Павловский: Травму Путину нанесла не Украина | Переговоры, санкции и Кадыров ENG SUB
— The only promise the authorities in Russia make to its citizens, to the population, is that they are likely to survive. The operation should end and each side has every right to hold its own Victory Parade. What new world? This is all propaganda nonsense. There won't be normalisation in any case. We shouldn't wait for it. This is a mistake.
— Friends, today I've talked with the political scientist Gleb Pavlovsky, who has worked for the Kremlin for many years. We discussed the current situation in Russian politics, negotiations with Ukraine, the lifting of sanctions and the possibility of a regime change in Moscow. If you want to help this video to be more popular, please like it and leave a comment. And don't forget to subscribe to this channel if you haven't done so yet! — Hello! — Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Right away the first question is about
the fact that we have been in a war with Ukraine for over two months now and officials keep saying that everything is going according to plan. Nobody has seen the plan, so we have to somehow guess what it involves. But there have been a lot of talks that by 9th May (Victory Day in Europe), something is going to happen. We are recording this interview on 5th May,
with only 4 days left until the 9th, what are you expecting? [Gleb Pavlovsky, political scientist] — Well, it's not the military, but propagandists and the general public who are talking about the 9th of May, so the value of these conversations isn’t that big. I am not expecting anything special by the 9th of May, except the parade, the rehearsals of which have already tormented us in Moscow. The talks about possible mass mobilisation seem unlikely to me. A scenario of mobilisation for war with Ukraine seems unlikely to me because the entire Russian political system and its stability are based precisely on demobilisation, on the idea that you can endlessly be emotional or even shout about the war in Ukraine from the comfort of your sofa, but you don't take any risks here. This is important.
The only promise the authorities in Russia make to its citizens, to the population, is that you are likely to survive. It is very difficult to reverse that. — But nevertheless, foreign media are talking about possible mobilisation, with reference to foreign intelligence among others, and before, as we know, predictions have come true. Exactly the same rhetoric is being repeated now, when the foreign media say that on 9th May Putin will make some strong statement or declare a total war against the West, or declare mass mobilisation, and our officials are denying everything, using the same words as they did before 24th February, saying that this is all nonsense, this is all fake news and it cannot be taken seriously. But, as we remember, before 24th February all the predictions of the foreign media and foreign intelligence agencies turned out to be true.
— Not all of them. And I think the precise problem of the Kremlin in Ukraine is its overreliance on Western intelligence. If you pick up the press and social media before 24th February, you will find an almost total consensus that when the war starts, Russia will win in no time and Kyiv will be taken in three days... This was not Moscow’s thesis; it was the thesis of the Western press and military experts... And that Zelensky’s government will move into Zoom, that as well. None of this has happened. I think here the judgement that the Western intelligence,
in pro-Western Kyiv knows how things will be, led the Russian General Staff to a number of erroneous actions. — So, you think that they were inspired by Western forecasts as well? — Definitely! Because the peculiarity of our system, which has been in place for 30 years in modern Russia is that it sees stolen data as the gold standard. After all, Putin himself was for a long time guided by the American president, so to speak, as the gold standard of a real politician, as he thought. And I am sure
they took this information seriously. We cannot explain otherwise the very strange pattern of this so-called special operation, an invasion. You don't invade from all directions at the same time, it's just wrong even from the perspective of the Academy of General Staff. — But nevertheless, one cannot deny the sacral importance of 9th May for the Kremlin and some kind of victory will have to be shown. By the way, you may have also seen the news with these flags hanging in St. Petersburg saying, "from 1945 to 2022, victory." Something will have to be presented to the public.
— I myself have advocated the idea that the operation should end and that each side has every right to hold its own Victory Parade. Russia has occupied quite a lot of Ukrainian territories and has set up a land corridor to Crimea. Generally speaking, this is enough and the rest is a matter of the designers. So, what is our challenge? The challenge is to stop this stupid operation that generally has no clear objective. It goes on and on, people are dying and will continue to die, and what is the end goal? Mykolaiv, Dnipro? What is the aim in general? Lviv? So, you may leave your boots stuck in the mud in Ukraine, and I know it well because I worked there as a teacher in the countryside for a long time. You will not achieve anything there.
