While tensions have reached some sort of climax over the Syrian issue, problems between Russia and the USA are really nothing new. A quick look at the recent past will show that the western corporate media has been engaged in a sustained strategic campaign to identify and exploit any possible weaknesses in the Russian "political armor" and to paint Russia like a very nasty, undemocratic and authoritarian country, in other words a threat to the West. Let me mention a few episodes of this Russia-bashing campaign (in no particular order):
- Berezovsky as a "persecuted" businessman
- Politkovskaya "murdered by KGB goons"
- Khodorkovsky jailed for his love of "liberty"
- Russia's "aggression" against Georgia
- The Russian "genocidal" wars against the Chechen people
- "Pussy Riot" as "prisoners of conscience"
- Litvinenko "murdered by Putin"
- Russian homosexuals "persecuted" and "mistreated" by the state
- Magnitsky and the subsequent "Magnitsky law"
- Snowden as a "traitor hiding in Russia"
- The "stolen elections" to the Duma and the Presidency
- The "White Revoluton" on the Bolotnaya square
- The "new Sakharov" - Alexei Navalnyi
- Russia's "support for Assad", the (Chemical) "Butcher of Damascus"
- The Russian constant "intervention" in Ukrainian affairs
- The "complete control" of the Kremlin over the Russian media
In many ways, this is rather reminiscent of how things stood during the Cold War where the West used its immense propaganda resources to demonize the Soviet Union and to support anti-Soviet forces worldwide, including inside the USSR itself. I would argue that these efforts were, by and large, very successful and that by 1990s the vast majority of Soviets, including Russians, were rather disgusted with their leaders. So why the big difference today?
To answer that question, we need to look back at the processes which took place in Russia in the last 20 years or so because only a look at what happened during these two decades will allows us to get to the root of the current problem(s) between the USA and Russia.
When did the Soviet Union truly disappear?
The official date of the end of the Soviet Union is 26 December 1991, the day of the adoption by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union of the Declaration № 142-Н which officially recognized dissolution of the Soviet Union as a state and subject of international law. But that is a very superficial, formal, view of things. One could argue that even though the Soviet Union had shrunk to the size of the Russian Federation it still survived within these smaller borders. After all, the laws did not change overnight, neither did most of the bureaucracy, and even though the Communist Party itself had been banned following the August 1991 coup, the rest of the state apparatus still continued to exist.
For Eltsin and his supporters this reality created a very difficult situation. Having banned the CPUS and dismantled the KGB, Eltsin's liberals still face a formidable adversary: the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation, the Parliament of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, elected by the Congress of People's Deputies of the Russian Federation. Nobody had abolished this *very* Soviet institution which rapidly became the center of almost all of the anti-Eltsin and pro-Soviet forces in the country. I cannot go in all the details of this legal nightmare, suffice to say that the Supreme Soviet presented itself as the "Russian Parliament" (which is not quite true) and that its members engaged in a systematic campaign to prevent Eltsin to implement his "reforms" (in hindsight, one could say that they tried to prevent Eltsin from ruining the country). One could say that the "new Russia" and the "old USSR" were fighting each other for the future of the country. Predictably, the Supreme Soviet wanted a parliamentary democracy while Eltsin and his liberals wanted a presidential democracy. The two sides presented what appeared to be a stark contrast to most Russians:
1) The Russian President Eltsin: officially he represented Russia, as opposed to the Soviet Union; he presented himself as an anti-Communist and as a democrat (nevermind that he himself had been a high ranking member of the CPSU and even a non-voting member to the Politburo!). Eltsin was also clearly the darling of the West and he promised to integrate Russia into the western world.
2) The Supreme Soviet: headed by Ruslan Khasbulatov with the support of the Vice-President of Russia, Alexander Rutskoi, the Supreme Soviet became the rallying point of all those who believed that the Soviet Union had been dissolved illegally (which is true) and against the will of the majority of its people (which is also true). Most, though not all, the supporters of the Supreme Soviet were if not outright Communists, then at least socialists and anti-capitalists. A good part of the rather disorganized Russian nationalist movement also supported the Supreme Soviet.
