Observing the aftermath of the Russian invasion and attempt to legitimize the occupation of Crimea through the Sunday referendum, regional analyst Joshua Noonan wrote a memo. This memo was written under a pseudonym “Gregori Pushkin Pushkinovich” a supposed Special Assistant on Strategic Affairs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. This is designed to explain further the counter-moves that Russia may utilize after the United States and the European Union enact sanctions. This is a fictional memo but it is useful in explaining the thought process of Russian leaders to policy makers, thought leaders, and elected representatives in concerned countries.
Joshua Noonan is an Azerbaijan News Analyst; John Hopkins SAIS MA Candidate in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Economics. He can be followed at
MEMORANDUM TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, VLADIMIR VLADIMIROVICH PUTIN
At the success of the recent incursion to Crimea and the securing of a path to integration with the Russian Federation, a list of five policies have been devised. While the loss of President Yanukovych and with him from the ranks of the Russian Federation’s allies, the advanced of the brown storm of neo-Nazism and Ukrainian chauvinist have been stopped through effective deployment of force and subterfuge. These policies have been developed with the mind of buttressing the Russian Federation’s current international standing after the notable success in Ukraine while blunting Western retaliation.
While anti-fascist activities continue to take places in Eastern and Southern Ukraine, the Russian Federation must focus on the integration of Crimea into the Russian Federation (RF). The RF’s deployment of forces in the gray zones of non-control in our near abroad have proven useful. This is notably so with the current Prime Minister of Crimea, Sergey Valeryevich Aksyonov’s continued support through his deep ties with Transnistria. The RF must continue to deepen its ties to what the Westerners call “Frozen Conflicts” Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria, and Nagorno-Karabakh. These will provide us with training grounds for our special forces while denying Western Fascisto-Imperial designs on the RF’s Near Abroad.
BLUNT WESTERN SANCTIONS
The reserves of the Central Bank of Russia have proved to stave off imminent collapse of the Russian Ruble. Nonetheless, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and the accompanying modernization from Western Firms are now in question. Capital flight may be able to be controlled through the astute application of traffic-citation-deportations against the leadership of western Multinational Corporations (MNCs). Despite that, our deep and lasting control of natural gas, a resource which Western and Central Europe utilize much of it, proves the staying power of the RF. Our export partners are easy to manipulate. The stature of “our Russian oligarchs” in the city of London as well as the purchase of capital goods and the “Nord Stream” direct gas pipeline to the Federal German Republic ensures that the two largest economies of the European Union will not act in any noticeable way.
FACTURE THE WEST
Though the G7 will not be attending the planned G8 Sochi meeting in June, this and sanctions have been small and ineffectual. Thus, the RF must take action to split the already weak Western voice. The gas weapon should be used as a last resort, but as our history has proved it has been utilized many times to great effect since the collapse of the USSR. This will be one lever. The Japanese have been wanting a resolution to the Kuril Islands Dispute since the conclusion of the Great Patriotic War. It is time to turn these islands over to the nationalist prime minister Shinzo Abe. While there is no love lost between the RF and Japan, the RF will be able to extract billions of dollars from the conclusion of a peace treaty. Moreover, the prospects of energy security from the continuation of long-term Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) contracts in Japan as their nuclear power generation capacity was curtailed after the Fukushima Daiichi incident. This action, though difficult in the short term, will allow for the elimination of nonproductive assets, the accumulation of capital to be spent productively consolidating the center while most importantly splitting one of the biggest economies of the West from the rest.
ENSURE LONG TERM DIVERSIFICATION OF CLIENT BASE
With the development of the Yamal Peninsula LNG export plans by Novatech and the passage and ratification of the December law ensures that the LNG export capacity of the RF will continue to expand. This will improve the competitiveness of both Novatech and the flagship exporter, GazProm as each vie for export customers. The ability of the RF to export LNG will bolster the resilience to resist sanctions. Moreover, as the market moves to spot pricing, a higher premium will be able to be extracted. Finally, the ability to capture the Asian Premium through LNG exports demonstrates the need for the RF to continue expanding its capacity. This will blunt Western attempts to create a Southern Energy Corridor, reducing the profitability of the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Natural Gas Pipeline (TAP) to Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
With the integration of many of the RF’s neighbors into the Eurasian Customs Union and with the Eurasian Union to be realized in 1 January 2015, the RF is cementing Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia into its orbit. Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) ties alongside the sales of RF material must continue. These states will create a cadre of close and dependable allies to sell goods and raw materials. Moreover, they should be considered crucial as they provide cover for the gathering of Russian lands. The planned formation of the Brazil Russia India China South Africa (BRICS) Development Bank in the upcoming BRICS summit as well as the continued development of security ties with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will provide an alternate and powerful pole to the established Washington dominated Euro-Atlantic Security and Economic Architecture.
The RF has had a series of successes due to the Ukrainian Crisis. The proposed show of strength abroad and at home will set their minds to the task of building and modernizing mother Russia. Nevertheless, the conflict with the West remains. We must remain wary of their ability to pervert the peoples’ interest through a manipulation of their pseudo-ideals and shadowy networks of finance and media. Despite their guile, the strength and fortitude of the Russian government and the Russian people will prevail thanks to strong and effective leadership within and at top of the Power Vertical.
Gregori Pushkin Pushkinovich
Special Assistant on Strategic Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation