الأطلسي ينتحر في أوكرانيا وطغمة كييف تحاكي مصير هتلر!


‎2022-‎09-‎12

محمد صادق الحسيني
رغم كلّ الضجيج والصراخ الأميركيّ عن تحرير مناطق او استعادة أخرى وإبراز هجوم أوكراني ضدّ روسيا، فإنّ الأنباء الميدانية التي تصل من ميادين المعارك في أوكرانيا عن نجاح الأطلسي في هذه المهمة باتت مستحيلة ولا تبشر إلا بالكارثة التي تنتظر طغمة كييف ورعاتها الدوليين.

فوزارة الدفاع الروسية تتحدّث عن 4 آلاف قتيل و8 آلاف جريح في صفوف قوات نظام كييف على محورين خلال الأيام الأخيرة فقط…

في المقابل فإنه وعلى الرغم من حملة الأكاذيب والتضليل الممنهج، التي أطلقها رئيس الأركان المشتركة للجيوش الأميركية، الجنرال مارك ميلي، خلال المؤتمر الصحافي المشترك مع وزير الدفاع الأميركي، الجنرال لويد اوستين، الذي عقد في قاعدة رامشتاين الجوية الأميركية في ألمانيا عقب انتهاء لقاء ما يسمّى: مجموعة الاتصال من أجل أوكرانيا (50 دولة)، بتاريخ 8/9/2022 (نص التصريحات موجود على موقع البنتاغون الرسمي)، فإنّ قراءة بين سطور تصريحاته تؤكد ما يلي:

أولأ ـ إنّ خسائر العصابات الأوكرانية، على جبهتي خيرسون في الجنوب وخاركوف في الشرق، قد فاقت كلّ الأرقام المعلنة وكلّ التوقعات أيضاً. حيث بلغت هذه الخسائر، على الجبهتين، ما يزيد على سبعة آلاف مسلح، بين «جنود» ومرتزقة أجانب، ومسلحين أوكرانيين من كتائب آزوف وكاراكن والذراع الأيمن، وغيرها من عصابات النازيين الأوكرانيين.

ثانيا ـ وقد جاء كلام الجنرال الأميركي ميلي، في قاعدة رامشتاين، ليؤكد هذه الأرقام، عندما قال: «… إنهم تكبّدوا خسائر فادحة، عشرات آلاف القتلى والجرحى…» وأضاف، في معرض حديثه عن محاولات التعرّض الفاشلة، التي قامت بها المجاميع المسلحة النازية على جبهات القتال، والتي أسماها الجنرال ميلي: محاولة استعادة المبادرة العسكرية، التي شرعت بها تلك المجاميع بداية الشهر الحالي. اضاف قائلاً: «إنه لمن المبكر تقديم تقييم دقيق عن نتائج هذا الهجوم (المضاد)، وذلك لأنّ العملية لا تزال في بدايتها».

ثالثا ـ لكن الجنرال الأميركي حاول التخفيف، من وقع كلامه الواضح نسبياً، عن فشل المغامرات الهجومية الأوكرانية، وذلك عندما أردف قائلاً: «إنّ القوات الأوكرانية تستخدم أسلحتها بشكل جيد… وهي بذلك تمهّد الطريق لإنجاح المناورة البرية بالقوات».

انّ الضجيج الإعلامي الكاذب، الذي أطلقته آلة الدعاية والحرب النفسية النازية الأميركية الأوروبية، مدّعية نجاح العصابات النازيه الأوكرانية الأطلسية الأميركية (إذ لم يعد هناك شيء اسمه الجيش الأوكراني وإنما هناك خليط من المرتزقة المحليين والأجانب وآلاف النازيين الأوروبيين يقاتلون الجيش الروسي)؛ نقول إنّ هذا الضجيج بعيد كلّ البعد عن الواقع الميداني، في مسرح العمليات، وعلى قاطع خاركوف/ إيزيوم بالتحديد.

وبما انّ الميدان هو الميزان، فإنّ وقائع الميدان تقول، خلاف ذلك تماماً كما أسلفنا في الإجمال أعلاه.

وحتى نعرف ما يجري على مسرح عمليات خاركوف طبقاً للعقيدة الحربية الروسية فقد ارتأينا أن نعود بالتاريخ الى الحرب العالميّة الثانية والعقيدة السوفياتيّة التي قاتلت بالضبط في هذا الميدان ومسرح العمليات المُشار إليه نفسه، وإليكم المقارنة:

أولا ـ لقد قامت الجيوش السوڤياتية، بقيادة المارشال إيڤان كونيڤ والمارشال نيكولاي ڤاتوتين، بتحرير مدينة خاركوڤ، من الاحتلال النازي، بتاريخ 23/7/1943. وذلك بعد معارك كر وفر طاحنة استمرت منذ صيف 1941 وحتى التحرير الكامل للمدينة وإبادة الجيوش الألمانية الغازية على تلك الجبهة، وعلى رأسها فرقة الدبابات الثانية لسلاح الإس إس (قوات الصدمة) الهتلرية. واسمها الألماني الكامل: شتورم شتافِلْ

ثانياـ إنّ الجيوش السوڤياتية كانت قد استدرجت الجيوش الهتلرية النازية، بقيادة الفيلد مارشال الألماني فون مانشتاين، والتي كانت لا تزال تسيطر على كلّ شرق أوكرانيا، الى كمين مدفعي صاروخي هائل (كانت راجمة الصواريخ من طراز كاتيوشا قد دخلت لتوّها الخدمة في الجيوش السوفياتية آنذاك)، وعندما اعتقدت القوات الألمانية انّ بإمكانها البدء بهجوم مضاد، باتجاه خطوط الجبهة السوڤياتية، أطبقت عليها الجيوش السوڤياتية وبدأت في هجومها الاستراتيجيّ، بتاريخ 3/8/1943، والذي انتهى بسحق الجيوش الهتلرية النازية على تلك الجبهة بشكل كامل. وقد استمرت هذه المعركة الكبرى حتى 23/8/1943، عندما أنهت الجيوش السوڤياتية هجومها، بتحرير خاركوف ومحيطها، من الاحتلال النازيّ.

ثالثا ـ وبتاريخ 3/8/2022 (التصادف العجيب للزمان والمكان) كانت القواتالروسية، المكلفة بِمَسْكْ محور خاركوڤ / ايزيوم، على أهبة الاستعداد، لتنفيذ أوامر هيئة الأركان العامة الروسية، التي كانت قد استكملت خططها، المبنية على معلومات استخبارية عالية الدقة، حول نوايا مجاميع القوات النازية التي تحرّكها كييڤ، في محاولة تنفيذ عمليات تعرّض للقطعات العسكرية الروسية، على تلك الجبهة. وكانت هذه هي اللحظة المناسبة، لتنفيذ خطة الهجوم الاستدراجي، المتضمّنة مسبقاً في خطة العمليات لدى الأركان العامة الروسية (خطة شهر آب 1943 نفسها وفي المكان نفسه وضدّ التشكيلات النازية نفسها)، حيث بدأت المجاميع النازية بالتحرك الهجومي، ايّ عملية للانفتاح القتالي، مما جعلها عرضة للسقوط في الكمائن الصاروخية والمدفعية والأسلحة الروسية الأخرى، بدءاً من يوم 6/8/2022 وحتى تاريخ 10/8/2022.

رابعا ـ وعلى الرغم من انّ البيانات الرسمية، التي تصدرها وزارة الدفاع الروسية، حول سير العمليات العسكرية على مختلف محاور الجبهات، في الشرق وفي الجنوب، تتسم بأعلى درجات الدقة والرصانة والمصداقية، فلا بدّ من القول إنّ خسائر المجاميع النازية، خلال الأيام الخمسة الماضية حسب مصادر الميدان، أعلى بكثير من الأرقام التي أوردها الناطق العسكري باسم وزارة الدفاع الروسية، الجنرال إيغور كوناشنيكوڤ.

خامساـ إذ انّ مصادر الاستخبارات العسكرية، في دوائر حلف شمال الأطلسي، تتحدث عن سبعة آلاف قتيل وما يزيد قليلاً عن عشرين ألف جريح، تكبّدتها المجاميع النازية خلال محاولاتها الفاشلة على محاور… جبهة خاركوڤ. هذه ارقام تتمتع، حسب تقديرنا، بنوع من المصداقية، خاصة أنّ الخبراء العسكريين ينطلقون، في حساباتهم للخسائر، من حقيقة أنّ كلّ قتيل يكون مترافقاً مع 3-4 جرحى. وهي أرقام تنطبق بدقة على خسائر الطرف الأوكراني. ويُضاف الى ذلك، طبعاً، الخسائر الكبيرة في المعدات والتجهيزات، التي تقدّرها المصادر، المُشار اليها أعلاه، بثلاثمئة دبابة ومدرعة وسيارات الدفع الرباعي، المجهّزة برشاشات ثقيلة، من عيار ٢٣ ملم و٣٧ ملم.

سادسا ـ في خلاصة الأمر، وبغضّ النظر عن التكتيكات، التي ستتبعها القوات الروسيّة وعن كيفية مناورة القيادة العسكرية الروسية بقواتها، سواء على جبهات شرق أو جنوب أوكرانيا، فإنّ الحقيقة المؤكدة لدى الخبراء هي :إنّ المجاميع النازية الأميركية الأطلسية قد استنفدت آخر ما لديها من موارد، بشرية وتسليحية، وزجّت بها الى أتون محرقة تسبّبت بها قيادة تلك المجاميع في كييف، والتي يُفترض أنها كانت على علم بأنّ محاولة الهجوم، التي خططوا لها، لا يمكن أن تتكلل بالنجاح، لأنّ إخراج القوات من تحصيناتها الدفاعية، ودفعها الى التحرك الهجومي، بدون غطاء جوي، هي عملية انتحارية فاشلة بلا أدنى شك.

سابعا ـ وعليه فإنّ هذه المحاولة الكارثية سوف تكون آخر تحرك من نوعه، تقوم به هذه المجاميع، أيّ أنها، وعوضاً عن استعادة المبادرة العسكرية في الميدان، فإنها فقدت القدرة على المبادرة لأيّ تحرك، مهما كان صغيراً، تماماً كما حصل مع الجيوش الهتلرية في محيط خاركوڤ، في شهر آب نفسه من العام 1943.

وغني عن القول انّ هزيمة الجيوش الألمانية، في معركة تحرير خاركوڤ المدينة والمقاطعة، قد مهّدت الطريق لوصول الجيوش السوڤياتية، منتصرة، الى برلين عاصمة الرايخ الثالث، في شهر أيار من العام 1945.

وهو ما يتوقع حصوله الخبراء مع الدمية النازية الأطلسبة، القابعة في كييف، زيلينسكي… الذي على الأرجح سيتمّ إخلاؤه بمروحية عسكرية أميركية، الى بولندا المجاورة، هذا إذا لم يسبقه الى ذلك قيام الشعب بالانتفاضة ضدّه والقبض عليه وزجّه في السجن أو إعدامه ميدانياً، بتهمة ارتكاب سيل من الجرائم في حق الشعب الأوكراني، والتي ليس أقلها إثقال كاهل الأجيال القادمة لهذا الشعب بالديون، التي سرقها هو وعصابته ولم يستفد منها الشعب الأوكراني في شيء أو رتّبها على شعبه بسبب استئجاره القوات الأطلسية والأميركية بديون آجلة، ولكن لأهداف ربحية أميركية محضة.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

DENAZIFICATION – ACT I… The Great Patriotic War as Seen Through Soviet Cinema

August 22, 2022

Notes and reflections by Nora Hoppe with contributions by Tariq Marzbaan for the Saker blog

DENAZIFICATION – ACT I…
The Great Patriotic War as Seen Through Soviet Cinema – for Today’s Battle against Amnesia

As the western world descends ever deeper into a morass of ignorance, stupidity, obliviousness and inanity, accelerated by wilful amnesia and the cancellation of history and Russian culture, we feel it is indispensable to rekindle, commemorate and celebrate some of the great and noble achievements of Russia – for the future sake of Human Civilisation…

The younger generations in the West may never have even heard of the Great Patriotic War – a decisive feat that has enabled them to live in relative peace and comfort. And they might find it difficult to even imagine the number of the 27 million lives it cost.

And even fewer may know about the Siege of Leningrad, which began on 8 September 1941 and lasted nearly 900 days… when the Red Army succeeded in breaking the blockade on 27 January 1944.

The winter of 1941 – 1942 was bitterly cold and as many as 100,000 people a month died of starvation. In their desperation, the citizens ate everything from petroleum jelly and wallpaper glue to rats, pigeons and household pets. For warmth, they burned furniture, wardrobes and even the books from their personal libraries. Amongst the relics discovered later was a journal kept by a 12-year-old Leningrader named Tanya Savicheva who recorded the progressive dates of the deaths of all her family members. After the death of her mother, she wrote: “The Savichevs are dead. Everyone is dead. Only Tanya is left.”

Because of the blockade, the only way to feed the city was to bring fresh supplies across the frozen Lake Ladoga, the only open route into the city – forged over the ice by sleds and ploughs. This was known as the “Road of Life” – in spite of the fact that the trucks and sleds transporting food and fuel were to also become frequent targets of Nazi aerial attack.

Altogether an estimated 75,000 bombs were dropped on Leningrad during the period of the siege and killed many – but more died from hunger and hunger-facilitated illnesses. In total, the siege of Leningrad killed an estimated 800,000 civilians. Historian Michael Walzer summarized that “The Siege of Leningrad killed more civilians than the bombing of Hamburg, Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.” Due to the obvious systematic starvation (Hungerpolitik – the isolation of Leningrad; German artillery shelled bread factories and central food supply institutions) and the deliberate destruction of the civilian population of the city, one can consider the siege as an act of genocide, as do some historians (such as Jörg Ganzenmüller, Timo Vihavainen Richard Bidlack and Nikita Lomagin). One must also not forget the racism-driven persecution involved; the Nazis saw the Slavic peoples as Untermenschen (subhumans).

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Those who seek to fathom the magnitude of the people’s struggle during the Great Patriotic War – beyond the information provided in books, articles and film footage – would get a closer idea of it in St. Petersburg… by visiting the State Memorial Museum of Leningrad Defence and Blockade, the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad in Victory Square and the Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery where about 420,000 civilians and 50,000 soldiers of the Leningrad Front are buried in 186 mass graves. These memorials all commemorate the steadfastness, courage and dignity of the Leningraders in a powerful and deeply moving manner. For me personally, it was the Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery (which I visited on an icy, dark and windy late afternoon in March 1991) that most keenly and heart-wrenchingly conveyed such a noble and agonising sacrifice of a people to Humanity.

President Putin, a Leningrad resident born in 1952, participates in memorial events dedicated to the Siege of Leningrad on a regular basis. It is a very personal story for him. His father Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin fought at Nevsky Pyatachok, a critical site of defence that was to prevent German forces from completing the blockade southeast of Leningrad during the siege; his mother remained in the city for the entire duration of the siege and his elder brother Viktor died of diphtheria in the besieged city in the winter of 1942. After laying flowers at a common grave in the Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery, which, according to documents, contains the remains of his brother, the president also laid a wreath at the Motherland monument.

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As film remains a powerful medium that not only transcends geographic and linguistic barriers but can also often offer audiences a more intimate experience of unfolding events, we wish to commemorate the Great Patriotic War here by presenting a selection of Soviet films that portray this period from different angles.

But, before we move on to the Soviet films, we would first like to introduce a film that was, amazingly, produced in the USA and is, amazingly, still on YouTube… but – by all appearances – seems to have nonetheless been relegated to oblivion by those in power in the West…

The Battle of Russia” was directed by Italian-born American Frank Capra and Kievan-born American Anatole Litvak. To summarise some cursory information from Wikipedia… The film begins with an overview of historical failed attempts to conquer Russia: the Teutonic Knights in 1242 (using footage from Sergei Eisenstein’s film “Alexander Nevsky”), by Charles XII of Sweden in 1704 (using footage from Vladimir Petrov’s film “Peter the Great”), by Napoleon I in 1812, and by the German Empire in World War I. The vast natural resources of the Soviet Union are then described to show why the land was so coveted by would-be conquerors. Elements of Russian culture include musical compositions of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and mentions of Leo Tolstoy’s book War and Peace.

The opening credits feature the following quotes as follows:

  • “History knows no greater display of courage that that shown by the people of Soviet Russia” – Henry L. Stimson, US Secretary of War
  • “We and our allies owe and acknowledge an everlasting debt of gratitude to the armies and people of the Soviet Union” – Frank Knox, US Secretary of the Navy
  • “The gallantry and aggressive fighting spirit of the Russian soldiers command the American army’s admiration.” – George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, US Army
  • “I join… in admiration for the Soviet Union’s heroic and historic defense.” – Ernest J. King, Commander in Chief of the US Fleet
  • “The SCALE AND GRANDEUR of the Russian effort mark it as the GREATEST MILITARY ACHIEVEMENT IN ALL HISTORY.” – US General Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief Southwest Pacific Area

The Battle of Russia (1943)

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In the Name of the Motherland” (1943) – Vsevolod Illarionovich Pudovkin and Dmitriy Ivanovich Vasil’ev

In the Name of the Fatherland is a film based on the play by Konstantin Simonov “Russian People”, directed by Vsevolod Illarionovich Pudovkin and Dmitriy Ivanovich Vasil’ev.

