An Englishman and an American have The Ukraine Talk (Douglas Maccregor)

January 03, 2023

Q&A with North South University students

December 20, 2022

Andrei Raevsky

I was recently contacted by my friend Cynthia McKinney who told me that my article about what a Russian defeat would mean for the West was used as part of the course she teaches at North South University of Dhaka in Bangladesh.  I have to admit that I was very touched by the idea that students in faraway Dhaka were reading my article, and I offered to answer any follow-up questions the students might have.  So I recorded a hour long video in which I answered the follow-up questions from the students.  I just want to add here that since I did not have a clear idea of how much these students had already knew, and since I tried to keep the video about one hour long, I had to, at times, simplify some issues (as some of these questions would deserve a semester-long class).  Please don’t hold this against me.

I decided to repost this video on the blog (with Cynthia’s agreement) in the hope that at least some parts of this Q&A might be of interest to you.

Kind regards

Andrei

Carthage Must Be Destroyed!

December 16, 2022

Source

By David Sant

During its rise to world domination, the City of Rome had one major competitor, which was its equal in every way. That city was Carthage, located 370 miles away, on the South side of the Mediterranean Sea.

Carthage had been planting colonies around the Mediterranean and Atlantic for over a century before Rome was even founded. As Rome rose to power, these two Mediterranean cities fought two wars for control over the Island of Sicily, called the Punic Wars. Despite an admirable performance by Hannibal who managed to invade Italy twice and inflicted a terrible defeat on the Romans at Cannae, Carthage still ended up losing both wars.

At the close of the second Punic War in 201 BC, Carthage was conquered by Rome and placed under a special administrative status that disallowed it from fielding a navy or overseas military without permission from the Roman Senate.

Carthage was one of only three powers that ever managed to directly threaten Rome during the days of the Republic, the others being the Gauls who sacked Rome in 390 BC, and the Macedonian Greeks, who were defeated in 197 BC.

The Roman attitude and behavior toward Carthage then was very similar to the Anglo-American attitude toward Russia, today. The main “sin” of Carthage in the eyes of the Romans was that it was equal in power and influence to Rome. And for that sin, it had to be destroyed.

Cato the Elder was a Roman soldier, who later became a Senator and famous orator who gave many speeches in the Senate even after his retirement. Over a period of forty years, he routinely ended his speeches on any subject with the statement, “And furthermore, I consider that Carthage must be destroyed!”

Cato repeatedly made this demand, despite the fact that Carthage was now a Roman client state bound by a peace treaty.

For fifty years after losing the Second Punic War, Carthage submitted to the terms of the treaty. However, after the death of Cato the Elder in 149 BC, a certain faction in Rome deliberately allowed the King of Numidia to pillage and conquer Carthagenian territories, in violation of the treaty.

This placed Carthage in a position where they had to defend themselves from predations by a neighboring Roman client state. Their appeals to the Roman Senate were ignored. So, they took action to defend their interests against Numidia without permission.

When they did so, the Roman Senate immediately interpreted this as a violation of the 201 BC peace treaty, and authorized the invasion and destruction of Carthage. This was not unlike the “rules based international order” of Washington, DC, where we make the rules (for you) but we don’t have to follow them ourselves.

Despite having surrendered their weapons at the outset of the Roman campaign, the walls of Carthage were so well made that it took the Romans nearly three years of siege to break through.

Finally in 146 BC, Carthage fell for the last time to the Roman Army, and was deliberately razed to the ground and burned. The Romans slew all of its population, men, women, and children, except for 50,000 who were taken back to Italy as slaves. According to Polybius, the wife of the last general of Carthage threw herself and her own children into the burning temple of the city rather than surrender to Rome.

Moscow as the New Carthage

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 was not the result of losing a war. It was caused by the failed policies of a centralized economy, exacerbated by American manipulation of the oil markets, and a costly American-backed guerilla war in Afghanistan. The United States moved in with “shock therapy” economic advisors and took the opportunity to restructure a confused and gullible Russia, including writing a new constitution.

For Russia the collapse of the Soviet Union had many similarities to the loss of Carthage in the Second Punic War.

Despite making peace with their former adversary, and honoring their treaties, Russia found that she could never be accepted as a friend on equal terms by the Western world order. And this was for the very same reason that Carthage could never be tolerated by Rome. Russia was and is in every way an equal to the Anglo-American Empire.

Ever since Vladimir Putin became President of Russia, the chorus of the West has become louder and louder that Putin must go. While they cannot say it aloud yet, what they really mean is “Russia must be destroyed!”

If Russia had continued the policy of submission to Western control that was begun by Boris Yeltsin, we can be assured that Moscow would have eventually met the same fate as Carthage from the Anglo-American Empire.

However, the appointment of Vladimir Putin as President of Russia derailed their plans. Under his rule Russia has steadily reasserted her former leadership and strength against the machinations of the Anglo-American Empire.

False Flag Attacks as a Means to an End

While at first Mr. Putin made a genuine effort to be a “partner” with the West, by the year 2011 it was clear that the West would never accept Russia as a friend or an equal. The West had enjoyed two decades of bossing everyone else around and had learned to enjoy giving orders rather than negotiating. One might say that the West forgot the art of diplomacy.

After watching in horror the NATO-led destructions of Serbia, Libya, and Syria, the Kremlin began asserting itself with foreign policy problems that directly affected Russian security interests starting in 2013.

The Obama Administration was very busy from 2011 to 2013 planning the overthrow of the Assad Regime in Syria. Two major hacks of intelligence related companies shed some unexpected light on what was going on behind the scenes. These were the Stratfor hack in 2011, and the hack of a British private security company (ie. mercenaries), that shall not be named, in January of 2013.

I must note that the private security company (PSC for short) admitted that they were hacked, but claimed that two of the most damning emails released within the gigabytes of leaked files were “fabricated.”

The “fabricated” email as reported by the Oriental Review, purportedly from the business development officer to the company founder reads as follows:

Phil

We’ve got a new offer. It’s about Syria again. Qataris propose an attractive deal and swear that the idea is approved by Washington.

We’ll have to deliver a CW to Homs, a Soviet origin g-shell from Libya similar to those that Assad should have. They want us to deploy our Ukrainian personnel that should speak Russian and make a video record.

Frankly, I don’t think it’s a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous. Your opinion?

Kind regards

David

The original story and its context can be found at The Oriental Review: https://orientalreview.org/2013/01/31/britamgate-staging-false-flag-attacks-in-syria/

Despite the file dump including personnel files containing copies of 58 real Ukrainian passports of employees of said PSC, the “fact checkers” at the time examined the email headers and noted that the email in question had a very similar time stamp, of three minutes before midnight, to another email in the release that was sent on a different date, also at three minutes before midnight. While this could be explained by a mail server or laptop setting which sent mail every day at the same time, it was accepted as proof of skullduggery and the entire affair was quickly dismissed and mostly forgotten.

Said PSC then sued The Daily Mail for libel for reporting the “obviously fake” email above as authentic, and was awarded damages and a partial retraction in January of 2022.

The supposedly fabricated email above happened to fall between several other breaches which revealed US and British intelligence were planning to release a video showing Russian-speaking soldiers as the operators of Syria’s chemical weapons depots.

I consider the aforementioned “hoax” to be one of the most amazing coincidences of the past two decades.

The PSC hack was shortly followed by claims of the Khan al-Assal chemical attack near Aleppo only three months later, and another at Ghouta five months after that, both of which were blamed by the West on the Assad Regime in the ramp up for an American invasion of Syria.

It is simply amazing that some unknown hacker managed to fabricate an email discussing the details of an event that hadn’t even happened yet. But the truth is often stranger than fiction.

Of course I know that the PSC referred to above couldn’t have had anything to do with either of the real chemical attacks which followed, because after their demonstrated incompetence of allowing all of their operations in the Middle East to be breached and published on the Internet, I seriously doubt they would be trusted to handle such an offer, had it been real.

The “fabricated” email shows us a picture of what was certainly going on in Syria as US and British intelligence farmed out projects to mercenary groups like Blackwater and other “private security companies.”

However, the invasion party was halted in its tracks in September of 2013, when Mr. Putin completely neutralized the Anglo-American casus belli against Syria by offering to help Syria destroy their chemical weapons stockpiles.

This was successfully completed and verified by the OPCW as being completed in late June of 2014. Thus Syria’s chemical stockpiles were completely removed before the American false flag plan could be convincingly executed. In poker this is known as calling the bluff.

Anyone who actually believed the Western propaganda about chemical weapons might have expected that President Vladimir Putin would be given some kind of international award for bringing Syria into the Chemical Weapons Convention and averting yet another major war in the Middle East.

However, rather than being pleased at the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, the Atlanticists were furious. This was the first major chess move by Mr. Putin that completely derailed the plans of the Atlanticists on the world stage. They shifted gears to the Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine, beginning in November 2013.

However, the chemical weapons saga in Syria was only getting started. The Assad Regime continued to be accused of chemical weapons attacks in 2015, 2016, 2017, and even up until 2022. Syria has suffered from multiple attempted chemical weapons attacks since 2012, culminating in a major one in Idlib on April 4, 2017. The Idlib attack was used by President Trump to justify a cruise missile strike on Syria, two days later, before any facts could be ascertained about the event. Since 2017, Russia has warned repeatedly that the White Helmets group were planning false flag chemical attacks to be blamed on the Assad Regime. This activity has continued all the way up to the present year.

The most important lesson to be learned from the chemical weapons saga in Syria is that the Atlanticist intelligence agencies have such complete control over global mainstream media outlets that they do not fear exposure of their false flag attack plans. And furthermore, if you want to anticipate their plans, all you have to do is listen to what they say.

On August 20, 2012, a few months before any of the false flag chemical attacks in Syria, President Obama made the following comments:

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

Obama started warning Syria that using or even moving chemical weapons was a red line, shortly before the American false flag attempts began.

Thus, we can see that the US regime will telegraph their plans by first naming a casus belli, and then secretly working to create the false appearance of violation of the casus belli by the intended victim.

Even when the plans are exposed in advance, they will still be carried out. The MSM will pretend that there was no prior warning, and fact checkers will claim the prior warning was part of the deception by the country that was in reality falsely accused.

Russia Must Be Destroyed!

This brings us to the likely culmination of the Western war against Russia. In Septemer of 2022, Biden officials suddenly started clucking about how Russia must not use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. This refrain was repeated to the media multiple times by officials including the PresidentSecretary of State, and National Security Advisor, as well as several retired military officers.

Anyone with an ounce of sense can see that using nuclear weapons in Ukraine would go against every interest Russia has there, as well as breaking all the rules of Russian nuclear doctrine. The majority of Russian citizens have relatives in Ukraine, which would make such an action political suicide. Russia has never threatened to use such weapons in Ukraine. So, why would the USA give such warnings?

The ridiculous American warnings against nuclear weapons in Ukraine show the wise observer exactly what the US State Department is planning to do. They obviously intend to deploy a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb through their proxies in order to blame Russia for it.

We have already seen this beginning to play out. The Kremlin warned several major countries in October of 2022 that Ukraine was planning to detonate a dirty bomb to be blamed on Russia. US Defense Secretary Austin immediately spun the story to say Russia is fabricating that accusation to justify their own intent to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Then the topic seemed to die down for a spell.

It is unfortunately naive to think Mr. Shoigu’s warnings averted anything. In the past, exposing the planned chemical false flag did not prevent its eventual execution. We know from the Russian MOD that a radiological or nuclear false flag event has definitely been planned for Ukraine.

Since Russia announced this, it is possible that the Atlanticists may have upgraded the plot to use an actual tactical nuclear weapon, because Ukraine supposedly doesn’t have those, and it would be harder for Russia to deny. It will probably be saved for a moment where it looks like Russia is about to win a major victory in Ukraine.

In the larger context, Britain’s MI6 has run a series of false flag poisonings blamed on Russia, starting with Litvinenko in 2006, followed by the Skripal poisoning, and most recently the Nalvany poisoning. The purpose of these theatrical false flag campaigns has always been to reduce Russia’s influence in the international community, and attempt to isolate Russia as a “rogue regime.”

And going back to the “fabricated” email of the PSC quoted above, we see that the requirement to get video of Russian-speakers deploying a chemical weapon against innocent Syrian civilians fit right in with the British narrative that, “Russia poisons people, because Russia is a venomous serpent!”

The downing of MH-17 would also count as the same class of false flag incident, but with a somewhat more tactical purpose of trying to create enough international hysteria to turn the victory of the Donbass militia into a major defeat for Russia internationally through sanctions.

The downing of MH-17 succeeded in energizing Europe to apply the first round of sanctions against Russia. And even more so, it generated enough hysteria that Russia no longer is given the chance to defend her actions, to cross examine witnesses, or bring her own witnesses with regard to accusations against her. Russia and her citizens are now routinely accused of atrocities by the West and summarily punished by confiscation of property with no recourse in the international bodies that were created to adjudicate such disputes.

As the Ukraine War has stopped trending on Twitter, freezing Europeans are ready to take up pitchforks against their masters, and Russia’s presumed Winter offensive seems very likely to inflict some major losses on Ukraine and the NATO backers, the Atlanticist spin masters badly need a bigger shock to jolt the UN and EU into doing their bidding.

As in the case of MH-17, the Satanists running the Empire of Lies need a large sacrifice of human lives to generate enough shock and outrage to achieve their next big foreign policy coup.

The reader should recognize the same playbook as the warnings for Syria not to use chemical weapons in 2012, followed by years of false flag attempts.

After hearing the US warnings against Russia using a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, we should not have been surprised to learn from the Russian MOD that the Zelensky regime was planning to deploy a dirty bomb to be blamed on Russia as a tactical nuclear weapon. The American forewarnings, followed by exposure of such a plot, express the same pattern seen in Syria playing out again.

I expect that some version of this nuclear plot will eventually be carried out with the backing of Atlanticist intelligence agencies.

To What End?

Russia’s position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council with veto power has been a thorn in the paw of the Atlanticist beast since the Cold War.

Russia’s willingness to use her military to defend allies in Syria, Ukraine, and Armenia presents an uncontrollable risk factor for Anglo-American hegemony. They cannot tolerate it.

Russia has used her veto on the Security Council multiple times to block American warmongering. If Russia cannot be destroyed literally, then at minimum, they must destroy Russia’s reputation to the point of revoking their seat on the Security Council.

If the Atlanticists cannot risk directly attacking Moscow itself, then they can achieve the next best thing by creating a provocation to justify kicking Russia off the United Nations Security Council.

The Atlanticist Axis is desperate to remove Russian leadership and influence on the rest of the world, because Russia keeps blocking their imperial plans, whether in Syria, Ukraine, Asia, Latin America, or Africa.

The purpose of such an overt false flag attack as a nuclear detonation, real or fake, would be to generate sufficient international horror and emotion to remove Russia from the UN Security Council, or expel her from the UN entirely. They will require a 9-11 level event to achieve that.

Rest assured that when the bomb is finally detonated, the paperwork to expel Russia will be presented to the UN General Assembly before the ashes have hit the ground.

It doesn’t make sense to view such an event as an attempt to stave off Russian advances in the Ukraine. A nuclear bomb might be tactical but its purpose is strategic – to excommunicate Russia from the UN and all other international bodies of which it is a member.

The long term campaign by the USA and UK intelligence services to frame Russia for provocations using weapons of mass destruction follows the dark parallel of Rome’s treatment of Carthage.

Cato and his faction demanded the destruction of Carthage, not because Carthage was involved in any current plots against Rome, but because Carthage was a near equal to Rome in wealth, in culture, and in potential military power. Carthage was a potential adversary that could block Rome’s path to Empire.

Cato made these speeches for decades prior to his death, and ended every one of them with the demand that Carthage must be destroyed. At first it was probably considered a joke. But eventually through repetition he succeeded in priming the minds of the Roman Senate to carry out his desire.

Rome could brook no competition, and therefore did not recognize Carthage as an equal. The existence of Carthage, to the Roman mind, required its destruction. And this is exactly how the think tanks in DC and London view Russia today. “Russia must be destroyed!”

Just as Rome used the peace treaty with Carthage to prevent Carthage from defending herself, while encouraging Numidia to go to war against Carthage, both Angela Merkel and Petro Poroshenko have now admitted that the Minsk Agreements were only used to buy time for Kiev to prepare for war against Russia.

Cato the Elder died at the old age of 85 years in 149 BC. Within a year of his death, the Roman Senate used their client kingdom, Numidia, to create the false pretext to go to war against Carthage. After an extended siege they burned the city to the ground and ensured that it was not rebuilt for generations.

The deliberate destruction of Carthage by Rome was completely irrational. They destroyed what would have been billions of 2020 Dollars worth of property. They destroyed a civilization that wasn’t even at war with them. The Roman Empire became poorer by the destruction of Carthage, not richer. The irrational destruction of Carthage was entirely driven by hatred and jealousy, both of which are irrational.

If Russia ever capitulates to the Atlanticist Axis she will meet the same fate. “Russia must be destroyed,” is the mantra that has been woven through all of the actions, plots, and strategies of the Atlanticists ever since Putin became President of Russia. We should have no doubt that Washington is willing to use nuclear weapons to achieve that objective, whether outright or by farce.

In the nearterm, we should expect the farce – a false flag nuclear attack on Ukraine. If Russia achieves a major breakthrough in Ukraine in the coming year, the nuclear false flag will probably be triggered, followed by hysterical condemnation and demands that Russia be immediately expelled from the United Nations.

The question to which I have no answer is, how can Russia defeat such a strategy?

The End of Mutually Assured Destruction

The doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction is based on the assumption that two rational actors who understand that a certain action will destroy them both will avoid that action at all costs. This was the lynchpin of foreign policy during the Cold War.

The problem is that most humans are only rational some of the time. And some small percentage of us may reach a state of complete irrationality most of the time.

Furthermore, humans have a strange tendency on rare occasions to go mad together in crowds, not unlike lemmings who follow each other over the cliff into the sea. Nazi Germany in the 1930s comes to mind.

While Russia has recently been trying to protect herself from the acidic influence of Western imposed sodomy, the West has fully embraced it. And that, not merely as one of many valid options, but as a totalitarian state religion that children must be indoctrinated into. This is what Mr. Putin meant when he said that the West has become Satanic.

Sodomy is not merely an individual choice. It is a suicidal choice both for the individual and for human society. Consistent sodomites have no offspring, so they must recruit the offspring of normal people in order to grow in numbers. But in the end, a civilization that embraces sodomy as the preferred lifestyle will completely collapse morally, economically, and numerically.

The West has come under the spell of a death cult, currently led by the World Economic Forum. Their irrational desire to deindustrialize and depopulate the world in the name of environmentalism and technocracy can only be described as insanity. Ultimately both sodomy and Malthusian environmentalism are rejections of our Creator, and the mandate to be fruitful, multiply, and exercise dominion over the Earth and its living creatures. It is a rejection of the mission of transforming the Earth from wilderness and wasteland into a garden.

But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; All those who hate me love death. (Proverbs 8:36)

Such leaders cannot be counted on to act rationally under the MAD regime, because they may view a nuclear war as a shortcut to achieve their goals of deindustrialization and depopulation. Of course, they have their bunkers in Switzerland and irrationally believe they will survive the conflagration to become the new elite of a greener world controlled by technocrats.

The Heaven’s Gate cult members also believed that by committing mass suicide they would ascend into a higher and better state. As far as anyone knows, they were completely wrong. But that did not stop them from carrying out mass suicide.

Jesus said that you don’t pour new wine into an old wineskin. The reason is that the leather of a wineskin stretches under the pressure of fermentation. An old wineskin has lost its elasticity, and cannot contain the power of a second batch of fermenting wine. It will burst.

It appears to me that Mutual Assured Destruction is an old wineskin of the twentieth century that may not be able to contain the fermenting minds of the annihilationist “young leaders” whose hearts were trained by the World Economic Forum.

In the past year we have already seen the West demonstrate it has reached a state of chronic criminal insanity.

First, they blew up the Nord Stream Pipeline which will cause the deindustrialisation of Western Europe.

That is criminally insane!

Then, Ukraine, under western supervision and using western weapons, has spent the past six months shelling the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Station in an effort to cause a nuclear accident.

That is criminally insane!

Now, the Russian MOD already has said they have evidence that the NATO-backed Ukrainians are planning a false flag radiological or nuclear weapon detonation on their own soil!!!

That is criminally suicidally insane!

We have reached a point in world history where the West appears to be planning a nuclear false flag attack in Ukraine to be blamed on Russia in order to justify the next big change, whatever that is. And Russia stands in their way. The leaders of the West have gone certifiably mad. And this means that MAD is no longer a shield against nuclear war.

Any remaining sane powers in this world need to immediately take that into account, and start preparing and planning to survive and win a nuclear war against a diabolically insane and suicidal adversary who may not see a total nuclear war as a bad thing.

If Carthage waits for Rome to make their next move, trusting in the good faith of the parties to make rational decisions under international law, then it is quite likely that once more, Carthage shall be destroyed.

Kyrie eleison on us all!

John Bolton Is Confused (Andrei Martyanov)

December 09, 2022

Please visit Andrei’s website: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/ and support him here: https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=60459185

Sergey Lavrov Interview for Film on Extremism in Europe – November 2022 – English Subtitles

November 28, 2022

Note from Michael Rossi Poli Sci who subtitled that video:

Dear Patreon Supporters,

First off, thank you once again for your pledged support and votes of confidence on my work.

Unfortunately, YouTube decided to remove the latest video I uploaded today (Sunday November 27) of Sergey Lavrov giving an interview on political extremism in Europe AS “hate speech”. How they came to that conclusion is beyond me, but I suppose it had to do with the video title having the word “extremism” in it, and “nazism” in the description.

Either way, YouTube removed the video and I have received my first Community Guideline strike, preventing me from upload, commenting, or interacting in any way on my channel for a week. I have appealed the strike, but I don’t know when I will hear back.

In the meantime, I have uploaded the video here and made it publicly accessible. Please feel free to share with those whom you think would benefit from it. For the next week, you’re my “ambassadors” of sorts 🙂

I hope to get this straightened out ASAP, because YouTube offers no prior warning or review of content before something gets flagged, and videos with direct “hate speech” get published all the time.

I may start moving more of the translated videos over here and making it Patrons Only.

Best wishes,

Mike Rossi

Apparently, YT reversed its decision.  Still, PLEASE SUPPORT MIKE ROSSI ON PATREON: https://www.patreon.com/MichaelRossiPoliSci

About Saving Face: Some Advice to Volodymyr Zelensky

November 28, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

It matters not how much you, gentlemen, bend down before them,
You will never gain Europe’s recognition:
You will always be for them,
Not servants, but serfs of their enlightened disposition.
F.I. Tyutchev, Russian diplomat and poet, May 1867

To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.
Henry Kissinger

Ditching the Ukraine

It is now dawning on the US elite that they totally underestimated Russia in all respects. For instance, on 25 March 2014 the arrogant Obama contemptuously called Russia ‘a regional power, threatening others out of weakness’ (sic!). (Clearly, he was talking about the USA). As a result, blinded by hubris, some in the US are now admitting that the Ukraine, the most corrupt country in Europe, is a dead duck, the game is simply no longer worth the candle. Apart from being a black hole for Western money and military equipment, the Ukraine is no longer the problem. It is a sideshow, a distraction, a mere symptom of something far more important. The real problem is what is now happening worldwide under Russian leadership – the ending of the unipolar world, of US global hegemony, camouflaged beneath the more innocent-sounding term ‘globalism’.

Following Russia’s decision and ability to stand up to the world’s bully, the whole Non-Western world is now also standing up to him. For example, at the recent G20 meeting in Indonesia, the debate was not about the Ukraine, but about whether or not to continue to accept American Fascist rule (‘the rules-based international order’). All the Latin American and African and four Asian countries said no, it’s finished, the world is now multipolar. Taiwan will inevitably be Chinese and soon – and wait till Chinese troops appear in Mesopotamia to take control of Iraqi oil and gas and rebuild that tragic country. Freedom beckons. Long-deluded Western elitists must be shocked: other ‘regional powers’ are now also standing up to the bully. Perhaps also out of weakness? Zelensky must have suspected that his boss, until now the self-imagined master of the universe, is going to get rid of him. He is a loser and the Yanks cannot stand losers.

As the US realises that the free nations of the world are turning against it, it will not hesitate to blame the Kiev regime. The US must save face. Kiev has been warned: it will have to start negotiating with Russia again. Zelensky had better plan his escape now, because Ukrainians will not forgive him for stringing them along with a pack of lies. Regardless of Zelensky’s delusional assertions that there will be no negotiations with Russia and that it will re-occupy Russian territories, including the Crimea, there are three reasons for him to throw in the towel now, before it all gets much, much worse.

Three Reasons To Surrender Now

Firstly, Russia has now reluctantly moved closer to the US ‘shock and awe’ strategy of destroying infrastructure, as the US did in Germany and Japan (World War II) and then Serbia and Iraq. Power stations and power networks, bridges and ‘decision centres’, such as certain government buildings in Kiev are being targeted. Russia is one or two mass missile strikes away from the knock-out blow which will disable the Ukrainian electricity, water and rail systems. With 50% of Ukrainian electricity infrastructure knocked out by the first three strikes on the electricity grid, demonstrations are starting against the deteriorating situation, with Zelensky sending in the hated and dreaded Ukrainian Secret Police, the SBU, to break them up. He is also banning coverage of them in his heavily-censored media. The electricity system has entered a stage of ‘arbitrary and uncontrolled imbalance’. Ukrainians have been told to leave the country for the winter. Where to? Who wants them anyway? And does this include the military too?

Secondly, once the infrastructure has been incapacitated, Russia’s 380,000 regular and newly mobilised troops will be fully incorporated into the Allied forces in eastern Ukraine. Even without them, Russian forces are continuing to advance in the Donbass. A winter offensive by some half a million troops will make huge gains on the whole front, advancing hundreds of kilometres and multiplying Kiev’s – and NATO’s – staggering losses. After success here, President Putin’s generals have the option of moving a serious force into the western Ukraine from Belarus in order to cut off NATO supply routes from Poland. This could easily lead to the total collapse of the already ravaged Ukrainian forces and their mercenaries. Now Russia is going all the way to Lvov and the Polish border. It has been forced to. The Kiev regime has brought it on itself. All Russia wanted was security for the Crimea and the Donbass and a neutral, non-nuclear Ukraine. It could all have been so simple.

Thirdly, Western countries, including even the brainless Stoltenberg, is suffering from Ukraine fatigue. The Ukrainian flags have nearly all come down in Europe. Support has waned as reality has dawned. NATO countries’ arms stocks have been seriously depleted and strikes and ensuing social chaos have appeared in Europe, This the result of double-digit inflation and economic recession, brought on by suicidal Western sanctions, yes, those ‘against Russia’ (!). ‘We are cold and hungry in our own country because you gave everything to that bunch of losers in Kiev and the Ukrainian freeloaders you invaded our country with’. The foul-mouthed thug Nuland has achieved her aim in Europe. All this makes Russia the strategic winner and is forcing the US/UK/EU to call on Zelensky to talk again. The British financier PM Sunak (who cares little for and knows even less about politics) used a modest British aid package, announced during his recent visit to Kiev, to tell Zelensky that bankrupt London can no longer pay. Kiev must negotiate with Moscow. Following this, there has been a delay in the fourth round of missile strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure. President Putin is waiting to see if Zelensky will cave in and start realistic talks before Russia unleashes the last assault on Ukrainian infrastructure and the winter offensive.

Ditching Zelensky

At least some in the Biden regime are realising (though not Biden himself, he is in no fit state to realise anything – a clear case of elder abuse) that they are going to have to drop the Jewish billionaire as the fall-guy for the Ukraine’s defeat. Just as they have done to countless Latin American, Middle Eastern and Asian tinpot dictators and gangsters in past decades, the US will also do the same to him in his Monsanto/Cargill banana republic. Can Zelensky still entertain any illusions about it? Of course, the US will deny that the war in the Ukraine was ever between the US and Russia and declare it was only ever ‘an internal conflict’ between the Ukraine and Russia. (Ukraine only supplied the cannon fodder for its transatlantic masters, who have controlled the country since their coup in 2014).

Ukraine’s former CIA asset, the actor Zelensky, has now acted up. The Ukrainian missile strike on Poland and the Ukrainian President’s insistence that it was a Russian strike, despite the clear evidence to the contrary, has hit Zelensky’s credibility. The intentional Ukrainian false flag strike on Polish/NATO territory, designed to provoke NATO or at least pathetic Poland into entering the war, is a pathetic embarrassment. Even compared to all of Zelensky’s other ridiculous staged false flags, like Bucha, which venal Western journalists were paid to report, this one has gone too far. The West is getting fed up with Zelensky’s antics. A bullet in the head is much cheaper than continuing to subsidise this clown.

Some are waking up to Zelensky, who is willing to unleash nuclear war in order to avoid negotiating. Some may now even understand that his crazy claims that President Putin always wanted to occupy all the Ukraine and restore the USSR, if not conquer all of Europe, are fairy-stories. These stories are told by Kiev to Western infants only in order to get military and financial aid and above all to draw NATO into the war. (The half-American Churchill spent all of 1941 trying to get the US into Britain’s war against Germany; unlike Zelensky, Churchill succeeded by emphasising his racial compatibility and dangling the Pacific Ocean carrot in front of the Yankees. Zelensky cannot offer either of those). President Putin has clearly stated on more than one occasion that: ‘He who does not regret the USSR has no heart, but he who wants to restore it has no brain’. A desire to restore the failed Soviet Union is a Western propaganda myth used by arms merchants and lying politicians to justify their greed and ambition.

Three Reasons To Run Now

Since NATO has categorically refused to send troops into the Ukraine and since there is no such thing as a ‘coalition of the willing’, apart from a few Polish and Baltic fanatics who are currently being wiped out as mercenaries in the Ukraine, what can Zelensky do? He could urge the Ukrainian commander-in-chief, General Zaluzhny, to open a last (yes, last) offensive in Donetsk or Zaporozhie in order to reboot support from the West. However, General Zaluzhny is fed up with sending his troops to commit suicide. He is, after all, a professional military man. Zelensky, on the other hand, is a White House court jester, who cares only about his own survival. Zaluzhny has other considerations. Here there is potential for a coup d’etat, a palace revolt in Kiev.

On the one hand, the self-deluded and murderous Neo-Nazis in the Ukraine who surround Zelensky and were all given power by the US, will not tolerate surrender. On the other hand, ordinary cold and hungry Ukrainians will ask why was not all of this avoided in the first place by agreeing to Ukrainian neutrality and fulfilling the Minsk 2 promises with their Russian brothers? (A good question, which should be asked of all the Western leaders who also rejected it). So Zelensky is stuck between the Neo-Nazis and the moderate Ukrainian people, between a rock and a hard place. It is lose-lose for him. Russians do not hate Ukrainians, they are brothers. But they do hate Nazis. They are enemies. The Nazis can expect no quarter from the Russians and they know it. The USSR cleared out its part of Germany of Nazis, liberating their German brothers. It is the same now in the Ukraine. With the Russian liberation of the whole of the Ukraine (not originally intended by Russia, but now necessary), a new wave of Ukrainian ‘refugees’ is going to hit Western Europe, maybe even before Christmas. This could be the last straw for a Europe full of refugees from other equally stupid and unnecessary wars of the US Empire: Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians, Libyans, Albanians and now Ukrainians. Europe cannot take it any more. It is collapsing in waves of social unrest and even Britannia cannot rule those waves.

The clueless Stoltenberg (him again) has declared that the defeat of the Ukraine means (yet another) defeat for NATO. Actually, the superfluous NATO was long ago defeated, but Stoltenberg is too clueless to have seen the writing on the wall and join the long queues of now unemployed ex-slaves of the US, Afghan and Iraqi interpreters among them. The US and its NATO vassals must now backtrack. Some statement like: ‘We were let down by those vodka-drinking surrender-monkey Ukrainians (what can you expect from those Slav subhumans?), but we have won the greatest victory in our history because we have triumphed in stopping the brutal Russian beast at the Polish border. Mission accomplished’. That would do the job. The US and its vassals cannot save face, but, since they only care about PR, they can at least pretend to save face – by blaming Zelensky. They could, conveniently, have him assassinated, so he does not tell the truth about what has really been happening behind the scenes over the last few years (he knows far too much), blaming it on ‘extremists’ and making him into a new Jewish martyr. If I were Zelensky, I would leave for Tel Aviv today. Does the Ukraine have any planes left?

Super-States in Core Eurasian Geopolitics – Utopian Proposition?

November 08, 2022

Source

by Straight-Bat

  1. Introduction

A question that troubled me often involves different kinds of “state apparatus” witnessed in the history of core Eurasia – principalities, city-states, kingdoms, empires, nation-states etc. Every possible combination of a geographical region (within core Eurasia) and a particular epoch represents a specific historical manifestation of a particular type of geopolitical entity – hence, in the 18th century while Caspian Sea region hosted a number of principalities like emirates/khanates, the Chinese mainland hosted an empire. The question I struggled with: is there a particular form of geopolitical entity that can be termed as better (or worse) for the society compared to the others? An extension of the same question would be whether the history of humankind follows any particular trajectory so far as development of political institutions are concerned. An offshoot of that question is what Marx famously referred to as the ultimate destination of the destiny of humankind – (class-less) ‘stateless’ society. While searching for a plausible response to my query, I also discovered an interesting phenomenon: a specific geopolitical entity can be beneficial and detrimental to the interests of a society at the same time, and with passage of time its impacts on the society transforms dynamically. Thus, an ‘empire’ could be destroyer of the society in a small principality while acting as a facilitator for trade and commerce for the rest of empire – Mongol empire in 13th century was a classic example of this. Russian empire elicits an example of how the positive role of the ‘state apparatus’ in providing arable land in central Asia to the peasants during 18th-19th century transformed into state repression (guided by the large land-owning kulaks) in the second half of the 19th century. Yet another interesting case study could be how the central Asian region around Caspian Sea-Aral Sea-Amu Dariya-Syr Dariya acted as the trade routes (a significant part of the famous Silk Route stretched from eastern China to Mediterranean Sea) that benefitted its aristocracy much more profoundly than the commoners who would actually execute the physical process of goods transportation and arrangements of other logistics. So, there is no straight answer to the basic question I mentioned in the beginning. Rather, I am happy to put the question in an altogether different format – assuming the Marxist idea of a stateless (class-less) society as inevitable, my quest would be to explore which kind geopolitical entity is suitable for bringing about such revolutionary change in the society to transform the selfish unjust and unequal society into a just and equitable society where 90% of the population, the plebs not only gained equal rights legally but, more importantly, they exercise those rights.

Another question, not completely unrelated, that has been bothering me relates to the geography, and history of the single geographic landmass that is known in academic books in two parts – Asia, Europe. To be specific, I have been deliberating on the question whether core Eurasia could really be treated as the ‘heartland’, control of which is a prerequisite to exercise total control over the world? Before one could sincerely take up the issue for a discussion, he/she must be able to grasp the definition of ‘core Eurasia’. Geologically, ‘Eurasia’ is a tectonic plate that lies under much of Europe and Asia. However, there is no well-defined geographic boundary of ‘core Eurasia’ in international politics. The European (geopolitical) strategists and Asian intellectuals converge on this subject remarkably well — the landmass that lies between Pacific Ocean in the east and river Vistula plus Carpathian mountain range in the west, and between Arctic Ocean in the north to the line joining Arabian Sea coast-Himalayan mountain range-South China Sea coast in the south can be termed as ‘core Eurasia’. This particular question has a definite answer – ‘core Eurasia’ indeed can be assumed as heartland because of two reasons. Firstly, the countries that dot the entire landscape of core Eurasia are not only home to 25% of the global population currently but has enough arable land, water, and forest resources for a healthy and continuous population growth. Secondly, the entire landmass of core Eurasia hold deposits of minerals, fossil fuels, rare earth, and gems in disproportionately high quantities compared to its share of total surface area of earth. Hence, the human civilization can grow, sustain, and flourish as a stand-alone phenomenon in core Eurasia even if civilizations in other regions of the world fail to sustain – this, in my opinion, is the single most important characteristic of core Eurasia why it may be considered as the ‘heartland’. Readers who are conversant with the works of geopolitics pundits like Brzezinski will easily conclude that I don’t subscribe to Brzezinski’s thought on this issue which was centred around ‘exercising power to control the world’ as he noted, “The control over Eurasia would almost automatically entails Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent.

Having established the fact that there is ample justification for treating core Eurasia as the heartland and having identified the objective of my primary quest as finding out the most appropriate type of geopolitical entity that would facilitate a just exploitation-free society, let me clarify why I’m spending time and effort to author this article. There is a specific background why I’m inclined to get into such a subject. Three to four thousand years back my ancestors roamed in the vast Eurasian steppes with an objective of finding a large inhabitable space to settle down – destiny called them to move to the Indus valley from where they finally spread across the entire south Asian subcontinent. Till now, in our community, when a member passes away, the (direct) descendants have to tie a piece of kush (i.e. long grass) to our body during the grieving period – thus, during the most difficult days of life when one’s parent departs, we remember our origin, the steppe grassland! Apart from that, during the initial 1200 years of current era, my region and people were intellectually involved with the Chinese and Tibetan scholars in a two-way exchange of knowledge, spirituality, religion, trade, and martial art. Buddhist scholars from eastern region of Indian subcontinent traveling to Chinese mainland (including Tibet) were as common as scholars from Chinese mainland staying in Buddhist universities located in the eastern region of Indian subcontinent. Needless to say then, I am concerned about core Eurasia and all those people who inhabit these lands now.

This article is fundamentally based on my thoughts, and I don’t claim to anchor these thoughts on any academic mooring. However, I will present facts based on historical and current affairs and apply rational logic (with minimum role of sentiment) to present my hypothesis. I don’t intend to hurt anybody’s sentiments or sense of patriotism or sense of duty towards own community. I ONLY wish that this article should settle down in the collective memory of all core Eurasian citizens as an abstract idea – may be a ‘utopian’ one – which, in future by 2050 CE, should be discerned by the wise people of all countries and communities, across core Eurasian landmass.

