“I’m sorry my country has caused such harm to the people of Ukraine. I personally apologize for that,” — these words of the famous Russian historian Andrei Zubov began his speech at the Kyiv security forum. He’s one of the few who has its own position in Russia and is not afraid to Express it, and that stands out from the crowds.
More than ten years Teeth was Professor of MGIMO, but in March 2014 after the publication of a devastating article in which he compared the occupation of Crimea with the Anschluss of Austria by the Third Reich in 1938, was dismissed. On the website of the University so far you can find the message under “About Zubov A. B.” with the quote: “Statements Zubov about events in Ukraine and on Russia’s foreign policy cause outrage in the University environment… Leaving on the conscience of Zubov inappropriate and offensive historical analogies and characteristics, the leadership of MGIMO found it impossible the continuation of work at the Zubov Institute.”
In 2016, the Teeth joined the people’s freedom Party, whose leader is Mikhail Kasyanov (until 2015 — and Vladimir Ryzhkov and Boris Nemtsov). But Vesennie elections to the state Duma, the party, which ran the Teeth, predictably lost.
Whether Russia really independent of the Kremlin opposition, why Putin needed the Crimea and the Donbass, how to end the war and what signal Donald trump sends Russia and Ukraine, Andrei Zubov said in an interview LIGA.net.
“LigaBusinessInform” on the night of 7 April, the United States fired missiles at the air base the Syrian government. What can it mean for Russia? How serious is it?
Andrei Zubov: That’s very serious. And this is a very important message for Ukraine and Putin. As predicted by many, for all its strangeness trump, apparently, will be much tougher politician in respect of acts which one way or another prejudice, not only economic, but also moral interests of the United States of America. It is very important to make sure that trump sensitive to such things as, say, the use of chemical weapons against the Syrians. That he is sensitive to such flagrant violations of international law. And if so, then it will be sensitive to violations of international law against Ukraine. And if, God forbid, Putin wants to launch a new offensive on Donbass, — he now knows what could be the answer.
Putin really believes that the US wants to destroy Russia?
— I’m afraid so. It’s a KGB mentality. The United States wants to make Russia dependent country. Putin thinks in terms that he learned in KGB school, you know? He wants to make Russia what was the Soviet Union in the cold war era. It’s his dream to the maximum. But it’s impossible. Russia and all the parameters are similar to the Soviet Union, which controlled almost a third of the globe. Incomparable things. But he thinks so. It’s not only his fault and his misfortune. He twisted brains.
Did you say if Putin wants to launch a new offensive in the Donbass. But the escalation of the conflict in the Donbass, and so does not stop.
— Yes, there are ongoing skirmishes, the people perish. But all in all, not counting the small distances, this line is the so-called ceasefire is not broken.
A full — scale invasion still possible?
— I appreciate the opportunity low. But after the events in Syria even lower.
— The Minsk agreements have stalled. There is a way to end the war? What is more likely to affect Putin: sanctions pressure from the West, open war, Minsk, the change of government?
— I do not think that sanctions will force Russia to end the war. Maybe they will make her feel the cost of war. Putin is very egocentric, he thinks only of himself: how to show myself inflexible, unable to compromise, and always winning. He’s a complex little man. So expect that he will change the policy of Russia under the pressure of sanctions is unlikely. When pressured by sanctions, he your friends transfers of financial assets, for example, in the form of the abolition of the tax, which allow them to live as before. And everything else is shifted to the shoulders of the Russian people. And as you can see, people are already very unhappy. So I think the only possibility is the removal of Putin from power one way or another. The shapes can be different, including the creation of a truly national-minded government, preferably democratic, which will immediately stop the war in Ukraine, will return to the Minsk agreement, and if not immediately, then soon solve the problem of the Crimea.
— Who developed the operation to seize Crimea? You believe that it actually started at the beginning of the Maidan? In Ukraine more inclined to think that the annexation began a long time ago, and at first was a test island of Tuzla.
