The Long History Of Russophobia, Starting With Its Religious Roots

Obama and Poroshenka

The former editor of the Tribune de Genève, [Guy Mettan-RI] visited Moscow and presented his new book Russia and the West: A Thousand Year War, which reviews the phenomenon of Russophobia: its roots, historical evolution and modern incarnations. Izvestia had a chance to interview him.

What inspired you to write about this?

There are two reasons why I began this work. The first is a personal, family reason. In 1994, my wife and I adopted a Russian girl, who now is now 25. Her name is Oksana, and she is from the Vladimir region. After we adopted her, I became interested in learning as much as possible about Russia and becoming familiar with this large country. In the 1990’s, one could obtain Russian citizenship after adopting a Russian child. So we did that: my wife and I are citizens of Russia and Switzerland, and Russia became part of our family’s life and history. I am a citizen of Russia, but I pay taxes in Switzerland.

The second reason why I started this work is professional. My trips to Russia gave me an opportunity to learn what this country was all about. I understood how big the difference was between the Russia presented in the Western media and the one I saw myself. I just couldn’t bear to watch this situation, and decided to investigate the reasons.

What made me actually start this project was the events in Ukraine in 2014. I saw the Western press systematically supporting one side, expressing only one point of view – that of the government that usurped power in Kiev. And I decided to figure out why this happened.

It’s important to understand that I wasn’t trying to answer the question of who was to blame for the events in Ukraine. I was interested in why the Western media presented this story in their own way. What was at the root of such a heightened negative relation to Russia?

Could you tell us a little about the main thrust of your book?

I looked at history and concluded that all this Russophobia started when Charlemagne created the Western Empire 1,200 years ago, laying the foundation for the Great Religious Split in 1054. Charlemagne created his empire in opposition to the existing situation, when the center of the civilized world was Byzantium.

The most shocking thing I realized was that everything they taught us in school was wrong. They claimed that the dissidents belonged to the Eastern Church, who split from Rome. Now I know that what happened was just the opposite: it was the Western Catholic Church that dissented from the universal church, while the Eastern Church remained and still is Orthodox.

In order to shift the blame from themselves, Western theologians of that time launched a campaign to justify putting the onus on the Eastern Church. They used arguments that returned again and again as part of the confrontation between the West and Russia. Back then, in the Middle Ages, they began referring to the Greek world, i.e. Byzantium, as a “territory of tyranny and barbarism” in order to disavow responsibility for the schism.

After the fall of Constantinople, when Byzantium ended, and Russia took the place of Byzantium as the Third Rome, all those superstitions, all those lies about the desacralization of the Hellenic World, were automatically transferred to Russia.

It’s strange to see the notes of Western travelers through Russia starting in the 15th century: they all describe Russia in the same terms they had used to describe Byzantium. These fabrications, this criticism considerably increased after the reforms of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great, when Russia became powerful on the European political scene. And by the end of the 18th century, it had become Russophobia.

Born in France under Louis XV, it was used for a while by Napoleon to justify animosity toward Russia, which stood in the way of France’s expansionist policy. The “Will of Peter the Great” was used by Napoleon as a justification for his Russian campaign.

We can compare this with modern times, when in order to achieve their goals, Americans invented the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Russophobia existed in France as a political ideology up until the 19th century, when after losing the Franco-Prussian War, France realized that its main enemy was no longer Russia but Germany, becoming Russia’s ally.

As for England, Russophobia appeared there around 1815, when Great Britain, in alliance with Russia, beat Napoleon. Once the common enemy defeated, England reversed course and made Russia its enemy, feeding Russophobia. Since the 1820’s, London has used an anti-Russian ideology to mask its expansionist policies, both in the Mediterranean and in other regions – Egypt, India and China.

In Germany, the situation didn’t change until the end of the 19th century, when the German Empire was created. It had no colonies, and there was no place to get any from, since England, France, Spain and Portugal had got a head start. All the colonies having been allocated without Russia, a political movement appeared in Germany that sought “‘expansion toward the East”, i.e., modern Ukraine and Russia. This attempt failed during the First World War, and later, Hitler used the same ideology.

It’s no accident that German historians were at the origin of what is known as “revisionism”, the tendency to understate the USSR’s contribution to the victory over the Third Reich, overestimating the contribution of the US and Britain.

The third type of Russophobia is American, and it began in 1945. As soon as they defeated Germany through joint efforts with the USSR, at the cost of millions of Soviet lives, the same story born after the victory over Napoleon in 1815 was disseminated. The US reversed course and yesterday’s ally became its major enemy. This is how the Cold War started.

