NEW WEBSITE. Check out http://russia-insider.com/en. Aims to provide a better source of Russia-related news. You will be able to read today what the Western MSM will grudgingly admit to in a few months.
CORRUPTION. We are informed that peculation in the defence sector may have totalled half a billion dollars. We cannot fail to notice that former Defence Minister Serdyukov walks free (as, come to think of it, do the Luzhkovs). I have always said I’ll believe that the anti-corruption drive is really biting when someone in an office near Putin or Medvedev is arrested. Hasn’t happened yet.
MILITARY EXERCISES. There have certainly been a lot of military exercises and drills in Russia this year. All quite understandable. Until 2008 I think Moscow operated on the assumption that the threat from NATO could be handled by nuclear deterrence and that Russia’s main security problems were from jihadists in the Caucasus and Central Asia. But the Georgian attack on Ossetia, which Moscow suspects was egged on by some people in Washington – certainly there were “mixed messages” – taught them that proxy wars will be coming. The fighting in Ukraine, will not have made them any less certain of this. Hence, the big drive for up-to-date and well-equipped conventional forces. George Kennan saw it all coming: “I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever.” Reason or not, here we are today.