Russia (Russian: Росси́йская Федера́ция), also known as the Russian Federation, is a country extending over much of northern Eurasia. A former member of the Soviet Union before its collapse and dissolution in 1991, Russia is a semi-presidential republic comprising 83 federal subjects and shares land borders with the following countries (counterclockwise from northwest to southeast): Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania (via Kaliningrad Oblast), Poland (via Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It also borders the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Caspian Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Black Sea. Russia also has maritime borders with the United States of America via Alaska and Japan. .
- I did more for the Russian serf in giving him land as well as personal liberty, than America did for the negro slave set free by the proclamation of President Lincoln. I am at a loss to understand how you Americans could have been so blind as to leave the negro slave without tools to work out his salvation. In giving him personal liberty, you have him an obligation to perform to the state which he must be unable to fulfill. Without property of any kind he cannot educate himself and his children. I believe the time must come when many will question the manner of American emancipation of the negro slaves in 1863. The vote, in the hands of an ignorant man, without either property or self respect, will be used to the damage of the people at large; for the rich man, without honor or any kind of patriotism, will purchase it, and with it swamp the rights of a free people.
- Alexander II, emperor of Russia, conversation with Wharton Barker, Pavlovski Palace (17 August 1879); reported in Barker, "The Secret of Russia's Friendship", The Independent (March 24, 1904), p. 647.
- If Russia is to be a great power, it will be, not because of its nuclear potential, faith in God or the president, or Western investment, but thanks to the labor of the nation, faith in knowledge and science and the maintenance and development of scientific potential and education.
- Zhores Ivanovich Alferov, quoted in Darryl J. Leiter, Sharon Leiter, A to Z of physicists (2003), 3.
- To make America the greatest is my goal... So I beat the Russians...
- Muhammad Ali, poem written after winning the gold medal in the 1960 Olympic Summer Games in Rome, Italy, p. 35.
- Under Russian Federation President and former career foreign intelligence officer Vladimir Putin, an 'FSB State' composed of chekists has been established and is consolidating its hold on the country. Its closest partners are organized criminals. In a world marked by a globalized economy and information infrastructure, and with transnational terrorism groups utilizing all available means to achieve their goals and further their interests, Russian intelligence collaboration with these elements is potentially disastrous.
- Julie Anderson, "The Chekist Takeover of the Russian State", International Journal of Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence (May 2006), Volume 19, Issue 2, pp. 237–288.
- Richard Dressler: You don't fight Russia and America. You get Russia and America to fight each other, and destroy each other.
- The Sum of All Fears (2002), written by Paul Attanasio and Daniel Pyne, Paramount Pictures.
- Russian Communism is the illegitimate child of Karl Marx and Catherine the Great.
- Clement Attlee, as quoted in The Observer (1956).
- Russia is a geriatric maritime giant surrounded by much more energetic rivals.
- David Axe, "Russia's Navy is Falling Apart" (25 August 2015), War is Boring, The Week.
- You know, I never planned to leave. I was not extremely patriotic about Mother Russia. You know, I played their game, pretending, of course. You have to deal with, you know, party people... Horrifying.
- Elections are not a viable means of ensuring democratic change in Russia.
- Boris Berezovsky, 2007 interview in The Guardian, reported in Henry Meyer (13 April 2007). "Russia Demands Berezovsky Extradition After Call for Revolution", Bloomberg News, Bloomberg L.P.
- In the 21st century, nations cannot; and we cannot allow them to redraw borders by force. These are the ground rules. And if we fail to uphold them, we will rue the day. Russia has violated these ground rules and continues to violate them. Today Russia is occupying sovereign Ukrainian territory. Let me be crystal clear: The United States does not, will not, never will recognize Russia’s attempt to annex the Crimea. (Applause.) It’s that saying -- that simple. There is no justification.
- Joe Biden, remarks by Vice President Joe Biden to The Ukrainian Rada (9 December 2015)
- The Russians have sometimes said one thing and done another... The Russians have been way off track since the very beginning. They have not done what they said they were going to do and they are not doing what is in their interest to do in terms of fighting... Thinking of Russia as a competitor was not something that we had to do, and now... We are going to have a competitor in Russia... Sadly, Russian conduct in Europe makes that necessary... But, I don't think that's in the long-term interest of the Russian people... Russia's a country I've worked with a lot over the years.
- I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.
