Friday, May 8, 2009

illegal guns in Russia sufficient for civil war

The above article was written by Paul Gobel on May 8th and entitled “Guns illegally in Private Hands in Russia now Sufficient for ‘a small Civil War,’ Moscow Paper Says.”

Here are a few snippets from the article:

‘. . . Russians today have far more such guns than ever before and now have enough to “conduct a small civil war,” according to an investigation by a Moscow journalist. . . there are approximately 170,000 pistols and automatic weapons in the hands of those who are “not the best part of the population” and who obtained, retain and can be expected to use them illegally ( . . .”

“As a result of corruption and the sloppiness of the force structures, the population of Russia is now in a position to conduct a small civil war.” And while that may seem to be a journalistic exaggeration to people in countries with far more guns in private hands, for Russians, who in Soviet times had little access to guns, it may be shockingly appropriate. . . .”

“According to this data source, from 1951 through 2008, on the territory of the USSR and then on that of the Russian Federation were stolen in one way or another 182,114 guns of various types. In addition, he says, “166,265 guns were seized by MVD and FSB officers from criminals and ordinary citizens.” But the actual difference between those lost and found is far larger.

“The largest ‘source’ of such weapons is the defense ministry, Kanyev says. While in Soviet times, the military was generally able to prevent the loss of weapons except during conflicts like Afghanistan, ‘beginning with the 1990s, the situation sharply changed [and] out of the army arsenals, arms flowed out in quantity.’

“During the two Chechen wars, the journalist says, the military officially lost 4,456 weapons, although the actual number was certainly higher given seizures by the Chechens, guns improperly listed as lost or destroyed, and generally chaotic accounting methods. Moreover, FSB officers serving in the combat zone lost weapons and ammunition as well. . . .”

“. . . it is an open secret that militiamen sometimes trade in arms, something they can easily do given that “according to unofficial data of operational officers, 70 percent of the arms taken from criminals are not recorded in the militia files.” As a result, today there are “approximately 170,000 pistols and automatic weapons” now in private hands illegally.

“Other officials, including prosecutors, have also “lost” or “sold” weapons, and it is entirely possible that that pattern may explain recent reports that the defense minister has issued an order banning officers from carrying weapons without explicit permission, something that has infuriated many officers but may help prevent more guns from falling into the wrong hands.”


Goble begins his article by sayingWhile the number of guns illegally in private hands in the Russian Federation is miniscule in comparison to weapons having that status in the United States.” I left that out of the above because it probably wasn’t in the Russian article and Goble doesn’t develop the contrast between American arms and Russian arms in private possession.

Goble does make the statement, “As a result of corruption and the sloppiness of the force structures,” he writes, “the population of Russia” is now in a position “to conduct a small civil war.” And while that may seem to be a journalistic exaggeration to people in countries with far more guns in private hands, for Russians, who in Soviet times had little access to guns, it may be shockingly appropriate.” But Goble doesn’t explain why no Civil War is being threatened in the US and why the fact that guns are in the hands of ordinary Russians may result in a civil war might seem “a journalistic exaggeration.”

Yes, Russia, and the other states in the Russian Federation have a history of being denied the right to bear arms. Probably no autocratic state likes weapons being in the hands of its subjects. Autocratic states aren’t governed by the will of the people but from top down. Stalin could do whatever he wanted and no one could counter his decisions, at least not long. He cleansed the USSR repeatedly of individuals who “might” disagree with him at some point. I don’t want to compare Putin to Stalin, but it would probably be fair to say that Putin doesn’t want the ordinary Russian Federation citizen to have as many rights as the ordinary US citizen.

The article doesn’t precisely say so, but Putin is probably more worried about the non-ethnic Russian Federation citizens, especially of ethnicities where large segments don’t really want to be part of the Russian Federation. To be fair, if the US had conquered minority nations and made them part of a US Federation, the fact that the US has a Liberal Democracy probably wouldn’t make any difference. If the minority believes it is being mistreated or coerced, it may react regardless of where it finds itself.

I notice that the Russian Federation is doing what Leftist Americans like to do: If there is a potential threat, target the guns. Taking guns away from Russian Police seems pathetic and ludicrous. Disarming the front line troops, the first to be attacked by this feared “civil war,” is straight out of the American Left-Wing play book: “Don’t have any guns, because if you do, the bad guys may take them away from you and shoot you with them.” That is a Left-Wing mantra.

Many here in the US anticipate that Obama’s administration may attempt to pass more restrictive gun laws, but whereas Russia has a history of keeping guns away from common citizens, the opposite is true in America; so while Democrats might get behind most of the Obama agenda, many Democrats are from States where the right to bear arms is important; so Obama shouldn’t expect as much support from his party on Gun issues.

I gather from this article that if policemen stop a car and find a weapon, they are supposed to confiscate it. If I understood what I read, this would mean that unarmed policemen will be expected to confiscate guns from embittered minorities. I would definitely not want to be Policeman in Russia.

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