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

The Kherson question

November 15, 2022

Source

Notes and reflections by Nora Hoppe

To retreat or not to retreat…

Untitled:Users:Nora:Desktop:Kherson.jpg

Preface:
I have no idea about war… I have never experienced one. I understand nothing of military campaigns, strategies, manoeuvres, weapons, etc. I’ve only seen several war films, read novels featuring war and followed the news on various wars…

* * *

I have heard that each war is different, and that comparisons are only useful for “certain aspects”.

I follow the news regularly on Russia’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine. And I have recently read and heard many varying and divisionary views on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson, a city that is now lawfully part of Russia.

Dispensing with the views of the pro-NATO side, which are of no interest, I am observing the division of thought amongst analysts, journalists and commenters in forums siding with the Russians: There are those who are outraged and see the withdrawal from Kherson as “a disgrace”, “a sign of weakness”, “an embarrassment”, “a poor strategy”, “unattractive optics”, etc. Others see it as the outcome of a difficult but wise decision – that was primarily made to save the lives of Russian soldiers, who would have been cut off by a massive flood if NATO were to blow up the Kakhovka Dam. (There may well be additional tactical reasons for the withdrawal, but they are not (yet) known to the public.)

When people speak of the “optics not looking good“… a film set immediately comes to my mind (I have worked in the film world for many years). And that immediately tells me how some people view this operation – as spectators: it has to have a good catchy script, suspense, uninterrupted action and – heaven forbid – no lulls! It has to ultimately supply a dopamine release. It has to have a “Dirty Harry Catharsis”.

This reminds me of similar reactions to the prisoner exchange in mid-September, where some saw it as a sign of weakness to even think of releasing Azov prisoners… or when the Chinese government did not deliver a dramatic retort when Pelosi went to do her skit in Taiwan.

What is at the base of these kinds of reactions? Why such impatience? Why such concern with “appearances”? Why such a need to satiate one’s own personal sense of justice and retribution? Does it have something to do with consuming? Especially in the western world one has become an addicted consumer of not only things but “experiences” that can be lived indirectly.

Today we witness events of other peoples’ wars and battles on computer screens from the comfort of our homes or on our tiny phones from chic cafés… these events can accessed at any moment – just press a key… and they appear – like a scene in a film, a game, a contest, a sports match. Even the dead bodies that lie mangled, bloodied or in gory stumps strewn over the mud become the pieces of a broken puppets on a stage. “Hell, one gets used to it…” The sacredness of Life is gone.

We have become spectators… and our world has become a spectacle.

Untitled:Users:Nora:Desktop:image-20151104-21235-9z091s.jpg

In his philosophical work and critique of contemporary consumer culture, “The Society of the Spectacle”, Guy Debord describes modern society as one in which authentic social life has been replaced with its representation: “All that once was directly lived has become mere representation.” He argues that the history of social life can be understood as “the decline of being into having… and having into merely appearing.” This condition is the “historical moment at which the commodity completes its colonisation of social life.”

I don’t want to veer off into the film world or into a philosophical discourse here… but I just want to ask the question: When are we going to wake up to the real, authentic world?

When are we going to stop fussing about “cool appearances”, “sensational manoeuvres” and “snappy rebuttals”… and start remembering what this operation is all about in the first place?

Isn’t it essentially about LIVES? Not only about the lives of those who have been suffering injustices and atrocities in Donetsk and Lugansk (and elsewhere) since 2014 (at least)… but also the lives of those fighting for the salvation and survival of those other lives… and – by extension – the lives of sovereign human beings on the planet who yearn to live in a better, multipolar world?

President Vladimir V. Putin had tried to avoid a military response in Ukraine for many long years until the Russian people and Russia began to be faced with its devastation from outside, especially with the burgeoning NATO menace and the enhanced cultivation of the neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine. It is not an easy decision to take risky military measures to confront an inevitable clash. In his speech on National Unity Day before the historians and representatives of Russia’s traditional religions on 4th November he visibly expressed his horror and personal pain over the profound tragedy of this clash and over what was befalling the Ukrainian people: “The situation in Ukraine has been driven by its so-called ‘friends’ to the stage where it has become deadly for Russia and suicidal for the Ukrainian people themselves. And we see this even in the nature of the hostilities, what is happening there is simply shocking. It’s just as if the Ukrainian people do not exist. They are thrown into the furnace and that’s it.”

Untitled:Users:Nora:Desktop:"They are thrown into the furnace and that's it.".png

Perhaps the “transient” retreat from Kherson is not a setback and can be even seen as a victory, another kind of victory – a moral victory.

In his powerful masterpiece, “War and Peace”, Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy depicts the Battle of Borodino as the greatest example of Russian patriotism… The collective engagement of all those involved in the Battle of Borodino is what ultimately attained the end result: despite all their losses and the sacrificial need to evacuate Moscow and burn its resources – in order to save the army and Russia, the Russians, achieved a moral victory in this battle… which ultimately led to the comprehensive victory of the Russian army and the entire campaign.

“Several tens of thousands of the slain lay in diverse postures and various uniforms on the fields and meadows belonging to the Davýdov family and to the crown serfs—those fields and meadows where for hundreds of years the peasants of Borodinó, Górki, Shevárdino, and Semënovsk had reaped their harvests and pastured their cattle. At the dressing stations the grass and earth were soaked with blood for a space of some three acres around. Crowds of men of various arms, wounded and unwounded, with frightened faces, dragged themselves back to Mozháysk from the one army and back to Valúevo from the other. Other crowds, exhausted and hungry, went forward led by their officers. Others held their ground and continued to fire.” [“War and Peace” – book 10; chapter 39]

General-in-chief Mikhail I. Kutuzov’s motto of “patience and time” allowed the Russian army to be victorious when he was able to embrace, as opposed to trying to know, the contingencies of war and prepare his soldiers as best he could for such battle. He knew that, by fighting the pitched battle and adopting the strategy of attrition warfare, he could now retreat with the Russian army still intact, lead its recovery, and force the weakened French forces to move even further from their bases of supply.

Untitled:Users:Nora:Desktop:Kutuzov at Fili.png

“By long years of military experience he knew, and with the wisdom of age understood, that it is impossible for one man to direct hundreds of thousands of others struggling with death, and he knew that the result of a battle is decided not by the orders of a commander in chief, nor the place where the troops are stationed, nor by the number of cannons or of slaughtered men, but by the intangible force called the spirit of the army, and he watched this force and guided it in as far as that was in his power.” [“War and Peace” – book 10; chapter 35… bold script mine]

According to Tolstoy: “In military affairs the strength of an army is the product of its mass and some unknown x. … That unknown quantity is the spirit of the army, that is to say, the greater or lesser readiness to fight and face danger felt by all the men composing an army, quite independently of whether they are, or are not, fighting under the command of a genius, in two—or three-line formation, with cudgels or with rifles that repeat thirty times a minute. Men who want to fight will always put themselves in the most advantageous conditions for fighting. … The spirit of an army is the factor, which multiplied by the mass gives the resulting force. To define and express the significance of this unknown factor – the spirit of an army – is a problem for science.” [“War and Peace” – book 14; chapter 2]

This Russian approach to war opened up an entirely new option: for “the destiny of nations” to depend “not in conquerors, not even in armies and battles, but in something else.” That “something else” Tolstoy explains, was in fact the spirit of the people and of the army, that made them burn their land rather than give it to the French.

The highest qualities of a human being, according to Tolstoy, are: simplicity, kindness and truth. Morality, according to the writer, is the ability to feel one’s “I” as a part of the universal “we”. And Tolstoy’s heroes are simple and natural, kind and warm-hearted, honest before people and before their conscience.

Tolstoy notes that, whatever the faith may be, it “gives to the finite existence of man an infinite meaning, a meaning not destroyed by sufferings, deprivations, or death”. … “I understood that faith is a knowledge of the meaning of human life in consequence of which man does not destroy himself but lives. Faith is the strength of life. If a man lives he believes in something. If he did not believe that one must live for something, he would not live. If he does not see and recognize the illusory nature of the finite, he believes in the finite; if he understands the illusory nature of the finite, he must believe in the infinite. Without faith he cannot live… For man to be able to live he must either not see the infinite, or have such an explanation of the meaning of life as will connect the finite with the infinite.”

“I understood that if I wish to understand life and its meaning, I must not live the life of a parasite, but must live a real life, and – taking the meaning given to live by real humanity and merging myself in that life – verify it.”

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For us to attain a true victory – for a better world… we may need to recalibrate our thinking and values. This is indeed a spiritual struggle… not one just being fought in Donetsk, Lugansk and Ukraine. It is a struggle now within our own selves – whatever one’s beliefs are… What has meaning for us? Perhaps it is necessary for each of us to first define what we hold “sacred” in our own lives.

* * *

some references:

http://kremlin.ru/catalog/keywords/78/events/69781

https://www.marxists.org/archive/tolstoy/1869/war-and-peace/index.html

https://thestrip.ru/en/smoky-eyes/kakim-bylo-otnoshenie-tolstogo-k-voine-prichiny-obyasneniya-voiny-po/

https://hum11c.omeka.fas.harvard.edu/exhibits/show/reading-history/differing-perspecitives-on–re

Sun Tzu Walks Into a Kherson Bar…

 NOVEMBER 10, 2022

PEPE ESCOBAR 

The announcement of the Kherson Retreat may have signaled one of the gloomiest days of the Russian Federation since 1991.

Leaving the right bank of the Dnieper to set up a defense line on the left bank may spell out total military sense. General Armageddon himself, since his first day on the job, had hinted this might have been inevitable.

As it stands in the chessboard, Kherson is in the “wrong” side of the Dnieper. All residents of Kherson Oblast – 115,000 people in total – who wanted to be relocated to safer latitudes have been evacuated from the right bank.

General Armageddon knew that was inevitable for several reasons:

no mobilization after the initial SMO plans hit the dust; destruction of strategic bridges across the Dnieper – complete with a three-month methodical Ukrainian pounding of bridges, ferries, pontoons and piers; no second bridgehead to the north of Kherson or to the west (towards Odessa or Nikolaev) to conduct an offensive.

And then, the most important reason: massive weaponization coupled with NATO de facto running the war translated into enormous Western superiority in reconnaissance, communications and command and control.

In the end, the Kherson Retreat may be a relatively minor tactical loss. Yet politically, it’s an unmitigated disaster, a devastating embarrassment.

Kherson is a Russian city. Russians have lost – even if temporarily – the capital of a brand new territory attached to the Federation. Russian public opinion will have tremendous problems absorbing the news.

The list of negatives is considerable. Kiev forces secure their flank and may free up forces to go against Donbass. Weaponizing by the collective West gets a major boost. HIMARS can now potentially strike targets in Crimea.

The optics are horrendous. Russia’s image across the Global South is severely tarnished; after all, this move amounts to abandoning Russian territory – while serial Ukrainian war crimes instantly disappear from the major “narrative”.

At a minimum, the Russians a long time ago should have reinforced their major strategic advantage bridgehead on the west side of the Dnieper so that it could hold – short of a widely forecasted Kakhovka Dam flood. And yet the Russians also ignored the dam bombing threat for months. That spells out terrible planning.

Now Russian forces will have to conquer Kherson all over again. And in parallel stabilize the frontlines; draw definitive borders; and then strive to “demilitarize” Ukrainian offensives for good, either via negotiation or carpet bombing.

It’s quite revealing that an array of NATO intel types, from analysts to retired Generals, are suspicious of General Armageddon’s move: they see it as an elaborate trap, or as a French military analyst put it, “a massive deception operation”. Classic Sun Tzu. That has been duly incorporated as the official Ukrainian narrative.

So, to quote Twin Peaks, that American pop culture subversive classic, “the owls are not what they seem”. If that’s the case, General Armageddon would be looking to severely overstretch Ukrainian supply lines; seduce them into exposure; and then engage in a massive turkey shoot.

So it’s either Sun Tzu; or a deal is in the wings, coinciding with the G20 next week in Bali.

The art of the deal

Well, some sort of deal seems to have been struck between Jake Sullivan and Patrushev.

