Friday, July 25, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Moscow Works to Transform Circassians ‘from a Problem to an Asset’


Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, July 25 – Angered by the success Circassians had at the time of the Sochi Olympics in focusing international attention on the Russian genocide of their ancestors in 1864 and by the insistence of Circassians that their co-ethnics in war-torn Syria should be allowed to return to the North Caucasus, Moscow has adopted a two-pronged strategy.

 

            On the one hand, Russian news outlets have sharply criticized those Circassians who oppose Moscow’s line, criticism that many cases has proved counter-productive from Moscow’s point of view because its responses to the Circassians has had the effect of attracting even more attention to their cause.

 

            And on the other hand, Moscow officials have worked quietly to undermine Circassians in another and more serious way: splitting some Circassian organizations by the dispatch of its own agents and forming Russian-controlled Circassian groups who can be counted on to follow the Kremlin’s line and thus transform Circassians from a problem to an asset.

 

            Tracking these activities has always been difficult. But the results of this policy are increasingly clearly in evidence, with at least some Circassian organizations now more or less completely reliable from Moscow’s point of view and thus in a position to deny other Circassian organizations of their ability to present their views as those of the nation as a whole.

 

            An example of this is provided by the statement of Khauty Sokhrokov, the president of the International Circassian Association, in which he says openly “’the Circassian question’ can now become a resource for the advancement of the positions of Russia in the world and not a problem for the country” (gorchakovfund.ru/news/12068/).

 

            Circassians, Sokhrokov says, currently live in “more than 50 countries” around the world in each of which they play an important role.  “Today,” he continues, “we must learn to exert influence on the iinternational space with the help of our cultural, historical and political values,” to promote “a pro-Russian position” because Circassians are “a Russian people.”

 

            The International Circassian Association has been in operation since 1991, with branches in the Circassian republics of the North Caucasus, Moscow, Krasnodar kray, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Israel, Europe and in the American states of California and New Jersey.  It thus has the opportunity to help Moscow during crises like Ukraine and over the longer term.

 

            Its “priority tasks,” the ICA leader says, “are the preservation and development of the cultural and spiritual heritage of the Circassian people, the promotion of interethnic peace and concord, the involvement of representatives of the foreign Circassian diaspora in the process of forming in their countries a stable pro-Russian trend and the use of their cultural, intellectual, and economic potential in Russia and abroad in the interests of the Russian Federation.”

 

            The ICA is also interested in promoting the resettlement of Circassians from Syria, he continues, singling out for high praise “the efforts of the Russian Federation for the peaceful resolution of the situation” there and its willingness to allow 1,000 of the Syrian Circassians to return to their historical homeland.

 

            According to Sokhrokov, some Circassians consider what happened in 1864 to be a genocide, but “contemporary Circassian society recognizes that the Caucasus war was the result of the policy of tsarist Russia and do not shift the blame for the tragedy of the Adygs [Circassians] onto contemporary Russia.”

 

            What is needed is an objective discussion of the past, and that, he suggests, is happening in Russia. As a result, “today the Adygs are finding a common language both with the Russians and with other peoples among whom they live.” And he concludes with words that are likely to be music to the ears of the current Russian government.

 

            “A sober view on the fate of the Adyg people,” Sokhrokov says, “confirms the value of the single correct path chosen by our ancestors almost half a millennium ago – the furthermost building and development together with Russia.”

 

 

 

Window on Eurasia: Russian Prisons Persecuting Muslim Prisoners During Ramadan, Social Network Posts Say


Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, July 25 – Russian prison officials are marking Ramadan in their own distinctive way by intensifying their longstanding discrimination against and active persecution of Muslim prisoners, according to a survey by Kavpolit.com’s Gulya Arifmezova of posts by the relatives and friends of these prisoners on the Internet.

 

            Because Islam requires fasting during the day and other rituals during the holy month of Ramadan, Arifmezova says the posts show, prison officials have had additional opportunities to crack down against them, especially in the prisons in the northern and central part of Russia (kavpolit.com/articles/uzhestochenie_po_religioznomu_priznaku-7676/).

 

            Unfortunately, she continues, despite the evidence in hand of such abuses – and they stress that they have had similar evidence in the past -- human rights activist say there is little they can do to bring those guilty of such abuses to justice or achieve an improvement in the treatment of Muslims caught up in the Russian penal system.

