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Russian spy games end in death

by Alyssa Daley - Editor-In-Chief
Tue, Apr 3rd 2018 09:10 pm

It’s not a surprise to see Putin and Trump in the same headline. What is surprising is that they are in conflict on the latest episode of the Russia/United States soap opera. I don’t know what spurhed Trump to make him finally decide to stop soaking up the little tidbits Putin would throw his way to make him believe they were anything other than world leaders of their respective countries. What I do know is that Trump, along with France and Germany, formally began backing Britain in its claim that Russia had assissinated an ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who were living in England. 

A claim like this is not without grounds. The mean by which the victims were murdered was by Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia, a method unused since World War II, according to The Washington Post.

The former spy and his daughter were found comatose on Sunday, March 4, and the U.S., France and Germany made the decision to support Britain by Thursday, March 15, after Britain's investigation concluded that “there is no plausible alternative explanation.” Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May even asked Moscow to explain how the deadly nerve agent came to be used on British soil. She gave them the ultimatum that either Russia was directly involved or it had lost control of the lethal chemical weapon. Moscow responded with blatant disdain, disgust and disinterest, ultimately disregarding May’s demands, according to The Washington Post.

Moscow’s response is definitely not new. Putin and his cretin in the Kremlin have been pushing the envelope, so to speak (if you fit murdering people into that category), since Putin first gained national/international influence in 1999. Since then, he and his cronies have been stuck in a cycle of escalating, aggressive behaviour “justified” by perceptions of Western weakness, ambivalence and division. They’ve had their hands in “wars in Georgia and Ukraine, cyber-attacks against NATO countries, election meddling and destabilisation operations, and the bloody Syrian intervention,” according to The Guardian.

Seeing as how Putin just won the Russian election, the likelihood that he’ll discover the err of his ways is slim to none. His illegal and underhanded international escapades increase as his national power increases. Of course his influence in Mother Russia is in part to the “manipulation of elections, the rustication of the Duma into a rubber-stamp parliament, and the elimination, by various means, of leading opponents, critics and free media,” according to The Guardian. 

As an aspiring journalist, Putin’s distinct dislike and destruction of the rights we take for granted in America is repulsive and frustrating to the utmost extent. No matter what Trump does or tries to do with his claims of “fake” news, there’s hope and validation in that there is no way he can simply do away with what I would say are the most prominent parts of the Bill of Rights; our right to establish and practice various forms of religion, our freedom of speech and press, our right as the people to peacefully assemble, and the freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances. At this point, all are secure and unable to be twisted. There is no such safety net in Russia, and Putin has used that to his advantage by threatening and following through on those threats, setting precedents that if someone dares to tell the truth and it paints him in a negative light, they won’t live to see the light of a new dawn.

Based on Putin’s track record, Prime Minister May, who I have the utmost respect for, needs as much support and security as possible. I wouldn’t doubt that Putin is the least bit happy with her interfering with his “business.” It's as if he views her as significant as a pesky fly. He’s more likely to squash her before she can go buzzing around about something else. As of 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, President Vladimir Putin had met with top security officials to discuss tensions with Britain and chaired a meeting of the presidential Security Council to discuss “Britain’s unfriendly and provocative policy toward Russia.” London has already expelled 23 Russian diplomats and Moscow has responded in kind, according to The Washington Post.

Honestly, there is more drama between Britain and Russia right now than there is between Russia and the U.S. But don’t worry, there may still be some “OMG” moments to come, as about an hour after Trump voiced his support of Britain on the murder matter, he finally announced sanctions to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 presidential election and for organizing a worldwide cyber attack last year. According to Vox News, the measures targeted nearly 25 Russian individuals and organizations, including members of Internet Research Agency (IRA) — the troll farm that used social media to sow divisions before the November 2016 vote.”

As of right now, I think Putin is preoccupied with Britain and isn’t too worried about Trump’s so-called list of consequences. Honestly, a large number of people in this country know he likely has one of the lowest IQs in the world and is a manipulative, self-serving and overall corrupt human, so I can’t imagine Putin holds him in the highest regard. I also don’t think he poses a threat to Putin. Putin put him in office and he sure as hell could take him out if he so chose. All we have now is to wait and see how the next episode unfolds. Will Britain be    able to stand its ground or will Putin’s Russia continue to do wrong without consequence, and will Trump continue not to receive the free publicity and recognition he desires from countries abroad.

stylus@brockport.edu

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