We all know what eventually happened: Eltsin crushed the opposition in a huge bloodbath, far worse than what was reported in the Western (or even Russian) media. I write that with a high degree of confidence because I have personally received this information from a very good source: it so happens that I was in Moscow during those tragic days and that and I was in constant contact with a Colonel of a rather secretive special forces unit of the KGB called "Vympel" (more about that below) who told me that the internal KGB estimate of the number of people killed in the Moscow Oblast was close to 3'000 people. I can also personally attest that the combats lasted for far longer than the official narrative clams: I witnessed a very sustained machine gun battle right under my windows a full 5 days after the Supreme Soviet had surrendered. I want to stress this here because I think that this illustrates an often overlooked reality: the so-called "constitutional crisis of 1993" was really a mini civil war for the fate of the Soviet Union and only by the end of this crisis did the Soviet Union really truly disappear.
In the days preceeding the tank assault against the Supreme Soviet I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with supporters of the President and the Supreme Soviet. I took the time to engage them in long conversations to try to find out for myself what each side stood for and whether I should side with either party. The conclusion I came to was a rather sad one: both sides were primarily composed of ex- (or not ex-) Communists, both sides claimed that they were defending democracy and both sides accused each other of being Fascists. In reality both sides were in reality very much alike. I think that I was not the only person to feel that way in these days and I suspect that most of the people of Russia deeply felt this and ended up being really disgusted with all of the politicians involved.
I would like to share one more personal anecdote here: these tragic days were personally quite amazing for me. Here I was, a young man born in a family of rabidly anti-Soviet Russian emigrés, who has spent many years fighting to Soviet system and, especially, the KGB. And yet, ironically, I ended up spending most of my time in the company of a Colonel of a special forces unit of the KGB (how we met is a long story for another post). Even more amazing for me was the fact that for all our differences, we had the exact same reaction to the events taking place before our eyes. We both decided that we could not side with either party engaged in this conflict - both sides were equally repugnant to us. I was in his apartment when he received a call from the KGB headquarters ordering to show up at a location downtown to prepare a special forces assault against the "White House" (that was the street nickname of the Russian Parliament building) - he refused to obey, told his bosses to get lost, and hung up. He was not alone in that decision: just as in 1991, neither the Russian paratroopers nor the special forces agreed to shoot at their own people (others, supposedly "democratic" forces showed no such scruples). Instead of obeying his bosses orders, my new friend took the time to give me some very valuable advice about how to safely get a relative of mine out of Moscow without getting shot or detained (being a native Russian speaker with a foreign passport was not a very safe thing in these days).
I wanted to retell this story here because it shows something very important: by 1993 a vast majority of Russians, even exiled emigrés and KGB special forces Colonels, were deeply disgusted and fed up with both parties to this crisis. In a way, one could say that most Russians were waiting for a THIRD force to appear on the political scene.
From 1993 to 1999 - a democratic nightmare
After the crushing of the opposition by Eltsin's thugs, the gates of Hades truly opened for Russia: the entire country was taken over by various Mafias and the vast natural resources were pillaged by (mostly Jewish) oligarchs. The so-called "privatization" of the Russian economy created both a new class of multi-millionaires and many tens of millions of very poor people who could barely survive. A huge crime wave overtook every city, the entire infrastructure of the country collapsed and many regions of Russia began actively planning their secession from the Russian Federation. Chechnia was allowed to secede from the Russian Federation after a grotesque and bloody war which saw the Russian military back-stabbed by the Kremlin. And throughout these truly hellish years, the Western elites gave their fullest support to Eltsin and his oligarchs. The only exception to this love-fest was the political, economic and military support given by the Anglosphere to the Chechen insurgency. Eventually, what had to happen did happen: the country declared bankruptcy in 1998 by devaluing the Ruble and defaulting on its debt. Though we will never know for sure, I firmly believe that by 1999 Russia was only a few steps away from completely disappearing as a country and as a nation.
The legacy left by the liberals/democrats
Having crushed the opposition in 1993, the Russian liberals acquired the complete freedom to write a new constitution which would perfectly suit their purpose, and with their typical short-sightedness they adopted a new Constitution which gave immense powers to the President and really very little to the new Parliament, the Russian Duma. They even went as far as abolishing the post of Vice-President (they did not want another Rutskoi to sabotage their plans).
And yet, in the 1996 Presidential elections the liberals almost lost it all. To their horror, the Communist Candidate Gennadi Zuiganov won most of the votes in the 1st round, which forced the liberals to do two things: first, of course, they falsified the officials results and, second, they passed an alliance with a rather popular Army General, Alexander Lebed. These two moves made it possible for them to declare that they had won the 2nd round (even though in reality Ziuganov won). Here again, the West fully supported Eltsin. Well, why not? Having given Eltsin full support for his bloody crackdown on the supporters of the Supreme Soviet, why not also support Eltisin in a stolen election, right? In for a dime, in for a dollar.
