When bad actors tell us what they want to do, the West is making a big mistake. For instance, not to go all Godwin’s Law, but in Mein KampfOriginal title was “The Peppier Title” Viereinhalb Jahre (des Kampfes) gegen Lüge, Dummheit und Feigheit (The average age of a student is four-and-a-half years [of Struggle]Against Lying, Stupidity, and CowardiceAdolf Hitler shared with us the plans he had for Jews, Slavs, communists. He was ridiculed by all.
On July 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote an essay distributed to all of the Russian Armed Forces titled On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians. He created an alternate universe, declaring Ukraine Russian in it.
Both in the article and in the questions and answers, the Russian powerfulman summarizes his favorites ideas. They say that there are no Ukrainians who live apart from the Russians. The state of Ukraine, which is artificially created, is a fluke history and should be acknowledged by Russia.
According to Putin, the ouster of the (pro-Moscow) President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 was a culmination of a centuries-old Western plot to create in Ukraine what Putin calls an “anti-Russia” — to squeeze and contain Russia proper. Since 2014, Ukraine is not sovereign and finds itself under “external governance” — a code word for the United States, to which the EU plays a slavish sidekick. Moscow won’t tolerate such a situation. However, there are many millions of Ukrainians who do not enjoy this situation and long to be embraced by Russia.
Since that time, we’ve seen other examples of essays by prominent Russian politicians and pundits that baldly state that Russia intends to absorb both Ukraine and Belarus (see Did a Quickly Deleted Essay in Russian Media Explain What Vladimir Putin Wants Russia to Gain From the Ukraine Invasion?) and to engage in what amounts to genocide in Ukraine (Kremlin Newspaper and a Putin Confidant Endorse Genocide as Russia’s Final Solution to the Ukraine Problem). You should remember that Russia does not have a nation where Vladimir Putin’s supporters idly mull over the media. These statements must be taken as official statements from the government.
While previous essays have told us what Putin’s intentions are for Ukraine, we now have another data point that reveals how Putin views the current war. This interview comes from Italy’s Corriere Della Sera, and it is an interview with Putin confidant Sergey Karaganov. The idea that Russia should be the protector of security for Russians abroad was created by Karaganov. Karaganov has stated that Russia is entitled to use military force in order to establish a sphere for influence. He also said that Ukraine should not be considered a country that can sustain itself and must be dismantled. This is the title of his interview We’re at war against the West. The European security system is unlegitimate.
I’ve quoted some key parts from the interview.
Karagonov starts out with the “her dress was too damn short, she had it coming” defense of the invasion of Ukraine.
Q. Q. [the attack on Ukraine]These grounds could be justifiable.
A. Since 1995, people have been saying that NATO expansion will lead to war. Putin repeatedly stated that Ukraine could become a NATO member and there wouldn’t be any Ukraine. The plan to quickly join NATO was discussed in Bucharest, 2008 when there was the possibility of Georgia and Ukraine joining. It was stopped by France, Germany, and France. However, Ukraine is now a member of NATO. The NATO provided training for its soldiers and weaponry, allowing it to be armed and ready to fight. This helped their army grow stronger by the day. A rapid increase in neo Nazi sentiment was also observed, particularly among military personnel and members of the ruling class. The Ukraine was becoming a German-like country around 1936-1937. They were the spearhead of NATO and war was inevitable. The difficult decision was made to strike the first before any threat grows.
He acknowledged that Russia and NATO never reached an agreement to prevent NATO expansion.
Q. Q. Former Warsaw Pact nations requested membership in NATO. Russia also signed the Founding Act for Russia-NATO Relations in 1997. This was to accept NATO’s enlargement. It was not a cheating affair.
A. It was the biggest mistake of Russia’s foreign policy in the last 30 years. It was a violation of the NATO Founding Act 1997, which I opposed. It was signed because it helped us to be financially stable and that we believed in our partner’s wisdom.
He says that Russia and the West are locked in a war of words and Russia seems to be preparing for Putin’s election as its president-for-life.
Q. Q. Corriere dilla Sera opposed that war at the moment. But one grave mistake doesn’t justify a second grave mistake. The US could elect Obama as their new leader. He would be against the Iraq War and change American policy. Do Russians still have the chance to make the same decision?
A. I don’t think that in the foreseeable future we will have any change of power in Russia, because we are fighting a war of survival. The West is at war here and the people are rallying around their leader. The leadership of this country is very assertive and pays attention to all the emotions. But I don’t see real signs of opposition. Aside from the fact that no one was punished in the US for their involvement in the war on Iraq, we are skeptical about democracy’s effectiveness.
Karaganov, in an attempt to demonstrate that he does not mean metaphorically by making some unambiguous statements concerning what is next.
>Q. >Q. Was that what you meant?
A. A. War was becoming increasingly likely. We saw divisions deepening and structural issues within Western societies so war seemed more probable. The Kremlin chose to go first. The military operation will also serve to reform the Russian elite and Russian society. The society will be more militantly-based and nation-based than the current elite, removing non-patriotic elements.
Q. Q. Do you think the Kremlin recognises the legitimacy and the European order created by the fall of Berlin Wall? Are you sure that this is a legitimate order?
A. A. Although we tried to incorporate in it, it became apparent that it was part of the Versailles system 2. We had to get rid of it. It was not by force but constructive destruction. This is why I wrote that we had to destroy it. However, after being rejected again by NATO’s last request to be stopped it was decided to use force.
Q. This war has the ultimate goal to eliminate NATO’s presence in eastern and central Europe.
A. A. They have threatened Russia and Eastern Europe. We wanted fair peace, but the greed and stupidity of the Americans and the short-sightedness of the Europeans revealed they didn’t want that. They must be corrected.
A more militaristic and nationalism-oriented Russia is the goal. This Russia does not accept the current European security arrangement as legitimate, and it sees the former Warsaw Pact states as Russia’s legitimate sphere of influence. It considers the use of military force to accomplish this end legitimate.
As a West, we must take this interview to convey to Russia how Russia regards the war in Ukraine. If we ignore the Kremlin’s warnings, it is a serious mistake.