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Elections in Ukraine: a chance for Russia

"This is a true revolution!" – the refrain swept through the bourgeois mass media of the West and Russia. The discourse, naturally, is about the events in Ukraine. Journalists can be excused for this kind of reaction, of course; to them, any mass actions in favor of “democracy” mean revolution, and any actions against mean counterrevolution, putsch or coup. Recall the assessment given by Russia’s liberals and democrats: the events of February 1917 were a revolution; those of October of the same year were a coup. This is normal; that is what being lackeys to their masters is about.

It is, however, most amazing when left-wing-patriotic experts and analysts evaluate the current events in Ukraine in the same key. Apparently, they forgot that revolution or counterrevolution means seizing power with the intention of changing the existing socio-political system (replacing feudalism with capitalism, or capitalism with socialism, or – very rarely – the other way round). For example, in 1991-1993 a counterrevolution took place in USSR/Russia. The socialist system was demolished, and a capitalist system formed. However, the conflicting sides did not set this kind of goals for themselves either in Georgia last year or in Ukraine today. The capitalist system became established in both states after the collapse of the USSR – with some national peculiarities, of course. The dividing line in both conflicts was not about the social system – it was about geostrategic preferences. More exactly: the name of the fault line is “the West or Russia”.

Why did this become the line of fire, the fault line within the former Soviet republics?

Russia is a strategic adversary of the West

From the social perspective, the Western countries and Russia are all capitalist states – each with its own specificity and peculiarities, of course. Capitalisms differ both in type (the historical aspect) and in form (the national-geographic aspect). The capitalist kind is varied. There is the “golden billion” (the countries of Western Europe, North America and Japan) – the prosperous bunch; then there are capitalist paupers like India and Bangladesh; gangster-criminal capitalism in South America; feudal capitalism in the Middle East and South-West Asia; and even tribal capitalism in many African countries.

Finally, there is the Russian type: state-oligarchic capitalism, which turned a superpower into a marginal state, insignificant in all economic macro-indicators, with a population that is dying out. However, the specificity of Russia is that it, firstly, retains a military-strategic potential that is second only to the USA; secondly, it possesses a huge territory; thirdly, it can be reborn to superpower status any moment, should it return to the socialist road of development.

On the strength of all these reasons Russia remains a strategic adversary to the West – no matter how weakened, no matter which social system prevails in it. It is dangerous to the West - due not only to the unpredictability of its development; it is genetically alien to the West. The same applies to China; the historic battles against the latter are still ahead. That, however, is all in the future. In the current historical period, there is one target: Russia.

Democracy as the West’s main weapon

After the USSR was defeated in the Cold War, the West, led by the USA, obtained the unique opportunity to destroy Russia as a sovereign state. Its main weapon is not its military potential, and not even its overwhelming economic might. Its main weapon is Western-type democracy. Against the USSR, it proved more effective than wars and all sorts of economic sanctions and blockades. The peoples of Eastern Europe and the USSR “took the bait”.

The experience of demolishing the USSR based on “democracy” and “market economy” proved inspirational. Intoxicated by democracy, the criminal Gorbachev and his crew successfully broke the Soviet Union apart. The Baltic republics found themselves in the West. Then there was trained in the West, in the USA primarily, a bunch of young democrats who managed together with their boss Yeltsin to establish a capitalist system in Russia. American money was not wasted in this case. As a result, the great Russia disappeared, and the expended money was reimbursed a hundredfold in the form of the constant flight of capital from Russia to the West.

Next Americans applied their efforts to other former Soviet republics. They did not act everywhere directly or with a swoop; they took into account local specificity, so to say. They are not particularly concerned in Washington about democracy in Turkmenistan, since that land has oil and gas, plus the Turkmenbashi has preempted them by taking the initiative: he became a vice-regent of Allah and explained to Americans that his nation is still in its infancy, therefore it requires tight swaddling-clothes, not democracy. In Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan Americans likewise tread carefully, for Afghanistan is next door. Nonetheless, American military personnel are seen there regularly. In Kazakhstan for the time being the economic structure is being put right, so to say.

The USA is more active in the Caucasus region. Azerbaijan is within the zone of American control, Georgia is altogether “bagged” after the democratic “revolution of roses”. Only Armenia is left alone; it presents a more difficult task because of Turkey and Nagorny Karabakh.

