Foreign and domestic policy of ‘Poetina’. Two corresponding vessels.

The last period in international politics Poetin is in control. He determines
the course of events.
Russian foreign policy has for a very long time been determined by two
developments:

  1. An encirclement complex.

In the thirteenth century Mongolia was a threat from the East.
Former Russia has endured the invasion by Napoleon in the 18e Century.
The West intervened in the civil war following the october 1917 revolution.
The last and most devastating was the invasion by the nazi’s in 1941.
It costed Stalin several weeks before he was over the shock that in spite
of the Molotov- van Ribbentrop pact from 1939 (which contained a.o.
a non-agression pact between the SU and nazi Germany)
the nazi’s initiated operation Barbarossa.
The war, and its massive losses on Soviet side of more than 20 million, knew the decisive turning point in the battle over Stalingrad. In that battle from dec.
1942 to the beginning of 1943 over 2 million Russian soldiers died.
In that time Stalin over and over asked the Western allies to start a
second front. He mistrusted the West. In the supposition that they
waited until the Germans and Russians were so exhausted by the battle,
to expand their influence over Europe.
The argument of the UK and VS that they weren’t prepared enough
to start the invasion before 1944 could not convince him.
Whether it is true or not. Stalingrad was the decisive moment in the
World War 2. The Western focus on ‘the Longest Day’ is perhaps
a bit out of place. Without the immense Russian sacrifice on the Eastfront,
a success on the Western would have been more difficult.
You could make a point that, contrary to Russia that has endured many
invasions on its territory, the British nor the Americans have fallen to that lot.
The Great Patriotic War as the Russians call it, is commemorated every year on the 9th of May, the day of the German capitulation.  
In the light of the deposition of Russian missiles in Cuba that could reach the US that led to the Cuban crisis in 1962, an American ultimatum and the withdrawal of these weapons. It is reasonable that a membership of Ukrain of the NATO is a step too far for Russia.

2. Fear of foreign influence on the Russian society – “foreign agents”

Poetin is very freigthened that Western influence will affect Russia.
Liberalism and its involving free expression of conflicting opinions is the equivalent
of chaos.
Which Poetin want to avoid by all means. Propaganda, fake news, lies,
distortion of facts, oppression and violence.
Because chaos is the loss of control.

The cynism of that reality is that the children of family of the Poetin inner circle
study in that pernicious West. Where “foreign agents” come from.
They deposit their wealth in the West. They invest in football clubs,
real estate etc in that West.

Former NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer stated in a Dutch radio program
that Poetin is afraid of the EU.
Its economic power and setting of standards, its freedom and democracy.
And the recruiting power that it assumes.

Unrest – as Poetin sees it- in the neighbouring countries of Russia, such as the revolt in Byelorussia and the freedom in the Ukrain is a direct threat for Russia and him.
He fears this will leak to Russia.

The most he fears is the influence of social media, which can spread news in minutes.

How easy is it to name everybody who is a threat in that respect “a foreign agent” ?

Memorial

Memorial is a human rights organisation that a.o. does research on the crimes of Stalin. Beside it kept an open list of policical prisoners such as Navalny.

One of the initiators was Sacharov, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1975.
He was honoured in the yearly awarded Sacharov Prize for rights and fundamental freedoms for the human, of the European Parliament.
He was an atomic scientist (sic !) and later became a politician.

This research does not fit in a state that wants to emphasize the glorious history of the nation.

The government did not consider this work subsidy-worthy.
Thus they were forced to accept gifts from abroad.

In 2013 Russian law stated that Memorial should display itself as a
“foreign agent”. It refused. Thus they broke the law.
At the end of 2021 the Russian High Court cancelled Memorial.
Because it broke the rules on ‘foreign agents”.

The cynical way in which Poetin dealt with a raid of the tax inspection
and the prosecution on Memorial, was typical and illustrates the operating
method of the state:
“We are dealing with routine controls of the judiciary. He had
(thus he said reassuring) given explicit instructions to the ombudsman
for human rights to watch closely that there is no question of exaggeration
or excesses” [1].

See. The Statement of the Kremlin that “they are glad that the health situation of Navalny is improving”.       

Levada     

Is an independent opinion-poll center in Russia.

Commissioned by the University of Leiden and the knowledge platform Window on Russia the research institute of Levada did research on the public opinion in Russia about the Dutch people: “It wouldn’t be a bad idea if the Netherlands understood that the government and the people of Russia are different things. And that one shouldn’t take a step in the direction of the government, but seek rapprochement to the people”[2]. Call it grassroots.          

In another reseach by Levada, the Dutch scored as no. 4 on a list of most popular
foreigners Russians like. This contradicts sharply with the image the Kremlin would like to create.
                                        

On the website of Levada, you read at the bottom of the first page the following statement.

“The ANO Levada Center has been included in the registry of non-commercial organisations acting as foreign agents”. This is different than a relevant item in a newspaper. It shows how repression works. The way this organisation is put away and excluded from society reminds more of nazism than the allegations the Kremlin makes to Ukrain.

Levada disagrees with this decision and tries to challenge it in court.  

My thesis is that Poetin’s position isn’t that strong and that he risks abroad in order to stand stronger at home.

The protests against the outcome of the parlementary elections – it seems like a long time ago but is only six months behind us- when Navalny was in prison, ranged from Leningrad and Moscow to Chabarovsk in the East of Siberia [3]. In 2020 there were more protests in Siberia because a popular governor was replaced by a Kremlin-adept.This was something that Poetin had never experienced before.

Protests concerned the high level of prices for food, the corruption, discontent under the youth, and exploitation of natural resources which primarily benefit ‘Moscow’, a consequence of  Poetin’s policy to centralize political and economic power.

On the riots late January in Kazachstan read this article.

https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2022/01/07/kazachstan-wordt-geen-russisch-protectoraat-a4076027.

Poetin miscalculated the reactions and overplayed his hand. And now he is not anymore in control in the international arena.


[1] Leer Poetin een les en prijs Memorial. Laura Starink, NRC 8 april 2013.  https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj0zsCOn6D2AhWRiqQKHd5UCTAQFnoECAIQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nrc.nl%2Fnieuws%2F2013%2F04%2F08%2Fleer-poetin-een-les-en-prijs-memorial-1233356-a997318&usg=AOvVaw2zVXV4zVsPStiG9VVUc-qV.

[2] https://www.raamoprusland.nl/actueel/1525-russische-publieke-opinie-nederland-heeft-goed-imago-eventueel-bereid-tot-smartengeld-voor-nabestaanden-mh17. 14 februari 2020.

[3] https://www.google.nl/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjk9MWvoqD2AhVlIMUKHXYJCrQQFnoECA4QAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fnos.nl%2Fl%2F2366836&usg=AOvVaw2bfyyORa9nRPqohBdzZsGD.

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