— Military plans for the annexation of the Crimea, of course. But this does not mean that they can be realized. They were conceived in the event of deterioration of the situation. So what happened at the end of February 2014, not improvisation. It was the inclusion of a plan that had long been developed but are not expected to compulsory execution.
— And why Putin wanted the Donbass?
— You must understand that besides the desire to punish Ukraine for Maidan and Putin is a very vindictive man, was another very pragmatic task. The fact is that Russian military industry is largely tied to the production in the Russian-speaking zone of Ukraine. It’s not only Donetsk and Lugansk, and the line from Dnepropetrovsk to Nikolaev, where there were munitions factories. The idea was this: if Ukraine leaves for the West, let him leave, without the industrial zone, which is almost one with the Russian defense complex. And Putin wanted to develop the military industry of Russia. Please note: when there was the occupation of the Donbass, the first step was taken in the war plants. It was the most important thing, besides the factor of punishment.
And in addition, and annexed Crimea, and these enclaves of Donbass, is the remaining areas nepoluchitsya of new Russia. Wanted the new Russia, but it turned out that came.
— Why has frozen the project of the new Russia?
Because the Ukrainian people resisted. And the people as a civil nation. And there was no split along ethnic lines. I am convinced that Putin — a man with the mentality of the first half of the twentieth century. He thinks ethnic categories.
He really didn’t expect us to resistance?
— He thinks like Hitler: if the Sudeten Germans, necessarily Pro-German the Germans, as there is in the Czech Republic — another view. Turned out differently. Russian culture and language, I would say largely they were citizens of Ukraine. And here is the result.
— British Chatham House analyst James Sherr at the Kiev security forum said that in 2014 Russia wants to subjugate Ukraine to itself, and in 2017 its purpose or to subjugate Ukraine, or ruin it. Is that so?
— I think that in 2014, no one seriously thought about the absorption of Ukraine. Even Zhirinovsky, which usually expresses what you cannot say Putin, if you remember, said that Ukraine should be divided between Poland and Russia. The right to give Poland and the left Bank — the Russian Federation, that is, to draw the line, which was under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. So then these plans were not.
Putin initially understood that the whole of Ukraine will not absorb. Western, purely Ukrainian regions, he does not need, by and large. They would have been ballast. It interested only this, it is enough Russified part of Ukraine. But this had not happened. And now there is no question about the split of Ukraine. Nobody wants: he has already failed and will never be. Now we are talking about something else: the fact that Putin is not backing down. He took part of the Donbass, the Crimea, and will keep them, what would it cost.
Why is he worth? What price is paid by Russia?
— Very much worth it. At the international level — complete isolation, loss of face. We drove everywhere, where you can drive. Internally — sanctions and a sharp drop in the standard of living of the population, the lack of money. This is something that worries Putin. Even to us it is the remnants of democracy. However, Putin does not care.
Most Russians know that in the Donbas are Russian troops. And that’s why they, along with Putin saying that Russian troops there
— What people in Russia think and know about the war with Ukraine? According to the Internet, nothing: there is no war, the Russians in Donbass not. How do you manage to hide the data about the victims?
— Understand absolutely everything. Most Russians know very well that there are Russian troops. And that’s why they, along with Putin saying that Russian troops there.
— When started fascization of Russia? Before the arrival of Putin — or after?
— To Putin it was not in sight. What is fascism? It’s not Nazism. Nazism in Russia. There is no racial politics, no one kills Jews or even Ukrainians. That is different than our policy is almost similar to Italian fascism. Corporate fascist-type state is a state where private capital became part of the state system. And income from state capital get individuals. We have the same: all these Gazprom, a lot of other companies. I think the first sign of fascist in Economics was the Yukos case. By the way, almost immediately after the Yukos affair, Putin dismissed Kasyanov as Prime Minister because he was a principled opponent of corporatism in the economy, or fascist, to speak your language. And the first political sign appeared immediately after Beslan, when canceled the election of governors. Then began to create this authoritarian hierarchy. And already the elections of 2007-2008 has been totally falsified. After that to speak about any democracy in Russia is almost impossible. So in this period, between 2004 and 2007, there was a fascist Russia, and then it got worse.
