In the intricate realm of geopolitical struggles, dissidents, useful idiots, contradicting political wings, diasporas unintentionally or intentionally can become tools, inadvertently advancing the aims of oppressive regimes like the Kremlin. Beyond the substantial financial exchanges, the exploitation of individual weaknesses and sins by entities such as the KGB-FSB has been a longstanding strategy. Even immense sums, like a billion dollars, are just pieces in the larger international political puzzle, potentially used to manipulate allegiances and suppress the scrutiny of exploitation of nations.
The exploitation broadens beyond financial aspects, encompassing personal flaws and making individuals unsuspecting actors in a larger geopolitical game. This game is unbounded, highlighted by the involvement of nations like Russia and China in global institutions like the UN Security Council, casting doubts on these institutions’ effectiveness and purpose.
Amidst this, dissidents stand as crucial but vulnerable entities. They walk a tightrope of life, balancing personal welfare and the greater good, often facing exploitation by the very powers they oppose. This dynamic is further complicated by historical Western-Russian opposition and the ideological battles between the left and right wings, adding layers of complexity to the global political landscape and the enduring fight for human rights and freedom.
Despite these hurdles, the pure recollection of the dissidents’ relentless battle against suppression endures, highlighting their unyielding combat against authoritarian forces, as long as their convictions remain unshaken amidst the continual challenges they face. And I hold a personal narrative regarding this below:
The Useful Idiots:
The Dissident Oligarch. In the bustling heart of New York, at the luxurious Marriott Marquis amid the spike in prices due to the UN conference, a Russian dissident oligarch went to great lengths to arrange a meeting on September 19, 2023. The high-cost, high-profile location was evidently chosen to garner attention and possibly lend weight to his words. Despite the grand setting and anticipation, my encounter with the oligarch only cultivated disappointment and lingering questions.
As the oligarch stood in one of the world's most extravagant venues, his evasion of pertinent inquiries stood in stark contrast to the transparency expected of someone in his position. Specifically, his reluctance to address questions about his ties to Trump and his role during the privatization in Russia became glaringly apparent. My own inquiry about his potential affiliations and funding from Russian FSB during that pivotal [privatization] period and, if so, how would this affect his position on the lustration in Russia, was met with silence, an avoidance that only fueled doubts about his integrity and intentions.
The question of lustration, which was central to the meeting and to my mind the reason behind the opulent gathering, remained untouched in a meaningful way. The oligarch's muted and unclear stance on the matter inadvertently provided an answer — an acknowledgment of the impossibility of lustration in Russia. This evasion, coupled with a lack of response to my personal questions, cemented my decision to disengage from his narrative. The stark disparity between the lavish surroundings and the emptiness of answers underlined the façade and left me, and possibly many others, in a state of skepticism and uncertainty.
I walked away with a firm closure on the oligarch's case in my mind. The glamor of Times Square and the oligarch's grand gestures drowned in the louder echoes of his silence on matters that required his clear and unambiguous voice. The unresolved and avoided questions cut through the allure, leaving a trail of doubt and unease, marring the event and the image of the oligarch in the labyrinth of New York's glitz and power plays.
Amid the dim glow of the opulent chandeliers, as questions hung in the air, ungrasped and unanswered, the oligarch's subsequent revelations left the audience in palpable disbelief. His proposition of a truce with the current Chekist powers in Russia sharply contrasted the expectations of those who yearned for a decisive break from the oppressive past and present. His perplexing stance on Ukraine further muddled the waters. The assertion that "Ukrainians are now in a better position than Russians as they, (Ukrainians) fight for their motherland" resounded through the luxurious hall, leaving a trail of confusion and concern.
As the event unfolded, the scene before my eyes transformed into a paradoxical tableau. The very individuals who were moments ago desperately seeking answers from the oligarch, now clamored to capture a moment beside him, immortalized in pixels and social media posts. Despite the oligarch’s apparent betrayal of their basic rights to political freedom and a clear stance on issues affecting their lives, the allure of his persona seemed to eclipse the somber reality of his words and evasions.
Looking at the throng of people, eager to frame themselves beside the man who evaded accountability and clarity, a reflection on divine irony dawned upon me. Amid the whirlwind of glamour and uncertainty, God’s zest for humor vividly painted itself, showcasing the paradox of evil buoyed by the oblivion of the well-intentioned. This scene unfolded as a living testament to the ancient Greek characterization of [useful] 'idiots' - individuals inadvertently forsaking their political rights, enveloped in the charm of a figure who stood in contrast to their very aspirations.
This moment, etched in the ambience of extravaganza and disillusionment, stood as a poignant reminder of the persistent complexities within the political landscapes, where appearance often overshadows substance, leaving many in the shadows of uncertainty and unfulfilled quests for truth and clarity.
