Moscow did not claim to be equal to the United States, but considered it possible to get the role of "deputy US" (or "vice-president of the world"), or to become the "third pillar" of the West along with the US and the EU, even at that moment the weakest. Moscow in the first half of 90's could not and did not want to solve any global tasks, but it relied on the recognition of its natural and obvious interests in the post-Soviet space (in no way denying the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the post-Soviet countries) and , on the general legal approaches of the West, on the observance of international law and uniform rules of conduct for all.
If these hopes of Moscow were realized, it would fundamentally change the geopolitical situation not only in Europe, but in the world as a whole, ensuring real security for the West and, with a very high probability, the development of Russia, and with it the entire post-Soviet space along the path of strengthening democracy and market economy.
Unfortunately, the West perceived post-Soviet Russia as the heir of the USSR in all aspects, as the losing side, which should behave accordingly, refusing, in fact, any national interests (especially if they do not at least minimally coincide with those of the West). Russia was treated as Germany after the First World War (this is confirmed by the fact that now in the West there are often parallels between the actions of modern Russia and Nazi Germany in the 30-s). Having failed to realize that even the endless persecution of democratic Germany 20 of the twentieth century, it was the West that brought it to Nazism.
With this fundamental error of the West (first of all, the USA) all subsequent problems began. The other side of this mistake was the perception of the West itself as a winner who is not judged. This greatly aggravated subsequent problems.
At the beginning of 90, the West still had enough realism not to interfere with Russia's actions in the post-Soviet space. Despite the difficult situation in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, they proved to be a very effective peacemaker in Moldova, Georgia, and Tajikistan. This was especially evident against the background of the actions of the UN operetta forces in other regions of the world, where they did not solve any local problems at best, and created additional problems at worst. However, non-interference of the West in the affairs of the post-Soviet space in the early 90-s, apparently, was due to lack of readiness for intervention, as well as a desire not to harm the first president of the Russian Federation, which, as it seemed, acted in the interests of the West.
Later, however, elements of the containment of Russia began to appear in the actions of the West to an ever greater degree. The well-known book of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “The Great Chessboard” (published in 1997) became very significant in this sense; a weak confederation of three states, each of which is focused on geographical neighbors. Of course, neither at the time of writing this book, nor after that Brzezinski did not hold any official posts in Washington, this book never had the status of a coherent US foreign policy doctrine. Nevertheless, it is impossible not to see that the provisions of the “Great Chessboard” were implemented to the greatest extent precisely in relation to Russia. It seems that the West at that time did not seek the complete disintegration of Russia for the sole reason - because of fears about the fate of its nuclear weapons.
DOUBLE STANDARD POLICY
Another extremely unpleasant discovery for Moscow was the actions of the West (primarily the United States) on the international stage according to the principle “Friends are everything, the enemies are the law”. The West considered it right to completely ignore the norms of international law, demanding that other countries strictly implement these norms (which, by the way, Brzezinski pointed out with alarm in his later works, realizing that this is very harmful to the image of the United States in the world). In general, the actions of the West demonstrated such a number of double standards that it has long since passed into quality, which the West itself did not notice and did not understand.
The NATO aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999, with the further violent rejection of the autonomous province of Kosovo from that country, was absolutely crucial for the further development of events in Europe and in the world as a whole. It was this that became the precedent for the further redrawing of borders in Europe (when Crimea is called such a precedent in the West, this is the top of lies and hypocrisy). Attempts by the West to prove the unprecedentedness of the Kosovo case did not stand up to criticism, for Kosovo was just a typical example of an unrecognized state, a significant number of which arose as a result of the collapse of the USSR and Yugoslavia.
