Staunton, April 17 – Already in Andropov’s times, Sergey Kurginyan said on Vladimir Solovyev’s Russia-1 talk show yesterday, the Moscow elite – including Vladimir Putin -- “dreamed about entering the West” and was ready to give up the Muslim republics to make Russia more demographically acceptable to the Europeans.
“Over the course of 30 years or more,” the commentator says, “our elite wanted one thing: to enter Europe” one way or another … And it wasn’t Yeltsin or Gorbachev who started this but rather Yury Vladimirovich Andropov” who was prepared to “unify Germany” and end Soviet autarchy in order to be taken into Europe (regnum.ru/news/polit/2405166.html).
By dispensing with the Muslim republics, those in Andropov’s circle believed, Russia could have real democratic elections and the kind of economy that would permit Russia to enter Europe and ultimately dominate it, the commentator says. Indeed, the gas pipeline projects of that time were part of this vision.
Kurganiyan says that Vladimir Kryuchkov, who headed the KGB between 1988 and 1991 and was part of the failed coup against Gorbachev, once told his wife that he thought the other members of the Soviet leadership were going to kill him for opposing the unification of the two Germanies. He told her that he had taken that position against the others in 1979.
What this means, the Russian commentator says, is that in this regard, “there is no essential differences between the course of Andropov and Gorbachev” and that “an orientation toward the West was retained by Vladimir Putin, the current president of Russia” until about 2008.
In that year, Kurganyan continues, it became obvious that Europe was prepared to take in Russia only if it gave up portions of the Russian Federation itself. Faced with that demand, “the Putin elite firmly said ‘no’” first by moving against Georgia and then much harder against Ukraine.
Their predecessors were prepared to try to enter Europe even at the price of the disintegration of the USSR,” he says; but the current leaders aren’t “at the price of the disintegration of Russia.”
In his comments, Kurginyan does not make reference to the most obvious precedent for Andropov’s position: the one Stalin’s last secret police chief, Lavrenty Beria. He was convinced that Moscow could check NATO by agreeing to a neutralized but united Germany and by transforming the Baltic states from Soviet republics to East European-style peoples democracies.