Tag Archives: Vladimir Putin

“Minority rights” and post-Soviet imperialism

Following Russia’s invasion of the nation of Georgia in August 2008, Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz pointed out that Moscow will increasingly utilize the rhetoric of “minority rights” in its strategy of rebuilding its empire.

After all, Russia de facto annexed two Georgian provinces–Abkhazia and South Ossetia–under the pretext of defending the two ethnicities’ right to “self-determination” (i.e. secession). This amounted to their incorporation into the Russian Federation, the main successor state of the Soviet Union.

In 2014, the Kremlin is invoking its alleged right, and even duty, to protect ethnic Russians living in Ukraine from alleged Maidan “fascists.” So far, Vladimir Putin’s regime seized Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, but what will Moscow do next?

There are ethnic Russians residing throughout the former Bolshevik empire, including in the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine and in the Baltic States. There are also disgruntled minorities in many other former Soviet republics, which means that the scenario may well again repeat itself. In its ideological warfare, the Kremlin hopes to exploit all the positive connotations that Western liberal elites associate with pro-“minority rights” phraseology.

Dr. Chodakiewicz’s article from August 29, 2008, “Minority rights and imperial reintegration,” is thus as relevant now as it was back then. His analysis is available here.

Three years after the Smolensk Crash

Less than a month ago was the third anniversary of the tragic Smolensk Plane Crash, which was a great blow to our Polish ally within NATO. In a recent SFPPR News & Analysis article, Paweł Styrna summed up the many suspicious developments in the case that have continued to surface in the past three years, thereby demonstrating that the crash is by no means “yesterday’s news.”

Paweł Styrna is a student of international relations at The Institute of World Politics and a researcher and administrative assistant for the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies and the Institute. He is also a Eurasia analyst for SFPPR and has written and lectured on the Smolensk Plane Crash.

The views expressed in the article below are solely Mr. Styrna’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute of World Politics or the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies.

Smolensk: An inconvenient tragedy
Three years following the suspicious Smolensk Plane Crash new developments and evidence continue to surface.

SFPPR News & Analysis
By Paweł Piotr Styrna
April 22, 2013

The Smolensk Plane Crash claimed the lives of the President of Poland, his wife, and 94 other members of the country’s patriotic and pro-American political and military elite.

Three years have passed since the suspicious Smolensk Plane Crash of April 10, 2010. During this time, new developments in the case occurred and evidence continued to surface. Most disturbingly, these findings have anything but dispelled doubts about the veracity of the official, FSB/KGB-manufactured Moscow-Warsaw “pilot error” line. Instead, they have consistently pointed in the direction of foul play. Since the mainstream media and public opinion in the West do not appear to have been following these developments or registered the geopolitical significance of Smolensk, it seems appropriate to elaborate on some of the more recent findings. For brevity’s sake, this article will mention only developments which occurred after mid-2012, for I have focused on the background and previous discoveries in two SFPPR News & Analyses articles.

Cyber attacks on the Polish Foreign Ministry

To begin with, we have learned that two cyber attacks—one on April 6, 2010, and another on April 10, i.e. the very day of the crash—temporarily crippled the Polish Foreign Ministry. Its employees thus had no access to servers with secret information, not to mention email or even telephones. On the day of the tragedy, the cyber attack even prevented the Foreign Ministry from receiving a list of passengers via email. This was discussed, in a June 2012 interview, by retired CIA new technologies and aviation expert, S. Eugene Poteat, who argued that it was quite likely that the culprits were hackers working for the post-Soviet regime in Moscow. After all, Russian cyber attacks had also paralyzed Estonia and Georgia (before the August 2008 invasion). Poteat, a professor at the DC-based Institute of World Politics, conducted the initial investigation of the crash that questions Russia’s claim the crash was a case of mere pilot error, leading others around the world to take a second look.

To continue reading this article, please visit SFPPR News & Analysis.