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Vladimir Putin

Russian politician who was the 2nd President of the Russian Federation from 2000 to 2008 and is the current Prime Minister of Russia

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What is Russia up to these days?

  • Apr 9, 2010
  • by
Energy.  Plain and simple.  When Putin left the Russian Presidency to become Prime Minister, he moved much of the Presidential power to his new position.  Putin is a former KBG agent that seemed to be inclined to carry on the concepts established by his immediate predecessors.  Yet Russia has demonstrated their willingness to project power by controlling energy.  Putin's history is as interesting as it is disconcerting.  It is almost campy the way he pretended to be an interested father visiting Reagan with his "son" in this old photograph:

Things have not  changed much.  In spite of all the talk of change, Russia retains their desire to project power worldwide.  During the past twenty years, the country has concentrated on a reformulated strategy built around energy.  It seems our Congressman (once again) are asleep at the wheel.  Hello?  Does anyone think Putin is visiting Venezuela because of the beaches?

Putin demonstrated Russia's energy policy in two ways that should get people's attention.  First...when he shut down the pipelines bringing oil to Europe, he demonstrated the real power that his country weilds.  His invasion of Georgia was done under false pretenses and indicates his desire to open that energy route.  When the West wanted to reopen an old pipeline through Serbia, Putin exerted influence on the Serbians to kill the deal.

Now we have Putin in our own backyard meeting with Chavez.  I am concerned.  Very concerned.  There are two key reasons I am worried about Venezuela.  First...we get a lot of our oil from there.  The light sweet crude we get from Venezuela is perfect for our consumption.  Chavez does not have the ability to refine (currently), so we refine the oil here.  Putin could create a strategic alliance that would strengthen Chavez' position on oil.  He could also be negotiating nuclear power deals.  Russia has already indicated support for a nuclear Iran.  Does ANYONE want a nuclear Venezuela.  Think it's not possible.  Come back and read this article in five years...It might be prophetic.  Or it might be fear-mongering.  Or it might just be paying attention when our leadership seems preoccupied with other concerns.

I will give Obama credit.  I think his recent decision to open exploration for oil off Virginia was a response to the Russian threat.  I believe it may be energy "sabre rattling."  Russia has indicated interest in drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, so the Venezuelan connection may be toward that goal as well.  Why do we limit our own energy exploration in areas that are wide open to any country that wants to come explore?  Why not go down to Haiti and sideways drill some of Hugo's oil reserves?  Why not explore off Florida and the Carolinas?  The oil platforms that already exist seep less than the natural seepage from the Earth.  They are safe and have withstood numerous hurricanes.  The major oil disasters have involved SHIPS...the method for bringing oil from elsewhere.

Drilling for oil here is essential to American independence and national security.  In the meantime...what exactly is Putin up to?

A NOTE ABOUT OIL...in response to the comments I have received, which seem geared towards the issue of drilling for oil, I would like to make a few points about oil.  First of all, during the three decades that we have been "looking for alternatives" to oil (hah) we have doubled our dependence on foreign oil.  This dependence affects us in many ways.  First and foremost is security.  If our oil lines are cut off, we cannot move our commerce, which is our strength.  Our fragile economy could be severely crippled by an oil strike.  We have seen OPEC toy with oil prices, giving an outside entity entirely too much control over our economy.  It is a dangerous game and become more dangerous as we increase our reliance.

There are other economic consequences as well.  A nations productivity is based largely on trade in an international economy.  We ship a great deal of our wealth overseas because of oil, when we are sitting on some of the largest reserves.  Why?  It affects the planet MORE when we SHIP oil from far away rather than drilling and refining on site.  I see it as GREENER to drill close to home.  Any green person knows that the further stuff is shipped, the greater impact it has on the environment.  We are going to use the oil anyway.  Shipping also increases the risk of spills.  We could bring those petrol dollars home and increase our economic strength while reducing the security risks associated with reliance on foreign governments, many of which are unfriendly towards the United States.

Finally, the Chinese and Russians are drilling or are looking to drill off our coasts anyway.  If they are in International waters, there is nothing we can really do about it.  Why do we prohibit our own commerce only to let our economic competitors exploit our own resources?  That makes no sense at all.  We need to utilize our own resources and the tax and control the results.  Why not set aside a percentage of revenues as part of the agreement, in order to actually begin research on viable alternatives to oil.  Oil companies understand their are limitations to a non-renewable resource.  It would benefit them in the long-term to develop those energy strategies and control the new technology in a post-oil world.  In the meantime, it is counter-productive to ignore the realities of oil.  It is here to stay in the short-term and likely in the mid-term.  Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result is insanity.
What is Russia up to these days?

