- Washington clearly wants 'finito' with Russia's Putin
as in basta! or as they said in Egypt last spring, Kefaya--enough!. Hillary
Clinton and friends have apparently decided Russia's prospective next president,
Vladimir Putin, is a major obstacle to their plans. Few however understand
why. Russia today, in tandem with China and to a significant degree Iran,
form the spine, however shaky, of the only effective global axis of resistance
to a world dominated by one sole superpower.
- On December 8 several days after election results for
Russia's parliamentary elections were announced, showing a sharp drop in
popularity for Prime Minister Putin's United Russia party, Putin accused
the United States and specifically Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of
fuelling the Russian opposition protesters and their election protests.
Putin stated, "The (US) Secretary of State was quick to evaluate the
elections, saying that they are unfair and unjust even before she received
materials from the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (the
OSCE international election monitors-w.e.) observers."
- Putin went on to claim that Clinton's premature comments
were the necessary signal to the waiting opposition groups that the US
Government would back their protests. Clinton's comments, the seasoned
Russian intelligence pro stated, became a "signal for our activists
who began active work with the US Department of State."
- Major western media chose either to downplay the Putin
statement or to focus almost entirely on the claims of an emerging Russian
opposition movement. A little research shows that, if anything, Putin was
downplaying the degree of brazen US Government interference into the political
processes of his country. In this case the country is not Tunisia or Yemen
or even Egypt. It is the world's second nuclear superpower, even if it
might still be an economic lesser power. Hillary is playing with thermonuclear
- Democracy or something else?
- No mistake, Putin is not a world champion practitioner
of what most consider democracy. His announcement some months back that
he and current President Medvedev had agreed to switch jobs after Russia's
March 4 Presidential vote struck even many Russians as crass power politics
and backroom deal-making. That being said, what Washington is doing to
interfere with that regime change is more than brazen and interventionist.
The same Obama Administration which just signed into law measures effectively
ripping to shreds the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution for American
citizens is posing as world supreme judge of others' adherence to what
they define as democracy.
- Let's examine closely Putin's charge of US interference
in the election process. If we look, we find openly stated in their August
2011 Annual Report that a Washington-based NGO with the innocuous name,
National Endowment for Democracy (NED), is all over the place inside Russia.
- The NED is financing an International Press Center in
Moscow where some 80 international NGOs can hold press briefings on whatever
they choose. They fund numerous "youth advocacy" and leadership
workshops to "help youth engage in political activism." In fact,
officially they spent more than $2,783,000 in 2010 on dozens of such programs
across Russia. Spending for 2011 won't be published until later in 2012.
- The NED is also financing key parts of the Russian "independent"
polling and election monitoring, a crucial part of being able to claim
election fraud. They finance in part the Regional Civic Organization in
Defense of Democratic Rights and Liberties "GOLOS." According
to the NED Annual Report the funds went "to carry out a detailed analysis
of the autumn 2010 and spring 2011 election cycles in Russia, which will
include press monitoring, monitoring of political agitation, activity of
electoral commissions, and other aspects of the application of electoral
legislation in the long-term run-up to the elections."
- In September, 2011, a few weeks before the December elections
the NED financed a Washington invitation-only conference featuring the
Russian "independent" polling organization, the Levada Center.
According to NED's own website Levada, another recipient of NED money,
had done a series of opinion polls, a standard method used in the West
to analyze the feelings of citizens. The polls profiled "the mood
of the electorate in the run up to the Duma and presidential elections,
perceptions of candidates and parties, and voter confidence in the system
of 'managed democracy' that has been established over the last decade."
- One of the featured speakers at that Washington conference
was Vladimir Kara-Murza, member of the federal council of Solidarnost ("Solidarity"),
Russia's democratic opposition movement. He is also "advisor to Duma
opposition leader Boris Nemtsov" according to NED. Another speaker
came from the right-wing neo-conservative Hudson Institute.
- Nemtsov, one of the most prominent of the Putin opposition
today is also co-chairman of Solidarnost, a name curiously enough imitated
from the Cold War days when the CIA financed the Polish Solidarnosc workers'
opposition of Lech Walesa. More on Nemtsov later.
- And on December 15, 2011, again in Washington, just as
the series of US-supported protests were being launched against Putin,
led by Solidarnost and other organizations, the NED held another conference
titled, Youth Activism in Russia: Can a New Generation Make a Difference?
The featured speaker was Tamirlan Kurbanov, who according to the NED, "most
recently served as a program officer at the Moscow office of the National
Democratic Institute for International Affairs, where he was involved in
developing and expanding the capacities of political and civic organizations;
promoting citizen participation in public life, youth engagement in particular."
