Viktor Kogan-Yasny: On Political Leadership and War

posted 18 Dec 2017, 07:29 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 28 Dec 2017, 06:51 ]

27 November 2017 

By Viktor Kogan-Yasny

Viktor Kogan-Yasny is chair of the NGO Right to Life and Civic Dignity and is a political adviser to the Yabloko party

All parochial political figures of a limited world-view, who find themselves occupying important positions of state because of circumstances (and their ambitions), conduct public affairs in a manner that invariably leads to one and the same outcome.


If they act on the basis of the priority of force – there will be victims, victims in ever greater numbers…

If they believe that territory is more important than people – there will, as a result, be neither people nor territory…

The political class exists in order to defend the real interests of a very large number of people, not their phantom, or pseudo, interests. The main priority must be peace, civil and international. War is the very last resort, and is certainly not a continuation of ordinary politics “by other means.” 

We have completely forgotten our history: just wars (of which there have been very few) have never been conducted for the sake of territory. For the sake of territory... there have been feudal wars, and wars led by madmen…

The conduct of an opponent and competitor in no ways justifies one’s own sins…

Politicians who refuse to make concessions or reach compromises in the sphere of international relations are worth nothing. Citing the struggle with the Nazi regime in Germany as an example is absolutely misplaced on every count.

What was at issue in that instance was not territory, or the structure of military blocks, but the actual physical existence of individuals, ethnic groups, peoples. Precisely for this reason, the compromises with Hitler have been recognized as mistaken. 

This is precisely why the attack on the USSR by Hitler led to very broad public support for the war. This attack resulted in the Great Patriotic War because, as rapidly became clear, it threatened some people with total destruction, and others with complete enslavement - and not at all because Hitler occupied some particular territory,  or any other reason.