The plot: It is a late autumn. The Germans are still advancing and have occupied a small seaside town. But in its outskirts, on the western side of the salty estuary dividing the town, the small Russian garrison, now surrounded on all sides, is still stubbornly holding out. The German general is not in a hurry to attack, preferring to exhaust and deplete the Russian detachment, as it is cut off from fresh water. Captain Safonov sends his beloved, the scout Valechka, off on a mission to the town with orders to other scouts to blow up a strategic bridge blown. The girl is intercepted afterward and thrown in an enemy prison. New information from the command and the hope of reuniting with the main army units leads Safonov to send an experienced soldier, Globa, to rescue Valechka, to revoke the order and to divert the Germans away from the bridge…

Во имя Родины / In the Name of the Motherland (1943) фильм смотреть онлайн

“The Cranes are Flying” (1957) – Mikhail Kalatozov

Based on the play by V. Rozov “Forever Alive”.

Soviet Union, 1941. Boris Borozdin goes off to war. The parents of his fiancée, Veronika, die in a bombing raid, and the young girl is taken into the home of Boris’s father. At the same time, Boris is reported missing in action. Veronika, after some time, marries her other suitor, Mark, Boris’s cousin, without, however, ceasing to await news of her first love, unaware of the fact that Boris is in fact dead, having exposed himself to enemy fire while rescuing his friend Stepan.

The thought that she has somehow betrayed Boris haunts her: when her marriage to Mark shows its first cracks, Veronika is about to take her own life by jumping off a bridge, but she happens to save the life of a child, named Boris, who was about to be hit by a car. Learning of the tricks Mark had concocted to escape the draft, Veronika abandons her husband and starts a new life with little Boris, whose parents she has been unable to track down.

When a fellow soldier announces to her that Boris Borozdin has disappeared, Veronika, still refuses to believe in his death. When the war is over, during a victory parade, Stepan (who was rescued by Boris) suddenly appears and presents himself to Veronika with a bouquet of flowers. He then tells her of Boris’s death. Veronika, now coming to grips with the sacrifices of war, distributes the flowers to passers-by.

The Cranes are Flying | DRAMA | FULL MOVIE

“Fate of a Man” – Sergey Bondarchuk (1959)

Based on the story by M. Sholokhov… With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, truck driver Andrei Sokolov has to part with his family. In May 1942 he is taken prisoner by the Germans. Sokolov endures the hell of a Nazi concentration camp, but thanks to his courage he avoids execution and finally escapes from captivity behind the front line to his own. On a short front-line vacation to his small homeland Voronezh, he learns that his wife and both daughters have died during the bombing of Voronezh by German aircraft. Of those close to him, only his son remained, and he became an officer. On the last day of the war, on the 9th of May, Andrei receives news that his son has also died.

After the war, the lonely Sokolov works as a truck driver away from his native Voronezh – in Uryupinsk (Stalingrad Oblast). There he encounters a little boy Vanya, who was left an orphan: the boy’s mother died during the bombing, and his father went missing during the war. Sokolov decides to tell the boy that he is his father, and by doing so he gives himself and the boy hope for a new happy family life.

Fate of a Man | WAR MOVIE | FULL MOVIE

Ballad of a Soldier (1959) – Grigory Chukhray

During the Second World War, Alyosha, a young Russian soldier who has distinguished himself at the front, is offered a decoration. However, he refuses this great honour and instead asks for a leave to visit his mother. His journey is long and difficult: he must jump from train to train, and many obstacles cause him to lose time. Along the way, he meets various people who help him, or to whom he gives assistance. Then he meets Shura, a young girl travelling in the same direction. During the journey the two fall in love.

The journey comes to an end and Alyosha has to part with Shura. As she says goodbye she tells him that she has made up her mind about her fiancé and that she now loves him. Without saying goodbye, Alyosha catches up with the train. On the way he regrets that he has not confessed his love to Shura. Suddenly the train is bombed and Alyosha witnesses the deaths of several passengers.

On the road, Alyosha persuades the truck driver to take him to his home village to see his mother, at least for a few minutes. Meeting his neighbours and embracing his mother, he promises to return immediately after the war. His mother tells him she will wait for him.

A voice-over says: “He could have been a wonderful citizen, he could have decorated the land with gardens, but he was and will forever remain in our memory a soldier. A Russian soldier!”

Ballad of a Soldier (1959) – Grigory Chukhray (720p) w/English Subtitles

Ivan’s Childhood (1962) Andrei Tarkovsky

Based on the story by V. Bogomolov “Ivan”, the film is mainly set at the front during World War II, where the Soviet army is fighting the invading German Wehrmacht. The film features a non-linear plot with frequent flashbacks.

World War II, Eastern Front, Stalin line, Dnepr river area. Twelve-year-old Ivan, left without a family (father at the front, possibly dead, mother probably killed), joins first the partisans and then the regular Soviet army to fight the German invaders. Colonel Grjaznov and Captain Cholin, who take such good care of him that the former could possibly adopt him at the end of the war, take advantage of his ability to move unnoticed in those swampy places to send him on scouting missions beyond enemy lines. After a particularly difficult mission, Ivan fails to return to the intended location and instead reaches an area of the front line controlled by young Lieutenant Gal’cev, who finds it hard to believe the explanations of the dirty, fatigue-ridden boy, until he agrees to contact the military command and sees the relieved Cholin rush in.

Grjaznov decides to remove Ivan from the front line and send him to military school, to protect him, but the boy is determined to remain on the front line, because he is convinced that in war, only cowards and invalids can shirk commitment. When he is driven to the rear, he escapes alone into the desolate, battle-torn heaths, but is soon recaptured. Ivan is involved in one last mission. Cholin and Gal’cev accompany him across the river as far as they can, but then wait in vain for his return from exploration as the first snow falls. When the war is over, in Soviet-occupied Berlin, Gal’cev, a survivor but scarred in face and soul, accidentally finds Ivan’s file among the files of executed prisoners in the abandoned offices of the Reichstag, and discovers that the young boy has been hanged.

The film begins with a sharp contrast: a rural idyll bathed in bright light with a cuckoo call, butterflies flying and a happy boy who knows his mother is nearby is abruptly cut off by the cry of terror “Mama!” and the woman lying on the ground, whereupon the boy awakens to the presence of a dark, destruction-stricken world in which he must hide and fend for himself. – An emotional rollercoaster ride, then, that immediately demands the full attention of the viewer, with the black-and-white film (monochrome until the end) further intensifying the chiaroscuro contrast. The linearity of the narrative on the level of reality is later broken by further dream-like sequences; one is clearly a vision, the others could also be memories or, following the logic of dreams, a mixture of both. The film’s finale surprises not only with an abrupt jump in place and time, but also with a brief shift from fiction to documentary. The focus of these images is on the children of their own families killed by the German leadership clique; the connection to the central theme of Iwan’s childhood is thus maintained.

Ivan’s Childhood | WAR MOVIE | directed by Andrei Tarkovsky

Liberation (1967 – 1972) – Yuri Ozerov

Yuri Ozerov’s epic historical film consists of five instalments, which are a dramatised account of the liberation of the Soviet Union’s territory and the subsequent defeat of Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War, focusing on five major Eastern Front campaigns: the Battle of Kursk, the Lower Dnieper Offensive, Operation Bagration, the Vistula-Oder Offensive, and the Battle of Berlin.

A total of 51 real historical characters act in the film. Selecting actors to play these characters was not easy. The main problem was that most of the heroes and prototypes of the characters in the film were still alive. Many of them held high office and were very interested in what they would look like on screen. It was not just a matter of getting a portrait resemblance, but also of getting the prototype (or the film’s supervisors) to agree to the on-screen portrayal of that prototype by one actor or another.

Liberation, Film 1: The Fire Bulge | WAR MOVIE | FULL MOVIE

“The Fire Bulge” tells of the heroic battle at the Kursk Bulge in summer 1943.

Liberation, Film 2: Breakthrough | WAR MOVIE | FULL MOVIE

“Breakthrough” is about the battle for the Dnieper River and the Soviet offensive operation in 1944.

Liberation, Film 3: Direction of the Main Blow | WAR MOVIE | FULL MOVIE

“Direction of the Main Blow” is about Operation Bagration, which resulted in the complete liberation of Belarus from Nazi troops.

Liberation, Film 4: The Battle for Berlin | WAR MOVIE | FULL MOVIE

“The Battle of Berlin”. 1945, the last months of the war. These are the days when the fate of enslaved Europe is decided.

Liberation, Film 5: The Last Assault | WAR MOVIE | FULL MOVIE

“The Last Assault” is about the storming of the Reichstag, about the battle for every room, for every floor…

The Dawns Here are Quiet (1972) – Stanislav Rostotsky

“The Dawns Here Are Quiet” is a 1972 Soviet war drama, in the form of a TV series of 4 episodes directed by Stanislav Rostotsky based on Boris Vasilyev’s novel of the same name. The film deals with antiwar themes and focuses on a garrison of Russian female soldiers in World War II.

It is late spring of 1942, and the Great Patriotic War is in full swing. A long way off from the front-line, at some God-forgotten junction, the Germans make an air landing operation in an attempt to get through to the Kirov railway and the White Sea – the Baltic Sea Canal. These aren’t just ordinary paratroopers. This is a team of seasoned and highly trained infiltrators, the elite of the Waffen-SS, superhumans. The only thing in their way is an anti-aircraft artillery unit of corporal Vaskov and five young women in training. It may seem like a fight of local significance, but the country’s main strategic transportation artery is at stake. Can the corporal and his “newbies” prevent Nazi sabotage and at what cost?

The Dawns Here Are Quiet – Playlist – Episodes 1-4 Russian TV Series. English Subtitles. StarMediaEN

“17 Moments of Spring” (1973) – a series of 12 episodes – Tatyana Lioznova

“17 Moments of Spring”, directed by Tatyana Lioznova and based on the novel of the same name by Yulian Semyonov, is considered the most successful Soviet spy thriller ever made and is one of the most popular television series in Soviet history.

The series portrays the exploits of Maxim Isaev, a Soviet spy operating in Nazi Germany under the name Max Otto von Stierlitz. Stierlitz is planted in 1927, well before the Nazi takeover of pre-war Germany. He joins the NSDAP and rises through the ranks, becoming an important Nazi counter-espionage officer. He recruits several agents among German dissident intellectuals and persecuted clergy. Stierlitz discovers, and later plans to disrupt, secret negotiations between Karl Wolff and Allen Dulles taking place in Switzerland, aimed at forging a separate peace between Germany and the Western Allies. With the help of operational combinations, and especially thanks to his direct superior, Walter Schellenberg, Stierlitz succeeded, through Martin Bormann, in preventing the Anglo-American plan.

Stierlitz’s character reflected Andropov’s concept of the ideal Soviet spy: he was calculated, modest, devoted to his country and, above all, an intellectual, who fulfilled his mission by outwitting his enemies. He was based mainly, though not exclusively and loosely, on a Gestapo officer turned Soviet agent, Willi Lehmann. The American-German negotiations foiled by Stierlitz were modelled on the real agreement reached by Allen Dulles and Karl Wolff during 1945, which led to the surrender of the Wehrmacht in northern Italy on 2 May 1945. The historical basis of the film is Operation Sunrise: Behind the back of the Soviet Union, a series of secret negotiations were conducted for two weeks in March 1945 in Bern, Switzerland, between elements of the Nazi German SS and the U.S. Office of Strategic Services under Allen Dulles. (Dulles apparently made a verbal agreement to protect SS General Wolff from prosecution at the Nuremberg Trials as they worked out details of surrender. Wolff and his forces were being considered to help implement Operation Unthinkable, a secret plan to invade the Soviet Union, which Winston Churchill advocated during this period. It became the first Cold War-era contingency plan for war with the Soviet Union. Wolff was later proven to be complicit in the murder of 300,000 Jews. [See: ‘Conspiracy of Silence: How the “Old Boys” of American Intelligence Shielded SS General Karl Wolff from Prosecution’ – https://www.academia.edu/31673216])

One critic described the public reception of the series in the Soviet Union: During its first screening, the city streets emptied. It was a larger-than-life success, attracting a larger audience than hockey games.” Crime rates dropped significantly during the broadcasts; power plants had to increase production at the same time, as the activation of many TV sets caused a surge in electricity consumption. It soon became a cult series.

Apparently many commentators see analogies between President Putin and the mythic character Stierlitz. Putin himself, was said to have claimed that his decision to join the KGB was motivated by the spy thrillers of his childhood, including the series “17 Moments of Spring”.

Seventeen Moments of Spring 1973 Part 1 of 12 English Subtitles HQ:

A comment on YouTube made by viewer Carlos Cobas:

“This movie is a masterpiece of the Soviet Cinema. Now when it is available on DVD in North America, I have watched it again and I cannot think of any other old Russian/Soviet movie that strikes me so much. On the surface, the story is about an agent of the Soviet intelligence service who tries to obtain the proof of the attempts of high-rank Nazi to strike a separate deal with the Western Allies in the last months of the World War Two in Europe. However, the movie is much deeper than a spy thriller. No invisible ink, hi-tech guns and beautiful women. Or, rather, just one: the hero’s wife. He had not seen her for many years, and now he is allowed to meet her. He is in a cafe in Berlin. She enters, takes a seat in a far corner, orders a cup of coffee, and…”

“The Ascent” (1977) – Larissa Shepitko

Larissa Shepitko, Ukrainian Soviet director, screenwriter and actress, was

a student of Dovzhenko with whom she felt a kinship between their shared Ukrainian heritage and social realist imagery full of visual and poetic symbolism.

“The Ascent”, based on the novel “Sotnikov” by Vasil Bykau and set in the winter of 1942, was filmed in January 1974 in a region east of Moscow, in appalling winter conditions, as required by the screenplay. (It was Shepitko’s last film before her tragic death in a car accident in 1979).

The plot: Nazi-occupied Belarus. In a frozen forest, Officer Sotnikov and Private Rybak are sent off through the snow to a village to acquire food for their fellow stranded and famished partisans, whose ranks include women and children. After a protracted gunfight in the snow, in which one of the Germans is killed, the two men manage to flee, but Sotnikov is shot in the leg. They take shelter in the home of Demchikha, the mother of three young children. They are, however, tracked down and captured. The physically frail Sotnikov chooses to withstand torture and accepts death by execution. But Rybak, on his knees, begs for mercy and agrees to work for the Germans as a policeman. Only later does he become aware of what he has done.

The Ascent:

Come and See  (1985) Elem Klimov

“Come and See” is a 1985 Soviet anti-war film directed by Elem Klimov. Its screenplay, written by Klimov and Ales Adamovich, is based on the 1978 book “I Am from the Fiery Village” (1977), of which Adamovich was a co-author. It was filmed exclusively on Byelorussian soil in the Byelorussian language with non-professional actors. All the actions depicted in the film are based on true events that befell Belarus. The film mixes hyperrealism with an underlying surrealism, and philosophical existentialism with poetical, psychological, political and apocalyptic themes. It received generally positive critical reception upon release, and has since come to be considered one of the greatest films of all time.

The title of the film comes from the sixth chapter of the Apocalypse of John. The exclamation “Come and see” is the invitation to contemplate the devastation wrought by the four horsemen of the Apocalypse: “And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, ‘Come and see!’ And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”

The film’s plot focuses on the Nazi German occupation of Belarus, and the events as witnessed by a young Belarusian partisan teenager named Flyora, who – against his mother’s wishes – joins the Belarusian resistance movement, and thereafter depicts the Nazi atrocities and human suffering inflicted upon the populace of the Belarusian villages. This film, like no other, shows the tragedy of a child on a battlefield. At the beginning of the film 16-year-old Flyora is just a teenager. But In the end, having gone through horror and fear, the child becomes an adult, frighteningly adult…

Regarding his film, Elem Klimov said:

“The 40th anniversary of the Great Victory was approaching. The management had to be given something topical. I had been reading and rereading the book I Am from the Fiery Village, which consisted of the first-hand accounts of people who miraculously survived the horrors of the fascist genocide in Belorussia. Many of them were still alive then, and Byelorussians managed to record some of their memories onto film. I will never forget the face and eyes of one peasant, and his quiet recollection about how his whole village had been herded into a church, and how just before they were about to be burned, an officer gave them the offer: ‘Whoever has no children can leave.’ And he couldn’t take it, he left, and left behind his wife and little children… or about how another village was burned: the adults were all herded into a barn, but the children were left behind. And later, drunken men surrounded them with sheepdogs and let the dogs tear the children to pieces.

And then I thought: the world doesn’t know about Khatyn! They know about Katyn, about the massacre of the Polish officers there. But they don’t know about Belorussia. Even though more than 600 villages were burned there!

And I decided to make a film about this tragedy. I perfectly understood that the film would end up a harsh one. I decided that the central role of the village lad Flyora would not be played by a professional actor, who upon immersion into a difficult role could have protected himself psychologically with his accumulated acting experience, technique and skill. I wanted to find a simple boy fourteen years of age. We had to prepare him for the most difficult experiences, then capture them on film. And at the same time, we had to protect him from the stresses so that he wasn’t left in the loony bin after filming was over, but was returned to his mother alive and healthy. Fortunately, with Aleksei Kravchenko, who played Flyora and who later became a good actor, everything went smoothly.

