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Old February 15th, 2015, 08:17 AM   #1
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Putin: Will he go nuclear?

Even Vladimir "Wild Card" Putin wouldn't start a nuclear war.

Would he?

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Putin: Will he go nuclear?
The Ukraine crisis has turned into a potentially apocalyptic nuclear stand-off as President Vladimir Putin primes Russia for conflict with the West. But how scared should we really be?


Earlier this month, as fighting raged in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and forces loyal to the Western-backed government in Kiev, Dmitry Kiselyov, the pugnacious, middle-aged journalist who heads Russia’s main state news agency, gazed defiantly into a TV studio camera. “What is Russia preparing for?” he asked. As if in reply, the director cut to an ominous backdrop image of an intercontinental ballistic missile emerging from an underground launch silo.

“During the era of political romanticism, the Soviet Union pledged never to use nuclear weapons first,” Kiselyov told the audience of Vesti Nedeli, his current affairs show, one of the country’s most widely watched programmes. “But Russia’s current military doctrine does not.” He paused briefly for effect. “No more illusions.”

There was nothing out of the ordinary about this reminder that Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to a “threat” to its statehood. Since the start of the crisis in Ukraine, which has massive geostrategic importance for Russia, state-controlled TV has engineered an upsurge in aggressive anti-Western sentiment, with Kiselyov as the Kremlin’s top attack dog.

Last spring, as Washington warned of sanctions over Russia’s seizure of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, Kiselyov boasted about his country’s fearsome nuclear arsenal. “Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the US into radioactive ash,” he declared.

Kiselyov’s blood-curdling comments will have had the Kremlin’s implicit backing, analysts say. “This threat of nuclear war should be taken seriously,” said Sergey Markov, a political strategist. “In Russia, we believe that Ukraine has been occupied by the US. And that this occupation is not about democracy, or even money, but that it is the first step in a war against Russia. The US is seeking to undermine our sovereignty, neutralise our nuclear potential, and steal our oil and gas. Under these circumstances, the danger of nuclear confrontation is very real.”''

...Kiselyov is not the only one pushing the possibility of nuclear confrontation with the West. Russia’s Zvezda TV channel, owned by the defence ministry, has also been preparing its audience for the worst.

“Russia and the US are on the verge of nuclear war,” read a headline on its website last week. The article cited an analyst from the Moscow-based Politika think tank, Vyacheslav Nikonov, which said a nuclear exchange between the two former Cold War-era foes was increasingly likely because the US wanted Russia to “disappear” as an independent country. “This is not in our plans,” he said.

...A day after last week’s peace talks in Belarus, Russia’s nuclear forces staged large-scale exercises, soon after navy nuclear combat drills in the Arctic. All of which causes concern in the West. Michael Fallon, the UK Defence Secretary, said earlier this month that he was worried Russia had “lowered its threshold” for the use of nuclear weapons, while “integrating nuclear with conventional forces in a rather threatening way.”

The prospect of nuclear war is also being talked up by pro-Kremlin movements. In a clip posted online last month, a Kalashnikov-wielding member of the Moscow-based, pro-Kremlin National Liberation Movement (NOD) vows global nuclear devastation in the event of the defeat of Russia’s interests in Ukraine. “If we lose, we will destroy the whole world,” intones a young NOD activist named Maria Katasonova. She sweeps a circle with her arm, and the screen is filled with a virtual image of an explosion as the planet is consumed in an atomic inferno.

“Russians will not sit by and watch as their country’s sovereignty is threatened by the US,” Katasonova told The Sunday Telegraph last week. “If our country is in genuine danger, we really will use nuclear weapons.”
Katasonova is a follower of Alexander Dugin, a hardline nationalist thinker who has called for the destruction of the US. Dugin – described as “Putin’s brain” by the respected US-based Foreign Affairs journal – is something of a fanatic. He combines political activities with occultism, and often speaks of his belief that the world must be “brought to an end”....
Putin: Will he go nuclear? - Telegraph
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Old February 15th, 2015, 08:35 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by imaginethat View Post
Even Vladimir "Wild Card" Putin wouldn't start a nuclear war.

Would he?



Putin: Will he go nuclear? - Telegraph
Not going to happen. Putin has pretty much gotten what he wanted in Ukraine, and is now more than happy to agree to a cease fire, especially in regards to his relationship with Merkel in Germany. I suspect that now he's going to put away the bowl of vinegar, and pull out the spoon full of honey for the inhabitants of the regions now under his control by allowing their financial future to be tied to the Russian economy. What better way to drive a wedge between them and the west? He thought he would be able to drive that wedge between European interests and the west, but now realizes he failed to do that, so now it's time for the cease fire, and count his newly acquired chickens. You have to know when to fold 'em......
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Old February 15th, 2015, 08:39 AM   #3
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No. He's neither stupid enough nor crazy enough.
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Old February 15th, 2015, 10:39 AM   #4
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No. He's neither stupid enough nor crazy enough.
Putin's the man in the spotlight. But no man is an island...and he's in power thanks to a cadré of associates we don't see or hear anything about. They like the immense wealth they have and are tempering the situation...behind the scenes. That's my call......

"Hey! Knucklehead!!! We've got it pretty good, here!!! WTF???"
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Old February 15th, 2015, 11:09 AM   #5
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...There is no threat to Russian statehood, only to the Russian standard of living...
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Old February 15th, 2015, 01:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Tony View Post
Putin's the man in the spotlight. But no man is an island...and he's in power thanks to a cadré of associates we don't see or hear anything about. They like the immense wealth they have and are tempering the situation...behind the scenes. That's my call......

"Hey! Knucklehead!!! We've got it pretty good, here!!! WTF???"
The Russian people are scared. They've been told, and they believe, that the West, NATO specifically, wants to invade Russia and "finish the Cold War."

I agree that all the nuclear talk is for the home audience, the "good tsar" calming the fears he's created.

Putin so far has evaded responsibility for Russia's crumbling infrastructure, dilapidated schools and traffic-jammed and potholed roads and dirty and crowded hospitals, scratching only the surface.

The oil party is over for the foreseeable future. We'll see how things play out over 2015 when the sanctions on Russia will begin putting the hurt on the educated, Russian middle class, and every Russian.

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Putin's net-worth is $200 billion says Russia's once largest foreigner investor

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: To understand what motivates Vladimir Putin, we decided to call in a man who once helped him get rich. Bill Browder went from being Russia's largest foreign investor to being blacklisted from that country. The CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, Browder was once a supporter of President Putin - that is until he was expelled from Russia in 2005 after being considered a "threat to national security."
Browder writes about his experiences in his terrific new book "Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice." He joined me recently to tell me what he learned about how the Kremlin works.

ZAKARIA: So you begin the book by - with this incredible story. You're the largest foreign investor in Russia. Your fund has returned 1,500 percent returns. You're managing $4.5 billion in capital at a time when that was real money. And you get to the airport and they put you on a plane and throw you out. What had you done that so pissed off the Russians?

BILL BROWDER, AUTHOR, "RED NOTICE": Well, I wasn't just a regular investor. I was what’s - what they - what's commonly referred to now as a shareholder activist. I started out being - just buying shares of Russian companies. Then I realized that the oligarchs and government officials were stealing all the profits out of these companies.

And so I thought the only way that I could run a sort of moral and profitable business would be to try to stop it. Basically, we'd research how they did the stealing and then we'd share it with the international media. And for about four years, this naming and shaming of Russian companies actually worked, because my interests coincided with Putin's.

He was fighting with the same guys I was fighting with. The oligarchs were stealing power from him and they were stealing money from us. And so every time I would publicize a scandal, Putin would step in and fix it. And so my profits went up. The company's profits went up. And I was feeling like the - I was feeling like the best guy in the world, because I was making money and doing good at the same time.

ZAKARIA: But then Putin makes a deal with all these oligarchs. And at that point, things start to change for you.

BROWDER: He arrested the richest oligarch in the country, then said to the other guys, if you don't want to be arrested, you need to share your money….

ZAKARIA: Right.

BROWDER: - with me.

ZAKARIA: Right.

BROWDER: So he became a business partner and then ... all of my activism became very inconvenient. At that point, I was not going after his enemies, I was going after his own financial interests.

And so when I arrived at Sheremetyevo Airport in November in 2005, after living there for 10 years, I was stopped at the VIP lounge. I was taken down to the detention center of the airport. I was kept there for 15 hours, deported and declared a threat to national security.

What I didn't realize then, and it's become absolutely plain and obvious to me now, based on my experience, is that Putin wasn't above it all, Putin was intimately involved in it all, and it wasn't like he was restraining the oligarchs - he was the biggest oligarch.

And everything that he's done since then has come to prove that.

ZAKARIA: Do you think Putin is about power or about money?

BROWDER: Well, let's say the first eight or 10 years of Putin's reign over Russia, it was about stealing as much money as he could. And some people, including myself, believe that he's the richest man in the world, or one of the richest men in the world, with hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth that was stolen from Russia. It's changed, though. It's mutated. All the...

ZAKARIA: Really? I mean you understand numbers and you understand these - the numbers of these Russian companies. You really think Putin is the richest man in the world?

BROWDER: I really think that, and I'm not just saying that crazily. I mean...

