What is going on, what are the Russians up to?

What is going on, what are the Russians up to?

Peter Akopov

Kazakhstani events cannot be analyzed and evaluated separately from what the West calls “Putin’s ultimatum”, that is, Russia’s demands to the United States to abandon Ukraine and the post-Soviet space, and the Russian-American negotiations that have begun. But the connection here is not at all what it seems.
The Kazakhstan incident is already being considered as preparation for a big bargaining between Moscow and Washington : the West tried to use the unrest in the republic in its own interests, to play out its own scenario, but Russia promptly came to the aid of the authorities of the neighboring country, who had fallen into a daze, and thereby extinguished the dangerous turmoil. They argue about who benefits from this in the end: Russia, which has confirmed its influence in the post-Soviet space, or the United States, which has received an additional opportunity to portray Moscow as an aggressor? However, it is not so important what our paratroopers are actually doing in Kazakhstan – for the Europeans, whom the Anglo-Saxons had been preparing for the Russian invasion of Ukraine for several months, everything is already clear with the “occupiers”.
But although the United States is really now exploiting the topic “it is very difficult to get rid of Russian troops,” the main meaning of the Kazakhstani events for them is different: they are finally convinced that Russia is restoring its influence in the post-Soviet space. That is, “Putin’s ultimatum” is not accidental and does not at all look like a bluff, so the Americans begin negotiations with Moscow in an uncomfortable atmosphere of uncertainty. What is going on, what are the Russians up to?
Reconstruction of the USSR ? On Sunday, CNN was asked about this by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and he readily agreed.
“I think this is so, this is one of the goals of President Putin. And this means restoring a sphere of influence over countries that were previously part of the Soviet Union.”
But, as Blinken immediately added, “the revival of the USSR is unacceptable.” That is, as they like to repeat in Washington for the past ten years, “we will not allow you to do this.”
But the main foreign policy strategist of the previous administration (albeit one that played its own game in it), former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, is precisely afraid that they will be allowed if they react incorrectly to Kazakhstani events. In Sunday’s article in The Wall Street Journal, “Is the Crisis in Kazakhstan a Rebirth of the Soviet Union?” Bolton warned:
“ NATO’s toughness now could make Putin’s expansionist goals unattainable. But if NATO confines itself to rhetoric about an ‘international order based on rules’ and calling on all parties to ‘exercise restraint’, historians may later refer to the Kazakh crisis as the moment when the Soviet Union rose ash “.
To prevent the return of the USSR, Bolton implores “not to give in to Putin’s demands, especially his insistence that NATO commit itself not to expand further east.” He does not demand to immediately admit Ukraine to NATO (realizing all the unreality of this), but proposes “to urgently develop a strategy for the former Soviet republics that are not members of the alliance. It is not enough just to say that we have no treaty obligations to protect them, which ignores strategic reality.”…
It turns out, in his opinion, that it is necessary to deny Moscow guarantees of non-advancement to the east and develop a strategy for protecting the post-Soviet space from the Russians, otherwise they will revive the Soviet Union.
Yes, Bolton believes in the ability of the Atlanticists to keep in their sphere of influence a part of the post-Soviet space (at least Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova ), and for this it is now necessary to firmly “send” Putin with his demands for security guarantees. More realistic NATO members fear that by insisting on the atlantization of Ukraine (albeit a postponed one), the West itself will accelerate the process of reintegration of the post-Soviet space. After all, Moscow will finally be convinced that they absolutely do not want to reckon with its interests, and will do everything to deprive the alliance of the opportunity to play the Ukrainian card.
What can I say here? The restoration of Russia’s geopolitical control over the post-Soviet space will indeed take place – you can call it the revival of the USSR, but we will talk about the construction of the Eurasian Union. The West can harshly obstruct (despite its own crisis and the change in the model of the world order, it has some more time for this), it can make loud statements and scare everyone with the Russian threat – all this is not so important.
Because the restoration of the Russian geopolitical space (not to mention the return of Ukraine) is not a whim of Putin or Moscow’s hegemonic manners, but the restoration of the natural course of national history. We do not take anything from anyone, we only restore what was temporarily lost. And this meets the interests of not only Russians, as the events in Kazakhstan have clearly shown.
How much concern (largely fair, but partly exaggerated) that we are losing Central Asia ? In the same Kazakhstan, the positions of the West, Turkey, China are strengthening, and we are being ousted, and soon we will lose everything. But a crisis sets in (and it doesn’t even matter what contributed to it to a greater extent: internal problems or external intrigues), and it turns out that only Russia is capable of stopping from slipping into chaos and confusion.
Because we have a really working state and a tradition of statehood, there is an understanding of the community of destinies and interests with neighboring states – and even responsibility for them. Because their peace of mind is a matter of our security, and because we have millions of immigrants from there, and because we understand that global circumstances do not provide for the post-Soviet republics the option of “just independent, independent of anyone.”
But how well do the peoples of the post-Soviet states themselves understand this? After all, both local elites and external forces have been teaching them for many years that they are the greatest, independent and deserving of a better life, and some external players explain all the problems by the legacy of the Russian occupation or the intrigues of the Kremlin. Propaganda, of course, affects a part of society, and we need to consistently push the local elites to adjust ideology and education, including in matters of presenting our common past, because when the moment of truth comes, it is Moscow that is asked for help. And because it will not deceive, and because there are common threats, and because the historical memory and the common future, no matter how our, also common, ill-wishers try to prevent it.

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