— In relation to this, what are the chances of possible recognition of such new regions as Kherson People's Republic? — None. There is no chance at all. Let's distinguish two things here: a ceasefire, i.e. when the fighting stops for some time and there are people who haven't been killed at that time, people who will be born and will be able to survive at that time and that is a net plus for both sides. Of course, peace is a different matter. No one will recognise anything. No one will lift any sanctions. Don't count on it. We can’t just go back to 23rd February, it won’t work that way. We are going to have this perennial new world, which is going to be very unpleasant.
Well, I don’t know, no one will be looking through rose-tinted glasses. There will be no victory for anybody, neither for one side nor for the other, so victory should just be announced and forgotten. — I mean the recognition of the People's Republic of Kherson by Russia, or potentially integration into Russia. — No, it doesn’t matter because the recognition... Well, ‘the recognition by
Russia’ is a little bit ridiculous. No one in the world, no country, we understand clearly that no country will recognise such borders of Russia. It is very unpleasant to have unrecognised borders, as we found out 30 years ago with the Baltic States. So, there will be a real corridor, a real railway network, and communications from Russia to Crimea, not just through the Crimean bridge. But, of course, this will not be recognised by anybody, and of course, we will enter a new military world, where we will have to fight quite often. Different countries, thank God not only Russia. — Do you think Ukraine will even agree to such a ceasefire? Considering that today there’s quite many people mobilised and, in my opinion, they are not talking about any negotiations, right now.
— Yes, today there’s the thrill of excitement... There are two kinds of it. There is a stupid thrill among Russian spectators of a special operation, who shout from the comfort of their couches, "Let’s go! Go!", but they think they're not risking anything (they're wrong). And there is of course the real thrill of the Ukrainians who managed to fight off the first blow and this is no joke. And for Ukraine especially,
a non-militant nation, just until recently it was the least militant nation among the post-Soviet states, they are thrilling, they say, "We will win!" In the Ukrainian press, there's even an amusing discussion about how they should not allow Europe to jump on the bandwagon of the Ukrainian victory over Russia. This is a victory that has been achieved by their soldiers. So, there is a cult there. A cult of heroism. It's generally understandable, but it's also counterproductive. The point is, they cannot drive Russia out of Ukraine. — So, do you think that they’ll come back to negotiations at some point after all? — Inevitably. Inevitably, but after some major event. A non-military event may also be a major one. Of course, right now Moscow and Kyiv are staking on some kind
of military breakthrough. Let's say the Ukrainians want to take Russian troops into a pocket, and Russia wants to take Ukrainian troops into a pocket in Donbas. But there could also be an economic turning point, because Ukraine is not exporting anything. This is very difficult for the Ukrainian economy. The country is shattered. The infrastructure is broken and not only military infrastructure. How to export grain? Where to? They can’t take it through Poland,
there is no real volume there. The Black Sea is closed to them. Therefore, at some point, they may realise that they need a break. A ceasefire can only be a pause, but a pause can be long and sometimes it drags on. For example, the Minsk ceasefire lasted from 2015 to 2022. For 7 years. — If we are talking about a break, it’ll be a second Donbas, with unrecognised borders, where there are constant conflicts on these borders and it’ll just be sluggish for a long, long time. — For some years yes. I think that for it won’t be possible for a large number
of years, because it is not the 2015 and there is a completely consolidated West. The West demands aloud (read press) from Ukraine to defeat Putin. The West is saying aloud, declaratively, through the mouths of Western leaders as well, that there will only be talks with Putin about capitulation. So, I think the West
is expecting victories from Ukraine, which it cannot provide. And the huge amounts of aid to Ukraine is great, but how to put it to use? After all, reconstruction is impossible while there is a war going on. No one will go there to reconstruct anything. — And whose side is time on in this war? — It is definitely not on Russia's side. Not because of the Ukrainian military, but because of the level of sanctions. Unfortunately, neither our elites, nor our population, nor our rulers because of being embroiled in fighting, understand the danger of these sanctions, because they are unforeseen even in the West. They are demanded by society; they are not demanded by the government in this form.
