15 January 2022
by Aleksandr Podrabinek
From the outside, the ongoing Russian torrent of demands, ultimatums and threats to the West may seem like temporary insanity on the part of the Kremlin elite. However, as we know, there is nothing more permanent than temporary. This also applies to the raging insanity which began in the USSR in 1949 after NATO was established, which died down in the early 1990s, and has now re-emerged in all its paranoid glory and propagandistic power.
People in Russia have long been accustomed to the idea of an imaginary international blockade, to reliance on the army and navy as our sole resource and ally, and to the endeavours of rich and wicked neighbours to steal from us our last rags. And the myth of the threat presented by NATO lives on in the memory of the older generation.
The current anti-NATO rhetoric is no different from the Soviet versions. NATO is on the doorstep; NATO has crept up on our borders; they have surrounded us with missiles, threaten us with war, and we must be vigilant – our enemy does not rest. Business as usual. None of the chirping from Shoigu to Volodin, from Simonyan to Solovev explain why NATO is to be feared. These people are simple and straightforward like their Communist fathers and grandfathers before them: NATO is the enemy! Accept this as the truth and don’t dare question it.
THE BLOC’S AIMS
Yes, NATO is indeed an enemy, the only question is whose exactly? The alliance was created to counteract Soviet influence in Europe. Up until the end of the Cold War, it did not take part in a single military operation. The bloc’s meaning was exclusively defensive for its member countries, and as such did not interfere in 1953, in the Soviet army’s bloody suppression of the uprising in Berlin, nor when the Soviet Union suppressed the Hungarian revolution in 1956, nor in 1968, when Czechoslovakia was invaded by Warsaw Pact armies.
When the fall of communism took place across much of Eastern Europe, and subsequently in the USSR, NATO embarked on a mission of resistance against oppressive regimes guilty of crimes against humanity. In the 1990s, the Alliance conducted military and peacekeeping operations in former Yugoslavia and helped Kuwait repel Iraqi aggression. In the 2000s, it brought terrorist regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq under control and was involved in a peacekeeping mission in Sudan and later in the war in Libya.
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Serbian communist leader Slobodan Milosevic, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and many other less recognizable international criminals have been among NATO’s enemies. Some of them survived to stand trial in The Hague, others were held to account in the national justice system, and still others did not even make it to trial.
SO FOR WHOM IS NATO AN ENEMY IN RUSSIA?
There’s no need to guess at this. They are those who have usurped power and to maintain it are prepared to throw the country into international conflicts on the side of similar tyrants. Those who are ready to suppress any opposition and kill their political opponents. Those who walk all over their own laws and allow their inner circle to do the same. Those who are hopelessly mired in theft, corruption and just ordinary criminality.
Without doubt, NATO is their enemy, since this politico-military alliance safeguards democratic values, freedom, peace and international law. It may be that it is not always consistent or infallible, however in today’s world it is the only real defence against ideological maniacs, corrupt dictators and megalomaniac nobodies who have seized power in their home countries.
At the turn of the century, as communism collapsed and freedom glimmered in the distance, Russia entered into a rapprochement with NATO. There was talk of a partnership and possibly joining the bloc. But then an old and drunken president, trembling at his own fate, handed power to a Chekist, and all too soon the search for internal and external enemies began. Naturally, they were easily found.
One day, when Russia returns to the path of democratic development once more and renounces its traditional confrontation with the world, it will join NATO and consider it a major foreign policy victory.
Translated by Marjolein Thickett