Staunton, Sept. 10 – On August 29, Valery Garbuzov, the head of the Institute for the Study of the USA and Canada, published one of the most significant articles to appear in the Moscow media in recent months. He denounced the Russian leadership for living in an illusory world of its own creation and making mistake after mistake because of that.
For his troubles, he was fired (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2023/09/moscows-usa-and-canada-institute_2.html); but unlike most Russian officials who suffer such consequences for speaking out, Garbuzov has not backed down but instead published, also in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, a defense of what he did (ng.ru/ideas/2023-09-05/100_2309051230.html).
That speaks to his personal courage, the likelihood that he enjoys the support of many of his fellow academic colleagues and the possibility that some in the Russian political elite share his views and want them to be taken seriously. It also points to a decay in the Putin regime’s control mechanisms which earlier would have prevented the appearance of these articles.
In his follow on article, Garbuzov thanks all those who have supported him with their messages and defends his institute which he argues cannot be described as a foreign agent but is doing important work in identifying and defining what is really going on in North America, something people in the Russian government need to know.
But he goes further and restates the argument of his original article, noting that Russia’s leaders are making mistakes precisely because they are believing their own propaganda about the US. Unless that changes and soon, Barbuzov suggests, Moscow will make more mistakes – and that is something that must be avoided.