Armenian Patriots Attack NATO

20 APRIL 2021

By Grigory Trofimchuk

Expert on International Relations

Armenian Patriots Attack NATO

Recently, the growing civil hatred resulted in a street attack on the former director of the NATO Information Center in Armenia, Ara Tadevosyan.

Armenian public activists are increasingly convinced that the West and its institutions located on the territory of the country are to blame for all their recent troubles. According to independent researchers, there have been more than two hundred such pro-Western organizations in recent years. For a relatively small republic, this is a colossal figure, especially given that it is reinforced by one of the highest percentages of the US Embassy staff in Armenia in relation to the number of its citizens. This was repeatedly discussed at conferences in Moscow, with the participation of the Armenian Ambassador.

The cup of patience of these citizens is beginning to overflow, since the “army” of Western adherents has done nothing to improve real life in the host country, while engaging in activities of a closed nature, inaccessible to public control, with the standard reference to the need to “develop democracy”. At the same time, the accusations against Russia and the CSTO, apparently, come from the same nest, working to further weaken Armenia.

Recently, the growing civil hatred resulted in a street attack on the former director of the NATO Information Center in Armenia, Ara Tadevosyan. The activists were not even hindered by the coronavirus epidemic, and they were able to recognize Tadevosyan in a seemingly ordinary passer-by, walking in a medical mask in the center of Yerevan. Perhaps Tadevosyan will now always have to wear a mask, hiding from the public, even after the virus disappears.

This is a precedent. It is obvious that the patriotic citizens of Armenia no longer want to tolerate Armenia’s cooperation with the West in any form, including the new wars that Western structures are preparing for this state. Despite the recent closure of this Information Center and the disbanding of personnel, NATO continues to strengthen along the borders of Armenia, having significantly strengthened in this region since 1991, which causes emotional, spontaneous protests from the population.

Apparently, Ara Tadevosyan, who raised a poster at the request of the patriots, calling on NATO to stay away from Armenia – “NATO Keep Out from Armenia!”, “NATO Go Home!” – is only the beginning of mass anti-Western actions. The Armenians, who are patriots of their homeland, are not yet calling on Tadevosyan and his friends to leave Armenia forever and live in the West they love so much, but such a development is quite possible.

But now it is most important to understand to what extent the NATO Information Center, which was active until recently in Armenia, was involved in the development of the destabilization of the military-political situation in the region, which ultimately led to the so-called Second Karabakh War. Such questions should be asked to the same pro-Western activist Are Tadevosyan, perhaps in the framework of a special press conference, so that the growing political position of the real Armenian “street” does not look like a commonplace, banal settling of scores. And this is a completely different nascent Armenian “street”, significantly different from the one that brought Nikol Pashinyan to power in the spring of 2018.

The NATO Information Center was opened in Yerevan in 2007, on the eve of 2008, when the South Ossetian War broke out in the South Caucasus. This can be considered a simple coincidence, but the facts and dates are strictly in their places, in a strict sequence. The goals of the inaugurated institution were extremely noble: it was assumed that the “broad Armenian public “would be better informed about the tasks of the North Atlantic Alliance and its partners, one of the main ones, at that time, in the region was rapidly becoming Georgia. The real status of such centers was intended to include in the “cloud” around NATO on the basis of bilateral agreements those countries that did not have membership in this military-political bloc and could hardly ever get it.

Just a few years later, in 2011, with the active participation of the same Ara Tadevosyan, a training program on “NATO as an element of the Western security system” was launched within the framework of the “NATO Week in Armenia”. That is, even then, the processes that are destroying Armenia today were launched, with the transfer of the “arrows”, that is, the blame, to Russia. At the same time, Tadevoyasyan himself said that the project is “pilot in nature”.

And today, ten years later, the pilot ” Tadevosyan received an inevitable response from his grateful compatriots. And this is just the first swallow.

Margarita Simonian on Biden’s call to the “killer”

April 15, 2021 

Note: in my analysis yesterday I quoted Margarita Simonian, the head of Russia Today.  Today I have asked my director of research, Scott, to translate yet another thought provoking series of comments made by Simonian yesterday.  Now that we see that Biden has imposed even more sanctions on Russia (right after his phone call), her words take on an even deeper meaning.

The Saker
——-

In regard to Biden’s phone call and his summit with Putin. The phone call took place, so what? Will this negotiation take place, or they won’t take place, regardless, it won’t change anything in their attitude towards us. Our relations towards them is our reaction to their actions. We don’t want the same things for them as they want for us. We don’t have the aim to destroy the USA, and to break the United States apart into 50 small independent countries. We don’t seek to disarm the US and strip away their nuclear weapons, and to take away their every potential in every way. In other world, everything they are trying to do to us. We don’t have plans against them similar to those they, actually, harbor towards us.

Interviewer: We don’t even want to democratize them and to demand from them to stop human rights abuse. They elected a new president, but their police officer just again killed an Afro-American. They have unsolved racial problems. Biden criticized Trump for exactly the same Trump criticizes now Biden.

Simonyan: The United States’ attitude towards us will not change. The United States, due to their nature, won’t tolerate anyone who even in theory could threaten their existence. We are, in theory, threaten their existence and they cannot agree with this. And they will continue to do everything to make sure that we as such would disappear .

In these conditions, a meeting between Putin and Biden will be just a protocol event. The meeting will be just for pictures. There cannot be any serious discussion and decision taken during such meeting. Even if something were decided during this meeting, it will be overwritten and nullified the very next day. I don’t believe there could be any substance and any common sense to this meeting.

To stand by their word is not a part of American mentality. It’s something we do. And our president follows this rule. He does certain things, not because it’s profitable, but because he had an agreement. They don’t have the same attitude to their agreements. Gorbachev had an agreement about the West not extending NATO eastward towards Russia’s borders. What had happened to this agreement? Or, take, for example, American national pastime of bringing troops home from Afghanistan.

An American easy attitude to words explains Biden’s words about a “killer”. They simply don’t attach the same meaning to words. I don’t know what exactly took place there, but I imagine that a fame seeking journalists, a Lary King wannabe,RIP, asked a provocative question and Biden responded as he could. It was impossible to cut it out, because everyone leaks there. They leak even secret government negotiations. Everyone would know in ten minutes that Biden’s people demanded to cut out a part of an interview concerning president Putin. Biden would be forced to explain himself for the next three months. I would incline to thing that it was a guff, not as serious as it looks from our point of view. We take this things seriously. We say that since you call our leader a “killer” then we won’t communicate with you and will be in a state of war. Listen to their election debates and how they verbally abuse each other. We would be terrified, but for them it’s absolutely normal.

As for the Ukraine, I think that the United States as they urged Georgia to attack back in 2008, they are trying to push the Ukraine to do something equally stupid. The most important are Patrushev’s words about a provocation that might take place with the participation of Ukrainian military that would provide the Ukraine with a chance to start a war against, and I am quoting here, against Crimea. In simple terms, to start a war against Russia. America, like a Santa-Clause of steroids, presents us with such “presents” for many years, now. We wouldn’t recognize an independence of Ossetia and Abkhazia for twenty years. But we had it done thanks to an American gift. We would never consider to start creating a sovereign internet, if it weren’t for the American gifts of blocking us online and demonstrating us a need for such thing. We wouldn’t be able to develop our agriculture and food production if it weren’t for their sanctions and our contra-sanctions. And, there wouldn’t be reunification with Crimea, if we had normal relations with the Ukraine. This new gift in a shape of the Ukraine attacking Crimea is unavoidable. Its a medical fact.

Putin’s Ukrainian Judo

Putin’s Ukrainian Judo

Source

April 14, 2021

By Dmitry Orlov and posted with special permission

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Should Russia repeat the 08.08.08 war in the Donbass? (OPEN THREAD #8)

Should Russia repeat the 08.08.08 war in the Donbass? (OPEN THREAD #8)

Source

April 09, 2021

You know the expression, “better a bad peace than a good war“.  This surely sounds true and common sense seems to support this.  But, as with many slogans, it all depends on the meaning of words.

For one thing, Russia has been at war with the Empire for at least since 2017.  You can call that “peace” as opposed to a full-scale convention or nuclear war, but considering the human and material costs of this very real war, I am not so sure that the word “peace” fits.

Next, if we accept that we are already in a costly and ugly war (even if this war is not a full-scale military one), one could reasonably say that “bad” is still preferable to “worse”.  But here the assumption is that a transition to an open war would be necessarily worse for Russia.  But is that really true?

In economic and political terms, Russia remains weaker than the consolidated West.  In military terms, however, it is the opposite (see here for a very good primer on this issue).  Would that then not make sense for Russia to move the confrontation into the mode which favors her?

Furthermore, the notion that now is “bad” and that it will get “worse” if Russia is forced to intervene makes another logically flawed assumption: that if Russia does absolutely nothing things will not become “worse” anyway!

Then, we need to define the concept of “good war”.  Thousands of volumes have been written about what a “just” war is and even thousands more about what a “good war” might be.  This is a complex and even philosophical issue which I don’t want to discuss now, but I do want to point out the ambiguity of the concept.

There is also a practical reason: seems to me that the time has come again for the West to receive the painful smackdown the West gets from Russia about once every century. Clearly the folks in Germany have forgotten WWII.  As for the US Americans, 99.99999999% of them don’t know shit about WWII!.  Maybe all these loudmouths need a, what shall we call it, maybe a not-so-gentle “reminder”?  I would not suggest that if I had ANY hope AT ALL that the Europeans at least remember WWII.  Alas, I have no such hopes left.

