Nikki Haley Calls Apartheid Israel ‘the one true democracy in the Middle East’

Out of all of Trump’s appointees, Nikkie Haley is probably one of the worst. Formerly a governor of South Carolina, Haley is the current US ambassador to the United Nations. That’s her in the video above giving a presentation at the UN last Thursday.

I’m not sure how much Haley knows about international law. According to Wikipedia, she graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. How she ended up as UN ambassador, after criticizing Trump in the general election, is unclear. *

At any rate, Haley seems fully unaware that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Nor does she seem to comprehend why other UN-member states might press for resolutions seeking to call Israel to account, both for its settlements as well as its 50-year occupation of the West Bank–land universally recognized as necessary for a Palestinian state. So perhaps she is simply uninformed and does not understand the nature of Israel’s occupation or its devastating impact upon the lives of those forced to live under it. Or at least that’s one possibility.

The other possibility, of course, is that Haley does understand these things…and that she simply believes Israel is exceptional and should not have to follow the same laws and international standards that apply to other states. If so, apparently in Israel are those who would agree with her. Less than a week after her talk at the UN–in which she accused the body of a “prejudiced approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues”–an Israeli military court handed down an 18-month sentence to an Israeli soldier who carried out an execution-style slaying of a wounded Palestinian in March of last year. There was no doubt the soldier was the one who pulled the trigger. The shooting was captured live on video. The sentence of 18 months he received for killing a Palestinian is lighter than what Palestinian children are often given for throwing stones.

* Incredibly, Haley also voiced criticism of Trump–over his stance on Russia–during her congressional confirmation hearings back in January. At that time she accused Russia of “war crimes,” and said, “They (the Russians) have done some terrible atrocities.”

Are Russian diplomats being assassinated? (UPDATED)

Are Russian diplomats being assassinated? (UPDATED)

February 21, 2017

Since the death of Vitaly Churkin I see more and more speculations that Russian diplomats are being killed (example here and here)  This is exceedingly unlikely and I consider these speculations to be based on ignorance and a form of “clickbaiting”.  Here is why:

  1. So four senior Russian diplomats have died in one month.  Considering how many diplomats Russia has worldwide, this hardly a tsunami.
  2. They died in Ankara (murder), Athens (natural causes), New Delhi (disease) and New York (heart attack).  There is no pattern, no modus operandi, no common link between these men and their deaths.
  3. During the Cold War the US and Soviets had an understanding that they would not attack each other’s personnel simply because any such attack would trigger an immediate retaliation which both sides wanted to avoid.  There is absolutely nothing suggesting that this has changed.
  4. Killing diplomats is useless.  They don’t really take decisions but their symbolic value is immense.  Thus the benefit for murdering them is zero and the cost potentially a nuclear war.
  5. Russia is not the Palestinian Authority which had to ask for a French expertise to establish the real cause of death of Yassir Arafat.  If anybody hard murdered Russian diplomats the Russians would inevitably find out who did it and why and the retaliation would be terrible (all, repeat, all the Takfiri Chechen leaders have by now been killed by the Russians, as have been the units who killed the Russian pilot in Syria as have been the key Takfiri leaders in Aleppo).

Coincidences do happen and not everything is the result of a conspiracy.  In this case, there is exactly zero evidence of a plot by anybody to murder Russian diplomats and spreading rumors about that is unhelpful and distracting from the important issues.

The Saker

UPDATE: okay, I am not coming across, so let me try something different: call two authorities to my rescue.  First, Carl Sagan who used to say that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence“.  In this case, the claim is absolutely extraordinary: the murder of a senior diplomat is basically an act of war.  As for the evidence, at this time of writing it is exactly ZERO.  Nothing.  Ziltch.  Nihil.  My next expert authority is William of Occam who wrote “Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem” which meaning can be roughly rendered as “the simplest explanation is the best”.  For example, while it is definitely *possible* that Russian diplomats have been murdered, it is far more likely that they simply died.  Of course, I cannot prove a negative.  But at this point in time I repeat that this line of speculation is based on absolutely nothing, that there is no evidence at all while the the claim is truly extraordinary.  To simple speculate on the basis of a statistically irrelevant sample and arrive far reaching hypotheses is simply not “analysis”.  At best, this is idle gossip.  Frankly, I am kind of shocked and even disappointed that so many seem to miss the total lack of evidentiary support, nevermind any “proof”, for this hypothesis.

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Rest in Peace Vitaly Churkin

Posted on February 21, 2017

The Russian ambassador to the United Nations for the past 11 years died yesterday in New York. Today would have been his 65th birthday. May he rest in peace.

Electronic book of condolences is open, send your e-mails to info@rusembassy.ca or tweet using @RussiaUN, or

Four Dead Russian Diplomats in Three Months

Posted on February 21, 2017

Russia’s long time ambassador to the UN has died suddenly in New York – this is the fourth Russian diplomat who has died in the last 3 months.

Vitaly Churkin was one of the wisest voices in international diplomacy.  His voice will no longer echo in the halls of the United Nations. Articulate, polite yet commanding, wise yet affable, he oversaw some of Russia’s and the world’s most important events in a position he occupied since 2006.

Churkin had to face a great deal of hostile criticism from both the Bush and Obama administrations during his time at the UN, but he always did so with grace. He never failed to explain the Russian position with the utmost clarity.

Standing next to some of his colleagues, he often looked like a titan in a room full of school children.

His death, a day before his 65th birthday, is a tragedy first and foremost for his family, friends and colleagues. It is also a deeply sad day for the cause of justice, international law and all of the principles of the UN Charter which Churkin admirably upheld in the face of great obstacles.

His death however raises many uncomfortable questions…

Here are 5 things that must be considered:

1.  A Macabre Pattern Has Emerged  

Beginning in 2015, there were several deaths within the Russian Diplomatic corps and a special Russian Presidential adviser.

–LESIN

First there was Russia’s RT founder and special adviser to President Putin, Mikhail Lesin. He died in November of 2015 in his hotel room. Reports said that he appeared discombobulated during his last sighting before he died. Later it emerged that he died of a blunt head trauma. Drinking was blamed, but many questions were left unanswered.