- Judged by every standard which history has applied to Governments, the Soviet Government of Russia is one of the worst tyrannies that has ever existed in the world. It accords no political rights. It rules by terror. It punishes political opinions. It suppresses free speech. It tolerates no newspapers but its own. It persecutes Christianity with a zeal and a cunning never equalled since the times of the Roman Emperors. It is engaged at this moment in trampling down the peoples of Georgia and executing their leaders by hundreds.
- Winston Churchill, speech to the Scottish Unionist Association, Edinburgh, Scotland (September 25, 1924); ; in Robert Rhodes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897–1963 vol. 4 (1974), p. 3472.
- Across the world academics still clung to the words and ideas of Marx and Engles and even Lenin. Fools. There were even those who said that Communism had been tried in the wrong country; that Russia had been too far backward to make those wonderful ideas work.
- The Soviet Union is dead and gone and replaced by the Russian Federation, which is a country we can be friends with now, thank God; and we want the Russians to prosper, and should help the Russians prosper in every way we can within reason... Fifteen years ago, there was this country called the Soviet Union that had over 10,000 nuclear warheads pointed at us... they're not there anymore. That's a good thing.
- Slavery as an institution still exists today, although it's practice is mostly restricted to Islamic cultures. It also has taken many forms throughout history. In czarist Russia for example, serfs were regarded as being 'part of the land'. If a parcel of land or an estate changed hands between owners, the serfs who lived-upon and worked that land went with it. They were not legally allowed to leave and go elsewhere, and rarely permitted to seek other occupations. Regardless of the details of how slavery was legally managed from one culture to the next, the defining principle was always the same. As a slave, your labor belongs to someone else, and can be compelled. This recalls the very definition of liberty. Does your labor belong to you, or does someone else have the 'right' to either take the product of that labor, or compel you to perform it? There may be varying degrees of this claim to your labor, but the crucial point is this, if it is the right of someone else to decide how much of your labor they own, they effectively own all of it. How much of your labor they avail themselves of is entirely up to them.
- Greg Conterio, "Democrats: Still the Party of Slavery after all these years" (12 April 2013), Western Free Press.
- Russia was a slave in Europe but would be a master in Asia.
- Fyodor Dostoevsky, reported in Dominic Livien (April 1999). "Dilemmas of Empire 1850-1918: Power, Territory, Identity". Journal of Contemporary History 34 (2): p. 180.
- Charge of inferiority is an old dodge. It has been made available for oppression on many occasions... When Russia wanted to take possession of a part of the Ottoman Empire, the Turks were “an inferior race.”
- We are inclined to overemphasize the material influences in history. The Russians especially make this mistake. Intellectual values and ethnic influences, tradition and emotional factors are equally important. If this were not the case, Europe would today be a federated state, not a madhouse of nationalism.
- Albert Einstein, "What Life Means to Einstein: An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck", The Saturday Evening Post (26 October 1929)
- It would appear that the natural frontier of Russia runs from Dantzic or perhaps Stettin to Trieste.
- Friedrich Engels, "The Real Issue in Turkey", Karl Marx and Engels, Collected Works, vol. 12, p. 16 (1979). This article was originally published in The New York Daily Tribune, April 12, 1853, p. 4, and since that paper's European correspondent was at that time Karl Marx, it has generally been assumed the author was Marx. Collected Works, vol. 12, p. 639, note 17, makes it clear that Engels was the author.
- In a Russian tragedy, everybody dies. In a Russian comedy, everybody dies, too. But they die happy.
- Barry Farber, radio talk-show host in New York City, during a program on radio station WMCA; reported in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
- Russian leaders and regular citizens have felt increasingly insecure... They have a sense that Russia is under siege from without and has been robbed of its rightful status as a world power... Europeans at least have recourse at the ballot box; they can angrily vote in or out whoever they like. Russians do not enjoy the luxury of democracy. Russians do not enjoy the luxury of democracy... The U.S. is many times more powerful and influential than Russia.
- Max Fisher, "This quote about Putin's machismo from Angela Merkel is just devastating" (20 May 2015), Vox.
- I think the idea people had after 1991 that there would be a quick transition is clearly wrong... A lot of it has to do with relationships with economic growth because I think in really high-growth countries with a large middle class, with lots of educated people, there is a tendency to demand greater political participation... I think what you are seeing with the rise of Putinism in Russia and in parts of Eastern Europe is in a way the failure of that kind of modernization to produce a really broad middle-class society... His model is based on a narrow energy-dependent economic model which right now is falling apart... I think what is happening in Russia right now as global commodity prices have fallen is the exposure of the hollowness of this and we will see after another decade of economic failure whether Russians really think this is such a great alternative to the kind of both freedom and prosperity that is seen in Western Europe.
