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War and Punishment: Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

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The Center for European and Russian Studies (CERS), in co-sponsorship with the UCLA Department of Political Science, The UCLA Department of Slavic, East European & Eurasian Languages & Cultures, and the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations, invite you to a book talk with Mikhail Zygar, journalist and author of War and Punishment: Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia's Invasion of Ukraine. This discussion, followed by Q&A, will take place at the UCLA Faculty Center on Wednesday, December 6th at 4pm.

Abstract

As soon as the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, prominent independent Russian journalist Mikhail Zygar circulated a Facebook petition signed first by hundreds of his cultural and journalistic contacts and then by thousands of others. That act led to a new law in Russia criminalizing criticism of the war, and Zygar fled Russia. In his time as a journalist, Zygar has interviewed President Zelensky and had access to many of the major players—from politicians to oligarchs. As an expert on Putin’s moods and behavior, he has spent years studying the Kremlin’s plan regarding Ukraine, and here, in clear, chronological order he explains how we got here.

In 1996 to 2004, Ukraine became an independent post-Soviet country where everyone was connected to the former empire at all levels, financially, culturally, psychologically. However, the elite anticipated that the empire would be back and punish them. From 2004 to 2018, there were many states inside one state, each with its own rulers/oligarchs and its own interests—some of them directly connected with Russia. In 2018, a new generation of Ukrainians arrive, and having grown in an independent country, they do not consider themselves to be part of Russia—and that was the moment when the war began, as Putin could not tolerate losing Ukraine forever.

Authoritative, timely, and vitally important, this is an unique overview of the war that continues to threaten the future of the entire world as we know it.

About the Author

Mikhail Zygar worked for Newsweek Russia and the business daily Kommersant, covering the conflicts in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Serbia, and Kosovo before becoming founding editor in chief of Russia’s only independent news TV channel, Dozhd, which provided an alternative to Kremlin-controlled federal TV channels and gave a platform to opposition voices. He won the International Press Freedom Award in 2014. He is the author of All the Kremlin’s Men, a #1 bestseller in Russia that has been translated into over twenty languages and was called one of “nine books that can help you understand Russia right now” by Time magazine, and The Empire Must Die, a Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year.

About the Respondent

Daniel Treisman is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and Interim Director of the UCLA Center for European and Russian Studies. A graduate of Oxford University (B.A. Hons.) and Harvard University (Ph.D. 1995), he has published five books and numerous articles in leading political science and economics journals including The American Political Science Review and The American Economic Review, as well as in public affairs journals such as Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy. His latest book, co-authored with Sergei Guriev, Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century, was published by Princeton University Press in April 2022. The Return: Russia’s Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev (The Free Press, 2011) was one of the Financial Times’ “Best Political Books of 2011.”



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Duration: 01:26:06

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Transcript:

00:00:05:08 - 00:00:34:17

Unknown

Okay, let's get started. If people can tear themselves away from the refreshments. I'm Dan Treisman. I'm the interim director of the Center for European and Russian Studies. Thank you all for coming. I want to also thank the co-sponsors of this event, the Burkle Center, the political science department, and the Slavic Department. We are super excited to have Mikhail Zygar here.

00:00:34:17 - 00:01:11:20

Unknown

Mikhail Zygar, some of you know already, but for others, he's one of Russia's most distinguished journalists. He worked at Kommersant, one of the best papers early on and used to be yesterday. Okay. Well, definitely not today. Used to be. Used to be. Exactly. Newspapers in Russia have changed a lot, as you may know. He reported from various war zones for Kommersant in the Middle East and Iraq and in Serbia and Kosovo.

00:01:11:22 - 00:02:15:11

Unknown

But he also was a great reporter of Russian politics. He had remarkably good contacts in highest political circles. And I've been reading his reports since at least 2008. He had amazing information. So I would always go to a coming sun to come in some place to get the inside scoop from Mikhail. He won the International Press Freedom Awards in 2014, and after Kommersant, he was the editor in chief of the news TV station, endorsed or ran the only independent news TV station in Russia and then he wrote a great book about politics in Russia, which is in the English title called All the Kremlin's Men Strongly recommended to Understand the Rise of Putin.

00:02:15:12 - 00:02:59:12

Unknown

After that, he wrote a book called The The Empire Must Die, about the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. And his latest book, which we're going to talk about today. War and Punishment is the most authoritative account that I've read of how we ended up in the current war between Russia and Ukraine. So thank you, Mikhail, and and welcome. So the way I'm going to do it is we'll have initially we'll have a conversation or ask Mikhail some questions, and then about halfway through, we'll open it up for your questions and answers and for broader discussion.

00:02:59:14 - 00:03:28:01

Unknown

So thank you for having me. It's it's great to have you here. I'm very excited to get to talk about this amazing book. So, first of all, it's it's quite a personal book. It's a book about world politics, of course. But it's it's was obviously emotional. Writing it. The book starts with the with a confession of guilt. Right.

00:03:28:01 - 00:04:01:20

Unknown

So what do you what are you guilty of? No, actually, yeah, I started writing this book back in 2021, and that time I was I had an idea to write to write a book about. About Ukraine. As the new phenomena is completely dismissed as a country that is very different from any other ex-Soviet republic with with a completely different development and completely different achievements and completely different transformation all the society.

00:04:01:22 - 00:04:39:05

Unknown

So I traveled across Ukraine. I interviewed President Zelensky. That was 2021, and obviously everything changed after the beginning of the full scale invasion. I realized that I cannot and I don't have to write the book about Ukraine. I have to write a book about Russia. So so this book is a book about Russia, about Russian empire and that moment, February 24th, I realized that that I did not understand quite a lot.

00:04:39:09 - 00:05:16:17

Unknown

And I was really blind for for so many years. And not only me, I write here right in the introduction about collective responsibility of of Russian intellectuals, because we never paid attention to the dangers of Russian empire and to the ideal fresh and greatness that that brought us here. And it's it's so interesting that we have never paid attention to the fact that that traditional Russian historical narrative is actually propaganda.

00:05:16:22 - 00:05:47:20

Unknown

Unfortunately, most classical Russian historians, including Nikolai Karam's in, but he's the symbol of of Russian historiography. But he was the the official historiography of Emperor Alexander the first He was working for the state. And his his mission was not to write the the history of Russia. His mission was to write the propagandist imperial version needed by those in power.

00:05:48:01 - 00:06:34:01

Unknown

And that was the, the, the eternal tradition of, of Russian historiography, Soviet historiography. And we know that those in power that the leaders, the rulers of Russian empire have always been editing, if not writing, Russian history manually. We know that Ivan the Terrible was editing the Chronicles. We know that now. Peter, the first hired Phil Povich, who was Ukrainian thinker and and philosopher and brought him from Kiev and to start that tradition of of Russian history.

