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Wed Dec 14, 2016, 12:35 PM

The Kremlin: Plus a Change, Plus C'est la Mme Chose

Questions about exactly what Russian sources have been doing to America, what their goals and objectives are, the tools and means they are using, and the possible upshot, in terms of how knowing more about that might change the course of events here, are a continuing focus, both for us here at DU, and for the larger media world.

So, my nickel's worth, based on history and experience:

What have the Russians been up to? What have they been/are they DOING?

Very simple: They are manipulating America. With the exception of a nuclear arsenal, which is useful only for a level of war that would be as disastrous to them as to everyone else, Russia's been largely a busted flush as far as geopolitical influence goes, for a couple of decades at least.

Sure, they have a huge army-- ill-equipped, dependent on a devastated economy for supply, and facing considerable morale issues. Sure, they have the bare and battered skeleton of an oil-based economy, but geopolitical events over the same period, manipulated by those Russia regards as definitely NOT allies, have conspired to render it largely inert in terms of power and influence.

What remains to Russia is what Russia has had clear back to the "Great Game" days when they sat across the geopolitical chessboard from the British Empire: A well-honed talent and capacity for covert operations designed to move the pieces in the directions they want, without overt agency on their part.

What are their goals/objectives?

Again, history answers: Russia has always been (essentially) an oligarchy, structured with an authoritarian leader and their cabal at the top, and masses of powerless people below. It simply modulated from an Imperial oligarchy to a Communist oligarchy to a Capitalist oligarchy. Therefore, their goals and objectives relate to maintaining the power, wealth, and influence of the leader and their cabal.

And because that structure has an authoritarian leader at its center, always, those goals and objectives are also colored by that leader's personal history, experience, and character.

So, we are seeing Putin's need to maintain his power, through the lens of his experience, which goes back to KGB days, and colored by his character, which is a pathological mix of subtlety and grandiosity. He's playing us. He's always been part of playing us, even when he was an ambitious cabal member making moves on Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and the other leaders.

So... tools, means?

The tools and means are those the KGB has always used, updated by the current Russian intell machine to apply them to modern technological methods. They include:

Blackmail and extortion- gathering compromising information on individuals and using it to make others do their bidding while they remain covert.

Entrapment- leading key individuals into positions where they become vulnerable to blackmail and/or extortion, via financial, sexual, criminal or other activities.

Information theft- Via their own operatives or those individuals they have subverted.

Covert Assassination- Very covert. The ones you hear about are considered failed operations. Because you heard about them.

Propaganda- Expert and subtle use of mass media to influence populations to make it easier for their operatives to achieve their goals.

And the upshot?

No matter how much hue and cry arises, the actual effect will be unlikely to 'reverse' the train wreck in progress. It may make it easier to clean up the mess.

pessimistically,
Bright

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Reply The Kremlin: Plus a Change, Plus C'est la Mme Chose (Original post)
TygrBright Dec 2016 OP
DemocratSinceBirth Dec 2016 #1

Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Wed Dec 14, 2016, 12:44 PM

1. That was awesome.

It is a sad spectacle that a faded power has the president-elect dancing on a string and his party is complicit in it.

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