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DC Rusology Follies: ‘Putin’s Coming Great Terror’

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By Gordon M. Hahn

The follies and foibles of the DC think tank circus are attaining new depths of intellectual bankruptcy. Trapped in an echo chamber that blocks out even slightly alternative thinking, their failures brought us the bloody Boston Marathon, a civil war and potentially a full-blown fascist regime in Ukraine, and their much relished ‘new Cold War.’ Expertise and objective analysis are being strangled to death by intellectual corruption, cultural biases, dependence on government largesse, and cynical fund-seeking effort. 

The new myth DC rusology seeks to foist on the American public is an imminent Great Terror’ in Russia. Presumably, this will expand to all the former USSR and Europe as Russia invades Ukraine, the Baltic republics and the rest of Europe and Eurasia. Promotion of this line of thinking highlighted below is how careers are made and conflicts are started. 

The person who wrote the item highlighted below has held positions in prestigious Washington DC think tanks, including: the Cato Institute and the Heartland Institute. He is also a featured speaker at DC functions and author for various outlets. His usual line is even more paranoid about Russia than the most russophobic Western ‘analysts’. The piece below was written during the period when Putin ‘disappeared’ for some ten days in March. I have added in brackets [] missing information for clarification.

Article from

Perhaps future historians will call these events the “conspiracy of generals.” Indeed, on the one hand there is a lieutenant colonel. And on the other there are full-fledged generals: two Colonel Generals and three Generals of the Army.

After almost two weeks of fierce struggle under the carpet the picture of the battlefield, which opened to the public yesterday evening, leaves almost no doubt about the outcome. The party of “blood and loot” (in the terminology of [former Hudson Institute analyst] Andrei Piontkovskii [meaning the Kremlin’s political party ‘United Russia’]) suffered heavy losses and is retreating on all fronts under the onslaught of the party “big blood” [meaning those who would like to carry out another Great Terror or mass repressions].

Missing since February 27th, [First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration and fomer FSB Director] Sergei Ivanov appeared in the public space, having secured an alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church or at least having secured its neutrality. [Secretary of Russia’s Security Council and former FSB Director] Nikolai Patrushev, at a Security Council meeting in Pyatigorsk, accepted the surrender of [Chechen President Ramzan] Kadyrov. From a box in the Bolshoi Theater [editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper ‘Nezavsiamaya gazeta’] Konsyantin Remchukov announced the impending resignation of [RosNeft Chairman and long-time Putin ally] Igor Sechin. It seems a foregone conclusion, as does the resignation of [Minister of Internal Affairs] V. Kolokoltsev, despite the denial of rumors circulating earlier. In other words, the power and the financial support of the “national leader” [i.e., Vladimir Putin] seems to be paralyzed.

Unlike the “appearing” Sergei Ivanov, Putin has “disappeared.” The cancellation of his visit to Kazakhstan and the information about his “illness” actively being thrown into the public information space makes one think about where he is located and in what condition he is physically.

If the proposed analysis is correct, then in the coming days the resignation of prime minister Dmitry Medvedev and the appointment in his place of Sergei Ivanov can be expected. The State Duma led by Sergei Naryshkin will ensure the proper vote by its members.

After that, the public is likely to be informed about the fact that a national leader is in need of a rest.

Anyone who believes that this conspiracy involves (consciously or unconsciously) only the generals or the security forces is slightly simplifying the situation. On the eve of Boris Nemtsov’s murder in a safe place for 15 days was sent to other potential candidate for the role of “sacrificial victim”, the popular blogger specializing in publishing leaks against figures in the party of “blood and loot” who frequently merge with the party of “big blood” was sent to a secluded place for 15 days [reference to Alexei Navalnyi’s 15-day priosn sentence]. Another well-known opposition journalist the other day considerably boldly forecasted that “soon after Nemtsov’s murder Putin will be overthrown.”

To those readers who mistakenly believe that the author of these lines supposedly has any sympathy for either of the parties in this mortal combat, I respond with the following classical maxim: “a plague on both your houses.”

However, in addition to referencing this maxim, it is difficult not to forget the historical analogies that inevitably come to mind:

  • the corrupt regime of the Shah Reza Pahlavi with the SAVAK secret service, on the one hand, and the regime of the Ayatollah without the SAVAK secret service but with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that replaced it, on the other hand; and
  • the corrupt regime of Chiang Kai-shek with the secret police and punitive expeditions against communists, on the one hand, and the Maoist regime minus the KMT’s secret service but with a truly great terror, on the other hand (

Is the above better classified as analysis or wishful thinking? Either way, it does fall into the what is regretfully now the mainstream of American rusological thought. Just to clarify: Putin is still in power and Putin’s Russia has seen no ‘New Great Terror’. Opposition demonstrations occur almost daily somewhere in Russia. Often no one is detained. Opposition figures and their opinions appear in both state-sponsored and independent television, radio, and newspapers on a daily basis. Although repression exists and is indeed abundant, it is soft especially when compared with some of our most erstwhile allies – Saudi Arabia and Egypt for starters.

The author of the article at least had enough sense to separate Putin from the imminent Great Terror. The political demise of Putin he claimed was nowhere near coming to pass. However, he at least managed to place Putin in the ‘party of blood and loot’ and views him as an obstacle to the ostensible ‘party of big blood’ and their supposed plans for a great purge. Others fail to achieve even that minimal ‘real world’ standard.

Other articles have appeared from mainstream rusologists in recent months giving us ‘sobering’ rather than sober analysis on a supposedly imminent ‘New Great Terror’ imminent in ‘Putin’s Russia.’ They see Putin as the new Stalin, Nemtsov’s murder as the equivalent of Kirov’s in 1934, and a new Great Terror to be Russia’s future. Such articles have appeared not just in independent mainstream media but in in U.S.government-funded media as well courtesy of our tax dollars. See:

Karen Dawisha, “Nemtsov Killing: A Chilling Historical Parallel?,” CNN, 28 February 2015, 

Brian Whitmore, “Putin’s ‘Hybrid’ Great Terror,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, 28 February 2014, .

There will be more. Meanwhile in UKraine………………..


Gordon M. Hahn is an Analyst and Advisory Board Member of the Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, Chicago, Illinois; Senior Researcher, Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California Analyst/Consultant, Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch; and Senior Researcher and Adjunct Professor, MonTREP, Monterey, California. Dr Hahn is author of three well-received books, Russia’s Revolution From Above (Transaction, 2002), Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007), which was named an outstanding title of 2007 by Choice magazine, and The ‘Caucasus Emirate’ Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014). He also has authored hundreds of articles in scholarly journals and other publications on Russian, Eurasian and international politics and wrote, edited and published the Islam, Islamism, and Politics in Eurasia Report at CSIS from 2010-2013. Dr. Hahn has been a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2011-2013) and a Visiting Scholar at both the Hoover Institution and the Kennan Institute.

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