A panicked Empire tries to make Russia an ‘offer it can’t refuse’

January 30 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Does US Secretary of State Antony Blinken think a Washington Post op-ed will move Russian Armed Forces Chief Valery Gerasimov to postpone his planned military offensive on Ukraine?

Realizing NATO’s war with Russia will likely end unfavorably, the US is test-driving an exit offer. But why should Moscow take indirect proposals seriously, especially on the eve of its new military advance and while it is in the winning seat?

By Pepe Escobar

Those behind the Throne are never more dangerous than when they have their backs against the wall.

Their power is slipping away, fast: Militarily, via NATO’s progressive humiliation in Ukraine; Financially, sooner rather than later, most of the Global South will want nothing to do with the currency of a bankrupt rogue giant; Politically, the global majority is taking decisive steps to stop obeying a rapacious, discredited, de facto minority.

So now those behind the Throne are plotting to at least try to stall the incoming disaster on the military front.

As confirmed by a high-level US establishment source, a new directive on NATO vs. Russia in Ukraine was relayed to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Blinken, in terms of actual power, is nothing but a messenger boy for the Straussian neocons and neoliberals who actually run US foreign policy.

The secretary of state was instructed to relay the new directive – a sort of message to the Kremlin – via mainstream print media, which was promptly published by the Washington Post.

In the elite US mainstream media division of labor, the New York Times is very close to the State Department. and the Washington Post to the CIA. In this case though the directive was too important, and needed to be relayed by the paper of record in the imperial capital. It was published as an Op-Ed (behind paywall).

The novelty here is that for the first time since the start of Russia’s February 2022 Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, the Americans are actually proposing a variation of the “offer you can’t refuse” classic, including some concessions which may satisfy Russia’s security imperatives.

Crucially, the US offer totally bypasses Kiev, once again certifying that this is a war against Russia conducted by Empire and its NATO minions – with the Ukrainians as mere expandable proxies.

‘Please don’t go on the offensive’

The Washington Post’s old school Moscow-based correspondent John Helmer has provided an important service, offering the full text of Blinken’s offer, of course extensively edited to include fantasist notions such as “US weapons help pulverize Putin’s invasion force” and a cringe-worthy explanation: “In other words, Russia should not be ready to rest, regroup and attack.”

The message from Washington may, at first glance, give the impression that the US would admit Russian control over Crimea, Donbass, Zaporozhye, and Kherson – “the land bridge that connects Crimea and Russia” – as a fait accompli.

Ukraine would have a demilitarized status, and the deployment of HIMARS missiles and Leopard and Abrams tanks would be confined to western Ukraine, kept as a “deterrent against further Russian attacks.”

What may have been offered, in quite hazy terms, is in fact a partition of Ukraine, demilitarized zone included, in exchange for the Russian General Staff cancelling its yet-unknown 2023 offensive, which may be as devastating as cutting off Kiev’s access to the Black Sea and/or cutting off the supply of NATO weapons across the Polish border.

The US offer defines itself as the path towards a “just and durable peace that upholds Ukraine’s territorial integrity.” Well, not really. It just won’t be a rump Ukraine, and Kiev might even retain those western lands that Poland is dying to gobble up.

The possibility of a direct Washington-Moscow deal on “an eventual postwar military balance” is also evoked, including no Ukraine membership of NATO. As for Ukraine itself, the Americans seem to believe it will be a “strong, non-corrupt economy with membership in the European Union.”

Whatever remains of value in Ukraine has already been swallowed not only by its monumentally corrupt oligarchy, but most of all, investors and speculators of the BlackRock variety. Assorted corporate vultures simply cannot afford to lose Ukraine’s grain export ports, as well as the trade deal terms agreed with the EU before the war. And they’re terrified that the Russian offensive may capture Odessa, the major seaport and transportation hub on the Black Sea – which would leave Ukraine landlocked.

There’s no evidence whatsoever that Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the entire Russian Security Council – including its Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev – have reason to believe anything coming from the US establishment, especially via mere minions such as Blinken and the Washington Post. After all the stavka – a moniker for the high command of the Russian armed forces – regard the Americans as “non-agreement capable,” even when an offer is in writing.

This walks and talks like a desperate US gambit to stall and present some carrots to Moscow in the hope of delaying or even cancelling the planned offensive of the next few months.

Even old school, dissident Washington operatives – not beholden to the Straussian neocon galaxy – bet that the gambit will be a nothing burger: in classic “strategic ambiguity” mode, the Russians will continue on their stated drive of demilitarization, denazification and de-electrification, and will “stop” anytime and anywhere they see fit east of the Dnieper. Or beyond.

What the Deep State really wants

Washington’s ambitions in this essentially NATO vs. Russia war go well beyond Ukraine. And we’re not even talking about preventing a Russia-China-Germany Eurasian union or a peer competitor nightmare; let’s stick with prosaic issues on the Ukrainian battleground.

The key “recommendations” – military, economic, political, diplomatic – were detailed in an Atlantic Council strategy paper late last year.

And in another one, under “War scenario 1: The war continues in its current tempo,” we find the Straussian neocon policy fully spelled out.

It’s all here: from “marshaling support and military-assistance transfers to Kyiv sufficient to enable it to win” to “increase the lethality of military assistance transferred to include fighter aircraft that would enable Ukraine to control its airspace and attack Russian forces therein; and missile technology with range sufficient to reach into Russian territory.”

From training the Ukrainian military “to use Western weapons, electronic warfare, and offensive and defensive cyber capabilities, and to seamlessly integrate new recruits in the service” to buttressing “defenses on the front lines, near the Donbass region,” including “combat training focusing on irregular warfare.”

Added to “imposing secondary sanctions on all entities doing business with the Kremlin,” we reach of course the Mother of All Plunders: “Confiscate the $300 billion that the Russian state holds in overseas accounts in the United States and EU and use seized monies to fund reconstruction.”

The reorganization of the SMO, with Putin, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, and General Armageddon in their new, enhanced roles is derailing all these elaborate plans.

The Straussians are now in deep panic. Even Blinken’s number two, Russophobic warmonger Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland, has admitted to the US Senate there will be no Abrams tanks on the battlefield before Spring (realistically, only in 2024). She also promised to “ease sanctions” if Moscow “returns to negotiations.” Those negotiations were scotched by the Americans themselves in Istanbul in the Spring of 2022.

Nuland also called the Russians to “withdraw their troops.” Well, that at least offers some comic relief compared with the panic oozing from Blinken’s “offer you can’t refuse.” Stay tuned for Russia’s non-response response.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

NATO Ministers Gather for War Summits… Russia Should Call Their Bluff

January 20, 2023

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The United States and its imperial surrogates think they are putting a gun to Russia’s head. But non other than the NATO powers are the ones who are playing Russian Roulette.

NATO is at war against Russia. There can be no more pretense or illusions about NATO “not being a party to the conflict” in Ukraine, as Western leaders have been absurdly asserting for the past year. NATO missiles, drones and logistics have already been used to strike Russia. And by Russia, we don’t just mean the disputed territories of Crimea and Donbass, but the pre-war territory of the Russian Federation.

This week saw the NATO mania for war against Russia reach a fever pitch. NATO military leaders met in a series of well-publicized meetings in Europe that can only be described as war summits to plan the further escalation of conflict with Russia. The culmination was the gathering at the US Air Force Base in Ramstein, Germany, on Friday, at which pressure is mounting on Berlin to give the go-ahead for the supply of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. The meeting was opened by Ukrainian leaders alongside American military commanders demanding tanks and more heavy weaponry.

Laughably, the Americans are prevaricating about sending their M1 Abrams tanks, preferring instead for Germany, Britain, France, Poland, Finland and others to send theirs. The farcical wrangling encapsulates the U.S. colonialist attitude towards European allies who are too supine or stupid to complain. “Go ahead punks, make my day,” as Clint Eastwood’s character Dirty Harry might say.

The U.S. is quite content for Europe to be turned into ashes and rebuild the continental wreck for the purpose of reviving redundant American capitalism, as in the aftermath of previous world wars.

Earlier in the week, the U.S. top military commander General Mark Milley met with Ukrainian counterpart Valery Zaluzhny to oversee the setting up of new training grounds for troops in Poland and Germany. Zaluzhny is an acolyte of the Ukrainian World War Two Nazi collaborator and mass murderer Stepan Bandera. The pairing between Milley and Zaluzhny can hardly be a better illustration of the nefarious nature of the U.S.-led axis pushing war against Russia. Western media don’t report this because its function is to hoodwink the Western public into cheerleading for war.

The relentless mobilization of the NATO bloc under U.S. leadership has finally reached a historic war footing against Russia. We can trace this ideology all the way back to the beginning of the Cold War following the defeat of Nazi Germany, but it certainly has accelerated since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, followed by 9/11 and the U.S. imperial notion of full-spectrum dominance, and especially after the ignominious withdrawal of the NATO war machine from Afghanistan in August 2021.

All members of the 30-nation bloc are rushing weapons to the conflict in Ukraine. It is even reported that the United States is drawing down military stockpiles held in Israel and South Korea to augment firepower against Russia. Furthermore, Washington is now considering supporting strikes on Crimea which Moscow warned would be an extremely dangerous escalation towards all-out general war. Virtually all taboos have been shelved it seems, as the New York Times remarked this week.

The Western states appear to be driven by madmen who are willfully pushing the world to the brink of catastrophe. There are now open calls for the defeat of Russia and illogical demands for more weapons to Ukraine as a way of achieving peace. “Weapons are the way to peace,” declared Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s titular leader during the World Economic Forum for assorted global elites in Davos this week. “We have to prevent a stalemate,” intoned Washington’s top diplomat Antony Blinken and his British counterpart James Cleverly (how misnamed is the latter!).

Meanwhile, American, European and NATO leaders are calling for war crimes prosecutions against Russia.

There seems to be no room for any diplomacy or rationality. The NATO powers are doubling down on reckless demands that Russia is expelled from Crimea and the Donbass. What the NATO powers are really seeking is the defeat and conquest of Russia.

Russia was forced to intervene in Ukraine last February after all diplomatic efforts by Moscow were rejected. The NATO-backed covert war on the Russian people within the artificially created areas of Ukraine – a war that had been raging for eight years following the NATO-orchestrated coup in Kiev in 2014 – had to be put to an end by force. Hence Russia’s military intervention on February 24, 2022.

There is no way that Russia is going to cede the territories that have now become part of the Russian Federation following legally constituted referenda. But the war has been dragged out by NATO’s demonic weaponization and callous exploitation of Ukraine as a bridgehead against Russia. NATO leaders talk about “preventing a stalemate” by sending more weapons to prop up the NeoNazi Kiev regime. It is the United States and European states along with other allies who have striven to create a bloody quagmire in Ukraine in which lives are callously being destroyed.

The stakes are being made incredibly high by the United States and its imperialist minions. Make no mistake. Washington and its NATO stooges have embarked on a war of choice. Russia has every right to take military action against NATO members. Train tracks in Poland delivering Leopard tanks to Ukraine to kill Russian soldiers are legitimate targets. As are British servicemen maintaining Challenger tanks or British ships transporting them. Up to now, NATO has aggressed Russia with impunity. It is time to end the impunity and give Western warmongers pause for thought about their criminal conduct as one of our commentators noted this week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin this week said that Russia will eventually win the war in Ukraine to vanquish the NATO-backed NeoNazi regime. He was speaking, appropriately, on the 80th anniversary of the breaking of the Nazi siege on Leningrad (St Petersburg).

Other independent international military analysts, including Colonel Douglas Macgregor and Scott Ritter, agree that Russia will prevail in its objectives to render Ukraine demilitarized and remove the NATO-NeoNazi surrogate posing as a national security threat to Russia. The Western media in lockstep with imperialist ideologues have created a propaganda illusion that the Kiev regime can win if only it is supplied with more tanks and missiles. This is fomenting a disaster for Ukraine and potentially for world peace. Russia will not be defeated but the madcap warmongers are raising the stakes to the level of an existential crisis by demanding that Ukraine be made into a “defense line for freedom”.

Moscow again this week warned that if the Western powers insist on pursuing a general war with Russia, then the world is being pushed to the brink of nuclear destruction. This is not a threat. It is simply a statement of fact. Western leaders have become so deranged in their imperial arrogance, self-righteousness and Russophobia, they are beyond heeding sensible warnings. When they declare that war is being waged for the sake of peace and freedom and when diplomacy is vilified as a weakness then there is little hope for an imminent political solution.

The United States and its imperial surrogates have made war all but inevitable from their intransigence. They think they are putting a gun to Russia’s head.

Moscow needs to end this war in Ukraine decisively by eliminating the NATO-Kiev regime. The NATO powers are the ones who are playing Russian Roulette.

Tanks for Nothing: NATO Keeps On Demilitarising Itself in Ukraine

January 17, 2023

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by James Tweedie

It has been said often over the past year, most recently by Emmanuel Todd, that the conflict in Ukraine is “existential” for Russia.

Certainly, the Great Bear cannot abide a NATO ballistic missile launchpad just 300 miles from Moscow in a country run my rabidly-Russophobic Nazis — not neo-Nazi skinhead cosplayers but the literal descendants of the real deal.

But others have argued that the Special Military Operation (SMO) is also a make-or-break roll of the dice for NATO and the US which dominates it. How else can we explain the latest mania for arming the regime in Kiev just as its ‘Siegfried Line’ in the Donbass starts to crumble?

How else can one explain cry-bully US National Security Spokesman John Kirby’s response to news that Russian Wagner ‘private military company’ had liberated the town of Soledar, a keystone of the Ukrainian defences? He simultaneously tried to cast doubt on the facts while claiming the town’s capture was strategically insignificant.

“We don’t know his it’s gonna go, so I’m not going to predict failure or success here,” Kirby said as Wagner were mopping up stranded Ukrainian conscripts. “But even if both Bakhmut and Soledar fall to the Russians, it’s not going to have a strategic impact on the war itself, and it certainly isn’t going to stop the Ukrainians or slow them down in terms of their efforts to regain their territory.”

To the contrary, reports indicate that several Ukrainian brigades being concentrated for a southward push on Melitopol, near the narrow isthmus to the Crimea, were redeployed to Donbass in a vain attempt to hold Soledar and Bakhmut, where they suffered huge casualties. Taking Bakhmut could allow the Russian forces to ‘roll up’ the Ukrainian line to the north and south and advance on Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, the last two major cities Ukraine holds in Donetsk.

Moscow has repeatedly said there can be no peace while the West keeps pumping arms into Ukraine. The most obvious interpretation of those statements is that NATO is only prolonging the suffering of the Ukrainian and Donbass peoples with its cornucopia of death. But another is, as blogger Andrei Martyanov said recently, that the ultimate end of the SMO is not just to de-militarise (and de-Nazify) the Ukraine, but all of NATO too.

Indeed, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a January 6 TV interview that his country was already a “de facto” member of NATO, and that he had been thanked by unnamed Western politicians for fighting Russia on their behalf to defend their imperialist idea of exclusive “civilisation”.

I wrote last August that only NATO could de-militarise itself, and then asked in September if the Ukraine was doing the same. Now seems a good time to take stock of that.

A Farewell to (NATO) Arms

Western aid to the Ukraine since the start of the SMO — arms supplies and payments for fighting the war on NATO’s behalf — has long since exceeded Russia’s 2022 defence budget of around $75 billion, and even its projected 2023 spend of $84 billion. It’s widely recognised that the Russian arms industry gives you more ‘bang for your buck’, but the disparity has become stark.

On December 22, 2022, Russian Chief of the General Staff, Army General Valery Gerasimov said: “Since the beginning of the special military operation, the West has delivered to Kiev a total of four aircraft, more than 30 helicopters, over 350 tanks, about 1,000 armoured combat vehicles, at least 800 armoured vehicles, up to 700 artillery systems, 100 MLRS [multiple-launch rocket systems], 130,000 anti-tank weapons, more than 5,300 MANPADs, and at least 5,000 UAVs for various purposes.”

Russia’s initial estimate of Ukrainian military strength included 2,416 armoured fighting vehicles — probably about 800 main battle tanks (MBTs) along with 1,600 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and armoured personnel carriers (APCs) — 152 fixed-wing combat aircraft and 149 helicopters, 180 medium- and long-rang surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, 1,509 artillery guns and 535 MLRS.

Various Western ‘military analysis’ sources say Ukraine had a lot more tanks and artillery to begin with, although those figures includes mothballed vehicles and guns that would have to be overhauled — while Russia continues to hit repair workshops with its long-range missiles.

In mid-June 2022, Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Denys Sharapov admitted that his army had lost around half its heavy equipment: 400 tanks, 1,300 IFVs and 700 artillery.

At the end of August, the Ukrainian army launched its counter-offensive in the Kherson region. Just three weeks in, on September 21, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu said his forces on that front had destroyed “208 tanks and 245 infantry fighting vehicles, 186 other armoured vehicles, 15 aircraft and 4 helicopters.” Those losses continued to mount until Russia pulled back across the Dnieper river from the city of Kherson in November 2022. The final tally was around 1,200 armoured vehicles of all types, 40 artillery pieces, 38 aeroplanes and a dozen helicopters.

As of January 14 2023, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) claims to have destroyed more than 7,500 armoured fighting vehicles of all types, 372 planes and 200 helicopters, 400 SAM systems, 982 MLRS, more than 3,800 self-propelled and towed artillery and 8,000 soft-skinned military vehicles, which include civilian-model trucks and cars.

More specifically, Russia says it has hit at least 31 of the 38 M142 HIMARS MLRS launchers pledged by the US, plus six of the 13 M270 tracked MLRS, of the same nine-inch calibre, donated by the UK, Norway, Germany and France. Also on the clobber list are 122 of the 152 US-made M777 howitzers supplied — 80 per cent of them.

The MoD claims may be exaggerated. But, as The Saker blog points out, even if you halve those numbers then the Ukrainian armed forces are still on the verge of being completely ‘de-militarised’.

The arsenals of NATO’s eastern and southern European members have been scoured for Soviet-made arms and vehicles that the Ukrainian forces already operate and for which they have ammunition and spare parts.

As it turns out, Poland has one of the biggest armies in Europe. It has already supplied, among other things, at least 230 MBTs to Kiev, all variants of the T-72. Warsaw has also sent about 40 IFVs, 72 self-propelled 155mm howitzers, 20 122mm SP howitzers and 20 MLRS.

