We don’t care about your sanctions! Hey, where are you going? Come back! Aren’t you AFRAID of us?

Hey everyone! Remember Pyotr Romanov? Of course you do! He’s the one who told us all kinds of fairy tales about how Russians believe in justice without laws, and how they’ll happily endure any hardship when they think they’re right, as with the annexation of the Crimea. He told us sanctions were useless, but also passive-aggressively suggested that the West remove them, because supposedly the same people who will endure any hardship don’t like “unnecessary troubles.”  Well guess what- because there never seems to be a Bolshevik firing squad around when you need one, Romanov is back with another hilarious article in The Moscow Times.  And this time, he’s upset.

A Russian friend who relocated to London a few years ago responded to a comment I made on Facebook concerning the start of the Cold War. With self-satisfied irony he wrote: “To be honest, the West does not really care much about Russia.”

How strange! Of course, it is very possible that his British neighbors and friends are too preoccupied with their house, lawn, car, children, dentist, etc. to worry about a Cold War with Russia.

Pyotr is dumbfounded at the idea that Westerners, Britons in this case, don’t care about Russia, much less a Cold War with Russia. This is because as is typical for his ilk, he imagines that Russia is this incredibly important center of global civilization. In reality, even now with Russia in the news every night, most Westerners, including Americans, simply do not care about Russia. If this weren’t true, my email and message inboxes would be jam-packed with messages, full of questions about what is going on in Russia. Guess what- they aren’t. Even close friends and family members rarely ask me anything about this country, even during international crises like the present one. There’s a reason why RT barely got any viewers back in its early days when it was actually about life in Russia. It’s the same reason why the all-time record for most views in a single day on this blog was, by far, a satirical post about Gamergate. People in the West just don’t give a shit about Russia.

They haven’t given a shit since 1991. This is because the conflict which existed between the West and Russia during the Cold War was an ideological conflict, whereas your modern Russian pseudo-intellectual wants to believe there is some kind of eternal East/West divide that drives the conflict. Or I should say it is a Russia/West divide, since these same Russians certainly don’t want to be associated with Chinese, Arabs, or any of the other dozen or so groups they harbor prejudices against. Perhaps they are reluctant to admit it was an ideological conflict because doing so would be an admission that they betrayed that ideology and were thus responsible for the state of their country today- a major no-no for your average “patriotic” Russian these days. That, however, is a topic for another article.

What the reader must understand is that Romanov’s friend, by pointing out an obvious fact, shook Romanov’s little world to its foundations. There is nothing more devastating you can say to someone like him than reminding him that the West not only isn’t afraid of Russia, but that it doesn’t even care. For Romanov and many Russians, they will indeed live in utter shit, with no rights under a government that so clearly has nothing but contempt for them, so long as they have this idea that they are either making someone else miserable, such as the Ukrainians, or that they are feared by someone, such as the Americans or Europeans. Just like an angsty teenager, any attention is good attention, and Romanov and his ilk possess minds which do not develop beyond the level of teens. The tantrum doesn’t take long to begin.

But what will happen tomorrow when the average Westerner finally realizes that his whole life — his house, children, car and even his dentist — is under threat? What thoughts will run through his head when he comes to understand that the politicians he elected behaved in such an unfriendly way toward Russia that the Russian politicians elected by the people of this country made equally unfriendly moves in response? And that everything simply went downhill from there?

Gee Pyotr, I don’t know how to answer that because all those things aren’t under threat from your basketcase, corrupt nation run by thieves, con-men, and imbeciles. Petey, sweetheart, we’ve been over this road before, remember? You continue to lie to your people as reality starts to cave in on them on all sides. Eventually people get fed up and demand change. The system collapses, people start stealing, then some slick, authoritarian figure promises he can give you stability so long as everyone is willing to give up their freedom. You make that bargain, agreeing with him that your nation’s last failure was all the West’s fault. They imposed Putin on you; he was doing the Americans’ bidding! Then your new leader, unable to deliver on his many promises because he only sought power so as to be in the best position to rob your nation blind, begins shrieking about the evil West more and more. This shrieking builds up to aggressive foreign policy designed to provoke the West, Russia gets isolated again, and the cycle begins a new. Some people just aren’t fast learners.  It might happen next year, or it could be two or three years away. How long is unimportant; a state so disconnected from reality is living on borrowed time.

