Rodney Atkinson and Stephen Beet
I asked “our man in Novosibirsk” (south central Russia) Stephen Beet, an Englishman who has been teaching there for some years, to ask as many Russians as he could how they view the West, its economics and its politics. I know from my own friends in Russia that most Russians are just shocked and mystified as to why the West, especially the US and the UK, should be attacking the new Russia. We fought for 70 years to eliminate the Soviet Communist threat, to permit free elections and freedom of worship in Russia, to re-establish free nation states in Europe, to remove the threat to western Europe, to re-build a democratic capitalist (but not corporatist) system free of corruption and to integrate the new Russia into the systems of free trading nations and peaceful co-existence.
The Russians have achieved nearly all these things. Officially, on international measurements, Russia is now no more corrupt than the USA! Taxes are low, investment is encouraged and the Russians are keen to trade.
So what did western politicians do? They pushed militarily further East, they took over the nations made independent after the USSR withdrew from Eastern Europe and “integrated” them into the anti democratic, corporatist and bankrupt European Union. They waged an illegal war against Yugoslavia, broke up Czechoslovakia, fomented an uprising against a democratically elected Government in Ukraine and then applied sanctions to Russia for defending Russians persecuted by the new Kiev regime! Then we refused to join Christian Russians in our common battle against the Islamist threat and started arming extremist Islamists against Russia’s long time ally in Syria.
Given the increasingly corrupt, centralised, privileged cliques of corporatists and leftists who took over the West while Russia was struggling free from communism it should come as no surprise that our political class is now attacking Russia for becoming the country we tried for 70 years to make it!
For we are no longer the secure, democratic capitalist, free trading, nation state internationalists we were when we defeated Nazi Germany, Fascist Europe and Soviet Communism. Instead we have become a corrupt, war-mongering supra-nationalist threat to any country which is not part of our corporatist power structures.
So what Russians think of us today is instructive.
THE QUESTIONS TO RUSSIANS:
Stephen Beet surveyed seven groups of teens and adults, kids of 14 years old, business people and professionals, whom he teaches. He also spoke to several friends who work in the Central Market in Novosibirsk – i.e. those of lower educational attainment (but no less sharp and relevant for that!). Stephen says there are just three UK subjects in Novosibirsk but several Americans.
So here are the questions and replies given to Stephen, with my comments in italics:
1 — Do they think the western resolutions against Russia represent the people of the west?
SB: I think everyone agreed that the British people that they had met were not representative of the politics of the western regimes. However, one student, a S-7 pilot, said that his US teacher was firmly in support of Trump and the West. When my student had challenged him, this US patriot said that he did not need evidence about the bombing in Syria. It was enough that his government – Trump – said it was true! All information put out by the US government was 100% correct. This US man is a teacher in this city – albeit teaching illegally on a tourist visa!
RA: It is ironic how quickly the Trump administration has lost most of its goodwill in Russia and is now seen to be as internationally aggressive as the neocons (and Clinton “democons”) he opposed. The Trump administration is looking, in foreign policy, daily more like the Clinton he defeated! Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov have not engaged in cheap attacks on the West and have sought rapprochement both in Europe and the Middle East. By continuing the Obama aggression with more armed forces stationed in Eastern Europe and by bombing Syria ,Trump has wasted so much – just as he is confronted with the Chinese trade and military threat and the North Korea nuclear threat! No wonder this US teacher in Russia cannot distinguish between Trump and his political opponents!
But note how the outspoken and absurd American nationalism of an American teacher has not led to him being arrested by the security services!! So much for Putin‘s “authoritarianism”!
2 – Do they understand the difference between democratic capitalism and corrupt (corporatist) capitalism?
SB: The answer generally was that only the Brits don’t believe in corruption. In all European societies they believe corruption is rife. Opinion was divided concerning corruption in the Soviet Union. Older students tended to state that corruption was far less than today.
