Liberals and Democrats, the Communists and Pacifists, patriots and compradors, as well as many citizens are not fully defined with its own political identity to repeat the phrase; “I hate your views, but I am ready to give my life for you to have the right to express them”. Not everyone knows that it belongs to Voltaire, not all know who Voltaire was, and even more so, the unit read anything from the wearisome labor that recognized him at the time as the Joker. But the phrase is beautiful.
This article originally appeared at Cont, translated by John exclusively for SouthFront
The truth is that no one has ever tried to follow it litterally. Even the inveterate “Voltairiens” who organized the French Revolution, began immediately to behead those who tried to express their start, do not coincide with the general view of lines, and therefor to complete the self-destruction.
Bonaparte was honest, defining the attitude towards freedom of the press, he said: “You want me to ban a performance that can be heared by 500 people and allow those that can reach several million”? – Thus defining their attitude towards a possible alternative political position.
The points of view of Voltaire and Napoleon reflected a distinct philosophical commitment to the ideal of real politics. By the way, when he lost his power and philosophizing on the island of St. Helena, Bonaparte became a supporter of a full and unrestricted freedom of the press.
For twohundred years nothing changed, and could bot be changed. Power always limits the propaganda for stability, while the opposition always requires unlimited opportunities for agitation against the government. When they changed places, they changed positions.
The Soviet dissidents fighting for freedom of the press, while the Communists were in power, and dramatically changed their minds, began to plug the growth and communists barely made their way to power. Gunmen in numerous interviews bragged how to restore the order with an iron hand, which made the Slavic and surrounding area essentially a military dictatorship, and is indignant that his interlocutor on the general line of the Kremlin in the Ukrainian question met the information counter. Information attendants Purgina manages within the same text, to denounce harsh measures taken against the effects of their client’s political opponents and then promise that the most opponents when “justice will prevail” (in the hope that they will support the Kremlin) “Flight of the head”.
The main thing is that all of them (from the dissidents to purginistov) where absolutely right, and even the difference in scale between the restrictions applicable to them and those who applied, used, or intend to use them is justified from a political point of view, and can cause idiosyncrasy from the abstract philosophising individual.
Why was Jacobins beheading, and Bonaparte was only closing of newspapers and the links of political opponents? Of course, the most dangerous (or considered as such) were shot, but the term terror quite rightly applied to the Jacobin rule, not to the period of the Consulate and the First Empire.
Because the more stable the power was feeling, the more confident it got and it relied on the popular support, the milder sanctions it applied to their political opponents. Compare Red Terror during the Civil War and vegetarian Brezhnev.
Now we will try to extrapolate these theoretical considerations on the current situation in Russia and imagine how it would have changed the policy by authorities in a given scenario.
In the period of 2008-2014 Russia was deeper drawn into a conflict with the United States due to Washington’s attempts to maintain the role of global hegemony in a systemic crisis. By the beginning of 2014 the conflict has reached the stage of a semi conflict. Weapons, military advisers and volunteers on both sides, as in the best times of the Cold War, encountered on hot spots around the globe. The information warfare turned on full power and then supplemented by economic and diplomatic war. The US initially stated that they intended to prevent the strengthening of Russian influence in the former Soviet Union, in the end the taks was defined as the change of power in Russia.
Against this background, domestic actions of the Russian authorities were extremely moderated. Work funded from abroad “social” structures had not been banned. They simply ordered to comply with the very transperecy for which they are supposedly fighting. Neither the liberal nor the “patriotic” opposition faced with the formal prohibition of activities. Authorities only began closely monitor their compliance with the law and often (though not in all cases) to punish individual activists blatant and gross violation of its (the law) norms. Measures to counter the information did not take the character of a complete ban of alternative points of view. They just become more active and aggressive in attitude of loyalists in the political debate and the international dialogue; Russian media and diplomats have taken a more assertive (but not aggressive) position.
Moreover, even within the government itself they are still allowed to have different points of view on the way to overcome the current crisis (as a global, systemic and in relations with the US and the EU). Serious and influential social forces which have strong positions in business and politics (including the government) do not just feel te need to reduce the degree of conflict in international relations, but also actively trying to promote their own line within the bureaucratic “bulldogs fighting under the carpet”.
The Companies are aware of the internal conflict within the government, though often in error with respect to the actual positions of the key players, their goals, motivations and modus operandi. This is not surprising – the rules of bureaucratic opposition will not tolereate the removal of quarrel in public. Transfering the conflict in a public sight illustrates the failure of the part that went to appeal to the public opinion, to win within the rules of the game. The ruling class in general (and at any time and in any state) such actions are perceived as an attack on the stability (ie state security), to split the elite (which, incidentally, in onse of the essential features of a revolutionary situation, according to Lenin). In general it undermines the foundations.
That is why we are witnessing today the small fuss of figures in the informational space. All of them, consiously or unconsiously, supporting one of the groups of influence (often not the one you think). All of them perform the task of simulating the overwhelming public support for this or that line in the hidden, both from the public and from the internal governmental confrontation. All of them allow apical political groups and their leaders to voice their political position in public space and try to create a critical mass of public support for it, without breaking the rules of this bureaucratic game. Bureaucratic groups are public debate, formally remaining outside the informational space.
How long can this situation persist? Oddly enough, it depends largely on our western “friends and partners” and, to a much lesser extent, from the sale of dreams, guarded by patriots of Russia’s transition from a hybrid to an open military confrontation with the West. It is possible that the moment of truth is near. Last but not least it depends on how to resolve the growing crisis this autumn in relations with the EU.
