Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the Serbian media, Moscow, March 28, 2022

March 29, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1806841/

Question: As you know, Serbia has not joined the sanctions [against Russia]. Did it come as a surprise to you that some of the Balkan nations who have recently had a good relationship with Russia have joined the sanctions against it? What is your perspective on the efforts to bring relations with these Balkan countries back to normal later?

Sergey Lavrov: We are seeing unprecedented pressure as part of a general campaign, which some Western politicians call an all-out war against Russia where all means are justified. This did not just start now – far from it.

Over the previous ten years, the European Union, in its relations with the countries seeking to join it, has been demanding – the Serbs know this well – that they join all their foreign policy initiatives that of late have been increasingly anti-Russia in character. This has nothing to do with a single economic space or with introducing the rule of law or anything else like that. There is only an ideologically-charged approach that allows them to continue to put pressure on Russia to emasculate its independence in the international arena and have it accept European values, which Europe has long since been inculcating [in others], despite its Christian roots.

Allow me to remind you that when they were working on the European Union Constitution, which, in the end, was not approved and was replaced by the Treaty of Lisbon, the first version began with a reference to Europe’s Christian roots. The European “grandees” refused to support this wording, having repudiated their race and religious traditions. They can hardly be expected to have respect for the traditions of other faiths.

We are seeing this pressure being exerted on the Balkan countries, including Serbia, to have them join the anti-Russia sanctions, which cover almost all economic, cultural, humanitarian, political and other activities. President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic has spoken about this in detail in public several times, emphasising that Serbia will be guided by its own interests. There are also countries like this in the European Union. I just want to mention the recent statement by Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban, who said that Hungary would stand up for its own interests.

This multi-ethnic self-reproducing bureaucracy with a seat in Brussels is trying to subjugate all countries without exception and concentrate all efforts to establishing rules and standards at the headquarters of the European Union, reducing to a minimum what its member countries can do on their own. This is a flawed policy. It shows yet again that, essentially, a certain trend is emerging in the European Union to strengthen autocracy as represented by Brussels in its relations with the member countries.

Montenegro and North Macedonia have been drawn into the sanctions war. They were tempted by the promise of fast rapprochement with the European Union, but this did not happen. They were drawn into NATO and anti-Russia actions and campaigns. Then they were patted on the shoulder, as it were, and told: “Good job, fellas, keep it up.” This is a serious problem. The EU’s reputation and the real goals of its policy in the Balkans are at stake. I believe the United States has given the EU complete control over the Balkans. The US is fully satisfied with the EU’s aggressive anti-Russia line.

Do you remember this statement by Josep Borrell’s predecessor Federica Mogherini? She accused Russia of being too active in the Balkans and said that if the EU started getting involved there, there was no room for others. Her successor Josep Borrell promotes the same idea. He has always urged the EU not to allow Russia to build stronger relations with those countries where it feels like “the boss of the show.”

We are seeing attempts by the US, the EU and NATO to impose their hegemony on others, not only in the Balkans but also in the rest of the world –virtually everywhere else. I am convinced that most of the countries around the world realise that this is the path to a deadlock. It will eventually be necessary to find a way out. There are not too many countries in Europe that can consider themselves sovereign and independent. Those that refuse to join the sanctions in favour of other states to protect their own national interest are fully entitled to be called independent regardless of their size.

Question: Did Russia envision such isolation and military losses, things we rarely hear precise information about?

Sergey Lavrov: The sanctions against Russia have never stopped. In Soviet times, we lived under the sanctions of the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom). Under this, the West did all it could to prevent the purchase and supply of high-tech equipment. The Jackson-Vanik amendment existed for many years. It was repealed to allow us to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) because the United States and other countries were interested in this. It was instantly replaced by the Magnitsky Act that continued the tradition of pressuring the Russian Federation through sanctions. These sanctions were valid until 2014.

A coup took place in Kiev in 2014 contrary to the guarantees of the EU and with Washington’s direct support. Now there is no longer any doubt about it. The coup evoked indignation in both Crimea and in the east of Ukraine. The Crimeans held a referendum to return to Russia, protecting themselves against the armed militants that were bound for Crimea. The people in eastern Ukraine also proclaimed the creation of republics that refused to accept the anti-constitutional government coup. At that time, the Russian Federation was again blamed for everything. The West was disappointed that its plan to finally use Ukraine for its anti-Russia needs fell through.

The introduced sanctions simply reflected the West’s irritation. President of Russia Vladimir Putin has said more than once that since then the EU and the US have imposed sanctions on us almost every month, at least two or three times a year. I think it is always easy to find an excuse. The goal of the sanctions is not to resolve some specific problem but to curb Russia’s strategic and geopolitical development. We know that the West is good at finding excuses.

The surge in unprecedented Neanderthal-like Russophobia that has come to life in almost all Western countries whose leaders are vigorously encouraging and cultivating it was something that struck me particularly in the circumstances at hand. I’m aware that there are reasonable people in the EU who understand the danger of inciting this kind of Russophobia. They are issuing reminders to the effect that Europe saw a similar attitude towards a certain ethnicity over 80 years ago and they know how it ended. This obsession with regard to how they see everything Russian, be it culture, art, education, or Russian citizens (as soon as they start speaking their language in many European countries), has taken over almost all European countries. This struck me, because it revealed the Neanderthal entrails of Russophobia. It appears to have been brewing for a long time now. It’s impossible to bring to life a sentiment like that in just one day. So it was carefully hidden. We will make corresponding conclusions.

Isolation doesn’t exist and is brought up exclusively by those who, mentally and ideologically, have resigned themselves to the inevitability of a Western dictatorship on the global stage. This dictatorship is supported primarily by the West itself which is loath to lose its positions. The West has been the world’s dominant player for over 500 years now. A different era – the forming of a multipolar international order – is now here. The global economic development hubs pursuing a nationally oriented policy have risen, and they do not want to accept the impersonal neoliberal values ​​imposed by the West on the world. They want to be grounded in their history, traditions and values, including religious values. By and large, they are common to all world religions.

Russia has many partners in the Asia-Pacific region, Asia, Africa and Latin America. We have good relations with the vast majority of organisations created by the developing countries, including the African Union, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and many others. As you are aware, organisations with the participation of the Russian Federation have been created and are successfully functioning in Eurasia which is a critically important, strategically developing region: the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. In cooperation with ASEAN, these organisations are vigorously promoting interaction among them and developing a network of cooperation projects in conjunction with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, among others. We are building the Greater Eurasian Partnership. Our relations with China are at their all-time best. Russia has a particularly privileged strategic partnership with India. We have ties with the majority of the Middle Eastern, Latin American and African countries.

The West is trying to showcase the so-called “isolation” in which the Russian Federation allegedly found itself by presenting the mathematical results of the UN vote. We are aware of how they get these results and the kind of shameless blackmail the developing countries are subjected to, and personal threats against the representatives of these countries at the UN or other organisations. For us, this means only one thing: the United States and the Western countries that are playing along with this crude and undisguised blackmail are themselves afraid of being isolated. If they are that confident in their ideals and values that can win their way to the hearts and minds of all people around the world, then let them state their position and allow the countries to make a choice. These countries are aware of the position adopted by the West, Russia, China and other major global players. Let them choose freely without any pressure.

During his recent visit to Europe, US President Joseph Biden said that we were entering an era of long confrontation between democracy and autocracy. Look at how the modern West is functioning, look at the countries that have declared themselves a model of democracy. The United States has subdued the entire Europe. It is leading not only NATO but actually also the EU, using its infrastructure and potential for strengthening US military and political positions in the Old World. As for democracies and autocracies, this “community of democracies” represented by the US, NATO and the EU has become an integral whole (under US command). It is an overt autocracy if not a dictatorship as regards other members of the international community.

Our Western colleagues have urged us and other countries for many years to ensure the supremacy of law and democracy in the US interpretation. But whenever we suggested discussing democracy in the world arena, they were against it – there can be no democracy in the world arena. The Westerners have even cancelled the very term “international law” that implied respect for the principles of the UN Charter, primarily, the principle of the sovereign equality of states. Our Western colleagues did not give a damn (excuse me for this expression) about the sovereign equality of states or international law, generally speaking. They no longer use the latter term. They are saying now that all countries must follow the laws of a rules-based order. The rules mean only one thing – they are established by the West. Everyone else must obey. This is a typical example of autocracy and dictatorship that uses an ultimatum.

We don’t feel isolated. Isolation is the lot of those who couldn’t imagine their life without so-called “Western values” and without the welcoming embrace or at least a more or less warm reception in the West. Meanwhile, there are much more important things in life. They are a loadstar for the overwhelming majority of states and civilisations on this planet.

It is necessary to respect each other rather than impose one’s pseudo values in an aggressive manner. These have only existed for a short time. They appeared with the development of neo-liberalism and are used to discontinue millennia-old cultures and civilisations. This path is a dead-end. These attempts will continue for a while, but they are doomed in the historical perspective. Strategically, this policy will find itself in complete isolation.

Question: I know Russia now has more important things to worry about, but “everyone is out for himself.” Now Serbia has to harmonise its foreign policy. It has not introduced sanctions against Russia. For us Russia is the most important foreign policy partner when it comes to upholding our sovereignty in international organisations. How do you visualise Serbia’s possible political prevarication between the two geopolitical poles, and does this phenomenon have time limits?

Sergey Lavrov: It’s not up to us to be responsible for decisions made by Serbia, the Serbian leadership or the Serbian people. We are fraternal nations. We are united by common history and victories against common enemies. We feel how deeply these feelings are rooted in the soul of the Serbian people, in their historical memory. And now we are seeing this. We never impose anything by force. The West is trying to impose on Serbia its own policy and interests by force of economic pressure, threats, blackmail and ultimatums. It is telling Serbia that it must oppose Russia if it wants to join the EU. This is unseemly. This is not how one should behave in society, at home, with friends or in the world arena. This is an example of their policy of arm-twisting. President Aleksandar Vucic has mentioned this more than once. He said honestly that Serbia is a small country but it has its own pride and its own interests. Attempts are being made now to simply forget these interests and turn you into an instrument of Western policy. This is what happened with North Macedonia and Montenegro. This is what the West is now trying to do with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We have deep respect for the Serbian people, its commitment to its traditions, history and its historical friends. I am convinced that the Serbian people will continue making wise decisions in any situation, based on their fundamental interests.

Question: Is President Vladimir Putin ready to sit down at the negotiating table with President Vladimir Zelensky?

Sergey Lavrov: President of Russia Vladimir Putin has commented on this topic many times. He raised this subject yet again not that long ago when answering questions by his foreign colleagues with whom he maintains regular dialogue, including on the situation in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin said that he has never refused to meet with President Vladimir Zelensky. It is just that he believes in the importance of making sure that these meetings are well prepared. Considering the current crisis situation in Ukraine, its internal conflict which has been building up over all these years and the multiple challenges, simply arranging a meeting to discuss what one thinks and what the other thinks does not cut it. In fact, it would be counterproductive. When Ukraine suggested talks after we launched our special military operation, we agreed. These talks carried on and are ongoing. They will resume today or tomorrow in person in Istanbul after a series of videoconferences. The outcome we seek must deliver on our principled objective of stopping the killing of civilians in Donbass which has been going on for eight long years. The Western community has remained silent despite all its progressivism and has not issued even a single comment to condemn what was going on, even though everyone saw the shelling of civilian infrastructure in Donbass: hospitals, kindergartens, clinics and residential housing. Civilians were dying by the thousands. Still, the “enlightened” West remained silent. All it did was call for fulfilling the Minsk agreements. When Kiev refused, the West started saying that it was up to Russia to fulfil them. This is sheer mockery in terms of common sense, international law, human rights, you name it.

When negotiating with Ukraine, it is our duty to ensure that the people of Donbass never suffer from the Kiev regime again, while the West and NATO stop their military build-up in Ukraine, which creates physical, military threats to the Russian Federation. Ukraine must cease being subject to a constant militarisation effort and attempts to deploy strike capabilities there to threaten the Russian Federation. Ukraine must also stop encouraging neo-Nazi ideology and practices.

This has happened before, and we know these examples. In fact, they are rooted in Ukrainian law. Let me mention the discriminatory laws which run counter to the Ukrainian Constitution and all international commitments. These laws prohibit the Russian language in education and the media. Ukraine has recently adopted laws banning the Russian language from everyday life. Demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine constitute an indispensable component of the agreements we are seeking to conclude. I hope that Ukraine understands that the developments which have been running rampant there since the country’s independence are extremely toxic. This includes honouring the memory of Shukhevich and Bandera, who were Nazi criminals. The “decommunisation” drive includes demolishing monuments to the great people who liberated Ukraine from the Nazis. Western instructors helped train “nationalist” battalions whose members not only wore Nazi symbols but practiced Nazi methods of war. Seeing how Ukrainian Nazis from the Azov and Aidar battalions treat Russian prisoners of war should have dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s for you. We will need to arrange this meeting once a solution regarding all these key matters comes into reach.

For many years, we sought to raise awareness on these issues. The West remained impervious to our efforts, but they have heard us now. This is already something. What matters the most right now is to stop indulging the Ukrainians who want to use talks and solutions as a smokescreen. They have succeeded in this posture when they derailed the Minsk agreements immediately after signing them in February 2015. In the end, they said that they refused to fulfil them. We know how good they are at pretending to be involved. This time, they will not get away with it. We need to make sure that the talks yield results, and once they do, the Presidents will formalise them.

Question: I have a question about mercenaries in Ukraine. It is a hot subject in Russia, and it is being discussed around the world as well. Hundreds of people from Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina fought on the side of the Islamists in Syria. However, the West did not criticise Pristina or Sarajevo. These people are now willing to fight in Ukraine, and there are also Croatian volunteers there. The Kosovo Albanian authorities and Pristina have supported Kiev. We would like you to comment on this.

Sergey Lavrov: We were among those who for years warned our Western partners about the recruiters of the Islamic State and other terrorist groups working in several Balkan countries. We warned them about the consequences of such connivance for Europe. Statistics show that Pristina is holding the per capita anti-record by the number of militants fighting in Syria and Iraq. But nobody wanted to hear about that. Later our Western colleagues wondered where the cutthroats who staged terrorist attacks and massacres in European cities had come from. Mercenaries will not remain in Ukraine after their inglorious mission ends there. It is perfectly clear that they will move on to European cities, where they will continue their so-called work. You may know that participation in hostilities in foreign states is a punishable offence in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Kosovo Province. Some of those who fought in Syria and Iraq have even been punished upon their return home. But today Europe is acting differently. The policy of double standards has taken priority when it comes to Ukraine. The West has banked on it to contain Russia. It would use any means to achieve this end.

We don’t see any reaction to this. We have been trying to draw the attention of our Western partners and colleagues from other countries and parts of the world to the Ukrainian embassies’ activities to recruit mercenaries for Ukraine on their websites, which is a blatant violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and is discrediting the status of a diplomatic office. Some of these mercenaries have made statements on the social media and have appeared on several television networks. It is obvious that they are not volunteers. They are fighting for money. Therefore, they do not have the right to the status of combatant or prisoner of war under international humanitarian law. They are not entitled to protection.

As for Pristina’s support for Kiev, the matter is clear. Kosovo, which is a criminal self-proclaimed quasi-state, does not care for international law. It only wants to take advantage of the situation to win recognition for its pseudo-independence and is posing as just about the main ally of the United States and NATO in the Balkans.

Our attitude to this is well known. We warned about the inadmissibility of pandering to Pristina’s unacceptable actions, and we have always called for settling the Kosovo issue in strict compliance with UN Security Resolution 1244. When the UN General Assembly gave the European Union the mandate to facilitate dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade in 2010, this raised our hopes. In 2013, the EU convinced Pristina and Belgrade to sign an agreement on the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo. It guaranteed the Serbs’ language and cultural rights, as well as their rights in local governments and their special relations with Serbia. However, the Community has not been established. When we remind our Western colleagues about this, they are embarrassed and say that “the matter is still on the table” and that efforts should continue to be taken to implement the decision. I believe that the EU has discredited itself as the guarantor of any agreements.

In February 2014, the EU guaranteed the agreement on a settlement in Ukraine between President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition. When the opposition overturned the agreements the following morning, the EU said nothing and only cited certain democratic processes.

In 2015, France and Germany signed, together with us, a document that is known now as the Minsk agreements. During the subsequent years, Kiev did nothing to implement that document. It said openly that it would not do it.

[Prime Minister of Kosovo] Albin Kurti has said that he would not implement the agreements on the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo.

The EU, which guaranteed the implementation of all of the above documents, has failed completely. I am sure that it will not do anything to force Pristina to implement the documents co-signed by Europe. The EU and the United States will not place any pressure on Pristina on the issue of mercenaries. The United States is feeling just fine. It used the situation to establish Camp Bondsteel, the largest military base in the Balkans. Pristina has not questioned the need to keep that base and has instead indicated its interest in keeping it. I believe that Pristina will be forgiven for anything it does and will be allowed to do anything it wants.

Question: The ultimate goal of your special operation is not quite clear. Originally it was stated as denazification and protection of the people of Donbass. Today, it seems, at least from abroad, that this is not the only goal being pursued by Russia. Many Russians cannot say what these goals are. Some of them are unable to agree with the rationale for this conflict.

Sergey Lavrov: Each person has the right to choose and define his or her position with regard to some or other events that take place in their own country or in other states.

As for our aims, they are certainly about removing the threats that over these long eight years have caused thousands of deaths and the destruction of civilian facilities in Ukraine – schools, hospitals, plants, factories, etc. This is what the Ukrainian regime has been doing against the population of Donbass with the West’s tacit approval. If today the West is suddenly concerned about the need to respect international humanitarian law and save people’s lives, I will only welcome it, but they should act in such a way as to see the causes and roots of the situation we are facing now.

The root cause of the matter is that an effort was launched to transform Ukraine into an anti-Russia immediately after its independence, its withdrawal from the USSR. You can see it for yourself if you look at the Kiev regime’s lawmaking: its laws in effect ban the use of the Russian language and encourage the development of openly Nazi organisations.

The Nazi ideology and practices have deep roots in Ukrainian society. Officers from the “national volunteer battalions” have permeated Ukraine’s army and armed forces; they publicly preach Nazi ideas, calling on others to follow the behests of Adolf Eichmann, a person notorious for his role in Europe during the Nazi rule.   Even their symbols and tattoos reproduce the swastikas and emblems of the Nazi SS battalions.  If we want to abide by the European values, I do not think they can include this sort of ideology and practices. Europe must put an end to this, if it does not want to find itself once again in a situation where it will be inundated by this “wave,” be it brown or of any other colour that the neo-Nazis favour.

The whole thing is much more serious than just solving a single problem.  Russia cannot accept NATO’s plan to turn Ukraine into its outpost chock-full of offensive arms aimed at our territory. We cannot accept the West’s effort to encourage the eradication of all things Russian in Ukraine (language, culture, etc.). Where were our Western colleagues when Kiev banned the Russian media, TV channels, and not only printed matter but also books published in Russia? They shut down three Russian-language TV channels owned by Ukrainian citizens.

You have mentioned the fact that some Russian citizens cannot accept what is happening today and express their concern. But others – journalists, cultural figures, artists, and athletes – do not voice anything and just do their job. Ukraine puts hundreds of them on sanctions lists.  Yesterday, the Ukrainian regime blacklisted another 46 Russian cultural figures, artists, athletes and journalists. And everyone believes that this is normal. Being Russian in Europe today means running a tremendous risk of violence. There have already been such cases.

Our task is to ensure long-term security in Europe. This cannot be done without cutting off attempts to draw Ukraine into NATO, or without agreeing on security guarantees that will take into account the interests of Russia, Ukraine and European countries. We were confident of this when we tried (unfortunately, to no avail) to start a serious conversation with the United States and NATO in 2021 about providing security guarantees, including for Ukraine, without expanding the North Atlantic Alliance. Nobody would listen.

We have heard repeated promises that NATO would not continue to expand. For example, when it came to the unification of Germany, then the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist. They just lied to our face. When we reminded them about those promises, they said they had never made any. Later on, when we presented proof, they said, well, there might have been some verbal agreement – meaning they just said things to “calm us down,” because they had more important concerns – to ensure that the Soviet Union would “shut down” without any “consequences” for Europe.

When they decided everything had “calmed down,” it was time to get moving. Now they are saying we “should not be afraid” because “NATO is a defensive alliance.” So it was when it was created. But they continued to explain, “NATO is protecting its territory.” We knew where their territory was when there was the Berlin Wall – both concrete and imaginary – between the North Atlantic Alliance and the Warsaw Pact. But when the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union ceased to exist, NATO suddenly thought it wanted to “protect the territory” further east. Then it moved a little more to the east, and so on. What kind of defensive alliance is it that draws its own line of defence? Moreover, it keeps adding countries that no one was ever going to attack – actually, no one had ever even thought of threatening these countries.

Jens Stoltenberg (the Norwegian Central Bank is unlikely to have him back any time soon, as the Alliance has extended his term) declares that NATO should take responsibility for global security. This is where the line of defence is, and where democracy turns into autocracy and dictatorship. He says the alliance needs to increase its role in the vast Indo-Pacific region – that’s what they call the Asia-Pacific region, a direct allusion to the South China Sea. This is where their line of defence will be now.

We want NATO to return to sanity. We have reason to believe that Russia’s most serious concerns, having to do with our fundamental, legitimate interests, have finally been heard. They begin to understand now. If this is so, they will try to influence the Kiev regime, which listens to them, and in fact does everything the West tells them to. I hope that the Ukrainian negotiators will show a constructive approach, and at some stage, we will be able to achieve the desired result.

My colleague, UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss has actually confirmed with fantastic, amazing, naive frankness that those negotiators, like the Kiev regime itself, are not acting independently. She actually said they were assisting the Ukrainians in working out their negotiating position. Indeed, who knows the situation in our common region better than London? She went on to say they needed to continue to use the “hard lever” on Russia and “to double down on sanctions.” And when negotiations begin, the UK should be the country that will provide the necessary solutions. An amazing “revelation.” No need to comment.

I can see there are chances to reach an agreement. There is an understanding of the grossest mistakes our Western partners have been making for years. Although, for obvious reasons, they would hardly say this out loud.

Question: What do you think, wouldn’t Belgrade be a perfect place for the negotiations?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe Belgrade is a great city in terms of its position and status. It is quite suitable for talks at any level.

The venue for the negotiations must be acceptable to both teams. Three rounds of in-person talks were held in Belarus, followed by a break due to technical reasons. It was difficult to meet directly; therefore, we held several videoconferences. Now we have agreed to meet in Istanbul. It is a point on the map where both parties were able to arrive. We are ready to consider other locations, including Belgrade.

Question: These days Serbian people remember NATO bombings and many say that the reasoning President Vladimir Putin used to “attack” Ukraine is identical to the reasoning the alliance used in its aggression against Yugoslavia. What is your response to these claims?

Sergey Lavrov: Our Western colleagues are known for twisting facts without batting an eye or as much as a blush. They always want to justify their stance and demands by distorting the real picture.

We have already spoken about the February 2014 coup in Ukraine, when the settlement guarantees provided by the EU were trampled to pieces. The neo-Nazis who came to power immediately afterwards demanded revoking the status of the Russian language in Ukraine, getting out of Crimea, and sent combat units to Crimea to storm the Supreme Council. Only then did the Crimean people revolt against such attacks and held a referendum. Now, reviewing that period, the West starts its story not with the failure of the European Union, whose signature, apparently, meant nothing to the opposition that staged the coup, and not with the attacks on the Russian language and Russians committed by the putschists that came to power. The West begins the timeline of those events with what it calls an “annexation” of Crimea. The truth is it was not an annexation but a free expression of will that took place as a result of the coup staged with the support from the West. However, the West has crossed out those several weeks leading up to the referendum in Crimea, from history. They say Crimea was “annexed,” hence the sanctions, when in fact, they wanted to punish Russia for their own failures and inability to keep their promises.