00:06:34:06 - 00:07:04:19

Unknown

And we we can end up with with Stalin who was writing and editing himself the Soviet version of of history. And I won't mention our not our the person who considers himself the president of Russia, who's obsessed with with history and who is who turns any his public speech into history lecture. And that's that that's a huge problem.

00:07:04:19 - 00:07:45:11

Unknown

We have never had the real history of Russian people. And even more, we have never had history of oppression of peoples which were occupied and suppressed by Russian Empire. And we have never been disturbed by that, by that fact. And I think that Russian authors missed the chance to address that issue back in in 1991 after the collapse of Soviet Union, because that was the the right time to start that conversation, to start creating anti-imperial historical narrative.

00:07:45:13 - 00:08:18:22

Unknown

That's a very hard issue. We know that the different empires have problems doing that. British Empire has started that conversation more than 100 years ago, and it's not super successful. But the but British historians are trying it's much less successful in France. They won't tell about other empires, but at least people are trying. The conversation exists. Unfortunately, we have never started that.

00:08:19:01 - 00:09:14:02

Unknown

That kind of conversation. After the collapse of Soviet Union, Russian historians and authors were so preoccupied with unveiling, uncovering the crimes of Bolshevism and and Stalin. So they absolutely overlooked Russian Empire as such. And I think it's right time. It's it's horrible that we we had to receive that wake up call. But it's the right time to to realize that we were guilty in in being guilty for being so blind and for turning a blind eye to all the arguments we would have heard from Ukrainians, from Belarusians, from from other peoples and it's right time to start the conversation about our past and about Russian history.

00:09:14:04 - 00:09:46:22

Unknown

And the first part of the book is really a beautiful historical description of the mythmaking in Russia's historiography. How a lot of people, most of them Russian, although one is of German origin, not the only ones, some of them maybe some more constructed stories about the Ukraine, the post of Ukrainian society, which just weren't true for one reason or another.

00:09:46:22 - 00:10:36:00

Unknown

They had different motives, it's beautifully told. And Mikhail's book, and obviously the historians don't come out of this very well from currency and through because of Chayefsky. They all sort of start from these propagandistic versions of history. But I was struck also that the great Russian writers also look rather bad, not just Dostoyevsky, but Pushkin. And even Joseph Brodsky has, you know, a horrible, violent, racist poem that was not widely published, but that expresses this kind of hate towards he was probably ashamed of it.

00:10:36:02 - 00:10:58:13

Unknown

So the fact that he has never he has never published it means that probably he was not proud of it. But yes, he he read it aloud at least twice. He read it aloud and he wrote it. And it's it's that's that's what it's quite hard to understand. So there's this also this not fully understood strain in the great Russian literature.

00:10:58:15 - 00:11:44:15

Unknown

And I had to wonder, were there any good guys? You mentioned one cultic of children, right? But with a writers who didn't embrace this kind of chauvinistic view of Ukraine and other subject peoples within the within the Russian Empire, you know, I would like to start it's it's you can do whatever you want. But I I'm trying to to get to use to not to to call not not to use the word great when I'm speaking about Russia, Russian culture, Russian language I think it's so it's okay to be just like Russian language, not great Russian literature, not great Russian literature.

00:11:44:17 - 00:12:21:21

Unknown

It's it's some of it is. It's okay in other parts. Yeah, it's okay. You know, I think that being it's it's very important to to be fair and truthful. It's very important to to read what classical Russian writers wrote. That doesn't mean that they have to be canceled. But we we must not create sacred cows. We must not pretend that they are saints.

00:12:21:23 - 00:13:05:08

Unknown

So some of them look obviously much better than others. Leo Tolstoy was pacifist and was like, you know, a couple of days ago when I was watching the probably the were the most impressive fascist event, a public event in Moscow that was called World Council of Russian People or something like that. Similarly, Rose Qui, not all this support and there was a really truly fascist speech by President Putin where he fought for the first time use the phrase millennial Russia.

00:13:05:10 - 00:13:35:09

Unknown

I have never heard such a phrase. It's millennial Russia. I have heard of Millennial Reich and that was the phrase used by Hitler in in 1944, 34 and after that, always used by propagandists. Now we have Millennial Russia. And after after him there was vice chairman of Russian State Duma, whose surname is is Tolstoy, and all of them Putin and and Petrarch.

00:13:35:10 - 00:14:14:16

Unknown

Kirill They were quoting Dostoyevsky a lot because yes, they can rely on Dostoyevsky and they they can be different quotations. But I think God, they that even even thought of Tolstoy didn't dare to quote his great grandfather because that would be pathetic. And obviously, yet there are a lot of decent personalities, not only Celtic, I, I use him as an example as the the the writer who was ridiculing the idea of Russian colonial empire.

00:14:14:21 - 00:14:51:23

Unknown

And for him that that was just really pathetic. But he's not the only one. So Chekhov or Turgenev, Chekhov is is known for he he was he wanted Russia to be defeated during the the Russo-Japanese War. That's this also also very well known he was not pro war writer but you know I don't think that we should create those black group and white group.

00:14:51:23 - 00:15:29:17

Unknown

We should check it carefully. And we have political issues and personal issues are important. They I don't think that they should be a substitute for our judgment of their literature. The fact that writers the Diary of of Dostoyevsky is a terrible work and the political views of of Dostoyevsky were rather fascist. And he did. He really wanted Constantinople to be conquered and to to become the the capital of Russia.

00:15:29:19 - 00:16:14:18

Unknown

That doesn't make each and every year his work. It is a terrible so but I think we should not be be afraid of of telling ourselves and of confessing that not all of them were were sane. Well, I hope that conversation will now really start. And it's a very it's yeah it's a very painful conversation and and you know it's it's not only about that what once we see monuments demolished in Ukraine, it has a completely different nature.

00:16:14:20 - 00:16:55:18

Unknown

It's important because Russian culture unfortunately Russian literature was used as a weapon was used as a tool to to suppress Ukrainian culture, Ukrainian literature. And it's it's completely different. Right. Thank you. Let's let's talk a bit about Putin, because this almost nobody who's watched him as closely as you have as a journalist over decades now and it's it's always, you know, from the outside, the big question is how do we how did Putin end up where he is today, though?

