Staunton, May 4 – Perhaps the most disturbing development in recent months is that Russian elites increasingly accept the idea that a major war with the West is inevitable, “something that was unthinkable even in the USSR” and that unfortunately risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, Igor Eidman says.
The Russian commentator for Deutsche Welle points to the recent remarks of Lev Danilkin, a Russian journalist and writer in which he suggested that a major was “inevitable” given that the 1991 borders are “a temporary matter” that needs to be rectified and that “there are all the objective conditions for a very major war” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5AEB4256D0B5D).
“Danilkin is ready for a major new war. He conceives it as inevitably and this does not elicit from him strong emotions … He continues to live comfortably, to write, to win prizes, to travel, to go to theaters and restaurants” despite being sure that within 15 years “millions of people will die, cities will be reduced to ruins, and the earth will be contaminated for centuries.”
According to Eidman, “it doesn’t even come into his head that the responsibility of each normal human being and even more a well-known writer is to do everything possible and impossible in order to try to prevent this horror.” Such attitudes “were unthinkable in the USSR. Any who said a world war was inevitable would immediately be told to ‘put his party card on the table,’” that is to resign.
But “in present-day Russia, the words of Danilkin are not eliciting shock or protest and are not viewed as something wild. On the contrary, this is the ideological mainstream imposed by television propaganda. Even the intelligentsia has been taught that a big war is inevitable – and that since it is, it is senseless to try to prevent it.”
Many believe that “the Russian powers that be specially talk about the possibility of a world war in order to frighten and then blackmail the West,” Eidman continues. “But Danilkin interview is intended for a domestic and not a foreign audience … [Thus,] there is no reason for the writer to lie and exaggerate.” He simply views the situation as he says.
“The captain of the Titanic has gone mad,” the Russian commentator says. “He is leading his ship directly at the iceberg. Those in his command understand this are not doing anything to remove the madman from the wheel. All have made their peace with the idea that a catastrophe is inevitable,” that it is someone’s fault, but that they bear no responsibility to work against it.
Instead, “some of them darn socks, some wash the deck and some steal whiskey from the buffet,” precisely the kind of reactions that make a disaster and in this case a nuclear war far more likely.