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The Skeletons in Putin’s Closet

Vladimir Putinby Brandon Martinez

Many people view Vladimir Putin and Russia as a saving grace on the current geopolitical landscape. He has been described as a “lion tamer” of the US/Israel imperial axis that is causing havoc and mayhem across the Middle East.

This is true to a certain extent, but Putin’s impetus as the leader of Russia is really no different than that of his Soviet Communist predecessors who also sided with the Arabs against the Western backed Israeli entity. The Soviet alliance with the Arab states was merely a relationship of convenience during the Cold War.

Soviet support of the Arab states was not done out of a principled stance against Zionism but rather out of economic/geopolitical self-interest; although the Soviet regime tried to dress it up in an altruistic cloak by denouncing Zionism as racism at the United Nations and other venues.

Weapons sales to the Arab world quenched the thirst of the Soviet war machine just as American weapons sales to Israel fed its respective war machine. Likewise, Israeli weapons sales to military dictatorships in Latin America and Africa bolsters its war economy.

It must be understood that major powers such as the US, Britain, Russia and Red China have never been motivated by altruism; they are almost exclusively guided by self-interest. There are very few instances when that has not been the case. Whether that self-interest is rooted in geopolitical aspirations or economic considerations is up for debate. It is probably a bit of both.

The Soviet Union even played a role in helping to establish Israel. From 1947-1949 the Soviet puppet regime in Czechoslovakia provided Zionist forces with armaments and warplanes.[1] The Soviet Union was also one of two countries to immediately grant recognition to Israel when it declared statehood in 1948 – the other was the United States.

During the Cold War, the Hegelian dialectic of Communism vs. Capitalism, West vs. East, was firmly implanted in the Arab world, which turned to the Soviet power bloc for assistance in response to Western support of Israel.

“Zionist Israel’s occupation of Arab Palestine has forced the Arab world to waste billions of precious dollars on armaments,” noted African-American visionary Malcolm X, “making it impossible for these newly independent Arab nations to concentrate on strengthening the economies of their countries and elevate the living standard of their people.”[2] In those early days the creation of Israel was seen as a way for Western imperial powers to undermine growing Arab nationalism and independence movements trying to shake off the yoke of European colonialism.

The Soviet Union was essentially using the Arabs as cannon fodder in its game of geopolitical musical chairs with the US known as the Cold War. The US did the same by sponsoring a Muslim insurgent army in Afghanistan in 1979 as a counterweight against the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. The Soviets quickly moved in to put down the CIA-backed Mujahedeen revolt, fighting a brutal nine-year war with these US-backed mercenaries.

Like all imperial states, Israel seeks to divide and conquer its subjects. Promoting internal ethnic/religious conflict is part and parcel of the Israeli strategy of tension, which is designed to fragment and destabilize the Arab/Muslim countries that pose a challenge to its military dominance over the whole region. Lately, Syria has been in the cross hairs, and the Zionist leaders in Tel Aviv are undoubtedly looking on with glee as that Arab nation is torn apart from within.

The role of Vladimir Putin as a mediator in the raging Syria conflict has been admirable, but it is being used by some to raise Putin up as a false hero.

Putin’s rise to power was predicated on a wave of terrorism that swept across Russia in 1999. Apartment blocks were blown up in Moscow and Volgodonsk, killing 293 people and injuring 651 others.[3] The series of explosions took place between September 4-16 of that year. The Russian secret police, the FSB (formerly the KGB), immediately blamed Chechen separatists for the attacks, but produced scant evidence for their claims.

An uncanny incident took place on the 22nd of September that exposed the Russian state’s hand behind the bombings. Three FSB agents were caught in the Russian city of Ryazan planting a large explosive device in the basement of an apartment building. Astute residents noticed something was amiss and called police who evacuated the building and much of the city block. The three FSB agents behind the attempted bombing were eventually apprehended after trying to flee the city.[4]

Russian state officials including Putin initially announced that a real terrorist attack had been averted in Ryazan, but when the facts emerged showing the three suspects were actually FSB agents they abruptly changed their story. The Russian government’s new narrative was that the whole affair was just a training exercise and that the bomb wasn’t real.

Yuri Tkachenko, the police explosives expert who defused the Ryazan bomb, contradicted FSB claims that the bomb was not real. The Ryazan bomb in fact had a timer, a power source and a detonator. Tkachenko’s state-of-the-art explosive detection equipment unmistakably detected the presence of RDX, the same explosive substance used in the other bombings in Moscow and Volgodonsk earlier in the month.

“[T]he public is reacting correctly to the events taking place in our country today,” remarked Putin, in reference to the apartment bombings.[5] Using the attacks as a pretext for aggression, Putin, who was serving as prime minister under Boris Yeltsin at the time, declared a “war on terror,” pledging to “destroy the terrorists” wherever they are. He immediately launched incursions into Chechnya, culminating in the second Chechen-Russian war lasting several years. Putin’s image as a strongman who is tough on terror contributed greatly to his rise to prominence in Russian political life. As a life-long member of the KGB and its former chief, it is unlikely that Putin wasn’t fully aware of the plot.

