Flynngate reflects Putin’s penchant for high-risk counterproductive actions, Khzmalyan says

Former national security advisor, former Director of US Defense Intelligence Agency, retired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn at a conference and gala dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of Russia’s propaganda arm, media channel “RT” (formerly “Russia Today”) seated at the head table at the gala, with Vladimir Putin, his then-chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov and press spokesman Dmitry Peskov, among other Russian officials. Also seated at the same table is 2016 Green Party candidate for president Dr. Jill Stein. December 10, 2015 in Moscow. (Image: video capture)

Donald Trump's former national security advisor, former Director of US Defense Intelligence Agency, retired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn at a conference and gala dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of Russia’s propaganda arm, media channel “RT” (formerly “Russia Today”) seated at the head table at the gala, with Vladimir Putin, his then-chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov and press spokesman Dmitry Peskov, among other Russian officials. Also seated at the same table is 2016 Green Party candidate for president Dr. Jill Stein. December 10, 2015 in Moscow. (Image: video capture) 

2017/02/17 - 09:36 • Analysis & Opinion, Politics, Russia

The growing scandal in Washington around Moscow’s efforts to penetrate and influence the Trump Administration recalls the FSB’s effort to avoid detection in its effort to hide the ways it was covering up the Russian government’s program to give its athletes performance-enhancing drugs, Tigran Khzmalyan says.

That is because both actions reflect Vladimir Putin’s penchant for getting involved in high-risk/high-value operations in the expectation that he will be able to get away with them both obscuring the issue through propaganda or simply with the passing of time so that others will say it is time to “move on.”

Vladimir Putin congratulating Russia's sports minister Vitaly Mutko (believed to be the top administrator of the state-organized doping system) with his birthday at a joint meeting of the Council for Physical Education and Sports under the President of Russia and the Organizing Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The book Putin holds in his hand is an English language self-study textbook being presented to Mutko as a prank gift. December 2015, Moscow, Russia (Image: Mikhail Metzel/TASS)

Vladimir Putin congratulating Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko (believed to be the top administrator of the state-organized doping system) with his birthday at a joint meeting of the Council for Physical Education and Sports under the President of Russia and the Organizing Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The book Putin holds in his hand is an English language self-study textbook being presented to Mutko as a prank gift. December 2015, Moscow, Russia (Image: Mikhail Metzel/TASS)

But this inclination, the Moscow commentator says, backfires on Putin and on Russia because the Kremlin dictator cannot imagine and does not understand that democratic countries, although apparently so easily open to influence, distraction and delay, nonetheless have the flexibility and ultimately the ability to respond forcefully to such attempts.

The Sochi doping scandal, which Putin thought he could get away with but for which Russia is now paying a high price, was “a complicated, long-standing, risky and illegal operation” that was ultimately engulfed by “scandal, shame and failure,” Khzmalyan says. Flynngate is the same but the consequences will be even more negative.

What the Sochi “urine” case did was to destroy the reputation of some athletes and Russian sport as an institution, but what the departure of the US national security advisor as a result of Moscow’s efforts to influence him will result in is “a political flood” that will sweep away far more than the collapsing dam in California.

Vladimir Putin at a staged photo shoot with Russian models posing as brides, which was later presented to Russian and foreign media as Putin's random encounter with a group of real brides who charmed him to take some "selfies" while encircled by bodyguards. Red Square in Moscow, September 2016 (Image: TASS)

Vladimir Putin at a staged photo shoot with Russian models posing as brides, which was later presented to Russian and foreign media as Putin’s random encounter with a group of real brides who charmed him to take some “selfies” while encircled by bodyguards. Red Square in Moscow, September 2016 (Image: TASS)

“By an irony of fate,” Khzmalyan continues, both cases involve “the smell of urine,” the first from samples of that hidden by the FSB and the second in the so-called “Trump dossier” which as Putin himself implied involved “the best prostitutes in the world’ in the luxury hotels of Moscow and St. Petersburg.”

At one level, the commentator says, both the Sochi doping scandal and the current one are nothing more than the latest instances of what Viktor Chernomyrdin famously described as the Russian proclivity for “wanting something better but having it turn out like always.” But the scale of what is involved now, Khzmalyan says, begs for closer examination.