The National Democratic Institute is an arm of the NED.
- The shady history of NED
- Helping youth engage in political activism is precisely
what the same NED did in Egypt over the past several years in the lead
up to the toppling of Mubarak. The same NED was instrumental by informed
accounts in the US-backed "Color Revolutions" in 2003-2004 in
Ukraine and Georgia that brought US-backed pro-NATO surrogates to power.
The same NED has been active in promoting "human rights" in Myanmar,
in Tibet, and China's oil-rich Xinjiang province.
- As careful analysts of the 2004 Ukraine "Orange
revolution" and the numerous other US-financed color revolutions discovered,
control of polling and ability to dominate international media perceptions,
especially major TV such as CNN or BBC is an essential component of the
Washington destabilization agenda. The Levada Center would likely be in
a crucial position in this regard to issue polls showing discontent with
- By their description, the National Endowment for Democracy
(NED) is a "private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth
and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year,
with funding from the US Congress, NED supports more than 1,000 projects
of non-governmental groups abroad who are working for democratic goals
in more than 90 countries."
- It couldn't sound more noble or high-minded. However,
they prefer to leave out their own true history. In the early 1980's CIA
director Bill Casey convinced President Ronald Reagan to create a plausibly
private NGO, the NED, to advance Washington's global agenda via other means
than direct CIA action. It was a part of the process of "privatizing"
US intelligence to make their work more "effective." Allen Weinstein,
who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, said in a Washington
Post interview in 1991, "A lot of what we do today was done covertly
25 years ago by the CIA." Interesting. The majority of funds for NED
come from US taxpayers through Congress. It is in every way, shape and
form a US Government intelligence community asset.
- The NED was created during the Reagan Administration
to function as a de facto CIA, privatized so as to allow it more freedom
of action. NED board members are typically drawn from the Pentagon and
US intelligence community. It has included retired NATO General Wesley
Clark, the man who led the US bombing of Serbia in 1999. Key figures linked
to clandestine CIA actions who served on NED's board have included Otto
Reich, John Negroponte, Henry Cisneros and Elliot Abrams. The Chairman
of the NED Board of Directors in 2008 was Vin Weber, founder of the ultraconservative
organization, Empower America, and campaign fundraiser for George W. Bush.
Current NED chairman is John Bohn, former CEO of the controversial Moody's
rating agency which played a nefarious role in the still-unraveling US
mortgage securities collapse. As well today's NED board includes neo-conservative
Bush-era ambassador to Iraq and to Afghanistan, Afghan-American Zalmay
- Putin's well-rehearsed opposition
- It's also instructive to look at the leading opposition
figures who seem to have stepped forward in Russia in recent days. The
current opposition "poster boy" favorite of Russian youth and
especially western media is Russian blogger Alexei Navalny whose blog is
titled LiveJournal. Navalny has featured prominently as a quasi-martyr
of the protest movement after spending 15 days in Putin's jail for partaking
in a banned protest. At a large protest rally on Christmas Day December
25 in Moscow, Navalny, perhaps intoxicated by seeing too many romantic
Sergei Eisenstein films of the 1917 Russian Revolution, told the crowd,
"I see enough people here to take the Kremlin and the White House
(Russia's Presidential home-w.e.) right now"
- Western establishment media is infatuated with Navalny.
England's BBC described Navalny as "arguably the only major opposition
figure to emerge in Russia in the past five years," and US Time magazine
called him "Russia's Erin Brockovich," a curious reference to
the Hollywood film starring Julie Roberts as a trade union organizer. However,
more relevant is the fact that Navalny went to the elite American East
Coast Yale University, also home to the Bush family, where he was a "Yale
- The charismatic Navalny however is also or has been on
the payroll of Washington's regime-destabilizing National Endowment for
Democracy (NED). According to a posting on Navalny's own blog, LiveJournal,
he was financed in 2007-2008 by the NED. His Washington NED contact person
was Frank Conatser. A facsimile of an email exchange between Navalny and
Conatser fronm November 17, 2007 is partially reproduced here.
