Wednesday, March 21, 2018

‘Who or What is the West?’ Oleg Kozyrev Asks

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 20 – Henry Kissinger famously observed that he wasn’t sure whom he should call to reach “Europe.” Now, Russian commentator Oleg Kozyrev, in response to Moscow’s increasing talk about restoring Russia’s relationship with the West, asks whom the Russian authorities plan to speak with and “who is this ‘West’ anyway?”

            “Russian politicians,” the writer says, “constantly are talking with some West. Especially after March 18” when Russia chose Putin for life.  But “who is this West? And with whom are [Russian officials] now going to speak?” (

                “With Republicans? With Democrats? With anarchists? With Social Democrats? With the Greens? With the Christian Democrats?” or perhaps “with the nationalists?”  Or will Moscow speak “with Poland or the US or Spain or Greece or Bulgaria? With officials chosen earlier, with those in office or with those who may be in the future?”

            “With Bush? With Obama? With Sarkozi? With Belusconi? With Merkel? [or] With Ilves? With brutal conservatives of Utah or Alaska? Or with intellectual leftists of French universities? Or with the Prince of Monaco? Or with priests from Mount Athos?” Kozyrev inquires.

            “Who is this West?” What does the term mean “in the heads of our politicians?”  It is something constantly evolving and very diverse. “Of course, the Western world is a phenomenon … [but] it is not one politician and not one country. It is a space of people who love their work and value their voices, people who respect private property and sympathize with others.”

            “Not so long ago, our island [Russia] was part of this West,” but now we’ve run aground and don’t want to sail with it anymore. “And now each morning Russian politicians get up … and threaten with their fists” this West which is freely going its own way and leaving Russia behind.

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