Vladimir Putin, Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoighu as of July 2021 have drastically changed their communication, and to look at it with today’s eyes already saw in nuce that Russia is looking beyond, looking to the XXII century. This can be seen in the July 3 Security Document. From where then came a series of initiatives such as expanding relations with China and Iran.
Moscow is therefore looking elsewhere: Europe and the United States, which as Edgar Morin explains in a 1989 book, The Nature of the USSR. The Totalitarian Complex of the Last Empire, were indispensable to advance Russia’s expansionist and imperialist aims, and now are no longer so indispensable. The U.S. and Europe-even when it was not-exported technology, raw materials and industrial material to Russia. The USSR had no factories and in order to maintain its total control aimed to have none. After 1989, federated Russia changed strategy but not ideology, which remained that of imperial expansion.
The myth of arms and the war industry that made Russia of the 1970s the most heavily armed in the globe has now become a driving sector of the economy. While the media message goes out in the West that Russia is not so strong because Ukrainians are real fighters, Moscow has placed multimillion-dollar commissions with allies and friends and now by renouncing the treaties to which it had adhered, START and the European Treaty, has no limits on arms exports. export and sell to the highest bidder.
On the other hand, Europe’s inability to be independent of Russian energy makes it vulnerable and economically blackmailed, because by depending on other sources it cannot be competitive in the market, while the international energy pipeline and network created by Russia makes it strong, and sanctions are but a palliative since Moscow has been working with middlemen for parallel imports since the Stalin era. The latest example was Johnson&Johnson’s optical lenses that after sanctions went up in Russia by 400% at which point the Ministry of Expertise intervened and started buying on the parallel market. The lenses dropped in price and the increase stabilized at +45%.
From a foreign policy perspective, Moscow has filled the gaps left by the United States, France, and England; the United Kingdom is also trying to regain its influence with the Commonwealth, with Beijing especially in Africa and Asia.
On the subject of monetary policy, now the goal is to give birth to an alternative currency to the dollar together with the BRICS and CIS countries, also allowed virtual currency that will be regulated differently from that Western virtual currency and will be used for exchanges especially with those countries that want to work with Russia but cannot and those countries where the currency is already in common use such as Central Asia and East Asia.
It therefore remains to maintain the Russian imperialist project: to destroy what remains of NATO, European and Western military infrastructure, such as those in the Nordic countries or the Baltic republics. The war in Ukraine therefore while the war in Ukraine was a response to expansionist aims in the West and for the U.S. it is an excellent opportunity to get rid of an economic competitor, Europe, for Putin’s Russia it is the only way to weaken NATO and Europe from a military point of view.
Therefore, returning to communication, Putin and Lavrov’s narrative toward NATO is not surprising. The president of the Russian Federation said on May 30 in the aftermath of the drone attack, “It was inevitable that after the collapse of the USSR there would be a competition between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, but it was assumed that it would proceed in a civilian form. The people who controlled Ukraine after the collapse of the USSR decided to create an anti-Russia under the influence of the West.”
Among the president’s musts is the fact that NATO has not kept its promises, he said in fact, “Russia has been deceived by NATO’s promises not to expand to the east. In response to the war started by the Kiev regime in the Donbass, Russia was forced to act; we did not start this war. Moscow’s air defense system successfully dealt with the UAV attack, although there are aspects to work on. Ukraine’s attempts to intimidate Russian citizens testify to terrorist activity-the drone attacks confirm this. Ukrainian citizens suffer from real terror, so they do not have the opportunity to speak freely.”
And again against NATO he said, “From the very beginning, Ukrainian authorities declared their neutrality, but gradually became part of a hostile structure-NATO, which is contrary to Russia’s interests. Russia struck the Ukrainian military intelligence headquarters in a recent missile attack. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are striking the territory of Ukraine, however, they use high-precision weapons, which are directed exclusively against military facilities. The territory still called Ukraine was controlled by people led by the West. In 2014, Western countries carried out a coup in Ukraine and began to destroy all those who were trying to build normal relations with Russia.”
Militarily Russia makes what in the jargon they call tactical mistakes, but Moscow has also shown that it can learn from its mistakes and quickly. The question is whether the West has a political-economic-military alternative to the narrative of victory that is being proposed to us, which, however, is not borne out at the moment either on the line of contact, which let us remember is more than 1,000 km, or in the markets where Russia at the moment to the great distress of its citizens is demonstrating excellent resilience and the ability to forge agreements and create new alliances.
The Western narrative is fundamentally flawed by an error of perspective: the underestimation of the enemy/adversary, its demonization the one that once led to saying that the Germans/Russians/etc ate children.
This can be seen for example from the recent CIA video inviting Russians to defect in favor of the West, i.e. NATO and the US.
For those who have read and enjoyed Martin Cruz Smith’s novel and Michael Apted’s film: Gorky Park, it was a leap back in time: at one point one expects to see young William Hurt disappear on screen. This is an official video of the world’s most fabled security agency, on par with James Bond’s MI6. But it is wrong in its communicative approach because it is distorted in its view of the adversary by prejudice and bias as well as political hybris. These are mistakes that later pay off politically. In the present case, the Russians are the ones at Kaspersky Lab, which was removed from the Western market over allegations of illegal data collection and so on for example. Of two things, either the evening is so advanced and therefore perceived as dangerous in this age of a new Cold War or we are all victims of a big lie, if the CIA’s perception is as described in the video.
Putin’s many underestimated speeches (like Xi Jinping’s) so infused with rhetoric and triumphalism according to Western standards, have a basic political significance for understanding then how Moscow is moving geopolitically and geoeconomically, of how it is creating strategic alliances to eliminate the Bretton Woods Accords and thus get rid of the boulders of sanctions, as we have said before.
We are returning to a particular historical period in which the role of the West is being downsized to a return to the East, the millennial center of gravity of wealth and civilization. To try to better understand the reasoning of the Russian elite and others, one need only read some texts by an interesting young British historian, Peter Frankopan: The Silk Roads: A New History of the World; The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World. Frankopan starts from the assumption that in human history, the rich and mysterious East has been the hub of civilizations, the Silk Road, the very ancient caravan route, constitutes the lymphatic system for cultural exchange and trade (we Italians have Marco Polo’s Il Milione to testify to this) between different peoples.
Mutatis Mutandis we are witnessing a similar geopolitical and geoconomic progression from which the West is excluded a priori. Many contemporary events testify to this: sale of Russian (and therefore Eastern) gas and oil, gold, derivative products , the trade war between Washington Beijing, won by the latter, and so on.
The Globe is evolving in front of us and the East is returning overbearingly to History, the one with a capital “E”.
Graziella Giangiulio and Antonio Albanese