Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads

Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads

December 22, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

The referendum on Britain’s vote to Remain or Leave the EU – Brexit – has raised deeper issues than simply whether or not the UK retains its European membership. The real issue is that of the whole Transatlantic bloc from Seattle to Warsaw, its, culture, institutions, politics, and economics has also been undergoing deep structural changes – not necessarily for the good.

The victory of the Leave majority in the first UK Brexit referendum in 2018 and a rerun, which should never have been allowed, of the Remain campaign in the general election of 2019 – both in the face of a massive establishment propaganda blitzkrieg was quite remarkable. The centrist coalition of the centre-right Conservative business class and the still deeply Blairite and third-wayist faction of the overwhelming majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party, the Trades Union Congress (TUC and most of its affiliated unions) and tens of thousands of rank-and-file woke militants, threw everything but the kitchen sink into their campaign but lost. But even then, the issues had not been settled – that is for the self-appointed, London based, middle-class, parvenues who imagined themselves as carrying the torch for civilization. After what was a definitive verdict – which in both instances was a ‘NO’ to the continued membership of Britain in the EU – there was a vicious counter-attack. It started from the premise that EU membership is an absolute good, the absolute truth, and that any opposition is racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynist … and so on and so forth. The fuddy-duddy notion of national sovereignty was of course considered completely de rigueur. Therefore, there is not, nor can there be any legitimate critique of the EU. Argument closed: no engagement or discourse on the subject, just hysterical ranting, and mass cancellation. Sound familiar?

In fact the EU before, during, and after the referendum was hardly the Shangri La imagined by the ‘Remainer’ constituency. At that time, their political and cultural love object was the EU of Manuel Barroso, ex-Maoist, ex-President of the European Commission, now working for Goldman Sachs, Merkel’s pet Russophobe, Donald Tusk, and not forgetting Jean-Claude Juncker, at that time President of the European Commission, who was incidentally involved in a tax avoidance scandal in Luxembourg where he was one-time Prime Minister, and then a litany of other self-serving political mediocrities on the make. The EU is also an economic dead zone (particularly in the peripheral areas of Eastern and Southern Europe) with unemployment rates higher than the UK and growth rates lower.

A veritable economic and political Shangri-la? Yeah, right. Like Lord Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen* the Remainers are putting the telescope to their blind eye: I see no economic and political dead-zone! Maybe they should have gone to Specsavers!

These sentiments are not just conservative, they are downright reactionary and anti-democratic. And the ex-centre-left has played an insidious part in this development. The glaring contrast between the people’s vote for leaving and the vote of the PLP and TUC institutions which supposedly represent them, for remaining, prompted even left observers to conclude that the people, like sheep, had gone astray and handed racist xenophobes a shameful victory. This was the liberal centre-left’s great Brechtian moment when ‘the people should be dissolved and a new one elected.’ The famous German playwright, Bertolt Brecht, was of course making a sardonic comment on the actions of the East German Communist regime in 1953 when it suppressed the workers uprising. It bears a striking similarity to the response by our own neo-totalitarians in 2016. Additionally, the procrastination of the establishment Remainers, which was slowing down the whole exit project, can be thought of as the establishment’s Augustinian moment. St. Augustine ‘’God give me chastity and celibacy, but not yet.’’ the Remainer-speak version being God give me Article 50 but not yet.

In sociological terms the upper-echelons of the liberal class who think that they have the divine right to set the political agenda, represent a sub-hierarchy below the real policy makers and shakers. The 20% beneath the 1%. They tend to be ensconced in the media, academia, professions such as law and medicine, middle-management, financial planners, economists, computer programmers, aerospace designers, and the entertainment business. Quite a number, particularly in business, government, both local and central, advertising, telemarketing, public relations, could be considered to be ‘bullshit jobs’ (in the late) David Graeber’s insightful observation. As a whole this particular social and occupational stratum, look up rather than look down, they serve power not the people. They are Orwell’s Outer party in his 1984 novel, sandwiched between the Inner party and the Proles. Knowing which side their bread is buttered on they identify with and support the Power Elite.

An avant garde leading from the rear, yes. Trahison des Clercs, most certainly but more politically and culturally homogeneous today than as was once the case.

This shell of a once fighting left (now unrecognisable from their previous political and ideological moorings) now embraces the culture of identity but excludes the entity of class. As a result poverty has become the P-word, and the poor the pariahs of neoliberal dystopic utopia. When we talk about class in a Marxist, materialist sense, we are talking about a relation of power, specifically about who does and who doesn’t have power to shape society. Identity politics makes this conflict of interests in society invisible. Neoliberal economics, however, is quite simply class war. It has advanced in part because identity politics depoliticized the public. Is it mere coincidence that the melange of post-Marxism, identity politics, and neoliberal economics saw the light in the same post-sixties decades? Together, they form the heart of the reaction, which is the take-back by the economic elite in the last four decades of every gain the fighting left loosed from the fist of capital before and since World War II. The rapacity of contemporary capitalism is enabled by the weakness, dishonesty, and cowardice of the flaccid and collaborationist left.

On the American side of the pond the same (albeit worse) diseased and morbid social tendencies began to emerge from a decaying body-politic circa 2001 and maybe even before, but the 9/11 was the pinnacle, which was of course no accident. For one of the persistent strands in American political life is a cultish extremism that approaches fascism. This was given expression and  reinforced during the two terms of Barack Obama. “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being.” said Obama, who expanded America’s favourite military pastime, bombing, and death squads (“special operations”) as no other president has done since the Cold War.

The American political and social-theorist, Christopher Lasch, now unfortunately no longer with us, succinctly identified the political/cultural shifts in the American polity in the late twentieth-century. (1) America has undergone a profound structural, cultural, and political transmutation: it is not the masses or working class, so much as an emerging sub-elite of professional and managerial types who constitute the greatest threat to democracy, according to Lasch. The new cognitive sub-elite is made up of what Robert Reich called “symbolic analysts’. This middle-class occupational stratum – in the British rather than the American sense – traffics in information and manipulates words and numbers for a living. They live in an abstract world in which information and expertise are the most valuable commodities. Since the market for these assets is international, the privileged class is more concerned with the global system than with regional, national, or even local communities. In fact, members of the new sub-elite tend to be estranged from their communities and their fellow citizens. “They send their children to private schools, insure themselves against medical emergencies … and hire private security guards to protect themselves against the mounting violence against them,” Lasch writes. In effect, they have removed themselves from the common life and have moved offshore.

These tendencies, however, have been observable even before Lasch’s observations. Way back in the middle to late 1950s, the great American theorist C Wright Mills, produced powerful polemics concerning the structure and direction in which the Republic was headed. These tendencies were recognised as early as the 1950s. (2)

He argued:

‘’We cannot assume today that men (sic) must in the last resort be governed by their own consent. Among the means of power that now prevail is the power to manage and manipulate the consent of men … and many people are neither radical nor reactionary, they are simply inactionary. If we accept the Greeks definition of an idiot as an altogether private man then we must conclude that many citizens of mass societies are indeed idiots … History making may well go by default, men may well abdicate its continual making and so merely float along as corks in a bottle of an Ocean drift. The implication of this, however, is that history will indeed be made – but by narrow elite circles without effective responsibility to those who must try to survive the consequences of their decisions and of their defaults.’ (3)

A more recent American social critic, Morris Berman, has also been cognisant of the cultural decline and disintegration of America; indeed it would have been difficult to miss. His caustic analysis on the current state of American Culture – The Twilight of American Culture (4) – makes particularly compelling reading for the English-speaking world. Mr. Berman argues provocatively and incisively that the direction of American civilization is locked into a path which will lead nowhere except into its own demise. The American empire has now borne witness to the passage of its most fruitful and triumphant years and its approaching the future – if it hasn’t already got there – and a period of social and political chaos from which there doesn’t appear to be an exit, or at least a controlled exit. So the controlled exit is about the best route on offer, though only 50/50 at best.

‘’For when a population becomes distracted by trivia, and when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of ‘baby-talk’, when in short, a people become an audience and their public business becomes a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture death is a near (extremely near) possibility.’’(5)

CONCLUSIONS:

The fault-lines, stresses and cleavages in the Transatlantic bloc are becoming increasingly clear both within nations and between nations. In Europe the exit of Britain from the EU and Europe, and the possible defections of Hungary, Poland and Italy. In the United States the strain on the Republic with an increasing and assertive emergence of the South and possible mid-west as well as the drift of coastal America away from flyover America. It could be said that these are simply speculative guesses, but these future possibilities are a little more than simply straws in the wind. For better or worse, big changes are on the way.

Interesting times.

NOTES

(1) Christopher Lasch – The Revolt of the Elites – published posthumously in 1994. The title of the book was taken from the name of a book “the Revolt of the Masses” by the elite theorist Jose Ortega Y Gasset in 1930.

(2) The Power Elite, 1959 and The Sociological Imagination 1956.

(3) C Wright Mills – The Sociological Imagination – Ibid – pps. 51, 195

* The naval Battle of Copenhagen (1801) occurred during the War of the Second Coalition when a British naval fleet commanded by Admiral Sir Hyde Parker defeated a Danish fleet anchored just off Copenhagen. Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson led the main attack. During the battle, he famously is reputed to have disobeyed his senior officer, Sir Hyde Parker’s, order to withdraw by holding the telescope to his blind eye to look at the signals from Parker. The signals had given Nelson permission to withdraw at his discretion. Nelson then turned to his flag captain, Thomas Foley, and said ‘You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes.’ He raised the telescope to his blind eye saying, ‘I really do not see the signal.’ Copenhagen is often considered to be Nelson’s hardest-fought victory.

(4) Morris Berman – The Twilight of American Culture – published in 2000.

(5) Berman – Ibid., -Introduction.

Poles Decided to Spit on Trump and Please Biden (Ruslan Ostashko)

Translated by Sasha and subtitled by Leo.

The authorities of the Russophobic Poland have yet again demonstrated the full value of the Eastern European lackey behaviour before the USA. Andrzej Duda who just recently spoke about the joint military program ‘Fort Trump’ has now demonstratively abandoned this name and rushed to play up to Joe Biden.

The newest history of relations between Washington and Warsaw consists of train of acts of abasement of the latter before the former. I’ll remind that in 2018 the Polish president showed up in US but wasn’t even received in the White House, which put him in an unpleasant light before the Poles themselves. Soon however Donald Trump swapped wrath for grace when he saw a chance to shake a lot of money out of the Polish lackeys (Title: “USA Conned Polish Lackeys for $40 bln?”) It was exactly what the American president was preoccupied with for a few years running until very recently. In response, Duda kept polishing the Washington lord’s boots with his tongue. This is what it looked like in case of widening of the American occupation of the independent Poland on 19 September 2018.

(Title: ‘Fort Trump’: what will American base in Poland change? – Pavel Aksyonov. Russian service of BBC): “The presence of American troops in the Eastern Europe may be expanded – the Polish President Andrzej Duda offered Donald Trump to place an American military base on Polish territory. And Poland is ready to assign nearly 2 billion dollars into this project. Duda told about the proposition to build an American base in Poland at the press conference in Washington after a meeting with the American president, having noted that in Warsaw they already came up with the name for the base – ‘Fort Trump.’”

You don’t need to be Solomon to realize that the name choice for the new American base is pure groveling. All of it was done in order to please Donald Trump personally. However already during last summer, when the leader of the USA was under attack on all fronts from his political opponents, Warsaw’s rhetoric began to change.

“The Polish President Duda clarified that ‘Fort Trump’ is not a military base but a complex of steps undertaken for expanding the American military presence in the republic. He told about it at the press conference before his meeting the American leader in Washington which was aired by Polish television. ‘From the very beginning, when I presented this idea to President Trump, he just laughed. Between us it is a name for a certain military-political action that I wanted to carry out,’ Duda said.”

Swoosh! And ‘Fort Trump’ is no military base anymore, but a joke of sorts, just in order to amuse the big white lord.

Andrzej Duda: “Please note that there many places in Poland where there are American soldiers, where there is infrastructure, where American soldiers carry their duty. So ‘Fort Trump’ – and I can say this safely – is not a name for a military base in a physical sense. It is just a general name for actions which increase the American military presence in Poland and which are being conducted during the tenure of President Donald Trump,’ Duda explained.”

Now, when Trump’s presidency is hanging by a thread, the Polish lackeys have changed the music completely. “The name ‘Fort Trump’ proposed by the Polish President Andrzej Duda for an American military base in his country was a generalizing remark, intended to depict the cooperation of Washington and Warsaw in the defense field. This is reported by Washington Post citing the Polish embassy in USA.”

Polish Embassy in the USA: “This name did not feature in any official documents signed by Poland and USA. The treaties and declarations signed by our countries did not specify a particular place where the American troops will be stationed, but rather assumed placement of different military units in a few areas of Poland,’ the embassy stated.”

A new master might appear in the White House very soon and Warsaw, judging by her behaviour, sees this appearance as certain. This means now lackeys can spit in the back of the former master while slyly winking to each other. The lackeys forgot however that in the modern world all the moves are recorded and that the spitters do not look very nice now.

“As Washington Times reminds, the leaders of the two countries spoke openly about a very real ‘Fort Trump’. According to some former Pentagon officials, Poland jumped at this term, having seen an opportunity to toady to the brand sensitive US president, whose name is attached to many buildings around the world. ‘I smiled when I spoke with Mr. President,’ said the Polish President Duda commenting on one of his meetings with Trump. I said that we would like to create a permanent American military base in Poland which we will name ‘Fort Trump’. And I am sure it is possible.’ Various defense officials also mentioned this idea implying that the American troops would be stationed in one place on a permanent basis, which has been Warsaw’s long time dream, and which Kremlin would not like very much.”

Is this not a disgrace? Well, naturally they know in Washington what the Eastern European lackeys of the USA are like. But the lackeys themselves like to pompously accentuate their geopolitical dignity, while hushing up the fact that they are ready to instantaneously betray the one whose boots they licked only yesterday. Russia is also informed about the peculiarities of the post-Soviet independents’ way of thinking and life. Strange is only the fact that our Foreign Ministry rarely reminds them of these peculiarities. In the meantime every address to Poland, disregarding its cause, should begin with these words: “Russia is informed about Warsaw’s wish to bow to Washington and, having this in mind, states…” Would you approve such innovation, dear subscribers?

CHAOS AND ARMED CONFLICTS: U.S. STRATEGY TO DISMANTLE RUSSIA IS ALREADY WORKING

South Front

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

In 2020, there have been several notable developments, that all seem to have been happening along Russia’s borders and in key regions developments in which influencing the Russian position on the international scene.

These include:

  • Ukraine’s refusal to seek peace in its East with the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and various questionable policies.
  • Western-backed protests against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, with a ‘school teacher-turned-politician’ challenging him with an insignificant share of the vote in the presidential election. She received wide support from the West, especially from heavily US-aligned states such as Poland and the Baltics.
  • The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and other groups in Syria are being supported openly, and not so openly, by the United States and sabotage the further diplomatic settlement of the conflict in Syria.
  • The situation in Central Asia is rather exacerbated, with an evident increase in ISIS activity in Afghanistan, alongside various terrorist elements appearing near its borders with Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) countries. The Russian Security Service – FSB – is hard at work in countering various ISIS and other terror cells on the territory of the Russian Federation, and reports such as these are frequent, meaning that there appears to be a network that is successful in either moving terrorist elements into the country, or recruiting them there.
  • There also was the Armenian-Azerbaijan War in Nagorno-Karabakh, which Russia didn’t directly involve itself in, since the fight was for the self-proclaimed independent republic of Artsakh, and Armenia never officially asked for assistance. Regardless, with the Peace Deal it brokered on November 10th, there have been numerous voices in Armenia blaming Russia for the defeat. And that is even though it essentially saved it from an even bigger fiasco and loss of territory. At the same time, despite being the victor, Azerbaijan simply received what it was promised with the Minsk agreements, with the addition of Shusha. There are protests against Russia in Azerbaijan, a country in which any non-government sanctioned protest is snuffed, violently. There are calls that Russia stole the “glorious victory”, while in Armenia there are calls to renew hostilities, while the Russian peacekeepers are there and somehow force their hand in the fight.
  • Turkey deployed thousands of Syrian militants to South Caucasus, and there are claims that it is even reportedly attempting to relocate families from Syria’s Afrin and other areas to the parts of Karabakh that were given to Azerbaijan. This is likely to also provide a fresh extremist presence in the region.
  • Turkey, once again, appeared to be shifting its gaze towards Crimea, but also cooperate with Ukraine in terms of selling UAVs to it and other military equipment.

All of these developments, somehow, almost entirely coincide with a report which the RAND Corporation released back in 2019.

The report is called “Extending Russia” with the subtitle “Competing from Advantageous Ground.” A short description of the report reads the following:

“The steps we posit would not have either defense or deterrence as their prime purpose, although they might contribute to both. Rather, these steps are conceived of as measures that would lead Russia to compete in domains or regions where the United States has a competitive advantage, causing Russia to overextend itself militarily or economically or causing the regime to lose domestic and/or international prestige and influence. This report deliberately covers a wide range of military, economic, and political policy options. Its recommendations are directly relevant to everything from military modernization and force posture to economic sanctions and diplomacy; consequently, it speaks to all the military services, other parts of U.S. government that have a hand in foreign policy, and the broader foreign and defense policy audience.”

Notably, the report suggests that the following “Geopolitical measures” need to be employed in order to counter Russia’s spreading influence and capabilities to provide an adequate answer to an extraordinary situation.

This chapter describes six possible U.S. moves in the current geopolitical competition:

  • providing lethal arms to Ukraine,
  • resuming support to the Syrian rebels,
  • promoting regime change in Belarus,
  • exploiting Armenian and Azeri tensions,
  • intensifying attention to Central Asia,
  • isolating Transnistria (a Russian-occupied enclave within Moldova).

There are several other possible geopolitical moves discussed in other RAND research but not directly evaluated here—including intensifying NATO’s relationship with Sweden and Finland, pressuring Russia’s position in the Arctic, and checking Russia’s attempts to secure its influence in Asia.

Ukraine

Between 2014 and 2016, the US provided $600 million in security assistance to Ukraine. These funds have been used to train Ukrainian military forces and provided nonlethal military equipment, including counterartillery and countermortar radars, secure communications, logistics systems, tactical unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, and medical equipment.

According to RAND, the US could increase its military assistance to Ukraine, or increase its calls to allow Kiev into NATO.

“Expanding U.S. assistance to Ukraine, including lethal military assistance, would likely increase the costs to Russia, in both blood and treasure, of holding the Donbass region. More Russian aid to the

separatists and an additional Russian troop presence would likely be required, leading to larger expenditures, equipment losses, and Russian casualties. The latter could become quite controversial at home, as it did when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.”

Eastern Ukraine is already a significant drain on Russian resources, exacerbated by the accompanying Western sanctions. Increasing U.S. military aid would certainly drive up the Russian costs, but doing so could also increase the loss of Ukrainian lives and territory or result in a disadvantageous peace settlement. This would generally be seen as a serious setback for U.S. policy.

What’s going on in reality? There appears to be no conclusive peace settlement in Ukraine, and anti-Russian policy continues moving forward full speed. The Kiev regime, at large controlled from Washington, is intentionally sabotaging attempts to de-escalate the situation and publicly preparing for a new military operation in eastern Ukraine. Recently, pro-Kiev sources started laying great hopes on the Turkish military aid. For sure, the US is also involved. In August 2020, incoming US President Joe Biden promised to provide Ukraine with even more lethal weapons. In late 2019, the Trump administration also approved several sales of “defensive lethal weapons” to Ukraine.

As such this part of RAND’s suggestion appears to be moving, more or less, according to plan.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Syria

“In 2015, Russia’s intervention in Syria cost an estimated $2.4 million to $4 million a day, according to the Moscow Times and IHS Janes’ estimates. 34 Given the size of Russia’s defense budget ($50 billion that year), the sum might not be significant in and of itself.”

Increased U.S. support to the so-called ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition could perpetuate and intensify a civil war that had begun to wind down, thereby imposing attritional costs on both Russia and Iran.

RAND believes that such support should also reduce the “moderate opposition’s” reliance on the better-armed, more extremist groups and ultimately might improve the willingness and ability of moderate opposition forces to combat the “more extremist elements.” Now, first of all RAND doesn’t even deny that the most of “moderate opposition” is made up of extremists, who are fighting against even more extreme elements.

At the same time, the reality of the situation is this: the US, with all its claims of complete withdrawal from Syria, simply employed the SDF separatist leadership as a tool of sabotaging the peace settlement in Syria, while Washington is looting Syria’s oil fields. US companies exploit Syrian oil resources. Some of the money is used to bankroll the SDF.

The Russian side has repeatedly also claimed that ISIS and ISIS-affiliated fighters were being trained and received improved weaponry in the US-controlled areas of Syria.

Unlike Ukraine, the United States does not have a single actor to aid in the fight in Syria but rather faces a plethora of groups—often with murky affiliations—increasing the chances of weapons falling into the wrong hands.

“Supporting the rebels could run counter to the most prominent objective of the Trump administration’s Middle East foreign policy—fighting radical Islamist terrorism.”

In the highly unlikely event of total success—if Russia were to abandon the Assad government and the opposition were to somehow ‘defeat’ Damascus—the result would be a major geopolitical setback for Moscow but also a major contraction in its foreign commitments and associated expenditures, not to mention a huge responsibility for the United States and its allies to assume.

At the same time, it appears that supporting the “moderate rebels” isn’t proving effective enough and Israel is picking up the slack with targeting various Syrian and alleged Iranian positions in the areas under Damascus’ control.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Essentially, there were some attempts, but none of them are any significant, since the fight in Syria appears to be too far gone.

Likewise, according to RAND, this course of action might have been viable a few years ago, when the armed opposition was stronger and less radicalized. Under current circumstances, the most that expanded U.S. aid could likely do would be to perpetuate a conflict that has already destabilized an entire region. Russia might be forced to pay a bit more for its Syrian commitment but only at the cost of continued regional turbulence, societal radicalization, and increased civilian casualties and displaced personnel.

Belarus

Belarus is Russia’s neighbour and important ally. It provides a buffer between Russia and major NATO countries and is the initial link in Russia’s ground lines of communication between the mainland and Kaliningrad— the Russian enclave entirely encircled by Lithuania and Poland. Already host to Russian forces, Belarus features prominently in many notional conflicts among the United States, NATO, and Russia.

In a zero-sum world, denying Russia its one and only true ally would be a clear geopolitical and ideological gain for the West. It would bring an end to “Europe’s last dictatorship,” a long-standing U.S. policy goal.

“Starting revolutions is not easy, and the United States lending public support to opposition movements does not guarantee that they will be successful. In 2007, Gallup found that 60 percent of Belarusian respondents believed democracy was important and 47 percent believed it was “somewhat” or “very” important for Belarus to have an active opposition party.”

RAND considered regime change in Belarus as one of the most significant escalations, but the attempts have all but failed, and with Russia actually not having to lift a finger.

Even despite Lukashenko attempt to get some concessions from Russia prior to the protests in the country.

“Promoting regime change in Belarus is one of the most escalatory options considered in this report. Such an effort probably would not succeed and could provoke a strong Russian response, including the possibility of military action. Such a reaction might extend Russia by requiring the nation to commit resources to preserve its grasp over Belarus, thereby provoking the United States and its European allies to respond with harsher sanctions, but the result would be a general deterioration of the security environment in Europe and a setback for U.S. policy.”

Currently, protests in Belarus are still on-going, but they’ve barely achieved any real progress in the regime change agenda. However, the Western/NATO interference in the internal situation in Belarus is an undeniable fact.

Lukashenko may be making some interesting claims regarding Russia, or attempting to play tough in order to get a discount from Moscow on natural gas, or some other commodity, but at the same time is wise enough to continue actively communicating with Russian President Vladimir Putin and remain a formal ally.

Nagorno-Karabah: Armenia and Azerbaijan

The RAND analysis begins with reminding that in 2008, the Georgian-Russian relations with damaged severely, after a few days of war and the resulting South Ossetia and Abkhazia as separate countries.

Russia also plays a key role with Azerbaijan and Armenia, particularly over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Ethnically Armenian but geographically located within Azerbaijan, Nagorno- Karabakh’s bid to join the Armenia Soviet Socialist Republic during the latter years of the Soviet Union was denied by the Soviet Politburo because of the risk of encouraging secessionist movements elsewhere.

According to RAND, the United States could extend Russia in the Caucasus in two ways. First, the United States could push for a closer NATO relationship with Georgia and Azerbaijan, likely leading Russia to strengthen its military presence in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Armenia, and southern Russia.

Alternatively, the United States could try to induce Armenia to break with Russia.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

“Increased U.S. involvement in the region could produce additional economic benefits as well. The Caspian Sea remains a key producer of both oil and natural gas. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that there are “48 billion barrels of oil and 292 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in proved and probable reserves in the Caspian basins. Almost 75 percent of oil reserves and 67 percent of natural gas reserves are located within 100 miles of the coast.”

According to the analysis, resolving Nagorno-Karabakh is likely a prerequisite to Armenia breaking with Russia, but it is unclear precisely how the United States or NATO could resolve the decades-old conflict without privileging one side and antagonizing the other. NATO has encouraged both parties to resolve the conflict through the Minsk Group—led by the Russians.

Currently, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the six-week war that started on September 27th, 2020 was due to several factors.

Notably, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, as an avid supporter of the West worked to the benefit of what RAND describes and distanced Armenia from Russia with questionable policy.

In turn, Turkey, in support of Azerbaijan saw a chance, prepared and began to largely pull the strings on Baku’s offensive on the region.

Still, Russia managed to somehow salvage the situation for Yerevan, by brokering a peace deal which saw Azerbaijan get what it was supposed to be given under the Minsk Agreements, with the addition of Shusha.

Pashinyan, however, continued blaming Russia, the Armenian population, foreign countries and such for the failure and the gross mismanagement of Armenia’s forces in the war.

Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev presents the war as “gloriously won” but there are some elements which are protesting and claiming that Moscow actually robbed Baku of its “glorious victory.”

There are anti-Russian protests, in a country in which all non-government approved protests are violently stopped.

The US made some claims for peace and so on, as did many Western countries, with France even attempting to somehow mediate the conflict, but only barely.