They are demanded by the enraged European societies and they will not back down. And sanctions lead to destruction. Not immediate. Not quick. Not instant. But to the destruction of the entire ensemble of the economy and social structure of the Russian Federation. So, basically, it is dismantling. And this war, a remote war, but not the kind of war that is fought by the average Russian citizen lying on their couch, it is a remote war that removes the key devices from, as a matter of fact, the working mechanism of Russia. All in all, they will work... not right away, but by the end of the year, we expect -10% economic growth at least. At least! And high unemployment too. There could be some debate here.
Some say it will be tens of millions, others say that our unemployed are sitting in their factories and are waiting for work to come back like it was in the 90s, but I am not so sure about that. In general, the situation will be very bad and by the end of the year, the main battles will be on this front. On the sanctions front. And here they will not get off our backs, sorry. Here we shouldn’t be waiting for a ceasefire offer. — Why did Russia approach the construction of the new world… when all this began and there are still such snobbish talks about Russia and anti-Russia, about the new world, about the new system that we are now going to present to the world, but we approached the construction of such an important thing with some very strange set of friends. Even in key UN votes, we were supported by North Korea, suddenly Eritrea, Syria and Belarus (it’s clear why they supported us), but some more or less serious friends and partners were not there or were not prepared to stand up for us and no one else has appeared so far. — Well, there were none even 10 years ago, no serious ones at least.
Serious ones, which were ready to fight for us or to pay us several billions or trillions of dollars. There were no such countries. This is the result of a certain diplomacy. Stupid diplomacy, especially, of course, in the last eight years. It is impossible for our country to rely on allies. The only possible allies are the ones that come to us, like Lukashenko, and ask for money. We know such allies. The Soviet Union also had many of them, but when it went bankrupt, not a single country that received weapons from the Soviets promised Gorbachev anything.
The reverse question is important. How did Moscow conduct such diplomacy that it created an anti-Russian coalition? Because, you know, to say bluntly, such a coalition was impossible a year ago. It was simply impossible. There were different views in Europe about relations with Russia, with Putin. And even Biden
had different views. He was either scolding Putin or negotiating with him. To create a situation where everybody is uniting against us is a big negative success. — Do you see any idea behind the construction of this new world at all? Globally, what does Russia want to offer to the world right now? — You see, I think we are discussing something wrong here. What new world? This is all propaganda nonsense, of varying degrees of qualification. I remember back in 2003-2005 when America foolishly went into Iraq, there were many essays in good, quality American newspapers that talked about America's future, how it would be the military emperor of the world, and how it would spur the development of military technologies and rule on all continents. That's not interesting. What is interesting is something else. How was it possible
without even looking at the actual state of public opinion ... after all, the Kremlin knows how to read public opinion reports, and by the end of last year, they were terrible in Europe. They showed that we have managed to make Europeans angry, which we have not managed to do for many, many years. This is not good. And the war… let’s be honest, a special military operation is a kind of war. Wars arise for all sorts of reasons, including idiotic ones, simply because it is a type of human excess, when a country, a nation, its leadership sees no other option.
Why on earth did Bush go into Iraq and almost ruined his own political line? And why on earth did the Americans, in their time, get involved in Vietnam? They had their allies there too, by the way, just like we have the DPR and LPR, they had South Vietnam. But they went there and ruined their foreign policy for a couple of decades. It's impossible to explain. But when there is already a war, no matter how stupid it is, you cannot go back because you need the agreement of the other side at least and there are actually more than 2 sides involved. That is the point. So, let's keep the understanding that this is
a monstrous mistake and in the course of which a lot of crimes have been committed that will inevitably be dealt with, but later, when the war is over. It is, after all, going on. And an enemy is an enemy, however motivated. They want to destroy you. They want to crush your will, just as you want to crush theirs. That is all.