- Francis Fukuyama, as quoted in "Fukuyama: 'Putinism', Radical Islam No Alternative To Liberal Democracy" (30 January 2016), by Charles Recknagel, Radio Free Europe: Radio Liberty.
- Russia is a new phenomenon in Europe: a state defined and dominated by former and active-duty security and intelligence officers. Not even fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, or the Soviet Union – all undoubtedly much worse creations than Russia; were as top-heavy with intelligence talent... There is no historical precedent for a society so dominated by former and active-duty internal-security and intelligence officials; men who rose up in a professional culture in which murder could be an acceptable, even obligatory, business practice... Those who operated within the Soviet sphere were the most malevolent in their practices. These men mentored and shaped Putin and his closest friends and allies. It is therefore unsurprising that Putin's Russia has become an assassination-happy state where detention, interrogation, and torture; all tried and true methods of the Soviet KGB; are used to silence the voices of untoward journalists and businessmen who annoy or threaten Putin's FSB state.
- Reuel M. Gerecht, "A Rogue Intelligence State? Why Europe and America Cannot Ignore Russia" (6 April 2007), AEI.
- Lying is not a side effect of what R.T. does; it is the channel's heart.
- Masha Gessen, "Mouthpieces for the Kremlin’s propaganda channel aren't brave" (29 July 2014), The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
- After nearly fifteen years of systematic destruction of public space, engineered by Putin, the normal ways by which regular people absorb information about the state of their country are gone. Only a person who had lost his livelihood or half his savings would have been able to report that the economy was failing.
- Russian activists and journalists who get enough death threats and take them sufficiently seriously to hire bodyguards are also usually careful about what they ingest. Soon after the chess champion Garry Kasparov quit the sport to go into politics full time, in 2004, he hired a team of eight bodyguards, who not only accompanied him everywhere but also carried drinking water and food for Kasparov to eat at meals shared in public. Three years ago, Kasparov told me that what he liked most about foreign travel was being able to shed his bodyguards for a while. A year after that, threats drove him to leave Russia permanently... Attacks by poisoning are possibly even more common in Russia than assassinations by gunfire. Most famously, Alexander Litvinenko, a secret-police whistle-blower, was killed by polonium in London, in 2006. Last week, British newspapers reported that a Russian businessman who dropped dead while jogging in a London suburb in 2012 had been killed by a rare plant poison. He had been a key witness in a money-laundering case that had originally been exposed by the Moscow accountant Sergei Magnitsky, who was tortured to death, in 2009, in a Russian jail... Like the Soviet regime before it, the Putin government spreads fear by destroying the illusion that one can protect oneself... People who work at two Moscow restaurants have warned me, separately, about the precise locations of listening devices at the eateries. The warnings came unbidden. The food at both places was, incidentally, not only very good but also apparently safe. That, along with the springtime sun, helps maintain the bizarre sense of normalcy that has a way of going hand in hand with the mortal danger that has become a fact of everyday life.
- Masha Gessen, "Putin's Russia: Don't Walk, Don't Eat, and Don't Drink" (28 May 2015), The New Yorker.
- Authoritarian state capitalism, seen today in China and Russia. While both countries have introduced elements of a market economy, private companies there operate side-by-side and at a significant disadvantage to state owned entities favored by government regulators. This mixed economy is not paralleled on the political side. What is emerging is an increasingly authoritarian political system with decreasing space for civil society, free media, and dissent. This model is attractive to authoritarian leaders around the world who see it as way to maintain power while still growing their economies... We are also seeing a diffusion of power and competition at the nation state level. This competition comes not just from Russia and China, but also from emerging countries like Brazil, India, Indonesia, and the other ASEAN states. These states are also beginning to organize themselves into structures outside of and somewhat in competition.
- I think Russian people are learning that democracy is not an alien thing; it's not a western invention. It's probably the most affordable mechanism to solve problems inside the country, inside the society because Putin proved to all of us that democracy has a world of alternatives, security forces and police and power abuse and that's why I think eventually the people of Russia will embrace democracy as the least costly institution to help them to solve their daily problems.
- Millions like me in Russia want a free press, the rule of law, social justice, and free and fair elections. My new job is to fight for those people and to fight for these fundamental rights.
- Garry Kasparov How Life Imitates Chess (2007), Part III, Endgame, p. 195.