So what are we left in the case of Russia vs Banderastan?

I submit that what Russia did in 08.08.08 five day war (in reality only three!) was correct.  She did the following:

  1. Comprehensively disarmed Saakashvili’s gangs of thugs in uniform
  2. Guaranteed the safety of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia
  3. Did not engage in a long occupation, take Tbilissi (absolutely correct decision!) or impose another ruler

Russia got the job done, and simply left (with a small contingent left in both South Ossetia and Abkhazia)

Now let’s transpose that the the Ukronazi controlled Ukraine:

  1. Comprehensively disarm “Ze’s” gangs of thugs in uniform
  2. Guarantee the safety of the LDNR
  3. Not “solve” the Ukrainian crisis for the Ukrainians (that is their job, not Russia’s)

Seems to me rather reasonable.  And, besides, just like Georgia, the Ukronazi Ukraine will not recover from that “minimal response” for many years.  In fact, I believe that only by defanging the Ukronazis would guarantee the collapse of Banderastan into several successor states.

There are, of course, major differences between Georgia on 08.07.08 and today’s Ukraine, both quantitative and qualitative.  Just one example: the Ukies could attack Russia proper (I said “attack” – I did NOT say “prevail”!) something which Saakashvili could not do.  Still, the fundamental sequence disarm->protect->withdraw is, in my opinion, one worth considering as “good” a war as can be, especially since the “peaceful alternative” might turn out much worse.

So what do you think?  Should Russia repeat the 08.08.08 scenario if the Ukronazis attack?

The Saker

PS: bonus question: check out these two news items:

Question: can you find a logical military rationale for either move and, if yes, which one?

Biden’s accounts with Russia. What will Erdogan do? حسابات بايدن مع روسيا.. ماذا سيفعل إردوغان؟

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

Biden’s accounts with Russia. What will Erdogan do?

حسابات بايدن مع روسيا.. ماذا سيفعل إردوغان؟
Biden’s accounts with Russia. What will Erdogan do?
حسني محلي

Husni Mahali 

Al-Mayadeen Net

1 March

Georgia is gaining additional importance in Washington’s calculations, and soon President Biden, because it challenges Russia’s nine autonomous republics — most of whose population is Muslim — including Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.

Since joining NATO in the early 1950s, Ankara has played a key role in opposing the Western camp, led by America, to the Soviet Union, which was then adjacent to Turkey through Georgia and Armenia in the south. Through dozens of Atlantic and U.S. bases in its territory (12 of which remain), Turkey was also an advanced outpost to defend Western interests and prevent the Communist Soviet Union from expanding south toward the Arab and Muslim world.

The fall of the Soviet Union after the Afghan war and the resulting birth of The Islamic Republics of Turkish origin gave Ankara more power in regional and international calculations, especially after the late President Turgut Ozal’s talks on “the unity of the Turkish nation, from the Adriatic Sea (Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia) to the China Dam, through Bulgaria and Greece, where Muslim minorities of Turkish origin are.

Ozal’s words were welcomed and encouraged by Washington, the traditional enemy of the Soviet Union, and then Russia, which the West wanted to surround from its southern flank, where the Islamic republics, and from the West, where the countries that nato embraced in 2004, namely Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and southern Bulgaria and Romania, which overlook the Black Sea, which Turkey controls, control its only Bosphorus Strait.

This came at a time when Ukraine and Georgia paid dearly for their adventures during their velvet revolutions in which Western institutions played a major role, with Abkhazia and South Ossetia declaring independence with the support of Moscow, and separated from Georgia, while the civil war in Ukraine was a reason for the partition of the country, after the citizens of the eastern regions voted for secession, prompting Russia to “annex” Crimea in 2014.

As was the case in the 1950s and beyond, Ankara has played, and continues to play, some role in all of these developments that President Erdogan wanted to help him to support his projects and plans, which appear to have been influenced by Ozal’s slogans, and Ankara has had, and continues to be, directly and indirectly linked to the developments of its neighbor Georgia, whose tens of thousands of its citizens work in Turkey.

Georgia is gaining additional importance in washington’s calculations, and soon President Biden, because it challenges russia’s nine self-governing republics — mostof whose population is Muslim — including Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.

Thousands of citizens of these and other Central Asian republics have joined Al-Nusra and ISIS, while Washington wants to help it in the future in its plans to tighten the blockade on Russia, and the factions of “Afghan jihadists” helped America achieve its first goal, which is to overthrow and tear the Soviet Union, according to the green belt theory, it became clear that Washington is planning to return to this belt, and wants Turkey to play a key role in activating it, but after agreeing with Erdogan on a comprehensive deal to achieve both sides the biggest direct and indirect gains, which Presidents Biden and Erdogan are preparing on the eve of the phone call between the two parties, which seem to have been delayed by the many topics that will be in front of them, difficult and intertwined, and they need each other.

In exchange for the financial and political support of Erdogan, which seems to be in dire need, President Biden wants Turkey to go back to the 1950s and prove its absolute loyalty to Washington and NATO, which is clearly preparing for a new phase of psychological, economic and political war against Russia, this time through its back gardens to the south and west, which means that it needs to support President Erdogan because of his ties and role in the Central Asian Islamic Republics (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan), as in the Caucasus, where Azerbaijan is linked to Azerbaijan. Georgia has privileged relations, and Washington seeks to annex it to NATO, along with Ukraine.

The events in Armenia at this time are of added importance, having become a direct arena for U.S. and French intervention against the traditional Russian role. Ankara is watching all these interventions closely, firstly because Armenia is a neighboring country, and secondly because of information about the possibility that President Biden will recognize the Armenian genocide of the Ottoman era during World War I, without neglecting Washington’s privileged relationship between Ankara and Kiev, and at the expense of The Russian plans in Ukraine, Erdogan has repeatedly rejected Putin’s decision to “annex” Crimea to Russia, while information speaks of very broad cooperation between Turkey and Ukraine in all fields, especially military industries, including drones, tanks and missiles, with significant Turkish support for the Muslim minority in Crimea.

Ankara has also succeeded in establishing privileged relations with most of the former Soviet Republics and Eastern European countries that have bad memories with Moscow, which President Biden may need in his future calculations to tighten the blockade on Russia within its borders or elsewhere, particularly Latin America, where Erdogan has succeeded in establishing privileged relations with its most prominent head of state, Nicolas Maduro, despite all the personal, ideological and political contradictions between them.

President Biden may need Turkish support for his plans and projects in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, which has turned into a front alcove to defend Russian interests in the region, and across it in many regional and international arenas in which Washington, some Western capitals, and sometimes Ankara, are competing, despite the contradiction of interests among all of these capitals.

In all cases, it seems clear that we will not wait long to see what Biden will ask of Erdogan, and how the latter will respond to these demands, the most important of which is undoubtedly a return to Turkey’s nationalist, religious and historical behavior against Russia. For the past five years, after Erdogan’s apology following the downing of the Russian plane, President Putin has sought to block this possibility through a combination of interlocking economic, political and military relations with Ankara and its implications for coordination, cooperation and joint action in Syria.

With the information that president Biden expects to clear all his accounts with Ankara, whether negative or positive, President Erdogan finds himself in a situation that is never enviable, having become clear that his options are limited, either continue the current situation in the relationship with Moscow and Washington, which Biden will not accept, or continue his cooperation with Russia and its allies, which is completely impossible.

In this case, in his very difficult situation internally, he has no choice but to agree with President Biden on the axes of the next phase, and to minimize the losses in his relations with Russia that he does not want to repeat, as Biden, who knows he has a lot of serious papers against him personally and officially, wishes.

The most important question remains: Will Biden put these papers on the table and ask for them to be resolved, or will he ask Erdogan to use his own papers in Russia’s backyards, in exchange for absolute support in the gardens of others!?

حسابات بايدن مع روسيا.. ماذا سيفعل إردوغان؟

تكتسب جورجيا أهمية إضافية في حسابات واشنطن، وقريباً الرئيس بايدن، لأنها تحدّ جمهوريات الحكم الذاتي الروسية – معظم سكّانها مسلمون – وعددها تسعة، ومنها الشيشان وأنغوشيا وداغستان.

حسابات بايدن مع روسيا.. ماذا سيفعل إردوغان؟
حسابات بايدن مع روسيا.. ماذا سيفعل إردوغان؟

أدَّت أنقرة منذ انضمامها إلى الحلف الأطلسي في بداية الخمسينيات من القرن الماضي دوراً أساسياً في معاداة المعسكر الغربي، بزعامة أميركا، للاتحاد السوفياتي، الذي كان آنذاك مجاوراً لتركيا من خلال جورجيا وأرمينيا في الجنوب. كما كانت تركيا، من خلال عشرات القواعد الأطلسية والأميركية الموجودة في أراضيها (ما زال هناك 12 قاعدة منها)، مخفراً متقدماً للدفاع عن المصالح الغربية ومنع الاتحاد السوفياتي الشيوعي من التمدد جنوباً باتجاه العالم العربي والإسلامي.

