Putin’s Article Is Russia’s Bid to Be the Ideological Leader of the New World

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his article “75th Anniversary of the Great Victory: Shared Responsibility to History and our Future”, published on June 19th, essentially invites leading countries to think about how to create a reliable security system in the new “post-Yalta” world, said well-known Russian political analyst Rostislav Ishchenko.

According to Ishchenko, this can be considered the main message of the article, although there are many other messages there.

The political scientist noted that the article written by the head of the Russian Federation “sets out the entire pre-war situation, in fact the entire process of the formation of the anti-Nazi bloc of allied nations and the entire process of creating a post-war system, and in comparison between the Versailles system created after the First World War and the Yalta-Potsdam one, which developed after the Second World War and clearly took into account the shortcomings of the previous one.”

“I understand that many critics can say: why bother writing about what is already known? Publicists already wrote about this, and also historians. But the fact is that there is a big difference between what a publicist writes and even what historians write in textbooks, and the position expressed by the head of state, who, in fact and according to the Constitution, guides the country’s foreign policy,” stressed Ishchenko.

According to him, in this case, it should be noted that Putin clearly pointed out: within the framework of Russia’s continuity in relation to the Soviet Union, he accepts responsibility for all the actions of the USSR both in the pre-war period and during the war, and in the period of the post-war settlement, and he supports these actions and considers them to be correct.

“And he notes that we will fight for the historical truth that western friends and partners, through silence or even false statements, are trying to pervert. I.e., this, we can say, is the officially formalised position of the head of the Russian state,” the expert said. He added that the significance of this message of Putin’s article cannot be underestimated: if so far official statements have been made on certain grounds, then now for the first time “all these claims (against the USSR and Russia) are not summed up, Putin does not list them, but gives them a comprehensive response immediately with reference to documents, including those stored in western archives.”

“In fact, an answer was given to all invectives against the USSR and modern Russia, an answer was given at the highest state level,” said the expert. In his opinion, “from the point of view of domestic policy, it is very important that it is said that the history of the USSR is a part of Russian history.”

“I.e., this is not some piece that was torn away from it – it was Russia until 1917, then Russia appeared again after 1992, and before that there was some obscure USSR. No, this is all our history, we know it, we understand it, we are proud of it, we believe that our country acted correctly and are ready to prove it,” emphasised Ishchenko.

He noted another point that seemed to be “not talked about in the article – it does not say that the history of World War II is very correlated with modern history.”

“But this bridge to modernity is clearly visible there, when Putin talks about a fair system of collective security, that the Second World War started largely because the collective security system created after the First World War was seemingly a good idea, but due to the injustice of the mechanisms contained in it, it could not prevent World War II,” said the political scientist.

He added that in the first paragraphs of the article of the President of the Russian Federation it was noted that “the current young generation, about which all kinds of invectives periodically arise in our society – they are like this, they are not like this – are, when the need arises, no less ready to defend the interests of the Motherland, anywhere, outside the country or on Russian territory, than their grandfathers were during the Second World War… I.e., in the sphere of domestic policy, there is also continuity in relation to previous generations.”

In addition, as Ishchenko noted, the article emphasises – with reference to the numbers and to the statements of the media and western politicians of that time – the decisive contribution of the Red Army to the defeat of Nazism, and this is important, because “now in the west millions of people do not know at all that the USSR fought, or not everyone knows on whose side they were on.”

The expert noted that the article has a small paragraph that he considers to be very important. It mentions “the inadmissibility of justifying the collaborators who served Hitler – it doesn’t matter whether they were Russian, French, or Norwegian collaborators who fought against their own people, and now in some countries, in particular, in the Baltic states and in Ukraine, they start to be whitewashed and presented as ‘fighters for independence’.”

“This is unacceptable, and Russia is and will continue to fight against this,” Ishchenko said.

He added that at the end of the article Putin moves on to modern realities, and causes the reader to “simply suggests comparisons between the situation after the First World War, the pre-war situation, and the modern situation.”

“So, he says that the UN mechanism may be imperfect, and its imperfection is that many countries are trying to simply ignore it, go beyond this mechanism, do not want to obey the rules and laws established after the Second World War. And that this carries the threat of new military clashes and civil conflicts,” the political scientist said, noting that the article of the Russian President mentions the Spanish civil war among the conflicts that preceded the Second World War and showed the weakness of the League of Nations.

“We are talking about the fact that the imperfection of international mechanisms and the unwillingness of some states to follow the established rules leads not only to external, but also to internal wars, and attention also needs to be paid to this. This is not just a mechanism for ensuring relations between states, it is also a mechanism for ensuring peace within states themselves,” Ishchenko noted. “And those who destroy this mechanism risk instability spreading to them. We see this now in the United States. This is not stated in the article, but it is clear: the United States destroyed stability everywhere, and now they have received destabilisation at home and do not know what to do with it.”

Summing up his impressions of the article, the expert concluded: “The is a fully-fledged claim laid by Russia to the role of the ideological leader of the new world.”

“I.e., Russia tells us how it sees the mechanisms for ensuring international and internal security in the new world, already post-Yalta, in the one that we live in now,” Ishchenko emphasised. “This is a de facto proposal to leading countries that define the face of modern politics to agree on the rules of the game – what rules can be preserved, what new rules should be introduced… To agree on a collective security regime on security not to the detriment of someone, but for the security of everyone. And Russia defines its vision. It’s a proposal. There are no other proposals on the table for international negotiations, only Russian ones. So in essence this is laying claim to ideological leadership in the new world.”

Andrey Lubensky

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