Thanksgiving Weekend Reading

We Americans had a nice long weekend, which left a lot of time for – you guessed it – reading stuff on the internet. I also read my book a lot, so I only have three stories for you this week, but they are quality stuff.

First, a surprisingly well-researched piece about the poisoning of “dissident” Alexander Litvinenko. Unlike so much of the writing out there on Litvinenko (I’m thinking of you, Steve LeVine!), this piece is actually overall quite accurate. It does not ignore Litvinenko’s former KGB connections, nor his connection to the late oligarch, Boris Berezovsky.

If you fear the rise of Russia, you’ll probably want to pass on reading this article: The Return of Russian Hard Power? over at The Daily Beast. It focuses on Russia’s recent war games (that I’ve been paying attention to but no one seems to care about). This section in particular is chilling:

Indeed, Shoigu’s a true man of the times in the sense that he is completely backward-looking. He wants a return to Soviet-era mobilization, a policy fraught with past failures, and, as part of his ambitious ministry overhaul, he’s now overseeing the production of naval ships at a level that is only half of what the U.S. currently spends (just a few years ago, that amount was less than a tenth). By 2020, if current targets are met, Russia will have added 40 new, combat-ready brigades to its army, giving it eight more than what the U.S. is projected to have by 2017. Seventy percent of those forces will be outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment. The defense ministry has also announced plans to create a million-man, active-duty army by 2020.

Of course, this may not come to pass – but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.

According to Businessweek, Poland is Europe’s most dynamic economy. Go Poland!