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Call it “Putin’s Theater”, a publicly viewed juxtaposition of sweetened and soured politics, a program in which the best and the worst have been put up for view at the same time.

The Winter Olympics at Sochi | The Syrian Tragedy Unfolding

The Concert at Palmyra, reported May 5, 2016 | A Refugee Camp Bombing, reported May 6, 2016.

Good and Evil | White and Black | Moscow and NATO

Singular Absolute Power | Representative Distributed Power

In Putin’s world, the “singular absolute”of his feudal realm appears to hold sway over the west’s “distributed relative” approach to managing political power, while the capricious barbarism on display in Syria and the compulsive character of the foray into Crimea may serve as a deterrent to NATO intervention in either place.  The dissolving of the insolvent Soviet may have reduced the scope of Russia’s threat potential, but with Putin in charge, deeply threatening it remains.

The Phantom of the Soviet that lurks in Putin’s revanchist neo-feudal Russia has brought to the fore a variety of terms representing the methods of his state’s aggression plus partiality to corruption and crime.

Ready for look-up when you are:

Putin, Corruption
Putin, Far Right, Far Left
Putin, International Crime

Russia, Frozen Conflicts
Russian Hybrid Warfare
Russian Energy Politics
Russian Information Warfare
Russian Nationalism
Russian Reflexive Control
Russian Passportization

This post may have to be the first of several on the theme, as the editor prefers having (or implying) his say at one sitting.

In reference, readers will find a smattering of discoveries based on searching up the above listed terms.  Each is a gem and possibly telegraphic enough to suggest that Moscow-centric control, corruption, political manipulation, and political theater in service to a despotic feudalism frames the renewal of conflict with NATO, not that NATO has yawned all the way through the Rise of Putin.  There’s more to that story, of course, but the alliance has avoided confrontation in Syria, in essence allowing the tragedy to develop nearly to its full measure in misery, and in Crimea, where Ukraine now struggles to exert sovereignty and move forward with practical governance.

The once hoped for transformation of Russia from the feudal state of other eras appears to have failed with Putin’s ascent from colonel to president to possibly emperor with the full array at his fingertips — the Okhrana to post-KGB FSB, a revived active military presence beyond its borders, and (equivalent to the privileged of the Party) the host of the moneyed and favored by the “vertical of power”.

The west may have gotten a breather at the end of 1991, but it has been challenged this past year with the fallout from events — again: Crimea; the Syrian Tragedy — approved, driven, engineered, or inspired by Moscow.

General Reference

AFP.  “Russia is more dangerous than Isis, says Polish foreign minister.”  The Guardian, April 15, 2016.

Aron, Leon.  “Everything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union is Wrong*And why it matters today in a new age of revolution.”  Foreign Policy, June 20, 2011.

BackChannels.  “Books — Agnia Grigas Tours Putin’s Neo-Imperial Russian Revival.”  May 6, 2016.

BackChannels.  “Facsimile Bipolar Political Sociopathy”.

BackChannels.  “FTAC — Synopsis — On the Medieval Struggle.”  December 27, 2013.

BackChannels.  “Paranoid Delusional Narcissistic Reflection of Motivation”.

BackChannels.  “Syndicate Red Brown Green”.

BackChannels.  “The Big Fade — Or Not?  Where Goes the Phantom of the Cold War?”  June 23, 2015.

BackChannels.  “The Russian Section”.

Cooke, Thea.  “Has Vladimir Putin Always Been Corrupt?  And Does it Matter?”  Kennan Institute, Wilson Center, April 16, 2012.

Goble, Paul A.  “Moscow enjoying great success with far left parties in Europe, new study finds.”  Euromaidan Press, April 18, 2016.

Grigas, Agnia.  “Beyond Crimea: The New Russian Empire.” New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016.

Grigas, Agnia.  “How Soft Power Works: Russian Passportization and Compatriot Policies Paved Way for Crimean Annexation and War in Donbas.”  February 22, 2016.

Herszenhorn, David M.  “In Crimea, Russia Moved to Throw Off the Cloak of Defeat.”  March 24, 2014.

Krastev, Ivan.  “Why Putin Tolerates Corruption.”  The New York Times, May 15, 2016.

Kofman, Michael and Matthew Rojansky.  “A Closer look at Russia’s ‘Hybrid War'”.  No. 7, Kennan Cable, Wilson Center, April 2, 2015.

Kreko, Peter.  “Putin’s far right and far left friends in Europe.”  Political Capital, Policy Research & Consulting Institute; published as PDF on the Wilson Center site, March 14, 2014.

Miller, Christopher.  “‘Girl who kissed Putin’ warns about rise of Russian nationalism.”  Mashable, January 6, 2016.

Orttung, Robert and Christopher Walker.  “Putin’s Frozen Conflicts: Each of Russia’s reform-minded neighbors is plagued by separatism.  It’s no coincidence.”  Foreign Policy, February 13, 2015.

Snegovaya, Maria.   “Putin’s Information Warfare in Ukraine: Soviet Origins of Russia’s Hybrid Warfare.”  PDF. Institute for the Study of War, September 2015.

Tharoor, Ishaan.  “Europe’s far right still loves Putin.”  The Washington Post, February 18, 2015.

Thomas, Timothy L.  “Russia’s Reflexive Control Theory and the Military.”  PDF.  17: 237-256.  Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 2004.

Wikipedia.  “Passportization”.

Addendum – July 18, 2016

Turkey’s failed and possibly false-flag coup, i.e., an event manipulated by President Erdogan to soak out the last of his capable opposition — has altered NATO’s character for the worse and left some untidy and dangerous “poker chips” beneath the ground:

Schlosser, Eric.  “The H-Bombs in Turkey.”  The New Yorker, July 17, 2016.

BackChannels has just published a post-Cold War comment on the failed Turkish coup in relation to the “medieval vs modern” political processes competition between Russia and NATO: “FTAC – Turkey (and Hungary) – Medieval Absolute Power vs Modern Distributions” (July 18, 2016).

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