No one really knows the details, even those with access to flamboyant 5th Column informants in Kiev. But yes – the deal seems to include Kherson. Russia would keep Donbass but not advance towards Kharkov and Odessa. And NATO expansion would be definitely frozen. A minimalist deal.

That would explain why Patrushev was able to board a plane to Tehran simultaneous to the announcement of the Kherson Retreat, and take care, quite relaxed, of very important strategic partnership business with Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

The deal may have also been the inbuilt “secret” in Maria Zakharova’s announcement that “we’re ready for negotiations”.

The Russians will leave the Dnieper riverbank in a managed military retreat. That would not be possible without managed military-to-military negotiations.

These back channel negotiations have been going on for weeks. The messenger is Saudi Arabia. The US aim, in the short term, would be towards a sort of Minsk 3 accord – with Istanbul/Riyadh attached.

No one is paying the slightest attention to coke clown Zelensky. Sullivan went to Kiev to present a fait accompli – of sorts.

The Dnieper will be – in thesis – the settled and negotiated frontline.

Kiev would have to swallow a frozen line of contact in Zaporizhye, Donetsk and Lugansk – with Kiev receiving electricity from Zaporozhye, hence cease shelling its infrastructure.

The US would come up with a loan of $50 billion plus part of the confiscated – i.e. stolen – Russian assets to “rebuild” Ukraine. Kiev would receive modern air defense systems.

There’s no doubt Moscow will not go along with any of these provisions.

Note that all this coincides with the outcome of the US elections – where the Dems did not exactly lose.

Meanwhile Russia is accumulating more and more gains in the battle for Bakhmut.

There are no illusions whatsoever in Moscow that this crypto-Minsk 3 would be respected by the “non-agreement capable” Empire.

Jake Sullivan is a 45-year-old lawyer with zero strategic background and “experience” amounting to campaigning for Hillary Clinton. Patrushev can eat him for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snack – and vaguely “agree” to anything.

So why are the Americans desperate to offer a deal? Because they may be sensing the next Russian move with the arrival of General Winter should be capable of conclusively winning the war on Moscow’s terms. That would include slamming the Polish border shut via a long arrow move from Belarus downwards. With weaponizing supply lines cut, Kiev’s fate is sealed.

Deal or no deal, General Winter is coming to town – ready to entertain his guest of honor Sun Tzu with so many new dishes at their dinner table.

(Republished from Strategic Culture Foundation by permission of author or representative)

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The End-Game

October 18, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

It is now dawning, even on self-deluded Western politicians and their presstitute media, that the situation just cannot go on like this. Let us take just the news headlines from 18 October.

The US publication National Interest reports that the Ukraine could only last one month without US aid.

https://news.mail.ru/incident/53516988/?frommail=1

The governor of the province of Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, has announced on the Russian Channel One that Kiev Forces have lost 9,800 soldiers in six weeks, together with 320 tanks, 250 infantry carriers, 542 armoured cars, 36 aircraft and 7 helicopters. They fell into the Russian trap, allowing them to advance through the open countryside.

https://news.mail.ru/incident/53510849/?frommail=1

Pictures of the Nordstream pipeline have been published in the Swedish newspaper ‘Expressen’. It was clearly sabotage. Now, who would be interested in doing that? Perhaps the same as those who downed MH 17 in 2014?

https://news.mail.ru/incident/53519325/?frommail=1

The partial mobilisation of 300,000 Russian reservists is nearly complete. Their presence in Donbass will free up the regulars to advance further, although some of the land taken by Kiev forces in September has already been taken back and more is liberated every day.

After seven days of aerial attacks (only two days of them reported in the Western media) on Ukrainian infrastructure, especially on power supplies, even Zelensky has today admitted that 30% of the Kiev regime power stations have been destroyed throughout the Ukraine. This is all in response to his terrorism in Zaporozhye, Donetsk, Belgorod, Moscow (Daria Dugina), and on Nordstream and the Crimean Bridge. What else did he expect?

France is on strike.

Italy is fed up and wants arms deliveries to the Kiev Neo-Nazis to stop.

In the bankrupt UK, to the amazement of all, Truss is still ‘present’, but the Daily Mail website reports that many pubs will have to close for the winter. The landlords cannot afford to pay for heating bills.

In Germany, the Health Minister, Karl Lauterbach, has warned of the risk of even hospitals having to close because of the energy crisis.

Some ask: But why did the Russian Federation not start the liberation campaign last February by turning up the pain dial there and then? The answer is simple. It is not just that the Federation underestimated the utter stupidity of NATO and the Kiev junta. It is much more than that, it is quite simply that Russia never did wanted to inflict pain on ordinary Ukrainians and on its own Union soldiers. Ordinary Ukrainians have NEVER been the enemy. Russian targeting has always been of the NATO-supplied and NATO-trained Kiev military. Russians are not Americans who spray the bushes with machine gun bullets and the trees with Agent Orange, or who blast Hamburg and Dresden off the map like the British. They target. They are not terrorists.

Have you not read President Putin’s 30 September speech? Please listen again:

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

…We call on the Kiev regime to cease fire and all hostilities immediately; to end the war it unleashed back in 2014 and to return to the negotiating table. We are ready for this, as we have said more than once. But the choice of people in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson will not be discussed. The decision has been made, and Russia will not betray it.

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

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

If you do not believe these last words about values, then look into the eyes of the great Russia saint, St Xenia of St Petersburg:

18 October 2022

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

October 10, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 07, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Minute of silence.)

Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friends, colleagues,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

Kind regards

Andrei

Russia Illegally Annexes Its Own Land and People, According to Western experts

October 3, 2022

Stephen Karganovic

The referendums set a dangerous precedent for the rulers of Western “democracies,” in addition to constituting a direct and serious non-military threat to the sustainability of their Ukrainian project.

Yes, that is the unanimous refrain of Western opinion makers following the referendums conducted in the four regions of Eastern Ukraine. That the overwhelming majority of the population there, braving deadly Ukrainian artillery barrages, expressed their preference to be part of Russia, and not of the discriminatory Ukrainian state (or whatever is ultimately left of it) makes no difference to these opinion shapers and policy makers.

The mechanical unanimity which prevails in the West concerning the major geopolitical shift that has just taken place in the East is a disturbing reminder of the single mindedness which, in roughly the same part of the world but under a different ideological guise, used to characterise political and media discourse about a generation ago.

To anyone with a superficial knowledge of the historical and political context, the epilogue of popular consultation in the four regions, as well as in the Crimea eight years ago, should be an open and shut case. (Doubters will be edified, while being entertained, here.) Invocations of international law, not to mention human rights, in these situations work entirely in Russia’s favor.

A fact-based and rational analysis, however, is unlikely to greatly impress the utterly ignorant and brain-washed Western public. The only version of events that they have heard is that Ukraine, allegedly a “sovereign” country, was invaded by a foreign aggressor and that sizable chunks of its territory are now being swallowed up by the invader.

The notion that Ukraine is a sovereign state is, of course, laughable. Ukraine is in fact a subservient political vassal of the collective West, all traces of autonomy having been voluntarily renounced by its own corrupt and traitorous political elite after “independence” in 1991.

It goes without saying that the Western public, with few exceptions, are blissfully unaware of the demographic, historical, and cultural realities of present day Ukraine. Political borders, however arbitrarily drawn, are in their minds the equivalent of ethnic frontiers which must be respected. That dimension of their ignorance was spectacularly illustrated, but on a much higher level, by the then U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher during an international conference held in the midst of the Bosnian war. To the shock of the better informed participants, he casually asked when did the Bosnian Serb population cross the Drina River to invade Bosnia, apparently unaware that in Bosnia they had been indigenous for at least the preceding thousand years. British foreign secretary (now prime minister, unfortunately) Liz Truss made a similarly embarrassing gaffe late last year at a meeting in Moscow, stunning her hosts when she expressed strong disapproval of Russian military manoeuvres on territory she thought was in the Ukraine, evidently unaware that it was part of the Russian Federation. The list could go on, but the point of it is that if high level political functionaries are ignorant of basic historical and geographical facts, how much can reasonably be expected from members of the zombified general public?

With regard to the allegedly egregious violation of international law committed by Russia by conducting a referendum to enable residents of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye to choose the country they wished to live in, a couple of hard data points are in order.

The first and most fundamental data point (probably beyond the knowledge of most citizens of Western counties) is the fact that prior to the 1920s there was a geographical concept associated with Ukraine, mainly in the form of several provincial subdivisions of the Russian Empire, but that as a self-sufficient political entity with defined borders before then it had never existed. To the question, what lands constituted Ukraine as an internationally recognized entity prior to its emergence within the USSR in the 1920s, there is no answer.

Just as the creation of Ukraine as a constituent republic of the USSR was an arbitrary political gesture, so was the determination of what fragments of the former Russian Empire it should eventually be made up of. Ukraine was fabricated by an act of revolutionary political will, for the ideological convenience of the USSR’s central authorities and certainly without any meaningful consultation with its inhabitants. As a decreed-from-on-high constituent republic of the USSR, the Ukrainian SSR was the precursor of the present-day Ukraine. Its separation from the USSR was similarly accomplished by agreement of three unelected and unauthorised Russian, Byelorussian, and Ukrainian functionaries. In terms of international law, and of the vaunted Western democratic values in particular, present-day Ukraine, and its borders, have therefore as much legitimacy as the entity created in the 1920s that it originated and evolved from.

The second hard data point has to do with precisely how the regions of Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk and others bordering on the Black Sea came to be incorporated into the newly constituted Ukrainian Soviet Republic. It was done to augment the substance of the new soviet republic by expanding it to include huge swathes of territory populated by Russian speakers who had no relation to the new Ukrainian identity that was being created out of thin air. There was no referendum or even a political climate in which inhabitants could freely manifest their preference. About a hundred years ago certain decisions about the geographical and ethnic composition of Ukraine were made at the top and then administratively implemented at lower levels. Options of dissent and appeal were excluded.

The third hard data point concerns the manner in which in 1954 the Crimea was incorporated into Ukraine. The method followed was exactly the same as described previously. The peninsula which during the preceding hundred fifty years, since before Ukraine had made its political appearance, was incontrovertibly a part of Russia populated by a Russian majority, suddenly, without explanation, and without consultation with its inhabitants, was transferred to Ukrainian control. The first opportunity that the people of Crimea had to manifest their will in regard to this was in 2014, just as the first such opportunity granted to the people of the four regions was a few days ago.

What is the principle of Western democratic governance that prohibits a review of decisions made behind the backs of those they impact? Why may such decisions not be tested for popular consent? If the inhabitants of former British colonies and Dominions have a legally recognised right to decide whether they still desire to be subject to the British monarchy, why should inhabitants of the four regions of Ukraine and Crimea be deprived of the inherent right to decide whether they wish to be subject to the government in Kiev? Especially since they became locked into the present-day Ukrainian state not by their own choice but by the imposition of arbitrarily drawn internal borders. Later, just as arbitrarily, those internal borders were declared to be international. What legal doctrine or moral principle obligates the inhabitants of those regions to treat as sacrosanct political decisions made at their expense by others, behind their backs and lacking their consent?

The hysterical uproar in the collective West over the referendums, one suspects, has less to do with the results – which were foreseeable based on expectations of normal behaviour of threatened and abused human beings – than with the fact that someone had the audacity to organise them at all. In the West unmanipulated expressions of popular sentiment have become a relic of the past. The referendums set a dangerous precedent for the rulers of Western “democracies,” in addition to constituting a direct and serious non-military threat to the sustainability of their Ukrainian project. That is why a vicious propaganda campaign was immediately unleashed to smear, disqualify, and misrepresent them at any cost.

Ukraine’s revenge on the West 

October 05 2022

As the balance of power shifts again in Ukraine, its reverberations will impact the very unity of the EU project

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By MK Bhadrakumar

Vector politics in Ukraine has added new dimensions to the 222 day-old conflict.

Typically, any conflict behavior should end when a new balance of powers has been determined. But the ‘balancing of powers’ will not end until a balance is actually achieved – and evidence abounds that Ukraine is about to enter yet another ‘re-balancing.’ 