Soviet Dissident. A few days post the sharp sting of disappointment with the dissident oligarch, I found myself in a relatively more humble setting being in the very heart of Manhattan, but still a world away from the glitzy facade of the Marriott Marquis. This time, it was a real estate agency owned by Moscow expatriates, set as the backdrop for the presentation of a book by a Soviet-era dissident.
Upon entering, void of any preconceived notions, I admit my unfamiliarity with the dissident, never having encountered him in the battlegrounds of free elections and protests, where I have been an active participant under the banners of Liga Izbitateley and Grazhdanin Nabludatel (active supporters of free elections process in Russia), both now banned, members persecuted in Russia. But, I digress.
The dissident exuded a serene composure, the kind bestowed upon those engrossed in fulfilling a minor task within a grander paradigm. My tardy arrival was met with a jolt of surprise as I listened to him eloquently dismiss the effect of sanctions on Russia and subtly blame the West for its plight. The event organizer, known to me from prior events, attempted to steer the discussion towards the heroism of Brezhnev-era dissidents and mundane plans concerning future coffee sugar measurements - a far cry from the issues I had spent $40 to discuss.
Unable to hold back, I posed a question regarding the stark contrast between the dissident's placid remarks and the harsh reality of Russian societal support for war. In response, I was met with a stern warning from the property's owner, a Russian-speaking lady, threatening my removal from the venue.
Unfazed, I assured her of my readiness for any level of scandal, resulting in her retreat and the dissident's eventual reiteration of the oligarch's notion of forgoing lustration, echoing the same sentiments I had heard days earlier. This repetition reinforced my belief in the planned inconspicuous intervention of the FSB in American elections.
The recollection of numerous unanswered questions that someone directed at the event organizer, subsequently reposted and then removed from my social media, after a harsh request by one of their friends—who appeared to me as arrogant and utterly unreasonable—further strengthened my convictions. His queries ranged from issues of dismantling the Russian criminal regime to the future of Ukraine and the West post-Putin’s regime. The deafening silence from the dissident and\or the event organiser on these matters quadrupled the bitter taste left from my encounter with the oligarch, painting a vivid picture of a choreographed narrative in the ongoing UN conference and the forthcoming US elections.
In this stark reality, the muffled cries for lustration and clarity drown in the orchestrated cacophony of dismissals and diversions, leaving behind a lingering scent of polished boots, reminiscent of those tirelessly shining in the corridors of Lubyanka (the address of the Moscow office of KGB-FSB). As the days unfold, let us brace ourselves, meine Freunde, as the mirage of the free world quivers under the overshadowing specter of the unspoken Russian agenda.
It is undeniable that the potential manipulations of the Russian foreign intelligence loom as a profound and ominous threat that must be meticulously observed and identified at all costs. This is not a question of geopolitical jockeying or international intrigue; it is a matter of the very survival of our world and the preservation of the values and principles that underpin global peace and security.
In the eye of the storm is Vladimir Putin, a figure ready and willing to unleash the unfathomable devastation of nuclear weapons if his reign and vision are threatened. It's a fearsome reality that contrasts sharply with the naive assurance offered by some Soviet-era dissidents, who downplay the dangers posed by Putin's regime, thereby inadvertently steering global consciousness to a perilous brink.
There's a fundamental disparity between the reassuring narratives, which inadvertently drive humanity towards a precipice where existential decisions will be hastily made, and the stark and timely wake-up call to recognize and counteract Putin's machinations now. If the world understands today that Putin could indeed lead us to global annihilation, then the urgency to act, to preempt and prevent, becomes the immediate and paramount task of the international community.
It is essential to discern, understand, and counteract Putin's multifaceted efforts to shift the global balance in his favor. These endeavors exploit various political ideologies and communities, including the Left Wing, the Right Wing, the Russian-Speaking Diaspora, and even the dissidents, whether they are aware of being used as pawns or not.
The Left Wing:
Putin’s strategies with the Left Wing often revolve around exploiting the language of peace, social justice, and anti-imperialism to garner support or at least confusion and delay within these communities. By portraying Russia as a victim of Western aggression or a bastion against rampant neoliberal capitalism, Putin can generate sympathy and solidarity from left-leaning individuals and organizations, creating international pressure against actions meant to counter Russian aggression.
Recent reports confirm that Tesla's Elon Musk has utilized Twitter to suggest a 'peace deal' between Russia and Ukraine, a region embroiled in conflict for the past nine months. This proposal came after his discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In an email to subscribers, Ian Bremmer, head of the Eurasia Group, shared that Musk informed him of Putin’s willingness to negotiate, provided Crimea remains with Moscow, as reported by the Hindustan Times.
Recent events witnessed Russia attacking Ukraine with a new onslaught of missiles and drones carrying ammunition. This attack, which killed at least 19 people, was described by the UN human rights office as a "particularly shocking" incident that may qualify as war crimes.
