Ukraine invasion was ‘on the horizon’ — A former USSR resident and Brookhaven native offers thoughts on the war

Published 3:00 pm Saturday, March 12, 2022

For a Brookhaven native who once lived in the former Soviet Union, Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine could be seen “on the horizon.”

Bill Perkins lived in the Central Asian city of Almaty in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan 12 years.

“For many of us living in the former Soviet Union we saw this on the horizon. Putin would eventually seize the opportunity to make geopolitical moves on the chess board when he sensed weakness in the west. He’s had ambitions to restore the former Soviet Union under some form of domination by Moscow since he first attained supreme power of the Russian Federation in 1998,” Perkins said.

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The former general manager of Mangistaumunaigaz — the fourth largest oil and gas company in Kazakhstan, Perkins said all like companies there “always felt the hand of Big Brother in Moscow, especially after Putin replaced Yeltsin.”

In late 1999 or early 2000, Perkins met with two Russians who were interested in his company. The men advised Perkins to expedite production of their 15 fields near the Caspian Sea to maximize returns as quickly as possible because Putin would begin to put the former Soviet Union together again whenever he saw an opportunity. 

“They said it could be years away, but Putin was there to stay and this was his ambition and those close to him,” Perkins said. “That was more than 20 years ago finally being realized today.”

Many believe the recent unrest in Almaty and across Kazakhstan was orchestrated as a pretense for 78 flights of Russian commandos to restore order across this Central Asian country five times the size of Texas, rich with natural resources of oil and gas, uranium, coal, gold, copper and so much more,” Perkins said. “This was just a move on the chess board to test the waters before his foray into Ukraine. Unfortunately there is probably more to come.”