I understood that this would be a very brutal film and that it was unlikely that people would be able to watch it. I told this to my screenplay co-author, the writer Ales Adamovich. But he replied: ‘Let them not watch it, then. This is something we must leave after us. As evidence of war, and as a plea for peace.‘… “

Come and See | WAR FILM | FULL MOVIE

There are of course many, many more powerful Soviet films on the Great Patriotic War. These are but a few…

* * *

Today in the West there is an extensive ban on featuring Russian culture in any form – be it in the realm of the arts, education or even in sports. In many of the Eastern European countries that once belonged to the Soviet Union or were part of the Eastern Bloc, we can see regimes and institutions demolishing monuments and memorials that were dedicated to the joint struggles and victories of their peoples over Nazism and Fascism. Great historic Russian cultural figures are being cast into oblivion, while Fascist and Nazi symbols seem more and more acceptable. (Could the Tschaikowskistraße in Berlin one day be renamed Stepan-Bandera-Straße?) And the Russian people?… Several European countries would like their travel to Europe be restricted. “Nobel-Prize”-winner Lech Walesa went so far as to suggest: “Today we have to either enforce change of Russia’s political system or reduce its population of less than 50 million.” The Siege of Leningrad was obviously not enough for him… Does he want a new genocide?

But however much these pathologically desperate Russophobes seek to suppress, cancel, erase, delete, obliterate anything Russian, they will not only end up suppressing, cancelling, erasing, deleting and obliterating their own cultures and identities… their intentions to destroy Russian culture and history will remain forever futile. Testimonies of the past will live on – through films like these, through many other works, through the memories of honourable witnesses and through those seeking the truth.

When a people loses its memory, it also loses its soul.

* * * * *

Some references:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Leningrad#Lifting_the_siege

https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/fr/article/view/50755/44648

https://tass.com/society/1393925

https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%92%D0%BE_%D0%B8%D0%BC%D1%8F_%D0%A0%D0%BE%D0%B4%D0%B8%D0%BD%D1%8B

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventeen_Moments_of_Spring#cite_note-IZ-2

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ascent_(1977_film)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Come_and_See

June 27th This and That

June 27, 2022

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions: news conference on current international issues

June 08, 2022

Source

Colleagues,

Last night and this morning, we received multiple questions from the media regarding our response to the unprecedented decisions made by a number of NATO members who blocked the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to the Republic of Serbia.

An unthinkable thing has happened. I understand the interest in our assessment of these outrageous actions. A sovereign state has been deprived of the right to carry out its foreign policy. At the moment, Serbia’s international activities, at least on the Russian track, are blocked.

Let’s not beat around the bush. This is another clear and cautionary demonstration of how far NATO and the EU can go in using the most low-grade methods of influencing those whose actions are grounded in national interests and who are against sacrificing their principles and dignity for the sake of the “rules” imposed by the West instead of international law. If the West sees a visit by the Russian Foreign Minister to Serbia almost as a threat on a universal scale, then, apparently, things are not so good there.

Lately, we’ve heard vociferous calls to the effect that Serbia needs to “make a final choice.” Yesterday, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt made a splashy statement saying that hosting the Russian Foreign Minister in Belgrade was the worst thing Serbia could do to advance its EU prospects. How do you like that? Several days ago (when my visit was announced), US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill published a big article titled “East or West: There is no third way,” where he used precisely these terms and logic with regard to Serbia’s future relations with the United States, the EU and the Russian Federation. Even an unsophisticated observer will understand that Brussels is not a place for the sovereign equality of states, as enshrined in the UN Charter, and even less so for the notorious freedom of choice, which Brussels constantly talks about.

During our discussions last year, we proposed signing a treaty on European security with the United States and NATO. We were told that NATO would not accept any principles regarding indivisible security, including the unacceptability of strengthening one’s own security at the expense of others. They will accept only the principle of freedom to choose partners. Now, the West has torn up this very principle, after centering it for so long.

The West believes that Serbia should not have freedom to choose partners. This cynicism is hardly surprising. The West is making it clear that it will continue to unscrupulously use pressure.

We’ve seen this kind of hypocrisy on many occasions, including during the tragic bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 by those who came to believe in their victory in the Cold War and their right to build the world exclusively according to their own design. This mentality manifested itself in the incident that we are now discussing.

I know they will come up with multiple explanations (we haven’t heard any so far). The countries that didn’t allow a flyover for the Russian aircraft will say that they received orders from the European Union or NATO. Those, in turn, will say that these countries were independent in their decision-making. You are well aware of all that. However, most importantly no one will be able to destroy our relations with Serbia.

We had plans to hold important and time-sensitive meetings with President Aleksandar Vucic, Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic, National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic, and the clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church. That would be very helpful. These contacts did not go anywhere on other tracks. Nikola Selakovic was invited to pay a visit to Russia soon. I hope that the plane on which he will fly (a regular or a special fight) will not be subjected to another shameful “punishment” by Brussels and its “clients” that have lost all decency.

We planned to discuss a broad agenda, including the rapidly expanding bilateral strategic partnership and international affairs. Clearly, the Brussels puppeteers were not comfortable with providing us with a platform in the capital of Serbia where we could confirm Russia’s position on Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. They did not want us to express support for Belgrade’s initiative to implement the Open Balkan project in the interests of improving and bolstering relations between all the countries of that region.

Clearly, Brussels (NATO and the EU) wants the Balkans to become a project of its own called Closed Balkans. It is hard to draw other conclusions looking at the situation at hand.

Question: What measures will be taken for this meeting to be held? You said the closure of the air space by three countries is an unprecedented step. Is there a threat of this becoming a norm? That the air space will be shut for ministers to protect these countries?

Sergey Lavrov: This has already become the norm for the European Union and NATO. I mentioned the “sound effects” that accompanied this decision. They were made in the Western media and by some politicians.

They are increasingly afraid of the truth and are trying to escape into an invented, fake reality that is filling screens, social media and any information resources. They have completely shut down all alternative media at their own initiative. They want to resolve their electoral challenges by brainwashing their voters. If such a choice was made (no doubt about it), Brussels is going to decide the destinies of all European countries by itself.

This shows once again the worth of the status sought by the EU applicants. The explanation is simple. It was declared more than once (including by  Josep Borrell, the bellicose EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, who said this war must be won “on the battlefield” in order to “defeat Russia”) that while merely preparing to join the EU, the applicants must fully and unquestionably follow the European policy on security and defence. It is common knowledge that this policy is emphatically anti-Russian. This is what awaits the countries that are trying to find a balance of interests in preserving and developing their relations with the EU and non-EU countries.

We value Serbia’s courageous position in this respect. President Alexandar Vucic has emphasised that he will not engage in anti-Russia activities. But this is exactly what the EU wants – for all applicants to assume Russophobic commitments.

This case showed the worth of NATO membership for Montenegro and North Macedonia and the reasons why NATO needs such countries – only to punish Russia, expand the anti-Russia bridgehead in Europe and create threats and mechanisms of containment. This does not square in the least with the requirements of Article 10 of the Washington Treaty on NATO. This article states that new members must meet the criteria and, most important, contribute to the security of all members of the alliance.

Whose security did Montenegro and North Macedonia contribute to? But they have coped with their role really well as an instrument for deterring Russia and stooges of the big guys. I feel sorry for these countries. These are two friendly nations. They have a wonderful nature and history that they cherish. They valued our relations in the past. But the current political realities have put them into a sticky situation.

As for responses, we will never do anything that will further complicate ties between nations. This is what our Western partners are doing. They are facing problems at home not only because they are creating a socio-economic quagmire but also because more and more sensible Europeans are asking the question: Why turn Russia into an enemy? More and more people are recalling the great, proud and glorious history we have made in cooperation with many European countries.

Speaking about history, I would like to return to the failed visit to Serbia. As part of the itinerary, I was supposed to attend a ceremony at the Eternal Flame in memory of the liberators of Belgrade. I was also supposed to make an entry in the Honoured Guest Book. I planned to write the following. Imagine I am sending it to the Serbian people now.

“Let us be worthy of the memory of the Soviet and Yugoslav warriors who perished in the struggle against Nazism. Serbia and Russia stand in solidarity in their efforts to preserve the truth about the history of World War II. We will not allow the rebirth of Nazism.”

Please consider these words my message to all those who visit this magisterial monument in Belgrade.

Question (retranslated from Serbian): Will you please comment on how it has come to the point that you were literally denied the opportunity to fly on a visit to Serbia as three countries closed their airspace to your plane? What was the reason for this? Does it mean that you might encounter an obstacle like this on any other route over EU or NATO member countries? Or does it only have to do with your visit to Serbia?

Sergey Lavrov: I will not engage in speculation about other routes across EU and NATO member countries. Currently, we have no plans to meet [with any officials from these countries]. As for now, there are no invitations from NATO countries, nor am I expecting anyone in Moscow.

As for the reason you asked about, there was much speculation about it several days ago in the Serbian and Croatian press and in the press in other countries in the Western Balkans. For example, it was suggested that Sergey Lavrov was one of the most unwelcome guests in Serbia now because he decided to “go ahead” of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is planning to visit the Balkans in the next few days. The head of the German Government was allegedly disappointed and even felt hurt by this impolite, in his view, step on the part of Serbia. It is on the conscience of analysts who write things like these. I believe it is humiliating not only for the people whom they write about and whose response they try to predict but, primarily, for the media outlets that are trying to reach more readers and viewers through this type of “exercise”.

Question (retranslated from Serbian): Serbia has been pressured by both sides since the very start of the conflict in Ukraine in the context of the events it has nothing to do with. Will Russia show more understanding for the national interests and position of Serbia as distinct from some Western countries?

Sergey Lavrov: My response is a definite yes. We see how fiercely the West is reacting to what is happening in Ukraine. This proves that we are right. We have explained to the whole world why the special military operation was launched. In retrospect, we showed our efforts for many years to avert threats and not 10,000 km away but right on our borders. The United States considers it possible to declare “today” that Belgrade is posing a threat (to global or European security) and start bombing Belgrade “tomorrow.” Then, in a couple of years, the United States decides that one more country, also located 10,000 km away – Iraq – is posing a threat. Cities are erased from the face of the Earth and hundreds of thousands of civilians are killed. Then they decide that there is one more country across the Atlantic – Libya – that is also posing a threat to the US and must be destroyed for this reason.

We have long been saying that it is unacceptable to expand NATO eastward, support the coup d’etat in Ukraine and tolerate the subversion by Pyotr Poroshenko and Vladimir Zelensky of the Minsk agreements that had been so hard to reach. All these warnings were ignored. The Russian people in Ukraine continued to be discriminated against across the board. Laws banning the Russian language were adopted and Nazi practices (theory and practice of Nazism) were established. The West applauded all this, presenting this process as an achievement of true democracy. It continued supporting the neo-Nazi armed forces of Ukraine that were shelling civilians and civilian infrastructure in Donbass every day. We had no other choice left.

I spoke about all this in detail and now I am reiterating what I said. But Brussels’ line in the Balkans and in Ukraine is the same. The only difference is that in the Balkans the EU favours those who impinge on the Serbian interests, while in Ukraine, NATO and the EU support the regime that has long declared a war on all things Russian. This is an interesting observation. I mentioned it during my interview with the media of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is the gist of the EU’s mediation. Some process started in the Balkans after Kosovo proclaimed “independence” unilaterally and without any referendum. The UN General Assembly invited the EU to mediate between Pristina and Belgrade and its effort was rather successful: in 2013, the agreement was reached on establishing the Community of Serbian Municipalities of Kosovo. In 2014, when a coup was staged in Ukraine and the “counterterrorism” forces launched an operation against Donbass and Russians in Ukraine, the EU also acted as a mediator. This led to the signing of the Minsk agreements that established certain rules, just as with regard to the Serbian municipalities in Kosovo.

The EU made a solemn promise to support a special status for northern Kosovo and eastern Ukraine. The status did not imply any complicated things: to let people speak their native tongue (Serbians were supposed to be allowed to speak Serbian and Russians in Ukraine to speak Russian), teach children in schools in their native tongue, use it in daily life and have a certain autonomy as regards law-enforcement and economic ties with neighbouring regions (northern Kosovo with Serbia and eastern Ukraine with Russia). Identical agreements were made, which urged respect for national minorities in full conformity with international European conventions on the rights of these groups. The EU announced that it had succeeded in both cases. But it shamefully failed in both cases and had to admit it later on by saying it could not persuade Kiev to fulfil the Minsk agreements or make Pristina abide by its agreements with Belgrade. There is something in common as regards the EU’s treatment of different areas in our common geopolitical space, its goals, its competence and its ability to make deals.

Question: What role do you think Turkey could play in normalising the situation around Ukraine, especially since it aspires to the role of a mediator? How promising is the format that was initially established with Ukraine and that it subsequently torpedoed? What do you think about Ankara’s position on Sweden and Finland’s potential accession to NATO?

Sergey Lavrov: I will not even comment on the last question. This is Ankara’s sovereign business, just as it is for any other country that is a member of an alliance, union or organisation. I heard somewhere that some overzealous EU members from the Baltic states demanded during the discussion of the sixth package of anti-Russia sanctions that Hungary be deprived of the right to vote because it abused the rule of consensus. But this is a paradoxical claim. Consensus means only one thing: that everyone concurs on an issue. If a single member is against something, there is no consensus. Therefore, by voting against something, nobody can undermine the principles of consensus. I will leave this aside; let the NATO members figure it out among themselves. I already had an opportunity to comment on this. Let us see how this process will develop. As for us, this concerns Russia in just one regard: Will Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO create direct physical and material threats to Russia’s security? I think every sensible politician is aware that this will not make the situation any better politically.

As for the military aspect of this deal, we will see what will be done in this respect.

As far as Turkey’s role is concerned, yes it has its own position that it does not conceal. We do not have identical views on all issues; far from it. We have serious disagreements on many aspects of the regional situation. As our cooperation on Syria and later on the Libyan crisis showed, our presidents, while clearly outlining their views, respect each other’s positions. Instead of aggravating the existing differences, both leaders are trying to take into account each other’s concerns. This is how Moscow treats Ankara and Ankara reciprocates. This was the gist of a recent telephone conversation on the problems on food security the West has created over the past two years. Later it aggravated them further by imposing senseless sanctions. Having introduced them, the West suddenly started thinking about how they will affect food deliveries to different countries.

Yes, Russia and Turkey are interested in resolving these problems. In his recent interview, President of Russia Vladimir Putin explained in detail how to unblock food shipments from the Black Sea ports that had been mined by the Ukrainians, and from the ports of the Sea of Azov that have been demined and are now controlled by the Russian Federation. There are safe routes from there via the Kerch Strait to the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. Specialists are leaving for Turkey today. Tomorrow, my delegation will head there. I hope we will manage to examine in detail all the options mentioned by President Vladimir Putin, and our countries’ leaders will dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. This depends exclusively on who will work with Ukraine and compel it to remove the mines in its own ports, as well as those who must remove all obstacles to shipments, their insurance and servicing of ships that will deliver grain and other food products to European ports and from there to developing nations.

Question: The UK has announced that it will supply multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russian forces. The United States is doing the same. You said that this was a risky path to take. But if Russia had not attacked Ukraine and there had been no Russian invasion, there would be no deliveries of rocket launchers. Do you agree?

Sergey Lavrov: I will not even try to step into America’s or Britain’s shoes. You don’t even want to hear our arguments. The issue is not that “if someone hadn’t attacked, you wouldn’t have done something.” The thing is that for twenty years, both you, the British, and the Americans, and all other NATO countries were urged to do what all of you subscribed to in 1999: no country shall strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others. Why can’t you do that? Why is it that the commitments signed by your prime minister, the presidents and prime ministers of all other OSCE countries proved to be lies? Instead, you are saying that we should leave NATO alone and that it is “none of our business,” for you will accept whoever you want. You moved closer to our borders on five occasions (a defensive alliance!). The Warsaw Treaty and the USSR are no more. Who are you defending yourselves against? Five times you decided all on your own where your lines of defence would be. What’s that? This smacks of megalomania.

Today Jens Stoltenberg is saying that NATO’s responsibility should be ensured on the global scale in the Indo-Pacific region. This means that your next line of defence will be in the South China Sea. If we look at what is happening, it becomes patently clear that during all these years you believed you had the right to wreak havoc far from your borders. I understand that you are nostalgic for the British Empire and that there are seeds planted somewhere deep down. You are wistful, of course. Regions are picked out an ocean away from the United States, where allegedly there is a threat to Washington, and they are razed to the ground. Now it is Mosul in Iraq, now Raqqa in Syria, now Belgrade. Libya is in chaos, and countries are destroyed.

Just imagine for a minute that your neighbour, Ireland, which occupies half of the island of the same name, upped and banned the English language, or that Belgium banned French, or Switzerland outlawed French, German, or Italian. How would Europe look at that? I will not even expand on this. But Europe was looking on passively at them banning Russian. This took place in Ukraine. All things Russian – education, the media, everyday contacts, etc. – were prohibited. Moreover, the regime that openly professes and glorifies Nazism bombed and shelled ethnic Russians for eight years.

I understand, you must use cut and dried phrases to drum into the heads of your audiences this truth of yours: “if you hadn’t attacked, we wouldn’t have supplied the MLRS.”  Vladimir Putin has commented on the situation that emerged in connection with the arrival of the new weapons. I can only add that the longer-range arms you supply, the farther will we push from our border the line where the neo-Nazis will be able to threaten the Russian Federation.