Moreover, the explanation of aggression by humanitarian motives does not stand up to criticism. First, international law does not allow “humanitarian aggression” (aggression in any case remains aggression). Secondly, the question arises, why in this case did NATO completely ignore the much larger scale humanitarian catastrophes in Rwanda, Zaire / DRC, in Afghanistan before 2001? Why are humanitarian disasters in Libya now ignored (despite the fact that the cause of this catastrophe was yet another NATO aggression) and Yemen (for which the strategic allies of the United States — the Arabian monarchies led by Saudi Arabia) are fully responsible? Of course, during the “humanitarian intervention” in Kosovo and after it ended, all the crimes committed by Albanian militants against the Serbian civilian population were completely ignored. In general, this situation has been applied to all wars in the territory of the former Yugoslavia: all parties committed crimes, but the punishment was borne almost exclusively by the Serbs.
Subsequently, under false pretenses, the United States and its allies committed aggression against Iraq in 2003, in NATO and Arabian monarchies in 2011, aggression against Libya (in the second case, the UN had a mandate to provide a no-fly zone for all parties to the conflict, but not on full-scale hostilities of either side of the conflict).
As for double standards demonstrated by Western countries, their number is too large for a full transfer. One example is the attitude towards absolutely totalitarian Saudi Arabia, which is also the sponsor and organizer of almost all Sunni terrorism, as the most important strategic ally, and very democratic by the standards of the Middle and Middle East (where, in particular, place a real competitive election) - as a rogue state. By the way, the concept of “rogue country” itself has nothing to do with international law and only emphasizes the extent to which the United States ignores this right.
Another example is when the same, in essence, actions to suppress internal insurrections by Assad and Gaddafi are declared by the West to be criminal, and by the current regime in Kiev - completely legal.
The third example is the unprecedented pressure on the DPRK because of its nuclear missile program, in the complete absence of such pressure on India and even on Pakistan, not to mention Israel. In fact, these double or even triple standards are one of the most important reasons that the tightening of pressure on the DPRK invariably causes only reciprocal tightening of the positions of Pyongyang and nothing more.
It is also impossible not to mention the hysterics unprecedented in intensity and dislikes in the United States about "Russia's interference in the American elections." Regardless of whether this intervention actually took place, it is necessary to note that interference in elections and in general in any internal political processes in other countries (except, perhaps, the closest allies) is the basis of US foreign policy (if not synonymous with their foreign politicians in general). Finally, the fight against the doping system in Russian sport (regardless of whether it really exists) is conducted by absolutely illegal methods that have nothing to do with the “purity of world sport”. There is a disgusting politicking and nothing more.
In this context, of course, one cannot but touch upon the issue of the Crimea. Of course, the precedent case of Kosovo became a precedent for its transition to Russia (as well as for Moscow’s recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia). But the point is not only in this precedent. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this case demonstrated complete lack of professionalism, referring to the principle of the right of nations to self-determination and the UN Convention on decolonization that are obviously not relevant to the matter. Meanwhile, the primary issue here is the legality of the transfer of Crimea from the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954, when even decorative Soviet laws were violated. In addition, it is crucial that the Crimean referendum in March 2014 of the year correlated with the legislation of Ukraine in the same way as the Ukrainian referendum on independence in December 1991 of the year - with the legislation of the USSR. That is, if it is considered illegal to secede from Ukraine, the independence of Ukraine is also illegal. At the same time, in December 1991, the result of the referendum turned out to be higher than the rule of law - approximately 76% of Ukrainian citizens with the right to vote voted for independence. The only exceptions were the Crimea and Sevastopol, where exactly twice less votes were cast for independence - 38% of the total number of voters. That is, the Crimea that was illegally transferred to Ukraine was then illegally “taken away into independence” against his will.
In March, 2014% of Crimeans who had the right to vote voted for the transition to Russia, and if those residents of the peninsula who were outside that day could vote, this result would be even higher. Opinion 80% of the population can not be illegal, unless the Orwellian term “thought-crime” is introduced into legal practice. Moreover, besides the Kosovo precedent, there are precedents of Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, where exactly the results of referendums among the local population are considered by London as sufficient grounds for removing questions about their affiliation.
