On Aug 8 Russian troops moved into Georgia, as a response to Georgia’s military action against its own break-away region of South Ossetia. Over 2 weeks later there are still Russian troops in Georgia as ‘peacekeepers’, and the Russian government seems to have every intention of keeping them there long-term. There has been nothing that Georgia can do, and no possibility of military intervention by the West. Russia, it seems, can do what it wants with its former satellites.
This action has sent a chill through the West, and investors have been withdrawing assets from Russia at a rate not seen since the collapse of the rouble in 1998. The Russian invasion of Georgia was an historic moment, possibly marking the beginning of a new Cold War. Russia is going its own way, and will not hesitate to take military action to achieve its ends.
During the Russian Revolution of 1917, the country let go of its rulership of its satellite countries. As Stalin’s power grew, the re-conquest of the newly independent countries was engineered. He re-created the Russian Empire. The recent invasion of Georgia seems to mark the beginning of another attempt by Russia to reclaim its old Czarist Empire, having lost it for a second time when Communism collapsed at the start of the 1990s.
These events have got me thinking about the chart for Russia. Lynn wrote a piece last year advocating the chart for 12 June 1990, when the Russian parliament declared the sovereignty of the Russian Federative Republic within the USSR. And Nancy recently wrote a piece, using this chart to describe Russia’s current and future actions.
What I can’t get over in this chart is the unaspected Sun in Gemini, conjunct Gemini MC. I use the Sun to describe the kind of leader you get, the MC to describe the institution of government and the country’s standing in the world. These 2 points together are too significant to ignore, and try as I might I cannot see the Russian leadership as unaspected Sun in Gemini. If it was Italy, I could easily see it. They have a new government most years, and seem quite happy to elect and re-elect a corrupt showman like Silvio Berlusconi who owns most of the country's TV stations (also Gemini!) That is the type of government you would see. Russia is not this at all. It has its dark side, but not in a Gemini way, because it is completely up front about it, it does not see anything wrong with it: this is Pluto/Scorpio territory.
What the 12 June chart does describe was the unstable nature of Russia’s declaration of sovereignty. Russia did not actually have full legal independence from the USSR at this point, and indeed there was an attempted coup by the old guard a year later.
The defining event that created the modern Russia was on 19 Aug 1991 when Boris Yeltsin stood on a tank outside the Russian parliament (the White House) and proclaimed resistance to the attempted coup. This moment was hugely symbolic and significant. The coup rapidly fell apart, and within a short space of time Yeltsin was President of a Russia that was entirely free of the old Communist power.
His proclamation of resistance to the coup was in effect a proclamation of the existence, or the beginning of the existence, of the new and entirely sovereign Russia.
The exact time is uncertain, but 11am would seem to be not too far off.
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What we have in this chart is 10th House Sun conjunct Jupiter in Leo, square to 1st House Pluto in Scorpio. Yes! Now we are in business.
There have effectively been 2 Presidents since 1991, Yeltsin and then Putin. (Medvedev, elected in March, is Putin’s puppet, there for 4 years until Putin can legally be President again: Sun square Pluto manoeuvring!) Both have been like the King of Russia, a Leo quality. Yeltsin was Leo at its most excessive and chaotic. Putin has become the supreme strongman who tolerates no opposition and has dragged Russia out of its chaos and humiliation, and back to the country we used to know.
This is a country that is expansionist (Sun conjunct Jupiter in the 10th) and ruthless about the use of power (1st House Pluto in Scorpio). There is no pretence here. America pretends to be promoting democracy and free trade as a way of extending its own power in the world. Russia just moves in the military. With Russia, you know exactly what you are dealing with, and you are right to quake if you find yourself on the wrong side of this regime, whether at home or abroad. If abroad, they will send agents to kill you, or they will invade your country. If at home, they will take away all your wealth and put you in prison on trumped up charges. Poland was threatened by Russia recently with a nuclear strike for agreeing to an American missile shield.
In a way the game is very straightforward, but it also played with Scorpio cunning. Russia chose its moment to invade Georgia, and it was a complete triumph for them. Step by step, Putin has built up Russian power over the last 8 years, and step by step they will move in on their old satellite countries in the coming years. They will increasingly support the countries in the Middle East, like Iran and Syria, that America opposes. Putin is very sure footed in his exercise of power, both in gaining it for himself and hanging onto it, and doing the same for Russia. He will go down in history as one of its great leaders. He is very Plutonic/Scorpionic himself, having Pluto on the Midheaven conjunct his South Node (and conjunct the Russian Sun), Scorpio Asc and Moon in Scorpio's House.