— How do you like living in Russia today — the man with the other views?
— I’m not one. We don’t even 14% is a false figure. Putin is lying every step of the way, you had to see this, and in terms of sociology, too. When I was still in contact with the presidential administration in connection with the book “History of Russia of XX century”, I personally heard the then Deputy Surkov gave the order over the phone what numbers to write in the sociological report. So I don’t believe sociology or a penny. To me, of course, some people are bad, but now they are smaller. The first time — Yes, came, was called a Judas, a traitor, and so on. Now many people agrees with me, though I fear not only the “likes” in social networks to put, but even view my comments. They think that the fact that comments also be traced.
— In the last month, Russia resumed protests, and large-scale: hundreds of people Packed into paddy wagons. A few days later, in the subway of St. Petersburg exploded a homemade device. Is it a coincidence or the work of the FSB?
It is certainly not the burning of the Reichstag. I think this is the reaction of the Syrian opposition to Russia’s activities. See for yourself: this is the moment when Putin in St. Petersburg together with Lukashenka, so it takes the President of another country. This is the day of the FSB (April 3 1995 Yeltsin signed the law on the Federal security service of the Russian Federation — ed). And on this day a terrorist attack occurs, and not during rush hour. That is not to kill as many people as possible, but to sound as loud as possible, there is an explosion in the subway. Found out that the man who blew himself up — from Kyrgyzstan, a Sunni. I think he was associated with the radical wing of the Syrian opposition. So they decided to put a slap in the face to Putin. Of course, this is only my assumption.
— So you do not believe that this is the work of the FSB?
Is not the work of the FSB. Another thing is that the FSB it can be used for a crackdown.
One of the main messages in Russian social networks after the explosion — no freedom, no security. To counter these notions is Russian mentality?
— No, it’s not the Russian mentality, this is imposed on Putin’s agenda. A significant portion of our society lives under the hood of propaganda. Russian — are the same normal people, as in Poland, Ukraine, but they are brainwashed. Brainwashing is a terrible thing. They believe that the security can be bought only at the price of non-freedom. With proper and peaceful look of this image is destroyed in two minutes.
In Britain during the Second world war for a single day did not stop the work of Parliament. Why Britain defeated Germany. Freedom of anything it is impossible to oppose. On the contrary, as Churchill said, freedom has become one of the most important weapon of democracy in the war against Hitler, no less important than the SpitFire fighters. And in this sense can clearly tell that this attack was not the work of the FSB. Because it destroys the system image, where freedom is, of course, no, but the danger is still great and the attacks are performed right under the noses of the President, when Petersburg is flooded with security agents. I think the FSB many employees then chehvostyat. A Russian might think about how the concept of freedom, an alternative notion of security.
— Protests, which occasionally happen in Russia on the area of Saharova, the Swamp, the last against corruption — how managed? There is a perception that they are sanctioned by the authorities, to let people “let off steam”.
One of the terrible consequences of the Soviet time in all of our countries, including in Ukraine, and in Russia, is that we don’t believe in free human activity. We all think that we are governed. A KGB car was trying to introduce into the minds of the people that we have everything under control, and even if you went to the bathroom, then this right people know. This is not so. On the contrary, even Bulk didn’t — I know for sure that his call for a rally against corruption would cause such a reaction in and out so many people. Moreover, no implied power: I thought that all of this will be limited to the Garden ring of Moscow, and out of nearly a hundred cities. Society wakes up, the society acts spontaneously, as it was in 2011-early 2012 when I was Bolotnaya square and Sakharov square.
— If to speak about the organized opposition and the opposition leaders — how they are independent from the Kremlin?
— The Kremlin is a complex thing. We all, or almost all, are playing a very dangerous game. Same Bulk, of course, gets insider information from the FSB. The same Valery Solovey (the Professor, historian, political leader and not registered in the Russian Federation the party a New strength — ed.) too, and he does not hide, possesses insider information. That is, some power centers merge information that is unfavorable to Putin, his Prime Minister, General Prosecutor Chaika, but beneficial to someone in the Kremlin. This is what we call the struggle of the towers of the Kremlin. Of course, Bulk is also not intended to be just a cog in this policy of the Kremlin. He plays his game using the Kremlin.