If, as some suspect, the defence ministry in Warsaw actively encouraged the thousands of serving soldiers to have gone to fight in the Ukrainian ‘Foreign Legion’, Poland has lent its very flesh and blood to the Kiev government.

But the cherry on the cake, announced by Polish President Andrzej Duda on a visit to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky in Lvov, the western Ukrainian city Warsaw still covets, was “a company of Leopard tanks” — 10 to 14 in layman’s terms — which he hoped would be just the start of a new wave of largesse from the “international coalition.”

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed on Monday January 16 that the UK was adding a squadron (company) of 14 Challenger 2 MBTs, 24 AS90 155mm SP guns plus an unspecified number of Bulldog APCs and “proected” (i.e. not really armoured) vehicles to the pile of chips on the Ukraine-shaped card table. Rumours of four AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships to follow had been swiftly denied over the weekend.

These tanks have been out of production since 2002 and the British army has just 227 of them. 148 of those are earmarked to be upgraded to the proposed ‘Challenger 3’ standard, although Wallace said that number could be increased — with the implication that there would be fewer to spare. The UK only had 117 AS90s in service as of 2015 and its replacement is still in development, so that pledge represents a fifth of the army’s tracked artillery.

In a leaked internal memo, British Chief of General Staff Sir Patrick Sanders admitted that “giving away these capabilities will leave us temporarily weaker as an army, there is no denying it.”

France has volunteered an unclear number (reportedly 30) of its AMX 10 RC wheeled, turreted vehicles. These have been variously described as “light tanks”, “tank destroyers” or “armoured recce vehicles”, he last reflecting how the French army actually use them. They’re certainly no match for a real MBT.

Marder, She Wrote

The Polish, British and French pledges of token numbers of tanks are explicitly a political move to pressure other countries, especially Germany, to hand over some — or many — of their own. US President Joe Biden already managed to twist German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ arm in the first week of January to give up 40 Marder IFVs by pledging 50 US M2 Bradley IFVs as well.

The ultimate humiliation for Berlin was that the White House announced the move before the German government did. Meanwhile, the new Puma IFV (named after a WWII Nazi armoured car) that is meant to replace the Marder has turned out to be a complete disaster that constantly breaks down. The German defence minister Christine Lambrecht resigned on January 16 — ostensibly for failing to fix the equipment shortage, but also, paradoxically, amid criticism that she has not handed over enough arms to Kiev.

Germany is the biggest European importer of Russian gas and has been reticent to antagonise Moscow too much. It is not lost on the Germans that the last time their tanks were in Ukraine was when the Wehrmacht was perpetrating the genocide of 21 million Soviets.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was in Berlin on Monday in a bid to unlock that Pandora’s box, arguing NATO should not let tanks “rust away in the warehouses.” Of course, Russia’s approach since WWII of stockpiling old equipment, rather than scrapping or selling it, has been key to its ability to sustain high-intensity combat operations this long.

London also pressed Berlin to grant other countries permission to re-export the tanks it has sold them in the past.

“It is hoped that the example set by the French and us will allow those countries holding Leopard tanks to donate as well. I would urge my German colleagues to do that,” Wallace said, then claimed: “These tanks are not offensive when they are used for defensive methods.”

The Leopard 2 also massively out-sells the much-vaunted US M1 Abrams and the Challenger 2 on the export market. 21 countries have bought the German tank, compared to just eight for the Abrams and only one, Oman, for the Challenger 2. Social media videos of burnt-out and turret-less Leopards strewn across the Ukrainian steppes will really mess up German heavy industry’s bottom line. After the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage and the US ‘Inflation Reduction Act’, this would be the third time Berlin has been screwed by its so-called allies.

German tank-maker Rheinmetall’s CEO Armin Papperger tried to head off that outcome on Sunday. He told reporters that Germany could only spare 22 Leopard 2s for Ukraine, and no earlier than 2024. “The vehicles must be completely dismantled and rebuilt,” Papperger stated. The fighting could very well be over by the time they’re fixed.

Scholtz tried to put the ball back in Washington’s court on January 17. “We are never going alone, because this is necessary in a very difficult situation like this,” he said, reiterating that he was anxious to avoid “escalating” the conflict to “a war between Russia and NATO.” Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck more explicit, telling a journalist at the World Economic Forum in Davos the same day: “If America will decide that they will bring battle tanks to Ukraine, that will make it easier for Germany.”

The Pentagon’s excuse for not giving some of its stock of more than 6,000 M1 tanks (compared to Germany’s 300-odd Leopards) to the Ukraine is that they are high-maintenance, voracious gas-guzzlers, even by tank standards, and are fitted with technology that they can’t afford to let fall into Russian hands. But the US has previously exported ‘Nerfed’ versions of the Abrams to several Middle-Eastern countries without the depleted uranium armour inserts and other top-tier systems. The problem is that they turned out to be quite vulnerable.

Many announcements of arms deliveries to the Kiev regime so far have been short on specific numbers. One might speculate that is either because they are embarrassingly small, or because they mean disarming the donor country. Both can be true at once.

For example, Italy’s latest mooted donation is a SAMP-T surface-to-air missile (SAM) battery. Given that the Ukraine started the conflict with 250 long-range S-300 SAMs systems and hundreds of other types, one more is not going to make any difference to the outcome — nor the two Patriot SAM batteries prmised by the US and Germany. But the Italian army only has five SAMP-T systems, and two of those have already been deployed abroad in Kuwait and Slovakia.

Sweden and Finland are not even in NATO yet, and may never be while they both continue to harbour hundreds of Kurdish separatist terrorists wanted in Turkey, which as an existing member has a veto on their entry. But Stockholm may send up to 12 of its 48 Archer self-propelled howitzers to the Ukraine, while Helsinki has already supplied ‘classified’ numbers of APCs, heavy mortars and anti-aircraft guns.

Little Slovakia made headlines last summer when promised Kiev 11 MiG-29 fighters, its entire combat jet fleet. It turns out they still haven’t been delivered, however, and in the meantime Russia has claimed far more aircraft shot down leaving the Ukrainian Air Force at a net loss.

Slovakia’s neighbour the Czech Republic has supplied up to 40 T-72 tanks, 60 IFVs, 50 to 70 SP guns, 20 to 30 MLRS and at least 10 Mi-24 attack helicopters — which have been replaced by either gifts or sales of old AH-1 Cobra choppers from the US.

Latvia donated four helicopters — half its fleet — and six M109 155mm tracked howitzers, which was one in nine of its stocks. Lithuania sent 52 M113 APCs, which is a quarter of its armoured infantry transports, and 10 of its 32 120mm self-propelled mortars based in the same vehicle. Estonia gave nine of its 42 122mm howitzers and what appears to be all seven of its Alvis Mamba light armoured cars. It is these three Baltic micro-states, along with their neighbour Poland, who shout the loudest about the threat of ‘Russian aggression’, yet they are disarming themselves for the sake of the lost cause in the Ukraine.

Logistics? Fiddlesticks!

Mark F. Cancian of the Centre for Strategic and international Studies (a Washington think-tank) has been warning those who will listen about the US military’s logistics problems almost since the start of the SMO.

His latest article, published on January 9, contains a helpful infographic of how many years it will take to replace the arms sent to Ukraine.

Even at the “surge rate” of accelerated production, it will take five years for the US to replenish its stocks of 155mm artillery shells after sending more than 1 million to the Maidan regime. Replacing the 38 HIMARS MLRS launchers sent will take two-and-a-half to three years, while for the Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger shoulder-launched SAMs the time frame could be as long as eight and 18 years respectively.

US Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro appears to agree. Asked this week if the US Navy had reached the point of having to choose between arming itself and Ukraine, he said it was not their yet, but “if the conflict does go on for another six months, for another year, it certainly continues to stress the supply chain in ways that are challenging.”

This betrays a criminally-negligent lack of planning by NATO military staff. Why did the collective west start a fight it couldn’t finish? Did they really think they could bluff Russia into backing down with a few M777s and HIMARS launchers?

Too Little, Too Late

Retired German brigadier general Erich Vad warned last week that the latest round of arms was a “military escalation” even if the 40-plus-year-old Marders were “not a silver bullet.”

“We’re going down a slide. This could develop a momentum of its own that we can no longer control,” Vad said, questioning whether the NATO had a strategy at all. “Do you want to achieve a willingness to negotiate with the deliveries of the tanks? Do you want to reconquer Donbass or Crimea? Or do you want to defeat Russia completely? There is no realistic end state definition. And without an overall political and strategic concept, arms deliveries are pure militarism.”

Brian Berletic of The New Atlas has broken down the latest headline-grabbing pledges of heavy armour to Ukraine. He has explained cogently that nothing is indestructible, and most of the immensely-heavy Western MBTs have proven vulnerable in recent years by man-portable weapons.

Islamic State/DAESH wiped out about 10 Turkish army Leopard 2s when Ankara sent troops into northern Syrian four years ago, and destroyed or captured around Iraqi army 100 M1 Abrams during its sudden seizure of northern Iraq in 2014.

The US Bradley and German Marder IFVs are far more vulnerable. Both are about a third taller and half as heavy again as the Russian equivalent BMP series of vehicles, making them fat targets with the bonus of huge propaganda value when they are destroyed. Armour-wise, the Bradley is only fully protected against Russian 14.5mm heavy machine guns and the Marder against 20mm and 25 mm automatic cannon. The Russian BMPs and the newer wheeled BTRs carry a 30mm cannon, but more importantly anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), both quite capable of destroying any other IFV in service.

Berletic also puts the numbers to be supplied in context. Along with the 90 refurbished Czech T-72 tanks paid for by the US and Netherlands in the autumn, the new deliveries will only be enough to equip one armoured brigade with its attached mechanised infantry battalions.

Ukraine is now claiming that it will form up three whole new army corps of troops this year, each numbering 75,000 men, for a total of 225,000. That’s as large as the standing army Kiev commanded on February 24 last year. What will they be armed with and transported on, slingshots and bicycles?

Martyanov simply points to the commonly-used algebraic equations for force requirements and battle outcomes as proof that the latest ‘packages’ will make no difference.

General Lord Richard Dannatt agrees with Martyanov and Berletic that a dozen or so tanks is not going to be enough. While still claiming the Challenger is a wonder-weapon, he wrote for the Daily Mail that 50 would be needed to make a difference.

Kiev’s ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, combines NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s killer android stare with Zelensky’s shameless passive-aggressive panhandling.

He took the whole argument to its logical conclusion by demanding “hundreds” of tanks in an interview with LBC radio, then upped the stakes to “thousands” when he went on Sky News — in the process admitting that Russia was able to field that many itself despite Western claims it is running out of everything.

Prystaiko probably realises that he is talking about the entire arsenals of the European NATO members, and probably a large part of US military stocks.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said simply: “These tanks will burn like the rest. The goals of the special operation will be achieved.”

The whole world has been on tenterhooks for almost a year now, wondering whether the conflict between NATO’s proxy Ukraine and Russia will escalate into full-blown World War Three or just end up as World War Two-and-a-Half: the sequel only the psycho fans wanted.

But instead of weakening Russia militarily and economically, as US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has stated is Washington’s goal, the conflict is destroying NATO’s ability to fight and only making Russia richer and stronger. Moscow may in no hurry to finish it.

In the mean time, let’s hope the West doesn’t throw a tantrum when Russia breaks its best war toys and drop the big one.

موسكو وطهران تقلبان الموازين ونصرالله يحذر من أوكرانيا ثانية في الإقليم

يناير 9 2023

 محمد صادق الحسيني

لا يمرّ يوم منذ حرب الأطلسي على روسيا وبدء العملية العسكرية الروسية في أوكرانيا، إلا ونقرأ تقارير غربية ـ «إسرائيلية»، تشي بتحوّل معادلات الصراع التقليدية بين الغرب والشرق، وتحديداً من البوابة الإيرانية.

دخول مُسيّرات شاهد ١٣٦، وحرثها الأرض تحت أقدام الناتو، ومن ثم دخول صواريخ باليستية إيرانية الى الميدان هناك، وتموضع مستشارين إيرانيين في شبه جزيرة القرم، كلها تقارير متداولة، في الصحافة البريطانية والأميركية كانت مع الزمن تضاعف مزيداً من القلق لدى الدوائر الغربية بشكل عام، والصهيونية بشكل أخصّ.

لم تتمكن مصادر مستقلة حتى الآن على تأكيد كلّ ما سبق ذكره آنفاً، لكن القدر المتيقن والصحيح باعتراف الإيرانيين والروس حتى الآن، هو أمرين:

أولا ـ تزايد التقارب الاستراتيجي الروسي الإيراني بشكل واضح وملحوظ.

ثانيا ـ تزايد التعاون التسليحي بين موسكو وطهران بشكل استراتيجي ومكثف.
المفاجأة الآن هو رواية وصول طائرات سوخوي ٣٥ الروسية المتطورة جداً الى يد الإيرانيين ـ والتي يمكن أن تحدث خللاً كبيراً في موازين القوى في الإقليم ـ كما يرد في التقرير الأميركي التالي:
حيث نشر موقع صحيفة «ذي ناشيونال انتريست» الأميركي في 6/1/2023، على موقعه تحليلاً مفصلاً لأبعاد حصول إيران على صفقة طائرات: سوخوي ٣٥ الروسية المتطورة جداً.
ولأهمية الموضوع فإننا نورد لكم هنا أهمّ ما جاء في المقال نصاً كما يلي:

اولا ـ انّ الموضوع أخطر بكثير مما يتصوّر المرء، إذ انّ اقتناء إيران لهذا النوع من الطائرات، المتقدّمة جداً والمتعدّدة المهمات (يمكنها القيام بعمليات القصف الجوي أو عمليات الاعتراض والاشتباك الجوي مع الطائرات والأهداف المعادية الأخرى وتقديم الدعم الناري للقوات البرية في ميادين المعارك.
أما مصدر الخطورة، حسب الموقع فيتمثل في أنّ ذلك (اقتناء إيران لها) سوف يحدث خللاً في موازين القوى الجوية في الخليج، حيث سيعطي إيران مجالاً أكبر بكثير للسيطرة على أجواء الخليج.

ثانيا ـ والأخطر من ذلك أنّ عملية التبادل التجاري، بين روسيا وإيران، على قاعدة مُسيّرات وصواريخ باليستية إيرانية مقابل مقاتلات روسية، انّ مثل هذه العملية تشكل تطوّراً جيوسياسياً مهماً، إذ آنذاك يشي بقيام تحالف هجومي (بين إيران وروسيا) معادٍ للولايات المتحدة.

ثالثا ـ أما ما يزيد من خطورة هذه المقاتلة فهو: سرعتها العالية جداً، والتي تصل الى الفين وخمسمئة كيلو متر في الساعة، وقدرتها العالية جداً على المناورة، خاصة في المعارك الجوية. بالإضافة الى تجهيزها بأنظمة رادار متقدمة جداً، يصل مداها الى أربعمئة كيلو متر (باستطاعتها اكتشاف الطائرات المعادية على بعد أربعمئة كيلو متر، ما يمكنها من الاستعداد للانقضاض على العدو).
كما أنّ تسلّحها بصواريخ: R 73، المخصصة للاشتباك الجوي، القادرة على ضرب الطائرات المعادية على بعد أربعين كيلو متراً، يزيد الى حد بعيد من خطورة هذه المقاتلة، المؤهلة لتأمين السيطرة الجوية، وهي القادرة على إطلاق صواريخها بعكس اتجاه طيرانها، معتمدة على تقنيات متطورة، سواءً في حجرة القيادة او تجهيزات الطيار نفسه (مجهز بأجهزة رؤية تسمح له بمشاهدة محيط الطائره على مدار ٣٦٠ درجة).

رابعا ـ وما يزيد من خطورة هذه المقاتلة هو تسلّحها بصواريخ جو/ جو، :، التي تحلق بسرعة تبلغ خمسة أضعاف سرعة الصوت وتحمل رأساً متفجراً يزن اثنين وعشرين كيلوغراماً ونصف الكيلوغرام وقادر على إصابة وتدمير ايّ هدف معادٍ (طائرة) على بعد ثمانين كيلو متراً. وهو الأمر الذي يعزز، الى حدّ بعيد، قدرة الردع الجوي الإيراني

وعلى الرغم من انّ هذا التطور (حصول إيران على مقاتلات سوخوي ٣٥) لن يقلب موازين القوى رأساً على عقب (في الخليج)، إلا انّ ذلك سيجعل العمل في الأجواء الإيرانية محفوفاً بالمخاطر.

كما انّ الأمر يفضي الى خلل في موازين القوى الجوية، بين إيران ودول الخليج، كما أنه يؤثر على احتمالات اي عملية استباقية اسرائيلية (في الأجواء الإيرانية). علماً انّ الموقع يقول بأنّ وسائل إعلام رسمية إيرانية قد أعلنت عن هذا الموضوع (الحصول على المقاتلات الروسية مقابل مُسيّرات وصواريخ إيرانية) بتاريخ ٢٨/١٢/٢٠٢٢، وقالت انّ الطيارين الإيرانيين يتدرّبون على قيادة هذه الطائرات منذ شهر ٥/٢٠٢٢.

الأمر إذن أخطر بكثير من مجرد صفقة طائرات وتعاون تسليحي بين قوتين إحداهما قوة عالمية عظمى تحارب مجموع دول الأطلسي انطلاقاً من أوكرانيا، والثانية قوة إقليمية عظمى تواجه القوة الرئيسية في التحالف الأطلسي منذ أكثر من أربعة عقود، دون هوادة، ولا يزيدها زمن المواجهة إلا إصراراً وقوةً واقتداراً.

لا بل أصبحت على رأس محور متجانس يتمثل في نحو ستة جيوش مركبة بين عمليات نظامية تقليدية وأخرى حرب غوار، استطاعت أن تهزم أميركا على بوابات عواصمها في دمشق وبغداد وصنعاء وبيروت والقدس وطهران.

ما سيثير الفزع الأكبر لدى محور الشر الأطلسي المقابل هو ما قاله قائد أحد الجيوش الأكثر اقتداراً بعد إيران وهو السيد حسن نصر الله قبل أيام:
« على واشنطن كبح جماح حكومة الفاسدين والمجانين الجدد في تل أبيب، إذا ما أرادت أن تتجنّب، حرباً جديدة من طراز الحرب الأوكرانية».

