EU Parliamentarian Calls to Sanction Vanessa Beeley and All Observers of Donbass Referendums

Global Research, September 30, 2022

By Max Blumenthal and Anya Parampil

The Grayzone 29 September 2022

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MEP Nathalie Loiseau of France is lobbying for individual sanctions on all observers of the Russian-organized referendums in the Donbass region. She has singled out journalist Vanessa Beeley not only for her coverage of the vote, but for her reporting on the foreign-back war against Syria’s government.

A French Member of European Parliament (MEP), Natalie Loiseau, has delivered a letter to EU High Representative of Foreign Affairs, Joseph Borrell, demanding the European Union place personal sanctions on all international observers of the recent votes in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and certain Russian-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine.

Obtained by The Grayzone from an EU source, the letter is currently being circulated among European parliamentarians in hopes of securing a docket of supportive signatures.

“We, as elected members of the European Parliament, demand that all those who voluntarily assisted in any way the organization of these illegitimate referendums be individually targeted and sanctioned,” Loiseau declared.

The French MEP’s letter came after a group of formally Ukrainian territories held a vote on whether or not to officially incorporate themselves into the Russian Federation in late September. Through the popular referendum, the independent Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which announced their respective successions from Ukraine in 2014 following a foreign-backed coup against the government Kiev, as well as the regions of Kherson and Zaporozhia, voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the Russian Federation.

Loiseau singled out Vanessa Beeley, a British journalist who traveled to the region to monitor the vote. Extending her complaint well beyond the referendum, the French MEP accused Beeley of “continuously spreading fake news about Syria and acting as a mouthpiece for Vladimir Putin and Bashar el [sic] Assad for years.”

Loiseau, a close ally of French President Emanuel Macron, specifically demanded Beeley be “included in the list of those sanctioned.”

Beeley responded to Loiseau’s letter in a statement to The Grayzone:

“Imposing sanctions on global citizens for bearing witness to a legal process that reflects the self-determination of the people of Donbass is fascism. Should the EU proceed with this campaign, I believe there will be serious consequences because the essence of freedom of speech and thought is under attack.

Russia’s referendums: drawing a line with NATO

In mid-September 2022, Beeley and around 100 other international delegates traveled to eastern Europe in order to observe a vote to join the Russian Federation in the regions of Kherson, Zaporozhia, and the independent republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.

Why did their presence trigger such an outraged response from Western governments? The answer lies in the recent history of these heavily contested areas.

The formally Ukrainian territories of Kherson and Zaporozhia fell under Russian control earlier this year as a result of the military campaign launched by Moscow in February, while the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics declared their independence from the government in Kiev in 2014.

Russia began its special military campaign in Ukrainian territory on February 24. The operation followed Moscow’s decision that same week to formally recognize the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic (the Donbass Republics) in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. Pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass have been embroiled in a bloody trench battle with the US-backed government in Kiev since 2014.

Ukraine’s civil conflict broke out in March 2014, after US and European forces sponsored a coup in the country that installed a decidedly pro-NATO nationalist regime in Kiev which proceeded to declare war on its minority, ethnically Russian population.

Following the 2014 putsch, Ukraine’s government officially marginalized the Russian language while extremist thugs backed by Kiev massacred and intimidated ethnic Russian citizens of Ukraine. In response, separatist protests swept Ukraine’s majority-Russian eastern regions.

Russia Recognizes Two Donbass Republics to Stop Ukraine’s Violence

The territory of Crimea formally voted to join Russia in March of that year, while the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region declared their unofficial independence from Kiev that same month. With support from the US military and NATO, Ukraine’s coup government officially declared war on the Donbass in April 2014, launching what it characterized as an “Anti-Terrorist Operation” in the region.

Russia trained and equipped separatist militias in Donetsk and Lugansk throughout the territories’ civil campaigns against Kiev, though Moscow did not officially recognize the independence of the Donbass republics until February 2022. By then, United Nations estimates placed the casualty count for Ukraine’s civil war at roughly 13,000 dead. While Moscow offered support to Donbass separatists throughout the 2014-2022 period, US and European governments invested billions to prop up a Ukrainian military that was heavily reliant on army and intelligence factions with direct links to the country’s historic anti-Soviet, pro-Nazi deep state born as a result of World War II.

Russia’s military formally entered the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, following Moscow’s recognition of the Donbass republics. While Russian President Vladimir Putin defined the liberation of the Donbass republics as the primary objective of the military operation, he also listed the “de-nazification” and “de-militarization” of Ukraine as a goals of the campaign. As such, Russian troops have since secured control of Ukrainian territories beyond the Donbass region, including the territories of Kherson and Zaporozhia.

Facing increased Western investment in the Kiev-aligned bloc of Ukraine’s civil war, authorities in the Donbass republics announced a referendum on membership in the Russian Federation in late September 2022, with Moscow-aligned officials in Kherson and Zaporozhia announcing similar ballot initiatives. Citizens in each territory proceeded to approve Russian membership by overwhelming majorities.

The results of the referendum not only threatened the government in Kiev, but its European and US backers. Western-aligned media leapt to characterize the votes as a sham, claiming Moscow’s troops had coerced citizens into joining the Russian Federation at the barrel of a gun. Their narrative would have reigned supreme if not for the hundred or so international observers who physically traveled to the regions in question to observe the referendum process.

Observers like Vanessa Beeley now face the threat of returning home to the West as wanted outlaws. But as Loiseau’s letter made clear, the British journalist was in the crosshairs long before the escalation in Ukraine.

Beeley among European journalists targeted and prosecuted for reporting from Donetsk

Vanessa Beeley was among the first independent journalists to expose the US and UK governments’ sponsorship of the Syrian White Helmets, a so-called “volunteer organization” that played frontline role in promoting the foreign-backed dirty war against Syria’s government through its coordination with Western and Gulf-sponsored media. Beeley also played an instrumental role in revealing the White Helmets’ strong ties to Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, as well as its members’ involvement in atrocities committed by Western-backed insurgents.

Beeley’s work on Syria drew harsh attacks from an array of NATO and arms industry-funded think tanks. In June 2022, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), which receives funding from a variety of NATO states, corporations and billionaires, labeled Beeley “the most prolific spreader of disinformation” on Syria prior to 2020. (According to ISD, Beeley was somehow “overtaken” by The Grayzone’s Aaron Mate that year). The group did not provide a single piece of evidence to support its assertions.

Though Beeley has endured waves of smears, French MEP Natalie Loiseau’s call for the EU to sanction the journalist represents the first time a Western official has moved to formally criminalize her work. Indeed, Loiseau made no secret that she is targeting Beeley not only for her role as an observer of the referendum votes, but also on the basis of her opinions and reporting on Syria.

Loiseau’s push to issue personal sanctions against EU and US citizens comes on the heels of the German government’s prosecution of independent journalist Alina Lipp. In March 2020, Berlin launched a formal case against Lipp, who is a German citizen, claiming her reporting from the Donetsk People’s Republic violated newly authorized state speech codes.

Prior to Lipp’s prosecution, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue launched a media campaign portraying her as a disseminator of “disinformation” and “pro-Kremlin content.”

In London, meanwhile, the UK government has imposed individual sanctions on Graham Philips, a British citizen and independent journalist, for his reporting from Donetsk.

And in Brussels, Loiseau’s campaign against Beeley appears to have emerged from a deeply personal vendetta.

Who is Natalie Loiseau?

In April 2021, Beeley published a detailed profile of Loiseau at her personal blog, The Wall Will Fall, painting the French MEP as a regime change ideologue committed to “defending global insecurity and perpetual war.” Beeley noted that Loiseau served as a minister in the government of French President Emanuel Macron when it authorized airstrikes in response to dubious allegations of a Syrian government chemical attack in Douma in April 2018.

Beeley also reported that Loiseau has enjoyed a close relationship with the Syria Campaign, the public relations arm of the White Helmets operation. This same organization, which is backed by British-Syrian billionaire Ayman Asfari, was the sponsor of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue report which branded Beeley a “top propagator of disinformation” on Syria.

Loiseau has taken her activism into the heart of the European parliament, using her position as chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defense to silence colleagues who ask to many questions about the Western campaign for regime change in Syria.

During an April 2021 hearing, MEP Mick Wallace attempted to question Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General Fernando Arias about allegations he personally aided the censorship of an OPCW investigation which concluded no chemical attack took place in Douma, Syria in April 2018.

Loiseau immediately descended into a fit of rage, interrupting Wallace and preventing him from speaking.

“I cannot accept that you can call into question the work of an international organization, and that you would call into question the word of the victims in the way you have just done,” Loiseau fulminated.

Wallace responded with indignation, asking, “Is there no freedom of speech being allowed in the European Parliament any more? Today you are denying me my opinion!”

A year later, Wallace and fellow Irish MEP Clare Daly sued the Irish network RTEfor defamation after it broadcast an interview with Loiseau during which she baselessly branded them as liars who spread disinformation about Syria in parliament.

Now, Loiseau appears to be seeking revenge against Beeley, demanding that she be criminally prosecuted not just for serving as a referendum observer, but for her journalistic output.

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The editor-in-chief of The Grayzone, Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, including best-selling Republican GomorrahGoliathThe Fifty One Day War, and The Management of Savagery. He has produced print articles for an array of publications, many video reports, and several documentaries, including Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded The Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

Anya Parampil is a journalist based in Washington, DC. She has produced and reported several documentaries, including on-the-ground reports from the Korean peninsula, Palestine, Venezuela, and Honduras.

Featured image: Left: French MEP Nathalie Loiseau Right: Journalist Vanessa Beeley (Source: The Grayzone)

The original source of this article is The Grayzone

Copyright © Max Blumenthal and Anya ParampilThe Grayzone, 2022

Why is Amnesty apologising for telling the truth about Ukrainian war crimes?

16 August 2022

JONATHAN COOK

Allowing only one side to be criticised for its crimes – reinforcing the loaded western political narrative of good guys versus bad guys – is likely to fuel war rather than resolve it

Middle East Eye – 16 August 2022

Should a human rights organisation apologise for publishing important evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses?

If it does apologise, what does that suggest about its commitment to dispassionately uncovering the truth about the actions of both parties to war? And equally, what message does it send to those who claim to be “distressed” by the publication of such evidence?

Those are questions Amnesty International should have pondered far more carefully than it obviously did before issuing an apology last week over its latest report on the war in Ukraine.

In that report, Amnesty accused Ukrainian forces of committing war crimes by stationing troops and artillery in or near schools, hospitals and residential buildings, thereby using civilians effectively as human shields. Such practices by Ukrainian soldiers were identified in 19 different towns and villages.

These incidents did not just theoretically endanger civilians. There is evidence, according to Amnesty, that return fire by Russian troops on these Ukrainian positions led to non-combatants being killed.

The Israeli army regularly accuses Palestinian factions like Hamas of hiding among civilians in Gaza, while obscuring its own, long-documented practice of using Palestinians as human shields.

But whatever the truth of Israel’s claims, unlike the tiny and massively overcrowded Gaza, which offers few or no hiding places outside of built-up areas for Palestinian fighters to resist Israeli aggression, Amnesty concluded of the situation in Ukraine: “Viable alternatives were available that would not endanger civilians – such as military bases or densely wooded areas nearby, or other structures further away from residential areas.”

In other words, it was a choice made by the Ukrainian army to put its own civilians in harm’s way.

Mounting pressure

Notably, this is the first time a major western human rights organisation has publicly scrutinised the behaviour of Ukraine’s soldiers. Until now, these watchdog bodies have focused exclusively on reports of crimes committed by Russian forces – a position entirely in line with the priorities of their own governments. By its own admission, Amnesty has published dozens of reports condemning Russia.

The pushback against the latest report was relentless, coming even from Amnesty’s own Ukrainian team. Oksana Pokalchuk, its head, quit, explaining that her team “did everything they could to prevent this material from being published”.

Under mounting pressure, Amnesty made a statement last week in which it said it “deeply regrets the distress and anger” caused by its report, while at the same time stating: “We fully stand by our findings.”

The idea that only one side has been committing war crimes in Ukraine was always implausible. In wars, all sides commit crimes. It is in the nature of wars.

Faulty lines of communication mean orders are misunderstood or only partially relayed to those on the front lines. Inevitably, soldiers prioritise their own lives over those of the enemy, including civilians. Terrorising the other side – through human rights violations – can be an effective way to avoid combat, by sending a warning to enemy soldiers to desert their posts and civilians to flee. Sadists and psychopaths, meanwhile, find themselves with plenty of opportunities to exploit during the fighting.

But conversely, parties to wars invariably struggle to acknowledge their own abuses. They prefer simple-minded, self-serving narratives of good and evil: our soldiers are heroes, morally spotless, while their soldiers are barbarians, indifferent to the value of human life.

Western governments and establishment media outlets have readily peddled this foolish line in Ukraine, too, even though neither Europe nor the United States are supposed to be directly involved in the war. They have reflexively amplified Ukrainian claims of Russian war crimes, even when the evidence is lacking or the picture murky, and they have resolutely ignored any evidence of Ukrainian crimes, such as evidence that Russian prisoners of war have been executed or that Ukraine has been using petal cluster bombs in civilian areas.

More self-censorship

In such circumstances, only the human rights community is in a position to provide a more faithful picture of how events are unfolding, and hold to account both sides for their crimes. But until Amnesty stepped out of line, western human rights groups had moved in lockstep with western governments, the same governments that appear to want endless war in Ukraine, to “weaken Russia”, rather than a quick resolution.

Even the author of Amnesty’s new report, Donatella Rovera, has conceded: “I think the level of self-censorship on this issue [Ukrainian war crimes] has been pretty extraordinary.”

Amnesty should not be apologising for providing a rare window on such crimes. It should be emphasising the importance of monitoring both sides for serious breaches of international law. And for very good reason.

Amnesty’s apology sends a message to those partisans trying to shut down scrutiny of Ukrainian crimes of just how easy it is to put the human rights community on the defensive. Efforts to deter reporting of a similar nature in the future will intensify.

Ukraine’s foreign affairs minister, Dmytro Kuleba, was among those who lost no time vilifying Amnesty by characterising its report as “Russian disinformation”.

Amnesty’s apology suggests such pressure campaigns have an effect and will lead to increased self-censorship – in a situation where the evidence already indicates that there is a great deal of self-censorship, as Rovera pointed out.

The apology betrays the civilians who have been, and will be, used as human shields – putting them in lethal danger – over the coming months and potentially years of fighting. It means Ukrainian forces will feel even less pressure to rein in behaviour that amounts to a war crime. 

Amnesty would never apologise to Russian partisans offended by a report on Russian war crimes. Its current apology indicates to the victims of Ukrainian human rights abuses that they are less worthy than the victims of Russian abuses.

Flooding the battlefield

Turning a blind eye to Ukrainian crimes also lifts the pressure on western governments. They have been recklessly channelling arms worth many billions of dollars to Ukraine, even though they have little idea where most end up. (In a further worrying sign of self-censorship in the west, CBS recently postponed the broadcast of an investigation suggesting as little as a third of western weapons reach their intended destination in Ukraine.)

That is all the more dangerous because, even before Russia’s invasion in late February, Ukrainian forces – including the neo-Nazi elements now glossed over in western narratives – were engaged in a vicious civil war with ethnic Russian communities in Ukraine’s east. That region, the Donbas, is where Moscow has been focusing its military advances.

Human rights violations by Ukrainians against other Ukrainians were regularly committed during the eight-year civil war, as western monitors documented at the time. Such crimes are almost certainly continuing under cover of the war against Russia, but with the aid now of western arms shipments.

Ignoring abuses by Ukrainian forces gives them a free hand to commit crimes not only against Russian soldiers but also against the large number of Ukrainians who are not seen as loyal to Kyiv.

A failure to closely scrutinise how and where western artillery is being used is almost certain to result in more, not less, of the kind of Ukrainian crimes Amnesty has just highlighted.

Western governments, and publics, need to be confronted with the likely consequences of flooding the battlefield with weapons before they prefer such a policy over pursuing diplomatic solutions.

Ultimately, allowing one side only to be criticised for its crimes – reinforcing the simple-minded narrative of good guys versus bad guys – is likely to fuel the war rather than resolve it.

War-mongering

Amnesty’s conduct over this latest report is not exceptional. It is part of a pattern of behaviour by a western human rights community vulnerable to political and financial pressures that detract from its ostensible mission. 

As the near-exclusive focus on Russian crimes in Ukraine illustrates, international humanitarian law is all too often interpreted through the prism of western political priorities.

There has long been a revolving door between the staff of prominent human rights groups and the US government. And pressure from elite donors – who are invested in these dominant narratives – doubtless plays a part, too.

Anyone departing from the narrow political consensus imposed by western political and media elites is defamed as spreading Russian “disinformation”, or for being apologists for dictators like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad or Libya’s late ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Criticisms of Israel, meanwhile, are demonised as proof of antisemitism. 

Certainly, Russian, Syrian and Libyan leaders have committed war crimes. But the focus on their crimes is all too often an excuse to avoid addressing western war crimes, and thereby enable agendas that advance the interests of the West’s war industries.

I experienced this first hand during the month-long conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. Israel accused Hezbollah of using its own population as “human shields” – framed by the Norwegian politician and United Nations official Jan Egeland as “cowardly blending” – an allegation lapped up by the western media.

Whatever the truth of that claim, it presented a very one-sided picture of what took place during that summer’s fighting. Though no one was allowed to mention it at the time because of Israel’s strict military censorship laws, it was common knowledge among Israel’s minority of Palestinian citizens that many of their own communities in northern Israel were being used as locations for Israeli tanks and artillery to fire into Lebanon.

The Israeli army had forcibly recruited these third-class citizens as human shields, just as the Ukrainian army is now accused by Amnesty of doing to civilians.

I saw for myself a number of the locations where Israel had installed batteries in or next to the minority’s communities. There were later Israeli court cases that confirmed this widespread practice; Palestinian politicians in Israel raised the matter in the Israeli parliament; and a local human rights group later issued a report documenting examples of these war crimes.

But these revelations never gained any traction with either the western media or human rights groups. Western publics were left with an entirely false impression: that Hezbollah alone had endangered its own civilians, even though Israel had undoubtedly done the same or worse.

The reality could not be acknowledged because it conflicted with western political priorities that treat Israel as a valued ally with a moral army and Hezbollah as a depraved, bloodthirsty terrorist organisation.

Saints and sinners

Human rights groups reporting on the 2006 Lebanon war actively echoed these self-serving western narratives that unfairly differentiated between Hezbollah and Israel, as I highlighted at the time.

I found myself in a very public row with Human Rights Watch over comments made by one of its researchers to the New York Times claiming that Hezbollah had intentionally targeted Israeli civilians whereas Israel had avoided targeting Lebanese civilians.