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The people are hugely behind Putin, behind their King, and we can see this in Russia's Chart in the trine from the Moon (the people) in Sag to the Sun in Leo. They believe (Sag) in their King (Leo). They are a religious people (Sag), though the government would not be afraid to use the military against them (Moon square Mars). Their religious, mystical side is also expressed by North Node conjunct Neptune, and the sign of Capricorn indicates the traditional forms, particularly the Eastern Orthodox Church, that we find in Russia.
This new Russia has an unaspected Saturn in Aquarius conjunct Aquarius IC. Saturn describes our ability to work and give shape to our life. Despite its increasing power and wealth, Russia remains chaotic and criminal, and is only gaining wealth due to the lucky accident of having vast oil and gas reserves (Pluto conjunct second house cusp: underground riches). Modern Russia has its origins in a struggle for freedom and independence, which is Aquarius IC.
Despite the brutal nature of its game, Russia has a Libra Ascendant, suggesting that it is open to negotiation and diplomacy. (Putin is also a Libran.) Given the gangster-like nature of Russia, we are probably talking about ‘Reason’ in the way that the Godfather used it, and which has its own brutal logic.
The Aries Descendant describes Russia’s straightforward aggressive, even military, response to its enemies.
Russia was born under the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of the 1990s, and in the 1991 chart I am using, this chart is conjunct the North Node. So this points to its destiny as a country, which you could say is to maintain its own individuality (Uranus) while being part of the global community (Neptune). We have recently had a Neptune-Node conjunction (opposite the Russian Sun), and Russia’s response has been Neptune at its worst: the dissolving of its boundaries with Georgia through military action.
Russia has Mars at 21 Virgo, closely square the American Mars at 21 Gemini, which comes as no surprise. The 2 countries are destined to be rivals, just like the US and Iran, who also have squaring Mars. Russia invaded Georgia 2 days after a Mars return, with Uranus opposing. It was a sudden and surprising event (Uranus) that revealed more fully the nature of Russian military ambitions (Mars return). And it was very precisely aimed (Virgo), unlike the US, which has Mars square Neptune, and entered Iraq without thinking it through. Russia’s Progressed Moon is currently conjoining her natal MC, describing the change (Moon) brought about in Russia’s standing in the world (MC).
Putin became acting President in Dec 1999, and then elected in May 2000. This was under a transiting conjunction of Neptune to Russia’s Saturn/IC. From Russia’s point of view, he brought new inspiration (Neptune) to the country after the despair (also Neptune) of the Yeltsin years, and he activated the country’s Saturn, getting it to start pulling itself together again. In the years following Putin’s election, Pluto conjoined the Russian Moon at 19 Sagittarius, reflecting the renewed belief (Sag) in the country that the Russian people (Moon) came to feel.
Since then Neptune has continued to pass through Russia’s 4th House (homeland, territory). In 2005 Neptune squared natal Pluto and is now opposing natal Sun-Jupiter. This has brought a new activation. Firstly, you can see Putin manoeuvring himself into being effectively President (Sun) for life. And you can also see the dissolution of boundaries (Neptune) around the homeland (4th House) starting to occur – which is a nice way of saying that a process of re-absorbing its old satellites, though force if necessary, has begun, just like in the early days of the Communist regime (again under a Neptune-Sun transit! The Sun of the Communist regime was at 16 Scorpio, conjunct the Pluto of modern Russia, which is why Russia’s present actions remind us of the old regime.)
Neptune will be opposing Russia’s Sun for a year or two yet, so I expect this process of moving in on the old satellites to continue: what we have seen in Georgia is just a start. Russia will not do anything reckless, but it will be bold, and will not take any steps backwards, because it is not in its nature. Those ‘peacekeepers’ will be there for a long time! As Neptune finally moves away from opposing the Russian Sun, there will be a Progressed New Moon (in 2011), the beginning of a whole new 29 year phase: a reborn Russia, once more a major power with, quite possibly, much of its old Empire back.
To an outsider, what seems to characterise Russia more than anything is the pursuit of power: first of all, a desire by the government for complete control within the country, and now for power on the world stage. This seems to come second to the pursuit of wealth, which for many European countries has for decades been their main pursuit, sheltering under the protection of American power. So it is a different motivation to what we in Europe are used to.