Paris attempted to prove itself as a valuable ally to Armenia, but in the end, it simply said “we are with you, our Armenian brothers” and all they provided were empty words.

In Armenia, in order for Pashinyan and the pro-Western leadership to remain, political arrests of the opposition began. As such, support for Russia still remains rather low, and it is playing to the measure that RAND outlined in April 2019. In the current conditions, pro-Western forces in the region would continue their efforts to destabilize the region creating chaos near the Russian border and setting conditions for the NATO expansion there.

Central Asia

Russia is part of two economic ventures related to Central Asia: the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative. Russia has benefited from both, although in the case of the former, partners might have been harmed economically. There might be steps the United States and allies could take to reduce Russia’s benefits from both of these.

Engaging more with Central Asia could have modest benefits. Expanding Central Asian connectivity to the rest of the world could reduce that area’s trade with Russia. It must be noted, however, that economic growth within these countries would likely have the opposite effect and increase their trade with Russia because economic size and trade are correlated.

Now, little of this has succeeded in the year. Notably, and not in the vein which RAND describes is that militant activity in Afghanistan, as well as along its borders with the CSTO countries has increased, which Russia sees as a threat.

There are frequent reports of the FSB arresting various terrorist elements that either came from Central Asian republics or were recruited from groups from there. There is little evidence that the US has anything to do with that, but there are some reports that unknown black hawks have been extracting militants from all around, and they’ve resurfaced in northern Afghanistan, after a while.

The US efforts to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and is attempting to counter various projects in the Eurasian Economic Union, which Russia is part of such as the Nord Stream 2, but they are unrelated to Central Asia. In conclusion, regarding this, RAND appears to be a bit far from what’s been carried out, or if such measures are being implemented – they’re not being effective.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Moldova

Transnistria is a Russian-speaking enclave within Moldova that currently hosts a Russian peacekeeping force and army base.

Officially, Russian policy toward Transnistria is ambiguous. Russia’s Foreign Policy Concept includes only a single, rather inarticulate statement:

Russia strongly advocates a political and diplomatic settlement of conflicts in the post-Soviet space, specifically, Russia works within the existing multilateral negotiating mechanism to find an inclusive solution to the Transnistrian issue, respecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and neutral status of the Republic of Moldova in determining the special status of Transnistria.

The United States could encourage Transnistria’s youth (who, according to some journalistic accounts, might be more pro-West than their elders) to push their pseudo-state to leave the Russian orbit.

Moldovan cooperation in an effort to expel the Russians would not be easy to secure. In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Moldova’s pro-Russian President Igor Dodon stated, “A NATO office in Chisinau [Moldova’s capital], in a neutral country, is a provocation. I do not want this. I want neither NATO nor this Russia-led [military] alliance as far as armed forces are concerned.”

There’s been very limited movement throughout 2020, but it is likely that activities have been more focused on Belarus, Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh, and Moldova has been left for sometime in the near (or far future). The pro-Western presidential candidate, Maia Sandu, won the 2020 election in Moldova, and she’s already promoting the ideal of the need of the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping force from Transnistria. This move sets conditions for the increase of instability.

RAND’s General Recommendations

Extending Russia through geopolitical competition is a fundamentally difficult and dangerous proposition. One might bait Russia into extending its foreign commitments, but only at the risk of serious setbacks to local U.S. partners. Even if such efforts succeeded in generating Russian withdrawals, the result would be the opposite of an extension.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Any geopolitical moves to extend Russia would also need to consider other options that (for reasons of length and resources) were not considered here in depth—namely, intensifying NATO’s cooperation with Sweden and Finland, pressuring Russia’s claims in the Arctic, and checking its influence in the Arctic.

Many of these are not exactly spot on, and whether they’re entirely connected to what’s going on comes down to conspiracy theories. However, it is fact that within a year and a half of the publishing, many of these recommendations have been implemented.

There has been a regime change attempt in Belarus, which is still on-going. Armenia and Azerbaijan went to warn for Nagorno-Karabakh, and Russia had to mediate, deploy peacekeepers and further resources, as well as is being accused of both sides for either losing the war for Armenia, or stealing away a bigger victory for Azerbaijan.

Militants are being delivered to South Caucasus, and even families are being relocated there from Syria.

The US and the “moderate rebels” in Syria are still operating, albeit not as actively as before, but Israel is there to provide assistance by bombing Syrian and alleged Iranian targets.

Attempts to spread chaos in Central Asia are apparent, and the FSB continues arresting various extremist elements, but there are likely more who are roaming around and entering the country through various channels.

It is unknown what will happen in Moldova, as of yet, but the trend is alredy seen.

Another thing that could be added is cooperating with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, assisting in the forming of the autonomous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, making pushes to repeat that questionable “success” in other countries such as Montenegro, and more.

Regardless, pressure on Moscow is being exerted from quite a few directions, at the same time, and it is unlikely that under US President Joe Biden this will end. After all, his chosen aides all plan to improve relations with allies, while countering Russia’s spreading influence. Namely in Ukraine, since Biden appears to have a soft spot for the country from which he and his son allegedly funneled billions. Ukraine, and Eastern Ukraine, could also be the best direction from which to target Russia.

Things are still developing on many fronts, and the pieces are yet to fall squarely on the board.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Reforming the EU – Like waiting for Godot!

Reforming the EU – Like waiting for Godot!

October 22, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

There is a human tendency to cling on to cherished beliefs even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There was a time, during the heady days of Jacques Delors and the Social Chapter, when the EU appeared to represent a social-democratic and neutral geopolitical bloc; a third force between the USSR as it then was and the US/NATO – this, however, is no longer the case. The EU has long since transmuted into part of an aggressive neo-liberal and neo-conservative imperial alliance under US command. The liberal, centre-left Remainers such as Yanis Varoufakis seem to think that it is possible to reverse this development and get the EU back to its original prototype, presumably by dint of political will. In view of historical developments this view seems increasingly difficult to sustain.

EU/NATO PUSHES EAST.

In particular since the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty of 2005 the EU Defence and Security Policy has been aligned with NATO. Indeed, EU membership has become a stalking horse for NATO membership and vice versa. NATO’s geopolitical drive to Russia’s western borders has been concurrent with the EU’s economic expansion – a strategic partnership between a military push and an economic push.

Not surprisingly perhaps the Russians see the siting of US anti-ballistic missile systems on their western borders in Romania and Poland, together with ongoing NATO military exercises involving tens of thousands of alliance troops as something of a provocation. Little wonder we now have a second cold war.

The position of the EU is, in geopolitical terms, completely subordinated to US interests. If there is a Russian-NATO conflict it will be fought on Europe’s turf not on America’s; Europe is ultimately expendable. This much can be inferred from facts on the ground, though this must be kept assiduously secret from the electorates of western Europe. Eastern Europe, however, seems only too willing to serve as the cannon-fodder for the US imperial designs; witness the incessant baying for war on the part of Russophobic states such as Poland and the Baltics, as well as NATO-EU wannabees like Ukraine and Georgia. It was precisely this expansion to the East (or new Europe as it was called by Donald Rumsfeld) which served as the essential prerequisite for the NATO takeover of the whole of Europe. The change has been noted:

EUROPE FROM LISBON TO VLADIVOSTOCK – AN IMPOSSIBLE DREAM.

‘’The destructive Russophobia of the new Europe undermined the credibility and cohesion of Europe as a whole. It had been anticipated that the new members’’ – Poland, the Baltics. etc. – would be ‘socialised’ into the ways of the EU, but, instead, the EU was in danger of reverse socialization incorporating the axiological (ethical – FL) dynamics and virulent neo-liberalism of some of the newer members, accompanied by their prioritisation of Atlantic Security over EU social solidarity.’’ (1)

In its original quasi-Gaullist form the EU might have played a constructive part in the Ukrainian crisis as a third party and disinterested broker between Russian and American interests, but by 2014 the EU had been transformed into something very different from its original configuration: it had become joined at the hip to the US imperial juggernaut. Moreover, the EU’s status in this relationship was subaltern rather than equal. It should be understood that the United States does not do ‘partnerships’ only master and flunkey slave relationships. It is further commented that:

‘’Instead of a vision embracing the whole continent it (the EU) it has become little more than the civilian wing of the Atlantic security alliance … The drift toward a merger with the Atlantic Security system left it bereft of autonomy and policy instruments when it really mattered – maintaining peace on the European continent.’’ (2)

COSTS IN EUROPE OF US FOREIGN POLICY

The terrorism and refugee crisis in Europe – the blowback – was unquestionably traceable to the US bull-in-a-china-shop foreign policy in the middle east, this much is obvious to even an impartial observer; but answering the call of duty the western media has strained every nerve and muscle in an attempt to deny what was a blatant fact. Terrorism and refugee flows were ripped out of the wider context in an attempt to obfuscate any causal connexions with these phenomena and US/EU/NATO foreign policy. The media propaganda tsunami notwithstanding the electorates of Europe were able to put 2 and 2 together, and this resulting in an ongoing political crisis in Europe which shows no signs of stabilization and, if anything, seems to be intensifying including the Brexit vote which committed the UK to leaving the EU, and, the electoral advances for the AfD in Germany as well as anti-EU sentiments which in Hungary and Poland has gained significant support from the population of those states. Propaganda and economic stagnation seems to have its limits; like Abe Lincoln said: ‘You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.’

So much for the geopolitics.

WASHINGTON CONSENSUS CROSSES THE POND

Perhaps as significant is the shift in economic policies and development which has taken place within the EU. Without doubt there has taken a sharp right turn since the 1980s.This policy consists of full-on neo-liberal economic and social imperatives involving the imbibing of a ruthless, winner-takes-all orthodoxy and its equally brutal imposition; Greece is perhaps the most egregious victim of this frugal economic diet, followed by Latvia, Estonia, Ireland, Portugal, Greece and even Italy, all of which are being forced into penury and debt-peonage courtesy of the Troika’s relentless austerity programme.

THE EURO – A NON-OPTIMAL CURRENCY WITHOUT A STATE.

Piling on the agony the creation of the Euro single currency (the key problem) since 1992 has put the Euro member states into an economic strait-jacket. The currency value cannot be changed or devalued to boost national exports during economic downturns such as that experienced since 2008. The result has been that the largest industrial power in the Eurozone, Germany, has benefited from the stable euro while weaker economies on the periphery of the EU, including most notably, France, have endured catastrophic consequences to the rigid Euro rate. The cost and productivity structures of Germany and the northern bloc in the EU, means that its goods will be cheaper than the higher costs and lower productivity levels in the southern belt. It follows therefore that the northern bloc runs permanent trade surpluses whilst the south has permanent trade deficits.

In a new report, the Dutch think-tank, Gefira Foundation, notes that French industry has been contracting since the adoption of the euro. “It was not able to recover after either of the 2001 or 2008 and present crisis because the euro, a currency stronger than the French franc would be, has become a burden to France’s economy. The floating exchange rate works like an indicator of the strength of the economy and like an automatic stabilizer. A weaker currency helps to regain competitiveness during a crisis, while a stronger currency supports consumption of foreign goods.

The only reason that the Germans were prepared to abandon their beloved deutschmark was that it would be replaced by a hard euro whose exchange rate was fixed and overvalued. The euro is an orphan, a currency without a state, and thus a foreign currency to all the European states in Europe.

EASTERN EUROPE:

TWO COLLAPSES. 1. COMMUNISM, 2. NEOLIBERAL CAPITALISM

The EU’s eastern periphery also has problems, but of a different kind. However only the Baltics, Slovenia and Slovakia actually use the euro. It is planned to include them into the euro in the fullness of time. Apart, that is, from basket cases like the Baltics whose government, unlike the people, went where angels feared to tread – into the Eurozone and the euro.

Excluding Russia, of course, these Eastern European states – termed ‘transitional economies’ – have become stalled in economic stagnation which so far has been difficult if not impossible to overcome. These obstacles have been specific to the Eastern periphery. The European Union now consists of 28 states. No fewer than 10 of these are former states of the Eastern Bloc, and this proportion is set to grow with the impending accession with some minor Balkan nations. Although Georgia and Ukraine are in line for membership of the EU, they are also expected to join NATO as has become customary for aspirant EU states.

Whether they obtain either is a matter of conjecture, however, as this would be almost certain to cross Russia’s red lines and result in a major geopolitical flareup. Europe’s centre of gravity is shifting. And while the process of joining the European Union is driving change within these countries, it is also changing the nature of Europe itself. Those Eastern European states which emerged from the break-up of the Soviet Union had been led to believe that a bright new world of West European living standards, enhanced pay levels, high rates of social mobility and consumption were on offer.

Unfortunately, they were sold an illusion: the result of the transition so far seems to have been the creation of a low-wage hinterland, a border economy on the fringes of the highly developed European core; a Euro version of NAFTA and the maquiladora, i.e., low tech, low wage, low skills production units on the Mexican side of the US’s southern borders. Moreover there are acute demographic problems confronting the ‘new Europe’.

Eastern Europe is bleeding people. With low fertility rates, higher death rates, and emigration. Case study:

‘’IN THE Lithuanian town of Panevezys, a shiny new factory built by Devold, a Norwegian clothing manufacturer, sits alone in the local free economic zone. The factory is unable to fill 40 of its jobs, an eighth of the total. That is not because workers in Panevezys are too picky, but because there are fewer and fewer of them. There are about half as many students in the municipality’s schools as there were a decade ago, says the mayor.

Such worries are increasingly common across central and eastern Europe, where birth rates are low and emigration rates high. The ex-communist countries that joined the European Union from 2004 dreamed of quickly transforming themselves into Germany or Britain. Instead, many of their workers transported themselves to Germany or Britain. Latvia’s working-age population has fallen by a quarter since 2000; a third of those who graduated from university between 2002 and 2009 had emigrated by 2014. Polls of Bulgarian medical students show that 80-90% plan to emigrate after graduating.

Lithuania’s loss of workers is costly, says Stasys Jakeliunas, an economist. Remittances and EU money for infrastructure upgrades have helped, but labour shortages discourage foreign investment and hurt economic growth. According to the IMF, in some countries in eastern Europe emigration shaved 0.6-0.9 percentage points from annual GDP growth in 1999-2014. By 2030 GDP per person in Bulgaria, Romania and some of the Baltic countries may be 3-4% lower than it would have been without emigration.

All of this imperils public finances. Pensions, which take up about half of social spending in eastern Europe, are the biggest worry. In 2013 Latvia had 3.3 working-age adults for each person older than 65, about the same as Britain and France; by 2030 that is projected to fall to just over two, a level Britain and France will not reach until 2060. Countries are raising the retirement age (apart from Poland, which is recklessly lowering it). Benefits are already meagre, leaving little room for cuts. As a share of GDP, social spending in Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltic states is roughly half of that in many richer European countries.

Unable to dissuade people from leaving, governments are trying instead to lure them back, inspired by successful efforts in Ireland and South Korea. Daumantas Simenas, project manager of the Panevezys free economic zone, credits his return from Britain to the country’s “Create for Lithuania” programme, which matches educated professionals from the diaspora with government jobs. Having a job already lined up made the decision to return easier, he says. Plus, he adds, “home is home.”

Whether such efforts can turn the tide seems doubtful. “Create for Lithuania” has brought back more than 100 people since its launch five years ago, says Milda Darguzaite, who started the programme after leaving an investment-banking career in America for a government post in Vilnius. Returnees include an MP, a deputy mayor and several advisers to the prime minister. Bringing back doctors and engineers, however, is trickier. Studies show that skilled workers from eastern Europe are attracted abroad primarily by the quality of institutions such as good schools; better social benefits matter more for unskilled migrants. Data on return migration are scanty, but a recent report by the IMF suggests it has been “modest”, in some countries as low as 5% of those who left.’’ (3)

In more general terms figures for Eastern and central Europe as a whole are as follows. With the exception of the Czech Republic and Slovakia and Russia, every eastern European country has a declining population. Population declines as follows from 2006 to 2018:

Latvia and Lithuania = 12%

Ukraine = 9%

Hungary = 8.5%

Romania = 7%

Bulgaria = 6%

Estonia = 1.5%

Poland = 0.3%

The comprador vassal elites on the wrong side of the Oder-Neisse Line have been caught in the trap of dependency and semi-development, and in some cases under-development, and this was partly of their own making due to their rush to throw themselves into the arms of the US-NATO-EU alliance and an expected pay-off/bribe. The only states to avoid this have been Czechia, Slovakia and Russia. In the Balkans the same devastating NATO coalition engineered the destruction and break-up of what was once the sovereign state of Yugoslavia.

Thus In both economic and foreign policy the European political and financial elites have acted as overseas branch managers of a multinational enterprise whose HQ is on the other side of the pond (the US) where policy is determined and exported. Quislingism might be an appropriate word in this context.

DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT – THE FINAL ACT.

Finally, we come to the democratic deficit. This is important since the only way that change is possible is through the EU institutions. In order of importance these institutions comprise 1. The Council of Ministers, 2. The European Central Bank, 3. The European Commission. The last of these institutions consists of a President, at present, Ursula Von der Leyen, and formerly, Jean-Claude Juncker, seven, Vice-Presidents, whose identities are not known to me, and twenty Commissioners, equally obscure. Juncker succinctly enunciated the process of EU’s decision making as follows: ‘’If it’s Yes, we will say on we go, and if it is a No, we will say we will continue.’’ So much for open and flexible debate on policy.

The Council of Ministers and the ECB also pull various levers, often in tandem with extra-European global institutions such as NATO, WTO and IMF. Of course there is absolutely no sign that the current policies of the EU are not continuing along their present reactionary trajectory; and since the electorates of the EU have no control of the Council of Ministers and ECB there seems no way to break into this closed system of rule by a technocratic oligarchy. Once again political unrest in Europe suggests a causal connexion between the nature of the EU’s political and economic structures and the policies and outcomes emanating thereof.

This is not the EU we (the UK) signed up to in 1976, and there comes a time in politics where it is judicious to give up flogging a dead horse. A ‘progressive’ Labour government – if such a political animal is possible – would not be allowed by EU law to implement its economic reforms, cancel Trident, leave or even modify its NATO membership. Democracy is impossible without some measure of sovereignty, and nations must get control of their own foreign and economic policies since if they don’t the globalisers and Bilderbergers will and have done. There is nothing wrong with a volte face in politics.

It was J.M. Keynes who once said: ‘’When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do sir?’

NOTES

(1) Richard Sakwa – Frontline Ukraine.

(2) Sakwa, Ibid. pp.227/228)

(3) The Economist – 19/01/2017. It should be added that the Economist is very much the house journal of the British elite. Yet even they have their doubts about the Euro project.

A New Wall For A New Cold War?

Source

12 OCTOBER 2020

A New Wall For A New Cold War?

The head of the prestigious Munich Security Conference warned late last month against efforts to “build a new ‘wall’ between Russia and the West” in light of the Navalny incident and the many other disagreements between both sides, and while it’s unrealistic to expect another Berlin Wall-like physical division of Europe, there’s no denying that their different governing models have created a sharp split across the continent.

Welcome To The New Cold War

Last month will probably go down in history as the moment when the New Cold War became impossible to deny. The US has been attempting to rekindle its fading unipolarity since the onset of its coordinated Hybrid War “containment” campaigns against Russia and China in 2014, which only intensified in the aftermath of Trump’s election. The leaders of all three countries addressed the UN General Assembly (UNGA) by video in a series of speeches that laid bare these two sides’ contradictory assessments of contemporary global affairs and related visions of the future. Their keynote speeches were preceded by UN Secretary General Guterres warning the world that “We must do everything to avoid a New Cold War.” Trump obviously didn’t listen to him, which is why the head of the prestigious Munich Security Conference (MSC) followed up that global representative’s warning with his own at the end of that historic week cautioning that “It will result in nothing if we now try to build a new ‘wall’ between Russia and the West because of Navalny and other sad and terrible events.” It’s his dramatic words that form the basis of the present article.

The US’ Hybrid War On Russia

There are many angles through which the ongoing global competition can be analyzed, but the prospect of a new wall of some sort or another accompanying the New Cold War in Europe is among the most intriguing. The MSC head presumably isn’t implying the creation of a 21st-century Berlin Wall, but seems to be speaking more generally about his fear that the growing divisions between Russia and the West will soon become irreversible and potentially even formalized as the new status quo. The author wrote last month that “The US’ Hybrid War On Russian Energy Targets Germany, Belarus, And Bulgaria”, pointing out how even the partial success of this latest “containment” campaign will greatly advance the scenario of an externally provoked “decoupling” between Russia and the West. That would in turn help secure American grand strategic interests in the continent. This “decoupling” would reverse the progress that was made in bilateral relations since the end of the Old Cold War up until the Ukrainian Crisis. Taken to its maximum extent, the spiritual return of the Berlin Wall seems almost inevitable at this point.

Governing Differences

It’s true that the border between the NATO countries and Russia’s CSTO (which importantly includes Hybrid War-targeted Belarus) represents the modern-day military equivalent of the “Iron Curtain”, but the situation isn’t as simple as that. While military divisions remain (albeit pushed much further eastward over the past three decades), ideological and economic ones are less apparent. Russia no long ascribes to communism but follows its own national variant of democracy within a mostly capitalist system, thus reducing the structural differences between itself and its Western counterparts. Unaware observers might wonder why there’s even a New Cold War to begin with when considering how much both sides have in common with one another, but that overlooks their contradictory worldviews which lie at the heart of their mutual suspicions. Russia strongly believes in safeguarding its geopolitical and domestic socio-political sovereignty so it accordingly follows a more conservative path whereas Western countries mostly submit to the US’ authority and generally regard their liberal position on many social issues as universalist.

The End Of The “Great Convergence”

The reason why the thaw in Russian-Western relations failed to achieve the “Great Convergence” that Gorbachev originally hoped for was because the US wanted to impose its will onto Russia by treating it as just another vassal state that would be forced to follow its lead abroad and accept extreme liberal social mandates at home instead of respecting it as an equal partner. Nevertheless, this policy was actually surprisingly successful all throughout the 1990s under Yeltsin, but its fatal flaw was that it went much too far too quickly by attempting to dissolve the Russian Federation through American support for Chechen separatist-terrorist groups. That inadvertently provoked a very patriotic reaction from the responsible members of Russia’s military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) who worked together to ensure their motherland’s survival in the face of this existential crisis. The end result was that Putin succeeded Yeltsin and subsequently set about to systematically save Russia. This took the form of stabilizing the security situation at home in parallel with reasserting Russia on the world stage.

The “Russian Model”

Putin, though, was always a liberal in the traditional (not post-modern) sense. He never lost his appreciation for Western civilization and sincerely wanted to complete Gorbachev’s hoped-for “Great Convergence”, though only on equal terms and not as a US vassal. Regrettably, the Russian leader’s many olive branches were slapped away by an angry America which feared the influence that a powerful “moderately liberal” state could have on its hyper-liberal subjects. All of Putin’s efforts to take the “Great Convergence” to its next logical step of a “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” failed for this reason, after which an intense information warfare campaign was waged to portray Russia was a “radical right-wing state” even though it was never anything of the sort. This modus operandi was intended to prevent Europe’s indoctrinated masses from ever countenancing whether a “moderate” alternative exists whereby they’d preserve their domestic and international sovereignty despite remaining committed to traditional liberal values, just like the “Russian model” that Putin pioneered. Understandably, this would pose a serious threat to American strategic interests, hence the campaign against it.

The Rise Of America’s Russian Rival

As time went on, the “Russian model” was partially replicated in some of the countries of Central Europe such as Poland and even within the US itself through Trump’s election, though this wasn’t due to any so-called “Russian meddling” but was a natural result of the ideological interplay between radical and “moderate” liberals. It just so happened that Russia was the first country to implement this model not because of anything uniquely “Russian” within its society, but simply as the most pragmatic survival plan considering the extremely difficult circumstances of the 1990s and attendant limits on the country’s strategic maneuverability during that time. It was considered by the patriotic members of Russia’s “deep state” to be much too risky to reverse the direction of post-Soviet reforms, hence why the decision seems to have been made to continue with them, though doing all in the country’s power to regain control over these processes from Russia’s Western overlords in order to protect national geopolitical and domestic socio-political interests. This struggle led to Russia becoming an alternative pole of influence (in the governance sense) within the “Greater West”, rivaling the US.

Hillary & Trump: Same Anti-Russian Strategy, Different Infowar Tactics

With this insight in mind, the New Cold War was inevitable in hindsight. Had Hillary been elected, then the infowar narrative would have focused more on Russia’s different “values”, seeking to present its target as a “threat to the (hyper-liberal) Western way of life”. Since Trump’s America interestingly enough shares many of the same values as contemporary Russia does, however, the focus is on geopolitical differences instead. From the prism of International Relations theory, Hillary’s angle of attack against Russia would have been more liberal whereas Trump’s is more realist. Either way, both American leaders (theoretical in the first sense and actual in the second) have every reason to fear Russia since it challenges the US’ unipolar dominance in Europe. Hillary would have wanted to portray Russia as being outside of the “Western family of nations”, though Trump can’t convincingly do that given his much more high-profile provocations against obviously non-Western China, hence why he’s basically competing with Russia for leadership of the “moderate” liberal model of Western civilization, ergo accepting their structural similarities but instead over-hyping their geopolitical differences.

Post-Soviet Russia’s Irreversible Impact On Western Civilization

Taking all of the aforementioned into account, it’s understandable why the US wants to build a “new wall” in Europe by “decoupling” its NATO-captive subjects from Russia through a series of Hybrid Wars, though the genie is out of the bottle since some Central European countries like Poland the even the US itself under Trump already implement elements of the “Russian model”. This means that while the physical separation of Russia and Europe along military, geopolitical, and soon perhaps even economic-energy lines is practically a fait accompli at this point, the ideological-structural influence emanating from Moscow is impossible to “contain”. No “wall” will reverse the impact that the “Russian model” has had on the course of Western civilization, though it should be remembered that the aforesaid model wasn’t part of some “cunning 5D chess plan” but an impromptu survival tactic that was triggered in response to American unipolar-universalist soft power aggression on post-Soviet Russia. It’s not distinctly “Russian”, which is why the hyper-liberal Western elite fear it so much since they know very well that it could take root in their countries too, just like in Poland and the US.

