Staunton, April 29 – The threat that the Russian Empire poses to the world won’t end with the departure of Vladimir Putin from the Kremlin, Igor Eidman says. It will end only when the empire itself ends because as long as the empire exists, its leaders will have aspirations to expand Russian control over its neighbors.
That becomes obvious, the Russian commentator says, if one considers Boris Yeltsin, who is generally considered the antithesis of Putin as far as this is concerned. Not only did he use force to expand Russian control in the former Soviet space but he asked the US to hand over Europe to Moscow (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=626A62C83D5A1§ion_id=50A6C962A3D7C).
Many dismiss Yeltsin’s appeal to US President Bill Clinton as a drunken rant and see his use of force in Georgia and Moldova as something marginal, but all these things, Eidman says, show that Yeltsin wanted exactly the same imperial rebirth that Putin is pursuing. The only difference is that Russia was much weaker under Yeltsin than it is now under his successor.
In sum, those who focus on Putin alone are missing the point: the problem is the Russian imperial state. Unless it is ended, the country centered on Moscow will continue to be a threat to its neighbors and the world forever, Eidman suggests. And those who want to end that threat need to recognize that fact.