Gazeta, Russia

Anti-Americanism for Russian Public Consumption Only


"Like all anti-Westernism, the anti-Americanism of the current authorities is laughable and pathetic. Their foreign exchange is kept in the United States, their children are taught in England and they buy villas in France and Spain. … only the simple minded now take a military confrontation with the United States seriously. This national idea is intended specifically for the kind of 'people' that those at the top, evidently, consider us to be."


By Yevgeniy Trifonov


Translated By Yekaterina Blinova


March 31, 2009


Russia - Gazeta - Original Article (Russian)

President Medvedev of Russia and Obama of the United States: Is anti-Americanism the Kremlin's version of an 'opiate of the people?'


E.U.-U.S. SUMMIT TV: In Prague Speech, President Obama calls for an end to the testing and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, Apr. 5, 00:32:59RealVideo

Russian authorities consistently throw fuel on the fire of the anti-American sentiments of the people. The United States, particularly in a time of crisis, is perfectly suited to the role of the chief global villain.


Everything is blamed on America. First, Americans robbed us of Alaska. Then they didn't allow us to “catch up” and moreover, they “surpassed” us and threatened us with atomic bombs and attacked our friends - Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq. The evil empire during Soviet times, it nurtured consumerism and other foreign evils and then completely broke up the Soviet Union. And now by inciting “orange revolutions," it's even displacing Russia from the former Soviet republics. And the global [financial] crisis, according to [first deputy chief of staff to President Medvedev] Vladislav Surkov, is a “wave of impoverishment coming from the West.” Even the protests in Primorye are organized by Americans; at least, that's what Duma Members Belokonev and Ivanov say. Former Murmansk Governor Yury Yevdokimov, it turns out, wanted to sell his province to the United States. All in all, “we are surrounded on all sides by evil vipers. Comrades, we are in the middle of a ring of fire!”


[Editor's Note: The line, "In a ring of fire" is a quote from a work by Soviet revolutionary poet Demiyan Bedniy].


Russia's sale of Alaska to the United States was accompanied by

this check for $7.2 million. It is said the sale went ahead because

Russia feared losing the territory without compensation, either to

the Americans or British. [Click here or picture for jumbo version]


The image of America as a global evil is the legacy of years of Soviet propaganda (American aid to hunger victims in Povolzhye, the role of American specialists in the success of the first five year plans and the [WW II] Lend Lease Program were hushed up). And all of this is superimposed on Russia’s loss of its status as a great power on par with the United States. Moreover, the real outrages committed by the U.S., such as the war against Serbia, often exacerbate anti-American sentiment. And yet, one cannot discount the active role of the government, which consistently throws fuel on the fire of anti-Americanism. Within Russia's governing apparatus, there are factions that are clearly attempting to make this a national focus of attention. 


Is it possible that the Russian government, which abounds in chekists [the Cheka was the original Soviet state security agency], suffers phobias inherited from Soviet times? At first glance, it is. Moscow has been adopting allies hostile to the United States - the Cuban, Venezuelan, Bolivian regimes, and attempts, albeit without much success, to befriend China and Iran.


President Medvedev announces: by 2011, Russia, in response to unceasing threats to its national security, will begin a “large-scale rearmament” of the Army and Navy. Our “friend” Hugo Chavez invites our strategic bombers to fly to Venezuela for a visit - and Russia's jingoistic patriots are thrilled. The authorities speak of creating aircraft carrier groups, fifth generation fighter aircraft “unparalleled anywhere in the world,” tanks and grenade launchers that can pierce any material in the world. America, tremble!


But America doesn’t tremble. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal call Medvedev’s statements “warlike rhetoric” meant for domestic consumption. Is this the arrogance of self-assured Americans, confident in their power? Far from it. It's simply that from the United States, it's perfectly clear what is veiled behind Moscow’s threatening statements. The government doesn't intend to use all of our “unparalleled” miracles of military technology - even to exert psychological pressure on its transatlantic opponent.


With a sense of pride, we are told how many millions of dollars our weapons export contracts are worth; but next to these statistics, the supply of military equipment to our own forces are ridiculously small. Over the last seven years the army received only 114 new T-90 tanks, 20 SU-27 fighter aircraft, seven SU-25 attack fighters, three TU-160 bombers, four MI-28H “Night Hunter” attack helicopters, and two KA-50 attack helicopters -enough, perhaps, for an army the size of Guinea-Bissau's, but certainly not a country that aspires to become a great power.


