My age not having been discussed previously, it bears some consideration for any readers to understand that I have not lived through a cataclysmic war like World War II and have not felt the divisive pains that many experienced during the Vietnam War. I have, however, the occasion to study those times, the history of those eras and the consequences of the actions/inaction of the players leading to successes and failures. The World needs no refresher that Putin as leader of Russia has pulled that Country from the brink of fiscal geopolitical collapse. He has done this through many means, but the most financially aggressive means is the nationalization of the oil companies. He destroyed a longtime political foe, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, by overtaking his company Yukos Oil in 2003 shortly after Khodorkovsky criticized Putin publicly. In 2014, Vladimir Evtushenkov found himself arrested and his company, Bashneft, nationalized under Putin. Although it should be noted that Evtushenkov was released to be “a free man who can work productively,” said Vladimir Kozin who was Evtushenkov’s attorney.
This power grab and government takeover is concerning, but what is more frightening are other measures taken by Putin in an effort to reestablish Russia in a position of world leader. The forced occupation of Crimea and invasion of a sovereign nation of Ukraine. Such a forceful land grab against a sovereign state has not occurred in this region on this scale since the Hitler invasion of Austria. If this is not frightening enough, I give you the systematic assassinations of outspoken opponents to Putin.
So with these actions, Russia has consolidated wealth unto itself to fund its rebuilding machine, it silences critics that might oppose or call out the leaders for its totalitarian methods and tactics and it blatantly conquers sovereign nations that it deems strategic to its overall military goals. Be mindful that these are the actions we know about. There are likely many more government and citizenry upheavals that have boiled as the result of Russian influence.
Now, enter stage right Donald J. Trump….