There are dozens of informed analyses concerned with the form of the future world including the role of Russia (and USA, China, India and Brazil too, of course) on the internet and especially on the secret service websites. Surprisingly, Russia does not play such a significant role in the global studies, nevertheless, any kind of prognosis on the future development in Europe cannot work without the examination of the expanding Russian influence.
According to the majority of analyses, democracy, free elections, the right to travel anywhere or the right to express one’s own opinions are not so important to Russia and its citizens. The discussion of basic aspects of human life and society functions are not important either. Most of the people in Russia will give these things up for a vision of conquering the world. This was going on under Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev and it is happening again under Putin. You cannot find that humiliating sentence in the more respectable analyses, but many security experts repeat it unofficially at the meetings: a Russian man does not mind being hungry and cold. What is important is that somewhere, thousands of miles away, Russian soldiers or politicians are conquering the world. Public polls prove this since they show a large majority of Russians say that it is the country’s significance in world politics that is important and not political plurality.
The basis of the Russian political doctrine does not lie in discussion, agreement, peace talks, but rather in nationalism and the idea of Russians being the chosen nation, the nation meant to run the world according to its own rules.
The most important differences between Russian conquest rules and those of the US and China lie in the continuous endeavour of Russia to import its own ideology, its own point of view and the belief that this is the only appropriate approach. Lies, mistakes and the violation of human rights are not important; all that matters is world dominance at all costs. The end justifies the means.
To expand and conquer
The Czechs were seriously worried about the arrival of foreign capital into the country after the fall of the iron curtain. Older people were afraid of the Germans buying everything while the socialists and conservatives worried that foreign competition would buy Czech companies only to destroy them and so open the market for their own products. People feared that foreigners would buy buildings in historical city centres and property in the boarder regions (only brothels will then be opened there, the pessimists said). Great majority of the worries proved to be unjustified, foreign capital brought prosperity. So what is the difference with the current Russian investment? Even Russian companies follow the market logic and aim at profiting.
To put it simply, the difference lies in the methods the Russians use to promote their intersts. It is about what kind of money they want to invest here and what exactly they want to achieve. So far, we have more experience with the Russian mafia which invested money earned from selling drugs or blackmail in Karlovy Vary. Today, it is the large companies like Gazprom and Lukoil heading here, just like the giant Russian state companies attempt to buy gas and oil companies around the whole of Europe. They are not coming to bring prosperity to the citizens of their investment target countries. This is about gaining power and influence through which Kremlin would be able to direct the political development of the country it is interested in.
What proof do we have of such thinking? It is quite simple. Around the world it is the skilful businessmen who are named to lead the important companies (even the smaller ones). In Russia, Putin names his friends from the KGB. The main educational motto of former KGB agents ever since Stalinist times is conquer, acquire, swindle, imprison, kill. There is no point in naming the crowds of KGB agents in top positions of the current Russian government. Sechin, Ivanov, Zubkov, Tokarev, Serdyukov – these are only random names of Putin’s friends trained by KGB principle “the enemy of your enemy is your friend”. Even in the Czech Republic, the Gazprom subsidiary is run by Roald Piskoppel who was re-trained at the institute of foreign affairs controlled by Kremlin intelligence.
Russians are no financial sharks, they conquer the territory slowly and carefully. According to the analysis of the British secret services, the Russians founded a number of institutes inside the EU, which organise debates concerning justice or international peace. In Germany, the academy for questions of legal state, a branch of a Moscow-based organisation of the same name co-founded by Putin, is popular. The German subsidiary is led by a former counter-intelligence agent and general of Soviet strategic missiles Shevchenko and the debates he organises are usually concerned with the “building of a democratic Russia” and are attended by local politicians.
The problem of equal and meaningful debate with Russia lies in the fact that no such thing exists. If the German politicians wish to talk about democracy with the former Soviet general and KGB member, it is their choice. It is worse, however, when such is the case with top western politicians. Silvio Berlusconi, discussed relationship between the NATO and Iraq and the possible attack on this country with Putin eight years ago. Record of Berlusconi’s words was later found in Saddam Hussein’s archive. NATO is still an enemy for Russia and so, following the logic of KGB training, Iraq was the friend.
Those are all the reasons why any kind of talks with Russia should be led very cautiously and with regard to the danger that whatever we say or do will be used against us. Including the Russian investment that Europe allows on its territory. And that is also the reason why we should pay attention to the meeting of the Czech President with the representative of a powerful Lukoil company, that we cover in the Česko section.