A friend on the social network tagged me on the matter of Marine Le Pen as a friend of Putin. Forthwith my answer –>
Regarding Marine Le Pen – https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/08/white-house-putin-paris-00024054 – she’s a problem for the western alliance.
After the dissolving of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, some KGB elite found themselves driving cabs, i.e., out on the streets, stripped of power and privilege. It didn’t take long for part of that set to determine to regenerate themselves, perhaps through their former networks (I’m mythologizing but keeping to milestones in the greater narrative arc), and set about taking revenge against the west.
1994 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest_Memorandum_on_Security_Assurances Ukraine gave up its Moscow-controlled nuclear warhead inventory in exchange for promises that it would never be invaded (by Russia, among others).
1996/7 – https://www.businessinsider.com/exploring-al-qaedas-murky-connection-to-russian-intelligence-2014-6 – Ayman al Zawahiri spent his winter in the company of the KGB.
2000 – http://edition.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/03/27/russia.elex/index.html – Putin’s election results.
9/11/2001 – I would call the event a Russian “Reflexive Control” operation by proxy against NATO. Whatever the truth of the matter, it provoked the proud flesh of a wounded west into a far rightward motion, i.e., the “New Nationalism”. In France, and with Putin’s blessing, Marine Le Pen picked up on the pride.
I’ll add another one or two touchstones here.
2011 – the Arab Spring and desertification lead to protests in Syria against a callous regime quick to respond with violence to any challenge of its authority. The same had also a mighty lever in enjoining the “War on Terror” against any enemy it wish to call a terrorist. Spillover: mass migration -> NATO, starting with Turkey, the same became a stimulus for greater nationalism accompanied by xenophobia. Most affected: Hungary, Italy, Poland, and the United States.
2016 – America caught the DTs –>
In the listing of years as the perhaps KGB penchant for clever aggression, the whole has gone with the “ones” — 1991; 2001; 2011; and if the invasion of Ukraine had been squeezed in right, 2021.
Putin’s Russia has been cooking on all of the medieval burners, numerology somewhat included, and, indeed, NATO has now to catch up with the array of conditions and threats fashioned by Moscow since the end of the Cold War, and Moscow, representing the Russian “Mafia State”, has some advantages given European and North American appetites for every illicit good and service moving around the planet. It and its buddies among dictators and thugs view the west both as turned toward nationalism (sadly true in part) and morally degenerate — but in Ukraine it has drawn a response remarkably different from what it had imagined. The key to that has been its criminality and barbarism. The cruelty displayed over time and across the post-Soviet Russian space of interest has been effective as regards inspiring hate for everything associated with Moscow. Whether the New Nationalists, Le Pen included, view themselves as part of the problem in light of Putin’s behavior, we shall see. One thing they won’t want will be domination by the Stalinist Russian.
Regarding the Soviet’s own mid-1980s plans for dissolving itself, I recommend Dawisha, Karen. Putin’s Kleptocracy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Also helpful but may need the reader’s own web sleuthing to find the DVD: Andrei Nekrasov and Olga Konskaya’s video, Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case (the URL is active at the time of publishing this post), a documentary assembled among the living, including the FSB detective Litvinenko who rebelled at the agency’s takeover by criminals. For the middle of the post-Cold War narrative and it’s most notable moment, YouTube hosts this short feature from ABC13 Houston: “Remembering 9/11 | Archive Footage We Will Never Forget” (posted to YouTube September 11, 2018).