Overcoming Paranoia about Russia

EDITORIAL, 31 Jul 2017

#492 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service

Jondal, Norway – July 2017

Norway is divided very clearly into three parts: the North and the two parts of the South, the West and the East separated by chains of mountains, plateaus (vidder) and emptiness (there is no town between Notodden in the East and Odda in the West).

And by language, by unmistakable dialects.

In the East “standard Norwegian”, “bokmål” evolving from Danish after 400 years Copenhagen rule, deeply contested in the 19th century.

In the West Old Norse had left more of an impact and the net outcome was called New Norwegian, “nynorsk“, also partly in the North.

But the basic difference is sing-song in West and North, and flatness in East (“flatnorsk“, neither “jeg” for I, nor “eg“, “je“).

Plus, more important in this connection: geographic orientation.

In the high North eastward, Russia, Orthodox-czarist, bolshevik, putinist. One municipality even wanted to join the Soviet Union.

In the lower North and in the West: westward, across the Arctic-Atlantic oceans toward Faroy, UK, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, USA.

In the East southward, toward the former political center in Copenhagen; the lasting spiritual center in Germany (Martin Luther); the new and old centers of power, Brussels for EU and NATO; Rome for Empire and Vatican and the Treaty of Rome creating EC 1 Jan 1958.

A country divided, united by its long coastline more than the inland valleys, torn in three directions by external attractions.

The paranoia about Russia is an article of faith in Norway East. Less so in Norway West, absent in Norway North. And the more North the more contact and knowledge, the more positive the attitude to Russia.

However, the political power is in Oslo, Norway East, with monopoly on a foreign policy that comes from Brussels, in the sense of NATO-USA, and in the sense of EU. A foreign policy compatible with both.

Russia as the favored enemy, to fear, was and is a part. Why?

Old habits from the 395 split of the Roman Empire in Catholic West and Orthodox East, confirmed by the 1054 Schism, reinforced by West adopting Latin and Latin script, the East Greek and Greek script; later as Cyrillic in Serbia, Bulgaria, Russia. Three crimes rolled into one: the wrong Christianity, the wrong scripts, and too far East.  Three reasons to accept the German mistreatment of the Greek debt.

Russia threatening the West? The historical fact is the opposite.  Not Russia invading Norway but Nordic Vikings far into Russia conquering  Novgorod++. The Norwegian King Olav Trygvasson invading further, along Volga, conveniently forgotten. Teutonic Templars bringing Catholic Christianity far into Orthodox lands, at the tip of swords.

And the giant attacks by two psychopaths in the clinical sense of narcissism + paranoia from West: French Napoleon, and German Hitler.

Napoleon invaded 1812 with 600,000; 60,000 came back to France, pursued by the Russian army. A total defeat of the “military genius”, metro station famous in Paris for battles won, for war lost in London. Russia occupied Paris a short period, and returned to wounded Russia.

Hitler invaded in 1941 to colonize Russia, 2/3 of Hitler’s army, on the Eastern front. A total defeat by the Red Army; Russia lost 27 million Russian lives.  There was occupation of sectors of Berlin and Wien. And Soviet control of Eastern European allies of Nazi Germany. And of Poland through which most of the invasion had come.

Today the Russian army could have invaded and conquered Ukraine and the Baltic states easily, and did nothing of the kind. Russia supported Orthodox Russians in the 16% Donetsk-Luhansk part of Ukraine with 61% of the economy like Poland would have done had Catholic Ukrainians been killed by Russians in the West. In fact, the whole fighting in Ukraine has been in the East, supported by USA and less and less by Europe, with the clear goal of driving Russians out of Ukraine into Russia; aka ethnic cleansing.  With no protest from West.

In fact Russia is a huge part of Europe from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  The same individualism, a traditional hallmark of Europe, perhaps more so, with even more pronounced individual personalities.  A reason that collectivist economic planning did not succeed in the USSR. It might have succeeded in very collectivist Japan, something the USA feared on top of its fear of Japan, the competitor.

In fact, Russian culture is as much an indispensable part of total European culture; Dostoevsky-Tolstoy-Chekhov-Tchaikovsky as indispensable as Flaubert-Goethe-Shakespeare-Beethoven.  A question is, of course, whether those Russian cultures, or any culture for that matter, have reached those who are planning a super-synchronized devastating attack on all launching sites to defang Russia, knowing very well that the country is too big to occupy. Objection: Russia has plans for warfare in Eastern Europe.  Correct: after Napoleon-Hitler not so strange that they prefer battlefields outside their own lands.

The way out is for the West, including Norway, to read its own history. No Russian eyes are needed, maybe some good spectacles. Knowing Russia helps; travel, not like young CIA trainees using the trans-Siberian railway to spy and write essays. Yes, Russia is behind in many regards, to a large extent because they have been plundered by their own and by the West. The West hates Putin for stopping that.

