Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cracking Putin's Egg (Does It Stand on Its Head or on Its Feet?)

Putin: Bolsheviks were complete traitors!

According to Vladimir Putin (an interview given on August 29 to a national youth camp), Bolsheviks of 1917 were "complete" traitors to the motherland and her national interests.

Of all observers and commentators, only good old imperial and anti-Russian BBC picked on this in its September 15 article (just ten days after the Minsk Protocol was signed), "Traitors in Vladimir Putin's Russia": 

"Last month, in a live TV broadcast from a political youth camp, Vladimir Putin warned that some people in Russia were prepared to "fully betray the country's national interests". He compared them to the Bolsheviks, who had exploited Russia's weakness in World War One to carry out revolution back home."

Here, from the official transcript, is the full passage which contains Putin's indictment of Lenin and the Bolsheviks on the account of "complete national treason." 

"Regardless of how hurtful it might be to hear, perhaps, even to some of this audience, people who hold leftist views, but in the First World War, the Bolsheviks wished to see their Fatherland defeated. And while the heroic Russian soldiers and officers shed their blood on the fronts in World War I, some were shaking Russia from within and shook it to the point that Russia as a state collapsed and declared itself defeated by a country that had lost the war. It is nonsense, it is absurd, but it happened! This was a complete betrayal of national interests!"

Is Putin right? Does this Putin's position have any relevance to what is going on or what has happened in Novorossiya?

With respect to Putin's charge of Bolsheviks (hence also Lenin, the founder of the USSR) with a "complete treason."

My original Facebook posting on this yielded a great amount of collective wisdom. My own personal pick is the comment made by De-li Wei: 

"Thanks for posting this as it helps us to understand Putin better. I think Putin is speaking more to his current / potential future domestic situation fearful that trouble will start within Russia which will shake what is otherwise incredible unity at this point. As he is the authority that interprets "national interests" his discussion of what the Bolsheviks did vis-a-vis the ruling power at the time during a war against a foreign power is telling. A more sober assessment tells us that it was not in any parties' best "national interests" to be involved in WWI. As the burden on society caused in part by that war helped fuel the Bolsheviks dissent , even if one disagrees with them ideologically or in other regards, it is not reasonable to state that their actions were a "betrayal of national interests." Even in authoritarian societies sovereignty resides with the people and obviously the people were sick of war at that juncture and acted to extricate the nation from that war in the interests of the nation. This statement is even more ironic given the lengths to which Putin has gone to avoid an open conflict with Kiev's Western allies. Reversing roles, some could easily say Putin's insistence on non-confrontation is the same "betrayal of the national interests" that he identifies in the Bolsheviks' actions. Ethnic Russians are this moment on the battle front and the powers that be are extricating its self from blame, making "peace" oblivious to their consideration. We can understand more clearly how he defines both his nation and its interests and also takes a "relativist" (is there such a term?) position, re-interpreting similar events with nearly diametrically opposed labels."

What lends support to De-li Wei's assessment is also this Putin's curious explanation of his or Moscow's "secret," "secret strategy," which does explain a lot about his and Lavrov's apparent "weakness" for Poroshenko (as I tweeted it the other day), Putin's stated goal to "create the best possible conditions" for legitimizing Poroshenko and his elections, Putin's, and especially Lavrov's, continued support for the capitulation agreement signed by Yanukovich under the direct pressure of France, Germany, Poland, Maidan, the EU, (and the US), which inevitably led to the unconstitutional coup (both Putin and Lavrov kept insisting that the February 21 agreement should have been "fully" implemented), the Minsk Protocol, Putin's and Lavrov's aversion to the idea of revolution and any new revolutionaries, and the lack of genuine political and social strategy on the part of Putin and his leadership. Putin's revelation of his strategic and political "secret" happened at the same youth camp, and I already drew attention to it before, for it shows Putin's evident deference to and reverence to the ruling authorities, even if they are are avowed enemies of Russia or the Banderite, Nazi junta in Kiev. 

In contrast with the US which is "always putting their eggs into multiple baskets,"  as Putin indicates, the main political rule of his leadership was to try to warm the one egg--the egg of the existing authorities. 

The key formulation of this "conservative" strategy comes in these Putin's frank confession: 

"Russia always supports the acting authorities ...  I have an inner conviction that that’s how it works. ... it’s as simple as that.  And naturally, we always rely on the current government and always support it.we treat everyone equally, but we cooperate with the government in power."

"It’s not even a secret, just a story"--The story of Ukraine, Putin's Russia, and Novorossiya

The sad thing is that, evidently, Putin himself does not still see what this very strategy of supporting even one's own enemies and most thieving and prostituting oligarchs, who grossly sin against their own people and actively work with NATO against Russia, has done to Ukraine and to Russia and its own security after pursuing this not-so-secret strategy for all these years.

