The New York Times reports: As Russia and the United States drift toward a rupture over Crimea, the Stalinist writer Aleksandr A. Prokhanov feels that his moment has finally arrived.
“I am afraid that I am interested in a cold war with the West,” said Mr. Prokhanov, 76, in a lull between interviews on state-controlled television and radio. “I was very patient. I waited for 20 years. I did everything I could so that this war would begin. I worked day and night.”
Mr. Prokhanov is an attack dog whose career has risen, fallen and risen again with the fortunes of hard-liners in the Kremlin. And it is a measure of the conservative pivot that has taken place in Moscow in Vladimir V. Putin’s third presidential term that Mr. Prokhanov and a cadre of like-minded thinkers — a kind of “who’s who of conspiratorial anti-Americanism,” as one scholar put it — have found themselves thrust into the mainstream.
For centuries, Russian history has been driven by a struggle between ideas, as reformers and revanchists wrestled over the country’s future. Mr. Putin keeps a distance from the ideological entrepreneurs clustered around the Kremlin, leaving his influences a matter of speculation.
But it became clear last week, as the United States threatened to cut off Russian corporations from the Western financial system, that influential members of the president’s inner circle view isolation from the West as a good thing for Russia, the strain of thought advanced by Mr. Prokhanov and his fellow travelers. Some in Mr. Putin’s camp see the confrontation as an opportunity to make the diplomatic turn toward China that they have long advocated, said Sergei A. Karaganov, a dean of the faculty of international relations at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.
“This whole episode is going to change the rules of the game,” Mr. Karaganov said of Crimea, which is holding a referendum on secession on Sunday. “Confrontation with the West is welcomed by all too many here, to cleanse the elite, to organize the nation.” [Continue reading…]