Staunton, October 6 – As a result of government propaganda, nearly three out of four Russians believe that the West wants to weaken or dismember their country, Georgy Mirsky argues, and as a result, they will view any weakening or separatism that does occur regardless of its source as the result of Western policies and therefore turn toward fascist leaders.
Anyone who speaks with Russians on the streets these days, the Moscow commentator says, will hear people say this, in large measure because “politicians (and even the very most important) and scholars explain [to them] that the West has always hated Russia” and wished the Russian people ill.
But this is something new, something that leads even educated Russians to say when they hear about some misfortune in the world that the CIA is behind it, Mirsky continues. It is true that some in the West have disliked and opposed the Russian government, but that “hardly means ‘to hate the Russian people.’”
In nine years of working in the US, he continues, “he never heard a single bad word about Russians” as such. Instead, he notes, even those Americans who hadn’t heard of Tolstoy or Tchaikovsky “knew that Russia is a great country and had been an ally of America, and always asked with sympathy: ‘Why does such bad news all the time come from you?’”
And the same thing was true among Russians in Stalin’s times. “there were no anti-Western as opposed to ‘class’” hatreds in Russia, Mirsky says. Rather the reverse: people spoke with genuine respect for American products and showed their affection for Americans especially during the war.
But now things have changed in Russia. “Several years ago,” he recounts, “he saw with [his] own eyes on one of the central television channels” a journalist ask: “’Do you believe that the Americans have introduced AIDS in our country in order to destroy our people?’ and about 30 percent said they did not exclude this.”
“Now let us imagine,” he continues, “what could happen if (‘in correspondence with the intentions of the West’) will occur a weakening and dismemberment of Russia? How will this be reflected in the situation and attitudes of the people, on its psychology?”
The answer is obvious: “the people would become even more angry.” And in that state, they would not turn to the democrats and liberals but rather the extreme nationalists, “up to the open Nazis.” Such people wouldn’t come to power, “but the ideological-political climate in the country would be defined precisely by the pseudo-patriots, ‘the red-browns,’ the range of views of which vacillate from the Orthodox-monarchist to the Stalinist-neo-Bolshevik.”
But whatever the disagreements in this camp, they share a common hatred toward the West and more immediately toward ethnic minorities, and they have a common “conviction that the enemies of Russia are the Americans, the liberals and the gays.”
Nonetheless, such a country would still have nuclear weapons, and “in the West would grow a well-founded concern: what if the rising tide of Russian Nazism will lead by the logic of things to foreign aggression?”
“And here is the conclusion,” Mirsky says. The answer to the question as to whether the West is interested in having a weakened and dismembered Russia which is still in possession of nuclear weapons is “no” because “what could be a greater nightmare for Western politicians?”
No serious Western politician wants that to happen, he argues. Instead, all political figures and analysts in the West “without exception” believe that “only idiots or those with suicidal tendencies in the US could be interested in having Russia become ever weaker, poorer, more degraded and disintegrated.”
But that is not what people in Moscow now believe, Mirsky says. In various forums, those who “hysterically shout about the intention of the West to destroy Russia” dominate discussion and those who try to make a logical counter-argument are ignored.
Naum Korzhavin was right,” Mirsky concludes, “It makes sense to argue only with those who agree with you.” Unfortunately, “they are becoming fewer and fewer. Considering [his advanced] age,” the commentator says, he is happy that he “will not live to the time when the 71 percent “is converted into 99.”