00:16:55:19 - 00:17:27:14

Unknown

He's always had a quite jingoistic view of Russia's destiny. He's always not believed in Ukraine's right to independence and so on, or even in the identity of of Ukraine and Ukrainians. But it takes him 22 years to get to where we are today, and it's 14 years before he invades Crimea. Then another eight til full scale war. So what was going on?

00:17:27:15 - 00:17:52:18

Unknown

Was he just preparing or did his thinking change? How is he changed? How how do you see that? It's a big debate which lots of people have their position on. I'm curious how you think he's changed if at all. You know, in in all of my books, I, I have the same the same idea that nothing is predetermined.

00:17:52:19 - 00:18:33:02

Unknown

I do not believe in determination. I do not believe that that we were doomed to have that bloody dictatorship. We were doomed to to have Putin forever. And that it was his initial plan to start that aggression against against Ukraine. I think I do think that it was was great, was great deal. I do believe that that he doesn't have a strategy and back in the seven years ago and in my book All the Kremlin's men I compared him to to surfer rather than to chess player.

00:18:33:06 - 00:19:31:20

Unknown

He he's not a chess player. He doesn't have a strategy. He's very quick to adjust to different circumstances. And and he he knows that he should not be dependent on the parliament, on the the public opinion polls. He can take decisions very quickly. And yes, the trajectory was very long. And we know that from the beginning. And I tell that very sophisticated story of how his his prejudice and how his knowledge of history, of Ukrainian history was shaped by, for example, fathers of his close friends, of two brothers and of first and Kim brothers, because two fathers of his closest friends were Soviet academicians, were members of of Soviet Academy of Science.

00:19:31:22 - 00:20:05:13

Unknown

Distinguished historians. And one of them, Academician Carl Shook. The senior was specialized in history of Sebastopol in Crimea, and another one, academician forcing the senior was the specialist on the history of the United States and CIA and conspiracies of of CIA against Soviet Union. So that's the full shape of of his approach to the domestic policy and international policy.

00:20:05:15 - 00:20:54:14

Unknown

But I think he was changing quite, quite quite rapidly from the beginning of his presidency. He was heard repeatedly saying during the meeting in Kremlin administration, the same the same phrase, we must do something about Ukraine, otherwise we're going to lose it. He knew that that Ukraine was important. The I think the first really important turning point and it's it's important not only in terms of Ukraine, it's it's really important in terms of Russia and how he changed was the Orange Revolution the moment when when he was really trying hard to he was campaigning in Ukraine as if it was his own presidential election.

00:20:54:16 - 00:21:29:17

Unknown

He was supporting candidate Viktor Yanukovych. He was touring in Ukraine. He spent a lot of effort and attention and money. He sent a bunch of very s, he thought, professional spin doctors to take care of that electoral campaign. And they were reporting that everything everything was fine. Everything was under control. I have that that story in my book because I remember it perfectly.

00:21:29:19 - 00:22:11:14

Unknown

It was, I would say, November 9th, 2004, and there was a reception in a house in the residency of American ambassador in Moscow reception, because that was the day of American presidential election. George W Bush against John Kerry, all Russian political elites was there. All the like many parliamentarians and all those political scientists, all those spin doctors who were supposed to be in Ukraine, but instead they they were in in the residency.

00:22:11:14 - 00:22:43:19

Unknown

And I remember one of them, who is also a grandson of this, just left Molotov Nikonov. Yes. He was standing with with a glass of whiskey and making a toast. And he said, look, it's them Americans. They have election today and they still don't know who is going to win. Is that a democracy? We are going to have an election in a week.

00:22:43:21 - 00:23:19:03

Unknown

He meant Ukraine and we already know who is going to win it. It's going to be our candidate, Viktor Yanukovich. So they were 100% sure that that everything was fine. It turned out not to be that well. Maidan started protesting and in the end Yanukovich lost, Yushchenko won, and all those people who were reporting that that is done, they could not they could not confess that they they failed it.

00:23:19:05 - 00:23:48:05

Unknown

They could not admit that they have just stolen most of the money allocated to that electoral campaign. So so they started explaining and they all the explanation was that, yes, we did everything we could, but Americans paid more. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We we answered it. We were very effective. But Americans were even more cunning, more shrewd, more effective.

00:23:48:05 - 00:24:36:02

Unknown

So they they paid for Yushchenko much more than we paid for Yanukovich. And that was the explanation he bought. That was he? That was the beginning, the starting point of his paranoia, because, yes, he really thought that Americans organized the Orange Revolution. And that's not about Ukraine. That was only a rehearsal of the next revolution in Russia. And unfortunately, George W Bush, who was elected that day, reelected that day during his inauguration speech, said that United States were going to support democracy and promote democracy and bring democracy to any authoritarian regime.

00:24:36:07 - 00:25:09:07

Unknown

As you United States did, that in Ukraine, Georgia, Iraq and Afghanistan. So that so Bush somehow confessed that, yes, he organized Orange Revolution in Ukraine and and Putin bought it as as well, he he thought that, yes, George W Bush was going to come and get him and drag out of camp, out of Kremlin. So he started preparation for him for defense.

00:25:09:09 - 00:25:54:04

Unknown

And that that was the beginning. And then if we if we track that, that path in in four years, in 2008, we we can remember the conversation between Bush and Putin and that happened in in during NATO's summit in Bucharest when Putin said that if Ukraine joins NATO, it will go to native without Crimea in the east. That's the first time when we hear him publicly threatening with with chopping off Crimea and eastern Ukraine from Ukraine.

00:25:54:04 - 00:26:20:16

Unknown

And then it was gradually the same trajectory. Right. Well, with that in mind, I have to ask, there's one explanation we hear a lot of in the West. I don't myself think it's very well founded. But some people argue later, Yes. That that if the West had not expanded NATO's to the extent it did, this wouldn't have happened.

00:26:20:16 - 00:26:29:12

Unknown

There wouldn't be a war in Ukraine. Russia wouldn't feel so threatened that it had to act aggressively.

00:26:29:14 - 00:26:58:09

Unknown

In the book, there's even a hint At one point, I think when you're talking about late 2021, where the Russian side makes these ridiculous demands, they have this draft treaty, which basically means, you know, kicking out all the new members of NATO, going back to the 1997 borders. It's not serious. But you describe that from the point of view of the the Russian insiders as being an attempt to open a conversation.

00:26:58:09 - 00:27:33:06

Unknown

And they thought they would get a promise not to expand NAITO any further. So it seemed, as I read it, that even then perhaps there was an opportunity to avoid the war if the West had acted differently. Do you think there's anything to this whole argument that, I mean, admittedly the West made mistakes, Who doesn't? But do you think that the West could have avoided the slide towards war with different policies and in particular not expanding NATO's the way we did?

