He also is a former head of the information and analytical department of the First Main Directorate (foreign intelligence) of the USSR's KGB.
When in 1973 the head of the KGB of the USSR Yuri Andropov appointed Nikolai Leonov the head of the analytical service of the KGB's foreign intelligence, he asked him about one thing - “not to assent,” but to provide impartial and objective information. This is what General Leonov did throughout his long career until 1991. And often his conclusions were contrary to the opinions of high-ranking officials.
Judging by many of the general's assessments, his positions today strongly differ from the "high authorities" and theses of state propaganda. Here, in particular, is his opinion on the future of modern Russia.
- In one of your interviews you made a pessimistic forecast that the great Russian civilization is over. Why?
- This is not my conclusion. Rosstat twice before my eyes revised the forecast for the growth of the country's population. We are demographically weakening every year. The population is declining. This year we will decrease by 130 thousand. And in 2021, the decline will be even greater, since we have an old population. And the pandemic will exacerbate this negative trend. The shrinking of the population always underlies the damping of civilization. And the sharp rise in the price of basic foodstuffs, which leads to the impoverishment of the bulk of the population, has already begun to be fought at the highest level. Add to this the rise in utility tariffs. And what about transportation costs?
- Do you mean flights to the Far East?
- My soul hurts for the Far East for a long time. The majority of the population cannot afford to fly there by plane. And the train is becoming a luxury. As a result, unaffordable transportation prices are becoming another huge problem. Today the only umbilical cord connecting us with this region is Transib and BAM. And the entire economy of the Far East has long been guided by Japan, China, South Korea - fish and timber go there, and all kinds of goods go back. The axis of cargo flows has long been shifted to Asia, and the central part of Russia is gaping empty.
For example, we can hardly imagine how residents of the Kaliningrad region live. It is an enclave far from Russia. In Poland they are already writing that in the future this Russian region will leave Moscow and will be called the "Amber Republic". The Germans became frequent visitors there. When I was there, I noticed that local youth often do not know what Russia is. They were born in Kaliningrad and have never been “on the mainland”. They have no sense of belonging to our homeland. But after the war, originally Russian people were resettled there, but another generation has grown up, and they are already looking to the West. From there they are supplied with food, trade also goes with the West. Ties with mainland Russia are weakening, including due to the high cost of travel.
The region is gradually breaking away from Russia. And as soon as some local boss shows ambition and declares "independence", we will find ourselves in a delicate situation. Not sending troops there is a direct conflict both with the local population and with NATO, which surrounds the enclave on all sides and will not hesitate to declare support for the new republic. As one of the Kremlin officials once noted, we are still holding Russia with administrative hoops. And until now, the country has not been created as a single national economic mechanism, which would be tied by threads, which cannot be broken.
So, returning to the Far East, I am worried about the transfer of many institutions from Khabarovsk, as a certain capital of the region, to Vladivostok. After all, it is much easier for the American navy to support any separatist movement with its capital in a port city. In India, a plane ticket costs a penny. Why is it so expensive to fly in Russia? Maybe my fears are exaggerated. But the authorities must keep all the possibilities in mind. After all, all these ideas of different republics - from Arkhangelsk to the Far East - are not my inventions. To support separatism, the West needs the capitals of the new formations to be in coastal cities, and the region itself has some economic potential to be able to exist as an independent state. And the experience of communicating with colleagues from the United States and work in intelligence convinced me of one thing: Americans hate big countries. It was they who in due time came up with a plan for dividing China into 4-5 states so that such a monolithic and huge empire would not develop.
The West, as Leo Tolstoy said, is frightened by the vastness of Russia. They no longer see scientific, technical, industrial or economic threats from our side. They see the only threat in our nuclear capabilities. And so, according to their estimates, Russia has long run out of steam. But they are afraid that a powerful power could be reborn again on such a vast and rich territory. They are frightened by the prospect of the country's revival, and therefore in every possible way they contribute to separatism and the weakening of Russia. The goal is to finish off and divide into parts. Until recently, they timidly dreamed of taking away from the USSR a part of Ukraine on the left bank, but after the victory of the Maidan, their appetites rose sharply. And already on the agenda is the long-term task of dismembering Russia into pieces, eradicating our mentality
...- But why are we so economically disunited?
- I think we have no development goals, no prospects. After all, every person, every family makes some plans for the future, but our country lives one day. Why she lives and where she is going, few people think about it. Our maximum is to live until Monday. All this I attribute to the signs of a dying civilization.