–MALANIN

Earlier last month, Andrei Malanin, a Senior Russian Diplomat to Greece was found dead in his bathroom. The causes of death remain unknown.

–KADAKIN

Just last month, Russia’s Ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, an always prestigious role, died of a heart attack, although no one was aware of any previous health issues.

–KARLOV

In December of last year Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey was assassinated by a lone jihadi gunmen in an art gallery.  There was no effective security as the killer simply walked up to Ambassador Andrei Karlov and shot him multiple times in the back.

–CHURKIN

Vitaly Chirkin is the highest profile member of Russia’s diplomatic corps to die in recent years.

2. A Motive For Foul Play? 

Each of the recently deceased Russian Ambassadors were high profile targets for miscreants and criminals, whether state actors, mercenaries or fanatics.

Lesin was a instrumental in the creation of RT, a news outlet which has come under constant attack from the western establishment.

Malanin had overseen a period of warming fraternal relations between Greece and Russia at a time when Greece is feeling increasingly alienated from both the EU and NATO.

Karlov is said to be responsible for helping to facilitate the rapprochement between Presidents Erdogan and Putin.

Kadakin oversaw a period of renewed tensions between India and Pakistan at a time when Russia was trying to continue its good relations with India whilst building good relations with Pakistan.

On the 31st of December, 2016, Churkin’s resolution on a ceasefire in Syria passed in the UN Security Council after months of deadlock. The resolution is still in force.

Anyone who wanted to derail the diplomatic successes that the aforementioned men achieved for Russia would have a clear motive to extract vengeance.

3. Who Stands To Gain? 

In the matter of Karlov, any derailment of restored Russo-Turkish relations would be good for those happy for Turkey to continue her support of jihadists in Syria rather than moving towards accepting a Russian and indeed Iranian brokered peace process which respects the sovereignty of Syria as Russia and Iran always have, but Turkey has not.

In the case of Lesin, anyone wanting ‘vengeance’ for RT’s popularity would be able to say that a kind of former media boss was taken down.

For Malanin, many fear that if ‘Grexit’ happens, Russia will become an increasingly important partner for Greece. The EU would not like one of its vassal states enjoying fruitful relations with Russia, a country still under sanctions from Brussels.

For Kadakin, it is a matter of interest for those wanting Pakistan to continue favouring western powers and not wanting Russia to be able to mediate in conflict resolutions between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Churkin had come to dominate the UN in ways that his counterparts on the Security Council simply could not. No one really stood a chance in a debate with Churkin. His absence leaves open the possibility for a power vacuum that would makes other peoples’ jobs easier.

4. Where The Deaths Took Place

Each death took place on foreign soil. Mr. Karlov’s killing in particular, exposed the weakness of his security contingent. If security was that weak in a comparatively volatile place like Turkey, it goes without saying that security in states considered more politically stable would be even more lax.

Again it must be said that a non-biased detective might say that the only pattern which has emerged is that many people in the Russian diplomatic corps and related institutions have heart attacks. Maybe they eat fatty foods every day and drink and smoke too much. But if this was this case, why are the heart attacks all on foreign soil?

If all of the former Ambassadors except Karlov were really in bad health, is it really just a coincidence that none of these men had a health scare on Russian soil? Again, a pattern has emerged.

5. The Ethics of Speculation? 

Many will say that it is too early to suspect foul play. Indeed, I must make it clear that this is simply speculation based on a pattern of tragic and at times unexplained events, combined with the objective reality that because of Russia’s recently elevated profile as a born-again geopolitical superpower, Russia is a bigger target for international criminals than it was in the broken 1990s or the more quiet early 2000s.

When such events happen, one’s duty is to speculate so that better health and  safety precautions are taken to ensure the wellbeing of Russia’s important diplomats. Furthermore, if foul play is a factor, it means that such seemingly unrelated events must be investigated more thoroughly.

Russia has historically suffered from invasion, revolution and more recently from immense international pressure. The Russian people, like Russia’s ambassadors are entitled to the peace and long lives deserved by any member of a country that has suffered for too long.

Gallup: Americans’ Hostility to Russia Soared After Obama’s 2012 Re-Election

Gallup: Americans’ Hostility to Russia Soared After Obama’s 2012 Re-Election

ERIC ZUESSE | 21.02.2017 | OPINION

Gallup: Americans’ Hostility to Russia Soared After Obama’s 2012 Re-Election

The Gallup organization samples Americans’ approval-disapproval of Russia in February of each year, and the approval-figure for this year is only slightly more than half as high as it had been back in 2012 when Obama publicly mocked his Presidential-campaign opponent Mitt Romney’s famous statement that «Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe».

Gallup poll released on 20 February 2017 showed that Americans’ favorability rating of Russia, immediately after U.S. President Barack Obama left office, is only 28%, which is just above Americans’ 24% favorability toward The Palestinian Authority, and just below the 31% favorability toward Saudi Arabia. Russia hasn’t always been rated down in that low league of American popularity.

Back in 2012, before Obama’s second term, that favorability rating toward Russia was 50%. The year before that, in 2011, it was 51%. It had been reasonably stable until Obama’s re-election (except during 1998-2004 when it gyrated wildly because of Americans’ uncertainty of what the post-Soviet, post-communist, Russian government was like).

The lowest-ever American approval-rating for Russia occurred in Gallup’s poll on 8-11 February 2015, almost a year after the overthrow of Ukraine’s government and the vote of Crimeans to abandon Ukraine’s government and rejoin Russia, when it was 24%. In Gallup’s immediate-prior poll, which was taken right before the 20-26 February 2014 overthrow of the Ukrainian government, the Gallup poll on 6-9 February 2014, 34% of Americans approved of Russia.

No other nation has plunged even nearly as steeply in Americans’ favorability as did Russia, during Obama’s second term. The plunge, from 50% to 28%, which is a 44% plunge in the rating, compares with, as the second-steepest such plunge, Saudi Arabia: it’s a plunge from 42% in 2012, to 31% now, which is a 26% plunge — far less than the 44% plunge for Russia.

