Tag Archives: Russian President Valdimir V. Putin

Czar Vladimir Putin- Part 2…Red State….

Yesterday, I posited the idea that Vladimir Putin aspires to the glory days of the Russian empire before the collapse of the Romanov dynasty and the rise of Communism.  Specifically, there are parallels between Putin and Czar Nicholas I who ruled the country from 1825 to 1852.

In fact, Putin rules over Russia like a czar of days gone by with near total control.  He has embraced and elevated the Russian Orthodox Church and pushes many of their agenda items.  He is a secretive and self-disciplined geopolitical tactician who no doubt draws on his experience as a judo black belt.  Like many of the czars, he also presides over a cult of personality that appears somewhat comical to Westerners (the iconic picture of him bare-chested on the back of a horse).

Yet this macho nationalism that he resonates is exactly what many Russians craved after the chaos of the breakup of the Soviet Union.  As such, Putin now views himself as the bearer of a special morality and a special feeling of justice with Russia and the Russian people above everyone else.  He is certain about Russia’s historical mission and that mission is empire.  And the best way to assert that mission is through demonization of the spiritless West.

Initially, Putin secured his power through a network of cronies from his hometown of St. Petersburg.  That has expanded since to exacting obedience from the Russian security forces.  Objectively, Russia is a weakened power after 75 years of the failed Communist experiment, the rampant corruption during the collapse of the Soviet Union, and some missteps by Putin himself.  He realistically knows this, but also realizes that he can count on the reluctance of many to challenge his ideas and actions thus making him appear stronger than he actually is which is why he sports approval ratings above 80%.  He casts himself as first and foremost concerned about stability.  But the irony is that his veneer of domestic stability is predicated upon international instability…..


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Fareed Zakaria GPS…Putin…The Most Powerful Man in the World….

An EXCELLENT piece of Media about Russian President Vladimir Putin and his history, actions and the why he elistited action against Hiullary Clinton becoming the 45th American President….

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FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Winston Churchill famously said of Russia, it is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Prime Minister Churchill, meet Vladimir Putin.

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: He is really very much of a leader. He’s been a leader far more than our president has been a leader.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He was a KGB agent. By definition, he doesn’t have a soul.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: Vladimir Putin is a thug and a murderer and a killer.

BILL BROWDER, EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF HERMITAGE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: He’s the richest man in the world. Hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth.

ZAKARIA (voice-over): What does he want from Donald Trump?

JULIA IOFFE, JOURNALIST WHO WITNESSED INAUGRAL CRACKDOWN: Putin is going to eat him like a sandwich.

H. CLINTON: He’d rather have a puppet as president.

TRUMP: You’re a puppet.

ZAKARIA (voice-over): Just how powerful is he?

ROBERT GATES, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Putin has an untrammeled authority.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you check his power?

ZAKARIA (voice-over): So powerful he rigged the American election?

DAVID REMNICK, EDITOR, THE NEW YORK: Of course Putin wanted Hillary Clinton to lose. He despised Hillary Clinton.

DMITRY PESKOV, VLADIMIR PUTIN’S DEPUTY: Whom would you like better?


ZAKARIA (voice-over): While Russia celebrates, Americans ask, what does he want? And is he really the most powerful man in the world?….


Here’s the Special Report link….

[voice-over]: He has created what he calls a vertical of power, unlike any we have seen in any great nations. As the Russian chess grandmaster, Kasparov, noted, himself a harsh critic of Putin, the entire structure of Russian political authority rests on one man. When the Czar died after all, you knew the process by which his successor, his son would be elevated. When the General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party died, the standing committee and the politburo would select his successor. But when Putin dies, I almost said if, what will happen? No one knows….

Culturally, it has often thought of itself as the third Rome, preserving Christianity even as Roman Byzantium fell to the barbarians.

Putin understands Russia, but he also understands the world. He’s not foolish enough to make a frontal assault on America or Europe. He knows how to use power asymmetrically with cyber tools and disinformation. He understands the vulnerabilities of free societies, the internal divisions and discord, and the gaping openness. He understands the fragility of institutions like the European Union and NATO and ideas like integration and diversity.

(on camera): In other words, Vladimir Putin understands us very well. The question is, do we — does Donald Trump really understand him?


image…CNN screenshot

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Washington Post questions Why is Donald Trump hell bent on cozying up with Russian President Putin?

Donald Trump ‘s paying off Russian efforts to make sure he got his new job is NOT gonna be the way things are gonna be …..