The Americans used the same arguments as the English in 1815, claiming that they “fought against communism, tyranny, expansionism”, their arguments hardly differing, except for the so-called fight against communism. This turned out to be a gimmick, because when the Soviet Union collapsed, the confrontation between the West and Russia didn’t end.

The nineteenth century story is repeating itself: the US keeps talking about a “threat” supposedly emanating from Russia, in order to achieve its own goals, promote its own interests, and pursue its own expansion. Today it demonizes Russia in order to place NATO missiles in Poland, using the same words and arguments that Napoleon used 200 years ago.

Once at an international conference in the mid 1990s, I spoke to a journalist from Denmark. He told me why Europe was so afraid of Russia: “See how big Russia is, and how small Denmark is. We were always afraid of you. We are still afraid of your aggression”

If you look at the map, you will see that the territory of Russia dominates all of Europe. So when Europeans look at the map, they feel anxious and concerned, because “such a huge country cannot be anything other than a threat.” Besides, European maps deliberately depict Russia as even bigger than it really is, increasing Russophobia. Its immense size is great for European cartoonists, who traditionally draw Russia as a huge bear standing over a tiny Europe.

Recently, I read the following statement by a French author: “Europe is a peninsula in Eurasia.” What would you say to that?

Today Europe is frustrated. As a colonial power, it dominated the world for two and a half centuries. Today the situation is totally different, and Europe is uneasy. It’s used to playing a different role. That’s why it’s anxious. On the one hand, the European ego finds itself in this uncomfortable situation; on the other, the European Union has reached the limits of its development and has internal problems. That’s why it’s easy to blame Russia for everything.


Originally appeared at Izvestia – Russian daily news. Translated by Julia Rakhmetova.

Source: Russia Insider

Join the debate on our Twitter Timeline!