Eltsin himself, however spent most of his time drinking himself to death and it soon became rather clear that he would not last very long. Panic seized the liberal camp which ended up committing a huge mistake: they allowed a little-known and rather unimpressive bureaucrat from Saint Petersburg to replace Eltsin as Acting President: Vladimir Putin.
Putin was a quiet, low key, competent bureaucrat whose main quality appeared to be his lack of a strong personality, or so did the liberals think. And, boy, was that one big miscalculation!
As soon as he was appointed, Putin acted with lightening speed. He immediately surprised everybody by becoming personally involved the the 2nd Chechen war. Unlike his predecessor, Putin gave all the freedom to the military commanders to wage this war as they wanted. The Putin surprized everybody again when he made a truly historic deal with Ahmad Hadji Kadyrov to bring peace to Chechnia even though the latter had been a leader of the insurgency during the first Chechen war.
Putin's popularity soared and he immediately used that to his advantage.
In an amazing twist of history, Putin used the Constitution developed and adopted by the Russian liberals to implement a very rapid series of crucial reforms and to eliminate the power basis of the liberals: the Jewish oligarchs (Berezovksy, Khorodkovsky, Fridman, Gusinsky, etc.). He also passed many laws destined to "strengthen the vertical power" which gave the Federal Center direct control over the local administrations. This, in turn, not only crushed many of the local Mafias who had managed to corrupt and infiltrate the local authorities, it also rapidly stopped all the various secessionist movements inside Russia. Finally, he used what is called the "administrative resource" to create his United Russia party and to give it the full support from the state. The irony here is that Putin would never have never succeeded in these efforts had the Russian liberals not created a hyper-Presidential Constitution which gave Putin the means to achieve his goals. To paraphrase Lenin, I would say that the Russian liberals gave Putin the rope to hang them.
The West, of course, rapidly understood what was going on, but it was too late: the liberals had lost power forever (God willing!) and the country was clearly being taken over by a third, previously unseen, force.
Who really put Putin into power?
That is the $10'000 question. Formally, the official answer is straightforward: Eltsin's entourage. Still, it is rather obvious that some other unidentified group of people managed to brilliantly con the liberals into letting the fox inside their hen house.
Now remember that the pro-Soviet forces were comprehensively defeated in 1993. So this was not the result of some nostalgic revanchists who wanted to resurrect the old Soviet Union. So no need to look to the this camp who, in fact, has mostly remained opposed to Putin to this day. So who else then?
It was an alliance of two forces, really: elements of the ex "PGU KGB SSSR" and a number of key industrial and financial leaders. Let's take then one by one:
The first force was the PGU KGB SSSR: the foreign intelligence branch of the Soviet KGB. It's official name was First Chief Directorate of the Committee of State Security of the USSR. This would be the rough equivalent of the British MI6. This was beyond any doubt the most elite part of the KGB, and also its most autonomous one (it even had its own headquarters in the south of Moscow). Though the PGU dealt with a number of issues, it was also very closely linked to, and interested by, the the world of big business, in the USSR and abroad. Since the PGU had nothing to do with the KGB's most ugly activities such as the persecution of dissidents (that was the role of the 5th Directorate) and since it has little to do with internal security (that was the prerogative of the 2nd Chief Directorate), it was not high on the list of institutions to reform simply because it was not hated as much as the more visible part of the KGB.
The second force which put Putin in power was constituted by young people coming from key ministries of the former Soviet Union which dealt with industrial and financial issues and which hated Eltsin's Jewish oligarchs. Unlike Eltsin's oligarchs, these young leaders did not want to simply pillage all the resources of Russia and later retire in the US or Israel, but they did want Russia to become a powerful market economy integrated into the international financial system.
Later, the first group would turn into what I call the "Eurasian Sovereignists" while the second one would become what I call "Atlantic Integrationists" (please see here and here for an explanation of these terms). We could think of them as the "Putin people" and the "Medvedev people".
Lastly, it should not be overlooked that there is, of course, a third force which threw its full support behind this Putin-Medvedev tandem - the Russian people themselves who have, so far, always voted to keep them in power.
An absolutely brilliant formula but which has now outlived its shelf life
There is no doubt in my mind that the idea to create this "tandem" has been nothing short of brilliant: Putin would cater to the nationalists, Medvedev to the more liberally oriented folk. Putin would get the support of the "power ministries" (defense, security, intelligence) while Medvedev would get the support of the business community. Putin could scare the local authorities into compliance with the orders from the federal center, while Medvedev would make the US and EU feel good at Davos. Or, let's put it this way: who would be against the Putin & Medvedev duo? Diehard supporters of the Soviet Union, rabid xenophobic nationalists, rabid pro-US liberals and Jewish exiles. That's pretty much it, and that ain't much.