According to the email, Putin communicated to Musk his readiness to end the invasion if Ukraine accepts permanent neutrality and acknowledges Russia's annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia. This would happen regardless, and every effort must be made to avoid a nuclear strike if Ukraine invades Crimea, Musk conveyed to Bremmer.
Furthermore, Bremmer noted that Musk declined a request from Ukraine to activate Starlink in Crimea, as reported by Vice.
In the previous week, Musk posted a peace plan and a Twitter poll amidst Russia's invasion of Ukraine, proposing the redoing of referendums in annexed territories, denounced as sham votes by Ukraine and the West. Despite this, 59.1% of Musk's audience voted against his idea.
This tweet infuriated Ukrainians, prompting President Volodymyr Zelensky to post his own poll, questioning which Elon Musk people preferred - one who supports Ukraine or Russia.
While Russia appreciated Musk’s "positive" proposal, Musk denied claims of his conversation with Putin, as reported by the Independent.
Please see more on this here https://www.livemint.com/news/world/elon-musk-tweeted-peace-deal-proposal-for-russia-ukraine-after-talking-to-president-putin-says-report-11665514144907.html
The Right Wing:
For the Right Wing, Putin employs the narrative of traditional values, national sovereignty, and anti-globalism, reaching out to those who feel left behind in the modern, globalized world. This narrative aims to build a global coalition against liberal democracy, utilizing conservative and right-wing groups to undermine international solidarity and cooperation, thereby weakening global responses to Russian aggression.
In the face of Donald Trump's fresh scorn for the shift to electric vehicles (EVs), parallels with the old Luddite movement unspool. In the early 19th century, Luddites, English textile workers, stood against the rising tide of mechanized looms. Fear gripped them - the new machines threatened to cast their skills to oblivion and paint a future of widespread unemployment.
As the Luddites once squinted at the dawn of the industrial revolution with unease, critics like Trump today regard the coming of EVs with wary eyes. In Clinton Township, Trump called EVs a "hit job" on traditional auto hubs, arguing against their promise of environmental gain, foreseeing instead, significant job losses.
Yet, as history records, the industrial revolution birthed new jobs, blooming industries. The tilt towards EVs today carries whispers of fresh opportunities and progress. Historical gaze shows that, though fraught with hurdles, transitions hold the seed for innovation, economic surge, and environmental healing.
Today, the world teeters on the brink of another mammoth technological shift. History, reflecting on groups like the Luddites, gifts insights for managing change, safeguarding labor rights, and steering the journey towards sustainable progress. As society once molded itself to the industrial revolution's rhythm, today's move towards electric vehicles unfurls a banner of a cleaner, more nimble future, notwithstanding its unique trials.
Trump’s strategic stand against EVs mirrors the Luddite’s mechanical resistance, evoking time-worn populist tactics. Picture the late 19th-century populist movement in the United States – farmers and agrarian workers, strained by industrialization, standing against colossal enterprises and banks. Trump walks a similar path, vowing to shield traditional auto industry jobs. His words in Clinton Township mirror this, speaking to auto workers' anxieties, mirroring the historical tug between progress and preservation.
In both historical frames, leaders harness palpable anxieties amid significant technological shifts, painting themselves as guardians of old industries and their workers. The timeless challenge remains – weighing genuine worker concerns against the broader societal and environmental boons offered by technological leaps, a balancing act traversing from the Luddites to today.
Please see more on this here https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2023/09/27/donald-trump-returns-auto-industry-strike-uaw-ev-taking-center-stage-presidential-election-joe-biden/70960155007/? fbclid=IwAR0I1oKMRiAmDka0JBGdG6T80awBEbNl_a_3m7OjhUnSB_6X7emoSXYsYhc_aem_AXWo320v38MrNZFg1BwfOm6tYnI3uD3YxZ-BYXoJz8w7R7f1ydczi4UoeIh559JxZTY&mibextid=Zxz2cZ#ln37fgmsyexeqsp9l
The Russian-Speaking Diaspora:
The Russian-Speaking Diaspora is often leveraged for information and influence campaigns. Members of the diaspora may be used, knowingly or unknowingly, to spread pro-Kremlin narratives, influence political processes in their countries of residence, and act as intermediaries in various influence operations.
Authors in the West frequently make the mistake of referring to the Soviet Union exile diaspora as the "Russian diaspora." This error was highlighted during my discussion with a woman in Queens, New York, likely born in the Soviet Union. She took offense at being termed “Russian”, which I applied because she prerferred writing in Russian to me. Reflecting on this, designating her background as “Soviet” would likely have been more accurate. This mistake underscores the broader issue of arrogance, narrow outlook, and regional corporatism among a significant portion of the Russian-speaking diaspora. Currently, these attitudes are morphing into nationalism and fascism in countries that have emerged in the post-Soviet era, with Russia being the most prominent example of this troubling shift.
