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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Mission obvious

The victory of Ukraine, meaning a military and security victory, and not just a moral one, must become the first step in overcoming the crisis of European identity
24 June, 2014 - 11:21
Sketch by Mikhail ZLATKOVSKY

The victory of Ukraine, meaning a military and security victory, and not just a moral one, must become the first step in overcoming the crisis of European identity

People in Russia and the Rus­sian diaspora are now talking about the tragic civil war in Ukraine, some of them sincerely deceived and others acting on the authorities’ orders, and what they are lamenting most bitterly is the internecine nature of the conflict that is tearing the very fabric of the Donbas society. Of course, these people are avoiding the ques­tion of how and what was torn in Cri­mea, and what kind of civil war was waged there.

We have seen a new development in this discussion lately. Russia is now seeing a dispute between those who yell about the betrayal of terrorists in the Donbas and call for a full-scale attack on Ukraine (for instance, Vitaly Tretyakov), and their opponents from the state propaganda institutions, in particular ITAR-TASS. Thus, Pavel Danilin has voiced the thesis that the West wants to plunge Rus­sia into the civil war in Ukraine.

It would be very unwise to take this dispute as evidence of the Kremlin’s turn to peace settlement. The situation in Rus­sia must be studied using these publications as well as many other indicators. For example, there were some closely related statements by totally pro-government political analysts, such as Dmitry Orlov, positing that presence of field comman­ders from the Donbas in Russia would be unacceptable as they are car­riers of the spirit of rebellion.

This is not a retreat of the Kremlin. Quite the contrary, it is evidence of its strategic maneuver. The recognition of Luhansk People’s Republic by South Ossetia, looking anecdotal at the first glance, may be part of that maneuver. It is too early to laugh at it, as it may become a basis for the legalization of military assistance to terrorists who will appeal to South Ossetia as a state entity, and Russia will avoid any formal involvement in the matter. There are other options, such as the eva­cuation of the Donbas terrorists to South Ossetia with subsequent escalation of the conflict in Georgia. This is how imperial policy is done – let federates help each other, but keep them away from Rome.

I have repeatedly said that the Russians can be healed only by a national shock. Many are discussing it using the history of Germany as a blueprint. However, Vladimir Putin seems to have learned the experience of his predecessor who brought his nation to a catastrophe in a total war. Putin’s chosen strategy, linking together hybrid, informational, psychological, diplomatic and trade war, aims at wearing down the enemy and those who support it. It is undertaken in hope of the world getting tired of resisting the Russian aggression.

At the same time, all sanctions are only benefiting Putin, as they consolidate and mobilize the population, increasing its sense of being the chosen people, exclusive in its opposition to the entire world. Just as it was done in Soviet times, a spiteful squabble is brought to the messianic level.

It can last forever. In fact, it never stopped, being only damped and masked. So, there will never be a shock. Sources of it are lacking, for the Russians, unlike the Germans, have no need for and ability of reflection. If the German Nazism was an ideology, generated by intellectuals and successfully presented to the masses, the Russian Nazism is of entirely different origin, as it is the collective unconscious of the masses themselves, from time to time finding a verbal shell, every time different. Its current shell is what we are seeing. Where would the shock come from?

To not want war is normal. Neville Chamberlain did not want war. Edouard Daladier did not want war. But Winston Churchill, too, did not want war, and Franklin Roosevelt as well. Now, to not want war has already become pointless. War is coming, and it will not stop. Pu­tin will not stop. Russia will not stop. It is now the Russian lifestyle that Russia will try to impose on the whole world. Persuading the Russians or convincing them to change course is impossible, as is finding a compromise.

We should not delude ourselves: Russia is strong enough to conquer Ukraine, and Russian troops will fight with one purpose: to kill as many Ukrainians as they can. Putin and all his supporters do not give a damn about the whole world – the firmer the reaction to the aggression, the better for Putin and more enjoyable for absolute majority of the Russian population. We must face the truth: the probability of catastrophe, a national tragedy of Ukraine and Russia is very high.
I would say that Putin has found a lifetime job for himself, but I would be wrong to say so. It is Russia that has found a job for itself, and it will cling to that job for a long time. For many, this time will never end. The Russian nation, having drowned itself in the bloody and dirty squabbles with its neighbors and with the whole world, has lost the meaning of life.

We do not plow, we do not sow,
we do not build,
We are proud that
we are able to beat everyone

There is nothing left, no prospects, no development, only increasing unity, consolidation and mobilization.

Those who feel alien in such environment have to engage in adaptation, inevitably leading to degradation.

