Nina Krusciova: «My grandfather stopped in Cuba. Putin never wants to give up first “

from Viviana Mazza

But even America is no longer that of the Kennedys, today in the Ukrainian crisis it reveals itself to be much more ideological

The crisis in Ukraine is compared by some to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, when Russia and the United States were close to war. Political scientist Nina Krusciova, niece of Nikita Khrushchev, then first secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and Stalin’s successor, tells Corriere da New York, where she teaches at the New School, that not a perfect comparison, but in some respects it works. Powers flex their muscles, but can dialogue prevail? There are similarities between the two leaders, but Putin not Khrushchev. Khrushchev stopped when he realized that America would not allow another power to equal it. He blinked first or rather made a deal with Kennedy to save the world. Today I am afraid that neither the Americans nor the Russians are ready to give up first: Putin because for him, unlike Khrushchev, history and national glory are more important than prosperity; and in America because perhaps they are more ideological than Kennedy, particularly among Biden’s advisors.

Why so many troops on the Ukrainian border if Putin doesn’t want an invasion?
I don’t think there was an invasion plan in his mind. Putin a KGB man: when he took Crimea nobody noticed until it had already happened. All these troops and ships to show our strength are a show.

Does Putin have imperial ambitions?
He is not trying to rebuild the Russian Empire per se but seems determined to establish a subjection of the former Soviet states. The mistake of the West to think that Russia is an invader, but in reality Russia “takes” if the opportunity presents itself, as in Crimea in 2014 or in the Baltic States in 1940. When Ukrainian President Zelensky after the Election of Joe Biden began commanding in chief and talking about taking over Crimea and Donetsk, Putin began amassing troops at the border by declaring that a defensive force was needed – with the reservation, if the opportunity arises, to do more. , but not with a plan to that effect. Putin does not want to rebuild the USSR. What he always wanted: influence. He doesn’t want to sit at the children’s table. The problem that Moscow was at the table of the greats but when it took Crimea it was expelled from the G8: Putin himself responsible but if you asked him, he would reply that they did not listen to him anyway and this is also partly true.

You write that from the tsars to Lenin, Stalin and Putin, Russian leaders have believed that the costs of the Empire are justified. What reaction would there be with the sanctions?
Sanctions are a problem and Putin knows it. The more they are, the more they are a problem, even if Russia is not as bad as the Americans say. If the Russians can’t travel and there are bank sanctions, it will be horrifying for everyone other than Abramovich kicked out of London and hundreds of other oligarchs. The sanctions would add to the repression of any potential independent thinking and perhaps people will want to go to the streets to protest and that will not be possible. But this can go in different directions. Think about how Stalin was loved because ours was a “great nation”. Sure, we can’t go to Paris for Valentine’s Day, but a great nation ….

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