Ukraine Independence Day celebrations, August 24, 2022. On this day, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine will fight "till the end".
During the period leading up to the Russian annexation of Crimea we discover how Russia developed and maintained its influence over Ukraine since Ukraine's independence from the USSR, and how it is affecting the current global situation as follows:
1. Russia controlled the Ukraine Government: Russia controlled the political narrative in Ukraine for two decades since Ukraine's independence, effectively suppressing Ukraine's sovereign potential as if it was a de facto part of the Russian Federation, to include neutralizing potential enablers of Ukrainian nationalism who promoted independence from Russian control mechanisms.
2. Post-Soviet Ukraine was demilitarized deliberately: Ukraine military capability has been constantly suppressed and reduced by means of Russian influence through a compromised Ukrainian political system which always supported Russian interests over Ukrainian interests. This is the main cause for Ukraine's unpreparedness in terms of advanced capabilities, and reduced equipment availability to resist Russian aggression effectively without NATO assistance.
3. Russia refuses to accept Ukrainian sovereignty: Russia considers Ukraine as native Russian territory, and refuses to acknowledge Ukraine as a sovereign independent nation with the right to pursue its own strategic objectives.
4. Russia started testing Western tolerance 14 years prior to the invasion of Ukraine: The 2008 Russo-Georgia War served as a testing ground for evaluating Russian regional power projection, the effectiveness of its defense strategy, and to assess Western political willingness to counter Russian aggression. The fact that the collective West failed to address the 2008 Russo-Georgia War effectively supported Russian confidence to expand its global expansionism strategy.
5. Irregular Warfare became the new Russian strategy: The development and deployment of new multi-domain Russian Special Operations Forces capabilities within Western territories was a product of the lessons learnt during the 2008 Russo-Georgia War to extend Russian military reach, and to develop a basic strategic power projection capability through clandestine irregular means. One of the more concerning special operations capabilities within the Russian GRU is the use of chemical weapons to target individuals within foreign territories without any foreign government resistance.
6. Russia has been at war with the West since 2014: Russia effectively declared a silent war against the West in 2014 with gradual escalation to the present. It started by exploiting the West's naivety pertaining Russia's ability to target Western vulnerabilities that exist within its economic systems, political systems, and historical imbalances in society (such as the Russian involvement in the enablement of the BLM movement in the United States).
7. The majority nations in NATO, excluding the US, still ignore the fact that NATO is already at war with Russia: At present, the traditional West is still ignorant to the fact that it has been the target of an undeclared silent war with Russia, and current Russian advantage at the strategic level is still greatly underestimated. The current Russian war strategy against NATO is by irregular means, currently exploiting legal 'grey zones' within Western society.
8. Russia has had the advantage over the West for nearly a decade: Western political stability and global influence has been eroded gradually by targeted Russian interference based on two decades' experience gained in Ukraine and Europe, taking advantage of Western ignorance of cause blindness relating to the current challenges it is facing affecting its respective societies' centers of gravity.
9. What Russia developed in Ukraine is already applied in the West: Russian activities in Ukraine relating to control over domestic politics, perception management and narrative control, and economic manipulation within a target society has become the template for how Russia is fighting a superior military, but economic- and socially vulnerable Western alliance by following a discreet undeclared irregular warfare doctrine;
10. The Russian grand strategy is expansion of Russian global influence: It is the Russian objective to divide nations into smaller independent states within strategic locations globally. The main purpose behind this strategy is inspired by Russia's belief in a future world order where strategic power is determined by the number of smaller 'independent' states represented by a global super power. This is one of the reasons why Russia is enabling so many independence movements within strategic important locations in an attempt to dilute the traditional [colonial] powers of influence to gain more power by representing a larger bloc of smaller nations to direct future global policies. Russia has always favored creating its own union of aligned nations instead of being part of a global body such as the United Nations for the simple reason that Russia believes that the inclusion of smaller [low-contributing] nations with equal voting rights to itself within world bodies (such as the United Nations), is not fair to global powers as Russia in terms of deciding what is acceptable in terms of global policy creation. Russia does not believe in the effectiveness of democratic process in terms of government control and public oversight, why it favors an authoritarian system of government controlled by a hierarchy of loyal political elite.
11. Russia effectively infiltrated the West post-USSR: Russia never abandoned its ambitions for global influence at the end of the Cold War as the controlling body of the USSR when the Soviet Union was disbanded. Instead, it just rebranded and updated its strategy by exploiting what the naive West was offering when it opened up to the idea of greater Russian economic inclusion. Therefore the assumption that Russian strategic objectives post-USSR disbandment differs from Russian objectives while leading the Soviet Union pre-USSR disbandment is incorrect. Russian strategic objectives have remained consistent throughout the transition from the USSR to the present, and all that has changed until now is the Russian strategy, and the means of achieving strategic goals.
12. The US has always been cautious of Russia: The United States has always been aware of the dangers posed by Russia, especially relating to its strategic competition goals, but its traditional European allies do not share the same US concerns. This is the main reason why the US society has been targeted through political divides, and why US politics is in such a fragile state as at present. Not only has the US been targeted by means of the creation of artificial divides within its society, but its economic system is also being targeted by mass disinformation which affects consumer trends in terms of investing in US financial instruments as a means of eroding away the US tax base. However, as the leading nation in the NATO alliance, it has the responsibility of managing alliance members in Europe who still struggle to rid itself from past Russian allegiance (such as the power of influence still being exercised by the pro-Russian enablers of the Cold-War era German Democratic Republic, an ex-Soviet aligned Republic, on the existing German Federal government). Just as Russia opposed a growing US influence in Ukraine, so did various influential European powers (who are also NATO alliance members) oppose Ukraine becoming US aligned, instead [silently] preferring a Russian controlled Ukraine. The ideological divide in NATO, which Russia exploits to its advantage, is the result of pockets of influential European resistance to US controls that came into existence in post-WW2 Europe.
13. The global 'Islamic State' phenomenon is a tool for Russian expansionism: Daesh, also referred to as the 'Islamic State", is perceived to be a global terrorist organization representing the interests of radical Sunni Islamists who believe they have been disenfranchised by the West, and most prominently the United States. However, Daesh evolved from powerful figures who used to be associated with the Ba'ath Parties of Iraq and Syria, both entities being allies of Russia until the US commenced its anti-Ba'athist operations in the Middle East in retaliation for its support to Al Qaeda during its Global War on Terror. When the US led coalition launched the invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, Russia was heavily opposed to the US invasion of its ally. However, Daesh (Islamic State) entered the international public domain when it launched a ruthless military occupation of territories in Iraq and Syria starting in 2013 (Syria), 2014 (Iraq), and now everywhere Western oil and gas interests are found globally amongst a predominantly Muslim society. The 2014 expansion of the Islamic State caliphate in Iraq is significant for the fact that it is the same year Russia [silently] declared war against the Western nations it considers 'US controlled'. Therefore, specialists in the field of counter-terrorism should start looking at Daesh (Islamic State) from the perspective of an 'army for hire', and how Russia (and its allies) became enablers of its current global footprint of operations, and how the sponsors of Daesh are beneficiaries of the 'Islamic State' global network in terms of narcotics trade, human trafficking, arms trade, and foreign direct action with plausible deniability.
This timeline is a simplified, but somewhat comprehensive summary of events that contributed towards the current Russo-Ukraine War, and it is not a complete product. Since the February 24, 2022, Russian invasion of Ukraine, we were all very much negligent about the true origins of this war and how it shaped the perception of Ukraine since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. This war has divided so many nations along the lines of who is right (or wrong), with much [unjustified] blame being directed towards NATO, and specifically the United States of America. Unfortunately, much to the detriment of the people of Ukraine, we were all wrong and blinded to the real facts, why we have dedicated a team to filter through vast resources of confidential-, declassified- and open source information to explain how Ukraine nearly became lost to a belligerent Russia. May this be a lesson to us all.
(Note to reader: This is an ongoing project, and the contents of this article are updated constantly as more information becomes available. This article is non-partisan, and it is not funded nor sponsored by any government or organization which may be referenced within the article).
On February 24, 2022, Russian forces invaded Ukraine along multiple fronts with the main objective of occupying the country in a few days to enable the establishment of a pro-Russian government. Russian strategic objectives were short-sighted, and the capabilities of its armed forces exaggerated which resulted in a major failed operation for Russia with exceptionally high numbers in human- and material losses. For various reasons ranging from mainstream media disinformation, along with contradicting foreign policies amongst EU member states pushing their own narratives regarding the Russo-Ukraine relations, much of the details leading up to this war are nearly lost in history, why it is important to record the timeline highlighting all the activities by key role-players since Ukraine’s independence from the USSR, to the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24, 2022.
