2018-02-23 | Security

Ridicule follows Kremlin claim that Russia has no history of meddling


Russia does not have 'a custom of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and is not doing so now', Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. Simple facts belie the statement.

A Russian soldier participates in a military exercise in Crimea in March 2017. Russia invaded and annexed the territory from Ukraine in 2014. [Igor Rudenko/Russian Ministry of Defence]

A Russian soldier participates in a military exercise in Crimea in March 2017. Russia invaded and annexed the territory from Ukraine in 2014. [Igor Rudenko/Russian Ministry of Defence]

MOSCOW -- The recent claim by the Kremlin that it does not have a history of interfering in the affairs of other nations has been widely ridiculed, particularly among citizens of states directly impacted by Russian meddling.

Russia does not have "a custom to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and is not doing so now", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters February 19.

Simple facts belie such a statement.

Russian soldiers ride through Nabakevi village, Abkhazia, October 28, 2008. Russian troops invaded Abkhazia in the early 1990s and South Ossetia in August 2008. The Kremlin has proclaimed both Georgian provinces "independent" countries. [Ibragim Chakadua/AFP]

Russian soldiers ride through Nabakevi village, Abkhazia, October 28, 2008. Russian troops invaded Abkhazia in the early 1990s and South Ossetia in August 2008. The Kremlin has proclaimed both Georgian provinces "independent" countries. [Ibragim Chakadua/AFP]

Unidentified masked individuals hold a Russian flag as they block the Trade Union building in Simferopol, Crimea, March 1, 2014. [Genya Savilov/AFP]

Unidentified masked individuals hold a Russian flag as they block the Trade Union building in Simferopol, Crimea, March 1, 2014. [Genya Savilov/AFP]

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov addresses a news conference in Moscow December 14, 2017. [Kremlin]

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov addresses a news conference in Moscow December 14, 2017. [Kremlin]

In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea, where thousands of Russian troops remain stationed.

In 2008, Russian troops invaded Georgia, turning South Ossetia and Abkhazia into "independent" countries that only a few nations recognise diplomatically. In 2017, Georgia complained that Russian forces were slowly pushing the border even more into Georgian territory.

Going back even farther in recent history, since the fall of the USSR in 1991, Russian forces have propped up a rump state called Transnistria within Moldova, keeping that country distracted and divided.

Russian military presence in Central Asia

Recent developments in Central Asia involving Russia -- particularly a number of military "agreements" -- highlight the Kremlin's continuing efforts to exert malign influence in the region.

Russia's recent 'military aid' to Tajikistan is seen by analysts as a sign of Moscow's intent to deploy troops on the Tajik-Afghan border for the first time since 2005 -- a move that would undermine sovereignty in Central Asia.

Tajikistan already hosts Russia's largest base abroad -- the 201st Military Base, which is stationed in two separate locations in Dushanbe and in Qurghonteppa, Khatlon Province, and hosts an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 troops.

The 201st will remain in Tajikistan until 2042 at the earliest, according to an agreement Russia and Tajikistan signed in October 2012.

"Russia is creeping into Asian countries instead of putting things right at home -- [fighting] corruption, chauvinism, crime," Caravanserai reader Vasia wrote January 21. "Why does Russia need chaos? It has been its ploy for at least 300 years. Someone stealing from and destroying someone else's garden, instead of growing his own garden -- this is what Russia is all about..."

Russian forces are also stationed at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and the Kant Airbase in Kyrgyzstan. And, more than a quarter-century after the Soviet Union's collapse, they appear to have no intention of leaving.

"If Russia leaves, that's it -- it loses Central Asia forever, the way it lost influence over Poland, the Czech Republic and other countries in Eastern Europe," Parviz Rasulov, a former Tajik army captain who resides in the United States, told Caravanserai.

'Litany of subversive activities'

Russia has demonstrated its willingness to violate the sovereignty of independent states and continues to intimidate its neighbours with threatening behaviour, according to a US government report released in December last year.

The National Security Strategy report details a litany of subversive activities that Moscow directs in Central Asia and across the world, including "nuclear posturing and the forward deployment of offensive capabilities".

"Through modernised forms of subversive tactics, Russia interferes in the domestic political affairs of countries around the world," the document says. "The combination of Russian ambition and growing military capabilities creates an unstable frontier in Eurasia, where the risk of conflict due to Russian miscalculation is growing."

In terms of its neighbours, Russia is "determined to make economies less free and less fair [...] and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence".