Russophobia

RELATED POSTS
US Meddling in 1996 Russian Elections in Support of Boris Yeltsin
Americans are outraged by allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an intelligence service to hack email accounts of the Democratic National Committee. How inexpressibly heinous that one country, Russia, would try to influence elections in another sovereign country, in this case the United States! How unprecedented! How diabolical! How uniquely Russian!In response, the Obama administration has expelled Russian diplomats, hinted at economic sanctions, and promised further retaliation using America’s “world-class arsenal of cyber weapons.” (NYT Dec. 16, 2016) Obama’s Republican opponents, for their part, have demanded “rocks” instead of Obama’s “pebbles.”But does the USA meddle in the presidential elections ...
READ MORE
Understanding the U.S. War State: The New Fundamentalism, “America is God”
This article was original published by GR in May 2003“It is easy. All you have to do is tell the people they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” -Hermann GoeringGenocide used to be a crime without a name. Although the most heinous of all crimes, the concept was not introduced into international language until after World War 2. Until then, military invasion and destruction of other peoples and cultures masqueraded under such slogans as progress and spreading civilisation.I was shocked many years ago when I heard Noam Chomsky say ...
READ MORE
Jürgen Elsässer: “The CIA Recruited And Trained The Jihadists”
In his latest book, “How the Jihad Came to Europe”, German journalist Jürgen Elsässer unravels the Jihadist thread. Muslim fighters recruited by the CIA to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan were used successively in Yugoslavia and Chechnya, still supported by the CIA, but perhaps sometimes out of its control. Basing himself on diverse sources, mainly Yugoslavian, Dutch, and German, he reconstructed the development of Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants at the side of NATO in Bosnia-Herzegovinia.Silvia Cattori:Your investigation into the actions of the secret services makes a frightening report. We discover that since the 80’s the United States ...
READ MORE
Europe’s Palmyra: How Kosovo’s Medieval Culture Was Demolished By Albanians
BELGRADE – Serbia organized an exhibition of cultural and historical heritage of Kosovo and Metohija in Paris, the headquarters of UNESCO, to serve as a reminder to the West of how they let it be destroyed since the 2000s.There is a lot of Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija. Now, Kosovo is an independent state, partially recognized by Western countries. But the world was shocked by anti-Serbian riots organized by Albanians during the Kosovo unrest in 2004. Many Serbian monuments were damaged in the chaos.Albanian extremists living in Kosovo, since the 2000s, have continued to raid and damage Serbian ...
READ MORE
U.S. Bombs dropped in 2016
How incredible is this...The United States is technically not at war with any country right now but dropped more than 26,000 bombs in just 2016 and this under a "anti-war" President.We have an entire generation of Americans who have lived only under a system of "perpetual war".The time is long overdue to redefine these issues.Map of the US bombed states in 2016 with the number of dropped bombsBy Ben Swann2017-01-06Source: Ben Swann FBJoin the debate on our Twitter Timeline!
READ MORE
NATO Intensifies its Preparations for War with Russia
Against the backdrop of US aggression against North Korea, NATO is intensifying its preparations for war with Russia, the world’s second largest nuclear power. A report in the German news magazine Der Spiegel (Issue 43/2017) based on a secret NATO document indicates how far plans for war have progressed. The news magazine concludes: “In plain language: NATO is preparing for a possible war with Russia.”In the document entitled “Progress report on the Alliance’s Enhanced Deterrence and Defence Disposition,” leading military figures call for a major boost to military capabilities in order to conduct a so-called “Major Joint Operation Plus.” The ...
READ MORE
The Obama Legacy: Genocide, Destruction, Chaos, Color Revolutions And Subservience To World Zionism
As of this moment, from the gentrified hipster hellholes in Brooklyn to the pedophile-infested devil-den of Hollywood to Satan-occupied Washington DC, liberals nationwide are wailing, howling, shrieking and blubbering over Barack Obama getting out of the White House. Their tears are gushing like rushing rivers breaking through weak dams in pusillanimous sadness, their little Judaized hearts are breaking into pieces of Gefilte fish because an end has come to the presidency of this man they repetitiously and affectionately refer to as “American’s First ‘Black’ President” who brought “hope and change” not only to the USA but the world at large. ...
READ MORE
The Real Story of Zbigniew Brzezinski that the Media isn’t Telling
Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter, died Friday at a hospital in Virginia at the age of 89. Though the New York Times acknowledged that the former government advisor was a “hawkish strategic theorist,” misrepresenting his legacy as one of otherwise infinite positivity may not be as easy as the establishment might like to think.As the United Kingdom plays around with levels of the so-called “terror threat” following a devastating attack by an ISIS-inspired individual — and as the Philippines goes into an almost complete state of martial law following ISIS-inspired destruction — Brzezinski’s timely death ...
READ MORE
U.S. Government Backs Ukraine Fascists Who Want To Destroy Russia
The Nation  published an outstanding article on March 9th, by James Carden, which described the remarkable extent to which the Obama government (and virtually all of the Washington Establishment) are supporting (financially and otherwise) fascists who want to destroy Russia.  One such example was a recent event in Washington. According to Carden:It featured the deputy speaker of Ukraine’s Parliament, Andriy Parubiy. According to the program bio, Parubiy served as the “commandant” of the Euromaidan (why did an ostensibly peaceful protest require a “commandant” anyway?) and, later, as secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council. The bio provided to attendees might fairly be described as selective. ...
READ MORE
Before Columbus: How Africans Brought Civilization to America
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2014.On Monday [October 13 2014], America’s government offices, businesses, and banks all grind to a halt in order to commemorate Columbus Day. In schools up and down the country, little children are taught that a heroic Italian explorer discovered America, and various events and parades are held to celebrate the occasion.It has now become common knowledge amongst academics that Christopher Columbus clearly did not discover America, not least because is it impossible to discover a people and a continent that was already there and thriving with culture. One can only wonder how ...