Now this is a bit of an aside, but I love how he talks about these different nations, the collective “West” and Russia, electing their leaders. In the West, leaders change. In Russia, according to the government’s own claims, their country has produced just one qualified national leader in 25 years. One. There is only one person who can actually run Russia, otherwise the whole thing falls apart over night. All of Russia’s natural resources are given to America in exchange for cheeseburgers, and all Russian citizens instantly become homosexuals, thus utterly ending Russian reproduction and by extension, the Russian people as a whole.  No, Pyotr, we’re not dealing with equals here.

Anyway, terribly upset that those decadent, well-to-do Westerners aren’t shaking in their boots about Russia, Romanov turns to passive-aggressive threats, the Russian pseudo-intellectual’s weapon of choice.

Ordinary citizens remain calm because of the simple fact that they typically do not know the full picture — nor do they try to know it. It is easier to live that way. Just the same, it is time to wake up and recognize what is happening. This is no Hollywood blockbuster unfolding outside our windows, but a force majeure of international proportions. True, it is not the first that the world has experienced, but knowing what hardships previous conflicts have brought to mankind should motivate us to try to prevent any more from occurring.

First of all, Mr. Romanov, if you’re so concerned about a massive military conflict, lobby your government to end its support for armed insurgents in Ukraine, and its illegal occupation of the Crimean peninsula.  Oh wait, that’s right, you can’t, at least not if you want to keep your job, stay out of jail, or not get beaten by masked thugs outside your apartment building one night.

In fact, the world began living under the real threat of nuclear war long before the Cuban Missile Crisis, although that confrontation was one of the most dangerous moments of the first Cold War. And fortunately for mankind, sensible politicians always emerged who could put a stop to the ambitions of the warmongers.

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen. As is typical for this sort of Russian, he brings up nuclear weapons, as though that’s going to make a difference. The USSR had plenty of nukes, none of which saved it from destruction. Russia’s nukes won’t save it either, especially because nuclear missiles aren’t edible. Romanov, in spite of being a “historian,” doesn’t seem to be familiar with the concept of “mutually assured destruction.” If Russia launches its nuked, Russia is destroyed forever, with far less probability of survival due to its poorer infrastructure and much lower population. China might also flip a few nukes at Russia for attacking its most valuable trade partner, and to help secure whatever land it can in Siberia.  Of course, it would be difficult to tell exactly which parts of Russia got nuked and which did not, as the difference wouldn’t be clear in some areas of the country, but that is unimportant.

Pyotr, stop talking about nuclear weapons. Nobody is afraid of your country’s nukes. Nobody is afraid of your country beyond a few former Soviet republics. If your delusional president ever presses that button, everything you have will be gone. Your dacha, and all your precious jars of pickles will be reduced to radioactive ashes. RADIOACTIVE ASHES!  Seriously, shut the fuck up.

Romanov’s second idiotic article demonstrates the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t nature of trying to communicate with Russian supporters of the state. If you acknowledge that relations are bad and there’s a new Cold War, then you’re engaging in aggression against Russia. If  you don’t, they agitate and rail against the West until people start reacting, and then that just proves their original claims. One should ask, what does Romanov want when he says Westerners should care about his precious new Cold War? Should they band together and take a more resolute stance against Russia? Oh no, of course not! Russia has nukes, remember! No, what they should do, if Romanov’s previous article is any indication, is give in to Russia and let it do what it wants. To use Putin’s metaphor, leave the bear alone in the forest to eat berries, honey, and do some other assorted Winnie the Pooh-style shit.