For them, the timeline of everything that is happening in Ukraine right now begins on February 24, 2022, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the beginning of a special military operation. The years of abuse targeting Russians, the Russian language and culture in Ukraine, ignoring Russia’s appeals to NATO and the United States about the fact that further “exploration” of the territories bordering the Russian Federation is unacceptable, direct calls to prevent Ukraine’s accession to NATO and to stop pumping Ukraine with weapons, building naval bases and, as it now turns out, biological warfare laboratories – nobody is talking about that. They claim that Russia started the operation against the Ukrainian state for no reason at all. What about the fact that the Ukrainian state could not care less about the Minsk agreements for eight years, bombing cities, towns and killing civilians? All this is now behind the line from which the West now marks off its angry and principled positioning.

I heard that President Vladimir Zelensky gave an interview to several Russian media outlets and, when asked about the biological warfare labs, he said it was all a lie and they did not exist. If the West is ready to buy into this kind of commentaries it means that our own experience with the modern Western politics will only be reaffirmed. There are multiple pages of documents that we submitted to the UN Security Council and President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky claims they are a lie.

To be continued…

“The unipolar world has come to an end”: Medvedev

25 Mar 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen net 

Dmitry Medvedev discussed what he believed to be serious geopolitical changes.

Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev (TASS)

Deputy chairman of the Russian security council, Medvedev considered Europe possibly abandoning Russian gas and noted that the unipolar world has “come to an end.”

In an extensive interview with Sputnik and RT, the former president reviewed the West’s actions during Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. He also discussed various perspectives on it, including those who chose to leave Russia.

Commenting on the jarring and obvious western Russophobia, Medvedev declared that the US is no longer the “masters of planet earth.”

Medvedev has recently become known for his tough and sardonic assertions about Western countries’ behavior. Previously, he stated that anti-Russian sentiments, which have risen since the start of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, have been hidden for the last 30 years behind “the hypocritical white-toothed smiles of politicians and diplomats who said one thing and did something completely different.”

Putin Declares Lugansk, Donetsk Independent Republics

February 22, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing breakaway Lugansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine as independent republics.

Putin made the announcement live on television after an emotional address in which he referred to eastern Ukraine as “ancient Russian lands” and said it was “managed by foreign powers.”

“I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago – to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic,” he said.

Announcing his recognition, Putin signed treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual aid with Donetsk leader Denis Pushilin and Lugansk leader Leonid Pasechnik.

Putin also told Russia’s defense ministry to deploy troops into the two regions to “keep the peace” in a decree issued shortly after announcing his recognition of their independence from Ukraine.

The decree said Russia now had the right to build military bases in the breakaway regions and that troops’ mission would be to uphold the peace.

In a lengthy televised address, Putin described Ukraine as an integral part of Russia’s history and said he was confident the Russian people would support his decision.

He also vented his grievances against the West, saying the recognition was a direct result of the failure of the 2014 Minsk agreements designed to put an end to a protracted fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia forces.

The Russian leader took a swipe as Western powers which support Ukraine, saying “they are not interested in peaceful solutions – they want to start a blitzkrieg.”

“Every day they are amassing troops in the Donbas.”

Putin also accused Ukraine of “extreme nationalism,” and “Russophobia”, saying Kiev was sending saboteurs to target Russian infrastructure and attempting to “drag foreign states into conflict with our country.”

He denounced Ukraine’s ambitions to join NATO as an “immediate threat of attack” against his country.

Earlier, Ukraine rejected as “fake news” claim that Russia had killed five “saboteurs” attempting to cross into the country.

Donetsk and Lugansk were turned into self-proclaimed republics by ethnic Russians in 2014. That led to a bloody conflict between the government forces and armed separatists.

Ukraine, as well as the European Union and the United States claim Russia has a hand in the conflict, which has killed more than 14,000 people so far. Moscow denies the allegation.

The armed conflict began when a wave of protests in Ukraine overthrew a democratically-elected pro-Russia government and replaced it with a pro-West administration.

Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Western countries’ false accusations against Russia in the context of numerous historical examples of the West-fabricated pretexts for aggression

February 21, 2022

I would very much encourage you to read and listen to Andrei Martyanov’s article and youtube from yesterday.  Here it is, titled Why Would Putin Say This.  His talk and writing are about Mr. Putin’s statement of genocide in the Donbass.  Martyanov reckons that a world reckoning may be incoming.


https://mid.ru/en/press_service/articles_and_rebuttals/rebuttals/nedostovernie-publikacii/1799521/

Below, we have presented false statements by Western officials concerning Russia’s alleged fabrication of pretexts to invade Ukraine as well as numerous examples from the past demonstrating who in fact has been consistently creating false excuses to act aggressively against a foreign country.

Thus, London and Washington are the historical champions in fabricating pretexts for destructive actions, including the invasion of other states.

Clearly, the current long-term marathon of information terror is in the vein of the West’s traditional policy. With the prompting from the US and UK ruling circles, the world’s leading media are whipping up hysteria to brainwash their audiences and create a new reality by convincing everyone of Russia’s “imminent invasion of Ukraine”.

The volume of fake news fabricated and disseminated by US and European media outlets has grown by many times over the past few months. The collective West is planting more and more reports on the dates of Russia’s alleged invasion of Ukraine and non-existent attack plans while hypocritically denying the fact that Donbass residents are suffering from the crimes of the Kiev regime.

For our part, we are taking regular steps to disavow these allegations. Below, we have presented false statements by Western officials concerning Russia’s alleged fabrication of pretexts to invade Ukraine as well as numerous examples from the past demonstrating who in fact has been consistently creating false excuses to act aggressively against a foreign country.

Statements by US, NATO and UK officials on Russia’s alleged fabrications of pretexts to invade Ukraine

Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby on January 14:

“Without getting into too much detail, we do have information that indicates that Russia is already working actively to create a pretext for a potential invasion, a move on Ukraine.”

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on January 14:

“Our intelligence community has developed information that Russia is laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for an invasion, including through sabotage activities and information operations, by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack against Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine.”

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on February 17:

“Reports of alleged abnormal military activity by Ukraine in Donbass are a blatant attempt by the Russian government to fabricate pretexts for invasion.”

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on February 17:

“In response to this manufactured provocation, the highest levels of the Russian Government may theatrically convene emergency meetings to address the so-called crisis. The government will issue proclamations declaring that Russia must respond to defend Russian citizens or ethnic Russians in Ukraine.”

According to the secretary of state, first Russia will manufacture a pretext to start a war. Blinken suggests that it could be, for example, a terrorist attack in Russia itself, a staged drone strike against civilians, or a staged – or even actual – sabotage using chemical weapons. Blinken says Russian media outlets have already started pushing the provocation story.

US President Joe Biden on February 17:

“They have not moved any of their troops out. They’ve moved more troops in, number one. Number two, we have reason to believe that they are engaged in a false-flag operation to have an excuse to go in. Every indication we have is they’re prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on February 17:

“I wish I could give everybody better news about this [Ukraine] but I have to tell you that the picture is continuing to be very grim. Today, as I am sure you have already picked up, a kindergarten was shelled in what we are taking to be a false-flag operation designed to discredit the Ukrainians, designed to create a pretext, a spurious provocation for Russian action.”

US Department of State spokesperson on February 18:

The United States is considering reports of evacuation and explosions in Donbass as an excuse for a false-flag operation against Ukraine, the official spokesperson for the US Department of State told RIA Novosti.

“Announcements like these are further attempts to obscure through lies and disinformation that Russia is the aggressor in this conflict. This type of false flag operation is exactly what Secretary Blinken highlighted in his remarks to the UN Security Council.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on February 20:

“We are concerned that Russia is trying to stage a pretext for an armed attack against Ukraine, there is still no clarity, no certainty about the Russian intentions.”

Examples of Western countries fabricating pretexts for aggression against other states

Below is a brief review (the list is far from complete) of provocations prepared by the US and Great Britain, in particular, which show clearly the kinds of tools that have long been an integral part of the foreign policy of the Anglo-Saxons and their allies. We would also like to note our detailed report, Political Crimes Committed by the UK, dated April 19, 2018.

Latin America has been the main region of concentration for the US’s constant control and interference ever since the Monroe Doctrine was announced on December 2, 1823. For almost 200 years now, the US has been trying to dictate how and by what standards Latin Americans should live. The region became a testing ground for Washington’s intervention technology, later to be used all over the world. The most common (and cynical) excuses for incursions south of the US border have been:

  1. The protection of American citizens like in Haiti in 1922: “The crisis… called for immediate and vigorous action by the Navy to protect the lives and property of Americans and foreigners, and to restore order throughout this distressed country.” (From a report by Secretary of State Robert Lansing to Congress.)
  2. The delegitimization of official authorities, which is most often related to Washington’s dissatisfaction with sovereign electoral processes in Latin American countries. As US President Woodrow Wilson said after his inauguration in March 1913: “I am going to teach the Latin American republics to elect good men!”

In June 1835, an armed rebellion was organised by the American colonists living in Texas, which belong to Mexico at the time, against the Mexican authorities. A close friend of President Andrew Jackson, Colonel Samuel Houston, was sent there to seize the territory. At the same time, the US provided massive support (sending volunteers, weapons, and ammunition) to the rebels, who soon declared “independence” in Texas, and in March 1837 recognised it as an “independent state.”

The Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. The border between Mexico and Texas, previously annexed with the direct involvement of the US authorities, served as a pretext to start hostilities. American troops occupied the disputed area between the Nueces and Rio Grande rivers and blocked Mexican ports, which forced Mexico to declare war. Soon after the first skirmishes, US President James K. Polk, who had previously intended to justify the war with financial claims, turned to Congress, declaring that the Mexicans “invaded our territory and shed American blood on American soil.” Mexico lost the war and had to recognise Texas as part of the US. It lost more than half its territory, including today’s California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

The Anglo-French-Spanish intervention in Mexico in 1861-1867. The Government of Benito Juarez, who came to power after the Mexican Civil War 1858-1861, refused to recognise the debts of the previous allegedly unconstitutional authorities to foreign powers, which triggered its largest creditors – Great Britain, France and Spain – to intervene.

It is noteworthy that part of the British “media” preparation for the intervention took the form of a campaign in The Times with news of “terrible riots in Mexico where foreigners are suffering.” In turn, Paris quickly granted French citizenship to a Swiss banker whose debt Mexico City also refused to pay off, which served as yet another reason to legitimise the intervention.

London and Madrid soon withdrew from the war while French troops captured most of the Mexican territory. A referendum was held during the military occupation, where a majority of the population voted for the establishment of a monarchy. Archduke Maximilian, brother of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph, then ascended to the imperial throne. After the invaders lost in 1867, the republic, led by President Benito Juarez, was restored in Mexico.

1854, Nicaragua. The Americans razed San Juan del Sur to the ground, a purely civilian town in Nicaragua, after the US Ambassador was slapped in the face for obstructing the prosecution of an American citizen suspected of murder.

In 1856-1857, American mercenaries led by Willian Walker staged a coup to seize power in Nicaragua. The United States recognised Walker as the legitimate president. He surrendered and was repatriated through the combined efforts of Central American states.

In the 1890s, the Americans occupied Nicaraguan ports several times. In 1909, relations with Washington soured again, the legitimate government of Nicaragua was overthrown, and American troops invaded the country. The United States occupied Nicaragua from 1912 to 1933, leaving the country only after the victory of the guerrillas led by Augusto Sandino.

February 15, 1898. The USS Maine, anchored off Havana, Cuba (then a Spanish colony), exploded and sank. A US commission investigating the incident came to the unsubstantiated conclusion that the ship had been sunk by an external explosion. The United States put the blame on Spain, using the incident to launch a war the result of which was taking over Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam. Cuba was declared an independent state but remained under strong US influence. Under the Cuban constitution, the United States could station troops on the island until 1934. After the USS Maine was lifted in 1912, and after new investigations by several US commissions, it was established that the explosion had been caused by spontaneous combustion in the coal bunkers.

During the 1910-1917 revolution in Mexico, the United States occupied the port of Veracruz after eight American sailors were arrested by the Mexican military patrol for entering off-limit areas in Tampico in April 1914. Although the sailors were released as soon as the circumstances were clarified and the Mexicans offered an oral apology, Washington sent an ultimatum demanding a written apology within 24 hours and a 21-gun salute to show respect for the American flag. When Mexico refused to honour that humiliating demand, US Marines landed in Veracruz and held it until November 1914.

In 1937, a military coup was staged in Nicaragua with US military assistance, as a result of which the Somoza dynasty held power in the country until 1979, when the people, led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), replaced the Anastasio Somoza regime with the government of FSLN leader Daniel Ortega. This provoked the opposition of the anti-government fighters (contras), supported by the United States, to engage in a civil war, which lasted from 1981 and until 1990. When the US Congress officially prohibited the financing of the contras, the CIA provided the money covertly. The fact of direct US interference in Nicaragua was reaffirmed in the verdict handed down on July 27, 1986, by the International Court of Justice in The Hague within the framework of the Iran-Contra affair.

Several attempts have been made over the years since then to overthrow the Sandinista government under the pretext of protecting democracy and human rights. The last attempt was in April 2018, when a state coup was provoked against the backdrop of public unrest incited by external forces.

April 1961, Cuba. The Bay of Pigs Invasion is a failed attempt by American mercenaries to invade Cuba and a textbook example of US interventionist policy. The 1962 blockade of Cuba (John F. Kennedy’s Embargo on All Trade with Cuba) and the subsequent numerous measures to increase the sanctions against Havana, such as the 1992 Torricelli Act and the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, add up to an open economic aggression, which the United States has conducted despite international condemnation, including at the UN General Assembly.

After a short-lived thaw during the Obama administration, President Donald Trump resumed the policy of restrictions and added several new sanctions against Cuba. The Biden administration is pursuing the same policy. In May 2021, Cuba was again put on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. In July 2021, it was listed as a country that does not satisfy US standards for combatting trafficking in persons.

On September 7, 2021, President Biden extended trade restrictions with Cuba for another year. On December 21, 2021, the US Department of State reaffirmed Cuba’s position on the Trafficking in Persons list. In November 2021 and in January 2022, Washington adopted two packages of visa restrictions against Cuban officials over their alleged connection to suppressing protests in July and November 2021.

August 1953, Iran. The CIA and the UK Secret Intelligence Service orchestrated the joint Operation Ajax to topple Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and his government who had nationalised the Iranian oil industry. The goal was to restore Western control over the country’s oil revenues and to create favourable conditions for pro-Western Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to return from exile.

London and Washington started their seditious activity against Mohammad Mossadegh with an international boycott of Iranian oil products. Then a full-scale information campaign was launched against the prime minister and his associates based on fabricated news about cooperation with Communists. That Anglo-American manipulation of public opinion, coupled with the palm greasing of Iran’s military and political elite, put General Fazlollah Zahedi’s puppet leadership in power. At the demand of his foreign bosses, he signed fettering oil contracts.

August 2 and 4, 1964, Vietnam —the Gulf of Tonkin incident. On August 7, 1964, US President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed Congress to adopt a resolution that granted him the right “to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States” in Southeast Asia. The alleged bombing of US destroyers by torpedo boats of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin the day before served as the formal pretext. Later, the Senate commission admitted that the reports of the incident had been intentionally distorted in order to launch military operations in Vietnam.

On April 28, 1965, the US Marine Corps started an intervention in Barahona and Haina, Dominican Republic. US President Lyndon B. Johnson claimed that the military intervention was necessary to protect US citizens in the civil war in the country after Francisco Caamano’s leftist government came to power. The country was occupied until July 28, 1966.

On September 11, 1973, with direct support from the United States, a military coup took place in Chile, deposing democratically elected president Salvador Allende and establishing the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet that lasted for a long 17 years, and that included executions, harsh repressions and deep discord in Chilean society.

In 1982 in Guatemala, extensive efforts by US intelligence to create certain newsworthy events put a military government in power. In the 1990s, the United States provided military aid to Guatemala’s pro-American government allegedly to fight Communism, a fight that was in reality manifested in mass murders. By 1998, 200,000 people had fallen victim to this “fighting,” tens of thousands had fled to Mexico and over a million had become internally displaced persons.

On October 25, 1983 United States military units and a coalition of six Caribbean countries invaded Grenada to topple the government of Maurice Bishop, who was unwanted by Washington. An official appeal for help from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States following conflicts inside the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada served as a pretext for the operation. Maurice Bishop was killed as a result. The US administration claimed that the military intervention was necessary due to “concerns over the 600 US medical students on the island.” The invasion was criticised by a number of countries, including Canada. On November 2, 1983, the UN General Assembly also condemned the military operation as a “flagrant violation of international law” (108 countries voted for the resolution and nine against).

Since 1986 in Colombia, so-called social cleansing was conducted as part of the US policy to support favoured regimes, allegedly to counter drug trafficking. Trade union leaders and members of any movement or organisation with at least some influence, as well as farmers and unwanted politicians were eliminated. Tens of thousands of people were killed as a result.

1989, Panama —The United States invades Panama. Formally George H. W. Bush announced Operation Just Cause on December 21, 1989 to protect American citizens and ensure the security of the Panama Canal in accordance with the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, as well as to restore democracy and bring the informal leader of Panama, Manuel Noriega, to trial after accusing him of supporting drug trafficking. At the same time, Panamanian analysts noted that the real goal of the Americans was to install a government loyal to Washington, since the Manuel Noriega regime had begun distancing itself from Washington, something that did not fit into the US’s strategy to ensure reliable control over the Panama Canal.

The immediate reason for the American aggression was the alleged killing by Panamanian defence forces of an American Marine who was “lost” on Panamanian territory. In fact, a later investigation showed that this Marine and others in his unit were part of a special group acting under US Naval Intelligence, whose task was to provoke an open conflict with the Panamanian military. This armed group ignored Panamanian Defence Forces’ roadblocks, despite the warning signs, as well as orders to stop, and shot several local residents, including a child. In this situation, the Panamanian military simply had to use weapons; as a result, one of the attackers was killed.

American media reports that several bags of cocaine were allegedly found in a house frequented by Manuel Noriega was another fabrication that the US used to intervene. These bags allegedly confirmed the link between the Panamanian leader and drug traffickers, but during the search, ordinary flour was found instead of drugs, something that was later acknowledged by the US military.

During the invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989, the lawful Panamanian authorities were brought down, and the country found itself occupied by American troops for some time. According to the local association for victims’ relatives, the Americans committed numerous war crimes, including massacres of civilians (about 4,000).

March 24 – June 10, 1999 —Operation Allied Force against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. American citizen William Walker, head of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission, made big news with a completely false allegation of a civilian massacre in the village of Racak (January 1999). It was proven later that these civilians were armed militants killed in action. The European Union later established this beyond a doubt. Back then, William Walker announced publicly that it was an act of genocide. He took it upon himself to announce the withdrawal of the OSCE mission from Kosovo. In fact, this was used as a trigger for NATO’s aggression against the former state of Yugoslavia.

March 20 – April 9, 2003, Iraq —The US and its allies invade Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein. For 12 years, the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and then the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) had been searching Iraq for hidden stocks of biological, chemical and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the existence of which Baghdad denied. Nevertheless, during a UN Security Council meeting on February 5, 2003, US Secretary of State Colin Powell accused Iraqi leaders of manufacturing WMDs and showed a vial of white powder, which allegedly contained anthrax found in Iraq: “The facts and Iraq’s behaviour show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction. There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more. My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions…”

The powder did not convince the UN Security Council members, and they refused to sanction the invasion of Iraq. But that did not stop the Americans. In March-April 2003, under the pretext that these notorious WMDs must be destroyed, the United States, with support from its allies, launched an armed invasion of Iraq in violation of international law, which led to an occupation of the country. The legitimate president, Saddam Hussein, was overthrown and executed, and the country was plunged into many years of chaos, from which it has not fully recovered to this day.

No biological, chemical or nuclear weapons were ever found after the destruction of Iraq, and Powell apologised publicly. In July 2016, a British independent commission led by John Chilcot, which had been investigating Britain’s participation in the military campaign in Iraq for seven years, announced the results of its inquiry. Conclusion: the invasion in Iraq was a “terrible mistake,” and the Tony Blair government’s decision to become involved was “hasty” and “based on inadequate evidence.” Even Tony Blair himself admitted that the invasion of Iraq had been carried out on the basis of false intelligence and that the actions by the Western coalition, in effect, facilitated the rise of ISIS. Тhe former prime minister apologised to the families of the British soldiers who died in Iraq but somehow, in a typical British manner, forgot to apologise to the families of the murdered Iraqis.

the London played a particularly important role in this respect. It initiated a series of provocations starting with the Litvinenko case in 2006. Under the far-fetched excuse that Moscow refused to contribute to the investigation into his being poisoned, the United Kingdom imposed a number of sanctions on Russia in July 2007. Thus, it expelled four Russian diplomats from the country, suspended all contact with the Russian Federal Security Service and any work on military-technical agreements or a bilateral agreement on easing visa requirements. In addition, Britain insisted on the extradition of Russian citizen Andrey Lugovoy, which would be a crude violation of our constitution.

Russia was cooperating with its British colleagues in good faith, but London did not reciprocate. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office informed its British colleagues that if they provided the relevant materials, it would be willing to conduct legal proceedings in Russia.

In August 2014, the Investigative Committee of Russia had to refuse to take part in Britain’s public inquiry into this case. The problem was that, contrary to its name, it was not transparent for Russia. Hence, there were serious apprehensions about its potential for politicisation. Our apprehensions were eventually justified. Hearings on the open part of the “public inquiry” abounded in references to “secrecy,” various kinds of insinuations and undisguised bias, in part, as regards witness testimony that did not fit into the prosecution’s “general line.”

In September 2014, a US-led international anti-terrorist coalition was established in Iraq and Syria to counter ISIS. Indicatively, the SAR government was never asked for an agreement on the deployment of the coalition’s forces in this sovereign country. All coalition operations have been conducted without coordination with the lawful Syrian authorities under the pretext of implementing the right to self-defence as envisaged by Article 51 of the UN Charter.

The Syrian leaders have repeatedly called on the UN Security Council to hold the United States and its allies responsible for their actions. The coalition’s air forces have regularly subjected Syrian infrastructure, including oil facilities in ISIS-controlled areas, to massive attacks. According to the Syrian Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources, during the crisis, the oil-and-gas sector alone has sustained damaged of over $100 billion from these illegal actions and the continuing foreign occupation of parts of Syrian territory. Attacks have frequently targeted government troop units, after which the militants launch an offensive. Thus, airstrikes at Syrian Army positions in Deir ez-Zor killed 62 Syrian army personnel and wounded over 100 people. ISIS militants used this opportunity to seize the front lines of the besieged garrison’s defence in Deir ez-Zor that was surrounded by terrorists.

In April 2017 and April 2018, cases of fabricated uses of chemical weapons by Damascus, actually staged by Western secret services with the help of the notorious pseudo-humanitarian White Helmets (*) were used by NATO allies as a pretext for massive missile strikes at Syrian military and civilian facilities.

Accusations based on the fabricated use of “chemical weapons” and other false reports on Damascus’ alleged crimes (for instance, in Douma on April 7, 2018) became a dominant trend in the Western information war against the SAR. The persistent brainwashing of public opinion allowed the West to adopt the toughest, repressive measures and sanctions at the legal level, like the Caesar Act, which is pushing Syria towards a humanitarian disaster and is preventing post-crisis recovery and the return of millions of refugees.

(*) White Helmets (WH) NGO as a tool for staging fake chemical incidents in Syria.

The United State and Great Britain have actively relied on information from the WH for levelling accusations against the Syrian government by claiming that Damascus used chemical weapons. The UK later used these would-be accusations to buttress their line within the OPCW when they pushed for the introduction of an attributive mechanism to investigate and “punish” states for using chemical weapons.

The White Helmets is an informal designation of Syria Civil Defence, a non-governmental organisation that was formed in 2014 in Idlib as an umbrella structure for various rescue teams operating on Syrian territory not controlled by official Damascus.

