Friday 30 December 2016

The Saker on 2016 for Russia

2016: the year of Russia’s triumph

This column was written for the Unz Review:

Saker drawing from community
28 December, 2016

Just like European maps place Europe in the center of the planet, so do most western commentators look at the past year from a US/Europe-centered perspective.  Which is fair enough.  Furthermore, the AngloZionist Empire has just suffered two major disasters, the Brexit and the election of Trump, so there is truly much interesting to focus on.  Still, what I want to do today is to look at the year which is ending from a Russian perspective.  The following were the major challenges Russia faced in 2016:
  1. The Nazi regime in Kiev
  2. The civil war in the Donbass
  3. Ukrainian attempts to blockade Crimea
  4. The rabid hostility of the US Administration
  5. NATO’s policy of military confrontation in Europe
  6. The united European front against Russia
  7. Western sanctions, the subsequent drop in investments and credit and the low oil prices
  8. The growing dissatisfaction of the Russian people with the economic polices of the government
  9. The struggle against the “liberal” 5th column inside Russia
  10. The international aggression against Syria
  11. The demonization of Russia in general and of Vladimir Putin in particular
  12. Terrorist attacks against Russia
Let’s take these one by one now and score them:
The Ukraine 5/5
The Nazi occupied Ukraine is in free fall.  In fact, it has been in free fall for a while already, but just like somebody jumping from the 40th floor of a building is doing “okay” passing by the 20th floor, so did the Ukraine still have the possibility to say “so far so good” and look halfway credible to the superficially informed.  Now, however, it is becoming rather obvious that the so-called “Revolution of dignity” (which is how the Neonazis call the coup against Yanukovich) is an abject failure and that the “Independent Ukraine” is simply beyond rescue.  The ruling class which came to power now is falling apart, everybody is fighting everybody else and there is no other discernible policy left beyond personal enrichment and survival.  As for the “Joan of Arch of the Ukraine” and “Hope of the Ukraine” – Nadezhda Savchenko – she is now denounced as a traitor and FSB agent.  Forbes is now running an article entitled “Corruption is killing Ukraine’s economy” while a former Ukrainian lawmaker has passed recordings of Poroshenko taking bribes to the FBI.  As for the Ukrainian military, which Poroshenko has recently advertised as one of the 5 best in the world, it has only mustered enough forces to send one company size infantry force supported by 2 tank platoons to attack the Novorussian positions near Debaltsevo before getting them all killed.  The situation of the Ukrainian military is so bad that they are now forced to use private cars to get to the frontlines and to evacuate the wounded.  Yes, on paper the Ukrainian military is huge, but in reality it is a force which has a hard time surviving even before going into battle.  Last but not least, the entire Nazi ruling elite has thrown its fully political weight behind Hillary while pouring scorn and vitriol against Trump.  To say that they are now screwed would be an understatement.  Hence the wind of utter panic now taking over Kiev.
The Donbass 3/5
The Russian policy in the Donbass (non-occupation combined with overt and covert support) was clearly the correct one: the DNR and LNR are getting stronger while the Nazi occupied Ukraine is going down the tubes, vide supra, as they say.  There have however also been clear failures and the two main ones are the Russian inability to stop the constant shelling and attacks on civilians from the Nazis and the Russian failure to establish security inside the two republics.  If the first failure can be excused (there is no magic recipe to make that happen), the second one is inexcusable as seen by the murder of several key Novorussian figures.  Furthermore, the situation in the Donbass remains very difficult and potentially dangerous.  In the big scheme of things, Russia did very well, but as soon as you look down to the more detailed level many mistakes and failures become apparent.  Still, it is now obvious to any decently informed person that time is now (and has always been, really) on the side of the Novorussians as every passing day makes them stronger and the Ukronazis weaker.
