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Russian Republicans’ Circular Firing Squad and Russia’s Continuing Authoritarianization

by Gordon M. Hahn

In the wake of Alexei Navalnyi’s return to Russia and Russian prison — events that sandwiched two large but by no means record-breaking protests nationwide, the republican wing of the Russian opposition has mired itself in yet another self-inflicted implosion consistent with their history of working together as a circular firing squad. I write ‘republican’ because the worlds ‘democracies’ are not democracies but rather republics–countries with regimes organized by representative not direct popular government. Russian republicans’ non-organization and self-defeating infighting is nothing new and hardly worth yet another comment. More interesting is the depth of the cleavage within the democratic opposition the new conflict reveals and the more strategic than ideological nature of the divide and the implications of these factors.

As background, Navalnyi’s conditional sentence from an embezzlement case was made a prison sentence for violating his parole days after his return to Russia after being allegedly poisoned, Navalnyi says, by the Kremlin and “Putin the poisoner,” as Navalnyi dubbed him in his closing statement at the parole hearing, and the opposition activist promptly was incarcerated. Within days, leader of another pro-democracy ‘Yabloko’ party Grigorii Yavlinskii published an article on his site, Yavlisny.ru, in which he leveled sharp criticism against Navalnyi. This prompted a backlash from across the spectrum of Russia’s already splintered pro-democracy movement. Promising Yabloko ally, former mayor of Yekaterinburg, and anti-addiction activist Yevgenii Roizman announced that because of Yavlinskii’s article he would not run on a Yabloko ticket for the State Duma in the elections upcoming on September 19th (https://inburg.ru/royzman-otkazalsya-vybiratsya-2763?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop). Several youth organizations of Yabloko criticized Yavlinskii’s article, giving evidence of the relative popularity of Navalnyi as compared with Yavlinskii among youth even within Yabloko itself. This forced Yabloko chairman Rybakov to announce that the party’s bureau supports Yavlinskii’s article (www.rbc.ru/politics/08/02/2021/60210e329a7947f51ad32110). Ekho Moskvy Radio talk show host Larisa Larina called Yavliskii’s article “fall and personal breakdown” and a “denunciation,” a reference to the practice of betraying a fellow citizen for his/her politics to the authorities (https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=5066459920062452&id=100000954816470).

One can agree with everything Yavlinskii writes to approximately the point where he discusses the ineffectiveness of the opposition’s strategy which envisions putting so many bodies on the streets that Putin decides to engage in talks or at least compromise with the opposition and states: “The guidelines for conduct in Putin’s system is Yeltsin in 1993 and Deng Xiaoping in 1989 with tanks on Tiananmen Square in Beijing” (www.yavlinsky.ru/article/bez-putinizma-i-populizma/). The fact is that Putin’s security forces did not use and never have used either tanks or any firearms whatsoever against demonstrations. Although the arrests were overdone in numbers and execution, the most demonstrations were not approved by the authorities in Moscow or anywhere else that I am aware of. Indeed, quite often demonstrations, including rather massive ones, are approved in Russia, including in central Moscow. Last year saw such demonstrations almost weekly in Khabarovsk, for example. Moreover, we have the example of the December 2011-early 2012 mass demonstrations, all but the first of which was approved by the authorities. The first occurred spontaneously in response to announced Duma election results. Moreover, the regime then responded reasonably. President Dmitrii Medvedev, albeit a lame duck at that point, made major concessions to the opposition, easing its access to participation in presidential and federal and regional legislative elections. To be sure, the 2011-2012 demonstrations routinely saw more protestors come out in Moscow alone than came out nationwide in the two recent weekend demonstrations since Navalnyi’s detention.

So, contrary to Yavlinskii’s sense, it just may be that truly massive demonstration, particularly in Moscow, might force Putin to engage the opposition. However, for this to be achieved it would be good if such protests were preceded by a detailed proposal from the opposition on what kinds of compromises they would prefer to discuss. One demand that should not be put on the table is Putin’s immediate resignation or the arrest of his closest associates. The opposition has to leave a path for Putin and his allies to leave office without threat to their lives or safety. Otherwise, they will hold on at all costs and if threatened worth being overthrown will resort to ‘tanks’ in one form or another: tanks, mass arrests and imprisonments, and/or firing on the demonstrating masses.  

