Russophobia

by craig on June 24, 2013 6:47 pm in Uncategorized

I am in Africa.  Edward Snowden seems to be doing a super job without me, so I have been working on my book and not burdening you with superfluous comment.

I have written this today which is too much of a digression and almost certainly will get cut out of the book, and is in any case a first draft.  But I thought it was quite interesting – and does bear tangentially on Mr Snowden.

We need at this stage to step back and take a look at the wider context in which Burnes was operating, and particularly the question of how British and Russian Imperial expansion threatened to drive the two powers into conflict to the north of the Indian sub-continent.

British people, myself included, have to concentrate their intellectual resources to get a clear conceptualisation of the Russian Empire, which can be obscured from our view by a number of factors.

Firstly, from our own history and geography, we think of colonies as something reached exclusively by ship.  The idea that colonies can be a contiguous land mass with the metropolitan, yet still in effect colonies, is not a pre-received idea for us. Russia’s absorption of the entirely alien cultures of the vast Centre, Siberian belt, North and North-west of Asia was undoubtedly a massive colonial expansion.  Working in Central Asia today, for example, political societal and economic developments could only be understood as a post-colonial situation.  Crucially, the broad mass of people were themselves entirely of the view that they were former colonised1, returned to independence.  But I found a great many western and particularly British officials had much trouble with the concept. 

Secondly, the transmutation of the Russian Empire into the Soviet Union confused the issue, in bringing a spurious equality to the different Soviet Socialist Republics.  In particular, this brought members of the political elite from the Asian areas within reach of holding political power at the centre. But that is not at all unusual for the history of Empires in general, particular as they mature.  The economic relationships within the Soviet Union, with the Asian regions very much operating as primarily exporters of raw commodity or goods with little value added, followed a well-worn colonial pattern even if operated by central planning rather than overt capitalism.  But many, looking at the Soviet Union itself (not including the occupied states of the Eastern bloc) did not realise the Soviet Union in itself was an Empire incorporating colonial structures.

Thirdly, particularly for those brought up like myself during the Cold War, the Russians were distant and feared figures and not perceived as altogether European.  In fact, the Russian conquest of the whole of the North and heart of Asia was a simultaneous part of an almost complete encirclement of Asia by Europeans from the late eighteenth to the end of the nineteenth century, which included of course the occupation of United States Europeans of the American Pacific Rim, and of Australia, New Zealand, East Africa, much of South East Asia and India by the British and occasionally others.  Russian and British expansion into Asia were part of the exact same process, except the British often did not see it:

A long liberal tradition took a sceptical view of Russia’s European credentials, seeing Tsarist Russia as as “Asiatic despotism” too crude and too poor to be “one of us”…A more realistic view would see Russia, like Spain or the Hapsburg Empire, as one of the frontier states that played a vanguard role in Europe’s expansion…behind Russia’s expansion was in fact its European identity…the economic energy that flowed from Russia’s integration into the European economy; and the intellectual access that Russians enjoyed, from the sixteenth century onward, to the general pool of European ideas and culture.  Russians, like other Europeans, claimed their conquests as a “civilizing mission.”2

Britain’s claim that Russia was excluded from the “civilizing mission” of Empire because it was a despotism, when British officials were arbitrarily blowing resisting Indians into many pieces from the muzzles of cannon while practising unabashed despotism in India, is something those of my age and older were educated not to question.  The notion that the culture of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov and Tchaikovsky is not European is self-evidently wrong.  I found that walking around the 19th century Russian cantonments of Margilan in the Ferghana Valley, with its beautiful little theatre for amateur dramatics, its racecourse and mess hall, the architecture could have been a British hill station. It even has its Freemasons’ Lodge.

So Russia and Britain were indeed expanding their colonial possessions in Asia, and their boundaries were pushing ever closer towards each other.  They were both part of the same historical process, and as a non-determinist I find it difficult to explain why in each case the expansion very often went ahead against the express wishes of the metropolitan authorities, but that takes us too far away from Alexander. 

The Russophobes therefore were not talking absolute nonsense.  Nobody knew how far North-west the British might push and how far South-east the Russians.  Nor was it physically impossible for a Russian army to invade India through Afghanistan and/or Persia.  Babur, Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah had all done that. The logistics were difficult, but not impossible.

Where the Russophobes got it seriously wrong was their political analysis.  A successful Russian invasion of India would have taken enormous resources and been a massive strain on the Russian state, and would certainly have precipitated a major European war.  Russia’s economy was still recovering from Napoleonic devastation.  Her foreign policy priorities were focused on the richer and more central lands of the Mediterranean and Caspian. Russia’s desire to divest Persia and Ottoman Turkey of vast provinces and to become a Mediterranean power was the consuming passion of the Tsar’s ministers, and Nesselrode in particular.  Bringing Central Asia into play may occasionally be a useful bargaining chip with Britain, but was never more than that. 

It is a peculiar fact that for two hundred years, fear of an attack by Russia has been a major factor in British foreign and above all defence policy, and was for much of my lifetime the factor that outweighed all others.  Vast sums of the nation’s money have been squandered on guarding against this illusory threat, and that is still the unacknowledged purpose of the ruinously expensive and entirely redundant Trident missile system today.  Yet on any rational analysis, Russia has never had any incentive to attack the United Kingdom, and never has remotely intended to attack the United Kingdom.  However an awful lot of arms manufacturers and salesmen have become exceedingly wealthy, as have an awful lot of politicians, while the military have had pleasant careers. 

British Russophobia is an enduring historical fact.  Navigating his path around it was now a key problem for Alexander Burnes in 1833

1 Olivier Roy, The Creation of Nations, pp87-9

2 John Darwin, After Tamerlane, p.21

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138 Comments

  1. All true, Craig. Good post.

    I find it sad, though, that modern Russia is a gangster state, efficient only in the instruments of oppression and deeply corrupt to, and beyond, the point of national debility. It is a state run, really, by very clever ex-KGB hoods epitomised by Putin, who appointed them to key positions. It didn’t have to be that way.

  2. And of course, the bloody irony is that it is Russia that has been invaded, repeatedly so, from all sides. This (for Russia, historically rational) fear of invasion was and is a major plank in Soviet/Russian foreign policy. I think that during the course of the C20th and C21st (especially US) policymakers repeatedly have failed to comprehend this basic fact.

  3. It seems as though the former Soviet threat can still used to justify unjustifeied war in Syria. Israel cannot grab Syria without demolishing its peace. UKUSIS are selling this destruction in the name of pushing back the evil forces of Russia and building an economic highway from London to Pakistan. There is no need for this highway because the Middle East can buy everything it wants from China etc. The only purpose of the Syrian civil war is for Israel to expand its reach.

  4. My knowledge of Anglo-Russian and Anglo-Soviet relations cover periods either too early or too late though broadly I agree. I especially think that the perceived Soviet threat was “illusory” and the Russian empire was fortified on the strength of British arms-trade prior to and at the turn of the 19th century. Charles Gascoigne was given shares in Carron, a Scottish company, by his father-in-law, Samuel Garbett, a Birmingham businessman and advisor to Matthew Boulton (though Garbett was declared bankrupt in 1782 and remained so until his death in 1802). The British government supplied Catherine the Great with cannons, Carronades, as they were called, and Gascoigne (Карл Гаскойн to the Russians) built munitions factories in the Russian empire. Gascoigne died in 1806 having lived in Russia for 20 years and the Carron factory continued to supply weapons at home and abroad, including to America. It became the largest iron-works in Europe and its metaphorical transition from swords into ploughshares came after Anthony Trollope introduced the postal pillar box. So in part we were responsible for supporting the Russian Empire.

    For further reading on Garbett and Gascoigne see John M. Norris, ‘The Struggle for Carron, Samuel Garbett and Charles Gascoigne‘, in The Scottish Historical Review, 37 (1958), 136-145.

