Tuesday, 12 May 2015 14:22

Russia will adhere to its traditions regardless of what the West wants it do, thinks it should do, or believes it should do cautioned Major General Peter Williams talking to the National Press Club at the Associated Audio Bose auditorium.

The Russian mind-set and thus approach rests on fear of iinternal fragmentation which in turn pivots on the threat of external intervention, especially full scale invasion. Such fears were justified noted General Williams recalling the British interventionism after World War 1. This was followed by the determination after World War 2 of the West to disrupt the USSR via the Cold War.

This type of damaging intervention continues to this day, he observed, and is characterised for example by the United Kingdom taking in from Russia hundreds of billions of US dollars equivalent which amounted to “dirty money,” declared General Williams.
General Williams himself was a Cold War warrior having served with BRIXMIS, the British cross-mission into Soviet held East Germany.

After the collapse of the USSR he went on to lead the NATO Mission to the new Russian Federation.

The Coldstream Guards officer identified the failure of the West to understand the Russia concept of power as central to what he described as the syndrome in which there was the belief that “because they look like us – they must also think like us.”

In the event Russians were most at home with their tradition of centralised monolithic power just because experience had taught them that such unbridled power was the best way to deal with these constant threats of invasion, foreign interventionism, internal fragmentation, and economic collapse.

There was no such thing in the Russian makeup as the notion of the steel fist in the velvet glove. There was no such concept as the Western one about the “abuse of power”.

“In Russia, if you have power. Then you must use it. If you do not use it, then the power that you possess will simply be taken away from you.”

Because of this, Russia was determined to bring back into Mother Russia, what it knew as its “near abroad,” the newly created republics.

In pursuit of this national objective Russia, under its leader Vladimir Putin, would continue to exhibit singularity of purpose by, for example, “reaching out to kill its enemies, regardless of where they are.”

Russia, emphasised General Williams, was not going to change its ways on the whims of the West. Its overarching objective remains to restore its Tsarist “former glories.”

An aspect of Russian life today that constantly bamboozled Western journalists and other observers and analysts declared General Williams was that surrounding the lifestyle of Vladimir Putin himself.

His association with gymnasts and other such contemporary figures in the sports sphere was interpreted in the West as an indication of modernism.

In the event and within Russia such behaviour was regarded as a tough-guy lifestyle, and thus to be respected – and feared.

Committee member Digby Paape with Major General Peter Williams at the National Press Club meeting at the Associated Audio Bose Auditorium in Wellington

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