00:27:33:07 - 00:28:04:03

Unknown

I think there was a possibility to avoid the war, but it was not about NATO. And I don't think that that NATO's is is important in NATO's. I think NATO's is that's propaganda for domestic use and for international use, but it's not the real reason. As we remember, Putin started his his political career proposing Russia to join NATO even before he was elected to president.

00:28:04:03 - 00:28:45:10

Unknown

That was March year, 2000. NATO's has always been used by salt, but back in Soviet Union, as a as a symbol of anti-Soviet aggression. But I don't think that I know that it's it's not it's not that serious. If something if something if there was something that that really changed Putin's attitude, these were the the revolutions in in different neighboring countries or in Arab countries.

00:28:45:12 - 00:29:30:00

Unknown

These each next revolution changed his perception. I mean, I mentioned Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Definitely assassination of Moammar Gadhafi and everything. What happened in Libya was the crucial turning point that that that made Putin really, really afraid and much more into western than he was before the real reason for for everything for all of his anti-Western rhetorics and politics, that's that's him being afraid for his power.

00:29:30:02 - 00:30:26:03

Unknown

So this war is is not it is not about is not about Ukraine. It's about Russia. It's that's his war to be to remain in power in Russia. And actually I think that the most when when I'm describing what was happening in in fall 2021. I think it the most the key issue was Putin's approach that that was the historical moment when he can guarantee his power and guarantee his only potential position in the world, because that was he thought that that was a unique opportunity when all the global leaders are weak and he's the strongest and he's the most experienced.

00:30:26:05 - 00:31:11:08

Unknown

And Angela merkel was gone and she was the last personality whom he was afraid of. After Americans left Afghanistan, he saw that Biden administration was just a joke and they they could not do anything. He was even worse. He had even worse opinion of French President Macron after all the negotiations they had last fall of 2021. So so he he saw no one capable, strong enough to have guts to confront him.

00:31:11:10 - 00:31:39:17

Unknown

Boris Johnson, Schulze, Macron, No. One. He thought that that that's a unique opportunity where he can he should ask for maximum and he's not opposed. So you think he was serious in that proposed treaty? No, No, I think. Or, you know, no, no. I think the way how it was delivered, it was it was clear that that he was not he was not waiting for any positive answer.

00:31:39:17 - 00:32:14:16

Unknown

He needed a pretext. He wanted to go to war, that he you know, he started talking of New Yalta many, many years ago. It was even before actually since his infamous Munich speech, he started speaking about new Yalta. He wanted it. And he still wants it to to sit together with American president and Xi Jinping and to divide the world and to create the new world order.

00:32:14:18 - 00:32:42:16

Unknown

And so yet that's that's his objective. He he didn't want to just to have a letter signed, you know, So he was not waiting for for some response. He he wanted to to start from scratch. So so actually the war he thought might have been an opportunity to break the previous world order and to start something. You. Okay.

00:32:42:18 - 00:33:14:19

Unknown

Let's talk about Zelensky. We've talked about Putin, but the book is has a really fascinating picture of Zelensky's rise as a comedian, as as the political situation is deteriorating as these tensions are rising with Russia. Meanwhile, Zelensky is becoming a pretty famous comedian and movie star. And that's all told in in Russia. In Russia, Yeah, as well as in Ukraine.

00:33:14:21 - 00:33:42:23

Unknown

So you've watched Zelensky closely. Have you seen him change and has has his behavior since the start of the war surprised you at all or it's it all seems very consistent. Let me disappoint you from the beginning. I you know, I, I'm Russian citizen, so I, I haven't been to Ukraine after the beginning of the full scale invasion.

00:33:42:23 - 00:34:10:06

Unknown

So. So I cannot I cannot judge what's happening with Zelensky after February 24th. But you've zoomed with it. But yeah, yeah, I talked to him via Zoom but, but I can, I can I was, I was talking to a lot of his childhood friends, your friends from Kiev in his business partners. And I think this story is is very important.

00:34:10:06 - 00:34:41:10

Unknown

It's not only a story of celebrity who grew up to be a statesman. That's for me. That's a very important story of transformation of Ukrainian society, because Zelensky is very is very symbolic because he was he was a comedian. And the way how his humor was changing is that's really remarkable. He was he started being a TV star on Russian television.

00:34:41:10 - 00:35:31:08

Unknown

Then then he decided to leave Moscow and and to go back to Kiev. And it's also very symbolic because he no, it was not it was not very frequent decision for for a TV celebrity to go back home. But that happened in a year 2003, 2000 for approximately the same time when when Orange Revolution started. So it was like this symbolic new new era for Ukraine and for a self-identification of self-perception of of Ukrainian society and the way how his humor, his humor was changing.

00:35:31:10 - 00:36:08:21

Unknown

I think it shows a lot about the the evolution of of Ukrainian society. And I, I think it's a very it's a very simplistic comparison. But I think it's it's very important that since since 1991, there were several generations of the leaders in Ukraine. The first the first generation was the communist generation. Two first presidents were prominent members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

00:36:08:23 - 00:36:41:14

Unknown

Then there was Komsomol generation, because next of politicians, they were prominent members of the Youth Communist League of of Soviet Union. And Zelensky is the first generation who didn't have any Soviet background. He was just he was in school in Soviet period. In most of his life. He spent after 1991. He he is he's a citizen of independent Ukraine.

00:36:41:14 - 00:37:25:02

Unknown

He doesn't have that colonial legacy. He doesn't have that Soviet background. And he is a very symbolic representative of the society because most Ukrainians feel that way. And here we can compare it to Russia, where we have the first communist generations still in power. Nothing changed. And yes, I think it's important. I, I think that a lot has changed during this during the war the last 21 months.

00:37:25:04 - 00:37:55:12

Unknown

But I think that there is another work that is going to be released next next January. A friend of mine, the journalist from the time magazine, Simon Schuster, who spent a year very close to to President Zelensky and his book called Showman, tells exactly about this year of of President Zelensky. It could be considered a sequel of my book and.

00:37:55:14 - 00:38:58:02

Unknown

Okay, one last question and then we'll open it up to the audience. Well, are you still able to talk to the people in the Kremlin, high sources, and if so, how are they doing? What's what's the thinking in the Kremlin? Are they still consolidated behind the war? Are the cracks emerging? What's the mood? You know, actually, I was surprised when I realized that after I left Russia, a lot of people were still willing to talk to me because I realized that a lot of them a lot of people need a priest, a therapist, someone they could confess to and someone they could someone to to ease their their consciousness, probably because, yeah, they they could

00:38:58:02 - 00:39:27:22

Unknown

not speak out against the war publicly, but they just made it a weakness that they, they, they are not accomplices or at least they do not consider themselves to be accomplices and I started talking to more people I used to do during the previous five years because, you know, after I after I wrote All the Crimes men, I was so fed up with that kitchen.