 

            Arifmezova reports about one particularly horrific example, a case in a Vologda prison camp where an Uzbek was beaten and then put in punishment cells for reading the Koran during a time when he was supposed to be working. The guards tore out pages of the Koran, Umar Buttayev says in Facebook, and then they beat the man.

 

            According to the Facebook post, “any manifestation of Islam” has the effect of provoking “extreme aggression.”  Praying, reading the Koran, or trying to grow a beard can all lead to beatings or confinement in punishment cells. 

 

            Such abuses, human rights activists say, are especially common in prisons and camps far from the homes of inmates.  Officials purposely send Muslim prisoners to the distant north because that has the effect of cutting them off from their families and friends and thus reducing the possibilities the prisoners have for talking about any mistreatment.

 

            According to one activist, Zaur Magomedkadyrov, prison officials defend what they do by insisting that Muslims just like any other group should not expect to be going to a summer resort when they are sent to prison. But in fact, these same officials treat Muslims differently and worse and are often more successful at hiding what they are doing from outsiders.

 

            Magomedkadyrov says that he has little hope for any improvement in the situation. On the one hand, Russia’s “’non-Caucasian’ regions if one can use that expression have been taught to hate us for too long. And on the other, most of the prison guards are people who fought in Afghanistan or Chechnya and “pathologically hate Muslims.”

 

            He points out that those who seek to defend Muslim prisoners “do not have either the rights or the authority to go into [any part of the prison system] and check the conditions there, even though in the rules of these institutions precisely that kind of activity is authorities.”  And the guards protect themselves in addition by threatening anyone who talks with even greater punishments.

 

           

 

Window on Eurasia: Russians, Not Ukrainians, Likely to Become Greatest Victims of Putin’s Policies


Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, July 25 – Despite the horrors Vladimir Putin’s regime continues to inflict on Ukraine, increasingly frequent calls in Moscow for the Kremlin leader to conduct a Stalinist-style crackdown and his disposition to follow them could very well mean that the citizens of the Russian Federation will in the end be the greatest victims of Putin’s policies.

 

            That danger has not attracted the attention it deserves because Putin’s actions at home have been more deliberate and less mediagenic than his moves in Ukraine.  Until recently at least, he has behaved more like the man who killed a frog by slowly bringing the water in a pot to boil rather than simply hacking off its head.

 

            But that may be beginning to change, and it is likely to change faster if the Kremlin leader is forced to stop or even back down in Ukraine, given the criticism he would receive from some Russians for doing so and given suggestions by an increasing number of commentators that Russia and Putin himself are threatened by internal enemies and that he must move against them.

 

            An example of this kind of argument is provided this week on KM.ru by Konstantin Sivkov, the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, who directly says that “if Putin does not defeat the fifth column [inside Russia], he will suffer the fate of Yanukovich,” the ousted Ukrainian president (km.ru/v-rossii/2014/07/22/protivostoyanie-na-ukraine-2013-14/745523-ksivkov-esli-putin-ne-pobedit-pyatuyu-).

 

            Putin is absolutely correct that no one is going to attack Russia with a tank column, Sivkov says. Russia is a nuclear power. But he and other Russian leaders are necessarily concerned by the threat of “color revolutions” and the internal enemies, supported from the outside, that could make one.

 

            “It has become clear,” he says, “that the United States is seriously approaching the issue of the preparation of a revolution inside Russia.  Putin understands” what that could mean. The issue now is “how will he neutralize this threat?”

 

            Clearly, the Kremlin leader needs to strike at the organizers who include not only the self-declared opposition but also the oligarchs and “those bureaucrats who have burrowed into power from Yeltsin’s times.” There must not be “two powers” in Russia, the political and the financial. Were that to occur, “one of them in the end would be subordinate to the other.”

 

            In the United States, Wall Street dominates the nominal political leadership, Sivkov says. “In Russia, there are two scenarios.” Either Putin will become the agent of the oligarchs “or he will transform himself into the unqualified leader of the country.”  If he wants to become a genuinely great leader, he really has only one choice: to become a leader like Stalin.”

 

            If Putin doesn’t suppress “the activities of the entire fifth column” and completely replace “the liberal cadres in the leadership of the country,” Sivkov says, he can look forward to a fate like Yanukovich of Ukraine.  The latter at least had a place to retreat to. Putin doesn’t. And that should drive his policies.

