Andrey Piontkovsky, prominent Russian scientist, political writer and analyst Photo: Radio Liberty
Russian political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky, who has been forced to leave Russia, discussed possible scenarios for a “Syrian war” in Ukraine in an interview with journalist Antin Borkovskyi, of Espresso TV.
AB: An expert from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a strange and terrible statement about the possible Russian conduct of a war in Ukraine according to the “Syrian scenario” that includes massive bombing.
We understand that there are very many crazy fascists and Zhirinovsky followers in Russia, but no matter how we describe the possible plan, we have not heard similar statements from other more or less public people. (Vladimir Zhirinovsky is a Russian politician with extreme right-wing views — Ed.)
AP: Unfortunately, this is the mentality of most of the Russian establishment. This is a scenario they really want, and they speak about it with pleasure. But, at the same time, they understand that such an escalation would be suicidal. And it is not even because there would be a reaction from the West. And there would be some kind of reaction even if Trump continues his “honeymoon” with Putin. But the fact is that Ukraine cannot be destroyed.
There has been talk recently that Trump is handing over Ukraine. Ukraine is an entity with its own army. Why did the Kremlin postpone the Novorossiya (“New Russia”) plan with 12 oblasts at a time when there was no Ukrainian army yet? Why was this scenario impossible? Because the level of losses inflicted on the Russian armies would be unacceptable for Russian society!
This became clear even during the limited hybrid operation in the Donbas. You remember that information about Russian losses was considered extremely secret. People were jailed for reposting. This is why they really want such a scenario, but they understand that Ukraine is ready to repel such an attack.
We simply fear that another Yarosh business card* would be used as casus belli.
But there have been plenty of small and large “Gleiwitz incidents” (Nazi false flag operation in Poland designed to provide a pretext for invading Poland — Ed.). We had the supposed terrorists in Crimea in August, followed by some huge maneuvers not seen since 1945 that included civilian agencies, civil defense and so forth. All this is to convince Western countries to put pressure on Kyiv and to force it to accept Putin’s interpretation of the Minsk agreements. (*Reference to Russian media claims that a business card of Dmytro Yarosh, former head of the nationalist Right Sector organization, was supposedly discovered at the scene of a deadly shootout in Sloviansk, in eastern Ukraine, in April 2014– Ed.)
But there is still fear that something similar to the situation in Syria can happen. When Putin, thanks to massive propaganda and disinformation, succeeds in convincing the West that the only remaining choice is between Bashar Assad and ISIS.
Well what can you expect when Trump repeats the nonsense instilled in him by Russian agents — that Putin is fighting ISIS and for that reason it is necessary to overlook all minor disagreements in order to join forces in a common struggle. Unfortunately, this is the baloney in his head.
As a result, this can be regarded as an excellent and most successful foreign policy victory for the Kremlin — the recruitment of the next president of the United States. Recruitment in a profound sense, not in the sense that he signed some papers about cooperation, but that he sincerely believes this garbage about a common struggle against ISIS.
This is the highest level of recruitment. But the price for this recruitment and for what Putin is creating is the hate of 1.5 billion Sunnis in the world. And the shooting of the ambassador (in Turkey) is only the beginning of a jihad declared against all of us in Russia. And, naturally, what they are asking for will happen –the Sunni youth, disillusioned by the West’s betrayal, will rush out of the Free Syrian Army into more radical structures.
As I understand it, this fire could spread to the Russian Caucasus and to Transcaucasia. We know that there are plenty of Putin enemies even without this.
Especially if Sunnis represent 80% of the Islamic community in the world, and 95% in the Russian Federation. (Russia is) embroiled in a crazy thousand-year-old religious war on the side of the Shiite minorities — a war that is conducted by terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. And Assad’s army is the biggest terrorist organization. What other terrorists can one to talk about when Assad has killed hundreds of thousands of people in Syria. Today he is the number one terrorist in the world.
Then why is Putin sending loyal Kadyrov people there?
He, in particular, fears the loyal Kadyrovites. (Ramzan Kadyrov is the pro-Putin president of the Chechen Republic, installed by Russia after the second Chechen war. — Ed.). If this 20-thousand contingent with a police force becomes half mired in a religious war, this would only strengthen the position of the opponents of Kadyrov.