June 23, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10035

Russian Think Tank Director Bordachev: Russia Was Fortunate In Facing The West 'At The Moment Of Its Greatest Weakness', But The West Will Rebound

June 23, 2022
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 10035

Timofei Bordachev, the program director of the Valdai Discussion Club think tank, is confident that the West will soon be approaching Russia to seek a compromise on Ukraine that will be advantageous to Russia. He warns his countrymen, however, not to engage in self-congratulation, because the West is still intent on the extinction of Russian sovereignty. Moreover, in the current crisis Russia was lucky to face the West when the US and Europe were at their weakest and their leadership was comprised of "mindless chatterboxes or hustlers." The West has shown its recuperative powers in the past and the next phase of the perpetual struggle will be tougher.

Bordachev's opinion piece follows below:[1]

Timofei Bordachev (Source:

"Statements by individual US officials that so-called 'sanctions against Russia' lead to undesirable consequences for the US itself and its companies (along with the constantly raised topic of the Ukrainian regime's weakness) suggests that Western politicians will soon be looking for a compromise with Russia, and it will, naturally, be in our favor. However, such reasoning must be accompanied by several serious caveats. The most important of them is that the mistake by the USSR, which in the mid-1970s believed in the West's weakening, mustn’t be repeated. 

"According to a popular legend, Knyaz Grigory Orlov, after the Chesmen victory over the Turkish fleet, sent a dispatch to St. Petersburg, that began with the following words, 'God is merciful, Mother Empress [Catherine], a fleet worse than ours has been found.' Even if Russia succeeds in its confrontation against the Western forces in the coming years, this wouldn’t mean that such a success is fully merited, and it is time to regain internal harmony. To a larger extent, our foreign policy achievements will be the result of the fundamental problems experienced by the US and its allies in

"It should already be understood that all this is not Russia’s merit, although some decisions (for instance a transfer of settlements on energy resources to rubles) do put the West in a peculiar position. Russia’s merit lies in its firmness and consistency on the specific Ukrainian issue.

"Therefore, it would be most disturbing to see on our part attempts to take credit for the result of the objective course of history. We need to be clear, despite the fact that our cause is right, it’s not we, who are prompting the West to tactical defeat, but its [the West's] own mistakes and inability so far to improve its internal regulations. But that doesn’t mean that something similar won’t happen in the coming 15-20 years. Then Russia, should it be weakened, will face a better prepared and no less resolute opponent than now.

"The global game, which began spinning with greater velocity, since the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine, will go on for a long time, and one should not count on the advent for any permanent status all. Now we understand that in the coming months, Russia’s adversaries. will face such problems that they will inevitably have to seek ground for a tactical compromise. It’s very likely that this compromise will even somehow resolve (partially or fully) the Ukrainian problem, in its most crucial dimension linked to direct threats to Russian security.

"Although, most likely, it will be impossible to deal with this issue without comprehensive and lengthy term work on Ukrainian society’s consciousness, because even in an area of 2 square kilometers, a state possessing the mentality of modern Ukraine will be a threat. Therefore, the this territory's restructuring process can take considerable time, as it already was the case in the second half of the 17th century, when the struggle only for the Left-bank [of the Dnieper] Ukraine went on for 30 years after the [1654] Pereiaslav Agreement [in which the Cossacks pledged allegiance to the Russian Tsar]. And the likely temporary compromise, bearing a relative reconciliation with the West, provided it happens due to its obvious failures, will represent only an episode in a longer process."

Cossacks observe 365th anniversary of the Pereiaslav Agreement in Simferopol (Source:

"No one is promising us peace. Practically, all observers have no doubt that majority of the economic warfare measures imposed against Russia after February 24 will remain in effect and will be aimed at the gradual strangulation of the Russian state and population.

"Maybe the West’s tactical retreat in Eastern Europe will be followed by the lifting or easing of those 'sanctions' that do the most harm to Americans and Europeans themselves.

"However, the policy of opposing Russia by any means and at a however long it takes historical perspective will never change. As long as, of course, the Russian state maintains its sovereignty, therefore [it will go on] forever.

"This struggle will become of the most important factors, which will structure the international order in the coming decades. It should be kept in mind that the West habitually plays the long game, and a tactical failure to implement the most aggressive plans won’t be a reason for a serious reevaluation of its conduct. And this is particularly the case as the  Americans and Europeans are experienced in solving domestic problems in order to maintain their competitive advantages and opportunities to prompt the rest of the world to follow their rules.  

"To start a global nuclear war that would destroy all of humanity is the only alternative to internal Western mobilization. This is not considered a way out of the situation, since rational Western civilization doesn’t entail suicidal solutions. This is true in particular, as the general decline of religiosity in the US and Western Europe makes them more cautious and rational regarding their conduct on issues of principle. Therefore, one shouldn’t fear a catastrophe facilitated by despair. And we seem to be learning to control escalation.

"Even if all the events happening in the US and Western European domestic politics appear to be signs of a rather strong deterioration, this political circus stands on a very serious foundation of culture, philosophy, and social institutions. One cannot exclude the possibility that, in a few years, this solid base will be able to grind away the worthless superstructure and create new elites, ways to solve economic problems, and even more effective institutions. One needs to understand that the current generation of Western politicians is the product of a unique confluence of historical circumstances. Now the circumstances are changing.

"The struggle against the Communist thought was such an existential task that, after the onset of an apparent victory in 1991 [i.e. collapse of the USSR], the West actually believed in the 'end of history.' From my own experience of communicating with the younger generation of the German elite, I saw that for the last 30 years all the bright and talented went into business, while mostly talentless schemers remained in politics and science. The same trend occurred in almost all countries of the Western world. There were virtually no exceptions. One can witness the result of it in the quality of political decisions, crazy initiatives in the field of so-called 'green energy' or in Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to NATO.

"However, it would be extreme lightheadedness to believe that this situation will persist for a long time. After Russia emerges victorious in Ukraine and withstands the first wave of economic war with the West, the conflict will become chronic. This means that foreign policy (which idea will be the fight against Russia and China for global power and resources) will again become the task of the most talented and educated statesmen in the US and Europe. This situation did not obtain in the past three decades, but it can be rectified. This is especially so considering the existing social elevators in the West and a quite decent educational system. Now the latter has been paralyzed by a dogmatic perception of political reality, by the life in a world constructed on the ruins of the Cold War. But already in the lifetime of our generation everything can change.

"We are now dealing with the West at the moment of its greatest weakness compared to previous decades. Even after World War II, Western Europe wasn’t as intellectually impoverished as it is now, let alone the US, for which the mid-20th century came as the beginning of its heyday. But this won’t continue indefinitely.

"Provided the uncontrolled escalation doesn’t tear Russia apart in the next few years, in 15-20 years Russia and China will probably face a different West, i.e. not a group of mindless chatterboxes or hustlers, as we see now, but quite serious politicians, who are determined to fight. Their goals won’t change, but fresh methods will emerge."


[1], June 16, 2022.

Share this Report: