Friday, February 16, 2007

A Trip Down Memory Lane

As a child and young adult, the frequent threats and biased rhetoric from the former Soviet Union, flowed freely. Listening to Radio Moscow as a young adult in the 70s was quite comical, to say the least. Lies, threats, and accusations were much the common theme coming out of the USSR, in those days. Today, we see the trend moving back in that direction.

Russia threatened on Thursday to pull out of a landmark nuclear arms control treaty unless the US backed away from plans to install its missile defence shield in Eastern Europe.

It's deja vu, all over again. The US wants to protect itself and its allies with a defensive system, and yet, this gives Russia a great excuse to restart the arms race. Having a desire to see the glory days of the USSR return, it appears that this is the moment that Putin has been waiting for. This is his moment in the sun.

You see, Russia has been relegated to just another nation that aspires to compete with America. Old habits and attitudes seem to die hard. No doubt he'd love to leave mistrust and antagonism, two former KGB qualities, as his legacy.

But even though his days are numbered, many are speculating that he is picking a man of like mind, to be his successor. Here we see, where he has promoted the defense minister to become first deputy prime minister.

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin promoted Sergei Ivanov to first deputy prime minister from defense minister, giving him the same rank as his main rival to replace Putin next year.

Welcome back to the days where successors were named, by moving them closer and closer to the inner circle. Sure, he will have to face an election. But stacking the deck against those that may seek reform appears to be Putin's current strategy, from the looks of things here. This is certainly not much different from the old days, just study some old pictures of the Soviet leadership watching the May Day displays of military might. Be sure to do it in chronological order.

But I guess if I was Russian I could look on the bright side, in all of this. There was a time (when Stalin did the promoting) that this could very well have turned into a death sentence, with one erroneous move. Getting closer to Stalin in those pictures meant there was a good chance a person wouldn't even be photographed the next year, if they screwed up. So, with that in mind, I guess congratulations are in order for Mr. Ivanov.

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