A decade ago Andrei Navrozov warned that the liberalization of the Soviet
Union was sponsored by the KGB. He also noted that the KGB was not the tooth
fairy. The Russian press, he said, was purposely allowed to concentrate on
the “internal failures” of the Russian economy, which had been in a state of
collapse since 1917, “just as the Soviet strategic infrastructure has
prospered since 1917.”
Navrozov also wrote about the “transfer of science and technology” from
the West to Russia. He said that this transfer would be intensified “in the
coming days of the pan-Eurasian NEP when totalitarianism puts on a capitalist
face. …” He said that this process would make Russia’s superiority
“irreversible” as “the lines separating Eastern and Western Europe will
finally become as meaningless as constitutional guarantees … in a world of
naked and irrefutable force.”
Those who mocked Navrozov as a “conspiracy theorist” now have some
apologies to make. Navrozov was clearly prescient while his critics were
blind and stupid. In the 1920s Lenin and his followers fooled with
a return to capitalism, then called NEP (New Economic Policy). The NEP men
of the 1990s, like the NEP men of Lenin’s 1920s capitalist adventure, were
fattened under the bright sunshine of glasnost and perestroika. Now they are
coming under arrest. Tycoons like Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky
have served their purpose, just as the NEP men of the 1920s served theirs.
The music of Stalin’s anthem has returned, as many of us knew it would. Yes,
it has new words that mention God, but who is to say these new words will be
sung by the soldiers and sailors of Russia’s new war machine? The old words
are what most come to mind. The new words, with the old music, may never
And perhaps that is the intention.
The pale optimists of the West are yet afraid to face the truth. It is a
truth that writers like Navrozov tried to warn them of a decade ago. But
fools will never accept fair warning in advance. And besides, too many
well-foddered, famous wise ones built their punditry on illusory good news.
First there was Gorbachev’s perestroika. Then there was the collapse of
communism and the “peace dividend.” The markets went up and up, the
capitalists rubbed their hands in glee as the U.S. military got Bill Clinton
as commander-in-chief. Our strategists without strategic sense, gloating
over their unexpected and unearned Cold War victory, removed our tactical
nuclear weapons from America’s ground forces. At the same time, they gave
billions to Russia, allowing supercomputers and other technology to flow
But now the Kremlin’s liberal farce is nearing its logical end. As any
child can see, a KGB officer is president of Russia, the Duma has moved to
block future privatizations while businesses in private hands are reverting
to state control.
As for human rights in Russia, public order is yet maintained by
Bolshevik methods. Torture is the main investigative tool of the Russian
police; the courts are ineffective, the security services are all powerful.
People have freedom of speech in Russia, but even this is ultimately
equivocal. Journalists keep dying under strange circumstances in that
unfortunate country. And who knows how many will be arrested in a future
While Americans have been shopping under a regime of market hedonism,
Russia has been preparing its population and armed forces for a future
conflict, laying the foundations for a modernized war machine and a new
alliance bloc. In addition, Russia has been carefully deploying its forces,
violating treaty commitments in the process.
In recent days the Washington Times, Reuters and the Associated Press
have reported that Russia has secretly moved tactical nuclear weapons into
Kaliningrad, a base complex located on the Baltic Sea (outside of Russia
itself). This movement took place over the last six months, in direct
violation of understandings and agreements that effectively ended the Cold
War in the early 1990s.
The danger in Russia’s move should be obvious. The United States Army
destroyed its tactical nuclear weapons in the 1990s. The U.S. Navy has also
done away with its tactical nuclear warheads. But the Russians did not
follow suit. Claiming poverty, they stashed between 15,000 and 30,000
tactical nuclear weapons in storage, and now they are retrieving what has
been stored. On the American side, there is nothing in storage to respond
It now appears the strategy of Soviet collapse was very simple. The
Soviet empire was disassembled with rapid reassembly in mind. Now that the
reassembly has begun, the West is stunned and cannot effectively counter a
whole series of Russian moves.