  1. What is Wrong with core Eurasia Currently?

Quite in disagreement with many alt-media reporters and commentators, I would like to argue that core Eurasia presently is going through a seemingly end-less turmoil – economic, political, social, cultural – majority part of which is orchestrated by the Zionist-Capitalist global oligarchy. I will only list down the current disorders in core Eurasia that has geopolitical and geo-economic implications:

  1. South Korea – not only South Korea (a phantom-state that got created after WW-II) has been turned into a low-cost military-industrial complex to supply military machinery to countries that can’t afford American and European weapons, but the entire South Korean society also has been infested with immoral vulgar and decaying influence of ‘Jewish’ Christianity [link 🡪 https://www.zerohedge.com/medical/scariest-halloween-my-life-120-dead-south-korea-after-crowd-crushing-incident ]. South Korea is a malignant cancer in core Eurasia that has been growing phenomenally with the capital investment by the Zionist-Capitalist global oligarchy during past 5 decades protected by USA military bases. Unless appropriate treatment is carried out, it will remain a consistent threat to security of core Eurasia
  2. Taiwan – not only Taiwan (a phantom-state that got created after WW-II) has been turned into a ‘giant weapons depot’ by the Zionist-Capitalist global oligarchy to cause major destruction of industrial belts and technology hubs along the south-east coastal regions of Chinese mainland, but the elite Taiwanese society has also been thoroughly westernized along with tie-up with USA on manufacturing of weapons [link 🡪 https://www.newdelhitimes.com/us-considering-joint-weapons-production-with-taiwan/ ]. Taiwan is another malignant cancer in core Eurasia that has been growing no less remarkably than South Korea (with the capital investment by global oligarchy). Unless appropriate treatment is carried out, it will remain a consistent threat to security of core Eurasia
  3. Kazakhstan – largest of the artificial-states that came into existence in central Asia after the Soviet stooges of the global Zionist-Capitalist clique demolished the USSR in 1991. Over the decades Kazakhstan has become the anchor state for NATO expansion into core Eurasia – in order to develop the interoperability between elements of its armed forces and those of NATO countries, since 2006 Kazakhstan has hosted annual military exercises called “Steppe Eagle”. ‘Kazakhstan’s PfP Training Centre was accredited by NATO as a Partnership Training and Education Centre in December 2010’. The most dangerous activity on the soil of Kazakhstan is the research on biological warfare by USA funding [link 🡪 https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202203/1254486.shtml ]. If Taiwan and South Korea are malignant tumors on the periphery of core Eurasia, Kazakhstan is right at the centre! It will certainly become a future threat to the stability and prosperity of core Eurasia
  4. Kyrghizstan-Tajikistan-Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan – other phantom-states that came into existence in central Asia after the planned demolition of the USSR. Significant social-political-environmental issues exist in these 4 state-lets – (i) Wahhabism, the version of Sunni Islamic extremism is rampant in all these 4 phantom-states coordinated by Turkey plus Saudi Arabia based oligarchy, and the most preposterous matter being that in each of these 4 phantom-states the citizens are instigated on the basis of ‘nationalism’ (against other 3 nationalities) and ‘religion’ (against secular state policy, forcing the government to initiate policies that would force the people adopt Arab-Islamic names, wear hijab for women, abstain from music and sports, exclude women from public life, teach only religious education in Arabic language, preach religious militancy through Islamic jihad, etc.); (ii) Decades of extremely high rate of water consumption have taken their toll on these societies – rapid environmental degeneration; (iii) elites from politics, judiciary and bureaucracy have been involved in operating drug trafficking business in order to extract illicit profit from the drug trade (which primarily originated in Afghanistan coordinated by the Zionist-Capitalist oligarchy mostly based out of Anglo countries and Israel). Undoubtedly these ‘four sisters’ can create more headache for core Eurasia in future
  5. Mongolia – A country where the society apparently loathes to deliberate on modernization of education, industry, and communication. Along with Kazakhstan, Mongolia adds to the geopolitical uncertainties right in the centre of core Eurasia. Till date Moldova offers minimum destabilization to core Eurasia as compared to other regions listed here. However, the local oligarchy is working hand in glove with the global Zionist-Capitalist clique to control the government and force it towards joining NATO block. This country might become a future threat to the security of core Eurasia
  6. Afghanistan – A country where poverty and lawlessness are the general norms, Zionist-Capitalist clique has been running world’s largest drug cartel since past three decades. During the same period, Wahhabism took a new name in Afghanistan – Taliban. These two problems got exacerbated with collapse of government services, and curtailment of foreign aid. Sudden and unilateral withdrawal of USA and NATO military forces from Afghanistan was NOT really sudden – the entire game was planned well in advance. USA based Zionist-Capitalist oligarchy hoped that the ‘Islamic Wahhabism’ will continue to flourish in Afghanistan and Talibani ideology and militants will become the largest export of Afghanistan [link 🡪 https://www.fpri.org/article/2022/05/northern-afghanistan-and-the-new-threat-to-central-asia/ ] Even if the current Taliban government appears to be taking governance seriously, there is every possibility that in the near future, Afghanistan will become the hotbed of ‘Islamic movements’ which will be utilized to overthrow or destabilize governments across core Eurasia
  7. Transcaucasia region –apart from the central Asian artificial countries, Transcaucasia was another region where dissolution of Soviet Union created ‘unstable states’. Unlike other 8 regions listed here, this is a region where two rounds of war were fought resulting in much destruction. Subversion is a norm here rather than exception. A deep analysis would indicate that the intra-regional politics is compelling Georgia-Armenia-Azerbaijan to engage in bitter struggle among themselves to diminish each other thereby fettering countries like Russia and Iran with the problem of refugee and migrants. Undoubtedly Turkey (as a coordinator of Islamic militant gangs that directly/indirectly work for the Zionist-Capitalist global oligarchy) and USA governments are managing the puppet show staying behind the curtain, but it is doubtful to what extent that will cause rupture in the Eurasian fabric. Having said that, it must be noted that an unstable Transcaucasian region can create troubles for the trade-routes that crisscross this region used by core Eurasia and other countries in Asia and Europe
  8. Moldova – along with Ukraine, Moldova adds to the geopolitical uncertainties in the eastern side of core Eurasia. Till date Moldova offers minimum destabilization to core Eurasia as compared to other regions listed here. However, Zionist-Capitalist clique works overtime here also to control the government and force it towards joining NATO block. The country might become a future threat to the security of core Eurasia
  9. Ukraine – another large artificial-state that witnessed a territorial expansion entirely due to historical undercurrents. Ukraine has been converted into a ‘giant fortress’ by the Zionist-Capitalist global oligarchy which would have joined NATO to host missile bases (if Russia not made its geopolitical demands that Ukraine will never join NATO clear to the Ukraine government in 2021 end). But, the most dangerous situation for the entire planet is: Ukraine is rushing ahead with research and development of (i) biological, (ii) chemical, (iii) nuclear warfare with funding and technology tie-up with institutions based out of USA, and other Anglo countries. on manufacturing of weapons [link 🡪 https://www.unz.com/mwhitney/uncle-sams-bio-weapons-extravaganza/ ]. If an iota of sanity was left with Ukraine government, they would have concluded a treaty with Russian government within one month of special military operation accepting the terms set by Russia. Instead, the skeletons are coming out of the Ukrainian closet – the Ukrainian government for a long time has been 100% owned by the Jewish oligarchy who wants to mobilize the last citizen of Ukraine because the USA and Anglo countries wish to fight and destroy Russian land and society. Russia and core Eurasia must not allow continuation of such a toxic entity in core Eurasia
  10. Baltic region – region of 3 phantom-states that got created due to the dissolution of the USSR. This region is special because the Zionist-Capitalist global oligarchy has been driving the government policies such that during past three decades, depopulation across the entire Baltic region became a continuous and consistent social phenomenon. There is a robust background to this – the Hegemon wanted the region absolutely free from any settlement in order to (i) convert the entire Baltic Sea coast into a giant naval and land army base, (ii) restrict Russian access to Baltic Sea as much as possible, (iii) invade Kaliningrad (old Konisberg) and destroy the Russian military base. The USA government has been pursuing policies on these (unstated but obvious) objectives for decades [link 🡪 https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Falling-In_Deterrent-Value-of-HNS-in-the-Baltic.pdf ]. Unless appropriate actions are taken, it will transform into a nightmare for the security of Russian society and land impairing core Eurasian architecture considerably.

Except Mongolia and Afghanistan, all other entries in the above mentioned list have been identified as phantom-state / artificial state – Eurasian history corroborates my statement. Few common traits exhibited by the listed entities are: (i) local oligarchy has been in the drivers’ seat to control power and wealth to the detriment of the common population, (ii) an inward-looking religious / nationalist posturing is a common thread across the region, (iii) global Zionist-Capitalist forces are using the local oligarchy to foment socio-political tensions that will divert the people’s hatred towards core Eurasian powers like Russia and China, (iv) USA, Israel, Anglo countries and NATO countries use Turkey and Japan as the spearheads to control these regions, (v) through multilateral institutions like SCO, EAEU, CSTO and geo-economic programmes like BRI China and Russia try to influence the political and economic viability of these regions. Even though (iv) and (v) balance each other, the entire core Eurasia may become an extremely unstable region if the Zionist forces succeed to set a conflagration simultaneously across 3 / 4 entities (which is a wet dream of the Zionists).

Since this article deals only with core Eurasia, I won’t raise geopolitical and geo-economic problems that beset Asia and Europe. However, countries like Japan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Balkan countries, Poland, Germany, France, Italy, and the UK present two types of problems through their hard and soft power: (a) presently all of them participate (most of them willingly) in the common global conspiracy hatched by the Zionist-Capitalist oligarchy against core Eurasian countries and societies, (b) historical role played by almost all of them to foment geopolitical instability in their own region with/without involvement of the global Zionist-Capitalist oligarchy.

  1. Political-Economic Integration in Core Eurasia Initiated by the Mongol Empire

Like it or dislike it, loathe it or love it, romanticize it or demonize it, one can’t simply ignore the role of Mongol empire in shaping the core Eurasian landmass – it is a well-established historical fact that, the Mongol empire shattered the medieval era geopolitics in the core Eurasian region applying ruthless force wherever they faced resistance. Though a united Mongol empire didn’t last even fifty years in the 13th century after demise of Chinghis Khan, the remnants of Mongol khans remained rulers in many smaller regions across core Eurasia for another five centuries as ‘Khanate’ entered the lexicon of modern political studies. If the current doldrums in core Eurasia is put under scanner, a strange observation can’t be avoided – many a current geopolitical trouble has its root in the Mongol-instigated geopolitics during the late medieval-cum-early modern era. That indicates we can’t avoid to briefly explore the geopolitical contour of the Mongol empire during the 13th century. (It will be a splendid historic inquiry if the evolution of Mongol empire is analyzed from 1227 CE when Chinghis Khan died till 1911 CE when Mongolia declared independence as a ‘modern’ state – but that is beyond the scope of this article).

While Chinghis Khan was the creator and the first emperor of Mongol empire, after his death at 1227 CE, the descendants while expanding the boundaries to cover entire core Eurasia also engaged in internecine warfare among themselves – after the death of Mongke Khan, by 1260 CE the empire was transformed into a confederacy of 4 empires, and by end of the 14th century each of those empires again got split into multiple khanates ruled by Chinghis Khan’s successors or non-Mongol rulers with kinship to Mongol aristocracy. The following table 3.1 provides a brief tentative geopolitical summary of 13th century core Eurasian landmass:

Table: 3.1 >

1227 CE1300 CE
<< UNIFIED MONGOL EMPIRE >>– Regions of current Peoples Republic of China >Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Tianjin, Beijing, Hebei, Shanxi, north-east part of Shandong, north-west part of Gansu, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region except south-east part.– Currently Mongolia– Currently Kazakhstan– Currently Uzbekistan– Currently Turkmenistan– Currently Kirghizstan– Currently Tajikistan– Regions of current Afghanistan >Northern part (one-third of state)– Regions of current Pakistan >Northern part (one-fifth of state)– Regions of current Russian Federation >— Far Eastern Federal District >Primorsky Krai, Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai (except one-third part in the north), Amur Oblast, Zabaykalsky Krai, Republic of Buryatia, Sakha Republic (except two-third part in the north)— Siberian Federal District >Irkutsk Oblast, Tuva Republic, Altai Republic, Altai Krai, Novosibirsk Oblast, Omsk Oblast (except northern half), Kemerovo Oblast, Republic of Khakassia, one-third in south of Krasnoyarsk Krai— Ural Federal District >Southern half of Kurgan Oblast, southern half of Tyumen Oblast, one-fourth of Chelyabinsk Oblast in south<< YUAN EMPIRE >>– Regions of current Peoples Republic of ChinaAll except three-fourth of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region– Currently Mongolia– Currently North Korea, South Korea– Currently Taiwan– Regions of current Russian Federation >— Far Eastern Federal District >Primorsky Krai, Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai (except one-third part in north), Amur Oblast, Zabaykalsky Krai, Republic of Buryatia, Sakha Republic (except two-third part in north)— Siberian Federal District >Irkutsk Oblast, Tuva Republic, Republic of Khakassia, southern half of Krasnoyarsk Krai– Regions of current Myanmar >North-eastern part (half of the state)– Regions of current India >A sizeable stretch of land in north-east abutting south Tibet
<< CHAGATAI KHANATE >>– Regions of current Peoples Republic of ChinaThree-fourth of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region– Regions of current KazakhstanTwo-fifth of the state in east and south– Currently Kyrghizstan– Currently Tajikistan– Regions of current UzbekistanAlmost entire state except land around Aral Sea– Regions of current AfghanistanOne-fourth of the state in the north-east
<< GOLDEN HORDE >>– Regions of current Russian Federation >— Siberian Federal District >Altai Republic, Altai Krai, Novosibirsk Oblast, Omsk Oblast, western half of Tomsk Oblast— Ural Federal District >Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug (except a small strip in north-east), Kurgan Oblast, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Tyumen Oblast, Chelyabinsk Oblast— Volga Federal District— North Caucasian Federal District— Southern Federal District— Central Federal District >One-third land in south of the district— Crimea– Regions of current BelarusAll except northern one-fourth of landmass– Currently Ukraine– Currently Moldova– Regions of current Romania >One-third land in the east abutting Moldova border
<< ILL KHANATE >>– Currently Iran– Regions of current IraqHalf of the state in eastern and northern side bordering Iran, Syria– Regions of current SyriaOne-third of the state in north-eastern side– Regions of current TurkeyHalf of the state in eastern side– Currently Armenia– Currently Azerbaijan– Currently Turkmenistan– Regions of current Afghanistan >All except one-fourth of the state in the north-east– Regions of current Pakistan >Baluchistan province in the south-west side

It can be noted from Table 3.1 presented above and Figure 3.1 given below that by 1300 CE, core Eurasia (except unpopulated northern most lands of Russia near arctic) was under the sway of the Mongol aristocrats – scholars estimated that the Mongol confederacy was spread over around 24,000,000 km2 of land creating the largest land empire in history [Link 🡪 https://maps.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/shepherd_1911/shepherd-c-092.jpg ].

Fig 3.1 >

As Morris Rossabi mentioned in the article ‘Mongol Impact on China: Lasting Influences with Preliminary Notes on Other Parts of the Mongol Empire’ (refer ACTA VIA SERICA Vol. 5, No. 2, December 2020) “perhaps the Mongols’ most important contribution was to bring East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe in touch with each other and that Eurasian history began with the Mongols’ creation of the largest contiguous land empire in world history. The Mongols also built splendid cities, promoted the economies, fostered the sciences, technologies, and the artistic advances in their domains.” Discerning readers can’t deny this observation by Rossabi. During the course of past half century, other scholars from different countries also conclusively proved that the Mongol empire facilitated trade and commerce across all regions of Asia and Europe while contributing quite substantially towards propagation of the Sciences and the Arts.

  1. Why Super-States and Key States in core Eurasia?

Question: What is the mission I’m talking about? Why can’t the current state of affairs in core Eurasia fulfill the mission? Why a reorganization of geopolitical framework of core Eurasia is a necessity?

Answer: ‘The ultimate objective will be to bring complete dignity, widest possible freedom, and maximum possible development for every citizen of the communities in core Eurasia. Every human being (irrespective of his/her background identity like age, sex, ethnicity, language, religion, region, state) will become free from hunger-disease-insecurity-injustice, will spend time in socially useful productive work, can indulge in literature-art-music-cinema, can do research in science-mathematics-life science’, can be at ease equally with technology as well as social studies, ‘can seek knowledge of ‘life’-‘society’-‘world’-‘universe’, can seek entertainment and pleasure at leisure time, without any of these things being morally or physically harmful to any section or people’ of the proposed super-states and key states in core Eurasia.

Most of the existing states are unable to offer such environment to its people not because the countries are poor, (on the contrary core Eurasia is the richest zone of the earth) – the oligarchy which is well-entrenched in the ruling edifice of every country, have been exploiting the population ruthlessly with the help of Zionist-Capitalist globalist clique. Zionist-Capitalists would love if core Eurasia becomes uninhabited and they become the master of the land and its natural resources so that the planet earth nourishes only the ‘golden billion’ (one billion population in Anglo countries, Jews, Europeans). Hence current geopolitical setup is not conducive to such humanitarian missions.

For fulfilling the mission, I mentioned above, core Eurasia should be free from the self-serving elites-aristocrats-oligarchs who misuse their political power to achieve their personal objectives – to gain power and to gain wealth. Most of the artificial-states should be dissolved and made part of one/two super-states. Without geopolitically balanced architecture destabilization in all conceivable and unconceivable forms will continue to ruin core Eurasia. Thus the current borders between so-called states should be reoriented so that,

  1. The historical background of (mid-19th century) landmass-and-community relationship gets due importance
  2. ‘Fake states’ don’t act as Zionist-Capitalist agents for destabilization in core Eurasia
  3. Core Eurasian state-actors can always remain united to become a ‘role model’ for all other regions.

In core Eurasia, during my lifetime, most of the old geopolitical issues resurfaced – some through crude bloody incidents while some others in a very subtle way. So, whether such a dispute is currently a burning issue or a dormant dispute, leaders need to look into those and try proactively to resolve it so that geopolitically balanced architecture can be achieved. Let me list down the key issues, and key actors, and suggest the resolutions considering the historical timeline from the Mongol Empire in 1227 CE to the 1848 Revolution as the ‘age of empire building’ in core Eurasia beyond which change of borders through war would not be considered as ‘valid’ (for setting our benchmark we assumed such validity). There will be certainly a question asked from every quarter – on what basis such a logic is being considered? As such, there can be no definite answer that would please everyone, rather I would like to say, that there will be no basis that is acceptable to everyone! So, I chose 1848 CE as the historical watershed because in the early modern era 1848 CE was the year when plebeians of different societies across entire Europe and some parts of Asia really did stand up against centuries old exploitation-injustice-inequality inflicted by the patricians (even if the commoners were beaten back everywhere, the patricians were forced to start counting its probable demise since then). So a reorganisation of core Eurasia into super-states and key states is suggested as below:

Table: 4.1 >

Geopolitical Restructuring Issue in Core EurasiaProposed Resolution
Significant Actor – Super-state in Russia
At the time of the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 CE, USSR encompassed the following geographical regions apart from Russia:1. Baltic Europe – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania2. Eastern Europe – Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova3. Transcaucasia – Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan4. Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, TurkmenistanThere were some remarkable aspects of the territorial evolution of Tsarist Russian empire and the USSR:(a) NONE of the above mentioned regions/sub-regions were annexed into the Tsarist empire with their 1991 borders. Reorganization of the administrative zones within the empire was a regular exercise for ALL heads of state at different points of time. Few of those were:(i) In 1708 CE Tsar Peter the Great divided the empire into eight administrative divisions called guberniyas (Archangelgorod, Azov, Ingermanland, Kazan, Kiev, Moscow, Siberia, Smolensk)(ii) In 1727 CE Catherine I enacted another reform – a total of 166 uyezds was established(iii) By 1910 CE 104 administrative governorate units (Oblast and Governorate) were formed(iv) After 1922 CE Bolshevik Party undertook a series of restructuring that transformed the earlier architecture of administrative organization(b) Historically, some regions have been under the Russian influence (political, cultural, economic) for a very long time before the proposed the cut-off year of 1848 CE — in 1721 CE Livonia, Estonia, Ingria, and Karelia were annexed from Sweden; through second and third partitions in 1793 CE and 1795 CE, Russia acquired southern part of current Latvia (south of Riga), most part of current Lithuania including Wilno (Vilnius), most part of current Belarus including Minsk, Pinsk, Brest, most part of Right Bank Ukraine that forms current Ukraine including Lutsk, Rovno, Zhytomyr, Bratslav, and Galicia from Poland-Lithuanian Commonwealth; Bessarabia (two-thirds of which lies within modern Moldova) was taken over by Russian Empire in 1812 CE defeating Ottoman Empire; parts of Georgia, Dagestan, parts of northern Azerbaijan, and parts of northern Armenia were annexed from Persian Empire by Russian Empire in 1813 CE; in 1828 CE, Persian Empire ceded Caucasian region (present-day Armenia, Azerbaijan) to Russian Empire; Kazakh-Junior Horde and Kazakh- Middle Horde declared to be loyal Russian citizens in 1732 and 1740 respectively, but full control of Russia got established by 1798 CE; Kazakh-Great Horde khanate was annexed into the Russian empire in the 1820s, when the Great Horde khans choose Russian protection against Kokand Khanate(c) On the other hand it can be easily noted that, the Tsarist empire continued with invasions and annexations after 1848 CE in the central Asia and Pacific ocean coast regions (refer the map given in Fig:4.1 that is copied from Encyclopaedia Britannica: Link 🡪 https://www.britannica.com/place/Russian-Empire ) – Sakhalin island was seized from Japanese kingdom in 1875 CE by Alexander II; khanates of Khiva (1873 CE), Bukhara (1866 CE), Kokand (1876 CE) were annexed by Alexander II; Alexander III annexed Pamir plateau in 1893 and land of Teke Turkomans in 1881 CE; Alexander III annexed the coastal and northern part of Manchuria through a series of unequal treaties forced upon Qing China (the Treaty of Aigun in 1858 and the Treaty of Peking in 1860)1. All countries / regions of a country that were part of Russian empire in 1848 CE should move back to the Russian super-state:– Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania– Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova,– Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan,– Kazakhstan (except south-eastern part – Dzungaria)2. Russia should hand over such territories to other countries that were annexed from them after 1848 CE:– Outer Manchuria i.e. modern-day Russian areas of Primorsky Krai, Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai (southern two-thirds), Amur Oblast, Zabaykalsky Krai to China3. Regions which were part of Russian empire/USSR between 1849 and 1991, and became independent since 1991, should continue their current geopolitical identity as ‘state’:– Four Central Asian countries i.e. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan were formed as administrative regions within Russian empire / USSR out of the lands from five annexations by Tsars after 1848 CE – Khanate of Khiva, Khanate of Bukhara, Khanate of Kokand, Pamir plateau, and land of Teke Turkomans
Significant Actor – Super-state in China
By 1848 CE the Qing empire territories included the following regions apart from (directly) Ming-ruled mainland China including Hainan and Taiwan islands:1. East Asia – Manchuria (Nurgan RMC of Ming empire), Inner and Outer Mongolia2. South-central Asia – Qinghai (Dokham RMC of Ming empire)3. Central Asia – Xinjiang (that included some parts of eastern Kazakhstan land from Lake Balkhash up to the current international border with China in the north-east, east and south direction, this region was annexed by Russia in 1860, 1881)4. South Asia – Tibet (U-Tsang RMC and Elis military-civilian Marshal of Ming empire; it included Aksai Chin region of Ladakh and south-eastern regions of Tibet which were seized by British after 1860 CE)The key aspects of the territorial evolution of Qing Chinese empire are:(a) The policy of partitioning the empire into several administrative regions underwent substantial change when the Qing empire replaced the Ming empire. While Ming emperors governed peripheral regions like Tibet, Manchuria through setting up Regional Military Commission, Qing empire established administrative regions across the entire empire.(b) Unlike Russian Tsarist empire, the Chinese Qing empire ceased expansion by 1800s. When in 1911 CE the Qing empire was abolished (refer the map given in Fig:4.2 that is copied from Wikipedia: Link 🡪 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qing_dynasty#/media/File:China_1911_es.svg ) the following regions were found to be parts of neighbouring states, not China:(i) a part of western Xinjiang of Qing China (some parts of currently eastern Kazakhstan land from Lake Balkhash up to the current international border with China in the north-east, east and south directions)(ii) Outer Manchuria, a part of Manchuria of Qing China (currently part of the Far Eastern District of Russia)(iii) Outer Mongolia, a part of Qing China (currently Mongolia state)(iv) western Ladakh and south-eastern Tibet, both part of Qing China (part of modern-day India)(v) Taiwan island, a part of Qing China (currently Taiwan state)1. All countries / regions of a country that were part of Chinese empire in 1848 CE should be transferred back to the Chinese super-state:– Taiwan– The islands in South China Sea– Outer Manchuria– Western Xinjiang (Dzungaria)– Aksai Chin and South-eastern Tibet2. Regions which were part of Chinese empire between 1848 and 1911, and became independent since 1911, should continue their current geopolitical identity as ‘state’:– Mongolia which declared independence from China in 1911 occupies outer Mongolian regions of Qing China
Significant Actor – Key State in Iran
Hardly any change in borders happened in Iran after 1848 CE. Hence the country, centre of one of the oldest empire in the history of humankind doesn’t pose any geopolitical challenge.Not Applicable
Significant Actor – Key State in Korea
One of the biggest geopolitical tragedy happened in the Korean Peninsula. Following Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905 Korea became the protectorate of Imperial Japan. After Japan’s surrender in 1945 in September People’s Republic of Korea was established by Lyuh Woon-hyung. In February 1946 Lyuh Woon-hyung was murdered by USA led oligarchy. Thereafter in the south of 38th parallel Syngman Rhee established Republic of Korea in August 1948 while in the following month Kim Il-sung established Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north. China and North Korea lost about 1 million people as KIA and MIA. A divided Korea is a continuous reminder about creation and growth of a malignant tumour that was implanted in core Eurasia by the USA and Anglo oligarchy after WW II.USA needs to pull out military forces lock, stock, and barrel; a united Korean government to be formed with representation from ALL regions, professions, and parties. Both the military should combine into a single force. China and Russia to ensure peace during the transition period.

Looking at the above table 4.1, one would conclude that I have identified only four entities as ‘significant actor’ in core Eurasia. Yes, if one looks into this essay in 2122 i.e. hundred years from now, the reader will find the accuracy and appropriateness of this essay in both its assumptions (that, across this humongous landmass named as ‘core Eurasia’ there are only 4 communities who are not spineless flunkies of Zionist-Capitalist oligarchy and who are not mindless followers of Anglo-Jewish culture) and its suggestions (that, in order to bring out the best possible environment for a community to survive and thrive, geopolitical fabric needs to be reorganized in terms of two super-states and two key states, all of whom will maintain very close coordination among themselves on all geopolitical and geo-economic matters). Finally, the proposed geopolitical restructuring should seriously consider (this is the first time that I’m mentioning this point as an IMPORTANT task) a formal alliance among the 4 significant actors in core Eurasia.

Fig: 4.1 🡪

Fig: 4.2 🡪

Table: 4.2 >

Geo-economic Restructuring Issue in Core EurasiaProposed Resolution
1. Any community, any country, any state can be built ONLY with a population that is large enough to sustain the cultural, economic, political, and technological progress achieved by it. Russia, Iran, North Korea in its current form don’t show healthy population growth, it doesn’t generate hope for future – I will rate this problem as severity 1 for all 3 actors.China, with world’s largest population till 2022, has been beset with continuously reducing rate of population growth – I will rate this as severity 2 for China.2. Any country, any state can organise itself ONLY on the basis of own currency or currency of a neighbour with whom two-way trade is normal. Apart from that, the dependence on Dollar (as exchange currency) must be brought down to a minimum level to avoid the fate of Russia.for China, USA debt holding over 1 trillion is a problem of severity 1, for USA will certainly weaponize the debt at the earliest ‘opportunity’ (like, China re-establishes its control over Taiwan).3. Russia-Iran-China all 3 actors are very rich in terms of natural resources. Energy, metal and mineral, rare earth elements – all three types of deposits are present in substantial quantities in core Eurasia.Import and export of such ‘natural resources’ should be aimed at enriching the commoners in Asia-Africa-South America continents as much as possible.4. SCO-BRI-EAEU should be coordinated simultaneously for economic rejuvenation of core Eurasia as well as Asia-Africa-South America continents as much as possible.As a parallel activity, encourage non-Anglo non-Jewish communities/ countries (like Germany, Japan, Italy, France, Sweden etc.) to enhance their participation in trade and commerce with core Eurasia through multilateral global platforms like RCEP.5. Minimize use of technology, hardware, and applications owned by the Zionist-Capitalist oligarchy in the areas of international finance, defence, aerospace, and social networking.As a parallel activity, encourage non-Anglo non-Jewish communities/ countries (like Germany, Japan, Italy, France, Sweden etc.) to enhance their participation in trade and commerce.Government should move on two fronts:(i) encourage early marriage and childbearing at social and cultural platforms(ii) introduce new rules and laws to facilitate marriage and childbearing for working persons, professionals, even unemployed(i) A gold-backed currency or a basket of Eurasian currencies needs to be pushed(ii) Reduce holding of US treasury rapidly by increasing central bank holding of gold to maximum level(i) These countries should restrict export of raw material and processed minerals to Europe, North America, Australia(ii) They should also ensure that other countries in core Eurasia do the same as much as possible(i) Transform the BRI format so that organizations from the participating countries get around 40% share of the capital expenditure.(ii) Bring in German, Japanese, Italian, French companies into BRI projects for supply of some machinery etc.(i) Identify areas where all 4 actors or any 3 actors will join hands to form business entities. Invest in research and development jointly.(ii) Bring in German, Japanese, Italian, French companies selectively.

Obviously a logical question will arise – ‘how such a massive transformation will happen’ and ‘when’. Local oligarchy, nationalist intelligentsia, bureaucracy, business people, and military forces are the groups who have vested interests in perpetuating the current geopolitical framework. In normal situations (where international relations follow unipolar world order) such geopolitical transformation can hardly be talked about. But major upheavals in politics, economics, and environment will compel the 90% population (the plebs) to think and accept such transformation that will bring momentous change in their lifestyle. It will be the responsibility of ALL patriotic leaders, communist party members, community elders in ALL countries to prepare themselves and their countries/communities towards accepting positive transformation.

It can be found in history that, time and again strong leaders created new geopolitical reality (sometimes because of moral high ground and in other times using superior political economy) that created new rules and orders tearing apart the existing order – I will strongly advocate such occurrence if and only if the common people of a country / region find better standard of living in the newly created architecture. Living in the 21st century I won’t criticize Chinghis Khan’s brutality against his adversaries – on the contrary, I would ask two simple questions – (i) was there a single king/emperor in the medieval era across the world who didn’t resort to mind-blowing violence to create a psychological defeat in the opponent camp? (ii) wasn’t it that the Mongol empire brought a new era in trade and commerce across the entire continents of Asia and Europe benefitting the living standard of the inhabitants? Hence I proposed here that the creation of super-states in core Eurasia in the near future – Eurasian Union of Russia and Asian Union of China – would go a long way to create a better society that ushers a new dawn of humanity! Unless the above mentioned territorial reorganizations are undertake, in my opinion, the construction of those super-states can’t really take-off!

Since I’m only discussing about core Eurasia, I’m not mentioning the case of a super-state in the Indian subcontinent. Actually India should be viewed as a super-state which should include half of what is currently Pakistan (Punjab and Sindh regions are truly such historically ‘Indian’ regions without which Indian map can’t be even be thought of! Since the beginning of ancient civilization Punjab and Sindh were the core of all Indian kingdoms/sultanates/empires until 1947 CE when British power connived with ALL key political parties like Congress, Muslim fundamentalists, and Hindu fundamentalists to divide India). But we are not discussing that.

  1. Conclusion

By now, most of the esteemed readers have already formed an opinion about this article and my objectives. To conclude this write-up, let me handle those probable clarifications from an ideological perspective:

1) An “expansionist and empire-apologist”: To be frank, this is the most significant stigma that could be assigned to this article. For a while, this article can truly create such a sentiment among the readers. Fundamentally, I’m a Marxist, and one of the final objectives of a Marxist socialist society is borderless society! Hence, on an ideological platform, I actually condemn ‘empire-building’ as a process of geopolitics. Let me state that, ‘Empire’, as a concept, is the most reactionary, naked, and violent form of ‘state apparatus’. Hence, I can never become an apologist for empire building. If so, the question still remains: what is the objective of this article?

Well, every historic ‘empire’, in reality, has different background and different characteristics. While Spanish, Portuguese, British and French empires built after 1496 CE across the world basically attempted to ‘get rid of’ the aboriginal population as much as possible, and pillaged the foreign land and resources to enrich the elites and oligarchy of those invading powers, completely contrasting behaviour could be noticed in case of the Chinese, and Russian empires. Russian and Chinese empires not only brought order and security to the people of the region they annexed but the trade and commerce got invigorated across the Eurasian landmass benefitting the commoners. Essentially while the European powers brought colonial imperialism, the Eurasian powers acted as the agents of change towards win-win modernisation.

I foresee that before different countries could even imagine a borderless landmass and a society free from exploitation (as the ultimate objective of Marxism), a country would require:

(a) A ‘state’ that ensures education, healthcare, housing, and employment for ALL citizens

(b) A ‘state’ that brings ALL races, religions, languages living in a landmass under an umbrella with an objective of shared security

(c) A ‘state’ that creates enough of social capital as a harbinger of economic prosperity while sustaining the fragile environment

Let me confess, while looking back into the history, I find ONLY Chinese and Russian super-states as the agents who would provide framework for achieving the above results. So, I propose building of such super-states as the prelude for state-less society.

2) A “reactionary feudalist pseudo-Marxist”: There will be certainly a group of dogmatic Marxists who would suggest that this article is actually a step backward which point towards rejuvenation of medieval feudal era political environment. This article doesn’t discuss the ‘class struggle’, neither this speaks about a ‘proletarian revolution’. Actually, looking everything under the sun through the prism of Marxism doesn’t help any Marxist – neither a revolutionary communist party member nor a revolutionary communist state. Abolition of ‘state apparatus’ was never identified by Marx as an immediate objective for a socialist society! On the other hand, if a truly welfare state apparatus can arrange education, healthcare, housing, and employment to all citizens of core Eurasia, people would actually gain through better living standard. And they would further realise how a state apparatus based on Marxist socialist socio-economic political thoughts would transform the current society into a more egalitarian society ensuring truth, justice, and equality and that prevail over deception, injustice, and inequality.

These readers, mostly from Europe and North America, are NOT bothered about a real democracy where the freedom of speech goes hand-in-hand with the freedom from hunger and malnutrition, and right to vote a political party is coupled with right to education and employment. They are actually bothered about the re-emergence of core Eurasia as the centre of global trade, commerce, science, and technology – instead of expressing that point categorically which otherwise would smack of racism and racial hatred (towards Asians), they wrap it up with half-baked politically correct jargons (like democracy, human rights, blah blah).

For these type of readers, I have two simple questions:

(a) What did the Greek city-states mean by ‘democracy’? (Clue – slaves who toiled ceaselessly in ancient Greek city-states or Roman Empire were never counted as citizens). It was not certainly meant for all people of their society, so what do the pseudo-socialists and lapdog-intellectuals licensed by the Zionist-Capitalist clique wish to achieve through the so-called democracy?

(b) What did the European aristocrats and oligarchs mean by ‘human rights’? Most of the regions in North America, South America and Australia continents were subjected to genocide by those same sociopath-cum-psychopath European (aristocrat and elite) marauders who, apparently set up world’s ‘finest’ democratic state apparatus like the ‘USA’, ‘Canada’, ‘Australia’, so why shouldn’t they pay respect to the concept of human rights and leave those continents lock stock and barrel one fine morning (better late than never)?

Anyway, by promoting super-states like Russia and China, I’m looking forward to a future reinstatement of Marxist ideas and philosophies among the people of core Eurasia. And, please don’t say that Marxist ideas and organisation could flourish in liberal capitalist democratic countries in Europe and North America (where the entire leftist/socialist political spectrum has been hijacked by the opportunist corrupt labour aristocracy since early 1890s) – those entities can’t be termed as ‘country’ or ‘democracy’, they are simply a bunch of oligarchs thriving in their respective ‘estate’ using lies and deception that can be termed as ‘demon-cracy’!

3) A “utopian arm-chair strategist”: To those readers who would identify me as such, I have a simple counter question – could anybody in 1942 even dream of the boundaries of USSR and PRC that were internationally accepted in 1950? What appears as ‘utopian idea’ may become a reality just 10 years from now – history of core Eurasia time and again proved it! After all, exactly hundred years back the foundation was laid for the first super-state in the history of humankind – USSR.

By and large, there are another two categories of shaming which would be applicable to the readers who consider themselves as ‘nationalist’:

i) A “Russian stooge and Chinese agent”: many readers who hail from countries – Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Moldova etc. – that have been proposed here as phantom-states would like to curse me as a ‘Russian’ agent and/or a ‘Chinese’ agent. This is another stigma that fits in with this narrative. Particularly, many of the readers find any statement that talks in favour of China and Russia, as support to ‘authoritative and despotic foreign regimes’. Let me respond to this – on the face of it, my proposition appears as a simple ancient trick of ‘annexation of more landmasses. But, it isn’t so – I consider the people as the primary subject of ‘patriotism’ and the landmass as the secondary subject. Let me elaborate on this through a historical example. Alexander Nevsky served as the Prince of Novgorod (1236–56 and 1258–1259), Grand Prince of Kiev (1236–52) and Grand Prince of Vladimir (1252–63) during the most difficult times in medieval Rus’ history. He paid a tribute to the Mongol Golden Horde while fighting against ALL European powers approaching from north-west. In my opinion, Nevsky revealed the finest expression of ‘patriotism’ that flowers in the well-being of the people of his kingdoms while paying less importance to geographical expansion of the landmass he dominated! Nevsky was bothered about his society, culture and commerce, hence as soon as he identified that European powers would destroy exactly those aspects he stood as a rock against such invasions.

Let me again acknowledge, while looking back into the medieval and modern history, I find ONLY Chinese and Russian super-states as the institutions that can ensure exchange of ideas, knowledge, goods, and services among different regions and different societies across the world without pontificating.

ii) An enemy to Russia and China: many readers who hail from current RF and PRC, would stand exactly opposite to the readers from say, Kazakhstan or Ukraine! They would come back asking why (his/her) country should give away even an inch of land to the neighbouring country. Ultimate tragedy of human life is that they always seek ‘ownership’ of almost everything under the Sun, we forget that everything – land, water body, forests, mountains, deserts – belong to mother earth. Humankind is nothing but a small part of the nature – we don’t own anything; we need to be grateful to nature for providing ALL means for living our life! If giving away some part of one country to another country proves beneficial for both the communities, why not? True patriots ALWAYS bother about the advancement of economy and culture of the people if required with little adjustments. Every society has a memory and every community has a tradition centred on some regions which they consider as inalienable part of their history – Ukraine and Belarus are such regions for the Russian society, south Korea is such a region for the Koreans, Manchuria and Tibet are such regions for the Chinese, Punjab and Sindh provinces of Pakistan are such regions for the Indians!

I’m certainly not an enemy of any country or any society or any people! On the contrary, (as I laid out in the introduction) I consider myself as a part of the people of core Eurasian landmass. I’m against hypocrisy, insanity, deception, vulgarity and above all, inequality and injustice – history alone proves that ALL these banes witnessed by the humanity since ‘civilization’ dawned, were caused by the 1% aristocracy-elite-oligarchy in EVERY region across the world! The proposed two super-states, in my opinion, will go a long way to provide a stable environment and opportunity for amelioration of the plebeian lives in core Eurasia. It will usher the beginning of a new era!

Short profile:

Straight-Bat is an Engineer by profession, currently pursuing higher study in Economics. A keen observer of global affairs, Straight-Bat enjoys being an analyst of history, politics, economy, and geopolitics.

One of the few decade-old members of The Saker blog-site, Straight-Bat finds this website as a capstone entity that is dedicated to focus on truth and justice in public life across the world.

Reflections on the Coup in Ukraine – 2014-2022

October 25, 2022

Part I

Victor Yanukovich was elected President of the Ukraine in 2010 narrowly defeating Yulia Timoshenko with 49% of votes cast to Timoshenko’s 45%. The Ukrainian Presidential term of office lasts for five years. Yanukovich’s party, the Party of the Regions, together with its coalition partner, the Communist party of the Ukraine, also had a majority in the Ukrainian Parliament, with Mykola Azarov as Prime Minister. The membership of the European Union was one of the more salient issues during this time and was the trigger for subsequent upheavals.

Negotiations for Ukraine’s initial stage of eventual membership of the EU – the Association Agreement – had been dragging on since 2011, with both Yanukovich and Azarov favorably disposed, although the communist coalition partners were not.

This did not go down at all well in Moscow and Azarov tried to assuage Russian misgivings by urging Russia “to accept the reality of Ukraine signing the EU agreement”. The commitment of Yanukovich was eventually to be tested to destruction since he was being pulled in two directions: by Russia on the one hand, and the EU on the other. For their part the Russians offered the Ukraine a $15 billion loan, a discount on gas prices, and membership of the customs union of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. But the EU was having none of it: President of the Euro-pean Commission José Manuel Barroso stated that the EU will not tolerate “a veto of a third country” (Russia) in their negotiations on closer integration with Ukraine. Thus, Yanukovich was forced into a choice which would be certain to alienate and anger one of the powerful interested partners on his borders.

Negotiations dragged on into 2013. Yanukovich was invited to sign the Association Agreement, but there were a number of conditions. The most significant of these were those concerning an IMF loan. The conditions were very much in the tradition of IMF Structural Adjustment Programmes (the scourge of the developing world). This was enough to scupper the EU deal. Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov stating that ‘’the issue that blocked the signature of the EU deal were the conditions proposed by the IMF loan being negotiated at the same time as the Association Agreement, which would require large budget cuts and a 40% increase in gas bills. This, for a country already verging on bankruptcy. In store for the Ukraine was the usual neo-liberal IMF austerity package, deregulation, privatization, and liberalization. The Greek treatment. Yanukovich took the Russian offer instead.