First of all, he says, Flynn’s exit will have “a domino effect,” something many in the US media and political elite are now openly talking about. But even if it doesn’t reach Trump, this episode will have “catastrophic” consequences for Russia itself because for the foreseeable future, “the Russian theme has become super-toxic in the US.”

Former US national security advisor, former Director of US Defense Intelligence Agency, retired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn at a conference and gala dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of Russia’s propaganda arm, media channel “RT” (formerly “Russia Today”) seated at the head table at the gala, with Vladimir Putin, his then-chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov and press spokesman Dmitry Peskov, among other Russian officials. December 10, 2015 in Moscow. (Image: Kremlin press service)

Former US national security advisor, former Director of US Defense Intelligence Agency, retired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn at a conference and gala dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of Russia’s propaganda arm, media channel “RT” (formerly “Russia Today”) seated at the head table at the gala, with Vladimir Putin, his then-chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov and press spokesman Dmitry Peskov, among other Russian officials. December 10, 2015 in Moscow. (Image: Kremlin press service)

That means no end to sanctions or to a military competition Russia can’t win and is the direct opposite of what Putin intended under his “special operation code named ‘Trump.’”

This is happening, Khzmalyan says, because Putin “extrapolates his own image of the world onto others” who operate according to entirely different rules than he can imagine. “The US is not an empire, but a republic – and in this is its principled distinction and fundamental advantage over Putin’s Russia.”

“The current crisis shows the strength rather than the weakness of the American political system, in which an ordinary judge suddenly turns out to be not only independent from the executive in his decisions but also by law higher than the president himself, a situation which is completely unbelievable in Russia” now, the commentator says.

A two-pound silver coin dedicated to Donald Trump minted in Russia for his inauguration. The back of the coins shows the Statue of Liberty against a background of the American flag with inscription reading, “In Trump We trust.” Please note the spelling error. (Image: Art Grani)

A two-pound silver coin dedicated to Donald Trump minted in Russia for his inauguration. The back of the coins shows the Statue of Liberty against a background of the American flag with inscription reading, “In Trump We trust.” Please note the spelling error. (Image: Art Grani)

What is quietly taking place, he suggests, is that without any violence or revolution, the United States is moving toward become “a parliamentary republic controlled by the Congress and not by the president,” something Putin can’t understand, just as

Stalin could not understand Churchill’s defeat at the polls in 1945.

The Kremlin dictator simply doesn’t understand that “in democratic America, everything is just beginning after victory in the elections, because society there consists of free people and not of slaves and jailers. The press is independent from the authorities, and power itself is divided into three parts, none of which can be totally swallowed up by the other.”

According to Khzmalyan, “that is why all empires are mortal: they are too dependent on the emperor. And any emperor is not simply mortal but suddenly can be affected by weaknesses and fears, passions and mistakes, which in his empire no one can prevent or correct.” And that is why “Russia is weaker than America and continues to weaken.”

Painting of Trump, Putin and French far-right leader Marine Le Pen at Trump party in Moscow hosted by pro-Kremlin activists to celebrate his election as US president. November 2016 (Image: mogaznews.com)

Painting of Trump, Putin and French far-right leader Marine Le Pen at Trump party in Moscow hosted by pro-Kremlin activists to celebrate his election as US president. November 2016 (Image: mogaznews.com)

“But in this story, there is yet another side, which seems instructive and interesting,” the crude and stupid way that Russian officials and those close to the Kremlin celebrated in an utterly tasteless way Trump’s victory last November. And why take risks that no one in Moscow needed to take?

Why spread about pictures of Flynn sitting with Putin? Why talk about “the best prostitutes of the word” as Putin did? The answer, Khzmalyan suggests, is to be found “not in state policy but in psychology,” the very same thing people are now talking about in the case of Trump, about a need to show how rough and tough he is when the reverse is the case.


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Robert

    There’s a lot more vlady and the ‘Kriminalin’ don’t understand about America and democracy.

  • zorbatheturk

    Putin is a clueless fool.

