Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Putin is Not a Rational Actor and Will Continue the War Despite His Interests or Russia’s, Oreshkin Says


Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, January 28 – Many Western policies are based on the notion that Vladimir Putin will change course once he sees that the costs of his invasion of Ukraine far exceed any possible benefits, but such an approach is based on the false assumption that the Kremlin leader is a rational actor.

 

            In fact, Russian analyst Dmitry Oreshkin argues, Putin is anything but a rational actor and instead is trapped in a set of assumptions about the nature of the world, many of them inherited from his Soviet past, that make it more likely he will continue to expand the war however much his or his country’s interests as understood by others will suffer.

 

            Putin and his entourage, the analyst continues, still are under the power of “an incurable Soviet mythology which arises from ignorance” of the way the world is, and that drives much of what he and they do (nvua.net/publications/siloviki-vokrug-putina-govoryat-chto-rossiyskaya-armiya-silnee-ukrainskoy-i-eto-nado-ispolzovat-rossiyskiy-politolog-31334.html).

 

            He and then believe, Oreshkin says, in the Stalinist notion that “the bigger the land, the richer the territory” rather than recognizing that size and wealth are not necessarily the same thing and that additional territory may in fact entail additional and unwelcome costs rather than benefits.

 

            But Putin, those around him, and increasingly thanks to Moscow’s propaganda many in the Russian population believe as Stalin did and thus the others view the current Kremlin leader as someone who is addressing and thus helping to overcome the wound to their pride that they suffered as a result of the demise of the USSR.

 

            From this perspective, “others have cut off our land, and NATO is surrounding us.” And Putin is “using this Soviet mantra to boost his rating,” but as he does so, he is running into “really existing limitations which are not considered in this mantra and which cannot be considered because it – the mantra – is something invented.”

 

            “If Putin were rational and lived in a contemporary system of values,” Oreshkin says, the Kremlin leader would have long ago recognized that he and Russia have no need for a Donetsk “republic” and that having one would only put new burdens on Russia, burdens that it is not easily able to bear.

 

            Even now, deciding to sacrifice the Donbas would be “a rational choice,” the analyst continues, “but it would be a catastrophic loss for him because in that event he would begin to be viewed as a traitor.” As a result and against all rational logic, Putin has thus been “forced to play the role of the ingatherer of Russian lands.”

 

            He is quite willing to play this role, but his own policies are working against it. By invading Ukraine, he is driving all the rest of what might be a Russian world into opposition – even including Belarus. “In this sense,” Oreshkin says, “Putin is a loser, but he will devote all his efforts in order that people in Russia will not understand this. Therefore, he will present himself as a victor,” whatever his real losses.

 

            That is one of Putin’s failures. The second has the same roots and involves the contradiction between the ingatherer of Russian lands and the actual lack of the resources that would be necessary for him to play that role.  Related to that is that he must navigate between appearing macho at home while not appearing too macho for the West’s tastes in Ukraine.

 

            Putin also is in trouble because of his “personal problems” which impose a particular and false view of the world.  “As a chekist, he cannot allow that something happens on the earth in a natural way.” He believes that it is always “organized by one or another group” and “therefore, he really thinks that the Americans made the Maidan.”

 

            This is not so much paranoia as some may think but rather a limitation in Putin’s ability to think about the world, Oreshkin says.  “He simply cannot understand that people would like to live in a country where elections are honest, where the authorities steal a little less, and where tax payers can exert a little more influence on the politics of their country.”

 

            Instead, he “sees his function as one of the leaders of an influence group to oppose other influence groups which in his understanding are eating away at Russian sovereignty which he conceives as the sovereignty of his influence group” and not that of the Russian people as a whole.

 

            As a result, “he does not understand who is sovereign in Ukraine. He thinks that it is Obama, just as many [Russians] do. What can he do in this situation? He is required to oppose these influence groups which took territory away from the Soviet Union.”

 

            At the same time, Putin “does understand” that Russia is falling ever further behind the West economically and that he “cannot offer Ukraine a more effective economic model, while the EU can. He can only offer Ukraine a discount on the price of gas or in the opposite case shut it off. That is all he can do.”

 

            Only in war can he maintain the competitiveness of the Soviet past. In a direct clash with Ukraine economically, Russia will fall behind in two or three years; but militarily, it is still stronger.  In that circumstance, Putin cannot allow Ukrainians to have a better standard of living or stability not only because of Ukraine but also because of Russia as well.