By the way - what do we see in today's opposition? A Communist Party catering to those nostalgic of the Soviet era, a Liberal-Democratic Party catering to the nationalists, and a pretty small "Just Russia" party whose sole purpose appear to be to take votes off the other two and coopt some of the rabid liberals. In other words, Medvedev and Putin have basically eliminated any type of credible opposition.
As I have mentioned in past posts, there are now clear signs of serious tensions between the "Eurasian Sovereignists" and the "Atlantic Integrationists" to the point that Putin has now created his own movement (the "All-Russia People's Front", created by Putin in 2011 (again, for background on that please see here and here).
Having looked at the complex processes which ended up creating the Putin Presidency in Russia, we need to look at what took place in the USA during the same time period.
In the meantime - the US gets Neoconned
Unlike the Soviet Union which basically disappeared from the map of our planet, the USA "won" the Cold War (this is not factually quite true, but this is how many Americans see it) and having become the last and only real super-power the US immediately embarked on a series of external wars to establish its "full spectrum dominance" over the planet, especially after the events of 9/11 which deeply transformed the nature of the US society itself.
Sill, the post 9/11 society has its roots in a far more distant past: the Reagan years.
During the Presidency of Ronald Reagan a group which later become known as the "Necons" made a strategic decision to take over the Republican Party, its affiliated institutions and think tanks. While in the past ex-Trotskyites had been more inclined to support the putatively more Left-leaning Democratic Party, the "new and improved GOP" under Reagan offered the Neocons some extremely attractive features:
1) Money: Reagan was an unconditional supporter of big business and the corporate world. His mantra "government is the problem" fitted perfectly with the historical closeness of the Neocons with the Robber Barons, Mafia bosses and big bankers. For them, de-regulation meant freedom of action, something which was bound to make speculators and Wall Street wise guys immensely rich.
2) Violence: Reagan also firmly stood behind the US Military-Industrial complex and a policy of intervention in any country on the planet. That fascination with brute force and, let be honest here, terrorism also fitted the Trotskyite-Neocon mindset perfectly.
3) Illegality: Reagan did not care at all about the law, be it international law or domestic law. Sure, as long as the law happens to be advantageous to US or GOP interests, it was upheld with great ceremony. But if it didn't, the Reaganites would break it with no compunction whatsoever.
4) Arrogance: under Reagan, patriotism and feel-good imperial hubris reached a new height. More than ever before, the US saw itself as not only the "Leader of the Free World" protecting the planet against the "Evil Empire", but also as unique and superior to the rest of mankind (like in the Ford commercial of the 1980s: "we're number one, second to none!")
5) Systematic deception: under Reagan lying turned from an occasional if regular tactics used in politics to the key form of public communication: Reagan, and his administration, could say one thing and then deny it in the same breath. They could make promises which were clearly impossible to keep (Star Wars anybody?). They could solemnly take an oath and than break it (Iran-Contra). And, if confronted by proof of these lies, all Reagan had to do is to say: "well, no, I don't remember".
6) Messianism: not only did Reagan get a huge support basis amongst the various crazy religious denominations in the USA (including all of the Bible Belt), Reagan also promoted a weird can of secular Messianism featuring a toxic mix of xenophobia bordering on racism with a narcissistic fascination with anything patriotic, no matter how stupid, bordering on self-worship.
So let's add it all up:
Money+violence+illegality+arrogance+deception+Messianism equals what?
Does that not all look very, very familiar? Is that not a perfect description of Zionism and Israel?
No wonder the Neocons flocked in greater and greater number to this new GOP! Reagan's GOP was the perfect Petri dish for the Zionist bacteria to grow, and grow it really did. A lot.
I think that it would be reasonable to say that the USA underwent a two-decades long process of "Zionisation" which culminated in the grand 9/11 false flag operation in which the PNAC-types basically used their access to the centers of power in the USA, Israel and the KSA to conjure up a new enemy - "Islamo-Fascist Terror" - which would not only justify a planetary war against "terrorism" (the GWOT) but also an unconditional support for Israel.
