Want to Know what Russian Elites Believe? Listen to this Man (Sergei Glazyev)
Sergei Glazyev is cited in western media as a sort of unofficial spokesman for the Kremlin, a man who has Putin's ear.
This is nonsense.
He is a high-ranking economist, and also has the title of "Advisor to the President", but in Russia, this title in itself has little meaning.
But what he says is important, and here is why: he very cogently expounds views widely believed by Russian elites.
Which elites you ask? - businessmen, politicians, military brass, academics, economists, diplomats, bureaucrats, and journalists. Oh, and clerics. And a surprising number of taxi-drivers.
One frequently hears them in the major media, on leading political talk shows, and in the sauna.
The western media mostly quotes and publishes Russian "liberals", a slim minority, whose ranks thin with each passing day. At best they are 10% of the people who count.
To a western ear, they are outside the mainstream, rather creative, and at times conspiratorial.
But they have a refreshing quality, the result of highly intelligent people thinking outside the strictures of western discourse.
This is what many Russians believe is going on in the world. And we think it’s a fair guess that Putin, being a typical representative of his class, shares many of these views.
If the west wants to have a non-dysfunctional relationship with Russia, it might start by trying to understand its point of view.
So without further ado, here are some ideas popular with the 90%:
- The US is aggressive and imperialist. It takes a consistently confrontational approach on international questions in order to expand its hegemony.
- Russia is the US's primary target because it follows an independent line and is the main obstacle to the US achieving hegemony in northern Eurasia.
- The US abuses its position as issuer of the dollar – the world’s reserve currency – in order to control the world financial system and the system of international trade so as to reinforces its political global dominance.
- The Bretton Woods institutions – the World Bank and the IMF – are not politically neutral but are subordinate to the US and are instruments of its policies.
- The US has a liberal ideology whose universalist claims parallel the US’s claim to world dominance.
- The universalist nature of this ideology renders it hostile to religious or cultural differences, which might stand in the way of the US’s claims to global political dominance.
- Since its liberal ideology basically denies the validity of human cultural difference the US seeks to impose on all countries uniform, subordinate patterns of economic, cultural and political behavior.
- As such the US is fundamentally hostile to ideas of national independence and state sovereignty and gives itself the right to intervene freely in the internal affairs of other countries.
- NATO and the European Union (themselves products of this liberal ideology) are instruments of US policy. The states which make them up are entirely subordinate to the US.
- The Ukrainian crisis is part of the US's attack on Russia.
- Russia must respond to this challenge by building up its armed forces, taking steps to protect its society and economy and by leading an international coalition of peace-loving states based around the principles of human dignity, national independence, state sovereignty and respect for traditional conservative values.
Russia’s response to the Ukrainian crisis, its firm reaction to western sanctions, its steps to insulate its economy from the west by for example setting up rivals to western card systems and to SWIFT, its increasing tilt to China and the generally conservative and Christian tone of political discourse in Russia show the extent to which Glazyev is winning the argument.