A friend of mine who is more knowledgeable about Russia than I am (who wishes to remain anonymous) sent me this e-mail a couple of weeks ago. Apologies for the bad translation, which has probably introduced some inaccuracies, and botched his literary style, and sometimes I didn't even try to translate his scintillating sarcasm. But I think it's still worth reading.
The recognition by Russia of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia did receive international support. Russia’s actions were approved by two such authoritative international organizations as Hamas and Hezbollah. This wonderful friendly support bears witness yet again, to what is happening in the Transcaucasus: the Palestinization of the Caucasus. Of the division of Georgia into two parts – a flourishing European Georgia centered in Tbilisi, and two paragovernmental enclaves, hostages or allies of Russia. By the way, I can hardly call the regime in South Ossetia separatist. Who there, in particular, are the separatists?
The head of the customs KGB (?) earlier headed the FSB of Mordovia, the head of the MVD Michael Mindzaev – the apparatus of the MVD of (the Russian province of) North Ossetia, the minister of defense Vasily Lunev was the war commissar of Perm (a city in Siberia), and the secretary of the Security council Anatoly Barankevich is a former deputy commissar of Stavropol region (in Russia). Who in this government is an Ossetian separatist? Premier Yury Morozov? I also can’t call this regime pro-Russian. On the contrary, all the actions of president Kokoity recently have been contrary to Russia’s interests in the Caucasus, beginning from making Russia infamous to the whole world and ending with the awakening tensions in the place where Russia could begin to unravel.
South Ossetia is not a territory, not a country, not a regime; it’s a joint enterprise of Chekist generals and Ossetian bandits for the purpose of embezzling money from a war with Georgia. Now, what does Hezbollah consist of? Very simple. There is Israel, where people work and live. And there is Hezbollah, which bombards this Israel with rockets, launched from their own homes, full of women and children, and explains, that the cursed Jews are to blame for everything. There is no work other than to launch rockets. There is no other purpose in life, either, but hatred for the Jews.
If the Jews don’t respond to the rockets, more rockets will be shot. When the Jews respond, they show the corpses of dead children to the whole world and say: “We told you, that the Jews – were fiends from hell!” Find, what you say, nine distinctions with South Ossetia. Where they fired mortars on Georgian villages, and called the answering shots “provocations.”
Where propaganda about the Georgians as enemies of the nation occupied all the time that was left after demonstrations of the wise leadership of Kokoity. When in the village of Kurt in the neighborinig Georgian enclave they built a hospital, where one could go for treatment (and also a theater, a disco, stores, and so on), the authorities closed the border. And they couldn’t repair the water line, and explained to the population, that there was no water, because the Georgians drank it all.
I repeat, this joint enteprise for embezzling money on the war with Georgia we recognized, and after this recognition president Medvedev said, that he’s ready for a new “Cold War.” I don’t know about a ‘cold war,’ but I would compare what’s happened with the relatively recent turning point in history—with the 11th of September, 2001. And this is why I’d compare it. Al-Qaeda had neither human, nor material, nor intellectual, nor financial resources, to rival the free world.
Al-Qaeda hadn’t made one discovery, hadn’t built one factory, its members hadn’t written one book, worthy to take its place in world literature. Nothing. Zero. The only resource, which Al-Qaeda possessed – is the open world itself, its scientific achievements, its productive infrastructure. And it turned out, that this intellectual and financial zero was capable of causing the open world major harm.
And for this nothing was needed—not to create, not to originate, not to invent—a mere furious will was enough. It’s almost impossible to do anything to stop terrorists, who have decided to steal a plane, blow up a train, or take hostages in a school in Maalot (?) or Beslan. Thus the resources of the free world and contemporary Russia are almost as unequal, as the resources of the free world and Al-Qaeda. In Russia there’s nothing but oil and gas. In our stores they sell Turkish (шмотки?), Chinese electronics, Indonesian sneakers, Finnish toilets, Taiwanese cell phones, and so on.
It’s even become profitable to import cement to Russia from abroad. Our elite travels in imported cars, buys homes abroad, and educates their children in Western universities. For some reason they vacation not in advanced countries like North Korea or Libya, but in the cursed West, and – wonder of wonders! – these people even keep their personal bank accounts not in Venezuela or Iran, but in Switzerland and Great Britain.
This is not at all a “new Cold War,” don’t dream of it. In the “Cold War” the battle was joined by countries with comparable military budgets. True, in order to make its military budget comparable, the USSR spent 70-80% of GDP on defense, moreover it had at its disposal the resources of Eastern Europe and the brains of Landau, Keldish, Korolev (???) and others. Now the resources aren’t even close to equal. Landau and Keldish have emigrated, Eastern Europe has dispersed, and the population, which earlier was satisfied with a little share of break and the film ‘Don Cossacks’, now can’t survive without foreign cell phones and foreign televisions – or without American hit films.
Petrosian (Russian actor???) is no longer able to make his exacting tastes, and seekers of Petrosian’s fare now thirst for Sylvester Stallone and Britney Spears. The only resource left to the Kremlin is their furious will. But as we see, that resource is practically inexhaustible. The contemporary open society can sometimes, albeit with difficulty, cope with solitary terrorists. However it is entirely unadapted for the struggle with terrorist enclaves, like Hamas.
Their strength is in how they turn their populations into their collaborators. Ask a contemporary Palestinian, what are the Jews, and he’ll answer entirely sincerely, that they are inhuman creatures, who killed his second cousin, when he went, wrapped in explosives, into a Jewish kindergarten. And it will never occur to him to think about why those same Jews never wrap themselves in explosives and walk into Palestinian kindergartens.
Ask a contemporary resident of Tskhinvali, what are Georgians, and he will entirely sincerely answer you, that they are inhuman creatures, who came into Tskhinvali intentionally, to cut all the children open and rape all the women, but, praise God, “now we’ve cleaned them all out.” And it will never come into his head to think about how in Georgia live no less Ossetians, than in South Ossetia, and for some reason the bloodthirsty maniac Saakashvili doesn’t slaughter those Ossetians, even though they’re located entirely within his power and without support or protection from Kokoity.
As I said, such enclaves are entirely unwinnable, they have the full support of the population of those, who haven’t already left, and they can exist for an indefinite time. But as to why Russia should support such enclaves or, still more, turn into such an enclave – there is no rational answer.