Russian Duma’s ratification of the annexation of four regions of Ukraine (Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions), and the adoption of the relevant laws thereof, creates a new dynamic and will take some time to create a new balance of forces on the ground within Ukraine. 

Meanwhile, the external environment is also phenomenally transforming. The deepening energy crisis in Europe following the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines becomes a serious contradiction. There is no knowing how it can be reconciled. 

Thus, a complex situation presents itself, as all this is also happening against the backdrop of a massive Russian military build-up around Ukraine in the Kharkov region and in the southern Black Sea region, with long convoys of armor reportedly heading toward Crimea from Russia.

Russia’s new borders

The Duma’s unanimous ratification of the accession of four regions to Russia on Monday was to be expected, the relevant legislation was duly ratified on Tuesday by the Federation Council (the upper house of the parliament), and possibly, President Putin too will sign off on the documents today, following which it will come into force. That is to say, as of October 5, the annexed Ukrainian regions will have become part of Russia. 

Importantly, the Duma has approved the government’s proposals on the establishment of the new regions’ borders, based on the delimitation of territories which “existed on the day of their establishment and accession to Russia.”

The relevant treaties outline that the borders adjacent to the territory of a foreign country will be Russia’s new state border. Plainly put, the old boundaries of the Soviet era are being restored in those regions. 

The determination of the Russian state boundaries has security implications. In the Donbass and Zaporozhye Regions, there are vast areas that still remain under the control of the Ukrainian forces. Liman city in Donetsk Republic was captured by the Ukrainian forces only three days ago. The Ukrainian incursions into Kherson continue. Heavy fighting is reported.  

Evidently, much unfinished business remains for Moscow to bring under control the “occupied” territories that previously formed part of Donetsk and Lugansk. The Zaporozhye Region (which also happens to be an important littoral region on the Azov Sea and forms a part of what Russians historically call “Novorossiya”), is another priority where the capital city of the oblast itself is not yet under Russian control. 

‘Nyet’ from NATO

In the emergent situation, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky formally applied for Ukraine’s NATO membership on an expeditious basis, but within hours, the alliance poured cold water on that request, explaining that any decision will require support from all 30 member states.

It signals that there isn’t going to be any NATO intervention in Ukraine. Moscow will take note. The recent “loud thinking” about the use of nuclear weapons seems to have served its purpose. 

The US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s meeting with the head of Ukraine’s presidential office Andriy Yermak in Istanbul on Sunday was a low-key affair. The White House said Sullivan pledged Washington’s steadfast support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and discussed with Yermak the situation at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant and Ukraine’s continued work with the United Nations to export food to the world.

The White House readout on President Joe Biden’s call with Zelensky on Monday mentioned a new $625 million security assistance package by Washington that includes additional weapons and equipment, including HIMARS, artillery systems and ammunition, and armored vehicles. Biden “pledged to continue supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from Russian aggression for as long as it takes.” 

Later, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the recent aid delivery would bring the overall cost of US military aid to Ukraine to more than $17.5 billion. “Recent developments… only strengthens our resolve,” Blinken said in a statement on Tuesday. “We will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine.”

“The capabilities we are delivering are carefully calibrated to make the most difference on the battlefield and strengthen Ukraine’s hand at the negotiating table when the time is right,” he added. 

Revamping Russia’s strategy

On the other hand, the Russian military command will probably have to reset the parameters of the special military operations, since its forces will henceforth be safeguarding the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. What form its takes remains to be seen.

So far, the actual Russian deployment has been less than 100,000 troops. Most of the fighting was done by the militia groups such as fighters from Donbass and Chechnya and the Wagner Group of ex-special services personnel and other volunteers from Russia. 

Certainly, the induction of 300,000 troops with previous military experience will impact the overall military balance to Russia’s advantage. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has said that another 70,000 men have also volunteered, which will put the total strength of the additional forces at around 370,000.

Now, that is a huge increase. To get a sense of proportions, at the peak of the Vietnam War, the US deployment stood at around half a million troops. For the first time, Russia will have vast numerical superiority over Ukrainian forces. Therefore, it is entirely conceivable that the old pattern of “grinding” the Ukrainian forces may change and the objective will be to end the war quickly and decisively. 

The US decision to set up a command centre outside Ukraine (in Germany) seems to anticipate Russian attacks on command centres in Kiev and elsewhere with much bigger use of airpower, as in Syria. In fact, the new commander of the Western Military District Lt. Gen. Roman Berdnikov previously led the Russian intervention in Syria. 

Military experts anticipate that once autumn rains give way to the winter and the ground hardens, the Russian operations will intensify. Voices of dissent are heard lately within Russia that the war is meandering with no timeline as such. This may change. 

Plainly put, the point of no return is fast approaching from where Russia will have no alternative but to push for a regime change in Kiev and pave the way for an altogether new Ukrainian leadership that shakes off the vice-like Anglo-American grip, and is willing to settle with Russia. 

A Kafkaesque moment   

Unsurprisingly though, the attention in Europe is turning more and more towards the economic crisis with looming double-digit inflation and recession, which can lead to social unrest and political turmoil all across the continent. The growing public discontent is turning into protests in many European countries already. The crisis can only deepen once winter sets in. 

Conceivably, the shift in the popular mood may prompt the European governments to concentrate on their domestic issues rather than dabble in the Ukraine war. The most ardent votary of open-ended war with Russia is Britain, but even London is caught up in massive economic (and political) crises of its own. Prime Minister Liz Truss is fighting for political survival. The Conservatives have practically forfeited their mandate to rule. 

Germany’s predicament

Again, the centre-right Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union opposition bloc in the German Bundestag stalled a motion urging the government to “immediately” allow the export of German battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. Politico reported that “A vote on weapons deliveries in the Bundestag would have risked revealing fatal cracks in the government unity and could even have led to a defeat of (Chancellor Olaf) Scholz in parliament.”

On the other hand, the German government also faces mounting pressure from the Eastern European allies in recent weeks to drastically increase the scale and type of Berlin’s military support to Ukraine. 

The influential Foreign Policy magazine in Washington wrote last week, “In the eyes of Berlin’s NATO allies in Eastern Europe, particularly the countries that border Russia, Germany, the economic and political power centre of Europe, isn’t doing nearly enough. And the longer it delays, the more it risks a long-term diplomatic fracture with those allies in the East.” 

But despite this pressure tactic, polls show that while some 70 percent of Germans are supportive of Ukraine generally, only 35 percent endorse stronger military support. 

In this situation, the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipeline dovetails into the energy crisis in Europe and threatens European countries with “de-industrialization.”

For Germany, in particular, the country’s economic model is riveted on the availability of abundant gas supplies from Russia, per long-term contracts, at cheap prices, through pipelines. Clearly, the sabotage of the Nord Stream has monumental implications. 

To be sure, whoever perpetrated that terrorist attack calculated shrewdly that Russian gas should not flow to Europe for the foreseeable future. The perennial fear in Washington is that a German-Russian proximity may develop if energy ties are restored. Besides, today, US oil companies are having a huge windfall of profits in the European energy market, replacing Russia, by selling LNG at five to six times the US domestic price. 

Preventing Russian-German reconciliation

What complicates matters is that Europe needs energy security in the short and medium term without also wrecking climate targets. It means heightened geopolitical sensitivity. The point is, Europe’s orderly energy transition away from fossil fuels critically needs Russian gas and was built on the earlier assumption that there would be cheap and plentiful natural gas. 

Arguably, Moscow kept hoping that Nord Stream would eventually be a catalyst to heal the rupture in German-Russian energy ties. Interestingly, on Monday, Russian energy giant Gazprom proposed to European gas customers that part of the damaged Nord Stream network could still transport fuel — but only on the newly constructed Nord Stream 2. Nord Stream 1 is virtually destroyed.  

A Gazprom statement in its Telegram account said that one of the three lines of the Nord Stream 2 remains unaffected and the gas giant has lowered the pressure to inspect the link for damage and potential leaks. Nord Stream 2 has a shipment capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year, which means its line B could deliver as much as 27.5 billion cubic meters per year to Germany across the Baltic Sea.

However, the Nord Stream 2 requires EU approval, which is problematic given the tensions between Brussels and Moscow. These tensions may only increase if the EU approves the US-led decision by the G7 countries to impose a price cap on Russian oil. 

Most certainly, that is also Washington’s calculus — pin down Germany and keep Russia out. The spectre that haunts Washington is that Berlin may lose interest in the Ukraine war. The ascendancy of the Atlanticists in the echelons of power in Berlin in the most recent years – and their nexus with the virulently Russophobic EU bureaucrats in Brussels – has so far worked splendidly in Washington’s favor.

The EU is effectively over

But the ground beneath the feet is shifting, as the dramatic turn in Sweden and Italy’s politics has shown. 

Do not underestimate the “Meloni effect.” The heart of the matter is that the far-right forces invariably have more to offer to the electorate in times of insecurity and economic hardship.

In France too, President Macron is immobilized, lacking a parliamentary majority to legislate, and is being worn down by serial crises. As for Britain, the financial crisis triggered by the Chancellor of Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng’s budget highlights fundamentally the scarcity of feasible alternative economic models. Sterling is in free fall. Two consecutive Tory administrations failed to come up with a post-Brexit model, while Labour never wanted Brexit. The Truss government is the last chance to get Brexit really done, but no-one is holding their breath. And then, the Deluge — events will intrude. 

What all this means is that the three main power centers within the Eurozone and Britain are finding it hard to escape the old, dying industrial world of the 20th century and this is not the best of time to take on the half-million strong Russian allied forces in Ukraine, the Biden Administration’s bravado notwithstanding. 

Do not lend credence to the inaugural summit of the European Political Community (EPC) in Prague on Wednesday bringing together the leaders of 27 EU member states and up to 17 non-EU countries – namely, the UK, Turkey, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Israel. 

The plain truth is that the European integration project is over and done with. Any attempt to impose it will produce severe backlash. Looking back, therefore, the rupture with Russia has ushered in a new geopolitical landscape in Europe where Brussels’ conundrum regarding EU expansion stands exposed. The EPC is nothing but a disguised French ploy to slow down actual EU membership for countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. 

The EPC summit at the Prague Castle only serves to highlight that this is a Kafkaesque moment in European politics. This must be Ukraine’s revenge on Europe for staging such a cynical, violent coup in 2014 to cut its umbilical cord with Russia. 

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

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

Global Research, September 30, 2022

By Max Blumenthal and Anya Parampil

The Grayzone 29 September 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Russia’s referendums: drawing a line with NATO

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

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

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

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

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

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

Russia Recognizes Two Donbass Republics to Stop Ukraine’s Violence

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beeley among European journalists targeted and prosecuted for reporting from Donetsk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is Natalie Loiseau?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

The original source of this article is The Grayzone

Copyright © Max Blumenthal and Anya ParampilThe Grayzone, 2022

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.

A possible strategy for peace

September 28, 2022

Source

by Gav Don

We now await the results of the referenda in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhiya and Kherson to request membership of the Russian Federation. In the first three regions the result is a foregone conclusion. In Kherson the vote is also likely to be for membership, in spite of the fact that Kherson’s pre-war population was a majority ethnic Ukrainian one, but the margin may be closer. Many, indeed probably most, of Kherson’s pre-war Ukrainians have, though, left the region as refugees, and will not vote in the referendum by virtue of their absence. President Putin stated in a recent speech that Russia will immediately accept the applications for membership of the Federation that follow.

In parallel Moscow announced this week that Russia will call up army reservists for service. Russian army reserves include men in a wide range of preparedness, from people who had completed conscripted service long ago to a much smaller number of “active” reserve formations similar to western reserve formations – i.e. ones which meet regularly for paid training with regular forces. These latter are a relatively new addition to Russia’s ground forces.

RAND reported in 2019 that “active” reserves totalled only 5,000 men. In 2021 Moscow announced a plan to increase the active reserve under the headline BARS-2021 to 100,000, but no information has reached the public domain since then on how well (or not) that strategy performed. Subsequent clarification stated that reserves called up will undergo months of refresher and update training. Interpolating the limited data suggests that this reserve call-up might bring 20,000-40,000 men with material fighting power to Russia’s Orbat in the short term.