The main motivation for publishing this timeline highlighting Russia’s constant interference in Ukraine since independence is due to the extensive depth of disinformation that still exists amongst the majority global societies who are still divided in terms of understanding post-USSR Russia’s culpability in facilitation of the current Russo-Ukraine conflict. This divide is mainly a result of a phenomenon best described as ‘Cause Ignorance’ (or ‘Cause Blindness’, whichever makes more sense in the absence of a better term), which basically implies the result of society’s focus on effects (symptoms) and consequently reacting to, or in accordance, with such effects while ignoring the cause(s) for the effects. In simple terms, people are more likely to desire the effects of an achievement instead of the causes for achieving the effects as an end result. Within a consumerist society, the concept of cause ignorance is exploited by businesses through marketing campaigns (information operations) promoting products and services (effects/symptoms) of production instead of (ignoring) how the products or services were developed (causes). The same phenomenon applies to the divide that exists between the wealthy and the poor, where the latter (the poor), choose to focus on the product (effects/symptoms) of the process of production as the definition of wealth, whereas the leaders of industry generate wealth by focussing on the causes of production leading to the desired effects/symptoms (the product).
From an information dominance perspective, the problems society are experiencing now are all effects of greater causes which are generally ignored by the target audience for the simple reason that the causes have been purposefully over-complicated and misleading to create an effect of difficult understanding to a point where it can be easily dismissed as being false in favor of a simpler narrative (the symptom). This same method is also used within the business environment to protect the means of production during the pursuit for constant competitive advantage (commonly referred to as business secrets). For the same reasons, people are more inclined to accept ‘simpler-to-understand’ sensationalist information, although not factually accurate, as the acceptable ‘truth’ instead of the actual truth most commonly perceived as more complicated resulting in a lower degree of understanding and acceptance by its audience. This phenomenon is more common in societies subjected to a constant declining standard of education which affects cognitive maturity within the target society (such as what can be witnessed in Africa in terms of declining government education standards during the information age compared to the global standard). The current global perceptions about the situation in Ukraine is one such example of when the effects of the causes become the adopted narrative amongst an audience not aware of being the subjects of long-term [dis]information operations due to the effects being simpler to understand than the causes, especially within the current context of global [distraction] events and flawed [government manipulated] historical record being passed as formal ‘education’. From an education perspective, we also see much decline in the quality of education, especially at the tertiary level, which contributes to the common misconception in modern society caused by the perception created by the current systems of formal education that everyone that fails to conform with such academic guidelines are wrong simply because their perspectives fail to fit the current narrative, and because of that, every person with an opinion (even flawed opinion) has the self-entitled responsibility to 'correct' what is perceived as 'incorrect' within our current society, a society that is influenced by various actors with different agendas to insist on corrective actions which are in fact based on flawed assumptions caused by ‘cause ignorance / cause blindness’. However, the danger in this presumption is that we are living in an era where the narrative to whom the majority people conform with are in fact flawed and compromised, and not necessarily correct. As people, we also tend to believe that certain activities during the past (such as the concept of the USSR within the minds of younger generation Russians), was better based on the ideas derived from ‘beacons of excellence’ recorded in historical scriptures by a small community of so-called academics with the authority to decide what is appropriate or not in conformance with political government prescribed education outcomes. For these reasons we find that the younger generation Russians believe that the world can 'return to the days when things were better' because of the people they saw coming out of those times (such as the ‘fearlessness’ of Vladimir Putin’s leadership style as the supreme leader of the Russian Federation). However, what the greatest victims of the current Russian era, the people of Russia, still has to figure out is that good will eventually always persevere over evil (just as before, repeated so many times during the challenging history of humanity).
To explain this concept better, we have listed the timeline of major events in Ukraine since independence from the USSR, and how each event contributed towards the making of the current Russo-Ukraine War, including the tactics used by Russia’s intelligence mechanisms (GRU, FSB), during the following phases of Ukraines history post-independence:
However, this subject is extremely complex, and it does require greater understanding of the mechanisms of strategic power projection, and how covert intelligence services support their governments to achieve strategic objectives (Read: 5th Generation Warfare: The evolution of Warfare beyond the controls of the Nation State). Also, Russian strategic objectives are much different to any other nation in the world, and to understand its obsession with Ukraine better, we need to understand how Russia sees the world, and how it perceives itself within this world (Read: The Great Power Competition: How does it affect Africa?)
“The major effect of government controlled education involving historical programming is that history changes so quickly, you never know what’s going to happen yesterday”
A Timeline of Russian Interference
The citizens of Ukraine celebrate their independence from the USSR, 1991
1990, July 16: The Rada (new Ukrainian parliament formed from the previous Soviet legislature), votes to declare independence from the USSR (Union of the Socialist Soviet Republics, or ‘Soviet Union’ in short). Ukrainian soldiers stationed in other Soviet states return to Ukraine, and the remaining reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is shut down.
1990, July 23: Leonid Kravchuk is appointed Supreme Soviet of the Ukraine SSR.
1990, October 24: The monopoly of the Communist Party of Ukraine on government power is abolished. Leonid Kravchuk, the sitting leader of Ukraine, remains the head of state of Ukraine.
1991, August 24: Following a failed coup in Moscow (commonly known as the August coup) by Soviet Communist Party hardliners who attempted to seize control from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the Ukraine parliament declares independence for the second time, the date still celebrated as Ukraine’s official independence day.
1991, November 30: Leonid Kravchuk, the head of state of Ukraine, orders the commander of the aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, that the aircraft carrier remains the property of Ukraine as per the agreement of independence from the USSR.
1991, December 01: Ukraine, along with Crimea, become independent from the USSR based on the results of a referendum with 92% of the population in favor of Ukraine’s independence. Crimea joins Ukraine as a semi-autonomous state. The Russian Navy risks losing control over the territory of its main Black Sea base in Sevastopol, Crimea. At around 21:00PM, the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov sails out of the Sevastopol harbor to Vidyayevo in Russia. The order for the ship's urgent departure was given by the deputy commander of the Russian Northern Fleet, Yuri Ustimenko, who arrived in Crimea earlier for the purpose of enabling the ship's departure from Ukraine, acting upon instructions from the Russian Navy higher command who pre-empted the possible loss of the carrier to Ukraine upon declaration of independence.
Admiral Kuznetsov in service with the Russian Northern Fleet. The ship was designed and built in Ukraine, and effectively became the property of Ukraine as part of the approved terms of independence from the Soviet Union. The ship was taken by Russia from Ukraine on the day of independence under the cover of darkness.
The majority of the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov's crew chose to remain with Russia, why the instructions from Ukraine's head of state, Leonid Kravchuk, was ignored in favor of transferring the ship [illegally] to Russia. Based on the conditions of independence approved by the USSR, Russia effectively stole the Admiral Kuznetsov from Ukraine. However, since the ship was built by Ukraine, and the ship building design and expertise remained in Ukraine, Russia struggled to complete the ship in accordance with its original operational design specifications. Since the ship's induction into operational service with the Russian Northern Fleet in 1995, the ship has been problematic in terms of serviceability, effectively not having successfully completed a single operational deployment without experiencing major mechanical failures. Admiral Kuznetsov was deployed to Syria on October 15, 2016, while still undergoing maintenance. The carrier was withdrawn less than 6 weeks later to undergo a refit starting January 2017 after multiple arresting gear failures on the flight deck resulting in the loss of various combat aircraft. The carrier air wing was transferred to Khmeimim Air Base in Syria. The carrier has not been operational since, having undergone various setbacks, and at present the refit is expected to be finished by 2024, although this is expected to be delayed as a result of the ongoing Russo-Ukraine War. Since the ship arrived at the shipyard early 2017, it sustained damage resulting in a water leak when the floating dock sank in 2018, fire damage in 2019 after an onboard fire resulting from welding activities during the refit process, and on December 22, 2022, another fire broke out onboard the ship causing more delays and damage of unknown extent.
1991, December 05: Leonid Kravchuk is inaugurated as the first President of Ukraine. His term ends on July 19, 1994, when he hands over duty to Leonid Kuchma. Leonid Kravchuk served as the head of state of Ukraine until the approval of the newly created position of President after declaration of independence.