  5. Guano, the purposes (they are not singular) of the Syrian (and Libyan, and Iraqi) wars are firstly, to establish/extend NATO/Western military hegemony over the key geopolitical source of fossil fuels. Secondly, to limit Chinese/Russian power in Eurasia. Thirdly, this creation of new realities also is being driven by the Saudi-UAE axis of simple, totalitarian ‘chamcha’ greed and underlying geostrategic and ideological hatred of Iran. The varrying success of these goals, which while driving against a common foe (basically, local totalitarian nationalism), sometimes compete with one another, is the result of the unpredictability of war (eg. Iraq’s relationship with Iran, Iran’s power in Iraq, etc.).

  6. I sense a rapprochement with the idea of Europeanised Russia, or with Rusified Europe, compared with that alarmist anti-Russian tone apparent when discussing in another article by yourself some time ago, an alarmist look at Russia’s stranglehold on gas supplies and our increasing dependence on that fuel source.

    I had always felt that the creation of Pakistan, apart from the people there’s desire for it was facilitated so easily by the retrenching British Empire, for exactly that lingering Russophobic fear, as Pakistan’s people would fight and give their lives if necessary to protect their Pakistan from any encroachment by Russia from Afghanistan, and in the process protect, provide a buffer for India proper. This did not account fully for the links of kith and kin, history and trade between what became north Pakistan and parts of southern Afghanistan. Point being that Afghanistan was always seen as entirely sacrificial, far less than Pakistan, and India not at all, and thus Afghanistan was in effect ceded to Russian influence, with a shrug and most were content, until the US began meddling, cluelessly, militarising the region by the late seventies, forcing overt Russian miltary intervention, where previously Russian involvement had mainly been of the civilising, educating, ‘good’ imperialism the British are so good at claiming as their own sole interest in Empire.

    This book will be an interesting read, particularly if it looks from a modern day perspective – after the straight history from contemporary and empirical evidence – at how events then had lasting consequences, with the imperial mindset of the day lingering long after Burnes’ heyday and short eventful life. I think the nearest a Russian invasion ever came, in physical distance of Britain itself, than some outpost of empire, was in the period after Stalingrad and before, even slightly beyond D-day, when the Soviet Union’s armies could have left Germany festering and made a dash for the channel. A fear that must have exercised the minds of Britain and the US, and was almost a certainty if the Normandy landings went too badly wrong.

  7. Aeroflot flight AFL150 just about to enter US airspace in next 15 mins near Cleveland, Ohio. Then a sight-seeing tour over the USA on the way to Havana it seems. RT Moscow still suggesting he might b hidden on board. They would love to report on the US forcing it to land of course!

  8. Craig do you think that William Russell’s dispatches from the Crimean War were also Russophobe in nature?

  9. Aeroflot flight now in US airspace at 34,000 feet. Oh to know if he is on-board or not.

  10. Cryptonym, in 1944/45, the USSR was in no position to mount an invasion and occupation of western Europe. Their hold on eastern Europe at that time was fragile and partial and it only intensified into solid police/army state control in the years following the end of WW2. The leaders of the USSR really feared an invasion by Japan in cahoots with the Western powers (one theory of why the atom bombs were dropped at that point is that the USA wanted to send the USSR a strong signal to watch out or else and to indicate that they would have no part in a post-war Japan; Stalin thought he would have a part to play in Japan, with occupying Allied troops, etc. as in central Europe – like Austria, say) and in fact the USSR had fought against Japan in Manchuria several years earlier.

    The USSR had been laid waste by WW2 with 20 million dead and the scorched earth policy leaving vast areas barren. China was in turmoil, with no single dominant force until 1949. The West – esp. the USA – had a very inflated idea of Soviet power, both then and subsequently and of course Stalin and his successors were happy to pander to that by inflating their own image. But really, at the point when the USA assumed global dominance with the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, the USSR was wrecked and exhausted and needed rebuilt. The Red Army at that point was a resistance army.

  11. Given Russia’s history, Russophobia seems an entirely healthy state of mind Craig.

    And one which is correctly present throughout democratic Eastern Europe.

  12. The other thing is, unlike on the early 2000s, Russia no longer a gas monopoly on Europe. Gas comes on tankers from anywhere and the new methods of extracting it have lessened energy reliance on Russia.

    Now, to get really paranoid and Smiley-esque, what do people think about the sleeper agents which Russia sends to the West? They no longer need to assume false identities, the IDs of dead babies from long ago, they can simply be themselves (and still engage in spying). of course, everybody spies on everybody. But it’s far easier for Russia to send people the West and for them to meld with what is already a polyglot society than it might be, the other way round.

    Also, the KGB and its successor bodies have had many decades of expertise in these fields. Do not be fooled by the tales of incompetance of the 12 spies caught in the US spy scandal in 2010. Chapman was not of high espionage calibre, but some of the others were much better, eg. ‘Donald Heathfield’. It is in the interests of the West to try to portray them as having been numpties, but we do not know really what information they managed to pass on thorugh the long years of being ‘illegals’.

    Maybe, though, spies fulfill a necessary function in relation to the distribution of power.

    Now, let me get my blonde wig…

  13. “Aeroflot flight now in US airspace at 34,000 feet. Oh to know if he is on-board or not.” Anon.

    Anon, here you sound a little like a female protagonist from a Jane Austen novel.

    :)

  14. Think you will have to revise your opinion of Palmerston, the biggest promoter of hating the Russians.

    In my biography of Lord Brougham over the merits of the Austrian empire, especially the introduction of Russian troops to stabilize it during the revolutions of 1848, seems Pam was all for recognizing Louis Napoleon, and supporting the revolutionaries everywhere but in France.

    Pam won the most inconsistent arguments, getting the new French emperor to join in giving the Czar a bloody nose in the Crimea.

    The Brits never got over how hard it was, given their own incompetence in handling the war.

  15. Suhayl Saadi

    I’ve been called worse :-)

    That Russian plane is just about to overfly CNN headquarters in Atlanta. If CNN point the cameras on the roof straight up they should get a good view. Wacky flight plan.

  16. A very interesting piece of writing. I am given to understand that the Kievan Rus were (or eventually became) far more integrated into Western Europe than later, post Mongol, versions of Russia. Perhaps sometime you could comment on the truth or otherwise of that and how it was that Muscovy came to be seen as so “other” – as not quite European. But I remember even before the unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union (the ’70s or ’80s, I think) Enoch Powell opining that Russia was Britain’s natural ally and that the U.S.A. wasn’t. I have no idea what he meant by that, or why “we” should have “natural allies” (to me it implies the existence of natural enemies, which sounds absurd). But you are a trained diplomat. If you could ever find time to enlighten a naïve ignoramus like me, I would certainly appreciate it.

  17. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    24 Jun, 2013 - 10:06 pm

    Well said, The CE.

    I would offer a thought (well, a mini-thoughtand surely not original) : the dividing line in terms of mentality, political and social tolerance and the spread of democratic ideas should perhaps not to be seen in purely geographical terms (“East”-“West” etc) but rather in terms of where the Enlightenment and its ideas took root in the body politic (rulers and the ruled)and where not or only to a slight extent.
    And perhaps the Orthodox Church (and certain other religions) had their part to play in this.
    I speak, of course, as a good Catholic boy (or girl).

  18. OT but sort-of relevant to the circumstances: just starting on BBC 4, Storyville program on Ghana oil.

  19. And you are totally wrong, Suhaly Saadi, in claiming that the Russians are constantly sending sleeper agents to the West, as the Manhattan 11 demonstrated.

    They were a creation of the Russian-hating Agency, as we will apparently see in the Snowden case since he, like Gareth Williams, became an even more helpful spy to Moscow because of the wild plots that Washington’s so-called counter terrorists were cooking up at Moscow’s expense.

