Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Putin’s Recent Historical References Show He’s Thinking about New USSR and New Bloc around It, Khazin Says

Paul Goble

            Stanton, December 29 – Vladimir Putin’s recent references to Lenin’s policies on the formation of the USSR, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and Yalta and Bretton Woods, Moscow economist Mikhail Khazin says, are not about the past but rather an indication the Kremlin leader is thinking about the formation of a new USSR and a new bloc around it.

            Discussion of these possibilities, he continues, is possible because of the destruction US President Donald Trump has visited upon the international financial system to rebuild American industry, an action that has opened the way for a revision of the current world order and above all the political and economic order in Eurasia (business-gazeta.ru/article/452059).

                It might seem to some that these historical topics have no relevance, Khazin continues, but only if one fails to see the way Putin’s discussion of them is not about the past but rather about the future. A “USSR-2” would have “a minimum” of four republics in addition to Russia: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.” 

            Moreover, in the context of the looming disintegration of the European Union, he says, “we must receive Eastern Europe.” Poland must be bought off with Galicia taken from a disintegrating Ukraine, and much of Ukraine must be divided between Belarus and the Russian Federation.

            With these changes in the works, “there will begin the realization of plans for ‘a new Yalta’ and ‘a new Bretton Woods, which Trump, Putin and Xi Jinping are beginning to create … This process will be launched immediately after Trump wins reelection. If he should lose, then a civil war could begin in the USSR.”

            Consequently, Khazin says, “it is no accident” that Putin has been talking about the pre-war division of Europe and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.” The Kremlin leader is thus “legitimating” a new round of such agreements by suggesting that “’guys, this is the European norm’” as victorious powers typically draw new lines.

            Victorious powers typically “draw lines.”  Following a new Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, there will have to be “a new Bretton Woods,” one that reflects Britain’s loss of status as a financial center, the decline of the US, the rise of China, and the return of Russia, Khazin continues.

            To prepare to take advantage of this, the economist says, Putin must boost the economy; and he can only do that now by carrying out “a purge.” That does not mean repression but simply the removal of those liberal advisors who do not yet recognize the collapse of the liberal order both in the world and in Russia.

            Putin hasn’t moved against them yet, Khazin suggests, because they enjoyed the protection of the West. But that was “before Trump.”  And now Putin is free to do so.  And he is putting in place the rhetoric for taking such steps: “’Guys, I don’t want this, but circumstances have forced my hand.’” 

            That such apocalyptic ideas are circulating in Moscow is also suggested by Moscow commentator Sergey Kurginyan who in a special message directed at Yerevan argues that “the salvation of Armenia and Karabakh lies in a union with Russia in a new USSR!” (regnum.ru/news/polit/2820485.html).

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