The last Russian mobilization - EURACTIV.com

The last Russian mobilization – EURACTIV.com

Russia does not have the opportunity to properly assess the course and outcome of major historical events, even those that it itself initiated, writes Orhan Dragas.

Orhan Dragash is the founder and director of the Institute for International Security in Belgrade.

Eighty-three years ago, the Soviet Union attacked Poland, and the dismemberment of this country began in alliance with the Nazi Reich. The fact that the Soviet Union actively participated in the outbreak of World War II, together with Germany, only 16 days later, places a heavy burden on the anti-fascist legacy that Russia cherishes.

This is a stain in the biography of the nation, an unpleasant affair, smeared and “buried” by subsequent interpretations and retellings for decades.

It was only an assessment that the imperial goals of Russia and the USSR could be achieved with the help of Hitler, which did not present any ideological and moral problem for Moscow.

That assessment was bad, which will be set in two years, when Germany will attack the USSR. Nevertheless, if this had not happened, and if Hitler’s venture had, by some chance, been crowned with success, Russia would still have been on the side of the winner, with whom she would have divided and tyrannically ruled Europe.

Russia does not have the ability to correctly assess the course and outcome of major historical events, even those that she herself initiated. Seven months ago, Russia attacked Ukraine, creating expectations among its people that they would simply appear in Ukraine, remove the “Nazis” from power in Kyiv, liberate the Ukrainian people and return them to their homeland in a matter of seconds.

One of Putin’s influential propagandists said at the beginning of the aggression that the greatest danger for the Russian army entering Odessa would be, for example, that one of the citizens would hug them too tightly in a brotherly way as a sign of enthusiasm and welcome.

Putin and Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, convinced that they were only attacking Ukraine. Since there was no glorious victory in five days or five months, a plausible excuse had to be found for the lack of triumph. This excuse was always at hand; it was even used occasionally, in passing, to convincingly describe that there are still things on the way to final and inevitable victory that make it difficult and slow.

But it was only after the failure of the Russian invasion of the Kharkiv region that the Kremlin came up with random excuses, a definition of war, and even a kind of purpose for the war. The war is not against Ukraine, but against the entire West – this slogan has intensified and became the main one in the propaganda narrative of the Kremlin after its army was defeated in the Kharkiv region.

In preparing the invasion, which he carried out in an unacceptably narrow circle of employees, Putin and his strategists ignored the possibility that the entire liberal Western world, with resources that Russia cannot even come close to, would stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian defense. This delusion arose from a long-standing self-delusion that Europe, NATO and the West are so internally divided that they will not be able to organize a meeting about Ukraine, let alone send any assistance to it.

Russia has worked diligently to resolve these differences and has long invested heavily in corrupting Western leaders, businessmen and the media. Unfortunately, with great success.

Until the last moment they underestimated the unity and solidarity of the West; they counted on the fact that there would be no answer from the West, they lied until the very invasion that there would be none. Blinded by their greatness and power, which they created a myth and illusion decades ago, they also overlooked clear signs that the West would support Ukraine, such as the fact that Britain sent a certain amount of modern weapons to Ukraine even before the aggression began.

The so-called “special operation” against the drugged (Putin’s term) leadership in Kyiv turned over time and continued defeats into a real war, then into a war against Ukraine and its people, and finally into a fight against the entire West. The enemy must present himself as a larger force when things go wrong in a war. And things went wrong for Russia even before its army crossed the Ukrainian border.

From the first day, Russian aggression was opposed “only” by Ukraine, its army and its people. The problem with Russia and Putin’s perception of the war is that they underestimated Ukraine’s determination to defend its country and its independence. They have come to grips with a deeply rooted belief that neither Ukraine nor Ukrainians exist, that their identity has been “forcibly changed,” as Putin wrote a year ago in his signature text “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians.”

An even bigger problem is that they did not understand the modern world that was taking shape before their eyes. They did not want to accept it, blinded by the arrogance of their “Russian world” as the highest alternative.

Ukraine was looking for a place in this world because it wanted to participate as a free nation, which was unacceptable to Russia.

Therefore, the declaration of the West as the main enemy in the war in Ukraine has a double function for Russia. First of all, to justify the shocking defeats at the front, thousands of casualties, the loss of conquered territories and the daily collapse of its reputation as “the second most powerful army in the world”, as they proclaimed themselves for decades. Another function is to mobilize what is left of imperial sentiment.

How to convince the Russians that they should not stop until they build the “Russian world” and regain “historical Russia” if the whole enterprise fails at the first stage, the Ukrainian one?

The shaman of the Russian World Alexander Dugin is working hard on this mobilization. After the defeat in Kharkov, he asked his compatriots to start a decisive and total battle against the West. “This time we will also win, at least in the war against the West, and this time it will be a people’s war. Culture, information, education, enlightenment, politics, the social sphere: everything must work together for the war, that is, for victory, ”Dugin’s call to mobilize the Russian people and all its resources read.

If Dugin is listened to in the Kremlin, it will be another in a series of failed historical assessments. And given the stakes, it could be the last.

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