Saturday, April 16, 2022

Putin’s War in Ukraine Part of Broader Russian Effort to Redraw Post-1991 International Order, Karaganov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 8 – What Russia is doing in Ukraine is part of a broader effort to redraw the unjust international order that the West imposed after 1991, Sergey Karaganov says. Russia will win in the end but it may move into other countries as well because of the way in which the West is behaving.

            In an interview in Italy’s Corriere della Sera, the senior Russian political analyst who has long served as an advisor to the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin offers a pastiche of grievances, inventions, and suggestions about what Moscow may do in the coming months and years (

            Because what Karaganov says undoubtedly reflects much of what Putin is thinking and thus may do, the entire article is worth reading with great care. But the following excerpts are especially important in many cases because they suggest just how simultaneously detached from reality and deadly serious those in the Kremlin now are:

·       For 25 years people like myself have said that NATO expansion would lead to war. Putin said several times that if it came to Ukraine becoming a member of NATO, there would be no Ukraine anymore … Ukraine was being built by the US and other NATO countries as a spearhead, maybe of aggression or at least of military pressure, to bring NATO’s military machine closer to the heart of Russia. We can see now how well their forces had been preparing for a war.

·       Nazis were not only about killing Jews. Nazism is about supremacy of one nation over another. Nazism is humiliation of other nations. The regime and the society in Ukraine were going very much like Germany in the 1930s.

·       I don’t think that in the foreseeable future we will have any change of power in Russia, because we are fighting a war of survival. This is a war with the West and people are regrouping around their leader. This is an authoritarian country and the leadership is always very attentive to the moods of the people. But I don’t see real signs of opposition. Also, in the US or else nobody was really punished for the war in Iraq, so we have our doubts about the effectiveness of democracy.

·       We saw Western expansion happening, we see Russophobia in the West reaching levels like antisemitism between the world wars. So war was already becoming likely. And we saw deep divisions and structural problems within Western societies, so we believed that anyway a war was more and more likely. So the Kremlin decided to strike first. Also, this military operation will be used to restructure Russian elite and Russian society. It will become a more militant-based and national-based society, pushing out non-patriotic elements from the elite.

·       We should not recognize the order that was built against Russia. We tried to integrate in it but we saw it was a Versailles system 2.0. I wrote that we had to destroy it. Not by force, but through constructive destruction, through refusal to participate in it. But after the last demand to stop NATO was again rejected, it was decided to use force.

·       We wanted fair peace, but the greed and stupidity of the Americans and the short-sightedness of the Europeans revealed they didn’t want that. We have to correct their mistakes».

·       Americans and their NATO partners continue support of Ukraine by sending arms. If that continues, it is obvious that targets in Europe could or will be hit in order to stop lines of communications. Then the war could escalate.

·       Russian troops have been very careful not to hit civilian targets, we used only 30-35% of the lethal weapons that we could use. If we had used everything, that would have meant the destruction of Ukrainian cities and a much quicker victory. We did not do carpet bombing like Americans in Iraq. The Bucha story is completely fake-staged, it’s a provocation».

·       The endgame probably will be a new treaty, maybe with Zelensky still there. Probably it would mean the creation of a country in South and South-East Ukraine that is friendly to Russia. Maybe there will be several Ukraines. But at this juncture it is impossible to predict because, of course, it’s an open-ended story. We are in the fog of war.

·       The West is failing and losing its position in the world, so it needs an enemy – for the moment we are the enemy. I don’t think the unity will last, Europe will not commit the suicide by choosing to lose its independence. I hope our European neighbors will recuperate from this dizziness of hatred.

·       I was not for this particular scenario [of a dispatch of Russian forces to Ukraine], but it happened. And I support my country. The West committed several aggressions. We are now on the same moral level, we are equal, we are doing more or less like you. I regret that we lost our moral superiority. But we are fighting an existential war».

·       [Russia] will be more integrated and more dependent on China. It has positive elements but overall, we will be much more dependent. I am not very much afraid of becoming a pawn of China like some EU states became pawns of the US.

·       We will be victorious because Russians always are in the end. But in the meantime, we will lose a lot … But we are ready to sacrifice in order to build a more viable and fair international system. We are talking about Ukraine, but we really want to build a different international system than the one that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union and, in turn, is now collapsing. We all are sinking into chaos now.

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