Another shortcoming in Yavlinskii’s assessment of Navalnyi’s strategy is his critique of the latter’s long anti-corruption campaign, which is portrayed as an attempt to fight corruption per se. That it is not. For Navalnyi the purpose of his corruption exposures is not to eliminate corruption under Putin’s system but to eliminate Putin’s system to do what precisely Yavlinskii proposes: establish a democratic regime and use it to fight corruption. Yavlinskii sets up a strawman, in other words.

The biggest problem for the pro-democracy opposition coming from Yavlinskii’s article is the timing and the tone when he addresses the issue of Navalnyi directly: “Navalny’s political direction is populism and nationalism. Most accurately, in my opinion, its essence was formulated in 2011 by Valeria Novodvorskaya: ‘Navalny can become ‘the future leader of the maddened crowds, and even with a Nazi bias. … If the crowds follow Navalny, the country will face fascism in the future… The wave that is now rising is not only rising against Putin. She rises for Russia’s undemocratic future. It rises for the past communism or for the future fascism. And Navalny is one of the potential leaders of this new destruction.’ Since then nothing has changed” (www.yavlinsky.ru/article/bez-putinizma-i-populizma/).

 Repeating this overstatement from a long obsolete Russian opposition figure days after Navalnyi has been sat in prison was bound to aggravate fissures within the flailing movement. Moreover, Yavlinskii’s claim that nothing has changed with Navalnyi ‘since then’ (2011) is patently false, and this is proven by the fact that Yavlinskii can only bring to bear as of evidence events that occurred before Novodvorskaya’s assertions. The only exception is his mention of Navalnyi’s comments on Donbass in a 2017 debate with Strelkov-Girkin. However, if one looks at the Navalnyi-Strelkov debate, one will not find any statement by Navalnyi that supports the reunification of Crimea with Russia or the Donbass separatists in the civil war. To the contrary, there is ample condemnation of the war, disdain for Strelkov-Gorkin and the separtists, and their supposed instigation of, and actions in the civil. Navalnyi stated:

“(T)he war that you (Strelkov-Girkin) started is an expensive thing that destroys the Russian economy, which takes money from the citizens of the Russian Federation, my fellow citizens, whom I go to the elections to protect, takes money, the last money.

“20 million people are below the poverty line, and you de facto tell me ‘Alexey, you must finance wars, huge costly wars.’ So, Igor Ivanovich, my answer is: ‘No. Russia cannot support and cannot afford to wage war.’ …

“I see points in the Minsk Agreements that are, well, extremely important for you and for all of us: this is the special status of Donbass enshrined in the Constitution, language, elections, and so on, and so on. It will be difficult, monstrously difficult to implement all this, but it is better, excuse me, to implement it than to fight. Because Russia has no money for this war. And she cannot conduct it.

In an interview of yours recently, well, you said a monstrous thing (literally the day before yesterday): ‘We will still be at war with Ukraine over Donbass.’ Not so. We will not, we do not want and are categorically against it. We already have 3 million refugees, 1.5 on the one hand, and 1.5 on the other. As the President of Russia, what should I do with these refugees? They live in the Rostov region, and they have neither a salary nor a job. Therefore, I would like to stop all this, I would like a peaceful settlement in Donbass and would like to end the war. This is in the country’s interest” (https://echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2022082-echo/).

There may be a hint that Navalnyi might not strongly oppose the idea of ​​reunifying Belarus and perhaps even Ukraine through non-military means in his use of the words “immediately” and “now” in the following statement: “I don’t want to live in this chimera, that we must unite immediately with Belarus, capture something there, add everything else. This means that we must, of course, help the Russians, and we must understand and always remember that the Russian is the largest divided people in Europe. But helping people now is not war, but fighting corruption and improving the economy” (https://echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2022082-echo/). Thus, what nationalism on the Ukraine issue do we find here on Navalnyi’s part? Not much. Where’s the meat? Yavlinskii implies some nationalist sentiment having been expressed by Navalnyi in the debate, but one must read incessantly into his words, between the lines, so to speak, in order to make the claim that he supported some ultra-nationalist military project to seize Donbass ala Strelkov-Girkin.

