Thursday, October 29, 2015

Russia is Not a Normal Country with Islands of Abnormality But Just the Reverse, Kazarin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 29 – Russians insist and many want to believe them that Russia is a normal country with islands of abnormality, but in fact, Pavel Kazarin says, Russia is an abnormal country with islands of normality, a pattern that sets it apart from others and makes it virtually impossible to reach any agreement with it that will last.

            The Russian commentator says that in human terms, one can understand the insistence of Russians on this point. After all, it is “a form of psychological self-defense,” of convincing oneself that things are basically fine even if someone points to this or that problem or defect (

            Many Russians are not prepared to acknowledge that there country is “an aggressor” which has unleashed war and annexed the territory of a neighboring state, he continues. It is hard for them to face up to the fact that their country is behaving like the aggressor states they read about in history textbooks.

            Russians and their supporters very much want to believe that what is happening is at worst a short “historical zigzag” and that after a decade or two, “everything will return to normal.” They “passionately do not want to understand that no, things will not return” in the way that they expect precisely because of what their country has done.

            Russians also “do not want to understand that the entire Russian economy is an imitation, one that exists only as long as the prices for oil and gas fill allow Moscow to meet the budget. As soon as the situation changes, the economy also disappears,” Kazarin continues. And they do not want to admit that big projects like the Olympics are only occasions for theft.

            “Of course,” he says, “one can say that these inherent illnesses of Russia are like those of Ukraine.” But there is one important difference: The Russian army is in Ukraine; the Ukrainian army is not in Russia. And consequently, any similarities between the two pale into insignificance.

                Unlike most countries, Russia today does not think it has borders but “only horizons, and therefore while all other states use their economies for improving life, Moscow looks on it as on a resource for reshuffling the political cards.” Russians don’t want to acknowledge this, and they justify what they are doing by saying that “everyone does the same” if they can.

            Indeed, they try to act as if they “are playing by the rules, not taking note of the fact that these rules are the norm only for cannibals.” It is easier to deny this by sticking one’s head in the sand, but that is not an especially good pose.

            One can therefore only respect “those who living in Russia see reality” as it is and speak out against it.  That “requires unusual civic courage because experience shows that if in Russia you begin to peer into reality, reality begins to peer into you.” And in Russia, the latter is fraught with serious consequences.

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