In 2008, shortly after Barack Obama was elected to be the 44th President of the United States, The Wall Street Journal ran a piece about a Russian academic named Igor Panarin, who predicted that the United States would breakup in 2010. Most of us viewed this as a piece of “Russian sensationalism.” The general reaction was to note this prediction in a rather amused way, not investigate it, and brush it off. How could a crazy Russian guy make any kind of reasonable prediction about the United States and its future? most of us thought, and with that thought laid out, we went on with our lives.
Well, what about what we see? Granted, the year is 2020, ten years later than Professor Panarin’s deadline, but are any of his predictions coming to pass?
Let’s find out.
For sourcing, we use the Journal’s article from 2008. It is best to read all of Andrew Osborn’s piece, but we hope to give a faithful set of “quick takes” that do not go against the thoughts in Mr. Osborn’s piece or Professor Panarin’s research. We will add emphases and comment along the way:
For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument — that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. — very seriously…
Have we seen an economic collapse? Almost. The COVID-19 crisis is abating in much of the world, and indeed the US reported a strong surge in the recovery of jobs, taking the American unemployment rate well below 10% to 8.4%. In each and every month since the COVID lockdowns were applied, the economy has beaten predictions in its bounce back.
However, several very significant states remain largely shut down: California, New York, New Jersey, and Colorado to name some of them. In fact, we got a window into California’s situation last week when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided to violate the COVID rules and get her hair done… because she is Nancy Pelosi, apparently. This was a story that was gaining in momentum before The Atlantic pulled a fake rabbit out of a hat and created a story that President Trump insulted dead American soldiers in France. That story, supposedly maintained by ‘four unnamed sources’ is now catching on in social media, though it has already been solidly debunked by named sources including people like John Bolton who are notably adversarial to President Trump.
…Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations.
But it’s his bleak forecast for the U.S. that is music to the ears of the Kremlin, which in recent years has blamed Washington for everything from instability in the Middle East to the global financial crisis. Mr. Panarin’s views also fit neatly with the Kremlin’s narrative that Russia is returning to its rightful place on the world stage after the weakness of the 1990s, when many feared that the country would go economically and politically bankrupt and break into separate territories.
A polite and cheerful man with a buzz cut, Mr. Panarin insists he does not dislike Americans. But he warns that the outlook for them is dire.
“There’s a 55-45% chance right now that disintegration will occur,” he says. “One could rejoice in that process,” he adds, poker-faced. “But if we’re talking reasonably, it’s not the best scenario — for Russia.” Though Russia would become more powerful on the global stage, he says, its economy would suffer because it currently depends heavily on the dollar and on trade with the U.S.
Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces — with Alaska reverting to Russian control…
While the year is ten years past Prof. Panarin’s 2010 deadline, we have seen in one year the CHAZ / CHOP Autonomous Zone and workalikes in the US, 100 nights of deadly rioting in Portland, Oregon with no effort made to stop it, and apparently every effort made to maintain it.
We have Colorado, a largely agricultural state, in a severe lockdown, even though the COVID-19 death rate in the state has not gone above 13 people since August 11, with many days having zero deaths. The last time over 1,000 new cases were reported in one day in Colorado was April 18, and only one other day, April 24th, came close at 978 new cases. Presently it is in the 300 to 500 a day range.
By comparison, Moscow, Russia, where I am writing this, has been getting anywhere from 620 to 699 cases per day in the last several weeks. Moscow is fully open, with some businesses practicing work-from-home regulations until October, but the city has adapted and life is normal. Churches are fully opened and well attended. There is no lockdown and our city is getting more new cases than the entire state of Colorado gets in a day.
The residents there (this is my adoptive home state so I keep in touch with people there) are living like they are in the Soviet Union, and I am living like I am in America. Quite a switch.
New York is seeing a caseload roughly equivalent to Moscow’s and again, the state is closed while we are open.
Naturally, this is getting on many people’s nerves. The ever-changing narrative about topics like whether or not masks work, and who is to blame, as well as a consistent pattern of Democrat governors acting like tinpot dictators and locking down their states and their citizens… all this is fomenting a powder keg. It is no small wonder that many of the Democrat states and almost all of the Democrat-run cities are seeing riots. We return to our professor:
Mr. Pozner and other Russian commentators and experts on the U.S. dismiss Mr. Panarin’s predictions. “Crazy ideas are not usually discussed by serious people,” says Sergei Rogov, director of the government-run Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies, who thinks Mr. Panarin’s theories don’t hold water.
Mr. Panarin’s resumé includes many years in the Soviet KGB, an experience shared by other top Russian officials. His office, in downtown Moscow, shows his national pride, with pennants on the wall bearing the emblem of the FSB, the KGB’s successor agency. It is also full of statuettes of eagles; a double-headed eagle was the symbol of czarist Russia.
The professor says he began his career in the KGB in 1976. In post-Soviet Russia, he got a doctorate in political science, studied U.S. economics, and worked for FAPSI, then the Russian equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency. He says he did strategy forecasts for then-President Boris Yeltsin, adding that the details are “classified.”