The Cold War's end in 1990 with the Soviet Union's collapse silenced numerous ethnic demands and concluded Russian imperialism. Post-collapse, many former Soviet republics declared independence, embarking on reconstruction despite facing several challenges, notably the Russian diaspora. The international recognition of the borders of former Soviet republics left millions, including twenty-five million Russians, outside their home countries, transforming them into minorities facing discrimination and marginalization in newly independent states. This situation is impacting Russia's domestic politics and increasing Russia's regional influence, with Russian foreign policy evidently linked to nations housing Russian minorities.
The historical perspective reveals Russian settlement in former Soviet republics starting from the sixteenth century, primarily for economic exploitation and further fueled by various policies and events including the Bolshevik Revolution, World War II, and the Osvoyenie Zeliny (the Virgin Lands Campaign). The migration, settlement, and industrial contribution of Russians in these regions played a significant role in their development and Russification. Post-Soviet Union collapse, the Russian population in these regions started decreasing due to various factors including economic reasons and Putin’s voluntary resettlement program.
The immigration of Russian speakers as the other source of spreading the Russian speaking intelligence, has given rise to an extensive and diverse diaspora, solidifying the Russian language and culture across various global contexts. The historical backdrop to this significant migration includes events such as the Old Believer schism in the 17th century, the October Revolution, and World War II, all contributing to the exodus of ethnic Russians and other Russian-speaking communities. Various waves of emigration have also occurred in response to political and economic turmoil, including the post-Soviet era's instability and the recent conflict in Ukraine. These movements have been marked by the search for religious freedom, economic opportunities, and escape from political unrest, further enriching the receiving nations' cultural mosaic.
While the Russian diaspora encompasses ethnic Russians, the Russophone diaspora holds a broader scope, including anyone for whom Russian is the native language. Today, the global population of Russian-speaking immigrants is estimated at 30 million, residing in various countries worldwide, including Ukraine, Kazakhstan, the United States, and Germany. Despite the vast geographical spread and the assorted challenges faced, including issues related to citizenship and integration, the shared language, and cultural bonds continue to unify the global Russian-speaking community, underscoring the substantial influence of immigration on worldwide cultural and demographic landscapes.
The change in power dynamics post-Soviet collapse led to a new focus on the Russian diaspora. Russia, seeking to reaffirm its international standing, eyed the diaspora as a means of influencing newly independent states and bolstering its national identity. The diaspora's strategic use aligns with the aims of right-wing political groups in Russia, reminiscent of historical examples like Hitler’s use of the German population in Gdansk and the Sudetenland. Russia allocates a significant budget for promoting "Russian culture." This includes complimentary propaganda channels, news outlets, and even Russian-language radio stations, as well as various events, some of which have a pronounced militaristic tone, that celebrate Russian holidays and more.
The Eurasianist school's growing influence further highlights the Russian diaspora's significance in Russian foreign policy and national identity development to promote the ageda favorable to Russia.
The landscape in which dissidents navigate is fraught with peril and intricacies, tinged with the complexities of geopolitics and state manipulation. These individuals, who boldly stand against colossal regimes such as the Kremlin, often unknowingly find themselves entangled within the webs they seek to dismantle.
The conundrum facing these dissidents is multifaceted. It's not merely about a lack of protective mechanisms; the ambiguity of their positions compounds the problem. Despite their outspoken opposition to oppressive regimes, the looming question of trustworthiness and the potential for exploitation cast a long shadow over their endeavors. The ambiguity of their stances is a critical concern. The potential for their inadvertent alignment with the very forces they resist signifies the convoluted nature of their situation. This complexity underscores the necessity for a wary and discerning perspective when dealing with dissidents.
In the realm of financial leverage, a billion dollars, though seemingly immense, diminishes in the broad spectrum of international diplomacy and influence. Such an amount, a nominal portion of nations like Russia’s total revenue, could potentially be allocated to ensure the complicity or ignorance of foreign powers as these nations continue their exploitation unhampered. This fiscal aspect, however, is just one component of a more extensive, intricate system. Beyond this monetary dimension lies a deeper level of exploitation centered on individuals' vulnerabilities, orchestrated by entities like the KGB-FSB, further entrenching tyrannical control.
In this intricate scenario, global institutions like the UN Security Council find themselves at a crossroads, their roles and effectiveness in maintaining worldwide peace and cooperation questioned. The participation of nations notorious for human rights violations and authoritarian governance transforms these entities into arenas of conflict where international laws and morals ambiguously intertwine.
Dissidents, amid this turmoil, emerge as pivotal, albeit vulnerable, figures. Their commitment to opposing tyranny highlights their value. However, this opposition is laden with hardships. Often navigating lives marked by isolation, disgrace, and despair, these individuals confront choices that balance personal welfare against the broader good, their decisions frequently met with public disdain and skepticism. The prevalent label of insanity, attributed to their resistance against authoritarian governments, further accentuates the precariousness of their journey.