00:39:27:22 - 00:39:57:13

Unknown

So I decided not to write about Putin. Never. Yeah, I was wrong. I had I had to be back. I had to just start picking up the phone and I started talking to all those people. And obviously the people whom I'm talking to, they are not. That's the specific type of of sources. I don't have sources in FSB, for example.

00:39:57:13 - 00:40:31:18

Unknown

I don't have sources among warmongers. I have sources among among people who are who were shocked, who were devastated during the first months of the war. They they lost their dreams. They lost the perspective, the image of the future. They have lost everything they were hoping for. And so so they they were really miserable. And they expected the catastrophe to be to be inevitable.

00:40:31:20 - 00:41:03:20

Unknown

They they were literally telling me that we thought that he's lucky. And we we have always known that he's lucky and he's always able to get away with anything. But enough is enough. This time. He's not going to get away with it. So that's that's his fatal mistake. And what has to happen now? They say again, he's going to get away with it.

00:41:03:22 - 00:41:43:04

Unknown

They they changed their perception. They they were sure that catastrophe is inevitable. Now they say, no, no, no catastrophe. It's fine. He's he's fine again. He's he's going to get away with it. They they changed their attitude completely. They say that the regime is more stable than it was before the the beginning of aggression. They are still really worried because most people I'm talking to the they they are do not support the war.

00:41:43:04 - 00:42:15:23

Unknown

They want they want changes. And they are really pessimistic because they don't see any possibilities. They see that it's he's very they they they they can they can talk a lot about how rich Moscow is. They can talk a lot about sanctions that are not working. They they say that Moscow is the the best. That's like much more comfortable then than it used to be.

00:42:16:01 - 00:42:58:04

Unknown

And that makes them a bit sad, but but very happy. On that note, let's open up to questions from the audience now. Somebody has a mike, right? Okay. The mike is coming. Just raise your hand. Yeah. Thank you so much. So I have a couple of questions. Actually, my name is Marianna. So first of all, when we are talking about this point, like we we've never seen this imperial narrative in the academia or like we are who in the intelligentsia or whatever.

00:42:58:04 - 00:43:39:17

Unknown

But actually, if I can just read works of regional scholars from equity or money or even Korea, we can see clearly that we have actually they do have these anti-imperial narrative and they are talking about this escalation like in the about the problems of his policies. And moreover, maybe, you know, this initiative agents of Russia. So now they are quite big after invasion and their institution is institutionalized but at the same time they are doing it like I believe more than 20 years.

00:43:39:19 - 00:44:12:08

Unknown

So maybe the problem is somewhere else. Maybe we were ignorant about it all. This begins in our academic context and we've never paid attention to these people who actually who are doing this all this time. So first question and the second question is about the notion of unipolar world. So can you comment on the genesis of this idea, input of speech and EMU versus.

00:44:12:10 - 00:45:05:16

Unknown

Thank you so much. Excuse me. They said the second question is the first question, then the second. So, yes, you genesis of of unipolar world for Putin. Yes, for Putin, you mean. Yeah. That's that's some who invented that that idea or what. What event. Something like that. Yes. You know I don't know that that's, that has that has been I guess that was the I'll start with the second one from the beginning of nineties from back during Yeltsin's presidency.

00:45:05:16 - 00:45:48:20

Unknown

That was Alexander Baranov probably most favorite idea and the the fascist newspaper also was after Tomorrow was from the beginning blaming President Yeltsin for betraying Russia's interests and to be the servant of unipolar world. So I guess that that started in the early nineties in somewhere in the Communist Party or probably in in Prague newspaper, because Baranov was the the grandfather of all the terms of of today's propaganda.

00:45:48:22 - 00:46:24:21

Unknown

And and well, your first question you are absolutely right that's that's exactly what I've said. Yes. I think we are responsible for not paying attention to other peoples. We were we were not careful we were not listening to histories of peoples occupied by Russia. It was it was it has never been part of mainstream. Anything that was written in in in right here or Tatarstan or, you know, even.

00:46:24:23 - 00:47:00:01

Unknown

But I mean, it's it's important because that's that's part of the DNA of Russian history. For example, Golden Horde has always been considered to be the Russia's biggest enemy. And it's it's still it's still described like that in in Russian history textbooks, but like 100%, almost 100% of the territory of gold. The port is the territory of Russian Federation.

00:47:00:03 - 00:47:42:08

Unknown

So and actually current citizens of Russia are descendants of those people who lives in gold port and the capital of gold. The court was located not far from Russian city of Astrakhan. So it's like, how come how can we call it enemy of Russian people if it's like it's also today's Russian Federation? And yes, the whole perception of the whole Moscow centered or Moscow and St Petersburg centered point of view of of Russian history or even more obsession with with the Empress czars and Secretary-General.

00:47:42:12 - 00:48:23:06

Unknown

That's that's the biggest mistake not not mistake That's, that was deliberate. We don't have anything about the people. We have only about the rulers. And yes, the we but I still think that we are only in the beginning of that process to integrate historical narratives of of create your culture, other other peoples into huge combination of historical narratives of of Russia.

00:48:23:09 - 00:49:03:11

Unknown

And we are just in the beginning, I was last week participating in the conference in Philadelphia, and there were several panels about the the new approaches to to regional histories of of peoples occupied by Russian Empire. It's it's just the beginning. You know, we have there were a lot of very fascinating works have been written during the last couple of decades but it's it's not unfortunately it's not systematic.

00:49:03:12 - 00:49:42:18

Unknown

Yeah. So my point, I think we have to move on to another person because many people have their hands up so we can come back to this if there's time. Hello. I would like to ask you, Mikhail, in your perspective, considering the cultural, historical, political context of Russia, was there at any time a realistic way for Russia to transition to a more democratic governance mode?

00:49:42:20 - 00:50:38:20

Unknown

Thank you. I think definitely, yes. As I as I said, I strongly believe that there is no historical determination and people's do not have a certain destiny. And we have we have Korean people who prove that nothing is predetermined and there is no national political character. And for example, I guess for Russia, there was a huge chance in nineties, right after the collapse of Soviet Union, and unfortunately, everything literally everything was done so wrong because we cannot imagine American founding fathers to act like founding fathers of Russian Federation acted.

