Умом Россию не понять,
Аршином общим не измерить:
У ней особенная стать -
В Россию можно только верить.
Who would grasp Russia with the mind?
For her no yardstick was created:
Her soul is of a special kind,
By faith alone appreciated.
(trans. by John Dewey)
Discussing Putin and the Saker's article
There has been a lot of argument, backwards and forwards over the blogosphere over how to interpret the Kremlin's reponse to Novorossia, the Ukrainian junta – and in particular, the recent Minsk accord
In particular, there has been an attack on Putin and the policies of the Kremlin with an argument based on the idea that Putin is 'weak', 'selling out' Novorossia and is akin to Neville Chamberlain in Munich.
In his article yesterday, the Saker characterised three different phenomena happening at the same time:
1) An organized Putin-bashing campaign initiated by US/UK government branches tasked with manipulating the social media.
2) A spontaneous Putin-bashing campaign lead by certain Russian National-Bolshevik circles (Limonov, Dugin & Co.).
3)The expression of a sincere bafflement, distress and frustration by honest and well-intentioned people to whom the current Russian stance really makes no sense at all.
I have, until now, been quite happy for these arguments to play themselves out and have posted items coming from both sides without bringing my own ideas into it.
If anything my attitude could largely be characterised as 3) above - a sincere bafflement, distress and frustration by honest and well-intentioned people to whom the current Russian stance really makes no sense at all.
I have been noticing a louder and louder denunciation of Putin. I have been happy to leave things that way up until I read this comment from a Facebook friend:
“Fuck, yes. Out with the old, in with the new. Putin, most of all, has got to go”
Quite simply, I cannot let such an inflammatory outburst pass without comment and am ready to weigh in with a few comments of my own
First off, I have to put my own assumptions on the table, something that I see as a very rare occurrence, especially in the Facebook realm, where everyone has a ready-made opinion without the space (or, in some cases, the credentials) to work that out into a well-formed argument.
Firstly, as someone who has studied 20th century Russian history and speaks the language more-or-less fluently I have to admit freely that I do not have a full enough knowledge of Russia or contemporary Russian politics to be able to come to a formed judgement of what is happening in the region.
On the other hand, I think I have sufficient background knowledge to make some judgements.
The other assumption, or point-of-view in this is that we are living in an era of runaway climate change and energy decline in which there is no "better planet": rather we are, as a species, looking down the barrel of near-term extinction ( although, perhaps, there is no certainty, even in this). Consequently there are no 'goodies'. Russia and Putin are as devoted to the myth of "infinite growth" as any corporate in the United States of America.
Putin, is, in the present context, simply a politician-like-a-politician, and a flawed one. He is, in the geopolitical context and the western push to war, the best of an extremely bad bunch.
Assessing Vladimir Putin
His achievements, however, (when you look back at the decline and collapse of the Soviet Union and the terrible, dark days of the 1990's) are impressive.
As expressed by the Saker, Putin has:
- broken the back of the AngloZionist-backed oligarchy in Russia.
- achieved a truly miraculous success in Chechnia (one which nobody, prophets included, had foreseen).
- literally resurrected the Russian economy.
- rebuilt the Russian military, security and intelligences forces.
- severely disrupted the ability of foreign NGOs to subvert Russia.
- done more for the de-dollarization of the planet than anybody before.
- made Russia the clear leader of both BRICS and SCO.
- openly challenged the informational monopoly of the western propaganda machine (with projects like RussiaToday).
- stopped an imminent US/NATO strike on Syria by sending in a Russian Navy Expeditionary Force (which gave Syria a full radar coverage of the entire region).
- made it possible for Assad to prevail in the Syrian civil war.
- openly rejected the Western "universal civilizational model" and declared his support for another, a religion and tradition based one.
- openly rejected a unipolar "New World Order" lead by the AngloZionists and declared his support for a multi-polar world order.
- supported Assange (through RussiaToday) and protected Snowden
- created and promoted a new alliance model between Christianity and Islam thus undermining the "clash of civilization" paradigm.
- booted the AngloZionists out of key locations in the Caucasus (Chechnia, Ossetia).
- booted the AngloZionists out of key locations in Central Asia (Manas base in Kyrgyzstan)
- gave Russia the means to defend her interest in the Arctic region, including military means.
- established a full-spectrum strategic alliance with China which is at the core of both SCO and BRICS.
- is currently passing laws barring foreign interests from controlling the Russian media.
- gave Iran the means to develop a much needed civilian nuclear program.
- is working with China to create a financial system fully separated form the current AngloZionist controlled one (including trade in Rubles or Renminbi).
- re-establised Russian political and economic support for Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Nicaragua and Argentina.
- very effectively deflated the pro-US color-coded revolution in Russia.
- organized the "Voentorg" which armed the NAF.
- gave refuge to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees.
- sent in vitally needed humanitarian aid to Novorussia.
- provided direct Russian fire support and possibly even air cover to NAF in key locations (the "southern cauldron" for example).
- last but not least, he openly spoke of the need for Russia to "sovereignize" herself and to prevail over the pro-US 5th column
One of the major things I have taken from the Saker's writings is the huge difference between the outlook of the West, and that of Russia.
