Meeting with mothers of servicemen participating in the SVO (transcript)

November 26, 2022

Note: this is a machine translated (Yandex) translation of the full Russian text posted here:

http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/69935

It was sent to me from a reader.

Vladimir Putin met with mothers of servicemen participating in a special military operation in Novo-Ogaryovo.

November 25, 2022 17:30

Moscow region, Novo-Ogarevo

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon again.

You know that the day after tomorrow we celebrate Mother’s Day in Russia. This is not some kind of pretentious noisy holiday, but still a day that is filled with a special, very kind content and emphasizes the attitude inherent in all the peoples of our country towards mom – respect, reverence, adoration.

In this regard, of course, I would like to recall this. But I understand perfectly well that for you, as well as for so many other women in Russia whose sons are in a war zone, of course, the attitude to this event is more than festive, but most likely connected with a sense of anxiety and concern, in thoughts about what is with your boys. Because for a mother, no matter what age her son is, [he is] always a boy, always a child. And for those, including those of you who are present here and who lost their son, of course, this is also connected with thoughts about this tragedy.

In this regard, I want to say that… You know, the language does not turn to say some formal standard things related to the expression of condolences. But I want you to know that I personally, the entire leadership of the country – we share this pain. We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son, a child. Especially for mom, to whom we all owe the birth, who bore, nursed.

I want you to know that we share this pain with you and, of course, we will do everything so that we do not feel forgotten, we will do everything that depends on us to feel the shoulder next to us.

It is clear that life is more complicated and diverse than what is shown on TV screens or even on the Internet – you can’t trust anything there at all, there are a lot of all sorts of fakes, deception, lies. There are a lot of information attacks, because in the modern world it has always been so, but taking into account modern technologies it has become especially relevant and effective, information is also a weapon of struggle, and information attacks are one of the types, quite effective types of struggle.

This is why we have gathered with you, that’s why I proposed this meeting, because I wanted to listen to you firsthand, as they say, to hear your assessments – you have the same information coming from there. A lot of information flows to me from different sources, but it’s a completely different matter – it’s your ratings, your opinion, ideas, suggestions. I will try to make sure that everything that we are going to talk about today is taken into account and used in real life to the maximum.

This is what I would like to say at the beginning.

And concluding my brief introductory speech, I would like to say what I am constantly talking about, namely that, first of all, everything comes from the family. The fact that your guys – most of them – have chosen such a fate as serving the Fatherland, protecting the Fatherland, protecting the Motherland, Russia, protecting our people, in this case in Novorossiya, in the Donbas, is also the result of your work, without any doubt. This is not the result of some kind of instructions and moralizing – it is the result of a personal example. It’s always like that.

Because no matter what they say at school, which is very important, of course, but still the basis of any person’s self-consciousness, the basis of his value orientations is laid in the family by the personal example of parents. This is the most basic, most important and most fundamental method of education – a personal example.

Judging by the fact that your guys behave like this, heroically, that’s what I wanted to say, this is, of course, your huge contribution – yours and your men, your husbands, of course, this always happens in the family on both sides. But only they, the guys themselves, know that they are truly heroes.

Why? Because no one except them and their closest commanders, who are standing next to them, do not know what hard work it is and how much it involves a real danger to life and health. Only they themselves feel and understand it.

I talk to them sometimes – I talked to some of them directly on the phone, with the guys. In any case, I talked to those who even surprised me with their mood, their attitude to the case. They didn’t expect these calls from me, also through moms, by the way, these calls were. This gives me every reason to say that they are heroes. It’s true.

That’s all I wanted to say at the beginning. Let’s talk freely. As I said, I will definitely try to take into account everything that you will say today.

You are welcome.

S.Nabieva: I am Nabieva Suna Neifelovna from Dagestan.

My son, Enver, graduated from the Kazan Higher Military Tank School, serves in Buryatia. On his own from the first days, he was wounded twice, was in the hospital. After recovering, he returned to his unit.

We call him sometimes. And when he found out that I was going to meet you, he asked me to send greetings from all his guys and say that they would do everything that was required of them. He says: “My grandfather and two great-grandfathers served in the Great Patriotic War, I also must not let them down.” And his fighters on the front line also often remember their grandfathers. He has them from all over the country, republics. You said something recently, once you said: “I am a Lakh, I am a Dagestani, I am a Chechen, an Ingush, a Russian, a Tatar,” and everyone in Dagestan has heard and seen this speech of yours, and this is very correct.

Our family hails from the highland village of Jaba, Akhtyn district. We have a friendly big family, multinational. My mother–in-law is a heroine mother, she has 12 children. I would like to thank you very much for the fact that this high title of “Mother Heroine” – you have introduced it in our time – is very important for the mothers of Dagestan, Russia.

Vladimir Putin: Suna Neifelovna, first of all, thank you very much for the words conveyed from your son. From the very beginning, I asked the guys to have the most reliable and objective information about how the country treats their military work, the fulfillment of their duty.

I hope that our meeting today will also reach them, they will see it, modern means allow us to do this. Although, of course, radium communication poses a certain danger, so there are certain restrictions, but in the end they will certainly see it. Therefore, I want them, when they look, to see that the mother fulfilled her son’s request and this greeting was gratefully accepted.

For my part, I wish all the best to your son and his colleagues.

S.Nabieva: Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: What year did he graduate from college?

S. Nabieva: In 2010.

Vladimir Putin: I am sure that he fulfills his duty with dignity – in the way that is inherent in Russian wars in general, and even more so to soldiers from the Caucasus and Dagestan. There are people of a special temper there, we all know this well. I know this very well from 1999 and I will never forget these days and months that were associated with well-known events for Dagestan.

Dagestan is a multinational republic, and Russia as a whole is a unique civilization, where people of different nationalities, ethnicities, and religions have lived side by side for a thousand years. And the uniqueness lies in the fact that over these centuries of living together, people have not just found a common language with each other, but have learned to respect each other’s customs, religion, celebrate together with each other and, if some hard times come, overcome these hard times together.

Therefore, when I said the words that you have just remembered, of course, you can’t write it – I just spoke from the heart. And I know that it is, I know that the guys there do not divide themselves into any separate castes and nationalities: everyone is equal, everyone helps each other and understands that their lives depend on this mutual help and support – that’s what is very important. And they are very worthy of this service, as I have already said.

So thank you very much, thank you for your son. And to him, in turn, convey the best wishes, to him and his colleagues, to all his subordinates.

S.Nabieva: Thank you.

N.Pshenichkina: Vladimir Vladimirovich, I am from the Luhansk People’s Republic, from the small town of Kirovsk.

The city is on the front line. We are fighting and recovering thanks to the Russian Federation. Our bosses are the Irkutsk Region, and 55 objects are being restored now. Recently, the governor was with us, in my library, at school, and I was here.

But on September 30, as everyone already knows, my girls here, we had a great, joyful, long-awaited event: we have become a subject of the Russian Federation, which is what the militia of the first wave dreamed of.

Russian Russian word, when my son joined the militia in 2014, he said: “Mom, I’m going to fight for Russia, I’m going to fight for the Russian world, I’m going to fight for the Russian word, for the Russian memory.” My dad went through the whole war from 1941 to 1945, came with a Victory. We have been waiting for this event for a very long time, we went the hard way, we lost people dear to us, but we did not lose hope that we would be in Russia, we would come home. And this joyful event has come true for us.

But my son, Konstantin Pshenichkin, died in one of the morning battles defending the city. The situation so developed that the enemy came close to their positions. He jumped out of the trench, called the fire on himself, and his last words were: “Let’s go, brothers, chop “dill”. He was posthumously awarded the medal “For Bravery”.

My heart bleeds, my soul freezes, gloomy memories cloud my mind, tears, tears, and suddenly my son asks me: “Mom, don’t be sad, I’ll see you – you just have to wait. You will go through this life for me, and in that life we will be together again.”

I raised my head, straightened my shoulders and began to actively help the families of the fallen militia. I sought benefits, was a member of the public chamber. I was the organizer of the first two referendums, and the second referendum was a member of the public commission. You know, no one has ever seen such activity: old ladies with sticks were walking with flags and songs. “We’ll drive up to you.” – “No, we want to. And tell Putin hello.” They believe that we are envoys of Vladimir Vladimirovich, so to speak. So I know all this firsthand.

Allow me, Vladimir Vladimirovich, our dear President, to highlight a few issues after all.

Vladimir Putin: Of course.

N.Pshenichkina: We are young subjects, we are just integrating into the legislative field of the Russian Federation, as well as medicine. But we have a problem with the examination of the wounded. They need to go through so much, collect certificates, that a healthy one will not collect. And to drive from Kirovsk to Alchevsk, from Alchevsk to Beloe, where the hospital is, from Beloe back again, then to Lugansk, and the Military medical commission works in Lugansk – only once a week. Is it possible to walk from 20 cities and districts in one day? Is it necessary to hire? And if it’s legless? How to go? You, please, somehow give an instruction so that it is in the “one window” mode or these commissions leave.

And then there’s another thing: commanders don’t always make log entries carefully. He left for the hospital, they don’t write about what wound. And then the guys have to prove the obvious, but they gave their health for the Motherland, they became disabled. I know this because I am being addressed.

And one more question, it is floating in the Donetsk People’s Republic right in the air, and in our republic. Will the benefits that Russian servicemen or the families of the victims currently have be extended to the families of the victims before September 30?

Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!

I would like to convey from all the residents of Donbass, from the women of Donbass, from the Union of Women of Donbass, from those mothers who took their sons to the front, words of gratitude to you, support, confidence – we believe in victory, it will be ours – to wish you the strongest health.

And if we are gathered here today, these are the best moms, moms with a capital letter. From the women of Donbass, a fighting greeting to you – from the patient women of Donbass. And, girls, you know what, be proud of your sons, you have brought up real heroes! Everyone who is there now, they are heroes!

I wish you the best of health, to wait for everyone alive and with victory.

Happy holidays, dear ones!

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

Nina Petrovna, first of all, as for 2014. In hindsight, we are all smart, of course, but we proceeded from the fact that maybe Lugansk and Donetsk will be able to come to an agreement somehow within the framework of the Minsk agreements, which you probably know about, will still be able to somehow reunite with Ukraine. We sincerely went to this. But we didn’t fully feel the mood of the people, it was impossible to fully understand what was going on there. But now it has probably become obvious that this reunion should have happened earlier. Maybe there would not have been so many losses among civilians, there would not have been so many dead children under shelling, and so on.

It’s good that this happened at all. And this is happening thanks to your son, who is not with us today, and thanks to the sons of those women who are here, and thanks to our guys who are fighting there now, are on the front line, well, on the second, third line – it doesn’t matter, but they are in the zone of a special military operation, I mean the sight of all our fighters, including those who joined the ranks of the Armed Forces on mobilization. This is the first.

Second. Of course, this is a huge tragedy, this is a void that cannot be filled with anything, you have just said this so very convincingly and vividly when there is no loved one, especially a son.

But you know what comes to my mind, I already mentioned it once. We have about 30 thousand people killed in road accidents, about the same amount from alcohol. And it happens, unfortunately, this is how life develops, life is complex and diverse, more complicated than it is written somewhere in the papers, we are all under the Lord, under Allah, under Christ, I do not know, everyone who believes in higher powers, it does not matter what religion he adheres to, it is important that that we are all mortal, we are all under the Lord. And we will all leave this world someday, it’s inevitable.

The question is how we lived. After all, some people live or don’t live – it’s unclear, and how they leave – from vodka or something else – it’s unclear, and then they left. Lived or did not live – it also slipped unnoticed somehow: whether a person lived, or not. And your son lived, you know? His goal has been achieved. This means that he did not leave his life in vain. Do you understand? In this sense, of course, his life turned out to be significant, lived with the result, and with the one he aspired to. This is the first thing I would like to say.

Nina Petrovna touched upon a very important issue – the organization of the work of social services. Of course you’re right. If there are so many problems there that you just mentioned: with trips, with these endless documents. We have this “one-stop shop” system in the civil sphere in Russia.

N.Pshenichkina: Yes, we talked.

Vladimir Putin: And it works very efficiently.

This is probably more difficult to do here, because it is at the junction of several departments, including the military. The military always closes something, even where there is no need to close anything. Military people are sitting here – they probably know too. Where there are no secrets, they still tell something about some secrets.

But the fact that social services should work more efficiently, should work in such a way that they do not create any problems, is not burdensome for people, especially for the guys who have suffered, injured, this “one window” service, even if it is at the junction of civilian departments and the military, certainly needs to be organized. I will not just give some command and forget. We will bring this to an end.

N.Pshenichkina: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: It may not work out right away, because it’s not easy to do it at the junction of these departments, but we will definitely do it. This is the first.

Now – benefits. Now we have adopted a law according to which all Russian benefits are extended to residents of Lugansk, Donetsk and two other territories. It is possible to spread this, as they say, retroactively, starting in 2014. Where there are one or two lawyers, there are at least three or four opinions, but we will work on this and we will make some kind of system of appropriate benefits.

N.Pshenichkina: For those who have this status.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, we need to see.

I will not hide it, before entering here, I talked with the Minister of Defense, I talked with Tatyana Alekseevna Golikova, I understood where I was going and what questions could be raised. Therefore, in principle, I have already talked to them in general terms, now I have written it down, and these will be more specific instructions. We’ll work on it. Ok?

N.Pshenichkina: Thank you, thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: You know, of course, thank you for paying attention to this topic, I mean that you take care of other guys who are in the special operation zone, you think about their families. This once again underlines [that] special, I think, that is inherent in people from Russia – a multinational, but still a single people who live by the same values. This is very inherent in us.

Thank you very much.

You are welcome.

I.Sumynina: Hello!

Sumynina Irina Viktorovna, Krasnodar city.

First of all, I want to express my gratitude in general for being here today. Although there is no merit of mine, it was our Kuban Cossack army that sent me here.

Vladimir Putin: Are you a Cossack?

I. Sumynina: Yes. We have a Cossack family, we have four sons. The husband and two of the sons are now on combat duty, so to speak. They went as volunteers, not mobilized. Again, they went from the army as Cossacks.

The husband and the eldest son are together, they serve in the LEOPARD, and the youngest child is in the special forces, in intelligence. They have very well–coordinated groups, they support each other very much, in general, the fighters are not exactly my men, but in detachments.

Vladimir Putin: I know the Leopards fight well.

I. Sumynina: They are a mountain for each other, they help each other, support each other both physically and mentally, they will never abandon the fighters – neither the wounded nor the dead. You even have to throw off your uniforms, the same tactical belts, bulletproof vests, just to lighten yourself and could take out comrades, comrades and weapons, of course.

That’s why there is a big problem of staffing, especially in special forces. The Ministry of Defense dressed, shod, but exists… I will speak for the youngest son. He is in intelligence, and he needs a separate uniform so that it is light, warm, seasonal, even stripes in color. They don’t have any masks… Here is the eldest son – a sniper, he also, for example, does not have a camouflage, what kind of uniform is, this is what it is. The uniform generally falls into disrepair very quickly, because in the trenches, there, you know, mud, wet, cold, you can’t make a fire. Of course, a lot of guys are sick. But what’s the point? The fact is that the form should be as close as possible, and so that it would be easier and faster to replace the old form with a new one, because it becomes unusable very quickly. Even the same tactical belts. Here is a machine–gunner husband, and literally a few months – everything, his pouches are already unusable, to carry zinc.

Another big question. In the war zone, when new territories are liberated, there are a lot of street children, a lot. The good news is that our guys have very good food, that is, there are no problems with food. And they constantly feed the locals, especially the kids. They are so happy about these cookies, sweets and so on.

I know that, of course, work is being carried out to find these children, to help them, their families, and this, of course, cannot be abandoned. It is necessary to strengthen, probably, the help to these children. Moreover, in the Krasnodar Territory now, probably, sanatoriums will be free – at least to take them out here, because it is very cold, very wet, there is no light, no water, no food. This is a big problem.

The guys are very united, positive, do not lose heart. Everyone understands that he is in his place – they are like that. They say we even like to laugh – it’s such a release.

Vladimir Putin: Irina Viktorovna, of course, the Cossacks are a special caste here.

I. Sumynina: Cossacks – yes, of course. I forgot to say – our chieftains are constantly collecting cars, at least once a month they try to take humanitarian aid. We, of course, take part in all this – we collect and send the same boxes with sweets, with gingerbread, so that they give it to children. Because our fighters don’t really need it anymore, and the kids – yes, it’s food for them.

Vladimir Putin: The Cossacks have switched from horses to cars, but they use it successfully.

I. Sumynina: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: But this, I repeat once again, of course, is a special caste. The fact that they occupy a special place in the history of Russia, have always been serving people, have always been at a combat post and have always been ahead is an absolutely obvious thing. This has always been the case in the history of Russia. They were ahead, because it all started with the fact that their main task was to protect the borders. Well, then, as the country developed, the frontiers went further, and their service to the Motherland continued in different capacities.

The fact that today they fulfill their duty to the Motherland, to the Fatherland, is, of course, on the one hand, it seems to be in tradition, and on the other hand, it emphasizes that nothing disappears anywhere.

I.Sumynina: This suggests that the Kuban Cossacks are actively participating in a special military operation.

I also wanted to say about the family. We must show by personal example, educate children. Not just to say something somewhere, but by personal example. My husband has been working with children at school for 13 years, he is a Cossack mentor. The children were brought up in the same way, their father instilled military affairs in them – these are both hiking and shooting constantly with Cossacks in our military unit.

I worry, I’m nervous, of course, you forget everything here.

O.Shigina: We didn’t grow up in “golden” diapers.

I.Sumynina: Yes, they did not grow.

My husband was in 2014 in the Crimea and Novorossiya, he has awards. In the spring and summer I was in the Donbass, also has awards. Looking at the father, of course, the sons could not stay at home. This is a personal example of my husband.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, that’s right. That’s what I started with, everything from the family.

I.Sumynina: Yes, I confirm it.

Vladimir Putin: Firstly, there are several Cossack units there, not only the LEOPARD.

I.Sumynina: Yes, there is a “Kuban” there.

Vladimir Putin: And the fact that the supreme ataman is in charge is also important. I am aware of this, and, of course, we will support it in every possible way.

You have two sons, it’s time for one to return, at least to come on vacation.

I.Sumynina: They offered him to go on vacation now, he says: “I won’t go, because my guys are all there.” And he is the commander of the group. He says, “I’m not leaving, I’m staying there.” God forbid, they may be released in January. And so – no.

Now the youngest is 17, I think with horror – he will turn 18, and this one will go there.

Vladimir Putin: Don’t, that’s enough.

I. Sumynina: And everyone says to him: “They left you here for your mother, here are the guards.”

Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course.

I. Sumynina: But you can’t stop him.

Vladimir Putin: Yes. But it seems to me that one of the sons should also return, they have already fought, God forbid, of course.

Look, the fact that you are a Cossack, it is obvious, because such subtleties are tactical: both body armor, and unloading, pouches, zincs. This is a special terminology. It’s all from them, from your men.

About the clothes. I was pleased to hear that the situation with the supply and nutrition has improved. Is this the latest information with clothes?

I. Sumynina: Yes. Just why do I know? When it happens to my son, when they leave everything, and he just writes to me: mom, I need this, this, this. We have, well, in Krasnodar there are good shops where you can buy all this.

Vladimir Putin: I see. The Ministry [of Defense] is trying to organize this work as efficiently as possible, taking into account the time of year. Believe me, I’m telling you quite sincerely, looking straight into your eyes: every time I meet with the leadership of the Ministry of Defense, and they happen every day, I talk about it almost every day. Every day. We’ll see what happens there in the coming days, but I marked it for myself.

I.Sumynina: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: The second important thing is that you mentioned street children. Now only the work of Russian social services is unfolding in these territories, they were not there before.

I. Sumynina: Yes, of course.

Vladimir Putin: There wasn’t much there at all, as far as I understand, but now this work is unfolding. But now that I’ve listened to you, I’ve thought about something – that it’s not enough to simply deploy the work of social services, there you need to take some special measures related to finding these children and supporting them. We will definitely do it.

I.Sumynina: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you for paying attention to this. As well as equipment.

I.Sumynina: And, of course, the Cossacks of the Kuban Cossack army tell you: “Love!”

Vladimir Putin: And thank them very much for everything, for their service, for their loyalty to the Motherland.

I.Sumynina: Thank you. I’ll pass it on.

Elena Nikulnikova: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!

Nikulnikova Elena Viktorovna. I came to you from the Tula land and brought you strong hugs from the Tula people, especially from women, mothers, and handshakes from men. And they asked me to tell you that the people are with you and the people are for you.

I am the mother of a guard corporal of the intelligence unit, who was on another business trip at the time of the start of the special operation and was very sorry that he was absent from his homeland at that moment. But from the first days he announced to me that as soon as he returned home, after a few days of rest, he would immediately go to the front. And there was not an ounce of doubt in his words, and that’s right. Because every man’s duty is to defend his homeland. Just like his father once did, who is no longer with us, but he put 25 years of service to the Motherland. He also participated in hot spots, was a combat veteran. Just like his great-grandfather, who during the Great Patriotic War, from 1940 to 1944, defended our Homeland, and in September 1944, personally leading a battalion, went on the offensive, was wounded in this battle and subsequently died of wounds and was buried on the territory of Ukraine. He was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War I degree, the Order of Alexander Nevsky. He was a little older than my son, he was 26 years old.

Our sons defend our Homeland in the epicenter, and we try to support them in the rear. Our governor Alexey Gennadievich Dyumin, you know, he accepted the mobilization not even as the head of the region, but as a father who personally controls all the processes of providing uniforms, all the processes of training mobilized soldiers, for which everyone is very grateful to him. So we, the common people, do not stand aside. We have in every city, almost in every village, collection points of support for mobilized soldiers. Personally, I observe how everyone wants to participate, to support our soldiers. And even from our small, small town, nine cargoes have already been sent in different directions.

And I agree with the previous mother, Irina Viktorovna, who said about the lost things that it is paperwork that does not allow you to quickly make up for lost things. In the same way, the procedure for writing off both destroyed equipment and the same things is outdated.

Plus I would like to add – now the situation is a little different, of course, about quadrocopters. They should be on the balance sheet not only in special purpose units, but also in all other units that go to the front line.

In conclusion of my speech, I would like to thank you once again from mothers who love our country, and from women – for taking care of women who raised sons, defenders of our Motherland.

Vladimir Putin: Everything from Mom is true.

As for drones, quadrocopters and so on. We are aware of this, we are working on it, and the industry is working on it.

Unlike those with whom we have to deal, and in this sense we have to fight not with them, but with those who supply and pay them everything – they actually use them as cannon fodder. This, without any exaggeration, does not count with losses there, does not count at all. And those who behave incorrectly, as they believe, are shot in front of the line – our guys watched with their own eyes – and the bodies are lying around, they don’t even collect the executed.

Recently, there was another case – five people were shot in front of the formation – those who refused to go or left the positions. There is a completely different moral atmosphere there. This once again confirms that we are dealing with a neo–Nazi regime – without any exaggeration. Not to quarrel with someone, but on the fact of their behavior. They don’t behave like that. But it doesn’t matter. And what is important is that we feel like people and feel that we are doing the right thing, protecting those of our people who now live in the territories that became part of the Russian Federation, which should have been done a long time ago, judging by what Nina Petrovna said. They’ve been waiting for this for a long time.

Regarding the order of property write–off and so on – I marked it for myself, we’ll see. But this should primarily be related to the order of the update. We’ll see about that. And I’ll tell Dyumin what you said. I’m just going to see him today, we have a working meeting.

Thank you very much.

E.Nikulnikova: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.

You are welcome.

M.Kostyuk: I am Maria Kostyuk, the mother of an officer, Senior Lieutenant Andrey Kovtun, who was in the combat zone from the very beginning. As he said, he left to fight and protect us from fascist inhumans, but then, when he returned to his time, he continued, said: “While I’m there, they won’t come here.” “Because,” she says, “if you (I somehow, as a mother, tried to say that everything happens in life, I can make any decision you make, for which I got it very quickly, harshly) knew what they were doing to women and children there, you would even think I couldn’t. While I’m there, they won’t be here. And here you are, my wife, my son, so the boys and I are there.”

Initially, he was a company commander in the 40th engineer-sapper regiment. This is the same crossing over the Seversky Donets, which they have brought several times, the famous one. He returned home, on July 29 he turned 26 years old. He was delighted that he was celebrating his birthday at home for the first time in 10 years, on August 4 he again left for the combat zone as a company commander in the 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade, and on August 10, near the village of Disputable of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the reconnaissance group was ambushed, and, having received a signal for help, Andrey with his characteristic independence and with confidence he rushed to help the guys, covered the direction of fire with his BMP and himself.

He saved the sappers, Andrei himself died, but thanks to him the guys are alive. And you know, when, after his death, a video was played in the American media for a week that they had neutralized Senior Lieutenant Andrei Kovtun, I finally, probably, made his decision that he could not have done otherwise. And the belief in his work, which he did for life, for life, and – our case – at the cost of his own life, took root inside.

And today, as a mother, I tell all our girls, our mothers, that today we are the first to show an example of how to appreciate the feat of our sons, not to reset it and, first of all, to live. Life, no matter how painful, is bitter. Open your eyes every day and live. To live by ourselves, to help others live and to teach them to live and appreciate this life, for which our guys fought there and are fighting now.

Pain does not choose whether you are an entrepreneur, a teacher or an official, it hits a person. Here I am the mother of an officer, but I am the deputy chairman of the Government of the Jewish Autonomous Region. I am the same official about whom they write everywhere today that we hide our loved ones from our own, that we are trying to sabotage the mobilization. I do not know where they see them, where they see such officials, I know completely different examples.

The guys are doing their military duty there today, and we are here in the rear, really in the rear, we must all do civilian duty together today. Because my son defended his big homeland, but each of them has a small one in his soul. And the boys who are there today, they all have a small homeland: they have their own yard, their own entrance, they have the road along which they went to school. And when they come back from there, what will they see?

I think they should see a new country. They should see the country for which they are now fighting and fighting there. They should see it equipped, well-maintained, clean. And, probably, we all have to do this with you. Maybe we can multiply the funding of programs, maybe unite all together, local communities, but we have to change for them.

If I may, literally two examples. They wrote all around – again, social networks, the media – that Moscow was empty, big cities were empty as soon as mobilization was announced. We had queues. The small village of Teploozersk in the Jewish Autonomous Region – at the beginning of the working day, there is a queue at the military enlistment office. Half of the team came from the cement plant and they say: “Take us together with him (with the conscript), he is small, frail, he can’t cope alone, we will go with him.” Is this not an indicator? Isn’t it necessary to try for them?

Or, already when the combat coordination was taking place in the village of Bijan, a mobilized man, Mikhail, approaches the governor Rostislav Ernstovich [Goldstein] and says: “Talk to my wife.” Everyone tensed up: what can he ask, what can he talk about? He says: “She runs around, collects certificates that I am unfit for military service. She doesn’t listen to anyone, you talk. I’m not coming back, I’m not going, I’m going with the guys. I’ll come back from there with them later.” And for their sake, we need to do everything today.

You know, ITS united us all today, it really united us. Today there is such a surge of civic activity, volunteering – a great gratitude that it is supported today, and God grant that it will continue to be supported. Because you and I have replaced the iron curtain with iron doors, we have locked ourselves in our apartments and lost each other. And today it is such a real, big, powerful appeal, a powerful association.

And first of all, I would like to address you with such a request, if I may. Today it is necessary to organize memorable places, some squares of memory, places of memory, to name art objects in honor of our heroes, to break up parks and not listen to those who write everywhere today and say: when everything is over, then. Why? Are we shy of our heroes? Or do we doubt our victory? Who doubts? Here we are, mothers, there are millions more behind us, we can convince any inhabitant of our country and others of what kind of victory, what price is given, and that it will be ours, it is ours. Give us these people who doubt.

And you know, I would like to add here that … of course, I would probably hang stars on the doors of these heroes as a sign of respect from society, as in the Great Patriotic War. But the veterans who come from there, guys, here they need to fill the military enlistment offices today. Why? Because today they know the price of life, and they know that behind every combat unit there is a real human fate. So that there are no cases when a 25-year-old widow comes to the military enlistment office, lost, who does not know what to do and how to do, and they say to her: “Do you know how many people like you? Come back in a month.” And the girl gets lost. And then they stray, excuse the phrase, into the widow’s realms, there are three or four of them, 24-25 years old, and they are already lost. They hire some kind of military lawyers. For what? On the contrary, we must show them that their husband is a hero, that today we appreciate his feat and support this family.

Well, the boys are there – they help them: they fill the refrigerator, and help them to somehow hold on, and they are engaged in children. But then they leave for the tape, they continue to work, they continue to fulfill their duty. Who are these girls for?

They cannot get a pension, because for at least three months, I even say by my example, it is impossible to get a certificate. Our regional military enlistment office has already been connected, but we cannot simply get a certificate that the girl does not receive benefits there. But she has me. And those girls who are single, what do they live on now? How do they feel inside? Their husband gave his life for our country.