00:50:38:22 - 00:51:22:10

Unknown

People should at least try to practice what they preach. People should at least try to not only to speak about democracy, but try to fulfill the democratic principles. They should respect the election. They should they should respect the the rule of law if they should try to to create some kind of respect towards private property. Because loans for shares auctions in in 1995 completely destroyed one institution.

00:51:22:12 - 00:52:19:18

Unknown

Shameful presidential election of 1996 destroyed such institute as free press and such institute as election. I'm not mentioning 1993. It's it's more complex issue but but but I think everything was was done really wrong in in nineties and and the chances were were much better than probably in in 1917 when when the provisional government took power from from Nicolas the second old although chances existed that time as well 448 months Russia was trying to become a democratic republic as well.

00:52:19:20 - 00:52:45:04

Unknown

Hi. According to some media narratives, I believe in the beginning when Putin was elected, he tried to democratic dialog with the West, but apparently the West did not take him seriously and therefore he fell back to communist dictatorship. How true is that narrative? Is that true? And another question is, what are the the rumors that Putin is not keeping good health?

00:52:45:07 - 00:53:12:10

Unknown

I mean, I've been reading for the last year that he might be kind of hitting the bucket any time, and that has not happened. So I just wanted your opinion on that. Thank you. I'll start with the second question. I bet you have never heard of Professor Salami, but that's a very, very popular Russian blogger. Or he calls himself to be a political scientist.

00:53:12:12 - 00:53:39:15

Unknown

And he he's got a blog and he claims that that Putin is that and that he died October 26 this year. And he's now his corpse is now in a fridge in his residency in Valdai. I must say that that's some kind of parallel universe because according to these parallel universe, Prigozhin is alive and he's in Venezuela. And I am.

00:53:39:15 - 00:54:13:00

Unknown

I'm expecting. When is he going to travel back to Russia and to become a president instead of that? But that's that's insane. Yes. Unfortunately, President Putin is healthy. I can tell you another very sad anecdote. Recently, I had a conversation with a very height with former high ranking Kremlin official. And let me tell you what he told me.

00:54:13:01 - 00:55:04:11

Unknown

He was saying like, look, you're you are now in America right? Look, President Carter, he's 100 years old. Henry Kissinger, we were talking what Henry Kissinger was the left. He's also 100 years. Do you understand that they have never taken care of their health so much as President Putin does? He's got so, so many doctors. He's paying that much attention to remain healthy, that he's probably going to live till till the moment when he's 100 years, probably he's going to be a little insane that moment.

00:55:04:11 - 00:55:40:18

Unknown

But we won't notice that, which means that it seems for us that he's he he has been there forever and he's been there for 20 years only. And which means that he's got 30 more years. So we are just in the beginning. That's not my joke. That's a joke of very important historical character. Yeah. Speaking about your first question, I, I consider that that picture to be too simplistic.

00:55:40:20 - 00:56:25:11

Unknown

But yes, definitely. Putin wanted to make friends with with Tony Blair and George W Bush. He wanted to be really close to them. He wanted to be part of the gang. That doesn't mean that he wanted he wanted Russia to be democracy at the same time, because while he was trying to make friends with with Europeans and Americans, he there was Yukos case in Russia and there was war in Chechnya and there were several TV channels destroyed.

00:56:25:13 - 00:57:15:18

Unknown

So it was from the beginning he was playing very complicated game. He wanted to look nice for for his European and American friends. But he he wanted to be oh, I don't know. So we we we were not calling we didn't call him. He a dictator at that time. We most of us did not believe that that it was him and FSB in charge of blowing up houses in Moscow back in 1999 and at nine before he was elected the president.

00:57:15:20 - 00:57:39:10

Unknown

As for now, I think there is some kind of consensus between independent Russian journalists that he he's to blame for that. So I guess that it was not because of because because of Tony Blair and George W Bush didn't want to make friends with him. I think something wrong was from the beginning. And, you know, I distrusted him from from the beginning.

00:57:39:10 - 00:58:14:21

Unknown

So I guess it was I, I don't think that that that catastrophe, as we witnessed now was predetermined. But from the beginning it was it was very bad scenario. Gary, I'm long time long time alumni of UCLA. So my questions are, I know you don't have a crystal ball, but what do you think the effect on Ukraine would be if the United States doesn't provide military aid and due process?

00:58:14:23 - 00:58:29:17

Unknown

And secondly, what do you see as the long term effect of the future of Ukraine long term? Is it going to survive?

00:58:29:18 - 00:59:06:07

Unknown

You know, that's that's a very, very complicated question. I don't know. I know that I remember that probably a year ago when I was when I was speaking in in some American audience. And I was asked, what's Putin strategy? That was the first time when said that he thinks that the timing is on his side and he doesn't have to do anything but wait till Donald Trump comes back to the White House.

00:59:06:09 - 00:59:36:10

Unknown

That's it. Now, I think that that Putin is is even more lucky because he doesn't even have to wait for that. The situation is much better. He wanted the international support for Ukraine to be on decline, and he was hoping that it would be Donald Trump to stop it. And he doesn't need even Donald Trump. American support of international support is on decline.

00:59:36:12 - 01:00:04:11

Unknown

That's a very bad news. That's very, very bad news for all of us. I guess that's very, very bad news for for for Ukraine, for Russian people, for American people. I think it's because he doesn't need he doesn't need truth. He doesn't need peace. He he needs he needs war. He didn't start this war to have new territory.

01:00:04:13 - 01:00:35:14

Unknown

He started this war. He because he wanted war. So he is going to continue the war. I've never been so pessimistic before. But I guess that if if if it's solar, if it's over now, there is a possibility that that he's going to start something he knows in Kazakhstan, there is always a possibility. At the same time, I don't know.

01:00:35:16 - 01:01:10:14

Unknown

But some of my sources claim that there is some kind of mystic approach to talk to Lavrov, to Kiev, because clever of the main sacred monster in Kiev that Putin has a very special perception of that place and he wants it to be to be Russian. So I do not exclude that in a year or two there could be another strike and another attempt to take Kiev.

01:01:10:14 - 01:01:42:09

Unknown

So the situation is might be worse than it is now. Yeah, I think it's realistic. Do you think there is a Chinese belief that the a wounded dog is better than a deadline? And I'm trying to understand the Russian culture. Do you believe that a individual internally can emerge to be the line to lead Russia out of a Putin era?

01:01:42:11 - 01:02:16:00

Unknown

Who An individual, an individual individual, a group? Do you believe that the solution or the answer we most of the discussions have been about how to deal with the current situation. But is there a line or will Russia just remain a wounded dog? You know, I do believe that that anyone who comes after Putin will be better.