The biggest rise during Obama’s second term was for Cuba: 37% favorability-rating in 2012, 51 % today, which is a 38 % rise, during the four years of Obama’s second term.

Cuba’s remarkable rise during Obama’s second term cannot reasonably be attributed to Obama’s having restored, on 20 July 2015, diplomatic relations with Cuba, which had been severed in 1961. The rise instead occurred gradually throughout Obama’s second term. And, prior to 2012, going all the way back to 1998, Americans’ approval-rating of Cuba had been rather stable, within the 25 % to 30 % range. So: apparently throughout Obama’s second term, the U.S. press were providing increasingly favorable ‘news’ coverage of Cuba.

Russia’s chart-topping plunge occurred fairly steadily throughout Obama’s second term. It wasn’t caused entirely by the events in February and March 2014 in Ukraine: the overthrow of President Yanukovych and the plebiscite in which over 90 % of Crimeans (who had voted overwhelmingly for Yanukovych) voted to no longer to be in Ukraine but instead to return to being citizens of Russia, which Crimeans had been until 1954, when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily transferred Crimea from Russia to Ukraine (he was a Ukrainian: Nikita Khrushchev). Obama’s policy on that was to insist that the people of Crimea had no right of self-determination of peoples (which right he agreed with when it pertained to Catalonians in Spain and to Scots in UK but not to Crimeans in Ukraine) but that instead Russia’s acceptance of Crimeans back into Russia is ‘conquest of land’ by Russia, and so Obama imposed economic sanctions against Russia, and NATO poured U.S. and other troops and missiles onto Russia’s borders, allegedly so that there would be no more such ‘conquests’ by Russia (as if there were anything like a plebiscite in Romania or Latvia or Poland etc. in which a majority of the residents there sought for their land to become a part of Russia).

What is especially important to note regarding the plunge in Americans’ approval-rating for Russia is that it didn’t occur only after, but started well before, those events in Ukraine in 2014; it started at the very end of Obama’s first term, in 2012.

Obama’s State Department started planning the overthrow of Ukraine’s government by no later than 2011, when they were probing Julian Assange for information about how to stir revolutions by drawing supporters into online resistance activities. Assange did not know, at that time, what use the U.S. State Department (assisted by Google’s chief, Eric Schmidt) were aiming to make of the information that he provided. However, by the time the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine started on 1 March 2013 its «tech camps» to implement the ‘revolution’, it became clear what use Obama’s people were making of Assange’s insights.

Apparently, the ‘news’ coverage of Russia during the years of the plunge, 2012-2016, was somehow becoming progressively more and more unfavorable, in preparation for the 2014 Ukrainian coup and its aftermath of economic sanctions and the positioning of increasing numbers of U.S. troops and missiles on and near Russia’s borders. The U.S. government even publicly celebrated its propaganda-success.

Manipulating the public in a ‘democracy’ has become so much of a science, so that a person can reasonably doubt whether democracy, in even the limited extents to which it has existed in the past, possesses any realistic meaning in today’s world — or (if so) what meaning.

The basic theories of politics and understandings of ideology — everything that employs the concept «democracy» — are false now, even if they weren’t false earlier, when ‘democracies’ routinely included societies such as ancient Athens, where the majority of citizens owned one or more slaves.

Where lies reign, what meaning has ‘democracy’? Has it become merely one more lie? This is a serious question.

Trump’s Watergate All About Drowning Out Russia

Trump’s Watergate All About Drowning Out Russia
FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 20.02.2017 | OPINION

Trump’s Watergate All About Drowning Out Russia

The adage about One Man’s Terrorist is Another Man’s Freedom Fighter is aptly paraphrased for the running battle in Washington between President Trump and his intelligence agencies. Only instead of «terrorist» substitute the word «leaker».

Prominent sections of the US media are willingly acting as conduits for intelligence agencies leaking classified government information to damage the Trump White House. The media and Trump’s political enemies are thus acting as accomplices in criminal disclosure of supposedly secret government information, which at another time the same media and politicians would condemn as treasonous. Think Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning for instance.

Trump has hit back after his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was forced to resign over disclosed phone contacts he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak earlier this year. With barely contained anger, Trump described the leaks as «criminal» and «un-American» and has scorned media outlets for conspiring to destabilize his presidency – only less than one month after taking office.

In turn, media outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post and CNNhave disparaged Trump for trying to «deflect» the issue away from alleged contacts with Russian state officials to the issue of intelligence services leaking classified information. Such disclosure is a criminal offense, punishable by jail for breach of government secrecy rules.

Trump does have a point though. The practice of leaking confidential information by security services is a grave breach.

But there is something of a contradiction here on both sides of the fight.

When Donald Trump was campaigning as presidential candidate he openly reveled in the leaking of classified information by the Wikileaks whistleblower website because much of the disclosure was highly damaging to his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton, originating partly during her tenure as Secretary of State.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. President Trump is screaming about classified information being leaked and given out «like candy» to media outlets. Because now the leaks are damaging his administration with allegations that some his aides were in close contact with Russian government officials. The alleged contacts go beyond just former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The New York Times this week reported anonymous US officials claiming that several of Trump’s aides also shared contact with Russians.

Ironically, some of these major US media outlets appear indifferent to the criminal offense of leaking classified information by intelligence agencies. They want to focus on the alleged content of the leaks, namely that Trump and his team are supposedly compromised by clandestine Russian connections. Yet, during the election campaign these same outlets showed little interest in publishing the damaging content of information leaked by Wikileaks against Hillary Clinton. Part of that indifference was feigned to be a concern over publishing leaked classified information.

Again, now the shoe is on the other foot. US media outlets that were previously shunning leaked information about their favored candidate, Clinton, are now all too willing to run with leaks damaging President Trump, whom they were decidedly opposed to becoming the White House occupant.

However, to be fair to Trump when he was a beneficiary of leaks against Clinton during the election campaign he was then a private citizen. There is no evidence that he colluded with the source of the leaks, either Wikileaks or, as is alleged, Russian hackers. Also, much of the damaging information against Clinton – her paid connections to Wall Street banks for instance – was obtained from private emails between her as a Democrat candidate and the Democratic National Committee, not when she was in office as the Secretary of State during the Obama administration. That information was not classified government correspondence, so therefore was fair game for publishing.