Mr Putin made no reference to the number of men (and women, presumably) to be called up, but within minutes of his speech being broadcast the number of 300,000 appeared throughout western media coverage. The most likely source for that very large number is the media briefers retained by Kyiv.

Prior to this week’s reserve call-up Moscow was already in the process of creating a new unit, the 3rd Army Corps (Luhansk and Donestk militias form the 1st and 2nd Army Corps), comprising some 40 Battalion Tactical Groups. When fully formed the 3rd Army Corps would therefore contain some 35,000 – 40,000 men, but at present is probably less than half that complement, and in an early state of formation and training which will limit its combat power to low-intensity and defensive operations only for several months to come.

Reserves are not the only news: a third insight to Moscow’s objectives has come to light, in one of Mr Putin’s replies in a Q and A at Samarkand, and again in his “reserves” speech. In both he referred for the first time to the Russia’s “main objective” in Ukraine as the full occupation of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. This is the first time since February that Moscow has made an unequivocal statement about its objectives.

It is tempting to extrapolate that Russia’s lesser objectives must be smaller than its main objective. That extrapolation would rule out the taking of much more ground than Russia already occupies, including Odesa (or even Mikolayev), Kharkiv or the ground between the western border of Donetsk and the Dnepr River.

Building on that tentative conclusion leads to another conclusion, that Moscow’s strategic objective now is to conclude the remnants of the peace deal agreed to (and then reneged on) by President Zelensky in Istanbul in March. Much of the rest of Mr Putin’s “reserves” speech was expressing Russia’s defensive rights and plans – the protection of Russian territory and Russian people from Ukraine and the greater west. There was no talk of extending Russian occupation of Ukraine beyond Donetsk and Luhansk.

Last week, the day after the reserves announcement, President Zelensky made a recorded address to the United Nations which Moscow is likely to find discouraging for a peace deal. Mr Zelensky’s first words were a demand for “just punishment” for Russia’s aggression: “Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory”.  Mr Zelensky stated four preconditions for peace:

·         Punishment (of Russia) for the crime of aggression, to continue (a) until the borders are returned to 2013 line and (b) full financial compensation has been paid for all physical damage. The punishments, to be administered by a special tribunal, specifically include a trade embargo, suspension of Russia from the UN and of its veto, a travel ban on all Russians, and a system to obtain financial compensation from Russia.

·         “The protection of life by all available means”. It was not made clear what this term means in detail.

·         “The restoring of security and territorial integrity” – which must mean a return to 2013 borders.

·         Security guarantees for Ukraine enacted in a suite of bilateral and multilateral treaties, to supplement existing treaties (so, probably not membership of NATO per se). The new guarantees will be written to provide pre-emptive action rather than reactive action (like that in the Atlantic Charter).

To these Mr Zelensky added a fifth precondition, which had no actual provisions or form but appeared to be a call for firm adherence to the four explicit conditions to punish aggression.

Mr Zelensky finished with “I rule out the possibility a settlement can happen on a different basis than the [this] Ukrainian peace formula”.

Ukraine’s position depends entirely on continued materiel and financial support from Washington, London and Brussels. Since it will be immediately clear to even the most Russophobic members of those administrations that the only practically obtainable component of President Zelensky’s formula will be financial compensation from Russia’s frozen foreign reserves, there is probably a different peace deal, which might be imposed on Kyiv by the West. What might those preconditions be?

They would probably include:

·         A clear demonstration by the people living in the four Oblasts that they no longer wish to be part of Ukraine;

·         Clear evidence that the Kharkiv offensive is a one-off, and that it has no practical chance of being repeated elsewhere;

·         Acceptance by the voters of Europe and the United Kingdom that a bad peace is more attractive than a continued war (the voters of the United States are almost completely indifferent to the war and have already lost interest);

·         Acceptance by Prime Minister Truss and Commission President von der Leyen that the economic price of continued conflict with Russia is higher than they will, or even can, pay;

·         Acceptance by the US State Department that the EU Commission and Downing Street are no longer willing to send money and weapons to Ukraine (Mr Biden’s cognitive decline more or less rules him out of the decision process, and the Pentagon has been against the war since February);

It is possible to map last week’s Russian events and announcements against this list of preconditions.

The popular will in the occupied territories

Three of the four referenda are guaranteed to return a strong desire for a transfer from Ukraine to Russia. The fourth, Kherson, may return a less equivocal desire, though a majority for Russia is likely. Moscow may be setting up the surrender of west-bank Kherson to Ukraine as the price of peace.

The western popular consciousness (in so far as it exists as a single “thing”) readily accepts the principle of self-determination where clearly and fairly expressed. Indeed, rather more than half of the people of Europe are independent or unified by virtue of that principle (this would include all Germans, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Greeks, Italians, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Slovenes, Croats, Montenegrans, Dutch, Danes, Maltese, Kosovans, Macedonians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Finns, Irish, and, outside the EU, Norwegians, and in future perhaps Scots and Catalans, and of course Ukrainians themselves). Why, then, spend large amounts of money and incur acute economic pain to resist the clearly expressed desire for self-determination by ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine?

In the debate which might follow this line Moscow will undoubtedly call in aid the referendum in Kosovo, supported by the western alliance against Russian ally Serbia, as a precedent for the moral right to choose one’s parent state. It will find support from the 2010 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice in the Kosovo case, that “…international law contains no ‘prohibition on declarations of independence” (the caveats and specific circumstances of the Advisory Opinion are unlikely to gain much traction with public opinion).

So, it is possible at least that bringing the referenda forward to now is a step towards undermining popular support for the war in greater Europe.

Clear evidence that the Kharkiv success is a one-off

I covered the Kharkiv offensive here, concluding that a successful attack by some 20,000 men against a space held by 4,000 low-grade troops says little about future military prospects for Ukraine. Most of the rest of the Line of Contact is held in substantially greater force by Russian and allied troops of substantially higher fighting power. Moscow’s announcement of reserves mobilisation will shortly add to that fighting power and deepen the thinly-held Contact Line that runs west from Donetsk to Zaporizhiya.

Moscow’s change of strategy by attacking Ukrainian civil power assets for the first time simultaneously restricts Kyiv’s ability to concentrate force and demonstrates Russia’s willingness to use more violence if and when required.

Kyiv is still capitalising on the glow of the Kharkiv offensive, hoping to use it to persuade an international audience that its goal of returning to its 2013 borders is a realistic one. Indeed, the Kharkiv offensive forms a key foundation stone for President Zelensky’s plan for a peace deal articulated to the United Nations last week.

If the Kharkiv offensive is indeed a one-off and not repeatable it will take time for that truth to prevail in the strategic calculus of Washington, London and Brussels.

The economic price of resistance

The European Commission’s sanctions on Russian gas supplies (shuttering Nordstream 2, forbidding EU states from paying for gas in Roubles, obstructing Nordstream 1 by sanctioning its turbines and supporting Kyiv in its shuttering of pipelines for reasons with little engineering validity) have increased gas prices in Europe and the UK by a factor of roughly ten times, and consequently increased power prices by factor of around five times.

Spiking energy prices undercut popular support for the war while at the same time threatening almost all parts of greater Europe’s industrial and commercial sector, rendering large parts of commerce and industry unprofitable overnight (and catastrophically loss-making in the case of low-margin energy intensive primary industries).

Brussels and London have been forced to respond with a combination of massive subsidies, price controls and windfall profit taxes. In the case of the UK Ms Truss’s emergency plan has an initial (6-month) budget of some £65 bn – 2.5% of GDP to be borrowed and spent in half a year alone. While the Commission’s plan for windfall taxes and targeted subsidies is considerably more sensible, both the EU and the UK are looking at sharp GDP contractions as a result of the energy price spike alongside large adverse swings in international payments balances. The value of Sterling has crashed to its lowest level against the dollar since American independence. The Euro has also dropped by some 20% against the dollar.

Europe will weather the price spike better than the UK, which is facing another economic disaster generated by the inflation-linked coupons on some £500 bn of its government debt. With inflation running at 10-12% per year (depending on which measure is chosen), UK debt interest will leap this year from approximately £48 bn in 2019 to a likely £110 bn in 2022.

UK government debt interest will be yet higher in 2023, when, if the war and EU sanctions on Russian gas continue, the United Kingdom will need to borrow a net £200 bn (plus half as much again to roll over existing maturing debts), with a weak currency, high inflation and a shrinking economy. This toxic combination will further weaken the pound, import more inflation through rising import prices, further increase the cost of index-linked government debt, and drive the government’s budget deficit to around 10% of GDP. Unable to raise taxes (because she has promised not to) and unable to cut government spending (because an election looms in 2024) Ms Truss will be at risk of sinking under a tide of debt.

The question is how long will Downing Street accept the costs of its unequivocal support for Ukraine?

The European Commission’s plans for handling the energy price spike are more sensible than London’s, and it starts from a position of having zero debt (though European members all owe large amounts). There is a possibility of a split emerging between the strategic desires of London and the Commission, with the latter welcoming acute economic pain for the UK as part of the “punishment regime” for the UK’s departure from the European Union. Moscow may try to use that divided agenda to detach the UK from Ukraine’s life support system.

Popular rejection of support for the war

Throughout the war European and UK popular support for Ukraine has been solid. Indeed it is almost impossible to find any voice in either mainstream or niche media that is anything other than entirely on the side of Kyiv (not completely impossible – a small community of dissident thinkers and analysts does exist, led by this website, but with a repeating audience that barely breaks half a million people it has little real-world impact).

Popular support has flowed in roughly equal parts from a latent fear of and dislike for Russia born of the Cold War, from a collective view that states should not invade each other, from perhaps the most successful information war ever waged (by Kyiv) and in part from the reality that so far support has cost Europeans personally nothing in either blood or treasure.

The coming price in treasure is discussed above. It is likely that Mr Putin’s remarks this week on the circumstances in which Russia would be prepared to use nuclear weapons were deliberately intended to alarm European and British citizens with the concept that the distant war might become a very non-distant reality if it is allowed to continue.

Moscow can rely on Europe’s media and politicians to misrepresent and exaggerate its statements (conflating tactical with strategic weapons, eliding the question of use against armed forces or civilians, ignoring the fact the Mr Putin’s remarks were expressly preceded by a reference to Ms Truss’s bellicose statement of her willingness to use nuclear weapons during her election campaign, and neatly ignoring the subtlety of whether Russian weapons might be used in Ukraine, Russia or Europe) to cultivate panic among peoples who had more or less forgotten that nuclear weapons still exist and have no clear idea of what they do or how they work.

If that is what Moscow’s talk of nuclear weapons was intended to spark then it has quickly succeeded – the nuclear threat is now top and centre of mass media discussion, and may be creating the space within which Brussels and London can press Kyiv to a negotiated peace, however uncomfortable.

American guns and money

The final piece of the puzzle is how to persuade the US that it should stop sending weapons and cash to Kyiv.

American support for Ukraine does not require popular consent since the price is small by comparison with total US government spending, and its budgets are readily approved by Congress.

American popular consciousness is also much less responsive to the rattling of nuclear sabres, by virtue of distance, by familiarity with life in the front-line of nuclear brinkmanship and because of innate popular confidence in the size and power of US retaliative capabilities. There is no media panic about possible use of nuclear weapons in the US.

Indeed, Ukraine barely breaks into the national mainstream media consciousness, which is preoccupied with inflation, racial tensions expressed by police killings, and the “threat” posed by to US hegemonic power by China, and specifically to Taiwan.

Meanwhile the methane price spike will generate extraordinarily high profits for US LNG producers.

That combination of US circumstances presents Moscow with a wicked problem. There may be one solution to how US opinion should be persuaded to abandon Ukraine.

US popular consciousness firmly believes that Europe (including the UK) has freeloaded on US defence spending for two generations. There are few things the average American dislikes more than a freeloader.

The charge contains an element of truth. Total defence spending by the EU plus UK and Turkey was about Euros 220 bn in 2021. Total US defence spending in the same year was approximately Euros 600 bn. Even allowing for those parts of the budget allocated to strategic nuclear weapons (about 15%), Carrier Strike Groups and amphibious warfare capabilities (10%), and US power projection in Asia and the Middle East (probably another 20%), US defence spending still exceeds Europe’s by about half.

