A+ R A-

Russia and ex-Soviet Union (English)

Glasnost 1988: Historic Moment for Iran and Russia

E-mail Print PDF
On January 1, 1988, just a year and a half before he passed away on June 3, 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini made a historic move, reaching out the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, in a gesture of anti-imperialist solidarity, despite the long hiatus in relations with communist Russia. This was at a time of war against Iraq and continued subversion of Iran by the US and Israel. He sent President Gorbachev his only written message to a foreign leader.

Ayatollah Khomeini made other prescient gestures in his short and difficult decade as the leader of the Islamic revolution in Iran; in the first place, the transfer of the Israeli embassy to Palestinian representatives, the canceling of recognition of Israel, and the inauguration of al-Quds Day as an annual international holiday on the last Friday of Ramadan. He met with Fidel Castro and other third world leaders, encouraging solidarity against the imperialist foe.

The unprecedented visit of the Iranian delegation to Moscow was a sincere offer of support to the faltering Soviet leader, who had rejected the atheism of the Soviet past. It contrasts with the treatment of Gorbachev's new friend, Reagan, who was at the same time conspiring to subvert the Soviet Union, even as Gorbachev was sincerely reaching out to the hawkish Reagan, offering a generous plan of world nuclear disarmament.

The Ayatollah's warning not to trust the West was being brought home to Gorbachev graphically as the last Soviet troops were retreating into Uzbekistan in 1988. Despite the unilateral withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, the US was continuing to arm the insurgents, killing those doomed soldiers as they crossed the Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Friendship Bridge, built in 1982. Imperialism takes no prisoners.

Iran played no part in the US-backed 'jihad' in Afghanistan in the 1980s that brought the collapse of the Soviet Union. Iranian leaders knew that nothing good would come from working in alliance with America.
Read more...

Mind control and Cyberwarfare: 'The Russians Are Coming!'

E-mail Print PDF
The media campaign attacking Russia is in high gear these days. Russia is accused of cyberwarfare, leaking poor Hillary's emails, and now, of a slick disinformation campaign to undermine poor NATO, our bastion of peace.

Then there is the traitor Edward Snowden, basking in sunny Moscow.  He blew a loud whistle from Hong Kong in 2013, revealing numerous US global surveillance programs, many run by the National Security Agency, implicating telecommunication companies and European governments.

Though he had no desire to defect to Russia (and the Russians were reluctant to take him), he was denied his US passport, marooned in Moscow, and pleaded political asylum. What was poor Russia to do?

Who planted the seed of discord?

Bush Sr and friends smiled and plied Yeltsin with vodka in the 1990s, assuring him that NATO would never dream of expanding eastward, that Russia would now be the West's best friend, that together, they would bring peace and joy to the world. They even signed a scrap of paper in 1997 solemnly avowing this.
Read more...

Russian history exposes media lies

E-mail Print PDF

Russia has always fascinated me—the stern heroes who defended Muscovy against the Golden Horde, the ornate and mysterious orthodox faith, the vast spaces, the remarkable learning and philosophy, the Bolshevik Revolution against imperialism... It’s clear the West has always been jealous of a race of genius, highly deserving respect.

Today’s fearful standoff is yet another epic struggle reflecting Russia’s past glory, but unfortunately, now in a nightmarish world of drones and nuclear bombs. Far more tragic than could be easily reconstructed in tales of Boris Gudonov and the 'time of troubles', invasion by Poland and the heroic resistance that sprung up and  pushed the Poles out, leading eventually to the rise of Moscow as the centre of a new empire.

That is perhaps the underlying reason for the vindictive animosity that shrieks forth from the western media, as the American bully tries to taunt the Russian bear into doing something foolish or that at least looks foolish, as interpreted in western media. But the Russian leader stands by his principles and his fellow Slavs, and holds firm, despite the provocations. No one is going to destroy Russia nor will they succeed in breaking up the ancient slavic federacy into Wal Marts.

German-Russian common interests

Read more...

Ukraine & Egypt: A tale of two coups

E-mail Print PDF

US plans for Egypt and Ukraine are falling apart and Russia is scrambling to pick up the pieces.

In the latest color revolution, it was not an army but a rump parliament that pulled the plug on the elected president on a wave of protest, pushing out Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovich on 22 February. He apologized from exile in the Russian city of Rostov-on-the-Don for his weakness during the uprising, but his fate was sealed when he was disowned by his own Party of the Regions, the largest party in the fractious parliament. The rump parliament unsurprisingly ordered the release of Yanukovich’s arch rival, ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from prison, a condition for Ukraine’s signing a European Union Association Agreement.

The collapse of authority in Ukraine led to what appears to be the breakaway of an already autonomous Crimea, now to be aligned with Russia. The frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy (the flagship of the Ukrainian Navy), on NATO maneuvers in the Gulf of Aden, refused to take orders from Kiev and raised the Russian naval flag as it returned to Simferopol. Simultaneously, Russian troops blocked three Crimean bases, demanding Ukrainian forces surrender. Residents have announced they are going to hold a referendum on 30 March to determine the fate of Crimea.

Read more...

Russian and the Middle East

E-mail Print PDF

In the days of the Russian empire, Russia’s relations with the Islamic world were very different from the West’s, being defined by Russia’s own imperial expansionist logic. The Kazan khanate was already conquered by Russia by the sixteenth century. With the decline of the Safavid dynasty in Persia in the eighteenth century, Russia was able to easily move in and occupy Azerbaijan, Dagestan, the Kazakh steppe, and finally Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan). Crimea was seized from the Ottomans at that time as well. The Caucasus tribes were more resistant, and it was not till the mid-nineteenth century that they were quelled.

Afghanistan became Russia’s southern flank, and British-Russian imperial rivalry there prompted Britain to initiate two wars in attempts to subdue Afghanistan in the nineteenth century to keep Russia at bay, finally allowing the British to control Afghanistan’s foreign affairs. Just to make sure, the British signed a treaty with the Russians on the northern boundary in 1887 (no need to worry about the amir).

Under the influence of British-Russian intrigues, from the 1890s on, both Central Asia and Afghanistan modernized somewhat. Muslims were by then a significant part of the Russian empire, but were treated brutally. When the Russian revolution happened in 1917, even the atheist communists looked good in comparison. And indeed, after a few decades of repression of all religions, the fruits of socialism came to Soviet Muslims and Christians alike, with economic well-being far exceeding that of the Muslim world under the imperialist yoke.

Read more...

Page 1 of 13

Search

Connect with Eric Walberg


'Connect with Eric on Facebook or Twitter'

Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

From Russia & Ex Soviet Union

Purchase Eric Walberg's Books