate, former FBI officials Comey, James Baker, Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page and Peter Strzok — all of whom played a role in the Russia probe and the FISA warrants — have some serious explaining to do. So does departing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who signed the fourth and final FISA warrant.

 

My reporting suggests a much bigger scandal — the intentional misleading of the nation’s federal intelligence court — soon may eclipse the Russia narrative that has dominated the media the past two years.

 

The fastest way to know if that storm is on the horizon is for Trump to declassify the documents showing exactly how the FBI behaved in this case.

___________________

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill.

 

THE HILL 1625 K STREET, NW SUITE 900 WASHINGTON DC 20006 | 202-628-8500 TEL | 202-628-8503 FAX

 

THE CONTENTS OF THIS SITE ARE ©2019 CAPITOL HILL PUBLISHING CORP., A SUBSIDIARY OF NEWS COMMUNICATIONS, INC.

 

Obama DOJ Ordered FBI Not to Prosecute Hillary Clinton


Here’s another Sunday cross post some piece you may find interesting or fascinating. Again YOU may have read, BUT I’m guessing many have not read.

 

This one is a Breitbart post on released Lisa Page testimony preceded by the Facebook intro where I discovered it.

 

JRH 3/17/19

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Facebook Intro by Bob Brown 

Found at Facebook Group Patriot Action Network

Facebook post March 14 at 2:30 AM

 

Nail BO, H Clinton and other guilty democrats! I remember the Comey press conference on Clinton and I was excited as Comey was talking and leaning towards getting Clinton, then all of a sudden he dropped the call. It is now apparent Comey was a puppet for BO and many heads should roll. Clinton and others are corrupt and have a problem with the facts and the truth. Conservative Wisdom United.

++++++++++++++++

Lisa Page: Obama DOJ Ordered FBI Not to Prosecute Hillary Clinton

 

Lisa Page-Loretta Lynch-Crooked Hillary: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty, Rune Hellestad/Getty

 

By Charlie Spiering

March 13, 2019

Breitbart

 

Former FBI legal counsel Lisa Page testified to Congress that the Justice Department ordered the FBI not to charge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with “gross negligence” by mishandling classified information.

 

Transcripts of Page’s closed-door testimony in July 2018 were released Tuesday by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) on Tuesday, which included the following exchange with Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX):

 

RATCLIFFE: So let me if I can, I know I’m testing your memory. But when you say advice you got from the Department, you’re making it sound like it was the Department that told you: You’re not going to charge gross negligence because we’re the prosecutors and we’re telling you we’re not going to …

 

PAGE: That is correct.

 

RATFLIFFE: …bring a case based on that.

 

Ratcliffe highlighted the exchange on Twitter.

 

 

Page confirmed that the Department of Justice led by Attorney General Loretta Lynch had “multiple conversations” about charging Clinton with gross negligence but noted that it would be a rare decision.

 

“[T]hey did not feel they could sustain a charge,” she said, referring to the Department of Justice.

 

President Donald Trump reacted to the reports on Wednesday.

 

“The just revealed FBI Agent Lisa Page transcripts make the Obama Justice Department look exactly like it was, a broken and corrupt machine,” he wrote. “Hopefully, justice will finally be served. Much more to come!”

____________________

Copyright © 2019 Breitbart

 

The Still Report: #QAnon is a Deep State PsyOps Operation


It’s Sunday. I’m going to take this to cross post some pieces I saved because I found them interesting or fascinating to such an extent many should read them. As you can guess some of these cross posts might be dated meaning YOU may have discovered as well. BUT I’m guessing many have not read.

JRH 3/17/19

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The Still Report: #QAnon is a Deep State PsyOps Operation

 

By Deplorable Me

March 6, 2019

Conservative Firing Line

 

#QAnon fans aren’t going to be real happy to know they’ve been suckered by a Deep State PsyOp after viewing Bill Still’s recent revelation.

 

On January 5, 2019, Bill Still of The Still Report broke a long period of silence about #QAnon to express his view that it is a deep state operation designed to quiet the conservatives until 2020 when Clinton’s crimes can be buried by a new liberal administration.

 

VIDEO: The Still Report | QAnon is a Deep State Operation

 

[Posted by Roosevelt Media News

Published on Jan 7, 2019

 

#QAnon #DeepState #StillReport

 

On January 5, 2019, Bill Still of The Still Report broke a long period of silence about QAnon to express his view that it is a deep state operation designed to quiet the conservatives until 2020 when Clinton’s crimes can be buried by a new liberal administration. .

 

We encourage other conservative pundits to end their silence about QAnon, because as Bill Still has demonstrated, it actually had a positive impact on his revenues (and a limitless benefits to America). READ MORE]

 

Since the beginning of the #QAnon phenomenon, I believed it to be a hack job. With so many friends buying into it, I held my tongue lest they deride me for voicing my opinion without losing their friendship. Now we have the evidence to support the thesis, thanks to Bill Still of The Still Report.

 

QAnon devotees have achieved near cult status if you follow your friends on social media. Other media outlets have bought into the phenomena also by adding the letter “Q” to their names so as to be identified as followers of the “Cult of Q.”

 

Call it what you like, but that is what I call it because of its’ cult-like nature and their following. We encourage other conservative pundits to end their silence about the #QAnon phenomenon, because as Bill Still has demonstrated, it has actually had a positive impact on his visibility on the Internet for having the courage to call it out as fake news psyop that it really is.

 

Subscribe to The Still Report and watch his QAnon videos:

 

VIDEO: Q Nonsense – Are Military Tribunals Underway??, 2509

 

[Posted by The Still Report

Published on Jan 5, 2019

 

 

Synopsis:

I’m sick of this “Q” nonsense! “Military Tribunals are about to get underway. Tens of thousands of sealed indictments.” What is the average person supposed to believe?

 

Now, I must admit, I’m no “Q” expert. I’m only one guy, plus a good wife. There are only so many issues we can keep track of to render reasonable opinions to you, our audience. I sensed from the beginning that “Q” was some sort of fake. However, my wife, Beth, is the Twitter person and so she gets exposed to the rumblings from the “Q” volcano of secret knowledge whether she likes it or not. So, I’ve pretty much left “Q” tracking to her.

 

Beth and I agree on this: Q is a deep-state disinformation operation – and not a particularly elaborate one at that. What has been the basic “Q” agenda in the past. Don’t worry, the good guys are preparing a massive trap for the deep state and any day now, their mighty jaws are going to snap shut and throw all the bums in the slammer.

 

Has any of this happened? We were told that Jeff Sessions was about to do his job as Attorney General any day now. But Sessions did absolutely nothing in regards to sweeping away the Trump/Russia cloud which READ ENTIRETY]

 

VIDEO: The Surprising Results of Being Q uebed, 2510

 

[Posted by The Still Report

Published on Jan 5, 2019

 

Good evening, I’m still reporting on: The Surprising Results of Being Q uebed, 2510

 

Synopsis:

 

Well, I certainly didn’t expect to be doing yet another report on the Q phenomenon, but the reaction was so extreme, it, in itself, is newsworthy to me in that it gave me a lot more direct data to form my opinions. Of course, the Q’s expected me to apologetically crawl away and hide in a hole.

 

Hmmm. No. I’ve learned to step it up in such situations, otherwise it just gets worse. So in the words of the immortal Warner Wolf: “Let’s go to the video tape.”

 

So typically, the ratio of thumbs up to thumbs down for my vids is between 50-to-1 and 100-to-1 or better. This one is 2.5 to one. So, no matter how you Q-folk try, you are still outnumbered by over 2 to 1.

 

Another interesting aspect is the loss of subscribers – about 250. That’s a lot, but I’ll make it back in less than one week READ EMTIRETY]

______________________

© Copyright Conservative Firing Line. All rights reserved.

 

About CFL

 

The Conservative Firing Line was established in May 2012 in an effort to inform, educate and inspire grassroots conservatives at all levels.

 

We’ll be undergoing changes as time goes on, but we invite all to get involved and participate.

 

In the meantime, welcome aboard!

 

A Message to Muslims — Without Apology


A White Supremacist attacked two Mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. The result was 49 Muslim deaths. The American and global Left took the massacre as an instant of glee to take the opportunity to blame President Donald Trump who resides 8,904 miles away.

Justin Smith elaborates.

 

JRH 3/16/19

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A Message to Muslims — Without Apology

The Religion of Peace

 

By Justin O. Smith

Sent 3/15/2019 12:44 PM

 

I can’t feel sorry for any the 49 Muslims sent home to Allah, in Christchurch New Zealand today, other than the innocent children that suffered the attacks on two mosques.

 

But today we see the Leftist Muslim appeasing news agencies like BBC going crazy and saying “See, see … terrorism knows no religion”. … as though there were hundreds of such attacks by Christians against Muslims today.

 

Everyone knows this is the exception rather than the rule, however, no one should be surprised. While there aren’t groups of Christians and Jews across the globe plotting to murder Muslims, across history Islam has always been the aggressor and the one moving to conquer its neighbors, plotting and murdering all who weren’t Muslim, all who refused to convert, as commanded by their so-called “Prophet” Mohammed and the Koran.

 

And it’s hard to feel sorry for any Muslims killed in any attack today, after the thousands of such attacks by Muslims against Christians, Jews, Yazidis and many other non-Muslim groups over the past four decades.

 

So … 49 Muslims dead. That’s 49 less potential global terrorists who might wage Holy War against the West and America. Forty-nine who were a part of the very same Islamic ideology responsible for 9/11, for Benghazi, for the Boston Bombing, San Bernardino, Florida and Chattanooga terror attacks and many more throughout the Middle East and Europe … the same ideology that beheaded thousands of Mosul’s Christian population and put their heads on spiked poles outside the city … the same ideology that placed Christians in cages and drowned them or burned them alive.

 

What does anyone, any Muslim, expect? If a group, a sect, an organization or an ideology one is a member continually commits mayhem, murder and unspeakable horrific atrocities against others over a sustained and lengthy period of time, it is only natural that those under attack will eventually retaliate against the bad actors of that ideology, which in this case is Islam.

 

Islam has done what it wants, murdering all who stood in its way for centuries. And now to hear imams and sheikhs playing the innocent victims of terrorism and Islamophobia is simply laughable.

 

If God were to strike every God Damned Muslim off the face of the Earth today, in one fell swoop, I would not shed a tear. I have no tears in me for Muslim deaths.