However, the most important target right now is Ukraine. It is a strategic zone. In the West, no one even tries to hide their intention to tear it away from Russia; it suffices to browse the Western press. Take, for example, one of the latest issues of the English newsmagazine The Economist (November 27, 2004). In the editorial, one reads: "To acquiesce in an overt undermining of Ukraine's nascent democracy in the interests of realpolitik would not only be a miscalculation, as well as a bad example to set for other more-or-less authoritarian countries from the former Soviet Union. ... Should the worst happen in Ukraine (i.e. should Mr. Yanukovich become President – A.B.), then Americans and Europeans should not hesitate to punish those responsible, for instance by imposing visa bans, or freezing their assets abroad-the sorts of measures that have already been imposed on Belarus for its rigged elections."

Now one in the West is concerned about such trifles as interference in internal affairs of sovereign states. It is useless to express outrage at the double standard, for it does not even occur to the leaders of the West that they are in the wrong. The West makes no secret of the fact that it finances the champions of democracy in the East, while the USA openly passes a bill in support of “democracy” in Belarus, i.e. practically a law about overthrowing the political authority in that country.

The West has become so brazen about its right to interfere that it does not even conceal plans for such interference. Let me present here one phenomenal example. In 2001, I had a book published, titled The 21st Century: the World without Russia (Moscow: Alliance, 2001). In one of the chapters, I analyzed the Rand Corporation's Forecasts and Future Scenarios to Year 2025. This is what I said then on pp. 76-77:

“Russia has evolved its own variant of semi-authoritarian rule based on a strong president and market capitalism dominated by huge quasi-monopolist firms in key sectors. Fears of encirclement by hostile powers - aggravated by NATO’s expansion to include Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia in 1999 and continued talk in the West about admitting the Baltic states and Ukraine to the alliance—are a growing source of pressure in Moscow’s decision-making.

By 2005, Ukraine has made substantial progress toward building a bona fide state and a viable national economy, but the country remains poor by European standards and critically vulnerable to Russian pressure from a variety of sources, including dependence on Russian energy supplies, extensive Russian ownership in key economic sectors, penetration of Ukrainian offices by Russian intelligence, and dependence on Russian suppliers for arms and spare parts.

NATO has been weakened by the effects of enlargement and disputes among its members on a variety of issues such as containing Chinese expansion in Asia and deterring Iranian adventurism in the Gulf. Western Europe has established an energy community with Russia, from which it obtains an increasing share of its oil and natural gas.

In 2005, an anti-Western President triumphs in Russia, while Ukraine is suffering from the cyclical effects of a recession, etc. Gripped by anti-Russian sentiment, Western Ukraine is closely intertwined with Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia, while the eastern parts of the country maintain close cultural and economic ties with Russia. Many there believe that their interests are sacrificed in order to develop the Western parts of Ukraine. The problem of the Crimea worsens. In this situation, Moscow believes that Ukraine is allying itself with Turkey against Russia. The pro-Russian part of the population takes to the streets. Demonstrations are suppressed, with many people killed.

Russia then has no choice but to occupy the eastern part of Ukraine and Crimea, using rapid reaction forces. Russia’s air force neutralizes Ukraine’s air force on the ground and proceeds to attack key military targets.

Ukraine formally appeals for help to NATO, the United States, and the European Union.

The U.S. NSA (National Security Agency) orders the JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staff) to prepare to execute operations aimed at deterring further Russian aggression and restoring the territorial status quo. Once this is accomplished, the outbreak of a major civil war in Ukraine is prevented.

The EU and NATO response to the crisis has been tepid, at best. The German government blames Ukraine for setting off the confrontation. The remainder of Western Europe appears inclined to follow Germany’s lead. Within pre-1999 NATO, only the United States, Great Britain, and Turkey are urging a forceful military response.

Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary have also called for a strong Western response to defend the Ukraine against Russian aggression. However, Warsaw in particular makes clear that its support is contingent upon broad alliance support involving Germany and other European allies, as well as the United States; Poland does not want to stand alone as a forward U.S. base in a Russo-American war. There is a possibility, however, that a strong and forceful U.S. response could rally Poland.

* * *

I remind the reader that the book about the possible conflicts was published in 1998, while the material was most likely submitted in 1997. The latter scenario – war between Russia and Ukraine – unfolds in 2005. One can claim with certainty that these forecasts will not come true.

These are my comments made five years ago. Today I would not be so rash in my assessments. I believe now that such scenarios are not merely fantasy games played by scholars. These are well worked-up policy variants, prepared well in advance.

Nonetheless, everything said above does not mean that I condemn the West for its policies toward Russia, Ukraine or Belarus. In their place, I would have done the same; not just because I would have viewed Russia as a strategic adversary, but also because the very might of the West, especially the USA, pushes it toward expansion and aggression. At this point, the objective law of force goes in effect: by its very nature, force – be it in nature or in society – seeks expansion. Any weakness provokes its nature. A force can only be stopped by an adequate counter-force, not by anything like justice, fairness or other such nonsense.