In this environment of uncertainty and complexity, offering protection to these dissidents is a challenge. Trust evolves into a precious, scarce commodity, and the prospect of support becomes a potential path to dependency, rendering it a precarious offering. Within this complex maze, the unblemished memories of these individuals, assuming they remain steadfast in their principles against oppressive forces, stand as a beacon illuminating their battle against tyranny.
Navigating this labyrinth of geopolitical, financial, and moral dimensions, dissidents continue their delicate maneuvering. Despite the substantial risks and the potential for exploitation and misunderstanding, their role remains crucial in the continuous global struggle for human rights and freedom, underscoring the persistent complexities and challenges inherent in this relentless battle.
The Putin's Munich Declaration:
It's crucial to cast a discerning eye back to the historical origins of this extensive manipulation, most notably exemplified in Putin’s Munich declaration. This event marked a clear and confrontational pivot against the West, outlining a vision of a world where Russia would reassert its power and influence, unburdened by the constraints of international law or the principles of liberal democracy.
In understanding and revealing these intricate and insidious strategies, the global community must unite in unwavering commitment and cooperative action to deter the peril embodied by Putin's regime. The battle is not just on the physical frontlines but within the narratives that shape global perceptions and decisions. A unified, informed, and proactive stand today is the staunchest defense against a world teetering on the brink of devastation tomorrow.
In the final analysis, the choice rests within the collective grasp of global citizens: to act with timely resolve or be led, unwittingly or knowingly, down a path that courts global catastrophe. The moment to act is now, rooted in clarity and fortified by the unwavering commitment to safeguard the world for future generations.
The Russian Propaganda:
Amid the unfolding events, as Ukraine's forces boldly counterattack, a desperate Kremlin heightens Cold War-era rhetoric, raising concerns about possible nuclear weapon use in Ukraine.
Lavrov clarified Russia's nuclear doctrine as purely retaliatory to prevent the country's destruction from direct nuclear strikes or other weapon use posing a significant threat to Russia's existence.
As described in the OECD report of 2022, the Russian government has actively employed systematic information manipulation and disinformation as operational tools in its conflict with Ukraine. The scale of these tactics marked a significant escalation during Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. These disinformation strategies, encompassing false narratives, propaganda, historical revisionism, and conspiracy theories, are disseminated through various channels, including social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Fake profiles, paid trolls, and government accounts are used to amplify the misleading information, contributing to a challenging informational environment in Ukraine.
The OECD report further highlights that despite the widespread use of the internet and 3G technology in Ukraine, social media platforms and algorithm designs have exacerbated the spread of falsehoods. These platforms facilitate the creation of echo chambers and amplify disinformation, thereby augmenting the information threat faced by Ukraine and other open democracies. The international community, recognizing the significant threat posed by these disinformation campaigns, has taken concerted efforts to counteract these challenges. This includes highlighting and sanctioning the tools and narratives used by the Russian government and providing robust support to media environments globally. Balancing these efforts with the imperative of ensuring press freedom and bolstering democratic information ecosystems remains a critical consideration in addressing the disinformation threat.
Please see more on this here https://www.oecd.org/ukraine-hub/policy-responses/disinformation-and-russia-s-war-of-aggression-against-ukraine-37186bde/
Historically, Russia skillfully plays on the Western contradictions, discrepancies and conflicts:
In assessing the geopolitical dynamics, one observes that Russia is perceived as a nation marked by contradictions. Its noticeable power hides underlying anxiety, and its visible weaknesses obscure unrestrained ambition. Russia seeks both prominence in historical territories and equality in regions where it finds itself proximate. These ambitions are not a modern phenomenon, reflecting instead a longstanding national perspective.
The nation’s aspiration to integrate into European and Euro-Atlantic organizations is juxtaposed with its insistence on exemptions from the values and standards that characterize these institutions. The intrinsic contradictions in its international stances mirror the complexities of life and political narratives within the nation itself.
From a different vantage point, the United States seemingly navigates the geopolitical terrain with a mastery of life's contradictions, showing an enduring appeal internationally despite its diverse and occasionally conflicting policies. This enduring appeal is visible even though certain alliances might add to global unrest, showcasing the country’s ability to maintain significant relationships in Europe, the Far East, and Australasia. These alliances contribute substantially to regional security, stability, and prosperity, highlighting the U.S.’s often sober and reluctant leadership.
Despite these insights, Russia’s and the U.S.'s international relationships are fraught with legacy issues, perceptions, and a deep-seated craving for respect and leadership. The intricacies of these relationships underscore the challenge of transcending historical and contemporary divides, highlighting the ongoing struggle for mutual understanding and cooperation on the global stage.
The end of confrontation didn't dampen the optimism of Russia’s liberals who hoped it would lead to an equal position for Russia in Europe, including veto powers in pan-European decisions. However, by the time these liberals, derogatorily called ‘romantics’, were replaced by traditional ‘centrists’, it was clear that Russia and its Western partners held divergent perspectives.