 

No … I don’t ask for anyone’s understanding, and I won’t make any apologies, but I just don’t feel anything over this attack … not happy, not sad … I just feel like Islam’s chickens are coming home to roost, and Muslims are reaping the bitter harvest they have sown.

 

Only One billion seven-hundred and ninety-nine thousand more to go.

 

~ Justin O Smith

_____________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Source links are by the Editor.

 

© Justin O. Smith

 

LOOK OUT! I Committed Blasphemy in Pakistan


John R. Houk

© March 15, 2019

I have mentioned that I operate three blogs:

 

  1. SlantRight 2.0

 

  1. NeoConservative Christian Right (NCCR)

 

  1. Ubiquitous8Thoughts

 

The first is a Blogger platform. The second is a WordPress platform. And the third is an OverBlog platform (located in France under EU rules).

 

A couple of days ago I received an email from WordPress Support notifying me the government of Pakistan had contacted WordPress over one of my posts. The Support Team informed me they weren’t going to censor my blog but if I did not remove the alleged content the NCCR blog would be banned from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

 

Here is the content of the WordPress Support email:

 

Mar 12, 19:33 UTC

 

Hello,

 

A Pakistan authority has demanded that we disable the following content on your WordPress.com site:

 

https://oneway2day.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/taqiyya-action_thumb.jpg?w=553&h=416

 

While we have not complied, due to the order it is possible that your site could at some point in the future become inaccessible for Internet visitors originating from Pakistan. Visitors from outside of Pakistan would still be able to access the site.

 

You and your readers may be interested in these suggestions on bypassing Internet restrictions.

 

For your reference, we have included a copy of the complaint below. No reply is necessary, but please let us know if you have any questions.

 

— Begin complaint —

 

Dear WordPress Team,

 

I am writing on behalf of Web Analysis Team of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) which has been designated for taking appropriate measures for regulating Internet Content in line with the prevailing laws of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

 

In lieu of above it is highlighted that few of the web pages hosted on your platform are extremely Blasphemous and are hurting the sentiments of many Muslims around Pakistan. The same has also been declared blasphemous under Pakistan Penal Code section 295- B and is in clear violation of Section 37 of Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (PECA) 2016 and Section 19 of Constitution of Pakistan.

 

Keeping above in view, It is requested to please support in removing following URL’s from your platform at earliest please.

 

The below mentioned websites can be found on following URL’s:-

 

[…]
https://oneway2day.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/taqiyya-action_thumb.jpg?w=553&h=416

[…]

 

You are requested to contribute towards maintaining peace and harmony in the world by discontinuation of hosting of these websites for viewership in Pakistan with immediate effect. We will be happy to entertain any query if deemed necessary and looking forward for your favorable response at your earliest.

 

Regards

Web Analysis Team

+92 51 9214396

 

— End complaint —

 

It looks like I will not be travelling to Pakistan anytime soon. Pakistan actually shows the legal code my “Blasphemous” content breaks.

 

So, quoting the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority:

 

Pakistan Penal Code section 295- B and is in clear violation of Section 37 of Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (PECA) 2016 and Section 19 of Constitution of Pakistan

 

I found three PDFs from Googling portions of the law I am breaking:

 

 

 

 

Of particular interest to me was from “PAKISTAN Use and abuse of the blasphemy laws,” the penalty for breaking the Blasphemy law under the heading, “2.2 Sections of the PPC amended or added during Zia-ul Haq’s Islamization drive” which is on page 7 of the PDF referencing section 295-B:

 

Several sections were inserted in the PPC in the 1980s. Section 295-B was added in 1982; it made defiling the Koran a criminal offence. It reads: “Whoever willfully [sic] defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Koran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life.” [Bold text by Blog Editor]

 

In 1980, section 298-A was inserted in the PPC, by which the use of derogatory remarks “by words, … or by imputation innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly” in respect of persons revered in Islam, was made a criminal offence punishable with up to three years’ imprisonment. In 1986, defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammad was made a criminal offence and the relevant section, 295-C added to the PPC (see below in detail).

 

Most alarming after examining further penalties heaped on is on page 8 of the PDF under the subheading, “2.3. The blasphemy law: Section 295-C PPC”:

 

In 1986 the penal code was amended by Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1986, which added the blasphemy law under section 295-C to the Pakistan Penal Code. It provided the death penalty or life imprisonment for the criminal offence of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammad. It reads:

 

“295-C: Use of derogatory remarks, etc. in respect of the Holy Prophet: Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.” [Bold text by the Blog Editor]

The Court directed the government of Pakistan to effect the necessary legal changes and added, “in case this is not done by 30 April 1991 the words ‘or punishment for life’ in section 295-C, PPC, shall cease to have effect on that date”. Decisions by the Federal Shariat Court are binding on the government under Article 203-D(3) of the Constitution. The Government has the possibility to appeal against such decisions to the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court before any directive of the Federal Shariat Court takes effect. The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not file an appeal against the decision making the death penalty the only punishment available for blasphemy. In July 1991, it announced that it had decided to amend section 295-C as directed by the court. A bill to that effect was placed before parliament in 1992. While the Senate, the upper house of parliament, unanimously adopted the bill in July 1992, the lower house of parliament discussed it at length but did not pass it. Opposition parties considered it to be too vague and …

 

Now that’s some Free Speech limitations for essentially speaking the truth and then receiving the death penalty. Pakistan’s law establishing all things Islam as supreme is not surprising since 97% of the population is Islam and of those 97%, a staggering amount are Sunni-Islam Muslims.

 

Considering the huge number of Muslims that undoubtedly accept Islamic principles in Pakistan’s rule of law, laws relating to Blasphemy are unsurprising. Just as Christian principles should be an influence in the rule of law in Western nations.

 

As far as I am concerned, Pakistan’s rule of law is a glaring example of why Islamic principles CANNOT BE ACCEPTED in the West as the rule of law, ESPECIALLY IN AMERICA WHICH HAS A BILL OF RIGHTS AS PART OF THE CONSTITUTION WHICH AFFIRMS CHRISTIAN CONCEPTS OF NATURAL LAW!

 

I responded to the WordPress Support thinking I would get some kind of reply affirming, rejecting or a mixed reaction my Free Speech stand:

 

Pakistan is in a sad state of Sharia censoring the citizens from Free Speech truth. I pray the WordPress powers that be and the blog platform’s legal team are more protective of Free Speech than Pakistan. On the other hand Pakistan is a sovereign nation and I suspect the Pakistan government is protecting its Muslim citizens (as you probably know Pakistan is overwhelmingly a Sunni-Islam majority nation) from getting upset. In Sharia, placing the prophet Muhammad in a bad light – even when factual – is a capital crime. A Pakistani Christian (**Asia Bibi) survived for nearly 9 years on death row accused of insulting Muhammad by implying Jesus was a greater person. After nine years and the failure of evidence from Bibi’s accuser, Bibi was released from prison nearly causing riots by the devout Muslim Pakistanis.

 

It’s sad but I can live with accommodating Pakistan’s request as pertaining to Pakistan. However, outside of Pakistan, I pray you honor Free Speech and not censor posts that are outside of Pakistan’s authority.

 

Thank you for your consideration and your work, [Blog Editor: The links related to Asia Bibi were not in the original email sent to WordPress Support. The double asterisks (“**”) near Asia’s name is to a recent link about Asia stuck in a secretive location in ill health and being refused medical attention. I want to bring attention to the plight of Asia Bibi and thus will posting her still horrendous treatment directly after my thoughts on Free Speech.]

 

No response or further action of notifications so far from WordPress.

 

I can live with my blogs being banned in a 97% Muslim nation. And I believe I will not be visiting Pakistan anytime soon … or ever.

 

JRH 3/15/19

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Please Support NCCR

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‘Everyone is Worried’: Asia Bibi ‘Very Unwell’ in Pakistani Safe House, Being Denied Medical Care

 

Asia Bibi

 

By Will Maule, Faithwire

03-11-2019

CBN News

 

Asia Bibi, the mother of five who spent almost a decade on death row for a crime she did not commit, is reported to be in dire physical condition as she continues to be held in a safe house in the Pakistani city of Karachi. Bibi, 53, was acquitted of blasphemy last October after the Supreme Court ruled that the accusations had no evidential basis. Since then, Bibi has been granted asylum in Canada, but as yet has not been released from her home country.

 

What Is The Latest?

 

According to a source quoted in The Daily Mail, Bibi is “very unwell” and being denied medical care while holed up in a safe house with “low blood pressure.”

 

“Everyone is very worried,” the source explained. “She won her appeal and was supposed to be out of Pakistan by now.”

 

Despite the fact that Bibi’s children are now safely in Canada, the Pakistani government has wanted to seek assurances from the embattled mother that she will not speak ill of her home country upon leaving. There is still no indication of when exactly Bibi will finally evade the clutches of the country that has caused her so much strife.

 

“Even though the government says she can leave, the army has all the power in this case,” the source added. “They are in control of her. They are fearful about getting a negative press if she speaks out about her experiences – but they will get an even worse press if she dies in protective custody.”

 

British officials recently stated that the Pakistani government has “confirmed that Asia Bibi is free to make her own decisions and to leave Pakistan,” but the realities of this case speak of a very different story indeed.

 

Many are calling on prominent church leaders, such as Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, to do more on Bibi’s behalf.

 

 

For now, Asia and her husband, Ashiq Masih, remain in Pakistan with little idea as to when they will be allowed to leave.

 

What Is The Background?

 

Bibi was initially arrested back in 2009 after supposedly entering into an argument with a group of women about a source of drinking water. The Islamist women accused Bibi of drinking from the same tap as them, to which Bibi allegedly responded, “Jesus Christ died for my sins. What did the prophet Muhammad do for you?” a remark which they believed offended their revered religious figure.

 

However, in the Supreme Court’s final judgment, it declared that the two sisters who accused Bibi “had no regard for the truth,” before adding that “the said semi-literate young sisters had a reason to level allegations against the appellant which could be untrue.”

 

The landmark judgment also noted that the prosecution’s presented evidence in the case “was nothing short of concoction incarnate.”

 

“Her conviction is set aside and she is to be relieved forthwith if not required in other charges,” said Chief Justice Saqib Nisar in the astonishingly bold ruling, as reported by The Guardian.

 

But the court’s statement went even further, implying that Bibi had been subject to clear-cut prejudice in her arrest and trial.