If Moscow can manipulate either or both of the Commission and Downing Street into abandoning support for Ukraine that would leave Washington paying the bill alone. It is not the size of that bill which might undercut support for guns and money, but the fact that it has been forwarded on by decadent and cynical Europeans, which could make US support for Ukraine unacceptably unpopular.

Whatever the American voter thinks, the American neocon will not be persuaded to accept a peace deal with Russia. Indeed, the US is escalating. Last night the pressures in Nordstream 1 and Nordstream more or less simultaneously fell to 7 Atmospheres, and a large gas leak was observed off the Danish Island of Bornholm. 7 Atmospheres is the ambient pressure of the seabed off Bornholm under which both pipelines pass – at 70 metres of water depth. There is only one possible explanation for this event – an attack on both pipelines by an unidentified submarine.

The reliable rule of Cui Bono applies here. A US (or UK, on request from the US) attack on the pipelines secures the EU LNG market for US exporters against possible future competition from Russia after a peace deal, renders Europe dependent on US LNG supplies (in the short term at least), and serves to remove a major possible Russian contribution to peace in the form of cheap gas. It is staggering to see how far US policy-makers will go to promote a continued war.

A possible strategy for peace

Notwithstanding the Nordstream attacks it is possible to see, inside the announcements and moves that have emerged this week, the skeleton of a Russian strategy towards a negotiated peace with Kyiv. An uncomfortable one, to be sure, but peace nevertheless.

If a negotiated peace is not available Moscow can still opt for an imposed one, in which it would complete the occupation of Donetsk Oblast and call a unilateral halt to offensive operations.

Presented with that fait accompli Kyiv is likely to continue its present policy of shelling civilians in Russian-occupied territory wherever its guns can reach – a policy in blatant breach of the Law of Armed Conflict but one which has been consistently and thoroughly ignored by the major media channels in both Europe and the USA, and even by Turkish and Iraq media. An enforced peace would therefore require Russia to create and police an effective artillery “no fire” zone for some 20 kms west of its new imposed border with Ukraine, and a “no-rocket” zone for another 50 kms on top.

Russia’s present artillery and rocket forces cannot do that, since Ukrainian artillery can evade counterbattery fire by the tactic of “shoot and scoot”. Russian air forces are also unable to enforce a no-fire zone because at high altitude they are vulnerable to a SAM shoot-down, and at low altitude to the widespread presence of Man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS).

To create an effective no-fire zone Russia needs a force of unmanned drones capable of delivering 20-40 kgs of high explosive within 2 metres of their targets, both stationary and evading counterfire in “scoot” mode. These drones would have to be sufficiently numerous to give saturation coverage day and night, working in pairs (so that one of the pair can engage MANPADS and SAM launchers which target the other member of the pair), and cheap enough to be disposable.

At the start of the war Russia did not have a drone with those specifications, but now it does. The 1,000 or so Shahed 136 drones ordered this month are beginning to arrive (the first examples of 136 wreckage with their distinctive wingtips have now appeared in Ukraine). Russia has renamed the model the Geranium.

The 136 is an ideal candidate for enforcing a deep no-fire zone. Its 36 kg warhead can completely destroy a heavy artillery piece, a mortar or a Multiple Launch Rocket launch truck. The 136 can loiter for some 20 hours at heights well above the reach of MANPADs, before being dived onto the target by its operator. It can also carry out a chase of a moving target (it was a 136 which hit the bridge of the merchant ship Mercer Street while under way off Oman last year), and can break away and re-attack repeatedly if the target evades successfully.

One limitation is that control systems are line-of-sight, so require the drone controller to use a very high aerial to operate the drone successfully deep behind the Line of Contact, but the 136’s operating depth is likely in most circumstances to be greater than the effective range of most of its targets.

Moscow’s drone purchase also reportedly includes an estimated forty Shahed 129 drones. The 129 is a 400 kg aircraft theoretically capable of carrying guided ground attack munitions but more likely to be used for its electro-optical reconnaissance capability to identify targets for the 136s. The 129 too has a line-of-sight control link, which also limits its operational depth capability.

With sufficient numbers of these two drones, backed up by conventional artillery and MLRS systems, Russia should be able to enforce an effective artillery no-fire zone in defence of the occupied territories.

Amidst the uncertainty one thing is certain – there is a zero probability that Moscow will entertain President Zelensky’s UN peace proposals. It may not even respond to them, on the basis that they rest on a strategic fantasy. Equally likely is that President Zelensky will not respond to peace proposals which include the detachment of the four Oblasts. At least, not until pressured to do so by at least two of his three western backers.

The most likely outcome therefore looks to this author to be a frozen conflict, once the balance of Donetsk Oblast has been taken (slowly) by Russian forces. At the current rate of progress – a few hundred metres per day – that may not happen until the spring or even summer of 2023.

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

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

September 21, 2022

By Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio

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

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

‘The West Wants to Destroy Russia’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Partial Mobilization in Russia

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

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

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

Russia to Help Maintain Security at Referendums in Donbass

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

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

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

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

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

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

Russian Forces Act ‘Competently’ in Ukraine

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

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

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

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

by Oleg Burunov

originally published by Sputnik News



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

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Social Movement calls for a referendum on joining Russia

September 20, 2022 

Source: Agencies

A view shows the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power. (REUTERS)

By Al Mayadeen English 

The chairman of Social Movement, Vladimir Rogov, called on the head of the Zaporozhye region Yevhen Balytskyi to promptly hold the referendum on joining Russia.

At a congress of Zaporozhye region citizens, Rogov said: “Let’s not just make a decision together today, but demand that the decision made earlier be finally implemented.” 

Earlier today, the civic chamber of the Kherson region asked Volodymyr Saldo, the regional head, to promptly hold a referendum on joining Russia, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

Earlier this week, the Public Chamber of the Lugansk People’s Republic comes out with an initiative to hold a referendum on the accession of the Lugansk People’s Republic to Russia immediately,” the statement read.

The republic’s accession to Russia will ensure its security and open up new possibilities for the post-war revival, the LPR Public Chamber said.

“We think it is high time to pass a strong-willed decision to hold a referendum in the Lugansk People’s Republic immediately,” the statement added, noting that the people of the LPR would widely support the accession to Russia and consider it a “triumph of historic justice.”

“Moreover, it will ensure the security of the republic’s territory, open up new possibilities on a path of the revival and restoration of the strength of our land, its return to a peaceful life.”

A referendum to join Russia 

It is worth noting that since the beginning of the war, the Russian military took control of the Azov part of Zaparozhye and Kherson, liberating large cities such as Kherson, Melitopol, and Berdiansk, as well as cutting off Kiev from the Sea of Azov.

Kherson and Zaparozhye had new administrations formed in them, with Russian TV channels and radio stations broadcasting there and trade and transport ties with Crimea being restored. Both regions have announced plans to become part of Russia.

Read next: Zaporozhye referendum set for September: Official

The Kherson Region in Ukraine is set to hold a referendum to become a full-fledged entity of the Russian Federation, according to the deputy head of the region’s military-civilian administration, Kirill Stremousov in July. 

“The Kherson Region will forget about neo-Nazism already in the near future. We are getting ready for the referendum, we will hold it. I hope that in the near future already we will become a full-fledged territorial entity of the Russian Federation,” Kirill Stremousov said in a video published on his Telegram channel.

US specialists behind attack on Kherson

The Ukrainian armed forces fired a barrage of missiles at Kherson on September 10, which targeted a highly important hydropower plant, the district administration said.

“No visible hits by Ukrainian missiles were reported in the city. The Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant was one of the usual targets,” the administration said on social media. 

The power plant’s significance stems from the fact that it supplies the entire district with electricity while providing for the irrigation of large areas of southern Ukraine and Crimea. The district authorities said the Russian air defenses fired at 14 missiles.

Read next: IAEA to issue report on mission to Zaporozhye, Kiev strikes ZNPP again

Moreover, US specialists were behind the attacks launched by Ukrainian forces against the Kherson Region using the US-supplied multiple rocket launcher HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System), according to deputy head of the Kherson regional military-civil administration Kirill Stremousov.

Ukrainian troops attacked the Nova Kakhovka hydroelectric power station and the Antonovsky Bridge in July, which spans the Dnieper River in Kherson Region. Air defense shot down at least a dozen HIMARS missiles used in the attacks.

“It is not Ukrainian nationalists who are behind the shelling of the Antonovsky bridge. These are specific actions of the Americans. American specialists who have arrived in Ukraine are firing at the bridge,” Stremousov told Sputnik, adding that the bridge will be restored in any case, military and civil engineers are already working on it.

Ukrainian troops have shelled Kherson’s residential districts using US-supplied multiple rocket launcher HIMARS to target the city of Nova Kakhovka. As a result, a hospital and several residential buildings were damaged, and several people died.

Roger Waters’ open letter to “Ze”‘s wife

September 09, 2022

“Did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?”
An Open letter to Mrs. Olena Zelenska from Roger Waters
Sunday 4th September 2022

Dear Mrs. Zelenska,

My heart bleeds for you and all the Ukrainian and Russian families, devastated by the terrible war in Ukraine. I’m in Kansas City, USA. I have just read a piece on BBC.com apparently taken from an interview you have already recorded for a program called ‘Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg’ which is to be broadcast on the BBC today, September 4th. BBC.com quotes you as saying that “If support for Ukraine is strong, the crisis will be shorter.” Hmmm? I guess that might depend on what you mean by “support for Ukraine”? If by “support for Ukraine” you mean the West continuing to supply arms to the Kiev government’s armies, I fear you may be tragically mistaken. Throwing fuel, in the form of armaments, into a fire fight, has never worked to shorten a war in the past, and it won’t work now, particularly because, in this case, most of the fuel is (a) being thrown into the fire from Washington DC, which is at a relatively safe distance from the conflagration, and (b) because the ‘fuel throwers’ have already declared an interest in the war going on for as long as possible. I fear that we, and by we I mean people like you and me who actually want peace in Ukraine, who don’t want the outcome to be that you have to fight to the last Ukrainian life, and possibly even, if the worst comes to the worst, to the last human life. If we, instead, wish to achieve a different outcome we may have to seek a different route and that route may lie in your husband’s previously stated good intentions.

Yes, I mean the platform upon which he so laudably ran for the office of President of Ukraine, the platform upon which he won his historic landslide victory in the democratic election in 2019. He stood on the election platform of the following promises.

1. To end the civil war in the East and bring peace to the Donbas and partial autonomy to Donetsk and Luhansk.
2. And to ratify and implement the rest of the body of the Minsk 2 agreements.

One can only assume that your husband’s electoral policies didn’t sit well with certain political factions in Kiev and that those factions persuaded your husband to diametrically change course ignoring the peoples mandate. Sadly, your old man agreed to those totalitarian, anti-democratic dismissals of the will of the Ukrainian people, and the forces of extreme nationalism that had lurked, malevolent, in the shadows, have, since then, ruled the Ukraine. They have, also since then, crossed any number of red lines that had been set out quite clearly over a number of years by your neighbors the Russian Federation and in consequence they, the extreme nationalists, have set your country on the path to this disastrous war.

I won’t go on.

If I’m wrong, please help me to understand how?

If I’m not wrong, please help me in my honest endeavors to persuade our leaders to stop the slaughter, the slaughter which serves only the interests of the ruling classes and extreme nationalists both here in the West, and in your beautiful country, at the expense of the rest of us ordinary people both here in the West, and in the Ukraine, and in fact ordinary people everywhere all over the world.

Might it not be better to demand the implementation of your husband’s election promises and put an end to this deadly war?

Love
Roger Waters

source

Germany’s energy suicide: an autopsy

September 08, 2022

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

When Green fanatic Robert Habeck, posing as Germany’s Economy Minister, said earlier this week “we should expect the worst” in terms of energy security, he conveniently forgot to spell out how the whole farce is a Made in Germany cum Made in Brussels crisis.

Flickers of intelligence at least still glow in rare Western latitudes, as indispensable strategic analyst William Engdahl, author of A Century of Oil, released a sharp, concise summary revealing the skeletons in the glamour closet.

