Malignant Tumor of Russian Imperialism

At least two thirds of Russians support the unjust war in Ukraine.
Russia is gravely mentally ill.

Stage 4 of Breast Cancer. Image by, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Different countries speak and act like differentt individuals. They are born, die, grow, learn, cheat, do stupid and nasty things, incur debts, make friends (with other states), get married (enter into alliances), divorce (leave alliances), fight (wage wars), and get sick.
Historically, the disease of the Russian nation, from Tsardom of Russia in 16th century to the present, is mental. It is the imperial way of thinking.

I incorrectly estimated the number of Russian supporters of the unjust war in Ukraine in my article “Do the Russians Want War?” at around 20-30%. No.

In the last few days I have read a lot of material online, watched a few sober-minded Russians on YouTube (writer Victor Shenderovich, journalists Sergey Parkhomenko and Yulia Latynina, former KGB officer and State Duma member Gennady Gudkov), and they all say that at least two thirds of the population of Russia support the war against Ukraine.

Indeed, the Russian sociological "Levada Center" conducted another survey at the end of March 2022 and came up with the following dаta:
1. Putin's rating rose to 83% after the beginning of the war in Ukraine in March 2022 (it was 71% in February 2022).
2. The majority of respondents support actions of the Russian army in Ukraine: 53% of them "definitely support" and 28% "rather support". Among the motives for supporting the war are "protection of the Russian-speaking population" and "border security”. Those who are against the war explain their attitude by the fact that violence and loss of life are unacceptable.

Anyway, two thirds or 81% supporters of the war in Ukraine is a lot. The fact is that most of the Russian people agree to use armed violence against other people (now Ukrainians) in order to bring them to reason and into line with their vision (i.e., Mr. Putin's vision). And Mr. Putin long ago called the collapse of the Soviet empire “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century”, and apparently decided to restore the former power of a country that has gone. This means that Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and even Poland have to get prepared for a war if Putin succeeds in Ukraine.

Similarly, a malignant tumor (cancer) develops in a human body, launching metastases into healthy organs through the blood and lymph.

Cancer is a genetic (caused by changes to genes that control the way the cells function) disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body.

Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body… Normally, human cells grow and multiply (through a process called cell division) to form new cells as the body needs them… Sometimes this orderly process breaks down, and abnormal or damaged cells grow and multiply when they shouldn’t… These cells may form tumors, which are lumps of tissue… Cancerous tumors spread into, or invade, nearby tissues and can travel to distant places in the body to form new tumors (a process called metastasis).”

The cancerous metastases of the imperial vision have passed from Mr. Putin deep into the body of Russia, the Russian people, and resonated there. However, Russians have been already well prepared for that by the entire previous history of Russia’s forceful occupation of other countries. This is called imperialism.

Imperialism isa policy or ideology of extending rule over people and other countries for extending political and economic access, power and control, often through employing hard power, especially military force, but also soft power”.
The entire history of the Russian nation is a continuous expansion of its territory by military force. The imperial mindset of the Russian people and their rulers runs in their blood, and they are constantly focused on seizing new territories.

This quality of an invader (the Russians call that "gatherer") of lands that he considers to be native Russian is particularly very strong in Mr. Putin. Lynne Harnett, an Associate Professor of History at Villanova University states that Russian “history of imperialism fuels Putin’s attack on neighbor”.

As a confirmation of the above, please, take a look at the very interesting map of territorial expansion of Russia.

Image by Mzajac, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

I was much impressed by the obviousness of the image. Despite the factual accuracy of this map is disputed and some dates there were erroneous (plus/minus 5-10 years), the indubitable fact is that modern Russia had evolved and expanded gigantically from Grand Duchy of Moscow in 13th century to the size of the largest country in the world now. For example, from 1551 to 1700 the Tsardom of Russia increased its territory at the rate of 35,000 sq km per year through wars with Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden, Ottoman Empire and conquest of Siberia.

During 20th century the Soviet Union had annexed Western Belarus and Western Ukraine (1939), Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (1940), Bessarabia (1940), Karelia (1941), East Prussia (1945), Kuril Islands (1945) and a few territories more.

