By Paul Goble
In an article for Kazan’s “Business Gazeta” today, Viktor Minin says that he is “certain that already in the course of the past year direct and serious negotiations have been going on between the teams of the present Russian leader and the newly-elected US president” (business-gazeta.ru/article/329168).
Their conversations, the Russian commentator argues, reflect the reality that “Putin and Trump are objective allies at the current historical stage” and that the Kremlin leader feared that in the event of a Hillary Clinton victory in the American elections, he might face an effort by groups inside Russia to overthrow him and his regime.
Indeed, Minin argues the recent arrest of Aleksey Ulyukayev reflects both Putin’s desire to undermine any challenge to his rule and his plans to radically change the Russian political system as the world around the Russian Federation changes to one more favorable to Moscow’s position.
Putin also wants to change the system within Russia but to do so in ways that will not frighten either the population or the elites, and consequently, the commentator continues, he will “call on their patriotism and try not to sow fear and panic … Therefore, the mass repressions which all expect (a new 1937) will not occur,” but the current arrangements will change.
All this reflects not the desires and calculations of any one individual or group of individuals but rather tectonic shifts in Russia and the world. Minin says that “a certain large historical stage of our civilization has ended” just as the USSR ended because it “completely exhausted its energy and people lost faith in it.”
That is true in Russia and it is true in the US, he says. “Americans, above all white Americans have come to understand that Russia, first of all, is not their enemy and second that America is not the first or only center of power in the world but rather one of three.” It is stronger than Russia and China but cannot function without acknowledging their status.
This means, Minin says, that “Trump, Putin ad china are serving the objective process of a change of the rules of the game and a change of elites on the planet.” When each of the three is able to recognize the power of the other two, he suggests, “then there will be as in the Bible, ‘a new heaven and a new earth.’”
Liberals in all three plays were not able to win out despite their advantages. They “weren’t able to provoke a major war.” For that they needed to replace Putin and thus “complete via globalization a new system of world colonialism.” But the resistance of the population made this absolutely impossible. That is what Trump understood and why he won, Minin says.
“I am certain,” he continues, that close aides of Putin and Trump have been talking with each other “already a minimum of a year,” something that helps explain Hillary Clinton’s attacks even though she did not provide any evidence that this was going on.
As a result, Putin and Trump and their subordinates are ever more “synchronous.” Each perfectly well understands that they are strategic partners. Each understands his tasks. Trump his, and Putin his. The American president elect understands that Russia is not opposed to the US; it simply has escaped from under US management.”
That means there will not be war between them but rather “a rapid rapprochement with America. Of course, for Trump, this rapprochement will require him to ensure that Washington follows him and no one else and that when others do things, his partner in Moscow not fall into any confusion as to what matters.
To that end, Minin suggests, Trump will act “in parallel with Putin” and “change the ruling elite of the US. But at the first stage, he will use not retirements and arrests but the natural change of command connected with a change in the presidency. [But] in succeeding stages, he too will have to change the Constitution and laws” to get rid of those who don’t agree.
Minin does not provide any evidence for his claim, but it is nonetheless a disturbing indicator of how some in Putin’s Russia see things and may help guide their reaction to what is now taking place in the US. If indeed his words serve that role, the path ahead could be far more dangerous than he appears to believe.