In September 1998, he attended a conference in Linz, Austria, devoted to information warfare, the use of data to get an edge over a rival. It was there, in front of 400 fellow delegates, that he first presented his theory about the collapse of the U.S. in 2010.
“When I pushed the button on my computer and the map of the United States disintegrated, hundreds of people cried out in surprise,” he remembers. He says most in the audience were skeptical. “They didn’t believe me.”
At the end of the presentation, he says many delegates asked him to autograph copies of the map showing a dismembered U.S.
He based the forecast on classified data supplied to him by FAPSI analysts, he says. He predicts that economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in.
Again the COVID-19 crisis appears to be putting some of these elements into play. However, there is something to be noticed: COVID is a crisis that is significantly “manufactured”. This is not to diminish the fact that COVID-19 has caused or contributed to a lot of deaths that might not otherwise have taken place this year, but again to compare what is going on in Russia, a nation with over a million diagnosed cases of COVID and which did experience shutdowns and lockdowns in many parts of the country. However, Russia is now open and reporting more cases in Moscow as an open city than many American closed states. If we are looking for any kind of relationship between crisis measures and the measure of the crises here, we are unable to determine this.
To further underscore the point, the shutdowns in Russia were relatively strict, but short – about six weeks of the severest nature, and even then people could drive freely anywhere they wanted. The restrictions sensibly applied to places where people gather in large numbers, namely the Moscow Metro and other mass transit systems like the bus and above ground rail networks. In Moscow alone apparently, church temples and monasteries were closed to the public in many places, but not all of them. In other parts of Russia, such as Samara, churches remained open. This was a measure taken in direct response to Moscow’s population density, and although it was probably overdone, at least the parameters of the shutdown made sense. There is also no political dog in the game with regards to COVID, and in the United States the Left, the Globalists and the Deep State have a big orange-haired problem named Donald Trump that they desperately want to be rid of, even though the planned successor is only a figurehead for some truly massive and as yet, unknown power (more on this in a later piece).
Professor Panarin continued:
California will form the nucleus of what he calls “The Californian Republic,” and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of “The Texas Republic,” a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an “Atlantic America” that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls “The Central North American Republic.” Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.
“It would be reasonable for Russia to lay claim to Alaska; it was part of the Russian Empire for a long time.” A framed satellite image of the Bering Strait that separates Alaska from Russia like a thread hangs from his office wall. “It’s not there for no reason,” he says with a sly grin.
Interest in his forecast revived this fall when he published an article in Izvestia, one of Russia’s biggest national dailies. In it, he reiterated his theory, called U.S. foreign debt “a pyramid scheme,” and predicted China and Russia would usurp Washington’s role as a global financial regulator.
Americans hope President-elect Barack Obama “can work miracles,” he wrote. “But when spring comes, it will be clear that there are no miracles.”
Opinion: I cannot find these projections consistent with our present trajectory. However, one year ago I never envisioned America to be as it is now. While Professor Panarin’s suggested alliances seem very much long shots, if America does break up, all things are possible. We will not try to make our own speculation at this time.
The article prompted a question about the White House’s reaction to Prof. Panarin’s forecast at a December news conference. “I’ll have to decline to comment,” spokeswoman Dana Perino said amid much laughter.
For Prof. Panarin, Ms. Perino’s response was significant. “The way the answer was phrased was an indication that my views are being listened to very carefully,” he says.
The professor says he’s convinced that people are taking his theory more seriously. People like him have forecast similar cataclysms before, he says, and been right. He cites French political scientist Emmanuel Todd. Mr. Todd is famous for having rightly forecast the demise of the Soviet Union — 15 years beforehand. “When he forecast the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1976, people laughed at him,” says Prof. Panarin.
Opinion: It is quite possible that the engineers of the COVID-19 crisis as it is being felt in America have something like Prof. Panarin’s prediction in mind, at least regarding the premise as far as it suits their needs. It is very clear and increasingly so daily that the Democrat Party is being run from behind the scenes. There is a very well organized plan of attack that we are watching unfold. It is further clear that Joe Biden will not actually lead the United States if he is elected President. He is too feeble to do much more even now than stand in front of a camera and read a speech. The poor man is struggling to even do this. But the power behind him cannot reveal itself at this time. This would crack the painfully thin illusion that the Democrats have to work on to appeal to the middle of the road Democrat voter that cares nothing for riots and radicalism, but who simply thinks that perhaps President Trump is “too rude” to be President. Yes, this is not an educated viewpoint, but it is a viewpoint a lot of softheaded American voters have, and they are the target of this party’s ambitions.
The manufactured crisis and all it brings will be maintained, but one can hope that some cracks in the veneer will appear in time to foul up the plans. One thing is very clear: the future envisioned by the Democrats is dark, nearly apocalyptic, compared to the vision put forth by President Trump and the conservatives.
The nation will decide its fate in November.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.