Remember Russia’s international neo-fascist shindig back in March? Well once again the Kremlin gathered a bunch of clueless foreigners and threw them a big party to make them feel relevant and important. This time, however, it was a conference of separatists from around the world. Strangely, no representative from Chechnya, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, the Crimea, Buryatia, or any other Russian region or federal subject was represented at the conference.
Here are a few highlights:
Held in a government-owned luxury hotel, the conference was organized by the Russian Antiglobalist Movement, which is supported in part by the government.
“Government-owned luxury hotel” and the “Antiglobalist Movement.” Don’t see the contradiction there? How much of the luxury in that hotel is produced outside of Russia’s borders? Russia’s astroturf “antiglobalist” movements and ideologues are absolutely hilarious, because without globalization, Putin’s Russia as we know it wouldn’t exist. The power Russia had stored up in the 2000’s came largely from foreign investment, as well as high oil prices, oil which incidentally, was sold, globally. Even today, Russia’s government still seeks investment and believe it or not, they still get it, even from Western countries. None of that really reverses the staggering capital flight Russia has suffered as of late, but even the fact that this is so harmful to Russia demonstrates how Putin did not turn Russia into some kind of self-sufficient hermit kingdom. I mean they were importing as much as 40% of their food, for fuck’s sake, and that’s with all the arable land the biggest country in the whole fucking world has. Oh yeah, Putin also struck a masterful blow at “globalism” when he joined this thing called the WTO- you know, the same organization that “antiglobalists” always protest any time it has a conference?
If it sounds like I’m beating a dead horse there, realize that I’m only trying to demonstrate how ignorant these guests are. Here they’re putting all their hopes in this country they clearly know nothing about, because had they bothered to read the business section of their newspaper from time to time, they might realize that Russia is very integrated into the dreaded “global economy,” and its government has to some extent actively sought that, whether by trying to attract investment and hosting international trade summits or just stealing their people’s money so they can buy real estate in London or Italian luxury sports cars.
Next a rather hilarious point:
Omali Yeshitela, who is based in Florida and represents the pan-African Uhuru Movement, demanded that the international community recognize “the right of African people to armed self-defense against American imperialism.” The movement seeks the economic and political liberation of blacks worldwide.
Omali, my friend, if you’re black, Russia’s the last place you want to go to find friends. I’ll just say it’s a good thing this conference took place in Moscow and not St. Petersburg, which has long been thought to possess a larger skinhead population. The truth is that contrary to some sensationalist foreign media reports, Russian streets were never patrolled by neo-Nazi skinhead gangs, but there definitely is a huge supply of racism and virtually no sympathy or sensitivity to anyone who is black or African. Thank the Russian media for that, with their race-baiting stories about how Europe is being taken over by Arabs and Africans.
More fun ahead:
Sean Carlin, a former member of the Irish National Liberation Army (a post-IRA militant group), said he was glad that Russia, after a post-Cold War hiatus, was again taking the lead in countering the U.S. “Russia is trying to reestablish links with left-wing and separatist movements it used to maintain in the past, because you can see what the West is doing in the Middle East and southeast Europe” (he means Ukraine).
Sad to see someone with that lineage fall for Kremlin bullshit. Russia isn’t really courting left-wing movements for anything beyond propaganda value. While I’m sure anyone who went to this conference got some free swag courtesy of the Russian taxpayer, the real concrete support from Russia goes to far right groups, as the Kremlin’s own ideology, insofar as it has something resembling an ideology, is far-right authoritarian, in fact, fascist by definition.
So Mr. Carlin thinks that Ireland has a right to self-determination but Ukraine (and people in Russian federal subjects) don’t? I never was good at Gaelic, but let me just say Ghough Fiocbh hYourselfhbhgh.*
Next we have a clear case of projection:
Fyodor Biryukov, a top official in Rodina (Motherland), a far-right Russian party, spoke at the conference. He compared the U.S. government to a “gang of vampires sucking blood from its own people and the rest of the world.” The audience burst into applause when he said, “We need to pierce American vampires with an aspen stake.”
If you’re looking for that gang of vampires sucking blood from their own people, head out to Rublevka. Oh no wait, you won’t, because those vampires pay your meal ticket.
Biryukov says he sees no contradiction in reaching out to the extreme opposites of the political spectrum: “We should welcome everyone who opposes Washington. The division into right and left is obsolete.”
Not a particularly good strategy there, Fyodor. But I quote this because I want leftist activists to read it and ask themselves if they are prepared to become friends with fascists like those of Golden Dawn or Jobbik, all to help out the Kremlin, which values self-preservation above all things.
He also says he doesn’t mind inviting separatists, despite Russia’s own problems in Chechnya, where militants fought two bloody wars with the Russians in an effort to win independence. “Separatism is just a tool, like a handgun. It’s only important who holds it,” says Biryukov.
Translation- It’s okay when we do it.
Tell me, leftist, how is this any different from the US government? At least that government lets you protest pretty much whenever you want. What is more, in Russia this entire conference, were it to feature people calling for independence for Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, etc., a return of the Crimea to Ukraine, or even just greater federal autonomy in the Russian Federation, would be entirely illegal. That’s right, these Hawaiian and Puerto Rican separatists have full rights to hold conferences in their home country and they’re allowed to publish as much material as they want. In Russia, all of this is illegal as per a law passed, interestingly enough, after they sponsored the separatist movement in Ukraine.
If you’re a separatist and a die-hard supporter of self-determination, how do you justify that? Your people deserve self-determination but it’s wrong for some other people to do the same, because a government gave you a free press junket? There’s the H-word again.
What I find to be the funniest thing about this and other conferences is how utterly clueless many of these people are. They don’t seem to perceive how they’re being played by a government that is happy to jail people for expressing the kind of opinions they have. Sure, while most of these people come from obscure, laughably unpopular movements, others represent more influential parties. Still, if their lack of critical thinking is this glaring, then the size of their parties or organizations may not matter.
The other laughable aspect is Russian ideologues and government officials holding these conferences and seriously believing that they’re performing some kind of brilliant gambit against the West. While they hand out free shit to cranks and losers, the government is still pissing away more and more money, now in Syria, while of course everyone down the line siphons off his cut of the revenue. When the unstable structure does inevitably implode, these conference attendees won’t be there to save them.
*Yes, I could have gone with “póg mo thóin,” but for some reason that has a plastic paddy connotation for me, largely because in America it is constantly used by plastic paddies.