Vladimir Putin is in doubt whereas on the threshold of the year 2008 the real political life of the country more and more crystallizes around two Kremlin parties - "party of the liberal successor" and "party of the third term".
In January Putin, it seemed, was inclined to follow liberals having directed Dmitry Medvedev strengthened by Herman Gref and Anatoly Chubajs on the World economic forum to Davos. There the bowels of the Russian delegation sent to the western elite precise liberal message. Notwithstanding of publicly said or not said words the Europe and America were actually presented the program of actions of the successor which can be expressed in three items: liberalization, "smooth" regionalization (con-federalization) of the Russian Federation, internationalization of minerals of the North, Siberia and Far East (their gradual transfer under control of indirect and then direct Western control).
But contrary to expectations the West did not begin to hasten with reaction on Davos's message. On the contrary, plans of expansion of the American system of Ballistic Missile Defense in Czechia and Poland were announced and new Minister of Defense of the USA Robert Gates loudly enlisted Russia into the number of military opponents of America alongside with China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Iran.
In this situation Putin made an emotional speech at conference on safety in Munich. At the same time he visited the Near East where he talked about military-technical cooperation and creation of gas OPEC. Then, having returned to the Kremlin, the head of the state made two sign assignments. Firstly, Ramzan Kadyrov was appointed the president of the Chechen Republic instead of Alu Alkhanov. It showed Putin's firm intention not to admit destabilization of Northern Caucasus before 2008 as it used to be in 1999, to use the Chechen factor in the struggle for power in the Kremlin.
Secondly, Putin promoted Sergey Ivanov formally put him into equal conditions with Dmitry Medvedev. Thus, it is obvious, that actually the president meant not Ivanov's succession and his ostensibly identical chances with Medvedev to become the new owner of the Kremlin. Such is improbable considering absence of some serious group of support of Ivanov whereas Medvedev is supported by such powerful and influential figures as Voloshin, Abramovich, Chubays and others. Actually, probably, Putin wanted to let people understand also to the West that variants of liberal successor and the third term have at the present moment equal chances for realization.
The West understood a hint having reacted rather rigidly. Firstly, it was declared that elements of system of Ballistic Missile Defense of the USA can appear not only in the East Europe but also in the CIS countries - in the Ukraine and Transcaucasia. Secondly, new director of National investigation of the USA vice-admiral John "Mike" Makkennall acted in the Senate with sharp applications, having called to strengthen prospecting work across Russia and having attacked Putin's nearest environment from security officials who ostensibly gave the president "fatal" advices. In answer the Kremlin declared that Russia would revise its military doctrine.
In other words obvious spiral of escalation of mutual rigidity in relations between Russia and the West, first of all with the USA, is evident. It takes place on a background of unprecedented campaign of demonization in foreign mass-media of Russia and personally Vladimir Putin. When the campaign started the last autumn after the murders of Anna Politkovskaya and Alexander Litvinenko, a lot of people, including to me, thought that its purpose was purely local - by Putin's intimidation by threat of transformation into the international derelict to induce him publicly define his position with liberal successor thus starting the process of power transfer.
However cool reaction to Dmitry Medvedev's presentation in Davos, further increase of the antiRussian negative in press, provocative actions of Gates and Makkennall and even more provocative actions in the sphere of Ballistic Missile Defense make us consider true intentions of Washington differently. The version according to which Americans are seriously going to untie new "Cold War" against "Empires of Evil" seems to me more and more close to the truth. However, this time it should be toy "Cold War" against toy "Empire of Evil". While the victory of the USA in it should become true and should lead, eventually, to liquidation of the Russian Federation as the last act in the process of ruin of the USSR.
The following question is natural: what do they need it for in a situation when the Americans are so thoroughly sticked in the Near East, besides they see their main geopolitic opponent in the 21st century not degrading Russia but dynamically developing China? It's not possible to find rational and obvious explanation to it. But in fact the Americans far not always undertake rational foreign policy steps.
