A short update on the super-weapons

Without having the time to craft another major essay just at the moment, I thought it might be fun to post a couple of links following up on the “super-weapons” article I wrote back in August. First, an update on the Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s largest aircraft carrier, which has reportedly been steaming around the world […]

Russia’s super-weapons unveiled

Was I the only one, a few days ago, to notice the announcement that Russia is currently searching the Arctic Ocean for whatever happened to its newest Wunderwaffe? The report seems to have fallen singularly flat; yet this was one of those game-changing new super-weapons that Vladimir Putin unveiled to the world a mere six months ago, […]

The Foreign Policy Principles of Russia

There’s endless talk about Russia in the US media lately, mostly wrong. I’d like to take the time here to lay out what I see as the true foreign policy objectives of the Putin regime. This starts with the proposition that, TV punditry to the contrary, the Russian leadership today has no serious agenda of […]

A few spies I have known

Back in the late Cold War years, I worked in Vienna, Austria, at a sleepy little think-tank that was devoted to Eastern Europe. In those days everybody suffered from a bit of spy-mania. Thus everyone I knew was quite sure that my office, which had something to do with communist countries, must be a CIA front. […]

Is this what economic decline feels like?

A good friend of ours from the old Soviet Union broke down in tears the first time she traveled to the West and saw the consumer plenty all around. That was in 1989, and the borders had recently opened up. I remember another friend later, saying that she’d suddenly realized her whole life believing in […]

What motivates Vladimir Putin?

I believe that there’s no big mystery about what motivates Vladimir Putin: survival. He knows, as the ancient saying has it, that you can ride a tiger but you can’t dismount. Up until now he has been very successful at taking total power in Russia, grinding down or sweeping aside virtually all potential competition among […]

Will Hillary Try to Improve Relations with Russia?

I’m pretty confident that Hillary has made up her mind about Putin. Back when she came into office as Secretary of State, she was the sponsor of Michael McFaul, who became the US ambassador to Russia. McFaul, in turn, was the architect of the so-called “reset” initiative for Russian-American relations. This policy was either incredibly […]

Why is Vladimir Putin so Popular?

Putin’s continued high rating in the Russian opinion polls today is testament, first of all, to the power of television.  Russia is not the only country where control over the airwaves allows an insider clique to dominate the national agenda. Just look at Fox News and its influence over US politics. Or consider how long […]