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July 1, 2022 1:42 am

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1. Russia

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Still an Occupying Power over Russia, One with No Possibility of Evolving, Shiropayev Says

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Paul Goble
            Staunton, November 5 – Since the time of the Mongol conquest, when the Horde gave to Moscow the task of doing “the dirty work” of the occupation by the Mongols of Russian lands, the rulers in that city have continued to treat the rest of the territory and population as any other occupying force would, according to Aleksey Shiropayev.
            If that origin as reified by Ivan the Terrible, the true “founding father of Russia” is not recognized and if the way in which the Bolsheviks only intensified that pattern of colonial rule, the Russian regionalist says, there is no hope for understanding the situation of Russia today or why such a regime can rot but not reform (
            “Moscow seized and occupied Rus,” Shiropayev argues, and that is “the starting point for an understanding of the origin of the Russian state and the term ‘Russia.’” Ivan the Terrible was a true follower of the policy of an occupier. Indeed, one can say that that is “’the secret’ of that ruler.”
            Ivan’s era, the analyst continues, was “the era of the final and one can say Bolshevik-style suppression of Rus by Russia.”  The ruler’s oprichniks were simply a new variant of the khan’s baskaks on the Russian land; and the tsar himself was typologically a khan.” As such, the former were nothing so much as “a band of occupiers” headed by “an occupier tsar.”
            “This became the genetic code of Russian statehood,” Shiropayev says, something so deeply rooted that that it continues to give that arrangement is “occupation and repressive character.” 
            The Bolsheviks only reinforced this pattern, he continues. The international composition of that party’s ranks initially perfectly corresponded to Ivan’s oprichniks which were also “international” and not Russian in their composition.  Stalin’s parallels with Ivan are even more obvious, although their most profound aspect is often overlooked.
            And that is the desire to shut Russia off from influence coming in from the West.  To that end, “Stalin and company openly reproduced, true, in much greater size, the genocidal-repressive methods of Ivan the Terrible and his grandson, Ivan III. There was a multitude of examples” to emulate.
            “What more is there to say?” Shiropayev asks rhetorically. “We live in a state established by Ivan the Terrible. The appearance of Vladimir Sorokin’s book, The Day of the Oprichnik, is extremely noteworthy – the intuition of a real writer is always unerring.” And Ivan’s system lives on in today’s special services and the interior ministry as anyone can testify.
            According to the analyst, “the ‘organs’ in their attitude toward the people retranslate the position of the state as a whole. And this occupier-state cannot be changed. It can rot, it can fall apart, it can go insane, and it can even mimic something else, but it cannot become otherwise, free and open.” Its genetic code is just too deeply embedded for that.

Window on Eurasia — New Series