Ariel Cohen, writing on the National Interest website:
In late August, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev appointed Georgy Poltavchenko governor of St. Petersburg. Poltavchenko has served as presidential envoy to Russia’s central-administrative district since 2000. More importantly, he is a loyalist to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and a KGB veteran. He replaces Valentina Matviyenko, another Putin confidante, who has moved on to chair the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian Parliament. Sergey Mironov, the former speaker of the Federation Council, is out. All this game of musical chairs has little to do with either President Medvedev or significant democratic developments. Rather, it demonstrates how Putin is rearranging his insiders.
The always-brilliant Ariel Cohen, writing on the Heritage Foundation blog:
[The first week in November], two seemingly unconnected events took place in Moscow. Yet, considered together, they have are of tremendous importance and serve to weaken the rule of law in Russia.
[On] Tuesday, imprisoned former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky delivered a passionate speech at the end of his kangeroo court proceedings about the corroding lawlessness plaguing his country. As Khodorkovsky addressed the court, masked Russian police SWAT teams armed with Kalashnikovs raided the National Reserve Bank in Moscow. The bank belongs to Alexander Lebedev, another billionaire political opponent of the Putin-Medvedev “tandemocracy.”
Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation, writing in the Washington Times:
Last week, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, commander of the Russian air force, announced that Moscow had deployed a state-of-the-art S-300 (SA-20 Favorit variant) long-range air-defense system in Abkhazia, a region of the Republic of Georgia that Russia has occupied since the August 2008 war.
Since then, Russia has recognized breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent republics. According to Gen. Zelin, the task of the air-defense system is “to prevent violation of Abkhaz and South Ossetian airspace and to destroy any aircraft intruding into their airspace no matter what their purpose might be.” On Saturday, Gen. Zelin announced that the Russian air force had resumed flights from the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi.
However, there is much more than defense of Abkhazia to the Russian deployment.
Ariel Cohen, writing for the National Review:
Last weekend, Israel leaked to the Sunday Times of London that Russian scientists are developing nuclear warheads for Iran. According to the leakers, that’s why Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow for a “secret” visit September 7.
If true, this information may accelerate sanctions against Iran, or even precipitate military action to destroy the Iranian nuclear-weapons program. It may also blow President Obama’s Russia “reset” policy to smithereens.
Ariel Cohen, in Moscow, writing on the Heritage Foundation website:
Is the Obama Administration, busy pushing the “reset button” with Russia is about to suffer a geopolitical setback in Ukraine? When talking to the security experts here, it sure looks like it.
Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., a Senior Research Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, testifed last week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by John Kerry. That rat bastard Andrew Kuchins, whose shameless Russophile fraud we have previously exposed, also testified. Cohen’s testimony was based on a recent white paper he published on the Heritage Foundation website, which we touted both here on this blog and on Pajamas Media. Here is Cohen’s testimony in full, if the Sentate listens attentively, there will be more hope for Russia and for us:
President Barack Obama has expressed a desire to constructively engage Russia and has also expressed concerns over Russia’s increasingly truculent behavior and the threat it poses to the current international system. These concerns are valid and the threat of a resurgent Russia is palpable. Moscow’s efforts at carving out a “sphere of privileged interests” in Eurasia and rewrite the rules of European security have negative implications for U.S.–Russia relations, international security, the autonomy of the independent former Soviet states, and Europe’s independence.
Despite these circumstances, the Obama Administration seems to be rushing ahead with a “carrots-and-cakes” approach to the Kremlin, judging by Vice President Joe Biden’s recent speech at the annual Munich international security conference. In this speech, the Vice President outlined the Obama Administration’s foreign policy vision for the first time on the world stage and suggested that America push “the reset button” on relations with Russia. Notably absent from this speech was any mention of any recent events in Eurasia.