هل اقتربت حرب يوم القيامة والصعود الى الجليل بشكل جماعي من قبل حلف المقاومة!؟

كلمة السر عند السيد والراسخين في علوم جغرافيا آخر الزمان.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

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Not a good strategy (Douglas Macgregor – MUST SEE!)

January 09, 2023

Making sense of NATO strikes against Russia

JANUARY 02, 2023

There is no doubt that NATO is trying hard to escalate the war in the Ukraine.  Just before the end of the year there were two drones strikes against a major Aerospace Forces base in Engels.  The attacks were not very successful, but Russians did die when shrapnel hit a fuel truck which exploded.  The importance of that attack was that Engels is located deep inside Russia.

Then there were assorted small attacks against various Russian border posts and towns near the Russian border.

And now this on one day:

Ukrainian drone hits energy facility inside Russia – governor

and

Dozens dead in Ukrainian strike on Russian troops – Moscow

What is left of Russian barracks in Makeevka following a HIMARS strike

Let’s first deal with the second headline.  The first thing we need to say is that this was clearly a legal target under the laws of war: NATO hit Russian military personnel, and that is a fully legal target.  However, if we look just a tad deeper, we realize that the HIMARS attack was clearly conducted by western “volunteers/advisors”, that is to say NATO personnel who took off their uniform and are under cover.  Still, this is still yet another direct NATO attack on Russian soldiers.

[Sidebar: this is the type of attack HIMARS are very good at: precision strikes against fragile targets.  HIMARS has very good range and precision, but their warheads are too small to successfully take out harder targets, such as bridges or bunkers.  HIMARS, especially backed by the full US/NATO C4ISR capabilities, do represent a major threat to any “soft” targets like, in this case, wooden barracks]

I would note that only a clueless civilian could expect NATO to never do anything, offer no resistance, take no counter-measures, never succeed or hit Russians were in hurts.  The truth in warfare is that the enemy will shoot back (at least in a real war, not a counter-insurgency operation against a vastly inferior adversary).

But what about the rest of these strikes, especially those aimed at Russian territory (as it was before the liberation of Ukrainian regions)?

So we need to ask a basic question: what is the goal of these strikes?

Let’s begin with some truisms:

First, none of these strikes will make ANY difference on the actual course of this war.  Just like the Israeli strikes against Lebanon or Syria (latest one today, killed two Syrians and damaged the facilities).  However, while the Israeli strikes on Syria are for “psychotherapeutic reasons” (I have explained that MANY times in the past), this is not the case with NATO strikes, including the “non-claimed” ones against Engels.

Second, after each of these strikes many people will wonder what Russia will do about it.  The precedent is the attack on the Crimean bridge which gave Russia a pretext to switch off the lights in Banderastan. And yes, it was clearly only a pretext, as such massive strikes campaign cannot be quickly planned and executed in a few hours/days.  The self-evident truth is that the Russians were quite ready to unleash their strikes long BEFORE the Crimean Bridge attack, but that they were more than happy to have that attack as a pretext (as opposed to a *reason*) to strike.

And, if you wonder, Russia is still conducting such strikes on a daily basis, including strikes involving hundreds of missiles!  These follow on strikes are almost not reported in the western media because 1) “Ze” banned any images/videos of the results of these strikes and 2) reporting their true magnitude would undermine the official narrative (including the one about Russia running out of ammo).

Still, NATO does not act just to show that it can act.  There is a real, military, purpose behind these strikes.  And it is not “just” to provoke Russia into some kind of response (not with tens and even hundreds of Russian missile strikes every day already taking place).

The war is already going on, the Russians are already fighting along a very long frontline, the Russian Aerospace Forces are already striking targets over the entire Ukraine, so what is there more to provoke/trigger?

I submit that there is only one thing which the Russians have not done yet, and that is the fullscale combined arms operation the Russian General Staff is obviously preparing.  And since this major offensive is almost certain to happen, the only thing which such NATO strikes could affect is the timing of the attack.  And since there is no way that these NATO (pinprick) strikes could delay the Russian offensive, their only possibly goal would be to make it happen sooner.

Why would NATO want the Russian offensive sooner rather than later?  In all its other actions, the AngloZionists have tried to draw out this war for as long as possible, so why would they want to make the Russians attack sooner rather than later?

Because the Russian General Staff is waiting for all the “ducks to be lined” up before attacking.  Thus by trying to force the Russians into a premature attack date, NATO is, very logically, trying to prevent all the said “ducks” to be “lined up”.  In other words, NATO is trying to force the hand of the Russian General Staff by increasing the pressure on the Kremlin to “finally take action”.

Trying to force your enemy into a premature attack makes perfect military sense (as would any effort to seize the initiative and impose your tempo on your enemy).

These efforts are greatly aided by the following categories:

  • Civilians who don’t understand warfare
  • Infantiles who get outraged every time NATO successfully strikes Russian targets
  • Western (fake) “friends of Russia” who mantrically repeat that “Putin is weak/indicisive/naive/fill_the_blank
  • Western PSYOPS who want to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubts) in the Russian general public

These four groups form a rather loud crowd who act EXACTLY as the AngloZionist want them to.

So how effective are these NATO efforts?

Here we need to mention a deep cultural difference between the Russian society and the western one: most Russians have a much better understanding of war than the folks in the West.  This is true for civilians all the way through the generals.  There are many reasons for that, but just to name a few:

  • Many Russians have military training (basic or more advanced)
  • Almost every Russian has lost family members during WWII and, therefore, know how ugly war is.
  • Russian culture, from books to movies, is chock full of war stories, and not of the Tom Clancy type, but the real thing.
  • Wars in Chechnia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Georgia, Syria, Armenia and many more conflicts have “educated” the Russian society about the painful realities of war.

Unlike the hallucinations of the (fake) “friends of Russia” in the West, the “Strelkovites” and other assorted “allislosters” in Russia have very little traction or credibility with the Russian general public.  Simply put – Russians trust Surovikin (and Putin!) much, much, more than these hysterical FUDers because they instinctively feel that what is needed is not anger, but focus.

Conclusion:

NATO is trying really hard to force the Russians into a “NATO schedule” and out of their planned schedule.  An added beneficial side-effect from such “for optics only” strikes is to give the morons in Congress a rationale to put even more money into the US MIC.

As for forcing Russia to attack in suboptimal conditions, that won’t happen.  Neither Putin, nor Shoigu, nor Gerasimov nor Surovikin are the types who will respond to hysterics with “for optics only” actions (just look at their faces, I mean it!). And this also goes for the entire General Staff.

I fully concur with those who, like Macgregor, have been announcing a major combined arms offensive this Spring, but it will happen when Putin decides it, not when NATO wants it.  Right now, the Russian meat grinder is inflicting such losses on the Ukraine that it really makes no sense for the Russians to stop it.  But, sooner or later, even this will eventually yield diminishing marginal returns and, by then, the Russian forces (there are three of them around the Ukraine) will be fully ready, trained, equipped and poised to attack.

The big unknown (to us, the Russians probably already know) is what NATO will do when this offensive happens.  You can be sure that the “best” minds (relatively speaking) in the US are working on the following task: how to trigger a continental war without directly and officially involving the United States?

I don’t have an answer to this, your guess is as good as mine 🙂

Any suggestions?

Andrei

Grasping at the last Straw (Andrei Martyanov)

December 20, 2022

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

Dr Michael Vlahos interviews Col. Douglas Macgregor (MUST SEE!)

December 13, 2022

Are Ukrainians Russians?

December 06, 2022

Are Ukrainians Russians?

Seems like a simple question, but in reality it is immensely complex.  I will try to outline a few of the issues, assumptions and implications this question involves.

Well, for starters, we might want to ask “what is a Ukrainian?”  After all, no such nation or country can be found in history books.  But we should not stop here, and we also need to ask “what is a Russian?”.  Yes, there was a Russian nation and a Russian country recorded in history books, but does that really help us?

French history books used to begin with the sentence “our ancestors the Gauls” which even kids on the French colonies had to learn.  Some ridiculed the fact that sub-Saharan Africans or the children of Guadeloupe had to learn that and that was self-evidently ridiculous.

But what about metropolis French, those who lived in France proper?

Where their ancestors really Gauls and, if so, how much continuity, if any, is there between Vercingetorix and Macron or the people from ancient Gallic tribes to the modern French?

What we often overlook is that nationality is a very modern concept born out of the post 1789 ideology of nationalism.  In the more distant past, people built their identity around 1) their place of birth/residence 2) their religion and 3) their ruler.    Keeping all that in mind, let’s begin by asking the question “what is a Russian?”. But before we go there, I need to mention another pesky issue: the English word “Russian” can mean one of two things: a member of the Russian ethnic/cultural group, in which case the Russian term is русский (roosskii) or a citizen of the Russian Federation, in which case the Russian term would be россиянин (rossiianin).

[Sidebar: before 1917 you could be a “Russian Chechen” or “Russian German” because the distinction between rossiianin and roosskii did not exist then or, should we say, it was less common and used differently.  Russia being the cultural, political and spiritial heir to the East Roman Empire, it had multi-ethnicity built into her from the moment Russia appeared]

For the time being, let’s ignore the second meaning and focus on the ethnic/cultural русский (roosskii).  What is a русский (roosskii)?

To try to find a good definition, let’s being by spelling out what a Russian is not.

  • This is not somebody who speaks Russian.  There are plenty of folks out there who speak Russian and who are not Russian.
  • This is not somebody born in Russia, because there are plenty of non-Russians born in Russia.

How about somebody born from Russian parents?

Here we run into a logical problem: if we define as Russian somebody born of Russian parents without defining what Russian means in the first place, this is a completely circular definition.

Also, is Shoigu Russian?  This father is an ethnic Tuvan.  So 50% Russian max?

How about Czar Nicholas II?  His ancestry was mostly German and Danish.

How about Lenin? He had only 1/4 “Russian” blood (whatever that means)

Here we need to keep three crucial elements in mind:

  • Russia was always multi ethnic, even in the 10th century!
  • Russia has no natural borders
  • Russia was invaded by innumerable ethnic and religions groups and many of these groups acculturated into the Russian society adding their heritage to the common Russian one

Thus the “ethnic definition” does not work at all.

For countries like Japan or native people like the Mapuche ethnic categories might make sense, but for a country with a history and geography like Russia it is utterly meaningless (hence the reason why patriotism is a very positive force in Russia and nationalism a very toxic one).

But it only get even more complicated.

Just like, say, France or Italy, Russia went through very different moments in history and the Russia or, say, the 15th century and the Russia or the 19th century had very little in common.

Now this is highly subjective, but I would submit that at the very least, we can roughly break up the historical Russia into the following periods:

  • Russia before Peter I
  • Russia between Peter I and 1917
  • Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1991
  • US colonized Russia between 1991 and 2000
  • Putin’s Russia 2000-2021
  • Russia after 2022

And even this is a much simplified categorization, each period should also be further subdivided, but that would take too much space here.

Next I would also argue that how Russians defined themselves over these periods also changed, and this why pre-1917 Dostoevsky thought that one cannot be Russian unless one is Orthodox first (which might have make sense before 1917, but sure makes no sense at all in 2022).  My point here is not to discuss the best possible definition of “who/what is a Russian” but to show that this apparently simple question is also very complex and, at best, a moving target!

Now in the case of the Ukraine, it gets even more complex than that.

When I wrote above that there was no “Ukrainian nation” or “Ukrainian state” in history I did not mean to say that BECAUSE there were no such phenomena in history there is no such thing as a Ukrainian today.

To be clear, I do NOT believe that in order to consider yourself as belonging to an ethnic or cultural group you MUST have a historical basis for your claim.  Nations can be created, in fact, I would argue that all of them are created at some point in time.  Ethnogenesis is something we can observe on all continents, nations and ethnic groups: this is the emergence of a NEW and DISTINCT identity, usually followed by the creation of “founding myths” which might or might not have any real basis in history.

In the case of the Ukraine (I mean this term geographically here, the southwestern frontier/border lands of Russia), it is simply undeniable that these lands lived under Polish/Latin yoke for many centuries and that this occupation had two direct results:

  1. The people of the Ukraine had experiences with the rest of the Russian nation did not (such as being under Latin occupation or having Orthodox communities submitted the Greek and not the Russian Orthodox Church)
  2. The people of the Ukraine did not experience some of the most crucial events in Russian history (such as the Old Rite vs New Rite crisis which deeply shattered Russian society in the 17th century and after).

Such differences in experience left deep marks on the identity of the people it affected.  It would be foolish to deny this and it would be dangerous to deliberately ignore it!

So, to sum up what I have tried to show so far we could say that:

  1. History is not a useful tool to measure some supposed “legitimacy” of any one group’s claim of identity.
  2. Ethnic/cultural identities can arise both spontaneously and even artificially.

In the case of the Ukraine, it is a mix of both.  Primarily, the “Ukraine” is a creation of the Latin Papacy (see here for a discussion).  But, like it or not, the Latins did eventually trigger a Ukrainian ethnogenesis, albeit with varying degrees of success (roughly the further West, the longer the Polish yoke, the stronger that Ukrainian identity).

But even if none of that had happened, it would make no difference.

Even if we assume that there was absolutely NOTHING on our planet which could be called “Ukraine” or “Ukrainian”, and even if the people of the post-1991 Ukraine had ZERO historical basis for their claims, it is still a fundamental human right to choose your identity (or, more accurately, identities, plural).

If tomorrow the people of Japan decide that from now on their identity will not be Japanese but, say, Martian, we could laugh all we want, but we could not deny them that right or force them to give up their newly adopted “Martian” identity.

Furthermore, is it not silly to tell a person who absolutely hates Russia and all things Russian and who sincerely believes that he is from a totally different ethnic and cultural group, that this person has no right to his opinion that this person must accept that he is Russian?

That would create a “Russian russophobe”.

Actually, there are PLENTY of Russians russophobes out there.  Even if by any imaginable definition you are Russian (or any other nationality), you still have the free will to reject that heritage and choose another one (even a fictional one).

There is even a special term for these folks: вырусь (vyroos‘).  In my experience, most (but not all!) folks who voluntarily emigrated from Russia fall into this category.

This is why my first thesis here is this: those Ukrainians who chose to identify as Ukrainians and who reject any Russian heritage (whatever we may mean by that) have the moral right to do so and nobody has the moral right to deny them this choice.  And while historical arguments can be used to debunk the founding myths of the Ukronazi ideology, they still cannot be used to deny anybody what is a deeply personal choice.

[Sidebar: it is my personal belief that identities can be cumulative and that they don’t have to exclude each other.  While I personally consider myself culturally a “pre-1917 Russian”, I am 50% Dutch by DNA, I was born in German speaking Switzerland and lived most of my life in French speaking Geneva, and I also feel even more cultural identities inside me, including an Argentinian one.  I speak 5 languages well (albeit with many typos when I write, as you all know!) and another 2 reasonably.  I currently live in the USA (click here for an explanation why)  And just to add yet another element, I am a member of a Greek Orthodox Church, not a Russian one.  I also think of myself as a Jazz guitarist and freediver.  So even my hobbies form part of my identity.  Why should I have to limit myself to only one, “pure”, identity when I am so clearly a mongrel?  In fact, I embrace and enjoy all this diversity of influences which all have contributed to shape the person I am today.  And if I claim that right to cumulative identities, how could I deny it to anybody else?]

And then there is this undeniable fact: while about 80% of россиянин (rossiianin) are русский (roosskii), 20% are not.  In fact there are 193 ethnic groups in Russia and 35 languages which are considered official languages in various regions of Russia, along with Russian, plus are over 100 minority languages.  And while Chechens are not русский (roosskii) they are most definitely россиянин (rossiianin), that is to say that while Chechens are a distinct ethnic group, they are also part of what I call the “Russian civilizational realm”. One could reasonably argue that the Chechens of 2022 are the most patriotic of all Russians!

This makes a lot more sense to me that to dig into past clades, tribes or local native groups and seek some “biological identity”.

This is, by the way, one of the most striking and profound differences between the Russian and Ukronazi cultural models: Russians want and enjoy the immense diversity of their nations.  Ukronazi want a racially pure, russenrein, Ukraine (hence their constant talk about “subhumans”, “cockroaches” and “biomass”).

Let’s leave the idiotic concept of “pure race” to the Nazis, Zionists and their likes.

The first thing which I would immediately point out if that historically the lands which we now call the Ukraine were very much exposed to, or even part of, the Russian civilizational realm.  But that is absolutely NOT true of the current, Ukronazi/Banderista cultural identity which, in fact, was created as an anti-Orthodoxy and which nowadays sees itself as an anti-Russia.  I personally know that identity very, very well: not only have I met plenty of Ukronazis in my life, I also monitored the Ukronazi propaganda on VOA and RFE/RL for years and I know that Ukronazi nationalism has no positive content whatsoever, it is only a pure and total negation of everything Russian with a few truly ridiculous (and comical) claims about some “Ukrainian antiquity”.

In other words, even if you live in Odessa or Kharkov and you are (let’s simply assume that) from 100% pure ethnic Russian stock (no such thing, but bear with me), you STILL get to reject that identity and adopt any identity you want, including the Ukronazi/Banderistsa one.

At this point, I want to list all the criteria which are plainly not helpful to discuss identities:

  • Genetic makeup
  • Place of birth
  • Mother-tongue (or languages)
  • Religion
  • History in general and historical borders (which constantly shifted) specifically
  • Whether we personally approve of an ideology or cultural claim or not
  • Political ideologies
  • Identities embraced in the past
  • The difference between a language and a dialect
  • Similarities and differences with other identities

And yet, every time I hear people discuss whether the Russian are liberators or occupiers of the Ukraine, I see these criteria used, and by both sides!

This makes absolutely no sense to me.

In fact, I strongly believe that the choice of being Ukrainian, Russian or both (yes, that is a choice!) depends on each individual person.  Period.

But here I want to add something crucial: having to make such a personal choice is not specific or unique to the Ukrainians, all Russians also face the same question too!