 

            Putin thus wants to ensure that Ukraine cannot become a member of Western institutions like the EU and NATO, and he sees the only way to do that is to continue to generate instability in Ukraine via military means. He certainly cannot offer Ukrainians something better than the West can.

 

            He will thus be compelled to continue to fight even though the Russian army is not in a position to take Kyiv except at costs Russians won’t pay, however wonderful the Russian army is in the eyes of Putin’s military advisors.  But because he sees no way out for himself but to go on as now, he will find himself caught in an extremely unwelcome and unnecessary war.

 

             What Putin is doing and will do, Oreshkin concludes, is “nothing new” for Moscow.  The Russian analyst points to the way in which the Russian government used the Karabakh conflict in the 1990s. At that time, the conflict bubbled along when nothing was at stake for Moscow and then exploded when Moscow was concerned about an oil or gas pipeline.

 

“Today,” Oreshkin says, “Eastern Ukraine is going to fill the very same function” that Karabakh did then.

 

 

By Labeling Russia an Aggressor, Ukraine has Gained a Great Deal, Analysts Say


Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, January 28 – The decision of the Verkhovna Rada to declare Russian an aggressor country in the wake of the attacks on Mariupol and to appeal to the international community to do the same is important for Kyiv both internationally and domestically and thus a significant albeit formal defeat for Moscow.

 

            That is the judgment of Lyudmia Balabay, a commentator for Kyiv’s “Obozrevatel” site, and of the experts she surveys in a new article on that portal (obozrevatel.com/politics/56801-chto-poluchit-kiev-i-poteryaet-moskva-ot-priznaniya-rossii-agressorom-mneniya-ekspertov.htm?full=1).

 

            Leaving aside the question of why Ukraine waited so long, Balabay says, the new document is nonetheless a very important step forward. “A great part of the document is devoted to the description of the situation” rather than the decision itself, but that too is important for the future both abroad and at home.

 

            The Ukrainian deputies, she points out, “stressed the systematic violations by Russia of the basic norms of international law and human rights, including the right to life, the Kremlin’s support of terrorists (with arms and forces), its involvement with the downing of the Malaysian jetliner, and its unwillingness to fulfill international agreements it has signed.”

 

            From one perspective, of course, this measure does no more than repeat “what everyone already knows,” but from another, this is a major advance because it does all this “in an official document” which can be distributed to others and which will be “not unimportant” for any investigations diplomatic or criminal “after the conclusion of the conflict.”

 

            Having declared Russia an aggressor, Kyiv calls on other countries and international bodies to ensure that those guilty of crimes against humanity will be punished, to declare the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk “republics” terrorist organizations and the Russian Federation “a country which supports terrorism,” to increase pressure on Moscow with new sanctions and limitations, and to provide military and humanitarian help to Ukraine to resist Russian aggression.

 

            Some commentators have suggested that Ukraine gains very little from this declaration and unnecessarily complicates its relations with Western powers that want negotiations to start between Ukraine and Russia, but many Ukrainian analysts argue that such a view misses the point of just how important that declaration is both internationally and at home.

 

            Aleksery Garan, the director of the School of Political Analysis at the Kyiv-Mohylev Academy says that by taking this step, Ukraine has made it far easier for the West to impose additional sanctions on Russia. At the very least, he argues, it gives Ukraine “the right to demand sanctions” against Russian from the EU and the US.

 

            That alone, he argues, makes this “a very important formal decision” and not just a “populist” ploy as some have suggested.

 

            Taras Chonovol, a former member of the Verkhova Rada, agrees, pointing out that the new identification of Russia as an aggressor allows the West to “punish him with a clear conscience” because his actions have now been categorized in this way officially by Ukraine’s parliament.

 

            He adds that this declaration opens the way for Ukraine to introduce limits on its relations with Russia, including abrogating agreements, without risking the accusation that it and not Moscow is violating those accords or that it and not Moscow is acting in some kind of “undemocratic” fashion.


            But Ukrainian diplomat Bogdan Yaremenko offers a somewhat different conclusion. As important as the document is internationally, he says, it is “more important for the domestic politics of Ukraine” given that “de facto the majority of countries have already recognized that Russia is an aggressor.”

 

            With this declaration, the diplomat continues, Ukraine has formally entered into a state of war, one that opens a broad path “for the adoption of other important state decisions” such as the introduction of martial law, breaking diplomatic ties with Russia, and the introduction of Ukrainian sanctions of various kinds against Russia.