To take Afghanistan as an example. It would seem after unsuccessful experience of British Empire and the USSR nobody should occupy this country imposing to it a puppet mode. But the USA tried to do it and, as one would expect, found themselves even in the worst situation, than the Soviet Union 20 years ago.
Or to take Iraq. Already during the first war in the Gulf 16 years ago the Americans understood that no democracy in this country was possible, that furious dictatorship was the only way to avoid general violence and chaos and rigid civil war. Nevertheless in the year 2003 Bush intruded Iraq and, as it's obvious now, suffered catastrophic defeat.
Despite of it, the USA with manic persistence are preparing for new aggression, this time against Iran. It's obvious to all world it is also doomed to failure. But in Washington flatly refuse to listen to rational reasons and the war looks more and more inevitable.
The same could be said in case of new "Cold War" against Russia. Why should America lead up to end the process of partition of the USSR if its main strategic problem China? What does someone need to complete moral destruction of "imperial spirit" of the Russian people for? It's impossible to explain it from reasonable positions. And nevertheless, the USA again have taken this way and, probably, this time are going to pass it up to the end.
They have very serious trumps alongside this way. Being strategically helpless because first of all extreme ideological tunnel vision, situationally, that is in the tactical plan, the Americans nevertheless are strong and extremely pragmatic. Thus they have a huge experience of conducting victorious "Cold War" against the USSR which was incommensurable stronger and firmer than the present Russian Federation.
If to summarize this experience, it includes several important components. First of all, it is uncompromising ideological and information-psychological war in which all means are good, it's only enough to recollect provocation with South-Korean "Boeing". Secondly, it's untying of arms races, apogee of which became Reigan's program of "Star Wars". Thirdly, it is economic isolation of the opponent. An example: attempt though unsuccessful to break up the transaction of "gas-pipe" and construction of a gas main "Western Siberia - Western Europe".
When in the middle of 1980th years the situation in the USSR "ripened" in general, the USA at participation of Saudi Arabia involved new levers: they organized anti-soviet jihad in Afghanistan and artificially brought down the world prices for oil - the basic export goods of our country. At last, under a banner of reorganization they made active the agency of influence inside of the USSR. And literally in few years the Soviet Union ceased its existence and present Minister of Defense of the USA, at that time director of CIA, Robert Gates, as he confessed recently came to Russia to walk along the red Square with private victory parade.
If we pay attention to tendencies which take place today, it is difficult to get off a frightening idea that the story repeats. Information-psychological war has been untied against Russia and personally against Putin, it is enough to read the western press. The theme of power dependence of the Europe and its oil-and-gas blackmail from the Kremlin is exaggerated. Again provocative methods create conditions for untying of arms races. Net of agents of influence of the West on behalf of both close to the Kremlin and "oppositional" liberals feel themselves at Putin's mode well enough. Probably, if it will be necessary, in about five years jihad and artificial slump of world prices on raw materials will follow.
The most wrongful is that position of the Russian Federation is even more aggravated with the mistakes made by the Kremlin. Firstly, oil-and-gas wars and threats in the address of the Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan have led to that now Russia practically has no friends and allies even in the CIS. It's difficult to explain from a position of interests of the state all these wars. In fact prices taken from the increase of prices all the same go not on modernization of the Russian economy but at best into Stabilizing Fund situated in the USA. That is practically to invest the American economy. At worst - to the pockets of old and new oligarchs.
Brotherly relations between peoples can't be measured in money equivalent. They are easy to be spoiled but it is very difficult to restore them then. If it's in general possible. On the other hand, obviously, now one shouldn't be surprised, if in the near future Russia will compel to refuse use of strategic objects in neighbouring countries. If the states of the CIS enlisted above in due course will enter NATO, if suddenly there will be plans (actually they have already started to appear) to place elements of the system of Missile Ballistic Defense, their striking aviation and rockets of medium range alike "Pershing-2" in nuclear and unnuclear supply in Belarus, the Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan. All these because someone wanted to send a pair of additional billion dollars to Stabilizing Fund and another pair of billion - to stole and "buck" among "our people".