American’s SHOULD get to the bottom to whatever is pushing Donald Trump to discard warnings from America’s Intelligence Community, The FBI , Congress and President Obama…

Could a Russian Presidentr actually ‘have something ‘ on Trump?

At what point is America gonna see ALL of the financial information on the guy who is tightlipped on his worth and business partnerships and will be th coutries leader  ….

Mr. Trump has been frank about his desire to improve relations with Russia, but he seems blissfully untroubled by the reasons for the deterioration in relations, including Russia’s instigation of an armed uprising in Ukraine, its seizure of Crimea, its efforts to divide Europe and the crushing of democracy and human rights at home.

Why is Mr. Trump so dismissive of Russia’s dangerous behavior? Some say it is his lack of experience in foreign policy, or an oft-stated admiration for strongmen, or naivete about Russian intentions. But darker suspicions persist. Mr. Trump has steadfastly refused to be transparent about his multibillion-dollar business empire. Are there loans or deals with Russian businesses or the state that were concealed during the campaign? Are there hidden communications with Mr. Putin or his representatives? We would be thrilled to see all the doubts dispelled, but Mr. Trump’s odd behavior in the face of a clear threat from Russia, matched by Mr. Putin’s evident enthusiasm for the president-elect, cannot be easily explained….


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Russia will NOT respond to Obama actions…Will wait for Trump….

After President Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian ‘s from the United States and new sanctions imposed on them….

The Russians Foreign Minister said Russia would respond in kind against the United States….

‘That isn’t gonna happen….

Russian President Putin has decided to take the hit and wait for a President Trump Administration to try and see if they will UNDO the actions President Obama has made….

The political dynamic is VERY different…..

The question is?

Will a President Trump be able to undo American/Russian Foreign Policy all BY HIMSELF….Or with Obama out of office?

Will Congress seek to blunt a Russian President’s chess moves ….

In a rare break from the diplomatic tradition of reciprocal punishment, Russian President Vladi­mir Putin said Friday he would not deport U.S. diplomats in a tit-for-tat response to U.S. hacking sanctions, as Russia looks to cultivate relations with the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

“We won’t create problems for American diplomats,” Putin said in a statement released by his press service Friday afternoon, adding that Russia retained the right to punish U.S. diplomats in the future. He said he would “plan further steps for restoring the Russian-American relationship based on the policies enacted by the administration of President Donald Trump.”

The surprising decision came just hours after the Russian Foreign Ministry suggested that Putin expel 35 U.S. diplomats and close two properties used by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow as part of a growing diplomatic slugfest over Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election….



Trump is most certainly going to try to spin this as a example of how he can work ‘deals’….And Both he and the Russian will try to make Obama the bad guy…

But if the focus remains on the cyber hacking influence actions of the Russians?

Putin WILlLbe looked at CONTINUING to help Trump help HIM to get what HE wants….

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Why is Russia a problem for America?

The Editor of the Talking Points Memo Blogs looks at Russia on different levels……

Economically, Militarily and Politically….

One of the three of those shows Russia as a small player in the world economies….

Which is NOT a threat to America….

But Josh Marshall, the editor , points to the fact that Russia does have nukes, and the ability to deliver them anywhere on the planet, something few countries can do….


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The most serious problem Marshal points to is Russia’s push by its President Putin to reclaim the soveign countries that have left the old Soviet Empire….

For my part I see Russia as a wounded, diminished and because of that in many ways dangerous state – one that needs to be handled with care and caution. I mentioned a few days ago that in all international relations, the most important questions are really not so much what’s the right or wrong policy but whether you are prepared to handle the consequences of your decisions – in military, economic and human terms.

In this sense I think the US made a number of mistakes in the post-Cold War era basically pushing our web of economic, diplomatic and military alliances right up to Russia’s borders, in some cases inside what many Russians believe are their historic borders. Commitments we’ve made we cannot go back on. That’s what makes the Baltics so dangerous in mind under Trump – not Trump abandoning them to Russia but his erratic and confusing course leading to misunderstandings that could end in war.

In any case, we should be very focused on Russian efforts to subvert our own elections and even more focused on their efforts to subvert elections in Europe, where they have considerably more ability to do so. But their main ability is to aggravate existing tensions and fissures in America and Europe. They are fundamentally the weaker party, trying to sow discord among the states they perceive to be enemies because they have little alternative means of defending themselves.