In general, we can note a remarkable moment. If not de jure, then the de facto Soviet communist regime in the West is considered to be almost as criminal as Hitler's. At the same time, however, one of the main crimes of the Soviet regime, namely, the completely arbitrary holding of internal administrative boundaries, as well as the no less arbitrary introduction of the “hierarchy of peoples,” from the point of view of the West, must remain completely unshakable. This is another example of a double standard, and this phenomenon is explained, apparently, by the fact that the cutting of the internal borders in the USSR was almost always carried out by its communist leadership to the detriment of Russia (then the RSFSR) and at the expense of Russia.
The actions of Russia in the Crimea, Abkhazia and South Ossetia can, of course, endlessly be called annexation, aggression and occupation, but the fact that at least 80% of the population of each of these three territories considers Russia to be a liberator is nowhere to be seen, and Ukraine as an occupier and Georgia. The change in the status of these territories is a continuation of the process of the collapse of the USSR with this completely artificial cutting of internal borders. Moreover, the residents of South Ossetia today are seriously offended by Moscow for the fact that it bans them from holding a referendum, like the Crimean one, on joining the Russian Federation. To prohibit Ossetians, who are a divided people, want to join Russia, is possible only with the legitimization of the concept of “thought-crime”.
The thesis about the “centuries-old natural aggressiveness” of Russia is very popular in the West. This thesis is very convenient in terms of propaganda, but, of course, has nothing to do with reality. Russia in all its incarnations (from the Moscow kingdom to the USSR) was no more aggressive than other countries of the same geopolitical scale of the same historical era, and traditionally played by the rules prevailing in the corresponding era. Moreover, Russia sometimes demonstrated nobility in the international arena to the detriment of its own interests (“The main thing is not to repeat mistakes”, “NVO” from 17.03.17). The current Russian Federation is also seeking the right to play according to general rules and nothing more.
AND AGAIN ABOUT IDEOLOGY
Attention should also be paid to the ideological aspect of the current confrontation, namely: absolute dominance in Western countries of left-liberal ideology with hypertrophied attention to the rights of various minorities, often to the detriment of the rights of the majority. This ideology is beginning to be regarded by the West as the only true one (here it is impossible not to draw parallels with the Soviet communist ideology, especially since it is also leftist) and in the "order of law" is imposed on the rest of humanity. There is a feeling that from the point of view of the official West in any country, democracy takes place not in the case when political power is in power, which has received the support of the majority of the population, but in the case when power is held by left-liberal ideology, regardless which way they came to power.
In 70-ies, Soviet dissidents appealed to the authorities with the appeal "Implement your Constitution!". Now there is every reason to appeal to the countries of the West with the call "Follow your international law!". You can not see this only if you have a quasi-religious belief in the exclusivity of the West (primarily the United States), which provides it with the “right to lawlessness” and legitimizes its lawlessness. In fact, the preservation of a similar part of humanity of such a faith becomes for the West largely a means of survival.
First, by believing in the chimerical concept of a “post-industrial information society,” the West itself largely deindustrialized itself, while at the same time ensuring the industrialization of China and other countries in the eastern half of Asia. Secondly, as a result of a number of socio-economic processes, the West (to a lesser extent - the United States, to an absolute degree - Europe) lost the ability to wage wars with comparable adversaries, because they are not psychologically prepared for casualties exceeding the level of statistical error. Scientific and technological superiority remains the last practical factor contributing to the preservation of Western hegemony, but it also gradually flows into Asia along with industry and weapons. As a result, the aforementioned quasi-religious belief of the rest of humanity that the West has some special right for this hegemony remains the only basis of Western hegemony. Its reflection is the fact that many people in the world (including Russia) are still seriously identifying the concepts of “West” and “civilized world” (or even “world community”). This belief is largely maintained by inertia from the times when the hegemony of the West had a practical basis (industrial and military power). Accordingly, the greatest danger for the West is the exposure of the specified faith.