So, let's proceed from the fact that we are at this point, not some other highly moral point where we can reason about who is to blame and whose culture is disgraced for eternity. This is ridiculous to listen to at all. — Did Putin make this decision... this mistake and this decision on his own? There are two versions here. The first one is that he personally made this decision
without consulting anybody and as if even his closest entourage did not know about it and that is why everyone wasn’t prepared for it. The other version is that he was just a victim of these incomprehensible files that were brought to him, where the situation was misinterpreted. — Well, it certainly has nothing to do with files. Usually, Putin's role is overestimated.
Overrated in terms of him making all sorts of decisions. He is not a big fan of running the state day and night. But in this case, it is absolutely clear that no one but him could have made such a decision. It's so incredible, so unexpected from the point of view of the system's stability and its interests, not those of the liberal opposition or the West, but the system's own survival interests, that only one person could have made it. Well, as a matter of fact, he showed it during the famous
Security Council meeting. He showed that it is his decision and no one would dare to argue with him about it. Why? This is insanely interesting. You know, there are quite a few wars in history, if not more than half of them, where we still cannot understand why and how these decisions were made. There's the First World War, where thick volumes are still being published that offer different versions of why it started in the first place. Because it was a suicidal war for Europe. Well, with World War II it's clear. There was a beneficiary, as he saw himself, one decision-maker. In this case,
I don’t think there was really ‘a war party’. Although of course... because what is the inner circle of an authoritarian leader? There are parties in it. And each party watches for ways within the system to get closer to the leader. How do you guess their unspoken intentions? It is not like they’re voicing them. And Putin is certainly
not voicing his intentions. And here I think there were those who sort of hinted, prompted. There were files. There were these files and folders, of course. I think it was probably not the military. That's my hypothesis. It was all sorts of power structures, one or the other. Even judging by the speeches made by Nikolai Patrushev and Alexander Bortnikov at that very famous Security Council, I think it might not have been the Federal Security Service. Who it was, I don't know. The National Guard
or someone else. But, of course, they were there and they were saying that everything is ready and we are rushing into action. There were some like that, but maybe they didn't even think that the president could make such a decision. — Putin, Shoigu and Lavrov are now the main faces of the whole military story. Mishustin has disappeared somewhere. How do you assess his role in this story?
Why has he suddenly gone into the shadow, even though there were such big bets on him before? — The place of government in our system is very peculiar. It degenerated quite a long time ago, back in the 1990s. The President has always disliked an active, strong Prime Minister. And the Prime Minister knowing this has always sought to be in the shadow or go into the shadows from time to time.
Mishustin is a fine bureaucrat, but he knows the danger of stepping forward and saying, "I know how to fix this," because it may be his last act. Mishustin is working. He is doing really great work, but not by engaging the political, the public, or the business community. He is working in the shadow, and he has already, so to speak, I believe, achieved minimal success precisely by preventing the attack of the so-called ‘war party,’ which in general is the ‘party of fools,’ on the market economy. Because they wanted to urgently, in the hugger-mugger, replace it with a mobilisation economy, with fixed prices, with some kind of planned economy and so on. That is, to destroy it. That would have surely killed the Russian system in
a short period of time. He has not let that happen. This is the result. But now, he has to create a corridor. A corridor for forces capable of pulling the Russian system out from under sanctions. I mean sanctions will stay, but we have to survive. So, they
have to let off the leash, they have to explain to people that they may do whatever they want in this or that area without any control. They have to abolish control in certain areas, just as it was during the NEP and in the 90s. But Mishustin does not dare to do this, because here he will meet a strong attack, and political circles are too weak to support him. — Another important figure in this war is Kadyrov, who has made some statements before, but right now in this campaign he has become, first of all, one of the main media spokesmen, he has more than two million subscribers on his Telegram channel and he gives more news items, pictures and so on. Even more than the Ministry of Defence. What's more, he enters into fairly tough disputes with Peskov and other prominent politicians of ours, and he embodies that very ‘war party’ saying that, “we're going to take Kyiv, we're going to destroy everyone there.” What do you think of Kadyrov's role?
