General Reshetnikov: Return to the Empire

An interview with Lieutenant-General Leonid Petrovich Reshetnikov

(Leonid Petrovich Reshetnikov (b. February 6, 1947, Potsdam, Germany) — Soviet and Russian historian, Director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (29 April 2009 to 4 January 2017), and Lieutenant-General and chief of the Information-Analytical department of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) of the Russian Federation.)

Donbass is now suffering under horrific artillery fire. The Ukrainian forces are firing like maniacs at Donetsk, Yasinovataya, Makeevka and other cities, with MLSR and howitzers. There are many wounded; civilians are being killed, houses, schools and hospitals destroyed. This bloody spectacle is organized by the Kiev junta, which ignores all calls to stop this war, instead purposefully committing genocide of the population of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics.

When and how will this horror end? What is the meaning of this all? What are the prospects of LPR/DPR and/or Novorossiya? And, finally, is there a way to rebuild the Great Russian Empire? We addressed these questions to the former head of the Analytic Division of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, then the Director of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, a currently the President of the society “Two-Headed Eagle” – Leonid Petrovich Reshetnikov.

Q: Donetsk and other cities of Novorossiya are under fire as we speak; the Ukrainian military are attempting to breach the front at multiple points. Why now and what is the cause of this escalation of the conflict?

A: This is a planned operation. The goal of the Kiev regime is to complicate the relations between Russia and the US. Currently, the relationship between the leadership of Russia and the new leadership of the USA is generally favorable for us. Kiev is scared; it is afraid that Ukraine will no longer be of interest to the United States and personally to Trump. For that reason, everything was planned in a way that the official visit of Poroshenko to Germany had to be interrupted because of the situation in Donbass aggravated by the Ukrainian side. We cannot exclude that Merkel was a co-conspirator in this; possibly, she herself initiated that action to undermine the Russian-American negotiations. The fear of Europe is no less than the fear of Ukraine. If the relations between Russia and US improve – Europe would be left out in the cold. Thus, on the initiative of some European politicians the Kiev criminals are murdering the civilians in Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in order to attain their chimeric foreign policy goals. They are attempting by such means to save their regime, to prove their usefulness. However, they are unlikely to succeed in preventing the improvement in the relations between Russia and the US.

The Kiev scum – Poroshenko, Parubiy and others – have built such a reputations for themselves on the war against their own people that they will certainly come to a sticky end. The best option – to flee abroad, otherwise they will pay dearly. I believe the Kremlin understands perfectly that the Kiev authorities are not partners but criminals that usurped power, and no negotiations with them are possible. I want to emphasize: the Kiev regime is doomed, and no provocations, no amount of artillery fire at Donetsk and other cities, no attempts at offensives will accomplish anything for Poroshenko and Co, except yet another brand mark on the foreheads of these scoundrels.

Q: Leonid Petrovich, you were for a long time the Head of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies. The Institute essentially laid the theoretical groundwork for the “Project Novorossiya”, which today the authorities in Russia and Donbass republics prefer not to mention. At the same time, the ordinary Donbass people became convinced that Novorossiya will not happen, and they will end up with nothing but a territorial fragment like the two Donbass Republics. In such case – without reunification with Russia via referendum – our future looks bleak . . .

Novorossiya was not created as some theoretical project; it was born through an explosion of the Russian historic self-awareness; an explosion unexpected for all – including Moscow, the Kremlin, the Russian public. Something that is hidden in the sub-consciousness in all of us – the yearning for the recreation of the Orthodox Russian Empire. Many have not yet realized what is Novorossiya, why it created such an enthusiasm in the society and why so many people went to defend it even at the cost of their own lives. That is because the idea of the Russian unity has survived under the layer of the dead ideology of the last hundred years. Why, then, the “project Novorossiya” wound down? I believe the reason is not only that some high ranking officials disapprove of it and closed it down (although that happened, too), but the main reason is that such project cannot be based on the Red Star: then that would not be Novorossiya, the resurrection of Russia, but an imitation of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, many in the political leadership and expert community returned to the Soviet paradigms of 1970-1980s of the last century. Those paradigms have shown their ineffectiveness long ago, and attempts to reuse them now could lead to the collapse of everything. Old Soviet schemes aren’t viable but the new ones – not Soviet, but liberal – have not been taken on by the majority, so for now there is no ideological foundation for Novorossiya . . .