Crimea 5/5
The Urkonazis tried everything, from blockading the peninsula, to cutting off water and electricity, to sending terrorist infiltrators.  This gave Russia the opportunity to “save” Crimea from the Ukraine over and over and over again.  It is pretty darn clear that the Ukronazis have long given up of ever getting back Crimea and that all that is left to them are mostly ineffective ways to try to make the people of Crimea miserable thereby, of course, only strengthening their resolve.  Initially there were some people in Crimea who where not quite convinced that the nightmare was really over and that Russian truly meant business (especially with all the rumors about “Putin selling out”).  But now that the Russians have to put major efforts in shielding Crimea from the Ukronazi attempts at blockading it those doubts have disappeared.  Crimea’s future looks extremely bright: not only is the Russian state pouring in billions of Rubles for huge infrastructural improvement and the deployment of a very large and advanced military force, but the prospects for tourism and trade are also excellent.
The United States 5/5
The credit for the election of Donald Trump goes first and foremost to the American people to whom I sincerely believe the entire planet owe a heartfelt and loud “THANK YOU!!!!!”.  I will never be able to prove that and, thank God, we will never know if I was right, but up to the last minute I was convinced that there was a very strong probability that Hillary in the White House would have meant war, probably nuclear, with Russia.  I am still undecided about Trump, but I view his upcoming term with cautious optimism and while I would never say never, I really very strongly feel that with Trump in the White House the risks of war with Russia have fallen to a dramatically low level and that barring some stunning provocation or disaster, a war between the USA and Russia has now become exceedingly unlikely.  Glory be to God for His immense mercy towards us!
That being, said, I will dare to speculate that Russia did play a role in the election of Trump.  No, not by hacking emails or by recruiting Ron Paul (!!!) as an agent of Russian propaganda, but by openly and firmly confronting the USA on all fronts and showing that Russia would not bend her knee before the AngloZionist Empire.  As I have written many times, Russia has been preparing for war for years now and while Russians were (and still are) afraid of war, they are also ready and willing to fight it if forced to do so.  In his latest press conference Putin specifically referred to the will of the Russian people as a key element in Russia’s ability to defeat any aggressor when he said,
We are stronger than any potential aggressor. I have no problem repeating it. I also said why we are stronger. This has to do with the effort to modernise the Russian Armed Forces, as well as the history and geography of our country, and the current state of Russian society
and he is absolutely right.  Sure, Hillary was probably stupid enough to try to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, but the 200 or so generals and admirals who expressed their support for Trump probably understood what that kind of folly would entail.  Furthermore, it appears that quite a few Americans are sympathetic to Russia and Putin himself.  Again, in his latest press conference Putin referred to this and made some very interesting comments:
I do not take support for the Russian President among a large part of Republican voters as support for me personally, but rather see it in this case as an indication thata substantial part of the American people share similar views with us on the world’s organisation, what we ought to be doing, and the common threats and challenges we are facing. It is good that there are people who sympathise with our views on traditional values because this forms a good foundation on which to build relations between two such powerful countries as Russia and the United States, build them on the basis of our peoples’ mutual sympathy. (…)  It seems to me that Reagan would be happy to see his party’s people winning everywhere, and would welcome the victory of the newly elected President so adept at catching the public mood, and who took precisely this direction and pressed onwards to the very end, even when no one except us believed he could win.

Putin puts it down to values, common values, between the Russian and the American people.
[Personal sidebar: for whatever this is worth, I regularly interact with Americans who support Putin on the grounds that “he stands for American values unlike the SOBs in Washington”].
But how did the Americans become aware of what values Putin and Russia stood for if not for the ceaseless efforts of Putin himself and the alternative media to convey these values to the general public?  I think that by OPENLY denouncing the total hypocrisy of the AngloZionist Empire and by OPENLY offering a different civilizational model, Putin and Russia did have an impact on the public opinion in the West.  To put it simple: Russia has scored an ideological victory over the AngloZionist imperialists.  In other words, the Russian policy of standing firm against the Empire while openly challenging it on its ideological foundation was the correct one and it probably did have an impact upon the outcome of the election in the USA.