1991, December 08: The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is re-established by Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine at the Belovezh Accords in Belarus as a means of bringing together all the newly independent countries that originally belonged to the USSR. The CIS, which functioned as a shared Russophone cultural, social, and economic space, originated during the era of the Russian Empire until replaced in 1917 by the Russian Republic following the February Revolution in that year. The CIS Charter, which stipulates all the statutes of the group, had not been developed at the time.
1991, December 26: The Union of the Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR) is officially dissolved.
1992, February 26: Crimea ASSR renamed Republic of Crimea in an attempt to be recognized as an independent sovereign state after the passing of a resolution in the Crimean Parliament.
1992, May 05: Crimea declares self-governance pending approval by a referendum.
1992, May 06: The Crimean Parliament includes a sentence in the constitution confirming Crimea remains part of the sovereignty of Ukraine.
1992, May 19: Crimean Parliament annuls proclamation of independence from Ukraine, and agrees to remain part of Ukraine.
1992, June 30: Crimean Communist Party forces Kyiv to extend the status of Crimean autonomy. The Soviet Black Sea fleet is divided equally between Russia and Ukraine.
1992, October 13: Leonid Kuchma, as an independent politician, becomes Prime Minister of Ukraine winning 316 of 450 votes in Parliament.
1993, January 15: Union of the Ukrainian Naval Officers demands an end to Russian interference in Ukraine's internal affairs causing for Russia to retaliate by initiating anti-Ukrainian protests to support an independent Crimean Republic via the Party of the Republican Movement of Crimea, Voters for the Crimean Republic, and Union of Communists who demands Crimea’s return to the USSR (now CIS).
1993, January 22: The Charter (Statutes) of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is signed by its member states, excluding Ukraine and Turkmenistan, the latter two nations choosing to participate as non-member states to limit Russian interference via the CIS mechanisms.
1993, February 21: A shipping container with around 1 metric ton of pure cocaine disguised as cans of corned beef originating from Columbia, is seized at the Vyborg border crossing between Finland and Russia by Russian law enforcement. This incident remains the largest [disclosed] narcotics seizure in Russia to date. However, what this incident exposed was how Vladimir Putin became involved in narcotics trafficking while serving as the Deputy Mayor of St Petersburg and the serving Head of the External Relations Committee of St Petersburg.
At the time of seizure, Viktor Cherkesov, the then Head of the Directorate of the FSB (successor to the KGB), St Petersburg, held a news conference confirming the successful seizure of the cocaine consignment by security forces, and that the consignment would be reappropriated for medical use. Cherkesov justified this decision in public by stating that Russia did not have sufficient supplies of cocaine for ‘medicinal use’, and that the consignment would help the government to supplement depleted stocks (which was never questioned again by the Russian public who found the explanation acceptable). The consignment then disappeared without further trace. This was considered a major success to be celebrated by security forces, especially during a time when Russia was subjected to high levels of government corruption post-USSR dissolution. The incident was exposed as Operation Acapulco which was managed by Russian mafia connected Israeli gangsters via the Netherlands. The shipping route followed departure from Columbia, then transit via Sweden to Finland from where it was shipped to St Petersburg. The consignment was addressed to the Mayor's Office of St Petersburg with delivery instructions to the Sanitary Department facilities. Viktor Cherkesov, a long associate of Vladimir Putin dating back to their services in the former Soviet KGB, became the deputy to Vladimir Putin when Putin became the head of the FSB (successor to the KGB) during 1998. On March 11, 2003, Cherkesov was appointed by Putin as the Head of the State Committee for the Control of the Circulation of Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances. During October 2007, Cherkesov was implicated in the mysterious deaths by poisoning of two Russian Drug Enforcement Agency officials who threatened to expose high level oligarchs (including the poisoning of former FSB officer, Alexander Litvinenko in the UK, who was investigating Putin and his allies' involvement in corruption and cocaine smuggling at the time). On May 12, 2008, President Dmitry Medvedev sacked Cherkesov, but was reappointed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the Head of the Federal Agency for Procurement of Military and Special Equipment (which explains why the Russian Forces in Ukraine was exposed for its high levels of military procurement corruption leading up to the Ukraine invasion). However, since the 1993 seizure, narcotics trade via Russia only increased, especially its global network which benefited much from covert government security resources support via its compromised leadership structures under the direct control of Putin as the Head of State. Basically, the purpose of Russian security agencies tasked with drug enforcement is only to limit foreign (non-Russian) competition, and to ensure that wholesale narcotics trade remained within the controls of the Putin connected political elite across the global Russian footprint.
1993, March 19: National Salvation Front refuses Crimean Ukrainian Congress entry to the Republican Council.
1993, March 21: Russia establishes an 'information bureau' in Sevastopol.
1993, April 14: Presidium of the Crimean Parliament calls for establishment of a Presidential post for the Crimean Republic.
1993, April 21: Russian Deputy, Valentin Agafonov, confirms Russia is ready to accept Crimea as an independent republic in the CIS.
1993, July 28: Russian Society of Crimea confirms readiness for an armed mutiny to enable the establishment of a Russian administration in Sevastopol.
1993, October 14: Crimean Parliament establishes the post of President of Crimea. Crimean Tatars oppose the election of a President for Crimea, stating that Crimea cannot have two Presidents (referring to sitting Ukrainian President as first President).
1993, November 06: Crimean Tatar leader, Yuriy Osmanov, is murdered, followed by a series of terrorist attacks throughout the Crimean Peninsula targeting mainly Ukrainian and Tatar politicians.
1994, January 30: Pro-Russian, Yuriy Meshkov, is elected President of Crimea.
1994, June 16: Ukraine Prime Minister Leonid Kutchma hands over his duties as Prime Minister to Vitaliy Masol after Kuchma resigned from the position, criticizing the Ukraine government for being too slow in terms of government reforms post-independence. He served as Prime Minister for 20 months.
1994, July 10: Former Ukraine Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma wins the second-round Presidential elections against then Ukraine President Leonid Kravchuk. Kuchma won the majority support from eastern Ukraine, the region where Russian occupation forces were focused during the February 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine.
1994, September 08: Crimean Parliament degrades powers of the President from Head of State to Head of the Executive. Meshkov dissolves the Parliament.
1994, September 12: Yuriy Meshkov declares himself in control of Crimea.
1994, December 05: Ukraine, Russia, United Kingdom and United States of America sign United Nations treaty 52241: Memorandum on security assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. By undersigning this treaty, the Russian Federation acknowledged the borders and sovereign independence of Ukraine, with security guarantees provided by all signatories to support Ukraine in the event of any future conflict involving the threat of nuclear weapons being used against Ukraine in return for nuclear disarmament.
1995, March 17: With Special Forces assistance, the Ukraine Parliament removes Yuriy Meshkov and his party from power for their attempts to integrate Crimea with Russia. Meshkov is arrested at his residence, and immediately deported to Moscow.
1996, April 04: Interim constitution changes Crimean territory name to Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
1997, May 14: Viktor Yanukovych is appointed the governor of Donetsk Oblast. Looking back from the perspective of current events, this event is significant for the reason that it established the foundation for Donetsk Oblast’s subsequent break-away from Ukraine with Russian military support during the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution in Kyiv.
1997, May 31: Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation is signed in Kyiv, fixing the principle of strategic partnership, the recognition of the inviolability of existing borders, and respect for territorial integrity and mutual commitment not to use its territory to harm the security of each other. With this treaty Russia recognized Ukraine’s sovereign control over Crimea and Sevastopol. In a separate agreement, Ukraine agrees to hand over 80% of the Black Sea Fleet (shared ex-USSR at the time) to Russia, along with a 20 years lease to the Russian Navy to operate from Sevastopol.
1999, March 25: Ukrainian politician and Soviet dissident, Viacheslav Chornovil, dies under mysterious circumstances resembling a motor vehicle accident. Various inner circle discussions within the Party of Regions revealed that Chornovil’s death might have been politically motivated since he was considered the main opposition candidate to Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma’s re-election campaign in 1999. Chornovil was a major critic of Leonid Kuchma and his government reforms. On August 23, 2006, then Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko attempted to reopen the investigation into the circumstances leading to his death but failed due to politically influenced opposition within the Prosecutor General’s office.
1999, August 09: Vladimir Putin assumes office as the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, with Boris Yeltsin serving as the President of the Russian Federation. He serves as Prime Minister for 9 months after which he assumes the office of the President of the Russian Federation from Boris Yeltsin on May 07, 2000, after Yeltsin announced his resignation at short notice without giving reason.