Question: At the talks with Ukraine in March, Russia demanded that Kiev recognise the independence of Donbass and the Russian status of Crimea. Does Russia intend to demand that Kiev additionally recognise independence of the Kherson Region and part of the Zaporozhye Region currently controlled by the Russian forces, or their accession to Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: This question will be answered by the people living in the liberated territories. They are saying that they want to choose their future on their own. We fully respect this position.

As for the declared objectives, let me reiterate the following. The West has decided to supply weapons that, in all evidence, are capable of reaching not only the border areas of the Russian Federation but also its more remote points. Politicians and legislators in Ukraine itself are laughing at the Americans, who said they believed Vladimir Zelensky’s promise not to shell Russia. If this is how the United States and its satellites react to what is happening, I will stress once again: the longer-range are the systems supplied to the Kiev regime, the farther will we push the Nazis from the line from which threats emanate for the Russian population of Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

Question: What expectations do you have for your upcoming visit to Ankara? Will a mechanism to resolve the grain issue be announced? Will the continuation of the Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul be discussed?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already answered this question. The range of topics for the talks was outlined during a telephone conversation between the presidents of Russia and Turkey.

In his recent interview, President Vladimir Putin gave a detailed description of the best options for exporting grain. We have been doing everything that is up to us for a long time. For more than a month, Russian servicemen both in the Black and Azov seas have been opening humanitarian corridors for foreign ships to leave, which are in fact kept hostage there by the Ukrainian authorities. The Ukrainians have to clear the mines for the ships to use these corridors. Our Turkish colleagues declared their readiness to help us in this. I think our military will come to terms on the best way to organise this, so that the ships pass to the open sea through the minefields that have to be cleared. Next, we guarantee – on our own or with our Turkish colleagues – that they will reach the straits and move further into the Mediterranean Sea.

The concept is absolutely clear. We have been talking about it for a long time. Attempts are being made to present the case as if Russia does not want something, as if it is necessary to involve some organisation like the UN or adopt a UN Security Council resolution. We have been through all these games. Everyone who can be even a little bit serious about the task of exporting grain from Ukrainian ports knows very well that only one thing must be done to achieve this: to order Vladimir Zelensky to give the command to clear the ports and stop hiding behind statements that Russia will take advantage of this. President Vladimir Putin said that we are not going to take advantage of this and are ready to tackle this problem earnestly. Let me stress that we have been doing everything in our power for a long time.

Question: An increasing number of countries are trying to join the attempts to settle the disagreements between Moscow and Kiev amid Russia’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine and the problems it has caused. What proposals for mediation is Moscow currently considering as the most realistic and acceptable alternatives?

Sergey Lavrov: The most realistic proposals that did not provide for mediation were put forward at a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul on March 29, 2022. These proposals were made by the Ukrainian party. We immediately accepted them as a foundation. Afterwards, the Ukrainian party walked out on these proposals either on its own initiative or under orders from Washington, London or Brussels. Western analysts say “mediation” is impossible as Ukraine’s only demand is that the situation be reversed to the state of affairs on the ground as it was on February 24, 2022. Fantasies are talked about every day, sometimes contradicting one another.

Ukraine is unwilling to hold negotiations. It has declined to do this. We have every reason to believe that in this way Kiev is following the wishes of the Anglo-Saxon leadership of the Western world. We were ready to work honestly based on our Ukrainian colleagues’ proposals. A draft agreement drawn up on the basis of those proposals has been shelved by the Ukrainian side for six weeks now.

Question: As for the provocation by Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro, do you think their position was agreed on with Brussels or directly with Washington? Or was it these countries’ desire to gain favour with Washington and Brussels? Has Europe been closed to our diplomacy altogether?

Sergey Lavrov: I do not know what lies behind this move – either an order or the desire to gain favour – but you have hit the mark. I believe it is a combination of both. They may have long since been ordered not to diverge from the policy of containing Russia, so the desire to be servile is part of it. Or maybe they received these orders yesterday. We do not know.

We are still maintaining diplomatic relations with the majority of western countries, including the unfriendly ones. At the same time I have repeatedly emphasised the main geopolitical conclusion from this situation: it is now impossible to agree with Europe on anything and be sure that they will deliver on their obligations. When these “demons” are driven out and Europe comes to itself, we will see what their perspective on our future ties are. We are not going to impose ourselves on them. Of course, we will weigh and consider what they propose. If their proposals do not disagree with our interests, we will be ready to resume our contacts.

Nikolai Patrushev: Truth Is on Our Side – About the Timing of the Special Operation

June 03, 2022

Source

Translated by Leo V.

Original Link: https://aif.ru/politics/world/pravda_na_nashey_storone_nikolay_patrushev_o_srokah_specoperacii

The special operation in Ukraine brought to a climax the confrontation between Russia and Western countries led by the United States. The battles are going on not only in the vastness of Ukraine, but also in the economic, political and cultural planes.

What threats are facing Russia and how long can the special operation continue, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev told AiF.

What Is the West Trying to Do?

– Gleb Ivanov, AiF.ru: Nikolai Platonovich, the United States and other Western states are openly demonizing Russia, switching to direct insults. What is it connected with?

– Nikolai Patrushev: The style of the Anglo-Saxons has not changed for centuries. And so today they continue to dictate their terms to the world, boorishly trampling on the sovereign rights of states. Covering their actions with words about the struggle for human rights, freedom and democracy, they are actually implementing the doctrine of the “golden billion”, which suggests that a limited number of people can flourish in this world. The destiny of the rest, as they believe, is to bend their backs in the name of their goal.

In order to increase the welfare of a handful of magnates in the City of London and Wall Street, the governments of the United States and United Kingdom, controlled by big capital, are creating an economic crisis in the world, dooming millions of people in Africa, Asia and Latin America to starvation, limiting their access to grain, fertilizers and energy resources. By their actions they are provoking unemployment and a migration catastrophe in Europe. Uninterested in the prosperity of European states, they are doing everything to make them disappear from the pedestal of economically developed countries. And for unconditional control over this region, the Europeans were put on a chair with two legs called NATO and the EU, disdainfully watching how they balance.

– Today, it is increasingly being said that Western pharmaceutical companies are interested in the spread of dangerous diseases and in the daily dependence of mankind on drugs…

– Some experts express an opinion about the man-made coronavirus infection, believing that it could have been created in the Pentagon laboratories with the assistance of a number of major multinational pharmaceutical companies. ClintonRockefellerSoros and Biden funds were involved in this work under state guarantees. Instead of caring for the health of mankind, Washington spends billions on the study of new pathogens. In addition, Western medicine is increasingly practicing genetic engineering, synthetic biology methods, thereby blurring the line between artificial and natural.

– Washington is hatching plans to recognize Russia as a terrorist country, some countries like Lithuania are already officially assigning such a status to Russia…

– As they say, a thief’s hat is on fire. Today it is easier to say which of the largest international terrorist organizations did not arise with American assistance. The United States widely uses them as an instrument of geopolitical confrontation, including with our country. Back in the mid-1980s, under the control of American intelligence services, Al-Qaeda was created on Afghan soil to counter the Soviet Union. In the 1990s, the United States created the Taliban movement to influence Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Guided by their supposedly “national interests”, the United States overthrew objectionable regimes in Libya, Iraq by force of arms, and tried to do it in Syria. And the main striking force in all cases is radical groups, the further unification of which led to the creation of a terrorist monster called the Islamic State, following Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which got out of control of the Americans.

It is also known about Washington’s warm relations with neo-Nazi thugs in Ukraine.

What Does Denazification Mean?

– There is still a lot of controversy about neo-Nazis in Ukraine. In the West, they unanimously repeat that they are not there. President Biden, asking Congress for billions of dollars in arms supplies to Ukraine, calls this country the front line of the struggle for freedom…

– It’s likely that Westerners will not take off their rose-colored glasses until the brutalized Ukrainian thugs start to rage on their streets. By the way, not only in Europe. Remember the recent shooting in America’s city of Buffalo. I would like to ask the Americans what is the difference between a neo-Nazi who shoots people in a supermarket and the Azov militants, who humiliated and destroyed the civilian population of Donbass every day, year after year?

What is meant by denazification? There has been a lot of talk about it in recent months, but not everyone understands this term.

Everything will become clear if you remember the history. During the Potsdam Conference, the USSR, the USA and Britain signed an agreement on the eradication of German militarism and Nazism.

Denazification meant a number of measures. In addition to punishing Nazi criminals, the laws of the Third Reich were repealed, which legalized discrimination based on race, nationality, language, religion, and political beliefs. Nazi and militaristic doctrines were eliminated from school education.

Our country set such goals in 1945, and we are setting the same goals now, freeing Ukraine from neo-Nazism. However, at that time England and the USA were with us. Today, these countries have taken a different position, supporting Nazism and acting aggressively against most countries of the world.

What Will Happen to Ukraine?

– Some of our readers sometimes express concern, as they write, about “the delay in the timing of the special operation in Ukraine.”

– We are not chasing deadlines. Nazism must either be 100% eradicated, or it will rear its head in a few years, and in an even uglier form.

– How do you assess the chances of a successful completion of the special operation?

– All the goals set by the President of Russia will be fulfilled. It cannot be otherwise, since truth, including historical truth, is on our side. Not for nothing that General Skobelev once said that only our country can afford such a luxury as to fight out of a sense of compassion. Compassion, justice, dignity are powerful unifying ideas that we have always put and will put at the forefront.

– And what fate awaits Ukraine? Will it survive as a state?

– The fate of Ukraine will be determined by the people living on its territory. I would like to remind you that our country has never controlled the fate of sovereign powers. On the contrary, we helped them to defend their statehood. We supported the US during their civil war. France was given repeated assistance. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, they did not allow it to be humiliated, and during the First World War they saved Paris twice. It was the USSR that did not allow the British and Americans in 1945 to divide Germany into many states. It is well known about the decisive role of Moscow in the unification of Germany, which was most opposed by the French and the British. Russia played an equally important role in the history of Polish statehood. At the same time, today the West in every possible way obscures the contribution of our country to the preservation of other states.

– By the way, Finland, which now wants to join NATO, also formed as state inside the Russian Empire?

– You’re right. Moreover, Finland emerged from the Second World War, despite it participating on the side of Germany, with minimal damage to itself thanks to the position of Moscow. Now, together with Sweden, Finland has been persuaded to join NATO, ostensibly for their own security. Turkey and Croatia, however, object, but, I think, all the same, Helsinki and Stockholm will be accepted into the bloc, because Washington decided so, as well as Brussels which is controlled by them. The will of other peoples is not of interest to the leadership of the United States, although, I believe, many of the inhabitants of these countries understand what kind of adventure they are being pushed into.

NATO is not a defensive, but a purely aggressive offensive military bloc, joining it implies the automatic transfer of a significant part of its sovereignty to Washington. If the military infrastructure of the alliance expands on the territory of Finland and Sweden, Russia will perceive this as a direct threat to its own security and will be obliged to respond.

– NATO members persistently nod to the Finns and Swedes at Ukraine…

– But the logic here is the opposite. It was the actual leadership of the NATO members by the Kiev authorities that led to the catastrophic scenario. If Ukraine had remained independent, and not controlled by the current puppet regime, obsessed with the idea of joining NATO and the EU, then it would have long ago expelled all Nazi evil spirits from its land. Meanwhile, an endlessly smoldering conflict in this country is seen as an ideal scenario for the entire North Atlantic alliance led by the United States. The West needs Ukraine as a counterbalance to Russia, and also as a testing ground for the disposal of obsolete weapons. By fueling hostilities, the United States is pumping money into its military-industrial complex, again, as in the wars of the 20th century, remaining on the winning side. At the same time, the United States considers the inhabitants of Ukraine as a consumable material, which has no place in the very “golden billion”.

Forgotten History

– Speaking of billions. Zelensky says Russia must pay reparations to Ukraine…

– It is Russia that has the right to demand reparations from the countries that sponsored the Nazis in Ukraine, and the criminal Kiev regime. The DPR and LPR should demand compensation from them for all material damage for 8 years of aggression. And the Ukrainian people themselves deserve reparations from the main instigators of the conflict, i.e. the United States and United Kingdom, which force Ukrainians to fight, support neo-Nazis, supply them with weapons, send their military advisers and mercenaries.

Many Ukrainians, unfortunately, still believe what the West and the Kiev regime tell them. Sobering up will come sooner or later. They have yet to open their eyes and see that the country actually does not exist, that the gene pool of the people, its cultural memory are being destroyed by Westerners and replaced by rabid gender concepts and empty liberal values.

– Forgetting history and abandoning their values, apparently, the trouble is not only for Ukrainians?

– Of course. Last year I visited the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Minsk. The guide shared with me her impressions of the visit of a group of students from the United States, who throughout the entire tour doubted whether they were being told the truth in the museum, because they naively believed that it was America that defeated Nazi Germany.

Unfortunately, some school teachers in our country adhere to such a false version of fateful events. Distort the facts and many training guides. The subject of the heroism of the Soviet people during the years of the Great Patriotic War is given little time in history lessons, and in textbooks it is often described superficially. As a result, only a few high school students can name the names of those who won the Victory in 1945 at the cost of their own lives, and almost no one heard about the heroes of the First World War or the Patriotic War of 1812.

Battle For Memory

– What do you see as the reason?

– First of all, we need to look at the training of teaching staff. It’s time to recall the thoughts of Ushinsky and Makarenko that the teacher shapes the personality of the student, and his vocation should not be the provision of services, but enlightenment, education and upbringing. Specialized universities should prepare future teachers as high-class masters, and not stamp them on the assembly line.

Teachers occupy a special place in the life of every citizen, therefore, arbitrary interpretation by individual teachers of world and national history, which undermines the authority of our country and programs the minds of children on the basis of false facts and myths, is unacceptable. The psychological manipulation of youth, the gap between generations, the distortion of historical truth – all this is incompatible with the professional vocation of a teacher.

– I recall the catchphrase attributed to Bismarck that “battles are won by teachers.”

– In my opinion, the idea is certainly true. Especially in the conditions of the hybrid war, which is now deployed against Russia. And in it, teachers are at the forefront. There is a need for personal responsibility of the heads of educational institutions, whose graduates did not hold books on the heroism of the Soviet people during the Great Patriotic War, or have a vague idea of the exploits of those who fought for the Motherland.

It is impossible to push the issues of patriotic education of youth into extracurricular activities. In the reports, all this is described beautifully, but there is no result. In some schools, including private schools, the word ‘patriotism’ is considered obsolete.

– How do you propose to change this situation?

– It is necessary to raise the authority of teachers who are faithful to their profession, devoting their lives to educating true patriots. The most important task today is the revival of historical traditions, as well as the protection of traditional Russian spiritual and moral values. To solve it, a systematic approach to upbringing and education is needed. There is a need to implement the state program in this area at all stages of a person’s maturation and his formation as a citizen. A comprehensive model of this process should be developed.

At present, our students and teachers are actually squeezed out of the Western scientific and educational sphere. I believe it is advisable to abandon the so-called Bologna Process system of education and return to the experience of the world’s best domestic educational model.

In addition, it is necessary to provide for a significant increase in the scale of the state order for the creation of works of literature and art, filmhttp://(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bologna_Process)s and television programs aimed at preserving historical memory, instilling pride in our country and forming a mature civil society, clearly aware of the responsibility for its development and prosperity.

Only in this case, we will be able to successfully counter the threats and challenges that are formed by the collective West to influence the individual, group and public consciousness.

Andrei Martyanov: Debunking Fakes – May 9th, Zmeinnyi Island fiasco, Pentagon, Fakes, Nuclear subs in… Black Sea

May 10, 2022

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‘Victory over death itself’: Why the 9th of May is so important for Russians

9 May, 2022

People holding photographs of their relatives who fought against Nazi Germany in WWII attend the Immortal Regiment march marking the 77th anniversary of the victory in World War II, in Moscow, Russia. © Sputnik / Grigory Sysoev

77 years after World War Two, Victory Day is regarded as the country’s most important holiday

By Evgeny Norin, a Russian historian focused on Russia’s wars and international politics

People holding photographs of their relatives who fought against Nazi Germany in WWII attend the Immortal Regiment march marking the 77th anniversary of the victory in World War II, in Moscow, Russia. © Sputnik / Grigory Sysoev

May 9 is a special holiday for Russians, and the great attention we pay to this date often seems unusual to people from other countries and cultures. Indeed, to say that “for Russians, the Second World War ended yesterday,” it is not far from the truth. 

Evgeny Dering was a veterinarian who treated horses. He lived in St. Petersburg, which was then called Leningrad. On June 22, 1941, he went off to war. Before he left, he asked his wife Regina to take their children – two daughters and a son just born in April – and leave for the depths of Russia. As it turned out, this request saved their lives. A few days later, Regina took her children to the village of Makarevo, in the Nizhny Novgorod oblast (then Gorky), and settled in a 15th century convent that had been set up as a shelter for refugees like her. More than 600,000 Leningrad residents died of hunger during the great siege of the city. Regina survived, as did all her children, but she never saw her husband again. In October of 1943, Evgeny Dering was killed by artillery shelling at a small marshy bridgehead on the Dnieper River… 

For Russians, Victory Day is literally a celebration of victory over death – one in which everyone was involved. Almost every family has a story about what their ancestors did during the war. These stories vary greatly, but they are almost always dramatic. Many have tales about people who died. The Soviet Union lost more than 27 million people during the war. About 12 million were soldiers and officers, while the rest were civilians who died at the hands of the Nazis during the fighting or from hunger. By the time Berlin had been taken and Adolf Hitler had committed suicide in his bunker in 1945, the USSR was a country where almost everyone mourned someone. A person who had lost ‘only’ friends was considered lucky. 