This seemed like a normal business decision, but it was not perceived as such in the western Ukraine backed by the EU and US. The whole episode then kicked-off.

The battle in Kiev and the Interim Government

Immediately this became known as the mass protest in Kiev and the west was on the world’s TV screens, with demonstrators waving Ukrainian and EU flags (where they got all these EU flags is a mystery to this day). This seemed to be a mass popular protest and the demonstrators were to set up camps in Independence Square, but the carnival atmosphere was not to last.

Ultra-nationalist groups (inveterate fascists, in the shape of Right Sector and Svoboda and even more exotic neo-nazi grouplets) began to appear among the generally moderate majority and battles with the Berkut (riot police) began on a daily basis which the opposition forces finally won. A victory for democracy and ‘people’s power’ as stated in the Guardian editorial? Not quite. For nobody should be in any doubt about the political complexion of these ultra-nationalist groups who went on to hold six portfolios in the new government based in Kiev. Nor should anybody be in any doubt about both the overt and covert role played by both US and EU officials in the formation of the future interim ‘government’. Throughout this period the EU and high-ranking US officials were openly engaged in Ukraine’s internal affairs. The US Ambassador, Geoffrey Pyatt and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs – Victoria Nuland – were strolling around Independence square reassuring the protestors that America stood behind them. Also basking in the limelight were US NGOs such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Although in the case of NED it should be called a GO rather than an NGO since it was not officially funded by the US government. Also involved was Human Rights Watch (HRW); and of course, not forgetting the ineffable George Soros and the Open Society Foundation (OSF). US expenditure on this colour revolution amounted to some $5 billion. This was later made public at a talk given by Ms Nuland to the press club in Washington. These actions could never have taken place without being sanctioned at the highest level of the US government. Additionally, the EU representative – Catherine Ashton – a total nonentity and a complete airhead of the type which is the machine-produced by the British Labour party, carried out much the same function for the EU although at a more official level.

But other important things were taking shape in Ukraine itself.

The ultra-right Svoboda Party had scored six major cabinet ministries in the government of Arseniy Yatsenyuk approved by the Ukrainian parliament on Thursday. Svoboda is the Neo-Nazi, ultra-right, anti-Semitic, Russophobic party with its base of support in the Western Ukraine, with links to the Front Nationale in France and the BNP in the UK … The most important post was claimed by a co-founder of Svoboda, Andriy Parubiy. He was named Secretary of the Security and National Defense Committee, which supervised the defense ministry and the armed forces. The Parubiy appointment to such an important post should, alone, be cause for international outrage. He led the masked Right Sector thugs who battled riot police in the Independence Maidan in Kiev.”

Dmitry Yarosh was Leader of Right Sector. The Ukraine’s own Ernst Roehm – one-time leader of German Brownshirt radicals – the (SA) Sturm Abteilung – Storm Troopers.

The Right Sector is an openly fascist, anti-Semitic and anti-Russian organization. Most of the snipers and bomb throwers in the crowds were connected with this group. Right Sector members have been participating in military training camps for the last two years or more in preparation for street activity of the kind witnessed in the Ukraine over the last events.

The Right Sector, as can be seen by the appointment of Parubiy, was now in a position to control major appointments to the provisional government and succeeded in achieving its long-term goal of legalizing discrimination against Russians. The new parliament has passed legislation that declared Russian speakers no longer have equal rights with Ukrainians.

He is also associated with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk’s Fatherland Party and Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector delegation in parliament, was named Parubiy deputy. These appointments of those openly fascist groups to positions of control over the armed forces are particularly alarming given the possibility of provocations against the Russian naval base in Sevastopol.

Oleksandr Sych, a Svoboda parliamentarian from Ivano-Frankivsk best known for his attempts to ban all abortions in Ukraine, including those resulting from rape, was named deputy prime minister for economic affairs. Svoboda was also rewarded with the Education Ministry under Serhiy Kvit, as well as the Ecology Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry under Andriy Makhnyk and Ihor Shvaiko, respectively. Earlier in the week Svoboda Member of Parliament Oleh Makhnitsky was named prosecutor-general of the Ukraine.

(I hope I got those names right – FL!)

Others with ultra-right associations with the Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self Defense (UNA-UNSO) also received cabinet posts. Tatyana Chernovol was portrayed in the Western press as a crusading investigative journalist without reference to her past involvement in the anti-semitic UNSO, was named chair of the government’s anti-corruption committee. Dmytro Bulanov known for his alleged kidnapping by police, but also with UNA-UNSO connections, was appointed minister of youth and sports.

Yatsenyuk’s Fatherland Party, and figures close to it, obtained ten cabinet posts, including deputy prime minister for EU integration, interior, justice, energy, infrastructure, defense, culture, social issues, and a minister without portfolio. Yegor Sobolev, leader of a civic group in Independence Maidan and politically close to Yatsenyuk, was appointed chair of the Lustration Committee, which was charged with purging followers of President Yanukovich from government and public life.

In a society where oligarchs play such an important political and economic role it is unsurprising that Volodymyr Groysman, mayor of Vinnytsia and close associate of oligarch Petro Poroshenko – one time finance minister in Yanukovich’s government – was chosen as deputy prime minister for regional affairs. Groysman was also close to former President Viktor Yushchenko. The new finance minister, Oleksander Shlapak, is a representative of oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskiy, the second wealthiest man in the Ukraine.

“The remaining cabinet posts went to technocrats, a doctor who organized medical services for the Maidan protestors, and a retired police general.’’

(Global Research 02/03/2014)

The interim cabinet matches exactly the government Victoria Nuland recommended in her intercepted call with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev where she revealed the U.S. plan for a coup in Ukraine. Vitali Klitschko and his UDAR party were excluded, likely because of their close relationship with German chancellor Angela Merkel. Yatseniuk’s Fatherland Party received the majority of portfolios. And as Nuland demanded, so long as Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok did not receive a major cabinet post, Svoboda could receive several ministries.

­FALLOUT

After the assumption of power by the new regime in Kiev the former government parties, namely the Party of the Regions and the Communist Party were both banned in 10 of the western regions of the Ukraine. Additionally party offices were burned down and former members of Yanukovich’s coalition and supporters were intimidated, verbally and physically assaulted by supporters of the new regime.

Then came the bombshell, though not entirely unexpected – and now a virtual coup – to be formalized in the referendum 16th March. This regarding the Crimea’s secession from the Ukraine, an event which stoked up an international crisis with the big beasts getting involved in geopolitical positioning and a propaganda war.

One can only speculate about the consequences –national, regional, and international – of the events in Kiev and the future reaction to these events in the Eastern and southern Oblasts of the Ukraine: an arc stretching from Odessa, through Crimea, East to Mariupol, on the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, and east and north up to Donetsk, Lugansk and the old Ukrainian capital of Kharkov. This is about half the country where most of the industry was situated, particularly in the Don Bass area. Will they, the staunch and solid electoral base for Yanukovich, be willing to be governed by the new regime in Kiev? Or will they follow the Crimean secession?

We shall wait and we shall see. Well, we did see. What happens next one wonders!?

Reflections on the Revolution in Ukraine 2014-2022

Part II

Francis Lee reports on the Crimean Referendum, the double-standards of western government & media reactions and the challenges facing the unelected Kiev regime

The ongoing crisis in the Ukraine has reached another point of (perhaps unexpected) development. It was obvious to most impartial observers that the parliament of the Crimea had staked its position very early – namely, that they were unwilling to accept the authority of the unelected Kiev regime. The first calls for a referendum came as early as February and March 2014. This seemed to chime with what the majority of Crimea’s population, mostly ethnic Russians, also seemed to think, and so it turned out. The arrival of Russian troops would probably not have made any difference to the eventual outcome, but just to make sure Putin sent his special forces to protect his military assets in Sevastopol. Under a prior arrangement with the Ukraine Russia held a 25-year lease on the Sevastopol naval base, for which it also paid a rental of US$500 million per annum. Moreover, the conditions of Russia’s leasehold also included the right to station up to 16,000.00 naval and military personnel in the Crimea.

Having said this, the results of the referendum – which did not come as any great surprise – was rather tarnished by the obvious presence of Russian soldiers at checkpoints, Simferopol airport, railway stations and other strategic locations. This caused the spokespersons for the western alliance – EUSA for short – to go into propaganda overdrive and drive its media sycophants into a state of near apoplexy. It was argued that the referendum was illegal since it violated the constitution of the Ukraine. However, whatever the legal position in the Crimea, the upholders of the Ukrainian constitution – the Kiev regime – were undoubtedly illegal, having come to power by mob violence, so that it was scarcely in a position to declare the Crimean referendum illegal. It has also been pointed out that the referendum in Kosovo resulted in a secession from the disintegrating state of Yugoslavia, took place in the presence of a foreign occupying force, as did the referendum in the Falkland Islands.

What the whole Ukrainian imbroglio was clearly demonstrating was the barefaced hypocrisy and double standards of the western media – including the soi-disant doyen of the liberal-left, the Guardian. No lie it seems is big enough as long as it serves the noble cause of the western alliance. Whether these neo-con foreign policies and neo-liberal economic policies are ‘noble’ remains something of a moot point, however.

UKRAINIAN DOMESTIC POLITICS

What next? The problems facing the Kiev regime are considerable. Firstly, there is the ongoing embarrassment of the neo-fascist element now entrenched in the government, and it’s all too ubiquitous presence on the streets, where Svoboda and Right Sector paramilitaries swagger around in Kiev as if they own the place, and in a certain sense they do. After all they spearheaded the revolution, notwithstanding the fact that they probably only represented a minority in the general protest movement. As has already been made clear they now hold six ministerial portfolios some in extremely sensitive areas. How far does the regime control these ultra-radicals?

It was all very reminiscent of Italy earlier in the 20th century and the emergence of the fasci (Blackshirts) under the leadership of Benito Mussolini which styled themselves as the united front against Bolshevism, and a little later in Germany in 1934, where the Nazi paramilitaries, the (SA)-Brownshirts under the command of the leader and notorious homosexual Ernst Roehm, were calling for a second revolution, which is exactly what Dmitry Yarosh, leader of Right Sector was also calling for. Moreover, he called for nationalization of selected industries – classic fascist economic policy – in the Ukraine and has gone on record that he will blow up the gas pipeline (sic!) from Russia to western Europe if Russia invades the Ukraine. This coming from a minister in a ‘government’ duly recognized by the west. Recent incidents have brought to light this acute PR problem for the new order not only for the head of the Kiev regime. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and also his western backers spilt the beans when one such incident is reported as follows:

“When state-owned Ukrainian TV broadcast celebrations of Russia’s annexation of Crimea on Moscow’s Red Square, a group of nationalist politicians cried betrayal. They burst into the office of the channel’s executive, accused him of being a Russian stooge, punched him and forced him to sign a resignation letter.

The assault, which prompted condemnation in the West presents an important test for Ukraine’s new pro-western government. … For Ihor Miroshnichenko, a lawmaker with the nationalist Svoboda party, those scenes of Russian domination were all too much. Moreover, the broadcast of Russian celebrations seemed to add insult to injury.

To vent his rage, he led a group of Svoboda colleagues in storming the office of the First National channel’s chief, Oleksandr Panteleymonov, used an insulting term used to describe Russians and punched him repeatedly, while an aide recorded the scene on video.

“His position is complicated by the fact that Svoboda, a vocal force in parliament that took part in the protests that ousted the pro-Russian government, received several key posts in the Cabinet – including prosecutor general, the very figure who will be in charge of investigating the TV station attack.’’

(Maria Danilova, Associated Press Kiev)

But they were the methods by which, whether by design or default, Yatsenyuk and his regime came to power. This is the problem with revolutions, they open a Pandora’s Box of unforeseen and unwelcome outcomes. And this particular incident is just one among many.

Of course Hitler had a short method of dealing with the SA paramilitaries: their leadership was wiped out by the SS during the infamous ‘’Night of the Long Knives’’ in June 1934 and the rank and file drafted into the army. Unfortunately for Yatsenyuk he doesn’t have an SS to do the requisite dirty work, even if he wanted.

The Upcoming election in May for the Ukrainian Parliament provided another litmus test for the Kiev regime. Given the fact that there has been a de facto ban on both the Communist Party and The Party of the Regions, Yanukovich’s party, in the western Ukraine, and a process of ratification to make the ban legal which is now before the Parliament, how fair and free is this forthcoming election likely to be? It would also be a good bet that parties favouring separatism in the past – the Progressive Socialist Party of the Ukraine, for example – or openly separatist parties, will wish to contest the election. Noises coming from Kiev would seem to suggest that this will not be allowed. Thus, the whole swathes of the Ukrainian electorate will be effectively disenfranchised.

This last point brings up yet another problem: what will happen in the Eastern Oblasts. There have al- ready been mass demonstrations in Kharkov and Donetsk for a Crimean style referendum, and this has led to a number of arrests including one Pavel Gubarov, a leading separatist from the Donetsk region and member of the Progressive Socialist Party of the Ukraine. He is now awaiting trial in Kiev. This fissure in Ukrainian politics is not likely to go away any time soon and could lead to open conflict.

THE UKRAINIAN ECONOMY

Turning to the economics, the regime in Kiev has further deep-going problems to deal with; problems which look frankly intractable. Namely, the country is effectively bankrupt. It is now being bounced into a fast-tracked membership of the EU by a non-elected government in the belief that EU membership is, for some obscure reason, thought to be the deus ex machina. In fact, EU membership could simply exacerbate the situation as has been the case in the peripheral regions of western Europe. We need to pose the question as to why, a predominantly, poor, agricultural country, with an industrial base which is basically technologically obsolescent, and which could not compete with the industries of western Europe, wishes to join, and open its markets to the EU. This would be the right royal road to under-development, as local industries would simply disappear, or be subject to take-over by foreign multinationals. The Ukraine would join a long list of East European states which now form a low-wage, outsourcing hinterland for western multinationals.

Additionally, since Ukraine will need considerable credits and loans, it can expect a man from the IMF to come knocking on the door and insisting that the country ‘reforms’ its economic and financial structures before Ukraine gets any cash. – for ‘reforms’ read the dreaded Structural Adjustment Programme: cuts in public expenditure, devalue the currency, privatize state assets, end subsidies, deregulate, open the economy to financial flows (‘hot money’’) lower wage costs … the usual and devastating neo-liberal package which we have seen operationalized from Chile, to Thailand, to Greece.

This destabilization process of Ukraine will not be easily reversed. If only the protest movement had waited until the democratic presidential elections in 2015, much of this might have been avoided. But outside forces wished to force the issue and had no time for such fuddy-duddy notions such as democratic elections. These geopolitical issues will be dealt with in the next bulletin.

Reflections on the Revolution in Ukraine

Part III

It’s the geopolitics stupid!

At an important meeting held in Paris to discuss the future of Ukraine, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and his Russian counterpart, Foreign Secretary Sergey Lavrov, were unable to find sufficient common ground to come to any firm decisions regarding the future of the country. Kerry rejected the legality of the referendum in the Crimea and, for his part, Lavrov, was firm in his stance on the dubious legality of the present regime in Kiev. It was always going to be tough for the two interlocutors to come to any productive outcomes in this diplomatic context.

Additionally, Lavrov insisted upon the virtual semi- detachment of Ukraine’s eastern oblasts which did not go down at all well in Kiev. The Russian plan was to essentially impose a political solution where Ukraine’s eastern and southern provinces have greater autonomy, the right to speak the Russian language and the ability to pursue much more independent policies from the central government. U.S. and Ukrainian officials say they worry such a formula could provide the Kremlin with a virtual veto over Kiev’s political system.

The plan was briefly outlined by Lavrov as follows:

“We are certain that Ukraine needs profound constitutional reform. In all, fairness, we can’t see any other way to ensure the stable development of Ukraine but to sign a federal agreement,” Mr. Lavrov said in an interview on Saturday (29/03/14) with Russian state media. “Some may know better and are, perhaps, capable of finding some magic spell to ensure living in a unitary state with people in the West, on the one hand, and the southeast, on the other.”

All of which illustrates the position of Ukraine as being on the geo-political fault-lines between the US and its EU allies and Russia. It seems that national sovereignty is now off the agenda for both sides as they jockey for position. It would now appear that the Ukraine which was, is no more, partition and separation are beginning to look inevitable. Had the Presidential elections in Ukraine taken place as they were scheduled, and which Yanukovich would probably have lost, the story might have been very different. Unfortunately, there were outside forces who had little patience with Presidential elections and were more interested in regime change.

Which brings me to one Ms. Victoria Jane ‘f**k the EU’ Nuland (born 1961) the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State. She who along with US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt were strolling around among the crowds at the Maidan offering cookies, doughnuts, as well as encouraging and comforting words. As I said at the time, this could have only taken place with clearance from the White House.

Why do I see fit to mention her and why is she of any importance? Well for one she was engaged in determining the personnel of the interim Ukrainian administration. In a bugged telephone conversation with Pyatt, Nuland argued that boxing champion Klitschko of the Udar (Punch in English) party was not to be included in any forthcoming administration but that the Deputy (and acting) leader of the Fatherland Party, Yatsenyuk (Timoshenko’s party) should be included. Apart from this faux pas there was the admission whereby Ms. Nuland that the US has invested $5 Billion in The development of Ukrainian, ‘Democratic Institutions’.

But perhaps most importantly is the fact that Ms Nuland is the wife of one Robert Kagan. Mr Kagan is an American historian and is important in as much as he was one of the co-founders of The Project for the New American Century, (PNAC) an international relations think-tank based in Washington DC, established in 1997 together with arch US foreign policy hawks, Richard Perle and William Kristol. Their stated goal was to ‘promote American global leader- ship’. Their position that ‘American leadership was both good for America and good for the world’ and that this should be vigorously asserted as a main plank of US foreign policy. Kagan himself was to state that ‘the US is an empire and should be an empire.’ The position of these neo-conservatives, or neo-cons as they became known, was frankly comparable to jihadist ambitions to reshape the world to conform to Sharia law. The neo-cons wanted to shape the world to the American way, which is presumably good in the sight of God. If this took regime change, then so be it. Nothing should be allowed to stand in the way of the great crusade.

If these people had merely been some eccentric fringe group – of which there are many on the other side of the pond – it would not have much mattered. But it becomes clear that with its members in many key administrative positions in the department of State, that the PNAC has exerted influence on high level government officials in the administration of both Bush and Obama. This fact notwithstanding its organization was much reduced by 2006. The worldview had by now become embedded in American strategic thinking. The Westphalian doctrine that no state shall attack another state unless the other state directly threatened its interests, was now considered passé, and regime change, as we have seen in Iraq, Libya and possibly Syria, is now regarded as an acceptable instrument of foreign policy. As Guardian columnist George Monbiot was to write, ‘’to pretend that this battle begins and ends in Iraq requires a willful denial of the context in which it occurs. That context is a blunt attempt by a super-power to reshape the world to suit itself. (The Guardian 11 March 2003)

The collapse of communism in the Soviet Union in 1990/91 and the touted ending of the Cold War, saw the imposition of a virtual Treaty of Versailles on Russia under the puppet dictator and buffoon, Boris Yeltsin. Russia, like Germany in 1919, was to be kept down, humiliated, and have its nose rubbed into its new status at every opportunity. Moreover, its economy was almost destroyed by the economic shock therapy imposed by the IMF/World Bank, under the tutelage of one Jeffrey Sachs. The various ex-Warsaw Pact states – Poland, Hungary, DDR, the Baltics, Czech Republic – were drawn into the EU and then NATO. NATO itself was expanded rather than wound down.

This was an interesting development since the EU’s foreign policy orientation underwent a profound change (its economic policies had already changed – for the worse). Initially the EU was supposed to be a third force standing between American capitalism, and Soviet communism. This at least is how De Gaulle saw it: non-aligned with an independent foreign policy akin perhaps to Yugoslavia under Tito. Additionally, the policy outlined by Jacques Delors was one of managed capitalism of the Germany sozialemark- twirtschaft variety and French etatisme seemed more attractive than the deregulated, financialized systems of the US and UK.

As things unfolded, however, the Delors’ model was discarded, and a neo-liberal regime foisted upon European regardless. The drive to the east meant that EU widening prevented the type of EU deepening that De Gaulle and Delors had had in mind. But now foreign policy was also to become Americanized. The UK, of course had always been incorrigibly Atlanticist, but it would have been safe to assume that continental powers – particularly France – would be less so. After denouncing the Iraq War – along with Russia and Germany – France now (under a socialist government!) was actually front-running US imperialism (let’s call it what it is) and taking the initiative in regime change operations in Libya, Mali and almost Syria.

Thus, we now have a situation whereby the EU has effectively become the spearhead of US operations of subversion and regime change (in the name of enlargement) in driving east into Europe right up to the Russian frontier. In the case of Romania US missiles have already been installed, and the plan is for a broader deployment throughout Europe. Europe apparently has a neo-con foreign policy to complement its neo-liberal economic policy.

“… it is not only Great Britain that is Atlanticist. The continental European states are no less so, despite their seeming intention to construct a political Europe. Proof of this is given by the central position of NATO in this political construction. For some European countries (the ex-COMECON states) NATO’s protection, that is that of the US, against their ‘’Russian enemy’’ is more important than their adhesion to the European Union.’’

(The Implosion of Capitalism – Samir Amin – p.203)

And so, the great game continues. One of the principal things to emerge from this has been the absolute spinelessness of European leaders and their willingness to do the US’s dirty work. One wonders whether this EU is any longer worth belonging to – the Ukrainian imbroglio has been a great game-changer in this respect.

China: Xi Gets Ready for the Final Countdown

October 19, 2022

By Pepe Escobar

Global Research,

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President Xi Jinping’s 1h45min speech at the opening of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing was an absorbing exercise of recent past informing near future. All of Asia and all of the Global South should carefully examine it.

The Great Hall was lavishly adorned with bright red banners. A giant slogan hanging in the back of the hall read, “Long Live our great, glorious and correct party”.

Another one, below, functioned like a summary of the whole report:

“Hold high the great flag of socialism with Chinese characteristics, fully implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, carry forward the great founding spirit of the party, and unite and struggle to fully build a modern socialist country and to fully promote the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

True to tradition, the report outlined the CPC’s achievements over the past 5 years and China’s strategy for the next 5 – and beyond. Xi foresees “fierce storms” ahead, domestic and foreign. The report was equally significant for what was not spelled out, or left subtly implied.

Every member of the CPC’s Central Committee had already been briefed about the report – and approved it. They will spend this week in Beijing studying the fine print and will vote to adopt it on Saturday. Then a new CPC Central Committee will be announced, and a new Politburo Standing Committee – the 7 that really rule – will be formally endorsed.

This new leadership line-up will clarify the new generation faces that will be working very close to Xi, as well as who will succeed Li Keqiang as the new Prime Minister: he has finished his two terms and, according to the constitution, must step down.

There are also 2,296 delegates present at the Great Hall representing the CPC’s over 96 million members. They are not mere spectators: at the plenary session that ended last week, they analyzed in-depth every major issue, and prepared for the National Congress. They do vote on party resolutions – even as those resolutions are decided by the top leadership, and behind closed doors.

The key takeaways

Xi contends that in these past 5 years the CPC strategically advanced China while “correctly” (Party terminology) responding to all foreign challenges. Particularly key achievements include poverty alleviation, the normalization of Hong Kong, and progress in diplomacy and national defense.

It’s quite telling that Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was sitting in the second row, behind the current Standing Committee members, never took his eyes off Xi, while others were reading a copy of the report on their desk.

Compared to the achievements, success of the Xi-ordered Zero-Covid policy remains highly debatable. Xi stressed that it has protected people’s lives. What he could not possibly say is that the premise of his policy is to treat Covid and its variants as a U.S. bioweapon directed against China. That is, a serious matter of national security that trumps any other consideration, even the Chinese economy.

Zero-Covid hit production and the job market extremely hard, and virtually isolated China from the outside world. Just a glaring example: Shanghai’s district governments are still planning for zero-Covid on a timescale of two years. Zero-Covid will not go away anytime soon.

A serious consequence is that the Chinese economy will most certainly grow this year by less than 3% – well below the official target of “around 5,5%”.

Now let’s look at some of the Xi report’s highlights.

Taiwan: Beijing has started “a great struggle against separatism and foreign interference” on Taiwan.

The Shape of Things to Come in China. A New Stage in Economic and Social Development

Hong Kong: It is now “administered by patriots, making it a better place.” In Hong Kong there was “a major transition from chaos to order.” Correct: the 2019 color revolution nearly destroyed a major global trade/finance center.

Poverty alleviation: Xi hailed it as one of three “major events” of the past decade along with the CPC’s centenary and socialism with Chinese characteristics entering a “new era”. Poverty alleviation is the core of one of the CPC’s “two centenary goals.”

Opening up: China has become “a major trading partner and a major destination for foreign investment.” That’s Xi refuting the notion that China has grown more autarchic. China will not engage in any kind of “expansionism” while opening up to the outside world. The basic state policy remains: economic globalization. But – he didn’t say it – “with Chinese characteristics”.

“Self-revolution”: Xi introduced a new concept. “Self-revolution” will allow China to escape a historical cycle leading to a downturn. And “this ensures the party will never change.” So it’s the CPC or bust.

Marxism: definitely remains as one of the fundamental guiding principles. Xi stressed, “We owe the success of our party and socialism with Chinese characteristics to Marxism and how China has managed to adapt it.”

Risks: that was the speech’s recurrent theme. Risks will keep interfering with those crucial “two centenary goals”. Number one goal was reached last year, at the CPC’s 100th anniversary, when China reached the status of a “moderately prosperous society” in all respects (xiaokang, in Chinese). Number two goal should be reached at the centenary of the People’s Republic of China in 2049: to “build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious.”

Development: the focus will be on “high-quality development”, including resilience of supply chains and the “dual circulation” economic strategy: expansion of domestic demand in parallel to foreign investment (mostly centered on BRI projects). That will be China’s top priority. So in theory any reforms will privilege a combination of “socialist market economy” and high-level opening, mixing the creation of more domestic demand with supply-side structural reform. Translation: “Dual-circulation” on steroids.

“Whole-process democracy”: that was the other new concept introduced by Xi. Translates as “democracy that works”, as in rejuvenating the Chinese nation under – what else – the CPC’s absolute leadership: “We need to ensure that people can exercise their powers through the People’s Congress system.”

Socialist culture: Xi said it’s absolutely essential “to influence young people”. The CPC must exercise ideological control and make sure the media fosters a generation of young people “who are influenced by traditional culture, patriotism and socialism”, thus benefitting “social stability”. The “China story” must go everywhere, presenting a China that is “credible and respectable”. That certainly applies to Chinese diplomacy, even the “Wolf Warriors”.

“Sinicise religion”: Beijing will continue its drive to “Sinicise religion”, as in “proactively” adapting “religion and the socialist society”. This campaign was introduced in 2015, meaning for instance that Islam and Christianity must be under CPC control and in line with Chinese culture.

The Taiwan pledge

Now we reach the themes that completely obsess the decaying Hegemon: the connection between China’s national interests and how they affect the civilization-state’s role in international relations.

National security: “National security is the foundation of national rejuvenation, and social stability is a prerequisite of national strength.”

The military: the PLA’s equipment, technology and strategic capability will be strengthened. It goes without saying that means total CPC control over the military.

“One country, two systems”: It has proven to be “the best institutional mechanism for Hong Kong and Macau and must be adhered to in the long term”. Both “enjoy high autonomy” and are “administered by patriots.” Xi promised to better integrate both into national strategies.

Taiwan reunification: Xi made a pledge to complete the reunification of China. Translation: return Taiwan to the motherland. That was met with a torrent of applause, leading to the key message, addressed simultaneously to the Chinese nation and “foreign interference” forces: “We will not renounce the use of force and will take all necessary measures to stop all separatist movements.” The bottom line: “The resolution of the Taiwan issue is a matter for the Chinese people themselves, to be decided by the Chinese people.”

It’s also quite telling that Xi did not even mention Xinjiang by name: only by implication, when he stressed that China must strengthen the unity of all ethnic groups. Xinjiang for Xi and the leadership mean industrialization of the Far West and a crucial node in BRI: not the object of an imperial demonization campaign. They know that the CIA destabilization tactics used in Tibet for decades did not work in Xinjiang.

Shelter from the storm

Now let’s unpack some of the variables affecting the very tough years ahead for the CPC.

When Xi mentioned “fierce storms ahead”, that’s what he thinks about 24/7: Xi is convinced the USSR collapsed because the Hegemon did everything to undermine it. He won’t allow a similar process to derail China.

In the short term, the “storm” may refer to the latest round of the no holds barred American war on Chinese technology – not to mention free trade: cutting China off from buying or manufacturing chips and components for supercomputers.

It’s fair to consider Beijing keeps the focus long-term, betting that most of the world, especially the Global South, will move away from the U.S. high tech supply chain and prefer the Chinese market. As the Chinese increasingly become self sufficient, U.S. tech firms will end up losing world markets, economies of scale, and competitiveness.

Xi also did not mention the U.S. by name. Everyone in the leadership – especially the new Politburo – is aware of how Washington wants to

“decouple” from China in every possible way and will continue to provocatively deploy every possible strand of hybrid war.

Xi did not enter into details during his speech, but it’s clear the driving force going forward will be technological innovation linked to a global vision. That’s where BRI comes in, again – as the privileged field of application for these tech breakthroughs.

Only this way we can understand how Zhu Guangyao, a former vice minister of finance, may be sure that per capita GDP in China in 2035 would at least double the numbers in 2019 and reach $20,000.

The challenge for Xi and the new Politburo right away is to fix China’s structural economic imbalance. And pumping up debt-financed “investment” all over again won’t work.

So bets can be made that Xi’s third term – to be confirmed later this week – will have to concentrate on rigorous planning and monitoring of implementation, much more than during his previous bold, ambitious, abrasive but sometimes disconnected years. The Politburo will have to pay way more attention to technical considerations. Xi will have to delegate more serious policymaking autonomy to a bunch of competent technocrats.

Otherwise, we will be back to that startling observation by then Premier Wen Jiabao in 2007: China’s economy is “unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated and ultimately unsustainable”. That’s exactly where the Hegemon wants it to be.

As it stands, things are far from gloomy. The National Development and Reform Commission states that compared to the rest of the world, China’s consumer inflation is only “marginal”; the job market is steady; and international payments are stable.

Xi’s work report and pledges may also be seen as turning the usual Anglo-American geopolitical suspects – Mackinder, Mahan, Spykman, Brzezinski – upside down.

The China-Russia strategic partnership has no time to lose with global hegemonic games; what drives them is that sooner rather than later they will be ruling the Heartland – the world island – and beyond, with allies from the Rimland, and from Africa to Latin America, all participating in a new form of globalization. Certainly with Chinese characteristics; but most of all, pan-Eurasian characteristics. The final countdown is already on.

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This article was originally published on Strategic Culture Foundation.

Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil, is a correspondent and editor-at-large at Asia Times and columnist for Consortium News and Strategic Culture. Since the mid-1980s he’s lived and worked as a foreign correspondent in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Singapore, Bangkok. He has extensively covered Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia to China, Iran, Iraq and the wider Middle East. Pepe is the author of Globalistan – How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War; Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad during the Surge. He was contributing editor to The Empire and The Crescent and Tutto in Vendita in Italy. His last two books are Empire of Chaos and 2030. Pepe is also associated with the Paris-based European Academy of Geopolitics. When not on the road he lives between Paris and Bangkok.

He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Pepe Escobar, Global Research, 2022

All Quiet on the Eastern Front? Not At All, Atlantis

October 09, 2022

Source

by Batiushka

Speaking at a rally and concert on Red Square, held in support of the results of the referenda, President Putin recalled how the USSR was formed when Russia created the modern Ukraine. The President stressed that ‘it was Russia that had created the modern Ukraine, transferring significant territories, the historical territories of Russia itself, along with the population, whom no one had asked about where and how they wanted to live, how they wanted to arrange the future of their children and in which State. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the same thing happened: everything was decided by the elites, millions of ordinary citizens were not asked about anything’.

News Report, 30 September 2022

https://news.mail.ru/politics/53299120

Introduction: The Speech

We are still having our minds blown by President Putin’s Speech over a week ago. How many times we have listened to it and watched it. If I may say something personal, I can say that I have not even dared dream for over 40 years that a Russian leader would make such a speech. I thought I would die long before it would happen, even if it did happen. I was waiting for the end of the world and now hope has been given us. The President said it all, summing up an evil millennium of Western history, starting with its worldwide plunder and ending in its shameful Woke ideologies, the denial and destruction of Spiritual Reality, National Sovereignty and Family Life. Yes, this is Satanism against any sort of Spiritual Tradition. And only Russia has dared to oppose this Satanism. Needless to say, we stand behind the Russian Federation 100%. As the President, our President, said: ‘Nothing will be as before’.

The Referenda

The results from the referenda on returning to Russia in four Russian-speaking Ukrainian provinces came in nearly two weeks ago: Donetsk: 99% Lugansk: 98% Zaporozhie: 93% Kherson: 87%. Thus, on 30 September these four provinces, the size of four Belgiums, duly joined the Russian Federation, following the example of the Crimea over eight years ago. The results were interesting, as they showed how popularity for the move ‘declines’ as you move westwards, with Kherson at ‘only’ 87%. However, nobody should be surprised that Russian-speaking areas overwhelmingly, even if ‘only’ 87%, wanted to return to Russia, which is where they belonged until 1922. The voting, ethnicity, linguistic and religious patterns are clear from, for example, the maps and analysis of the Eurasian Research Institute:

https://www.eurasian-research.org/publication/geography-of-the presidential-elections-in-ukraine/

Nobody should be surprised, unless of course they have no common sense, or else their common sense has been blinded by their ‘West is Best’ ideology, which is in fact the essence of Nazism. Nearly 10,000,000 people, nearly one quarter of the population of the Crimea-less Ukraine (pre-War population) (more people than those in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Georgia combined), some 20% of the landmass of the Crimea-less Ukraine, an area nearly the size of England, joined the Russian Federation. Out of 25 provinces in the Ukraine before the violent, US-organised overthrow of the democratically-elected Ukrainian government (cost to the US taxpayer: $5 billion) in February 2014, 20 are now left. Who leaves next? As the head of the Republic of the Crimea, Sergei Aksjonov, said on 1 October: ‘The entry of the four provinces into Russia is not the last’. https://news.mail.ru/politics/ 53304440/

Perhaps the next phase of the SMO, once the territory of the four provinces has been completely liberated (unlike Lugansk and Kherson, the northern thirds of both Donetsk and Zaporozhie are still to be liberated), will be to return to Russia the next four eastern and southern provinces, those of Kharkov, Dnipropetrovsk, Nikolaev and Odessa (small parts of Nikolaev and Kharkov have already been liberated). This will bring the Ukraine down to 16 provinces. And that may be it. The next slice of three provinces, which would be Sumy, Poltava and Kirovograd, may not wish to return, but who knows? All can still change. As for the far west of the post-1939 Ukraine, we would suggest that 3-5 provinces will return to Poland, 1 to Romania and 1 to Hungary. This will bring the Kiev Protectorate/Malorossija down to between 9 and 11 provinces, two-fifths of the previous Ukraine, in other words, it will bring it back to its natural borders.

In any case, territory for the Russian Federation, by far the largest country in the world at over 17 million square kilometres, is hardly important. That it has increased in size by 0.7% with the return of four nearly-freed provinces from the Ukraine is not the point. What is important is the will of local people. If they wish to return to Russia, let them. If they do not, let them go elsewhere. The rest is all about making sure that the Ukrainian State is no longer a threat to us and to the Russian people who live there. And the same goes for the situation in other Russian neighbours, such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland, and for that matter, Moldova, Romania and Poland, the latter two with strong US bases.

All Quiet on the Eastern Front?

Only a couple of weeks ago the State-controlled Western media were going crazy about how the NATO-supplied lemmings of the Kiev regime had taken back 7% of previously lightly Russian-occupied and largely deserted Ukrainian countryside around Kharkov and that Putin was ‘doomed’ (sic). Now they have fallen strangely silent, apart from one or two staged photo opportunities in deserted and destroyed Liman and villages on the border of Lugansk. Of course, this means that the Kiev forces are now in a state of disarray after being trapped and massacred through their ill-considered token ‘advances’ through baited open country, where they have also lost most of their NATO equipment.

Here is why Zelensky is pleading for ever more weapons from the European Political Community, an organisation founded by the besieged European ruling class that met on 6 October. Russia is glad, after all what better way of demilitarising the Ukraine than making them bring themselves and their weapons into the open so that they can be destroyed? Thus, the strategic moves at Liman, ceding 20 square km to the Kiev forces, and allowing Kiev to take a few villages on the edge of Lugansk on 5 October, at enormous cost to them. And here is why on 6 October Zelensky demanded ‘preventive strikes’ against Russia. Clearly, this nuclear-obsessed comedian is desperate and also off his head. This why on 7 October his terrorists created an explosion in an attack on the Kerch Bridge. Does Kiev really think that the vengeance will not be terrible? This the greatest mistake they have made since 2014. This is a turning-point in Kiev’s dirty war.

In Donetsk province the Russian liberation continues here and there, as in Zaitsevo and Otradovka, reported on 6 October, defence continues around Kulyansk, Liman and elsewhere, Russia also destroyed with missiles military barracks (‘residential apartments’ in the Western media!) south of Kiev, but it is relatively quiet. Now anyone who knows anything about military matters will know that in a war ‘quiet’ means that forces are regrouping. ‘Quiet’ means the lull before the Russian storm. Already tens of thousands of troops from the partial mobilisation in Russia announced three weeks ago are arriving near the front.

Quite possibly, in a month from now, in November, when the leaves have fallen and the ground is frozen, there is going to be a huge Russian winter campaign, with rested and increased coalition forces against the now much weakened Kiev forces and their much depleted NATO arms and ammunition. Any lost ground will be taken back tenfold, if not a hundredfold. I would rather not be with the Kiev forces then. There will literally be no hiding place for them. After Kiev’s recent provocations, set up by the CIA/MI6, this may well be the end for Kiev, well before next autumn, when it was predicted that the war would end.

And on the Western Front?

On the USA’s Western Front, i.e. in Western Europe, all is not quiet. Not only is there an economic crisis, with European currencies gradually falling against the dollar. (The rouble has been stable at about 60 to the dollar for the last three months). Also Western Europe was cut off from Russian gas by the US Navy’s sabotage of the Nordstream pipelines and, in part, cut off from the sanctioned Turkstream pipeline. And winter is arriving. Gone the heady days of a very hot summer. This is a tectonic shift. Many have written that Western Europe is committing suicide. That is untrue. The peoples of Western Europe are being murdered – by the US elite and their own treacherous European elites. This is the end of the EU and the UK. As for the murderers, the elites, known as Atlantis, are sinking. Let me explain.

The sources for the myth of Atlantis are found in two of Plato’s dialogues, written in 360 BC. They relate that:

‘It is recorded how your State stopped the campaign of a mighty army, which, setting out from a distant point in the Atlantic Ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe and Asia as well….For in front of….’The Pillars of Heracles,’ (The Straits of Gibraltar) there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together….For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a port with a narrow entrance, but beyond it is a real Ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a Continent’.

He further related that: ‘The Atlanteans had conquered parts of Libya as far as Egypt and the European continent as far as (what is now) the west coast of Italy and enslaved its people. The Athenians led resistance to the Atlantean Empire and prevailed alone against it, freeing the occupied lands. But then there were violent earthquakes and floods and in a single day and night of misfortune all the warlike men in a body sank into the earth and the island of Atlantis likewise disappeared into the depths of the sea….’.

Conclusion

Note the words: ‘a mighty army, which, setting out from a distant point in the Atlantic Ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe and Asia as well’. The identification with the American reality with the Atlantis myth is obvious.

If I may quote from the New Testament:

Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things which thou hast provided be? (Lk 12,20).

Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish (Luke 13, 5).

10 October 2022

Putin’s September 30, 2022, speech – a commented reading

October 07, 2022

The first thing which I will do today is post the full video of Putin’s speech with English subtitles made by Michael Rossi on YouTube:

Next, I will now post the full transcript.  I will add emphasis by blue bolding out some key passages and a few key words will be emphasized in bold red.  I will then add my own comments in italics red.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Citizens of Russia, citizens of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, residents of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, deputies of the State Duma, senators of the Russian Federation,

As you know, referendums have been held in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. The ballots have been counted and the results have been announced. The people have made their unequivocal choice.

