Friday, September 12, 2008

What are we afraid of?

What Are We Afraid Of?

by Kerkko Paananen

The caution with which Europe, and Finland in particular, relates to what is happening in Russia has, I believe, deeper roots than mere political and economic convenience.

The disease we suffer from is not hatred of Russia and the Russians, which is, after all, a rather marginal phenomenon, but outright fear of our big eastern neighbour.

This fear prevents us from beholding Russia the same way that we look at other states and nations. Instead, Russia is regarded as a special case, and we concede that the rules that apply to Russia differ from those that apply to other countries.

This fear enables the criminal gang that is keeping a stranglehold on Russia to justify its violations of basic universal rights. The fear plays into the hands of those who argue that Russian values are fundamentally different from those of the West.

As long as Europe is afraid of Russia, democracy has no chance of succeeding in Russia. Conversely, once Europe begins to treat Russia with the same rules as it treats any other country, the pseudolegitimacy of the current criminal regime will cease to exist.

Yet I am afraid it is too late now. Too late for the West to stop the inhumanity in Russia. Europe has failed; the West has failed. It has failed to help the people of the Russian Federation to assert their basic rights. It has failed itself.

What right did Europe, which embodies democratic values, have to abandon 140 million Russians –half of Europe– to the unimpeded will of a fascist dictatorship?

The West has failed to defend in Russia the values that it defines itself with. By doing so, we have condemned Russia and Russians to live by rules that are diametrically opposed to those of the so-called Free World. The West has cast Russians into a black hole.

Please ask yourself: What will Europe become given that we have let this happen? What will the consequences of its inaction and cowardice be to the West itself?

The answer should be obvious for anyone not hampered by double vision: The decision to abandon Russia and the Russians will rot our society from within.

The failure of the West has made it impossible for change in Russia to come about without a societal cataclysm. The West’s indifference to the heinous crimes committed by the current regime is pushing resistance to state terror into the lap of forces that despise Western values.

This is something that took years for the Chechen resistance to find out. Now it no longer feels any need to appeal to the West. How long will it take before other repressed peoples and political movements in Russia come to the same conclusion?

What will the world be like then?

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