Then the USSR collapsed in 1991 and Russia and many new states emerged instead, which have always been considered by Russians to be their vassals. Russia kept doing business of the USSR and also took part in many wars – in Chechnya (1994 and1999), in Georgia (2008), in Ukraine (2014 and 2022), in Syria (2015), not counting smaller conflicts.

Putin came to power in Russia in the 2000s. He began to remake the country's history and managed to embed the belief that Russians had a special place and a special mission in the world not only into his own head but also in many Russian people. Thus, the metastases of Putin's vision have been going through the mass media, as if through the blood and lymph of a person, to the cells of the body of Russia during last 23 years. And now Russian people watch TV and do not know (and do not want to know) what is really happening in Ukraine. Almost all Russians are convinced that they live poorly because of the machinations of the insidious West trying to prevent them from rising from their knees, and now it is also because of the armed Nazi-Ukrainians, from whom the peace-loving Russians somehow managed to take away Crimea and a piece of Donbass in 2014.

The fact that originally Russian-speaking Jew V. Zelenskyy is the president of "nazi" Ukraine and also the highest score of Ukrainian far-right party “Svoboda” was 10,45% seats in Ukrainian Parliament in 2012 and now it had only one seat there, was of no interest to anyone in Russia.

It is bad when a person is mentally ill but his body is healthy. It is also bad when the head is healthy but the body is sick (paralysis or drug addiction, for example). And it is very bad when a person is mentally ill and his/her body is also sick. This is the case of present-day Russia. Mr. Putin and the people of the Russian Federation make the impression that they are insane for starting a war in Ukraine “to reclaim his nation’s stature as an imperial power and assert Russia’s prestige, authority and will on the world stage“. They do not care about the deaths of civilians in Ukraine, or rather, they consider that to be the "assistance to the brotherly people of Ukraine in getting rid of nazism”. What is "nazism," "fascism," etc., they define by eye. More precisely, Mr. Putin does that for them, and Russian citizens always agree with him and are willing to pay with the lives of Russian soldiers for the implementation of this vision.

The Russian nation seems to be incurable. When most of the cells of the body are infected with cancer, no therapy can help. And if you cut out this malignant tumor from the living body of Russia, almost nothing (no one) will remain. In addition, to remove the tumor of Russian imperialism surgically means to follow Mr. Putin’s methods and arrange “Bucha massacre” in entire Russia. Most likely, it is not even physically possible, let alone moral aspects, and even Ukrainians, which are now very angry with Russians, won't go for it.

There is only one way left.
1. The West must realize that:
- There will be no reasonable agreement with Putin.
- The West is very lucky that Ukraine is now fighting against Russia instead of it and the Ukrainians are very eager to get revenge on Putin for everything.
- If the Russians are not completely defeated now, the West will live in constant expectation of new aggression for a long time and will face it sooner or later. To defeat Putin completely means that Ukraine takes back all of its territories and gets into its borders of 2013.

2. Putin (and the Russians in general) respect only physical strength, so the West must show them that strength in the form of tough economic sanctions and the supply of the weapons that Ukraine is now asking for. Sanctions should include a complete embargo of oil and gas, the blocking of ALL Russian banks (including the National Bank of Russia) and the financial assets of ALL Russians in Western countries, cutoff the Internet in Russia, expelling Russia from all international organizations, terminating diplomatic relations and even not issuing visas. Russia is a "mad neighbor" who must be isolated as much as possible and for a long time.

3. The West must give Ukraine heavy offensive weapons, including fighter jets, S-300 missile systems, tanks and artillery, because Ukraine will not regain its southeast with its current weapons. Russians are now building a defensive line between Mariupol and Kherson (the so-called land corridor from Donbass to Crimea) and it will be hard to dislodge them from there. For the sake of Putin's complete defeat in Ukraine, the West must take a limited risk (Ukraine risks its very existence) of providing Ukraine with needed weapons. If not, sooner or later the West (NATO?) will have to wage a war against Russians in Latvia and/or Lithuania. Or capitulate to Putin.

4. Ukraine is able to take back all of its territory from the Russians (including Crimea and Donbass territory) with the help of Western offensive heavy weapons. This will be Putin's total defeat at this point. Putin shouldn’t be allowed to demonstrate to his people something as his "victory”.