NATO 4/5
Russia has defeated NATO on two levels: a purely military one and a political one.  On the military level Russia has taken all the asymmetrical measures she promised to negate both the US anti-missile system in Europe and the deployment of threatening military power in eastern Europe: Russia deployed the Iskander missile, doubled of the size of her Airborne Forces, and initiated the creation of a Tank Army in the western strategic direction (to read more about how Russia prepared to fight and defeat NATO see “How Russia is preparing for WWIII” and “The EU’s suicide by reality denial“).  On the political level there can be little doubt that all the European leaders who favored confrontation with Russia are now unpopular and in a political crisis except maybe Merkel, but Germany alone can’t do anything meaningful (at least one “positive” side effect, so to speak, of the EU integration).  As for the election of Trump, it has resulted in a NATO-wide panic, especially in those countries which had prostituted themselves to the Empire with special enthusiasm and zeal (Poland, the three Baltic statlets, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and our “Orthodox brothers” in Romania and Bulgaria).  I don’t see Trump dumping NATO, there would be too much opposition against that, but with Trump in the White House all the nonsense about the “Russian bear is about to invade Latvia or Poland” is going to come to a crashing end and the poor folks in eastern Europe will come to realize that neither Russia nor the USA gives a damn about them.  Trump will probably put the financial squeeze on NATO and force its member states to purchase even more US gear, but that will be a purely financial operation and not an attempt at surrounding Russia will military forces.  Russia’s ultimate goal, the replacement of NATO by a European-wide common defense agreement from Portugal to the Urals has not happened, but the election of Trump is a huge step in the right direction.
The EU 5/5
Poor “EUans” (my own word for the European zombies who believed in the Bilderberger’s European Union): they are now, how shall I put it politely, totally “frigged”?  Not only did the British people defy the Empire and vote for a Brexit, but now the Imperial Homeland had “backstabbed” them by electing a patriot who is not interested in maintaining the global empire (or so he says, at least for the time being).  At the same time, the so-called “refugee crisis” is bringing several crucial EU nations to the brink of a civil war (France for example) while all the efforts of the elites to blame Russia for it all end up in abject failures.  Just check out this hilarious article in the British Sun which accuses Russia of, I kid you not, “organizing sex attacks in Germany“!!  True, we already had the “Serbian Chetniks using rape as a weapon of ethnic cleansing” and “Gaddafi distributing Viagra to his soldiers to rape opposition supporters” but Putin ordering refugees to rape women in Germany is the best, so to speak.  And just in case the unthinkable happens in Germany, the Germans have already warned that Russian hackers might steal the election in Germany.  If this was not so utterly disgusting it would be hilarious.  The bottom line is this:  the entire EU project is morally completely bankrupt, each EU member state is now in a deep political crisis and the so-called “elites” are scrambling to find a response to what appears to be an inevitable collapse of the EU-order over Europe.  The European militaries are a joke, all of them, and when, say, the Swedes go on “Russian sub hunting” they always end up embarrassing themselves.  If there are any extra-terrestrials observing us from space, the EU is beyond any doubt their laughing stock.  As for the Russians, far from fearing the Europeans, they don’t even take them very seriously and they look at them with either pity or scorn for their apparently infinite lack of spine and dignity.  Of sure, as soon as mentally sane leaders return to power in the various EU countries Russia will be more than happy to trade with the EU, send and receive tourists and generally have friendly relations.  But after over three centuries of trying to sheepishly imitate the Europeans and be accepted as European themselves, the Russian have finally lost all interest in emulating Europe, at least in a cultural or political way.  Of course, the Russians will still love German cars, French wines or Italian music, but the myth of the European cultural superiority has truly died.  Good riddance!
The Russian economy 3/5
The main external factors influencing the Russian economy have been Western sanctions, the subsequent drop in investments and credit and, especially, the low oil prices.  Almost exactly as Putin had predicted it, it took Russia two years to overcome the combined effect of these factors, so says not me or a Kremlin spokesman, but the IMF (see here). What matters here is not this or that figure for GDP or inflation, but the fact that all the key indicators for the Russian economy point to a gradual recovery and good prospects for growth.  I personally think that the policies of the “economic block” of the Medvedev government made the effects of this crisis even worse than they had to be, but I have to admit thatdespite the major mistakes committed by the Russian government the Russian economy is recovering.  If I had to score the performance of the Russian government’s policies I would have given it a maximum of 2/5, but since what I am looking at is the state of the economy I have to give it an objective 3/5.  I just think that a 5/5 would have been possible.  One small point here: some have made a great deal of noise around the planned reduction in Russian defense spending but what they are missing is that reduction has been made possible by the spending over the past couple of years and that the Russian defense program by 2020 has not been in any way amended, nevermind reduced.  In other words, the Russian military can afford to use less money for a couple of years and there will be no cuts in defense programs as planned by 2020.