ZAKARIA: Get an estimate - estimate his net worth.

BROWDER: Two hundred billion.

ZAKARIA: Really?

BROWDER: ...After 14 years in power of Russia, and the amount of money that the country has made, and the amount of money that hasn't been spent on schools and roads and hospitals and so on, all that money is in property, bank - Swiss bank accounts, shares, hedge funds, managed for Putin and his cronies.

ZAKARIA: And it would explain why he personally has so much power, right? It's not the power of the party or even the army you worry about, or the state?

BROWDER: The power is very simple in Russia - whoever has the power to arrest people is the person in power. And so what Putin does is he has a bunch of guys around him who have the power to arrest people. And so it doesn't matter how rich you are, if you can be arrested, put in jail and have your money taken away, the guy who can do that to you is the most powerful person in Russia.

ZAKARIA: The second half of your book is about this incredible campaign that you have - you have launched ever since the death of Sergei Magnitsky, your - the guy who was looking after your accounts and the legal issues surrounding them.

How did you manage to get people in the United States, politicians in the United States attention, focused on this issue?

BROWDER: Well, my attorney was Sergei Magnitsky. He was murdered for exposing government corruption, murdered in pretrial detention. And they covered up his murder. What they did to him was so evil and so heartbreaking and so well-documented, that when I went and told the story to members of Congress, it didn't matter whether you were the most conservative Republican or the most liberal Democrat, this is the one thing in Washington everybody could agree on, which was these people were bad.

These guys killed Sergei Magnitsky, my lawyer, for money. They all got rich, they all got bank accounts and villas and cars. Why should we allow them to come to America, travel to America, keep their accounts here, spend that money?

And everyone said, yes, that's easy. It doesn't cost anything to stop them from doing that. And so this started snowballing. And against the interests of the U.S. administration - the U.S. administration, at that time, wanted to play nice with Russia - we got the Magnitsky Law passed 92 to four in the Senate. It's the one thing that everyone in Washington could agree on.

ZAKARIA: Oil prices are down 50 percent. The Russian economy is being sanctioned. Banks are in trouble. How does this - how does this play out for Putin?

BROWDER: Well, there's the Zimbabwe-North Korea scenario, where he just runs Russia truly and absolutely into the ground and stays in power. And that could happen.

There's also the Ukraine/Georgia/Kyrgyzstan scenario, where people - the Russian people - say this - why are we allowing this man to ruin everybody's life?

He makes some decision, some small decision, it doesn't even have to be a big decision, which just sparks a million people on Red Square and they - and they get rid of him.

Or it could even be that some members of the army and the police decide, palace coup, let's get rid of him. We don't know.

But in the meantime, while he's still in power, he’s going to be running Russia into the ground and causing the West a lot of problems.
Putin's net-worth is $200 billion says Russia's once largest foreigner investor ? CNN Press Room - CNN.com Blogs
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Old February 15th, 2015, 05:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by imaginethat View Post
The Russian people are scared. They've been told, and they believe, that the West, NATO specifically, wants to invade Russia and "finish the Cold War."

I agree that all the nuclear talk is for the home audience, the "good tsar" calming the fears he's created.

Putin so far has evaded responsibility for Russia's crumbling infrastructure, dilapidated schools and traffic-jammed and potholed roads and dirty and crowded hospitals, scratching only the surface.

The oil party is over for the foreseeable future. We'll see how things play out over 2015 when the sanctions on Russia will begin putting the hurt on the educated, Russian middle class, and every Russian.



Putin's net-worth is $200 billion says Russia's once largest foreigner investor ? CNN Press Room - CNN.com Blogs
Wow! Obama only gets $400K a year!!!!
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Old February 15th, 2015, 06:11 PM   #8
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No. I'm not a subscriber of the idea of MAD or even of a limited nuclear exchange. I think that, if any country used it, it would be the last act that country ever did. Every other nation would turn against it and it would ensure that, whatever language they spoke, would only be spoken in Hell, to paraphrase Admiral Halsey.

We should be more afraid of a protracted conventional war against the Russians and their 'allies' if they decide to overstep themselves. It's a long way to Moscow.
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Old February 15th, 2015, 06:43 PM   #9
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Well, being a Tsar nowadays doesn't come cheap you know.

What with all the hired goons, assassins, and payoffs and such, not to mention inflation alone, I'm surprised Putin has anything left at the end of the day.

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Old February 15th, 2015, 08:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by imaginethat View Post
Even Vladimir "Wild Card" Putin wouldn't start a nuclear war.

Would he?



Putin: Will he go nuclear? - Telegraph
I think tactically would be within his wheelhouse I don't think he would go intercontinental.
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