I submit that, objectively, the “Russian” 5th column and the Atlantic Integrationists are, de facto, not Russians.  Why do I say that? Because 1) they serve foreign masters and 2) they seek to harm Russia.  And I don’t care how their actions are packaged (heck, Navalnyi tried really hard to impersonate a nationalist!).

Thus, to “be Russian” means, in my opinion, that you have made a deliberate choice by identify with, and become part of, the Russian civilizational realm.

Put simply: you cannot be Russia and hate Russia.

How many people in what is left of the Ukraine today consider themselves Russian?

I don’t know, and I don’t think anybody else knows either.

But I think that it is fair to say that most people in Russia were shocked by the number of Ukrainians who chose to not only adopt a Ukrainian identity, but even fight and die for it! Many did, sincerely, think of Ukrainians are “brothers”.

Today this “brotherhood” looks increasingly like the “brotherhood” of Cain…

Even more amazingly, most of these Ukronazis don’t even speak Ukrainian properly and mostly speak to each other in Russian.  Some even consider themselves as Orthodox Christians.  Yup, these Russian speakers, many from the central and eastern Ukraine still sing “Батько наш — Бандера, Україна — мати, ми за Україну будем воювати!” (Our Father is Bandera, our mother the Ukraine, we are ready to wage war for the Ukraine).

I would note with some glee that if Bandera is their father, then the Ukraine was born no earlier than the mid-1920s (since Bandera was born in 1909!).  And I won’t even go into the Ukie hallucinations about being “pure Aryans” (as opposed to the Moskals whom they see as Finno-Ugric-Mongols), which is an ideology developed even later 🙂

So, 2163 words later, did we even being to answer the question of whether the Ukrainians are Russians?

No, not really.  And here is why:

Taken by themselves, the terms “Ukrainian” and “Russian” are highly ambiguous.

We know that in the past, many of those whom we call “Ukrainians” today had ancestors who lived and were part of the Russian civilizational realm.  But that does not AT ALL mean that modern Ukrainians want (or even could!) join the Russian civilizational realm, especially since what this realm was, is and will become is also highly complex and even controversial.

Furthermore, I think that we need to pay special attention to what is happening in Russia today: the SMO has had a HUGE impact on the Russian society and that society is quickly and profoundly changing.

That by itself begs the question of what kind of civilizational realm Russia is offering to the peoples of the Ukraine today?

One thing is certain, the Russia of, say 2023-2025 will be profoundly different from the Russia of 2000-2022.  First, the Russian ultimatum to the West of 2021 then the 2022 SMO have truly revolutionized (in a literal sense) Russia:  5th columnists and assorted liberals have fled by the thousands (mostly to Poland, Israel and the three Baltic statelets), the Atlantic Integrationist have either given up or are keeping a very low profile. Foreign agents (folks paid by foreign interest) must now register, are listed as such, and can be fined or even imprisoned for breaking Russian laws (finally!).

Russia has also completely and categorically rejected the entire Woke ideology promoted by the Hegemony worldwide.

Most importantly, the reality of a AngloZionist Empire which wants to subjugate, colonize, enslave and break-up Russia has now become pretty hard to ignore.  In fact, this war (against the collective West, not just a few Ukronazis!) is as much an existential war for Russia as WWII, so those Russians who complain about the lack of Spanish jamon serrano in Russia stores need to wake up and compare their current “hardships” with what their parents and grandparents suffered during WWII (besides, you can still find Spanish jamon serrano in Russia, just at a higher price than before; there are also superb local substitutes!).

Here I want to express my deepest thanks to the US Neocons, EU lemmings, NATO Nazis, the Latin Papists and all the other Russia-haters who have generated one of the biggest hate-wave in human history and who have now FORCED all Russians into a basic, yet vital, choice: resist or perish.

Unlike the folks in the West (until recently) and unlike the folks in the Ukraine (again, until recently), many Russian people have gradually switched their mode thinking from “peacetime” to “wartime”.  In fact, I would even argue that the so-called “Russian defeats” in Bucha, Kharkov or Kherson have only poured more fuel onto the raging fire of Russian anger: in February of this year very few Russians would have supported to switch off the lights in the entire Ukraine.  But by late summer, they were DEMANDING it!

So, the next time you hear about “Russian defeats” consider the following:

  1. the massive wake-up effect these “defeats” have had on a (rather spoiled) Russian society
  2. the comparatively minuscule price paid by Russia for these tactical retreats (economy of force maneuvers really)  and
  3. the huge costs of these “victories” for the NATO side

and decide for yourself if Putin is weak and indecisive or very smart and cunning 🙂

Nobody really knows what Russia will look like in 2023-2024-2025 etc.  So nobody really know what kind of “Russian civilizational realm” the SMO is “offering” to the people of the Ukraine.  It is therefore impossible to ascertain whether Ukrainians (which Ukrainians anyway, they are still a diverse group!) will ever become Russians again or not. Some probably will.  Many will probably won’t.

One thing for me is axiomatic: Russia should not occupy even a single square meter of “Ukrainian” land if that land is mostly populated by Ukronazis.  In fact, I see no need to “go to the Polish border” or any other such grand plans.  Yes, NATO might well not give Russia any choice (just as NATO forced the SMO upon Russia!), but then I hope for a swift “in and out”.  Russia should only free those who want to be freed.  Period.  The rest she can either ignore (if they leave Russia alone), or kill (if they threaten Russia).

Does Russia want/need millions of Ukronazis inside her borders?  Nope!

Can Russia afford to pay for the destruction of country 404?  Nope!

Do Russian authorities really want to be in charge of not only pensions and social programs, but also law and order in a land populated by (armed!) people who hate Russia with a passion?  Nope!

But I do agree, fully, that Banderastan needs to be fully demilitarized and denazified.

The former can be achieved without having to put forces on every square meter of the Ukraine while the latter will happen as a natural consequence of the former: if all you got if police and SWAT forces, what is the point of playing Nazi or talking about “liberating Crimea next year”?  And if some residual Ukronazis want to read Mein Kampf, and can stay awake while reading it, then let them.  Who cares?

And then there are population movements.  MILLIONS have left for the EU and MILLIONS have left for Russia.  MILLIONS have also “left” when Crimea and the LDNR joined Russia.  And now that the lights are out, MILLIONS more are leaving (and only 20% plan to return according to Ukrainian estimates).  Add to this the 100’000 KIA of Ursula von der Lugen, multiply it by a safe factor 2 and we probably already have 200’000 KIA and, therefore, about 300’000-400’000 wounded in action.  True, “Ze” & Co. can continue to mobilize wave after wave after wave of civilians, and NATO can even get most of them through some sort of basic training (including advanced training for some), but that is not a sustainable strategy: Russia has many more artillery shells than bodies the Ukrainians, Poles, Brits and all the other crazies can throw into the Russian meat grinder.

[Sidebar: you might wonder what the current US Neocon plan is.  Simple: to get as many Ukrainians killed as possible and then accused Russia of genocide and to ruin the EU economies to remove a competitor.  BTW – Plan A was to attack the LDNR, trigger an overthrow of Putin, place a puppet in power and dismember Russia.  That plan failed.  So what we see today is the USA’s Plan B, executed by NATO and a few megalomaniacal idiots with imperial phantom pains (UK+PL not to mention them).]

One more point: this all also applies to Belarus, Kazakhstan and all the other Russian limitrophes.  So far, not single one of them has shown the capability of being a viable, stable state.  ALL of them have chosen what some call “multi-vectorness”, that is: you beg Russia for protection and the USA for money.

Does Russia needs such “friends” or “allies”?

Are Iran, China or even Algeria not infinitely better friends and allies by any measure?

I say that they all these limitrophes get their act together and make a basic choice because if there is one thing which the Euromaidan has proven beyond reasonable doubt that is that the West will never allow any country to be a good neighbor or partner to both the West and Russia.

Now, especially following the wave of total hatred against all things Russian in the West, this obligation to chose one side or another has become a fact of life for at least as long as the (already dead) AngloZionist Empire maintains its (still very real) momentum and its ability to suborn the comprador elites ruling over countries with no sovereignty or agency (the entire EU for starters).  This is why both Russia and China seek a multi-polar world in which all countries are truly sovereign and the relations between these countries determined by the rule of international law.

Conclusion:

This is not about the Ukraine and Russia.  This is about a full reorganization of our entire planet, including the international trade and finance, political alliances and cultural/spiritual values.

The following two images sum it all up nicely I think.

Right now, both Russia and the Ukraine are moving targets undergoing tremendous changes.  And I am not saying that Russians and Ukrainians cannot be brothers or even be one nation again.  All I am saying is that making such an assumptions would be extremely dangerous and costly.

Somewhere, further down the road, there could be a Ukraine and a Russia living in a not too comfy relationship like, say, Pakistan and India today, but with a fully demilitarized Ukraine (nevermind one threatening Russia with nukes, which both Pakistan and India have, so that parallel only goes so far).  I am pretty sure that the Poles will bite off a chunk of the rump-Banderastan, and maybe the Hungarians too.  Finally, I consider it very likely that by one way or another, Russia will liberate the Ukrainian coast and lift the current blockade of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) were about half a million Russian citizens live.  So you can pretty much visualize what the Ukraine will look like when then Russian decide to stop.

But, when all is said and done, it will be for the people of the Ukraine to decide which civilizational realm they want to embrace.  Russia should not liberate those who embrace their slavery.

Andrei

The Goldilocks War

December 02, 2022

by Dmitry Orlov for the Saker blog

Are you happy with the way the war in the former Ukraine is going? Most people aren’t—for one reason or another. Some people hate the fact that there is a war there at all, while others love it but hate the fact that it hasn’t been won yet, by one side or the other. Bounteous quantities of both of these kinds of haters are found on both sides of the new Iron Curtain that is hastily being built across Eurasia between the collective West and the collective East. This seems reasonable; after all, hating war is standard procedure for most people (war is hell, don’t you know!) and by extension a small war is better than a big one and a short war is better than a long one. And also such reasoning is banal, trite, platitudinous, vapid, predictable, unimaginative and… bromidic (according to the English Thesaurus).

Seldom is to be found a war-watcher who is happy with the progress and the duration of the war. Luckily, Russian state television shows a very significant one these almost daily. It is Russia’s president, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Having paid attention to him for over twenty years now, I can confidently state that never has he been so imbued with calm, self-assured serenity leavened with droll humor. This is not the demeanor of someone who feels at any risk of losing a war. The brass at the Ministry of Defense appear dour and glum on camera—a demeanor befitting men who send other men to fight and possibly to be wounded or to die; but off-camera they flash each other quick Mona Lisa smiles. (Russian men don’t give stupid American-style fish-eyed toothy grins, rarely show their teeth when smiling, and never in the presence of wolves or bears).

Given that Putin’s approval rating stands firm at around 80% (a number beyond reach of any Western politician), it is reasonable to assume that he is just the visible tip of a gigantic, 100-million-strong iceberg of Russians who calmly await the successful conclusion of the special military operation to demilitarize and denazify the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (so please don’t even call it a war). These 100 million Russians are seldom heard from, and when they do make noise, it is to protest against bureaucratic dawdling and foot-dragging or to raise private funds with which to remedy a shortage of some specialty equipment requested by the troops: night vision goggles, quadrocopters, optical sights, and all sorts of fancy tactical gear.

A great deal more noise is being made by the one or two percent whose entire business plan has been wrecked by the sudden appearance of the New Iron Curtain. The silliest of these thought that fleeing west, or south (to Turkey, Kazakhstan or Georgia) would somehow magically fix their problem; it hasn’t, and it won’t. The people we would expect to scream the loudest are the LGBTQ+ activists, who thought that they were going to use Western grant money to build East Sodom and East Gomorrah. They’ve been hobbled and muzzled by new Russian laws that label them as foreign agents and prohibit their sort of propaganda. In fact, the very term LGBTQ+ is now illegal, and so, I suppose, they will have to use PPPPP+ instead (“P” is for “pídor”, which is the generic Russian term for any sort of sexual pervert, degenerate or deviant). But I digress.

It can be observed rather readily that those who are the least happy with the course of the Russian campaign are also the least likely to be Russian. Least happy of all are the good folks at the Center for Informational and Political Operations of the Ukrainian Security Service who are charged with creating and maintaining the Phantom of Ukrainian Victory. These are followed by people in and around Washington, who are quite infuriated by Russian dawdling and foot-dragging. They have also been hard-pressed to show that the Ukrainians are winning while the Russians are losing; to this end, they have portrayed every Russian tactical repositioning or tactical withdrawal as a huge, humiliating defeat personally for Putin and every relentless, suicidal Ukrainian attack on Russian positions as a great heroic victory. But this PR tactic has lost effectiveness over time and now the Ukraine has become a toxic topic in the US that most American politicians would prefer to forget about, or at least keep out of the news.

To be fair, the Russian tactical cat-and-mouse games in this conflict has been nothing short of infuriating. The Russians spent some time rolling around Kiev to draw Ukrainian troops away from the Donbass and prevent a Ukrainian attack on it; once that was done, they withdrew. Great Ukrainian victory! They also spent some time tooling around the Black Sea coastline near Odessa, threatening a sea invasion, to draw off Ukrainian forces in that direction, but never invaded. Another Ukrainian victory! The Russians occupied a large chunk of Kharkov region that the Ukrainians left largely undefended, then, when the Ukrainians finally paid attention to it, partially withdrew behind a river to conserve resources. Yet another Ukrainian victory! The Russians occupied/liberated the regional capital of Kherson, evacuated all the people who wanted to be evacuated, then withdrew to a defensible position behind a river. Victory again! With all these Ukrainian victories, it is truly a wonder that the Russians have managed to gain around 100km2 of the former Ukraine’s most valuable real estate, over 6 million in population, secured a land route to Crimea and opened up a vital canal that supplies irrigation water to it and which the Ukrainians had blocked some years ago. That doesn’t seem like s defeat at all; that looks like an excellent result from a single, limited summer campaign.

Russia has achieved several of its strategic objectives already; the rest can wait. How long should they wait? To answer this question, we need to look outside the limited scope of Russia’s special operation in the Ukraine. Russia has bigger fish to fry, and frying fish takes time because eating undercooked fish can give you nasty parasites such as tapeworm and liver fluke. And so, I would like to invite you to Mother Russia’s secret kitchen, to see what’s on the cutting board and to estimate how much thermal processing will be required to turn it all into a safe and nutritious meal.

Mixing our food metaphors, allow me to introduce Goldilocks with her three bears and her porridge not to hot and not too cold. What Russia seems to be doing is keeping their special military operation moving along at a steady pace—not to fast and not too slow. Going too fast would not allow enough time to cook the various fish; going too fast would also increase the cost of the campaign in casualties and resources. Going too slow would give the Ukrainians and NATO time to regroup and rearm and prevent the proper thermal processing of the various fish.

In an effort to find the optimal pace for the conflict, Russia initially committed only a tenth of its professional active-duty soldiers, then worked hard to minimize the casualty rate. It opted to start turning off the lights all over the former Ukraine only after the Kiev regime tried to blow up the Kerch Strait bridge that linked Crimea with the Russian mainland. Finally, it called up just 1% of reservists to relieve the pressure from the frontline troops and potentially prepare for the next stage, which is a winter campaign—for which the Russians are famous.

With this background information laid out, we can now enumerate and describe the various ancillary objectives which Russia plans to achieve over the course of this Goldilocks War. The first and perhaps most important set of problems that Russia has to solve in the course of the Goldilocks War is internal. The goal is to rearrange Russian society, economy and financial system so as to prepare it for a de-Westernized future. Since the collapse of the USSR, various Western agents, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the US State Department, various Soros-owned foundations and a wide assortment of Western grants and exchange programs have made serious inroads into Russia. The overall goal was to weaken and eventually dismember and destroy Russia, turning it into a compliant servant of Western governments and transnational corporations that would supply them with cheap labor and raw materials. To help this process along, these Western organizations did whatever they could to drive the Russian people toward eventual biological extinction and replace them with a more docile and less adventurous race.

Starting well over 30 years ago, Western NGOs set to corrupting the minds of Russia’s young. No effort was spared to denigrate the value of Russian culture, to falsify Russian history and to replace them both with Western pop culture and propaganda narratives. These initiatives achieved limited success, and the USSR, and Soviet-era culture, has remained ever-popular even among those who were too young to have experienced life in the USSR firsthand. Where the damage has been most severe is in education. Excellent Soviet-era textbooks that taught students how to think independently were destroyed and replaced with imports. These were at best useful for training experts in narrowly defined fields who can follow previously defined procedures and recipes but can’t explain how these procedures and recipes were arrived at or to create new ones. Russian teachers, who saw their job not just in educating but in bringing up their students to be good Russians who love and cherish their country, were replaced by Western-trained educationalists who saw their mission as providing a competitive, market-based service in bringing up qualified, competent… consumers! Who are these people? Well, luckily, the Internet remembers everything, and there are plenty of other jobs for these people such as shoveling snow and stoking furnaces. But identifying and replacing them takes time, as does finding, updating and reproducing the older, excellent textbooks.

But what of the young people left behind by this wave of destruction? Luckily, not all is lost. The special military operation is providing them with some very valuable lessons that their ignorant educationalists left out: that Russia—a unique, miraculous agglomeration of many different nations, languages and religions—has been preserved and expanded over the centuries through the efforts of heroes whose names are not just remembered but venerated. What’s more, some of them are alive today, fighting and working in the Donbass. It is one thing to visit museums, read old books and hear stories about the great deeds of one’s grandfathers and great-grandfathers during the Great Patriotic War; it is quite another to watch history unfold through the eyes of your own father or brother. Give it another year or two, and Russia’s young people will learn to look with disdain on the products of Russia’s Western-oriented culture-mongers. Their elders do already: opinion polls show that a large majority of Russians see Western cultural influence as a negative.

And what of these Russian culture-mongers who have been worshiping all things Western for as long as they can remember? Here, a most curious thing happened. When the special military operation was first announced, they spoke out against it and in favor of the Ukrainian Nazis—a stupid thing to do, but they thought it good and proper to keep their political opinions harmonized with those of their Western patrons and idols so as to stay in their good graces. Some of them protested against the war (ignoring the fact that it had been going on for eight long years already). And then quite a few of them fled the country in unseemly haste.