First, it completely failed to fit the known facts of the war. Israel’s strikes on Lebanon had caused a disproportionately large number of civilian deaths, despite the use of precision weapons. Hezbollah, using far more primitive rockets, meanwhile, had killed mostly soldiers, not civilians. 

But more problematic still, HRW had ascribed intentions to each side – good and bad – when it could not possibly know what those intentions were. As I wrote at the time of its researcher’s comments:

Was he or another HRW researcher sitting in one of the military bunkers in northern Israel when army planners pressed the button to unleash the missiles from their spy drones? Was he sitting alongside the air force pilots as they circled over Lebanon dropping their US-made bombs or tens of thousands of ‘cluster munitions’, tiny land mines that are now sprinkled over a vast area of south Lebanon? Did he have intimate conversations with the Israeli chiefs of staff about their war strategy? Of course not. He has no more idea than you or I what Israel’s military planners and its politicians decided was necessary to achieve their war goals.

HRW’s comments made sense only in a political context: that the group faced enormous pressure from US politicians and funders to focus on Hezbollah’s crimes. It also faced a damaging vilification campaign led by Israel lobbyists who wished to shield Israel from scrutiny. They accused the group’s senior staff of antisemitism and spreading a blood libel.

It looked very much like HRW caved into that pressure, just as Amnesty is now effectively doing in apologising for upsetting Ukrainian partisans and those emotionally invested in the one-sided narrative they hear constantly from their politicians and media.

Neither Amnesty nor Human Rights Watch responded to a request for comment. 

The reality is that western publics need more, not less, scrutiny of the crimes committed in wars, if only to tear the facade off narratives designed to paint a picture of saints and sinners – narratives that dehumanise official enemies and fuel more war.

The minimum needed to achieve that is an independent, fearless, vigorous human rights community, not an apologetic one. 

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Sergey Lavrov: Presser following talks with Vladimir Makei, Belarus

July 02, 2022

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei following talks, Minsk, June 30, 2022

Esteemed Mr Makei,
Ladies and gentlemen,
As my colleague and friend has just said, our talks took place in a truly friendly atmosphere of trust and were very substantial, as they should be between allies and strategic partners. First, I would like to thank our Belarusian friends once again for their traditional hospitality in the wonderful city of Minsk and for the brilliant, streamlined organisation of our work.

The visit is timed to an important historical date – 30 years of diplomatic relations (June 25). Of course, this is just one more, albeit important, landmark in the centuries-old history of our truly fraternal nations. To mark this occasion, we have just cancelled postal envelopes specially issued for this date and signed an anniversary joint statement that I hope you will read. It is worth it.

We emphasised that in the past few years we have traversed a long road in developing our integration. The foreign ministries of Russia and Belarus provide diplomatic support for implementing 28 union economic integration programmes endorsed by the Supreme State Council of the Union State in November 2021.
Today, we reviewed topical bilateral issues. We also discussed the schedule of forthcoming contacts, including preparations for a joint meeting of the foreign ministry collegiums of Russia and Belarus, scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year. We reviewed implementation of the plan for foreign ministry consultations in 2022-2023.

We believe we have managed to achieve remarkable success in trade, and economic and investment cooperation. Last year, bilateral trade reached about $40 billion. Major joint projects, such as, for example, the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, are underway. Industrial cooperation is on the up and up, paving the way for new industrial and logistics chains.

We have a high opinion of the vigorous and broad development of interregional ties. Today, the 9th Forum of Russian and Belarusian Regions is to kick off in Grodno, where contracts worth an estimated $1 billion, a record-high amount, are expected to be signed.

We spoke at length about regional and international matters and agreed to continue enhancing foreign policy coordination and stand up together for the interests of our two countries in the world arena, in keeping with the two-year programmes on coordinating our actions in foreign policy.

We supported further steps towards more active cooperation in multilateral associations, primarily, in the EAEU, CSTO and the CIS. We have almost identical views on how Eurasian cooperation should develop in the future.

We agreed that we would also continue to coordinate our approaches in other multilateral formats, first and foremost, at the UN and the OSCE. We discussed the progress on the projects that are being carried out in Belarus under the auspices of the United Nations, many of which are being funded by the Russian side. We will vigorously continue to oppose any attempts to politicise human rights issues. We see hopeless attempts like this being made at the UN and the OSCE. The West keeps making them with enviable persistence.

We are seriously concerned about NATO’s activities in close vicinity to our borders, primarily in the Baltic states and Poland. We share the opinion that these activities are openly confrontational and tend to lead to more tensions, as well as the division of the European security and cooperation space, that is, they are producing the results which the establishment of the OSCE was supposed to help prevent. Now they are dismantling all this with their own hands, waiving, among other things, the principle of indivisible security, which was publicly declared at the highest level in the OSCE in the late 1990s and in 2010, when it was said that no country should enhance its security at the expense of others. The West’s actions have buried this principle.

In the light of the manifestly unfriendly steps taken by the United States and its satellites towards our countries, we reaffirmed that we are firmly determined to further preclude any attempts by the West to interfere in our domestic affairs. We agreed to continue to join efforts to oppose illegitimate unilateral actions by Washington, Brussels and their allies in the international arena.

We advised our colleagues of our assessments of the special military operation in Ukraine. We maintain regular dialogue on these issues. Our presidents discussed this topic at a top-level meeting in St Petersburg on June 25.

We are grateful to our Belarusian allies for completely understanding the causes, goals and tasks of the special military operation. President Vladimir Putin discussed these issues in his remarks yesterday concerning the results of the Caspian Five Summit in Ashgabat.

We focused on biological security, while exchanging opinions on strategic stability and arms control. We agree that US activities on post-Soviet space are quite dangerous and non-transparent. The activities of Pentagon’s biolabs in Ukraine highlight the risks they bear. We exposed these facts but failed to obtain a US response. 

[Biological Security] … we initiated a process, stipulated by the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention …

We sent inquiries to countries, parties to this important international treaty. We perceive threats to the national security of Russia and Belarus, the reluctance of the United States to ensure the transparency of its military-biological activities in many countries on post-Soviet space, primarily those around Russia and Belarus. We have an agreement, within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, to establish close and transparent interaction on these issues, in order to counter attempts to advance such projects (that cause concern in our countries) behind the scenes and without due transparency.

We are also cooperating in order to counter the dirty information war unleashed by the collective West against our countries. We agreed to expand and upgrade Russian-Belarusian media cooperation, and you should be particularly interested in this issue.

We are satisfied with the results of the talks. They help advance our foreign policy coordination still further on the basis of allied and strategic partnership for the benefit of our countries and fraternal nations.

Question:  A risky redivision of the world’s energy sector is taking place. What are the United States and the EU counting on, while renouncing Russian imports?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe that everyone understands what they are counting on. They have no misgivings about openly discussing this issue. They noted this once again yesterday, at the NATO summit in Madrid. They are expecting all other states to unfailingly obey their will, reflecting their selfish interests, primarily those of the United States. We have repeatedly been convinced that modern Europe, in the form of the EU, is losing its independence or even the signs of independence that it once had. Europe completely obeys positions that the United States imposes on it, including those in the sphere of economic sanctions. It is renouncing Russian imports and demolishing logistic and financial chains that had taken decades to create.

Look at the current list of sanctions. I suggest that you conduct this interesting analysis. Compare restrictions that European countries are imposing on Russia and Belarus with the relevant US restrictions. The United States is sparing itself and is trying not to encroach on various spheres that could seriously damage its own economy. Yes, the United States is also experiencing negative effects from this activity, but Europe is suffering much more. I believe that, apart from “punishing” our countries, the United States wants to weaken the European Union as its rival.

Question: At the Madrid summit, NATO stated that Russia was the main threat to the Alliance according to its new strategic concept. Following this statement and their decision to fortify the eastern flank, does Moscow consider itself bound by its commitments under the Russia-NATO Founding Act, or has this document lost its validity?

Sergey Lavrov: In the legal sense, the Founding Act continues to exist. We did not initiate the procedure for terminating this agreement. In the run-up to the summit, NATO had lengthy and vocal discussions about whether they still needed the Act or whether they would be better off abandoning it. As a result, they decided to let this matter be, but 

[NATO] … their decisions grossly violate the Founding Act …,

primarily with regard to NATO’s commitment not to permanently deploy significant combat forces on the territory of new (Eastern European) Alliance members.

We will analyse the situation and decide on our further moves depending on how and in what form NATO will move forward with the decisions it adopted and announced.

Question: Will it be possible to restore more or less acceptable political and diplomatic relations with EU countries in the future? Will there be another Iron Curtain? Do we have a bloc like NATO or the EU?

Sergey Lavrov (adding after Vladimir Makei): I agree with almost all of that. As for our relations with the EU, Russia has not had them since 2014. Brussels swallowed the humiliating move by the opposition forces which perpetrated a coup in Ukraine in defiance of EU guarantees. In response, the Crimea residents refused to live in a neo-Nazi state. Ukraine’s eastern regions did the same, and the European Union failed to muster enough courage to talk sense into the putschists who carried out an illegal power grab, and in fact began to support them in their attack, including physical, on the people of Crimea and eastern Ukraine. When the referendum took place in Crimea and the DPR and the LPR were proclaimed, the European Union, instead of pushing for compliance with the agreements between President Yanukovych and the opposition it had co-sponsored, sided with the ultranationalist and deep down neo-Nazi regime which proclaimed fighting the Russian language and culture as its goal. In the years that followed, the regimes led by Poroshenko and Zelensky proved Kiev’s loyalty to this particular course.

In 2014, when it all happened, the EU, feeling powerless and aware of its own inability to enforce implementation of its own proposals, said the Russian Federation was to blame. It imposed sanctions on our country and cancelled the Russia-EU summit planned for June 2014, destroyed every other mechanism that it took us decades to create, such as biannual summits, annual meetings between the Russian Government and the European Commission, four common spaces that underlay four road maps, 20 sector-specific dialogues, including a dialogue on visa-free travel and much more. All of that was ruined overnight. Relations have been non-existent since then. There were occasional technical contacts, but nothing major. No wonder there are no relations now, but we never close ourselves off. From now on, we will never trust the Americans or the EU. We are doing our best not to depend on them in the sectors that are critically important for survival of the state, the people and our security. When and if they get over their obsession and come back with some kind of a proposal, we will see what exactly it is about. We will not play along with their self-serving plans. If it comes to resuming the dialogue, we will push for a level playing field for everyone and a focus on balancing the interests of all participants on an equal footing.

With regard to the Iron Curtain, it is already on its way down. They should make sure they don’t get anything caught in it as it goes down.

In all other matters, we have a straightforward position: we are for things being fair.

In 2014, our “partners” refused to hold a summit amid serious events, including a coup, a referendum in Crimea, and a radical change in the situation in the Black Sea region. If you were serious about searching for solutions, this meeting was the way forward. It could have been used to have a candid discussion about the complaints and the counter questions the partners in the Russian Federation had for the EU. The withdrawal from all contacts that took place after March 2014 only goes to show that the EU is not interested in a dialogue, and does not want to understand our interests or listen to what we have to say. What it wants is for everyone to agree with the Brussels’ decisions which are a carbon copy of the decisions made in Washington. We have been able to see that in recent years.

Question: Norway has refused to allow Russian cargo, including food, medicines, and necessary equipment, to Spitsbergen. What steps will be taken to resolve this issue? What might our response be, if any?

Sergey Lavrov: First, we want to see Norway respond to our reaction that immediately followed the incident. We sent an official request demanding clarification as to how this move aligns with Norway’s commitments under the Spitsbergen Treaty of 1920. I hope they will respond promptly. Then, we will analyse the situation. And we will act quickly.

The Depravity of the Armchair Communists

May 22, 2022

Source

By Kahlil Wall-Johnson

The inter-imperialist camp, as it has been called, has dedicated itself to painting the Ukraine conflict strictly in terms of inter-imperialist struggle. In their dedication to this interpretation, they have committed to a series of surprisingly extravagant claims, some of which I intend to gather here and hold up to the light. However, it is this camp’s total lack of scruples, specifically when it comes to their sources, that has compelled me to object. Having said this, I find it necessary to reassure the reader that what follows is not (unlike the pieces being critiqued) a rant on how we ought to interpret Lenin’s Imperialism, or even really an attempt to engage with theory. Nor is it a detailed comparison of the role of the US and Russia in the world-system. There is no need to repeat the many articles which have rebutted these claims and contrasted the specific nature of US imperialism to Chinese or Russian foreign policy and trade. Rather, what I am trying to scrape at here is their lazy and offensive attitude towards their sources; an attitude that is repeatedly criticized by the very authors they cite!

Interestingly, it is these individuals’ familiarity with many of the contours of US imperialism that has provided them with a premade template to project onto Russia’s behavior. This has led them to defend certain claims, which at times, even surpass those of the US corporate media. As teaser of what is to come, the figures of whom we are speaking write that “Ukranians are not oppressing Russians” and that “when Putin likens this behavior to genocide, he takes a page from the execrable Adrian Zenz” while going on to speak of “a Russian empire of lies,” and its plagiarism of the US “doctrine of humanitarian interventionism.”

Let us begin with a recent piece titled “‘Is Russia an imperialist country?’— That’s not the right question to ask?’ by a certain Greg Godels. The only potential merit that should be granted the author is that of almost taking a look at the idea of multipolarity through a historical perspective. There is a point to be made. Multipolarity is indeed an abstract concept; without a concrete analysis of the emerging poles, it is not necessarily desirable, nor, as he argues, anti-imperialist in the Leninist sense. Then there is also the problem of the extent to which the world can even reach, or stabilize at, a point of mutually independent sovereign states or empires. This could lead to the subsequent question of whether multipolarity —a potentially ambiguous buzzword, enjoyed principally in foreign policy documents and by foreign correspondents— is even an adequate tool through which to understand economic, military and political history. There is potential here for a rich debate. In fact, it has certainly already begun to take place. Unfortunately, after pointing out the abstract character of the principle at hand, Godels drifts further away from any potential concrete analysis to declare that, since multipolarity isn’t inherently anti-imperialist or anti-capitalist, today’s emerging world isn’t either and, most importantly, doesn’t deserve any support. What makes him think that multipolarity is being supported as an abstract principle, universally valid throughout history? Why assume we are not taking stock of actuality?

Laying claim to what Lenin would be saying of the present, Godels and others assume the all too familiar this-is-what-you-need-to-know-about-Ukraine tone. The Bolshevik leader is quoted relentlessly, leaving us no doubt as to whether or not they have read him. When not busy copy and pasting, their writing is completely devoid of the concrete analysis, so beloved by Lenin, which might back their inter-imperialist reading of the war in Ukraine. These pieces range from directly labeling Russia as an imperialist power, to more diffuse readings of Lenin in which Imperialism is presented as a project in which all capitalist states participate, regardless of their position in the hierarchy of national economies, and less as a trait circumscribed to certain powers. Regardless of the path chosen, at the end of the day Russia, and China, are irrevocably implicated in the imperialist project and any opportunities or potential that we might expect to be perceived by a self-described marxist-leninist in the weakening of the US empire, are dismissed on the grounds that the immanent multipolar world, of which Russia is often cast as the sole representative, is tainted by capitalism, or “enmeshed” in imperialism. In fact, these disciples of Lenin explicitly argue against the decline of the US empire representing an opportunity at all, reserving their support for a metaphysical parallel dimension in which they run simulations of a “radical change” pure enough for their ideals.

Beyond these moralistic arguments, history is marching forward— whether these Marxist-Leninists give it the greenlight or not. Despite their nostalgia for the “radical socialists” who “tried to adapt to reality,” their stream of revolutionary rhetoric rings hollow if it is out of rhythm with these developments. Even their source of identity —Lenin and his contemporaries—, while condemning WWI, actively factored its aftermath, a weakened capitalist core, into their calculations (‘the war to end all wars’). Even they recognized the objective nature of the forces at work; the war could not be detained— denounced? Yes, but only as a symptom of the system. Unlike these earnest, ethical interventions, echoing from the inter-imperialist camp demanding that “Russia must immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine and cease interfering in Ukrainian affairs,” while “The United States and its satellites must do the same,” Lenin’s pamphlets well above today’s anti-war petitions.

Before getting too bogged down in particular claims, we would be wise to catch the implicit assumption by which those who do not condemn Russia are supporting, or in favor of the conflict in some way. This is a particularly frustrating depiction of things, especially for those of us who were weary of it prior to February 24. Enough has been written on the series of events that led up to this moment; a series of events, which when considered in their totality, make condemnation of Russia a very stubborn task. The tragedy of the occasion is beyond question, yet beyond this fact, the inter-imperialist camp has shown remarkably little interest in both the specific events that led up to February 24, and the global consequences of a favorable or unfavorable outcome for Russia. Moreover, when the scope of US aggression, encirclement and even entrapment towards Russia is admitted to, they turn around and refuse to consider the gravity of these threats on a military or security level, insisting that it was merely the profit motives of Russian billionaires. Of course, that billionaires in Russia have faced choppy waters, or that the communist party of Russia supports, and called for, their country’s intervention, is deemed irrelevant, or in the latter case potential class treason. In any case, when one seeks to understand the series of events that led up to Russia’s intervention, as opposed to grafting Lenin quotes onto preconceptions, it is hard to think of what Russia could have done to avoid this outcome. These Marxist-Leninists should not be expected to share in Putin’s disavowal of socialism, however, his disdain for Soviet-era allocations of Russian-majority territories to Ukraine (Crimea, Eastern Ukraine) is not unfounded given the current circumstances.

It should also be understood that the present critique is neither directed at the general practice of recourse to Lenin, nor is it intended to rescue him from misuse. Rather, what we are taking aim at is this perspective, passed off as the work of “a good marxist” and “a good historian” (yes, these are real quotes), according to which the present situation would be best understood solely by drawing on literature from, and comparisons with, the early 20th century. Thus Godels repeatedly tells us that “The demise of the Soviet Union has freed the hand of imperialism, producing a world substantially congruent with early-twentieth-century imperialism.“ or that “Twenty-first-century imperialism shares more features with the imperialism of Lenin’s time than differences.” It is an interesting way of proceeding, in which both the past and the present must be significantly distorted, or selectively read, so as to resemble each other, while the differences between the two epochs are only admitted to insofar as “‘New’ great powers replaced or changed places with the line-up active in Lenin’s time.” Before poking any holes in this way of thinking, we might ask the representatives of this trend how they find it presentable to ignore the many contributions made to the field since the days of Lenin, and especially in the wake of Bretton Woods or the breakup of the USSR. Lenin is no doubt a starting point, sure, but how is it passable to present his diagnosis from 1916 as the bulk, if not entirety, of one’s contemporary perspective?