Concluding Thoughts

The typical Western mind is conditioned to think in terms of models, especially historical ones, which is why they imagine that the New Cold War will closely resemble the Old Cold War simply because of the effect that neuro-linguistic programming has on their thought process. This explains why the MSC head warned against the creation of a “new wall” between Russia and the West even though no such scenario is realistic. No physical barrier like the Berlin Wall will ever be erected again, and even though the geopolitical, military, and perhaps even soon economic-energy fault lines between them might become formalized through the impending success of the US’ “decoupling” strategy, this will not address the root cause of the New Cold War which lies with Russia’s “moderately liberal” model of state sovereignty in contrast to the US’ (former?) hyper-liberal universalist one of state vasselhood. It’s this difference that’s primarily responsible for every other dimension of their competition since it placed Russia on the trajectory of supporting a Multipolar World Order instead of the US’ hoped-for Unipolar World Order.By Andrew KorybkoAmerican political analyst

The World Has Gone Absolutely Insane!

THE SAKER • SEPTEMBER 25, 2020

We all know that we are living in crazy, and dangerous, times, yet I can’t help being awed at what the imperial propaganda machine (aka the legacy ziomedia) is trying to make us all swallow. The list of truly batshit crazy stuff we are being told to believe is now very long, and today I just want to pick on a few of my “favorites” (so to speak).

First, of course, comes the “Novichok Reloaded” scandal around the alleged poisoning of the so-called “dissident” Alexei Navalnyi. I already mentioned this absolutely ridiculous story once, so I won’t repeat it all here. I just want to mention a few very basic facts:

  • Navalnyi is pretty much a discredited non-entity in Russia. “Putin” (because this is how the imperial propaganda machine always personalizes the evils of Russia: “Putin” did this or that, as if Putin was personally in every alleged Russian evil deed) had absolutely and exactly zero reasons to harm Navalnyi in any way. I would even add that IF Navalnyi was poisoned in Russia (which I do not believe) then the FSB screwed up by not offering him 24/7 protection, especially in the current political climate (i.e. struggle for the completion of North Stream 2).
  • The Empire always likes to produce a “sacrificial lamb” to symbolize the putative evil of the nation which dares to resist. In Iran it was Neda, in Kuwait the infamous “incubator babies”, in Syria anonymous kids killed by Russian gas, and in Russia it was Nemtsov (did not really work) and now Navalnyi (I wonder who the sacrificial lamb will be in Belarus (Tikhanovskaia?). The FSB should have seen this coming, especially after Nemtsov.
  • There is exactly zero evidence that the mineral water bottle which the Germans claim contained traces of, what else, “Novichok”, ever was anywhere near Navalnyi or even that it ever was in Russia. No such bottle was found by, or mentioned to the Russian investigators. This bottle was, allegedly, hidden from the FSB by Navalnyi supporters, and secretly brought to Germany. What that means in terms of “chain of custody” is self-evident.
  • As I have mentioned in my past article, if what the German authorities are claiming is true, then the Russians are truly the dumbest imbeciles on the planet. Not content to use this now famous “Novichok” gas against Skripal in the UK and after failing to kill Skripal, these stupid Russians decided to try the very same gas, only “improved”, and they failed again: Navalnyi is quite alive and well, thank you!
  • Then there is this: according to the imperial propaganda machine, Novichok was so horribly dangerous, that the Brits had to use full biosuits to investigate the alleged poisoning of Skripal. They also said that they would completely destroy the dangerous Skripal home (though they never did that). The self same propaganda machine says that the Novichok used on Navalnyi was a more powerful, improved version. Okay. Then try to answer this one: why did the Russians NOT put on biosuits, why did not a single passenger suffer from any side effects (inside a closed aircraft cabin!)? How is it that this super-dooper Novichok not only failed to kill Navalnyi (who, allegedly, ingested it!) but also failed to even moderately inconvenience anybody from the many people Navalnyi was surrounded by on that day?

I could continue to deconstruct all this nonsense, but that would take pages. I will mention two thing though:

First, the Russians have requested any and all evidence available to the Germans and to the Organization for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – but they got absolutely nothing in return. Yet the EU is demanding an investigation (which is already under way in Russia anyway!) as if the Russians did not want the exact same!

After being exposed to an improved Novichok and after weeks in coma in intensive care, here is Navalnyi trotting down stairs feeling great

After being exposed to an improved Novichok and after weeks in coma in intensive care, here is Navalnyi trotting down stairs feeling great

Second, Navalnyi apparently has an immunity to otherwise deadly Russian biological agents, just take a look at him on this post-Novichok photo:

[By the way, the first time around the Brits also never gave the Russians any information, nevermind any kind of evidence. Apparently, to hide some super-secret secrets. Yeah, right!]

Next, I absolutely have to mention the absolutely insane situation around Belarus.

To make a long story short, the EU wants to sanction Russia for intervening in Belarus while that self-same EU is intervening in every possible imaginable manner: from the Poles who treat Tikhanovskaia as a modern False Dmitri the Fifth (see here for a summary of Polish-run False Dmitris), to the promise of a special “Marshall Plan for Belarus”, to the coordination of all the protests from Poland. The EU refuses to recognize Lukashenko as the winner (in spite of the fact that there is exactly zero evidence suggesting that Lukashenko lost) and refers to Tikhanovskaia as the “Leader of Belarus” (whatever that means).

As for our US American friends, having learned exactly nothing from the abject failure of their Guaido coup in Venezuela, they now want to repeat exactly the same with Tikhanovskaia in Belarus. As a result, Tikhanovskaia has been re-christened “Juanita Guaido”

But the worst are still the Europeans. Not only are they prostituting themselves to the leaders of the Empire, the following countries were the first to declare that they will not recognize Lukashenko as the leader of Belarus: Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia (which is no surprise, they all compete for the title of most pro-US colony on the planet), but also putatively mentally sane countries such as Germany, Czechia, Slovakia, Denmark. The case of Germany is particularly amazing, because Germany will now be placed under immense pressure to cancel North Stream 2, something which the entire German industry opposes. Eventually, the US, Canada, the Ukraine, the UK and the entire EU joined in and also refused to recognize Lukashenko as the leader of Belarus.

What is especially amazing to me is that these EU imbeciles apparently don’t care that without North Stream 2 they will have to purchase US gas, at much higher prices, which will make the EU economy less effective than the US one. And I thought that prostitutes are always acutely aware of the money they can make: not the European ones, apparently.

Still, I think that the “top honor” in this category goes to Poland which, while condemning some undefined Russian intervention in Belarus, runs the NEXTA Telegram channel which runs videos like this one: (in Russian – no, not in Belarusian, they know that 99.9999% Belarussians speak Russian):

Oh, but it gets better.

NATO seems to be trying to frighten Russia with maneuvers in Poland and B-52 flights over the Ukraine and the Black Sea (see here for a full analysis). As for the Poles and Ukronazis, they apparently believe that the Russian bear covered himself in poop and ran away at full speed.

What I am going to say next is not a secret, every military person who looked into this issue knows and understands this: NATO, and I mean the combined power of all NATO member states, simply does not have the hardware needed to wage a war against Russia in Europe. What NATO does have is only sufficient to trigger a serious incident which might result in a shooting war. But once this war starts, the chances of victory for NATO are exactly zero. Why?

Well, for one thing, while coalitions of countries might give a thin veneer of political legitimacy to a military action (in reality, only a UNSC resolution would), in purely military terms you are much better off having a single national military. Not only that, but coalitions are nothing but the expression of an often held delusion: the delusion that the little guy can hide behind the back of the big guy. Poland’s entire history can be summarized in this simple principle: strike the weak and bootlick (or even worse!) the powerful. In contrast, real military powers don’t count on some other guy doing the heavy lifting for them. They simply fight until they win.

Yes, the Europeans, being the cowards that they are, do believe that there is safety in numbers. But each time these midgets gang up on Russia and start barking (or, to use Putin’s expression, start oinking) all together, the Russians clearly see that the Europeans are afraid. Otherwise, they would not constantly seek somebody to protect them (even against a non-existing threat).

As a direct result of this delusion, NATO simply does not have the equivalent of the First Guard Tank Army in spite of the fact that NATO has a bigger population and much bigger budgets than Russia. Such a tank Army is what it would take to fight a real war in Europe, Russia has such an Army. NATO does not.

The other thing NATO does not have is a real integrated multi-layered air defense system. Russia does.

Lastly, NATO has no hypersonic weapons. Russia does.

(According to President Trump, the US does have super-dooper “hydrosonic” weapons, but nobody really knows what that is supposed to mean).

I would even argue that the comparatively smaller Belarusian military could make hamburger meat of the roughly three times larger Polish armed forces in a very short time (unlike the Poles, the Belarusian are excellent soldiers and they know that they are surrounded by hostile countries on three sides).

As for the “armed forces” of the Baltic statelets, they are just a sad joke.

One more example: the Empire is now sending ships into the Black Sea as some kind of “show of force”. Yet, every military analyst out there knows that the Black Sea is a “Russian lake” and that no matter how many ships the US or NATO sends into the Black Sea, their life expectancy in case of a conflict would be measured in minutes.

There is a popular expression in Russia which, I submit, beautifully sums up the current US/NATO doctrine: пугать ежа голой задницей, which can be translated as “trying to scare a hedgehog with your naked bottom”.

The truth is that NATO military forces currently are all in very bad shape – all of them, including the US – and that their only advantage over Russia is in numbers. But as soon as you factor in training, command and control, the ability to operate with severely degraded C3I capabilities, the average age of military hardware or morale – the Russian armed forces are far ahead of the West.

Does anybody sincerely believe that a few B-52s and a few thousand soldiers from different countries playing war in Poland will really scare the Russian generals?

But if not – why the threats?

My explanation is simple: the rulers of the Empire simply hope that the people in the West will never find out how bad their current military posture really is, and they also know that Russia will never attack first – so they simply pretend like they are still big, mighty and relevant. This is made even easier by the fact that the Russians always downplay their real capabilities (in sharp contrast to the West which always brags about “the best XYZ in the world”). That, and the fact that nobody in the Western ruling classes wants to admit that the game is over and that the Empire has collapsed.

Well, they apparently can hide these truisms from most of their public opinion: Trump promises super-dooper missiles and big red buttons, and his supporters immediately wave (Chinese made) US flags! But I assure you that the Russians (political leaders and even the general public) know what the real score is.

Yet the Empire still refuses to deal with Russia in any other way except insults, bullying, threats, accusations, sanctions, and constant sabre-rattling. This has never, and I mean never, worked in the past, and it won’t work in the future. But, apparently, NATO generals simply cannot comprehend that insanity can be defined as “doing the same thing over and over again, while hoping to achieve different results”.

Finally, I will conclude with a short mention of US politicians.

First, Trump. He now declares that the Russians stole the secret of hypersonic weapons from Obama. This reminds me of how the Brits declared that Russia stole their vaccine against the sars-cov-2 virus. But, if the Russians stole all that, why is it that ONLY Russia has deployed hypersonic weapons (not the US) and ONLY Russia has both two vaccines and 2 actual treatments (and not the UK)? For a good laugh, check out Andrei Martyanov’s great column “Russia Steal Everything”.

And then there is Nancy Pelosi who, apparently, is considering, yes, you guessed it – yet another impeachment attempt against Trump? The charge this time? Exercising this Presidential prerogative to nominate a successor to Ruth Ginsburg. Okay, Pelosi might be senile, but she also is in deep denial if she thinks impeaching Trump is still a viable project. Frankly? I think that she lost it.

In fact, I think that all the Dems have gone absolutely insane: they are now considering packing both the Supreme Court and the Senate. The fact that doing so will destroy the US political system does not seem to bother them in the least.

Conclusion: quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat!

We live in a world where facts or logic have simply become irrelevant and nobody cares about such clearly outdated categories. We have elevated “doubleplusgoodthinking” into an art form. We have also done away with the concepts of “proof” or “evidence” which we have replaced with variations on the “highly likely” theme. We have also, for all practical purpose, jettisoned the entire corpus of international law and replaced it with “rules-based international order“. In fact, I can only agree with Chris Hedges who, in his superb book the “Empire of illusions” and of the “triumph of spectacle”. He is absolutely correct: not only is this a triumph of appearance over substance, and of ideology over reality, it is even the triumph of self-destruction over self-preservation.

There is not big “master plan”, no complex international conspiracy, no 5D chess. All we have is yet another empire committing suicide and, like so many before this one, this suicide is executed by this empire’s ruling classes.

Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Statement About the Situation in Belarus

Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Statement About the Situation in Belarus

September 19, 2020

SVR RF Press Bureau – September 16, 2020

(Italics and bolding added for emphasis.)

The Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, Sergey Naryshkin stated:

“The events in Belarus show clearly visible Western traces. The protest actions from the very beginning carry a well organized character and is coordinated from abroad.

It’s remarkable that the West began preparing the protests long before the elections. In 2019 – early 2020 alone, the United States allocated about $20 million through various NGOs to organize anti-government protests. This money was used to form a network of ‘independent bloggers’ and informational accounts in social networks, to prepare activists for street actions. The most promising of them were trained abroad, in particular in Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine, where they were trained by experienced American instructors in ‘non-violent protest’.

According to information available to the SVR, the United States plays a key role in the current events in Belarus. Although Washington is trying to stay ‘in the shadows’ in the public space, after the start of mass street protests, the Americans have multiplied their funding of Belarusian anti-government forces. Its volumes are estimated in tens of millions of dollars. The United States has taken under close guardianship the former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and other opposition activists who are being promoted as ‘people’s leaders’ and future leaders of ‘democratic Belarus’.

In our contacts with European allies, Washington insists on the need to increase pressure on Minsk to induce the legitimate leadership of Belarus to launch a dialogue with the so-called Coordination Council on the ‘transfer of power’. In fact, we are talking about a poorly veiled attempt to organize another ‘color revolution’ and an anti-constitutional coup, the goals and objectives of which have nothing to do with the interests of Belarusian citizens.”

S.N. Ivanov

Head of the SVR Press Bureau

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RTVI television, Moscow, September 17, 2020

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RTVI television, Moscow, September 17, 2020

September 18, 2020

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Question: I’ll start with the hottest topic, Belarus. President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko visited Bocharov Ruchei. Both sides have officially recognised that change within the Union State is underway. This begs the question: What is this about? A common currency, common army and common market? What will it be like?

Sergey Lavrov: It will be the way our countries decide. Work is underway. It relies on the 1999 Union Treaty. We understand that over 20 years have passed since then. That is why, a couple of years ago, upon the decision of the two presidents, the governments of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus began to work on identifying the agreed-upon steps that would make our integration fit current circumstances. Recently, at a meeting with Russian journalists, President Lukashenko said that the situation had, of course, changed and we must agree on ways to deepen integration from today’s perspective.

The presidential election has taken place in Belarus. The situation there is tense, because the opposition, backed by some of our Western colleagues, is trying to challenge the election outcome, but I’m convinced that the situation will soon get back to normal, and the work to promote integration processes will resume.

Everything that is written in the Union Treaty is now being analysed. Both sides have to come to a common opinion about whether a particular provision of the Union Treaty is still relevant, or needs to be revised. There are 31 roadmaps, and each one focuses on a specific section of the Union Treaty. So, there’s clearly a commitment to continue the reform, a fact that was confirmed by the presidents during a recent telephone conversation. This is further corroborated by the presidents’ meeting in Sochi.

I would not want that country’s neighbours, and our neighbours for that matter, including Lithuania, for example, to try to impose their will on the Belarusian people and, in fact, to manage the processes in which the opposition is unwittingly doing what’s expected of it. I have talked several times about Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s situation. Clearly, someone is putting words in her mouth. She is now in the capital of Lithuania, which, like our Polish colleagues, is strongly demanding a change of power in Belarus. You are aware that Lithuania declared Ms Tikhanovskaya the leader of the Republic of Belarus, and Alexander Lukashenko was declared an illegitimate president.

Ms Tikhanovskaya has made statements that give rise to many questions. She said she was concerned that Russia and Belarus have close relations. The other day, she called on the security and law-enforcement forces to side with the law. In her mind, this is a direct invitation to breach the oath of office and, by and large, to commit high treason. This is probably a criminal offense. So, those who provide her with a framework for her activities and tell her what to say and what issues to raise should, of course, realise that they may be held accountable for that.

Question: Commenting on the upcoming meeting of the presidents of Russia and Belarus in Sochi, Tikhanovskaya said: “Whatever they agree on, these agreements will be illegitimate, because the new state and the new leader will revise them.” How can one work under such circumstances?

Sergey Lavrov: She was also saying something like that when Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin went to Belarus to meet with President Lukashenko and Prime Minister Golovchenko. She was saying it then. Back then, the opposition was concerned about any more or less close ties between our countries. This is despite the fact that early on during the crisis they claimed that they in no way engaged in anti-Russia activities and wanted to be friends with the Russian people. However, everyone could have seen the policy paper posted on Tikhanovskaya’s website during the few hours it was there. The opposition leaders removed it after realising they had made a mistake sharing their goals and objectives with the public. These goals and objectives included withdrawal from the CSTO, the EAEU and other integration associations that include Russia, and drifting towards the EU and NATO, as well as the consistent banning of the Russian language and the Belarusianisation of all aspects of life.

We are not against the Belarusian language, but when they take a cue from Ukraine, and when the state language is used to ban a language spoken by the overwhelming majority of the population, this already constitutes a hostile act and, in the case of Ukraine, an act that violates its constitution. If a similar proposal is introduced into the Belarusian legal field, it will violate the Constitution of Belarus, not to mention numerous conventions on the rights of ethnic and language minorities, and much more.

I would like those who are rabidly turning the Belarusian opposition against Russia to realise their share of responsibility, and the opposition themselves, including Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and others – to find the courage to resist such rude and blatant manipulation.

Question: If we are talking about manipulation, we certainly understand that it has many faces and reflects on the international attitude towards Russia. Internationally, what are the risks for us of supporting Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko? Don’t you think 26 years is enough? Maybe he has really served for too long?

Sergey Lavrov: The President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, did say it might have been “too long.” I believe he has proposed a very productive idea – constitutional reform. He talked about this even before the election, and has reiterated the proposal more than once since then. President of Russia Vladimir Putin supports this attitude. As the Belarusian leader said, after constitutional reform, he will be ready to announce early parliamentary and presidential elections. This proposal provides a framework where a national dialogue will be entirely possible. But it is important that representatives of all groups of Belarusian society to be involved in a constitutional reform process. This would ensure that any reform is completely legitimate and understandable for all citizens. Now a few specific proposals are needed concerning when, where and in what form this process can begin. I hope that this will be done, because President Alexander Lukashenko has repeatedly reaffirmed carrying out this initiative.

Question: Since we started talking about the international attitude towards Russia, let’s go over to our other partner – the United States. The elections in the US will take place very soon. We are actively discussing this in Russia. When asked whether Russia was getting ready for the elections in the US at the Paris forum last year, you replied: “Don’t worry, we’ll resolve this problem.” Now that the US elections are around the corner, I would like to ask you whether you’ve resolved it.

Sergey Lavrov: Speaking seriously, of course we, like any other normal country that is concerned about its interests and international security, are closely following the progress of the election campaign in the US. There are many surprising things in it. Naturally, we see how important the Russian issue is in this electoral process. The Democrats are doing all they can to prove that Russia will exploit its hacker potential and play up to Donald Trump. We are already being accused of promoting the idea that the Democrats will abuse the mail-in voting option thereby prejudicing the unbiased nature of voting. I would like to note at this point that mail-in voting has become a target of consistent attacks on behalf of President Trump himself. Russia has nothing to do with this at all.

A week-long mail-in voting is an interesting subject in comparing election systems in different countries. We have introduced three-day voting for governors and legislative assembly deputies in some regions. You can see the strong criticism it is subjected to, inside Russia as well. When the early voting in the US lasts for weeks, if not months, it is considered a model of democracy. I don’t see any criticism in this respect. In principle, we have long proposed analysing election systems in the OSCE with a view to comparing best practices and reviewing obviously obsolete arrangements. There have been instances in the US when, due to its cumbersome and discriminatory election system, a nominee who received the majority of votes could lose because in a national presidential election the voting is done through the Electoral College process rather than directly by the people. There have been quite a few cases like that. I once told former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in reply to her grievances about our electoral system: “But look at your problem. Maybe you should try to correct this discriminatory voting system?” She replied that it is discriminatory but they are used to it and this is their problem, so I shouldn’t bother.

When the United States accuses us of interference in some area of its public, political or government life, we suggest discussing it to establish who is actually doing what. Since they don’t present any facts, we simply recite their Congressional acts. In 2014, they adopted an act on supporting Ukraine, which directly instructed the Department of State to spend $20 million a year on support for Russian NGOs. We asked whether this didn’t amount to interference. We were told by the US National Security Council that in reality they support democracy because we are wreaking chaos and pursuing authoritative and dictatorial trends abroad when we interfere in domestic affairs whereas they bring democracy and prosperity. This idea is deeply rooted in American mentality. The American elite has always considered its country and nation exceptional and has not been shy to admit it.

I won’t comment on the US election. This is US law and the US election system. Any comments I make will be again interpreted as an attempt to interfere in their domestic affairs. I will only say one thing that President Vladimir Putin has expressed many times, notably, that we will respect any outcome of these elections and the will of the American people.

We realise that there will be no major changes in our relations either with the Democrats or with the Republicans, as representatives of both parties loudly declare. However, there is hope that common sense will prevail and no matter who becomes President, the new US Government and administration will realise the need to cooperate with us in resolving very serious global problems on which the international situation depends.

Question: You mentioned an example where voters can choose one president and the Electoral College process, another. I even have that cover of Time magazine with Hillary Clinton and congratulations, released during the election. It is a fairly well-known story, when they ran this edition and then had to cancel it.

Sergey Lavrov: Even the President of France sent a telegramme, but then they immediately recalled it.

And these people are now claiming that Alexander Lukashenko is an illegitimate president.

Question: You mentioned NGOs. These people believe that NGOs in the Russian Federation support democratic institutions, although it is no secret to anyone who has at least a basic understanding of foreign and domestic policy that those NGOs act exclusively as institutions that destabilise the situation in the country.

Sergey Lavrov: Not all of them.

Question: Can you tell us more about this?

Sergey Lavrov: We have adopted a series of laws – on public associations, on non-profit organisations, on measures to protect people from human rights violations. There is a set of laws that regulate the activities of non-government organisations on our territory, both Russian and foreign ones.

Concepts have been introduced like “foreign agent,” a practice we borrowed from “the world’s most successful democracy” – the United States. They argue that we borrowed a practice from 1938 when the United States introduced the foreign agent concept to prevent Nazi ideology from infiltrating from Germany. But whatever the reason they had to create the concept – “foreign agent” – the Americans are still effectively using it, including in relation to our organisations and citizens, to Chinese citizens, to the media.

In our law, foreign agent status, whatever they say about it, does not prevent an organisation from operating on the territory of the Russian Federation. It just needs to disclose its funding sources and be transparent about the resources it receives. And even that, only if it is engaged in political activities. Initially, we introduced a requirement for these organisations that receive funding from abroad and are involved in political projects to initiate the disclosure process. But most of them didn’t want to comply with the law, so it was modified. Now this is done by the Russian Ministry of Justice.

Question: Do you think that NGOs are still soft power?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course. In Russia we have about 220,000 NGOs, out of which 180 have the status of a foreign agent. It’s a drop in the ocean. These are probably the organisations, funded from abroad, that are more active than others in promoting in our public space ideas that far from always correspond to Russian legislation.

There is also the notion of undesirable organisations. They are banned from working in the Russian Federation. But there are only about 30 of them, no more.

Question: Speaking about our soft power, what is our concept? What do we offer the world? What do you think the world should love us for? What is Russia’s soft power policy all about?

Sergey Lavrov: We want everything that has been created by nations and civilisations to be respected. We believe nobody should impose any orders on anyone, so that nothing like what has now happened in Hollywood takes place on a global scale. We think nobody should encroach on the right of each nation to have its historical traditions and moral roots. And we see attempts to encroach upon them.

If soft power is supposed to promote one’s own culture, language and traditions, in exchange for knowledge about the life of other nations and civilisations, then this is the approach that the Russian Federation supports in every way.

The Americans define the term “soft power” as an attempt to influence the hearts and minds of others politically. Their goal is not to promote their culture and language, but to change the mood of the political class with a view to subsequent regime change. They are doing this on a daily basis and don’t even conceal it. They say everywhere that their mission is to bring peace and democracy to all other countries.

Question: Almost any TV series out there shows the US president sitting in the Oval Office saying he’s the leader of the free world.

Sergey Lavrov: Not just TV series. Barack Obama has repeatedly stated that America is an exceptional nation and should be seen as an example by the rest of the world. My colleague Mike Pompeo recently said in the Czech Republic that they shouldn’t let the Russians into the nuclear power industry and should take the Russians off the list of companies that bid for these projects. It was about the same in Hungary. He then went to Africa and was quite vocal when he told the African countries not to do business with the Russians or the Chinese, because they are trading with the African countries for selfish reasons, whereas the US is establishing economic cooperation with them so they can prosper. This is a quote. It is articulated in a very straightforward manner, much the same way they run their propaganda on television in an unsophisticated broken language that the man in the street can relate to. So, brainwashing is what America’s soft power is known for.

Question: Not a single former Soviet republic has so far benefited from American soft power.

Sergey Lavrov: Not only former Soviet republics. Take a look at any other region where the Americans have effected a regime change.

QuestionLibya, Syria. We stood for Syria.

Sergey Lavrov: Iraq, Libya. They tried in Syria, but failed. I hope things will be different there. There’s not a single country where the Americans changed the regime and declared victory for democracy, like George W. Bush did on the deck of an aircraft carrier in Iraq in May 2003, which is prosperous now. He said democracy had won in Iraq. It would be interesting to know what the former US President thinks about the situation in Iraq today. But no one will, probably, go back to this, because the days when presidents honestly admitted their mistakes are gone.

QuestionHere I am listening to you and wondering how many people care about this? Why is it that no one understands this? Is this politics that is too far away from ordinary people who are nevertheless behind it? Take Georgia or Ukraine. People are worse off now than before, and despite this, this policy continues.

Will the Minsk agreements ever be implemented? Will the situation in southeastern Ukraine ever be settled?