In 1994, at the beginning of NATO’s UN-sanctioned bombing campaign in Bosnia, Boris Yeltsin expressed concern over the shifting global dynamics, emphasizing the emerging struggle for geopolitical spheres of influence. He believed that international forces sought to keep Russia in a controlled paralysis. NATO's intervention in the Kosovo conflict, which was not UN-sanctioned, further reinforced these views across the political spectrum.
As the Yeltsin era ended, the US was reconciling with the resurgence of certain elements in the ‘new’ Russia. Despite the internal economic issues, increasing tensions between state and society, and the privatization of state institutions, a significant decline in relations had set in before Vladimir Putin's tenure.
Initially, many US policymakers, including President Bush, viewed Putin’s ascent to power as a positive change. His candidness about Russia's past mistakes and his emphasis on foreign trade and pragmatic foreign relations painted a favorable image of him in the West. However, the YUKOS affair in 2003 and further repressions against the free journalism dimmed this optimistic view.
Despite these challenges, post-9/11, Putin recognized the shifting global political coordinates and grasped the new opportunities for Russia, assuming the West now needed Russia more. However, within a short period, old differences resurfaced, eroding the brief period of trust. Events like the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine exacerbated the situation, being perceived in Russia as Western operations and an intensification of the West's cultural war against Russia and its political order. This perception was further amplified by NATO's enlargement, which to the Russian establishment remained an anti-Russian military alliance.
Fast forward to two years post the Orange Revolution, a newfound self-confidence characterized Russia’s relationship with the West. Putin’s speech in Munich in February 2007 reflected a realistic understanding of Russia's potential and the global geopolitical climate, highlighting the overextension of the United States and its allies and the internal divisions within NATO. Despite NATO's attempts to lower tensions by delaying Membership Action Plans for Ukraine and Georgia, the complexities of Russia’s relationship with the West and NATO persisted.
The geopolitical situation involving Russia and the West is marked by significant tension and complexity in the post-Cold War era. Despite the end of the Cold War, the West was unable to prevent or alleviate Russia's ensuing economic challenges. The issues Russia faced, both internally and in its relationships with neighboring countries, are deeply rooted in its historical imperial mentality.
It is a widely known mistake that highlights the analysts' most feared mistake in the world. These analysts believe that Putin governs a group of corrupt elites whose primary focus is hedonism and excessive consumption, albeit on a grotesque scale. However, this perception does not capture the true essence of Putin's era. The entirety of Putin's reign was aimed at more than just enriching his associates.
By taking control of the economy, political system, and legal framework, the KGB established a regime where the vast sums of money available to Putin's cronies were actively utilized to undermine and corrupt Western institutions and democracies. I have first heard about this strategy from confidential, secret, and top-secret materials that my father, a high-ranking official in the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS), received daily and woud be mostly too busy to read, while I would starting from the age of 12. These materials, amongst other, revealed the Andropov-Primakov plan, which aimed to relaunch the Soviet Union but was never implemented due to Andropov's premature death. The plan included a comprehensive strategy to undermine the foundations of Western democracy, particularly the political system of the United States, and eventually divide it into three separate countries, thus facilitating Soviet influence worldwide.
Now, why would a country so abundant in resources consider something so peculiar, perilous, and unproductive? To elucidate this, I will cite in full from an article of mine published in April 2017:
"As evident, the current government adeptly avoids the blunders of 1917. In 1916, Tsar Nicholas II [the Monarch of the Russian Empire at the time] dispatched guardsmen to the forefront, severely depleting the guard who subsequently found no defenders in St. Petersburg. Today, however, the guardsmen are well-provided for, enjoying GDP levels in the two Russian capitals comparable to Spain and the Czech Republic. An uprising is unlikely to sprout from these regions. Nevertheless, in other areas, multilayered calamities and the state's blatant disinterest in their welfare will soon exhaust the people's patience. This anticipation is clearly underscored by current statistics. Eventually, the hardships of the 90s will pale against the backdrop of unfolding events.
In earlier times, a 'small victorious war' provided a respite. Unfortunately, the last two wars, mildly stated, were far from triumphant. One day, in the vast expanses of Russia, the ordinary citizen, hearing of the Kremlin's assault on Antarctica, will question the necessity of it all. In response, the Kremlin will likely compel one of its cardinal guardsmen to make a sacrificial gesture. Knowing the guardsmen’s mindset, they will inevitably question the utility of such a sacrifice. This situation is unfolding amidst escalating entropy, a fact not lost on the Kremlin, even if only acknowledged at an instinctual level by the timorous gopnik [generally, low end mugger in the Russian slang, here - Vladimir Putin] assessing the likelihood of reprisal.