Speeches of many representatives of the cultural and intellectual establishment increasingly resemble the rhetoric of Soviet rallies with their rebukes and reproofs. I recall satirical poem by Alexander Galich about “matins in defense of peace.” Shifting emphasis, his hero’s denunciation of Israel is easily altered to:

Ukrainian militarists
are notorious the world over,
As a mother and a woman,
I call them to account

However, the person who uttered that speech, dissolute proletarian Klim Petrovich, was a simple and harmless man. All his life’s joys were a drink after visiting the bathhouse with his family and a ride in a car with official registration number, as well as a chance to read out a speech on behalf of a mother and a woman. No one noticed its absurdity, because no one cared, and Klim himself least of all. Modern Russia is not like that. It is the salt of the Russian land, the intelligentsia that is coming to the fore now.

It is not surprising. A year ago, when the opposition candidate for the fuehrer­ship Alexei Navalny announced his po­pulist and anti-migrant program, Rus­­sian hausfrauen appeared ready to mob his fue­hrerwagen. It was already clear that they did not care who would ride in this wagen, they just needed a fuehrer. Those who were then ready to mob Navalny and fight rogues and thieves are now mobbing Pu­tin, ready to beat the Ukrainians just as they declare them to be Russian. It is ty­pical logic of any political psychosis.

Obviously, there is no other Russia, and those who do not want to be losers, freaks, outcasts, renegades, cranks, and national traitors will have to become like that, or say goodbye to their current status.

All this should be considered in conjunction with other events in Rus­sia, such as preparing a law banning the advertising of contraceptives to promote large families. This is another step in the formation of Russian Nuremberg Laws, it is even closer to Nazism than persecution of homosexuality. One can recall that a thoughtful and detailed plan for euthanasia procedure was developed in 2007, but has been postponed.

Another momentous event is the death of General Boris Kolesnikov, former head of the Interior Ministry anti-corruption task force, under interrogation at the Investigation Committee. He was accused of provoking another general, belonging to the Federal Security Service (FSB), to bribe him. The deceased had been taken away to the hospital with a brain injury before. Hardly recovered, he immobilized two guards and jumped from the balcony of the Investigation Committee building, which is not equipped with grills and stays open even in cold and rainy weather, now prevailing in Moscow.

Kolesnikov’s death provides mate­rial for reflection. Clearly, the FSB controls the committee. But this is not the most important thing. The question is whether Kolesnikov’s elimination was sanctioned by the highest leadership. If not, if murder is used to resolve horizontal instead of vertical conflicts, then we cannot talk about the regime of personal power. Then, the right to life and death is not the monopoly of one person at the very top of the power pyramid. Hence, there is no royal terror like that instigated by Ivan the Terrible, but only aristocratic squabbles, carried out brazenly and demonstratively.

All this means that something like royal terror or Joseph Stalin’s great terror, that is, vertically organized terror, controlled exclusively by the number one, is yet to come for this political re­gime. Development reserves of the system are immense. It is therefore unclear why figures of popular culture (Dmitry Bykov, Boris Akunin, Andrei Piontkovsky) are predicting the imminent collapse of Putin.
It is very likely that the first victims of this terror will be the Donbas terro­rists, who can neither be allowed into Russia nor kept alive in Ukraine, lest they suddenly start singing for the Security Ser­vice of Ukraine’s interrogators, as the Zvezda TV channel’s reporters have already done.

All mentioned above is Russia’s internal matters, while beyond its borders...
Russian helicopters escort columns of insurgents and evacuate them.
Russian tanks enter Ukrainian cities.

Russian anti-aircraft guns shoot down planes with dozens of people in Ukraine.
The West urges the Ukrainians to cease fire.

Negotiations on the EU association for Ukraine are held with the participation of Russia.

Iran stands ready to invade Iraq.

Sanctions against Iran are lifted, allowing it to enrich uranium.

Such victim mentality and suicida­lity were last observed in the civilized world in the late 1930s.

Mission of Ukraine is obvious. It must prove that democracy does not equal victim mentality and is not doomed to defeat in the battle against totalitarianism, that it is stronger and more effective.

The victory of Ukraine, meaning a military and security victory, and not just a moral one, must become a first step in overcoming the crisis of European identity, which the European Fascist International, moving closer all the time to Nazi Russia, is using to its advantage. The will to victory, and not restraint vaunted by powerless European leaders, is what should renew Europe.

At the same time, Ukraine itself is in a stalemate. The current Ukrainian elite is not really fit to reach the country’s national and historical objectives, but any attempt to replace it would destroy the country faster than the Rus­­sian aggression would. There is no other way, just evolution of the current elite under the pressure of external circumstances and demands of the nation.

By Dmitry SHUSHARIN, Moscow-based historian and political journalist, special to The Day