1999, November 14: Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma wins the second-round of the Presidential elections against Petro Symonenko.
During his second term, Kuchma rapidly lost popularity due to his multi-polar foreign policies which attempted to please the US, Europe, and Russia simultaneously. This policy failed because he was playing the major powers against each other to his personal financial benefit, and to the benefit of the first-generation Ukrainian oligarchs but failing to benefit the people of Ukraine.
1999, December 22: Viktor Yushchenko, as an independent, becomes Prime Minister of Ukraine winning 296 of 450 votes in Parliament. He serves as Prime Minister for 17 months before replacement by Anatoliy Kinakh.
2000, May 07: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin assumes office as the President of the Russian Federation from Boris Yeltsin who announced his resignation at short notice without reason. He remains in office for 8 years until the end of his constitutionally prescribed maximum term in office on May 07, 2008.
2000, September 16: Georgiy Gongadze, a Ukrainian journalist investigating alleged corruption implicating Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma, disappears. His beheaded body is found 2 months later in a forest outside Kyiv. Audio recordings eventually surface implying that Kuchma ordered his subordinates to get rid of Gongadze which spurs public discontent. Western nations reconsider their relations with the Ukraine Presidency.
2000, November 28: Ukrainian politician Oleksandr Moroz publicly accuses Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma of his involvement in the illegal abduction of Georgiy Gongadze and numerous other crimes, such as the sale of the advanced Ukrainian electronic warfare system ‘Kolchuga’ to Iraq (under leadership of Saddam Hussein at the time), while subject to an arms embargo, which drew the attention of the US who launched its own investigation.
These allegations were exposed in a surveillance operation which became known as the ‘Cassette Scandal’ which exposed Kuchma having approved these actions. In the recordings, recommendations were given by Kuchma to ‘deport’ Gongadze to Chechnya. Gongadze’s decapitated body was found in a wood two months later. The head of the SBU, Leonid Derkach, was terminated upon public demands for his sacking. Derkach was a known Russian asset, with high-level links to the Russian organized crime. On March 04, 2005, former Minister of Interior, Yuriy Kravchenko, died of two gunshot wounds to the head shortly before he had to testify in the case relating to Gongadze’s murder.
2001, April 26: The Cabinet of Ukraine Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko is dissolved by the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament). This incident resulted in Yushchenko losing the support from Parliament in an act that was orchestrated by Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma.
2001, October 04: The Ukrainian Air Force shoots down Siberian Airlines Flight 1812 over the Black Sea while on route from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Novosibirsk, Russia. All 78 occupants died. The majority passengers were Israeli’s visiting family members in Russia. Initially Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma refused to have the Minister of Defence, Oleksandr Kuzmuk, resign and held accountable. One week later Kuzmuk was relieved of his duties, and Kuchma apologized to both Israel and Russia for the incident.
2002, October 23: Chechen terrorists seize the Dubrovka theatre with around 850 hostages in Moscow, Russia. This incident becomes known as the Moscow Theatre Hostage Crisis (or 2002 Nord-Ost Siege). The siege ended when Russian security forces (Spetsnaz Alpha & Vympel assigned to the Russian FSB), launched an assault on the theatre after pumping a toxic chemical agent through the ventilation system. The hostage release operation caused the deaths of 131 hostages who died because of inhaling the toxic chemicals. The 40 insurgents also died when they were shot dead by security forces while unconscious. More than 700 hostages sustained injuries during the release operation. The chemical used by the FSB was a fentanyl derivative, more specifically a mixture of carfentanil and remifentanil. The incident response, considered a disaster in the West, caused for record high public approval ratings of Vladimir Putin’s handling of the situation, with around 83% of Russians declaring themselves satisfied with the results.
An important aspect about this event relates to the attackers. The insurgents were Chechens with sworn allegiance to the Islamic separatist movement in Chechnya who demanded the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya, and the immediate end to the Second Chechen War. The most significant fact about the attackers is that they associated themselves as members of the defunct Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, and specifically a radical extremist group within the Ichkeria movement which later inspired insurgencies within the Dagestan and North Caucasus regions of Russia (2000 – 2017). On August 09, 1999, Islamic fighters infiltrated Dagestan and declared it an independent Islamic state/caliphate (a term that sounds familiar going forward). This event prompted the start of the Second Chechen War when Moscow intervened with military force. However, during this time Russian armed forces faced less resistance during their invasion of Chechnya (compared to the First Chechen War), because of differing opinions amongst the various Chechen factions about the reasons for hostility. This basically divided the Chechens into various warring factions, the most radical groups having established themselves in the North Caucasus and in Dagestan, also aligning themselves with the Al Qaeda network. The significance of this development in Russia is that eventually with the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the majority foreign fighters were Russian speakers of Chechen origin who contributed their military experience gained through fighting Russian forces in Chechnya, Dagestan and North Caucasus, to the establishment of the Islamic State’s military capabilities, and most prominently the ruthlessness of the Islamic State military campaigns in both Syria and Iraq. At the start of the Islamic State campaign in Syria, Moscow was genuinely concerned about the future threat its radicalized citizens would pose in the ongoing insurgencies within the Muslim territories of Russia when these fighters returned home from various foreign areas of conflict. However, the Russian intelligence services only came to realize the opportunities offered by the Islamic State to enable Russian expansionism within strategic Muslim dominated territories which were predominantly Western aligned, through partnership with the Syrian government who also concluded that the Islamic State was a greater asset to ensuring the future survival of the Syrian regime and its territories, than it was a threat to the Syrian Ba’athist government. This is how the relationship started between the Russian intelligence services alliance (FSB, GRU, Wagner), and how they solved maintaining control over Russian citizens historically classified as a threat to the Russian Federation, but now converted into an asset for foreign expansionism enablement (Mozambique, Nigeria, Mali, Afghanistan). It is also due to this silent alliance why both Russia and Syria eventually failed to effectively engage Islamic State targets in Syria, and rather targeted militant groups supported by the West, sometimes providing CAS (close air support) in support of Islamic State ground operations.
Back in Chechnya, the Russian government control over the Chechens were achieved when Vladimir Putin engaged with Ramzan Kadyrov to serve as Head of the Chechen Republic. Through lavish financing of Kadyrov’s lifestyle, Putin gained the support of the Chechen people. Kadyrov, however, is a highly controversial figure that often features in human rights abuses without consequences (with a leadership style similar to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un). To further reinforce Kadyrov’s support to the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin promoted Kadyrov to the military rank of Colonel-General as reward for the provision of Chechen military forces in support of the Russian war effort in Ukraine. However, not all Chechens support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, why Ukraine also fields two separate Chechen volunteer battalions who offered their services to fight the Russian occupation. Ironically, when Russian forces started losing territory to the more capable Ukrainian armed forces, Kadyrov became more outspoken against the competency of the Russian armed forces and its leadership, demanding for a full mobilization in Russia. However, when Moscow announced a partial mobilization, Kadyrov was the first leader to refuse mobilization of more Chechens in support of the Russian campaign in Ukraine.
2002, November 21: Viktor Yanukovych, representing the Party of Regions, becomes Prime Minister of Ukraine winning 234 of 450 votes in Parliament. He served as Prime Minister for 26 months until replacement by Yulia Tymoshenko.
2003, February 15: Around 3 million people rally in Rome to protest the anticipated US invasion of Iraq. The source of the global arrangement of protesting actions were suspected to be arranged via the Russian information network.