- From: Frank Conatser [mailto:frankc@NED.ORG]
- Sent: Saturday, November 17, 2007 12:12 AM
- To: Navalny Alexey; Aleksey Navalny
- Cc: John Squier; Marc Schleifer
- Subject: NED Agreements No. 2006-576 & No. 2007-688
- Frank Conatser
- Grants Administrator for Eurasia
- National Endowment for Democracy
- 1025 F St, NW, Suite 800
- Washington, DC 20004
- 202-378-9660 (phone)
- 202-378-9860 (fax)
- (excerpt from email exchange between Alexey Navalty and
- Along with Navalny, key actors in the anti-Putin protest
movement are centered around Solidarnost which was created in December
2008 by Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and others. Nemtsov is hardly one
to protest corruption. According to Business Week Russia of September 23,
2007, Nemtsov introduced Russian banker Boris Brevnov to Gretchen Wilson,
a US citizen and an employee of the International Finance Corporation,
a financing arm of the World Bank. Wilson and Brevnov married. With the
help of Nemtsov Wilson managed to privatize Balakhna Pulp and Paper mill
at the giveaway price of just $7 million. The enterprise was sucked dry
and then sold to the Wall Street-Swiss investment bank, CS First Boston
bank. The annual turnover of the mill was reportedly $250 million.
- CS First Boston bank also paid for Nemtsov's trips to
the very expensive Davos World Economic Forum. When Nemtsov became a member
of the cabinet, his protégé Brevnov was appointed the chairman
of the Unified Energy System of Russia JSC. Two years later in 2009 Boris
Nemtsov, today's "Mr anti-corruption," used his influence reportedly
to get Brevnov off the hook for charges of embezzling billions from assets
of Unified Energy System.
- Nemtsov also took money from jailed Russian oligarch
Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 1999 when the latter was using his billions to
try to buy the Russian parliament or Duma. In 2004 Nemtsov met with exiled
billionaire oligarch Boris Berezovsky in a secret gathering with other
exiled Russian tycoons. When Nemtsov was detailed by Russian authorities
for allegations of foreign funding of his new political party, "For
Russia without Lawlessness and Corruption," US Senators John McCain
and Joe Liberman and Mike Hammer of the Obama National Security Council
came to support of Nemtsov.
- Nemtsov's close crony, Vladimir Ryzhkov of Solidarnost
is also closely tied to the Swiss Davos circles, even founding a Siberian
Davos. According to Russian press accounts from April 2005, Ryzhkov formed
a Committee 2008 in 2003 to "draw" funds of the imprisoned Khodorkovsky
along with soliciting funds from fugitive oligarchs such as Boris Berezovsky
and western foundations such as the Soros Foundation. The stated aim of
the effort was to rally "democratic" forces against Putin. On
May 23, 2011 Ryzhkov, Nemtzov and several others filed to register a new
Party of Peoples' Freedom to ostensibly field a presidential candidate
against Putin in 2012.
- Another prominent face in the recent anti-Putin rallies
is former world chess champion turned right-wing politician, Garry Kasparov,
another founder of Solidarnost. Kasparov was identified several years ago
as being a board member of a Washington neo-conservative military think-tank.
In April 2007, Kasparov admitted he was a board member of the National
Security Advisory Council of Center for Security Policy, a "non-profit,
non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying
policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security."
Inside Russia Kasparov is more infamous for his earlier financial ties
to Leonid Nevzlin, former Yukos vice-president and partner of Michael Khodorokvsky.
Nevzlin fled to Israel on being charged in Russia on charges of murder
and hiring contract killers to eliminate "objectionable people"
while Yukos vice-president.
- In 2009 Kasparov and Boris Nemtsov met with no less than
Barack Obama to discuss Russia's opposition to Putin at the US President's
personal invitation at Washington's Ritz Carlton Hotel. Nemtsov had called
for Obama to meet with opposition forces in Russia: "If the White
House agrees to Putin's suggestion to speak only with pro-Putin organizations
this will mean that Putin has won, but not only that: Putin will become
be assured that Obama is weak," he said. During the same 2009 US trip
Nemtsov was invited to speak at the New York Council on Foreign Relations,
perhaps the most influential US foreign policy think-tank. Significantly,
not only has the US State Department and US-backed political NGOs such
as NED poured millions into building an anti-Putin coalition inside Russia.
The President personally has intervened into the process.
- Ryzhkov, Nemtzov, Navalty and Putin's former Finance
Minister Alexei Kudrin were all involved in organizing the December 25th
Moscow Christmas anti-Putin rally which drew an estimated 120,000.
- Why Putin?
- The salient question is why Putin at this point? We need
not look far for the answer. Washington and especially Barack Obama's Administration
don't give a hoot about whether Russia is democratic or not. Their concern
is the obstacle to Washington's plans for Full Spectrum Dominance of the
planet that a Putin Presidency will represent. According to the Russian
Constitution, the President of the Russian Federation head of state, supreme
commander-in-chief and holder of the highest office in the Russian Federation.
He will take direct control of defense and foreign policy.
- We must ask what policy? Clearly strong countermeasures
against the blatant NATO encirclement of Russia with Washington's dangerous
ballistic missile installations around Russia will be high on Putin's agenda.
