Staunton, June 26 – On Saturday, a Russian television program featured a claim by an unnamed Russian intelligence officer that NATO viewed the destruction of the USSR as “only the first step” and then planned “to create a Middle Volga Republic” in order to reduce “all of Russia to the size and power of the Muscovite principality” of medieval times.
The unnamed “illegal” said there were documents in the SVR archive that confirmed his words, but Russian experts in comments to Svobodnaya pressa suggested that this report was no more significant that Russian “plans” to dismember the US by promoting Texan or Mormon separatism (svpressa.ru/politic/article/175439/).
Moreover, they argue that NATO did not destroy the USSR but rather that the Soviet Union destroyed itself, adding that for all his shortcomings and errors, Boris Yeltsin did almost everything he could to maintain rather than call into question the territorial integrity of its successor, the Russian Federation.
Dmitry Rodionov of Svobodnaya pressa interviewed three of these people: Viktor Marakhovsky of the “On Line” media outlet, Vladimir Lepekhin of the Moscow Institute for Eurasian Economic Community, and Stanislav Byshok of the CIS-EMO International Monitoring Organization.
Marakhovsky observes that “any military-political structure which is pursing the goal of the political destruction of its opponent undoubtedly has in its archives numerous scenarios for harming that opponent.” Indeed, there is no reason not to think that “somewhere in the brain centers” of Moscow are not “specialists on Californian, Mormon and Texan separatism.”
But the existence of such documents doesn’t necessarily define either what the paymasters of those ideas actually do or even more what those who employ them are actually able to achieve on their own, he continues. NATO, for example “did not have the powers to destroy” the USSR in the past or Russia now.
Nonetheless, Marakhovsky says, that fact “does not exclude the revival of Western scenarios of ‘controlled disintegration’ to be used if we again ourselves begin to pull it off,” just as Soviet leaders did at the end of USSR times.
Lepekhin is equally dismissive of the latest report. Obviously, he says, the West has long been interested in reducing Russian power to that of Muscovy or even destroying it altogether. And it will use whatever means it can to weaken Russia just as it did the USSR. Ethno-territorial divisions are one of the aspects of the situation of Russia now just as the USSR earlier.
But Russians should be asking themselves why the Soviet Union fell apart only into 15 parts and “not 30 or 40 fragments.” On the one hand, the West wasn’t interested in promoting more than that. And on the other, Boris Yeltsin, having become Russian president, did what he could to stop any further disintegration.
The West was “satisfied by Yeltsin’s willingness to organize the rapid and relatively non-violent demise of the Soviet Union and it recognized that Russia would resist with force anything more, as Yeltsin himself proved in declaring war against Chechen separatism. That put an end to separatism until “a new revolution,” one that won’t happen sooner than 70 years from now.
And Byshok too is dismissive of the new report. Obviously, the West would think about dismembering Russia but that doesn’t mean it could do it. “’The Cold War,’” he writes “have birth to numerous institutions and conceptions involving the weakening of complete destruction of the opponent. That a plan existed hardly means that it was the only or main one.”
There were “a multitude” of such ideas floating around on both sides because people got paid for coming up with them and because “individuals of a certain psychological disposition were more than others included to the development of such kinds of doctrines.” That doesn’t mean they defined state or alliance policy.
“There is the common phrase, ‘The Dulles Plan doesn’t exist but it is being carried out.’ Concerning the conception eing discussed one can say that it existed and operated but thanks more to the domestic Soviet crises than to the work of these very American institutes who were ‘prisoners’ of ‘the Cold War.’”
The West was “undoubtedly interested in the weakening of the USSR and did what it could by using ethno-nationalism in the borderlands.” But it couldn’t have achieved anything in this regard if it hadn’t been the policies of Mikhail Gorbachev and his regime in Moscow. He gave the West the chance “to play on” these issues.
Thinking about the present, Bushok continues, “one should not fail to recognize that in the relations of the West and present-day Russia, there is an obvious element of inertia. Neither ideological, economic or demographic causes to divide up Russia exist among the collective West. The same thing is true of Russia. But the conflict goes on.”
“For the support of its own identity and integrity, an enemy with capital letters is required.” ISIS isn’t enough, he says, so each side has gone back to the past, “’singing the old songs about the main opponent.’”