Today we will sign treaties on the accession of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Lugansk People’s Republic, Zaporozhye Region and Kherson Region to the Russian Federation. I have no doubt that the Federal Assembly will support the constitutional laws on the accession to Russia and the establishment of four new regions, our new constituent entities of the Russian Federation, because this is the will of millions of people. (Applause.)

It is undoubtedly their right, an inherent right sealed in Article 1 of the UN Charter, which directly states the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.

I repeat, it is an inherent right of the people. It is based on our historical affinity, and it is that right that led generations of our predecessors, those who built and defended Russia for centuries since the period of Ancient Rus, to victory.

Here in Novorossiya, [Pyotr] Rumyantsev, [Alexander] Suvorov and [Fyodor] Ushakov fought their battles, and Catherine the Great and [Grigory] Potyomkin founded new cities. Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought here to the bitter end during the Great Patriotic War.

We will always remember the heroes of the Russian Spring, those who refused to accept the neo-Nazi coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014, all those who died for the right to speak their native language, to preserve their culture, traditions and religion, and for the very right to live. We remember the soldiers of Donbass, the martyrs of the “Odessa Khatyn,” the victims of inhuman terrorist attacks carried out by the Kiev regime. We commemorate volunteers and militiamen, civilians, children, women, senior citizens, Russians, Ukrainians, people of various nationalities; popular leader of Donetsk Alexander Zakharchenko; military commanders Arsen Pavlov and Vladimir Zhoga, Olga Kochura and Alexei Mozgovoy; prosecutor of the Lugansk Republic Sergei Gorenko; paratrooper Nurmagomed Gadzhimagomedov and all our soldiers and officers who died a hero’s death during the special military operation. They are heroes. (Applause.) Heroes of great Russia. Please join me in a minute of silence to honour their memory.

(Minute of silence.)

Thank you.

Behind the choice of millions of residents in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, is our common destiny and thousand-year history. People have passed this spiritual connection on to their children and grandchildren. Despite all the trials they endured, they carried the love for Russia through the years. This is something no one can destroy. That is why both older generations and young people – those who were born after the tragic collapse of the Soviet Union – have voted for our unity, for our common future.

In 1991 in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, representatives of the party elite of that time made a decision to terminate the Soviet Union, without asking ordinary citizens what they wanted, and people suddenly found themselves cut off from their homeland. This tore apart and dismembered our national community and triggered a national catastrophe. Just like the government quietly demarcated the borders of Soviet republics, acting behind the scenes after the 1917 revolution, the last leaders of the Soviet Union, contrary to the direct expression of the will of the majority of people in the referendum of 1991, destroyed our great country, and simply made the people in the former republics face this as an accomplished fact.

I can admit that they didn’t even know what they were doing and what consequences their actions would have in the end. But it doesn’t matter now. There is no Soviet Union anymore; we cannot return to the past. Actually, Russia no longer needs it today; this isn’t our ambition

Commentthis is an important statement because it clearly spells out Putin rejection, on both pragmatic and philosophical reasons, of any kind of nostalgia for the Soviet Union, nevermind any attempts to restore it.  As Putin once said, “he who does not deplore the end of the Soviet Union has no heart, and he who wants to recreate it has no brain”.  This is also one aspect of Putin which particularly infuriates the 6th columnists and other assorted emo-Marxists: Putin world view is Russian, not Soviet, and while Putin never denied the immense achievements of the Soviet period, he also is acutely aware of the horrendous human costs of the Soviet rule, especially for the Russian people.  At the end of Putin’s speech we will have one more chance to revisit this topic

But there is nothing stronger than the determination of millions of people who, by their culture, religion, traditions, and language, consider themselves part of Russia, whose ancestors lived in a single country for centuries. There is nothing stronger than their determination to return to their true historical homeland.

For eight long years, people in Donbass were subjected to genocide, shelling and blockades; in Kherson and Zaporozhye, a criminal policy was pursued to cultivate hatred for Russia, for everything Russian. Now too, during the referendums, the Kiev regime threatened schoolteachers, women who worked in election commissions with reprisals and death. Kiev threatened millions of people who came to express their will with repression. But the people of Donbass, Zaporozhye and Kherson weren’t broken, and they had their say.

I want the Kiev authorities and their true handlers in the West to hear me now, and I want everyone to remember this: the people living in Lugansk and Donetsk, in Kherson and Zaporozhye have become our citizens, forever. (Applause.)

Commentas I have been predicting for many months now, the Kremlin has long decided that the West is “non-agreement capable” and, therefore, has replaced a policy of attempted negotiations with a policy of unilateralism.  Not only that, but much of the Russian unilateral policy right now is to turn up what I called the “pain dial” on Kiev, the EU and the USA.  What Putin is saying here is basically this: “due to your self-defeating policy of always doubling down on even the most idiotic policies, you have forever lost Crimea, Donetsk, Lukansk, Zaporozhie and Kherson.  Better talk to us now before you lose even more land forever”

We call on the Kiev regime to immediately cease fire and all hostilities; to end the war it unleashed back in 2014 and return to the negotiating table. We are ready for this, as we have said more than once. But the choice of the people in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson will not be discussed. The decision has been made, and Russia will not betray it. (Applause.) Kiev’s current authorities should respect this free expression of the people’s will; there is no other way. This is the only way to peace.

We will defend our land with all the forces and resources we have, and we will do everything we can to ensure the safety of our people. This is the great liberating mission of our nation.

Commentthat is clearly a not-too-subtle hint that while something like 15% (or even less) of the Russian military is currently involved in the SMO (so far the Kremlin has not changed that designation), the remaining 85% are available if and when needed.  Russia has zero need to use tactical nukes in the Ukraine or anywhere else, but if need be, Russia will use any and all means at her disposal to protect her people.

We will definitely rebuild the destroyed cities and towns, the residential buildings, schools, hospitals, theatres and museums. We will restore and develop industrial enterprises, factories, infrastructure, as well as the social security, pension, healthcare and education systems.

We will certainly work to improve the level of security. Together we will make sure that citizens in the new regions can feel the support of all the people of Russia, of the entire nation, all the republics, territories and regions of our vast Motherland. (Applause.)

Friends, colleagues,

Today I would like to address our soldiers and officers who are taking part in the special military operation, the fighters of Donbass and Novorossiya, those who went to military recruitment offices after receiving a call-up paper under the executive order on partial mobilisation, and those who did this voluntarily, answering the call of their hearts. I would like to address their parents, wives and children, to tell them what our people are fighting for, what kind of enemy we are up against, and who is pushing the world into new wars and crises and deriving blood-stained benefits from this tragedy.

Commentwhat comes next is both a diagnosis of the true nature of the West and an official Russian rejection therefore on the grounds that is is deeply inhuman and evil.

Our compatriots, our brothers and sisters in Ukraine who are part of our united people have seen with their own eyes what the ruling class of the so-called West have prepared for humanity as a whole. They have dropped their masks and shown what they are really made of.

CommentPutin is directly accusing the West of hypocrisy and rabid, messianic, imperialism.  He simply notes that that which we now see openly was hidden for decades and even centuries under all sorts of pious ideological justifications.  Now Russia has forced the West to show its true face to the entire planet, and the planet is recoiling in horror and disgust.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the West decided that the world and all of us would permanently accede to its dictates. In 1991, the West thought that Russia would never rise after such shocks and would fall to pieces on its own. This almost happened. We remember the horrible 1990s, hungry, cold and hopeless. But Russia remained standing, came alive, grew stronger and occupied its rightful place in the world.

Commentfor at least a decade, Russia did live as a US colony and she was pillaged, raped and even came close to totally breaking up.  The West has now chosen to modestly “forget” about how it “advised” and “assisted” the “democratic” government of Russia (in spite of the AngloZionist butchery organized in Moscow in 1993) but Putin is reminding everybody that he and most Russians remember this horror very well.

Meanwhile, the West continued and continues looking for another chance to strike a blow at us, to weaken and break up Russia, which they have always dreamed about, to divide our state and set our peoples against each other, and to condemn them to poverty and extinction. They cannot rest easy knowing that there is such a great country with this huge territory in the world, with its natural wealth, resources and people who cannot and will not do someone else’s bidding.

CommentHere Putin confirms something which I have been writing about for years: the West and Russia are locked into an existential war simply because Russia wants to be truly sovereign, which is something which the West considers and existential threat.

The West is ready to cross every line to preserve the neo-colonial system which allows it to live off the world, to plunder it thanks to the domination of the dollar and technology, to collect an actual tribute from humanity, to extract its primary source of unearned prosperity, the rent paid to the hegemon. The preservation of this annuity is their main, real and absolutely self-serving motivation.

Commenthere Putin is basically saying that the West is a kind of “international hyena” who lives by robbing and murdering anybody else.  Furthermore, Putin clearly indicates that the West will not agree to even consider another developmental model, hence is conclusion that preserving this state of affairs is the West “main, real and absolutely self-serving motivation”.

This is why total de-sovereignisation is in their interest. This explains their aggression towards independent states, traditional values and authentic cultures, their attempts to undermine international and integration processes, new global currencies and technological development centres they cannot control. It is critically important for them to force all countries to surrender their sovereignty to the United States.

Commenthere Putin brings it all to the crux of the problem: the West cannot and will not tolerate any true sovereignty, not abroad not even at home (hence the stolen elections)!  As for Russia and the countries of what I call “Zone B”, their end goal is exactly that, full sovereignty.  So while the Cold War was, at least officially, a struggle between capitalist and Marxist ideologies, the new Tepid War we see now pits hegemonists against sovereignists in a zero-sum struggle in which one party will prevail and the other simply disappear.

In certain countries, the ruling elites voluntarily agree to do this, voluntarily agree to become vassals; others are bribed or intimidated. And if this does not work, they destroy entire states, leaving behind humanitarian disasters, devastation, ruins, millions of wrecked and mangled human lives, terrorist enclaves, social disaster zones, protectorates, colonies and semi-colonies. They don’t care. All they care about is their own benefit.

Commenthere Putin lists the type of hell on earth the West unleashes against any country or even ethnicity which dares to disobey it.  The “fruits” of western capitalism are “the destruction of entire states, leaving behind humanitarian disasters, devastation, ruins, millions of wrecked and mangled human lives, terrorist enclaves, social disaster zones, protectorates, colonies and semi-colonies”.  Only a terminally ignorant, or brainwashed, person could argue against such an indisputable historical legacy!

I want to underscore again that their insatiability and determination to preserve their unfettered dominance are the real causes of the hybrid war that the collective West is waging against Russia. They do not want us to be free; they want us to be a colony. They do not want equal cooperation; they want to loot. They do not want to see us a free society, but a mass of soulless slaves.

Commentin simple terms, Putin indicates to the Russian people why they are fighting this war and what is truly at stake: the survival of the Russian nation as such.

They see our thought and our philosophy as a direct threat. That is why they target our philosophers for assassination. Our culture and art present a danger to them, so they are trying to ban them. Our development and prosperity are also a threat to them because competition is growing. They do not want or need Russia, but we do. (Applause.)

Comment: here Putin goes even further and indicates that it is not the military or economic might of Russia which the West considers a threat, but even more so the civilizational values carried by the peoples or Russia.  And I totally agree with him: Russian thought and philosophy are, indeed, an immense threat to the West and its ruling classes.  Hence the rabid “cancel Russia” phenomenon we can observe everywhere.

I would like to remind you that in the past, ambitions of world domination have repeatedly shattered against the courage and resilience of our people. Russia will always be Russia. We will continue to defend our values and our Motherland.

Commenthere Putin reminds his audience that it has been the historical mission of Russia to stand against and defeat wave after wave after wave of western messianic invasions, attacks, interventions, assassinations and even the support for civil wars inside Russia (Chechnia).  For all her history Russia fought against western Crusaders and that is still her mission today.

The West is counting on impunity, on being able to get away with anything. As a matter of fact, this was actually the case until recently.

Commenthe is right, the West did get away with, quite literally, mass murder and even genocide throughout its history.  Folks in the West don’t like to hear that, but that dislike does not change the historical record.  I would even argue that the manic determination of so many people in the West to whitewash the shameful historical legacy of the European civilization is a key component of the “ideological superstructure” which has supported Western imperialism since at least the Crusades.

Strategic security agreements have been trashed; agreements reached at the highest political level have been declared tall tales; firm promises not to expand NATO to the east gave way to dirty deception as soon as our former leaders bought into them; missile defence, intermediate-range and shorter-range missile treaties have been unilaterally dismantled under far-fetched pretexts.

And all we hear is, the West is insisting on a rules-based order. Where did that come from anyway? Who has ever seen these rules? Who agreed or approved them? Listen, this is just a lot of nonsense, utter deceit, double standards, or even triple standards! They must think we’re stupid.

Russia is a great thousand-year-old power, a whole civilisation, and it is not going to live by such makeshift, false rules. (Applause.)

Commentthat is a direct reference to the attempts by the ruling classes of the West to replace international law by a so-called “rules based order” whose rules would be defined by, of course, the Western ruling classes and which will be entirely situational: if they do it it is bad, if we do it is is good.  Basically, this entire “rules based order” is yet another attempt at declaring the West infallible, just like to Pope was declared infallible during the Vatican I council.  Claims of infallibility are always at the core of any forms of self-worship.

It was the so-called West that trampled on the principle of the inviolability of borders, and now it is deciding, at its own discretion, who has the right to self-determination and who does not, who is unworthy of it. It is unclear what their decisions are based on or who gave them the right to decide in the first place. They just assumed it.

Commentwell, making such assumptions is what most self-worshiping megalomaniacs and assorted narcissists are all about!  It is hardly surprising that they would “just assume” whatever they heck they want.  When you sincerely believe that you are the superior Master Race, the best of what mankind has to offer, and when you see all others as simply resources, that is exactly the kind of rationalizing assumptions you will make.  This is exactly what the wolf tells to the lamb in a famous Russian folk story: “You are already guilty of the fact that I am hungry.”

That is why the choice of the people in Crimea, Sevastopol, Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson makes them so furiously angry. The West does not have any moral right to weigh in, or even utter a word about freedom of democracy. It does not and it never did.

Commentthe fact that such referendums were conducted is bad enough (for the West), but it is the very high level of participation (in spite of neverending shelling and terrorist attacks!) and the very strong support for the integration into Russia is a huge slap in the face of Uncle Shmuel who, as you might remember, did not bother having any referendums in Kosovo.  No doubt, the people from these liberated regions of the Ukraine will now be added to the (already long) list of “deplorables” who, apparently, just don’t get how they should vote and who need to be taught a brutal lesson about the costs of disobeying Uncle Shmuel.

Western elites not only deny national sovereignty and international law. Their hegemony has pronounced features of totalitarianismdespotism and apartheid. They brazenly divide the world into their vassals – the so-called civilised countries – and all the rest, who, according to the designs of today’s Western racists, should be added to the list of barbarians and savages. False labels like “rogue country” or “authoritarian regime” are already available, and are used to stigmatise entire nations and states, which is nothing new. There is nothing new in this: deep down, the Western elites have remained the same colonisers. They discriminate and divide peoples into the top tier and the rest.

Comment: Putin speaks of totalitarianism, despotism and Apartheid.  He then uses the word “racist” and repeats it three times in the next paragraph.

We have never agreed to and will never agree to such political nationalism and racism. What else, if not racism, is the Russophobia being spread around the world? What, if not racism, is the West’s dogmatic conviction that its civilisation and neoliberal culture is an indisputable model for the entire world to follow? “You’re either with us or against us.” It even sounds strange.

Commentas somebody born in the heart of Europe (Switzerland)  I can attest that anti-Russian racism is an absolute reality in Europe, especially northern Europe (southern  Europe has lived under the yoke of northern Europe for centuries and things are much more complex and nuanced in countries which belong to the “Mediterranean civilizational realm).  That anti-Russian European racism is not as crude as, say, racism against non-white cultures or ethnicities.  Instead, it is a quite internal sense of superiority mixed in with a sense of fear.  This type of racism is by no means any preferable to the more vociferous type.  The modern doxa makes lots of claims about “diversity” and “inclusivity”, but in plain English this “diversity” and “inclusivity” only apply to some groups and not to others.  As Orwell famously wrote “some are more equal than others”.  For example, Russians lives are worthless.  The opinions and values of the people of Russia are worthless too.  And, in fact, since Russia has the infinite arrogance to reject the so-called “western civilizational values”, she has to be crushed, subjugated, divided and colonized.  Dehumanization is always a prerequisite for genocidal policies, nothing new here.

Western elites are even shifting repentance for their own historical crimes on everyone else, demanding that the citizens of their countries and other peoples confess to things they have nothing to do with at all, for example, the period of colonial conquests.

It is worth reminding the West that it began its colonial policy back in the Middle Ages, followed by the worldwide slave trade, the genocide of Indian tribes in America, the plunder of India and Africa, the wars of England and France against China, as a result of which it was forced to open its ports to the opium trade. What they did was get entire nations hooked on drugs and purposefully exterminated entire ethnic groups for the sake of grabbing land and resources, hunting people like animals. This is contrary to human nature, truth, freedom and justice.

Commentoh that historical record again!  And yes, the roots of the current war go straight back into the 11th century!  Reminder: the Papacy broke away from the Christian world in 1054, it adopted the (totally megalomaniacal) Papal Dictates in 1075 and it launched its first Crusade in 1096.  In other words, just two decades after cutting itself off from the Christian world, in 1054, the Pope declared himself some kind of “super-absolute-bishop”, in 1075, something unheard of before, and then soon thereafter, in 1096, the Papacy declared its first ‘crusade’.  Does anybody really think that this is a coincidence?  If so, then beware of folks selling you bridges…

While we – we are proud that in the 20th century our country led the anti-colonial movement, which opened up opportunities for many peoples around the world to make progress, reduce poverty and inequality, and defeat hunger and disease.

To emphasise, one of the reasons for the centuries-old Russophobia, the Western elites’ unconcealed animosity toward Russia is precisely the fact that we did not allow them to rob us during the period of colonial conquests and forced the Europeans to trade with us on mutually beneficial terms.

Commenthere is the simply and true core of it all: it is about *obedience*.  The Western Master Races told Russia to kneel and shut up, and each time the Russians beat them and remained free.  The very existence of a nation like the Russian one is not only a major threat to the Western ruling classes, but also an absolutely intolerable affront: those evil vodka-soaked “snow niggers” will have to be brought to heel, one way or another, and by any means necessary.  They also must be punished, severely, for their impudence.

This was achieved by creating a strong centralised state in Russia, which grew and got stronger based on the great moral values ​​of Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism, as well as Russian culture and the Russian word that were open to all.

There were numerous plans to invade Russia. Such attempts were made during the Time of Troubles in the 17th century and in the period of ordeals after the 1917 revolution. All of them failed. The West managed to grab hold of Russia’s wealth only in the late 20th century, when the state had been destroyed. They called us friends and partners, but they treated us like a colony, using various schemes to pump trillions of dollars out of the country. We remember. We have not forgotten anything.

Commentbesides ruling over a population whose level of ignorance is breathtaking (thank you TV!) and whose attention span is measured in minutes or hours (well a few days for the really exceptional ones!), the Western ruling elites have always whitewashed themselves with not even a hint of conscience.  Hence the folks who committed the Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima or Nagasaki massacres have all been declared heroes, not war criminals.  As for the folks who executed the 9/11 false flag and the subsequent GWOT, which killed way over a million people, have all received medals, commendations, cozy positions and generous pensions.  As everybody knows, “it is okay when we do it”.  That’s that simple, really.  But Russia has not forgotten, and we will remember it forever, just like the Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesians, Brazilians and billions of other people worldwide who now fully understood the nature of the enemy oppressing them.

A few days ago, people in Donetsk and Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye declared their support for restoring our historical unity. Thank you! (Applause.)

Western countries have been saying for centuries that they bring freedom and democracy to other nations. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead of bringing democracy they suppressed and exploited, and instead of giving freedom they enslaved and oppressed. The unipolar world is inherently anti-democratic and unfree; it is false and hypocritical through and through.

Commentthis is not just a rejection of a set of policies from the Obama-Trump-Brandon administrations, this is a rejection of the entire western civilizational model.  Putin says that “the unipolar world is inherently anti-democratic and unfree and false and hypocritical through and through”, he also just explained which powers specifically stand for such a unipolar world.  It is not just the Pax Americana or Pax Britannica which Russia rejects, it is the very ideological models which over the centuries have been used to justify the invasion and ransacking of our entire planet during centuries which now Russian openly rejects!

The United States is the only country in the world that has used nuclear weapons twice, destroying the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. And they created a precedent.

Recall that during WWII the United States and Britain reduced Dresden, Hamburg, Cologne and many other German cities to rubble, without the least military necessity. It was done ostentatiously and, to repeat, without any military necessity. They had only one goal, as with the nuclear bombing of Japanese cities: to intimidate our country and the rest of the world.

Commentthe simple and sad truth is that the West is run by thugs.  Psychopaths with no empathy or true humanity but monsters whose only true agenda is self-worship and the destruction of human civilization.  This has been the case since the Middle-Ages and nothing has changed.  If anything, it got worse (at least the original Crusaders did not have nuclear weapons!).

The United States left a deep scar in the memory of the people of Korea and Vietnam with their carpet bombings and use of napalm and chemical weapons.

It actually continues to occupy Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea and other countries, which they cynically refer to as equals and allies. Look now, what kind of alliance is that? The whole world knows that the top officials in these countries are being spied on and that their offices and homes are bugged. It is a disgrace, a disgrace for those who do this and for those who, like slaves, silently and meekly swallow this arrogant behaviour.

Commenthere Putin addresses the “voluntary slaves”, those who, like the “proud Poles” are even willing to pay to be occupied by the Anglo masters.  This is also a direct reference to the Eurolemmings who have totally sold out to the AngloZionist ruling classes which administer the EU Gaue on behalf of Uncle Shmuel.

They call the orders and threats they make to their vassals Euro-Atlantic solidarity, and the creation of biological weapons and the use of human test subjects, including in Ukraine, noble medical research.

Commentvassals.  That is exactly what the people of the EU are, vassals.  In fact, they are so infinitely subservient and so filled with a desire to brown-nose their AngloZionist masters that they are literally willing to commit collective suicide, just to get the approval of President Brandon.  Truly, sic transit gloria mundi: from Aryan Master race to subservient vassal in less than a century!

It is their destructive policies, wars and plunder that have unleashed today’s massive wave of migrants. Millions of people endure hardships and humiliation or die by the thousands trying to reach Europe.

They are exporting grain from Ukraine now. Where are they taking it under the guise of ensuring the food security of the poorest countries? Where is it going? They are taking it to the self-same European countries. Only five percent has been delivered to the poorest countries. More cheating and naked deception again.

Commentremember the “Putin famine” we were promised?  No worries, the EU Master race has taken to eat this winter.  As for the poor and even starving people wordwide, who cares about them?  They were just used as a stage prop to get the grain to the West.  Now they can all croak, who cares?

In effect, the American elite is using the tragedy of these people to weaken its rivals, to destroy nation states. This goes for Europe and for the identities of France, Italy, Spain and other countries with centuries-long histories.

Comment: remember my comment about the European countries who are part of the Mediterranean civilizational realm?  That is also what Putin is referring to here: Anglos and northern Europeans are as much enemies of a sovereign Russia as they would be to a (entirely hypothetical!) sovereign France, Serbia, Spain, Italy or Greece.  The truth which modern history books so assiduously ignore and obfuscate is that the nations of southern Europe were brutally colonized and subjugated.  God willing, one day, they will rediscover their real roots and liberate themselves!

Washington demands more and more sanctions against Russia and the majority of European politicians obediently go along with it. They clearly understand that by pressuring the EU to completely give up Russian energy and other resources, the United States is practically pushing Europe toward deindustrialisation in a bid to get its hands on the entire European market. These European elites understand everything – they do, but they prefer to serve the interests of others. This is no longer servility but direct betrayal of their own peoples. God bless, it is up to them.

CommentPutin spells it out, bluntly and directly: EU leaders are direct traitors to their own people.  I could not agree more.  Whether the people in Europe still have ears to hear, eyes to say, brains to think and spines to resist I very much doubt.

But the Anglo-Saxons believe sanctions are no longer enough and now they have turned to subversion. It seems incredible but it is a fact – by causing explosions on Nord Stream’s international gas pipelines passing along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, they have actually embarked on the destruction of Europe’s entire energy infrastructure. It is clear to everyone who stands to gain. Those who benefit are responsible, of course.

The dictates of the US are backed up by crude force, on the law of the fist. Sometimes it is beautifully wrapped sometimes there is no wrapping at all but the gist is the same – the law of the fist. Hence, the deployment and maintenance of hundreds of military bases in all corners of the world, NATO expansion, and attempts to cobble together new military alliances, such as AUKUS and the like. Much is being done to create a Washington-Seoul-Tokyo military-political chain. All states that possess or aspire to genuine strategic sovereignty and are capable of challenging Western hegemony, are automatically declared enemies.

These are the principles that underlie US and NATO military doctrines that require total domination.

Commentthis is a binary choice – either world hegemony or a world made up of truly sovereign states whose relationship are guided by the principles and instruments of international law.

Western elites are presenting their neocolonialist plans with the same hypocrisy, claiming peaceful intentions, talking about some kind of deterrence. This evasive word migrates from one strategy to another but really only means one thing – undermining any and all sovereign centres of power.

We have already heard about the deterrence of Russia, China and Iran. I believe next in line are other countries of Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, as well as current US partners and allies. After all, we know that when they are displeased, they introduce sanctions against their allies as well – against this or that bank or company. This is their practice and they will expand it. They have everything in their sights, including our next-door neighbours – the CIS countries.

At the same time, the West has clearly been engaged in wishful thinking for a long time. In launching the sanctions blitzkrieg against Russia, for example, they thought that they could once again line up the whole world at their command. As it turns out, however, such a bright prospect does not excite everyone – other than complete political masochists and admirers of other unconventional forms of international relations. Most states refuse to ”snap a salute“ and instead choose the sensible path of cooperation with Russia.

The West clearly did not expect such insubordination. They simply got used to acting according to a template, to grab whatever they please, by blackmail, bribery, intimidation, and convinced themselves that these methods would work forever, as if they had fossilised in the past.

Commentindeed, the West never expected such insubordination, not in its worst nightmares.  Not only does about 80% of the planet support Russia, even former US allies like the KSA are fed-up with the infinite arrogance and inability to get anything done by the sorry gang of butt-hurt losers who are running the Empire nowadays.  Hence the massive freak-out at the Russian SMO, and the desperate scramble to hide, by means of propaganda and PSYOPs, the true nature of the disaster in the Ukraine.  What are they capable of doing next?  Hug a pillow, sob and call for momma, hopefully.  Trigger a nuclear conflict?  Yes, for sure.  The self-worshiping leaders of the Empire are steeped in a culture of total impunity, they all have gotten away with murder (even literally!) too many times to count.  Forget JFK!  They even got away with 911.  Combine that deep sense of impunity/invulnerability with a rabid and deeply racist hated for all “others” and you see why, alas, a nuclear war is not impossible.

Such self-confidence is a direct product not only of the notorious concept of exceptionalism – although it never ceases to amaze – but also of the real ”information hunger“ in the West. The truth has been drowned in an ocean of myths, illusions and fakes, using extremely aggressive propaganda, lying like Goebbels. The more unbelievable the lie, the quicker people will believe it – that is how they operate, according to this principle.

Commentlies are not a feature of the western civilizational realm.  Lies are its intellectual cement, that which holds ALL of their “ideologies of the day” together in spite of their quite apparent inhumanity and evil.  The West now lives in a “post-truth” society which not only lies and embraces self-evident falsehoods, it is a society which has basically negated the meaning of the word “truth”.  Instead, it has come up with a much simpler principle: if it feels good, then it is good.  Situational morals, expediency, hypocrisy – call it what you want, we all know what this is: absolute evil.

But people cannot be fed with printed dollars and euros. You can’t feed them with those pieces of paper, and the virtual, inflated capitalisation of western social media companies can’t heat their homes. Everything I am saying is important. And what I just said is no less so: you can’t feed anyone with paper – you need food; and you can’t heat anyone’s home with these inflated capitalisations – you need energy.

Commenthere Putin seems to have given up on the notion of Europeans having any sense of honor, decency or even basic common sense.  He does hope that they have a stomach left somewhere and that one day the European Master races will understand that Uncle Shmuel cannot feed them.  And neither does to stock exchange of quantitative easing!  As to whether their empty stomachs will be enough to wake them up is anybody’s guess.

That is why politicians in Europe have to convince their fellow citizens to eat less, take a shower less often and dress warmer at home. And those who start asking fair questions like “Why is that, in fact?” are immediately declared enemies, extremists and radicals. They point back at Russia and say: that is the source of all your troubles. More lies.

I want to make special note of the fact that there is every reason to believe that the Western elites are not going to look for constructive ways out of the global food and energy crisis that they and they alone are to blame for, as a result of their long-term policy, dating back long before our special military operation in Ukraine, in Donbass. They have no intention of solving the problems of injustice and inequality. I am afraid they would rather use other formulas they are more comfortable with.

Commentthe US wants to have a war in the Ukraine going on for as long as possible, and to be as bloody as possible.  Not only that, but the US is now basically waging a war against the EU which it wants to eliminiate as a competitor and subjugate forever to AngloZionist interests.

And here it is important to recall that the West bailed itself out of its early 20th century challenges with World War I. Profits from World War II helped the United States finally overcome the Great Depression and become the largest economy in the world, and to impose on the planet the power of the dollar as a global reserve currency. And the 1980s crisis – things came to a head in the 1980s again – the West emerged from it unscathed largely by appropriating the inheritance and resources of the collapsed and defunct Soviet Union. That’s a fact.

Now, in order to free itself from the latest web of challenges, they need to dismantle Russia as well as other states that choose a sovereign path of development, at all costs, to be able to further plunder other nations’ wealth and use it to patch their own holes. If this does not happen, I cannot rule out that they will try to trigger a collapse of the entire system, and blame everything on that, or, God forbid, decide to use the old formula of economic growth through war.

Russia is aware of its responsibility to the international community and will make every effort to ensure that cooler heads prevail.

The current neocolonial model is ultimately doomed; this much is obvious. But I repeat that its real masters will cling to it to the end. They simply have nothing to offer the world except to maintain the same system of plundering and racketeering.

Commentwhat a perfect definition of capitalism – plundering and racketeering.  Let’s not forget that the capitalist system is based on banking which itself is based on usury, something Christianity and Islam categorically forbid (and rabbinical Judaism forbids only towards fellow Jews).

They do not give a damn about the natural right of billions of people, the majority of humanity, to freedom and justice, the right to determine their own future. They have already moved on to the radical denial of moral, religious, and family values.

Comment: it is quite clear that the globohomo ideology is now at the core of “western values”, with everything that implies.  One of the unforgivable crimes of the Russian people is to reject that ideology and to, instead, prefer gender-differentiated parents, manly men and feminine woman.  Most Russians don’t care what folks do in their bedrooms, but if asked, most will agree that homosexuality is a psychological disorder or even a perversion.  That, in turn, is the ultimate crimethink for the mega-powerful homo-lobby in the West which hates Putin for daring to say such things openly.

Let’s answer some very simple questions for ourselves. Now I would like to return to what I said and want to address also all citizens of the country – not just the colleagues that are in the hall – but all citizens of Russia: do we want to have here, in our country, in Russia, “parent number one, parent number two and parent number three” (they have completely lost it!) instead of mother and father? Do we want our schools to impose on our children, from their earliest days in school, perversions that lead to degradation and extinction? Do we want to drum into their heads the ideas that certain other genders exist along with women and men and to offer them gender reassignment surgery? Is that what we want for our country and our children? This is all unacceptable to us. We have a different future of our own.

Let me repeat that the dictatorship of the Western elites targets all societies, including the citizens of Western countries themselves. This is a challenge to all. This complete renunciation of what it means to be human, the overthrow of faith and traditional values, and the suppression of freedom are coming to resemble a “religion in reverse” – pure Satanism. Exposing false messiahs, Jesus Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” These poisonous fruits are already obvious to people, and not only in our country but also in all countries, including many people in the West itself.

Commentand now he said it, openly and directly – what Russia is threatened by and struggling against is pure Satanism.  If I am not mistaken, that is the first time that Putin ever used such words.  And, just to clarify, he does not mean “bad” or “evil” he means it literally: the forces arrayed against Russia today are Satanic in their origin and core.  Oh, I know, in the West this reference to “Satanism” will only trigger condescending smiles and, as always, a deep sense of superiority over these primitive, Asiatic, barbarians.  But here Putin is not addressing the western audience, but the Russian one and in the Russian civilizational realm to speak of “pure Satanism” is a very shocking and compelling argument.  It brings this entire war into the realm of a “just war” fought for profound spiritual reasons, not just money or power.  I personally consider these words as the single most important part of Putin’s speech!

The world has entered a period of a fundamental, revolutionary transformation. New centres of power are emerging. They represent the majority – the majority! – of the international community. They are ready not only to declare their interests but also to protect them. They see in multipolarity an opportunity to strengthen their sovereignty, which means gaining genuine freedom, historical prospects, and the right to their own independent, creative and distinctive forms of development, to a harmonious process.

As I have already said, we have many like-minded people in Europe and the United States, and we feel and see their support. An essentially emancipatory, anti-colonial movement against unipolar hegemony is taking shape in the most diverse countries and societies. Its power will only grow with time. It is this force that will determine our future geopolitical reality.

Commenthere Putin refers to what I call “Zone B” and he gives us all signs of hope that while things look very bad, even frightening, the process which has now been underway since Feb. 24th will not stop at the Ukraine.  In fact, the Ukraine is really a side-show to a MUCH bigger and more important struggle: the struggle to free our planet from the last Empire once and for all.  As I have mentioned it many times, Russia does not only want to denazify and demilitarize the Ukraine, but all of Europe and, eventually, but inevitably, the entire planet!  To those who sincerely believe that Russia is losing this war this will sound totally crazy.  Fine.  Time will, as always, show 🙂

Friends,

Today, we are fighting for a just and free path, first of all for ourselves, for Russia, in order to leave dictate and despotism in the past. I am convinced that countries and peoples understand that a policy based on the exceptionalism of whoever it may be and the suppression of other cultures and peoples is inherently criminal, and that we must close this shameful chapter. The ongoing collapse of Western hegemony is irreversible. And I repeat: things will never be the same.

CommentPutin, again, hammers in the same point – we are already way beyond any possibility to return to any status quo ante, that ship has sailed.  The world as we know it has begun its “initiation of collapse” (to paraphrase NIST) and there is no stopping it.  I very much agree.

The battlefield to which destiny and history have called us is a battlefield for our people, for the great historical Russia. (Applause.) For the great historical Russia, for future generations, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We must protect them against enslavement and monstrous experiments that are designed to cripple their minds and souls.

Today, we are fighting so that it would never occur to anyone that Russia, our people, our language, or our culture can be erased from history. Today, we need a consolidated society, and this consolidation can only be based on sovereignty, freedom, creation, and justice. Our values ​​are humanity, mercy and compassion.

And I want to close with the words of a true patriot Ivan Ilyin: “If I consider Russia my Motherland, that means that I love as a Russian, contemplate and think, sing and speak as a Russian; that I believe in the spiritual strength of the Russian people. Its spirit is my spirit; its destiny is my destiny; its suffering is my grief; and its prosperity is my joy.”

Commentthat is typical Putin.  He likes to drop names of Russian authors and philosophers to indicate to those who will get the hint where is true ideological roots are.  This does, of course, create a cognitive dissonance amongst those who do like Putin, but hate Ilyin (or other Russian authors Putin likes to mention) but since I don’t suffer from such dissonance, to me it simply seems to be a case of “Putin being Putin”, a man whose true ideology he has never truly revealed, but about which he has dropped enough hints to those capable of connecting the dots to get a pretty clear image of what Putin really believes.  Personally, this only further comforts me in the idea that there is no alternative to Putin and that he deserves my full support.

Behind these words stands a glorious spiritual choice, which, for more than a thousand years of Russian statehood, was followed by many generations of our ancestors. Today, we are making this choice; the citizens of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and the residents of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions have made this choice. They made the choice to be with their people, to be with their Motherland, to share in its destiny, and to be victorious together with it.

The truth is with us, and behind us is Russia!

***

One last thing: I am still severely exhausted and there are probably even more typos and silly mistakes in this text that my (already pretty dismal) “normal”.  I ask for your understanding: I used the very little energy I had to try to convey ideas, not to write a well edited text.

Kind regards

Andrei

Putin’s Address: West’s Anti-Russia Policies, Partial Mobilization & Referendums in Ukraine

Putin’s Address: West’s Anti-Russia Policies, Partial Mobilization & Referendums in Ukraine

September 21, 2022

By Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio

by Oleg Burunov – originally published by Sputnik News – All Links to Gospa News articles have been added after

In an address to the nation on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin focused on a number of pressing issues related to the West’s stance on Russia and Moscow’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine.

‘The West Wants to Destroy Russia’

Putin pointed out that the West’s current goal is to destroy Russia, as they say openly that they managed to make the USSR collapse and now it’s time for Russia.

“The purpose of this West is to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our country. They are already directly saying that in 1991 they were able to split the Soviet Union, and now the time has come for Russia itself, and that it should disintegrate into many mortally warring regions and regions,” the Russian president stressed.

According to him, such plans have been hatched in the West for a long time, as they encouraged gangs of international terrorists in the Caucasus, promoted the installation of NATO’s offensive infrastructure close to Russia’s borders and made total Russophobia their weapon.

Putin said that the Western elites are targeting Russia with their aggressive policy in order to maintain their dominance.

“[We talk] about the aggressive policy of a number of the Western elites, who are striving with all their might to maintain their dominance, and for this purpose they are trying to block or suppress any sovereign independent centers of development in order to further brutally impose their will on other countries and nations, to plant their fake values,” according to the Russian president.

West ‘Crossed Every Line’ in Its Anti-Russian Policy

Putin also said that the West “has crossed every line in its aggressive anti-Russian policy,” adding that “we constantly hear threats against our country and our people.”

“Some irresponsible politicians in the West talk about plans to organize the supply of long-range offensive weapons to Ukraine, systems that are capable of launching strikes against Crimea and other regions of Russia”.

According to the Russian president, such terrorist strikes, including those using Western weapons, are already being carried out on settlements in Russia’s Belgorod and Kursk regions.

“In real time, NATO conducts reconnaissance throughout Russia’s southern areas, using modern systems, aircraft, ships, satellites, and strategic drones,” Putin said.

Partial Mobilization in Russia

Putin announced that in light of the latest developments in Donbass, he had signed a decree on partial mobilization in Russia.

“In this situation, I consider it necessary to take the following decisions, they are fully adequate to the threats we face. Namely: to protect our Motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and people in the liberated territories, I consider it necessary to support the proposal of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff on conducting partial mobilization in Russia,” the Russian president said.

He added that mobilization will begin on Wednesday, noting that only reservists will be subject to conscription, first of all those who have relevant experience and military professions.

Russia to Help Maintain Security at Referendums in Donbass

The Russian president also said that Russia will do everything to ensure security at the upcoming self-determination referendums in Donbass and other Ukrainian regions which have appealed to Moscow, seeking its support.

“The parliaments of the people’s republics in Donbass as well as civil-military administrations of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions have decided to hold the referendums on the destiny of these territories and appealed to Russia, asking to support this step. I stress that we will do everything to ensure security at the referendums for people to express their will,” Putin underscored.

Putin also referred to “the policy of intimidation, terror, and violence” pursued by Kiev with respect to Donbass residents, a policy that Putin said becomes “more massive, terrible and barbaric.”He noted that Kiev’s regime of repressions against its own citizens established shortly after the 2014 armed coup had been strengthened across Ukraine.Putin emphasized that he knows that “the majority of people living in the territories liberated from neo-Nazis, including first of all the historical lands of Novorossiya, do not want to be under the yoke of the neo-Nazi regime.”

“In Zaporozhye, the Kherson region, as well as Lugansk and Donetsk, people have seen and are seeing the atrocities that neo-Nazis conduct in the occupied areas of the Kharkov region. The heirs of Bandera and Nazi punishers kill people, torture, throw them in prison, settle scores, crack down, abuse civilians”, the Russian president said.