    NSA and Britain’s GCHQ have never gotten over how Putin frustrated their planned non-nuclear conclusion to the Cold War at Palme’s expense.

  20. “The notion that the culture of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov and Tchaikovsky is not European is self-evidently wrong. ”
    However, it was a different kind of Europeanism, especially among the pan-Slavs like Dostoevsky, who thought that “Slavs” ought to recognise the sttributes they shared with Russia, welcome Russification and be Russified whether they welcomed it or not. After WWII the U.S.S.R. took a similar attitude to Eastern Europe. In these circumstances there wasn’t much difference between “the occupied states of the Eastern bloc” and colonial territories.

  21. Does your study of Anglo / Russian relations in Asia involve any consideration of Tibet, or did Tibet only come into focus and form part of the Great Game later on? I only ask as I would like to read more about Anglo / Russian involvement in Tibet prior to the husband expedition.

  22. Brilliant piece. Thanks Craig. I grew up in an atmosphere where a fear of Russian nuclear bombs was being thrust down our throats. Luckily we had a father who thought for himself and informed us accordingly.

    Craig’s paragraph before the final sentence says it all.

    ~~~~~

    Hope that the foot is much improved.

    ~~~~~
    Someone else is experiencing trouble with one of his. Our Minister for Immigration has been having fun in Soho until it all went wrong. Mustn’t laugh.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-23036325

  23. “I speak, of course, as a good Catholic boy (or girl).” Habbabkuk, 10:06pm, 24.6.13.

    Cue high heels, leather whip, dog collar and blond(e) wig? Or perhaps, as a kid, I watched too much Dave Allen.

    Trowbridge (11:10pm, 24.6.13). Well, maybe. But the KGB and later, the SVR (the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service), seem quite happy to boast of their exploits and honour their spies with medals, cushy jobs and so on. It’s not as though they’re accusing the CIA, the SIS et al of maligning them wrt sleepers. The ex-sleepers themselves sometimes also boast of their own exploits. Sure, ‘The Russians are Coming!’ threat was ramped-up and continues to be. But sleepers existed, and continue to do so, and reperesent a very interesting are of study, it seems to me.

  24. Craig

    Thank you for a post which resonated particularly strongly because I had just been reading a Spectator review by Peter Conradi of “The Dostoevsky Archive” by Peter Skirin which included the following passage (note the third sentence):

    “Dostoevsky’s life was even weirder than his fiction. He was born in 1821, the son of a surgeon whom he believed to have been killed by his own serfs. He was often poor, and so he is the only great Russian writer of his generation whose first language was Russian rather than French: there was no money for the requisite governess. After writing the sentimental Poor Folk (1845), he joined the socialist Petrashevsky’s circle, was arrested and spent six months in solitary. On 22 December 1849 he and others were given long peasant blouses as shrouds and condemned to death by firing squad.”

    There is another, strangely contrasting, example of continental Eurasian imperialism in East Asia. There, the pattern was often of the coloniser – Mongol or Manchu – being absorbed by Chinese Confucian culture; or of the culture’s soft power radiating, without political hegemony, to Japan, Korea and Annam. Tibet cuts both ways; and it is insufficiently appreciated how much Mao’s China became set against the Tibetans by the problems the Red Army met on its Long March through hostile Tibetan borderlands.

    Navies supported British, French, Spanish and Portuguese imperialism; armies and surveyors were the backbone of Russian, Chinese, Ottoman, Mughal (and continental French)empire-building.

    Guano will, I hope concur that a distinctive element of USA imperialism has been bird-shit. See Jimmy M. Skaggs “The Great Guano Rush – Entrepreneurs and American Overseas Expansion” Macmillan, 1994

  25. Some illustrative C19 and C20 political cartoons on Russophobia.

    http://www.cambridgeblog.org/2008/07/a-legacy-of-russophobia/

  26. From previous thread, Question on hacking cars. Here’s some possibilities.

    http://www.thehappydrone.com/2013/06/hastings-car-hack/

    And watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHfOziIwXic

  27. Try asking people from Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Poland or many other countries a little bit closer to the old Iron Curtain than the UK is about the imaginary Russian threat.

  28. Yes, that’s right, CE (11:44pm). I mean to some extent, it’s simply a geopolitical and historical reality. To recognise this is not ‘Russophobic’ and more than recognising British/French/US, etc. imperialism is phobic in relation to those countries/empires.

    My father-in-law, who died in 2010, was in the ‘Communist Camp’ (as it was known in those days), specifically, the ‘Chinese Camp’ and as a poet and poliical activsit, he socialised with lots of diplomats from the Warsaw Pact Eastern Bloc and China, as a physician, looked after their children and so on. People are people. His best pal, the port and journalist, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, was awarded the Star of Lenin. I’m not Russophobic. But reality is reality is reality.

  29. Excellent post. Russia’s ruthless expansion eastwards, with Cossacks often in the vanguard, mirrors in many respects America’s ruthless expansion westwards (an idea floated in several of Philip Longworth’s scholarly but accessible books).

    The Russophobia we were routinely exposed to during the cold war may have been encouraged by the western elites, but the savagery displayed by the victorious Red Army against the retreating German citizenry from East Prussia onwards,the wasteland that was built by the USSR on these ruins in what became the Kaliningrad oblast, and the looting of Poland’s heavy industries in ’45-46, are all reminders of a poisonous legacy that Putin still refuses to repudiate. Given these events, the persistence of Russophobia in all the non orthodox territories of eastern Europe is hardly surprising. Radio Free Europe may have been a crass propaganda outlet, but it was beamed into receptive ears, thanks to the actions of Stalin and his successors.

  30. CE

    “Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Poland or many other countries a little bit closer to the old Iron Curtain than the UK is about the imaginary Russian threat”.

    The threat to the UK was imaginary – the threat to Poland etc obviously not. Last time I looked, however, Ramsgate was far from Lublin.

  31. @Suhayl (9:06pm and others)

    “Cryptonym, in 1944/45, the USSR was in no position to mount an invasion and occupation of western Europe.”

    But through Austria and the low countries western europe would have been lightly defended, occupying forces were far from ever seeing any action, lounging around in the best hotels, pickled on booze, defensive troops would have been in German uniform but a hotch-potch of old men and younsters raised from places like Ukraine, and then the Atlantic Wall, not in any way defended in the rear. By leaving Germany aside to further internal collapse – learning from the German error of its (the German) assault on Moscow which was a symbolic target and deprived resources of men and equipment from the southern offensive, delaying it and hampering it sufficiently for that to peter out in the cold – a westward charge certainly wasn’t impossible or too incredible. I think there was a real opportunity once Russia drove back the Germans, in full retreat and flight, from the east to their own country, that they could have had a crack, if so minded, with a reasonable good chance of success, at wrapping up all of Europe right up to the Channel. There must have been a point where that was considered an option or choice, and it wasn’t taken; it could even have been an easier option than tackling Germany itself head-on, which was an unlikely decision, vengeance aside, if as you suggest their position was so parlous. Of course once the US, UK and Commonwealth armies had a strong toe-hold back on the continent, the opportunity passed as it could have found itself fighting them, re-Dunkirking them if necessary as the wartime alliance unravelled, plus ominously having a still simmering but cut off Germany in their rear. I think if it was the evil expansive empire we’ve been tirelessly told it was and not as the evidence instead suggests, purely concerned with its defence, it would have taken that gamble unquestionably.

    With the inevitable prospect of the centre of power in the EU moving eastwards if Russia is successfully wooed and a willing party to the suit, it seems that institution, to us on the far fringe of Western Europe will become even more disconnected and remote.

