Mai 2001 .. La Russie : un Zaire sous Permafrost ?

Un peu de nostalgie, en mai 2001, the Atlantic Magazine (tout un programme déjà) annonçait la disparition de la Russie dans un article intitulé : “la Russie est finie“. L’article reprenait un livre intitulé “Siberian Dawn” publié en 1999 et qui raconte la vision de la Russie d’un journaliste américain à Moscou, Jeffrey Tayler, qui traverse la Sibérie d’est en ouest entre 1993 et 1998. 
Il est intéressant de voir les erreurs totales d’appréciation sur une Russie qui aurait du au jour d’aujourd’hui déjà avoir disparue et/ou être devenue un pays du 1/3 monde. Egalement, les prises de position du journaliste, pro Eltsine, pro libéraux et westerners ainsi que son incompréhension de la pensée Russe.
Enfin j’ai mis en gras les affirmations et certitudes totalement erronées, notamment sur la démographie 😉
J’incite enfin mes lecteurs à lire la conclusion, tout en bas de l’article !

Quelques extraits :

” During the Cold War years I perceived Russia through a Cold War prism—as a land of vast, frozen twilight realms of steppe and forest where a drama was being acted out that involved players of satanic evil or saintly good and doctrines that promised either mankind’s salvation or its ruin” (…) ” Intrigued by this drama, I set out in 1993, after the Cold War had ended, to cross Russia, journeying more than 8,000 miles from Magadan, a former gulag settlement on the Sea of Okhotsk, to Europe.  I wrote a book about the trip. I made Moscow my home. I married a Russian. My life—as much as it can be, given that I carry an American passport—is Russian. But having devoted half my life to this country, and having lived through most of its “transition,” I have arrived at a conclusion at odds with what I thought before: Internal contradictions in Russia’s thousand-year history have destined it to shrink demographically, weaken economically, and, possibly, disintegrate territorially“.
(..)

” The drama is coming to a close, and within a few decades Russia will concern the rest of the world no more than any Third World country with abundant resources, an impoverished people, and a corrupt government.  In short, as a Great Power, Russia is finished” .