The WH have been exposed multiple times for fabricating and planting fake news in the information space, including the following instances:

  • Even before Russia’s Aerospace Forces launched their counterterrorism operation in Syria in October 2015, the WH arranged for new stories to emerge from the West Bank, Palestinian territory, on the “victims from airstrikes by the Russian military.”
  • In September 2016, humanitarian organisations offered to evacuate a girl from Aleppo, who reported on Twitter about the “regime’s atrocities.” It turned out that it was an English-speaking WH activist who had written these Twitter posts in the girl’s name.
  • In December 2016, the Egyptian police in Port Said detained a group of WH activists who were filming what they presented as true reports about a “girl in Aleppo covered in blood.”
  • In late April and early May 2017, WH members and Al Jazeera worked on a report on what they claimed was a “chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime” in Saraqib, Idlib, but this incident never happened.

In some cases, the organisation recognised the fact that it was spreading “posed news stories” and justified its actions by the need to “to raise awareness of the suffering of the Syrian people.”

Some of the stories planted by the WH resulted from their ties to terrorist groups, as Stephen Kinzer, a reporter with The Boston Globe, a US newspaper, pointed out. He wrote that on March 16, 2015, the Sarmin Coordination Committee provided to the WH what it presented as video materials exposing the Syrian government, and the CNN, an American television network, then gave these materials a lot of publicity. However, it turned out later that this “committee” was affiliated with al-Qaeda. This led Stephen Kinzer to the conclusion that the American TV network relayed al-Qaeda propaganda to the international public opinion.

Experts from the World Health Organisation’s office in Damascus were also critical of the White Helmets, saying that the WH, together with Doctors Without Borders and the so-called Syrian American Medical Society, were spreading misinformation and planting fake news on Syrian territories controlled by illegal armed groups, including by releasing fake reports on “destroyed hospitals in Aleppo,” and “mass starvation” in the besieged areas. In their undertakings the WH officials use as their cover the so-called UN cross-border humanitarian mechanism in Gaziantep, Turkey, whose financing bypasses the UN’s official call for humanitarian assistance.

Respected politicians and civil society figures from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Slovakia, and the United States, acting independently from one another, have been exposing planted fake news, misinformation, and fabrications.

March 2018, the Skripal case. London used the incident in Salisbury linked with the suspected poisoning of former GRU employee Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia as a provocation against Russia. Without waiting for the results of its own investigation and ignoring an opportunity of using legal mechanisms and formats, including the OPCW and the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the British government announced a number of unfriendly acts as regards the Russian Federation.

London expelled 23 Russian diplomats; drafted “new legislative powers to harden defences against all forms of hostile state activity”; adopted amendments to the draft law on sanctions so as to “strengthen powers to impose sanctions in response to the violation of human rights”; strengthened border control; threatened to “freeze Russian state assets where there is evidence that they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals”; promised to take all the “necessary steps against organised crime and corrupt elites”; suspended all high-level bilateral contacts, in part, rescinded the invitation to Sergey Lavrov to visit the UK; cancelled the visit to the 2019 World Cup by members of the royal family and the government; and adopted other measures that “cannot be made public for reasons of national security.”

In addition, the British government initiated the further exacerbation of tensions by engineering the expulsion of Russian diplomats by some other countries, mostly from the EU and NATO.

Speaking in parliament in September 2018, the then British Prime Minister Theresa May said the Crown Prosecution Service was ready to bring charges for the attempted murder of the Skripals against two Russian nationals – Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Bashirov. She said they are “officers from the Russian military intelligence also known as the GRU.” According to Theresa May, Petrov and Bashirov were “names believed to be aliases” used to penetrate the UK for the attempted murder of the Skipal family in Salisbury.

In her address to the MPs, Theresa May emphasised that only Russia had the technical means and operational experience of using the toxic agent – the so-called Novichok. She referred to a report of the OPCW Secretariat on the results of the inquiry into the Amesbury incident. However, this report does not contain any references to the origin of the toxic agent and does not use the term “Novichok.”

On September 21, 2021, the British law enforcement bodies announced their decision to bring charges against a third Russian citizen “involved in the Skripal case” – a certain Sergey Fedotov. Commenting on a new turn in this case in her speech to the British Parliament, Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel emphasised London’s intention to continue the toughest possible response to the persisting considerable threat from Russia until relations with its Government improve.

Speaking on November 18, 2021, Secretary Patel said: “We are establishing an inquiry to ensure that all relevant evidence can be considered, with the hope that the family of Dawn Sturgess will get the answers they need and deserve.” According to British officials, Dawn Sturgess, a British national, was poisoned by the nerve gas “Novichok” in Amesbury in 2018. The planned political process has nothing to do with justice. Its only goal is to lay the blame for these events on Moscow without any proof and at the same time put it into a kind of a “legal framework.”

That said, British officials have not yet replied to our numerous requests for clear answers to our questions regarding many incongruities in the “Skripal case.”

During contact with our British colleagues, we have consistently insisted on a professional and unbiased approach to investigating all the circumstances of the incident. We have repeatedly told London about our readiness to cooperate via law enforcement bodies and experts, if our British partners are truly interested in investigating the crime.

Venezuela held presidential elections on May 20, 2018. For political reasons the US has failed to recognize the legitimacy of winning candidate Nicolas Maduro, while it has also failed to provide any evidence of election fraud. In January 2019 Washington recognized Juan Guaido, a Venezuelan MP, as “interim president of Venezuela” in violation of the country’s constitution, after which the US Department of the Treasury sought to “support the people of Venezuela in their efforts to restore democracy” by sanctioning the country’s central bank and key sectors of the economy, mainly the petroleum industry, which generates most of the country’s revenues. There is a de-facto petroleum embargo and an embargo on petroleum products exports to Venezuela, the assets and accounts of Venezuela in Western banks have been frozen, and the country cannot borrow on foreign markets. As of now, the cumulative cost of US sanctions against Venezuela ranges from between $130 billion and $258 billion. The sanctions pressure is sapping Venezuela’s economy, and undermining the government’s ability to purchase necessities, including vaccines, medical equipment and drugs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to estimates by the leading economist at Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs, US sector-wide sanctions have led to the death of 40,000 Venezuelans.
According to UNHRC Special Rapporteur, Alena Douhan, “sanctions have exacerbated the pre-existing economic and social crisis,” and crisis in development, “with a devastating effect on the entire population.” Today, Venezuela faces “a lack of necessary machinery, spare parts, electricity, water, fuel, gas, food and medicine,” as well as qualified personnel, namely, “doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers, professors, judges, police officers.” This situation has had “a great impact on all categories of human rights including the right to life, food, health and development.”
Bolivia has faced many coups orchestrated by the US and its allies. The coup of 2019 is the more salient example. President Evo Morales was illegally removed from office following a colour revolution-style campaign in domestic and international media about alleged election fraud, which was encouraged by the leaders of the Organisation of American States (OAS). Meanwhile, Western ambassadors took a direct role in promoting Jeanine Anez to the presidency, in clear violation of constitutional procedures, in particular, discussing domestic Bolivian policy at unofficial meetings at Catholic University of Bolivia on November 11 and 12, 2019. The ensuing clashes in the cities of Sacaba and Senkata between demonstrators and the police that sought to forcefully disperse them claimed the lives of almost 40 people.

Another instance of US interference in Bolivia’s domestic affairs was the events of 2008 that forced President Evo Morales to expel US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, who, per Bolivian government sources, met with the leaders of the city of Santa Cruz to discuss the secession of eastern departments from Bolivia. This discussion took place amid separatist demonstrations that damaged a Bolivian-Brazilian gas pipeline and killed 30 locals.

Moreover, the West put on an egregious display of disregard for international law and of engineering a pretext to breach the inviolability of a top Bolivian official when Evo Morales’ presidential plane was forced to land in Vienna on July 2, 2013 following his visit to Moscow. Spain, France, Portugal and Italy closed their airspace on suspicions that Edward Snowden was aboard the presidential plane. The then Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Garcia-Margallo made public the receipt of this intelligence without naming its source. This provocation resulted in the humiliating inspection of the Bolivian President’s aircraft to confirm Edward Snowden’s absence. A day later, Department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki acknowledged during a press briefing that the US had been “in contact with a range of countries across the world who had any chance of having Mr Snowden land or even transit through their countries.”

January 3, 2020. Major General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, a unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was killed by a US drone strike at Baghdad Airport, Iraq. The Iranian military leader was on the US sanctions lists for the alleged “activities to disseminate disinformation” and assistance to the lawful Syrian government. The elimination of an official of one country on the territory of a third country is an unprecedented move. Many experts qualify this US crime as an act of state terrorism.

August 2020, the “poisoning” of Alexey Navalny. The EU, the UK and the United States imposed sanctions against a number of Russian citizens and GosNIIOKhT (State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology) for the alleged involvement in Navalny’s poisoning with “Novichok.” They did not cite any facts or evidence of their involvement.

In August 2021, the British Government announced the imposition of sanctions as part of its national sanction regime under far-fetched and absurd pretexts. These were personal restrictions as regards “the individuals directly responsible for carrying out the poisoning of Mr Navalny.”

It was claimed that the imposed sanctions seriously curtailed Russia’s ostensibly irresponsible and harmful behaviour and were a logical extension of the October 6, 2020 OPCW statement, which “confirmed” the conclusions of three independent international laboratories on Navalny’s poisoning by a nerve agent from the “Novichok” group.

***

Thus, London and Washington are the historical champions in fabricating pretexts for destructive actions, including the invasion of other states, their occupation, inflicting damage with destructive strikes and use of illegal sanctions, to name a few.

Clearly, the current long-term marathon of information terror is in the vein of the West’s traditional policy. With the prompting from the US and UK ruling circles, the world’s leading media are whipping up hysteria to brainwash their audiences and create a new reality by convincing everyone of Russia’s “imminent invasion of Ukraine” with endless repetitions of Russophobic reports.

Russia To US: End The Hysteria

February 18, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies 

The Russian Embassy in Washington advised the US to stop hyping up the possibility of a war between Russia and Ukraine urging it to end the constant “hysteria” against Moscow.

It further suggested that the rhetoric from American officials is making the situation worse.

The embassy’s comment, published to Facebook on Wednesday, signals a rare moment of unity with Kiev, which has also pleaded with Washington to stop pushing the narrative of impending war. Just one day before, a senior member of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s ruling party also accused the US of “hysteria.”

According to the Russian Embassy, Washington is “fueling journalists’ militarist rage.” The statement came in response to a CNN interview with Ned Price, the spokesman of the US State Department, when he accused Moscow of spreading disinformation on the situation in Ukraine.

“It is obvious that the flywheel of the anti-Russian hysteria spinned [sic] in the United States does not allow American colleagues to look at things objectively. Self-hypnosis about the inevitability of the Russian attack persists,” the statement said, urging the State Department to focus on truly important issues of diplomatic settlement of the intra-Ukrainian conflict.

The statement by the Russian diplomatic mission echoes a similar one made on Monday by David Arakhamia, the parliamentary faction leader of Ukraine’s ruling Servant of the People party. Arakhamia appeared on Ukrainian national TV with harsh criticism of American mainstream media regarding their coverage of an alleged Russian invasion.

The member of Kiev’s ruling political party accused CNN, Bloomberg, and WSJ of spreading “fake news.”

“We have to study [their publications] because these are the elements of a hybrid war,” the senior politician said, adding that Ukraine was being used as a token for negotiations of new security architecture in Europe, causing the country to lose from $2 billion to $3 billion per month due to artificially created panic.

Thoughts on West’s planned Ukraine provocation (no, not “Russian invasion”)

 

Eva Bartlett is an independent writer and rights activist with extensive experience in Syria and in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013). She documented the 2008/9 and 2012 Israeli war crimes and attacks on Gaza while riding in ambulances and reporting from hospitals.

In 2017, she was short-listed for the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. The award rightly was given to the amazing journalist, the late Robert Parry [see his work on Consortium News]. In March 2017, she was awarded “International Journalism Award for International Reporting” granted by the Mexican Journalists’ Press Club (founded in 1951). All of her writings and videos on which can be found here: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/syria/syria-my-published-articles-from-and-on-syria-2014-2021/ and here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqtiZC-4QZC3skdIAvOxsXwZm0jeM-mz6

A more detailed account of her activism and writings can be found here: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/about-me/ Her social media sites: https://linktr.ee/evakarenebartlett

The clownish diplomats (and media) in the West have been gunning heavily for Russia-Ukraine war recently. As per their usual, their claims are pure fabrications with zero evidence whatsoever. Just hot air. And as per usual, when challenged to substantiate their claims, they stutter and talk in circles, hoping the questions will stop.

For example, this exchange between AP journalist Matt Lee and US State Department Spokesworm, Ned Price, about the US’ supposed “evidence” of Russian plotting a false flag to “invade Ukraine further”…

[Ironically, what little Ned describes (fabricated propaganda video) is EXACTLY what the West’s proxies have done over and over and over in Syria…]

*

Matt: “What evidence to you have to support the idea that there is some propaganda film in the making?”

Worm: “This is derived from information known to the US government. Intelligence information that we have declassified.”

Matt: “Okay, well, where is it? Where is this information?”

Worm: “It is intelligence information that we have declassified.”

Matt: “Well, where is it? Where is the declassified information?”

Worm: “I just delivered it.”

Matt: “No, you made a series of allegations and statements.”

Worm: “Would you like us to print out the topper, because you will see a transcript of this briefing that you can print out for yourself.”

Matt: “That’s not evidence, Ned, that’s you saying it. That’s not evidence.”

Worm: “What would you like, Matt?”

Matt: “I would like some proof that shows the Russians are doing this…. I’ve been doing this a long time…I remember Iraq and that Kabul’s not going to fall…”

Matt: “Where is the declassified information, other than you coming out here and saying it?”

Worm: “I’m sorry you don’t like the format.”

Matt: “It’s not the format, it’s the content.”

Worm: “I’m sorry you don’t like the content, I’m sorry you are doubting the information that is in the possession of the US government.”

Matt: “But you don’t have any evidence to back it up other than what you are saying.”

…Matt: “Let me just appeal to you, on behalf of all of us, and the American people, and the people of the world, and the Russian people, and the Ukrainian people, one piece of evidence to suggest that the Russians are planning to use ‘crisis actors’ to stage a false mass casualty event to use as a pretext. Just one piece…one piece of verifiable evidence.”

*

Until recently, I was prone to believing that the ridiculous huffing & puffing from imbeciles in the West about an “imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine” were only distractions from events unfolding in the West.

But, given the latest developments (including various Western & allied countries pulling diplomatic staff from neo-Nazi-land), I’m starting to wonder whether the idiots trying to create the image of a Russian invasion will actually go through with some sort of White Helmets-esque staged provocation…

Caveat: I’m not an analyst and don’t do predictions, I’m merely musing here, and sharing relevant links.

*

Dmitry, the Donbass journalist and (at the time) press officer I met in 2019, who took me to frontline areas being shelled by Ukrainian forces, wrote today of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) observers: “Evening at the hotel where the OSCE staff live. All machines are in place, the working day is over. Evening and night are ahead, when the OSCE sees nothing. And in the morning again a working day and they will go on patrols. In general, everything is like the last 7 years.”

*

From my 2019 article after visiting numerous villages 800 and 500 m away from Ukrainian forces, areas being relentlessly shelled, to the deafening silence of Western media & politicians:

“…He spoke of how Ukraine hides its shelling from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observers by doing most of it after hours (in the dark, when it is difficult to film) — later claiming that damage done to the DPR side was self-inflicted, or that Ukrainian forces were merely defending themselves, replying to DPR attacks:

The OSCE were attacked a week or so ago by a heavy anti-tank rocket launcher. Ukraine commits many war crimes, but manages to mask it. They are Nazis, but they mask this from the West. Few people understand in the West how close Ukraine is to becoming a full-on Nazi state.

They say that they are from Bandera Front, they are Ukrainian far-right nationalists. When a person from some Western country hears about Bandera, this person could not understand what Ukrainian authorities mean. But I do, I understand what they mean, I understand who Bandera was and what they really mean.”

Stepan Bandera was a Ukrainian political figure, Nazi collaborator, and one of the leading ideologists/theorists of the Ukrainian nationalist movement of the 20th century. Dmitry continues:

There is a Nazi state in the middle of Europe in the 21st Century. They are dangerous both for us and for the Western world. If they finish with us, they will do the same in the Western world.

Ukraine has a big propaganda machine, and the censorship of Western media helps.

I was raised believing in the Western ideals of human rights and democracy. And what do I have? I have no human rights. Ukrainian Nazis can kill me and they can go to the European Parliament and they will be considered heroes. They can kill without court, without justice, without anything.

Western countries support war crimes, support the killing of our people just because we speak our native language, Russian. That’s the only reason to kill us, just because we like Russia and speak Russian.

They can kill you. They consider all the journalists as Russian propagandists. Their military can shoot you and never face justice. That goes against my understanding of human rights.”

…“I’m afraid at night; that’s when they start shelling heavily,” she tells me. The nights are terrifying, hell for her. I ask if she ever considers leaving. “To where? I have nowhere to go. My husband is dead.”

I asked her who is firing these shells. She gestured in the direction of a village under Ukrainian control.

I asked if things had changed since Zelensky became president of Ukraine.

“It became worse. Before, I at least had windows. Now, they constantly shell, especially in the evening and early morning.”

I asked if she feels the OSCE are being effective. “No, they change nothing, especially not here.”

She says they can’t get cell phone signals there. I ask how she would call for an ambulance if needed. She replies that someone in the military would call for medics, but that the ambulances can’t come that close; it is too dangerous.

When I asked what her native language was, she replied immediately: “Russian! But,” she added, “here, we speak both languages; it wasn’t a problem.”

Dmitry explained that Ukrainian forces are roughly 600 meters away, and half encircle her area. A roundish hole in the wall is a ricochet from Ukrainian heavy machine-gun fire, he explains.

Ukrainian forces are using 82mm mortar shells in violation of the Minsk Agreements, he says: “They connect the mortar shell with the engine of a grenade launcher. That’s how they trick the OSCE: they don’t use the mortar itself but they use the mortar shells with the RPG [a type of small-arms grenade launcher designed to destroy armored and other targets] engine.”

This works, because RPGs themselves are not prohibited under Minsk.

We walked with the two officers down the lane to the last house, which was apparently still inhabited despite being only around 500 meters from Ukrainian forces. One of the walls of the house had a sizable hole in it from an RPG-fired 82 mm mortar.

…We then drove to a school whose basement is now being used as a makeshift shelter. There I met an elderly couple who had been living in that dank basement for six years, since their home was destroyed.

Outside of the battered school, Dmitry commented: “You see, each dot on the wall is from shrapnel. Of course, there were direct hits also.” A hole in the roof of the building shows where one of the direct hits occurred.

We walked into the basement, where a musty stench overwhelmed us.

Sitting in one corner of the barebones room — what possessions they were able to salvage piled near them, and asking me not to film their faces — were an older couple who explained that their home was destroyed by Ukraine: two direct hits with heavy artillery.

I ask who they blamed for the war. They blame Yanukovych; they want him to be hung. Many people are guilty but he is the main person.

I asked their opinion on the work of the OSCE:

Nothing good. They drive around here, but nothing changes. Before the ceasefire, when Ukraine would shell, the DPR military would respond and the Ukrainian side would stop shooting for a couple of weeks because they were afraid. Now, we are in a ceasefire; the Ukrainian side shoots whenever they want and no one holds them accountable.”

…We stopped in Zaitsevo town center, 800 meters from an NW front-line, and 1.5 km from the northern front-line.

There, we spoke to Irina Dikun, head of the administration of Zaitsevo and, as it turns out, a remarkably courageous woman

I asked her whether she or other officials had filed complaints to the OSCE or any international body about the actions of Ukrainian forces:

Yes, constantly. But nothing changes. It seems that international organizations have no power to do anything regarding the Ukrainians, because they still shoot. There were a lot of ceasefires signed in Minsk, but nothing changes here.”

…In Krutaya Balka, at a home 800 meters from the front-line…I met a man who was about to walk down the lane that I had been cautioned to avoid due to the risk of being shot by Ukrainian snipers. I was wearing, for the second time, the body armor Dmitry had provided. The man I met was only wearing a button-down shirt.

He didn’t want to be filmed and told me:

After the last interview, Ukrainians shelled my house directly, burned part of my house. I’m alone there, for the past four years. To go to my home, I have to walk to an area exposed to sniper fire. I was shot in my leg. And many times I had to drop to the ground when sniper fire started.”

I asked why he doesn’t leave in the face of such danger: “I don’t want to. It’s my home. I thought the war would be finished quickly but it kept going.”

Then he walked down the center of the lane into the range of potential sniper fire, and hopefully back to his home.

A little beyond that I met a man standing outside of the home he shares with his wife.

I asked whether his home had been damaged and he laughs: “Many times. Which house hasn’t been? The roof, the wall… from mortar fire and heavy machine-gun fire.”

His replies are in line with those of the others I’ve spoken to: things got worse after Zelensky became president; the attacks are daily; where would he go? He is in favor of joining Russia.

He continued, asking rhetorically:

“We should go to Ukraine, which damaged my house? I’m Russian, this is Russian land. Everyone who knows history knows this. Of course, I want to join Russia! In earlier times, before the war, I didn’t care either way. But after all, Ukraine did what it has done; absolutely I want to be a part of Russia. I can’t imagine being back in Ukraine. Anyway, most of the people here would be killed as ‘separatists.’ A known Ukrainian politician [Boris Filatov] said: ‘At the beginning, give them what they want, later hang them.’

I asked him if he had anything to say to a Western audience. At first, he said there’s no point, people already know, the West gives money to Ukraine… “The snipers use U.S. rifles, if they gave less money it would be better.”

But later in our conversation, he added:

Going back to the question of a message to the West…You remember WW2. Why do you support Nazis if you remember WW2? Why do you now support the Nazis? Openly Nazis. They wear swastikas. Why is Europe silent? Everyone comes here and agrees with me, but nothing changes. OSCE shouts, but when they are under fire, they are silent, they don’t say that Ukraine attacks them.”…”

* My Youtube playlist of interviews from the DPR. I have no idea if they are still alive, given Ukraine was bombing them heavily.

The War Party wins – Russia is now free to act unilaterally

January 13, 2022

First, a quick update on Kazakhstan: the CSTO will begin its withdrawal tomorrow and that operation will be completed by the 19th of January (dunno if anybody will inform Blinken about how quickly the Russians leave).

This operation was truly a triumph for Russia and her allies.

It is said that hope dies last, and today it appears that whatever hope we might have had has died.  A week long series of negotiations has apparently yielded absolutely nothing.  To the extent that there were some sane voices advocating for a negotiated solution, these voices have now been drowned by the huge choir of hysterically russophobic politicians who, feeling safety in numbers, have told the Russian bear to get lost.

This is a triumph for the US Neocons and for their proteges in the EU.

So where do we go from here?

It is quite obvious: Russia will begin a policy of unilateral actions aimed at advancing vital Russian national interests.  Many of those actions will turn up the pain dial for the US/EU/NATO.  Rather than trying to guess what will happen next, I rather wait for those unilateral actions to become public.

One good news is that the Zircon missile is now officially accepted for service.  Good timing for sure.

I will conclude this short post by saying that in my strictly personal opinion, now would be a good time for Russia to sever all her diplomatic relations with at least the worst offenders in the West, beginning with the USA itself, of course.  Why?

Because having diplomatic relations with friends, partners or generally civilized and trustworthy counterparts makes sense.  Most western countries don’t qualify, so what is the point?

77 years after the end of WWII, the West has come a full circle and is back to its usual messianic homeostasis: racist megalomania, delusions about its own invulnerability and invincibility.

This sends a powerful and important message to all of Zone B, especially China.

Was Russia right to engage in these negotiations?

