Sunday, December 8, 2013

Window on Eurasia: Russia Remains a Threat to All Its Neighbors despite NATO and EU Expansion, Stromakhin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 8 – Even membership in Western institution like NATO and the European Union will not save Russia’s neighbors from Moscow’s thuggery and depradations, according to Boris Stromakhin. And both they and these institutions need to recognize that unfortunate, even tragic reality.

            Indeed, he suggests, as long as a Russian state like the one that currently exists under Vladimir Putin, these countries are at risk regardless because Moscow has shown that it doesn’t respect any agreements but only backs off when confronted by force abroad or popular risings at home.

            Stromakhin, who identifies himself as a political prisoner because he is being held in Moscow on charges that his support of the Chechens against the Russians constitutes incitement to inter-ethnic hostility, makes this argument in an open letter for former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili ( and

            Because of what he did in Georgia, Stromakhin says, Saakashvili has the honor of being “the main enemy of the Empire of Evil,” the personal enemy of that empire’s leader, and “enemy number one of this bestial System.”  As a result, the Moscow political prisoner continues, the former Georgian president needs to take the lead in warning the West and mobilizing Russia’s neighbors and non-Russians still within the borders of the Russian Federation.

            This is a critical task, the writer says, because not only Georgia but “all former Russian colonies stand before the threat” of new Moscow efforts to re-conquer and re-subjugate them and reduce them to the same position that peoples within the Russian Federation now face – forced assimilation and genocide.

            However much people hope and want a change in Russia, Stromakhin continues, “the entire history” of that country proves that it cannot be “reformed” or “Europeanized.”  It can only be reduced in size and power.

            “No one, not one country on the so-called ‘post-Soviet space’ can feel himself secure, live freely and develop until Russia is destroyed.” Until then, Stromakhin continues, Moscow will be dreaming up plans for “imperial revenge and the restoration of the USSR under various masks and various versions.”

            Even being a member of NATO won’t save these countries as long as Russia continues, he insists.  Poland has been a member of NATO for a long time but that did not save President Lech Kaczynski from death in a plane crash organized by Russian special forces, Stromakhin argues:  Moscow especially hated him because he flew to Tbilisi at the time of the Russian invasion.

            “Russian tanks are at the ready so that at any moment they can be thrown against any country which has the misfortune to have a common border” with Russia,” Stromakhin says. It has already done so against Georgia and could repeat that invasion or launch new ones elsewhere.

            The reason Moscow is especially interested in suppressing these countries, the political prisoner says, is the same as it was during the Soviet period: “flight from the GULAG was always considered the occasion for the most pitiless reprisals.” For that reason, Russia, not Syria or Iran is “the chief world problem today.”

            Unfortunately, there are few leaders in the West who understand this. Consequently, Stromakhin says, Saakashvili must take it upon himself to unite the countries “from the Baltic to the Black Sea, from the member countries of NATO to the most oppressed peoples of Siberia who are under Russian occupation and being driven to extinction.”

            Exactly what needs to be said, Saakashvili must work out on his own, Stromakhin says, “but the general direction is obvious: the liquidation of the Russian Federation as a single empire, as a subject of international law in its current borders in the first instance through support of national-liberation movements in the colonies and occupied territories.”

            “Alas,” Moscow has been buying of the Europeans as it always has. But there are some concrete things that can be done: According to Stromakhin, the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations or something like that needs to be revived – it was disbanded in 1996 because it seemed then that it had achieved its ends.

            According to Stromakhin, “the Bolshevik experience of genocide and colonialism is being successfully combined by Moscow with the experience of tsarist Russia, and this symbiosis of barbarism, force, oppression, and colonial conquest in various centuries has been made the official policy of the current Russian Federation.”

            That must be opposed, Stromakhin says, through an alliance of East European countries, former Soviet republics, and the oppressed peoples still in the Russian Federation under the classical Polish slogan “for your freedom and ours!”

            Beneath of the emotionalism of his letter are two which deserve particular notice. On the one hand, as Russia has repeatedly shown under Putin, it does not much respect the EU or NATO but sees them as institutions it can work against and undermine at little or no cost in order to reduce their relevance for former bloc countries and Soviet republics.

            And on the other, faced with the increasingly aggressive policies of Putin, ever more non-Russian peoples inside Russian Federation and beyond are coming to believe in what was the message of Polish Prometheanism before World War II: Only the unity of all such peoples offers the chance to any of them to survive. No outside force alone is going to do the job for them.

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