U.S. Involvement in Yeltsin’s Russia: From "America’s Colony" to "Number One Threat"
Veteran Moscow reporter Mark Ames discusses American encouragement and complicity in what I call the oligarch's "rape of Russia" under Boris Yeltzin, and how that led to the rise of Putin
by Gaius Publius
I'm going to keep the reading part of this piece short and encourage you to listen to the above interview, with veteran reporter Mark Ames. His main point and mine — the U.S. is responsible for what I call "the rape of Russia" (or "extreme privatization," a classic Bill Clinton goal) by Boris Yeltzin and the newly created oligarchs because it suited U.S. policy and ideology.
Needless to say, like much of American foreign interference, it worked until it didn't, and everyone in Russia remembers. The history, well detailed in the video above, is fascinating and eye-opening.
Ames provides fascinating detail on how that went down, who benefited and why. About Ames:
Mark Ames (born October 3, 1965) is a writer known for his work as a Moscow-based expatriate American journalist and editor. He is the founding editor of the biweekly the eXile in Moscow, to which he regularly contributed before he returned to the U.S. Ames has also written for the New York Press, The Nation, Playboy, The San Jose Mercury News, Alternet, Птюч Connection, GQ (Russian edition), and is the author of three books.At the eXile, Ames and Matt Taibbi were co-editors until Taibbi left Russia to return to the U.S. (When you read Taibbi's comments below, keep in mind his deep familiarity with Russia and its political system.)
The description of the video reads (my emphasis):
The increased aggression towards Russia from US politicians and media is made more clear when taking into account the real history of the post-Soviet period. The hidden story of Boris Yeltsin’s presidency explains how deeply the US government, along with Western capitalist institutions, cheered, shaped and exploited the country after the fall of the Soviet Union, paving the way for the political system they all condemn today.Again, please do give it your attention. You will get this information in few other places. Ames is an easy person to listen to, and the interview goes by quickly. It's also good through to the end.
To uncover just how much the US Empire has interfered in Russia’s political evolution, Abby Martin interviews Mark Ames, an American journalist who spent a decade reporting from Yeltsin’ and Putin’s Russia and witnessed the country’s transformation from an American “colony” to it’s “number one threat.”
As always with post-WWII U.S. foreign relations, it's impossible to understand an event without understanding how we were involved in what lead up to it. Case in point (one of a great many): It's impossible to understand the Iranian Revolution of 1979 without understanding the role of the U.S., the Dulles brothers, Winston Churchill, and British Petroleum in the 1953 overthrow of the Iranian government under Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.
If you want to stop here and just listen, please do. My main point is in the interview. Everything below is gloss.
Ray McGovern and Matt Taibbi on the "Russian Hacking" Case
Regarding the "Russian Hacking" case, I've written about about somewhat extensively — see "Who’s Blackmailing the President & Why Aren’t Democrats Upset About It?" — but I want to add a few comments by former U.S. intelligence officer Ray McGovern and veteran reporter Matt Taibbi. Just a short quote from each, which hopefully will lead you to the source articles for more (h/t the excellent link aggregation site Avedon's Sideshow for both).
First, Ray McGovern writing recently at Consortium News, "Obama Admits Gap in Russian 'Hack' Case:
Oops. Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the U.S. intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation - expressed with 'high confidence' - has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds."Matt Taibbi, writing in Rolling Stone, "The Russia Story Reaches a Crisis Point:
Does the Russian government hack, as many other governments do? Of course. Did it hack the emails of the Democratic National Committee? Almost certainly, though it was likely not alone in doing so. In the Internet age, hacking is the bread and butter of intelligence agencies. ...
What remains to be demonstrated is that it was “the Russians” who gave those emails to WikiLeaks. And that is what the U.S. intelligence community doesn’t know.
At President Obama’s Jan. 18 press conference, he admitted as much: “the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked.” [Emphasis added by author]
Have we ever been less sure about the truth of an urgent news story?Taibbi expands on this "either-or" statement with his usual clarity and prose.
Three days into the 'Russian dossier' scandal, which history will remember by a far more colorful name, we still have no clue what we're dealing with. We're either learning the outlines of the most extraordinary compromise to date of an incoming American president by a foreign power, or we're watching an unparalleled libel and media overreach." [emphasis mine]
Again, though, the meat of this piece is in the video, the history of U.S. involvement in what I call "the rape of Russia" by Yeltsin and the oligarchs — how we encouraged it, enabled it, and benefited enormously from it — until we didn't.
I guarantee that few in this country know this story. I guarantee that few in Russia don't know it.