RA: We should be proud that Russians think there is an honourable British capitalism – they will recall our joint wars against German corporate imperialism and European fascism. They may also know from folk memory of how British entrepreneurs and workers did so much for Russian industry and trade in the 19th century (see on this website “Russians, Cossacks and British built East Ukraine” 8th December 2016) Stephen thinks they were referring to there being far less corruption in Soviet times, but of course so much was hidden then – like the privileged lives of communist apparatchiks. They were also probably thinking of the horrendous Yeltsin years when western corporatist/leftist advisers imported their corrupt systems into Russia, privatising at knock down prices whole industries, arbitrarily making a few Russians very rich (many of them now in London!) and causing some 2 million extra deaths through poverty and social breakdown.
Naturally the Russians Stephen talked to did not grasp the concept of “democratic capitalism” or even democracy! – after all neither now exist in the West. And it is little wonder that Russians are a bit cynical about “democracy” when they see the powerlessness of voters and consumers to control events in the West. But Putin has grasped the concept and his successful crusades against corporate and Government corruption, his low taxes and attempts to encourage entrepreneurship have transformed the situation since the Yeltsin years. NO wonder 80% of his people support him.
3- Do they understand why the UK said “no” to the EU?
Stephen reports that almost all agreed that the UK would be better out of the EU with opportunities to trade with China India and other countries. Some cited the E.U. as fascist. One businessman asked me where the money and art works taken from Greece in the war had been stored? The implication was that it was in the German banks.
RA: The Freenations website has championed Brexit for the last 25 years and has seen in Putin’s (but not Yeltsin’s) Russia a bastion against German Eastward expansion and European Corporatist Fascism. It was clear to me that a man with Putin’s background, with a deep training in communist anti fascism and a family who suffered terribly under the German military yoke, would grasp what we at Freenations have stood for. Instinctively these Russians spontaneously recognise fascist and German imperial elements in the EU as it pushes ever Eastwards.
4 – Are the Russian happier today than before Putin?
SB: This was a difficult question, but easily answered by those who lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union.
What should be understood is that many Russians blame the west (the US, the Jesuits and the Catholic Church – John Paul!!) for the collapse of the Soviet Union. Following these catastrophic events there was absolute anarchy in Russia. I have a friend who refused to have children until Putin came to office, because post Soviet Russia was a very dangerous place. I can confirm this from my early visits in 2003.
Putin is credited for singly-handedly restoring order and civilization to Russia. This cannot be over-stated and accounts for his high popularity. Russia is now a far safer place to live than the US. Women and children walk the streets without fear of molestation or attack. In which European country can the same be said?
RA: Much of this we have chronicled on this website. I would refer you specifically to the articles “Putin and Russia – Decent man, Reformed Country 27th May 2016, “Thank Goodness for Putin” 26th April 2016 and “Just Back from Russia….” 16th March 2017)
5 – Are they happy with military co-operation with Assad?
SB: I have met no-one who believes the western version of events. The illegal Trump attack has considerably hardened views here, I believe. Even if it were true that Assad bombed these sites, people say that it would be justified because if Assad were deposed an Islamic State would take over and there would be absolute chaos.
RA: Increasingly of course a majority of the Western populations no longer believe in their own mass media and instead use the internet to receive a wide spectrum of different reporting and views. (see website articles “Mainstream Media – the Corporatist corruption of Democracy” 26th February 2017 and “Mainstream Media’s Fake News 2nd February 2017)
6 – Are they afraid that Russian co-operation in Syria is a threat to Russian Security?
SB: This was difficult and I could only get two replies. Both said that it was necessary because if the west was victorious in Syria or the terrorists, it would be a threat to Russia. There is a grave mistrust of western intentions here at the moment and Trumps’ statements are only adding to this. Russians will not be ‘bounced’ as we used to say – they will not be bullied.
RA: Given the West’s effective support of extreme Islamist groups in Syria, our “ability” to be suckered by false flag attacks which then provoke military aggression, the failure to see the disastrous consequences of our actions in Egypt (now remedied by the new regime there) Iraq and Libya and desire to bring about the same “reform” in Syria (the one country where Christians can rely on some protection) Putin and the Russians in general are right to seek to maintain the State of Syria, banish the Islamist terror groups and then let the Syrian people decide whether they want to continue with Assad.
But so devoted (!) to democratic self determination has the West become that we do not agree that the Syrians should make their own democratic choices! Nor do our “democratic leaders” seem to want Russians to decide their own fate, secure from the terrorist threat.