Building the Empire

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s the ambition of so many men, and presumably women, (though one sees no sign of them in politics in Russia these days), were dashed. The possibility of ruling half the world was snatched away from them, as the people who lived under them refused to continue in slavery to a centralised power clique in Moscow.

It comes as no surprise that those in power in Russia should begin to attempt to establish the empire once more.

Following the election of Putin to the presidency, relations deteriorated with Georgia, which had claimed its independence in 1992-3. In 2008 Russia supported the attacks on Georgia by South Ossetian forces. (Not to say incited by Russia.) Quoting from Wikipedia, Russia accused Georgia of ‘aggression against South Ossetia’.

The same claims have been made against Ukraine by that regime, which clearly chooses aggression and threat against the rest of the world, in its attempt to re-establish the defunct Soviet of nations standing as buffer states about the Russian heartland.

Russia is a sad country with a tragic history. Those who have read the earlier blog will recognise that the suppression of nations and cultures across the vast heartlands of Asia from Moscow, occurred at a time when other countries in Europe were doing the same. Where others have stepped aside from the empires Russia maintains its steely grip. The lands of the indigenous people of Siberia hold vast stores of wealth which Moscow is jealously exploiting with little regard to ecological consequences.

In January 2022 Russian paratroopers invaded Khazakstan and then in February, following recognition of illegally declared independence by some eastern provinces of Ukraine, Russia chose, with its ally Bielorussia, to begin its calamitous invasion of Ukraine. Calamitous for Russia, as well as Ukraine.

The desperate bombardment of the city of Mariupol with a former population of almost half a million people has been witnessed by most of the world. The population of civilians have been given no opportunity to leave, nor access to water, power or food, through the hardest days of winter. There is no question that Russia is attempting to re-establish its command in the area following illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. By de-populating those regions it wants to exploit the hope is to fill them with Russian immigrants and declare the regions Russian, as had already happened with the breakaway provinces.

Those nations that border Russia stand in dread of becoming prey to this monstrous regime, with good reason. They have only just emerged from 50 years of totalitarian domination from Moscow. Part of the tactics employed by that centralised power was to infiltrate those nations, particularly the Baltic states, with Russian administrators. How easy for the claim to be made that the (Russian) people of Tallin are suffering from nationalistic imperialism by Estonians, and use this excuse again, to step into that country. Similarly with the other nations.

But Putin is a frail man, bolstered by henchman Lavrov, probably one of the scariest international political figures of today, and these nations will ride on long after both of these men have faced their maker. The tragedy is that so many have to suffer at the hands of so few.

When leaders have to threaten their own populations for speaking out against policies enforced in their name, there can be no question that those leaders are driven by fear and not that they are ‘there by popular demand’. It is no surprise that people in Russia voice their support of their president. They risk jail to do otherwise.

Author: Keith Armstrong

Dance teacher, writer, film-maker, educationalist, enthusiast.