Thursday, May 12, 2022

Russia Will Disintegrate, Not Be Transformed, Astafyev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 30 – Many Russians imagine that their country can be transformed from its current fascist state almost overnight the way Germany and Japan were after World War II. But that is unlikely to happen because no one is going to attack a country which has a nuclear arsenal and can respond, Dmitry Astafyev says.

            Instead, the West is isolating and punishing Russia for its crimes, says the émigré author who fled after the killing of Boris Nemtsov showed him that Russia was not going to change; and that means that the future of Russia as a whole will be defined by its internal contradictions that will tear it apart (

            Most Russian opposition figures appear to believe that Russia will continue to be ruled by Putin for two decades and that then the West will impose a new and better government on it. But Astafyev says that he doesn’t believe that regional elites accustomed to a good life over the last two decades will be willing to wait that long.

            Instead, he argues, they “will use the weakness of the regime” sooner, with the strongest going their own way or allying themselves with neighboring powers and setting in train a domino effect that will ultimately force others, far less capable of acting independently, to seek the same thing.

            “A country that has already lost its army and is isolate won’t be able to hold on to regions that can exist independently. The strong ones will leave first, thus weakening the center even more by depriving it of any possibility of redistributing funds to the subsidized ones, thereby increasing tensions many times over,” Astafyev says.

            What this means, he continues, is that “the empire is doomed. It will fall apart not because of missiles but because of internal contradictions and because of the incompatibility with civilization” that Putin and his regime have shown themselves to have reached. Force alone won’t save the situation, although it may delay the end.

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