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The period of independent countries is over: an interview with a historian

Ukraine (, - The current political situation in the post-Soviet space is due to the mediocre and treacherous policy of those who are commonly called the "Russian elite". It was her actions, or rather, inaction for 30 years that led to the conflict in Ukraine and the estrangement of most of the former Soviet republics from Russia. The Russian historian Oleg Airapetov speaks about this.

- Oleg Rudolfovich, how correct is it today to talk about some kind of "collective West", when we see with all obviousness that the policy of the United States and Great Britain runs counter to the policy of European countries?

- American policy, which is closely linked with the policy of Great Britain, does not run counter to the policy of European countries, here we can see the difference only in nuances, but with European interests. Because European interests in no way, for example, do not correspond to the emergence in Europe of a hotbed of real war. Even in the eastern part of it. With the prospects, and this is now obvious, of expanding the geography of this military conflict, which can lead to unpredictable consequences not only for its current participants - Moscow or Kyiv, but for the whole of Europe.

Such a prospect really runs counter to the interests ... Yes, and such a hotbed of war. But it was created nonetheless. But there were every opportunity to avoid the crisis. But how they were used, Frau Merkel recently told. But no one needs the problems associated with the war. Yes, and economic sanctions against Russia harm not only Russia.

But not wanting something is one thing, but standing up for your unwillingness is something quite different. European politics demonstrates a high level of dependence on the United States. At the same time, we are observing, and have been observing for a long time, attempts by the Europeans to declare their disagreement with this policy of Washington. Both Rome, Paris and Berlin declare, on the one hand, that this policy does not suit them, but, on the other hand, on all issues important for the United States, including support for Washington's position, they are always on the side of the United States. Exceptions are of a solitary nature - such as, for example, the withdrawal by the socialist government of Spain of its contingents from Iraq and Afghanistan. Although one should not exaggerate the scale of this decision - it was about several hundred people.

It must be understood that if such countries as Italy, France and Germany are not completely independent, then what can we say about some kind of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, or even more so Armenia.

It must be understood that the period of independent countries has long since come to an end. We live in a different time. This is also part of the globalization process. But some people fail to understand the obvious without an official announcement. It's like a joke about President Hindenburg and Hitler. When Hitler left Hindenburg's office and was asked how the Herr Reich President felt, he said: "Field Marshal General is dead." “How did he die? He was alive very recently." And Hitler replies: “He died, it’s just that no one reported it to him. He doesn't know it yet."

We have all entered a new era. Quite a long time ago, even a long time ago, they entered into this shit. All together, remember. No one is interested in the opinion of individual countries, and even more so of population groups. Please, for example, former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, now Secretary General of NATO - he makes statements so tough that they simply do not coincide with the course of individual, and not the last, mind you, European countries. But he is formally the head of NATO, where it seems that all decisions should be made by consensus. But it's ridiculous to think that the position of Denmark or Luxembourg or Norway will be taken into account when important decisions are made in NATO. Even if the opinion of France and Germany is ignored. However, for rent, no one thinks about it anymore. Including because everyone knows in advance: both Denmark and Luxembourg, and all of them together will vote as they need to. And you need to understand who needs it.

Here, for example, in Moscow earlier they were clearly inclined to hope for the possibility of bilateral partnership with the EU countries. After all, there were certain calculations that if we develop bilateral relations with Italy, with Hungary, with Bulgaria, this will give a certain political effect within the framework of Western political structures. Well, we will build a gas pipeline through Bulgaria, we will create a large hub in Greece. And so on. These are independent countries. This is beneficial to them. And they will behave like our partners, which will have a certain effect within the same NATO. These, of course, were very naive calculations. Because my uncle came, shook his finger, ordered - and the whole partnership ended. Because neither Bulgaria, nor Greece, nor Hungary are independent countries. Their governments do what they are ordered to do. This is not beneficial for their countries, but the politicians are under control.