He added that up to 7.5 million people lived in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR) and (LPR) as well as the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions before the outbreak of hostilities.

“Many of them were forced to become refugees and leave their homes. Those who remained – about 5 million people – today are subjected to constant artillery and rocket fire from neo-Nazi militants, who hit hospitals and schools and organize terrorist attacks against civilians. We have no moral right to hand over people close to us to be torn to pieces by executioners, and we cannot but respond to their sincere desire to determine their own fate,” Putin underlined.

Russian Forces Act ‘Competently’ in Ukraine

Touching upon Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine, Putin said that Russian forces are acting competently, liberating the territory step by step.He noted that the Lugansk People’s Republic had already been almost completely cleared of neo-Nazis, and that fighting in in the Donetsk People’s Republic is underway.

“The Kiev occupation regime has created a deeply echeloned line of long-term fortifications. Directly assaulting them would have resulted in heavy losses, which is why our units, as well as those of the Donbass republics, act competently and use the military in order to protect personnel. They, step by step, are liberating Donetsk land, clearing cities and towns from neo-Nazis, and helping people whom the Kiev regime has turned into hostages and a human shield,” Putin said.

He stressed that the main goal of the Russian special operation in Ukraine remains liberation of Donbass.

Putin announced the special operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine on February 24 following the Donbass republics’ requests to protect them from Kiev attacks.

by Oleg Burunov

originally published by Sputnik News



Disclosure:  Sputnik is a Russian state-owned news agency, news website platform, and radio broadcast service. It was established by the Russian government-owned news agency Rossiya Segodnya on 10 November 2014.

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US economic decline and global instability Part 2: Rise of BRICS

September 01, 2022

Source

by Phillyguy

Summary

The US emerged from WWII as the world’s preeminent military and economic power. All of the pillars supporting US power are now threatened by decades of neoliberal economic policies, spending vast sums of taxpayer money propping up financial markets, the military and attainment of economic/military parity by the Russia-China-Iran axis. In this essay, I link the continuing economic and social decline in the US/EU (collectively referred to as the ‘west) to an increasingly reckless US foreign policy, the role corporate media serves in promoting these policies to the American/EU public and the rise of Russia, China and other countries in the global south.

Introduction

This is a continuation or my previous article, linking US economic decline and global instability [1]. Briefly, the US emerged from WWII as the world’s leading economic and military power. Since that time, US global power has rested on: 1) unrivaled military and economic power, 2) control of world’s energy reserves (primarily in the Middle East), and 3) maintaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Following the conclusion of WWII in 1945, the US had the world’s largest economy and was the major ‘growth engine’ for western capitalism for the next 3 decades. In the mid-1970s, this began to change as US corporate profits began to stagnate/decline, a direct consequence of spending large amounts of taxpayer money on wars on the Korean Peninsula (1950-1953) and Vietnam (1955-1975) and increased competition from rebuilt economies in Europe, primarily Germany (Marshall Plan) and Asia- Japan, South Korea (Korean and Vietnam wars) and more recently China. Starting in the early 1980s, the US financial elite began pressuring policy makers to pursue neoliberal economic policies, including multiple tax cuts for the wealthy, financial deregulation, austerity, attacks on the poor and labor and outsourcing manufacturing jobs to Mexico, China and other low-wage platforms. The Soviet Union officially dissolved on Dec 26, 1991. This was viewed by the US ruling elite as the removal of the major rival to US global power and would allow unrestrained actions of the American military to invade and occupy countries which are rich in natural resources and/or occupy geo-strategic locations and expand NATO into Eastern Europe up to the Russian border. Since 1991, US/NATO have been involved in conflicts in Yugoslavia, Persian Gulf/Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine [2].

Role of Corporate Media

First Amendment of the US constitution-

‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’

It is commonly stated that the press (aka the proverbial ‘4th estate’) in the US is ‘free’ and ‘independent’ and ‘essential for the functioning of a free society’, serving as a ‘watchdog’ on government actions and policies and vital to protect the ‘liberty’ of American citizens. As is often the case, things are not always as they seem.

In a recent interview with Brian Berletic, Mark Sleboda commented that “Western media is in ‘lockstep’ with government on foreign policy to a degree that would make real dictators blush” [3]. While there is no doubt that Western (read corporate) media is indeed promoting US foreign policy, it is not the US government that formulates these polices, rather they are formulated and developed by the ruling elite, using corporate-funded foundations and ‘think tanks’, academic institutions and prominent politicians. These include the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Rand Corporation, Rockefeller Foundation, American Heritage Foundation, Atlantic Council, Brookings, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Academic institutions such as The Kennedy School (Harvard), Hoover Institution (Stanford), Walsh School of Foreign Service (Georgetown) and School of Advanced International Studies (Johns Hopkins) not only provide ‘experts’ and government officials, such as Wendy Sherman (Kennedy School) current US Deputy Secretary of State in the Biden Administration, they serve as training grounds for government officials and corporate management, some of whom are employed by above listed universities and foundations.

Once formulated, these policies are ‘sold’ to the American public by a compliant and well-disciplined media. Approximately 90% of US media is controlled by six large corporations- Comcast, Walt Disney, AT&T, Paramount Global, Sony, and Fox, with a combined market cap of circa $500 billion [4] [5]. Like other large corporations, media conglomerates have the same class interests as the financial elite, i.e., promoting policies which increase corporate power and profits and maintain US global hegemony. So called ‘public’ media, such as National Public Radio (NPR) and the BBC, in the UK, function in a similar manner. Corporate media is closely integrated with large financial interests and serves as a ‘cheerleader’ for the Pentagon and US foreign policy.

Not surprisingly, major broadcasters, the paper of record (NYT), Wall St. Journal (WSJ), Washington Post, etc. are little more than a sounding board for the US ruling elite and thus, function primarily as the ‘ministry of propaganda’ for large financial interests. Any reporter, military analyst, aka ‘TV General’, etc. who ‘steps out of line’, such as telling the truth about the military debacle facing Ukraine will either be severely reprimanded or find themselves out of a job. Some examples-

1) CBS recently ran a documentary claiming that only 30% of ‘military aid’ sent to Ukraine actually arrived. The video was removed following complaints from the Ukrainian government. [6] [7].

2) David Sanger (Harvard graduate) is chief Washington correspondent for the NYT and also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) [8], whose members include corporate executives, bankers, and other representatives of the ruling elite.

3) David Ignatius (Harvard graduate) is a foreign affairs columnist for the WaPo and has close ties to the intelligence community- CIA and Pentagon.

Sanger and Ignatius serve as pundits for US global power, promoting the use of military force to promote American interests.

When you do not toe the corporate line…………

4) Gary Webb was a journalist working for the San Jose Mercury News. In 1996, Webb published a series of articles, “Dark Alliance”, describing how Nicaraguan Contra rebels, working closely with the CIA, supplied crack cocaine to the Black community in Los Angeles and used proceeds from these sales to purchase weapons to overthrow the government of Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista National Liberation Front. Following publication of the Dark Alliance series, corporate media became hysterical, denouncing Webb, effectively ruining his career; he committed suicide in 2004 [9]

5) Julian Assange- In 2010, Wikileaks, founded by Julian Assange, published a series of leaks obtained from Chelsea Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, documenting US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Following publication of these leaks, the American government began a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks. In 2010, Sweden issued an arrest warrant for Assange over allegations of sexual misconduct. To avoid extradition, Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In 2019, Assange was arrested by British police at the Ecuadorian embassy and transferred to Belmarsh, a Category-A men’s prison in London. Up to this point, Julian Assange had not been formally charged. However, on May 23, 2019, the United States government charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and is currently awaiting potential extradition to the US [10].

The US has been almost continuously involved in overt and covert military conflicts since 1940 and as a result, war and associated violence has been normalized and institutionalized by corporate media to the point, where these policies are readily accepted by a relatively docile and ignorant American public. When foreign governments deemed hostile to US corporate interests limit press ‘freedom’, they are immediately labeled as repressive/terrorist regimes and potential candidates for direct attack and ‘regime’ change by the US State Department. Apparently, what is ‘good for the goose’ is ‘not good for the gander’. As pointed out above, any journalist that threatens the American empire risks losing their job, imprisonment and/or death.

Accelerating Decline of late-stage American Capitalism

Multiple factors have contributed to the decline of American economic power. These include economic policies, spending astronomical amounts of taxpayer money on the military and war, social instability and rise of China-Russia-Iran axis.

Economic policies

Since the mid-1970s, US policy makers have pursued neoliberal economic policies- financial deregulation, austerity, tax cuts for the wealthy, attacks on labor and job-outsourcing, which has resulted in the massive growth of the FIRE sector of the economy composed of finance, insurance, and real estate. These polices precipitated the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) 2007-2008, the largest financial shock since the Great Depression. Rather than resolve the severe structural problems confronting American capitalism which created this crisis, the FED used the Treasury as a de facto taxpayer-supported ‘piggy bank’ (the FED cannot print money) to prop up equity markets, bonds, over-priced real estate and [still] insolvent banks. To put this in perspective, since 2009, the FED has injected over $40 trillion into financial markets, increasing the wealth of the financial elite, the proverbial ‘1%’. Not surprisingly, over the last 5 years, US government deficits have increased circa $2 trillion annually, currently exceeding $30 trillion (Fig. 1); this figure does not include municipal, corporate or consumer debt. This begs the obvious question of how long can the FED continue this orgy or money printing and debt? Note- for comprehensive background information on the FED’s financial activities, see Wall Street on Parade [11].

Military Spending and War

Since its inception, the US has been built on theft and violence, justified by ‘Christian’ religion and ‘White man’s burden’. The first permanent British settlement in North America was established in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. A decade later, African slaves were introduced by Dutch slave traders. Over the next 250 years, the US government would continue stealing land and displace/murder circa 90% of the indigenous population. In the mid-19th century, the US had the world’s leading economy, largely built on cotton produced by Black slaves [12]. Fast forward 150 years, the US has been almost continuously at war since 1940. 911 was a godsend for the military- US taxpayers have spent circa $21 trillion ($7.2 trillion going to military contractors) on post-911 militarization [13] [14]. The military appropriation for 2023 exceeds $760 billion. Despite this taxpayer largess, the Pentagon has not ‘won’ a war since 1945, was forced out of Afghanistan after spending $2 trillion, and confronts looming strategic debacles in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Ukraine. This has vividly shown the rest of the world the limits of American military power. Unfortunately, after expending so much financial and human capital, the Pentagon appears incapable of extricating itself from these conflicts as doing so is an admission of failure and by extension military weakness. This was clearly seen following Joe Biden’s decision to remove US troops from Afghanistan in 2021 and the push-back he received from corporate media and people in Congress.

Political Chaos and Social Instability

We frequently hear that US society has progressed to the point, where the country appears to be increasingly ungovernable. Indeed, American society is plagued by economic inequality, racism and ubiquitous violence. The American working class has watched their standard of living plummet- a result of decades of neoliberal economic policies, including job outsourcing, austerity, stagnant income growth and since the Covid 19 pandemic, high inflation, reflected by increasing costs for rent, transportation, energy, groceries, medical care and other necessities. To put this in perspective, 60% of Americans do not have $500 in savings and thus are one expensive car repair, medical emergency or job loss away from financial ruin. At the same time the wealth of American billionaires has increased circa $1 trillion during the Covid19 pandemic. Not surprisingly in 2016, Donald Trump skillfully exploited the justifiable anger and frustration of working people, stating that he would ‘Make American Great Again’, blaming American economic problems on immigrants from Mexico and Latin America and China’s economic rise.

Rise of BRICS/SCO and US/NATO debacle in Ukraine

We are seeing the continued rise in the global power and influence of Russia, China and allied nations, on multiple fronts, including organizational, economic and militarily. The BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are expanding. Original BRICS members included Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Iran and Argentina have applied for admission, while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Turkey and Egypt are applying for entry next year. SCO is the largest regional economic institution in the world, covering 60% of Eurasia with a population > 3.2 billion and combined GDP of member states circa 25% of global total. Trade between BRICS and SCO member states is increasingly being carried out using local currencies.

The Mir payment system operated by the Russian National Card Payment System [15] is a direct competitor to Visa and Mastercard and now accepted throughout the Russian Federation and in 13 countries including India, Turkey and South Korea and will soon be used in Iran. BRICS nations are developing a global currency for international trade that will directly compete with the dollar [16]. Russia is developing a new international trading platform for precious metals: the Moscow World Standard (MWS) [17]. The Russian Finance Ministry believes this new independent international structure will ‘normalize the functioning of the precious metals industry” and serve as an alternative to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA; https://www.lbma.org.uk), [18] which for years has been accused of systematically manipulating the price of precious metals markets to depress prices [19]. Collectively, these policies have been designed to significantly reduce the dependence of economies in Russia, China, India and other countries in the Global South on the US/EU and eliminate dependence on the US dollar and Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system [20] for international trade. No doubt this is being done in close collaboration with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) whose goal is to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth [21] [22]. This trajectory has been accelerated following enactment of US/EU sanctions on Russia, Iran and China.

Over the last decade, the military power of Russia, China and Iran has greatly strengthened. The Russian military is a global leader in air-defense systems and hypersonic weapons, which are impermeable to any air-defense systems currently deployed by the US/NATO [23]. Over the last 25 years, China has modernized its military, focusing on People’s Liberation Navy and Army Air Force [24] [25]. China has developed a robust missile arsenal including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) [26]. The Pentagon now considers China a ‘formidable military force’ and a ‘major challenge’ to the US Navy in the Western Pacific. The Islamic Republic of Iran has also developed a formidable defensive military capability, which has positioned Iran as a major power broker in the region. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has concluded- ‘Iran possesses the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East, with thousands of ballistic and cruise missiles, some capable of striking as far as Israel and southeast Europe.’ [27]. Iran has repeatedly warned the US/NATO that it can target US military bases in the region, including Al Udeid base in Qatar, the largest US base in the Middle East. We are seeing increased assertiveness from the Russia-China-Iran axis in Syria, Ukraine and Western Pacific. This was clearly articulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, declaring an end of “the era of the unipolar world” [28]. The Pentagon is being increasingly challenged by the Russia-China-Iran axis in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Western Pacific.

Ukraine- another US/NATO debacle

For background and historical information covering Ukraine and her relationship with Russia, see [29]. Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe after Russia and occupies a strategic location in Eastern Europe, sharing a circa 2300 km (1227 mi) border with Russia [30] (Fig. 2). As of 2021, Ukraine had the second largest military (circa 200,000 military personnel), after the Russian Armed Forces, in Europe and has the dubious distinction of being one of the most corrupt countries in the world [31]. Historically, the predominantly Russian speaking population in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine has maintained close ties with Russia.

In February 2014, the US- instigated Maidan coup took place, replacing the democratically-elected President Victor Yanukovych with a Russia-phobic and far-right politician/economist/lawyer, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Not surprisingly, the Ukrainian government was soon dominated by an alliance of far-right/fascistic organizations including the Right Sector and Svoboda and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland. This was predictable, as these groups were the most virulently anti-Russian factions in Ukraine [32] and are still very active in the government and military [33] [34]. Soon after the coup took place, the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics declared their independence, initiating the war in the Donbas. Over the next 8 years, the US/NATO would train circa 100,000 Ukrainian troops and channel $ billions in military aid [35], which was used to equip Ukrainian army and fortify positions adjacent to the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics [30] (Fig. 3). This buildup was accompanied by increased shelling of residential areas in the Donbas region by the Ukrainian military [36] [37], setting up a potential invasion of this region [38]. In response to the escalating attacks by Ukrainian forces. Russia recognized the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics as sovereign states on Feb 21, 2022, just prior to the Russian invasion on Feb 24, 2022, describing this campaign as a Special Military Operation (SMO) [39]. For an excellent overview of why Russia made the decision to invade Ukraine, see [40].

Going up against a well-trained, well equipped and an entrenched Ukrainian army, Russian forces have managed to take control of circa 20% (~47,000 square miles) of southern Ukraine and are incrementally removing Ukrainian forces from this region [38] (Fig. 3). Significantly, this territory contains prime agricultural and resource-rich land. It appears that Russia is planning on annexing littoral territory extending from the Donetsk/Luhansk region to Odesa [41]. Once this happen, any future Ukrainian state will not only be land-locked and lack direct access to the Black Sea, it will also lose valuable land as well. Military analyst Andrei Martyanov [42] has pointed out the ‘combined West doesn’t have material and technological means of fighting Russia in Eastern Europe without losing catastrophically. Western weapons turned out to be nothing more than commercial items not designed to fight the modern war, plus–no Western economy, including the United States has the capability to produce them in needed quantities anyway.’

The collective west has responded to the Russian invasion by blocking the opening of the Nord Stream 2 energy pipeline, which would directly supply Russian natural gas to Germany, imposed sanctions on Russian energy exports and disconnected Russian banks from the SWIFT system. To the dismay of the US/NATO, these actions have led to large increases in EU energy costs while strengthening the Russian economy [43]. Indeed, the paper of record (NYT) published a recent OpEd bemoaning the fact that despite western sanctions, Russia is making more money than ever on energy exports to China, India and other countries [44]. Despite nonstop condemnation from the US and EU of Russia’s SMO in Ukraine, many nations have not criticized the war [45]; only 1/3 of UN members supported a new anti-Russia resolution this August [46]. Thus, dwindling international support for Ukraine, coupled with success of the Russian SMO indicates that the country will not exist in its current form.

Concluding Remarks

The decline of late-stage American capitalism has been ongoing since the mid-1970s, but has been accelerated by the GFC, Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and Russian SMO in Ukraine. Not surprisingly, the ruling elite and their representatives in Washington have responded by shifting the costs of this decline onto the public, who have watched their living standard plummet, homelessness increase [47], imposed reactionary legislation such as the criminalization of pregnancy by the US Supreme Court, ratcheted up state violence against working people and people of color, while engaging in an astronomically expensive and reckless foreign policy. It appears the ruling elite view the Russia-China-Iran axis as an intolerable obstacle to US global power, reflected in the ongoing war in Ukraine, which is a de facto proxy war between the US and Russia. US-imposed sanctions on Russian energy have driven global energy prices higher; natural gas prices in the EU are 14-fold higher than the 10-year average. As a result, the UK/EU are at risk of not having sufficient quantities of natural gas for the winter, while EU industry will not be competitive with their rivals in Asia, who are being supplied with cheaper Russian energy. This is going to lead to increasing unemployment and social instability in the Eurozone.

The continued presence of US troops in Iraq and Syria is a desperate attempt to maintain control over Middle East energy reserves. The continued recklessness of this occupation can be seen from the constant Israeli attacks on Syrian and Iranian-allied forces by Israel/US, increasing the chances of a war with Iran, which can rapidly escalate, potentially incinerating the entire Persian Gulf region. It appears the US is abandoning the ‘one-China’ policy’ that has guided relations between the two countries for nearly 5 decades and is preparing to recognize Taiwan as an ‘independent’ state, a redline for the Peoples Republic of China. No doubt, this was one motivation for sending House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, from ‘’liberal’ San Francisco, with a net worth exceeding $100 million, to visit Taiwan. The Pentagon is actively encouraging Japan, which is little more than a US stooge/vassal and still occupied by circa 50K US troops, to join in this effort [48]. This begs the obvious question- did Japan learn anything from their defeat in WWII? As Glen Ford has pointed out, hegemons do not have ‘allies’ they only have subordinates [49].

The decline of late-stage American capitalism has progressed to the point where the very survival of the American empire is now contingent upon endless money printing to prop up financial markets and the military. This is becoming increasingly tenuous as this orgy of money printing and debt has created gigantic bubbles in every asset class- ‘everything bubble’, increasing inflation and threatening to derail the dollar’s role as world reserve currency and viability of western capitalism. Considering the weak state of US/EU economies, what economic incentives does the US have to encourage countries in the Indo-Pacific to reduce trade with China? Obviously, this is a nonstarter [50]. The ruling oligarchy are well aware of US economic decline and in desperation, are attempting to directly confront the Russia-China-Iran axis, which has attained economic and military parity (superiority?) with US/NATO. Perilous times ahead.

Notes

1. US economic decline and global instability. The Saker Jan 19, 2021; https://thesaker.is/us-economic-decline-and-global-instability/

2. American Involvement in Wars from Colonial Times to the Present- Wars From 1675 to the Present Day By Martin Kelly Nov 4, 2020; https://www.thoughtco.com/american-involvement-wars-colonial-times-present-4059761

3. Ukraine’s Growing Dependency on Terrorism w/Mark Sleboda The New Atlas Aug 25, 2022; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgiRKbTYbZQ&t=1997s

4. The Big 6 Media Companies By Adam Levy Jun 10, 2022; https://www.fool.com/investing/stock-market/market-sectors/communication/media-stocks/big-6/

5. The 6 Companies That Own (Almost) All Media; https://www.webfx.com/blog/internet/the-6-companies-that-own-almost-all-media-infographic

6. Why military aid in Ukraine may not always get to the front lines. By Adam Yamaguchi and Alex Pena CBS News Aug 7, 2022; https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ukraine-military-aid-weapons-front-lines/

7. CBS censors its own report on Ukraine weapons corruption Multipolarista Aug 14, 2022; https://soundcloud.com/multipolarista/cbs-ukraine-weapons-corruption

8. Council on Foreign Relations; https://www.cfr.org/

9. How Gary Webb Linked the CIA to the Crack Epidemic — and Paid the Ultimate Price by Marco Margaritoff Feb 18, 2022; https://allthatsinteresting.com/gary-webb

10. Julian Assange, Wikipedia; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange#Seth_Rich

11. Wall Street on Parade Pam Martens and Russ Martens; https://wallstreetonparade.com/

12. Half Has Never Been Told by Edward E. Baptist 2016 (Book)

13. State of Insecurity- The Cost of Militarization Since 9/11 by Lindsay Koshgarian, Ashik Siddique and Lorah Steichen Institute for Policy Studies; Link: https://ips-dc.org/report-state-of-insecurity-cost-militarization-since-9-11/

14. Costs of war; https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/

15. The exponential rise of Russia’s Mir payment system by James King The Banker

July 20, 2021; https://www.thebanker.com/Transactions-Technology/FX-Payments/The-exponential-rise-of-Russia-s-Mir-payment-system?ct=true

16. Russia and China are brewing up a challenge to dollar dominance by creating a new reserve currency by George Glover Markets Indiser Jun 24, 2022; https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/currencies/dollar-dominance-russia-china-rouble-yuan-brics-reserve-currency-imf-2022-6

17. Precious Metals: Russia Proposes New Standard to Compete with LBMA Goldbroker Aug 17, 2022; https://goldbroker.com/news/precious-metals-russia-proposes-new-standard-to-compete-with-lbma-2826

18. London Bullion Market Association (LBMA); https://www.lbma.org.uk

19. Rigged Gold Price Distorts Perception of Economic Reality by Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler Sept 22, 2014; https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/09/22/rigged-gold-price-distorts-perception-economic-reality-paul-craig-roberts-dave-kranzler/

20. Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system; https://www.swift.com/

21. China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the global trade, investment and finance landscape 2018;

22. Belt and Road Initiative; https://www.beltroad-initiative.com/belt-and-road/

23. Trends in Russia’s Armed Forces- An Overview of Budgets and Capabilities by Keith Crane, Olga Oliker and Brian Nichiporuk Rand Corporation 2019; https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2573.html

24. China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress. Congressional Research Service Mar 8, 2022; https://sgp.fas.org/crs/row/RL33153.pdf

25. An Interactive Look at the U.S.-China Military Scorecard Rand https://www.rand.org/paf/projects/us-china-scorecard.html

26. China is building more than 100 new missile silos in its western desert, analysts say

Image without a caption By Joby Warrick Washington Post June 30, 2021; https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/china-nuclear-missile-silos/2021/06/30/0fa8debc-d9c2-11eb-bb9e-70fda8c37057_story.html

27. Missile Defense Project, “Missiles of Iran,” Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies; https://missilethreat.csis.org/country/iran

28. President Putin’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Speech, June 17, 2022. Defense Info; https://defense.info/global-dynamics/2022/06/president-putins-st-petersburg-international-economic-forum-speech-june-17-2022

29. Ray McGovern: Historical Context for Conflicts in Ukraine Consortium News Jul 10, 2022; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gLzsQA3UGY

30. Map Explainer: Key Facts About Ukraine By Bruno Venditti, Graphics/Design: Nick Routley Feb 23, 2022; https://www.visualcapitalist.com/map-explainer-ukraine/

31. Welcome to Ukraine, the most corrupt nation in Europe by Oliver Bullough The Guardian Feb 6, 2015; https://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/feb/04/welcome-to-the-most-corrupt-nation-in-europe-ukraine

32. How and why the U.S. Government Perpetrated the 2014 Coup in Ukraine by Eric Zuesse Modern Diplomacy June 4, 2018; https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2018/06/04/how-and-why-the-u-s-government-perpetrated-the-2014-coup-in-ukraine/

33. Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine- Five years after the Maidan uprising, anti-Semitism and fascist-inflected ultranationalism are rampant.

By Lev Golinkin The Nation Feb 22, 2019;

34. Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies Fair Observer Mar 11, 2022; https://www.fairobserver.com/region/europe/medea-benjamin-nicolas-js-davies-ukraine-war-russia-ukranian-neo-nazi-fascists-azov-battalion-89292/

35. Ukraine- World Socialist Website; https://www.wsws.org/en/topics/country/ukraine

36. Ukrainian Army terror bombings By Laurent Brayard Jun 6, 2022; https://mronline.org/2022/06/06/ukrainian-army-terror-bombings/

37. Donbass Update: Ukraine Continues to Shell Residential Areas Telesur Feb 24, 2022; https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Donbass-Update-Ukraine-Continues-to-Shell-Residential-Areas-20220224-0004.html

38. Important — A Message for Americans Gonzalo Lira June 18, 2022; https://www.strategic-culture.org/video/2022/06/20/2022-06-18-important-a-message-for-americans/

39. Putin Announces Start to ‘Military Operation’ Against Ukraine by Anton Troianovski and Neil MacFarquhar NYT Feb. 23, 2022; https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/world/europe/ukraine-russia-invasion.html

40. Why Russia Invaded Ukraine by Eric Zuesse The Duran Sept 1, 2022; https://theduran.com/why-russia-invaded-ukraine/

41. All the way to Odessa by Pepe Escobar The Unz Review Aug 26, 2022; https://www.unz.com/pescobar/all-the-way-to-odessa/

42. Reminiscence of the Future (Andrei Martyanov); http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/

43. Europe’s Markets and Energy Security Disrupted by Russia Sanctions by Kenneth Rapoza Forbes Aug 23, 2022; https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2022/08/23/europes-markets-and-energy-security-disrupted-by-russia-sanctions/?sh=6d2312b45097

44. Russia Is Making Heaps of Money from Oil, but There is a Way to Stop That

July 29, 2022; https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/29/opinion/russia-oil-sanctions-biden.html

45. Why have many nations not condemned the war in Ukraine? by Bernd Debusmann News Decoder Apr 4, 2022; https://news-decoder.com/why-have-many-nations-not-condemned-the-war-in-ukraine/

46. Only one in three UN members back new anti-Russia resolution- International support for Ukraine has dropped dramatically since March RT Aug 26, 2022; https://www.rt.com/russia/561627-un-ukraine-resolution-support/

47. Census Bureau: 3.8 million renters will likely be evicted in the next two months — why the rental crisis keeps getting worse by Brian J. O’Connor Yahoo Sun, Aug 28, 2022; https://www.yahoo.com/video/census-bureau-3-8-million-100000978.html

48. U.S. presses Japan to cancel Constitution’s peace-clause. China and Japan must thus finally agree now, to avoid a war by Eric Zuesse The Duran Aug 25, 2022; https://theduran.com/why-a-deal-is-needed-now-between-china-and-japan/

49. Glen Ford’s Ukrainian Crystal Ball Black Agenda Report Jul 27, 2022; https://www.blackagendareport.com/glen-fords-ukrainian-crystal-ball

50. A New World Order is Looming and the West Doesn’t Like it by James ONeill Aug 24, 2022; https://journal-neo.org/2022/08/24/a-new-world-order-is-looming-and-the-west-doesn-t-like-it/

3 Figures

Figure 1: Total US Public Debt

Figure 2. Map of Ukraine

Figure 3. Military situation in Ukraine Aug 31, 2022

Figure 1. Total US public debt. Note that debt in Q1 2020 was $ 23.2 trillion while in Q2 2022 was $ 30.5 trillion, an increase of $7 trillion.

FRED Graph

Source: Total Public Debt; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEBTN

Figure 2. Map of Ukraine

Ukraine Map

Source: US Department of Defense

Figure 3. Military Situation in Ukraine for Aug 31, 2022. Areas in Red are controlled by the allied forces of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Militia and Russian military.

Source: Ukraine interactive map; https://liveuamap.com

‘If not me, who?’: Mikhail Gorbachev ended Cold War and saved the world, but failed to save Soviet Union FEATURE

30 Aug, 2022

It is hard to imagine that anyone could have dismantled the Soviet Union from the inside faster or more comprehensively than Mikhail Gorbachev, a man who had no such intention. Its crumbling is both Gorbachev’s singular achievement and his personal tragedy.

It is also the most important moment in history since 1945.

Popular perceptions have transformed the former Soviet leader into a kitschy icon, remembered as much for starring in an advert for no-crust pizza, as for picking up a Nobel Peace Prize.

But in the demise of ‘The Evil Empire’ he was no naïf, nor a catalyst for generic historic inevitabilities. Almost every single event in the countdown to the fall of communism in Russia and beyond is a direct reflection of the ideals, actions and foibles of Mikhail Gorbachev and those he confronted or endorsed.

This is the story of a farm mechanic who managed to penetrate the inner sanctum of the world’s biggest country, an explanation of what drove him once he reached the top, and an attempt to understand whether he deserves opprobrium or sympathy, ridicule or appreciation.

First president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev before a parade marking the 69th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War.
RIA Novosti.
The first president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev signs autographs during the presentation of his new book “Alone with Myself” in the Moskva store.
RIA Novosti.

If not me, who? And if not now, when?
— Mikhail Gorbachev

CHILDHOOD

Growing up a firebrand Communist among Stalin’s purges

Born in 1931 in a Ukrainian-Russian family in the village of Privolnoye in the fertile Russian south, Mikhail Gorbachev’s childhood was punctuated by a series of almost Biblical ordeals, albeit those shared by millions of his contemporaries.

His years as a toddler coincided with Stalin’s policy of collectivization – the confiscation of private lands from peasants to form new state-run farms – and Stavropol, Russia’s Breadbasket, was one of the worst-afflicted. Among the forcible reorganization and resistance, harvests plummeted and government officials requisitioned scarce grain under threat of death.

Gorbachev later said that his first memory is seeing his grandfather boiling frogs he caught in the river during the Great Famine.

Yet another grandfather, Panteley – a former landless peasant — rose from poverty to become the head of the local collective farm. Later Gorbachev attributed his ideological make-up largely to his grandfather’s staunch belief in Communism “which gave him the opportunity to earn everything he had.”

Panteley’s convictions were unshaken even when he was arrested as part of Stalin’s Great Purge. He was accused of joining a “counter-revolutionary Trotskyite movement” (which presumably operated a cell in their distant village) but returned to his family after 14 months behind bars just in time for the Second World War to break out.

Just in time for the Second World War to break out. For much of the conflict, the battle lines between the advancing Germans and the counter-attacking Red Army stretched across Gorbachev’s homeland; Mikhail’s father was drafted, and even reported dead, but returned with only shrapnel lodged in his leg at the end of the war.

Although Sergey was a distant presence in his son’s life up to then and never lived with him, he passed on to Mikhail a skill that played a momentous role in his life — that of a farm machinery mechanic and harvester driver. Bright by all accounts, Mikhail quickly picked up the knack — later boasting that he could pick out any malfunction just by the sound of the harvester or the tractor alone.

But this ability was unlikely to earn him renown beyond his village. Real acclaim came when the father and son read a new decree that would bestow a national honor on anyone who threshed more than 8000 quintals (800 tons or more than 20 big truckloads) of grain during the upcoming harvest. In the summer of 1948 Gorbachev senior and junior ground an impressively neat 8888 quintals. As with many of the agricultural and industrial achievements that made Soviet heroes out of ordinary workers, the exact details of the feat – and what auxiliary efforts may have made it possible – are unclear, but 17-year-old Gorbachev became one of the youngest recipients of the prestigious Order of the Red Banner of Labor in its history.

Having already been admitted to the Communist Party in his teen years (a rare reward given to the most zealous and politically reliable) Mikhail used the medal as an immediate springboard to Moscow. The accolade for the young wheat-grinder meant that he did not have to pass any entrance exams or even sit for an interview at Russia’s most prestigious Moscow State University.

With his village school education, Gorbachev admitted that he initially found the demands of a law degree, in a city he’d never even visited before, grueling. But soon he met another ambitious student from the countryside, and another decisive influence on his life. The self-assured, voluble Raisa, who barely spent a night apart from her husband until her death, helped to bring out the natural ambition in the determined, but occasionally studious and earnest Gorbachev. Predictably, Gorbachev rose to become one of the senior figures at the university’s Komsomol, the Communist youth league — which with its solemn group meetings and policy initiatives served both as a prototype and the pipeline for grown-up party activities.

STAVROPOL

Party reformist flourishes in Khruschev’s Thaw

Upon graduation in 1955, Gorbachev lasted only ten days back in Stavropol’s prosecutor’s office (showing a squeamishness dealing with the less idealistic side of the Soviet apparatus) before running across a local Komsomol official. For the next 15 years his biography reads like a blur of promotions – rising to become Stavropol region’s top Komsomol bureaucrats, overseeing agriculture for a population of nearly 2.5 million people before his 40th birthday.

All the trademarks of Gorbachev’s leadership style, which later became famous around the world, were already in evidence here. Eschewing Soviet officials’ habit of barricading themselves inside the wood-paneled cabinets behind multiple receptions, Gorbachev spent vast swathes of his time ‘in the field’, often literally in a field. With his distinctive southern accent, and his genuine curiosity about the experiences of ordinary people, the young official a struck chord as he toured small villages and discussed broken projectors at local film clubs and shortages of certain foodstuffs.

His other enthusiasm was for public discussion, particularly about specific, local problems – once again in contrast with the majority of officials, who liked to keep negative issues behind closed doors. Gorbachev set up endless discussion clubs and committees, almost quixotically optimistic about creating a better kind of life among the post-war austerity.

POLITBURO

Cutting the line to the throne

By the 1970s any sign of modernization in Soviet society or leadership was a distant memory, as the country settled into supposed “advanced socialism”, with the upheavals and promises of years past replaced by what was widely described as ‘An Era of Stagnation’ (the term gained official currency after being uttered by Gorbachev himself in one of his early public speeches after ascending to the summit of the Soviet system).

Without Stalin’s regular purges, and any democratic replacement mechanisms, between the mid-1960s and 1980s, almost the entire apparatus of Soviet leadership remained unchanged, down from the increasingly senile Leonid Brezhnev, who by the end of his life in 1982 became a figure of nationwide mockery and pity, as he slurred through speeches and barely managed to stand during endless protocol events, wearing gaudy carpets of military honors for battles he never participated in. Predictably, power devolved to the various factions below, as similarly aged heavyweights pushed their protégés into key positions.

The Kremlin Palace of Congresses (now the State Kremlin Palace). The XXV Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Feb. 24-March 5, 1976). CPSU Central Committee General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev delivering speech.
RIA Novosti.

Mikhail Andreyevich Suslov, CPSU CC Politbureau member, CPSU CC secretary, twice Hero of Socialist Labor.
RIA Novosti.Leonid Brezhnev, left, chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium and general secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, with Alexei Kosygin, chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, on Lenin’s Mausoleum on May 1, 1980.
RIA Novosti.The Soviet Communist Party’s politburo member Konstantin Chernenko and central committee member Yury Andropov attend the Kremlin Palace of Congresses’ government session dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the USSR.
RIA Novosti.Yuri Andropov (1914-1984), General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee (since November 1982).
RIA Novosti.

With a giant country as the playground, the system rewarded those who came up with catchy programs and slogans, took credit for successes and steered away from failures, and networked tirelessly to build up support above and below. Gorbachev thrived here. His chief patrons were Brezhnev himself, purist party ideologue Mikhail Suslov, who considered Stavropol his powerbase, and most crucially the hardline head of the KGB, Yuri Andropov. The security chief referred to the aspiring politician as ‘My Stavropol Rough Diamond’ — another rejoinder to those seeking to paint Gorbachev as a naïve blessed outsider, a Joan of Arc of the Soviet establishment.

After being called to Moscow in 1978 to oversee Soviet agriculture — an apocryphal story suggests that he nearly missed out on the appointment when senior officials couldn’t find him after he got drunk celebrating a Komsomol anniversary, only to be rescued by a driver at the last moment — Mikhail Gorbachev was appointed to the Politburo in 1980.

The Politburo, which included some but not all of the ministers and regional chiefs of the USSR, was an inner council that took all the key decisions in the country, with the Soviet leader sitting at the top of the table, holding the final word (though Brezhnev sometimes missed meetings or fell asleep during them). When Gorbachev became a fully-fledged member he was short of his 50th birthday. All but one of the dozen other members were over sixty, and most were in their seventies. To call them geriatric was not an insult, but a literal description of a group of elderly men – many beset by chronic conditions far beyond the reach of Soviet doctors – that were more reminiscent of decrepit land barons at the table of a feudal king than effective bureaucrats. Even he was surprised by how quickly it came.

Brezhnev, who suffered from a panoply of circulation illnesses, died of a heart attack in 1982. Andropov, who was about to set out on an energetic screw-tightening campaign, died of renal failure in 1984. Konstantin Chernenko was already ill when he came to leadership, and died early in 1985 of cirrhosis. The tumbling of aged sovereigns, both predictable and tragicomic in how they reflected on the leadership of a country of more than 250 million people, not only cleared the path for Gorbachev, but strengthened the credentials of the young, energetic pretender.

Leonid Brezhnev’s funeral procession at Vladimir Lenin’s mausoleum.
RIA Novosti.

The decorations of General Secretary of the CPSU Leonid Brezhnev seen during his lying-in-state ceremony at the House of Unions.
RIA Novosti.Mikhail Gorbachev, the first and the last Soviet president (second left in the foreground) attending the funeral of General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Konstantin Chernenko (1911-1985) in Moscow’s Red Square.
RIA Novosti.The funeral procession during the burial of Leonid Brezhnev, general secretary of the CPSU central committee, chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet.
RIA Novosti.The funeral of Yuri Andropov, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. The coffin is placed on pedestal near the Mausoleum on Red Square.
RIA Novosti.The funeral procession for General Secretary of the CPSU Konstantin Chernenko moving towards Red Square.
RIA Novosti.General Secretary of the Central Comittee of CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev at the tribune of Lenin mausoleum during May Day demonstration, Red square.
RIA Novosti.

On 11 March 1985, Gorbachev was named the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR.

REFORMS NEEDED

Overcoming economic inefficiency with temperance campaigns

As often in history, the reformer came in at a difficult time. Numbers showed that economic growth, which was rampant as Russia industrialized through the previous four decades, slowed down in Brezhnev’s era, with outside sources suggesting that the economy grew by an average of no more than 2 percent for the decade.

The scarcity of the few desirable goods produced and their inefficient distribution meant that many Soviet citizens spent a substantial chunk of their time either standing in queues or trading and obtaining things as ordinary as sugar, toilet paper or household nails through their connections, either “under the counter” or as Party and workplace perks, making a mockery of Communist egalitarianism. The corruption and lack of accountability in an economy where full employment was a given, together with relentless trumpeting of achievement through monolithic newspapers and television programs infected private lives with doublethink and cynicism.

A line of shoppers outside the Lenvest footwear shop.
Ria Novosti.