    I’m amused your comic (mis)characterisation of Anon’s post. Who is the better looking, most sexy of the whistleblowers? This is a game for the gay guys, and the hetero girls mostly but anyone can join in. Assange, well he’s getting on, lets be honest, had it, a certain something maybe once, but he can’t hold a candle to the younger team. Manning, well clothes and dress sense is out the window, those Swiss Admiral outfits, -sheesh, another demonstration of the US’ mental cruelty, but cute enough, but would like to see some more of him in casual clothes. Snowden is still an unknown, taller, darker haired than Bradley, both could do with contacts, or laser eye surery, or simply more stylish glasses, those horn-rimmed librarian jobs of Snowden’s wouldn’t look out of place on Dame Edna. I demand ever more dashing, glamourous, vain or handsome whistleblowers.

  32. “From previous thread, Question on hacking cars. Here’s some possibilities.”

    I was reading a while back that some guys in America had managed to hack into a car’s obd system remotely through the wireless tyre pressure sensors.

    I doubt they could do anything significant that way but the day is coming. The day is coming when the police will be able to point a remote control at a car and stop the engine dead. The day is coming when they can tell what speed you were doing 100 miles ago as you drive past.

    The day is coming when every mile you drive is monitored on central computers. It will be brought in by insurance companies offering cheap pay by the mile insurance if you let them monitor your driving. Then like the governments gained access to our internet communications they will gain access to the insurance company’s computers.

    This isn’t going to affect the bad guys, quite the opposite, a thief can program a key for a BMW and be driving it away in less than a minute. Locks only stop an honest man, a criminal can always break them. The crooks will use the technology to their advantage, the governments will use it to control everyone else.

  33. Fred,

    In the video I linked you will see they confirm an attack using the tyre wireless comms can indeed take over many modern cars. They can also take control over bluetooth pairing with your car (short range), cellular modem protocol and via direct IP with a 3G/4G connection. Oh and an infected CD can take over the car as well. Probably you could do it with digital broadcast radio as well.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHfOziIwXic

    Refereed Paper presented by Stephen Checkoway (University of California, San Diego) at the 20th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security ’11), held August 8–12, 2011, in San Francisco, CA.

    Authors: Stephen Checkoway, Damon McCoy, Brian Kantor, Danny Anderson, Hovav Shacham, and Stefan Savage, University of California, San Diego; Karl Koscher, Alexei Czeskis, Franziska Roesner, and Tadayoshi Kohno, University of Washington

    Abstract: Modern automobiles are pervasively computerized, and hence potentially vulnerable to attack. However, while previous research has shown that the internal networks within some modern cars are insecure, the associated threat model — requiring prior physical access — has justifiably been viewed as unrealistic. Thus, it remains an open question if automobiles can also be susceptible to remote compromise. Our work seeks to put this question to rest by systematically analyzing the external attack surface of a modern automobile. We discover that remote exploitation is feasible via a broad range of attack vectors (including mechanics tools, CD players, Bluetooth and cellular radio), and further, that wireless communications channels allow long distance vehicle control, location tracking, in-cabin audio exfiltration and theft. Finally, we discuss the structural characteristics of the automotive ecosystem that give rise to such problems and highlight the practical challenges in mitigating them.

  34. Indeed it would be ludicrous to imagine the UK is in any immediate danger from the Russian Bear.

    But that does not mean we cannot learn from history and our democratic partners to be extremely wary of a state that is rarely benign and peaceful in it’s actions and is now probably the worlds biggest mafia state run by as Alexi Navalny describes them the party of crooks and thieves.

  35. There is still way too much Russophobia here.

    Leaving aside how Russia became a colonial power by the end of World War I, it is quite clear that Western Europe favored Hitler over Stalin’s USSR, and the Nazi leader and the Anglo-Americans after him allowed Soviet expansion through treaties and agreements with Moscow so that it would be so over-extended that it would collapse, and it finally did.

    In the process, the USSR was bled white, suffering around 25 million killed, 16 million of whom were civilians.

    By comparison Germany had 4 million soldiers killed, and 2,000,000 civilians. The Anglo-American raids killed two million of those.

    By comparison, Anglo-American losses were quite limited.

    The USSR paid most heavily for being willing to take on more territory under the false assumption that the more territory it had, the more safe it would be. It only won the war because its forces were pushed back to a small area where most of it war-making factories were located.

    Little wonder that the Soviets were not too kind in dealing with counties and people who had favored the Nazi forces at their expense.

    During the closing stages of the war, Washington and London deliberately gave them more fought-over territory in the hope that reviving it would prove too much for them. The massive bombing of cities in Germany, especially in the East, was just part of the plan.

    When it proved more lengthy than Washington and London wanted, the Reaganites tried to end it with a non-nuclear conclusion, but Soviet spying prevented it from happening.

    Gorbachev was so shaken by the prospect of a nuclear war, though, that he agreed to policies which risked the very survival of the USSR, and it did fall apart.

    Understanding this should encourage more Western phobias.

  36. Just to add, from a quick perusal of apparent published exploits, most cars you can’t get at the steering. If you have “Parking Assist” though all bets are off.

    But if you connect the car’s collision detect system to engine control I imagine you might be able to fully open the injectors at impact and rev up the fuel pump after first disabling the air-bags and brakes and dialing up 125 mph as you approached a tight corner.

    I used to have a Fiat that would randomly jump from mph to kph as I drove home. That was enough car technology for me.

  37. Interesting analysis, but no discussion of Russophobia can exclude the West’s deeply ingrained hostility to the Christian Orthodox people in general; from the Crusader’s sack of Constantinople to the NATO bombardment of Serbia, to the indifference to the predominately Orthodox Christians of the Middle East, especially in Palestine, Iraq & Syria.

    @ Suhayl Saadi, re “But really, at the point when the USA assumed global dominance with the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, the USSR was wrecked and exhausted and needed rebuilt. The Red Army at that point was a resistance army.”

    I think that you will find that in paradox to this, that it was your so-called “resistance” army’s remarkable Manchuria campaign, rather than Truman’s atomic bombs, that actually forced Japan to surrender.

  38. “In the video I linked you will see they confirm an attack using the tyre wireless comms can indeed take over many modern cars.

    It’s a long video and it’s late, maybe tomorrow.

    But right now I doubt it. They might be able to blow the horn or wind the windows up and down but to do anything significant you have to be reprogramming the firmware and I doubt they could do that through a tyre pressure sensor.

  39. Oh dear. You can engage the steering lock under computer control on a number of cars it seems. Don’t need to control the steering if you can use anti-theft controls to lock the steering at high speed…

  40. “Little wonder that the Soviets were not too kind in dealing with counties and people who had favored the Nazi forces at their expense.” -Drawbridge

    Terrible statement.

    By favouring, I presume you mean allowing themselves to be overrun by the Nazi War Machine?

    And so because of this, they deserved the not too kind punishment of being subjected to forty years of repression?

    Laughable.

  41. Fred,

    Buffer overflows. Compromise the lowest level and they could escalate that to full control. They describe exactly how they did it. Basically they found viable exploits everywhere they looked with a disassembler. They could even reprogram as the car was running.

    Paper at http://www.autosec.org/pubs/cars-usenixsec2011.pdf

    Now they specifically looked at one particular car. Similar exploits will, I am certain, be available for other software combinations.

  42. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    25 Jun, 2013 - 2:09 am

    Anon; Is there confirmation?

    I depend upon you over our Overlard MEdia.

  43. Crashing cars by remote control is hopefully fairly rare. The researchers from Washington and UCSD could also switch on the the car microphones and send that out live over the management system’s cellular chip – perhaps that might not be so rare?

    Cars with the Unix “vi” text editor actually installed. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  44. RUSSOPHOBIA! It’s more like RUSSOPHILIA that we are suffering from as we run to espouse the values of the former Soviet Union’s KGB/NKVD, or the equally brutal Russian Tsarist secret police, the Okhrana. Americans, in particular, with their past history of freedom, should be shocked (and ashamed) at the extent to which they are being spied on by their own government. When governments override the rule of law, or a people’s constitutional rights to privacy, officials have a duty to whistle-blow.

