Wednesday, September 26, 2018

To Retain Its Current Borders, Russia Must be Centralized and Authoritarian, Karaganov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 25 – Sergey Karaganov, a Moscow analyst who serves as a key advisor to Vladimir Putin, says Russia must turn from Europe to Asia and must “stop being ashamed” that it has an authoritarian political system rather than liberal democracy.  If it weren’t for that system, he continues, Russia would disintegrate.

            The head of the Moscow Council on Foreign and Defense Policy made these comments in Ogonyek two weeks ago ( They have now been highlighted by US-based Russian historian Irina Pavlova who says they “deserve attention” as a reflection of “modernized Stalinism” (

            “Russia can and must cooperate with Europe,” Karaganov says; “but [Europe] is not in a position to be the leading source of development for us.” It may provide ideas on environmental regulation or municipal democracy and self-administration. But no more than that.

            “Everything else that is in the West we either have” or it doesn’t fit in with the Russian system. “Russia is an authoritarian power by its ‘genetics,’” Karaganov says. “This is our historical and genetic code and it’s time to stop being ashamed that we are historically attached to an authoritarian system of rule and not liberal democracy. If we weren’t authoritarian and centralized we wouldn’t exist in today’s borders.”

            “We need to calmly recognize this and use it as a competitive advantage,” the Moscow commentator continues.” That is all the more so because Europe today is stagnating while “Asia is developing rapidly. And not in the last case thanks to military ‘cover’ from Russia.”

            And according to Karaganov, “not long ago, Russia won in Syria, is playing the role of mediator between Turkey and Iraq, India and China and in a number of other Asian conflicts. Thus we can offer to the countries of this region not only resources and transportation possibilities but we are playing the role of the most important supplier of security.”

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