Yavlinskii also condemns Navalnyi for authoritarian tendencies in politics: “A democratic Russia, respect for man, freedom, and a a life without fear and repressions is incompatible with Navalnyi’s politics” (www.yavlinsky.ru/article/bez-putinizma-i-populizma/). But in the same debate cited by Yavlinskii, Navalnyi describes precisely the kind of regime transformation that would be carried out if he should come to power, and, according to Navalnyi’s words, it aims for democracy: “Three political things. This is, first, political competition and fair elections. I will let everyone in the elections, including you (Strelkov-Girkin), including nationalists, everyone who is not allowed now. Second, these are independent courts – without them there is no fight against corruption. I will make the courts independent, including from the President of Russia. Third, free media. I guarantee that the media in Russia will be free. Three political factors and several specific ones. Number one, I will pass the anti-illicit enrichment law. … Second, I will introduce the institution of independent prosecutors. Third, I will cancel the insane state regulation. There are 5 million enterprises in Russia and 2 million inspections every year. I will reduce the number of inspections by 200 times when I become president. And the most, perhaps, the most important of the specific measures – I will be reforming the state procurement system” (https://echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2022082-echo/).

It is true, as I have written, that Navalnyi has a radical nationalist past and is a divisive figure, with a frequently intolerant and condescending demeanor when faced with disagreeing or competing interlocutors. Although he is still overly confrontational and insulting in debates and often his rhetoric, he has always stated that he supports a democratic political system and in recent years has toned down and indeed rejected his nationalism, as he does in the debate with Strelkov-Girkin (https://echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2022082-echo/). Here, Yavlinskii and the Russian democracy movement bumps up again a schism over indentitarian issues among pro-democracy populations very much extant also in the West. This reflects, for example, the pre-Obama era in the US, in which radicalizing Democrats embraced an extremist form of identitarian politics that amounted to reverse racism, reverse sexism, radical elements in the LGBT movement, and a suicidal open borders illegal immigration policy. Most Russian liberals, even Yavlinskii to some extent, have fallen under the spell of this radical agenda, and any conservative pro-democracy figure who rejects or questions them is shunned and castigated as a ‘nationalist’ or ‘populist.’ But Navalnyi is quite right to reject or at least be reluctant to embrace Islamic attitudes towards women being enforced in Chechnya or mass illegal immigration as threats to Russian culture and especially its democratic strand, which, for example, purports to defend women’s rights. It has been a decade since Navalnyi participated in the annual November ‘Russian March’ that includes the most extreme ultra-nationalist and neofascist elements.

The bad blood between Yavlinskii and Navalnyi goes even further back. In the early 2000s when Navalnyi was participating in the Russian March and moving in nationalist ciricles, he was also a member of the Yavlinkii’s Yabloko Party, joining the party in 2000 and being elected to its Moscow regional committee in 2002. In 2001, he simultaneously was a district election commission member representing the pro-democracy Union of Rightist Forces. Ambition appears to have exceeded ideology and principle at least at this earliest stage in Navalnyi’s political career. Or was he still just finding his way to an ideological position? Nevertheless, Navalnyi headed Yabloko’s Moscow regional campaign in the 2003 Duma elections. But in June 2007, referring to himself as a “national-democrat,” he founded a nationalist organization called ‘Narod’ (The People) along with Zakhar Prilepin, and for that he was forced to resign from Yabloko’s Moscow region committee (https://lenta.ru/lib/14159595#119, citing “Я – национал-демократ,” Агентство политических новостей, 02.11.2007). Discussions began about whether Navalnyi should leave the party, and at a December 2007 meeting of the party’s ruling bureau Navalnyi demanded the “immediate resignation of the party’s chairman (Yavlinskii) and all of his deputies and an election for at least 70 percent of the bureau’s seats.” He was promptly expelled from the party for “bringing political harm to the party, in particular for his nationalist activity.” In 2008, Navalnyi’s nationalist project, Narod, also ended (https://lenta.ru/lib/14159595#119).

The hot red intensity of that bad blood is apparent when Yavlinskii seems to cast some doubt on the reality of Navalnyi’s poisoning, calling it “strange” and having raised a “controversy” precisely because it supposedly involved Novichok not because it involved Navalnyi. Adding insult to injury, Yavlinskii invokes the 2015 murder of Boris Nemtsov, adding the latter was “significantly more important than Navalnyi.”