But this still does not describe the drab and constraining feel of the socialist command economy lifestyle, not accidentally eschewed by all societies outside of North Korea and Cuba in the modern world. As an example, but one central to the Soviet experience: while no one starved, there was a choice of a handful of standardized tins — labeled simply salmon, or corned beef — identical in every shop across the country, and those who were born in 1945 could expect to select from the same few goods until the day they died, day-in, day-out. Soviets dressed in the same clothes, lived in identical tower block housing, and hoped to be issued a scarce Lada a decade away as a reward for their loyalty or service. Combined with the lack of personal freedoms, it created an environment that many found reassuring, but others suffocating, so much so that a trivial relic of a different world, stereotypically a pair of American jeans, or a Japanese TV, acquired a cultural cachet far disproportionate to its function. Soviets could not know the mechanisms of actually living within a capitalist society — with its mortgages, job markets, and bills — but many felt that there were gaudier, freer lives being led all around the world.

And though it brought tens of millions of people out of absolute poverty, there was no longer an expectation that the lifestyles of ordinary Soviets would significantly improve whether a year or a decade into the future, and promise of a better future was always a key tenet of communism.

Several wide-ranging changes were attempted, in 1965 and 1979, but each time the initial charge was wound down into ineffectual tinkering as soon as the proposed changed encroached on the fundamentals of the Soviet regime — in which private commercial activity was forbidden and state control over the economy was total and centralized.

Moscow, Russia. Customers at the Okean [Ocean] seafood store. 1988.
Ria Novosti.

Gorbachev deeply felt the malaise, and displayed immediate courage to do what is necessary — sensing that his reforms would not only receive support from below, but no insurmountable resistance from above. The policy of Uskorenie, or Acceleration, which became one of the pillars of his term, was announced just weeks after his appointment — it was billed as an overhaul of the economy.

But it did not address the fundamental structural inefficiencies of the Soviet regime. Instead it offered more of the same top-down administrative solutions — more investment, tighter supervision of staff, less waste. Any boost achieved through rhetoric and managerial dress-downs sent down the pyramid of power was likely to be inconsequential and peter out within months.

His second initiative, just two months after assuming control, betrayed these very same well-meaning but misguided traits. With widespread alcohol consumption a symptom of late-Soviet decline, Gorbachev devised a straightforward solution — lowering alcohol production and eventually eradicating drinking altogether.

Doctor Lev Kravchenko conducting reflexotherapy session with a patient at the Moscow Narcological Clinical Hospital #17.
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Stolichnaya vodka from the Moscow Liqueur and Vodka Distillery.
RIA Novosti.

“Women write to me saying that children see their fathers again, and they can see their husbands,” said Gorbachev when asked about whether the reform was working.

Opponents of the illiberal measure forced Russian citizens into yet more queues, while alcoholics resorted to drinking industrial fluids and aftershave. Economists said that the budget, which derived a quarter of its total retail sales income from alcohol, was severely undermined. Instead a shadow economy sprung up — in 1987, 500 thousand people were arrested for engaging in it, five times more than just two years earlier.

More was needed, and Gorbachev knew it.

PERE­STROIKA

“We must rebuild ourselves. All of us!”

Gorbachev at his zenith

Gorbachev first uttered the word perestroika — reform, or rebuilding — in May 1986, or rather he told journalists, using the characteristic and endearing first-person plural, “We must rebuild ourselves. All of us!” Picked up by reporters, within months the phrase became a mainstay of Gorbachev’s speeches, and finally the symbol of the entire era.

Before his reforms had been chiefly economic and within the existing frameworks; now they struck at the political heart of the Soviet Union.

The revolution came from above, during a long-prepared central party conference blandly titled “On Reorganization and the Party’s Personnel Policy” on January 27, 1987.

In lieu of congratulatory platitudes that marked such occasions in past times, Gorbachev cheerfully delivered the suspended death sentence for Communist rule in the Soviet Union (much as he didn’t suspect it at the time).

“The Communist Party of the Soviet Union and its leaders, for reasons that were within their own control, did not realize the need for change, understand the growing critical tension in the society, or develop any means to overcome it. The Communist Party has not been able to take full advantage of socialist society,”
said the leader to an audience that hid its apprehension.

“The only way that a man can order his house, is if he feels he is its owner. Well, a country is just the same,” came Gorbachev’s trademark mix of homely similes and grand pronouncements.” Only with the extension of democracy, of expanding self-government can our society advance in industry, science, culture and all aspects of public life.”

“For those of you who seem to struggle to understand, I am telling you: democracy is not the slogan, it is the very essence of Perestroika.”

Gorbachev used the word ‘revolution’ eleven times in his address, anointing himself an heir to Vladimir Lenin. But what he was proposing had no precedent in Russian or Soviet history.

The word democracy was used over 70 times in that speech alone.
The Soviet Union was a one-party totalitarian state, which produced 99.9 percent election results with people picking from a single candidate. Attempts to gather in groups of more than three, not even to protest, were liable to lead to arrest, as was any printed or public political criticism, though some dissidents were merely subjected to compulsory psychiatric care or forced to renounce their citizenship. Millions were employed either as official KGB agents, or informants, eavesdropping on potentially disloyal citizens. Soviet people were forbidden from leaving the country, without approval from the security services and the Party. This was a society operated entirely by those in power, relying on compliance and active cooperation in oppression from a large proportion of the population. So, the proposed changes were a fundamental reversal of the flows of power in society.

General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Gorbachyov making his report “October and perestroika: the revolution continues” in the Kremlin Palace of Congresses at a joint session of the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR Supreme Soviet, devoted to the 70th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.
RIA Novosti.

Between Gorbachev’s ascent and by the end of that year, two thirds of the Politburo, more than half of the regional chiefs and forty percent of the membership of the Central Committee of Communist Party, were replaced.

Gorbachev knew that democracy was impossible without what came to be known as glasnost, an openness of public discussion.

“We are all coming to the same conclusion — we need glasnost, we need criticism and self-criticism. In our country everything concerns the people, because it is their country,”
said Gorbachev, cunningly echoing Lenin, at that January forum, though the shoots of glasnost first emerged the year before.

From the middle of 1986 until 1987 censored Soviet films that lay on the shelves for years were released, the KGB stopped jamming the BBC World Service and Voice of America, Nobel Peace Prize winner nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov and hundreds of other dissidents were set free, and archives documenting Stalin-era repressions were opened.

A social revolution was afoot. Implausibly, within two years, television went from having no programs that were unscripted, to Vzglyad, a talk show anchored by 20 and 30-somethings (at a time when most Soviet television presented were fossilized mannequins) that discussed the war in Afghanistan, corruption or drugs with previously banned videos by the Pet Shop Boys or Guns N’ Roses as musical interludes. For millions watching Axl Rose, cavorting with a microphone between documentaries about steel-making and puppet shows, created cognitive dissonance that verged on the absurd. As well as its increasing fascination with the West, a torrent of domestic creativity was unleashed. While much of what was produced in the burgeoning rock scene and the liberated film making industry was derivative, culturally naïve and is now badly dated, even artifacts from the era still emanate an unmistakable vitality and sincerity.

Rock for Peace concert in Moscow, 1988.
RIA Novosti.

“Bravo!” Poster by Svetlana and Alexander Faldin. Allegorically portraying USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev, it appeared at the poster exposition, Perestroika and Us.
RIA Novosti.Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee and Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, talking to reporters during a break between sessions. The First Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR (May 25 — June 9, 1989). The Kremlin Palace of Congresses.
RIA Novosti.

Many welcomed the unprecedented level of personal freedom and the chance to play an active part in their own country’s history, others were alarmed, while others still rode the crest of the wave when swept everything before it, only to renounce it once it receded. But it is notable that even the supposed staunchest defenders of the ancien régime — the KGB officers, the senior party members — who later spent decades criticizing Perestroika, didn’t step in to defend Brezhnev-era Communism as they saw it being demolished.

What everyone might have expected from the changes is a different question — some wanted the ability to travel abroad without an exit visa, others the opportunity to earn money, others still to climb the political career ladder without waiting for your predecessor die in office. But unlike later accounts, which often presented Gorbachev as a stealthy saboteur who got to execute an eccentric program, at the time, his support base was broad, and his decisions seemed encouraging and logical.

As a popular politician Gorbachev was reaching a crescendo. His trademark town hall and factory visits were as effective as any staged stunts, and much more unselfconscious. The contrast with the near-mummified bodies of the previous General Secretaries — who, in the mind of ordinary Soviet citizens, could only be pictured on top of Lenin’s Mausoleum during a military parade, or staring from a roadside placard, and forever urging greater productivity or more intense socialist values — was overwhelming.
Gorbachev was on top — but the tight structure of the Soviet state was about to loosen uncontrollably.

USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev in Sverdlovsk Region (25-28 April, 1990). Mikhail Gorbachev with the people of Sverdlovsk at the Lenin Square.
RIA Novosti.

USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev visits Sverdlovsk region. Mikhail Gorbachev visiting Nizhnij Tagil integrated iron-and-steel works named after V.I. Lenin.
RIA Novosti.CPSU Central Committee General Secretary, USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev in the Ukrainian SSR. Mikhail Gorbachev, second right, meeting with Kiev residents.
RIA Novosti.

COLD WAR ENDS

Concessions from a genuine pacifist

In the late 1980s the world appeared so deeply divided into two camps that it seemed like two competing species were sharing the same planet. Conflicts arose constantly, as the US and the USSR fought proxy wars on every continent — in Nicaragua, Angola and Afghanistan, with Europe divided by a literal battle line, both sides constantly updated battle plans and moved tank divisions through allied states, where scores of bases housed soldier thousands of miles away from home. Since the Cold War did not end in nuclear holocaust, it has become conventional to describe the two superpowers as rivals, but there was little doubt at the time that they were straightforward enemies.

“The core of New Thinking is the admission of the primacy of universal human values and the priority of ensuring the survival of the human race,” Gorbachev wrote in his Perestroika manifesto in 1988.

At the legendary Reykjavik summit in 1986, which formally ended in failure but in fact set in motion the events that would end the Cold War, both sides were astonished at just how much they could agree on, suddenly flying through agendas, instead of fighting pitched battles over every point of the protocol.

“Humanity is in the same boat, and we can all either sink or swim.”

General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Gorbachev (left) and U.S. President Ronald Reagan (right) during their summit meeting in Reykjavik.
RIA Novosti.

Landmark treaties followed: the INF agreement in 1987, banning intermediate ballistic missiles, the CFE treaty that reduced the military build-up in Europe in 1990, and the following year, the START treaty, reducing the overall nuclear stockpile of those countries. The impact was as much symbolic as it was practical — the two could still annihilate each other within minutes — but the geopolitical tendency was clear.

President Reagan: Signing of the INF Treaty with Premier Gorbachev, December 8, 1987

Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the US president Ronald Reagan.
RIA Novosti.
Mikhail Gorbachev (left) and the US president Ronald Reagan signing an agreement in the White House. Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on the official visit to the USA.
RIA Novosti.

Military analysts said that each time the USSR gave up more than it received from the Americans. The personal dynamic between Reagan — always lecturing “the Russians” from a position of purported moral superiority, and Gorbachev — the pacifist scrambling for a reasonable solution, was also skewed in favor of the US leader. But Gorbachev wasn’t playing by those rules.

“Any disarmament talks are not about beating the other side. Everyone has to win, or everyone will lose,” he wrote.

The Soviet Union began to withdraw its troops and military experts from conflicts around the world. For ten years a self-evidently unwinnable war waged in Afghanistan ingrained itself as an oppressive part of the national consciousness. Fifteen thousand Soviet soldiers died, hundreds of thousands more were wounded or psychologically traumatized (the stereotypical perception of the ‘Afghan vet’ in Russia is almost identical to that of the ‘Vietnam vet’ in the US.) When the war was officially declared a “mistake” and Soviet tanks finally rolled back across the mountainous border in 1989, very few lamented the scaling back of the USSR’s international ambitions.

Last Soviet troop column crosses Soviet border after leaving Afghanistan.
RIA Novosti.

Driver T. Eshkvatov during the final phase of the Soviet troop pullout from Afghanistan.
RIA Novosti.Soviet soldiers back on native soil. The USSR conducted a full pullout of its limited troop contingent from Afghanistan in compliance with the Geneva accords.
RIA Novosti.The convoy of Soviet armored personnel vehicles leaving Afghanistan.
RIA Novosti.

In July 1989 Gorbachev made a speech to the European Council, declaring that it is “the sovereign right of each people to choose their own social system.” When Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, soon to be executed by his own people, demanded — during the 40th anniversary of the Communist German Democratic Republic in October 1989 — that Gorbachev suppress the wave of uprisings, the Soviet leader replied with a curt “Never again!”

“Life punishes those who fall behind the times,” he warned the obdurate East German leader Erich Honecker. Honecker died in exile in Chile five years later, having spent his dying years fending off criminal charges backed by millions of angry Germans.

Russian tanks did pass through Eastern Europe that year — but in the other direction, as the Soviet Union abandoned its expensive bases that were primed for a war that neither side now wanted.

Graffitti at the Berlin Wall.
RIA Novosti.
East German citizens climb the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate after the opening of the border was announced early November 9, 1989. REUTERS/Herbert Knosowski BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE.
Reuters.
A big section of the Berlin Wall is lifted by a crane as East Germany has started to dismantle the wall near the Brandenburg Gate in East Berlin, February 20, 1990.
Reuters.

By the time the Berlin Wall was torn down in November, Gorbachev was reportedly not even woken up by his advisors, and no emergency meetings took place. There was no moral argument for why the German people should not be allowed to live as one nation, ending what Gorbachev himself called the “unnatural division of Europe”. The quote came from his 1990 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

ETHNIC TENSIONS

Smoldering ethnic conflicts on USSR’s outskirts flare up

Ethnic tensions on the outskirts of the empire lead to full-scale wars after USSR’s collapse. Towards the end of his rather brief period as a Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev had to face a problem many thought of as done and dusted; namely, ethnic strife, leading to conflict and death.

By the mid-1980s, the Soviet Union was officially considered by party ideologists to be one multi-ethnic nation, despite it being comprised of 15 national republics and even more internal republics and regions, with dozens of ethnic groups living there in a motley mixture. The claim was not completely unfounded as the new generation all across the country spoke Russian and had basic knowledge of Russian culture along with Marxist philosophy. In fact, the outside world confirmed this unity by calling all Soviet citizens “Russians” — from Finno-Ugric Estonians in the West to the Turkic and Iranian peoples of Central Asia and natives of the Far East, closely related to the American Indians of Alaska.

Demonstration on Red Square. The International Labor Day. “Long live the brotherly friendship of the peoples of the USSR!” reads the slogan under the USSR national emblem surrounded by flags of 15 of the Union republics carried at a May Day demonstration in 1986.
RIA Novosti.

At the same time, the concept of the single people was enforced by purely Soviet methods — from silencing any existing problems in the party-controlled mass media, to ruthless suppression of any attempt of nationalist movements, and summary forced resettlement of whole peoples for “siding with the enemy” during WWII.

After Gorbachev announced the policies of Glasnost and democratization, many ethnic groups started to express nationalist sentiments. This was followed by the formation or legalization of nationalist movements, both in national republics and in Russia itself, where blackshirts from the “Memory” organization blamed Communists and Jews for oppressing ethnic Russians and promoted “liberation.”

Neither society nor law enforcers were prepared for such developments. The Soviet political system remained totalitarian and lacked any liberal argument against nationalism. Besides, the concept of “proletarian internationalism” was so heavily promoted that many people started to see nationalism as part of a struggle for political freedoms and market-driven economic prosperity. At the same time, the security services persisted in using the crude Soviet methods that had already been denounced by party leaders; police had neither the tools nor the experience for proper crowd control.

As a result, potential conflicts were brewing all across the country and the authorities did almost nothing to prevent them. In fact, many among the regional elites chose to ride the wave of nationalism to obtain more power and settle old accounts. At the same time, the level of nationalism was highly uneven and its manifestations differed both in frequency and intensity across the USSR.

In February 1988, Gorbachev announced at the Communist Party’s plenum that every socialist land was free to choose its own societal systems. Both Nationalists and the authorities considered this a go-ahead signal. Just days after the announcement, the conflict in the small mountain region of Nagorno-Karabakh entered an open phase.

Nagorno-Karabakh was an enclave populated mostly, but not exclusively, by Armenians in the Transcaucasia republic of Azerbaijan. Relations between Armenians and Azerbaijanis had always been strained, with mutual claims dating back to the Ottoman Empire; Soviet administrative policy based purely on geography and economy only made things worse.

In spring 1989, nationalists took to the streets in another Transcaucasian republic — Georgia. The country was (and still is) comprised of many ethnic groups, each claiming a separate territory, sometimes as small as just one hill and a couple of villages, and the rise of nationalism there was even more dangerous. Georgians marched under slogans “Down with Communism!” and “Down with Soviet Imperialism.” The rallies were guarded and directed by the “Georgian Falcons” — a special team of strong men, many of them veterans of the Afghan war, armed with truncheons and steel bars.

“Down with Communism!”

“Down with Soviet Imperialism.”

This time Gorbachev chose not to wait for clashes and a Spetsnaz regiment was deployed to Tbilisi to tackle the nationalist rallies. Again, old Soviet methods mixed poorly with the realities of democratization. When the demonstrators saw the soldiers, they became more agitated, and the streets around the main flashpoints were blocked by transport and barricades. The soldiers were ordered to use only rubber truncheons and tear gas, and were not issued firearms, but facing the Georgian Falcons they pulled out the Spetsnaz weapon of choice — sharp shovels just as deadly as bayonets.

At least 19 people were killed in the clashes or trampled by the crowd that was forced from the central square but had nowhere to go. Hundreds were wounded.

Soviet tanks are positioned on April 9, 1989 in front of the Georgian government building where pro-independence Georgians were killed as paratroopers moved in to break up a mass demonstration. An anti-Soviet demonstration was dispersed on April 9th by the Soviet army, resulting in 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries. In independent Georgia “April 9” is an annual public holiday remembered as the Day of National Unity.
AFP PHOTO.

Moscow ordered an investigation into the tragedy and a special commission uncovered many serious mistakes made both by the regional and central authorities and party leaders. However, at the May Congress of People’s Deputies, Gorbachev categorically refused to accept any responsibility for the outcome of the events in Tbilisi and blamed the casualties on the military.

Further on, the last Soviet leader persisted in the kind of stubbornness that inevitably must have played a part in his fall. In February 1990, the Communist Party’s Central Committee voted to adopt the presidential system of power and General Secretary Gorbachev became the first and last president of the USSR. The same plenum dismantled the Communist Party’s monopoly of power, even though the country had no grassroots political organizations or any political organizations not dependent on the communists save for the nationalists. As a result, the urge for succession increased rapidly, both in the regional republics and even in the Soviet heartland — the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.

In 1990, the Republic of Lithuania was the first to declare independence from the Soviet Union. Despite his earlier promises, Gorbachev refused to recognize this decision officially. The region found itself in legal and administrative limbo and the Lithuanian parliament addressed foreign nations with a request to hold protests against “Soviet Occupation.”

In January 1991, the Lithuanian government announced the start of economic reforms with liberalization of prices, and immediately after that the Supreme Soviet of the USSR sent troops to the republic, citing “numerous requests from the working class.” Gorbachev also demanded Lithuania annul all new regulations and bring back the Soviet Constitution. On January 11, Soviet troops captured many administrative buildings in Vilnius and other Lithuanian cities, but the parliament and television center were surrounded by a thousand-strong rally of protesters and remained in the hands of the nationalist government. In the evening of January 12, Soviet troops, together with the KGB special purpose unit, Alpha, stormed the Vilnius television center, killing 12 defenders and wounding about 140 more. The troops were then called back to Russia and the Lithuanian struggle for independence continued as before.

A Lithuanian demonstrator stands in front of a Soviet Army tank during the assault on the Lithuanian Radio and Television station on January 13, 1991 in Vilnius.
AFP PHOTO.

Vilnius residents gather in front of the Lithuanian parliament following the takeover of the Radio and Television installations by Soviet troops.
AFP PHOTO.An armed unidentified man guards the Lithuanian parliament on January 19, 1991 in Vilnius.
AFP PHOTO.Vilnius residents holding a Lithuanian flag guard a barricade in front of the Lithuanian parliament on January 20, 1991.
AFP PHOTO.Soviet paratroopers charge Lithuanian demonstrators at the entrance of the Lithuanian press printing house in Vilnius. January, 1991.
AFP PHOTO.

Gorbachev again denied any responsibility, saying that he had received reports about the operation only after it ended. However, almost all members of the contemporary Soviet cabinet recalled that the idea of Gorbachev not being aware of such a major operation was laughable. Trying to shift the blame put the president’s image into a lose-lose situation — knowing about the Vilnius fighting made him a callous liar, and if he really knew nothing about it, then he was an ineffective leader, losing control both of distant territories and his own special forces.

The swiftly aborted intervention — troops were called back on the same day — was a disappointment both to the hardliners, who would have wanted Gorbachev to see it through, and to the democratic reformers, horrified by the scenes emerging from Vilnius.

This dissatisfaction also must be one of the main factors that provoked the so-called Putch in August 1991 — an attempt by die-hard Politburo members to displace Gorbachev and restore the old Soviet order. They failed in the latter, but succeeded in the former as Gorbachev, isolated at his government Dacha in Crimea, returned to Moscow only because of the struggles of the new Russian leader Boris Yeltsin. When Gorbachev returned, his power was so diminished that he could do nothing to prevent the Belovezha agreement — the pact between Russia, Belarus and Ukraine that ended the history of the Soviet Union and introduced the Commonwealth of Independent States. All republics became independent whether they were ready to or not.

This move, while granting people freedom from Soviet rule, also triggered a sharp rise in extreme nationalist activities — the stakes were high enough and whole nations were up for grabs. Also, in the three years between Gorbachev’s offering of freedom and the collapse of the USSR, nothing was done to calm simmering ethnic hatred, and with no directions from Moscow or control on the part of the Soviet police and army, many regions became engulfed in full-scale civil wars, based on ethnic grounds.

Things turned especially nasty in Tajikistan, where fighting between Iranian-speaking Tajiks and Turkic-speaking Uzbeks very soon led to ethnic cleansing. Refugees had to flee for their lives to Afghanistan, which itself witnessed a war between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance.

Government soldiers aim at positions of armed opposition groups in the border area of Afghanistan 08 June 1993. The civil war between pro-communist forces and the opposition has left thousands dead and turned hundreds of thousands of people into refugees in the last year.
AFP PHOTO.

Two fighters of the Tajik pro-Communist forces engage in a battle with pro-Islamic fighters 22 December 1992 in a village some 31 miles from the Tajik capital of Dushanbe.
AFP PHOTO.Tajik women cry over the dead body of a soldier 29 January 1993. The soldier was killed during fighting between Tajikistan government troops and opposition forces in Parkhar.
AFP PHOTO.

The long and bloody war in Georgia also had a significant ethnic component. After it ended three regions that were part of the republic during Soviet times — Abkhazia, Adzharia and South Ossetia – declared independence, which was enforced by a CIS peacekeeping force. At some point, Georgia managed to return Adzharia but when Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, backed and armed by Western nations, attempted to capture South Ossetia in 2008, Russia had to intervene and repel the aggression. Subsequently, Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent nations.

YELTSIN’S CHALLENGE

New star steals limelight

As Stalin and Trotsky, or Tony Blair and Gordon Brown could attest, your own archrival in politics is often on your team, pursuing broadly similar — but not identical aims — and hankering for the top seat.

But unlike those rivalries, the scenes in the fallout between Mikhail Gorbachev, and his successor, Boris Yeltsin played out not through backroom deals and media leaks, but in the form of an epic drama in front of a live audience of thousands, and millions sat in front of their televisions.

The two leaders were born a month apart in 1931, and followed broadly similar paths of reformist regional commissars – while Gorbachev controlled the agricultural Stavropol, Yeltsin attempted to revitalize the industrial region of Sverdlovsk, present-day Yekaterinburg.

Yet, Yeltsin was a definitely two steps behind Gorbachev on the Soviet career ladder, and without his leg-up might have never made it to Moscow at all. A beneficiary of the new leader’s clear out, though not his personal protégé, Yeltsin was called up to Moscow in 1985, and the following year, was assigned the post of First Secretary of the Moscow Communist Party, effectively becoming the mayor of the capital.

Yeltsin’s style dovetailed perfectly with the new agenda, and his superior’s personal style, though his personal relationship with Gorbachev was strained almost from the start. Breaking off from official tours of factories, the city administrator would pay surprise visits to queue-plagued and under-stocked stores (and the warehouses where the consumables were put aside for the elites); occasionally abandoning his bulletproof ZIL limo, Yeltsin would ride on public transport. This might appear like glib populism now, but at the time was uncynically welcomed. In the first few months in the job, the provincial leader endeared himself to Muscovites — his single most important power base in the struggles that came, and a guarantee that he would not be forgotten whatever ritual punishments were cast down by the apex of the Communist Party.

Boris Yeltsin, First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party’s Moscow City Committee, at the official meeting celebrating the 70th anniversary of the October revolution.
RIA Novosti.

Boris Yeltsin, left, candidate member of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee, at lunch.
RIA Novosti.Voters’ meeting with candidate for deputy of the Moscow Soviet in the 161st constituency, First Secretary of the CPSU Moscow Town Committee, Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet, Boris Yeltsin, centre.
RIA Novosti.People’s deputy Boris Yeltsin. Algirdas Brazauskas (right) and chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Council Mikhail Gorbachev on the presidium.
RIA Novosti.

But Yeltsin was not just a demagogue content with cosmetic changes and easy popularity, and after months of increasing criticism of the higher-ups, he struck.

During a public session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in October 1987, the newcomer delivered a landmark speech.

In front of a transfixed hall, he told the country’s leaders that they were putting road blocks on the road to Perestroika, he accused senior ministers of becoming “sycophantic” towards Gorbachev. As his final flourish, Yeltsin withdrew himself from his post as a candidate to the Politburo — an unprecedented move that amounted to contempt towards the most senior Soviet institution.

The speech, which he later said he wrote “on his lap” while sitting in the audience just a few hours earlier, was Yeltsin in a nutshell. Unafraid to challenge authority and to risk everything, with a flair for the dramatic, impulsive and unexpected decision (his resignation as Russian president in his New Year’s speech being the most famous).

Footage shows Gorbachev looking on bemused from above. He did not publicly criticize Yeltsin there and then, and spoke empathetically about Yeltsin’s concerns, but later that day (with his backing) the Central Committee declared Yeltsin’s address “politically misguided”, a slippery Soviet euphemism that cast Yeltsin out into the political wilderness.

Gorbachev thought he had won the round — “I won’t allow Yeltsin anywhere near politics again” he vowed, his pique shining through — but from then on, their historical roles and images were cast.

Gorbachev, for all of his reforms, now became the tame, prissy socialist. Yeltsin, the careerist who nearly had it all, and renounced everything he had achieved at the age of 54 and re-evaluated all he believed in. Gorbachev, the Politburo chief who hid behind the silent majority, Yeltsin the rebel who stood up to it. Gorbachev, the politician who spoke a lot and often said nothing, Yeltsin, the man of action.

Historically, the contrast may seem unfair, as both were equally important historical figures, who had a revolutionary impact for their time. But stood side-by-side, Yeltsin — with his regal bearing and forceful charisma — not only took the baton of Perestroika’s promises, but stole the man-of-the-future aura that had hitherto belonged to Gorbachev, who now seemed fidgety and weaselly by comparison.

While he was stripped of his Moscow role, Yeltsin’s party status was preserved. This had a perverse effect. No one stopped Yeltsin from attending high-profile congresses. No one prevented him from speaking at them. It was the perfect situation — he had the platform of an insider, and the kudos of an outsider. Tens of deputies would come and criticize the upstart, and then he’d take the stage, Boris Yeltsin vs. The Machine.

On June 12, 1990 Russia declared sovereignty from the USSR. A month later, Yeltsin staged another one of his dramatic masterclasses, when he quit the Communist Party on-stage during its last ever national congress, and walked out of the cavernous hall with his head held high, as loyal deputies jeered him.

In June 1991, after calling a snap election, Yeltsin became the first President of Russia, winning 57 percent — or more than 45 million votes. The Party’s candidate garnered less than a third of Yeltsin’s tally.

By this time Gorbachev’s position had become desperate. The Soviet Union was being hollowed out, and Yeltsin and the other regional leaders were now actively colluding with each other, signing agreements that bypassed the Kremlin.

The Communists and nationalists — often one and the same — had once been ambivalent about Gorbachev’s reforms, and anyway had been loath to criticize their leader. But inspired by Gorbachev’s glasnost, and with the USSR’s long term prospects becoming very clear, they now wanted their say as well. A reactionary media backlash started against him, generals pronounced warnings of “social unrest” that sounded more like threats, and some had begun to go as far as to earnestly speculate that Gorbachev was working for the Cold War “enemy.”

USSR IMPLODES

Failed coup brings down faded leader of fractured country

The junta that tried to take power in the Soviet Union on the night of August 18th is one of the most inept in the history of palace coups.

On August 18, all phones at Gorbachev’s residence, including the one used to control the USSR’s nuclear arsenal, were suddenly cut off, while unbeknownst to him, a KGB regiment was surrounding the house. Half an hour later a delegation of top officials arrived at the residence in Foros, Crimea, walked past his family to his office, in their briefcases a selection of documents for Gorbachev to sign. In one scenario, he would simply declare a state of emergency, and proclaim control over all the rebel republics, in another he would hand over power to his deputy Gennady Yanaev, due to worsening health.

Genuinely angry at their disloyalty, the Soviet leader called them “chancers”, and refused to sign anything, saying he would not have blood on his hands. He then showed them out of the house with a lengthy tirade — clearly recollected by all present in their memoirs — in which he crowned the plotters a “bunch of cocks.”

The plotters were not prepared for this turn of events. Gathering once again back in Moscow, they sat around looking at their unsigned emergency decree, arguing and not daring to put their names on the typewritten document. As midnight passed, and more and more bottles of whisky, imported from the decadent West they were saving the USSR from, was brought in, the patriots found their courage, or at least persuaded Yanaev to place himself at the top of the list of signatories. The Gang of Eight would be known as the State Committee on the State of Emergency. Accounts say that by the time they were driven to their dachas — hours before the most important day of their lives — the plotters could barely stand. Valentin Pavlov, he of the unpopular monetary reform, and the prime minister, drank so much he had to be treated for acute alcohol intoxication, and was hospitalized with cardiac problems as the events of the next three days unfolded.

But orders were issued, and on the morning of the 19th tanks rolled into Moscow. While news suggested that nothing had gone wrong — and at this point it hadn’t — the junta made it seem as if everything had. Not only were there soldiers on street, but all TV channels were switched off, with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake iconically played on repeat. By four o’clock in the afternoon, most of the relatively independent media was outlawed by a decree.

But for all their heavy-handed touch the putsch leaders did nothing to stop their real nemesis. Unlike most coups, which are a two-way affair, this was a triangular power struggle – between Gorbachev, the reactionaries, and Yeltsin. Perhaps, like Gorbachev, stuck in their mindset of backroom intrigue the plotters seemed to underrate Yeltsin, and the resources at his disposal.

Russia’s next leader had arrived in Moscow from talks with his Kazakhstan counterpart, allegedly in the same merry state as the self-appointed plotters. But when his daughter woke him up with news of the unusual cross-channel broadcasting schedule, he acted fast, and took his car straight to the center of Moscow. The special forces soldiers placed around his dacha by the conspirators were not ordered to shoot or detain him.

Yeltsin’s supporters first gathered just a few hundred yards from the Kremlin walls, and then on instruction marched through the empty city to the White House building, the home of the rebellious Russian parliament. There, in his defining moment and as the crowd (although at this early hour it was actually thinner than the mythology suggests) chanted his name, Yeltsin climbed onto the tank, reclaimed from the government forces, and loudly, without the help of a microphone, denounced the events of the past hours as a “reactionary coup.” In the next few hours, people from across Moscow arrived, as the crowd swelled to 70,000. A human chain formed around the building, and volunteers began to build barricades from trolleybuses and benches from nearby parks.

Military hardware in Kalininsky prospect after imposition of a state of emergency in August 1991.
RIA Novosti.
Muscovites block the way for military weaponry during the GKChP coup.
RIA Novosti.

Moscow residents building barricades next to the Supreme Soviet during the coup by the State EmergencyCommittee.
RIA Novosti.Thousands of people rallying before the Supreme Soviet of Russia on August 20, 1991.
RIA Novosti.

Though this seemed as much symbolic, as anything, as the elite units sent in by the junta had no intention of shooting, and demonstrated their neutrality, freely mingling with the protesters. Their commander, Pavel Grachev, defected to Yeltsin the following day, and was later rewarded with the defense minister’s seat. The Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov also supported Yeltsin.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin waves from the balcony of the Russian Parliament to a crowd of demonstrators protesting against the overthrow of Soviet President Gorbachev during the brief coup in August 1991, in Moscow August 20, 1991. The result, ironically, was the dissolution of the Soviet Union. REUTERS/Michael Samojeden IMAGE TAKEN AUGUST 20, 1991.
Reuters.

Realizing that their media blackout was not working, and that they were quickly losing initiative, the plotters went to the other extreme, and staged an unmoderated televised press conference.

Sat in a row, the anonymous, ashen-faced men looked every bit the junta. While Yanaev was the nominal leader, he was never the true engine of the coup, which was largely orchestrated by Vladimir Kryuchkov, the KGB chief, who, with the natural caution of a security agent, did not want to take center stage. The acting president, meanwhile, did not look the part. His voice was tired and unsure, his hands shaking — another essential memory of August 1991.

From left: the USSR Interior Minister Boris Pugo and the USSR Vice-President Gennady Yanayev during the press conference of the members of the State Committee for the State of Emergency (GKCP).
RIA Novosti.
From left: Alexander Tizyakov, Vasily Starodubtsev, Boris Pugo, Gennady Yanayev, and Oleg Baklanov during the press conference of the State of Emergency State Committee (GKCP) members at the USSR Foreign Ministry.
RIA Novosti.

In another spectacularly poor piece of communications management, after the new leaders made their speeches, they opened the floor to an immediately hostile press pack, which openly quoted Yeltsin’s words accusing them of overthrowing a legitimate government on live television.

Referring to Gorbachev as “my friend Mikhail Sergeevich,” Yanaev monotoned that the president was “resting and taking a holiday in Crimea. He has grown very weary over these last few years and needs some time to get his health back.” With tanks standing outside proceedings were quickly declining into a lethargic farce in front of the whole country.

Over the next two days there was international condemnation (though Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat supported the coup) the deaths of three pro-Yeltsin activists, and an order by the junta to re-take the White House at all costs, canceled at the last minute. But by then the fate of the putsch had already been set in motion.

Meanwhile, as the most dramatic events in Russia since 1917 were unfolding in Moscow, Gorbachev carried on going for dips in the Black Sea, and watching TV with his family. On the first night of the coup, wearing a cardigan not fit for an nationwide audience, he recorded an uncharacteristically meek address to the nation on a household camera, saying that he had been deposed. He did not appear to make any attempt to get the video out of Foros, and when it was broadcast the following week, it incited reactions from ridicule, to suspicions that he was acting in cahoots with the plotters, or at least waiting out the power struggle in Moscow. Gorbachev likely was not, but neither did he appear to exhibit the personal courage of Yeltsin, who came out and addressed crowds repeatedly when a shot from just one government sniper would have been enough to end his life.

On the evening of August 21, with the coup having evidently failed, two planes set out for Crimea almost simultaneously from Moscow. In the first were the members of the junta, all rehearsing their penances, in the other, members of Yeltsin’s team, with an armed unit to rescue Gorbachev, who, for all they knew, may have been in personal danger. When the putschists reached Foros, Gorbachev refused to receive them, and demanded that they restore communications. He then phoned Moscow, Washington and Paris, voiding the junta’s decrees, and repeating the simple message: “I have the situation under control.”

But he did not. Gorbachev’s irrelevance over the three days of the putsch was a metaphor for his superfluousness in Russia’s political life in the previous months, and from that moment onward. Although the putschists did not succeed, a power transfer did happen, and Gorbachev still lost. For three days, deference to his formal institutions of power was abandoned, and yet the world did not collapse, so there was no longer need for his dithering mediation.

Gingerly walking down the steps of the airstair upon landing in Moscow, blinking in front of the cameras, Mikhail Gorbachev was the lamest of lame duck leaders. He gave a press conference discussing the future direction of the Communist Party, and inner reshuffles that were to come, sounding not just out-of-touch, but borderline delusional.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev addresses the Extraordinary meeting of the Supreme Soviet of Russian Federation in Moscow in this August 23, 1991 file photo.
Reuters.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev touch hands during Gorbachev’s address to the Extraordinary meeting of the Supreme Soviet of Russian Federation in Moscow, August 23, 1991. REUTERS/Gennady Galperin (RUSSIA).
Reuters.

Gorbachev resigned as the President of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991.

“The policy prevailed of dismembering this country and disuniting the state, which is something I cannot subscribe to,” he lamented, before launching into an examination of his six years in charge.

“Even now, I am convinced that the democratic reform that we launched in the spring of 1985 was historically correct. The process of renovating this country and bringing about drastic change in the international community has proven to be much more complicated than anyone could imagine.”

“However, let us give its due to what has been done so far. This society has acquired freedom. It has been freed politically and spiritually, and this is the most important achievement that we have yet fully come to grips with.”

AFTERMATH

Praised in West, scorned at home

“Because of him, we have economic confusion!”

“Because of him, we have opportunity!”

“Because of him, we have political instability!”

“Because of him, we have freedom!”

“Complete chaos!”

“Hope!”

“Political instability!”

“Because of him, we have many things like Pizza Hut!”

Thus ran the script to the 1997 advert that saw a tableful of men argue loudly over the outcome of Perestroika in a newly-opened Moscow restaurant, a few meters from an awkward Gorbachev, staring into space as he munches his food alongside his 10 year-old granddaughter. The TV spot ends with the entire clientele of the restaurant getting up to their feet, and chanting “Hail to Gorbachev!” while toasting the former leader with pizza slices heaving with radiant, viscous cheese.

The whole scene is a travesty of the momentous transformations played out less than a decade earlier, made crueler by contemporary surveys among Russians that rated Gorbachev as the least popular leader in the country’s history, below Stalin and Ivan the Terrible.

The moment remains the perfect encapsulation of Gorbachev’s post-resignation career.

To his critics, many Russians among them, he was one of the most powerful men in the world reduced to exploiting his family in order to hawk crust-free pizzas for a chain restaurant — an American one at that — a personal and national humiliation, and a reminder of his treason. For the former Communist leader himself it was nothing of the sort. A good-humored Gorbachev said the half-afternoon shoot was simply a treat for his family, and the self-described “eye-watering” financial reward — donated entirely to his foundation — money that would be used to go to charity.

As for the impact of Gorbachev’s career in advertising on Russia’s reputation… In a country where a decade before the very existence of a Pizza Hut near Red Square seemed unimaginable, so much had changed, it seemed a perversely logical, if not dignified, way to complete the circle. In the years after Gorbachev’s forced retirement there had been an attempted government overthrow that ended with the bombardment of parliament, privatization, the first Chechen War, a drunk Yeltsin conducting a German orchestra and snatching an improbable victory from revanchist Communists two years later, and an impending default.

Although he did get 0.5 percent of the popular vote during an aborted political comeback that climaxed in the 1996 presidential election, Gorbachev had nothing at all to do with these life-changing events. And unlike Nikita Khrushchev, who suffered greater disgrace, only to have his torch picked up, Gorbachev’s circumstances were too specific to breed a political legacy. More than that, his reputation as a bucolic bumbler and flibbertigibbet, which began to take seed during his final years in power, now almost entirely overshadowed his proven skill as a political operator, other than for those who bitterly resented the events he helped set in motion.

Other than in his visceral dislike of Boris Yeltsin — the two men never spoke after December 1991 — if Gorbachev was bitter about the lack of respect afforded to him at home, he wore it lightly. Abroad, he reveled in his statesmanlike aura, receiving numerous awards, and being the centerpiece at star-studded galas. Yet, for a man of his ambition, being pushed into retirement must have gnawed at him repeatedly.

After eventually finding a degree of financial and personal stability on the lecture circuit in the late 1990s, Gorbachev was struck with another blow — the rapid death of Raisa from cancer.

A diabetic, Gorbachev became immobile and heavy-set, a pallor fading even his famous birthmark. But his voice retained its vigor (and accent) and the former leader continued to proffer freely his loquacious opinions on politics, to widespread indifference.