Whereas the current leaks against President Trump by intelligence agencies or government officials are a clear breach of secrecy laws on classified information. Those leaks are clearly intended at undermining a sitting president by insinuating that his alleged contacts with Russian officials are potentially treasonous.

The media clamor over Trump’s alleged Russian connections are fueling a growing chorus in Congress for further investigations. Media pundits and lawmakers are boldly using the word «treason» to describe Trump’s alleged contacts with Russia. Some are even referring to the infamous Watergate scandal that led to President Nixon’s ouster in 1974.

The Washington Post which famously helped uncover the Watergate scandal published an editorial this week declaring: «The nation needs answers, not deflections, on Russia and Trump».

The Post editors write: «The news [sic] that members of President Trump’s circle had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, reported by the New York Times on Tuesday, might have been less concerning if the president had responded by explaining or condemning the contacts and accepting the need for an impartial investigation. Instead, on Wednesday morning, he dashed off a half-dozen tweets in which he curiously both denied the news [sic] and attacked the leakers who disclosed it. In so doing, he gave more cause for Republicans and Democrats to demand answers about his opaque and increasingly troubling ties with Moscow».

What the Washington Post innocuously calls «news» is actually leaked claims from anonymous US intelligence officials, which are illegal. It is also hardly «news» since the information is unverifiable claims made by anonymous sources.

Nevertheless, the Post castigates Trump for drawing attention to the illegality of the leaks. And it goes on emphatically to «demand answers about his opaque and increasingly troubling ties with Moscow».

The dubious priority here is not to question the ethics of leaking classified information, but rather to push the vapid, unverifiable hearsay that impugns the president for allegedly having private communications with the Russians. Trump has flatly denied that any such contacts were ever made during his campaign.

Ironically, the connection to Watergate is more than it might appear to be. That scandal is commonly thought of as a «high point» of American journalism, in which intrepid reporters from the Washington Post dared to help bring down a Republican president for involvement in «dirty tricks» against Democrats hatched in 1972. A more nuanced account is given by author Russ Baker, in his book Family of Secrets about the Bush dynasty and the CIA. Baker provides evidence that the Washington Post was actually led by intelligence agencies to stitch up Richard Nixon whom they had come to oppose over his shady self-serving politics. Watergate and the demise of Nixon was thus less a triumph of democracy and media righteousness and more a coup by the Deep State against Nixon in which the Washington Post served as the conduit.

The nature of today’s shenanigans with Trump may be different in the precise details. But the modus operandi appears to be the same. A sitting president is out of favor with the Deep State and the latter is orchestrating a media campaign of leaks to dislodge him. Appropriately, the Washington Post is again at the forefront of the Deep State operation to thwart the president, this time Trump, as with Nixon before.

The story of Trump being a potentially treasonous pawn being manipulated by Russia is impossibly far-fetched to be credible. Trump denies it, and Moscow denies it. Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn appears indeed to have had contact with the Russian ambassador during Trump’s transition to the White House. But the content of the conversation has been blown out of all proportion by US intelligence and media to contrive the narrative that Trump is in cahoots with Moscow.

The upshot is that Trump’s avowed policy of restoring friendlier relations with Russia is being hampered at every turn. The president is being goaded into having to deny he is a Russian stooge and to prove that he is not soft on Moscow – by, for example, stating this week through his White House spokesman Sean Spicer that «Russian must hand back Crimea to Ukraine».

Evidently, the big purpose here is to direct Trump to adopt a harder line on Russia and to abandon any notion of developing cordial relations. Either he must tow the line, or he will be hounded by leaks, media speculation and Congressional probes until he is impeached. This is because the Deep State – primarily the military-industrial complex that is the permanent government of the US – is predicated on a strategic policy of adversity towards Russia and any other designated geopolitical rival.

Meanwhile, amid the raging war between the Trump White House and the US intelligence network, which includes sections of the media, Russia said this week that relations between the two countries were suffering.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, lamented that the turmoil in Washington was turning into a lost opportunity for the US and Russia to normalize relations and get on with bigger, far more urgent tasks of cooperation in world affairs.

And that impasse between the US and Russia, it would seem, is the whole object lesson from Trump’s war with powerful elements within his own state.

Trump may have been elected president. But other darker forces in America’s power structure are intent on over-ruling him when it comes to policy on Russia. Trump’s Watergate is all about drowning out a genuine reset with Russia.

General Reshetnikov: Return to the Empire (superbly controversial interview)

February 13, 2017General Reshetnikov: Return to the Empire (superbly controversial interview)

Foreword by the Saker:  Today I am posting a really interesting interview which will sound absolutely outlandish to a lot of you.  Get this: the person interviewed is a former KGB General who speaks about restoring the monarchy under the rule of Jesus-Christ!  And when I say “KGB General” I am being just as dishonest as the western media when it writes about Putin being a KGB officer.  Technically speaking, yes, both Putin and Reshetnikov were in the KGB and they had the little red id card which did say “KGB USSR”.  But in reality both were part of the KGB’s Foreign Intelligence Service, the First Chief Directorate (PGU) of the KGB, a completely separate branch of the KGB which even had its own, separate, headquarters in Yasenevo District in the southwest of Moscow.  The First Chief Directorate (in Russian PGU KGB SSSR) did not deal with dissent, crime, or all the other security functions of the rest of the KGB.  The PGU dealt with foreign intelligence exclusively (after the end of the Soviet Union the PGU was kept independent and renamed “SVR” or “Foreign Intelligence Service).  And it was beyond any doubt the elite, most capable, part of the KGB: only the very best were accepted there.  As for Reshetnikov, he was a top level officer responsible for an analytical Department (in Russian “Head of an informational-analytical Department”).  In other words, the guys is exceptionally intelligent and exceptionally well-educated.  One of the best analysts in Russia.  And yet he speaks of monarchy and putting Christ in power. And he lumps Communists and Liberal into one group.  How do you figure that one out?  You can dismiss him as senile, but if that is the case, his senility manifests itself in a curious way.  Besides, having seen his interviews, I can tell you that he is not senile one bit.  A clown trying to make statements to be noticed?  There are not many clowns in the PGU, even less with a rank of Lieutenant-General (that means a “three-star” general).  I won’t give you my explanation, I think that I much rather leave you with a question mark and let you ponder this weird phenomenon.  I will just say one thing: to me the views of Reshetnikov are yet another solid indicator that Russia is most definitely not part of Europe, at least not culturally.  I won’t say more 😛  Now meet our rather most interesting character!

