Staunton, Nov. 16 – Russian liberals like Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Vasily Zharkov believe that Russian Europeans like themselves can put Russia on course to become a normal country, but this is a serious misreading of both the history of the transition of other countries from fascism and of Russia’s own history of modernization, Vladislav Inozemtsev says.
Analysts like Khodorkovsky and Zharkov, the Russian economist says, totally forget that the Germans did not put themselves on the right path after making a wrong turn in the 1920s and 1930s but were compelled to do so by defeat and occupation. Assuming Russia can do this on its own is at best comical; at worst a dangerous self-deception.
It is self-serving narcissism, but history shows that the recipe Russian liberals now offer for their country and the assumption that they can administer it on their own without Russia’s defeat in a war and loss of sovereignty for a time or perhaps permanently is simply wrong (novayagazeta.eu/articles/2022/11/16/kak-nam-perenastroit-rossiiu).
As they and everyone else should recognize from the experience of the last three decades, there is no certainty that even if all the right things are said and all the right institutions are declared to be in existence that they won’t be subverted by the very people who claimed that this was enough to allow Russia to escape from the Soviet past, Inozemtsev says.
The commentator argues that “the time has come to admit that the application of our compatriots to correct ‘the mistakes’ of ‘a separate country’ on the basis of self-reliance along is comical. The Russian catastrophe is indeed a catastrophe,” but it can’t be solved by the Russians themselves on their own.
Indeed, Inozemtsev argues, “the only chance for Russia to become a ‘normal’ country … is to undergo temporary or even permanent partial de-sovereignization.” Its laws and institutions must be subordinate to European institutions, and its army must be subordinate to NATO. Otherwise the latter will again turn into “a crowd of rapists and murderers.”
But it is not only Russian liberals and Russians more generally who must recognize this. The West must do. Defeating Russia on Ukraine’s territory won’t be enough. Russia must be defeated on its own land, just as Germany and other fascist states had to be before they could be led back to civilization.
The West needs to recognize that “Russia will not cease to be a threat to Europe until it becomes part of it,” not simply formally by taking it in as it is now but by changing to become a European country that is ready for greater accommodation and more receptive to openness and change. That will take a defeat and the loss of sovereignty. Nothing else will work.
“When (and if) the Russian catastrophe will be recognized by a significant portion of society,” Inozemtsev continues; “when the current regime collapses, regardless of who ends up in power after an inevitable period of turbulence … the collective West should offer it not humanitarian aid as in the early 1990s but a clearly outlined plan for integration into the Euro-Atlantic community” with Euro-Atlantic values.
Even more to the point, both Russians and those in the West need to admit to themselves that “’Russian Europeans’ never once transformed Russia for the better. They only occupied large plots of land in European graveyards. All the real changes that took place for the better were made by European Europeans.”
And that means this: “Only a grand new project to expand the normative European space can save the world and the Russians from Russia.” Unfortunately and “for quite understandable reasons, none of the most sincere and staunch opponents of the Russian dictatorship is yet ready to say.”