There has been a marked feeling of helplessness when dealing with the Putin regime in the past year. In many ways it feels like the regime is holding all of the cards, and Ukraine and its partners in Europe are only reacting to events. Therefore, I am always interested in any new proposals to change this situation. When this set of policy proposals was brought to my attention, I was intrigued.
Irina Zarifian has a long explanation about the nature of the current Russian system, and how it works (something I’d like to pursue at a later time). But she does agree with my assessment that Putin is not the problem, it’s the system, and the system must be changed.
How can this be achieved?
We must understand that there is nothing mysterious [in what they are doing], their actions are always similar. The special services, by definition, do not have their own ideology, political program, or scientific theory. They only have methods. They borrow other people’s theories, and distort their meaning for their own purposes.
Therefore, she says, “it is necessary to institute sanctions against the methods”.
First we must understand that
The basis of their activity is a lie…. Putin came to power pretending to be a democrat, and some time went into [the creation of] this mask.
The authorities use propaganda to prop up this lie, and they utilize not just the media, but also education, and religious institutions.
They distort the essence of democracy and the concepts associated with the political life of society, such as elections, human rights, political parties, and others recorded in the Constitution of Russia.
They utilize false terms that are introduced into propaganda, official documents, and education: Russian Spring (the protective movement under the guise of the revolutionary), Novorossiya (pseudo-historical justification for aggression), the illegitimate coup (popular speech for Maidan), fascist junta (the government and President of Ukraine), the Banderites (Army of Ukraine, fighting the separatists), the fifth column (Russian opposition to the regime), and so on.
The distorted meanings of these terms have entered into the official language of diplomacy, for example, voiced at meetings of the UN Security Council. They involve international partners in negotiations with the use of false terms.
Because of this
International negotiators must refuse to negotiate and receive documents using this false terminology, because this is a kind of aggression.
Second, Zarifian says:
Sanctions against minor parties are not sufficient. Serious sanctions are needed, cutting off the possibility of expanding the military conflict, and this provision has not been exhausted.
In addition, there are a number of legal instruments to the exclusion of the regime from international organizations such as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), Council of Europe (CoE), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the abolition of their veto power [at the UN], disconnecting them from SWIFT, ending the purchase of energy from them.
Thirdly we need to recognize that
“…a hybrid war is nothing new, it’s just a combination of criminal acts: sabotage, terrorist attacks disguised armed groups, bombardment of civilians under the guise of the enemy, espionage, information warfare, spread to neighboring countries without regard to conflict.”
Rather than retaliate by using the same methods, Zarifian argues, it would be better to ban these acts and bring them before an international commission.
She also calls on international organizations to stop cooperating and collaborating with the Putin regime in international investigations.
Russia’s attempt to expand cooperation with the EU and the US in the fight against terrorism cannot be continued under the Putin regime. How can we fight terrorism together with an organization that is itself a terrorist, and is a punitive organization created to establish a dictatorship?
Finally, Zarifian suggests:
it is necessary to disclose the results of the investigations of terrorist attacks, such as the snipers on Maidan, the terrorist attacks in Odessa, and the crash of Malaysia airlines flight MH17. The lack of results from these investigations and delays gives rise to speculation and opens the way for new attacks.
She also urges international investigations into the political murders that have taken place under the Putin regime, including Anya Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, Valeria Novodvorskaya, Boris Berezovsky, and of course, the recent murder of Boris Nemtsov.
The EU should not act in the interests of business, but in the interests of saving their civilization. They need to realize that the Putin regime is a threat to civilization. He not only violates international treaties, but the norms of behavior, based on the principles of humanism. Therefore, it is necessary to counteract the broader context of international law in the relevant international institutions such as the Council of Europe, and the efforts of international and Russian human rights organizations.
Zarifian concludes by saying that Russians must decide for themselves what kind of future they want, “to become a political nation, or to be doomed to degradation in the name of questionable military adventures.”