The Saker takes this right back to behaviour in the schoolyard. Whereas in the west there may be a lot of strutting around and threatening ("if you don't do "such-and-such I will....") In the Russian schoolyard this doesn't happen. The Russian schoolboy will bide his time and not challenge the bully but wait to make his move and take revenge, suddenly and unannounced.
Russian 'passivity' in Russian history
So it is in Russian history.
The Russian people are often seen as passive and accepting of tyranny until there is a paroxysm of rebellion that, in the case of the 1917, shook the world for most of the 20th century.
The Russians lived under the Tartars for 400 years before throwing off the Mongol yoke.
In 1812 the Russian armies of Kutuzov retreated to the very gates of Moscow before the tide was turned and the French were forced to retreat back to Paris.
The same happened in World War 11. Betrayed by the West who preferred Hitler to Stalin, Stalin signed a 'non-aggression pact' with Hitler to bide time. When the nazis invaded in June, 1941 the Soviet army again retreated until it found its moment and the Soviet people rose up united to defeat the nazis and send them in retreat to Berlin.
Americans might like to kid themselves that they won the war. To any Russian who knows his history this is laughable. While the '2nd front' in western Europe played a central part, it was the Red Army (at the cost of 20 million dead) that turned the direction of the war and forced the Germans back from whence they came.
In the eyes of the west - and in this regard attitudes, from the Russian perspective, are little different from those who launched the Crusades in the Middle Ages - this aspect of the Russian psyche is nothing less than treachery - the Russian 'volte face' so much talked about in western literature.
Assessing Russian actions with regard to Novorossia and Banderastan
Similarly, in this conflict (and it is turning out to be a civilisational or 'planetary confrontation') the Russians are behaving in a similar manner.
As the Saker points out, Russia has determined that for several reasons (which he summarises) Novorossia is better to remain part of the Ukraine and "to keep Novorussia de jure, nominally, part of the Ukraine is the best way to appear to be complying with Anglo-Zionist demands while subverting the Nazi junta in power".
In the words of the Saker, the policy of Russia is to:
- Politically oppose the regime everywhere: UN, media, public opinion, etc.
- Express political support for Novorussia and any Ukrainian opposition
- Continue the informational war (Russian media does a great job)
- Prevent Novorussia from falling (covert military aid)
- Mercilessly keep up the economic pressure on the Ukraine
- Disrupt as much as possible the US-EU "axis of kindness"
- Help Crimea and Novorussia prosper economically and financially
I cannot judge this policy - and I would contend that that it is impossible to accurately judge it from outside Russia (just look how incredibly wrong about Russia the CIA is - especially currently).
Hurrah patriots and the Fifth Column
Much of the criticism of Putin is simply misguided and says more about the attitudes of the people expounding them than about Putin himself.
The Saker makes an exceedingly important point when he says:
"A well known and respected Russian patriot and journalist - Maksim Shevchenko - had a group of people organized to track down the IP numbers of some of the most influential radical nationalist organizations, website, blogs and individual posters on the Russian Internet. Turns out that most were based in the USA, Canada and Israel. Surprise, surprise. Or, maybe, no surprise at all?"
He also makes reference to the people that are called in Russian "hurrah patriots" - those who jump up and down loudly with simple solutions that can best be characterised in this way.
"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong".
What is clear to me is that there is a "fifth column" operating in Russia - the liberal "opposition", the likes of Navalny but right up to the "Atlanticists" - within the government itself.
These are traitors - the very ones that would be unleashed in any "coloured revolution" fomented by the US and NATO.
I have no ability to judge the veracity of his comments but I have listened to warnings by Evgeny Federov, a member of the State Duma about this very risk. It may be overblown but I would say that the possibility of the Americans trying to launch a coloured revolution in Russia itself (irrespective of the chances of its success) is very likely quite real.
The point that I wanted to make, however is this.
Those forces like what the Saker calls "national Bolsheviks" - such as Aleksandr Dugin or Eduard Limonov (whom I can quite safely say, having read his 'Ya Edichka' , is a scumbag and a criminal) are as likely as anything to play into the hands of those forces that want to bring war to Moscow itself.
As a Russian friend of mine pointed out recently:
"Remove Putin and you will have Damascus in Moscow".
If you want civil war and chaos in Russia, go ahead and support these people.
Assessing anti-Putin attitudes
Some of the people who jump up and down loudly about Putin being an 'appeaser' or a 'traitor' have very little or no understanding of Russia and its traditions.
Compared with the Saker (and I am unequipped to judge many of his arguments) the anti-Putin arguments (many, as far as I can see, barking from abroad) are at best simplistic.
In fact, there is a danger that some people who claim to be enemies of Empire may, in fact be adopting the very same imperial tendencies themselves in judging Russia and its leaders from their own assumptions - without ever having examining those assumptions.
In so doing, they may risk supporting responses that play into the hands of the very people they oppose.
I try to judge, not by the appeal of simple, ideologically-based arguments, but from an ability to understand and take into account all the subtleties, nuances and contradictions of a situation.
Although he may not be correct in every respect, the arguments of the Saker in his article: "The Russian response to a double declaration of war" convince me as much as anything else I have read about the topic.
Coming back to Putin - he is quite the simply the best Russia has to offer at present.