Iraq, a historical Russian ally, was of great strategic value to Russia’s future expansionism plans, and the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a major upset to Russia. Russia was still recovering from its economic transformation and reintegration into the global economy and bound to solving many domestic unresolved issues brought over from the dissolution of the USSR. Vladimir Putin was especially dissatisfied with the US invasion at a personal level, why the invasion of Iraq was also used by Putin as a constant reference to his dissatisfaction about US global reach and expansion of influence closer to Russia’s traditional areas of influence. When Vladimir Putin came into power, he envisioned himself as a force for change in terms of the global power balance, and he used the US invasion of Iraq as a template for the eventual Russian invasion of Ukraine. He also considered his predecessors too weak to enable Russia’s potential as a global power in direct competition with the West. The only problem with that plan was that Russia had no experience in conducting combined arms operations equaling the scale of the US-led occupation of Iraq, and Russia failed to develop its armed forces with such capabilities, rather choosing to rely on its untested and flawed Soviet doctrines during the invasion of Ukraine on February 22, 2022. However, to a certain degree Russia was aware that it was no match compared to the West in a conventional war (even if it was just the United States), which forced Russia to explore alternative means of warfare through irregular means. A major requirement for Russia to escape its self-perceived situation of being encircled, was to re-establish a foothold in the Arabian Peninsula. That foothold was Syria, and to establish that foothold, Russia required the assistance of Iran (‘foothold’ meaning a firm base where Russia could deploy strategic capable components of its land, air and sea forces with access to the Mediterranean Sea). Taking into consideration the rapid mobilization of Daesh (Islamic State), the effects of the Arab Spring, and the eruption of unrest in Syria on March 15, 2011, the situation opened an opportunity for both Russia and its ally Iran to support the Syrian Ba’athist government. Both Russia and Iran entered Syria under the basis ‘to fight the Islamic State’, but there is no coincidence in the fact that during the combined Russian-Iran campaigns in Syria, the armed forces of both nations failed to effectively engage so-called ‘Islamic State’ forces, instead targeting US sponsored militants fighting the Assad Ba’athist government. It is also no coincidence that both Iran and Russia were ready in the waiting when they committed large military resources in support of the Assad Ba’athist government when the unrest ‘escalated’ into a civil war.
2003, March 19: The US-led coalition launches its air campaign during the invasion of Iraq. Russia condems the United States initiated invasion to remove Saddam Hussein and his Ba’ath Party from power. The Ba’ath Party and its influential leadership was considered a threat to regional security, especially relating to stability of global oil supplies. The Ba’ath Party was responsible for the financing of international terrorist groups affiliated to the Al Qaeda ideology. The operation to occupy Iraq was completed in 26 days.
2003, March 20: The US-led coalition commences its ground invasion of Iraq from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The US-led coalition during the initial invasion phase of the operation consisted of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland with around 160,000 troops. Poland was the only NATO Europe nation to contribute combatant forces during the initial invasion phase. US allies Canada, France, New Zealand, and Germany also confirmed their strong opposition against the US-led invasion.
2003, April 09: The US-led coalition captures the Iraqi capital of Baghdad 22 days after launching the invasion. The Battle of Baghdad took 6 days of urban combat to complete the city’s occupation.
2003, May 01: US President George W. Bush officially confirms the end of major combat operations in Iraq. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) is established to develop the systems to enable Iraq to hold parliamentary elections in January 2005 as first step to establishing a democratic government. This point also marks the beginnings of the establishment of Daesh, or in other words, the so-called ‘Islamic State’ which rose in popularity amongst predominantly Sunni Arabs in MENA starting 2013 in Syria, followed by the annexation of large territories of Iraq in 2014.
Daesh, or better known as the ‘Islamic State’ thanks to mainstream media, was established by senior Iraqi military- and intelligence officers who were forcefully removed from their positions during the US military’s de-Ba’athication of Iraq following the successful overthrow of the Iraqi Government under leadership of Saddam Hussein. Initially, the founding members wished to establish a Sunni Islamic Caliphate by whatever means. Daesh would in the years following the US invasion of Iraq, establish its network throughout the Arab nations, building its core structures around the Sunni populations of Iraq and Syria that considered the West as the ultimate enemy of Islam. However, Daesh (Islamic State) became a serious concern to Russia during 2012 when Russia experienced a mass exodus of radical Muslims from predominantly the North Caucasus region and Chechnya. What was of concern to Russia was that these fighters, numbered up to around 30,000 men by August 2016, was joining Daesh to fight against the United States and its allies in Syria and Iraq. The fact that Russian citizens were fighting US/NATO allies was not of concern, but these men had to return to Russia at some stage which would cause major internal disruption in the volatile North Caucasus and Chechnya. Russia was fighting radical Islamist insurgencies in various regions within the Russian Federation since 1994 to 2017 (predominantly in the North Caucasus and Chechnya), and the mass exodus of experienced fighters to join the ranks of Daesh presented somewhat of a solution to Russia to de-escalate the conflicts within its territories. It was not until 2014 that Russia realized that even-though it banned Daesh/Islamic State from operating within Russian territory, it would be to Russia’s strategic benefit to utilize Daesh to fights its silent war against the West with plausible deniability, while at the same time offering some form of control over around 30,000 Russians following the Muslim faith from contesting Russian territories to establish self-ruling status. By supporting Daesh (Islamic State), Russia gained an additional irregular ‘Army’ to utilize strategically through covert means, while also constructively making use of Russians who resisted the Russian ruling class in Moscow, to the benefit of the Russian Federation’s strategic objectives. Now, this idea is not an original Russian idea, but Russia borrowed the idea from US President George W. Bush that stated publicly during the early years of Operation Iraqi Freedom that it was better to fight the enemies of the United States within the boundaries of a foreign state (referencing Iraq as justification for the extended US military presence in Iraq), than to have those enemies infiltrate the United States, and killing Americans on US soil (referencing 9/11).
Since the Russian adoption of Daesh as a tool to achieve strategic objectives with plausible deniability, all radical Islamic insurgencies within Russian Federation territories ended by 2017, allowing Russia to shift more focus to expanding its foreign agenda. This plan of Russia became exposed when the US entered Syria to support its allies in destroying Daesh. At the time, Russia claimed that it was supporting the Syrian Government in fighting the ‘Islamic State’ which was an acceptable reason to have large military forces based there. This also supported the US to deploy larger force contingents into Syria without foreign scrutinization. Initially the US tried to establish some form of co-operative framework as to avoid targeting Russian forces by mistake. During this process it became clear that both Russia and Iran were overestimating its claims relating to attacks on Daesh (Islamic State) positions, instead targeting US sponsored militant groups fighting the Islamic State and the Syrian Government Forces, and then claiming that they had attacked Islamic State positions. One such example is when Russia confirmed to the United States that it had killed the leader of Daesh (Islamic State), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, during an airstrike in May 2019. The US knew this information was inaccurate, and during an undeclared special operation targeting al-Baghdadi in a Special Forces ground assault, al-Baghdadi was killed when he detonated himself with a suicide vest when he was surrounded by US forces. US President Donald Trump announced the killing of al-Baghdadi in a televised address, and thanked all the US allies for their assistance, including Russia. Russia only responded that if the US claims were true, that “it represented a serious contribution by the United States to combat terrorism”. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not provide any response to the success of the US mission. In total, the majority foreign fighters serving as combatants in Daesh originated from Russia, especially within leadership positions. By the end of 2014, the Islamic State had around 200,000 combatants in its ranks. What differentiates Daesh (Islamic State) from other radical Islam groups is its depth of organization. Daesh was well organized, and it even had its own multi-level secret service which it established in 2014. During 2014 alone, Daesh (Islamic State) was earning around US$ 1.9 Billion from its wide range of activities. However, the irony is that Daesh, who supposedly opposed the United States and its Western allies, used the USD currency as its own currency. The problem with operating such large numbers of USD currency is access to the US SWIFT banking system to enable international payments for salaries and supplies. This is where Russia and its organized crime network would contribute much value to the facilitation of USD processing to Daesh, which in turn offered great rewards to connected Russian inner circles, in addition to Russian oil traders benefitting from trading oil extracted from Islamic State controlled facilities at well below market value.
2003, August 17: Ukraine contributes 1,614 troops to the US-led coalition in Iraq. The Ukraine contingent is formed as the 5th Separate Mechanized Brigade and operates under the command of a polish led Division in southern Iraq alongside a Polish Brigade and a Spanish Brigade. The Brigade headquarters was based in Al Kut, Wasit Governate of Iraq. Main responsibilities involved rear area defense, base defense operations at Al Kut Air Base, and providing security to Polish EOD Engineers, and convoy protection. Both Russia and its pro-Russian political support base in Ukraine condemned the Ukrainian deployment in support of the US-led occupation of Iraq. Due to political pressure in Ukraine, the deployment would last only 7 months before complete withdrawal of all Ukrainian soldiers from Iraq. Contrary to various mass media disinformation, Ukrainian soldiers were never engaged in frontline combat operations alongside US forward units.
2003, November 03: United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan issues a statement that the US invasion of Iraq was illegal under international law, and states that it breached the UN Charter.