The Nazis waged war with extreme brutality. Jews were never spared, but nothing good awaited anyone else either. A Belarusian government database contains the names of 9,000 villages that were burned by the invaders during the war, and this was only in one of the Soviet Union’s occupied republics. In many of the destroyed hamlets, the number of victims is often identical to, or nearly matches, the number of their inhabitants, at the time. The most common method of extermination was to drive the population into a barn and set it on fire. People also died from shelling and starvation or were simply callously shot. Criminal acts committed against the civilian population were exempt from accountability under a special order issued by Hitler. 

A red cross provided no protection during the war – ambulances and ships were often destroyed by direct fire. No allowances were made for age either – children were killed on a par with adults. 

However, for us, the war is not just a story of monstrous cruelty. It is a legend of incredible national unity, where an ordinary worker and a world-renowned composer could converge in a volunteer fire brigade, and a young bohemian from Moscow could share bread with a miner from the Donbass and an Asian conscript from a Kazakh steppe village in a trench. It is a story of the remarkable ability not to give up when all circumstances seem to be against you and resistance seems futile. After each lost battle, the surviving officers would analyze their failures and try to figure out what they had done wrong and how to change the situation. It is a story of amazing self-sacrifice, when recruiting volunteers for a new division resembled a competitive university admissions process. 

And it is a story about military triumph. The Third Reich was a deadly enemy. The five-million strong invading army reached the Caucasus mountains and threatened to take Moscow and Leningrad, but nevertheless ended up being defeated. For us, it is a story about how we shed torrents of blood, but the army that came to kill us was completely destroyed, the enemy capital was taken by storm, the dictator who ordered the invasion committed suicide, and the banners of the losing army were thrown against the walls of the Kremlin. We paid a terrible price, but our triumph was absolute. 

In Russia, you rarely hear people say ‘World War II’. The term formulated in those times, ‘The Great Patriotic War’, is still in use today. This is not an attempt to somehow disregard what the Second World War was for others, but a desire to emphasize that, for us, it is still a kind of special event that goes beyond an ordinary armed conflict. For us, it is a truly heroic epic. It is the Iliad, a number of whose heroes are still alive and walking among us today. They are very old now, and yet some are still here. Our Ajax still sometimes goes out into his yard in the evenings, jingling medals for storming Vienna, to sit on a bench; our Diomedes can be seen every morning walking his dog. 

The memory of the war has influenced many aspects of life in Russia. You can hear it in personal stories, see it in culture, and even sense it in politics. Some of our government’s obsession with the security of the country’s western borders is a vestige of exactly that catastrophe, when we had to retreat to the very edge with our backs pressed against the wall. This memory seriously affects our relations with our neighbors and is nearly impossible to erase. 

But perhaps the main thing that we learned from the upheavals of that era is a simple truth: we can endure any difficulties, stand our ground, and rebuild our country after any trial. It is a memory not only of a feast of death, but also the triumph of life. 

…Evgeny Dering’s son, Gennady, never saw his father. He did not return to Leningrad and spent his childhood and youth in Makarevo. Fifteen years after the war, he met a girl named Albina, whom he married. These are my grandparents. They are still alive. Their daughter is my mom. Historical events often turn out to be surprisingly close to us today. 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Andrei Martyanov: Victory Day, May 9th, How To Make A Decision. Real War Planning.

May 09, 2022

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President Putin of Russia: speech on Red Square Victory Parade

May 09, 2022

Victory Parade on Red Square

President of Russia – Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Federation Armed Forces Vladimir Putin attended a military parade marking the 77th anniversary of Victory in the 1941–1945 Great Patriotic War.

Overall, 11,000 personnel and 131 units of military equipment were engaged in the parade.

* * *

Address by the President of Russia at the military parade

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Fellow Russian citizens,

Dear veterans,

Comrade soldiers and seamen, sergeants and sergeant majors, midshipmen and warrant officers,

Comrade officers, generals and admirals,

I congratulate you on the Day of Great Victory!

The defence of our Motherland when its destiny was at stake has always been sacred. It was the feeling of true patriotism that Minin and Pozharsky’s militia stood up for the Fatherland, soldiers went on the offensive at the Borodino Field and fought the enemy outside Moscow and Leningrad, Kiev and Minsk, Stalingrad and Kursk, Sevastopol and Kharkov.

Today, as in the past, you are fighting for our people in Donbass, for the security of our Motherland, for Russia.

May 9, 1945 has been enshrined in world history forever as a triumph of the united Soviet people, its cohesion and spiritual power, an unparalleled feat on the front lines and on the home front.

Victory Day is intimately dear to all of us. There is no family in Russia that was not burnt by the Great Patriotic War. Its memory never fades. On this day, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the heroes march in an endless flow of the Immortal Regiment. They carry photos of their family members, the fallen soldiers who remained young forever, and the veterans who are already gone.

We take pride in the unconquered courageous generation of the victors, we are proud of being their successors, and it is our duty to preserve the memory of those who defeated Nazism and entrusted us with being vigilant and doing everything to thwart the horror of another global war.

Therefore, despite all controversies in international relations, Russia has always advocated the establishment of an equal and indivisible security system which is critically needed for the entire international community.

Last December we proposed signing a treaty on security guarantees. Russia urged the West to hold an honest dialogue in search for meaningful and compromising solutions, and to take account of each other’s interests. All in vain. NATO countries did not want to heed us, which means they had totally different plans. And we saw it.

Another punitive operation in Donbass, an invasion of our historic lands, including Crimea, was openly in the making. Kiev declared that it could attain nuclear weapons. The NATO bloc launched an active military build-up on the territories adjacent to us.

Thus, an absolutely unacceptable threat to us was steadily being created right on our borders. There was every indication that a clash with neo-Nazis and Banderites backed by the United States and their minions was unavoidable.

Let me repeat, we saw the military infrastructure being built up, hundreds of foreign advisors starting work, and regular supplies of cutting-edge weaponry being delivered from NATO countries. The threat grew every day.

Russia launched a pre-emptive strike at the aggression. It was a forced, timely and the only correct decision. A decision by a sovereign, strong and independent country.

The United States began claiming their exceptionalism, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, thus denigrating not just the entire world but also their satellites, who have to pretend not to see anything, and to obediently put up with it.

But we are a different country. Russia has a different character. We will never give up our love for our Motherland, our faith and traditional values, our ancestors’ customs and respect for all peoples and cultures.

Meanwhile, the West seems to be set to cancel these millennia-old values. Such moral degradation underlies the cynical falsifications of World War II history, escalating Russophobia, praising traitors, mocking their victims’ memory and crossing out the courage of those who won the Victory through suffering.

We are aware that US veterans who wanted to come to the parade in Moscow were actually forbidden to do so. But I want them to know: We are proud of your deeds and your contribution to our common Victory.

We honour all soldiers of the allied armies – the Americans, the English, the French, Resistance fighters, brave soldiers and partisans in China – all those who defeated Nazism and militarism.

Comrades,

Donbass militia alongside with the Russian Army are fighting on their land today, where princes Svyatoslav and Vladimir Monomakh’s retainers, solders under the command of Rumyantsev and Potemkin, Suvorov and Brusilov crushed their enemies, where Great Patriotic War heroes Nikolai Vatutin, Sidor Kovpak and Lyudmila Pavlichenko stood to the end.

I am addressing our Armed Forces and Donbass militia. You are fighting for our Motherland, its future, so that nobody forgets the lessons of World War II, so that there is no place in the world for torturers, death squads and Nazis.

Today, we bow our heads to the sacred memory of all those who lost their lives in the Great Patriotic War, the memories of the sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends.

We bow our heads to the memory of the Odessa martyrs who were burned alive in the House of Trade Unions in May 2014, to the memory of the old people, women and children of Donbass who were killed in atrocious and barbaric shelling by neo-Nazis. We bow our heads to our fighting comrades who died a brave death in the righteous battle – for Russia.

I declare a minute of silence.

(A minute of silence.)

The loss of each officer and soldier is painful for all of us and an irretrievable loss for the families and friends. The government, regional authorities, enterprises and public organisations will do everything to wrap such families in care and help them. Special support will be given to the children of the killed and wounded comrades-in-arms. The Presidential Executive Order to this effect was signed today.

I wish a speedy recovery to the wounded soldiers and officers, and I thank doctors, paramedics, nurses and staff of military hospitals for their selfless work. Our deepest gratitude goes to you for saving each life, oftentimes sparing no thought for yourselves under shelling on the frontlines.

Comrades,

Soldiers and officers from many regions of our enormous Motherland, including those who arrived straight from Donbass, from the combat area, are standing now shoulder-to-shoulder here, on Red Square.

We remember how Russia’s enemies tried to use international terrorist gangs against us, how they tried to seed inter-ethnic and religious strife so as to weaken us from within and divide us. They failed completely.

Today, our warriors of different ethnicities are fighting together, shielding each other from bullets and shrapnel like brothers.

This is where the power of Russia lies, a great invincible power of our united multi-ethnic nation.

You are defending today what your fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought for. The wellbeing and security of their Motherland was their top priority in life. Loyalty to our Fatherland is the main value and a reliable foundation of Russia’s independence for us, their successors, too.

Those who crushed Nazism during the Great Patriotic War showed us an example of heroism for all ages. This is the generation of victors, and we will always look up to them.

Glory to our heroic Armed Forces!

For Russia! For Victory!

Hooray!

Laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Russia marks Victory Day with Red Square parade (PHOTOS)

May 9, 2022

Newest tanks and ballistic missiles were among the military hardware on show

Up to 11,000 soldiers marched through Moscow’s iconic Red Square on Monday, followed by more than 100 armored vehicles, as Russia marked the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany and its allies in World War II.

The Red Army’s fight against Nazi troops is known as the Great Patriotic War in Russia, and May 9 is one of the country’s most revered holidays.

“It is our duty to cherish the memory of those who vanquished Nazism,” President Vladimir Putin said as he kicked off the parade. He added it was crucial “to stay vigilant and do everything so that the horror of a global war would never be repeated.”

Russia marks Victory Day with Red Square parade (PHOTOS)
Military vehicles participate in Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2022. © Evgeny Odinokov / Russia

Up to 11,000 soldiers marched through Moscow’s iconic Red Square on Monday, followed by more than 100 armored vehicles, as Russia marked the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany and its allies in World War II.

The Red Army’s fight against Nazi troops is known as the Great Patriotic War in Russia, and May 9 is one of the country’s most revered holidays.

“It is our duty to cherish the memory of those who vanquished Nazism,” President Vladimir Putin said as he kicked off the parade. He added it was crucial “to stay vigilant and do everything so that the horror of a global war would never be repeated.”

The parade in Moscow took place amid Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, which was launched in late February.

The marching columns represented all branches of Russia’s armed forces. They included elite airborne troops, military police, national guardsmen, Cossacks, and cadets.

The vehicles were led by the historic T-34-85 tank, which was used extensively by the Red Army during the war.

They were followed by Typhoon-K armored jeeps with Okhotnik (Hunter) remote-controlled turrets.

© Alexey Mayshev / Sputnik

Kurganets-25 armored infantry fighting vehicles were equipped with the newest Epokha (Epoch) weapons module that allows them to destroy targets with guns and rockets.

The tank column included the state-of-the-art T-90M Proryv (Breakthrough) main battle tanks.

© Alexander Nenemov / AFP

Russia showcased its S-400 air defense missile systems that are capable of striking airborne targets at the range of up to 250km (155 miles). They were followed by the Yars thermonuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles that can travel 10,000km (6,213 miles).

© Alexey Mayshev / Sputnik

The traditional flyby by military aircraft was canceled at the last minute due to bad weather. The Defense Ministry was planning to have the Il-80 command plane fly over Red Square for the first time since 2010. The aircraft has been dubbed ‘the doomsday plane’ by the media because it is designed to coordinate decisions during a nuclear war.

Flybys were also canceled in St. Petersburg and other cities.

READ MORE: Russia marks victory over Nazi Germany with major military parade (FULL VIDEO)

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The speech of the Russian President during the military parade on Victory Day

77 Years On… Victory Day Over Nazi Germany and Where Wartime Allies Now Stand

May 6, 2022

Russia and its allies celebrate May 9 with a living conviction to defeat Nazism and imperialist aggression.

Russia celebrates Victory Day on Monday, May 9, the annual commemoration of the defeat of Nazi Germany. The date marks the official surrender of the Third Reich to the allied forces.

However, it is truly remarkable that of the three main World War Two allies – the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union – it is Russia that stands alone in continuing to celebrate the historic victory with such vibrancy and deep emotional reverence.

Over the past 77 years since the original Victory Day, there has been a discernible diminution in the Western states of the importance of the occasion. Unlike in Russia where the whole nation rallies with processions, dedications and celebrations – culminating in the impressive Red Square parade – by stark contrast, in Western states, the occasion is now hardly saluted.

This is partly due to the fact that so few veterans of the war are alive. But also, more so perhaps, among the Russian population, there is an abiding passionate sense of what the historic event means. After all, nearly 30 million Soviet citizens lost their lives during the horrific war and their memories are carried forward proudly by families and forthcoming generations. The collective memory of such an immense sacrifice for the sake of others is indelible.

There is a deeper, more structural political factor pertaining to the nature of Western state imperialism. That nature has been hidden for many years by careful media control and self-aggrandizing mythology about presumed Western virtues.

This year, Victory Day acquires renewed importance and an awesome relevance. Russia has dealt a fatal blow to Nazi heirs of the Third Reich with the launch of its defensive military intervention on February 24 in Ukraine. For eight years, the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine had endured vicious offensives by the NATO-backed Kiev regime. An international peace deal mediated by Moscow in 2015 (along with France and Germany) was blatantly ignored and eventually repudiated by the Kiev regime, an unconscionable betrayal of legally binding obligations to which Western powers and their media turned a cynical blind eye. On top of that, the Kiev regime and its self-professed Nazi Azov regiments were covertly planning to launch major aggression against the ethnic Russian people of the Donbass until it was preempted by Russia’s intervention. The Kiev regime was installed by a CIA-backed coup d’état in 2014 which violently ousted an elected president. The evident purpose of the regime was to destabilize Russia and spearhead a NATO-wide threat toward Russia. That threat was building all the time with the installation of U.S. strategic missiles in Europe and the sponsoring of bioweapon laboratories in Ukraine by the Pentagon.

It is obvious that the present conflict in Ukraine is the result of a long process of NATO-engineered aggression against Russia. Even the Roman Catholic Pope Francis has acknowledged that fact, only for him to be lambasted by Western media as a pro-Russian conspiracy theorist.

As Russian forces succeed in liberating the Donbass from eight years of Nazi brigades holding these areas under siege, the inhabitants are now recounting the horrors under which they lived. The NATO-trained and weaponized Azov regiments and other battalions – who openly glorify Nazi SS death squads – imposed a reign of terror on the Donbass from where they would also fire on the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Nearly 14,000 people were killed during eight years of NATO and European Union-backed violence. Not a word of condemnation was uttered by the Western media during that time.

The Kiev regime continues to use NATO weapons to attack civilian areas in the Donbass when they get the chance. The all-telling thing is that the Western media report nothing critical about the Nazi regiments, their criminal, genocidal tactics, or the NATO connections. Indeed today, the Western media eulogize the “brave” Azov defenders against Russian “aggression”. The United States, its NATO allies and the European Union political leadership are today funneling weapons to a regime that is the modern incarnation of the Third Reich in Europe (despite a Jewish president figurehead), and the Western media of course cover up that nefarious configuration. The damning fact is the Western sponsors of this regime are creating the conditions for a Third World War.

Events in Ukraine and the NATO aggression that created the conflict and is sustaining it serves to underscore that militarism and violation of international law are an abiding threat to world peace despite the defeat of Nazi Germany 77 years ago. Russia is consistent in its commemoration of Victory Day. The Western powers pay lip service but, despicably, their conduct over Ukraine is evidence that they are empirically closer now to the defeated Third Reich than they are to the supposed allied victors.

This may seem a disorienting, even incredible, conclusion. Decades of Western boasting and media mythology have claimed almost a single-handed victory by the Western allies against Nazi Germany. The United States in particular likes to preen and self-congratulate about “liberating” Europe from fascism. The historic and actual pivotal role of the Soviet Union has long been downplayed and devalued.

But as historian and philosopher Werner Rügemer explained in a formative article this week for Strategic Culture Foundation, the end of the Second World War was really just a punctuation mark for the continued imperial expansion of the United States. The U.S. and its NATO military vehicle established in 1949 propounded the lie of Cold War and “defense of Europe against the Soviet Union” as a cover for American imperialism. As Rügemer notes, the eastward expansion of NATO since the end of the Cold War is a continuation of the hegemonic process of conquest in continual violation of the United Nations Charter. The U.S.-led wars in every corner of the globe over the past 77 years are the corollary of the fact that the United States and its imperialist surrogates in NATO and the European Union are the heirs of Nazi aggression. The proof of that is the political, financial, and military support they are lavishly providing today to the Kiev regime while their own populations and hard-pressed workers suffer the impact of anti-Russian economic warfare.

The Victory Day celebrations this year are more important than ever. They are as just as relevant today. But what’s significant this year is it is also more apparent than ever the Western fraudulence in their historic claims about the defeat of Nazism and fascism.