Central Asia 'most vulnerable' to Russian aggression

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan remain the most vulnerable to Russian aggression and manipulation, according to a US Senate report released January 10.

"[Russian President Vladimir] Putin sees successful democracies, especially those along Russia's periphery as threats to his regime because they present an attractive alternative to his corrupt and criminal rule," the report said.

"Democracies with transparent governments, the rule of law, a free media and engaged citizens are naturally more resilient to the spread of corruption beyond Russia's borders, thereby limiting the opportunities for the further enrichment of Putin and his chosen elite," the report said.

As such, Moscow has "engaged in a relentless assault to undermine democracy and the rule of law" across the globe, according to the report.

"Russia is a major threat," Caravanserai reader Omar wrote January 17. "When will we understand this? Ukrainians are freaking out over it. We don't want the 'Russian world'! [We're] sick of them!"

"Russia is no friend of Kazakhstan's. This is an attempt at revanchism stemming from the loss of complete control over Central Asia, a kind of imperial arrogance and vain efforts," Caravanserai reader Elzhas wrote January 24.

"All these 'economic unions' with Russia are no good for Kazakhstan. Why [do we need to] duplicate the WTO? Kazakhstan should go along only with Turkey, Europe, the United States and other developed countries. They have many positive examples to learn from. Russia means fascism, banditry and evil for humanity," he wrote.

"They [Russians] want us to work hard for them. Remember the USSR, where Russia took everything and killed everyone who was against that. But people simply needed something to eat," Caravanserai reader Sania wrote January 14.

"But what does Russia give us, if it can't even provide for itself? Only Putin and his sycophants live a good life in Russia as people there starve to death."

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Валентина | 2018-04-01

Moderator, why don't you post my comments, or do you demigods not need [to know] the truth?

Валентина | 2018-04-01

I am aghast when I read about this nationalism nurtured by "democracy" in Kazakhstan, and nobody arrests, imprisons, or holds these political analysts accountable that are sowing ethnic discord. If they only did some investigating, it would become evident that all this invective against Russia is coming from one source. Hey, political experts, who plays you off against the Kremlin? Who has you on their payroll? Read more history books. Did Americans treat what ails you long ago? Did Americans teach you about construction? Did Americans teach you about agriculture? Did Americans help you become literate? You political analysts should learn history and then incite ethnic hatred, whoever is egging you on.

Георгий | 2018-03-21

Russia should not interfere in the internal affairs of Central Asian countries... Russia has no influence in Uzbekistan because there are very few Russians among its 40-million population. There is the same situation in Turkmenistan, therefore they are not favorably inclined towards Russia...

Арт | 2018-03-20

Read Western disinformation more often, grovel at their feet, and you will end up having rainbow flags like theirs, just like your dreams. Expand your horizons, Nazis - Russia didn't come to Asia on its own accord. Your ancestors called upon Russia [to come]. Study history at a deeper level. Look for the problem in your heads, not in Russia!

Татьяна | 2018-03-19

This is a Russophobic article. It would be helpful for the author to learn something about the history of the United States and England. Let me just say that they are the aggressors. Russia turned virtually medieval Central Asia into modern states that have a manufacturing base, healthcare, and education. The USSR spent more money on the republics than inside Russia itself. History has not seen this kind of attitude towards conquered peoples. At least you should take a look at the results of the US presence in Libya, Afghanistan, etc.

нуреке | 2018-03-19

That is all true; I am 66 years old, and I saw how everything happened: Russians told us we should only speak Russian, and they kicked us off the bus [if people couldn't speak Russian]. This is lawlessness

Наталья | 2018-03-18

What nonsense you are posting here. Kazakhstan and Russia are friendly nations. You want to drive a wedge between us. No way.

Сырга | 2018-03-18

I'm so fed up! The USA pokes its long nose here, there, and everywhere. Do you live in America? So, go live there, for God's sake - no one is bothering you. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are none of your business. Please be so kind as to stop your policies that rake up muck everywhere.

Галина | 2018-03-18

Get lost... The only thing you can do is cling to someone's back and live like parasites. Go in peace with China, and they will give you everything you need: dictatorship, a strict regime, mass executions, and locusts for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Russia doesn't f...ing need to drag you along, you Asian traitors.

Николай | 2018-03-18

This is a pretty crappy website, and it looks as if it is managed not by CENTRAL ASIANS, but by UKRAINIAN BANDERITES - their BLOODY CLAWS are visible very CLEARLY.