2004, September 05: Viktor Yushchenko, an independent candidate running for the position President of Ukraine, attends a dinner with senior Ukrainian officials, including head of the Ukrainian Intelligence Services, Volodymyr Satsyuk. After the dinner, Yushchenko became seriously ill, and was flown to Vienna for medical treatment. It was later confirmed that Yushchenko had ingested TCDD dioxin, with a concentration 50,000 times the normal count in his body. He suspects intentional poisoning by the officials, including Davyd Zhvania, in attendance of the dinner, leaving his face severely deformed. Later studies confirmed the purity of the dioxin having originated from a laboratory. All three accused went into hiding in Russia, and Russia refused to extradite them back to Ukraine to face charges of attempted murder. Poisoning of political rivals identified as obstacles to Russia's expansionism agenda became more common practice after the 2008 Russo-Georgian war revealed that Russia had to change its strategy, which included the establishment of specialized covert Special Operations Forces to conduct clandestine direct action missions by irregular means.
Viktor Yushchenko before (left) being poisoned, and after (right) dioxin poisoning. In the years to follow, Yushchenko received multiple skin transplants to partially restore his face. Yushchenko wished to move Ukraine away from Russian political- and economic control, which nearly cost him his life. Prior to the Zelenskyy administration, Yushchenko was the only President of Ukraine that actively attempted to free Ukraine from Russia, but without success because he did not have sufficient support within the legislature and the judiciary which were both dominated by the pro-Russian political syndicate.
2004, November 22: On appearance, Viktor Yanukovych wins the Ukraine Presidential election, only to be exposed for election fraud. The incident leads to the Orange Revolution, resulting in a second round of voting in which former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko wins the Presidential election.
By this time Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma’s popularity ratings were at its lowest, causing for the Ukrainian oligarchs to spend around US$ 150 million to support the opposition parties against Kuchma during the run-up to the elections. According to Michael McFaul, US Ambassador to Russia during the Obama Administration, the US contributed around US$ 18 million to “democracy promotion” during the two years leading up to the 2004 elections. Leonid Kuchma later endorsed Viktor Yanukovych during the 2010 Presidential elections. After the Russian annexation of Crimea, and the consequent War in the Donbas, Kuchma became more critical of Russia. After the February 24, 2022, Russian invasion of Ukraine, former President Leonid Kuchma chose to remain in Ukraine and support the Ukrainian resistance effort against Russia.
2004, December 01: American lobbyist, Paul John Manafort Jr, a long time electoral campaign consultant (also having served as the Trump presidential campaign manager during 2016), starts advising Viktor Yanukovych as his presidential campaign manager (until 2014 when Viktor Yanukovych flees Ukraine to Russia).
The personal relationship between Manafort and Yanukovych ended abruptly after Yanukovych was inaugurated as President of Ukraine in 2010. According to sources close to Manafort at the time, Yanukovych just cut all contact with Manafort which disgruntled Manafort who even threatened Yanukovych that he would face severe political consequences for severing ties with him. Manafort however remained in service of the government of Russia, as well as Yanukovych’s Party of Regions in Ukraine. Based on evidence gathered by the FBI while investigating corruption charges against Manafort sprouting from his relationship with Yanukovych, Manafort was always paid via the Belize based Neocom Systems Limited account at the Kyrgyzstan based Asia Universal Bank (AUB). Although Manafort predominantly supported Republican Party presidential campaigns in the US against the Democrats, he was also opposed by various senior figures within the Republican Party (such as former Senator John McCain, and Senator Lindsey Graham) due to his foreign ties with questionable people and foreign affiliations (such as Russia and Kyrgyzstan). Manafort is a controversial figure due to the extent of his political connections, especially his acceptance of an agreement starting 2006 based on a confidential proposal during June 2005 (based on FBI evidence) to assist the Vladimir Putin government (via Oleg Deripaska, a Putin aide) at a rate of US$ 10 million annually to promote Russian interests in both the US and the EU (which includes the UK pre-Brexit) relating to politics, strategic business, and mainstream media coverage. The link between Manafort and Russia is the reason why numerous compromised [conservative] US, British and EU politicians and media continue to support the mainstream Russian narrative in the current Russo-Ukraine conflict. Derived from other official disclosures made by Manafort, he earned around US$ 17 million between 2012 to 2014 “working for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine” (Viktor Yanukovych’s Partiia Rehioniv / Party of Regions, which formally collaborated with the dominant political party in Russia, Yedinaya Rossiya / United Russia). Based on his diverse foreign relations, reasonable suspicions indicate that he was also working with United Russia, and he was also implicated in an affidavit submitted to the January 2019 Special Counsel investigation that he handed confidential polling data relating to Donald Trump to Konstantin Kilimnik, a known Russian GRU agent. Manafort was convicted and imprisoned resulting the Special Counsel investigation relating to Russian influence in the 2016 US presidential elections, but he was pardoned on December 23, 2020, by former President Donald Trump.
However, just because Manafort supported the Republican Party while he was working to promote Russian interests in the US, it does not imply that the Republican Party as a collective is Russian sympathetic (just as Donald Trump does not represent the whole Republican Party). The overall political support to the current Russian activities in Ukraine amongst Republican senators are in the minority, and unfortunately the majority of the Russian narrative supporters are either paid to do so (and being coerced by some leverage the Russian GSU/FSB has over them), or because they simply suffer from ‘Cause Ignorance / Cause Blindness’, not knowing the exact details (causes) for being sympathetic towards the current Russian narrative (such as retired US military Generals serving as Senators preaching pro-Russian anti-West narratives relating to the current Russo-Ukraine conflict). The point we are getting to is that the effectiveness of Russian information operations should not be underestimated (for it is at present highly underestimated by even members of the law enforcement- and intelligence communities), and for some reason it is the older generation ‘conservatives’ who consider themselves the ‘most educated and knowledgeable’ regarding global affairs who have proven to be the most vulnerable and ignorant to Russian information campaign effectiveness mainly due to Russia’s clever masking of their disinformation message around ‘conservative’ political ideologies. However, much of Russia’s political ideologies are still very much socialist in nature, and therefore what is perceived as a ‘conservative’ Russian government is in fact ‘socialist conservatism’. Now, this is where current Russian strategic ideology becomes interesting for the last time we observed governance resembling a ‘socialist conservatism’ model was during the Cold War in the German Democratic Republic (GDR / East Germany). There is also no coincidence that during the last years of the Cold War, Vladimir Putin was stationed in the GDR as a member of the Russian KGB with a close working relationship with the East German Stasi (Ministry of State Security), with its past members currently exercising much influence on the present day German political narrative. This possibly also explains why the German Federal Government, a supposedly leading NATO member state, maintained more favorable diplomatic support towards Russia since the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea, compared to its support to Ukraine even 6 months after Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine].
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this article suggests that any of the political institutions in the United States are sympathetic towards Russia, for that assumption would be grossly incorrect. Also, irrespective of the past relationships between known Russian collaborators and former President Donald Trump, nothing in this article implicates Trump being either sympathetic towards Russia, or compromised by Russia, for these assumptions would also be incorrect. However, since we are discussing this subject being quite a sensitive topic within the present political environment, we need to understand why the Republican Party is viewed as the more 'sympathetic' towards Russia's current operations in Ukraine within the public domain. The answer is actually quite simple. From a Russian perspective, the Republican Party has always been assessed as the greatest threat to Russian expansionism, why Russia, and specifically Vladimir Putin, dedicated so much resources to ensure that the Republican Party was infiltrated by pro-Russian narrative supporters (even if only for reward), which includes exposure of these characters via [Russian influenced] Western mainstream media when compromised as a means of degrading the Republican brand and values amongst its existing- and prospective followers who were still undecided between the policies of the Democrats and Republicans respectively. The thing is, in Putin's mind, the US was more likely to engage in direct military action against Russia under a Republican administration than under the leadership of the Democratic Party (not to be viewed as a negative reflection on the Democrats, for it is quite the opposite). This was proven during the 2008 Russo-Georgian War when the Republican administration under the leadership of President George W. Bush did everything to minimize Russian aggression in Georgia, and specifically stopping Russia from occupying Tblisi, When the Democrats took over office with President Barack Obama a few months later, the US softened its stance against Russia as not to 'provoke' further Russian aggression. This in effect gave Vladimir Putin the idea that the Democrat leadership was less likely to confront Russia in a direct conflict.