What is the attraction of democracy?

The question arises naturally: why does Western-style democracy work so effectively? At least in the reaches of the former USSR, that is. Why do masses of people fill city squares “in defense” of democracy?

It is because these masses link democratic forms of government closely to prosperity of a country’s economy and its citizens’ lives. It was impressed on these masses that the West’s prosperity is due precisely to democracy. The masses do not know that the largest democratic state in the world is India, where there is no hint of prosperity – same as in all other formally democratic countries outside the limits of the “golden billion”.

Neither do these masses understand that within that same “golden billion” democracy has been absent for a long time now. It was replaced by a dictatorship of the state-monopolistic bourgeoisie, a dictatorship of the ruling elite of the Western societies that has mastered the mechanism of manipulating mass consciousness. As a result, the populace is perfectly dumbed-down to the degree that it resembles zombies; this was described very convincingly by H. Marcuse a while ago in his book One Dimensional Man. This populace has been reduced to the state of farm animals, content with “bread and circuses”. The West produces “circuses” (sports, dumb popular entertainment, all manner of perversions, etc.) itself, while “bread” is supplied to it by the Third World. The ruling elite have perfected the technologies of “bread and circuses”. The former no longer is produced just by exploiting their own populations; the rest of the world is now exploited as well - through the means of the infamous globalization, among other things. This is precisely why almost a billion people around the world subsist on a dollar a day, and other three billion manage with just two dollars a day. By exploiting Africa, Asia, Latin America, and now Russia as well, the West is able to “feed up” 60 to 70% of its “middle class”. In the current historical conditions, the West’s prosperity is no longer related in any way to “democracy”.

These things are well understood by the opposition forces in Western societies, where the most educated part of the population has started shifting politically to the left. This is evidenced by the noticeably growing activity of communist and socialist forces not just in Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, but even in the USA, where the communitarian movement widens and deepens.

In Russia, they do not know of all these things; neither do they in Ukraine. This is why a substantial part of the population, especially the youth, pin their hopes on democracy. The West expends any amount of funds in order to instill illusions about democracy in the consciousness of the populations of “authoritarian and totalitarian” societies.

Democracy in itself is neither good nor bad. It is a historical consept that designates a form of authority. It emerged in ancient Greece and changed its content many times over the course of history; the area of its application always remained confined to Europe and, after a while, to North America. In the East, democracy was practically never present. This is no accident, for the climatic and geographic conditions in most countries of the East always required authoritarian, centralized forms of authority. Even in the modern era, the “democracies” in East Asia, including Japan, are cardinally different from the Western variants; to say nothing of the “democracies” in South Asia or the Middle East. Since “democracy” and the East are incompatible, the introduction of Western-style democracy to Eastern societies leads to their destruction – or to imposition of the West’s control over them. This is precisely why the Western elites work so enthusiastically to foist their democracy on the East; it ensures their domination over the countries of that region. To the West, Russia is East. The democratic weapon worked magnificently in this case.

In other words, a substantial part of the East’s population views democracy as synonymous with prosperity, while the Western elite sees it as the most effective weapon for demolishing that very East.

What did the elections in Ukraine show?

Neither one of the candidates had a clear social-economic platform, but their geostrategic orientation was expressed quite clearly. One is oriented toward the West, the other toward the East (=Russia). Accordingly, the Western regions vote for Yuschenko, the Eastern regions for Yanukovich. In this connection, I want to draw your attention to one curious fact. The election in question reflected – seemingly by chance, but in fact by regularity – the strategic apportionment in the world. The West today is a robber, an exploiter, a parasite-consumer. The East is a laborer, a producer. I did not invent this – I merely summarized. In the “World Economy Review” of that same Economist magazine (2 October 2004) the USA is designated as the world consumer, and China as the world producer. As a result the intra-national contradictions between labor and capital, uncovered by Marx in his time, have now acquired an international aspect in the form of the worldwide contradiction between the West=capital and the East=labor.

In Ukraine, this scheme is reproduced in miniature: the western part of the country is represented by students, intelligentsia, government bureaucrats; the eastern part – by workers, i.e. labor. Democracy is usually promoted by the well-fed (it suffices to look at the mugs of Russia’s democratic leaders); the hungry fight for life, bread and work. As the saying goes, “the sated cannot understand the hungry”. The confrontation is inevitable. However, this is not the only thing: the workers feel by instinct – and many of them probably do understand – that Yuschenko, as a man of liberal views, will start mass privatization - which he will be bound to do anyway by his masters in the West. That will lead to mass unemployment; so here is another important factor of the confrontation. However, the most important factor may be the historical one. Western Ukraine always gravitated to the European heel: it was subjected to Lithuania, then to Poland, and even to Tartars for a while when those held sway over Eastern Europe. Eastern Ukraine was always historically tied to Russia.