  • Mephisto

    Putin is not a strategist. I remember the Russian propaganda portraying him as chessmaster. For example a headline from Fox News “Grandmaster Putin plays chess while Obama’s stuck on checkers”. This is BS. Putin is a tactician and a gambler. He has no long-term plan. He backed himself into a corner and angered the whole world. He has no way out. This does not mean he is not dangerous, but ultimately he lead Russia into a blind alley and wasted whole decades which could be used to transform the country. He is also bad at predicting the consequences of his actions. Every action brings a reaction and Putin failed to predict the reaction on many occasions, for example in Ukraine. He cant seriously think that he can mess with the elections in all western countries and get away with it without any consequence.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The dwarf’s plan is simple: stay in power- and rob Dwarfstan blind- at all costs.
      As for predicting the consequencs of his actions, I don’t think the dwarf even stops to consider them, let alone analyse all possible angles. It’s simply “This is my policy, full speed ahead!” Not even a “Damn the torpedoes!”, torpedoes simply don’t exist in his warped mind.

  • туфтуф

    Why so obssesed over 1 man who is pro ukrainian? His place will be filled with one worse than him. US will never betray ukroland, having in mind that the whole ukraine operation was concieved in order to weaken and break up Russia. How many ukrainians will die in the process of Western oligarchs lining their pockets with Russias wealth, for the Western elites, is completely irrelevant. They will fight Russia till the last Ukrainian.

    • Alex George

      Still living in fantasy land?

      The Ukrainian people decided theyt had had enough of fascist domination of their country, so they revolted against Putin and his puppet Yanukovych.

      Like any fasist, you are offended at the people – how dare they think fo rthemselves? How dare they disagree with their betters (by which you mean, you and your Fuehrer Vlad the Dwarf). Well sorry, the people don’t have to do what you say. Deal with it.

      • туфтуф

        I decided too. I want Yakutia.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          Start learning Mandarin and Cantonese, then……. Yakutia will also become part of China.
          And I hope you can eat with chopsticks.

          • туфтуф

            Am fluent in mandarin. Love China. I have a friend whose parents work for SVR called Alina. She lives in China and travels a lot coz her parents are well paid. I speak to her in Mandarin only. Am teaching my wife the basics.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            Ah yes, yet another of your weird fantasies, this one being Alina. You really shouldn’t dream of your Lord and Master Tsar Vladimir the “impaler” of little boys’s mattress- er, mistress, Alina Kabayeva- might get you arrested and sent to Sukhanovka.

          • туфтуф

            I can post the pic of Alina on a Chinese market or in various cities in China but what difference wld it make? She is totally unimportant 17 y o girl.

          • Alex George

            And you don’t know anybody important, but we already knew that.

          • туфтуф

            And if l showed u her pics? U wld say its not her. If l copy/paste our convos, u wld say l wrote the whole thing. If l gave u her e mail, u wld believe me, but that l cnt do. Her parents are Russian gvt officials and her e mail contacts are under scrutiny. Sorry.

          • Alex George

            That is what happens when you repeatedly claim to know people, and to have information, but never produce a single thing.

            You are just an old windbag.

  • Murf

    This Flynn business is going to cost Putin big time.
    An outsider messing with a US election puts him only slightly behind Bin Ladin as far as the governmental types are concerned.
    Whatever slight chance of reproachment there was is GONE for good. SECDEF Mattis pretty much summed it up when he said there is no need for cooperation between Russia and the U.S. in Syria.
    So my Ukrainian friends I would not worry about what Trump wants with regards to Putin.
    There is NO support for it

    • Geralt von RIva

      trump will give away crimea, because this is the trading margin. but lets see.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        Trump can’t give away the Crimea, because it isn’t his to give. And ANY deal he concludes with the dwarf will have to pass Congress, and there is full bipartisan support for Ukrainian territorial integrity in both HoR and Senate. Any deal that infringes on that integrity and Ukrainian sovereignty over the Crimea will be shot down PDQ by Congress.

        • Geralt von RIva

          thx god there is a congress^^

        • zorbatheturk

          Kremtrolls are confusing a civil servant like the POTUS with a dicktator like Vladimir Putin. Since no ruSSian knows any different, this is to be expected.