Putin = War Criminal
- Apr 18, 2013
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
Russia’s Hardliners Present Their Manifesto - The Moscow Times
Opinion | It is easy to forget that, while Russia may increasingly be little more than a personalistic authoritarianism, this does not mean that all politics has disappeared.
Nikolai Patrushev. Putins top security advisor and ideologue.
It is easy to forget that, while Russia may increasingly be little more than a personalistic authoritarianism, this does not mean that all politics has disappeared. Rather, it is the politics of the court that becomes crucial, the attempt to sway the sovereign in one particular way or another. Even the most powerful figures at Tsar Vladimir’s court must play. This was evident in a recent interview Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council, gave to the official government newspaper of record, Rossiiskaya Gazeta. Patrushev, a career security officer first in the KGB and then the successor Federal Security Service (FSB) is in effect Putin’s national security adviser. He does not court publicity, so this kind of lengthy, showcase interview is as significant as it is unusual. He is truly the hawk’s hawk. I have in the past described him as ‘the most dangerous man in Russia’ because of the way he drags Putin into even more extreme positions, fuelling his ambitions with talk of Russia’s historical mission and his paranoias with warnings of Western plots. As such, he is in many ways the lead spokesman of the siloviki – the ‘men of force’ of the military and security agencies – and the most nationalist of them, at that.
In Patrushev’s luridly imaginative worldview, Washington is forcing Ukraine to be its proxy, encouraging Nazis and generally engaged in nothing less than a struggle to break Russia’s will to resist its hegemony, assisted by a morally debauched Europe, whose “neo-liberalism” means “Europe and European civilization have no future.” Patrushev’s claims that this has become a proxy war against NATO is the hard-liners’ attempt to construct a narrative that presents this reframing of the conflict not as the product of defeat, but as a response to the West’s own escalation. Likewise, when the war started, many siloviki advocated in effect nationalizing and militarizing the economy. Just as the Soviet system was always really a wartime economy, even during times of ostensible peace, this is the essence of the silovik manifesto: a Russia committed to a cultural, political and sometimes military Forever War with the West, demanding absolute discipline and the mobilization of society and economy alike. This is a terrifying prospect for Russia, Ukraine and us all. However, even though Patrushev is perhaps Putin’s closest ideological ally, one can draw some small comfort from the fact that he is having to argue his case, and even do so through a public interview rather than private conversations. The natural logic is that, should the war drag on, the pressure for a “Sovietization” of Russia, even a “North Koreanization,” will become harder to resist. But for now, the debate continues.
Putin is increasingly turning Russia into a semblance of an expansionist Nazi Germany. Ukraine is Putin's Sudentenland adventure.