While there is as yet no direct evidence of Moscow’s complicity in the Paris terrorist attacks – and if those were well-organized by its special services, no one would expect there to be – Moscow is clearly the chief beneficiary of those acts of violence, according to the Kyiv Center for Research on the Army, Conversion and Disarmament.
Analysts there told Kseniya Kirillova “the tragedy in Paris fits perfectly into the strategy of ‘a multiplicity of conflicts’ which Moscow is methodically conducting. ‘The maximum destabilization of the situation in the EU will increasingly shatter European and Euro-Atlantic solidarity.’”
Mikhail Samus, the deputy director of the Center, points out that “in fact, of course, there is no evidence of the direct involvement of Russia in the terrorist actions in Paris, and this is natural. All such things are the work of the special services, and they do not publish their ‘business plans.’”
However the way in which Russia has discussed these horrific actions, he continues, shows that “the Kremlin is trying to use the tragedy in Paris in its interests to the maximum extent possible.” Some Moscow commentators have suggested that “’if the French have any pride,’ they’ll vote for Putin’s well-known friend Marina Le Pen.”
Others have suggested that the European Union should work with Russia against ISIS “but for this… first remove the ‘junta from Kyiv’” (And still others, including the Russian Foreign Ministry, have said Moscow expects NATO to “change its priorities” after Paris and cooperate with rather than seek to contain Russia).
Moreover, there has been an increase in the number of Russian commentators who argue that Europe should stop listening to and following the United States vis-à-vis the world and start “listening to Russia instead.” Europeans, these writers say, need to think about their own national interests and “the lives of their citizens” rather than “the interests of American elites.”
Ukrainian military experts are “not the only ones who have warned about such a tactic” on Russia’s part, Kirillova observes, noting that already in September, the Mensk Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Research published a report suggesting the same thing.
According to Samus, one might have expected such a propaganda campaign in the wake of a terrorist action to prove counter-productive especially after Russia’s Anschluss of Crimea and aggression elsewhere in Ukraine. But “the West has not been capable” of recognizing that Islamist terrorists and “pro-Russian radical Orthodox terrorists” are much the same.
The two represent “a similar threat to global security,” the Ukrainian analyst argues. “Both the first and the second, without thinking, kill tens, hundreds, even thousands of peaceful Europeans in the name of their ideological postulates. Both the first and the second throw challenges to the civilized worlds… and both consider Europeans ‘perverted corrupt creatures.’”
Samus says that the world will not be able to defeat terrorism “’selectively’” as it is trying to do now. “Only a total war and unconditional destruction” of all terrorists and their backers, regardless of their “gas or oil resources” will work. Failing that, he says, European capitals will be exchanging expresses of sympathy after new attacks in the future.