Yes, absolutely.  A country that lost 27 million of its citizens to western megalomania had the moral duty to try to do everything to avoid another war.  Yes, the chances of success were infinitesimal.  But morally, Russia had to try and she did.

Now that her hands have been untied, she can now do whatever she deems needful.

Good.

The main question now is this: how high will be the price this time around to bring the messianic West back to reality?

We will soon find out.

Andrei

What If U.S., NATO Talks Are Cover for More Aggression Towards Russia?

December 27, 2021

Former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages

Finian Cunningham

If there are no prompt responses to Russia’s legitimate security concerns, then the next phase entails a more robust military-technical realm

It is quite clear that the clock is ticking on how the United States and its NATO allies respond to Russia’s urgent security proposals.

For Moscow, if the forthcoming talks do not produce firm security guarantees in short order, then the suspicion is that the U.S. and NATO are using the engagement as a cover for continuing a long-term military build-up against Russia.

Russia’s strategic patience has worn out. Years of relentless encroachment by the United States and NATO on Russia’s territory has reached the point where Moscow has peremptorily declared red lines that must be respected. In short, no more eastward expansion by the U.S.-led military bloc and, secondly, the removal of U.S. strike weapons from neighbouring states.

The latest phase in the long post-Cold War game has been the vicarious menacing with Ukraine. Moscow could be criticized for being too complacent about the bad faith and backsliding by NATO since the late-1990s in ripping up assurances to Russia over no eastward expansion. But the NATO-backed Kiev regime threatening Russian people in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s national security is the last straw. Better late than never.

The package of security guarantees demanded by Russia made public on December 17 has resulted in the United States and NATO agreeing to hold talks in January.

Russia’s deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has warned that Moscow is not bluffing about its security requirements.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that if the U.S. and NATO do not reciprocate then a range of technical, military measures will be taken to ensure national security.

Evidently, Moscow has consciously put a limited time frame on the talks to demonstrate palpable progress towards meeting its red lines. Washington and its European allies will need to deliver legally binding moves to roll back NATO. A big test will be whether the United States agrees to Moscow’s demand that Ukraine and other former Soviet Republics be precluded from joining NATO.

The Biden administration and NATO have so far ruled out abiding by this stipulation from Russia. It seems unlikely that the US will explicitly declare that NATO membership of Ukraine is forbidden. Washington may continue to delay access, as it has done since 2008, but it seems too much to expect an explicit, legally binding promise to deny Ukraine membership of the alliance any time in the future.

So, if the United States and its NATO partners have no intention to respect Russia’s pre-eminent red line, it then raises questions about their intention of engaging in talks.

President Putin has voiced the concern that the talks could be cynically used as a cover for the U.S. and NATO to continue an aggressive policy towards Russia.

Speaking to Russian media at the weekend, Putin said: “They [NATO] will chat endlessly, speak endlessly about the need to negotiate, and do nothing, except pumping up our neighbour [Ukraine] with modern weapons systems, and increase the threat to Russia, with which we will then be forced to somehow deal with, somehow live.”

The Kremlin took the highly unusual step of publishing clear red lines and demanding a prompt response. But given the historical record of bad faith and duplicity by the U.S. and NATO, it seems a futile hope that there will be a real change in attitude. Putin himself in the above comments seems to be admitting that.

The Biden administration is talking about talks with Russia, but all the while the practice is one of plying Ukraine with weapons, military advisors and offensive capability. To the rabidly anti-Russian regime in Kiev this amounts to one green light after another to proceed with stoking aggression against Moscow.

Since the CIA-backed coup d’état in Kiev in 2014, Washington has supplied Ukraine with over $2.5 billion in weaponry. The Biden administration has earmarked at least another $300 million in lethal military support for the next year alone. There are plans to redirect munitions that were intended for Afghanistan. What we are seeing here is a massive mobilization of war-making effort by the United States on Russia’s doorstep which has been going on over several years and is gathering pace. The apparent belated overture for talks is like a limp hand signal to stop from the driver of a hurtling juggernaut.

What’s even more alarming is moves by the Pentagon to provide more battlefield intelligence to the Ukrainian armed forces. A New York Times report last week reveals that the U.S. has already been sharing “actionable” intelligence data with the Kiev regime on Russian troop formations. What is under consideration by the Biden administration is stepping up the targeting in the name of “defending” Ukraine.

The New York Times report feigns concern by saying: “One potential problem with providing actionable intelligence, American officials acknowledge, is that it could lead Ukraine to strike first [against Russia].”

In reality, this is not a “potential problem” for Washington. It is a deliberate calculation. The Pentagon has weaponized the Russophobic Kiev regime it put in power in order to destabilize Russia. That has been the strategic objective going back decades under imperial planners like the late Zbigniew Brzezinski. And now the “great game” has reached the point where Washington is providing its catspaw regime with the intelligence to target Russian forces within their own borders, that is to target Russia itself.

This baleful background leads one to deduce that talks with the U.S. and its NATO partners are indeed nothing but a nefarious cover for a long-term trajectory of aggression against Russia.

Given the relentless, endemic betrayals by the U.S. and NATO, one suspects that the Russian leadership knows full well that the proposed talks mark a dangerous watershed. If there are no prompt responses to Russia’s legitimate security concerns, then the next phase entails a more robust military-technical realm. A realm, it seems, that Moscow has already gamed out knowing that it is almost inevitable.

Andrei Martyanov: The Timing of Russia’s Ultimatum to NATO

December 20, 2021

What Putin really told Biden

December 08, 2021

By Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times.

So Russian President Vladimir Putin, all by himself, and US President Joe Biden, surrounded by aides, finally had their secret video link conference for two hours and two minutes – with translators placed in different rooms.

That was their first serious exchange since they met in person in Geneva last June – the first Russia-US summit since 2018.

For global public opinion, led to believe a “war” in Ukraine was all but imminent, what’s left is essentially a torrent of spin.

So let’s start with a simple exercise focusing on the key issue of the video link – Ukraine -, contrasting the White House and Kremlin versions of what happened.

The White House: Biden made it “clear” to Putin that the US and allies will respond with “decisive economic and other measures” to the military escalation in Ukraine. At the same time, Biden called on Putin to de-escalate around Ukraine and “return to diplomacy”.

Kremlin: Putin offered Biden to nullify all restrictions on the functioning of diplomatic missions. He remarked that cooperation between Russia and the US is still in an “unsatisfactory” state.

He urged the US not to shift “responsibility on the shoulders of Russia” for the escalation of the situation around Ukraine.

The White House: the US will expand military aid to Ukraine if Russia takes steps against it.

Kremlin: Putin told Biden that Russia is interested in obtaining legally fixed guarantees excluding NATO’s eastward expansion and the deployment of offensive strike systems in Russia’s neighboring countries.

The White House: Biden did not give Putin any commitments that Ukraine will remain outside NATO.

Minsk or bust

Now for what really matters: the red line.

What Putin diplomatically told Team Biden, sitting at their table, is that Russia’s red line – no Ukraine on NATO – is unmovable. The same applies to Ukraine turned into a hub of the Pentagon’s Empire of Bases, and hosting NATO weaponry.

Washington may deny it ad infinitum, but Ukraine is part of Russia’s sphere of influence. If nothing is done to force Kiev to abide by the Minsk Agreement, Russia will “neutralize” the threat in its own terms.

The root cause of all this drama, absent from any NATOstan narrative, is straightforward: Kiev simply refuses to respect the February 2015 Minsk Agreement.

According to the deal, Kiev should grant autonomy to Donbass via a constitutional amendment, referred to as “special status”; issue a general amnesty; and start a dialogue with the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Over the years, Kiev fulfilled less than zero of these commitments – while the NATOstan media machine kept spinning that Russia was violating Minsk. Russia is not even mentioned (italics mine) in the agreement.

Moscow always respected the Minsk Agreement – which establishes Donbass as an integral, autonomous part of Ukraine. Russia has made it very clear, over and over again, it has no interest whatsoever in promoting regime change in Kiev.

Before the video link, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov remarked, “Putin will listen to Biden’s proposals on Ukraine ‘with great interest.’” Even the White House states Team Biden did not propose for Kiev to obey the Minsk Agreement. So regardless of what Team Biden may have said, Putin, pragmatically, will adopt a “wait and see” approach, and then act accordingly.

In the run up to the video link, maximum hype revolved around Washington seeking to stop Nord Stream 2 if Russia “invades” Ukraine.

What never transpires out of the “invasion” narrative, repeated ad nauseam across NATOstan, is that hawks overseeing an immensely polarized US, corroded from the inside, desperately need a war in what military analyst Andrei Martyanov calls “country 404”, a black hole contiguous to Europe.

The crux of the matter is that imperial European vassals must not have access to Russian energy: only American LNG.

And that’s what led the most extreme Russophobes in Washington to start threatening sanctions on Putin’s inner circle, Russian energy producers, and even disconnecting Russia from SWIFT. All that was supposed to prevent Russia from “invading” Country 404.

Secretary of State Tony Blinken – present at the video link – said a few days ago in Riga that “if Russia invades Ukraine”, NATO will respond “with a range of high impact economic measures.” As for NATO, it’s far from aggressive: just a “defensive” organization.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in early December, at the OCSE Ministerial Council meeting in Stockholm, was already warning that “strategic stability” in Europe was “rapidly eroding”.

Lavrov said, “NATO refuses to consider our proposals on de-escalation of tensions and prevention of dangerous incidents…On the contrary, the alliance’s military infrastructure is moving closer to Russia’s borders… The nightmarish scenario of military confrontation is returning.”

So no wonder the heart of the matter, for Moscow, is NATO encroachment. The “invasion” narrative is crass fake news sold as fact. Even the CIA’s William Burns admitted that US intel had no intel to “conclude” that Russia will dutifully answer the War Inc. prayers and finally “invade” Ukraine.

Still that did not prevent a German sensationalist rag from presenting the full contours of the Russian blitzkrieg, when the actual story is the US and NATO attempting to push “country 404” to commit suicide by attacking the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

That legally binding guarantee

It’s idle to expect the video link to produce practical results. As NATOstan remains mired in concentric crises, the current level of high tension between NATO and Russia is a gift from heaven in terms of maintaining the convenient narrative of an external Slavic evil. It’s also an extra bonus for the military-industrial-intelligence-media-think tank complex.

The tension will continue to simmer without becoming incandescent only if NATO does not expand in any shape or form inside Ukraine. Diplomats in Brussels routinely comment that Kiev will never be accepted as a NATO member. But if things can get worse, they will: Kiev will become one of those NATO special partners, a desperately poor, hungry for territory, rogue actor.

Putin demanding from the US – which runs NATO – a written, legally binding guarantee that the alliance will not advance further eastward towards Russian borders is the game-changer here.

Team Biden cannot possibly deliver: they would be eaten alive by the War Inc. establishment. Putin studied his history and knows that Daddy Bush’s “promise” to Gorbachev on NATO expansion was just a lie. He knows those who run NATO will never commit themselves in writing.

So that allows Putin a full range of options to defend Russian national security. “Invasion” is a joke; Ukraine, rotting from the inside, consumed by fear, loathing, and poverty, will remain in limbo, while Donetsk and Lugansk will be progressively interconnected with the Russian Federation.

There will be no NATO war on Russia – as Martyanov himself has extensively demonstrated NATO wouldn’t last five minutes against Russian hypersonic weapons. And Moscow will be focused on what really matters, geoeconomically and geopolitically: solidifying the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and the Greater Eurasia Partnership.

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Now comes the final countdown to either peace or war

December 04, 2021

So it is confirmed.  Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden will have what is announced as a “long” direct conversation (not face to face, but by a secure video link) this coming Tuesday.  Considering the extreme tensions taking place between the US/NATO/EU and Russia, this event will be, by definition, a watershed moment, irrespective of its outcome.  The two basic options are a) some kind of deal with be made b) nothing will come out of this meeting.

Personally, I am “cautiously pessimistic”, and I will explain why next.

Let’s look at what the two sides have been doing in preparation for this meeting:

The Empire has basically ratcheted up the tensions as high as possible, both by an avalanche of bellicose statements and by engaging in “petty harassment” exercises near the Russian border.  The main (and sole) advantage of this pre-negotiations strategy is that it costs very little money while having a major PR effect.  The two main disadvantages of this pre-negotiations strategy are that 1) they tend to paint you into a corner from which any concession, no matter how reasonable, can be turned into an “abject surrender to Putin” by your political enemies and 2) that the Russians know that all this sabre-rattling is only hot air and, if anything, a sign of weakness.

Russia has made some comparatively “stronger” verbal protests and mentioned “red lines” which the Empire which the latter has completely ignored.  However, Russia has also made some actual military moves which have truly frightened the Empire, including the sudden flushing out into the Pacific or all the strategic submarines of the Pacific Fleet.

Here is the problem as I see it: “Biden” has allowed all sorts of russophobic nutcases to paint the Biden Administration into the exact same corner where the same russophobic nutcases stuck Trump: a place where no meaningful negotiations (i.e. negotiations which imply the willingness to make mutual concessions) are possible.  All that Kabuki theater about “talking to Russia from a position of strength/force” kind of implies that the Russians will get scared and cave in to the Empire.  The problem is that in the real world (as opposed the political Hollywood of the western propaganda machine), it is Russia which is in a very strong position while the US/NATO/EU are all in a position of extreme vulnerability.  In other words, it is extremely unlikely that the Russians will make major concessions on anything (if only because Russia’s “great retreat” of endless concession to win time for preparations has now left Russia pretty much with her own back also against the wall).  Of course, Russia does not want/need a war anywhere, so she is probably willing to make relatively minor concessions, but only political ones.  In military terms, Russia is now “ready to go” and she will not stand down unless the Empire gives legally binding and verifiable concessions to guarantee Russia’s security on her western border (Putin has specifically said so).

Frankly, none of that is very complex: de-escalation and mutual confidence building measures have been developed by all sides for many decades now and there is no need to reinvent the wheel here.  How to do that is easy and straightforward.  But politically, I don’t know how “Biden” would respond to the MAGA nutcases in Congress who will accuse him of weakness, or even treason, if he does anything but continue to escalate towards an inevitable war: escalations can only be stopped by two means: negotiations or war.  If the former is made impossible, the latter becomes inevitable.

Worse, there are pretty good signs that “Biden” is not fully controlling the Executive branch and that there are characters at the CIA, Pentagon and Foggy Bottom (lead by the totally rabid US Neocons) which actually want a war involving Russia and who believe that such a war would not imply a very high probability of going nuclear.  Blinken, for example, strikes me as a kind of person which would make a great tailor or maybe an insurance salesman, but as a diplomat he is clearly clueless and “loser” written all over his face (ditto for that imbecile Stoltenberg or most EU politicians).  Worst of all, these losers believe in their own superiority and think that they can talk to Putin like, say, Commodore Matthew Perry “talked” to the Japanese or how Reagan showed Grenada “who is boss”.

Finally, the upcoming planned “show of unity and force” (aka Summit for Democracy) will be seen by the Kremlin as a desperate attempt at hide the Empire’s real weakness (death, really) and to make it look as if the West still had the means to rule the planet.  In reality, just Russia and China together are already much more powerful than all the colonies which Uncle Shmuel as summoned to this Summit, even if it is only two against 109 countries on the US side and that is the reality which this summit is designed to conceal from the public eye.

So no hope at all?

Well, not much.  But, in theory, here is what could happen.

The US could agree to give Russia legal binding and verifiable security guarantees on her east, including a pull-back of Ukie forces in exchange for which, Russia could pull back some of her own forces.  Deconfliction measures in the air and the seas could be agreed upon.  Observer missions could be agreed upon and then deployed by both sides to verify the implementation of any agreements.  On the political level, the US could order a dramatic reduction of western military involvement in the Ukraine in exchange for a Russian re-affirmation of the recognition of the Ukraine in her current borders, that is without Crimea and but the Donbass (in other words, the Kremlin would promise not to recognize the LDNR republics sovereign states).  In theory, an international peacekeeping force could be set up in the “grey zone” between the LDNR and the Ukraine (that would require the Ukies to pull out from their current, and totally illegal, occupation of some locations in that zone). The nationality of these peacekeepers would have to be agreed by both sides.

[Sidebar: about the LDNR – please keep in mind that even if de jure the Kremlin does not recognize these republics, it has already basically done so de facto (especially with the latest change to the Russian laws on the economy).  Also, remember that Taiwan is a country that is largely unrecognized, but which is clearly independent, at least for the time being.  Finally, keeping the LDNR inside the Ukraine creates an anti-Ukraine which prevents the Nazi-run Ukraine from fully becoming an anti-Russia.  So no, flag-wavers notwithstanding, agreeing not to recognize the LDNR would not be a “betrayal”, but only a card which must be played later in the game.]

Furthermore, Russia and the USA should establish a standing bilateral (yes, I agree with Nuland on the EU!) discussions mechanism to replace the useless and basically dead NATO-Russia Council.  Other areas of discussion could include such self-evident issues as space, terrorism, immigration, energy, cybersecurity, the Arctic etc. and a full restoration of civilized diplomatic relations (which were totally sabotaged by both the Obama and Trump Administration).  A deal could also be made about mutual non-interference or, at least, improve the current deconfliction between the USA and Russia in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.  And, of course, Russia could agree to a long term gas contract through the Ukraine in exchange for a full US acceptance of NS2.

Does that sound a little pollyannish to you?

It sure sounds pollyannish to me!

But I am not quite willing to declare it as absolutely impossible.  Instead, I would simply say that such an outcome is unlikely but still possible.

The alternative is war with, at the low end, could be limited to some silly Ukie provocation (of the kind they have been regularly pulling off, and failing, for many years now) or, at the high end, to quickly escalate a full-scale (inter)continental war, probably one involving nukes.

Hope dies last, right?

The one thing which makes it possible for me to believe that a war can still be avoided is that besides the real hardcore nutcases, there are still some sober-minded officials in the USA (maybe Gen. Milley?) who understand not only that war is an unspeakable horror, but who ALSO understand that a US attack on Russia will result in a Russian counter-attack on the US itself.  Specifically, it is now an official Russian position that if weapon X is fired at Russia or Russian forces, Russia will not only destroy that weapon and the system which delivered, but will also strike at the command headquarters from which the order to strike Russia was given, and that could be Kiev, Warsaw, Brussels or even Washington DC.  I am quite sure that General Gerasimov explained that to General Milley in exquisite detail and I strongly suspect that Milley got the message.  Let’s just hope that Milley can prevail over Lloyd Austin (who is clearly an incompetent imbecile used by the “war party” only as a disposable figurehead).

If not, then God help us all, because then war is inevitable.

I consider the current situation as the most dangerous the world has ever faced, this is even worse than the Cuban Missile Crisis or the US attacks against Iran (the murder of General Soleimani) or Syria.  By nature, nurture, experience, and training I am an unrepentant pessimist.  But, in this case, I still want to force myself into a stance of “cautious pessimism” meaning that, yes, the situation is terrible and seems unfixable, but I choose to believe that there still are enough sane people in the US to avoid the worst.

Still, I am acutely aware that the UK+3B+PU gang want war at all and any cost and that they are now setting the agenda in both the EU and NATO.  The only actor which still could order them to stand down and shut the hell up would be the USA, but only one ruled by an Administration in real and actual command, not the senile aquarium fish collectively known as “Biden” which is in power (at least officially) right now.

We can also count on the MAGA-crazies to oppose any and all deals with Russia, no matter how urgently needed and self-evidently logical.  The GOP has now become the united party for war doing exactly what the Dems did during the Trump years.  In a way, the US political scene reminds me of the Soviet Union during and after Brezhnev – a political system which simply cannot produce a real leader, so all you see is terminal mediocrities trying as best they can to hide their own mediocrity and total lack of vision.  A Ronald Reagan or a George H. W. Bush would have what it takes to talk to the Russians and get some results.  Alas, none of the presidents since have had enough brains or spine to do anything constructive at all: all they did was to preside over first the destruction of the Empire followed by the destruction of the USA (at least as we knew it before Jan 6th).

The fact that our best (or, should I say, only) hope lies with Biden and “Biden” is a sad and very frightening reality.  All we can do now is wait for Tuesday and pray that both Biden and “Biden” muster enough courage and (real) patriotism to bring the world back from the brink.  It ain’t much, but that’s all we got.

So, what do you think will happen next?

Andrei

The NATOstan Clown Show

November 29, 2021

Flags wave ahead of a NATO Defence Ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 21, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol – RC28EQ9178EG

The charade has come to a point that – diplomatically – is quite unprecedented: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lost his Taoist patience.

Source

Independent geopolitical analyst, writer and journalist

By Pepe Escobar,

American hysteria over the “imminent” Russian invasion of Ukraine has exploded every geopolitical Stupid-o-Meter in sight – and that’s quite an accomplishment.

What a mess. Sections of the U.S. Deep State are in open revolt against the combo that remote controls Crash Test Dummy, who impersonates POTUS. The neocon-neoliberal axis is itching for a war – but has no idea how to sell it to an immensely fractured public opinion.

UKUS, which de facto controls the Five Eyes spy scam, excels only in propaganda. So in the end it’s up to the CIA/MI6 intel axis and their vast network of media chihuahuas to accelerate Fear and Loathing ad infinitum.

Russophobic U.S. Think Tankland would very much cherish a Russian “invasion”, out of the blue, and could not give a damn about the inevitable trouncing of Ukraine. The problem is the White House – and the Pentagon – must “intervene”, forcefully; otherwise that will represent a catastrophic loss of “credibility” for the Empire.

So what do these people want? They want to provoke Moscow by all means available to exercise “Russian aggression”, resulting in a lightning fast war that will be a highway to hell for Ukraine, but with zero casualties for NATO and the Pentagon.

Then the Empire of Chaos will blame Russia; unleash a tsunami of fresh sanctions, especially financial; and try to shut off all economic links between Russia and NATOstan.

Reality dictates that none of the above is going to happen.

All exponents of Russian leadership, starting with President Putin, have already made it clear, over and over again, what happens if the Ukro-dementials start a blitzkrieg over Donbass: Ukraine will be mercilessly smashed – and that applies not only to the ethno-fascist gang in Kiev. Ukraine will cease to exist as a state.

Defense Minister Shoigu, for his part, has staged all manner of not exactly soft persuasion, featuring Tu-22M3 bombers or Tu-160 White Swan bombers.

The inestimable Andrei Martyanov has conclusively explained, over and over again, that “NATO doesn’t have forces not only to ‘counter-act’ anything Russia does but even if it wanted to it still has no means to fight a war with Russia.”

Martyanov notes, “there is nothing in the U.S. arsenal now and in the foreseeable future which can intercept Mach=9-10+, let alone M=20-27, targets. That’s the issue. Same analytical method applies to a situation in 404. The only thing U.S. (NATO) can hope for is to somehow provoke Russia into the invasion of this shithole of a country and then get all SIGINT it can once Russia’s C4ISR gets into full combat mode.”

Translation: anything the Empire of Chaos and its NATO subsidiary try in Donbass, directly or indirectly, the humiliation will make the Afghanistan “withdrawal” look like a House of Gucci dinner party.

No one should expect clueless NATO puppets – starting with secretary-general Stoltenberg – to understand the military stakes. After all, these are the same puppets who have been building up a situation which might ultimately leave Moscow with a single, stark choice: be ready to fight a full scale hot war in Europe – which could become nuclear in a flash. And ready they are.

It’s all about Minsk

In a parallel reality, “meddling in 404” – a delightful Martyanov reference to a hellhole that is little more than a computer error – is a totally different story. That perfectly fits American juvenilia ethos.

At least some of the adults in selected rooms are talking. The CIA’s Burns went to Moscow to try to extract some assurance that in the event NATO Special Forces were caught in the cauldrons – Debaltsevo 2015-style – that the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, with Russian help, will concoct, they would be allowed to escape.

His interlocutor, Patrushev, told Burns – diplomatically – to get lost.

Chief of the General Staff, Gen Valery Gerasimov, had a phone call with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen Mark Milley, ostensibly to ensure, in Pentagonese, “risk-reduction and operational de-confliction”. No substantial details were leaked.

