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US Will Be No More Successful In Preventing Disintegration Of Russian Federation Than It Was In Blocking That Of USSR – OpEd

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The Moscow media are full of stories declaring that the United States is plotting to dismember the Russian Federation just as it did the USSR 30 years ago – e.g., vz.ru/world/2022/6/30/1165515.html and fondsk.ru/news/2022/06/27/v-amerike-reshajut-kak-raschlenit-rossiju-56534.html).

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But Moscow analyst Kamil Galeyev points out that the US tried to save rather than destroy the USSR in 1991, backing its unity until the very end; that it is likely to adopt the same strategy now; and that its efforts now will be no more successful than were those of three decades ago (idel-ural.org/archives/smozhet-li-vashington-spasti-rossiyu/#more-10883).

 “The conservatism of US foreign policy was manifested in the lack of a desire to crush the Soviet Union,” he continues. “Even in August 1991, the Us spoke for its preservation and against the separatism of the union republics – in particular against the independence of Ukraine.” For those who doubt, “google the Chicken Kiev speech.”

According to Galeyev, “up to the very last, that is well into the fall of 1991, the US hoped for the preservation of the Union and conducted talks with the union government that had long ago lost any influence on the situation.” Throughout this period, Washington “not only did not seek but attempted to prevent the disintegration” of the USSR.

Only when Washington was presented with a fait accompli it had not sought did the US rush to take credit.

“Now, the US will seek to save Russia and save its state unity,” the analyst says, and the reason is simple. Washington does not yet feel directly threatened by Russia and its policy toward Moscow is driven by domestic political concerns rather than foreign policy analysis. Continuity and stability are what the American people want, not some radical change.

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The American foreign policy establishment has been coming up with many ideas and devoting much effort to prevent the disintegration of the Russian Federation. But most of this is to a large degree “absolutely idiotic.” It won’t work, Russia will fall apart before it becomes a direct threat to the US, and Washington will declare as a victory something it didn’t seek.

The US was not able to prevent the disintegration of the USSR, Galeyev concludes, adding that he “therefore does not think that the Americans will be able to save Russia.” It too will fall apart, and the Americans may then again take credit – but it will be credit for something they tried but failed to prevent.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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