Staunton, March 4 – “Russia has no allies,” Bogdan Bezpalko, a member of the Russian Presidential Council on International Relations, says; and it must stop providing support for those like the former Soviet republics that it includes in various unions because none of them will be on Russia’s side in the event of a real conflict between Moscow and the West.
Because such a conflict is now in prospect, he says, Moscow must husband its own resources and make clear to its pseudo-allies that they won’t be able to count on Russia’s backing unless they prove their worth (zonakz.net/2021/03/02/luchshim-resheniem-bylo-by-predostavit-vsem-russkim-vozmozhnost-vyexat-iz-kazaxstana-dat-im-rossijskoe-grazhdanstvo-subsidii-i-poselit-na-sopredelnyx-s-rk-territoriyax/).
“Sooner of later, the question as to whether Russia needs such ‘allies’ and such unions must arise, Bezpalko says; “and the answer clearly will not be the one which those in the capitals of Soviet republics expect to hear. The new Russian strategy will be the response,” and the republic leaders need to reflect also about the certainty that no outsider cares about them.
Russia has its own needs and concerns, he continues; and it will change its approach to those who are not true allies “first of all” in the economic sphere. Moscow will reconsider its current system of unilateral subsidies and preferences, and those who think these will go on forever regardless of what they do must be on notice.
But at the same time, this shift in economics will also entail geopolitical changes. In the case of Kazakhstan, Bezpalko says, that country is now at risk of decaying into a place out of anyone’s control given Chinese actions and the failure of the Kazakh leadership to recognize where its real interests lie.
And that means in the first instance that Moscow must take a much tougher position regarding the protection of the rights of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers there, especially given calls that the Russian government has so far failed to respond to to force Russians to speak Kazakh at the pain of being confined in concentration camps.
Such calls might not be official Kazakhstan policy, but they wouldn’t be appearing, Bezpalko says, if that country’s leadership did not support them at least in part. He urges that Moscow respond by offering all Russians now in Kazakhstan the opportunity to leave that country and settle in neighboring areas of the Russian Federation.
That would not only help them but block ongoing efforts by Kazakhs to “colonize” Russians lands, he says. Such a move at one level “however strange it may seem” corresponds towhat Kazakh nationalists who dream of a mono-ethnic state in the same way many countries in Europe at the start of the 20th century did.
But such a policy, although Bezpalko doesn’t say so here, would also have the consequence of making Russia more Russian and serving notice not just to Kazakhstan that Russians have a homeland to which they owe more loyalty and can return.