  45. Ben,

    No doubt what these reputable researchers are claiming is correct. Question can be asked though is did they pick an exceptionally vulnerable car by (bad) luck? Some are saying that alternative implementations are much safer. Personally I’d assume that they are all vulnerable. Some likely trickier than others.

    They were never coded defensively in the first place.

  46. Not laughable at all. The sad truth.

    When the Western powers, and Poland refused to organize against growing Nazi threats – what the USSR tried to attain but without any success since they were assisting like-minded Franco’s takeover in Spain, Moscow struck a deal with Hitler to take over certain countries around the Baltic in the hope that a greater defense in depth would prove helpful in meeting the Nazi threat.

    When Hitler struck, though, their people, and governments mainly supported the German efforts, And when it looked like Berlin was going to win the war, countries like Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania joined in.

    And their being so occupied by the victorious Red Army was largely the result of WAshington and London agreeing to it.

    And they were increasingly better treated than the Russians themselves because the Soviets believed that they would work against a Western assault.

    And they did, forcing the Anglo-American forces to knock out the Soviets’ second nuclear deterrent, its submarine boomers, by a surprise attack on them and their bases on the Kola Peninsula after the Palme assassination triggered it. We only avoided a surprise nuclear one because of Soviet spying about the threat, and their taking counter measures to prevent it rather than it to occur even though it would have won it.

    Has made me (aka Drawbridge apparently) develop a strong Anglo-American phobia.

  47. National Sexnoise Archives

    25 Jun, 2013 - 4:51 am

    Snowden, superb job, true, and more devastating still with crucial background from Russ Tice. Tice worked for the kompromat and blackmail directorate at NSA. He explained why your favorite politicians bow and scrape to the peeping toms and play those humililiating Mother, may I? games with authorities they had no role in drafting. NSA knows when a congresspuke sins in her heart: Feinstein, Alito, McCain, etc. etc., anybody who’s anybody. NSA has had Obama under the microscope since Penny Pritsker plucked him from obscurity. NSA makes mixtapes of their phonesex for comedy gold.

    http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/podpress_trac/web/20927/0/BF.0112.Tice_20130617.mp3

  48. @Cryptonym

    ‘ Civilised, educating, good“

    Can we add decorum to that list?

  49. ” It will be brought in by insurance companies offering cheap pay by the mile insurance if you let them monitor your driving.”

    It’s already here. My stepdaughter gets low cost insurance through having one of these devices fitted. I can go to a web site and see where she is, and how fast she drove to get there.

  50. Flaming June

    25 Jun, 2013 - 7:41 am

    Hypocrisy from Obama in his message to Russia and China with absolutely no irony.

    “He also called on Russia to “live by the standards of the law because that’s in the interests of everybody”.”

    From the state broadcaster’s report on the ‘fugitive’ as they refer to Mr Snowden.

    Edward Snowden: US anger at Russia and China
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23031801

    You can now add Sinophobia to your post Craig.

    ~~~
    “We’ve prepared this room for you, Mr.Snowden. If you should need anything, just scream.”
    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/6/24/1372108454878/25.06.13-Steve-Bell-on-Gu-003.jpg

  51. I found this out while researching Muslim Anarchism. Anarchism tends to present itself in terms of Eurocentric (and mostly male) historiographies, but clearly, some of the ‘canonical’ figures in anarchism are Russian. I thought Russian anarchists undermined my thesis, at first, but after some sniffing around, discovered Craig’s thesis.

    For evidence that radical left politics developed significantly outside and to some extent independently of Europe/USA, see e.g. Levy, C. (2010) Social Histories of Anarchism, Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Volume 4, Number 2, Fall 2010 p.1-44, plus, Khuri-Makdisi, I. (2010) The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Radicalism, 1860-1914 (University of California Press).

  52. http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Americas/US-officials-don-t-know-how-much-secret-material-Snowden-took/Article1-1082023.aspx

    Ironic, really. The NSA’s own security is about as effective as a chocolate bike lock….

  53. Anon

    “Buffer overflows. Compromise the lowest level and they could escalate that to full control.”

    Buffer overflows don’t escalate to anything, they result in the system crashing or erratic behaviour depending on what they overflow into.

    I read through the link and eventually came to the part about tyre pressure monitors. They first gain access to the car, reprogram the control modules and just use the sensors as a trigger. While they had access to the car they could just have connected a radio receiver to the can bus and had some real control.

    It’s pointless picking a lock when you can just knock the pins out of the hinges.

  54. Edward Snowdon

    25 Jun, 2013 - 9:41 am

    Hello Everybody!
    I have just changed my name to Edward Snowdon by deedpoll. We should all do that!
    Now, I can honestly say, “I am Edward Snowdon, and so am I”

  55. There is only one reason Putin is the Media bogey man de jour – he kicked out the Banksters that Yeltsin let over-run the country. I would rather have a Putin, who supports his nations interests, than a Bankster like Cameron, who supports the internationalist interest at the cost of the national interest.

    British people are constantly being suckered into believing the interests of a very small minority are their interests when nothing could be further from the truth. The Western world’s economy has been destroyed by selfish interest and now they are looking for distractions and someone to blame.

    Putin speaks more sense on the current situation in the world than the totally deluded and criminal arseholes in Whitehall, that’s a fact you can take to the bank.

  56. Where the Russophobes got it seriously wrong was their political analysis. A successful Russian invasion of India would have taken enormous resources and been a massive strain on the Russian state, and would certainly have precipitated a major European war. Russia’s economy was still recovering from Napoleonic devastation. Her foreign policy priorities were focused on the richer and more central lands of the Mediterranean and Caspian. Russia’s desire to divest Persia and Ottoman Turkey of vast provinces and to become a Mediterranean power was the consuming passion of the Tsar’s ministers, and Nesselrode in particular. Bringing Central Asia into play may occasionally be a useful bargaining chip with Britain, but was never more than that.

    I wonder. Afghanistan and what is now Pakistan were key (then as now) to any designs Russia may have had on Persia, while the east of Turkey actually proved to be an easier door to force, ca.WW1, than the expensive defeat of the Crimean War showed the direct approach to the Mediterranean to be.

    Imperial Russia may only have wanted to flourish its flags in the Mediterranean: I bow respectfully to your greater knowledge of the politics of the time (and now!) but had it taken Constantinople/Istanbul, that would have been a game changer for the British…and the Greeks, and the Balkans, not to mention the Ottomans. Stability in the Med suited the British very well, and the Russian threat was a real one.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Edward Snowdon” Ah, You’re the Edward Snowden who can’t spell his name, aren’t you?

  57. Veterans Today has put a different slant on the Assange/Wikileaks/Snowden/Russia affair.

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/06/23/veil-of-lies-snowden-and-wikileaks/

    All points of view are worthy of consideration. It’s not the slant I would put on it. Assange is not in the Ecuadorian embassy for the good of his health. I agree that there might be Zionist money behind Wikileaks, but there is Zionist money behind nearly all successful organisations. It’s how Zionists play the geopolitical game. They were in charge in imperialist Russia, in charge in the Kerensky government (most of the cabinet were freemasons) and continued to have a big influence in Soviet Russia. (In fact the secret agreement between Germany and Soviet Russia at Rapallo, signed by Chicherin and Rathenau while the Great Powers were imposing and endorsing over-stringent reparations on Germany at Genoa, was brought about through freemasonry). Zionists, cabalists and masons continue to have similar influence in Russia today. Snowden is unlikely to have put his life on the line if he did not genuinely make the disclosure because he thought it was the right thing to do. He has made himself as vulnerable to any bounty-hunter as Trotsky did.

    But you have to form your own views.

  58. Interestingly Russian (Czarist) expansion in central asia was often driven by people “on the ground” rather than State Policy (see Travels in the Tian’-Shan’, 1856-57 (Hakluyt Society Second)
    Petr Petrovich Semenov, et al) <- great read!.
    Younghusband of the machine gunning people walking away fame was a totally lose cannon if you pardon the pun. Whatever rivalry there was between Europeans quickly disappears when something like the Boxer Rebellion started.

