Garry KASPAROV: “Empires have no place in the 21st century”

In an interview with Igor Yakovenko, the co-founder of the FRF explained why Russia should abandon the imperial matrix

The future of Russia cannot be imperial – empires have no place in the 21st century, especially empires with a bloody past, present and future. It is very important to realize that the first step to the future is the re-establishment of the country. Of course, after a military defeat and on a voluntary basis. I know that there are certain costs of such an outcome: all the breakaway parts of a huge country are unlikely to choose the course of democracy. But any attempt to prevent the secession of those parts of Russia that want it means that “big Russia” will continue to reproduce the imperial matrix. We thought the empire was dead when the USSR collapsed, but in fact the empire has only shrunk in size with Moscow-centrism still in place. Today we see how this Moscow-centrism has sucked up economic and political resources, pushing Russia into a catastrophe that culminated in a monstrous criminal war.

The question before us today is: what is more important – the current borders or a new geopolitical reality in which those territories and their inhabitants who are ready to live under the new laws must be preserved? We have to start with priorities – the future of Russia, as well as its territory, is not the primary topic. What is fundamentally important is the arrangement of parts of Russia that are ready to build a country that will be part of the North Atlantic geopolitical space. I believe such integration is possible, although many are convinced that the chances of preserving most Russian territories are extremely low and 30 new states will appear in their place. I am not so sure about the complete collapse of the country, but it is also obvious that inside today’s Russian Empire there is a significant number of people and territorial entities that want to build their lives independently, regardless of economic and political difficulties.

Unfortunately, the Russian opposition is still not ready for a serious discussion of a “road map” for the reorganization of Russia. The main problem of oppositionists is their thinking in electoral categories: “What will the Russian voter say when we run for office?”. This approach causes nothing but stupefaction. There is a terrible war going on! What kind of elections can there be? Especially depressing is the fact that these “oppositionists”, in an attempt “not to frighten the electorate”, do not want to talk about the responsibility that tens of millions of Russian citizens bear for the crimes in Ukraine – just as the Germans once bore responsibility for the crimes of the Nazis. Unfortunately, the ranks of the opposition lack a critical mass of those who are ready to step up to the mirror and say: “Yes, we are responsible for this”.

It doesn’t matter what Russian citizens think, we need to give our vision of future Russia. But the attempt to start such a conversation is met with a “cautious sidestepping”. We are still looking back at the opinion of the “electorate”, which supposedly has “historical memory”. “Historical memory” of the USSR? Or perhaps of the Russian Empire? This “memory” has no future. It may be a museum piece, but it is not a museum piece to be proud of.

We have to recognize the fact that Putin did not start the war out of nowhere – Putin had and has support. It is quite obvious that the majority of the population does approve of his actions, albeit in a passive form. The idea of empire will be alive until it is eliminated in people’s minds. If this does not happen – there is no future for the territorial-state entity called “Russia”.

See the full version of the interview here:

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