— Kadyrov always uses a political, military or geopolitical crisis to strengthen himself. In order to emerge as a strong figure with (very importantly) forces independent of the central power. This was also the case in 2014, as we remember, during the last crisis in Donbas. He didn’t do it straight away, but he was actively involved in the battles of that time. It is difficult even to understand what it was, but Kadyrov was present there. After that, of course, he strengthened himself. He is anxious not to be side-lined, where, in fact, the Kremlin wants him to be.
The Kremlin of course wants to see Kadyrov as a reserve regiment, not in the first league. And Kadyrov keeps stressing, "no, I'm here, I'll be among those, in that circle that will determine the next political field, the next political situation." Something that we used to call ‘transit’ before the war. Of course, Kadyrov will not allow himself to be side-lined. But he doesn't have many options for that. For that, he has his Chechen security forces, which he has therefore thrown into battle in Ukraine and uses as his theatrical backdrop if you like. — Does he coordinate his actions with anyone? — I'm sure he doesn't. He is creating a situation where others in Moscow
are wondering whether it is worth challenging him. Will it be a good thing to do? Will it be useful? He creates this situation all the time and keeps this stance. And he generally holds it firmly. — I also wanted to ask about one more person. It is Dmitry Medvedev, who many
people thought was a liberal and now he is making hypertrophied warlike statements, but nevertheless, his voice is almost inaudible. Again, how can we assess his role and to what extent should we follow what he’s saying? Does he have any political future? — And yet the question about the future is decided in this present moment. Medvedev, like Kadyrov, wants to remind everyone of himself and his presence at all times. Unlike Kadyrov, how many brigades does Medvedev even have? How many bayonets does he have? How many fighters does he have? Zero.
So his statements, therefore, look strange. And he has apparently hired a bad speechwriter, so he goes off on some meaningless rudeness that does not fit him at all, which does not do him any favours. It's sad to talk about him. This is a man who has chosen the wrong strategic line and can't figure it out. That's what's bad. — You said he chose bad speech writers, and if we talk about Putin's speechwriters, it's his historical theme that interests me. He teaches us history lessons from time to time. Who writes those history lessons for him? Who, exactly in
the ideological sense of this whole paradigm, is influencing him? — First of all, I think he writes it himself, mostly. He sets the framework. Because there's a lot of weirdness there that speechwriters just can’t afford. The other question is what is he basing it on? It's obviously some very marginal group of texts, probably closest to those of the Russian white emigration in the 1910s and 20s, when they wrote masses of offensive texts and tracts, where everything was explained by a conspiracy of Bolsheviks, Freemasons and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. How he got to this junk and stuck with it,
I don't know. But there's no need to look for others here, it's him. This article from last year is too... [Vladimir Putin's article "On the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians"] His article reflects some deep, traumatised mind. And the source of that trauma can be different. The source of trauma, I think, was not Ukraine at all. You know, it is like in a family, as they say in a family that is falling apart, where the husband curses his wife for bad food, but in fact, it isn't about the food anymore. You can see that he is very deeply wounded. I understand the first source
of this. He was, at one time, wounded by President Bush Jr. of the United States, whom he looked up to with high regard and expected the same from him. And Bush did not notice him at all with his characteristic mild boorishness.
