“It is obvious that the elites of the West – U.S. government, the EU, NATO and the banking interests wish to overthrow Putin and his government and open Russia to ideological, economic and material exploitation,” a perceptive reader commented on my December 19 posting. “It is obvious that there are factions deep within the Russian establishment who want to aid and abet this process, factions in finance, in industry and government.”

Those factions do exist, and they are deeply embedded in Russia’s power structure. Five visits to Moscow over the past nine months, and conversations with dozens of well-informed insiders in Russia’s capital, have been an eye-opener. “Putin’s Russia” is neither monolithic nor clear on the country’s long-term strategy in coping with the challenges it faces from Washington.

Animosity towards Russia-as-such, regardless of the ideological character of her regime, is a lasting constant of the policy of Washington and the West European governments subservient to the U.S. regime. That policy rests on the geopolitical and cultural premises which have been fully internalized by the governing Western elites, and which are not subject to any critical examination.

Faced with this existential challenge, Russia has not yet articulated a comprehensive strategy of defense. This is largely due to the fact that her power structure is still significantly impacted by the influential circles of pro-Western technocrats unwilling to contemplate de-dollarization of the financial system, and the pernicious presence of parasitic oligarchs whose sole loyalty is with the location of their ill-gotten gains.

To start with, my Russian contacts are either frankly puzzled (journalists), or uneasy and evasive (establishment types) when asked about the Maidan fiasco last winter. Having seen the grand rehearsal with the “Orange Revolution” a decade earlier, Russia was again caught napping. In the meantime, the U.S. government – on Victoria Nuland’s frank admission – had pumped 5.5 billion dollars during this period into the “non-governmental sector,” a network of inherently Russophobic outfits controlled and financed by the National Endowment for Democracy and its clones.

A personal note: my puzzlement at Moscow’s inaptitude has nothing to do with my “ethnic preferences” (as another commenter chose to phrase it). It is, frankly, a seasoned analyst’s wonderment at the inability of a would-be resurgent great power to project its soft-power influence in a crucial near-abroad country which is absolutely essential to Russia’s geopolitical position. Over the past decade the Russians have failed to make a meaningful investment in Ukraine, period. They have pumped a lot of ultimately wasted money into the oligarch-controlled energy sector, with no political benefits whatsoever.

The Kremlin’s failure, I can now aver with some confidence, is due to the insufficient understanding of the degree to which the U.S. government is hell-bent on pursuing the policy of Russia’s ultimate destruction and partition. Never mind ISIS, or the South China Sea: regime change in the Red Square is still the strategic objective par excellence, as repeatedly averred by the former U.S. ambassador in Moscow Michael McFaul.

That objective is fundamentally opposed to the national interest of the United States. Russia is “our” America’s natural ally in resisting global jihad, and in upholding the vestiges of civilization which are under attack on each and every printed page and flickering screen. We still need the Northern Alliance I pleaded for a decade ago. It is the natural enemy of Obama’s, however, or Hillary Clinton’s, quasi-America that is the mortal enemy of humanity and decency.

The problem is that we, the upholders of decency and normality, do not have a reliable interlocutor in Moscow. It is a messy scene. The Central Bank is still controlled by the devotees of the Washingtonian Consensus. Prime Minister Medvedev is a wishy-washy nonentity. The oligarchs are still pleading for the abandonment of Donetsk and Lugansk for the sake of business as usual. The rouble is collapsing. Russia is still not up to the task.