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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

SEASON OF DISCONTENT: What Russian Patient Needs: Psychotherapy




Our political elite chronically suffers from a split consciousness, loss of self-identification and manic-depressive syndrome. All of these sad symptoms were once again clinically demonstrated on the eve of, and during, the G-8 summit.


The eighth great member of this prestigious club stubbornly tried to pretend to be Gabon and the United States simultaneously. "How are we better than Central African countries?" our financiers basically asked, entreating that the Soviet-era debt be written off. "How are we worse than the United States or Germany," our diplomats and military officials asked indignantly, demanding a separate sector for Russian troops.


The result was that neither demand was met. "Not to pay back debts is not good for a large nation," the German chancellor explained to the Russian premier over breakfast. "Our country is big, only there is no order," the premier almost sadly objected, but stopped, remembering he had already quoted that somewhere else - either at the Pushkin jubilee or in his thesis on the struggle of the Leningrad party organization to provide firemen with a communist education.


The newly minted Colonel-General A. Zavarsin-Prishtinsky, as one well-known liberal newspaper respectfully called him (while a "patriotic" newspaper published an ode glorifying his military genius) continues to carry out his menial tasks at the Pristina airfield. It is the logical result when the political elite is ruled in a severe crisis neither by principles, national interests or even cynical calculation, but exclusively by the abnormal complexes of phantom grandeur.


The political elite's reaction to the events in Kosovo showed that it is interested neither in the Serbs nor the Albanians, but exclusively in its own elite status in world politics. "We were not warned, no one consulted with us, the decision was made without us!" This was the cry of Russian politicians from Anpilov to Chubais. Moscow was outraged by NATO's bombing not because people died, but because that outrage gave it additional status points for opposing NATO. If it was interested in people, then it could not have lied so long and stupidly about how no ethnic cleansing was taking place in Kosovo, about Serbian atrocities being NATO propaganda.


What kept us from condemning both the NATO bombing and the bestial behavior of the Serbian troops in Kosovo from the first days of the conflict? We would have stopped the carnage much earlier, because our pressure on the Western countries would have been much more convincing and enjoyed the support of public opinion there, and because such a position would have robbed the Milosevic regime's illusion of having a Russian political "roof." We would have ended up at the center of the peacekeeping process as its moral leader, radically raising our standing in the European security system.


We took a different route. Moscow first took its anti-Western hysteria to the extreme, and then provided serious services to the West when NATO found itself in a difficult situation, and at the end again began to raise a scandal over status issues. In Cologne, the West spoke to us politely and tenderly, endlessly lavishing compliments, but at the same time firmly, the way a professional psychotherapist is supposed to talk to an almost hopeless patient.