Let us take a look at another claim shared by Godels and some of his comrades in arms: “the attempt to impose multipolarity upon a world saddled with the domination of the British Empire was a critical factor leading to World War I,” which he invokes as a sort of cautionary tale against the dangers of welcoming multipolarity. We might start by asking if it is appropriate to compare the dominance of Britain, or the sterling zone, to that of the American Century and dollar hegemony, especially given the considerable independence of other pre-WWI powers (the Monroe Doctrine being almost a century old). Does a war, which saw the US begin to impose unipolarity, qualify as an attempt to impose multipolarity? Or perhaps, even more to the point, is it not a clumsy anachronism to impose the notion of multipolarity on the colonial world of 1916, which openly embraced imperialist ideology; a world, which regardless of the internal power struggles of Western Europe, was largely dominated by a community of states which for many decades operated as a coalition of colonial powers (i.e. the scramble for Africa)? Can a parallel really be drawn between the Axis powers’ struggle for colonies, and China and Russia’s foreign policy? Apparently so, as we shall see later. Formal similarities aside, must we ignore the particularites of each epoch so thoroughly for the sake of this parallel? In any case, this strained analogy requires both events to be warped to the extent that it is difficult to conceive of how one could aid in understanding the other, and immediately becomes problematic when we compare the contending powers of WWI and those of today. I can only wonder what a truly “good historian” would make of all this.

Regarding the dismissal of multipolarism, it should be noted that this argument depends on Russia, caricatured as a “ravaged former socialist state now owned by mega-billionaires” —with no legitimate security concerns, or internal class struggles, of her own— being cast as the sole representative of an emerging polispheric world. Accordingly, to the extent that the US empire’s decline is cautioned against on the grounds of Russia’s existence, China and other nations struggling against US dominance must either be denounced as capitalist, or be swept under the carpet for the sake of convenience. In the case of the Godels’ piece we have been focusing on, he opts for a mix of the two: the author’s sole reference to modern China is the following isolated statement: “PRC’s impressive entry into the global capitalist economy and subsequent remarkable growth threatens US hegemony, creating intensified competition and tensions.” Thus, far from being an alternative to US dominance, China is portrayed in an almost dangerous light, and is referred to on the sly via its initials (maybe we were supposed to forget about it). The same could be said of this brave theoretician’s declaration that without the USSR, the “the most viable economic scaffold for independent development outside of the imperialist system was eliminated.” We can only assume that the Belt and Road Initiative is either a touch too imperialist for his liking, or that he was hoping we would fail to remember.

Within this logic, the history leading up to Russia’s intervention is pounded into the mold of early 20th-century inter-imperialist competition; an act reminiscent of the “baroque conviction” (p. 293) criticized by Gramsci, and echoed by Losurdo, wherein one becomes more orthodox by seeing the world solely through the lense of economic incentive. In this particular case, the state is nothing more than the administrative branch of capital. As the latter noted, this reductionism “simplifies and flattens the complexity of historical and social processes.” Accordingly, these orthodox marxists, while fully aware of the unilateral nature of US aggression, reduce the war to a question of “whose billionaires are more important to you? The US’s or Russia’s?” Yet history has shown us that military concerns can reach existential levels, upon which the lens of economic incentives becomes relatively inadequate to understand the behavior of states: think of the Cuban missile crisis, or even the arms race from the perspective of the USSR. As Gustavo Bueno put it, the dialectic of class is incomplete without the dialectic of states. One need only remember the conviction of Michael Hudson, or other analysts, that Russia’s motives were primarily of a military nature. This is not to deny that economic outcomes were not factored in; the point is that they start to warp the picture when other factors are disregarded. Likewise, to assert that security concerns can reach existential levels is not to provide a cover story for Russia’s deeper imperialist ambitions. Although it should be said that the instantaneous rejection by many leftists of this particular casus belli is certainly linked to the desensitizing effect of US imperialism. Unfortunately, Godels and his comrades have gone as far as to declare that “Russia is mimicking US policy” and “the doctrine of humanitarian interventionism,” showing very little care for the history of Ukraine or the scope of the US empire.

Of course the trajectory of Russia’s billionaires must be considered, all of this is not meant to absolve them of their misdeeds, quite the opposite. The point is that, in reducing the conflict to the rivalry of two capitalist systems, there is no analysis of the particular development of capitalism in Russia as a creation of US imperialism. It is almost ignored that the people of Russia are more at war with US imperialism than they are with the billionaires of Russia. In fact the latter are its children! Given the havoc wreaked on Russia upon US penetration, it is insulting to write off the exploitation and suffering of the Russian working class as the doing of endogenous billionaires; the people are just as much the victims of US imperialism, while the billionaires are indebted to it. We might add that it was the very moderate limits the Russian state began to impose on its vulnerability and on the looting of its resources that led the US to escalate. Regardless of where you look, the history of this conflict does not agree with these heavily ideological distortions.

Similarly, this rigid, inter-imperialistic reading of Russia’s behavior comes hand in hand with assertion that this war is wholly detrimental to the Russian working class; a view most expounded by a presumed associate of Godels, Nikos Mottas. Here he speaks with remarkable confidence, hailing the stance of the Russian Communist Workers’ Party (RCWP) in opposition to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which is charged with having sold out. Clearly, there can be no mention of the fact that working class Russians have relatives in the war-torn regions of Ukraine, or that the ‘indivisibility of security’ against US aggression is in the interest of working class Russians as well. But even in the statements of the RCWP to which they refer, we find a much more tentative perspective than the one extracted by these ideologues, in fact, certain sentences are deceptively cited, ignoring the context of the broader argument. Yes, the statement is titled “No to fascism, no to imperialist war!,” and does go on to declare that “We have no doubts that the true aims of the Russian state in this war are quite imperialistic – to strengthen the position of imperialist Russia in world market competition,” yet, the very next sentence specifies that “since this struggle today to some extent helps the people of Donbass to repulse Bandera fascism, the communists in this part of it do not deny, but allow and support as much as it is waged against fascism in the Donbass and Ukraine.” The statement is adamant in its support for the intervention, going so far as to regret that “it happened late, much later than it should have” and stressing that “As long as Russia’s armed intervention helps save people in the Donbass from reprisals by punishers, we will not oppose this goal. In particular, we consider it acceptable if, due to circumstances, it is necessary to use force against the fascist Kyiv regime, insofar as this will be in the interests of the working people.” Compared to Mottas, the authors of this statement seem to take the issue of nazism rather seriously!

Most notably, the statement contains no denouncement of Russia’s actions so far, quite the opposite, and repeatedly stresses the need to watch attentively for a potential predatory turn. Disappointingly, here Mottas deceptively confirms his thesis by pasting the last sentence of the second-to-last paragraph: “Not the masters but the workers will die on both sides. To die for class brothers is worthy, but to die and kill for the interests of the masters is stupid, criminal and unacceptable,” omitting that the first sentence is a conditional clause discussing “the possibility of the military campaign of assistance to the Donbass from Russia… developing into a truly completely predatory war,” in which case “We will regard this as a war of conquest.”

Indeed, the statement assumes the aforementioned diffuse definition of imperialism, however its criticism of recent events is deeply measured, and it problematizes its own framework. Both the statement and Mottas agree that the true source of the conflict was not humanitarian, yet while the latter emphasizes its inter-imperialist nature to indict Russia, the statement is open in its identification of US aggression, even citing the revival of fascism! Interestingly, what we find in the RCWP statement is well beyond the moralistic logic of the inter-imperialist camp, as they explicitly posit the possibility of recognizing that Russia is implicated in imperialism, while insisting on supporting their countries actions so far in Ukraine! Thus, contrary to Mottas and co, they are aligned with the diagnostic and tactical dimension of Lenin’s work, as opposed to turning to him for an ethical guide on what can, or cannot be, supported. The piece actually justifies its support for its country, which it nevertheless defines as having imperialistic motives. Is this to say that in certain cases we must choose between nations with imperialistic elements? Must the puritans recant their support for this statement as well? In any case, I recommend that the reader skim over the short statement, if only to grasp the extent to which it has been distorted.

As if that weren’t enough, Mottas then fixes his gaze on the Communist Party of Spain (PCE), which certainly deserves to be criticized for a great many of its positions and policies. However in this case, the PCE’s calling for “the dissolution of NATO” is ridiculed as hypocrisy simply because the PCE has formed a small part of the coalition government for the past several years. Apparently government officials are hypocritical if they criticize state policy. By this logic, one wonders just what exactly politicians are expected to do. He presumably sent the PCE an email in which he told them that if they wanted his support, they must resign and resort to blogging as the sole means of expressing political views.

Another case study in this tendency is Stephen Gowans who, it should be noted, cites Domenico Losurdo and appears to hold him in high esteem. The latter will be of use here, frequently, as a considerable portion of his work is dedicated to questioning the very same current in which the inter-imperialist camp finds itself (or fails to find itself, but can be found we should say). As with the previous statement, we will quote him to great length, not out of deference but rather to display the total lack of scruples of those who twist his work to their ends.

Gowans incurs in the same logic described earlier: China and Russia are branded as capitalist (leaving little to no room for distinctions between economic structures with vastly different magnitudes and dynamics), and equated with the US. Then their rivalry with the US is reduced to inter-capitalist competition and, voila, conflated with imperialism. Given this disdain for all “competitive actions’‘ and self-interest on behalf of states (his telltale signs of imperialism) we can only guess that he would feel more comfortable with other nations if they offered no competition at all to the US and hermetically sealed themselves off from international trade. One can only wonder if these individuals consider the USSR’s foreighn policy to have been completely devoid of competition and self-service? Or maybe socialism has never existed for them, except in Cuba maybe, where the blockade has kept them pure from market forces. They must prefer their socialists “poor but beautiful;” a position which Losurdo repeatedly attacks and condemns in his many responses to this very same rejection of contemporary Chinese policy.

As you will soon see, the extent to which Gowans so perfectly embodies a number of positions which Losurdo disapproves of is comical. Gowans’ ideas are wholly incompatible with the Losurdo book he quotes, and hasn’t read or has intentionally disregarded the Italian philosopher’s work on China or Stalin, where Losurdo shows himself to be one of the most forthright defenders of ‘socialism with chinese characteristics.’ But above all, Losurdo’s work is largely a critical assessment of the millenarian hopes for the “end to classes and states altogether” or the transcendence of polarity in a “nonpolar” world (“the very essence of Marxism” we are reassured); themes so ubiquitous, and very much alive, in Gowans’ rants.

There is something very immaterial about this discomfort with multipolarity. It seems to bother these people that some states are bigger than others, or that even socialist states have to compete for spheres of influence. They seem to object to the fact that the world will always be polarized to a certain degree. Yet, a world where these imbalances don’t exist is a metaphysical experiment, and there is great reason to hope that the dynamics of Chinese, and even Russian, foreign engagement constitute a break from the extremely predatory lineage of western europe and the US. Of course, if Russia and China take a predatory turn in their foreign policy, then they must be critiqued. We are not so blinded by our irrational desire to see the US empire fall.

Gowans is perhaps the most explicit representative of the tendency we have been describing. In his obsession with critiquing those who associate imperialism today with the unipolar role of the US, he writes that his own view is “more complex” because it “follows the lines” of Hilferding, Bukharin and Lenin, while he repeatedly defines imperialism as a “system of rivalry”. Does this mean that in the 90’s, amidst the “end of history” —when rivalry, be it inter-capitalist or Cold War-esque, had largely subsided— that imperialism had slipped into the shadows as well? In any case, this lense of imperialism-as-rivalry begins to lose credence after WWI (unless the USSR is read as imperialist as well). Most alarmingly, he then goes on to complain that the position he is attacking is “at odds with the model developed by the three Marxists cited above.” This is worth ruminating on for a moment. For Gowans, it is an inconsistency that a diagnosis of the year 2022 does not correspond to that of 1916! This is the bizarre anti-historical attitude we have been trying to provide a portrait of. Then, Gowans, in the same piece from which we have been quoting, moves on to the same pre-WWI parallels that Godels had gotten so excited about. Although in this case we are told that understanding contemporary imperialism vis-a-vis the US, and advocating for multipolarity, retroactively “excludes the Axis powers as imperialists,” rendering them anti-imperialist given their struggle against the British empire, as they too sought “their place in the sun.” Once again, apart from the work of another “good historian”, we are face to face with the same refusal of any concrete analysis.

When everything is this thoroughly abstracted and beaten to death, a number of highly reductionist parallels can be suggested: an equally imperialist Eurasian empire is set to steal the stage from the US; Russia’s struggle for the integration of regions on its border is equated to the US drive for control of the same markets; the pre-WWI struggle for the spoils of colonialism is equated to Eurasian integration. Such is the extent to which they scour their brains for symmetries, casting things as a good ol’ fashion imperial tug-of-war.

There is something unforgivable about this apathy, or even reluctance, shown towards the decline of the US empire, the scandals of which we know all too well. The leveraging of these forced symmetries, this insistence that Russia and China are of the same category as the US, the childish attempts to monopolize Lenin or Marx, it rings like more of a fickle provocation than any serious attempt to dabble in history or theory. China and Russia’s concrete terms of engagement are apparently irrelevant, their competition only harboring the dangers of war. There is almost this assumption that the US would ever loosen its grip without a fight! It is absurd how emerging powers are reprimanded for their militarism, as if the only thing holding the US back were not the fear of its own destruction.

It must be fun for this clique to speculate from their position of ideological purity, digging their feet in and demanding a nonpolar, stateless, classless world. Better yet: a paradigm change; a competition-free, altruistic awakening; a revolutionary break with this imperialism-is-everywhere world. Have they been reading foucault? Nevertheless this leisure is not possible for those of us who are confronting the actual historical conjunctions offered to us. In fact, it is worrisome that they did not walk away from Lenin with any appreciation for concrete analysis, and clearly were not influenced by his more tactically oriented works (i.e. Left-Wing’ Communism: an Infantile Disorder, What is to be Done?). Yet, if we were to assume this diffuse notion of imperialism, one could only wish, for example, that Russia had been more imperialist in Gaddafi’s Libya. Their current state of affairs is certainly less desirable than that of the liberated territories of Syria. Yet almost expectedly, this stark contrast is downplayed on the basis that Syria is a Russian “vassal.” Predictably, the areas “ruled” by Russia are put on an equal footing with the ones controlled by “US,” “Turkish” and “Israeli” forces.

Dedicated as they are to this dismissal of imperialist Russia, the representatives of this camp cling to Lenin’s emphasis that there is no formula through which to identify imperialism. It is here where Gowans believes he has found something to adapt to his project in Losurdo, who we are told ”challenges a commonly held misconception that the Bolshevik leader’s understanding of imperialism can be reduced to a checklist of characteristics that define individual states”. But even this clarification is decontextualized and betrayed: far from rejecting the notion of an imperialist checklist in favor of a historically situated approach like that of Lenin’s, they have reverted to a criterion of their own, which happens to be the loosest, most free-floating one available. In short, any activity bearing an element of competition or self-interest, any integration with capitalist markets, constitutes a sign of imperialism. On the other hand, while admitting to the fluidity of his parameters, Lenin built his analysis through the diagnosis of the scale of foreign investments, colonial possessions, superprofits, the merging of private capital, industry and government, etc; that is the specific heritage of the US, EU and NATO. While these authors attempt to untie imperialism from this lineage, moving towards the universal criteria mentioned above, they draw on, or attempt to hold on to, all of the imagery and scandals —the emotional thud— of the definition of imperialism they are distancing themselves from! As if the two were one and the same; as if the imperialism they try to tap into or harness for their denunciations could be reduced to the elements of capitalism, self-interest and international competition which they have detected in China and Russia!

We must remember that the parameters of imperialism must have a degree of flexibility; they must be historical. This is the precondition to be able to recognize modern imperialism as such. Nobody in 1916 could have predicted the evolution of capitalism. Indeed, how could one have foreseen global dollar hegemony? Or a deindustrialized, imperialist core in the US and western europe? The list goes on. Having recognized this, it is highly deceptive to argue that what Lenin was describing could be reduced to things such as integration in international markets, or competition and self-interest, as his work was an acutely historically-situated diagnosis of a specific phase of capitalism, a necessary stepping stone to understand the present, yes, but also insufficient for this purpose. It is equally deceptive if there is no distinction between the vastly different things being equated under the same umbrella, yet this is precisely what they strive to do. The inertia of their commitment to this argument requires them to gloss over the facts. In their extravagance they stoop irretrievably low, warning those who disagree that, besides Lenin turning in his grave, they may be class traitors. Yes, here they finally show their true colors, inadvertently lecturing vast swathes of the “confused” or “ignorant” multitudes who are not of the same mind.

Amidst these tirades against a “very capitalist China” and a Russia no “less an imperialist state than the United States,” Gowans attempts to invoke Losurdo, who is no longer with us to set the record straight. Fortunately, his work leaves little room for interpretation regarding his compatibility with his hijackers’ project. For example, in the online translation of his book on Stalin, on page 293 we find his frustration with the fact that “In analyzing international relations there are those who consider themselves to be the foremost champions of anti-imperialism by expanding as much as possible their list of imperialist countries; all of them put on the same level!;” a conviction which he punctuates several lines later with Togliatti’s famous remark that “one of the fundamental points of our revolutionary strategy, is our ability to understand, at any given moment, who is the principal enemy and to concentrate all our strength against that enemy.”

Yet we need not look any further than the very same book from which Gowans cites to encounter that on page 303, “China is the country that more than any other is challenging the international division of labour imposed by colonialism and imperialism, and furthering the end of the Columbian epoch—a fact of enormous, progressive historical significance.” Again, let’s not forget that Gowans has decided any support for China or Russia —”baby imperialisms” as he eloquently puts it— constitutes “little more than a mental illness.” He clearly has no reservations about drawing on the wisdom of the mentall ill when he stumbles across an isolated sentence that serves his mission.

Losurdo goes on, directly addressing this debate when he remarks that “Today, in the advanced capitalist countries even the intellectual culture influenced by Marx finds it hard to include the struggle to shake off ‘political annexation’ (Lenin) or the ‘political yoke’ (Guevara), to repel military aggression, in the category of emancipatory class struggles. The refusal to interpret endeavors to end ‘economic’ annexation (Lenin) or the ‘imperialist economic yoke’, and to foil ‘economic aggression’ (Guevara), in terms of class struggle, is prejudicial. ” (p. 291) and repeatedly returns to the fact that “Lenin had no hesitation in affirming that ‘[i]n a genuinely national war, the words ‘defence of the fatherland’ are not a deception and we are not opposed to it ’.” Anyone acquainted with Losurdo is aware that his entire work is pervaded by a treatment of the national question that completely transcends the level of thought we are critiquing. For someone in Gowans’ camp, it would take a certain degree of clumsiness or bad faith not to see oneself in the crosshairs of Losurdo’s critique. Let’s just hope he didn’t make it that far in the book.

As a means of distancing ourselves from the particular focus of this debate, the following Losurdo excerpts tap even deeper into the general state of detachment and confusion of this camp. In criticizing a certain familiar outlook, Losurdo, in Hegel and the Freedom of Moderns, writes of “the difficult balance between the legitimation of modernity and its critical evaluation, a balance that characterizes Marx and that Marx himself inherited from Hegel” and notes the former’s awareness of “those who, when faced with difficult situations and the failure of certain ideals, first of all confirm their ‘inner sincerity’ and assume the ‘halo of honest intentions” (2014, p. 262).

