An influential Russian official has claimed that hostile Western actors and the US are trying to split Russia in the run-up to the July 1 national vote to approve a new constitution. This development is another chapter in the book of turbulent US-Russia relations. Even though the Cold War is now a relic of the past, the two powers continue to sling mud at and indulge in war of words with each other.
According to Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolai Patrushev, the “coordinators of destructive activities in Russia” include the US State Department, the US Agency for International Development and regime-change specialists the National Endowment for Democracy, amongst others.
US trying to split Russia along ‘spiritual, cultural, historical and moral’ lines
In an interview with Argumenty i Fakty, the head of the national security council alleged that steps are being taken by the West to “intensify information pressure,” with the aim of eroding Russia’s “spiritual, cultural, historical and moral values.” In his opinion, these alleged psychological operations, or psy-ops, are attempting to reduce “feelings of national identity” in order to “split Russian society.”
Russia's Security Council boss Nikolai Patrushev says the West is trying to split Russian society ahead of voting on Putin's changes to the constitution. This will be news to the West. https://t.co/kiMuMUcL66
— X Soviet (@XSovietNews) June 10, 2020
“In its strategic documents, the West, primarily the United States and NATO, designates Russia as an enemy, which is why it forms the image of Russia as a source of security threats, as a state that does not comply with international law and moral standards,” Patrushev said in an interview with the newspaper Argumenty I Fakty, published Wednesday.
The US Department of State is one of coordinators of destructive activities conducted by the West in relation to Russia, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said.
“The coordinators of destructive activities in Russia are the US Department of State, the US Agency for International Development, the American Council on Foreign Relations, leading US non-governmental organizations – the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Institute of Modern Russia, the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation) and many others,” the Russian Security Council secretary said.
Speaking to reporters, President Vladimir Putin’s official spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that Patrushev is not the only one to think that Western countries are attempting to influence Russian society. “This, of course, is [also] the opinion of the Kremlin,” he said, “It is obvious and visible to the naked eye.”
To achieve their goals, Patrushev, who is also a former FSB boss, alleges that West-linked outfits will funnel money into Russian activist groups, such as “so-called alternative trade union organizations.”
Foreign NGOs the main vehicle to split Russia
“From 2015 to 2019, Russian NGOs involved in political activities officially received about four billion rubles ($58million) from foreign sponsors,” he said. However, according to Patrushev the real figure is much higher.
He said his Council had information that the West would try to intensify its attempts to destabilize the situation in Russia prior to the upcoming vote on amendments to Russia’s Constitution.
Patrushev said the West was actively using the internet and media outlets it controlled to discredit the Russian leadership, and added that it interfered in Russian elections both on the federal and regional levels.
The vote on Russia’s new constitution will be held on July 1, after the original date of April 22 was postponed due to Covid-19. As well as the indexation of pensions and shifting certain powers between different governmental bodies, the amended constitution would also potentially –and controversially– enable incumbent President Vladimir Putin to lead the country until 2036.
Russian Constitutional Reform: Background
Russia is set to vote for Constitutional Reforms on July 1st 2020.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin had said a delayed vote on constitutional reforms that could extend his rule beyond 2024 will take place on July 1, pressing ahead with the plan despite the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
Putin announced the series of surprise constitutional reforms earlier this year, including a provision that would reset the clock on his term limits to zero. This would allow the 67-year-old to run for president again when his fourth term expires in 2024, and potentially to stay in power until 2036.
The vote will be held a week after Russia is due to hold rescheduled grand celebrations on June 24 marking 75 years since the end of World War II in Europe.
RT with additional input by GVS News Desk