Saturday, September 20, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Putin has Made Terrorism an Integral Part of Russian State Policy, Plamenyev Says

Paul Goble


            Staunton, September 20 – Leaders of various countries have exploited terrorist attacks against their countries for their own purposes, but Vladimir Putin has made terrorism an integral part of Russian state policy, not only exploiting attacks but involving Russian security agencies and forces in terrorist actions as needed, according to Konstantin Plamenyev.


            “Historical experience shows,” the Moscow commentator says, “that personal fears and the fears of particular power groups or rulers are behind many of these events” because they can use them to manipulate public opinion in directions that they want (


            Moreover, he says, “Terrorism has made the world dangerous and unpredictable, less stable and more pragmatic, and also put humanity on the edge of a new global war. If in the  second half of the 20th century, it was acceptable to call terrorist activity ‘international terrorism,’ then in our time, terrorism … has evolved into ‘state terrorism.’”


            With Putin’s rise to power, “terrorism firmly entered [Russian] life,” first helping to power an obscure KGB lieutenant colonel to supreme power with the 1999 apartment bombings and then leading to war in the Caucasus, war in Georgia, “the annexation of Crimea and war in Ukraine.”


            “Over the course of his rule, the authorities in the form of the Russian special services, having adopted ‘the science of terror’ have perfected and developed new methods of state terrorism, above all by having made the army and the media inalienable parts of it,” Plemenyev argues.


            And as a result, “in contemporary Russia, state terrorism has become a domestic and foreign policy instrument of rule,” frightening the population into supporting ever more violence against others and frightening the leaders of other countries into avoiding taking a tough stand against what Putin has been doing.


            In Russian mass consciousness, Plamenyev continues, there have been “cardinal and difficult to justify shifts.” On the one hand, this has involved the completion of “the process of fusion of oligarchic, criminal and power structures into a collective Putin.”  And on the other, it has transformed society into “an aggressive marginal” one ready to back whatever he does.


            “After the victory of the Maidan and the flight of Yanukovich,” the commentator says, “Putin began a broad-scale war against Ukraine, one of the constituent elements of the so-called ‘hybrid’ war was terrorism.”


            The last six months have shown that Western leaders neither completely understand nor are prepared to take sufficient actions to counter this. Instead, Plamenyev says, “their position to a large extent remains mistake: Conducting negotiations with the chief terrorist, they are led by the idea that ‘the main thing is not to drive Putin into a corner but rather to give him a way out.’”


            These leaders so concerned about “saving Putin’s face, as a result are losing their own,” the Moscow commentator says.  Putin has invaded a sovereign country he promised at Budapest not to invade, but they have betrayed it as well by not living up to their commitments in the Budapest Memorandum to defend Ukraine.


            Moreover, the Western leaders have imposed sanctions in a way and of a type that have in fact helped Putin continue to terrorize his own population and to prepare for a wider war and they have even refused to call things like invasion and racism by their proper names, thus providing Putin with the opening he seeks to continue to terrorize them and Russians as well.



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