 

Window on Eurasia: ‘Stalin was a Greater Fascist than Bandera or Mussolini,’ Zubov Says


Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, July 25 – The way in which many in Russia and elsewhere view Stepan Bandera and his anti-Soviet movement during World War II is “an example of the big lie of the Soviet system” and its influence in post-Soviet times, according to Andrey Zubov, the MGIMO historian who was dismissed from his post for opposing Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

 

            In fact, he told Anastasiya Ringis of “Ukrainska Pravda,” any dispassionate analysis would show that Bandera was the leader of a typical national liberation movement and that Stalin, the head of the system against which he fought “was a greater fascist than [he was] or even than Mussolini” (life.pravda.com.ua/person/2014/07/22/175554/).

 

            Unfortunately, under the Soviets, “the technology of creating myths was developed to the highest degree,” Zubov says. Indeed, even now, history is viewed in Russia “not as a science one must study and only then make use of but as an ideology which must be created” to serve this or that political end.

 

            Bandera and his movement fell victim to this, to the need Moscow had to describe any opposition to it during World War II as fascist.  In fact, the Russian historian says, the Banderites were “a typical nationalist organization of a war period with their own army and their own terrorist wing.”

 

            There were many such groups at the time, and some of them were attracted to corporatism. But that did not make them fascist either absolutely or relatively. Stalin was more a fascist than Bandera for as Mussolini himself pointed out, Joseph Stalin was “his very best student.”

 

            “Any nationalism is a horrible thing,” Zubov says, “especially when it is armed. But Bandera was a hundred times less cruel than the NKVD of Beriya or Abakumov who fought with the Banderites.” And it should be remembered that Bandera “fought not with Ukraine but with the totalitarian Soviet system which destroyed all citizens for any difference of opinion.”

 

            Consequently, the historian says, “any attempt to liberate them from this state already was an element of justice. And in this sense, the Bandra movement was move justified froma moral point of view than was the Stalinist Soviet state.”

 

            Anti-Bandera propaganda now fills the Moscow media, the result of the current needs of the Kremlin which like its Soviet predecessors bends history to fit its needs and of the presence of many heirs to the tradition of the NKVD and its brutal campaigns against Ukrainians during World War II

 

            Zubov says that he is not disturbed by those in Ukraine who shout “Glory to Ukraine” today because “now Tatars and Jews and Russians who live on the territory of Ukraine also call themselves Ukrainians.” That is a great achievement of the Ukrainian revolution, the historian says.

 

            Another great achievement of the Ukrainian revolution of 2013-2014 is “the liberation of Ukraine from the thieving Soviet regime.”  That gives Ukraine the chance to move toward Europe and should be “an example” for Russians as well. “There is no alternative to the European path,” Zubov says.

 

            The current system in Russia, in contrast, is not socialist but rather recalls “the regime of a fascist state where private corporations were set up under state control. It is no accident that the fascist state was called corporatist.  And corporatist capitalism is now being built in Russia,” the historian says.

 

            Putin may succeed for a time, but he will not be able to build a fascist state in Russia, Zubov argues. The international context is completely different from when fascism spread across Europe.  Moreover, people in most places no longer view the state and nation as supreme over the individual in all things. Unfortunately in Russia, many still do.

 

            The reason for Russia’s lag in that regard, Zubov continues, is that “a de-totalitarianization of consciousness was not carried out,” unlike in the former fascist countries of Europe and unlike with the process of de-communization in the Baltic countries and much of the former Soviet bloc.

           

            Russia has had nothing like this, Zubov says. “And so we have remained bearers of a soviet mentality. That which the world condemns, we still do not consider even a bad thing. And that affects our conception of reality.”  Russia needs de-communization if it is to move forward and join the rest of the world. To do so, it must study the experience of Eastern Europe.

 

            Pulling down statues of Lenin isn’t enough. Lustration is needed and not just of those who committed crimes under Yanukovich. It must extend to “those who committed crimes before 1990.” Moreover, Ukraine must face up to the issue of restoration of property seized by the communists.

 

            Russia at present is moving in the opposite direction, the historian points out, and its leaders are terrified by what has been happening in Ukraine because it is extremely dangerous for them to have a state like Ukraine which is seeking democratic legitimacy and a move toward Europe to be right next door. After all, Ukraine is “the other Russia.”

 

            This “other Russia is more European and cultured.” Ukraine was in fashion in Russia in the 17th century, and “now there could be a repetition of that.”  The very possibility is something the Kremlin fears and will try to block, especially as the process of transforming Ukraine will not be quick or easy.

