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While some in the West are pondering what kind of a concessions would allow Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin “to save face” in Ukraine, leading Russian lawmakers and top propagandists are advocating smashing the West, which they say is Russia’s ultimate target.
On the state TV show 60 Minutes, host Olga Skabeeva announced: “I have some unpleasant news... Even though we are methodically destroying the weapons that are being delivered [to Ukraine], but the quantities in which the United States are sending them force us to come up with some global conclusions. Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that maybe Russia’s special operation in Ukraine has come to an end, in a sense that a real war had started: WWIII. We’re forced to conduct the demilitarization not only of Ukraine, but of the entire NATO alliance.”
Vladimir Avatkov, from the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “You mentioned WWIII and the way Americans and Poles are acting on the territory of Ukraine—indeed, we need to remember the words of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who said that anyone who tries to interfere in the special military operation will pay a heavy price.” Skabeeva interrupted: “We never forget about these words of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, but a great number of people are already standing in line, trying to interfere in Russia’s special operation on the territory of Ukraine. Turns out, we have to act—but we’re yet to figure out how we can act without conducting a nuclear strike.”
Russian parliament member Oleg Matveychev weighed in: “If Poland starts any intervention... its current borders will be worthless.” Skabeeva wasn’t satisfied: “I wasn’t talking just about Poland, but mainly about Great Britain and the United States... they’re all lined up.” Avatkov chimed in: “No need to rush, there is a line. Everything in its time!”
The first in line is apparently Poland, with Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev baselessly claiming on Tuesday that Poland is moving to seize territories in western Ukraine and accusing numerous unnamed countries of “actively working to dismember Ukraine.” Meanwhile, on Russian state TV hosts and pundits routinely refer to Ukraine as “the territory formerly known as Ukraine” and matter-of-factly discuss how many millions of Ukrainians might have to die for Russia to complete its so-called “denazification.” In his recent interview, Russian State Duma Deputy Defense Committee Chairman Vladimir Shamanov, former Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Airborne Troops, admitted that Russia “was built through territorial enlargement” and named Poland as one of Russia’s main adversaries.
Appearing on the state TV show Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defense Andrey Kartapolov expounded on the idea of Russia’s crusade against the Western world: “For us, the special military operation is just the first act, an introduction. The war that is going on right now... it’s not just an economical war and info-war, this war is about our faith. It’s about our right, as the people, to have faith in what we want to believe, to love those we want to love, and to live the way our ancestors would have wanted, on our land and by our birthright.”
Kartapolov added: “These wars are not the first wars. In the 19th century—Napoleon, in the 20th century—Adolf Aloisovich Hitler, and every time all of Europe came at us. The same thing is happening now... It’s a good thing that a realization is coming, it’s time to stop lying. Stop lying to ourselves, stop lying to our leader, stop lying to our own people. It’s time to be responsible for our words and deeds and to move forward as one—to the goal that has been set by the commander-in-chief.”
The strategy of justifying such a potential attack against additional adversaries is consistent with the Kremlin’s previous approach with respect to Ukraine: ludicrous claims that the chosen target was about to go on the offensive against the Motherland. The impending conflict against the West is being framed in terms of an existential battle for Russia’s survival.
Kartapolov claimed, “Today, Europe is a de-facto colony of the United States, the new type of a colony. In the ’90s, we were the same kind of a colony but managed to break free—thanks to our president and the decisions he made... They put everything in a beautiful wrapper, selling it to us under the guise of democracy, freedom of speech and all sorts of other slogans. Their main goal was to usurp our resources, our natural resources, to split Russia up into many vicious countries fighting with one another.”
The alleged desire to “dismember Russia” is also being ascribed to opposition activists, in order to simultaneously target all perceived enemies, both foreign and domestic. During Monday’s broadcast of The Evening With Vladimir Solovyov, arguments were made to limit the influence of members of the opposition on Russian society—particularly those who still travel abroad. Political scientist Vadim Gigin claimed, “People who are planning to return to Russia... are proposing to divide the country.” Host Vladimir Solovyov added, “They have the lists of undesirables... they’ll be hanging people. What’s scary is that they’re coming back.”
Shota Gorgadze, a member of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council proposed that immediately upon their return, opposition activists be criminally charged for their alleged calls to dismember Russia. Agitated, Solovyov complained, “For months we’ve been demanding that criminal cases be open against all of [Alexei] Navalny’s terrorist sect under article 275 [treason].” Gorgadze proposed that anyone speaking out “against the interests of the Russian Federation, especially during this difficult time” be stripped of their Russian citizenship. He added, “If the law says this can’t be done, I don’t see any reason why this law can’t be changed.”
Urging a more aggressive approach, Solovyov asked, “Are we acting as inert gases, simply taking up only as much room as the West allows? The West is squeezing us and we’re accepting it and adapting to it? When things let up, will we exhale and welcome the air of freedom? No, that won’t work. It’s time to sober up and find our way.”
Discussing Russia’s confrontation with the collective West during Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyov, Kartapolov framed it as a crusade: “I’m convinced that this war is about faith. Russia is an Orthodox country, and by “Orthodox” I don’t mean just Christianity. Orthodoxy is when on our territory all traditional religions peacefully co-exist: traditional Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism... They’re saying, we’re destroying the Ukrainian culture. What culture? Look at the devils they pulled out from the basements of Azovstal... It’s the face—I can’t even call it a face—the snout of the unclean. The holy scripture says, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” In the 19th century, we came to Paris, in the 20th century we came to Berlin—we’ll come wherever they try to enslave and humiliate us. You won’t succeed. Expect us.”