Russia will not attack NATO openly, but “West-2017” is not just – Tzvi Arieli

Military instructor-volunteer Tzvi Arieli in an interview with “Today” said, as the countries of Eastern Europe respond to Russian military exercises “Zapad-2017” that such an attack today than the situation with Russian citizens in Ukraine differs from the situation in Latvia and Estonia.

– From 14 to 20 September, Russia and Belarus conducted military exercises “Zapad-2017”. Exercises held on the territory of Belarus, our neighbour to the North. How countries generally react to the exercises?

– React or are afraid of, or parallel exercises, also accumulate forces and means, if necessary. We never know what are the plans of a potential enemy. In this case, it is not potential but very real enemy. We see that the Russian doctrine is the most reactive, Ukraine and Lithuania, to a lesser extent Poland. Lithuania reacts fearfully, Ukraine is also pushing the extreme assumptions – from fear attempts to occupy another part of Ukraine so that the Russian army will remain on the territory of Belarus and is the Northern threat to Ukraine in the future.

In my opinion, you need to pay attention, where are the teachings – the Western and Central parts of Belarus. It is clear that it is possible to relocate, but still is important. In addition, Russian aggression always has clear objectives and calculates risks. The misconception that Putin is inadequate or crazy. Russia has a clear foreign policy, it is possible to understand, follow what they say and compare with what you are doing, and clear solutions to problems – the so-called “hybrid”. Russia won’t attack NATO countries openly, and in the forehead after months of training their borders to its teachings, when all the companions and the attention of the Western world directed to the West of the Russian Federation. Furthermore, suppose the priority and not achieved the interests of the Russian Federation while to the East lie the borders with NATO.

In addition, we must understand that such exercises are not just. This is a logical succession of increasing voltage. The fact that the year before NATO was preparing to repel Russian aggression during the exercise “Anakonda”, which has been involved approx. 30 thousand troops.

Say there are about 3 thousand Russian soldiers out of the total number involved to 13 thousand personnel. It is meant only in Belarus. However, they did say it would be used 4162 wagon for transportation of Russian military equipment and troops in Belarus. 3 thousands of soldiers – about one brigade. For one team don’t need more than 4 thousand cars. German defense Minister and other Western leaders called the number to 100 thousand Russian soldiers are involved on the territory of Belarus. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle, but definitely not 3 thousand Russian soldiers. So, of course, it causes concern on the part of NATO and the countries that border with Belarus.

There are other predictions close to NATO politicians and functionaries, who say that Russian invaded Suwalki, will punch a corridor to Kaliningrad through Poland. I think that this is exaggerated, apocalyptic predictions, most likely it will be a show of force to NATO, and for domestic consumption.

– Why?

– I think, in Russia are afraid of separatism. They survived Chechnya, and it was a typical attempt of the territory to independence. War in the Caucasus, not just Chechnya, in the minds of Russians. Therefore, they support the idea of a strong army, their training and capacity. This is for domestic consumption, so it can be presented to the Russian population.

– What is the role of observers?

– Moscow specifically stated to 13 thousand not to let observers for the whole period of exercises. This is typical of all the belligerent countries to disclose their plans. I think that they not only have the number of staff low, but the number of cars. Reluctance to allow observers, is an alarming signal. If you take a more stringent scenario than just a show of force, I think, more than a real chance that the Russians will leave a limited contingent of his group in Belarus.


– Not only for demonstration of force and threats, but for intimidation by the Belarusian authorities. I think it’s logical. If you look at the relations between Belarus and Russia, it was a long speech about the creation of the Union state. Lukashenko in his time was, but in terms of integration of the judicial and legislative branches of government did nothing. In fact, at a certain stage of the President of Belarus has slightly changed my mind, but that is not directly stated. But Russia has never concealed that she sees Belarus and Ukraine as its part.

In addition, you should pay attention to the rapprochement between the West and Belarus which occurs in the last three years. I think that Lukashenka sees Belarus as a more or less neutral state, the peacemaker, with good trade relations with the West and Russia. Ie, of course, he will not allow Russia to accumulate forces and means, at least voluntarily. However, that does not resolve in this case, a higher motivation of the Russian leadership to impose on Belarus a script and to disrupt the “convergence” one way or the other.

Through Latvia and Lithuania can “sway” of NATO. Not directly, but through the defense and “organization” Russian-speaking population in the Baltic countries?

– It is possible, but not easy. I am a native of Latvia, grew up among Russian speaking population, as well as absolutely the majority of non-Latvians: Jews, Ukrainians, poles, Belarusians and Russian. Most of these people speak in Latvia in Russian. At the same time, our family during the referendum voted for independence of Latvia, and the Russian-speaking half.

