Andrius Kubilius: Smart Russian officers will decide the fate of Russia?

2023-01-10 | Political initiatives, Geopolitical analysis

The 2022 year came to an end. A year that will be marked in the history of the world with the title of “Year of War”. During this year, both here in Lithuania and in the West, there have been many analyses of why Putin started this war, as well as many predictions of how this war will end and what its impact will be, both on Ukraine, on the West and on Russia itself.

Strangely enough, as the year draws to a close, I have to conclude that perhaps the most accurate analysis of the causes and consequences of this war was provided a month before the war, at the end of January 2022, by the retired Russian general Leonid Ivashov, who, in his famous statement of the Assembly of Russian Officers, warned in the strongest possible terms of the tragic consequences of the war, first and foremost, for Russia itself. The statement proved significant at the time in that it was radically opposed to the Kremlin’s planned war with Ukraine, considering that such a war could ultimately destroy Russian statehood. Alongside this, it also contained more extremely harsh and bitter criticism of Putin’s policies, both domestic and foreign, making it clear that such policies are simply detrimental to Russia. This is why, at the end of the statement, Putin’s resignation is also ultimately demanded.

It is worth pointing out that Ivashov is not some liberal who has consistently opposed Putin. Still, neither is he another Girkin, Rogozin or Prigozhin who criticises Putin for not crushing Ukraine and not restoring Novorossiya.

Colonel-General Ivashov is known as an orthodox Russian nationalist and is certainly no friend of the West. He was a high-ranking official in the Russian Ministry of Defence under Yeltsin (Chief of the Main Department of International Military Cooperation of the Russian Ministry of Defence (1996-2001)), who notoriously brought Russian troops into Pristina during the Yugoslav Wars against NATO opposition, and thus caused a great deal of confusion. He has been and continues to be an outspoken opponent of the enlargement of NATO to the East.

What prompted the almost 80-year-old general to make such a statement and who was behind it is difficult to say today. According to Wikipedia, Ivashov is a descendant of the famous Decembrist Ivashov; in 2001, he was dismissed early by Putin, along with many other officers, and he is currently a member of the famous ‘Izbor Club’, where, according to the Lithuanian analyst Marius Laurinavičius, all the most important Russian affairs are decided, including its geopolitical situation.

It is possible that all three reasons – nostalgia for the glory of the Decembrists (in the Russian Dekabrist), a personal dislike of Putin, who dismissed Ivashov from the high office, and, finally, an attitude established even before the war amongst the Izbor elite that Russia is structurally in a deep crisis – have led to the publication of such a statement, while at the same time warning of the tragic consequences of such a war on Russia itself.

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