وجاء سقوط الاتحاد السّوفياتيّ بعد الحرب الأفغانيّة وما نتج منه من ولادة الجمهوريات الإسلاميّة ذات الأصل التركي، ليمنح أنقرة المزيد من عناصر القوة في الحسابات الإقليمية والدولية، وخصوصاً بعد أحاديث الرئيس الراحل تورغوت أوزال عن “وحدة الأمة التركية، من البحر الأدرياتيكي (البوسنة وكوسوفو ومقدونيا) إلى سد الصين الحصين، مروراً ببلغاريا واليونان، حيث الأقليات المسلمة ذات الأصل التركي.

وقد حظيت مقولات أوزال بترحيب وتشجيع من واشنطن؛ العدو التقليدي للاتحاد السوفياتي، ومن بعده روسيا، التي أراد الغرب أن يحاصرها من خاصرتها الجنوبية، حيث الجمهوريات الإسلامية، ومن الغرب، حيث الدول التي احتضنها الحلف الأطلسي في العام 2004، وهي أستونيا ولاتفيا وليتوانيا، وجنوبا بلغاريا ورومانيا اللتين تطلان على البحر الأسود، الذي تسيطر تركيا على مضيقه الوحيد البوسفور.

أتى ذلك في الوقت الذي دفعت أوكرانيا وجورجيا ثمن مغامراتهما غالياً خلال ثوراتهما المخملية التي أدت فيها مؤسسات غربية دوراً رئيسياً، فقد أعلنت أبخازيا وأوسيتيا الجنوبية استقلالهما بدعم من موسكو، وانفصلتا عن جورجيا، فيما كانت الحرب الأهلية في أوكرانيا سبباً لتقسيم البلاد، بعد أن صوّت مواطنو المناطق الشرقية من أجل الانفصال، ودفع ذلك روسيا إلى “ضم” شبه جزيرة القرم إليها في العام 2014.

وكما كان الوضع في الخمسينيات وما بعدها، فقد أدت أنقرة، وما تزال، دوراً ما في مجمل هذه التطورات التي أراد لها الرئيس إردوغان أن تساعده لدعم مشاريعه ومخططاته التي يبدو أنها تأثرت بالشعارات التي رفعها أوزال، فقد كان لأنقرة، وما يزال، علاقة مباشرة وغير مباشرة بمجمل تطورات جارتها جورجيا، التي يعمل عشرات الآلاف من مواطنيها في تركيا.

وتكتسب جورجيا أهمية إضافية في حسابات واشنطن، وقريباً الرئيس بايدن، لأنها تحدّ جمهوريات الحكم الذاتي الروسية – معظم سكّانها مسلمون – وعددها تسعة، ومنها الشيشان وأنغوشيا وداغستان. 

وقد انضمّ الآلاف من مواطني هذه الجمهوريات وغيرها في آسيا الوسطى إلى “النصرة” و”داعش”، في الوقت الذي تريد واشنطن لها أن تساعدها مستقبلاً في مخطّطاتها لتضييق الحصار على روسيا، كما ساعدت فصائل “الجهاديين الأفغان” أميركا في تحقيق هدفها الأول، وهو إسقاط الاتحاد السوفياتي وتمزيقه، وفق نظرية الحزام الأخضر، فقد بات واضحاً أن واشنطن تخطط للعودة إلى هذا الحزام، وتريد لتركيا أن يكون لها دور أساسي في تفعيله، ولكن بعد الاتفاق مع إردوغان على صفقة شاملة تحقّق للطرفين الحد الأكبر من المكاسب المباشرة وغير المباشرة، وهو ما يستعدّ له الرئيسان بايدن وإردوغان عشية المكالمة الهاتفية بين الطرفين، والتي يبدو أنها تأخّرت بسبب كثرة المواضيع التي ستكون أمامهما وصعوبتها وتشابكها، وهما يحتاجان إلى بعضهما البعض.

ومقابل الدعم المالي والسياسي لإردوغان، الذي يبدو أنه في أمس الحاجة إليه، يريد الرئيس بايدن لتركيا أن تعود إلى خمسينيات القرن الماضي، وتثبت ولاءها المطلق لواشنطن والحلف الأطلسي، الذي يبدو واضحاً أنه يستعد لمرحلة جديدة من الحرب النفسية والاقتصادية والسياسية ضد روسيا، وهذه المرة عبر حدائقها الخلفية جنوباً وغرباً، وهو ما يعني حاجتها إلى دعم الرئيس إردوغان بسبب علاقاته ودوره في جمهوريات آسيا الوسطى الإسلامية (كازاخستان وتركمنستان وقرغيزيا وأوزبكستان)، كما هو الحال في القوقاز، حيث ترتبط تركيا مع أذربيجان وجورجيا بعلاقات مميزة، وتسعى واشنطن لضمّها إلى الحلف الأطلسي، ومعها أوكرانيا.

وتكتسب أحداث أرمينيا في هذا التوقيت أهمية إضافية، بعد أن تحوّلت إلى ساحة مباشرة للتدخل الأميركي والفرنسي ضد الدور الروسي التقليدي. وتراقب أنقرة كل هذه التدخلات عن كثب؛ أولاً لأنّ أرمينيا دولة مجاورة لها، وثانياً بسبب المعلومات التي تتحدث عن احتمالات أن يعترف الرئيس بايدن في 24 نيسان/أبريل القادم بالإبادة الأرمنية في العهد العثماني إبان الحرب العالمية الأولى وخلالها، من دون أن تهمل واشنطن العلاقة المميزة بين أنقرة وكييف، وعلى حساب المخططات الروسية في أوكرانيا، إذ أعلن إردوغان أكثر من مرة رفضه قرار بوتين “ضم” شبه جزيرة القرم إلى روسيا، في الوقت الذي تتحدّث المعلومات عن تعاون واسع جداً بين تركيا وأوكرانيا في جميع المجالات، وخصوصاً الصناعات العسكرية، ومنها الطائرات المسيّرة والدبابات والصواريخ، مع دعم تركي كبير للأقليّة المسلمة في القرم.

كما نجحت أنقرة في إقامة علاقات مميزة مع معظم جمهوريات الاتحاد السوفياتي السابق ودول أوروبا الشرقية التي لها ذكريات سيئة مع موسكو، وهو ما قد يحتاجه الرئيس بايدن في حساباته المستقبلية لتضييق الحصار على روسيا داخل حدودها أو في أي مكان آخر، وبشكل خاص أميركا اللاتينية، التي نجح إردوغان في إقامة علاقات مميّزة مع أبرز رئيس دولة فيها، نيكولاس مادورو، رغم كلّ التناقضات الشخصية والعقائدية والسياسية بينهما.

وقد يحتاج الرئيس بايدن إلى دعم تركي لمخططاته ومشاريعه في الشرق الأوسط، وخصوصاً في سوريا، التي تحولت إلى خندق أمامي للدفاع عن المصالح الروسية في المنطقة، وعبرها في العديد من الساحات الإقليمية والدولية التي تنافسها فيها واشنطن وبعض العواصم الغربية، وأحياناً أنقرة، على الرغم من تناقض المصالح بين جميع هذه العواصم.

وفي جميع الحالات، يبدو واضحاً أننا لن ننتظر طويلاً حتى نرى ما سيطلبه بايدن من إردوغان، وكيف سيرد الأخير على هذه المطالب، وأهمها من دون شك العودة إلى السلوك القومي والديني والتاريخي التركي ضد روسيا. وقد سعى الرئيس بوتين طيلة السنوات الخمس الأخيرة، وبعد اعتذار إردوغان منه إثر إسقاط الطائرة الروسية، لسد الطريق على هذا الاحتمال، من خلال مجموعة من العلاقات الاقتصادية والسياسية والعسكرية المتشابكة مع أنقرة وانعكاساتها على التنسيق والتعاون والعمل المشترك في سوريا.

ومع المعلومات التي تتوقع للرئيس بايدن أن يصفي كل حساباته مع أنقرة، سواء كان سلباً أو إيجاباً، يجد الرئيس إردوغان نفسه في وضع لا يحسد عليه أبداً، بعد أن بات واضحاً أن خياراته محدودة، فإما يستمر في الوضع الحالي في العلاقة مع موسكو وواشنطن، وهو ما لن يقبل به بايدن، وإما يتمادى في تعاونه مع روسيا وحليفاتها، وهو مستحيل تماماً.

وفي هذه الحالة، لا يبقى أمامه، في ظلّ وضعه الصعب جداً داخلياً، إلا الاتفاق مع الرئيس بايدن على محاور المرحلة القادمة، وبالحد الأدنى من الخسائر في علاقاته مع روسيا التي لا يريد أن يعاديها، كما يرغب بايدن، الذي يعرف الجميع أنه يملك الكثير من الأوراق الخطيرة ضده شخصياً ورسمياً.

ويبقى السؤال الأهم: هل سيضع بايدن هذه الأوراق على الطاولة ويطلب حسمها أم سيطلب من إردوغان أن يستخدم ما يملكه من الأوراق في حدائق روسيا الخلفية، مقابل تقديم دعم مطلق له في حدائق الآخرين!؟

IS ASSAD ‘PULLING A SAAKASHVILI’ IN NORTHWESTERN SYRIA?

 A

While there are certainly some structural similarities between the Syrian Arab Army’s ongoing liberation offensive in Northwestern Syria and Saakashvili’s previous desire to restore Georgia’s full sovereignty over Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008, the international legal and situational differences between the two are much too important to ignore and thus make these two cases morally incomparable, though some significant strategic insight can nevertheless be gained by studying both of them together.

