Staunton, July 20 – The “Bereg Rus” portal, a major Russian nationalist site, after declaring that Ukraine shot down the Malaysian airliner, says that “the West intends to destroy us” and consequently Russians should stop “losing time” and “put [their] own house in order” to be in a better position to defend the country.
Russia’s “diplomacy has not brought [the country] any fruit” and won’t, the editors of the portal say, given that nothing Moscow can say or do will cause the West to drop its plans to destroy Russia. Given that, the continue, Russians must ensure that there is no fifth column inside the country to help the West carry out its plans (beregrus.ru/?p=3443).
Why are “the liberal media” allowed to continue to function? It asks rhetorically. “Why is any anti-expression thrown about by some Yurgens unpunished? Why do compromised recipients of foreign grants continue to exist in peace? Why as before are businessmen bringing into the country wild immigrants and making money off national resources?”
Many such questions are now “arising,” the editors of “Bereg Rus,” given the broadening “war which the West is carrying out against Russia. It is already time to give them answers.”
It would be well if this were an isolated view, but unfortunately variants of it are appearing on many Russian Internet sites. Three things make it especially disturbing now. First, such commentaries suggest that some Russian nationalists may be ready to take things into their own hands, a move that could lead to pogroms.
Second, the domestic focus of nationalist diatribes like this one may lead Putin to decide that if he is forced to back down in any way in Ukraine, he might be able to save himself by sponsoring a domestic crackdown unprecedented since Stalin’s time and that he would get support for that by invoking the Western threat.
And third, and most ominously, such attitudes could lead Putin to conclude that he cannot back down and that to win out or at least to maintain himself in power – which is clearly the goal most important to him – he may redouble his bets, expand his aggressive behavior, and set the stage of a potential cataclysm – or perhaps one should now risk using the term, Armageddon.