 

“It is ironical that in the Arabic language the appellant’s name Asia means ‘sinful,’” read the judgment written by Justice Asif Khosa, “but in the circumstances of the present case she appears to be a person, in the words of Shakespeare’s King Lear, ‘more sinned against than sinning.’”

 

The radicals, however, have remained bloodthirsty from the very day Bibi was arrested.

 

Prior to her acquittal, in Pakistan’s second-largest city of Lahore, hundreds of protesters gathered together and chanted “Hang infidel Asia.” Sickeningly, the hashtag #HangAsiaDefend295C was trending among the religious extremists on Twitter, with the “295C” referring to section 295-C of Pakistan’s penal code, which makes it a criminal offense to blaspheme against the Prophet Muhammad.

 

What Does The Blasphemy Law Actually Say?

 

According to the Penal Code itself, 295-B refers to the prohibiting of “Defiling, etc., of Holy Qur’an,” and 295-C is in reference to the “use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet.” Other violations not specific to Islam contained in Pakistan’s criminal laws include “trespassing on burial places” and “disturbing religious assembly.”

 

Those who have chosen to support Bibi’s cause have faced grave consequences. In addition to the threat against Bibi, her family and the justices involved in her acquittal, other prominent politicians have lost their lives in the pursuit of religious freedom.

 

In 2011, shortly after Bibi’s conviction, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was brutally murdered for speaking out in support of the wrongly convicted Christian woman. Shot dead on the streets of Islamabad, his own bodyguard was found guilty of the heinous crime and, though sentenced to death himself, he has since become a cult hero with a large shrine in his honor erected on the outskirts of the capital city.

 

Just two months later, Christian politician and outspoken critic of the blasphemy laws, Shahbaz Bhatti, was also assassinated — shot dead by the Pakistani Taliban as he traveled to work.

 

Do continue to pray for Asia Bibi as she does everything in her power to flee Pakistan.

 

CBN News Related:

 

Pakistani Authorities Stopping Asia Bibi From Leaving Country, Despite Asylum Offer

 

Top Pakistani Court Upholds Acquittal, Frees Captive Christian Asia Bibi

 

‘Pray the Lord Restores Her Completely’: Asia Bibi’s Road to Recovery and How Christians Can Help

 

Report: UK’s Theresa May Personally Blocked Asia Bibi’s Asylum Request

_____________________

LOOK OUT! I Committed Blasphemy in Pakistan

John R. Houk

© March 15, 2019

___________________

‘Everyone is Worried’: Asia Bibi ‘Very Unwell’ in Pakistani Safe House, Being Denied Medical Care

 

© 2019 The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., A nonprofit 501 (c)(3) Charitable Organization.

 

Support CBN News

 

CBN News

 

HOW WE GOT HERE WITH RUSSIA


The Soviet Union and an overt Communist agenda managed by a Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist Russian government may have come to an end, BUT old guard Communists want to make Russia a global threat again. If you couple the Russian agenda with the American Left (you could say Socialist/Marxist) agenda, the United States of America is under threat from without and within.

 

Below is an Institute for the Study of War (UnderstandingWar.org) analysis of how Russia has arrived at its current state of existence.

 

(I have not included the table of contents, sponsor credits, author info, et al. I did include the rather lengthy End Notes section. For those other attributes you will have to click the ISW PDF link.)

 

JRH 3/14/19

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HOW WE GOT HERE WITH RUSSIA:

THE KREMLIN’S WORLDVIEW

 

By Nataliya Bugayova

March 2019

Institute for the Study of War [PDF]

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Kremlin’s increasingly assertive foreign policy, including its illegal occupation of Crimea in 2014 and its intervention in Syria in 2015, came unexpectedly to many in the West. . These events were nonetheless mere extensions of the worldview held by Russian President Vladimir Putin.. This worldview was built on more than two decades of compounded dissatisfaction with the West as well as Putin’s cumulative experiences in his ongoing global campaigns to achieve his core objectives: the preservation of his regime, the end of American hegemony, and the reinstatement of Russia as a global power.. Some of these ambitions were tamed, and others expedited, by external events, yet their core has remained the same and often at odds with the West.. The U..S.. believed that a brief period of non-assertive foreign policy from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s had become the new norm for Russia.. This period was not the norm but an anomaly.. Putin’s foreign policy has always been assertive, similar to Russia’s historic foreign policy.. The U..S.. may thus find itself once again surprised by Putin.. This paper examines the evolution of Russia’s foreign policy worldview since the collapse of the Soviet Union to help understand the likely next priorities of the Kremlin..

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The U.S. has routinely attempted to reset relations with Russia since the rise to power of Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2000. The Soviet Union’s collapse led legions of scholars and policy-makers to pivot towards the new issues of a post-Soviet Middle East, Europe, and Asia. An entire generation of Americans hardly thought about Russia. The Russian Federation was seen as a former foe that could be integrated—albeit uneasily—into the international system led by the U.S.

 

Yet Russia did not view the slate as clean. The Kremlin’s foreign policy narrative, by contrast, soon focused on America’s disregard for its interests and the need to achieve a multipolar international system free of U.S. hegemony. Putin has remained clear on these goals since his ascent to the Kremlin. Russia needed to recover from its weakened state, reestablish itself as a global power, and achieve a new world order that held up the Kremlin as an equal—not a dependent—to the U.S.

 

Putin’s twenty-year tenure in power has had a cumulative effect on his worldview. . His assertiveness has grown in step with his strengthened grip on domestic power and his growing perception that he faces only limited international pushback. His personal resentment of geopolitical slights has grown and fed back into Russia’s national security dialogue. The influence of other forceful national security leaders has also grown. Putin has responded to internal challenges by seeking foreign policy distractions. The direction of his aims has always been consistent even if the vigor and rancor with which they are pursued has increased.

 

Putin’s public tone has mirrored this evolution.. In 2000, Putin “did not see reasons that would prevent … cooperation with NATO under the condition that Russia would be treated as an equal partner” with the West.1 By 2007, he was openly attacking the unipolar world order of the post-Cold War: “It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign … This is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within … The model is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilization.”2 By 2014, Putin was justifying action against this system: “There is a limit to everything … and with Ukraine, our Western partners have crossed the line.”3 The core concepts of his policy remained stable even as his rhetoric shifted from cautious outreach to direct criticism.

 

Putin’s worldview is Russia’s foreign policy. . The Kremlin’s foreign policy views largely predate the rise of Putin. Putin’s two decades in power, however, have enshrined his worldview as Russia’s. Putin’s Russia—unlike its predecessors—has no state machine or elite capable of balancing out his instincts and narratives. The Soviet Politburo typically served as a counterbalance to the rulers of the Soviet Union with the exception of Joseph Stalin. Imperial Russian had a base of influential elite that frequently shaped policy ideas with notable exceptions such as Peter the Great and Ivan the Terrible. Putin’s intimate circle of advisors is comparatively small with a contingent of military and security service leaders who have climbed with him for twenty years. Not all Russians accept (let alone support) all of these foreign policy ideas but their disagreement matters little among a population by-and-large focused on day-to-day issues. Putin’s and Russia’s foreign priorities, at least for the moment, are the same.

 

The line between narrative and belief has blurred over the last twenty years.. The Kremlin’s talking points are propaganda and it is easy to dismiss them as such. However, these narratives have been repeated and amplified for two decades. They have become self-sustaining and rebounded back into the national security debate. Even if Putin’s inner convictions differed from his rhetoric, he has imbued an entire generation—indeed, an entire national psyche—with a sense of grievance against the West. These narratives will thus inform the overall arc of the Kremlin’s foreign policy for years to come.

 

The following sections trace the articulation and evolution of this worldview since the fall of the Soviet Union. Americans tend to group the major events and thoughts of the past two decades into a series of historical periods such as the Cold War, the 1990s (prior to 9/11), and the administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Russians hold a different view of recent events. These divergent interpretations of history—often reflected in rhetoric—are crucial to understanding the antagonistic worldview of Putin vis-à-vis the U.S. and NATO.

 

The Evolution of the Kremlin’s Foreign Policy graph

 

1991 – 1999: THE YELTSIN PERIOD

 

Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s tenure focused on establishing post-Soviet Russia and putting it on a democratic trajectory amidst enormous internal challenges. Yeltsin became the first president of the newly-created Russian Federation after the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. Russia’s economy soon collapsed from the shock of a rapid attempted transition from centralized control to the free market. Millions fell into poverty. State structures, including law enforcement and the military, were greatly weakened. Criminality spread across the former Soviet Union. An economic oligarchy emerged as a small number of individuals rapidly accumulated vast wealth, often taking advantage of the privatization of undervalued state assets. Russia suffered several terrorist attacks originating from groups in the North Caucuses, particularly the Chechen Republic. Yeltsin launched a largely failed military campaign to regain control over these territories in 1994. Communist hardliners meanwhile continued their efforts to regain control of Russia. They attempted to seize power violently in 1993 and then peacefully in the 1996 Russian Presidential Election. They failed both times—but both failures came too close for comfort.

 

Russian President Boris Yeltsin worked to improve the relationship between Russia and the U.S. during his two terms in the Kremlin. However, assertive foreign policy narratives had already begun to reemerge in Russia by the mid-1990s.

 

Yeltsin initially prioritized strategic partnership with the U.S. … and broader integration with the West.. “We have left behind the period when America and Russia looked at each other through gun sights,” Yeltsin said in his historic 1992 Address to the U.S. Congress.4 Yeltsin’s Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev advocated for Russia to join the club of developed civilized democracies and practice equal cooperation with the former Soviet Union.5 Russia and the U.S. signed numerous bilateral cooperation agreements.6 Russia joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace, which aimed to build trust between NATO and the former Soviet Union. Russia withdrew all of its troops from Germany by 1994.7 Russia also engaged the West for help with its economic reforms.

