Apparently, Russia expects threats from all sides – from ISIS terrorists, from the U.S. and color revolutions.
Former Russian spy chief Nikolai Patrushev recently gave an interview to Kommersant, in which he revealed the Kremlin’s opinion about ISIS, ‘Western aggression’, Syria and many other things.
Patrushev blames the West in its tendency to solving its problems at the expense of others, including Russia, which thus creates global instability. By doing that, the U.S. and its allies undermine sovereignty and territorial integrity of Middle Eastern and North African states. And that is exactly what encouraged ISIS extremists and terrorists to beef up and provided them with the opportunity to make territorial gains, according to Patrushev.
Therefore, Patrushev goes as far as blaming the U.S. in the emergence of the ‘ISIS phenomenon’. Being a terror network, it has established ties with other terrorist groups such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabaab in Somalia and part of the Taliban movement in Pakistan.
Besides, most – if not all – smaller terrorist groups in central Asia and the north Caucasus are loyal to ISIS, including the Turkistan Islamic Party and Caucasus Emirate.
As for Russia, it is particularly concerning for both the West and Russia itself as ISIS is looking to get established closer to Europe in an attempt to expand its influence, and ultimately be able to reach the American soil.
Just recently, ISIS have launched Furat Media channel, which broadcasts in the Russian language, in the Caucasus. Besides, ISIS militants have expressed their desire to create a province on the territory of Russia, particularly in the Caucasus.
U.S. supported and maintained contacts with ISIS
Referring to the situation in Syria, Patrushev said that the U.S. is not looking to unite the world against ISIS, it is looking to “intervene militarily in the affairs of sovereign states” under the pretext of fighting the evil.
“[The Americans] define which terrorists you can parlay or have dealings with, and which not, solely on the basis of their own interests,” Patrushev said.
Patrushev believes that the U.S. strategy of fighting international terrorism is “ineffective by definition,” because terrorism “cannot be defeated alone or by separate groups.” He also added that Russia is prepared to cooperate with “the security services of any country on any continent, including the U.S.”
According to Patrushev, “cases of Russian and central Asian citizens swelling the ranks of the terrorists have become more common. Many are now fighting in Syria. But they will represent the greatest threat when they return home.”
Patrushev also said that the Kremlin never broke off its cooperation with other countries’ security services, including those of the U.S., and that Washington supported and maintained contacts with the aggressive opposition in Syria, which included supporters of ISIS, “believing that it didn’t represent a threat to them [the U.S.].”
And when the U.S. realized what they had done, they “changed their tune.” “But ISIS had already turned into the [world’s] most powerful terrorist organization.”
Over 1,000 Russians are fighting alongside ISIS
Patrushev also revealed the number of Russian citizens fighting for ISIS, saying that it is “more than 1,000,” adding that there are also thousands of people from other countries, including from central Asia, western Europe and the U.S.
However, it is not seen as something possible to stop the flow of people joining ISIS, according to the Russian spy chief. ISIS cannot be stopped while the U.S. basically supports the organization to fight the Assad regime in Syria. And “at the same time the US is bombing Isis. As long as they keep up these games, all this will carry on.”
Patrushev reiterated Russia’s common point of view, in which the Kremlin sees the U.S. as the culprit of the conflict in Ukraine. Saying that Russia has no involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, Patrushev believes that “the U.S. themselves started the conflict in Ukraine” and reminded that the assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland had revealed about the U.S. spending $5bn to “organize these things.”
Besides, the announcement of NATO about its plans to deploy a contingent of up to 30,000 troops to Eastern Europe as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announcement of the largest expansion in NATO capabilities since the Cold War are both perceived by Russia as “more like provocations than maneuvers.”
Americans would much rather that Russia did not exist as a country
Patrushev also blames the West for “whipping up hysteria” every time a Russian plane appears in international airspace, “even though they are on normal military duty.”
According to Patrushev, even though the U.S. identifies Russia as one of the main international threats, Russia is prepared to cooperate with everyone constructively. “There are many positive examples of where we worked with the Americans on questions of global stability. We actively cooperated in resisting terrorism, worked closely together on Syria’s chemical weapons and on regulating Iran’s nuclear program.”
However, Washington is the one to blame for breaking off the cooperation between the two countries “under the invented pretext of Russian aggression against Ukraine.” Although, according to Patrushev, the Americans are not interested in Ukraine at all, they are interested in Russia.
Moreover, the Americans “would much rather that Russia did not exist at all. As a country,” because Russia possess vast natural resources. In the U.S. opinion, Russia controls these resources “illegally and undeservedly” as the Kremlin does not use them as they are supposed to be used, Patrushev believes.
As a conclusion, when asked is the U.S. strong or are the Europeans weak, Patrushev answered “both.” The Europeans are “weak-willed” while the Americans are strong. “The U.S. strives to dominate in the world – this goal is enshrined in their doctrine. And, for now, they are succeeding. They dominate, despite the fact that the world is changing,” Patrushev said.