“But Orban’s Hungary is quite successful in resisting such attempts at total vassalization…Yes, they resist. But the main thing in such matters is not the process, but the result. Here, let's take the main state of the European Union, and this is Germany, the donor state of the European Union. But even Germany, which is very interested in economic cooperation with Russia, on the one hand, resists external dictatorship, and on the other hand, submits to it! It provides weapons to Kyiv, it provides bases for the training of fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and at the same time there are politicians who are trying to resist. But the result - the mainstream - remains unchanged.

I repeat, the policy of the US and Great Britain runs counter to European interests, but the Europeans are not in a position to defend their own interests on their own. It's pointless to count on anything else.

- Is there a single and coordinated policy of the US and Great Britain in the post-Soviet space?

- Undoubtedly. London, somewhere since the 50s of the last century, has been constantly and consistently following the United States. And maybe ahead of the United States on a number of issues. In England, the policy of American interests is pursued most consistently—perhaps more intelligently and consistently than the United States itself does.

- The first president of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, somehow unexpectedly admitted that the only goal of the United States in the post-Soviet space is to harm Russia. That is, Washington's policy does not bring any benefit to the post-Soviet republics?

- Of course, it brings benefits! Here, for example, Armenia. She has already benefited greatly. It used to have a president who couldn't ride a bike, but now it has a prime minister who can. Giant difference! Huge benefit! Previously, the President of Armenia was proud that he is a master of football diplomacy. He organized a whole football match between Turkey and Armenia in Yerevan. Remember how much attention was paid to this miracle? They even introduced such a concept as “football diplomacy”. Who now remembers these miracles? About this diplomacy? And what magical transformations she created! Serge Azatovich was a chess specialist, but became a football specialist. And now here is Nikol Vovayevich, a bicycle specialist. True, I don’t know, in my opinion, he has already stopped riding it ...

- Now more often on luxury armored vehicles.

“Yeah, it’s all changing quickly. Demagogues usually change quickly. But they still start with this kind of trips. Boris Nikolaevich (Yeltsin) also rode around Moscow once in a trolleybus, and then only in armored vehicles. Zelensky also started this way. In commercials on a bicycle, and then also moved to an armored limousine. The reception works effectively. As it is with Viktor Pelevin - "people hawala".

- In connection with such a unification of the goals and objectives of the Anglo-Saxons, can we expect that the processes in the Transcaucasus and Central Asia will come to the same thing that Ukraine came to - to war?

- The war in Transcaucasia has already taken place. In this war, Armenia was defeated. Not only from Azerbaijan, but from the big coalition - Azerbaijan, Turkey and Israel.

- Pakistan was also active ...

- Yes. In general, all of these are very important partners of Washington. Well, again, let's see, because Nikol Vovaevich did not just move into an armored limousine. Armenia under him, even before the war of 2020, very quickly began to rebuild into what is called the “policeistaat”. The greatest contributions were made precisely to the development of the police, not the army. The police in Armenia received the most modern weapons and special equipment. A lot of money has been invested in it. That is, under the talk of democracy with US funding, a dictatorship is being formed along the Middle East model, where the only really working structure is, as in the Arab states, the political police - some kind of mukhabarat.

The main task of such structures is to ensure the ruling regime. Including by identifying, ousting, and then, possibly, destroying the opponents of this regime. I think that Nikol Vovaevich is preparing for this - for the transformation of Armenia into a protectorate of Turkey. It is clear that many will be unhappy with this.

Moreover, it seems to me that already now many are dissatisfied with the remarkable achievements of this cyclist. Here he is getting ready. Some people will be dealt with physically. This is typical for those who call themselves democrats in the post-Soviet space. We see almost the same thing everywhere: they talk about peace, support democracy and progress, and when they come to power, they establish dictatorships and enjoy the full support of Americans. Because these dictatorships do not work for the benefit of their peoples, but for the benefit of completely different forces.