Everyone with a brain following the ghastly Eurocrat machinations in Brussels was aware of the main plot – yet hardly anyone among average EU citizens. Habeck, Chancellor “Liver Sausage” Scholz, the European Commission (EC) Green Energy VP Timmermans, EC dominatrix Ursula von der Leyen, they are all involved.

In a nutshell: as Engdahl describes it, this is about “the EU plan to de-industrialize one of the most energy-efficient industrial concentrations on the planet.”

That’s a practical translation of the UN Green Agenda 2030 – which happens to be metastasized into crypto Bond villain Klaus Schwab’s Great Reset – now renamed “Great Narrative”.

The whole scam started way back in the early 2000s: I remember it vividly, as Brussels used to be my European base in the early “war on terror” years.

At the time, the talk of the town was the “European energy policy”. The dirty secret of such policy is that the EC, “ advised” by JP MorganChase as well as the usual mega speculative hedge funds, went all out into what Engdahl describes as “a complete deregulation of the European market for natural gas.”

That was sold to the Lugenpresse (“lying media”) as “liberalization”. In practice, that’s savage, unregulated casino capitalism, with the “free” market fixing prices while dumping long-term contracts – such as the ones struck with Gazprom.

How to decarbonize and destabilize

The process was turbo-charged in 2016, when the last gasp of the Obama administration encouraged massive export of LNG out of the US’s huge shale gas production.

For that one needs to build LNG terminals. Each terminal takes as much as 5 years to build. Within the EU, Poland and Holland went for it from the start.

As much as Wall Street in the past invented a “ paper oil” speculative market, this time they went for a speculative “paper gas” market.

Engdahl details how “the EU Commission and their Green Deal agenda to ‘decarbonize’ the economy by 2050, eliminating oil, gas and coal fuels, provided the ideal trap that has led to the explosive spike in EU gas prices since 2021.”

The creation of this “single” market control implied forcing illegal rule changes on Gazprom. In practice, Big Finance and Big Energy – which totally control anything that passes for “EU policy” in Brussels – invented a new pricing system parallel to the long-term, stable prices of Russian pipeline gas.

By 2019, an avalanche of Eurocrat energy “ directives” by the EC – the only thing these people do – had established a totally deregulated gas market trading, setting the prices for natural gas in the EU even as Gazprom remained the largest supplier.

As lots of virtual trading hubs in gas futures contracts started popping up across the EU, enter the Dutch TTF (Title Transfer Facility). By 2020 the TTF was established as the real EU gas benchmark.

As Engdahl points out, “TTF is a virtual platform of trades in futures gas contracts between banks and other financial investors. Outside, of course, of any regulated exchange.

So LNG prices soon started to be set by futures trades in the TTF hub, which crucially happens to be owned by the Dutch government – “the same government destroying its farms for a fraudulent nitrogen pollution claim.”

By any means necessary Big Finance had to get rid of Gazprom as a reliable source to allow powerful financial interests behind the Green Deal racket to dominate the LNG market.

Engdahl evokes a case very few know about across Europe: “On May 12, 2022 although Gazprom deliveries to the Soyuz gas pipeline through Ukraine were uninterrupted for almost three months of conflict, despite Russia’s military operations in Ukraine, the NATO-controlled Zelensky regime in Kiev closed a major Russian pipeline through Lugansk, that was bringing Russian gas both to his Ukraine as well as EU states, declaring it would remain closed until Kiev gets full control of its pipeline system that runs through the two Donbass republics. That section of the Ukraine Soyuz line cut one-third of gas via Soyuz to the EU. It certainly did not help the EU economy at a time Kiev was begging for more weapons from those same NATO countries. Soyuz opened in 1980 under the Soviet Union bringing gas from the Orenburg gas field.”

Hybrid War, the energy chapter

On the interminable soap opera involving the Nord Stream 1 turbine, the crucial fact is that Canada deliberately refused to deliver the repaired turbine to Gazprom – its owner – but instead sent it to Siemens Germany, where it is now. Siemens Germany is essentially under American control. Both the German and Canadian governments refuse to grant a legally binding sanction exemption for the transfer to Russia.

That was the straw that broke the (Gazprom) camel’s back. Gazprom and the Kremlin concluded that if sabotage was the name of the game, they couldn’t care less whether Germany received zero gas via Nord Stream 1 (with brand new Nord Stream 2, ready to go, blocked by strictly political reasons).

Kremlin spokesman Dmity Peskov took pains to stress

“problems in [gas] deliveries arose due to sanctions that have been imposed on our country and a number of companies by Western countries (…) There are no other reasons behind supply issues.”

Peskov had to remind anyone with a brain that it’s not Gazprom’s fault if “the Europeans (…) make a decision to refuse to service their equipment” which they are contractually obligated to do. The fact is the whole Nord Stream 1 operation hinges on “one piece of equipment that needs serious maintenance.”

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, who knows one or two things about the energy business, cleared up the technicalities:

“The entire problem lies precisely on [the EU’s] side, because all the conditions of the repair contract have been completely violated, along with the terms of shipping of the equipment.”

All that is inscribed into what Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov describes as “a total war declared against us”, which is “being waged in hybrid forms, in all areas”, with “the degree of animosity of our opponents – of our enemies” being “enormous, extraordinary.”

So none of this has anything to do with “Putin weaponizing energy”. It was Berlin and Brussels – mere messengers of Big Finance – which weaponized the supply of European energy on behalf of a financial racket, and against the interests of European industry and consumers.

Beware of the toxic trio

Engdahl has summarized how, “by systematically sanctioning or closing gas deliveries from long-term, low cost pipelines to the EU, gas speculators via the Dutch TTP have been able to use every hiccup or energy shock in the world, whether a record drought in China or the conflict in Ukraine, to export restrictions in the USA, to bid the EU wholesale gas prices through all bounds.”

Translation: casino capitalism at its finest.

And it gets worse, when it comes to electricity. There is a so-called EU Electricity Market Reform in progress. According to it, producers of electricity – from solar or wind – automatically receive “the same price for their ‘renewable’ electricity they sell to the power companies for the grid as the highest cost, i.e. natural gas.” No wonder the cost of electricity in Germany for 2022 increased by 860% – and rising.

Baerbock incessantly parrots that German energy independence cannot be secured until the country is “liberated from fossil fuels.”

According to Green fanaticism, to build the Green Agenda it’s imperative to completely eliminate gas, oil and nuclear power, which happen to be the only reliable energy sources as it stands.

And it’s here that we see the toxic trio Habeck/Baerbock/von der Leyen ready for their close up. They pose as saviors of Europe preaching that the only way out is to invest fortunes in – unreliable – wind and solar power: the “answer” from Providence to a gas price debacle manufactured by none other than Big Finance, Green fanaticism and Eurocrat “leadership”.

Now tell that to struggling pan-European households whose bills will surge to a whopping, collective $2 trillion as General Winter knocks on the door.

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

Headlines of Import for August 19 (Andrei Martyanov)

August 19, 2022

Yet another superb analysis by Andrei Martyanov!
Please visit Andrei’s website: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/
and support him here: https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=60459185

Major news day for Russia: In conclusion of his working visit to Iran, Vladimir Putin answered questions from the media.

July 20, 2022

In conclusion of his working visit to Iran, Vladimir Putin answered questions from the media.

Question: Mr President, some would think the world has forgotten about Syria amid the numerous issues on the international agenda. But we have seen today that this is not so.

We would like to hear your views on the situation on the ground in Syria. A great deal has been said today about points of contact, but there are many differences as well. Have you discussed or coordinated any fundamentally new solutions today? I am referring primarily to these differences.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: What I would like to begin with is not the differences but the fundamental issues that allow us to work and continue our efforts in the trilateral format. All of us believe that it I necessary to guarantee the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and to eliminate all sorts of terrorists, which I will not enumerate here. This is the fundamental and the most important thing, as we have pointed out again in our joint statement. I believe that this is very important.

Yes, there are certain differences, which is obvious, but all of us support the constitutional process. Thanks to our efforts, we have brought together various conflicting parties at one negotiating platform, including the opposition and the official authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic, experts and representatives of public organisations, as well as the UN. I believe this is extremely important. This is the first point.

The second. Humanitarian aid is being provided to Syria, for which there is particularly great demand today, because the sanctions imposed on Syria and the Syrian people have produced a deplorable result: nearly 90 percent of people in Syria are living below the poverty line. The situation in Syria is extremely serious.

Of course, it would be unfair to give priority attention to certain groups, to politicise humanitarian aid.

Third. There are different approaches to organising humanitarian aid. We have always believed that it should be organised in full compliance with international humanitarian law. This means that all humanitarian aid must be provided through the official Syrian authorities, through Damascus. However, we have agreed to extend the existing procedure for six months, including for deliveries to the Idlib zone, so as to have more time for coordinating our positions.

There is some disagreement about what is happening in Northern Syria. Incidentally, we also have some common ground here: all of us believe that US troops should leave this area. This is the first point. And they should stop looting the Syrian state, the Syrian people, taking their oil illegally. But there is disagreement about how to organise and stabilise the situation in that region. As you know, Russian-Turkish observation convoys are working there together.

However, in our view, in order to ensure a long-term, stable situation there it is necessary to transfer the entire territory under the control of the official authorities in Damascus, under the control of the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, and then it will be possible to hold a dialogue with those who are responsible – in this case the official Syrian authorities. I believe it would greatly stabilise the situation there.

But in general, it is work in progress. As I have said many times and would like to stress once again, the work of this tripartite group – Russia, Turkiye and Iran – this joint effort to search for compromises and find these compromises has led to the fact that over 90% of Syria is now under official government control and, as we say in such cases, we have broken the back of international terrorism there. This is a great result of this joint work.

Question: Mr President, you had three one-on-one meetings today, first with Mr Raisi, then with Mr Khamenei, and then with Mr Erdogan, and there were no news conferences after these meetings. All we know is the topic you were discussing, the official part.

In particular, you said that you discussed the grain issue with your Turkish counterpart, the issue of supplying Russian and Ukrainian grain to international markets. Could you tell us some more about that, please?

Vladimir Putin: There are no secrets here; in fact, almost everything is known. There are some subtleties; maybe I do not always have time to follow what is happening in the information field. I will tell you how I see it.

First, what was the highlight of the three meetings? At each meeting, there were issues that could be considered central to a particular bilateral meeting.

For example, as I said at the news conference, in my press statement, the main theme at the meeting with the Spiritual Leader of Iran was strategic issues, including developments in the region. This is natural, as it is the sphere of his activity. It was very important for me to hear his opinion, his assessment. I have to say that we have very similar views with Iran on many aspects. So, it was very important and very useful.

As for my meeting with President Raisi, we discussed primarily economic matters. I would like to note that Russian-Iranian trade has grown by 40 percent over the past six months. This is a very good indicator.

There are promising spheres for our cooperation, and there is a great variety of them, like infrastructure development. You may know that a deputy prime minister of the Russian Government chairs a group that is responsible for developing relations in the South Caucasus, including infrastructure projects in the South Caucasus, that is, in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. A great deal can be achieved in this sphere in cooperation with Iran.

As you know, the first pilot train is travelling along the North-South Railway line. It is a short route to ports in the south of Iran, which further leads to the Persian Gulf and India.

There is a practical project: the Rasht-Astara railway is a short 146-kilometre line across Iran. Azerbaijan is interested in its construction. I recently met with President Aliyev during the Caspian Summit, and we discussed this matter. Iran is interested in this as well, as our Iranian partners have told us just now. Russia is interested in this, because it will connect Russia’s northern region, St Petersburg, directly to the Persian Gulf. It is a very interesting and promising project. The task now is to build this line, which is only 146 kilometres. Russia is ready to do this.

We need to coordinate the conditions of this construction project. We have discussed its general outlines with our Iranian partners and friends, and we have coordinated it with Azerbaijan. I hope we will get down to business now. And then, it will be an interesting job for us. It actually amounts to exporting the services of Russian Railways (RZD). This is one of the relevant examples.