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September 29, 2010
If you look at my comments above...where I discuss a nuclear Venezuela in five years...check today's news. Venezuela is exploring nuclear power. Anyone that thinks that Putin's visit didn't have direct bearing on that announcement isn't paying attention. I called it here in this article months ago when Putin visited.
April 10, 2010
Fine review. Many younger people are very naive about energy. As you indicated oil is absolutely essential to our economy and national security. While we should be weaning ourselves away from it the available alternatives simply won't fill the bill anytime soon. More drilling coupled with drastically stepped up energy conservation should get us through in the short run.
April 10, 2010
You make a good point. We should not be naive about our dependence but rather accept it as part of our strategy for a complete energy policy. In the meantime, we do nothing. It is unbelievable. We are sending billions of dollars in US treasure to nations that dislike us. We should drill our own while finding alternatives.
April 09, 2010
While as a Russian, I will disagree with some things, you bring up a great point! I am not much into politics, but that is interesting you brought up energy. It really is a source of power and I think every country should pursue it. Though I disagree that any country should be after oil, I don't think there is a future in it. Countries should invest more in renewable energy and put their brilliant minds to work on something that sustains rather than destroys. Let's face it, not much good has come out of oil quests, be it domestically or abroad. What do you think?
April 09, 2010
I think that oil is the best thing we have in the short and mid-term. Being dependent on foreign countries for oil makes America vulnerable as was demonstrated by Russia's "show of force" with energy a year ago. Renewable energy is a noble pursuit, but remains elusive in the short run. I do not view oil as destructive, just not renewable. It will eventually run out.
April 09, 2010
The fact that others sold oil cheaply to America is the reason why America bought from them. It is the reason why you feel dependent. You don't have to if you drill it within America. Having said that, no matter who drills it, the Americans will have to pay for higher prices. I read the cost of drilling is more than US$70 so don't think we are going to see cheap oil prices in the future either. The way to solve this big problem is to find clean energy asap!
April 09, 2010
If 70 is the price per barrel drilling in the US, then that is a stable price that would eliminate our dependence and price fluctuations and would be affordable enough to sustain our economy. At 70 per barrel, the average pump price should be around 2.50. Roughly. That is not cheap but it is sustainable until alternate energy can be accessed. Resolving the energy issue is not going to happen fast. "ASAP" could mean twenty to thirty years. I am all for it, but we need a common sense approach. We should pursue energy alternatives while recognizing our need for oil to get us over the hump. In the meantime, thirty years have already passed and we have little to show in the way of alternate energy. It is very sad. And although I condemn the United States for having failed on this issue, the same can be said for the rest of the world. Who else has spent any money exploring alteranate energy? I am certain we have spent the most, which still isn't close to enough.
April 09, 2010
Great points, but I will still have to somewhat disagree :) Europe is way ahead of the United States with renewable energy (and many other things), we could learn a lot from them. I think the entire reason renewable energy is 'elusive in the short run' as you say, is because people choose to think that. I am in the architecture field and I have seen tremendous success with renewable energy both at small and large scale construction. It just seems like a no-brainer, better efficiency, cleaner indoor and outdoor air, and not necessarily always more expensive to install, usually cheaper to maintain. I believe people are just more comfortable with the way things are, they are comfortable with oil. Change (not in the Obama sense), in the case of where we get our energy, would be a lot easier to attain if more people greeted renewable energy with open minds and arms. Though if you follow the money trail it is easy to see why there are so many roadblocks to a faster conversion to renewable energy ;)

I agree Sharrie - though we don't have to find clean energy, it is here, it's abundant, we have the means to collect it, all the technology is available, it is purely a political and an economical issue.
April 09, 2010
I paid a decent amount more for my house than I would have paid if it were not built to "energy star" standards. A choice I made. I will probably never recoup that money unless energy becomes very expensive. I did it because I try to think green with moderation.

