Staunton, February 13 – As has been the case for at least 500 years, Russians want the benefits of European life without having to obey the rules of the game there that makes these benefits possible; and consequently, Russia occasionally as now threatens to turn its back on Europe, but it is unlikely to do so entirely, Vladimir Pastukhov says.
On the one hand, its elites in particular want to continue to enjoy European benefits even if they flout the rules, the London-based Russian commentator says. And on the other, the Kremlin realizes it can play its divide-and-rule schemes in Europe more effectively if it stays within the tent rather than exits is entirely (echo.msk.ru/programs/personalno/2789038-echo/).
And in such a situation, Russians perhaps more than other people like to play the offended victim. They have a basis for doing so, Pastukhov acknowledges, given that Europe has made “an enormous number of mistakes” regarding Russia over the decades, especially since 1991 when it assumed that Russia was no longer something it had to pay attention to.
When Europe has focused on Russia because of actions like those against Magnitsky and now Navalny, it has run up against a Russian state machine that rationally from its own point of view has spun tales that have in almost every case led to an outcome which reinforces the Russian sense that it can ignore European rules of the game because they won’t be enforced.
What is especially unfortunate is that many Russians who would like to adopt a different approach to Europe for their own country in fact take positions that make that less rather than more possible and thus end by helping those like Vladimir Putin who have no such desires, Pastukhov says.
These people highlight the problems in Europe and this diverts them and others from focusing on their own problems, he continues, a classical example of the Biblical observation that people focus on specks in the eyes of others without noticing the huge logs in their own eyes.
In the course of his interview on Ekho Moskvy, Pastukhov also observes that “there is no problem of Europe. Instead, there is a global problem which has arisen before humanity at the start of the 21st century in connection with the colossal break between the the development of the means of production compared to the cultural development of man.”
People can now do many things which exceed their ability to cope with morally, psychologically and politically; and that too is playing out in the current dramas not only between Russia and Europe but within Russia between a Kremlin fearful of such changes and an opposition that is open to them.