After Paris 11/13
By Grigory Yavlinsky
First, we can hope that now it is clear to all where the enemy is. Everyone in Russia (except those who complete lost heads in their hatred of the West, but there are not so many such people) feels the blows of mortal danger coming to us from the Paris events together with a fresh trauma from the [Russian aircraft crash] over the Sinai.
That is what represents a direct threat to us, rather than the development of the missile defense system by the United States, or NATO and certainly not the signing of an association agreement between Ukraine and the EU and the change of power in Kiev. These pseudo threats look very foolish against the real threats and at the background of the Paris [attacks].
Second, it is generally clear what Russia should do: to fully and as a part of a broad international coalition to participate in the fight against ISIS. It is criminally naive to neglect the attempts to solve the problem in the hope that “we will not be touched by it”. Not because we are responsible for the whole world and should contribute, though it too has place to be, but because we will be affected. They attack where they can and at the weak places, and we are a weak place.
Third, it is clear, and that movement along this obviously the only productive way is extremely difficult due to the political situation in Russia, the nature of the Russian authorities and its policies.
Formally there are no single headquarters and coordination of the coalition, where Russia could switch in on the level of the military. However, there is an alliance of the states acting on their own, but feeling themselves allied with a more or less common approach to the situation and common goals.
Russia, entering the Syrian conflict, proposed the creation of a kind of deliberately unrealistic new coalition with participation of the Middle Eastern states and Kurds, but in fact acting in alliance with Assad, Iran and Hezbollah.
Russia has been trying to demonstrate it negative attitude to the coalition the United States, Europe, the Middle East and other states. The representatives of the coalition, in their turn, have repeatedly said that Russia, in their view, was not engaged in a struggle with ISIS and that it had some other military and political goals. According to military specialists and experts, Russia has not been struggling with ISIS much, in contrast to France…
This situation of confrontation and mistrust, where any coalition actions with the participation of Russia are simply impossible, has emerged not only and not so much due to the difference in approaches to the events in Syria proper. Everyone could agree about Syria, as evidenced, for example, in the negotiations in Vienna. But! The Russia’s anti-European policies accompanied by continuous lies and leading to a serious armed conflict with Ukraine forms the foundation for Western mistrust to Russia.
While the Russian side does not demonstrate its willingness to change this course, return to historically conditioned and normal cooperation with the developed world and correct all that was made to Ukraine, there will be no confidence, and therefore there will be no coalition.
In other words, [Russia’s] anti-European course means the absence of the coalition. If the left part of the equation does not change, the right remains the same.
Can we count at least on something in this sense? Can it happen so that the ability to take a serious position in the real, not a dreamy international coalition, which is the largest after the anti-Hitler coalition both as of its composition and tasks, will encourage the Russian regime to abandon its anti-European course?
Certainly, Putin’s Russia is not the Soviet Union, and it is not the middle of the 20th century, so that Vladimir Putin could count on the role of leader of the USSR. Real shifts in politics and rejection of the anti-European course will mark the beginning of the end of the regime.
This is reminiscent of the situation with Viktor Yanukovych, for whom signing of the agreement on Ukraine’s association with the EU would be the beginning of the end of its larcenous system. However, he personally, in case of movement along this path, could play a positive role in the history of Ukraine. Certainly more positive than that he got as a result of his attempts to maintain power through the rejection of the European way. It is a historical fact.
Now a “window of opportunity” for shifting Russia’s position has emerged. The fate once again gives Russia a chance to come to senses and avoid fatal errors. Further there is the issue of reason and intelligence: one should not argue with history.
Intelligent Russian citizens now realize, from one hand, where the danger is and from what they should protect themselves, and on the other hand, they are aware that are facing this danger alone and no one from the outside will come and rescue them, and the Russian government will go on thinking that inappropriate and futile struggle with the West is the priority.
That is what it is to be hostages of the [political] course…