— Is there for Ukraine, the difference is who is in power in the Russian Federation: an Orthodox chekist Putin or blogger-chauvinist Bulk?
— First, the Bulk, very little chance to win elections. Secondly, I think populism — any, including Russian populism, is the long journey to peace. And not only in Russia but also in Ukraine. So much better pragmatic government that is interested to end the Ukrainian conflict as soon as possible.
— What is it all about — the struggle of the towers of the Kremlin? Who leads Russia?
— Of course, Russia led by Putin. And many in the Kremlin do not like that he manages it alone. Not because they are supporters of democracy, but because they understand that Putin further and further turns Russia into a dead end. He’s no genius, not even the evil genius of politics, he is just an ordinary politician. But it is a tradition of autocracy that listen to him. For example, recently you had killed Voronenkov, who said that many in the Kremlin opposed the aggression in Ukraine. I think he mentioned the figure that two-thirds of the Duma was against it. I think this is the correct order numbers. But as Putin said — all obeyed. So now the “battle of towers” is an attempt to weaken his inner strength.
— Inner strength — who is this? Where is the line of demarcation?
— It security officers, and largest shareholders. All of them very much has a stupid policy of Putin in Syria and Ukraine. So they’re unhappy. I have already said that Putin is trying to bribe them removing taxes, but it is a trifle. They are deprived of the opportunity even just to use their overseas property, to go to rest.
— Lithuanian MP Andrius Kubilius believes that we can be in a situation when Putin will be in power for another 20 years, authoritarian regimes are not easy to leave.
— Putin is my age. I’m scared to imagine what will happen in 20 years. Unlikely I’ll want them. He may be ready, but Russia is unlikely. You must understand such a simple thing: when in 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed and the Communist regime, nor are you in Ukraine or in Russia we were not ready for it, unlike Poland and the Czech Republic. We didn’t have a real counter-elite, which would fight against Communist manifestations. It was not cultural alternatives, in the same Poland, with its Balcerowicz. And in fact, we have power again was captured by the old Communist elite and the elite of the KGB. But over the past 25 years Russia has formed a new layer of people who are not already soaked to the Soviet period and Communist mentality.
Instead they feed on the idiot box, as you say.
It is a different matter. But they are not that authority. Young people are generally more feeds on the Internet. They have traveled abroad, seen a lot. That is why they went on March 26 to protest. We have only now formed the fact that in Central Europe, in Poland and the Czech Republic, was 25 years ago. You had the Revolution of dignity, we had to attempt, if you remember the 2011-2012 year, we just have not realized it, although you were on the verge. You know? Maybe she realized at least for now. We only reached the level of liberation from communism, which was in Europe in the 1990-1991 year.
— Can any change of government in Russia be a democratic way? How to do it, if in the state Duma are allowed only those parties who are fed by Putin — the Communists, LDPR, just Russia and so on?
Democratic — hardly. I’m hoping for a semi-democratic way, as in Poland. I would not, in truth, the Ukrainian way. It’s blood, it’s awful. Of course, sometimes necessary, but better not. In this sense, for me, the ideal would be the Polish way of 1989: the round table, free elections and the victory of democratic forces.
— This should be a prerequisite. Putin himself at a round table nobody will go to jail.
— There are preconditions. If he feels that under him the earth shall reel as it turns in Poland the Communists, when did the reforms of Gorbachev. Then they in Poland to the round table and free elections, hoping that will win — if not 90 percent but at least 50. In the end they lost, as you know. I think the same. Of course, will be given certain assurances that agreements will be reached. And it’s not bad. I have many people say: how can you give any guarantees to those who in General must pay to the Hague? True. But I believe that it is better to shed blood than was satisfied with justice.
— This scenario is the time frame? When this might happen?
— I think in the near future. I see that the process is accelerated. Do not be surprised even if that happens this year. But in presidential elections I don’t particularly believe it.