Moscow on the Rocks
Russia will not initiate a diplomatic dialogue. A sense of threat is very real in Russia. Diplomatic channels conveyed this message to the Americans.
And then, casually, almost as an afterthought while meeting Donbass heroes, Putin announces he will run for President again in next March’s elections. Considering his massive popularity – at least 80% nationally – he’s bound to remain in power until 2030.
Welcome to VVP-2024. Plenty of time for serial meetings with his dear friend Xi Jinping. The Russia-China strategic partnership – in charge of paving the road to multipolarity – is scheduled to be rocking more progressively than Emerson, Lake and Palmer in Tarkus (“Have you walked in the stones of years?”)
These have been heady days in dazzling, snowy Moscow. To start with, let’s go on a roll call of all those indicators which are being reluctantly admitted even by rabid NATOstan media.
A manufacturing boom is in effect in a semi war economy. Investments are up, up and away – including by dodgy Russian oligarchs who can’t park their funds in the West anymore.
Tourism is up and up – including legions of Chinese tour groups and everyone and his neighbor from West, Central and South Asia. There’s an oil and gas export boom – as EU clients continue to buy gas via Turkey or to the delight of New Delhi, Repackaged in India oil.
The yuan replaces the U.S. dollar and the euro.
Import substitution rules – while in parallel Made in Turkey or Made in China products replace Europeans.
Last January, the IMF was betting that the Russian economy would shrink by 2.3%. Now this outpost of the Treasury Department admits Russian GDP will grow by 2.2%. Actually it’s 3%, according to Putin himself, based on figures provided by the “Disrupter” (as described by a Western rag), Madame Elvira Nabiullina.
Behind the Moveable Feast’s curtains
I have been privileged to be part of key meetings on everything from the latest in the Ukraine-Belarus front to still secret, top-flight studies on the ideal mechanism to bypass the U.S. dollar in payment settlements.
A small group of us, invited by the International Russophile Movement (MIR), were treated to a detailed visit to the astonishing Sretensky monastery complex, defined by mega cool guy Larry Johnson as an unparalleled architectural jewel where one may experience “the palpable presence of God.”
Then there was the requisite ritual, long, languid dinner with a stunning Princess in unmatchable Patriarch’s Ponds – Moscow’s Soho; talking to the young, future generation planning a new ground-breaking think tank in St. Petersburg; the mesmerizing Russia exhibition at the VDNKh – complete with a four-story underground bunker built by Rosatom to highlight the history of the Russian nuclear program.
Yes: there are replicas of the supersonic TU-144, the K3 Leninsky Komsomol nuclear submarine and even the Tsar Bomba. Not to mention Gagarin’s rocket lighted as if it’s starring on a psychedelic trip.
The spirit of Christmas in on at Red Square – complete with skating rink and countless Christmas trees from every Russian region displayed at GUM.
Welcome to the true multipolar Moveable Feast; and in the era of genocide in every smartphone, unlike Hemingway’s time a century ago, that’s not exactly taking place in gloomy and fearful Paris.
Dialogue at the highest diplomatic level, coordinated by MIR, followed Chatham House rules: we may talk about the – priceless – information debated and disclosed, but identities and affiliations should not be revealed.
That allows us to stress a few crucial points.
High-level Russian diplomacy was stunned to discover that Europe was much more dogmatic than many believed. “A new generation” is needed for dialogue to resume – but that does not seem to be in the cards anytime soon.
Embassies should work as mediators. Yet that’s not the case – especially when it comes to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
Russia will not (italics mine) initiate a diplomatic dialogue. A sense of threat is very real in Russia. Diplomatic channels conveyed this message to the Americans, behind closed doors.
On the wishful thinking by has-beens such as former NATO secretary-general Anders “Fogh of War” Rasmussen, bragging on blocking St. Petersburg out of the Baltic Sea: “This is something that may end up very badly.”
The abyss of NATO’s humiliation
Amidst what has been correctly described as “sovereign- organized hypocrisy”, there were glimpses of a possible united intellectual initiative between Russia, the Global South and a few dissident Americans and Europeans to steer the collected West into accepting multipolarity. Yet what reigns for now is what was defined as “dark patterns” – including a question still without an answer, posed by the gold, platinum and rare earth analytical standard, Alastair Crooke: how come the West was so supine to Woke-ism?
Much was learned about Russian adaptability to sanctions and the strengthening of the national character, parallel to the economy. So Nabiullina was right after all: no wonder Russians feel more self-confident than before.
Still there are no illusions when it comes to the multi-layered Hegemon-led Hybrid War: “Russia must be punished – and for many generations. Russians should know their place”. That mindset is not going away. So it takes a unified Russia under Putin and the Orthodox Church to fight something so “existentially serious”.
And then there’s the deep dimension of the Special Military Operation. What’s going on in the Donbass steppes is seen as a spiritual challenge as well. So the Hegelian spirit had to be evoked: people as a whole committed to victory – even more now as the Hegemon is completely freaking out staring at the abyss of NATO’s cosmic humiliation.
Considering all of the above, no wonder in each of my long walks in the middle of the Moscow night there was always a Milky Way of thought swirling by. Then I’d stop in one of my favorite digs, pour the last chilled vodka, and toast to galactic multipolarity. Far away but yet within reach.