RUSSIA WINS THE WEST ON THE INFORMATION FRONT
At the end of the 90s, the Russian elite realized that the West was not going to accept it voluntarily as a “vice president of the world” or a “third pillar”. From then on to this day, she obviously unsuccessfully seeks to “enter the West” by force on her own terms. More precisely, it is trying to prove without evidence that the “rules of the game without rules,” which the West, as shown above, has extended to itself, also apply to Russia. This creates a somewhat paradoxical situation. On the one hand, Russia (more precisely, its elite) believe in Western uniqueness on the condition of including themselves in this uniqueness. On the other hand, it is Russia that to the greatest extent destroys this exclusivity.
Although in practical terms, the main threat to the hegemony of the West is China, it does not lead any struggle with the West (except purely defensive) in the ideological and information space. Russia, on the other hand, has managed to create an exceptionally efficient information machine capable of working in tough competition both inside the country (with the near universal distribution of the Internet in Russia and its almost complete freedom) and outside it. This represents a striking contrast with the Soviet agitprop, which stopped working in the 70-ies, despite the complete information isolation of the USSR.
Since the belief in the uniqueness of the West is a purely informational phenomenon, it is the Russian propaganda machine that represents a much greater threat to it than the enormous economic power of China: Russia can bring to humanity the information that "the king is naked." Moreover, Russia is beginning to offer even the West itself a sort of alternative ideology (“traditional values” as opposed to left-wing liberalism), while unlike the USSR, it does not go beyond the traditional paradigm of democracy and market economy. This reinforces Russia's perception of the Western elites as a threat, even if at the moment the ideological alternative proposed by Moscow is marginal. In the fight against Russian propaganda, the West is clearly going to disobey one more of its own fundamental principles and demonstrate another double standard. The introduction of administrative restrictions against Russian media structures in the West means that the “sacred principle of freedom of speech” in the West is valid only as long as it gives advantages to the West.
The West’s reaction to the Crimean-Ukrainian events was especially indicative. The West announced the exposure of the Kremlin propaganda with its pure truth, but in reality it responded with its own propaganda, in which there was even less truth, and even more stupidity, aggravated by ideological pathos. However, numerous anti-Russian articles in the Western media, as a rule, reflect the frank stupidity of the authors (guided by ideological cliches, they simply do not understand what they are writing about). But the Russian Internet is clogged with anti-Russian propaganda in Russian, which is no longer stupidity, but a deliberate conscious lie. There are too many to not see in this coordinated campaign. Accordingly, the accusations against Russia of spreading fake in the West News - no more than another example of a double standard. The West behaves in exactly the same way, and it does not matter who first started.
In addition, with its successful and effective actions in South Ossetia, Georgia, Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, Russia clearly showed NATO’s complete military impotence and deprived the European countries of the alliance of a familiar sense of complete external security. And this was done by a “gas station that imagines itself a country,” as Senator McCain gracefully put it, and as almost all Western political elites think. This elite not only never recognizes that it is she who bears full responsibility for the situation that has developed, but, apparently, quite sincerely does not understand this.
AMERICAN MIND RUSSIA DO NOT UNDERSTAND
An additional problem in this case is that in the West, including the United States, in fact, there are no specialists in Russia. There are very few people formally considered as such. At the same time, specialists - Native Americans do not always have the necessary amount of knowledge about Russia and, most importantly, do not understand the context of what is happening in Russia. Specialists - immigrants from the USSR / Russia almost always have the necessary knowledge and understanding of the context. But for understandable reasons, they are striving to show themselves “big Americans than the Americans themselves,” and, moreover, they feel ideological hatred of their former country. Therefore, their analysis is obviously biased, referring rather to the sphere of propaganda than analysts.
Accordingly, the American elite simply have nowhere to get objective information. This leads to an inadequate response to the actions of Russia and to the equally inadequate demand for unconditional surrender from it, which, of course, cannot be accepted. It is quite obvious that if the policy of the West will change, it will only be in the direction of further tightening. The refusal of the United States for the sake of rapprochement with Russia from its messianic role and from the absolute primacy of national interests in relation to international law is absolutely impossible. Europe may not like this situation very much, but at least it will not give up its alliance with the United States, if only because of its own military weakness. In addition, ideological motives are no less strong in the actions of Europe than in the actions of the United States.