Today, Europe is subjected to severe pressure by the United States, requiring a sharp tightening of anti-Russian sanctions. At the same time America is trying to step up their military actions at all points where Russia is linked in the need to support its allies in order to force Moscow to build up militairy aid, which, on a plan will make it possible to charge it, if not in direct aggression, then in violation of the peace process.
Now we see this activity in Syria, where the increased military pressure on the Assad regime has caused the reaction of Russia and the relevant statements of the US State Department. At the same time to intensify actions to thwart Washington (hand puppets Kiev) the Minsk process of resolving the situation in Ukraine.
We are dealing with a comprehensive approach. The need to drastically increase the militairy assistence to Syria should claim Russian resources. The theater of war is not close, communication, stretched, and US measures to the closure of airspace in Bulgaria for a direct air bridge to Syria further complicate the logistics. The next step should be followed by the pressure of the regime in Kiev Donbass paralell tightening of the position of Europe that the United States to recognize the decline of Russia, the DPR and LPR as being the violaters of the Minsk agreements. The expectation is that being in immediate danger of being drawn into military action on two distant fronts, backed by the threat of economic sanctions, Russia will have to compromise and one of the allies (and preferably both) to pass.
Supporters of reconciliation with the West in both government and business, will put pressure on the government from the inside. The “patriotic” opposition will call to “sink” the allies, regardless of the actual situation in Damascus and in Donetsk. We have prepared another “plug” in an attempt to force Washington’s favorite way to choose between bad and worse.
Will Moscow turn over some of the allies? No. And not only because the Russian people in the Donbass, and in Syria the last base of the Mediterranean fleet, and our last outing in the crucial Middle East region. The case is still (in the first place) that is closely watching the confrontation between Russia and the United States to third countries is still active. The main thing that passed, and therefor lost, is so weak, so a bet for the support of Moscow’s alliance with her is dangerous. So better to submit to the United States. As a result there is a landslide in loss of allies, the sharp deterioration in the geopolitical situation and then have exactly the political isolation and is defeat inevitable, due to the irreversible redistribution of general geopolitical resources in favor of the enemy.
Will Russia resort into preventive actions, which insist of the guard patriots? No. Because the war in Syria has been on such a scale for a long time, and Russian support for that over a long time, has gone so far that no available actions from Moscow can be interpreted as a preventive. In adition, the EU is still align in its conflict with Russia exclusively with the situation in Ukraine. Syria, is more the concern of the United States.
But in Ukraine, Russia and the European Union (represented by France and Germany) the Minsk negotiating format acts as that what the Europeans asked, and we agreed to extend it for 2016. Consequently, any military provocation of Kiev which is not supported by the EU becomes meaningless, since it would be quickly suppressed and does not fulfill the task of creating a situation of a direct conflict between Moscow and the EU (and in fact, Moscow and Berlin).
Hence, the key to the escalation of the conflict is in the hands of the EU. If Europe decides to accept Moscow and DPR / LPR as offenders of Minsk and shut their eyes to the prepared military provocation of Kiev, it will destroy their own requested negotiating platform, to which long sought by the US, who is trying to replace the Minsk format that is more convenient for them (without DPR / LPR, but with the US and possibly Poland and/or participation of the Baltic states). No return to Minsk, or create a new adequate (which suits Russia) negotiating format will then be impossible. But the risk of a direct collision between the EU and Russia in Ukraine (including the military) will increase dramatically.
The elimination of the negotiation format and the return of the EU in the American paradigm of the increasing pressure of the sanctions, depriving Russia of any kind was the stimulus for further restraint. After this discovery, and the volume of direct military intervention in support of the DPR / LPR as well as the depth of the promotion of the front line in the direction of Kiev will be determined only by the technical capabilities to integrate with the territories. For Ukraine, this means an unambiguous loss of the buffer zone along the eastern border and almost inevitable descent into the bloody chaso in the territory that will bot be occupied by “militia of New Russia” immediately. In return, the EU and Russia will be on the very verge (if they can not stop this in time) of a direct military confrontation.
There will be dramatic changes to the Russian domestic policy. You can oppose the entry of their country on their own initiative in a foreign civil war. But you can not call for a compromise with the aggressor, committed to the unprovoked attack of your country. In this case the EU has a destructive position in the autumn crisis, any elite group advocating reconsiliation with the West, becomes in fact accomplices of the enemy. The power will be forced to move from position to position, Voltaire Bonaparte.
But it must be remembered that the same Bonaparte dealt with a ruthless blow to the opposition on the left and on the right side of the opposition. That is in the situation of all political forces of war in the danger to abandon consolidation around patriotic positions of power, supported by the people, will be under threat of political reprisals. And it is not comical during a war. Of course before the shootings, both in Slavyansk, and the head does not come as a revolutionary in Paris and will not be cut down, but the bans and confiscation of planting is more than possible.
And I want to emphasize once again that the possible transistion from more than democratic, the hard board at this stage is almost independent of the Russian politicians, nor by policy makers, nor the opposition (of all hues). Russia said its word, and all she could do for a peaceful solution to the crisis has been made. And then a la guerre comme a la guerre.
Now the ball lies with the West. More specifically on the EU, since the US position is known and it will not change. In February 2014, Europe has supported the pro-American coup in Kiev and was wrong. As a result, the EU has suffered a huge political and economic loss and lost its internal stability. The following error may be in Europe, it can not only be fatal, but it will be the last one.