There are other spheres. There are security issues relevant to Iran’s nuclear programme. It was very important for us to understand the sentiments of the Iranian party regarding this work. It also involves Russia, which is contributing to the joint efforts aimed at relaunching interaction between Iran and the IAEA. I will not speak about this now, but Russia is playing a considerable role in this.

The grain issue. It is what we discussed with the President of Turkiye. I have already said that the Republic of Turkiye and personally President Erdogan have done a great deal to facilitate the agreement on Ukrainian grain exports. But initially we suggested that it should be adopted as a package, that is, we would facilitate the Ukrainian grain exports provided all the restrictions on the potential exports of Russian grain are lifted. This is what we initially agreed upon with international organisations. They pledged to formulate this as a package solution. Nobody has so far raised any objections, including our American partners. We will see what comes of it in the near future.

As you know, the Americans have actually lifted restrictions, for example, on the delivery of Russian fertilisers to the global market. I hope this will also happen with regard to the export of Russian grain if they really want to improve the situation on the global food markets. As I have said, we are ready to do this right now. We can export 30 million tonnes of grain, and our export potential based on this year’s harvest will be 50 million tonnes.

Question: Mr President, a serious energy crisis is developing in Europe, which is discussing the possibility of Gazprom cutting off gas deliveries. The company has allegedly issued an official notification to one of its German clients, citing force majeure circumstances.

Are there grounds for accusing Russia of causing this energy crisis? Will Gazprom continue to honour its obligations

Vladimir Putin: First of all, Gazprom has always honoured, and will continue to honour its commitments.

There are no grounds at all for the attempts by our partners to shift or try to shift the blame for their own mistakes on Russia and Gazprom.

What is the situation with energy deliveries? In 2020, in the first half of 2020, gas cost 100 euros per 1,000 cubic metres in Europe. The price rose to 250 euros in the first half of 2021. Today it is 1,700 euros per 1,000 cubic metres of gas.

What is happening? I have spoken about this on numerous occasions, and I do not know if we should go into detail regarding the energy policies of European countries, which underrate the importance of traditional sources of energy and have put money on non-traditional energy sources. They are big experts on non-traditional relations, and they have also decided to make a bid for non-traditional energy sources like the sun and wind.

Last winter was long, there wasno wind, and that did it. Investment in the fixed assets of traditional energy producers has decreased because of previous political decisions: banks do not finance them, insurance companies do not insure them, local governments do not allocate land plots for new projects, and pipeline and other forms of transportation are not developing. This is a result of many years, probably a decade of this policy. This is the root cause of price hikes rather than any actions by Russia or Gazprom.

What is going on today? Until recently, we supplied gas to Europe without Turkiye: we supplied around 30 billion cubic metres a year to Turkiye, and 170 billion to Europe, 55 billion via Nord Stream 1, and, if memory serves me, 33 billion were supplied via Yamal-Europe, via the two strings that run through Ukraine. About 12 billion were delivered to Europe through Turkiye via TurkStream.

Ukraine suddenly announced that it was going to close one of the two routes on its territory. Allegedly because the gas pumping station is not under its control but on the territory of the Lugansk People’s Republic. But it found itself under the control of the Lugansk People’s Republic several months before, and they closed it just recently without any grounds. Everything was functioning normally there, no one interfered. In my opinion, they closed it simply for political reasons.

What happened next? Poland imposed sanctions on Yamal-Europe, which supplied 33 billion cubic metres of gas. They used to take 34, I think, 33–34 million cubic metres a day from us. They shut it down completely. But then we saw that they turned on the Yamal-Europe pipeline in reverse mode, and they started taking about 32 million a day from Germany. Where is the gas from Germany coming from? It is our Russian gas. Why from Germany? Because it turned out to be cheaper for the Poles. They used to get it from us at a very high price, closer to the market price, whereas Germany gets it from us 3–4 times cheaper than the market price under long-term contracts.

It is profitable for German companies to sell it to the Poles at a small premium. It is profitable for the Poles to buy it because it is cheaper than to buy it directly from us. But the volume of gas in the European market has decreased, and the total market price has gone up. Who has won? All Europeans only lost. This is the second point: Yamal-Europe.

So, first one of the routes in Ukraine was shut down, then Yamal-Europe was shut down, now Nord Stream 1, which is one of the main routes – we pump 55 billion cubic metres a year through it. There are five Siemens gas compressor stations working there, and one is on standby. One compressor had to be sent out for repairs. A repaired compressor was supposed to come from Canada, from the Siemens plant in Canada, to replace it. But it ended up under sanctions in Canada. So, one pumping station, just one piece of equipment was out of order because of scheduled maintenance work and it has not been returned from Canada.

Now we are being told that the unit will be delivered from Canada soon, but Gazprom does not have any official documents yet. We must certainly obtain them, because this is our property, it is the property of Gazprom. Gazprom should receive not only the hardware, not only the gas pumping unit, but also the accompanying documents, both legal and technical documentation. We must be able to see what Gazprom is taking – the turbine’s current condition as well as its legal status, whether it is under sanctions or not, what we can do with it, or maybe they are taking it back tomorrow. But that is not all.

The problem is that at the end of July, on July 26, I think – we can ask Gazprom – another turbine should be sent for routine maintenance, for repairs. And where will we get a replacement from? We do not know.

One more turbine is actually out of order because of some crumbling of its internal liner. Siemens has confirmed this. That leaves two operational units, which are pumping 60 million per day. So, if one more is delivered, fine, we will have two in operation. But if it is not, only one will be left, and it will pump only 30 million cubic meters per day. You can count how much time it will take to pump the rest. How is this Gazprom’s responsibility? What does Gazprom even have to do with this? They have cut off one route, then another, and sanctioned this gas pumping equipment. Gazprom is ready to pump as much gas as necessary. But they have shut everything down.

And they have fallen into the same trap with the import of oil and petroleum products. We hear all sorts of crazy ideas about capping the volume of Russian oil imports or the price of Russian oil. This is going to lead to the same situation as with gas. The result (I am surprised to hear people with university degrees saying this) will be the same – rising prices. Oil prices will spiral.

As for gas, there is another route we are ready to open, which is Nord Stream 2. It is ready to be launched, but they are not launching it. There are problems here as well, I discussed them with the Chancellor about six or maybe eight weeks ago. I raised this issue; I said that Gazprom had reserved the capacity, and that this capacity needed to be used, and it cannot be suspended in mid-air indefinitely.

The answer was that there were other issues on the agenda, more important things, so it is difficult for them to deal with this right now. But I had to warn them that then we would have to redirect half of the volume intended for Nord Stream for domestic consumption and processing. I raised this issue at the request of Gazprom, and Gazprom has actually already done it. Therefore, even if we launch Nord Stream 2 tomorrow, it will not pump 55 billion cubic meters, but exactly half that amount. And given that we are already halfway through this year, it would be just a quarter. Such is the supply situation.

But – I said this at the beginning of my answer to your question and I want to end with this – Gazprom has always fulfilled and will always fulfil all of its obligations, as long as, of course, anyone needs it. First, they themselves close everything, and then they look for someone to blame – it would be comical if it were not so sad.

Question: You spoke with Mr Erdogan today. He has repeatedly stated his readiness to arrange talks between you and Vladimir Zelensky. Has this issue surfaced today? Are you ready to meet with the President of Ukraine?

Vladimir Putin: President Erdogan is making a lot of efforts to create the necessary conditions for normalising the situation. It was during our talks in Istanbul that we actually reached an agreement, and it only remained to initial it. But, as you know, after that, when our troops, in order to create the right conditions, withdrew from central Ukraine, from Kiev, the Kiev authorities backed off on those agreements. These were agreements that had actually been achieved. So, you see that the final result depends, of course, not on intermediaries, but on the parties’ commitment to fulfil the agreements reached. And we can see today that the Kiev authorities have no interest in that.

As for Turkiye’s efforts, as well as other countries’ proposals – Saudi Arabia has offered its mediation services, and the United Arab Emirates, and they do have such capabilities – we are grateful to all our friends who are interested in resolving this crisis for providing their opportunities. Even their willingness to make some contribution to this noble cause is worth a lot. We are deeply grateful for that.

Mobilization and Real Economy

July 20, 2022

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article «Staged incidents as the Western approach to doing politics»

July 18, 2022

https://mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1822333/

Published in Izvestia newspaper

Today, the Russian Armed Forces, together with the self-defence units of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, are delivering on the objectives of the special military operation with great resolve to put an end to the outrageous discrimination and genocide of the Russian people and eliminate direct threats to the security of the Russian Federation that the United States and its satellites have been creating on Ukrainian territory for years. While losing on the battlefield, the Ukrainian regime and its Western patrons have descended to staging bloody incidents to demonise our country in the eyes of the international community. We have already seen Bucha, Mariupol, Kramatorsk, and Kremenchug. The Russian Defence Ministry has been regularly issuing warnings, with facts in hand, about upcoming staged incidents and fakes.

There is a distinctive pattern that betrays the provocations staged by the West and its henchmen. In fact, they started long before the Ukrainian events.

Take 1999 – the village of Račak in Serbia’s Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. A group of OSCE inspectors arrived at the site where several dozen corpses dressed in civilian clothes were discovered. Without any investigation, the mission head declared the incident an act of genocide, even though making a conclusion of this kind was not part of the mandate issued to this international official. NATO immediately launched a military aggression against Yugoslavia, during which it intentionally destroyed a television centre, bridges, passenger trains and other civilian targets. Later, it was proved with conclusive evidence that the dead bodies were not civilians, but militants of the Kosovo Liberation Army, an illegal armed group, dressed in civilian clothes. But by that time the staged incident has already taken its toll, offering a pretext for the first illegal use of force against an OSCE member state since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975. It is telling that the statement that triggered the bombings came from William Walker, a US citizen who headed the OSCE’s Kosovo Verification Mission. Separating Kosovo from Serbia by force and setting up Camp Bondsteel, the largest US military base in the Balkans, were the main outcomes of the aggression.

In 2003, there was the infamous performance by US Secretary of State Colin Powell in the UN Security Council with a vial containing white powder of some sort, which he said contained anthrax spores, alleging that it was produced in Iraq. Once again, the fake worked: the Anglo-Saxons and those who followed their lead went on to bomb Iraq, which has been struggling to fully recover its statehood ever since. Moreover, it did not take long before the fake was exposed with everyone admitting that Iraq did not have any biological weapons or any other kinds of WMDs. Later, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was one of the masterminds of the aggression, recognised that the whole affair was a fraud, saying that they “may have been wrong” or something like that. As for Colin Powell, he later tried to justify himself by claiming that he was misled by the underlying intelligence. Either way, this was yet another provocation that offered a pretext for delivering on the plan to destroy a sovereign nation.

There was also Libya in 2011. The drama had specifics of its own. The situation did not go as far as direct lies, like in Kosovo or Iraq, but NATO grossly distorted the UN Security Council resolution, which provided for a no-fly zone over Libya in order to “ground” Muammar Gaddafi’s air force. It did not fly to begin with. However, NATO started bombing the Libyan army units who were fighting terrorists. Muammar Gaddafi died a savage death, and nothing remains of the Libyan statehood. Efforts to put the country back together have yet to succeed, with a US representative once again in charge of the process, appointed by the UN Secretary General without any consultation with the UN Security Council. As part of this process, our Western colleagues have facilitated several intra-Libyan agreements on holding elections but none of them materialised. Illegal armed groups still reign supreme on Libyan territory, with most of them working closely with the West.

February 2014, Ukraine – the West, represented by the German, French, and Polish foreign ministers, de facto forced President Viktor Yanukovich into signing an agreement with the opposition to end the confrontation and promote a peaceful resolution of the intra-Ukrainian crisis by establishing a transitional national unity government and calling a snap election, to be held within a few months. This too turned out to be a fraud: the next morning, the opposition staged a coup guided as it was by anti-Russia, racist slogans. However, the Western guarantors did not even try to bring the opposition back to its senses. Furthermore, they switched immediately to encouraging the coup perpetrators in their policies against Russia and everything Russian, unleashing the war against their own people and bombing entire cities in the Donbass region just because people there refused to recognise the unconstitutional coup. For that, they labelled the people in Donbass terrorists, and once again the West was there to encourage them.