In practical terms, this translates to the anticipation of an imminent war, driven by stark economic realities, projected to occur between 2021 to 2023. To retain power, and consequently life, the gopnik [Vladimir Putin] will feel compelled to instigate a Great War for the reconfiguration of spheres of influence. For the positive retention of the empire, a consumer market ranging from 320 to 500 million people is deemed necessary by 2050, based on Soviet-era estimations. With the abandonment of aspirations for global demand for its products, Russia’s sole remaining path is the military conquest of power in Europe along the Warsaw Pact borders. Understandably, in the context of contemporary times, this assertion may cast doubts on my sanity. However, I implore you to spare the messenger, for I merely relay the aspirations of others, not my own personal convictions."
This has a limited relevance to our discussion but Andropov took the plan of Josepf Stalin who had intentions to restrict the authority of the CPSU (Communist Party) as well. He seriously contemplated the possibility of eradicating the territorial fragmentation of the Soviet Union, an idea passed down from Stalin. Ultimately, the USSR collapsed as the republics broke away. Additionally, it becomes evident that the elimination of political parties, including the CPSU, was also under consideration.There were multiple approaches considered by Stalin to achieve this goal, including proposals for a new Constitution in 1936 and discussions held during the Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU in 1952. This is very-very bad news to Bashkiriya, Altay, Buryatia, Dagestan, Ingushetija, Osetia, Chechnya etc, overall 24 nternal national republics are going to be eliminated very soon in Russia following a bloody internal terror to be started by the Putin's regime very soon.
In this context, the aftermath of the 2008 Russia-Georgia war and the global financial crisis exacerbated Russia’s economic and political turmoil. Despite an increase in oil prices, the nation’s economy showed limited signs of recovery. This economic fragility is attributed to a host of structural issues within Russia, including monopolization, bureaucratic hurdles, and a lack of investment in the domestic energy market.
Russia's strategies manifest a robust nationalist perspective, tinged with hostility and disarray. The nation's authoritative structure, combined with its failure to affirm a commanding status within the past Soviet Union, heightens its internal and external adversities. As underscored previously, this scenario does not inherently signify Russia's irrationality. Contrarily, Russia embodies rational and consistent behavior, dependent on a pivotal factor: the supreme rule of the current Chekist group. This single factor substantially transforms the nation’s stance, and if overlooked, will inevitably affect the future of all other countries, including the myopic Chinese Government, who might falsely assume their ability to subdue Russia, overlooking the fact that the nation is not just a physical entity but a profound cultural layer. This layer is firmly rooted in traditions and traits, intertwined with a historical context marked by both slavery and enslavement.
This deep-seated cultural foundation forms a significant aspect of the national identity, rendering any attempt to subdue the nation without understanding these complexities a challenging endeavor.
This Chekist dominance compels a drive for annexation, not primarily for territorial expansion, but rather for acquiring consumers, forced to purchase their products or who simply find themselves being extorted by Russia, ensuring the regime's survival amid their own incompetence. Essentially, the unyielding execution of this strategy holds the potential to lead Russia in a direction where it could inadvertently wreak global havoc and, for the avoidance of doubt, will discontinue the World's existence.
Relations with neighboring countries are strained, with a pervasive distrust towards Russia’s motives and actions. This strain is further intensified by Russia’s military actions, as seen in the conflict with Georgia, and later Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine causing alarm among other nations in the region.
In the midst of these challenges, calls for substantial reform within Russia face significant obstacles. Key figures in the nation's leadership, who hold substantial economic control, show a reluctance to enact changes that might destabilize their position. This resistance to reform and the concurrent absence of democratic processes exacerbate the nation's internal issues, contributing to a sense of unease and foreboding among informed circles within the country.
The History of the West disregarding the apparent Russian threat:
Despite Russia’s transparent indications about their strategic intentions towards Ukraine and other countries, the West chose to overlook this impending threat. This decision to disregard Russia's clear signs could be rooted in the Western democratic framework’s inherent characteristic of having limited terms for politicians.
The focus on short-term political gains and legacies might have overshadowed the long-term geopolitical stability, allowing the West to neglect the looming threats from Russia. Russia’s assertions and commitment to Ukraine have been a blend of fraternal ties and firm stances on security and economic cooperation. Despite these claims of brotherhood, the actions taken and words expressed by Russian officials demonstrate a stark contrast.
Declarations like Ukraine having to maintain 'tight economic cooperation' and 'solidly kindred, humanitarian ties' with Russia, and the denial of any security threats from Russia to Ukraine, are juxtaposed with Russia's military actions in the region.
The proposed European Security Treaty (EST) further illuminates Russia’s explicit strategic postures. The proposition of an equal international system, on the surface, underscores the pursuit of global equality and stability. However, maintaining areas of 'privileged interests,' especially with neighboring nations, reveals an underlying agenda to expand and solidify Russia’s geopolitical influence. Their insistence on the halt of NATO's enlargement, while actively spreading their influence, underlines the objective of keeping Western powers in check, subtly maneuvering them towards a position aligning with Russia's geopolitical goals.