It remains to be seen how this “de-confliction” will happen in practice when Defense Minister Shoigu revealed U.S. nuclear-capable bombers have been practicing, in their sorties across Eastern Europe, “their ability to use nuclear weapons against Russia”. Shoigu discussed that in detail with Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe: after all the Americans will certainly pull the same stunt against China.

The root cause of all this drama is stark: Kiev simply refuses to respect the February 2015 Minsk Agreement.

In a nutshell, the deal stipulated that Kiev should grant autonomy to Donbass via a constitutional amendment, referred to as “special status”; issue a general amnesty; and start a dialogue with the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Over the years, Kiev fulfilled exactly zero commitments – while the proverbial NATOstan media machine incessantly pounded global opinion with fake news, spinning that Russia was violating Minsk. Russia is not even mentioned in the agreement.

Moscow in fact always respected the Minsk Agreement – which translates as regarding Donbass as an integral, autonomous part of Ukraine. Moscow has zero interest in promoting regime change in Kiev.

This charade has come to a point that – diplomatically – is quite unprecedented: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lost his Taoist patience.

Lavrov was forced, under the circumstances, to publish 28 pages of correspondence between Moscow on one hand, and Berlin and Paris on the other, evolving around the preparation of a high-level meeting on Ukraine.

Moscow was in fact calling for one of the central points of the agreement to be implemented: a direct dialogue between Kiev and Donbass. Berlin and Paris said this was unacceptable. So yes: both, for all practical purposes, destroyed the Minsk Agreement. Public opinion across NATOstan has no idea whatsoever this actually happened.

Lavrov did not mince his words: “I am sure that you understand the necessity of this unconventional step, because it is a matter of conveying to the world community the truth about who is fulfilling, and how, the obligations under international law that have been agreed at the highest level.”

So it’s no wonder that the leadership in Moscow concluded it’s an absolute waste of time to talk to Berlin and Paris about Ukraine: they lied, cheated – and then blamed Russia. This “decision” at the EU level faithfully mirrors NATO’s campaign of stoking the flames of imminent “Russian aggression” against Ukraine.

Armchair warriors, unite!

Across NATOstan, the trademark stupidity of U.S. Think Tankland rules unabated, congregating countless acolytes spewing out the talking points of choice: “relentless Russian subversion”, “thug” Putin “intimidation” of Ukraine, Russians as “predators”, and everything now coupled with “power-hungry China’s war on Western values.”

Some Brit hack, in a twisted way, actually managed to sum up the overall impotence – and insignificance – by painting Europe as a victim, “a beleaguered democratic island in an anarchic world, which a rising tide of authoritarianism, impunity and international rule-breaking threatens to inundate”.

The answer by NATOstan Defense Ministers is to come up with a Strategic Compass – essentially an anti-Russia-China scam – complete with “rapid deployment forces”. Led by who, General Macron?

As it stands, poor NATOstan is uncontrollably sobbing, accusing those Russian hooligans – scary monsters, to quote David Bowie – of staging an anti-satellite missile test and thus “scorning European safety concerns”.

Something must have got lost in translation. So here’s what happened: Russia conclusively demonstrated it’s capable of obliterating each and every one of NATO’s satellites and blind “all their missiles, planes and ships, not to mention ground forces” in case they decide to materialize their warmongering ideas.

Obviously those deaf, dumb and blind NATOstan armchair warrior clowns – fresh from their Afghan “performance” – won’t get the message. But NATOstan anyway was never accused of being partial to reality.

Possible motives for a provocation against Russia

NOVEMBER 25, 2021

A lot of commentators have pointed out that the West really does not want a full scale war with Russia because this would, at best, be a suicidal proposition.  True.

But there are some specific interests in the West which very much want to raise tensions as high as possible.  Today I will list just a few: (partial list)

The US energy sector

The energy sector is deeply concerned about Biden’s “green” rhetoric, combined with the fact that OPEC+ countries are not obeying US demands about prices.  Also, US shale gas is expensive.  Should a war happen between Russia and the Ukraine, it would also certainly completely derail Russian energy exports to the EU which, in turn, would create a very high demand for US energy in Europe (and worldwide).  This is an old US goal in Europe, to force the EU to purchase US energy even though Russian can provide it for a much better price

NATO

That one is simple: NATO has no raison d’être, but now NATO leaders can claim to be the only thing standing between the good, freedom loving EU countries and Putin’s hordes.

“Biden” option one

Biden’s ratings are almost as bad as Zelenskii’s.  If an anti-Russian provocation is executed and Russia has to openly intervene in the Ukraine, Biden can become a “wartime President” and he can wave the flag which will hopefully distract from his immense internal problems and make him look more “presidential” (which in US parlance means “more willing to use force”).

“Biden” option two

Say no provocation takes place and with time, all this hysteria eventually fizzles out.  Then Biden can claim that “he showed the Russkies who is boss” and “America’s” resolve “deterred and contained the Putin”, etc.  That would be like a mouse claiming that it deterred a sleeping bear from attacking it.  The proof?  Well, the evil bear did not attack, did it?  So what more proof do you need?

“Biden” option three

As I have mentioned in the past, there are signs that the US has farmed out the Ukraine to the Europeans, which in turn means that should a shooting war happen, and its outcome is not in doubt, “Biden” can say “we tried to help the Ukraine as much as we could, more than anybody else, but they cannot expect us to go to war with Russia to support them”.  In other words, letting “Ze” lose a war against Russia is a very elegant way to get rid of “Ze” and to blame the current full-spectrum chaos in the Ukraine on him, while deflecting any criticisms of the USA.

UK+EU politicians

UK and EU politicians have been faithfully parroting all the anti-Russian propaganda and now they are stuck in their own ideological corner: they hate Russia, but they need Russian energy.  This dilemma could be “solved” by a short but nasty war which would powerfully re-polarize the EU against Russia and, therefore, fully and totally place the EU in the iron grip of the USA.

US MIC

That one is obvious: the bigger and scarier the Russian boogeyman is, the more the peace-loving USA can be spend on “defense”.  And remember that the goal of US “Congresspersons” (love that newspeak!) is not to contribute to a sane US foreign policy, but to get re-elected.  That, in turns, means that keeping the US MIC up and running, a real financial bonanza for a country otherwise is terrible economic shape, is one of the best way to get reelected while projecting the image of a “patriotic” elected official.  Ted Cruz anybody?

The US deep state

The US deep state has always hated Russia and has always fanned the flames of hysterical russophobia.  The Neocons play a major role here, but they are far from being the only ones, it is quite clear that, besides the White House, the deep state also runs the Department of State, the CIA and the Pentagon.

The 3B+PU

It is now clear that the 3B+PU attempted to overthrow Lukashenko, and that they failed.  How to better conceal the magnitude of this failure from the general public than to have a short and ugly war against Russia, especially since the 3B+PU fully understand that Russia will never attack them first.  Here I have to make a special mention of Poland which currently feels like a giant, standing as they do, on the shoulders of the USA.  For them, it is a win-win situation: if Russia is defeated, they get to proclaim themselves the best soldiers in the history of the universe, if Russia wins, then they can declare themselves the most victimized nation on earth.  Either way, both option are a salvific manna from the heavens for Polish nationalists (who otherwise are in trouble with the EU).

‘Ze’

Zelenskii’s ratings are even worse than Biden’s.  Most of his former allies have turned against him and unless something very dramatic happens, his political future is pretty much zero, he will be lucky if he manages to escape the Ukraine on time, that is before somebody decides to take direct action against him (lots of different interests in the Ukraine are now openly and deeply hostile to ‘Ze’).

The British military/security establishment

The Brits have imperial phantom pains and they feel relatively safe, being far away from the Russian-Ukrainian line of contact.  They also feel that it is quite unthinkable to imagine that Russia would dare to actually strike at a British ship/aircraft or, even less so, at a location in the UK.  That latter belief is quite mistaken, by the way, because the Russians also realize that should they, say, sink a UK ship, or even hit a military facility in the UK, the latter would have two basic options:  1) do nothing by themselves and ask Uncle Shmuel for protection 2) counter-strike against Russia themselves, which would only expose themselves to more Russian counter-strikes.  If this sounds like a losing strategy to you, it is because it is.  But for the country of Litvenenko, Skripal, Bellingcat, and “highly likely” reality is never an impediment to action.  Besides, it really appears that the UK is run by a mentally deranged Prime Minister surrounded by petty bureaucrats and a senile Queen.

The folks nostalgic for the good old days of the white, western, empire

That’s folks like Josep Borrell and all those who wanted a unipolar world, run by the West, of course, where no country could dare defy the rule of the Single World Hegemon (don’t matter which country, as long as it is a western one).  These folks are the ones who need to get whacked, hard, by the Russian military every century or so.

In truth, there are many more groups in the West who want some kind of war, some want it quick and small, others want it bigger, while others want to stop the escalation just short of actual war.

As always, what happens next will be the result of of the sums of the many vectors influencing that outcome: each party will pull towards its interests as much as possible, and the sum vector of all of these unofficial foreign policies will result in what many of us will call “US foreign policy”, in spite of the fact that as such, no such policy exists (other than a sum of these different vectors).

Lastly, is the Putin-Biden being canceled?

Yesterday Psaki said that she was not aware of any preparations made for a summit between Biden and Putin.  Also, a quick look at the calendar makes me wonder: between the upcoming Summit for Democracy, Dec 9th-10th, and the period between the western holiday season (Dec 24th – 1 Jan) the time available to organize such a summit is shrinking quickly.  Following the initial announcement, the rhetoric in both Russia and the USA about such a summit has become much more vague as if both sides now appear to have second thoughts about this.

And if that summit is planned for sometime in January, then this just leaves more time for the Ukronazis to come up with any provocation they like.  If that happens, then any summit would the scrapped sine die anyway.

We can still hope that this summit will take place, and that would be an effective way for “Biden” to show to “himself” and his enemies (the other factions of the US power structure) that he, “Biden”, is still in control.  A bad peace is always preferable to a good war.  But with so many western interests vested into such a war, I am not very optimistic.

Andrei

Russian options in a world headed for war

November 18, 2021

Russian options in a world headed for war

The world is headed for war and has been headed that way for quite a while now.  Several times, just at the brink, the West decided to pull back, but each time it did that its ruling elites felt two things: first, the felt even more hatred for Russia for forcing them to back down and, second, they interpreted the fact that no shooting war happened (yet) as the evidence, at least in their minds, that standing on the brink of war is a pretty safe exercise.  And yet, a major shooting war is quite possible in any of the following locations, or even in several simultaneously: (in no specific order)

  1. US-China war over Taiwan
  2. AngloZionist attack on Iran
  3. A war involving the 3B+PU against Belarus
  4. A war between the Ukraine and the LDNR+Russia
  5. A NATO-Russian war in the Black Sea region
  6. A resumption of a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan

As we can see, all of these potential wars could potentially involve Russia, either directly (3,4,5) or indirectly (1,2,6).

Today, I want to look at Russian options in the direct involvement cluster of wars 3, 4 and 5.

The first thing which I think is important to note here is that while the Ukraine has no prospects of becoming a NATO member country, some NATO member states have already taken the following steps to turn the Ukraine into a de facto NATO protectorate:

  1. Full and unconditional political support for the Nazi regime in Kiev and any of its actions
  2. Minimal economic support, just enough to keep the Nazis in power
  3. Minimal delivery of weapons for the Ukronazi forces
  4. Deployment of small NATO contingents inside the Ukraine
  5. Lot’s of Kabuki theater about “we will stand with you forever and no matter what

I have already discussed the 5th point here, so I won’t repeat it all here.  The important point in the list above in #4, the deployment of a small force of UK, Swedish, French, US and other NATO units into the Ukraine.  Such small forward deployed forces are referred to “tripwire forces” whose mission is to heroically die thereby triggering an automatic (at least in theory) involvement of their country of origin into the war.

Before going any further, I think I want to share with you a list of axiomatic facts:

  1. Russia cannot be defeated militarily by any combination of forces.  For the first time in centuries, Russia is not playing “catching up” with her western foes, but is actually ahead with both her conventional and her nuclear forces.  The Russian advantage is especially striking in her conventional strategic deterrence capabilities.
  2. The West, whose leaders are quite aware of this fact, does not want an open shooting war with Russia.
  3. The 3B+PU block wants a war at all costs, both for internal and for external political reasons.
  4. In a war against the Ukraine, Russia will have several counter-strike options in which she would not need to drive even a single tank across the border

The first three are rather uncontroversial, so let’s look at the 4th point a little closer.  Let’s begin by looking at Russian counter-attack options against the Ukraine.  Roughly summarized, here are what I see as the main possible options for a Russian counter-attack against the Ukraine:

  1. Protecting the LDNR in its current borders (line of contact) by a combination of a no-fly zone, missile strikes against Ukie C3I, the use of EW to disorganize the Ukie forces and very targeted strikes (from inside Russia) against key HQs, ammo/POL dumps, etc.
  2. Giving cover to the LDNR forces to fully liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
  3. Giving cover to the LDNR forces to fully liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and the creation of a land corridor towards the Mariupol-Berdiansk-Crimea area.
  4. Giving cover to the LDNR forces to fully liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and the creation of a land corridor in the Mariupol-Berdiansk-Crimea area and then the liberation of the Ukainian coast along the Kherson-Nikolaev-Odessa axis.
  5. The liberation of all the lands east left bank of the Dniepr river (including the cities of Kharkov, Poltava, Dniepropetrovsk, Zaporozhie and others).
  6. The liberation of the entire Ukraine

In purely military terms, these are all doable options.  But looking at this issue from a purely military point of view is highly misleading.  But first, about the NATO tripwire force.

US/NATO commanders are not too bright, but they are smart enough to understand that in case of a Russian counter attack these forces would be wiped out, thereby potentially involving all of NATO in what could potentially be a huge, continental war.  That is not what they want.

So the real purpose of this tripwire forces would be to create a powerful enough anti-Russian hysteria to transform the (currently disorganized and deeply dysfunctional) West into a single, united, anti-Russian block.  In other words, this tripwire force presents a political challenge to the Kremlin, not a military one.  This being said, we need to look a a number of absolutely crucial non-military factors.

  1. Whatever territory Russia liberates from the Nazi forces she will have to rebuilt economically, protect militarily and reorganize politically.  The more territory Russia liberates, the most acute these pressures will become.
  2. It has been 30 years already since the Ukraine set a course on becoming an anti-Russia, and there is now an entire generation of thoroughly brainwashed Ukrainians who really believe in what the Ukronazi media and “democracy” or “civil society” promoting propaganda outlets have been telling them.  The fact that many of them speak better Russian than Ukrainian does not change fact that in the least.  While the Ukies cannot stop the Russian military, they sure can organize and sustain an anti-Russian insurgency which Russia would have to suppress.
  3. Economically, the Ukraine is a black hole: you can throw whatever you want at it, in any amounts, and everything will simply disappear.  The notion of “economic aid to the Ukraine” is simply laughable.
  4. The Ukraine is an artificial entity which never was, and ever will be, viable, at least not in her current borders.

For these reasons I submit that it would be extremely dangerous for Russia to bite-off more than she can chew.  As the best (by far) political analyst of the Ukraine, Rostislav Ishchenko, said in an interview last week: “Putin cannot save the Ukraine, but he sure can ruin Russia [if he tries]” – and I totally concur with him.

Whatever legal pretense can be wrapped around a Russian liberation of the Ukraine, the reality is that whatever land Russia does liberate, she will then own and have to administer.

Why would Russia want to reimpose law and order inside a black hole?

Then there is this: while historically Ukrainian are nothing but “Russians under Polish occupation”, the past 30 years have created a new, very different nation.  In fact, I submit that we have witnessed a true ethnogenesis, the birth of a new nation whose very identity is russophobic at its core.  Yes, they speak Russian better than Ukrainian, but speaking the language of your enemy did not prevent the IRA, ETA or the Ustashe from hating that enemy and fighting him for decades.  In many ways, the modern Ukrainians are not only are non-Russians, they are anti-Russians par excellence: I think of them as Poles, with vyshivankas instead of feathers.

Crimea was solidly pro-Russian in all its history.  The Donbass was initially rather happy to form part of the Ukraine, even in the early post-Maidan period when protests were organized under Ukrainian flags.  Those flags were later traded for LDNR/Russian flags, but only after Kiev launched a military operation against the Donbass.  And the further you go west, the clearer this distinction is.  As one LDNR commander once put it, “the further west we go, the less we are seen as liberators and the more we are seeing as occupiers“.

The crucial point here is this: it does not matter what you, or I, or anybody else thinks about the constituent parts of the new Ukie national identity, we can laugh about it all we want, but as long as they take it seriously, and enough of them do, then this is a reality we cannot simply overlook or wish away.

The other point which is often overlooked is this: the Ukronazi Banderastan has already mostly collapsed.  Yes, in central Kiev things look more or less normal, but all the reports from the rest of the country point to the same reality: the Ukraine is already a failed state, totally de-industrialized, where chaos, poverty, crime and corruption are total.  The same is becoming true even for Kiev suburbs.

When I observe at how slow the Russian efforts to reorganize (really, fix) Crimea are, by no fault of the Russians, by the way, I recoil in horror at the thought of what it would take for Russia to re-civilize and re-develop ANY liberated part of the Ukraine.

Russia is typically compared to a bear, and that is a very good metaphor on many levels.  But in the case of the Ukraine, I see Russia like a snake and the Ukraine like a hog: the snake can easily kill that hog (by venom or by constriction), but that snake cannot absorb that dead hog, it is just too big for it.

But here is the single most important fact about this entire situation: the Ukie Banderastan is dying, most of its body is already necrotic, so there is absolutely no need for the Russian snake to do anything about it at all (other than retreating into a corner ready to strike, in a coiled position, and loudly hiss: “attack me and you are dead!“.  Putin already said that much.

Still, what if?  What if the Nazis, egged on by their “democratic” patrons, do launch an attack?  At that point Russia will have no other option but to strike, using her standoff weapons (missiles, artillery, long range cruise missiles, etc.).  Since we can safely assume that the Russians have been rehearsing exactly such a counter-strike we can expect it to be swift and devastating.  Targets list will include: advancing Ukie forces, airbases and any aircraft (manned or not) taking off, any Ukie boat approaching the area of operations, communication nodes, supply dumps, roads, bridges, fortified positions, etc.  That is a lot of targets to be hit at once, but hitting them at once is also the safest and most effective method to quickly achieve the immediate goal of stopping any possible Ukie advance on the LDNR.  This initial phase would last under 24 hours.

[Sidebar: modern warfare is not WWII, you won’t see thousands of tanks and a clear frontline but, rather, you will see strikes throughout the strategic depth of the enemy side, intense maneuver by fire and the use of battalion tactical groups]

Should that happen, it is likely that NATO forces would move into the western Ukraine, not to “protect” it from a Russian attack which will never come, but to break off as much of the Ukraine as possible and take it under control.  The pretext for such a NATO move would be the destruction (partial or full) of the tripwire force.  NATO might also declare its own no-fly zone over the western Ukraine, which the Russians will have no need to challenge.  Finally, the West will happily unite against Russia, and sever all economic, diplomatic and other ties to “isolate and punish Russia”.  Let’s not kid ourselves, this would hurt the Russian economy, but not in a manner sufficient to break the Russian will.

Then will come the big question: how far should Russia go?

I am confident that this has already been decided, and I am equally confident that Russia will not follow the options 4, 5 and 6 above.  Option 1 is a given, we can take that to the bank (unless the LDNR forces alone are enough to stop a Ukie attack).  Which leaves options 2 and 3 as “possibles”.

So here I want to suggest another option, what I would call the “southern route”: while the line of contact between the LDNR and Banderastan can be pushed somewhat further west, I do not think that Russian forces shuold liberate any of major cities in the central Ukraine (Kharkov, Poltava, Dneipropetrivsk, Zaporozhie, ).  Instead, I think that they ought to envelop these forces by a move along the coast as far as all of Crimea (up to Perekop) and maybe even up to, but not into, the city of Kherson.  Of course, in order to achieve this, it would be necessary to bring a large enough force into the Voronezh-Kursk-Belgorod triangle to force the Ukrainians to allocate forces to their northeast.  The Russian Black Sea Fleet could also conduct operations all along the Ukrainian coast, including near Nikolaev-Odessa to force the Ukies to allocate forces to coastal defenses, thereby easing the load on the Russian forces moving towards Kherson.

[Sidebar: let’s be clear here, the LDNR forces along cannot conduct such a deep operation without risking envelopment and destruction.  That operation can only be executed at a relatively low cost by the Russian armed forces, including the Black Sea Fleet]

In such a scenario, Belarus could turn into a “silent threat from the north” which would further forces the Ukies to allocate forces to their northern borders, making the latter feel like they are being enveloped in strategic pincers.

What about Odessa?

Odessa is a unique city in many ways, and is population is generally pro-Russian.  It is also a city which would have a tremendous economic potential if managed by sane people.  However, Odessa is also a symbolic city for the Nazis, and they have placed a great deal of effort into controlling it.  Thus, Odessa is one of the few cities in the Nazi occupied Ukraine which could rise up against their occupier, especially while the Russian forces move along the coast towards it.  Here is where Russia could, and should, get involved, but not by taking the city WWII style, but by backing and supporting pro-Russian organizations in Odessa (primarily by using her special forces and, when needed, the firepower of the Black Sea Fleet).

What would the outcome of such a war look like?

One the down side, the West would unite in its traditional hatred for Russia, and economically Russia would hurt.  That is not irrelevant but, I submit, this scenario is already in the making and even if Russia does absolutely nothing.  Hence, this inevitable reality ought to be accepted by Russia as a condition sine qua non for her survival as a sovereign nation.

In military terms, the Poles and their Anglo masters would probably “protectively liberate” the western Ukraine (Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk).  So what?  Let them!  There is no penalty for Russia from this.  Besides, the hardcore Ukronazis will then have to deal with their former Polish masters now fully back in control – let them fully “enjoy” each other 🙂

What about the rump Banderastan (we are talking about the central Ukraine here)?? It would end up being in even a worse shape than it is today, but Russia would not have to pay the bills for this mess.  Sooner or later, an insurrection or civil war would take place, which would pit one brand of Ukies against another, and should either one of them turn towards Russia or the liberated parts of the Ukraine, Russia could simply use her standoff weapons to quickly discourage any such attempts.

So how close are we to war?

Short answer: very.  Just listen to this recent press conference by Lavrov.  And its not only Lavrov, a lot of savvy political commentators and analysts in Russia are basically saying that the issue is not “if” but “when” and, therefore, “how”.  I think that the straw that broke the Russia’s patience’s camel back is the suicidal way in which the real (historical) Europeans have allowed the 3B+PU to set the agenda for the UE and NATO.  Oh sure, if NS2 goes ahead, as it still probably will, the Russians will be happy to sell energy to Europe.  But in terms of agency, the only power Russia is willing to talk to is the United States, as witnessed by the recent visits of Nuland and Burns to Moscow.  Let’s make one thing very very clear here:

Russia does not want war.  In fact, Russia will do everything in her power to avoid a war.  If a war cannot be avoided, Russia will delay the onset of that war as far into the future as possible.  And if that means talking to folks like Nuland or Burns, then that is something the Russians will gladly do.  And they are absolutely right in that stance (not talking to the enemy is a western mental disorder, not a Russian one).

As I have been saying for almost 2 years now, the Empire is already dead.  The USA as we knew them died on January 6th.  But the post Jan 6th USA still exists and, unlike the Europeans, the US ruling classes still have agency.  Just look at clowns like Stoltenberg, Borrell, Morawiecki or Maas: these are all petty bureaucrats, office plankton of you wish, which might have the skills to run a car rental agency, maybe a motel, but not real leaders that anybody in the Kremlin will take seriously.  You can hate Nuland or Burns all you want, but these are serious, dangerous folks, and that is why Russia is willing talk to them, especially when the request for such negotiations have been made by the US side (the Russians can’t really talk to clowns like Biden or Austin, which are just PR figures).