Returning to what we talked about. How independent is Ukraine in its foreign policy?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think that under the current Ukrainian government, just like under the previous president, we will see any progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, if only because President Zelensky himself is saying so publicly, as does Deputy Prime Minister Reznikov who is in charge of the Ukrainian settlement in the Contact Group. Foreign Minister of Ukraine Kuleba is also saying this. They say there’s a need for the Minsk agreements and they cannot be broken, because these agreements (and accusing Russia of non-compliance) are the foundation of the EU and the US policy in seeking to maintain the sanctions on Russia. Nevertheless, such a distorted interpretation of the essence of the Minsk agreements, or rather an attempt to blame everything on Russia, although Russia is never mentioned there, has stuck in the minds of our European colleagues, including France and Germany, who, being co-sponsors of the Minsk agreements along with us, the Ukrainians and Donbass, cannot but realise that the Ukrainians are simply distorting their responsibilities, trying to distance themselves from them and impose a different interpretation of the Minsk agreements. But even in this scenario, the above individuals and former Ukrainian President Kravchuk, who now heads the Ukrainian delegation to the Contact Group as part of the Minsk process, claim that the Minsk agreements in their present form are impracticable and must be revised, turned upside down. Also, Donbass must submit to the Ukrainian government and army before even thinking about conducting reforms in this part of Ukraine.

This fully contradicts the sequence of events outlined in the Minsk agreements whereby restoring Ukrainian armed forces’ control on the border with Russia is possible only after an amnesty, agreeing on the special status of these territories, making this status part of the Ukrainian Constitution and holding elections there. Now they propose giving back the part of Donbass that “rebelled” against the anti-constitutional coup to those who declared these people terrorists and launched an “anti-terrorist operation” against them, which they later renamed a Joint Forces Operation (but this does not change the idea behind it), and whom they still consider terrorists. Although everyone remembers perfectly well that in 2014 no one from Donbass or other parts of Ukraine that rejected the anti-constitutional coup attacked the putschists and the areas that immediately fell under the control of the politicians behind the coup. On the contrary, Alexander Turchinov, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and others like them attacked these areas. The guilt of the people living there was solely in them saying, “You committed a crime against the state, we do not want to follow your rules, let us figure out our own future and see what you will do next.” There’s not a single example that would corroborate the fact that they engaged in terrorism. It was the Ukrainian state that engaged in terrorism on their territory, in particular, when they killed [Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic] Alexander Zakharchenko and a number of field commanders in Donbass. So, I am not optimistic about this.

Question: So, we are looking at a dead end?

Sergey Lavrov: You know, we still have an undeniable argument which is the text of the Minsk Agreements approved by the UN Security Council.

QuestionBut they tried to revise it?

Sergey Lavrov: No, they are just making statements to that effect. When they gather for a Contact Group meeting in Minsk, they do their best to look constructive. The most recent meeting ran into the Ukrainian delegation’s attempts to pretend that nothing had happened. They recently passed a law on local elections which will be held in a couple of months. It says that elections in what are now called the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics will be held only after the Ukrainian army takes control of the entire border and those who “committed criminal offenses” are arrested and brought to justice even though the Minsk agreements provide for amnesty without exemptions.

Question: When I’m asked about Crimea I recall the referendum. I was there at a closed meeting in Davos that was attended by fairly well respected analysts from the US. They claimed with absolute confidence that Crimea was being occupied. I reminded them about the referendum. I was under the impression that these people either didn’t want to see or didn’t know how people lived there, that they have made their choice. Returning to the previous question, I think that nobody is interested in the opinion of the people.

Sergey Lavrov: No, honest politicians still exist. Many politicians, including European ones, were in Crimea during the referendum. They were there not under the umbrella of some international organisation but on their own because the OSCE and other international agencies were controlled by our Western colleagues. Even if we had addressed them, the procedure for coordinating the monitoring would have never ended.

Question: Just as in Belarus. As I see it, they were also invited but nobody came.

Sergey Lavrov: The OSCE refused to send representatives there. Now that the OSCE is offering its services as a mediator, I completely understand Mr Lukashenko who says the OSCE lost its chance. It could have sent observers and gained a first-hand impression of what was happening there, and how the election was held. They arrogantly disregarded the invitation. We know that the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is practically wholly controlled by NATO. We have repeatedly proposed that our nominees work there but they have not been approved. This contradicts the principles of the OSCE. We will continue to seek a fairer approach to the admission of members to the organisation, but I don’t have much hope for this. Former OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger made an effort with this for the past three years but not everything depended on him – there is a large bloc of EU and NATO countries that enjoy a mathematical majority and try to dictate their own rules. But this is a separate issue.

Returning to Crimea, I have read a lot about this; let me give you two examples. One concerns my relations with former US Secretary of State John Kerry. In April 2014, we met in Geneva: me, John Kerry, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and then Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine Andrey Deshchitsa. We compiled a one page document that was approved unanimously. It read that we, the representatives of Russia, the US and the EU welcomed the commitments of the Ukrainian authorities to carry out decentralisation of the country with the participation of all the regions of Ukraine. This took place after the Crimean referendum. Later, the Americans, the EU and of course Ukraine “forgot” about this document. John Kerry told me at this meeting that everyone understood that Crimea was Russian, that the people wanted to return, but that we held the referendum so quickly that it didn’t fit into the accepted standards of such events. He asked me to talk to President Vladimir Putin, organise one more referendum, announce it in advance and invite international observers. He said he would support their visit there, that the result would be the same but that we would be keeping up appearances. I asked him why put on such shows if they understand that this was the expression of the will of the people.

The second example concerns the recent statements by the EU and the European Parliament to the effect that “the occupation” of Crimea is a crude violation of the world arrangement established after the victory in World War II. But if this criterion is used to determine where Crimea belongs, when the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic joined the UN after WWII in 1945, Crimea did not belong to it. Crimea was part of the USSR. Later, Nikita Khrushchev took an illegal action, which contradicted Soviet law, and this led to them having it. But we all understood that this was a domestic political game as regards a Soviet republic that was the home to Khrushchev and many of his associates.

Question: You have been Foreign Minister for 16 years now. This century’s major foreign policy challenges fell on your term in office. We faced sanctions, and we adapted to them and coped with them. Germany said it obtained Alexey Navalny’s test results. France and Sweden have confirmed the presence of Novichok in them. Reportedly, we are now in for more sanctions. Do you think the Navalny case can trigger new sanctions against Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: I agree with our political analysts who are convinced that if it were not for Navalny, they would have come up with something else in order to impose more sanctions.

With regard to this situation, I think our Western partners have simply gone beyond decency and reason. In essence, they are now demanding that we “confess.” They are asking us: Don’t you believe what the German specialists from the Bundeswehr are saying? How is that possible? Their findings have been confirmed by the French and the Swedes. You don’t believe them, either?

It’s a puzzling situation given that our Prosecutor General’s Office filed an inquiry about legal assistance on August 27 and hasn’t received an answer yet. Nobody knows where the inquiry has been for more than a week now. We were told it was at the German Foreign Ministry. The German Foreign Ministry did not forward the request to the Ministry of Justice, which was our Prosecutor General Office’s  ultimate addressee. Then, they said that it had been transferred to the Berlin Prosecutor’s Office, but they would not tell us anything without the consent of the family. They are urging us to launch a criminal investigation.

We have our own laws, and we cannot take someone’s word for it to open a criminal case. Certain procedures must be followed. A pre-investigation probe initiated immediately after this incident to consider the circumstances of the case is part of this procedure.

Some of our Western colleagues wrote that, as the German doctors discovered, it was “a sheer miracle” that Mr Navalny survived. Allegedly, it was the notorious Novichok, but he survived thanks to “lucky circumstances.” What kind of lucky circumstances are we talking about? First, the pilot immediately landed the plane; second, an ambulance was already waiting on the airfield; and third, the doctors immediately started to provide help. This absolutely impeccable behaviour of the pilots, doctors and ambulance crew is presented as “lucky circumstances.” That is, they even deny the possibility that we are acting as we should. This sits deep in the minds of those who make up such stories.

Returning to the pre-investigation probe, everyone is fixated on a criminal case. If we had opened a criminal case right away (we do not have legal grounds to do so yet, and that is why the Prosecutor General’s Office requested legal assistance from Germany on August 27), what would have been done when it happened? They would have interviewed the pilot, the passengers and the doctors. They would have found out what the doctors discovered when Navalny was taken to the Omsk hospital, and what medications were used. They would have interviewed the people who communicated with him. All of that was done. They interviewed the five individuals who accompanied him and participated in the events preceding Navalny boarding the plane; they interviewed the passengers who were waiting for a flight to Moscow in Tomsk and sat at the same bar; they found out what they ordered and what he drank. The sixth person, a woman who accompanied him, has fled, as you know. They say she was the one who gave the bottle to the German lab. All this has been done. Even if all of that was referred to as a “criminal case,” we couldn’t have done more.

Our Western partners are looking down on us as if we have no right to question what they are saying or their professionalism. If this is the case, it means that they dare to question the professionalism of our doctors and investigators. Unfortunately, this position is reminiscent of other times. Arrogance and a sense of infallibility have already been observed in Europe, and that led to very regrettable consequences.

Question: How would you describe this policy of confrontation? When did it start (I mean during your term of office)? It’s simply so stable at the moment that there seems no chance that something might change in the future.

Sergey Lavrov: President of Russia Vladimir Putin has repeatedly spoken on this topic. I think that the onset of this policy, this era of constant pressure on Russia began with the end of a period that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, a time when the West believed it had Russia there in its pocket – it ended, full stop. Unfortunately, the West does not seem to be able to wrap its head around this, to accept that there is no alternative to Russia’s independent actions, both domestically and on the international arena. This is why, unfortunately, this agony continues by inertia.

Having bad ties with any country have never given us any pleasure. We do not like making such statements in which we sharply criticise the position of the West. We always try to find compromises, but there are situations where it is hard not to come face to face with one another directly or to avoid frank assessments of what our Western friends are up to.

I have read what our respected political scientists write who are well known in the West. And I can say this idea is starting to surface ever stronger and more often – it is time we stop measuring our actions with the yardsticks that the West offers us and to stop trying to please the West at all costs. These are very serious people and they are making a serious point. The fact that the West is prodding us to this way of thinking, willingly or unwillingly, is obvious to me. Most likely, this is being done involuntarily. But it is a big mistake to think that Russia will play by Western rules in any case – as big a mistake as like approaching China with the same yardstick.

Question: Then I really have to ask you. We are going through digitalisation. I think when you started your diplomatic career, you could not even have imagined that some post on Twitter could affect the political situation in a country. Yet – I can see your smile – we are living in a completely different world. Film stars can become presidents; Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook can become drivers of political campaigns – that happened more than once – and those campaigns can be successful. We are going through digitalisation, and because of this, many unexpected people appear in international politics – unexpected for you, at least. How do you think Russia’s foreign policy will change in this context? Are we ready for social media to be impacting our internal affairs? Is the Chinese scenario possible in Russia, with most Western social media blocked to avoid their influence on the internal affairs in that country?

Sergey Lavrov: Social media are already exerting great influence on our affairs. This is the reality in the entire post-Soviet space and developing countries. The West, primarily the United States, is vigorously using social media to promote their preferred agenda in just about any state. This necessitates a new approach to ensuring the national security. We have been doing this for a long time already.

As for regulating social media, everyone does it. You know that the digital giants in the United States have been repeatedly caught introducing censorship, primarily against us, China or other countries they dislike, shutting off information that comes from these places.

The internet is regulated by companies based in the United States, everyone knows that. In fact, this situation has long made the overwhelming majority of countries want to do something about it, considering the global nature of the internet and social media, to make sure that the management processes are approved at a global level, become transparent and understandable. The International Telecommunication Union, a specialised UN agency, has been out there for years. Russia and a group of other co-sponsoring countries are promoting the need to regulate the internet in such a way that everyone understands how it works and what principles govern it, in this International Union. Now we can see how Mark Zuckerberg and other heads of large IT companies are invited to the Congress and lectured there and asked to explain what they are going to do. We can see this. But a situation where it will be understandable for everyone else and, most importantly, where everyone is happy with it, still seems far away.

For many years, we have been promoting at the UN General Assembly an initiative to agree on the rules of responsible behaviour of states in the sphere of international information security. This initiative has already led to set up several working groups, which have completed their mandate with reports. The last such report was reviewed last year and another resolution was adopted. This time, it was not a narrow group of government experts, but a group that includes all UN member states. It was planning to meet, but things slowed down due to the coronavirus. The rules for responsible conduct in cyberspace are pending review by this group. These rules were approved by the SCO, meaning they already reflect a fairly large part of the world’s population.

Our other initiative is not about the use of cyberspace for undermining someone’s security; it is about fighting crimes (pedophilia, pornography, theft) in cyberspace. This topic is being considered by another UNGA committee. We are preparing a draft convention that will oblige all states to suppress criminal activities in cyberspace.

QuestionDo you think that the Foreign Ministry is active on this front? Would you like to be more proactive in the digital dialogue? After all, we are still bound by ethics, and have yet to understand whether we can cross the line or not. Elon Musk feels free to make any statements no matter how ironic and makes headlines around the world, even though anything he says has a direct bearing on his market cap. This is a shift in the ethics of behaviour. Do you think that this is normal? Is this how it should be? Or maybe people still need to behave professionally?

Sergey Lavrov: A diplomat can always use irony and a healthy dose of cynicism. In this sense, there is no contradiction here. However, this does not mean that while making ironic remarks on the surrounding developments or comments every once in a while (witty or not so witty), you do not have to work on resolving legal matters related to internet governance. This is what we are doing.

The Foreign Ministry has been at the source of these processes. We have been closely coordinating our efforts on this front with the Security Council Office, and the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media and other organisations. Russian delegations taking part in talks include representatives from various agencies. Apart from multilateral platforms such as the International Telecommunication Union, the UN General Assembly and the OSCE, we are working on this subject in bilateral relations with our key partners.

We are most interested in working with our Western partners, since we have an understanding on these issues with countries that share similar views. The Americans and Europeans evade these talks under various pretexts. There seemed to be an opening in 2012 and 2013, but after the government coup in Ukraine, they used it as a pretext to freeze this process. Today, there are some signs that the United States and France are beginning to revive these contacts, but our partners have been insufficiently active. What we want is professional dialogue so that they can raise all their concerns and accusations and back them with specific facts. We stand ready to answer all the concerns our partners may have, and will not fail to voice the concerns we have. We have many of them.

During the recent visit by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to Russia, I handed him a list containing dozens of incidents we have identified: attacks against our resources, with 70 percent of them targeting state resources of the Russian Federation, and originating on German territory. He promised to provide an answer, but more than a month after our meeting we have not seen it so far.

Question: Let me ask you about another important initiative by the Foreign Ministry. You decided to amend regulations enabling people to be repatriated from abroad for   free, and you proposed subjecting the repatriation guarantee to the reimbursement of its cost to the budget. Could you tell us, please, is this so expensive for the state to foot this bill?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, these a substantial expenses. The resolution that provided for offering free assistance was adopted back in 2010, and was intended for citizens who find themselves in situations when their life is at risk. Imagine a Russian ambassador. Most of the people ask for help because they have lost money, their passport and so on. There are very few cases when an ambassador can actually say that a person is in a life-threatening situation and his or her life is in danger. How can an ambassador take a decision of this kind? As long as I remember, these cases can be counted on the fingers of my two hands since 2010, when an ambassador had to take responsibility and there were grounds for offering this assistance. We wanted to ensure that people can get help not only when facing an imminent danger (a dozen cases in ten years do not cost all that much). There were many more cases when our nationals found themselves in a difficult situation after losing money or passports. We decided to follow the practices used abroad. Specifically, this means that we provide fee-based assistance. In most cases, people travelling abroad can afford to reimburse the cost of a return ticket.

This practice is designed to prevent fraud, which remains an issue. We had cases when people bought one-way tickets knowing that they will have to be repatriated.

Question: And with no return ticket, they go to the embassy?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, after that they come to the embassy. For this reason, I believe that the system we developed is much more convenient and comprehensive for dealing with the situations Russians get into when travelling abroad, and when we have to step in to help them through our foreign missions.

Question: Mr Lavrov, thank you for your time. As a Georgian, I really have to ask this. Isn’t it time to simplify the visa regime with Georgia? A second generation of Georgians has now grown up that has never seen Russia. What do you think?

Sergey Lavrov: Georgians can travel to Russia – they just need to apply for a visa. The list of grounds for obtaining a visa has been expanded. There are practically no restrictions on visiting Russia, after obtaining a visa in the Interests Section for the Russian Federation in Tbilisi or another Russian overseas agency.

As for visa-free travel, as you know, we were ready for this a year ago. We were actually a few steps away from being ready to announce it when that incident happened with the Russian Federal Assembly delegation to the International Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, where they were invited in the first place, seated in their chairs, and then violence was almost used against them.

I am confident that our relations with Georgia will recover and improve. We can see new Georgian politicians who are interested in this. For now, there are just small parties in the ruling elites. But I believe our traditional historical closeness, and the mutual affinity between our peoples will ultimately triumph. Provocateurs who are trying to prevent Georgia from resuming normal relations with Russia will be put to shame.

They are trying to use Georgia the same way as Ukraine. In Ukraine, the IMF plays a huge role. And the IMF recently decided that each tranche allocated to Ukraine would be short-term.

Question: Microcredits.

Sergey Lavrov: Microcredits and a short leash that can always be pulled a little.

They are trying to use Georgia the same way. We have no interest in seeing this situation continue. We did not start it and have never acted against the Georgian people. Everyone remembers the 2008 events, how American instructors arrived there and trained the Georgian army. The Americans were well aware of Mikheil Saakashvili’s lack of restraint. He trampled on all agreements and issued a criminal order.

We are talking about taking their word for it. There were many cases when we took their word for it, but then it all boiled down to zilch. In 2003, Colin Powell, a test tube – that was an academic version. An attack on Iraq followed. Many years later, Tony Blair admitted that there had been no nuclear weapons in Iraq. There were many such stories. In 1999, the aggression against Yugoslavia was triggered by the OSCE representative in the Balkans, US diplomat William Walker, who visited the village of Racak, where they found thirty corpses, and declared it genocide of the Albanian population. A special investigation by the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia found they were military dressed in civilian clothes. But Mr Walker loudly declared it was genocide. Washington immediately seized on the idea, and so did London and other capitals. NATO launched an aggression against Yugoslavia.

After the end of the five-day military operation to enforce peace, the European Union ordered a special report from a group of invited experts, including Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini. She was later involved in the Minsk process, and then she was asked to lead a group of experts who investigated the outbreak of the military conflict in August 2008. The conclusion was unambiguous. All this happened on the orders of Mikheil Saakashvili, and as for his excuses that someone had provoked him, or someone had been waiting for him on the other side of the tunnel, this was just raving.

Georgians are a wise nation. They love life, perhaps the same way and the same facets that the peoples in the Russian Federation do. We will overcome the current abnormal situation and restore normal relations between our states and people.


In addition, if you follow the Minister, follow up on this interview with Sputnik

Exclusive: Sergei Lavrov Talks About West’s Historical Revisionism, US Election and Navalny Case

لوكاشينكو يكشف عن نصائح بوتين له وبيسكوف يستبعد تكرار السيناريو البيلاروسي في بلاده

البناء

كشف رئيس بيلاروس، ألكسندر لوكاشينكو عن الرسالة التي بعثها من خلال ظهوره أمام عدسات وسائل الإعلام مسلحاً ببندقية حربية، على خلفية موجة الاضطرابات الاجتماعية التي تمر بها بلاده.

وجاء ذلك في معرض تعليق لوكاشينكو، في حوار مع ممثلين عن وسائل الإعلام الروسية في مينسك، على شريط الفيديو المدوي الذي يظهره وهو يحلق على متن مروحية فوق مينسك ويخرج منها لدى هبوطها أمام قصر الاستقلال (المقر الرئاسي) حاملا بندقية كلاشنيكوف.

Might Belarus become the next Syria?
Might Belarus become the next Syria?

وأوضح لوكاشينكو أنه «قام بتلك الرحلة على متن المروحية الرئاسية بغية الاطلاع على واقع الوضع على الأرض، فيما كان المحتجون المعارضون يتقدمون لأول مرة نحو قصر الاستقلال».

وتابع: «أظهرت أن أطفالي هنا ووطني هنا وسأدافع عنه بأي ثمن».

وأشار الرئيس إلى أن «مسؤولين في إدارته حاولوا إقناعه بعدم مغادرة المقر الرئاسي في ذلك اليوم»، قائلاً: «كانوا يمسكون يدي وقدمي».

كما كشف لوكاشينكو، عن حديثه مع الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، حول دعم رئيس أوكرانيا فلاديمير زيلينسكي.

وقال لوكاشينكو، رداً عن سؤال حول موافقة بوتين بأن يدعم رئيس أوكرانيا: «نعم (دعمني) في العديد من القضايا… (وقال بوتين) تحدث إليه بطريقة أبوية، إنه شاب… وقلت له حسناً، لقد تحدثت إليه، خلال مشاركتي في منتدى هناك، وأوضحت له (لزيلينسكي) أن بوتين ليس هدفه الاستيلاء على كييف… والسيطرة على كل شرق أوكرانيا».

وتابع لوكاشينكو، «بوتين تكفيه روسيا… وناقشنا العديد من القضايا الحياتية وحاولت إقناعه (زيلينسكي)، وهو شخص متفهم وعاملني بشكل جيد».

وحذر الرئيس البيلاروسي، من انهيار بلاده، منوهاً بأن» روسيا ستكون التالية إذا حدث ذلك»، قائلاً: «هل تعلمون إلى ماذا توصلنا مع المؤسسات والقيادة الروسية؟ إذا انهارت بيلاروس اليوم، فالتالية ستكون روسيا».

بدوره، علق المتحدث باسم الرئاسة الروسية، دميتري بيسكوف، على تصريحات لوكاشينكو، عن إمكانية تكرار الاضطرابات التي تشهدها بلاده في روسيا.

وقال بيسكوف للصحافيين، أمس: «لا أعتقد أن المقارنة ممكنة في هذا الشأن، إذ نحن بلدان مختلفان ودولتان سياديتان، وإن كنا متحدين ضمن الدولة الاتحادية التي نثمّنها كثيراً. فلكل منهما ما يميزه من الثقافة السياسية والواقع السياسي والتوجهات السياسية. لذا فيبدو لي أن من غير الصواب إطلاق أي تعميمات في هذا الشأن».

وأشار المتحدث باسم الكرملين إلى أن «روسيا تحترم بالكامل الثقافة السياسية البيلاروسية، على الرغم من هذه الاختلافات».

وفي تعليقه على تقارير عن اختفاء بعض النشطاء المعارضين في بيلاروس، وخاصة قياديين بمجلس التنسيق التابع للمعارضة هناك، قال بيسكوف: «بالتأكيد يمثل اختفاء أشخاص ما أمراً مثيراً للقلق.. وبالطبع نعوّل على أنه سيتم تقديم معلومات معينة (حول هذه الحوادث) في مواعيد محددة وفقا للقانون».

فيما قالت المحامية لودميلا كازاك إن «عضو هيئة رئاسة مجلس التنسيق المعارض في بيلاروسيا، ماريا كوليسنيكوفا، موقوفة بالاشتباه بها في قضية محاولة الاستيلاء على السلطة». وأصبحت كوليسنيكوفا من أول قادة المجلس بهذا الوضع.

ورداً على سؤال توضيحي، أضافت كازاك أن كولسنيكوفا مشتبه بها في ما يسمى «قضية مجلس التنسيق»، والتي بدأت بموجب المادة الخاصة بمحاولة الاستيلاء على السلطة.

وألقي القبض، أول أمس الثلاثاء، على عضو هيئة رئاسة المجلس التنسيقي للمعارضة البيلاروسية، ماريا كوليسنيكوفا، على الحدود مع أوكرانيا، والبحث جار عن ممثلين آخرين في المجلس، وهما إيفان كرافتسوف، وأنتون رودنينكوف، بالتعاون مع كييف.

ووفقاً لوكالة الأنباء التلفزيونية الأوكرانية: «اجتاز الهاربون نقاط التفتيش الحدودية والجمارك وعند تفتيش السيارة فقدوا أعصابهم، وانطلقوا بسرعة في اتجاه أوكرانيا حيث كادوا يصدمون أحد عناصر حرس الحدود، وفي الوقت نفسه دفعوا بـ كوليسنيكوفا من السيارة».

من جانبها أكدت لجنة حدود الدولة البيلاروسية، في وقت سابق، أن «الأشخاص الثلاثة تم تسجيلهم عند نقطة التفتيش وتوجهوا نحو أوكرانيا نتيجة لذلك تمكن أنطون رودنينكوف وإيفان كرافتسوف من الهرب، ولم تستطع كوليسنيكوفا فعل ذلك، وتم اعتقالها على الحدود مباشرة، والآن البحث جار عن الهاربين مع الجانب الأوكراني».

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Poland and Lithuania Are Ready to ‘Take Back’ Belorussian Lands (Anna Sochina)

Poland and Lithuania Are Ready to ‘Take Back’ Belorussian Lands (Anna Sochina)

September 02, 2020

Translated by Sasha and subtitled by Leonya.

Hello dear friends, once again Anna Sochina is with you. You may accuse me of a biased attitude towards Poland and the Baltic states. I often criticize them in my releases. Firstly, these republics often throw such performances that one cannot just walk by. And secondly, there is food for discussion in view of the events in Belorussia. Because no matter how much the local authorities assure that they do not encroach upon Belorussian sovereignty, the facts speak the opposite.

Paralytics Politics with Anna Sochina

I read the news recently: “The European MP for Poland Jacek Dariusz Wolski raised a most important issue at the extraordinary session on the situation in Belorussia: Let us pronounce ‘Tichanowska’ instead of ‘Tikhanovskaya’, let us pronounce it the Polish way.” “Because when foreigners say ‘Tikhanovskaya,’” he explains, “they pronounce the last name in a Russian way, and this way they recognize that the Republic of Belarus is in the sphere of Russia’s interests.” While it should, by the looks of it, be within Poland’s sphere of interests. If the West is moulding you as a leader of protests, you must become clay. If they say you’re not going to be Tikhanovskaya but Tichanowska, you will be. If they say you’re not going to be Sochina but Soczynski, you will be.