History is moving along a spiral; repeats are possible only on a new basis. So, at the present turn of the historic development, the spirit of Novorossiya that broke through the ideological layers had to retreat temporarily. The politicians as well as ordinary people had insufficient understanding of what NOVOROSSIYA is, where are its historical roots and what is its true spiritual meaning. I do not agree that the project is dead; it is alive and will yet return. But! Only on one condition: if we ourselves realize what path our country has travelled on for the past hundred years.

Q: The return of LPR/DPR to Ukraine with the special status, isn’t it done for the purpose, as many suppose, to transform Ukraine from the inside, to convert it into a pro-Russian entity? What do you think the near future holds for the Republics? People that are surviving for the third years under the fire of the Ukrainian military are demanding a clear answer to this question . . .

There are different opinions in the Kremlin, but no definitive decision: to surrender Donbass to Ukraine. Yes, there are people that indeed think this way and want to do this. However, there are others that believe we should not leave people of Ukraine that have not accepted the Nazi regime to the mercy of Kiev. My personal impression: our President does not want to unconditionally surrender to Ukraine the people that lived through a war, privations and suffering, so that these people would be subjected to severe repressions, which is inevitable if Donbass is returned to Ukraine.

The problem is that Kiev shows no real changes in its treatment of Donbass or relations to the Russian Federation, and I do not see any prospects in the near future for any changes favorable to us. That regime, in spite of its rotten nature, will be persisting for some time, because there are still enough people that worked for decades to bring about such a regime; they are bound by blood; they took power and have no intentions of relinquishing it. The resistance to the regime is disorganized, lack the nationalistic Idea, not specifically Ukrainian but common for our entire huge country, our specific civilization. During the Soviet period the people were brainwashed in a special way. Everything was done to make people believe that Ukraine is an independent country.

I lived and studied in Kharkov and remember how it was. At the local level, all the time the Soviet authorities were instilling the idea: although we live in one country, but Moscow, the central Russia is somewhere far away, and we are separate, we have our own history and our own heroes. The people were taught that way – what do we expect now? It is natural that in Donbass, Odessa, Crimea and other regions Russian spirit still remains – during the 70 Soviet years and 25 years of independence the transformation has not entirely succeeded. The Russian historic self-awareness persisted, as did the feeling of belonging to the same civilization of all people that lived on the territory of the Russian Empire. All this is still there, particularly in the Eastern Ukraine. That is why the Ukrainian nationalists failed to fully accomplish their project.

Starting from 1921, forced Ukrainization of the Russian regions was taking place, specifically, of the territory of the Great Don Cossack Army and Slobozhanshchina, incorporated by the order of Lenin and Stalin into Ukraine. At some point, the town with the “romantic” name Mines (earlier Alersandrovsk-Grushevsky) and Taganrog were also given to Ukraine. Later, however, the common sense prevailed, and the towns were returned to Russia. I don’t even want to remind about Crimea gifted to Ukraine by our restless Nikita Khrushchev. Nobody really wants to remember that or think about it; everybody starts the count from 1991. My dear friends, come on! The groundwork for the breakdown of the Soviet Union was laid in 1917 and later in 1920-30s. During the Soviet time, governments, flags, hymns, national heroes were invented; monuments to open Russophobes were built. Hence the explosion. The 1991 was the result of the Soviet policies, remember that, comrades with the red stars on their cap that I have seen in LPR . . . Your ancestors, your leaders that you revere created the conditions for the breakdown of the united country. What kind of Novorossiya could you create if you do not learn lessons from history?

