How the world looks from Russia. It’s a picture the US media don’t show.

Summary: The US news media flood us with facts (mostly correct), but seldom show us how the world looks like from the perspective of our foes and rivals. Here we have a senior Russian official who explains that the world is in fact far different than we see it.  That’s a valuable gift.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

Russia

Contents

  1. New sources on the Information Highway.
  2. A Russian official’s view of the world.
  3. Who is Leonid Reshetnikov?
  4. Consider the source!
  5. What does this tell us?
  6. For More Information.

 

(1)  Finding new sources on the Information Highway

One fascinating aspect of the information highway is the trust people put into the the new sources it makes available. We see this in the loyalty of so many to DEBKAfile, run by journalists Giora Shamis and Diane Shalem, which disseminates a mixture of fact and fantasy with a strong pro-Israeli government slant  (some examples of their rumor-mongering here).

This has become even more common in the wars of Eastern Europe and the Middle East, where people offering plausible sounding details become reliable sources to their fans. To many they are more reliable than the mainstream journalists at Reuters, BBC, and the London and New York Times. It’s similar in nature to the rise in popularity of fringe science and pseudoscience, as they fill the space left by the drop in confidence afflicting most US institutions except (oddly) the military and police.

In our increasingly tribal society, people’s trust becomes unattached to our big institutions — and somewhat randomly re-attaches to new homes (much like runaway children find new homes in gangs, often cruelly exploited). That so many people credulously immerse themselves in these alternative sources — and consider themselves extraordinarily informed — gives public discussions of so many sources (as in website comments) their often mad flavor. Not just geopolitics; economics and climate change are other realms of American madness. Perhaps health care most of all, with bouts of enthusiasm from Laetrile (“the perfect chemotherapeutic agent”) to the anti-vaxers.

But fringe sources can provide useful information, if handled well. Today’s post looks at an example showing how they can be used.

(2)  A Russian official explains how they see the world

Here’s are excerpts from a widely quoted interview with Leonid Reshetnikov, an important Russian official. Red emphasis added.

About the war in Ukraine

Q: How do you think the events in Novorossia will develop in the spring and summer? Will there be a new military campaign?

 

World Unwinding

Unfortunately, the probability is very high. Just a year ago the idea of federalizing Ukraine was workable. But now Kiev needs only war, only a unitary state, for several reasons. The main is that the country is now led by ideologically anti-Russian people, who are not simply subordinated to Washington, but actually are bought and paid for by those forces who are hiding behind the US government.

Q: And what does this notorious “world government” need?

It is easier to say what they don’t need: they don’t need a federal Ukraine, such a territory will be hard to control. It will be impossible to deploy their military bases, a new ABM echelon there. And there are such plans. From Lugansk and Kharkov tactical cruise missiles can reach behind the Urals, where our main nuclear deterrence forces are located. And they can hit silo-based and road-mobile ballistic missiles on the ascent trajectory with a 100% probability. Currently this area is not reachable by them neither from Poland nor from Turkey nor from the South-East Asia. This is the main goal. So the US will fight for Donbass to the last Ukrainian.

Q: So this is not about the shale gas depots that were found on this territory?

Their main strategic goal is a unitary Ukraine under their full control for fighting Russia. And the shale gas or arable lands are just a pleasant bonus. Collateral gain. Plus a serious strike on our MIC {military-industrial-complex} by cutting the links between the MIC of Ukraine and Russia. This is already accomplished. … From the strategic-military point of view, of course we were outplayed. … the enemy already got huge territory, which was a part of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire.

Q: What are we going to see in Ukraine this year?

The process of semi-disintegration or even utter disintegration. Many are still silent in the face of the genuine Nazism. But people who understand that the Ukraine and Russia are strongly connected haven’t said their last word. Not in Odessa, not in Kharkov, not in Zaporozhye, and not in Chernigov. This silence is not eternal. And the lid of this cauldron will be inevitably blown away.

Q: And how will the relations between Novorossia and the rest of Ukraine develop?  {Novorossia: “New Russia”; region of the Russian Empire north of the Black Sea taken from the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th century.}

There is a low-probability scenario of Transnistria {a breakaway state from Moldavia}. But I don’t believe in it. The territory of the DPR and the LPR {the 2 rebel States breaking away from Ukraine} is much bigger, millions of people were already sucked into this war. For now Russia still can convince the militia leaders to engage in a temporary respite and truce. But exactly that — temporary. There is no speaking about the return of Novorossia into Ukraine any longer. The people of the south-east don’t want to be Ukrainians.

Q: So if our country ended up isolated globally due to the reunification with Crimea, why don’t we go all-in in the south-east? How much hypocrisy can there be?

I think that it is too early to go all-in just yet. We underestimate the degree of awareness of our president, who knows that there are certain processes in Europe that are not clearly visible to outside observers. These processes give hope that we will be able to protect our interests using different methods and means.

Abut the tensions in the South with Islam

Q:  … we forget about the explosive growth of the religious extremism in the Central Asia.

This is an extremely dangerous trend for our country. The situation in Tadzhikistan is very difficult. The situation in Kyrgyzstan is unstable. But Turkmenistan may become the direction of the first strike, just like “AN” wrote. Somehow, we forget about it a little, because Ashkhabad stands somewhat alone. But this “mansion” may fall first. Will they have enough strength to beat off? Or will we intervene into a country that keeps quite long distance away from us? So, this direction is hard.