 

Assertive foreign policy rhetoric began to reemerge in the context of the 1996 Russian Presidential Election.. Economic turmoil continued to grip Russia and Yeltsin’s political opponents blamed the West for the failure of liberal economic reforms. These voices argued that Russia had disregarded its national interests in its attempts to cooperate with the U.S. and that Yeltsin’s administration had made too many concessions—such as agreeing to curb its arms sales to Iran or failing to oppose the initial expansion of NATO—with little to show in return.8 Yeltsin, likely influenced by electoral pressures, appointed Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Yevgeny Primakov as Russian Foreign Minister in 1996. Primakov criticized his predecessor for pursuing a “toothless” foreign policy that subordinated national interests to a desire to join the so-called “civilized world.”9 He claimed that Russia had become the “led” rather than the leader in foreign affairs.10 The Kremlin repeats these accusations to this day.11 Yeltsin also oversaw the passage of eased citizenship requirements for Russians outside of the Russian Federation that set the stage for later confrontations with neighbors in the former Soviet Union.12

 

Primakov refocused the conversation on national interests and introduced one of Russia’s first narratives regarding a multipolar world order. . He advocated for a multipolar international system that would not be dominated by the U.S.—a concept later embraced by Putin. He promoted a diversified foreign policy that called for expanded ties with India and China. Russia joined the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 1998. Primakov also stressed the need for Russia to abandon the role of a “junior” partner to the U.S. Current Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov credited the establishment of Russia’s independent foreign policy to Primakov in 2014, asserting that historians would ultimately term it the Primakov Doctrine.13

 

The Kremlin adopted a new and more assertive National Security Concept in 1997.. The document identified “NATO expansion as a national security threat” and warned that “other states are activating their efforts to weaken” Russia.14 The document also outlined more paternalistic policies towards the former Soviet Union. It included a passage prioritizing the “proclamation of the Russian language as the state language and the language of international communication of the people of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States as a critical factor towards unifying the people of multinational Russia.” The document nonetheless concluded that the main threats to Russia’s national security were predominantly domestic and non-military challenges.

 

Yeltsin and the U. .S. . suffered their biggest diplomatic divide over the intervention of NATO in Yugoslavia in 1999. . Yeltsin opposed airstrikes by NATO against Serbia during the Kosovo War and called on the U.S. President Bill Clinton not to “take this tragic step” in the Balkans.15 NATO nonetheless launched the operation in order to end human rights abuses by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic—an ally of Russia—against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. It occurred without authorization from the UN and over the protests of Russia. Yeltsin nonetheless responded within the framework of NATO by insisting upon the inclusion of the Russian Armed Forces in the subsequent international NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR).

 

Yeltsin and Primakov nevertheless recognized the continued importance of dialog with the U..S.. and NATO.. Yeltsin’s disagreement with the U.S. on Yugoslavia did not fundamentally affect other areas of relations between the U.S. and Russia. He signed several additional agreements with NATO including the 1997 Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation, and Security.16 He continued to stress the importance of cooperation with the U.S. and Russia’s aspiration to join the Group of Seven (or G7) in his national security address to the Russian Federal Assembly in 1996.17 Russia joined the G7 in 1997. Yeltsin maintained a warm personal relationship throughout his two terms in office with U.S. President Bill Clinton.18 Primakov also advocated throughout his life for international integration and cooperation with the West and NATO.19

 

Yeltsin and his foreign policy team did not yet operate within the framework of a grudge against the West.. They were largely pragmatic, sometimes confrontational, and increasingly assertive—but rarely bitter.20 Primakov laid out some of the most important theoretical bases of the policy later pursued by Putin but neither he nor Yeltsin acted on them seriously while in office. Russia remained too weak to pursue any of its emerging ambitions, especially after it suffered a major financial crisis in 1998.21 Yeltsin regardless was unlikely have turned hard against the U.S. His tenure was marked by a determination to build democratic institutions, integrate with the West, and prevent the return of the Communists.

 

1999 – 2002: THE EARLY PUTIN YEARS

 

Yeltsin resigned and appointed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as Acting President on December 31, 1999. Russia was still recovering from its financial collapse in 1998. Economic oligarchs were actively influencing the political processes of the Kremlin. Putin was leading a second campaign in Chechnya which started in 1999. Russia continued to suffer from deadly terrorist attacks, including a major hostage crisis in Moscow in 2002 that killed 130 individuals.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin had already formed one of his key foreign policy narratives—the critique of American global hegemony and its disregard for Russia after the Cold War—before his rise to power. Referring to the 1999 Kosovo War, then-Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Putin argued that “a group of countries is actively trying to change the world order that was established after World War II … The U.N. is being removed from the process of solving of one of the most acute conflicts” in Europe.22 Putin would continue to accuse “the so-called ‘victors’ in the Cold War” of trying to “reshape the world to suit their own needs and interests” throughout his terms in the Kremlin.23

 

Putin nevertheless focused on domestic affairs during his first years in office and revealed little animus against the West.. Putin viewed the weakness of the state and its internal economic turmoil as existential threats to Russia. “For the first time in the past two hundred to three hundred years, [Russia] is facing a real danger of sliding into the second and possibly third echelon of world states,” Putin wrote the day before his appointment as Acting President.24 He focused on rebuilding the economy and the strength of the government as well as consolidating his own grip on power. He prioritized strengthening law enforcement and security services, taming the oligarchs, eliminating political opponents, and regaining federal control over the Chechen Republic.

 

Putin’s initial advisory team would ascend to key roles in Russia’s national security and foreign policy debate. . Putin’s close circle of trusted military and intelligence officials brought with them a specific set of grievances and goals—first and foremost the restoration of domestic control and internal influence lost during the 1990s. Some of these early political officials would later play a key role in the development of foreign policy in the Kremlin:

 

  • Nikolai Patrushev replaced Putin as FSB Director in 1999. Patrushev currently heads Russia’s Security Council—the equivalent of the U.S. National Security Council (NSC).

 

  • Sergey Chemezov worked for Putin in Yeltsin’s Chemezov is currently the CEO of Rostec, a major state-owned defense-industrial conglomerate.

 

  • Igor Sechin served as Putin’s Chief of Staff when Putin was First Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg. Sechin is currently the Executive Chairman of Rosneft, the state oil company.25

 

  • Sergey Naryshkin worked with Putin in the KGB and St. Petersburg. Naryshkin has held various roles in Putin’s Kremlin since 2004 and currently serves as SVR Director.26

 

  • Sergey Ivanov served as the head of Russia’s Security Council in 1999. Ivanov held various prominent roles in Putin’s Kremlin including Minister of Defense, First Deputy Prime Minister, and Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration.

 

Putin viewed the Kosovo War as a precedent that threatened the sovereignty of Russia. . He feared that the West could support a similar unilateral declaration of independence by breakaway regions such as Chechnya and force a halt to military operation against extremists launching attacks in the heart of Russia. Putin was convinced that this threat would “not stop with Chechnya’s independence” and that “Chechnya would be used as a platform to attack the rest of Russia.” He warned that the precedent could spread to other territories such as Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Tatarstan, and ultimately threaten the core of the Russian Federation. “If we do not stop the extremists [in Chechnya], we are risking a second Yugoslavia across the entire territory of the Russian Federation—the Yugoslavization of Russia,” Putin asserted in 2000.27

 

The idea that Russia must “fight to exist”—one of the key tenets in Putin’s foreign policy—also emerged at this time. Putin believed that the U.S. provided covert support to terrorists in Chechnya in order to destabilize Russia.28 The West in turn criticized the ongoing military campaign in Chechnya for its brutality and high levels of civilian casualties.29 Putin believed that if he conceded to calls to decrease the intensity of his military operations, Russia would face disintegration. His broader narrative reflected a core fear of state collapse and loss of territory. This rhetoric also tied back into earlier sentiments within the Kremlin that Russia was weak after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and risked losing sovereignty to external forces—in particular, the U.S.30 It followed, according to this view, that Russia must assert itself on the global stage to maintain its independence. The Kremlin began to view a less active foreign policy as another sign of lost sovereignty, a view that persists to the present day.

 

Putin’s early relationship with the U. .S. . nevertheless largely followed the path set by Yeltsin and Primakov. . Putin noted the prospect of cooperating on an equal basis with NATO in 2000.31 He supported the U.S. counter-terrorism mission against al Qaeda after 9/11 and signed an agreement in 2002 establishing the NATO-Russia Council.32 He emphasized the pursuit of democracy and stressed that “Russia is a part of European culture.” He criticized the unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 but still signed a bilateral Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty in 2003 (later superseded by the New START Treaty in 2011). He largely readopted Yeltsin’s 1997 National Security Concept in January 2000.33

 

 

Putin later adopted a new Foreign Policy Concept in June 2000. The document continued a trend of assertive rhetoric toward the former Soviet states. It called for creating “a friendly belt on the perimeter of Russian borders.”34 It also stressed the need to “strengthen Russian sovereignty and achieve firm positions in the world community, consistent with the interests of the Russian Federation as a great power, as one of the most influential centers of the modern world.”

 

2003 – 2004: ACCELERATION

 

Putin’s foreign policy experienced an inflection in 2003 and 2004. A series of external and domestic factors accelerated Putin’s ambitions and foreign pursuits. He became more assertive on the international stage as he began to solidify his grip on domestic power.

 

Putin established in this period a firm grip on the internal affairs of Russia.. Russia quickly repaid its outstanding debts to the West, meeting its obligations to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by 2005 and the Paris Club by 2006.35 Both of these payments occurred ahead of schedule. The debt repayment was a point of personal pride for Putin that demonstrated the regaining strength and independence of Russia.36 Meanwhile, Russia was gradually restoring control over Chechnya after a military campaign that largely destroyed the regional capital of Grozny. Chechnya passed a constitution in 2003 that ostensibly granted broad autonomy to the Chechen Republic but preserved firm control from the Kremlin.

 

Putin also eliminated or otherwise subordinated rival powerbrokers during this period, mainly oligarchs with influence over the political process.37 Boris Berezovsky—one of Russia’s most powerful tycoons—fled to Britain in 2001. Mikhail Khodorkovsky—another powerful and influential oil baron—was imprisoned in 2003. The remaining oligarchs largely accepted Putin’s demand that they should not interfere in politics. Putin expanded the reach of the security services and strengthened the power of state. He further centralized power by eliminating the direct elections of regional governors in favor of presidential appointments in 2004.38

 

Putin began efforts to reintegrate former Soviet states into some form of political grouping led by Russia. . Putin pressured Ukraine to join the Common Economic Space—an integrated market for the former Soviet states that would later evolve into the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).39 Ukraine entered the deal alongside Belarus and Kazakhstan in 2003.40 Ukraine later distanced itself from this process under pro-Western Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko. The Kremlin also applied similar pressure to Georgia under Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.41 Shevardnadze had exercised a more independent foreign policy, including a stated intent to join NATO, which threatened the continued influence of Putin’s Russia.42

 

Putin’s ambitions to regain control over his perceived rightful sphere of influence accelerated after a series of global events in 2003 and 2004..

