Countries ruled by law are rather dull, wouldn’t you say? Before they do anything interesting they have to go through a slow legislative process, which takes all the fun out.
Not so tyrannies ruled by the will of one man. They never lose the ability to surprise because no man, including one in power, is ever entirely predictable.
Few are so rational that their every step can be anticipated. Even a spouse, never mind a friend, can suddenly do something so unexpected that one has to reassess the whole relationship.
Tyrants are only human in this respect even when they, like Putin, appear to be subhuman in every other way. Hence the constant guesswork along the lines of ‘Will he or won’t he?’
Will he launch an all-out offensive on the Ukraine? Intelligence data seem to suggest he might. What’s next then?
The way the Russian troops are deployed points at a Baltic strategy, with former Soviet republics there being routinely and loudly demonised in Putin’s media for the way they allegedly mistreat their Russian minorities.
From there Finland and the rest of Scandinavia are but a cannon shot away, and recent pronouncements by Russian KGB leaders should give those countries reason to worry.
The former head of that service Nikolai Patrushev, now head of Russia’s Security Council, has castigated “an increased influence” of Finnish nationalists on the population of Karelia.
Said influence, according to Gen. Patrushev, is being exerted through those pernicious human rights groups that have no place in civilised society, as defined by the KGB.
Actually there was only one such group in Karelia, their Youth Human Rights Organisation, but a court order shut it down back in January. Hence the evil influence must come from the government of Finland, which is doubtless gearing up for yet another attempt to conquer Russia.
The previous such attempt, and one is amazed those bellicose Finns have had to wait so long, came on 26 November, 1939, when Finnish artillery shot up a Soviet border post, presumably as a prelude to a victorious march on Moscow.
However physics conspired against the world’s first haven of workers and peasants. You see, shell fragments spread in the direction of the shell’s trajectory, which makes it easy to determine whence the shot was fired.
A brief inspection of the pattern established that the barrage had come from Russia, which could only mean that the dastardly Finns must have bribed the Giver of Physical Laws to conspire with them against the present-day garden of Eden, aka the Soviet Union.
Such beastliness demanded a worthy response, which came immediately. The entire might of the Soviet military machine, fine-tuned for the conquest of Europe, was unleashed on the Finns – or the White Finnish fascists, as they were then described in the Soviet press.
The Soviets had three times as many soldiers, 30 times as many aircraft and 100 times as many tanks. The Finns, led by the former Tsarist general Mannerheim, had skis, rifles, explosives and an all-abiding hatred of communism.
They fought smartly and heroically, defending their sovereignty with self-sacrificial abandon. The Soviets suffered horrendous casualties, as many as a million dead, according to Khrushchev. Nikita, however, was much given to hyperbole, and the actual number was probably a fourth of his estimate. Still…
The USSR was summarily expelled from the League of Nations, with those doubting Thomases refusing to accept the self-evident fact that it was the mighty, gigantic Finland that had attacked the tiny, defenceless Soviet Union, not the other way around.
Also, just as the Finnish army was running out of steam, Britain informed Stalin that, should he persist with the aggression, the RAF bomber squadron based at Mosul in Iraq would take out the Baku oil fields, then the principal source of Soviet hydrocarbons.
Hence Stalin had to contend himself with only 11 per cent of Finland’s territory, not the 100 per cent as planned. He then added that acquisition to the adjacent part of Russia to form the Karelo-Finnish SSR, number 16 in the Soviet fraternal family of nations.
That contrivance survived until 1956, by which time every denizen with but a drop of Finnish blood in his veins had skipped out to Finland. The Russians were joking that the only Finns left there were the fininspector (financial auditor) and Finkelstein, although a closer examination revealed they were both the same person.
Hence where ‘Finnish nationalists’ could have come from in today’s Karelia is a mystery – as much so as those Finnish artillery shells flying into Russia, then turning around and hitting that border post from behind.
But then, as Putin explained to military historians exactly two years ago, Stalin attacked Finland to “correct the mistakes” made in drawing the border in 1918.
Now juxtaposing Putin’s Stalin-like urge to correct any such historical mistakes (the Crimea springs to mind) with Patrushev’s statement, one may get the impression that Finland isn’t far down on Russia’s hit list.
If so, it’ll be only a hop, skip and jump to Denmark, which has just been put on notice for a potential Russian nuclear strike.
Apparently the Danes have agreed to enter the European anti-missile defence system, something that makes Putin see red, as in the colour of the Soviet flag. Who do those Westerners think they are, wishing to protect themselves from Russia’s nuclear missiles?
Placing anti-missile systems on their territory just may expose Denmark to massive nuclear strikes, threatened the Russian ambassador Mikhail Vanin. Denmark’s government protested, claiming that, as their nomenclature suggests, anti-missile systems are defensive in nature.
While they are playing those semantic games, Russia has launched the Tu-160M, a supersonic nuclear bomber that can outrun our Typhoons (provided we still have them after the current batch of defence cuts).
The biggest strategic bomber in the world, the Tu-160M will be operating from a Russian base near Murmansk, a mere 1,000 miles from Britain. Considering that the bomber boasts a 7,600-mile range, along with its Mach 2 speed, I don’t know how confidently our Scandinavian allies can count on our help.
A situation where such help will be needed may arise sooner than we think, and the danger will always be there for as long as Russia is run by the KGB, so ably fronted by Messr Putin, Patrushev et al.
“The KGB,” explained Patrushev 15 years ago, “is Russia’s new nobility”. He was clearly referring to the organisation’s stature, not any inner qualities.