Sunday, 20 March 2016

Russia's place in the 21st Century

There's a lengthy article in English by Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the Foreign Affairs Ministry's website. It makes important reading. To work out what he's actually trying to say, you need to throw out conventional journalistic notions and think a bit like a Russian. While I'm pretty certain that the Guardian's take on it is utterly flawed, I make no claims that my own is definitive. As a quick first take on an article that really needs careful dissection, here's my precis of what I think it means:-

1. Russia is a continuity with a long and consistent identity. Victories at Borodino and Stalingrad are just part of the same historical continuum.

2. Russia is now and has always been an inherent part of a European settlement. Russian participation is critical in maintaining peace in Europe.

3. Next year Russia is facing the centenary of the 1917 revolution and will be treating this as an event in the history of the Russian Empire that was a reflection of the time. It should be considered the equivalent of the French revolution. Russia would prefer it if a jingoistic sabre-rattling NATO and EU federation refrained from making negative capital from the Soviet period.

4. In particular, Russia's official position remains that there is no moral (or immoral) equivalency between the Hitler and Stalin regimes; as Lavrov writes
'... the notion of the “clash of two totalitarianisms,” which is now actively inculcated in European minds, including at schools, is groundless and immoral. The Soviet Union, for all its evils, never aimed to destroy entire nations.'
5. Russia didn't lose the Cold War; 1989 was the result of "our people’s will for change plus an unlucky chain of events"

6. Fukuyama's 'End of History' is bollocks

7. Russia made all the right moves following the fall of the Wall to create economic and political co-operation with the US and Europe. She was spurned by a triumphalist and aggressive NATO and EU that sought to kick her when she was down - fomenting crises including Ukraine.

8. Work with us; Russia has a legitimate and important part to play, and we're on the same side against the same enemies. EU / NATO aggression is pointless and harms us all. 

For what it's worth, my own opinion on these points is (1) True (2) True (3) Get over it. The millions of Stalin's victims will rightly get plenty of air time. (4) Plain wrong. You can't whitewash Stalin. (5) Wishful thinking (6) True and (7) to (8) all true.   


Elby the Beserk said...

"6. Fukuyama's 'End of History' is bollocks"

Well, we've know that for a long time...

Mr Ecks said...

The matters relating to the present have some element of truth.

The attempt to whitewash the evil of socialism is disgraceful.

Also Fascism IS Socialism. It was created and even given the name by leftist scum. No amount of socialist bullshit can change that.

Anonymous said...

"For what it's worth, my own opinion on these points is..."


Poisonedchalice said...

Hmm. Although Russia was plain wrong to annex Crimea, it is also probably true to say that that particular event was in large part fomented by the expansionist EU.

Maybe if Britain was to leave the EU, we could decide upon, and forge our own relationship with Russia based upon the evidence we see, not the ramblings of a Drunker (unelected) prod-nose. Russia has quite a lot to offer in terms of trade, resources, technology and culture.

Coney Island

Wildgoose said...

Agree with your assessment of the points, but in particular with the seventh. Spurning Russia's attempts at rapprochement after the collapse of Communism will in my mind go down in history as a colossal mistake.

The idiots in power didn't seem to understand that the Russian people were merely the first victims of communism and that it was madness to equate opposition to totalitarian communists with opposition to Russia itself.

For all his flaws Putin at least recognises the political reality of national interests. If only our own "leaders" could understand the same. I would far rather work with Russia on mutually beneficial deals than with the one-sided anti-UK deals that is all the EU is ever prepared to offer us.

hatfield girl said...

Thank you for pointing to Lavrov's article, R. Among a host of interesting points Lavrov underlines the importance of embodying the history of nationhood into altered systems of government. Socialism or communism had not been used to destroy a sense of a nation; after the fall of the Berlin wall state after state, including Russia itself, made the painful transition to a different economic order but there was no collapse in the order or sense of identity of the state itself, despite economic suffering, extreme threat of invasion or internal overthrow, and large shifts in balances of power between the people of a state. True, Czechoslovakia split, but into two recognisable, historically-validated state entities.

In miserable contrast the collapse of the imperial West has resulted in the destruction of state structures (encouraged by globalist ideologies and strategies) and the resulting statelessness and economic misery, accompanied by the attempted imposition of primitive cultural forms, of millions of hapless people desperate to enter stable, post-Enlightment societies and escape the arid, cultural and physical deserts they are trapped inside.

The Russians - in the widest sense of the word - have done far better than wetern imperialism in transforming their societies into 21st century versions of their own cultural history.

Demetrius said...

On Youtube, the opening Coronation scene from Mussorgsky's "Boris Gudunov" says it all. Just a few minutes, but mind blowing live.

Anonymous said...

Geopolitics is a nightmare to untangle and its a brave man who attempts it with the aim of producing something that could be regarded as accurate.

From Raedwald's list:

'8. Work with us; Russia has a legitimate and important part to play, and we're on the same side against the same enemies. EU / NATO aggression is pointless and harms us all.'

Lavrov said the other day "the Americans now understand that they can do nothing without Russia", which means the desire for a new American hegemony in the Middle East ends here, with Syria. The Russians may well have saved countless lives due to their intervention; and wars will not now be started, because balance has been restored.


Anonymous said...

There's a video on You Tub e of General Wesley Clark saying openly in an interview that after 9/11 the US had a plan to eliminate the governments of 7 nations in 5 years.. Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Iran amongst them.

So all deliberate, but at who's bequest? The Israeli's?

Thud said...

I'm of the same opinion as Ecks .

G. Tingey said...

Agree that No 6 is bollocks, but so are 4 & 5, which is where the trouble starts ...

I saw a set of photos of the killed Russian pilot's body being repatriated, err ...

I could "hear" quite clearly THIS TUNE playing in my head ....