There were also losers in this evolution, primarily what I call the "old Anglo camp" which basically lost control of most of its domestic political power and all of its foreign policy power: for the first time a new course in foreign policy gradually began to take shape under the leadership of a group of people which would in time be identified as "Israel Firsters". For a short time the old Anglos seemed to have retaken the reigns of power - under George Bush Senior - only to immediately loose it again with the election of Bill Clinton. But the apogee of Ziocon power was only reached under the Presidency of George W. Bush who basically presided over a massive purge of Anglos from key positions in government (especially the Pentagon and the CIA). Predictably, having the folks which Bush Senior called "the crazies in the basement" actually in power rapidly brought the USA to the edge of a global collapse: externally the massive worldwide sympathy for the USA after 911 turned into a tsunami of loathing and resentment, while internally the country was faced with a massive banking crisis which almost resulted the imposition of martial law over the USA.
In comes Barak Obama - "change we can believe in!"
The election of Barak Obama to the White House truly was a momentous historical event. Not only because a majority White population had elected a Black man to the highest office in the country (this was really mainly an expression of despair and of a deep yearning for change), but because after one of the most effective PR campaigns in history, the vast majority of Americans and many, if not most, people abroad, really, truly believed that Obama would make some deep, meaningful changes. The disillusion with Obama was as great as the hopes millions had in him. I personally feel that history will remember Obama not only as one of the worst Presidents in history, but also, and that is more important, as the last chance for the "system" to reform itself. That chance was missed. And while some, in utter disgust, described Obama as "Bush light", I think that his Presidency can be better described as "more of the same, only worse".
Having said that, there is something which, to my absolute amazement, Obama's election did achieve: the removal of (most, but not all) Neocons from (most, but not all) key positions of power and a re-orientation of (most, but not all) of US foreign policy in a more traditional "USA first" line, usually supported by the "old Anglo" interests. Sure, the Neocons are still firmly in control of Congress and the US corporate media, but the Executive Branch is, at least for the time being, back under Anglo control (this is, of course, a generalization: Dick Cheney was neither Jewish nor Zionist, while the Henry Kissinger can hardly be described as an "Anglo"). And even though Bibi Netanyahu got more standing ovations in Congress (29) than any US President, the attack on Iran he wanted so badly did not happen. Instead, Hillary and Petraeus got kicked out, and Chuck Hagel and John Kerry got in. That is hardly "change we can believe in", but at least this shows that the Likud is not controlling the White House any more.
Of course, this is far from over. If anything the current game of chicken played between the White House and Congress over the budget with its inherent risk of a US default shows that this conflict is far from settled.
The current real power matrix in the USA and Russia
We have shown that there two unofficial parties in Russia which are locked in a deadly conflict for power, the "Eurasian Sovereignists" and "Atlantic Integrationists". There are also two unofficial parties in the USA who are also locked in a deadly conflict for power: the Neocons and the "old Anglos imperialists". I would argue that, at least for the time being, the "Eurasian Sovereignists" and the "old Anglos" have prevailed over their internal competitor but that the Russian "Eurasian Sovereignists" are in a far stronger position that the American "old Anglos". There are two main reasons for that:
1) Russia has already had its economic collapse and default and
2) a majority of Russians fully support President Putin and his "Eurasian Sovereignist" policies.
In contrast, the USA is on the brink of an economic collapse and the 1% clique which is running the USA is absolutely hated and despised by most Americans.
After the immense and, really, heart-breaking disillusionment with Obama, more and more Americans are becoming convinced that changing the puppet in the White House is meaningless and that what the US really needs is regime change.
The USSR and the USA - back to the future?
It is quite amazing for those who remember the Soviet Union of the late 1980 how much the US under Obama has become similar to the USSR under Brezhnev: internally it is characterized by a general sense of disgust and alienation of the people triggered by the undeniable stagnation of a system rotten to its very core. A bloated military and police state with uniforms everywhere, while more and more people live in abject poverty. A public propaganda machine which, like in Orwell's 1984, constantly boasts of successes everywhere while everybody knows that these are all lies. Externally, the US is hopelessly overstretched and either hated and mocked abroad. Just as in the Soviet days, the US leaders are clearly afraid of their own people so they protect themselves by a immense and costly global network of spies and propagandists who are terrified of dissent and who see the main enemy in their own people.
Add to that a political system which far from co-opting the best of its citizens deeply alienates them while promoting the most immoral and corrupt ones into the positions of power. A booming prison-industrial complex and a military-industrial complex which the country simply cannot afford maintaining. A crumbling public infrastructure combined with a totally dysfunctional health care system in which only the wealthy and well-connected can get good treatment. And above it all, a terminally sclerotic public discourse, full of ideological clichés an completely disconnected from reality.
