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Konstantin Borovoi: Russia simply doesn't have the power to continue the war

A distinguished Russian oppositionist believes Ukraine has to resolve the conflict at Donbass by force

A distinguished Russian oppositionist believes Ukraine has to resolve the conflict at Donbass by force Фото: Андрей Комиссаров

A distinguished Russian oppositionist KONSTANTIN BOROVOI thinks that Russia simply doesn't have the power to continue the war at Donbass. Putin's blackmailing threats concerning the use of nuclear weapons is the proof of it. The end of war, in Mr Borovoi's opinion, lies completely in hands of Ukraine. Its authorities shouldn't count on diplomacy and Russian Maidan. You'll get nothing if you don't use force, said the Russian politic to Apostrophe's reporter ARTEM DEKHTIARENKO.

- Mr Borovoi, we know you've been to the USA recently. What can you tell about the attitude of Russians who live there to Kremlin's politics?

-Well, as it turned out, and it had greatly surprised me, almost 50% of former citizens of Russian Federation, due to the fact that they watch Russian TV too much, are the Kremlin's proponents. So I decided to fight the Russian propaganda and launched there a project at radio station Premier (24/7 Russian Radio in the USA.- Apostrophe). The show is called “Politinformatsia” (political briefing.- Apostrophe). People listen, argue, wrangle. Nothing new, in general.

-What about the Americans? What do they think of Russians?

-Their attitude is very negative. Unfortunately, it concerns also the Russians who try to fight with Putin's regime. I have experienced that myself when we were searching for our radio project funding. The fact that they don't think of Russians and Russia well made our search very difficult.

-Does Russian propaganda in the USA have a great impact on people's opinion?

-Only on those who watch Russian television. In most cases these are immigrants from Russia and post Soviet republics who haven't adapted themselves to new circumstances.

-According to you and the resolutions adopted by the US Congress, the biggest part of American society speaks in favor of supporting Ukraine, in particular with lethal weapons. Why is Barack Obama still hesitating?

-He's afraid the conflict might escalate. Obama is trying to synchronize with the position of the European union, which now stands divided. The Hungarians, Czechs, Greeks and Frenchmen – and I'm not speaking of the whole countries but of definite politics – are influencing the EU considerably. Besides, we shouldn't forget about Putin's lobbyists in the USA.

-What can change Barck Obama's mind?

-The US Congress thinks that providing Ukraine with weapons may lower the conflict's temperature. Basically, it's a political decision in Ukraine's favor. The technical presence of such weapons is less important than the support of its provision. Besides, Ukraine can get military assistance from other countries. In my opinion, Ukraine will get foreign lethal weapons earlier than the correspondent decision will be made by the USA.

- What is Putin willing to achieve? Isn't he ready to soften his position because of economic downfall in Russia?

- Certainly. He has if not to soften his politics, then, at least, decrease its aggressive component. Russia can't afford his “projects”. Western sanctions have made a devastative impact on the country.

- How much more can Russian Federation be at war?

- I think that the talks about possible use of nuclear weapons indicate that Russia simply doesn't have the power to continue the war. What we are talking now is the last effort. If Ukraine decisively responds to these military efforts, everything may stop very soon.

- Why did Vladimir Putin start the conflict? What is his goal?

- His goal is to stay in power. It can be done with public support. In order to procure this support, a massive nationalist campaign was started. It made many people start talking of rebirth of fascism in Russia. Meanwhile Putin started to implement his imperial projects, by capturing the Crimea, for example. Russia doesn't need the peninsula at all, even as a military base. It costs too much.

- Putin's regime, how long can it last? What will be the end of it?

- There are many possible scenarios. In this case, however, we should be talking not about how Putin will be removed but about Russians' state of mind. Their consciousness is poisoned with propaganda. They accept the imperialistic idea. That's why today we should be speaking about their sick consciousness. That's the key issue at the moment. The easiest way to get this problem solved is to follow Germany's example. I mean the Nuremberg trials (a series of military tribunals, notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany. - Apostrohe).

- What, in your opinion, will be happening at Donbass? Does Vladimir Putin have any specific plans for the region?

