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” . . . they are making a show to other countries . . . “

True. The action taken to forestall additional Chemical Weapons (CW) attacks was conducted as a deliberate and open demonstration of capability (imho) and not as one blow among others launched without warning in the chaos and fury of combat.

Russo-American cooperation in “optics” has been a theme in the Syrian Tragedy from the beginning and in current form dates back at least to the end of the Cold War in which Moscow and Washington in a presumptive peace were to work on terrorism and transnational crime together.

It is uncertain that that is not taking place!


How would one know?

In that Moscow sustains numerous “frozen conflicts”, operates its war machinery against noncombatants in Syria and Ukraine, and that it has long cherished (by not reforming itself much) the title, “Mafia State”, I may suggest the west had been snookered by old political criminals or a mentality in Moscow befitting the same.

Related Reference

In the too-fast press associated with blogging, there may be a little bit of post-first-read-later taking place here.  Even if so, the main point is to look into what happened between Moscow and Washington in their respective thematic characters — paternal authoritarian for one; liberal democratic for the other — in the nearest shadows of the Cold War.

PDFs cited go straight to the BackChannels Kindle and may be read on that platform soon afterward.

Elliott, Dorinda.  “Lifestyles of Russia’s Filthy New Rich.”  Newsweek,  December 18, 1994:

Where did all the money come from? Most of the new robber barons — an estimated 61 percent of Russia’s richest people, according to one study — simply turned the socialist empires they managed into their own private companies. Others built their fortunes on the roots of criminal trading they were doing secretly during Soviet times. The result is a pervasive sense of unfairness — particularly since Russia still has no real middle class. But Russian society for centuries has been driven by envy.

Finckenauer, James O. and Yuri A. Voronin.  “The Threat of Russian Organized Crime.”  PDF.  Issues in International Crime, National Institute of Justice, June 2001.

Hockstader, Lee.  “Russia’s Criminal Condition.”  The Washington Post, February 26, 1995.

“In Western Europe and the United States . . . organized crime controls only criminal activities such as prostitution, drug trafficking and gambling,” wrote Pyotr Filippov, a former adviser to President Boris Yeltsin, in a report to the president last year. “In our country, it controls all types of activities.”

In the former Soviet republic of Georgia, an alleged criminal leader with a long prison record and a private militia loyal to him is the right-hand man to the country’s leader, former Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze. In Russia’s Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk, an ex-convict named Vladimir “The Poodle” Podiatev, who spent 17 years in prison, is said by police to be the city’s foremost power broker, allegedly controlling his own television station and much commerce in the city.

Mirsky, Wendy L.  “The Link Between Russian Organized Crime and Nuclear-Weapons Proliferation: Fighting Crime and Ensuring International Security.”  Comment.  University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Business and Law, 16:4, 749-781.

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:

Russia’s attempt to subvert Ukraine cannot, however, be seen in isolation.Russia’s attempt to subvert Ukraine cannot, however, be seen in isolation. Its tactics are part of a wider pattern in which the Kremlin uses separatist conflicts as engines for corruption and criminality, and as Trojan horses to block progress in reform-minded countries on Russia’s periphery.

Shelley, Louise I.  “Post-Soviet Organized Crime: Implications for the Development of the Soviet Successor States and Foreign Countries.”  The National Council for Soviet and East European Research.”  Title VIII Program, The National Council for Soviet and East European Research.  February 8, 1994:

Organized crime has penetrated most of the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union at all governmental levels, and is assuming an important role in the political , economic and social evolution of these states, with consequences already being felt in Europe , the United States and parts of Asia . The collapse of communism may not lead to democratization and the transition to a competitive capitalist economy.  Instead, the pervasiveness of organized crime may lead to an alternative form of development — political clientelism and controlled markets. Domination by the Communist Party may be replaced b y the controls of organized crime.

U.S. Department of State Archive.  “United States Relations with Russia: After the Cold War: 1990-1991.