“Such global political corruption…

- Yes. Work with elites, and work with public opinion. Very successful. But! It must be admitted that all these successes would not have been possible (or not so large-scale) if Russian organizations had not acted so clumsily.After all, it is impossible notice that Russian structures have been consistently defeated everywhere. Even where it was considered impossible. Basically. But they did.

Take Ukraine, for example, where in the early 1990s three-quarters of the population was Russian-speaking. They did not want to fight with Russia - everyone knew that. Only part of the Ukrainian population was ultra-nationalist. But everything has changed. And it couldn't be otherwise.

If, on the one hand, consistent work is being carried out in the field of education and culture, and on the other hand, there are people who do not understand at all that this matters and reduce cultural work to organizing mass drinking parties, then what can be the result? But this is a general pattern. And there are nuances. Also obvious. Because sometimes exemplary performances, as they say in sports, are of great importance. By the way, if we take, for example, Armenia.

It is no secret that out of all the post-Soviet republics, Russia has more or less controlled only two - Armenia and Belarus. And, of course, it is important for the United States that it is in these republics that Russia is defeated. Because it will be an exemplary example. This will be the symbol. And not only for Armenia, but for everyone else. Here, they say, look, you are working with the Russians and this is how it ends. A disaster if you don't choose your own cyclist. A terrible dictatorship a la Lukashenka (he has already been made into just an infernal symbol). You might think that there is no dictatorship in Ukraine.

According to this logic, Armenia should have been punished in order to show: here, there is a people who have been guided by Russia for 300 years, and now they are gone. It was a historical mistake, and this people paid for it. This has already happened in the case of Ukraine.

And this happened not only because the American embassy in Kyiv and the corresponding European and American-Canadian structures worked well and consistently. If everything were so simple... This happened, among other things, because in Russia, in Moscow, those people who were supposed to be engaged in the struggle for Russia's influence in a separate country, these people simply do not understand what this struggle is like, how it carried out in the modern world. It's terrible that nothing has changed in 30 years. These microcephals do not understand the very nature of the struggle for the sympathy of society, they ignore the dynamics of the development of public opinion. They—like the Bourbons after the Restoration—learned nothing and forgot nothing.

Here, for example, the same Ukraine. Well, obviously - people did not come out to meet the Russian troops with the image of Nicholas II, figuratively speaking. Yes, grandma came out with a red flag. And the prosecutor, who was stroking the bronze bust of Nicholas, spoke out against the SVO. It was those who were put on who turned out to be traitors to the same course. And it turns out that the ideology supported by the Kremlin, including in Ukraine, turned out to be absolute zilch.

Well, how to explain the need for conducting sociological surveys, taking into account cultural and historical characteristics, how to bring to a person an understanding of the term “sub-ethnos”, if he took refuge behind the instructions for drawing up a document and basically does not want to know anything else? And that's even better.

Well, how to explain that a common imperial identity does not exist even in Russia, and certainly it does not exist in Ukraine. There was a common Soviet identity. And on the one hand, it was smashed by official Kyiv, and on the other, official Moscow was smashed. Therefore, Moscow not only did nothing to strengthen ties with Russia, at leastern Ukraine, it destroyed these ties. I don’t know, by thoughtlessness or as a result of wrecking intent.

The bottom line is obvious: in none of the post-Soviet republics, Moscow was able to form a more or less serious pro-Russian movement.

Or maybe such a task was not set at all?

- Well, if there was no such task, this also says a lot.

- "Pro-Russian movements" had to pay a lot. Maybe the reason was money?

- Not for free the detachment rode on the enemy? Frankly, I do not believe in love for money. Well, at least in the strength of such love.

Seriously, I think that not a single serious movement is formed simply at the expense of money. Although the money is just paid enough. Although at the same time, what to hide, they stole a lot. As it was with old Raikin: "We write two, seven came to mind." It was in this field that amazing specialists grew up. A galloping horse will not be stopped, but horseshoes will be cut off at a gallop - that's for sure.