One thing needs mentioning here: the people of the rump-Banderastan and what will happen to them.

Actually, I think that the Ukraine is totally and terminally unsalvageable and the only good plan for anybody still living there is to do what millions of Ukrainians have already done: pack and leave.  Since most of the unskilled Ukrainian labor force lived in the western regions of the Ukraine, they will naturally prefer moving to the EU to work as cabbies, plumbers, maids and prostitutes.  Likewise, since most of the skilled Ukrainian work force comes from the southern and the eastern Ukraine, they will either be content with being liberated by Russia or they will move to Russia to work as engineers, medical doctors, IT specialists or even construction workers.  Russia has a need for such culturally close and qualified work force and getting jobs (and passports) for them will be a no brainer for the Kremlin.  True, what will be left of this post-Banderastan Ukraine won’t be a pretty sight: a poor, corrupt, country whose people will struggle to survive with lots of silly political ideas floated around.  But that won’t be Russia’s problem anyway while the main threat to Russia, a united Banderastan becoming a NATO training polygon right across the Russian border, will simply evaporate, dying on its own toxic emissions.  And if more Ukrainians want to move to Russia (or the free Ukraine), then the LDNR and Russian authorities will be able to decide on a case by case “do we wants these folks here or not?“.  Those Ukrainians who have remain real Ukrainians will be welcome in Russia while the Ukronazis will be denied entry and arrested if they still try.

Addendum: the two powers with imperial phantom pains and dreams of war

I am, of course, talking about the UK and Poland, two minor actors who compensate for their very limited actual abilities with a never-ending flow of vociferous declarations.  Mostly, they are just “playing empire”.  Both of these countries know exactly that they once were real empires and why they are pretty irrelevant today – they blame much of their own decay on Russia and hence their dream is to see Russia, if not defeated, then at least given a bloody nose.  And, of course, standing on the shoulders of the USA, both of these countries think of themselves as giants: they sure act the part very great gravitas and pomp.

Finally, their leadership is degenerate enough (inferiority complex compensated by a narcissism run amok) to lack even the basic common sense of wondering whether poking the Russia bear is a good idea or not.  More than any other NATO members, these yapping countries need a good smackdown to bring them back to reality.  Whether this smackdown will come in the form of some incident in the Ukraine or whether that will happen elsewhere is impossible to predict, but one thing is sure: the UK and Poland are (yet again!) the two countries which want, I would even say, need, a war with Russia more than anybody else (example one, example two).  I find it therefore rather likely that, sooner or later, Russia will have to either sink a UK/Polish ship or shoot down a/several UK/Polish aircraft which will show to the world, including the Brits and the Poles, that neither the US, nor NATO nor anybody else is seriously going to go to war with Russia over the Empire’s underlings.  Yes, there will be tensions, possibly even local clashes, and tons and tons of threatening verbiage, but nobody wants to die for these two hyenas of Europe (Churchill forgot to mention one), and nobody ever will.

Conclusion: war on the horizon

Right now, we are already deep inside a pre-war period and, like a person skating on thin ice, we wonder if the ice will break and, if it does, where that will happen.  Simply put, the Russians have two options:

  • A verbal push back
  • A physical push back

They have been trying the former as best they can to do the first for at least 7 years if not more.  Putin did trade space for time, and that was the correct decision considering the state of the Russian armed forces before, roughly, 2018.  Trump’s election was also God-sent for Russia because while Orange Man did threaten the planet left and right, he did not start a full-scale war against Russia (or, for that matter, Iran, China, Cuba, Iran and the DPRK).  By late 2021, however, Russia has retreated as far as she could.  The good news now is that Russia has the most modern and capable military on the planet, while the West is very busy committing political, cultural and economic suicide.

According to US analysts, by 2025 the USA won’t be able to win a war against China.  Frankly, I think that this ship has already sailed a long time ago, but that semi-admission is a desperate attempt to create the political climate to circle the wagons before China officially becomes the second nation the USA cannot defeat, the first one being, obviously, Russia (I would even include Iran and the DPRK is that list).  Hence all the current Anglo posturing in the Black Sea (which is even far more dangerous for US/NATO ships than the China Seas) is just that: posturing.  The main risk here is that I am not at all convinced by the notion that “Biden” can rein in the Brits or the Poles, especially since the latter are both NATO members who would sincerely expect NATO to protect them (they should ask Erdogan about that).  But, of course, there really is no such thing as “NATO”: all there is the US and its vassal states in Europe.  Should the two wannabe empires trigger a real, shooting war, all it would take is a single Russian conventional missile strike somewhere deep inside the continental USA (even in a desert location) to convince the White House, the Pentagon or the CIA “get with the program” and seek a negotiated solution, leaving the Brits and the Poles utterly disgusted and looking foolish.  I don’t think anything else can bring those two countries back to a sense of reality.

So yes, the war is coming, and the only thing which can prevent it would be some kind of deal between Russia and the USA.  Will that happen?  Alas, I don’t see any US President making such a deal, since however is in power is accused by the other party of “weakness”, “being a Russian asset” and all the rest of the flagwaving claptrap coming out of all the US politicians, especially in Congress.  One possibly mitigating factor is that the US politicians are also dead set on confrontation with China, including during the upcoming Olympic games, and if these tensions continue to escalate, then the US will want Russia to at least not represent a direct threat to US interests in Europe and the Pacific.  So maybe Putin and Xi can play this one together, making sure that with each passing day Uncle Shmuel gets even weaker while Russia and China get even stronger.  Maybe that strategy could avoid a war, at least a big one.  But when listen to the verbiage coming out of the UK+3B+PU, I have very little hope that the nutcases in Europe can be talked down from the edge of the precipice.

Andrei

Censorship is the Last Gasp of the Liberal Class

November 11th, 2021

Truthful, honest, and independent journalism and analysis is anathema to a social order that has little else to offer humanity but endless war and austerity.

By Danny Haiphong

Source

On November 8, 2021, Twitter locked my account for a period of one day for responding to corporate media darling and Russiagate fanatic Keith Olbermann’s slanderous reply to journalist Wyatt Reed’s coverage of the Nicaraguan election. The flagged tweet simply restated Olbermann’s question, replacing “whore for a dictator” with “whoring for the American oligarchy.” Twitter demanded that I delete the tweet or send a time-consuming, lengthy appeal with no assurances as to if or when my sentence in “Twitter jail” would end. This prompted me to delete the tweet and wait for the 12-hour suspension to end. Keith Olbermann’s account went unscathed.

This isn’t Olbermann’s first go-round with censorship. Last July, Olbermann called progressive comedian and YouTube host Jimmy Dore a “feral succubus” and demanded Twitter “and other platforms” promptly ban him. Olbermann has justified censorship over the past several years as a necessary response to the thoroughly debunked allegation that Russia “meddled” in the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump. He has publicly acknowledged his support for censorship as a righteous crusade to ban from platforms people who seek to “tear this country apart.”

Olbermann claims that his censorship crusade is exclusively directed at the right wing. Yet the sports analyst and corporate-media pundit is no friend to progressive or left-wing politics. The U.S. continues to lurch further to the right politically precisely because of elite-driven conspiracies such as Russiagate. Olbermann’s belief that “everything” about the Trump administration is connected to Russia has only further distracted from the progressive politics required to counter the destructive policies of the D.C. duopoly. Olbermann’s obsession with Russia is also racist in character, as evidenced by the admission that he feels immense shame living “with the stain of Russian heritage” in his family.

Hilary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in 2016 unveiled a deepening crisis of legitimacy for the American Empire that the ruling elite has desperately tried to conceal. Liberal class elites such as Olbermann have embraced censorship under the guise of Russiagate. The consequences have been devastating. The Democratic Party and corporate media have fully backed Julian Assange’s extradition and a host of other measures that have tightened the grip of corporate power over the media. Independent journalists have been demonetized or removed from YouTube, shadow-banned from Twitter, and suppressed in the algorithm on Google and YouTube’s search engines.

Silencing independent media serves a militarist agenda. International media outlets critical of U.S. wars, such as RT and CGTN, have faced intensifying repression within the U.S. and its allied nations in the West. RT and CGTN have been forced to register with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Iran-based PressTV had its domain seized by the U.S. government in June 2021 after being removed from Facebook six months earlier. YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook have labeled all three outlets “state-affiliated media.” The BBC and CIA-linked outlets such as Radio Free Asia have yet to receive the same treatment.

The message is clear: media outlets from countries targeted as U.S. adversaries such as China, Russia, and Iran are worthy of censorship while U.S. outlets promoting propaganda against said countries are safe for consumption. The same could be said about Nicaragua, a nation that has received countless attacks from the United States in the form of economic sanctions and information warfare. In the week prior to Twitter’s locking of my account, hundreds of Facebook users supportive of the popular FSLN government in Nicaragua were removed from the platform in the lead-up to the presidential election in that country. This includes Canadian physician Timothy Bood, whose account was suspended for commenting on U.S. interference in the Nicaraguan election. U.K.-based Morning Star journalist Steve Sweeney was detained for three days in Mexico on his way to observe the Nicaraguan elections.

Censorship is the last gasp of liberal class elites who find themselves rapidly losing grip over the political narrative. In the midst of growing economic inequality and endless war, the liberal class has chosen information warfare as its principal tool for maintaining the consent of the governed. Social media and streaming platforms are not public utilities and have thus been directed as weapons of information warfare against the people. Government agencies and military contractors have secured thousands of contracts with big tech corporations to increase their spying powers and influence over the media. It should come as no surprise that alternatives to the existing order have been marked as necessary for removal from public visibility as a means of self-preservation for a self-interested ruling elite.

While elements of the so-called “rightwing” have been caught in the web of censorship, it is clear that the Left is the principal target. Right-wing politics and pundits continue to enjoy growth while outlets such as MintPress News and Black Agenda Report struggle to expand audiences within a suffocating environment of censorship. Truthful, honest, and independent journalism and analysis is anathema to a social order that has little else to offer humanity but endless war and austerity. The last gasp of the liberal class seeking to protect this social order is the suppression of the truth — the first commitment of anyone who claims to stand for peace and justice.

Guns and Butter: The Caucasus Conflict and Global Trends – Guest Andrei Martyanov

OCTOBER 26, 2021

Guns and Butter:   The Caucasus Conflict and Global Trends – Guest Andrei Martyanov

From Bonnie Faulkner at Guns and Butter with Guest Andrei Martyanov

The Transcaucasia region, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea is discussed; Baku, capitol of Azerbaijan, oil region and birthplace of Andrei Martyanov; Nagorno-Karabakh, semi-autonomous region within Azerbaijan; political and ethnic dynamics of the Azeri/Armenian conflict; two wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan; Armenia’s Velvet Revolution; Soros sponsored NGOs in Armenia; Turkey’s involvement; Dashnaks; Armenian diaspora; second largest US embassy in Yerevan; Caucasus strategic geopolitical location spanning Europe and Asia; US recognition of WWI Armenian genocide; Russian Federation involvement; largest US export is dollar inflation; Russophobia; MAKS 2021 Russian Air Show, international exhibition of new civilian and military aircraft. Visit Martyanov’s website at: smoothiex12.blogspot.com/.

Guns and Butter · The Caucasus Conflict and Global Trends – Andrei Martyanov, #435

Russians are in total awe at the suicidal stupidity of the West

October 14, 2021

The Russians are openly expressing their absolute amazement at the utter stupidity of the West. 

Three examples:

A recent article by Medvedev:

Dmitry Medvedev: Why contacts with the current Ukrainian leadership are meaningless

Dmitry Medvedev: Why contacts with the current Ukrainian leadership are meaningless

Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev addressed Kommersant with his new article, titled: Five short polemical theses Kindly note that this is a machine … Continue reading

Dmitry Medvedev: Why contacts with the current Ukrainian leadership are meaninglessThe Vineyard of the Saker

Putin’s speech at the recent energy forum in Russia:

Russian President Vladimir Putin: Speech at Russian Energy Week (REW) international forum

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech at the plenary session of Russian Energy Week (REW) international forum Future of Russian fuel and energy industry, prospects for international cooperation and … Continue reading

Russian President Vladimir Putin: Speech at Russian Energy Week (REW) international forumThe Vineyard of the Saker

Shall I even bother to list what caused such reactions?

The self-imposed energy crisis in which the EU is BOTH trying to delay/stop NS2 while AT THE SAME TIME demanding that Russia increase her energy output?

As for the Ukrainiane, the Putin just offered them, again, not for $1500/cubic meters but for $175.  But this US vassal state proudly rejects any such offers.

The fact that Uncle Shmuel promised his “molecules of freedom” to the EU but is now selling these molecules to Asia (which has the means to pay much more). Yet the EU remains as subservient  to the USA as ever…

Or the fact that the entire, united, consolidated western media accuses Russia of creating the crisis while, in reality, not only did Russia fulfill all her contractual obligations but even INCREASED (by 10% if I remember correctly) her sales above her contractual obligations?  Putin repeated many times “tell us what you need, give us a contract to sign and we will deliver whatever you need!”

Then the there Victoria “fuck the EU” Nuland who, apparently, demanded that the Russian unilaterally lift Russian counter-sanctions while the US would not.

Here is how the western elites seem to be “thinking” (I am being generous here).

  1. We accuse Russia of everything and anything
  2. Then these Russian bastards have the nerve to demand evidence
  3. We accuse them some more
  4. And then these Russian bastards have the nerve to refer to facts
  5. Then we tell them that we will sanction them
  6. And then these Russian bastards have the nerve to counter-sanction us
  7. Then we engage in military exercises right along the Russian border
  8. And then these Russian bastards have the nerve to engage in military exercise also right along the Russian border
  9. Then, to try scare them to “negotiate from a position of strength” with our empty words about being invincible
  10. And then these Russian bastards design and deploy weapons systems we can only dream about
  11. Then we tell the Russian we want them to remain neutral while we deal with the “Chinese threat” (to whom?)
  12. And then these Russian bastards laugh their heads off

I will stop here, but I want to stress that Putin and plenty of Russian analysts are saying: the consolidated West is so totally out of touch with reality that it is, in essence, committing suicide.  Putin and others have also said the following many times already: “we don’t need to do anything, nothing, just watch how the West self-destructs“.

About the Ukraine: please read Medvedev’s article carefully.  Some say that it was not written by him, but by Putin.  The most likely explanation is that this text was prepared, vetted and approved by the Security Council of the Russian Federation (where Medvedev hold the position of Deputy Chairman) and that the reason why Medvedev signed it was diplomacy: he could be much more direct than President Putin, but you can be sure that this articles does express Putin’s point of view.

The Russians are now openly calling the Ukraine a vassal state of the USA and say that it makes no sense to talk to the Ukies, only to their masters, hence the visit of Nuland to Russia.

The Russians are not (yet?) officially openly calling the entire EU a vassal state of the USA, but they are strongly suggesting it.

So from the Russian’s point of view, only the USA retains at least some agency and is, therefore, worth talking to.

Yet the pre-2021 USA is dead and gone.

What’s left is a deeply dysfunctional society where the ruling elites seem to care only about gender fluidity and tranny rights, body positivity,  Woke ideology, “inclusive mathematics” and even a homosexual Superman (which ought to then be renamed “superperson” I suppose!).  Still, the Russians will still talk to this wannabe Wakanda entity, if only because the latter still has nukes (and quite a lot of momentum left, even dead) left, but they don’t feel ANY need to take it very seriously or do much about it.

As I have written many times before, Russia’s future in not in the West, but in the South (Central Asia, Middle-East), East (China) and North (Arctic).

As for the insane asylum called “Europe”, the Russians will let “general Winter” deal with them and try to bring them from “its multicultural lala land” and the worship of Greta Thunberg back to reality.

Hope dies last I suppose…

I will end with a personal anecdote.  While studying at the School of International Service (SIS) at the American University I had an absolutely fantastic teacher, a former Naval intel guy of Polish origin.  His lessons were absolutely superb, each time.  One day, we did something really interesting (and fun!): for half of the class we read letter of WWII German officers serving on the Eastern Front in the early phases of the invasion: they were full of the usual stuff about Russian subhumans getting their asses kicked by the “culture-carrying master race” (Kulturträger Herrenvolk).  In the second half of the class, we also read letter written by German officers, but after Stalingrad in which they were actually calling Russian quasi-superhumans.  The contrast was absolutely amazing.

Nothing sobers up somebody drunk on ideology as a brutal confrontation with a reality which cannot be denied.

The same happened to the French, by the way.  The Russian word shval’ (шваль) roughly means scum/trash/worthless comes from the French word “cheval”, meaning horse.  Can you guess why?  Because the retreating French had to use their dead horses for food!  For details, I HIGHLY recommend this book “Les Cahiers du capitaine Coignet” – these are the diary notes of Jean-Roch Coignet, who participated in all the Napoleonic wars.  It is a fascinating read and an eye opener on how a French solider lived through all these years.

I can just imagine how the current mass insanity in the West will go down in history books.  Maybe as the dumbest and most incredible self-destruction in history?

Andrei

Big, huge changes, in the near future (a tentative list)

SEPTEMBER 26, 2021

by Andrei for the Saker blog

Note: I will be terminating the fund drive today, and I want to thank ALL those who donated, be it prayers, words of support or money.  You have made a huge difference to us in a difficult moment and I want to thank you all for this!  As for the blog, it is now doing better than ever and I have you all to thank for it.

***

Truly, tectonic changes are happening before our eyes, and today I just want to list some of them but without going to deep into specific analyses, that I plan to do later in the coming weeks.  But just looking at this list is impressive enough, at least for me.  So, here we go:

The Anglos are circling the wagons:

The planned sale of US/UK SSNs to Australia is nothing short of a HUGE game changer.  It is also just the tip of a big iceberg:

  • The US seems to have de-facto given up on Europe, not only because the UK left or because the EU is crashing and unmanageable anyway, but because the political grip the US had on the continent is now clearly slipping: NATO is a paper tiger, the “new Europeans” have outlived their utility and Russia has basically successfully diffused the threat from the West by her titanic effort to develop capabilities which make an attack on Russia suicidal for any country, including the USA, whether nukes are involved or not.
  • By screwing over France, the US has jettisoned a pretty useless ally which had a short hysterical fit, but is already going back to its usual groveling and begging (BTW – those who think that de Gaulle was the last French patriot capable of telling Uncle Shmuel to “take a hike” are wrong, Mitterrand was the last one, but that is a topic for another day).
  • Of course, in political/PR terms, the US will continue to declare itself committed to NATO and the EU, but the “body language” (actions) of the US directly contradicts this notion.
  • For all its immense progress since the 80s and 90s, China still has two major technological weak points: aircraft engines and SSNs.  It just so happens that these are also two real US strong points.  By deploying 8 more SSNs near China, the US is very intelligently maximizing the use of its best assets and hurting China were it will hurt the most.  This does come with some very real risks, however, which I will discuss below.

The BRICS is close to becoming useless:

Brazil is currently run by the US and Israel.  South Africa is in a deep crisis.  As for India, it is doing what it has been doing for decades: trying to play all sides while trying to weaken China.  So it sure looks like the BRICS are becoming the “BRICS” which really leaves us with “only” the “RC” alliance which actually has a real name: the Chinese call it the “Strategic comprehensive partnership of coordination for the new era”.

Again, I don’t think that anybody will formally dissolve what was a rather informal alliance to begin with, but de-facto the BRICS seems to be loosing much of its former glamour and illusions.  As for Russia and China, they are not going to “save” the former BRICS members out of some sense of sympathy especially not against their own will: let them save themselves, or at least try.  Then, maybe.

Also, let’s be honest here, BRICS was an economic concept which was mostly an alliance of weak(er) countries against the big economic and military powers of the North and West.

As for the Russian-Chinese alliance (let’s call it that, even though formally that is not what this is), it is, by itself, already more powerful than BRICS and even more powerful that the united West (US+NATO+EU+etc.).

The SCO is changing (thanks to Uncle Shmuel), fast

If Biden was a secret “Putin agent” (“KGB agent” is the preferred term in the US, at least by those who do not seem to realize that the KGB was disbanded thirty years ago) he could not have done “better” than what he did in Afghanistan.  Now, thanks to this galactic faceplant, the small(er) guys in the SCO (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan) are now getting seriously concerned about what will happen next.  Even better, the (very powerful) Iran will officially become a SCO member this month!  Again, neither Russia not China “need” the SCO for their defense, but it sure makes things easier for them.  Speaking of Afghanistan, Pakistan is already a SCO member, as is India.

It is important to note that the SCO will not become an “Asian NATO” or an “anti-NATO” or anything similar.  Again, why would Russia, China and other want to follow a failed model?  They have repeated ad nauseam that their alliances are of unions of (truly!) sovereign states and that this union will not impede on this sovereignty in any ways (besides, neither Russia not China need to limit the others SCO members sovereignty to begin with).

The EU is slowly committing economic and political suicide

Initially, France had a major hissy fit, but is probably not doing the only thing France should do after what happened: leave NATO and slam the door on it, very loudly.  De Gaulle or Mitterrand would have done so immediately, but Macron?  Being the ultimate spineless fake that he is, it would be miraculous if he did anything meaningful (other than brutally repressing all the riots in France).

At this time of writing the result of the elections in Germany are too close to call, but even if NS2 is allowed to function, the level of russophobic hysteria in Europe is so extreme that the following will almost certainly happen: the EU will continue with its rhetoric until the prices go even further up, at which point they will turn to the only country which the EU desperately need to survive: the much hated and feared Russia.  Don’t quote me on that, but last week I remember the following prices for 1000 cubic meters of gas in Europe (just under 1000 dollars), the Ukraine (1600 dollars) and Belarus (120 dollars).  I might have memorized this wrong (I was traveling), and this might have changed, but the bottom line is this: only Russia can’t give the EU the energy it needs, and she has exactly ZERO reasons to make those russophobic prostitutes any favors (other than symbolic).  And even if my memory played a trick on me, what is certain that the prices for energy are soaring, the EU reserves are very low, and the temperatures falling.  Welcome to the real world 🙂

I won’t even go into the “multiculturalism” “inclusivity” “positivity” and other Woke nonsense which most of the EU countries have accepted as dogmas (even Switzerland caved in).

The US is like an aircraft breaking apart in mid-air

As most of you know, I have decided to stay away from internal US politics (for many different reasons).  So I will just use a metaphor: the US is like an aircraft which, due to pilot incompetence and infighting, is breaking apart in mid-air with its passengers still arguing about who should be the next pilot as that could make any difference.  Some passengers will continue to argue until the hit the ground.  Others are engage in “mid-air fistfights” apparently believing that if they succeed in beating the crap out of the other guy, they will somehow prevent gravity from doing what it does.

The reality is much simpler: a system that is not viable AND which cannot reform itself (too busy with self-worshiping and blaming others for everything) can only do one thing: collapse and, probably, even break-apart.  Only after that can the US, or whatever the successor state(s) will be called, rebuilt itself into something totally different from the US which died chocking on its own arrogance this year (like all the other empires in history, by the way, the latest one being the Soviet one).

The Russian elections

The results are in and they are yet another galactic faceplant for the AngloZionist Empire.  The main Kremlin Party took a hit, the Communists did very well, Zhirinovski’s LDPR lost a lot and a new (moderately pro-Kremlin) party made it in for the first time.  Considering the many billions of dollars the West has spent on trying to create a Belarus-like crisis in Russia (Navalnyi, Petrov, Boshirov & Co.), this is yet another truly gigantic failure for the West.  If anything, the rise of the KPRF shows that a lot of people are fed up with two things: 1) what they see as a tepid, if not outright weak, Russian foreign policy towards the West and 2) with the liberal (economically speaking) policies of Putin and his entourage.  Absolutely NOBODY in Russia wants “better relations” or any kind of “dialog” with the rabidly russophobic West.  And to the extend that Russia and the USA simply *have* to talk to each other (being nuclear superpowers) they, of course, will.  But the EU as such is of zero interest to Russia.  And if Russia needs to get something done (like what anyway?), she will talk to the US, not its EU underlings.  For all its problems, the US still matters.  But the clowns of the EU?