General Reshetnikov: Return to the Empire

by Lieutenant-General Leonid Petrovich Reshetnikov

Source: http://politikus.ru/articles/90244-general-reshetnikov-vozvraschenie-k-imperii.html

Translated by Eugenia

Donbass these days is suffering under horrific artillery fire. The Ukrainian forces are maniacally firing at Donetsk, Yasinovataya, Makeevka and other cities from MLSR and howitzers. There are many wounded; civilians are being killed, houses, schools and hospitals destroyed. This bloody spectacle is organized by the Kiev junta, which ignores all calls to stop this war, instead purposefully committing genocide of the population of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics.

When and how will this horror end? What is the meaning of this all? What are the prospects of LPR/DPR and/or Novorossiya? And, finally, is there a way to rebuild the Great Russian Empire? We addressed these questions to the former head of the Analytic Division of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, then the Director of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, a currently the President of the society “Two-Headed Eagle” – Leonid Petrovich Reshetnikov.

Q: Donetsk and other cities of Novorossiya are under fire as we speak; the Ukrainian military are attempting to breach the front at multiple points. Why now and what is the cause of this escalation of the conflict?

A: This is a planned operation. The goal of the Kiev regime is to complicate the relations between Russia and the US. Currently, the relationship between the leadership of Russia and the new leadership of the USA is generally favorable for us. Kiev is scared; it is afraid that Ukraine will no longer be of interest to the United States and personally to Trump. For that reason, everything was planned in a way that the official visit of Poroshenko to Germany had to be interrupted because of the situation in Donbass aggravated by the Ukrainian side. We cannot exclude that Merkel was a co-conspirator in this; possibly, she herself initiated that action to undermine the Russian-American negotiations. The fear of Europe is no less than the fear of Ukraine. If the relations between Russia and US improve – Europe would be left out in the cold. Thus, on the initiative of some European politicians the Kiev criminals are murdering the civilians in Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in order to attain their chimeric foreign policy goals. They are attempting by such means to save their regime, to prove their usefulness. However, they are unlikely to succeed in preventing the improvement in the relations between Russia and the US.

The Kiev scum – Poroshenko, Parubiy and others – have built such a reputations for themselves on the war against their own people that they will certainly come to a sticky end. The best option – to flee abroad, otherwise they will pay dearly. I believe the Kremlin understands perfectly that the Kiev authorities are not partners but criminals that usurped power, and no negotiations with them are possible. I want to emphasize: the Kiev regime is doomed, and no provocations, no amount of artillery fire at Donetsk and other cities, no attempts at offensives will accomplish anything for Poroshenko and Co, except yet another brand mark on the foreheads of these scoundrels.

Leonid Petrovich, you were for a long time the Head of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies. The Institute essentially laid the theoretical groundwork for the “Project Novorossiya”, which today the authorities in Russia and Donbass republics prefer not to mention. At the same time, the ordinary Donbass people became convinced that Novorossiya will not happen, and they will end up with nothing but a territorial fragment like the two Donbass Republics. In such case – without reunification with Russia via referendum – our future looks bleak . . .

Novorossiya was not created as some theoretical project; it was born through an explosion of the Russian historic self-awareness; an explosion unexpected for all – including Moscow, the Kremlin, the Russian public. Something that is hidden in the sub-consciousness in all of us – the yearning for the recreation of the Orthodox Russian Empire. Many have not yet realized what is Novorossiya, why it created such an enthusiasm in the society and why so many people went to defend it even at the cost of their own lives. That is because the idea of the Russian unity has survived under the layer of the dead ideology of the last hundred years. Why, then, the “project Novorossiya” wound down? I believe the reason is not only that some high ranking officials disapprove of it and closed it down (although that happened, too), but the main reason is that such project cannot be based on the Red Star: then that would not be Novorossiya, the resurrection of Russia, but an imitation of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, many in the political leadership and expert community returned to the Soviet paradigms of 1970-1980s of the last century. Those paradigms have shown their ineffectiveness long ago, and attempts to reuse them now could lead to the collapse of everything. Old Soviet schemes aren’t viable but the new ones – not Soviet, but liberal – have not been taken on by the majority, so for now there is no ideological foundation for Novorossiya . . .

History is moving along a spiral; repeats are possible only on a new basis. So, at the present turn of the historic development, the spirit of Novorossiya that broke through the ideological layers had to retreat temporarily. The politicians as well as ordinary people had insufficient understanding of what NOVOROSSIYA is, where are its historical roots and what is its true spiritual meaning. I do not agree that the project is dead; it is alive and will yet return. But! Only on one condition: if we ourselves realize what path our country has travelled on for the past hundred years.

The return of LPR/DPR to Ukraine with the special status, isn’t it done for the purpose, as many suppose, to transform Ukraine from the inside, to convert it into a pro-Russian entity? What do you think the near future holds for the Republics? People that are surviving for the third years under the fire of the Ukrainian military are demanding a clear answer to this question . . .

There are different opinions in the Kremlin, but no definitive decision: to surrender Donbass to Ukraine. Yes, there are people that indeed think this way and want to do this. However, there are others that believe we should not leave people of Ukraine that have not accepted the Nazi regime to the mercy of Kiev. My personal impression: our President does not want to unconditionally surrender to Ukraine the people that lived through a war, privations and suffering, so that these people would be subjected to severe repressions, which is inevitable if Donbass is returned to Ukraine.