Keep in mind that these are neither brain surgeons nor rocket scientists: these are people who prance around on stage while making noises with their hands and mouths; or they are people who sit there while makeup artists do things to their faces and hair, then endlessly repeat lines written for them by someone else. These are not people who have the capacity to analyze a tricky political situation and make the right choice. In an earlier, saner age their opinions would be steadfastly ignored, but such is the effect of the Internet, social media and all the rest, that any hysterical nincompoop can shoot a little video and millions of people, having nothing better to do with their time, will watch it on their phones and make comments.

The fact that these people are voluntarily cleansing the Russian media space of their presence is a positive development, but it takes time. If the special military operation were to end tomorrow, there is no doubt that they would attempt to come back and pretend that none of this ever happened. And then Russian popular culture would remain a Western-styled cesspool full of vacuous personae who seek to glorify every single deadly sin for the sake of personal notoriety and gain. Russia has plenty of talented people eager to take their place—if only they would keep out long enough for everyone to forget about them!

Particularly damaging to Russia’s future has been the emergence and preeminence of pro-Western economic and financial elites. Ever since the haphazard and in many cases criminal privatization of state resources in the 1990s, there was brought up an entire cohort of powerful economic agents who does not have Russia’s interests in mind. Instead, these are purely selfish economic actors who until quite recently thought that their ill-gotten gains would allow them to enter into posh Western society. These people usually have more than one passport, they try to keep their families in some wealthy enclave outside of Russia, they send their children to schools and universities in the West, and their only use for Russia is as a territory they can exploit in creating their wealth extraction schemes.

When in response to the start of Russia’s special military operation the West mounted a speculative attack on the ruble, forcing Russia’s central bank to impose strict currency controls, these members of the Russian elite were forced to start thinking about making a momentous choice. They could stay in Russia, but then they would have to cut their ties to the West; or they could move to the West and live off their savings, but then they would be cut off from the source of their wealth. Their choice was made easier by Western governments which worked hard to confiscate the property of rich Russian nationals, freeze their bank accounts and subject them to various other indignities and inconveniences.

Still, it’s a hard choice for them to make—realizing that, in spite of their sometimes fabulous wealth, for the collective West they are just some Russians that can be robbed. Many of them are mentally unprepared to throw in their lot with their own people, whom they have been taught to despise and to exploit for personal gain. A quick victory in Russia’s special military operation would allow them to think that their troubles were temporary in nature. Given enough time some of them will run away for good while others will decide to stay and work for the common good in Russia.

Next in line are various members of the Russian government who, having been schooled in Western economics, are incapable of understanding the economic transformation that is occurring in Russia, never mind helping it along. Most of what passes for economic thought in the West is just an elaborate smokescreen over this fundamental dictum: “The rich must be allowed to get richer, the poor must be kept poor and the government shouldn’t try to help them (much).” This worked while the West had colonies to exploit, be it through good old-fashioned imperial conquest, plunder and rapine, or through financial neocolonialism of Perkins’s “economic hit men,” or, as has recently been grudgingly admitted by several top EU officials, by taking advantage of cheap Russian energy.

That doesn’t work any more—not in the West, not in Russia or any place else, and mindsets have to adjust. There is a great deal of inertia in appointments to government positions, where there are many vested interests vying for power and influence. It takes time for such basic ideas to percolate through the system as the fact that the US Federal Reserve no longer has a planet-wide monopoly on printing money. Therefore, it is no longer necessary for Russia’s central bank to have dollars in reserve to cover their ruble emissions to defend it against speculative attack since it is no longer necessary for Russia’s central bank to allow foreign currency speculators to run rampant and stage speculative attacks.

But some results have already been achieved, and they are nothing short of spectacular: over the past few months, just a few well-chosen departures from Western economic orthodoxy have made the ruble the world’s strongest currency, have allowed Russia to earn more export revenue by exporting less oil, gas and coal, and have allowed it to drive inflation down to almost zero. Since the start of the special military operation, Russia has been able to reduce its national debt by a large amount and increase government revenues. A swift end to Russia’s special military operation may spell the end of such miracles and a most unwelcome return to the untenable status quo ante.

Beyond the intangible world of finance, equally significant changes have been occurring throughout the physical Russian economy. Previously, many economic sectors, including car sales, construction and home improvement, software development and many others, were foreign-owned and the profits from these activities left the country. And then a decision was made to block the expatriation of dividends. In response, foreign companies sold off their Russian assets, taking a huge loss and depriving themselves of access to the Russian market. The change has been quite stunning. For example, at the beginning of 2022, Western car companies owned a large share of the Russian auto market. Many of the cars that were sold had been assembled within Russia at foreign-owned plants and the profits from these sales were expatriated. Now, less than a year later, European and American automakers are pretty much gone from Russia, replaced by a swiftly reborn domestic auto industry. Chinese automakers have immediately grabbed a large market share for themselves, while South Korea continued to trade with Russia and has held on to its market share.

Equally stunning have been changes in the aircraft industry. Previously, Russian airlines were flying Airbuses and Boeings, most of them leased. After the start of the special operation Western politicians demanded that these leases be rescinded and the aircraft returned to their owners, neglecting to take into account the fact that this would be ruinous financially (glutting the market for used aircraft for years to come and destroying demand for new aircraft) and, furthermore, physically impossible, given that there was no way to effect the transfer of the aircraft. In response, the Russian airlines nationalized the aircraft registry, stopped flying to hostile destinations where their aircraft might be arrested, and started making lease payments in rubles to special accounts at the Russian central bank.

Then came the news that Aeroflot is panning to buy over 300 new passenger jets, all Russian МС-21s, SSJ-100s and Tu-214s, all before 2030, with the first deliveries slated for 2023. There has been a scramble to replace almost all Western-sourced components, such as composites for the carbon fiber wing of the MC-21 and jet engines, avionics and much else for all of the above. Over this period many of the previously leased Boeings and Airbuses will be phased out, but these companies’ market share in the largest country on Earth will be gone forever. Damage to Western aircraft manufacturers will be matched by the damage to Western airlines. At the outset of hostilities, the collective West closed its airspace to Russia, and Russia reciprocated. The problem is that Europe is small and easy to fly around while Russia is huge and flying around it takes a whole day. European airlines suddenly found that theу can’t compete on routes to Japan, China or Korea.

Following the closing of the airspace came other sanctions, from both the European Union and from the United States, all of them illegal, since the UN Security Council is the only body empowered to impose sanctions. Right now the European Union is working on the ninth packet of sanctions, all of which have been dubbed “sanctions from hell”. Speaking of hell, Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno” there are nine circles of hell, so perhaps the sanctions juggernaut is about to run its course.

These sanctions were supposed to have swiftly destroyed the Russian economy and have caused so much social upheaval and suffering that the people would gather on Red Square and overthrow the dread dictator Putin (or so thought Western foreign policy experts). Clearly, nothing of the sort has happened and Putin’s approval rating is as high as ever. On the other hand, the good people of the European Union are indeed starting to suffer. They can no longer afford to heat their homes or to take regular hot showers, food has become outrageously expensive for them, and so much else is going wrong that huge crowds of protestors have been gathering all across Europe and demanding, among other things, an end to anti-Russian sanctions, normalization of relations with Russia and a return to business as usual. Their demands are unlikely to be met, since this would mean a major loss of face for the European leaders.

But there is a more important reason why the sanctions will stay: a return to business as usual would mean that Russia would once again provide energy and raw materials to Europe cheaply while allowing European companies to profit from the labor of Russians. This is quite unappealing and is therefore unlikely to happen. Russia is using the sanctions as an opportunity to rebuild its domestic industry and reorient its trade away from hostile nations and toward friendly nations that are fair and sympathetic in their dealings with Russia. It is also working hard to phase out the use of currencies that Dmitry Medvedev called “toxic”; namely, the US dollar and the euro.

Add to this list a wonderful new Russian innovation called “parallel import.” If some company, in complying with anti-Russian sanctions, refuses to sell its products to Russia or to service or upgrade its products in Russia, then Russia will buy these products and upgrades from a third or fourth or fifth party without permission from the US, the EU or the manufacturer. If a certain brand-name product becomes unavailable, the Russians simply rename the brand and make the same product themselves, or have the Chinese or another trade partner do it for them. And if the West refuses to license its intellectual property to Russia, then that intellectual property becomes free in Russia.

This works particularly well with software: free copies of brand-name software are just as good as the paid-for copies, and if tech support, training or other associated services become unavailable from the West, the Russians simply organize their own. Intellectual property of various sorts makes up a large portion Western notional wealth, and Western sanctions are having the effect of letting Russia make use of it free of charge. Thanks to modern digital technology, it works rather well with hardware too. Instead of painstakingly reverse-engineering products, now the same effect can be achieved by buying the 3D models on a thumb drive and 3D-printing them or automatically generating the mill and drill paths to create them on an NC mill. Putin likes to use the expression “tsap-tsarap” to describe this process. It is hard to translate directly but pertains to the act of a cat snatching its prey with its claws. The short of it is, what Russia previously had to pay for is now, thanks to sanctions, free to it.

Since the Goldilocks War is, after all, a sort of war, we need to briefly discuss its military aspects. Here, too, a steady-as-she-goes approach seems to be the most copacetic. The stated goal is to demilitarize and denazify the former Ukraine, and to some extent this has already been achieved: most of the armor and artillery that the Ukraine had inherited from the USSR has already been destroyed; most of the diehard Nazi battalions are either dead or a shadow of their former selves. Gone too are most of the volunteers that once fought on the Ukrainian side. After over 100000 Ukrainian soldiers “have been killed” since February 2022 (as forthrightly stated, then sheepishly denied, by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen), and after perhaps as many as half a million casualties, scores of service-age men bribing their way out of the country and several rounds of the draft, it is slim pickings. With well over a hundred Ukrainian casualties a day the pickings are bound to get even slimmer over time. Foreign mercenaries have been used to fill the gap—Anglos, Poles, Romanians—but there is a major problem with them: as Julius Caesar pointed out, lots of people are willing to kill for money but nobody wants to die for money—except an idiot, I would add. And on NATO’s Russian front an idiot and his life are soon parted. Up-to-date information on Russian casualties is a state secret and the only number divulged by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in late September 2022 was 5937 killed since the start of the campaign. Casualty rates are said to have been significantly lower since then.

At present, there is still no shortage of idiots on the Ukrainian side—yet—and neither is there a shortage of donated Western weaponry. First came used Soviet-era tanks and other weapons systems donated from all over Eastern Europe; then came actual Western weapons systems. And now throughout NATO one hears plaintive cries that they have nothing left that they can give to the Ukrainians: the cupboard is empty. Nor can they manufacture more weapons in a hurry. To start churning out weapons at the same rate as Russia is doing, these NATO members would first need to reindustrialize, and there are neither the human resources, nor the money to do so. And so the Russian army grinds away, demilitarizing the Ukraine, and the rest of NATO with it. In the process, it is perfecting the art of fighting a land war against NATO—not that a single NATO country would even entertain such an idea.

Perhaps this is mission creep, or perhaps this has been the plan all along, but what Russia is doing at this point is destroying NATO. You may recall that a year ago Russia demanded that the US honor certain security guarantees it made as a condition for allowing the peaceful reunification of Germany; namely, that NATO would not expand eastward. “Not an inch to the east” was how the official record of the meeting reads. Gorbachev and Shevardnadze failed to get this deal on paper and signed, but a verbal deal is a deal. A year ago Russia’s offer was quite moderate: that NATO withdraw to its pre-1997 borders, when it expanded to Eastern Europe.

But, as usually happens when negotiating with the Russians, their initial offer is usually the best. For all we know, based on how things are going in the Ukraine, Russia’s best and final offer may require NATO to disband altogether. After all, the Warsaw Pact disbanded 31 years ago but NATO is still around and bigger than ever; what for? To fight Russia? Well, then, what are they waiting for? Come and get it! This may not even take the form of a negotiation. For example, Russia could say, take a quick whack at Latvia (it richly deserves a whack or two for abusing its large native Russian population Nazi-style) and then stand back and say, “Come on, NATO, come and die heroically on our doorstep for poor little Latvia!” At this, NATO officials will stand united but very quiet, thoughtfully examining their own and each others’ shoes. Once it becomes clear that there will be no offers to launch World War III to avenge Latvia, NATO will quietly dry up and blow away.

Finally, we come to what is perhaps the least important reason for the Goldilocks War: the former Ukraine itself. In view of Russia’s other strategic goals, it seems more of the nature of a sacrificial piece in a chess gambit. Given what Russia has already achieved over the past nine months—four new Russian regions, six million new Russian citizens, a land bridge to Crimea, irrigation water supply to Crimea—there isn’t much left for Russia to achieve militarily before its military campaign reaches the stage of diminishing returns. The addition of Nikolaev and Odessa regions and full control of the Black Sea coastline would, of course, be most valuable; control of Kharkov and Kiev somewhat less so. Control of the entire Dniepr hydroelectric cascade is a definite nice-to-have. As for the rest, it could be left to languish for ages as a deindustrialized, depopulated wasteland, labeled “Mostly harmless.”

Let me divulge a personal detail or two. Two of my grandparents were from Zhitomir, my father was born in Kiev, my first romantic interest was a girl from Odessa, and over the years I’ve had as many friends from Odessa, Kharkov, Lvov, Kiev, Donetsk, Vinnitsa and elsewhere as anywhere else in Russia. Russia? You read that right: there is no way to convince me that so-called “Ukrainian territory” somehow isn’t Russia or that the people who live there somehow aren’t Russian—regardless of what some of them have been recently brainwashed to think. What’s more, none of these people I have known over the years ever thought of themselves as the least bit Ukrainian and they would probably view the very idea of a Ukrainian nationalist identity as symptomatic of a mental condition. The label “Ukrainian” was to them some Bolshevik nonse; since then, Ukrainianness has been turned into a Western method for exploiting minor ethnic variations in order to make one group of Russians fight another group of Russians.

In case you are doubtful, let’s apply the good old duck test: Do the people there walk, quack and look like Russians? All of that territory, with one minor exception in the far west, was part of Russia for anywhere between ten and three centuries; most of the people there, and virtually the entire urban population, speaks Russian as their native language; their religion is predominantly Russian Orthodox; they are genetically indistinguishable from the rest of the Russian population. So, what happened to them?

Unfortunately, a small piece of this Russian land spent three centuries in captivity to the Austro-Hungarian Empire or as part of Greater Poland, and this poisoned their minds with foreign ideas such as Catholicism and ethnic nationalism. Unlike Russia, which is a multinational, multi-ethnic, religiously diverse monolith, the West is a mosaic of ethnic nationalisms, and where there are nationalists there may be Nazis, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

As one drop of poison infects the whole tun of wine, these Western Ukrainians, with lots of help and funds from the German Nazis, then the Americans and the Canadians, managed to infect a large part of the formerly Ukrainian territory with a fake nationalism based on a forged history and a haphazardly concocted culture. Official bans on the teaching and, eventually, the use of Russian have brought up a generation of young people who are essentially illiterate in their native Russian. They are taught in Ukrainian, but Ukrainian literacy is close to an oxymoron, since nothing of any great consequence has ever been written or published in that language and the vast majority of Ukrainian literary works are, you guessed it, in Russian.

The Russian special military operation that’s been ongoing since February 2022 has polarized the entire population. Those who had decided to be with Russia back in 2014 were, obviously, overjoyed to finally get some help from Russia. The now Russian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson gladly voted to join Russia. But as far as the rest of the former Ukrainian territory, the polarization is mostly in the opposite direction. Those who wanted to be with Russia mostly voted with their feet and are now living somewhere in Russia.

This is something that time alone can fix. Eventually the population of the former Ukraine will be forced to make a choice: they can be Russian, or they can be refugees somewhere in Europe, or they can die fighting Russians at the front. Note that even Donetsk and Lugansk didn’t make this choice right away, the way Crimea did. At that time, only some 70% of their population was in favor of leaving the Ukraine and rejoining Russia. It took eight years of relentless Ukrainian bombing to convince them to make this choice.

Over these intervening years, the diehard “Ukrainians” filtered out, leaving behind a population that was close to 100% pro-Russian. It was only then that the Kremlin granted them official recognition, sent in troops to defend them from imminent invasion and, soon after, accepted them into the Russian Federation. And now the same sort of sorting operation has to take place throughout the rest of the former Ukraine. How long will it take? Only time will tell, but it is already clear that, as far as Russia is concerned, there is no compelling reason to rush.

Please download my books of essays:

Ready… Set… Bolt!, 2022
The Arctic Fox Cometh, 2021
The Meat Generation, 2020
Collapse and the Good Life, 2018
Collapse Chronicles, Volume V, 2017
Everything is Going According to Plan, 2016
Emergency Eyewash, 2015
Societies that Collapse, 2014
Absolutely Positive, 2012

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

November 25th – Utter nonsense in Ukraine

November 25, 2022

The OUN-Russia war (no longer an SMO): What do the parties want and what does the future hold?

November 23, 2022

Source

By Eric Arthur Blair

During this current relative reduction of hostilities in Ukraine, the calm before the storm so to speak, it may be useful to reflect upon the goals of the various geopolitical players, whether stated overtly or intended covertly. This may enable us to make educated guesses as to how events may ultimately unfold.

WHAT DOES RUSSIA WANT?

The party whose openly stated goals appear to align most closely with their defacto goals seems to be Russia, who at the start of the special military operation stated that they wanted the denazification and demilitarisation of Ukraine, the cessation of hostilities against and the autonomy of Donbass (respecting the rights of Russian speakers) and the long term neutrality of Ukraine with no possibility of it being part of NATO, whether defacto (as it currently is) or dejure. Implicit in the latter is the indivisibility of security, the guarantee that US/NATO intermediate range missiles or so-called anti-ballistic missiles (which in reality can be fitted with nuclear warheads and function as INF) will never be stationed in Ukrainian territory. The Russian status of Crimea was never negotiable.

