Vice-president of Academy of geopolitical problems, colonel- general Leonid Ivashov says on NATO approaching Russian borders in Utro interview.
Utro NATO approached Russian borders, but young generations of Russians doubt if this is a threat to Russia, recent public opinion surveys demonstrated. Where do you see the threat to Russian security?
Leonid Ivashov As for young people’s opinion, I am teaching at Moscow State Institute of International Relations and know that students are given too contradictory and scarce information. Professors have shortage of textbooks interpreting different doctrines, opinions and approaches. Young people are confused, they are disoriented and cannot see the long-term threat. Yes, NATO troops do not shoot and bomb Russia today, and this creates the impression that the threat is not real.
One more thing: mass media, especially TV channels, do not create the “image of the enemy”, and young people do not read newspapers. For these reasons, it is hard for young people to determine their position on NATO.
In addition, Western values are being planted in Russia, while its own historical and cultural roots are coming into oblivion. Currently our young people see Chechen terrorists are much bigger threat than NATO.
Utro This is all mass media’s fault...
Leonid Ivashov Mass media are a tool not only for expansion in peaceful period, but also for war. For example, mass media created demonic image of Slobodan Milosevic and Serbs in Europe and in America. As a result, the public did not protest when the aggression against Yugoslavia started in violation of international law. Then the principle of creating the image of demon was applied to Iraq. This is informational warfare, and its weapons are so powerful that any democratic leader loved by his people can be made a monster and demon in 2-3 weeks.
Let us ask a question – for what reasons is NATO moving Eastward? NATO is a military machine increasing its potential, having many thousands of tanks and cannons, more than 5,000 military aircrafts, nuclear weapons. This machine is near our borders. A question to young people: why is NATO approaching Russia? For what reasons are the six aerodromes in the Baltic states being modernized for NATO’s strategic aviation landing (including aircrafts carrying nuclear weapons)?
Utro Using the military language – for possible military actions in Eastern regions...
Leonid Ivashov Certainly, and international terrorism is a good excuse for this. Earlier Communism was this excuse. Why can’t Americans find bin Laden? He is very convenient for them. Taliban has been defeated, and if al-Qaida is defeated, there will be no source of terrorism. Americans need this source.
40 countries are the members of the Council for European Partnership which is affiliated to NATO. Several years ago one of the NATO generals was speaking at the Council about the threat for NATO and Europe. The general named spreading weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking, illegal migration and terrorism as the threats, and said that NATO will concentrate on eradicating them. At that point, I asked a question, "Could you tell how mechanized division, Air Force and Navy will fight against spreading nuclear weapons, drug trafficking and illegal migrants. Could you share your experience of this?" They were confused, because no military organization will deal with these issues. I asked again, "70% of all NATO exercises are about starting a big war, winning domination in air, conducting defense operations and then attacking. Does your statement mean that you will turn to peace-keeping operations and fighting drug trafficking now?” No reply again…
We received NATO’s invitation for some of its military exercises, such as Balttops or the maneuvers in Poland. But all exercises always have two stages. First – when Navy is capturing terrorists’ submarine. By the way, how can a sub with terrorists appear in the Baltic Sea? After capturing the sub, the commanders drink Champaign and say good-bye to the guests. Then the second, real stage of exercises starts – landing on the seashore with aviation support and destroying enemy’s objects, taking over settlements, destroying enemy’s aviation. All this is aimed against Russian Baltic Fleet.
We can also see NATO working on the strategic purpose of controlling Russian Northern Fleet. Russia has the most powerful Navy carrying nuclear weapons, in the North. NATO set many radar stations in Norwegian Spitsbergen islands and in the Baltic States. There is an idea that at the last exercise of Russian Northern Fleet, Russian missiles could not be launched because of some electronic interference.
The reaction of Russia is mainly about soothing itself. I believe that somebody should be prosecuted for undermining our military.
Utro Can you say that so-called “NATO belt” is created around Russia of the Baltic States, Central Asia and the Caucasus region?
Leonid Ivashov Yes, just draw the line connecting these regions. The only protuberance there is Belarus. Ukraine has already given its territory for NATO troops deploying. Georgia allowed NATO to use its territory and air space.
We saw Chechen terrorists creating their bases, training camps and even command posts in Georgia. In fact, Georgia is involved in anti-Russian campaign. Chechen terrorists are not just bandits already, they are well-organized anti-Russian special force having strategic goals and using the territory of Georgia.
Americans are analyzing the option of establishing their tactical military bases and posts in the Caucasus region, in Georgia, Azerbaijan and later in Armenia. They are unable to have big bases there as they need many troops in Iraq, but will bring equipment and groups of specialists to prepare the conditions for quick deploying their troops in the area.
Utro Media wrote about the CIA report predicting Russia’s disintegrating into 6-8 states by 2015. Your comments?
Leonid Ivashov I believe that Russia is moving on the way of degrading, disintegrating and destroying as a state. In this respect, the long-term strategy has been applied to Russia for decades. Russia is going to be isolated along its borders, then Northern Caucasus region will be taken from it. Formally, Russia will own it, but all over the region Chechnya-like instability will take place. Kaliningrad region and the Far East will have the same scenario. Powerful strategy is applied to Russia, and Russian leadership and political elite do not respond.
What was Defense Minister Ivanov doing in Georgia during the recent conflict in Adzharia autonomous republic? Was he pursuing Russia’s interests? Certainly, the war in the area is not in Russia’s best interests, but negotians should have been arranged for settling the contradictions between the leaders of Georgia and Adzharia autonomous republic. Americans are backing Georgian leader Saakashvili, and we should have backe Adzharian leader Abashidze as Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov did some time ago. Earlier, Mr. Luzhkov came to Batumi and made equal balance of power. Defense Minister Ivanov just overthrew the elected head of Adzharia, and in this way he pursued the interests of Americans.
As for American military bases in Central Asia, neither Russia nor Iran nor China benefit from them. We invited Americans there and persuaded the Heads of Central Asian countries to allow US troops to be deployed there temporary. Even in the case of NATO expansion, we are not protesting, but misleading our own people by saying that there is no threat. Lately the agreement has been reached that NATO forces will be deployed in Russia. What next?