- One can dwell upon this topic for hours, but we should focus on the thing which somehow is often omitted by experts. These are Ukraine's actions in general and Petro Poroshenko's in particular. The time, when the eastern part of Ukraine and the Crimea are liberated is not the question to Putin or to the thugs who now do whatever they like at Donbass. It is the question to Poroshenko: when will Ukrainian authorities get serious as for the solution of the problem? If there is a clear decision to liberate the land, Putin's and separatists' actions will not be an obstacle. For an example we may refer to the World war II. Imagine that Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill are contemplating: “What should we expect from Hitler?”. There is nothing to expect. Only keep in mind that he is a sadist, a beast a threat to all mankind. One has to act. Without the use of force nothing can be achieved. An effort to solve the conflict by means of diplomacy will only create Transnistria-2, Abkhazia-2, etc.

- So, is it impossible to get the Crimea back in a diplomatic way? What has to be done?

- In this case quite eloquent is Serbia's example. Slobodan Milosevic was deprived of power, ended up at Hague. But the issue of Kosovo remains the one, the authorities cannot solve even today. That is what the Crimea-issue is going to be when Russia becomes a democratic country. It will be a very painful topic.


- What do you think of the current state of Russian opposition? Wasn't it strengthened by a difficult economic situation in the country and Boris Nemtsov murder?

- Nemtsov's murder has really consolidated Russian opposition. However, opposition in Russia is not numerous, only about 10-15% of the population. Besides, the “imperialism virus” gradually infects it too. Today radical and moderate nationalists, who are in opposition, have this virus. As an example we may view Alexei Navalnyi's statement that the Crimea is not a pie to hand it from one hands to another. Many representatives of Russian opposition support Putin in his standoff against the West. This is why a part of opposition, to which I belong, also opposes nationalistic and ultraleft ideas. This part is not numerous though.

- Is the Russian “Maidan” possible? What may be the reasons of it?

- I am absolutely sure it is possible. In current conditions though, this nationalistic, anti-west component of a possible Russian Maidan will be very strong. This won't be only uprising against Putin, it will be uprising against capitalism, and, quite possible, even against insufficient Putin's aggression. I wouldn't count on the effectiveness of this sort of Maidan and democratic changes.

-Speaking of Boris Nemtsov murder. There are many official versions but a number of experts say that Russian secret services may be a part of it. What do you think about it?

-Investigation's official versions of the crime are equal to the information used in propaganda. It has nothing to do with the reality. They want to use it in political goals. It is not a mere coincidence that the “craziest versions” included “Pravyi secror” (Ukrainian nationalist organization.- Apostrophe), Americans, etc. There are no courts in Russia anymore, no law-enforcement agencies, no investigation. This is not an investigation, it is the group which implements Kremlin's political goals with “investigation tools”.

- Who is responsible for the murder then?

- The initiator of the process is Vladimir Putin. He started the propaganda campaign against Russian opposition, “the fifth column”. He bears responsibility for it. The murder itself, in my opinion, was committed buy the people from Ramzan Kadyrov's circle.

-And what about another scandalous death, Valeria Novodvorskaya? Wasn't there any sort of mystery?

-We were very close. That is why I can assure you that there has not been any political component in her death. It was a mere carelessness of a politic, who wasn't paying attention to her health. At the moment she should be taking care of herself, saving her own life, she went on working, writing articles, giving interviews. The temperature was rising, she was lowering it with medicines. Eventually she had got a sepsis. Doctors simply couldn't have saved her.

-What is the future of relationships between Ukraine and Russia?

- I genuinely hope, that the citizens of Ukraine will hate, will sincerely hate the imperial component, these fascists and imperialists who are in power in Russia today. In this case, I suppose, there will not be a reconciliation with the Russian fascism. Although, if we look at it from the point of view of diplomatic relations, we will see that there are negotiations at Minsk. Whom are they negotiating with? With an aggressor who occupied a part of state's territory? The Ukrainians who suffered from it should be key witnesses at the judgment-seats at Russian fascism trial. The relationships between ordinary people, ordinary Ukrainians and Russians, will be the same: based on friendship and mutual respect. When we treat Germans well we don't forget about fascism which has almost destroyed the whole world.

- What prompted you to start an oppositional activity? Do you feel any pressure in this respect, perhaps some keen interest from secret services?

-I've been in politics for a while. In 1990 I was actively opposing communist ideas. Even back then soviet secret services had keen interest in me. Of course, I feel the pressure now. I get a dozen threats a day. They call me, write. They tell me: “Go to America”, “Go to Ukraine”. But that's the political strife as it is.

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