Current situation: having attempted peace negotiations many times but being repeatedly rebuffed by the Oligarchic States of America / Ukraine / NATO (henceforth termed OUN) regarding all the concerns above, and facing ongoing genocidal aggression by the OUN against Donbass, Russia was forced to occupy and denazify much of Eastern/Southeastern Ukraine to protect Russian speaking civilians and Russia’s own security, discovering along the way more than 30 bio-pathogen labs near the border of Russia which had been funded by the USA (as admitted by droolin’ Nuland herself):

https://russiaun.ru/en/news/271022_nb

Subsequent referenda conducted in the the four liberated oblasts (Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson) all overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. Hence ensuring the security of these territories in perpetuity is now a priority. It seems likely that the majority population in Russia will also demand the liberation of Odessa (which has a huge number of Russian speakers, constantly under violent threat by the UkroNazis. Please recall that 48 Russian speakers were killed by the firebombing of the trade union building in Odessa in 2014 by Ukronazis). Odessa was historically a Russian city. The return of Odessa to Russia will shrink the remaining territory of Ukraine to an impoverished land-bound “rump” state, if it continues to exist at all.

There was a time Ukraine had one of the greatest prospects of any European state, with large, fertile steppes producing massive quantities of grain for export, with the lucrative status as an energy hub to distribute Russian gas to Western Europe and a base for heavy industry in Donbass. All of this is now lost (as will likely be Ukraine’s remaining access to the Black Sea) because of a violent corrupt fascist puppet regime that was installed by the USA. The former bread basket of Europe is now the basket case of Europe.

Presently Russia is hammering the crap out of Ukraine, lobbing 3 times more missiles into Ukraine daily than Ukraine can muster (20,000 vs 7,000 according to Colonel Doug MacGregor). “Most missiles launched by Ukraine are ground to air anti-missile missiles” (many are outdated S-300s, one which supposedly went “astray” into Poland, killing two civilians). The OUN also continue to shell the Russian occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, even while insisting that the Russians are shelling themselves.

As far as the previous Russian “retreats” from Kharkov and Kherson were concerned, please see my footnote, to place these events in proper historical perspective.

Where to from here? The Russians only began to seriously target Ukrainian infrastructure (electricity, water etc) eight months into the SMO, after the OUN terrorist attacks against the Nordstream pipelines and Kerch bridge. When the OUN sent drones through the maritime corridor previously designated for peaceful grain export, in order to attack the Russian fleet in Sevastopol, the Russians then proceeded to demolish even more Ukrainian infrastructure. The big question is this: why has Russia not yet destroyed 100% of Ukrainian infrastructure, which it could easily have done months ago? To US analysts, this was a puzzle, because standard practice of the USA has always been to completely destroy vital civilian infrastructure from day one, as in the case of Yugoslavia or Iraq or Libya. Possible explanations for Russian reticence are:

  • Russia has far greater concern and respect for civilian lives than the USA has ever had, certainly much more so than the terrorist Ukronazis – who were deliberately bombing civilian areas in Donbass for the eight years prior.
  • Complete interruption of electrical and water supplies in Ukraine will inevitably lead to the abandonment of all western Ukrainian cities and a massive exodus of at least 8 million Ukrainians to the countries West. This, along with the economic and energy hardships now afflicting Western Europe (as a result of their sanctions against Russia backfiring), will lead to massive social unrest, possibly even the collapse of some Western European countries. This horrific prospect is a massive bargaining chip that Russia holds over the West and is a huge incentive for the OUN to sue for peace now, before the worst effects of Winter set in.
  • As shown above, it will be exceedingly easy for Russia to depopulate all of Ukraine all the way to Lviv, which will achieve the goal of the demilitarisation of Ukraine. This can be achieved right now, even without a single Russian soldier crossing West of the Dnieper river. However it appears that Russia’s preferred option is to achieve demilitarisation of Ukraine without depopulation, so as not to inflict excessive hardship on their cultural kin.

WHAT DO EUROPEANS WANT?

By “Europeans” we must distinguish between the so-called “leaders” of Europe and the ordinary people of Europe. The former are totally corrupt, bought-and-paid-for and in the pockets of the US neocons. The latter are largely clueless and brainwashed by their Mainstream media to adopt mindless anti-Russian hatred and bigotry. As far as can be seen right now, even if the European people could cobble together a vaguely coherent idea of what they may or may not want, their wishes are utterly irrelevant. They have no agency in how events are going to unfold, unless they can overthrow their US controlled puppet governments and install leaders who truly work in their interests. The solutions to the European problems are simple: reverse all sanctions against Russia, request that gas is delivered to them through Nordstream 2B and that the other 3 pipelines are repaired, and agree to total demilitarisation of Ukraine with removal of all Nazis and all NATO “advisers”. These are the best ways to prevent Russia from opening a floodgate of Ukro refugees into the West. Sanity is unlikely to prevail because the Germs in particular seem to be terminally stupid and spineless. So my advice to the Germs is this: get ready for a shitstorm of events: industrial and economic collapse and a massive influx of refugees who you will have to support with your dwindling tax base and rising inflation.

WHAT DO UKRAINIANS WANT?

This is no more relevant than the wishes of flotsam tossed about by a stormy sea .

WHAT DOES THE USA WANT?

There is a huge disconnect between the officially stated goals and covertly pursued goals of the USA, as befits a two faced “non agreement capable” imperialist oligarchy. The official line from the US is that they are engaging in a noble struggle to “free” Europe from being held to ransom by an “unreliable” energy provider, Russia, and that this is a global confrontation between Western “Democratic” and Eastern “Authoritarian” regimes for the future of the world. That is of course total bullshit. In reality, the exact opposites apply. All actions by the US with regard to Russia and Ukraine, dating back not just to 2014 but to 1991, were deceitfully ignoble, the US is utterly focused on the enslavement, not the liberation of Europe (to be permanently kept under the jackboot of US hegemony), Russia has always been a completely reliable provider of cheap energy to Europe and the Oligarchic States of America are completely undemocratic: they neglect the well being of their own citizens while donating hundreds of billions of tax payer dollars to the US MIC. “Authoritarian” Putin has always been careful to address the wishes of the Russian public (via the Duma) and the wishes of the majority populations of Crimea and Donbass (via referenda, which were much better conducted and more legitimate than the recent suspect and dodgy US mid-term elections https://podbay.fm/p/the-duran-podcast/e/1668956802 ).

Some short term goals of the US neocons, as far as sabotaging the sale of Russian energy to Europe and railroading the Europeans into buying very expensive fracked US LNG, seem to have been successful. However this will not work in the medium to long term because expensive fracked LNG can never generate industrial products economically competitive with products manufactured using much cheaper energy eg by China using piped Russian gas. Hence the medium and long term collapse of the German industrial economy is certain (hence they will eventually be unable to buy expensive US LNG) if the Germs continue down this foolish path. I previously devoted an article to the real motivations of the US neocons and oligarchs who have hijacked US policy.

The medium term US tactics and goals were these: to confiscate more than $300 billion of Russian foreign reserves and to impose economic sanctions (more than 10 thousand so far) which would turn the “Ruble to rubble” (as stated by sleepy Joe) and trigger Russian economic collapse. This would create public unrest in Russia which would enable a US sponsored colour revolution to depose Putin in favour of a US designated puppet (echoes of “Yats is our guy, fuck the EU” droolin’ Nuland). Astroturf revolutions are an old tactic taken directly from the CIA playbook, dating back to the antics of Kermit Roosevelt in Tehran. Embroiling Russia in a lengthy resource-sapping war in Ukraine, perpetrated by US terrorist proxies, was designed to weaken Russia as Lloyd “Raytheon” Austin so transparently admitted. Stinkin’ Blinken also admitted the Ukraine situation was a US/NATO proxy war with Russia, just as he had crowed about how the bombing of Nordstream represented a “tremendous opportunity” for the US to sell LNG to Europe.

The US long term goal would eventually be to fragment Russia into smaller states (just as the USSR had previously been broken up, following its embroilment in a lengthy resource-sapping war in Afghanistan, perpetrated by US terrorist proxies). Those smaller post Russian banana republics would each have puppet leaders appointed by the USA, who would then foil the “belt and road” initiative of China, the next target of the US neocons. All of this devious skulduggery has been outlined in many a Beltway think-tank document, especially that from the Rand corporation.

Not only have every single one of those US goals failed, they have backfired spectacularly. Especially laughable is smellin’ Yellin’s “oil price cap” policy, which is being ignored by everybody. The only sane strategy is to negotiate peace with Russia. Nevertheless the position of the US at present remains unchanged: any peaceful economic links between Germany and Russia must be sabotaged at all costs, because it would create an economic-industrial behemoth that, along with China, would sideline the USA into irrelevance on the world stage. The only excuse Germany has for “sanctioning” Russian gas today is the so-called “aggression” of Russia in Ukraine. If a peaceful outcome in Ukraine is achieved, there will no longer be any excuse for Germany to deny itself Russian gas. Hence, from the POV of the USA, peace in Ukraine must be avoided at all costs. The consequence of refusing to achieve a peaceful settlement, of obstinately continuing to lob missiles against the Russians, will be this: the complete and utter destruction of Ukraine by Russia, with massive out-flux of refugees into Western Europe. Does the US care if there are economic and humanitarian catastrophes in the making (and of their making) in Western Europe? Absolutely not. Not only is the USA happy to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian, the USA is happy to fight Russia to the last European.

THE SPECIAL CASE OF TURKEY:

Turkey has been a long standing NATO member. Readers will remember from history that the stationing of US nuclear capable missiles in Turkey was the catalyst for the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Today, Turkey and the OUN are best described as “frenemies”, now leaning towards being enemies. The USA sees Turkey as an unreliable ally and was particularly miffed by the Turkish insistence on buying Russian energy in Rubles, of continuing to honour Mir transactions and its intention to become a Russian natural gas hub, supplying south eastern Europe via the Turkstream pipeline. Erdogan firmly believes that the attempted coup against him in 2016 was perpetrated by Gulenists sponsored by the USA. The recent terrorist bombing in Istanbul which killed 6 and injured 81 was traced to an individual that the Turks claimed was a Kurd from northern Syria who was a proxy of the AngloZionists. We do not know if this is true, but what matters is that the Turks believe this to be true and it is certainly consistent with the history of the US using terrorist proxies. Accordingly, when the US ambassador to Turkey offered his condolences for the bombing, the Turkish interior minister flatly rejected it, saying that Turkey knew who did it, expressing disgust for such US hypocrisy. All US interactions with Turkey in recent years have counter productively served to push it closer towards Russia and the BRICS+ countries.

CONCLUSION: The USA is the worst terrorist state in the world, they represent the greatest threat of global nuclear war to every one of us (USAnians included) – which could cause human extinction. Being an enemy of the USA is dangerous, but being an ally (especially if you are a Germ or a Ukie) is fatal. The Turks are discovering this to their chagrin and are wising up.

Footnote: The AngloEuroZionist mainstream media and their stooge pundits always crow loudly over every transient Pyrrhic victory “won” by the Ukie proxies, while demonstrating a profound ignorance of history and strategy and reality. General Surovikin is nothing if not rational. Given a choice between precariously holding on to Kherson city located on the “wrong” side of the river (which can and will later be recaptured) and preserving the lives of Russian soldiers, he chose his soldiers. All civilians who appreciated the protection of Russia were evacuated. Die hard Ukie ideologues who prefer to freeze and starve this winter in an eviscerated city were allowed to stay.

This echoes the much higher stakes situation of 1812 when General Kutuzov had to choose between Moscow and his army and he chose his army. He allowed Napoleon to march into Moscow which had been stripped of any and all resources that could support the French, who eventually had to withdraw, enabling Russian forces to recapture Moscow. The Russians slaughtered the French as they withdrew. Today’s Ukie/NATO forces are tactically and strategically far more stupid than Napoleon.

Remember the “massive victory” of Ukies advancing into Kharkov oblast empty cow paddocks not long ago? The Russians had staged a tactical withdrawal* and suffered almost no casualties, but enticed the Ukies into open territory where the Ukies were sitting ducks to Russian artillery and rockets. The Ukies lost around 8000 dead. With such a great “success”, it is just a matter of time before the Ukies suicide their way to moribund victory.

(*this was a classic Mongol tactical “withdrawal” which the Kievan Rus had learned from history to their great cost, and now inflicted upon the stupid Ukies to their great cost.)

BTW, Kiev was founded by the primordial Rus, it was the first capital city of the Russian people who were then known as the Kievan Rus. That is historical fact.

EAB is not Russian, knows no Russians and has never been to Russia. Inspired by Tolstoy, he is learning more about Russian history day by day.

What would a Russian defeat mean for the people of the West?

November 15, 2022

Regular readers of the blog know that I separate our poor and long-suffering planet into two basic parts: Zone A, aka the AngloZionist Empire, aka the World Hegemony aka the “Axis of Kindness” and what I call Zone B, or the Free World.  Very approximately, we need to separate the ruling elites and the people they rule over separately.  Here is, very roughly, what we get:

Zone AZone B
Ruling elitesHate Russia/PutinSome fear the Hegemony, but others don’t
Peoplemostly indifferent or hostilemostly support Russia/Putin

Next, I propose to make a simple though experiment.  Let’s assume that Russia loses the war against NATO.  We do *not* need to spell out how exactly such a defeat could/would happen, we simply assume that Russia is unable to achieve her goals of denazification and demilitarization of the Ukraine (and, really, all of NATO), that NATO forces are successful in defeating the Russian military machine (again, it does not matter how, with or without amazing Wunderwaffen) and that Russia very clearly loses.

We don’t even need to define what “defeat” would mean?  Maybe we can imagine that Russia gets keeps Crimea, but loses all her recently liberated regions from the former Ukraine, or maybe NATO manages to even occupy Crimea. I don’t see NATO tanks in downtown Moscow, but we can even imagine a purely psychological defeat in which both sides believe that Russia has lost and NATO won.

Again, details, no matter how improbable and far removed from reality, do not matter.  What matters is only this: once all the four groups above realize that NATO has defeated Russia, how would they react?

For the leaders of the Hegemony, this would be a dream come true.  In fact, the Neocons running the Hegemony will most likely decide that they need to “finish the job” which they did not finish in the 90s, and that Russia needs to be broken up into several parts.  This would be the West’s latest “final solution” for the “Russian problem”.

For the leaders of the Free World, a Russian defeat would signal that there are no alternatives to the Hegemony and that like it or not, the AngloZionists will rule the planet.  Like the Borg in Star Trek like to proclaim: “We are the Hegemony.  Resistance is futile.  You will be assimilated“.

For most people in the Free world, a Russian defeat would be a crushing disappointment for the simple reason that most people would see the AngloZionist plan for what it is: get Russia first, then take on and bring down China and then, eventually, Iran and any other nation daring to disobey the rulers of the Hegemony.

Clearly, this is not about the Ukraine, this is about the future of mankind as a whole.

But what about the people in Zone A who currently already live under the AngloZionist yoke?

[Quick reminder: I have decided, for various reasons, not to discuss internal US politics on the Saker blog and I will try hard to stick to this rule.  Still, I will state the obvious: we all now know the outcome of the latest elections in the USA and the adults in the room understand what happened, no need to list various truisms here.  If there is anybody reading this who would sincerely believe that some variation of the Neocon Uniparty in power will change things for the better or even slow down the inevitable collapse I would recommend that this person stop reading here.  Now for the rest of us:]

I think that the initial reaction of most people in Zone A will be a mix of relief (“Of course I knew that the West would win!“) and indifference (transgender issues are SO much more important!): their valiant “finest fighting force in the history of the world” kicked some rooskie commie ass which most definitely deserved some ass-kicking.  Some of the most sanguine defenders of the “western civilization” will even drop by our comments section and gloat “ha! ha! told you! your Putin and his clueless generals got their asses kicked by the most bestest US and NATO generals!“.  And for a while, they will feel really good.  Vindicated:  finally the dumbshit stupid Russians will pay the price for electing and supporting such a weak, indecisive, naive, corrupt, incompetent (and possibly even dying of cancer) leader!

And if only the Kremlin had had the wisdom to listen to its “western friends”!

But no, the Kremlin did not, and now there is going to be hell to pay.  Of course, if Russia’s “western friends” had been in charge, they would have executed a lightening fast blitzkrieg a long time ago, smashed Banderastan into smithereens (à la Fallujah if you wish) and quickly an decisively defeated NATO.  But those clueless idiots in the Kremlin did not listen, and so they deserve what is coming next.

Okay, fair enough.

But what about the regular people in Zone A?  The ones whose “side” supposedly “won”?

Once the initial bliss and celebrations are over, what will happen to them next?

Anybody want to take a guess?  If so, please post your thoughts in the comments section below.

My personal take is that after the defeat of Russia, the defeat of China (by whatever means) would be next.  Once that happens, all of the following will become decapitated and irrelevant: BRICS, SCO, CSTO.  The next country on the Hegemony’s kill list is Iran which, having lost the backing of both Russia and China will not be able to successfully challenge the Hegemony.  That, in turn will have major consequences for the entire Middle-East.  Wannabe Pasha Erdogan would be very quickly brought to heel.  Ditto for MBS.

The Israelis will feel like they “fixed the universe” well enough and that their Moshiach must be next 🙂

With Russia and China out of the way, Central Asia would be frankly easy picking for the Hegemony. In fact, all the Russian limitrophes would quickly be absorbed into the Hegemony.

The same goes for Pakistan and India, who would quickly lose most (or even all) of their sovereignty.  Afghanistan will be handed over to the (US-baked and run) ISIS.  Eventually, both Latin America and African will be fully recolonized (to the immense relief and joy of the local comprador class).

Now I submit that anybody with a modicum of information and intelligence will agree that the gang of woke freaks currently running the USA and almost every EU country out there doesn’t give a damn about the people they rule over: they see them only as means of production, in other words, as slaves who need to be given sufficient amounts of (bad) food and immense amounts of (truly demonic) “entertainment” to keep them nice, and happy and, above all, obedient and ignorant.  So here comes my question:

With Zone B gone, what hope for a better future, if any, could the slaves of the AngloZionist Hegemony keep in their hearts if our entire planet turns into Zone A?

The current repressive apparatus available to the US ruling class which includes 17 “intelligence” agencies,  the biggest military aggression budget on the planet, the highest number of prisoners kept in jails, the total informational control provided by Google, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, etc. etc. etc. militarized police forces and other agencies ready to deal with “internal terrorists” (sometimes defined as any MAGA person), and a school and college system designed to create obedient office plankton (white collar) and fast food employees (blue collar) with almost no awareness, nevermind any understanding, of the outside world.  EU states are not quite there (yet) but they are catching up fast.

This is not a system which will simply collapse by itself or, even less so, be overthrown by its “deplorables”.

I have mentioned this many times in the past: the US political system is neither viable nor reformable.

The EU political system is basically an extension of the US political system, just with a more strongly pronounced colonial mindset (“fuck the EU” right?).

So will the Hegemony turn our entire planet into a giant and “woke” Disney World run by Neocons?

Not as long as Russia, China, Iran and others are standing firm.  But if these “resisting nations” are crushed, then its show over for the people of Zone A whose slavery will not only last even much longer, but whose living conditions will further rapidly deteriorate

And once the “bread and games” thingie fails, you can bet that violent repression is next.

ANY regime which seriously aims at colonizing the entire planet (which the Hegemony undoubtedly does!) will ALWAYS keep its own population in slave-like conditions, materially, culturally and spiritually.

So, to paraphrase Malcolm Xthe only hope for the House Negros still remains the Field Negro.  Whether the House Negros themselves understand that or not is immaterial.

Let me rephrase this in an even more shocking way: the last and only hope for the people of the USA and the EU would be a total Russian victory against NATO.  A NATO defeat will bring down not only NATO itself, but also the EU and that, in turn, would force the US to (finally!) become a normal, civilized, country.

As for the EU, a NATO defeat would mean the end of one thousand years of imperialism.

I get it.  For a civilization built upon the assumption of racial superiority (whether officially proclaimed or not) the notion that the only possible salvation could come from “inferior Asiatic barbarians” is shocking and can only be considered as an extreme form of doubleplusbadcrimethink.  Such a thought is, quite literally, unthinkable for most.

Yet, as I mentioned above, what the House Negros understand or not is entirely irrelevant.  Not only do they have no agency, they want none (Poland anybody?).

Conclusion:

Russia won’t lose this war, most of us understand that.  But to those who don’t, I will offer one simple conclusion: a Russian defeat would be a disaster for Russia.  And China.  And the rest of the planet.  But it will also be a true calamity for the oppressed people of the West.  They, of all people, should be very careful what they wish for. And the next time they want to hallucinate and gloat about a “strategic Russian retreat/defeat” they should ask themselves a simple question: what might this mean for *me* and *my own* future?  Do I really have a reason to rejoice?

Maybe they simply got used to being slaves and the idea of *real* freedom and diversity simply terrifies them?

Andrei

انتكاسة خيرسون: الحرب أمام منعطف جديد

الإثنين 14 تشرين الثاني 2022

الأخبار  

مهّد سوروفكين لقرار الانسحاب من خيرسون قبل نحو شهر (أ ف ب)

موسكو هي إذاً الانتكاسة الثالثة للجيش الروسي في غضون شهرين؛ فبعد انسحابه من مدينتَي إيزيوم وكراسني ليمان، كانت الانتكاسة الجديدة بقرار الانسحاب من خيرسون. قرارٌ عزاه قائد القوات الروسية في أوكرانيا، سيرغي سوروفكين، من بين أسباب أخرى، إلى صعوبة توفير الإمدادات للجنود، فضلاً عن نجاعة الأسلحة الأميركية التي تزوَّدت بها القوات الأوكرانية. وعلى رغم قرار الانسحاب، تسود الخبراء الروس قناعة بأن العودة إلى خيرسون ستكون قريبة جداً، فيما تؤكد كييف، من جهتها، أن الوضع بعد استعادة المدينة ليس كما قبله، كونها مفتاح المنطقة الجنوبية بأكملها، وهو ما سيسمح لها بـ«استهداف طرق الإمداد الرئيسة للقوات الروسية»، و«قطع المياه مرّة أخرى عن شبه جزيرة القرم»


أكملت القوات الروسية نقل جنودها من الضفّة الغربية لنهر دنيبر إلى الضفّة الأخرى، مع سحْبها أكثر من 30 ألف عسكري ونحو خمسة آلاف وحدة من الأسلحة والمعدات العسكرية، وإنشاء خطوط دفاع على طول النهر. وجاء الانسحاب الروسي من خيرسون بناءً على التوصية التي رفعها قائد القوات الروسية في أوكرانيا، سيرغي سوروفكين، إلى وزير الدفاع الروسي، سيرغي شويغو، والتي عزاها الأوّل خصوصاً إلى الحفاظ على أرواح العسكريين والقدرات القتالية، فضلاً عن تعزيز خط الدفاع عن الضفّة اليسرى للنهر. وإذ أقرّ سوروفكين بأن قرار الانسحاب من خيرسون كان «صعباً»، فهو أكد أن له فوائد بالنسبة إلى القوات الروسية، من خلال إعادة نشرها «في العمليات الهجومية على محاور أخرى». وفيما جاء الانسحاب بعد نحو شهر ونصف شهر فقط على ضمّ خيرسون إلى قوام الاتحاد الروسي، أعلن الناطق باسم الكرملين، دميتري بيسكوف، إلى أن «خيرسون كيان تابع لروسيا الاتحادية، وهذا الوضع ثابت ولا يمكن إجراء تغييرات عليه».

وكان سوروفكين مهّد لقرار الانسحاب في أوّل حديث صحافي له عقب تسلُّمه منصبه قائداً للقوات الروسية في أوكرانيا قبل نحو شهر، حين أشار إلى ضرورة اتخاذ «قرارات مهمّة وصعبة» في شأن خيرسون، وهو ما فسّرته كييف، في حينه، على أنه قرار بالانسحاب من المدينة، لا سيما وأنه ترافق مع عملية إجلاء كبيرة للسكان المؤيّدين لموسكو، وسط التحشيد العسكري الأوكراني، إذ تشير المعلومات إلى أن كييف حشدت نحو 60 ألف جندي لاستعادة المدينة التي سقطت في يد القوات الروسية في 14 آذار الماضي، مع بداية الحرب. ونجحت القوات الأوكرانية، اعتباراً من آب الماضي، في التقدُّم في مقاطعة خيرسون، وبخاصّة على الضفّة اليمنى لنهر دنيبر، في منطقتَي خيرسون ونيكولاييف. وعلى رغم هذا التقدُّم، نجحت القوات الروسية في وقف الهجوم وإلحاق خسائر فادحة بالقوات الأوكرانية، إلّا أنها اضطرت لاحقاً لاتخاذ القرار بالانسحاب. وفيما أشار سوروفكين إلى أن من بين أسباب الانسحاب، «خطورة إقدام كييف على تدمير سدّ محطة كاخوفسكايا الكهرومائية على نهر دنيبر في خيرسون»، وهو ما سيؤدّي، وفقاً له، إلى عواقب وخيمة، برزت أيضاً مسألة إمداد القوات الروسية على الضفّة اليمنى لنهر دنيبر، من بين الأسباب التي دفعت موسكو إلى الانسحاب.

أكد الكرملين أن خيرسون كيان تابع لروسيا الاتحادية، وأن هذا الأمر لن يتغيّر


وفي هذا السياق، أوضح المحلّل العسكري في صحيفة «إيزفستيا»، أنطون لافروف، أن «التعقيد المتزايد لتزويد القوات الروسية بالعتاد والأسلحة والطعام أصبح مشكلة أساسية»، مشيراً إلى أنه «منذ بداية العملية الخاصة، كان للقوات والسكان المحليّين على الضفّة اليمنى ثلاثة خطوط اتصال فقط مع بقية روسيا من خلال نهر دنيبر: جسر أنتونوفسكي في خيرسون، خطوط سكك الحديد، وسدّ محطة كاخوفسكايا لتوليد الطاقة الكهرومائية». وأضاف أنه على رغم كلّ المحاولات، خلال الأشهر الماضية، «لم تتمكّن القوات الأوكرانية من تعطيل هذه الطرق، لكن الوضع تغيّر مع تسلُّمها مقذوفات وصواريخ طويلة المدى وعالية الدقة، وهو ما غيّر في المشهد الميداني، وكانت أولى معالمه ما حصل في معركة جزيرة زميني في نهاية شهر حزيران، حين اضطرّت القوات الروسية للانسحاب منها». ووفق لافروف، فإن أنظمة الدفاع الجوي المتاحة لم تنجح في اعتراض الصواريخ الأوكرانية إلى الآن، وهو ما أقرّ به سوروفكين نفسه بقوله إن مشكلة الصواريخ لم يتمّ حلّها بالكامل، إذ وعلى رغم كل الإجراءات المتَّخذة من قِبَل القوات الروسية، إلّا أن نحو 20% من الصواريخ الموجّهة تصل إلى أهدافها. بالإضافة إلى ما تقدّم، بدأت القوات الأوكرانية، منذ أيلول الماضي، في استخدام قذائف مقاس 155 ملم التي حصلت عليها من «البنتاغون»، والتي تم تصحيحها بواسطة نظام تحديد المواقع العالمي، وهذه الذخيرة يستحيل بشكل عام اعتراضها بواسطة أنظمة الدفاع الجوي، بحسب ما أشار إليه المحلّل العسكري أنطون لافروف. ولفت لافروف إلى أن القوات الأوكرانية «نجحت في تعطيل الحركة في الجسر وخطط سكك الحديد المؤديّة إلى خيرسون، وكان يمكنها أيضاً إيقاف الحركة عبر سدّ محطة كاخوفسكايا، كما تعرّض ميناء خيرسون لهجمات صاروخية». وبحسبه، فإن النقص في الإمدادات، خصوصاً مع خطوة الحركة عبر العبّارات والعوامات والقوارب، أدّى إلى نقص في الذخيرة والعتاد، وما هو تسبّب في نقص في الاحتياطات المتوافرة للجنود وكذلك عدد المعدّات العسكرية الصالحة للاستخدام.

وعلى رغم الضربة المعنوية الكبيرة لصورة الجيش الروسي بعد قرار الانسحاب من خيرسون، إلّا أن الخبراء الروس أجمعوا على أن القرار كان ضرورياً مع اقتراب الشتاء، مع ما يعنيه ذلك من صعوبة في تأمين العتاد والطعام للجنود على الضفّة اليمنى لنهر دنيبر، بخاصّة وأنه لو لجأت موسكو إلى إعادة الانتشار في المنطقة لكانت وضعت جنودها في مواجهة مصيرهم في ما لو أقدمت كييف على ضرب سدّ محطّة كاخوفسكايا، وهو ما يعني غرق المنطقة بأكملها.
ويسود انطباع لدى الخبراء الروس بأن معركة خيرسون لم تنتهِ بعد، بل أُجّلت إلى مرحلة لاحقة يكون وضع الجيش الروسي فيها قد تحسّن مع وصول القوات الجديدة الملتحقة بعد عملية التعبئة العامة، إضافة إلى تسلُّم هذه القوات الأسلحة الجديدة التي وعد الرئيس السابق لمؤسسة «روس كوسموس» الفضائية، دميتري روغوزين، بأنها ستضمن النصر لروسيا. وبينما قلّل الخبراء الروس من خطوة الانسحاب من خيرسون، إلّا أن المحللين الأوكرانيين أكدوا أن استعادة السيطرة على المدينة والتي هي مفتاح المنطقة الجنوبية بأكملها، ستسمح لكييف «باستهداف طرق الإمداد الرئيسة للقوات الروسية، وسيحاول الروس الاحتفاظ بالسيطرة عليها بكل الوسائل». وبحسب المحلّل العسكري الأوكراني، أوليه جدانوف، فإن استعادة خيرسون «من شأنها أن تمهّد الطريق أمام استعادة الجزء الذي تحتلّه روسيا من منطقة زابوروجيا ومناطق أخرى في الجنوب، وفي النهاية العودة إلى شبه جزيرة القرم»، موضحاً أن «استعادة السيطرة على خيرسون ستمكّن كييف مرّة أخرى من قطع المياه عن شبه جزيرة القرم، وسيعاني الروس مرّة أخرى من مشكلات المياه العذبة هناك».

فيديوات ذات صلة

مقالات ذات صلة

Vladimir Putin Press Conference – Astana Kazakhstan – October 14, 2022 – English Subtitles

October 15, 2022

A nice bridge you got there…

October 10, 2022

Source

by Dmitri Orlov

I keep trying to write serious articles about serious issues, but current events keep injecting minutiae into my train of thought, which I then have to spend time on. If I didn’t, many of my readers would think I am ignoring them, and that would be bad (in their esteemed opinion) because these current events are sooo important! Several large-diameter pipes get blown up at the bottom of the Baltic, which weren’t being used in any case. A truck bomb exploded on the bridge that links Crimea with Krasnodar, shutting it down for almost a whole day. Oh, and before we forget, Krasny Liman, a railroad junction in Donetsk was temporarily surrendered to the relentlessly attacking Ukrainians (mostly Polish mercenaries, actually) who drenched it in their blood and festooned it with their billowing entrails in the process. These and other less significant events have caused some small but noisy part of Russian social media to explode in consternation, baying for revenge and generally acting dissatisfied with the progress made since the Special Operation was declared on February 22, 2022. Sure enough, plenty of these hysterical voices are actually paid Ukrainian agents tasked with spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt and, sure enough, the Special Operation will proceed regardless, so this is all just a temporary annoyance. But I will comment on it because I feel that I have to, and then move on to more important things.

The bridge across the Kerch Strait was under discussion for many decades. It was in the planning stages even while Crimea was still an autonomy within the constitutionally intact Ukraine, prior to the US-instigated violent coup of 2014. After Crimea rejoined Russia, it became extremely important to create a ground transportation link between it and the mainland, and the bridge was built in record time. It was a massive undertaking and is a high-prestige item for the Russian government. But there have also been some organizational issues.

As it stands, yesterday a large tractor-trailer packed with explosives was detonated on the highway portion of the bridge just as a cargo train with cisterns of diesel was passing through. The resulting explosion demolished two reinforced concrete highway spans and sooted up the rail bed. All train traffic and half of the road traffic were restarted that very day. There is equipment to X-ray all cargo passing through, but it wasn’t being used because of certain bureaucratic inadequacies; these, I am sure, will now be remedied.

The reason the bridge was extremely important was because there was no land connecting Crimea to the rest of Russia; but now that Kherson and Donetsk are again part of Russia, traffic from Simferopol to Rostov can be sent around the northern shore of Sea of Azov (which is now an entirely Russian body of water); the difference is between 690km and 730km. The bridge is by means superfluous because the distance to Krasnodar, another regional hub, is 1030km by land and just 460km via the bridge. But the new land route from Moscow to Simferopol is 350km shorter. But it’s a very nice bridge, building it cost lots of money and a bit more due diligence is definitely needed to keep Ukrainian terrorists from trying to blow it up.

We are waiting for the results of the investigation to determine how exactly this terrorist act was planned and executed but judging from the fact that the Kiev regime endlessly promised to carry it out and had prepared to celebrate it before it occurred, it is reasonable to expect that it was indeed behind it. In that case the Kiev regime has in effect officially declared itself to be a terrorist entity and any appeals to its territorial integrity and other rights under international law are now groundless. It is now yet another terrorist entity, like ISIS or Al Qaeda, to be destroyed as swiftly and efficiently as possible.

There are, however, two problems. First, the terrorist entity that is the Kiev regime is holding several million people hostage. What’s worse, the Ukraine’s progression from just very corrupt to criminal to full-on genocidal terrorist has been gradual taking some 30 years, and quite a few of these millions are now suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, thinking that black and white and terrorists are the good guys. Some of these victims are beyond hope while others can be deprogrammed over time and revert to what they actually are, which is a provincial sort of Russian. Given a proper educational system, this can be achieved in at most two generations; but this is not something that can be fixed in a hurry using tactical or strategic weapons.

The second problem is behind the Kiev terrorists stand Washington terrorists, along with their many and varied vassals in the European Union. The vassals are indeed varied, ranging from Hungary, which has stood its ground, realizing that it can’t survive without Russian energy imports, to France and Germany, which are almost feckless but do try to do as little to help the Ukraine as they can get away with, to Poland, which is rabidly hell-bent on self-destruction and eager to supply all the cannon fodder the Russians can easily destroy. There is also Britain, which is eager to make mischief on the continent just to assure itself that it still exists.

But behind them all stands Washington, which just blew up some pipelines. If the Crimean bridge incident was for Kiev what 9/11 was for Al Qaeda (obvious fakery notwithstanding), then the Nord Stream pipeline incident was the same for the Washingtonians. The problem is that the Washingtonians are nuclear-armed and can’t be put out of their misery without triggering global destruction. Also, the number of hostages the Washingtonians are holding is orders of magnitude larger and the Stockholm Syndrome is much, much stronger. The difference, from the Russian perspective, is that the Washington regime is on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and, once the US economy collapses, will be easy to ignore. Already your average Russian is revolted by news of Americans castrating their children, having gay sex and dosing on fentanyl; if it wasn’t for Biden falling down and shaking hands with ghosts or Pelosi’s empty-eyed blithering, there would be nothing to report. The pipeline incident is, of course, lamentable, but then Gazprom has earned a huge fortune by specifically not using that pipeline. But the Kiev regime is right there on the Russian border lobbing missiles at kindergartens, schools and hospitals, and now trying to blow up the damn bridge! This sort of behavior fills your average Russian patriotic Putin-lover with rage; yet what s there to do—beyond what the Special Operation is already doing?

Why didn’t the Russian army liberate Kharkov, for instance, instead of retreating from the region? Well, Kharkov is a city that has almost no industry but has several hundred hipsters who would have had to be fed, clothed and entertained—or they would go and work for the enemy. Most of these hipsters are Stockholm Syndrome sufferers par excellence, and deprogramming them would absorb scarce resources best used elsewhere. Same logic applies to Kiev—times five or ten. Why doesn’t the Russian army blow up bridges, severing communications across Kiev-controlled territory? Well, then they would have to rebuild those bridges when the time comes, and that costs money. Why doesn’t the Russian army demolish border crossings, cutting the Ukraine off from the EU? Well, it’s not time for that yet; that time will come when life in the EU becomes worse than life in the Kiev-controlled portion of former Ukraine and people start trying to come back. Then it will be time to set up filtration camps, to separate the wolves from the lambs. Why doesn’t the Russian army use rockets to destroy the Ukraine’s electric grid and the rest of its energy system? Well, that would just create a humanitarian disaster, for which Russia would be to blame, making it no better than the terrorists and providing ammunition for enemy propaganda.