Clearly I wouldn’t have paid attention to this news had it not been for this linguistic screen concealing rather more serious intentions of Poland towards its neighbouring country. Here is, for instance, Tomasz Sommer, the Chief Editor of the ‘Najwyższy Czas’ weekly, writes on his Twitter:

It is absolutely obvious that Grodno must, in case of Belarus breaking up, be taken by Poland. PiS (the ruling Law and Justice Party) knows this but is afraid to say so.”

Well, who cares what some editor in chief said somewhere, it’d seem. However, my friends, the voice of Tomasz Sommer is not alone. Many representatives of the Polish elite share his thoughts, only they don’t voice it. The Poles use other methods in order to advance their interests in Belorussia. Thus the Polish trade union conglomerate ‘Solidarność’, whose influence level arguably exceeds any parliamentary party, sent humanitarian aid to the Republic of Belarus, in the form of a few dozens tonnes of food, which could to be of use at the workplaces during strikes. Additionally, they, with the support from the Polish government, helped to create the Fund of Solidarity with Belarus, which has already collected 1,000,000 PLN to aid the protesters, which translates into over 700,000 Belorussian rubles, or over 20,000,000 Russian rubles which the Belorussian service of ‘Radio Freedom’ joyfully announces to us.

It’s not that much, it might seem. But ‘Solidarność’ is not the only one who pours money into the Republic of Belarus, and it is not just coming from Poland. For instance, the strike committee of ‘BelarusPotassium’ announced lately that the aid to the strikers from foreign funds and the EU will amount to 35,000,000 euros. The President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, announces at the same time that the EU will allocate 53,000,000 euros to support Belorussia “in this difficult time.” Belorussia herself, on the other hand, was able to raise only 2,000,000 euros in aid of the striking workers. So it is not the Belorussians who will be determining their country’s policies in the near future I agree with the ‘Temnik’ Telegram channel:

The governments of the Baltic states and Poland announce almost on the daily basis that they assign new sums for ‘the civil society development’, for ‘the independent media’, ‘training of the psychologists’, ‘first aid to the victims’, etc. The sums are modest – only a few dozens of hundreds of thousands euros, but if you put together these streamlets, they shape up into a considerable investment in the regime change scenario in the Republic of Belarus.”

Apart from the direct financial injections, for which the Belorussians will of course be made to pay later, Poland and Lithuania employ other methods. Lithuania in particular jumps up the highest out of their pants. It is there where at the moment the Belorussian female version of Juan Guaido is being moulded. There a ‘strong leader’ is being created out of a ‘weak woman’, as Tikhanovskaya described herself. However, in this case, I will agree with our colleague Armen Gasparyan. A strong leader must be charismatic, which is a quality I cannot discern no matter what when I look at Tikhanovskaya’s writing. Either way Lithuania accepted ‘Tichanowska’ within its borders. Lithuania also wrote a hurriedly long sanctions list against over 130 names of Belorussian officials. Lithuania is organizing mass rallies in support of the Belorussians on its territory. “The ‘Road of Freedom’ from Vilnius to the border with Belarus. Tens of thousands of people formed a living chain in Lithuania in order to support the Belorussian protest.”

RBK: “On the Sunday evening, almost 50 thousand people in Lithuania held their hands, having formed a living chain from Vilnius to the village of Miadininkai on the border with Belarus, in order to express their support for the Belorussians who are fighting for democratic reforms in their country. The length of the chain during the ‘Road to Freedom’ action was 32 km.”

The authors of the Telegram channel ‘Horde’ noted an interesting moment in connection to this 32 km long chain. I don’t do well in math, but they made the calculations:

According to the estimates of the Sunday Party in Minsk, it gathered from 20,000-150,000 people, or if we average it, it was around 85,000 citizens. The Belorussian population is only 9 million. It is 3.5 times more than in Lithuania. So 50,000 sympathizers in lith is equivalent to 150,000 in Belorussia. In other words, the Lithuanians sympathize with the Belorussians more than the Belorussians sympathize with themselves.”

I, by the way, never stop being amazed at the Poles’ and the Baltics’ mentality. They make an impression of a small lap dog that pounces at your legs, wants to bite but is too afraid to do it and so it just yaps. I’ll explain why I think so, having quoted the Ministry of Defense of Republic of Belarus:

A probe consisting of eight air balloons carrying anti-state symbols was launched from the contiguous territory. Thanks to the actions of Mi-24 helicopter crews belonging to the duty air defense forces, the flight of the air balloons was stopped without weapon deployment.”

This news is actively ridiculed, including the mockery on behalf of some Russian authors. Wikipedia has already published an article titled “The Helium War”. Although I personally see nothing funny in this. Launching air balloons with the white-red-white symbol, which is totally anti-state but which very close in spirit to Poland and Lithuania, and to laugh when Belorussian helicopters take in the air: “Ha ha, the army is sent against our air balloons”, – can any one tell me what is so funny here? In reality, what’s laughable here are the imperial ambitions of Poland and Lithuania, who, in their dreams, are already dividing between themselves Grodno and other adjacent territories. And even if they are not yet dividing it, they demand to be included in the negotiations alongside Russia, Germany and France.

In this light, the interview with the former Foreign and Defense Minister of Poland Radosław Sikorski, is quite interesting and telling. Its headline is “The Crisis in Belarus Confined the Strength of Poland”. Nowhere in the article are arguments in support of this headline, but the principal thought developed by Sikorski sounds like this:

Radosław Sikorski: “Had Poland had normal diplomatic relations with Russia, she could have been the negotiator between Russia and the West about how Belarus could transform from a dictatorship into a democracy that does not infringe upon anyone’s interests. Poland should be in the centre of the situation but it is not so at the moment.”

It’s as if the neighbours on the floor have made a party but did not invite that one who always drills and makes noises after eleven. Poland is absent from the Normandy Four who negotiate about Donbass. It is also not awaited at the Minsk negotiations, although it would seem that nearest neighbour must be present. Evidently the Poles’ appetites for the tasty pieces of Belarus are apparent to Berlin, Paris and Brussels and the openly conservative policies of President Andrzej Duda doesn’t, let’s say, resonate in their hearts. Nevertheless this doesn’t mean that Poland and the Baltic states can be written off. As Sikorski himself incautiously notes in his interview when speaking of Lithuania’s role in the conflict, “sometimes small countries are used for scouting the battlefield.” That was a quote. And these small countries are being used by the United States, if to believe the former Defense and Foreign Minister of Poland.

It is on the Lithuanian territory where meetings between Tikhanovskaya and high ranking US representatives are being held at the moment. Strange is however that Sikorski does not draw parallels and does not understand that Poland, just like Lithuania, is being instigated, just like Lithuania, and is being used against Russia’s interests. But no, “Poland is the hegemon while Lithuania is just a mere pawn in the hands of the White House.” What do we have as a result? Cheap provocations like the one with air balloons. Large financial injections into Belorussia. Rallies in support of the protesters. Establishment of new foundations and non-governmental organizations within Belorussia. The support for such bloggers as ‘Nekhta’ or ‘Nexta’, I don’t know what is the correct pronunciation. I will quote Sikorski again:

Radosław Sikorski: “I am pleased that one of the principal Telegram bloggers ‘Nekhta’ came to Poland to study thanks the Erasmus program. The Belorussian House in Warsaw was founded in our time by the Polish Foreign Affairs Ministry and my personal idea was to create European Endowment for Democracy, and I know that it is also participating in the events in Belarus.”

Oh, European Endowment for Democracy is a topic for a separate conversation altogether. It this one is taking part, it is as good as lost. Someone may ask how do we differ from Poland or Lithuania. After all, Russia has been sponsoring Belorussia for years. Well, my friends, there is a huge difference between cooperation on the governmental level and pumping money and air balloons into the opposition. On the governmental level, Belorussia even holds joint marine exercises with Great Britain and it seems ok. But moulding a ‘Guaido’ on its territory and pumping money into the protesters and the strikers is not the official level, right? Besides answering the possible questions about Moscow’s role, I must remind that Russia and Belorussia are the Union State, and I don’t recall that Lukashenko made such unions with Lithuania or Poland.

Goodbye.

Poland Coordinates Protests in Minsk. Why Russia Needs Runet as an Information Shield

Video by REDUX, it was then posted by Bornaya Solyanka, a successor channel to PolitRussia which has been deleted from YouTube since shortly before August 20th.

Poland Coordinates Protests in Minsk. Why Russia Needs Runet as an Information Shield

Translated by Sasha and captioned by Leonya.

The events in Belorussia bring on more than thoughts about the brotherly country’s internal and external political problems. The shutting down of the Internet over there and the phenomenon of the Telegram channel ‘Nexta’ (Belorussian word for ‘Someone’) make worth an examination of the informational aspect of such a thing as a street protest, particularly in view of the fact that in the era of Internet it is the information which brings people into the streets.

The rally and street protest as a sable form of the public city protest ritual have been considerably transformed under influence of the Internet and social networks. The methods for political mobilization and protest preparation have also changed with the appearance of the so-called new media. The key issue of these methods is naturally the conversion rate, the transformation of a social network reader and user into an active participant of a protest action in the street. The crux is that users can express their discontent at will and on mass in the social networks. But this does not result in people coming out into the streets. The thing is that joining the protests is practically always an emotionally rather than rationally validated action for an ordinary participant. Initially, according to sociologists, the propaganda is always directed to the young generation. The organizers play on the youths’ need to raise the self evaluation and to experience new emotions.

“The youth in any society is the most protest prone electorate,” explains sociologist, the director of the Enterprise group of the Sociology Institute, Maria Fil. “A generational conflict takes place here because the authorities are associated with a certain domineering of the older generation who allegedly are imposing their rules of play, the order of behaviour. In a wider sense it is the fathers and sons problem. The young want to announce themselves, want to have more opportunities and it seems to them that those opportunities are not as freely available as they would be, should the authorities be replaced. The opposition leaders arm themselves with an image of a modern advanced person.” Additionally it is important to evoke within a protester strong negative emotions. So the principal supporting factor for people’s emotions that make them come out in the streets can be the visuals of dispersing of rallies, when the security forces pound the protestors. After all it is a strong source for outrage. And the more such videos appear, the stronger probabilityfor those people appearing in the square who previously were not sure they needed to act. The advantage that the protest organizers have against their opponents, the authorities, is obvious: in most cases it is impossible to determine whether the attacked were the genuine protesters as opposed to those who attacked the police themselves. Of course you can spend a few hours in order to find out these nuances. But this has no bearing whatsoever on the target audience. So all that is left in the viewer’s mind is the violence of the law enforcement against the civilians.

After the first dispersals and arrests dozens of videos will appear on the Internet, which will trigger the chain reaction. The entire anger stowed withing the society will blaze up from one match strike, whose role will be performed by the right photos and videos. In these conditions the decision to block the Internet does not appear to be so stupid. It becomes rather logical. This way the authorities can kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, the interaction on the Internet has a direct influence on the formulating the rules for behaviour during the protest and at the point of detention. The protests are prepared on the Internet, there the problem is discussed, supporters are recruited. And next, when the protest moves into the street, the crowd’s movements are coordinated through the Internet. This means the demonstrators must be deprived of this possibility to coordinate their actions. But, as I said earlier, it is even more important for the authorities to deprive the protest of the new energy, which can be created by the same videos of protest dispersals and beatings. In this light, the situation in which Belorussia found itself is very interesting, when the country blocked everything it could, even to the detriment of its own economy, but was unable to block the Telegram with Nexta within it. The Belorussian authorities faced a completely new problem here, for whose solution they did not prepare in advance. Possibly they did not even suspect its existence. This problem can be briefly described as a punctured informational shield. In other words, to attempt blocking the social networks and fail at it is more effective than not trying to turn off anything.

According to the preliminary assessments the modest republic’s economy was losing up to $56 million a day. But this is not as bad as the informational vacuum which the authorities created with their own hands and which was filled by the oppositional channel ‘Nexta’, whose creators, the way, live in Poland by the way, and which gained almost 2 million subscribers in a couple of days, having become, in fact, the principle coordinator of the protests and the largest Russian language political Telegram channel. Compare: the popular and quite reputable channel “Nezygar’” has merely 348 thousand subscribers, which used to seem a huge number. Aleksei Navalny has only 176 thousand subscribers to his Telegram channel. I will not analyze the ‘Nexta’ channel in the context of Belorussian protests. I am more interested in something different. Everything points at the fact that a new anti-Russian media giant appeared under our noses, which, in addition to everything else, is practically out of range for the Russian law enforcement system. There should be no doubt in the Russophobic nature of the newly born Russian-language Polish media source. The channel simply gleams with outward Russophobia and a few times it transmitted fakes, one of which was the post about the ‘Russian spetsnaz’ beating up ordinary Belorussians. Have a look.

Besides this channel’s posts are soaked with calls for radicalization of the protest. Interesting are the personalities who created the channel. For instance the chief editor of ‘Nexta’ is Roman Protasevich, who used to work for the American ‘Radio Freedom’ and for the Lithuanian-Polish ‘Euro Radio’. The problem is that if some protests start in the territory of the Russian Federation, that channel will be able to easily tell the protesters what and how they should do all the way from Poland. And if the comrades from ‘Nexta’ calls for throwing Molotov cocktails into the law enforcement forces or shoot at them with fireworks, ‘Nexta’ could not be held into account. They are in Poland. Out of reach. In this hypothetical situation ‘Nexta’, calling for the protest radicalization, will not be acting in the people’s interest. Because this would cause casualties among both the law enforcement forces and among the protesters, and would bring to naught any possible concessions on behalf of the authorities, which would be quite possible in the case of a peaceful protest. As is the case in Khabarovsk, where there have been no dispersals of rallies, nor forceful detentions, nor beatings of citizens. On the contrary, the clerk in the rank of Prime Minister visited the region for the first time in thirteen years. Prior to Mishustin, it was Fratkov who visited the region in the remote year of 2007. All that time the leaders of the country demonstrated their attention to the region’s problems only from a distance. This illustrates perfectly the role of peaceful protests in Khabarovsk in the transformation of the Center’s attitude towards the entire Far East.

Russia should be thinking today how it should behave when the described above situation appears here. Because pinpoint strikes against particular agitators inside the country would be useless. Because the entire coordination of actions and the feeding the ever renewed videos and photos of beaten up teenagers to the undecided will be directed from abroad. Yes, Russia can repeat the mistake of Belorussian authorities and try to cover herself with a punctured informational shield. But here, it seems to me, the real help to Russia could be rendered by the sovereign Runet, of which there was so much talk some time ago. For instance, the Telegram channel ‘On Duty in Iran’ draws the example of the last year’s protests in Iran. This is what it says: “The Belorussian protests reminded me of the demonstrations in Iran back in November which was lucky to witness… the Iranian way of neutralizing the protest threat looks a lot more successful (than the Belorussian one). They didn’t just turn off the Internet within 24 hours, but launched the ‘national internet’, which meant that a widen local service remained: the state media sites continued working, so did banking systems, food deliveries and taxis, ticket sales – practically everything in the .Irzone, but no social networks, no messengers, youtubes or even email. The ‘national internet’ was prepared for almost two years but the result turned out impressive: it was practically impossible to bypass the blocking, while the basic infrastructure kept working. It is an extremely effective short term measure.”

This way, in case of events developing according to earlier described scenario, the sovereign Runet would help to prevent bloodshed and keep the protest within the peaceful framework, without causing damage to the country’s economy. Yes, technical questions arise as well as the danger of misuse of the instrument by the authorities. However the Kremlin and Russian society still have enough time to reach a compromise, having created a powerful shield against the external resources like ‘Nexta’, which, besides its role described above, could be used first and foremost for protection of important infrastructure of the country from cyber attacks during the cyber war, which I covered in my previous video. This is all for today. Write your comments, rate this video, subscribe to the channel and to my group in VKontakte (the link is in the description to this video), and see you soon.

من روسيا البيضاء إلى لبنان عالم ما بعد الأميركان

محمد صادق الحسيني

مرة أخرى ورغم افتضاح أمرها، تحاول الامبريالية الأميركية ذات الهيمنة الغاشمة محاولاتها البائسة لإطلاق «ثورات» ملونة مدفوعة الأجر وتعمل بالقطعة من البلطيق والبحر الاسود الى شواطئ المتوسط…!

والعين اليوم تشخص في كلّ مسارح عمليات الحرب الناعمة بقوة وتركيز على روسيا البيضاء…!

على الرغم من الجهود الإعلامية التضليليّة، التي تقوم بها آلة الإعلام الاميركية الاوروبية / الناتو /، والتي تحاول تصوير ما يجري في جمهورية روسيا البيضاء السوفياتيه السابقة، على انه صراع بين الرئيس الشرعي اليكساندر لوكاشينكو وربة المنزل سڤيتلانا تيخانوفسكايا، التي يسميها الغرب «زعيمة المعارضة» والتي هربت الى جمهورية لاتفيا، العضو في حلف الناتو، قبل أيام إثر هزيمتها في الانتخابات الرئاسية، التي جرت في روسيا البيضاء وفاز فيها الرئيس لوكاشينكو. نقول إنه وعلى الرغم من كل هذا الجهد الاعلامي والضغوط السياسية، التي تمارس على روسيا البيضاء وروسيا الاتحادية، الحليفة للرئيس لوكاشينكو، وهما عضوان في معاهدة الأمن الجماعي، التي تضم دولاً سوفياتية سابقة اخرى، رغم كل ذلك فإن الأهداف التي تعمل الولايات المتحدة وأذنابها الأوروبيون على تحقيقها في هذا البلد، ذي الأهمية الاستراتيجية الكبرى، للأمن الاستراتيجي الروسي، لا علاقة لها بالديموقراطية طبعاً ولا بأي هدف إنساني نبيل آخر على الإطلاق.

الهدف الحقيقي لكل ما يجري هو بالضبط ما صرّحت به ربة المنزل المذكورة أعلاه يوم أمس، عندما دعت الى اغلاق القواعد العسكرية الروسية، الموجودة على أراضي جمهورية روسيا البيضاء، وانسحاب الأخيرة من منظمة الأمن الجماعي، التي تضم جمهوريات سوفياتيه سابقة عدة..

من هنا تنبع ضرورة توضيح طبيعة هذه القواعد والأسس القانونية، التي تنظم وجودها على أراضي روسيا البيضاء، وتفضح الأهداف العدوانية للولايات المتحدت واذنابها في حلف الناتو، وتعرّي نفاقهم ورياءهم وكذبهم واستغلالهم لعناصر عميلة في هذه الدولة، تماماً كما هو الوضع في كل بلد يقررون محاصرته وخنقه كما في لبنان مثلاً، وذلك بهدف نشر الفوضى والخراب وتهديد السلم الأهلي فيها.

اما تلك القواعد، التي يدور الحديث حولها، فهي قاعدتان:

الأولى: هي قاعدة هانتاسافيتشي التي تبعد 48 كم عن مدينة بارانافيتشي في جنوب غرب البلاد. وهي قاعدة رادارات من طراز 70 . وهي قاعدة رادار للإنذار المبكر، تابعة للقوات الجوفضائية الروسية ومخصصة لرصد إطلاق الصواريخ الباليستية الثقيلة، التي تطلق من اوروبا الغربية، كما أنها مخصصة لرصد الأقمار الصناعية ايضاً. وهي تقوم بالمهمات التي كانت تقوم بها قاعدة سكروندا في لاتفيا المجاورة والتي تم تفكيكها منذ سنوات، في إطار إجراءات إدخال لاتفيا الى حلف الناتو.

الثانية: هي قاعدة ڤولغا للرادار وتقع على بعد 8 كم شمال شرق بلدة هانتافيتشي في مقاطعة بريست. ويطلق عليها في اللغة العسكرية الروسية اسم: كليتيك 2 . وهي مخصصة للإنذار المبكر وتحديد مواقع إطلاق الصواريخ الباليستية الاستراتيجية. ويبلغ مدى عمل هذه الرادارات ستة آلاف كيلومتر.

ولكن السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه بقوة، في هذا المجال، هو: ما هي الأسباب الكامنة وراء التركيز على محطات الرادار هذه، من قبل الولايات المتحدة وحلف الناتو، واستمرار محاولاتهما التخلص منها، عبر إسقاط روسيا البيضاء والسيطرة عليها، ودمجها في نسيج الحلف الغربي العدواني والمعادي لروسيا؟

لأن هذه المحطات تعتبر من عناصر الإنذار المبكر الروسية، ضد الهجمات المعادية بالصواريخ الاستراتيجية، وبالتالي فإن استراتيجيي البنتاغون وأذنابهم في بروكسل (قيادة حلف الناتو) يعتقدون انهم بذلك سوف يوجهون ضربةً لقدرات الإنذار المبكر الروسي ولسلاح الدفاع الجوي فضائي

بالنتيجة هذه الخطط، أي إغلاق القواعد الروسية وإسقاط الدولة في روسيا البيضاء والسيطرة عليها وتنصيب ربة المنزل، سڤيتلانا تيخانوفسكايا، رئيسة لروسيا البيضاء، تأتي في إطار تنفيذ مسلسل خطوات الحشد الاستراتيجي ضد روسيا الاتحادية وجمهورية الصين الشعبية والجمهورية الاسلامية في ايران، على الرغم من البعد الجغرافي بين هذه القواعد وكل من الصين وإيران، حيث إن إضعاف قاطع من قواطع المواجهة العسكرية، مع الولايات المتحدة والناتو، كقاطع الجبهة الغربية الروسية، الممتدة من اقصى شمال الدول الاسكندنافية شمالاً، مروراً ببولندا واوكرانيا ورومانيا وبلغاريا وتركيا، على البحر الأسود جنوباً، انما هو إضعاف للوضع الجيواستراتيجي لكل من الصين وروسيا ومعهما إيران، خاصة بعد دخولها في تفاهمات تعاون متعددة الجوانب وبعيدة المدى، مع هاتين الدولتين.

الإمعان في محاولات واشنطن وبروكسل (قيادة الناتو) الاقتراب من الحدود الروسية، وتكرار محاولات الاعتداء على السيادة الجوية الروسية، باستخدام طائرات الاستطلاع الأميركية والغربية، بشكل يومي، ونجاح انظمة الدفاع الجوفضائي والمقاتلات الروسية الاعتراضية، في التصدي لهذه المحاولات وإفشالها، قد جعلهم يسيرون خلف السراب والاوهام المتبخره برفع مستوى الضغط على روسيا، واهمين انهم بذلك سيستطيعون إجبارها على تقديم التنازلات، في الكثير من الملفات الدولية، بدءاً بملفات الحد من انتشار الاسلحة النووية واتفاقيات تنظيم الاسلحة الصاروخية، وصولاً الى الكثير من الملفات الدولية، والتي يتصدرها الملف الفلسطيني والسوري والإيراني والفنزويلي. وهذه كلها ملفات ترتبط بشكل وثيق بميزان القوى الجيواستراتيجيي بين الدول العظمى، وبالتالي فإنها ملفات شديدة التأثير، في مسار إلغاء او دحر الهيمنة الأميركية الأحادية على العالم، وتشكيل هرم قيادي جديد، يقود العالم لا تكون الولايات المتحدة هي من يجلس على كرسي القيادة فيه.

وهو الأمر الذي يقودنا الى الاعتقاد الراسخ بأن معركة الصراع على جمهورية روسيا البيضاء لن ينتهي الى نصر أميركي غربي وذلك للأسباب التالية:

أ) شجاعة الرئيس لوكاشينكو، وتعامله وتفاعله الديناميكي، في التصدي للمؤامرة الاميركية التي تحاول إسقاط الدولة، وفهمه العميق لطبيعة هذه المؤامرة والدول التي تقف وراءها وتمولها.

ب) الموقف الحازم الذي اتخذه الرئيس لوكاشينكو، منذ بداية التحركات المعادية، ليس فقط بالوقوف في وجه المؤامرة داخل البلاد، وإنما بإصداره الأوامر الفورية للقطعات العسكرية لروسيا البيضاء، المرابطة على الحدود الشمالية الغربية، مع كل من دولتي الناتو، ليتوانيا وبولندا، وضرورة اتخاذ كافة الإجراءات العسكرية الضرورية لحماية حدود البلاد. خاصة بعد تكرار محاولات جهات استخبارية اميركية، وتابعة لحلف الناتو، لإرسال أموال واسلحة ومعدات مختلفة الى داخل روسيا البيضاء لتزود بها مثيري الشغب داخل البلاد. علاوة على تكثيف واشنطن وبروكسل لمحاولات التجسس الجوي في المناطق الحدودية وذلك باستخدام الطائرات المسيرة والمناطيد وطائرات الحرب الالكترونية العسكرية.

ج) الزيارات التفقدية، لخطوط المواجهة مع بولندا ولتوانيا، التي يقوم بها الرئيس لوكاشينكو، مرتدياً الزِّي العسكري وممتشقاً سلاحه الرشاش وجاهزاً للدفاع عن سيادة واستقلال بلاده ومنع سقوطها في أيدي الغرب والحاق الضرر الاستراتيجي بجمهورية روسيا الاتحادية من جراء ذلك.

د) اما العامل الذي يزيد التأكيد على أن مخططات واشنطن وبروكسل، في حرمان قوات الدفاع الجوفضائي الروسية، من قواعدها للإنذار المبكر المنتشره في روسيا البيضاء حسب اتفاقيات بين الدولتين مطابقة تماماً للقوانين الدولية، فهو أن لدى روسيا القواعد البديلة، التي تقوم بعمليات تغطية أوسع بكثير من العمليات التي تنفذه القواعد الموجودة في روسيا البيضاء.

هـ) فعلى سبيل المثال لا الحصر، هناك قاعدة رادارات الإنذار المبكر، من طراز فورونيش ، التابعة لقوات الدفاع الجوفضائية الروسية والموجودة في قرية بيونيرسكي على بعد 27 كم شمال مدينة / ميناء كاليننغراد. علماً أن مدى عمل هذه الرادارات يزيد على ستة آلاف كيلومتر وهي مخصّصة للإنذار المبكر ورصد الصواريخ الباليستية الثقيلة والبعيدة المدى.

و) تُضاف اليها قاعدة الإنذار المبكر المقامة في قرية ليختوسي، على بعد 40 كم شمال لينينغراد، وتحمل اسم القرية نفسها. وهي تابعة لقوات الدفاع الجوفضائية الروسية وتعمل بنوع من رادارات فورونيش من الجيل الثالث، ويصل مدى عمل رادارات هذه المحطة الى اربعة آلاف وخمسمئة كيلومتر، وتغطي كامل منطقة عمليات شمال غرب روسيا، وهي موجودة في الخدمة القتالية منذ شهر شباط 2012.

وهذا يعني أن الإجراءات الاحترازية المسبقة، التي اتخذتها قوات الدفاع الجوفضائية الروسية، قد أفشلت كل مشاريع واشنطن وبروكسل حتى قبل ان يفكروا في وضع خططها.

وانطلاقاً من هذه القراءة الموضوعية، لحالة الشغب المُوَجَّهْ من الدول الغربية في روسيا البيضاء، ولما شهده لبنان والعراق في الأشهر الماضية، ولما كان «مستوراً» وأصبح مفضوحاً من تآمر وتعاون أمني عسكري، بين مشيخة أبو ظبي و»اسرائيل»، منذ عقدين من الزمن، ليس ضد إيران فقط وانما ضد كل جهة تنتمي الى المقاومة وتقاتل الاحتلال الإسرائيلي والهيمنة الأميركية، فإن بامكاننا ان نؤكد ان الاستعدادات التي اتخذتها أطراف حلف المقاومة لاسقاط مؤامرات اعراب الخليج وسيدهم في البيت الابيض وصِنْوهُمْ الصهيوني قد حققت الكثير من النجاحات، سواءٌ في إسقاط مخطط تدمير الدولة السوريه وتفتيتها او في لبنان وفلسطين او في اليمن الصامد، الذي سيستكمل هزيمة قوى العدوان ويعلن انتصاره الناجز، على قوى العدوان الاميركي البريطاني الفرنسي الاسرائيلي السعودي الاماراتي وبعض السماسرة والمرتزقة الآخرين، ويلحق بهم الهزيمة النكراء قبل نهاية هذا العام، بإذن الله.

نصر يعتقد المراقبون بأنه سيترافق مع سقوط متزعم الحرب الظالمة على اليمن، محمد بن سلمان، وتوقع قيام دولة في نجد والحجاز، تختلف جذرياً عن المملكة الوهابية الحالية التي باتت مثالاً ونموذجاً للقمع والاستبداد والتبعية والعبودية للأجنبي القادم من وراء البحار ونهوض عالم جديد لا مكان فيه لضعفاء النفوس المتسولين على موائد الدول التي كانت يوماً كبرى وهي في طريقها للأفول وإن بعد حين…!

عالم ينهار

عالم ينهض

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله.

Might Belarus become the next Syria?

The Saker

Might Belarus become the next Syria?
Lukashenko and son

August 24, 2020

Okay, I admit it, the title is rather hyperbolic 🙂  But here is what I am trying to say: there are signs that Russia is intervening in the Belarusian crisis (finally!)

Second, Lukashenko did something rather weird, but which makes perfectly good sense in the Belarusian context: he dressed himself in full combat gear, grabbed an AKSU-74 assault rife, dressed his (15 year old!) son also in full combat gear (helmet included) and flew in his helicopter over Minsk and then landed in the Presidential building.  They then walked to the riot cops, where Lukashenko warmly thanked them and which resulted in the full police force giving him a standing ovation.  To most of us this behavior might look rather outlandish if not outright silly.  But in the context of the Belarusian crisis, which is a crisis primarily fought in the informational realm, it makes perfectly good sense.

  • Last week Lukashenko said that no other elections, nevermind a coup, will happen as long as he is alive.
  • This time Lukashenko decided to show, symbolically, that he is in charge and that he will die fighting along his son if needed.

The message here is clear: “I am no Ianukovich and, if needed, I will die just like Allende died”.

Needless to say, the AngloZionist propaganda machine has immediately declared that seeing Lukashenko carrying a Kalashnikov is a clear sign that he has gone insane.  In the western context, if this was, say, Luxembourg or Belgium this accusation of insanity would be spot on.  But in the Belarusian context, these accusations get very little traction, chalk it up to cultural differences if you wish.

To understand how powerful this message is, we need to keep in mind the two key rumors that the Empire’s PSYOP operation was trying to convey to the people of Belarus:

  • There are profound differences amongst and inside the ruling elites (especially the so-called “siloviki” – the “power ministries” if you want, like Internal Affairs or KGB).
  • Lukashenko either has already fled the country or is about to flee it (each time a helicopter files over Minsk, the western PSYOPs say that this is footage of Lukashenko “fleeing the country”).

I have a strong suspicion that what happened between Putin and Lukashenko is very similar to what happened between Putin and Assad: initially, both Assad and Lukashenko apparently thought that pure violence will solve the problem.  That profoundly mistaken belief resulted in a situation in which the legitimate authorities were almost overthrown (and this is still possible in Belarus).  In each case, the Russians clearly said something along the lines of “we will help you, but you have to radically change your methods”.  Assad listened.  Lukashenko apparently did too, at least to some degree (this process has just begun).

The truth is that the opposition is in a difficult situation: the vast majority of the people of Belarus clearly do not want a violent coup, followed by a bloody civil war, a total deindustrialization of the country and a total submission to the Empire, i.e. they don’t want to go down the “Ukie way”.  But how to you *legally* overthrow a government, especially if that government now sends the clear message “we will die before we allow you to seize power”?

Then there is the immense problem with Tikhanovskaia: while few believe that she got 10% and Lukashenko got 80% – nobody sincerely believes that she beat him.  So while the West wants to paint Lukashenko as “the next Maduro“, it is practically impossible to convince anybody “that Tikhanovskaia is the next Guaido“.

So where do we go from here?

Well, Lukashenko has not fired Foreign Minister Makei or KGB Head Vakulchik.  Truth be told, I tend to agree with some Russian analysts who say that Makei is not really the problem, and that the main russophobe in Minsk is Lukashenko himself (just one example: he was the one who removed the four Russian Sukhois which Russia had sent to help Belarus control their airspace).  It is quite true that Lukashenko runs all his ministries with an iron hand and that saying that Makei is all evil and black while Lukashenko is this white, innocent, victim is not very credible.  However, even if Makei and Vakulchik were only executing Lukashenko’s orders, then now need to fall in their swords as a sign of contrition and reparation towards Russia.  Still, the Russians will probably indicate the Lukashenko that the Kremlin will not work with these turncoats.

Then there are the public statements of the Belarusian Minister of Defense, Viktor Khrenin, who says all then right things and who seems to take a very hard line against those western forces which are behind this latest attempt at a color revolution.  It is well known in Russia that while Belarusian diplomats seems to, how shall I put it, prefer smiles to substantive collaboration with Russia.  The case of the Belarusian military is quite different, not only do the Russian and Belarusian militaries train together, they also share intelligence on a reportedly continuous basis.  Besides, without Russia the Belarusian military would find itself completely isolated, unable to procure technical support or parts, disconnected from the Russian early warning systems and removed from Russian intelligence support.

The Belarusian military is dramatically different from the Ukrainian military which had practically lost its combat readiness decades ago, which was then purged from all real patriots, and which was fantastically corrupt.  In contrast, the comparatively small Belarusian military is, by all accounts, very well-trained, decently equipped and commanded by very competent officers.  I think that it is a safe bet to say that the armed forces are loyal to Lukashenko and that they would probably welcome a full reunification with Russia.

As for Lukashenko himself, he has, for the first time, allowed an openly pro-Russian party to register (in the past, pro-Russian movements, organizations and parties were systematically persecuted and shut down).  He also declared on public TV that “his friend Putin” advised him on how to react to the demonstrators.

So will Belarus become the next Syria?

Well, no, of course not, the two countries are way too different.  But in a different sense, what happened in Syria might happen in Belarus: Russia will provide her full support, but only in exchange for major reforms on all levels.  And though Lukashenko now declares that the West only wants to destroy Belarus as a first phase of destroying all of Russia, I do not believe that there is any chance for a military conflict, unless one of three things happen:

  1. Some nutcase on either side opens fire and triggers a military incident (and even that might not be enough)
  2. The Poles get really desperate and do something fantastically dumb (Polish history demonstrates that this is a very real possibility)
  3. Lukashenko is killed and chaos ensues (not very likely either)

We must remember that when Russia intervened in Syria, the Syrian military was in shambles and basically defeated.  This is not at all the case in Belarus which has a superb military (of the “lean and mean” sort) and they can secure their own country, especially when backed by the KGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs forces.

Still, while Lukashenko might be part of the solution in the short term, in the long term he must go and be replaced by a trustworthy leader whom the Belarusian people and the Kremlin could really trust and that leader’s main task will be to fully reintegrate Belarus into Russia.  Again, a major difference with Syria.

Belarus: Why Is Lukshenko Being Color Revolutioned Just Now?

By F. William Engdahl

Global Research, August 21, 2020

The globalist Powers That Be have clearly decided to topple the long-standing sole-ruler of Belarus, President Aleksander Lukashenko. The question is why at just this time? There is a case to be made that one reason is he is being destroyed for his unforgivable coronavirus defiance. In any case Belarus is being hit with a full force West-led Color Revolution. The protests over the August 9 election show every sign of the usual Color Revolution destabilization protests, manufactured by the usual Western NGOs, as well as private contractors using social media to steer the protests.

Under Lukashenko’s regime, the country defied WHO and the global coronavirus lockdown demands. He refused to order lockdown of his citizens or the economy. As of August 13 the country had recorded a total of 617 covid19 related deaths. Belarus stood together with Sweden and the US State of South Dakota as one of the very few places in the world to successfully disprove the bizarre and dangerous WHO demands for a global lockdown to control the pandemic. Belarus ordered no lockdown so most industry continued. Schools remained open other than a 3 week closing during Easter. There were no mask requirements, though volunteer groups distributed masks to some and in June the EU sent a shipment of PPE including masks to Health officials for distribution. Football and the May 9 Victory parade went as normal. And now the country stands as an example the WHO and friends do not want.

One very important point is that the Health Ministry ignored the very flawed WHO recommendations on loosely classifying deaths as Covid19 when only a “suspicion” is there. The basis for the Belarus pathologists to state the cause of death from coronavirus is the presence of a patho-morphological picture with laboratory confirmation of Covid-19.i

This all did not sit well with the globalist Powers That Be. The manifestly corrupt WHO, whose main private donor is the Gates Foundation, criticized Lukashenko’s government for lack of quarantine and in June, when announcing it would grant Belarus a $940 million loan, the IMF said it was conditional on the country imposing quarantine, isolation and closed borders, demands Lukashenko rejected as “nonsense.” He noted in a widely-quoted statement, “the IMF continues to demand from us quarantine measures, isolation, a curfew. This is nonsense. We will not dance to anyone’s tune.”

Color Revolution Begins

Clearly NATO and the Western globalist circles have been working on toppling Lukashenko well before the covid19 events. That coronavirus defiance may only have helped galvanize events. The West and its “democracy” NGOs have long had Lukashenko in their targets. During the Bush Administration in 2008 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denounced Lukashenko as Europe’s “last dictator.” After that, Russia created the Eurasian Economic Union along with Kazakhstan and Belarus as members. Until now Lukashenko has refused Putin’s proposal to merge with Russia in one large Union State. That may soon change.

The protests broke out in Belarus after elections on August 9 gave Lukashenko some 80% of the vote against his last-minute opposition candidate, the ‘western’ candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Those protests are being run using the same model that the CIA and its various “democracy” NGOs, led by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) developed in Serbia, Ukraine, Russia and numerous other states whose leaders refused to bow to the globalist dictates. A co-founder of the NED, Allen Weinstein, declared in the Washington Post in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” The NED gets its financing from the US government, but poses around the world as a “private” democracy-promoting NGO, where it was instrumental in most every Washington-backed regime change destabilizations since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

In 2019, the NED listed on its website some 34 NED project grants in Belarus. All of them were directed to nurture and train an anti-Lukashenko series of opposition groups and domestic NGOs. The grants went for such projects as, “NGO Strengthening: To increase local and regional civic engagement… to identify local problems and develop advocacy strategies.” Another was to “expand an online depository of publications not readily accessible in the country, including works on politics, civil society, history, human rights, and independent culture.” Then another NED grant went, “To defend and support independent journalists and media.” And another, “NGO Strengthening: To foster youth civic engagement.” Another large NED grant went to, “training democratic parties and movements in effective advocacy campaigns.”ii Behind the innocent-sounding NED projects is a pattern of creating a specially-trained opposition on the lines of the CIA’s NED model.

Belarus Kicks Off Large-scale Military Drills Near Poland, Lithuania

The Murky Nexta

A key role in coordinating the “spontaneous” protests was played by a Warsaw-based texting and video channel called “Nexta,” based on the Telegram messaging app. Nexta, which is Belarusian for “somebody,” is nominally headed by a 22-year old Belarus exile based in Poland named Stepan Putila. With the Belarus Internet shut by the government since days, Nexta, operating from Poland, has posted numerous citizen videos of protest and police crackdown and claims now to have 2 million followers. It quickly became the heart of the Color Revolution once Belarus shut its Internet access.

Stepan Putila is also known under the moniker Stepan Svetlov. Putila previously worked for the Warsaw-based Belsat channel which broadcasts propaganda into Belarus and is funded by the Polish Foreign Ministry and USAID. The co-founder and Editor in Chief at Nexta since March, 2020 is a Belarus exile named Roman Protasevich who used to work for the US Government’s propaganda media, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Protasevich also worked for the Polish-based Euroradio which is partly funded by USAID. He was active in the CIA’s 2013-14 Maidan Square demonstrations in Kiev and according to his Facebook likes is close to Ukrainian neo-nazi Pahonia Detachment. In April 2018, Protasevich ends up at the US State Department in Washington, a notable contact. On his Facebook then he noted, “The most important week in my life begins.” The same day he posted a picture of himself inside the US State Department, stating “Never had so many important and interesting encounters in my life.”iii After he left Washington he went to work for the USAID-funded radio in Belarus Euroradio.fm on August 31, 2018. Two years later Protasevich is coordinating the anti-Lukashenko events from Warsaw via Nexta. Coincidence?

Nexta which uses the London-registered Telegram, and is in NATO-member Poland, outside the country, so far has eluded shutdown. Nexta has been sending out, via social media, such information as plans for protests, at what time and where to gather for a rally, when to start a strike, where police are assembled and so on. Nexta has also circulated texts of protesters’ demands, updates about arrests, locations of arrests by riot police, and contacts for lawyers and human rights defenders as well as maps showing where police are located and addresses for protesters to hide in.

It has also advised subscribers how to bypass internet blocking by using proxies and other means. As Maxim Edwards, a pro-opposition British journalist at Global Voices, describes Nexta, “It is clear that the channel does not merely report on the protests, but has played a substantial role in organising them.”iv

No doubt such coordination from abroad would not be possible unless Nexta had some very sophisticated assistance from certain intelligence services. Nexta claims it depends on “donations” and ads for funding, but claims to get no “grants” from governments or foundations. Whether true or not, it is an answer that gives little clarity. Is USAID one of their “donors” or the Open Society Foundations? The relevant point is that Nexta uses cyber technology that Belarus is not able to shut down. In 2018 the Russian governments unsuccessfully tried to ban Telegram for refusing to reveal their source codes.

Global Stakes

The opposition political candidates to Lukashenko is also surprisingly clever in tactics, suggesting they are being guided by professionals. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya the alleged “political novice” who stepped in when her husband was arrested and forbidden to run, claims she won the election based on exit pollers. On August 14 Tikhanovskaya announced that she was forming a “coordination council” to secure a peaceful transfer of power. It echoed the earlier call by another opposition candidate, Valery Tsepkalo, a former Belarus Ambassador to Washington who, like Tikhanovskaya’s husband Sergei Tikhanovsky, was barred from running for president. Tsepkalo called it a “national salvation front.”

Though Belarus is a small country of less than 10 million, the stakes of this destabilization effort of the West are enormous. In 2014 the Obama CIA head John Brennan led a US-backed coup d’etat in Ukraine to prevent Ukraine joining Russia’s economic union. That coup has not given Ukraine anything positive. Instead it has resulted in rule but by other corrupt oligarchs, but friendly with Washington, especially under Obama.

The NED tried in 2018 to destabilize Armenia, another part of the Russian Eurasian Economic Union. Were they now to break off Belarus, the military and political consequences for Russia could be severe. Whether or not the Lukashenko defiance of the WHO coronavirus dictates had a role in the timing of the ongoing Minsk Color Revolution attempt, clearly some powers that be in the West, including the EU and Washington would love to collapse Belarus as they did in Ukraine six years ago. If they succeed we can be sure they will be emboldened to try Russia after.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site, williamengdahl.com.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. 

Notes

Natalya Grigoryeva, How Belarus Ignored the WHO and Beat Coronavirus, FRN, June 21, 2020, https://fort-russ.com/2020/06/covid-19-psychosis-defeated-how-belarus-ignored-the-who-and-beat-coronavirus/

NED, Belarus 2019, https://www.ned.org/region/central-and-eastern-europe/belarus-2019/

Anonymous, Roman Protasevich, August 17, 2020, https://www.foiaresearch.net/person/roman-protasevich

Maxim Edwards, How one Telegram channel became central to Belarus protests, August 19, 2020, https://radioeonline.com/2020/08/19/how-one-telegram-channel-became-central-to-belarus-protests/

Featured image:  Protest rally against Lukashenko, 16 August. Minsk, Belarus License: The Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license Under Some Conditions https://bit.ly/325WwSw


seeds_2.jpg

Seeds of Destruction: Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

Author Name: F. William EngdahlISBN Number: 978-0-937147-2-2Year: 2007Pages: 341 pages with complete index

List Price: $25.95

Special Price: $18.00

This skilfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.”

This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO. Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms.

The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © F. William Engdahl, Global Research, 2020

Two clicks to midnight

Two clicks to midnight

Two clicks to midnight[1]

by Ken Leslie for The Saker Blog

While I was absent from this esteemed blog focusing on other things, an extremely dangerous situation started to develop and I found myself reaching for the keyboard again. If some of my previous writings were a bit alarmist, the tone was motivated by a genuine angst before an unfeeling and unstoppable machine of conquest and destruction the likes of which the world had never seen. And angst it is—anybody with an ounce of common sense can see that the World is hurtling towards some kind of catastrophe. Whether this occurs in a year or five is less relevant. The point is that we are witnessing a process of rapid implosion of the current global system and are not able to see what will replace it. There is no compelling vision of the future—a universal vessel of hope that would transport us across the turbulent waters of fundamental change. This time I am not anxious but resigned. Resignation does not imply learned helplessness—unlike most people around me I am grateful for the ability to be aware of the danger and to articulate what I see as the truth without fear or self-censorship.

Oh, and if the post sounds like a rant, that’s because it is one.

Some academics (ideologues?) such as Steven Pinker have argued that things are much better than they were a 100 years ago—at least in terms of deaths caused by wars and other hard indicators of well-being. Although it pains me to say that Pinker could be correct, this essay is not about “progress” but about the approach of the ultimate regress—the unavoidable and ultimately catastrophic clash between the “West” and the “East”. A couple of months ago I was writing about the danger of NATO hordes closing in on Moscow from the Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics only to realize that unless a miracle happens, in a few months, Russia will be completely surrounded by enemies. The only exceptions—Norway at the extreme North and Azerbaijan at the extreme South are less relevant at the moment but as we have seen recently, these countries too are being subjected to accelerated weaponization—just yesterday, a Russian diplomat was detained in Norway and Azerbaijan is involved in a tense standoff with a (supposed) ally of Russia.

The fracturing and occupation of the post-Soviet space that began in 1991 is almost complete. More or less willingly, the former Warsaw pact and buffer states of Eastern Europe joined the criminal alliance that is NATO and over the last 30 years gradually prepared for the coming war against Russia. When did it all begin? The blueprint for the current mechanism was established by the Nazi Germany which narrowed the distance between itself and the Soviet Union over a few years. Moreover, the political mechanism behind the new Drang (the European Union) was designed in 1944 by Hitler’s economic experts (and put into practice by the founder of the CIA, William Donovan). It should be noted that on his way to the USSR, Hitler had to “pacify” a few countries including Poland, France, Yugoslavia and Greece. This time around, the whole West is united in its enmity towards Russia (economic links notwithstanding) and ALL European countries with the exception of Serbia and Byelorussia have placed themselves willingly in the anti-Russian camp. This is not to say that the majority of people in those countries hate Russia (in many they do) but that the governing cliques and military juntas inside various NATO satrapies are ready to contribute to the “joint effort to bring freedom and democracy” to the “benighted Rus”.

Of these two pariahs, the Serbs, despite their love of Russia are doomed by geography and by the privilege of being the only nation to have a piece of their country (Kosovo and Metohija) taken away, of being bombed by the combined forces of the West for 78 days and having a quarter of a million of their number cruelly expelled from their homeland in Srpska Krajina (currently occupied by Croatia). Exhausted and surrounded by enemies, the Serbs can do little to stop the clock ticking towards the Armageddon. This leaves Byelorussia, the only post-Soviet country that has not flirted with overt Russophobia and whose president showed many signs of real independence of mind vis-à-vis the West. Alexander Lukashenko’s personal bravery is not in question. In the midst of the NATO bombing in 1999, he visited Belgrade and declared himself openly pro-Serb. He signed the accession to the Union State between his country and Russia that same year.[2] He was somebody who wanted to preserve the positive legacy of the Soviet Union and his unwillingness to toe the EU line (pro-German “democracy” at home and anti-Russian posture abroad) earned him the sobriquet of the “last European dictator”.

But then, things started to go wrong, especially after the Nazi takeover of the Ukraine in 2014. Lukashenko might have started to feel isolated and between Western pressure and ossification of his quasi-socialist system (nothing wrong with it in principle), he began to turn against his only genuine ally—Russia. The reasons for this U turn are complex but at this moment also irrelevant. Whatever the cause of the cooling of the relations between Russia and Byelorussia, the consequences are dire and are fast becoming catastrophic. To understand the gravity of the situation, we should be able to see the “Gestalt”—the whole of the current geopolitical situation and its trends. That a global conflict between the West and the East is in the offing there is no doubt. Not only has Russia been targeted since the mid-1990s, but the total war on China and Iran declared by Trump and his Jesuitical agents provocateurs confirms absolutely that we are facing something unprecedented. I need to remind the reader that nothing like this was even remotely possible only 30 years ago. The brazenness and sheer bloodthirst of the new Operation Barbarossa with its global ambitions dwarfs any conquests known to history. What boggles the mind is how successful it has been.

No bromides about how strong Russia is, how well it’s coping (I repeat—coping) with the cruel sanctions by the West will suffice this time. No empty hope that somehow the miserable quisling statelets from the Balkans to the Baltics will experience a Zen-like enlightenment and disobey their Western masters. No false hope that the push towards Russia’s borders can somehow be reversed and no end in sight to the total war waged by the combined “West” (a dire temporary reconciliation of a resurgent Roman Catholicism, neutered Protestantism and newly respectable Zionism). From this point on, there is no going back. The distance between Moscow and the closest point in the Ukraine is 440 km (as crow flies). In the case of Byelorussia, it is 410 km. Although symbolic, this advance would be hugely important for the would-be conquerors as it is for Russia. Starting with Orsha in Byelorussia, the path to Moscow leads through Smolensk, Vyazma and Mozhaysk—towns that experienced so much suffering in WWII because they were on the road to Moscow. But what about the suffering of Byelorussia? It was probably the worst-suffering Soviet republic with an unknown number of people killed or sent of to Germany as slave labour and uncountable number of villages and towns destroyed.

None of this matters in the upside-down Western world view in which black is white and white is black. It is a world in which the close descendants of the worst war criminals in history are now the unofficial rulers of Europe together with their Gallic poodles and Anglo-Saxon frenemies, while the nation which bore the brunt of the cruellest genocide ever is being attacked by those same criminals again—as if two Vernichtungskriege in 30 years weren’t enough.

Many will point out that we are already at war and this would be true. The threat of a nuclear conflict has prompted Western strategists to think of alternative ways of destroying their opponents. We are talking about a broad-spectrum effort which includes political, economic, intelligence, cultural, psychological, religious and military components. By weaving these different strands into a single coordinated strategy, the West is hoping (and succeeding) in getting closer to Moscow every day without igniting a global nuclear war. This time however, it is different. Not only has the West crossed Russia’s geopolitical red lines, it has given notice that it will stop at nothing until Russia is defeated and destroyed. They are skilfully neutralising Russia’s nuclear deterrent by inflicting a thousand cuts from all sides without suffering any harm themselves. Two days ago, a Russian major general was killed by America’s proxies in Syria while delivering food to the people of Idlib. Today, Alexey Navalny is in a coma after an alleged poisoning attempt. The quickening is palpable but no event demonstrates the current danger better than the attempted colour revolution in Byelorussia which is unfolding as we speak.

The genius of the Western destruction-mongers lies not in their ingenuity and creativity but in their understanding of the lower reaches of human nature (in this respect they have no peer). They know how to exploit weaknesses such as greed, envy and ego and especially people’s susceptibility to vices. Moreover, these agents of darkness know that most people are frightened, helpless, largely ignorant and easily swayed and distracted. With this knowledge and an inexhaustible source of money, the West has settled on a winning scheme of “peaceful” conquest which has brought it all the way from the Atlantic coast to the gates of Moscow after 30 years of colour revolutions, coups and open war. I need to stress the importance and success of this “boiling frog” strategy.[3] There is nothing new or surprising in their latest move on Lukashenko—the same combination of underground CIA-funded networks from Poland, Ukraine and the Baltics and incompetent opposition which is transformed into a “plausible democratic alternative” overnight. Nazi-linked symbols, Russophobic vultures such as the buzzard-faced Bernard Henri-Levi circling above the scene, invented ancient roots… It’s all there.

But that is not why I’m writing. Throughout my years as a keen observer of the latest (and last) Drang, I have been fascinated by the patterns of behaviour (on a geopolitical level) which seem to come straight out of a history book to describe the period circa 1940. While the Western juggernaut hurtles through space, the decorum of “partnership” is maintained to the very last moment. Even though a few lonely voices are screaming that the war is inevitable and that Russia must neutralise any further advances by the new Nazis, most people are distracted by COVID, Joe Biden’s dementia and other nonsense. This could be cowardice but could also be wisdom in the face of an inevitable tragedy.

