(see part I)
Despite the fact that participation of Nikita Mikhalkov in the Sixth Forum of European and Asian media in Astana in the status of a guest officially concerned presentation of his film "the Citadel", in reality it turned out that his role was to campaign for the need to create the Eurasian Union and revival of co-existence in a common space, which he handled very skilfully. Below we will talk about what is the Eurasian Union, what will be forms of its organization and governance. But now back to Astana.
Addressing participants of the forum Nikita Mikhalkov said that the Eurasian integration of the ex-post-Soviet countries is a natural and organic process. But then he added: "I do not mean to revive the Soviet Union ... I'm talking about a possibility of finding a live force in the movement towards each other ... A task is to combine spirit of memory, this biological memory, which certainly still exists in us. More, very few countries and peoples have the greatest privilege to read Pushkin and Tolstoy in original. I'm not talking about priorities of the literature, I am saying that exactly this is the very stratum of spiritual unity ... It is the thing that fundamentally connects the Russian east and west ...” At the same time, he noted that he spoke not as a politician: "... This is a point of view of a citizen of his country who one way or other is still interested to be somehow heard. Since it is difficult to be unheard if there are things this vibrant and vital as today's start of the movement, hopefully an unstoppable one, towards creation of the Eurasian Union ". At that, Mikhalkov expressed regret that the integration process began only 20 years after the collapse of the former Soviet Union: "It's a pity that it took 20 years to come to this. A lot has been lost. But I think that is not too late yet to raise that biological, cultural and civilizational memory of continental thinking and to feed that memory, as I think, to future of my country and that of your countries as well".
Let us stop here and find out what famous director wanted to say with his address.
The first thing that he emphasized at once is that creation of the Eurasian Union is not an attempt to restore the Soviet Union in a different form and that he spoke not as a politician on the subject but as a citizen of his country. Such educated person, as Nikita Mikhalkov must be well aware that any politician is, first and foremost a citizen of his country, and this factor determines his or her political platform. At the same time, of course, not every citizen is a politician, although it is a political vision of each individual citizen that determines a plan of action of a politician or a political party. So, everything is interconnected.
If in addition to all the above one takes into account a very privileged position of Nikita Mikhalkov in Putin's "pocket" party - "United Russia", his attempt to convince people that he voiced only his own position and vision is nothing but a farce. In addition, if one looks deeper into the content of these quotations, it is easy to see that there is abundance of stilted words that usually confuses one and that are used to artfully disguise main objectives and key phrases. If one removes all this verbal "ballast" from the above we get the following:
- It’s a bad thing that the Soviet Union collapsed;
- It’s bad that it took 20 years to draw up ideas for a new union;
- Russian language is the main language of communication and, it turns out, that to know it is the greatest privilege;
- Russia's role in the new union should undoubtedly be dominant;
- His desire for irreversibility of the process of unification indicates that Russia is seriously committed to the question of reincarnation of the Soviet Union in the face of a new, in this case, Eurasian, union.
And by the way, it would be interesting to know what Nikita Mikhalkov would have said if Great Britain was to raise the question of unification of Europe under its aegis?! Indeed, "not many countries and people have the greatest privilege" to read Shakespeare in the original?!
The regime of questions and answers which lasted nearly an hour and a half was imbued with the same pathos. Since Mikhalkov and his address actually gave the direction of the forum, almost all of questions that were asked by participants were related to the Eurasian Union. Representatives of some countries liked the idea; some, especially the Baltic States, Georgia and Azerbaijan, and somewhat unexpectedly, Armenia, were cautious, while some preferred to say nothing at all.
