medvedev going berserkKremlin.ru, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons


Dmitri Medvedev’s transformation from liberal to lunatic

Recently in the Guardian, Shawn Walker described the mad turn of Dmitry Medvedev, the former President of Russia and now deputy head of Russia’s security council. Since March 17, when he created his Telegram profile, the once mild-mannered and technocratic Medvedev—in former years known as the hope of Western liberals—has taken to posting bloodthirsty tirades against Russia’s many enemies, real and imagined, on social media.

The objects of his vituperation include democracy, the West, and NATO. His language is unusually crude and abusive: European leaders are “lunatics,” Russia’s adversaries are “fuckers” and “degenerates,” Russia will see to it that Ukraine “disappears from the map.” Any number of irritants, he says, would justify Russia in using nuclear weapons.

On the morning of June 7, Medvedev explained:

I’m often asked why my Telegram posts are so harsh. Well, I’ll answer: I hate them. They are bastards and degenerates. They want us, Russia, to die. And while I’m still alive, I will do everything to make them disappear.

It was unclear who he meant by “they.” To judge by his recent oeuvre, it could be anyone from Ukrainians and Westerners to gay parades and the man in the moon.

As for Ukraine, shortly before the February 24 invasion, Medvedev wrote in Kommersant that it was impossible to negotiate with such weak and stupid people:

The current president of this exhausted country is a person with certain ethnic roots, who has spoken Russian all his life. Moreover, he worked in Russia and received significant funds from Russian sources. Nevertheless, at some point, becoming the head of the state, for fear of getting another “Maidan” directed against his personal power, completely changed his political and moral orientation. And in fact, he gave up his identity. He began to serve the most rabid nationalist forces of Ukraine (which, admittedly, have always been there, but accounted for the strength of 5-7 percent of the active population). …

Contacts with such weak people are unproductive. … The meaninglessness and even harmfulness of relations with the current leaders of Ukraine also lies in the fact that this country is headed by ignorant and optional people. (Original emphasis.)

Why, Walker wonders, has Medvedev gone psycho? I wonder, too. Is he vying for Putin’s position? Trying to show loyalty to the war party in the Kremlin?

Maria Pevchikh, a colleague of Alexei Navalny’s, explained to Walker how she interpreted Mad Medvedev’s soliloquies:

When you feel you are a pointless and pathetic person, you try to reinvent yourself from time to time. He could have shaved his head, or gone to the gym … but instead he decided to reinvent himself as a hawk.

After prime ministers Boris Johnson and Mario Draghi were forced out of office, Medvedev posted this meme, which in the context of his invective was obviously meant as a threat to European leaders:

On July 29, Medvedev published the maps of Europe shown below. The “after” map depicts a dismembered Ukraine, with the biggest part assigned to Russia and the smaller ones to Poland and Romania. As an expression of magnanimity, Ukraine will be allowed to keep Kyiv Oblast. (Medvedev claimed, dubiously, that Western analysts had created the map; he did not name them.)

Subsequently, he posted an even more lunatic message on Telegram. It was taken down almost immediately. We don’t know why. He said he’d been hacked. Maybe. Perhaps he posted it at the wrong time, or for some reason wasn’t to Putin’s liking. Russians on social media reckoned he must have been drunk. It’s not the first time posts and articles have been removed from Russian media and personal accounts.[1]You may recall that just after February 24, an article was removed from RIA Novosti because it described the capitulation of Ukrainian forces in Kyiv (not).

Ilya Lozovsky translated the post:

No one should have any doubt that the deadly mistake that took place in the early 90s will be corrected. Тhere will never again be any parade of sovereignties [a reference to Soviet republics pushing for autonomy in the late 80s-early 90s] and all the peoples who once lived in the great and mighty Soviet Union will once again live in friendship and mutual understanding.

For this we will spare no strength or resources. And we’ve already started moving down this path.

After the liberation of Kiev and all the territories of Malorossia from the band of nationalists, who are preaching a Ukrainian-ness they invented, Rus will once again become united, mighty, and invincible, like it was a thousand years ago during the time of the ancient Russian state [a.k.a. the Kievan Rus, lol].

After this, under the unified hand of Moscow, headed by the Slavic people, we will go on the next campaign [can also be translated as “crusade”] to reestablish the boundaries of our Motherland which, as is known, don’t end anywhere.

All the lands taken from us were covered in the blood of our ancestors and conquered in many battles over centuries. And we won’t give them up to anyone.

For example, until the joining of Georgia [to the Russian empire], it didn’t exist at all. In 1801 the territory of contemporary Georgia consisted of five sovereign political units: Kartli and Kakhetia with a capital in Tiflis Imereti with a capital in Kutaisi, two principalities—Mingrelia and Guria—on the Black Sea coast, and the principality of Svaneti in the mountainous regions.

That is, Georgia was created in its present boundaries only within the Russian empire.

Georgia was drawn to Russia because it understood: Russia was its only ally in its fairly hostile surroundings of Muslim countries. And now the same story is repeating. North and South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and the remaining territory of Georgia can be united only as part of a single government, with Russia.

Another historical example: In the early 17th century, the Russians founded the first settlements in the wild lands of northern Kazakhstan. Over three centuries, the process of colonization of this territory by Russians continued. The main drivers of this were the opening of the Siberian railroad and Stolypin’s agrarian reforms. Until the fall of the Soviet Union, 62.5 percent of the population of northern Kazakhstan were Slavs.

Kazahkstan is an artificial government, [consisting of] former Russian territories. For example, the cities of Guriev and Semipalatinsk. Even Alma-Ata until 1924 was called Verniy. In the current century, the Kazakh authorities have begun to realize initiatives to resettle various ethnic groups within the republic, which can be described as a genocide of Russians. And we won’t close our eyes to this. Until the Russians come there, there will be no order.

A host of hawkish Russian tankies and geopolitical theorists have written about the future Russian empire, so Medvedev isn’t the first. But he’s better known to Western audiences. It would be salutary for the Mearsheimers and Corbynistas of the world to read this. So much for the war being about “Russia’s legitimate security interests.”

Does this represent the Kremlin’s plans? We don’t know. But obviously, Putin is bent on expanding his empire and waging a genocidal war against Ukraine and Ukrainians. So it very well could.

From Monique’s EuroFile roundup:

Monique Camarra, a language specialist at the University of Siena, is the co-host of the Kremlin File, a weekly podcast about Putin and the spread of authoritarianism around the world.


1 You may recall that just after February 24, an article was removed from RIA Novosti because it described the capitulation of Ukrainian forces in Kyiv (not).

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