Sergei Glazyev is a key economic advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In this July 21st interview with the magazine Rusinform’s Alena Berezovskaya, Glazyev discusses Russia’s position in global geopolitics, geoeconomics, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the status of nascent Novorossiya. Translated by Mark Hackard.
Good afternoon! In this conversation with you, I’d like to touch upon a few themes: possibilities for partnership between Ukraine and Russia with new realities taken into account, the West’s struggle with Russia and Ukraine’s place in it, and the Crimean question. But I’d like to start with ideology. Unions, states and regimes all have their own character, their own idea. The main weapon of the West is democracy – the fight for freedom and human rights, which sometimes transitions into the subordination of the majority to sexual and ethnic minorities. And then there’s the ideology of the Eurasian Union. What is its essence? It’s known that back in the twenties and thirties of the past century that Trubetskoy, Savitsky and then Gumilev wrote about a Eurasian Union. They said that this would be a good replacement for the Communist ideology. What is the essence of the Eurasianist ideology?
The Eurasianist ideology amounts to one simple idea: we are all tied to a common historical fate, and we need to build a common future while respecting each other’s sovereignty and observing the principles of mutual benefit, emphasizing our historical kinship. This is what differentiates us from the European Union. With the goal of its own expansion, the EU practices a methodology of double standards, applying force, fraud and political technologies.
You mean the Lisbon Agreement replacing national referendums in EU countries with parliamentary votes…
Yes, and not only that. They are prepared to use violence up to the point of organizing coups d’état in order to swallow whole countries, as we see in Ukraine. The EU behaves as a bureaucratic empire that doesn’t abhor any means at all to expand its power and territories. This seems to be a rudiment in the twenty-first century!
It would seem that wars for territory are not active, and in a world that in fact lives by the free transfer of goods and people without borders, battles for territory seem a chimera from the century before last. In distinction from the EU, we limit the sphere of integration only to those issues where we have a unity of approach and viewpoint. This is basically the economic sphere, where we are attempting to raise the competitiveness of all participants of the integration process in coordination.
You said “emphasizing our historical kinship.” That is, the possibility of participation in the Eurasian Union by Europe or China, for example, is ruled out?
We want to have free trade relations with Europe; we’re not aspiring to create supranational bodies with the EU. I think that’s a utopia.
First of all, the Russian political tradition excludes the abdication of sovereignty in favor of any other country, and the entire history of the Russian Empire and Russian statehood emphasizes a clear understanding of the inviolability of our national sovereignty, in differentiation from the current Ukrainian leadership, which with eyes closed has transferred all its sovereign rights to Brussels. Any person even barely thinking will not understand you if you say that Russia needs to give up its sovereignty and hand over the right of decision-making to Brussels.
Why should we give our sovereignty away? We could be the dominant partner, after all…
Brussels doesn’t see it any other way. I already said that European democracy comports itself as an empire. That is, they impose themselves on everyone else. The European approach is thus: “If you want to live in our union, subordinate yourselves to our rules, accept our directives.”
This is quite visible with the example of Ukraine. We can call the Association Agreement the height of cynicism. Europe’s obvious goal is a cheap labor market and a wide one to sell their products. Nonetheless, President Putin said that partnership between the Eurasian Union, Ukraine and Europe is possible. In what form?
Free trade, common projects, and joint development programs – all of this is wholly possible. Our president proposed all of this to the EU when Yanukovich refused to sign the agreement and the question of “what now?” arose. And our offer was such: let us all together – Russia, Europe and Ukraine – consider a common format of partnership so that Ukraine didn’t lose the ties it forged with us, Russia: free trade relations, stable cooperation and a multitude of joint projects. But Brussels rejected this proposal and took the path of imposing itself upon Ukraine by force. This is incompatible with our approach.
I remember this discussion. I thought then how much wisdom and patience the Russian side would have to have even when hostile negotiations were conducted behind their back. You stretch out a helping hand, trying to understand the essence of the problem and the wishes of the Ukrainian side. Such a friendly and unselfish position is not characteristic of everyone, moreover in Europe it’s totally absent. Total subordination and disintegration.
