Ever since the Cold War ended, I have tried to keep an open mind about Russia and Russian people.
Heck, even during the Cold War, I tried to keep an open mind about the Russians. I was taught that “Russian” does not equal “Soviet”. But it was a messed up country before Communism, and it is a messed up country afterwards.
A lot of the Russians I have met here in the USA struck me as snakes. They are thieves who do not trust each other. There are a lot of countries that are dragged down a rathole by another country. The Russians have dragged themselves down a rathole again and again, and brought other countries with them to boot.
And then the Boston Marathon Bombing happened. Yes, those guys are Chechen, not Russian.
But there has been a lot written and said about Russia in the past week. Russian intelligence. Russian counter-terrorism. Russian this. Russian that.
And now Vladimir Putin is trying to say “We told you so.”
I generally avoid vulgarity, both on this blog and in general. This will be an exception.
Vlad: You and every Russian on this planet can go fuck yourselves.
You people are the cause of Chechen terrorism.
The Chechens were not radicalized until after they fought a war against Russia. They were radicalized even more after the second.
I am not clear why the second war happened. Some say that it may have been partially instigated by some Russian politicians to win elections. (Think of when the USA invaded Iraq: not too long after an election.)
The first war was a war for Chechen independence. Perhaps Russia should have just let Chechnya go. Russia did not fight a war to stop Ukraine from becoming independent.
Or Georgia. (They were already independent by the time the 2008 conflict happened.)
That’s 14, in case you weren’t counting.
I did some Googling. Some have speculated that Russia doesn’t want to let Chechnya go since they don’t want Russia to break up any further, or they want a buffer against Turkey.
Why should either of those be Chechnya’s problems?
First off, Russia is a large country, and Chechnya is a small country. Sometimes small countries next to large countries are not completely independent. The small country is usually influenced (if not controlled) by the larger country.
On the other hand, Russia might be wrong if they think that the Chechens would make allies with the Turks. It seems to me Chechens want to be independent of everyone. Plus, Turkey is part of NATO. I don’t think they would unnecessarily drag the rest of NATO into a conflict.
So it looks like Russia traded a bad problem for a worse problem. Not too smart.
And if they are sticking with Chechnya because of pride or to look strong, I say perhaps the world would be a better place if people tried to act intelligently instead of trying to look tough. Why should other people have to die so Vlad can think he’s a tough guy?
On top of that, one of the events of the past few decades that has done more to radicalize Islamists is the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. If that had not happened, perhaps 9/11 would not have happened. Perhaps the 2003 invasion of Iraq would not have happened. But the Russian invasion did give the world al-Queda.
Some people are now saying Putin has gone from being a “menacing autocrat” to a “far-sighted ally.” I think he is a “menacing autocrat” who is not only short-sighted, but is now gloating over the fact that other countries are dealing with his bad decisions.
I can see why GW Bush liked him.
Image from Wikipedia