***

Assad = Saakashvili?

The Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) victorious liberation of the entirety of Aleppo last weekend was a milestone achievement in the country’s nine-year-long conflict, powerfully showing that the Syrian people are gradually becoming ever more successful in freeing their homeland from foreign occupation. It is the sovereign and internationally enshrined legal right of the Syrian Arab Republic to secure its indisputably recognized borders as well as to respond to foreign-backed terrorism emanating from the northwestern corner of the country, but the recent campaign has raised serious concerns that the SAA might enter into a large-scale conventional clash with the Turkish Armed Forces that are present in that region as part of their responsibilities under the Astana peace process that Damascus itself consistently supported since its initiation over three years ago. There are fears among some that Russia could even get dragged into a crisis with Turkey because of Syria’s latest moves, the same as former Georgian President Saakashvili attempted to drag the US into a crisis with Russia during his failed 2008 offensive against Abkhazia and South Ossetia to restore Tbilisi’s full sovereignty over its internationally recognized territory at the time.

Superficial Similarities

There are certainly some structural similarities between what Syria is currently doing and what Georgia had previously tried to achieve, but the international legal differences between them are much too important to ignore and thus make these two cases morally incomparable. Addressing the similarities first, both countries are backed by powerful patrons, Russia and the US respectively, and both governments were also recognized as the legitimate rulers of the entirety of their territories by the international community at the onset of their offensives against the regions that they earlier lost control over. Furthermore, their neighbors also had their military forces in those said territories prior to the commencement of large-scale hostilities as a result of international legal agreements supported by both Damascus and Tbilisi. These small states, however, might have believed that they could successfully drag their much larger patrons into a conventional conflict with their neighboring state through their respective offensives so as to compel the latter to withdraw in order to avoid a larger war that could have been sparked as a result of this possible brinkmanship. In this sense, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between what Syria is presently doing and what Georgia earlier attempted.

Details Are Everything

The similarities end there, however, and it’ll now be seen how the substantive differences between these two cases make their similarities superficial in hindsight. Abkhazia and South Ossetia had previously proclaimed independence following local referendums and thus enjoyed de-facto sovereignty prior to the agreement to formalize Russia’s military presence in each (then-)self-declared republic, while Idlib never experienced such political developments. In addition, each formerly Georgian region had their own authorities that were de-facto recognized by Tbilisi as legitimate participants in the peace process, unlike Idlib which has nothing at all resembling a centralized authority democratically speaking on behalf of the locals there. Another difference is that Turkey has legally binding responsibilities to thwart the terrorism emanating from the regions under its control, which it’s failed to do, unlike Russian forces in the former regions of Georgia which didn’t have these tasks, nor were there ever any credible instances of terrorism originating from Abkhazia or South Ossetia. Finally, the SAA began its ongoing offensive in response to Turkey’s failure to stem these aforesaid terrorist threats, whereas Georgia directly attacked Russian peacekeepers without provocation.

No Turkophobic War-Mongering Neocons In Moscow

That last point is especially pertinent because it explains why Russia openly supports Syria’s liberation campaign up to a certain point while the US never fully threw its backing behind Georgia’s failed attack. Russian forces have also been victimized by the terrorism emanating from the Turkish-controlled region of Northwestern Syria, but no American servicemen were ever threatened by the Abkhaz and South Ossetian forces under Russia’s control in those two former Georgian regions. In addition, the US reportedly urged Saakashvili to carry out his infamous rocket attack against Russian peacekeepers in Tskhinval, while Russia never gave anything that could even remotely be interpreted as a signal for President Assad to attack the Turkish Armed Forces. In fact, the argument can be made that some of the most rabidly Russophobic and war-mongering neoconservatives of the Bush-era “deep state” clamored for a crisis with Russia at the time but that comparatively more “rational” minds prevailed in averting that dire scenario. Nobody in any position of responsibility in Russia, however, harbors any intentions of entering into a similar sort of crisis scenario with Turkey no matter how badly some in the Alt-Media Community salivate at the thought of that happening.

The Russian-Turkish Strategic Partnership Remains Strong

As proof of this, it’s enough to recall the words of Foreign Minister Lavrov over the weekend when he said that “We have very good relations with Turkey, (but) that does not mean we have to agree on everything. Full agreement on all issues cannot be possible between any two countries.” Russian Ambassador to Turkey Alexei Yerzhov said a few days later that “our countries and peoples have complex ties that have been laboriously built in the recent year through scrupulous and painstaking efforts of tens of thousands of people, beginning from our presidents, Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan, who have made a serious personal contribution to the development of bilateral relations. Our countries need each other, our countries are interested in each other, and it is our duty to preserve and augment this potential.” Lavrov later noted, however, that “attacks on Syrian and Russian forces from Idlib are continuing”, but presidential spokesman Pushkov reiterated his country’s position that a possible clash between the Turkish and Syrian militaries over these regrettable events would represent the “worst-case scenario” from Russia’s perspective, clearly signaling that Moscow will do all that it can do prevent that from happening.

Concluding Thoughts

Considering that Syria’s latest liberation offensive was in response to Turkey’s failure to thwart terrorist attacks emanating from the region under its control in violation of the Astana peace process, it’s insincere for anyone to compare this development with Saakashvili’s failed attempt to take over Abkhazia and South Ossetia after attacking Russian peacekeepers there without provocation despite both countries sharing the same goal of restoring authority over their internationally recognized borders (only partially in the case with Georgia nowadays after Russia and a few other countries recognized the latter two regions as independent states). Should President Assad seek to follow in Saakhasvili’s footsteps by trying to drag his Russian patron into a conventional clash with Turkey just as the the former Georgian leader tried to do the same with the US vis-a-vis Russia, however, then he’ll certainly fail and might very well befall a similar political fate as his one-time counterpart. The same, however, also goes for President Erdogan too, since it would be an ironic twist of fate if he was the one who pulled a Saakashvili-like provocation instead. As such, both the Syrian and Turkish leaders should refrain from any action that could trigger that “worst-case scenario” and avoid dragging Russia into war.


By Andrew Korybko
Source: One World

Georgian MP Calls for Recognition of Genocide by Russia

August 23, 2019

by Ruslan Ostashko

 Translated by Scott and captioned by Leo

If we got an impression that Euro-Georgian historical amnesia hit its limits, the next voice coming from Gabunistan proves us wrong. The head of the “Georgian Labour Party” Shalva Natelashvili called on the Parliament to adopt a resolution “On the historical and current genocide of the Georgian people.”

Our previous material based on online comments left by Europe-loving and Russia-hating representatives of Georgia published by PolitRussia.

After we posted the video, some commentators wrote that the comments bristling with ignorance and hatred were allegedly created by us. For the sake of hype, they say.

Well, here are the fresh words of not some anonymous Euro-Georgian inhabitant of the Internet, but the conscience of modern Georgian politics – Shalva Natelashvili.

Shalva Natelashvili: “The hard days are upon us, but no wreaths on the graves of the heroes, and no compassionate interviews would return us territories, won’t save our homeland and state, won’t be able to protect us from the expected worst threats, if the entire world does not recognize us as people who are victims of genocide. To do this, we must first recognize ourselves as such, which we still have not done,” Natelashvili said.

What is this person talking about? Let’s read the text of the resolution “On the historical and current genocide of the Georgian people,” which Natelashvili calls the Georgian Parliament to approve.

The Parliament of Georgia declares with all responsibility, to the entire world that the Georgian people, as a nation and as a state for thousands of years has been a victim of bloody, brutal attacks aimed not only at the seizure of the country or its parts, but also the physical destruction of the Georgian people, the elimination of its culture, religion, national identity. An obvious confirmation of this is historically known centuries-old invasions, among which the campaigns of Arabs, Persians, Khazars, Seljuks, Ottomans, Mongols, Iranians, and Turks followed by the physical destruction of millions of Georgians on ethnic grounds, as well as resettlement of millions of Georgians from their lands, and their forced settlement in other countries, and the sale of tens of millions of people as slaves, mainly in Asian markets.”

Take a note that Russians are not on the list of those who “genocided” Georgians in ancient times. Natelashvili had enough common sense here to not invent ancient history. He concentrated on inventing the modern history, because what he wrote in the next paragraph is enough to earn an isolation in a neuropsychiatric hospital.


Shalva Natelashvili: “Since 1801, the genocide of Georgian people has been carried out by the authorities of all formations of Russian Empire. This confirms by the abolition of Georgian statehood, the abolition of the autocephaly of the Church, the occupation, annexation in 1921, the seizure of the territories of independent Georgia and their transfer to the neighboring state, where millions of Georgians were forcibly assimilated, the loss of language, religion and culture. It is worth noting that in the war between fascism and bolshevism of 1941-1945, 400 thousand Georgians died out of a population of three million.”

Yes, Natelashvili refuses to admit that the Principality of Kartli, in whose honor the Euro-Georgians have recently renamed their country as Sakartvelo, pleaded with the Russian Emperor to take them in. And they did this on their knees. This traumatizes Natelashvili so bad that he has to come up with some nonsense.

[Historical note: in 1801 when the Principality of Kartli was accepted into the Russian Empire, its population was 40,000.]

Apparently the fact that proud Kartvelians crawled before the Russian Emperor in the knee-elbow position begging for our ancestors to save them from a real genocide, is so traumatizing for the nationalist Natelashvili that he is ready to escape into any nonsense. For example, the claim that Russia made Georgians to abandon their their language. Wait a minute, if Russia took the Georgian language away, in what language did riots in Tbilisi get squealed? Obviously, not in Russian or in English.