 

            And in addition, Yaremenko says, it will “play a consolidating role in Ukrainian society which is very important given the need to unite for opposing terrorists and Russian Federation forces” on Ukrainian soil. Those are all very concrete consequences and thus the declaration of Russia as an aggressor is no small thing at all.

 

 

Responsibility for Mariupol Starts But Doesn’t End with Putin, Eidman Says


Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, January 28 – The killing of 30 innocent civilians in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol has sparked outrage around the world, and many people who have not thought a lot about who is responsible for the outrages in Ukraine are finally focusing on the responsibility that Vladimir Putin bears for such crimes.

 

            But if Putin must be blamed for what has happened there and elsewhere, he is far from the only one who should be, because tragically many others bear direct or indirect responsibility for what has happened, and it is vitally important that they be identified as such, according to Moscow commentator Igor Eidman (sobkorr.ru/infopovod/54C638757465C.html).

 

            The reason for that is two-fold. On the one hand, it is too simple to think that Putin alone is guilty of what is happening and that were he not in the Kremlin, everything would be fine. Too many people are complicit.  And on the other, those others need to know that they like officials in Nazi Germany who claimed that they were “only following orders” will ultimately discover that that is no defense.

 

            Putin does bear primary responsibility as the author of these crimes and these deaths, Eidman says. But following him are the people in the Russian force structures “who are fulfilling criminal orders which violate the elementary laws of war. Like terrorists, secretly and concealing their citizenship, they are going on the territory of a neighboring state not at war with Russia in order to kill people.”

 

            Then there is blood on the hands of the Russian bureaucracy as a whole, he continues, a group which “in exchange for the right to steal gives their loyalty to their ‘master’ and helps him hold on to power and carry out the war.”

 

            Russian big business, “the so-called oligarchs including the former Yeltsin ‘family,’” also bears responsibility for Mariupol and the other places of crimes committed by Putin in Ukraine. That is because they want to preserve the system under which they profited and are now giving the Kremlin leader “the financial resources for carrying out Putin’s aggressive policy which is suicidal for Russia.”

 

            There is also blood on the hands of “Russia’s corrupt political class which has discredited in Russia the idea of democracy and thus has opened the way for the coming of a semi-fascist dictatorship. So too there is blood on the hands of the Russian intelligentsia, some of whose members have created “the ideological base for the justification of war” and the promotion of chauvinism.

 

            And ordinary Russians must bear responsibility for these crimes as well. “They are prepared to believe anything broadcast on television if it corresponds to their nationalistic and xenophobic complexes” and to sing praises to Putin, boosting his rating and thus providing him with the kind of support he needs for “the continuation of the war.”

 

            But responsibility for Mariupol does not end at the borders of the Russian Federation, Eidman argues.  Former Ukrainian President Yanukovich and his entourage have blood on their hands because they helped Putin unleash a war in the Donbas, a war many of them continue to help promote from their hideouts in Russia or in the war zone itself.

 

            And the blood of the Mariupol victims also on the hands of Putin’s “friends” and “’peacemakers’” in the West because they, sometimes “for selfish reasons and sometimes out of stupidity are helping Putin to avoid punishment for his aggression. By blocking pressure on his regime, they are extending the war.”

 

            “The world swallowed the seizure of Crimea and it got the war in the Donbas,” Eidman points out, and “if now, in connection with the new attack on Ukraine are not taken extraordinary international measures then a still larger and more bloody war will begin.” The victims of that war “will remain ont eh conscience of the conformist Western elite.”

 

 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gastarbeiter Exodus from Russia Marks Final Demise of Soviet Empire, Novoprudsky Says


Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, January 27 – Russia’s attraction of gastarbeiters from the former Soviet republics in recent years was “the main and most reliable integration instrument” Moscow had over that space, but now, thanks to the collapse of the economy and harsh restrictions on immigration, Russia has lost both migrants and that source of attraction as well.

 

            As a result, Semyon Novoprudsky says in “Gazeta,” the departure of migrant workers and the unlikelihood that many of them will ever return marks the final destruction of “the Soviet empire,” parts of which – such as Ukraine in particular -- some in Moscow at the same time “strongly want to restore” (gazeta.ru/comments/column/novoprudsky/6384557.shtml).

 

            Prior to the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s intervention in Ukraine more generally, the central issue in the Russian media was not the Sochi Olympics but rather the impact of gastarbeiters on Russian society and what Moscow should do about them. Many were afraid that the migrant workers were overwhelming Russian cities.