Андрей | 2018-03-22

Kremlin trolls, who have already gone down one kilometer deep in dirt - if you think it [the web-site] is crappy, then don't look at it. It is hard to find people in the world who are bloodier and more deceitful than Russists-Putinists. And Banderites exist only in the morbid imagination of the Russian biomass made zombies by propaganda.

farhad | 2018-03-12

What bullshit! By the way, we - the peoples of Central Asia - lived under oppression for centuries. Thanks to the revolution in Russia, we gained our statehood, Central Asian republics were created as part of the USSR, and thousands of new residential buildings were built to replace old, shabby buildings. By doing all that, [Russia] laid the groundwork for statehood for the republics. Russia is a great country, and the biggest nation in Eurasia. Therefore, it will assert its dominance, and it is doing the right thing. And who should be in Central Asia - Anglo-Saxons? Almost everybody here works in Russia, improving their livelihood and sending money [home]. What can Americans give us? A freaking "color revolution" and then chaos, covered with the flag of democracy? Divide and rule. Do we really need this? Leave us alone. Whatever happens, Russia helped us and will continue to do so in the future. Let's say we have alienate Russia. What's next? Would Russia expel all the immigrants from its borders? Where would we find work: in China, India, Pakistan, or Afghanistan? So, that is the answer for you. It's short but clear.

Андрей | 2018-03-14

You should study history better. Russia came to Asia, as it came to other places, as a typical colonial power. Nobody invited them. Russia can be called "great" only because it is so large, while tiny Singapore, Luxembourg, or Qatar deserve to be called great much more. Countries where Anglo-Saxons, as you put it, were once present, live far better. And they all have their own best interests in mind, not being pathetic Kremlin puppets. All the countries still in Russia's sphere of interest - from Moldova to Tajikistan - are the poorest nations on the continent. Putin's Russia helps no one, and solely pursues its own interests. For example, its interest in helping build the Kambarata Hydroelectric Power Plant in Kyrgyzstan stemmed from [its intention] to put pressure on Uzbekistan. As soon as there was no more need to do that, [Russia] immediately refused to help [build the plant]. This fake Customs Union that exists mostly on paper was created for a small group of Russian oligarchs. Migrants in Russia work hard for peanuts like disenfranchised slaves, and the locals hate them, as you know. They would be making much more, and have more rights, in any civilized country. Here are a couple of expressions clearly depicting the Russian attitude toward everyone and everything. "Your Great Russian dream is to drag everyone into the shit you are sitting neck deep in. This is what Russism [Russianness] is about" Shamil Basayev [Chechen warlord] "Our historic mission is not to make life better for ourselves, but to do harm to our neighbors" Andrey Kurayev, Protodeacon of the Russian Orthodox Church Etim [not sure if that's a name or a word]

Ориф | 2018-03-15

If Russia disappeared would we be in trouble? That's not the case, since our life is in Allah's hands, and doesn't depend on them [the Russians]. So you should think before you speak

valentUZ | 2018-03-17

Tomorrow is yet another Day of Putin's elections [as president]. Let's extend our congratulations to the people of Routinea [the author makes "routine" part of the country's name] for making the best possible choice, and let's wish Him success on his gradual path toward achieving the Only Goal he deserves

valentUZ | 2018-03-20

According to Alexander Pushkin [the most famous Russian poet], "We all possess Napoleon’s features - millions of two-legged creatures" ("Eugene Onegin"). The name "Vladimir" has always been the most common name in Russia: "Own The World" [literal meaning of the name]. But Joseph (Dolgoruky) came closer than anyone else to achieving this goal.

Temur Malik | 2018-03-10

I see that Russophiles are all gathered here. 3 rubl wurst, annual trip tickets to health resorts given by labor union in the times of USSR is dear to you than millions of our forefathers were killed during colonization and collectivization, issues of Aral Sea, oppression of our religion and culture. Concept of Motherland is alien for mankurts (Mankurt - is unthinking slave). They only think of their full stomach. Famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi was exactly about them: "Elite raised by colonizers is the greatest enemy of nation". Trolls are clinging on to old cliches. Look what they are saying. They slander too much about rotten people selling themselves for american 3 cents. But they hide about their instigation by the instruction of FSB. Especially "Vesti.uz" is a dwelling for such people.

