First Deputy Head of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Vyacheslav Nikonov.
A photo: Viktor GUSEINOV
… – Vyacheslav Alekseevich, while the first day of the referendum was going on in the Donbass, in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, I called Donetsk, watched the news … And all the time I thought – what makes people, under shelling, still go to vote? Hope? Longing for the Motherland and native walls that can protect? That’s all, right?
– In any case, Alexander, all the residents of Donbass, with whom I spoke that day – they all call the referendum – the return home.
Moreover, after all, people vote there not only under shelling, but also on the front line, in the trenches.
And they vote, indeed, absolutely sincerely and from the bottom of their hearts.
You know, two things struck me in recent days.
The first is the polls conducted by VTsIOM in the Donetsk and Luhansk republics. And there – not a single person (and the answers of the study participants were anonymous. – A.G.) said that he would like to remain part of Ukraine.
That is, there is simply not a single person who said “no” to either independence or joining Russia.
And second. I spoke with one young fighter who spent a lot of time on the front line, involved in politics. And we discussed the question with him: is it necessary to hold a referendum? After all, everything is clear.
Polls show that 100% are in favor.
In addition, in 2014 they already voted – and also absolutely all the results were “for” – on the issue
Why hold a referendum again?
Do you know what he told me?
– Interesting … So what?
– He says that over the past eight years, a generation of guys has grown up who are now on the front lines with machine guns. And those who believe that they should, are obliged to vote. Then they did not have such an opportunity. And now – there is.
They are already adults, they are already defending their country. And they also want to vote for joining Russia.
I think it’s not only very touching, but also very understandable. To me, anyway.
– So I immediately remembered the episode when Iosif Davydovich Kobzon and I went to Donbass. And Zakharchenko was alive, Givi was standing nearby, Motorola. And my mother there introduced a young soldier to these people. And she was proud of her son: “He has a medal, this is my boy, here he is already a defender!” These are precisely these people, yes, the voters of the new life. This is an interesting observation, of course.
– I think they are with us today. Givi, Motorola, Zakharchenko, yes.
– And Kobzon.
– And Iosif Davydovich. And, of course, today they are also glad that this day, which they dreamed of, has come.
Yes, there are five days ahead, I’m sure there will be a lot of provocations, there will be anything… Ukraine and the Americans, of course, will do absolutely everything to prevent people from voting. But the Nazis and their Washington patrons will not succeed.
We will now be more than 150 million
– Yes … Tell me, what will happen next? What will it give? Well, in a good way, not that there …
– Then we – Russia – will grow.
Not every generation manages to grow.
We have already grown in Crimea, now we will grow in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson. Then there will be a decision of the State Duma, the Federation Council, there will be a Presidential Decree. And there will be changes in the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which you can no longer cut down with an ax. They will be part of our country according to the Basic Law.
– What will it mean?
– First of all, this will mean a change in the nature of the special operation, that is, military operations will be carried out already partially on the territory of our country. And the operation itself will be called something else.
– But as?
– The liberation of one’s own territory is either a Patriotic War or a counter-terrorist operation. But, in any case, it changes the nature of the operation.
Now what are we going to grow.
Yes, and how much?
– Well, this is about 8 and a half million people, however, taking into account those who have left there recently, but still this is a huge number of people.
This means that our population will exceed 150 million. Plus, this is somewhere around 120 thousand square kilometers of territory, which means that our country will also increase in size, and significantly.
For Ukraine, this will be the loss of a fifth of its territory.
And, if we talk about the economic potential, then these regions, in aggregate, gave, perhaps, more than a third of the entire Ukrainian GDP.
By the way, this is a serious economic region, in which it will be necessary not only to invest, but which will be very cool to give back.
In any case, they contained the whole of Ukraine. And not only… It is, indeed, the largest industrial region, which was created by the whole country even before the revolution.
And then, of course, these are all the main construction projects of the first Soviet five-year plans – Donbass was in the first place. Industrialization there, of course, took place on a very large scale. And it is no coincidence that there is such a noticeable difference between Eastern Ukraine, industrialized and developed, and Western, rural, where industrialization was not carried out, because there was simply no working class there, and they were not originally part of the Soviet Union.
We have a qualitative advantage, and the Sarmat is still too tough for the United States,
– Some military experts – both in Russia and in the US – are already beginning to compare the current situation with the Caribbean crisis.
The Caribbean Crisis was an extremely tense political, diplomatic and military confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States in October 1962, which was caused by the deployment of Jupiter medium-range missiles in Turkey in 1961 by the United States, which could easily reach cities in the western part of the Soviet Union, including Moscow and the main industrial centers of the USSR, which deprived the USSR of the opportunity to deliver an equivalent retaliatory strike. In response to these actions, the Soviet Union deployed regular military units and subunits on the island of Cuba, in close proximity to the US coast. The crisis could lead to a global nuclear war.
