- After the victory in the Great Patriotic War, Stalin faced a choice: Poland or Armenia. He chose Poland on the assumption that he would take it by diplomacy, and the Armenian territories, which were part of Turkey, by force, as Ankara was weak at that time. Proceeding from today’s situation, was Stalin right?
- You interpret Stalin’s actions very freely, comparing his policy in Eastern Europe and Transcaucasia. I would not draw such parallels and I would not put the question in such a way. In fact, Stalin acted in the interests of the Russian state. To the best of their abilities, capabilities and talents, all Russian leaders acted this way, except for Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Khrushchev. And Khrushchev, most likely, thought that everything he was doing was good for the country, although it was pure concentrated harm. Therefore, in order to understand the actions of our country’s leadership in certain periods of time, it is necessary, first, to immerse ourselves in the historical context, second, to understand the balance of power in the world at that time and, third, to make a certain psychological and value portrait of the one who is leading the country at that moment.
After 1945, Stalin acted, on the one hand, more decisively, on the other — tried to consolidate the power and influence of the USSR at a new level. It would seem that Stalin in 1938–1939 and in 1946–1947 is the same. In this case, the USSR suffered huge human losses, but its influence and power after the Victory is greater than before it. Stalin wanted after the war to restore a certain integral habitat of the Russian people — multinational. It is not by chance that Stalin called himself a Russian of Georgian nationality. Hence the action: for example, the gathering of the Armenians of the whole world within the USSR. Migration was announced. Armenians from Turkey, USA and other states had an opportunity to quietly repatriate. Western intelligence took advantage of this and carried out several terrorist attacks on ships carrying repatriates. On the steamship Pobeda, Chinese Marshal Feng Yuxiang was then assassinated. This led Stalin to believe that too many Western agents were entering the USSR along with the wave of Armenian repatriation. He also realized that by gathering the Armenians and the territories that were adjacent to the Soviet borders inhabited by the Armenian population, he was coming into conflict with the United States, which was beginning to defend the integrity of Turkey. And, without nuclear weapons at that time, he did not want to enter into such a conflict. Therefore, Armenian migration was curtailed, and some Armenians found themselves outside the USSR.
As for Eastern Europe, since Soviet army stood in many European countries, it became logical to reformat the authorities there into pro-Soviet ones. This is how everyone acts. The West’s statements that elections are free in America and that they were not under Stalin are just lip service.
A vivid example of demagoguery on the part of the West today is Palestine. The Americans, at the time of the beginning of the movement to declare a separate Palestinian state, actually convinced Yasser Arafat and his colleagues that it was obligatory to hold free, democratic elections — everything as the US likes. As a result, under the conditions in which the Palestinians were, with the money that certain Palestinian structures received, the Hamas party won in the Gaza Strip (in the early 2000s). As a result, the Gaza Strip became hostage to the rigid, largely terrorist position of this group. It no longer “obeyed” the Palestinian central government and constantly attacked Israel. Having built a logical chain, we come to a paradoxical conclusion: by forcing the Palestinian leadership to hold elections, the U.S. provided itself with the opportunity to bring extremists to power in Palestine and start a conflict between Israelis and Palestinians at any time. Now we are seeing how this works in real geopolitics.
- I read in your book that Stalin believed that Turkey should be kept under tension. Today, we don’t see that in Russia-Turkey relations. Why?
- Russia’s attitude towards Turkey has not changed. Any leader and patriot of Russia understands that Turkey is a very difficult neighbor and partner — this is the most accurate expression. The words of Stalin quoted in my book have the source of the message of someone who was present at a closed meeting of intelligence. Stalin, addressing the employees of intelligence services, said: if the West worries us by sending saboteurs, spies, then the USSR should not be in a defensive position. We need to send our representatives and keep Turkey in suspense. The leader of the country will never say such things in public. But if he is in the narrow circle of intelligence services, what else should he say?
