NEW – October 14, 2022

War against the background of the global crisis

Sergey Borisovich [Pereslegin – Russian literary critic and publicist, researcher and theorist of science fiction and alternative history – SZ], who can be behind the sabotage of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and why was this unprecedented step necessary, which exacerbates the already tense atmosphere in the world?

“According to both Russian and Western analysts, everything indicates that the underwater gas pipeline was sabotaged, and not something else, whether it be accidental, an underwater earthquake, or an attack by Godzilla or Cthulhu. From the list of countries that benefited from disabling Nord Stream 2, Russia and the EU states are unconditionally deleted: the former could easily block it, and the latter could simply stop receiving gas.

Of course, the perfect undermining plays into the hands of Ukraine, since almost all Russian gas will now go through its territory, which provides additional channels of influence, if not on Russia, then on the West. But, firstly, where would the Ukrainians get such a class of underwater vehicles and how could they quietly move them to the Baltic Sea? Secondly, Ukraine would undoubtedly declare to the whole world the committed sabotage and the fact that ‘a terrible blow has been dealt to Russian plans’. Therefore, the Ukrainian version of the undermining also does not work.

Two beneficiaries remain: the United Kingdom and the United States.”

The benefit here is considered from the point of view of the theatre of military operations in Ukraine? Or was there a different goal?

“It can be assumed that a decision is now being made to end the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as soon as possible. Most of all, the US Democrats and President Biden are interested in this. As the Democratic Party’s approval rating declined catastrophically in the first half of the year, it seemed that the remaining two years before the presidential election would be painful agony for the Democrats. But everything changed when, through the efforts of American diplomacy and Nancy Pelosi personally, America solved the problem with Taiwan – at least for a while, and also changed the situation in Transcaucasia in its favour. As a result, by mid-autumn, the approval rating of the ruling party had significantly strengthened. And if today the Democrats also successfully act as peacemakers who ended the war in Ukraine, then in the upcoming elections they will definitely get everything they need.”

Well, the Americans, apparently, also solve their business problems in Europe quite well — due to the emergency shutdown of the Nord Stream branches?

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“Definitely. America has conducted a risky but very successful commercial operation, and now it needs to shift its attention from blowing up Russian gas pipeline to something else. Therefore, a quick end to the war in Ukraine would be an ideal cover for the United States.

I note that all of what has been said above about the United States is also true of Great Britain, although to a lesser extent. London is now more important to change the reign, a new government, rather than the need to cover up. Liz Truss doesn’t seem to be able to solve the same level of complexity that she has to deal with. The ongoing war in Ukraine may create additional problems, so the United Kingdom is also interested in a cessation of hostilities.

The third party that needs an end to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and at any cost – is the European Union, which the war puts the strongest pressure on, leads to an obvious economic stratification of its member states and clearly encourages the collapse of the Union. And this means turbulence, the coming to power of governments that are unpredictable from the point of view of the interests of the European Union. Even today, they have to apply methods of sanctions to their own members of the community. That is, prolonging the war, and even in the conditions of a cold winter, is definitely not a plus for the EU.

Turkey is also very interested in an early termination of the military operation, because the potential possibility of including Ukraine in the Russian sphere of influence and taking control of a large part of the coast greatly worsens the situation in the Black Sea for Turkey itself, effectively eliminating its maritime strategy. Therefore, Istanbul would like to receive a Russian-Ukrainian peace treaty as soon as possible. I am sure that a significant part of the protests against partial mobilisation in Russia, in particular, the events in Dagestan, were not without the influence of our Turkish ‘friends’.”

What are the prospects for ending the war in Ukraine in this situation?

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“About three weeks ago, the chances of a compromise peace were quite high. Now, each of the parties to the conflict is counting on victory. The clear tactical success of the UAF counteroffensive led to the fact that today Ukraine will not opt for the conclusion of peace. In Russia, partial mobilisation has been announced, and probably by the end of October, the military initiative will again go to the side of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Therefore, the Russian leadership is also not interested in a quick completion of the operation.”

That is, at the moment, the collective West is actually acting as a united front for ending the war, but in this its interests and the position of Ukraine differ. Does it become non-negotiable for its patrons?

“Yes. It has long been non-negotiable for those who have provided it with military and financial assistance for many years. But the problem is that the West has tied itself so closely to Ukraine that it is no longer able to cope with the situation that has arisen. By the way, similar things have happened in history. So, in the First World War, Austria practically blackmailed Germany on a number of issues, threatening to end the war.

What is the United States doing under these circumstances? They make it clear to Russia that they have their own effective ways to hurt it very much. From this point of view, Nord Stream 2 was just perfectly chosen as a place for sabotage. On the one hand, this has dealt a very strong blow to Europe, which now cannot do anything meaningful, because it needs peace much more than the United States. On the other hand, serious damage has been done to Russia. Before the sabotage of the gas pipeline, we played very well on the geopolitical field: all changes in the world, all the elimination of the international order was done according to Russian patterns. Other countries had to adapt to this in some way, and they naturally lagged behind in their decision-making. Now we are in a similar situation. The US was able to seize the initiative and showed that they are a strong player in this area. In response to any accusations of undermining the Nord Stream branches, America will demand irrefutable evidence of its guilt.

It turns out that the Ukrainians made their move. The Americans are their own. Europe has nothing to go around with right now. Now everyone is waiting for Russia’s reaction to what happened.”

In connection with the sabotage on the gas pipeline, there was a lot of talk about possible nuclear bombings. How real are they?

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“Now there is regular information about Russia’s readiness to launch nuclear strikes on Ukraine. The West claims that this increases the chances of NATO entering a war with Russia and retaliating with atomic strikes. At the same time, the nuclear powers, through unofficial channels, are struggling to convince each other that no one is going to bomb anyone. But everyone is well aware that we have long since reached a situation that surpasses both the Sarajevo and Caribbean crises, it’s just that the mechanisms of diplomatic governance are still working better than before, otherwise the war between Russia and NATO would have broken out long ago.

I am constantly asked if there will be a nuclear war in the near future. The fact is that if we consider today’s war as a logical one, then the answer is guaranteed no: no one needs it and no one wants it. But we must not forget that the Russian-Ukrainian armed confrontation is also part of the phase of the global crisis, which implies a sharp deterioration in the quality of management and a reduction in the decision space. In these circumstances, the chances of starting a nuclear war are quite significant, I would estimate them at 10%.

But still, I have a feeling that the situation will soon begin to roll back, and it will gradually begin to change for the better.”

Thank you for the conversation, Sergey Borisovich. Let’s hope that your optimism is shared by people working in decision centres.

“Zavtra” newspaper

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