On 23 April, Russian President Putin signed a decree on the imposition of measures of influence (counteraction) in response to unfriendly actions by foreign states. He ordered to limit or, if necessary, to prohibit the effect of agreements on employment of Russian citizens by diplomatic missions and consular institutions, representations of government agencies, and public institutions of foreign states that carry out unfriendly actions against Russia. The head of state instructed the government to “identify the list of unfriendly foreign states on which measures of influence (counteraction) are imposed.”
Despite the lack of an official list of countries, the Russian government-controlled propaganda TV channel Russia 1 already on 28 April showed footage of nine “unfriendly” states: Ukraine, the United States, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom.
The initial list of “enemies” of the Russian Empire has been compiled and approved, but it is not yet complete. It will enlarge as new insults and quarrels arise. And they won’t be long in coming. Most of the world’s countries are fed up with the aggressive actions of Putin’s Russia. There are already many enemies, and their number clearly tends to increase, which is quite natural for an aggressive and evil state.
Of course, Bulgaria will soon be put on the list after it found traces of Russian saboteurs at their military depots. The same with Brazil, which refused to register the “best [COVID-19] vaccine in the world.” There’s no shortage of candidates!
Putin’s policies have led to Russia being isolated today. There are almost no allies of Russia left. And to be a country without allies in the present-day world is a serious mistake made by the Kremlin. Therefore, as it is said in childhood, “Have no friends? Don’t pay attention to them, they are stupid! They are enemies!”
These messages aired by the Kremlin-controlled media are used by the government to prepare their own people for international isolation. “Russia is a besieged fortress in the circle of enemies who not only try to aggressively and unequivocally restrain it in the international arena but also use its domestic political practices, the agents of influence – the “fifth column” – to stir the situation and promote their interests.” So, we can summarise the main messages of the information and propaganda machine of modern Putin’s Russia. In such circumstances, the forthcoming elections to the State Duma are no longer so much a routine domestic political procedure as a matter of state security. And references to state security can justify any new homebred anti-democratic standards.
The previous Russian foreign policy documents never specified a foreign threat in the form of a list of individual countries but indicated it only in a broad sense. This document does not change the actual picture of today’s hybrid war but will significantly change the future hybrid war in which Russia is dragging the surrounding countries. The publication of this list is an element of the “Kremlin’s great political game” in the system of new rules imposed by Russia. In any political game, only the one who plays by his own rules wins. And Russia is used to playing exclusively by its own rules, disregarding any interests of its neighbours and partners.
I wonder if the Russian “patriots” living in the territories of “unfriendly” countries will cope with this difficult situation! They are likely to have a hard time: urgent evacuation; the need to free their families, children, and grandchildren from “unfriendly captivity” to bring them to such a “traditional and beautiful homeland;” not to mention the necessary, numerous, difficult financial and legal transactions. Getting rid of foreign mansions, apartments, and flats quickly is quite a difficult task. Especially if you still have to close accounts, liquidate deposits in banks of “unfriendly” countries and, of course, renounce citizenship. Because you can’t keep a foot in both worlds, one of which is hostile!
But this is not going to happen. All those, who are now shouting about the “enemies of Russia” staying in the territory of the so-called “enemies,” will remain there! All Putin’s “fans” will prefer an opportunity to admire their idol “from a distance.” Just as Putin’s Russia is isolating itself from the international community, so the Russian people are trying to isolate themselves from Putin. Even his entourage and those who are now shouting in his support.
Russia is really being destroyed by the enemy. But not an external one. Putin’s regime has been and remains to be Russia’s main enemy. And this has long been clear to everyone.
Yuri Fedorenko, analyst, public relations expert
The author’s opinion does not always coincide with the opinion of the editorial staff