From Sovetskaya Rossiya, Feb. 1, 2022, p. 1. Complete text:

Today mankind is living in expectation of war. A war inevitably means human casualties, destruction, suffering for large masses of people, loss of the habitual way of life, and the disruption of the vital systems of states and peoples. A big war is an enormous tragedy, someone’s grave crime. And it so happens that Russia has found itself in the center of this imminent catastrophe.

And this is perhaps happening for the first time in its history. In the past, Russia (the Soviet Union) waged necessary (justified) wars, generally when there was no other way out, when the vital interests of the state and society were under threat. But what is threatening Russia’s existence today? And are there really any such threats anyway?

It can be argued that the threat is in plain sight: The country is on the verge of ending its history. All the areas of vital importance, including demography, are steadily deteriorating, and the death rate is breaking world records [see the article under Medicine/Public Health above]. This degradation is systemic in nature, and in any complex system, the destruction of one element can lead to the collapse of the entire system. And this, in our opinion, is the main threat to the Russian Federation. But this threat is internal and stems from the model of government, the quality of the leadership and the state of society. And the causes of this threat are also internal: The model of government is not viable, leaders and administrators are totally incompetent and unprofessional, while society is passive and disorganized. No country can live long in such a state.

As far as external threats are concerned, they definitely exist. But in our expert opinion, they are not critical at the moment, and do not pose a direct threat to the existence of Russian statehood and its vital interests. Strategic stability has been preserved overall, nuclear weapons are under reliable control and groups of NATO forces are not amassing or displaying any threatening activity. Therefore, the explosive situation surrounding Ukraine is primarily artificial and self-serving for some internal forces, including in Russia.

As a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, in which Russia (former Russian president Boris Yeltsin) played a decisive role, Ukraine became an independent state and a UN member. Thus, in accordance with Art. 51 of the UN Charter, it gained the right to individual and collective defense. The Russian government still has not recognized the results of the referendum on independence for the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics (DPR/LPR) and has repeatedly stressed at the official level, including during the Minsk negotiation process [for a ceasefire in the Donetsk Basin; see Vol. 66, No. 37‑38, pp. 3‑6, and Vol. 67, No. 7, pp. 3‑7] that these territories and the population living there belong to Ukraine. Senior Russian officials have also repeatedly spoken of their desire to maintain normal relations with Kiev without establishing special relations with the DPR/LPR. The question of genocide committed by Kiev in the southeastern regions has not been raised at the UN or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Naturally, in order for Ukraine to remain a friendly neighbor for Russia, Russia would have had to demonstrate the attractiveness of its state model and system of government. But Russia never became a friendly neighbor; its model of development and foreign policy mechanism for international cooperation repelled almost all its neighbors and beyond. Russia’s appropriation of the Crimea and Sevastopol, and their nonrecognition as Russian by the international community (meaning that the majority of countries in the world still believe they belong to Ukraine) are convincing proof of the failure of Russian foreign policy and the unattractiveness of its domestic policy. Attempts to use ultimatums and the threat of force to make [others] “fall in love with” Russia and its leaders are pointless and extremely dangerous.

The use of military force against Ukraine will, first of all, call into question Russia’s very existence as a state. Second, it will turn Russians and Ukrainians into mortal enemies. Third, thousands (tens of thousands) of young, healthy people will die on both sides, which will naturally have an effect on the future demographic situation in our dying countries. On the battlefield field – if there is a battle – Russian troops will face not just Ukrainian soldiers, many of whom will be [ethnically] Russian, but also NATO troops and equipment, while NATO member states will be obligated to declare war against Russia. Turkish President Recep [Tayyip] Erdogan has been clear about whose side Turkey will be on. And we can assume that Turkey’s two field armies and its fleet will be ordered to “liberate” the Crimea and Sevastopol and, possibly, to invade the Caucasus. In addition, there is no doubt that Russia will be added to the category of countries that pose a threat to peace and international security, subjected to the most severe sanctions, transformed into a pariah in the eyes of the international community and probably lose the status of an independent state. There is no way that the president, the government and the Defense Ministry do not understand these consequences.

So this begs the question: What are the true goals of escalating tensions to the brink of war and the possible outbreak of large-scale hostilities? The fact that there will be hostilities is indicated by the number and composition of the groups of troops – each side has at least 100,000 soldiers. Leaving its eastern borders unprotected, Russia is transferring troops to its border with Ukraine.

We believe that Russia’s leadership understands that it is not capable of leading the country out of a systemic crisis, and that this could lead to a popular uprising and a change in power in the country supported by the oligarchy, corrupt officials, a tamed media and the siloviki [law-enforcement and security officials]. Therefore, it decided to promote a policy regarding the final destruction of Russian statehood and the eradication of the country’s native population. And war is the very means that will solve this task so that Russia can retain for a short time its antinational leadership and hold on to the wealth stolen from the people. We cannot think of any other explanation.

We, Russia’s officers, demand that the Russian president abandon the criminal policy of provoking a war in which Russia will find itself alone against the united forces of the West and create conditions for implementing Art. 3 of the Russian Constitution [which states that the people are the only source of power – Trans.] and resign.

We appeal to all reserve and retired servicemembers and Russian citizens with the recommendation to be vigilant and organized, and to support the demands of the board of the All-Russian Officers Assembly, actively oppose propaganda and the outbreak of war, and prevent internal civil conflict involving military force.