As for the “annexation in 1921,” somehow it turns out that after this terrible annexation the population of Georgia began to grow steadily.

 

The chart shows that the population of the Georgian SSR did not fall dramatically, even during the Great Patriotic war, which Gabunistan resident Natelashvili hypocritically calls the “war between fascism and bolshevism.” Forgetting that he, the liberal Natelashvili, actually was born only thanks to the victory of the USSR over the Nazis. That is, Euro-Georgian spits on heroism of his ancestors in order to pull the owl of genocide on the globe of harassment of Georgians by the Soviet authorities.

However, Natelashvili had even more nonsense.

Shalva Natelashvili: “Today, too, the policy of genocide is the leading strategy of the Kremlin’s policy towards the Georgian people. This is clearly confirmed by the bloody wars started by Russia in the 1990s in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region.”

Look at this, the Georgian Nazi even hypocritically denies Ossetians their ethnicity. He denies their right to exist. There is no South Ossetia for him. There is the “Tskhinvali region.”

*Clip starts* – 5:19

Georgian Labour Party posted a video of Natelashvili proudly yelling at two South Ossetian villagers below a hill, where he goes as far as telling them that this is Georgian territory, and that they are occupiers like the Russians. And makes claims that Georgians created the culture in this region, while the Ossetians migrated here from Central Asia. That Ossetians have no connection to the Caucasus whatsoever.

*Clip ends* – 6:23

How does this liberal Natelashvili differ from the nationalist Gamsakhurdia that initiated the wars in the 90s? He doesn’t differ a bit.

Back to genocide. According to Natelashvili, under the Russian Empire and in the USSR there was genocide, and this genocide is going on right now. But during the two hundred years while Georgia was a part of Russia, the Georgian population grew actively, and started declining only under the current nationalist and liberalism leadership.

[Image – On this chart, the Georgian population change is marked in red, Azerbaijan’s population in orange, and Armenian population in blue.]

This apparent contradiction doesn’t compute in this Tbilisi liberal head for the absence of any mental activity there. He continues:

Recognize as confirmed the historical and current genocide for the destruction of the Georgian people.”

Here on the final point I would even agree with Natelashvili. Do not be surprised, because the genocide of Georgians really exists.

It is carried out by all the authorities of non-sovereign Georgia, starting with Gamsakhurdia. That is why after 1991, the population of the former Georgian SSR started to decline. With this in mind, the proposal of the head of the “Labour Party” is actually an admission of guilt. And if you throw out all the nonsense about being occupied by Russia, and add to this the responsibility of the Euro-Georgian authorities for the decline of the republic, the resolution can be adopted.

Tbilisi, however, won’t accept any responsibility for the current state of affairs. This would be contrary to infantile nationalist discourse, in which the stupidity of Euro-Georgians and their unwillingness to live in peace with its neighbors is being blamed on anyone but themselves.

And after all that, they will resort to swearing at me in comments for calling their forgotten good not remembering ancestry of a kebab democracy, Gabunistan.

Ukie nationalism vs Otto von Bismarck

Source

August 14, 2019

Ukie nationalism vs Otto von Bismarck

[this analysis was written for the Unz Review]

When Zelenskii came to power, there were two fundamental options he could have chosen. These options were, roughly:

Option one or pragmatism above ideology: to make a determined effort to address Ukraine’s most urgent problems. At the very least, Zelenskii could have ordered his forces to stop firing and have them withdraw to a safe distance (Zelenskii had the full authority to do so, as soon as he was inaugurated and he did not need anybody’s help to do so). Obviously, such a move would have to be coordinated with the LDNR forces. And that, in turn, means that at the very least, Zelenskii should have opened a channel of direct communications with the two republics. This option could be described as “beginning to implement at least the very first steps of the Minsk Agreements.”

Option two ideology above pragmatism: to make a determined effort not to address Ukraine’s most urgent problems. The priority here is to declare that the Ukraine will not honor the Minsk Agreements: no talks with the LDNR, no ceasefire, no withdrawal of forces, no amnesty and, most definitely, no discussions about any kind of special status for the Donbass. This option could be described as “more of the same” or “Poroshenko reloaded.”

Prince Otto von Bismarck once famously said that “politics is the art of the possible” and I think that this is an excellent rule to keep in mind when trying to figure out what is going on and what might happen next. There is a lot of hyperbolic rhetoric out there, but no matter how delusional Ukie politicians can be, the reality remains something objective, and that objective reality is what will shape the future, not the empty ideological nonsense spewed by politicians (whether Ukrainian ones or AngloZionists).

As of right now, the overwhelming majority of experts have agreed that Zelenskii is not going for Option #1. This strongly suggests that the Ukraine is going for Option #2. But, as I have indicated above, Zelenskii’s Option #2 is nothing more than, well, “more of the same.” And this makes sense, especially if we consider that:

Even his own presidential website does not work!

1) the same causes produce the same outcomes (after all “insanity is repeating the same thing over and over expecting a different result) and

2) the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior

So what really happened? Why is Zelenskii apparently dead set on repeating all the same mistakes Poroshenko made?

As I have indicated in a recent article, the Ukraine is not a democracy but an oligarchy: ever since 1991 the most prosperous Soviet republic was mercilessly plundered by an entire class (in the Marxist sense of the word) of oligarchs whose biggest fear has always been that the same “horror” (from their point of view) which befell Russia with Putin, would eventually arrive at the Ukraine.

Here we need to make something clear: this is NOT, repeat, NOT about nationality or nationalism. The Ukrainian oligarchs are just like any other oligarchs: their loyalty is to their money and nothing else. If you want to characterize these oligarchs, you could think of them as culturally “post-Soviet” meaning that they don’t care about nationality, and even though their prime language is Russian, they don’t give a damn about Russia or Russians (or anybody else, for that matter!). Since many of them are Jews, they have a network of supporters/accomplices in Israel of course, but also in the West and even in Russia. In truth, these guys are the ultimate “internationalists” in their own, toxic, kind of way.

The other significant force in the Ukraine is the West Ukrainian (Galician) Nazi death-squads and mobs. Their power is not a democracy either, but an ochlocracy. These guys are a minority, a pretty small one even, but they have enough muscle and even firepower to threaten any nominal Ukrainian leader. Furthermore, these folks have profoundly infiltrated all the police and security forces which, in theory, would have been able to control or disarm them (the SBU, especially, is chock full of Urkonazi thugs).

Some fine specimens of “ochlocrats”

Now let’s begin by looking at the oligarchs: their number 1 priority is to continue to plunder the Ukraine. For that, you need the opposite of “law and order”: you need lawlessness, chaos, violence and, most importantly, you need the tiny figleaf of “the Moskal aggression” to hide behind. In other words, while these oligarchs probably do not want an open a full-scale war with the LDNR (or, even less with Russia herself), they simply cannot allow peace to break-out.

The Ukronazis don’t want peace to break out either, lest their influence and power shrink back to something roughly proportional to their share of the population of the Ukraine. Besides, since their entire ideology and worldview is all about hating Russia and being anti-Russia, any peace with Russia is literally unthinkable for them. They and their Polish supporters want Russia to break apart in numerous small state-lets which they (or, in their delusional dreams, the Chinese) could dominate. These folks will always perceive Russia as an existential threat. In their own way, they are absolutely right: Russia will always remain the reality check on their delusions. This was as true in the distant 13th century as it is nowadays.

Finally, let’s keep in mind that neither the oligarchs nor the Ukronazis genuinely want the people of Crimea and the Donbass to be part of “their” Ukraine since the overwhelming majority of these people would categorically oppose both the oligarchs and the Ukronazis. Yes, for prestige and ideological reasons, all these Galician Nazis will always declare that “Crimea is forever Ukrainian” and “we shall reconquer the Donbass,” but what they are genuinely fantasizing about is the territory, and only the territory. As for the 2 million-plus virulently anti-Nazi people currently living on these lands, they simply want them either dead or expelled).

So, while about 70% or so of the people of the Ukraine want peace to return and the horrors of the civil war to finally stop, the only two groups who have real power want the civil war in the East to continue. There are even quite a few Zelenskii nominees who have declared that war with the LDNR is the only way to solve the crisis. Some even want war with Russia!

Reality, however, is a pesky thing and, as the expression goes, if your head is in the sand, your butt is in the air and the collective Ukronazi “butt” has been exposed in the air for several years now. This is also true for the supposed “reforms” of the Ukronazi forces.

Quite a few signs are indicating that most of the so-called “reforms” and “reorganization” of the Ukronazi forces were more about corruption (what else!?) and window dressing than anything else. Galicians are generally famous as world-class torturers and executioners of civilians, but not really military commanders (this is why Ukronazi “historians” are now desperately parsing every year in the history of what is called the Ukraine today to find some kind of “Ukrainian” victory; all they came up with so far are very small, completely irrelevant, local battles). In contrast, the LDNR forces seem to be doing pretty well, and their morale appears to be as strong as ever (which is unsurprising since their military ethos is based in 1000 years of Russian military history). Last, but certainly not least, there is Putin’s rather striking warning during the Olympics when he declared that any Ukronazi attack would have, quote, “very serious consequences for Ukrainian statehood.”

This warning was apparently heeded both in Kiev and in Washington, DC.

