The doping scandal unfolding before our eyes, with the International Olympic Committee this week banning Russia from participating as a nation at the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, is instructive for those trying to map Russia's future .
Read between the lines, and it is clear that nothing in Russia will change until President Vladimir Putin leaves the scene. Internal corruption will not change. The way in which Moscow deals with the international community will not change. Attempts to cheat at the Olympic Games will not end.
There is a very simple reason for this. Mr. Putin, although I do not believe he continues to believe in communism, still believes in the Soviet Union or, more specifically, in the tactics used by the USSR to make Russia great again after the fall of the monarchy 100 years ago. years.
Mr. Putin grew up admiring the glory of the Soviet athletes. For the Soviet Union, sport was another way to compete with the West, to show that the communist way of life was superior, to inculcate patriotism and to defeat the opponents of the USSR on the carpet and the track, not on the battlefield . In this line of thinking, anything goes. A systematic plan sponsored by the state for drug athletes is not out of place.
Sport is the favorite pastime of the Russians for this reason. The Soviet athletes were demigods, promoted by the state to show their vitality. This is the genesis of the popular fury at this moment in Russia regarding the Olympic ban. When caught, they deny, deny, deny and blame the West, accuse the United States of interfering with their elections and talk about the construction of Satan's missile that can destroy a country the size of Texas.
Russia's rapid rise in military spending is also a throwback to Soviet times. Although it is still far below what the US. UU They spend in absolute terms, the Russian military budget is many times higher in terms of percentage of GDP. And as Madeleine Albright, President Clinton's secretary of state, asked: "What good is it to have this magnificent army that you always talk about if we can not use it?"
Russian actions in Syria, Crimea and eastern Ukraine I also remember the old Soviet playbook. The Soviet Union lobbied to exert influence around the world, especially along its border with Europe and the Middle East. The global influence is what Mr. Putin wants, so he is using Soviet tactics to recover it. The use of cyberwar against the West, attempts to discredit our democracy and our way of life, are also classic tactics of the KGB.
Many argue that it was the West's fault that Russia has not joined the community of free nations after the turbulent 1990s. The argument is that we do not demonstrate enough magnanimity and help the nascent Russian state. It is probably true that the "deep state" of US security. UU At that time it would not have allowed a complete thaw in relations with the Russian Federation. However, it is also true that Russia also has a deep state culture embedded, one with a natural animosity towards democracy, freedom and the US. UU
I think the United States should be closer to Russia. I think we have much more in common than many people think. Russia experienced the communism that our millennials say they crave. They could teach a lot to our younger generation. The attempted sabotage by the establishment of President Trump and the rabid and anti-Russian hysteria between the left and our media are ridiculous and dangerous.
However, Russia also has some responsibility for our joint future.
There is no way Russia will end the massive military parades, which mean Victory Day over the Nazis, under the current government. And Russia simply can not bury Lenin. The older Soviet generation simply will not allow it. I predict that, when Lenin is buried, when Mr. Putin leaves, when the previous generation fades into history, Russia will finally have the opportunity for a different future. Until these things happen, however, it will not.
• L. Todd Wood is a Special Operations Helicopter Pilot and Wall Street Debt Trader, and has contributed to Fox Business, The Moscow Times, The National Review, The New York Post and many other publications. He can be contacted through his website, LToddWood.com.