Russia never ceases to shock. From the biggest shock eight months ago, when it attacked Ukraine, until today, not a day has passed without civilization being stunned by some action or words coming from Russia. War crimes, looting and destruction of Ukrainian property, bombing city squares and buildings, blackmail with nuclear destruction. Daily messages from the Russian propaganda apparatus about destruction, punishment, and often about the non-existence of Ukraine and Ukrainians are shocking.
Even after full eight months, the words of a journalist on Russia Today television shockingly echoed. Anton Krasovsky said that Ukrainian children should be “thrown straight into a river and drowned” or “shoved into huts and burned” whenever they criticise Russia. He “shocked” the world with this story so much that even Moscow was shocked, so he was suspended. He was replaced by the head of Russia Today, Margarita Simonyan, who also shocked the world with her statements. For example, that causing world hunger is Russia’s last chance to get the West to lift sanctions. Or that even as a 15-year-old girl she knew that America “is not a country, but a kindergarten for mentally disabled children”.
Where do people get the right to be shocked after everything that Putin’s Russia has done and said about Ukraine so far? Why continue with this hypocrisy, when it is only fair to admit that what we have in Ukraine for eight months is the real, true and genuine Russia that does not pretend to be something else? Why does the world persistently expect Russia and Russians to be something else, while they persistently show their true colours?
Russian people, Russian soldiers in Ukraine are not doing anything that is not deeply rooted in their tradition and their mind-set. We are witnessing the same criminality, lack of morals and fundamental values we have seen in Soviet person throughout the years of the USSR. It is the same Russian and Soviet stealing, the same disregard for law and human rights, the same utopian perception of reality, the same rule of the strongest, the same nationalistic chauvinism towards other nations of the former USSR, the same maniacal and senseless aggression and of course, above all, the belief in the existence of Russian exceptionalism that allows them to implement the true Russian doctrine in Ukraine.
Today’s Russia, just like imperial Russia and the communist USSR, is trying to deprive Ukraine of freedom and sovereignty, to subvert and enslave Ukraine, to exterminate those Ukrainians who are not willing to comply with the doctrine of the Russian world. That’s why no one should be shocked by drowning and burning of Ukrainian children on Russia Today.
The fact that Russian people have never been free in their history, along with a deep-rooted awareness of slavish subordination to the church and the government, produced elements of jihadism in the world view of Russian people. This abnormal view of the world allowed them to undertake and support initiatives that are hazardous and deadly for others, even deadly for Russian people themselves. Despite this, people persistently support them, with submissive silence, only because the ruler has declared them essential for the survival of the state.
The true motto by which Russian society functions through all historical stages is – “No cheating – no surviving”. This is the doctrine that we saw in the doping scandal with athletes at the Olympics, in causing a grain shortage during the Ukrainian aggression, we also saw it in the Russian bombing of Syria, which increased the migrant pressure on Europe. Part of that doctrine, in our time, is also Russian assistance to the right-wing in Europe and Trump in America.
Cheating is a matter of Russian survival throughout history, and its important part is the so-called “sharing”, that is, stealing property from those who have become rich illegally. This concept is incomprehensible to everyone who is still shocked by Russian actions and statements, but it was socially acceptable in Russia throughout all historical periods. It was present during Russian revolution, during Soviet era, during the late 90s, and the same philosophy persisted during the time when Putin requested oligarchs to sponsor valuable state projects.
Today, or at any other period in history, have people in Russia accepted possibility to decide about their own lives. Someone else always told them what to do; their comfortable lives were associated with the ability to embezzle, steal from work or the opportunity to monetize their privileged status, which was the general social standard. Soviet people rejected Gorbachev and Perestroika as the one small chance in history to take over freedom and responsibility for their lives into their own hands. They wanted communism back. They wanted simple life that did not carry personal responsibility for the present and the future. A life with a great and victorious past that determined the inevitable and victorious future. A life that had no freedom, because most Russians were not ready to accept it.
But, in turn, Russia accepted the myth of its own greatness, invincibility and destiny to rule over others, which Putin took from his predecessors and adapted it to new times. That is the myth about the “Russian world”.
Since Russian state and Russian society are built on lies, about themselves and others, the philosophy of the “Russian world” will fail just as the Soviet and other autocratic Russian doctrines failed before. This circle will be no different from all the previous ones. In this regard, Putin’s Russia is no different from Brezhnev’s Soviet Union or Nicholas II’s Russia.
The previous failed Russian doctrines were similarly outdated, corrupt, out of touch with the real world and, most importantly, they all had at their core aggressiveness towards the Western world. Putin’s Titanic is now heading towards Ukrainian iceberg and the world’s obligation once again, just as it was during the time the world faced Hitler, is to unite against Russian aggression and to put an end to it because there is no other way to maintain peace and harmony on European continent and in the world.
Russian world and civilized western world are two very antagonistic environments. One of these environments must cease to exist. The world must help Russian world and Russian doctrine to destroy themselves against Ukrainian unlimited desire to be free. The alternative is the massacre in Bucha, in the name of the Russian world and Russian doctrine, in some other part of the European continent.
(Column contains excerpts from Dr Orhan Dragaš’s book The Catcher in the Lie – The story of true Russia, which is in preparation)