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Restarting Russia: How to Turn the Kremlin Monster into a European Dandy. Part 1

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Photo: The modern Russian Federation is nothing more than a geopolitical Frankenstein's monster. Source: Collage The Gaze.
Photo: The modern Russian Federation is nothing more than a geopolitical Frankenstein's monster. Source: Collage The Gaze.

The modern Russian Federation is nothing more than a geopolitical Frankenstein's monster on the political map of the world. It is an aggressive entity consisting of various parts that are inexplicably held together. Just like Frankenstein's monster, the modern Russian Federation is an unnatural and unviable entity. Without its creator, the regime in the Kremlin has no chance of survival, as it was created only to fulfill Moscow's will. Accordingly, it is possible to return the components of the geopolitical monster to natural, civilized forms of existence only by separating its parts. Subsequently, these components can and should be integrated into the structure of the democratic world.

Today, the civilized world is facing a challenge that involves more than stopping the aggressor in Ukraine and ensuring peace and stability in the region. The real challenge and long-term goal should be to transform the territory and people currently held by the Kremlin into a part of the civilized world, a predictable participant in the global market. The free world has repeatedly defeated tyranny, leaving it as a page in history books. It should do so today. The only question is: what tools should be used and what experience should be taken into account?

Shedding the Kremlin's So-Called Democratic Camouflage

The Russian Federation is preparing for the traditional campaign of dictator Vladimir Putin to prolong the legitimacy of the Kremlin's imperial policy. However, Putin's personality has lost its importance. The priority for Moscow's occupation regime is having their population perceive the current policy as correct and relatively successful. There is no doubt that it will continue. Rashism has already become a characteristic of the modern Russian state and will continue to exist without Putin, akin to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) without Lenin.

It’s important to note that the Russian entire legal system is nothing more than camouflage. With this, it serves as a deliberate disguise that plays a geopolitical function in the Kremlin's propaganda paradigm. It camouflages the Kremlin among the terrain of European democratic countries. It makes the overt facts of military aggression less noticeable in the eyes of the West. In particular, for the first time after the collapse of the Soviet Union, this camouflage proved so effective that the Russian aggression in Abkhazia, Ossetia, and Transnistria took place without any significant attempts by Europeans to help the victims of the Russian Federation.

One should frankly admit that the false (camouflaged) course of the post-Soviet Russian Federation, allegedly towards democratization, misled the Europeans. They have adopted a constitution that seems to focus on rights and freedoms. Russia is a federation, so surely the dependence of the subjects of the federation on Moscow will decrease, right? The West believed in the "end of history" so much that it took real steps to ease tensions between Russia and NATO. Moreover, for some time, before 2008 and Putin's fireplace outburst as a typical Kremlin leader, the North Atlantic Alliance even tried to cooperate with Russia for the sake of global security.

Rashism Is Turning into Law  

Interestingly, Russia needs "democratic camouflage" in the international arena. Domestically, it is not only unnecessary but even harmful. The legal system copied from various democratic countries causes problems for the Kremlin regime, especially with the governability of all the once-occupied territories. As we mentioned above, the Kremlin systematically encounters minor, unpleasant obstacles, which are caused by the still democratic legislation in some places. That is why in recent years Russia has been experiencing legislative changes that were odd for Western observers.

There is no point in analyzing legislative changes that prohibit criticism of the government from a legal perspective. New amendments turned a rally into a direct attack on statehood, replaced a prison sentence for beating a spouse with a symbolic fine, and protected the feelings of believers only in the Russian Orthodox Church. The efforts of human rights organizations were rendered futile. In this process, it is integral to focus on the essence of these transformations: the authoritarian traditions of the regime's governance are becoming law. These laws are rigidly enforced in modern Russia.

Authoritarian traditions of controlling the territory and population have always been the only real form of governance that existed in the Kremlin. In particular, in the geopolitical arena, which is the only important area for Russia, the authoritarian traditions of governing the state allow the Kremlin to be much more efficient in promptly making and implementing regime decisions than in a liberal democratic system. Thus, Russia has historically evolved well in the endless process of confrontation with the West. Forms of foreign propaganda have also evolved, helping to fulfill the regime's defensive function by convincing the public of Russia's allegedly necessary integrity wherever it draws its borders.

Unclenching the Fist of Kremlin Autocracy

Despite the criminality of the regime in the Kremlin, Russian state propaganda has achieved unprecedented success. It has managed to sow a narrative among its enemies that they must never deal a decisive, crushing blow to Russia. According to Russian propaganda, the worst-case scenario would occur if Russia lost its current administrative and territorial structure. According to state propaganda, Russia was "one and indivisible," an "unbreakable" union of "free" republics, even a whole global space, constituting the so-called  "Russian world."

Moreover, we are not talking exclusively about potential scenarios involving the modern Russian Federation losing its territories. It is also critical for the Kremlin to prevent the emergence and development of democratic institutions on its territory. For the current regime, this amounts to losing control over a particular administrative unit or institution. A conventional Russian activist, an independent MP, or a bureaucrat is an enemy of the Kremlin even if they try to operate within the so-called legal framework of the Russian Federation. 

Not only is the historical essence of the current regime's criminal and authoritarian methods of governing the seized territory the only way for the government to exist but removing the current regime is not the only vital move. As in the historical examples of Nazi Germany or imperial Japan, the guarantee of security was not only the military defeat of the then Axis of Evil. In this respect, the peace plan of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy can be seen as one of the first, but not exhaustive, steps to overcome the global threat of the Russian Federation. The proposals of the Ukrainian President focus on the security of Ukraine, first and foremost.

But for global, long-term security and stability in Eurasia, more has to be done. The Russian issue cannot be resolved globally even after the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity. One way or another, the only way to permanently eliminate the threat posed by the Kremlin regime is to remove it and create conditions that will make Kremlin revanchism impossible. Russia must undergo forced democratization and demilitarization.

How to do this will be discussed in more detail in the second part.

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