READ MORE
The Contradictory Statement of Riyadh on Syria Talks
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir currently stated that the Syrian talks in Astana would lead to ceasefire in the country.However, in this context, the minister’s statement sounds a little bit strange as throughout the Syrian conflict, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have been providing comprehensive assistance to Islamic State terrorists, supplying weapons, equipment and mercenaries to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. There are undeniable proofs of these “acts of good will” on behalf of Saudi Arabia.Large chemical reserves seized by the Syrian army last week in eastern Aleppo destined for the manufacture of explosives can be characterized as striking ...
READ MORE
Neocon 101: What do Neoconservatives Believe?
“Neocons” believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power – forcefully if necessary – to promote its values around the world. Some even speak of the need to cultivate a US empire. Neoconservatives believe modern threats facing the US can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented, sometimes through preemptive military action.Most neocons believe that the US has allowed dangers to gather by not spending enough on defense and not confronting threats aggressively enough. One such threat, they contend, was Saddam Hussein and his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Since ...
READ MORE
Hillary Clinton Wants To Do This Again — Now To Syria
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (and President Obama — and some NATO partners) did it previously to Libya, and here was the result (as discussed by the retired British career diplomat Craig Murray, at his craigmurray.org.uk, who has kindly allowed me to distribute it to other newsmedia) [and I as editor will add a few clarifiers and questions in brackets] (and then afterward, I shall add my own comments); so, here is Craig Murray:This is the result of NATO bombing of Sirte to “enforce the no-fly zone” in Libya.When the neo-cons in the UK parliament and the serial warmonger Hillary Clinton call for a ...
READ MORE
Pearl Harbor Day and the Fantasy of US Victimhood
The United States is indisputably the world’s most frequent and extensive wager of aggressive war, largest occupier of foreign lands, and biggest weapons dealer to the world. But when the United States peeps out from under the blankets where it lies shivering with fear, it sees itself as an innocent victim. It has no holiday to keep any victorious battle in everyone’s mind. It has a holiday to remember the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — and now also one, perhaps holier still, to recall, not the “shock and awe” destruction of Baghdad, but the crimes of September 11, ...
READ MORE
Western Silence as 20,000 Neo-Nazis March in Ukraine
In one of the largest, if not the largest, Neo-Nazi demonstration in Europe since WW2, 20,000 facists marched through the streets of Ukraine’s capital Kiev last weekend under the silent gaze of the western media. Other than Russian state media RT and Sputnik News facists throwing Nazi salutes and parading in their tens of thousands in a European capital didn’t concern any of the major western news outlet. Nothing on BBC, France24, CNN, New York Times, The Guardian…the silence of the media lambs when it comes to a growing facists movement in Ukraine is deafening.The Ukrainian Nazis were honoring their ...
READ MORE
Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton: Who’s the Fascist?
The U.S. public loves fascists; they elect them, constantly. Donald Trump, who “says he would raise the minimum wage and stop the endless efforts at regime change,” is called a fascist by some.  But Hillary Clinton “is happy to bomb Libya or Syria or any other country,” and played a major role in mass Black incarceration. Barack Obama is the war-maker and deporter-in-chief. “All of the major party candidates fit the F word description in some way.”“No one comes into office with any intention of undoing America’s leadership as the world’s worst jailer.”Donald Trump is the ill spoken, boorish, graceless ...
READ MORE
How Many People have been Killed in US Wars?
How many people have been killed in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Somalia? On Nov. 18, a UN press briefing on the war in Yemen declared authoritatively that it had so far killed 5,700 people, including 830 women and children. But how precise are these figures, what are they based on, and what relation are they likely to bear to the true numbers of people killed?Throughout the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, the media has cited UN updates comparing numbers of Afghans killed by “coalition forces” and the “Taliban.” Following the U.S. escalation of the war in 2009 and 2010, a report by McClatchy in ...
READ MORE
America’s “Junkyard Dogs”: Operation Storm, 20 Years On
A great explanation from an excellent analyst of what happened in Serbia 20 years ago, and why the Ukraine feels like Deja Vu‘Operation Storm’ in August 1995, when Croatia overran the Serb-inhabited territory of Krajina, was the biggest single instance of ethnic cleansing in the Yugoslav Wars, Because the attack was backed by the US, however, it was never treated as a crime.Between August 4 and August 7, up to 2,000 people were killed and over 220,000 driven from their homes by the Croatian army. No “invaders,” these Serbs had lived in the Krajina – their word for borderlands – for centuries. The ...
READ MORE
US Meddling in 1996 Russian Elections in Support of Boris Yeltsin
Russian Military Interventions Throughout the World
Understanding the U.S. War State: The New Fundamentalism, “America is God”
Jürgen Elsässer: “The CIA Recruited And Trained The Jihadists”
The Most Dangerous Weapon
Europe’s Palmyra: How Kosovo’s Medieval Culture Was Demolished By Albanians
U.S. Bombs dropped in 2016
NATO Intensifies its Preparations for War with Russia
The Obama Legacy: Genocide, Destruction, Chaos, Color Revolutions And Subservience To World Zionism
The Real Story of Zbigniew Brzezinski that the Media isn’t Telling
U.S. Government Backs Ukraine Fascists Who Want To Destroy Russia
Before Columbus: How Africans Brought Civilization to America
The Contradictory Statement of Riyadh on Syria Talks
Neocon 101: What do Neoconservatives Believe?
Hillary Clinton Wants To Do This Again — Now To Syria
Pearl Harbor Day and the Fantasy of US Victimhood
Western Silence as 20,000 Neo-Nazis March in Ukraine
Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton: Who’s the Fascist?
How Many People have been Killed in US Wars?
America’s “Junkyard Dogs”: Operation Storm, 20 Years On

Donate & Support The Global Politics