Nevertheless, this conflict is part of a much larger dynamic in world politics. Increasingly, in the West, Eastern Europe and Eurasia politics is a contest between the liberal-leftist/commune-fascist ‘international’ and a conservative/populist/nationalist ‘international.’ Moreover, there is more authoritarianism lurking around in both camps. Yavlinskii is himself in line with an increasingly authoritarian Democrat Party element is evident in his assessment of recent events in the U.S. which demonstrate he has swallowed the Democratic Party’s false narrative hook, line, and sinker: “It is hoped that after the shock of the storming of the Washington Capitol, leading Western democracies will thoroughly search for ways to cleanse modern politics of populism and nationalism – when they are fighting for power with the help of incitement to hatred and through a crowd pumped up by propaganda, when the real problems of the state and society are used only as an instrument of influence.”

But Yavlinskii is under the sway of the Democratic Party propaganda that passes for news in the U.S. nowadays. For it is not populism and nationalism that led to the storm of the Capitol so much as all too unpunished leftist and reverse racist violence carried out by the Democratic Party’s allies throughout half of 2020, open verbal and practical support for that violence by top Democratic party leaders, and massive election fraud committed by members and supporters of the same Democratic Party. Yavlinskii might do well to follow his own advice in the article: “(I)t is useful to know the West’s opinion, but it is no use orienting oneself on it.” Of course, by this measure, perhaps he must question even this advice from me?

Yavlinskii also accuses Navalnyi and his team in this article for umpteenth time of collaborating with the regime but offers no evidence. To be sure, Navalnyi’s exposes of corruption do seem to benefit from difficult to access information. Putin and his associates have accused him of acquiring such information from Western intelligence. Indeed, both may be true, but no one can no for sure. In making the point, Yavlinskii suggests precisely why a negotiated transition from Putin’s soft but gradually hardening authoritarian regime: “Navalny, apparently, has ceased to be an element of the the authorities’ game with society (or its politically incompetent liberal-creative part), which has been carried out since 2011. But this does not mean that he and his inner circle have gotten rid of the old connections with and dependencies on power – it is just that the game has become different. Navalny and his team may be used in the dark, but others will be reaping the harvest, and it is very likely that the others will be from the same Putin system with the goal of preserving it or, conversely, of replacing the facade.”

Navalnyi’s propaganda policy also is subjected to criticism. Yavlinskii asserts that Navalnyi’s expose` of Putin’s alleged palace in Krasnodar was not so much intended to expose corruption or (this goes unmentioned) undermine his reputation. It was intended to communicate a Putin shaking in fear before the prospect of Navalnyi’s rising power and to associate Putin and his corruption with deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his own corruption. Yes, Navalnyi often seems to suffer a bit from delusions of grandeur, but many, many politicians manifest the symptoms of this disease. We might say its a pandemic in the profession.

Yavlinskii is more correct when he criticizes the Navalnyi-centric nature of the recent demonstrations across Russia, which had Navalnyi’s release from detention/prison as their only official point. Yavlinskii wonders why Navalnyi’s staff ignored the issues of political detainees and prisoners and the war in Donbass, in which Russia participates mostly indirectly unless something more is necessary, such as in two potential encirclements of the Donbass rebel forces in February and August 2014. But in terms of strategy, Yavlinskii is as dismissive of alliance-building as Navalnyi, perhaps more so. Navalnyi has shown some signs of willingness to broaden his base in the last few years. An example is his ‘smart voting’ strategy of recommending that voters support a non-Kremlin (non-Yedinaya Rossiya) candidate that Navalnyi’s team deems is likely to garner the most votes, whether he be a communist, nationalist, or republican. As I have noted elsewhere, this strategy has produced some good results in elections to local, city, and regional legislative assemblies. More importantly, it is an implicit, if mechanistic form of coalition-building, even as it is a clumsy method, given the inevitable support for candidates who do not hold republican values. Yavlinskii offers no real mechanism applicable to the battle to remove Putin for cooperation between political parties whatsoever, outside of mass protest actions, which he says are ineffective. Yabloko has created a project for drafting a post-Putin constitution, but by definition this would follow not precede the removal from power of Putin and his supporting business and police clans.