In general, I think that it is necessary to make sure that our veterans of the SVO – the guys who are now returning from there – are in schools every day. Because it is they who understand the meaning of life today, who can openly, truly tell who the hero is. They can form a real image of today’s hero, you know, maybe a hero of our time. They will succeed – not all of them, but these will succeed.

If I may, there is one more request. Today, in my understanding, it is a very terrible situation when chat rooms are spread on social networks, where the Ukrainian CIPsO [Center for Information and Psychological Operations] and our foreign agents – “ours”, what does “ours” have to do with it, Lord, I said something – mislead our moms. They convince them, playing on their anxiety, beat them to the most painful, vital point, that they should talk to their sons so that they surrender, leave their place of service, leave military operations. They convince them in such a way that they come there, promising to give up their son from captivity or promising to give up the body. They write to moms in chat rooms, communicating with them like moms. What are our moms doing? They write the current phone number of their son when he is there, and then they arrive there. When they correspond in these chats, they write where exactly the unit or company in which their son is stationed is stationed. And then there’s a flight. Her son and other sons, someone’s husbands, brothers, fathers are dying. It’s scary, I understand that you have to work with moms. We are ready to help in this situation. But here, it seems to me, it is impossible to do without such a very important department as the Ministry of Defense. Because here it is necessary to nip in the bud, here it is necessary to carry out a lot of explanatory work with relatives and here it is necessary to save moms, help them, support them in the fact that in fact everything is not so, everything is completely different.

You know, I have colleagues who are in all regions today, I think they all support me. We are all ready to work 24 by 7 on this story, because it is very important. I am speaking here today, of course, both as a mother and as a person who works in power, because help, care and support will certainly be there. And we are ready to provide it today.

I stopped, I can talk a lot. This is my sore subject.

Vladimir Putin: First of all, Maria Fedorovna, I would like to note. You said about the heroes of our time. Lermontov had another hero. He had an eternal spleen, he lacked something, he doubted. He was sorry, after all, that he had interfered in the lives of honest smugglers and so on and so forth.

You have another son, and here the mothers are sitting those guys, those guys of ours who are really heroes in the literal sense of the word. This is the first.

The second is about what happened. See, he’s a real hero, your guy. He consciously did what he passed away for, dedicated his life to.

I once said: “For my friends.” It’s, you know, in the Bible, in the Torah, and in the Koran – there are things of this kind everywhere, you know? Indeed, a person with only such an upbringing and with such an attitude to his neighbors and to the cause he serves could do as your Andrey did, judging by what you have told.

M.Kostyuk: The guys told me.

Vladimir Putin: The guys told me, especially. They won’t cheat, it’s not fakes from the Internet.

About what you said about families and about military enlistment offices. After all, all of us – and some big bosses, and lower officials, and ordinary citizens – are one people, no matter what position or position we hold. And there are always different people, and there are different officials: there are those like you and your family, and there are those who in some structures – and you have just spoken about them with indignation – and in military enlistment offices treat the families of our servicemen haughtily or bureaucratically, carelessly and with a chill. Therefore, our task, of course, is to get rid of such people and of such a manner of communicating with people.

In this regard, of course, what you are doing, what Nina Petrovna is doing, and many of those present here, is very important. It is very important to rip off this “crust of indifference” from officials of various levels, from some state structures. We need to do this.

Frankly speaking, after all, I asked you to gather today in order to make it clearer to me, too, where the problems are. Of course, I know a lot of what you say – almost everything. But it’s one thing when you know from paper reports, even from oral reports of colleagues, and another thing when directly from you, from life, directly, everything is alive, you know. It matters.

Therefore, what you are saying about it is very right and good, and even better is that you are doing it. Thank you for that. I know that there are various initiatives there, various public groups are being created. They are needed precisely in order for us to act more effectively. In the end, if we do as you suggest, this is the road to our more effective work and to achieving the result that you also said that the country would be different. We must act together in this direction.

And as for, frankly speaking, the actions of the enemy, and your guys are fighting directly with the enemy, he is right on the contrary, and in the information sphere is also an enemy. When you say that they are trying to convince someone of something, to throw in some false information, to encourage some actions. What actions do they encourage? They encourage destructive actions that nullify that, discredit that for which your son passed away.

That’s why it’s being done: to devalue what our guys are doing, and to devalue, in my opinion, our very noble impulse – to protect our people in Donbass, in Zaporozhye, in Kherson. That’s what they do: devalue all our efforts and what our guys are doing, devalue, compromise and ultimately achieve their goals. And we, as you correctly said, as everyone here says, must achieve our own, and we will achieve them, without any doubt.

As for being attentive to the guys, including the injured, who have injuries, so that they work in the same military enlistment offices, this team already exists. The Ministry of Defense is doing this and will continue to do it, but this is not enough. I think it is necessary to make a separate program for children who need additional support related to future employment. We need to make a separate program, and we will do it.

M.Kostyuk: Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

You are welcome.

I.Tas-ool: Hello.

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.

I.Tas-ool: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!

First of all, I would like to thank you for your sensitive attention and support of our guys.

My name is Irina Igorevna. I represent the Republic of Tyva. My eldest son serves in the 57th Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Khabarovsk Territory. On March 7, he began taking part in a special military operation. On April 30, as I later found out, he was seriously injured. I found out about it myself on May 7. He initially told me that he had problems, that he just had a cold. Of course, I understand him, he didn’t want to upset me. But then, of course, a few days later I still contacted our deputy of the Republic of Tyva, asked for his help – to understand the whole essence of his illness.

Then my son received more than six months of treatment in hospitals: for five months he was in the Vishnevsky Hospital in Moscow and for more than a month he was in a hospital in Khabarovsk. He is currently staying at our home, in the Republic of Tyva. I received help in the form of rehabilitation in the sanatorium “Serebryanka”, which we have in the city of Kyzyl.

As the mother of a wounded soldier who needs long-term treatment, I am concerned about the development of a rehabilitation system and support for their families when they are already injured. I would like some kind of targeted program to be developed, where not only wounded soldiers and fighters, but also their families would receive help, because these mothers, wives, children are also facing this for the first time, and not everyone understands, knows where to turn, to whom to turn. And some families solve this problem for a long time, let’s say.

Also, in the Republic of Tyva, on your instructions, a medical diagnostic center was built in 2020, the main focus of which was to protect the population from coronavirus infection, and this center played a huge help and support during the outbreak of this pandemic. But now this [virus] has been minimized, and I would like this center to have the status of a military hospital, so that the guys, after they arrive at home, in this case in Tyva, know that there is a place where they will receive treatment, rehabilitation.

It’s also good, you just mentioned that you need help finding employment for these citizens. Because my son, when he was just signing a contract, he thought that he would be a military man, his whole life would be connected with this. And when on October 25 of this year the military commission recognized him unfit for service in military units, there is already a rethinking: where, how, further employment. Therefore, it is also necessary to attract these guys to work in military enlistment offices, also in the educational sphere, where they will explain how to be a patriot of their country. In the military enlistment offices, they will give advice because they know, because they have passed it all.

I would also like to thank the Government of the Republic of Tyva. They, too, in turn, provided assistance to the families of mobilized citizens, to which we, the common people, are very happy and grateful.

Thanks for attention.

Vladimir Putin: Good.

Irina Igorevna, first of all, we will see how to help you. And in general: Maria Fedorovna has already said here about military enlistment offices that it is possible to attract children, especially after injuries, to involve them in this work. We will do that. This is the first.

Second. You have raised the issue more broadly. In general, we need to think and create a system not just for rehabilitation. The Minister tells me that military hospitals are only 38 percent full, but the healthcare system itself is ready to work with our guys, the civilian healthcare system, including rehabilitation. We will definitely come back to this, so that rehabilitation takes place not only in the medical institutions of the Ministry of Defense, but taking into account the readiness and desire of the civilian health care system to work with our guys, especially those who have been injured. But we need to sort it out between the departments. We will do this and make greater use of the opportunities of domestic healthcare. This also applies to regional, republican, and federal centers.

And of course, we need a separate rehabilitation program in the broadest sense of the word, including additional training and employment. Additional training is definitely absolutely in demand. Be sure to think about it. I’ve marked it, and we’ll do it.

I. Tas-ool: Thank you.

Yu.Belekhova: Vladimir Vladimirovich, my name is Yulia Belekhova. I head the regional branch of the Popular Front in the Moscow region. A mother with many children. The eldest son left for mobilization in October.

We discussed the topic of supporting the families of our soldiers on November 2 at the forum “Community”, which is held by the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation. By the way, in such a landmark place – the Victory Museum on Poklonnaya Hill, where public organizations and volunteers gathered. Today we talked a lot about the help of volunteers, which is necessary, about the project “We are together”, which has always helped and helps.

We talked about supporting the families of our soldiers today. The conversation was not easy, because almost everyone who has relatives or friends today is either in the zone of a special military operation, or in places of coordination and training was there. But everyone came to the same opinion: the entry point of information from the fighters today is the family. Who will the fighter call? Of course, mom or wife. Of course, in fact, the family is the first to find out what is missing, what worries and worries the fighters there on the front line today.

On the other hand, we understand today what difficulties families face here. These are issues, of course, of psychological, material, economic, organizational, informational assistance. Maria Fyodorovna is right to talk about information assistance, because we should not give our families offense to anyone today. We have to save them, we have to help them.

It was at this site that everyone agreed that we need to work together, we need to organize in order to improve this assistance – both to families and to fighters. We decided to create a committee of families of soldiers of the Fatherland, and the organizers were just our leading Russian organizations – these are “Women of Russia”, “Union of Military Families”, “Union of Women of Russia”, “Mothers of Russia”. It is clear that it is not easy, because there are quite a lot of issues that need to be solved, and solved today.

We have already built a relationship with Tatiana Nikolaevna Moskalkova, the Commissioner for Human Rights, but, Vladimir Vladimirovich, we really need help in building a dialogue with the Ministry of Defense today, because there are a lot of questions from families to this department. Of course, these are the security issues that were just discussed today, these are the issues of missing persons, these are the issues when they get in touch. This is not a matter of three days or a week, when it is no longer just anxiety and anxiety in the family, and here, of course, there are questions that need to be answered. This is a question of interaction with the Ministry of Health today, this is a question of interaction with the social block today. That is, everything that worries both families and fighters today.

Of course, for our part, we have already started work here, and our mothers have joined the Popular Front hotline, because we understand each other like no one else, we understand what we are talking about.

Of course, we will now make New Year’s holidays for children from families who participate in a special military operation. We plan to organize committees in the regions, because there are a lot of issues that can be resolved at the regional level. And we have just announced that we will create a committee, appeals have already been sent to us.

One of them was from Khakassia, where, unfortunately, – Nadezhda Uzunova is present here, – let’s just say that the attitude was not quite right to families and to explain the issues of regional support measures that exist. It is necessary to speak honestly and directly and give, among other things, tools – where to turn and how if this help is not received for some reason. Therefore, of course, there are questions, and here, most importantly, we want to become part of the solution, not part of the problem, we want to help. And here, Mr President, is a very big request to support us in our work.

And, no less important, we definitely need specific people assigned to us from each of the ministries and departments, some are able to answer questions and make decisions. Today we need to do everything quickly, without red tape, without delay. Therefore, here is such a request.

And of course, thank you very much for your trust, because today I am a member of the HRC, the Human Rights Council, and I think this will help today in implementing the plans that we have today, namely in helping both families and fighters.

Vladimir Putin: Yulia Alexandrovna, is that what you called yourself – the Committee of Families of Soldiers of the Fatherland?

Yu.Belekhova: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: Have you formalized it somehow? Is this already some kind of legal entity created?

Yu.Belekhova: Yes, we have already been created. You know, we are quite open here, because there are a lot of organizations that are somehow spontaneously and incomprehensibly formed. We are talking about what we are, we have an official legal status, we will not disappear from the open spaces tomorrow, as, you know, when groups are opened in social networks, and then they disappear somewhere, and families remain without answers to questions, they were simply thrown into an incomprehensible information war. And here we are, we have an official legal status, we have registered. And already today our mothers are helping, answering questions and sharing the experience and information that they have.

Vladimir Putin: You know, I will instruct the Administration and the Government, as you requested, to establish some kind of contact with you directly for the purpose of support. We will definitely do this.

Yu.Belekhova: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: And in the course of the work there, some issues will be clarified that require special attention, require assistance from administrative bodies. Now it’s hard for me to just say – it’s clear about what questions arise, but in each particular case, probably, you need to take a special approach.

In general, this work should be individual. It always becomes the most effective when it is not conducted in general, but individually with each specific person and with each specific family. But each case is still unique, I mean the composition of the family, family problems, the social status of the family, housing issues, receiving all the necessary forms of support required by law, and sometimes even not required, but necessary, especially at the regional level.

I do not know if you have noticed whether it sounds on the air when I have some public events – I do not have time to watch what is happening and how – but always at meetings with the heads of regions, I either start with this, or end with this: I always demand from my colleagues in the regions, from the heads of the regions of attentive, informal, personal participation in the lives of the families of our guys who are fighting. Always. But in the vast majority of cases, I know that work is being built, not only in the capitals, but also in other cities, in almost all subjects.

The fact that you told me that in Khakassia they somehow treat this the wrong way, it’s strange for me, to be honest, but we will check what is really happening there. This work is certainly in demand.

You said it right, I even wrote down that the entry point of all information is the family. People write there, call there when there is an opportunity, and there appears the most objective information about what is happening, and what kind of help and support is needed.

Of course, we will help you, without any doubt.

Yu.Belekhova: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: We just need some of your data, but I’m sure it will be, we will take it. Phones and so on.

You are welcome.

Zh.Agueva: I came from Chechnya, Aguyeva Zharadat Khozhaevna. The mother of two fighters who are currently on the front line. One is Aguyev Ismail, [battalion] “West”, battalion commander, and the second is the head of the Kurchaloyevsky district police department.

Our sons voluntarily went there for the first time, now for the second time, too, with their team, squad. Ismail is wounded, has not yet corrected his leg, walks on crutches, walks on a cane, fights in the Donbass. Maryinka, where they are. I am proud that my sons freely, voluntarily went for the first time. I don’t regret at all that they are there.

Our President Ramzan Kadyrov fully provides everyone with everything they need: clothes, shoes. Not that Ramzan Kadyrov provides them – even wives and children at home – with everything, helps everyone and the guys there too, food, food. Not that the military carries – even Ukrainian people are constantly getting humanitarian aid. Our president is very proud of our guys, looks at everything, does everything necessary. He does not leave his sons, husbands who are in the zone of a special military operation, helps all their families. We don’t have any street children in Chechnya, there are no hungry people, there are no needy people. Our president provides all mothers with everything they need, provides everything. Our guys are doing fine.

I’m proud. I have another son at home. If I have to go, I’ll send the third one. It’s the second time they’ve gone. Our guys who left Chechnya don’t need anything and they don’t need anything. Basically, they have everything. Our president is the best, I think. General – we don’t say. Especially his own. I am grateful to Putin that in 2000, thanks to him and the late Akhmat-Hadji, everything was done to end the war on our side.

We have already survived the war twice, I know. I had one missing in that war, now I have three at the moment. I am proud of my nation and my people – everyone. We have no one in Chechnya who is starving, in need, with outstretched hands. He constantly provides everyone with everything they need, all the children, all the mothers, he does not leave them, he provides everything they need. I’m proud of him.

Thank you too, Putin, that at that time with Akhmat-Hadji Kadyrov you also helped our people a lot so that this war would not happen.

I have nothing more to say.

Vladimir Putin: Zharadat Khozhaevna, thank you for your kind words. What happened on Chechen soil, and the normalization that took place, is primarily the merit of the Chechen people themselves and Akhmat-Hadji, who gave his life for his people.

Zh.Aguyeva: Yes, my people.

Vladimir Putin: For the Chechens. He gave his life for it.

We will see Ramzan Akhmatovich now, I have a working meeting with him, I will tell him your words.

Zh.Agueva: He is very much for his people. What he said – our guys are all mine, I think, even now they will give their lives for him, for his word. It’s the second time I’ve had them there, on the front line.

Vladimir Putin: The fact that you have two sons fighting there is well done.

Zh.Aguyeva: I have two grandchildren there too. And also with our husband’s surname, relatives, nephews, a cousin, four more of our namesakes, the Aguevs, there are a lot of them.

Vladimir Putin: Zharadat Khozhaevna, tell your third son that the order of the Supreme Commander–in-Chief is to stay at home. Let him control the situation in the family.

Zh.Agueva: I told those two: leave the third one for now, we need the third one here at home.

Vladimir Putin: I will tell Ramzan now that the third one is at home, controlling the situation.

Zh.Agueva: And so thank you, thank you very much.

And I am very grateful to my president, my people, my nation, for not leaving us, helping everyone. It doesn’t even happen that he didn’t help somewhere, that we didn’t get something. You can come to Chechnya at any time to find out whether my words are true or not.

Vladimir Putin: I know the difference between today’s Terrible and the Terrible that I saw from the side of a combat helicopter when I flew over the city in 1999 and in 2001.

Zh.Agueva: Yes, it has blossomed, it is a very beautiful city, the sights are very beautiful. This is thanks to our people, the president.

Vladimir Putin: I remember the square for a minute – complete ruins, as it was in Stalingrad.

Z.Agueva: Yes, there was nothing to catch there. We didn’t even think that it would recover like this.

Vladimir Putin: We thought more about moving the capital of Chechnya, because some believed that it was impossible to restore, everything was in ruins. Now a thriving city, chic.

Zh.Aguyeva: My grandson is also studying at Suvorov. “Grandma,” she says, “I will be 18 years old, I will also go to war with my uncles.” I say, “Wait, maybe it will end, it probably won’t reach you.” “No,” he says, “if there is, I will go.” He is studying perfectly at the Suvorov school, his grandson is already 16 years old.

Vladimir Putin: Please convey to all your loved ones, to all Chechens, the words of gratitude for that contribution to the common struggle and victory.

Zh.Agueva: I am proud of my nation and my people.

thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you for what you have said and for what you have done by educating such men.

Thanks.

You are welcome.

M.Bakhilina: I am Marina Bakhilina, Sakha Republic. Also a mother of three sons.

My middle son is a career military man, as he was drafted at the age of 18, and he remained. He serves in the Airborne Forces, reconnaissance. He has been in his own since the first days.

Vladimir Putin: Airborne, right?

M.Bakhilina: Airborne Forces, 83rd Brigade.

When the special operation began, he was there from the first days. In April, he was awarded the Order of Courage.

Vladimir Putin: The Order of Courage is not given just like that.

M. Bakhilina: Yes. It was shown on TV.

He was very badly injured. But I gathered, as they say, willpower, recovered. At the moment, he is in the hospital, undergoing rehabilitation and plans to go back in January.

The eldest son was mobilized in September.

But what I want to say, I’ll be brief, I don’t know how to say much.

In a word, I raised my sons in patriotism. As they say, the party said, the Motherland said – go ahead! No one shirked from the army, everyone joined the army physically, mentally prepared. They don’t hide behind Mom’s skirt. The summons came to the son, he immediately got ready quickly – and to the assembly point. Now he is not far from the front in his own. The only thing (well, rarely, of course, we correspond) that he complains about is food, there is no hot food. Do you understand what’s going on? If our people can’t provide our soldiers with hot meals, I, as a master of sports and a shooting CMC, would love to go there, to the front line to cook. And what’s funny, really.

We have, excuse me, please, in Yakutsk, a lot of mothers want to go to help – someone as a nurse, someone as a cook. There is nothing so shameful. We have some young people running, hiding… Why are we worse than our sons, as they say?

Another question I wanted is that I would gladly go to serve, I don’t need money, my pension allows.

Last. I want to convey from the mothers, from the wives of servicemen – from them personally – a huge thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich, to our Aisen Sergeyevich [Nikolayevich] and the Magansky Possovet for providing material and moral support to servicemen.

You know, everything was done so quickly, quickly and efficiently. I don’t know how it is in the city, but it seems that I go, I also collect parcels – it seems that all of us received compensation for 200-300 thousand, vegetable sets. In Magan, for example, in general, the administration of Magan has oriented itself very well: someone needs water, someone needs to clean the yard, someone needs to bring firewood – in that spirit. So many of us are very well provided for. About this, of course, thank you very much.

Yes, and the wish is for some moms who hide their children: it is not necessary to decide for them, the children themselves should, and not run, pay off and the like.

That’s it, Vladimir Vladimirovich. Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: Marina Konstantinovna, you said that you don’t know how to speak. You are able and speak in such a way that God grant everyone, in a meaningful and in form, very intelligible. But the most important thing is not even what you say, but what you do, and the results of your work are in your sons. This work is of the highest quality and the highest standard, if you have such children. I congratulate you on this and thank you.

As for Aisen Sergeevich, he is an experienced leader, a very sensitive person, he is persistent, able to achieve results. Your republic is gorgeous. It is not only huge in territory, it is inhabited by very talented people, different people, different nationalities, the people are very melodious, interesting, beautiful. A rich republic.

What you said about hot meals on the front line. It would seem that the issues have already been mostly resolved – they were just talking about what seems to be normal with this, but nevertheless, it means that not everything is normal. Let’s see what you need and where you need to do what additionally. First.

Second. Thank you for your willingness to take part in the combat work of your guys. But it seems to me that first the relevant departments in the Ministry [of Defense] should restore order there. With your submission, we will do this and strengthen this work, of course. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this, including recently. Therefore, what I have heard from you is very important.

I understand that you have everything set up in the republic, there are no questions to the local and regional authorities.

Mikhail Bakhilina: Yes, we have a very good setup, well done.

Vladimir Putin: (addressing Yu.Yulia Alexandrovna, keep in mind that there are good examples of the work of regional authorities.

Yu.Belekhova: Vladimir Vladimirovich, there is…

Vladimir Putin: And it is necessary to replicate it.

Yu.Belekhova: And it is necessary to replicate, and we will, and show, because there are really examples of good regional work and caring for families. Why do we want to create a regional committee on the ground – because in terms of issues, maybe even the authorities need to be told somewhere how this is done, how it is implemented. Because after all, there is concern for families today and help them in different situations they face.

Vladimir Putin: You need to tell me somewhere. And positive examples. They just need to be replicated, to show how it is possible and how it is necessary to work here.

O.Shigina: That’s what I’m talking about.

Vladimir Putin (addressing O. Shigina): Yes, please, Olesya Nikolaevna.

O.Shigina: Hello again. I’m sitting next to you here.

I am a documentary filmmaker, poet, mother of a son who was just on military service. But when all this started, he immediately said, “Mom, who if not me?” and signed up for those who are ready to serve the Motherland.

When I found out about my son’s decision, of course, poems and everything else flowed like a river. But most importantly, I realized that I would go to Donbass to understand what was happening there, I would personally go myself, I should see everything myself and understand who these guys are – the same as mine, or maybe what they say in the media…

Vladimir Putin: Not so.

O.Shigina: After all, however, at that time it was all very acute: “no war” and so on.

And, you know, I ended up making a movie. I went by myself, even without a bulletproof vest. The film is called “The Brave”.

Vladimir Putin: Was the film made?

O.Shigina: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: And on what technique, how did you shoot?

O.Shigina: I’m basically a documentary filmmaker, I have the technique. Not the most sophisticated, because the operators did not go with me.

Vladimir Putin: Are you a professional director?

O.Shigina: Yes. I have about 20 movies.

And when I arrived there, you know, as a mother, as a director, as a person who still passes through the soul, I, of course, saw that there were holy guys there. I saw this look of standing before death, before God in the first place. That is, they all understand that they are there for Russia. There is no Chechnya, – they are for all of us, for all together.

I told the women today (I deviate a little from what I wanted to say) how three prayed in one trench. A Dagestani man told me how the three of them, wounded in the trench, prayed in three languages – Chechen, Dagestani and Russian. The Dagestani man was holding a Spas Not made with hands – the flag that I gave him – and says: “I will wear it right under my heart.” And he read to me “Our Father” in Russian.

You see, we are raising Chechnya together, we are all together, and we are raising Donbass together now. And my first film was about the militia, about these people who have been standing on the borders there for eight years. (Addressing N. Pshenichkina.) About your son. Of course, these are heroes, these are our saints.

I have such a poem: “Time of times will hide the former power by turning milestones, // Sin will be called sin again, Russian – Poltava borscht. // The regiments of warriors and saints are growing every minute. // The Time of Times and its sons are sight for the blind.”

This vision [will become] now for the “blind”, for many blinded, whose brains have been clouded by these fakes, these endless terrible information attacks. To fight them off, we need to call up regiments of people who are ready to serve the Motherland in the same way as our sons serve.

We, patriots – documentarians, poets, writers, actors – are real patriots, we are ready to join the ranks of those who will create the cinema that the viewer is waiting for, and he is waiting for him.

A big request. For example, 20 of my films. It’s impossible to break into television, it’s impossible to break into cinemas, you know. The viewer says: where are your films, why don’t we see them? We want to see them. This wall needs to be breached.

By the way, when I went to shoot, I didn’t even have cameramen, the film is called “Absolute Life”. That is, the camera is shaking in my hands, I’m not a military commander, but I understand everything now, I understand how to shoot there.

Thanks to the Foundation for Cultural Initiatives, when I went there [to Donbass], for the second time when I went, I applied before that – this is a social elevator. Because the Ministry of Culture is very difficult to break through. And here I felt that the social elevator exists. That is, the Presidential Fund for Cultural Initiatives picked up my project, they already helped me, and I felt that I was together with the state, that I was not working alone, you know? Just as our sons should now feel there that they are no longer alone, that they have uniforms [provided], that they are expected here. They are wounded, crippled – we will give them a “road map” of how to live on. And this is my first film about the militia coming out soon. I hope it will be shown.

Now I have conceived three more films, they have already suffered, I already understand how to make them. This is just the brave regular army, about our valiant regiments, in one of which my son serves. You just need to know – there is a lot of criticism of the army now, and it often has the right to be, but these valiant regiments exist, which are the honor and conscience of our army. They are there, we know them. I know that you know these commanders, brigade commanders, who are all wounded, with a mangled face, but they will lay down their lives for the guys, they will not leave them. And where the brigade commander does not know how to do this, the guys have problems there, and if the brigade commander is like our guys, everything is fine there. And they will reach you, and they will get everything. There would be more such brigade commanders for us, and I really want to make a film about them.

The second film I conceived about the Cossacks. Cossacks are not only here on the Don, we have Cossacks from Vladivostok to the south. And it is also very important that we have stopped dividing: Don Cossack, Ural Cossack, Vladivostok Cossack. I want to make a film where the Cossacks with their songs, with their courage, with their desire to serve “the faith, the tsar and the Fatherland” will be presented with that maternal love, you know, which is in me when I shoot.

I would like to make the third film about our mobilized guys. You know, the militia tell me on the front line: “Only fools are not afraid.” And this somewhat confused look at the wires – You can’t imagine how in two months it will turn into the look of a warrior, confident that he serves the Motherland.

As one hero of the film says: “Here we have some kind of connection. Because the spirit. For Russia, for Russia.”

Vladimir Putin: Unity.

O.Shigina: For complete unity, yes.

Indeed, patriotic creative people are easy to figure out, because they have not changed their patriotic attitude to the country for the last 20 years. It is very easy to find us – we are here, we are ready to serve the Fatherland. As it is written in my films: “Cinema in the service of the Fatherland.” This is the last frame always after all the movies.

I shoot about mothers with many children, about our soldiers or about people who really create in Russia – I have such films about heroes. I would really like a powerful festival to appear… I’m sorry, of course I’m worried anyway, because there’s so much to say inside.

Vladimir Putin: No, you are very informative, very interesting.

O.Shigina: But the excitement, you know, it is present. And so.

For how many years have festivals like Artdokfest and Kinotavr tormented our people with obscene content, films made with dislike – there is even a film of the same name called Dislike – namely films made about dislike of Russia. We have to call those now – and there the guard is standing and waiting: call us, we are ready to shoot about love for Russia, shoot about our heroes, write about them, live there, in the Donbass, and write books. I personally am ready to just sit in this trench and write about them.

And I hope that this institute – how do we get there – will appear, that the Ministry of Culture will begin to hear us. Because institutions such as the Internet Development Institute, the society “Knowledge” – this, as I understand it, you get directly to the people who hear you. It’s so rare, you know. And it’s such a blessing that we, patriotic writers, poets and filmmakers, began to be heard. That we are no longer “oh, somehow you have everything too there.” They started to hear us.

Vladimir Vladimirovich, the fact that I am here also shows that this social elevator… I think that the Presidential Fund for Cultural Initiatives is still your initiative. And if Zharadat [Aguyeva] is very grateful to the Chechen leader, then, first of all, I think that everything that is being built and happening in Russia is our President who manages it, acts in coordination with people on the ground. If there is a competent leader there [in the region], there is also such a phrase from the front, you know, it does not matter that the company does not think anything, as long as the commander is not a fool. If you are not a fool on the ground, everyone hears all your orders, and everything is done there. Just like in social bodies. This ladder should appear.