In Russia, as a result of the circumstances described, all actions of the West began to be viewed by a significant part of both the elite and the population, both aimed at complete submission or even destruction of Russia. Moreover, many elements of traditional democracy are now perceived as part of manipulative technologies aimed at undermining Russia from the inside. That is, for the folding of a significant part of democratic freedoms in Russia, the responsibility actually lies with the West, which (at least its leadership) in the Russian perception has become the focus of treachery, meanness and hypocrisy. Constant teachings to Russia from the United States are not simply perceived as interfering in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation, but cause complete rejection, since the practice of Washington’s actions is very often directly opposed to the content of its teachings. The overwhelming majority of both the elite and the population of Russia believes that the United States does not have the slightest moral right to teach Russia anything. And he considers quite rightly. If the USA and the West as a whole openly acted within the framework of traditional realpolitik, it would be foolish to make claims against them: any morality is fundamentally alien to such actions, double standards are the norm, and the main principle is vae victis (“woe to the vanquished”). But the West is tirelessly telling us and all of humanity that it has long since abandoned realpolitik and is guided solely by “values”. And from this, his behavior becomes not just immoral, but immoral in the square.
Thus, the current situation in relations between the West and Russia is partly even worse than it was during the Cold War. At that time there was no trust between the parties, but there was a certain respect for each other as strong opponents. Now there is no trust, but respect has disappeared. At the same time, an ideological confrontation has been revived, albeit in a new, more hidden form, and this, unlike conventional geopolitical competition, is always irreconcilable. Accordingly, it is completely incomprehensible where the tendencies to reconciliation can come from.
Not just a reduction, but zeroing in the tension between the West and Russia is quite real. The recognition of accomplished facts is necessary, that is, legal registration through the decisions of the UN Security Council of the new status of Kosovo, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and the Crimea (possibly through additional referendums). Further, compromise decisions are needed in the Donbas and Transdniestria, with these regions being given special status within Ukraine and Moldova. NATO should legally refuse to accept any new post-Soviet countries. Russia and the West should fundamentally refuse to put the post-Soviet countries before the tough choice “we or them” (and so far both sides have behaved just like that). Finally, it is necessary to work out and then strictly follow the norms and rules common to all countries in the international arena within the framework of existing or modified by mutual agreement international law.
Of course, all Western sanctions without exception must be lifted from Russia, which do not so much inflict real damage on Russia, as they exclude the possibility of an equal dialogue, since the West has neither legal nor moral right to "punish" Russia. In addition, if it is the United States that is interested in reducing tensions with Russia and strengthening democracy in Russia, rather than establishing control over Russia's actions, Washington needs not in words, but in fact, renounce any interference in the internal affairs of Moscow. In particular, it is necessary to abandon any form of support for the pro-Western democratic opposition in Russia. Only in this case there will be a chance that a pro-Western democratic opposition will arise in Russia, which will be (and will be perceived by the population) as a national political force, and not as an agent of foreign influence. And only in this case such an opposition will have a chance to acquire real influence on the internal politics of Russia.
There is not the slightest doubt that nothing of this will be done. The possibility of such a solution to the problem will not be formulated by the Western elites, even in a negative version. Therefore, it remains only to wait until the Russian leadership completely disappears illusions about the possibility of "entering the West" under any conditions whatsoever. After that, Russia will begin a real “turn to the East” with the construction of a new eastern bloc, antagonistic to the western one. Initially (in 2014), this slogan was purely propaganda, in fact, it was a call to the West: “Think again!” Now, however, there are certain signs that the slogan is beginning to turn into a real foreign policy doctrine.
How successful this “turn” will be and how much benefit it will bring to Russia itself is an extremely complex and ambiguous question. But there is no doubt that this will create very big problems for the West in various aspects. Given the genesis of the current situation described above, it can be said that the West will actually create these problems for itself. However, there is no reason to expect from the West an awareness of the true state of affairs, either now or in the future.