The problem with that idea is that it implies that Russia was just minding its own business when the aggressive West came in and started slapping sanctions on Russia for no reason. Reality is quite the opposite. For years the West turned a blind eye to Putin and his cronies. Western capital flowed into Russia and Russia’s oligarchs stowed their ill-gotten wealth in Cyprus, the UK, France, and the US. Of course as the consequences of this system continued to mount, the state ramped up its anti-Western rhetoric, which usually went ignored back when times were good. Unfortunately for the Kremlin, the Western response was still too apathetic. Ukraine’s Maidan movement was an embarrassment to the Kremlin, but it brought a double opportunity- win back local support and pick a fight with the West. Nobody can deny that this new Cold War has benefited Putin, at least in the short term. It’s also the nail in the coffin for Russia, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

The moral of this story is that the best defense against Putin’s Russia is not the fear-mongering of Edward Lucas; that only pleases people like Romanov and the other Putin hacks out there. Rather it is best remaining calm and collected, always reminding people like Romanov how insignificant his country really is.  As a good friend of mine used to put it, there are people in provincial Russia who will think about America several times in one day. They know that there is a place called Kentucky. By contrast, there are millions of Americans in major cities like Chicago, LA, New York, or Boston, who go days without ever thinking about Russia. None of them know that there’s a place inside the Russian Federation called Bashkortostan, and few of them could name another Russian city besides Moscow. It’s not that they’re horribly uneducated either. It’s simply that they don’t care, and they’ve never had to care.

Romanov needs to understand that while all his home-spun delusions are really meaningful to him, in the eyes of most of the world Russia is essentially a laughing stock at worst, and at best a wacky, crazy land where up is down and cats chase dogs. It is not mysterious or enigmatic. It is simple.  More than that, people like him must be reminded that this sad state of affairs, which was by no means always the case for Russia and certainly doesn’t need to be, is in fact the fault of people like him. It’s not the Americans, the Jews, the Masons, the British, the fifth column or the sixth column. It’s people like him, with their utter lack of ethics and principles, their laziness, their immaturity, their envy, and their hatred.  People like Romanov must be reminded every day how much richer Russia would be without them.

You have had 25 years to make something of this vast, rich country. Instead you have run it into the ground. Obviously you are unable to handle the responsibility. In the words of Oliver Cromwell, “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

7 thoughts on “We don’t care about your sanctions! Hey, where are you going? Come back! Aren’t you AFRAID of us?

  1. Endobai

    Hi! Noticed your blog thanks to Natalia Antonova’s Twitter account. Many interesting thoughts.
    In this case I agree. Overall. That the best thing is to carry on and ignore the cronies. Unfortunatelly it is all about the place you are living in and staying calm and carrying on won’t work if yoy are a russian neighbour. Regardless how ‘russophobe’ you are – see Sweden and its latest adventures.
    The putinist ‘system’ (we know there is no such thing, unless all 12 year olds should be treated as respectable political thinkers) is crumbling. A castle from sand, but a big one.
    In its last years the thing can cause a lot of problems, also due to its inefficiency, the mess it really is and because it will try to exploit weaknesses of ‘the West’
    After all another victory, another ‘Crimea is ours’ will be necessary. So me, living in Poland observe the bloody mess with a dose of sobering terror. Not because my country will be hit (it became quite a boring ritual to listen to russian threats of nuclear annihilation every year or two), but because Latvia makes such a lovely target – in humilating the big, bad NATO, in challenging the West, in shoutng ‘hey don’t ignore us Russia’ – and in this case the only thing to do would be to respond to such an aggression.
    It is also a piece from much bigger, much older geopolitical puzzle, the XVIIth century one where the balance of power in Eastern Europe was disturbed. From thet moment the curcle of expansion to compensate for interenal, fundamental flaws reached new levels, levels dangerous to the existence of entire states. Before the dangers were contained, at least from the point of view of the core of Europe. In some ways it might be the end game for the region, a major reversal of the last 350-something years in geopolitics. Ukraine is the factor here, but not the only one.
    Finally also the possible break up of Russia is a cause for concern in our region – the waves of refugees of regional wars, the influence of criminal-thuggish ‘elites’ and their dirty money, but sadly the indifference of our western friends. They can ignore the mess most of the time, but we cannot.
    If we do, it will eventually hit many, many more people. A passenger airoplane might be hit, nuclear facilities might suffer, terrorist groups might find new resources, dirty money might cause the surge in prices and costs of living etc.
    While it is all right and proper for avarage citizens to ignore Kremlin attention whores dicision makers should not do so, they should do what is necessary. From the simpliest things such as implementing the money laundering laws in London to providing Latvia with military support so that the bear doesn’t decide to chase this piglet hitting the imaginary adversaries hellbent on destroying Mother Russia.

