Sunday, December 30, 2007


Russia's year

There can be no doubt about it that 2007 was Russia's year. And that is all thanks to President Vladimir Putin.
Time's "Person of the Year" shaped events inside Rodina and shored up his authority with a popularity other leaders can only dream of. Outside her borders he stood up to the hegemony of the United States and United Kingdom, even while being pilloried in the press over the Litvinenko case and being portrayed as a despotic maniac.
Putin kicked off the year by tackling the US in Munich in February, being one of the few credited world leaders to accuse them of attempting to dominate the world. Since then he has revised arms treaties, renewed Russia's long-range nuclear patrols, sent the Russian Navy out into Mediterranean and warned that Moscow might target European cities with its nukes.
Finally Russia has a leader strong enough to stand up to the west - and someone who has the heavy artillery to do so. And it sorely needed a confrontation. What the western media fail to report is the reasons. As mentioned previously, the US-funded Nato is expanding when it should be reducing - there is no longer a threat to Europe and yet Russia is surrounded by a ring of steel. In 2001 the US unilaterally decided to do away with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Nato states have refused to apply a conventional arms limitation pact and Nato patrols continue to menace Russia's borders. For what?
But the biggest threat to Russia has been the west's insistence that it will deploy the US missile defence system in eastern Europe. This despite Moscow's offer of co-operation with Washington on the shield, an offer that has so far been greeted very coldly. What are we supposed to think? They tell us it is not aimed at us, and then will not let us be a part of it. Luckily Russia has its own missiles that can break through that shield, a few of which Putin had test-fired this year as no uncertain warning to Bush not to tread on Russia.
On other international issues too, Russia stood firm, the most important of these being Iran, refusing to give in to the US's hysteria. After years of apparently fruitless diplomacy on Iran, 2007 ended with Russia making its first deliveries of nuclear fuel needed to power the Islamic state’s first nuclear power station.
The other big issue is Kosovo which has been under UN administration since 1999, when NATO air strikes drove Serbian and Yogoslav security forces from the province. Serbia has offered broad autonomy to Kosovo Albanians along with many elements of statehood, but has insisted on retaining sovereignty over the territory. Kosovo Albanians insist on complete independence. that is just what we don't need, - another Muslim state. Last week, Western members of the UNSC said further negotiation on Kosovo's plan to declare independence would be pointless after talks failed to sway Russia. West's intent to recognize Kosovo is a dangerous precedent for international law and international security. By rejecting further UN talks, Western powers are effectively transferring responsibility for the resolution of the Kosovo problem to the European Union and Nato. What Nato is effectively doing is breaking apart one of Russia's few allies in the region to insert into the area a destabalised region where Muslim extremists and their great friends Al-Qaeda can take hold and cause mischief.
In July, Russia was awarded the 2014 winter Olympic games after an intensive lobbying campaign and the country was overjoyed by its football team’s 11th-hour qualification for the Euro 2008 football competition.
Putin was named Time's Person of the year, with a caveat, naturally...“is a clear-eyed recognition of the world as it is and of the most powerful individuals and forces shaping that world -- for better or for worse,” Time said in a note accompanying its cover story.
Putin won a landslide victory for his party at the polls, despite heavy interference from the West which saw at least one ambassador asked to leave. Again it is interesting to note the uncontrolled bitching from the West even though Russia fulfilled all of their standards on an election.
This year started with intense speculation over whether Putin, 55, would leave office. The business world was nervous. Could we get another Yeltsin? In spring Putin calmed the markets by saying that he would retain influence, and by autumn we knew he would still be there, guiding the ship, the markets relaxed and rebounded.
United Russia's crushing victory at the polls sent a clear message to the west. Russians LIKE Putin, they WANT him to stay on.


Oh puhleeze! It was China's year and you know it. Can you say "Space"? Engineering? Hyped economy?
But for once I agree with you, the west never has anyting nice to say about us.
Let us hope that the next year will be just as good.
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