Q: Leonid Petrovich, at present there two peoples in Ukraine: the first is completely anti-Russian, totally different from us in its mentality, and the second – Russian, even if the representatives of this group call themselves Ukrainians, due to upbringing and stereotypes. In reality, they are essentially deeply Russian people. The division is along the civilization-mentality lines, the same as between Serbs and Croats. Nevertheless, in the Kremlin as well as in the Moscow expert community the dominant view is that the majority of the Ukrainian population is just temporarily misled, brainwashed by the propaganda. That is to say, we will use political technologies to break the spell; they will again recall that they are Russians – and everything will be peaceful like it was before. But at least half of the Ukrainian population has long time ago turned into a different nation. What do we do with them, how do we reconcile irreconcilable differences?

As a former (until 1974) resident of Ukraine, I generally agree with your opinion. That division existed even then: when you cross Dnepr river, on the other bank not everyone, but the majority looked like a different nation. The wife of my elder brother from the Poltava region and speaking the Malorossian dialect [the Poltava region, a part of historic Malorossiya, is on the left bank of the Dnepr neighboring the Kharkov and Dneptopetrovsk regions; Malorossiya (Poltava, Chernigov, Kirovograd), or Small Russia, together with Novorossiya (Odessa, Nikolaev, Kherson, Donbass) or New Russia, and Sloboshanshchina (Kharkov region), are historic names for territories of the Eastern Ukraine; in the Soviet period, the Poltava dialect was taken as a foundation for the development of the standard Ukrainian language] sed to say about the speech of the people from the trans-Dnepr region: ”I do not understand their nice language. . . “ She is saying the same thing now. I agree that the inhabitants of the Western Ukraine were strongly influenced mentally and religiously by the Uniate and Catholic religions. Apparently, the fact that genetically the Western Ukrainians are linked to the leftovers of the Khazar Khanate also plays a significant role. Their mentality has a complex origin, and indeed today they are largely a different nation, although among them there are still people close to us in spirit. After all, the Russianness is not determined by the blood but by the mindset. Possibly, in the future there will be two different territories, two different states for these two peoples.

In his time, the Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire Khvostov wrote to the Tsar that Galicia should not be included into the Empire, since it was a completely alien element. Thus, the awareness of the deep difference was present then, and that difference should be taken into account in the future. It seems, they are a different nation. Croats and Serbs come to mind: there is little difference between the Serbian and Croatian languages – 100-200 words and slightly different pronunciation of a few sounds, which means this is essentially the same language. However, the mental differences make them two different nations, as do the difference in religion – Catholics and Orthodox – and in the origin and development of these nations.

That is why it is important to realize that we will not be able to rid them from the illusions – they are a different nation. Although some do, I repeat, harbor delusions in that regard – Kremlin is large, there are people with diverse opinions there, but there are also people who understand perfectly that two distinct nations inhabit the present day Ukraine.

We have to understand that the problem cannot be solved in one or two-three years; this is a long-term problem. The opportunities for working with the population of the Western Ukraine, the southern regions of Malorossiya are extensive. I am convinced that the “project Novorossiya” will be revived – this is our historic, spiritual project. In order to prevent that project from developing further, an unexpected weapon is currently employed – an imitation of the Soviet project.

Q: You mean the idea embraced by some political analysts that “we in the end will return the whole of Ukraine”?

No, I speak about Novorossya proper, the eight South-Eastern regions of the present day Ukraine. Whatever idea someone embraces – it’s his business. In the leadership of our country and in the government there are enough people who understand that realistically we could only think about the project Novorossiya. To return the entire Ukraine – this is a fairy tale. Such idea shows either a total lack of understanding of the real processes or a disinclination to work towards a realistic goal justifying the inaction by the assertion that some day we will accomplish a much grander task of getting back the whole of Ukraine.