The strategy for regime transformation proposed by Yavlinskii’s Yabloko is a negotiated or ‘pacted’ transition. He describes the kind of protest alliance that is necessary but does not include protests as part of a strategy for removing the Putin system. Demonstrations need not just quantity but also a constituency and by implication a transformational alliance of the proper quality: “It is extremely important that protest is politically conscious and civil in the full, highest sense of the word. The basis of such a protest is people who openly oppose the Putin system, but at the same time do not support populism, reject nationalism, leaderism, Bolshevik incitement to social hatred, and do not accept the substitution of the power of the mob for democratic procedures and institutions and manipulation.” The problem is whether there is still a sufficient number of people to deploy powerful and peaceful mass protests and an alliance of organizations weighty enough to force the regime to talk. There were in 2011-2012, but Russia, Putin, and the regime were different then. Thus, Yavlinskii does not include protests in his overt scenario for forcing a regime transformation. Instead, his strategy is to somehow garner 20 million votes for Yabloko in September’s Duma elections as “a basis for dialogue with the authorities, and then we begin a real change of regime.’ But Yabloko has never won 20 million votes in any Duma elections. Navalnyi, who is now more popular than Yavlinskii and Yabloko, could not at this point win 20 million votes in a presidential election, and he has no party do so in legislative elections. A recent Levada Center poll shows only 19 percent approve of Navalnyi’s activity since returning to Russia. In other words, Yavlinskii is no more focused on building an alliance and is less likely to lead a movement capable of removing Putin and his system than is Navalnyi (www.levada.ru/2021/02/05/vozvrashhenie-alekseya-navalnogo/). Similarly, the two nationwide protests in support of Navalnyi after his return and detention, now arrest and imprisonment are not popular even among youth among which they are most popular out of all the different age groupings. Thus, only 38 percent of those ages 18-24 have a popular view of those protests; 41 percent – neutral, and 22 percent – negative . Of all age groups, 22 percent had a positive attitude, 37 percent neutral, and 33 percent – negative. Moreover, the pro-Navalnyi protests were significantly less popular than the August 2019 Moscow City Duma protests and the August 2020 Khabarovski protests, with the latter receiving 47 percent positive assessments to 22 percent for January’s Navalnyi protests (www.levada.ru/2021/02/10/yanvarskie-protesty/).

A Russian democratic opposition that had Yavlinskii and Navalnyi cooperating would be able to draw in all other Russian democratic forces. This broader, more substantial pro-democracy force would be able to risk making alliance with moderate socialists and nationalists, making a more formidable united front. There is potential for this, For example, the more European style democratic socialist wing of younger leftists in the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) came out with some support for Navalnyi and January demonstrations, while the older neo-Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist Soviet era leadership condemned Navalnyi and the protests (https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2021/02/12/russias-communists-are-split-over-support-for-navalny-a72917). Navalnyis’s ‘Smart Voting’ strategy of calling on voters to support the opposition candidate most likely to succeed regardless of his party and ideology could further attract communists to his side, as the KPRF has been the party that has benefitted most from ‘Smart Voting.’ The KPRF enjoys approximately 10 percent support nationwide, so splitting it in half or attracting half to a democracy-centered united front could add 5 percent to such a front.

Therefore, it remains possible that the pro-democracy wing of the opposition can shave off support from the left. An analogous process could occur on the democrats’ right among nationalists, building a broader opposition front at the center of which would stand pro-democracy groups and those who support a democratic political system but might differ over economic or cultural issues. If the democrats or a more broad-based front in support of establishing a more rights-based republican form of government could establish an internal system of binding primaries for selecting and supporting its candidates, it would probably be able to garner the 20 million votes or even more to which Yavlinskii aspires to in both Duma and presidential elections. (This is under the operational assumption that Putin administration is applying election law fairly so they could register, an assumption too far, albeit.) In terms of mass protests, this could be the formidable force that could repeat 2011-2012, achieving a renewed election process. But for now, this is a fantasy, a dream of the bold and even strange.

So Russia’s opposition, in particular its democratic opposition, has no viable strategy for inducing a regime transformation, not on the streets, not at the ballot box. It remains torn asunder by infighting, enormous egos, and intolerance in the face of disagreement and competition. The root of its problem is the same as all of Russia’s. It is not Russian genes, Western decadence, the 1990s, Boris Yeltsin, or even Putin that have made Russia’s difficulties in making a ‘transition to democracy.’ The problem is cultural as much if not more than political and lies in a shortage of comity and willingness to compromise. In the United States, my homeland, these values are disappearing, and the consequences are obvious—an advancing, already deep decay of America’s once great political culture. Russia suffers from even greater shortages of these two crucial perquisites for establishing and maintaining republican government and democratic rights. For Russians, in their transcendentalism and maximalism, it is all or nothing, making a surfeit of comity and compromise essential. By their ‘better angels’ undermined by human avarice, Yavlinskii and Navalnyi both are representative of the best and worst in Russian politics and of the hope and despair of her people.

