Russia, Belarus Hold Joint War Games

Russia’s Unlikely Diplomat – Vladimir Putin

2013-09-25-sochitogroznymaphale1.jpg

The West 2013 exercise conducted Thursday near the city of Grodno in western Belarus and in Russias westernmost Kaliningrad region also involved more than 500 armored vehicles and about 90 aircraft along with ships of Russias Black Sea Fleet. Karla Adam Interpol issues arrest notice for British national in connection to Nairobi attack, setting off a media frenzy. With many missing after mall siege, Kenyans want answers Sudarsan Raghavan Many are in an emotional limbo amid a search for relatives and friends who havent been seen since the attack. Behind Nairobi attack, a Somali mastermind Sudarsan Raghavan Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr is bookish and recites poetry. He has also killed most rivals to gain control of al-Shabab. Kathy Lally Olympic Committee members express satisfaction on their final inspection of Sochi, the host site. Russia and Belarus are allies and have close economic, political and military ties. Russia has several military facilities in Belarus, and the two nations operate a joint air defense system. The two armies have regularly conducted joint maneuvers, Thursdays exercise being the biggest so far. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attended the exercise along with his nine-year old son, who donned full combat fatigues. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Pierluigi Lugano, an Abissi wine maker, checks a Primat, a bottle that contains 27 litres of sparkling wine that was brought to the surface by scuba divers on September 25, 2013 in Chiavari. Pierluigi Lugano is experimenting by storing his wine three to four years in the sea at a depth of 60 metres and some 3 kilometres offshore, where the water temperature remains constant under 6 bars of pressure with a slight deepwater current. 
AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORINOLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images

Syria is not about Syria; it is about Putin’s view of sovereignty. According to Fiona Hill at the Brookings Institute, Putin declared in 2005 that the demise of the Soviet Union was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century.” Putin is really motivated to support the Assad regime by his fear of state collapse–a fear he confronted most directly during the secession of Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, which he brutally suppressed in a bloody civil war and counterinsurgency operation fought between 1999 and 2009. Economic deterioration, continued weakness in Europe, profound institutional weaknesses, contracting energy demand, companies driven more by greed than global competition, rivals in the wings who gain strength as popular disgust with an epidemic of corruption grows, and growing competition from China, especially in the Far East. What does Putin have to look forward to? The Winter Olympics in Sochi, a hop, skip, and a jump from Chechnya might not be the antidote to Russia’s economic and political ills. As Ian Bremmer explains, Nor is the honor of hosting the Olympics an economic boon for Russia–although it certainly will be for Putin’s closest friends. The Games are now 500 percent over budget, the most expensive of all time–and that money is largely going to corruption rather than any infrastructural investment that might continue to pay dividends to the Russian people. (The $7+ billions in contracts awarded to the companies of a single childhood friend of Putin’s exceeded the entire budget of the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver.) Expect public protests and international scrutiny to transform the Games into a referendum on Russia’s record on political freedoms and human rights. China seems to have created a smoother integration into the world economy than Russia. I have often thought that this is because when China opened up in 1979, there were still people in living memory who ran real businesses prior to the revolution in 1949. There was also a cohort of Chinese entrepreneurs around the world in outposts like the US, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, who grew those businesses in an environment where the rule of law was already in place. And some of them came back to China. Russia’s revolution took place in 1917.

Sent! A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. Join the Nation’s Conversation To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Russia, Belarus hold joint war games AP 1:21 p.m. EDT September 26, 2013 Story Highlights Massive joint military exercise involved more than 22,000 troops Russia and Belarus are allies and have close ties Thursday’s joint exercise was their biggest so far SHARE 1 CONNECT 17 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE MINSK, Belarus (AP) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart have watched a massive joint military exercise of the two ex-Soviet neighbors that involved more than 22,000 troops. The West 2013 exercise conducted Thursday near the city of Grodno in western Belarus and in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad region also involved more than 500 armored vehicles and about 90 aircraft along with ships of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Russia and Belarus are allies and have close economic, political and military ties. Russia has several military facilities in Belarus, and the two nations operate a joint air defense system. The two armies have regularly conducted joint maneuvers, Thursday’s exercise being the biggest so far. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attended the exercise along with his nine-year old son, who donned full combat fatigues. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. USA NOW