Thursday, November 8, 2018

Moscow Militarizing and Repressing Kaliningrad for the Same Reason as in Crimea, Kirillova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 8 – Thanks to the efforts of the Ukrainians and the Crimean Tatars, the entire world has been kept up to date about the ways in which Moscow has militarized and repressed that occupied Ukrainian peninsula under the cloak of the war hysteria that the Kremlin has been promoting.

            But far less attention has been given to the fact that Moscow is doing exactly the same things and for exactly the same reasons in other border regions of the Russian Federation and the exclave of Kaliningrad in particular, Kseniya Kirillova says, noting that these are “twin links” in a single imperial chain (

            Moscow has made this clear, the US-based Russian journalist says, in articles like that of Boris Dzhereliyevsky in the influential Voyennoye obozreniye where he stresses that the military threat from NATO means that the Russian authorities must suppress any “regionalist” dissent (

            The Moscow military commentator says that “in this sense one can really compare Kaliningrad Oblast with Crimea: both subjects of the Federation fulfill the functions of a forward military base, providing security to the country in the distant approaches to it.” There can be no doubt that the US and NATO would like to take both of these away from Russia.

            In support of that argument, Kirillova says, Dzhereliyevsky invokes “the traditional Russian argument about a threat from NATO, openly recognizing that in reality there are neither NATO rockets or anti-missile systems.” But he insists that if the US leaves the intermediate range missile accord, the US will put such weapons there in the immediate future.

                Already, he continues, “the Russian oblast is literally surrounded by arms” and within it, there is “the subversive activity of a fifth column under the leadership of Western strategists.”  Among those he lists as part of this “’fifth column’” are The Baltic Republic Party, the Baltic Advance Guard of the Russian resistance, and the Committee for Social Self-Defense.”

            They are assisted in their NATO-assigned task by “a multitude of completely respectable groups which ostensibly are involved with issues of local studies and investigations of the cultural heritage of East Prussia.” But these are covers for the projection of German “’soft force’” onto Russian territory.

            Dzereliyevsky argues, Kirillova continues, that what these outside groups are doing now in Kaliningrad is exactly what they were doing in Ukraine 20 years ago. And he calls for the suppression of all such activities in order to promote public order and national security against NATO efforts to undermine both.

            According to the Moscow military analyst, “the anti-Russian hysteria which has seized the Baltics, the unending reports about the supposed violation by the Russian military of the air and sea spaces of those republics can be considered as a form of preparation for the blockade of Kaliningrad, full or partial.”

            “One of the Kaliningrad separatists, Semyon Bessonov,” Dzhereliyevsky writes, “has talked about an algorithm for separating the oblast from Russia. In his opinion, disorders will begin after which NATO will close the air space to Russian planes. Then the oblast authorities … will support the participants of meetings calling for independence from Russia.”

            “The ‘creeping annexation’ of the kray to the European Union will thus begin,” Bessonov says.  Dzhereliyevsky does say that “the chances for the fulfillment of this plan are happily not great.”

            “Despite all the efforts of this ‘fifth column,’” he says, “the absolute majority of Kaliningraders are patriots of their country and do not want to know anything about some ‘Baltic identity.’ The oblast in recent years has been transformed into a genuine fortress which no one will be able to take with bare hands.”

                To make sure that remains true, however, Dzhereliyevsky continues, requires that any “more or less resonant manifestations of separatism” be nipped in the bud – a virtual call to arms for a new wave of repression in Kaliningrad like the one that has long been going on in Russian-occupied Crimea.

            “It is obvious,” Kirillova concludes, “that the military hysterial of the Kremlin and the repression of regionalist civil communities are mutually interconnected links of one and the same imperial policy.”

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