Without strong leadership the democracy movement in Russia will continue to flail about. It will be in little position to counter the creeping intensification of the Putin regime’s authoritarianism, which is now more mid-range in degree than it is the soft authoritarianism that existed in the 2003-2015 period. The Internet is being censored, with prison sentences possible for ‘liking’ a post, the laws stipulating violations of protest rules have been harshened, and opposition activity, even simple scholarly research has come under mounting pressure (e.g., http://www.yavlinsky.ru/article/triumf-lzhi/?fbclid=IwAR2barH2x1iD__JTLEzBSNKrd75f_gDV4QYim-Kp7k5tKngQtLJ1Nzwtx-Q; http://www.kommersant.ru/theme/3357?from=main_aktualno; http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/4684256?from=main_13; and http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/4684488?from=hotnews#id2010473). With Navalnyi continuing to receive backing from the West for over a decade now, the Putin regime will only tighten the screws more tightly (https://sbis.ru/contragents/5032028375/503201001; (https://yandex.ru/video/preview/?text=%D0%B0%D1%88%D1%83%D1%80%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%B2+%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D0%BD%D1%8B%D0%B9&path=wizard&parent-reqid=1612652488112168-125630043481596690000107-production-app-host-vla-web-yp-25&wiz_type=vital&filmId=13217135897861144697&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Do9xakXfVAjY; https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/4692632; and https://rg.ru/2021/02/01/opublikovana-zapis-specsluzhb-podtverzhdaiushchaia-sviaz-fbk-s-britanskoj-razvedkoj.html). In conditions of growing authoritarianism worldwide, including in the United States, there will be no firm model of republicanism and therefore less incentive for Russians or anyone else to adhere to republican systems and democratic rights.

In conditions of increasing authoritarianism of the regime and gradual radicalization of Russian youth, this augurs poorly for a democratic outcome any time soon. With no pressure from below the regime above will not reform. And with no powerful democratic force below, any social uprising is unlikely to be focused or lead to a republicanist outcome.

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FORTHCOMING IN 2021

About the Author – Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., is an Expert Analyst at Corr Analytics, http://www.canalyt.com and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, www.cetisresearch.org. Dr. Hahn is the author of The Russian Dilemma: Security, Vigilance, and Relations with the West from Ivan III to Putin (McFarland, forthcoming in 2021), Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the “New Cold War” (McFarland, 2018), The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland, 2014), Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007), and Russia’s Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Transaction, 2002). He also has published numerous think tank reports, academic articles, analyses, and commentaries in both English and Russian language media.

Dr. Hahn also has taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia and has been a senior associate and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Kennan Institute in Washington DC, and the Hoover Institution.

2 comments

  1. Despite the National Security Act of 1947 (the watershed event that eventually led to the gutting of the basic American principles or foundational law) one could still believe in ‘the constitution in the sixties and even the seventies. Not so now. In retrospect, humanity (secularism, particularly) has not been mature enough to rise above sectarianism (tribalism.)

    In short, in the American version of the ‘democratic’ experiment, since the post WWII USA adopted ’empire’ as its standard of behavior, fascism comes out on top. How did it arrive? Simple. The treasury (wealth) of the USA was directed towards control over and maintenance of empire and away from infrastructure, education particularly. What remains is substandard facilities graduating students incapable of reading, and those who CAN read are landed in universities co-opted (especially the sciences) by dependence on funding sources like DARPA. It is satanic and you don’t have to be a ‘believer’ to grasp this. In short, highly principled philosophical shaping of youth through education is a thing of a now distant past.

    Better to toss out the shallow monoculture of globalism driving so-called ‘western democratic principles’ (a co-opted language turned into a geopolitical lie) and return to the real (authentic) multiculturalism of the ethnic nation-states of yore with real borders, meaningful relationships via treaties, and a reinvigorated international law founded on the right of self-determination of peoples. In such a scenario Crimea would have every right to join Russia at Russia’s invitation and for that matter, so would the Donbass. Of course this would not enrich the non-nation actors (weapons producers) who profit from conflict and it is these conflicts ‘justify’ immense armaments outlays by the so-called ‘leaders’ of the 21st Century science fiction social reality.

    But it is culture (not in degenerate state) that produces genius necessary to intelligent life.

    Insofar as Navalny, his recent court appearance recalls Turret’s syndrome or perhaps the symptoms of lithium withdrawal (noting overdose of lithium could mimic novichok poisoning.)

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