 

            That led to pogroms and to demands that the gastarbeiters be sent home, but “the ruble turned out to be more frightening than the pogrom,” and with its collapse, “the Russian labor market rapidly lost its importance for unskilled migrants” and ultimately for more skilled ones as well.

 

            Given Russia’s economic problems, the journalist points out, “Ukrainian migrants rapidly shifted their attention to Poland and other EU countries; the Tajiks and … the Uzbeks preferred to return home or go to Kazakhstan. And besides this, people from Central Asian countries began more frequently to migrate to China.”

 

            And higher skilled immigrants followed when it became obvious that Russia was no longer “in a position to pay them their promised salaries.” Moreover, just as the economy was entering its crisis, the Russian authorities tightened the rules governing migrant workers and that sent their number plummeting as well and for a long time to come.

 

            Before Ukraine, migrants were so important as a source of integration in the post-Soviet space that the Kyrgyzstan government held an emergency meeting when Moscow closed the Cherkizov market and cash transfers from gastarbeiters in Russia constituted “more than half of the GDP” of Tajikistan.

 

            “That is real dependence,” Novoprudsky says, dependence far in excess of anything that the Customs Union or Eurasian Economics Union could ensure. And it came without the costs involved of dispatching “polite little green men to demonstrate the power of ‘the empire,” indeed without Moscow having to do anything at all.

 

            But the economic crisis combined with Russian xenophobia has meant that the nationalists’ cry of a year ago, “Stop Feeding the Caucasus!” now needs to be updated and in a way not helpful to Russia.  Now, Russians can’t do it because now in place of the Caucasus, they have the burden of “feeding” Crimea or the Donbas.

 

            Despite what some think, Russians are “losing their own real last fundamental competitive advantage for post-Soviet states – an attractive labor market for the residents of those countries which are even poorer.” Some will still be desperate enough to come, but far fewer.

 

            That isn’t the main problem, however. Migrant flows say something about the kind of societies people want: People who move from one country to another do so because they prefer their options in the latter. Consequently, countries which attract people have an advantage over those that don’t.

 

            Until recently, Russia was among the countries gastarbeiters most often wanted to go and that represented “possibly its only economic achievement after the disintegration of the USSR.”  Now, unless Moscow changes course, “Russia will finally become for its neighbor simply a large alien country and a dangerous one too if one thinks about Georgia and Ukraine.”

 

            Many people do not realize that after 1991, Russia was not a country with a net outflow of population. For all the past 24 years, more people have come than left. But now it appears, Novoprudsky says, that the current Russian government has decided to “correct” that achievement.

Turkic Peoples of Caucasus Seek to Avoid Circassians’ ‘Mistake,’ Kumyk Leader Says

Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, January 27 – The Turkic peoples of the North Caucasus – including the Kumyks, the Balkars, and the Karachay – want to avoid “the mistakes” that have surrounded the Circassian national movement and made it into “an apple of discord” rather than bridge between Russia and other countries,  according to Ramazan Alpaut.

 

            The comments of the president of the Moscow Organization for Kumyk Culture suggest just how sensitive the Circassian issue remains for Moscow and how the Turkic peoples, both in binational republics like Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachayevo-Cherkesia and in multi-national Daghestan, believe they will benefit by positioning themselves in a different way.

 

            In an interview with Gulnara Inandzh of Azerbaijan’s Gumilyev Center, Alpaut, whose people numbers 500,000 in Daghestan alone, says that the Turks in the North Caucasus want to work with European and Turkish institutions and actively cooperate with diaspora groups without causing problems for Moscow (gumilyev-center.az/kumykskij-komponent-v-politike-rossii).

 

            Alpaut says that his group starts from the proposition that “historically Russia is among other things a Turkic state,” one in which even today “about 20 million” of its citizens are Turkish, and that as a Eurasian country, it is the product of the coming together of Slavic and Turkic civilizations. According to the Kumyk activist, Russians are beginning to recognize that reality.

 

            In the past, “Russia and then the Soviet Union united half of all the Turks of the world, one fourth of their respective populations were Turkic, and the Turks occupied an enormous portion” of their territories.  Sometimes the leaders of those countries fought against the Turkic peoples without recognizing that in so doing, they were fighting against themselves.

 

            Now, Moscow recognizes, Alpaut says, that Turks are “not a national minority” in Russia but rather one of the foundations on which the state rests, and the central authorities realize that Turkic groups within their borders do not constitute a risk or a threat but rather an opportunity for Russia to remain “part of the Turkic world.”