Moreover, the T-90 is just a reengineered old T-72, in every respect decidedly inferior to the new NATO machines, except in terms of speed on a well-paved highway, a feature totally unnecessary in a tank. And where these machines will be needed is also unclear: in South Ossetia, our troops used not just T-72s, but also the ancient T-62, which should have gone to recycling long ago. Somehow or another, the KA-52 and MI-28 weren't noticed in the skies over South Ossetia - it seems, they're being kept for parades at the Tushino Airport. As far as aircraft carriers, there's nothing to say: there is nowhere to build them. Carriers of this caliber used to be built in Nikolaev [Ukraine]; the plants that remain in Russia have neither the proper equipment nor the production know-how.


The sad experience of the August war [against Georgia] testifies to the authorities level of attention to the nation's defense capabilities: the 58th army, located at the most critical region along the [Russia-Georgia] border, lacked modern military technology, communications, or proper air support.


And if there was none of that in the Caucuses, where could it possibly be? Moreover, the development of the conflict shows that there were no plans to carry out military action, although the situation in the region had been escalating for months. The convoy of armored vehicles slowly crawling through the mountains - these were shots that astonished military experts: only in throes of hopelessness would one dispatch tanks to fight in the mountains. And what if the Georgians had decided to resist a little and sent out a few attack aircraft and helicopters against our tanks and simply launched a few of air strikes? The highway by the Rokskiy Tunnel would have become a graveyard for armor - and thousands of our soldiers and officers.


All of these outrages are not criticisms of the Army. It develops operational plans when it receives the appropriate orders and fights with the technology it is given. Throughout the oil and gas boom of the last decade, the Army's fighting capability continued to deteriorate - as the roar of jingoist, patriotic slogans and continuous TV coverage of roaring aircraft and tanks grew. But militant anti-American rhetoric not backed up with an “iron fist” is just empty words.



Perhaps all of this is due to carelessness and corruption? It's nothing of the sort. At the very top, no one is concerned about defense capacities and the military-industrial complex is viewed solely as a source of foreign exchange earnings. It's impossible to know who came up with the idea to convert the GLONASS satellite navigation system into a commercial venture - a competitor of the American GPS [Global Positioning System], but it's quite revealing: a purely military tracking system pushed to make profit? The fact that from a technical point of view this is insanity is a separate discussion: What's important here is that our most senior officials thought of GLONASS only in connection with a desire to commercialize it.


[Putin's dog] Connie the Labrador's collar was equipped with GLONASS, but the tanks, it seems, got left behind … And how must one interpret the recent statement by Minister of Industry Viktor Khristenko regarding the fifth generation fighters? “Already this year, we will put a fifth generation fighter wing into service,” Khristenko said during an interview with Itogi. Really? Will our air force receive the new aircraft? No. It turns out that the head of Minpromtorg (the Ministry of Industry and Trade) isn't paying this any thought. “These projects won't be needed by then. This is a market!” Khristenko exclaimed. Meaning, the “Russian Stealth” fighter will be received by the air forces of China, India or Venezuela - the “top” thinks only about exports.   



Before our very eyes, our military is turning into an aimless mass of people that soon, will probably not be able to stand up to other armies - not only of developed countries, but even those of developing states that are concerned about defense. One might recall outrageous “reforms” like the liquidation of the Berdsk Special Force Brigade, considered one of the few Russian brigades or divisions prepared for immediate deployment. And the reform of divisions begins, for some reason, not with the many incomplete, undertrained, under-armed brigades, but with the most capable divisions, Tamansk and Kantmirovsk, which will leave them unprepared for immediate deployment for a long time to come. Why is this? The reason is simple: the aforementioned Special Forces brigade and two elite divisions are … too expensive. Let's dress up the parade divisions in flamboyant uniforms by Yudashkin; as for all else, we will “reform” to the point of extinction - there you have the meaning of the words, "reforming the Army."


Like all anti-Westernism, the anti-Americanism of the current authorities is laughable and pathetic. Their foreign exchange is kept in the United States, their children are taught in England and they buy villas in France and Spain.


Moscow doesn't want to fight anyone (and thank goodness!), but it does need a capable army - Russia has no allies and does have external threats (from China, Islamic extremists who are completely capable of taking power in, for instance, Uzbekistan). And only the simple minded now take a military confrontation with the United States seriously - those for whom parades are held and photos of tanks and planes are flashed on TV screens.


“The people eat it up,” as cynical PR agents used to say during the 1990s. The country’s leadership lives in a completely different world, without the thought of anti-Americanism or Russia as a great power. This national idea is intended specifically for the kind of “people” that those at the top, evidently, consider us to be.













































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US April 8, 12:09am]