Gorbachev’s legacy is at the same time unambiguous, and deeply mixed — more so than the vast majority of political figures. His decisions and private conversations were meticulously recorded and verified. His motivations always appeared transparent. His mistakes and achievements formed patterns that repeated themselves through decades.

Yet for all that clarity, the impact of his decisions, the weight given to his feats and failures can be debated endlessly, and has become a fundamental question for Russians.

Less than three decades after his limo left the Kremlin, his history has been rewritten several times, and his role bent to the needs of politicians and prevailing social mores. This will likely continue. Those who believe in the power of the state, both nationalists and Communists, will continue to view his time as egregious at best, seditious at worst. For them, Gorbachev is inextricably linked with loss — the forfeiture of Moscow’s international standing, territory and influence. The destruction of the fearsome and unique Soviet machine that set Russia on a halting course as a middle-income country with a residual seat in the UN Security Council trying to gain acceptance in a US-molded world.

Others, who appreciate a commitment to pacifism and democracy, idealism and equality, will also find much to admire in Gorbachev, even though he could not always be his best self. Those who place greater value on the individual than the state, on freedom than on military might, those who believe that the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the totalitarian Soviet Union was a landmark achievement not a failure will be grateful, and if not sympathetic. For one man’s failure can produce a better outcome than another’s success.

RAISA

Passion and power

The history of rulers is littered with tales of devoted wives and ambitious women pulling strings from behind the throne, and Raisa was often painted as both. But unlike many storybook partnerships, where the narrative covers up the nuances, the partnership between Mikhail and Raisa was absolutely authentic, and genuinely formidable. Perhaps the key to Mikhail’s lifelong commitment, and even open deference to his wife, atypical for a man of his generation, lay in their courtship.

Raisa Gorbacheva, wife of the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee and Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet Mikhail Gorbachev, in Paris during their official visit to France. Ria Novosti.

In his autobiography, Gorbachev recollects with painful clarity, how his first meeting with Raisa, on the dance floor of a university club, “aroused no emotion in her whatsoever.” Yet Gorbachev was smitten with the high cheek-boned fellow over-achiever immediately, calling her for awkward dorm-room group chats that went nowhere, and seeking out attempts.

— Raisa Gorbacheva
“We were happy then. We were happy because of our young age, because of the hopes for the future and just because of the fact that we lived and studied at the university. We appreciated that.”

It was several months before she agreed to even go for a walk through Moscow with the future Soviet leader, and then months of fruitless promenades, discussing exams at their parallel faculties. With candor, Gorbachev admits that she only agreed to date him after “having her heart broken by the man she had pledged it to.” But once their relationship overcame its shaky beginnings, the two became the very definition of a Soviet power couple, in love and ready to do anything for each other. In the summer vacation after the two began to go steady, Gorbachev did not think it below him to return to his homeland, and resume work as a simple mechanic, to top up the meager university stipend.

The two were not embarrassed having to celebrate their wedding in a university canteen, symbolically, on the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution on November 7, 1953. Or put off when the watchful guardians of morality at Moscow State University forbid the newlyweds from visiting each other’s halls without a specially signed pass. More substantial obstacles followed, when Mikhail’s mother also did not take to her daughter-in-law, while Raisa agreed to a medically-advised abortion after becoming pregnant following a heavy bout of rheumatism. But the two persevered. Raisa gave birth to their only child in 1955, and as Gorbachev’s star rose, so did his wife’s academic career as a sociologist. But Raisa’s true stardom came when Gorbachev occupied the Soviet leader’s post.

Soviet President and General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee, Mikhail Gorbachev, 2nd right, and Soviet First Lady Raisa Gorbacheva, right, at the meeting with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, left, at the Soviet Embassy in London.
RIA Novosti.

Raisa Gorbacheva, the wife of the Soviet leader (left), showing Nancy Reagan, first lady of the U.S., around the Kremlin during U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s official visit to the U.S.S.R.
RIA Novosti.General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Gorbachev (center left) and his spouse Raisa Gorbacheva (second from left) seeing off US President Ronald Reagan after his visit to the USSR. Right: The spouse of US president Nancy Reagan. The Hall of St. George in the Grand Kremlin Palace.
RIA Novosti.Raisa Gorbacheva (left), wife of the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, and Barbara Bush (right), wife of the U.S. president, attending the inauguration of the sculptured composition Make Way for Ducklings near the Novodevichy Convent during U.S. President George Bush’s official visit to the U.S.S.R.
RIA Novosti.Soviet first lady Raisa Gorbacheva meets with Tokyo residents during Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachyov’s official visit to Japan.
RIA Novosti.The meeting between Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, President of the USSR and the heads of state and government of the seven leading industrial nations. From left to right: Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, Norma Major, Raisa Maksimovna Gorbacheva and John Major.
RIA Novosti.Soviet president’s wife Raisa Gorbacheva at the 112th commencement at a female college. The State of Massachusetts. Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev’s state visit to the United States.
RIA Novosti.

In a symbol as powerful as his calls for international peace and reform at home, the Communist leader was not married to a matron hidden at home, but to an urbane, elegantly-dressed woman, regarded by many as an intellectual equal, if not superior to Mikhail himself. Gorbachev consulted his wife in every decision, as he famously told American TV viewers during a Tom Brokaw interview. This generated much ill-natured mockery throughout Gorbachev’s reign, but he never once tried to push his wife out of the limelight, where she forged friendships with such prominent figures as Margaret Thatcher, Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush.

Raisa was there in the Crimean villa at Foros, during the attempted putsch of August 1991, confronting the men who betrayed her husband personally, and suffering a stroke as a result. It was also Raisa by Gorbachev’s side when they were left alone, after the whirlwind settled in 1991. Despite nearly losing her eyesight due to her stroke, Raisa largely took the lead in organizing Mikhail’s foundation, and in structuring his life. In 1999, with his own affairs in order, not least because of the controversial Pizza Hut commercial, and Russians anger much more focused on his ailing successor, Gorbachev thought he could enjoy a more contented retirement, traveling the world with his beloved.

CPSU Central Committee General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife Raisa at Orly Airport, France.
RIA Novosti.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (center), Soviet first lady Raisa Gorbacheva (right), Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Kazakh first lady Sara Nazarbayeva during Gorbachev’s working visit to Kazakhstan.
RIA Novosti.General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Gorbachev (left) and his spouse Raisa Gorbachev (center) at a friendship meeting in the Wawel Castle during a visit to Poland.
RIA Novosti.Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife Raisa during his official visit to China.
RIA Novosti.An official visit to Japan by USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev. He with wife, Raisa Gorbachev, and Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu near a tree planted in the garden of Akasaka Palace.
RIA Novosti.Mikhail Gorbachev (center), daughter Irina (right) and his wife’s sister Lyudmila (left) at the funeral of Raisa Gorbachev.
RIA Novosti.Last respects for Raisa Gorbacheva, spouse of the former the USSR president in the Russian Fond of Culture. Mikhail Gorbachev, family and close people of Raisa Gorbacheva at her coffin.
RIA Novosti.Mikhail Gorbachev at the opening of the Raisa exhibition in memory of Raisa Gorbacheva.
RIA Novosti.

— Raisa Gorbacheva
“It is possible that I had to get such a serious illness and die for the people to understand me.”

Then came the leukemia diagnosis, in June of that year. Before the couple’s close family had the chance to adjust to the painful rhythm of hope and fear that accompanies the treatment of cancer, Raisa was dead. Her burial unleashed an outpouring of emotion, with thousands, including many of her husband’s numerous adversaries, gathering to pay their sincere respects. No longer the designer-dressed careerist ice queen to be envied, resented and ridiculed, now people saw Raisa for the charismatic and shrewd idealist she always was. For Gorbachev it made little difference, and all those around him said that however much activity he tried to engage in following his wife’s death, none of it ever had quite the same purpose.

“People say time heals. But it never stops hurting – we were to be joined until death,” Gorbachev always said in interviews

For the tenth anniversary of Raisa’s death, in 2009, Mikhail Gorbachev teamed up with famous Russian musician Andrey Makerevich to record a charity album of Russian standards, dedicated to his beloved wife. The standout track was Old Letters, a 1940s melancholy ballad. Gorbachev said that it came to him in 1991 when he discovered Raisa burning their student correspondence and crying, after she found out that their love letters had been rifled through by secret service agents during the failed coup.

The limited edition LP sold at a charity auction in London, and fetched £100,000.

Afterwards, Gorbachev got up on the stage to sing Old Letters, but half way through he choked up, and had to leave the stage to thunderous applause.

All the way to Odessa

August 27, 2022

by Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

Dmitry Medvedev, relishing his unplugged self, has laid down the law on the Special Military Operation (SMO). Bluntly, he affirmed there is a “one and a half” scenario: either to go all the way, or a military coup d’Etat in Ukraine followed by admitting the inevitable. No tertium applies.

That’s as stark as it gets: the leadership in Moscow is making it very clear, to internal and international audiences, the new deal consists in slow cooking the Kiev racket inside a massive cauldron while polishing its status of financial black hole for the collective West. Until we reach boiling point – which will be a revolution or a putsch.

In parallel, The Lords of (Proxy) War will continue with their own strategy, which is to pillage an enfeebled, fearful, Europe, then dressing it up as a perfumed colony to be ruthlessly exploited ad nauseam by the imperial oligarchy.

Europe is now a runaway TGV – minus the requisite Hollywood production values. Assuming it does not veer off track – a dicey proposition – it may eventually arrive at a railway station called Agenda 2030, The Great Narrative, or some other NATO/Davos denomination du jour.

As it stands, what’s remarkable is how the “marginal” Russian economy hardly broke a sweat to “end the abundance” of the wealthiest region on the planet.

Moscow does not even entertain the notion of negotiating with Brussels because there’s nothing to negotiate – considering puny Eurocrats will only be hurled away from their zombified state when the dire socio-economic consequences of “the end of abundance” will finally translate into peasants with pitchforks roaming the continent.

It may be eons away, but inevitably the average Italian, German or Frenchman will connect the dots and realize it is their own “leaders” – national nullities and mostly unelected Eurocrats – who are paving their road to poverty.

You will be poor. And you will like it. Because we are all supporting freedom for Ukrainian neo-nazis. That brings the concept of “multicultural Europe” to a whole new level.

The runaway train, of course, may veer off track and plunge into an Alpine abyss. In this case something might be saved from the wreckage – and “reconstruction” might be on the cards. But reconstruct what?

Europe could always reconstruct a new Reich (collapsed with a bang in 1945); a soft Reich (erected at the end of WWII); or break with its past failures, sing “I’m Free” – and connect with Eurasia. Don’t bet on it.

Get back those Taurian lands

The SMO may be about to radically change – something that will drive the already clueless denizens of US Think Tankland and their Euro vassals even more berserk.

President Putin and Defense Minister Shoigu have been giving serious hints the only way for the pain dial is up – considering the mounting evidence of terrorism inside Russian territory; the vile assassination of Darya Dugina; non-stop shelling of civilians in border regions; attacks on Crimea; the use of chemical weapons; and the shelling of Zaporizhzhya power plant raising the risk of a nuclear catastrophe.

This past Tuesday, one day before the SMO completing six months, Crimea’s permanent representative to the Kremlin, Georgy Muradov, all but spelled it out.

He stressed the necessity to “reintegrate all the Taurian lands” – Crimea, the Northern Black Sea and the Azov Sea – into a single entity as soon as “in the next few months”. He defined this process as “objective and demanded by the population of these regions.”

Muradov added, “given not only the strikes on Crimea, but also the continuous shelling of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the dam of the Kakhovka reservoir, peaceful facilities on the territory of Russia, the DNR and LNR, there are all preconditions to qualify the actions of the Banderite regime as terrorist.”

The conclusion is inevitable: “the political issue of changing the format of the special military operation” enters the agenda. After all, Washington and Brussels “have already prepared new anti-Crimean provocations of the NATO-Bandera alliance”.

So when we examine what the “restoration of the Taurian lands” implies, we see not only the contours of Novorossiya but most of all that there won’t be any security for Crimea – and thus Russia – in the Black Sea without Odessa becoming Russian again. And that, on top of it, will solve the Transnistria dilemma.

Add to it Kharkov – the capital and top industrial center of Greater Donbass. And of course Dnipropetrovsk. They are all SMO objectives, the whole combo to be later protected by buffer zones in Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts.

Only then the “tasks” – as Shoigu calls them – of the SMO would be declared fulfilled. The timeline could be eight to ten months – after a lull under General Winter.

As the turbo-charged SMO rolls on, it’s a given the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder will continue to prop up and weaponize the Kiev racket till Kingdom Come – and that will apply especially after the Return of Odessa. What’s unclear is who and what gang will be left in Kiev posing as the ruling party and doing specials for Vogue while duly fulfilling the mass of imperial diktats.

It’s also a given the CIA/MI6 combo will be refining non-stop the contours of a massive guerrilla war against Russia in multiple fronts – crammed with terror attacks and all sorts of provocations.

Yet in the Bigger Picture it’s the inevitable Russian military victory in Donbass and then “all the Taurian lands” that will hit the collective West like a lethal asteroid. The geopolitical humiliation will be unbearable; not to mention the geoeconomic humiliation for vassalized Europe.

As Eurasian integration will become an even stronger vector, Russian diplomacy will be solidifying the new normal. Never forget that Moscow had no trouble normalizing relations, for instance, with China, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Israel. All these actors, in different ways, directly contributed to the fall of the USSR. Now – with one exception – they are all focused on The Dawn of the Eurasian Century.

The Conflict Between The West And Russia Is A Religious One

August 23, 2022

Source

by Emmet Sweeney

The war currently underway in Ukraine, which pits Ukraine as a proxy for the collective West against Russia, is primarily an ideological or religious one, with Russia representing what is left of Christian Europe, and “the West” representing a totalitarian ideology that abhors religion in general and Christianity in particular. This statement may sound strange, given the fact that some Westerners – though fewer every day – still see “the West,” (basically Europe and North America) as Christian, and Russia as Communist, or crypto-Communist. But this is no longer the case, and has not been for some considerable time. In fact, the thirty years that have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union, has seen a complete reversal of roles; the collective West is now a totalitarian and aggressively anti-religious power-block that seeks to export its anti-Christian and anti-human ideology onto the rest of the world. And Russia is loathed by the West’s ruling elite precisely because it has resisted this process and moreover has gone in the opposite direction: having once been an active proponent of “scientific materialism” and atheism, Russia has reverted to its Orthodox Christian roots and has rolled back the more pernicious policies and attitudes of the Soviet era.

In order to demonstrate the truth of this, we need to look at the history of Russia and its interaction with the West since the early 1990s.

By 1991, when the Soviet Union was officially abolished, it was clear that the West had won the Cold War. Russia itself, under its new president Boris Yeltsin, openly proclaimed the end of all hostilities. Russia’s satellites in Eastern Europe were permitted to go their own way, and autonomous republics within the Soviet Union were allowed to declare themselves independent countries. The old Soviet system of state ownership was officially abolished, and almost everything was privatised. The press and media in general were freed of all censorship and could now say whatever they wanted. Russia under Yeltsin reached out the hand of friendship to the West – a gesture that was not reciprocated and ultimately snubbed by the West.

The euphoria of 1991 soon gave way and the1990s turned out to be a catastrophic decade for Russia and her people. First and foremost, the policy of privatisation turned out to be disastrous. A law was passed which forbade foreigners from buying Russian utilities and industries; only Russians could do so. Unfortunately, nobody in Russia, hitherto a Communist country, had any money. However, certain groups within the country – mainly ethnic Jews – had important and wealthy connections abroad. These arranged to have funds sent into Russia for the purpose of purchasing the country’s state-owned industries. Desperate for any dollars and euros it could lay its hands on, the Yeltsin administration sold these industries for a tiny fraction of their true value. (Russia’s natural resources alone make it potentially one of the wealthiest countries on the planet). The buyers of said industries became the notorious “oligarchs,” who systematically plundered the country for almost ten years, in what has been described as the biggest act of looting in history. Rather than plow some of the profits back into the businesses, the oligarchs exported almost all of them, impoverishing both their employees and the country in general. The result was that large segments of the population began to experience severe hardship. Many came close to starvation and many died of hypothermia during the bitter Russian winters. Some state employees were paid in cabbages, and it is estimated that Russia suffered over five million excess deaths between 1991 and 2000. The majority of these were caused by simple diseases such as influenza, which developed into pneumonia for want of funds to buy an antibiotic. But deaths from all causes, including murder, suicide, alcoholism, and drug addiction, rocketed. Russia was a country falling apart, and the population began to plummet.

During this time, a Chechen independence movement, spurred on by funds from Saudi Arabia and (allegedly) the West, launched a violent campaign against the Russian authorities. A savage war followed, which claimed tens of thousands of lives, and eventually resulted in 1997 in Yeltsin’s recognition of a semi-independent Chechnya. Independence movements began to appear in other autnomous regions and it was clear that Russia itself stood on the verge of disintegration.

During all of this, the attitude of the West, or of those who control the West, was striking. Western media, by that time in the hands of a few mega-corporations, was almost gleeful in its reporting of Russia’s trauma. In their suffering, the Russian people became the butt of the West’s shadenfreude. And it should be borne in mind that it was precisely in the 1990s that American corporations commenced massive “outsourcing” of their industries to other, and less expensive, locations. Entire factories, together with their machinery and technology, were exported en masse, primarily to China. Almost nothing went to Russia. This in spite of the fact that China continued to be a Communist and indeed totalitarian country. Not even the massacre of Tiananmen Square (1989) and the subsequent brutal repression could halt the American plutocracy’s enthusiasm for exporting work and business. So Russia, which had held out the hand of friendship to the West, and had permitted the subjugated peoples to go free, continued to be treated as an enemy, and was effectively plundered by Western interests, whereas China, which did no such thing, was now treated as a favored trading and business partner. How to explain such an astonishing disparity?

There seems to be no logical explanation other than to assume an underlying cultural/religious antipathy towards Russia and her people on the part of a very large segment of the West’s ruling plutocracy. I suggest that this is the case, and it is Russia’s religion that is at the root of it.

During the Communist era, Christianity was suppressed in Russia and throughout the Soviet block. At its worst, under Lenin and Stalin, the Communist regime massacred millions of Christians. Victims were mainly Orthodox, but Christians of every denomination suffered. Even after the death of Stalin and into the 1980s religion continued to be persecuted. All children were required to attend lessons in atheism, during which Christianity and religious faith in general was mocked. By the end of Communism, the Orthodox Church was a small remnant of its former self under the Tsars, but that soon began to change. Hardship birthed a spiritual revival; by the mid-1990s the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as other branches of Christianity, began to experience noticeable growth. It was not however until the first decade of the twenty-first century, and the presidency of Vladimir Putin, that this movement became really significant.

Putin had occupied a senior position in the Yeltsin administration, and he was no doubt viewed by the oligarchs, at that time the real rulers of Russia, as a safe pair of hands who could be relied upon to continue the policies which had allowed them to plunder the country for almost a decade. He was appointed Prime Minister on 9th August 1999 and, just four months later, in December, acting President of Russia, following the unexpected resignation of Boris Yeltsin. A presidential election on 20th March 2000 was easily won by Putin with 53% of the votes. One reason for Putin’s popularity was that he was seen as a strong leader during the Second Chechen War, which commenced on 7th August 1999, just two days before his appointment as Prime Minister. The war ended in April 2000, with Chechnya again part of the Russian Federation, a victory which enhanced Putin’s reputation as a strongman, willing and able to restore stability and enforce the law.

Over the next five years, Putin showed that the ruling plutocrats were very much deceived had they imagined him to be under their control and part of their team. On the contrary, the new president set about breaking their power. The next decade witenessed a series of legal cases and trials which left some of the oligarchs in prison and others forced to pay substantial compensation. Others, arguably the most criminal, fled the country and their assets were confiscated. The breaking of the oligarchs’ power, together with that of the “Russian mafia” which enforced their corrupt rule, began to restore some form of normality.

In parellel with his economic reforms, Putin oversaw a revival of the Russian Orthodox faith. In an act heavy with symbolic import, he made a visit to the great Orthodox monastic settlement of Mount Athos in Greece in 2001, just one year into his presidency. Although this attempt had to be aborted owing to a storm which grounded his helicopter, and a second attempt in 2004 similarly shelved when he had to return to Russia to deal with the Beslan School siege, he finally made it to the Holy Mountain in 2005. There he established a bond with the monks that transformed their community and impacted the lives of ordinary Russians. A major program of church-construction commenced, and the numbers attending church began to grow. Putin made it clear that he regarded Orthodoxy as Russia’s national religion and the Church was accorded a favored legal position. And such symbolic gestures were backed by new legislation which began to transform Russian society: the country’s abortion laws, hitherto some of the most liberal in the world, were tightened. In October 2011, the Russian Parliament passed a law restricting abortion to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, with an exception up to 22 weeks if the pregnancy was the result of rape. The new law also made mandatory a waiting period of two to seven days before an abortion could be performed, to allow the woman to “reconsider her decision.”

During this period, the portrayal of Russia in the Western media moved from one of condescension to outright hostility. As early as 2005, scholars Ira Straus and Edward Lozansky remarked upon a pronounced negative coverage of Russia in the US media, contrasting negative media sentiment with largely positive sentiment of the American public and US government. As Russia displayed increasing signs of a Christian revival, so the media reporting in the West became increasingly hostile. Only rarely however did journalists openly attack Russia for its “Christianization”; normally, columnists, conscious of the fact that large numbers of people in the West continued to describe themselves as Christian, portrayed their anti-Russian commentary as a result of Russia’s “aggression,” “corruption,” or “lack of democracy.” All that however changed with the new abortion law of 2011. Now the attacks against Russia became explicitly ideological. The Russians, we were told, were oppressing women and turning their backs on “progress.”

It was not until 2013 however that the anti-Russian rhetoric went hyperbolic. In that year, the Russian parliament passed its so-called “Gay Propaganada” law. The bill, described as “Protecting Children from Information harmful to their Health and Development,” explicitly banned Gay Pride parades, as well as other forms of LGBT material, such as books and pamphlets, which attempted to normalize homosexuality and to influence children in their attitudes to homosexuality. In actual fact, since around 2006 many districts in Russia had been imposing their own local bans on such material, though these rules had no power outside their own jurisdiction. The bill, which was signed into law by Putin on June 30 2013, was extremely popular, and passed through the Russian Parliament unanimously, with just one abstention. But the impact upon the Western nomenklatura who form the gatekeepers of acceptable opinion, was immediate. Almost unanimously, Western media outlets now began to compare Putin with Adolf Hitler; he was a “thug,” a “fascist,” a “murderer.” Between bouts of seething rage, he became the butt of scathing satire. He was cast in the role of a caricature James Bond villain, routinely murdering and torturing those he held a grudge against. There is even evidence, admittedly somewhat circumstantial, that Western Intelligence bodies, such as the CIA and MI5, became actively involved in anti-Russian propaganda.

The effect of this deluge of demonization upon ordinary Westerners soon began to show: Whereas in 2006 only 1% of Americans listed Russia as “America’s worst enemy” by 2019 32% of Americans, including 44% of Democrat voters, shared this view. Only 28% of Republicans however agreed; a remarkable reversal of opinion. During the Cold War, Republican voters, traditionally the more religious and nationalistic element of the American political divide, viewed the Russians as the major threat; now it was the less or non-religious (and more pro-LGBT) Democrats who held this opinion.

But the Western elites did not confine its efforts to irate editorials in the London Times or the Washington Post: Economic sanctions now began to be discussed. There were immediate calls to boycott the Winter Olympics, held in February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Whilst the call to boycott was generally resisted by athletes, many Western politicians refused to attend, and the Russophobic temperature in the Western media ratcheted up. And things were about to get much worse.

In 2010 Viktor Yanukovych, a native of Russian-speaking Donetsk, was elected President of Ukraine, defeating Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, in what was judged by international observers to be a free and fair election. In November 2013 Yanukovych delayed signing a pending European Union association agreement, on the grounds that his government wished to maintain economic ties with Russia, as well as with the European Union. Russia had in fact offered a more favorable loan bailout than the European Union was prepared to offer. This led to protests and the occupation of Kiev’s Independence Square, a series of events dubbed the “the Euromaidan” by those in favor of aligning Ukraine with the European Union. Whilst at times it looked as if the protests would fizzle out, there is no question that almost from the beginning there was a concerted effort on the part of Western politicians to keep them going. Beginning early in December, several politicians from Berlin and Brussels paid “morale-boosting” trips to the square, and these were followed, on December 15, by the arrival of American Senators John McCain and Chris Murphy. To the assembled crowds, McCain announced that “we are here to support your just cause.” The Russians, for their part, condemned America’s “crude meddling” in Ukraine’s affairs.

Victoria Nuland, at that time Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the Obama administration, arrived in Ukraine shortly afterwards, and immediately set about fanning the flames of an already volatile situation. In speech after speech she promised the protestors and rioters that America was behind them. The result was the by early February 2014 Ukraine appeared to be on the brink of civil war; violent clashes between anti-government protestors and police left many dead and injured. Fearing for his life, on February 21 Yanukovych fled the capital, initially travelling to Crimea and ultimately to Russia. A new interim government, handpicked by Nuland, and virulently anti-Russian, was immediately installed in Kiev.

When considering the actions of America and the collective West at this time we have to remember that Ukraine was and is a deeply divided society. Half the country, roughly the north and west, regards itself as Ukrainian and is historically antagonistic towards Russia. The other half, predominantly the south and east, is pro-Russian and views itself as simultaneously Ukrainian and Russian. A glance at the electoral map of the country demonstrates this division in a most graphic way, for it was the Russian part of the country, the south and east, which overwhelmingly put Yanukovych into power. In supporting a violent overthrow of the latter, the American government quite deliberately threw its weight behind the anti-Russian half of the population. And it is impossible to believe that the political elite in Washington did not understand what they were doing. They had to have known that they were making civil strife – if not outright civil war – an absolute certainty.

The civil strife was not long in coming. As the anti-government mobs in Kiev were in the process of throwing out Yanukovych, major protests against the coup began to occur in the south and east. Crimea, which was overwhelmingly Russian and had only been transferred to the jurisdiction of Kiev in 1954 by Khruschev, held a referendum, resulting in a 97% vote for reunion with Russia. Putin, infuriated by American actions in Kiev, accepted the result of the vote, and formally announced the return of Crimea to the Russian Federation. Simultaneous with this, cities and towns throughout the south and east of the country, saw massive “anti-Maidan” protests, with many people calling for secession from Ukraine and union with Russia. The new Washington-appointed regime in Kiev reacted with force. Forty-seven pro-Russian demonstrators in Odessa were besieged in the city’s Trade Union building and burned to death by a Neo-Nazi mob. Seeing the way things were going, the ethnically-Russian provinces (“Oblasts”) of Lugansk and Donetsk declared independence and prepared to defend themselves. This quickly escalated into full-scale war, and over the next two years or so around 14,000 people, mainly ethnic Russian civilians, died, as the Kiev government fought to return the two provinces to Ukraine.

The fighting in Lugansk and Donetsk (the “Donbas”) de-escalated after the signing of the so-called Minsk 2 Accord in 2015. This deal, brokered by Russia, the US and the UN, provided for a degree of autonomy for the two breakaway provinces, as well as recognition and respect for their Russian language and culture. The deal also called for the immediate halting of all military action.

Had the Minsk agreement been fully implemented, it is quite possible that all hostilities would have ended, but this was never the case. The new government in Kiev, which from May 2014 was headed by Petro Poroshenko, made no attempt whatsoever to abide by the Accord’s provisions. On the contrary, the Russian language, hitherto one of the official languages of Ukraine, was demoted, and Russian culture in general denigrated. Even worse, none of those who had committed murder in Odessa and elsewhere were brought to justice, and the Neo-Nazi militias responsible for these atrocities were actually integrated into the Ukrainian army. Worst of all, sporadic shelling of civilian targets in Lugansk and Donetsk continued – for the next six years.

To repeat; the collective “West” could not have been unaware of the dangers of its interference in the affairs of Ukraine. This was a deeply divided country; to intervene on behalf of one section of the country at the expense of the other could not fail to deepen divisions and ultimately cause the disintegration of the state. That the West took the side of the anti-Russian half of the population was entirely in harmony with the increasingly hysterical tone of anti-Russian rhetoric in the Western media in the years leading up to the Maidan Revolution. And we can take with a pinch of salt the idea that Nuland and the Obama Adminstration was concerned with “corruption” in the Yanukovych regime: America is and always has been on very friendly terms with governments far more corrupt, violent and totalitarian than that of Yanukovych.

I would suggest that the real reason, or certainly an extremely important though unspoken reason, for Nuland’s mission was that Yanukovych’s pivot towards Russia was seen by the “woke” establishment in Washington as a sign that Ukraine would follow Russia into adopting an increasingly Christian-friendly social culture; one that the “liberals” and “progressives” in Washington despised. We should note too that one of Poroshenko’s first actions as President of Ukraine was to provide openings for George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, and to simultaneously support the establishment of LGBT input into the educational system. Gay “Pide” parades became a regular feature of life in Kiev where, though distinctly unpopular with the great majority of the population, they received massive support and protection from the security forces.

Emmet Sweeney is the author of several works dealing with problems in the history of the ancient Near East.

American Diplomacy as a Tragic Drama

July 29, 2022

By Michael Hudson and posted with the author’s permission

As in a Greek tragedy whose protagonist brings about precisely the fate that he has sought to avoid, the US/NATO confrontation with Russia in Ukraine is achieving just the opposite of America’s aim of preventing China, Russia and their allies from acting independently of U.S. control over their trade and investment policy. Naming China as America’s main long-term adversary, the Biden Administration’s plan was to split Russia away from China and then cripple China’s own military and economic viability. But the effect of American diplomacy has been to drive Russia and China together, joining with Iran, India and other allies. For the first time since the Bandung Conference of Non-Aligned Nations in 1955, a critical mass is able to be mutually self-sufficient to start the process of achieving independence from Dollar Diplomacy.

Confronted with China’s industrial prosperity based on self-financed public investment in socialized markets, U.S. officials acknowledge that resolving this fight will take a number of decades to play out. Arming a proxy Ukrainian regime is merely an opening move in turning Cold War 2 (and potentially/or indeed World War III) into a fight to divide the world into allies and enemies with regard to whether governments or the financial sector will plan the world economy and society.

What is euphemized as U.S.-style democracy is a financial oligarchy privatizing basic infrastructure, health and education. The alternative is what President Biden calls autocracy, a hostile label for governments strong enough to block a global rent-seeking oligarchy from taking control. China is deemed autocratic for providing basic needs at subsidized prices instead of charging whatever the market can bear. Making its mixed economy lower-cost is called “market manipulation,” as if that is a bad thing that was not done by the United States, Germany and every other industrial nation during their economic takeoff in the 19th and early 20th century.

Clausewitz popularized the axiom that war is an extension of national interests – mainly economic. The United States views its economic interest to lie in seeking to spread its neoliberal ideology globally. The evangelistic aim is to financialize and privatize economies by shifting planning away from national governments to a cosmopolitan financial sector. There would be little need for politics in such a world. Economic planning would shift from political capitals to financial centers, from Washington to Wall Street, with satellites in the City of London, the Paris Bourse, Frankfurt and Tokyo. Board meetings for the new oligarchy would be held at Davos’s World Economic Forum. Hitherto public infrastructure services would be privatized and priced high enough to include profits (and indeed, monopoly rents), debt financing and management fees rather than being publicly subsidized. Debt service and rent would become the major overhead costs for families, industry and governments.

The U.S. drive to retain its unipolar power to impose “America First” financial, trade and military policies on the world involves an inherent hostility toward all countries seeking to follow their own national interests. Having less and less to offer in the form of mutual economic gains, U.S. policy makes threats of sanctions and covert meddling in foreign politics. The U.S. dream envisions a Chinese version of Boris Yeltsin replacing the nation’s Communist Party leadership and selling off its public domain to the highest bidder – presumably after a monetary crisis wipes out domestic purchasing power much as occurred in post-Soviet Russia, leaving the international financial community as buyers.

Russia and President Putin cannot be forgiven for having fought back against the Harvard Boys’ “reforms.” That is why U.S. officials planned how to create Russian economic disruption to (they hope) orchestrate a “color revolution” to recapture Russia for the world’s neoliberal camp. That is the character of the “democracy” and “free markets” being juxtaposed to the “autocracy” of state-subsidized growth. As Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov explained in a press conference on July 20, 2022 regarding Ukraine’s violent coup in 2014, U.S. and other Western officials define military coups as democratic if they are sponsored by the United States in the hope of promoting neoliberal policies.

Do you remember how events developed after the coup? The putschists spat in the face of Germany, France and Poland that were the guarantors of the agreement with Viktor Yanukovych. It was trampled underfoot the next morning. These European countries didn’t make a peep – they reconciled themselves to this. A couple of years ago I asked the Germans and French what they thought about the coup. What was it all about if they didn’t demand that the putschists fulfil the agreements? They replied: “This is the cost of the democratic process.” I am not kidding. Amazing – these were adults holding the post of foreign ministers.[1]

This Doublethink vocabulary reflects how far mainstream ideology has evolved from Rosa Luxemburg’s description a century ago of the civilizational choice being posed: barbarism or socialism.

The contradictory U.S. and European interests and burdens of the war in Ukraine

To return to Clausewitz’s view of war as an extension of national policy, U.S. national interests are diverging sharply from those of its NATO satellites. America’s military-industrial complex, oil and agriculture sectors are benefiting, while European industrial interests are suffering. That is especially the case in Germany and Italy as a result of their governments blocking North Stream 2 gas imports and other Russian raw materials.

The interruption of world energy, food and minerals supply chains and the resulting price inflation (providing an umbrella for monopoly rents by non-Russian suppliers) has imposed enormous economic strains on U.S. allies in Europe and the Global South. Yet the U.S. economy is benefiting from this, or at least specific sectors of the U.S. economy are benefiting. As Sergey Lavrov, pointed out in his above-cited press conference: “The European economy is impacted more than anything else. The stats show that 40 percent of the damage caused by sanctions is borne by the EU whereas the damage to the United States is less than 1 percent.” The dollar’s exchange rate has soared against the euro, which has plunged to parity with the dollar and looks set to fall further down toward the $0.80 that it was a generation ago. U.S. dominance over Europe is further strengthened by the trade sanctions against Russian oil and gas. The U.S. is an LNG exporter, U.S. companies control the world oil trade, and U.S. firms are the world’s major grain marketers and exporters now that Russia is excluded from many foreign markets.

A revival of European military spending – for offense, not defense

U.S. arms-makers are looking forward to making profits off arms sales to Western Europe, which has almost literally disarmed itself by sending its tanks and howitzers, ammunition and missiles to Ukraine. U.S. politicians support a bellicose foreign policy to promote arms factories that employ labor in their voting districts. And the neocons who dominate the State Department and CIA see the war as a means of asserting American dominance over the world economy, starting with its own NATO partners.

The problem with this view is that although America’s military-industrial, oil and agricultural monopolies are benefitting, the rest of the U.S. economy is being squeezed by the inflationary pressures resulting from boycotting Russian gas, grain and other raw-materials exports, and the enormous rise in the military budget will be used as an excuse to cut back social spending programs. That also is a problem for Eurozone members. They have promised NATO to raise their military spending to the stipulated 2 percent of their GDP, and the Americans are urging much higher levels to upgrade to the most recent array of weaponry. All but forgotten is the Peace Dividend that was promised in 1991 when the Soviet Union dissolved the Warsaw Pact alliance, expecting that NATO likewise would have little reason to exist.

Russia has no discernable economic interest in mounting a new occupation of Central Europe. That would offer no gain to Russia, as its leaders realized when they dissolved the old Soviet Union. In fact, no industrial country in today’s world can afford to field an infantry to occupy an enemy. All that NATO can do is bomb from a distance. It can destroy, but not occupy. The United States found that out in Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. And just as the assassination Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo (now Bosnia-Herzegovina) triggered World War I in 1914, NATO’s bombing of adjoining Serbia may be viewed as throwing down the gauntlet to turn Cold War 2 into a veritable World War III. That marked the point at which NATO became an offensive alliance, not a defensive one.

How does this reflect European interests? Why should Europe re-arm, if the only effect is to make it a target of retaliation in the event of further attacks on Russia? What does Europe have to gain in becoming a larger customer for America’s military-industrial complex? Diverting spending to rebuild an offensive army – that can never be used without triggering an atomic response that would wipe out Europe – will limit the social spending needed to cope with today’s Covid problems and economic recession.

The only lasting leverage a nation can offer in today’s world is trade and technology transfer. Europe has more of this to offer than the United States. Yet the only opposition to renewed military spending is coming from right-wing parties and the German Linke party. Europe’s Social Democratic, Socialist and Labour parties share American neoliberal ideology.

Sanctions against Russian gas makes coal “the fuel of the future”

The carbon footprint of bombing, arms manufacturing and military bases is strikingly absent from today’s discussion about global warming and the need to cut back on carbon emissions. The German party that calls itself Green is leading the campaign for sanctions against importing Russian oil and gas, which electric utilities are replacing with Polish coal and even German lignite. Coal is becoming the “fuel of the future.” Its price also is soaring in the United States, benefitting American coal companies.

In contrast to the Paris Club agreements to reduce carbon emissions, the United States has neither the political capability nor the intention to join the conservation effort. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the Executive Branch has no authority to issue nation-wide energy rules; only individual states can do that, unless Congress passes a national law to cut back on fossil fuels.

That seems unlikely in view of the fact that becoming head of a Democratic Senate and Congressional committee requires being a leader in raising campaign contributions for the party. Joe Manchin, a coal-company billionaire, leads all senators in campaign support from the oil and coal industries, enabling him to win his party’s auction for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee chairmanship and block any seriously restrictive environmental legislation.

Next to oil, agriculture is a major contributor to the U.S. balance of payments. Blocking Russian grain and fertilizer shipping threatens to create a Global South food crisis as well as a European crisis as gas is unavailable to make domestic fertilizer. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of grain and also of fertilizer, and its exports of these products have been exempted from NATO sanctions. But Russian shipping was blocked by Ukraine placing mines in the sea lanes through the Black Sea to close off access to Odessa’s harbor, hoping that the world would blame the world’s imminent grain and energy crisis on Russia instead of the US/NATO trade sanctions imposed on Russia.[2] At his July 20, 2022 press conference Sergey Lavrov showed the hypocrisy of the public relations attempt to distort matters:

For many months, they told us that Russia was to blame for the food crisis because the sanctions don’t cover food and fertiliser. Therefore, Russia doesn’t need to find ways to avoid the sanctions and so it should trade because nobody stands in its way. It took us a lot of time to explain to them that, although food and fertiliser are not subject to sanctions, the first and second packages of Western restrictions affected freight costs, insurance premiums, permissions for Russian ships carrying these goods to dock at foreign ports and those for foreign ships taking on the same consignments at Russian harbours. They are openly lying to us that this is not true, and that it is up to Russia alone. This is foul play.

Black Sea grain transport has begun to resume, but NATO countries have blocked payments to Russia in dollars, euros or currencies of other countries in the U.S. orbit. Food-deficit countries that cannot afford to pay distress-level food prices face drastic shortages, which will be exacerbated when they are compelled to pay their foreign debts denominated in the appreciating U.S. dollar. The looming fuel and food crisis promises to drive a new wave of immigrants to Europe seeking survival. Europe already has been flooded with refugees from NATO’s bombing and backing of jihadist attacks on Libya and Near Eastern oil-producing countries. This year’s proxy war in Ukraine and imposition of anti-Russian sanctions is a perfect illustration of Henry Kissinger’s quip: “It may be dangerous to be America’s enemy, but to be America’s friend is fatal.”

Blowback from the US/NATO miscalculations

America’s international diplomacy aims to dictate financial, trade and military policies that will lock other countries into dollar debt and trade dependency by preventing them from developing alternatives. If this fails, America seeks to isolate the recalcitrants from the U.S.-centered Western sphere.

America’s foreign diplomacy no longer is based on offering mutual gain. Such could be claimed in the aftermath of World War II when the United States was in a position to offer loans, foreign-aid and military protection against occupation – as well as manufactures to rebuild war-torn economies – to governments in exchange for their accepting trade and monetary policies favorable to American exporters and investors. But today there is only the belligerent diplomacy of threatening to hurt nations whose socialist governments reject America’s neoliberal drive to privatize and sell off their natural resources and public infrastructure.