I will never forget the words of a Pakistani Ambassador to the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva in 1992 who, addressing an assembly of smug western diplomats, said the following words: "you seem to believe that you won the Cold War, but did you ever consider the possibility that what has really happened is that the internal contradictions of communism caught up with communism before the internal contradictions of capitalism could catch up with capitalism?!". Needless to say, these prophetic words were greeted by a stunned silence and soon forgotten. But the man was, I believe, absolutely right: capitalism has now reached a crisis as deep as the one affecting the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and there is zero chance to reform or otherwise change it. Regime change is the only possible outcome.
The historical roots of the russophobia of the American elites
Having said all of the above, its actually pretty simple to understand why Russia in general, and Putin in particular, elicits such a deep hatred from the Western plutocracy: having convinced themselves that they won the Cold War they are now facing the double disappointment of a rapidly recovering Russia and a Western economic and political decline turning into what seems to be a slow and painful agony.
In their bitterness and spite, Western leaders overlook the fact that Russia has nothing to do with the West's current problems. Quite to the contrary, in fact: the main impact the collapse of the Soviet Union on the US-run international economic system was to prolong its existence by creating a new demand for US dollars in Eastern Europe and Russia (some economists - such as Nikolai Starikov - estimate that the collapse of the USSR gave an extra 10+ years of life to the US dollar).
In the past, Russia has been the historical arch-enemy of the British Empire. As for Jews - they have always harbored many grievances towards pre-revolutionary Tsarist Russia. The Revolution of 1917 brought a great deal of hope for many East-European Jews, but it was short lived as Stalin defeated Trotsky and the Communist Party was purged from many of its Jewish members. Over and over again Russia has played a tragic role in the history of the Ashkenazi Jews and this, of course, has left a deep mark on the worldview of the Neocons who are all deeply russophobic, even today. Somebody might object that many Jews are deeply grateful for the Soviet Army's liberation of Jews from the Nazi concentration camps or for the fact that the Soviet Union was the first country to recognize Israel. But in both cases, the country which is credited with these actions is the Soviet Union and not Russia which most Ashkenazi Jews still typically associate anti-Jewish policies and values.
It is thus not surprising that both the Anglo and the Jewish elites in the US would harbor an almost instinctive dislike for, and fear of, Russia, especially one perceived as resurgent or anti-American. And the fact is that they are not wrong in this perception: Russia is most definitely resurgent, and the vast majority of the Russian public opinion is vehemently anti-American, at least if by "America" we refer to the civilizational model or economic system.
Anti-American sentiment in Russia
Feelings about the USA underwent a dramatic change since the fall of the Soviet Union. In the 1980 the USA was not only rather popular, it was also deeply in fashion: Russian youth created many rock groups (some of them became immensely popular and still are popular today, such as the group DDT from Saint Petersburg), American fashion and fast foods were the dream of every Russian teenager, while most intellectuals sincerely saw the US as "leader of the free world". Of course, the state propaganda of the USSR always wanted to present the USA as an aggressive imperialistic country, but that effort failed: most of the people were actually quite fond of the US. One of the most popular pop group of the 1990s (Nautilus Pompilius) had a song with the following lyrics:
Good bye America, ohWhile there were exceptions to this rule, I would say that by the beginning of the 1990 most of the Russian people, especially the youth, had swallowed the US propaganda line hook and sinker - Russia was hopelessly pro-American.
Where I have never ever been
Take your banjo
And play for my departure
Your worn out blue jeans
Became too tight for me
We’ve been taught for too long
To be in love with your forbidden fruits.
The catastrophic collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the West's total and unconditional backing for Eltsin and his oligarchs changed that. Instead of trying to help Russia, the USA and the West used every single opportunity to weaken Russia externally (by taking all of Eastern Europe into NATO even though they had promised never to do so). Internally, they West supported the Jewish oligarchs who were literally sucking out wealth out of Russia live vampires suck blood, while supporting every imaginable form of separatism. By the end of the 1990s the words "democrat" and "liberal" became offensive curse words. This joke of the late 1990s is a good example of these feelings (Notice the association between liberalism and Jews):
A new teacher comes into the class:Notice the association between being a liberal and Jews (Abram Davidovich is a typical Jewish name). Notice also the inclusion of the category "homosexual" in between a whore and drug addicts and remember that when evaluating the typical Russian reaction to the anti-Russian campaign waged by western homosexual organizations.
- My name is Abram Davidovich, I'm a liberal. And now all stand up and introduce yourself like I did ...
- My name is Masha I liberal ...
- My name is Petia, I'm a liberal ...