The second serious mistake, in my opinion, is that deindustrialization of the country, degradation of its industry, including Military Industrial Complex haven's been stopped. As a result of disorder of cooperation the defensive branch is not in condition to organize any more large-lot production of arms and military techniques including strategic segment. As a result the program of reequipment of Strategic nuclear forces and providing systems not speaking about non-nuclear forces announced by Sergey Ivanov threatens to appear again non-fulfilled.
To take ballistic missiles of the big range - ICBM "Topol-M" and SLBM "Bulava". According to Ivanov's plan by 2015 it is necessary to accept for service 66 new "Topol-M" in a mobile variant of basing. It means it is necessary to produce on the average 7 ICBM a year which Votkinsky machine-building factory in Udmurtiya, probably, can do. But what should be done with "Bulava" which since approximately 2009 should be produced with a rate of 6-7 SLBM a year? It's not a fact that it could be done as cooperation hasn't been kept in significant degree, a lot of enterprises have been redesigned long ago, well qualified personnel have gone.
At the same time Votkinsky plant except for «Topol-M» and «Bulava» will have to produce rockets of short range like «Iskander». And what should we do if Russia will withdraw from a treaty of 1987 and in 5-6 years will decide to have medium range rockets SS-20 type?
For the sake of justice I wish to note that Sergey Ivanov, undoubtedly, made useful thing not starting to dissipate strength as lobbyists wanted and having concentrated only on two strategic solid-fuelled rocket complexes which manufacture was assigned on Udmurt defense industry employees. But, on the other hand, the main thing is not considered: Military Industrial Complex by the present moment is in such a condition that for its reanimation, for a reconstruction of cooperation and a large-lot production, as a matter of fact, new industrialization, new technologies and new young qualified personnel are needed. This, except for everything else, are quiet different money which are not foreseen.
As a result the Russian Federation really takes risks to lose ability to damage the USA in reciprocal actions in 10 next years. Especially in view of the American plans in sphere of Missile Ballistic Defense system and opportunities of expansion of rockets of medium range and shock aircraft on all periphery of the Russian territory from Baltic up to the north of Afghanistan and an air base in Kirghiz Manas.
At last, the third, the most important weakness of Putin's policy is that he, as a matter of fact, has not touched oligarchy of 1990th years and liberals serving it. On the contrary, liberal fundamentalists on behalf of Kudrin and Gref today define a rate of economic policy of the country. Moreover, Putin allowed the new oligarchy deprived of any ideology but generated on a principle of negative personnel selection and possessing strongly marked manners of raiders to arise in parallel.
Oligarchy both old and new as well as the highest officials connected with it not only are absolutely corrupted but are completely dependent on the West as they keep there the money, have there real estate, frequently there families live there. And all this is - an excellent tool for blackmail of Russian "elite" from the part of geopolitic opponent.
Naturally there arose a question: may be the state of things is that "Cold War" awaits the world as a result of which should be absolute ruin of a toy "Empire of Evil"?
It can be really so. But one wants to believe that there's an alternative. But for this purpose the president in extremely short terms should complete evolution already begun by him. Firstly, and this is the most important, he should cardinally clear off oligarchy and start formation of new qualified and ideologically motivated imperial elite. Secondly, it is necessary to refuse a liberal economic rate having directed petrodollars not to America but on modernization of the Russian national economy, on new industrialization of the country.
At last, it is necessary to begin on voluntary principles to gather Empire. In fact the present Russian Federation is not an Empire and will never become one. By itself this new growth is impractical, sooner or later it will either break up or become a kernel of new multinational and multiconfessional Empire which will be recreated in the natural borders close to borders of the former USSR, that is to historical Russia.
The future will show whether Vladimir Putin will have opportunity and desire to realize such a program of survival of the state and people.Printed version of the article of Vladimir Filin will be issued in the next issue of "Tomorrow"