The first aim is to prevent Russia and China from helping each other. This is the old imperial divide-and-conquer strategy. Minimizing Russia’s ability to support China would pave the way for the United States and NATO Europe to impose new trade sanctions on China, and to send jihadists to its western Xinjiang Uighur region. The aim is to bleed Russia’s armaments inventory, kill enough of its soldiers, and create enough Russian shortages and suffering to not only weaken its ability to help China, but to spur its population to support a regime change, an American-sponsored “color revolution.” The dream is to promote a Yeltsin-like leader friendly to the neoliberal “therapy” that dismantled Russia’s economy in the 1990s.

Amazing as it may seem, U.S. strategists did not anticipate the obvious response by countries finding themselves together in the crosshairs of US/NATO military and economic threats. On July 19, 2022, the presidents of Russia and Iran met to announce their cooperation in the face of the sanctions war against them. That followed Russia’s earlier meeting with India’s Prime Minister Modi. In what has been characterized as “shooting itself in its own foot,” U.S. diplomacy is driving Russia, China, India and Iran together, and indeed to reach out to Argentina and other countries to join the BRICS-plus bank to protect themselves.

The U.S. itself is ending the Dollar Standard of international finance

The Trump Administration took a major step to drive countries out of the dollar orbit in November 2018, by confiscating nearly $2 billion of Venezuela’s official gold stock held in London. The Bank of England put these reserves at the disposal of Juan Guaidó, the marginal right-wing politician selected by the United States to replace Venezuela’s elected president as head of state. This was defined as being democratic, because the regime change promised to introduce the neoliberal “free market” that is deemed to be the essence of America’s definition of democracy for today’s world.

This gold theft actually was not the first such confiscation. On November 14, 1979, the Carter Administration paralyzed Iran’s bank deposits in New York after the Shah was overthrown. This act blocked Iran from paying its scheduled foreign debt service, forcing it into default. That was viewed as an exceptional one-time action as far as all other financial markets were concerned. But now that the United States is the self-proclaimed “exceptional nation,” such confiscations are becoming a new norm in U.S. diplomacy. Nobody yet knows what happened to Libya’s gold reserves that Muammar Gadafi had intended to be used to back an African alternative to the dollar. And Afghanistan’s gold and other reserves were simply taken by Washington as payment for the cost of “freeing” that country from Russian control by backing the Taliban. But when the Biden Administration and its NATO allies made a much larger asset grab of some $300 billion of Russia’s foreign bank reserves and currency holdings in March 2022, it made official a radical new epoch in Dollar Diplomacy. Any nation that follows policies not deemed to be in the interests of the U.S. Government runs the risk of U.S. authorities confiscating its holdings of foreign reserves in U.S. banks or securities.

This was a red flag leading countries to fear denominating their trade, savings and foreign debt in dollars, and to avoid using dollar or euro bank deposits and securities as a means of payment. By prompting other countries to think about how to free themselves from the U.S.-centered world trade and monetary system that was established in 1945 with the IMF, World Bank and subsequently the World Trade Organization, the U.S. confiscations have accelerated the end of the U.S. Treasury-bill standard that has governed world finance since the United States went off gold in 1971.[3]

Since dollar convertibility into gold ended in August 1971, dollarization of the world’s trade and investment has created a need for other countries to hold most of their new international monetary reserves in U.S. Treasury securities and bank deposits. As already noted, that enables the United States to seize foreign bank deposits and bonds denominated in U.S. dollars.

Most important, the United States can create and spend dollar IOUs into the world economy at will, without limit. It doesn’t have to earn international spending power by running a trade surplus, as other countries have to do. The U.S. Treasury can simply print dollars electronically to finance its foreign military spending and purchases of foreign resources and companies. And being the “exceptional country,” it doesn’t have to pay these debts – which are recognized as being far too large to be paid. Foreign dollar holdings are free U.S. credit to the Unites States, not requiring repayment any more than the paper dollars in our wallets are expected to be paid off (by retiring them from circulation). What seems to be so self-destructive about America’s economic sanctions and confiscations of Russian and other foreign reserves is that they are accelerating the demise of this free ride.

Blowback resulting from US/NATO isolating their economic and monetary systems

It is hard to see how driving countries out of the U.S. economic orbit serves long-term U.S. national interests. Dividing the world into two monetary blocs will limit Dollar Diplomacy to its NATO allies and satellites.

The blowback now unfolding in the wake of U.S. diplomacy begins with its anti-Russia policy. Imposing trade and monetary sanctions was expected to block Russian consumers and businesses from buying the US/NATO imports to which they had become accustomed. Confiscating Russia’s foreign currency reserves was supposed to crash the ruble, “turning it into rubble,” as President Biden promised. Imposing sanctions against importing Russian oil and gas to Europe was supposed to deprive Russia of export earnings, causing the ruble to collapse and raising import prices (and hence, living costs) for the Russian public. Instead, blocking Russian exports has created a worldwide price inflation for oil and gas, sharply increasing Russian export earnings. It exported less gas but earned more – and with dollars and euros blocked, Russia demanded payment for its exports in rubles. Its exchange rate soared instead of collapsing, enabling Russia to reduce its interest rates.

Goading Russia to send its soldiers to eastern Ukraine to defend Russian speakers under attack in Luhansk and Donetsk, along with the expected impact of the ensuing Western sanctions, was supposed to make Russian voters press for regime change. But as almost always happens when a country or ethnicity is attacked, Russians were appalled at the Ukrainian hatred of Russian-language speakers and Russian culture, and at the Russophobia of the West. The effect of Western countries banning music by Russian composers and Russian novels from libraries – capped by England banning Russian tennis players from the Wimbledon tournament – was to make Russians feel under attack simply for being Russian. They rallied around President Putin.

NATO’s trade sanctions have catalyzed helped Russian agriculture and industry to become more self-sufficient by obliging Russia to invest in import substitution. One well-publicized farming success was to develop its own cheese production to replace that of Lithuania and other European suppliers. Its automotive and other industrial production is being forced to shift away from German and other European brands to its own and Chinese producers. The result is a loss of markets for Western exporters.

In the field of financial services, NATO’s exclusion of Russia from the SWIFT bank-clearing system failed to create the anticipated payments chaos. The threat had been so loudly for so long that Russia and China had plenty of time to develop their own payments system. This provided them with one of the preconditions for their plans to split their economies away from those of the US/NATO West.

As matters have turned out, the trade and monetary sanctions against Russia are imposing the heaviest costs on Western Europe, and are likely to spread to the Global South, driving them to think about whether their economic interests lie in joining U.S. confrontational Dollar Diplomacy. The disruption is being felt most seriously in Germany, causing many companies to close down as a result of gas and other raw-materials shortages. Germany’s refusal to authorize the North Stream 2 pipeline has pushed its energy crisis to a head. This has raised the question of how long Germany’s political parties can remain subordinate to NATO’s Cold War policies at the cost of German industry and households facing sharp rises in heating and electricity costs.

The longer it takes to restore trade with Russia, the more European economies will suffer, along with the citizenry at large, and the further the euro’s exchange rate will fall, spurring inflation throughout its member countries. European NATO countries are losing not only their export markets but their investment opportunities to gain from the much more rapid growth of Eurasian countries whose government planning and resistance to financialization has proved much more productive than the US/NATO neoliberal model.

It is difficult to see how any diplomatic strategy can do more than play for time. That involves living in the short run, not the long run. Time seems to be on the side of Russia, China and the trade and investment alliances that they are negotiating to replace the neoliberal Western economic order.

America’s ultimate problem is its neoliberal post-industrial economy

The failure and blowbacks of U.S. diplomacy are the result of problems that go beyond diplomacy itself. The underlying problem is the West’s commitment to neoliberalism, financialization and privatization. Instead of government subsidy of basic living costs needed by labor, all social life is being made part of “the market” – a uniquely Thatcherite deregulated “Chicago Boys” market in which industry, agriculture, housing and financing are deregulated and increasingly predatory, while heavily subsidizing the valuation of financial and rent-seeking assets – mainly the wealth of the richest One Percent. Income is obtained increasingly by financial and monopoly rent-seeking, and fortunes are made by debt-leveraged “capital” gains for stocks, bonds and real estate.

U.S. industrial companies have aimed more at “creating wealth” by increasing the price of their stocks by using over 90 percent of their profits for stock buybacks and dividend payouts instead of investing in new production facilities and hiring more labor. The result of slower capital investment is to dismantle and financially cannibalize corporate industry in order to produce financial gains. And to the extent that companies do employ labor and set up new production, it is done abroad where labor is cheaper.

Most Asian labor can afford to work for lower wages because it has much lower housing costs and does not have to pay education debt. Health care is a public right, not a financialized market transaction, and pensions are not paid for in advance by wage-earners and employers but are public. The aim in China in particular is to prevent the rentier Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector from becoming a burdensome overhead whose economic interests differ from those of a socialist government.

China treats money and banking as a public utility, to be created, spent and lent for purposes that help increase productivity and living standards (and increasingly to preserve the environment). It rejects the U.S.-sponsored neoliberal model imposed by the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organization.

The global economic fracturing goes far beyond NATO’s conflict with Russia in Ukraine. By the time the Biden administration took office at the start of 2021, Russia and China already had been discussing the need to de-dollarize their foreign trade and investment, using their own currencies.[4] That involves the quantum leap of organizing a new payments-clearing institution. Planning had not progressed beyond broad outlines of how such a system would work, but the U.S. confiscation of Russia’s foreign reserves made such planning urgent, starting with a BRICS-plus bank. A Eurasian alternative to the IMF will remove its ability to impose neoliberal austerity “conditionalities” to force countries to lower payments to labor and give priority to paying their foreign creditors above feeding themselves and developing their own economies. Instead of new international credit being extended mainly to pay dollar debts, it will be part of a process of new mutual investment in basic infrastructure designed to accelerate economic growth and living standards. Other institutions are being designed as China, Russia, Iran, India and their prospective allies represent a large enough critical mass to “go it alone,” based on their own mineral wealth and manufacturing power.

The basic U.S. policy has been to threaten to destabilize countries and perhaps bomb them until they agree to adopt neoliberal policies and privatize their public domain. But taking on Russia, China and Iran is a much higher order of magnitude. NATO has disarmed itself of the ability to wage conventional warfare by handing over its supply of weaponry – admittedly largely outdated – to be devoured in Ukraine. In any case, no democracy in today’s world can impose a military draft to wage a conventional land warfare against a significant/major adversary. The protests against the Vietnam War in the late 1960s ended the U.S. military draft, and the only way to really conquer a country is to occupy it in land warfare. This logic also implies that Russia is no more in a position to invade Western Europe than NATO countries are to send conscripts to fight Russia.

That leaves Western democracies with the ability to fight only one kind of war: atomic war – or at least, bombing at a distance, as was done in Afghanistan and the Near East, without requiring Western manpower. This is not diplomacy at all. It is merely acting the role of wrecker. But that is the only tactic that remains available to the United States and NATO Europe. It is strikingly like the dynamic of Greek tragedy, where power leads to hubris that is injurious to others and therefore ultimately anti-social – and self-destructive in the end.

How then can the United States maintain its world dominance? It has deindustrialized and run up foreign official debt far beyond any foreseeable way to be paid. Meanwhile, its banks and bondholders are demanding that the Global South and other countries pay foreign dollar bondholders in the face of their own trade crisis resulting from the soaring energy and food prices caused by America’s anti-Russian and anti-China belligerence. This double standard is a basic internal contradiction that goes to the core of today’s neoliberal Western worldview.

I have described the possible scenarios to resolve this conflict in my recent book The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism. It has now also been issued in e-book form by Counterpunch Books.

Text, company name Description automatically generated
  1. “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RT television, Sputnik agency and Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency, Moscow, July 20, 2022,” Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry, July 20, 2022. https://mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1822901/. From Johnson’s Russia List, July 21, 2022, #5. 
  2. International Maritime Organization, “Maritime Security and Safety in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov,” https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/HotTopics/Pages/MaritimeSecurityandSafetyintheBlackSeaandSeaofAzov.aspx. See Yves Smith, Some Implications of the UN’s Ukraine Grain and Russia Fertilizer/Food Agreements,” Naked Capitalism, July 25, 2022, and Lavrov’s July 24 speech to the Arab League. 
  3. My Super ImperialismThe Economic Strategy of American Empire (3rd ed., 2021) describes how the Treasury-bill standard has provided America with a free ride and enabled it to run balance-of-payments deficits without constraint, including the costs of its overseas military spending. 
  4. Radhika Desai and Michael Hudson (2021), “Beyond Dollar Creditocracy: A Geopolitical Economy,” Valdai Club Paper No. 116. Moscow: Valdai Club, 7 July, reprinted in Real World Economic Review (97), https://rwer.wordpress.com/2021/09/23.&nbsp;

Ideologies are no longer the way we know them and this means that the world is being reconfigured

July 17, 2022

Source

By Guilherme Wilbert

I try to bring a reflection in most of my texts about what competes for the international diplomatic and monetary future after Operation Z in Ukraine, but also, I always try to bring the ideological part into the discussion because this still makes many people’s heads spin. Or are Ukrainian flag-wavers not ideologized?

Capitalism and communism have always been enemies at their core, especially in their own archetypes, since communism is internationalist, while pure capitalism is just the simplest way of doing business: you give me money for what it is worth, and I give you the product.

It turns out that along with the collapse of communism after the Soviet collapse in 1991, capitalism has also spiraled, and its most vile forms are found in meta-capitalists and monopolizing companies, which distort the real meaning of free markets, open competition and more.

What happens is that some businessmen behave like communists with money because they use their companies to carry out monopolies and cartels around the world, with the simplest case being that of Brazil, which has a nation of 200 million people to more and only has 5 banks in Brazilian territory operating, these being: Banco do Brasil (created by D. João VI of Portugal during the Brazilian Empire), Caixa Econômica Federal (which is a kind of banking autarchy of the Brazilian Federal Government), Itaú, Santander and Bradesco.  Even HSBC was strong in the country, but could not stand it and closed its operation last decade.

The case of Brazil is a clear example of a country that fell victim to the metacapitalists, even though it had a leftist government like the Workers Party led by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of the country.

And this proves how even orthodox socialism, which is the case of the ideology-north of the Workers Party of Brazil, can be eroded by metacapitalism and its bad ways of doing business.

The point is that cartels, monopolies, oligopolies are distorted forms of capitalism, which look very much like a communist quasi-statist economy because the monopolizer behaves like a communist strong state. And this destroys the sense that is used to identify a communist or capitalist militancy in some countries because the real goals of the ideologies cited here are not made explicit up front. This makes for a dumb and innocuous militancy that sometimes is fighting for the same things without realizing it.

While the communist militant likes a strong State that monopolizes natural resources or not, the meta-capitalist also likes the State because it helps him to make and maintain his monopoly. That is why it is not rare to see people like George Soros, prominent bankers, supporting wealth taxes, for example, because it would be a way for them to continue using the state territory to carry out their monopolies and cartels.

Another practical example coming from Brazil are telephone lines: the country has only 4 cell phone companies, with one (Oi Telecomunicações) in receivership because it is in bad shape.

During Lula’s communist government in the country, the banks had the highest profits, several newspapers reported at the time.  This is a clear proof of the distortion of the communist discourse that usually carries the popular feeling but sometimes only makes its leaders richer and more powerful and more brutal.

Fidel Castro, who died richer than Queen Elizabeth II, it is said.

And a global international reconfiguration is happening right now, with the various economic blocs of countries in the Global South becoming closer together.

This is also because of the ideological capitalist exhaustion due to monopolizing meta-capitalism, or communism, when the exacerbated statization and planned economy is proving wrong again in the countries, making the real economy of production take over the discourse and making smarter heads.

Wars still happen because of ideologies, but they can be stopped by them too

When the clash of civilizations happened in 2019, with the world distrusting China for being bad at preserving Covid-19 cases, as well as trying lockdowns recently that destroyed the global supply chain of production, a lot of bad thought was given to a strong and sovereign state like China’s, especially the more ideologized ones, who blamed the country’s trademark hammer and sickle as the cause of the problems plaguing the world at the time. Except that today, 3 years later, China, which is clearly totally ideologized, may be guiding some parts of the Global South towards an inter-country integration that involves the monetary, diplomatic and trade issues. In other words, the China that would have caused the Covid-19 problem for some ideologues, may be the same country that can save the global economy when the dollar collapses. And it will collapse. It is just a matter of time.

While NATO, which carries an air of the cold war because it still exists even after the end of the Warsaw Pact, is trying to emulate a kind of international police force, going against the very name of the military organization, which in theory would only be in the North Atlantic Sea, today it is already in Asia and Oceania. In what is seen as the opposite thinking of the leaders of Eurasia and the Global South.

Some diplomats from within NATO have even talked about “Global NATO”. What is this if not a trace of colonialism ingrained in the Atlanticist organization to stand up to the enthusiasts of multipolarity, who have sometimes ended up being characterized by the flags with sickle and hammer?

The clearest point I try to make is that ideologies have been eroded by the mistakes or successes of their own leaders, distorting the orthodox common sense of centuries-old doctrines like communism for example. This was seen when the US opened the international market to China, which made them the second global economy today.

But there was also no good interpretation from the West towards Russia for example, which today is a totally different country from the Soviet Union, and could have become an ally. Which would totally change the scenario we are living today.

So ideologies can stop or make wars, either by capitalism or by communists.

Capitalism at war means monopolies arising, while communists at war means massive genocides arising.

Corroded ideology is not necessarily a bad thing, but it shows a breakdown in thinking in society

Ideologies arise as a way of trying to organize models of government, and several of them have even been criminalized around the world due to the massacres they have carried out. But at the same time, this does not mean that they will cease to exist.

When a society thinks 50% one thing and another half thinks 50% another thing, this means that there is a polarity of thoughts that can only lead to chaos and barbarism, because the people, hungry or in difficulty, are not able to come to a consensus, and then authoritarianism and popular uprisings arise.

The corrosion of ideologies, be they capitalist or communist, was something that would happen naturally because time goes on proving some points that have always been pushed by the enthusiasts of such as absolute truths, which are lies.

Several are the cases of communist countries that collapsed and several are the countries that collapse because of meta-capitalism. This is why we must abandon ideologies and simple ways of thinking when it comes to a nation, a homeland.

A homeland is much bigger than a 19th-century German writing. A nation is much bigger and means much more than a Politburo.

Capitalism and communism behave today as different sides of the same coin, with their owners and enthusiasts having the same origins.  Instead of studying the end result, look for the cause. Many coincidences can arise.


Guilherme Wilbert is a Brazilian law graduate interested in geopolitics and international law.

Pitchforks soon in Europe?

June 11, 2022

Source

by Jorge Vilches

Dear Europeans

For your own children´s sake — on my knees and with my saddened eyes humbly looking downwards — I beg of you to please stop the current self-destructive nonsense dead in its tracks by immediately demanding from your political class to import the bloody Russian oil normally once again as Europe had been doing for dozens of years. The impact that the ban on Russian oil has upon your daily lives now and for years yonder is such that at the very least a Referendum should have been held. But it was not, and without consultation, the EU leadership acted on their own.

Please be advised that the EU un-elected brass simply does not represent you or your needs. They were all voted amongst themselves into their positions like members of a committee in a private country club. If left unchecked, EU politicians will now continue misrepresenting you and, on your behalf — with your hard-earned assets and livelihoods – will keep on picking a most unnecessary and prolonged armed conflict with Russia, eventually forcing upon you a total war scenario where chances play out all very strongly against you, with Russia probably resulting unscathed.

C:\Users\Win7_64\Desktop\55 - copia.jpg

their war

European leaders crave for their war, so they can´t think of a better way to provoke it than by applying ever larger and ´meaner´ sanctions on Russia as if (a) sanctions were effective and (b) as if Europe could win such war (not).

Accordingly, we now have yet another set of spanking new EU “sanctions” in package No. 6 that will eventually backfire flat on Europe´s face – like all the others — such as banning the insurance and financing of oil tankers that carry Russian oil. Accordingly, the EU is now trying its very best to

(1) bankrupt the successful Western oil tanker insurance business by reducing the number of participants

(2) induce higher shipping and insurance costs worldwide by reducing the number of participants

(3) foster the development of yet another Russian import substitution service namely oil tanker insurance & financing

(4) seriously hinder the world´s economy by not allowing deliveries of any oil tankers carrying Russian oil anywhere (EU or non-EU) thus cutting off some 15% of the world´s oil supply from the world market and necessarily sending its price yet higher with yet more EU-induced inflation as if we had not had enough already, please brace for it.

(5) force the construction of a new Russian-Chinese-Indian oil tanker fleet leaving idle part of today´s fleet

(6) tempt Russia to embargo strategic value-chain upstream items with captive consumers cascading into multiple failures thru lack of nat-gas, rare earths, inert gases, potash, sulfur, uranium, palladium, vanadium, cobalt, coke, etc.

Ref #1 https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Insurance-Ban-Is-The-EUs-Biggest-Blow-Yet-To-Russian-Oil-Exports.html

Ref #2 https://www.rt.com/business/556904-us-russia-energy-revenue-sanctions/

Ref #3 https://www.rt.com/news/556894-russian-energy-resources-stagflation-difficulties/

Ref #4 https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/06/global-supply-chains-rattled-by-winds-of-war.html

lost war

Russia does not need to fire a single shot or land a single missile on European territories to win such a total war. Think tanks in Europe and elsewhere know this but say nothing. It´d be plenty enough for Russia to just shut off your nat-gas supply, period. And not even to the whole of Europe. It could possibly be to only, say, some limited area in Germany.

But you need not put up with any of this. Europe should already have learned from history books and its generals not to underestimate or discriminate against Russia. Let alone cheat on it repeatedly as Europe has done since the downfall of the former Soviet Union. Yet again, history will not be kind to anyone directly or indirectly involved, including yourselves. Equivalent events took place in Europe not that long ago and winter will not care what was said where or why or by whom. It will just freeze and starve Europeans to death with no mercy. Just ask the Germans: they should remember, or the French, they like history a lot. Russian attrition warfare is most efficient in any territory.

Northeast Faces Ice Danger After Winter Storm Dumps Snow

Please do not waste any more precious time with forever failed attempts to find substitutes of any kind. Quite simply it is very easy to prove in a matter of minutes ( see plenty of references below ) that God Almighty has no adequate oil available for you in large enough quantities anywhere on planet Earth other than Russia, let alone deliverable at refineries and processing plants per your own needs and capabilities. You simply cannot dismiss one full third of your oil supplies in one sudden stroke of a pen and assume that nothing important will happen including a very negative direct impact upon the price YOU pay. It´s market dynamics 101 that only a fool would dare to ignore, so innocent masses of humans should not pay for the stupid decisions of some few unelected groupie politicians that know jack about basic technical requirements. This is a live & kicking very tough field engineering for dirty-fingernails folks that don´t talk much, not yadda BS at a Brussels cocktail party with laughs, plenty of drinks, hot air, and photo ops.

bid forms AWOL

And not a single one yet making the scene, go figure… The current EU course of action necessarily calls for the 2022 execution of at least 100 projects related to the Russian oil ban thus allowing for non-Russian oil imports. Probably many more than 100 projects need to be executed if all refineries, processing plants, ports, pipelines, logistics infrastructure, etc., etc. are taken into account. But let´s keep it simple and in round figures. The Schwedt refinery alone will require 11 major projects at the very least already described in a previous article. As Schwedt can no longer export anywhere, large areas of nearby Western Poland will be left without fuels now having to urgently find an equivalent Polish supplier close by (???) if any. Same for Slovakia´s Slovnaft which will now also have to quit exporting – but unlike Schwedt — making it unviable although possibly still operational for domestic markets albeit with a huge new deficit to be paid by …?…?… (!!!). Who or how will Slovnaft export markets be supplied now is a dangerous mystery because of rough geography and unexistent logistics plus a newly required distribution infrastructure. All in all, we are talking hundreds of billions of euros that Europe does not have — and should not print — to be paid back in 40 to 50 years’ time long after (supposedly) fossil fuels have been phased out of the EU. This in and of itself does not make any sense whatsoever, but it does blend in perfectly well with other nonsensical stuff of this surreal non-Russian oil sourcing idea. Banks should logically reject approving any financing of dead-on-arrival projects such as these. Still, be it as it may, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies should right now already be underway “puffing smoke” as engineers say amongst themselves in such circumstances. Yet no headlines announced on anything, no bid forms issued or trans-European call for bids, no joint-ventures, no engineering firms, plans or specs guidelines, no bidding documents, no tentative schedules, no consultants, no commissions or committees, no bid opening and contract award dates: nothing. Of course, one very serious possibility is that the effective EU plan is to keep on buying Russian oil as always but now from third parties instead at a MUCH higher price with kick-backs here and there no? So all of what´s missing would actually be another European fake as the Maastricht Treaty acceptance criteria just to name one. This would at least make EU “sense” no? Can´t make this stuff up…

Construction Bid Template - Bid Estimate Sheet Download - ConstructUpdate.com

no diesel so freeze

Europeans: even in theory, there are no viable oil-field reservoirs able to expand their production for the enormous quantity and type of oil blends you need even if they wished to or if geopolitics allowed them. So what would happen then without massive amounts of high-quality diesel fuel that European transportation and industries require?

There is no viable tanker fleet afloat either for such an unexpected and suddenly imposed massive supply-switch project, with complex geo-climatological access and serious sea lanes issues plus seasonal requirements with dedicated facilities yet to be designed, built, permitted, and commissioned, and with terribly limited installed infrastructure at key unloading ports from heavy-duty/heavy traffic roads to cranes and dedicated storage facilities. The same goes for nonexistent in-land logistics for delivery of such yet unknown boutique oil blends with still-to-be-seen minimum quality specs and anywhere near the enormous un-findable quantities as Europe requires no matter how you dice it or slice it or pray for it. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Just maybe some “fly-by-night” un-vetted headache providers. You are thus running around in circles with the very serious and certain risk of freezing and starving millions of Europeans to death very soon which Russian oil has solved for you for decades. And whichever narrative you choose, it will always be your own stupid needless fault, not Vladimir Putin´s for Heaven´s sake who is still willing to sell Russia´s oil to you with very important discounts, something which you should not ever take for granted despite Europe´s recent shameless robbery of legitimate Russian savings deposited at Western banks, including personal individual accounts and assets.

So for your own benefit please stop the Russophobia right now, reverse the current unwarranted course 180 degrees, return the money robbed, by your own doing change your leadership ASAP, accept Russia´s territorial claims, accept the decline of Europe and the Western world at large, drop the Anglo-Saxon Brexitology superiority philosophy, guarantee Russia´s existential security and stop the shameful European nonsense now exposed for the world to see.

Otherwise, enter your very own European angry pitchforks with lit torches that will fix this fast. Are you ready?

C:\Users\Win7_64\Desktop\index.jpg

Ref #5 http://thesaker.is/europes-mad-ban-on-russian-oil/

Ref #6 http://thesaker.is/why-russias-oil-ban-is-impossible/

Ref #7 http://thesaker.is/germans-schwedt-hard-for-russian-oil/

Ref #8 http://thesaker.is/dear-ursula-you-are-dead-wrong/

Ref #9 http://thesaker.is/europe-now-cheats-or-suffers/

Ref #10 http://thesaker.is/for-europe-from-russia-with-love/

Ref #11 https://www.rt.com/business/556870-good-times-over-for-europeans/

pitchforks ready

Not that long ago, the French Revolution was planned and led by the middle classes. And in the very near short term that will be the new game of the game throughout Europe if the EU leadership insists on fighting a-la Don Quixote its inevitable dependency on Russia. Besides, in case you didn´t notice, Russia is winning on all fronts, militarily, geopolitically, logistically, socially, economically, and financially. The Ruble is as strong as it cares to be and Russia is the only world power able to self-sustain independently from what happens in the rest of the world. After many years of trying to accommodate your requirements, Russia simply does not care anymore what the West thinks, does, or threatens to do. It can now beat you at any of the three at any time. Your sanctions work against Europe, not Russia. You must see and feel that for sure, so why do you fake being blind? Or are you “brain-dead” per President Macron?

Russia´s Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov nailed it for history: the West is simply not “agreement-capable” with the post-Brexit US-led Anglo-Saxon leadership in charge. Did you not have enough with Victoria Nuland´s loud and clear “ fuck the EU ” audio recording? What else would you need to accept what´s really going on? Maybe having a character such as Volodymyr Zelenskyy ruling the Ukraine? He already is… Why has European leadership now turned so unwarrantedly Russophobic? You do not need to be their friend, but why should you make Russia your enemy even proposing an anti-Russian coalition cartel? Ref #12 https://www.rt.com/news/556913-yellen-coalition-russian-sanctions/

European infighting

A network is only as strong as its weakest link. As initially explained in the “their war” paragraph, just-in-time fragility will trigger cascading failures throughout Europe in a matter of days, if not hours. So what´s the European game plan for the 21st. century without energy security? Fighting even more yet again amongst yourselves? What will become of Europe without Russia as a business associate and energy provider? Are you aware of how weak European economies and fragile finances currently stand? Did you know that 85% of the world´s population does not belong to NATO?

Hungary et al will continue to receive cheap and excellent Russian Urals blend through the Druzbha South pipeline for a yet undefined period of time. This would mean a wholly unfair competitive environment with tremendous advantages for some few over those fed with new unknown expensive non-Russian oils plus the costs for the corresponding retro-fitting / reconversion downtime (or plain non-performance) kicking them outright out of the market for an unknown period of time possibly bankrupting them and creating extraordinary logistics problems to consumers throughout Europe. Allowing for the Druzbha South pipeline to continue feeding 15% of Europe with excellent Russian oils will provide the perfect comparison standard of practice. And it would reveal the fallacy that Russian oils can be substituted easily and without enormous great pains per Ursula von der Leyden´s historical bad joke: “the EU will make sure to phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion to allow us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes minimizing the impact on global markets”. It´d be like trying to change your car´s engine oil while cruising at 150 km/hr on a German autobahn.

quantities & qualities

By any means, there are definitely not enough adequate oil blends around to satisfy European requirements without continuous Russian high-quality Urals supply. And also please understand and accept once and for all that a specific oil blend is not just “an oil blend” to be plugged & played anywhere anytime. A very specific refinery or processing plant tune-up needs to be specifically matched with an always constant high-quality oil blend in large enough quantities and for a given desired output such as diesel. No “open architecture” is possible here, that´s just for IT nerds, not for chemical engineering realities. And definetly there are no vendors all lined up happily willing and able to sell you their oil blend in unlimited quantities already fully adapted to whatever plant you may have for whichever desired production output you may need. And also any door-to-door pipeline performs infinitely better than the best batch-delivery system, let alone with un-prepared ports thousands of kilometers away from “beach-front bazaar” vendors.

Should ´climate change´ already agreed goals reduce or further increase worldwide oil production? Which is it, please make up your mind. Furthermore, oil-field production will be very hard to maintain into the near future because of constant shale reservoir depletion, fracking prohibition, ever-increasing labor shortages, rising drilling costs due to worldwide inflation, and temporary or permanent lack of missing components caused by supply chain disruptions.

Ref #13 https://www.rt.com/business/556816-eu-buying-russian-oil/

Ref #14 https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Biggest-Reshuffle-Of-Oil-Flows-Since-The-1970s.html

no people no project

For decades Europe has streamlined supplies and specifically matched its processing capabilities for the Russian Urals blend which means that now Europeans cannot just suddenly switch to whatever little and bad oil blends are found elsewhere. It just does not work that way. If any of that is attempted, the result will be absolutely disqualifying higher prices and costs plus un-thinkable risks for the whole European economy. Furthermore, Europe will spend a FORTUNE it does not have while simultaneously risking project non-performance of the trouble full reconversion projects required ending up with many half-finished facilities that will not be anywhere ready on time, or ever. And as 95% compliance is not enough to produce a single drop of a processed product (diesel or whatever) this means that under current circumstances and 2022 established deadlines until Europe has 100% modified and retrofitted facilities up and running you really have NOTHING. Additionally, the human resource challenge related to all of the above is insurmountable and probably un-compliable. Ref #15 https://www.rt.com/business/556600-analysts-warning-russian-oil-embargo/

Black Sea Geopolitics and Russia’s Control of Strategic Waterways: The Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov

June 05, 2022

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research,

Since the union of Crimea with Russia in March 2014, the entry into the sea of Azov is fully controlled by Russia. (see image below).

The following article is a revised and update of an earlier GR article by Michel Chossudovsky   It provides a brief summary of the Geopolitics of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov as well as some observations on the Ukraine War. (Updated on June 5, 2022)

Introduction

Historically, the Kerch strait in Eastern Crimea has played a strategic role.

It constitutes a narrow maritime gateway which links the Black Sea via the Sea of Azov to Russia’s major waterways including the Don and the Volga.

It also ensures maritime transit from the Black Sea to Moscow not to mention the strategic maritime route between the Caspian Sea (via the Volga-Don Canal) to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. 

Map: The United Deep Waterway System of European Russia.

The Volga also links the Caspian Sea to the Baltic Sea as well as to the Northern Sea route, via the Volga–Baltic Waterway.  (See above)

The Volga is connected to a system of canals (via lakes Onega, Ladoga) to the Neva River and St Petersburg. (See map below)

What is at stake is an integrated system of waterways which connects the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea to the Baltic and the Northern Sea Route.

In this regard the narrow Kerch Strait in Eastern Crimea is strategic.

The 2014 Union of Crimea with Russia Redefines the Geography and the Geopolitical Chessboard of the Black Sea Basin

Since 2014, the reunion of Crimea to the Russian Federation, represented a major setback for US-NATO, whose longstanding objective was to integrate Ukraine into NATO, while extending Western military presence in the Black Sea basin. (See details below)

Brief Observations on the Ukraine War: The Sea of Azov is Strategic. Ukraine Has No Maritime Access. 

In regards to the Ukraine War, Russia’s control of the Kerch Strait plays a key role. In recent developments (June 2022), Russia now controls the entire basin of the Sea of Azov.

Ukraine has no maritime access to the Sea of Azov and Eastern Ukraine, nor does it have naval power in the Black Sea.

Without a navy, Ukraine is not in a position to win this war. The Peace Negotiations initiated in Istanbul in late March, which were the object of sabotage constitute the only solution. 

Ukraine’s Naval Base Berdyansk (a 2020 initiative of Zelensky) on the Western Azov coastline is under Russian control. All major ports extending from Mariupol to Kherson are under Russian control.

Russia occupies Kherson and  controls the access of Ukraine’s major river-way the Dnieper to and from the Black Sea  (see second map below: The Dnieper is in some regards a seaway.The Dnieper is a major corridor of grain cargo transportation.

In the context of the Ukraine War, through their military deployments in Donetsk and Lugansk, Russian forces have  consolidated their control over the entire Sea of Azov basin.

The map below (June 2, 2022) indicates the areas of deployment and Russian control from the North of Lugansk (territories opposite Kharkov) to Kherson on the Dnieper.

Flashback: The 2014 Treaty between Russia and Crimea

With the March 18, 2014 Treaty signed between Russia and Crimea, the Russian Federation has extended its control over the Black Sea as well as over the Sea of Azov.

Under the agreement between Russia and Crimea announced by president Putin in 2014, two “constituent regions” of Crimea joined the Russian Federation: the “Republic of Crimea” and the “City of Sevastopol”. Both have the status of “autonomous regions”. The status of Sevastopol as an autonomous entity separate from Crimea is related to the location of Russia’s Naval base in Sevastopol.

Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia retained its naval base in Sevastopol under a bilateral agreement with Ukraine. With the signing of the March 18th 2014 Treaty, that agreement became null and void. Sevastopol including the Russian naval base became part of an autonomous region within the Russian Federation. Prior to March 2014, the naval base was not within Ukraine under a lease agreement. Moreover, since 2014, Crimea’s territorial waters belong to the Russian Federation.

Following the union of Crimea to Russia, The Russian Federation now controls a much larger portion of the Black Sea, which includes the entire coastline of the Crimean peninsula. The Eastern part of Crimea –including the Kerch strait– are under Russia’s jurisdiction. On the Eastern side of the Kerch strait is Russia’s Krasnodar region and extending  southwards are the port cities of Novorossiysk and Sochi. 

The Geopolitics of  Oil and Gas Pipelines

Novorossiysk is also strategic. It is Russia’s largest commercial port on the Black Sea, at the cross-roads of major oil and gas pipelines between the Black Sea and the Caspian sea.

While the main strategic oil pipeline route is between Novorossiysk and Baku, there is a nexus of gas pipelines between Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkmenistan, linking up with China.

Prior to Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Putin signed “a wide-ranging agreement” with the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

Kerch Strait: History

Historically, the Kerch strait has played a strategic role. It constitutes a gateway from the Black Sea to Russia’s major waterways including the Don and the Volga.

During World War II, the Kerch peninsula was occupied by Nazi Germany (taken back by the Red Army) was an important point of transit by land and water.

In the coldest months of Winter, it became an ice bridge linking Crimea to the Krasnodar region.

The Kerch strait is about 5 kilometers in length and 4.5 km. wide at the narrowest point between the tip of Eastern Crimea and the peninsula of Taman. Kerch is a major commercial port linked to railway, ferry and river routes.

image right: Kerch strait, photo taken from Crimean side, (prior to the construction of the bridge) narrow width, aerial view of strait and Taman peninsula. 

The Sea of Azov: Geopolitical Hub

Of significance, as a result of the integration of Crimea into the Russian Federation in 2014 Moscow gained full control of the Kerch Strait linking the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. The bilateral agreement between Russia and Ukraine governing the maritime route through the Kerch straights was scrapped.

The strait also constitutes an entry point into Russia’s major river waterways.

The Sea of Azov connects with the Don River and the Volga, through the Volga Don Canal. In turn, the Volga flows into the Caspian sea.

The Kerch strait is strategic.  The Kerch-Yenikalskiy Canal allows large (ocean) vessels to transit from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.

As outlined above, the Kerch Strait links the Black Sea to the Volga via the sea of Azov and the Volga Don Canal which in turn connects to Saint Petersburg and the Baltic Sea. The Volga also connects to Moscow, via the Moscow river through the Volga-Moskva canal.

Note: The Caspian sea basin is in sense “landlocked”. It’s only access to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean is via the Volga. The same applies to its access to the Atlantic via the Baltic Sea, or via the White Sea, the Barents Sea and the Northeast Arctic Passage to the Pacific.

Strategic waterways. In Summary

  1. Caspian Sea- Volga, Volga-Don Canal, Don, – Sea of Azov -Black Sea, Mediterranean
  2. Black Sea- Sea of Azov -Don- Volga Don Canal -Volga -Volga-Moskva Canal, Moscow River, Moscow
  3. Black Sea- Sea of Azov -Don- Volga Don Canal -Volga -Neva, St Petersburg, Baltic Sea
  4. Caspian Sea, Volga, Neva, Svir, Onega Lake, White Sea Canal, North Sea and Northeast Arctic Passage

Volga-Don Canal

Russia-Ukraine Relations Regarding the Kerch Strait

In December 2013, Moscow signed a bilateral agreement with the Yanukovych government in Kiev pertaining to the construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait, connecting Eastern Crimea (which was part of Ukraine) with Russia’s Krasnodar region.

That agreement was a followup to an initial agreement signed in April 2010 between the two governments.

The Russia-Ukraine 2013 agreement pertaining to the construction of the bridge had, for all purposes already been scrapped before March 16, 2014.

Image right: new Kerch bridge links Eastern Crimea (road and rail transportation) to  Russia’s Krasnodar region. (image right).

Crimea’s union to Russia was already in the pipeline prior to the referendum, it was a fait accompli.

Less than two weeks before the March 16 2014 Referendum, at the height of the crisis in Ukraine, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the state-road building corporation Avtodor, or “Russian Highways” “to create a subsidiary company that would oversee the building of a bridge across the Kerch Strait”.

This bridge is geared towards train transport routes linking Western and Eastern Europe to the Caspian Sea basin, Kazakhstan and China. It is therefore an integral part of the Eurasian Project (linking up with China’s Belt and Road initiative).  

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2022

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