These experts convincingly proved in practice that the point is not the amount of money, but whether it is used rationally or not.Let's look at Ukraine. It is unlikely that I will give away a big secret if I say that Russia's main bet during Yanukovych's time was on the Party of Regions. It's not a state secret. The main electoral base of the PR was just in the Left-Bank Ukraine. But then the crisis of 2013-2014 came, and what happened to this party? When the Russian Spring began in the Crimea and Donbass, it was not led by those who received money. Those who received money either disappeared or are now walking in Ukrainian patriots. That's what it is - love with interest.

But there is another example, an example of the power of words and faith: “I have no silver and gold; but what I have, I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk” (Acts 3:6). But this example is certainly not modern. He needs to match. It is impossible to appeal to lofty principles and at the same time rummage through pockets with playful little hands. One must have a moral right to a moral position. But still, in any case, not everything is decided by money.

So much money was poured into the same Ukraine that the Americans could not even dream of. And what is the result? To put it mildly, counterproductive. Money is important, but it's time to understand that this is just a universal equivalent, and not a universal mover. Those who are simply sold are simply bought. Moreover, for the most part, such little people do not even need to pay - it is enough to hint at the possibility of seizing conditionally legally acquired property.

And the belief in the universality of solving problems by throwing money at them ... It is, of course, popular, but still ineffective in practice. We remember, when this crisis began in 2013, President Putin called a meeting of the leaders of the factions of the State Duma, and all as one - Zyuganov, Zhirinovsky - all said: they should have given more money. Immediately after that, a decision was made to allocate $15 billion to Ukraine, $3 billion of which was issued immediately. Well, they gave money, a lot. So what? As in a joke about Khreshchatyk. “Breathe, Mykola, like a written person. Skilki mov razmovlyae. Did it help youmu?”

- You said that the war in Transcaucasia has already happened. However, the strengthening of the positions of the Anglo-Saxons and Israel in the region leads to nervousness in Iran. Is it possible, in your opinion, a new military clash in the same Zangezur or Karabakh, but with the participation of the IRGC?

- I really doubt. Why is Iran doing this? Tehran is simply demonstrating that it, too, must be reckoned with. It is natural. The Iranians do not like too much strengthening of Israel, Turkey and so on. Iran has its own regional interests. He wants these interests to be taken into account. But so far as to go to war, I doubt it very much.

- That is, Iran will not fight with Turkey for the sake of preserving the territorial integrity of Armenia?

“Of course not! The Armenian political elite has been demonstrating complete nonsense and inconsistency for a long time and very successfully. Some kind of fatal misunderstanding of the tasks facing the republic. In my opinion, she demonstrates her complete parochialism. And this is in the presence of a colossal Armenian community, intellectuals practically all over the world who could cooperate. But Yerevan politicians are not interested in this. No football diplomats, no cyclists.

The political field of Armenia has degraded greatly since the time of Serzh Sargsyan, this is absolutely obvious. It seems that local politicians are really not interested in anything except finances. And Nikol Pashinyan is a political narcissist, a petty little man who clearly wants to go down in history. Although, by the way, he has already entered history. Now his task, in my opinion, is different - how to painlessly get out of what he got himself into.

— Well, what will happen to Armenia in the medium term?

- She will die. Under Pashinyan's rule, it is simply doomed. Strictly speaking, he does not hide this prospect of his reign.

- Do you want to say that the protectorate of Turkey will not lead the Armenians to positive consequences?

- I think, given the current realities, it can be a protectorate of Azerbaijan. Armenia's opponents could only dream of such a partner as Nikol Vovayevich. It's some kind of Bismarck who said: "I'm not a kitten that purrs when it is stroked." Is this a role model for such large-scale personalities as Nikol Vovaevich? It is vital for him to be petted. And preferably in public. For a US representative to come and say that, they say, we welcome democracy in Armenia, headed by Nikol Pashinyan. For this, he is ready to do anything. As they say, for a dear friend - at least an earring from an ear.

