Bear on an elephant. What is known about the magazine that published Putin’s article
Vladimir Putin’s article on the 75th anniversary of the World War II Victory Parade, published in the American magazine The National Interest, aroused the interest of politicians and experts around the world. What is this magazine, who is behind it and what ideas does it promote?
In the article, Putin sets out his vision of the causes of World War II, blaming Western countries that have refused to cooperate with the Soviet Union. Putin calls the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by the USSR and Nazi Germany a forced step, which allegedly allowed him to prepare for war. Many Western experts have set out their views on the Russian president’s messages. And, for example, Ukrainian expert Oleksiy Melnyk believes that Putin is using “historical truth” in today’s neo-imperial ideology of Russia to legitimize the regime’s aggressive actions in the foreign arena,
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the article Vladimir Putin “The real lessons of the 75th anniversary of World War II” was published in the American journal The National Interest, because it read “solid and reasonable people.”
Editor-in-Chief Jacob Heilbrann notes that The National Interest published the article because the magazine’s main goal is to “promote the debate on history and foreign policy,” and Putin’s publication “provides just that.”
“I knew it would give a lot of food for thought, it would be controversial that Western audiences are largely unfamiliar with the views promoted by President Putin, that many in the West still cannot understand the crucial role played by the Red Army in the defeat of Nazism during World War II , ”Heilbran said.
Apparently, in the same way, “promoting the debate on history and foreign policy,” The National Interest published an article in November last year entitled “The War in Ukraine Must End,” written by Lyle Goldstein, a professor at the Newport Naval College.
In that publication, the author explained why the American establishment should reconsider its views on the annexation of Crimea.
Allegedly, the seizure of the peninsula took place “bloodlessly”, given the “known sympathies” of the locals, and compared to the “widespread violence” in some countries in America and Asia, the occupation of Ukrainian territory “is hardly a serious problem.”
Goldstein stressed that Crimea was “gifted” to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev, and Russia “paid with rivers of blood” for the peninsula, taking part in the Crimean and World Wars. The borders of the states into which the USSR collapsed are “organically changing,” the professor said.
In 2015, on the eve of Donald Trump’s announcement of the presidential nomination, The National Interest published an article “Bear and Elephant” by Russian journalist Maria Butina, in which she said that to improve relations between Washington and Moscow in the US election must win a Republican candidate ( elephant – a symbol of the Republican Party).
In 2019, a Washington court found Butina guilty of acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government.
The director general of The National Interest is Dmitry Simes, a 72-year-old American political scientist, a native of Moscow, the son of Soviet human rights activist and Radio Liberty employee Konstantin Simis.
Simes emigrated to the United States in 1973. He has worked as a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington), as head of Russian and Eurasian programs at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and as a professor at Columbia and California universities.
He also advised on foreign policy to Republican President Richard Nixon, who, when he came to power, proclaimed a policy of detente in relations with the USSR and, after Franklin Roosevelt, became the first White House leader to visit the Soviet Union. Simes was one of the organizers of this visit.
Since 1994, he has run the Washington-based Center for National Interests (formerly the Nixon Center), close to the Republicans. And since 2018, together with Vyacheslav Nikonov, the grandson of the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR Vyacheslav Molotov, he hosts a propaganda show “The Big Game” on Russia’s First Channel.
According to an investigation by historian Yuri Felshtinsky, a number of facts indicate that Symes is an agent of the Kremlin.
By the way, since 2002 a member of the editorial board of The National Interest is a Russian senator, chairman of the commission of the Federation Council on information policy Alexei Pushkov.
Explaining on his telegram channel why Putin’s article was published in The National Interest, Pushkov referred to the fact that the magazine expresses the views of American supporters of “political realism”, who advocate “constructive relations with Russia.”
“Given Donald Trump’s Republican affiliation, this is at least not a hostile publication to him, unlike the New York Times, as well as magazines of foundations and centers close to Democrats, such as Foreign Policy ,” says Pushkov.
“Political realism” is a paradigm of international relations, according to which the state must above all put the national interest and support it with appropriate force.
The question of whose state interest is actually promoted by the head of The National Interest, in the pages of which the annexation of Crimea is justified, and then Putin teaches lessons on the history of World War II “for respectable and intelligent people.”