Deep roots of Putin's antipathy for West

This article is similar to going to the dermatologist to have a mole inspected and being told it’s actually a malignant melanoma.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/03/12/putins-thousand-year-wa…

**Putin’s Thousand-Year War**
**The reasons for his anti-Western enmity stretch back over Russia’s entire history — and they will be with us for a long time.**
**March 12, 2022, 6:00 AM**
**By Michael Hirsh, a senior correspondent at Foreign Policy**

**....**

**Russia's perceived humiliations go back a long, long way — not just in the 30 years since the Cold War ended, nor even in the 100 years since the Soviet Union was formed in 1922. They reach all the way back to the European Enlightenment of more than three centuries ago, which gave rise to liberty, democracy, and human rights. To Russian nationalists like Putin, these developments have gradually come to eclipse Russia’s distinct character as a civilization.**

**By his own account, Putin sees himself not as the heir to the Soviets but as a champion of Russian civilization and Moscow’s Eurasian empire, whose roots extend back to a much earlier Vladimir — St. Vladimir, the Grand Prince of Kyiv from about 980 to 1015. St. Vladimir was ruler of what the Russians consider their first empire, the Slavic state known as Kievan Rus - based, of course, in Kyiv, the capital of what is now Ukraine. It is why, like Putin, many Russians refer to Kievan Rus as “the cradle of Russian civilization” and Kyiv as “the mother of Russian cities.”...**

**In the early 19th century, the Russian answer to the French Revolution’s Enlightenment creed, “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (Freedom, Equality, Fraternity), was “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality” — which Sergey Uvarov, minister of public education to Tsar Nicholas I, formulated as the conceptual foundation of the Russian Empire. ...** [end quote]

As a thorough member of the Enlightenment, I can’t understand why anyone (except, of course, the autocrats) would prefer the Russian conceptual foundation. My attitude, itself, is an outgrowth of the Enlightenment as embodied in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Historically, Russian autocrats never, ever cared in the slightest about the consent of the governed! The fate of the ordinary Russian throughout centuries was exploitation and often starvation.

According to the article, Dostoevsky wrote: “To the people the Czar is the incarnation of themselves, their whole ideology, their hopes and beliefs.” Of course, that was in 1881, but it’s possible that this culture persisted in the 20th century during the personality cult of Stalin (which was enforced by death). This culture craves autocracy and rejects the “decadence” of the individualistic Enlightenment civilization.

Two key issues:

  1. Having been invaded by Napoleon and Hitler, Russia craves a deep buffer between Europe and its heartland.

  2. Russia and the U.S.S.R. controlled vast swathes of eastern Europe, including Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic States. Putin wants to restore the empire, which means resorbing NATO countries as well as Ukraine. Not to mention the historic tendency of successful imperialistic invaders to continue as long as they are successful…which led Napoleon to Moscow and could easily lead Putin to Germany and beyond.

The roots of Putin’s antipathy for the West are plunged deep into the ancient soils of historic Russia…especially since he is the autocrat. There is no way that economic sanctions will divert Putin from his intention of taking over Ukraine. The question is whether he will continue his imperialistic campaign, in which case it might be better to defend Ukraine with full NATO powers. Which could lead to World War 3.

Wendy

3 Likes

Obviously, Putin’s quest is deeply flawed, not least by the fact that Russia’s historic enemies and allies all quit their idiot Eurasian imperial game after the horrors of WWII. If Russia really wants to “go back” they should expect Finnish, Lithuanian/Polish, German, and Turkish revanchists to get very hungry for most of the non-Siberian pieces of Russia and its old empire including

Karelia,
Koenigsberg and surrounding land (Kaliningrad the Russians renamed it),
Eastern Poland,
the Turkic Black Sea lands including Crimea and the Sea of Azov, and
Moscow itself when Russia becomes sufficeintly weakened to invite a Napoleon.

This would be obviously hideously stupid were it not for the possibility of using GCC as a weapon of slow war…worth contemplating.

david fb

2 Likes

The question is whether he will continue his imperialistic campaign, in which case it might be better to defend Ukraine with full NATO powers. Which could lead to World War 3.

