Laurinkus. Predicting Russia’s future: is the path of destruction unavoidable

Kremlin, Moscow
Kremlin, Moscow Reuters/Scanpix

Although the war in Ukraine is not over, more and more publications are appearing about what will happen after it. All of them could be put together in a futurological publication, reflecting the irresistible urge not only to warn of the course of events and their consequences according to the alignment of the planets but also to plan what to do next. What will happen to European-backed Ukraine if it wins, and what will happen to defeated Russia, how to deal with it – to introduce democracy, to reduce the empire to a “Muscovy”, and to rush to establish itself in oil and gas businesses in the parts that have been torn away? Merčys Laurinkus is writing at the news portal.

There are some noteworthy considerations in the abundance of futurology. Excerpts from an analytical paper published a few days ago by the US Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Many interesting insights focusing on the security problems of the Baltic States, including Lithuania.

The report also reflects on the future of Russia: “Contrary to the expectations of the West and many Russian citizens, it is unlikely that Russia will become a liberal democracy at peace with its neighbours after the war. It is far more likely to be an authoritarian, revanchist state, suspicious of the West and possessing considerable military power.” Moreover, it is argued that Russia’s military forces are now larger than before the war.

The statement about Russia being a revanchist state came as a bit of a surprise. This means that its defeat is already predicted before the war is over.

Maybe it will happen, but frankly, I do not see any obvious signs of defeat in Ukraine so far. Of course, this depends on the availability of information that ‘improves one’s vision’. All I see are positional clashes, mutual shoot-outs in the 17-20% of the territory occupied in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s President, Mr Zelensky, constantly reminds us that we are slowly moving forward. The front is Crimea and the Donbas. Another prominent Ukrainian politician understands “forward” in his own way: “movement is not measured in metres or kilometres. What matters is how much of the enemy has been destroyed”.

Simply put, one keeps shooting until one runs out of workforce and equipment.

In the traditional view of military education, it seems that diversionary, guerrilla warfare dominates.

But what does the Kremlin think about the course, the outcome and the future of the war? In the Lithuanian media, at least a year ago, there was an opinion (not the government’s) that the aggressor should not be given the floor, according to the principle of “audiatur et altera pars” (“let the other side be heard”). An aggressor is an aggressor and deserves only condemnation. I agree, but what thoughts are in the womb of the aggressor is worth knowing and needs to be known.

On 13 June, the Russian military magazine Profil, and shortly afterwards Russia in Global Politics, published an article by Mr Karaganov with the shocking title ‘The use of atomic weapons can save humanity from global catastrophe’. In the motley propaganda paper, the article might not have attracted much attention had it not been for the personality of its author.

Mr Karaganov (born in 1952) is currently presented as the Honorary Chairman of the Russian Council on Foreign and Defence Policy. Simply put, he is a “resident” of the Kremlin and not Putin’s adviser of last resort. His immediate position is Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and Politics at the Institute of Economics, where he has also taught for many years in Western universities. He has published books in English and Russian. Interestingly, current Russian propagandists (from the notorious V.Solovyov and M.Simonian, founder of RT, to O.Skabeyeva, E.Popov and others) have lived or studied and worked in the USA for a long time.

I heard the name of S. Karaganov back in the times of the Sąjūdis. I knew from hearsay that he had given some of the participants of the Sąjūdis his comments on the future relations between Lithuania and Russia. I have never seen that text. He published an article in English entitled “How to make the Belarusian elite pro-Russian?”

Karaganov started his career in Yeltsin’s team. In 1991 he was a member of the Foreign Policy Council of the Russian Foreign Ministry. From 1993 to 1999, he was a member of the Russian Presidential Council. He moved to Putin’s team. He is still considered influential in the Kremlin.

Mr Karaganov’s recent ideas and proposals have caused a stir inside Russia. The main thrust of the article is already reflected in the title. It is easy to summarise his ideas: the clash between Russia and the West will continue in any case, regardless of the outcome of the so-called special military operation.

It is worth quoting more: “If we completely liberate the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya, and Kherson districts, it will be only a minimal victory. The liberation of the east and south of Ukraine within one or two years will be no more than a minor success. The rest of Ukraine will still be a bleeding, Russia-hating country. And worse still, the whole of Ukraine will be in ruins with a Russia-hating society.”

In Karaganov’s view, relations between Russia and the West, especially the US, will only become more acrimonious.

He explains that the hatred of Russia and Russians in the West has taken root to such an extent that it no longer allows any hope of normal, friendly relations in the future.

Especially since this process of ‘hatred’ has been going on for five hundred years and will result in the destruction of Russia, even thermonuclear war.

Therefore, Mr Karaganov’s proposal to the Kremlin is to cross the West first with nuclear weapons. There is a hint that Poland could be such a target.

Incidentally, the first to react sharply to the article’s ideas was, unexpectedly in recent times, the Russian academic community, which called it the Russian word for ‘bullshit’.

One of the criticising academics asked rhetorically: was the article not coordinated with the Kremlin? Nobody answered. The Kremlin itself has not yet reacted either.
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