I am all for the people of Georgia have freedom and self-determination. But are we prepared to sustain the consequences of ensuring that or supporting pro-US regimes right on Russia’s borders? I would say that requires a lot more thought than we’ve given it. Russia today is autocratic, revisionist and illiberal. But the Russians also see themselves as a great power and a great civilization. And we have given them a lot of reasons to believe that we pressed our advantage, to extend our sphere of influence right up to their borders during their period of national weakness. I think we did that for a mix of traditional great power self-aggrandizement and a more myopic belief that no one could reasonably oppose the democracy, stability and affluence we believed and to a significant extent bring in our wake.

Now, here we are…..


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Donald Trump Likes Russian President Putin…

Seems like ANYBODY who says they LIKE donald Trump gets props from the guy….

Even if it’s a ex-KGB Colernel that is behind cyber hijinx against this country?

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Donald Trump’s extraordinary embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin has put his campaign on the defensive for a second straight day, coming after the Republican nominee praised the Kremlin strongman and appeared in an interview on a TV network backed by Moscow.

Trump’s warm words for Putin have raised the hackles of fellow Republicans and put his allies in the awkward position of claiming their party’s standard-bearer is not really praising the Russian leader. It has particularly alarmed the GOP’s hawkish national security wing, which hews almost universally to its longstanding view of Russia as an implacable foe of the United States.

Trump inflamed the situation Thursday evening by criticizing U.S. foreign policy during an interview broadcast on RT America, a television network owned by the Russian government that often toes the Kremlin’s line. He even dismissed U.S. officials’ concern that Russia may be seeking to disrupt the Nov. 8 election as “pretty unlikely,” though he went on to say that any such interference would be “inappropriate.” (Trump’s campaign manager said the interview was meant as a “favor” to host Larry King, whose show is syndicated and broadcast on RT.)

That followed a series of overtures from Trump this week, including during NBC’s Commander-In-Chief Forum on Wednesday night in which he said of Putin, “If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him” and lauded the Russian president’s 82 percent approval ratings….



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Is the Ukraine gonna heat up again?

Is Putin looking to gamble on a Trump friendly Adminisrtation in the future?

President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of using “terror” tactics after his security services said Kiev’s special forces sought to breach the border to the disputed Crimea peninsula, killing two Russians in separate incidents.

The events make it “pointless” to hold peace talks on the sidelines of a Group of 20 meeting in China next month, which Russia had previously backed, Putin told reporters in Moscow. Russian forces detained armed Ukrainian intelligence officers planning subversive acts in Crimea, the Federal Security Service, or FSB, said Wednesday.

“There were losses on the Russian side, with two servicemen killed. We certainly won’t let such things pass by,” Putin said. “We will adopt additional security measures, and they will be very serious additional measures.”

Ukraine denied involvement in any attacks, calling the accusation an example of Russia’s “hybrid war,” National Security and Defense Council head Oleksandr Turchynov said in an e-mailed statement.
Violence has also flared in east Ukraine between government troops and Russia-backed separatists in a conflict that the United Nations estimates has killed at least 9,500 people since 2014. Ukraine’s military reports daily cease-fire violations and said July was its deadliest month since August 2015…..


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As Sec of State Hillary Clinton cut Putin no slack….

Wonder why Russian President would want to help Donald Trump win the American Presidency instead of Hillary Clinton?….

“In our administration, Secretary Clinton always had a tougher line toward Putin and the Russians than other senior administration officials,” said Michael A. McFaul, an adviser on Russia who served as United States ambassador to Moscow. “It was Putin’s strong belief that we, with Clinton in the lead, were trying to meddle with his regime.”

It was one of several instances where Mrs. Clinton was more hawkish than her boss — differences the White House and the Clinton campaign have so far played down but which may loom larger in the general election. Certainly, Mrs. Clinton has been open in saying she would push back harder than Mr. Obama has against Mr. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine and Syria.



Mrs. Clinton’s first meeting with Mr. Putin as secretary of state set the stage for a stormy relationship. When she went to see him in his dacha outside Moscow on March 19, 2010, he kept her waiting in front of a ceramic mantelpiece, facing a forest of cameras and boom microphones.

Mr. Putin finally turned up for what was billed as a brief photo opportunity, only to lecture her in front of the reporters about how the United States needed to lift sanctions against American companies doing business in Iran. And when Mrs. Clinton started to defend the Obama administration’s policy, he promptly ordered the news media out of the room.