So, since clearly this seems to be a crucial passage, I am giving it here fully and completely as transcribed in Putin's official transcript right from his own site:

"I will let you in on a little – it’s not even a secret, just a story. There is nothing special here, I will tell you about it as it has to do with former president Viktor Yanukovych. We did not push or thrust Yanukovych anywhere. I want you to know, and for Russia to know, and for everyone in Ukraine to know: nothing of the sort ever happened. Russia always supports the acting authorities. We are not like some of our partners. Maybe, in this regard, they are even being more pragmatic, they are always putting their eggs into multiple baskets. Moreover (the Americans do this), even if a government somewhere is loyal to them, they always work with the opposition. Always! And they even set it against the current government a bit, so that even if that government is loyal, it will stay even more loyal, and to show that yes, we have someone else to work with. I suppose that’s a pragmatic position. And I see that it was used for centuries by Britain as well. This Anglo-Saxon approach migrated to the United States and is used by them today. Regardless of how they might respond to me (they will certainly respond and discuss it now), I have an inner conviction that that’s how it works. But in Russia, especially in the post-Soviet space, we cannot do that. Things are different here, it’s as simple as that. And naturally, we always rely on the current government and always support it. This does not mean that we are indifferent or even antagonistic towards the opposition. No, we treat everyone equally, but we cooperate with the government in power. That was true during Kuchma’s presidency as well. And when his presidential term expired, I asked him directly: “Mr Kuchma, who should Russia support in the next presidential election?” And he told me: “Yanukovych.” I had some doubts as to whether Kuchma felt certain about Yanukovych’s candidacy, and I asked him about it during the final preparations for the presidential election campaign. He told me: “That’s it, it’s decided, a decision has been made; we will support and promote Yanukovych, and I am asking you and Russia to support him through information resources and support him politically.” And that is what we did. Later, when they made a complete mess of the third round, I cannot call it anything else, I was certainly surprised. I asked Mr Kuchma again, “What is going on? Are you supporting him or not?” Yanukovych was not able to use his result in the elections. After all, he won in the second round. All this turned into a fairly sharp political struggle. Mr Yushchenko, who became President, and Ms Timoshenko, who became Prime Minister, apparently didn’t have great success either, since Yanukovich won in the next election. Incidentally, I always ask: “So why didn’t you sign an association agreement with the European Union back then? Who was in your way? All the power was in your hands.” But the fact is that they did not do it. The question is: why not? I suspect they did not do it because it is fairly dangerous socioeconomically, because the consequences could be quite grave for Ukraine’s economy and, therefore, for Ukraine’s social sphere and politics. But we have never pushed through any candidate, we do not do it and we will not do it, and this is true regarding Yanukovych as well. This was exclusively the choice of the Ukrainian people and the logic of internal political processes. Incidentally, we would have cooperated fully with Yushchenko, who is considered a pro-western politician, and Timoshenko, who has that same image. As you know, even when Ms Timoshenko found herself in jail, our position was quite clearly stated. I said and felt that it is unacceptable to use a policy of criminal prosecution in politics. Those developments were damaging for Russian-Ukrainian relations; we did not feel there was anything criminal in her signing gas contracts with Russia. Incidentally, her fellow party members, who were present when this contract was signed, including the current Energy Minister, Mr Prodan, for some reason today do not want to comply with the documents that they themselves signed, but that’s a separate issue. Let’s talk about demographics; there is a proposal on boosting the birth rate, which is interesting. Go ahead." 

When Putin said all this, he looked entirely honest and relaxed, as you can see for yourself for the whole almost 2.5-hour interview can be watched on Youtube:

In fact, in this very same interview (at 46:00), Putin himself talks of the importance of honesty for a leader like him:

"That is extremely important; if people see that the head of a region, city or state believes in what he is doing, if he is honest and open, then I assure you, I have seen this many times, people begin to trust and support him. This is extremely important. And even if this is not reflected in the mid-term ratings, so long as there are no mistakes, so long as we are moving in the right direction, then the right and principled position always pays off; people understand and support this. That is how I try to work."

So let us get it straight. For, in this very important and revealing communication, Putin explains how a great deal of Russia's long-term, non-existing strategy was created. It was not created as a result of Russia's long term vision; it was born out of Kuchma's own personal fiat and wish. And who is Kuchma? A key maker of Ukraine's oligarchic thieves in the 1990s. A crook of the crooks. And now he is also the Nazi junta's confidant and go-between who put his signature on the Minsk Protocol so that no actual official of the Kiev regime had to. 