The mood of the Russian public opinion seems to be one of total disgust and frustrated anger. It’s not like Zelenskii was ever very popular in Russia, but at least he was no Nazi, and he seemed to be willing to take at least the very first steps towards finally stopping the insanity. That hope is now totally shattered (the Russian media reports all the anti-Russian statements of the various Zelenskii nominees daily).

While the Kremlin more often than not sticks to its traditional diplomatic language, most Russian experts appear to be fed-up with Zelenskii and his antics and are now all pushing for some kind of hardening of the Russian stance towards this 5-year long Banderastan. And the Kremlin has paid attention: Russia is now handing out passports to pretty much any Ukrainian wanting to get one. This is the first step in a time-tested sequence, the next one which would be the recognition of the LDNR as sovereign states (as was done in Abkhazia and South Ossetia).

Many wonder what in the world Putin is waiting for and why Russia has not officially recognized these republics yet?

The reasons for this are as simple as they are compelling:

First, any premature recognition would further fuel the western fairy-tale about “Russia” having “invaded” the Ukraine to grab land. If the AngloZionists did not shy away from making such claims while Russian forces were still in their barracks, you could imagine the hysterical shrieks we would have heard from the “collective West” if Russia indeed had decided to move her forces into the Donbass to stop the Ukronazi aggression!

Second, to the degree that the Empire created an “anti-Russia” with its Ukronazi Banderastan, Russia created an “anti-Banderastan” with the LDNR. This is very important and must never be overlooked: yes, Nazi-occupied Ukraine is a never healing wound in the side of Russia, but Novorussia also is a never healing wound in the side of Nazi-occupied Ukraine. The big difference is that Russia is strong enough to cope with her wound, whereas the Ukronazi Banderastan never had a chance and has already collapsed beyond any hope of survival.

Third, Russia simply cannot afford to pay by herself the immense bill for the eventual reconstruction of devastated Ukraine. Just fixing Crimea is already an enormous and extremely costly task for Russia, especially after decades of Ukie neglect, but at least down the road, it is obvious that Crimea is headed for prosperity and that the returns on investment will be huge. But single-handedly rebuilding the entire Donbass is probably beyond the Russian means. Currently, Russia is already providing vast amounts of aid to the Novorussians, and she is basically maxed out.

Finally, let’s remember here that the UNSC approved the Minsk Agreements and that, as such, they are not an elective: the Minsk Agreements are obligatory under international law. And here is the beauty: Russia is not a part of the Minsk Agreements, only the Ukraine and the LDNR are. Thus while the AngloZionists mantrically repeat that “Russia must be sanctioned for not abiding by the Minsk Agreements” or “Russia must do more” – they all do secretly realize that this is empty, hot, air. Besides, even the duller western leaders now are beginning to realize which side truly does not want to abide by these agreements.

These agreements are even less popular in Novorussia than they are in Kiev: it is an open secret that the Novorussians will never agree to be ruled from Kiev again. Ever. And, sooner or later, they will join Russia in some shape or form. But that is in the future. For the time being, the Novorussians are smart enough to realize that they should go along and let the Ukronazi idiots openly sabotage these agreements. And since Zelenskii and his nominees are now declaring that they will never negotiate with the LDNR (which the Minsk Agreements require), it is not Russia or the LDNR which destroyed these agreements, but the Ukrainian government, quite officially so.

The sweet irony of Ukie politics: a Ukronazi vandalizes the portrait of the man who created the Ukraine in the first place!

One striking development since the election of Zelenskii is the number of Ukrainian political figures which have openly declared that the Ukraine should simply militarily re-capture the Donbass (some even suggested Crimea). It is thus probably a good idea to revisit the military options on all sides.

Let’s begin with the Ukronazi dream: this is pretty straightforward, and plenty of Ukrainian officials have mentioned the “Croatian option” which refers to the surprise attack of the Croats (fully backed by NATO) against the Serbian UN Protection Areas in Croatia (see “Operation Storm” on Wikipedia). The model is simple: pretend to negotiate in good faith, get (sympathetic) peacekeepers to disarm all the locals, then attack them with everything you’ve got. If the LDNR were all alone, cut off from Russia, there could be a theoretical (if somewhat unlikely) chance of success of such an attack. But we need to remember here that the Krajina-Serbs (and the Bosnian-Serbs too) were betrayed by Slobodan Milosevic who did nothing to protect them. In fact, Serbia even slammed sanctions against the Republika Srpska. Finally, NATO had complete and total air supremacy.

The case of the LDNR could not be more different because far from betraying the Donbass or imposing sanctions as Milosevic did, Putin gave the LDNR the full support of Russia. If the Ukrainians do attack, Russia will have a very wide array of options to chose from including:

  1. Sending in more humanitarian aid
  2. Sending in more military equipment (the “Voentorg”)
  3. Sending in more volunteers (the “northern wind”), especially highly trained professionals
  4. Sharing intelligence and reconnaissance data with the LDNR forces
  5. Deploying forward air controllers (FACs) in special forces teams to coordinate artillery strikes on Ukronazi targets from across the border
  6. Shooting down Ukrainian missiles and aircraft (including UAVs)
  7. Engaging Russian electronic warfare units to disrupt Ukie signals (radars, including counter-battery, GNSS signals, audio, and video communications, data links, etc.)

So far, this is what Russia has already done in the past (options #5-6-7 only in a few specific instances).

Now what people usually see as the next escalatory option for Russia would be to send ground forces into Novorussia to directly engage the attacking Ukronazi forces.

In truth, Russia has plenty of other options before a ground operation. For example, one further Russian option could include:

  1. Officially declaring a “humanitarian no-fly zone” à la Libya, in which “all means necessary” will be used to stop the aggression and then immediately send in Russian fixed-wing and rotary-wing close air support & strike aircraft (under cover of interceptors and multi-role fighters, of course) and even bombers to destroy advancing Ukie units.

Russia could very easily declare a no-fly zone over the Donbass without moving a single air defense unit across the border: Russian long-range air defenses are more than enough to “lock” that entire airspace, especially if combined with AWACS and interceptors (with long-range missiles).

Still, these steps, while very visible, would still be limited to the Donbass area of operations. But Russia could take this one step further and strike very specific targets in the rest of the Ukraine. Specifically,

  1. Russia could sink the entire (tiny) Ukrainian “fleet” in port or on the high seas. That would not be militarily significant, but politically it would send the correct message.
  2. Russia could decide to also destroy the Ukrainian air force by destroying the main Ukrainian airfields. Russia could very easily do this with long-range cruise missiles. Once enough runways, ATC towers, radars, fuel and oil storage facilities, etc. are destroyed, the Ukrainian airforce as such would cease to exist (even if individual aircraft could be hidden and survive the Russian strikes).
  3. Next, Russia could get serious with the Ukrainian ground forces and begin striking key command posts, communication nodes, fuel and ammo dumps, bridges, etc. The goal here would not be to kill as many Ukrainian servicemen as possible, but to hit in the right places to make it impossible for the Ukrainian military to engage in coordinated offensive operations.
  4. Finally, Russia could decide to open the hunting season on key officials and begin executing some of the most odious Nazi officials (just to scare the rest). Again, cruise missiles are probably the most obvious option here, but other options can be very successfully used including the “Dudaev trick” (an antiradiation missile aimed at a Satphone signal) or even go “full NATO” and begin hitting politically symbolic buildings.

I mention these last four options because these are doable, but they are also total overkill.

The truth is that should Russia ever truly intervene, most Ukrainian servicemen will run or surrender (they did not vote Zelenskii for the privilegeto die for a sick, Nazi, ideology and worldview). Again, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior and the case of the Crimea has shown that once the (relatively small!!) Russian forces intervened, nobody had the courage (or the motivation) to resist.

[Sidebar: the popular joke about this goes like this: ask a Ukrainian nationalist why the Ukrainians are fighting in the Donbass, and the obligatory politically correct answer is “because the Russians are there!”; and if you then ask him why the Ukraine is not fighting in Crimea, he will reply “because the Russians are really there!“. This is very true. The Urkonazis have tried to engage in low-level forms of terrorism (planting bombs, mostly), but with very little success. As for really attacking Crimea (probably one of the best-defended locations on the planet by now!) – that would be a suicide mission for an entire US Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), never-mind the derelict Ukie military!]

Furthermore, for the Russians, they have been intensively preparing for a major war against NATO for at least five years now (for details, see here) and they are quite ready to take on the united West (that is what Guards Tank Armies are designed to do), so for them to take on the decrepit, corrupt, demoralized, disorganized and generally “mangy” Ukronazi forces would not even represent a significant effort. Every halfway competent military analyst out there knows that. Even the Ukronazi ones.

What this all means for the Zelenskii administration is simple: if you try the “Croatian scenario” you will end up not with a “Croatian outcome” but a “Georgia 08.08.08 outcome”: obliteration of your armed forces in 48 hours, followed by the net loss of 20% of your national territory (probably more in the case of the Ukraine!).

[Sidebar: for many years now I have been explaining that the real goal of any Ukronazi attack on Novorussia would not be to really win, but to force Russia to openly intervene. However, this strategy has failed while the balance of forces, including in political terms, has changed. It is one thing to start a war with the LDNR only to force Russia to intervene, and quite another to expose your entire country to “very serious consequences” for its entire “statehood.” Putin’s (truly quite extraordinary) threat has explicitly raised the bar of the potential Russian retaliation much higher than it was before.]