The Russian public opinion 4/5
In spite of the still strong grip the “IMF-types” in the Russian government have over the key economic decisions in Russia there are some signs that things are getting better and that the Russian public is getting some of the heads it wanted to see rolling: here I am, of course, referring to the arrest of the Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Alexei Uliukaev.  Of course, the list of candidates for termination and arrest is much longer (see here) but Uliukaev was definitely one of the most influential and toxic member of the Atlantic Integrationists and the hysterical reaction of the Russian liberal press clearly shows how painful this arrest is for the Russian 5th column.  As for right now, the arrest of Uliukaev has not been followed by more sackings or arrests, but it is quite possible that Putin did with Uliukaev what he already one did with Berezovsky: hit at the one “big guy” and therefore force the rest of his gang to play ball and give up any hopes of confronting him.  Only time will tell if sacking and arresting Uliukaev will be enough to finally re-sovereignize Russia, but it sure is a very good beginning.
Russian russophobes 4/5
Sounds weird, does it not?  “Russian russophobes”.  Reminds me of the “self-hating Jew” category.  And yet they exist, at least nominally.  I say nominally because being Russian has never been about speaking Russian, or about living in Russia or even about some hypothetical “Russian ethnicity” (which really does not exist).  One definition of what it is to be Russian was given by the philosopher Vasilii Rozanov who wrote the following prophetic words in 1913: “To love a happy and great Motherland is really not a big thing.  We have to love her when she is weak, small, humiliated, finally, stupid, finally, even filled with vices.  It is when our “mother” is drunk, lying and all entangled in her sins that we must not depart from her.  But even that is not enough: when she finally dies, eaten up by Jews, and when only her bones remain – he will be truly “Russian” who will weep over her useless skeleton, abandoned by all.  He truly shall be… “.  Needless to say, Rozanov is hated by the Russian “liberals”.  Contrary to Rozanov, these russophobic “liberals” rejoice in every Russian failure and they can barely contain their joy when some tragedy befalls the Russian people which they hate and despise for supporting a “tyrant” like Putin instead of them, the self-perceived “intellectual elites” of Russia.
When Putin came to power, these 5th russophobic columnist were literally everywhere since their families were usually members of the Soviet elites and since during the infamous 1990s they literally took control of every single lever of power in Russia from the mass media to the Kremlin.  First, Putin got rid of the oligarchs, especially the “Seven Bankers“.  Next, he gradually pushed most of them out from of mass media (that is when their colleagues and patrons in the West began speaking of the lack of a free press in Russia).  And then he began the slow and outright dangerous process of getting rid of them, one by one, from inside the Russian government, including the Kremlin.  But Putin’s biggest achievement this year has to be his extremely successful campaign to delegitimize this 5th column.  He did that no by “cracking down” on them, nor did he murder any journalist or opposition figure, and he did not fill the “new Russian Gulag” with thousands of liberal dissidents.  He (by “he” I mean not only Putin himself, but also his supporters) did the exact opposite: he gave them a platform and he made darn sure that their views would be freely aired on an almost daily basis.  Those interested about this can read my analysis “Counter-propaganda, Russian style“.  This was pure genius: instead of silencing the russophobes, Putin gave them a completely disproportionate amount of airtime (keep in mind that less than 5% of the Russian population supports these freaks) and let them hang themselves by being wrong on just about everything: they were wrong on Crimea, wrong on the Ukraine, wrong on the economy, wrong on social and civil rights, wrong on corruption, wrong on so-called “gay rights”, wrong about NATO, wrong about the EU, wrong about Clinton (they loved her), wrong about Trump (they hate him), wrong about terrorism and wrong about Syria.  As a result, these “liberals” (in the Russian meaning of the word) are now universally seen as traitors, russophobes, snobs, racists, 5th columnists, CIA puppets, etc.  They now are absolutely hated and desperate.  As a result, during the recent elections, we saw the amazing sight of Russian “liberals”, including Jews, allying themselves with Nazis and organizing joint protests against Putin.  Needless to say, that only served to further discredit them.
