Ivashov’s Inevitable Revolution

Leonid Ivashov

Ex-GU MVS Chief, retired General-Colonel Leonid Ivashov was apparently either asked or inspired to comment recently on the revolutions in North Africa.  And his comments got some press play beyond the blog where they originally appeared.  Ivashov is an inveterate conservative who always has sharp jabs for the U.S., NATO, and globalization.  But he’s an interesting guy whose anti-Western commentaries usually end up criticizing the Kremlin and Russian policies as well.

They apparently asked Ivashov whether Russia needs to fear a repetition of Tunisian, Egyptian, or Libyan events.  He goes on for a couple paragraphs with his view that the Arab world’s lagging behind in economic and social development explains what happened in North Africa.  Then he turns to its relevance for Russia:

“The situation is much more complex in Russia.  A revolution here is unavoidable.  It will become an attempt to find its own future and course of development that preserves Russia as a unitary state, both Russian and remaining native peoples – as a national-social formation.  Under the current course and regime, Russia has no future.  Catastrophe looms ahead – the country’s division and collapse, the departure of the Russian world from the historical arena.  These are objective data – when you look at government statistics even, your hairs stand on end.  There are approximately one hundred million Russians, 23 million alcoholics, 6 million drug addicts, 6 million sick with AIDS, 4 million prostitutes.  We have the very highest percentage of disadvantaged families, for every thousand marriages, 640 divorces.  Revolutionary transformations are simply necessary.  Let’s hope to God they come in a peaceful way.”

“What is happening now in the Middle East gives us reason to talk also about our degradation.  Yes, Mubarak, Qaddafi and the rest stole, hoarded riches for themselves, however there has never been in the history of a single state such complete plunder as is occurring now in Russia.  Two oligarchic clans, privatizers of resources and bureaucrats have sucked everything out of the people and the country.  Real incomes of the population in January compared with January of last year have decreased by 47%.  Oil gets more expensive — our gas gets more expensive.  Oil gets cheaper — our gas still gets more expensive.  Prices for food and other things constantly increase.”

“A handful of powerful bureaucrats and oligarchs close to them understand perfectly that there’s no avoiding a revolution.  Therefore they’re hurrying to suck everything up and tie their business to foreign structures.  So that when they start taking their assets away, they can call on NATO to defend them.”

“Russia doesn’t have its own Middle East geopolitical project.  We are extremely inconsistent — we sign military agreements with Israel, we institute sanctions against Iran, irritating the Islamic world.  Medvedev calls Qaddafi a criminal for firing on his own people.  At the same time, they put up monuments to Yeltsin who fired on his own people and his own parliament.  Such a contradiction shows the complete cynicism of our current vlasti.”

“The fighting in Russia will undoubtedly begin, and it will be, unfortunately, much more severe — since the country is multinational.  In the Middle East, they call their own Arab presidents occupiers, but we also have other peoples.  And if anti-Semitism in the Arab East is aimed beyond the borders of their own countries, at Israel or the U.S., then Russian anti-Semitism is directed inward.”

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