Saturday, August 13, 2022

West Should Announce Its Intention to Develop a Marshall Plan for Russia if Russians Ultimately Replace Putinism with Democracy, Gallyamov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 19 – As angry as the West is at Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine, its leaders are not yet prepared to call for his overthrow, Abbas Gallyamov says But for both short-term reasons and long, they should announce now plans for a Marshall Plan for Russia if the Putin regime is ultimately replaced with a democratic one.

            In the short-term, such an announcement will send a message to Russians that the West is on their side against Putin and thus lead more of them to protest what he is doing, the former Putin speechwriter says. And in the longer-term, it will give aid and even support to those coming after him to seek to promote democracy (

            This is suggested by the contrasting results of two policies discussed in the US for Germany at the end of World War II. The first, the Morgenthau Plan, which would have punished the Germans, helped the Nazi regime keep its domestic support and could have sparked the rise of a revisionist regime as the Versailles conditions did after World War I.

            It was rejected and instead the US adopted the Marshall Plan which sought to rebuild Germany along with the rest of Europe in order to promote democracy and stability on the continent. Like that plan, a similar one announced now would have advantages both in the short term and in the long.

            The short-term consequences are so obvious as to not require comment, but the longer-term ones on Russian politics may be even more consequential, Gallyamov says. Putin’s war in Ukraine and the isolation of Russia it has led to have divided the elite to the point that when he is weakened or departs from the scene, no one figure will have overwhelming support.

            And those who do not see their favorite will work to weaken whoever does succeed Putin. If these include those who would like Russia to move in a different direction than the one he has taken it – and that is likely given how much many in the elite have suffered from his policies -- they will be encouraged by the possibility of financial support from the West.

            Gallyamov insists that “the Russian political tradition sees nothing humiliating in accepting foreign aid,” unless of course it comes with too many strings attached. And any assertion of the contrary, he concludes, is “just another attempt to ‘rewrite history,’” as the Putinists might say.

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