What many in Russia call "the fifth column" is, according to Lukyanov, Russia's "creative class"--"THE creative class," which the Kremlin cannot afford to lose even though this "creative class" is "intensely disapproving" of Russia's reunification with Crimea and Russian independent foreign policy as a whole.
Thus, for Lukyanov, these pro-Western liberals are the one creative class, which Russia has. As he put it, they are "made up of representatives of Russia's creative intelligentsia, the educated and 'progressive' part of society."
And Lukyanov thus argues that this "creative class" (or fifth column in the eyes of others) are for Russian indispensable; they are the ones who "create" something and Russia thus depends on them and needs to depend on them: "[This] creative class has been the conduit for ideas of modern development and an agent for change: technological, social and cultural ... [and so] losing the support of the creative class would certainly be a blow to Russia. These people are usually oriented toward the West and are international in lifestyle and profession. They serve as a link between Russian society and the world. It would be dangerous to totally alienate them from the authorities." If Lukaynov speaks truth or if he is right, then Russia has no other intellectuals and creators to speak of or, if there is some other intelligentsia after all, it is not progressive, creative, and it does not count, and the Russian government must carry out such policies, which would not "alienate" this one sole creative class. And the case of Crimea was one big "alienation" and "disillusionment" for these exclusive and privileged intellectuals.
Lukynanov is especially concerned about the feelings of this class--more than about the interests of the Russian state, not to mention the people: "For the greater part of Vladimir Putin's rule, this progressive class has cohabited successfully with the government. But relations began to erode before Crimea, between 2011 and 2012, when the supporters of change, galvanized by the promises of modernization under Dmitry Medvedev, felt deceived by his departure from the presidency and the abrupt change in national discourse." And Russian patriotism is clearly something which this "progressive class" does not appreciate: "Crimea and Ukraine made the atmosphere even more fraught due to an upsurge in patriotism, a militarization of the narrative, and Russia's ideological contraposition to the West. ... [As a result of this and the sanctions, this] active minority has felt isolated both at home and abroad."
The alienation of this class, which mirrors the feelings and attitudes of the Western ruling class, is then "the source of the intelligentsia's radicalization, their rejection of everything emanating from the Kremlin, and their cynicism about the future." The resulting "radicalization" of this fifth column or exclusive progressive intellectuals has made their "feelings" even stronger and "mobilized them to find an exit strategy."
Lukyanov then tries to claim creatively or intellectually that the reunion of Crimea with Russia has been in many respects bad, counterproductive and harmful: "... if it turns out that the only long-term gain is a relatively small peninsula, people will start to ask if it was worth the trouble."
Clearly, he thinks that, in contrast to saving Crimea and the military bases from Ukrainian fascism, pleasing the pro-Western liberals in Russia would be worth the trouble of alienating the Russian people themselves.
Fyodor Lukyanov works as the editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs, which is linked to to the US journal, Foreign Affairs, published by the Council on Foreign Affairs.
Interestingly, back in 2010, speaking of the significance of the US invasion of Iraq, Lukyanov said this: "It is clear that in the 21st century, on the basis of false evidence, bypassing international law and without any kind of political or legal justification, a sovereign state can be invaded, its regime overthrown and the country occupied. Military strength, which during the 1990s was seen to have lost its critical significance, has now returned to world politics full-scale and in the most brutal form."
On June 1, Lukyanov was also the principal expert quoted by the Washington Post on what was dabbed and praised by the Empire as Russia's "curious retreat in Ukraine."