The first question asked to Mikhalkov against the background of voicing suggestions of a “new form" of unification, was as follows: Can it be an attempt to create the Soviet Union in a different form and imply a centralised governance, as before? And Mikhalkov answered the question: "Even during the Soviet Union, if we regard it as an empire, attitude towards Central Asia was not caused by only the pragmatic need to use its mineral resources and manpower, etc. theatres and clubs were built which means that the centre took care of them to its detriment, and this, by the way, is a quality of the Russian soul. Even it they were not necessary villages of Dagestan, Uzbek, Kazakh villages and those of other republics never ceased their existence ... While Russian villages were disappearing ... they were exterminated ....“ According to Mikhalkov "... Centre always treated with the most careful attention what was happening on the periphery of the empire. Today, it would be silly to build relationship with the attitude let's get back again and we will again govern attitude - and this should not be done.... "
From the outset an interesting question arises - where have people of those "killed and missing" Russian village gone?! To physically destroy a village is one thing, though this formulation is highly questionable. Population of these villages must have gone somewhere, must not they? ... And if we look well into the history, we can clearly see that this "exterminated" Russian population was resettled in villages of the "imperial periphery" while disobedient representatives of local peoples were settled to Siberia. Such policy, to a certain extent, is being carried out in the North Caucasus even today. So, for a well-informed person it is absolutely clear what is behind this "innovative" proposal. In addition, making references to the fact that the "centre used to build theatres, clubs, etc. for them" is, to put it mildly, unacceptable, not to mention that they are offensive. As though, if not for the Soviet annexation all these peoples would have been remained undeveloped. This approach underlines imperial ambitions of Mr. Mikhalkov. We do not this to sound like an insult, but we all remember taste of imperial "Russian boot" very well.
Let's look at the current situation in the North Caucasus that the Russian empire drowned in blood. As a result of its policy hundreds of thousands of descendants of the inhabitants of this region now live outside their historic homeland.
Remaining on the subject, we present a statement of the representative of the President of Russia in the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin that he made in an interview with Russian TV channel Russia Today and which was broadcasted at the end of September and the beginning of October. According to Khloponin "salvation of the North Caucasus" is supposedly "only in Russian speaking population and outflow of Russian-speaking population of this region is not good for North Caucasian republics."
"They need the Russian-speaking population like bread, like air because the Russian language unites them. It is a language that binds peoples and nationalities that live in the North Caucasus ... presence of the Russian language and culture is always a plus. At that there is a concept of mobility and Russian-speaking population is more mobile than the Caucasian population, which is more tied to their homes, land, traditions, and roots and so on and so forth. "
It should be noted that earlier the same Khloponin called on Cossacks to settle in masses in the North Caucasus, multiply and take roots there. Moreover, for this he even offered complete support, and later he even joined the ranks of Cossacks. Simultaneously, Khloponin offered the central government to move local North Caucasians to Siberia and he explained this by population growth in the North Caucasus, lack of jobs and a small territory of the region. According to his plan, North Caucasians, who are "tied to land" will get well accustomed to frozen and undeveloped Siberian land which even local Siberian population is leaving due to its lack of perspective and development. In this context " mobility of Russian-speaking population" of Khloponin can be understood only in a single plane - the Russian-speaking population should be regarded as a privileged class, and hothouse conditions for life should be created for them - even if at the expense of local people living in a particular area. And this local people better go somewhere, far away, hundreds or thousands of miles from their historical homeland. On this basis, it is easy to guess what other republics can expect in a few years time, if they are to become part of the revived Soviet Union.
But let us return to Mikhalkov. No less significant in his response was definition of the place of the Russian language. This definition is identical to Khloponin’s position. In words of the master of the sinema, he believes that "... a unifying force and a major force that is not only related to the literature, is the language, the Russian language. It is a leader, people speak on it ... and we cannot lose it ... we cannot lose it so that after 8-10 years young children do not know the Russian language?!... Ok, they will know English, but it will not be necessary that much ... but, it would be terrible if only one standing alone needs it... it means - they lost their independence ... So, we have come to that to which generally comes development of neighbours ... this very unification through the Russian language is correct and unique ... "(style is preserved - Ed.).
As we can see, two very different people separated from each other by a distance – when one is in Moscow, and another is in the North Caucasus - have expressed the same position with regards to importance of the Russian language. Though, if Khloponin stayed within the territory of Russia in his arguments Mikhalkov “embraced” a wider scope.