Mrs. Clinton laughed off the episode, telling reporters what has become an oft-repeated story about their relationship. “Prime Minister Putin,” she recalled asking him amid his harangue about trade policy, “tell me about what you’re doing to save the tigers in Siberia.”



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Russia is hoping on Trump….

Indeed the Republican Presidential choice is turning into a hopeful star there…Who would embrace a foreign policy postion 180 degree’s from the West since the end of World War II…..

Russian President Putin IS smiling….

How much would Trump give away?

Excited by Donald Trump’s pledge to promote “easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia,” the Kremlin establishment earlier this month invited Trump adviser Carter Page to speak before graduating students of Russian School of Economics. Page did not disappoint. In his remarks, Page condemned current American policy for its “often-hypocritical focus on democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.” When a Russian student asked Page whether he really believed that American society was liberal and democratic, Trump’s adviser grinned and delivered a line that might have come from Vladimir Putin himself. “I surround the word ‘liberal’ with quotes,” he said. ”I tend to agree with you that it’s not always as liberal as it may seem,” he said. “I’m with you.”

It was thus perfectly in keeping with Trump campaign’s entente with the Kremlin that last week Trump aides reportedly watered down the new Republican platform on Russia, removing language that called for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces. Page, an energy expert, has close ties to Russian business and relationships with executives at Gazprom, the giant state-run gas company. Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has worked as a lobbyist for former Ukraine’s former Russia-aligned president, Viktor Yanukovych.

For Putin, Trump is the gift that keeps on giving. Shunned and sanctioned by western leaders for Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Putin now sees a future ally riding into view. The Kremlin and its right-wing supporters also enthusiastically applaud the isolationist they see in Trump, who has suggested he might curtail U.S. involvement in NATO and European affairs, and who derides the same political “mainstream” that has deemed Putin a pariah.

If he wins in November, would Trump allow Russia’s sphere of influence to grow in Eastern Europe? These are the questions that are rife in Russian official circles. Here in Moscow, I often hear Trump being compared to Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the extremist nationalist politician whom people call Zhirik and who is known as the “palace jester” of Russian politics because of his calls to execute dissenting ministers, lawmakers and generals by shooting them in Red Square, or to reduce the birth rate in Russian Muslim republics by imposing a financial penalty for the birth of a third child…..



I wonder what how much money a President Trump would want in return?

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Putin sends troops and equipment home from Syria…..

Russian President Putin has announced the withdarwal of large numbers or troops and military equipment from Syria with an expession of victory in the deployment…..

Putin HAS got what HE wanted in Syria….

Syria leader Assad is still in power even afte he had caused wide spread criticism for barrel bombing an gassing his own people…..

President Obama had threatened to go after Assad…..But backed away….America Sec of State Kerry has been working to get an agreement between the parties there….Putin is now claiming to have get parties to the table….

Russian forces began to withdraw from Syria on Tuesday, hours after a surprise announcement from Russian President Vladimir Putin that he would end the bulk of his nation’s military deployment as suddenly as he started it.

The pullback, which came as peace talks got underway in Geneva, threw a new twist into the bloody conflict, which marked its fifth anniversary on Tuesday. After rescuing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from the verge of defeat, Putin now appears to be pressuring his longtime ally to reach a deal.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced Tuesday that “personnel are currently loading equipment, logistics support means and property onto military-transport airplanes.”….

Russian advisers embedded with the Syrian military also planned to remain, Russian media reported, citing unnamed sources.

“When it is seen that the political component will move forward successfully, and the Syrian army and police are capable of destroying hotbeds of terrorism in Syria on their own, then we will possibly think about the S-400” and its removal, the chairman of the defense and security committee of Russia’s upper house of parliament, Viktor Ozerov, told the Interfax news agency.

The six-month deployment helped Assad forces retake almost 4,000 square miles of territory — nearly the size of Connecticut — eliminating the possibility that he might be deposed by force. It bolstered Russia’s main ally in the Arab world. It also bought Russia a role as a major player on the international stage, forcing the United States and other Western allies to bargain with them after two years of isolation after Ukraine.


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Kasich campaign puts up a ‘Trump-Putin 2016’ website

They are outing the leader of the GOP Presidential  race’s man-crush on the Russian President….

Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s campaign has released a new website and video satirically touting a Trump-Putin 2016 bid for the White House.