(..)
Despite the grave images the media show us, the full extent of Russia’s weakness is not apparent to most visitors at first. Trains run on time. Stores open on schedule. The obvious poverty of shantytowns and slums is rare. Though rising sharply, street crime is still less common than in major cities of the West. At times gruff in public, Russians privately maintain a superb civility and dignity, and their oriental tradition of hospitality toward strangers puts Westerners to shame. Customs now regarded as quaint (or sexist) in the West—such as a man’s opening doors for a woman and paying for his date’s meals—are the rule, and only the indigent dress shabbily. Standards of education, especially in math and science, exceed those of all but a few Western countries; the average Russian high schooler may have a grasp of U.S. or European history that would humiliate an American college student. The remnants of the Soviet welfare state ensure that few starve; the apartments the Soviet government gave to its citizens make Russia a country of homeowners to a great extent. During the spring and summer months Russians take to the streets to enjoy the clement weather; in the endless, magenta-hued dusks of May and June the well-lit central avenues of Moscow and St. Petersburg resemble fashion runways, with poised, long-legged beauties strolling arm in arm with their dates. On street corners, or in pedestrian underpasses during the winter months, buskers play the balalaika, sing “Kalinka,” and chant Eastern Orthodox hymns. In sum, few visitors find cause for despair, and Armageddon appears well at bay. Reform and prosperity, it would seem, are a hair’s breadth away, and those who would deny this are shortsighted pessimists“.
(..)
I, too, thought this way when I arrived in Moscow. In 1993 I was an optimist. How could one not be, after six years of perestroika, the defeat of the Communist coup-plotters in 1991, and the innumerable positive assessments by prominent Westerners, from Presidents to journalists to economists and investors? The image of Boris Yeltsin mounting a tank in front of the Supreme Soviet during the attempted coup and announcing, in his kingly baritone, that Russia would remain free of tyranny retained perfect clarity in my mind’s eye. Moreover, in 1993 Yeltsin had just prevailed in a national referendum that granted him a mandate to continue his free-market and democratization reforms. History in Russia was beginning anew. What needed to be changed would be changed; problems that needed solving were going to be solved“.
(..)
One warm afternoon in early October of 1993 I was strolling through the Kitai-Gorod neighborhood of central Moscow with a young woman by the name of Lena. An accountant, Lena had cropped flaxen hair and hazel eyes that radiated purpose; she was well spoken and curious (..) But when our conversation turned to Russia, a hardness invaded her eyes. I took the position that Yeltsin would keep the country on the reformist path; she countered with declarations that “nothing good will ever come of Russia,” that the truth about what was going on here would never be known, that one who thought otherwise was naive, and that Russians were, above all, an unpredictable people, given to wild swings and dangerous extremes, lacking the patience and adherence to principle that democracy demanded. She scoffed at forecasts of prosperity and laughed at Westerners, with their belief in progress, the rule of law, and the goodness of men
(..)
Russia’s superpower ambitions contrast with its abysmal domestic failures, both military and economic; Putin’s promise to fulfill those ambitions bespeaks the same sort of crippling policy confusion that characterized the Yeltsin era. But no matter how much its army deteriorates, Russia is likely to maintain a nuclear arsenal sufficiently strong to keep nato from ever launching a “humanitarian” war on its soil. And the ruin that Russian forces have wrought on Chechnya has shown what Moscow is willing to do to keep Russia intact” .
(..)
 What does the future hold for Russia? It was Ivan the Terrible’s reign that first made the Kremlin’s power synonymous with the rapine and exploitation of the Russian people. Five centuries of pillaging by the state have meant that Russians expect repression, and only seek to lessen its impact or evade it through stealth. But since the Gorbachev years Russians have taken steps toward reassessing their history and government, have followed politics and voted in the most-open elections they have known, and have enjoyed newfound freedoms of expression, assembly, comportment, and travel. Nevertheless, history suggests that a powerful state, of the sort that Russians have built in the past, would put an end to all that and guarantee corruption, abuse of power, violence, curtailment of liberties, and instability. Now is not the time to resuscitate ideas that brought the country to near collapse in 1991. Putin’s plans to strengthen the state (at least as he envisions it), if carried out, would amount to a national death sentence. Yet the weakened state that existed under Yeltsin left the population prey to themafiya and corrupt bureaucrats. Given the logic and propensities of Russian history, there appears to be no end in sight to the country’s decay. 
(..)
In view of the ailing economy—Russia’s gross national product today amounts to just four percent of the United States’ GNP—these pretensions are fraught with danger, and Putin would do well to recall that high defense spending helped to bring about the demise of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, Putin has declared that he will increase the military budget to “respond to new geopolitical realities, both external and internal threats.” (The budget for last year included a seven percent increase, and Putin has pledged to raise it by 57 percent eventually.) As the state grows stronger, it will once again rob the people to pay the bills. Thus policies aimed at the revival of the state and the pursuance of Great Power ambitions promise only further suffering, exploitation, and decay.
(..)
For those who remain. Over the past decade Russia’s population has been shrinking by almost a million a year, owing to a plummeting birth rate and a rising number of deaths from alcoholism and violence. Predictions are astonishingly grave: the country could lose a third of its population (now 146 million) by the middle of the century. This does not factor in new scourges—tuberculosis and HIV, in particular, which have been spreading exponentially since 1998. As its population shrinks, Russia will find itself less and less able to face demographic challenges from China. Overpopulation is pushing the Chinese into the Russian Far East—a trend that at present benefits Russia by bringing it trade and small-scale investment but that could someday lead to ethnically based separatism.
What does this mean for the West? It is difficult to imagine the birth of an ideological conflict between Russia and the West similar to that which led to the Cold War—though Russian nationalist sentiments are likely to increase, and to find expression in ever-more-bellicose pronouncements from the Kremlin, especially if the West and NATO persist in humiliating Moscow with military adventures in its former spheres of influence. Otherwise, to the benefit of the Russian elite, Western businesses will continue to operate in the havens of Moscow and St. Petersburg, where investment, both Russian and foreign, will ensure a well-maintained infrastructure. As regions deteriorate, these two cities are likely to continue developing and growing: Moscow’s population officially stands at nine million but may actually be as high as 12 million. Western governments will continue to buy cheap Russian oil and gas, and will quite possibly invest heavily in the upkeep of those industries. And as for superpower status, in contrast to the Turks under Kemal Atatürk, who voluntarily relinquished their empire in favor of an Anatolian homeland, or the Byzantine Greeks, who fell in battle defending their empire against the Turks, the Russians are likely to face a long, slow, relatively peaceful decline into obscurity—a process that is well under way. 
(..)
Although the Kremlin’s superpower pretensions may preclude it from becoming a loyal partner of the West, the country’s economic failings, to say nothing of its shrinking population, will eventually prevent Russia from posing a significant threat abroad. Given that Russia is surviving on human, material, and military reserves accrued during the Soviet years, and that Putin has put forward plans that will only worsen his country’s plight, we can draw but one conclusion: Russia is following the path of Mobutu’s Zaire, becoming a sparsely populated yet gigantic land of natural resources exploited by an authoritarian elite as the citizenry sinks into poverty, disease, and despair.

7 thoughts on “Mai 2001 .. La Russie : un Zaire sous Permafrost ?

  1. SPRAVA

    typique de la doctrine brezinsky et de la volonté de desinformer ….(relire toute l oeuvre de VOlkoff)

    Reply
  2. Olivia Kroth

    Brezinsky était un des pires faucons du

    Pentagone, et il y en a toujours qui

    veulent que la Russie soit “finie”.

    Mais la Russie est éternelle.

    Rien et personne ne pourra la casser.

    Cordialement

    Olivia Kroth

    Reply
  3. Olivia Kroth

    La Russie survivra toute sorte d’attaque

    parce qu’elle est le choix du Créateur.

    Vive la Russie Éternelle !

    Cordialement

    Olivia Kroth

    Reply
  4. Kastals

    L’éternité est née en 862, mais elle dure longtemps.
    Surtout vers la fin, comme disait Woddy Allen.

    Reply

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