People that have still failed to understand what was happening with us during 73 years should not feel offended. These are all the rudiments of the Soviet style of thinking when the national factor was neglected, and as a result we got outbreaks of nationalism/separatism all over the territory of our civilization. I remember two main Soviet postulates. In 1988, when I was a junior official, I was delivering a talk to the leadership of the Foreign Intelligence Service, and the Chief of the Service Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kryutchkov said to me: “The Baltic countries will never get away from us, because . . . “. And then he talked about the World Economic Forum, economic connections, sausage factories, fishing ports and such. But we, the young employees of the Service, captains and majors, were sitting there and wondering: “My God, where are we going? Doesn’t he realize that sausage factories or fishing ports do not matter now at all; completely different things are important that are beyond the material concept of history, beyond the Marxist-Leninist concept”. An Idea is what always wins, and if we do not offer an Idea but are offering just material values instead, we will only achieve temporary solutions that are essentially failures. The same is now: Ukraine will go nowhere, we are giving it money, selling gas; we’ll turn off the gas – and that will be it . . .

Forgive me for the comparison, but it is the same as if Hitler was saying: Leningrad will go nowhere; the army of the Wehrmacht will blockade it, and the city will fall within a month. And what happened? The people mobilized, resisted, and won. But we have to understand that an Idea can also mobilize an enemy.

Attempts at resolving the conflicts among the nations or the states using exclusively economic methods are doomed, that’s is why we are losing. Instead of proposing and the idea of the unification of the Russian world, of the resurrection of the Russian orthodox civilization that would ensure the development and prosperity of all nations included in it, we very often hear spiritual surrogates that oppose the 73 Soviet years to 1000 years of the Russian history. The Great Patriotic War? Yes, we won. But is that to say that we have never fought and won in patriotic wars before? Have we not once expelled the occupiers from Kremlin (a reference to the expulsion from Moscow of the Polish invaders by the People’s Militia led by Minin and Prince Pozharsky in 1612 during the Time of Troubles – translator’s note)? Similar distortions happen with other subjects.

Q: As far as we can judge based on the statements of the Russian politicians, a decision has been made to keep Ukraine as is for the foreseeable future. Regardless whether the Donbass Republics receive “the special status” or remains frozen in the status of unrecognized states, we (the Donbass Republics – translator’s note) unwillingly act as a factor of consolidation and support for the Ukrainian society, sort of like a “graphite moderator” for the nuclear reactor that prevents the nuclear reaction from getting out of control. The claimed existence of “terrorists”, “separatists”, “Russian mercenaries” provides the Kiev regime with the enemy image and allows to structure the Ukrainian society in such a way, so that in less than a generation it could be transformed into totally anti-Russian. This way, we will lose forever the opportunity to retain it in our Russian civilization fold. If the Republics join the Russian Federation, this “graphite moderator” would be withdrawn from the reactor, which could trigger the processes of disintegration of Ukraine. This and not the economic pressure or the war would allow for the informational and diplomatic changes in our favor to take place and for the project Novorossiya to be realized. What do you think about the possibility of conducting a referendum in the Donbass Republics about joining Russia?

I, as a Russian patriot, consider such an outcome the most desirable: a referendum and reunification with Russia not only of Donbass, but also of Transnistria. However, there is one big ‘but”. We do not exist in an isolation, and currently Russia – many have not a slightest idea about that – is living through a very hard period being under a powerful attack by the globalist forces. Savvy people likely noticed that there was a period in October-November of last year when we were a step away from a military conflict with the United States. The President of our country is acting based on the information we are not privy to, and thus, sees the situation differently from how it appears to us. When I served as a head of the Analytical Division of the Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS) – I knew what the President was reading, but I knew only the part that was the responsibility of the FIS. Believe me, the situation is very complex . . .

The reunification of Crimea with Russia – this, of course, is an achievement of our President and of all those actively involved in the operation. However, without the will of God that could have not have happened. As a religious person, I consider this a miracle. As far as LPR/DPR are concerned, from my own viewpoint it seems to me that it would be right to conduct a referendum of them joining the Russian Federation. However, people at the top have access to all the information, and, apparently, have reasons to doubt that such a decision would be wise at this time. Would Russians be able to cope?

Q: We have nothing to lose as far as sanctions or diplomatic pressure on Russia are concerned – everything that could be done has been done. What do you think is the main reason that does not let Russia allow the Republics to join? What prevents this?

