Friday, May 13, 2022

Russia Today, not Just Putin, is ‘the Enemy of Humanity,’ Editors of Grani Portal Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 1 – Those compiling lists of Russians who should be sanctioned for their involvement with Putin’s war in Ukraine are at best on a fool’s errand and at worst are distracting attention from today’s reality, the editors of the Grani portal argue. It is not Putin alone who is the enemy of humanity but the Russian Federation as a whole.

            And that means something else: those in Russia “who are not ready to wish for the defeat of their own country but instead are now fighting for the healing and revival of the Russian Federation are not in sync with the Free World” but rather are, at a minimum, fellow travelers of the Kremlin (

            This is the bitter reaction to the appearance of a new list compiled by the Navalny organization which suggests that the West should sanction 6,000 people as promoters or enablers of Putin’s war (, a list like all others that minimizes the responsibility of all Russians for what is going on.

The new list is the largest so far, the Grani editors continue, but any honest accounting would have to include the names of “tens of millions of people who are in the Russian Federation and beyond its physical but not mental borders” who also bear responsibility for the expansion of the war.

“Collective punishment is inevitable as with any personal one there are always problems,” the editors say. There will have to be an international tribunal and sanctions and lustration, but the mistake is to think that this will be sufficient. Many who won’t ever be tried bear responsibility and must face up to that reality.

At present, the Russian opposition is not up to doing so because it wants to continue its work as if February 24th hadn’t happened. Its members believe that they can make Putin “toxic” by coming up with such a list, but in fact, they show that they don’t understand that they and Russia bear some responsibility and now face collapse.

“Many anti-Putin Russians today are inclined to underrate their own toxicity and overrate their chances to ‘escape’ that, Grani says. Naturally, they want to be on “the right side of history and to struggle together with the entire civilized world against a common enemy.” But to do that, they must work for the defeat of their own country, something compiling lists won’t achieve.

Russians today in the opposition and more generally face a clear choice, one between supporting the empire in its current borders and destroying this evil empire, the editors conclude. “No matter how many anti-war conferences the opposition organizes, it won’t be able to overcome that divide.

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