Monday, May 30, 2016

Putin Invaded Ukraine to Deflect Russian Nationalist Threat to Himself, Demushkin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 30 – Vladimir Putin launched his “Russian world” project and invaded Ukraine in the hopes that radical Russian nationalists who represented a threat to his rule would go there and die, thus “killing two birds with one stone,” according to Dmitry Demushkin, the leader of the ethno-political movement “The Russians.”

            In an interview with Svetlana Sheremetyeva of the Ukrainian portal Apostrophe, the embattled Russian nationalist says that sometime in 2010, Putin decided on the destruction of “all Russian nationalist organizations” including his own because of the threat they posed to the Kremlin (

            The Russian government arrested some and drove others into exile, but it “very much wanted” to get radical Russian nationalists to go and fight in Ukraine on behalf of “the Russian world,” Demushkin says. That would conveniently get them out of the way in the Russian Federation itself.

            Shortly after the Maidan began in Kyiv and the concept of “the Russian world” was dreamed up in Moscow, the Russian nationalist says, he personally “read an analytic note which was then presented to Putin” in which there was a section devoted to Russian nationalists and their use against Ukraine. The Kremlin hoped that 30,000 would go, but far fewer did.

            Demushkin says he immediately understood what was going on and refused to cooperate because if Russian nationalists went to the Donbass and Crimea, the Russian authorities would not let them back into their own country alive, something that could be the death knell of Russian nationalism for the present.

            Partly because of his opposition, few radical Russian nationalists accepted the Kremlin’s proposal; and also because of his stand, the Russian state has persecuted him with a number of made-up cases and even threatened indirectly to kill him unless he emigrated or kept quiet about his views, the nationalist says.

            Told that many Ukrainian nationalists believe that Demushkin has been allowed to continue to function because of his “marginal” nature, the Russian nationalist said that the reverse was true. Moscow is upset not by those who wear swastikas or shout slogans but by those who give interviews to the media about what Putin is really doing.

            Demushkin concluded this part of his interview – a follow-on will be published in the coming days – by saying that “it is not in the interests of Russians to fight with the 40 million population of Ukraine.” Rather the reverse: “The Kremlin threatens to build ‘a Russian world,’ but in fact it is completely destroying it.”

            “In the place of Ukrainian radicals,” Demushkin says, he “would secretly thank Putin for helping build at last ‘an independent Ukraine’ and teaching its people to really hate all things Russian.”

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