What prevented the DPR from taking Mariupol in 2014?

Q: An agreement with the oligarchs . . .


I do not know – perhaps. There was, however, a firm position of the West. Are we truly independent financially? Obviously, we are not. It is risky for the US and globalists to hit us in that area – it could backfire, but they still could employ such ultimate measures. The results would be a lot more painful for us than for them. I want to emphasize the activity of Vladimir Putin: all these years he is slowly step by step restoring Russia’s true independence.

Let us consider recent history. Industrialization, which the Stalinists are so proud of, was accomplished with enormous – material, technological, financial, and credit support of the US. Thanks to that support, Dnepr Hydroelectric Station, Magnitka (Magnitogorsk Metal Producing Plant, built in 1932, one of the largest in the USSR, the largest in Russia – translator’s note), Gorky Automotive Plant and thousands of other enterprises were built. When the Great Patriotic was nearing its end, Joseph Stalin was counting on $6 billion promised by Roosevelt and was prepared to comply with the demands of the USA: to keep the eastern European countries democratic, retain the multi-party system or monarchies (where they existed), refrain from strict collectivization, and to leave the church alone. Only after the Fulton speech and the establishment of the “Iron Curtain”, the Soviet Union altered its foreign policy. However, the dependence remained, since the whole world existed inside the financial-economic system dominated by the US, and we were being incorporated into it more and more, as the socialist system created by us was not working.

I can make a statement surprising for some and outrageous for others: after 1917 we were never completely independent. It was not for nothing that the West invested so much energy and resources in order to use the “Red project” (the division of the Empire into 15 national republics) for the destruction of the Eastern-Slavic civilization.

I remember how in 1984 or 1985 I read the telegram of the Russian ambassador in FRG Yuliy Krivitsky about his conversation with the Vice-Chancellor of the Western Germany, leader of the Bavarian party Christian-Democratic Union, Joseph Straus. The latter said directly, even at that time: “Your country, Mister Ambassador, is facing difficult times. You placed a bomb under it: 15 Republics – 15 governments, Parliaments, hymns, flags. All this will blow up, and the Soviet Union will break down . . . “ Krivitsky objected saying that FRG also had various lands – Saxony, Bavaria, Bremen, Hesse, etc., local governments, to which the Vice-Chancellor responded: “Our states are based on territories, but yours – on nations”. The West understood very well, as opposed to our leadership, the main problem of the Soviet Union and purposefully aggravated it. As a result, the Western Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, and other nations remembered their national roots, whereas only the Russian and, partially, Belorussians were transformed into the “Soviet people” having taken to heart the myth about internationalism and lost their historic memory.

Remember Serbs and Croats – we have the same problem in Russia. As Joseph Broz Tito cut down the Serbian – that of the state-defining nation – territories, the same way Joseph Stalin and his co-conspirators cut down the Russian territories. In particular, the Russian Novorossiya was given to the artificially created Ukraine, Ossetia – to Georgia, the Northern and Eastern Kazakhstan populated by Russians – to Kazakhstan. It that sense, all us Russians are somewhat circumcised, if you pardon the expression . . .

That is why the current efforts of our President, his heroic deeds, will not be fully appreciated any time soon. His mission – to extricate the country every year millimeter by millimeter from the national, financial, economical and other types of traps we got caught in since 1917. Any sudden movement, such as a referendum about incorporation of LPR/DPR could have unintended consequences.

Q: This is a complex and very painful questions for all Russians. Russia is by definition a Eurasian state; it is multinational. So, how do we ensure that the defense of the interests of ethnic Russians would not become the instrument of the destruction of the country under the slogans like “Stop feeding the Caucasus!”, “Siberia – is not Moscow” and so forth. How do we find the optimal formula, when the imperial component does not oppress but stimulates the development of the Russian nation? It is worth remembering that the Declaration of Independence of the Russian Federation was issued on June 12th, 1991, which predetermined the Belovezhsk conspiracy on December 8th, 1991, and the breakup of the USSR . . . How do we manage not to repeat our historic mistakes?

