The democratically elected Puigdemont, under the threat of arrest, was forced to flee to Belgium, where he remains as a political emigrant.
A photo: GLOBAL LOOK PRESS
Now you can talk about it openly. January 2019, KP.RU was the first Russian media to interview Carles Puigdemont (simply by sending a request by e-mail). This is the former president of Catalonia, under him the autonomous region in the north-east of Spain tried to secede. Exactly 5 years ago, on October 1, 2017, a referendum on independence was held there, 92% of those who came to the polling stations said “yes”.
But the liberal West, which once applauded the collapse of the USSR or Yugoslavia, here for some reason pretended that there were no Catalan separatists. And the central government in Madrid ordered the introduction of special forces into Barcelona, and supporters of independence were fed with police batons. The democratically elected Puigdemont, under the threat of arrest, was forced to flee to Belgium, where he remains as a political emigrant.
And in that conversation with Komsomolskaya Pravda, the rebel intellectual stated the obvious: what about “democracy and moral authority in the EU” everything is bad.
Four months later, in April 2019, we repeated the encore, interviewing Puigdemont’s successor, the then President of Catalonia, named Kim Torra. Which the spoke about the same.
And a couple of days later, at the end of April 2019, there was a call on my work phone. The Spanish Embassy in Moscow offers to “talk informally”. Well, it’s a clear matter: when the Western media eagerly interview the “Russian opposition leader No. 1” (well, you understand who I mean), then this is it, please; and when the second gate appears in this game, the “partners” immediately become hysterical.
Okay, I put on a suit, I go to an expensive restaurant for a meeting. From the Spanish embassy – a nice young woman. She is well prepared, shy according to the training manual:
– You write that in that referendum “92% voted for”. But the turnout was only 43%, the voice of hundreds of thousands of “unionists” (supporters of preserving the region as part of Spain – ed.) was not heard. That is, the referendum is illegitimate.
– But you separated Kosovo from Serbia without any referendum.
– We? Spain does not recognize Kosovo and you know it.
– But you give shelter to dozens of runaway bankers from Russia who live freely in Spain.
– To whom exactly? Name the names (oops, I don’t remember that, of course; there is an awkward pause – the fool himself).
In the end, the interlocutor simply tries to lure me: they say, if you or any of your friends need Schengen multiple visas, we can help (the case, I repeat, was in 2019). No, thank you, the beaches of Dagestan are no worse than your Costa del Sol.
“HAND OF MOSCOW”
Same 2019. The then adviser to the President of Catalonia, Josep Lewis Alai, arrives in Moscow. This is an intellectual of the highest level, Ph.D., university professor, knows six languages. We walk along the elegant Nikolskaya street not far from Red Square.
“You see, professor,” I then asked, “from the outside it looks like this: Barcelona, like a wife after many years of marriage, wants to run away from her old husband, Madrid. Because it seems like you’ll be better off with someone new. But this is a psychological illusion. Until you solve your own problems, you will not be happy. Actually, with no one.
“The ‘marriage’ you speak of lasts over three hundred years and is by no means voluntary. For Americans, the day of national tragedy is September 11th. We have the same date in 1714, when the Spanish royal troops captured Barcelona. Moreover, Catalonia had its own constitution since the Middle Ages. Our leaders, unlike European monarchs, were elected democratically (well, in the sense of the day). Our language and culture were different from Spanish already a thousand years ago. The Catalan crisis is the oldest in European history, Alai answered me…
And most importantly: earlier, only the West, led by the United States, had the right to decide on the independence of small countries. And if someone else (anyone: Russians, Catalans, Chinese…) starts redrawing the borders, then this will be a blow to the American-centric world order.
So, as if on cue, dozens of publications in the world media fell down: “Puchdemon gave an interview to the pro-Kremlin newspaper KP” (so what?).
“Josep Lewis Alai talked in Moscow with KGB agents (this organization has not existed for a long time, and Alai came to give lectures at a couple of Moscow universities).
“Journalist Edward Chesnokov wanted to interview Puigdemont for the Nezygar telegram channel in order to undermine European democracy” (ay, ward number 6 is further down the corridor).
Josep Alai got into trouble in Barcelona, they tried to put him in jail “for misappropriating 11 euros from the funds of the government of Catalonia.” It was 11 euros, I did not miss the word “thousands” or “millions”; the absurd case against Alai is still going on.
It is understandable: when some bloggers who called for the killing of policemen are imprisoned in our country, then this is a “violation of human rights”; and when the Catalans are repressed in Spain, this is a strengthening of stability. About four thousand supporters of independence were brought to administrative or criminal liability, and nine organizers of the “referendum-2017” received real – albeit small – prison terms.
A good political thriller is about plot jumps in time and space. I again recall the conversation with the lady from the Spanish embassy.
“The European Union is a democratic association where everyone’s opinion is taken into account,” she continues.
This is again a training manual – any European official will repeat this mantra to you. Like Brezhnev’s partocrat about the “victory of socialism.” But, as well as under the decline of the USSR, the reality is at odds with the slogans. The current EU imposes sanctions even on its own members like Hungary or Poland, if their opinion on key issues like gay propaganda in schools disagrees with the “Brussels regional committee”. And when the right-wing conservative coalition wins the September elections in Italy, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, says: they say, we have methods to deal with this. That’s it, without even hiding.
From newspapers for October 1932.
That is, the advertised EU-democracy works only if the economy grows steadily and pieces of the European pie fall to all participating countries. And now, when Old Europe has found itself in the grip of a severe energy crisis due to anti-Russian sanctions, it is beginning to devour itself.
It is not surprising that Catalonia is trying to push off the tilted ship. The current head of the autonomy, Pere Aragones, again speaks of independence. There are two options: either another referendum, or “achieving the results of the previous one” – on October 27, 2017, following the results of the will, the Declaration of Independence of Catalonia was adopted, which some consider legitimate. And the only task is to turn “de jure” into “de facto”.
Whether all this is real and how it will end is difficult to say. But it is clear that in the yard it is no longer the autumn of 2017, when the West was at the peak of its power.
And why Catalan politicians (until February 2022) showed sympathy for Russia is also understandable. Remember the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, when our country supported the supporters of the Republic? Barcelona was its last stronghold. And we helped the Catalan democrats as much as we could. And on the side of their opponents, the Francists, Nazi Germany and fascist Italy fought. What is still remembered in Catalonia …
What now? Barcelona is a port city, there is a terminal for receiving liquefied natural gas. It will become very difficult – a grain carrier from Novorossiysk or a tanker with Yamal LNG is quite possible to accept, if you know what I mean.