Espreso. Global

Ukraine's victory, Western policy and "good Russians"

18 March, 2023 Saturday

I've written many times before: I'm almost certain that Russia will face chaos and civil war

I've said many times before^ I'm sure that chaos and civil war await Russia. And it doesn't really depend on our hopes or the desires of many politicians in the West and in the East to prevent this. Because such things are determined by 90+ percent not by external influence, but by internal processes.

The collapse of Russia into pieces, its denuclearization and disappearance as a country are our hopes and desires for a just retribution. But let's talk a little bit about why this is not a common opinion even among our partners. And why we shouldn't be running around with such ideas at least at the official level. Because this may be the result of the war, but most Western elites definitely do not want this. Just as they did not want the collapse of the USSR.

The very idea of Russia falling apart is even now a much greater fear for a significant part of the elites in Europe or America than the fact that Ukraine will not return Crimea or Donbas. Because here it is not very clear what to do with one f*cker with nuclear weapons, but what if there are several of them? This fear may seem far-fetched to us, because we are being killed here and now. But for the Western voter (and this fear is fueled by Russian agents, Chinese agents, and their own idiots) and for some politicians, this fear is quite real. Even if they are sure that Putin will not use nuclear weapons.

“The very idea that Russia will fall apart is even now a much greater fear for a major part of the elites in Europe or America than the fact that Ukraine will not return Crimea or Donbas”

The option of "isolating Russia and Russians forever" will not work for us either. Neither will the option of "killing all Russians." I am not saying that the word "forever" is very funny on the scale of history. If you try to look at the events in Ukraine through the eyes of an outside observer, you will find that our words like "Russians have always been criminals, Russia must be destroyed, democracy is impossible there" are confronted by the counterexamples of Japan and Germany. And any topic about "unpardonable war crimes" will be confronted with the war crimes of France or the United States. I'll keep quiet about colonialism.

That is why it is much easier for Western politicians to sell the myth or their own idea of "good Russians" who can build a "different Russia" in order to continue helping Ukraine than to repeat our hopes for a "war to destroy Russia." 

Because the war to destroy Russia:

  • does not have a clear criterion or even an approximate timeframe for completion;
  • generates many risks both in case of success and failure;
  • for many, it looks like an inadequate goal, which is no longer about "protecting Ukrainian democracy" but about "geopolitical goals";
  • in reality, if American and European politicians declare it, it can help Putin domestically. For now, most Russians are passive and uninvolved.

And the "good Russians" who could hypothetically come to power after Putin – who recognize, at least in words, the injustice of the war, the inadmissibility of the occupation, and the need to pay reparations – is an acceptable picture of the future for most elites and most voters. Even if it is a myth. That is why all of these oppositionists live very well in the Czech Republic, Lithuania, or the Netherlands (countries that undoubtedly support Ukraine). And they work there for the Russian audience. And no one is really going to send them anywhere.

“The "good Russians" who could hypothetically come to power after Putin – who recognize, at least in words, the injustice of the war, the inadmissibility of the occupation, and the need to pay reparations – are an acceptable picture of the future for most elites and most voters”

And when someone writes: "The Ukrainian government must defend the position of destroying Russia" or "We must prove to the West that Russia cannot be normal, it must be disarmed and destroyed," they are advising harmful things. Because this is a direct step towards allowing our opponents to sell our inadequacy.

Ukraine now has a very clear and fair goal in the war: to get back everything it owns, to receive reparations and to punish war criminals. And there is a struggle even over elements of these three obvious points. For example, around Crimea. And any story about "collapse and destruction" automatically makes us more toxic than necessary. Because, let me remind you, just "yesterday" Biden said that even "changing the Russian regime is not the goal of the United States in supporting Ukraine."

Yes, as I wrote at the beginning, chaos, civil war, and collapse are quite possible in Russia.  But no one is doing more for the collapse and disintegration of Russia than Vladimir Putin and his entourage. And we should not interfere with them.


About the author. Yuriy Bohdanov, publicist, specialist in strategic communications in business, public administration and politics

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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