As it has become known, the first thing done by the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, was to meet with human rights activists and representatives of non-system opposition, among them, Evgenia Chirikova, Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and others.

Americans are interested in the destabilization of the situation in Russia

As it seems to me, this meeting confirms the simple truth: Americans are interested in the destabilization of the situation in Russia, and generally speaking, in every country that could even hypothetically compete with the U.S. Secondly, it shows that the opposition leaders are closely tied with the western community, and Americans in particular, and count on their help, because they all have some common interests. Of course, it may be claimed to be banal, but those are the facts. McFaul’s appointment is evident that Americans will take advantage of destabilizing trends in Russia, if such trends emerge. Moreover, they are ready to encourage these trends to whatever degree is possible.

The reason is simple: Any upheaval in our country will cause a rollback in economic and political spheres for a number of years. A revolutionary restructuring of the political system or a whole replacement of the government staff will automatically, contrary to new elites’ beliefs, reduce the effectiveness of all governmental bodies. All this will finally result in a slowdown in development. At the same time, it is important for the West that it leads the slowing down of Russian external projects, for instance, of integration dynamics in the post-Soviet expanse. In this respect, I would consider the West’s actions as a whole series of events, occurring in Russia, Kazakhstan and with permanent pressure on Lukashenko in Belarus. If serious upheavals happen in our country, integration projects will be shut down or suspended, which fully meets U.S. interests.

I would not like to paint a picture of the world in black and white colors; to say that our government is good whereas the opposition is bad or vice versa. I just urge that one take a sober view of things to understand that current opposition is tied to Americans, who are interested in destabilization. Also I have the impression that in the Kremlin they inadequately assess the situation. I worked in many countries, where “color revolutions” happened (in particular, in the Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan), and could observe that the common mistake of these countries’ governments was to play the opposition’s game, overestimating the role of the opposition in the country’s well-being. For instance, the governments plunged into discussions on the Internet, accepting the discourse imposed by Internet sites. Nowadays in Russia, there is also a shift in assessment of the situation by the government. It is a little inadequate. The situation in blogs and the situation in the country are two different things.

Only a strong and independent Russia can expect that it will be reckoned with

Finally, I can’t avoid mentioning that inside the government itself, there is a group of liberal-oriented figures who are involved in an organization of the latest manifestations. They try to persuade the government that it is impossible to resist these events. These politicians may have a lot of motives. First of these motives is that there is a group of people inside the establishment who gambled on Medvedev. They calculated that Medvedev would go for his second term and Putin would finally recede. These people’s expectations were ruined. Nevertheless, they made their stakes, and now they have some concerns and want to get guarantees of their future. Strictly speaking, for this purpose, they put pressure on Putin.

Another part of the establishment plays a game, offered by Americans, who plainly and obviously are letting it be known that they are against Putin’s nomination for presidency. This is not due to the fact that Putin is a vigorous patriot of the country or a politician completely detached from western realities. In general, he is a liberal-minded person. He has just understood one simple thing: attempts to play into western hands never will bring any dividends. Increase in influence is achieved only through growth of power. Roughly speaking, only a strong and independent Russia can expect that it will be talked to and reckoned with.