Suslov: «We will only stop when the present Ukraine disappears. The Iron Curtain is back “

Of Paolo Valentino

Why did Russia attack Ukraine? The Kremlin’s foreign policy adviser explains: The goal is regime change in Kiev. The Russian army wants to control the entire territory. Putin has a mission: to unite two Slavic nations

The goal is regime change in Kiev, no more, no less. Putin has made it clear: the goals are demilitarization and denazification. The Russian army wants to take control of the entire territory or most of it. Moscow refuses to speak to the Ukrainian government and this implies that the military operation will continue and that the result we hope will be the emergence of a new country. We are experiencing the last hours of Ukraine as we have known it in 30 years. In its place will be born a country that Moscow will consider friendly and loyal, devoid of nationalist ideology and in completely different relations with the West.

What is happening in Ukraine?

The news of today, February 25, live

Dmitry Suslov he directs the Center for European and International Studies at the Moscow Higher School of Economics, one of the Kremlin’s closest foreign policy thinkers.

Why is Putin acting now?

The Russian patience is over. Putin concluded that the West, by blindness or by choice, has systematically ignored his concerns and demands of him, which have been talked about for years, particularly in recent months. In light of the absolute lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, of the American refusal of the security guarantees requested by the Kremlin, of the military danger represented by the current relations between the USA and Ukraine, Russia has decided to resolve the problem unilaterally.

So there is no risk of triggering a global war?

The West will react with sanctions, criticisms and the strengthening of the NATO military structure in Central and Eastern Europe. But we know that there will be no nuclear war. The US has made it clear that it will not fight Russia for Ukraine. Of course, there is no doubt that we have already entered a new geopolitical reality, a new state of relations. The post-Cold War ended forever and we are in an all-out confrontation with the West, including the European Union. If not a new Iron Curtain, we are close to it. The clash will be strong, we will consider ourselves enemies again. Unfortunately, all this is true, but the Russian leadership considers the resolution of the Ukrainian question more important and ready to pay the price.

Differences of opinion emerged in the Kremlin. Did Putin decide for himself?

Hard to say. It is true that there is not full consensus in the foreign policy community on this choice. Some thought there was a chance for diplomacy. But the decision was another.

Aren’t you afraid of strong internal resistance in Ukraine, an Afghan scenario?

The Russian leadership hopes Ukrainian troops will refuse to fight and the army will disintegrate. I do not rule out strong resistance in some parts of the country, the more nationalist ones in the West, hostile territories where Russian troops will probably not enter. But the comparison with Afghanistan does not hold up: it was another country, a territory that offered the possibility of sanctuaries, there was no common cultural element. I don’t expect full-scale guerilla warfare. But the ideal scenario would be the implosion of the Ukrainian government and regime change before Russian troops arrive in Kiev.

But this will lead Russia to be completely isolated in the community of nations.

The world larger than the West, which no longer dominates it. There is no doubt that Russia will be politically isolated from the Western world and their relations will be hostile for many years. But it makes no sense to speak of Russian isolation in the international community: the nations that the US can motivate against Russia are a minority. China, India, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America will not isolate it. Beijing does not criticize Moscow, today Lavrov spoke with the Chinese foreign minister and there was not a single criticism from him. Perhaps China does not rejoice in this action, but her position towards friendly Russia and this is what we expect from the majority of countries. As for isolation at the UN, come on, Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council.

Faced with tougher sanctions, will Russia use the energy weapon against Europe?

No. Rather it will be Europe that will use the energy weapon against itself. After the Nord Stream 2 blockade, if gas transit through Ukraine becomes impossible due to military action, the only active pipelines would be Nord Stream 1, Turkish Stream and a very small one through Belarus. I mean that Europe will suffer not because Russia will cut off supplies, which will continue, but because it has decided to deprive itself of Nord Stream 2.

Does Putin want to go down in history as the man who unified the Russian world?

There is no doubt that this is one of the pillars of its historical legacy: to re-establish the union of the three Slavic countries. It is not a question of reviving the Russian Empire or the USSR. But reestablish an alliance between sister nations. Sanctions and confrontation are temporary, this for generations.


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