 

            The Turkic groups are responding, he says. Their Russian citizenship is “primary,” of course, but nothing interferes with their membership in the broader Turkic world or their sense that they are very much “part” of that world.

 

            As Alpaut points out, it is always a mistake to reduce the Turkic question to Turkey. Not only are there important Turkic countries like Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan but there are numerous Turkic peoples like those of the North Caucasus who are part of that issue as well. The Turks of the North Caucasus can be the bridge between Moscow and that world.

 

           

Americanization of Russian Language and Culture Threatens National Security, Moscow Military Writer Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 27 – For more than 150 years, the Anglo-Saxon world has been the main competitor and threat to the Russian way of life, and today, the United States is carrying out ‘a ‘quiet’ and bloodless’ war against Russia by promoting the Americanization of its language and culture, according to a Moscow military writer.

            In an article featured on Topwar.ru, Aleksey Dyomin defines “Americanization” as “the process of the gradual change of social relations and culture toward the norms of models used in the US” and thus toward what people there call “’the American way of life’” (topwar.ru/67421-modnye-uvlecheniya-kak-ugroza-nacionalnoy-bezopasnosti.html).

            What is taken from the US “is integrated into the existing system and changes the values, traditions, behavioral and legal norms and institutions of particular societies,” he continues, sometimes “on the initiative” of those absorbing it but often unilaterally and supported by the US as such.

            “Since the moment of the disintegration of the USSR,” not only Russia but “many of the countries of the former socialist bloc have been subjected to Americanization,” Dyomin says, noting that there are many manifestations of this process.

            In economics, he argues, Americanization involves the taking over of American rules and management styles in major companies, the privatization of public institutions, and insisting on profit as the measure of success for what had been non-commercial entities. In technology, it includes the use of the Internet and mobile telephones.

            In the cultural and media spheres, Dyomin says, Americanization is manifested in the adoption of American forms of musical culture like hip hop, the domination of Hollywood films and television programs, and “the development of unproductive forms of entrepreneurial activity which are parasites on popular culture” such a copyright law and the like.

            In these spheres, it also involved “the creation of an enormous number of social organizations, the celebration of American holidays like Halloween, the introduction of American types of sport, the spread of American fast food, and the wearing of clothes that do not fit Russian conditions. All this, Dyomin says, is leading to “a decline in public morality.”

            And in the social sphere, he continues, Americanization has led to a contraction of welfare and social supports, “an equalization of all social groups in terms of their rights,” a sharp increase in the cost of education and medical services, and the adoption of the American system of education with all the disruption that has caused.

            But both the most obvious and the most insidious – because often unrecognized – form of Americanization involves the adoption of English words and expressions, the use of which disposes people to think and then act along the lines of those who came up with them, Dyomin argues.

            He suggests that there are eight kinds of such borrowing going on: direct in which an English word is simply transliterated into English, like money or weekend; hybrids in which an English work is given a Russia suffix like “askat’” for “ask;” trace words which correspond phonetically like virus and menu; semi-trace words like “drive;” exoticisms where there is no possible Russian equivalent like chezburger or khot-dog; slang like OK or second hand;” composites in which two foreign words become one Russian one like videosalon; and jargonisms in which the word borrowed is reshaped in Russian like “krezanutiy” or “crazy.”

The Americanization of Russia has proceeded so far that it is a cause for alarm because it is being carried out by “our ‘friends’ from beyond the ocean with one single goal – the destruction of Russia as a state from within by a means which is absolutely unnoticed and even for some acceptable.”

But history suggests there is nonetheless reason for hope. “In 1812, all the ruling stratum (the nobility) was under the total influence of French culture. Nevertheless, Napoleon’s army was destroyed. I hope,” Dyomin says in conclusion, “that in today’s undeclared war the outcome will be the same -- that the enemy will be defeated and that victory will be ours!”

 

 

 

In Nuclear Age, ‘Politics is the Continuation of War by Other Means,’ Moscow Analyst Says


Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, January 27 – Many people are operating under the misapprehension that nuclear weapons make war impossible: they don’t. Rather they simply change the way in which war is conducted, with each side employing as weapons many things that no one would have called weapons before, according to Dmitry Yuryev.

 

            Indeed, the Moscow analyst says, today, World War III has already started, and it is critically important that Russians recognize that the constraints imposed by the existence of nuclear weapons “do not mean that aggression is impossible” but only that the forms it will take will be very different (svpressa.ru/war21/article/110927/).