At this point, it is worth noting that, as it was soon revealed, the killing of protestors on the Maidan was also a staged incident, which the West blamed either on the Ukrainian security forces loyal to Viktor Yanukovich, or on the Russian special services. However, the radical members of the opposition were the ones who were behind this provocation, while working closely with the Western intelligence services. Once again, exposing these facts did not take long, but by that time they already did their job.

Efforts by Russia, Germany, and France paved the way to stopping the war between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk in February 2015 with the signing of the Minsk Agreements. Berlin and Paris played a proactive role here as well, proudly calling themselves as the guarantor countries. However, during the seven long years that followed, they did absolutely nothing to force Kiev to launch a direct dialogue with Donbass representatives for agreeing on matters including the special status, amnesty, restoring economic ties, and holding elections, as required by the Minsk Agreements which were approved unanimously by the UN Security Council. The Western leaders remained silent when Kiev took steps which directly violated the Minsk Agreements under both Petr Poroshenko and Vladimir Zelensky. Moreover, the German and the French leaders kept saying that Kiev cannot enter direct dialogue with the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, and blamed everything on Russia, although Russia is not mentioned in the Minsk agreements even once, while remaining basically the only country that kept pushing for the agreements to be implemented.

If anyone doubted that the Minsk Package was anything but yet another fake, Petr Poroshenko dispelled this myth by saying on June 17, 2022: “The Minsk Agreements did not mean anything to us, and we had no intention to carry them out… our goal was to remove the threat we faced… and win time in order to restore economic growth and rebuild the armed forces. We achieved this goal. Mission accomplished for the Minsk Agreements.” The people of Ukraine are still paying the price of this fake. For many years now, the West has been forcing them to accept an anti-Russian neo-Nazi regime. What a waste of energy for Olaf Scholz with his calls to force Russia to agree to an agreement guaranteeing Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. There already had been an agreement to this effect, the Minsk Package, and Berlin with Paris were the ones who derailed it by shielding Kiev in its refusal to abide by the document. The fake has been exposed – finita la commedia.

By the way, Vladimir Zelensky has been a worthy successor to Petr Poroshenko. During a campaign rally in early 2019, he was ready to kneel before him for the sake of stopping the war.

In December 2019, Zelensky got a chance to carry out the Minsk Agreements following the Normandy format summit in Paris. In the outcome document adopted at the highest level, the Ukrainian President undertook to resolve matters related to the special status of Donbass. Of course, he did not do anything, while Berlin and Paris once again covered up for him. The document and all the publicity accompanying its adoption turned out to be no more than a fake narrative promoted by Ukraine and the West to win some time for supplying more weapons to the Kiev regime, which follows Petr Poroshenko’s logic to the letter.

There was also Syria, with the 2013 agreement on eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles in a stage-by-stage process verified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), for which it received the Nobel Peace Prize. After that, however, there were outrageous provocations in 2017 and 2018 staging the use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun and Duma, a Damascus suburb. There was a video showing people calling themselves the White Helmets (a would-be humanitarian organisation which never showed up on territories controlled by the Syrian government) helping alleged poisoning victims, although no one had any protective clothing or gear. All attempts to force the OPCW Technical Secretariat to perform its duties in good faith and ensure a transparent investigation into these incidents, as required by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), failed. This, however, did not come as a surprise. The Western countries have long privatised the Technical Secretariat by having their representatives appointed to the key positions within this structure. They contributed to staging these incidents and used them as a pretext for US, British, and French airstrikes against Syria. Incidentally, they carried out these bombings just a day before a group of OPCW inspectors arrived there to investigate the incidents at Russia’s insistence, while the West did everything to prevent this deployment.

The West and the OPCW Technical Secretariat it controls demonstrated their ability to stage fake incidents with the would-be poisonings of the Skripals and Alexey Navalny. In both cases, Russia sent multiple requests to The Hague, London, Berlin, Paris, and Stockholm, all left without a reply, even though they fully conformed with the CWC provisions and required a response.

Other pending questions have to do with the Pentagon’s covert activities in Ukraine carried out through its Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The traces that the forces engaged in the special military operation have discovered in military-biological laboratories in the liberated territories of Donbass and adjacent areas clearly indicate direct violations of the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons (BTWC). We have presented the documents to Washington and to the UN Security Council. The procedure has been initiated under BTWC to demand explanations. Contrary to the facts, the US administration is trying to justify its actions by saying that all biological research in Ukraine was exclusively peaceful and civilian in nature – with no evidence of any of this.

In fact, the Pentagon’s military-biological activities around the world, especially in the post-Soviet countries, require the closest attention in light of the multiplying evidence of criminal experiments with the most dangerous pathogens in order to create biological weapons conducted under the guise of peaceful research.

I have already mentioned the staged “crimes” of the Donbass militia and participants in the Russian special military operation. There is one simple fact that clearly shows how much these accusations mean: having shown the “Bucha tragedy” to the world in early April 2022 (we have suspicions that the Anglo-Saxons had a hand in setting the stage for the show), the West and Kiev have not yet answered the very basic questions about whether the names of the dead were established and what post-mortem examinations showed. Just as in the above-described Skripals and Navalny cases, the propaganda production has premiered in the Western media, and now it’s time to sweep it all under the rug, brazen it out, because they have nothing to say.

This is the essence of the well-worn Western political algorithm – to concoct a fake story and ratchet up the hype as if it’s a universal catastrophe for a couple of days while blocking people’s access to alternative information or assessments, and when any facts do break through, they are simply ignored – at best mentioned on last pages of the news in small print. It is important to understand that this is not a harmless game in the media war – such productions are used as pretexts for very material actions such as punishing the “guilty” countries with sanctions, unleashing barbaric aggressions against them with hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties, as it happened, in particular, in Iraq and Libya. Or – as in the case of Ukraine – for using the country as expendable material in the Western proxy war against Russia. Moreover, NATO instructors and MLRS aimers are, apparently, already directing the actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and nationalist battalions on the ground.

I hope there are responsible politicians in Europe who are aware of the consequences. In this regard, it is noteworthy that no one in NATO or the EU tried to reprimand the German Air Force Commander, a general named Ingo Gerhartz, who got carried away higher than his rank and said NATO must be ready to use nuclear weapons. “Putin, do not try to compete with us,” he added. Europe’s silence suggests that it is complacently oblivious of Germany’s role in its history.

If we look at today’s events through a historical prism, the entire Ukrainian crisis appears as a “grand chess game” that follows a scenario earlier promoted by Zbigniew Brzezinski. All the good relations talk, the West’s proclaimed readiness to take into account the rights and interests of Russians who ended up in independent Ukraine or other post-Soviet countries after the collapse of the USSR turned out to be mere pretence. Even in the early 2000s, Washington and the European Union began to openly pressure Kiev to decide which side Ukraine was on, the West or Russia.

Ever since 2014, the West has been controlling, hands-on, the Russophobic regime it brought to power through a coup d’état. Putting Vladimir Zelensky in front of any international forum of any significance is also part of this travesty. He makes passionate speeches, but when he suddenly offers something reasonable, he gets a slap on the wrist, as it happened after the Istanbul round of Russian-Ukrainian talks. At the end of March, it seemed that light glimmered at the end of the tunnel, but Kiev was forced to back off, using, among other things, a frankly staged episode in Bucha. Washington, London and Brussels demanded that Kiev stopped negotiating with Russia until Ukraine achieved full military advantage (former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried especially hard, and many other Western politicians did too, still incumbent, although they have already proved just as inept).

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell’s statement about this war having to be “won on the battlefield” by Ukraine suggests that even diplomacy has lost its value as a tool in the European Union’s staged performance.

In a broader sense, it is curious to see how Europe, lined up by Washington on the anti-Russian front, has been hardest hit by the thoughtless sanctions, emptying its arsenals to supply weapons to Kiev (without even asking for a report on who will control them or where they go), and freeing up its market only to subsequently buy US military products and expensive American LNG instead of available Russian gas. Such trends, coupled with the de facto merger between the EU and NATO, make the continued talk about Europe’s “strategic autonomy” nothing more than a show. Everyone has already understood that the collective West’s foreign policy is a “one-man theatre.” Moreover, it is consistently seeking ever new theaters of military operations.

One element of the geopolitical gambit against Russia is granting the status of an eternal EU candidate country to Ukraine and Moldova, which, it seems, will also face an unenviable fate. Meanwhile, a PR campaign has been initiated by President of France Emmanuel Macron to promote the “European political community,” which offers no financial or economic benefits, but demands full compliance with the EU’s anti-Russia actions. The principle behind it is not either/or but “who is not with us is against us.” Emmanuel Macron explained the gist of the “community”: the EU will invite all European countries – “from Iceland to Ukraine” – to join it, but not Russia. I would like to stress that we are not eager to join, but the statement itself showcases the essence of this obviously confrontational and divisive new undertaking.

Ukraine, Moldova and other countries being courted by the EU today are destined to be extras in the games of the West. The United States, as the main producer, calls the tune and devises the storyline based on which Europe writes the anti-Russia screenplay. The actors are ready and possess the skills acquired during their tenure at the Kvartal 95 Studio: they will provide a voice-over for dramatic texts no worse than the now forgotten Greta Thunberg and play musical instruments, if needed. The actors are good: remember how convincing Vladimir Zelensky was in his role as a democrat in the Servant of the People: fighter against corruption and discrimination against Russians and for all the right things in general. Remember and compare it with his immediate transformation in his role as president. It is perfect Stanislavsky Method acting: banning the Russian language, education, media and culture. “If you feel like Russians, then go to Russia for the sake of your children and grandchildren.” Good advice. He called Donbass residents “species” rather than people. And this is what he said about the Nazi Azov battalion: “They are what they are. There is plenty of such people around here.” Even CNN was ashamed to leave this phrase in the interview.

This prompts a question: what will be the outcome of all these storylines? Staged incidents based on blood and agony are by no means fun but a display of a cynical policy in creating a new reality where all principles of the UN Charter and all norms of international law are attempted to be replaced with their “rules-based order” in an aspiration to perpetuate their dwindling domination in global affairs.

The games undertaken by the West in the OSCE after from end of the Cold War, where it considered itself a winner, had the most devastating consequences for the modern international relations. Having quickly broken their promises to the Soviet and Russian leadership on the non-expansion of NATO to the east, the United States and its allies nevertheless declared their commitment to building a unified space of security and cooperation in the Euro-Atlantic region. They formalised it at the top level with all OSCE members in 1999 and 2010 within the framework of a political obligation to ensure equal and inseparable security where no country will strengthen its security at the expense of others and no organisation will claim a dominating role in Europe. It soon became evident that NATO members do no keep their word and that their goal is the supremacy of the North-Atlantic Alliance. Even then we continued our diplomatic efforts, proposing to formalise the principle of equal and inseparable security in a legally binding agreement. We proposed this a number of times, the last one in December 2021, but received a flat denial in response. They told us directly: there will be no legal guarantees outside NATO. Which means that the support of the political documents approved at the OSCE summits turned out to be a cheap fake. And now NATO, driven by the United States, has gone even further: they want to dominate over the entire Asia-Pacific region in addition to the Euro-Atlantic. NATO members make no effort to conceal the target of their threats, and China’s leadership has already publicly declared its position regarding such neo-colonial ambitions. Beijing has already responded by citing the principle of indivisible security, declaring its support for applying it on a global scale to prevent any country from claiming its exclusivity. This approach fully coincides with Russia’s position. We will make consistent efforts to defend it together with our allies, strategic partners and many other like-minded countries.

The collective West should come back to Earth from the world of illusions. The staged incidents, no matter how long they go on, will not work. It is time for fair play based on the international law rather than cheating. The sooner everyone realises that there are no alternatives to objective historical processes where a multipolar world is formed based on respect for the principle of sovereign equality of states, fundamental for the UN Charter and the entire world order, the better.

If members of the western alliance are unable to live according to this principle, are not ready to build a truly universal architecture of equal security and cooperation, they should leave everyone alone, stop using threats and blackmail to recruit those who want to live on their own wits and acknowledge the right to freedom of choice by independent self-respecting countries. This is what democracy is all about, the real democracy, not one played out on a shabbily built political stage.

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