01:02:16:02 - 01:02:44:18

Unknown

It's hard for me to to compare it to anyone, to duck or to the lion. I think, by the way, that it was a huge mistake. If we were talking about some mistakes of the West. So I guess that that the biggest mistake of the West in the nineties was to to consider Russia a dead bear. So the bear is dead.

01:02:44:18 - 01:03:26:19

Unknown

So we don't we don't have to care about it. Just forget it. Let the corpse rotten. And I think that was that was unwise decision probably some and that's the favorite of several people I know who used to be members of the first liberal Gaidar government. They, they are still complaining that if only there was some kind of Marshall Plan, if only the West really supported, supported Russia, probably the the reaction could have been avoided.

01:03:26:21 - 01:04:12:21

Unknown

And it's hard for me to predict what was going to happen because it depends on time. I think we see how Russia is changing psychologically. I have seen it during the last two years. The Russian people who were who were mostly shocked last year have different emotions right now. And next year they are going to change. And so so what's how what would be the face of that Russian society when when Putin is gone?

01:04:12:23 - 01:04:50:09

Unknown

It depends. I you know, I always I've got a method how to check them. It's no scientific it seems like it's impossible to check average temperature in the hospital. But I always watch which movies and which serious which which TV shows are the most popular in the country. And that usually is a very good symptom of the psychological society in the country.

01:04:50:11 - 01:05:21:09

Unknown

And it was very important that a year ago there was a record breaking blockbuster in Russian cinema theaters. That was a fairytale and nostalgic, say, retail, called Chiba Russia. It was based on Soviet cartoon, as you know, in Hollywood. They they make movies based on old cartoons, like there was cartoon about Little Mermaid and now there is a movie about Little Mermaid.

01:05:21:14 - 01:05:56:19

Unknown

So there was Soviet cartoon about Tchibo Russia. And now they made a movie about Russia. And that is the record breaking Russian made blockbuster. It earned more money than Avatar and more money than any any movie to be in Russian theaters ever. And it was really symbolic because it shows that most how Russian society felt a year ago, They were totally devastated.

01:05:56:21 - 01:06:29:01

Unknown

They were confused. They were afraid. They didn't want to decide. They wanted to hide under the bed. They wanted to be kids again. They wanted mum to come in to hug them. And that was like and just two days ago I realized that that that era is over. And if and it's not very correct comparison, but now we have another hit.

01:06:29:03 - 01:07:16:03

Unknown

It's not a movie, it's a TV show, but it's the biggest thing in Russian mass culture. It's the most popular TV show on Russian streaming platform. Everyone is discussing it. It's it's being shown, right these these weeks. It's called dudes word slow but summer and that's that's a serious about the the criminal gangs of late eighties about very cruel organized crime youth organized crime with a lot of blood with schoolchildren killing each other.

01:07:16:05 - 01:07:59:23

Unknown

It's it's also about the childhood like terrible Russia but it's another childhood children learning how to be cruel, children learning how to how to how to beat, how to bite how to torture. It's a very the the serious itself is is not it's Russian problem and terrorists are trying to to ban that show because they they blame it for glorifying violence and so on.

01:08:00:02 - 01:08:28:02

Unknown

Obviously it's not the the TV series that is glorifying violence TV series is on the contrary it's it's warning about the the insane situation in Russian society and it's a symptom. So it's obviously the the state propaganda that is glorifying violence and and growing hatred in the society. But it's a very important symptom of what's happening with the society.

01:08:28:04 - 01:09:09:20

Unknown

I, I have two questions. Quick First one, what is your assessment of the back end relationship between Trump and his cronies and Putin? And number two, is the Russians in diaspora like yourself? Is that are you guys of any force or any sort of a group that can influence the Russian psyche or anything about this war? No, I don't have any particular surprising information about relationships between Trump and Putin.

01:09:09:22 - 01:09:50:18

Unknown

And it's funny, but I believe there was no collusion because everything we have heard and everything we have seen and all the people we have watched being considered to be the the mediators. It's not serious. If we're speaking about Russian diaspora. There are several Russian diasporas, several waves of Russian immigrations of Russian immigration, which are very different. I spend a year and a half in in Germany, and it's especially visible.

01:09:50:18 - 01:10:18:05

Unknown

How different are those Russian speaking people who left Russia decades ago and who used to live in Germany for for several years, And the new wave of Russian immigration because the the previous wave is very pro-Putin. They they have been watching Russian propaganda for record for many years. And they obviously some of them, a lot of them support the war.

01:10:18:07 - 01:10:58:22

Unknown

And they they love Putin. They criticize European Union and European European decay. And it's it's really weird. The new wave, all those people who left last year, they are 100% opposite. They they are very anti-Putin. And and they they are they are important because we have Russian independent media operate 100% of Russian oil, independent media operating from abroad.

01:10:59:00 - 01:11:40:12

Unknown

It's important because it's the media is the only institution that connects different Russian communities. It's all those Russians who are in Russia. A lot of them at least consume the content produced in Berlin, Amsterdam and Vilnius. At least we know that from ten to to 20% of of people living in Russia, they regularly watch and read the content of those independent media.

01:11:40:12 - 01:12:17:07

Unknown

So it's it's it's quite a lot. It's very it's maybe not majority, but I think that's that's very impressive that up to 20% of of Russians who live inside the country they are still willing to torture themselves with reminding of the horrors of these bloody war that that that needs some some kind of, I don't know, masochism to to keep watching to keep following.

01:12:17:09 - 01:12:56:17

Unknown

I don't know. Let's let's let's imagine Nazi Germany in in 1943 and let's imagine that there is Internet and there is a possibility for Germans to have online updates about the number of Jews exterminated in concentration camps. How many people would would be willing to to read it on a daily basis, How many people have been killed today?

01:12:56:19 - 01:13:22:04

Unknown

How or in how many how many people will choose not not to notice it. As we know, a lot of people in Germany didn't watch. They didn't see the smoke. They didn't see the the fence. They didn't they they haven't noticed. Where have all the Jews gone? As many people in Russia today prefer not to read, not to know, not to pay attention.

01:13:22:06 - 01:13:52:07

Unknown

I think it's the same everyone. I do not believe that that Russians don't know what's happening. I do not believe that that that Russians, by propaganda, know everything. Everyone knows everything. I think most people understand what's really happening. Most people understand that that's that Russia invaded Ukraine. Everyone knows that who is to blame and who is bad, who is who is victim.