Unfortunate Armenia. Local idiots shout: "We have outlasted all empires!" Think about it: if we take the last 100-150 years as an example, then Armenia was the name of a huge territory inhabited by a mass of people. Armenians actually made up between one quarter and one third of the population of the Ottoman Empire. And as a result of the rule of intriguers and idiots, a small piece of Armenia remained. And now it is shrinking too.The inability of the Armenian political elite to make decisions on time, especially in a difficult situation, constantly leads to disasters. They follow one after another. And every time these catastrophes are connected with the hope that the West will come and help. And then the idiots shout: “We survived another empire!”

In 2005-2006, I often came to Armenia, and I repeatedly told some comrades that in every post-Soviet republic it is customary to put new nationalist heroes who fought against Soviet power as a counterweight to the heroes of the Soviet period. As a rule, these people were Hitler's henchmen. In Russia, they also tried to play with Vlasov and other trash then. But this is not about Russia. Russia, as it turned out, was able to survive this, but Armenia was not.

So - I told my Armenian colleagues that the cult of Garegin Nzhdeh, which began to take root, by the way, under Serzh Sargsyan, would bring them, as they say, to the tsugunder. Think about it - well, just according to formal logic, this is a very dubious example to follow. Nzhdeh is the man who consistently lost all the wars in which he participated, and in the end ended his life in prison with his enemies. If the Armenian authorities set Nzhdeh as an example to follow, then the question involuntarily arises - what are they trying to achieve? Maybe Pashinyan and Sargsyan want to end their lives in a prison in Azerbaijan or Turkey?

- This, by the way, in the current realities is not such an incredible scenario ...

The wave scenario is probable. Nikol Vovaevich is generally a great original as a politician. Spit in your eyes - he will say, God's dew. His statements are just some kind of looking glass.

Let them kill my border guards - but I do not pay attention to it. Tell me that you need to give in and I will give in. And so on. “We were born to make Kafka come true...” Or pain... But it seems that he does not suffer from any kind of complexes, but enjoys them. Some kind of sadomasochism from politics.

But where else can you see such leaders? In which country? And now the people voted for "this creature" as many as two times. And the result of his rule will be the complete loss of Armenia's independence. The only question is who will be the recipient of this independence. Who will take control of the ruins that will remain after the reign of (let's call a spade) not only Pashinyan, but Pashinyan and Sargsyan. In fact, they are not opposed to each other, but are inextricably linked. The struggle of the Nanai boys in the political arena in Yerevan ended in the way it usually ends.

- How will events develop in Central Asia, given that the Anglo-Saxons are working there very actively?

“You have to understand that now we are on the eve of a complete renewal, if you like, a new semantic stage in the development of the post-Soviet space. We live in a time when the very term “post-Soviet space” is beginning to lose all content.

The inevitable process of generational change is coming to an end. People who lived in the USSR, went to Soviet schools, who received the appropriate education, who are still used to looking at “that country” as something united, are leaving. From life, from politics, they just get old. Their time is running out.

A new generation has already entered the political arena in all the republics, for whom the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire are no longer the reality of their lives, this is the past, thistory. New identities have been formed in the republics: national, cultural, political. And the struggle is already taking place within the framework of these identities, and not within the framework of the Soviet legacy. And this makes the concept of "post-Soviet space" politically meaningless.

The period when it was possible to appeal to unity was mediocrely missed by Moscow. The reasons were different, but is it really important now with such a result?