With reference to Donald Trump (with all animosities between him and various prominent Democrats set aside), we need to be aware that when Donald Trump entered the candidacy race during 2016, the Russians saw an opportunity to capitalize on his most dominant characteristics, and to turn it to their benefit. Trump is an extrovert, and with that he is also a very outspoken character which is further amplified by his entertainment industry past. Is he a good politician, and did he understand the complexity of international relations and diplomacy? No, for when he entered the Oval Office as a non-career politician, he was very much naive about the realities he was facing. In fact, overwhelmed would be the most accurate description for his first experience as President of the United States (POTUS). To simplify his transition into the POTUS, he appointed advisors who were supposedly experts in their fields if not close relatives who he trusted. This is where the Russians saw weakness in his administration, and this is where they targeted the Trump administration, namely, via the incompetence of his advising staff (without mentioning names). As Trump became more aware of the poor quality advice he was receiving based on factually flawed information, the more his actions in response to poor advice played out to the benefit of Russia, resulting in an ever-expanding political divide between the Republicans and Democrats. The point of this explanation is not to promote any political figures, nor to promote any political parties or ideologies, but instead to highlight the causes for the current political fragility in the United States. We mention this for the reason that a political unstable United States results in global instability, a desired Russian end state. What is needed now is for both the Republicans and Democrats to press the reset button, and work out a way to improve inter-party relations to enable greater cooperative effort in countering a belligerent Russia already at war with the West.
2004, December 29: The OSCE raises concerns over the fairness of the Uzbekistan parliamentary elections since all the five political parties vetted by Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, are sworn supporters of his presidency. The Russian dominated CIS confirms their satisfaction with the election results and certifies the elections as “legitimate, free, and transparent.” In response to the OSCE election observers’ concerns, Uzbekistan President Islam Krimov states that the OSCE is not of much concern to the people of Uzbekistan.
It was of critical importance for Russia to gain control over the political system of Uzbekistan as a means of limiting growing US influence over the Uzbek government after the two countries signed a security cooperation agreement which was important to the United States to support its ongoing military operations in neighboring Afghanistan. Only after the US demanded reforms relating to transparency in the Uzbek political system, with threats of ceasing all further funding to the Uzbekistan government in relation to existing cooperation agreements, were reforms made to improve democratic electoral processes. Uzbekistan was a major fuel supplier to the US sponsored NATO ISAF intervention in Afghanistan, especially in support of operations in northern Afghanistan.
2005, January 06: Viktor Yanukovych, former governor of Donetsk Oblast and former Prime Minister of Ukraine, is declared the winner of the second round of the Ukraine presidential elections against former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko. During the first round, Viktor Yanukovych narrowly lost against Viktor Yushchenko, which called for a second round of elections in accordance with Ukrainian election laws.
2005, January 23: Viktor Yushchenko resumes duty as the President of Ukraine from Leonid Kuchma after the Ukrainian Supreme Court nullified the second run-off election results which saw Viktor Yanukovych win the election after evidence of Russian assisted election fraud and voter intimidation was detected, to include the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko during the campaign which left his face deformed, consequently leading to mass public protests which became known as the Orange Revolution when Viktor Yushchenko supposedly lost the second run-off. Yushchenko is a trained accountant, and his father survived various German POW concentration camps during WW2.
2005, February 04: Yulia Tymoshenko, representing Batkivshchyna, becomes Prime Minister of Ukraine winning 373 of 450 votes in Parliament. Tymoshenko resumes duty from Viktor Yanukovych, and serves for 7 months before being replaced by Yuri Yekhanurov.
2005, February 17: Viktor Yanukovych’s Partiia Rehioniv (Party of Regions) signs an agreement of collaboration with Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia) party, the dominant conservative [policies] party supporting Vladimir Putin’s government as former party leader.
So, what is the major significance of Viktor Yanukovych’s political collaboration with the Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia) party? The Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia) party is the political instrument that is keeping Vladimir Putin and his supporters in power in Russia (since Vladimir Putin, as former Chairman, acts as the de facto leader of the party). Basically, nobody can become a ‘person of power’ if he does not belong to the United Russia party. The current official leader of United Russia is Sergey Shoigu, who also serves as the current Minister of Defense of Russia since 2012. At present (Q3 2022), Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia) holds 325 of the 450 State Duma (lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia) seats. Also, much instrumental to Russia’s successful expansionism throughout Crimea and eastern Ukraine, is the Russian Orthodox Church under the leadership of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, a powerful supporter of Vladimir Putin. However, to understand how foreign political groups seem to be controlled by Russia, we need to look at all of the current international alliances of Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia):
Armenia Prosperous Armenia
Austria Freedom Party of Austria
Azerbaijan New Azerbaijan Party
Bosnia & Herzegovina Alliance of Independent Social Democrats
Cambodia Cambodian People’s Party
Cuba Communist Party of Cuba
Estonia Estonian Centre Party
Germany Alternative for Germany, Young Alternative for Germany
Italy League of Salvini Premier
Japan Liberal Democratic Party
Kazakhstan Nur Otan
Laos Lao People’s Revolutionary Party
Moldova Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova
Mongolia Mongolian People’s Party
North Korea Workers Party of Korea
Philippines Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP – Laban)
Serbia Serbian Progressive Party
South Africa African National Congress
Syria Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party – Syria Region
Tajikistan People’s Democratic Party of Tajikistan
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan Liberal Democratic Party
Vietnam Communist Party of Vietnam
Basically, Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia) took over political alliances previously held by the Communist Party of Russia (USSR), and now maintains an [integrated] working relationship with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, since all its foreign alliances practice Socialist political ideologies. However, where Russia gained much success within traditional Western nations that are majority ‘anti-socialism’ oriented, United Russia (with assistance from the Russian FSB, GRU and foreign collaborators), changed the political language to reflect ‘conservatism’ instead of ‘socialism’, hence capitalizing on the similarities in political ideologies that exist between Socialism and Conservatism (ignoring economic models). However, through cleverly devised narratives, Russia has gained much success in establishing favor amongst traditionalists (conservatives) by pushing against the same anti-liberal agendas opposed by so-called ‘conservatives’, especially when Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia) was a member (until 2014) of the European Democratic Group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe alongside other European parties such as the British ‘Conservative Party’, the Polish ‘Law and Justice’, and the Turkish ‘Justice and Development Party’. Up until 2014, the Ukrainian Partiia Rehioniv (Party of Regions) under the control of the Yanukovych faction also served as a member of the European Democratic Group. From 2014 to 2019, the group operated under a new name, European Conservatives Group, after Russia annexed Crimea (supposedly to disguise its former inclusion of both Partiia Rehioniv (Party of Regions), Ukraine, and Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia). However, what remained unchanged post-2014 was Russia’s covert support to this group and its members, the majority parties being international alliance members of Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia). Now, the most confusing part about the current Russian system of government is that it cannot be categorized into being a party prescribing to a specific political ideology. The reason for this is due to Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia) being composed of four internal groupings as follows:
Liberal Conservative: 4 November Club
Social Conservative: Centre for Social Conservative Politics
Conservative Liberal: State Patriotic Club
Liberal: Liberal Club
By maintaining four systems within a single political party, Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia) is able to contest political control over Russia using either a Liberal, Conservative, or Social model, with each model prescribing to the same central party core objectives under a centralized leadership structure to eventually achieve the same end goal. The term used by United Russia to describe (disguise) this three model system, is ‘Russian Conservatism’ (why the majority of assumptions based on perceptions relating to Russia’s political ideologies are mostly incorrect). Basically, this is the reason why the current Russian political government appeals to so many people supporting diverse/opposite political ideologies world-wide. To understand how party governance works, and how it is applied in terms of managing the Federal Government of Russia, Yedinaya Rossiya is nothing more than a collective of organized crime syndicates operating within a single centralized organizational framework under the leadership of Vladimir Putin. The Russian Federation is in fact a working example of organized crime syndication functioning as the national government.
2005, March 06: Moldova stops Russian and Belarusian election observers attached to the CIS election monitoring organization from entering Moldova and prohibits the CIS from monitoring the Moldovan parliamentary elections to deter any forms of Russian interference in the elections. Russia expresses its dissatisfaction with Moldova’s decisions.
2005, March 13: (1) Tajikistan holds its second and final round of Parliamentary elections. The OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) monitored the election by request of the Tajik government but declared the results had failed to meet European commitments for democratic elections. The Russian controlled CIS election monitoring organization declares the Tajikistan elections as “legitimate, free, and transparent”. (2) Kyrgyzstan holds its second round of Parliamentary elections. The OSCE declares that the results had failed to meet international standards for democratic process. The Russian controlled CIS election monitoring organization congratulates the Kyrgyzstan elections as “well organized, free, and fair”. Violent protests erupt nation-wide protesting that the opposition called a rigged parliamentary election.