- My Little Johnny, I'm a Stalinist.
- Little Johnny, why are you a Stalinist? !
- My mom is a Stalinist, my dad is a Stalinist, my friends are Stalinists and I too am a Stalinist.
- Little Johnny, and if your mother was a whore, your father - a drug addict, your friends - homos, what would you be then in that case? !
- Then I would be a liberal.
The political effect of these feelings is rather obvious: in the last elections not a single pro-Western political party has even managed to get enough votes to make it into the Parliament. And no - this is not because Putin has outlawed them (as some propagandists in the West like to imagine). There are currently 57 political parties in Russia, and quite a few of them are pro-Western. And yet it is an undeniable fact that the percentage of Russians which are favorably inclined towards the USA and NATO/EU is roughly in the 5% range. I can also put it this way: every single political party represented in the Duma is deeply anti-American, even the very moderate "Just Russia".
Anti-Russian feelings in the USA?
Considering the never ending barrage of anti-Russian propaganda in the western corporate media one could wonder how strong anti-Russian feelings are in the West. This is really hard to measure objectively, but as somebody born in Western Europe and who has lived a total of 15 years in the USA I would say that anti-Russian sentiment in the West is very rare, almost non-existent. In the USA there have always been strong anti-Communist feelings - there still are today - but somehow most Americans do make the difference between a political ideology that they don't really understand, but that they dislike anyway, and the people which in the past used to be associated with it.
US *politicians*, of course, mostly hate Russia, but most Americans seem to harbor very little bad feelings or apprehension about Russia or the Russian people. I explain that by a combination of factors.
First, since more and more people in the West realize that they are not living in a democracy, but in a plutocracy of the 1%, they tend to take the official propaganda line with more than a grain of salt (which, by the way, is exactly what was happening to most Soviet people in the 1980s). Furthermore, more and more people in the West who oppose the plutocratic imperial order which impoverishes and disenfranchises them into corporate serfs are quite sympathetic to Russia and Putin for "standing up to the bastards in Washington". But even more fundamentally, there is the fact that in a bizarre twist of history Russia today stands for the values of the West of yesterday: international law, pluralism, freedom of speech, social rights, anti-imperialism, opposition to intervention inside sovereign states, rejection of wars as a means to settle disputes, etc.
In the case of the war in Syria, Russia's absolutely consistent stance in defense of international law has impressed many people in the USA and Europe and one can hear more and more praise for Putin from people who in the past has deep suspicions about him.
Russia, of course, is hardly a utopia or some kind of perfect society, far from it, but it has taken the fundamental decision to become a *normal* country, as opposed to being a global empire, and any normal country will agree to uphold the principles of the "West of yesterday", not only Russia. In fact, Russia is very un-exceptional in its pragmatic realization that to uphold these principles is not a matter of naive idealism, but a sound realistic policy goal. People in the West are told by their rulers and the corporate media that Putin in an evil ex-KGB dictator who is a danger for the US and its allies, but as soon as these people actually read or listen to what Putin actually says they find themselves in a great deal of agreement with him.
In another funny twist of history, while the Soviet population used to turn to the BBC, Voice of America or Radio Liberty for news and information, more and more people in the West are turning to Russia Today, Press TV, or Telesur to get their information. Hence the panicked reaction of Walter Isaacson, Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the US outfit overseeing US media directed at foreign audiences, who declared that “we can't allow ourselves to be out-communicated by our enemies. You've got Russia Today, Iran's Press TV, Venezuela's TeleSUR, and of course, China is launching an international broadcasting 24-hour news channel with correspondents around the world". Folks like Isaacson know that they are slowly but surely loosing the informational battle for the control of the minds of the general public.
And now, with the entire Snowden affair, Russia is becoming the safe harbor for those political activists who are fleeing Uncle Sam's wrath. A quick search on the Internet will show you that more and more people are referring to Putin as the "leader of the Free World" while other are collecting signatures to have Obama give his Nobel Prize to Putin. Truly, for those like myself who have actually fought against the Soviet system it is absolutely amazing to see the 180 degree turn the world has taken since the 1980s.
