Monday, August 3, 2009
Russian Military Chorus Belittles Europe's Energy Dependence
Moscow's Military District is known for much more than ensuring public order. Their ensemble of Slavic singers apparently can carry quite a tune for audiences. One recent song showcases the insinuations of Russia's foreign policy. Their musings of the challenges to come are both captivating and alarming for the contiguous countries and those affected by Russia's energy monopoly.
The song begins with the question of Ukraine's eventual entry into NATO. Russia's response? Cutting the gas for all of Ukraine. While the audience cackled, they most likely were recalling Gazprom, the Russian energy monopoly cut off supplies of natural gas to Ukraine after a payment deadline expired in January. Relations have been icy ever since Ukraine's Orange Revolution in 2004 launched the pro-Western career of President Viktor Yushchenko. Since then, Putin's relationship with its neighbor has deteriorated and continues to do so.
The next stanza details the recurrent everyday problems of Europe. It says that American Special Forces are already there, implying it is Europe's prerogative to have them there. Russia's military is not distressed, however, as its prescriptive policy calls for the gas to be cut for Europe too.
The singers state that the Belorussians are the only normal, peaceful people. They make this claim because the neighboring country drink's vodka to their health. Russia and Belarus continue to maintain an amiable relationship in the post-Soviet sphere. As a memorial to their infatuation of all things Soviet, Belarus has even kept its name for their secret service: the KGB. Belarus continues to rely on Russia for virtually all of its natural resources, enduring the politically compatible relations between Putin and Lukashenko.
The piece continues in Russia's desire to lead the long list of European countries; a fact demonstrated by it's frustration of having been denied the number one spot. Russia's Napoleon complex made itself evident in the innate necessity to be considered significant after the culmination of the Soviet Union. This explains the reasoning behind others allowing it to become member to the G-8, partner with NATO, and maintaining its chair on the UN Security Council. With an out-of-touch military that desperately needs to modernize and its economic difficulties, Russia will always seek ways of seeming important, if only outwardly.
The chorus of the song repeats the following line: "...and suddenly a shade of smile will touch your eyes, and the good mood will never leave you." Indeed, this verse seems to acknowledge that Russians will always be cognizant of and appreciate their energy power over Europe. This mocking will no doubt continue to surface in both Russian concert halls and inside Kremlin walls.