In the early days of the Russian intervention in Ukraine mass media reported that, having talked to President Vladimir Putin by phone, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel told U.S. President Barack Obama that his Russian counterpart “lost contact with reality” and was “living in another world”.

But why is she sure that the Western leaders are still in touch with reality? One didn’t need to be an outstanding analyst to predict this exact scenario was highly probable the very day Putin entered the Kremlin. That day, the democratic public’s hopes to see Russia democratic and prosperous were crushed against its prospect of turning into the Soviet Union’s shadow. Since then, the Western leaders shamelessly shook hands with and indulged the KGB officer leading Russia. Now, they have got a logical result of those activities, but it surprises them.

They would be insulted even with a hypothetical assumption that a Gestapo officer could rule present-day Germany. However, when it comes to Russia, they are ready to suppose and accept anything. As a result, Russia's democratic forces are destroyed institutionally, marginalized and silent.

The West, concerning economic sanctions against Russia, has provoked similar discussions in the Russian establishment regarding the possible confiscation of foreign companies’ assets if sanctions are imposed. In my view, such a confiscation would be fair and justified. The Western "fat cats" should take political and social responsibility for their investment policy and not invest in potentially aggressive states. They should not follow hunger for profit, greed and avarice.

Nothing has changed ever since. The time has come to regulate this aspect of international business activities somehow. The (hypothetical) confiscation of Western assets in Russia could be a good "vaccine" for a political intelligibility, primarily for the Western transnational corporations. Businesses must know and understand: a viper coiled around one’s neck will surely bite.

In 1994, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom guaranteed Ukraine its territorial integrity in return for its voluntary renunciation of nuclear weapons under the terms of the Budapest Memorandum. The Russian political system, in considering blaming Moscow for violating the agreement, is actually blaming a jackal for being a jackal. But the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as France who joined the Memorandum later, should answer the question: how do they intend to fulfill their guarantees regarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine? If what they are doing now is what they intend to do to carry out their commitments, a couple dozen countries worldwide would fairly and justly wish to immediately start developing their nuclear weapons.

So, what is the West’s reaction to Russia’s intervention in Georgia and Ukraine? The Western public opinion seemingly puts these developments in line with ethnic conflicts somewhere in the center of Africa, which has no global consequences. Even despite the fact that some Western analysts compare Russia’s policy towards Ukraine and Georgia to Germany’s actions on the eve of World War II, the Western public, however, stubbornly refuses to see a parallel between these present-day issues and the historical chain of events from the German annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia prior to the occupation of Europe, the bombing of London, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In terms of such an historical analogy, the negotiations concerning fate of Crimea are also reminiscent of the peace talks Chamberlain, Daladier, and Hitler had that concluded with the Munich Agreement in 1938.

Long-lasting anti-Ukrainian hysteria in the Russian media has formed a background for the invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian revolution has been presented as a fascist, extremist, and terrorist activity aimed at the persecution and destruction of the country’s Russian-speaking population. And Ukraine itself, especially Crimea and the southeastern regions, have been considered and treated as broken parts of Russia. Looking back, it is clear that this was a sign of invasion preparation.

Since Vladimir Putin came to power, the Russian media systematically and regularly has resorted to aggressive, almost hysterical anti-Western rhetoric, especially against the United States. In the course of preparations to pass the law banning Americans from adopting Russian orphans, mass media would constantly broadcast spots and reels about orphans murdered, abused, and raped by their American foster parents.

The collective image of an American, implanted by mass media into the mind of the average Russian, looks like an all-hating, greedy, and cruel moron seeking to dictate, mock, and kill. Put it simply, it is a beast that needs to be destroyed.

Surprisingly, the American media do not properly inform their people about these facts of Russian propaganda! Meanwhile, it is worth considering what are practical goals and objectives of such anti-American propaganda.

For instance, in the News of the Week broadcast by Russia 1 TV channel on March 16, this year, a threat was announced to turn the U.S. "into a radioactive ash." One can say the distance between Mr. Putin’s finger and Russia’s strategic nuclear forces push-button has been shortening through the years of his presidency. If this trend persists, the button will once be pressed.

Therefore, trying to understand Western, primarily American public opinion and reaction to the events in Ukraine and Georgia, I have come up with the question formulated by an American writer Ernest Hemingway: "For Whom the Bell Tolls?" And it seems to me I have the answer. An English priest John Donne has given it: "Never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee!"


This is a guest post by the Russian author Dr. Igor Gorkiy