Therefore, I have a big request (I formulate a lot, as a creative person I talk a lot).

First, I want to make these films with maternal love, you know, through love. I need the assistance of the Ministry of Defense for this, because it is almost impossible to break into such units. I am ready to shoot on the front line, I have already done this, I have experience now. I’m not afraid as much as possible.

I would really like other documentarians, poets, writers to have access to cinemas, to television, to leading TV channels, so that leading TV channels do not get carried away only with their entertainment content, but finally begin to see us.

I would really like to create a film festival “In the service of the Fatherland”. It doesn’t have to be a movie just about its heroes.

The heroes of my film build airplanes in the village, in an abandoned village they build airplanes, and they take off from chamomile fields. Isn’t that a hero? Or another hero of the film is an inventor who creates the most complex technologies in Russia, which are among the top five. Isn’t that a hero? Hero.

Therefore, I ask you. I am now speaking for the entire creative intelligentsia. I know what everyone really wants to say. Mr President, we are counting on you very much.

Thanks.

Vladimir Putin: Good. Thanks.

In this regard, you know what thoughts came to my mind right now when you spoke about people of creative professions who are patriotic, and said words that some of the cultural events tormented our people.

Why did this happen? I can say it’s very simple. Because we were in a state after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and it seemed to us – to many – that a sweet life would begin now, and tomorrow we would live like in Paris or somewhere else. Although now it turns out that many people do not want to live like in Paris.

O.Shigina: Absolutely, yes.

Vladimir Putin: And it was thought that it would be good there. In fact, this is not the case at all, there is a different cultural code. Probably, everything is possible, but the way we celebrate Mother’s Day, the way we are gathered together now and talking about the role of a woman, the role of a mother – in many places there they don’t even know what “mom” is. Really? There’s just “parent number one” and “parent number two”. And there are dozens of genders being measured there, some kind of “transformers” – I don’t even understand what they are talking about. This is not our culture at all, this is a completely different code of some kind.

What Olesya Nikolaevna said, that there are guys from Dagestan…

O.Shigina: Yes, it is a mixture of cultures, and the war, of course, is for spirituality, for our spirituality.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course. Our unique civilization is the unification of people of different ethnic groups, different cultures and different faiths into one single whole. This is the first.

Second. At the turn of the 2000s, 90s, it seemed to us that everything would be fine, but it turned out that this was not the case at all. Moreover, we began to live and play in some strange clearing and enthusiastically indulged in the fact that they were trying to control us. And in the end, those who tried to control us – in general, thanks to their efforts, we found ourselves in this situation, including in the zone of a special military operation. After all, they brought it to this.

I understand that we are not here for serious conversations on political issues, but still, if there had not been a coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014, there would have been nothing, there simply would have been nothing. And so they had a lot of influence over this country, and after 2014 they actually took control of all the authorities and administrations in fact.

And who are they? The Banderites are essentially. And what is Bandera? Neo-Nazis. Bandera was Hitler’s henchman, shot both Russians, and, by the way, Poles, Jews, all in a row on Hitler’s instructions. And today they have elevated such people to the rank of national heroes, that’s what our guys are fighting today in the zone of a special military operation, that’s who. And those who oppose them, many do not even understand what they are doing, do not understand that they are being used simply as pawns in someone else’s game. They are playing someone else’s game, but we have to fight for our interests, for our people, for our country. That’s what we’re doing.

And what happened in previous years was largely due to the fact that we played as if we had always lived in someone else’s clearing. And today’s events are a path to some kind of inner cleansing and renewal. And of course, people like you, people of creative professions who think like you, of course, they have always been in demand, and in such difficult moments for the life of the country in particular.

But since everything has developed in a certain way over the previous years, clearing a clearing is quite difficult for you, believe me, even from my level. Because it’s deep enough there everything sits. But we will definitely do it.

O.Shigina: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, we will. And of course, as for the assistance of the Ministry of Defense, you will be provided with assistance. I don’t even doubt it at all. How to organize this work so that it is with a good result and as safe as possible – we will think about it and try to do it. Ok?

O.Shigina: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: As for the rental and so on. You said that it is difficult to do this through the Ministry of Culture. Probably, there is also its own bureaucracy there. But the Ministry of Culture will also get involved. The Minister [of Culture Olga Lyubimova] is also a woman of patriotic beliefs, views, a very active young woman, already experienced. I’ll talk to her too, we’ll connect her.

O.Shigina: Yes, now is the time for documentaries. By the way, Russian documentary filmmakers are considered to be among the best in the world, because the level of penetration into the problem is very high among documentary filmmakers.

Vladimir Putin: Yes.

And what you said about the guys you saw there, practically on the front line, is, of course, worth a lot. And it was useful for me to hear it now.

O.Shigina: I can show you.

N. Pshenichkina: We watched this movie. She sent it to us.

Vladimir Putin: I will ask you to [send] too, please.

Are we going to finish, everyone? Or something else?

Please, please.

L. Rubanik: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!

I am a mother of seven children from St. Petersburg, Rubanik Lyubov Sergeevna.

Vladimir Putin: We have such families in St. Petersburg – it’s nice to hear that. Not only in Chechnya, not only in Dagestan, but also in St. Petersburg.

L. Rubanik: We have six sons and an adopted daughter.

Vladimir Putin: That’s great.

L. Rubanik: The eldest two sons, Dmitry and Daniel, have already served in the army, and are now ready to go on mobilization. The middle son, Panteley, went to the military enlistment office himself in June and joined the army. In October, he signed an agreement, and is now in preparation. Vladislav is also with us now, in December, going to his brother’s service. The two youngest children are 11 and 12 years old.

I would like to tell you about patriotic education, since our grandparents went through the entire blockade. Grandfather was a hearing invalid, but from the age of 14 he worked at the Baltic factory, then he reached Berlin, although he was deaf, he fought. And a few years ago, he was already 92 years old, our dad passed away. He also devoted his whole life to the Navy, served in Murmansk. It turns out that this is the grandfather of my children, so we have such an upbringing, initially all children are patriots, everyone knows what our Homeland is.

When we were at school in our time, we had initial military training, we were proud that we were Octobrists, then pioneers, and, of course, everyone was happy and aspired to be in the Komsomol.

I would like to tell you a little about our organization. This is the charity foundation “Tide” of the city of St. Petersburg, which is part of the All-Russian movement “Mothers of Russia”, St. Petersburg branch.

Due to the recent events in the country, of course, we could not stay away either. We do our best to help internally displaced persons who come to St. Petersburg, help pregnant women, and also support the families of [participants] of the SVO who find themselves in a difficult life situation.

Just the other day, one mother turned. She has to give birth to a baby one of these days, and the others are babies, she says: “There is no one to meet me now – dad is fighting – from the maternity hospital.” And our volunteers, respectively, will go to conduct, meet. This is our organizational work. The older children, until they had to mobilize now, they also help us as much as possible as volunteers – they work on targeted assistance, we support families.

What I would like to say, of course, about the “Committee of Mothers of the Fatherland” together with the All-Russian People’s Front. I would like to develop with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Defense exactly step–by-step support for military personnel – post-traumatic support for those guys who return from military operations.

So that we can develop support for everyone while disability registration is underway, and psychological assistance to the family, which we just talked about, and help for these guys, because many, of course, fall into depression. We also have a psychologist at the foundation’s site who also works with families of internally displaced persons. A lot of mothers and even teenagers are in such a difficult state, and the families of the mobilized also tell about their nervous state, and this help is needed.

Vladimir Putin: This problem of rehabilitation, which we have already talked about, is multifaceted, multifaceted. This is not only a purely medical, but also psychological help should be social. I have already said that it is very important, I think, to help people get additional skills, knowledge, some additional education, to help with employment. This is a whole range of works.

And I have already marked, of course, it needs to be done. And of course, Lyubov Sergeevna, with the help of your structures, public organizations, yours, as Yulia Alexandrovna said, we will support everyone in every possible way.

L. Rubanik: Yes. Only together we can win.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, I absolutely agree with you.

L. Rubanik: I would like to say just a few more words that only Russian mothers give birth to the best sons and daughters of our Motherland.

Vladimir Putin: So it is, of course. That’s the way it is, it’s true.

N. Uzunova: Hello, Vladimir Vladimirovich!

Republic of Khakassia, my name is Nadezhda. And as Nina Petrovna has already said, as we all believe, on September 30, an important event really happened for our whole country, and I was lucky enough to be on Red Square, take part and be in this united impulse with our whole country. There are more children in our country, a large number of families have been added. And what is it? It means responsibility, a huge responsibility for these people.

Donbass is familiar to me firsthand, it has been familiar to me since 2017. As part of my favorite organization “Combat Brotherhood”, of which I am a member, under the leadership of Alexander Vekshin, head of the Khakass branch, we evacuated seriously ill and wounded children from the territory of Donbass. And then I saw with my own eyes for the first time this pain of Shakhtersk, Donetsk, Gorlovka, when you pull children out of basements, when you have boys, girls…

Olesya is making a film about the brave, and at that time I had short films, small ones, which we are now showing in schools, because peers understand better than peers – we have developed this system. And when we shot these short films, we shot them with the same name: the name of the child is the name of the film.

My first film is “Vovka”. The boy is ten years old, he takes me to the basement and says: you know, I know how to lie down, I know how to sit, I know how to stand on orders, as I need to, as a soldier, but I’m afraid not to survive this moment. Artem, whose sister died in front of his eyes. How can you forgive it, how can you forget it? And someone also pressed this button when it exploded. Vadim. I know everyone by name.

And I am a mother with many children, this will not surprise anyone here, we are all well done, I also raise foster children myself, alone. Therefore, of course, there are no other people’s children, definitely. And from that moment I decided to help, I decided to go forward.

Recently I was in St. Petersburg, but it is already morally impossible to rest, because you have been rebuilt, you have been rebuilt for a completely different task. And we visited the hospitals of our fighters – the 442nd, VMA. And of course, we visited with our fraternal republic, the Republic of Tyva, because Khakassia and Tyva are native republics, we are very closely connected.

Vladimir Putin: Side by side.

N. Uzunova: And with the women from the fraternity of the Republic of Tyva of St. Petersburg, of course, we visited our guys. You know, even here our unity is manifested. In what? How to please the fighters, how to surprise them? We decided to cook a national dish. And of course, with these buckets of pies, when you go into these wards, communicate with the fighters, somewhere you hear, you know, this: “How delicious, how at home.” Well, what do you need more? When you realize that you are the conductor of the love of these moms who can’t be with our guys today.

When the mobilization began, of course, all the women of our country experienced a great sense of anxiety, this is unequivocal, this is one hundred percent. But at the same time, having literally survived for a couple of hours, I got up and wrote down an appeal, and it is about the unification of forces in our republic, consolidation, female power in women’s energy, that we cannot give up, and the last thing is to lose heart, you can’t do this.

And we began to gather the sons of Khakassia. I am sure that women in other regions did the same. We collected from backpacks to their destination, to their place of deployment with prayers, with provisions, with food. All women united, indeed. It’s such a force, it’s such a power, it’s such a charge. And you realize that you’re getting so strong.

When the guys left, you see everyone off, and 1400 people left us. Then I followed them to the exercises, to the training grounds, accompanying them in hopes, because everything was happening quickly, and some questions and problems remained. Of course, you solve these issues on the ground.

We will go further, Vladimir Vladimirovich, do not doubt, we already know, that’s for sure.

Of course, there are difficulties, as in any problem, case, new case, complicated. Of course, I will tell you this, that in Khakassia everyone still works 24 to 7: both the regional authorities, the municipal authorities, and the residents of the Republic of Khakassia are those who have really united today. There is no caring person.

What difficulties there are, now, probably, I will tell you about them a little and very briefly.

For example, it seems to me, based on experience, because you work all the time, the fighters are always in touch. If I used to ask how the day went, only with my children, sons, now I understand that my evening is increasing. They call, speak, report, roughly speaking, how it is going, what is needed, how to help, what needs to be delivered to the front line, because the list is changing: uniforms are over, there are special communications facilities, other moments.

What is happening on the ground with regional support and assistance, why Yulia made an emphasis. I will explain to you: you need to hear every family, of course. Today, the common task and our task – people who work directly with families – we understand and pay attention to each family. You can’t forget it here, you can’t miss these moments.

At the moment, it seems to me, the hearings before the adoption of the budget are open, and it is impossible to adopt a regional budget without aspirations, without wishes and without problems of mobilized families. They can, they should take part, and then there will be no problems.

And what problems do you get? The following problems are obtained: we are making amendments. What is an amendment? The correction is ten days. So, for ten days some family will not receive certain payments.

At the moment, I will tell you that everything has been settled. Just Julia was making an emphasis, already next Tuesday 29 of these families will receive a regional payment, that is, everything is fine. Because it was a bureaucratic delay, again a residence permit – such moments. I would like to emphasize once again that the topic is new, a complex topic.

Another point that I would like to draw attention to is, of course, benefits. The Government of the Republic of Khakassia has developed a large, serious package of additional measures, in addition to financial payments. But when any benefit is being developed, its mechanism must be worked out. Again, for example, coal. It is clear that we have no problems with coal in the republic, I mean with its quantity, but the mechanism of study was not fully completed. It turns out as follows: coal begins to be issued under this regional system only literally now, and it is already cold in Siberia.

But, again, I will tell you that not a single family was left without him, because we have partners, sponsors, the work of the heads of municipalities, who are very quickly resolving issues on the ground today. Naturally, Khakassia is a small family, and, of course, issues are resolved in a fairly fast mode.

And there is one more point that I would also like to draw attention to. It is clear that everyone is trying, all municipalities. We have 12 municipalities that were affected by the mobilization, and each head of the municipality, of course, tries for his municipality, and there is a difference in benefits. And if there is a difference, it means somewhere less. Of course, next week we will discuss these points, because the heads are always in contact and in direct communication. Of course, we believe that there should be no difference. These are very important points.

And you know, Vladimir Vladimirovich, very strong women have gathered here today. Women who can really show by their example how to live, how to educate, because we are guided, of course, by the examples, probably, of their grandmothers, grandfathers who forged Victory in the rear, unequivocally. That is, we have a good school, a good example.

But no matter how strong we are, we need a strong man’s shoulder – your shoulder, your support, support for our committee. Thank you very much for receiving us today, from us, from mothers. We are moving forward, we are moving forward with our families, because families are all the families of our mobilized guys, volunteers, of whom, by the way, we have a lot. Indeed, there are a lot of them, and we are proud of them.

And, of course, I also can’t help but send you greetings from our fighters, because they talk about it, they know that I’m here today. From all the fighters, from all the guys and volunteers of the Republic of Khakassia, I wish you a huge hello. Please accept it.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.

The issue, it would seem, is such a household one, but it is also significant – these are benefits and their uniform application, mechanisms and speed of decision-making. To do this, you don’t even need any complicated decisions within the budget process, you just need to foresee everything in advance, and this will be done automatically, there are no problems here. But nevertheless, I still marked it, I will pay attention to it.

N. Uzunova: Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: And as for associations – those that are created at the call of the heart, as they say, we have already said here, I already see several such associations here, representatives of these associations are present. And yours, of course, too.

N. Uzunova: I’m talking about our committee, it’s already ours.

Vladimir Putin: Oh, is it common?

N. Uzunova: Of course, this is our common cause. We are burning with our common cause.

Vladimir Putin: Okay, I’m sorry.

N.Uzunova: The committee that Yulia spoke about, I ask you to support it. We are already active, we are already working on the ground, we have experience.

Vladimir Putin: Everything is clear.

Are we going to finish?

What I would like to say in conclusion. Nadezhda Alexandrovna said that support is needed, on the one hand. On the other hand, there will certainly be support, as I have already said.

But you know what I want to tell you: that the most important support is your position and how – I will not be afraid of any big words here – you have lived up to now, and how you have brought up your guys. This is the main foundation and foundation of Russia’s existence.

I’m not just talking about you, about those present, but in general about our mothers, about our mothers. This is the main foundation on which the country stands. This is everything – this is our history, our culture, our traditions, this is confidence in the future of the country, confidence in our victories in the broadest sense of the word, not only within the framework of this military operation.

As Marina Fedorovna said, and I understand that you were talking about the future of the country, that it should be different. In this, if you have noticed, despite all the issues related to the special military operation, we do not change our plans for the development of the state, for the development of the country, for the development of the economy, its social sphere, for national projects. We have huge, big plans, but they can be implemented if we work together to solve all the problems, all the issues that the country faces – both within the framework of this special operation, and within the framework, as we said earlier, of our everyday work.

The most important guarantee of our success is unity. The unity that Olesya Nikolaevna spoke about here, about which Zharadat Khozhaevna spoke, Suna Neifelovna spoke, all from all regions, from our Cossack regions, from new regions, from those who have always believed that they are the very heart and foundation of the Russian state. All this together: the so–called periphery, the center, the south, the north, the east, the west – this is all our huge country Russia.

But this is not only a territory and not so much a territory – it is primarily people, their traditions, their culture, their history, which is passed down from generation to generation and absorbed by all of us with mother’s milk.

All thanks to you.

Thank you very much

Reflections on the Coup in Ukraine – 2014-2022

October 25, 2022

Part I

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

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

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

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

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

The battle in Kiev and the Interim Government

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

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

But other important things were taking shape in Ukraine itself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Global Research 02/03/2014)

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

­FALLOUT

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

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

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

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

Reflections on the Revolution in Ukraine 2014-2022

Part II

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

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

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

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

UKRAINIAN DOMESTIC POLITICS

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Maria Danilova, Associated Press Kiev)

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

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

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

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

THE UKRAINIAN ECONOMY

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

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

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

Reflections on the Revolution in Ukraine

Part III

It’s the geopolitics stupid!

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

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

The plan was briefly outlined by Lavrov as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fake Reporting on the Blown-up Pipelines and Russia’s “Annexation

Open Letter to the New York Times

September 30, 2022

Global Research,

By Peter Koenig

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Dear Editor of the once-upon-a-time Famous-for-truth New York Times,

With headlines like this, Sabotaged Pipelines and a Mystery: Who Did It? (Was It Russia?), even suggesting that Russia may have blown up their own pipeline, the NYT is killing its last vestige of credibility.

You know exactly this is a lie.

The only force that has a vital interest in doing so is the US / NATO conglomerate – to make sure, there is no way Germany could change their mind and go back on their decision to let their people freeze to death this winter, and to economically destroy Germany, THE economic force and leader of Europe.

You, and your analysts know that.

Unfortunately, there is no common people’s influence on our reporting. There are stronger forces that have bought into your mind-bending journalism.

Still, once a supporter of the NYT, I feel I want to tell you.

The Same with this reporting

Enormous U.S. Military Spending, EU Dragged into Abyss of War against Russia. Italy Out of the War!

Russian Proxies in Ukraine Push Moscow to Annex Occupied Regions

and

Vladimir Putin will sign agreements on Friday to take over four Ukrainian regions, the Kremlin said, after votes widely denounced as a sham

Here too, these are not “proxy” Russians who signed a sham petition to be annexed to Russia. You know it very well.

These are real Russians, living in the far Eastern part of Ukraine, the Donbas area mostly, who have been discriminated ever since the US instigated the Maidan coup on 22 February 2014 – when a neo-Nazi government was installed that let the Nazi Asov Battalions literally slaughter Ukraine’s own people in Donbas — at least 14,000 were reported killed – about half of them children – in the eight years since the “Victoria Nuland” (“Fuck Europe”) coup. See this.

We are talking about the same Asov Battalions, that helped Hitler during WWII fight against Russia.

Already in 2014 / 2015 the Donbas districts wanted to join Russia. President Putin did not allow it, because at that time he still believed in the “Minsk” Agreements, sponsored by France and Germany.

These agreements were principally meant to protect the Donbas people, as well as to demilitarize – de-Nazify – Ukraine, and to keep NATO out of Ukraine. None of the conditions of the Minsk Agreements (September 2014 and April 2015) were ever adhered to.

If truth-seeking geopolitical analysts around the globe know the real background, you, Editor-in-chief of the NYT, and your journalists, know the real story too. Still, you report lies and half-truths to further influence and promote people’s opinion against Russia.

The New York Times has become weaponized against Russia and China, by your mere reporting.

Don’t you think that this will eventually backfire?

*

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Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he worked for over 30 years around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is also is a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing.

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The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Peter Koenig, Global Research, 2022


Will The Ukraine De-Militarise Itself?

September 26, 2022

Source

by James Tweedie

Back in August 2022 I wrote that NATO was ‘demilitarising’ itself, sending such huge amounts of arms to the Ukraine before and during the Russian special military operation (SMO) that its armies had nothing left to fight with.

That process has continued, with Slovenia, the northernmost of the former federal republics of Yugoslavia, sending its entire armoured vehicle fleet to Kiev. The last scrapings of the barrel, just announced, are 28 M-55S tanks. These are modernised Soviet-designed T-55s with some Israeli explosive-reactive armour (ERA) blocks added. But underneath that they’re still a 1950s design, four generations behind the latest Russian tanks.

The question now is: can those arms sustain the Ukrainian military effort? And if the Ukraine, the buffed-up proxy for all NATO and the Five Eyes countries too, is losing the war, when will Russia and its Donbass republican allies achieve victory?

I was born in the mid-1970s, during the Cold War, and I grew up under he shadow of the mushroom cloud. So I must confess to being one of those who were anxious for this conflict to be over quickly, before the nuclear powers came to blows. But one can’t hurry history.

War of Attrition

In his bombshell speech on the morning of 21st September 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin explained that the apparent slow progress of the SMO by the need to unpick the Gordian Knot of hardened defences the Ukrainian Nazi battalions built up on the front line over eight years.

“A head-on attack against them would have led to heavy losses,” Putin said, “which is why our units, as well as the forces of the Donbass republics, are acting competently and systematically, using military equipment and saving lives, moving step by step to liberate Donbass.”

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu gave a televised interview the same morning. He gave extremely specific figures for both Russian and Ukrainian military casualties. “Our losses to date are 5,937 dead,” he said, but added that 90 per cent of the wounded had recovered and returned to duty.

According to Shoigu, Ukraine has lost 61,207 killed and 49,368 wounded (a total of 110,575 casualties) from an initial military strength of 201-202 thousand. The caveat to that that the Ukraine has conscripted hundreds of thousands of men into territorial defence units since the start of the conflict. That’s greater than a ten-to-one ratio of Ukrainian to Russian casualties

Shoigu also said that over the previous three weeks — since the launch of Kiev’s counter-offensives in Kherson and Kharkov — the Ukrainians had lost more than 7,000 men and 970 pieces of heavy equipment, including 208 tanks, 245 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), 186 other armoured vehicles, 15 aircraft and four helicopters.

That amounts to about 60 per cent of the roughly 350 tanks, and three-quarters of the 328 IFVs, supplied by Western countries since February 24. If one lumps armoured personnel carriers (APCs) in with IFVs, Shoigu is still talking about 30 per cent losses of NATO-supplied heavy armour.

Kiev is preparing for or has already begun more counter-offensives towards Lisichansk in the LPR, Donetsk city, from Ugledar to the south to Mariupol and towards Berdyansk or Melitopol in Zaporozhye oblast. Russian aircraft, missiles and artillery are already hitting the groups of forces concentrated for that. If those offensives go the same way as the others, surely the Ukrainians will soon run out of both men and machines, right?

Blogger and YouTuber Andrei Martyanov, a Russian who served in the Soviet armed forces, is not worried about about how long it takes to get the SMO over and done with. He has argued that his countrymen can win simply by waiting for the Ukrainians to throw themselves onto their bayonets, until they run out of bodies.

With all due respect, allow me to sound a note of scepticism: that assumes that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and his Western backers care how many die, or that the Ukrainian people (more than 8 million of whom are now scattered across Europe and even further afield) have the inclination and the opportunity to rise up against the fascist death-squad state.

The daily Russian Ministry of Defence body-count of hundreds of the miserable ‘territorial defence’ conscripts along the Donbass line — untrained and barely-armed middle-aged men press-ganged in the street — is not much of an indicator of progress.

It’s the territorial gains, no matter how slow, that matter. Russia cannot just count on the Ukrainians to suicidally ‘demilitarise’ themselves.

Putin’s announcement of a “partial mobilisation” of 300,000 army reservists was warmly welcomed by pro-Russian social media commentators. It is hard to exaggerate the importance of this, coupled with the referenda in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson on reunification with Russia.

But there are caveats. State Duma Defence Committee chairman Andrey Kartapolov clarified that those troops would be deployed to defend the country’s borders and to create “operational depth” — in other words as a second defensive echelon. Martyanov argues that will free up regular front-line troops to conquer more territory. But it remains unclear how many of them were deployed to begin with.

Eyes on the Prize

So what is Russia trying to achieve in the Ukraine? Putin said in his Wednesday morning speech that the main task was to defend the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass. That implies capturing the whole of the oblasts of Donetsk and Lugansk.

But some ‘stretch goals’ may be added, including forging a land corridor to the Crimea and maybe even Transnistria, the Russian protectorate in Moldova.

Russia’s other main aim was to stop the Ukraine from joining NATO. That would allow the US to base nuclear weapons just 300 miles from Moscow in a position to launch a first strike attack.

US President Joe Biden’s response to Putin at the UN General Assembly later that day included the comment that “a nuclear war cannot be won — and must never be fought.” While true, that observation was shamelessly hypocritical. It was likely only made out of fear after Putin’s warning that Russia takes national defence and nuclear deterrence seriously.

Securing the Ukraine’s neutrality is not just part of “demilitarisation”: it could also be called “de-Nazification”, since NATO and its shadow the European Union (EU) were behind the 2014 coup by the Azov battalion and their ilk.

But Russia needs a legitimately-elected head of state to sign up to that, and right now that man is Zelensky. A peace deal struck with any military junta which might depose the comedian-turned-president would only be denounced by the next elected leader.

Even if a new civilian government was elected on a pro-peace, non-alignment platform (as Zelensky was), it would only last as long as it took the US, UK and EU to organise a repeat of the 2004-05 ‘Orange Revolution’ and the 2014 ‘Euromaidan’ coups d’etat.

The crazy Ukro-Nazis and their enablers have to ‘own’ the peace and the agreement to cede the Donbass and Crimea — and thereby lose all credibility.

But the Ukraine had already lost the Crimea and effective control over the Donbass before the SMO even kicked off. Kiev won’t sign any peace deal unless it has something else to lose. If Moscow is also serious about readmitting Zaporozhye and Kherson to the Russian motherland following a ‘Yes’ vote in the coming referenda, then there’s nothing to bargain with there either. Russia may need to capture other territories to use as bargaining chips.

To do so, it would have to inflict a defeat on the Ukrainian armed forces that would force them to retreat — not only from Donetsk and Lugansk but from other areas, maybe all the way back to the Dnieper river that divides the country in two.

Such a victory can’t be won unless Russia regains the initiative and actively starts pushing the Ukrainian armed forces back.

The Great M.I.C. Cash-In

The Kiev regime’s aims are clearly to keep grifting off its Western sponsors as long as possible, before fleeing to the sunny tax havens where they have billions stashed. But what does the West really want out of this war?

The stated aims of Washington and friends are to defend Ukraine’s territory and sovereignty (code for invading the Donbass and Crimea and ethnically cleansing them), along with its non-existent “right” to become a NATO launchpad, to “weaken” Russia militarily (by causing as many casualties as possible) and to put “international pressure” on Putin (economic warfare with the goal of regime change).

One should avoid making predictions, but let’s say the US and its satellites fail in all of that (since they have done so far). What will they try to win as a consolation prize?

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, an unelected bureaucrat who made a huge mess of her previous job as German defence minister, has vowed that sanctions on Russia will continue for years to come. That the sanctions are crippling the economies of EU member states, especially her home country, doesn’t seem to bother UVDL. And seeing the EU and its appointed commissioners are increasingly imposing their foreign policy diktats on the 27 governments, she might get her way.

More importantly, NATO desperately needs to save face — now that it has exposed by Russia as a paper tiger. Hence the triumphant crowing over moves, far from complete, to grant existing de-facto allies Sweden and Finland formal membership.

The West may try to claim a kind of moral victory on the basis that it may take Russia more than a year to defeat ‘brave little Ukraine’, or be forced to wipe out most of its military-age male population to win. But whose idea was that? Zelensky, Biden and all other Western leaders have made that bed.

But NATO is really just a pyramid scheme to sell overpriced Western, especially US, arms to its vassals. And therein lies a contradiction, because the US military-industrial complex (MIC) has competition from those of the UK, Germany, France and even Sweden — a country with a smaller population than the city of Moscow.

The Ukraine has used the referenda on unification with Russia as the latest pretext to demand Germany donate its newest models of Leopard 2 tanks and Marder infantry fighting vehicles. But why doesn’t Kiev ask the US for some of its M1 Abrams and M2 Bradleys instead? The Pentagon has many more to spare.