 

            But Ukraine is making real progress, and five years from now, Ukrainians will be able to say when looking back, “’We built a new Ukraine,’” Zubov says.  When Russians look back at that point if the country’s current course doesn’t change, then they will have to admit that they have “built nothing” at all.

 

Window on Eurasia: When Russia was a Democracy – Novgorod Before the Muscovite Occupation


Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, July 25 – Vladimir Putin’s increasing authoritarianism has sparked a new round of suggestions in Russia and elsewhere that “Russians are organically incapable of democracy and European values.”  But such views ignore the history of the Novgorod Republic which, until Moscow occupied it, was among the most democratic parts of Europe for four centuries.

 

            While Novgorod’s democratic traditions and Moscow’s destruction of them are downplayed or even ignored by many who follow the Muscovite single stream of Russian history approach, these two parts of Russian history are increasingly being recalled by Russian regionalists and others who would like to see a democratic, non-Muscovite Russia emerge.

 

            A good example of this is provided today by Pavel Pryannikov in his Tolkovatel blog who describes in some detail the political arrangements of the Novgorod Republic, including representation, elections, the existence of parties (“sides”), and various checks and balances which existed until Muscovy destroyed all this in 1478 (ttolk.ru/?p=21185).

 

            The Novgorod Republic began in 1136 when the residents of that city arrested and expelled the prince and his family who had ruled them up to that point.  The revolutionaries, for that is what they were, declared the popular assembly or “veche” to be the supreme organ of state power for a territory from the Baltic Sea to the Urals and from the White Sea to Lake Seliger.

 

            More than anywhere else in Europe at the time, the participants in this process were extremely broad, although the 40 to 50 boyar families played a disproportionate role. But also important in the veche were representatives of the merchant classes, the various guilds, armed groups, and the church.

 

            Each year, the Novgorod veche elected a head of government and his deputy, who oversaw domestic and foreign policy and together with the prince commanded the armed forces and headed the courts.  The head of government was expected to cooperate with the veche and, when he didn’t, was ousted. The prince, at least in peacetime, was expected to cooperate as well.

 

            The role of the church in the Novgorod Republic was also distinctive, Pryannikov points out.  Its head, an archbishop, was chosen by a remarkably democratic process. The Veche chose three candidates, and then the winner was selected by lot, an approach very different from the top down arrangements of the Moscow patriarchate.

 

            Novgorod was divided into territorial districts, and these districts, which had different interests, became the foundation for “sides” as political parties were then called.  They competed among themselves in the veche and those who hoped to head the republic were typically based in one or two and had to appeal for support from the others.

 

            Obviously, the medieval Novgorod Republic was not a democracy in anything like the modern sense, the commentator acknowledges, but it was far more democratic in terms of the franchise and of the legislature’s control of the executive than was London or any other major European city at that time.

 

            And this proto-democracy lasted almost four centuries – until it was destroyed by a combination of trickery and force by Moscow in 1478. Since that time, Moscow has sought to dismiss the Novgorod Republic as simply “feudalism.”  But as the Pryannikov article shows, ever more Russians are recalling its traditions and their differences from Moscow’s.

 

 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Moscow Patriarchate has No Future in Ukraine and a Lesser One in Russia and Elsewhere, Orthodox Scholar Says


Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, July 24 – Bishop Grigory Lyurye, a leading specialist on Orthodoxy who is affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, says that the Moscow Patriarchate has no future in Ukraine and that, as a result, has only a restricted one in the Russian Federation and internationally.

 

            Lyurye, an internationally recognized scholar, in an article on Snob.ru today, says that the Moscow Patriarchate’s demise in Ukraine is now common ground – its clergy and parishioners are leaving it and will continue to do so regardless of the strategy Moscow adopts now (snob.ru/profile/28614/blog/78913).

 

            But he argues that the Moscow Patriarchate is going to experience its most serious losses less in Ukraine than because of what is happening there. Its standing with the Kremlin is certain to diminish because of its inability to hold Ukraine, and its loss of numbers as a result of Ukraine will reduce its status in the Orthodox world and in the international religious community.

 

            The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is “constantly losing parishes” and may soon remain only “a church without a following,” at least beyond the southeastern portions of the country, Lyurye says. And that is despite the efforts of that denomination’s leaders to “distance” themselves ever further from Moscow.

 

            With time, it seems obvious, Moscow’s church in Ukraine will cease to exist and fuse with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate.  Because things have gone so far and because the risks to the Moscow Patriarchate of its continuing are so great, Moscow has now advanced a canonical argument against any change.