Europe is a post-Christian civilization in which the norms of Christian morality and ethics are rejected. The Europeans practically made the cornerstone of their ideology that which we call moral disintegration and what they call tolerance. Relations between the sexes, between parents and children – these are the foundations of human living. Undermining them, Europe condemns itself to ruin, and we don’t feel like taking part in this self-destruction. In Russia for only the last twenty years has there been a restoration of Christian values. Although we must say that even in the Soviet Union “people lived without God, but in a godly fashion,” as our Patriarch has said. If you compare the moral codex of a “builder of Communism,” to which all members of the Komsomol swore when entering the organization, with the basic principles of Christianity, they coincide in content. Although without faith in God, as the experience of the socialist enterprise showed, they work badly.
There then is the essence of Eurasianist ideology – to live according to Christ’s teaching, according to His commandments.
I would say broader than that. Eurasianist ideology recognizes the fundamental value of all world religions because Eurasian integration encompasses not only Christian peoples, but Muslim and Buddhist peoples. The general human principles of society about which we’re speaking are supported and defended by all world religions. Therefore one must say that Europe is post-Christian because it is already no longer Christian, and neither Muslim, Buddhist, nor Confucian. Europe is post-civilizational, I would say it that way.
The disintegration of human civilization…
Various religions term it in various ways, but the core of this doesn’t change. We can see this with the example of Ukraine. There we see the subversion of Christian moral values; they are directly demanding that Ukraine make decisions on allowing the legalization of same-sex marriages, juvenile justice and other norms that destroy the traditional family structure.
What might the role of China be in the Eurasian Union?
China is our greatest trade partner along with the EU. Integration is already taking place economically in the sense of a growing volume of commodity circulation, the expansion of the amount of cooperative ties, the increase in investments, and what is also good, long-term forms of cooperation are expanding. But with this we have no plans for creating supra-national bodies, because China sets a priority on its sovereignty just as we do. I can’t imagine that China would give up its national sovereignty in favor of a supra-national organization. And despite the fact that in China’s history there were periods of colonial oppression when the nation was governed de-facto by a group of European and American powers, this was rejected by China’s very spiritual-political school of thought. China thinks of itself as the center of the Cosmos, and therefore integration with China is possible only through subordination to China, which strictly speaking already happened in our history during the time of the Tatar-Mongol yoke.
The “yoke” in Chinese thinking signifies a friendly subordinated state. That is one possible form of integration with China. In this sense it resembles the EU. Proceeding from its evaluative positions, China carries out a line of economic, and where possible, political expansion. It creates alliances where China plays the main role and the rest the role of colonies. In this sense, the stability of the enormous matrix of Eurasian economic-cultural partnership presupposes the independence of Russia, the independence of Europe, the independence of China, the independence of India and Iran. Therefore integration with China takes the path of economic cooperation, the creation of common institutions for investment support, support for joint development programs, closing long-term contracts. We’ve already founded such forms of partnership such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), but this isn’t a supra-national body, but an international one where various states compose common programs and create common institutions of development. Now, for example, we can speak of the expansion of the activity of the Eurasian Bank of Development, and China might participate in it, but not more than that.
Everything’s clear with Europe, and with China also. And so can Novorossiya become a member of the Eurasian family?
Right now it’s important to maintain cooperation and support trade without levying tariffs on the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. We must think of how to format this in the legal sense. In order to establish relations in trade between the two states, of course it’s desirable to recognize each other’s sovereignty. But even if this doesn’t happen, as the experience of the World Trade Organization shows with the participation of both China and Taiwan, trade and economic questions can be separated from political and legal ones. There are precedents in which countries with unrecognized sovereignty have been full participants in trading regimes as independent trading territories. And such a status can be specified for Novorossiya. This status can give the basis for the legal maintenance of free trade relations and other preferential measures connected with deeper integration.
Ukraine’s main partner has always been Russia. Other countries, including the European ones, are behind us by several orders in the volume of goods exported. Russian investments in the Ukrainian economy have exceeded European ones many times over. How are Russian investments in Ukraine’s market working now?
In conditions of war, any cooperation and any partnership are complicated by great risks: enterprises are afraid of making deliveries, consumers are afraid of closing contracts, and there also exists the large political risk of non-fulfillment of contracts. What is happening in the Donbas is a classic force-majeure, war. And war, as we know, in agreements everywhere is recognized as a force-majeure circumstance and allows for the non-fulfillment of contractual obligations. In a state of war goods can be destroyed or confiscated, factories can be seized, and any enterprise can be burned down. The despotism that Ukrainian authorities are imposing today in the Donbas is paralyzing all economic activity. And not only cooperation with Russian enterprises, but also with Ukrainian businesses.