The truth is that neither Germany nor the US can afford to have its supposedly-invincible wunderwaffen shown up, and blown up, in battle with Russian forces. Despite weighing only two-thirds as much as the US and German behemoths, the Russian tanks have about the same effective armour protection — thanks to state-of-the-art ERA technology — and guns of equal destructive power. And there are a lot more Russian tanks, anti-tank missiles, attack jets and helicopters on the battlefield in the Ukraine.

The US has only managed to sell the M1 to eight other countries, compared to 18 for the Leopard 2. The export model of the Abrams is ‘Nerfed’ by removing the depleted uranium rods from its composite armour, so countries like Australia and Saudi Arabia get sub-par tanks. The only overseas customer for the British Challenger 2 is Oman, while the French Leclerc tank has been exported to the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

By contrast, the Russian T-72 is currently in service in 40 countries, including both Russia and the Ukraine. Like the Russian intervention in Syria, the war in the Ukraine could prove to be a serious marketing tool for the Russian arms industry — eating the US MIC’s lunch.

More Billions to Ukraine as America Falls Apart

The war in Ukraine was caused by the US regime change in 2014 and the neocon insistence that Ukraine join NATO.

 -August 29, 2022

By  Jonas E. Alexis, Assistant Editor

ISKANDARIYA, IRAQ – JULY 19: U.S. soldiers with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment patrol a new ditch they have dug to protect the base from attack on July 19, 2011 in Iskandariya, Babil Province Iraq. As the deadline for the departure of the remaining American forces in Iraq approaches, Iraqi politicians have agreed to meet in two weeks time in order to give a final decision about extending the U.S. troops’ presence beyond the end of the 2011 deadline. Violence against foreign troops has recently picked-up with June being the worst month in combat-related deaths for the military in Iraq in more than two years. Currently about 46,000 U.S. soldiers remain in Iraq. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Ron Paul

There is a video clip making the rounds showing President Biden speaking at a recent NATO summit about the seven billion dollars the US government had – at that time – provided to Ukraine. Attached to that is another clip showing the horrific state of several US major cities, including in Pennsylvania, California, and Ohio. The video of American cities is shocking: endless landscapes of filth, trash, homelessness, open fires on the street, drug-addicted zombies. It doesn’t look like the America most of us remember.

Watching Biden bragging about sending billions of dollars to corrupt leaders overseas with American cities looking like bombed-out Iraq or Libya is US foreign policy in a nutshell. The Washington elites tell the rest of America that they must “promote democracy” in some far-off land. Anyone who objects is considered in league with the appointed enemy of the day. Once it was Saddam, then Assad and Gaddafi. Now it’s Putin. The game is the same, only the names are changed.

What is seldom asked, is what is in this deal for those Americans who suffer to pay for our interventionist foreign policy. Do they really think a working American in Ohio or Pennsylvania is better off or safer because we are supposedly protecting Ukraine’s borders? I think most Americans would wonder why they aren’t bothering to protect our own borders.

A reported 200,000 illegals crossed the border into the US in July alone. You can believe they are learning quickly about the free money provided by the US government to illegals. They’ll probably get a voting card as well.

Last Friday the Pentagon announced that yet another $775 million would be sent to Ukraine. As Antiwar.com reported, it was the eighteenth weapons package to Ukraine in six months. Has there ever been a more idiotic US intervention in history?

Supporters of this proxy war may celebrate more aid to Ukraine, but the reality is that it is in no way aid to Ukraine. That’s not how the system works. It is money created out of thin air by the Fed and appropriated by Congress to be spent propping up the politically-connected military-industrial complex. It is a big check written by middle America to rich people who run Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. Americans watch their budget being stretched to the limit while the Beltway fat-cats loosen their belts to continue enjoying the gravy train.

Bloomberg reported earlier this summer that inflation is costing the average American household more than $5,200 this year. Inflation is a tax on middle class and poor Americans. The wealthy – like those who run Raytheon and Lockheed Martin – always get the new money first, before prices go up. The rest of us watch as the dollar buys less and less.

As Washington salivates over fighting Russia in Ukraine, the rest of America feels like we’re becoming Zimbabwe. How long until it takes a trillion dollars for a loaf of bread? Will there be a run on wheelbarrows?

There is a way out. It’s called “non-interventionism.” The war in Ukraine was caused by the US regime change in 2014 and the neocon insistence that Ukraine join NATO. The State Department and CIA thought it was a great victory to overthrow the elected government, but meanwhile the rest of us get the bill. No NATO and not one more penny for Ukraine!

SOURCELibertarian Institute

Jonas E. Alexis, Assistant Editor

Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book, Kevin MacDonald’s Metaphysical Failure: A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology, Sociobiology, and Identity Politics. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.

Six months into Ukraine’s collapse, the world has changed forever

The inevitable transfer of power away from the west is leading to a surge in state-sponsored terrorism, but this will do little to reverse the trend

August 24 2022

By Pepe Escobar

Six months after the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) by Russia in Ukraine, the geopolitical tectonic plates of the 21st century have been dislocated at astonishing speed and depth – with immense historical repercussions already at hand.

To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, this is the way the (new) world begins, not with a whimper but a bang.

The cold-blooded assassination of Darya Dugina – terrorism at the gates of Moscow – may have fatefully coincided with the six-month intersection point, but will do nothing to change the dynamics of the current, work-in-progress, historical shift.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) appeared to have cracked the case in a little over 24 hours, designating the perpetrator as a neo-Nazi Azov operative instrumentalized by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) – itself a mere tool of the CIA/MI6 combo that de facto rules Kiev.

The Azov operative is just a patsy. The FSB will never reveal in public the intel it has amassed on those that issued the orders, and how they will be dealt with.

One Ilya Ponomaryov, an anti-Kremlin minor character granted Ukrainian citizenship, boasted he was in contact with the outfit that prepared the hit on the Dugin family. No one took him seriously.

What is manifestly serious, however, is how oligarchy-connected organized crime factions in Russia would have a motive to eliminate Alexander Dugin, the Christian Orthodox nationalist philosopher who, according to them, may have influenced the Kremlin’s pivot to Asia (he didn’t).

These organized crime factions blamed Dugin for a concerted Kremlin offensive against the disproportional power of Jewish oligarchs in Russia. So these actors would have both the motive and the local know-how to mount such a coup.

If that’s the case, it potentially spells out a Mossad-linked operation – especially given the serious schism in Moscow’s recent relations with Tel Aviv. What’s certain is that the FSB will keep their cards very close to their chest – and retribution will be swift, precise and invisible.

The straw that broke the camel’s back

Instead of delivering a serious blow to Russia’s psyche that could impact the dynamics of its operations in Ukraine, the assassination of Darya Dugina only exposed the perpetrators as tawdry killers who have exhausted their options.

An IED cannot kill a philosopher – or his daughter. In an essential essay, Dugin himself explained how the real war – Russia against the US-led collective west – is a war of ideas. An existential war.

Dugin correctly defines the US as a “thalassocracy,” heir to “Britannia rules the waves.” Yet now the geopolitical tectonic plates are spelling out a new order: The Return of the Heartland.

Russian President Vladimir Putin himself first spelled it out at the Munich Security Conference in 2007. China’s Xi Jinping put it into action by launching the New Silk Roads in 2013. The Empire struck back with Maidan in 2014. Russia counter-attacked by coming to the aid of Syria in 2015.

The Empire doubled down on Ukraine, with NATO weaponizing it non-stop for eight years. At the end of 2021, Moscow invited Washington for a serious dialogue on “indivisibility of security” in Europe. That was dismissed with a non-response response.

Moscow took no time to assess that a dangerous US-led trifecta was instead in the works: an imminent Kiev blitzkrieg against Donbass; Ukraine flirting with acquiring nuclear weapons; and the work of US bioweapon labs. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

A consistent analysis of Putin’s public interventions these past few months reveals that the Kremlin – as well as Security Council Yoda Nikolai Patrushev – fully realize how the politico/media talking heads and shock troops of the collective west are directed by the rulers of Finance Capitalism.

As a direct consequence, they also realize how western public opinion is absolutely clueless, Plato cave-style, totally captive to the ruling financial class, who cannot tolerate any alternative narrative.

So Putin, Patrushev, and their peers will never presume that a senile teleprompter reader in the White House or a cokehead comedian in Kiev “rule” anything.

As the US rules global pop culture, it is fitting to borrow from what Walter White/Heisenberg, an average American channeling his inner bad, states in Breaking Bad: “I’m in the Empire business.” And the Empire business is to exercise raw power, maintained with ruthlessness, by all means necessary.

Russia broke that spell. But Moscow’s strategy is way more sophisticated than leveling Kiev with hypersonic weapons, something that could have been done at any moment, starting six months ago.

Instead, what Moscow is doing is talking to virtually the entire Global South, bilaterally or to groups of actors, explaining how the world-system is changing right before our eyes, with the key actors of the future configured as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), BRICS+, the Greater Eurasia Partnership.

And what we see is vast swathes of the Global South – or 85 percent of the world’s population – slowly but surely becoming ready to engage in expelling the finance capitalists from their national horizons, and ultimately taking them down: a long, tortuous battle that will imply multiple setbacks.

The facts on the ground

On the ground in soon-to-be rump Ukraine, Khinzal hypersonic weapons launched from Tu-22M3 bombers or Mig-31 interceptors  will continue to be employed.

Piles of HIMARS will continue to be captured. TOS 1A Heavy Flamethrowers will keep sending invitations to the gates of hell. Crimean Air Defense will continue to intercept all sorts of small drones with IEDs attached. Terrorism by local SBU cells will eventually be smashed.

Using essentially a phenomenal artillery barrage – cheap and mass-produced – Russia will annex Donbass, very valuable in terms of land, natural resources and industrial power. And then on to Nikolaev, Odessa, and Kharkov.

Geoeconomically, Russia can afford to sell its oil with fat discounts to any Global South customer, not to mention strategic partners China and India. Cost of extraction reaches a maximum of $15 per barrel, with a national budget based on $40-45 for a barrel of Urals, whose market value today is almost double that.

A new Russian benchmark is imminent, as well as oil in rubles following the wildly successful gas for rubles scheme.

The assassination of Darya Dugina provoked endless speculation about the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense finally breaking their discipline. That’s not going to happen. Russian advances along the enormous 1,800-mile battle front are relentless, highly systematic, and deeply invested in a Greater Strategic Picture.

A key vector is whether Russia stands a chance of winning the information war with the west. That will never happen inside NATO’s realm – even as success after success is unfolding across the Global South.

As Glenn Diesen has masterfully demonstrated in his latest book, Russophobia, the collective west is viscerally impervious to admitting any social, cultural, historical merits by Russia.

They have already catapulted themselves into the irrationality stratosphere: the grinding down and de facto demilitarization of the imperial proxy army in Ukraine is driving the Empire’s handlers and its vassals literally nuts.

But the Global South should never lose sight of the ‘Empire business.’ That industry excels in producing chaos and plunder, always supported by extortion, bribery of local elites, and assassinations on the cheap. Every trick in the Divide and Rule book should be expected at any moment. Never underestimate a bitter, wounded, deeply humiliated, declining Empire.

Fasten your seat belts for more of this tense dynamic for the remainder of the decade.

But before that, all along the watchtower, get ready for the arrival of General Winter, whose riders are fast approaching. When the winds begin to howl, Europe will be freezing in the dead of dark nights, lit up occasionally by its finance capitalists puffing on fat cigars.

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

Short message from Andrei

August 21, 2022

Dear friends,

Two quick messages:

First, by now most of you have heard that Alexander Dugin’s daughter has been murdered in a car bomb.  The target was clearly Dugin himself.  All I want to say at this point is that Dugin never was the “‘Russian world’ ideologue as RT so stupidly wrote.  (The same goes for another supposed “ideologue of the Russian world” German Sterligov).

How many times did you hear Putin quoting Dugin? If anything, Putin’s ideological influences would be Ivan I’in (also spelled Ilyin) and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, not Dugin.

Dugin was much more of a big thing in the West, not in Russia where most key players never took him seriously or, even less so, where influenced by him.  None of that makes a difference to the abject act of cowardice and pure terrorism which the murder of his daughter is.  And it does not take a genius to guess who was behind this attack – the same folks who have been terrorizing and murdering civilians en masse every since the Euromaidan.

Unlike Russian officials, Dugin was not under the protection of the FSO and was an easy, if symbolic, target.  Just a civilian with no special protective security detail.  The ugly and cowardly nature of this murder has, once again, shown to those with eyes to see and ears to hear the true nature of the US backed Nazi regime in Kiev.

May God rest the soul of this latest victim of Nazi terror and all those who were also murdered before her!

Second, the blog was down for a few hours, but this was not an attack, just an internal issue which has now been solved.

I wish you all a great Sunday!

Kind regards

Andrei

Two Lives: Victoria and Victorine

August 20, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

Victoria

Victoria Jane Nuland was born in 1961 to Sherwin Nudelman, the son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, and a British-born mother, Rhona Goulston. Already in his teens Nudelman had changed his name to Nuland in order to carve out a career. With the British-named Victoria, an Anglo-Zionist was clearly in the making.

Indeed, she duly studied at an elite private boarding school in Connecticut, whose alumni include many US politicians. Then she went to Brown University, where she studied Russian literature, political science and history. She married Robert Kagan, the future leading Jewish neocon.

Her worldview relects exactly the folly of the US since 1990 under the influence of the neo-imperialist neocons and Blairite-Clintonian ‘liberal interventionists’. This has resulted in mass poverty in the USA, as well as 9/11, and millions of deaths in wars and tensions outside the US with the Islamic world, Iran, Russia, China and anyone else that resists US imperialism.

From 2003 to 2005, during the US rape of defenceless Iraq and the theft of its oil and gas, Mrs Kagan was a foreign policy advisor to the notorious Cheney. She must have many deaths on her conscience from that particular mess. The Iraq catastrophe led to terrorism and counterterrorism and disastrous new wars in Libya and Syria. Meanwhile, her husband was demanding an ever more warlike foreign policy against the background of US fears of the coming multipolar world, a world which it would no longer be able to dominate.

So Mrs Kagan, who yearned for permanent NATO expansion and the encirclement of Russia, was deeply involved in the US ‘regime-change’, that is, the plot to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically-elected government by violence in 2014. This led to America’s responsibility for the ensuing civil war that had killed at least 14,000 people, women and children among them, even before 24 February 2022 and had left Ukraine the poorest country in Europe.

Her $5 billion coup in 2014 in the wretched Ukraine, a strategic candidate for NATO on Russia’s border, was implemented through Oleh Tyahnybok’s neo-Nazi Svoboda Party and the new Right Sector militia. We do not forget that it was Tyanhnybok who had delivered a speech praising Ukrainians for fighting Jews and ‘other scum’ during World War II. In February 2014 their protests in Kyiv’s Maidan Square turned into running battles led by neo-Nazis and extreme right-wing forces that the US had financed and orchestrated. A mob led by the Right Sector militia marched on Parliament and the President and others fled for their lives.

Facing the possible loss of its naval base in Sevastopol in the Crimea, Russia accepted the overwhelming result (a 97% majority) of an internationally-observed referendum in which Crimea voted to leave the Ukraine and rejoin Russia, of which it had been a part from 1783 to 1954. The Russian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, part of Russia until the terrorist Communists had given them away to the Ukraine in 1922, similarly declared independence from Neo-Nazi Kiev. This starting a bloody war between US-backed separatists in Kiev and the local Eastern Ukrainian people.

Mrs Kagan wants an ever-more dangerous War with Russia and China to justify her militarist foreign policy and Pentagon budgets. She relies on her mythical version of Russian aggression and US ‘democratic’ intentions. She claims that Russia’s military budget, one-tenth of that of the US, is proof of ‘Russian confrontation and militarisation’. She wants ‘permanent bases along NATO’s eastern border’ and sees Russia’s desire to defend itself after so many successive (and failed) Western invasions as an obstacle to NATO’s expansionism. In short, the deluded Mrs Kagan has with others unleashed intractable violence, chaos and the risk of nuclear war. How does she sleep at night?

Victorine

The other day I went over from Paris and put flowers on a grave in a small, unheard-of town in Brittany, in the hills near Loudeac. It was the first days of autumn, the trees had begun turning colour and there was a slight chill in the early morning and evening air – in northern France the weather always changes after 15 August.

Tante (Aunt) Victorine had been born in the straw on the dirt floor of a cowshed in a hamlet of six houses, which still bore the name of its Breton founder, Brehan, 1300 years later. Literally. The tiny one-floor home-built house had a dining room/kitchen/bedroom on one side and the cow lived on the other side and was sent out to the field during the day. It had changed but little in 1981 when I first met her. Living in Upper (Eastern) Brittany, she spoke not Breton, but ‘Gallo’, the local dialect of French. Or, as the locals will tell you, French is the local (Parisian) dialect of Gallo.

Victorine had been born on 22 November 1918 and inevitably, after the Armistice of 11 November 1918, she had been named Victorine. So many sturdy Breton peasants had gone out to fight the dirty ‘Boches’ and not come back. The Boches were the German enemy of the Paris elite, the elite who had so depised Bretons as ‘yokels’ (‘ploucs’) in peacetime and had banned their language. The victory, after which Victorine had been named, was not that of France, it was the victory of peace for the peasants who had lost many of their best sons fighting against so many of the best sons of Bavarian and Saxon peasants in the futile quagmires and the deadly trenches of World War I.

That was why, like so many women of her generation, Victorine did not marry: there was no-one to marry. Indeed, in 1941 her sister had had a child by a reluctant German soldier who had been forced to join the German Army and had then been sent to patrol the wilds of Brittany. It was the great taboo of the village, but we will leave the condemnation to the sour-faced village pharisees. The illegitimate child, Jean-Pierre, her great-nephew, was my friend.

Victorine did not go to church very often. She did not much like that hard, stony building where hard, stony faces condemned human-beings for loving life. She preferred the hills and streams, woods and fields of God’s Cathedral, where she passed her life, growing vegetables on her patch in the spring, picking fruit in the little orchard in summer and autumn, for eating, cooking, bottling and jam, chopping logs for winter heating, looking after her cow for milk and the best salted butter you have ever tasted, and the pig at the bottom of the garden, that would be slaughtered by the village-slaughterer, Michel, every December and sold for pork at the village butcher’s.

So Victorine eked out a living. She would have liked to have had a man and children, but it was not to be. She passed away peacefully, a smile on her face, as she went to meet her Maker in November 1989, aged just 71. It had been a hard life, spent in her little house and on its piece of land, whitening her soul, like some early Christian hermit. She had made the best of a life that, on the surface at least, had already in 1914 been wrecked before she had even been born by the war-loving elites of Berlin and Vienna and Paris and London. But if I had to choose between the life of the similarly-named Victoria and Victorine, I would prefer ten thousand times over to have the life and clear conscience of Tante Victorine. God bless her.

20 August 2022

The seeds of the split: How the Russian-speaking Donbass first attempted to win independence from Ukraine in 2004

11 Jul, 2022

FILE PHOTO.Viktor Yanukovich, former Prime Minister of Ukraine, greets his supporters in Severodonetsk, eastern Ukraine, 28 November, 2004. © AFP / PHOTO MIG

In late June, after fierce fighting, the last remaining units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces pulled out of Severodonetsk, a large industrial center in the western part of the Lugansk People’s Republic.

Back in 2004, the city hosted the famous congress of the ‘federalists’, Ukrainian politicians – elected at different levels – who backed the presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych during the Western-backed Orange Revolution. Back then, they declared then that the Kiev protests were an attempted coup and warned that an illegitimate government coming to power could prompt the congress to establish south-eastern autonomy to protect local residents.

At the same time, regional deputies decided to hold a referendum on changing the country into a federal state and appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin for support. In this article, RT recounts the first attempt of Ukraine’s southeastern regions to gain independence from Kiev and explains why the events of 2004 defined the future armed conflict in Donbass.

Just a step away from federation

Political discussions about a possible disintegration and reconfiguration of Ukraine have been going on ever since the country became independent in 1991. Ironically, one of the first people to doubt the country’s unity was Vyacheslav Chornovol, the founder of the national democratic party Narodny Rukh (People’s Movement) and a hero for Ukrainian nationalists. Admittedly, he only mentioned the possibility of turning Ukraine into a federation. The idea of federalization was the focal point of discussions that – until the Maidan political crisis of 2014 – were commonly referred to as “separatist” discourse.

As early as 1989, Chornovol said that Ukraine should be a “union of lands.” “I imagine future Ukraine as a federal state, a union of lands, which have come together throughout the course of history and whose natural, climatic, cultural, ethnographic, and linguistic differences, as well as idiosyncrasies in their economies, habits, and customs define the unique diversity of a single people. I envision the People’s Republic of Ukraine, which includes such lands as the Kiev Region, Podolye, Volhynia, Galichina, Bukovina, Transcarpathia, Getmanshchina, Sloboda Ukraine, Zaporozhye, the Donetsk region, and Tauria, whereas Crimea could be an independent neighbor or an autonomous republic in alliance with Ukraine,” he wrote

Chornovol added that Ukrainian should be the only state language in the new federation, although local authorities could make certain provinces bilingual.

Two years later, in 1991, Chornovol initiated the convention of the so-called Galicia Assembly, which spoke in favor of administrative reform and the creation of a new autonomous regional entity, Galichina, based on the amalgamation of the Lviv, Ternopol, and Ivano-Frankovsk Regions. Even though the assembly was one of the catalysts of Ukraine’s independence, Chornovol’s supporters were accused of separatism after Leonid Kravchuk was elected president. This was in large part due to ideas to create a Donetsk Republic and Novorossiya in the Russian-speaking southeast of Ukraine, which began circulating in the 1990s. Over time, Chornovol’s proposals came to be viewed as too radical, and opponents of federalization have been linking his designs with the breakup of the country for more than 30 years now.

When the Ukrainian constitution was adopted in 1996, it defined Ukraine as a unitary state, which removed the issue of federalization from the agenda. And yet, apart from the 24 regions and two federal-level cities (Kiev and Sevastopol), Ukraine also included the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which, for a few years, even had its own constitution and president. Throughout those years, Ukrainian presidents Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma managed to strike the right balance in their foreign and domestic policies, especially as regards to handling relations between regions on both sides of the “Subtelny line,” which is traditionally used to divide Ukraine into two distinct parts.

FILE PHOTO. Some 3,500 local officials from 17 of Ukraine’s 27 regions meet in Severodonetsk, an eastern Ukrainian town 28 November, 2004. © AFP / PHOTO MIG

However, in 2004, when the outcome of the protests was still uncertain, politicians who supported Yanukovych (dubbed “pro-Russian” in the West, despite his years of negotiations with the EU) revived the idea of federalization. Members of the Party of Regions claimed that Ukraine had failed as a unitary state and therefore had to be reorganized as a federation with a high degree of autonomy at the level of administrative and territorial entities. Ukraine was going through a real crisis, and, probably for the first time, that schism was pushing the country to the brink of an all-out civilian conflict.

“Not going to let Galichina tell us how to live our lives”

The mass protests in Kiev, which would later be known as the Orange Revolution, were met with little enthusiasm in the southeast of Ukraine, especially in Donbass. While protesters at the Maidan claimed their ‘pro-European’ candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, had his victory “stolen from him,” many supporters of Yanukovych felt the same watching their opponents clamor for official election results, which had declared the latter victorious, to be repealed. A response to the protests in the capital was imminent.

On November 28, the All-Ukrainian Congress of Deputies of All Levels welcomed more than 3,500 pro-Yanukovych delegates from across the country. They declared that the protests were an attempted coup and warned that an illegitimate Yushchenko-led government taking over Kiev could prompt the congress to establishautonomy to protect the residents of southeastern Ukraine.

The final statement of the congress, which had been unanimously adopted by its delegates, said: “If the sociopolitical situation in the country develops according to the worst crisis scenario, we will stand firm and united to defend the vote of the people of Ukraine going as far as holding a referendum on possible changes to the administrative and territorial structure of Ukraine.” The significance of the gathering was further elevated by the presence of Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who delivered a sharp rebuke to Ukraine’s radical opposition. “On the one hand, we’re seeing this orange-fueled mayhem [orange became the symbol of support for Yushchenko – RT], which claims to represent the majority in Ukraine. On the other hand, we have this quiet force gathered in this room today,” Luzhkov said to a round of applause. 

At the same time, the Regional Council of Lugansk came up with an alternative project, proposing the establishment of the South-East Ukrainian Autonomous Republic with Kharkov as its capital city. Along with the initiative, local MPs also asked President Putin to help them organize a referendum on Ukraine’s federalization. The referendum was scheduled for December 5, 2004. At the same time, the Regional Council of Donetsk decided to establish its own police force. 

Leaders of Ukraine’s southeastern regions began to voice their support for the idea of reorganizing the country. Kharkov’s authorities decided to set up committees that would have executive state powers. Governor Yevgeny Kushnarev was elected head of the regional executive committee – he was well known as a pro-Russian politician and supporter of federalization, as well as a presidential hopeful according to many journalists and activists. His responsibilities at the time included coordination between other councils in the southeastern territories. The Kharkov Region also stopped making payments to the national budget, waiting for the situation in Kiev to stabilize.    

It was Kushnarev who put into words the idea that later defined the development of the Donbass armed conflict. Speaking at the Severodonetsk conference, he said, “I’d like to remind you that we are 400 kilometers away from Kiev and 40 kilometers away from Russia. We understand that the east is very different from Galicia in the west. We are not imposing our way of life on Galicia, but we will never let Galicia lecture us either.” Together with Boris Kolesnikov, head of the Regional Council of Donetsk, he proposed organizing a referendum in every city to see if people trusted the government and asked what they thought of ‘relaunching’ Ukraine as a federal republic.  

All of this political activity in the country’s southeast caused some serious concerns in the West, where governments started to see that the dissolution of the state was quite possible. The diplomatic channels were activated. EU and Russian representatives began making frequent visits in order to work out some compromises. At the end of the day, they didn’t include a referendum, but a process was agreed on to transfer power to Yushchenko. The compromise worked like this: Yushchenko got the green light at the election, and his win in the runoff was accepted by the opponents. In return, he agreed to change the constitution and have presidential privileges reduced as of January 1, 2005, thus turning Ukraine into a parliamentary republic. The local governments in the South-East wrapped up their plans. 

One Step Closer to the Abyss

As time went on, everyone felt comfortable forgetting about the convention of ‘federalists’ in Severodonetsk and the programs announced by the local governments in the South-East. They were only recalled when attempts were made to blackmail or jail the local big wigs. One shouldn’t underestimate the significance of those events, however. It was the very first time the South-East made it clear what its response was to “patriots” in Kiev trying to seize power and disregard the opinion of half the country’s population while they were at it. Back then, there were no consequences because the parties to the conflict worked out a solution based on compromise, while Russia abstained from backing and pushing Yanukovych.

A little later, however, the members of the Severodonetsk rally came under severe pressure. A criminal charge was launched against Evgeny Kushnarev – a famous member of the Party of Regions – on the grounds of separatism, to be dropped later. That was enough for Kushnarev to distance himself from the separatism agenda, focusing instead on regional issues. In 2005, he “engaged,” as he called it, Yanukovych by merging his New Democracy platform into the Party of Regions. The two politicians ran together in the parliamentary elections in 2006. It was Kushnarev who addressed the items on the election program the most, including the issue of the status of the Russian language.

In January 2007, Kushnarev was severely wounded during a wolf hunt in the Izyum district of Kharkov Region. He was shot by one of his friends, who had joined him for the hunt. A day later, Kushnarev died in spite of two surgeries. He was regarded as the leading anti-Maidan spokesman and a pro-Russian candidate for presidency.

The events of those years – Maidan, federalization attempts in southeastern Ukraine and the death of a popular champion of Russia and federalism, Evgeny Kushnarev – marked the end of the first era in the history of an independent Ukraine. The people in power, Kuchma included, were anything but impeccable. They had a lot to answer for. But they were forged in the Soviet era and they had a sense of responsibility for their country and understood how complex the situation really was in Ukraine and abroad.

During that period, politicians avoided any radical steps and tried to resolve conflicts through compromise. But when Yushchenko came to power, he abandoned this approach and attempted to impose on Ukraine an agenda that was alien to millions of its citizens. Aggressive ‘Ukrainianization’ and a policy aimed at distancing the country from Russia eventually resulted in mounting tensions and a protracted political crisis. 

All of that has brought Ukraine to its present state – a country plagued by domestic political crises and economic instability, a nation suffering territorial loss and ravaged by an armed conflict in the southeast that began in 2014. Today, Ukrainians look back on the period, which ended in 2004, as the last peaceful era in Ukraine’s modern history. Kiev’s failure to draw the right conclusions from the ‘Severodonetsk case’ contributed to the tragedy Ukraine experienced in 2014. Ukrainian society was never able to bridge its internal divide, and the revolution that came a decade later only split the country further, leading to the loss of Crimea and a bloody war in Donbass.

By Alexander Nepogodin, аn Odessa-born political journalist, expert on Russia and the former Soviet Union.

