I don’t personally believe that the ceasefire in the east of Ukraine will lead to anything good.
I think the war will continue.
Therefore I will speak about war.
And in a concrete plane: what threats does war with Ukraine pose to Russia?
To a normal person, everything is obvious. This war sent Russia back to its ancient past. And most importantly, it conditions quite a dark future for Russia. All attempts to enter the circle of European countries made in Yeltsin’s era have no been crossed out with a bold Russian Orthodox cross together with a cheka shield and sword.
Very bad movement occurred in public consciousness: the Kremlin dramatically made the country fascist on the wave of anti-Ukrainian policies. Many currently call this a national transformation, restoration, rebirth and a turn towards Russian-ness: in reality it is just galloping faschization. Russian fascism (yes, not the same as Russian fascists of the 90’s imagined it) became a fact. The Kremlin is screaming about the ‘Kyiv fascist junta,’ similar to how a market thief yells: ‘Catch the thief!’ Putin and his KGB clique decided to base themselves on the most reactionist things in our historical heritage; everything we were unable to eliminate in Yeltsin’s epoch (the main historical failure of Yeltsinism: he failed to create a new European Russian).
Hatred towards Ukraine changed Russia to the absolute worst. It became clear that mass Russian consciousness remains absolutely imperial and chauvinistic. Russia is only ready to view Ukraine as its colony, or as burnt-out ground.
What became clear is the price of Russia’s scholastic talk of “fraternal nation,” which has turned into “ukrops” on the level of mass propaganda (however, the price of such talk was already clear in August of 2008, during the Russian-Georgian war, when Orthodox Georgians in Russian imperial optics became “gryzuny” [Russian for ‘rodents’]). The current hatred towards Slavic Ukrainians even cast a shadow on the Chechens during the First and Second Chechen wars.
It is horrifying and scary to see how the atmosphere in the country has changed. Russia has sharply taken a nosedive into mass insanity, which is marked by ubiquitous ‘St. George’s Ribbons.’ The regions are forming so-called ‘anti-Maidan’ regiments – an analog to the ‘black hundreds’ known since the beginning of the previous century. The Russian laymen in their majority ‘spiritually’ accepted fascization and is ready to agree to political repressions (even mass ones) regarding those who think differently, as well as the full suspension of the remaining freedoms. The development of democracy, civil society – all of this became impossible and, most importantly, unnecessary to such people. Such people need a leader, terror and militarism; they need hairy myths that stimulate mass hatred and mass pride. We can forget about democracy in Russia. Dictatorship with a clear tendency towards totalitarianism is obvious. Fear (long-forgotten, it would seem) has returned to Russian life as a factor of social and political life. Those who don’t agree with the kremlin’s anti-Ukrainian and neo-imperial policies are surrounded by the atmosphere of moral and political terror, they are in the ‘risk zone.’
Relations between Russia and Ukraine will never be the same. Ukraine will never forget this backstabbing, crawling, terrorist war, it will not forget Crimea, it will not forget puss-drenched Russian television. Russia wonderfully confirmed everything the supporters of Ukrainian independence wrote about it. Ukraine is lost to Russia as an empire forever. Henceforth steaming blood lies between Russia and Ukraine. This blood was spilt because of Moscow. Children are already been grown on this blood in Russia. Now we will have one of the two: either Putin will wear out, ruin Ukraine with his undeclared, devilishly sinister war and finally invade Kyiv, or this war will forge the Ukrainian political nation which is completely non-accepting of the Moscow imperial pseudo historical demagogy – and this will ruin the concept of the Russian Empire. War with Ukraine is not as much as the direct continuation of the USSR’s dissolution but the apotheosis of the agony of imperial Russia in general, the agony that has lasted an entire century (since 1917).
