Russia expert and former U.S. international broadcasting specialist Dr. Paul Goble reported in his Window on Eurasia Blog that many democratic Russians consider Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech still relevant and wish that the U.S. would confront Putin’s growing authoritarianism the same way Reagan peacefully confronted the Soviet Union 30 years ago.
The focus of Goble’s analysis was a report on the 30th anniversary of Reagan’s speech by three Voice of America Russian Service journalists: Aleks Grigoryev, Anna Plotnikova and Anastasia Laukannen.
VOA journalists pointed out that Reagan’s term “evil empire” remains very much alive on the Internet in Russia. A search on Russia’s Yandex found more than two million references to it, and one on Google found more than 27 million. «Империя зла»: 30 лет спустя, Voice of America Russian Service, March 7, 2013.
Dr. Paul Goble wrote in Window on Eurasia about the Voice of America Russian Service report:
At the end of December, the Voice of America story continues, Yury Melnichuk, an activist of the RPR Parnas Party, demonstrated in support of the US Magnitsky law by appearing outside the US consulate general in St. Petersburg and holding up a sign: “’Mr. Reagan, Come Back! The Evil Empire has been reborn!!!”
Three weeks later, in an action that provided evidence of that, Melnichuk asked for political asylum in Austria. He told VOA that he didn’t know much about Reagan’s domestic policies, but “his foreign policy was in [his] view absolutely adequate to the situation. With a monster such as the USSR was, it was possible to speak only from a position of force.”
Unfortunately, he added, “Russia continues a policy of the Soviet model,” but “the reaction of certain civilized countries of the West to what is happening with us in Russia does not entirely correspond to the real situation. This reaction is too soft and uncertain. Just as the Soviet Union was an ‘evil empire,’ so [today] Russia represents a threat to democracy and civilization in the entire world.”
Melnichuk called on the West to remember Reagan’s words and take steps lie boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympiad in Sochi, “because ‘the evil empire’ is returning, and it is necessary to take certain steps in order to restrain it.”