And not only due to the “Islamic State” militants seeping into the region. According to the latest data, the USA and NATO are not going to leave Afghanistan and are going to maintain their bases there. From the military point of view, five or ten thousand soldiers who remain there may be deployed into a 50-100 thousand strong group within a month.

This is a part of the overall plan of surrounding and pressuring Russia, which is implemented by the hands of the USA with the goal of deposing president Vladimir Putin and breaking the country. A typical layman may, of course, not believe this, but people with access to a large volume of information know this very well.

Q: Which borders will the split go through?

First they plan to simply cut off that which is “easy”. It doesn’t matter what will fall off: Kaliningrad, the North Caucasus, or the Far East. This will serve as a detonator of the process that may intensify. This is not a propaganda phantom — it is a real idea. Such pressure from the west (Ukraine), and the south (Central Asia) will only grow. The are trying to seep through the western gates, but they’ll also probe the southern ones.

Q: What is the most dangerous strategic direction for us?

The southern direction is very dangerous. But for now the buffer states — the former Central Asian Soviet republics still function. And in the west the war is already at the border. Effectively, on our territory.

Currently, it is not the bloodbath of Ukrainians and Russians there, but rather a war of global systems. Some think that they “are Europe”, others that they are Russia. Because our country is not just a territory. It is a separate, huge civilization, which brought its own view of the global order to the whole world. Primarily, of course, this is the Russian Empire as an example of the East-Orthodox civilization. The Bolsheviks destroyed it, but they put up a new civilizational idea.

A third is now very close. And we’ll see it within 5–6 years. I think that it will be a decent symbiosis of the previous ones. And our “sworn colleagues” perfectly understand this. That is why the attack from all sides started.

Q: Is, the joint Russian-American fight against terror – in particular, against ISIS – a fiction?

Of course. America creates terrorists, feeds them, trains them, and then gives an order to the whole pack: “catch”. Perhaps, they can shoot one “rabid dog” in the whole pack, but the other dogs will be set even more actively.

————-  End excerpt. I recommend reading the full interview.  ————-

Leonid Reshetnikov

(3) Who is Leonid Reshetnikov?

Born February 6, 1947 in Potsdam (GDR, then East Germany). In 1970 he graduated from the history department of the Kharkov State University (Ukraine). He received his History PhD in 1974 from Sofia University (Bulgaria). He has published about Soviet-Bulgarian relations and Russian emigration to Greece, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia after its civil war.

From 1974 to 1976 he worked at the USSR’s Institute of Economics. From April 1976 to April 2009 in foreign intelligence. In April 2009 he retired with the rank of Lt. General, and was appointed Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS).  {Source: Wikileaks, from the RISR website.}

The RISS is somewhat like RAND, a research institute for support of the government, but directly part of the government (not just mostly funded by it, like RAND).  Note his background, rare for an American of similar position: born, educated, and worked in 4 countries.

Information
© Kmitu | Dreamstime.comInformation Source Photo

(4)  Consider the source!

Before evaluating the text, consider its source. The English translation of interview was posted at the “Colonel Cassad” website, and has been widely reposted. I use the translation at the Voice of Sevastopol posted at LiveJournal (for example, they they cite their sources). Note they describe the Colonel Cassad website as “the bullhorn of totalitarian propaganda”. So assume a bias by the translator against the source material.

Who writes the “Colonel Cassad” website, source of the interview? I believe this is a more-or-less accurate analysis: “The Mouthpiece of Totalitarian Propaganda: Crimea’s Colonel Cassad” by Daniel Alan Kennedy (bio here) at Global Voices.

What do we know about Director (retired general) Reshetnikov? He probably knows much, and paints for us the picture the Russian government wants us to have. Regard his words as you would have those of CIA Director (retired general) Petraeus: consider them carefully and skeptically.

Clear vision

(5)  What does this tell us?

Such sources can give us new information, which we should regard cautiously until validated by more reliable sources (don’t assume that you can tell fact from fiction, as Daredevil can). That’s valuable. Still more valuable are new perspectives, especially those of American rivals and foes — since the news media seldom reports those (and rarely does so well).

I believe Reshetnikov gives us an informal (unofficial) warning that Russia seeks to build an alternative geopolitical and economic structure for the world — as the Soviet Union attempted to do. They have allies. Such as China, now starting its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). And Iran, perhaps soon to be released from the fetters of economic sanctions. There are many nations of the world that either chafe under our hegemony, or have understandably lost confidence in our increasingly erratic leadership. Russia seeks to lead them.

(6)  For More Information

For more about the Ukraine see “Ukraine: Inside the Deadlock” by journalist Tim Judah at the New York Review of Books, 7 May 2015. Excerpt:

… the rebel leaders have other immediate goals. Now that they control about 1/3  of the territory of their two eastern “oblasts,” or provinces, they have declared that at the very minimum they want to go to their oblast borders.

… On the Ukrainian side the maximum and, for now, unattainable objective is to reconquer the lost eastern territories. … What is far more realistic, though, is for Ukraine to hold the line to prevent further losses, while over the next few years its armed forces are transformed into a far more formidable fighting force.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about the war in Ukraine, and about Russia. Here are some of special interest:

Some recent books about Russia:

 

 

4 thoughts on “How the world looks from Russia. It’s a picture the US media don’t show.

  1. Really interesting and the part about “What does this tell us?” In particular to me. Perspectives and more info is always of value to deciphering the events.

    “There are many nations of the world that either chafe under our hegemony, or have understandably lost confidence in our increasingly erratic leadership. Russia seeks to lead them.”

    True, it seems to even a casual observation. And yet so obscure to we citizens!

    Thx, Breton

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