Its slogan: “Make tyranny great again.”

“In a bold and visionary move characteristic of everything he does, today terrific billionaire Donald Trump named Russian President Vladimir Putin as his running mate in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign,” the Kasich campaign said in a news release….


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Donald Trump thinks Russian President Putin is All That…..

While holding a long Q & A session with just about everybody MSNBC could get up early this morning ……Donald Trump  was asked about Russian President Putin, who is giving President Obama and the West a bit of headache in Syria and the Ukraine….

Trump surprised the MSNBCer’s by heaping priase on the Russian President while knocking President Obama …..

Trump expalined that he liked Putin for his leadership…..The Donald explained that he was deal maker and like George Bush he went on to imply that he feels that he caould make deals with the man….

This got Joe Scarborough visibly peeved…..

That didn’t botherd Trump one bit….

He doubled down then …..

He went on to say that he liked Putin because he was stronger that Obama….

The MSNBC host then asked if Trump supported a guy who got rid of media people ?

Scarborough asked the question twice because Trump keep walking past it….

He then causaly remarked that he didn’t like THAT but he still thought Putin was a strong leader and THAT was what Trump was happy about….

One got the feeling that you where looking at guy with a man crush on a Russian that would pick his and America’s pocket with a smile on his face like he did with George Bush, who thought Putin was a ‘guy he could work with’…..

This Guy IS Scary…..

Throughout the course of the interview, the Manhattan mogul explained why he felt the United States and Russia would have a better relationship in a Trump administration, remarking repeatedly upon the poor “chemistry” between Putin and President Barack Obama.

In looking at past photos of Putin and Obama seated together, Trump mused, “nothing good is going to come of that.”

“I’ve always felt fine about Putin. I think that he’s a strong leader,” he said, proceeding to rattle off his recollections of the Russian leader’s polling. “I think he’s up in the 80s, which is you see where Obama’s in the 30s and the low 40s and he’s up in the 80s, and I don’t know who does the polls, maybe he does the polls, but I think they’re done by American companies, actually.”


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The US admits Russia has checkmated Syrian President Assad leaving anytime soon…

The line from almost ALL the people the US hoped to recruit to fight ISIS in Syria was …..

‘We want Syrian President Assad gone first.’…

These people really didn’t care much about ISIS…They wanted Assad gone….

THAT isn’t gonna happen anytime soon….

Russian President Putin has inserted Russia’s military into the Syrian conflict…..Strengthy up the Syrian military against the Syrian REBELS, under the guise of going after ISIS…..

The effort has slowed the Syria rebel push against Assad…..

THAT has caused the US to have few people in Syria willing to join THEIR efforts….

Thus leaving the US with little wiggle room against Putin’s effort to keep Assad in power….At least for Now….

On a trip to Moscow this week, Secretary of State John Kerry urged a focus not on removing Syrian President Bashar Assad but instead on developing greater cooperation in Syria — a change in tone which could represent a reversal of standing US policy and have dramatic repercussions for the fight against the Islamic State group.

However, analysts wonder whether Kerry is simply trying to find common ground with Russia at a time when the relations between the two nations are as strained as they have been since the end of the Cold War.

Speaking in Russia on Dec. 15 following meetings with high-level Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, Kerry reiterated that the US does not see Assad as part of a future Syrian government, but used terminology less stark than other members of the Obama administration when discussing the Syrian president…..


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The Middle East Civil War Update…Oct. 1 2015…

Ah Syria…..

Russian President Putin REALLY seems to have moved to checkmate the US and others move to get rid of Assad, eh?

The policy to find proxies to fight Assad is a Failed pipe dream. the US mounted to please the guys over there that do NOT care about ISIS…But DO hate the guy who ordered his troops to gas his fellow countrymen..
The efforts to deal with Assad has been a waste of money that could have been used for so many other things…

I have hoped that President Obama would use caution and NOT rise to the Republican bait to move into there…
Once past their ego and disregarding McCain…
The US should draw a line in the sand around the Kurds who should be told to leave Turkey alone…

If the Kurds don’t listen?

Then the US should pack up from helping the Kurds and leave….

The land grab by the Islamic state has more or less been halted…
My feeling is that the Sunni based Islamic state is here for the duration as a practical part of the break up of Iraq into three separate states….The Shia Iraq…The Sunni Islamic State and the Kurdish State…

This has been a long time  coming….
That ISIS has take part of Syria and Iraq is really a return to old status quo where the competing religious states form a check on each other….