Even so, his distaste for this mindset becomes even more palpable when he recalls Engels’ jest at the “beautiful soul” who “delights itself in its on inner purity and excellence, which it narcissistically enjoys in opposition to the baseness and dullness of actuality and the world’s progress” and which upon seeing the “harshness” of reality, “withdraws in horror, and to make up for it, it is always ready to pity itself for being ‘misunderstood’ and ignored by the world;” a place in which it “always ends up making a terrible impression, not only on a political level, by demonstrating its impotence, but on a more strictly moral level, by revealing itself as soft, narcissistic, and essentially hypocritical.”


Kahlil is interested in Gustavo Bueno and the subject of empire.

The 2nd phase of the Russian SMO + personal note

April 19, 2022

Dear friends

While there are not official confirmations (that I know of) from the Russian military, it appears that Lavrov is the first, and so far only, Russian official who declared that the 2nd phase of the operation has begun.  Truth be told, pretty much everybody else thinks likewise.  Considering the intensity of Russian bombings and artillery strikes overnight, which were reported by numerous sources, it certainly appears reasonable to me to conclude that this 2nd phase has indeeed begun.  For examplethe Russian defense ministry reported on Tuesday morning that its troops had delivered artillery strikes at 1,260 Ukrainian military targets overnight, including 1,214 locations where Ukrainian troops amassed their forces.

How long this phase of the war will last is anybody’s guess.  Optimists think a week, pessimists a month, but in reality nobody really knows because the outcome will be determined not by maneuver like during the first phase, but by logistics, specifically fuel and ammunition, in other words by mobility and firepower.

I remind you that the Ukronazi forces in the eastern Ukraine have been in a de facto “cauldron” (as I explained, you can be physically surrounded or you can be “blocked by fire”) since over one month, and that the Ukrainians were not able to meaningfully resupply them while the Russian side has quasi limitless fuel and ammo (in spite of the Pentagon’s hallucinations).  Russia also has air supremacy and very heavy weapons, neither of which the Ukrainians have.

In other words, while the Nazi forces in the eastern Ukraine get slaughtered, the US administration in Kiev will have to change the narrative about “the glorious Ukrainian military is winning” to “Russians are killing babies” (without ever wondering WHY and HOW civilians and even kids ended up inside the Avtostal complex, assuming the recent photos of kids hiding there are real and not made in Kiev).

Nobody really knows how many Ukrainians are still in the Donbass cauldron, and neither do we know how their morale and determination to stand and fight to the end is.  For all these reasons giving even an approximate timeframe for this battle is impossible, at least for me.

This week is Passion Week for Orthodox Christians and I will be leaving tomorrow to attend the church services in our parish, about a 4 hour drive one way, so I will stay there until very late Sunday evening.  In other words, my presence at the blog for the next 6 days will be minimal, I will travel with a laptop, but I will mostly be busy with the preparations for, and the celebration of, Holy Paskha.

So I leave you in the tender care of my colleagues Amarynth and Herb who will continue to post guest posts and keep you informed.

For daily reports, I suggest you follow the (excellent) situation reports written by Nightvision.  Just please keep in mind that due to the nature of this second phase, there will be less maps of troop movements and that moving one or two kilometers against the very heavily and deep defenses of the Ukrainians might mean much more than moving 10 or 20 kilometers on open terrain.

By the way, the Empire of Hate and Lies knows the true score, and they are massively freaking out.

They are now even declaring war on old Russian musical instruments.  As for “Ze” – he has now become a UN National Hero:

Will these infantiles every grow up?

I doubt it, if anything, their antics “by infantiles – for infantiles” combined with the most massive exercise in world history to “cancel” any “wrong” information, show both how desperate and helpless these folks are.

As for the Nazis occupiers, they just passed a law allowing foreigners to work for the Ukrainian “intelligence” services.  What a surprise, at least for those who had not realized that the USA has been running the SBU, and everything else, in Nazi occupied Ukraine since the Euromaidan (and even before).

In conclusion, I just want to end with a reminder.  This is not a war between Russia and the Ukraine.  This is a war between Russia and the united West, the latest one is a series going back at least a thousand years.  Russia has been singled out for “cancellation” and we don’t want to be canceled.

While for eight years Russia did all she could NOT to get involved, the Empire of Hate and Lies did successfully force her into an open military intervention in the Ukraine, and now that Empire will do all it can to prolong that war and have it result in the maximal loss of human life and the total destruction of the Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, exactly the OPPOSITE of what the Kremlin wants: to disarm and denazify the Ukraine with the minimum of human loss of life and with as much of the civilian infrastructure preserved as possible.  These goals are as asymmetrical as can be, and it is much MUCH easier to destroy than to preserve.  Please keep that in mind when the next propaganda Tsunami hits.

One last request: unless this is both urgent and important, please do not email me between today and next Monday.  I will have very little time to reply, and I rather stay focused on the spiritual matter during these sacred days.

Many thanks and kind regards

Andrei

Talking Reality Theories, With Airika Dollner, the Amazing Creative Mind of Art With Aim

 

Eva Bartlett

Some months ago, while chatting about world events, media lies, and how people who dare to think critically are often dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”, we joked about being “reality theorists”, and I liked the sound of that term. Our plans to have a conversation got delayed, but finally came about the other morning.

In our first conversation, Airika and I discussed a variety of things, from Palestine to Syria to Ukraine and more. Airika is a phenomenal researcher & very expressive, articulate, woman. We’ll be having these conversations a lot more frequently, on a wide range of issues, particularly things she has researched deeply.

How the U.S. Started a Cold War with Russia and Left Ukraine to Fight It

February 28, 2022

By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies

Global Research,

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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Visit and follow us on Instagram at @globalresearch_crg.


Today, the dangers of military escalation are beyond description.

What is now happening in Ukraine has serious geopolitical implications. It could lead us into a World War III scenario.

It is important that a peace process be initiated with a view to preventing escalation. 

Global Research condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A Bilateral Peace Agreement is required.


The defenders of Ukraine are bravely resisting Russian aggression, shaming the rest of the world and the UN Security Council for its failure to protect them. It is an encouraging sign that the Russians and Ukrainians are holding talks in Belarus that may lead to a ceasefire. All efforts must be made to bring an end to this war before the Russian war machine kills thousands more of Ukraine’s defenders and civilians, and forces hundreds of thousands more to flee. 

But there is a more insidious reality at work beneath the surface of this classic morality play, and that is the role of the United States and NATO in setting the stage for this crisis.

President Biden has called the Russian invasion “unprovoked,” but that is far from the truth. In the four days leading up to the invasion, ceasefire monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) documented a dangerous increase in ceasefire violations in Eastern Ukraine, with 5,667 violations and 4,093 explosions.

Most were inside the de facto borders of the Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR) People’s Republics, consistent with incoming shell-fire by Ukraine government forces. With nearly 700 OSCE ceasefire monitors on the ground, it is not credible that these were all “false flag” incidents staged by separatist forces, as U.S. and British officials claimed.

Whether the shell-fire was just another escalation in the long-running civil war or the opening salvos of a new government offensive, it was certainly a provocation. But the Russian invasion has far exceeded any proportionate action to defend the DPR and LPR from those attacks, making it disproportionate and illegal.

In the larger context though, Ukraine has become an unwitting victim and proxy in the resurgent U.S. Cold War against Russia and China, in which the United States has surrounded both countries with military forces and offensive weapons, withdrawn from a whole series of arms control treaties, and refused to negotiate resolutions to rational security concerns raised by Russia.

In December 2021, after a summit between Presidents Biden and Putin, Russia submitted a draft proposal for a new mutual security treaty between Russia and NATO, with 9 articles to be negotiated. They represented a reasonable basis for a serious exchange. The most pertinent to the crisis in Ukraine was simply to agree that NATO would not accept Ukraine as a new member, which is not on the table in the foreseeable future in any case. But the Biden administration brushed off Russia’s entire proposal as a nonstarter, not even a basis for negotiations.

So why was negotiating a mutual security treaty so unacceptable that Biden was ready to risk thousands of Ukrainian lives, although not a single American life, rather than attempt to find common ground? What does that say about the relative value that Biden and his colleagues place on American versus Ukrainian lives? And what is this strange position that the United States occupies in today’s world that permits an American president to risk so many Ukrainian lives without asking Americans to share their pain and sacrifice?

The breakdown in U.S. relations with Russia and the failure of Biden’s inflexible brinkmanship precipitated this war, and yet Biden’s policy “externalizes” all the pain and suffering so that Americans can, as another wartime president once said, “go about their business” and keep shopping. America’s European allies, who must now house hundreds of thousands of refugees and face spiraling energy prices, should be wary of falling in line behind this kind of “leadership” before they, too, end up on the front line.

America Trashes NATO Founding Act; Rushes Weapons to Russia’s Borders

At the end of the Cold War, the Warsaw Pact, NATO’s Eastern European counterpart, was dissolved, and NATO should have been as well, since it had achieved the purpose it was built to serve. Instead, NATO has lived on as a dangerous, out-of-control military alliance dedicated mainly to expanding its sphere of operations and justifying its own existence. It has expanded from 16 countries in 1991 to a total of 30 countries today, incorporating most of Eastern Europe, at the same time as it has committed aggression, bombings of civilians and other war crimes.

In 1999, NATO launched an illegal war to militarily carve out an independent Kosovo from the remnants of Yugoslavia. NATO airstrikes during the Kosovo War killed hundreds of civilians, and its leading ally in the war, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, is now on trial at The Hague for the appalling war crimes he committed under the cover of NATO bombing, including cold-blooded murders of hundreds of prisoners to sell their internal organs on the international transplant market.

Far from the North Atlantic, NATO joined the United States in its 20-year war in Afghanistan, and then attacked and destroyed Libya in 2011, leaving behind a failed state, a continuing refugee crisis and violence and chaos across the region.

In 1991, as part of a Soviet agreement to accept the reunification of East and West Germany, Western leaders assured their Soviet counterparts that they would not expand NATO any closer to Russia than the border of a united Germany. U.S. Secretary of State James Baker promised that NATO would not advance “one inch” beyond the German border. The West’s broken promises are spelled out for all to see in 30 declassified documents published on the National Security Archive website.

After expanding across Eastern Europe and waging wars in Afghanistan and Libya, NATO has predictably come full circle to once again view Russia as its principal enemy. U.S. nuclear weapons are now based in five NATO countries in Europe: Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Turkey, while France and the U.K. already have their own nuclear arsenals. U.S. “missile defense” systems, which could be converted to fire offensive nuclear missiles, are based in Poland and Romania, including at a base in Poland only 100 miles from the Russian border.

Another Russian request in its December proposal was for the United States to simply rejoin the 1988 INF Treaty(Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty), under which both sides agreed not to deploy short- or intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe. Trump withdrew from the treaty in 2019 on the advice of his National Security Adviser, John Bolton, who also has the scalps of the 1972 ABM Treaty, the 2015 JCPOA with Iran and the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea dangling from his gun-belt.

None of this can justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the world should take Russia seriously when it says that its conditions for ending the war and returning to diplomacy are Ukrainian neutrality and disarmament. While no country can be expected to completely disarm in today’s armed-to-the-teeth world, neutrality could be a serious long-term option for Ukraine.

There are many successful precedents, like Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Finland and Costa Rica. Or take the case of Vietnam. It has a common border and serious maritime disputes with China, but Vietnam has resisted U.S. efforts to embroil it in its Cold War with China, and remains committed to its long-standing “Four Nos” policy: no military alliances; no affiliation with one country against another; no foreign military bases; and no threats or uses of force.

The world must do whatever it takes to obtain a ceasefire in Ukraine and make it stick. Maybe UN Secretary General Guterres or a UN special representative could act as a mediator, possibly with a peacekeeping role for the UN. This will not be easy – one of the still unlearned lessons of other wars is that it is easier to prevent war through serious diplomacy and a genuine commitment to peace than to end a war once it has started.

If and when there is a ceasefire, all parties must be prepared to start afresh to negotiate lasting diplomatic solutions that will allow all the people of Donbas, Ukraine, Russia, the United States and other NATO members to live in peace. Security is not a zero-sum game, and no country or group of countries can achieve lasting security by undermining the security of others.

The United States and Russia must also finally assume the responsibility that comes with stockpiling over 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, and agree on a plan to start dismantling them, in compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Lastly, as Americans condemn Russia’s aggression, it would be the epitome of hypocrisy to forget or ignore the many recent wars in which the United States and its allies have been the aggressors: in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti,Somalia, Palestine, Pakistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

We sincerely hope that Russia will end its illegal, brutal invasion of Ukraine long before it commits a fraction of the massive killing and destruction that the United States and its allies have committed in our illegal wars.

*

Note to readers: Please click the share buttons above or below. Follow us on Instagram, @globalresearch_crg. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace, and author of several books, including Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Nicolas J. S. Davies is an independent journalist, a researcher with CODEPINK and the author of Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq

They are regular contributors to Global Research.

Featured image is from CODEPINK

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, Global Research, 2022

‘Explosions’ reported across Ukraine as Russia orders ‘special operation’

24 Feb, 2022 

Blasts have been reported in several Ukraine cities, as Moscow launched a “special operation” in Donbass

'Explosions' reported across Ukraine as Russia orders 'special operation'
CCTV camera purportedly showing military action in Ukraine. Screenshot from Twitter / @Global_Mil_Info

A series of explosions have been reported across Ukraine, with eyewitnesses saying blasts have occurred near a number of major cities as Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order authorizing a “special military operation” in the Donbass region. 

Speaking from a rooftop in central Kiev on Thursday morning, CNN reporter Matthew Chance said he heard “four or five explosions” erupt in the city, though stated “I can’t explain what they are.” 

The report came moments after Putin announced the military operation on behalf of the newly recognized breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, where a military conflict has raged between separatist forces and the Ukrainian government for years.

Some of explosions have struck Kiev’s international airport Borispol, TASS correspondent has reported. Unconfirmed claims on social media said a military section of the airport was hit by several cruise missiles. However, the mayor of Borispol, the city near Kiev that hosts the airport, said on Facebook that the blasts were the result of Ukrainian troops firing at an unidentified aircraft, “most likely a drone”. He called on residents to remain calm, saying there was no need for them to move to bomb shelters.

Blasts were also reportedly heard in Kharkiv, some 400km (250 miles) east of Kiev, closer to the border with the Donbass. AFP separately reported an explosion in the coastal city of Mariupol, a major port held by Kiev’s forces in the Donetsk region.

An unnamed US official described the activity as “pre assault fire,” with a “land attack to follow,” according to Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin. The official reportedly added that blasts had been heard in the cities of Odessa, a major seaport at the Black Sea and Mariupol, a city on the north coast of the Sea of Azov, saying “it’s begun.”

Reuters journalist Idress Ali, citing a local witness, said a “series of explosions” could be heard in Belgorod, Russia, while CNN international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen claimed to hear “what sounds like outgoing artillery and rocket fire” from the same area. He later added that jets were heard over the city.

The New York Times reporter Michael Schwirtz said he witnessed a series of explosions coming from the direction of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine. The city is part of the territory that the Donetsk People’s Republic claims as part of its territory. The Ukrainian government remained in control of it since the civil war broke out in the country in 2014.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

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Russia has ‘no plans’ to take over whole of Ukraine – Putin

24 Feb, 2022 

Moscow said it does not intend to capture all of Ukraine, but would seek its “de-Nazification” and “demilitarization”

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech, August 23, 2021 © AFP / Ramil Sitdikov;  Sputnik

Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that Russia had “no plans to occupy the Ukrainian territories” after announcing that a special operation was launched to defend the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics from “Ukrainian aggression.”

The operation’s ultimate goal is “to protect the people who have been subjected for 8 years to genocide by the Kiev regime,” Putin said in an adress on Thursday morning, adding that Moscow would “embark on a demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, and handing over to justice those who committed numerous atrocities against civilians.”

The Russian president noted, however, that Moscow harbors no far-reaching plans to take over the whole territory of Ukraine.

“We do not have plans to occupy Ukrainian territories. We are not going to impose anything on anyone by force,” he said.

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Ukraine Crisis Will Spurn Wave of Authoritarianism Around the World

February 21, 2022

A convoy of truckers and supporters block an intersection near the border as they continue to protest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates, in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, February 19, 2022. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier – RC29NS9TJIMK

Martin Jay

Middle East countries, certainly in the GCC region, are benefitting from the Ukraine standoff as the heat is taken off them, Martin Jay writes.

Boris Johnson’s words themselves may be prolific. He said at a conference on 19th of February in Munich that a Ukraine invasion would “echo” around the world while asking for Europe to take a united stand against Russia. In fact, the Ukraine crisis, without even one Russian soldier entering Eastern Ukraine, is having quite an impact already simply due to the media bandwidth it has taken, depriving other big stories the oxygen they deserve – particularly affecting the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA).

These countries, certainly in the GCC region, are benefitting from the Ukraine standoff as the heat is taken off them. In particular the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been given a get-out-of-jail-free card by western media in the latter’s abandonment of Yemen, a bloody senseless war there which has wiped out generations and left the rest with starvation and whose gruesome images used to fill TV screens and mainstream media’s print and online portals. But no more.

In fact, sceptics might even go further and argue that in the case of Saudi Arabia, it would appear that its mercurial young crown prince has actually taken full advantage of the media blackout on Yemen by ploughing ahead with his reforms which include the banning of Mosque loudspeakers, significantly reducing hours spent on Islamic education and Arabic language in the national curriculum and even allowing bikini beaches in Jeddah. The hope presumably is that at some point western media will return to the region and notice such changes and start to feature them in their reporting.

But there might be a long wait.

Remarkably, Putin’s standoff with the West might go on for some time, even if there is no invasion as such. In the meantime, for many of the elite which make up countries in the region who are fearing another Arab Spring, the limited media attention given to Yemen is interesting. But it is Justin Trudeau’s extraordinary authoritarian behaviour in Canada against peaceful truckers who wish to protest which will have ramifications in the Arab world. Not only will Arab leaders note that also the press coverage is limited as is the opprobrium from the normal so-called experts in Washington and London, but that they now have the green light from the West to replicate anti-democratic measures all in the name of the sanctity of the state and woe betide Canada for criticising KSA’s human rights record as it did previously when it demanded the release of Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi in 2018.

Trudeau has truly shocked the world with his arbitrary move to criminalise the protests and has set a template for the Middle East and Africa to follow suit.