I think that Latvia has made more of an effort to push Russian into the arms of the Russian Federation. I mean, extruding the Russian language, even those who has the third-highest category of possession of the Latvian language. For example, my mother worked in the National library, it is up to retirement remained virtually the only Russian-speaking in the library. Most squeezed under one pretext or another.

– Why did that?

– You can understand the Latvians, they are afraid to lose independence, so they tried to limit the rights of those who do not think like them. But knowing them, you also need to understand that the Latvians did not have a clean integration plan. I.e., were moderates who sought to integrate and ensure the rights of the state language, but there were those who aim to squeeze out the Russian-speaking if not physically, from the institutions of power. It’s some people hurt. I once wanted to obtain Latvian citizenship, although I was born in Riga, was the third generation, but I didn’t want to prove that I have the right to a nationality. Because of this, many Russian speakers do not consider Latvia their homeland in a political sense. Not ready to fight, for example. The blame for this situation, as in Latvia and Russia, which sways the situation. I remember that in the 1990s the town was filled with Russian nationalist Newspapers which were hostile not only to Latvians, but also Jews. There was a huge amount of lies that the Russian media broadcast in Latvia. In Ukraine before the Russian invasion I was often asked Ukrainians whether it fascism? That is, of course, infringement of the rights of Russian speakers were, but they were so served, was so exaggerated that it is almost a dictatorial regime. This is not true. Latvia – national democracy.

Photo: Danil Pavlov

To destabilise the situation hard. Because Russian-speakers in Latvia do not want to live in Russia, they want to live in Latvia. Until the late 1990-ies Russian language does not have the right to obtain citizenship through exam, and Russia gave citizenship. Left somewhere 5 thousand, and most still remained in Latvia.


– In Latvia were slightly better off economically and there was rampant crime in Russia. Was more comfortable life. The majority of Russian-speaking citizens. After extruding them from the state institutions some went into business and felt fine. Most were born in Latvia and has no sense or no sentiments, such as my family and I, or not strong enough sentiments towards Russia. Therefore, today few Russian wants to go to Russia for ideological reasons. There is resentment in Latvia, is a customized Pro-Putin. From the older generation, perhaps the majority, of Junior, I think, on the contrary. But without the transfer of additional forces, agents and special forces of Russia, will not be riots.

– I ask because in Ukraine the policy of Latvia is sometimes taken as an example. Really the repetition of such in Ukraine?

– It is unreal absolutely. It is impossible to implement the policy of Latvia and Estonia in Ukraine. By the way, Lithuania – another case where all given citizenship. In Ukraine this situation is impossible. In Latvia, political views, language and ethnicity often correlate with each other, and in Ukraine – no. In Latvia have not given Russian citizenship. But how is this done? The law says that those who came after occupation of Latvia in 1940, and really after the Second world war – they are not citizens. In Ukraine, this criterion no. Do not understand by what criteria to restrict the rights. We can say, let the Russian will not give the right, and the Ukrainians will. But then it’s a real civil war, Russia does not need to invent anything about Ukraine. So many are someone grandparents were born in Russia. It is unreal. Nobody in Ukraine to do. Let’s check the soldiers and officers of the APU, get the citizenship in half of the Ukrainians. This is absurd.

– On reclaimed territories?

– First, if they do not give rights, it is tantamount to the fact that push these people to the resistance of Ukraine. Then it’s not a made-up oppression of the Russian-speaking population, it is bad and from the point of view of international image and the stability of Ukraine. Second, if we are afraid of these people, then why speak at all about the reintegration of Donbass. Thirdly, if people from Central and Western Ukraine massively go to Russia to work, otmazyvatsya from the army and so on, how to forbid to do the same to the residents of Donetsk or Luhansk region? Where is the logic, equality and human rights? If there is no modern comprehensive Patriotic programs for all, than the Donbass here is different from the rest of Ukraine? I’m not talking about the technological and economic problems of Donbass, the region is destroyed.

See also: the Kremlin is already thinking about how to leave Donbas without casualties, a military expert

– When the territory ORDO will be returned, as it correctly act?

– I think it would be correct to investigate and to judge all who are killing Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. All this according to the Ukrainian legislation. Amnesty – the same nonsense. Existing fighters can’t grant Amnesty. Need a bill or series of bills that will regulate all this. It should not deal with provolotsky organizations and sites with a questionable reputation. But I doubt that in the case of de-occupation of these zones to fight against the Ukrainian people will apply some punishment. Not sure with the current proceedings, the absence of appropriate legislation and political will can all to investigate. So, I’m not sure that at this stage these areas do you need or perhaps to end the occupation.

– How to understand where the boundaries of freedom of a citizen in war, never war officially, but we all understand that war?