- I find it tragic how badly misgoverned Russia has been for so long, literally back to Ivan the Terrible. Russia has so much human capital. If only it was governed properly, it could be a serious emerging market player like China. But instead it's one megalomaniac czar after another. Whether they be imperial, Soviet, or Putin, wrecking the economy for their own vanity and nationalist unwillingness to accommodate the west.
- Robert E. Kelly, "Russia Between Empire and Modernity" (9 October 2014), Asian Security Blog: International Relations of Asia.
- In Russia, all you have to do to get a house is to be born.
- It's wrong to hate. It always has been wrong and it always will be wrong. It's wrong in America, it's wrong in Germany, it's wrong in Russia, it's wrong in China. It was wrong in 2000 B.C., and it's wrong in 1954 A.D. It always has been wrong, and it always will be wrong. It's wrong to throw our lives away in riotous living. No matter if everybody in Detroit is doing it, it's wrong. It always will be wrong, and it always has been wrong. It's wrong in every age and it's wrong in every nation. Some things are right and some things are wrong, no matter if everybody is doing the contrary. Some things in this universe are absolute. The God of the universe has made it so. And so long as we adopt this relative attitude toward right and wrong, we're revolting against the very laws of God himself.
- If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there.
- The role of Russian media in inciting such ethnic hatred cannot be underestimated, even more so because the standards of official Russian media have sunk back to where they were during the depths of the Cold War. With a few cosmetic exceptions, Russian television news today resembles Stagnation Era propaganda: the nightly program transmits an exaggerated and biased picture of an evil and threatening Western world that now includes the Baltic states, Georgia, and Ukraine. As a counterweight, authorities present a glorified picture of Russia, on display most recently at the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II is another favorite theme of Russian programming, and one particularly useful for Putin during his misadventure in Ukraine. Indeed, the victory is evidently the only achievement in recent history that not only upholds Russians’ national pride but also helps justify current military intrusions into neighboring countries that are still portrayed to the people within the Russian sphere of influence as peacekeeping missions undertaken to defend the Russian people. Ironically, Russia’s actions in Ukraine today are very much like those of Nazi Germany in Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938–39. In this light, Putin’s assertion that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the last century sounds especially ominous.
- Katja Koort, "Russians: Estonia Twenty Years After", World Affairs Journal
- For the first 500 years of its existence, Russia did not have a coat of arms, or a national flag or anthem.
- Anatoly Korolyov, "The Russian flag: a tricolor icon" (31 May 2005), RIA Novosti.
- The predominance of the intelligence services and mentality is a core feature of Putin’s Russia that marks a major and critical discontinuity from not only the 1990s but all of Soviet and Russian history. During the Soviet period, the Communist Party provided the glue holding the system together. During the 1990s, there was no central organizing institution or ideology. Now, with Putin, it is “former” KGB professionals who dominate the Russian ruling elite. This is a special kind of brotherhood, a mafia-like culture in which only a few can be trusted. The working culture is secretive and nontransparent.
- Andrew Kuchins, "Alternative Futures for Russia to 2017 A Report of the Russia and Eurasia Program", Center for Strategic and International Studies (November 2007), p. 5.
- If I see that the Russians are amassing their planes for an attack, I'm going to knock the shit out of them before they take off the ground.
- Curtis LeMay, conversation with presidential commissioner Robert Sprague (September 1957), quoted in Kaplan, F. (1991). The Wizards of Armageddon. Stanford University Press, p. 134.
- Complete equality of rights for all nations; the right of nations to self-determination; the unity of the workers of all nations—such is the national program that Marxism, the experience of the whole world, and the experience of Russia, teach the workers.
- The Autocrat of all the Russias will resign his crown, and proclaim his subjects free republicans sooner than will our American masters voluntarily give up their slaves.
- Abraham Lincoln, letter to George Robertson (15 August 1855)
- As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.' When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.
- Abraham Lincoln, Letter to Joshua F. Speed (24 August 1855)
- Putin's Russia is our adversary and moral opposite. It is committed to the destruction of the post-war, rule-based, world order built on American leadership and the primacy of our political and economic values…There is no placating Putin. There is no transforming him from a gangster to a responsible statesman. Previous administrations have tried and failed not because they didn’t try hard enough, but because Putin wants no part of it.
- Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy.
- From the southern seas to the polar lands. Spread are our forests and fields. You are unique in the world, one of a kind. This native land protected by God!
- Moscow has changed. I was here in 1982, during the Brezhnev twilight, and things are better now. For instance, they've got litter. In 1982 there was nothing to litter with.
- P. J. O'Rourke, Holidays in Hell (1989).
- Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there. We didn't argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget. We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon... When it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead.
- In my opinion, nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of socialism as the belief that Russia is a socialist country and that every act of its rulers must be excused, if not imitated.
- Vladimir Putin has suffocated Russian civil society and neutered the press.
- Evan Osnos, as quoted in "Born Red: How Xi Jinping, an unremarkable provincial administrator, became China’s most authoritarian leader since Mao." (6 April 2015), by E. Osnos, New Yorker.
- They're our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.
- Sarah Palin, to Charles Gibson, ABC News, September 11, 2008.
- This was parodied as "I can see Russia from my house", on "Saturday Night Live", a comedy television show, two days later, by Tina Fey. Fey resembled Palin in appearance, and was portraying Palin, and so the latter quote is often misattributed to Palin.
- Sarah Palin, to Charles Gibson, ABC News, September 11, 2008.
- Russia is not corrupt. Corruption is what happens in all countries when businessmen offer officials large bribes for favors. Today’s Russia is unique. The businessmen, the politicians, and the bureaucrats are the same people. They have privatized the country’s wealth and taken control of its financial flows.
- Andrei Pionkovsky, Another Look Into Putin's Soul.
- We are hurtling back into a Soviet abyss, into an information vacuum that spells death from our own ignorance. All we have left is the internet, where information is still freely available. For the rest, if you want to go on working as a journalist, it's total servility to Putin. Otherwise, it can be death, the bullet, poison, or trial - whatever our special services, Putin's guard dogs, see fit.
- Anna Politkovskaya, "Poisoned by Putin: The horror of Beslan was made still worse by the intimidation of Russia's servile media" (9 September 2004), The Guardian, Guardian News and Media Limited
- Our state authorities today are only interested in making money. That is literally all they are interested in.
- Anna Politkovskaya, A Russian Diary (2008), London: Vintage Books, p. 300.
- The annexation of Crimea became one of the most cynical acts of treachery in modern history.
- Petro Poroshenko, Address to the Joint Session of the United States Congress (18 September 2014)
- Russia has made its choice in favor of democracy. Fourteen years ago, independently, without any pressure from outside, it made that decision in the interests of itself and interests of its people -- of its citizens. This is our final choice, and we have no way back. There can be no return to what we used to have before. And the guarantee for this is the choice of the Russian people, themselves. No, guarantees from outside cannot be provided. This is impossible. It would be impossible for Russia today. Any kind of turn towards totalitarianism for Russia would be impossible, due to the condition of the Russian society.
- Vladimir Putin, statement in press release, Office of the White House Press Secretary, United States (February 24, 2005). "President and President Putin Discuss Strong U.S.-Russian Partnership"
- Racism is a serious problem in the Russian game.
- Sarah Rainsford, as quoted in "Football racism still rife in 2018 World Cup host Russia" (27 February 2015), by S. Rainsford, BBC News, British Broadcasting Corporation.
- Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demands for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie.
- Ayn Rand, as quoted in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966).
- Try to tell a Russian housewife, who trudges miles on foot in sub-zero weather in order to spend hours standing in line at a state store dispensing food rations, that America is defiled by shopping centers, expressways and family cars.
- Ayn Rand, as quoted in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution (1971).
- History shows that the process of modernization leads societies to form liberal democracies with market systems. Yet some leaders insist on trying to create alternative models, even though those models are unstable and retrograde. Putin's authoritarian effort to create a managed democracy in Russia offers a good example... After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 many people expected Russia to make a rapid transition from communism to democracy... However, what followed in Russia was a period of experimentation with relatively greater liberalism under President Boris Yeltsin that led not to democracy, but the rise of Putin and an authoritarian system... Putin's authoritarian system does not mean that he has built a successful alternative to liberal democracy. Instead, the system owes its existence in part to the slow development of a middle class in Russia that normally would demand a share of power. That slow development, in turn, is largely thanks to the state's monopolization of the country's most lucrative business activities: the export of energy and other natural resources.
- Charles Recknagel, "Fukuyama: 'Putinism', Radical Islam No Alternative To Liberal Democracy" (30 January 2016), Radio Free Europe: Radio Liberty.
- Rule of law is not consistent with state-sponsored brutality. When the Russian government attacks civilians in Chechnya, killing innocents without discrimination or accountability, neglecting orphans and refugees, it can no longer expect aid from international lending institutions. Moscow needs to operate with civilized self-restraint.
- Republican Party Platform of 2000 (31 July 2000), United States of America: Republican National Convention.
