Putin’s power depends on the opinions of the outside world
The main driving force of Russian history was the opposition of good and evil
The original article has been published in Inosmi.ru. Translation and editing by Defenseweek’s team.
In their article, experts Mi Lennhag and Wilhelm Konnander discuss the future of Russia, based on the assumption that the term of presidency of Vladimir Putin will end in 2024.
However, in the general discussion about Russia there are not enough perspectives that only emphasize the scale of the problem – this is the international dimension, Russian history and the attitude of the Western world (which has always seen a threat in Russia).
Today, a dangerous polarization is taking place, there is talk of a new Cold War, and it is important to understand that development and special interests in Russia cannot be considered in isolation, in isolation from the outside world. The West has its own special interests that led to a confrontation with Russia.
In Sweden there are many interest groups, think tanks, experts on the so-called. “Total defense”, of politicians and influential figures who are seeking membership in NATO, where in Russia they see the main threat. From 2000, when Putin became president, until 2007, when he criticized the United States in Munich, he tried to convince the West of strategic and economic cooperation – and concluded that the United States and NATO did not hear him.
NATO expansion and intervention in Iraq and Syria caused a strong reaction in Russia. When Georgia attacked the separatist republic of South Ossetia, and Russia sent troops into Georgia in response, many in the West decided that Moscow had unleashed a war. When the uprising on the Maidan led to the resignation of Ukrainian President Yanukovych, Russia faced the threat that its Black Sea Fleet base would be in NATO. Just as the United States could not accept Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962, so Russia could not reconcile with the loss of its naval base.
The eternal threat
The main driving force of Russian history was the opposition of good and evil. “Evil” rulers – like Ivan the Terrible, Peter I and Joseph Stalin – made revolutions from above, without disdaining any means. A lot can be said about Putin, but his “evil” cannot stand comparison with them [with comparisons] – even though in American books he is increasingly compared with precisely these historical examples.
So we are approaching the third aspect of relations between the West and Russia – our manner of making scapegoats from Russia on all world problems, most recently due to the support of the Syrian regime. This once again confirms our idea of Russia as an “eternal threat”. This phenomenon has its roots in history – from what was written about Muscovite Russia in the 15th century to what was said about the Soviet Union to what is being affirmed today. The perception of the West is in tune with the internal development of modern Russia – because Putin’s broad support is partly based on the conviction of many Russians that the West does not understand and humiliate them.