I am afraid Russian will never be the same either. Every new day of war with Ukraine desperately maims Russia first and foremost. The Russian society, which rejected the liberating ideals of Russian intelligentsia, is degrading dramatically, zoologically. War to reestablish the empire, the readiness of kill former ‘brothers’ ruins, dehumanizes the Russian personality, turns it into a monster. Pay attention to his dramatically, since the spring, the level of aggression and audacity in society has grown – it is akin to a sponge in sucking in gopnik energy that the government center is emitting, cloning Putin on the everyday level. Russia did not become Putin’s country, but a country of Putins. The moment of historical ruin has come, of the annihilation of the Russian individual. Ivan the Terrible and Stalin won over Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Henceforth in Russia everything will be cruel and gopnik–style: gopnik Orthodoxy as the basis of gopnik patriotism, gopnik culture that consists of Dmitry Kiselev’s fecal monologues, the suffocating circular campaigns of Vladimir Solovyov and the unanimous, explosive laughter of comedy TV programs. This is Putin’s version of fascism, which is mixed on blood of the undeclared, hybrid, as the West puts it, war.
The process of recovery from fascist infection will be very difficult. It is always easier to get sick than to recover. In order to recover, Russia has to cruelly, shamefully lose this war. Then there is a chance to reevaluate our values. A chance to sober up. However, there is great danger hidden in Russia’s defeat as well. Russia of Putins may become into a country of Rogozins and Barkashovs. On the wave of ‘national offense’ real fascists will enter the Kremlin, real ‘knights of the conservative revolution’ to whom Putin is something intermediary; he is insufficiently consequential and confident for them. The have already tried out their boisterous model in the east of Ukraine, having declared Orthodoxy the state religion of the ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR.’ This is not Putin, this is much ‘further’ than Putin. It is the clearly fascist ‘new Middle Ages’ with a guillotine in the square. It is no coincidence that Kadyrov’s Chechens are fighting on the side of the ‘DNR’ and the ‘LNR’ – they feel internal familiarity with the fledgling ‘Novorossiya’ (and ‘pan-Russian’ in possible perspective) Orthodox ‘Khalifate.’
The major danger of the situation lies in that Putin, having betted on obscurantism and chauvinism, ended up a hostage of his own policies. He cannot turn back, he is simply forced to go further down the road of further escalation, as Dugin and Strelkov are breathing down his neck, a legion of those who had already smelt gunpowder and tasted Ukrainian blood. Putin cannot return Crimea, leave the east of Ukraine without risking to lose the support of the Russian majority, that forgave the regime for everything in order to once more obtain a feeling of their own superiority. Hatred towards Ukraine that was heated up to a certain degree became, as frightening as it is, a people-forming factor, and the government cannot reject it without consequences anymore. Hatred towards Ukraine became that desired national idea.
Russia threw itself out from European civilization by its own hair, from the circle of civilized countries, and will henceforth grow closer to those similar to itself, first and foremost, China. China, as a more powerful player, will obviously use this approximation to increase its expansion in the Far East and in Siberia. The future: Russia turns into China’s appendage (the new historical version of the ‘Moscow Ulus’).
And finally. Throughout the past half-year the world changed dramatically – some evil clearly entered it. The air, the water, the earth are poisoned with some sort of bitter ‘wormwood.’ Everything that seemed strong until recently became fleeting and ghostly. Russia’s war against Ukraine is an obvious prologue to World War III (the NATO summit in Wales made it clear). The last war in the history of humanity. It is obvious that Russia’s infamous ‘messianic’ role lies in its development. You think such a development of events is unlikely? Don’t hasten to draw conclusions: throughout the last half-year the borders expanded a lot. A year ago it is unlikely that any of us could have imagines ‘our Crimea,’ ‘Novorossiya,’ battles for Luhansk, Donetsk and Mariupol, the atmosphere of chauvinism and hatred that rules Russia now.
P.S: By the way, I predicted the war against Ukraine back in August of 2008, immediately after the Russia-Georgia war. The majority viewed it back then as a the ramblings of a madman…
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina