Hiding from repression and mobilization, more than 700,000 Russian citizens left for democratic countries. These are apolitical people who don't care about their own country or any other.
Many of them now believe that the Ukrainians will break the back of their fascist regime, and then they will return home, and build their beautiful and “liberated” Russia and everything will be like before.
But this is an absolute self-deception. They organize some kind of congresses and forums, and at these meetings, they prompt one another the possibility of utopias about building a "Beautiful Russia of the future". They tell the citizens of civilized countries about the possibility of creating democracy in Russia. But this is a total lie. The thing is that they indulge in wishful thinking and do not distinguish between their dreams and reality.
Forum of Free Russia. 3rd Anti-War Conference, Lithuania, December 2, 2022
“Democratic Russia”: is it possible?
This is a common problem of Russians, who mistakenly call it the “mystery of the Russian soul”. The war of these “subjects” in Ukraine demonstrates in the clearest way what Russia is and why the pseudo-oppositionists will not succeed.
Of course, the citizens of the civilized world would also like to believe in the possibility of a democratic transformation of Postrussia. In the mind of an ordinary European or American, it's impossible to believe that there can be no democracy in the country, that there can be no freedom, or that corruption may reign in the country. But we must be realistic and understand that in the current realities it is impossible to “liberate” Russia.
Because it is a population that has never chosen its own government within a thousand years. The two attempts after the collapse of the USSR do not count, they have been erased by the obedient silence that followed. And even now, they are nostalgic for both the Russian Empire and the USSR at the same time, which is absurd in itself.
Even now, all school education in Russia is based on war and the cult of victory. Children are taught from an early age that it was they who defeated fascism, that it was they who “liberated” Europe, that everyone owes them their lives and that the main holiday is May 9. Not Memorial Day, not Mourning Day, but the Victory Day. But actually, for most of them it is just an excuse to get drunk and put stickers “For Berlin” or “1945: we can do it again” on their cars.
They do not understand that power and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. And the generations now living will no longer understand this. These generations will no longer take any responsibility for their choice. And the only thing they are able to do is to bring another tyrant to power.
For Russians, democracy is just a beautiful word that magically opens the door to civilized countries to them. They do not understand how this magic works, and they do not want to understand it. And they do not need to.
Just watch any street survey, watch 2 or 3 of them; you do not need more, for they are all the same. Why was the war started? What is this aggression for? Why Ukrainian children are being killed? The answer is always the same: we are ordinary people, we are not interested in politics, and they (the politicians) know exactly what they are doing. This is the kind of slavery that has been cultivated there for generations.
So, the citizens of the civilized world should realize that when the Russians talk about democratic Russia, it is beautiful, but absolutely idle talk. An incantation. A magic ritual. Nothing more.
Citizens of the civilized world need to understand that no matter what changes take place in Russia, these generations of Russians will never change. All they can build is just another clone of totalitarianism.
Democracy can live and grow only where they are ready to fight and die for it, to take care of it every day. The Russians, as an imperial identity, are never ready. Not now, not before.
“A country of slaves, a country of masters,” the poet wrote a century ago and was right.
To make an adequate assessment of reality we must proceed from this fact.
Americans have realized this about Afghanistan after many years and numerous efforts. I suggest to draw conclusions from their mistakes.
A remaining threat of nuclear terrorism
We should also proceed from the fact that the criminal community called the Russian Federation is a threat of nuclear terrorism – to the entire world. As trite and silly as it may sound, it is a monkey carrying a suitcase with a red button. While before the war, many Europeans thought Putin was a tyrant and dictator, but a smart leader, now there is no doubt about his inadequacy.
And this problem will not go away on its own. It must be solved jointly, by all civilized countries.
It would be naive to expect that even after a hypothetical regime change in Moscow, new Russia's leadership would voluntarily agree to give up nuclear weapons. All these Russian "democrats" and "liberals" who have emigrated will return to Moscow and will immediately declare that they need to defend the perimeter of their “democratic empire”. Even their most ideological oppositionist, Navalny, is an even bigger nationalist and radical than Putin who is only hiding behind the mask of a liberal.
No matter how much the Russians talk about democracy and their peacefulness, they will not solve the problem of their nuclear disarmament on their own. And this is also a fact. Ukraine can start the nuclear disarmament of the Russian Federation. Ukraine which with its own blood and sacrifices, with its own actions to renounce nuclear weapons, has proved its democracy, peacefulness, and commitment to nuclear disarmament.