Unless we missed that part, let's review this again--in Putin's own words: 

"I asked him directly: 'Mr Kuchma, who should Russia support in the next presidential election?' And he told me: 'Yanukovych.' I had some doubts ... [but he] told me: 'That’s it, it’s decided, a decision has been made; we will support and promote Yanukovych, and I am asking you and Russia to support him through information resources and support him politically.' And that is what we did. Later ... they made a complete mess ... I was certainly surprised ... This was exclusively the choice of the Ukrainian people ... we would have cooperated fully with Yushchenko ... and Timoshenko ..."

The portions from Putin's extensive speech referred to here come at 58:00 (the condemnation of the Bolsheviks as traitors of Russia's national interests, which does follow immediately upon Putin's discussion of Crimea and Ukraine) and 2:12:15 (hatching and keeping just one egg of the authorities that happen to be in power).

What this approach meant specifically for Ukraine and Russian-Ukrainian relations after 1991 in practice was diagnosed by Gennady Zyuganov, the head of the post-perestroika Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Zyuganov's analysis reads like a clean, cold, precise, and quick cut into the heart of the matter with a cavalryman's saber (while the rest of his analysis of the "deep roots of Ukraine's crisis") is good, but long and ponderous artillery fire). Zyuganov's article was published on the very day when the Minsk Protocol was signed--on September 5:

"Russia’s ruling group saw and still sees Ukraine primarily as a territory in which a gas pipeline is laid. Therefore, the policy of the upper RF authorities focused almost exclusively on ensuring a smooth flow of gas to Europe. Public sentiments in Ukraine were not only a mere subject of interest and influence for the Russian “elite”, but were completely ignored as a factor fully irrelevant against the background of intrigues around the gas pipeline at the “top” of the authorities of the two countries, for which the peoples of the fraternal republics subsequently had to pay a heavy price."
Besides making inter-and intra-oligarchic bargains and deals involving oil, gas, military production, etc., Russia did really have any other political strategy or policy, which, in my view, voiced already elsewhere, was quite criminal. And to have seen Ukraine primarily "as a territory in which a gas pipeline is laid" also meant irresponsible disregard for existing realities, sensibilities, needs, and aspirations of the people. This approach and this lack of real strategy (besides asking Kuchma, the crook-godfather of Ukrainian oligarchic thieves what he wanted) also meant that Russia's policy toward Ukrainian has been built on a politically and socially narrow base dictated by Ukrainian oligarchs who, having their souls lost a long time ago, have sold their allegiance to the Empire (and NATO) a long time ago as well. 

Putin's disclosure of his own secret also helps explain the insensible, counter-productive, and, frankly, humiliating "negotiations" with the Kiev putschists on Russian gas, which Kiev had no intention, and soon also hardly any means, to pay for. Kiev needed to finance the war against the people of Donbass.

This quality (which Michael Green called Moscow's desire for comity) also helps explain Moscow's strange addiction to the sound of the word "partners," which has been Putin's and Medvedev's main address of choice when referring to the West and even to the Kiev junta.

This Putin's confessions should also dispel the surviving illusions popular with Western leftists and liberals who see in Putin a new socialist leader in waiting. Disclosure of Putin's rejection of the communist cause also helps explain Putin's evident lack of empathy and support for the clearly socialist or pro-socialist and anti-oligarchic yearnings of anti-fascist uprising of the working class and miners of Donbass. Does he see them as traitors--traitors of Ukraine's national interests as well?

It should also be noted that when Putin unveiled the poverty of strategic thought and the absence of real principles, presented as the principle itself, he seemed to believe that his position is the solely right one.

What can one make of this? As Michael Green put it, the two of us happen to think alike. So I take the liberty to reproduce here his comment, which says that Putin's denunciation of the Russian communists as "complete national traitors" is no small thing (Did "complete national traitors" lead the victory of the Soviet people over Nazism in World War II? Does this then make Gorbachev and Yeltsin a negation of communism as "complete national treason"?): 

"Fifth column is just a phrase, but let's look at it critically. As used here, the phrase has Orwellian overtones. Consider that Putin has denounced not just the Bolsheviks, but the entire period of Russian history between the time of the Czar and Boris Yeltsin (most of the 20th century, that is). Presumably, a Russian fifth column would have done much the same. It would also have been currying favor with not just the West, but also the ideological enemies of the Russian state during that time. That, we know, is exactly what Putin has done as well, to the extent that he has curried favor with those most committed to destroying Russia. Here, I am not speaking of only Brzezinski and his crew of rabid neocons, but also people like Poroshenko and, of course, his ideological mentor who, as things have played out, would appear to have been the late Stepan Bandera. Because Putin is moderate and well-spoken, and because has a reputation as a wheeler and dealer on the business side of things, the liberal left has chosen to ignore evidence ..." 

I would also like to note that I took Putin's statement on the Bolsheviks directly from the official transcript posted on Putin's official site. BBC quoted in its article only its partial, cut-off segment. 

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