Kleptocratic Russia’s plot against the West


With Europe’s political stability, social cohesion, economic prosperity and security more threatened today than at any point since the Cold War, Russia is destabilizing the Continent on every front, argues James Kirchick, author of The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age.*

Indigenous factors—whether long-extant nationalism, design flaws in the Eurozone lack of a common foreign policy, or incapability at assimilating immigrants – certainly lie at the root of these crises. But all are exploited by Moscow and exacerbated by its malign influence, he writes for POLITICO:

Russia has reverted to its place as, in the words of the liberal writer Paul Berman, “the historical center of world reaction,” headquarters of the new counter-Enlightenment. Only now, after Russia’s audacious interference in the American presidential election, have Obama and his allies in the Democratic Party belatedly awoken to the ideological challenge posed by Putin’s counter-Enlightenment, one that exports kleptocracy and disorder through a European fifth column of front organizations, political parties, media organs, reactivated KGB networks and plain hired hands.

Credit: NY Times

In all but the Baltic States, political and economic instability became an almost daily routine generating kleptocracy throughout the former Soviet space, analyst Shalva Dzidziguri writes for New Eastern Europe.

Russia is a classical kleptocracy but it has also weaponized the ideas of Samuel Huntington, argues David Batashvili. In the case of the “civilizational” discourse of the Russian information war, there are two main purposes, he writes for THE HILL:

  • The more general one is to ennoble Russia’s international role. In terms of interstate politics, Putin’s Russia is clearly a rogue. However, if one views the world events through the prism of civilizational conflict, Russia suddenly stops being the primary antagonist, with Islam taking its place. Moreover, from such a viewpoint Moscow can be perceived as an ally. The reasoning that Russians seek to engender in both America and Europe is something along the lines of “so what if Russians swallow their neighbors, we still need them on our side for the fight that really matters”.
  • Russia’s other purpose is subversion and exertion of influence abroad through ideology. Since the Bolshevik coup d’état in the fall of 1917, Russians had relied on ideology as a vital instrument of foreign policy. They lost such capability as a result of the fall of communism. Apparently, they missed this resource so much that they decided to replace communism with something else. This time it’s the far-right chauvinism, accompanied by suspicion towards modern democracy and the existing world order in general.

Please join the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS Johns Hopkins University and Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative for a discussion with Ben Judah, journalist and the author of This Is London and Fragile Empire. Host and moderator: Ambassador Andras Simonyi, Managing Director, CTR.

Kleptocracy and Democracy: A discussion with Ben Judah

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Rome Auditorium

SAIS, Johns Hopkins University

1619 Massachusetts Ave NW

Washington, D.C. 20036


*A former Penn Kemble fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy.

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