Wind power is not an option where I live.  I did price out solar and found the cost to be prohibitively expensive at 55,000 dollars (not to mention the unsightly solar panels and the need for a new outbuilding.  Tax credits would have reduced that cost, but still would have left me short for well over a decade if I went that route.  When even tax subsidies fail to bring the price into a reasonable range, people just won't pay it. I am not a hard corps environmentalist...but even many of them would balk at the pricetag.  Maybe for some corporate uses it is feasible.  Some coroporations do it as part of their community involvement.  But I don't think the cost has reached commercial viability.  Until that happens, it is simply not reasonable to think people are going to do it.

I would actually even consider purchasing a car like the Volt, which I was looking forward to.  Even though the range remains limited, I am interested in the technology.  I have done a great deal of research to reduce my personal impact environmentally, but it is not even close to cost effective.  I don't see it as merely politics.  There is a commercial reality to the concept.  

I am not merely making an argument for oil.  I am making an argument for a sane energy policy.  It is DEFINITELY not an "either/or" prospect.  A sensible energy policy could use new drilling to generate additional funding for research into alternative energy.  But our security should come first.  I have not read any suggestions on how to "get us over the hump" in any of these threads...or an alternative path that is feasible. 

You both make good points and I don't disagree in total.  I think we may even agree significantly on energy issues short of the oil question.  I am all for renewable energy, but it has not materialized in spite of repeated promises from politicians.  I have already asserted my disappointment in Presidents from both parties that promise energy policy and fail to deliver.  We need a comprehensive sensible energy policy...the sooner we start the better.  Until that happens, our dependence, lack of security and economic success remain in question.
April 12, 2010
I see, thanks for sharing your personal experience. Looks like that could be an entire review! I've had different experiences with cost (though not personal, more like case studies). I'll have to say that solar has come a lllooong way, it no longer has to be unsightly. They now make roofing, paint, and windows that can collect solar energy! :) You wouldn't even know it just from looking at the house. Was it recently that you researched this for your home? I completely agree on "We need a comprehensive sensible energy policy...the sooner we start the better. Until that happens, our dependence, lack of security and economic success remain in question." Great conversation, thanks!
April 12, 2010
It has been since I built my house three years ago.
April 09, 2010
"Drilling for oil here is essential to American independence and national security." ... I also had another American telling me going to war for oil is essential to American survival just a few years back. True, drilling for oil may be essential but ever think of all the environmental hazards and ultimately the survival of the planet?
April 09, 2010
I live "greener" than most Americans. My entire house is energy star compliant (the house was built to certain standards...not just the appliances). I do not believe we went to war for oil. Iraqi oil is heavy crude while we prefer light sweet crude. If oil was our primary goal, we would have invaded Nigeria or Libya. They have the type of oil we like. Better yet, Venezuela is closer...we could have had little problem demonstrating Chavez to be a dangerous dictator. Oil has consequences, but I think they are often over-played. Either way, we NEED oil. Finding alternatives is important, but should we just stop existing until that day comes? It is not possible. We need oil and we need it now. We also need the comprehensive alternative energy research that we were promised by Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama. NONE of them have delivered.
April 09, 2010
It may be difficult for you to believe or want to believe that the American government went to war for oil. But I've talked to many in different countries and majority of them believe America went to war for oil. I'm just telling you this. Frankly, what you and I believe probably have not much of a consequence. To me, politics is just politics. There are two sides and perspective to a situation. What the reason a country goes to war always seem to make sense to its people on both sides. Government wins or loses war but to the ordinary people there simply is no winning a war, especially victims and family of victims.