But people or countries are not so much into power for no reason. It is interesting that Pluto is connected with both power and the survival urge, as if to say that they are connected. And in Russia Pluto is strong, being in its own sign of Scorpio, in the first House, and (widely) square to the Sun. For such a country, not having an eminent place in the world (Sun in 10th House Leo) would feel like not existing (square to Pluto.) Russia has to become a superpower again or it will feel continually humiliated. Russia was deeply humiliated by what happened to it in the 1990s, and fortunately it was not at the hands of an aggressor, or there would be a price to pay. A Pisces can take humiliation. Leo-Scorpio you humiliate at your peril. (It is therefore unlikely that Hillary Clinton will ever forgive Barack Obama for defeating her.) The square from the Sun to Pluto suggests an imbalance, a neurosis in Russia's power seeking, that however much power she has, it will never seem enough.
I was sent an interesting article from the Asia Times which describes Russia’s motivation as being that of survival:
"Russia is fighting for its survival, against a catastrophic decline in population and the likelihood of a Muslim majority by mid-century. The Russian Federation's scarcest resource is people. It cannot ignore the 22 million Russians stranded outside its borders after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, nor, for that matter, small but loyal ethnicities such as the Ossetians. Strategic encirclement, in Russian eyes, prefigures the ethnic disintegration of Russia."
The writer continues on the subject of Russian versus American strategy:
"Again, the Russians misjudge American stupidity… Think of it this way: Russia is playing chess, while the Americans are playing Monopoly. What Americans understand by "war games" is exactly what occurs on the board of the Parker Brothers' pastime. The board game Monopoly is won by placing as many hotels as possible on squares of the playing board. Substitute military bases, and you have the sum of American strategic thinking.
America's idea of winning a strategic game is to accumulate the most chips on the board: bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, a pipeline in Georgia, a "moderate Muslim" government with a big North Atlantic Treaty Organization base in Kosovo, missile installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, and so forth. But this is not a strategy; it is only a game score.
Chess players think in terms of interaction of pieces: everything on the periphery combines to control the center of the board and prepare an eventual attack against the opponent's king. The Russians simply cannot absorb the fact that America has no strategic intentions: it simply adds up the value of the individual pieces on the board. It is as stupid as that. But there is another difference: the Americans are playing chess for career and perceived advantage. Russia is playing for its life, like Ingmar Bergman's crusader in The Seventh Seal."
As I said earlier, we can see this difference in the Russian and American Mars. Russia has Mars in Virgo, which is analytical and precise, and it is square to the Moon, so it can be ruthless, it can put the needs of its people (Moon) to one side. America has Mars square to Neptune, so its military thinking is not precise and strategic, but prone to delusion, as well as idealism. Mars is trine to the Moon, so it takes its people more into account, the US is not happy with American body-bags.
This is also why Russia may get away with gradually re-conquering its former satellites. Nowadays, the psychological impact of asymmetrical warfare is a force to be reckoned with – if you are a liberal democracy. Asymmetrical warfare is another word for what we call terrorism, where one side is much stronger than the other, so the minority engages in acts such as suicide bombing that have a big psychological impact on the majority population, and can eventually wear it down. This was the IRA’s tactic in the UK, and it was ultimately successful: the government was forced to negotiate.
So you could easily imagine this happening in Russia’s satellite countries as she attempts to control them. Except that Russia is only just about a democracy, and certainly not a liberal one. Remember Chechnya? Chechnya is a region of Russia that for years, during the 1990s, engaged in terrorist acts in attempt to gain independence. Eventually Moscow installed a government favourable to itself, and has been ruthless enough with the opposition – torture occurs as a matter of course if you are detained – to re-assert control. So Russia shouldn’t have too much problem controlling its satellites, and the recent events in Georgia will have emboldened her.
The Lunar Eclipse of 17 Aug, set for Moscow, was very powerful.
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The Sun-Moon opposition closely aligns with the natal Russian Sun. And the chart itself has Pluto on the Descendant - power (Pluto) over enemies; Jupiter in the 7th (success with enemies); and North Node conjunct MC, suggesting a time of great significance (Node) for Russia's place in the world (MC). So if the Georgian President had looked at this chart before he took his gamble with South Ossetia, he might have had second thoughts!