In a telephone interview on Thursday (11 February) the Ambassador of Russia to the EU Vladimir Chizhov evokes the recent visit of EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell to Moscow, which he helped arrange. Vladimir Chizhov is a career diplomat. Before being appointed ambassador to the EU in 2005, he was Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. He spoke to EURACTIV’s senior editor Georgi Gotev.
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F W. ENGDAHL—The US government’s NGO for Color Revolution regime change, the NED, in a piece published on January 25 echoes Nuland’s call for a social media-led destabilization of Putin. Writing about the Moscow arrest of Navalny just three days before the Biden inauguration, the NED states that, “By creating a model of guerrilla political warfare for the digital age, Navalny has exposed the regime’s utter lack of imagination and inability….” They add,“Putin is in a Catch-22: If Putin kills Navalny, it could draw more attention to the problem and exacerbate unrest. If Putin lets Navalny live, then Navalny remains a focus for resistance, whether he is in prison or not… Navalny has very much outmaneuvered Putin at each turn since the poisoning. It’s becoming a bit humiliating for him.”
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THE SAKER—The perfect place for Russia to really make a difference would be Iran. Though the Iranians are extremely sophisticated players, both their diplomats and their military, they badly need Russian help, especially in such fields as early warning systems, targeting, over the horizon radars, air defenses (ground and air based), antisubmarine warfare, coastal defenses, etc. – you name it! Iran is, by far, the most important country in the Middle-East and Iran is therefore constantly under threat by the “Axis of Kindness”. Russia has not, so far, taken the strategic decision to give Iran the means to be safe, at least in part to be able to put pressure on Tehran when needed (Russian and Iranian goals in Syria are similar in some ways, but also distinct in others).
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THE ISTER—In 2003, Khodorkovsky was criminally prosecuted by Putin for tax evasion and fraud for which he ended up serving 10 years in prison. His protege Leonid Nevzlin was convicted of ordering multiple contract murders on Khodorkovsky’s behalf, and sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia. Associate Platon Lebedev was also convicted and imprisoned. This wave of prosecution sent a message and gave Putin a strong position, which was used to negotiate a “grand bargain” with the remaining oligarchs: they retained most of their existing assets in return for alignment with Putin’s vertical rule of Russia. The era of financial gangsterism from the 1990s was over.
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PHIL BUTLER—News this morning from Russian made me think about how many times President Vladimir Putin’s hapless assassins had failed to kill his enemies. When the so-called “Sausage King” Vladimir Marugov was skewered by a crossbow bolt in his outdoor sauna at his country estate outside Moscow, my mind immediately turned to Navalny, the blogger who wants to be a Russian Czar who says Kremlin agents tried to poison him with deadly nerve agents. Deadly nerve agents, plutonium, envelopes laden with invisible poisons, and Keystone Cop stories cooked up by British Intelligence! This is all humanity has to go on. Then suddenly, two bozos in a rusty Lada manage to kill a billionaire oligarch with a single shot from a crossbow?