Operation in Syria and the threats to the national security
Russia’s political leaders initiated a one-sided interference into the Syrian armed conflict on one of the sides without coordinating it with the potential allies. This interference is accompanied by tough ideological anti-Americanism, anti-European and self-isolating foreign policy, and a sustainably antidemocratic model within the country, when the propaganda firmly identifies patriotism with chauvinistic veneration of the authorities.
Furthermore, the initiators and commanders of the armed operation in Syria are talking about some indispensability of Russia, hinting at some special awareness and special capabilities of the Russian intelligence service opposing these to the “western” approaches. A strange political and military configuration of the confrontation with both the terrorist ISIS and the West has been chosen, whereas judging by the emphases of the [Russian] propaganda it is unclear who is a bigger enemy [for Russia]. Moreover, a politically bankrupt regime of Bashar Assad has been chosen as the main ally. The political and diplomatic actions of the Russian leaders and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the RF have been formal, primitive and non-dynamic as if the collision took place [long ago] in 1960-s, rather than 2015. It seems that professionals do not develop political or military policies but have to follow the course which was “handed down” to them.
The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO states the following:
First. The present military and political policies is very dangerous for our country both from the point of view of narrow tactics and its strategic prospects.
Second. Russia can not alone (together with Bashar al-Assad) stop and crush the ISIS. At the same time, the actions taken [by Russia] cause serious alarm and misunderstanding in the world and bring about the prospects of such confrontation which our country will not be able to stand, rather than respect for Russia. Russia has started a long-term and wasteful operation with the goals that are vague and unclear to the people and their completion date is open. By clearly joining one of the sides, we have also become a part of a complicated nation-communities and religious conflict.
The actions of this kind represent a dramatic rise of different security threats of our country, rather than Russia’s success. The foreign policy conducted by the Russian authorities has been turning into a real threat to the national security of Russia.
Third. The territorial integrity of Russia in its internationally recognized borders, the success of our people and the sustainability of state institutions are the goals we are unreservedly devoted to, therefore we cannot accept the forcible and merely provocative political course.
The present Russia’s political regime identifies the country with itself, which represents its protective reaction and, at the same time, its fundamental philosophy. The regime virtually admits that in case today’s nomenclature leaves due to the factor of time or its breakdown for one reason or another, the country will parish. The regime is ready to throw the country into military and political adventures, involve it into the arms race increasingly gambling on a possible use of nuclear weapons, so that to delay or relieve its leave.
The aggressive complacency of people, who appreciate neither themselves nor others and who are solving a tactical and opportunistic scheme for protection of themselves and their interests, has become the norm of the state administration, the norm of the peripheral economy and aggressive peripheral authoritarianism rooted in the nomenclature of the Stalin’s era.
The development of all the major decisions in foreign and domestic policies by one person is rooted in that period too. This is the evidence of the institutional degradation of the state. Its most striking manifestation are the decisions made by the Federation Council, the body formed so that to limit and control the authorities in such important matters as use of the armed forces outside Russia. An instantaneous decision-making without any discussion, satisfaction of any desire of the authorities, absence of any attention to the public opinion have become a norm. Meanwhile, Russians pay for these decisions with their lives. As a result, people do not feel themselves the citizens of the country, responsible for their and the country’s fate, but the pawns, hostages of somebody’s games.
At the same time, the actions of the Russian authorities, accompanied by the propaganda support, the behaviour and statements of the officials and pro-government campaigners look like a consistent (no matter if it is conscious or unconscious in each particular case) preparation for a big war. The actions of the Russian in Syria are ranged together with the adventure in South-East of Ukraine and fit into the context of the confrontation with the West as the main enemy of Russia. It is more than just words and propaganda. The context of war becomes a natural habitat for Russia’s specific hysterical and nervous “elite”. The authorities and their close associates are unable to develop the country, implement the vital and obvious tasks (economic, socio-political, social, security tasks), consequently, they “save themselves in a war” so that to avoid responsibility for the situation with Russia and the citizens. We consider the increasing number of hints and statements on the possibility of Russia’s using nuclear weapons be especially dangerous. YABLOKO undoubtedly considers the fight against terrorism, and especially now – against the inhumane practices and ideology represented by ISIS – be the greatest challenge for the entire world. We talked about the necessity of Russia’s participation in this fight a year ago, referring to the participation in the formation and direct involvement of our country in the actions of the global coalition against international terrorism. We proceeded from the fact that it was a very difficult task that had to be approached without voluntary attacks and arrogance.
There are people in Russia who are able and willing to work together with the specialists from other countries along with civil institutions so that to responsibly develop solutions for this problem. However, the present military and political course does not encourage, but blocks the realisation of this potential. Moreover, it enhances the threats to the national security on behalf of the most terrible and destructive forces. Furthermore, the increased threats will inevitably cause a wave of domestic security operations and provocations against the dissenting. Consequently, the senseless loyalty will completely substitute professionalism and true patriotism.
Russia’s national security requires quick and radical political changes: an active course towards transparency, reasonable demilitarisation, rejection of territorial claims to [Russia’s] neighbours, economic modernisation within the global processes and domestic democratisation.
The personal problems, which the bureaucratic elite will have to face, can not be an obstacle to the realisation of Russia’s national interests, formation of the national security strategy which would be adequate to the threats of the modern world.
We are addressing our society, the citizens of Russia, including those who are not our political and ideological supporters. Today the question is not about choosing allies and foreign policy concepts in the usual, traditional sense.
For the sake of our country, we must unite in an effort to give a nation-wide dimension to Russia’s foreign policy – both in terms of public participation (either directly or through their representatives from different political forces) in its formation and in terms of the interests implemented by this policy.