  59. Interesting tittle-tattle on-wire. Ed Snowden seems so well connected and able to dodge NSA at every turn. Hilarious. Rumors are he is operating with CIA help, maybe even under CIA orders. It looks like a turf war

  60. Welcome to your new name Edward Snowdon

    Got snowed on and on and on….. to the tune of and by the band Trio, I knew them well, they were our local band.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM-v3cvX8M4

    Now to the outfall over the Tempora programm, GCHQ’s spy agenda. Germany and many others are not best pleased and demand answers.

    http://www.dw.de/snowden-elusive-germany-queries-britains-tempora-tapping-program/a-16903217

  61. “Maybe if we hadn’t been so busy keeping our eye on those other three hundred million people, we would have noticed that this one guy who was working right under our noses was up to something totally fishy,”

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2013/06/agency-busy-spying-on-three-hundred-million-people-failed-to-notice-one-dude-working-for-them.html?intcid=obnetwork

    Exactly.

    Update on Snowden’s position -he’s

    (1) Safely in Cuba, having been the pilot on the Aeroflot flight taking the world’s thirstiest journalists on a 12-hour alcohol-free trip to a subtropical airport where they only speak Spanish, and, presumably, back.
    (2) On his way to Iceland in a submarine.
    (3) Still in Hong Kong. Or maybe Beijing.
    (4) Still a guest of the FSB, who are very interested in what he has to say.
    (5) Merely one character in Obama’s worst nightmare to date.

  62. This from one of the dregs of humanity who pushed for B.Liar’s war on Iraq so we know the provenance here.

    Edward Snowden shouldn’t play the coward

    Nick Cohen 24 June 2013 13:17

    ‘If you run, you look like a coward. It may be that you have good reason to be cowardly. It may be that anyone else in your position would run as far and fast as you do. There is nothing wrong with taking the cowardly course, unless like Edward Snowden, you claim to be engaged in civil disobedience.’

    /..

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/nick-cohen/2013/06/edward-snowden-shouldnt-play-the-coward/

  63. Had another long post about the most unreliable character of The New Yorker and Neil Wallis deleted, so I shall not risk wasting time again.

  64. The comments are nearly all anti what Cohen said. I approve of this one.

    Toffer99 • a day ago −

    Why didn’t Snowden hand himself in? Because the United States tortures whistleblowers before their trial.
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/manning-treatment-inhuman/
    At least that’s what the UN Special Rapporteur on torture thinks. Knowing that, would you hand yourself in, Mr Cohen. And you have the gall to call it “playing the coward”. Go and join David Gregory. You’ll get on well with the likes of him.

  65. ‘now probably the worlds biggest mafia state run by as Alexi Navalny describes them the party of crooks and thieves.’

    A statement equally valid in the mid 90s, when the oligarchs were gunning each other down with such regularity that Al Capone’s Chicago looked like a Mothers Union jumble sale in comparison. They were also buying Yeltsin’s re-election for a second term, in a corrupt charade that was probably worse than the one that saw Putin re-elected in 2012. Stangely, the NGOs and western diplomats were rather muted in their criticisms of these shenanigans back then- certainly when compared with the volume of obluquy that Putin has attracted recently. I wonder why ?

  66. Let’s face it, Snowden is probably in North Korea.

    A most easy, common flight from HK.

    Would certainly make its alleged bad boy, a most helpful ally of China and Russia now.

    Makes Washington look like the total idiot it is.

  67. North Korea! 😆

  68. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    25 Jun, 2013 - 2:37 pm

    @ The CE

    They do a natty line of specs in North Korea though. So perhaps Trowbridge is right for once?

  69. “In these circumstances there wasn’t much difference between “the occupied states of the Eastern bloc” and colonial territories.”

    Except, of course, that most of the East European countries enjoyed higher living standards than the Soviet metropole. I contrast the Latin American nations effectively ‘occupied’ by the USA conformed to the traditional pattern in which the periphery of empire is bled copiously by the metropole.

    One of the more fascinating aspects of the encirclement of Asia was the way in which Russia and the USA were both racing to the Pacific, pushing aside older polities, and expanding their empires at the same time. They met, briefly in Alaska and California.

    An interesting counterfactual game is to imagine US Russian relations absent the October Revolution: it is very likely that the rivalry between two great continental powers would have been no less intense than the long “cold” war from 1917 onwards. Indeed the current propaganda against Putin suggests that the question of communism made little difference, Marx after all hated Russia (‘that power whose head is in Moscow and whose hand is in every Cabinet in Europe’). Substitute Washington for Moscow and you’ve got NATO in 2013.

  70. “..for two hundred years, fear of an attack by Russia has been a major factor in British foreign and above all defence policy, and was for much of my lifetime the factor that outweighed all others. Vast sums of the nation’s money have been squandered on guarding against this illusory threat, and that is still the unacknowledged purpose of the ruinously expensive and entirely redundant Trident missile system today. Yet on any rational analysis, Russia has never had any incentive to attack the United Kingdom, and never has remotely intended to attack the United Kingdom. However an awful lot of arms manufacturers and salesmen have become exceedingly wealthy, as have an awful lot of politicians, while the military have had pleasant careers.”

    Powerful words from Craig thank-you. I am reminded of a story by a family member, a Russian interpreter, in the crew of HMS Orpheus and a suggestion by research professor Ola Tunander in his book on the Baltic Cold War, that Mrs Thatcher ordered the Royal Navy to land Special Boat Service(SBS) frogmen on the coast of Sweden from British submarines pretending to be Soviet vessels.

    The deception involved numerous incursions by British forces into Swedish territorial waters in the late 1980s and early 1990s, designed to heighten the impression around the world of the Soviet Union as an aggressive superpower.

    If anyone here would like further information please contact me.

  71. Sorry, Mark Golding, but you left out when the most dangerous ones occurred – i. e., right after the Palme assassination to give substance to the claim that the Soviets did it, and were talking advantage of it.

    Tunander has always been quite careful about implicating Thatcher and Reagan’s Iran-Contra plotters – especially Oliver North who helped get Major David Walker’s KMS, Ltd. to find the hitman to do it, and Navy Secretary John Lehman, Jr.’s attack submarines sinking the Soviet boomers when they went on station to contend with the surprise in Stockholm – for fear that he might be killed too.

    The AngloAmerican plotters had taken advantage in spades of all the paranoia that they had helped create in Sweden about Soviet motives, and it was only thanks to the spying and counter measures that Putin had taken from Dresden that almost everyone living then wasn’t incinerated in a surprise nuclear war.

    Only about a dozen double agents, a few more Norwegian engineers, and several suspects and informants, along with the stats minister, died in the utter fiasco.

  72. Fred,

    Of course buffer over-runs don’t simply result in privilege escalation. The team spent many hours trashing things (mainly the radio) as they experimented. However they eventually found numerous exploits which they reliably “weaponised” (there words).

    As to gaining control of the car they did not need physical access to the electronics. Blue tooth pairing could be brute forced by an Android phone near or in the car in a few hours. The pairing was done in such a way it would not be displayed by the car to the driver. Once the pairing had been achieved once you could instantly re-pair with the already known key any time the car was within about 100 metres in the open. They also demonstrated how they could dial into the car remotely over the cellphone network and compromise the fall back 2G modem in such a way that they could upload code of their choice to the Telematics control unit.

    Then there was the undocumented ability of the car hi-fi unit to reflash the Telematics firmware with no user intervention simply by inserting a doctored CD. That was topped when they found vulnerabilities in the MP3 player. They could create an audio file which played normally on a PC but reprogrammd the Telematics unit when played in the car.