The problem is that Kiev shows no real changes in its treatment of Donbass or relations to the Russian Federation, and I do not see any prospects in the near future for any changes favorable to us. That regime, in spite of its rotten nature, will be persisting for some time, because there are still enough people that worked for decades to bring about such a regime; they are bound by blood; they took power and have no intentions of relinquishing it. The resistance to the regime is disorganized, lack the nationalistic Idea, not specifically Ukrainian but common for our entire huge country, our specific civilization. During the Soviet period the people were brainwashed in a special way. Everything was done to make people believe that Ukraine is an independent country.

I lived and studied in Kharkov and remember how it was. At the local level, all the time the Soviet authorities were instilling the idea: although we live in one country, but Moscow, the central Russia is somewhere far away, and we are separate, we have our own history and our own heroes. The people were taught that way – what do we expect now? It is natural that in Donbass, Odessa, Crimea and other regions Russian spirit still remains – during the 70 Soviet years and 25 years of independence the transformation has not entirely succeeded. The Russian historic self-awareness persisted, as did the feeling of belonging to the same civilization of all people that lived on the territory of the Russian Empire. All this is still there, particularly in the Eastern Ukraine. That is why the Ukrainian nationalists failed to fully accomplish their project.

Starting from 1921, forced Ukrainization of the Russian regions was taking place, specifically, of the territory of the Great Don Cossack Army and Slobozhanshchina, incorporated by the order of Lenin and Stalin into Ukraine. At some point, the town with the “romantic” name Mines (earlier Alersandrovsk-Grushevsky) and Taganrog were also given to Ukraine. Later, however, the common sense prevailed, and the towns were returned to Russia. I don’t even want to remind about Crimea gifted to Ukraine by our restless Nikita Khrushchev. Nobody really wants to remember that or think about it; everybody starts the count from 1991. My dear friends, come on! The groundwork for the breakdown of the Soviet Union was laid in 1917 and later in 1920-30s. During the Soviet time, governments, flags, hymns, national heroes were invented; monuments to open Russophobes were built. Hence the explosion. The 1991 was the result of the Soviet policies, remember that, comrades with the red stars on their cap that I have seen in LPR . . . Your ancestors, your leaders that you revere created the conditions for the breakdown of the united country. What kind of Novorossiya could you create if you do not learn lessons from history?

Leonid Petrovich, at present there two peoples in Ukraine: the first is completely anti-Russian, totally different from us in its mentality, and the second – Russian, even if the representatives of this group call themselves Ukrainians, due to upbringing and stereotypes. In reality, they are essentially deeply Russian people. The division is along the civilization-mentality lines, the same as between Serbs and Croats. Nevertheless, in the Kremlin as well as in the Moscow expert community the dominant view is that the majority of the Ukrainian population is just temporarily misled, brainwashed by the propaganda. That is to say, we will use political technologies to break the spell; they will again recall that they are Russians – and everything will be peaceful like it was before. But at least half of the Ukrainian population has long time ago turned into a different nation. What do we do with them, how do we reconcile irreconcilable differences?

As a former (until 1974) resident of Ukraine, I generally agree with you opinion. That division existed even then: when you cross Dnepr river, on the other bank not everyone, but the majority looked like a different nation. The wife of my elder brother from the Poltava region and speaking the Malorossian dialect (the Poltava region, a part of historic Malorossiya, is on the left bank of the Dnepr neighboring the Kharkov and Dneptopetrovsk regions; Malorossiya (Poltava, Chernigov, Kirovograd), or Small Russia, together with Novorossiya (Odessa, Nikolaev, Kherson, Donbass) or New Russia, and Sloboshanshchina (Kharkov region), are historic names for territories of the Eastern Ukraine; in the Soviet period, the Poltava dialect was taken as a foundation for the development of the standard Ukrainian language – translator’s note) used to say about the speech of the people from the trans-Dnepr region: ”I do not understand their nice language. . . “ She is saying the same thing now. I agree that the inhabitants of the Western Ukraine were strongly influenced mentally and religiously by the Uniate and Catholic religions. Apparently, the fact that genetically the Western Ukrainians are linked to the leftovers of the Khazar Khanate also plays a significant role. Their mentality has a complex origin, and indeed today they are largely a different nation, although among them there are still people close to us in spirit. After all, the Russianness is not determined by the blood but by the mindset. Possibly, in the future there will be two different territories, two different states for these two peoples.

At his time, the Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire Khvostov wrote to the Tzar that Galicia should not be included into the Empire, since it was a completely alien element. Thus, the awareness of the deep difference was present then, and that difference should be taken into account in the future. It seems, they are a different nation. Croats and Serbs come to mind: there is little difference between the Serbian and Croatian languages – 100-200 words and slightly different pronunciation of a few sounds, which means this is essentially the same language. However, the mental differences make them two different nations, as do the difference in religion – Catholics and Orthodox – and in the origin and development of these nations.

That is why it is important to realize that we will not be able to rid them from the illusions – they are a different nation. Although some do, I repeat, harbor delusions in that regard – Kremlin is large, there are people with diverse opinions there, but there are also people who understand perfectly that two distinct nations inhabit the present day Ukraine.

We have to understand that the problem cannot be solved in one or two-three years; this is a long-term problem. The opportunities for working with the population of the Western Ukraine, the southern regions of Malorossiya are extensive. I am convinced that the “project Novorossiya” will be revived – this is our historic, spiritual project. In order to prevent that project from developing further, an unexpected weapon is currently employed – an imitation of the Soviet project.

You mean the idea embraced by some political analysts that “we in the end will return the whole of Ukraine”?

No, I speak about Novorossya proper, the eight South-Eastern regions of the present day Ukraine. Whatever idea someone embraces – it’s his business. In the leadership of our country and in the government there are enough people who understand that realistically we could only think about the project Novorossiya. To return the entire Ukraine – this is a fairy tale. Such idea shows either a total lack of understanding of the real processes or a disinclination to work towards a realistic goal justifying the inaction by the assertion that some day we will accomplish a much grander task of getting back the whole of Ukraine.