Therefore, after the military defeat of the army of aggressors and terrorists by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and joint UN peacekeepers, it is necessary to immediately impose external control over the territories of the country that lost the war. By joint forces of the countries that supported Ukraine in the struggle for survival and independence. If not immediately, then at least gradually.
We could step by step release from sanctions the territories that will be seceding from the Russian Federation and surrender their nuclear weapons as well as assume the corresponding obligations. For a certain period of time, this process should be carried out under external international management, of course.
Split of Russia: What to expect?
Many processes for the split in Russia itself have already been launched. Let’s figure out just some obvious examples of this.
Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, not to mention Ichkeria, whose right to self-determination has been recently recognized by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, are ready to secede from the Russian Federation. And this is not my idea – it was suggested by Mikhail Kasyanov, former prime minister of Russia. Ingushetia and Dagestan will obviously want to copy the actions of neighboring Chechnya. All observers can hardly imagine how they will divide the borders of the Caucasus among themselves. It would be good if the people would understand that they, and every one of them, have few weapons and human resources at their disposal. And they will come to an agreement without war.
Everyone realizes the separation of Kaliningrad, Karelia, and the Kuril Islands. No one even argues with this. As with the inevitable return of the occupied territories of Georgia (North Ossetia and Abkhazia) and Moldova (Pridnestrovie). It will be more difficult with Belarus, which must be liberated from occupation. It is large and its population is silent, while the activists have been either destroyed or bribed. All the neighboring countries will have to help them, as their dictator had long expected. Fortunately, there is already someone to do it.
Yakutia will also wake up on its own, but it needs the insurance of international support. Yakutzoloto and Yakutalmaz corporations will help them! Other future countries of the new entity, as we will call it – “Postrussia”, will gather their thoughts about independence against the background of the common slogan "Enough to feed Moscow!", already for economic, economic, or geopolitical reasons, not by their nationality.
The Far Eastern and Ural republics have not yet forgotten their previous impulses for independence. Other regions, too, will quickly become a question: how to live further, when no money comes from Moscow. And there are only everlasting commanders. I even heard about ideas of the “United States of Siberia” and the “Pacific Federation”, but I can hardly imagine them.
The Northern European countries left without development resources will quickly realize their interest and begin to help the Yamalo-Nenets, Khanty-Mansiysk, and other regions rich in natural resources. And businesses, powerful corporations, will switch the financial flows from the sale of the natural riches of these lands, already without participation of Moscow. But with paying reparations to Ukraine, of course.
China will not seize anything by force. And why fight, buy or rent, if the deprived in the corresponding regions will bring everything themselves, hold referendums, and beg for it? Well, except that they will help Kazakhstan to remember about 2-3 regions, which were taken away from them during the Soviet era. Well, why did they promise Kazakhstan the protection of territorial interests?
I have not forgotten the Muslim interests and ideas of the “Great Turan”, I just do not know much about them. Well, Azerbaijani does not differ much from Turkish. Let Turkey administer the interests of the “Great Turan”.
Mongolia, which has grown stronger in recent years, has accepted the flow of refugees from Buryatia with understanding. For many Mongols and Kazakhs, Buryats, Kalmyks, and Tuvans are their own people who need help.
There is no need to mention or assume all the possible options for the newly independent countries of Postrussia, but each of them will have the opportunity to become an independent, economically wealthy, and comfortable state for its citizens. I don't know, for example, what St. Petersburg will decide for itself, but it certainly won't stay with Moscovia, will it? And as a port city, it will definitely survive.
Ukraine has already demonstrated its ability to resolve the issue of demilitarization of Russia. It is also capable of carrying out both denuclearization and democratization on the territories of Postrussia. In the same close cooperation with the countries of the civilized world, as it is doing right now, to ensure the administration of this process. There is an enormous and time-consuming effort to educate and bring up new generations of citizens of these new countries. Educating this generation of former Russians in the practices of responsible citizenship and local self-governance will not be enough. It needs to be done, and it will have to be done, but it will not be enough. It is proved by the poor results of many efforts in Germany and Japan after World War II.
Such work should already be started. It is time to think over actions, gather expert groups, develop budgets, decide on resources, to prepare personnel and implementation plans. Several different groups are already working on this in Ukraine, and we invite interested persons to participate.
This is not only a task of national importance for Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Poland and the Baltic States. It is a task for all countries of the world that are interested in security.