‘Rationality is Not Permitted’: Chomsky on Russia, Ukraine and the Price of Media Censorship

June 23, 2022

By Ramzy Baroud

One of the reasons that Russian media has been completely blocked in the West, along with the unprecedented control and censorship over the Ukraine war narrative, is the fact that western governments simply do not want their public to know that the world is vastly changing.

Ignorance might be bliss, arguably in some situations, but not in this case. Here, ignorance can be catastrophic as western audiences are denied access to information about a critical situation that is affecting them in profound ways and will most certainly impact the world’s geopolitics for generations to come.

The growing inflation, an imminent global recession, a festering refugee crisis, a deepening food shortage crisis and much more are the kinds of challenges that require open and transparent discussions regarding the situation in Ukraine, the NATO-Russia rivalry and the responsibility of the West in the ongoing war.

To discuss these issues, along with the missing context of the Russia-Ukraine war, we spoke with Professor Noam Chomsky, believed to be the greatest living intellectual of our time.

Chomsky told us that it “should be clear that the (Russian) invasion of Ukraine has no (moral) justification.” He compared it to the US invasion of Iraq, seeing it as an example of “supreme international crime.” With this moral question settled, Chomsky believes that the main ‘background’ of this war, a factor that is missing in mainstream media coverage, is “NATO expansion”.

“This is not just my opinion,” said Chomsky, “it is the opinion of every high-level US official in the diplomatic services who has any familiarity with Russia and Eastern Europe. This goes back to George Kennan and, in the 1990s, Reagan’s ambassador Jack Matlock, including the current director of the CIA; in fact, just everybody who knows anything has been warning Washington that it is reckless and provocative to ignore Russia’s very clear and explicit red lines. That goes way before (Vladimir) Putin, it has nothing to do with him; (Mikhail) Gorbachev, all said the same thing. Ukraine and Georgia cannot join NATO, this is the geostrategic heartland of Russia.”

Though various US administrations acknowledged and, to some extent, respected the Russian red lines, the Bill Clinton Administration did not. According to Chomsky, “George H. W. Bush … made an explicit promise to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand beyond East Germany, perfectly explicit. You can look up the documents. It’s very clear. Bush lived up to it. But when Clinton came along, he started violating it. And he gave reasons. He explained that he had to do it for domestic political reasons. He had to get the Polish vote, the ethnic vote. So, he would let the so-called Visegrad countries into NATO. Russia accepted it, didn’t like it but accepted it.”

“The second George Bush,” Chomsky argued, “just threw the door wide open. In fact, even invited Ukraine to join over, despite the objections of everyone in the top diplomatic service, apart from his own little clique, Cheney, Rumsfeld (among others). But France and Germany vetoed it.”

However, that was hardly the end of the discussion. Ukraine’s NATO membership remained on the agenda because of intense pressures from Washington.

“Starting in 2014, after the Maidan uprising, the United States began openly, not secretly, moving to integrate Ukraine into the NATO military command, sending heavy armaments and joining military exercises, military training and it was not a secret. They boasted about it,” Chomsky said.

What is interesting is that current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “was elected on a peace platform, to implement what was called Minsk Two, some kind of autonomy for the eastern region. He tried to implement it. He was warned by right-wing militias that if he persisted, they’d kill him. Well, he didn’t get any support from the United States. If the United States had supported him, he could have continued, we might have avoided all of this. The United States was committed to the integration of Ukraine within NATO.”

The Joe Biden Administration carried on with the policy of NATO expansion. “Just before the invasion,” said Chomsky, “Biden … produced a joint statement … calling for expanding these efforts of integration. That’s part of what was called an ‘enhanced program’ leading to the mission of NATO. In November, it was moved forward to a charter, signed by the Secretary of State.”

Soon after the war, “the United States Department acknowledged that they had not taken Russian security concerns into consideration in any discussions with Russia. The question of NATO, they would not discuss. Well, all of that is provocation. Not a justification but a provocation and it’s quite interesting that in American discourse, it is almost obligatory to refer to the invasion as the ‘unprovoked invasion of Ukraine’. Look it up on Google, you will find hundreds of thousands of hits.”

Chomsky continued, “Of course, it was provoked. Otherwise, they wouldn’t refer to it all the time as an unprovoked invasion. By now, censorship in the United States has reached such a level beyond anything in my lifetime. Such a level that you are not permitted to read the Russian position. Literally. Americans are not allowed to know what the Russians are saying. Except, selected things. So, if Putin makes a speech to Russians with all kinds of outlandish claims about Peter the Great and so on, then, you see it on the front pages. If the Russians make an offer for a negotiation, you can’t find it. That’s suppressed. You’re not allowed to know what they are saying. I have never seen a level of censorship like this.”

Regarding his views of the possible future scenarios, Chomsky said that “the war will end, either through diplomacy or not. That’s just logic. Well, if diplomacy has a meaning, it means both sides can tolerate it. They don’t like it, but they can tolerate it. They don’t get anything they want, they get something. That’s diplomacy. If you reject diplomacy, you are saying: ‘Let the war go on with all of its horrors, with all the destruction of Ukraine, and let’s let it go on until we get what we want.’”

By ‘we’, Chomsky was referring to Washington, which simply wants to “harm Russia so severely that it will never be able to undertake actions like this again. Well, what does that mean? It’s impossible to achieve. So, it means, let’s continue the war until Ukraine is devastated. That’s US policy.”

Most of this is not obvious to western audiences simply because rational voices are “not allowed to talk” and because “rationality is not permitted. This is a level of hysteria that I have never seen, even during the Second World War, which I am old enough to remember very well.”

While an alternative understanding of the devastating war in Ukraine is disallowed, the West continues to offer no serious answers or achievable goals, leaving Ukraine devastated and the root causes of the problem in place. “That’s US policy”, indeed.

(The interview with Noam Chomsky was conducted jointly with Italian journalist, Romana Rubeo)

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the BBC TV channel, St Petersburg, June 16, 2022

June 18, 2022

Ed Note:  This transcript is not complete and we will issue an update when it is completed.  We post it now because of the renewed DDoS attacks on Russian infrastructure.

In addition, Mr Lavrov had two more quite serious interviews.  They are available here:


https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1818228/

Question: Did President Putin, before taking the decision and announcing the start of what he calls a special military operation, consult you on whether he should?

Sergey Lavrov: Every country has a decision-making mechanism. In that case, the mechanism existing in the Russian Federation was fully employed.

Question: Did he consult you?

Sergey Lavrov: Again, there are things we do not speak about publicly. There is a mechanism for taking decisions. It was followed in full.

Question: I am asking because you have been foreign minister for 18 years, and invading a sovereign neighbouring state is a foreign matter. The President surely assumed that there would be international repercussions. I thought he would consult you.

Sergey Lavrov: You are an experienced journalists well-aware of the realities in Russia, around Russia, and in the post-Soviet space. Your question seeks to cancel everything prior to February 24 of this year. For eight years, we had been promoting the necessity of implementing the Minsk agreements, unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council, with the help of our intelligence agencies, Foreign Ministry, and Defence Ministry.

Throughout those eight years, we were insisting that Donetsk and Lugansk (which initially, as you may remember, in 2014, declared their independence in response to the neo-Nazi coup d’etat in Kiev) should sign the Minsk agreements, which guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. When nowadays Chancellor Olaf Scholz claims that Russia must be forced to reach agreements with Ukraine, agreements that would respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Ukrainian state, I have a feeling that he is not of this world but someone from “outer space.” Because all those eight years we were trying to ensure the implementation of agreements which guaranteed the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state.

Question: But the situation changed four months ago …

Sergey Lavrov: The situation has not changed. We are going back to what the Minsk agreements were coordinated for: protecting Russians in Donbass, who have been betrayed by the French and Germans. The British also played a leading role. All our Western colleagues kept saying they were unable to make Kiev honour the Minsk agreements.

Question: If the goal is to protect Russians in Donbass, why have more civilians been killed in the DPR and LPR in the four months since the start of the special military operation than in all of last year?

Sergey Lavrov: Did you also watch German ARD television and the main French TV channel, which declared recently that a maternity clinic and a marketplace had been shelled by the Russian army killing dozens of civilians? They declared without any qualms that this had been done by the Russian military. Just like they claimed some time ago that a railway station in Kramatorsk had been hit by Russia. Although the Western journalists proved that the missile had come from the territory controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Question: Last year, eight civilians were killed in the LPR and DPR, and seven the year before. While every death is a tragedy, that did not constitute the genocide Russian officials often invoke. With these numbers in mind, can you say that invading Ukraine was a reasonable decision?

Sergey Lavrov: We did not invade Ukraine. We announced a special military operation after being left with no other means to make it clear to the West that it is engaging in criminal activity by dragging Ukraine into NATO, by coddling and doting on a neo-Nazi regime, whose president Vladimir Zelensky said in September 2021 (you didn’t tell your viewers about it, did you?) that, if someone in Ukraine feels Russian, they should leave for Russia. He said that publicly. When a CNN correspondent told him that the Azov Regiment was listed as an extremist and terrorist organisations by some Western countries, the US, and Japan, Vladimir Zelensky shrugged his shoulders and said they had many such battalions and regiments, and they were what they were.

Question: Let’s look at the consequences. Four months have passed. The result: thousands of civilians have been killed; over 14 million Ukrainians have fled their homes; Russian troops sustained considerable losses and a host of sanctions have been imposed on Russia. Do you still call it the right decision?

Sergey Lavrov: I will tell you again: we didn’t have any other choice. We have explained this many times, a thousand times. Today, the Ukrainian regime is attacking civilians with your Western weapons just like they did in 2014 when the putschists came to power, when the centre of Lugansk was bombed by aircraft and 50 people were burned alive in Odessa. Does anyone recall this now?

Question: If you didn’t attack, there wouldn’t have been any weapons from the West.

Sergey Lavrov: We didn’t attack anyone. Russians were attacked in Ukraine. Imagine you are English. English or Scottish?

Question: I mentioned the figures to you. Eight dead in the past year, seven…

Sergey Lavrov: I am telling you that the Ukrainian regime is bombing its own population and you are selling weapons to it so it can continue doing this. Now about genocide. Are you English? What if Ireland (not Northern Ireland but the Republic of Ireland) banned the English language? How would the English feel?

Question: They wouldn’t invade Ireland for certain.

Sergey Lavrov: Wouldn’t you feel humiliated? The Russian language is banned in Ukraine. Try to speak Russian in a street in Kiev when young people with a certain look are walking there.

Question:Why do you consider NATO a threat? Why do people in Russia often talk about five waves of NATO’s expansion?

Sergey Lavrov: I think that NATO is a threat because we have been close friends with Serbians for a long time. They told us what the North Atlantic Alliance is about. The Afghans with whom we maintain relations in Afghanistan (and that includes practically all ethnic groups) also told us about the alliance and how it bombed wedding ceremonies. Just because these pilots wondered why some people had got together. They must be bombed, just in case.

I will explain to you why NATO is a threat. Talk to citizens of Iraq and Libya. Their countries were razed to the ground. After this, NATO still claims to be a defensive alliance. We are told not to worry, that Ukraine’s accession to NATO wouldn’t pose a threat to the Russian Federation. This is what we were told. With all due respect for our colleagues from the North Atlantic Alliance, I must say that Russia has the right to decide for itself what threatens its security and what does not.

Question: There were no NATO troops in Eastern Europe before the annexation of Crimea in 2014…

Sergey Lavrov: Moreover, there was no annexation of Crimea, either.

Question: As a result of Crimea’s annexation, there appeared 4,500 troops in 2016, and 40,000 after February 24, 2022. This is the result of Russia’s actions.

Sergey Lavrov: You are a clever man. These are facts. I will cite different facts for you. Your entire analysis is based on “cancel culture.” You are changing everything that preceded the event that you call an invasion or annexation. What happened in Ukraine on February 21, 2014? What we call a coup d’etat. How do you call it?

Question: I was the first to ask you. How do you call it?

Sergey Lavrov: I’ve already said that this was a coup d’etat that took place the morning after France, Poland and Germany affixed their signatures under the agreement between the then president and the opposition leaders. In the morning, the opposition leaders spat in the faces of Germany, France and Poland which  swallowed it. We called this a coup d’etat. And how did you call it?

Question: Do events of eight years ago give you the right to do what you are doing?

Sergey Lavrov: This is not about the right. I want to hear your honest response. We called it a coup d’etat. How do you call it in Britain?

Question: I wanted to ask you about this.

Sergey Lavrov: I want to understand your logic because if you want me to give you clear answers you must clearly explain to me what you are talking about.

Question: I want to grasp your logic. You say that NATO is a threat. Now you are saying that there is too much NATO on Russian borders. And yet now “there is even more NATO” as a result of Russia’s actions. Finland and Sweden are joining the alliance.

Sergey Lavrov: Finland and Sweden have long been subordinate to the Anglo-Saxons as the EU and NATO have drawn closer together. The EU has lost its meaning.

Question: Is the fact that Finland and Sweden are becoming NATO members a failure of Russian diplomacy?

Sergey Lavrov: Sweden and Finland are exercising their sovereign right and they are acting according to their governments’ decisions. They also are not overly concerned with public opinion, just as they didn’t concern themselves with public opinion in different countries as they carried out the objectives set by NATO.

Question: Does that mean it is not a threat to Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: We shall see how it will end. When and if Sweden and Finland join NATO, we will see what will go into effect on the ground. Whether weapons are delivered there and new contingents deployed. That said, I assure you that nobody is going to listen to either Europeans, or Finland or Sweden. They are telling us now that they will have no foreign troops or military bases. Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that the US intends to increase its military presence in Europe, they have not yet decided if it will be permanent, rotational or permanent-rotational. He never said the EU should be consulted. He does not want to hear from European allies. He just decided, and announced that decisions will be made in Washington.

Question: Russia says that Ukraine is fighting Nazis.

Sergey Lavrov: Ukraine is not fighting Nazis. Nazism is flourishing in Ukraine.

Question: Listen to what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says. She spoke in May following a monitoring mission and said that the Russian military kept 360 people including 74 children and 5 disabled persons for 28 days in a school basement in the village of Yagodnoye, Chernigov Region, without a toilet and water. Ten elderly people died. Is this fighting Nazism?

Sergey Lavrov: International bureaucrats, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and, to my immense disappointment, the UN Secretary-General and many other UN representatives, are being put under pressure by the West and are often being used to amplify fake news spread by the West.

Question: So Russia is squeaky clean, isn’t it?

Sergey Lavrov: Russia is not squeaky clean. Russia is what it is. And we are not ashamed of showing who we are.

May I inquire with you to better understand your media outlet’s policy on the Bucha tragedy? Did you report on the frame-up job in Bucha? You definitely said it had been carried out by Russia, right? The Guardian newspaper published in London later got preliminary forensic results which showed that most people whose dead bodies were shown by all the world’s TV channels got their wounds from artillery shrapnel.

Question:  Why do you ask? We have little time.

Sergey Lavrov: We have little time but you do not want to tell me why you keep saying untruths, to put it mildly. I asked you a question about how the BBC had covered the events in Bucha.

Question:  I wasn’t in Bucha. I am in Russia and this is why I am asking you about Russia’s position. The purpose of the operation as it was stated by President Putin back then is regime change, isn’t it?

Sergey Lavrov: The purpose of the operation is to protect the rights of Russians which have been blatantly ignored not only by the Kiev regime but also by the entire West and the civilised community which refused to implement the Minsk Agreements.

If you did not want to secure the rights of the Russians in Donbass through Kiev’s adherence to a UNSC resolution, we will ensure the rights of Russians ourselves. That is what we are doing.

Question: On February 25 of this year, Vladimir Putin addressed Ukrainian soldiers and urged them to take power in their hands because it would be easier for Russia to come to terms with them than with this gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis in Kiev. This sounds like a direct call for a military rebellion.

Sergey Lavrov: No, it sounds like a direct call for fulfilling their military duty instead of serving Nazis who are cancelling everything that their regime doesn’t like, including Russian education, culture and media. They didn’t cancel BBC because you haven’t told the truth about what was happening there for eight years. I asked you a question: Did you or any of your BBC colleagues go to Donbass during the eight years when Kiev soldiers were bombing civilians there?

Question: Over the course of six years, the BBC had many times contacted the leadership in the separatist-run areas asking for permission to go and see what was happening. We were refused entry every single time. I think if genocide had really taken place there, they would have been interested in letting us come and see but no. Why were we denied entry?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t know why you were denied entry. Our journalists worked there 24/7 and showed the results of bombing by Kiev battalions. You should have gone to the Ukrainian side of the contact line. They do not have such destruction there.

Question: Recently, your President praised Peter the Great for reclaiming primordial Russian territories and even added that “to return and strengthen is also our lot.” How many more territories and what territories are you going to reclaim?

Sergey Lavrov: President Vladimir Putin said it all. I have nothing to add. I will tell you again: you want to forget everything that preceded this event. You deny, cancel and do not want to hear what happened before February 24 of this year, what happened before the voting in Crimea. You cannot accept that we are very patient. But when our patience runs out, we respond to rudeness and the humiliation of the Russian people, like the coup in February 2014 when power was taken by people who cancelled the regional status of the Russian language and were going to oust Russians from Crimea (they sent armed people there). What did BBC report about this? Nothing at all. You said this was a normal democratic process.

Question: Can you say categorically that Russia won’t launch another special operation and won’t invade neighbouring territories?

Sergey Lavrov: We believed words for a very long time. Your comrades-in-arms, your compatriots together with other members of the North Atlantic Alliance solemnly proclaimed a principle of indivisible security where nobody has the right to enhance their security at the expense of the security of others. When we said that NATO’s five expansions undermines our security, we were simply ignored. Now President of France Emmanuel Macron said they must talk to Russia and should not humiliate the Russians. Do you know who replied to him? Some Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky. He said Macron didn’t understand anything, implying that Russians must be humiliated. What is your attitude to this?

Question: I want to ask you about the Brits who recently got a death sentence …

Sergey Lavrov: You should do an interview in the Donetsk People’s Republic about it.

Question: Russia is the only country that recognises the DPR.

Sergey Lavrov: No, it is not the only one, several more countries have recognised them.

Question: I think the DPR has a lot of influence in Russia.

Sergey Lavrov: We are friends and allies.

Question: In the eyes of the West, Russia is responsible for these people. Do you think the death sentence …

Sergey Lavrov: I am not interested in the “eyes of the West” at all. I am only interested in international law, according to which mercenaries are not combatants. So nothing in your eyes matters.

Question: They are not mercenaries, they were serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Sergey Lavrov: This should be determined by the court.

Question: Do you think the court there is independent?

Sergey Lavrov: I am confident they have independent courts there. Do you think your courts are independent? After Alexander Litvinenko’s death your “independent” court announced “public process,” that is, had the case classified. You did the same with the Skripals. That’s your law.

Question: Did the UK government contact you about the fate of these boys?

Sergey Lavrov: I have no information about their contacting us. They are used to doing everything publicly. They began saying they are worried about the fate of their subjects. I do not know if they contacted us or not. They should contact the DPR.

Question: How would you characterise relations with the UK now? Saying they are bad would be putting it mildly.

Sergey Lavrov: I think there is no room for manoeuvre left in the relationship. Boris Johnson and Elizabeth Truss say publicly that they must defeat Russia and bring it to its knees. Come on, do it!

Question: How does Moscow view Great Britain now?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a country which is once again sacrificing the interests of its people for the sake of politicians’ ambitions, who only think about the next election and nothing else.

Question: You criticise the countries, which are supplying weapons to Kiev. Who is more to blame – the countries supplying weapons to a country, which is defending its lands, or the country that has attacked it?

Sergey Lavrov: How is it defending its lands, when it bombs its own citizens? Let me remind you once again: Vladimir Zelensky said in September 2021 that those who think in Russian and feel they are Russian should beat it back to Russia. Why don’t you talk about that? Why do you ignore past events? Now, when they are shelling their own cities, towns, markets, maternity homes, and hospitals – everything is all right [with you]. You ask me why Russia is waging a “war” – in response to what we are showing. If they do not show in Britain the aftermath of the [Ukrainian] shelling of Donetsk, Kramatorsk and other places, you can certainly watch it here. Do you report anything on that?

Question: You said that you are defending Donbass and the people in Donbass. I told you that since the start of the operation twenty times more people had died …

Sergey Lavrov: And I told you that those people are being killed by neo-Nazis. I ask you: Do you show the results of the AFU’s shelling of towns and villages? Or you don’t show them in your reports? You don’t show it, correct? That is why you want to squeeze some words of regret from me about the current developments so as to send a report to London and use my words to back up the false version of events in Ukraine, which you keep broadcasting.

Question: You are wrong about that.

Sergey Lavrov: Being in Moscow, you cannot fail to see what journalists in Donbass are showing, what is happening as a result of [Ukrainian] artillery attacks on  peaceful towns and civilians. Do you report on that or not?

Question: I want to ask you…

Sergey Lavrov: So that means you don’t.

Question: I have been in Russia for almost 30 years. I have toured the country. The phrase I heard most in the villages and cities I visited was “if only there is no war.” I understand that your country suffered terrible losses, that is why it beggars belief that your country has “unleashed a war” in Ukraine. I don’t understand why it was needed. To ruin Ukraine and the future of your own country?

Sergey Lavrov: I got your point. You have no problems with understanding the political course pursued by Kiev in the past ten years – to cancel anything Russian – do you? You think “if only there is no war” means a possibility to humiliate Russians and Russia (as the Czech foreign minister said replying to Emmanuel Macron who had spoken out against humiliating the Russians). For some reason, nobody is speaking about that. You grabbed what you needed for your line, for the narrative of your broadcasts.

The phrase “if only  there is no war” is deeply ingrained in the Russian people. But it also has pride ingrained, what we call self-respect, which they are trying to take away from all the Russians in Ukraine, with your support.

To be continued…

Have Europeans Been Profoundly Deceived?

17/06/2022

Written by Eric ZUESSE 

During the period from 28 April to 11 May of 2022, the European Council on Foreign Relations polled 8,172 respondents who were in ten European countries, on the question “Who is mainly responsible for the outbreak of the war in Ukraine?” and here were the options that were presented:

“Russia”

“Ukraine, the EU, or the US”

“None of these”

“Don’t know”

And these were the poll’s results, which the ECFR published on June 15th:

all surveyed countries

73% Russia

15% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Finland

90% Russia

5% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Great Britain

83% Russia

5% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Poland

83% Russia

10% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Sweden

83% Russia

10% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Portugal

81% Russia

9% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Spain

76% Russia

14% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Germany

66% Russia

20% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

France

62% Russia

18% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Romania

58% Russia

21% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Italy

56% Russia

27% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Here is the actual historical evidence regarding the question that was polled:

coup occurred in Ukraine during February 2014 under the cover of pro-EU demonstrations that the U.S. Government had been organizing ever since at least June 2011, which U.S. coup even top officials in the EU didn’t know about until they found out about it on 26 February 2014, right after this illegal coup had been successfully completed, and which coup shocked them to discover, but they kept silent about it instead of exposing it to the world. (This coup was subsequently called “the most blatant coup in history”, by the head of the ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor.)

The main evidence of the coup was a phone-conversation on 27 January 2014 between U.S. President Barack Obama’s appointee to plan and run the coup, Victoria Nuland, speaking to Obama’s appointed Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt in Kiev, in which Nuland selected whom for Pyatt to get appointed to lead the post-coup Ukraine. Here is that phone-conversation, and here is its transcript along with explanations (to enable understanding of whom she was referring to in it, and why).

The second main evidence displayed that it was a specifically U.S. Government coup (and that the EU were merely America’s vassal-nations who didn’t know about it until it was already over) was a phone-conversation between the EU’s Foreign-Affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, and her investigator in Ukraine reporting to her from Kiev on 26 February 2014, to tell her what he had found had actually happened there, Urmas Paet. Here is that phone-conversation, and here is its transcript along with explanations (to enable understanding of what he was telling her, and of what her response to it indicated — that though it was a disappointment to her, she wouldn’t let the fact that it had been a coup affect EU policies).

And here is yet more evidence. It indicates that the main purpose of the coup was for the U.S. ultimately to place its nuclear missiles on Ukraine’s border a mere five-minute-missile-flight-distance away from being able to nuke Moscow in order to prevent Russia from being able to retaliate against a planned blitz-U.S. nuclear attack. And it also documents that a more immediate U.S. goal was to steal Russia’s major naval base, which is in Crimea, and to turn it into a U.S. naval base. But Russia was able to block that part of the plan. However, the main objective, to place U.S. missiles five minutes away from Moscow, remains unwavering.

On 17 December 2021, Russia delivered to both the U.S. Government and its NATO anti-Russian alliance Russia’s red-line demands to stop further aggressing against Russia; and, on 7 January 2022, both America and its NATO finally and clearly said no to those demands (which were basically for U.S./NATO finally to honor its verbal commitments on the basis of which Mikhail Gorbachev had ended the Soviet Union in 1991). On February 24th, Russia invaded Ukraine, in order to prevent U.S. nuclear missiles from ever being posted in Ukraine, just five minutes away, at the nearest place anywhere, to Moscow on Russia’s borders.

This was like the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, but this time with America posing the unacceptable nuclear threat (not the Soviet Union) — and just five minutes away (instead of being 30 minutes away).

The U.S., and its “Special Relationship” partner UK, are now trying to replace NATO by an alliance of only rabidly anti-Russian countries that border on Russia, in order for the U.S. to become allowed to place its missiles in Ukraine, so as to checkmate Russia and make it, too, become a part of the U.S. empire.

Does all of this evidence prove that Europeans have been profoundly deceived? How can it not? Have not even the most stringent of standards for a criminal conviction been met in this particular case? In addition, there have been participants in the coup who have publicly admitted that it was a coup (even though they didn’t know what the top of it had been). What more evidence could possibly be needed in order to conclude that Europeans have been profoundly deceived?

So, please spread this article (with its linked-to evidences) to all of your European friends and acquaintances, so that they too will know.

Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Nuland, Ukraine, instead of Kiev: Top MP Mocks Zelensky Regime’s Ploy to Rewrite History

 June 16, 2022

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JANUARY 18, 2022: Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin addresses the opening plenary meeting of the spring session. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS –осси€. ћосква. —пикер √осдумы –‘ ¬€чеслав ¬олодин выступает на первом в весенней сессии пленарном заседании √осдумы –‘. јнтон Ќоводережкин/“ј——

Taking a swipe at the Zelensky regime’s decision to rename Yury Gagarin Street in Kiev after US astronaut Neil Armstrong, Russia’s State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin took to his Telegram channel on Thursday and stated that the next logical step in Ukraine’s crusade to rewrite history should be to rename the Ukrainian capital, Nuland, after US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.

“The neo-Nazi regime, having eliminated the history of its people, turned Ukraine into a US colony. The next step for [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky should be to change the name of Kiev to Nuland (in honor of the US Under Secretary of State who was handing out cookies during the 2014 Maidan coup),” the top lawmaker noted.

He stressed that after the February 2014 coup d’etat in Ukraine “the Kiev regime has been steadily rewriting history.” “At schools and universities, they began inculcating [students] that there was no Great Patriotic War for Ukraine, but rather World War II. They replaced May 9 with May 8 ‘so it will be like in the West’,” the Duma speaker noted.

Additionally, he reiterated that Ukraine banned the symbol of victory, the ribbon of St. George “persecuting those who wear it.” “They began to glorify Nazi organizations, namely the OUN and UPA (outlawed in Russia),” the top legislator added.

Source: Agencies

The Secret American Plan to Make Russia Great Again

May 24, 2022

Source

By Dmitry Orlov

It is generally a good idea to avoid ascribing nefarious intent to actions explained by mere stupidity. But this is a case where mere stupidity cannot possibly explain the long, steady procession of foreign policy errors spanning three decades, all of them specifically aimed at strengthening Russia. It is not possible to argue that a surplus of hubris, ignorance, greed and political opportunism and a deficit of competent foreign policy analysts can produce such a result, for that would be essentially the same as arguing that some monkeys armed with drills, mills and lathes can produce a Swiss watch. But the only alternative would be to claim that there is a network of Kremlin’s agents ensconced deep within the bowels of the American Deep State and that they are all working in concert to advance Russia’s interests while meticulously maintaining plausible deniability all the while and at all levels of the operation.

Ostensibly, the plan was to weaken and destroy Russia; but then, following the Soviet collapse, Russia was weakening and destroying itself very well all by itself, no intervention needed. What’s more, every US effort to weaken and destroy Russia has made it stronger; had there existed even a most rudimentary feedback mechanism, so vast a discrepancy between policy goals and policy results would have been detected and adjustments would have been made. Superficially, this may be explained by the nature of America’s sham-democracy, where each administration can blame its failures on mistakes made by the previous administration, but the Deep State remains in power throughout, and it would simply be forced to admit to itself that there is a problem with the plan to weaken and destroy Russia after a few cycles of this unfolding fiasco. The fact that it hasn’t detected any such problem brings us full circle, back to the suspicion that there are Putin’s agents toiling tirelessly deep within the Deep State.