People that have still failed to understand what was happening with us during 73 years should not feel offended. These are all the rudiments of the Soviet style of thinking when the national factor was neglected, and as a result we got outbreaks of nationalism/separatism all over the territory of our civilization. I remember two main Soviet postulates. In 1988, when I was a junior official, I was delivering a talk to the leadership of the Foreign Intelligence Service, and the Chief of the Service Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kryutchkov said to me: “The Baltic countries will never get away from us, because . . . “. And then he talked about the World Economic Forum, economic connections, sausage factories, fishing ports and such. But we, the young employees of the Service, captains and majors, were sitting there and wondering: “My God, where are we going? Doesn’t he realize that sausage factories or fishing ports do not matter now at all; completely different things are important that are beyond the material concept of history, beyond the Marxist-Leninist concept”. An Idea is what always wins, and if we do not offer an Idea but are offering just material values instead, we will only achieve temporary solutions that are essentially failures. The same is now: Ukraine will go nowhere, we are giving it money, selling gas; we’ll turn off the gas – and that will be it . . .

Forgive me for the comparison, but it is the same as if Hitler was saying: Leningrad will go nowhere; the army of the Wehrmacht will blockade it, and the city will fall within a month. And what happened? The people mobilized, resisted, and won. But we have to understand that an Idea can also mobilize an enemy.

Attempts at resolving the conflicts among the nations or the states using exclusively economic methods are doomed, that’s is why we are losing. Instead of proposing and the idea of the unification of the Russian world, of the resurrection of the Russian orthodox civilization that would ensure the development and prosperity of all nations included in it, we very often hear spiritual surrogates that oppose the 73 Soviet years to 1000 years of the Russian history. The Great Patriotic War? Yes, we won. But is that to say that we have never fought and won in patriotic wars before? Have we not once expelled the occupiers from Kremlin (a reference to the expulsion from Moscow of the Polish invaders by the People’s Militia led by Minin and Prince Pozharsky in 1612 during the Time of Troubles – translator’s note)? Similar distortions happen with other subjects.

As far as we can judge based on the statements of the Russian politicians, a decision has been made to keep Ukraine as is for the foreseeable future. Regardless whether the Donbass Republics receive “the special status” or remains frozen in the status of unrecognized states, we (the Donbass Republics – translator’s note) unwillingly act as a factor of consolidation and support for the Ukrainian society, sort of like a “graphite moderator” for the nuclear reactor that prevents the nuclear reaction from getting out of control. The claimed existence of “terrorists”, “separatists”, “Russian mercenaries” provides the Kiev regime with the enemy image and allows to structure the Ukrainian society in such a way, so that in less than a generation it could be transformed into totally anti-Russian. This way, we will lose forever the opportunity to retain it in our Russian civilization fold. If the Republics join the Russian Federation, this “graphite moderator” would be withdrawn from the reactor, which could trigger the processes of disintegration of Ukraine. This and not the economic pressure or the war would allow for the informational and diplomatic changes in our favor to take place and for the project Novorossiya to be realized. What do you think about the possibility of conducting a referendum in the Donbass Republics about joining Russia?

I as a Russia patriot consider such outcome the most desirable: a referendum and reunification with Russia not only of Donbass, but also of Transnistria. However, there is one big ‘but”. We do not exist in an isolation, and currently Russia – many have not a slightest idea about that – is living through a very hard period being under a powerful attack by the globalist forces. Savvy people likely noticed that there was a period in October-November of last year when we were a step away from a military conflict with the United States. The President of our country is acting based on the information we are not privy to, and thus, sees the situation differently from how it appears to us. When I served as a head of the Analytical Division of the Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS) – I knew what the President was reading, but I knew only the part that was the responsibility of the FIS. Believe me, the situation is very complex . . .

The reunification of Crimea with Russia – this, of course, is an achievement of our President and of all those actively involved in the operation. However, without the will of God that could have not have happened. As a religious person, I consider this a miracle. As far as LPR/DPR are concerned, from my own viewpoint it seems to me that it would be right to conduct a referendum of them joining the Russian Federation. However, people at the top have access to all the information, and, apparently, have reasons to doubt that such a decision would be wise at this time. Would Russians be able to cope?

We have nothing to lose as far as sanctions or diplomatic pressure on Russia are concerned – everything that could be done has been done. What do you think is the main reason that does not let Russia allow the Republics to join? What prevents this?

What prevented the DPR from taking Mariupol in 2014?

An agreement with the oligarchs . . .

I do not know – perhaps. There was, however, a firm position of the West. Are we truly independent financially? Obviously, we are not. It is risky for the US and globalists to hit us in that area – it could backfire, but they still could employ such ultimate measures. The results would be a lot more painful for us than for them. I want to emphasize the activity of Vladimir Putin: all these years he is slowly step by step restoring Russia’s true independence.

Let us consider recent history. Industrialization, which the Stalinists are so proud of, was accomplished with enormous – material, technological, financial, and credit support of the US. Thanks to that support, Dnepr Hydroelectric Station, Magnitka (Magnitogorsk Metal Producing Plant, built in 1932, one of the largest in the USSR, the largest in Russia – translator’s note), Gorky Automotive Plant and thousands of other enterprises were built. When the Great Patriotic was nearing its end, Joseph Stalin was counting on $6 billions promised by Roosevelt and was prepared to comply with the demands of the USA: to keep the eastern European countries democratic, retain the multi-party system or monarchies (where they existed), refrain from strict collectivization, and to leave the church alone. Only after the Fulton speech and the establishment of the “Iron Curtain”, the Soviet Union has altered its foreign policy. However, the dependence remained, since the whole world existed inside the financial-economic system dominated by the US, and we were being incorporated into it more and more, as the socialist system created by us was not working.

I can make a statement surprising for some and outrageous for others: after 1917 we were never completely independent. It was not for nothing that the West invested so much energy and resources in order to use the “Red project” (the division of the Empire into 15 national republics) for the destruction of the Eastern-Slavic civilization.