The “act of capitulation” signed by President Poroshenko on June 27th with the EU testifies to one thing – Ukraine refuses preferential economic ties and assistance from Russia, but it isn’t acquiring it in proportional measure from Europe. We’ll add to that the transfer of sovereign functions of state regulation of the country’s economy to the European Commission’s external management. The Association Agreement de jure contradicts Ukraine’s constitution.
In order to get this agreement signed, the Americans and Europeans organized the overthrow of legitimate authority and carried out a coup d’état. They brought to power Nazis, whom they use to simply physically destroy those people who do not wish to live in association with the EU. The rest look on silently, not understanding the consequences to which this agreement will lead.
Much is spoken about consequences. Let’s elaborate point-by-point.
First of all, there is a dramatic drop in the competitiveness of Ukrainian goods in Ukraine’s own market – they’ll be sidelined by European ones, the more competitive goods. The result of this will be reduced production of Ukrainian goods and the bankruptcy of many businesses in the economy. Second of all, many Ukrainian enterprises will simply be forbidden from carrying out production for the Ukrainian market because this will no longer meet many European technical regulations (This is an administrative “blow” that European authorities can deal by using the signed Association Agreement.) Third, the signing of the given agreement excludes Ukraine’s participation in the Eurasian integration process, which will bring about the curtailment of preferential trade regimes, and in the future, the appearance of import tariffs in the delivery of Ukrainian production to Russia. Fourth, the sharp fall in exports of Ukrainian goods. Fifth, Ukraine’s investment attractiveness is falling, as the main investor there was Russian business, having invested in Ukrainian enterprises to broaden and develop cooperation and create joint production, much of which loses meaning after Ukraine’s signing of the Association Agreement. These are only the economic consequences. Beyond that, this will put the Ukrainian economy into a most severe state and entail the deterioration of the country’s payment balance, which means default, i.e. the bankruptcy of Ukraine on its foreign debt obligations. And this is precisely why Yanukovich refused to sign the Association Agreement with Europe.
And then we add in the political consequences…
If we’re speaking of political consequences, the first is Ukraine’s loss of sovereignty. Practically all issues of trade and economic regulation are being transferred to the European Commission; the Ukrainian government loses its independence. All decisions should be approved by the EU, and all changes in legislation should be made only in that direction that the EU considers expedient. That is, Ukraine has in fact become a colony of the European Union, a colony obligated to fulfill Brussel’s directives without the possibility of influencing their formulation.
And not only Brussels – there are commanders of a bit higher rank. I’m speaking of our friends from Washington.
It is necessary to recognize that Ukraine today is a territory occupied by the Americans, who are dictating both appointments of personnel and actively direct all the actions of the Nazi junta. They personally appoint key ministers and ask of them the execution of the tasks set by the US Embassy in Kiev. And namely the Americans are pushing the “authorities” toward a further escalation of the conflict. What Poroshenko and his government are talking about today is a direct escalation of the conflict, the murder of thousands of people, the destruction of urban infrastructure – this is a monstrous crime against humanity committed in spite of the interests of the Ukrainian people.
The war between the US and Novorossiya is flaring up with new intensity. The Pentagon is officially announcing new shipments of weapons to the Ukrainian oppressors while accusing Russia of delivering weapons to the militiamen. So does the US have the right to officially supply weapons and finance oppressors and Nazis? What does Russia’s role boil down to?
The main task set before the junta by its American masters is to drag Russia into a full-scale war with Ukraine – precisely for this purpose they’re committing these monstrous murders, to compel Russia to enter Ukrainian territory in defense of the peaceful population, which is already escaping to our territory in the hundreds of thousands and begging for help. It’s understood that Russia can’t remain indifferent. Therefore the American controllers of the Ukrainian Nazis are demanding an escalation of violence and an increase in the number of victims. They’re using heavy artillery against women and children and artificially creating blockades of cities – people remain without food and water, and in many cities hunger is already setting in. So a very real genocide is underway, and it’s being carried out on American orders to force Russia to come to the defense of the peaceful population, both Russians and Ukrainians who live on this territory. And I must say that public pressure provoked by these tragic reports is very high.