[Sidebar: the word “Communist” usually elicits a knee-jerk reaction from brainwashed US Americans.  But for the rest of them, let me just say that while I don’t think the KPRF is what Russia needs and while I have nothing good to say about Ziuganov or most of the KPRF leadership, I will say that KPRF does not mean Gulags, hammers and sickles smashing Ukie babies, Russian tanks in downtown Warsaw or any such nonsense.  There are several “Communist” parties in Russia, and none of them are even remotely similar to the kind of party the bad old CPSU was.  So while US politicians feel very witty to speak of the CCP-virus and that kind of nonsense (Ted Cruz is officially my “favorite idiot” in Congress now), this is so far detached from any reality that I won’t even bother explaining it here.]

The COVID pandemic

Wow, just wow.  Where do I even begin???  Biden’s speech on this topic was hateful declaration of war on all those who don’t fully accept the “official” White House line.  The fact that many (most?) of those who do not accept the official party line DO accept an even dumber version of events does not make it right to force them into choosing between their beliefs and, say, their job, or their right to move around.  Again, after listening to Biden I kept wondering if he was a “Putin agent” as his actions are only accelerating the breakup of the “US aircraft” I mentioned above.  You can say many things about COVID-dissidents, but you can’t deny them two things: 1) a sincere belief in their ideas and 2) an equally sincere belief that their core freedoms, values and rights are trampled upon by pathological liars and crooks (aka politicians + BigPharma).

They will resist and, yes, violently if needed.  Because for them it is a both a matter of personal human dignity and even survival!

At least, and so far, the US still has a powerful Constitution which will make it very hard for the current nutcases in the White House to do what they apparently want to do (force 80M US Americans to obey “or else”).  Furthermore, Federal courts cannot be simply ignored.  Also, US states still have a lot of power.  Finally, most US Americans still hold dear the ideals of freedom, liberty, small government, privacy, etc. But EU countries have no such protections from governmental abuse: true, in the US these are all rights are weakened by the day if not the hour, but at least they have not been *officially* abrogated (yet?).

If you want to see how bad things can get without such rights, just look at the pandemic freak show in Canada, Australia or New Zealand!

Finally, and irrespective of its actual origin (I am still on the fence on that), the COVID pandemic wiped all the make-up and has showed the entire world the true face of the West and its rulers: weak, ignorant, arrogant, hypocritical cowards whose only true concern is to cover their butts and “grab whatever can be grabbed” before the inevitable and final explosion (nuclear, economic or social).

Now back the the Aussie SSNs

The sale/lease of these SSNs is not only a danger for China, but also one for Russia.  Simply put, Russia cannot and will not allow the Anglos to strangle China like they did with Japan before WWII.  The good news is this: the latest Russian SSNs/SSGNs are at least as good as the latest Seawolf/Virginia class, if not better.  Ditto for ASW capabilities.  What Russia does lack is the needed numbers (and Anglo submarine fleets are much lager, even “just” the USN alone) and funds, both of which China has (or can have).  From the Kremlin’s point of view, the Anglos are trying to create an “Asian NATO”, something which neither China nor Russia will allow.  The Chinese already informed the Aussies that they are now a legitimate target for nuclear strikes (apparently, Australia wants to become the “Poland of the Pacific”), while the Russians only made general comments of disapproval.  But take this to the bank: the Russian General Staff and the Chinese (who both probably saw this coming for a while) will jointly deploy the resources needed to counter this latest “brilliant idea” of the Anglos.  In purely military terms, there are many different options to deal with this threat, which ones China and Russia will chose will become apparent fairly soon because it is far better to do something prevent that delivery from actually happening than to deal with eight more advanced attack submarines.

By the way, the Russians are also semi-deploying/semi-testing an advanced SSK, the Lada-class, which has both very advanced capabilities and, apparently, still many problems.  SSKs are not capable of threatening SSNs in open (blue) waters, but in shallower (green/brown) waters such as straits or littorals, they can represent a very real threat, if only by “freeing up” the SNNs to go and hunt into the deep (blue) waters.  Also, the main threat for subs comes from the air, and here, again, China and Russia have some very attractive options.

Conclusion: interesting times for sure…

Like the Chinese curse says, we are living in very interesting times.  The quick collapse of the Empire and the US is, of course, inherently very dangerous for our planet.  But it is also a golden opportunity for Zone B nations to finally kick the Anglos out and regain their sovereignty.  True, the US still has a lot of momentum, just like a falling airliner would, but the fact  remains that 1) they ran from Afghanistan and 2) they are circling their Anglo wagons shows that somebody somewhere does “get it” and even understood that in spite of the huge political humiliation both of these development represent for narcissistic politicians and their followers, this was a price which absolutely HAD to be paid to (try) to survive.

In my article (infamous) analysis ” Will Afghanistan turn out to be US imperialism’s “Last Gleaming”?” (it triggered even more hysterics and insults than usual, at least on the Unz review comments section) I wrote this: “the British Empire had the means of its foreign policies. The US does not.

This is now changing.

Yes, what the Anglos (aka 5 eyes) are doing is a retreat.  But it is a *smart* one.  They are cutting off all the “useless imperial weights” and going for the “smaller but stronger” option.  We might not like it, I certainly don’t, but I have to admit that this is pretty smart and even probably the only option left for the AngloZionist Empire. At the very least, it is now clear that the Anglos have no allies, and never had them.  What they had where colonial coolies who imagined themselves as part of some “community of civilized, democratic and peace-loving, nations”.  These coolies are now left in limbo.

So, who will be the next one to show Uncle Shmuel to the door?  My guess is the Republic of Korea.  And, frankly, since the DPRK is not a country the Empire can take on, and since China will only increase its (already major) influence on both the DPRK and the ROK, the US might as well pack and leave (maybe for Australia or occupied Japan?).

Okay, end of this overview of developments.

Now it’s your time to chime in as I am pretty sure that I missed quite a few things while in a short trip.

Cheers

Andrei

A few images as metaphors for our world :-)

July 28, 2021

Check out these two images:

The first is a perfect metaphor for the West civilization:  Everything in that picture is perfect, including the uniquely British BoJo and his oh so sincere homopride.

The second images shows a true western triumph.  On the basis of totally unsubstantiated claims by one defector who was under criminal prosecution in Russia, the collective West, via WADA and the IOC, has banned Russia from being called “Russia” at the Olympics.  No flag.  No national anthem.  No country.  Only “ROC” (Russian Olympic Committee). 

Visual search query image

After all, we ALL *know* that Russians athletes are all full of dope and drugs, when they are not soaking in cheap vodka.  Here is some more evidence of that:

Yes, this is a woman. At least by western standards…

So the united West still has enough traction with organizations it created and controlled to insult and humiliate Russia.  Bravo, that is a triumph!  Right?

Well, none of that prevented Russian athletes to win medals, even in these terrible conditions!

But, hey, no worries, the West also has some awesome athletes.  This creature  might even win a medal, as a female: (see photo on right)

In fact, the West goes from triumph to triumph: it seized Russian diplomatic buildings, it kidnapped several Russian citizens and jailed them, it blamed MH17 on Putin personally, fabricated both the Skripal and the Navalnyi false attacked (and botched them both!!) and now it deprived the Russian athletes from their national symbols without even denying that, “yes, this is a form of collective punishment, so what?

As for Biden, he just declared that there was nothing in Russia besides missiles and oil deposits (maybe he thinks that he has “become Obama” since that, at least, would make him black and woke-compatible!).

Surely, all this shows that the West is winning, Russia is losing, badly, and homorights and “democracy” will triumph all over our planet.

Good thing that the western legacy ziomedia is really honest and never engages in propaganda (like the Russian or Chinese press does):

Visual search query image

As for the greatest military in the history of the Galaxy, it will crush Russia with a daring combination of (future) hypersonic missiles and (current) homo-soldiers 🙂

But, no worries, a the next generation of gender-fluid US kids is already being prepared

But , no worries, Russia is about to collapse, and so is China.

So all is well, no need to worry (or to listen to “Russian propaganda”).  The West is doing GREAT and its future is even greater.

Right?

The Saker

PS: especially for the “alternatively gifted”: since I neither fear nor hate homosexuals, or homosexuality as such, I am not a “homophobe”.  That is just a “loaded-term” whose sole purpose and function is to disqualify as “hate-filled” (or fear, or both) bigot anybody who has not been brainwashed by wokeness. That is also why the value-neutral term “homosexual” was replaced with “gay”. This is called “framing the discussion” (in order to supress any ideological opposition).  Personally, if anything, I feel genuinely sorry for the poor people who are truly affected by gender dysphoria (the politically correct DMS-5 term for what was previously known as “gender identity disorder”) or any other psychological dysfunction.  I just refuse to simply declare that a personality disorder is actually healthy only because those affected by it (a small, but loud and obnoxious minority) don’t want to be considered anything but totally healthy and “normal”.  The very *last* thing these poor people need is to be told that they should be proud of their dysfunction.  What they need is healing, not encouragements to go into denial (especially with the comorbidity which almost always accompanies gender identity disorders!).

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at the Primakov Readings International Forum, via videoconference, Moscow, June 9, 2021

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at the Primakov Readings International Forum, via videoconference, Moscow, June 9, 2021

June 10, 2021

Mr Dynkin,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Friends,

I am grateful for the invitation to speak again at the Primakov Readings International Forum. It is one of the most highly respected international venues for a committed professional dialogue, although probably the youngest. I would like to thank the leadership of Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) for suggesting the idea of this forum and for the commendable organisation of this year’s event amid the COVID-19 restrictions.

I would like to welcome all the forum’s participants, who represent the Russian and international community of experts and political analysts. A dialogue on all aspects of the current international order is especially important at this stage.

These readings are integrally connected with the intellectual heritage of Yevgeny Primakov, an outstanding statesman. It was during his term as the Foreign Minister of Russia that the principles of Russia’s current foreign policy were formulated. These principles are independence, pragmatism, a multi-vector approach, respect for international law and openness to cooperation with anyone who is willing to interact on the basis of equality and mutual respect.These principles have been incorporated in the Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation, which was approved in 2000 after Vladimir Putin’s election as President of Russia and subsequently modified. The current wording of the Concept was adopted in 2016. But the principles I have mentioned, which Academician Primakov formulated, remain effective to this day.

Russia’s major advantage is that these principles allow us to ensure the predictability and sustainability of our foreign policy. This is especially important now that the world order is at an extremely contradictory stage of its development marked by increased turbulence. But as a Chinese saying goes, such periods also offer enormous opportunities, which we must make use of to boost cooperation in the interests of all nations. We can see that positive trends are gaining momentum. I would like to mention in this context primarily the strengthening of the new centres of economic and political influence and the promotion of democracy in interstate relations in general. Incidentally, Yevgeny Primakov predicted this process back in the middle of the 1990s in his concept of a multipolar world.

Russia will energetically promote the continuation of the peaceful movement towards a polycentric world based on the leading states’ collective guidance of efforts to resolve global problems. But we are also realists and hence cannot disregard the stubborn, and I would even say aggressive unwillingness of our Western colleagues to accept this objective reality. We cannot disregard the striving of the collective West to ensure itself a privileged international position at all costs. The results of the upcoming G7, NATO and US-EU summits will be a gauge of the current mentality in the leading Western countries.

Not only Russia but also many others face the situation where the West’s representatives are unprepared for an honest, facts-based dialogue, preferring to act in the “highly likely” spirit. There are many instances of this approach. This is certain to undermine trust in the very idea of dialogue as a method of settling differences and to erode the capabilities of diplomacy as a crucial foreign policy tool.

The zeal, with which our Western colleagues started promoting the notorious “rules-based world order” concept, looks even more irrational and devoid of prospects.  Rules are always needed. Let me remind you that the UN Charter is also a body of rules, but these rules have been universally accepted and coordinated by all members of the international community, and they are not called into question by anyone. This is called international law. The UN Charter is the main part of international law and its foundation. While dodging the term “international law” and using instead the expression “rules-based world order,” our Western colleagues have in mind a totally different thing: they want to develop certain West-centric concepts and approaches to be later palmed off as an ideal of multilateralism and the ultimate truth. These actions are undertaken in areas such as chemical weapons, journalism, cyber security, and international humanitarian law.  There are universal organisations dealing with all these issues, but our colleagues, primarily in the EU as well as in the United States, are eager to promote their own concept in each of these areas.  If asked why this is not being done at the top organisation of multilateralism, the UN, they give no clear answer. We understand that it is, of course, more difficult to advance some initiatives of theirs and reach agreements in a universal format, where there are not only the “docile” members of the Western club but also Russia, China, India, Brazil and African countries. We will see how this “rules-based world order” concept will be reflected in the outcomes of the events that have already been announced, including the so-called Summit for Democracy announced by US President Joe Biden, or in the initiatives in the area of multilateralism announced by President of France Emmanuel Macron and a number of other leaders.

I am confident that we cannot ignore the incontrovertible fact that the present world order is a sum of agreements between the countries that won World War II. Russia will object to those wishing to cast doubt on the outcome of that war. We cannot and will not play up to those who would like to reverse the natural course of history. We, incidentally, have no superpower ambitions, no matter how hard some people try to convince themselves and everyone else of the opposite. Nor do we have the messianic zeal, with which our Western colleagues are attempting to spread their axiological “democratising” agenda to the rest of the world.It has long been clear to us that the outside imposition of development models will do no good. Look at the Middle East, Northern Africa, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan.

A specific feature of the current situation is that the coronavirus pandemic has greatly accelerated the events, helping to settle existing problems and at the same time creating new ones.  I am referring to the global economic decline, destroyed industrial and marketing chains, growing isolationism and geopolitical opportunism. This common trouble is also reminding us, through growing problems, about the unprecedented connection between all members of the international community. Nobody can weather it out in a safe haven. This is probably one of the main lessons we must draw from what is happening.

Russia calls for cooperation with everyone, as I have already mentioned, on the basis of mutual respect, equality and a balance of interests. We are aware of the value of each international partner, both in bilateral relations and in the multilateral format. We value our friendship with everyone who reciprocates this feeling and is willing to look for honest agreements, without ultimatums and unilateral demands.

The issues we are ready to discuss cover nearly all important spheres of life: security, trade, environmental protection, climate change, digital transformation, artificial intelligence and plenty more.

Russia is promoting its ideas in Eurasia. The principles I have mentioned underlie the operation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). These associations are based exclusively on the principle of voluntary participation, equality and the common good. There are no “bosses” and “subordinates” in them. These organisations have creative goals and are not spearheaded against anyone, and neither do they claim to spread their narrow values throughout the world, demanding that absolutely all states without exception comply with them, as some other integration structures are doing.

Our unconditional priorities include the strengthening of our comprehensive interaction with China. This year we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation between Russia and China. Another similar goal is to promote our privileged strategic partnership with India. This is how it is defined in the documents that were adopted at the top level. We are expanding our cooperation with ASEAN nations and other Asian-Pacific countries. We are doing this within the framework of the unification philosophy, which constitutes the basis of President Vladimir Putin’s initiative of the Greater Eurasian Partnership. It is open to absolutely all countries of our common Eurasian continent, and the membership of this association will dramatically increase the comparative advantages of all Eurasian countries in this highly competitive world upon the assumption that they will make good use of their natural, God-given advantages and will not try to create new or deepen the existing dividing lines on our continent.

Both China and India support, in principle, the concept of the Greater Eurasian Partnership, which I have already mentioned. Its merits have been highly assessed at the SCO. We are discussing it with ASEAN nations. We are also open for discussions with the EU as our natural neighbour on this huge continent.

I believe that forums such as the Primakov Readings provide ideal venues for discussing any related ideas. There can be alternative approaches by all means, but we would like our discussions to be focused on the future in the interests of all countries of this vast region.

Russia will actively continue to facilitate the settlement of international conflicts. We are working in Syria and helping the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to restore peaceful life after we stopped the bloodshed there. We are taking a vigorous part in international efforts to achieve a settlement in Afghanistan, Libya, around Iran, the Korean Peninsula and many other hot spots.

I am referring to this not to attract attention to our achievements. We do not have an inferiority complex (just as we do not have a superiority complex in global politics) but we are always ready to help those who need assistance. This is our historical mission that is rooted in the centuries of our ancient history. Therefore, we will continue working to this end even on those problems that seem insoluble at first sight like a settlement in the Middle East. We are actively trying to restore the work of the Quartet of International Mediators and promoting the concept of ensuring collective security in the area of the Persian Gulf. We are willing to host a meeting of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Moscow as soon as possible. Now it is necessary to wait for the results of the internal political processes in Israel. It is very unfortunate that no attention was paid to our repeated reminders over many years that the concept of normalising Israeli-Arab relations cannot be carried out at the expense of the Palestinian problem. I believe that this is a very serious problem that will only continue to get worse.

We are actively working to coordinate the rules of responsible conduct in the information space now in the UN’s multilateral format. We are promoting cooperation in countering the coronavirus. I would like to emphasise that contrary to the Western allegations, we are invariably interested in pragmatic, mutually beneficial relations with all parties, including the West, be it the United States, its NATO allies or the EU. We are promoting a package of initiatives to prevent the complete collapse of the agreements and understanding in disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation after the Americans destroyed many treaties, for instance, START-3. We suggested a voluntary moratorium on the deployment of the missiles covered by it at least in Europe. Despite our proposals on verifying the moratorium, the West continues avoiding any honest discussion. In much the same manner, NATO has been literally talking our ear off for over two years in response to our very specific proposals aimed at reducing tension and military threat along the entire Russia-NATO contact line.

We are willing to work with any partner but there will be no one-sided game. Neither sanctions nor ultimatums will help anyone talk with us and reach any agreements.

In conclusion, I will quote these words by Yevgeny Primakov: “A strong Russia should not be seen as a threat to world stability. Only the inertia of thinking may suggest the conclusion about a threat emanating from Russia…”

Russia will never give up its fundamental values and will be true to its spiritual sources and its stabilising role in world politics.Therefore, we will continue doing everything for the firm, non-confrontational promotion of our national interests and developing cooperation with as many countries as possible.

I would like to emphasise only one idea: do not interpret our willingness for dialogue with any partner as a weakness. President of Russia Vladimir Putin stressed recently in his response to Western ultimatums that we will determine ourselves the red lines in relations with our Western partners and will primarily uphold our views on the world arrangement, on how to develop international relations in full conformity with the principles fixed in the UN Charter rather than some agreements between a narrow circle of parties.

Question: A question from Wolfgang Schussel, head of the Dialog-Europe-Russia forum and Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria in 2000-2007. The leaders’ summit for Russia and the United States is invariably a major international event that introduces new vectors into the work of the diplomats, the military and business on specific issues. The meetings are not always successful like, for example, the most recent summit in Helsinki with the 45th US President Donald Trump. We hope this time everything will be different. President Biden is interested in arms control and resuming the Iranian nuclear deal.

What are your expectations for a possible new agenda after the meeting of the two leaders in any area, in particular, cyberspace, autonomous weapons, or the regional conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and North Korea?

Sergey Lavrov: I am happy to greet my good friend Wolfgang Schussel. I thank him for the question.

We have repeatedly made our position known in connection with the upcoming summit in Geneva on June 16. We do not set our expectations high, nor do we entertain any illusions about potential “breakthroughs.” But there is an objective need for an exchange of views at the highest level on what threats Russia and the United States, as the two largest nuclear powers, see in the international arena. The fact that a conversation is happening between the leaders of the two leading nuclear powers is, of course, important. We strongly support this approach by our US colleagues.

Clearly, normalisation of Russian-US relations, I’ll stress this again, can only be possible if the principles of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs are observed. This is a prerequisite not only for maintaining a normal, predictable and steady dialogue (which the Americans claim they want), but it is also important for removing the accumulated issues of confrontation between our countries. We are ready for a candid conversation like this.

I hope that in preparation for the summit, those who are now dealing with Russia in the Biden administration (they used to say “Sovietology,” which would now be called “Russology, I would guess,” though it would be nice if it was “Russophilia”), will finally appreciate the actions, interests and position of the Russian Federation, and our red lines, and will be willing to correct the mistakes in recent years and will not conduct a dialogue solely from a position that claims hegemony in global affairs.

Clearly, any dialogue is better than no dialogue.But if a hegemonic mindset continues to determine the US’s position, if our colleagues from the United States continue to follow in the footsteps of their own propaganda, which deafens the US elite as well, then there’s not much we can expect from this summit. In any case, I think it is important to have a candid exchange of views at the highest level, even if there are differences that many believe are insurmountable.

We share an interest in strategic stability. We have fairly strong contacts on how to approach this area of ​​international politics at this point. Frankly, we advocate a comprehensive approach and taking into account all, without exception, factors influencing strategic stability in our dialogue with the United States. I mean nuclear and non-nuclear, and offensive and defensive weapons. Anything that affects strategic stability must be discussed during a dialogue.

The Americans have a much narrower approach. They are only interested in certain aspects of our nuclear triad and are not inclined, at least at this point, to agree on a comprehensive concept that would include everything without exception.

I hope that, based on the preliminary work and consultations in preparation for this summit, President Vladimir Putin and President Joseph Biden will be able to determine a strategic policy for future work in these areas.

Mr Schussel mentioned cyber security as well. We have no shortage of goodwill here. Ever since 2016, when the Obama administration began accusing us of “meddling” in their elections, we have suggested dozens of times sitting down and laying out specific facts and concerns that both sides have in a professional and trust-based manner. What we received was a strong refusal to do so. Now, I hope, we will discuss this matter and see to what extent the Biden administration is ready to do sincere work in this area.

You mentioned Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and North Korea. We maintain communication on all these matters, especially Afghanistan, North Korea and certain aspects of the Syria crisis and the situation in Libya. Together with the Americans, we are participating in internationally recognised multilateral forums. I’m referring to the talks on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and what we call the expanded Troika on Afghanistan (Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan).

There is a bilateral mechanism for Syria, primarily dealing with deconfliction. We always emphasise the US’s illegal presence on Syrian soil, especially since it includes plundering Syria’s natural resources and taking advantage of its oil fields and farm land. They use the proceeds to support (everyone is aware of this) separatism on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River thus flirting with a very dangerous problem – I mean the Kurdish problem. These games could come to a sticky end.

Since the US armed forces and combat aircraft are present in Syria, we have a deconflicting mechanism maintained by our respective defence ministries. In addition, sometimes we also have political consultations on how to move forward. We would welcome the United States resuming its participation as an observer in the Astana format and, in general, being more committed to the key principles of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on the Syrian settlement.

The summit has no agreed upon agenda on paper. Sometimes our colleagues from the European Union (at a time when we still had relations and interaction bodies) focused on the word-for-word, scrupulous coordination of each item, which should then become the agenda of the negotiations. We didn’t have this with the Americans. We just listed the topics that the parties intended to touch on. We are doing the same this time. The work continues. It won’t be a long wait. I think things will become clear soon.We are interested in positive results from the summit, but, as they say, it takes two to tango. And if one party is break dancing, tangoing becomes a more difficult proposition.

Question: The Trump administration threw out the mechanism of the INF Treaty. Russia responded with an unprecedented act of goodwill. The Russian leaders sent a proposal to the United States and NATO to introduce a moratorium on the deployment of medium and shorter-range missiles in Europe. The Trump administration did not respond. There was only a weak reaction from European capitals. Is it possible to continue the dialogue on this problem? Is the proposed moratorium possible at all?

Sergey Lavrov: The INF Treaty is history. It doesn’t exist anymore. We have expressed regret over this.

You mentioned a very important fact. Immediately after this happened, apart from expressing regret over the treaty’s demise, President of Russia Vladimir Putin announced a unilateral moratorium on the deployment of ground-based medium and short-range missiles in Russia. It banned the deployment of the missiles prohibited by the defunct treaty unless similar US systems appeared in a given area. This was a unilateral moratorium.