But that’s pure conspiracy theory and we shouldn’t want to go anywhere near that. Suffice to say, there is at present no adequate explanation for what happened. After the Soviet collapse, very little was needed to speed along the collapse of Russia itself. But none of these steps have been taken, and the steps that were taken (with the ostensible goal of weakening and destroying Russia) have done the exact opposite. Why? Below are listed 10 of the most successful initiatives of what appear to be a US Deep State MRGA campaign. If you have an alternative explanation, I’d like to hear it.

1. If Russia were immediately accepted into the World Trade Organization (which it wanted to join) it would have been swamped with cheap imports, destroying all of Russian industry and agriculture. Russia would simply sell oil, gas, timber, diamonds and its other resources and buy whatever is needed. Instead, the US and other WTO members spent 18 years negotiating Russia’s entry into the organization. By the time it joined, in 2006, very little time remained before the financial collapse of 2008, after which time the WTO hasn’t been too much of a factor.

2. If Russia were immediately granted visa-free travel to the West (as it wanted) most working-age Russians would have readily diffused out of Russia, leaving behind a population of orphans and the elderly, much as has happened with contemporary Ukraine. After losing much of its productive population, Russia would not have posed any sort of economic or military threat. Instead, Russia was never granted visa-free travel and instead faced restrictions that have only increased over time. By now most Russians have internalized the idea that they are simply not wanted in the West and that they should seek their fortune back home.

3. After the Soviet collapse, Russia itself collapsed into a loose mosaic of regional centers. Many of them (Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Urals Republic, Chechnya) entertained notions of secession. Left untouched, Russia would have devolved into a loose confederation with no ability to formulate joint foreign policy. Instead, resources and mercenaries were pumped into Chechnya, turning it into an existential threat to Moscow’s authority and forcing it to become militarily assertive. The fact that Chechen volunteers are now fighting on the Russian side in the Ukraine underscores the failure of America’s Chechnya policy.

4. If, following the Soviet collapse, NATO simply recognized that the threat it was intended to counter no longer existed and either dissolved or simply became quiescent, Russia would never have thought it necessary to rearm itself. Indeed, Russia was happily cutting up its ships and missiles for scrap metal. Instead, NATO saw it fit to bomb Yugoslavia (for a made-up humanitarian reason) and then to relentlessly expand eastward. These actions have communicated most adequately the message that it wasn’t the USSR, and Communism, that the West opposed but Russia itself. And while, by the time the 1990s rolled around, not too many Russians were eager to fight and die for the greater glory of communism, rising to the defense of Motherland is an entirely different story.

5. If Russia’s near-abroad were simply left alone, Russia would never have considered venturing outside of its already vast and underpopulated territory. But then came a provocation: acting with US sanction, Georgian forces attacked Russian peacekeepers in South Osettia during the Beijing Olympics of 2008, forcing Russia to react. The fact that Russia could demilitarize Georgia in just a few days was a major confidence boost and taught it that NATO and NATO-trained forces are soft and squishy and not much of a problem. Russian territory expanded to include South Ossetia, with Abkhazia thrown in as an added bonus, paving the way for further territorial expansion (Crimea, Donbass, Kherson… Nikolaev, Odessa…).

6. If the US left alone Syria, a close Russian ally for close to a century, Russia would not have expanded into the Mediterranean region. As it is, Syrian government invited Russia to help it turn the tide in its war against US-supported ISIS and Russia destroyed ISIS with the help of a rather small contingent of air-and-space forces at just one airbase. The action in Syria has showcased modern Russian weapons systems and has led to a 20-year backlog in weapons orders from around the world. What’s more, Russia’s allies around the world know that if the US/NATO, or their mercenaries, give them any trouble, all they have to do is whistle and Moscow will rush in with their precision bombs and neatly stack the corpses.

7. After the 2014 Kiev putsch and the re-accession of Crimea, US/Western sanctions were immensely helpful in helping jump-start a large-scale program of import replacement, rejuvenating both Russian industry and agriculture. Russia is now largely self-sufficient in food and a major food exporter. Its position as the world’s main breadbasket will be further improved by the addition of Eastern and Southern Ukrainian “black earth” regions of uniquely fertile land. The sanctions were accompanied by speculative attacks on the ruble which drove its value down from 30 to the dollar to 60 (where it stands today) making Russian products much more competitive internationally and stimulating foreign trade.

8. The endless hollow threats to block Russia from using the SWIFT interbank messaging system have prompted Russia to create its own payment system, which is now integrated with China’s. The arrest of the $300 billion Russian sovereign wealth fund that was held on deposit in Western banks, along with freezing the funds of Russian oligarchs, have taught Russians not to trust Western banks and to avoid keeping their money abroad. All of these hostile actions in the finance space have paved the way for a rather measured response that has instantly made the ruble the most valuable and stable currency on the planet, leaving the dollar and the euro vulnerable to hyperinflation.

9. The eight-year war waged by the Ukrainian army, with unquestioning US/NATO support, against the Russian civilian population in the Donbass, has produced a very specific understanding throughout Russia’s population: that the West wants to exterminate it. When the Ukrainians then declared that they want to build nuclear bombs, and when it was discovered that Pentagons bioweapons labs in the Ukraine were working on creating pathogens specifically targeting Russians, and when, finally, it became clear that it was not just the Ukrainians but all of NATO was behind it, that the Ukrainians-plus-NATO were poised to launch an all-out attack, Russia pre-empted it by launching its own Special Operation. Cynical as this may seem, the previous eight-year shelling of buildings full of old people, women and children, shown live on Russia’s nightly news but steadfastly ignored in the West, was instrumental in producing approval ratings for the Special Operation that has reached 76%, with similar ratings for Putin, his government and even many of the regional governments. Now that, Western arms shipments notwithstanding, the Ukrainian military is being whittled away at a rate that will finish it off in approximately 20 days (the calculated “Day Z”), Russia is poised to emerge as an outright victor in World War III which, just like the Cold War, which it had lost, was barely even fought. This will restore Russia’s military’s mystique of being perpetually victorious.

10. Finally, Russia should be grateful for the lavish funds provided over the years by the US and the collective West in support of free speech and freedom of the press in Russia, by which is meant pro-Western propaganda. First, it did help liberate Russia’s media space, to a point that now Russia is much more open to freedom of self-expression than any of the European countries or the US, with barely a hint of corporate censorship or cancel culture that are rampant in the West. Second, so ham-handed and overbearingly dumb was the Western propaganda onslaught that the Russians, after processing it for some years, now openly laugh at the pro-Western narrative, and opinion research agencies report Russian support for pro-Western policies only in trace amounts. The process was helped by the sheer ludicrousness of various developments in the West: cancel culture, MeToo, LGBT, child sex change operations, promotion of pedophilia and all the rest, which produced a wave of revulsion. This 180º reversal, from overwhelmingly pro-Western opinions of the early 1990s to the current situation, are a crowning achievement of the entire three-decade-long Deep State campaign to Make Russia Great Again (MRGA).

I do not wish to argue that the existence of MRGA within the US Deep State is demonstrably, provably true. But I urge you to follow Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous dictum that “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth” and let me know what you come up with.

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More Gonzalo Lira: No More Lies, No More BS

May 21, 2022

And this is the real issue:

And a little real history and situation today, that would be fine to discuss at a barbecue and probably not at a formal summit.

So How Serious is Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Romance?

May 20, 2022

Source

By Cynthia Chung

In the history of civilization, Politics has more often than not, been a matter reduceable to the question of “whose side are you on?

Granted it is not an easy affair to discern what most-nearly approaches truth in the fog of “the present.” Hindsight is 20/20 they say, although that is also not entirely true, for the interpretation of history is just another battlefield, albeit in much slower motion.

In a world of increased division, where we are told there is only black or white, the best we mere “civilians” can hope for is to not get hit by the crossfire. However, that is becoming increasingly harder to do.

It is not a matter of holding “opinion” any longer, it is about upholding a “conviction,” not earned with your own personal scrutiny and research, but by your “faith” in such a conviction and the authorities who shape it.

Increasingly, it does not truly matter what the “facts” are, but the question of “whose side are you on?

If that is what “reality” has been reduced to by those forces controlling the state, then any enemy to those forces controlling that state will be a villain, regardless of their actions, regardless of their ideology; and any ally to those forces controlling that state will be a hero, regardless of their actions, regardless of their ideology.

And thus, in our shaped reality of today, what makes a “Hero” or a “Villain” will be determined by the simple question “whose side are you on?

If this is troubling to you, I suggest we do a little exercise together. Let us dare to discern the “facts” for ourselves. Only then, will we cease being mere cheerleaders for a team; only then, can we qualify ourselves to ask in all honest sincerity, “whose side are we truly on?”

Are Nazis Now the New “Good Guys”?

There is a bit of mixed messaging that has been going on, especially in the last few weeks. Are there significant numbers of Nazis in Ukraine and are these “bad” or “good” Nazis in the context that they are fighting the Russian “invaders”?

In one breath we hear the counter, how can there be Nazis in Ukraine when there is a Jewish President calling the shots? In another breath we hear Facebook is now allowing users to praise the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion while they are fighting Russians. In yet another breath we hear, well its complicated, Ukrainian Nationalism should be considered at the forefront of any debate, even if it overlaps with Nazi ideology.

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On Feb. 27, 2022, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland held a scarf bearing the slogan “Slava Ukraini,” meaning “Glory to Ukraine,” with the “Blood and Soil” colors of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) (who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII and massacred thousands of Jews and Poles).

She then proceeded to post this picture onto her Twitter account (replacing it hours later with a picture of her without the “Blood and Soil” scarf) and accused her detractors of “reeking of Russian disinformation”. This controversial picture of Freeland was reported by Canada’s National Post.

According to Freeland’s press secretary, this was just another case of a “classic KGB disinformation smear… accusing Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Canadians of being far right extremists or fascists or Nazis,” which is a confusing statement on multiple levels.

It is not clear how this is a case of “Russian disinformation,” since the picture is indeed authentic, Freeland does not deny this. And she is indeed holding a “Blood and Soil” emblem, which originated with the Nazis, clear for everyone to see. Lastly, it is confusing as to why the Canadian government seems to be unaware that the KGB no longer exists. Are they also under the impression that the Soviet Union still exists?

Not irrelevant in all of this is the fact that Freeland’s grandfather was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper during WWII in Galicia and that she is indeed aware of this and apparently unapologetic. Whenever she is questioned about this, she does not deny anything, but simply blames such a focus of inquiry on Russian disinformation with the intent to “destabilize Western democracies.” That is, it is not a question of what is one’s historical or ideological background, but a question of “whose side are you on?

Interestingly, it was the Canadian newspaper “The Globe and Mail” who reported this story, titled “Freeland knew her grandfather was editor of Nazi newspaper,” thus, not a Russian publication last time I checked. And upon whom did they base such information? None other than Freeland’s own uncle, John-Paul Himka, who is now professor emeritus at the University of Alberta.

According to the Globe and Mail, Freeland was aware for more than two decades that her grandfather Michael Chomiak, was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper that vilified Jews and supported the Nazi cause.

Globe and Mail writes:

“Krakivski Visti [Krakow News] was set up in 1940 by the German army and supervised by German intelligence officer Emil Gassert. Its printing presses and offices were confiscated by the Germans from a Jewish publisher, who was later murdered at the Belzec concentration camp.

The article titled ‘Kravivski Visti and the Jews, 1943: A contribution of Ukrainian Jewish Relations during the Second World War’ was written by Ms. Freeland’s uncle, John-Paul Himka, now professor emeritus at the University of Alberta.

In the foreword to the article, Prof. Himka credits Ms. Freeland for ‘pointing out problems and clarifications.’ Ms. Freeland has never acknowledged that her grandfather was a Nazi collaborator and suggested on Monday that the allegation was part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

In 1996, Prof. Himka wrote about Mr. Chomiak’s work for Kravivski Visti, a Ukrainian-language newspaper based in Krakow that often published anti-Jewish diatribes including ‘certain passages in some of the articles that expressed approval of what the Nazis were doing to the Jews.’” [emphasis added]

Oddly, Freeland helped to edit and clarify Prof. Himka’s article discussing her grandfather as the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper, however, refused to acknowledge her grandfather’s role publicly and accused any reference to this as part of a “Russian disinformation campaign.” According to this topsy-turvy logic, Freeland’s uncle, Prof. Himka is part of this “Russian disinformation campaign,” and she is guilty of providing assistance to this “Russian disinformation campaign,” all to ruin her political career and “destabilize Western democracies.”

Freeland also told her uncle, Prof. Himka, which is included in his article, that according to her father, her grandfather Michael Chomiak was also working to some extent with the anti-Nazi resistance. However, Prof. Himka was unable to verify this information, which he described as “fragmentary and one-sided.”

This past April, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova delivered an explosive response to Chrystia Freeland’s recent obnoxious efforts to ban Russia from all international organizations and financial institutions, revealing the real sort of work Freeland’s grandfather was in the business of. You can read the full speech here.

Then there is the strange case of NATO tweeting in celebration of international women’s day, this past March 8, a picture of a female Ukrainian soldier wearing the Black Sun symbol which is tied to Nazi occultism, and Satanism. NATO wrote in their post “All women and girls must live free and equal,” sending a very mixed message. NATO also ended up taking down their picture of the Black Sun symbol.

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The timing of Freeland and NATO’s twitter posts are most strange. It also begs the question, why post something at all if you are just going to delete it? Is this just a matter of not being aware of such things, or is it a matter of certain groupings getting increasingly bolder and unapologetic as to where their true allegiance lies? Has Chrystia Freeland or NATO undergone any real questioning or backlash for such public displays? Not really.

Fact Checking the “Fact-Checkers” on Ukraine

Before we go through the situation of Ukraine today, I wanted to share with you a very relevant story of how the CIA buys News.

Udo Ulfkotte was a well-known German journalist and author of numerous books. He worked for 25 years as a journalist, 17 of which were for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), including his role as editor. In his 2014 book “Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys News,” Ulfkotte goes over how the CIA along with German Intelligence (BND) were guilty of bribing journalists to write articles that either spun the truth or were completely fictitious in order to promote a pro-western, pro-NATO bent, and that he was one of those bought journalists.

In an interview, Ulfkotte describes how he finally built up the nerve to publish the book, after years of it collecting dust, in response to the erupting 2014 crisis in Ukraine stating:

I felt that the right time had come to finish it and publish it, because I am deeply worried about the Ukrainian crisis and the possible devastating consequences for all of Europe and all of us…I am not at all pro-Russia, but it is clear that many journalists blindly follow and publish whatever the NATO press office provides. And this type of information and reports are completely one-sided”. [emphasis added]

In another interview Ulfkotte stated:

it is clear as daylight that the agents of various Services were in the central offices of the FAZ, the place where I worked for 17 years. The articles appeared under my name several times, but they were not my intellectual product. I was once approached by someone from German Intelligence and the CIA, who told me that I should write about Gaddafi and report how he was trying to secretly build a chemical weapons factory in Libya. I had no information on any of this, but they showed me various documents, I just had to put my name on the article. Do you think this can be called journalism? I don’t think so.

Ulfkotte has publicly stated:

I am ashamed of it. The people I worked for knew from the get-go everything I did. And the truth must come out. It’s not just about FAZ, this is the whole system that’s corrupt all the way.” [emphasis added]

Udo Ulfkotte has since passed away. He died January 2017, found dead in his home, it is said by a heart attack. His body was quickly after cremated, thus preventing any possibility of an autopsy from occurring. His book has been made pretty much impossible to find available for purchase at this point.

Today’s situation concerning media reporting on Ukraine does not seem to be any different, if anything, it is much much worse.

To bolster support for the Ukrainian military, Kiev has churned out a steady stream of sophisticated propaganda aimed at stirring public and official support from Western countries.

Ukraine’s propaganda strategy earned it praise from a NATO commander who told the Washington Post, “They are really excellent in stratcom — media, info ops, and also psy-ops.” The Post ultimately conceded that “Western officials say that while they cannot independently verify much of the information that Kyiv puts out about the evolving battlefield situation, including casualty figures for both sides, it nonetheless represents highly effective stratcom.”

Dan Cohen for Mint Press News writes:

“Key to the propaganda effort is an international legion of public relations firms working directly with Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to wage information warfare. According to the industry news site PRWeek, the initiative was launched by an anonymous figure who allegedly founded a Ukraine-based public relations firm…

According to the anonymous figure, more than 150 public relations firms have joined the propaganda blitz.

The international effort is spearheaded by public relations firm PR Network co-founder Nicky Regazzoni and Francis Ingham, a top public relations consultant with close ties to the UK’s governmentIngham previously worked for Britain’s Conservative Party, sits on the UK Government Communication Service Strategy and Evaluation Council, is Chief Executive of the International Communications Consultancy Organisation, and leads the membership body for UK local government communicators, LG Comms.”

Thus, Ingham who has been a member of the UK government and continues to have very high-level connections within the British government, is playing a leading role in shaping how the Ukraine war is being represented.

Dan Cohen provides a thorough explanation of how these “PR firms” have been responsible for reporting and spreading fabricated news and that even when such reports are found conclusively to be untrue, they continue to use them nonetheless. These PR tools include propaganda graphics, which are created in order to encourage radicalisation and promotion of ultra-nationalist identity; using xenophobic and racist language (not just to Russians), outright praise of Ukrainian neo-Nazis as heroes, the idolisation of Nazi affiliated Unit-B leader Stefan Bandera, and the encouragement of violent acts against other individuals (see Cohen’s article for examples).

Why would someone like Ingham be involved in something like this? Well, if you have already read my paper on “How the Ukrainian Nationalist Movement was Bought and Paid for by the CIA Post WWII”, you will see that this is just a continuation of a several decades-long script.

If you have ever wondered who is behind the omnipotent “fact-checkers”, in the case of StopFake who have self-described themselves as such, they are funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) aka the fully-rogue department of the CIA, the Atlantic Council, the International Renaissance Foundation (funded by Open Society Foundation’s billionaire George Soros), the British Embassy in Ukraine, the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the German Marshall Fund, among others.

StopFake was hired by Facebook in March 2020 to “curb the flow of Russian propaganda” but was found to be employing multiple figures closely tied to violent neo-Nazis. This has, however, not deterred Facebook from continuing to work with StopFake.

At the end of the day, it does not seem to matter how many times these arbiters of truth are found to be wrong, for US officials have already admitted that they are literally just lying to the public about what is going on in Ukraine.

So How Serious is Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Romance?

Interestingly, the Atlantic Council itself acknowledges it is quite serious, in an article published in 2018 titled “Ukraine’s Got a Real Problem with Far-Right Violence (And No, RT Didn’t Write This Headline).”

Josh Cohen for the Atlantic Council writes [links are from the original article]:

It sounds like the stuff of Kremlin propaganda, but it’s not. Last week Hromadske Radio revealed that Ukraine’s Ministry of Youth and Sports is funding the neo-Nazi group C14 to promote “national patriotic education projects” in the country…”

Yes, you read right, C14 along with the Azov Battalion has been training children, with encouragement and funding by the Ukrainian government via Ukraine’s Ministry of Youth and Sports under the title “national patriotic education projects”, including in terror tactics.

Josh Cohen continues [links are from the original article]:

“Since the beginning of 2018, C14 and other far-right groups such as the Azov-affiliated National Militia, Right Sector, Karpatska Sich, and others have attacked Roma groups several times, as well as anti-fascist demonstrations, city council meetings, an event hosted by Amnesty International, art exhibitionsLGBT events, and environmental activists. On March 8, violent groups launched attacks against International Women’s Day marchers in cities across Ukraine. In only a few of these cases did police do anything to prevent the attacks, and in some they even arrested peaceful demonstrators rather than the actual perpetrators.”

After the March 8 2018 attacks against International Women’s Day marchers, Amnesty International wrote “Ukraine is sinking into a chaos of uncontrolled violence posed by radical groups and their total impunity. Practically no one in the country can feel safe under these conditions.”

Josh Cohen writes:

“To be clear, far-right parties like Svoboda perform poorly in Ukraine’s polls and elections, and Ukrainians evince no desire to be ruled by them. But this argument is a bit of “red herring.” It’s not extremists’ electoral prospects that should concern Ukraine’s friends, but rather the state’s unwillingness or inability to confront violent groups and end their impunity.” [emphasis added]

However, we heard it, straight from Yevhen Karas’s mouth, the leader of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi group C14, what determines who holds power in Ukraine has never really been about polls and elections.

As the famous “f*ck the EU” tape revealed to the dumbfounded world, the Ukrainian people don’t actually have a say in who runs their government. After the so-called “Revolution of Dignity” where Ukrainians literally died for “democracy,” the US went on to “influence” the roster of the newly formed Ukrainian government, specifically around members of Svoboda and Pravyi Sector (Right Sector) who held five senior roles in the new government, including the post of deputy prime minister.

But neo-Nazis have not just been receiving western support in the political sphere.

Just this past October, as a reaction to her failed diplomatic visit to Russia, Victoria Nuland, according to French journalist Thierry Meyssan, went ahead and “imposed” Dmytro Yarosh onto President Zelensky. On Nov. 2, 2021, President Zelensky appointed Dmytro Yarosh (leader of the neo-Nazi affiliated ultra-nationalist paramilitary group Right Sector 2013-2015) as Adviser to the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

This is the very same Dmytro Yarosh who has been on Interpol’s “wanted list” since 2014.

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Neo-Nazis have also received ongoing training by the CIA, British SAS (Special Air Service) as well as other NATO countries such as Canada since at least 2014. This training has continued despite Russia’s entry into Ukraine, which has been confirmed by The TimesOttawa CitizenCTV News, and Radio Canada.

The Canadian government has attempted to deny any knowledge of training neo-Nazi militants in Ukraine and have made the claim that they are not responsible for verifying who they are in fact training, but that this is the responsibility of the Ukrainian government. However, such claims of ignorance fell through when the very neo-Nazis they were training went ahead and posted pictures on their social media accounts, showcasing their neo-Nazis badges identifying them as such, plain for everyone to see.

On the same day as the untoward NATO tweet on International Women’s Day of a Ukrainian soldier with the Nazi Black Sun occult symbol, photographs appeared on NEXTA’s twitter feed showing the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion receiving training by instructors from “NATO countries” on how to use NLAW grenade launchers.

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The badge on the sidearm is that of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion

The ultra-nationalist Right Sector have also appeared in the field with UK-made NLAW launchers.

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons on March 9 that “as of today, we have delivered 3,615 NLAWs [to Ukrainian forces] and continue to deliver more. We will shortly be starting the delivery of a small consignment of anti-tank Javelin missiles as well.”

For a full list of all the weapons sent to Ukraine since 2014 by all involved countries, refer here.

For those especially adamant that neo-Nazis are not “officially” a part of the Ukrainian army, you should be informed that the Azov Battalion is part of Ukraine’s National Guard, and thus, yes it is officially part of Ukraine’s military.

Andriy Biletsky, the Azov Battalion’s first commander and later a National Corps parliamentarian previously led the neo-Nazi paramilitary organisation “Patriot of Ukraine,” and once stated in 2010 that it was the Ukrainian nation’s mission to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade… against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans].”

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In 2019, the Soufan Center, which tracks terrorist and extremist groups around the world, warned:

The Azov Battalion is emerging as a critical node in the transnational right-wing violent extremist network… [Its] aggressive approach to networking serves one of the Azov Battalion’s overarching objectives, to transform areas under its control in Ukraine into the primary hub for transnational white supremacy.

The Soufan Center described how the Azov Battalion’s “aggressive networking” reaches around the world to recruit fighters and spread its white supremacist ideology. Foreign fighters who train and fight with the Azov Battalion then return to their own countries to apply what they have learned and recruit others.

In 2014, Newsweek published an article titled “Ukrainian Nationalist Volunteers Committing ‘ISIS-Style’ War Crimes.” Is this an indication of how both the Azov and ISIS have received their funding and training from the very same sources? Hmmm.

NATO has recently gone so far as to make a short film honoring the Baltic Nazi collaborators the “Forest Brothers.” The NATO film lionises the “Forest Brothers,” former Waffen SS fighters who voluntarily collaborated with the Nazis, as anti-communist heroes.

Dovid Katz, a leading historian and anti-Nazi investigator condemned the NATO film for rewriting history:

By going beyond turning a blind eye to the worship of pro-Hitler forces in Eastern Europe…[NATO] is crossing the line right into offering its moral legitimization of Nazi forces such as the Latvian Waffen SS.” [emphasis added]

David Ignatius, the Washington Post columnist and reliable voice of the US intelligence apparatus, noted that even prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, “the United States and NATO allies [were] ready to provide weapons and training for a long battle of resistance.”

This is the very same David Ignatius who was once President of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) (aka specialists in color revolutions), who arrogantly stated in a 1991 interview that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA…The biggest difference is that when such activities are done overtly, the flap potential is close to zero. Openness is its own protection”.

I guess the NED has had a change of heart on “openness is its own protection.”

Jeremy Kuzmarov for Covert Action Magazine writes in an article titled “National Endowment for Democracy Deletes Records of Funding Projects in Ukraine” [links from the original article]:

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED)—a CIA offshoot founded in the early 1980s to advance “democracy promotion” initiatives around the world—has deleted all records of funding projects in Ukraine from their searchable “Awarded Grants Search” database.

The archived webpage captured February 25, 2022 from 14:53 shows that NED granted $22,394,281 in the form of 334 awards to Ukraine between 2014 to the present. The capture at 23:10 the same day shows “No results found” for Ukraine. As of right now, there are still “No results found” for Ukraine…

The erasure of the NED’s records is necessary to validate the Biden administration’s big lie—echoed in the media—that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was ‘unprovoked.’” [emphasis added]

Who will suffer the most in this plan for a long battle of resistance? The Ukrainian people.

If Putin’s top reason for going into Ukraine is to “denazify” the country, and the CIA, NATO and co. are persistently “nazifying” the political and military components of Ukraine, you can see how this is making a situation for peace in Ukraine impossible, and that it is the CIA and NATO that are to blame for this.

You can also understand how Ukraine’s entry into NATO was unacceptable merely by its geographic location (the distance between Ukraine’s border and Moscow is 450 km), however, add in the fact that NATO is involved in the promotion of neo-Nazi militants in Ukraine and that now both Sweden and Finland have also expressed a desire to join NATO (with no referendum since democracy is officially dead in Cold War 2.0) and we have ourselves a real sh*t storm.

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However, this is not just a threat to Russia. The reality of the situation is that Ukraine has been in a civil war these past 8 years, though the western media refuses to acknowledge this very important fact.

Ivan Katchanovski, Professor of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, told MintPress:

People who take at face value the Western media coverage would have a very distorted perception of the Ukraine conflict and its origin… They omit or deny that there is a civil war in Donbas even though the majority of scholars who [have] published or presented concerning this conflict in Western academic venues classify it as a civil war with Russian military intervention. The Western media also omitted that recent ‘unity marches’ in Kharkiv and Kyiv and a staged training of civilians, including a grandmother, were organized and led by the far right, in particular, the Neo-Nazi Azov [Battalion].”

Robert Parry from Consortium News writes [link is from original article]:

On Sunday, a Times article by Andrew E. Kramer mentioned the emerging neo-Nazi paramilitary role in the final three paragraphs…In other words, the neo-Nazi militias that surged to the front of anti-Yanukovych protests…have now been organized as shock troops dispatched to kill ethnic Russians in the east [of Ukraine] – and they are operating so openly that they hoist a Swastika-like neo-Nazi flag over one conquered village with a population of about 10,000.

Burying this information at the end of a long article is also typical of how the Times and other U.S. mainstream news outlets have dealt with the neo-Nazi problem in the past. When the reality gets mentioned, it usually requires a reader knowing much about Ukraine’s history and reading between the lines of a U.S. news account.” [emphasis added]

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In the above image which outlines the population distribution of ethnic Ukrainians and Russians within Ukraine, you can understand how an ultra-nationalist view that identifies as solely ethnic Ukrainian would be a catalyst for a civil war.

The people of Donbass have understandably asked for independence from Ukraine, yet the Ukrainian government has refused to allow this nor intervene for a peaceful resolution. What does this mean? The war can only end when one side is fully dead.

Not only is it publicly known that the US and NATO have been funding and training neo-Nazis, but they have also been supplying a massive supply of arms (as previously mentioned). It got to such a point where in 2018, Congress had to ban the United States from sending further arms to Ukraine militia linked to neo-Nazis, specifically mentioning the Azov Battalion. For some reason this ban was to only last for three years thus it is apparently fair game now?

But you may say, what about Russia’s crimes against the Ukrainian people, aren’t they far worse than even vicious neo-Nazis? Namely the bombing of the Mariupol theater and the Bucha massacre. Thorough journalistic investigations have already been done on the former, which can be found here, that conclusively shows the bombing of the Mariupol theater was a false-flag.