    1. Big Bill Haywood Post author

      I wouldn’t worry too much about a military invasion. Their war in “Novorossiya” has failed miserably, and all it will take is one actual defeat, with a few hundred casualties in one day, to expose how weak they are. That’s when people back home will start demanding answers.

      All the other problems you mention, however, are extremely true. Even when the Putinist system collapses, the power vacuum that leaves will be extremely dangerous. There will be floods of refugees, human trafficking, criminals, etc. Also the problem of a break up of the Russian Federation has always been huge, due to the vast expanses of land and lack of contiguous populations. That and the radical nationalism means that any attempt to create a national republic is going to create a Bosnia like scenario.

    2. Big Bill Haywood Post author

      I should clarify, however, that I have never supported the idea of sitting back and letting Russia do whatever it wants militarily, as Ed Lucas tried to imply when I debated him on TV. Western countries are free to take steps such as reinforcement of smaller allies or sanctions when Russia annexes parts of other states, but it’s how they do it that makes all the difference. When they sound hysterical, worried, or hypocritical, the Kremlin uses that.

      What they need to do is treat Russia as it is, like a teenage class clown acting up. Everyone knows that such boys love to get a rise out of the teacher. When you refuse to play along, the class clown suddenly realizes how foolish he looks.

  2. rkka

    Well ever since Putin took down Khodorkovsky, the editorial page of the Washington Post, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, The Economist, Financial Times, and I could go on, has shown that the Anglosphere Foreign Policy Elite & Punditocracy (AFPE&P) care a very great deal about Russia. I agree that the peoples of the Anglosphere don’t care much about Russia, but considering how the AFPE&P got their peoples to back the catastrophic Iraq war, I’d say that the actual views of the average Anglospherian count for very little and those of the AFPE&P count a very great deal.

    Now as for fearing an invasion of Latvia, why would the Russian government bother?

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I hate to tell you, but the monolithic entity you’ve invented a neologism for doesn’t exist. Also the sympathy Khodorkovsky got was largely due to his own PR campaign that he started prior to being arrested. If PR didn’t work, it wouldn’t be such a big industry.

      Also that unwieldy acronym you’ve created did indeed bear a lot of responsibility for the Iraq war, yet plenty of dissenting voices were readily available to anyone who bothered to look. In any case, Bush was in some ways abandoned even by his own conservative handlers, who by 2008 realized that his name and doctrine would forever be associated with failure. Only Dick Cheney hasn’t seemed to figure that out yet.

      As for your question of Latvia, I have never believed Putin stupid enough to mess with a NATO-aligned nation. Fearmongers like Edward Lucas like to draw this line between Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, right over to Latvia and the Baltics, totally ignoring this very important difference. But the irony is that people like Lucas must oversell the danger of Russia because that’s one of the few ways you can make a career off of Russia in the West.

      If you do plan to go on defending the Russian government, could you maybe not sully the reputation of the Red Army with that handle. Just a thought.

    2. Jim Kovpak Post author

      If you want to see a monolithic punditocracy, take a look at the Russian-press, as well as what happens to the dangerously few independent media outlets here. In the West there is definitely bias, but here there is uniformity and actual threats if you don’t conform.

  3. Pingback: Encore- The Fall of Romanov | Russia Without BS

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