Saturday, December 28, 2019

Russia at Risk of Yugoslav Outcome in 2020 Unless It Adopts More Aggressive Policy, Chaplin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 26 – Thirty years ago, the greatest fear among many Western leaders was that the Soviet Union might fall apart into chaos and become, in the words of former US Secretary of State James Baker, “a Yugoslavia with nukes.” Now, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin says that there is a real risk that in 2020, Russia will come apart like Yugoslavia or Iraq.

            Because of what he describes as “a lack of will” on the part of the Kremlin and an unwillingness to face up to the need for serious reforms, the outspoken and independent Russian churchman says, “sooner or later this will end with revolution” with that leading to a Yugoslav or Iraqi outcome (

            “The powers that be and elites live in their own illusory world, surrounded by restrictive mechanisms,” he says; “but these mechanisms if there is no public discussion and “new blood” will weaken and collapse.” Everything now depends on one man whose professional background means he isn’t showing his hand.

            He will either act or not act, Chaplin continues, but both scenarios are “manipulative” and thus “immoral.” What is needed is a consultation with the people, rather than some trick like a snap presidential election.  Putin must serve out his term and not spend all his time thinking about how to prepare a successor or stay in power himself.

            The situation Russia faces in foreign policy is even more dire, the archpriest suggests. “We naively counted on the kindness of the West and in the idea that in exchange for concessions we would get a lifting of sanctions. But this is also a disastrous path: the West is our natural and eternal competitor and concessions will only lead to more pressure” from it.

            Saddam Husseyn and Slobodan Milosevic made similar miscalculations. Russia must respond to pressure from the West by “an aggressive policy” reflecting “a strategic vision.”  Only in that way can Moscow hope to be successful. Hoping for the West to be nice is the height of naivete.

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