How have bullies ever been stopped except by confronting them?

Or has the advent of nuclear arms made a major war an extinction event? Especially again a madman with dreams of empire as the opposition. And with access to such weapons.

It seems to me that this confrontation is only a matter of when? Otherwise, it is a rinse and repeat situation. We will have to face the decision now or later.

Thanks to a link from Tim, I learned today that Russia has committed about 2/3rd of their army to the assault, and is being stymied by the Ukraine. They are not strong in conventional warfare. Their weaknesses have been exposed to the world.

Aggressively arming the Ukraine to defend themselves while finding some negotiated face saving exit for Putin seems to be the preferred choice for now. If that fails and leads to use of nuclear weapons by Putin, then the decision is before the West.

So lets step up the defensive weapons flow to the Ukraine and hope for the best. And decide next steps while we still have time to reason them out.

My hope, probably delusional, is that Russian military and leaders will figure this out for themselves - and solve the problem themselves.

7 Likes

By his own account, Putin sees himself not as the heir to the Soviets but as a champion of Russian civilization and Moscow’s Eurasian empire, whose roots extend back to a much earlier Vladimir — St. Vladimir, the Grand Prince of Kyiv from about 980 to 1015. St. Vladimir was ruler of what the Russians consider their first empire, the Slavic state known as Kievan Rus - based, of course, in Kyiv, the capital of what is now Ukraine. It is why, like Putin, many Russians refer to Kievan Rus as “the cradle of Russian civilization” and Kyiv as “the mother of Russian cities.”…

So if the rest of Europe adopted Putin’s attitude in regard to Russian territory, when the dust settled most of Russia would be part of Ukraine while Moscow itself would be put back to its original status as a provincial capital reporting to the central government in Vilnius.

Not sure how Putin wins in that situation…

1 Like

A very smart somebody said that history should have term limits. Fight for your current rights but not for the long gone past. Say four generations? 80 years?

The Captain
concurs

8 Likes

A very smart somebody said that history should have term limits. Fight for your current rights but not for the long gone past. Say four generations? 80 years?

Worthwhile question… I saw a (blatantly biased) video several years ago about the Israel/Palestine situation, to which my reaction was basically, “So what if a provably Canaanite heir wants their land back, too?”

Needless to say, the person sharing that video accused me of being anti-his preferred party.

3 Likes

The roots of Putin’s antipathy for the West are plunged deep into the ancient soils of historic Russia…especially since he is the autocrat. There is no way that economic sanctions will divert Putin from his intention of taking over Ukraine. The question is whether he will continue his imperialistic campaign, in which case it might be better to defend Ukraine with full NATO powers. Which could lead to World War 3.

========================================================

I totally disagree with your position. The roots of Putin’s antipathy for the West, South and East are NOT plunged deep into the ancient soils of historic Russia.

Russia leaders and Russians were never a peace loving people. Their Czars have always coveted the lands of their neighbors - not for protection but for domination and exploitation.

Russian leaders were constantly fighting with Finnish/Baltic tribes, Teutonic Knights, Lithuanians, Poles, Tatars, Swedes, Turks and others for over six centuries before Napoleon and Hitler.

Putin has made up a false scenario in his warped brain that he will bring back the Russian Empire of Catherine the Great. This is a nonsensical scenario because current day Russia is nowhere near the power or greatness of Russia during Catherine the Great.

Putin pretends that this false scenario is his goal, but in reality Putin is only trying to save his own neck by keeping Russia from becoming a democratic country. Putin does not want to lose the corrupt system he has fostered and all his power to cheat the people of Russia out of billion of dollars every year with his top oligarchs, FSB leaders, Russian mafia, military leaders and business leaders.

If Ukraine becomes a EU member and enjoys the EU economic benefits like other Eastern European EU countries, then Putin’s days are numbered because the Russian people will see Ukrainian people living a much better life than them. This will result in Russians wanting what Ukrainians have gotten through democracy and elimination of corruption.

