In another era, Vladimir Fedorovsky was among those whispering in Mikhail Gorbachev’s ear as he tried to reform the communist regime of the Soviet Union from within.
Posted at 5:00 am.
He was with the Secretary General when Poland, East Germany and other countries behind the Iron Curtain were distanced from Moscow. There too the Cold War was brought to an end during the negotiations.
Over the phone, former diplomat James Baker, George Bush Sr.’s secretary of state, assured then-Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze that NATO would not expand an inch eastward. The frosty relationship is over. A promise that has since been reneged on.
“At that time, we dreamed of a Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals,” says Mr Fedorovsky today, who has since been an opposition leader in post-communist Russia and rebuilt a career as a writer in France. .
This is about his 50th releasee testing, Putin, Ukraine, Hidden Faces, which was the pretext for our discussion. A hastily published book by a man with a Ukrainian father and a Russian mother.
Today, Vladimir Fedorovsky could not sleep peacefully. He has a sense that disaster is on the horizon and that he contributed to it by participating in the dismantling of the Communist camp 30 years ago.
He said it was an important cog in the historical-political process that led to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the threat of World War III.
This moment of all danger, he says, is not the work of an isolated man waging war on his neighbor and his people.
Last year, COVID-19 experts suddenly became experts in Russia and Ukraine. They say Putin is a dingo, but in reality Putin is simply a product of history.
The writer is careful to add that he was never a fan of the Russian president. This is from their first meeting in St. Petersburg, when Vladimir Putin was right-hand man to the mayor of Russia’s second city.
It is very humane to want to believe that a single individual at the top of the pyramid – a tyrant, a paranoid dictator – can be solely responsible for the worst atrocities on the planet, the fratricidal war. Who would do that in a sane, well-rounded environment? We are surprised.
The problem is that this analysis of the situation centered on the “crazy leader” has done us a disservice more than once. Think of Saddam Hussein in Iraq or Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. They were said to be omnipotent. Only the captains of the boats were driven by fear. However, their disappearance does not have the effect of a magic wand. Both Iraq and Libya are in turmoil.
By focusing too much on the snow-capped peak of a regime, we too often forget that an entire mountain supports it. A mountain of sympathizers and individuals benefiting from it.
In Russia, Putin has built a broad base of loyalty to his circle of communist old guards, Orthodox believers, intelligence services and oligarchs. Not to mention that millions of Russians were lifted out of poverty after he came to power.
According to Vladimir Fedorovsky, if Putin disappeared overnight, we would not see the emergence of a pro-Western democratic movement in Russia, but rather a strengthening of the neo-Stalinist tendencies already at work.
“Russia is a great cultured civilization, but Russians feel they are looked down upon. Putin is a phenomenon born of this feeling,” he warns. It is a perception that Putin is certainly fed by the propaganda, but not the one he created. And who will not slip with him.
Gorbachev’s former adviser believes a deal with the Kremlin must be negotiated as soon as possible to avoid a complete rift between Russia and the West. An agreement that included neutrality for Ukraine and independence for Crimea and the Donbass. The agreement also provides for a Western Marshall Plan to rebuild the country devastated by the Russian invasion.
Vladimir Fedorovsky admits that the solution he proposes is indigestible, but he believes it is less destructive than all the other options: a Russian victory in Ukraine, endless war or the use of nuclear weapons. Ukrainian military victory. Terrible disaster.
“I’m not the only one who thinks so. There are also former Russian secret service officers [dont Sergueï Jirnov, réfugié en France] Who says the same, says the former diplomat. Maybe we should ask a little. »