Russia and its allies celebrate May 9 with a living conviction to defeat Nazism and imperialist aggression and to uphold the legal and moral principles of the United Nations. It is obvious and shockingly shameful where the United States and its imperialist allies now evidently stand. What’s even more disturbing: their historical trajectory is not a deviation; it is an organic continuum of Western imperialism. The only thing that has changed over the years is the ideological, myth-making camouflage to conceal the malevolent nature; and that camouflage is increasingly threadbare to the point of being discarded altogether.

For the weekend: May 9th, The Real Story Behind D-Day (and current rumors)

May 06, 2022

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and support him here: https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=60459185

Andrei Martyanov: John Kirby, what a sweetheart. US political histrionics. Poland’s plans.

April 30, 2022

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Andrei Martyanov: They are terrified when seeing this banner

April 28, 2022

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with India Today television channel, Moscow, April 19, 2022

April 20, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1810023/

Question: The big question that most are asking is the reason for this operation, the reason for President Putin to take the country to war at a time when we have seen negotiations and talks taking place. What was the reason? We know that America said that Russia was going to carry out operations. New Delhi certainly was not aware of it. Many countries said that it is not something that is going to happen, but it did happen.

Sergey Lavrov: The real reason is the complacency of most countries of the world after the end of World War II, when our Western colleagues, led by the United States, declared themselves winners and in violation of the promises to the Soviet and Russian leadership started moving NATO eastward. They kept saying: “Don’t worry, this is a defensive alliance, it is not a threat to Russian security.” It was a defensive alliance when there were NATO and the Warsaw Treaty, and there was the Berlin Wall, as you remember, both physical and geopolitical. It was very clear what was the “line of defence” for this “defensive alliance.”

When the opponent disappeared, both the Warsaw Treaty disappeared and the Soviet Union disappeared, they decided that they will move the “line of defence eastward.” They did this five times without explaining against whom they are going to defend themselves, but in the process building up their advanced assault capacities and choosing the former Soviet republics, especially Ukraine, as the springboard against the Russian interests.

As early as 2003, for example, when they had a presidential election in Ukraine, the West was publicly and blatantly demanding Ukrainians: you must choose, are you with Russia or with Europe? Then, of course, they started pulling Ukraine into the European Union Association Agreement. The agreement provided for zero tariffs for Ukrainian goods in Europe, and European goods in Ukraine. We had a free trade area agreement with Ukraine in the context of the Commonwealth of Independent States. So, we told our Ukrainian neighbours: guys, we have zero tariffs with you, but we have protection with the European Union, because we negotiated WTO entry for 18 years. For some time, we did manage to protect some sectors of the Russian economy – agriculture, insurance, banking, and some others – with considerable tariffs. We told them: if you have zero [tariffs] with Europe and zero [tariffs] with us, we are not protected against European goods, which was part of the deal when we entered the WTO.

Then in 2013, when the Ukrainian President understood the problem, he asked the European Union to postpone the signature of the Association Agreement. We suggested that the three of us – Russia, Ukraine, and the EU – could sit together and discuss how to proceed. The European Union in a very arrogant way said that this is none of your business, we do not put our nose in your trade with China or other countries, so this is going to happen. Then the President of Ukraine decided to postpone this ceremony. The next morning, the demonstrators were on Maidan in Kiev.

In February 2014, the European Union helped negotiate a deal between the President and the opposition. Next morning, the signatures of the European Union representatives – France, Germany and Poland – were absolutely ignored by the opposition, who staged a coup and declared that they are creating a “government of the winners,” that they will cancel the special status of the Russian language. They threatened to throw ethnic Russians out of Crimea, they sent armed groups to storm the Crimean parliament. That is how the war started. The Crimeans said: “We don’t want to have anything [to do] with you, leave us alone.” As a I said, there was a threat from armed groups. The eastern areas of Ukraine said: “Guys, we do not support your coup, leave us alone.” They never attacked the rest of Ukraine. The putschists attacked them, having called them terrorists. They called them terrorists for eight long years.

We managed to stop this bloodshed in February 2015 – the so-called Minsk Agreements were signed, providing Eastern Ukraine with some special status, language, the right to have some local police, special economic relations with the adjacent Russian regions. It was basically the same as [the agreement] the European Union negotiated for the north of Kosovo where Serbs live. In both cases, the European Union failed totally to deliver on what was guaranteed by the signatures of its members. For eight long years, the respective governments of Ukraine and Presidents of Ukraine were saying, blatantly and publicly, that they were not going to implement the Minsk agreements, that they will move to Plan B. They continued to shell the territories of these [self-] proclaimed republics during all these years. We warned the Europeans, the Americans, and Ukraine that they are ignoring something which was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. To no avail.

People do not want to go back into this history because they prefer to take events on their immediate merit, but these particular events are rooted in the desire of the United States and what we call the collective West, to rule, to dominate the world and just show everybody that there would be no multipolarity. It would be only unipolarity.

And that they can declare Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yugoslavia, located tens of thousands of miles from the United States, threats to their security, and can do whatever they please there, levelling cities, like they did with Mosul in Iraq, and Raqqa in Syria. Russia has been warning all its colleagues that just on our borders you have been creating a springboard against us: you have been pumping arms into Ukraine, you have been totally ignoring the legislation of Ukraine, which prohibited, completely prohibited the Russian language, you have been encouraging neo-Nazi ideologies and practices. The neo-Nazi battalions were very much active against the territories which proclaimed themselves independent and who were promised special status. It’s inside Ukraine.

It was all linked with Ukraine becoming NATO’s springboard, and NATO expansion. They were saying that Ukraine will be in NATO. Nobody can stop Ukraine if it so wishes. Then President Zelensky said that he might think about coming back to possess nuclear weapons. In November last year, my President suggested to the United States and to NATO to sit down, to cool off, and to discuss how we can agree on security guarantees without NATO’s further eastward expansion. They refused. In the process, the Ukrainian army radically intensified the shelling of those republics in violation of all the ceasefire agreements. We didn’t have any other choice but to recognise them, to sign mutual assistance treaties with them, and, in response to their request, to send our troops as part of special operation to protect their lives.

Question: You provided the basics: the history, as well as the present context. But you also said, President Putin himself said, that this is not targeting civilians or the citizens, people of Ukraine. It is to do with the administration. We know that in international foreign policy parlance it is used quite often: not in my backyard. America says it all the time, and many other countries say it. But should an entire people, and entire population be punished for an administration wanting to carry out independent foreign policy?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think it’s about any independence. Since 2013, and maybe even earlier, hundreds and hundreds of US, UK, and other Western security and military experts have been openly sitting in the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence and the Ukrainian security apparatus. They basically were running the place.

As for the civilians, immediately when this special operation started in response to the request from Donetsk and Lugansk in full compliance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, when it was announced by President Putin, he said that the sole purpose of this operation is to demilitarise and denazify Ukrainians – these two problems of the country are intimately linked. We have been targeting only military infrastructure. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian army and the so-called nationalist battalions, which are using Nazi insignia, swastikas, which was borrowed from Indian history, but twisted the wrong way, and insignia of Waffen-SS battalions, these people were using and continue to use civilians as human shields. They were placing heavy weapons in the middle of towns and cities, next to schools, next to kindergartens, to hospitals. The internet is full of the testimonies of the people who were living in these places, and who were asking these people not to do this.

Unfortunately, nobody in the West actually pays attention to the facts, which we have been providing. Instead, they are staging some fake situations, like a couple of weeks ago with the place called Bucha. The Russian troops left on March 30, I think, and for three days the city was back in the hands of the Ukrainian administration. The mayor of Bucha Anatoly Fedoruk was publicly saying that the city is back to normal life. Only on the fourth day, they started showing images of dozens of corpses lying in the street, which was only a few days before shown as being back to normal. Then a few days later in the city of Kramatorsk, which was fully in the Ukrainian hands, they summoned people to the railway station, and attacked them with a Tochka-U missile. It was proven beyond any doubt that the missile was fired by the Ukrainian army. That’s why the next morning it was out of the news in the West because everybody understood the obvious nature of this provocation. Now, The New York Times says that they have the proof that cluster bombs were used by the Ukrainian army.

Speaking of civilians and the rules of international humanitarian law, I can once again assure you that our army operates against the military infrastructure and not against civilians.

Question: Mr Lavrov, you said that Russian forces have only targeted military facilities. Even if there were military facilities or tanks that have been placed in civilian areas, Russian forces did not show restraint in taking them down. Hence, there are civilians who have been killed. There has been bloodshed, whether it is the outskirts of Kiev, primarily Mariupol, Volnovakha – absolutely raised to the ground. Some responsibility has to be taken by the Russians also on the bloodshed?

Sergey Lavrov: It is always terrible when military activities bring damage to the civilians and to the civilian sector, to civilian infrastructure. As I said, when people have been killing ethnic Russians, citizens of Ukraine, in the east for eight years, no TV representatives, be it Asian, be it African, be it Latin American, be it European, be it the United States, paid any attention to this. The Russian journalists have been working on the contact line, on the side of the republics, round the clock, showing the atrocities committed by the Ukrainian neo-Nazis and Ukrainian armed forces. And during all those years not a single foreign journalist cared to come to the other part of this line of contact to see what was going on there.

The statistics available from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe indicate that the damage afflicted on the civilians and the civilian infrastructure on the side of the republics, the [self-] proclaimed republics, was five times more and bigger than the same figure for the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government.

This is not to say that we can just ignore the victims and the damage to the civilian infrastructure, but once again I want to emphasise a very important thing. This outcry started only when the Russians decided to protect Russians who are citizens of Ukraine and who were absolutely discriminated. There was no outcry when the city of Raqqa, for example, in Syria was levelled with dozens and hundreds of corpses lying there unattended for weeks and weeks. The American military never had any scruples about achieving their military goals, be it in Syria, be it in Iraq, be it in Afghanistan, for that matter.

This is a tragedy, when people die. But we cannot tolerate the situation when our Western colleagues say that they can do anything they want. They can encourage the government in Kiev to be as Russophobic as it takes. They would not tell them to stop prohibiting the Russian language in education, in media, stop banning all Russian speaking channels, including Ukrainian channels, they would not tell them not to prosecute the opposition, who favours dialogue with Russia, and to stop violating the commitments to give special status to the territories where the Russian speaking population dominates.

Question: You made a very important point because India Today has travelled to Donetsk and we have been putting out these reports. It is very important because it is important to understand the plight of Russian descent and Russian speaking people in Ukraine. There is no taking away from that. We will talk about Donbass. But coming to the allegations against Russia of genocide, of war crimes, and on the fact that chemical weapons have been used by Russian forces, what do you have to say to the visuals? You said that there were no bodies. There were bodies in the basements that have been found much later that would have been found anyway much later. Will there be no investigation that will be carried out? Why just say that it did not happen?

Sergey Lavrov: We are investigating the atrocities of the neo-Nazi battalions of Ukraine and of Ukrainian armed forces. There is a special commission created by the Russian chamber – there is a public organisation which is very experienced. They have been discovering the fakes staged by the so-called White Helmets in Syria, in many other cases. We will not cease our efforts to establish the truth.

We are used to the fact that the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western countries have a very interesting habit: they just throw in news when they believe this news will work ideologically for their benefit, and then, when it comes to the facts, and when more facts are discovered, putting a big question mark on their assertions, they just lose interest.

2007, London. Poisoning of Mr Litvinenko. Huge outcry. The investigation begins, and after a few weeks a public inquiry is announced, which in the UK  means that it is secret. Until now, we cannot get the facts about what had happened to Mr Litvinenko.

2014, Malaysian Airlines Boeing. Shot down over Ukraine. We presented a huge amount of facts. We requested that we be part of the investigation – no way. Ukrainians who did not close their skies during the conflict were invited to this investigation group, Russia was not. Malaysia, as the owner of the plane, was invited only five months later after the Australians, the Dutch. They and the Malaysians agreed among themselves that anything coming out of this room must be subject to consensus, meaning that Ukraine, which did not close the skies, had a veto power on this investigation. We could not get the truth on this one as well.

2019, Salisbury poisoning. The people disappeared. The only proof which was made public is “highly likely,” as Theresa May said. The Brits insisted on the expulsion of Russian diplomats by most of the European countries. When I asked my friends, did they provide proof beyond the public statements about “highly likely” it was Russia, they said “no, but they promised to.” I checked one year later, whether this was done, it was not done. And so on, and so forth.

2020. Our opposition blogger Mr Navalny was poisoned. We asked the Germans. We immediately responded to the German request to let him go to the Berlin hospital. Twenty-four hours after the request he was flown to Berlin. We don’t have any confirmation who was flying with him, where did they get the bottle which is the key element in this investigation. When we asked the Germans to show us the formula which they discovered in his blood, they said this is a military secret.

It is us who until now insist on the truth about Litvinenko, about the Skripals, about Malaysian Boeing, and about Navalny. The stories that they stage in Ukraine these days are of the same nature.

Question: Going back to the investigations, you are saying that that Azov battalion is absolutely shameful, yes, they should be investigated. They are neo-Nazis, and they should not have been incorporated or integrated into any military regime in any country. But if you introspect and look at your own people as well, is there any instance of denying and rejecting claims? Will there be investigations against your own people if they have done wrong? Will they be held accountable?

Sergey Lavrov: We have a law that prohibits the military to do anything which is not allowed under international humanitarian law. Any violations are registered and investigated.

On Azov, it is interesting that you mentioned it. Azov was listed in the United States in 2014 or 2015 as a group that cannot be supported, that cannot legitimately operate, and it was prohibited by Congress to provide any assistance to this battalion. Everybody forgot about this or rather they certainly remember what this group is about, and they decided to put their money on this group.

In Japan, as you know, they passed a special decree by the government that Azov is no longer a neo-Nazi group, and the Japanese government apologises for listing Azov as such. And of course when President Zelensky in his camouflage was asked about Azov by some journalists, who felt that something was wrong with these neo-Nazi trends, Zelensky said quietly: Azov, they are what they are, we have many groups like this. They are part of our army.

You, I mean the media, started asking questions about Azov only when the military operation was launched. For eight long years, nobody lifted a finger, nobody bothered about what was being groomed in Ukraine, as a continuation, or rather a resurrection, of what was boiling in Europe in 1930s.

Question: President Zelensky said that Russia plans to use tactical nuclear weapons.

Sergey Lavrov: He says many things. Depends on what he drinks and what he smokes. He says many things.

Question: Do you think it was a strategic miscalculation by President Zelensky to take on Russia when there was no certain assurance from NATO and the European Union that they would actually back Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: President Zelensky came to power with the promise of peace. He said that he will reach peace on the basis of the Minsk Agreements. A few months later, he said he cannot implement the Minsk Agreements because the Minsk Agreements are “unimplementable.”

Question: It was the Russian forces, the DPR.

Sergey Lavrov: No, he never said that it was because of the military situation on the ground. He said that it is unthinkable for Ukraine to give special status to any part of his territory. But it was very “thinkable,” if I may say so, when Ukraine was created, to put together the territories which now (those in the west) never celebrate Victory Day, May 9, and the eastern territories, which would never celebrate the heroes honoured in the west: those who collaborated with Hitler. With this difficult composition of territories, to say that Ukraine can only be a unitary state, and that it would not give special status to these people even if the Security Council demands so, I believe that this was not very far-sighted.

Had he cooperated as he promised to his electorate when he was elected, had he cooperated in implementing the Minsk Agreements, the crisis would have been over long ago.

Question: Did the West betray Zelensky?

Sergey Lavrov: No, I think the West played Zelensky against Russia and did everything to strengthen the desire to ignore the Minsk Agreements.

The “West” is a broad notion. It’s the United States and the Brits. The rest of the West, including the European Union, is just an obedient servant.

Question: Tactical nuclear weapons. Will Russia ever use them?

Sergey Lavrov: Ask Mr Zelensky. We never mentioned this. He mentioned this. So, his intelligence must have provided him some news. I cannot comment something which a not very adequate person pronounces.

Question: As a P5 member, as a nuclear power, will nuclear be an option at all, on the table at all?

Sergey Lavrov: When the Soviet Union and the United States in 1987, Gorbachev and Reagan, decided that they have special responsibility for peace on this planet, they signed the solemn declaration that there could be no winners in a nuclear war, and therefore a nuclear war must never be launched.

After the Trump administration came to office, we have been telling them, because tensions were aggravated: “Why don’t we try to send a positive political message to the entire universe and to reiterate what Gorbachev and Reagan pronounced?” During all the four years of the administration, they refused to do so.

But we were really encouraged when President Biden was inaugurated. Five days after his inauguration, we repeated this offer, he first agreed to extend the [New] START treaty without any preconditions. In June 2021, when they met with President Putin in Geneva, they issued this declaration. This declaration was issued on our initiative. After the Americans and the Russians said that there must be no nuclear war, that they won’t think about it, we started to promote the same commitment in the context of the P5. Not the United States, not UK, not France – Russia. Eventually, earlier this year, in January this year, the P5, at the level of presidents and heads of government, issued the statement which we initiated and which we were pushing through for all these years.

Question: So nuclear is off the table?

Sergey Lavrov: This statement, both the Russian-American statement, and the P5 summit statement, were issued on the strong insistence of the Russian Federation.

Question: Coming back to the Donbass region, DPR, LPR. The independence of these republics is non-negotiable for Russia when you talk to Ukraine. What happens if the negotiations succeed between Ukraine and Russia and should there be a settlement, will Russia withdraw from other areas: Sumy, Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolayev?