- Look at Russia. They keep trying help each other out, extend a hand to a neighbor, and guess what? Every ten years, some one is invading, burning down their homes and taking their toilet paper. Napoleon, Stalin, Attila the Hun, all of them. After you read my book you will understand. I may have been born in the see, but I'm no dummy!
- In my former constituency there is stud "Khrenovskoy" and that stud is older than all of the United States, older than America. Naturally, that's why we have archaic views.
- We have now seen the weakness of Russia's democratic institutions, the ease with which a Russian leader can stoke nationalist hysteria.
- In Russia we only had two T.V. channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.
- Russian society as a whole does not care if its leading scholars and scientists have a way to publish their research and discoveries and that nobody has the power to prevent abuses and torture by the police... Russians have been more united during these last 18 difficult months than during the whole of the post-Soviet period. As they say, the person who holds the flag determines what is written on it.
- After weeks of dancing around the issue, the Obama administration has expressed concern about “heightened military activity” by Russia in Syria. But what if we are facing something more than “heightened military activity?” What if Moscow is preparing to give Syria the full Putin treatment? For years, Russia has been helping Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad cling to a diminishing power structure in a shrinking territorial base without trying to impose an overall strategy. Now, however, there are signs that Russia isn't content to just support Assad. It wants to control Syria. The Putin treatment is reserved for countries in Russia’s “near neighborhood” that try to break out of Moscow’s orbit and deprive it of strategic assets held for decades. In such cases, unable to restore its past position, Russia tries to create a new situation in which it keeps a sword dangling above the head of the recalcitrant nation. Russia’s military intervenes directly and indirectly, always with help from a segment of the local population concerned. Russia starts by casting itself as protector of an ethnic, linguistic or religious minority that demands its military intervention against a central power vilified with labels such as “fascist” and “terrorist.”
- Amir Taheri, Putin is turning the Syrian coast into another Crimea, New York Post (September 19, 2015).
- Get ready for Russia to cast itself as the protector, not only of the Alawites but also of other minorities such as Turcoman, Armenians and, more interestingly for Moscow, Orthodox Christians who have fled Islamist terror groups such as ISIS. Russia has always seen itself as the “Third Rome” and the last standard-bearer of Christianity against both Catholic “deviation” and Islamist menace. By controlling a new mini-state, as a “safe haven for minorities,” Russia could insist that if Syria returns to some normality it be reconstituted as a highly decentralized state. This is what Putin is also demanding in Georgia and Ukraine. The Syrian coast will become another Crimea, if not completely annexed, at least occupied. Unless stopped, the Putin treatment will not end in Syria. The two next candidates could be Moldova and Latvia, both of which have large Russian-speaking minorities.
- Amir Taheri, Putin is turning the Syrian coast into another Crimea, New York Post (September 19, 2015).
- A Frenchman is self-assured because he regards himself personally, both in mind and body, as irresistibly attractive to men and women. An Englishman is self-assured, as being a citizen of the best-organized state in the world, and therefore as an Englishman always knows what he should do and knows that all he does as an Englishman is undoubtedly correct. An Italian is self-assured because he is excitable and easily forgets himself and other people. A Russian is self-assured just because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe that anything can be known. The German's self-assurance is worst of all, stronger and more repulsive than any other, because he imagines that he knows the truth--science--which he himself has invented but which is for him the absolute truth.
- Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, (1865-1869). Book 9, Chapter 10.
- Russia has long been a paranoid land power. It’s huge, mostly flat, and wide open to invasion. Just to name a few examples, it was invaded by the Mongols in the 13th century, Napoleon in the 19th, Nazi Germany in the 20th, and has been recently squeezed by NATO expansion in the former Soviet bloc. These events seared themselves into the Russian psyche. They breathe better with buffer states.
- Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain — at least in a poor country like Russia — and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.
- Leon Trotsky, The History of the Russian Revolution (1930). See edition: Leon Trotsky; Max Eastman (1957). The History of the Russian Revolution. University of Michigan Press, p. 213.
- The Russians are like us... They are fine people. They got along with our soldiers in Berlin very well. As far as I am concerned, they can have whatever they want just so they don't try to impose their system on others.
- Harry S. Truman, statement to a group of four congress freshmen (2 July 1947), as quoted in The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, p. 44
- The Russians are liars; you can't trust them. At Potsdam they agreed to everything and broke their word. It's too bad the second world power is like this, but that's the way it is, and we must keep our strength.
- We don't appreciate what we have until it's gone. Freedom is like that. It's like air. When you have it, you don't notice it.