Indeed in Africa, tyrannical, brutal regimes will not doubt note how the Ukraine crisis and the media attention it has attracted has caused almost a media blackout on authoritarian power grabs in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, western satellites which, in the case of Mali at least, have fallen into the hands of Moscow simply by its association with Wagner mercenaries. The very real fear that African dictators have which impacts their ability to scrounge aid from the World Bank and the IMF is press coverage itself from the media giants. When that line of communication is closed down, there’s no telling how African countries’ elites will react. There may well be a domino effect which will take many with it as it sweeps across the region, while the EU remains a impotent spectator to the winds of change.

And in the EU itself, Poland is no longer alone in being seen as the rude boy in the class who might be expelled from the club, or rather leaves unceremoniously. Others, like Hungary, are now falling victim to EU laws which challenge their constitutions and place them on a collision course with the maniacs in Brussels who cannot see how they are digging their own graves with their bellicose language and ultimatums. A recent study by the EU revealed that MEPs themselves are asking for a special slush fund of billions of euros to head off the next anti-EU referendum which is sending some EU leaders into a panic as many believe that one more EU member to follow Britain might be the end of the project as we know it.

None of these stories are getting any real traction or attention by journalists who are either heading to Ukraine or have turned all their attention to the tensions in their copy and left these subjects aside. Is this what Boris Johnson meant when he warned leaders in Munich about the consequences echoing around the world?

Breaking: Decisive Night for Eastern Ukraine. The Shelling of Donbass by UAF

By South Front

Global Research, February 20, 2022

South Front

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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Visit and follow us on Instagram at @globalresearch_crg.

***

The failure of the information campaign aimed at provoking an armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine on February 15-16 did not bring the Ukrainian regime and its patrons to their senses.

Since the night of February 16, the shelling of the DPR and LPR by the UAF has sharply intensified. By the afternoon of February 17, the frequency of the attacks reached the intensity of 2014-2015.

(some of the Videos are dysfunctional scroll down for text and analysis)

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Today, the UAF artillery carried out 18 massive attacks on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). For example, during one of these attacks on the village of Shakhty Izotov, 16 mines were fired from an 82mm mortar launchers. In total, about 300 rounds of heavy artillery and mortars were fired.

For example, in the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), the following attacks were recorded in just one hour:

  • at 7.55 p.m Katerinovka – Molodezhnoye: AGS-17 (8 shots);
  • at 8.15 p.m. Zolotoe 4 – Zolotoe 5: ATGM (2 shots), SPG-9 (3 shots);
  • at 8.35 p.m Geevka – Slavyanoserbsk: AGS-17 ( 25 shots);
  • at 9.10 p.m. Crimean – Sokolniki: SPG-9 (4 shots), heavy machine gun.

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On the night of February 18, the shelling intensified. This night may become a decisive one.

According to some recent reports, a complete evacuation from the village of Alexandrovka near Donetsk has been announced. All the civilians were ordered to leave the village.

On the night of February 18, fighting continued on almost all front lines: Donetsk, Gorlovka, Debaltseve-Svetlodarsk, Pervomaiskaoe, Western part of the Bakhmutka highway.

Tanks and heavy artillery of the UAF began theirs attempts to break through the defense positions near the village of Nikolaevka.

At about 1 a.m. local time, the mobile network was cut off in some of the front regions under the UAF control.

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The OSCE has recorded numerous shellings by the UAF along the front lines. The UN Deputy Secretary General said that the current escalation is the largest since 2014.

The Western MSM continue to escalate the situation by publishing paint-styled maps showing the ways of the Russian invasion of the territory of Ukraine.

The White House declares “Russia’s imminent invasion of Ukraine.”

Everything may seem logical. The situation on the front lines has significantly escalated, Russia replied that it was not satisfied with the U.S. response to the proposal of the security guarantees in Europe. But the ground facts are that all attacks on civilian objects on February 17 were carried out by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Oversaturation of Ukrainian Forces Escalates Security Crisis

In its turn, on the morning of February 17, Kiev published fake videos and photos that allegedly showed a shell fired by the LPR militants hit a kindergarten in Stanytsia Luhanska.

BREAKING: Decisive Night For Eastern Ukraine (Videos, Photos)

A few hours later, these statements were exposed by objective geo-analysis, which made it possible to calculate the trajectory of the projectile and revealed that the shot was carried out from the territory under the Kiev control, particularly from the deployment site of the UAF 79th brigade. It is also suspicious that the windows were not broken.

On the afternoon of February 17, the LPR announced the arrival of Western journalists to the Kiev-controlled part of Donbass to provide “informational support for the UAF offensive operation”. According to the same scheme that the West tried to apply in 2008 in Georgia, foreign journalists in the Donbass region have the task of covering the Ukrainian offensive on the territory of the republics in the “right” way.

Foreign reporters in the kindergarten:

BREAKING: Decisive Night For Eastern Ukraine (Videos, Photos)
BREAKING: Decisive Night For Eastern Ukraine (Videos, Photos)
BREAKING: Decisive Night For Eastern Ukraine (Videos, Photos)
BREAKING: Decisive Night For Eastern Ukraine (Videos, Photos)

At the same time, a significant part of the Russian military forces that conducted military exercises in the Russia’s Western regions returned to their permanent location in other Russian regions, including Siberia and the Far East.

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Apparently, it was the withdrawal of part of the Russian troops from the West of the country, including Crimea, that triggered the aggressive actions of the Kiev regime.

Kiev considered that Russia had demonstrated weakness in the face of the United States and its allies, and now there is a unique chance to solve several Ukrainian problems at once by military methods. At the same time, it does not matter whether the military fortune will be on the Kiev’s side during the battles in the East of the country.

At the cost of thousands of lives of Ukrainians, both citizens of Ukraine and residents of the DPR/LPR, the Kiev regime is trying to keep the U.S. front going, receive new multibillion-dollar financial support from the United States and NATO countries, kill as many civilians in the DPR/LPR as possible and divert the attention of its own citizens and military personnel from the catastrophic socio-economic situation in the country.

It doesn’t matter what the end result is. In any case, the MSM propaganda machine will show the picture that the Kiev regime and their overseas patrons need.

The bonus for Zelensky will be that, by sacrificing his country, he will ensure the guaranteed death of the most passionate serviceman of the Ukrainian army, who could well turn their bayonets against him. A significant part of the motivated UAF servicemen who are currently deployed in the East of the country consists of nationalist extremists from the Western regions. In Ukrainian domestic political solitaire, they are the ones who pose a dangerous threat to Zelensky’s rule.

Unfortunately, the Ukrainian war is inevitable, the last questions are the date and the consequences for Europe.

*

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Air Mission: April Overview

Air Mission: April Overview

May 01, 2021

By Nat South for the Saker Blog

From time to time, I gather and compile basic statistics on US / NATO/ Swedish flights principally near to Russia, (articles posted on my blog). The idea is to get a rough snapshot of the activity, location and types of aircraft that carry out intelligence-gathering missions, broadly known as Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance, (ISR), as well as those in direct support of those missions. It is a thankless and time-consuming task, but hopefully it can offer a semblance of having a wider perspective on issues, other than just riding on emotional off-one events, without providing any context.

The US and NATO (and Sweden) routinely send out a variety of aircraft dedicated for ISR missions along or in proximity to Russia. These missions are tasked with monitoring the military status quo, namely the movement of units and in particular the deployment of equipment and ships. Given the ongoing Ukraine-Russia tensions, the data collecting took on another aspect in the last month, namely what kind of activity and response could be seen. Well, the answer is that the skies got a little more crowded in April.

Going through the figures for April shows a marked overall increase in ISR the Black Sea region compared to other regions. Not surprising considering the military build-up in Crimea and in southern Russia, in response to the re-deployment of Ukrainian military hardware and units to Eastern Ukraine.

All the data obtained is done through trawling through social media accounts who track via ADS-B, Mode-S and MLAT sites, to identify the type of aircraft, location, and nationality of the aircraft. Invariably, there are some flights that are missed, because only those that had transponders active in each location were logged. For example, there were certainly more flights off the Norway, Barents Sea and in the GIUK region than I managed to record.

Some points to retain:

Intensification of flights in the Black Sea, (Crimea, Southern Russia FIR). Although the use of unmanned RQ-4B Global Hawks over Eastern Ukraine and Northern Georgia has been going on for a long time, (years in fact), there was an uptick of activities, (Graph 1) in April. Given their 250km reported ‘visual’ range, they can scan a wide swath of land. Unusually, on several occasions in April, two RQ-4B operated at the same time in the region. Prior to April, most of the ISR flight paths were fairly regular in character, this wasn’t the case several times during April, in particular the RQ-4B flights.

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Being unmanned, this is the only US / NATO aircraft that carries out missions over territorial airspace over Ukraine and Georgia. For a short time, a RQ-4B was brought in from the Middle East to carry air missions. Many of these flights did not have habitual flight track of prior ISR missions in certain areas, (Eastern Ukraine, Crimean coastline, and Georgia), often orbiting or making multiple tracking back and forth passes.

A comparison is provided below between the number of flights between February, March, and April. The figures for March or February were not different to previous months, so, a big change in frequency. To sum up, the redeployment of Ukrainian military units did not bring about changes in air missions but the Russian redeployments to the area certainly influenced US and NATO military brass in despatching aircraft to the region.

Another noticeable increase in flights is that of the US Navy P-8 Poseidon flights along the northern Black Sea coastline region. Flights were almost a daily occurrence and this unprecedented as far I know. However, this is partially consistent with the fact that the Russian Navy units started a series of naval exercises in the Black Sea over April, (some of the media reports below to get a gist of the frequency and intensity).

It has to be noted that the flights take place in international airspace, but some of the flights tracked closely the 12 nautical miles limit. As with the other ISR aircraft (Rivet Joint, EP3 Aries), the flight route taken were fairly consistent, going along the whole coast of Crimea, flying all the way down to the sea area adjoining Sochi and towards Novorossiysk, (which I refer to as Southern Russia FIR), and then returning back along the coastline.

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8-9 April https://tass.com/defense/1276211

12-13 April https://tass.com/defense/1276793

14 April https://www.rt.com/russia/520989-black-sea-fleet-dispatched-us-threat/

19-23 April https://tass.com/defense/1279759/

https://tass.com/defense/1280235

https://tass.com/defense/1281517

27-30 April https://twitter.com/mod_russia/status/1388085378175881216

Boeing P-8s contrary to social media pundits aren’t just submarine hunters, (“must be looking for a Kilo” fare), but in addition to their anti-submarine warfare (ASW), P-8s have anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction roles. In other words, maritime domain intelligence.

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Another interesting aspect that is noteworthy is the increase in intelligence-gathering flights along the Russian Far East, (Kamchatka and Anadyr). This ties in with press releases and videos on interceptions by the RuAF, where Russian Air Force MiG-31 high-altitude fighter intercepted an USAF RC-135W Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft off the coast of Kamchatka.

Often, several type of ISR missions were taking place simultaneously in the Black Sea region, (usually a combination of P-8 and Rivet Joint, or P-8 with Global Hawks). This means that several types of intelligence gathering are carried out, (maritime, ELINT, etc…). This situation

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The above graph shows the ISR missions carried out in April was done daily around many regions from the Baltic to the Barents Sea.

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The overall snapshot for April across many regions is shown in the above graph, the Baltic region, being the second busiest region overall.

So, how do these figures compare to those for March?

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The Black Sea region in April swapped places with the Baltic region, to lead by a wide margin. To note that I have split the Black Sea region into different sectors, to distinguish the location of flights. The Black Sea region is the overall total, which includes flights that did not enter Crimean, Russian FIRs but were in support of other ISR missions. Generally, this does not include Turkish flights in the southern Black Sea sector, as such the only flights that are counted are those support of other flights monitoring Russian military activities. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to confirm whether a RQ-4B flight went to Eastern Ukraine or Georgia, so it may be expected that the figures that I have are lower than in reality.

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The main types of aircraft that carried out various intelligence-gathering missions in the Black Sea region are listed above. While some (the E-3 AWACS, Peace Eagle) stayed over land, their location of activity suggested support for overall intelligence-gathering operations linked to Russian military activities and units.

No surprise to say that it is the US military that flies the most often, with the UK in second place.

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Lastly, as an interesting comparison with my dataset, here is a graph showing the numbers of air flights along Russian borders, (including the unmanned aircraft) along with interceptions carried out since the beginning of the year, as regularly reported by the Russian Ministry of Defence. As you can surmise, a lot more aerial activity takes place in proximity to Russia generally, (Not just ISR flights but air tankers, U2s and maybe bomber flights are possibly included in the figures). These figures probably also include other non-NATO aircraft elsewhere near to Russia.

Getting this level of official data from NATO and NORAD would be a rarity and as such, it is nearly impossible to compare data for Russian military flights, as the data is rather opaque compared that of the Russian MoD. Add in a level of obfuscation, as this quote shows the typical situation:
““NORAD responded to more Russian military flights off the coast of Alaska than we’ve seen in any year since the end of the Cold War” General Glen Van Herck’s briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2020.

  1. Define highest as per the yearly data (which is not available)
  2. Why reference it to the end of the Cold War? I find it rather misleading to use the basic value as “the end of the Cold War”, whether for aircraft and submarines.

The average NORAD interceptions in the USA/ Canada ADIZ, since 2013 is between 10-16 (roughly), PER YEAR. According to the Russian MoD, there were 10 interceptions for the whole of April alone.

Conclusion

The northern part of the Black Sea region has come under close scrutiny for April regarding US/NATO air missions, and it does not show any signs of decreasing in frequency as yet, (as I write this, there are 2 Global Hawks operating in the region). Yet other areas continue to be monitored as attentively as in previous months on a daily basis.

It highlights the continued need for intelligence by Washington and Brussels on all aspects of Russian military activities and units.

NB: For anyone interested in the naval sitreps side of activities, I have produced a series of them for March and April: https://natsouth.livejournal.com/19905.html concerning the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Red Sea. I regularly update the sitreps with a Twitter thread of additional events.

Maria Zhakarova – ‘Collective West is living in fantasy land’

April 25, 2021

Maria Zhakarova – ‘Collective West is living in fantasy land’

As British Warships Deploy to Black Sea, Putin Warns of Red Lines

As British Warships Deploy to Black Sea, Putin Warns of Red Lines - Islam  Times
As British Warships Deploy to Black Sea, Putin Warns of Red Lines
Former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages

Finian Cunningham April 22, 2021

The British are being told that they cannot just sail their warships into the Black Sea and rattle their sabers in Russia’s face. Putin is telling the Brits and anyone else not to even think about getting that close.

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a stern warning to countries trying to provoke military tensions, saying that his nation is drawing up red lines for defense.

Putin delivered the sharp remarks during his annual state-of-the-nation address to lawmakers from both chambers of the Russian parliament. The stark warning comes amid spiraling tensions over Ukraine between Western supporters of the Kiev regime and Russia.

Specifically, days before Putin’s set-piece speech, British media reported that Britain’s Royal Navy is planning to deploy two warships to the Black Sea: a Type-45 destroyer armed with anti-aircraft missiles; and a frigate for hunting submarines. A British ministry of defense spokesman is quoted as saying the move was a sign of “unwavering support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity” in the face of alleged Russian aggression.

The British deployment is planned to take place in the coming weeks. The two warships will transit Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait to enter the Black Sea. International shipping is permitted under the Montreux Convention. However, the British plan seems far from an innocent passage, and a rather more calculated provocation.

The two ships will be part of a bigger battle group, the newly launched HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier which will station in the East Mediterranean. The battle group will be able to supply F-35B Lightning fighter jets and Merlin helicopters with submarine-hunting missiles. All in all, it is a pretty audacious attempt by the British to raise tensions with Russia.

It is notable that the United States last week abruptly cancelled sending two of its guided-missile destroyers to the Black Sea after Russia mobilized its own fleet in the region and warned the Americans to “stay away”. Days later, the British seem to have stepped into the breach with their proposed Black Sea operation. Did the Biden administration ask London to step up to the plate and to show “solidarity”, or is the British maneuver a gambit to curry favor with Washington by flexing AngloSaxon muscles for Uncle Sam?

In any case, London’s move comes on the back of an already brazen buildup of British military forces in the Black Sea. Britain has previously sent naval personnel and equipment to train Ukrainian warships. The Royal Air Force has also dispatched a squadron of Typhoon fighter jets to patrol the Black Sea in support of the Kiev regime and its claim to take back control of the Crimean Peninsula. The Peninsula voted in a referendum in March 2014 to join the Russian Federation after a NATO-backed coup d’état in Kiev the previous month which ushered in an anti-Russian regime.

The Kiev regime has also been stepping up its violations of the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine where ethnic Russian populations have declared breakaway republics in defiance of the 2014 NATO-backed coup. Civilian centers in Donetsk and Luhansk are being shelled on a daily basis. This is clearly a cynical attempt by the Kiev regime to escalate the civil war in such a way as to drag NATO further into the conflict. Russia has mobilized sizable army divisions on the border with Ukraine in what Moscow says is a matter of national self-defense. Yet, ironically, the United States, Britain, and other NATO powers are demanding Russia to “de-escalate” tensions.

NATO’s very public backing for the Kiev regime and the supply of American lethal weaponry is no doubt emboldening the regime to step up its offensive fire on Eastern Ukraine and making menacing moves towards Crimea.

The British are in particular giving the Kiev regime a dangerous sense of military license for its bravado towards Moscow.

The situation is an extremely dangerous powder-keg. One wrong move, even unintended, could spark off a wider war involving the NATO powers and Russia.

In this highly combustible context, Russia is right to close off areas in the Black Sea that encompass its territorial waters. Those areas include the coastal waters off the Crimean Peninsula.

NATO powers sending warships into the region is the height of criminal folly. If Britain and other members of the U.S.-led alliance contend that they are “defending Ukraine’s territorial integrity” then the logic of that position dictates that they will attempt to make an incursion into Crimean coastal water since they don’t recognize Russia’s sovereignty. In that event, a military confrontation is bound to happen.

President Putin’s declaration of red lines is not so much a rhetorical putting it up to the West. It is a responsible position to prevent a war from breaking out.

The British are being told that they cannot just sail their warships into the Black Sea and rattle their sabers in Russia’s face. Putin is telling the Brits and anyone else not to even think about getting that close.

Ukraine: Fascism’s toe-hold in Europe

Ukraine: Fascism’s toe-hold in Europe

April 21, 2021

The tacit support given by the centre-left to the installation of the regime in Kiev should give them cause for concern

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

Politics in the Ukraine can only be understood by reference to its history and ethnic and cultural make-up – a make-up criss-crossed by lasting and entrenched ethnic, cultural and political differences. The country has long been split into the northern and western Ukraine, where Ukrainian is the official and everyday lingua franca, and the more industrialised regions of the east and south where a mixture of Russian speaking Ukrainians and ethnic Russians reside. Additionally, there has long been Hungarian and Romanian settlement in the west of the country, and a particularly important Polish presence, whose unofficial capital, Lviv, was once the Polish city of Lwow. The Russian Orthodox Church is the predominant form of Christianity in the East, whilst in the west the Christian tradition tends towards Roman Catholicism.