– Vyacheslav Alekseevich, how do you like these parallels and analogies?
– Alexander, I just belong to that small number of people who very carefully studied all the materials of the Caribbean crisis.
– I know, yes.
– I read all the transcripts in the original, starting with the executive committee, which has been sitting in the White House in Washington under the chairmanship of Kennedy all these days. I read all the meetings of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU, then there was no Politburo, there was a presidium, during this time, all the decisions, of course, all the correspondence that was between Kennedy and Khrushchev.
Moreover, I confess, I wrote a book.
– Very thick, about the Caribbean crisis, which, however, has not yet been released.
– Interesting. So far we have not gone far from your book. Vyacheslav Alekseevich, you show us the best books, at least the chapters.
– Yes, definitely. We will definitely show you.
– I’m waiting for the electronic version then.
– When released.
As for the analogy, all analogies, of course, are lame, and the analogy with the Caribbean crisis is also very lame.
The situation is, in fact, somewhat mirrored. Because then we just deployed our medium-range missiles in Cuba. After that, the Americans said that this is an existential threat, we will bomb it all, including with nuclear weapons … Now they have placed these missiles under our side, and they are going to place them further on the territory of Ukraine.
And when we said that this was unacceptable, they made big eyes: how is it, this is the sovereign choice of the country of Ukraine?
Although, during the Caribbean crisis, it was the sovereign choice of the country of Cuba that these missiles were deployed there. We did not force Cuba to host these missiles.
Therefore, it is really very difficult for them to understand something, because, in principle, they have double standards in their heads. That is, what they can do cannot be done by others.
– That’s it!
– In principle, they began to do with respect to Russia exactly what Khrushchev did with regard to the United States, which was recognized as absolutely unacceptable in America.
– But, they say, in the USA there are also sober-minded people.
– But to say that there are some sober-minded Americans … They really think soberly, in the sense that they do not want a nuclear war. It certainly is.
As for the desire to destroy us all, these plans have always existed since 1945.
A huge number of plans, many of them have already been declassified, how they were going to destroy us completely, simply physically, with nuclear weapons and so on.
And I must say that no one has ever canceled these plans, they have always existed and still exist.
The only thing that stops them is that they will respond in such a way that they will be worse off.
In fact, we now have an advantage in the military-strategic sphere, while during the Caribbean crisis, even according to our most optimistic estimates, the Americans had superiority, you know what? 17 times.
– 17-fold superiority. We have the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the territory of the United States did not exceed 20, and the Americans had an insane amount of weapons brought to our borders, which were in Great Britain, Italy, Turkey, everywhere.
– What do we have now?
– There is parity in carriers, but we have a qualitative superiority. And missiles like the Sarmat are still too tough for them, not to mention hypersonic warheads. This is for them in general, I think, the next century.
That is, we have a huge numerical superiority, and we have superiority in missile defense systems.
Another thing is that they really got very close to our borders.
NATO expansion is about that, to get as close as possible.
How Khrushchev wanted to get as close as possible to America in order to somehow compensate for the lag.
– He got up.
– Well, he snuck up for a couple of weeks. Our medium-range and long-range missiles were put on alert in Cuba when the Americans had already discovered them. He crept up for a very short time, for several years. After that, these missiles had to be withdrawn, and rather shamefully, under American inspection, they counted everything there on the heads, all these missiles in the sea.
Because Fidel simply did not let them go to Cuba.
Khrushchev tried to force Castro to start up inspections on the island, so that they would check that the conflict did not reach a critical point.
– Now where is the light, what to hope for?
– Clearance is our Victory. She is inevitable. As soon as we win, our American “partners” will come to their senses a little, I think.
Although, they will no longer be partners, I think. Putin said: “Our main mistake was that we trusted you.”
Well, we’ll never trust again. And relations between us and them in the next decade, I think, will simply be absent. And thank God, I think.
I do not understand at all what kind of relations with the United States can be now. What, in fact, can be a relationship?
In the State Duma, among other things, I head the group for non-existent relations, the group for relations with the Congress of the United States of America. I must say that there are simply no connections, from the word “zero”. I, of course, got used to contacts with American colleagues for many decades, but, to be honest, now I don’t even see a subject for such contacts.
– I’m thinking – maybe we should send this interview to Blinken at least.
– Maybe it will help.
– How will it help? We don’t really need anything from them. They will not stop supporting Ukraine, but no matter how they support it, it is simply doomed to defeat.
* * *
– Vyacheslav Alekseevich! Well, then we can only repeat the well-known phrase of Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov …
– I repeat this quite often: our cause is just, and Victory, of course, is ours, they have no chance.