Therefore, Putin is now desperate to keep Ukraine out of the EU by force. Putin is not at all worried about NATO invasions - that is just a pretext for invading Ukraine.

Jaak

12 Likes

I think the link in the OP is what people dislike about “intellectuals”. It’s a very educated way of making excuses for (even if it doesn’t try to excuse) the actions of a tyrant. Putin’s standard ploy is grievance, just like Hitler making grievance over WWI and how Germans were humiliated his rallying cry to justify atrocities. So, Putin tells the story to the Russian people as part of his propaganda campaign. He believes in nothing except his own power.

It seems to me that this confrontation is only a matter of when? Otherwise, it is a rinse and repeat situation. We will have to face the decision now or later.

Later is better because it gives us time to prepare, plus things can intercede. For example, if there is a god, Putin will die quickly of pancreatic cancer.

(Russia) are not strong in conventional warfare. Their weaknesses have been exposed to the world.

I suspect this is what bothers Putin the most. How does the bully bully when he has been proven to be weak? Very dangerous situation when the bully has nuclear weapons.

Aggressively arming the Ukraine to defend themselves while finding some negotiated face saving exit for Putin seems to be the preferred choice for now. If that fails and leads to use of nuclear weapons by Putin, then the decision is before the West.

Yes, but there doesn’t seem to be an exit, outside of pancreatic cancer.

In Putin’s speech two days ago, he said something to the effect of, “if the West thinks Russia will quit, they do not understand Russia.” This is clear evidence to me that Putin is not reading the situation correctly. The West knows that Putin won’t quit. We know he won’t turn back. We know he’s going to increase the death and destruction. And we know there is no off-ramp.

We just don’t know how to stop him without starting WWIII.

So lets step up the defensive weapons flow to the Ukraine and hope for the best. And decide next steps while we still have time to reason them out.

Yes, and hope Putin doesn’t choose the nuclear option for Ukraine.

My hope, probably delusional, is that Russian military and leaders will figure this out for themselves - and solve the problem themselves.

Or pancreatic cancer.

5 Likes

Worthwhile question… I saw a (blatantly biased) video several years ago about the Israel/Palestine situation, to which my reaction was basically, “So what if a provably Canaanite heir wants their land back, too?”

“Possession is nine tenth of the law” applies to personal property, why not to nations?

https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q…

In Venezuela (in normal times, not now) invading private property was illegal but if the squatter had been there long enough (5 years?) he could not be legally evicted. Legal ownership did not pass to the squatter but the owner was helpless.

Sticky question!

The Captain

2 Likes

We know he won’t turn back.

He may not … but the way things are going, I can imagine most of the army deciding to leave.

3 Likes

For critical thinking enthusiasts…

I wonder, is some of his antipathy justified?

On 9-11, were perpetrators I deemed ‘terrorist’ - actually, heroic freedom fighters in the eyes of millions in the world - and if so - did they have some reason to feel that way?

If say, China, or even Putin were to start a multi-lateral defense treaty - and they included Mexico - meaning they are treaty bound to help defend Mexico with all the might of their military - would America just shrug and say ok? If thru the years Putin hinted that he won’t enlarge his treaty membership too much, but then he does - would the U.S be ok? (In 1990, Saddam went for a nice of Kuwait- but then he started going further and somehow, we had a Gulf War over that one…flags waved, and we saved countries that cared little for “human rights” and America never took away their Big Macs.

Africa. It’s not even in America’s backyard. China seeks to to build a military port - in Central Africa and TODAY, America is “cajoling” the Africans not to allow that.

I think the death and mayhem is evil, and unforgivable. But - again - solely for critical thinking enthusiasts who can divorce themselves from “I don’t like Putin!” - )while they enjoy China generated profits and Saudi oil)…can people ask themselves - is ol’ Vladdy supposed to send fruit basket to new NATO countries in his backyard? And if so, why don’t the Americans lay off of Africa, and why don’t the Americans be quiet about Soviets in Cuba, or Iran in Venezuela?

As far as Autocrats. Iran executes people for the offense of being homosexual - we are actively trying to buy their oil.

Sometimes, you ask yourself: What caused a wealthy playboy, to ditch this cushy life, live in a mountain, and send people for flying lessons? And you feel ashamed - because maybe you start to see why someone has certain points of view.

Nobody - has the monopoly on right and wrong. And if they do - it’s certainly not Putin - and it’s certainly not America.

4 Likes

meaning they are treaty bound to help defend Mexico with all the might of their military - would America just shrug and say ok?

Just before I go into my explanation…Putin wants to simply kill. He is discussing a superior race…etc…

Aristotle discussed the six forms of government, been a while but…

1 Monarch
2 Aristocrats
3 Oligarchs
4 Republic
5 Democracy
6 Communism

Now keep in mind we are playing the I am not a fascist you are the fascist with Putin. But only he is a fascist.

The main difference that truly matters in that list is the peaceful transfer of power. The even numbers have a peaceful transfer of power for as long as they last in a stable form. That can break down as we see in modern communist nations.

The difference is legitimate governments v illegitimate governments.

There are hybrids such as democratic republic that really describes a republic. The UK is a democratic monarchy which really is a parliamentary system or republic.

Russia is more of a monarchy or dictatorship losing its fouled oligarchs. There can be nothing peaceful about its power relationships with anyone.

You can find gripes etc against all sorts of people. The US does not kill people over gripes. Putin will kill often over gripes.

The creates are view of NATO on Russia’s border as totally preventative. This also creates the Kremlin/Putin’s view of NATO are in his way.

There are two very different realities you are asking about. Yes Putting Russian tanks on our southern border there would be hell to pay. Russia does not have a legitimate government to make an honest claim.

I will add people finding these gripes…and they exist…the other countries of the world have their legitimate and illegitimate governments. Our legitimacy is a threat to some other governments not just Russia. Modi in India is on such a fence. Erdogan in NATO is well over that fence.

On this board we can decide does a legitimate government stand up for itself or bow down to petty dictators?

Putin is a bad man who yes, kills over gripes. But he’s also someone - that doesn’t what his primary rival, setting up shop closer and closer to him - especially when he feels that they hinted they won’t. Not taking his side- just saying, America doesn’t take to that too well either be it Soviets in Cuba, or Iranians in Venezuela or China - all the way in Africa.

Saudis are a monarchy. We know of one journalist deep fried in acid on others of the Monarch. We’re begging him for oil as we speak, not taking away Starbucks.

IN terms of killing over gripes - there was a time our officials were visiting Saddam Hussein. Smiles. Giving him awards. We knew all about the rape rooms and about the foul activities of Wally and the Beaver (Uday and Qusay) – yet we were fine with it. Then his misbehaved on oil. Then we great Americans sanctioned him - his people starved and he had palaces. Then - we got him and he died.

Gadaffi, one of our highest officials laughed about his death and how we did it.

Putin ia bad man. I am merely saying, lots of people. are dying now, partially because we wouldn’t just come out and say - “No Nato for you” and now - there’s death…and coincidentally, billions in weapons being bought and sold. Funny how that works out. Ex Senators, defense secs, Generals - all multi millionaires, I guess they read Money Magazine and put money in their savings accounts each week.

Is America better than Putin? Sure, easily. As far as Putin and his “superior race”, we’ll see. But it’s China, Our “trading partner” - putting Uyghur Muslims in re-education camps as we speak. It’s Macron and France passing “Hijab bans” on Muslims. Certainly they aren’t talking about a ‘superior race’ but policy wise they seem to have favorites and fears for sure.

But as far as legitimate governments, there’s a few people who doubted that in 2000. In 2016. In 2020.

Oligarchs - some might say that HMOs, Pharma, Oil seem to do rather well - and have a huge voice at the table no matter who is in charge. Whether it was the Carnegies and Rothchilds back then - or the Googles and United Health and Bank of America and Goldman Sachs today (Oligarchs who took down the world economy in 2008 - got bailouts - bonuses - sans prison.)

