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Exclusive! Part 2: Former KGB Colonel Victor Kalashnikov on the Dangers of Putin Worship, Russia’s Anti-Western Alliance with Islam, Israel, Syria, Iran and the Kremlin’s Grand Strategy

Submitted by on June 20, 2013 – 12:15 am EST8 Comments

Part 1 here.

Viktor Kalashnikov is a Russian freelance journalist and a former KGB colonel. In the autumn of 2010, he and his wife Marina, a historian, were treated in a hospital in Germany for mercury poisoning in what they said had been an attempt on their lives by Russia’s FSB, the successor to the KGB. He is a distant relative of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the AK-47.

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Kalashnikov and his wife have been publishing articles critical of the Kremlin since the 1990s. After living in Europe for several years they are now back in Moscow.

By J.R. Nyquist

Continuing my discussion with former KGB officer Victor Kalashnikov, I was eager to learn more about Russian strategy. Kalashnikov told me that Russian grand strategy has one focus. “It’s all about struggle against the United States,” he said. “All allies are measured in terms of their anti-Americanism. If they are anti-American, they are our friends.”

This is how we should understand the activities of Syria and Iran, for example. Russia is helping these countries acquire new weapons, new capabilities. To measure the degree of Russian enmity let us consider the Syria crisis, noted Kalashnikov: “The head of the Russian state has publicly warned the West that starting arms deliveries to the opposition in Syria might result in terrorist attacks against Europe. That’s a clear causes belli – a real terrorist threat.”

The average reader might imagine that Washington has taken alarm at Putin’s threatening remarks. But no such alarm has been registered. The American side barely acknowledges a threat has been made. And this is normal for us. For whatever reason, our leaders ignore the threat from Russia. Again and again, the Cold War is said to be over. There is no longer a threat from Russia, which is now described as a “normal” country.

But Russia is not a normal country. “The majority of Russians are supportive of Putin,” Kalashnikov explained. “The popularity of Putin is growing while American society and ideology are depicted as hostile to Russian interests. Therefore Russia is hungry for new allies or friends of any kind whatsoever. And these allies must be anti-Americans. All of this helps place the military issue in a broader context. It is not about tanks on the battlefield of Europe. It is about rockets in the arsenal of Hezbollah.”

The Cold War is not over. The rulers of Russia haven’t given up their goal of smashing America. Today, however, their strategy follows an indirect approach. The old direct approach of threatening Europe with tank armies has been replaced with a new strategy based on Islamic terrorism.

“Now this is another topic,” Kalashnikov confided, “but we have to ask what happened to the Soviet Union in 1991. It was dismantled for the sake of reorganization and for the sake of Russian power. I remember quite well, even before Gorbachev, that our military showed discontent with the strategic picture. These huge tank masses were a wasting resource, especially after 1983.”

The grand strategy of the Soviet Union had to be overhauled and modernized while costs had to be brought down. Therefore, new methods of defeating America had to be devised, and new opportunities would then appear. These methods included the arming of terrorist states with nuclear and biological weapons. 

Kalashnikov continued: “I mentioned the year 1983. At that time the core strategy was splitting Europe from America. Europeans worried that Soviet troops could reach the Atlantic in one or two weeks. Therefore, the West recognized an imminent threat. And there was real fear on the European side that the Americans would not defend Europe. In 1983, when America deployed Pershing missiles in Europe, this whole Soviet strategy of massing tanks was finished. It was futile. That was the starting point for a new strategy.”

Once the old strategy had failed, it was time to apply new strategic concepts. Kalashnikov asked, “What need was there for huge armies in central Europe when the result was always a standoff with the Americans?”

Inspiring your enemy with fear may lead him to capitulate. That was not the only possible outcome, however. There was always the possibility that he would call your bluff. In the case of America and NATO, the West’s defenses were strengthened rather than weakened in the 1980s.  As Kalashnikov noted, “I remember our officers asking, ‘what shall we do next?’ Well, we were forced to start over with a new design.”

According to Kalashnikov, “The West sees that with friends like Iran and Hezbollah the Russians could start a lot of trouble. Add this to Russian ballistic nuclear weapons targeting American cities and you have a new formula: Nuclear rockets plus Hezbollah makes Russia invincible, and it is quite dangerous. It’s a new combination of military tools. That’s why I was irritated by certain statements in President Obama’s speech.”

I asked Kalashnikov about the increasingly precarious position of Israel. Kalashnikov replied, “The Israeli position is twofold. They are anti-Syria and anti-Hezbollah. But their position versus Russia was ambiguous. They have a growing population of Russian immigrants. So they would like to develop their relationship with Russia. Yet Russia is moving closer to the anti-Israeli side.”

While Israel remains uncertain toward Russia, Russia’s president charts a steady course, noted Kalashnikov: “Some of the top Israeli security figures met with Putin and asked him not to deploy anti-ship missiles which are effective against the American navy, and also the S-300 missiles that will greatly limit Israeli airpower against Syria. Putin rejected the Israeli request.”

How will Russia stop the Israelis from destroying the delivered missiles before they are deployed? Kalashnikov offered a surprising answer: “Syria’s military is going to be quasi-integrated with Iran. That means an attack on Syria implies an attack on Iran. Meanwhile Russia is sending ships from the Pacific Fleet, even as they modernize the Black Sea Fleet, with a new naval base at Novorissiysk. So the Russians are bound to increase their naval pressure on the Eastern Mediterranean.”

By strengthening Russia’s regional military presence, and by integrating the Syrian and Iranian armed forces, Russia hopes to build a soon-to-be impregnable stronghold in the Middle East. “I see Russia’s position growing there,” said Kalashnikov. “An Israeli attack on Syria would involve Hezbollah. And if push comes to shove, we can make trouble for the Americans in Lebanon, or somewhere in Asia.”