Russian lawyer and former FSB agent Mikhail Trepashkin was asked by MP Sergei Kovalev to help with an independent inquiry into the bombings. He discovered that an FSB officer named Vladimir Romanovich had rented the basement of one of the bombed apartment buildings. A week before Trepashkin was set to air his findings in court he was arrested and sentenced to four years in jail for “revealing state secrets.”[6]

The Kremlin blocked a real criminal investigation into the apartment bombings at every juncture. The 1999 attacks came at just the right time for Yeltsin and his fragile regime. Yeltsin’s popularity was at an all-time low and he was being investigated for corruption. Putin’s first act as president was to grant clemency to Yeltsin and his cronies. Russia expert David Satter opined:

“With Yeltsin and his family facing possible criminal prosecution, however, a plan was put into motion to put in place a successor who would guarantee that Yeltsin and his family would be safe from prosecution and the criminal division of property in the country would not be subject to reexamination. For ‘Operation Successor’ to succeed, however, it was necessary to have a massive provocation. In my view, this provocation was the bombing in September, 1999 of the apartment building bombings in Moscow, Buinaksk, and Volgodonsk. In the aftermath of these attacks, which claimed 300 lives, a new war was launched against Chechnya. Putin, the newly appointed prime minister who was put in charge of that war, achieved overnight popularity. Yeltsin resigned early. Putin was elected president and his first act was to guarantee Yeltsin immunity from prosecution.”[7]

Russian dissidents and critics believe the attacks were a successful FSB coup d’état designed to elevate Putin to power. Wikipedia’s article on the subject noted: “Yury Felshtinsky, Alexander Litvinenko, David Satter, Boris Kagarlitsky, Vladimir Pribylovsky, the secessionist Chechen authorities claimed that the 1999 bombings were a false flag attack coordinated by the FSB to win public support for a new full-scale war in Chechnya, which boosted Prime Minister and former FSB Director Vladimir Putin’s popularity, and brought the pro-war Unity Party to the State Duma and Putin to the presidency within a few months.”[8]

The former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko was forced to flee Russia after publicly exposing corruption in the FSB. He took up residence in England and co-authored a book with Yuri Felshtinsky about the 1999 apartment bombings titled Blowing Up Russia: Terror From Within. In the book, Litvinenko and Felshtinsky argue that the FSB orchestrated the bombings in a bid to bring Putin to power and shift public opinion in favor of a second war with Chechnya. In November 2006, Litvinenko was poisoned with the radioactive substance polonium-210, dying shortly thereafter. British authorities believe the Russian spy Andrey Lugovoy was behind the murder, but the Russian government refuses to extradite him to Britain to stand trial. There is little doubt Putin ordered the hit. The prominent Russian journalist and Putin critic Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in the lift of her apartment in October 2006. Many suspect she too was offed by the FSB on Putin’s orders. Journalists and dissidents are killed in Russia on a routine basis.

In 2011, Putin said that the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in America could not have been an inside job organized by US intelligence. The suggestion that American intelligence agencies were behind 9/11 “is complete nonsense, it is impossible,” Putin said, responding to a question posed by an attendee of the Seliger 2011 youth forum. “To imagine that US intelligence services did it deliberately, with their own hands, is complete nonsense,” he said, adding, “Only people who do not understand the workings of security agencies can say that. It would be impossible to conceal it.”[9] Putin’s refusal to acknowledge the reality of false flag terrorism by intelligence agencies is most likely motivated by his own guilt in this regard. He wishes not to open that can of worms, as it will lead to questions about his own use of the dirty tactic to subdue and manipulate the Russian people.

Putin also made some troubling remarks in 2012, when he compared the embalmed corpse of Soviet Bolshevik dictator Vladimir Lenin to the “holy relics of Christian saints.”[10] Lenin founded the communist secret police apparatus known as the Cheka, which was responsible for more than 40 million deaths during the Soviet era. Lenin strongly advocated the use of terrorism and deceit to accomplish political objectives. He once stipulated that if 90 per cent of the Russian people must perish to accomplish a communist revolution, it was a necessary evil.[11] “A lie told often enough becomes the truth,” Lenin once remarked. This is Putin’s idol.

While we continue to see Putin’s Western-based advocates glorify him solely on the basis of his mediating foreign policy vis-à-vis Syria and Iran, they completely ignore the piles of skeletons in his closet.

If Putin is willing to kill scores of his own citizens to accomplish his political goals, can we really believe he cares about the people of the Middle East?

Brandon Martinez, is a freelance writer and journalist from Canada. Brandon's area of expertise is foreign policy, international affairs and 20th and 21st century history. His writing is focused on issues such as Zionism, Israel-Palestine, American and Canadian foreign policy, war, terrorism and deception in media and politics. 

End Notes

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_shipments_from_Czechoslovakia_to_Israel_1947–49
[2] “Zionist Logic: Malcolm X on Zionism,” Global Research, Feb. 20, 2009. http://www.globalresearch.ca/zionist-logic-malcolm-x-on-zionism/12385
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_apartment_bombings
[4] The incident is documented in great detail in the film “Blowing up Russia: Terror from Within”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxTL3BTCIZQ
[5] Edward Lucas, The New Cold War: Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West, Palgrave Macmillan (2008), p. 25.
[6] “FSB Apartment Bombing False Flag Attack,” Dark Politricks: http://www.darkpolitricks.com/fsb-apartment-bombing-false-flag-attack/
[7] http://www.hudson.org/files/publications/SatterHouseTestimony2007.pdf
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_Russian_apartment_bombings#Theory_of_Russian_government_conspiracy
[9] “9/11 inside job ‘impossible to conceal,’ says Vladimir Putin,” Russia Today, Aug. 2, 2011. http://rt.com/politics/9-11-putin-seliger-investigation-toronto-355/
[10] “Vladimir Putin compares Lenin to holy Christian relics,” The Telegraph, Dec. 11, 2012. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/9737569/Vladimir-Putin-compares-Lenin-to-holy-Christian-relics.html
[11] “Foreign News: The Trail of Lenin,” Time Magazine, Feb. 11, 1924. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,717663,00.html

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