Moscow’s pursuit of imperial greatness may again end with disintegration of Russia, Rubtsov says

Despite its backwardness in other things, Putin's Russia is heavily militarized and ready for imperialist aggression all over the world, whether it's a neighboring country, like Georgia or Ukraine, or a remote one, like Syria. (Image:

Despite its backwardness in other things, Putin's Russia is heavily militarized and ready for imperialist aggression all over the world, whether it's a neighboring country, like Georgia or Ukraine, or a remote one, like Syria. (Image: 

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As the 100th anniversary of the 1917 revolution that led to a partial disintegration of the empire and the 25th anniversary of the 1991 events that led to the demise of the USSR approach, Russia appears to have entered “another round” of a cycle in which the pursuit of imperial greatness “will lead to foreign pressure and internal disintegration.”

Aleksandr Rubtsov, the head of the Moscow Center for the Analysis of Ideological Processes

Aleksandr Rubtsov, the head of the Moscow Center for the Analysis of Ideological Processes

That is the judgment of Aleksandr Rubtsov, the head of the Moscow Center for the Analysis of Ideological Processes, who says this outcome is even more likely because Moscow’s “current imperial pretensions in large measure are virtual and extremely limited in the resources” as far as the resources available to pursue them are concerned.

In addition, there is a clash between “the sources of today’s hysteria about great power status” and the changing “nature of empire” in the post-modern period. The first reflects a longing for the past; the second, the fact that “geographic closeness and the occupation of land means much less” than it did in the past.

Physical geography, Rubtsov continues, “does not have its former importance;” and traditional empires based on borders and control of territory “are giving way to information, financial, technological, research, cultural and other former of empire.” In this new world, “annexation of territory and hybrid wars don’t give very much.”

Worse, they are quite expensive, based on “extremely primitive instincts” and mostly are “calculated in terms of their psychological effect.”

Rubtsov points out that “the disintegration of the USSR did not immediately become the geopolitical catastrophe of the century,” as Vladimir Putin has termed it. For the first decade or so after 1991, Russians focused on survival, development and modernization rather than on “global greatness.”

“The new imperial spirit” arose, he continues, partly as a result of propaganda that benefited Putin by distracting the attention of Russians from problems he wasn’t solving and present him as a real leader and partly as “the product of an unconscious striving to compensate” for what Russian really felt was the denigration of their status.

But the sources are even deeper than that, Rubtsov says, and reflect the way Russian rulers have looked not only at foreign affairs but at areas already within their borders, considering all as either under Russian power and influence or potentially so in the future, he suggests.

“The idea of rehabilitating a great power spirit matured and was prepared gradually,” he continues. Moscow’s actions in Serbia, Chechnya and Georgia reflected its growth, “but the official ideology in the main for a long time was concentrated on other themes, on modernization, the overcoming of technological backwardness, and a reduction of dependence on oil and gas.”

After Putin returned for a third term, it became obvious to all that escaping dependence on the sale of oil and gas abroad had failed as a political project and that “dependence on the export of raw materials had only grown.” That made the promotion of imperial pride and ensuing foreign aggression especially useful as ways of distracting attention.

But there is much in the current cycle that recalls earlier ones, Rubtsov says. “Such is the evolution of the idea of empire in Russia: a strong power with a clear imperial mission – a place des armes of world revolution – a bastion of progress and hope for humanity” and as a result disasters for the population because those in power ultimately have nothing else to offer them.

“The imperial spirit compensates for the lack of resolution of real problems and informs domestic policy, including modernization of a post-Soviet type,” he concludes. But the retreat from modernization categorically raises the question about the survivability of the empire even in its residual form.”


Whether Russia can break out of this vicious circle is an open question, Rubtsov says. “The symbolism of dates doesn’t mean anything, but ahead are the anniversaries of the disintegration of the USSR and of a revolution which almost put a cross over the [Russian] empire.”

Edited by: A. N.

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  1. Avatar Lev Havryliv says:

    Your comment is typical Russian imperialist and chauvinist thinking.

    Of course Putin and his imperial cheer squad hope for the demise of Ukraine. That is what they are actively working for.

    You want to check facts? Russia illegally annexed Crimea. Russia invaded and occupied parts of the Donbas. Russia is continuing its hybrid war against Ukraine.

    1. Avatar Lev Havryliv says:

      You truly cannot believe the nonsense your are spouting?

      The so-called referendum in Crimea was an absolute farce conducted under the watchful eyes of Putin’s little green men( ie. Russian special forces)

      Without massive military and material support from Russia the two banana republics DNR and LNR would collapse within days.

      The question you need to ask yourself is. Why are you defending Russian imperialism?

      1. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

        His new assignment to euromaidanpress is a promotion for this taxi driver. Extra vodka for him.

