Staunton, Jan. 8 – Vladimir Putin clearly thinks that his “mission” is to defeat America and establish a new world order in which Russia will be the leader, Leonid Gozman says. But in that he is profoundly mistaken: His real mission was “to destroy Russia and he has succeeded in doing so.” Consequently, the Kremlin leader should feel free to leave the scene.
The Russian opposition politician argues that “a country is not just a territory; it is something more. The space it occupies isn’t going anywhere and most of its people will remain. Even today’s exodus won’t change that.” It is above all a culture and a way of life, an understanding of past, present and future (novayagazeta.eu/articles/2023/01/08/strana-404).
Russia was destroyed once before, by the Bolsheviks in 1917, Gozman says; and it took decades of often painful effort to come back. What is happening now is “something very similar.” Before this year, Russia was associated with both good and bad things; but now it is associated in the minds of the world only with the bad just like Hitler’s Reich.
Not only is there no Russia, there is no Russian army, and there is no Russian president either, the politician says. “Everything tht we build since the late 1980s has been destroyed. There is no Russian culture.” Instead, there is “an emptiness” that references to Russian classics of the past cannot fill.
Moreover, there is no Russian army. It isn’t a unified and disciplined defense force but a divided indisciplined and violent rabble capable only of behaving like the criminals who make up parts of its ranks. And having revealed its own weakness in Ukraine, it has put the Russian territory at risk not from invented threats from the West but from real ones like China.
And there is no Russian president. Not only does he lack electoral legitimacy but he has cut himself off from the people and from the international community. Orders and declarations emanate from the Kremlin, but it is far from clear whether the man who calls himself president is the one issuing them.
As a result of all this, Gozman says, “our country now most of all resembles the Germany of 1944. The military defeat of the fuehrer was still ahead but Germany and German culture as the world had known them for centuries no longer existed.” Cannot Russia hope to come back in the same way Germany has?
That may be overly optimistic, he suggests. Putin seems quite ready to destroy the world if it doesn’t allow his country as he defines it to behave as he wants it do. The Kremlin leader has even suggested that we don’t need a world “without Russia.” But in so doing, he has ignored the fact that that world has arisen precisely because of his efforts in 2022.