Modern Ukraine is an artificial formation. It does not comprise a single nation. The current elections merely confirmed this reality once again. I have no need even of analyzing the leaders’ personalities or the mechanism of the elections, the falsifications, and the rest. Regardless of who eventually becomes President, this country will split anyway: if not today, then tomorrow; if not tomorrow, then the day after. Only the Soviet authority could contain it within a single space. Now that the Soviets are gone, the split cannot be avoided. However, the current leaders of the opposing camps refuse to admit this, thus prolonging the agony of demarcation.

What should Russia do in the current situation?

I am no supporter of the existing regime in Russia, and I am an opponent of modern capitalism in principle, in any form. However, there have always been, and still are, the country’s geostrategic interests. The current events in Ukraine are not any kind of revolution; they are a continuation of the policy of the West, primarily the USA, directed at destroying Russia as a sovereign state. Ukraine is an intermediate stage on this course. Should the West succeed in the Ukrainian sector, the scenario further envisions a policy of tearing away regions of Russia proper – starting, for example, with the Far East. In order to frustrate the USA and its satellites, Russia requires an equally tough and determined policy toward the West. I know full well how strongly Russia is bound to the West both economically and politically. I am also fully aware that Russia’s liberal-democratic elite is a “fifth column” for the USA and Western Europe. They are united in their strategic goal: they have no need of Russia as a sovereign state. They want Russia’s territory to be divided into spheres of influence by different countries of the “golden billion”, with their comprador vassals formally in charge. However much I criticize the current President and the policies of official Moscow, his attempts to “put the heat” on the oligarchic structures and to strengthen the state’s control over governors should certainly be welcomed.

The current situation in Ukraine offers Moscow a rare opportunity to start a strategic turnaround in the development of Russia and certain other former republics of the USSR. Since the West has no qualms about applying pressure to Russia, Belarus and now Ukraine, Russia must not be shy to resist this pressure. In the current stalemate situation in Ukraine, the thing to do is the simplest one: let Putin, Yanukovich and Lukashenko get together and sign a Treaty of restoration of allied relations between the three sister countries-republics. Just as it was done a while ago by B. Yeltsin, L. Kravchuk and S. Shushkevich, except with the opposite goals this time. However, since this turn of events will cause the western Ukrainians to rebel, it is necessary to proclaim the secession of the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine and their forming into an independent state, allied with Russia and Belarus. The western Ukrainians will then be told that oil, gas and coal will from now on be supplied to them by their beloved West. Period.

Should NATO attempt to send its troops to Ukraine, Russia must right away have its troops occupy the territory of Eastern Ukraine. Should Russia fail to do so, there will be NATO troops quartered in Kharkov and Lugansk.

There is no need to fear the West: it is itself in deep doo-doo. It is currently not capable of any military or economic sanctions. Russia has more possibilities for response; “the gas tap” alone is worth a lot.

Of course, the West will have a fit of hysterics about democracy, together with its liberal-clients in Russia. That will be an excellent excuse for putting these clients in prison and advising the West to direct its attention to Iraq, where it intends to stage “democratic” elections. Russia should react less to the West’s motions. They will holler for a while and then stop. They have their hands full with their own problems.

Should anyone accuse me of incitement, I hereby inform the reader that I am only following the example of the Western press. In that same issue of The Economist one reads: "Above all, the European Union should look for ways to repeat the trick it has managed so successfully with central Europe and, more recently, with Turkey: to dangle the prospect of membership, however distant, as a lure that pulls Ukraine, whoever turns out really to have won this time, more firmly towards liberal democracy." That is, toward the West, with the prospect of joining NATO. If this prospect suits some people, they are welcome to it. If not, then there is need to unite. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have been given a historical chance for rebirth. It would be criminal to miss this chance. But miss it they will!

* * *

This is because “they” – the current leaders of Russia and Ukraine, at least – are not statesmen of historic stature, responsible to their respective peoples. They are nondescript politicians whose main concern is amassing personal wealth. These nonentities are not capable in principle of accomplishing historic tasks. This is why the number one task in these countries is to promote political titans who are capable of extracting Russia and Ukraine from that mess in which they currently find themselves.

December 1, 2004

Oleg Arin