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Is Russia flexing its muscles?

Priya Shah | 09:52 UK time, Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Here's another idea to throw into the pot for today.. (for the rest have a look below at my last post)

There has been a spate of stories lately about Russia... with accusations of bombing Georgia, coming hotly on the heels of the news of the patriotic North Pole flag-planting incident, which many say is Russia's attempt to claim large parts of the oil, gas and mineral resources that lie underneath.

Then there is the missile defence system near Moscow, apparently to protect the 2014 Olympics but seen as a response to Americas 'Star Wars' missile defence project. Russia hasn't been too happy about Bush's plans to place Star Wars in Poland, uncomfortably close to Russian borders.

There have been joint Chinese Russian miltiary exercises, seen as a rival to NATO. While the EU has been very nervous of Russian ability to cut off oil and gas supplies at whim, like it did to Ukraine 2 years ago.

And there was the Litvinenko case, where Russian agents were accused of poisoning of the ex KGB agent in LOndon.

Yesterday we talked about China, its role in Sudan and pressure on it to improve its record on human rights. One of our callers suggested that China was always being criticised when other countries are no better.

He meant the US and UK and its record in Iraq, but it got us thinking...what about Russia? Does Russia's control over oil and gas supplies to Europe mean we let it off lightly on its democracy and human rights record?

Should we be worried by Russia? Is it on the 'rise'? Is the old Cold War enemy flexing its muscles? Or is it just behaving like any sovereign country has a right to...protecting its interests?

What do you think? Get in touch please, the show is nothing without you... really.

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