There are still plenty of 5th columnists in Russia, but they are mostly laying really low, hoping for better times and trying to remain out of the public eye as much as possible.  Their main remaining center of power is the Russian Central Bank and the “economic bloc” of the Medvedev government, but since both Kudrin and Uliukavev have been kicked out, the rest of them are being very careful in their actions and statements.
All in all, 2016 has been an absolutely catastrophic year for the russophobic 5th column which is now in a state of total despair and which seems to have no future whatsoever.
Syria 5/5
Russia’s success in Syria is nothing short of amazing.  Not only did an extremely small Russian military force succeed in turning around the course of the war, but it has held an essentially indefensible position long enough to deter Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and the USA from overtly attacking the Syrian forces or government.  The Russians succeeded in this despite numerous, ugly and bloody provocations and despite having to operate in an extremely hostile environment (the region “belongs” to NATO and CENTCOM).  One of the most amazing successes what how the Russians managed to save Erdogan in extremis from a US backed coup and convince him to work with Russia and Iran to solve the Syrian crisis.  The liberation of Aleppo could not have happened had Turkey continued to support al-Nusra & Co at any price.  At the very least it would have taken much more time.  By the end of 2016 the Russians own the Black Sea, control, at least for the time being, the eastern Mediterranean and they are working with the three biggest powers on the ground: the Syrians, of course, but also Iran and Turkey.  As for the United States, they seemed to have lost the entire region and their only “achievement”, so to speak, has been to alienate both the Israelis and the Saudis.  As for President Elect Trump, he has clearly indicated that his number one priority will be to smash Daesh & Co. which happens to be exactly what Russia, Iran and Syria want too.  If Trump really manages to kick the Neocon crazies to the cockroach filled basement where they belong, we could see something quite amazing happening: a joint Russian-US effort to destroy Daesh.  The big problem here will be the totally counter-productive and, frankly, idiotic anti-Iranian rhetoric of the Trump campaign.  

However, there must be enough good brains around Trump to make him understand that nothing in the region can happen without Iran’s approval and that the US and Iran don’t need to love each other to agree on a common objective.  Trump strikes me as a realist much more than as an ideologue.  Hopefully, he will learn how to separate AIPAC-pleasing rhetoric with serious foreign policy (the crash of the Obama Administration ought to teach him that lesson).
What is certain is that Russia is now running the show in Syria and that without US or Turkish support, Daesh will be facing an existential crisis.  Of course, the situation remains fluid, complex and dangerous. And I would never put it past the US or Turkey to do yet another 180 and to resume their support for Daesh.  The Kurdish factor, Israeli policies and Erdogan’s inherent unpredictability all serve to make sure that the Syrian crisis will continue well into 2017.  However, I think that the Neocon’s crazy rampage is reached is apogee and that things should begin to improve from now on.  Russia alone simply could not save Syria, and yet she appears to have done just that.
The russophobic hysteria in the West 3/5
There was simply no way that the AngloZionist could be defeated on all fronts without screaming “oy veh!” to high heaven and screaming they did.  All year long.   Their allegations ranged from Russia wanting to invade Latvia to Russian hackers stealing the US election.  And to make absolutely sure that there was no doubt at all as to the identity of these hackers, the AngloZionists informed us that these hackers called themselves “fancy bear” and “cozy bear”, that they used the alias “Felix Edmundovich” (the first name and patronymic of Felix Derzhinskii, the founder of the Soviet secret services) and that they worked during Moscow time office hours and they took breaks during Russian holidays.  And least you think that this kind of nonsense was made up in an mental institution or a kindergarten, here is the link to the article in the article in the New York times quoting “security experts”.  Amazing, no?  But then again, when I see the Neocons seriously calling Ron Paul a Russian agent I realize that there is nothing, no matter how stupid, that these guys would not dare say.  Chutzpah in action, I suppose.  And while the left side of the Bell Curve appears to have fully internalized the message, there is a growing segment of the population which realizes how silly all these accusations are.