Putin is gonna have his own headache being in Syria….

And those who don’t want to be there are leaving for Europe….

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Russia’s Putin throws a monkey wrench in America’s Middle East efforts…

Russian President Putin has moved to stregthen Syria’s President Assad witrh it’s military and has agreeded to share intel with Syria, Iraq and Iran…This under the banner of going after the Islamic State….

The moves , which where done outside America’s announced knowledge is counter to America’s distrust of President Assad….

It also puts Russia in concert with Iran and its interest in the Middle East, which is sure to NOT go down well with Sunni ciountries like Saudia Araba….

Russia left the Middel East after growing tired of it’s efforts in Afghanistan, where America and it’s allies where helping rebels sent the Russian home….America is now STILL in that country fighting those who we sometimes helped to get rid of the Russians….

For the second time this month, Russia moved to expand its political and military influence in the Syria conflict and left the United States scrambling, this time by reaching an understanding, announced on Sunday, with Iraq, Syria and Iran to share intelligence about the Islamic State.

Like Russia’s earlier move to bolster the government of President Bashar al-Assad by deploying warplanes and tanks to a base near Latakia, Syria, the intelligence-sharing arrangement was sealed without notice to the United States. American officials knew that a group of Russian military officers were in Baghdad, but they were clearly surprised when the Iraqi military’s Joint Operations Command announced the intelligence sharing accord on Sunday.

It was another sign that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was moving ahead with a sharply different tack from that of the Obama administration in battling the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, by assembling a rival coalition that includes Iran and the Syrian government.

The effort, which Mr. Putin is expected to underscore in his speech at the United Nations on Monday, not only puts Moscow in a position to give military support to Mr. Assad, its longtime ally in the Middle East, but could also enable the Kremlin to influence the choice of a successor if Mr. Assad were to eventually leave power.

Russia’s moves are raising difficult questions for the Obama administration, which remains deeply conflicted about American military involvement in the Syria conflict….



With the Ukraine sanctions dropped oil prices and continued fighting in the Ukraine ….

The Russian economy has lagged and Putin has been left to flouder by the West…

Putin has NOW inserted his country into the middle of the Shia’  tates in the Middle East….

This is sure to make some Middel East leaders wary…And President Obama and Sec of Statre burn the midnight oil…..

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The Russian Economy slows…

Oil prices have dropped and the Sanction by America and Europe connected to the Ukraina , have bitten into the Russian economy….

Will this bother Russian leader Putin?

Russians are experiencing the first sustained decline in living standards in the 15 years since President Vladimir V. Putin came to power. The ruble has fallen by half against the dollar, driven by the plunging price of oil, the lifeblood of Russia’s economy. As a result, prices of imported goods have shot up, making tea, instant coffee, children’s clothes and back-to-school backpacks suddenly, jarringly expensive.

Making matters worse are the retaliatory bans that Russia placed on food imports after the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions for its actions in Ukraine, a policy that took a turn for the weird this month when the government destroyed thousands of tons of what it said were illegally imported foodstuffs including cheese and peaches.

The reduced supply means that what remains costs more, even if it is locally produced. Russians are paying a third more for sunflower oil, a fifth more for yogurt and three-quarters more for carrots compared with a year ago, according to government statistics. (The Western sanctions, for their part, have driven up the cost of borrowing for Russian companies, but they have not had a direct role in the inflation that is raiding Russian pocketbooks.)

Inflation has reduced the purchasing power of Russian wages by more than 8 percent in the second quarter, compared with the same period last year, according to figures published by Russia’s Central Bank at the end of July. And in a sign that the worst is far from over, the economy contracted by a steep 4.6 percent in the second quarter, compared with last year, and officially entered its first recession since 2009.

“It’s horrible,” said Elena Shcherbakova, a 47-year-old shoe saleswoman whose income, based in part on commissions, has fallen nearly a third since last year. She says she now shops at discount supermarkets, buys the cheapest kind of sausage and carefully counts containers of yogurt instead of throwing them into her cart by the handful the way she used to.

It is not clear what, if anything, this means for Mr. Putin. The trouble pales in comparison with the turbulent 1990s, when people’s wages went down by nearly half. Russians have an immense capacity for stoicism, and ubiquitous home gardens make budgets more flexible. Mr. Putin’s popularity ratings have remained high since last year’s annexation of Crimea, which was wildly popular among Russians…..


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