Russia, who has been exploiting weaknesses in the west for years, warned the west not to take advantage of Russia’s weakness due to Yevgeny Prigozhin’s and the Wagner Group’s armed rebellion.
Independent Russian and English language news site Meduza* reported:
Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry warns Western countries not to “take advantage” of the Wagner Group armed rebellion to achieve their “Russophobic goals.”
We warn Western countries off any hint of using Russia’s domestic situation to achieve their Russophobic goals. Such attempts are futile, and will not get a response either in Russia or among sensible political forces abroad. We are certain that a solution worthy of the age-old wisdom of the Russian people will be found in the near future.
The ministry’s statement added that “the rebellion plays into the hands of the Russian Federation’s external enemies.” It did not mention either Yevgeny Prigozhin or Wagner Group.
So, Russia very much would appreciate it if the west wouldn’t do anything like, say, use this opportunity to dangle carrots about how Russia could get relief from the crippling sanctions the west has imposed upon them after their illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the armed mercenaries are making their way to Moscow. Their purpose is still unclear.
Conservative former George W. Bush speech writer David Frum had a few ideas about enticements. He wrote, “Might be a good moment for leaders of Ukraine, EU, US, UK and other allies to specify the terms on which a future Russian government could obtain relief from western sanctions and restored access to European energy markets, plus recovery of rights to travel to western countries.”
He suggested making it clear that Putin can be separated from Russia if they reverse the war with Ukraine, which led to their isolation and financial stress, adding: “At a minimum it needs to be clear: the war with Ukraine and ensuing conflict with West were Putin’s choices. Those choices can be reversed. There is a path back to the community of nations for Russia, if the leaders of Russia will meet appropriate terms for peace and security.”
Russia doesn’t want the west exploiting its predicament, yet Russia illegally invaded Ukraine and is accused of committing war crimes.
It is also fair to say that Russia has made an investment in weakening western alliances and has worked to undermine and weaken NATO.
Furthermore, as established by U.S. intelligence and the Mueller report, Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
In 2018, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) delivered a hand-written letter from the U.S. president at the time, Donald Trump, to Vladimir Putin. This kind of contact without transparency is not how U.S. presidents conduct foreign relations.
Russian efforts to launder their propaganda throughout the U.S. were so effective that by 2018, NPR noted “40 percent of Republicans, a plurality of the self-identified category, now regard Russia as an ally or at least as a country friendly to the United States. That is double the percentage of Republicans who expressed that view to Gallup in 2014.”
Russia has worked to exploit the weakness of the west by furthering social divides and amplifying extremism from both left and right.
Though we don’t know the extent to which Russia has interfered in our democracy, their efforts have undercut the foundation of small d democracy in the U.S., which is our ability to agree upon basic facts.
If Putin is weakened by Russia’s civil strife, the west will not hesitate to save the values of small d democracy around the globe.
*Meduza is located in Latvia and was started by a journalist who was fired by a Putin supporting Russian oligarch in 2014. More journalists followed. They say they are based in Latvia because they would not be allowed to work in Russia. Their CEO and publisher received the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award in 2022.
This is a developing story. We are gathering information from global officials and other authorities, war correspondents, Ukraine and Russia experts, and credible news outlets. News gathering on this story is further challenged by Russia’s restrictions on the press. Please understand that some of what is reported will later turn out to be wrong, but not due to a lack of effort or diligence on our part or the people reporting it. We will update as this story unfolds.
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