I remember how in 1984 or 1985 I read the telegram of the Russian ambassador in FRG Yuliy Krivitsky about his conversation with the Vise-Chancellor of the Western Germany, leader of the Bavarian party Christian-Democratic Union, Joseph Straus. The latter said directly, even at that time: “You country, Mister Ambassador, is facing difficult times. You placed a bomb under it: 15 Republics – 15 governments, Parliaments, hymns, flags. All this will blow up, and the Soviet Union will break down . . . “ Krivitsky objected saying that FRG also had various lands – Saxony, Bavaria, Bremen, Hesse, etc., local governments, to which the Vise-Chancellor responded: “Our states are based on the territories, but yours – on the nations”. The West understood very well, as opposed to our leadership, the main problem of the Soviet Union and purposefully aggravated it. As a result, the Western Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, and other nations remembered their national roots, whereas only the Russian and, partially, Belorussians were transformed into the “Soviet people” having taken to heart the myth about internationalism and lost their historic memory.

Remember Serbs and Croats – we have the same problem in Russia. As Joseph Broz Tito cut down the Serbian – that of the state-defining nation – territories, the same way Joseph Stalin and his co-conspirators cut down the Russian territories. In particular, the Russian Novorossiya was given to the artificially created Ukraine, Ossetia – to Georgia, the Northern and Eastern Kazakhstan populated by Russians – to Kazakhstan. It that sense, all us Russians are somewhat circumcised, if you pardon the expression . . .

That is why the current efforts of our President, his heroic deeds will not be fully appreciated any time soon. His mission – to extricate the country every year millimeter by millimeter from the national, financial, economical and other types of traps we got caught in since 1917. Any sudden movement, such as a referendum about incorporation of LPR/DPR could have unintended consequences.

This is a complex and very painful questions for all Russians. Russia is by definition a Eurasian state; it is multinational. So, how do we ensure that the defense of the interests of ethnic Russians would not become the instrument of the destruction of the country under the slogans like “Stop feeding the Caucasus!”, “Siberia – is not Moscow” and so forth. How do we find the optimal formula, when the imperial component does not oppress but stimulates the development of the Russian nation? It is worth remembering that the Declaration of Independence of the Russian Federation was issued on June 12th, 1991, which predetermined the Belovezhsk conspiracy on December 8th, 1991, and the breakup of the USSR . . . How do we manage not to repeat our historic mistakes?

The country could not have avoided the breakdown, since we have divided it into the national republics. Recently we have had a conversation with the Dagestanis-Muslims, and I recalled another conversations with a Chechen – Major-General of the FSB and his words: “You know, Leonid Petrovich, if they had been a White Tzar above us and Allah – we would have all united. We love Russia, but fighting for it we do not fight for the territories as such but for the White Tzar . . . “ This is the main factor uniting all nations. The Dagestanis also agreed; they are also in favor of the Empire; they understand the value of the vertical of power. There is no difference in this issue between the Orthodoxy and Islam, and if the Empire happens, Islam will work for it. Remember that during the Civil War the Chechen, Ingushs, and other Caucasus people fought in the White Army.

An Empire is impossible without the absolute monarchy . . .

Yes. However, it is too early to propose the restoration of monarchy now. It would be a premature move. It is necessary to clear up our minds, our memory of myths. The history of our Motherland in the Soviet period was studied starting from 1935 – why was that? Because it was necessary to re-write it completely, but before that new faculty had to be trained. Then the guys from the Institute of the Red Professors invented our history for us out of nothing under the title “The short history course of the All Russia Communist Party of Bolsheviks” of Joseph Vissarionovich (Stalin – translator’s note).

Let us summarize. In order for the Russian nation to prosper and maintain good relations with other nations, we need to restore our independent state that could only be the Russian Eurasian Empire. The Empire could only be restored as a monarchy, but to accomplish that we need to change our mentality and to free ourselves from the Soviet stereotypes. But here is the problem: most Russian citizens still see in the Soviet epoch the Great Project, the Idea of Justice, the Joy of unprecedented Victories . . . How do we alter the people’s mentality without alienating that majority, how do we merge the best achievements of the Soviet time with the achievements of the Tzarist period?

Middle-aged people or older cannot be changed; we need to work with the youth. This is hard. Let me give you an example: my eldest grand-daughter once said to me: “Grandpa, our teacher in class asked us why Michael Romanov was elected as a Tzar (Michael Romanov, the first Tzar of the Romanov dynasty, was elected in 1613 after the Time of Troubles, which started following the death of the son of Ivan the Terrible, the last representative of the Rurik dynasty, in 1598; during that period, many events took place including the appearance of Pseudo-Dmitri claiming to be the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible, Dmitri supposedly was killed in childhood, his ascension to the throne in Moscow, the intervention of the Polish Army, and the final defeat of the Poles – translator’s note), and I replied that, first, all estates voted for him, because all wanted to have a Tzar in the country after a horrible period of the Time of Troubles. Second, the Russian Orthodox Church supported him, and the church had a strong influence. And third, since he was very young, he was not involved in any of the treasons of the Time of Troubles when the nobles switched sides in support of the Poles or Pseudo-Dmitri”. I praised her answer but my granddaughter said that the teacher considered her response incorrect. The response should have been as written in the textbook, which only had one sentence about this stating that the nobles wanted to have a young Tzar so that they could control him. That is how contempt towards the Russian history is imprinted onto the mind of our children. When children grow up, they will have hard time letting go of the false concepts and accept the idea of the monarchy. Many will be torn between the two projects imposed on us by the West – liberal and Communist.

Recall how communists and liberals (they are of the same stock) go into hysterics when someone mentions the Third way – a special historic role of Russia. If you simply mention, without any epithets, the name of the last Emperor Nikolas the Second – immediately atheists, liberals, homosexuals and other trash unite and start yelling that he was a weak Tzar, that he “sold and destroyed Russia”. What does that say? That we are on the right track. We do not intend to change the regime; out job is to help people understand the lessons of the past, and when that happens, then the desire to restore the Empire and Monarchy will become natural to them. The new Constitution will be adopted, and the real revival of Russia will begin. But for those who consider themselves monarchists, for all orthodox Russian people, a Tzar has always existed, exists and will exist, and his name is – Jesus Christ.

Leonid Petrovich Reshetnikov (b. February 6, 1947, Potsdam, Germany) — Soviet and Russian historian, Director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (29 April 2009 to 4 January 2017), the General-the Lieutenant of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) of the Russian Federation.  Candidate of Historical Sciences.  Former chief of the information-analytical staff of the SVR in the rank of Lieutenant General.

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