America is a 200 year old entity. An Amazing one. The Rome of its time and far ahead of everyone. So America – hasn’t seen the problems of ancient, or older civilizations. So yes, our leaders don’t kill reporters over bad stories. But people like Mr Epstein, or Madams that cater to Ruling Class do seem to have bad luck. People trying to expose things about the Ruling Class - - seem to have misfortune, multiple times. Sure, we can tell other nations about transparency and equality, but I have a feeling if I took the I.R.S for $100,000 and a black kid stole a car…that I’d have better luck in court.

I used to be a flag waver. To a fault. I see people today shouting ‘traitor!’ if one is skittish about getting into a shooting war with Russia and I smile and think “oh God, that’s what I used to look like”.

I’m just not sure it’s America’s place to decide what governments are legit. Which are not legit. I think huge swaths of American people - be it Natives seeing public colleges on their stolen land. Be it blacks seeing corporations - some built with slave labor still prospering - might have pointed opinions on how ‘legit’ our governments are - and how qualified we are to be the arbiter for others.

I do think - we are more right than wrong. But - previous Empires, whom the sun never set on learned the hard way that constantly being world cop - comes with a price. This is why today it’s not the Romans or the British in charge, it’s the Americans.

Who knows, maybe America will buck history and continue to police forever.

I don’t bet on it.

My hope is, that this time we got intel right. It’s curious how Ukraine was able to get organized so fast and spontaneously. OR perhaps Western Intel has been on the ground there for many years, prepping this whole effort. And if so - may naive hope is that in the end, we have the similar apparatus on Russia, and a few generals and Oligarchs on our payroll and if and when the time comes where it seems things might escalate to the unthinkable - perhaps a spontaneous ‘change’ in government comes to Russia.

You are obviously better read and more understanding off affairs than I am. I agree your point about Putin and gripes.

I just wonder, how far does the world want to go - to dance with the #2 nuclear power. If that man is backed into a corner, he has a choice to accept defeat and join a scrabble team. Or - - to go out with a bang. And that means - much worse than a reporter getting polonium poisoning.

14 Likes

I do think - we are more right than wrong. But - previous Empires, whom the sun never set on learned the hard way that constantly being world cop - comes with a price. This is why today it’s not the Romans or the British in charge, it’s the Americans.

Who knows, maybe America will buck history and continue to police forever.

Actually by the end of the decade the EU will be the world’s cop, with Germany and France leading. The US will far outstrip Chinese manufacturing power. The EU and US are exchanging supply side econ for demand side econ continent by continent between them. China is being counted out.

About my post we juggling legitimate and illegitimate governments. We do not allow legitimate governments to win out over us. Unless you want to explain to your kids why they are being hauled off to a labor camp.

We do not allow “illegitimate” governments to win out over us.

1 Like

(In 1990, Saddam went for a nice [slice?] of Kuwait- but then he started going further and somehow, we had a Gulf War over that one…flags waved, and we saved countries that cared little for “human rights” and America never took away their Big Macs.

SoDamnInsane (Saddam ) was closing in of control of a major part of the world’s oil supply*!*

It was in our own interests to stop him.

The countries that cared little for “human rights” weren’t trying to control ours and the (Free) world’s oil supply so we turned a blind eye to their shenanigans.

Would you have US be the world’s police?

In the early 1970s, Saddam nationalised the Iraq Petroleum Company and independent banks, eventually leaving the banking system insolvent due to inflation and bad loans.[9]

Y’all don’t mess with Texas or the world’s biggest banks/oil conglomerates. SoDamnInsane (Saddam Hussein) kept asking for it and, eventually, we gave it to him.

Saddam’s rule was marked by numerous human rights abuses, including an estimated 250,000 arbitrary killings[14] and bloody invasions of neighboring Iran and Kuwait.[15]

On 5 November 2006, Saddam was convicted by an Iraqi court of crimes against humanity related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi’a and sentenced to death by hanging. He was executed on 30 December 2006.[16]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein

1 Like

I just wonder, how far does the world want to go - …

The aggressor decides how far to go.

The aggressed upon have no say in the matter unless they start fighting back.

To date we’re too worried about getting our hands dirty to do anything; just like the world did with a former German corporal named Adolf.

2 Likes