Even the tone of the Russian diplomacy is slowly changing—as it did in the autumn of 1940 following the cooling of German-Soviet relations. The ever measured and moderate Sergei Lavrov (like Vyacheslav Molotov before him) has started describing the international situation in more realistic terms using noticeably harsher language. Nevertheless, unless Russia does something very quickly, it will find itself completely surrounded and unable to defend itself as it did in 1941—hypersonic weapons notwithstanding.

However, the most fascinating aspect of this latest escalation is the fact that another colour revolution could be attempted at all and that Russia is still unable to assert itself in its neighbourhood, if only in order to save itself. “Unable” is perhaps too strong a word. What I mean is that unlike the West which is achieving its geopolitical goals without shedding blood and even without suffering any significant economic damage (no, Russian countersanctions have not crippled Germany or France), the Russians know that any attempts to stop and reverse the Western push will cost them dearly—primarily in terms of further isolation from all Western countries (already, Russian diplomats are being detained and expelled throughout the EU, as if in anticipation of the Byelorussian endgame). [4]The Western planners know that Russia can survive on its own but they also know that it can’t survive for long if deprived of the oxygen of international exchange—the feeling that it belongs to the family of European nations. No Eurasian ideology can ever replace the esteem in which Europe has been held by Russian intellectuals. While I see this pronounced inferiority complex as Russia’s curse, I have to acknowledge it in order to explain president Putin’s attempts to get various EU countries on his side.

It is not so much about economy but about Russia’s eternal yearning to prove itself worthy of “European standards” despite the fact that it was Europe that has been attacking Russia relentlessly and is guilty of crippling it possibly beyond healing. Hope springs eternal. And yet, president Putin must be aware of the dirty double-dealing game the EU is playing (I am giving the villain du jour a miss this time) by leaning on the United States to re-establish its hegemony over the Eurasian, African and Middle-Eastern space while lecturing Putin and Lukashenko on the merits of democracy. There is something deeply hypocritical—not to say Jesuitical—about EUs posture. It is doing everything in its power to isolate and weaken Russia while offering carrots such as Nord stream 2. This is much more pernicious than the open enmity of Trump and his crude supremacism because it offers the deeply unpleasant EU block an opportunity to play a good cop towards Russia at no cost to itself. Compared with the US’s Berserker-like attack on anything and everything, the EU appears “reasonable” and ready for a compromise by comparison—but this is only a dangerous illusion.

While the EU is wholeheartedly supporting the new Maidan (relying on the nazified pockets in the West of Byelorussia and the usual pro-Western suspects), it has the temerity to issue warnings to Putin not to “meddle” and to Lukashenko not to “oppress”. This coming from a president who has been perpetrating mass violence on the peaceful demonstrators in the centre of Paris for over a year. Even worse, Angela Merkel who is initiating a more muscular foreign policy under the guidance of expansionist hawks who are champing at the bit to replace her (Annegret whatever and Ursula I don’t care) dares lecture Russia on interfering in other countries’ affairs—after her illustrious predecessors. the CDU crypto-Nazis Kohl, Kinkel and Genscher destroyed Yugoslavia (only for Russian top partnyor Gerhardt Schröder to finish the job by sending German bombers, spies and military trainers to Serbia in 1999). And yet, all Russia can do is appeal meekly to the EU in the hope that the Ukrainian scenario will not recur. Promises of military help given to Lukashenko are almost worthless in the light of the cumulative EUs response—which would be nothing short of traumatic. The proof of this is the complete support by Germany for the Ukrainian regime notwithstanding its dirty role in overthrowing Yanukovich and undermining the Minsk accords.

So, what am I trying to say? The moment of reckoning has arrived. Despite the heroic battle by President Putin and his comrades to buy time and delay the inevitable, the time for procrastination and appeasement has passed. Russia must choose between a difficult but sustainable future and no future at all. The Western offensive has destroyed all buffers between Russia and its enemies and although this might not mean much militarily, it has a vast symbolic value.[5] If Byelorussia goes, Russia remains geopolitically isolated like never before. Furthermore, its enemies, far from collapsing as many have been predicting, are strong and more united than ever despite various internecine squabbles.[6] This is not to say that Russia is at the death’s door. On the contrary, it is precisely because it is so resilient and forward-looking that its enemies are compelled to ramp up the pressure.

Even if Lukashenko survives the current jeopardy, he will cease to be a relevant political factor in years to come. The weakening of his rule (however clumsy and obsolescent) can mean only one thing—the infiltration of the Byelorussian political life by various pro-Western agents of influence who will find it easy to corrupt and disrupt by dipping into NED’s and USAID’s seemingly inexhaustible coffers. The moment Russia intervenes in the affairs of Minsk in any detectable way, it will be subjected to a barrage of hatred, military threats and punitive measures that have not been seen before. President Putin has an unenviable choice—act sub rosa (like he has been doing in the Donbass) and watch Byelorussia slowly descend into an orgy of anti-Russian madness or intervene openly and risk alienating the EU further, at a time when the fate of the lifeline pipeline crucially depends on EUs goodwill and willingness to antagonise Trump (a perfect good cop, bad cop scenario played by the USA and EU).

All of this is clear to president Putin and his cabinet and I have no doubt that they are burning midnight oil trying to think of the best ways to counter the Western aggression. Yet, history still holds valuable lessons. Stung by what he saw as the betrayal by the British and the French, Joseph Stalin signed a non-aggression treaty with Hitler in order to delay the inevitable. The period of collaboration involved the USSR shipping oil to Germany, oil which would later power German tanks on the road to Stalingrad. Although he did buy enough time to execute some important war preparations, Stalin waited far too long. Months after having received reports of German reconnaissance planes overflying Byelorussia and Ukraine, Stalin refused to believe that Hitler would betray him and ascribed the “anti-German” panic to the agents of Winston Churchill. Yet, this time he was horribly wrong and his error cost the USSR millions of lives and billions in damage. None of the subsequent amazing victories of the Soviet arms would quite wash away the bitter taste of Stalin’s epic blunder of 1941.

The historical lesson I was alluding to is simple yet devilishly hard to implement because it is “two-tailed”. In other words, the possibility of a deadly miscalculation stretches equally in both temporal directions away from the point that represents a timely decision. In other words, given the huge stakes that are involved, making a correct decision is well-nigh impossible. And although the choice can be defended post-hoc, especially if it results in a victory, we can never know if a better decision could not have been made. Like Stalin, Putin is facing the Scylla and Charybdis of time, only I would argue that he is facing an even more difficult decision. For all its weaknesses, the Soviet Union was much larger than its successor state and possessed by far the largest armed forces in the world (to say nothing about the reserves of raw materials and workforce). The factor that probably decided its fate was a relative weakness of the fifth column inside the country and the ability of the security services to neutralise pro-German networks operating inside the country. President Putin has entered the twilight zone in which the smallest mistake can cost him everything. I don’t envy him but pray for his wisdom and Russia’s preparedness.

Of course, circumstances have changed dramatically and today’s warfare bears scant resemblance to the mass movement of army fronts across thousands of kilometres of chernozem and steppe. These days, the crude manoeuvring of armoured columns has been replaced by silent software attacks on a state’s currency system and infrastructure, covert takeovers and sabotage of its assets, denial of open and free intercourse with other countries, replacement of the indigenous values and goals by the foreign dogma and suborning of its institutions to will of the Empire. This new form of warfare requires sophistication and intercontinental co-ordination. Occasionally, we are made aware of the bloopers of the Western intelligence services and their silly attempts to blame Russia for all their ills, but make no mistake! The cumulative effect of their misdeeds has been a complete homogenisation of the European space along the Russophobic lines prescribed by the behind-the-scene bosses. Let me put it this way: If tomorrow the USA and the EU were to declare a war on Russia, do you believe that any of the Slav vassals would openly defy the clarion call? Again, let me give you a couple of examples from history.

When NATO bombed Serbia, not a single country refused to participate in this egregious war crime and the honour of defying the black criminal cabal of Brussels belongs to a few heroic soldiers from Greece, Spain and France. With Iraq it was different in that Germany and France did not feel sufficiently incentivised to participate in what they saw as a neocon-inspired Anglo-Saxon adventure (for which they have been lauded no end). To pre-empt the possibility of future betrayal by its vassals, the US has shifted to a new strategy which seeks to weaken Russia (or China) without having to mobilise military “coalitions of the willing”. The war is being fought in small, almost invisible increments which do not require absolute allegiance to the cause and payment in blood.

The new army consists of spies, computer and finance specialists, thinktank ideologues, NGO “activists”, “security experts” and other assorted ghouls whose victories are not measured in square kilometres of conquered territory or body counts but in fractions of a percent of damage caused to the currency, prestige or freedom of action of the enemy. This leaves a lot of space for “plausible deniability” and the maintenance of the “business as usual” posture while the deadly blows are administered below the waterline. It also bamboozles the ordinary people into thinking that the war could never happen. It can and it will.

Another consequence will be accelerated squeezing and neutralisation of the semi-impotent Serbia and the final Gleichschaltung of the Eastern wing of NATO in preparation for a more muscular phase of the war. This will involve transferring more troops and missiles to the East (but always under the retaliation threshold), closing down of Russia’s embassies and consulates in Europe while pretending to oppose the United States, closing down financing channels and media outlets, making life miserable for Russian citizens and businessmen abroad plus hundreds more nasty tricks. In many ways, the strategy of sustained pressure is more dangerous than open conflict because it sucks out hope from the people of the affected country—the hope that they will be treated as equals by the “cultured” West. A similar tactic has been used against China but China is in a much better economic position to withstand such pressures.

The fall of Lukashenko and “old Byelorussia” can mean only one thing—an intensified total war which Russia will have to face totally isolated. If Russia’s last real ally (yes, that’s what he is) can be removed with such ease, Russia cannot hope to attract and keep long-term allies and neutral partners. This is only partly Russia’s fault. The power aligned against it is unprecedented in history and I am praying that Russia will be able to overcome the forces of evil again.

One piece of good news though—the dissolute Jesuitical warmonger Bannon has been arrested for fraud—finally showing the Chinese the fruits of a “Christian” education.

Notes:

  1. The illustration has been borrowed from the irreplaceable Colonel Cassad (Boris Rozhin) whose blog most of us visit regularly. The link is: https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/6110832.html 
  2. Generally, I agree with the Saker that Byelorussia should not exist as an independent state. Nor should the Ukraine for that matter, apart from the Uniate appendage of Galicia. 
  3. From Wikipedia: “The boiling frog is a fable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of sinister threats that arise gradually rather than suddenly.” 
  4. A recent episode has infuriated me no end. After helping Italy to stem the spread of COVID in a gesture of friendship and good will, the Russian air force has had to chase an Italian military aeroplane that was approaching the Russian Black Sea coast. Even if this was an attempt by the Americans to poison the relations between the two nations, it is inexcusable and leaves another stain of dishonour on the standard of the much abused battle standard of Italy. 
  5. Actually, it does mean a lot militarily because it allows for all kinds of fast aggressive moves for which Russia cannot find timely countermeasures. In today’s world of nanosecond processing, 10 km is a huge distance. 
  6. If you think that Brexit and Greek-Turkish tensions prove me wrong, remember that modern European history was a never-ending saga of bloody and destructive wars. 

Will Belarus become the next Banderastan?

THE SAKER • AUGUST 19, 2020

The situation in Belarus is evolving very rapidly, and not for the better, to say the least. A lot has been going on, but here is a summary of what are the most crucial developments in my opinion:

  • Last Sunday was a major success for the Belarusian opposition: huge crowds took to the streets of several Belarusian cities and, in most cases, the demonstrations were peaceful.
  • Belarus now has its own “Juan Guaido” in the person of Svetlana Tikhanovskaia – whose only “qualification” to lead the opposition is that is that her husband is in jail. Tikhanovskaia has already declared herself the “national leader” of Belarus.
  • The Belarusian opposition formed a coordinating committee which is staffed by well-known and long-time rabid russophobes.
  • The program of the opposition (they call it “Reanimation package of reforms for Belarus”) is simple: new “fair” elections followed by the following goals: Belarus must withdrawn from all the collective agreements she has with Russia (including the union state, the SCO, etc.). Instead, the national goal ought to be, what else, to join NATO and the EU. All the Russian military forces in Belarus must be expelled. The Belarusian language must be reimposed, Ukie-style, on the Belarusian society (including, apparently, the military – good luck with that!). Russian organizations will be banned in Belarus, and Russian TV channels forbidden. The border with Russia must be closed. Next, a new, independent “Belarusian Orthodox Church” must be created. Finally, the Belarusian economy will “reformed” – meaning that whatever can be sold will be sold, then the country will be deindustrialized (like the Ukraine or the Baltic states).
  • At this point, it is pretty clear that the Western-controlled “opposition” has successfully taken over the control of the events from the very REAL local popular opposition. This mechanism (the hijacking of a truly popular and legitimate opposition by western controlled agents of influence) is exactly what happened in the Ukraine, in Syria and in many other places (I would eve argue that this is what is happening to the US right now). Some Belarusian ambassadors (Slovakia, Switzerland, Sweden) have now sided with the opposition just like what happened with Venezuela, Syria and other countries.

To be honest, there are more similarities between the recent events in Venezuela and what is now taking place in Belarus, it’s not just Tikhanovskaia as the Belarusian Guaido. For example, Lukashenko made at least as many, if not more, crucial mistakes than Maduro and now there is hell to pay for it.

Let’s look at Lukashenko’s actions:

  • Now Lukashenko is fuming against the West again, to the degree that he actually moved the most capable Belarusian military unit (the 103rd Special Mobile Guards Airborne Brigade from Vitebsk) to the western border, and the rest of the military forces have been put on high alert. Lukashenko explained that by saying that there is a real risk of western military intervention (which is utter nonsense, NATO does not have what it takes to attack Russia, which is present in Belarus, and survive).
  • Lukashenko and at least two of his ministers did go out to talk to the protesters, which is a courageous act which should not be overlooked (as in: Lukashenko, for all his very real faults, is no Ianukovich, and neither are many of his ministers). The meetings did not go well, especially for the two ministers who both clearly lack the undeniable personal charisma of Lukashenko.
  • Lukashenko has also publicly admitted that he has to engage Belarusian special forces against some demonstrations. He gave no further details, but that admission is interesting as it shows two things: a) since special forces had to be used, it means that other police forces were either unable or unwilling to control the situation and b) elite Belarusian forces are still backing Lukashenko
  • Lukashenko has also called Putin several times and he is now declaring that the current threat is not only a threat to Belarus, but also a threat to Russia. Clearly, Lukashenko is begging for Russian help.
  • Lukashenko has publicly declared “unless you remove me there will be no other elections” adding that the opposition would have to kill him before it will get to destroy Belarus (again – the dude is no Ianukovich).

Now let’s also note what Lukashenko has NOT done:

  • He has not fired his ministers of foreign affairs and the head of the Belarusian KGB (according to a pro opposition Telegram channel the Minister of Foreign Affairs did resign, but Lukashenko has rejected his resignation; this is one of the many rumors about Belarus inundating Telegram right now)
  • He has NOT declared that his so-called “multi-vector policy” (i.e. courting the West) was a mistake or that it has now been changed or abandoned. Clearly, and in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Lukashenko still hopes that he can somehow sit between the two chairs of submission to the Empire or reunification with Russia.
  • He has not apologized to Putin and/or Russia for all the false accusations he was hurling at them just a few days ago.
  • Paradoxically, following the numerous cases of wanton violence which the Belarusian cops used initially, now the streets are almost entirely free from any police forces. On one hand this is good, the violence used initially did A LOT of damage to the government and it got people very angry. Furthermore, the amount of violence by the opposition did dramatically decrease too, which is also good. But the problem is that there are now very clearly special organized groups, not necessarily formed by locals, who are now trying to seize power illegally and by violence. It is vital that the Belarusian KGB now locate and arrest these people. My fear is that the Belarusian KGB has been infiltrated by pro-western elements who will be hard to neutralize.

Now let’s look at what the “collective West” has done:

  • The West has clearly taken a consolidated, common, position towards this crisis. The West does not recognize the outcome of the elections and the West has now thrown its full weight behind the so-called “opposition”.
  • Western leaders have called Putin, apparently to demand that Russia not intervene in Belarus. Putin apparently told them that what is taking place is Belarus is none of their business, thank you.
  • It is now clear that the West will accept nothing short of what we could call a “Ukronazi outcome” and that the Empire will use all its resources short of military action to try to seize control of Belarus.

Next, let’s look at what Belarus’ neighbors are doing:

  • Very predictably, the Poles are clearly thinking that they will restore something which is know by the evocative (to some..) concept of “Rzeczpospolita” in Polish and which roughly translates as “Polish Commonwealth” (see here for a quick primer). In this context, it is very important to understand that modern Poland is an ideological heir to the infamous Józef Piłsudski (here for details). This means that Poland’s ultimate goal is to break up Russia, restore the Polish Commonwealth, and become a willing prostitute to the western power, especially the US (it is just as easy for the current Polish pseudo-patriots to prostitute their nation to the US as it was for Piłsudski to prostitute himself before Hitler). If some of you bump into the concepts of “Prometheism” or “Intermarium” then click on these words for more details. It is hardly surprising that the nation Winston Churchill called the “the hyena of Europe” would pounce on Belarus: the Poles always, always, attack when either they think that a) there is some big guy behind them and b) that their victim is weak. I fully expect the Pope to publicly “pray for peace in Belarus” and express his “distress” at the violence. Truly – this has been the same gang for almost 1000 years (see here and here) and they are still at it. There is really nothing new under the sun…
  • The clueless Balts also want to join the Rzeczpospolita for a very simple reasons: they are terrified that the West will eventually dump them and they know that by themselves they will never achieve anything. So as much as the Poles like to hide behind the US, the Balts like to hide behind Poland. Finally, these countries probably realize that even Belarus alone could prevail militarily over them, nevermind Russia, so they figure that united and protected by Uncle Shmuel they will seize Russia like they seized the Ukraine and finally (!) become the (collective?) “Prometheus” they think they are, but which history never allowed them to become.
  • As for the EU gerontocrats, they are just doing what they know how to do: try to impersonate some kind of (moral?) “authority” which gets to decide which elections are fair, which are not, which regimes get to beat up demonstrators (Macron anybody?) and which ones must immediately yield to the demands of a carefully controlled “opposition”. It is especially touching to see Merkel who clearly does not realize the utter contempt the Russians feel for her and for what she stands for.

Lastly, let’s look at what Putin and other Russians are saying:

  • Putin and Xi have both recognized the outcome of the elections. Frankly, I don’t know of any halfway serious source which would dispute the fact that Lukashenko beat Tikhanovskaia by a wide margin. Yes, I also seriously doubt the frankly silly 80% vs 10% figures, but I doubt those who say that Lukashenko lost even more. Neither Putin nor Xi will “unrecongnize” these elections. Which means that neither Putin nor Xi will ever accept the western narrative about what happened or what is happening now.
  • Putin’s reaction to Lukashenko’s phone calls appears to be a special kind of “restrained goodwill” or “polite benevolence”. Clearly, nobody in Russia has forgotten what just happened and I notice a very clear trend on Russian talkshows, news reports and articles: while most Russians sincerely see Belarusians as fellow Russian brothers, the level of frustration and even disgust with Lukashenko is hard not to notice, and it is only growing. Even very pro-Kremlin commentators are losing their cool with what Lukashenko is doing (they are no less angry at what Lukashenko is not doing), I think of Igor Korotchenko, the head of the Public Council under the Ministry of defense of the Russian Federation, a typical Kremlin-insider, who has now declared that the Belarusian Foreign Minister is a “foreign agent of influence” (which I don’t doubt) and that Russia ought to demand that he be fired. I can only agree with him.
  • Crucially, in the official summary transcript of the telephone conversation between Lukashenko and Putin the latter repeated that the integration between Russia and Belarus must continue. Here is how the Kremlin put it: “The Russian side reaffirmed its readiness to render the necessary assistance to resolve the challenges facing Belarus based on the principles of the Treaty on the Creation of a Union State, as well as through the Collective Security Treaty Organization, if necessary“. In other words, Putin is laying down the legal framework under which Russia might intervene in some manner, especially if such an intervention is officially requested by Minsk.

Now let’s summarize what is really taking place, I will also do that in the form of a bullet-point list:

  • There is no doubt that many Belarusians are fed up with Lukashenko
  • There is no doubt that many Belarusians still support Lukashenko (if only as a guarantor against a Ukraine-like collapse).
  • There is no doubt that the legitimate Belarusian opposition was quickly and effortlessly co-opted by western and, let’s call them “Promethean”, special services.
  • Lukashenko was so sure of himself, that he never bothered to really campaign, to talk and plead with his own people. He entered this election cocky sure of himself, only to find out that what is immediate entourage of yes-man (they stand when they report to him) either was lying or was clueless.
  • Next, it is also clear that Lukashenko was sure that between his KGB and the Belarusian riot police, he could easily clear the streets. And while this seemed to work for 24 hours, the last couple of days are proof that the regime has lost control of the streets and/or is clueless as to what to do next. Furthermore, while you can use riot police to disperse demonstrators, you cannot use this riot police to force anybody to work: there are many consistent reports of strikes in major Belarusian plans and corporation. How will Lukashenko force these people to work? He cannot. In fact, he specifically said so when he declared that strikes will destroy Belarus. There are now even reports that the company Belaruskalii, one of the most profitable companies in Belarus (it produces potassium fertilizer) has now stopped working.
  • In extremis, Lukashenko began calling Putin and he even said “we, Russians” during a public meeting. Right now I know of no respectable analyst in Russia who would believe that Putin owes Lukashenko anything.
  • The blame for what just happened cannot be placed solely on Lukashenko’s infinite arrogance, the infiltration of the Belarusian KGB or on Ukronazi provocations: it is possible that the SVR and GRU dropped the ball in this instance, in spite of the fact that what happened was easy to predict (and many did predict this). Had it not been for the superb work of the FSB, it is quite possible that by now some Russian citizens would be sitting in Ukronazi jails. The Russian Foreign Ministry also appears to have been caught off guard. I don’t necessarily feel that “heads should roll” at the SVR/GRU, but at the very least there ought to be a full internal investigation on why this crisis apparently caught the Kremlin off-guard and some “organizational conclusions” ought to be drawn. By the way, there is also the possibility that the SVR/GRU and Ministry of Foreign Affairs didprovide timely and substantive (actionable) warnings. In this case, the problem is with the heads of these services, the Russian government and the President. It is sometimes said that the process of intelligence involves three phases referred to as the “three As”: acquisition (data collection), analysis (data management and interpretation) and acceptance (convincing the political decision makers). I do, obviously, not know at what level this failure happened, but I see it as a clear sign of a major problem.

Now lets look at the core of the “Russian problem in Belarus”: it is simple, really: Belarusians are Russians, even more so than the Ukrainians. Not only that, but judging from the footage from Belarus (on all changes and from all sources), while the (supposed) “leaders” of the so-called “opposition” are all rabid russophobes, the vast majority of those who protested against Lukashenko are not.

The problem here is that it is impossible to get truly reliable numbers. Official Belarusian polls are a joke, but “opposition” polls, or western run polls, are probably even MORE unreliable. Then there is the fact that Minsk is somewhat of a special case amongst Belarusian cities. Furthermore, there is a difference between urban and rural Belarus. And, finally, the opposition itself is not monolithic at all, and when somebody is asked whether he supports Lukashenko or not, there are many possible reasons why somebody might reply “no” (heck, many Russians in Russia do not support Lukashenko either). So we have to accept that until some kind of normalcy return to Belarus and truly free elections are held, nobody will know for sure what percentage of Belarusian think about this crisis or Lukashenko.

Then there is the fact that, just as in Syria or the Ukraine, the initial protest were legitimate, both in terms of having many valid reasons to protest and in terms of being truly local, not controlled from aboard. But then, just as in Syria and in the Ukraine, these protests were infiltrated and co-opted by foreign agents. Ideally, Russia would want to support the original/real demonstrators as much as possible within reason and counter-act the infiltrated subversives. But how can the Russian separate them unless they themselves make it happen?

One idea circulated here and there is that Russia should intervene very openly, in the context of the Union State between Russia and Belarus and, even more so, under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Putin did mention this organization already, so this is definitely an option for Russia. But would that be a good option?

To be honest, I am not even sure that there are ANY good options left for Russia. I mentioned several times that I personally came to conclusion that the only possibly way for the Belarusian people to remain free is to join Russia. I still think that. However, I am not at all sure that this is even really possible right now, if only because the only interlocutor of Moscow in Belarus appears to be losing control of his own government and because there is no easy way to make progress on this issue while Belarus is at the very real risk of complete collapse.

The root cause of it all?

Corruption. As always.

It is often said that the Ukrainian leaders since 1991 were terrible, and that is true: every one of them seemed to be acting in some kind of toxic freak show. And yes, in Belarus, people feared the cops and the KGB a lot more than the did in the Ukraine. But that does not necessarily mean that Belarus was less corrupt. All this means, is that in Belarus the government did a great job running a semi-feudal system of protection which only guaranteed that only officials and their “business partners” got to make good money.

And this is not a Belarus or Ukrainian problem only. The exact same thing took place in Russia in the 90s. It is not even a personality problem, it is a class problem, in the Marxist sense of the word.

We need to remember that the CPSU and its Nomenklatura was a fantastically corrupt organization, not necessarily at the member level, but as a whole. I would summarize the “integrity” of these people as so:

  • First they betrayed Stalin and the ideals of Marxism-Leninism (Khrushchev years)
  • Then they betrayed their own USSR and CPSU (Brezhnev & Gorbachev years)
  • Then they disguised themselves as patriots (or even nationalists, like that hardcore communist ideologue Kravchuk did!).
  • Next, they deeply penetrated the West to seek protection, hide their real revenues and obtain the right to rule.
  • Next, they sucked their countries dry of all their wealth while their personal worth skyrocketed.
  • Finally, they all volunteered to prostitute themselves and their people before the West.

These guys have no more morals than an amoeba and they are as ruthless as any psychopath. They used to prostitute themselves before their Party bosses, and now they do the same to their AngloZionist ones.

So here is the question: how could Russia remove this ruling class without a) major bloodshed and b) making it look like what Russia is really doing is trying to save Lukashenko?