Politically the Eastern and Southern Oblasts (Regions) which includes the cities and centres of heavy industry, Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhe, Nikolayev, Kherson, Simferopol and Odessa, have tended to tilt towards Russia whilst the western regions have had a more western orientation. This has traditionally been reflected in the electoral division of the country. There is no party which can be considered ‘national’ in this respect, except ironically, the old Communist party, which of course is now banned. The major regional parties have been the Fatherland party of Yulia Tymoshenko (since renamed) and the former head of government, Arseniy Yatsenyuk as well as the ultra-nationalists predominantly in the west of the country, and the deposed Victor Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions in the East (now defunct) along with its junior partner in the coalition, the Ukrainian Communist Party.

However, what is new since the coup in February 2014 there has been the emergence from the shadows of ultra-nationalist (fascist) parties and movements, with both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary (i.e.,military) wings. In the main ‘Svoboda’ or Freedom Party, and the paramilitaries of ‘Right Sector’ (Fuhrer: Dimitry Yarosh) who spearheaded the coup in Kiev; these have been joined or changed their names to inter alia the Radical Party, and Patriots of the Ukraine; this in addition to the punitive right-wing militias, such as the Azov Regiment responsible for numerous atrocities in the Don Bas.

Suffice it to say, however, that these political movements and parties did not emerge from nowhere.

This far-right tradition has been historically very strong in the western Ukraine. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) was first established in 1929 and brought together, war veterans, student fraternities, far-right groups and various other disoriented socially and political flotsam and jetsam under its banner. The OUN took its ideological position from the writings of one, Dymtro Dontsov, who, like Mussolini had been a socialist, and who was instrumental in creating an indigenous Ukrainian fascism based upon the usual mish-mash of writings and theories including Friedrich Nietzsche, Georges Sorel, and Charles Maurras. Dontsov also translated the works of Hitler and Mussolini into Ukrainian.

The OUN was committed to ethnic purity, and relied on violence, assassination and terrorism, not least against other Ukrainians, to achieve its goal of a totalitarian and homogeneous nation-state. Assorted enemies and impediments to this goal were Communists, Russians, Poles, and of course – Jews. Strongly oriented toward the Axis powers OUN founder Evhen Konovalets (1891-1938) stated that his movement was ‘’waging war against mixed marriages’’, with Poles, Russians and Jews, the latter which he described as ‘’foes of our national rebirth’’. Indeed, rabid anti-Semitism has been a leitmotif in the history of Ukrainian fascism, which we will return to below.

Konovelts himself was assassinated by a KGB hit-man in 1938 after which the movement split into two wings: (OUN-m) under Andrii Melnyk and, more importantly for our purposes (OUN-b) under Stepan Bandera. Both wings committed to a new fascist Europe. Upon the German invasion in June 1941, the OUN-b attempted to establish a Ukrainian satellite state loyal to Nazi Germany. Stepan Lenkavs’kyi the then chief propagandist of the OUN-b ‘government’ advocated the physical destruction of Ukrainian Jewry. OUN-b’s ‘Prime Minister’ Yaroslav Stets’ko, and deputy to Bandera supported, ‘’the destruction of the Jews and the expedience of bringing German methods of exterminating Jewry to Ukraine, barring their assimilation and the like.’’

During the early days of the rapid German advance into the Soviet Union there were some 140 pogroms in the western Ukraine claiming the lives of between 13000-35000 people (Untermensch, in fascist terminology). In 1943-1944 OUN-b and its armed wing the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (Ukrainska povstanska armia – UPA) carried out large scale ethnic cleansing resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands; this was a particularly gruesome affair in Volhynia where some 90000 Poles and thousands of Jews were murdered. The campaign of the UPA continued well into the 1950s until it was virtually wiped out by the Soviet forces.

It should be said that during this early period Bandera himself had been incarcerated by the German authorities up until his release in 1944, since unlike Bandera they were not enamoured of an independent Ukrainian state but wanted total control. Bandera was only released at this late date since the German high command was endeavouring to build up a pro-German Ukrainian quisling military force to hold up the remorseless advance of the Red Army. Also pursuant to this it is also worth noting that during this period the 14th Galizian Waffen SS Division, a military Ukrainian collaborationist formation established by Heinrich Himmler, was formed to fight the Soviet forces, and yet another being the Nachtingal brigade; (1) this unit was integrated into the 14th Galizian in due course. It is also interesting to note, that every year, and up to 2014 commemoration ceremony including veterans of this unit takes place with a march through Lviv in an evening torchlight parade – genuine Nazi pastiche. The flag of this unit is not dissimilar to the Peugeot logo, the standing lion, and can be seen at ultra-nationalist rallies as well as football matches involving Lviv Karparti FC. There are also numerous statues of Bandera across Ukraine, and since the 2014 coup even street names bearing the same name. Significantly the UPA have now received political rehabilitation from the Kiev Junta, with Bandera declared a hero of the Ukraine and the UPA rebranded as ‘freedom fighters.’ One particularly splendid statue of Bandera stands proudly in Lviv and is usually adorned with flowers.

Other novel attractions the capital of Banderestan include ‘Jewish themed restaurants’ one such is Kryivka (Hideout or Lurking Hole) where guests have a choice of dishes and whose dinning walls are decorated with larger than life portraits of Bandera, the toilet with Russian and Jewish anecdotes. At another Jewish themed restaurant guests are offered black hats of the sort worn by Hasidim. The menu lists no prices for the dishes; instead, one is required to haggle over highly inflated prices ‘’in the Jewish fashion’’. Yes, it’s all good clean fun in Lviv. Anti-Semitism also sells. Out of 19 book vendors on the streets of central Lviv, 16 were openly selling anti-Semitic literature. About 70% of the anti-Semitic publications in Ukraine are being published by and educational institution called MUAP (The Inter-Regional Academy of Personnel Management). MAUP is a large, well-connected and increasingly powerful organization funded from outside anti-Semite sources, and also connected to White Supremacist groups in the USA and to the David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

(It is one of the ironies of history that if the Zionists in AIPAC and the Washington neo-con think tanks, and the Labour Party Friends of Israel, were so concerned about anti-Semitism, they might try looking for it in Lviv. They wouldn’t have to search very far.)

Present day neo-Nazi groupings in Ukraine – Svoboda (Freedom) party and Right Sector – have been the direct descendants from the prior ideological cesspool. Heading Svoboda is Oleh Tyahnybok. Although these are separate organizations Tyahnybok’s deputy Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn is the main link between Svoboda’s official wing and neo-Nazi militias like Right Sector. The Social-Nationalist party as it was formerly known chose as its logo an amended version of the Wolfsangel, a symbol used by many SS divisions on the Eastern front during the war who in 2004 a celebration of the OUN-UPA, stated in 2004, that ‘’they fought against the Muscovite, Germans, Jews and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.’’ And further that ‘’Ukraine was ruled by a Muscovite-Jewish mafia.’’ Tyahnybok came under pressure from the then President, Yuschenko, to retract his inflammatory statements, which he did, but he then retracted the retraction!

Given the fact that Svoboda was, apart from its stamping grounds in the west, making little national electoral headway, it was essential to clean up its image and deny its Nazi past. But this was always going to be difficult since the members of such groups cannot help the unscripted outbursts and faux pas which they tend to make and which reveals their true colours. For example, following the conviction and sentencing of John Demjanjuk to five years in jail for his role as an accessory to the murder of 27,900 people at the Sobibor death camp, Tyahnybok travelled to Germany and met up with Demjanjuk’s lawyer, presenting the death camp guard as a hero, a victim of persecution ‘’who is fighting for truth’’.

And so it goes on. We can therefore infer that this organization is inveterate fascist. More disturbing Svoboda has links with the so-called Alliance of National European Movements, which includes: Nationaldemokraterna of Sweden, Front Nationale of France, Fiamma Tricolore in Italy, the Hungarian Jobbik and the Belgian National Front. More importantly Svoboda held several ministerial portfolios in the Kiev administration, and Right Sector swaggers around Kiev streets with impunity, and/or are being drafted into a National Guard to deal with the separatist movements in the east, or to beat down anyone who doesn’t conform to their Ayran racial and political ideals.

One would have thought that this mutating revolution in the Ukraine would have drawn attention of the centre-left to the fact that fascism had gained a vital beachhead in Europe, and that the danger signals should be flashing. But not a bit of it; a perusal of the Guardian newspaper quickly reveals that their chief concern has been with a non-existent ‘Russian threat’. One of their reporters – or old friend, Luke Harding -described Right Sector as an ‘’eccentric group of people with unpleasant right-wing views.’’ Priceless! This must rank as the political understatement of the century. In fact, the Guardian was simply reiterating the US-imposed neo-conservative foreign policy. But naturally, this is par for the course.

  1. The Nachtingal brigade, which was later incorporated into the SS Galizien, took part in a three-day massacre of the Jewish population of Lvov (now Lviv) from 30 June 1941. Roman Shukhevych was the commander of the Nachtingal and later, in 1943, became commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (the “Banderivtsy”, or UPA/UIA[5] ), armed henchmen of the fascist Stepan Bandera, who after the war pretended that they had fought both Nazis and Communists. Members of the division are also accused of having murdered some 800 residents of the Polish village of Huta Pieniacka and 44 civilians in the village of Chłaniów.
Bandera statue.

Stepan Bandera statue in Lviv

Incentives: Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin possible moves – Donbass crisis.

Incentives: Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin possible moves – Donbass crisis.

April 11, 2021

By David Sant for the Saker Blog

Several analysts have written articles about how Russia is likely to respond in the theater to an offensive by Ukraine to restart the Donbass War. My purpose in this article is to look at the psychology and incentives of Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin and the possible moves that each of them may make in response to the Donbass crisis.

The Nature of the Dispute

It is fairly well established that two primary motives seem to be driving the Atlanticist pressure on Russia and continuing eastward expansion of NATO. The larger issue is that Russia, Iran, and China seem to be increasingly resistant to the rule of the Atlanticist monopolar hegemony enforced by the US Military and NATO. As someone recently said, the American empire is a currency empire sustained by forcing all energy transactions to be priced in US Dollars, and controlling energy transit points. By moving away from using USD for oil and gas transactions, Russia, China, and Iran pose a mortal threat to the empire.

The secondary issue, the one driving the timing, is control of oil and gas pipelines. In short the USA wants Europe to use American-controlled gas and oil, which means Saudi and Qatari oil, and American LNG. They want to create pipelines and delivery routes for American-controlled energy, and close or prevent delivery routes for Russian energy. The three current flashpoints are Syria, Ukraine, and the route of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, all three of which are current or potential pipeline routes.

Several years ago the US successfully pressured Bulgaria into cancelling the South Stream Pipeline through the Black Sea. However, US sanctions have been unable to deter Germany from allowing the Russians to complete the Nord Stream 2.

With the completion of the project only a few months away, the US seems determined to stop it at any cost. This appears to be the motive behind instigating the Ukrainian government to invade Donbass. If Russia defends Donbass, she will be demonized in the Western press, and this will be used to pressure Germany to cancel Nord Stream 2. From the American perspective, getting the Ukrainians to fight the Russians weakens both at no political cost to the US.

It is my opinion that the Biden Administration is making a major miscalculation by continuing this approach. For the past seven years, Russia has absorbed round after round of sanctions and provocations by the US government in Ukraine and Syria. The Biden regime seems to assume that if they instigate a war in Donbass now, that Russia will continue as they have before, to absorb the blow without striking back. I suggest that this time it will be different.

The History and Psychology of Biden and Putin

Vladimir Putin was handpicked by the Western handlers to replace Boris Yeltsin in 1999, largely because he was known to be reliable. However, Putin surprised those who appointed him by turning against the oligarchs and reigning in the chaos that was dismembering Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Putin enforced the law and cracked down on corruption, including corruption by the Western interests that put him in power.

Displeased by this turn of events, the West, led by Bill Browder, has spent the past fifteen years demonizing Putin. For example, when Russia granted asylum to Edward Snowden in 2013, multiple US politicians used scripted talking points calling Mr. Putin “a schoolyard bully.” That analogy was rather inept, as Russia did not invite Snowden, but rather got stuck with him, as his passport was cancelled while in transit, making it impossible for him to board his flight out of Russia. Putin actually said that as a former intelligence officer himself, he did not view Snowden’s leak of classified information in a positive light.

The problem with demonizing one’s opponent is that it can lead to strategic errors if you make the mistake of believing your own propaganda. If we look at Mr. Putin’s past behavior we see four consistent characteristics.

First, he follows the rules. Whether it is the START treaty, the chemical weapons accord, or the Minsk Agreements, the Putin regime has consistently tried to keep the old treaties alive and to follow agreed upon UN procedures for conflict resolution.

Second, when Mr. Putin has taken steps to oppose the Atlanticist agenda, he has done so in a way that allowed his opponents to save face. When the US was preparing to invade Syria in 2013, Putin persuaded Assad to agree to eliminate his chemical weapon stockpile. This pulled the rug out from under the US invasion, but it did not make the US look bad.

When Russia entered Syria to fight ISIS, they did not publicly expose the fact that the US and Israel were the primary backers of ISIS. Putin went along with the ruse and said, if America is fighting ISIS we will fight ISIS too, and did so legally at the invitation of Syria. Russia’s work allowed Trump to take credit for defeating ISIS, even though it completely ruined eight years of CIA efforts to train and arm those terrorists.

Third, Mr. Putin keeps his word. When he draws a red line, he enforces it. He speaks quietly but it is wise to listen carefully to what he says. We have seen this in the way that Russia dealt with terrorist groups that agreed to deconfliction versus those that did not, as well as the ones that agreed and then went against it.

And, lastly, when all else has failed and the other party crosses the red line anyway, Putin punches fast, hard, and unexpectedly, and often in a different theater than where the provocation has occurred. We saw this when Russia destroyed the oil smuggling network that the US and Turkey had set up in Northeastern Syria. We saw it again when Russia saved Mr. Erdogan from a US-backed coup only thirty minutes before he probably would have been captured.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden loved to tell the story on the campaign trail about his interaction with a black gangster named “Corn Pop” when he was a lifeguard in college. They almost had a fight but Biden brought a chain with him, and they later became friends. The fact that he even tells this tale signals that Biden has no real experience against a serious enemy. Men with street credibility don’t need to tell stories. They are known and respected.

The reality of Biden’s career is that he has played second fiddle to stronger leaders and only appears to have gotten the presidential nomination because it was his turn and he was deemed to be controllable by his handlers. Biden obtained the presidency through a fraud seen so openly that he has one of the lowest presidential approval ratings in history.

Biden and Putin met for the first time alone in 2011 for talks in Russia. According to Mike McCormick, who was Biden’s stenographer, Biden was halfway through his talk when suddenly the microphone, cameras, and lights were turned off and Putin and all of the media walked out leaving Biden humiliated. Something similar happened to Biden in China a few months later.

This is probably what Biden was referring to when he recently said that Putin was “a killer” with “no soul.” That interaction tells us exactly what Putin thinks of Biden. He considers him to be a weakling with no substance.

Biden’s team is stacked with Russophobes who are motivated by the desire to finish what they began in Ukraine under Obama. They believe they can successfully use information war and dirty tricks to isolate Russia from Europe and control all the energy conduits. Whether due to hubris or ignorance, they do not believe Russia would dare to strike back at the real instigator of the war in Ukraine.

Biden’s response to a Russian strike would probably be a plaintive high pitched, “c’mon man!” However, if Kamala Harris is making the decisions the risk of escalating to a nuclear response is much higher. The problem is that both Biden and Harris were picked and installed by a “power behind the throne,” so it is unclear exactly who would be making the decision of how to respond.

The Imminent Danger of the Current Imbroglio

There is no doubt that the US intends to create a war in Ukraine before the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline can be finished. This will happen within months if not weeks. It is also clear that Zelensky is being placed under tremendous pressure to force Russia into defending Donbass.

Russia has drawn a red line around Donbass. Ukraine had agreed to a peaceful resolution through the Minsk Accords. But with US encouragement, Kiev violated everything they agreed to, making it now politically impossible to re-integrate Donbass into Ukraine.

If Zelensky invades Donbass, then not just Ukraine, but the USA and NATO will be viewed by Russia as having crossed an inviolable red line. Yes, Russia will be forced to defend Donbass, because Putin will not allow Russians to be subjected to genocide. Russia does not want to fight Ukrainians, whom despite the jokes, they view as their Russian brothers. They are frustrated and angry that the USA has forced them into this position.

For this reason, I believe that Mr. Putin will do something that the Biden regime is not expecting with similar psychological impact to the sudden turning off of the lights and cameras. He will find a way to inflict debilitating pain on the decision makers who have forced Russia into intervening in Ukraine.

In addition to defending Donbass, Russia may strike the USA in a different theater. But they will do so in a way that cannot be confused with a nuclear attack. Unlike the previous chess moves that allowed the US leadership to save face, this one will neutralize and publicly humiliate the USA and the Biden regime as a paper tiger.

The Narrow Window of Technological Supremacy

While the US was busy invading third world countries as part of the War on Terror, Russia was quietly developing their defense technologies. They have now achieved technological supremacy over the USA in three areas: air and missile defenses, hypersonic missiles, and electronic countermeasures (ECM).

In the area of air defenses the Russian S-400 is an extremely capable platform which the West has very little experience fighting against. Russia has the capability to impose a no fly zone within about 500 kilometers of its S-400 batteries, of which there are several from Crimea to Kaliningrad. Israel’s use of the F-35 to bomb Syria has given the Russians live data on NATO’s most advanced stealth fighter.

The S-500 space defense system is scheduled to enter service in 2021. Since the S-500 can defend against ICBMs it may affect the balance of power of mutual assured destruction (MAD).

The Zircon and Khinzal hypersonic missiles are currently in service and are the most effective anti-ship weapons in the Russian arsenal that we know of. Their standoff range enables strikes on enemy ships from 500 to 2,000 kilometers. This means that Russia has the ability to strike ships in the Mediteranean and North Sea using assets based on Russian soil, not even counting the assets based in Latakia, Syria. NATO forces currently have no defense against hypersonic missiles.

Russian ECM capabilities have been somewhat exaggerated by news stories about the 2014 encounter with the USS Donald Cook. The Donald Cook was allegedly shut down by ECM attack while an SU-24 overflew the vessel. However, more accurate sources noted that any ECM attack, if there even was one, would have been executed using ground-based equipment, not the Su-24 fighter. If this attack really happened, the US Navy has presumably hardened its vessels against ECM in the seven years since.

We do know that Russian ECM systems in Syria were able to disable the vast majority of Tomahawk Missiles fired at Syria in April 2017. Other than aircraft carriers, the primary American method of projecting power is Arleigh-Burke class destroyers such as the USS Donald Cook which carry about 50 Tomahawk missiles each. The 2017 exercise in Syria probably indicates that Russia is able to jam volleys of Tomahawk missiles with better than 90% success. The remaining 10% of the subsonic Tomahawks can be easily shot down by anti-aircraft batteries.