So is there anything even vaguely resembling *any* kind of solution in sight?

Well, in theory, there would have been the Minsk Agreement solution. The Novorussians would not like it, but Russia could probably impose it upon them. Russia herself sure could live with such an outcome (no, Russia has absolutely no need of any additional territories, especially devastated ones!). But since the Ukronazis are too ideological and delusional to ever accept that option, then there is an obvious Plan B: Russia unilaterally recognizes the LDNR Republics who then vote to join the Russian Federation. In theory, the rest of the Ukraine could realize that there are advantages to this situation, including getting rid of 2 million anti-Nazis. But their ideology (really a local uniquely Galician brand of ultra-nationalism – similar only to the WWII Ustashe regime in Croatia – imposed upon the entire country) makes it absolutely impossible for these rabid nationalists to accept such a loss of territory, particularly in a humiliating civil war against their own people (or so they claim). Simply put, you cannot claim to be the descended of the 200’000 year old “Ancient Ukrs” who built the pyramids, who dug the Black Sea, who gave birth to the Aryan civilization and whose language is the basis of Sanskrit and, at the same time, admit that a big chunk of your own population prefers death to life under your rule. In reality, not only are these folks not willing to accept any loss of territory (whether de jure or de facto), some of them are even claiming territories inside the Russian Federation.

Thankfully, their delusions really make no difference: Novorussia and Crimea are gone, forever, no matter what anybody says.

Frankly, I believe that even without Crimea and even without Novorussia current Nazi-occupied Ukraine is still not viable, if only because the southern regions (Odessa, Nikolaev, Mariupol) will never agree to become Nazi-occupied protectorates of the very same Galician Urkonazis who have already burned people alive in Odessa. The truth is that the Galicians would be much better off severing their (entirely artificial) ties to what is known as “the Ukraine” nowadays and fallback to their true historical lands. Ideology, however, will never allow most of them to see that. The process of disintegration of the rump-Ukraine will probably continue in one form or another.

Conclusion: how one slogan can lead to a very different one

The entire Ukronazi worldview can be summarized in their well-known slogan: “to drown all the Kikes and Polaks in Moskal blood” (or some variations thereof). The problem with this slogan is that there is simply no way the (relatively small) Galician population can ever succeed in permanently defeating their much bigger (and, frankly, much smarter) Jewish, Polish or Russian neighbors. Thus time and again, the policies which begin with this famous Ukie slogan inevitably result in a rather painful variation on another very famous Ukie slogan: “suitcase, railway station, Russia” but, crucially, in a fundamentally different combination: “suitcase, railway station, and back to Canada/Israel!” 😉

I personally don’t care what happens to these folks or to the lands which they historically inhabited. If the Austrians, the Poles, the Hungarians or the Germans want them – they are welcome to have them. After all, these are the folks who, along with the Papacy, created the Ukraine and the Ukronazi phenomenon. So, bien du plaisir!, as the French say: let them enjoy their offspring!

If the people of some future rump-Ukraine are strong and wise enough to get rid of that Nazi rot – good for them, they can count on Russian help and support for reconstruction. But if they are not – then that’s their problem.

When humans go out of their way to ignore reality, they deserve whatever comes their way.

The Saker

Anti-Russian ‘Protests’ in Georgia: Inexcusable, but Supported by the West

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Anti-Russian ‘Protests’ in Georgia: Inexcusable, but Supported by the West

Dmitry Babich July 21, 2019

The recent wave of anti-Russian actions in the former Soviet republic of Georgia became an embarrassment even for the notoriously pro-Georgian Russian liberals, of whom there have always been plenty in Moscow. This time the supporters of the exiled former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili (a flamboyant Russophobe admired by the West, but wanted in his own native Georgia for corruption and for starting the war of 2008) disappointed even their ideological “claque” in Moscow.

“The fans of Georgia in Moscow were literally disarmed and made silent by none other than the Georgian TV anchor Giorgy Gabunia, who publicly insulted Vladimir Putin’s late mother on Georgian television, using unprintable words,” admitted Vladimir Vorsobin, a liberal Russian journalist, who spent the last two weeks in Georgia, trying to show the readers of Komsomolskaya Pravda (Russia’s largest newspaper by print circulation) by his example that this small post-Soviet country on the Black Sea coast was “safe for Russian tourists.”

Gabunia’s indecent stunt followed two weeks of ugly anti-Russian demonstrations, with lots of racist slogans, denouncing Russia, “the Russian Ivan,” calling Russians occupiers, etc. So, even the Russians’ patience started to wear thin, especially since these pogrom-like protests were not provoked by any new developments on the Russian side.

Indeed, on earlier occasions the organizers of Russophobic actions at least waited for some pretext. (For example, the brief five days’ war in August 2008, when Russia interfered after Saakashvili’s attack against South Ossetia, saving the small people of that former Georgian autonomy from ethnic cleansing by Saakashvili and Georgian nationalists.) This time, there was literally nothing from the Russian side: no new statements, laws or, heaven forbid, military actions. Nothing. What happened was that on June 20, 2019, a group of Russian parliamentarians came to the Georgian capital Tbilisi in order to attend the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodox Christianity (MAP). The rotating presidency of this group, which unites the parliamentarians of various Orthodox Christian countries (both Russia and Georgia belong to this Eastern branch of European Christianity), this year went to Russia. And it was Tbilisi’s turn to be the city host. So, the leader of the Russian parliamentarian delegation, a State Duma member Sergei Gavrilov, was invited by the hosts to take the chairman’s seat in the session hall of the Georgian parliament.

After Gavrilov took his seat, a real hell broke loose in the center of Tbilisi, leading to 240 injured (two people became one-eyed as a result of violence). The supporters of the ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, representing the largest opposition party United National Movement (UNM), violently removed Gavrilov from his seat and called on citizens to start a protest action. The sound of Russian language and the presence of a Russian deputy in a speaker’s seat were the only officially announced reasons.

“I killed Russians, I am killing them and I will kill them!” yelled one of the leaders of UNM, Akaky Bobikhidze from the tribune of the parliament after removing the “occupier” from there. His behavior was recorded for a YouTube video by the Georgian service of Radio Free Europe.

As a result of several hours of violent protests, the Georgian parliament was stormed by a pro-Saakashvili mob. When riot police defended the building, two hundred and forty people were injured (including many policemen) and more than 300 arrested. Gavrilov and members of his delegation, having suffered minor injuries, but a lot of verbal abuse, had to leave Georgia, with which Russia does not have diplomatic relations since 2008.

The other disconcerting element of this shameful situation was the fact that neither the Georgian government nor the Western media had the courage to condemn the obvious and unprovoked violence from the side of Saakashvili’s supporters. Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of the ruling party Georgian Dream, as well as former president Giorgy Margvelashvili solidarized themselves with the “protest action” which looked more like a pogrom because of the crude racist tone of its slogans (anti-Russian demonstrations on a smaller scale continued even after the violent stage of 20-21 July). Margvelashvili even said it was “the right way to oppose Russia’s soft power” and called on the West to imitate Georgia in its fight with Russia during his speech to the protesters. The current president of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, who served as the foreign minister under Saakashvili before defecting to the Georgian Dream, called Russia an “enemy,” but expressed her expectation that Russian tourists would return to Georgia, since they are contributing a substantial share of the country’s GDP. (According to World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism contributed 33.7 percent of Georgia’s total GDP.)

The Western press not only solidarized itself with the anti-Russian actions in Tbilisi, it also blamed the casualties on its favorite scapegoat – the Christian Orthodox church in Russia and Georgia. Correspondent Amy MacKinnon of The Foreign Policy (a major US media outlet) traced the origins of the protest to the very idea of holding the assembly of countries with predominantly Christian Orthodox population: “The Russian Orthodox Church has long served as a conduit for Russia’s influence in Eastern Europe and has a potent influence in highly religious Georgia,” McKinnon wrote in her article, where a hope is expressed that the Georgian government will treat Orthodox church with the same suspicion as the Western press does.

The headline chosen by The Daily Beast was even more aggressive and hateful:

“Amid Russian and Orthodox Provocations, Riots in Tbilisi Threaten Pride Parade.”

Upon reading the article, it becomes clear that the gay parade, which had been scheduled to take place in Tbilisi next day after the ugly anti-Russian riot, did not receive any threats from Russians or, heaven forbid, from the Christian Orthodox believers. The organizers were just afraid to do out when the anti-Russian government (represented by Georgian police) and the anti-Russian protesters (represented by Saakashvili’s supporters) were fighting each other with rubber bullets, truncheons and stones on the streets of Tbilisi.

It is enough to quote one paragraph from that article in order to see how “tolerant” The Daily Beast was to anyone in that story who was not gay, anti-Russian or at least anti-Christian:

“After the brutal events of early Friday morning, the organizers of the Pride Parade postponed the march for several days saying, “We could not permit ourselves to contribute to further escalation of tensions in the country. We will not allow pro-Russian, Neo-Nazi groups to weaken Georgia’s statehood.” Now it is not clear when or even if the parade will take place.

According to the local news site civil.ge, the organizers of Pride feel that the Georgian government “has no desire to protect the LGBTQ community against radical groups financed from Russia.”

This shameless torrent of lies blaming the victims (because the only people threatened in those days on the streets of Tbilisi were Russians or the supporters of the Georgian Orthodox church) is indicative of the degradation of Western attitudes to Georgia.