President Obama's hesitant welcome to Russia's proposals underlines the West's apprehensions and suspicions towards Russia’s suggestions on global security frameworks. The difficulties encountered post the Moscow summit, particularly concerning strategic arms reduction and Afghanistan transit, exacerbate global security worries and emphasize the challenges in cooperation, manifestly indicating Russia's intentional strategic stance to keep the West entangled and uncertain.
Moreover, statements made by Russian officials post the conflict with Georgia further highlight the clear and open communications of their standpoint. President Medvedev’s strong language towards Ukrainians who supplied arms to Georgia underscores Russia’s expectations and boundaries set for other nations, marking already then a clear delineation of their geopolitical stance and anticipation of adherence by neighboring countries.
The EST proposal's continuity, despite the apparent incongruence with international expectations, and the issues surrounding the Afghanistan transit accord, further demonstrate Russia's unyielding and transparent positioning in global affairs. Their direct link between offensive arms accord and ballistic missile defenses clearly highlights the nation’s strategic goals and expectations from the international community.
In conclusion, Russia's explicit actions and statements on various international issues openly display their strategic intentions and goals, visibly steering the West and neighboring nations towards outcomes favorable to Russia’s geopolitical and global security objectives. Despite the ostensible proclamations for equality and cooperation, the actions undertaken indicate a distinct strategy aimed at consolidating Russia's position and influence in global matters, unabashedly coercing the West into the anticipated direction.
Over ten years ago, Moscow showed significant apprehension about Tehran’s neglect of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), displaying an increased willingness to unite with the Western members of the 5+1 group. This cooperation was visible in the acquisition of an IAEA resolution that criticized Iran, transferring the issue to the UN Security Council. Today, it is evident that this was merely a segment of a larger strategy to draw global leaders’ attention to Russian demands.
In the summer of 2009, Israel’s independent actions, possibly including the seizure of the Russian vessel Arctic Sea by Israeli commandos, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s semi-covert visit to Russia, had caused a stir within Russia’s security establishment. It was too early to conclusively say whether Moscow’s stricter position was a one-time event, a tactical shift, or the beginning of a trend towards heightened cooperation with Washington.
The US administration had maintained practical expectations about the reset with Russia. In his 2009 interview, Vice President Biden had voiced a solid conclusion that Russia's issues were significant and possibly unsustainable over the following fifteen years. He also speculated that these problems might compel Russia to align its interests with others, albeit with a warning that Russia could become more confrontational in the short term.
Emphasis was placed on near-term actions as they could significantly skew long-term forecasts. Despite financial pressures, Russia’s dealings with Ukraine in 2009 displayed aggression rather than moderation. Financial and market conditions then raised uncertainties about the financing of Russia’s key pipeline projects and the availability of adequate gas to fill them. This situation amplified the importance of Ukraine’s Gas Transit System and its management, potentially leading to more conflicts as Ukraine, grappling with an economic crisis, struggled to pay its gas bills.
Moreover, Russia had consistently prioritized influence over stability in its neighborhood. This trend had been clear under all three Russian presidents since the Soviet collapse. Despite evident structural deficiencies in the Russian economy, this priority was unlikely to change soon.
Intra-elite relationships had continued to predominantly determine change within Russia and its foreign policy. Unless a major crisis occurred, no significant modification in Russia’s political or economic model, or its international relations model, was anticipated soon.
While external elements created the environment, systemic, internal elite, and temperamental factors crafted the narrative. The West was more than a mere observer. It held the capacity to shape the course, although this necessitated a robust intent and steadfastness not always visible in Western policy. The West, especially the United States, needed to grasp the complex network of power dynamics, geopolitics, and geo-economics in Russia to understand why their strategies often met with negative reception in Russia. Despite having numerous tools at their disposal in the regions surrounding Russia, the West did not have an efficient policy in this area, frequently ignoring Russia’s efforts to destabilize the situation in its neighboring regions. This situation was examined in Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, and then in Slovenia, Bulgaria, and more.
Who asserted that the West had to grasp the complex web of power dynamics, geopolitics, and geo-economics in Russia to understand the negative perception of their policies by Russia? It wasn't a requirement, naturally.
Nonetheless, the price for this neglect appears set to soar. The hope persists that this cost will be counted only in monetary terms and not in the people's lives. I assume Ukraine to be the only global force capable of bringing sense back to Russia in these circumstances, and this should go beyond the war of course. This depends on Ukraine’s willingness to handle affairs with Russia, with hopefully full support from its Western allies, even while Ukraine is battling its own rising nationalism and corruption issues and the West is battling the Russian influence. Best wishes to both the dissidents and the voters. May the dissidents maintain their resolve under the downpour of criticism and may the voters stand firm against extreme left and right political rhetoric, staying alert to the influences of foreign adversaries like Russia or China.
And help us God.