Although, based on your review, Russia quest for power through energy and America's decision to drill oil is interlinked. It may be but I do not think it justifies the U.S. decision to drill. 
April 09, 2010
I added a note at the end to explain why I think the US should drill for oil. It is a fairly complex issue that I believe is essential for US security as well as economic necessity. Oil will soon be four dollars a barrel and when people start feeling the pain again...this issue will be revisited.
April 09, 2010
Oil and gold for that matter will be back to all time high due to the fact that the U.S. government has been printing money with all the stimulus packages. Inflation will skyrocket and the dollar plunges. As they have said, all you've to wait for is a war to break out ;-)
April 09, 2010
I hope no more war. We are up to our gills with war. But you are dead on when it comes to printing money. The other affect will be inflation, which will decrease the value of the money that some Americans have saved. It is a hidden tax on Americans. Printing more money punishes the savers and rewards the spenders.
April 09, 2010
Wars not on American soil is beneficial for the Americans. In the course of history, you guys managed to get out of a recession by selling arms. It's not nice to say that but it's an ugly truth that most cannot deny.
April 09, 2010
Wars in general are not beneficial for Americans...in my opinion. They are sometimes a necessity, but not beneficial. Not when it costs our most valuable resource...our young men and women. As a veteran, I understand the need for war but don't welcome it. America has engaged in the same arms practices as other world powers, but have probably shown more restraint than some. Russia and the nuclear question should cause everyone grave concern. That goes beyond "arms." America is far from perfect, but by far, the most benevolent when it comes to war.
April 09, 2010
War sucks!
April 09, 2010
True. America projects power worldwide, but it is usually preventative. The best war strategy is prevention...which means maintaining a strong military. Unfortunately, we are reducing our defense budget from 4 percent to 3.7 percent next year with a goal of 3 percent eventually. Not a wise posture. It will lead to MORE war, not less. We should also be pursuing defensive shields more aggressively to combat the growing threat of nuclear weapons from smaller nations.
April 09, 2010
There are many ways to wage wars, including economic ones. But that's going into deep discussions and you'd need to set up a forum for it, LOL... so, I'll just leave it at that. I don't totally agree with you although I do agree the U.S. is more ethical than some countries. Still, war is a dirty business and there is no winning it the easy way or the clean way!
April 09, 2010
It's understandable why Russia wants to control energy. Which country wouldn't? Looked at how far U.A.E. has developed itself due to its revenues from oil? No one wants to be broke and looked down on, much less a country which used to rival U.S. in terms of power! Since the dissolution of USSR, Russia hasn't gotten much attention or respect from the E.U. or America. It's definitely depressing for the Russians. Naturally, from the American perspective, that's bad, same as the coming of power of China.

Furthermore, ever since Perestroika, Russia has been in shambles. How many people in the world now even think about the Cold War era or actually know the tension revolving around Cold War these days? Especially the younger generation. Russia has practically disappeared from the world map for as much as 2 decades. They had been forgotten by the world when just 2 decades ago, Russia was once as powerful or "threatening" depending on your perspective as the U.S.! ;-)
April 09, 2010
I do not believe Russia is pursuing energy policy as economic empowerment as much as they are projecting Russian "power" worldwide. They are reinstating their hand in world affairs and it is a heavy hand. Just ask the Georgians who lost their lives in an unbelievable act of aggression by the Russians. They have some dangerous plans. At least that is my belief.
April 09, 2010
As I did say once, the world is ripe for another supervolcano to erupt. We have had a pretty stable world for over 60 years and most people have forgotten about wars. The younger generation who is in power has no idea the extent the damage is where wars are concerned. To many, it's just like a game on the computer. In fact, I think many in power are numb when it comes to reality. 
More Vladimir Putin reviews
Quick Tip by . August 15, 2010
When asked the question recently what he thought was the greatest tragedy of the 2oth century, Vlad's answer was---"The fall of Soviet Communism"!!! This man is evil. How about the slaughter of 30 million of his own countrymen by Stalin? How about the Holocaust?
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Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin born 7 October 1952 in Leningrad, USSR; now Saint Petersburg, Russia) was the second President of Russia and is the current Prime Minister of Russia as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He becameacting President on 31 December 1999, when president Boris Yeltsin resigned in a surprising move, and then Putin won the 2000 presidential election. In 2004, he was re-elected for a second term lasting until 7 May 2008.

Due to constitutionally mandated term limits, Putin was ineligible to run for a third consecutive Presidential term. After the victory of his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, in the 2008 presidential elections, he was then nominated by the latter to be Russia's Prime Minister; Putin took the post on 8 May 2008.

Throughout his presidential terms and into his second term as Prime Minister, Putin has enjoyed high approval ratings amongst the Russian public. He is credited with bringing political stability and re-establishing the rule of law. During his eight years in office, on the back ofYeltsin-era structural reforms, steadily rising oil price and cheap credit from western banks, Russia's economy bounced back from crisis, seeing GDP increase sixfold (72% in PPP), poverty cut more than half and average monthly salaries increase from $80 to $640, or by 150% in real rates. Analysts have described Putin's economic reforms as impressive. During his presidency, Putin passed...

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