Western intellectuals continue living in the paradigm that Russia can be changed for the better. Russia, they assume, is capable of bringing something bright and good to the world. You only have to replace Putin and appoint a different figure! Sadly, this type of thinking is no longer naivety, this is now a crime of negligence.
Russia is a dying empire. All empires die some day. Russia, however, has decided to destroy as many healthy organisms as possible – before it dies. Like a drowning person who, no matter how decent and fair, can instinctively drag the savior under the water along with himself. So, the first thing to do when you swim to save a drowning person is to make sure he doesn’t hamper you.
Russia is an empire. As long as it remains an empire, it will always remain a danger to the world – until it is demolished. The western intellectual may ask – why? The answer is simpler than it may seem. Russia is essentially a huge conglomerate that unites many nations that hardly have much in common. Well, what do the Buryats have in common with the Chechen, the Muscovite with the Tuvinian, and the Kalmyk with the Tatar? Russia is not a U.S.-style melting pot, where many nations and ethnicities are united by common values. Far from that. Common values are hard to find between Kadyrov and a resident of St. Petersburg, for example. Unless it is a sick urge to destroy and mutilate people.
What unites all these people and nations, which live in eleven time zones? Muscle power. Muscle power and propaganda. Propaganda of the greatness of the empire, Russian chauvinism, the cult of aggression, and messianism. Propaganda is the tape that holds the empire. But it is also the cause of aggression, the source of the danger that Russia poses to the world. What holds the Buryats and the Tartars together results in the Bucha massacre. And there is nothing but this imperial propaganda that can keep Russia together. You turn off the propaganda, and Russia falls apart. Inevitably, each new Russian leader will use this propaganda to keep the country together. Just because of the natural desire to retain power. And then he will become hostage to the propaganda – even if he initially planned to create an empire with a European face to it. The trouble is, there can never be a face of Voltaire, Rousseau, Gavel, or another humanist in the empire. The empire will always have Putin’s or Kadyrov’s face.
Thus, if you do not agree that Russia should cease to exist as a state, then you should be prepared that it will always pose an existential danger to the world. The only way to remove this danger, the only way to cure the imperial aggression is to dismantle the empire. Next, you have to cure its sick elements. Twenty, thirty, whatever new states can be transformed into normal modern nations. Yes, this will require complex interaction with a bunch of new countries possessing nuclear weapons, possibly wars between these new entities. But it is a lesser evil than confronting a huge empire that is at war with the world, to all appearances ready and happy to blackmail the globe with nuclear weapons. To handle Buryatia’s nuclear stockpile – if there is one – one can always invent another Budapest memorandum.
If the empire is preserved, sooner or later it will return to its current, incurable, condition – the natural condition for this kind of an empire. Helping the people of Russia, its future generations – which is the subject of concern for the intellectual Western elite – consists in making them free from the empire. Because the empire, first of all, devours its citizens. Let’s face the reality, we have seen too many efforts to cure Russia. Now, we’d had enough of it. The Russian Empire needs euthanasia. So does the whole world, but Russia needs it in the first place. This IS humane. This is what the strategy of the civilized world should look like.