2005, March 15: Ukraine suspends its participation in the CIS election monitoring organization after the CIS election observers stated that the appointment of Viktor Yushchenko as President of Ukraine after following due democratic process following the Orange Revolution, was illegitimate.
Since Russia was funding the Viktor Yanukovych campaign against Viktor Yushchenko, even assisting with the poisoning of Yushchenko, the CIS election observers were mandated to do everything possible to enable Viktor Yanukovych winning the election. Fortunately for Ukraine, the legitimate choice of the people of Ukraine won the election.
2005, June 01: Ukrainian born Russian citizen and Russian GRU agent, Konstantin Kilimnik, commences a working relationship with American political consultant Paul Manafort after his employment with an American NGO, International Republican Institute (IRI), comes to an abrupt end after its management became aware of Kilimnik being a Russian GRU agent. Kilimnik is employed by Manafort for the purpose of preparing Viktor Yanukovych to win the next Ukrainian Presidential elections. Kilimnik’s appointment to Yanukovych’s election campaign is suspected to be Russian inspired. Manafort was also aware of Kilimnik's involvement with Russian intelligence services.
2005, September 27: Petro Poroshenko is implicated with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for their involvement in corruption allegations involving assistance to Viktor Pinchuk regarding the privatization of the state enterprise Nikopol Ferroalloy for US$ 80 million after it was independently valued at around US$ 1 Billion. Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko responded by dismissing his entire cabinet of ministers, including Poroshenko and Tymoshenko.
2006, January 23: Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine launches an official investigation into claims of falsification of Viktor Yanukovych’s acquittal for his criminal convictions during his youth (which would consequently disqualify him from running for public office). The investigation finds evidence of falsification of documents, but Yuriy Lutshenko, then head of the ministry, confirms that according to the Statute of Limitations, the fact that the acquittal documents were falsified is irrelevant due to the fact that the original crimes have already prescribed, and therefore Viktor Yanukovych could not be excluded from running for public office based on his past criminal convictions due to prescription.
2006, March 26: Petro Poroshenko is re-elected into Parliament with the support from ‘Our Ukraine’. His term ended September 30, 2007.
2006, August 04: Viktor Yanukovych, representing the Party of Regions, is re-elected as Prime Minister for a second term resuming duty from Yuri Yekhanurov, winning 271 of 450 votes in Parliament. He serves for 16 months until being replaced by Yulia Tymoshenko for a second time.
2006, November 23: Former Russian FSB Officer and defector to the United Kingdom, Alexander Litvinenko, dies in hospital after being poisoned with Polonium-210.
Litvinenko served in the FSB with the purpose of investigating organized criminal groups in Russia during Vladimir Putin’s rapid rise to power. He defected to the UK with his family during the year 2000 after various personal attacks on him and his colleagues by powerful members of the Russian government and political system, after they exposed involvement by senior Russian FSB members in the assassination of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Litvinenko was consequently employed as an advisor to the British MI6 in the UK and was assassinated by the Russian FSO by means of targeted poisoning with Polonium-210 on November 01, 2006. At the time, Litvinenko was involved with the exposure of the Russian international infiltration network, and specifically detailing how the Russian system of rule employs Russian organized criminal groups to facilitate foreign government capture (with specific references to Spain, Georgia, Ukraine). During the British murder investigation, it was found that the main suspect in Litvinenko’s poisoning was Andrey Lugovoy, who is now a prominent Russian politician and serving member of the Russian State Duma (Parliament). Lugovoy’s accomplice was Dmitry Kovtun, an ex-Russian KGB Officer who established his own private protection services business upon leaving the KGB. Kovtun was later found to have suffered exposure to the Polonium-210 dose that poisoned Litvinenko. Kovtun supposedly died in Moscow on June 04, 2022, from COVID-19.
2007, February 01: Petro Poroshenko assumes the position as Chairman of the Board of Ukraine National Bank.
2007, May 25: Viktor Yanukovych is appointed Chairman of the Government Chiefs Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). This appointment was enabled with the assistance of Russia to keep him relevant within the political space.
2007, December 18: Yulia Tymoshenko, representing Batkivshchyna, is re-elected as Prime Minister for a second term resuming duty from Viktor Yanukovych, narrowly winning 226 of 450 votes in Parliament. She serves for 27 months before replacement by Mykola Azarov.
2008, January 14: Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko and his Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko submits a formal request to NATO for Ukraine to commence with the membership application process.
2008, April 01: Ukraine’s application to proceed with NATO membership is reviewed. US President George W. Bush supports Ukraine’s application to join NATO, but France and Germany opposes the application after Russia (a non-NATO member state) voices its objection.
2008, April 03: NATO commences 22nd Summit, debating whether it should offer Membership Action Plans (MAP) to Croatia, Georgia, and Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin objects to NATO offering MAP's to Georgia and Ukraine in discussions with NATO officials. Unable to reach a consensus, NATO declines to offer a MAP to either Ukraine or Georgia. In a separate discussion between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President George W. Bush regarding the NATO membership matter, Putin remarks that “Ukraine is not even a real nation-state”. Both France and Germany were responsible for blocking the MAP's to both Georgia and Ukraine, justifying their decisions that it would be "an unnecessary offence" for Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin was in attendance at the Bucharest Summit, and immediately after leaving, Russia's hostility rapidly increased, and military preparations for the invasion of Georgia started.
2008, April 16: Russia officially acknowledges the separatist authorities of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia. The Georgian government requests an emergency UN Security Counsel meeting whereby Russia is requested to withdraw its intensions regarding the separatist movement in Georgia. Russia refuses.
The Russian strategy applied to both South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia shares much similarities in execution compared to Russian activities leading up to the annexation of Crimea, and the recognition and consequent occupation of the break-away republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine 6 years later.
2008, April 20: A Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 fighter shoots down a drown belonging to the Georgia Armed Forces while flying a reconnaissance mission over the territory of Abkhazia.
2008, May 08: Russian President Vladimir Putin takes office as the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation upon reaching the end of his constitutionally prescribed duration of office. His term ends on May 07, 2012, when he is reappointed the President of the Russian Federation. Putin’s right-hand man, Dmitry Medvedev, assumes office as President of the Russian Federation.
At this point, Vladimir Putin has already taken full control over all mechanisms of government, and from this point forward Medvedev would act as a proxy of Putin. The true power over the Russian system of government and its supporting kleptocracy was held by Vladimir Putin, and whatever Medvedev as the President of the Russian Federation enacted was in fact directed by Vladimir Putin. During this period Putin had to enable his influence in government to change the constitution to enable him to return to the office of President of the Russian Federation without any term limitations, which is how Putin was reappointed as the President of the Russian Federation on May 07, 2012.
2008, May 31: Russia deploys an undisclosed number of railway troops to Abkhazia, Georgia, in addition to the 2,542 combat troops already in theatre. The Russian deployment is condemned by the European Union.
The railway troops had to repair the main railway line in Abkhazia. This line was essential for Russian forces during the August 08, 2008, invasion of Georgia to transport heavy Russian military equipment. The same was done by Russian railway 'advisors' in the occupied territories in Ukraine post-2014 leading up to the 2022 invasion.
2008, July 08: Four Russian fighter jets fly in formation over South Ossetia in violation of Georgian airspace. Moscow admits to the act, stating the purpose to "let hot heads in Tbilisi cool down". The Russian fly-over occurs one day before the arrival of US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, for an official state visit to Georgia.
2008, July 15: Both Russia and the United States conduct parallel military exercises in the Caucasus. The joint US-Georgian exercise was called Immediate Response 2008, and included military elements from Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. The purpose of the US-Georgian training was to prepare the Georgian Army for its upcoming deployment to Afghanistan as part of the NATO ISAF mission. The Russian exercise was held in the North Caucasus Military District, and named Caucasus 2008. The Russian exercise included elements drawn from the separatist forces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia being trained in 'peacekeeping operations'.
In Part 2 we follow and discuss the timeline leading from the Russo-Georgia War to the Russian annexation of Crimea, and how Russia expanded its global influence based on lessons learnt from the Russo-Georgia War, and how it got involved with the controversial Islamic State (Daesh) as an enabler of its current expansionism strategy.
To be continued / ...
Last Updated: 11 1200Z January 2023
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