 

  • The 2003 U..S.. Invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein struck several nerves with Russia. Putin held a strong aversion to forced regime change given his concerns about preserving his own regime. He was upset about a loss of influence in the Middle East due to the destruction of a former Soviet ally. He also resented the U.S. for acting over his objections and without explicit authorization by the UN (similar to the Kosovo War).

 

  • Putin was even more concerned by the “color revolutions” that saw a wave of peaceful protests against corrupt regimes in several former Soviet states, including Georgia’s 2003 Rose Revolution and Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution. Putin accused the U.S. of instigating the revolutions and imposing “external governance” over these states.43 This perceived threat was deeply concerning to the Kremlin. It undermined the stated national security goal of creating a “friendly belt of neighbors” and presented a potential challenge to the regime itself. Putin held up the ‘color revolutions’ as an object lesson and a warning, stressing that the Kremlin “should do everything necessary so that nothing similar ever happens in Russia.”44 Putin internalized the notion of the “color revolution” as a method of covert destabilization by the West.

 

  • The Kremlin also criticized the expansion of NATO in 2004, when the alliance accepted seven new states in Eastern and Southern Europe. Russia remained more concerned, however, about its loss of control over the states of the former Soviet Union than the potential military threat from NATO. Putin stated at the time that the enlargement was “not a threat” to Russia but called it a “counterproductive” step that could not “effectively counter the main threats that we are facing today.”45 The Kremlin ultimately feared the emergence of widespread “anti-Russian rhetoric” as former Soviet states and clients moved towards NATO.46

 

The Kremlin nonetheless remained relatively moderate in its rhetoric against the West.. “It was difficult for us when the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty. It was difficult for us when, bypassing the UN Security Council, they started the war in Iraq. Nonetheless, our countries have managed … to prevent a return to confrontation … [through] common sense and the understanding that common strategic interests … outweigh any tactical differences,” stated Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in 2004.47 Putin also stated at the time that the U.S. remained a priority partner of Russia on some of the most pressing global problems, such as the War on Terror.48 The relative calmness of this rhetoric belied the fact that Putin was preparing to start speaking and acting openly to counteract what he perceived as a growing disregard for his interests.

 

2004 – 2012: OPEN CONFRONTATION

 

Putin easily won reelection in the 2004 Russian Presidential Elections. Russia benefitted from high oil prices. Putin later (due to term limits) accepted the post of Russian Prime Minister in 2008. He nonetheless continued to largely dictate the policies of the Kremlin and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. The Russian Constitution was modified to change the length of presidential terms from four to six years, effective after the departure of Medvedev.

 

“The United States has overstepped its national borders in every way” – Russian President Vladimir Putin, 2007

 

Putin increasingly pushed his foreign policy campaigns towards open confrontation in this period. He escalated his rhetoric against the U.S. and NATO. He simultaneously limited the civil liberties of Russians, presenting the measures as necessary to defeat subversion by the West.

 

The Kremlin launched a set of campaigns to regain control over former Soviet states..

 

  • Russia launched a major information campaign to restore its diminished political influence in Ukraine after the 2004 Orange Revolution. This campaign evolved into a decade-long effort to inflame domestic grievances and fuel popular sentiments against the West and the central government in Kyiv. The Kremlin would tap into this groundwork to launch its subversion campaign in Eastern Ukraine in 2014.

 

  • Russia also started a subversion campaign against the Baltic States following their accession to NATO. Russia launched a wave of cyberattacks on banks, media outlets, and government organizations in Estonia in 2007 shortly after the Government of Estonia decided to relocate a memorial to the Soviets from World War II. The Kremlin argued that the move dishonored the memory of Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany. Russia also applied other diplomatic pressures on the Baltic States, including a ban on certain imports from Latvia in 2006.49

 

  • The Kremlin framed the continued engagement of the U.S. and NATO with Ukraine and Georgia as national security threats to Russia.50 Russia invaded Georgia in August 2008 —four months after the 2008 NATO Bucharest Summit in which NATO signaled its ultimate intent to incorporate Georgia into NATO. Putin carved off the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and subsequently recognized their unilateral declarations of independence from Georgia (made possible by the continued presence of the Russian Armed Forces).

 

  • Russia continued to expand the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which now includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan as well as a free trade agreement with Vietnam. Putin also attempted to coopt Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia into the EEU, although all three countries ultimately chose instead to sign association agreements with the European Union. Russia is still attempting to use the EEU as a tool to build regional influence and global credibility through agreements with states outside of the former Soviet Union such as Egypt.

 

Putin expanded on his narrative criticizing American hegemony and advocating for the return of a multipolar world.. Putin stated that “attempts to rebuild modern multifaceted civilization, created by God, according to the barracks-room principles of a unipolar world are extremely dangerous” during a visit to India in 2004.51 Putin later elaborated on this narrative at the 2007 Munich Security Conference. “We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law … The United States has overstepped its national borders in every way.”52 He accused the West of using international organizations as “vulgar instrument[s] designed to promote the foreign policy interests of one or a group of countries.” This rhetoric would become a central line of argument for the Kremlin. “The ambitions of one group have grown so much that they are presented as the opinions of the entire world community, which they are not,” Putin stated in 2014.

 

Putin also started to introduce aggressive rhetoric against NATO.. Putin stressed at the 2007 Munich Security Conference that NATO’s expansion was intended to encircle Russia.53 This statement was a departure from his initial reaction three years prior, in which he claimed that the enlargement of the alliance did not pose a national security threat to Russia. The context of this statement highlighted the increasingly combative tone adopted by Putin.

 

The intervention of NATO in Libya in 2011 further fueled Putin’s resentment of the West. .

 

Putin condemned international support for the intervention as a “medieval call for crusades.”54 He nonetheless ran into disagreement with then-Russian President Medvedev, who asserted that “all that is going on in Libya is connected with the outrageous behavior of Libya’s authorities and crimes that were completely against their own people.”55 Russia, possibly as a result of this internal debate, did not veto a resolution by the UN Security Council to impose a “no-fly zone” over Libya in 2011. The intervention eventually escalated into a full-blown military campaign that resulted in the overthrow and death of Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.

 

Putin interpreted this incident as a betrayal at the hands of the West. Putin accused the U.S. and NATO of cynically manipulating the international system to impose regime change in Libya. “[The West] was [initially] saying ‘we do not want to kill Gaddafi’ and now even some officials are saying ‘yes, we are aiming to destroy Gaddafi.’ Who allowed [them] to do this? Was there a trial? Why have they decided to take up this right to execute a person?” Putin asked shortly before the death of Gaddafi in October 2011.56 The Kremlin also regretted its loss of political influence and multi-billion dollar industrial contracts in Libya.57 Medvedev later articulated the resulting grudge, stating that the shift from a limited intervention to protect civilians to the destruction of a sovereign government was “a cynical deception on the part of those who claim to be the world’s moral and political leaders … The cynical deception occurred at the [UN] Security Council’s roundtable. Its decisions were distorted and violated, while the so-called temporary military coalition usurped the powers of the United Nations.”58 Putin determined not to repeat this mistake and Russia began to consistently vote against UN Security Council resolutions aimed at addressing similar conflicts in Syria and the Middle East.59

 

The Kremlin also intensified its narrative about U. .S. . inference in the affairs of Russia. Russia. accused the West of using non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as covert means to orchestrate ‘color revolutions’ in the former Soviet Union.60 Putin claimed that external actors were financing political activities in Russia in 2005.61 He signed a new law on NGOs in 2006 that aimed to “deny registration to any organization whose goals and objectives…create a threat to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity, national unity, unique character, cultural heritage, and national interests of the Russian Federation.”62

 

The Kremlin criticized democratization aid to the former Soviet Union—ironically at a time when the U.S. was considering cuts to such aid.63

 

Putin may have held genuine fears of a ‘color revolution’ in Russia but his public accusations also aimed to justify domestic oppression in the face of an external threat from the West. The Kremlin accused the U.S. State Department of interfering with its judicial system after the U.S. voiced concerns about the arrest of Khodorkovsky in 2003.64 This idea of malign foreign interference itself was not new. The 1997 Russian National Security Concept mentions the threat of “purposeful interference by foreign states and international organizations in the internal life of Russia’s peoples.” Russia’s assertion that foreign press statements constituted itself an interference in sovereign affairs, however, aligned with Putin’s larger effort to redefine state sovereignty as forbidding even international commentary on the internal affairs of Russia.

 

Putin was thus unimpressed by the announced “reset” of relations with Russia by U..S.. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009.. U.S. President Barack Obama stated that the U.S. would abandon plans to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe in September 2009.65 Putin praised the decision but rejected the idea of any reset in relations. “We are not talking about ‘reset’ … The U.S. Administration offered us this term,” Putin stated in 2009 and 2012.66 The divergence in worldviews between the U.S. and Russia remained stark despite outreach from the West.

 

2012 – 2018: PUTIN’S COUNTEROFFENSIVE

 

Putin was reelected as Russian President in 2012. He continued to crack down on civil liberties and protests against his reelection. Russia’s economy was stabilizing. Russia was accepted to the World Trade Organization in 2011. The World Bank labeled Russia a high-income country in 2013.67 In 2014, Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych suspended the signing of an association agreement with the European Union—sparking the Euromaidan Revolution. A series of protests forced Yanukovych to flee Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Syrian Revolution—part of the wider Arab Spring—descended into the Syrian Civil War. Russia interfered in both countries. The West began to impose sanctions on Russia for its violations of international norms. The Russian ruble collapsed due to the sanctions as well as a drop in global oil prices.

 

Putin won a third term as Russian President 2012. He moved quickly to regain and expand his domestic control and global influence.

 

Putin soon faced one of the most serious anti-regime protests during his time in office as mass demonstrations rallied against perceived electoral manipulation in the 2011 Russian Legislative Elections and 2012 Russian Presidential Elections. Thousands protested against Putin’s inauguration to a third presidential term in Bolotnaya Square in Moscow in May 2012. The Kremlin in turn detained hundreds of protesters and dozens of them in what became known as the ‘Bolotnaya Square’ Case. Street protests continued but largely died out by July 2013.

 

Putin continued to pressure civil society in the name of defending Russia against the West with the 2012 Foreign Agent Law.. The law, which granted him the authority to expel a number of American NGOs from Russia, was one of the first acts of his third term. The law was partly a response to the passage of the Magnitsky Act by the U.S. in 2012. The Magnitsky Act aimed to punish officials responsible for the death of Sergey Magnitsky, who died in prison in Moscow after investigating fraud involving Russian officials in 2009.

