The case of the Russian interference in Catalonia (Spain), providing support to the separatists, is giving rise to some positions that are frankly surprising.
Is it NATO’s fault for provoking the Russians?
The last of them has been defended by Division General (R) Juan Chicharro Ortega in the blog of General Dávila:
“I have no doubt that the Russian strategy of interfering in European internal politics is evident – and here what is happening and happens in Spain comes fully into play – but the question is to ask the reason for these intentions.”
The surprising thing – in my opinion – comes in the following paragraph:
“Here in Western Europe there is a lot of talk about Russian interference in European politics and maybe we should ask ourselves if it is not the other way around, and it turns out that it is Europe as a pawn of other US interests that interferes in what for more than a thousand years was the area of influence of Russia. And if we go to history we see how Crimea has always been part of the former Russian Empire and Kiev, for example, since its Christianization in the year 988 has been a bastion of Orthodox Christianity and of course, also, the extinct USSR.”
Then, General Chicharro takes a position in favor of Russia:
“No, it is not understood in Russia the interference of the USA and Europe in matters that were always of Russian influence, so it is not surprising the Russian attitude of what could be an exercise of defense of theirs.“
And in addition, he adds the following advice:
“Perhaps if the West left Russia alone in what was always his, we would not find ourselves in the current situation.”
Finally, the general points out that “mechanized Spanish units, including battle tanks, warplanes and missile artillery are deployed at the borders of Russia with Eastern Europe. I do not think this situation is to the liking of Russia itself.”
The precedents of Russian interventions in Georgia and Ukraine
I have a few objections to what General Chicharro exposes. To begin with, the Russian Empire encompassed many territories that are now independent countries, including Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, the eastern part of Poland, and already in the Caucasus, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. In the exercise of their national sovereignty, today Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are members of NATO, and Georgia aspires to be so. Precisely in the framework of this alliance, the presence of Spanish military personnel is explained not “at the borders of Russia”, but in Latvia. In fact, our military is based in Adazi, which is not near the border with Russia, but next to Riga, almost on the shores of the Baltic Sea. As for the reasons for this mission, the Spanish Army says on its website: what happened “in 2008, in Georgia, and, even more, with the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of Ukraine.” And maybe we have forgotten, but in 2008 Russia invaded Georgia when this country wanted to make effective its sovereignty over a part of its territory, South Ossetia, controlled by separatists supported by Putin. The Russian invasion resulted in hundreds of deaths, both military and civilian. Russia repeated the operation with Crimea (Ukraine) in 2014. This fact has created alarm in allied countries like Poland, which have a still very vivid memory of Russian imperialism and its consequences, so the Poles are living an unprecedented military mobilization to prepare the defense of their territory.
Should we not do anything that bothers Russian imperialism?
Personally I have it very clear: I do not think we should apologize for supporting the national sovereignty of allied countries simply because they were once subjected to the Russian Empire. It would be as absurd as saying that any country that offers military assistance to a Spanish-American country should take the risk of receiving a Spanish cyber attack simply because that part of the world was part of our overseas domains. I am astonished that from a Spanish perspective, Russian imperialism is justified under the argument that we interfere in its aspirations, which in the end seems to be what it is about.
Three other articles assuming that thesis in a right side media
I would not be writing these lines if General Chicharro’s article was the first of this style one I see in that broad and perhaps diffuse environment that we can label as the Spanish right. On October 19 Fernando Paz signed an article in La Gaceta talking about the international support of the separatist coup in Catalonia. Paz agreed with what was said by General Chicharro: “It would not be surprising if Russia had, in effect, intervened. It is perfectly credible that Russia is interested in blood on the southern flank of NATO, especially when this organization is besieging Russia. And it is not that he has any reason to show goodwill towards a Spain that has sent its tanks to its border with Latvia.“ We find again the false myth of the Russian border.
José Javier Esparza also agreed with this thesis in another article published in La Gaceta on November 14: “Russia, of course, plays its cards in this as in other matters: nothing strange in a country that sees us as enemies for the very explicable reason that there are Spanish tanks on their borders.” Once again, the myth of the tanks on the Russian border … But after recognizing this, Esparza discarded the Russian interference: “The “Russian track” is something like the version progre and mundialista of the old Judeo-Masonic conspiracy: it serves for everything.“ That same day was also published in La Gaceta an article by Pío Moa that attributed the accusations to Russia of interference in Catalonia to “media of intoxication of masses of the NATO and the EU, with the servile support of Spanish media increasingly abject and manipulative.” And he added: “While the current (un)rulers, who have created the enormous problems that the country suffers, in case they are not enough, they are dedicated to harassing and provoking Russia by deploying tanks and planes in the Baltic on behalf of the interests, in final, from Gibraltar.” The myth of our tanks provoking the Russians again.
Is Putin the new benchmark of the Spanish right?
For some time, in certain areas of the Spanish right there is a certain affinity to Russia for certain conservative aspects of Putin’s policy. The spectacular resurgence in Russia of Orthodox Christianity and the opposition of the Russian Government to progressive approaches to family issues, for example, are positively valued. In the framework of the so-called “cultural wars” that are being lived in the world, some consider Russia as the new benchmark in front of the United States, which – at least until the arrival of Trump – had become a great promoter of abortion and the gender ideology. That affinity is more difficult to explain when it deals with the international policy of the Kremlin, focused on sustaining regimes little or nothing defensible from a conservative perspective. In fact, Putin has even come out in defense of North Korea in the recent crisis caused by the ballistic missile tests conducted by the Kim Jong-un dictatorship, with several missiles flying over Japan.
Two opposite paths to end up supporting the same far-left
In this regard a certain right falls into an error when considering that geopolitics is simply divided into the sphere of influence of Putin and George Soros, the American billionaire of Hungarian origin who dedicates his fortune to promote abortion and gender ideology by the world. This was already explained by Mike Gonzalez last March: “many people insist on reacting to George Soros and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two men currently going toe-to-toe for control of much of the globe’s hearts and minds. You either side with one or with the other.“ And like Mike, I do not bow for Soros, nor for Putin.
In fact, we can find coincidences between both. Soros is dedicating enormous amounts of money to promote leftist radicalism, because ultimately in that margin of the political scenario they defend the same approaches that he in matters of family and life. At the same time, Putin’s Russia is the great external ally of the regimes of Venezuela and Iran, precisely the countries indicated by a former partner of Pablo Iglesias as financiers of Podemos, the main party of the Spanish far-left, a party that – precisely- defends the same ideological approaches of Soros in issues such as abortion and gender ideology. In fact, in March 2013, a year before founding Podemos, Pablo Iglesias cited RT (the Russian official media Russia Today) as one of the media that supported his approaches (minute 2:30 of the linked video). And it is that before giving media support to Catalan separatism, RT made propaganda for Podemos. Here a sample:
I do not believe that Putin sympathizes with the podemites or with the ideological approaches of the Catalan separatists. The only thing that matters to him is to destabilize his rivals in the international sphere, as simple as that. Mike Gonzalez said in the aforementioned article: “The Kremlin leader is an opportunist who will enter any theater that beckons him by absurdly portraying himself as the guardian of Western values.” What I do not understand is that people who defend those values with sincerity, and that place the love to Spain among its principles, rush to justify that opportunist in an issue that affects our sovereignty and our territorial integrity.