President Putin might now be the sworn enemy of the west, but he is also a byproduct of western interference in Russian elections.
The rise of Yeltsin
While the rise of Yeltsin cannot be squarely put at the feet of the west, his endurance certainly can. An opponent of Soviet leader Gorbachev the west was delighted when he tore apart the last remnants of the USSR.
To read about the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics click here
Sadly things did not go all that well for the new regime with its shock therapy and the rise of the oligarchs. This was to such a level that in 1993 it led to the Russian Constitutional Crisis, or as it is sometimes known the self-coup. We will not go into heavy detail about the farrow which can be read here, but us involvement is well documented.
The US had selected Yeltsin as “their man” and would exclusively only deal with him as he shelled his own parliament and was essentially hated by the Russian masses. Why? Because he was an easily corruptible man in a weakened Russia that was falling apart.
The west’s love for Yeltsin can best be summed up by Bill Cation who stated just how much he ‘loved’ Yeltsin and wanted him to stay in power.
Full transcripts of the love affair can be found here.
Meddling in Elections
Whenever you hear about Russia interfering in US elections keep a few things in mind. Firstly yes they probably did, but secondly the US has regularly meddled in Russian elections, particularly in 1996.
For those who do not know, or remember, the 1996 election saw Yeltsin as an extremely unpopular leader, stand against communist Gennady Zyuganov
With approval rates in the single fidgets Yeltsin felt his chances were so bad he quite literally asked Clinton for help, who was obviously only too happy to oblige.
American NGO’s entered the fight, diplomatically the country supported Yeltsin’s and it is a fairly open secret that a lot of money was provided for the campaign – which you can read about here
To summarize though a “win-win” scenario was created where not only would NATO delay admitting new members, but it was agreed that Russia would become a member of G7, thus creating G8.
Victory was duly achieved through this western support, Yeltsin controlling most of the media and good old fashioned election fraud also aided the cause. Make no mistake though we openly meddled in that election without even the vaguest hint of shame, or secrecy.
The rise of Putin
Of course what been comically ignored by the west was the rampant alcoholism of Yeltsin and the fact that he, not the west would choose the next leader.
Yeltsin selected Putin as his heir apparent and initially at least the west were happy with his choice.
Putin was amiable to dialogue and in the early days was a proponent for peace, whilst simultaneously building Russia back to greatness. What he was not though was a yes man to the west, something which quickly showed as the Russian bear began to rise again.
Relations have of course gotten worse over the years, with Putin now treated as the devil incarnate, but whatever you think of him remember that he is there because of western interference.
Had we not got involved in the dissolution of the USSR, the coup of 1993, as well as the 93 and 96 elections Yeltsin would not have survived, the oligarchs would not have risen and Putin would probably not be in power.
Sadly and much like with the creation of Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, the west will always look at the result without ever acknowledging their role in the cause. Putin might not be our man, but was our man’s man.