 

“No one listened to us then. So listen now” – Russian President Vladimir Putin, 2018

 

The 2014 Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine was a major accelerant of Putin’s aggressive international agenda. . Euromaidan represented Putin’s fundamental fear of a loss of control over his neighbors—but also presented an opportunity for him to realize his long-standing foreign policy goals in the former Soviet Union. In February 2014, Putin deployed Russian Armed Forces to occupy the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine. Russia subsequently organized an illegal referendum to annex Crimea. Putin sought in part to protect strategic naval basing for the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, which had nowhere to go if Kyiv cancelled its deal with Russia. Putin also feared that the new Government of Ukraine would push to join NATO. He therefore engineered a separatist insurgency and military intervention in Eastern Ukraine aimed at asserting control over the politics of Kyiv. Putin framed external support to the protests as “crossing the line” by the West. “They have lied to us many times,” Putin said in his address on Crimea joining Russia to the Russian Federal Assembly in 2014. “[They have] made decisions behind our backs, informed us after the fact. This happened with NATO’s expansion to the East, as well as the deployment of military infrastructure at our borders. They kept telling us the same thing: ‘This does not concern you.’”68

 

Putin also launched a military intervention in Syria in September 2015. . He aimed to prevent a repeat of Iraq and Libya, where Russia inaction resulted in a loss of valuable clients in the Middle East. Putin did not intend to lose yet another one of Russia’s remaining allies whose ties dated back to the Soviet Union. He also sought the practical benefits of strategic air and naval basing on the Eastern Mediterranean Sea as well as expanded diplomatic leverage in the Middle East. The U.S. was not coherently pursuing a regime change against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, focusing instead on the narrow fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Yet Putin rejected the nuances of this policy. He deployed combat aircraft and special forces to sustain an air campaign and ground assistance mission in support of Assad and his allies in Iran (including combat forces from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and Lebanese Hezbollah). He framed his campaign as a fight against terrorism, posturing as an effective regional partner and peace-broker.69 The Kremlin nonetheless emphasized that Assad was the “only legitimate power” in Syria and legitimized its own military intervention as a formal request from the sovereign Government of Syria.70

 

Putin continued to frame his actions as a requirement for Russia’s sovereignty: “Sometimes I think, maybe it would be better for our bear to sit quiet, rather than to chase piglets in the forest and to eat berries and honey instead.. Maybe they will leave [our bear] in peace. They will not. Because they will always try to put him on a chain … They will rip out its fangs and its claws [i.e. nuclear weapons]. Once they’ve ripped out its claws and fangs, the bear is no longer needed. They will make a stuffed animal out of it… It is not about Crimea. We are protecting our sovereignty and our right to exist.”71 This sentiment reflects one of Putin’s earliest and core narratives—Russia must assert itself to maintain its sovereignty. Putin has similarly framed sanctions as an effort by the West to punish the growing “might and competitiveness” of Russia. The Kremlin often asserts that Russia has historically been punished when it “rose from its knees.”72 It argues that Putin is the subject of international scorn not because of his foreign interference but because of his resistance to the West. Putin also continued to accuse the U.S. of systematic interference in the domestic affairs of Russia. The latest Russian National Security Strategy identified “intelligence activity by special services and organizations of foreign states” as one of the top national security threats facing Russia.73 The U.S. is “all over our domestic policy, they’re sitting on our head, dangling their feet and chewing bubble gum,” Putin told Megan Kelly on NBC in 2017.74

 

  • Putin has argued that his regime is being scapegoated for domestic failings in the U..S.. and Europe.. The Kremlin accuses the West of using Russia to justify additional defense spending or their domestic and foreign policy failures.75 Putin condemned NATO for inventing “imaginary and mythical threats such as the Russian military threat … It’s pleasant and often profitable to portray yourself to be defenders of civilization from some new barbarians, but Russia doesn’t plan to attack anyone.”76 Putin has framed the passage of the Magnitsky Act as driven by a constant domestic pressure in the U.S. to adopt laws targeting Russia.77 He more recently has claimed that the U.S. used Russia as an excuse to justify its own unilateral and long-planned decision to suspend its participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 2019.78

 

Putin has pushed a narrative of the accelerating decline of the West. . Putin attributes global trends, such as the rise of populism, to the failure of the current governance models in which citizens lose trust in their leaders and the value of democracy.79 “Even in the so-called developed democracies, the majority of citizens have no real influence on the political process and no direct and real influence on power,” Putin stated in 2016.80 He added that “it is not about populists … ordinary people, ordinary citizens are losing trust in the ruling class.” The Kremlin reinforces these attacks on democratic processes as part of its effort to protect its regime against an internal revolution as well as its global campaign to undermine rival democratic institutions in the West.

 

The Kremlin frames all of its campaigns as defensive measures that are part of an attempt to restore balance to international relations.. The Kremlin justifies its actions as a response to any number of provocations, escalations, and parallel actions by the U.S. and NATO.81 “Of course we should react to [NATO’s military buildup].

 

How? Either the same as you and therefore by building a multi-billion-dollar anti-missile system or, in view of our present economic and financial possibilities, by developing an asymmetrical answer … I completely agree if you say that the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) is not directed against us, just as our new weapons are not directed against you,” Putin stated in 2007.82 Putin often stresses that Russia is open to partnerships and never seeks confrontation with its “partners in the East or West.”83

 

2019 AND BEYOND

 

Vladimir Putin won his fourth term as Russian President in March 2018.

 

“No one listened to us then. So listen now,” he stated in his address to the Russian Federal Assembly in 2018 while showing a video of the new nuclear capabilities developed by Russia.84

 

Putin’s core objectives remain constant—the preservation of his regime, the end of American global hegemony, and the restoration of Russia as a mighty and feared force to be reckoned with on the international stage. Some of his foreign policy pursuits are purely pragmatic and aimed at gaining resources. Others are intended for domestic purposes and have nothing to do with the West.

 

Most are justified, however, as responses to alleged threats, aggressions, lies, and interference by the West.

 

Putin may believe that he is approaching his goal of a multipolar international system. “Everything is being restored, the world is becoming, if it has not already become, multipolar,” he stated in 2018.85 He has not yet offered the vision for his next goals in this new order, but they will almost certainly involve further reductions in the global operations of the U.S. and its allies.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Putin’s assertiveness has been accelerated or dampened by various factors over time, including his confidence in his domestic grip on power, his economic stability, his dependence on the West, and his perception of the available latitude to act freely on the world stage without major pushback.

 

The West’s actions were a factor—but not the core driver—in Putin’s foreign policy. The U.S. tried to improve relations with Russia several times after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Putin nonetheless became arguably most assertive during the Obama Administration even as the U.S took strong steps to make amends with Russia, including a halt to plans to build a missile defense shield in Poland. The West hesitated for years to impose penalties on Russia for its repeated violations of international laws and norms including its invasion of Georgia and its cyberattacks on Estonia. The West only gradually started to impose sanctions on Russia after persistent human rights violations such as the death of Sergey Magnitsky or undisputable aggression such as the occupation of the Crimean Peninsula. It wasn’t until the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election that most Americans finally became cognizant of the full threat posed by Russia.

 

While the U.S. largely focused elsewhere, Putin escalated his global military posture, scapegoated his internal problems on the West, and used the myth of foreign interference to justify tighter controls over Russians in

 

Russia. Putin notably has almost never used similar rhetoric against China, which arguably presents one of the biggest national security challenges to Russia. China continues to expand its influence in places that Putin claims are beyond his ‘red lines’— the former Soviet Union and Russia itself. Yet Putin continues to condition his population to defend against NATO—an alliance that is currently struggling to persuade its members to devote two percent of their gross domestic products to military spending.

 

The West’s behavior has not altered the fundamental principles guiding Putin’s foreign policy thought, which has remained largely unchanged since 2000. Putin believes that Russia is a great power that is entitled to its own spheres of influence and deserves to be reckoned with in all key decisions. He asserts that the true deviation from the norm was Russia’s moment of weakness in the 1990s and that Russia is merely reemerging to its rightful place in the international system.

 

Many of Putin’s principles are incompatible with the rules-based order and worldview of the West.

 

Putin’s concept of national sovereignty, for example, is often at odds with the sovereignty of other nations. European states enjoy the sovereign right to join NATO. Many of them hold legitimate security concerns about a resurgent Russia. Putin, however, does not view many of these states as truly sovereign. The Kremlin often describes smaller states as externally governed or too weak to hold foreign policy agency. For this reason, it often perceives revolutions or significant internal inflections in the former Soviet Union and beyond as subversive actions by the West rather than popular movements fueled by legitimate grievances. The Kremlin believes that it must maintain control over its neighbors and preserve or expand its historic spheres of influence. Its rhetoric against NATO is less about its fear of a direct military threat and more about its fear of a loss of its power and influence. Putin often frames violations of others’ sovereignty as a defense of his own.

 

Putin also aims to delegitimize the concept of humanitarian intervention as articulated by the West. He places his principles of state sovereignty above humanitarian concerns and asserts that legitimate governments have the right to resolve their internal affairs independent of external pressure. The Kremlin often frames any Western attempts to criticize Russia’s human rights record or those of its allies and clients as interference in sovereign internal affairs.

 

Putin sometimes reverses this rule and justifies his external interference on general human rights grounds. Russia often reserves the right to act against foreign governments in order to protect ethnic Russians. A key example is the Crimean Peninsula. Russia intervened militarily and organized an illegal referendum to annex Crimea to Russia under the boot of the Russian Armed Forces. The referendum and subsequent occupation did not change Crimea’s status under international law—to this day, Crimea remains a legal part of Ukraine. Putin nonetheless defends his intervention as a necessary action to “defend” an “oppressed” population of Russians.

 

Putin’s seemingly facile and convenient rhetoric can be easy to dismiss as cynical. His rhetoric is not empty, however. It is a declaration of his key foreign principle, one that is at odds with the fundamental basis of the rules-based international order – namely, that only the mighty are truly sovereign..

 

It is also easy to imagine that miscommunication is the source of conflict between Putin’s Russia and the West. This idea is false. Bush, Obama, and Trump have all reached out to Putin, sought to accommodate his interests as they understood them, and tried to soften policies and language that might offend him. Yet the Kremlin has responded with increasingly resentful language and actions.

 

Putin does not trust statements from the White House. He views the U.S. as dismissive of Russia’s vital interests regardless of any changes in administrations or rhetoric. Putin fundamentally views the shape of the current international order as the primary challenge to his interests. He believes, as he has said over and over, that a global hegemony, by which he means a world order led by America, is unacceptable to Russia.

