Viktor Kogan-Yasny: Change is inevitable in Russia

19 – 25 April 2023

by Viktor Kogan Yasny

A philosophy for Europe

All issues concerning Ukraine should be considered in accordance with the principles of pan-European security and stability developed in the course of the Helsinki process. Security is indivisible. International borders are established in accordance with the procedures of the OSCE. These borders are not subject to arbitrary change. Within borders, there can be different approaches to issues based on respect for human rights, recognized and respected under OSCE procedures, which are extremely important and cannot be devalued. A political road-map must be developed to establish a fair long-term balance. Peace is the highest value.

Euro-Atlanticism plays an essential historical role, but it cannot be a civil religion, it requires constant reassessment. Russia is a historical part of the Euro-Atlantic space, arbitrary turns of its politics cannot cancel this historical, ethnographic, sociological fact. Ukraine and Russia are geographical neighbours, share a common history in many ways, and have a very close culture that developed from the same root, forming one continuum, and they have a future ‘in the same direction,’ whatever mistakes and crimes may hinder this.

Change is inevitable in Russia. It is difficult to predict the course this change will take, but one thing is certain: neither mistakes nor crimes, no matter who commits them, nor external circumstances can change the thousand-year direction of history, nor can they cancel the closeness to other peoples, nor true national identity, nor give victory forever to the paganistic cults of chaos.

19 April 2023

A note on the proposal to hold a global conference

Lula da Silva, I think, is far more correct in his strategic proposal than even he believes.

Eurasian strategic sustainability requires a global approach and a permanent global conference of various developed countries. Borders are contested and unstable over an immense area far beyond the bounds of the former Soviet Union. Political regimes are in many ways artificial in nature and unstable in the long term. In these conditions, any local treaty has a prospect of lasting no more than thirty years, to be followed most likely by chaos.

The UN is very weak and very minimalist. Euro-Atlanticism is important as an approach based on values, but if it turns into a civil religion of energetic, inflexible and headstrong forty-year-old liberals in the United States, Canada, Britain and a few other countries, then it becomes monotonous, clumsy and unproductive. And it is extremely undesirable to permit wars, chaos, degradation and the suppression of independent views because of the ambitions of authoritarian leaders, the criminal world and all else similar. Therefore, something in between is needed. And peace between Russia and Ukraine should be the beginning…

19 April 2023

On ‘historical reconstructions’

Thinking in terms of historical reconstruction is very common in a wide range of countries from the former USSR. Such a reconstruction based on a historical past takes one form in the hands of Russian authorities, is perceived in an opposite way for obvious reasons in Ukraine and other countries, and from there spreads to the countries of the West. The reliance of many people on a search for analogies to the present day in the distant past is sometimes understandable, but most often logically absurd. It is a very harmful and dangerous phenomenon which leads only to a dead end.

25 April 2023

Translated by Simon Cosgrove

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