Sergey Lavrov: I thought you are a journalist, but you can be a spy. I am not discussing the military operation, for obvious reasons it is never the case.

On the territorial situation, we recognise DPR and LPR within the administrative boundaries of the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Minsk agreements were signed when these two territories were split roughly half and half. Now the militias of these republics are fighting to get their territory back.

When they had a referendum in 2014, it was held on the entire territories of the former regions. But then the coup leaders started the war, which they called an anti-terrorist operation, and they took a considerable chunk of both regions. So, yes, we recognise LPR and DPR within their declared territories as a result of the referendum.

Question: Which in fact includes Mariupol and Volnovakha, as part of Donetsk.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes.

Question: My question is, if there is a settlement between the two sides, and they recognise, which President Zelensky said he would not, he said that they are going to fight for Donbass to the very end, so where are the red lines?

Sergey Lavrov: I cannot intelligently discuss what President Zelensky says because he always changes his mind diametrically.

He was the initiator of the negotiations, which we accepted. At some point we were disappointed because they were changing their mind every time, coming late, leaving early, but then in Istanbul, about one month ago, it was on March 29, they brought a paper, saying that we are not going to be a member of any military alliance, that they will be neutral. In return, they asked for security guarantees, preferably P5, maybe some others, and it was written and initialled by the head of the heads of delegations. The security guarantees they were asking for would not cover Crimea and the territories in the east of Ukraine.

It was not our language, it was their language. Now President Zelensky says “no way.” They started backtracking even earlier. But this is a paper with the signature of the head of the Ukrainian delegation. So, before we can intelligently discuss what he says one day or another, we need to have clarity about the credibility of this person and about his team.

Question: Was there any understanding in Istanbul on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kiev, as well?

Sergey Lavrov: We changed the configuration of our presence. This was announced immediately after Istanbul that since we believed that they brought something which could serve as a basis [of an agreement], we made a goodwill gesture, and we changed the configuration in the Kiev and Chernigov areas.

This was not appreciated at all. Instead, this Bucha thing was immediately staged and played, like Skripals were played in Salisbury, like the Malaysian Boeing, like Navalny, played, but immediately put aside when the hard facts were presented which they cannot challenge.

Question: There are mayors who have been appointed now by Russia in Berdyansk and Melitopol, and they are saying that they will hold a referendum, that they are not going to go back. Is that the plan?

Sergey Lavrov: That’s the outmost democracy, right? A referendum – people saying what they want.

Question: Which means that you are securing your land boundary in Sumy and Kharkov, but also the waters, if you look at Zaporozhye, Nikolayev.

Sergey Lavrov: People have been suffering in all these places for eight long years, when neo-Nazis were prohibiting them to speak their own language, prohibiting them to commemorate the heroes of World War II, of the Great Patriotic War, prohibiting to have parades and to have any events to commemorate the fallen, the parents, the grandparents of these people.

Now when they have thrown away these neo-Nazis, and say that now we will decide who will be running the place – this is our mayor, this is our legislature, I believe that this is a manifestation of democracy after so many years of oppression.

Question: It seems that Ukraine has lost more land than it would have gained by negotiating on Donbass.

Sergey Lavrov: It’s the decision of those who have been running Ukraine, of those who have been sabotaging the Minsk agreements, in spite of the UN Security Council decision. We are not up for regime change in Ukraine. We have said this repeatedly. We want the Ukrainians themselves to decide how they want to live further in a way, which would not repeat the Minsk agreements, when they did decide that they did not want to do anything with the coup leaders, who immediately said that they are against anything Russian: culture, language, everything what these people cherish. Then they were promised something by the European Union and cheated.

We want the people to be free. To decide how they want to live in Ukraine.

Question: Russia is one of the most sanctioned countries in the world. How long can you sustain?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think we are thinking in the context of sustaining. Sustaining means, you know, you sustain, you take some hardships, and hope that, sooner or later, this would be over.

Russia has been under sanctions all along – Jackson–Vanik, then it was repealed, but Magnitsky Act was introduced, then we were punished for the free vote of the Crimeans, we were punished for supporting those who were in favour of keeping the Minsk agreements, but the Ukrainian government did not want them to get what they promised, and so on and so forth.

So, now we have come to a very straightforward conclusion. We cannot rely on our Western colleagues in any part of our life, which has strategic significance, be it food security, which we managed to ensure ourselves after 2014, be it, of course, defence, and be it some strategic sectors where high-tech is developing and indicating the future of the mankind. We did not have time to achieve self-sufficiency in all these areas, but in most cases, we resolved this issue. Of course, we are open to cooperation with all other countries who do not use illegal, illegitimate unilateral measures in violation of the UN Charter.

India is among those. We cooperate bilaterally. I visited a couple of months ago, and we cooperate in many international organisations.

Question: Speaking of India, India is under immense pressure to sever ties, to cut down imports of energy, of fuel, but India has stood its ground. In terms of reliability, is there a concern that India should have with regards to the kind of defence cooperation both countries have? Could there be delays in deliveries of critical weapons systems that India is buying from Russia, such as the S-400s? What is the conversation you have been having with New Delhi on this ground?

Sergey Lavrov: India is our very old friend. We called our relationship a long time ago a strategic partnership. Then, about 20 years ago, the Indian friends said: why don’t we call it a “privileged strategic partnership?” Sometime later, they said that this was not enough. Let’s call it “especially privileged strategic partnership.” This is a unique description of the bilateral relations between India and Russia.

With India, long before all this became such a hot potato, we supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concept “Make in India” and we started substituting simple trade with local production, shifting production of the goods needed by India on your territory. It was for quite a number of years already that we have been promoting the use of our national currencies in settlements between the governments of the two countries.

We promoted national information systems, transmission systems, like SWIFT. You have your own, we have our won. They are being used more and more. Payment cards: we have MIR, you have RuPay. They are mutually supportive. It is not, you know, a huge percentage, of the overall volume of trade, but it is steadily growing. On defence, we can provide anything India wants. Technology transfers in the context of defence cooperation are absolutely unprecedented for any of India’s outside partners.

Question: We have got away with a waiver from the United States for the S-400s, but future collaborations, could they become difficult?

Sergey Lavrov: You know, when the Americans say that they are in favour of democracy all over the world, they mean only a very specific thing – that it is up to them to decide who is democracy, and who deserves to have some good attitude on behalf of Washington. When they convened this summit of democracies, you only need to look through the list of invitees, to understand that it is not about real democracies, it is about something else. The Americans now run all over the world, their ambassadors have priority number one to go to the foreign ministry, to the government of the country where they serve and say: “You must stop talking to Russia, you must join sanctions against Russia.”

Well, long before this crisis, I have been talking to the Americans, to the Europeans, I told them: when you say democracy, democracy, and at the conferences you always want this language on rule of law and democracy, I asked them about adding that apart from the national level, we want democracy and the rule of law internationally. They don’t like it. When they push everybody in this anti-Russian camp, when they go to India, when they go to China, to Turkey, to Egypt, countries with their own thousands years of history of civilization, of culture, and when they are not even ashamed to publicly tell you what to do, I believe something is wrong not only with manners, which always has been the case, but something is wrong with the mentality.

When Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, says publicly: “We, the United States, has not yet decided whether to introduce sanctions against India for the S-400s,” they have not decided what is good for you. His under-secretary Wendy Sherman later said: “We must help India understand what is important for its security.” How about that?

Question: I suppose your counterpart gave them a befitting reply on how to conduct one’s foreign policy?

Sergey Lavrov: Absolutely. I respect Subrahmanyam Jaishankar very much. He is a seasoned diplomat, and he is a real patriot of his country. He said that we will be taking the decisions on the basis of what India believes it needs for its development, for its security. It’s respectful. Not too many countries can say something like this.

Question: You mentioned China. For us, the China factor is very important. Russia has a unique relationship when it comes to ties with China and ties with India. You mentioned the United States of America, so again, I am going to go back to the US. Recently, in one of the visits, deputy national security advisor said that should India continue ties with Russia, there will be consequences. If, he said, there is another incident at the LAC, then the US will not come to India’s rescue. The statement is flawed, because there are two points. One is that he said “should there be another incident,” not recognising that the Chinese are still on Indian soil. Secondly, he said that they will not come to India’s rescue, but they did not come in the first place. But where does Russia stand?

Sergey Lavrov: We stand in favour of resolving any conflicts on the basis of arrangements negotiated directly between the parties, like, just like it was in Ukraine, when the two parties, the rebels, as they are called, the separatists, as they are called, for us they are self-proclaimed republics, on the one side, and the government, which came to power as a result of the coup, on the other side had a deal, negotiated and endorsed by the Security Council. It is another matter that the government, with the instigation of the West, failed to deliver, but the method is the one which we believe should be applied everywhere.

After those incidents on the border, we welcomed the resumption of the discussions between the military of India and China, the discussions between the politicians, at the level of the foreign ministers, and we hope that this would be resolved. We cannot use those threats, which are absolutely normal for the Americans, who say “or else, there would be consequences.” It is their favourite statement.

What we would like to do, as Russia, we would like to promote the formats where India, Russia, and China participate together. It started in 1996-1997, when Russia’s Foreign Minister at that time, Yevgeny Primakov, suggested the RIC format – the troika formed by Russia, India, and China. It happened, and we continue to convene in this format. I think, last November there was probably the 20th ministerial meeting. Not only foreign ministers, but also ministers of economy, ministers of trade, political scientists meet, which may not be very much publicised, but it is a very useful format.

We were very much in favour, even we were the leading force in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to promote this, of the full membership of India, together with Pakistan, in this organisation. This is another premise for China and India to be together in the company of their neighbours, and to build more confidence.

Question: Finally, before I let you go, sir, Europe is looking to halt gas from Russia. Come summer, policies might get harsher. But you are looking for the dedollarisation of the global energy market by dealing in roubles. How do you propose to do that, should they start halting?

Sergey Lavrov: There will be no change for the Europeans and other countries who buy our gas. The reason for this decision was very simple and obvious. When they froze the Russian assets in dollars, euro, yens, and the pound sterling for the amount of more than 300 billion euros or dollars, those were mostly the money kept in Western banks after we received payments from them, from the Western countries, for our gas deliveries.

In other words, they paid us, and they stole the money from us because those were the currencies which are linked to the Western banking system. So what we told them to do: they would not be paying directly to Gazprom’s accounts abroad, but they would be paying to a bank called Gazprombank. It is an independent entity. They would be paying the same amount which they have to pay under the existing contracts, but they will pay these amounts to a special account which they have to open with this bank. There would be a parallel account in roubles. So they pay euros, and then inside this bank these euros are transferred to the rouble account, and from this account Gazprom receives roubles.

Question: So you are not running losses at all on the money Russia is to receive from Europe? There is no money that has been stopped?

Sergey Lavrov: Exactly. As of now, they would not be able to keep the money in their banks, the money that they not even owe us, but which they paid to us already. I believe this is something which does not contradict contracts. They would still be paying in euros or dollars or whatever was the currency of the contract, but we will have insurance that this robbery would not happen again.

Question: Finally, sir, before I let you go, I have to go back to that question on eastern Ukraine. Intensification of war efforts now in eastern Ukraine – is the trigger the flagship warship Moskva that sunk. What really happened there? Is that one of the triggers now why we see more intensification against Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: No, this operation in the east of Ukraine is aimed, as was announced from the very beginning, to fully liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. This operation will continue. Another stage of this operation is beginning. I am sure that this will be a very important moment of this entire special operation.

Question: What happened to the warship?

Sergey Lavrov: It is for the Ministry of Defence. They explained what happened and I cannot add anything to this.

Question: On that note, many thanks for joining us here on India Today. It was indeed a pleasure, sir.

Sergey Lavrov: Thank you very much.

Question: That was the Foreign Minister of Russia speaking exclusively to India Today.


Notes on information availability from the Russian Federation:

The best video is on Telegram:  https://t.me/MFARussia/12362
This is the first complete address from the Russian MFA that they posted on Telegram since the attack on the availability of Russian information started.  It is also a complete interview in English and without translators.

The Indian interviewer is smart and respectful.  Mr. Lavrov is patient and clear.

It is still a hit-and-miss exercise to get complete information from Russian professional sources.   You can see these interviews live on Ruptly but there is no playback.  The videos and transcripts are on the Russian Foreign Ministry site, but frequently there is no playback.  In copying this transcript just a while ago, the Russian MFA site went down again.

It is important to see or read these completely in order to find nuance and context. It seems to be a fashionable journalistic method to report on one or two snippets only. In that, the Russian media sources are not helping us to help them. Here is an example.  Mr. Lavrov’s takeaway quote on being asked about Zelenski, is:  “He says many things, depending on what he drinks or what he smokes.”   RT decided to shorten that, and said:  “He says many things, depending on what he drinks.”   Incorrectly reporting even direct quotes does not serve the Russian cause.

Amarynth

Russian Military Operation in Ukraine is Not Slow, It’s Planned to End on 9 May, Victory Day

ARABI SOURI

Victory Day for Russia and the rest of Europe commemorating the victory over Nazism 77 years later will come this year with a new victory over Nazism, the neo-Nazism regime amplified by NATO countries and directed at Russia in particular, and the rest of the world in general, this was the date set for the ‘Russian Special Military in Ukraine’ was planned to end at.

Ten weeks starting February the 24th and ending by 09 May is the time the Kremlin and its Ministry of Defense strategists planned for the Military Operation in Ukraine to take until achieving the stated goals: the de-arming of Ukraine, neutralizing the country to create a buffer zone with the NATO aggressive alliance that has expanded eastward all the way to already swallow countries bordering Russia, and the ‘de-Nazifying of Ukraine’, the date of 9 May marks the anniversary the Russians and the world, in general, celebrates the end of the first Nazism in Germany during World War 2.

Lebanese top political analyst and former MP Nasser Kandil said he has heard from sources within the top officials in Moscow that the Russian Special Military Operation in Ukraine is going as planned, the time for the operation to fulfill its goals was set for 10 weeks within which the first 2 weeks will be focused on destroying the backbone of the Ukrainian military offensive capabilities including air defense, air force, seizing the Pentagon-sponsored biological warfare labs, securing the nuclear plants, and circling the main cities. Starting the 3rd week, the Russian troops will take one major city every week and will try to avoid the Ukrainian capital Kiev (Kyiv) to the end, if possible, giving the Ukrainian regime chance to declare defeat within this period and accepting the terms it refused with the backing of NATO for the past 8 years.

More on This Topic

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: Leaders of Russia management competition, Moscow, March 19, 2022

March 22, 2022

Ed Note:  This is an important document and answers most of the confused questions that I see come up in the comments still.  A careful read and even study is recommended – Amarynth


Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions during his meeting with finalists of the International Track as part of the Leaders of Russia management competition, Moscow, March 19, 2022

Dear friends,

I would like to greet you and express my gratitude for your continuing to invite me even though I chair the Supervisory Board. It is important for me to see you, listen to your questions and understand what worries you in this uneasy period.

This meeting takes place against the backdrop of events now occurring in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly spoken at length about the origins of this crisis. I would like to briefly reiterate: this is not about Ukraine. This is the end-result of a policy that the West has carried out since the early 1990s. It was clear back then that Russia was not going to be docile and that it was going to have a say in international matters. This is not because Russia wants to be a bully. Russia has its history, its tradition, its own understanding of the history of its peoples and a vision on how it can ensure its security and interests in this world.

This became clear in the late 1990s-early 2000s. The West has repeatedly attempted to stall the independent and autonomous development of Russia. This is rather unfortunate. From the start of President Vladimir Putin’s “rule” in the early 2000s, we were open to the idea of working with the West in various ways, even in a form similar to that of an alliance, as the President has said.  Sadly, we were unable to do this. We repeatedly suggested that we should conclude treaties and base our security on equal rights, rejecting the idea of strengthening one’s security at the expense of another.

Neither were we able to promote economic cooperation. The European Union, which back then showed some signs of independent decision-making, has now devolved toward being completely dependent on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the US. The story of Nord Stream 2 was the highlight of this change. Even Germany, which defended its interests in the project to the very end, was persuaded that the “project was not in its interests.” Germany and its people were told what their interests were by people on the other side of the Atlantic. Many other international areas were blocked despite our commitment to close cooperation on an equal basis.

The West did not want equal cooperation and, as we can now see, has kept true to the “will and testament” of Zbigniew Brzezinski who said that Ukraine should not be allowed to side with Russia. With Ukraine, Russia is a great power, while without Ukraine, it is a regional player. We understand that this is a mere exaggeration. But it fits nevertheless the philosophy and the mentality of western leaders. No effort was spared to turn Ukraine into an instrument to contain Russia. Into an “anti-Russia,” as President Putin said. This is neither a metaphor nor an exaggeration.

What has been happening all these years is the significant accumulation of physical, military, ideological, and philosophical threats to the security of the Russian Federation. The militarisation of Ukraine, which was injected with weapons (including assault weapons) worth many billions of dollars over these years, was accompanied by the Nazification of all spheres of society and the eradication of the Russian language. You know the laws that were passed there concerning education, the state language, and the indigenous peoples of Ukraine that made no mention of Russians. It was not only the language that was being edited out, but simply everything Russian. They banned the mass media, which broadcast from Russia and transmitted in Ukraine. Three Ukrainian television channels that were considered disloyal to the current government were shut down. Neo-Nazi battalions with insignia of Hitler’s SS divisions held marches; torchlight processions took place with a presidential regiment assigned as an official escort; fighters were trained in camps by instructor programmes from the US and other Western countries. All this was done with the connivance of civilised Europe and with the support of the Ukrainian government.