 

Putin is no mere opportunistic predator. He may not always have a clear plan and acts expediently at times, but he knows what kind of world he wants and, even more so, what kind he does not. He seeks a world without NATO, with the U.S. confined to the Western Hemisphere, with Russia dominant over the former Soviet Union and able to do what it likes to its own people without condemnation or oversight, and with the Kremlin enjoying a literal veto at the UN Security Council over actions that any other state wishes to take beyond its borders. He has been working towards such a world since the moment he took office. His most recent statements suggest that he thinks he is getting closer. If the West aims to avoid further strategic surprise and preserve the rule-based international order, it must understand this divergent worldview and accept that Putin, when it comes to his stated foreign policy goals and priorities, is often a man of his word.

 

ENDNOTES

 

Nataliya Gevorkyan, Natalya Timakova, and Andrei Kolesnikov, [First Person: Conversations with Vladimir Putin] (Moscow: Vagrius Press, 2000), http://lib(.)ru/ MEMUARY/PUTIN/razgowor.txt.

 

  1. Vladimir Putin, “Speech and Following Discussion at the Munich Security Conference,” Kremlin, February 10, 2007, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/ president/transcripts/24034.

 

  1. Vladimir Putin, “Address by the President of the Russian Federation,” Kremlin, March 18, 2014, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/news/20603.

 

  1. “Summit in Washington; Excerpts from Yeltsin’s Speech: ‘There Will Be No More Lies’,” Reuters, June 18, 1992, https://www.nytimes.com/1992/06/18/world/ summit-in-washington-excerpts-from-yeltsin-s-speech-there-will-be-no-more-lies.html.

 

  1. Marina Lebedeva, Ksenia Borishpolets, and Maksim Kharkevich, [Russia in Global Politics] (Moscow: Moscow State Institute of International Relations, 2013), pg. 27, https://mgimo(.)ru/upload/docs_3/Russia-v-global-politike.pdf.

 

  1. [“Russian-American Relations in 1992 – 1996: Reference,”] RIA Novosti, April 4, 2011, https://ria(.)ru/20110404/360851191.html; “Vancouver Declaration: Joint Statement of the Presidents of the United States and the Russian Federation,” U.S. Government Publishing Office, April 4, 1993, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/ pkg/WCPD-1993-04-12/pdf/WCPD-1993-04-12-Pg545.pdf; [“Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission,”] Kommersant, June 20, 1995, https://www. kommersant(.)ru/doc/112167.

 

  1. Rick Atkinson, “Russian Troops Leave Germany,” Washington Post, September 1, 1994, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1994/09/01/russian-troops-leave-germany/65e3176c-fbe6-47c4-979d-f5fdcb259f6c.

 

  1. John Broder, “Russia Ending Deal on Arms Negotiated by Gore,” New York Times, November 23, 2000, https://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/23/world/ russia-ending-deal-on-arms-negotiated-by-gore.html; [“Boris Yeltsin’s Visit to the U.S.,”] Kommersant, September 30, 1994, https://www.kommersant(.)ru/ doc/91124.

 

  1. Yevgeny Primakov, [A World Without Russia? The Consequences of Political Myopia] (Moscow: Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 2009), https://www.e-reading(.)club/chapter.php/98451/4/ Primakov_-_Mir_bez_Rossii__K_chemu_vedet_politicheskaya_blizorukost%27. html.

 

  1. [“Yevgeny Primakov: I Hope Putin Becomes President,”] Vesti, December 12,

2011, https://www.vesti(.)ru/doc.html?id=658070#.

 

  1. [“Putin Criticized Former Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev,”] TASS, October 19, 2017, https://tass(.)ru/politika/4661540; Alexander Grishin, [“Former Russian Foreign Minister Pleased to Serve the United States,”] Komsomolskaya Pravda,

 

July 22, 2015, https://www.kp(.)ru/daily/26409/3284411/.

  1. [“Decree of the President of the Russian Federation #386,”] Kremlin, April 10, 1992, http://kremlin(.)ru/acts/bank/1184; [“Federal Law on the State Policy of the Russian Federation Regarding Compatriots Abroad,”] Kremlin, May 24, 1999, http://www.kremlin(.)ru/acts/bank/13875.

 

  1. Russia 24, [“Lavrov: Historians Will Formulate the ‘Primakov Doctrine’,”] YouTube, October 29, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLiOIJ0HpR4.
  2. [“Presidential Decree on the Approval of the National Security Concept of the Russian Federation,”] Collection of Legislation of the Russian Federation, December 29, 1997, http://www.szrf(.)ru/szrf/doc. phtml?nb=100&issid=1001997052000&docid=1210NationalSecurityConcept.

 

  1. [“TV Address of Russian President Boris Yeltsin on March 24, 1999 Regarding the Threat of NATO Strikes Against Yugoslavia,”] Kommersant, March 25, 1999, https://www.kommersant(.)ru/doc/215535.

 

  1. “Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation, and Security Between NATO and the Russian Federation,” NATO, May 27, 1999, https://www.nato.int/cps/en/ natolive/official_texts_25468.htm.

 

  1. [“On National Security: Address of the Russian President to the Federal Assembly,”] Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 14, 1996, http://www.rusconstitution(.)ru/ timestream/event/499/; Sergei Kortynov, [Conceptual Foundations of National and International Security] (Moscow: Higher School of Economics, 2007), https://textbooks(.)studio/uchebnik-mejdunarodnie-otnosheniya/poslaniya-natsionalnoy-bezopasnosti-prezidenta.html.

 

  1. Strobe Talbott, “Boris and Bill,” Washington Post, May 26, 2002, https://www. washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/magazine/2002/05/26/boris-and-bill/ ba5a863c-ece7-4e67-bd74-f81c2982c938.

 

  1. [“Academic Hour,”] Kommersant, January 14, 2015, https://www.kommersant(.)ru/ doc/2645293; Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, [“Yevgeny Primakov’s Presentation at the Meeting of the ‘Mercury Club’,”] YouTube, January 14, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Yg375FTjYE.

 

  1. [“Man of Life: Yevgeny Primakov,”] Russia-1, https://russia(.)tv/brand/show/ brand_id/4981/.

 

  1. Sebastian Walsh, “A History of Debt Defaults: Russia 1998,” Financial News, July 27, 2011, https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/a-history-of-debt-defaults-russia-1998-20110727.

 

. Public Russian Television, [“The New FSB Director Vladimir Putin Gives an Interview: 1999,”] December 7, 2017, YouTube, https://youtu.be/JDb57RK5SgI.

 

  1. [“Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club,”] Kremlin, October 27, 2016, http://kremlin(.)ru/events/president/news/53151; [“Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club,”] Kremlin, October 24, 2014, http://kremlin(.)ru/ events/president/news/46860.

 

  1. Vladimir Putin, [“Russia at the Turn of the Millennium,”] Nezavisimaya Gazeta, December 30, 1999, http://www.ng(.)ru/politics/1999-12-30/4_millenium. html.

 

  1. Roman Anin, “The Secret of the St. Princess Olga,” OCCRP, August 2, 2016, https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/5523-the-secret-of-the-st-princess-olga.

 

  1. [“Naryshkin Told How He Met Putin,”] RIA Novosti, December 9, 2018, https://ria(.)ru/20181209/1547687041.html.

 

  1. Gevorkyan, Timakova, and Kolesnikov, [First Person: Conversations with Vladimir Putin] http://lib(.)ru/MEMUARY/PUTIN/razgowor.txt.

 

  1. Mosaic, “The Putin Interviews—Oliver Stone Part 1 of 4,” YouTube, June 12, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvlKSbYkTXI.

 

  1. “Chechens Fear Risks of Leaving—And Staying,” CNN, December 8, 1999, http://archives.cnn.com/1999/WORLD/europe/12/08/russia.chechnya.03/; Steven Greenhouse, “U.S. Sharply Rebukes Russia For Its Offensive

 

in Chechnya,” New York Times, April 12, 1995, https://www.nytimes. com/1995/04/12/world/us-sharply-rebukes-russia-for-its-offensive-in-chechnya.html; Vagif Guseynov, [“Evolving Western Positions Regarding the Chechen Crisis,”] Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 29, 2000, http://www.ng(.)ru/ specfile/2000-02-29/15_evolution.html.

 

  1. Russia 24, [“Putin: Film by Andrey Kardashev. Full Video,”] YouTube, March 24, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Pu0yrOwKI; [“Putin: Russia Has Maintained Sovereignty and Made Breakthroughs in Important Areas,”] RIA Novosti, December 19, 2017, https://ria(.)ru/20171219/1511255375.html; [“2013: Vladimir Putin’s Red Lines,”] Rossiyskaya Gazeta, September 26, 2013, https:// rg(.)ru/2013/09/26/valdai.html; [“The Best Moments of Putin’s Interview,”] Argumenty i Fakty, March 14, 2018, http://www.aif(.)ru/politics/russia/ne_imeyu_ prava_slabost_proyavlyat_samye_yarkie_momenty_iz_intervyu_putina; DenTV, [“Alexander Dugin: Russians Are on the Verge of Losing Their Identity,”] YouTube, March 6, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7dzL3IodxQ.

 

  1. Gevorkyan, Timakova, and Kolesnikov, [First Person: Conversations with Vladimir Putin] http://lib(.)ru/MEMUARY/PUTIN/razgowor.txt.
  2. “NATO-Russia Relations: A New Quality,” NATO, May 28, 2002,

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_19572.htm.

 

  1. [“Presidential Decree on the National Security Concept of the Russian Federation,”] Kremlin, January 10, 2000, http://kremlin(.)ru/acts/bank/14927.
  2. [“Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation,”] Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 11,

2000, http://www.ng(.)ru/world/2000-07-11/1_concept.html.

  1. “Russia Paid Off IMF Debts,” UPI, February 1, 2005, https://www.upi(.)com/ Russia-has-paid-off-IMF-debts/66111107283700/; “Russia Pays Off Paris Club Debts,” BBC, August 25, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/5271122. stm; [“Why Russia Had to Pay the Soviet Debts,”] TASS, August 21, 2017, https://tass(.)ru/ekonomika/4033459.