The country could not have avoided the breakdown, since we have divided it into the national republics. Recently we have had a conversation with the Dagestanis-Muslims, and I recalled another conversations with a Chechen – Major-General of the FSB and his words: “You know, Leonid Petrovich, if they had been a White Tzar above us and Allah – we would have all united. We love Russia, but fighting for it we do not fight for the territories as such but for the White Tzar . . . “ This is the main factor uniting all nations. The Dagestanis also agreed; they are also in favor of the Empire; they understand the value of the vertical of power. There is no difference in this issue between the Orthodoxy and Islam, and if the Empire happens, Islam will work for it. Remember that during the Civil War the Chechen, Ingushs, and other Caucasus people fought in the White Army.

Q: An Empire is impossible without absolute monarchy . . .

Yes. However, it is too early to propose the restoration of monarchy now. It would be a premature move. It is necessary to clear up our minds, our memory of myths. The history of our Motherland in the Soviet period was studied starting from 1935 – why was that? Because it was necessary to re-write it completely, but before that new faculty had to be trained. Then the guys from the Institute of the Red Professors invented our history for us out of nothing under the title “The short history course of the All Russia Communist Party of Bolsheviks” of Joseph Vissarionovich [Stalin].

Q: Let us summarize. In order for the Russian nation to prosper and maintain good relations with other nations, we need to restore our independent state that could only be the Russian Eurasian Empire. The Empire could only be restored as a monarchy, but to accomplish that we need to change our mentality and to free ourselves from the Soviet stereotypes. But here is the problem: most Russian citizens still see in the Soviet epoch the Great Project, the Idea of Justice, the Joy of unprecedented Victories . . . How do we alter the people’s mentality without alienating that majority, how do we merge the best achievements of the Soviet time with the achievements of the Tzarist period?

Middle-aged people or older cannot be changed; we need to work with the youth. This is hard. Let me give you an example: my eldest grand-daughter once said to me: “Grandpa, our teacher in class asked us why Michael Romanov was elected as a Tsar [Michael Romanov, the first Tsar of the Romanov dynasty, was elected in 1613 after the Time of Troubles, which started following the death of the son of Ivan the Terrible, the last representative of the Rurik dynasty, in 1598; during that period, many events took place including the appearance of Pseudo-Dmitri claiming to be the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible, Dmitri supposedly was killed in childhood, his ascension to the throne in Moscow, the intervention of the Polish Army, and the final defeat of the Poles], and I replied that, first, all estates voted for him, because all wanted to have a Tsar in the country after a horrible period of the Time of Troubles. Second, the Russian Orthodox Church supported him, and the church had a strong influence. And third, since he was very young, he was not involved in any of the treasons of the Time of Troubles when the nobles switched sides in support of the Poles or Pseudo-Dmitri.” I praised her answer but my granddaughter said that the teacher considered her response incorrect. The response should have been as written in the textbook, which only had one sentence about this stating that the nobles wanted to have a young Tsar so that they could control him. That is how contempt towards the Russian history is imprinted onto the mind of our children. When children grow up, they will have hard time letting go of the false concepts and accept the idea of the monarchy. Many will be torn between the two projects imposed on us by the West – liberal and communist.

Recall how communists and liberals (they are of the same stock) go into hysterics when someone mentions the Third Way – a special historic role of Russia. If you simply mention, without any epithets, the name of the last Emperor Nicolas the Second – immediately atheists, liberals, homosexuals and other trash unite and start yelling that he was a weak Tsar, that he “sold and destroyed Russia”. What does that say? That we are on the right track. We do not intend to change the regime; our job is to help people understand the lessons of the past, and when that happens, then the desire to restore the Empire and Monarchy will become natural to them. The new Constitution will be adopted, and the real revival of Russia will begin. But for those who consider themselves monarchists, for all orthodox Russian people, a Tsar has always existed, exists and will exist, and his name is Jesus Christ.

http://politikus.ru/articles/90244-general-reshetnikov-vozvraschenie-k-imperii.html

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