And then a lot of different things were added on top of that. I think that his Ukrainian intermediaries did much harm. People like Medvedchuk gradually monopolised channels of information about Ukraine and he began to have some false ideas about it. And by the way, before that, there was Yanukovych,
who showed him an example of a president escaping from his own residence at night. You don't often find such a scene in the political history of recent years. So, I think we will be sorting all this out... when it's over, someone will be sorting it out, I'm not even sure it will be us. Right now, it's such a surreal picture. A picture of such a parallel reality that it's hard to even reconstruct it. I was reading
an excellent article today, as usual, those by Andrey Pertsev, are very informative, insightful columns on how Putin became a militarist. And everything is explained through his masculinity, his habits of sexism and so on. I think this is the wrong explanation because the Russian political system is already so masculine, so pro-war, that it could already set an example for Putin in the 1990s. — There have been some amazing theories lately, I wanted to ask about this state anti-Semitism that Lavrov started by telling these conspiracy theories that had been popular among some far-right fringe groups about how Hitler was a Jew and everything else, and which were immediately picked up by propagandists and some pro-Kremlin officials and political scientists. How viable is this anti-Semitic path? Was it an impromptu event or is it a new party line, a new card that they want to play now, perhaps by dividing Europe or by creating some new points? — I don't think so, because Israel is almost the last country to be our ally. A soft ally,
not a military ally, of course, but in principle an ally of Moscow. Because Israel has no one to look up to, in the region it is set in. And it would be utter madness to quarrel with Israel, which is incidentally a major supplier of the most advanced military equipment in the world. I think it was an impromptu
move by Lavrov. Extremely unfortunate. An attempt to challenge some self-defeating theme. Lavrov got lost in the absurd thesis of Ukrainian Nazism. Ukrainian Nazism existed, but it existed mainly during the Second World War and by and large faded away after that. On this point Lavrov goes against Putin. Putin has from his first years in the Kremlin constantly strengthened ties with Israel, trying not to offend the Arabs in any way and so on, but he is of course strategically oriented towards Israel and in no way towards the Palestinians. Therefore, Lavrov is certainly at odds with Putin on this point. No anti-Semitism has been deliberately tolerated by the Kremlin. And most importantly,
to whom can it be addressed today? To whom? To the Syrian Hezbollah or to those Afghan Mullahs? It is useless, it is a meaningless story. It is just a slipup which, classically, the Foreign Ministry, instead of correcting immediately, tried to somehow reinforce and strengthen and only spoiled the situation further. If Moscow ends up losing an ally like Israel because of this nonsense, it will be a lesson for diplomacy textbooks, I would say. [Vladimir Putin apologised to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for Sergey Lavrov's words on 5th May] — Yes, because Maria Zakharova had already said that Israeli mercenaries were already fighting with Azov Battalion and the Foreign Ministry had said that Israel supports neo-Nazis, but okay, let's consider that a slipup. What do you see as the prerequisite for infighting within the elites? Why I’m asking this is because before, it was thought that even if there was a quarrel, it was somehow under the table, but lately, more and more often... well, for example, Solovyov's new conflict with the Urals, where the governor answers to him, and Solovyov is such a flagship propaganda heavyweight, and yet we already see an open conflict. Simonyan is in conflict with Kirkorov,
who just yesterday was defending Medvedchuk and these open conflicts are increasing day by day. Will we see any serious wars within the elite, but public? — But who are the elites here and who is in power? There are always infights within the elites. Secondly, there are infights for a rise in rank, for a rise in stakes. Every situation, every crisis is used to raise their own nomenklatura level. Russia's propaganda machine is no longer just a propaganda machine, it is one of the branches of power. We need to understand this clearly. It is a branch of power. It is the same as Federal Guard Service or Federal Security Service.
Quite comparable in their nomenclature level. In his argument with Solovyov, Kuyvashev failed to take into account that by his status, Solovyov is a minister, not a propagandist like yesterday. But this is not a split, of course, this is no split of the elites. This is the monstrous conceit of people in the agitprop, who think that the Kremlin has nowhere to go from them, that the Kremlin will protect them in any case. Well, let's see, maybe they are entitled to think so. But here is the important thing. Take Stalin's times. There were fierce battles with Soviet figures, the official nomenklatura of Russian culture.