On fact is very interesting - when still in the Soviet Union and in today’s Russia as well, representatives of the Russian "elite" had their children taught English so that they could be educated in leading foreign universities and acquired western values why youth of other countries, naturally, in the case of the Eurasian union, should be focused only on the Russian language. And why Mr. Mikhalkov says that English will not be necessary due to lack of its need. Generally, a person usually studies what it considers necessary based on lifestyle and subsequent activities. Some study English, some - French, German, Italian or Spanish. That is, a person is entitled to elect a language which one wants to speak. This is what concerns the second language; we are not even talking about a native language. May be we are dealing with an attempt to turn back history, when according to the decision of Moscow of 1978, the official language of the Soviet republics should have become only the Russian language, and if not for unity of the Georgian government and people at the time, existence of the Georgian language and Georgian statehood could have been under a very big question today. There is no doubt, and one cannot not agree with Nikita Mikhalkov, that language is an important determinant of statehood. However, raising of the Russian language to this level and assigning it a dominant part, of course, makes it possible to draw some far-reaching conclusions.
As for the "Russian soul". I wonder what were those "values" in the area of "care" that guided the Russian Empire in the matters of development of its periphery – Georgia when it in violation of the conditions of the Georgievsk Treaty it not only annexed Georgia, but abolished its statehood and the autocephaly of the Georgian Church. Maybe it was a part of this “care" that peaceful demonstrators in Tbilisi were shot with machine guns in March 9, 1956?! And to what kind of "care" we should attribute use of asphyxiating and sapper spades against peaceful protesters in April 9, 1989, when "concerned about its peripheries centre" carried out a massacre of elderly women and young girls?! I am not saying anything about the civil war of the nineties of the last century and instigation of the conflict between historically related peoples in two historical regions of Georgia. And, the military intervention, carried out against Georgia in August 2008 is altogether beyond the scope of anything permissible.
As the conflicts were mentioned and the blame for their instigation was put on the "caring centre" it would be wrong to raise such allegations without proper arguments. Despite existence of dozens of facts the most important should be considered the doctrine of the chief ideologist of the Soviet Union Mikhail Suslov that he voiced in 1961: “today or tomorrow Georgians will start to fight against communism, to fight for independence. A fight against Georgians should begin from Abkhazia. Mingrelia and Svanetia should be granted autonomy. Parochial, national feelings must be kindled in this area separately. It is necessary to convince everyone that Georgians were settled in Abkhazia. Western Georgia must be set against eastern Georgia. And after that we should play a role of a peacemaker. “Someone who is familiar with the conflicts in Georgia will have no difficulty to draw parallels, and it will become quite clear where and how long ago these conflicts were planned. And goals that were pursued by the " caring centre" by provoking the conflicts and arranging their escalation, and afterwards occupying the historic territories of Georgia – while doing all this under the cover of its "desire to take care" of Abkhazians and Ossetians – were clearly demonstrated during the election of heads of puppet regimes carried out by Russia in these two occupied regions.
The Georgian delegation asked a question to Nikita Mikhalkov "given the current relations between Russia and Georgia how do you see the relationship between the two countries in the Eurasian Union, and if at all there is a possible of such union between them?". If Mikhalkov’s answer is freed of all his nostalgic digressions towards Georgian humour, wine, hospitality, feast, as well as those joyous feelings that were caused by a recent fact of establishment of family ties with Georgians, and leave only two key phrases - "there is no getting away from each other ..." and "you, too, have no other way. Where can you? Where? To Persia?" - that give a direct answer to the question, then a desire to return to the "big brother" politics becomes more than obvious.
Given the above, we can draw only one conclusion - Russia has actively embarked on the process of revival of the Soviet Union and presents all this as a desire to restore fraternal "coexistence" and "take care of little brothers."
Who else if not Mr. Mikhalkov should know that for brotherly and neighbourly co-existence there is no need for friends or neighbours to live under one roof “of a communal apartment". For this purpose mutual respect, equality and friendship is quite enough.
And in conclusion. However fervently Mikhalkov claims that he voiced his personal views only, and that he has not received any instructions from anywhere, evidence speaks quite to the contrary. As they say, it is hardly believable. It would be nice if he takes into account and fulfils a modest request of a member of the Georgian delegation, refugee from Abkhazia, Georgian journalist Tengiz Pachkoria - "Please tell it where it is due and to whom it may concern, to change their policy towards Georgia . And if Russia cannot or would not assist Georgia in the peaceful unification of the country, then they at least should not interfere in the process, and everything will go back to normal. "
To be continued ...