“They (the Europeans) look at the Russian people as barbarians, who wander in Europe rejoicing, that somewhere and something can be destroyed – and destroy it just for the sake of destruction, for fun, for the pleasure of simply overseeing its demise, like hordes of savages, like huns, ready to launch as assault on the ancient Rome and to demolish the holy shrines, without any appreciation of the value of what they are destroying” Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Writer’s Diary – Dnevnik Pisatelya)   Putin has entered the final stage of his tenure at the helm of the Kremlin. Whatever he achieves abroad will not matter if the internal situation continues to disintegrate in a seemingly irreversible and self-propelling downward spiral.   The Russian president is trying the ultimate


  The recent privatization of a 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft has generated substantial media interest with greater details emerging.   The buildup of suspense following the sudden arrest of Russia’s economic minister Ulyukyaev fits well into a game plan involving President Putin, his chief oil boyar Sechin and a number of highly-placed officials and legal and corporate finance experts capable of putting together in ultimate secrecy a complicated deal structure with debatable business content yet high geopolitical and personal value.   The timing of Ulyukyaev’s arrest, just 20 odd days before the formal announcement of the deal, which had taken many months to assemble, relates directly to his stated opposition to the deal. The arrest of Russia’s economic minister by FSB counterintelligence officers also attests that Ulyukyaev posed a