The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. You would think we could have been friends with Russia, and it didn’t happen. Why?
Because the CIA didn’t want it to happen.
A wild allegation? Perhaps. I’ll attempt to explain it. Note that I have just written 16000 words in my latest novel in the last four days, and it is 3:40 AM as I type this, so I am not going to Google everything in this blog. It’s coming from memory. So on to the explanation.
Consider. Russia has six major naval bases. Starting at the top and going clockwise, they are Murmansk, Vladivostok, Sebastopol, Tartus, Kaliningrad, and St. Petersburg. Let’s consider each in turn.
Murmansk is on the Arctic Ocean. It is frozen in for much of the year. The Russians base their nuclear submarines here, because they don’t use the surface outside of port anyway. For surface ships, though, Murmansk is not a viable naval base for much of the year.
Vladivostok is on the Pacific Ocean. It is just a bit north of Russia’s border with North Korea. You remember all those movies about the Korean War and the winters and all the snow? Yeah, well Vladivostok is north of North Korea. The problem there is that the river dumps fresh water into the port, which floats out over the heavier sea water, and freezes on the surface. To combat this, the Russians heat the harbor to keep it clear. The Russian scientists also expect the climate to turn colder because the sun is going into a minimum. The Russians have just completed a huge new heat generating station in Vladivostok to keep the port open in winter.
Sebastopol is the major city in the Crimea, the region of Ukraine the Russians seized in 2014. The Russians have had a major naval base there since the city was founded in 1783. In fact, the city was founded by the Russian navy in order to put a naval base there. The Russian naval base there is older than the United States Constitution. Sebastopol is on the Black Sea, which means Russian ships have to transit the Bosporus Strait and the Dardanelles to reach the Aegean Sea and on into the Mediterranean.
Tartus is a Russian naval base in Syria. It is on the Mediterranean Sea. The Russians have both a naval and an air base there in an agreement with Bashar al-Assad.
Kaliningrad has a Russian naval base on the Baltic Sea. Access to the Atlantic Ocean is through the Denmark Strait. Kaliningrad is an all-weather port. The problem is that Kaliningrad is Russian territory that is not connected to the main part of Russia, sort of like Alaska is not connected to the main part of the United States. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland lie between Russia and its province of Kaliningrad.
St. Petersburg is at the east end of the Baltic Sea. It is not an all-weather port, as it is ice-bound for part of the year.
– Murmansk — ice-bound
– Vladivostok — major effort to keep open
– Sebastopol — all-weather port
– Tartus — all-weather port; located in Syria
– Kaliningrad — all-weather port; not contiguous to Russia
– St. Petersburg — ice-bound
So in the east, the only all-weather port the Russians really have on their own territory is Sebastopol, in the Crimea. The other reliable all-weather ports they have are Kaliningrad and Tartus, though neither is connected to Russia proper.
As I said, Sebastopol was actually founded by the Russian navy in order to build a naval base there in 1783. The Crimea has been Russian territory for a very long time. So where did the current hoo-hah over the Crimea and Ukraine come from?
When Ukraine was a part of the USSR, the Ukrainians didn’t particularly like being part of the USSR. There was a significant independence movement. They were trouble for Stalin, and Stalin was trouble for them. In 1932-1933, Stalin orchestrated a famine in Ukraine that killed 7-10 million people. Once Stalin had died, Krushchev tried to make nice with Ukraine by putting the Crimea under Ukraine in April 1954. Since the USSR was one big country, this is like transferring the western panhandle of Florida to Mississippi. It was still part of the USSR, it was just changing from one state to another. All well and good.
Then the Soviet Union broke up. Ukraine became its own country, and the Crimea went with it. This was OK with the Russians at the time, as Ukraine remained under Russian influence and the two countries were allied.
Here’s where the CIA comes in. The CIA was founded to keep an eye on the Russians. It was our Cold War agency against the Russians. Sure, they did other stuff, but the CIA’s main job was the USSR. Then, in 1991, the USSR broke up. And the CIA didn’t see it coming. Russia was their one job, and they didn’t see the breakup of the Soviet Union coming. Nice, huh?
But the other thing is that the CIA was now out of a job. Their main business was fighting with the USSR, and now it was gone. The one thing a bureaucracy is good at is self-preservation. The CIA started provoking the Russians.
In Ukraine, the CIA worked to turn the country to the West. It fomented and fueled pro-Western groups and politicians in the country. With a lot of Western guidance and money, the pro-Western forces won the Orange Revolution in 2004. And then Ukraine started talking about joining NATO and the EU. And the Ukraine still had the Crimea.
So in April, 2014, the sixtieth anniversary of the administrative transfer of the Crimea to the Ukraine within the USSR, Vladimir Putin took the Crimea back for Russia. The Russians were not going to lose their 220-year-old naval base in the Crimea, and the city of Sebastopol — which was all ethnic Russians, not Ukrainians — to the West.
And the West went nuts. Because the Russians took back what was theirs. Hey, if you break off the engagement, you’re supposed to give back the ring. Ukraine broke off from Russia, and took the Crimea with it. Naughty, naughty.
OK, so there’s two more all-weather ports the Russians have, in Syria and Kaliningrad.
The United States has been demanding the regime change of Bashar al-Assad for years, but Russia supports him — because of the Russian naval base at Tartus. If the rebellion against Assad had promised the Russians a 99-year-lease with an option for 99 more ten years ago, Bashar al-Assad would have disappeared one night, and there would be no civil war in Syria. The Russians will do anything to keep Assad in power as long as he promises they can keep the base in Tartus and the West doesn’t. More scheming by us to cut off Russian naval bases.
As for Kaliningrad, the only land routes to Kaliningrad from Russia proper run through the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, or through Poland. And the Baltic states and Poland have both been turning west and want the United States to protect them from Russia. And we’ve been being buddy-buddy with both Poland and the Baltic states, without giving Russia any guarantees to Kaliningrad.
So, yeah, the Russians are more than a little miffed at us. And yeah, they tried to “interfere” in our elections, though on which side is less clear. They ran some Facebook posts. Whoopie. If they really wanted to interfere in our elections, they should have been taking lessons from the CIA. In addition to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, you should look up Mohammad Mosaddegh and Patrice Lumumba and consider what the history of Iran and Congo would have looked like without CIA interference.
So why are the Russians a threat to the US? Because the CIA has engineered the situation to make the US a threat to the Russians.
Which keeps them in business.
An alternative solution to “the Russia problem” would be to guarantee Russia access to the sea through its existing naval bases, and dissolve the CIA.