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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Neo-Soviet Paranoia Sets In

The Associated Press reports that Neo-Soviet paranoia has begun to blaze in full horrifying glory (the sad thing is, if this report were true it would be the best possible news for Russia; but the hope that the West will actually be wise enough to pursue such a policy is faint indeed).

Russian Experts:US To Work For Quiet Revolution In Russia

MOSCOW (AP)--Russian experts have warned legislators that the U.S. could sponsor efforts to undermine the Kremlin and help bring pro-Western forces to power in Russia, a newspaper reported Thursday.

Valentin Falin, a former top Soviet Communist Party official, and retired Lt.- Gen. Gennady Yevstafyev, a former top intelligence official, wrote in a confidential policy paper that the U.S. was likely to launch a series of moves over the next two years to weaken President Vladimir Putin's government, the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported.

Russia is due to hold parliamentary elections in late 2007 and the presidential ballot in spring 2008.

The paper said that the U.S. could encourage corruption allegations against top Russian officials and businessmen, try to freeze some Russian assets in the West by court rulings, refuse to recognize election results, increase support for the independent media and opposition and even encourage regional separatism.

The Interfax news agency said the paper was circulated in both houses of the Russian parliament.

Falin and Yevstafyev said that the U.S. hopes to encourage "a covert regrouping of forces within the top echelons of the Russian leadership as well political and business elites that would pave the way for a 'quiet' Orange Revolution, Russian style," Nezavisimaya Gazeta said.

Russia has accused the U.S. and other Western nations of sponsoring the 2004 Orange Revolution mass protests against election fraud in Ukraine that helped Western-leaning Viktor Yushchenko defeat a Moscow-backed rival. Similar mass protests also helped oust unpopular governments in two other ex-Soviet nations, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.

Pro-Kremlin analysts have repeatedly accused the U.S. of harboring plans to encourage a similar regime change in Russia.

Falin and Yevstafyev both have kept a relatively low profile and have never been considered close to the Kremlin.

Yevstafyev, a former head of department at Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, is an expert on nonproliferation of mass destruction weapons and currently works as a consultant for the Moscow-based independent think-tank PIR- Center.

Falin, 80, served as the Soviet ambassador to Germany in the 1970s and later held senior positions in the Soviet Communist Party leadership.

The Interfax news agency quoted the paper as saying that the U.S. policy was rooted in "the United States' refusal to put up with Russia's growing role on world markets as a sovereign center of force."

The allegations come amid a growing chill in Russian-U.S. relations caused by differences over global crises and U.S. concerns about the Kremlin's backtracking on democracy at home and strong-arming post-Soviet neighbors.

While Putin emphasizes that Russia wants to remain a partner of the U.S. in what Washington calls the global war on terror, he has rejected Western criticism of Kremlin's policies and vowed to strengthen Russia's military might.

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