Blackmail/Kompromat, brutalization, espionage/infiltration, frozen conflicts, international kleptocracy, mass perceptual control, reflexive control, terrorism | x Russia or x KGB x FSB or x Vladimir Putin–you get the idea regarding the dimensions and evils faced by the world’s authentic democracies–and aspiring ones–and their constituencies in relation to Russia’s international character and operations.
The following and very few references may promote greater general curiosity (so one may hope) about Russia’s–and Putin’s Russia most of all–and its avaricious, barbaric, and generally ignoble role in international affairs.
The late historian Richard Pipes noted that Russia sustained a definition and test in sovereignty from which Europe chose to depart as it worked its way out of the medieval zeitgeist. While reading (most likely Russia Under the Old Regime), I did not take the note for citation, but it came down to this: the test of sovereignty in Russian absolute terms involved the ownership and treatment of property and persons as alike, and proof of that power could be found in the sovereign’s ability to destroy either at will and with impunity (my words, not Pipes’).
In Reference, A Glance Into Vladimir Putin’s Russia and its Black Soul
Foer, Franklin. “Russian-Style Kleptocracy is Infiltrating America: When the U.S.S.R. collapsed, Washington bet on the global spread of democratic capitalist values–and lost.” The Atlantic, March 2019.
Galeotti, Mark. “Gangster’s paradise: how organised crime took over Russia.” The Guardian, March 23, 2018. Related: a book review of Mark Galeotti’s The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia (Yale University Press, 2018): Shelley, Louise. “A Tangled Web: Organized Crime and Oligarchy in Putin’s Russia.” War on the Rocks, November 15, 2018.
Herszenhorn, David M. “Putin’s choice: Hot war or a deeply frozen conflict: Rather than igniting new hostilities in Ukraine, the Russian president may see advantage in a never-ending standoff.” Politico, December 4, 2021.
“Moscow will be happy, of course, to host dozens of international conferences, and will periodically suggest that a solution is within reach. But at the end of the day, its interests are best served when Iran, Hezbollah and Assad are in power to make mischief in the region, because that’s when Russia’s influence with the Europeans, with Israel, and the Gulf States is at its peak,” he said.