 

            And that in turn means that the meaning of war has changed fundamentally, something that Yuryev himself highlights when he suggests that the West is not only at war with Russia but it is carrying it out “in the depths of Russia, with the participation of Russian collaborationists [in Ukraine] who act against the Russian people and the Russian state.”

 

            Such an expansionist even apocalyptic vision of war is important not because it is true but because it helps to explain some of the notions underlying the vision of the world Vladimir Putin is offering Russians and the world and just how much at odds they are with the way in which the West views not only the current situation but the world as a whole.

 

            According to Yuryev, “we now are living in war times,” and “the lack of understanding of such an evident and incontrovertible fact” is something that Russians must overcome and recognize that the times are such that there is no possibility for reaching agreements but that there will be only “a push for destruction and mutual dehumanization” of the sides.

 

            “Showing this,” he continues, “isn’t interesting. But getting to the bottom of what kind of war [the current one is] is necessary.”

 

            Because the use of nuclear weapons is “suicide,” the Moscow analyst says, many think that a third world war is “impossible.” But not only is it “possible,” but it “is already going on – the first world war in human history taking place in the presence of nuclear constraints.”

 

            Before the 20th century, wars were relatively limited, each to start although sometimes difficult to stop, but they represented “a normal continuation of politics by other means.” The two world wars were far more destruction and not surprisingly prompted leaders to seek ways of avoiding them, first with the League of Nations and then with the United Nations.

 

            Such impulses became even stronger with the appearance of nuclear weapons, but those weapons, however much anyone wanted to believe, do not mean war is impossible but “only that nuclear arms will be applied only in the most extreme and that is in the last instance.”  And that means that “politics is becoming a form of war by other means.”

 

            The Cold War, Yuryev says, was in effect a figure of speech, a period of local wars but in which wars directly between nuclear powers were avoided by “generally recognized system of agreements,” such as those of Yalta, Potsdam, Helsiniki and the like. But that system did not last when Russia lost that conflict but did not disappear as a country.

 

            To be sure, “it lost enormous territories and millions of compatriots. Its economy was destroyed, its army was almost disarmed, and its foreign policy was reoriented toward the one desired by ‘our Western partners.’” But despite all this, “nuclear weapons remained” – as did the principles of the world order their existence caused to be formed.

 

            “Today,” he continues, “only nuclear weapons remain. Everything else has been destroyed. First by the joint efforts of the West and the USSR,” and then by the West alone “which ceased to take into account the interests of Russia or other countries.” As a result, the UN has been converted into a parody of the League of Nations” and final decisions are made by the US and its “satellites.”

 

            The speed with which this has happened, the analyst argues, is comparable to a blitzkrieg, and that is one of the reasons that many do not yet understand what has happened. Moreover, for the time being, “no one is shooting at Russia because of the constraints nuclear weapons impose.”

 

            “But war consists not only of shootings and murders. It begins with them, and its ends with them.” Nuclear war is different because it begins and ends almost at the same time. “But the main thing in war is something else: it involves the shattering of borders, the end of zones of influence, and the subordination and breaking up of an enemy.”

 

            In short, it involves the deprivation of the subject nature of the enemy and ultimately the human nature of its political leadership, Yuryev says.  Negotiations in turn are replaced by “just two forms of diplomatic communication: ultimatums and exchanges of prisoners or the bodies of those who have died.”

 

“That is what is happening now,” and consequently one is justified of talking about World War III. No one is using nuclear weapons or even conventional weapons against Russia yet – and “not only because they are afraid to do so.” Rather, the West has concluded that other political means can successfully solve its “military tasks.”

 

            But in an important sense, Yuryev argues, the West has indeed carried the war into Russia’s territory and thus made what is occurring in Ukraine a civil war as well as a patriotic one. That is because, in his view, the people in Ukraine are properly part of the Russian world and thus fighting there is among Russians.

 

            Consequently, he continues, it is not simply time to forget “the borders, the Budapest memorandum, and everything of the like” established after World War II but to recognize that they have been “denounced by the collective decision of the Western world” which has been violating all of them.

 

            And such a recognition requires, the Moscow commentator insists, an understanding that the war being waged against Russian in Ukraine is “taking place on immemorial Russian territories, in the depth of Russia, and with the participation of Russian collaborationists who are acting against the Russian people and the Russian state on the side of Western aggressors.”