According to Pentagon officials, the Russian transfer of nukes to
Kaliningrad was detected in June, 2000. The Clinton administration has
therefore known about this for months (and has done nothing). On Thursday
the U.S. State Department said it would soon raise the Kaliningrad issue with
the Russians. But as Bill Gertz of the Washington Times pointed out, the
State Department spokesman’s remarks “are a sign the administration has not
raised the matter with Moscow during arms control talks in the past six
Some readers will be shocked, but they shouldn’t be. This has been the
pattern of the Clinton administration from Day One. It was also evident, to
some degree, in the previous Bush administration. We have passed through a
decade of strategic errors and blunders.
Predictably, if there isn’t a new consciousness in this country, and a
new resolve to address emerging strategic imbalances, we’re going to be in
serious trouble. The delusions of the past decade will not defend the United
States in the next. Russia has now acquired definite military advantages.
Consider Russia’s newfound superiority in military technology, long
masked by stories of a defunct and undersupplied military. Last Wednesday
Russia’s press offered further details regarding the Kremlin’s new stealth
technology (which allows military aircraft to escape radar detection).
According to Itar-Tass, the new stealth capability relies on a plasma field
which surrounds combat aircraft and absorbs electromagnetic waves.
The West has largely ignored reports of new and advanced Russian weapons.
This column has already discussed Russia’s new fuel air grenade, which can
give a single Russian soldier the firepower of a howitzer. In terms of air
weapons, the United States Air Force has delayed purchasing the F-22, but the
supposedly underfunded Russian Air Force has tested its new SU-35UB with its
super-cruise and stealth capabilities. We should also mention the Dec. 26
deployment of a third regiment of mobile ICBMs in Russia. These are widely
acknowledged as the world’s most sophisticated nuclear missiles.
But not to worry. We are told that Russia is a poor country. It is
therefore not a threat. The Russians, after all, have no money to attack us
with. They cannot bombard us effectively with 10-dollar bills. They cannot
overcome our nonexistent missile defenses with fives and ones. As everyone
knows, it doesn’t matter how many nuclear weapons you have. It only matters
how many malls and shops you have, especially if they’re filled with
communist Chinese trinkets.
On the other hand, what if Russia’s financial debt — Russia’s lack of
money — is itself an opportunity for bombardment?
On Thursday it was reported that Russia defaulted on its debt of $48
billion (owed to the Paris Club of sovereign creditors). This default was
announced even though Russia’s economy is booming — even though Russia’s
international currency reserves are at record high levels. Previous Russian
defaults were due to financial problems in Russia. This present default has
no financial explanation.
Perhaps there is a strategic explanation.
Another Russian move that should cause us to worry has to do with the
Russian Navy. On Dec. 28 Adm. Vladimir Kuroyedov announced he was going to
mount a massive naval deployment in 2001. “It is time for our ships to move
away from the pier,” he said. Without offering any explanation, Kuroyedov
said that Russia would soon deploy surface ships to the Atlantic and Indian
Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea.
Andrei Navrozov, whom I quoted at the beginning of this column, blamed the
Western press for failing to understand where Russia was going with glasnost
and perestroika. He said that our best Western experts, our vaunted
Sovietologists, did not understand the ABCs of totalitarianism. He suspected
Western pundits were shallow. He thought they would succumb to the Russian
deception strategy of the 1990s. In Navrozov’s 1991 essay, “The Coming
Order,” he asked if it was reasonable to expect Western journalists to
“replicate the deceptions … of the unfree Soviet press when the simulacrum of
capitalism and ‘democracy’ becomes a pan-Eurasian reality?”
We know the answer today. The Western press was fooled by Russia’s
KGB-led democracy and its false-front capitalism. The shallowness of our
media and academia in this regard is now undeniable. The crisis we are
entering was not caused by neglect or inattention. It resulted from willful
self-deception and psychological weakness. There is something wrong with our
intellectual and political leaders. There is also something wrong with the
way they discuss strategic issues.
Now is a good time for second thoughts. The delusions of the last decade
must be set aside. Russia is mounting a new challenge, bringing new weapons
into play. What else has to happen for this to be understood?