    Bottom line is that the car control systems were a mass. It wasn’t just the odd vulnerability they found – they were everywhere they looked.

    At the Q&A at the end someone asked if they could post the code to slam the brakes on a car tailgating behind you. That was possible but you’d have to code it yourself they said.

    There was never any need to connect a separate radio receiver to the bus as they could compromise the cellular and bluetooth stacks built into the car and gain root access to the operating system by multiple methods.

  73. exploits which they reliably “weaponised” (there words).

    “(their words)” obviously I meant.

  74. lol…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23045790

    “He has not crossed the Russian border.

    “We consider the attempts to accuse the Russian side of violating US laws, and practically of involvement in a plot, to be absolutely groundless and unacceptable.”

  75. The particular OS the car was running?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QNX

    QNX (/ˌkjuː ˌɛn ˈɛks/ or /ˈkjuːnɨks/) is a commercial Unix-like real-time operating system, aimed primarily at the embedded systems market. The product was originally developed by Canadian company QNX Software Systems, which was later acquired by BlackBerry.

  76. pmsl….

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/06/25/uk-usa-security-putin-idUKBRE95O0VC20130625

    “President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden was still in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, was free to leave and should do so as soon as possible.”

    Didn’t get through Customs, then…

  77. Very odd. Why should Putin do that? I would have thought he was too high up to be a party to a disinformation campaign, to say tomorrow, when Snowden’s safely ensconced in a South American hammock, ‘Sorry, that was my advice at the time :)’ (KGB trained smile)

  78. Komodo.

    http://rt.com/news/putin-snowden-moscow-extradition-220/

    Putin asked a question to the audience if “people like Assange and Snowden should be extradited to be put to prison or they shouldn’t?”

    “In any case, I would like not to deal with such issues because it is like shearing a pig: there’s lots of squealing and little fleece,” he said.

  79. So where will Washington DC’s Lubiyanka prison be built?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2013/jun/25/supreme-court-voting-rights-act-live

  80. Uzbek in the UK

    25 Jun, 2013 - 4:32 pm

    Suhayl Saadi

    You said
    “Cryptonym, in 1944/45, the USSR was in no position to mount an invasion and occupation of western Europe. Their hold on eastern Europe at that time was fragile and partial and it only intensified into solid police/army state control in the years following the end of WW2. The leaders of the USSR really feared an invasion by Japan in cahoots with the Western powers (one theory of why the atom bombs were dropped at that point is that the USA wanted to send the USSR a strong signal to watch out or else and to indicate that they would have no part in a post-war Japan; Stalin thought he would have a part to play in Japan, with occupying Allied troops, etc. as in central Europe – like Austria, say) and in fact the USSR had fought against Japan in Manchuria several years earlier.
    The USSR had been laid waste by WW2 with 20 million dead and the scorched earth policy leaving vast areas barren. China was in turmoil, with no single dominant force until 1949. The West – esp. the USA – had a very inflated idea of Soviet power, both then and subsequently and of course Stalin and his successors were happy to pander to that by inflating their own image. But really, at the point when the USA assumed global dominance with the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, the USSR was wrecked and exhausted and needed rebuilt. The Red Army at that point was a resistance army.”

    ________________________________________________________

    I think you misunderstand notion of expanding communism outside of soviet border that drove Stalin (and Lenin before him). There are number of documents that were made public during Yeltsin’s presidency supporting the fact of planned Soviet invasion to Europe in mid of 1940th. There are some documents that confirm that Nazi invasion to USSR was poorly planned and rushed and was preventive as not to allow soviets to build up military power. Nazi fear was confirmed as for USSR (under occupation) it took only 1.5 years to suppress Germany in military power (tanks, airplanes etc) and further Soviet losses were due to Stalin’s purges that left Red Army without capable officers. Even with officers rushed through military academies Red Army was able to stand grounds and not let Nazi further after mid of 1943. By the end of the WWII Red Army was the most militarily equipped army in the world (excluding Nuclear) which Stalin and his gang worked hard to steal from the US.

    So I do not share your opinion of calling Red Army resistance army especially considering that this army was under command of Joseph Stalin. The man who dreamed of empire and of expansion of his power well beyond borders of Russian Empire.

  81. Uzbek in the UK

    25 Jun, 2013 - 4:46 pm

    Trowbridge H. Ford

    It is very naive to blame Gorbachev in collapse of USSR. Like many other empires it collapsed of mostly economic reasons and of decades of neglect and mismanagements under Brezhnev. Reforms Gorbachev introduced and his leadership helped for this collapse to take place comparatively peacefully, although some bloody conflicts broke out all over USSR. It might be argued that if Andropov was Soviet leader in the end of 1980th USSR might have lasted for few more years but its break up would have been much bloodier.

  82. Don’s think that it was naive of Gorbachev to preside over the collapse as Part Chairman until the very end

    Just made sure that some hardliner, like former KGB chairman Kryuchkov, could not stop it, and had to resort to a failed coup in the end.

    Why don’t you do something useful instead, like helping get rid of your country’s butcher? You sound more like one of his convenient servants in the UK.

    See that Putin continues to manage Snowden’s escape well. Now he can go on to Pyongyang without leaving a clue. Much better than going there directly from HK.

  83. Uzbek in the UK

    25 Jun, 2013 - 5:07 pm

    Mark Golding

    Deception was on both sides. Although Soviets were more into carefully collecting important information thanks to (comparatively) liberal western societies. KGB penetration of number of research institutes in Europe and US and ability to collect information was (after the end of Cold war) admired by CIA and MI6. Where KGB failed was ability to analyse the information which in turn prevented Soviet leadership from making right decisions (invasion to Afghanistan one example of clear miscalculation).

    And then add here this. By 1989 USSR had the most powerful army in the world (land forces excluding Navy). In Germany alone Soviets had over 250.000 strong force equipped enough to sustain at least 20 days of heavy fighting and this is not to mention that Soviets had more nuclear that all other nuclear nations combined (including US).

    How is that for weaker party?

  84. Uzbek in the UK

    25 Jun, 2013 - 5:12 pm

    Trowbridge H. Ford

    Please do not give me lessons about life. Especially as you are not aware of conditions that keep me here (in the UK).

    As said earlier no hardliner could extend USSR for more than few years (2-5). But the collapse in 1993-1996 would have been much bloodier and more economically disastrous. Although Yeltsin seems for many as a guys who played his cards right on the Soviet coffin, but he managed to keep Russia in the Russian Soviet Federation borders something that would not have been possible if USSR collapsed later.

  85. Will give you whatever lesson I see fit, especially since you are trying to get Mark Golding away from how the UK-USA would have gotten us all incinerated, if they had had their way, after the assassination in Stockholm.

    The Brits were flying blind into the confrontation, not knowing that the Soviets had 82 SS-23 nuclear-armed missiles under the command of hawk Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, and if Putin had ever blown the whistle, we all would have beeb toast!

  86. Flaming June

    25 Jun, 2013 - 5:50 pm

    They (and you know who they are) didn’t like Leviev being mentioned on the following post about Mandela although as I see it, the connections to the ANC’s activities in the CAR propping up the extraction of gold and diamonds with its high cost in miners’ lives is obvious.

    Leviev is a leading producer and retailer of diamonds amongst the activities of his company, Africa Israel Industries. He comes from Uzbekistan. This article suggests that Israel is looking eastwards to the Central Asian region for new connections.

    ‘Laruelle also suggests that Tel Aviv’s “leading means of influence” would be person-to-person contacts, including those already established through Central Asian/Israeli oligarchs that apparently have the ear of the political elite in the region.