 

  1. [“Putin Talked About the IMF Debts of the Former Soviet Republics That Russia Paid Off,”] Lenta, June 13, 2017, https://lenta(.)ru/news/2017/06/13/debtimf/.
  2. David Filipov, “Russia Cracking Down on ‘Oligarch’ Empires,” Chicago Tribute, July 12, 2000, https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2000-07-12-0007120402-story.html; David Crouch, “Ousting the Oligarchs,”

 

The Guardian, May 31, 2005, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/ may/31/russia; Marshall Goldman, “Putin and the Oligarchs,” Foreign Affairs, November/December 2004, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2004-11-01/putin-and-oligarchs.

 

  1. [“Putin Cancelled the Elections of Governors,”] Korrespondent, December 12, 2004, https://korrespondent(.)net/world/109086-putin-otmenil-vybory-gubernatorov; Jeremy Bransten, “Russia: Putin Signs Bill Eliminating Direct Elections of Governors,” RFE/RL, December 13, 2004, https://www.rferl. org/a/1056377.html.

 

  1. [“On the Eve of Single Economic Space: Kuchma Against the Diplomats,”] Ukrayinska Pravda, September 17, 2003, https://www.pravda.com(.)ua/rus/ news/2003/09/17/4374367.
  2. [“Common Economic Space: Reference.”] RIA Novosti, January 1, 2012,

 

  1. https://ria(.)ru/20120101/529308191.html.

 

  1. Statement by President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze,” NATO, November 22, 2002, https://www.nato.int/docu/speech/2002/s021122h.htm; Jean-Christophe Peuch, “Georgia: Shevardnadze Officially Requests Invitation to Join NATO,” RFE/RL, November 22, 2002, https://www.rferl.org/a/1101463.html.

 

  1. Russia 24, [“Putin: Film by Andrey Kardashev. Full Video,”] YouTube, March 24, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Pu0yrOwKI; [“Putin Called External Control Humiliating for Ukraine,”] Lenta, August 17, 2015, https://lenta(.)ru/news/2015/08/17/putinobukraine/.

 

  1. [“Putin Said That the Authorities Will Not Allow ‘Color Revolutions’ in Russia,”] RIA Novosti, April 12, 2017, https://ria(.)ru/20170412/1492073208.html; Darya Korsunskaya, “Putin Says Russia Must Prevent ‘Color Revolution’,” Reuters, November 20, 2014, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-putin-security-idUSKCN0J41J620141120.

 

  1. Glenn Kessler, “NATO Seeks to Soothe Russia,” Washington Post, April 3, 2004, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2004/04/03/nato-seeks-to-soothe-russia/2c46ac29-1b42-4121-8fc8-3fdf8302ee40; Seth Mydans, “Putin Doubts Expanded NATO Meets New Threats,” New York Times, April 9, 2004, https://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/09/world/putin-doubts-expanded-nato-meets-new-threats.html; [“Interview with Wall Street Journal,”] Kremlin, February 11, 2002, http://kremlin(.)ru/events/president/transcripts/21498.

 

  1. Vladimir Bogdanov, [“Growing Irritation in Moscow,”] Rossiyskaya Gazeta, March 30, 2004, https://rg(.)ru/2004/03/30/kreml.html.

 

  1. [“The Common Interests of Fighting Global Threats Outweigh Any Differences Between Russia and the United States,”] RIA Novosti, February 13, 2004, https://ria(.)ru/20040213/526860.html.
  2. [“Press Conference for Russian and Foreign Journalists,”] Kremlin, December 23,

2004, http://kremlin(.)ru/events/president/transcripts/22757.

  1. [“Onishchenko Discovered Carcinogens in Latvian Sprat,”] Lenta, November 9,

2006, https://lenta(.)ru/news/2006/11/09/sprots/.

 

  1. [“Putin Promises Substantive Support to Abkhazia and South Ossetia,”] Izvestia, April 3, 2008, https://iz(.)ru/news/422147#ixzz3aV2E3Gyz.
  2. [“Putin: Russia, India, and China Can Prevent the Creation of a ‘Unipolar World’,”] Lenta, December 4, 2004, https://lenta(.)ru/news/2004/12/04/putin.
  3. Putin, “Speech and Following Discussion at the Munich Security Conference,”

February 10, 2007, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/transcripts/24034.

  1. ibid.
  2. Isabel Gorst and Neil Buckley, “Medvedev and Putin Clash Over Libya,” Financial Times, March 21, 2011, https://www.ft.com/content/2e62b08e-53d2-11e0-a01c-00144feab49a.
  3. “Russia Did Not Veto in UN to Protect Libyan Civilians—Medvedev,” RT, March

21, 2011, https://www.rt(.)com/russia/medvedev-un-resolution-lybia/.

 

  1. Russia-1, [“Putin Against Killing of Gaddafi,”] YouTube, April 26, 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFBOxGdrXR8.

 

  1. Alexei Anishchuk, “Gaddafi Fall Cost Russia Tens of Billions in Arms Deals,” Reuters, November 2, 2011, https://www.reuters.com/article/russia-libya-arms-idUSL5E7M221H20111102.

 

  1. Tom O’Connor, “Russia Says U.S. and Allies Lied When They Attacked Libya, Now It’s Ready to Get Involved,” Newsweek, November 13, 2011, https://www. newsweek.com/russia-says-us-allies-lied-libya-ready-help-1213872.

 

  1. Peter Ferdinand, “The Positions of Russia and China at the UN Security Council in the Light of Recent Crises,” European Parliament, March 1, 2013, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/note/join/2013/433800/ EXPO-SEDE_NT%282013%29433800_EN.pdf.

 

  1. [“Patrushev Talks About Western Actions Against Russia,”] Pravda, May 5, 2005, https://www.pravda(.)ru/news/world/12-05-2005/56630-patrushev_zapad_ revoljucija_sng_lukashenko_belorussija_demping-0/.

 

  1. [“Putin Will ‘Order Music’ Himself,”] Polit, July 20, 2005, http://www.polit(.)ru/news/2005/07/20/musicputt/.

 

  1. Katherin Machalek, “Factsheet: Russia’s NGO Laws,” Freedom House, https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/Fact%20Sheet_0.pdf.

 

  1. [“U.S. Will Teach Foreign Journalists How to Talk About Democracy,”] RBC, December 14, 2005, https://www.rbc(.)ru/ politics/14/12/2005/5703bb819a7947afa08c909d; Curt Tarnoff, “U.S. Assistance to the Former Soviet Union,” Congressional Research Service, April 14, 2005, https://www.everycrsreport.com/files/20050414_ RL32866_4df4f774f1d7136d7c55b5330924fb4f2a63a2d2.pdf.

 

  1. “Yukos: Russia Hits Back at U.S.,” CNN, November 1, 2003, http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/11/01/yukos/index.html.

 

  1. Luke Harding and Ian Traynor, “Obama Abandons Missile Defence Shield in Europe,” The Guardian, September 17, 2009, https://www.theguardian.com/ world/2009/sep/17/missile-defence-shield-barack-obama.

 

  1. Polina Khimshiashvili [“Putin Did Not Notice the ‘Reset’,”] Vedomosti, December 20, 2012, https://www.vedomosti(.)ru/politics

 

  1. World Bank, Country and Lending Groups, 2015, https://web.archive.org/ web/20140702131322/http://data.worldbank.org/about/country-and-lending-groups.

 

  1. Vladimir Putin, “Address by President of the Russian Federation,” Kremlin, March

18, 2014, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/news/20603.

 

  1. [“Putin Explained Troop Deployment to Syria,”] Moskovskij Komsomolets, September 30, 2015, https://www.mk(.)ru/politics/2015/09/30/putin-obyasnil-vvedenie-rossiyskikh-voysk-v-siriyu.html.

 

  1. [“Peskov: Russia Will Be the Only Country Operating in Syria on Legitimate Basis,”] Gordon, September 30, 2015, https://gordonua(.)com/news/worldnews/ peskov-rossiya-budet-edinstvennoy-stranoy-osushchestvlyayushchey-operacii-v-sirii-na-legitimnoy-osnove-100135.html.

 

  1. RT, [“Putin: The Bear Will Never Be Left Alone,”] YouTube, December 18, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cwh5be7Jts.

 

  1. NTV, [“Vladimir Putin’s Press Conference 2018,”] YouTube, December 20, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea1xHJhQl50.

 

  1. [“Presidential Decree #683: ‘On the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation’,”] Rossiyskaya Gazeta, December 31, 2015, https://rg(.)ru/2015/12/31/ nac-bezopasnost-site-dok.html.

 

  1. “‘Take A Pill’: Putin Accuses U.S. Of Hysteria, Destabilizing The World,” RFE/ RL, June 2, 2017, https://www.rferl.org/a/st-pete-forum-putin-accuses-us-destabilizing-international-arena/28525266.html; Russia-1, [“Putin’s Best Moments with NBC’s Megyn Kelly,”] YouTube, June 4, 2017, https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=12s_n6F2ZEQ.

 

  1. [“Putin Believes That Anti-Russian Rhetoric May Decline in the U.S. After 2020,”] TASS, October 18, 2018, https://tass(.)ru/politika/5691040.
  2. “Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club,” Kremlin, October 27,

2016, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/news/53151.

 

  1. RIA Novosti, [“Putin About ‘Magnitsky Act’,”] YouTube, December 26, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4TTRnZB9cI.

 

  1. RT, [“Putin Responded to Pompeo’s Ultimatum on the INF Treaty,”] YouTube, December 5, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohONm97wt20.

 

  1. [“Putin: Most Citizens Do Not Have Influence Over Power in Democratic Countries,”] RIA Novosti, October 27, 2016, https://ria(.) ru/20161027/1480141794.html; NTV, [“Vladimir Putin’s Press Conference 2018,”] YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea1xHJhQl50.

 

  1. [“Putin: Most Citizens Do Not Have Influence Over Power in Democratic Countries,”] RIA Novosti, October 27, 2016, https://ria(.)ru/20161027/1480141794.html.

 

  1. NTV, [“Vladimir Putin’s Press Conference 2018,”] YouTube, December 20, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea1xHJhQl50.

 

  1. Putin, “Speech and Following Discussion at the Munich Security Conference,” February 10, 2007, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/transcripts/24034.
  2. Putin, “Address by the President of the Russian Federation,” March 18, 2014, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/news/20603.

 

  1. [“No One Listened to Us Then. So Listen Now,”] BBC, March 1, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/russian/news-43240396.

 

  1. “Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club,” October 18, 2018, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/news/58848

 

__________________

Edited from the PDF version by John R. Houk

 

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