Putin's policy up against Europe and Asia


If all roads lead to Rome then the old capital may provide a way out for its heir, Moscow, the third Rome, hemmed by the intractable peace and war in Ukraine. How to get there is very complicated, long-winding and starts with a miracle to coincide with the elections of the Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, former Minister of Defense and anti Mafia hero.

With this choice, Silvio Berlusconi, who dominated Italian politics for two decades, was completely cast aside. The parliament had decided to elect a head of state without his votes. Berlusconi, linked to Russian president Vladimir Putin, was too risky to allow him a say for the new Italian President, now that Moscow seems set on a collision course with Europe and America.

Yet this setback could be not too bad for Russia looking for a new identity and future for itself. This future should be out of the Mediterranean. It might not be easy, but it is the only and best way for Moscow.

When Vladimir Putin rose to the Russian presidency in the year 2000, the Russian Orthodox Church, just re-established after decades of persecution under communism, canonized admiral Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov (February 24, 1745 – October 14, 1817).

His miracle had been to set up the first port and military base in Crimea, in Sebastopol, and then during the Napoleonic wars, break into the Mediterranean by seizing the former Venetian Greek Islands from the French. He also advanced into the Italian Peninsula. Ushakov laid siege on French-controlled Genoa and Ancona and successfully assaulted Naples and Rome.

It was a "world war,” the Napoleonic wars. In 1798 Napoleon had invaded Egypt to cut the English supply lines from its colonies in India, but the English and Russian navies famously forced him to withdraw. To push back the French in 1805-1806, Ushakov and his English allies intervened in the kingdom of Naples to make sure it would not back France. This then forced Napoleon to invade southern Italy and enthrone Joaquin Murat as its new king.

After the Napoleonic wars, however, England and Russia drifted apart. The English found common cause with the then-weaker France in stopping the Russian expansion near the Black Sea, part of great Mediterranean basin. This confrontation sparked the Crimean War in 1854, when the English and French aided the Turkish resistance on the Peninsula against advancing Russian troops.

In 1855, the ambitious northern Italian kingdom of Piedmont sent 15,000 troops to aid the Anglo-French alliance against the Russians; in return, Piedmont received French support in its war against Austria in 1859.

This is all well-known history. Less well-known is that between 1850 and 1860 Russian Czar and the King of Naples were collaborating[1]. In I859, Piedmont, which had shed blood for the English as well as for the French in Crimea, had expanded into northern and central Italy. Naples might therefore have started to favor the Russians, friends since 1805, over the British entrenched interests in Southern Italy. In 1860, in fact, the year after the French backed Piedmont’s expansion into the North, the English Navy, backed the Garibaldi “liberation” of Southern Italy. Garibaldi then surrendered the former kingdom of Naples to Piedmont, with British blessings.

The United States has currently inherited the English interests in the Mediterranean, as well as attempts to stop Russian inroads into the Crimea; these have not ended with the Cold War.

The present Ukrainian conflict actually started in Syria, where for the US, the extra prize, in addition to toppling Assad was also to expel the Russian fleet from the Syrian port in Tartus, and thus close the Mediterranean to it. The Russian support for Assad, helped the old Syrian regime and thus kept Moscow's hold on Tartus. After that there were the upheavals in Ukraine, where the US supported the pro western forces and Moscow saw this as a US plot to take over Crimea, Russia's only projection into the Black Sea and legacy of Ushakov.



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