As for the Bucha massacre, there has been no evidence presented as of yet that conclusively proves who committed this atrocity, there have only been assertions. Recall that the chemical attacks in Syria were also full of assertions, to which investigative journalist Seymour Hersch wrote a report titled “Whose Sarin,” which conclusively proved that the popular assertions being pushed by the Obama government in their attempt to incriminate the Syrian government, were in fact false. Rather, it was pointing to the fact that the actual terrorists were the ones using sarin on the Syrian civilians, who were receiving American and co. funding and arms.

Unfortunately, time is of the essence in investigating crimes such as these, and despite the outcries of the inhumanity of such events, there is always heavy foot-dragging if not outright dismissal over an official and neutral investigation of such crime scenes. Why is this?

Russia has asked the UN Security Council for an investigation and to discuss the Bucha massacre. China has also called for an official investigation into this and has received backlash for withholding blame until all facts are known. However, an official investigation has been repeatedly refused. Why? This should be the official protocol for such matters.

Instead, the response to this was for the UN to suspend Russia from its human rights body. Thus, not only denying an official investigation, but denying Russia a voice in responding to the matter.

The disturbing elephant in the room in all of this, is that the Azov Battalion has already been found guilty of similar atrocities against its own Ukrainian people, which has been thoroughly investigated by Max Blumenthal and Esha Krishnaswamy and which can be found here (warning there is graphic content).

The Azov Battalion has also been found guilty of purposefully putting Ukrainian citizens in jeopardy by positioning their artillery and military in residential areas and buildings, including daycares and hospitals, to which even the Washington Post had to acknowledge in their misleadingly titled article “Russia has killed civilians in Ukraine. Kyiv’s defense tactics add to the danger.

However, these are not simply “defense tactics,” they are blatant war crimes that are recognised as such by international law. These war crimes are publicly acknowledged to be going on, causing the deaths of a significant number of Ukrainians. Just to be clear here, during times of war, to which the Washington Post also acknowledges, Ukrainian soldiers and weaponry are legitimate targets for the Russian military. It is not Russia that is committing the war crime here, it is the Ukrainian government. They have literally been caught using their own people as human shields.

Does this still sound like a patriotic nationalist movement for the welfare and sovereignty of the Ukrainian people?

According to an interview with Scott Ritter, former US Marine Intelligence Officer, the Russian military have made it clear that they are using “Syrian tactics” in Ukraine.

Scott Ritter explains, the Russian military’s tactic in Syria was:

“…to surround urban areas where these jihadists had been gathered, terrorizing the population, surround them and give them the opportunity to evacuate on buses with their security guaranteed by Russian military police. A soft approach that protected civilians, that protected civilian areas.”

It was this tactic that allowed the Russians along with the Syrian army to defeat ISIS and other terrorist affiliates. Today they only occupy the Idlib province. These terrorists who remain would not have been possible without Turkish support. This initiative to rid Syria of ISIS was something that the United States has clearly never been interested in supporting.

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In the image on the left the red and largely the blue represent the region controlled by terrorists, or as Obama liked to call them “moderate rebels” in the year 2017, in the image to the right the purple and grey represent the region controlled by terrorists in the year 2021. The green is the United States and co.’s illegal presence in the country.

Interestingly, when the Russians entered Syria to combat the terrorists at the behest of the Syrian government, this was also called a “Russian invasion” by certain quarters of western media. However, it was not the Russians who bombed Syrian cities to the ground, that was the good ol’ US of A.

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In the same interview, Scott Ritter stated that these very terrorists who have been stationed in Idlib are now being brought into Ukraine:

“…[Zelensky] has opened the door for illegal warriors, the mercenaries from Europe…the exploiters of conflict…[and] they brought in the jihadists…they brought in the people..[who] ostensibly want to kill Russians…It’s a poison pill…now we are going to have these jihadists, who are being armed by the way with javelin missiles and stinger missiles. Imagine what happens when a bunch of bloodthirsty jihadists take these weapons into Europe. Would you like to be the German Chancellor driving on a highway knowing that up in the hills could be a jihadist hit-team armed with javelins?…This is literally the worst kind of decision-making ever to put that much weaponry into Ukraine in an uncontrolled fashion. Even before the jihadist came in you were giving it to neo-Nazis who can’t surrender. They can’t surrender because they will be killed, rightfully so. So what do desperate people do when they can’t surrender and they don’t die? They run away with the weaponry they have. They’ll be burying it, making caches, falling back on it, continuing the futile resistance and in their anger to the West they’ll lash out at the West…that is how global terrorism is born.”

How is this in the best interest of anyone’s welfare in Europe, let alone Ukraine? It isn’t.

In November 2015, a UN resolution was brought forward condemning the glorification of Nazism. Of the total 126 member states, 53 countries including member nations of the European Union abstained from voting, four countries voted against the resolution: Canada, Palau, the United States, and Ukraine.

Why do you think that is?

Zelensky: the Enigma

Many have been especially confused as to how Ukraine can have such a serious neo-Nazi problem, when they have a Jewish President.

There is something you should know about the position of “President” of Ukraine since 2014, in a country where neo-Nazis have been made more confident than the mafia ever was, that they literally cannot be touched since they have the direct backing and protection of the United States and NATO.

When President Poroshenko (June 2014 – May 2019) negotiated the Minsk agreements in September 2014, he agreed, with Germany and France, to the special autonomous status of Donetsk and Lugansk, and that under this special condition, they would stay part of Ukraine.

According to an interview[1] with Scott Ritter, this was unacceptable to the neo-Nazis who threatened Poroshenko’s life, if such a thing were to be implemented.

The Minsk agreements were never put into action. Instead, Ukraine entered a civil war that has gone on for 8 years and continues to this day. The Minsk agreements were officially expired on February 21st, 2022, the same day that the State Duma of Russia passed a bill officially recognizing Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states. This ultimate rejection by the Ukrainian government was a clear indication that their war against Donbass would be escalated.

The situation with President Zelensky is no different.

In October 2019, President Zelensky (who assumed office in May 2019), had a recorded face-to-face confrontation with the militants from the Azov Battalion, who had launched a campaign to sabotage the peace initiative called “No to Capitulation.”

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Kyiv Post translated the conversation as such:

“’Listen, Denys [Yantar], I’m the president of this country. I’m 41 years old. I’m not a loser. I came to you and told you: remove the weapons. Don’t shift the conversation to some protests,’ Zelensky said, videos of the exchange show. As he said this, Zelensky aggressively approached Yantar, who heads the National Corps, a political offshoot of the far-right Azov volunteer battalion, in Mykolaiv city.

‘But we’ve discussed that,’ Yantar said.

‘I wanted to see understanding in your eyes. But, instead, I saw a guy who’s decided that this is some loser standing in front of him,’ Zelensky said.”

The Kyiv Post continues in their article, that this reaction by President Zelensky received a strong backlash from certain quarters of Ukraine:

“Andriy Biletsky, head of National Corps and the Azov Battalion, threatened Zelensky on his YouTube channel that more veterans would head to Zolote if the president tried to evict them from the town. ‘There will be thousands there instead of several dozen,’ he said…

Singer Sofia Fedyna, who is a lawmaker with the European Solidarity party of former President Petro Poroshenko, which has 27 seats in parliament, was particularly aggressive in her response. She issued physical threats against Zelensky.

‘Mr. President thinks he is immortal,’ she said in a video shared on Facebook. ‘A grenade may explode there, by chance. And it would be the nicest if this happened during Moscow’s shelling when someone comes to the front line wearing a white or blue shirt.’

Zelensky has previously visited the front line dressed in civilian clothing, rather than military fatigues.”

Thus, the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion publicly threatened Zelensky if he were to intervene on attempting to negotiate peace and end Ukraine’s civil war.

However, this is not the full story.

President Zelensky is also backed by Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, who sponsored Zelensky’s rise to presidency, not just with his presidential campaign, but also in the tv show “Servant of the People,” that Zelensky literally “play-acted” as President for three seasons, which ran from November 16th, 2015 to March 28th, 2019. Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine less than two months after the last episode, on May 20th, 2019.

Former President Poroshenko even publicly called Zelensky “Kolomoisky’s puppet” during the presidential campaign.[2]

Kyiv Post reports:

“For years, Zelensky’s company has produced shows for Kolomoisky’s biggest TV channel, 1 + 1. In 2019, Kolomoisky’s media channels gave a big boost to Zelensky’s presidential campaign. After, Zelensky’s victory, Kolomoisky kept up his relationship with the president, nominating over 30 lawmakers to Zelensky’s newly established party, and maintaining influence with many of them in parliament.”

Since Zelensky’s presidency, Kolomoisky has been able to secure control over a significant portion of Ukraine’s energy sector, including Ukrnafta and Centrenergo, as well as Burisma Holdings.

2012 study of Burisma Holdings done in Ukraine by the AntiCorruption Action Centre (ANTAC) found that the true owner of Burisma Holdings was none other than Kolomoisky.

Recall the Joe and Hunter Biden scandal over Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company. The Bidens ties with Kolomoisky and the situation of Ukraine today is not a coincidence.

In the 1990s, Kolomoisky set up PrivatBank, which quickly grew to be one of the biggest financial institutions in Ukraine.

In 2016, Ukraine nationalized PrivatBank from Kolomoisky and his business partner, Gennadiy Boholiubov. A U.S. Justice Department civil forfeiture complaint from December 2020, said the two men “embezzled and defrauded the bank of billions of dollars.” [emphasis added]

There is also the matter of the Pandora Papers, which has confirmed that Ukrainian oligarch Kolomoisky was funneling millions of dollars in concealed assets offshore. Zelensky was also implicated in this. And what this of course also means, is that the City of London is tied into all of this.

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Kolomoisky has a notorious history of being a literal “raider” of Ukrainian companies, as confirmed by Harper’s Magazine, and Forbes.

Forbes reports:

Bogolyubov and Kolomoisky fostered strong reputations as corporate raiders in the mid-2000s, becoming notorious for a series of hostile takeovers. Hostile takeovers Ukrainian style, that is, which often included the active involvement of Privat’s quasi-military teams.

Kolomoisky, who is Jewish, is also a funder of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion since it was formed in 2014, which has been confirmed by ReutersNewsweek, and Aljazeera.

He has also bankrolled private militias like the Dnipro and Aidar Battalions and has personally deployed them to protect his financial interests.

In other words, Kolomoisky is funding the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion who have been fighting Eastern Ukrainians for these past 8 years, and thus has been directly fueling the civil war in Ukraine. One of the reasons for this, is that Donbass is a region with many natural resources, especially for the energy sector, to which Kolomoisky would very much like to be in possession of. This could only occur with the extermination or occupation of the people of Donbass.

Interestingly, this past Victory Day (May 8th), First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky’s interview was cut short on Sky News when he brought up that Zelensky shared on his Twitter account for Victory Day the insignia of the Nazi 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf.

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After years of civil war, the city of Mariupol has now been liberated. Do you think the people in the West will ever hear about this?

Where do We go from Here?

Well, let me put it this way. The United States and NATO know they cannot defeat Russia or China in a direct war, hence all of these proxy wars these past several years under the guise of “War on Terror.” As David Ignatius honestly expressed, their desire is for a long-drawn war. This is because they believe that they can bankrupt Russia and/or set the stage for internal unrest and eventual coup. However, things are clearly not going as planned.

What has been greatly underestimated in this situation is 1) China’s solid alliance with Russia, 2) that Russia is the most resource abundant country in the world to which Europe is dependant on, and 3) the economic brilliance of Sergey Glazyev.

Russia’s rouble has also not tanked as expected. In fact, it has actually grown stronger than ever.

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Alasdair Macleod for Goldmoney writes:

Keynesians in the West have misread this situation. They think that the Russian economy is weak and will be destabilised by sanctions. That is not true. Furthermore, they would argue that a currency strengthened by insisting that oil and natural gas are paid for in roubles will push the Russian economy into a depression. But that is only a statistical effect and does not capture true economic progress or the lack of it, which cannot be measured. The fact is that the shops in Russia are well stocked, and fuel is freely available, which is not necessarily the case in the West.

The advantages for Russia are that as the West’s currencies sink into crisis, the rouble will be protected. Russia will not suffer from the West’s currency crisis, she will still get inflation compensation in commodity prices, and her interest rates will decline while those in the West are soaring. Her balance of trade surplus is already hitting new records.”

It is the West who has miscalculated in all of this, and it is their economy that will utterly tank from this “long-drawn” war these oligarchs have been having wet dreams about for God knows how many years.

We have done this to ourselves. And if we truly want to correct the matter, we should first have the respect to admit the truth in our complicity to much of the world’s woes during this Cold War period. Those of us who have lived in abundance, in comfort, and security, should take the first step to speak out and say no more to the rest of the world living in starved war-torn agony.

We must stop caring for ourselves first at the expense of all else. We must start caring for others first and foremost and acknowledge the crimes that have been committed in our name. Only then can we truly have the humility to see that the solution has been in front of our face the whole time.

If we fail in this, the western world will not be able to sustain itself for much longer economically. And when it falls, what sort of people do you think you will be surrounded by after all these years of supporting fascism under your very nose?

The author can be reached at cynthiachung.substack.com

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYm8pDrIXBg minute 19:33 
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXgli7TpINw Minute 0:49 

Sitrep: That ‘bumbling’ presidential aide Medinsky ….

March 30, 2022

source

Posted by Amarynth

… kept the real goodies for this day, a day after the talks.

The news is breaking now.  Medinsky says in a presser with Rossiya-24 broadcaster, that for the first time, Kiev is ready to fulfill the key demands from Russia.

These stories are still in development both on RT and on Sputnik.  I quote from RT:

“Yesterday, for the first time, the Ukrainian party announced, not only orally but also in written form, that it’s ready to fulfill a number of the most important conditions for building normal, and, hopefully, good-neighbourly relations with Russia in the future.

Let me remind you that after the 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine Russia has been making these demands to the Kiev regime, to its patrons, especially the United States, for years. Russia proposed negotiations, proposed to conclude various kinds of agreements that were supposed to guarantee Ukraine’s security and provide Russia’s national interests in this area.

All these demands had been ignored for years. And the North Atlantic Alliance has also been creating an anti-Russian foothold from Ukraine, more precisely, from Ukrainian territory, for years.

Ukraine’s entry into NATO, the creation of NATO military bases on its territory seemed to be a settled issue. It was a matter of time.

I’ll note, and this has already been proven, that there were also efforts on creating biological weapons. Moreover, the issue of Ukraine’s acquisition of nuclear weapons was also made public knowledge.

All these years, the Kiev regime has carried out an open genocide against the residents of Donbass. There’s a lot of evidence for this. There’s irrefutable evidence that Kiev was planning to launch an offensive against Donbass in the near future. In that case Russia would have had to stand up for tens and tens of thousands of our Russian citizens living there anyway.

Under these circumstances, Russia was forced to launch a pre-emptive special military operation.

Yesterday, for the first time in all these years, the Kiev authorities declared that they are ready to negotiate with Russia and conveyed the provisions of a possible future agreement, which states the following:

• the refusal to join NATO, fixation of Ukraine’s bloc-free status;

• the renunciation of nuclear weapons;

• an obligation to conduct troop exercises only with the consent of the guarantor states, which must include Russia.

That is, Ukraine stated that it’s ready to fulfill these demands that Russia has been insisting on all these years.

If all these obligations are fulfilled, the threat of creating a NATO bridgehead on Ukrainian territory will be eliminated.

That’s why it’s so important to agree upon this treaty at the highest level.

However, the negotiations and our work continue.

I’d like to stress that Russia’s position regarding Crimea and Donbass remains the same.”

https://www.rt.com/russia/552987-top-russian-negotiator-ukraine-peace-deal/


A reminder of Lavrov’s talks with the Serbian Media

💬 FM Sergey Lavrov: What matters the most right now is to stop indulging the Ukrainians who want to use talks and solutions as a smokescreen. They have succeeded in this posture when they derailed the Minsk Agreements immediately after signing them in February 2015. In the end, they said that they refused to fulfil them. We know how good they are at pretending to be involved.

This time, they will not get away with it. We need to make sure that the talks yield results, and once they do, the Presidents will formalise them.

(Excerpt from the Minister’s interview (https://www.mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/1806841/?lang=en) with the Serbian media, Moscow, March 28, 2022)


There is of course another piece of news widely reported, and I quote from Pepe Escobar (in true Escobar style) Telegram channel:

DOMINUS VOBISCUM

The Vatican Bank used 10 million euros to BUY RUBLES from the Russian Central Bank so they could pay for their gas.

They followed the instructions by the Russian Federation government to the letter.

If this multinational organization In Nome del Padre, Figlio & Spirito Santo can do it, why not some bloody Germans?

How Mariupol will become a key hub of Eurasian integration

Mariupol was battered by Ukraine’s right-wing Azov battalion well before Moscow launched its military ops. In Russian hands, this strategic steelworks port can transform into a hub of Eurasian connectivity.

March 29 2022

Mariupol sits on the strategic Sea of Azov at the tip of the Black Sea, and is the ‘Mecca’ of Europe’s steel industry. Its conquest by Russia can pave the way for a Eurasian railroad and connectivity surge.

By Pepe Escobar

Mariupol, the strategic Sea of Azov port, remains in the eye of the storm in Ukraine.

The NATO narrative is that Azovstal – one of Europe’s biggest iron and steel works – was nearly destroyed by the Russian Army and its allied Donetsk forces who “lay siege” to Mariupol.

The true story is that the neo-Nazi Azov batallion took scores of Mariupol civilians as human shields since the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, and retreated to Azovstal as a last stand. After an ultimatum delivered last week, they are now being completely exterminated by the Russian and Donetsk forces and Chechen Spetsnaz.

Azovstal, part of the Metinvest group controlled by Ukraine’s wealthiest oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov, is indeed one of the biggest metallurgic plants in Europe, self-described as a “high-performance integrated metallurgical enterprise that produces coke and sinter, steel as well as high-quality rolled products, bars and shapes.”

Amidst a flurry of testimonials detailing the horrors inflicted by the Azov neo-Nazis on Mariupol’s civilian population, a way more auspicious, invisible story bodes well for the immediate future.

Russia is the world’s fifth largest steel producer, apart from holding huge iron and coal deposits. Mariupol – a steel Mecca – used to source coal from Donbass, but under de facto neo-Nazi rule since the 2014 Maidan events, was turned into an importer. Iron, for instance, started to be supplied from Krivbas in Ukraine, over 200 kilometers away.

After Donetsk solidifies itself as an independent republic or, via referendum, chooses to become part of the Russian Federation, this situation is bound to change.

Azovstal is invested in a broad product line of very useful stuff: structural steel, rail for railroads, hardened steel for chains, mining equipment, rolled steel used in factory apparatus, trucks and railroad cars. Parts of the factory complex are quite modern while some, decades old, are badly in need of upgrading, which Russian industry can certainly provide.

Strategically, this is a huge complex, right at the Sea of Azov, which is now, for all practical purposes, incorporated into the Donetsk People’s Republic, and close to the Black Sea. That implies a short trip to the Eastern Mediterranean, including many potential customers in West Asia. And crossing Suez and reaching the Indian Ocean, are customers all across South and Southeast Asia.

So the Donetsk People’s Republic, possibly part of the future Novorossiya, and even part of Russia, will be in control of a lot of steel-making capacity for southern Europe, West Asia, and beyond.

One of the inevitable consequences is that it will be able to supply a real freight railroad construction boom in Russia, China and the Central Asian ‘stans.’ Railroad construction happens to be the privileged connectivity mode for Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). And, crucially, of the increasingly turbo-charged International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

So, mid-term, Mariupol should expect to become one of the key hubs of a boom in north-south routes – INSTC across Russia and linking with the ‘stans’ – as well as major BRI upgrades east-west and sub-BRI corridors.

Interlocked Eurasia

The INSTC’s main players are Russia, Iran and India – which are now, post-NATO sanctions, in advanced interconnection mode, complete with devising mechanisms to bypass the US dollar in their trade. Azerbaijan is another important INSTC player, yet more volatile because it privileges Turkey’s connectivity designs in the Caucasus.

The INSTC network will also be progressively interconnecting with Pakistan – and that means the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a key BRI hub, which is slowly but surely expanding to Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s impromptu visit to Kabul late last week was to advance the incorporation of Afghanistan to the New Silk Roads.

All that is happening as Moscow – extremely close to New Delhi – is simultaneously expanding trade relations with Islamabad. All three, crucially, are Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members.

So the grand North-South design spells out fluent connectivity from the Russian mainland to the Caucasus (Azerbaijan), to West Asia (Iran) all the way to South Asia (India and Pakistan). None of these key players have demonized or sanctioned Russia despite ongoing US pressures to do so.

Strategically, that represents the Russian multipolar concept of Greater Eurasian Partnership in action in terms of trade and connectivity – in parallel and complimentary with BRI because India, eager to install a rupee-ruble mechanism to buy energy, in this case is an absolutely crucial Russia partner, matching China’s reported $400 billion strategic deal with Iran. In practice, the Greater Eurasia Partnership will facilitate smoother connectivity between Russia, Iran, Pakistan and India.

The NATO universe, meanwhile, is congenitally incapable of even recognizing the complexity of the alignment, not to mention analyze its implications. What we have is the interlocking of BRI, INTSC and the Greater Eurasia Partnership on the ground – all notions that are regarded as anathema in the Washington Beltway.

All that of course is being designed amidst a game-changing geoeconomic moment, as Russia, starting this Thursday, will only accept payment for its gas in rubles from “unfriendly” nations.

Parallel to the Greater Eurasia Partnership, BRI, since it was launched in 2013, is also progressively weaving a complex, integrated Eurasian network of partnerships: financial/economic, connectivity, physical infrastructure building, economic/trade corridors. BRI’s role as a co-shaper of institutions of global governance, including normative foundations, has also been crucial, much to the despair of the NATO alliance.

Time to de-westernize

Yet only now the Global South, especially, will start to observe the full spectrum of the China-Russia play across the Eurasian sphere. Moscow and Beijing are deeply involved in a joint drive to de-westernize globalist governance, if not shatter it altogether.

Russia from now on will be even more meticulous in its institution-building, coalescing the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the SCO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) – a Eurasian military alliance of select post-Soviet states – in a geopolitical context of irreversible institutional and normative divide between Russia and the West.

At the same time, the Greater Eurasia Partnership will be solidifying Russia as the ultimate Eurasian bridge, creating a common space across Eurasia which could even ignore vassalized Europe.

Meanwhile in real life, BRI, as much as the INSTC, will be increasingly plugged into the Black Sea (hello, Mariupol). And BRI itself may even be prone to re-evaluation in its emphasis of linking western China to western Europe’s shrinking industrial base.

There will be no point in privileging the northern BRI corridors – China-Mongolia-Russia via the Trans-Siberian, and the Eurasian land bridge via Kazakhstan – when you have Europe descending into medieval dementia.

BRI’s renewed focus will be on gaining access to irreplaceable commodities – and that means Russia – as well as securing essential supplies for Chinese production. Commodity-rich nations, such as Kazakhstan and many players in Africa, shall become the top future markets for China.

In a pre-Covid loop across Central Asia, one constantly heard that China builds plants and high-speed railways while Europe at best writes white papers. It can always get worse.

The EU as occupied American territory is now descending, fast, from center of global power to the status of inconsequential peripheral player, a mere struggling market in the far periphery of China’s “community of shared destiny.”

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

Kolomoyskyi, Fine Father of the Country

March 29, 2022

Source

By Jimmie Moglia

Making sense of Western media is like fitting wheels to a tomato – time consuming and completely unnecessary. Ever since the media became an instrument of persuasion, the greatest part of mankind have no other reason for their opinion than they are in fashion. In turn, fashion is independent of reason and reason requires thought. An activity – reason – discouraged in principle among the “vile multitude that choose by show” (i.e. by fashion). And even more discouraged by the appropriately named and now fashionable ‘cancel culture’. Besides, the possible incursion of troublesome thoughts are often importunate and therefore rejected.

Current Western intelligentsia, other than being petulant and ostentatious, is as useful as a barber shop on the steps of the guillotine. And reason, as now inescapably obvious, is often helpless against masochism.

I wrote the following article in 2015. I republish it because, occasionally, a look at the ‘chronicles of wasted time’, may give some insight on the present.

It is hard to imagine how the chroniclers of the mainstream media can still maintain that the Ukraine coup of February 2014 had anything to do with democracy. It is an endeavor similar to mingling oil with water, or, in the language of chemistry, to amalgamate bodies of heterogeneous principles. But if Paris was worth a Mass, a large bribe is worth a lie, however grand, or gross or both.

In the circumstances, the latest news from Kiev acquires a doubly farcical quality, in itself and when compared to the official media version. Not only, but supporting the vividness of the farce is an actual video, in case you may doubt the accuracy of the information (link at the end of the article).

First a brief background. As most readers know, the events following the dissolution of the Soviet Union were duplicated in various other republics, whose wealth was stolen by sundry oligarchs. Or, in neo-liberal language, the public wealth was privatized.

In Ukraine, among the oligarchs were the actual Poroshenko, and one Ihor Kolomoyskyi, to the latter of whom this article is especially dedicated. Kolomoyskyi is a Jewish arch-Zionist, which may explains, among other things, why Israel sent its own squadrons of brown shirts to assist in the coup (see related article by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz of March 2014).

Apparently, according to Ukrainian law, Ukrainian citizens are not allowed to have two nationalities. Questioned about the matter, Kolomoyskyi replied that the law does not apply to him, because of nationalities he has three, Ukraine, Israel and Cyprus. Currently, he is the official governor of the Dnipropetrovsk province and is the most powerful figure after Poroshenko. There are some who believe that he paid for the downing of flight MH 117 (whose investigation, as you know, will remain secret). Apparently, Kolomoyskyi admitted as much in a private video call on Skype – though no records of that particular call are extant.

The oligarchs are fighting each other, and in the past 10 years or so, there have been episodes of mutual plunder, in perfect and canonical feudal style. The most active present conflict features Poroshenko against Kolomoyskyi.

Currently, the US has complete control over the politics, the government and the economy of Ukraine. And there are certain rules, which the feuding oligarchs cannot easily violate without being stripped of their “democratic legitimacy.” If so, they are removed from the pack or they may shoot themselves or jump to their end from sundry windows.

The amusing event involving Kolomoyskyi – on which I will report shortly – seems to break the rules established by the Americans. Unless Kolomoyskyi is allowed to break them, so as to maintain a system of checks and balances, where not one puppet can become powerful enough to acquire a political persona. In other words, not all the eggs in one basket. Furthermore, since Washington is calling for an extended war between Ukraine and the breakaway provinces of Novorussia, it seems more appropriate not to declare a secondary war against Kolomoyskyi.

But last week an event upset him. A company in Ukraine, “Ukrtransnafta” manages the transport of oil through the Ukrainian pipeline network. The company board decided to relieve the current Ukrtransnafta’s manager, Aleksandr Lazorko from his post. Instead, they elected a Yuri Miroshnik in his place. I mention all these names to give a context to the brilliant interview, which I will report verbatim, and you will not be disappointed. However, Kolomoyskyi, who feels he owns Ukrtransnafta, strongly objected. Not only, but he instructed his man Lazorko to barricade himself inside his office and not to leave the post.

After which Kolomoyskyi sent in a platoon of his armed storm-troopers, whom he graciously called “my lawyers”, to occupy the premises of Ukrtransnafta. As the news of the occupation spread, a journalist from “Radio Liberty” went to interview him. Note that “Radio Liberty” is the Ukrainian branch of the “Voice of America.” The same “Voice of America” whose budget will be increased by 200 million $ (or more), at the request of secretary-of-state John Kerry (real name Kohn, a variant of Cohen) “to counter the vicious propaganda of the Russians.”

No doubt, you will find in the oligarch’s remarks, flights of wit, sallies of pleasantry, acute observations, nice distinctions, justness of sentiment and elegance of diction.

As for his impetuosity, we should forgive him for not having as yet reached that season of life, in which the manners are to be softened into ease and polished into elegance.

Still, we cannot deny that Kolomoyskyi has the readiness of conception and affluence of language necessary to both colloquial and journalistic entertainment.

Here is a transcript from the video.

quote

Kolomoyskyi: I just wanted to see you – your f##king face. There are no other opportunities to see you, Radio Liberty. You don’t ask how this raider seizure occurred in Ukrtransnafta? And about how Russian saboteurs got here, huh? Why aren’t you asking about it? Huh? Or you just f##king needed to see Kolomoiskiy?

We were freeing the building of Ukrtransnafta from Russian saboteurs. Who seized it. And you with your “Liberty” sit here and f###ing ambush me. As a girl spying on her unfaithful husband. What, didn’t you shut up already? Or want to ask about the passports? (note, refer to the business of the 3 nationalities, reported above). Or you want to ask something else? Ask me about the Russian saboteurs, why didn’t you catch even one? Radio “Liberty”, f##k. You’re the same “Liberty”, fu##ing like the one that went to the parliament. Fu##ing Tyahnybok prostitute.” (note, Tyahnybok is another oligarch, apparently and currently a friend of Poroshenko).

Documents have disappeared. There were some murky people from some private security company. Now they are gone. This was a trivial attempt for a raider takeover of this state-owned company.