[Personal sidebar: while I am sure that there are some Americans who believe that the Russkies are a dangerous enemy of the USA, I have yet to met even one such American.  In my day to day interactions I see *no* hostility towards Russians even when I openly speak Russian with my family in stores or restaurants or when I say that I am Russian.  Maybe this is because I am in Florida and not New York, but I have yet to see a single example of anti-Russian hostility].
The Russian treatment by the Western-controlled WADA at the Rio Olympics was an absolute outrage, a farce and and crime all wrapped into one.  And Russia is very much to blame for having allowed the key world organizations become so controlled by the West.  However, let’s also see that the USA failed to have Russia completely banned from Rio and that Russian hackers (yes, they do exist) have uncovered convincing evidence which discredits WADA and the entire system behind it.  I would call that “growing pains” for the post-Soviet Russian sport: Russia now needs to “clean house” in the very real cases of doping while, at the same time, wrestling the control of the key international organizations from the West.  A tough task for sure, but Russia has an immensely powerful ally in this (and many other) struggles: China.  But yes, all in all, the partial ban and subsequent Russia-bashing campaign is a black eye for Russia.
In the case of Europe, russophobia has always been a northern European thing.  Mediterranean countries were only dragged into imposing sanctions under very strong pressure from the north.  It now appears that France will soon be ruled either by one or the other generally pro-Russian parties which are competing for the Presidency.  The Brexit took out probably the single most anti-Russian country in the EU and now Germany and Poland are more or less on their own in trying to desperately revitalize the anti-Russian front.  The problem for them is that they are also both subservient US colonies and that while they can fancy themselves the next in line to defend the western civilization against the revanchist Mongol hordes from the East, the reality is that they will do whatever the hell Uncle Sam tells them to do.
From now on, the only bastion of true rabid russophobia will remain in the most thoroughly “Zionified” segment of society: the media, the so-called “intellectuals”, the “liberal interventionists” and all the “tribe of minorities” who have a beef with Russia on account of the different civilizational model she represents (gender differentiated parents, religion, patriotism (but not nationalism!), etc.).  These will continue to pour a steady stream of filth against Russia in general and Putin in particular.  Putin will not be their only target, however, and Donald Trump will be the recipient of whatever hatred remains after Putin.  Frankly, taking on Putin AND Trump at the same time is a futile and possibly risky business, no matter who you are in the AngloZionist “jet set”, especially when you also have little traction with the general public whom you have regularly insulted, demeaned and dismissed.
There could be a gigantic return of the pendulum happening before our eyes against those who have produced the lion’s share of the hate-propaganda in the West: these guys might well end up finally reaping what they have sown and become the object of hate themselves.
Terrorism 4/5
This year as been tough on Russia.  A recent anonymous comment posted on this blog made a good list of the tragic murder of Russians this year including the bombing on the Russian civilian airliner over Egypt, the Su-24 shootdown involving US AWACS, the murder of the Russian medics in a precision strike, the murder of the Russian Ambassador and the probable murder of the Red Army Choir (the latest news out of Russia seems to point with a malfunction of the wing flaps, not a terrorist attack).  To this list I would add the Novorussian commanders assassinated in the Donbass.  That is a lot of innocent Russian victims.  But compared to the number of innocent Syrians or Turks this number is relatively small.  It is outright tiny of compared to the kind of mass horror the Wahabis managed to organize in Chechnia.  Let’s remember that Russia is a country at war with state-sponsored transnational terrorism and that many millions of dollars of “aid” are going towards the various Nazi and Wahabi organizations with have the murder of Russians as their main goal.  I would say “so far, so good” but I cannot do that because I believe that Russia is still not ready to face the kind of terrorism which is likely to hit her in the next year.  There is one specific type of target which is currently completely undefended and which the terrorists can strike with quasi-impunity: Russian Orthodox churches outside Russia.
The Russians need to revisit the kind of terror campaign the Palestinians waged in the 1970s against the Israelis when they attacked not only Israeli cultural centers, but also Jewish daycare centers, schools, and synagogues.  Russian Orthodox churches are now facing the very same threat including bombings and hostage taking.  As somebody who has attended Russian Orthodox churches all my life and all over the planet I know that the number of potential targets are in the *hundreds* and that they are all completely unprotected.
