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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Under Dynamic Putin, Nation Ready for G-8

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In response to "Russia Not Ready for G-7," Aug. 9.

Editor,

This article perfectly illustrates the growing resentment in the Western hemisphere with Russia, under the new and dynamic leadership of President Vladimir Putin, imposing itself on global affairs. Referring to the recent economic summit of industrial powers in Okinawa, the author argues that it was "a mistake to bring Russia into the G-7 at all."

Despite, or because of, such preposterous sentiments, it was demonstrated two years ago during the August ruble debacle exactly how influential the nations nascent economy has already become within the global economy. The shock waves from that financial earthquake were registered far beyond Russian territory when demand for expensive foreign imports suddenly dried up, domestic and foreign businesses cleared out of town and international stockholders went on a frightening roller-coaster ride. Big-time hedge fund speculators, such as George Soros and the supposedly infallible long-term capital investment company, retreated from this country faster than Napoleon in 1812.

And yet the incorrigible investors once again smell profits and are scrambling back to play another exciting round of Russian roulette. And with Putins economic reforms being enforced by a curious "dictatorship of law," investor prospects look a bit rosier this time; the author himself halfheartedly admits that "considerable Russian revenue is hidden from the tax authorities," this not mentioning the vast natural resources eagerly awaiting their exploitation across 11 time zones.

Indeed, these factors must be considerable enough for the affable members of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations to wink an eye and change their name to the Group of Eight at Putins discretion.

On the political front, it would seem equally unwise to keep Russia isolated. The country occasionally offers convenient diplomatic alternatives to global predicaments that are not always available to the United States. For example, it would have been politically hazardous especially during an election year, when Clinton had already committed himself nicely to the dogged Middle East talks to risk a botched arms summit with North Korea. This was an obvious opportunity for Russian intervention. And if Putins diplomatic efforts with North Koreas Kim Jong Il prove valid, it could potentially free the United States from a whopping $60 billion tax bill for the still unproven national missile-defense program.

Furthermore, any commitment with North Korea that halts its budding missile program will calm fears across the globe that the United States will then isolate itself under a nuclear umbrella; such a development could lead to the destabilization of old geopolitical agreements based upon the grim philosophy of "mutually assured destruction" and trigger another expensive and dangerous arms race. For that, Putin deserves some credit, but instead the author laments that Putin "without yielding on any issue important to him, stole the show from the United States and its allies" at the G-7 summit in Okinawa.

Perhaps it is time for the petty rhetoric on Russias place in the world to cease and for us to understand that, despite some very serious internal problems, this country remains a vital player in world affairs.

Robert Bridge
Moscow


Slap at Heros Honor

In response to "Hiroshima Remembered," Aug. 5.

Editor,

This interview with Dutch van Kirk was a calculated slap at a heros integrity and honor. The authors questions were so leading, so one-sided, that its not difficult to figure out that the authors are unabashed anti-nuke, bleeding-heart liberals, or worse.

I applaud van Kirk for maintaining his composure and resolve. To their question, "Are you a member of any charity organization that helps those who are suffering from radiation sickness?" I wish he had answered, "No, I am a member of the USS Arizona Memorial Organization, which every Dec. 7 pays tribute to the men entombed in that ship at the bottom of Pearl Harbor." This would have created a little balance, which Im sure you at least strive for.

Donald Ellison
United States


Pushkin Square Attack



Editor,

Some of the first people to arrive at the site of the Pushkin Square blast were the Digger Rescuers a branch of the Center for Underground Research named Diggers of the Underground Planet. Along with firefighters, emergency situations personnel and the diggers made their way through the debris and smoke in hopes of finding survivors. Our hopes were not justified.

Click here to read our Special Report on the bombings.

After last years bombings of Moscow apartment buildings, I told the press about the possible danger of emergencies or terrorist acts in busy underground areas, warning that underground communications were not adequately protected. And I suggested that, if surveillance cameras were not placed immediately in the metro and underground passageways, then small kiosks should be removed from those locations.

Vadim Mikhailov, president
Diggers of the Underground Plant
Moscow


Editor,

The explosion on Pushkin Square has shaken us all. That is one of the most busy places in the capital. The most widely accepted version of the cause is a terrorist act performed by Chechens. And this latest incident will mean a new outburst of anti-Chechen sentiment.

Recently, as I was traveling in the metro, I noticed a drunken man loudly saying that all Chechens should be shot, that they werent people but animals, and he would strangle them all with his own hands. I was horrified. After all, many people unfortunately hold the same view. I understand that people are afraid, but the entire nation shouldnt be judged guilty.

Following the explosion, people will require the government to conduct some operation against Chechnya, for example, tightening visa control, which could lead to an even more problematic relationship. I cant say I know all the ins and outs of political fine points; I only want to say that ordinary people shouldnt be judged by their governments actions. A number of Chechens now live in Russia. They are just like us. And they too could have been at the scene of the explosion.

Its awful not to be able to walk safely around your own city. At the time of the explosion, I was nearby, and only by luck did I not go down into the passageway. After the blast, I saw the frightened faces of people and heard their shouts. I saw people running toward the site of the tragedy. One woman with a trembling voice approached me and asked if anyone had been killed. This is truly frightening to see someone elses sorrow. Still, a whole nation should not suffer because of this act.

Anna Lukyanova
Moscow


Expansive Sentiments

In response to Aug. 8.

Editor,,

I read with great enjoyment this weeks Words Worth column. I too, as the not-always-proud owner of a sizeable "potbelly," wish that I lived in a culture where my body shape was better appreciated! But I have one bone to pick with the author (and how rarely I pick only one bone!): Having lived in Russia as an overweight male person for many years in the 1990s, I can say with certainty that the verb vozmuzhat seldom if ever applies to the conspicuously pudgy, or (in my case) borderline obese person. In fact, this verb tends to apply to the man who has simply put a little weight on all over his body but has retained his general proportions.

More compelling proof of the Russian tolerance for the more wiggly-jiggly among us could perhaps be found in the expression, Chem bolshe khoroshego cheloveka, tem luchshe the more of a good person, the better. To the author, I think its safe to say Im glad theres a lot of both of us!

Nigel Beak-Smithington
Moscow