“We should not forget that the civil wars in Georgia started in 1991, when the Georgian nationalist thugs attacked the local autonomies of Abkhazia and South Ossetia at the order of the first president of independent post-Soviet Georgia, who was then Zviad Gamsakhurdia,” remembers Dmitry Kulikov, a prominent commentator on post-Soviet space at the Moscow-based Vesti FM radio. “They were defeated and now even Georgian officials recognize that these were awful crimes committed by Gamsakhurdia under the flag of Georgian nationalism. So, why does anyone expect the people with the same ideology around Saakashvili and Zurabishvili to be any better?”

At the time, in 1991-1992 the Western press had the objectivity to call Zviad Gamsakhurdia a madman and a criminal. The Western governments did not protest in any way, when Gamsakhurdia’s government was toppled by the internal Georgian opposition in an armed uprising which many said had the backing of Moscow.

So, why is the West backing the same Russophobic Georgian nationalists who are now acting together with exiled Mikheil Saakashvili, a psychological and ideological double of Gamsakhurdia?

This is a question which historians will have a hard time answering. It was not Georgian nationalism that changed (it stayed largely the same – violent, noisy, anti-Russian and always eager to get Western backing). It was the West (namely, the US, the EU and their allies) that changed for worse.

Russia Shutters Georgian Democracy

South Front

19.07.2019

Democracy is in danger once again. The treacherous Putin regime is pressuring Georgia with sanctions, prohibiting flights between the countries and putting it under duress. Naturally, the Russian bear showed its totalitarian face by answering with pressure, a democratic protest of civic society.

The pretext for the protests, which have rocked Georgia since June 21st was a visit by a member of the Russian Parliament and president of the assembly of MPs from Orthodox Christian countries – Sergei Gavrilov. As the head of the assembly, he addressed its session in the Georgian Parliament from the speaker’s seat as proposed by the receiving party.

Opposition politicians doused Gavrilov with water before he was escorted out of the building to protest the “occupier” whom, Georgian politicians stated, was acting as if Georgia was a Russian satellite state.

The United National Movement opposition party and its supporters condemned the occupation of the sacral stool by the Russian citizen. Street riots immediately broke out near the Parliament building. Protestors waved flags of Georgia, the European Union, the US and Ukraine, clashed with police, and stormed the Parliament. Obviously, they did not forget to chant anti-Russian slogans and demand that Putin, the Kremlin and “Russian occupiers” get out of their country. A Russian TV crew was also attacked because of its non-democratic coverage.

To provide some context to the “Russian occupiers” narrative, it’s important to know what the Georgians mean by “occupation”. They describe as occupied two de-facto independent states South Ossetia and Abkhazia. These states declared their independence in the early 1990s after a direct aggression from the Nazi regime of Zviad Gamsakhurdia. During the conflict in these republics, Georgian nationalists practiced mass repressions and cleansing of non-Georgian population. Since then, and until 2008, Russia had not recognized them as independent states. The situation changed in 2008 after war crimes were committed by the Georgian military in South Ossetia. Forces of the Saakashvili regime carried out massive artillery strikes on the city of Tskhinvali. Vehicles carrying refugees were shelled by Georgian troops and foreign mercenaries. Russian peacekeepers which had previously been deployed to South Ossetia were attacked. In the ensuing 5-day peace-compelling operation, Russian Armed Forces delivered a devastating blow to the Saakashvili regime by defeating its forces. The Russian Army reached Tbilisi, but did not enter the city. No territory was annexed and Russian troops returned to their permanent deployment sites. As a result of the conflict, Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.

In the following years, both republics repeatedly asked Russia to accept them into the federation. Moscow rejected these requests and worked with Abkhazia and South Ossetia as with allied, but independent states. In this light, the Georgian government uses the term “Russian occupation” to describe the Ossetians and Abkhazians who survived the ethnic cleansing of the 1990s and the war of 2008. However, there is a historical case that may explain Georgia’s attitude.

In 1918-1919, forces of the Georgian nationalists, assisted by foreign instructors, attempted to seize control of the city of Sochi and the nearby coastal strip of the Black Sea. They lost this conflict. Forces of Georgian radicals also carried out multiple war crimes in Abkhazia and Ossetia in the period from 1918 to 1920. If Tbilisi believes that any place where Georgian nationalists were once present is rightfully Georgian territory, that could explain which “Georgian territories” were occupied by Russia.

Despite the mentioned facts, it would be fair to note that most of these destructive events were instigated by a small radical part of the Georgian population, indoctrinated by radicalism and nationalism, and supported by Western funds. Most Georgians are friendly to Russians and the Russia state.

Democratic media outlets and civic society activists from Georgia, Russia and around the world united in their efforts to condemn Russian provocations and to praise the democratic actions of the Georgian population.  Some hotels and restaurants increased prices for ethnic Russians. Russia is the number one source of travelers visiting Georgia. Cinemas banned movies in Russian.

A host on pro-opposition TV channel Rustavi-2 came on air and continued to insult Russian President Vladimir Putin in an expletive-ridden statement.

On the evening of July 7th, George Gabunia began the program with obscene swearing at Putin. Gabunia addressed the Russian President in Russian and called him “the grubby occupant,” and also said that Putin and “his slaves” have no place on Georgia’s “beautiful land.”

A Georgian branch of the Soros Foundation “Open Society” accused official Tbilisi of “violating the law” because the authorities invited “Russian deputies who do not recognize the territorial integrity of Georgia” to the country. The NGO called for a response to the “anti-state actions” of the Russian Federation.

In 2019 alone, the Soros Foundation sent millions of dollars to projects in Georgia, including programs to combat “Russian disinformation” and the formation of a “right” perception of the Soviet past among the country’s residents.

Former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, who had his citizenship revoked, after he was convicted of abuse of office has openly supported the protests, saying that the government would fall against the pressure. He, too, blamed Russia and, more than likely, hopes to be allowed back in the country again, since he handled the situation in 2008 so well.

Initially, Georgian Prime Minister, Mamuka Bakhtadze called the United National Movement, founded in 2001 by Mikhail Saakashvili, and its backers “destructive political forces”, and said that they attempted to use the protest to seize power. But later, both the government and opposition decided that it’s better to blame Moscow for organizing the protests against itself because, you know, the only side interested in instigating anti-Russian protests in Tbilisi is Russia itself.

This brilliant explanation of the erupted political crisis did not stop conspiracy theorists from claiming that the June 21 event was a pre-planned provocation in interests of some Georgian elites affiliated with the Washington establishment. The groundless theory is that the goal of the provocation was to exploit anti-Russian hysteria in the internal political struggle. In the long-term perspective, this would strengthen the influence of the Washington establishment in the country.

The democratic action of the Georgian people finds no understanding within the Kremlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree prohibiting all flights from and to Georgia and urged tour operators to not organize visits to the country. Moscow enacted travel restrictions due to the potential of danger to Russian tourists.

Additionally, Russia reduced the amount of wine imports from the country saying it would increase investment and shift focus towards domestically produced wines. Although Georgia was not mentioned, Russia is the biggest purchaser of Tbilisi wine.

Lawmakers in Russia’s parliament unanimously backed a resolution on July 9th calling for sanctions to be imposed on Georgia.  The “evil mastermind” President Vladimir Putin, however, rejected the call saying that repairing strained relations with Russia’s neighbor was more important than reacting to the provocations of some scum. Putin  brazenly claimed he was against imposing sanctions on Georgia, “out of respect for the Georgian people.”

But, Georgia is already suffering from the travel ban. According to the head of the Georgian Hotel and Restaurant Federation 80% of the hotel bookings made by Russians had been cancelled. The potential loss to the country’s economy from reduced Russian tourism stands at about $710 million.

Declining export and tourism revenues will also cause Georgia’s current account deficit, which is already large at about 8% of GDP, to widen further.

The June 21 situation and the crisis could be explained in a wide range of ways.

If one takes into account the facts and their consequences, he could conclude that they played into Russia’s hands. The Georgian nationalists and radicals demonstrated that their position is weak and that they lack intellectual assets, international diplomatic and even media support. The Kremlin can state, with reason, that there is a Nazi threat in the Caucasus and react in its own way to contain this threat. The anti-Russian hysteria and threats against Russian citizens in Georgia allow Moscow to justify protectionist economic policies.

Another explanation is that these developments are part of the wider campaign to create tensions and destabilize the situation along Russia’s borders. By instigating tensions in the Caucasus, Russia’s geopolitical rivals are creating a basis for a possible military aggression against Russia and its allies on several fronts simultaneously. This aggression could be carried out by nationalist regimes which receive financial, technical and limited military support from the West. This is the worst case scenario for the entire region.

Most likely, the June 20 crisis was a pre-planned provocation by the Saakashvili faction and Ukrainian nationalists with the intended purpose of being used in the internal political struggle. In this event, they achieved their goal, the mobilization of nationalist and extremist elements of society. As to the situation on the international scene, a kind of detente in Russian-Georgian relations may start in the relatively near future.

The recent crisis demonstrated that, at any moment, even a minor pre-planned effort may be enough to instigate nationalist and radical sentiments of Georgian society. The Caucasus will remain one of the regions of constant geopolitical struggle and inter-ethnic hostility. It is difficult to imagine active development of the Georgian economy and stabilization of its political system under such conditions.

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