The question is whether the US Navy has found a way to harden the Tomahawk missiles against Russian ECM since 2017. If not, then given the much smaller size and number of missiles that can be carried by Navy attack aircraft, the US Navy’s primary weapon for ground attack has no teeth against Russian targets. Of course in any conflict, the first target of NATO’s “wild weasel” aircraft will be SAM radars and ECM equipment.

Conclusion – Biden has Created Strong Incentives for Russia to Strike First

The US is spending billions to catch up technologically, and the window of Russian supremacy may only last for two or three years at most. Russia can be expected to reach the peak technological advantage over NATO in late 2021 after the S-500 system has been fully deployed. However, the Donbass crisis may force Russia to act sooner than they are comfortable.

If Russia were to use the window of supremacy to attempt a debilitating strike on the US military the US Navy is the most likely target. Ships are the most exposed, are not located inside another country’s borders, and are also the primary means of projecting US power. However, I would not rule out a non-missile attack on DC. For example, there are many ways that the US power grid could be turned off without using missiles. The ensuing domestic chaos might prevent the US from responding.

This is a very dangerous situation for the world because it could easily escalate to World War III or nuclear war, depending on the Biden Administration’s reaction. Part of the problem is that it is not clear who is really in charge of the Whitehouse. A nuclear response to a devastating conventional weapons defeat would be a disaster for both sides.

Russia will only strike the USA if they believe they have no other choice. What they have learned from seven years of sanctions, attempted coups, fake poisonings, and other provocations is that the US will continue this behavior for as long as Russia continues to accept it, or until Russia is broken and conquered. In short, Biden’s team may have finally convinced Russia that they have no other choice.

President Biden has handed Putin the justification for a first strike by openly stating his intention to conduct a cyber attack on Russia “soon.” That is a public declaration of war. The fact that the Russian ambassador was recalled from Washington and has not been sent back should be a wakeup call to America that DC itself is on the potential target list.

For these reasons I believe that there is a high probability that Russia will strike first before NATO can fully put in place the forces for planned exercises for this Summer. The strike will probably be non-nuclear, focused against US forces only, and its purpose will be to delegitimize the US power in the eyes of the junior members of NATO, and to weaken or cripple the US ability to project power.

If China and Iran see Russia strike the US military, it would not be surprising if they also pile on using their own hypersonic missiles to destroy US Navy assets in the Persian Gulf and South China Sea.

The Biden regime’s underestimation of Russia and failure to heed Putin’s warnings have created conditions which make possible a sudden and humiliating defeat of the US Navy, which could effectively end the US ability to project power overseas.

However, wars are rarely short, and victories rarely decisive. For this reason it would be better for all parties to de-escalate the conflict immediately. Unfortunately, the Biden regime is the only one in a position to do that, and they have shown no intention of doing so.

Putin’s Ukrainian Judo

Putin’s Ukrainian Judo

Source

April 14, 2021

By Dmitry Orlov and posted with special permission

A terrible war is about to erupt on Russia’s border with the Ukraine—or not—but there is some likelihood of a significant number of people getting killed before project Ukraine is finally over. Given that around 13 thousand people have been killed over the past seven years—the civil war in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine has gone on for that long!—this is no laughing matter. But people get desensitized to the mostly low-level warfare. Just over the past couple of weeks a grandfather was shot by a Ukrainian sniper while feeding his chickens and a young boy was killed by a bomb precision-dropped on him from a Ukrainian drone.

But what’s about to happen now is forecasted to be on a different scale: the Ukrainians are moving heavy armor and troops up to the line of separation while the Russians are moving theirs up to their side of the Ukrainian border, a position from which they can blast any and all Ukrainian troops straight out of the gene pool without so much as setting foot on Ukrainian territory—should they wish to do so. The Russians can justify their military involvement by the need to defend their own citizens: over the past seven years half a million residents in eastern Ukraine have applied for and been granted Russian citizenship. But how exactly can Russia defend its citizens while they are stuck in the crossfire between Russian and Ukrainian forces?

The rationale of defending its citizens led to conflict in the briefly Georgian region of South Ossetia, which started on August 8, 2008 and lasted barely a week, leaving Georgia effectively demilitarized. Russia rolled in, Georgia’s troops ran off, Russia confiscated some of the more dangerous war toys and rolled out. Georgia’s paper warriors and their NATO consultants and Israeli trainers were left wiping each others’ tears. Any suggestion of arming and equipping the Georgians since then has been met with groaning and eye-rolling. Is the upcoming event in eastern Ukraine going to be similar to the swift and relatively painless defanging of Georgia in 2008? Given that the two situations are quite different, it seems foolish to think that the approach to resolving them would be the same.

Is it different this time and is World War III is about to erupt with eastern Ukraine being used as a trigger for this conflagration? Do the various statements made at various times by Vladimir Putin provide a solid enough basis for us to guess at what will happen next? Is there a third, typically, infuriatingly Russian approach to resolving this situation, where Russia wins, nobody dies and everyone in the West is left scratching their heads?

The Ukrainian military is much like everything else currently found in the Ukraine—the railway system, the power plants, the pipeline systems, the ports, the factories (the few that are left)—a patched-up hold-over from Soviet times. The troops are mostly unhappy, demoralized conscripts and reservists. Virtually all of the more capable young men have either left the country to work abroad or have bribed their way out of being drafted. The conscripts sit around getting drunk, doing drugs and periodically taking pot shots into and across the line of separation between Ukrainian-held and separatist-held territories. Most of the casualties they suffer are from drug and alcohol overdoses, weapons accidents, traffic accidents caused by driving drunk and self-harm from faulty weapons. The Ukrainian military is also working on winning a Darwin award for the most casualties caused by stepping on their own land mines. As for the other side, many of the casualties are civilians wounded and killed by constant shelling from the Ukrainian side of the front, which runs quite close to population centers.

The Ukrainian military has received some new weapons from the US and some NATO training, but as the experience in Georgia has shown, that won’t help them. Most of these weapons are obsolete, non-updated versions of Soviet armaments from former East Bloc but currently NATO nations such as Bulgaria. These really aren’t of much use against an almost fully rearmed Russian military. A lot of the Ukrainian artillery is worn out and, given that Ukrainian industry (what’s left of it) is no longer able to manufacture gun barrels, artillery shells or even mortar rounds, this makes the Ukrainian military quite literally the gang that can’t shoot straight. It’s a great day for them if they manage to hit a kindergarten or a maternity clinic and most of the time they are just cratering up the empty countryside and littering it up with charred, twisted metal.

In addition to the hapless conscripts and reservists there are also some volunteer battalions that consist of hardcore Ukrainian nationalists. Their minds have been carefully poisoned by nationalist propaganda crafted thanks to large infusions of foreign (mostly American) money. Some of them have been conditioned to think that it was the ancient Ukrs who built the Egyptian pyramids and dug the Black Sea (and piled the left-over dirt to build the Caucasus mountain range). These may or may not be more combat-capable than the rest (opinions vary) but, much more importantly, they are a political force that the government cannot ignore because they can quite literally hold it hostage. They have been known for stunts such as shelling the offices of a television channel whose editorial policies they found disagreeable and physically assaulting a busload of opposition activists.

It is these Ukro-Nazi zealots that stand directly in the way of any peaceful settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine and an inevitable eventual rapprochement between the Ukrainians and Russia. There is a deep and abiding irony in that these über-antisemitic Ukro-Nazis are about to be ordered into battle against Russia by a Jewish comedian (Vladimir Zelensky, president) who got elected thanks to a Jewish oligarch (Igor “Benny” Kolomoisky). Are they going to be annihilated? Quite possibly, yes. Will their annihilation make Ukraine and the world a better place? You be the judge. To the Russians these Nazi battalions are just a bunch of terrorists and, as Putin famously put it, it is up to him to send terrorists to God and then it is up to God to decide what to do with them. But there is a more efficient strategy: let them remain somebody else’s problem. After all, these Nazi battalions have almost zero ability to threaten Russia. Eventually the Europeans will realize that the Ukraine must be denazified, at their own expense, of course, with Russia offering advice and moral support.

To understand where this Ukrainian nationalist menace came from without venturing too far down the memory hole, it is enough to appreciate the fact that at the end of World War II some number of Ukrainian war criminals who fought on the side of the Nazis and took part in acts of genocide against Ukrainian Jews and Poles found a welcoming home in the US and in Canada, where they were able to feather their nests and bring up the next several generations of Ukrainian Nazis. After the collapse of the USSR, they were reintroduced into the Ukraine and given political support in the hopes of thoroughly alienating the Ukraine from Russia. In the course of serial color revolutions and unending political upheaval and strife they were able to become prominent, then dominant, in Ukrainian political life, to a point that they can now hold the Ukrainian government hostage whenever it fails to be sufficiently belligerent toward Russia, to maintain strict anti-Russian censorship in the media and to physically threaten anyone who voices disagreement with them.

Russophobia and belligerence toward Russia are, in turn, all that is currently required of the Ukraine by its US and EU masters, who wish to portray the Ukraine as a bulwark against a supposedly aggressive Russia but in reality wish to use it as an anti-Russian irritant and to use it to contain (meaning to restrict and frustrate) Russia economically and geopolitically. To this end the Ukrainian school curriculum has been carefully redesigned to inculcate hatred of all things Russian. The Ukraine’s Western mentors think that they are constructing a pseudo-ethnic totalitarian cult that can be used as a battering ram against Russia, along the lines of Nazi Germany but with much tighter external political control, or, to use a more recent, updated CIA playbook, along the lines of Al Qaeda and its various offshoots in the Middle East.

The rationale that’s used to serve up all this is “countering Russian aggression.” But it is inaccurate to describe Russia as aggressive. It is much closer to the truth to describe it as, by turns, assimilative, protective and insouciant. It is assimilative in that you too can apply for a Russian citizenship based on a number of criteria, the most important of which is cultural: you need to speak Russian, and to do so convincingly you have to assimilate culturally. If an entire Russian-speaking region starts waving the Russian tricolor at rallies, singing the Russian anthem and then holds a referendum where a convincing majority votes to rejoin Russia (97% in Crimea in 2014), then Russia will annex that territory and defend it. And if lots of people in a Russian-speaking region individually apply for Russian citizenship, swear allegiance to Russia and are issued Russian passports, then Russia will try to defend them individually against attack.

All would be sweetness and light with this scheme of voluntary accession if certain Russian regions didn’t periodically start demanding independence or if the Russians themselves didn’t periodically shed their self-important and ungrateful dependents. As this has happened, Russia has granted them sovereignty, which, more often than not, they didn’t know what to do with. At various times, Russia has freely bestowed national sovereignty on a whole slew of countries: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, the Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Rumania, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan… For some of them, it granted them sovereignty several times over (Poland seems to be the prize-winner in that category). The political elites of these countries, having become used to suckling at Mother Russia’s ample bosom, naturally look for someone new to invade and/or liberate them and then to feed them.

After the collapse of the USSR, their new masters naturally became the US and the EU. But as these newly sovereign nations soon found out, not as much milk has flowed in their direction from their new masters, and some of them have started casting furtive glances toward Russia again. The twentieth century was a confusing time for many of these countries, and many of them are puzzled to this day as to whether at any given time they were being occupied or liberated by Russia. Let us consider, as a mini case study, the three Baltic mini-nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. With the exception of the Lithuanians, who had their 15 minutes of fame during their brief late-medieval dalliance with Poland, these three ethnic groups never made good candidates for sovereign nations. They were first dominated by the Germans, then by the Swedes.

Then Peter the Great purchased their lands from the Swedes with silver coin, but after that they continued to toil as serfs for their German landlords. But then in mid-19th century the Russian Empire abolished serfdom, starting with Estonian and Latvian serfs as an experiment. It then introduced compulsory schooling, wrote down the local languages, and invited the more promising native sons to come and study at St. Petersburg. This started them on the way toward developing a national consciousness, and what a headache that turned out to be!

While the Russian Empire held together they remained under control, but after the Russian Revolution they gained independence and swiftly turned fascist. As World War II neared, the Soviet leadership became justifiably concerned over having little pro-Nazi fascist states right on their border and occupied/liberated them. But then as the Germans advanced and the Red Army retreated, they were re-occupied by the fascists/liberated from the communists. But then as the Germans retreated and the Red Army advanced, they were re-occupied/re-liberated again and became, for a time, exemplary Soviet Communists.

And so they remained, occupied/liberated, being stuffed full of Soviet-built schools, hospitals, factories, roads, bridges, ports, railways and other infrastructure—until the USSR collapsed. They were the first to demand independence, singing songs and holding hands across all three republics. Since then they have squandered all of their Soviet inheritance and have progressively shed population while serving as playgrounds for NATO troops who get a special thrill, I suppose, by training right on Russia’s border. Their political elites made a tidy little business of Russophobia, which pleased their new Western masters but gradually wrecked their economies. Having reached their peak during the late Soviet era, they are now hollow shells of their former selves.

And now, lo and behold, an embarrassingly large chunk of their populations is pining after the good old Soviet days and wants better relations with Russia (which, in the meantime, seems to have largely forgotten that these Baltic statelets even exist). Their political elites would want nothing more than for Russia to occupy/liberate them again, because then they could be rid of their noisome constituents and move to London or Geneva, there to head up a government in exile and work on plans for the next round of occupation/liberation.

To their horror, they are now realizing that Russia has no further use for them, while their new masters at the EU are sinking into a quagmire of their own problems, leaving them abandoned with no kind master to care for them and to feed them. They thought they had signed up to administer a vibrant new democracy using free money from the EU, but instead they are now stuck administering a depopulating, economically stagnant backwater peopled by ethnic relicts. In eras past, they would have only had to wait until the next wave of barbarian invasion from the east. The barbarians would slaughter all the men, rape and/or kidnap all the prettier women, and the naturally recurring process of ethnogenesis would start again. But now there are a dozen time zones of Russia to their east and no hope at all of any more barbarian invasions, so all they can do is drink a lot and, by turns, curse the Russians and the Europeans.

The situation is much the same throughout Eastern Europe, in a great arc of semi-sovereign, pseudo-sovereign and (in the case of the Ukraine) faux-sovereign nations from the Baltic to the Black Sea and on to the Caspian Sea and beyond. The many serial occupations/liberations have given their political elites a wonderful weathercock-like quality: one moment they are wearing Nazi insignia and heiling Hitler and the next moment they are good Soviet Communists reciting the 10 Commandments of the Builders of Communism. The Ukraine (getting back to it, finally) is no different in this respect but different in another: by no stretch of the imagination is it even a nation, or a combination, assemblage or grouping of nations; it is, strictly speaking, an accidental territorial agglomeration. As a failed attempt to create a monoethnic nation-state it is a chimera.

The following map, labeled “Dynamics of agglomeration of Ukrainian territories,” shows the process in detail. The toponym “Ukraine” (“Ukraina”) is most likely of Polish origin, meaning “border zone,” and it seems to have first become a thing in 1653 when the red-colored region below decided that it had had enough of Polish Catholic dominance and discrimination (its inhabitants being Orthodox Christians) and chose to rejoin Russia. The region became known as Malorossia, or Little Russia, and the yellow-colored districts were added to it over time. And then, after the Russian Revolution, came the big gift: Malorossia and neighboring districts were formed into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and to make it something more than just a rural backwater Lenin saw it fit to lump in with it a number of Russian regions shaded in blue. It was this mistake that paved the way to the current impasse in what is but by all rights should never have been eastern Ukraine.

Then, right before, and again right after World War II Stalin lumped in the green-shaded western districts, which were previously part of he Austro-Hungarian Empire. Its inhabitants were Austrian, Polish, Hungarian, Rumanian and most of the rest, though initially Russian, had spent five centuries under foreign rule and spoke a distinctive, archaic dialect that served as the basis for creating the synthetic language now known as Ukrainian, while the rest of what is now Ukraine spoke Russian, Yiddish and a wide assortment of village dialects. It was this alienated group that was used as leavening to fashion a synthetic Ukrainian nationalism. In turn, Ukrainian Bolshevik leaders used this faux-nationalism to fashion the Ukraine into a regional power center within the USSR.

And then came the final mistake when Nikita Khrushchev, very much a product of the Ukrainian regional power center, paid it back for helping to promote him to the top job by giving it Russian Crimea—a move that was illegal under the Soviet constitution which was in effect at that time and a prime example of late Bolshevik political corruption that was undone in 2014 with great jubilation.

There are those who think that the solution to the Ukrainian problem is to take the Ukraine apart the same way it was put together. Behold the following map. Moving east to west, we have the Russian tricolor over Crimea (the only factual bit so far), then the flag of Novorussia covering all those territories that were arbitrarily lumped into the newly created Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by Lenin in 1922. Further west we have the flag of the state of Ukraine. And to the west is the flag of the Right Sector, a nationalist party with distinct Nazi tendencies that is currently active in Ukrainian politics.

I believe that, with the exception of Crimea, this map may very well turn out to be complete and utter nonsense. It seems outlandish to think that the Ukrainian Humpty-Dumpty, which is in the process of being knocked off the wall most unceremoniously by just about everyone, including Russia, the EU and the US, is going to break apart into such tidy, historically justifiable pieces. For one thing, national borders don’t matter so much any more once you are east of the Russian border, all of Europe now being one big unhappy mess. With millions of Ukrainians trying to eke out a living by working in Russia, or Poland, or further West, the distinctions between the various bits of the Ukrainian territory they are from are just not that meaningful to anyone.

For another, all of the Ukraine is now owned by the same bunch of oligarchs whose fortunes are tightly integrated with those of transnational corporations and of Western financial institutions. None of them care at all about the people that once inhabited this region and their varied histories and linguistic preferences. They care about translating economic and financial control directly into political control with a minimum of diplomatic politesse. The Ukraine has been in the process of being stripped bare of anything valuable for 30 years now, up to and including its fertile soil, and once there is nothing left to loot it will be abandoned as a wild field, largely uninhabited.

But we are not quite there yet, and for now the only map that really matters is the following one, which shows the two separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, collectively known as Donbass, short for Donetsk Basin, a prolific coal province that was mainly responsible for fueling the Ukraine’s former industrial might, which to this day continues to produce anthracite, a valuable, energy-rich coal that is now scarce in the world. It is that relatively tiny but densely populated sliver of land along the Russian border, less than 100km across in many places, that is the powder keg that some believe may set off World War III.

The Ukrainian military has been massing troops and armor along the line of separation while the Russian military has pulled up its forces to their side of the border. Shelling, sniper fire and other provocations from the Ukrainian side are intensifying, with the hope of provoking the Russians into moving forces onto Ukrainian territory, thus allowing the collective West to shout “Aha! Russian aggression!” Then they could put a stop to Nord Stream II pipeline, scoring a major geopolitical victory for Washington and follow that up with plenty of other belligerent moves designed to hurt Russia politically and economically.