Eisenstein, Muradeli, for example. But who raised a hand against them? Only Stalin raised his hand against them, not his henchmen, until Stalin let them off the hook, as they say. And this is yet another loss of one of the conditions of stability. The Russian leadership will be able to retain its position and now,
unfortunately, even the opposition will have to be guided by the state, because we will not be able to solve anything in the economy otherwise. Here, instead of consolidating, they are showing this petty, rather dirty war among themselves. I think Putin has no time to deal with it. Apparently, he's wholly into special operation,
which is why he needs to get out of them in order to deal with the really serious stuff. — Why did only Chubais and Dvorkovich speak out against the war, out of the nomenklatura, out of some prominent statesmen, even though there was an opinion that everybody understands everything, and we do not have a lot of support for it? Why was everyone else silent? — Well, Chubais and Dvorkovich, according to imperial memoirs, are the people of the old court, they are the old courtiers. Read Tolstoy's War and Peace, they are always dissatisfied, they are always criticising politics. This, by the way, happens in Western countries too, where retired generals are the main critics of the president's military policy. It doesn't influence anything, it just means they
are getting out of the game and getting ready for the next one, which is coming or not. I don't know if it's coming or not. There's nothing to guide us. There's no compass. Yes, of course, everyone is probably dissatisfied, almost everyone except for those who have got maybe some hidden financial or other bonuses from Kremlin.
But they won't go to Red Square and they won't join the anti-war rallies, simply because the Russian population doesn't want to take an anti-war stance. Our opposition keeps forgetting that this depoliticised, passive, indignant state of the people is the flip side of the fact that the people are demobilised, that they are not going to war. They’re not going to war and so they’re not going to anti-war protests. Putin can’t build them into regiments and so they do not go into the anti-Putin protests, the anti-Putin movement. These are two sides of the same thing. And if it changes, it will change on both sides at the same time. So don't be guided by what has been said, made by these nice people, but people who were once called "exes"... they are these “respected exes," but "exes" nevertheless.
They can no longer point any course in politics. — Regarding the demobilised people, is there any danger for the Kremlin of any serious protest sentiment, given that, as you said, no one will lift the sanctions, it's a long story, and by the end of the year people will start to feel unemployment and so on? But will we see some serious protest sentiment in the country? — I understand the question. It is a good question. It is undoubtedly being asked in the Kremlin and in Washington, but we do not know. There will certainly be a growing burden of loyalty. Right now, it is very low. It has been too little time for people to understand what is going on if they are not qualified economists.
And the opposition economists are basically, as they say, smacking their lips like vampires in Bulgakov, "ah how everything is going to fall apart, how terrible everything is going to be!" But, you know, we've been through this many times. Over 30, 25 years it seemed many times that everything was about to end tomorrow. People are resilient. People are capable of surviving. And if the authorities don't interfere with their ability to survive, they will not have big complaints to the authorities. They will not even ask, "Why do we need Mariupol?" — Is there any risk of a palace coup if some kind of peace treaty is signed, or just with all this war being stopped and sanction pressure continuing? — This is something you can never calculate under any circumstances. First of all, we had a palace coup, precisely as a coup, when? In 1964, when Khrushchev was deposed? A long time ago. But should we consider 1991
a palace coup or not? It was, of course, in a palace. — It was also, in part, a palace coup. — Yes, it was certainly a coup, but it was accompanied by a stunning event that everyone focused on, such as the disappearance of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. So, under these circumstances, the question of what happened to Gorbachev simply ceased to mean anything. Can anyone today risk liquidating the Russian Federation? I don't think we have any such brave guys, thank God. So, what kind of palace coup is this?