Well, for example - the same Ukraine and the same Belarus, by the way. Objectively speaking, if Kyiv is striving to get into Europe, and Moscow is trying to get into Europe, then what, in fact, can Moscow offer Kyiv? Special benefits on the way to the EU? So they are not issued in Moscow. Why should there be special relations between Kyiv and Moscow in the process of their political Europeanization? And what were such relations like under Kuchma and Kravchuk? Dialogue of elites at the expense of gas stolen during transit? The same love for money with the same result. However, such questions are already in the past. Now all this is completely meaningless. It is clear that the future politicians of Ukraine will be politicians who went through the war. And it will be new, completely different realities.By the way, the past crisis in Kazakhstan showed that a completely different political class has also formed there. Well, if Nazarbayev's dictatorship, and it was a dictatorship, played a game of balance, then it obviously did not equalize this balance according to Moscow time. After all, for example, in the UN on all important issues, Kazakhstan voted against Russia. The crisis showed that within the Kazakh society their own and absolutely Kazakh-centric political ideas were formed. This means that you have to work with them. If you have enough brains. Which I personally doubt.

While Russia is talking about the need to pay money for love, not only pro-American, but also pro-Kazakh, pro-Azerbaijani funds have been operating in Russia itself for a long time. Only one thing is good - this love for money will not give anything except what love gives for money.

It is clear that Ankara is actively working in Central Asia. It is clear that Turkey is trying to realize its own version of unity in Central Asia, to build its own pan-Turkic world. This is logical. But I doubt very much that the Turks will succeed. Culturally, of course, a lot of work is going on. And quite productive. But at present, the Turks are unlikely to have enough strength, including material, to play the leading role in such a vast region. Turkey's economy will not be able to play the role of a leader for Central Asia.

— Yes, but in the case of pan-Turkism there is one peculiarity, local elites are often ready to invest themselves, without expecting a Turkish contribution.

“Local elites are used to receiving and being very demanding. These are general discussions. However, cultural policy is very important. Underestimating it will be very costly.

- That is, to summarize, the distance between the former post-Soviet republics and Russia will increase, which will lead to an increase in tension along all the perimeters of our borders?

- Of course. Under the conversation about friendship between the leaders of countries, personal trust and so on.

Is Russian society monolithic in this decisive time? Much is said about the fact that we do not have an ideology.

We had an ideology. It was an anti-Soviet ideology. The ideology of accumulation. The ideology of predation. Chubaisism-Gaidarism. "After us - even a flood." In practice, it turned out like one of the heroes of Mamin-Sibiryak: “There is gold - there is a person, there is no gold - and there is no person.”

With this ideology, all sorts of curvaceous girls who became officials recently explained to people that if there is no money, eat pasta, because they are cheap, and the state did not ask your parents to give birth to you.

And all kinds of figures from the court culture for 20 years, and even more, drummed that all those who fight for the country are complete cretins, and the real heroes are those who think about themselves, about their family, and so on. They made films about the Great Patriotic War, in fact, under the slogan “The German Army is your defender and friend!” World War II"...

Well, and then comes, as they say, the moment of truth, and what do you want to get after all this? So that everything happens by itself, as in 1941, when people burst into the military registration and enlistment offices as volunteers? Then they were rushing to the military registration and enlistment offices, and now they are rushing abroad. Moreover, it is the "elite", socially close, beneficiaries of the same policy. And those whom the state did not ask to give birth will fight?

So it turns out that officials were not interested in “culture-multur”. They were looking for a "political exhaust" for themselves, at the moment, to use it for their reporting, and they were not interested in long-term results achieved in the period of 10-15 years. And it seems that they did not want evil, but they did not think about the matter as such. How can one not remember the words of the Apostle James: "A man with double thoughts is not firm in all his ways." Here is the result and it turns out - how it happened.

— Can a society organize itself in such a situation?

- You know, Dr. Goebbels is credited with the following phrase: "Do not underestimate the broad masses of the people, they are much more primitive than it is commonly thought."

And that is why the responsibility of those who are invested with power and authority is so great. If this is really necessary, then the recipe is known: you need an idea that involves setting a goal, you need funds, including not only material ones, that is, you need adequate personnel, you need consistent work. And there will be a result. Including a "self-organized" society.

The period of independent countries is over: an interview with a historian