    The so-called “king of diamonds” in Israel, Lev Leviev, is a native of Uzbekistan and is president of the World Congress of the Community of Bukharan Jews. He is personally acquainted with Uzbek President Islam Karimov and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and is an indispensable ally for anyone wanting to establish themselves in Central Asia. Uzbekistan has at its disposal several significant connections to the Israeli business and public affairs communities via the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs and the founder and leader of the radical right party Yisrael Beiteinu, Avigdor Lieberman, who has been campaigning for stronger ties to Central Asia, particularly to Tashkent, since the 1990s.#

    Israel and the Great Game
    By Jeremy Druker + July 25th, 2012 http://eastofcenter.tol.org/2012/07/israel-and-the-great-game/

  87. “By 1989 USSR had the most powerful army in the world (land forces excluding Navy).” Uzbek-in-the-UK.

    It was huge, certainly.

    Yet by 1989, it had been roundly defeated and demoralised in Afghanistan, its ordnance consistently had been exaggerated by both its own state and those of its opponents and the USSR was economically, ideologically and politically non-viable. The country could no longer support such a large defence infrastructure. Numbers on paper are not everything.

    Stalin may have dreamed of this or that but was it not he, above all, who decided to implement and follow-through on ‘socialism in one country’, as opposed to global revolution?

    Did the USSR not fear re-invasion above all else and was most of their foreign policy not directed primarily at preventing that. They would support communist parties in the West only to the extent that those parties would not, and could not, actually take power. None of this was because the USSR was good or bad and it really had nothing to do with ideology. Apart from the usual desire of all elites to maintain themselves in power, it was because the over-arching strategic goal of successive leaders of the USSR was to prevent another invasion of its territory. Its policy towards eastern Europe was driven by that imperative.

    And yes, Macky, a ‘resistance army’ (or whatever term one wants to use for forces scattered by, and falling back from, the rapid German advance across thousands of miles of Soviet territory) can bounce back and achieve many things. The natural, geographical and human reserves of the USSR were enormous and once Stalin finally, belatedly, allowed his generals to do what they thought would be effective, the whole course of the war began to turn. The Eastern Front was the bloodiest of WW2 and was its key determinant. The Manchuria campaigns were fought in the 1920s and 1930s. And the USSR’s last invasion of Manchuria occurred in the very last weeks of WW2; Japan was unable to hold the line, its war was imploding. This was Stalin trying to get in on the act/trying, as I suggested, to leverage post-war Soviet presence in Japan. He failed in that aim.

  88. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    25 Jun, 2013 - 7:09 pm

    @ Trowbridge Ford

    “Why don’t you do something useful instead, like helping get rid of your country’s butcher? You sound more like one of his convenient servants in the UK”

    _________________

    Well, I for one feel that he is doing something useful here.

    Certainly a damn sight more useful that what you are doing, which is boring us to tears with your delusional and self-centered consporacy theories.

    For God’s sake go and infest another blog with your lunacy. You’re out of time on this one.

  89. Here are a couple of interesting overviews:

    1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_partisans

    2) http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Soviet2.html

    From the second link (Excerpted from The Soviet Union– A Country Study, Raymond E. Zickel, ed. (Washington, D. C.: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, 1989):

    “Although the Soviet Union was victorious in World War II, its economy had been devastated in the struggle. Roughly a quarter of the country’s capital resources had been destroyed, and industrial and agricultural output in 1945 fell far short of prewar levels.”

    Nonetheless, I bow to Uzbek-in-the-UK’s superior knowledge of this area – obviously it would be daft for me to try to argue with them on this subject and it is not my intention to do so! (S)he’s from the USSR and knows it far better than I ever could. I guess the term, “resistance army” tens to conjure up heroic imagery, which does not sit well with the leadership of Djugashvili. I understand that. Nonetheless, such difficulties and paradoxes are littered throughout history.

    The fact is, in spite of its immense power and at various times also ideologies, while Russia has never invaded western Europe, western European countries have invaded Russia at least four times in the last 200 years. THat leaves a legacy of historical/cultural memory. So, actually, in that basis, one would expect Russians to be ‘Europhobic’ and one is somewhat surprised that they are not more ‘Europhobic’.

  90. trowbridge h. ford

    25 Jun, 2013 - 9:53 pm

    Just amazing how the leading trolls on this site, stick together while spreading their disinformation.

    In 1849 Czar Nicholas of Russia, following the conservatism of the Holy Alliance, sent in his forces to crush the Hungarian rebels holding its Parliament, restoring Austrian rule in the rebelous province.

    Just another bad day for chief troll, Habbabkuk.

  91. Flaming June

    25 Jun, 2013 - 9:56 pm

    Peter Frost on what happened to the Rosenberg sons whose parents were executed for espionage.

    The Rosenberg family keep the flame burning
    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/134600
    (you have to scroll down)

    ‘Issues raised by the Rosenberg case echo down to today’s White House.

    WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning is being tried under the Espionage Act of 1917, the very same act that sent Ethel and Julius to the electric chair in Sing Sing prison.

    Edward Snowden, currently being sought by US intelligence agencies, is likely to suffer prosecution under the same law.’

  92. trowbridge h. ford

    25 Jun, 2013 - 10:03 pm

    Just more disinformation from another leading troll while I was writing my last post..

    Mark was not referring to the famous Whisky-on-the -Rocks incident in 1981 where the Anglo-American plotters tried to make out that a Red Banner submarine accident was another Russian effort to penetrate Swedish defenses – what fanned Swedish paranoia about Moscow’s intentions – but ‘false flag’ operations by NATO forces to play the role of the increasingly cautious Soviet ones.

  93. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    25 Jun, 2013 - 10:06 pm

    @ Suhayl

    “The fact is, in spite of its immense power and at various times also ideologies, while Russia has never invaded western Europe,..”

    _________

    Perhaps we understand different things by the word “invaded”, but did not Russian troops get as far as Switzerland and Paris during the Napoleonic wars or their immediate aftermath?

  94. Right, so all the alleged incursions into Swedish waters were “false flag” events carried out by the Royal Navy; apart from the one that wasn’t.

  95. The CE
    25 Jun, 2013 – 1:25 am

    “…that does not mean we cannot learn from history and our democratic partners to be extremely wary of a state that is rarely benign and peaceful in its actions…”

    Are you talking about the USA?

  96. Suhayl
    Yes, (sorry I have been busy) plurality of reasons for war. Plurality of individual belief under threat. Radio 4 yesterday at this time was wheeling out Orientalists to repeat the lie that the Alawi cult is part of Shi’a Islam. That’s part of the problem, the Alawis pretend to be part of Shi’a Islam, when this is in fact just being used as a tool for external players to draw on Shi’a support for the Alawi dictator. Alawis believe in re-incarnation like Hindus.

    I am not against plurality of individual belief, but the idea of a remnant of a pre-Christian sect having any legitimacy to protect that plurality is going too far. His family’s persecution of Muslims is legendary. The famous plurality of Syrian society cannot be used as a political correctness to persecute the majority, who are Muslim.

    I understand that there is huge resentment by some parts of Syrian society that people who have sucked up to Assad have been able to become very wealthy. I get absolutely p***d off with foreigners coming to the UK and supporting the Tories to get rich and oppose our Welfare system. It would not be too hard to ignite a civil war in the UK at this time of increasing difference between rich and poor. I do not blame the Syrian people for settling these scores. The main thing is to castrate Alawism permanently and soon as a tyrant over Muslims, and that is why it’s not happening, because the non-Muslim world is reluctant to lose one of its own chosen persecutors of Islam, without imposing A.N Other. Not sure if that will be Israel or Iran or Ichwan, but Blair’s idea of Disneyising Iraq into a Dubai mould is probably off the cards for Syria. Thank God.

  97. Flaming June

    26 Jun, 2013 - 6:10 am

    What a plonker and yet more of the licence fee payers’ money evaporates into thin air. How much is a ticket from Moscow to Caracas via Havana? Deduct the amount from Patten’s and Hall’s screw.

    Edward Snowden: Futile flight from Moscow to Caracas via Havana
    By Daniel Sandford

    BBC News, Caracas
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23052225

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