Vladimir Putin will not give up Caucasus24.01.2012 | 20:48
Whatever the objections to the style and quality of Vladimir Putin's new program article "Russia: Nationalities Question" might be, the idea of a "Russian cultural kernel keeping a polyethnic civilization together" it is based upon is what the country needs to preserve itself. Russia has never been monoethnic, which often helped it attain superiority in various spheres - from science to sport. To give up the non-Russians by removing them from public life and separating them, starting with the Caucasus, means to destroy the country as such.
"We've lived side by side for centuries and have won the most terrible war together. We are going to live together. To those who are trying to separate us, I may only say - you'll fail", - this is the way candidate for presidency Vladimir Putin ended up an article by Independent Newspaper. His words reflect the essence of the program manifest: the nationalities question is the basis of the Russian state's integrity and its attractiveness in the process of reintegration of the post-Soviet republics. Any attempts to disrupt the interethnic relations put an end to the prospects of a Euro-Asian Union and even invite the country's decay.
One does not need to delve in dusty archives for an example. It's enough to remember the collapse of the USSR earlier characterized by Putin as a "geopolitical catastrophe". Transformation of national outskirts into independent states was supposed to be logically followed by turning Russia into a patchwork of several countries. "By declaring sovereignty 20 years ago, the then RSFSR deputies in the heat of fighting the "Union center" launched the process of building "national states" even inside the Russian Federation. In its turn, the "Union center", trying to press the opponents, started a backdoor game with the Russian autonomies, promising to raise their "nationalistic status", - the author of the article describes the situation, noting that it all led to "decay and separatism".
Johar Dudayev was the most ardent pretender for independence. The wild Ichkeria with its armed criminals who tortured the Russian minority, kicking out the "alien" population, demanded sovereignty. It was clumsily drowned in blood - both of the common people and the 18-year-old recruits. Instead of a short and well-planned operation, "democrat" Boris Yeltsin unleashed a shameful war which still echoes with terrorist acts in various Russian towns. Putin put a victorious end to the war, having killed other republics' desire to obtain sovereignty and continue destroying the country. One should thank Vladimir Vladimirovich for that, while Gorbachev did not deserve any thanks.
In due time, Mikhail Gorbachev faced criminal prosecution for ruining the USSR. It was started but unfortunately was not brought to an end by the late communist Victor Ilukhin. The high-principled prosecutor was dismissed for his initiative, while the first and the last president of the USSR received the Noble Prize from those who rejoiced at the end of USSR. Liberal intelligentsia celebrated it as well, bidding farewell to false ideology, though the majority of people voted against the separation of the republics during the referendum. However, people were betrayed by the elite and there came the long-awaited freedom of opinion followed by total economic regress and decrease of the standards of living for most people.
The elite of the former Soviet republics, especially Georgia and the Baltic States, do not regret about the past. Tbilisi even devised a heroic myth about schoolgirls and pregnant women coming out to defend independence and being killed by heartless Soviet soldiers with pioneer spades. However, the number of servicemen who suffered on that day was two times greater than the number of demonstrators and all the dead Georgians, according to medical expertise, were squeezed to death by the crowd. But does it matter when one has to disclose the "imperial evil"? It was necessary to somehow explain to "sovereign" nations why a peaceful and satisfied life in the Soviet Union was worse than empty stock shelves, enterprises turned into scrap metal, utility problems and armed conflicts of the 1990s.
Now Russia is promoting the project of a Euro-Asian Union that could help revive the close economic ties between the former USSR republics. It will not mean reincarnation of the Union, for the communist ideology has long been destroyed; still, this supranational formation is to become a powerful geopolitical player if, of course, Russia is not frightened by nationalistic slogans.
Putin suggests solving the problem of migrants by toughening the migration law, eliminating corruption and improving the work of the law-enforcement system. "When we talk about the rights of Russians being prejudiced in Russia, especially in historical Russian territories, it means the state structures do not perform their primary task of protecting the people's life, rights and safety", - the prime minister answers Russian nationalists imagining that they save their Motherland by killing guest workers.