It requires some kind of external factor, in which a personal change can be drowned. And then, you know, Putin can arrange it himself and you’ll regret it. — Can one talk about some kind of normalisation of relations with the West once everything is over without a regime change? — No, there will be no normalisation in any case. We must not wait for normalisation. This is a mistake. To try to negotiate, like, “well, let us take some troops out of Ukraine and you lift some sanctions” is useless, because this will mean a weak position and then the West will say "well, let's talk about who should be taken out and from where, and what are your borders". Negotiations are impossible in this situation. And I think even if you imagine, and this is not ruled out,
that some anti-Putin group will come to power, it won't go that far because it will end up isolated in the country. So, there will be a long painful dreary process of waiting for whoever is first to lose their nerve. It's not going to be quick. — How do you assess the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons, which has also been talked about a lot lately? — I estimate it low, thank God, as, I think, do most, experts. You see, this very probability comes from the fact that if you don't read propaganda statements that "we have a whole bunch of stuff out there and we even have a Sakharov nuclear torpedo and we will wipe out half the world here". All this in fact, apart from the remnants
of rational thinking in the inner circle, and the inner circle as a whole is not the ‘party of peace’, but it is the ‘party of appeasement’. And most importantly, there is Beijing. China is not inclined to allow the elimination of life on Earth and is not even inclined to allow a partial nuclear war, the fallout from which will be taken God knows where, maybe even to China. It is a good thing Moscow
cannot go anywhere without Beijing today. President Xi will not allow such nuclear hooliganism on his territory, which the Chinese include a lot of things. — Yes, but here a lot depends on the course of the war and how Ukraine and the West will act as well, because again, there is such a theory that Putin, and basically the whole Russian machine right now, has no backtracking. He will not retreat and will only raise the stakes. There was a recent article
in The New York Times that supposed that the Americans are not imposing sanctions against Kabaeva because they don't want to annoy Putin unnecessarily. It's a bizarre theory, but nevertheless. At a certain point if Russia loses, if, for example, Ukraine claims the liberation of Donbas or the possible return of Crimea, well personally, I see the use of tactical nuclear weapons as quite likely.
— Ukraine is claiming the return of Crimea and Donbas and the complete withdrawal of all Russian troops from its territory, as well as the payment of reparations even now. So what? There is no reason and purpose to use nuclear weapons. Once again, nuclear weapons change almost everything. They change geopolitics on the globe and they change atmospheric flows. It changes a lot of things.
And Beijing, a moderated country, moderated power, it needs to maintain this moderately anti-American stance, without losing the opportunity to make money from American products, including American communications and so on. Beijing is not reckless at all. It is not going to follow Moscow, which it considers a little crazy (and has been doing that for a long time, since 1991, as per Deng Xiaoping). Does that mean it will go along with destroying all modern trade and the whole modern situation? No, of course not. Beijing will not allow that, and I think it won't allow it in an ultimatum if it turns out that Moscow has suddenly lost its mind. But I don't think Moscow has gone mad, it just made a series of political mistakes which can be corrected. There is one thing to be said here. The United States today
are the real side to this war. They are really interested in that this war would not stop, that Ukraine would not come out of this war, just read what is written in the American press. And maybe they are even interested that Moscow will use unconventional weapons on a small scale. This will, of course, allow them to completely isolate Moscow after that. Moscow will have no allies left, not on any continent. So this is the uncertainty factor.
Let's just say there are two uncertainty factors. One is how risky Putin is today and how far America (namely USA) is ready to go in using this riskiness, in stirring up this riskiness to completely eliminate the Russian Federation. — Well, judging by their statements they are not going to stop, unlike Europe, which is more or less cautious. — They are not. They are not going to, because first of all, if the US start hesitating, then everything they have achieved in Europe, all this consolidation of the collective West that allegedly does not exist, it will be the first to crumble, it is already barely hanging on. So of course they cannot show that they are hesitating, and the main thing is that they are really not lingering.
Their stance, I can word it, is quite simple. Once, with or without our participation, the Kremlin is trapped in Ukraine, it must not get out of it and we cannot afford to go back to the same point again. So, we will keep the Kremlin in the mousetrap until the end, until someone leaves. — So this is a war to destroy Russia as it is? — Yes, this is a war to... let's not say to destroy Russia as it is,
but to destroy the Russian state system as it is, yes. — All right, thank you very much, that's all. — You are welcome.