First. Turkey and Russia are destined to be neighbors. This situation can only change with the disappearance of one or both countries from the world map. Probably, we do not need such a scenario and it is impossible. We will be next to each other for centuries, millennia.
Second. The Russian Empire, expanding, included many peoples and lands that had once been either the territory of the Ottoman Empire or the territory of its influence, such as Crimea. Obviously, there were, are and will be forces in Turkey that dream of historical revenge. It does not mean that Turkey and Russia are doomed to fight all the time. But in the case of Russia’s weakening, Turkey will definitely try to take this historical revenge, if it is in a certain condition or good political and military form. There is nothing to take offense at the Turks here. We just need to keep this factor in mind.
Therefore, today we see that Turkey is simultaneously helping those who are fighting Russia — the Kiev regime — with one hand, and on the other hand is trying to expand its zone of influence, for example, within the framework of pan-Turkism — this is a movement towards Azerbaijan and Central Asia. There is nothing surprising in this. When the USSR was strong after the 1945 victory, Turkey was incomparably weaker, and it could not realize this. When there was Brezhnev’s USSR, the Turks could not think of such things. But after we were divided into independent states and the West began to pit us against each other in war, as it always does, what else should we expect from the Turks? I can state that today’s leadership of our country is well aware of this, and has no illusions about the Turks. But today we are not in the best military, economic and historical condition. We are on the way to restore our power, the process is not over yet, it is underway. It is right to use the Turks’ desires, their potential, their geopolitical position. Because if we quarrel with Turkey, it will become a cork that will block Russia in the Black Sea, as it has been for centuries. Russian tsars could knock out this cork only by force. But even then, within the complex centuries of interaction with Turkey, there were periods when we saved it from civil war, when certain treaties were concluded between Turkey and Russia, which were very similar to allied relations, but the West always intervened and tried to use Turkey as a cork to block our fleet, our economy, our desire to expand within the framework of what was at that time the Russian Empire.
- In your books, you teach how to find the connection between events in geopolitics and cite the 1956 coup attempt in Hungary and the war over the Suez Canal as examples. Today the Special military operation is going on and regimes loyal to the West are falling in Africa. Is there any correlation here?
- Of course, there is a correlation. The only question is that, having memoirs, historical almanacs of the past centuries, we can notice this connection much more clearly and distinctly. Moreover, when historians describe to us minute by minute the actions of rulers, we clearly understand the intent. And in the case where you talk about the fascist revolt in Hungary in 1956 and the nationalization of the Suez Canal in Egypt, the subsequent intervention by Israel and the attempted intervention by the British and French are of course connected. And the uprising in Hungary, this chaos, was necessary to drag the USSR into this situation so that it would get stuck there and could be accused of a «bloody» regime. Against this background, many hoped that the USSR would miss the situation with the Suez Canal and the West would regain control over this key geostrategic highway.
Today, when the special military operation is underway, it certainly dominates our information field, our field of self-consciousness. At the same time, events, which are unpleasant for the West, are taking place in Africa. We have every reason to assume that Russia has something to do with it. But the evidence is still lacking. How the fall of regimes in Africa can compensate us for the continuation of the fratricidal struggle of the Kiev regime, it is difficult to say now. Perhaps it is to create difficulties for those who are trying to create difficulties for us. We should not be playing a game where we are static and everyone is trying to put the ball in our net. Defense is a good thing, but geopolitical battles, just like military battles, are not won by defense, but by offense. Therefore, I emphasize that we may have not only launched a diplomatic offensive, but also an offensive of a different nature. Whether the goals will be reached, which I hope will be reached, because these goals are formulated by the leadership of our country acting in its interests, we will know when we read our history textbooks. Being in the process, it is not always possible to assess what is happening.
And since we are all involved in the special military operation, some directly, some in collecting aid, some simply empathizing with family, relatives, and friends risking their lives to defend the homeland, it is very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to fully understand the course of events and intent.
To be concluded in the next part.