 

            But the problem is that Moscow’s argument is not accepted by anyone beyond the borders of the former Soviet space and not by all even there.  It specifies that the Ukrainian church can go its own way only if Moscow approves, something that no one can think is ever likely to be the case.

 

            More than that, Moscow’s argument is simply without any foundation.  And “happily for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate,” cannon law is on its side because “de jure Kyiv up to now is subordinate to [the Patriarchate of] Constantinople, and neither in Kyiv nor and this is the main thing in Constantinople has anyone forgotten that.”

 

            In 1686, Lyurye continues, under pressure from the sultan who wanted to develop relations with Russia, the Constantinople Patriachate was “forced to give up a significant portion of its church power in the Kyiv metropolitanate.”  But its concessions did not include making Kyiv subordinate to Moscow. In any case, Moscow “immediately violated” the accord.

 

            In canon law, there is no statute of limitations, Bishop Lyurye points out. Consequently as far as the Orthodox world is concerned, the Church has not recognized the seizure by Moscow of the Kyivan metropolitanate as legitimate.  That did not matter a great deal as long as the Russian Empire existed, but it mattered profoundly after its fall.

 

            In 1924, the Constantinople Patriarchate approved the formation of a Polish Orthodox Church on the basis of its 1686 “concession.”  That arrangement lasted until Poland was occupied by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. Then, Polish Orthodox leaders were forced to denounce what they had obtained in 1924.

 

            But Constantinople has acted toward Ukraine on the basis of the 1686 declaration. In 1995-1996, it included within its supervision Ukrainian √©migr√© churches on the basis of its view that it continues to have oversight over the Ukrainian Church. The Moscow Patriarchate was furious, Lyurye says, because it recognized this was a step toward bringing all of Ukrainian Orthodoxy under Constantinople rather than Moscow.

 

            As far as strategy is concerned, “nothing needs to be prepared for the separation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate from Moscow: everything is already prepared … because there is a completely clear understanding that for Kyiv, Constantinople, not Moscow, is the mother church [and that] Moscow for Kyiv is a daughter church.”

 

            Consequently, “Constantinople has the right to offer Kyiv autocephaly and is prepared to use this right,” Bishop Lyurye says.  What all involved need to focus on “lies only in the tactical realm.”

 

            The only serious obstacle to Ukrainian autocephaly lies not with Moscow but with the divisions among Ukrainian Orthodox.  These have become fewer in recent years so that problem is being handled.  Less serious but requiring good tactics is the process by which Moscow Patriarchate clergy and hierarchs will be integrated into a genuinely Ukrainian church.

 

            The challenge in that regard lies with the fact that “by number of parishes, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate exceeds the number of parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate by a factor of two … but [the latter] has asserted that the picture is just the reverse with regard to the number of believers.”

 

            In sum, one church has more church buildings, but the other has more people. And that is not far from wrong, Lyurye suggests. The two will come together especially if the Ukrainian state stays out of most of this lest it allow some of the “Moscow” church to present themselves as martyrs.

 

            The Moscow churchmen are likely to continue to distance themselves from the Moscow Patriarchate whatever the outcome of the upcoming church elections in Kyiv. They will engage in small but meaningful acts of disobedience to Moscow in order to hold their flocks. And they will take part in joint activities with Kyiv Patriarchate leaders.

 

            This may take some time, but things are moving quickly, and Lyurye concludes that the Moscow Patriarchate has no future in Ukraine, that its stock in the Kremlin is lower than at any time in the past, and that, having lost almost half its parishes with the exit of the Ukrainians, it will rank only third or fourth among the Orthodox Patriarchates in the world and have less say among them and less influence on religious life more generally.

 

Window on Eurasia: West Won’t Impose Serious Sanctions or Back Russian Opposition Because Putin is ‘West’s SOB,’ Basmanov Says


Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, July 24 – The West won’t impose serious sanctions on Vladimir Putin for his actions in Ukraine or provide support for his opponents inside Russia because Western leaders view Putin as an “SOB” but “their SOB,” someone they don’t like but who is largely doing what they want, according to Vladimir Basmanov, a self-described anti-imperial Russian nationalist.

 

            Basmanov, known for his anti-immigrant activities as a leader of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI), argues that Western realpolitik pragmatists don’t really care about democracy in Russia but do want to have someone in the Kremlin who can control Russia (rusmonitor.com/putinshhina-i-zapad-luchshe-strashnaya-pravda-chem-sladkaya-lozh.html).