5. The West should hurry up with supplying of offensive heavy weapons to Ukraine. Now Putin is going to launch an attack in order to reach the borders of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and, if possible, to capture at least one major city - Kharkiv. Military theory states that losses are 3 times greater in an offensive battle than in defensive one. Putin knows this, but he has no choice - he must try to declare some kind of a "victory" in his "special operation". The Ukrainians will again have a chance to inflict heavy losses on the Russians in manpower and equipment, as they did recently near Kiev. After the failure of the offensive, Russian troops will entrench along the Mariupol-Kherson line and try to hold at least that line. This is where the Ukrainians will badly need heavy offensive weapons to dislodge the Russian troops from the fortified area and throw them completely off their land. No Russian propaganda can present this fact as a "victory". Here the offended Russian people and angry Russian generals can bring Putin down from his throne. This is all very possible, but the collective West must give Ukraine the weapons it needs and, yes, risk angering Putin and indirectly entering the war.

6. The West should not let China and other countries to help Russia to circumvent and ease sanctions until Russia begs for mercy, gives the access codes to its nuclear weapons, extradites Putin and Co to an international criminal court in Hague, repents of what they have done and begins to pay reparations to Ukraine.

P.S. Frankly, I don't think the collective West has enough courage and common sense to give Ukraine the needed weapons timely, keeps the tough sanctions on Russia long enough, and prevents other countries (China, Hungary, or Turkey, for example) from supporting Russia financially. This is a collective, hard and long work, and the West does not like to work, it likes to talk about universal values and collect taxes from its citizens. Besides, every country has enough to worry about at home, and Putin's regime will have to survive somehow. Now the West (and Ukraine) has a unique chance to punish the obvious evil, since Putin has made a big mistake by starting this war, but I don't think the West will take advantage of its current position. So, unfortunately, both West and Ukraine are doomed to keep on making wars in the future.

P.P.S. Dear Reader! I am very much interested in your opinion on the subject of this article. Please, write a comment or ask a question if you want to clarify something.
Igor Chykalov
  1. Concerned9 April 2022 13:50
    I'm suspicious of the polling results. In Russia as I understand it, most polling is done by telephone. How many Russians are willing to give an honest opinion when a pollster calls them to get their opinion of this war? Even calling it a "war" can now get you 15 years in jail. Giving an honest answer in Russia is potentially suicidal.

    Also, Russians are the world champion draft dodgers. We'll see how they really feel if they stop evading the draft as usual and sign up to fight. From what I've heard it is exactly those of draft age who are most opposed to the war.
    1. Igor9 April 2022 20:59
      All polls lie more or less. And in general, people lie. Often consciously, sometimes subconsciously. Under such conditions you can establish the truth in only 2 ways: either to believe everyone (I do so, but I check the idea in different sources) or to believe no one. I trust the Levada Center poll (although they could have added 5-10%, it doesn't matter) in this case, because Gennady Gudkov and other decent Russians in their articles and video mention figures of not less than 2/3 of supporters of the war in Ukraine. Besides, some of my friends have relatives in Russia, and I know their opinion. That's why I said in the article that at least 2/3 of Russians support the war. I wouldn't state that basing just on Levada Center data.
      Draft dodging has never stopped the Russians from supporting the war. All Russians rely on the power of their army and support the war in theory, in the hope that they will not need to personally die for Russian interests somewhere in Syria or Ukraine. So a very few will sign up for the fight.
      I have a question for you. Are you really interested to read about the war in Ukraine? I write just about that recent times and wonder do I need to keep on or to switch to other topics.
      1. Concerned9 April 2022 21:10
        Thanks for answering. I am interested in your writings on the war in Ukraine, because I think you have an interesting, "insider" perspective. I would be interested in reading more on the topic - I've already been through your "Hopeless Ukraine" series.
        1. Igor10 April 2022 00:57
          Thanks for the answer. I just wondered whether the Americans are really interested to know something about such an ordinary country like Ukraine. I never have written about Ukraine before, but recent times there was so much tension about these Russian troops at the Ukrainian border, that I decided to explain my vision of Ukraine to Americans and did that in not finished "Hopeless Ukraine" series. I must say my point of view on Ukraine would not be popular in Ukraine, that's why in particular I write about Ukraine for Americans in English and not for Ukrainians in Russian or Ukrainian. So you read sort of "alternative point of view".
          Ok, thank you.
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