      2. Avatar kievjoy says:

        It’s not why Lev, it’s how much.

    2. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

      Straight from the kremlin teleprompter. You Putinist parrots need some new material. LOL.

      1. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

        Actually it was a violation of the Minsk Agreement, which fascist ruSSia violates on a daily basis. Perhaps we can talk about Donetsk Airport. 242 days for the mongol-muscovites take defeat the Ukrainian cyborg heroes. And they could only do that with gas, which is another violation by the mongol-muscovite vermin. Your gay dwarf is done.

        1. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

          242 days. LOL. Ukraine didn’t roll over like Georgia. Now with Turkey happily supplying lethal weaponry to Ukraine, your gay dwarf’s days are indeed numbered.

          1. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

            HAHAHAHAHAHA. You send us LPR/DNR Nazi propaganda as your news reference? Seek help soon. LOL. This sadist will hang along with your gay dwarf and his butt buddy Yanukovych. Here’s reality……..special delivery.

          2. Avatar Quartermaster says:

            The only Nazi battalions in Ukraine are Russian.
            Give it up dude. No one is more of a dupe than a Russian. Russians who are the real murderers of the Donbas.

            Your boy Putin is a neo-Nazi fully owned by the Russian mafia.

          3. Avatar Quartermaster says:

            Too bad you destroyed the jewel of the Donbas in your “capture” of those Cyborgs. It wasn’t the “rebels” that captured anyone, but the Russian Army that came to their rescue when the Ukrainians were crushing them.

          4. Avatar Quartermaster says:

            Yes, the Russian Army. One is an invader – the Russian Army, the other – the Ukrainian Army, is defending their homeland from an invader. The Russian Army isn’t the great thing you think it is. By our standards, the Russian Army is a 3rd world Army. It’s way behind any of the Armies in the west.

            The Ukrainians are a lot more than you Russian morons think they are. Yours, on the other hand, are simply a criminal gang supported by a mafia state.

            It’s time you thieves went home.

    3. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

      You don´t know what a free referedum is , and certainly not when russia is involved in any kind of election !

    4. Avatar kievjoy says:

      A free referendum where the results were given out the day before anyone voted and Ukrainians had their Ukrainian passports taken off them and burned. Yep really fair.

      1. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

        Don’t waste your time. This paid troll is a true believer; trying to gain more vodka $$ by sending propaganda-made youtube videos. Zero credibility. Once justice prevails against fascist ruSSia, he’ll go back to his prior job of cleaning streets.

    5. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

      Even Igor Girkin, who took part in the Dwarfstanian invasion of the Crimea, admitted on Dwarfstanian TV in January 2015 that the “referendum” was a farce. HE was there- were YOU? The Crimean parliament was forced at gunpoint to declare the referendum. Furthermore, only 47 of the 100 members were present, making the declaration null and void as the quorum- 51 members- was not present. There is thus no legal basis for the “referendum”.
      Not only that, but according to the Ukrainian Constitution ALL regions of the Ukraine have to agree to a region seceding. I don’t remember any such agreement. And since even the demented dwarf Tsar Vladimir the not-so-Great admits that the Crimea was Ukrainian territory at the time, Ukrainian laws and Constitution applied and apply, not Dwarfstanian.
      As for the “referendum”, only 30% of those eligible bothered to vote, and only half, i.e. 15% agreed to joining Dwarfstan.

  2. Avatar Lev Havryliv says:

    The only two commodities propping up the imperialistic fascist Putin regime are oil-gas exports and lying propaganda.

    Oil prices are low and staying low and Putin’s propaganda is being increasingly exposed for the self-serving garbage that it is.

    The best thing Russians could do for themselves is dump their chief kleptocrat Putin and his cronies.

  3. Avatar Quartermaster says:

    Crimea – stolen by Russia with a fraudulent referendum conducted.
    Donbass – started by Russian supported infiltrators and then by Russian Army after Ukrainian Army was crushing the infiltrators
    Kharkov, Odessa, Zaporhizia and Zakarpatia – more Russian infiltrators trying to start something. The infiltrators were crushed in Odessa, and ran for Russia in Khrakiv and Zaporishia. They don’t exist in Zakarpatia except in the infinite space between your ears.
    Russia is now owned by the mafia. The Russian state is simply one more criminal enterprise that is tearing Russia apart.
    Give it up Adrian. We know your a liar and propagandist. The paycheck isn’t worth you soul.

  4. Avatar kievjoy says:

    Firstly the referendum was so fair that the results were given out the day before anyone had voted, many Ukrianians (including a few friends of mine) had their Ukrainian passports burned so that they couldn’t vote, but Russians on holiday were allowed to vote using their driving licences. The reason we didn’t fight back was because we hadn’t had time to form a government after Yaokovitch done a runner and Yanoovitch had run down the forces and weapons.