Friday, January 27, 2017

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 excellent 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.

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.”
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.

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 that 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."

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]
Matt Taibbi, writing in Rolling Stone, "The Russia Story Reaches a Crisis Point:
Have we ever been less sure about the truth of an urgent news story?

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]
Taibbi expands on this "either-or" statement with his usual clarity and prose.

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 do know this story. I guarantee that few in Russia don't know it.


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At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GP, few in this country know ANYTHING at all, except which kardashian posted the latest tit pics.

Just as obamanation's corruption, betrayals and ineptitude created the vacuum that gave us der fuhrer, the opportunism of the neoliberal fascist Clinton in sending in the Chicago boys to fill the vacuum created by the chronic lush yeltsin after the fall of the wall is what created Putin and the current kleptocracy.

Just as the coup in Iran prevented further rape of the Iranian oil fields by western interests, the rise of putin is keeping the us from further rape of Russian economy.

Really, who could possibly blame either for their stance toward the pure greed and evil of the us foreign policy.

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And apparently a good portion of US broadcast and print media are clueless about this story.
Of course, this condition of mind does nothing to stop them reporting on it.

At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The us media has to balance the truth against access to DC whores for their "news".

Apparently, the calculation is that the horseshit from DC is more profitable than the truth from everywhere.

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At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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