Hillary Clinton's "reset" will be in the dustbin if it is not
already. We can also expect a more aggressive use of Russia's energy card
with pipeline diplomacy to deepen economic ties between European NATO members
such as Germany, France and Italy, ultimately weakening the EU support
for aggressive NATO measures against Russia. We can expect a deepening
of Russia's turn towards Eurasia, especially with China, Iran and perhaps
India to firm up the shaky spine of resistance to Washington's New World
- It will take more than a few demonstrations in sub-freezing
weather in Moscow and St. Petersburg by a gaggle of corrupt or shady opposition
figures such as Nemtsov or Kasparov to derail Russia. What is clear is
that Washington is pushing on all fronts-Iran and Syria, where Russia has
a vital naval port, on China, now on Russia, and on the Eurozone countries
led by Germany. It has the smell of an end-game attempt by a declining
- The United States today is a de facto bankrupt nuclear
superpower. The reserve currency role of the dollar is being challenged
as never since Bretton Woods in 1944. That role along with maintaining
the United States as the world's unchallenged military power have been
the basis of the American Century hegemony since 1945.
- Weakening the role of the dollar in international trade
and ultimately as reserve currency, China is now settling trade with Japan
in bilateral currencies, side-stepping the dollar. Russia is implementing
similar steps with her major trade partners. The primary reason Washington
launched a full-scale currency war against the Euro in late 2009 was to
preempt a growing threat that China and others would turn away from the
dollar to the Euro as reserve currency. That is no small matter. In effect
Washington finances its foreign wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya
and elsewhere through the fact that China and other trade surplus nations
invest their surplus trade dollars in US government Treasury debt. Were
that to shift significantly, US interest rates would rise substantially
and the financial pressures on Washington would become immense.
- Faced with growing erosion of her unchallenged global
status as sole superpower, Washington appears now to be turning increasingly
to raw military force to hold that. For that to succeed Russia must be
neutralized along with China and Iran. This will be the prime agenda of
whoever is next US President.
- *F. William Engdahl is author, lecturer and political
risk consultant. He may be reached via his website at "http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net"
- Alexei Druzhinin, Putin says US encouraging Russian
opposition, RIA Novosti, Moscow, December 8, 2011
- Jonathan Turley, The NDAA's historic assault on American
liberty, guardian.co.uk, 2 January 2012, accessed in "http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/02/ndaa-historic-assault-american-liberty"
- National Endowment for Democracy, Russia, from NED Annual
Report 2010, Washington, DC, published in August 2011, accessed in "http://www.ned.org/where-we-work/eurasia/russia"
- NED, Elections in Russia: Polling and Perspectives,
September 14, 2011, accessed in "http://ned.org/events/elections-in-russia-polling-and-perspectives"
- NED, Youth Activism in Russia: Can a New Generation
Make a Difference?, December 15, 2011, accessed in "http://ned.org/events/youth-activism-in-russia-can-a-new-generation-make-a-difference"
- F. William Engdahl, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian
Democracy in the New World Order, 2010, edition.engdahl press. The book
describes in detail the origins of the NED and various US-sponsored "human
rights" NGOs and how they have been used to topple regimes not friendly
to a larger USA geopolitical agenda.
- National Endowment for Democracy, About Us, accessed
in "http://www.ned.org" www.ned.org.
- David Ignatius, Openness is the Secret to Democracy,
Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 30 September-6 October,1991, 24-25.
- F. William Engdahl, Op. Cit., p.50.
- Yulia Ponomareva, Navalny and Kudrin boost giant opposition
rally, RIA Novosti, Moscow, December 25, 2011.
- Yale University, Yale World Fellows: Alexey Navalny,
2010, accessed in "http://www.yale.edu/worldfellows/fellows/navalny.html"
- Alexey Navalny, emails between Navalny and Conatser,
accessed in Russian (English summary provided to the author by www.warandpeace.ru)
on "http://alansalbiev.livejournal.com/28124.html" http://alansalbiev.livejournal.com/28124.html.
- Business Week Russia, Boris Nemtsov: Co-chairman of
Solidarnost political movement, Business Week Russia, September 23, 2007,
accessed in "http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1648" http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1648.
- Russian Mafia.ru, Vladimir Ryzhkov: Co-chairman of the
Party of People's Freedom, accessed in "http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1713"
- Russian Mafia.ru, Garry Kasparov: The leader of United
Civil Front, accessed in "http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1518"
- The OtherRussia, Obama Will Meet With Russian Opposition,
July 3, 2009, accessed in "http://www.theotherrussia.org/2009/07/03/obama-will-meet-with-russian-opposition/"
- Yulia Ponomareva, op. Cit.