Seven illusions about Russia

What’s wrong with “democratic” Russia and “good Russians.” 7 dangerous Western World’s illusions about Russia.

Photo: Democracy Chronicles

Illusion #1: The Russian opposition must be aware of its issues; we, the civilized world, do not have to instruct them on what to do or accomplish it. They claim they will handle every problem on their own

If there was opposition in Russia, it could be feasible to admit this. Within the nation, it was long gone (assuming that it was ever there). And what escaped to the West is divided into pieces on an ideological and an organizational level. Most of this opposition still holds chauvinistic and imperialist attitudes, with just a few people having liberal viewpoints as a counterpoint. 

They keep categorizing “greatness” in categories and only “try it on” for themselves and others they care about. Which country does Crimea belong to? Which is “not a sandwich,” in the words of one of the key “opponents” of the current Russian administration, is an impassable obstacle for self-described “democrats.” Even Russia’s open genocidal war hasn’t significantly altered its strategy.

Illusion #2:The Russian opposition has influence in society and can change Russia

The findings of a study performed in August 2022 by the state polling company VTsIOM reveal what the Russian opposition is genuinely like and who it can rely on. Russians were questioned about their opinions on Western ideals, the principles the Russian opponent so vehemently defends. 

Nearly 60% of Russians believed that Western democracy and civilization were not beneficial to their country, and 26% said that Western principles were “destructive.” How many Russians believed in Western principles? Only 2%, to be precise. Thus, what follows…

Illusion #3: Russia is capable of adopting a liberal approach

In addition to the previously mentioned factors, mental one is also significant. After all, historical practice dramatically impacts how a society processes. The experience of the democratic Weimar Republic was still relatively recent in the German popular memory, despite the propaganda of the fascist movement obscuring it.

What has Russia’s “democratic” experience been like? Maybe it’s possible to include the barbaric Andrei Bogolyubsky or the despot Ivan the Terrible, the psychotic tsar Peter I or the adulteress Empress Catherine II, the tyranny of General Arakcheyev and his military colonies or the hangings on Senate Square, serfdom as slavery or the demoralizing helplessness of the last Romanovs? 

Or the “communism” of the Soviet era, with its catastrophic famines, mass murders, and merciless repressions?

The reality is that throughout their more than a thousand-year existence, Russians have never lived under liberal democracy. Democracy isn’t something that can be handed out or just thrown on as a fashion accessory. It is a way of being, a mindset, and an experience. A law cannot compel it. It must develop over many generations.

Therefore, the Russian political scientist Vladimir Pastukhov is right when he notes that “… Putin’s regime does not have any liberalism in its genesis, and never, even after Putin, will Russia return to this path on its own. You can’t go back to where you haven’t been.

Illusion #4: Democracy can “heal” Russia

Denial of this Russian liberal concept is also considered nearly as chauvinism. Let’s investigate colonialist chauvinism’s genuine presence and determine whether it is limited to that.

In 2014, the annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of the Donbas war received significant support from more than 80% of Russians. After the full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022, we continue to see this phenomenon. Putin declared that it was time to “settle the Ukrainian issue” to start it all. Hitler also spoke about “ending the Jewish question” similarly. What is the difference? It’s not truly there.

Oleg Matveichev, a member of the Russian Federation’s State Duma, decoded this formula and said publicly, “two million Ukrainians must be denazified, that is, annihilated.” Further stating that “the ideas of ‘Ukraine’ and ‘Ukrainian’ should not exist in the future,” a vision expressed by his colleague Alexei Zhuravlev.

Some may protest, claiming that these examples are from regime officials. Sadly, they are not the only ones. Numerous appeals to rape women, abuse children, and “beat the khokhols to defend Russia” have long been prevalent among typical Russians. This is what the “army of liberators” does, much like the Nazis in the past: they massacre innocent people, demolish vital infrastructure, and set entire cities on fire. 

Full-scale concentration camps are the only thing they haven’t yet implemented; however, the Russians have built up “mini-concentration camps” in the shape of “death cellars” in every temporarily seized Ukrainian village. After these locations are freed, mass graves of innocent people are discovered there.

Illusion #5: Russian aggression it’s а “Putin’s war”  

A lot of people attempt to distinguish between Putin and the Russian people who carry out his commands using this cunning reasoning. Nevertheless, they are one. Russians are waging genocide against the people of Ukraine in this conflict. A war aimed at eradicating the Ukrainian nation. And it is being driven by regular Russians protesting the poorly organized war operation rather than the war itself.

Therefore, everyone who resides in or is affiliated with this nation must admit their role in starting this war.

Illusion #6: Russia cannot change within its present boundaries and must always remain unchanged. It also requires assistance with the creation of a new Marshall Plan

In this regard, it is crucial to keep in mind that the land of contemporary Russia is home to more than 150 distinct ethnic groups, each of which has its history, language, and culture. They were all colonized by Muscovy at various times, mainly in a hazardous, violent, and illegal form.

For whatever reason, some people, like the Portuguese, Austrians, or Estonians, don’t think they have the right to self-determination. As a result, given the uncertain future, it is probably not worthwhile to create plans to aid in establishing [a liberal Russia]. While several influential individuals in the West genuinely desired that things continue as before the putsch attempt, no one attempted any serious negotiations with the USSR leader Gorbachev.

Illusion #7: There are or will be individuals in Putin’s or a post-Putin Russia with whom it is still feasible to discuss the nation’s future

This can be assumed, but only for a brief period during the transition since it is hard to make sense of the past. History moves on on her terms, leaving those who cannot follow her behind. As a result, we will need to deal with several areas besides Moscow, including the Caucasus, the Volga region, Tatarstan, Siberia, the Far East, and many more.

How to establish communication, what to offer, and how to turn the post-Russian space into a nuclear-free zone, a region of progressive economic development, and a civilized cohabitation with the rest of the globe should all be on our minds right now. That is the current intellectual elite of the West’s most crucial duty. It’s critical to avoid delusion to avoid being late and making another catastrophic error. Sadly, there are still far too many of these idealistic politicians in the West and far too many of their delusions.

On the other hand, maybe people who advocate for democracy in Russia are correct because they know it is the fastest path to the collapse of the last colonialist empire in Europe. There is already an initiative for the controlled disintegration of Russia.

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