"...Why has Putin offered such steadfast support to Assad? On the surface, Moscow seems to profit from exporting arms to Syria, and it depends on the regime’s good will to maintain Russian access to a naval facility at the Mediterranean port of Tartus. But these are marginal and symbolic interests. Putin is really motivated to support the Assad regime by his fear of state collapse -- a fear he confronted most directly during the secession of Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, which he brutally suppressed in a bloody civil war and counterinsurgency operation fought between 1999 and 2009. (In Russia, the republics are semi-autonomous federal units comprising the historic territories of the country’s non-ethnic Russian groups.) In a series of interviews he gave in 2000 for an authorized biography, Putin declared that “the essence of the ... situation in the North Caucasus and in Chechnya ... is the continuation of the collapse of the USSR.... If we did not quickly do something to stop it, Russia as a state in its current form would cease to exist.... I was convinced that if we did not immediately stop the extremists [in Chechnya], then in no time at all we would be facing a second Yugoslavia across the entire territory of the Russian Federation -- the Yugoslavization of Russia.” And we know how Putin feels about the demise of the Soviet Union; in 2005 he called it “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [twentieth] century,” a comment that was meant to bemoan the collapse of the Soviet state rather than the demise of communism. ..."
Monday, April 1, 2013
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 11:27 AM