Western elites - still stuck in the Cold War
If the world has radically changed in the last 20 years, the Western elites did not. Faced with a very frustrating reality they are desperately trying to re-fight the Cold War with the hope of re-winning it again. Hence the never ending cycle of Russia-bashing campaigns I mentioned at the beginning of this post. They try to re-brand Russia as the new Soviet Union, with oppressed minorities, jailed or murdered dissidents, little or no freedom of speech, a monolithic state controlled media and an all seeing security apparatus overseeing it all. The problem, of course, is that they are 20 years late and that these accusations don't stick very well with the western public opinion and get exactly *zero* traction inside Russia. In fact, every attempt at interfering inside Russian political affairs has been so inept and clumsy that it backfired every single time. From the absolutely futile attempts of the West to organize a color-coded revolution in the streets of Moscow to the totally counter-productive attempts to create some kind of crisis around homosexual human rights in Russia - every step taken by the western propaganda machine has only strengthened Vladimir Putin and his the "Eurasian Sovereignists" at the expense of the "Atlantic Integrationist" faction inside the Kremlin.
There was a deep and poignant symbolism in the latest meeting of the 21 APEC countries in Bali. Obama had to cancel his trip because of the US budget crisis while Putin was treated to a musically horrible but politically deeply significant rendition of "Happy birthday to you!" by a spontaneous choir composed of the leaders of the Pacific Rim countries. I can just imagine the rage of the White House when they saw "their" Pacific allies serenading Putin for his birthday!
Conclusion: "we are everywhere"
In one of his most beautiful songs, David Rovics sings the following words which I want to quite in full, as each line fully applies to the current situation:
When I say the hungry should have food(you can listen to the song by clicking here)
I speak for many
When I say no one should have seven homes
While some don't have any
Though I may find myself stranded in some strange place
With naught but a vapid stare
I remember the world and I know
We are everywhere
When I say the time for the rich, it will come
Let me count the ways
Victories or hints of the future
Havana, Caracas, Chiapas, Buenos Aires
How many people are wanting and waiting
And fighting for their share
They hide in their ivory towers
But we are everywhere
Religions and prisons and races
Borders and nations
FBI agents and congressmen
And corporate radio stations
They try to keep us apart, but we find each other
And the rulers are always aware
That they're a tiny minority
And we are everywhere
With every bomb that they drop, every home they destroy
Every land they invade
Comes a new generation from under the rubble
Saying "we are not afraid"
They will pretend we are few
But with each child that a billion mothers bear
Comes the next demonstration
That we are everywhere.
These words are a beautiful expression for the hope which should inspire all those who are now opposing the US-Zionist Empire: we are everywhere, literally. On one side we have the 1%, the Anglo imperialists and the Ziocons, while on the other we have the rest of the planet, including potentially 99% of the American people. If it is true that at this moment in time Putin and his Eurasian Sovereignists are the most powerful and best organized faction of the worldwide resistance to the Empire, they are far from being central, or even less so, crucial, to it. Yes, Russia can, and will, play its role, but only as a normal country amongst many other normal countries, some small and economically weak like Ecuador, other huge and powerful like China. But even small Ecuador was "big enough" to grand refuge to Julian Assange while China seems to have asked Snowden to please leave. So Ecuador is not that small after all?
It would be naive to hope that this "de-imperialization" process of the USA could happen without violence. The French and British Empires collapsed against the bloody backdrop of WWII, while did the Nazi and Japanese Empires were crushed under a carpet of bombs. The Soviet Empire collapsed with comparatively less victims, and most of the violence which did take place during that process happened on the Soviet periphery. In Russia itself, the number of death of the mini civil war of 1993 was counted in the thousands and not in the millions. And by God's great mercy, not a single nuclear weapon was detonated anywhere.
So what will likely happen when the US-Ziocon Empire finally collapses under its own weight? Nobody can tell for sure, but we can at least hope that just as no major force appeared to rescue the Soviet Empire in 1991-1993, no major force will attempt to save the US Empire either. As David Rovic's puts it so well, the big weakness of the 1% which rule the US-Ziocon Empire is that "they are a tiny minority and we are everywhere".
In the past 20 years the US and Russia have followed diametrically opposed courses and their roles appears to have been reversed. That "pas de deux" is coming to some kind of end now. Objective circumstances have now again placed these two countries in opposition to each other, but this is solely due to the nature of the regime in Washington DC. Russian leaders could repeat the words of the English rapper Lowkey and declare "I'm not anti-America, America is anti-me!" and they could potentially be joined by 99% of Americans who, whether they already realize it or not, are also the victims of the US-Ziocon Empire.
In the meantime, the barrage of anti-Russian propaganda campaigns will continue unabated simply because this seems to have become a form of psychotherapy for a panicked and clueless western plutocracy. And just as in all the previous cases, this propaganda campaign will have no effect at all.
It is my hope that next time we hear about whatever comes next after the current "Greenpeace" campaign you will keep all this in mind.