And what I was doing here, I will tell you in the Prosecutor’s Office, did you get that, “Libertarian”? Why did you shut up? Ah? Why are you silent, speak up? Do you have any more questions? Or you’ve plugged your tongue up your asshole? Speak up, you are the Radio “Liberty”, a famous thing, broke up the Soviet Union, brought down the Bolsheviks… And you are ambushing me for the passports. Or for some used condoms? Where is this fag of yours, Leshshenko? (note. Leshshenco is the minister who appointed the new director of Ukrtransnafta and who forced Kolomoiskiy to call in the storm-troopers). Well, are you going to show this on your tv or internet? Hello?

Everyone was away, the Prime Minister is gone to Brussels, who was supposed to take care of this? They decided to quietly raid the company and steal everything (Note. A clear case of no-honor-among-thieves). It was after we intervened that (the Economy Minister) Demchishin came over, Savhcenko, this new one, the fat one (Miroshnik, the newly appointed CEO of the company. As for calling Miroshnik fat, it’s the pot calling the kettle black. Based on the images, Kolomoiskiy himself may benefit from losing some weight).

I asked him: Where did you work? He says in the Lugansk SBU (Ukraine’s KGB equivalent). So I ask him, did you do smuggling there, or are you liberating the Lugansk region? Why the f##k are you here at the Transnafta? We have everything under control here. So he was with the Lugansk SBU, he doesn’t want to liberate Crimea. He doesn’t want to liberate Lugansk. He appointed himself (note: to the position of CEO).

Radio Liberty: What do you think, who’s behind all this?

Kolomoiskiy: I don’t know. They told me it was Kononenko, (note: one of the leaders of Poroshenko’s government). Now I am going to the Presidential Administration, to clarify who is behind all this.

unquote

Interestingly, to the girl from Radio Liberty, Kolomoyskyi spoke in Russian, not Ukrainian. Perhaps he forgot that his oligarch colleagues called for the banishment of the Russian language from Ukraine, for the jailing of those who speak it, and for the nuking (sic) of the Russians who live in Ukraine.

The remarkable transcribed exchange, comes on the trail of a semi-insurrection in the Ukrainian city of Konstantinovka, where an armored vehicle driven by drunken Ukrainian soldiers killed a young girl and her mother on a sidewalk. Reacting to the anger of the local population, Kiev blamed the accident on “Russian provocateurs” and dispatched to the city a number of death squads.

Inserting these events into the other reports from Ukraine and considering the quasi-desperate situation of the population, it is easy to conclude that the country has sunk into a chaos of folly. Really and physically, “everything is left at six and seven.”

Maybe this was CIA’s plan B. In the famous conversation of the US Ambassador in Ukraine, Pyatt, during which Victoria Nuland suggested to “f### the Europeans”, Pyatt used an interesting analogy. He was discussing whom to choose to be the president and the vice-president of the new “democratic” post-coup Ukraine. “With these people in place – he said to Nuland – our pie will fall with the jelly-side up.” Meaning, we presume, an “orderly transition”, Ukraine totally controlled by the US, member of the European Union and occupied by the American forces of NATO.

Apparently, the pie did not fall entirely “with the jelly side up.” And the jelly, or rather, the blood of at least 15,000 people of which 6000 civilians was spilled to secure the XXIst as the American Century for Ukraine. All in the name of democracy, of course.

It used to be that hypocrisy was the necessary burden of villainy, and affectation a part of the chosen trappings of folly; the one completing a villain, the other finishing a coxcomb. Contempt being the proper punishment for affectation, and detestation the just consequence of hypocrisy.

But in the new American Century, hypocrisy is the burden of esteem, and affectation the trapping of success. To complete their trail of glory, I would not be surprised if Pyatt and Nuland were the next ticket for the American presidency.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/k00iQ1GxERM


Ed Note:  For video subtitles – note that you have to open the video in YouTube.  It does not work for an embedded video.

Click on the button with ‘CC’ on it at the bottom of the video and you will see a red underline of the CC button.
Next, click on the ‘Gear’ button [Settings], next to the CC button
Then click on ‘Subtitles/CC’
Next ‘Auto-translate’ [bottom]
Then select your language.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the Serbian media, Moscow, March 28, 2022

March 29, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1806841/

Question: As you know, Serbia has not joined the sanctions [against Russia]. Did it come as a surprise to you that some of the Balkan nations who have recently had a good relationship with Russia have joined the sanctions against it? What is your perspective on the efforts to bring relations with these Balkan countries back to normal later?

Sergey Lavrov: We are seeing unprecedented pressure as part of a general campaign, which some Western politicians call an all-out war against Russia where all means are justified. This did not just start now – far from it.

Over the previous ten years, the European Union, in its relations with the countries seeking to join it, has been demanding – the Serbs know this well – that they join all their foreign policy initiatives that of late have been increasingly anti-Russia in character. This has nothing to do with a single economic space or with introducing the rule of law or anything else like that. There is only an ideologically-charged approach that allows them to continue to put pressure on Russia to emasculate its independence in the international arena and have it accept European values, which Europe has long since been inculcating [in others], despite its Christian roots.

Allow me to remind you that when they were working on the European Union Constitution, which, in the end, was not approved and was replaced by the Treaty of Lisbon, the first version began with a reference to Europe’s Christian roots. The European “grandees” refused to support this wording, having repudiated their race and religious traditions. They can hardly be expected to have respect for the traditions of other faiths.

We are seeing this pressure being exerted on the Balkan countries, including Serbia, to have them join the anti-Russia sanctions, which cover almost all economic, cultural, humanitarian, political and other activities. President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic has spoken about this in detail in public several times, emphasising that Serbia will be guided by its own interests. There are also countries like this in the European Union. I just want to mention the recent statement by Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban, who said that Hungary would stand up for its own interests.

This multi-ethnic self-reproducing bureaucracy with a seat in Brussels is trying to subjugate all countries without exception and concentrate all efforts to establishing rules and standards at the headquarters of the European Union, reducing to a minimum what its member countries can do on their own. This is a flawed policy. It shows yet again that, essentially, a certain trend is emerging in the European Union to strengthen autocracy as represented by Brussels in its relations with the member countries.

Montenegro and North Macedonia have been drawn into the sanctions war. They were tempted by the promise of fast rapprochement with the European Union, but this did not happen. They were drawn into NATO and anti-Russia actions and campaigns. Then they were patted on the shoulder, as it were, and told: “Good job, fellas, keep it up.” This is a serious problem. The EU’s reputation and the real goals of its policy in the Balkans are at stake. I believe the United States has given the EU complete control over the Balkans. The US is fully satisfied with the EU’s aggressive anti-Russia line.

Do you remember this statement by Josep Borrell’s predecessor Federica Mogherini? She accused Russia of being too active in the Balkans and said that if the EU started getting involved there, there was no room for others. Her successor Josep Borrell promotes the same idea. He has always urged the EU not to allow Russia to build stronger relations with those countries where it feels like “the boss of the show.”

We are seeing attempts by the US, the EU and NATO to impose their hegemony on others, not only in the Balkans but also in the rest of the world –virtually everywhere else. I am convinced that most of the countries around the world realise that this is the path to a deadlock. It will eventually be necessary to find a way out. There are not too many countries in Europe that can consider themselves sovereign and independent. Those that refuse to join the sanctions in favour of other states to protect their own national interest are fully entitled to be called independent regardless of their size.

Question: Did Russia envision such isolation and military losses, things we rarely hear precise information about?

Sergey Lavrov: The sanctions against Russia have never stopped. In Soviet times, we lived under the sanctions of the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom). Under this, the West did all it could to prevent the purchase and supply of high-tech equipment. The Jackson-Vanik amendment existed for many years. It was repealed to allow us to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) because the United States and other countries were interested in this. It was instantly replaced by the Magnitsky Act that continued the tradition of pressuring the Russian Federation through sanctions. These sanctions were valid until 2014.

A coup took place in Kiev in 2014 contrary to the guarantees of the EU and with Washington’s direct support. Now there is no longer any doubt about it. The coup evoked indignation in both Crimea and in the east of Ukraine. The Crimeans held a referendum to return to Russia, protecting themselves against the armed militants that were bound for Crimea. The people in eastern Ukraine also proclaimed the creation of republics that refused to accept the anti-constitutional government coup. At that time, the Russian Federation was again blamed for everything. The West was disappointed that its plan to finally use Ukraine for its anti-Russia needs fell through.

The introduced sanctions simply reflected the West’s irritation. President of Russia Vladimir Putin has said more than once that since then the EU and the US have imposed sanctions on us almost every month, at least two or three times a year. I think it is always easy to find an excuse. The goal of the sanctions is not to resolve some specific problem but to curb Russia’s strategic and geopolitical development. We know that the West is good at finding excuses.

The surge in unprecedented Neanderthal-like Russophobia that has come to life in almost all Western countries whose leaders are vigorously encouraging and cultivating it was something that struck me particularly in the circumstances at hand. I’m aware that there are reasonable people in the EU who understand the danger of inciting this kind of Russophobia. They are issuing reminders to the effect that Europe saw a similar attitude towards a certain ethnicity over 80 years ago and they know how it ended. This obsession with regard to how they see everything Russian, be it culture, art, education, or Russian citizens (as soon as they start speaking their language in many European countries), has taken over almost all European countries. This struck me, because it revealed the Neanderthal entrails of Russophobia. It appears to have been brewing for a long time now. It’s impossible to bring to life a sentiment like that in just one day. So it was carefully hidden. We will make corresponding conclusions.

Isolation doesn’t exist and is brought up exclusively by those who, mentally and ideologically, have resigned themselves to the inevitability of a Western dictatorship on the global stage. This dictatorship is supported primarily by the West itself which is loath to lose its positions. The West has been the world’s dominant player for over 500 years now. A different era – the forming of a multipolar international order – is now here. The global economic development hubs pursuing a nationally oriented policy have risen, and they do not want to accept the impersonal neoliberal values ​​imposed by the West on the world. They want to be grounded in their history, traditions and values, including religious values. By and large, they are common to all world religions.

Russia has many partners in the Asia-Pacific region, Asia, Africa and Latin America. We have good relations with the vast majority of organisations created by the developing countries, including the African Union, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and many others. As you are aware, organisations with the participation of the Russian Federation have been created and are successfully functioning in Eurasia which is a critically important, strategically developing region: the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. In cooperation with ASEAN, these organisations are vigorously promoting interaction among them and developing a network of cooperation projects in conjunction with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, among others. We are building the Greater Eurasian Partnership. Our relations with China are at their all-time best. Russia has a particularly privileged strategic partnership with India. We have ties with the majority of the Middle Eastern, Latin American and African countries.

The West is trying to showcase the so-called “isolation” in which the Russian Federation allegedly found itself by presenting the mathematical results of the UN vote. We are aware of how they get these results and the kind of shameless blackmail the developing countries are subjected to, and personal threats against the representatives of these countries at the UN or other organisations. For us, this means only one thing: the United States and the Western countries that are playing along with this crude and undisguised blackmail are themselves afraid of being isolated. If they are that confident in their ideals and values that can win their way to the hearts and minds of all people around the world, then let them state their position and allow the countries to make a choice. These countries are aware of the position adopted by the West, Russia, China and other major global players. Let them choose freely without any pressure.

During his recent visit to Europe, US President Joseph Biden said that we were entering an era of long confrontation between democracy and autocracy. Look at how the modern West is functioning, look at the countries that have declared themselves a model of democracy. The United States has subdued the entire Europe. It is leading not only NATO but actually also the EU, using its infrastructure and potential for strengthening US military and political positions in the Old World. As for democracies and autocracies, this “community of democracies” represented by the US, NATO and the EU has become an integral whole (under US command). It is an overt autocracy if not a dictatorship as regards other members of the international community.

Our Western colleagues have urged us and other countries for many years to ensure the supremacy of law and democracy in the US interpretation. But whenever we suggested discussing democracy in the world arena, they were against it – there can be no democracy in the world arena. The Westerners have even cancelled the very term “international law” that implied respect for the principles of the UN Charter, primarily, the principle of the sovereign equality of states. Our Western colleagues did not give a damn (excuse me for this expression) about the sovereign equality of states or international law, generally speaking. They no longer use the latter term. They are saying now that all countries must follow the laws of a rules-based order. The rules mean only one thing – they are established by the West. Everyone else must obey. This is a typical example of autocracy and dictatorship that uses an ultimatum.

We don’t feel isolated. Isolation is the lot of those who couldn’t imagine their life without so-called “Western values” and without the welcoming embrace or at least a more or less warm reception in the West. Meanwhile, there are much more important things in life. They are a loadstar for the overwhelming majority of states and civilisations on this planet.

It is necessary to respect each other rather than impose one’s pseudo values in an aggressive manner. These have only existed for a short time. They appeared with the development of neo-liberalism and are used to discontinue millennia-old cultures and civilisations. This path is a dead-end. These attempts will continue for a while, but they are doomed in the historical perspective. Strategically, this policy will find itself in complete isolation.

Question: I know Russia now has more important things to worry about, but “everyone is out for himself.” Now Serbia has to harmonise its foreign policy. It has not introduced sanctions against Russia. For us Russia is the most important foreign policy partner when it comes to upholding our sovereignty in international organisations. How do you visualise Serbia’s possible political prevarication between the two geopolitical poles, and does this phenomenon have time limits?

Sergey Lavrov: It’s not up to us to be responsible for decisions made by Serbia, the Serbian leadership or the Serbian people. We are fraternal nations. We are united by common history and victories against common enemies. We feel how deeply these feelings are rooted in the soul of the Serbian people, in their historical memory. And now we are seeing this. We never impose anything by force. The West is trying to impose on Serbia its own policy and interests by force of economic pressure, threats, blackmail and ultimatums. It is telling Serbia that it must oppose Russia if it wants to join the EU. This is unseemly. This is not how one should behave in society, at home, with friends or in the world arena. This is an example of their policy of arm-twisting. President Aleksandar Vucic has mentioned this more than once. He said honestly that Serbia is a small country but it has its own pride and its own interests. Attempts are being made now to simply forget these interests and turn you into an instrument of Western policy. This is what happened with North Macedonia and Montenegro. This is what the West is now trying to do with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We have deep respect for the Serbian people, its commitment to its traditions, history and its historical friends. I am convinced that the Serbian people will continue making wise decisions in any situation, based on their fundamental interests.

Question: Is President Vladimir Putin ready to sit down at the negotiating table with President Vladimir Zelensky?

Sergey Lavrov: President of Russia Vladimir Putin has commented on this topic many times. He raised this subject yet again not that long ago when answering questions by his foreign colleagues with whom he maintains regular dialogue, including on the situation in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin said that he has never refused to meet with President Vladimir Zelensky. It is just that he believes in the importance of making sure that these meetings are well prepared. Considering the current crisis situation in Ukraine, its internal conflict which has been building up over all these years and the multiple challenges, simply arranging a meeting to discuss what one thinks and what the other thinks does not cut it. In fact, it would be counterproductive. When Ukraine suggested talks after we launched our special military operation, we agreed. These talks carried on and are ongoing. They will resume today or tomorrow in person in Istanbul after a series of videoconferences. The outcome we seek must deliver on our principled objective of stopping the killing of civilians in Donbass which has been going on for eight long years. The Western community has remained silent despite all its progressivism and has not issued even a single comment to condemn what was going on, even though everyone saw the shelling of civilian infrastructure in Donbass: hospitals, kindergartens, clinics and residential housing. Civilians were dying by the thousands. Still, the “enlightened” West remained silent. All it did was call for fulfilling the Minsk agreements. When Kiev refused, the West started saying that it was up to Russia to fulfil them. This is sheer mockery in terms of common sense, international law, human rights, you name it.

When negotiating with Ukraine, it is our duty to ensure that the people of Donbass never suffer from the Kiev regime again, while the West and NATO stop their military build-up in Ukraine, which creates physical, military threats to the Russian Federation. Ukraine must cease being subject to a constant militarisation effort and attempts to deploy strike capabilities there to threaten the Russian Federation. Ukraine must also stop encouraging neo-Nazi ideology and practices.

This has happened before, and we know these examples. In fact, they are rooted in Ukrainian law. Let me mention the discriminatory laws which run counter to the Ukrainian Constitution and all international commitments. These laws prohibit the Russian language in education and the media. Ukraine has recently adopted laws banning the Russian language from everyday life. Demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine constitute an indispensable component of the agreements we are seeking to conclude. I hope that Ukraine understands that the developments which have been running rampant there since the country’s independence are extremely toxic. This includes honouring the memory of Shukhevich and Bandera, who were Nazi criminals. The “decommunisation” drive includes demolishing monuments to the great people who liberated Ukraine from the Nazis. Western instructors helped train “nationalist” battalions whose members not only wore Nazi symbols but practiced Nazi methods of war. Seeing how Ukrainian Nazis from the Azov and Aidar battalions treat Russian prisoners of war should have dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s for you. We will need to arrange this meeting once a solution regarding all these key matters comes into reach.

For many years, we sought to raise awareness on these issues. The West remained impervious to our efforts, but they have heard us now. This is already something. What matters the most right now is to stop indulging the Ukrainians who want to use talks and solutions as a smokescreen. They have succeeded in this posture when they derailed the Minsk agreements immediately after signing them in February 2015. In the end, they said that they refused to fulfil them. We know how good they are at pretending to be involved. This time, they will not get away with it. We need to make sure that the talks yield results, and once they do, the Presidents will formalise them.

Question: I have a question about mercenaries in Ukraine. It is a hot subject in Russia, and it is being discussed around the world as well. Hundreds of people from Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina fought on the side of the Islamists in Syria. However, the West did not criticise Pristina or Sarajevo. These people are now willing to fight in Ukraine, and there are also Croatian volunteers there. The Kosovo Albanian authorities and Pristina have supported Kiev. We would like you to comment on this.

Sergey Lavrov: We were among those who for years warned our Western partners about the recruiters of the Islamic State and other terrorist groups working in several Balkan countries. We warned them about the consequences of such connivance for Europe. Statistics show that Pristina is holding the per capita anti-record by the number of militants fighting in Syria and Iraq. But nobody wanted to hear about that. Later our Western colleagues wondered where the cutthroats who staged terrorist attacks and massacres in European cities had come from. Mercenaries will not remain in Ukraine after their inglorious mission ends there. It is perfectly clear that they will move on to European cities, where they will continue their so-called work. You may know that participation in hostilities in foreign states is a punishable offence in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Kosovo Province. Some of those who fought in Syria and Iraq have even been punished upon their return home. But today Europe is acting differently. The policy of double standards has taken priority when it comes to Ukraine. The West has banked on it to contain Russia. It would use any means to achieve this end.

We don’t see any reaction to this. We have been trying to draw the attention of our Western partners and colleagues from other countries and parts of the world to the Ukrainian embassies’ activities to recruit mercenaries for Ukraine on their websites, which is a blatant violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and is discrediting the status of a diplomatic office. Some of these mercenaries have made statements on the social media and have appeared on several television networks. It is obvious that they are not volunteers. They are fighting for money. Therefore, they do not have the right to the status of combatant or prisoner of war under international humanitarian law. They are not entitled to protection.

As for Pristina’s support for Kiev, the matter is clear. Kosovo, which is a criminal self-proclaimed quasi-state, does not care for international law. It only wants to take advantage of the situation to win recognition for its pseudo-independence and is posing as just about the main ally of the United States and NATO in the Balkans.

Our attitude to this is well known. We warned about the inadmissibility of pandering to Pristina’s unacceptable actions, and we have always called for settling the Kosovo issue in strict compliance with UN Security Resolution 1244. When the UN General Assembly gave the European Union the mandate to facilitate dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade in 2010, this raised our hopes. In 2013, the EU convinced Pristina and Belgrade to sign an agreement on the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo. It guaranteed the Serbs’ language and cultural rights, as well as their rights in local governments and their special relations with Serbia. However, the Community has not been established. When we remind our Western colleagues about this, they are embarrassed and say that “the matter is still on the table” and that efforts should continue to be taken to implement the decision. I believe that the EU has discredited itself as the guarantor of any agreements.

In February 2014, the EU guaranteed the agreement on a settlement in Ukraine between President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition. When the opposition overturned the agreements the following morning, the EU said nothing and only cited certain democratic processes.

In 2015, France and Germany signed, together with us, a document that is known now as the Minsk agreements. During the subsequent years, Kiev did nothing to implement that document. It said openly that it would not do it.

[Prime Minister of Kosovo] Albin Kurti has said that he would not implement the agreements on the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo.

The EU, which guaranteed the implementation of all of the above documents, has failed completely. I am sure that it will not do anything to force Pristina to implement the documents co-signed by Europe. The EU and the United States will not place any pressure on Pristina on the issue of mercenaries. The United States is feeling just fine. It used the situation to establish Camp Bondsteel, the largest military base in the Balkans. Pristina has not questioned the need to keep that base and has instead indicated its interest in keeping it. I believe that Pristina will be forgiven for anything it does and will be allowed to do anything it wants.

Question: The ultimate goal of your special operation is not quite clear. Originally it was stated as denazification and protection of the people of Donbass. Today, it seems, at least from abroad, that this is not the only goal being pursued by Russia. Many Russians cannot say what these goals are. Some of them are unable to agree with the rationale for this conflict.

Sergey Lavrov: Each person has the right to choose and define his or her position with regard to some or other events that take place in their own country or in other states.

As for our aims, they are certainly about removing the threats that over these long eight years have caused thousands of deaths and the destruction of civilian facilities in Ukraine – schools, hospitals, plants, factories, etc. This is what the Ukrainian regime has been doing against the population of Donbass with the West’s tacit approval. If today the West is suddenly concerned about the need to respect international humanitarian law and save people’s lives, I will only welcome it, but they should act in such a way as to see the causes and roots of the situation we are facing now.

The root cause of the matter is that an effort was launched to transform Ukraine into an anti-Russia immediately after its independence, its withdrawal from the USSR. You can see it for yourself if you look at the Kiev regime’s lawmaking: its laws in effect ban the use of the Russian language and encourage the development of openly Nazi organisations.

The Nazi ideology and practices have deep roots in Ukrainian society. Officers from the “national volunteer battalions” have permeated Ukraine’s army and armed forces; they publicly preach Nazi ideas, calling on others to follow the behests of Adolf Eichmann, a person notorious for his role in Europe during the Nazi rule.   Even their symbols and tattoos reproduce the swastikas and emblems of the Nazi SS battalions.  If we want to abide by the European values, I do not think they can include this sort of ideology and practices. Europe must put an end to this, if it does not want to find itself once again in a situation where it will be inundated by this “wave,” be it brown or of any other colour that the neo-Nazis favour.

The whole thing is much more serious than just solving a single problem.  Russia cannot accept NATO’s plan to turn Ukraine into its outpost chock-full of offensive arms aimed at our territory. We cannot accept the West’s effort to encourage the eradication of all things Russian in Ukraine (language, culture, etc.). Where were our Western colleagues when Kiev banned the Russian media, TV channels, and not only printed matter but also books published in Russia? They shut down three Russian-language TV channels owned by Ukrainian citizens.

You have mentioned the fact that some Russian citizens cannot accept what is happening today and express their concern. But others – journalists, cultural figures, artists, and athletes – do not voice anything and just do their job. Ukraine puts hundreds of them on sanctions lists.  Yesterday, the Ukrainian regime blacklisted another 46 Russian cultural figures, artists, athletes and journalists. And everyone believes that this is normal. Being Russian in Europe today means running a tremendous risk of violence. There have already been such cases.

Our task is to ensure long-term security in Europe. This cannot be done without cutting off attempts to draw Ukraine into NATO, or without agreeing on security guarantees that will take into account the interests of Russia, Ukraine and European countries. We were confident of this when we tried (unfortunately, to no avail) to start a serious conversation with the United States and NATO in 2021 about providing security guarantees, including for Ukraine, without expanding the North Atlantic Alliance. Nobody would listen.

We have heard repeated promises that NATO would not continue to expand. For example, when it came to the unification of Germany, then the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist. They just lied to our face. When we reminded them about those promises, they said they had never made any. Later on, when we presented proof, they said, well, there might have been some verbal agreement – meaning they just said things to “calm us down,” because they had more important concerns – to ensure that the Soviet Union would “shut down” without any “consequences” for Europe.

When they decided everything had “calmed down,” it was time to get moving. Now they are saying we “should not be afraid” because “NATO is a defensive alliance.” So it was when it was created. But they continued to explain, “NATO is protecting its territory.” We knew where their territory was when there was the Berlin Wall – both concrete and imaginary – between the North Atlantic Alliance and the Warsaw Pact. But when the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union ceased to exist, NATO suddenly thought it wanted to “protect the territory” further east. Then it moved a little more to the east, and so on. What kind of defensive alliance is it that draws its own line of defence? Moreover, it keeps adding countries that no one was ever going to attack – actually, no one had ever even thought of threatening these countries.

Jens Stoltenberg (the Norwegian Central Bank is unlikely to have him back any time soon, as the Alliance has extended his term) declares that NATO should take responsibility for global security. This is where the line of defence is, and where democracy turns into autocracy and dictatorship. He says the alliance needs to increase its role in the vast Indo-Pacific region – that’s what they call the Asia-Pacific region, a direct allusion to the South China Sea. This is where their line of defence will be now.

We want NATO to return to sanity. We have reason to believe that Russia’s most serious concerns, having to do with our fundamental, legitimate interests, have finally been heard. They begin to understand now. If this is so, they will try to influence the Kiev regime, which listens to them, and in fact does everything the West tells them to. I hope that the Ukrainian negotiators will show a constructive approach, and at some stage, we will be able to achieve the desired result.

My colleague, UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss has actually confirmed with fantastic, amazing, naive frankness that those negotiators, like the Kiev regime itself, are not acting independently. She actually said they were assisting the Ukrainians in working out their negotiating position. Indeed, who knows the situation in our common region better than London? She went on to say they needed to continue to use the “hard lever” on Russia and “to double down on sanctions.” And when negotiations begin, the UK should be the country that will provide the necessary solutions. An amazing “revelation.” No need to comment.

I can see there are chances to reach an agreement. There is an understanding of the grossest mistakes our Western partners have been making for years. Although, for obvious reasons, they would hardly say this out loud.

Question: What do you think, wouldn’t Belgrade be a perfect place for the negotiations?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe Belgrade is a great city in terms of its position and status. It is quite suitable for talks at any level.

The venue for the negotiations must be acceptable to both teams. Three rounds of in-person talks were held in Belarus, followed by a break due to technical reasons. It was difficult to meet directly; therefore, we held several videoconferences. Now we have agreed to meet in Istanbul. It is a point on the map where both parties were able to arrive. We are ready to consider other locations, including Belgrade.

Question: These days Serbian people remember NATO bombings and many say that the reasoning President Vladimir Putin used to “attack” Ukraine is identical to the reasoning the alliance used in its aggression against Yugoslavia. What is your response to these claims?

Sergey Lavrov: Our Western colleagues are known for twisting facts without batting an eye or as much as a blush. They always want to justify their stance and demands by distorting the real picture.

We have already spoken about the February 2014 coup in Ukraine, when the settlement guarantees provided by the EU were trampled to pieces. The neo-Nazis who came to power immediately afterwards demanded revoking the status of the Russian language in Ukraine, getting out of Crimea, and sent combat units to Crimea to storm the Supreme Council. Only then did the Crimean people revolt against such attacks and held a referendum. Now, reviewing that period, the West starts its story not with the failure of the European Union, whose signature, apparently, meant nothing to the opposition that staged the coup, and not with the attacks on the Russian language and Russians committed by the putschists that came to power. The West begins the timeline of those events with what it calls an “annexation” of Crimea. The truth is it was not an annexation but a free expression of will that took place as a result of the coup staged with the support from the West. However, the West has crossed out those several weeks leading up to the referendum in Crimea, from history. They say Crimea was “annexed,” hence the sanctions, when in fact, they wanted to punish Russia for their own failures and inability to keep their promises.

For them, the timeline of everything that is happening in Ukraine right now begins on February 24, 2022, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the beginning of a special military operation. The years of abuse targeting Russians, the Russian language and culture in Ukraine, ignoring Russia’s appeals to NATO and the United States about the fact that further “exploration” of the territories bordering the Russian Federation is unacceptable, direct calls to prevent Ukraine’s accession to NATO and to stop pumping Ukraine with weapons, building naval bases and, as it now turns out, biological warfare laboratories – nobody is talking about that. They claim that Russia started the operation against the Ukrainian state for no reason at all. What about the fact that the Ukrainian state could not care less about the Minsk agreements for eight years, bombing cities, towns and killing civilians? All this is now behind the line from which the West now marks off its angry and principled positioning.

I heard that President Vladimir Zelensky gave an interview to several Russian media outlets and, when asked about the biological warfare labs, he said it was all a lie and they did not exist. If the West is ready to buy into this kind of commentaries it means that our own experience with the modern Western politics will only be reaffirmed. There are multiple pages of documents that we submitted to the UN Security Council and President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky claims they are a lie.

To be continued…

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