What is there left to do? Oh, you know, just use a small fraction of Russia’s army to liberate 110.000km2 of territory over a period of a little under nine months, maintaining a better than 10:1 kill ratio, organize referenda on liberated territories and accept them into the Russian Federation. Pretty shabby, I know, but then these 110.000km2 include prime farmland, lots of factories and mines and several million Russians who are very excited to be one with the Motherland once again.

Before I sign off for the day, I’d like to report what seems like a really positive development for the Russian side. Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite network has allowed the Ukrainians at the front to receive up-to-date information and instructions, allowing them to target Russian forces and civilians alike. Ukrainian commanders at the frontline had a continuous internet connection to NATO commanders, who took care of tactical planning and targeting for them. But now the Ukrainians report that Starlink has been failing. At the same time, mysterious pillars of light have appeared over several Russian cities, which were, laughably, ascribed to light pollution from greenhouses. What stands to reason is that the Russians have invented a way to irradiate the ionosphere, saturating it with nose at just those frequencies used by Starlink satellites. Without an internet connection to NATO, the Ukrainians are now as blind as newborn kittens, and just as helpless. Instead of being forced to play “shoot and scoot” Russian artillery and rocketry will be able to pull right up, take out the Ukrainians with line-of-sight targeting, then pull up some more. This should speed up progress quite a lot.

Another development that should speed up progress is the arrival of winter. Foliage is disappearing, and with it the ability of the Ukrainians to hide behind trees and bushes. With the arrival of cold weather, targeting will become a matter of picking out hot spots on infrared images, killing anything that’s still warm. Add to this the arrival of mud season: it will severely hamper the Ukrainians forces’ ability to maneuver. Most of their Soviet-era armor, which was designed for fighting in mud, ice and in snow, has been destroyed already, while its NATO replacements, mostly designed for dry, sunny weather, are exhibiting a marked tendency to get stuck.

In all, I just don’t see too much for the Russians to worry about at this point. As for the Americans, I really don’t see any face-saving way for them out of this. They should just do what they always do under such circumstances: declare victory and go home. To keep their minds off the Ukraine fiasco, maybe they could start a civil war. If they do, I’d be willing to go to Alaska, to help organize a referendum on it rejoining Russia. The US lease on it ran out back in 1966, you know.

Will they ever learn? (answer: probably not)

October 11, 2022

Source

Following the attack on the Crimea bridge, the entire Ukronazi Internet plus assorted supporters exploded in a supernova of joy and Schadenfreude: the much hated “Putin bridge” was finally down!  Hurray!!!

How the Ukronazis see their future (not a fake, its 100% real!)

It was also funny to see that once the Ukronazis realized how stupid (and dangerous!) their proud claims that they were the ones who blew up the truck on the bridge, they decided to blame Putin.  So, as per our Ukronazi pals, Putin blew up the “Putin bridge” for some as of yet unnamed purpose, but most definitely an evil one.

Even more hilarious were the hardcore Banderistas à la Aristovich who were celebrating each Russian strike because “now the Russians have one less missile to use”.  Clearly, a war-winning mindset 🙂

In fact, the Russians are so evil that the Europeans have decided to exclude Russia from the investigation about what really happened with NS1 and NS2.  Which makes sense: the EU cannot let Putin know that he blew up his own pipelines. right?  And the fact that Russia is one of the main proprietors of NS1/NS2 does not matter one bit: as always (MH17, Skripal, Navalnyi, etc.) the Russian Snow Niggers need to be treated with the utmost contempt by the European Master Race.  That will convince the Russians to take the Eurolemmings seriously.

“Eurologic” at its best…

But, seriously, away from the la-la land of various Nazi supporters and Russian 6th columnists, most of the traffic on the Crimean bridge was restored in less than 24 hours.  Then came the Russian response: in a quick series of strikes, Russia switched off the electricity over the entire Ukraine, Lvov (the real capital of Banderastan) included.

Compare the two actions and tell me who is winning and who is losing this war 🙂

Of course, the usual gang of “alternatively gifted” Putin critics will scream that this is all too little too late.  As for the Ukronazis, they are already chanting their favorite mantra about “Russia is running out of missiles!  Russia is running out of missiles!“.  A brilliant war-winning strategy for sure!

Those still capable of critical/rational thought will realize that the sheer magnitude and devastating consequences of the Russian strikes is just a signal that Putin is doing what he has been doing since February:

  • Acting unilaterally without any efforts to negotiate (but without rejecting any negotiations should somebody in the West come to his/her senses).
  • Slowly and gradually increase the pain dial not only for the rump Ukraine but also for the entire EU

One more thing: assuming that Russia fired somewhere in the range of 200 missiles (out of stocks having many thousands more) against power stations, communications nodes, railway infrastructure, command posts, field headquarters, transformers, etc. and that this was more than enough to “pull the plug” on a huge country like the Ukraine tells you all you need to know about both the Russian capabilities and the lack of capabilities of Ukronazi air defenses (including old Soviet-era S-300 slamming into the ground the same way US Patriot missiles did during the Gulf War).

By the way – where was the “winning” Ukrainian Air Force?  I am sure that they shot down no less than several hundred missiles and aircraft, right?

Lastly, the Russian strikes have continued for a second day, but the SBU has now banned filming any outcomes from Russian strikes, so there is a lot less footage today.  Still, a lot at the latest map of strikes, it is clear that the entire country was hit hard for a second time.

So will those poor souls who accuse Putin of “indecision” or “weakness” ever learn their lesson and understand WHY and HOW Putin is dialing up the pain dial?

No, of course not.

They are now so personally involved in trashing Putin at all costs that they simply cannot look at reality without losing face.  So they too will double down on their own certitudes even if that means deliberately and systematically ignoring the facts on the ground.  As I have said many times, these folks would rather see Russia and Putin lose than Russia and Putin win.  You could say that they hate Putin more than they love Russia.

Some of these putatively “pro-Russian” folks are sincere, especially in the West, but utterly incompetent and mislead by Russian 6th columnists: what Lenin would have called useful idiots.

Others are clearly plants of the western letter soup.  And, of course, the former have no idea that they are working hand in hand with the latter.

So what comes next?  More of the same, of course: unilateral initiatives on the international scene combined with a further, but gradual, increase of the pain dial.

Which leaves one more actor I want to comment upon: the brainwashed people of the Ukraine who think that celebrating terrorist attacks and constantly threatening and even attacking Russia will bring them a happy future in an ethnically pure Nazi homeland of milk and honey.

I am very sad and sorry to have to say that, but the brains of these people also need to be demilitarized and denazified.  By acting this way they make themselves into legitimate targets.

In many ways, these strikes also serve an educational purpose: to convince the Ukrainian people that the war is not something which will only happen in the faraway Donbass.

This is what this winter will be all about: bringing the reality of war to the rump-Banderastan and to the EU.

Andrei

Terror on Crimea Bridge forces Russia to unleash Shock’n Awe

The western narrative of a ‘losing Russia’ has just been decimated by Moscow’s blitzkrieg against Ukraine and its foreign-backed terror operations

October 10 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

The terror attack on Krymskiy Most – the Crimea Bridge – was the proverbial straw that broke the Eurasian camel’s back.

Russian President Vladimir Putin neatly summarized it: “This is a terrorist attack aimed at destroying the critical civilian infrastructure of the Russian Federation.”

The head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, confirmed face-to-face with Putin that Terror on the Bridge was carried out by the SBU – Ukrainian special services.

Bastrykin told Putin, “we have already established the route of the truck, where the explosion took place. Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, North Ossetia, Krasnodar… The carriers have been identified. With the help of operatives of the FSB, we managed to identify suspects.”

Russian intel leaked crucial info to military correspondent Alexander Kots. The cargo was ordered by a Ukrainian citizen: explosives packed in 22 pallets, in rolls of film under plastic wrap, were shipped from Bulgaria to the Georgian port of Poti. Afterwards, the cargo was loaded onto a truck with foreign license plates and proceeded overland to Armenia.

Clearance at the Armenia-Russia border was smooth – according to the rules of the Eurasian Customs Union (both Russia and Armenia are members of the Eurasian Economic Union, or EAEU). The cargo evidently avoided detection through X-rays. This route is standard for truckers traveling to Russia.

The truck then re-entered Georgia and crossed the border into Russia again, but this time through the Upper Lars checkpoint. That’s the same one used by thousands of Russians fleeing partial mobilization. The truck ended up in Armavir, where the cargo was transferred to another truck, under the responsibility of Mahir Yusubov: the one that entered the Crimean bridge coming from the Russian mainland.

Very important: the transport from Armavir to a delivery address in Simferopol should have happened on October 6-7: that is, timed to the birthday of President Putin on Friday the 7th. For some unexplained reason, that was postponed for a day.

The driver of the first truck is already testifying. Yusubov, the driver of the second truck – which exploded on the bridge – was “blind:” he had no idea what he was carrying, and is dead.

At this stage, two conclusions are paramount.

First: This was not a standard ISIS-style truck suicide bombing – the preferred interpretation in the aftermath of the terror attack.

Second: The packaging most certainly took place in Bulgaria. That, as Russian intel has cryptically implied, indicates the involvement of “foreign special services.”

‘A mirage of cause and effect’

What has been revealed in public by Russian intelligence tells only part of the story. An incandescent assessment received by The Cradle from another Russian intel source is way more intriguing.

At least 450 kg of explosives were employed in the blast. Not on the truck, but mounted inside the Crimea Bridge span itself. The white truck was just a decoy by the terrorists “to create a mirage of cause and effect.” When the truck reached the point on the bridge where the explosives were mounted, the explosion took place.

According to the source, railroad employees told investigators that there was a form of electronic hijacking; the terror operators took control of the railway so the train carrying fuel received a command to stop because of a false signal that the road ahead was busy.

Bombs mounted on the bridge spans were a working hypothesis largely debated in Russian military channels over the weekend, as well as the use of underwater drones.  

In the end, the quite sophisticated plan could not follow the necessarily rigid timing. There was no alignment by the millimeter between the mounted explosive charges, the passing truck and the fuel train stopped in its tracks. Damage was limited, and easily contained. The charges/truck combo exploded on the outer right lane of the road. Damage was only on two sections of the outer lane, and not much on the railway bridge.

In the end, Terror on the Bridge yielded a short, Pyrrhic PR victory – duly celebrated across the collective West – with negligible practical success: transfer of Russian military cargo by railway resumed in roughly 14 hours.

And that brings us to the key information in the Russian intel source assessment: the whodunnit.

It was a plan by the British MI6, says this source, without offering further details. Which, he elaborates, Russian intel, for a number of reasons, is shadow-playing as “foreign special services.”

It’s quite telling that the Americans rushed to establish plausible deniability. The proverbial “Ukrainian government official” told CIA mouthpiece The Washington Post that the SBU did it. That was a straight confirmation of an Ukrainska Pravda report based on an “unidentified law enforcement official.”

The perfect red line trifecta

Already, over the weekend, it was clear the ultimate red line had been crossed. Russian public opinion and media were furious. For all its status as an engineering marvel, Krymsky Most represents not only critical infrastructure; it is the visual symbol of the return of Crimea to Russia.

Moreover, this was a personal terror attack on Putin and the whole Russian security apparatus.

So we had, in sequence, Ukrainian terrorists blowing up Darya Dugina’s car in a Moscow suburb (they admitted it); US/UK special forces (partially) blowing Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 (they admitted and then retracted); and the terror attack on Krymsky Most  (once again: admitted then retracted).

Not to mention the shelling of Russian villages in Belgorod, NATO supplying long-range weapons to Kiev, and the routine execution of Russian soldiers.

Darya Dugina, Nord Streams and Crimea Bridge make it an Act of War trifecta. So this time the response was inevitable – not even waiting for the first meeting since February of the Russian Security Council scheduled for the afternoon of 10 October.

Moscow launched the first wave of a Russian Shock’n Awe without even changing the status of the Special Military Operation (SMO) to Counter-Terrorist Operation (CTO), with all its serious military/legal implications.

After all, even before the UN Security Council meeting, Russian public opinion was massively behind taking the gloves off. Putin had not even scheduled bilateral meetings with any of the members. Diplomatic sources hint that the decision to let the hammer come down had already been taken over the weekend.

Shock’n Awe did not wait for the announcement of an ultimatum to Ukraine (that may come in a few days); an official declaration of war (not necessary); or even announcing which ‘”decision-making centers” in Ukraine would be hit.

The lightning strike de facto metastasizing of SMO into CTO means that the regime in Kiev and those supporting it are now considered as legitimate targets, just like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra during the Anti-Terror Operation (ATO) in Syria.

And the change of status – now this is a real war on terror – means that terminating all strands of terrorism, physical, cultural, ideological, are the absolute priority, and not the safety of Ukrainian civilians. During the SMO, safety of civilians was paramount. Even the UN has been forced to admit that in over seven months of SMO the number of civilian casualties in Ukraine has been relatively low.

Enter ‘Commander Armageddon’

The face of Russian Shock’n Awe is Russian Commander of the Aerospace Forces, Army General Sergey Surovikin: the new commander-in-chief of the now totally centralized SMO/CTO.

Questions were being asked non-stop: why didn’t Moscow take this decision way back in February? Well, better late than never. Kiev is now learning they messed with the wrong guy. Surovikin is widely respected – and feared: his nickname is “General Armageddon.” Others call him “Cannibal.” Legendary Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov – also a colonel general in the Russian military – lavishly praises Surovikin as “a real general and warrior, an experienced, strong-willed and far-sighted commander.”

Surovikin has been commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces since 2017; was awarded the title of Hero of Russia for his no-nonsense leadership of the military operation in Syria; and had on the ground experience in Chechnya in the 1990s.

Surovikin is Dr. Shock’n Awe with full carte blanche. That even rendered idle speculations that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov were removed or forced to resign, as speculated by the Wagner group Telegram channel Grey Zone.

It is still possible that Shoigu – widely criticized for recent Russian military setbacks – could be eventually replaced by Tula Governor Alexei Dyumin, and Gerasimov by the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, Lieutenant General Alexander Matovnikov.

That’s almost irrevelant: all eyes are on Surovikin.  

MI6 does have some well-placed moles in Moscow, relatively speaking. The Brits had warned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the General Staff that the Russians would be launching a “warning strike” this Monday.

What happened was no “warning strike,” but a massive offensive of over 100 cruise missiles launched “from the air, sea and land,” as Putin noted, against Ukrainian “energy, military command and communications facilities.” 

MI6 also noted “the next step” will be the complete destruction of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. That’s not a “next step:” it’s already happening. Power supply is completely gone in five regions, including Lviv and Kharkov, and there are serious interruptions in other five, including Kiev.

Over 60 percent of Ukrainian power grids are already knocked out. Over 75 percent of internet traffic is gone. Elon Musk’s Starlink netcentric warfare has been “disconnected” by the Ministry of Defense.

Shock’n Awe will likely progress in three stages.

First: Overload of the Ukrainian air defense system (already on).

Second: Plunging Ukraine into the Dark Ages (already in progress).

Third: Destruction of all major military installations (the next wave).

Ukraine is about to embrace nearly total darkness in the next few days. Politically, that opens a completely new ball game. Considering Moscow’s trademark “strategic ambiguity,” this could be a sort of Desert Storm remixed (massive air strikes preparing a ground offensive); or, more likely, an ‘incentive’ to force NATO to negotiate; or just a relentless, systematic missile offensive mixed with Electronic Warfare (EW) to shatter for good Kiev’s capacity to wage war.

Or it could be all of the above.

How a humiliated western Empire can possibly raise the stakes now, short of going nuclear, remains a key question. Moscow has shown admirable restraint for too long. No one should ever forget that in the real Great Game – how to coordinate the emergence of the multipolar world – Ukraine is just a mere sideshow. But now the sideshow runners better run for cover, because General Armageddon is on the loose.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Massive Wave of Missile Attacks Reported Across Ukraine, Zelensky Confirms Strikes

October 10, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Multiple missile strikes targeted Ukrainian cities all across the country on Monday morning, according to local officials and media, which attributed the attacks to Russia. This comes two days after a bomb damaged the strategic Crimean Bridge – which Moscow called a Ukrainian terrorist attack.

President Vladimir Zelensky highlighted the attacks on the capital, Kiev and the cities of Dnepr and Zaporozhye, before urging people to take shelter. Local officials in Lviv, Kharkov, and Odessa also reported that their cities came under fire.

The office of Valery Zaluzhny, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, reported they had detected at least 75 missiles and claimed they had intercepted 41.

In Kiev, damage from the strikes was reported near the headquarters of the Security Service of Ukraine [SBU], which is located in the government area of the capital. City officials halted operations of the metro system, and the stations are now being used as shelters for civilians.

Kiev mayor, Vitaliy Klitschko, issued a statement via his official Telegram account, saying, “Several explosions in the Shevchenskivskyi district – in the center of the capital.”

At least four explosions were heard, the Kiev Independent reported and according to public broadcaster Suspilne, an explosion was heard near a railway station in the city.

A cloud of black smoke was also reported to be seen rising from one area in the city center.

According to Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko, one rocket fell “right in the center of the city”.

“Cars are burning, and windows have been shattered in houses. There are dead,” he tweeted.

The head of Lviv Region, Maksim Kozitsky, reported that elements of the western province’s energy infrastructure came under attack.

Boris Filatov, the mayor of Dnepr, a major city in central Ukraine, confirmed the strikes and said he could only feel “hatred and the wish to fight,” while urging residents to take shelter.

Vitaly Kim, who heads the southern Nikolaev Region which borders Russia’s Kherson Region, reported dozens of projectiles and a number of kamikaze drones coming from Russian troops. He claimed that Moscow was targeting “critical infrastructure” throughout the country.

With similar accounts coming in from many parts of the country, senior Ukrainian officials have expressed determination to fight Russia. “Our courage will never be destroyed by terrorists’ missiles, even when they hit the heart of our capital,” Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov tweeted, also claiming that Russia’s future is that of “a globally despised rogue terrorist state.”

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the explosion. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has, however, declared in a Twitter message that the bombing was “the beginning.”

The blast came amid a February-present Russian “special military operation” in Ukraine, which has been seeking to defend the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk’s pro-Russian population against persecution by Kiev.

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