For the Russians, there are no good choices that are obvious. Not responding to Ukrainian provocations and doing nothing while they shell and invade the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk, killing Russian citizens who live there, would make Russia look weak, undermine the Russian government’s position domestically and cost it a great deal of geopolitical capital internationally. Responding to Ukrainian provocations with overwhelming military force and crushing the Ukrainian military as was done in Georgia in 2008 would be popular domestically but could potentially lead to a major escalation and possibly an all-out war with NATO. Even if militarily the conflict is contained and NATO forces sit it out, as they did in Georgia, the political ramifications would cause much damage to the Russian economy through tightened sanctions and disruptions to international trade.

Those being the obvious bad choices, what are the obvious good ones, if any? Here, we have to pay careful attention to the official pronouncements Putin has made over the years, and to take them as face value. First, he said that Russia does not need any more territory; it has all the land it could ever want. Second, he said that Russia will follow the path of maximum liberalization in granting citizenship to compatriots and that, in turn, the well-being of Russia’s citizens is a top priority. Third, he said that resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine through military means is unacceptable. Given these constraints, what courses of action remain open?

The answer, I believe, is obvious: evacuation. There are around 3.2 million residents in Donetsk People’s Republic and 1.4 million in Lugansk People’s Republic, for a total of some 4.6 million residents. This may seem like a huge number, but it’s moderate by the scale of World War II evacuations. Keep in mind that Russia has already absorbed over a million Ukrainian migrants and refugees without much of a problem. Also, Russia is currently experiencing a major labor shortage, and an infusion of able-bodied Russians would be most welcome.

Domestically, the evacuation would likely be quite popular: Russia is doing right by its own people by pulling them out of harm’s way. The patriotic base would be energized and the already very active Russian volunteer movement would swing into action to assist the Emergencies Ministry in helping move and resettle the evacuees. The elections that are to take place later this year would turn into a nationwide welcoming party for several million new voters. The Donbass evacuation could pave the way for other waves of repatriation that are likely to follow. There are some 20 million Russians scattered throughout the world, and as the world outside Russia plunges deeper and deeper into resource scarcity they too will want to come home. While they may presently be reluctant to do so, seeing the positive example of how the Donbass evacuees are treated could help change their minds.

The negative optics of surrendering territory can be countered by not surrendering any territory. As a guarantor of the Minsk Agreements, Russia must refuse to surrender the Donbass to the Ukrainian government until it fulfills the terms of these agreements, which it has shown no intention of doing for seven years now and which it has recently repudiated altogether. It is important to note that the Russian military can shoot straight across all of Donbass without setting foot on Ukrainian soil. Should the Ukrainian forces attempt to enter Donbass, they will be dealt with as shown in the following instructional video. Note that the maximum range of the Tornado-G system shown in the video is 120km.

And should the Ukrainians care to respond by attacking Russian territory, another one of Putin’s pronouncements helps us understand what would happen next: if attacked, Russia will respond not just against the attackers but also against the centers of decision-making responsible for the attack. The Ukrainian command in Kiev, as well as its NATO advisers, would probably keep this statement in mind when considering their steps.

The Donbass evacuation should resonate rather well internationally. It would be a typical Putin judo move knocking NATO and the US State Department off-balance. Since this would be a large humanitarian mission, it would be ridiculous to attempt to portray it as “Russian aggression.” On the other hand, Russia would be quite within its rights to issue stern warnings that any attempt to interfere with the evacuation or to launch provocations during the evacuation process would be dealt with very harshly, freeing Russia’s hands in dispatching to God the berserkers from the Ukraine’s Nazi battalions, some of whom don’t particularly like to follow orders.

The West would be left with the following status quo. The Donbass is empty of residents but off-limits to them or to the Ukrainians. The evacuation would in no sense change the standing or the negotiating position of the evacuees and their representatives vis-à-vis the Minsk agreements, locking this situation in place until Kiev undertakes constitutional reform, becomes a federation and grants full autonomy to Donbass, or until the Ukrainian state ceases to exist and is partitioned. The Ukraine would be unable to join NATO (a pipe dream which it has stupidly voted into its constitution) since this would violate the NATO charter, given that it does not control its own territory.

Further sanctions against Russia would become even more difficult to justify, since it would be untenable to accuse it of aggression for undertaking a humanitarian mission to protect its own citizens or for carrying out its responsibilities as a guarantor of the Minsk agreements. The Donbass would remain as a stalker zone roamed by Russian battlefield robots sniping Ukrainian marauders, with the odd busload of schoolchildren there on a field trip to lay flowers on the graves of their ancestors. Its ruined Soviet-era buildings, not made any newer by three decades of Ukrainian abuse and neglect, will bear silent witness to the perpetual ignominy of the failed Ukrainian state.

History is as often driven by accident as by logic, but since we cannot predict accidents, logic is the only tool we have in trying to guess the shape of the future. Rephrasing Voltaire, this, then, is the best that we can expect to happen in this the best of all possible worlds.


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All sides are “locked and loaded”: what comes next? (OPEN THREAD #9)

All sides are “locked and loaded”: what comes next? (OPEN THREAD #9)

April 10, 2021

By all accounts, all sides are ready for war. That does NOT mean that war is inevitable, only that there are no more objective factors making war impossible.

How long can this “neither quite here, nor quite there” situation last?

A long time, at least until the Fall of 2021.

Let’s not pretend like anybody is a prophet and can predict the future (all those who do are, in reality, clueless).

The most likely next phase would be a Ukronazi diversionary/terrorist attack, either in the Donbass, or in Crimea or even somewhere else in Russia.  Keep in mind that the Ukie special services have a proven track of successful clandestine operations.

So what I suggest for a topic today is this: what kind of diversionary/terrorist provocations (as opposed to purely military moves) could the Ukronazis pull off the provoke the LDNR (or even Russia) and then declare itself a victim of aggression?

Hugs and cheers

The Saker

RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN WAR: TRAGEDY FOR PEOPLE, CHANCE FOR ELITES

10.04.2021 

South Front

Russian-Ukrainian War: Tragedy For People, Chance For Elites
Illustrative Image

Against the backdrop of ongoing political provocations and bellicose rhetoric from all parties involved in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, military escalation is constantly growing. Local forces, as well as the OSCE observers, report about more and more ceasefire violations in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. There are daily statements on casualties on both sides of the conflict among the military and local civilians.

Now, when all the global media are closely following the situation in the eastern regions of Ukraine, the international community is wondering whether Donbass will become the point of the next military conflict, and what its scale will be. The main question is “Cui Prodest”?

The answer is unambiguous: the administration of Ukrainian President is a real stakeholder in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. In the current Ukrainian reality, there are plenty of circumstances that determine the pattern of conduct of Volodimir Zelensky.

First, the current economic situation in Ukraine is disastrous. The Ukrainian state is on the way to lose the ability to fulfill its social obligations. According to the data for 2020, its GDP in real terms suffered about 4% drop. According to the IMF, this drop will be at least 7%. If for the United States, China or Russia, a 4% drop in GDP is a big problem, for Ukraine it is almost a disaster, as GDP indicators were low even before the crisis.

Secondly, the economic situation in Ukraine was aggravated by the coronacrisis. The number of those contaminated by COVID-19 per day there is one of the biggest among the European countries, and even in the whole world. The death rate is also disproportionately high. The country’s economy is suffering, as most regions are still under lockdown, and since April 5, restrictions have been tightened again.

The fall in national budget income was caused by a complex of reasons, including pure management of national economy and the extremely high level of corruption that caused the destruction of the industrial complex, drop in already low per capita income, accompanied by a decreasing revenue gained from gas and cargo transit from East to West.

Third, the Zelensky administration is now facing a rapid decrease in people’s support. The national disappointment in his political program is caused by the rejection of his campaign promises to stop the war in Donbass.

Fourthly, it is increasingly difficult for NATO allies to fuel Kiev’s anti-Russian hysteria in the absence of any actual changes of the issue. The military conflict in the Eastern Ukraine is already 7 years old, and the only alarming statements no longer contribute to the increase in financial support from the US and its allies.

The last but not least is a political request from a part of the American elite, who are interested in various forms of pressuring Russia. They support blocking of the Nord Stream 2 project by any means; destruction of bilateral relations between Russia and leading European countries, up to war outbreak along its borders.

On the other hand, such a policy of the United States does not fully coincide with the national interests of leading European countries. However, new war in Eastern Ukraine would define Russian status as enemy for years while the US will strengthen its weight in European security.

The position of the Zelensky administration and the interests of the United States represent sufficient set of reasons to outbreak war in Eastern Ukraine.

Indeed, official Kiev does not need to care about the actual result of the conflict, but its very existence.

There are only 3 scenarios of the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

  • The Ukrainian army wholly or partially occupies the territory of the DLPR.
  • The forces of both sides remain in their current positions.
  • The DLPR forces, with Russian support, advance on the Ukrainian territory for several dozens of miles.

There is almost a zero probability that Ukraine will suffer a crushing defeat and the DLPR forces will occupy the territory to the Dnieper River. Russia now has neither the strength nor the ability to gain control over such a vast territory, and the collective West, in its turn, would not let this happen.

If any of the above scenarios are implemented, Zelensky and his supporters among the US elites will benefit.

For many years, the US and European media have shaped Russia as the aggressor, the enemy of democratic values and the authoritarian tyrannical regime that must be contained. The idea of an external military threat, which being sequentially built up by the West, serves as a pretext for its increasing military funding both in defense industry and army itself amid inevitable unification under the US leadership.

In its turn, Ukraine, positioning itself as the Eastern European Shield against “Asian Barbarians”, receives significant and steadily growing support from NATO countries, gaining momentum to development and further nazi-like ideology originally rooted in Western Ukraine.

Unleashing the war, Zelensky has a chance to reclaim his status as the national leader. In case of the conquest of the self-proclaimed republics, or the preservation of the current troops’ positions, he will become a hero who saved Ukraine from “evil Russians”.

Even after having lost the war, he would claim that the entire country was saved with little blood and only a small piece of land that was temporary lost, taking on the role of a good strategist who defended the sovereignty in the furious fighting shoulder to shoulder with his NATO allies.

Zelensky’s policy can only fail if Russia captures half of Ukraine, which de facto is not possible.

Thus, almost whatever may happen during the conflict, Ukraine can be sure that it will receive stable financial flows from its Western allies for years ahead. Having become a “real” Eastern Shield of Europe, Ukraine may finally get the coveted NATO membership.

Finally yet importantly – the hot military conflict will undoubtedly divert public attention from the economic problems inside the country.

Unleashing a war in Donbass will allow Zelensky to solve his main problems, albeit at the cost of lives of thousands of Ukrainians.

Today, many analysts assure that there will not be a full-scale war, since Ukraine is weak, and Zelensky must assess country’s military strength in front of the Russian power. Let’s hope this is the case, while remembering who the beneficiary of the conflict is.

In its turn, the United States, at the cost of Ukrainian soldiers’ lives, can resolve a good part of its problems in the European region, while Russia seems to lose strategically in any of these war scenarios.

Definitely, the war in Ukraine will lead to the closure of the Nord Stream 2 project, which is already at the final stage of construction. Key contacts between Russia and NATO countries will be frozen, no more significant bilateral cooperation in economy will be possible.

A new war near the Russian borders that involves national armed forces will have an important impact on the internal situation in the country. It is not clear to what extent the Russian society, which has suffered the break of economic relations with Western countries and numerous sanctions, is ready to support the struggle for Donbass.

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The US war on Europe: a continental 911? (OPEN THREAD #7)

The US war on Europe: a continental 911? (OPEN THREAD #7)

April 08, 2021

For anybody wanting peace, it is important to understand the logic of those who want war.  What I propose to do today is to list all the reasons why the US is waging war not only on Russia, but also on Europe.  This time again I will use a bulletpoint list (in no special order)

  • The Empire and Russia have been at war for years now, at least since 2013; until now, this war was 80% informational, about 15% economic and only about 5% kinetic.  Yet from its initiation, it was an existential war for both sides and it still is.  At the end of it all, only one party will remain standing, the other one will have collapsed and profoundly changed.  The above ratios are now about to change.
  • The “Biden” administration is a who’s who of the worst Russia haters on the US political scene, check out this excellent article by Andrei Martyanov which explains that.  You might also enjoy an article I wrote in distant 2008 entitled “How a medieval concept of ethnicity makes NATO commit yet another a dangerous blunder“.
  • Needless to say, the Woke and LGTBQ+ freaks (which are all over the “Biden” admin) all hate Russia for being (in their very mistaken opinion) both “White”,  “Christian” and “Conservative” (only the latter is mostly true).
  • So far, all the efforts of Obama, Trump and Biden have yielded exactly *zero* results.  Or, better, it did produce results, but not the ones it was supposed to achieve: Russia increased her sovereignty and economic independence, the Russia people rallied around Putin, and the Russian political scene became even more anti-western than before.  The US plan against Russia failed, true, but the Russian people (and politicians) all understood that the attempt was to destroy Russia as a country, a nation and a civilization.
  • After decades of incompetent and corrupt “leadership” by all administrations, the US is in terrible shape by pretty much any relevant metric.  You could say that the “imperial pie” which the US and the EU share has shrunk that, in turn, means that the US has to seize a bigger chunk of it.  Hence the US opposition to NS2 which does not threaten the 3B+PU nations, but threatens to make the EU more competitive (cheaper energy) than the US (more expensive energy).  Hence, NS2 must be stopped at all costs (“Biden” just appointed a “special envoy” to kill NS2: Amos Hochstein).
  • Up until now, the EU (mostly Germany) were able to resist the US pressure, but with a large scale shooting war in the Ukraine, NS2 will be instantly cancelled, this will be a political triumph for the US Neocons.
  • The Nazi Banderastan created by the US Dems (shame on you if you ever voted for Obama or “Biden”!) has become a black hole by any relevant metric and should a war break out, this will affect the EU far more than the USA, hence this is yet another chance for Uncle Shmuel to grab a bigger piece of the “western imperial pie”.
  • Next, even if the Russian forces stay behind the current line of contact, any overt Russian intervention in the Ukraine will result in an immediate war hysteria in the West, securing the total domination of the US (via NATO) of the entire European continent.
  • Also, if the Ukronazi Banderastan is ever allowed to join NATO (in whatever form), then NATO will have to deal with the largely anti-NATO population of the eastern Ukraine.  It is therefore objectively in the interests of the USA and NATO to simply get rid of the Donbass and incorporate in NATO only the pro-Nazi parts of the Ukraine while blaming “break-up” and “invasion” on Russia.  The only part of the Ukraine which the US/NATO really wanted was, of course, Crimea (an ancient Anglo fantasy!).  Putin made sure this will never happen and now this pipe dream will never become reality.
  • The political scene in Europe is undergoing a deep crisis: some countries risk falling apart (UK, Spain), all of them are hit hard by the pandemic, riots are taking place everywhere (even in “peaceful” Switzerland! in St Gallen cops shot rubber bullets at protesters) which, frankly, threatens the long term future of the EU (which itself is an instrument of US domination of Europe).  Triggering a war will completely change this landscape just like the 9/11 false flag changed the political landscape in the USA.
  • And then there is NATO itself, a fantastically ineffective organization in military terms, but an extremely effective one politically.  Since 1991, this organization had lost any purpose, a new war in the Ukraine will give it a (entirely fake) purpose for decades to come, thereby keeping Europe a US colony (which, of course, the “new Europeans” want, but of the “old Europeans” – no so much).
  • The fact that NS2 is something like 95% completed is a slap in the face of Uncle Shmuel and the “Biden” administration will want to show these pesky Europeans “who is boss”.  Since triggering a war will immediately stop NS2, it will punish the Europeans not only by denying them cheap energy, but also by the billions of dollars they already wasted on this project, and the more billions they will have to pay Russia in the future.
  • The Ukraine cannot enter NATO, at least officially, until all its border issues are resolved.  That is the official propaganda line.  But what if Russia intervenes in the Donbass, then I would not put it past the Poles to move a number of battalions to the Lvov and Ivano-Frankovsk regions and that will de facto place the western Ukraine under Polish control and, thereby under NATO control and thereby US control.  And no need for any votes of referendums – it will all happen while the world will watch in horror the war in the Donbass.

I could go on, but I think the point is clear: for the “Biden” administration, the upcoming war will be a dream come true, a way of killing many birds with one stone and, most importantly, a way to really hurt Russia (that will be true in spite of the fact that Russia will easily prevail militarily against any imaginable combination of forces in the eastern Ukraine.

Of course, all of the above is predicated on the deeply mistaken belief by US politicians that Russia is weak and the US invulnerable.  Remember, while US politicians are long on chutzpah and narcissistic and messianic self-worship, they ain’t too knowledgeable about history (or anything pertaining to Zone B).

The bottom line is this: Uncle Shmuel is preparing a continental 9/11 PSYOP operation.  Even worse is that I don’t see what/who/how anybody could stop it.

Do you?

Kind regards

The Saker

Telephone conversation with Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel

Source

Telephone conversation with Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel

April 08, 2021

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/65325

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel.

April 8, 202114:30

The two leaders had a detailed discussion on a number of topical international matters.

While exchanging opinions on ways of resolving the intra-Ukrainian crisis, the Russian President and the German Chancellor voiced concern in connection with the escalation of tensions in southeastern Ukraine. Vladimir Putin drew attention to the provocative actions of Kiev which is now deliberately aggravating the situation along the line of contact. The parties noted the need for the Kiev authorities to implement earlier agreements without fail, in particular those aimed at the launch of direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk and at legally formalising the special status of Donbass.

They urged the parties to the conflict to display restraint and to invigorate the negotiating process in order to fully implement the 2015 Minsk Package of Measures as the only legal foundation for a peace settlement. They reaffirmed their commitment to further close coordination of Russian and German efforts, including within the Normandy Format, between political advisers and foreign ministers.

Mr Putin and Ms Merkel continued to exchange opinions on the subject of Syria and noted the high priority of tasks to improve the humanitarian situation in Syria. The Russian party underscored the unacceptability of politicising issues as regards the provision of foreign assistance to the people of Syria, the restoration of the socioeconomic infrastructure and the return of refugees.

While discussing the situation in Libya, both leaders praised the establishment of interim national institutions of state authority in the country. They voiced readiness to help normalise the domestic situation and to facilitate Libya’s peaceful development. They agreed to continue coordinating their efforts in this direction.

The two leaders touched upon the situation in the Balkans and noted the importance of further well-coordinated steps to ensure stability and inter-ethnic accord, including with due consideration for the decisions of the Steering Committee of the Council to fulfil the 1995 General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or the Dayton Agreement.

In connection with the interest displayed by the Federal Chancellor, the situation regarding Alexei Navalny was touched upon.

At Vladimir Putin’s initiative, certain matters regarding the activities of foreign media outlets and NGOs in both countries were reviewed.

It was agreed to maintain close working contacts through various channels.

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