01:13:52:09 - 01:14:53:02

Unknown

But it's it's hard to leave your everyday life to, to feed your kids, to go to work, to go to the restaurant and to to watch all those news. So, so many people prefer to turn. I so I think that that Russian diaspora abroad, Russian independent media are really important because create that content that is consumed by ultra Russia and in Russia as well up to 20% of of Russian population watch it on a daily basis at least so and and that's the only institution that that connects all different parts of Russian society globally.

01:14:53:04 - 01:15:26:16

Unknown

Yeah. This is just a brief question. It's about Mr. Bush events. Who has been held for several months, I believe, in a Russian jail. Do you think it's actually being held that's to organize, swap with somebody else, just like they did with the the basketball player? I'm 100% sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think that that kind of exchange is planned for the next president.

01:15:26:18 - 01:16:02:12

Unknown

Yeah. Oh, okay. As as as it happened with time for an embassy. Yes. Okay. In your opinion, knowing how it is going now, what does more probable scenario for this war to end? Will it be decisive Ukrainian victory on the battlefield and consequential restoration of Ukraine integrity, or will it be a dismantling of Putin's regime in Russia and withdrawal of troops afterwards?

01:16:02:14 - 01:16:37:14

Unknown

I would prefer the first, but I think it's less realistic, unfortunately, because the the steady international support is needed for that and I think much more is needed for that. I think the the the war fatigue is is obvious. And when, you know that that it's hard for Ukrainians as well to to to continue that. So I, I would prefer the first scenario I but I think that the second is more realistic.

01:16:37:16 - 01:17:05:08

Unknown

Yes thank you. I was wondering, you know, there's been this campaign against LBGTQ people that's really ramped up recently. So what do you think that's about? Why is that happening? And what is Putin's goal in that? MM You know, I've written a lot recently about that and I thought a lot about that. I should be very, very quick probably.

01:17:05:10 - 01:17:46:07

Unknown

Otherwise I'll be talking for an hour. You know, I think the most important, the most important phenomena is the generation gap, because Russian older generation of Russians is very homophobic and it's very easy. It's clear why it happened because prison subculture was the most important subculture in Soviet Union. There was a joke that that in Soviet Union, half of the population were prisoners and half of the population were prison guards.

01:17:46:09 - 01:18:33:08

Unknown

It's a joke, but that but psychologically, gulag was was known was familiar to anyone. Stories about about prison songs about prison. That mentality was very clear. So according to to prison mentality, the man who is raped becomes untouchable, like untouchable in India. That's that's the worst kind of humiliation that that you can imagine. So and that's this that was the same perception of of gay people in Soviet Union because of that prison gulag prejudice.

01:18:33:10 - 01:19:11:16

Unknown

And that's the stereotype that was shared by majority of of Soviet citizens. I think that the gap lies not on the 1991. It it's all over. It was over not after the Soviet Union collapsed, but after the first the first Internet generation turned up because the new generations of Russians, they were not brought up by the the the hooligans from the troubled neighborhoods, but by by some random people on Internet.

01:19:11:18 - 01:19:48:01

Unknown

And the current generation is is raised by TikTok and Instagram by by some by some people. They they choose as their role models, but not by and by and the guys with the prison experience with the prison background. So the new generation is one is is the new generation shares the same values as anyone, any teenagers or people in their twenties, for example, in America or in Europe.

01:19:48:03 - 01:20:33:17

Unknown

And according to all statistics, Russians like majority or over 60, like the latest Levada Center poll, Russians younger than 25 over 60% think that that LGBT people should have the same rights as anyone else. So the majority of young Russians are for same sex marriage example. But if we take 55 plus only 20, 20, 25% consider that LGBT people should should have any rights.

01:20:33:19 - 01:21:28:11

Unknown

So that's completely two completely different Russian people's. Soviet people have their stereotype ticked off. Russians Have I? I don't want to it's I mean I mean only good. Look who they in Russia they're called hipsters. Hipsters are very humane in in these terms. So I guess that by marginalizing LGBT Putin is trying to to fight not to fight to suppress to psychological is suppress the most generation because obviously they are much more fearless.

01:21:28:13 - 01:22:03:13

Unknown

They don't have that Soviet stereotypes. They have Soviet prejudice. They they are not they not watching television. They are free from propaganda. So they don't have the in the gulag. Yeah. In their minds and souls. So so that's that's the idea to bring gulag back to make them fear. That's the philosophical I guess goal of of this campaign.

01:22:03:15 - 01:22:17:14

Unknown

Time for one more quick question.

01:22:17:16 - 01:22:53:10

Unknown

How long do you believe an embargo against Russia by the United States has to last and our for it? How big an impact on the Russian government and how do you compare it to the previous embargo declines we've had against the Soviet Union? Unfortunately, it's impossible to compare anything what's happening right now to anything what was happening during Soviet Union, because current Russia is not Soviet Union, was choking without Western technologies and Russia doesn't need Western technologies because it has Chinese technologies.

01:22:53:12 - 01:23:50:15

Unknown

So in terms of global embargo, there is no global embargo. Russia is able to sell its oil and gas to India and China and even to European countries via third parties like Turkey or Egypt. That has become a huge oil exporter last year. So I guess it's the only real probably I'm I am more simplistic than that. I showed the only real problem heard of are the planes because like, yeah, Chinese China cannot help Russia with with airplanes so probably in in a couple of years Russians won't be able to fly because Boeing and Airbus are not cooperating.

01:23:50:15 - 01:24:33:05

Unknown

So that's the real embargo. And as I've mentioned, Putin from the beginning was sure that any sanctions are temporary from the beginning. He hoped it's going to be over. Last year, I've heard from from many Russian businessmen very bold predictions that it's going to be forgotten soon. Come on. Come on. They said it's going to be over. Yeah, it's sanctions are going to last year or two years.

01:24:33:05 - 01:25:10:04

Unknown

And then every everyone will forget everything I do, I, I was, I was outraged. I just, I was so, I was so mad when I heard that. So I thought that that that person was was dumb. It was really stupid that he didn't understand anything that could not be like that. It looks like he was not that dumb and I was not that clever as I thought.

01:25:10:06 - 01:25:55:03

Unknown

But still, I hope that the sanctions are not going to be lifted while while this war continues and this war is going to continue while he's alive. I know that. So I hope that only the end of the war and so several more conditions are to be the conditions to talk about the end of sanctions. Well, we're out of time, so go out and buy Mikhail's book, order it on Amazon.

01:25:55:05 - 01:26:03:05

Unknown

It's great. And thank you for coming. Thank you, Mikhail, for some incredible insights. And thank you, Dale. Thank you for coming coming.


Duration: 01:26:06

20231206_CERS_MikhailZygar_1-iq-ckb.mp3