Later, a few years ago, when this moratorium failed to generate much interest, President Putin took one more step. He sent a detailed message to the US and the other NATO and EU members and our Eastern neighbours (about 50 states in all). In this message, the Russian leader described in detail our moratorium proposal and supplemented it with an invitation to cooperate. He suggested that the Western countries also announce a reciprocal moratorium on their own without signing any legally binding agreements, simply as a goodwill gesture. In this detailed message, we discussed the West’s skeptical statements about Russia’s unilateral moratorium on the deployment of ground-based systems that were banned by the former treaty. The West’s politicians reasoned: “Russia is as cunning as a fox. It has already deployed Iskanders in the Kaliningrad Region that violate the parameters of the former treaty” while the NATO countries have no counterpart, thus this would be an inequitable exchange. However, to begin with, nobody has proved that Iskanders violate INF-established criteria and bans on the range of missiles. The Americans refused to provide any rationale on this.

I would also like to note at this point that they are still stubbornly refusing to present satellite photos from July 2014 when the Malaysian airliner crashed. The court in the Netherlands openly announced recently that there is no hope that the Americans will provide them. So, this question is closed for the court. In other words, evidence of paramount importance is being concealed.

Likewise, nobody has ever shown us the satellite photos that were used by the Americans to prove that our Iskanders violate the INF Treaty.

Considering that the Western countries believe Russia has already done this ahead of them and as we suggested freezing this situation, Russia would benefit from this, President Vladimir Putin said it straight in his Address to the Federal Assembly: considering the mutual mistrust, we suggest measures to verify a reciprocal moratorium. We invite you to come to the Kaliningrad Region and see these Iskanders. In exchange, we want our experts to visit missile defence bases in Romania and Poland because Lockheed Martin, the producer of missile launchers openly promotes them on its website as dual purpose: for launching both counter-missiles and anti-strike cruise missiles. I think this is a very honest proposal. Let’s check: you are concerned about our Iskanders, and we are worried about the dual purpose of those missile defence launchers.

The only positive response came from President of France Emmanuel Macron. He said this was an interesting proposal and that he was ready to take part in implementing it via a multilateral dialogue. But this didn’t happen. The Americans ignored the proposal for obvious reasons since they do not want to let anyone visit their missile defence sites (this is a separate question), while all the others obediently kept silent.

Our proposal remains on the table. I think we will certainly bring this up at the Geneva summit on June 16. Let’s see the response.

Question: Often, especially recently, you have said that the European Union is an unreliable partner. Unfortunately, this is the case, especially against the backdrop of insane and unbecoming for the 21st century Russophobic propaganda and scandals that are made up without providing any evidence.

You have extensive political experience. Do you think the low level of leadership in the EU may be at least partially mitigated during this year’s elections in Germany and other countries? Will the overall crisis be able to give rise to modern European leaders who will “emancipate” themselves, at least a little, from the United States and fulfil their mission which is to serve their respective peoples? This calls for a radical change in the EU’s policy towards Russia. Unfair and ineffective sanctions must be forgotten and we must return to dialogue and mutual trust in order to overcome common problems which cannot be resolved without a full dialogue and cooperation, including with Russia.

We look forward to seeing you in Bulgaria for the unveiling of the bust of our teacher Yevgeny Primakov.

Sergey Lavrov: God willing, I will definitely be there. We maintain a dialogue with Bulgaria via our respective foreign ministries. However, recently, certain factors have appeared, not from our side, that are not conducive to an expansion of constructive interaction. I hope this is temporary.

As for your question about the European Union and our relations with the EU, I have covered this issue many times. We want relations with the European Union that are equal and mutually respectful. We cannot have relations with the EU based on demands for Russia to change its behaviour. The foreign ministers of Germany and other European countries have said many times that we need to be partners (they no longer say friends) with Russia, but it must change its behaviour first. This is a mindset that cannot be changed.

I was talking about the rules-based order which they came up with. In fact, it is the Western vision of how to maintain relations between countries in the 21st century and, moreover, how to organise life within a country. These “messianic” processes on the advancement of democracy are quite aggressive. But as soon as you start talking with the West about democracy in the international arena and ways to promote it not only within the borders of a country (this is each individual state’s concern), but in international affairs so everyone is treated equally and heeds the voice of the majority, but also respects the minority, they immediately back pedal. They do not want to discuss the democratisation of international relations. The very concept of a “rules-based international order” negates any hope that the West will get drawn into a discussion on democratising global processes in international relations.

Literally in May, promoting one of the main elements of the concept of a rules-based world order, namely effective multilateralism, French President Macron bluntly stated that multilateralism does not imply the need to achieve unanimity. “The position of conservatives should not be an obstacle for ambitious frontrunners,” he said. I think this is clear. “Conservatives” are revisionists (you can call them that, although these words are antonyms). We and China are called “conservatives who do not want change” and “revisionists who want to slow things down that move the Western world forward.” At the same time, President Macron did not mention either the UN or international law.

There are “ambitious front-runners” who promote this concept, and there are those who want to “conservatively” hold on to UN Charter principles. That’s the problem. This was expressed by the president of the country, which was among those who, at some point, called for the EU’s strategic autonomy. But these discussions have been muted even in Germany.

At one EU event, President of the European Council Charles Michel praised the return of the United States to Euro-Atlantic solidarity. EU leadership was clearly relieved to know that everything is “good” again, the United States is “at the helm” again and they can follow in its wake.

I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings. I hope no one takes offense, but it’s a fact. These are publicly stated assessments that have been repeatedly uttered by EU leadership.

The Munich Security Conference was held in May where Charles Michel said that the alliance between the United States and Europe is the basis for a rules-based international order. International law was not mentioned. He stressed that it is necessary to aggressively promote democracy to protect this order from “attacks” by Russia, China, Iran and other “authoritarian regimes.” That is, it follows that democracy for these purposes needs to be promoted within these respective countries and not in the international arena. This is more than self-revelatory. Without reservation, a concept is being put forward that is openly seeking dominance, at least claiming it.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, for example, that with respect to digital transformation, it is necessary for the United States and Europe to develop a “rulebook” that the world can follow.

More recently, our US colleagues said that new trade rules must be determined by the West, not China. What does this mean? A reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is being discussed, because the Americans have understood one simple thing: that based on the currently approved rules of international trade and economy, which the United States initiated after WWII (the Bretton Woods system, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation), that determined the course of globalisation, China has achieved much greater success in playing the Americans on their field. So, WTO activities are now blocked. The United States does not allow the appointment of officers for vacancies in the Dispute Settlement Body. All claims brought to this body that the Americans would have surely lost, cannot be considered.

We are talking about creating a new system and reforming the WTO. It is being clearly said that “the new rules of international trade must be determined by the United States and Europe, not China.” That is what this is about. This underlies the concept of a rules-based order.

You asked about the potential outcome of the upcoming elections in European countries, in particular, Germany. This is a question that only the German people and the peoples of the other EU countries can answer.

I have already covered the prospects for the “emancipation” of the EU from the United States.

Question: The United States often introduces sanctions against foreign companies or countries by suspending them from SWIFT, a major financial tool, which they use by virtue of their position of hegemony in the world. As a matter of fact, many countries, including China and even some European countries are suffering from SWIFT, which is controlled by the United States. Recently, the Russian government said the dollar might be removed from the country’s currency reserve. The Chinese government has started issuing digital currency. In theory, digital currency could lead to the creation of a new international financial system, which would significantly alleviate the threat of being suspended from SWIFT. What do you propose that Russia and China do to create a new international financial transaction system and reduce their financial dependence on the US?

Sergey Lavrov: Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a detailed answer to this question when speaking at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum last week. We are not looking to pull out of the existing system, which largely relies on the dollar. The problems stem from the United States being unaware of its responsibility as the country issuing the main reserve currency in the world, or else the US is aware but blatantly abuses its role. There are quite a few stories of how everyone argued that the dollar could be used for political purposes, which makes it unreliable. As we continue to make the point that everyone must honour the universal multilateral approach and not politicise the mechanisms that have been agreed on once and for all but rather use them to achieve objectives that underlie these mechanisms, we, of course, are considering how to respond if our colleagues show yet again their willingness to dictate and punish and use international trade and transaction leverage for this purpose

I want to note that not a single official in the West ever in my memory demanded that Russia, China or any other country be disconnected from SWIFT. That is what some politicians are calling for, but this has never been borne out either in statements by officials from leading Western countries or in SWIFT administration statements.

We really want, and this was officially announced, to remove the dollar from our economy and our financial system. The other day a decision was taken to cease holding the country’s gold and forex reserves in dollars. Appropriate measures have already been taken. But I want to emphasise again that this does not mean that we are discarding the dollar altogether, however, for the reasons mentioned earlier we are interested in relying more on other currencies, including national currencies, in bilateral trade with our partners, including our Chinese partners, other SCO members and many other countries. We are also ready to support transactions that are not denominated in dollars and but that are based on the use of other currencies.

In this context, crypto-currency is a very popular topic today. China is vigorously developing it and has achieved remarkable results. We are also working on this in a substantive manner. I believe there will be a time when crypto currencies will play a significant role and occupy a considerable niche in international settlements, but it might be better to discuss the details of this with economists. The Russian Foreign Ministry watches political developments. We are concerned about how to make sure our country’s economic ties do not pose threats to our security.

Question: Currently, a fairly intensive three-way process is underway to restore transport connections in the region. This process involves Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan, but not Turkey, which was a full participant in the last war in Karabakh and which is actually a party to the conflict. Meanwhile, you know that the Armenian-Turkish border has been blocked for 30 years after Armenia gained independence. This, by the way, is the only blockade on the territory of geographical Europe and transport lines are there, in particular, a railway which was built in Czarist Russia. It uses electricity from high-voltage power lines that have existed since Soviet times. Don’t you think that Turkey should be involved in this process of unblocking transport connections in the region and bear its share of the responsibility for this?

Sergey Lavrov: I would like to add that Iran does not take part in the work of this trilateral group either, and Iran is no less and, perhaps, more interested in having its interests taken into account. You asked whether we should involve Turkey in this work and make it bear responsibility. The work of the trilateral group on restoring economic ties and transport links is not about punishment; it is about resuming normal economic life, which existed until the late 1980s when the war broke out, which stopped only four years later.

Now the bloodshed is over. It ended a little later than we proposed to the parties. It is not our fault that the war lasted longer than it could have and the truce was reached later than it could have been reached. We were only intermediaries; we could not force either side to do this or that. We only convinced them that further bloodshed was pointless and extremely dangerous, first of all, for how people will continue to live on this land.

Currently, our peacekeepers are carrying out their mandate. There have been no major incidents. Both Baku and Yerevan recognise this. Any minor problems are quickly corrected. Yes, there are tensions at some sections of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan but they have nothing to do with Nagorno-Karabakh. Simultaneously with the ceasefire, the leaders of our countries agreed on November 9, 2020 to unblock all communications. This was one of the main items that was agreed upon years ago by the OSCE Minsk Group chaired by Russia, France and the United States.

Following this agreement of principle, the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan met in January. They established a trilateral working group at the prime minister level to deal exclusively with unblocking of all economic, transport and other connections in the region. The examples you gave – railways, roads and electricity lines are all subject to negotiation where professionals will prioritise opening them.

Naturally, the parties are considering the interests of their other neighbours. It would probably be unrealistic to hope that having reached agreement the three sides could neglect the views of Turkey or Iran. This would be a mistake. Many strategic routes pass through this critical area: both north-south and east-west. The most important goal is to develop relations for the long-term perspective rather than think of involving or not involving someone else.

I understand that many people say that the status of Nagorno-Karabakh remains open. This will eventually be coordinated with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. At this point, they should not worry too much about its status. Instead, they need to promote confidence measures and the settling of humanitarian issues, and help both Armenians and Azerbaijanis live together in peace, security and economic wellbeing. I can assure you that if we help establish this lifestyle in two or three years, it will be much easier to resolve all the problems of the status of this area.

I would not focus on these or other statements from the capitals of the countries in the region or the immediate parties to the conflict. Emotions tend to prevail in these statements for the most part. We urge everyone involved in this to continue to help those on the ground to remain calm and return to normal life. We are actively involved in doing this via our peacekeeping contingent and the Emergencies Ministry. The results of the efforts by the trilateral group will depend on how much the unblocking efforts help improve everyday life.

Regarding Turkey and its role in this, as I said, the participants of these trilateral discussions do consider the interests of Turkey and Iran because otherwise the opening of links will not produce the best results.

The Russia-Turkey centre is monitoring compliance with the ceasefire from Azerbaijan. With technical equipment, it ensures joint observation of the developments on the ground. This is a very useful part of this general agreement. It ensures the involvement of our Turkish colleagues in this process and is a stabilising factor.

Question: The Russia-India partnership continues to flourish even though the world is going through hard times. Our cooperation on the Sputnik V vaccine confirms this. India and all Indians are grateful for the assistance offered by our Russian friends during the receding second wave of the pandemic.

What short- and long-term lessons can the international community learn about the origin and spread of COVID-19? Some people are worried that even 18 months later, we do not know about the origin of the virus that first appeared in Wuhan. This will not help us in preventing future pandemics.

How can we balance our national responsibility and international cooperation to follow the international health regulations and help the WHO to identify and prevent future outbreaks?

Sergey Lavrov: In general, the coronavirus pandemic has certainly created an unprecedented challenge. It has become a kind of test for “true friendship.” As we know, a friend in need is a friend indeed. However, several states decided not to share their vaccines. Probably, this approach is not justified by human morality or ethics, especially under conditions of interdependence and globalisation. We share these moral principles, as do our dear Indian friends.

Thank you for your kind words about the assistance we have been providing to Indians in these difficult times. During the past month, we managed to organise several large consignments of humanitarian medical aid, including the Sputnik V vaccine and other medications. We are currently developing the production of this vaccine in India. We hope that by taking these and other steps, by pooling our efforts, we will manage to deal with this grievous disease and protect the health of our people as soon as possible.

As for revealing the source of the virus, as you know, the WHO has made serious efforts in this respect. It sent experts to China. They came from 10 countries, including Russia. They also represented related international agencies. The results of their inquiry were published immediately after their visit. They were also presented at the 74th World Health Assembly that ended last week.

You are right. There are no decisive conclusions on the initial origins of COVID-19 so far, but this is not unique. Neither WHO specialists nor we know yet the origins of the Ebola virus that appeared in the 1970s. The specialists continue working on this. As you know, I am not well versed in this discipline, but I am convinced that the specialists must continue this work without politicising it. Any attempt to politicise the situation around COVID-19 is similar to efforts we are seeing in other areas. They reflect a striving of some countries to use methods of unfair competition. We need to develop comprehensive and transparent international cooperation on further studies of the origin of the virus, and, most importantly, on overcoming the pandemic. Talk about who is to blame and who is innocent must not obstruct any response effort.

When emergencies in health protection occur, the main goal is to have strong national healthcare and sanitary-epidemiological systems. The COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed this conclusion. I think the countries with well-organised healthcare systems and a high ability to mobilise medical and other resources have made a more effective response to the challenge of the coronavirus infection.

As for international cooperation, we have been developing this for some time, practically from the start of the pandemic through both bilateral channels and via international agencies. We promote the realisation of the International Health Regulations. They were drafted at our initiative and approved by the WHO but have not yet been incorporated into practical systems in many countries. These regulations are the main instrument of international law in developing national systems for preventing and dealing with epidemics like this. So, the way out of the current crisis probably lies in coordination, transparency, as well as an ability and willingness to share experience and pool efforts.

Question: Would it be possible and desirable for the United States and Russia to undertake, as part of studying cyberspace challenges, to work on countering cyber attacks by criminal groups that use ransomware against a particular country emanating from Russia or the United States? What could the parameters of such cooperation be? Or is the level of mistrust so great that this kind of cooperation is simply not possible now?

Sergey Lavrov: We have been hearing accusations against us of all kinds of transgressions for many years now. With regard to the cyber world, I mentioned the 2016 elections. In later occurrences, a number of incidents in the United States or other countries were immediately and publicly ascribed to the Russian Federation. Not a single fact has ever been presented to us. Now, the latest incident (President Vladimir Putin commented on this at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum) is the notorious attack against Colonial Pipeline and meat processor GBS. Even you in your question wonder whether it is possible to establish cooperation between Russia and the United States on investigating such incidents and on fighting criminal groups, in particular those that demand ransom. Even from this question, it becomes clear that you are motivated by a surge in public opinion about two specific incidents. Notably, I would like to stress, that the US administration does not promote the thesis that the Russian state is responsible for these incidents.

Antony Blinken recently said that these are probably private hackers, but Russia must stop them, because they originate from its territory. As a reminder in this regard (double standards), when the problems in the United States were at their height, American social media and internet platforms were blocking access to information on a particular issue. This topic was discussed, among other things, at the OSCE and the Council of Europe. We emphasised the responsibility of the United States, just like any other country, to ensure that its citizens have 100 percent access to any kind of information. Then the American side told us: “Right, but these are the obligations of the state, and we are talking about the actions of private corporations. We cannot be responsible for their actions.” In this case, the Americans are urging Russia to find these “private operators” and still fulfil the function of the state to suppress illegal actions. Let’s make sure we all follow the rules, and that the rules are universally applicable. Any state that has signed on to the obligation to ensure freedom of access to information is obliged to do so regardless of who is hiding the information – a state entity or a private corporation. Moreover, the bulk of all information is now in the hands of private corporations.

Now, I would like to say a few words about cybersecurity. We not only want, but we have repeatedly proposed to the United States, even, perhaps, somewhat obtrusively, to deal with this issue. When, as part of the above accusations we heard in 2016 (the Obama administration began alleging these things back in October, before the election day) we were presented with claims, we reminded our American colleagues that there’s a closed channel between Moscow and Washington in case of incidents, including in cyberspace. After accusations against the Russian Federation of interfering in the US elections were loudly read out, we suggested that the Americans provide us, through this closed channel, with the facts corroborating their concerns. We sent this proposal, I think, seven times from October 2016 to January 2017, right up to the Trump inauguration. None of these proposals were answered by the Obama administration’s relevant services. Instead, an annoyed Barack Obama, at the end of his tenure, raided and seized our diplomatic property in the US and drove the diplomats out. This impulsive step was a response to our professional offers to do honest and specific work.

This is not the only example. The cybersecurity dialogue with Washington was frozen through no fault of ours. Subsequently, we proposed returning to it. In July 2017, we handed over a draft memorandum on establishing a Russian-American ICT security group. The response appeared to be positive, and we agreed to hold the first meeting in Geneva in early 2018. The US delegation went there, and the Russian delegation was on its way there, too, but when our specialists landed at the Geneva airport, they were told that the Americans canceled the meeting without providing any meaningful reason.

In September 2020, President Vladimir Putin, at his level, issued a statement on how we would want to see cooperation between the United States and the Russian Federation in developing a comprehensive programme of measures to restore cooperation in this sphere. It included specific proposals. After President Biden’s inauguration, we reaffirmed this proposal. It is being reviewed by the US administration. I hope that we will find out in Geneva the reaction of President Biden and his team. The UN is working on international cybersecurity in the context of military-political problems, and at the same time a decision was made to start developing a convention on combating cybercrime. This is exactly what happened to Colonial Pipeline and the GBS meat processing company. In both cases, a consensus was reached, although before that our Western colleagues had objections. But consensus was reached on both issues. I have reason to hope that this will help advance the bilateral dialogue as well. But most importantly, the dialogue must be conducted professionally, rather than loudly and without facts.

Question: Angela Merkel has been Germany’s chancellor for 16 years. What is your opinion of Russian-German relations over this period? How will they change?

Sergey Lavrov: This is another issue President Vladimir Putin spoke about during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). He expressed his opinion of the professionalism and experience of Chancellor Merkel and his satisfaction with their cooperation. Of course, we are monitoring the developments in Germany in the context of the upcoming elections. We hope that their outcome will ensure what I wanted to describe as continuity in our relations, but it would be better if it were not just continuity in the form of a regular dialogue, but continuity that would also take into account the lessons of the past 16 years.

When President Putin assumed his position in the Kremlin after the 2000 election, one of his first foreign visits was to Germany. He addressed the Bundestag in German. Many of us, including yours truly, perceived the emotional and positive energy of his address as the addition of a personal dimension to the previous historical reconciliation of the Russian and German nations. This was obvious.  He invested a huge part of his authority and his policy into Russian-German relations, into reconciliation that should take the form of practical deeds in great many spheres. We are not to blame that our relations have cooled. Incidentally, alarming signs appeared even before 2013 or 2014. For example, in 2010, then President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev had a summit meeting with Chancellor Merkel in Meseberg. One of the decisions reached concerned the establishment of a Russian-German crisis management committee. It was not designed as a simple discussion venue, but as a body that would coordinate joint crisis settlement mechanisms. On the practical level they mentioned Transnistria. The document was coordinated, but Germany later abandoned all efforts to implement it.

Of course, we are aware that the main reason for a far from sunny state of our bilateral relations is support provided by Berlin, the EU in general and the West as a whole to the armed, bloody and anti-constitutional coup that took place in Ukraine in February 2014, barely 12 hours after Germany, France and Poland, acting through their foreign ministers, said they would guarantee compliance with the agreement on a settlement between President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition.  The agreement was buried by the opposition signatories the very next day. Germany, France, Poland and the EU, which these countries represented, did nothing to challenge the opposition in response to our calls; worse than that, they even encouraged the new turn of events. Those who came to power put forth their anti-Russia position in their very first statements; they called for throwing Russians out of Crimea and sent trains with armed thugs there.

Germany and other European countries closed their eyes to these developments (the United States did the same), saying that reality on the ground had changed. In addition to this extremely negative policy, they accused us of violating the rules they themselves invented, and denounced the free expression of the people’s will in Crimea as annexation. Sanctions were adopted against Russia for the failure of European diplomacy to force the opposition to honour the agreements reached with President Yanukovych through the mediation of Germany, France and Poland.

This is when it all began. But we did not get confrontational; we did not cancel the planned Russia-EU summit. Despite all of this, in 2014 President Putin attended the celebrations of the allied landing in Normandy and the opening of the Second Front. It was there that the sides coordinated the Normandy Format, which led to the signing of the Minsk Agreements in February 2015. We thought once again that the document would be honoured. But just as in the case of the February 2014 agreement, the Minsk Agreements are not being implemented, and it is deeply regrettable that Germany and France, as parties of the Normandy format, are trying to justify Kiev’s absolutely destructive position. Vladimir Zelensky said more than once that he doesn’t want to implement the Minsk Agreements, but that he wants to keep them because as long as they exist there will be sanctions against Russia. Our German, French and other colleagues have never tried to overturn this logic or as much as comment on such statements.   We do want to have normal relations with Germany and work together with it to settle the crises that exist in our common space, in our neighbourhood. But we would like to see that Germany is able to honour agreements.

We appreciate Berlin’s stand in the face of US attacks on Nord Stream 2, which began during Donald Trump’s presidency. President Putin mentioned this as well. But he also pointed out that Germany has done this for a reason, because this is in the fundamental interests of Germany. Incidentally, the story with Nord Stream 2 is not over yet. I have read comments by Antony Blinken to the effect that they are discussing ways for Ukraine to preserve fees for the transit of gas to the EU. We have a transit agreement with Ukraine until 2024. What will happen after that should be discussed, but the US administration is already discussing what should be done to protect Ukraine from harm. According to Blinken, one of the possible ways is to extend the transit agreement “for many years into the future,” so that Ukraine will continue to benefit from the transit fees. If this doesn’t work out, another option is to compensate for the transit fees that Kiev may lose, which is something the Europeans should do.

In other words, the Europeans’ attitude to the issues on which we are cooperating will be put to the test many times yet. I hope very much that the German people will be guided by their interests, just as they always have been throughout their history. We are interested in strengthening our partnership as much as possible. Many people say that the Russian-German partnership and rapprochement threaten the trans-Atlantic alliance. But this is an issue for the future periods of geopolitical research.

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