Monday, August 17, 2015

Russia Fears an August US Provocation

Stratfor writes that there is a Russian 'August Syndrome':
Most scholars, and the media, date August Syndrome back to 1991, when Communist hardliners tried to launch a coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. This was mere days before the Ukrainian parliament adopted a resolution on its independence from the Soviet Union. Since then, for pundits, a pattern has emerged. For example, in August 1998 the Russian government defaulted on its foreign and domestic debt, plunging the country into the ruble crisis. In August 1999, Chechen fighters invaded Dagestan, instigating the second Chechen War. Also in August of that year, Russian President Boris Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Putin as prime minister, catalyzing government change. In August 2000, a terrorist bombing occurred in Moscow, and then the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk sank to the bottom of the ocean. The Russo-Georgian War started and quickly concluded in August 2008. It is no surprise that Russians are unusually angst-ridden around this time of year.

Stratfor goes on to suggest this 'August Syndrome' is behind Russia's current fear that the U.S. is about to escalate things against Russia:
 A peculiar clue comes from Kremlin heavyweight and State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin. In an interview last week with Novaya Gazeta, titled "August's Provocation: The Political Outlook for the Most Alarming Month," Naryshkin tied Russia's fear of August to the fact that Western leaders weren't taking holidays — instead they were "actively preparing for new provocations." Naryshkin said that with the arrival of August, the United States is preparing to act against Russia, and that Russia is forewarned and therefore forearmed.
The United States has been uncharacteristically quiet as fighting in Ukraine has escalated. Moscow and the Washington are cooperating diplomatically on some issues, such as Syria, but these talks are unlikely to bear fruit anytime soon, given the many challenges afflicting that particular negotiation.
Russia seems to be anticipating larger U.S. involvement in Ukraine and could be planning to bolster its defenses to weather the next blow. 

Read the full article here.

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