Putin uses Russia’s huge resources under the slogan “never export raw materials, process them, pocket value-added”.  The Manchester doctrine that made West rich; but with fewer resources, they stole them.  Colonization, in other words; today as “development assistance”.

Time to open the positive door to Russia with exchange for mutual and equal benefit.  Trade in processed goods, and in services, cooperation in killing speculation and drug-poisoning. Above all, mutual respect not only benefit. Admiration, sympathy. Love.

RUSSIA: ja tjebja ljubljo. I love you.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. Prof. Galtung has published more than 1500 articles and book chapters, over 470 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service, and more than 170 books on peace and related issues, of which more than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at transcend.org/galtung.

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7 Responses to “Overcoming Paranoia about Russia”

  1. Steve says:

    Thank you for posting the official Russian narrative Prof Galtung!

    Now, could we have the nuanced and balanced version please?

  2. jim glover says:

    At what point will the battle of sanctions and reprisals which we know are coming (good for the War Biz) become the too late, “Oops, We weren’t thinking of a real shooting war, just wanted to send a message!” too late of an excuse to even think about when the world as we live it ends.

    • Steve says:

      @jim glover

      Too late. Russia has waged a shooting war against Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia for years. Prof Glatung may pretend this is not the case or not important, but in every corner of the former Soviet republics and Soviet sphere of interest, this is known.

      • Vera says:

        Absolute nonsense, bad fiction at best. Get your facts right. You obviously never have been to Russia.

  3. Steve says:


    Oh, so you don’t believe it?

    Now tell me then, when will the Russian invading forces leave Ukrainian and Georgian territory? You are aware that Russia keep parts of htese two sovereign countries annexed, don’t you? And tell me – where do the criminals and “insurgents” in Transdnjestr get there weapons from?


    Now give me you own opinion. Not the one you get from Russia Today, Sputnik News or any of ther other Putin-controlled rags.

  4. Johan shares his view considering history with many elder statesmen such as in Germany the former chancellors Helmut Kohl and Helmut Schmidt, but as well with Christ Democrats such as Edmund Stoiber (Former President of Bavaria) and Horst Teltschik (former advisor to Helmut Kohl).

    Today’s problem is that the current media campaigns driven by younger editors do not consider history anymore.

    It’s all about agenda.

    I’m just preparing an analysis on the bonding aspects of sanctions against Russia, Iran and DPR Korea. The sanctions are not created to change the politics in these countries, but to make allies joining and keeping peer-groups such as EU, OSCE, NATO and OECD.

    Finally these four groups overlap in a way that they repeat the same foreign policy – despite the different aims of these organizations.

    E.g. the OSCE has been created by the Helsinki treaty from 1975 and had to aim to end the Cold War. Today the OSCE is building it up and escalating a new Cold War.

    Johan does not share the narrative of the alleged ‘aggressor’ Russia.

    He goes back to the time were we had a shared European culture across France, Germany, Poland and Russia.

    At the time, the end of the 19th century, of course only the upper classes shared this transnational culture.

    Arts and sciences were part of it.

    Due to the current agenda setting it is not possible to explain to Western media and scholars the history of Crimea.

    The framing was successful: Crimea has been annexed by Russia.

    You can’t even explain them that the Russian army was in Crimea yet.

    When you read the posting of Steve, you will see that is source of knowledge is Newsweek.

    Well, that’s how the agenda is spread: through media that becomes a source.

    Therefore Russia has started the channel RT.

    As a director of a United Nations SDG partnership project for peace, I can only appreciate all efforts to bring some knowledge in the issue of Russia.

    The United States, owning the biggest Information Agency of the World, are not able to considering any facts on Russis.

    They act like in the era of Mc Carthy.

    The editors in their 50ies do not have any contact with Russians, Crimeans and even Ukrainians anymore.

    They act like a gang at the corner: once an enemy has been named, you all go on him.

    This is not militarism, but group pressure.

    In World War II this kind of group pressure only allowed to send millions to war.
    And this war started by building up the enemy.

    We have to thank Johan for reminding us on the common roots of our cultures, that were the base for the Helsinki Act in 1975.
    You can read the act again:


    I was sixteen years old at the time.

    Johan is reclaiming a legal act that is 42years-old now and that has been signed by all European countries and – by the USA, Canada and the Soviet Union.

    That shows how weak the legal aspect in the current conflicts is.

    Unilateralism doesn’t know any international agreements.

    Johan reminds us on the promising attempts to create peace and cooperation.

    And of course Crimea and Donbass are no arguments against, but for the cooperation needed.

    • Steve says:


      So you out yourself as a supporter of the illegal Russian annexation of Crimea?