Monday, April 18, 2022

Russian Crimes in Ukraine Key Part of Putin’s Broader Project of Destroying Democracy, Khapayeva Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 9 – Mikhail Yuryev’s 2007 novel, The Third Empire: Russia as It Should Be, said to be Putin’s favorite book, contains a terrifying message. According to the former Russian politician, Russia must not only create a new worldwide empire but do so by wiping off the face of the earth other nations, beginning with Ukraine and the Balts.

            US-based Russian scholar Dina Khapayeva says Yuryev believes that only by such massive violence can Russia achieve its most important goal: the destruction of  democracy in the countries it attacked, in Russia itself, and even in the countries opposing it (

            For Yuryev, she continues, Russia should be run by a class of oprichniks and everyone else should be their slaves without any rights to participate in political life. Now, with Putin and his war in Ukraine, such people have come to the fore; and their actions in Ukraine, actions that can only be described as crimes against humanity and crimes of war reflect this.

            Unfortunately, all too many people dismiss what Russian forces are doing as “excesses” rather than seeing them as central to the Putin project of destroying democracy and subjugating the masses by selling the latter on the idea that such violence is justified and will lead to the salvation of Russians and the apocalyptic destruction of everyone else.

            Such people, both around Putin and in the Russian population really believe this. They won’t stop their aggression until they come up with a force that will make them do so, Khapayeva says.  But she concludes that she is not without hope that all of this will collapse soon like a house of cards.

            “History once gave us a miracle,” she concludes. “We experienced the disintegration of the Soviet Union which no one expected and in which beforehand no one believed. But the miracle happened! I want to hope that perhaps something like that will happen again.”

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