What Russia really needs now is for the West to do something as terminally stupid as when the US tried to overthrow Erdogan. But that would only be sufficient to bring Lukashenko to heel and get rid of some of the most dangerous elements in his entourage. The bigger problem is how could Russia help the Belarusian people?

Just tossing more money at the Belarusian regime makes no sense and does not work. Been there, done that.

Using military force is possible (I don’t expect anybody in the Belarusian military, at least key commanders and units, to object to this). But that is very tricky and outright politically dangerous. It might also not be correctly understood by Belarusians and by many Russians too.

The first conclusion I personally am coming to is that Russia must not do anything which could be credibly construed as “saving Lukashenko”. Lukashenko needs no “saving”. Belarus does.

Second, while in military terms securing Belarus would not be a problem for the Russian military, in political terms it would be a major crisis as the West would, no doubt, pounce on that to not only impose more sanctions (that is not really a problem) but also to create a New Cold War in which mentally sane and patriotic Europeans would be “shouted down” by hysterical mantras about “the Russians are coming! the Russians are coming!”.

I am also concerned about the recent military moves by Belarus. To forward deploy high readiness forces near the Polish border is a very bad idea: considering the historical record the Russians should never assume that any Polish leader won’t do something fantastically stupid which will end up as fantastically tragic. I don’t believe for one second that NATO has plans to invade Belarus. If anything, Lukashenko and Russia ought to leave what is called a “tripwire force” in the West while preparing their strategic defenses in depth. There is NO need to go and provoke the Poles, the Balts or anybody else in NATO.

If given a choice, Putin would probably want for both Lukashenko and the so-called ‘opposition’ to go (this reminds me of the Argentinian “que se vayan todos” or the Lebanese كلهم يعني كلهم both of which can be roughly translated as “they all have to go”and “all means all” – including both Tikhanovskaia AND Lukashenko.

At the time of writing this (Aug. 19th) it appears that Lukashenko will now have to chose between the “civilized West” and “Putin’s bloody Mordor”. Truly, he really has no option other than to chose Moscow, but that does not at all mean that Moscow thinks that there is anything salvageable from Lukashenko’s regime. His latest “zag!” back to being a “Russian brother” is way too little and way too late. And if his foreign minister and his head of KGB are still in the next government, all this talk will also become irrelevant and meaningless.

Simply put: if Lukashenko wants to remain in power he has only one option – beg for Putin’s mercy, not publicly, of course, be most emphatically and as sincerely as he can pretend to be. Then he needs to purge his government from every single name Putin (or the Russian special services) will hand to him. Yes, that means that he has to truly and really relinquish control. As for Putin, he needs to address both the Russian and the Belarusian people to explain whatever decision he comes to. This is, yet again, a situation where Putin’s biggest weapon might be his very high popular support (not only in Russia, but also, by all accounts, in Belarus).

Right now it appears that the West seriously fears a Russian intervention: they probably (correctly) realize how easy it would be for Russia and how there is absolutely nothing anybody, including NATO or, even less so, the EU could do about it. Trump personally has much bigger fish to fry and I doubt if he cares much. But his narcissistic Secretary of State probably feels like he can turn Belarus into another US-run Banderastan.

So what can happen next?

I think that it is crucial that Russia reach out to the non-US-controlled opposition in Belarus, publicly, and try to establish some kind of dialog. Russia also has to publicly warn the people of Belarus that if they allow the current US-controlled “opposition leaders” to come to power, Belarus will collapse just like the Ukraine did.

This might be the strongest argument Russia could repeat over and over again: as bad as Lukashenko was, if he is overthrown in some kind of Maidan-like coup, then Belarus will become the next Banderastan. This will be a major headache for Russia, but Russia can easily survive this. Belarus cannot.

But simply keeping Lukashenko in power is no solution either: whether he did or did not win the latest elections is not even the real issue anymore – the real issue is that he did lose his credibility with pretty much everybody involved. For this reason alone – Lukashenko has to go. Next, some kind of government of national unity which would include the main political forces in Belarus except the ones controlled by the West should probably be formed. Finally, whoever is in power in Minsk needs to set a course on a full reintegration of Belarus into Russia. That remains the only viable long-term solution for the people of Belarus.

Turmoil in Belarus, Another US Color Revolution Attempt?

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, August 16, 2020

E-40 Waterway Project

Time and again, the CIA, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute (NDI), and USAID have been involved in US schemes to replace independent governments with pro-Western puppet ones.

Tactics include violent and non-violent labor strikes, mass street protests, major media propaganda, and whatever else it takes to achieve Washington’s aims — at times succeeding, other times failing.

In late 2013, early 2014, the Obama regime successfully replaced Ukraine’s democratically elected Viktor Yanukovych with pro-Western putschist rule — a fascist dictatorship in Europe’s heartland, targeting Russia.

For months in Hong Kong last year and sporadically in 2020,  Trump regime orchestrated violence, vandalism and chaos failed to achieve its aims that were all about weakening China by attacking its soft underbelly.

Tactics employed by the US in Ukraine, Hong Kong, and elsewhere were first used against Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

What appeared to be a spontaneous political uprising was developed by RAND Corporation strategists in the 1990s — the concept of swarming.

It replicates “communication patterns and movement of” bees and other insects used against nations to destabilize and topple their governments.

The CIA and other anti-democratic US organizations are involved.

Their mission is all about achieving what the Pentagon calls “full spectrum dominance,” seeking control over planet earth, its resources, populations, and outer space.

Swarming and related actions are war by other means, including by use of information and communications technologies, along with social media.

Cyberwar today is what blitzkrieg was to 20th century warfare.

Swarming is a way to strike from all directions in an overwhelming fashion similar to an all-out military attack.

Is this what’s been going on in Belarus for months, especially since the August 9 presidential election.

Longtime incumbent Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory by more an 80% majority over key opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.“The Weaponization of Sanctions”: Waging War by Other Means against Russia

Now in Lithuania, she cried foul, claiming she won. He lost.

Disruptive actions against Lukashenko have been ongoing since last spring, dubbed a “slipper revolution” by Belarusian Belsat TV in May.

Like Ukraine, Belarus borders Russia, why Washington aims to transform it into a client state.

On Saturday, Lukashenko said he’s being target by a “color revolution” attempt to remove him from power he’s had as president since 1994.

Reportedly he said “(w)e have read the guidelines on how to conduct color revolutions,” adding that’s what happening in Belarus suggests that Russia is next if not effectively countered.

Late Saturday, he and Putin spoke by phone, a Kremlin readout saying:

Lukashenko initiated the call. He “informed Vladimir Putin about the developments following the presidential election in Belarus.”

“Both sides expressed confidence that all existing problems will be settled soon.”

“The main thing is to prevent destructive forces from using these problems to cause damage to mutually beneficial relations of the two countries within the Union State.”

In 1995, both countries agreed on this arrangement that lets their citizens work and/or live in either nation at their discretion — while retaining their passports and national identity.

A bilateral 1999 treaty calls for economic integration and mutual cooperation to defend both nations from foreign threats — with the intent of integrating Belarus with Russia.

So far, it hasn’t happened because Lukashenko’s power would be subordinated to Moscow.

Is now the time to accept where he hasn’t gone before because of concern about a fate similar to Ukraine’s Yanukovych?

Public anger is fueled by Belarusians wanting change, his dubious one-sided reelection margin, and police state tactics against street protesters, including thousands of arrests and reported mistreatment in detention.

Opposition elements demand he step down. Mass protests continued over the weekend, including many thousands in Minsk, the nation’s capital.

Lukashenko said he ordered the deployment of an air assault brigade to border areas in response to US-led NATO military exercises in bordering Poland and Lithuania.

Belarus “cannot calmly observe this” and do nothing, he reportedly said, adding that Putin offered to help protect the country’s security.

Now is the time for integration into Russia, perhaps in similar fashion to how Crimeans corrected an historic error by becoming the Republic of Crimea in the Russian Federation.

The alternative for Lukashenko may be a successful US-style color revolution that replaces him with pro-Western rule.

The alternative for Russia would be having another hostile US controlled state on its border.

Belarusians under Lukashenko are between a rock and a hard place — his hardline rule v. a likely worse fate under a US installed regime similar to Ukraine’s.

Full integration as a Russian Federation republic makes most sense, perhaps where things are heading.

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

WEST OFFERS POISONOUS ‘HAND OF FRIENDSHIP’ TO LUKASHENKO AMID MASS PROTESTS AGAINST HIS GOVERNMENT

South Front

West Offers Poisonous 'Hand Of Friendship' To Lukashenko Amid Mass Protests Against His Government

The mass usage of force by Belarusian authorities against mass protests that erupted after the presidential election play a dirty trick on President Alexander Lukashenko.

While the decisive usage of force was a useful tool to supress the coup attempt and violent street riots on August 9 and August 10, the further actions of Police and the Internal Troops against protests on August 11, 12, 13 and 14, when the opposition mostly switched to nonviolent resistance approaches undermined the image of the Lukashenko government among the neutral part of the population and even among its supporters. This situation became a trigger for the intensification of street protests (this time peaceful ones), the first successes of the opposition’s attempts to stage a nation-wide strike and contributed to the popularity of the anti-Lukashenko movement in general.

On August 14, the Belarusian Electoral Commission officially declared Lukashenko a winner of the presidential election with 80.1% of votes, while the opposition candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, got 10.1%. Regardless these numbers, the government says that the election was fire and transparent, while the opposition has declared it rigged, the situation on the ground has clearly turned not into the favor of the acting president.

Pro-opposition media organizations, including those managed from Poland and Lithuania, have achieved a decisive victory over pro-government media, and the popularity of protests inside the country and on the international scene is growing.

Harsh statements of the top Belarusian leadership mocking all the protesters as solely provocateurs and foreign agents and denying the usage of force against protesters also played their own role. While it’s wrong to deny actions of destructive forces, it’s an apparent distortion of reality to describe all opposition supporters as foreign agents or provocateurs.

“For starters, I’m still alive and I haven’t fled abroad as some of our vaunted, ‘informed’ compatriots are drumming up that the president has fled the country and is now abroad,” President Alexander Lukashenko said on August 14 adding that his opponents are trying to “stir up laborers’ associations”.

He also warned workers against participating in strikes.

“Today you don’t produce 10 tractors, they don’t go to the market, and tomorrow the Germans will come with the Americans. The Russians will bring their equipment,” the president said.

The anti-Russian statements of the Belarusian leaders are also surprising in the sitaution while it’s an open secret that a large part of protests is being coordinated from PolandFrom the practical point of view, the destruction of relations with the only really ally of Belarus (and a de-facto sponsor of its economy) also does not help his regime to remain in power.

Meanwhile, police officers guarding the government building in Minsk put down their shields in an apparent sign of the collapse of the commitment of at least a part of law enforcements to use the force against protestsers. Pro-opposition media outelts cirtulate over a dozens of photos supposedly showing resignation letters of police officers and personnel of the Internal Troops. Earlier, the opposition staged a flash mob motivating former police officers and servicemembers to throw away their unifroms on cameras. Opposition supporters achieved another important victory, they got the moral ascendancy over the Lukashenko government in the eyes of residents of large cities.

West Offers Poisonous 'Hand Of Friendship' To Lukashenko Amid Mass Protests Against His Government

West Offers Poisonous 'Hand Of Friendship' To Lukashenko Amid Mass Protests Against His Government
West Offers Poisonous 'Hand Of Friendship' To Lukashenko Amid Mass Protests Against His Government

The Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ) was hit by protests and its workers joined the anti-government rally on August 14. The plant is one of the biggest employers in the Belarus capital, giving jobs to some 15,000 people. The incident took place shortly after Belarus Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko arrived there to talk with protesters. He reportedly refused to speak to the crowd in front of the press, angering many there and setting off the protest march. Workers of several other plants across Belarus also joined the protests.

The inability of the Belarusian government to participate in a real dialogue with the pro-opposition part of the population is among the key problems that put it in the current situation. 

Meanwhile, Belarus is facing an expected and increasing pressure on the international scene. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya that fled to Lithuania declared (with an apparent help from foreign special services) that she was staring to create a special council tasked with the transition of power from Lukashenko to her. The council, according to Tsikhanouskaya, should include representatives of all associations that are interested in dialogue and the peaceful transfer of power – labor collectives, parties, trade unions, etc. She also called on the ‘international community’, including European states, to help with the dialogue with the current authorities. It should be noted that, according to the opposition version of events, Tsikhanouskaya won the election (with 10% sic).

The European Union and the United States already condemned violence in Belarus and expressed their ‘concerns’ over the protests there. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland declared that they are ready to become mediators in the dialogue between the opposition and the Lukashenko government. Apparently they hope that Lukashenko forgot how ‘EU states’ already became mediators between the government and the ‘opposition’ in Ukraine in 2014. The Yanukovich government fell just a few days after they supposedly reached a deal to settle the tensions.

Meanwhile, Alexander Schallenberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs Austria, said that the European Union is not interested in the rapprochement between Russia and Belarus. He added that the current situation in Belarus is the setback for the EU-Belarusian relations and supported calls for sanctions against the Lukashenko government. The European Union sees the threat of sanctions as a useful tool to pressure Lukashenko to ‘negotiate’ (surrender to) with the opposition.

It is interesting to see how Lukashenko’s best friend in the European Union and the United States immediately betrayed him amid the crisis and in fact work to overthrow his government. The de-facto anti-Russian foreign policy, the public anti-Russian rhetoric and the Lukashenko-initiated economic and political conflicts with Russia appeared to be not enough to satisfy them. They need the fully-controlled and ‘European’ Belarus – i.e. the goal of Euro-Atlantic structures is to get a full foreign control of Belarus, like they (led by the United States) did in Ukraine.

As to Russia, which is painted by the ‘destructive force’ by the West and even by the government of Lukashenko for years funded by the Russians, it seems that Moscow’s main problem is the lack of political will to provide a really strong policy towards its supposed ally. The Russian indulgence to Lukashenko’s multiple anti-Russian moves and the unwillingness of Moscow to whip into the line the Lukashenko regime and put an end to its destructive actions led to the current situation. The years of direct and indirect sponsorship of Belarus (billions of dollars) are turning into dust. Furthermore, a large part of the Belarusian population, which in fact survived due to Russian donations only, see Moscow as the supposed ‘aggressor’ that want to suppress the ‘democracy’ in mighty and flourishing Belarus. The soft policy towards Belarus only set conditions for the expansion of anti-Russian forces there and Lukashenko’s political adventures with the West that led to the situation, when Russia could easily get another point of instability on its border.

In own turn, Lukashenko is just reaping the fruit of his own actions of the previous years.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

A quick update on Belarus

A quick update on Belarus

The Saker

August 12, 2020

A quick update on the events in Belarus:

To make a long story short, two major developments have happened:

  1. My guess is that by now Lukashenko has now figured (again) that the West wants him dead AND he has figured out that he has been conned by the Ukie SBU and, most likely, elements inside his own KGB.
  2. The Belarusian security forces (riot police and KGB) have ruthlessly cracked down on the opposition and right now they seem to be in control of the situation.

I base my first conclusion on the clear and sudden change of tone of Lukashenko who, yet again, praises Putin and Russia and who is now playing nice hoping that the Kremlin will forget what just happened (it won’t)

As for the second conclusion, now that the Internet has been reopened (Belarus and the West accuse each other of having disconnected it), there is a lot of media (video and images) coming out of Minsk and other Belarusian  cities and it appears that the following has happened:

While many people did sincerely and peacefully protest, a number of criminal elements were recruited (for US dollars) and they instantly attacked the security forces with great skill and violence: cops were lynched, some were shot (at least one), agent provocateurs even ran over cops with their cars, one guy was caught with 10’000 USD in the streets during the riots and his explanation was “this is my money” (as if anybody in his right mind would carry large sums of money in the midst of riots), others were caught with knives, baseball bats, Molotov cocktails, radios, flash-bang grenades (from Poland), fireworks, etc. etc. etc.  Many of the hardcore rioters have multiple criminal convictions in the past and were well known by the authorities.  Last but not least, some of these rioters had Ukie-style Nazi tattoos all over their bodies.  What else is new….?

Predictably, the riot police retaliated in kind and started beating the crap out of anybody breaking the law and, alas, also beating the crap left and right of people who were not doing anything illegal (including severely beaten up journos, including Russian ones).

It appears that for the time being, the Belarusian KGB has the upper hand and that many of the subversives which were caught by the KGB were run by the Ukraine and Poland.

As for the main opposition figure (officially, she got 10% of the vote), she has now left for Lithuania (probably because her husband’s curators are located there).

Conclusion:

While the plot to create a major crisis between Belarus and Russia has been foiled thanks to the Russian FSB (молодцы ребята!), the plot to overthrow Lukashenko is still ongoing and might very well succeed.  For one thing, people are really angry at the violence of the Belarusian cops.  Second, the Belarusian economy is hurting and Russia cannot forever “carry” Belarus on her back. Third Lukashenko has been in power for way too long and for all this time he “sat between two chairs” – this has to change and it will change, the only question is will it change for the better or for the worse?

At the very least, Moscow should now demand that Lukashenko fire his Russia-hating foreign Minister, Makei, and the head of the Belarusian KGB, Vakulchik, (if these men had any sense of honor, they would immediately resign by themselves but, clearly, they do not…) and renew the talks on fully uniting Belarus and Russia.

As for Lukashenko, he has to put his actions were his mouth is and take retaliatory sanctions against the USA and the EU.  Now, obviously, Belarus has no economic levers to use against the West, but what Minks could and SHOULD do is to reduce the size of all the key diplomatic missions, embassies, consulates, etc. from the worst offending countries: USA, the Ukraine and Poland.  This would not only be fair, it would be prudent as it is 100% clear now that these countries stand behind the current crisis and they will do all they can to turn a (comparatively heavenly) Belarus into the kind of Banderastan they turned the long-suffering Ukraine into.

Finally, it appears that the opposition (law abiding and other) are now talking stock of their apparent initial failure and a regrouping for the upcoming week-end.

At this point, the AngloZionist Empire does not need to pretend to like Lukashenko anymore (that plan has failed), so they can do something which they are very good at: provoke more and more violence, forcing the state to resort to violent repression (that is the “action is in the reaction” tactic) and then all that is needed is what they have successfully done in Riga, Vilnius, Moscow (1993), Kiev, Aleppo and many other places: send in professional snipers to shoot at BOTH sides, thereby creating a civil war.

Will the Belarusian KGB be capable of intercepting all the teams which will probably be sent in?

Maybe.  The Belarusian KGB is, unlike its Ukie SBU counterpart, mostly formed of competent professionals who had all the time needed to carefully study what happened in the Ukraine, how it happened and why it happened.  So they can probably keep control of the situation for a while longer, but it is anybody’s guess for how long.

Personally, I can only repeat that I have zero confidence in Lukashenko and I don’t believe that an independent Belarus is viable.  The only solution I see is a full integration of Belarus into Russia.

NATO 2020: A COALITION OF THE UNWILLING

 25.07.2020 

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watsont

The problem with alliances is that they ultimately either become victims of their own success, or cannot figure out what to do with themselves once the original rationale disappears. The original Cold War-era NATO was a relatively cohesive entity led by one of the two superpowers, with most of its members being the industrialized democracies of Western Europe, with West Germany being its eastern-most European member, and alliance planning revolving around USSR. But even then there were cracks in the alliance. Italy, for example, had nearly no role to play as it did not border any Warsaw Pact country and did not practice deploying its forces to West Germany to practice its defense against the anticipated Warsaw Pact invasion. And while Greece and Turkey were ostensibly part of that alliance as well, in practice they spent more time clashing with one another than planning for joint action against USSR.

The end of the Cold War made the problem of alliance cohesion far worse, for two reasons. One, it quickly added as many members as possible thus greatly expanding its geographical extent, and two, it lost that single unifying factor in the form of USSR. Today’s NATO is a patchwork of mini-alliances revolving around the United States which is determined to replace the alliance aspect of NATO which assumes that all members have interests that are to be taken into consideration, by patron-client relationships.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the goal of the United States is global domination. This goal is shared by the entire political elite and major portions of the population, though it is nearly never discussed openly or directly. Instead, it is framed in terms of “American Leadership”, “New American Century”, and of course “American Exceptionalism” which is used to justify any policy that violates international law, treaties, or agreements. Given that every country which has not recognized “American Leadership” is described as a “regime”, there is no indication the US elite is interested in anything resembling peaceful coexistence with other sovereign states.

NATO plays a double role in achieving that goal. First, it is a military alliance that projects military power against anyone refusing to accept “American Leadership”. Military contributions by European member states are certainly important, not least by giving America the veneer of international legitimacy, but the presence of US bases on the European continent is far more so. US forces stationed in or staged out of European naval, air, and land bases are indispensable to its efforts to control the MENA region and to promote the US policy of driving a wedge between Europe on the one hand and Russia and China on the other. Secondly, a European country’s membership in NATO means a sacrifice of considerable portion of its sovereignty and independence to the United States. This is a wholly asymmetrical relationship, since US bases its forces in European countries and sells its weapons to them, not the other way around. The penetration of a European country thus achieved allows US intelligence service to develop agent networks and to employ the full range of lobbying techniques which have been particularly visible in the US efforts to press F-35 aircraft into the hands of NATO member states.

America’s self-appointed task is made not easier or harder by the fact that today’s NATO is therefore fragmented along both geographic and national power lines. The geographical divide is plainly easy to see: Norway and Denmark mainly care about the Arctic, Poland and Romania obsess about Russia, Mediterranean countries freak out about what’s happening in North Africa. The wrangling over sending more troops to Mali or to Estonia is the reflection of the differing security concerns of individual members of the far-flung pact. The power divide is less easy to see but more problematic for Washington. V_3 (A2) Of the European powers, only four—Germany, France, Italy, and Great Britain—may be considered to be powerful and independent political actors with which the US has to contend on anything like an equal basis. The first three form the core of the European Union, whereas Great Britain opted for Brexit, likely in part because of the looming big power struggle between the US and the EU that has the potential of degenerating into a destructive trade war. It is doubtful that the skirmishes over Huawei and North Stream 2 are anything but the opening salvoes in the confrontation over whether the EU will emerge as a political actor independent of the US, or be reduced to a collection of client states. Unfortunately, America’s task is made easier by the fact of the intra-European divisions mentioned above.

United States is pursuing development of several hypersonic missile systems with the aim of ultimately fielding very large numbers of them in order to be able to launch disarming first strikes against Russian and Chinese nuclear arsenals. Since the weapons themselves are relatively short-ranged (though that may change once the US allows New START to lapse), they require basing close to their intended targets. That means having to find countries willing to base them in Europe, where it is liable to provoke a  political debate of the magnitude comparable to that of the original Euromissile controversy of the 1980s. Since Germany is not interested in being reduced to the status of a US client, it has resisted the US on a variety of fronts, including the North Stream 2, the refusal to buy F-35s, and now also the lack of desire to host the new US missiles. Even the German defense spending increases are intended at least as much to counter US influence in Eastern Europe as the supposed Russian threat to NATO. The United States has responded using the usual array of tools: economic sanctions on any and all European entities participating in the project and even using the gas, apparently launching a cyber-attack that US-friendly German intelligence promptly blamed on Russia, and also threatening to move US troops out of Germany and possibly to Poland. There is even discussion and rumors that US nuclear weapons stationed in Germany might be moved to Poland.

The outcome of this so far is a power struggle between two NATO allies, US and Germany, over the political alignment of a third—Poland. While Germany has the power of EU institutions on its side and massive economic gravitational pull, US has cultivated a cadre of friends, possibly intelligence assets, as a result of post-9/11 collaboration in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in the realm of intelligence-sharing. This has produced a government more than willing to deploy US troops, missiles, and even nukes on Poland’s territory. The power of US influence is visible in Poland’s weapons procurement: Patriot, Javelin, HIMARS, F-35, and not a single comparable European system in recent years. The US weakness in this confrontation consists of the unwillingness to subsidize Poland economically which, combined with the ruling party’s fiscal irresponsibility, will make it difficult for the country to maintain its anti-German course in the longer term.

While in Eastern Europe US national security state is using Poland as a proxy against Germany, in the Mediterranean it has adopted Turkey as a proxy against France and Italy. After some hemming and hawing, the US hawks dropped the Kurds yet again, with Trump happily taking the blame, in order to piggy-back on Erdogan’s Libya ambitions to curtail French and Italian interests there. To be sure, Turkey retains far more autonomy in the relationship than Poland, which was unable or unwilling to play US and Russia and EU against one another in order to secure a measure of freedom of action. But the US Congress measures to allow the purchase of S-400 weapons from Turkey is an indicator that Turkey’s behavior is once again useful to the US. And even though Turkey was excluded from the F-35 program, its firms continue to make components for various assembly plants. The result has been a number of stand-offs between Turkish warships on one hand and French and Italian on the other off the coasts of Libya. And whereas France and Italy are backing the Marshal Haftar’s LNA, Turkey’s preferred proxy is the GNA, leading to a veritable “anti-Turkey” alliance being formed that includes Turkey’s old time NATO adversary Greece. While the US is officially aloof of the entire situation, in practice controlling Libya’s oil is part of the Washington strategy of “energy dominance” every bit as the North Stream 2 sanctions are.

The remarkable part of these two sets of conflicts among NATO powers is that in both cases Russia has sided with Germany and France against the US in both cases. It is Russia’s policies that are more beneficial to French and German interests than America’s, since Russia is not actually seeking to monopolize energy supplies to Europe in the way that the US clearly and openly is.

So far the US strategy consisted of steadily ratcheting up pressure through sanctions and proxies and occasional intelligence-generated anti-Russia provocations (sometimes helpfully delivered by British agencies), trying to find that happy middle of policies that actually force Germany, France, and Italy to change their policies and which do not force a permanent breach in the trans-Atlantic relationship. But the cracks in the relationship are clearly visible and they are not attributable to Trump’s erratic and brusque manner. It is the US Congress which passed the successive rounds of anti-North Stream 2 sanctions, with strong partisan majorities. It means the assertion of US control over European major powers is part of the US agenda. Since that agenda is motivated by a US political and economic crisis of a magnitude not seen since the 1930s, there is little likelihood Biden’s presidency would represent a radical departure from the current trend.

Of course, for Germany, France, and Italy to successfully resist US encroachment they would first need to transform the EU into something closer than a federation. The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis already providing considerable impetus for such a transformation, America’s insatiable appetites might provide the rest.

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