– Russia and Ukraine so badly soldered that to cut it is objectively difficult. It’s fingers linked hand – cut and the other hand is going to hurt. Here and family ties, millions of Ukrainians in Russia, mothers of the volunteers, working Russia, officers in certain units, which go to the Crimea, athletes who travel to Moscow to compete and feel fine. I think the government understands that it cannot just be cut immediately. Although, I personally believe that we should prohibit free movement between the aggressor and Ukraine, I’m not even talking about the visa regime. How can you allow them to enter if someone constantly undermines or steals. It disgusts me, but to the Ukrainian people and the elite, it is not possible to cut the umbilical cord, which connects Ukraine with Russia.

– You remembered about the explosions. Than the attacks in Israel are different from our bombings and murders? Here we also blew up in the car of a Georgian citizen of Chechen origin, had previously been a high-profile murder of an officer…

– In Ukraine there are no terrorist attacks in their common modern sense. It is important to understand that such a terrorist act, because its definition has varied over time. Earlier attacks on military and government officials considered terrorism if they were committed not during conventional combat operations. Gradually, after the emergence of left, right, and especially Islamist terrorism, the definition has varied, because the terrorists began to beat more civilian people and objects. Now the attack is a blow to the population which is not involved in the fighting. A blow to the soldier of today in the political science closer to the fighting action, not to attack. Therefore, the elimination of the soldier, the officer, militant or terrorist is a liquidation, not a terrorist attack. In Israel the extreme Islamist movement of trying to kill as many any people of Jewish nationality. Sometimes parallel die random Muslim Arabs, but nobody is interested.

Photo: Danil Pavlov

In Ukraine, attacks of this type are almost there. Even the cars are not mine explosives under 500 kg. We see that the blow to kill a certain person. It is limited by the volume of explosive devices, without additional metal submunitions. This is not a terrorist act but a targeted murder. If there was a terrorist attack, then there was an explosion, ran up passers-by would help – would be another explosion, etc. Perhaps a third. Usually do modern terrorists – their goal is to harm as many innocent civilians, and with the emphasis on innocent civilians. Thus, it can be stated that currently in Ukraine the terrorist attacks, but there are hybrid warfare in the form of a war of low intensity, there are actions DRGs, intelligence, targeted assassination, and rampant criminals with guns.

– Ukraine is ready to such attacks?

– No. So God forbid we see the first terrorist, who will go to metro or say a shopping Mall. Russia, as we see no purpose to do such attacks. If they are quietly doing targeted killings, they have no problems did a mass – point attacks. But the Russian leadership apparently different goal – to make Ukraine a part of Russia (legally and/or practically). Roughly speaking, the Kremlin wants to tell Ukraine what to do. Russia’s goal is to have a significant voice in the political power of the Ukraine and tell people to “correct” vote. And for that classic terrorism, with its brutality, and the innocent victims – the wrong tool for the Russian special services and their agents of influence in Ukraine.

– Islamic terrorism in Ukraine is possible?

– It is possible everywhere. Islamic terrorism operates certain quotations from the Koran, often in isolation from the General context, manipulating them and, in fact, pushes the traditional Middle Eastern culture with European, North American and other contemporary civilizations. I would also say that it is a religious-economic cultural clash between the conservative society and the society that corrupts the values of “traditionalists” by the fact of its apparent progress and success. Take a look at the EU or the USA and most countries in Africa and the Middle East. If in the first are constantly emerging new technologies, there are different freedoms of the individual develops various sectors of culture, art, media, freedom of enterprise, the other is thriving extreme separability of the sections of the society by a very few sheikhs and close to them, and the dark masses living in poverty, without science, without many of the modern technologies, under the authoritarian yoke of political and religious leaders.

Local leaders understand this clearly, but I fear that Western technology will bring to their companies and education that is incompatible with their system of government is based on obscurantism and injustice. Therefore, radical leaders replace the idea of progress, ideas and practice of Jihad – Holy war against the “infidels” that they understand anything (from the States and citizens of Western countries, to neighbors from nearby area).

To understand what will happen and where will the next conflict, with the theories of the great political scientist Samuel Huntington about the clash of civilizations.

Ukraine is a European country with strong Christian traditions, but it has not taken a full-fledged part of the West. By and large it’s bad for the geopolitical choice of Ukraine, but from the point of view of the lack of immediate terrorist threat from radical Islamists is very good. In other words, because Europeans do not consider Ukraine a part of its civilization, and Islamists have not yet initiated attacks against Ukraine, as at this stage concentrated on the struggle with European civilization.

This is not to exclude a limited terrorist activity against the Jewish community of Ukraine, God forbid. It is necessary to follow. SBU, as far as I know, this is followed before the war. The religious leaders of Muslims of Ukraine is also working in this direction, they understand the threat.