Temur Malik | 2018-03-10

This is an answer for all these primitive "imperialists" from Uzbekistan and other post-Soviet countries. Living in the country for two-three generations (the bulk of the Russian-speaking population arrived here after 1941, and many after 1966) but not speaking the language of the country that accommodates and educates you - and being proud of that - represents ignorance at its peak. "Ihtamnety" come from this very social group. [Ihtamnety comes from the Russian "их там нет," or "they are not there". These words are often used in official denials of the Russian military presence in Ukraine. Later, this phrase was turned into a noun humorously depicting Russian troops and mercenaries secretly deployed to Ukraine and Syria]. But thank Allah this is not Ukraine, and demographics does its part. Soldiers of Alexander the Great, Arabs, and Mongols came here. Where are they now? They all assimilated. The people of Central Asia are hospitable and kind-hearted, unlike the Balts. We quickly let go of past grievances, and have forgotten about the millions of victims sacrificed in the region during colonization and collectivization - and that the tragedy of the Aral [Sea] was not compensated by the "great" country that used our resources and land for the arms race, and much more. And don't even start talking about the cities, plants and factories, and infrastructure that they built for us. Can all of that compensate for the damage stated above?! Besides, our poor compatriots have built 20 "Tashkents" in Russia, starting in the 1990's, but they are still disenfranchised, and do not live in those buildings themselves, unlike those who came to Tashkent either to help or resolve their housing problems. The truth has a reverse side that colonists do not like to call attention to.

ТАТЬЯНА | 2018-03-09

[It's a] tricky article

Андрей | 2018-03-09

Anyone acquainted with history knows pretty well that the very existence of Russia means almost continuous meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, including direct aggression and annexation. And this paradigm never changes. The Russian Federation is still guided by the principles of the nineteenth century.

Ома | 2018-03-09

Russia is evil

valentUZ | 2018-03-07

How is Cuba doing? Do people still dance the Pachanga?........ [a Latin dance similar to salsa]

курман | 2018-03-07

We have a lot in common with Russia. The Russian world is a window into a different world for us. There are many positive things in the Russian world - more than negative. How can anyone deny the role of the Russian people in the development of Kyrgyzstan? I personally can't imagine losing the Russian world to the American or Chinese world instead. Modern challenges are forcing Russians to be more active in countries in Central Asia. The "foes of Russia" describe this increase in activity as [Russian] meddling in the internal affairs [of other countries]. We understand the Russian world better. Pseudo-nationalists don't get it.

Оёёёёй | 2018-03-06

This is all sad. Ordinary people are played off one against another on a religious, ethnic basis. Meanwhile, the powers that be - the oligarchs, elites, [crime] "bosses" - are all good friends with each other, kissing each other like Brezhnev and covering for each other, if need be. As they said a long time ago, divide and rule. Countless people have died in the world because of imbecility on the part of these dickhead swine.

Дядя Фёдор | 2018-03-02

What is good in satanic America? There is nothing sacred or human left in the West. Money talks. LGBT and all that barreling along. In short, their "democracy" means death for us!

valentUZ | 2018-03-08

Gender equality, national unity (almost "monolithic"). Blacks are generals now, Latinos are Navy commanders. The Indians live the way of life that they choose.

Нугман | 2018-03-01

Elzhas, I'm sorry but my name is with a "ь" [Russian letter denoting softer pronunciation of certain sounds], so it is written "El'dar"; where are you from?

Россия | 2018-02-28

Why should Russia give you anything? Are you nuts? No, you have got some nerve - you want more and more, but don't you know anything about unselfish friendship? The longer I live, the more I see: "you're not our friends, no way!" Your friendship is false, but☝️either with or without you - it makes no difference to Russia. If not Russia then that mean [getting cozy with the] Yanks, since they are successful. So, go ahead and mend fences [with the Americans]. Of course, the main thing is [it gives the appearance of] respectability, unlike your friendship with sanctioned Russia.

Ома | 2018-03-09

How about you go to hell, Russka-poop!!! [Russka (pronounced 'rAshka') is a derogatory name of Russia].

valentUZ | 2018-03-12

"...What is it that "drives" you? "A verdict of Destiny"?? Maybe [it is] "e n v y felt secretly, m a l i c e whose arrows strike openly?", and, more than that, the "poisonous aspersion" of a slave. [The author slightly paraphrases the classical Russian poem "Clouds" by Mikhail Lermontov]

Churchill | 2018-03-16

Cut it out, Katsap. [Katsap is a rude epithet used by Ukrainians to slander Russians]