 

            The Russian nationalist is certainly wrong in many respects, but his comments are worth noting because those who see Putin as an agent of the West and his regime as fundamentally illegitimate as a result and who do not see any hope that the West will live up to its ideological claims and support democracy or protect non-Russian countries are typically ignored altogether.

 

            Unfortunately, Basmanov says, the dominant groups in the West aren’t that interested either in saving Ukraine or in supporting Russian democracy because they don’t want to do anything that might threaten the continued control of “their SOB” in Moscow and his willingness to behave in ways that the West finds congenial.

 

            There are some in the West, of course, who care about Ukraine and who recognize that a democratic Russia could be a much better partner for the West, but such people lack significant influence and are opposed by those who think that even if that is true, getting from here to there could prove difficult and dangerous.

 

            For those who control Western governments now, Putin is “no Hitler, Noriega, Saddam Hussein or Qaddafi” whom they must contain and work to remove but rather “’a junior partner’” who may behave badly on occasion but who overall is doing what the Western governments want.

 

            According to Basmanov, “the Russian Federation is a semi-colonial state economically and politically dependent on Europe and the United States.” That doesn’t mean that Moscow will “always and everywhere” do what the EU and the US want. Rather it means that the Russian Federation “by its very nature” is such a state.  

           

            Unfortunately, he continues, “not everyone understands this. Many Russians believe that the West wants to destroy them, and many in the West think that “Putin is an anti-Western dictator … In fact, both opinions are mistaken,” mislead by the propaganda of their governments intended for domestic use only.

 

            The Russian Federation was set up according to the desires of the West, and both Boris Yeltsin and Putin were chosen or at least approved of by the West, Basmanov says. He notes that one representative of the American establishment wrote in his memoirs that the West rejected the division of Russian territory into smaller starts, such as Siberia, as inherently unstable.

 

            (Basmanov acknowledges that there were people in the West who supported the emergence of such states but says that their views were in a minority and ignored.)

 

            In Basmanov’s telling, “Putin has one overriding task: not to allow Russians to recover their own state.”  Instead, the Russian Federation was organized to serve as a supplier of raw materials to and a market for products from the West and to avoid “presenting any threat economically or politically” to the West.

 

            Putin remains “acceptable” for the West because he does not threaten it, however much he may threaten the Russian people or Russia’s neighbors. And therefore, there will not be any serious sanctions against him for actions against either or serious support for the Russian opposition to Putin’s regime.

 

             According to Basmanov, “Putin is in no way diametrically hostile to America. This is a tale for internal use for the residents of the Russian Federation and for the residents of America,” so that the former will support their system “out of ‘patriotism’” and the latter will feel good that their country is promoting democracy.

 

            To say this, he argues, is not to suggest there is any conspiracy. Instead, it is to point out something that is “the customary policy of ‘great powers’ in the world.”

 

            Moreover, Basmanov continues, it means that Russians to a large extent “need to say thank you to ‘the West’ for the fact that the dog Putin is in power,” a situation that reflects the West’s “selfish interests.” And it means that Russians who want to see Putin replaced are going to have to do that on their own.

 

            The West is concerned about the possibility that people will come to power in Russia whom it does not control and who do not live according to the provisions of Moscow’s agreements with the West. “Why risk it?” is their attitude, especially since “Putin is a reliable and tested partner.”

 

            He is someone the West can work with. Moreover, Yeltsin and Sobchak “recommended him. It is not excluded that Putin is a pedophile and a murder who has stolen money in Switzerland. [But] it is not difficult to resolve questions” with someone like that.

 

            “A rich, free and genuinely independent Russia without the parasite RF on its body and the tyrant Putin would not be a good thing for the US, the EU or anyone else in the world because it would begin to produce goods and become a player in the world.” Despite what many think, this isn’t about whether the West likes “this or that mad dictator.”

 

Rather it is about whether the West considers someone, however much of an SOB he may be, “useful” in “keeping under control the situation in the world.”

 

            According to Basmanov, “the Russian Federation de jure and de facto is a continuation of the USSR,” and “the regime of Putin and his band is an occupation regime,” which will become ever more harsh and cruel with time.

             Russians don’t have much time to address this problem, Basmanov says. By mid-century, they will be a national minority, and “after that, the change in the country will be zero.”  If Russians can’t achieve change by themselves, “the current anti-Russian parasite state by the name of Russian Federation will continue to exist on the land of Russia.”

 

            In that event, “Russians have no future.”