The Israeli example is crucial here because the Israelis rapidly realized that they simply could not count on the local police forces to protect them.  This is why they organized various local organizations directly attached to a synagogue or school staffed by volunteers who could do many very useful and fully legal things to protect Israeli/Jewish targets such as, for example, begin to occupy all the parking spaces around a synagogue 48 hours before any religious holiday to make sure that no VBIEDs (aka “car bombs”) could be placed next to the synagogue.  There is *a lot* a well educated group of volunteers can do to legally protect an exposed civilian target.  They can do even better when they work with the locals cops and the security specialists at the embassy.  The Russians urgently need to study the Israeli experience in dealing with a kind of threat which they will soon face.  Remember, the Palestinians also began by attacking diplomats, officials and aircraft, but as soon as these targets were “hardened” they turn to daycare centers, schools and synagogues.
I believe that inside Russia the FSB has a good control of the situation.  But outside Russia the amount of specialized personnel fully dedicated to security is woefully inadequate and needs to be dramatically expanded.  During the Soviet era few government dared to openly attack Soviet targets, the fearsome (and very much exaggerated!) reputation of the KGB probably helped, while during the Eltsin years there really was no point in attacking Russia as she was internally collapsing.  But now that Russia is very strong internally, and the Russian military personnel hard to get at, diplomats, children and clergy are probably going to be the next targets of the Wahabis.
The one good news about this issue that the the Soviets/Russians have been fighting the Wahabis since the 1970s and that they are acutely aware that there is no such thing as a non-state sponsored terrorism.  The Russians know where the money, training and weapons come from and they know that terrorism can only be defeated by strong counter-intelligence and and intelligence operations, especially human intelligence.  The foreign intelligence branch of the KGB, the PGU or First Chief Directorate, had a (very much deserved) reputation for being able to infiltrate agents pretty much anywhere, including the top echelons of the CIA and NSA, and we can be confident that the SVR today is slowly rebuilding is capabilities worldwide and, especially, in the countries which sponsor Wahabi terrorism.  Just the way the Russian special services saved Erdogan and thereby “flipped” Turkey – one of the absolutely worst sponsors of Wahabi terrorism – is already a huge success.  God willing, the Saudis will be next.
Simply put – 2016 has been a fantastic year for Russia.  Putin’s policy of slow, low-key and deliberate move and counter-move has proven to be extremely effective.  While to some “hurray patriots” it did appear that Putin was being passive and doing nothing, the outcome of this year has been a Putin victory on all fronts, including the most dangerous and difficult ones.  Remember all the nonsense these Putin-haters wrote about “Putin selling out the Donbass”, “Putin unable to reply to the Turkish shoot-down of the SU-24”, “Putin disarming Syria” or “Putin betraying Assad”?  These “hurray patriots” have been predicted doom and gloom for years now and they have been proven wrong every single time.  Did that silence them?  Somewhat.  I notice that most of the “Putin is selling out the Donbass” blogs are posting very little and when they do, it is mostly stuff unrelated to their previous Putin-bashing campaign.  The same goes for the Ukronazis commentators on sites which allow them to post: they seem to have thrown in the towel and given up convincing the world about how democratic the junta in Kiev is, about how there are hundreds of Russian tanks in Donetsk and how the Ukraine will join the EU and become Germany-like overnight.  The only ones who are keeping up the Putin-bashing campaign are the western presstitutes, but they are doing that for pay and to keep their jobs.  Besides, that is all they know how to do anyway.  But all in all, there is a general lack of energy and enthusiasm in the Russia hating camp which is a real joy for me to see.
2017 could be an amazing year for the world, or it could be a big disappointment.  Right now this depends mostly on what Trump will do after he assumes his official capacity.  To me the single most important fact will remain that with Hillary in the White House our planet risked a major thermonuclear war.  There is no reason any more to believe that this is going to happen.  As for the list of all the good things which *could* happen in 2017 if Trump does the right thing for his country, it will be the topic of a future analysis.
The Saker

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