The West may not be willing to support Israel under these circumstances. As Kalashnikov explained, “The Western allies are going to think twice whether they will support Israel because of their growing vulnerabilities elsewhere. You have the bombing of the Boston Marathon. You have the vulnerability of NATO’s left flank in the Baltic States. Russia is saying, ‘You mess with our friends, we mess with yours.’ It’s a new game that you didn’t have to play during the good old days of the Cold War. “

Kalashnikov continued, “What happened on 9/11 was just an omen of things to come. At the time of 9/11 America’s dispute with Russia had reached its peak. George Bush was going to leave the ABM Treaty. Putin said, ‘If you do this you will not be able to defend against new threats.’ Bush said, ‘I am leaving the Treaty.’ So 9/11 happened. You had broken the strategic balance based on strategic missiles. You had been warned that new security challenges will emerge. But you didn’t listen in the summer of 2001.”

Part 3 coming soon.

8 Comments »

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  • Most of you probably already read about it, but Israel DID destroy that Russian shipment of S-300s back in Jan of this year, the story just surfaced last week

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/07/14/Report-Israeli-Sub-Knocked-out-Russian-Missiles-in-Syria

    So no response from Syria or Iran, so Kalashnikov got that one wrong

    • Kabud says:

      Of course kalashnikov got it wrong: he is a KGB disinformation operative

      This series is nothing more then a dis. There are OTHER factors at play much stronger then reminiscent nostalgia from 1983

      Older people just cant adopt and can not understand the new world

      it is sad but true

      USA was never as strong as we are today in so many respects. We are winning practically without firing a shot, to put it in a methaphore

      • gregster says:

        This is all hard to believe. Soviets when left alone collapse because they are too stupid to make use of capitalism. The threat to the West is far greater and it is its enemies within – socialists, most academics, etc

  • Kabud says:

    I personally introduced kalashniov to Nyquist.

    kalashnikov and his wife worked as a couple for years. These people personally know the top russian policy makers, not putin but people who give orders to putin: primakov and alike

    I found kalashnikov couple trying to spread their poisonous disinformation on the Ukrainian forums

    kalashnikov somehow knew that I was connected to Nyuquist at that time: so THEY THEMSELVES asked me to be introduced to Nyquist.

    Since then(2009) we learned that Marina Kalashnikov as they told us was hospitalized in a mental ward SLASH KGB training facility where she signed an agreement to cooperate with FSB-KGB or GRU…who knows

    Marina herself admitted to signing an agreement with them ON THE RECORD that Nyquist has in his possession

    There brand of disinformation is not for a common man. They target sophisticated analysts and always attempt to get to the TOP people to spread this convoluted poison.

    In 2009 we(Nyquist and me) almost arrange a conference for them in DC with some of the top American conservative figures

    Our luck was that Dep of State did not give this sabotage couple visas to USA, because ~intelligent~ people in DC KNOW WHO THEY ARE

    So thank God for that.

    These 2 individuals may be very dangerous, – the wanted to meet personally as the KGB operatives always insist on. We were spared from this “chance” , God bless

    In this series it is obvious that Moscow still attempts to stir more tensions between USA and Muslim world. But they fail and will be destroyed by there OWN PEOPLE.

    Today- Egypt Tomorow – Moscow

    Do you hear me, YOU SOVIET SCUM: it is coming to MOSCOW.

    You got NO CHANCE :
    leninism is sentenced to death and will be executed by Russian people themselves.

    So dig your own grave – thats all you have left.

    • JR Nyquist says:

      I feel compelled to contradict Kabud’s blanket condemnation of the Kalashnikovs.

      The Kalashnikov story is very complicated, and I think Marina was frightened by the FSB which certainly tried to get her to work for them. But a person who intends to work for the secret police doesn’t admit to being forced into signing an agreement, especially when all such agreements have a secrecy clause. The fact is, in 2009 Marina was suffering the effects of severe mercury poisoning. And mercury can cause mental instability and madness. Surely, any coercive agreement signed in a psychiatric facility by a person who is a prisoner, and who is there because they have been poisoned, has already evidenced tremendous courage in standing for the truth. For it was Marina’s regard — as a historian — for the truth, which got her into such trouble, and it was her husband’s extraordinary steadfastness that sustained her to the end; for the last thing she said to me before her death, was a warning to the entire West. The Russian government is a dangerous machine, and America is the target of this machine.

      A person who is dying does not need to spread disinformation. And there is no benefit to Russia in Marina’s warning — no possible benefit for a dying woman to share this simple thought — except that she thought it to be true.

      It is easy to misjudge people and situations. Let us all pray that we are not so misjudged.

      that situation — which I dare say few of the people reading these words can match.

  • diva says:

    nb: “causus” belli

    • Kabud says:

      “causus” belli :) yeah, right. Shows `level` :)

      And of course it is pointless. Kremlin leaders have no capability not just to win but even to conduct any sufficient war effort against NATO or USA.

      Yes, they have close to 100 000 nuclear charges and rockets with multiple separating warheads. Yes they can create a lot of damage to USA

      But we have things, that will destroy every member of kremlin leadership and all their families in any place in the world they try to hide the day after or for that matter BEFORE for prophylactics

      Thats the logic of deterrent

      Did you know that Chelabinsk meteor hit exactly at the point where leninists store close to 30 tonns of weapn grade uranium?

      Interesting for the precision of that Act of God isnt it:)

      The most important is : Russian population totally adores America and everything american. They will never support leninist war effort, to the contrary- if Moscow dares to attack- Russians will have them buried the next day.

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