A letter from a Russian friend – EURACTIV.com

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is so brutal and ruthless as a result of that is the place the destiny of the so-called “Russian world” is set, writes Orhan Dragaš.

Dr Orhan Dragaš from the International Security Institute is the writer of the books “Two faces of globalisation – truth and deceptions” and “Post-Truth in South-East Europe”.

I acquired a brief letter from a good friend from Russia with a request to publish it, hoping that no less than a part of the world public will hear a Russian voice whose opinion differs from the narrative dictated by the Kremlin. Of course, he can’t publish his views in his nation as a result of the hazard of reprisal is actual. Here is the letter:

“Nowadays, many are wondering what happened to Russia and how to solve it. Let me explain to you that nothing happened to Russia. You are witnessing “normal” Russia. Russia has at all times been like this and can stay so so long as Russia is Russia.

Russian nationalism was at all times current in Russian society, even throughout the Soviet days. Just like individuals in America have degrading jokes about rednecks, equally, even throughout the Soviet days, the individuals from the Russian republic of the USSR had many insulting jokes about individuals from Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, and the minorities that had been part of the Russian republic of the USSR.

Russian society has at all times been anti-Semite and chauvinist and has had resistance and prejudice in opposition to all totally different and alien ethnicities and nations. The unity was at all times held with drive and terror was at all times imposed by the federal government. All territories that now comprise Russian Federation had been acquired by drive, bribery, or each. Imperial Russia added extra territories, Soviet Russia added extra territories, and as we speak’s Russia is including territories.

Just a few examples: Imperial Russia occupied north Caucasus tribes, Russia occupied Chinese territory, and Soviet Russia attacked and seized Finnish territories.

What as we speak’s Russia does in Ukraine is similar as what Soviet Russia did in Finland. Russia was and nonetheless is an occupier.

Russia can’t be an honest democratic state as a result of an honest democratic state won’t be able to carry the territories Russia already has.

Russia attacked Ukraine dominantly as a result of Russia wanted to train the Russian world narrative. The present Russian doctrine perceives Ukraine as a breakaway area that should stay beneath Russian management. If Ukraine succeeds in escaping Russian dominance, different areas and republics like Kazan and North Caucasus may attempt the identical.

The world group should perceive that ongoing insanity and aggression will solely develop if Russia succeeds in Ukraine. Russia is not going to cease. Russia can solely be stopped.

The West should cease Russia in Ukraine, and the West should disintegrate Russia, in order that Russia is not going to assault ever once more.”

The writer of this letter, my good friend Sergei, is swimming in opposition to the present, and his views on Russia are utterly totally different from the opinions of the overwhelming majority of his compatriots. More than 80% of them help Putin’s aggression in opposition to Ukraine and their military’s crimes in opposition to the Ukrainian individuals. But that doesn’t make Sergei a lesser patriot, quite the opposite. He is only a free man, in contrast to most.

Erich Fromm described Sergei’s compatriots in Escape from Freedom, lengthy earlier than the Russian invasion of Ukraine, again in 1941. But Russian society then, as now, suits into his triptych. Russians are persistently fleeing freedom in two of Fromm’s three sanctuaries – authoritarianism and destructiveness, whereas the third – conformity, has remained reserved for liberal societies.

No technology of Russians has had the chance to dwell in a free society; subsequently, they didn’t have the chance to face freedom, as Fromm skilled it. Simply, in Russia, individuals didn’t need to have freedom of selection; they let another person do it for them.

They usually are not the one ones who’ve given up freedom of selection, however they’re definitely the one ones who’ve tried to make a advantage out of that handicap.

Russia has at all times checked out Ukraine from above, it thought-about it second-class as a result of, all through historical past, it has proven a want to be free. Throughout its historical past, Ukraine has resisted and fought in opposition to Russian affect, generally, it succeeded, generally it didn’t. But it didn’t surrender that struggle, simply as Russia didn’t surrender its efforts to forestall it from “conquering freedom”.

In current occasions each Russia and Ukraine sought their approach out of the Soviet legacy. Regardless of widespread illnesses – corruption, enrichment of transitional robbers, prison privatisation, Ukraine had kind of actual elections, actual candidates, actual media and actual public. This was a harmful instance for Putin and an actual political risk, which might escalate into an epidemic amongst different post-Soviet states.

That is why he interpreted each change of presidency in Kyiv, which he himself didn’t sponsor, as Western meddling and an anti-Russian venture.

In the post-Soviet house, those that sympathise with Ukraine are very uncommon, and even rarer are those that dare help its struggle in opposition to the Russian invasion.

Moldova, for instance, recognised effectively on the primary day of the aggression in opposition to Ukraine that it was subsequent in line. Its pro-European authorities helps the Ukrainian resistance and seeks the help of Europe and the West, figuring out that the conqueror is not going to cease at its borders.

He already has nearly 10,000 troopers in Transnistria, each home “five-columnists” and his colonial troops. Georgia is split over the conflict in Ukraine, and Kazakhstan is displaying timid indicators of resistance to Russia by not celebrating Victory Day on 9 May.

Everyone else within the post-Soviet house is silent. They undergo from the Stockholm syndrome as a result of neither they nor the Russians in Russia have ever had contact with true freedom. As in Russia, each their societies and elites are formatted by the narrative that anybody who dares to “betray” the widespread previous, who dares to think about life exterior the foundations set by Moscow, can be punished.

The instance of Ukraine will greatest present what occurs to anybody who dares to step out of this circle that has existed for hundreds of years. And that’s the reason the Russian invasion of Ukraine is so brutal and ruthless as a result of that is the place the destiny of the so-called “Russian world” is set.

It is no surprise that the best help for this malicious venture comes from Russia itself. Resistance to freedom is woven into the Russian social being. With the Ukrainian invasion, it was raised to the extent of a liberation mission whose objective is unity in obedience. History teaches such delusion can solely end in conflict crimes and the everlasting disgrace of those that allowed it.

Putin’s Russia won’t be able to keep away from such a destiny.

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