Following Russia’s invasion of the nation of Georgia in August 2008, Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz pointed out that Moscow will increasingly utilize the rhetoric of “minority rights” in its strategy of rebuilding its empire.
After all, Russia de facto annexed two Georgian provinces–Abkhazia and South Ossetia–under the pretext of defending the two ethnicities’ right to “self-determination” (i.e. secession). This amounted to their incorporation into the Russian Federation, the main successor state of the Soviet Union.
In 2014, the Kremlin is invoking its alleged right, and even duty, to protect ethnic Russians living in Ukraine from alleged Maidan “fascists.” So far, Vladimir Putin’s regime seized Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, but what will Moscow do next?
There are ethnic Russians residing throughout the former Bolshevik empire, including in the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine and in the Baltic States. There are also disgruntled minorities in many other former Soviet republics, which means that the scenario may well again repeat itself. In its ideological warfare, the Kremlin hopes to exploit all the positive connotations that Western liberal elites associate with pro-“minority rights” phraseology.
Dr. Chodakiewicz’s article from August 29, 2008, “Minority rights and imperial reintegration,” is thus as relevant now as it was back then. His analysis is available here.
Moscow has just banned journalist David Satter from post-Soviet Russia. In an article published on 3 February on the website of the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research News & Analysis section, history professor and current holder of the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, analyzes the background and causes of this expulsion of an inconvenient writer. We are posting a part of the article below, followed by a link to the full text:
Get David Satter: Who’s more of a threat to the Kremlin, the journalist or the terrorist?
David Satter (who happens to be an acquaintance of mine) has just been expelled from the Russian Federation. David is no stranger to the masters of the Kremlin. He has accumulated a long track record of annoying them. Having been threatened with deportation as early as 1979 for “hooliganism,” Satter left the Soviet Union three years later under a cloud in 1982.
Working as a correspondent for the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, he had been detained and menaced (including drugged and robbed) numerous times by the secret police because he was one of the very few Western journalists who actually discharged his professional duty conscientiously under Communism. David refused to hang out at the ex-pat bar to listen to the Kremlin “insider” stories fed to the useful idiots of the Western press corps by the KGB’s masters of deception.
Instead, he roamed the length and breadth of the USSR. He watched the country, observed the authorities, interviewed the people, and not just the urban folk in Moscow, but also the provincials and non-Russians, including non-mainstream dissidents. He listened to their stories with compassion, recorded them with accuracy, and translated them aptly to make them crystal clear for the confused Western reader. In a word, David Satter got the Soviet Union right. Uniquely, his publisher and editors always backed him up. They refused to capitulate cravenly to the diktat of the Kremlin to muzzle their star reporter. And, therefore, the latter was able to function as an outsider in a totalitarian dictatorship for four long years.