To my great regret and shame, President Zelensky has been asking how he could be a Nazi if he has Jewish roots. He said this on the exact day when Ukraine demonstratively withdrew from the Agreement on Perpetuating the Memory of the Courage and Heroism of the Peoples of the CIS Countries During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. When he personally patronises the tendencies I have mentioned, it is difficult to take the policy of the Ukrainian leadership seriously. Just as in the early stages of his presidency, and even earlier, when he was a stage and soap opera star, he assured me in every possible way that it was unthinkable for him that the Russian language could be infringed upon. So here we are: life demonstrates what a person’s word is worth.

These accumulated tendencies took on a new form following the coup d’etat in February 2014. Despite the guarantees of the EU countries — France, Germany and Poland — that were part of the agreement between the opposition and the then-President of Ukraine, they tore up that agreement the morning after, disregarded the guarantees, humiliated the nations above, and the EU as a whole, before announcing their new regime. In our conversations with our western partners, including the Germans and the French, we have been asking them how they could allow this to happen.  We kept reiterating, you provided guarantees to this agreement. They say this happened because Yanukovich left Kiev. Yes he did, but he left for Kharkov to take part in his party’s congress. Yes, he faced a number of issues and did not enjoy broad support, but he never fled. Still, this is not about Yanukovich.

The first point of the Agreement read that the Government of National Accord was to be established as an interim stage for early presidential elections. Most likely, the then president would not have won, and everyone knew this. All the opposition had to do was to wait and fulfil what it agreed to.  Instead, they immediately ran back to “Maidan.” They seized the government building and said, “congratulate us, we have created a government of winners.” And this is how their instincts were immediately manifested. Winners. First of all, they demanded that the Verkhovna Rada abolish any privileges granted to the Russian language. This, despite the fact that the Russian language was and is still enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine, which declares that the state must guarantee the rights of Russians and other ethnic minorities. They demanded that Russians get out of Crimea because they would never think like Ukrainians, speak Ukrainian or honour Ukraine’s heroes Bandera and Shukhevich. They sent combat battalions and “friendship trains” to that peninsula to storm the Supreme Council building. At this point, Crimea rebelled, and Donbass refused to accept the coup d’état and instead asked to be left alone. But they were not left alone. Donbass didn’t attack anyone. But they were declared terrorists and an anti-terrorist operation was launched, with troops being sent in, with nearly all of the West applauding the move. That’s when it became evident exactly what plans were in store for the future role of Ukraine.

The massacre was stopped with enormous effort and through Russia’s active participation. The Minsk agreements were signed. You know what happened to them next. For seven long years, we tried to appeal to the conscience of those who signed the agreements, above all, to France and Germany. The end was tragic.

We held several summits and meetings at other levels, and Ukraine, either under Poroshenko or under Zelensky, just did not want to comply with the agreements. First of all, they refused to open a direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk. We asked the Germans and the French why they would not make their proteges at least sit down at the negotiation table. The answer was that they did not think that the republics were independent, and that it was all Russia’s fault. End of conversation. Contrary to its commitments under the Minsk agreements, late last year and early this year, Kiev began to build up its forces along the line of contact up to 120,000 troops. Contrary to the ceasefire agreements that had been signed and violated many times prior, they dramatically increased their heavy shelling, always targeting residential areas. The same has been happening for all these eight years, with varying degrees of intensity, amid complete silence from all the international “human rights” organisatons and Western “civilised democracies.”

Shelling intensified at the start of this year. We received information that Ukraine wanted to implement their Plan B, which they had long threatened, to take the regions by force. This was made worse by the West’s stonewalling of Russia’s initiative to reach an agreement on an equal and indivisible security architecture in Europe. President Vladimir Putin put forward this initiative in November 2021, we drafted the necessary documents and relayed them to the US and NATO in December 2021. They responded that they were willing to negotiate certain issues, including where missiles could not be deployed, but that Ukraine and NATO was none of our business. Ukraine was said to have reserved its right to appeal to join NATO, which would then deliberate whether to admit it, and all this without asking anyone else (likely ending up granting Ukraine’s membership). This was the essence of what they told us.

This is why when Ukraine commenced its shelling, signifying a clear sign of preparations to launch a military offensive in Donbass, we had no other choice but to protect Russian people in Ukraine. We recognised the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. President Vladimir Putin responded to their request by ordering the launch of a special military operation. I am certain that you are following the events and know that the operation has brought to light our worst fears about Ukraine’s military plans and has helped us derail them.

You know that facts have been uncovered of a dangerous bioweapons programme that the Pentagon has been carrying out in many cities of Ukraine. Now that Russia’s armed forces have acquired access to these documents, the US has been trying to cover its tracks. We will be fighting for the truth to come out. This bioweapons research is not limited to Ukraine and is being conducted in over 300 laboratories in various countries, most of them located in former Soviet Union nations along the borders of Russia and the People’s Republic of China.

This was not our choice. We saw how the West’s attitude was communicating one simple truth – if you were a Russophobe; if you were set on eradicating Katsaps and Moskals (a quote from statements made by Ukrainian politicians); if you were to say that anyone who considers themselves Russian and is a citizen of Ukraine should get out for the sake of their future and their children, (as President Vladimir Zelensky said in September 2021); if you obediently fulfill Western bidding so as to constantly irritate, unnerve and unbalance Russia, then you have the universal green light to do anything.

The unprecedentedly hysterical reaction in the West to our military operation, the way they are encouraging and indulging everything anti-Russia and anti-Russian is sad news indeed. I regularly read about the ill treatment that Russian people face in other countries, including citizens of those countries who are of Russian origin. It appears anyone can demand that these people be persecuted in the West now, even on social media. I cannot wrap my mind around this.

But this all proves one thing: the anti-Russia project has failed. President Vladimir Putin has listed the goals of the operation, and the first on the list is to ensure the safety of people in Donbass, and the second one, to eliminate the growing threats to the Russian Federation from the militarisation and Nazification of Ukraine. When they realised that our policy line had helped to thwart their plans, they literally went ballistic.

And yet, we have always supported diplomatic solutions to any problems. Over the course of hostilities, President Vladimir Zelensky proposed negotiations. President Vladimir Putin agreed. The talks are underway, although the Ukrainian delegation did start by, as we say, simply going through the motions. Then dialogue actually began. Even so, there is always the feeling that the Ukrainian delegation is manipulated by the West (most likely, the Americans), and is not allowed to agree to our demands, which are bare minimum, in my opinion. The process is underway.

We continue to be open to cooperation with any countries, including Western ones. However, given how the West has behaved, we are not going to propose any initiatives. Let’s see how they will get themselves out of this self-imposed impasse. They have got themselves into this impasse along with their “values,” “free market principles,” rights to private property and the presumption of innocence. They have trampled on all of this.

Many countries are already beginning to rack their brains in search of ways to slowly “creep away” from the dollar in international settlements. Look what has happened. What if they do not like something else tomorrow? The United States is sending its diplomats around the world, its ambassadors in every country have orders to demand that these countries end cooperation with Russia under the threat of sanctions. We would understand if they did this with small countries. But when such ultimatums and demands are given to China, India, Egypt, or Turkey, it looks like our American colleagues have totally lost touch with reality, or their superhuman complex has overwhelmed their sense of normalcy. We have seen such complexes in human history, and we do know about this.

I do not want to be the only speaker, though. I would like to hear from you. What questions do you have, what are you interested in?

Question: For those who do not know, Riga was part of the Russian Empire longer than Sevastopol was. How long will Russian people need a visa to travel to Russia? Is it possible to issue maybe a card or something for compatriots from the Baltics and European countries, so that they could travel or work in Russia? There is a residence permit, but if you leave for more than six months you lose your residency. In the current situation, when Russophobia is on the rise, this would be especially relevant.

The mistakes made by the public, the “soft power,” then have to be corrected by the army (as we see in Ukraine). Perhaps in countries where Russia faces direct opposition it would make sense to work not through Russian Community Councils (which quickly find themselves under the control of local authorities), but rather to decentralise work. For example, Americans have 20 different funds. You can be anything – green, blue, light blue, whatever, but if you are anti-Russia, this opens all the necessary doors.

Sergey Lavrov: I agree with you about visas. This is an old problem. We have a complicated bureaucracy. This discussion between liberals and conservatives has been going on since the late 1990s and early 2000s. The liberals believed we needed to remove as many barriers as possible so that people with Russian roots, who speak Russian and are involved in cultural and humanitarian events, enjoyed a preferential entry regime. The debate was quite lively when the law on compatriots was adopted, and they discussed the “compatriot card” option. This was one of the most important matters discussed. However, no agreement was reached, including for legal reasons – because it is not a passport or a half-passport. For example, Poland issues Pole’s Cards. These can essentially be used as passports. There are other instruments to liaise with their diasporas in Western countries (with ethnic Hungarians, Romanians, Bulgarians), and in the Middle East, too. Even in Syria, there is an entire ministry (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates). We are currently working on additional steps that we can take in this direction.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin has appointed me to head the Commission for International Cooperation and Support for Compatriots Abroad. The commission will meet at the end of March. This question will be one of the main ones on the agenda. We will discuss it in the context of a broader approach called repatriation. I believe that repatriation must be legally formalised with all the necessary formalities and the with all legal norms observed. This must be done in order to dramatically facilitate the procedure for those who identify as Russians to relocate or come to stay in Russia. We will try to consider your question as well as part of this approach.

As for the soft power, the Russian Community Councils and the American method – there must be some school of thought that prompts such action. As we promoted the movement of compatriots, we sought to make their actions transparent, so that they did not arouse any suspicion of being involved in underground activities. Unfortunately, that was all in vain. All this transparency backfired. What they are doing with the management of the Russian Community Council in the United States is pure McCarthyism. Its leaders had to return to Russia, otherwise the FBI threatened to imprison them for a long time because they promoted projects between compatriots who maintained cultural and humanitarian ties with Russia. Recall how the Americans treated Maria Butina. She worked openly and completely freely in the United States, promoting joint projects. In the US, all NGOs for the most part explicitly declare they are supported and funded by the Agency for International Development. Other Western countries have many projects that prefer to keep this information to themselves. I wouldn’t want us to act like this. First, it would be dangerous for the people concerned. Secondly, these are the methods of the intelligence services, not soft power methods. On the other hand, American soft power relies heavily on the CIA and other special services.

We will think of ways to support our compatriots in situations where a true witch hunt has been unleashed against them. I think more flexible forms of support could be implemented, including the Foundation for Supporting and Protecting the Rights of Compatriots Living Abroad. The essence of this is the provision of legal assistance to those who find themselves in a difficult situation. There is also the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund. We will think about some additional formats, naturally, fully legitimate ones.

Russia needs to toughen its policy with regard to shadow agencies engaged in things that do not coincide with their charter and other documents. Thank you for showing such an interest. We will certainly try to take this into account.

Question: What contribution do you think representatives of other states can make to the development of international relations with the Russian Federation?

Sergey Lavrov: We will support any public initiatives aimed at developing cooperation in the post-Soviet space. There are many forms for interaction in the CIS, in the CSTO, and in the EAEU, which are of interest to public movements and organisations and that can be used to organise events.

I sincerely would not want to give you any specific ideas here. You know better. You have a feel for what life is like in your country, and how it is affected by relations with Russia on the official, investment, and trade tracks.

As for the Russian Community Councils, in some countries our compatriots are beginning to create alternative councils. It is possible that people are just being competitive, which is only natural, but if you have an interest in doing something on the ground, we will only welcome this. If you need some advice, I am available to listen to your ideas and see how we can support them together with our Kazakhstani colleagues.

Question: I have a proposal, not a question. We have set up a pressure group on this track, and we have already drafted our own proposals. We are ready to help promote Russian culture and the Russian language in Germany, the Baltics and other countries. We would like to become independent analysts and experts and to develop culture, the Russian language and to support compatriots and foreigners who love the Russian language, and who aspire to culture. We would be happy to take part in this process.

Sergey Lavrov: That’s wonderful. Could you please leave your proposals and contacts with the organisers? The Foreign Ministry exercises various functions within the framework of the Government Commission for Compatriots Abroad, and I head this Commission. Our Ministry is also the main body responsible for the implementation of a new federal targeted programme to promote international cooperation. This is what soft power is all about. We also have a programme for supporting the Russian language abroad. In effect, opportunities still exist for the kind of projects you mentioned. I look forward to reading your letter.

Question: As of late, many Western activists, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, have addressed the people of Russia. If you were able to address all the peoples of the world in the West, the East and in Latin America, what would you tell them to make sure they hear you?

Sergey Lavrov: I would tell them that all peoples should be true to themselves, and that they should not abandon their traditions, history, aspirations and world outlook.

Getting back to Ukraine, the Americans are gloating over this situation and rubbing their hands with glee. In all, 140 countries voted against Russia at the UN General Assembly. We know how these countries reached this decision: US ambassadors have been shuttling from capital to capital and demanding that even the great powers comply with their demands, and they don’t shy away from speaking about it in public. They either want to offend others, or they have completely lost all sense of proportion, while comprehending their own superiority. However, out these 140 countries voting on US orders, not one imposed any sanctions except the West. An overwhelming majority of countries did not impose any sanctions on Russia. It appears that, by voting, some of them wanted to minimise damage, but they don’t want to shoot themselves in the foot, and they will continue to develop their economy. Many independent leaders are saying openly that they don’t want to fulfil US instructions to their own detriment.

So, people of the world, be true to yourselves.

Question: What should the West do now that events have dramatically escalated to move things back towards a realm of peace, tranquility, kindness and cooperation?

Sergey Lavrov: The West should start minding its own business and stop lecturing others. Because right now, all we hear is “Russia must..” Why must we do anything, and how have we so upset the West? I really do not understand. They’ve dragged out our security guarantees initiatives. They told us not to worry about NATO expansion because it does not threaten our security. Why do they get to decide what we need for our security? This is our business. They do not allow us anywhere near discussions of their own security. We are constantly reminded that NATO is a defensive organisation. First, this defensive alliance bombed Yugoslavia. We only recently recalled how in 1998 Joe Biden was so proud that he personally contributed to the decision to bomb Belgrade, and bridges over the Drina River. It was fascinating to hear this from someone who claims Russia is led by war criminals.

NATO also acted in Iraq without a UN Security Council resolution. In Libya, it did have a resolution, but it only covered establishing a no-fly zone, so that Muammar Gadaffi’s aircraft could not take off from their airfields. They didn’t. On the other hand, NATO bombed all the army positions from the air, which the UN Security Council did not warrant, and brutally killed Muammar Gadaffi without trial or investigation. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went live on air to celebrate the event.

Strategically speaking, there was indeed a collective defence alliance when the Berlin Wall and the Warsaw Pact existed.  It was clear where the line of defence was then. When the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist, NATO foreswore not to expand to the East, but began to do just that. We have seen five waves of expansion by now, contrary to its assurances. And each time, the imaginary Berlin Wall was moved further east. The alliance assumed the right to determine the boundary of its line of defence. Now Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has declared that NATO must bear global responsibility and is obliged to ensure security in the Indo-Pacific region. It is their name for the Asia-Pacific region. So, NATO is ready to “defend itself” in the South China Sea now. They are building defence lines against China now, so China, too, needs to be on the alert for that. A really unusual type of defence.

As for the Indo-Pacific region, which we have always called the Asia-Pacific region, there is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) there, as well as mechanisms created around the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ASEAN has a dozen partners. We participate in holding the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Security Forum, and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, a platform for ASEAN and its twelve partners which include China, Russia, the West (including Australia) and India – all the key players. Those formats work on the basis of consensus. This does not suit the Americans though, because to pursue their policy to contain China, they need an anti-China mechanism. But no platform where China is a member can produce such a result. They proclaimed the Indo-Pacific strategies and created Quad – a group of four nations including the United States, Australia, Japan, and they also lured India into this group. Our Indian friends are well aware of what we are talking about. They said they would participate in this only in the context of economic and infrastructure projects, but not military ones. So, because they needed to build up the military component, they created a parallel format, AUKUS, which included Australia, the UK and the United States. Now they want to expand it by adding Japan and South Korea, and even some ASEAN countries. This will lead to the collapse of the ASEAN ten.

When the Indo-Pacific concept was announced, we asked what was wrong with the Asia-Pacific label. We were told it mixed two different things because Asia did not refer to an ocean, but the Pacific did. Hence the Indian Ocean and Asia. We asked, if this includes the Indian Ocean, does this mean the whole of East Africa will be involved in this cooperation? They said no. That region had too many problems they did not want to deal with as they had enough on their plate. Is the Persian Gulf also part of the Indian Ocean? They said no to that too, disowning it. This makes it clear that the Indo part has been included with the sole purpose of cozying up to India and trying even harder to turn it into an anti-China player.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited India in early February 2022. I spoke frankly with them. Our Indian friends understand everything perfectly and will never be open to such “cooperation” or play someone else’s games. India is a great country. Making such provocations against great powers is simply disrespectful.

Back to our discussion – we tried to negotiate with the West up to the last minute. But relations with the EU were destroyed back in 2014. All mechanisms, and there were plenty of them: biannual summits, annual meetings of the Russian Government and the European Commission, four common spaces being developed under four roadmaps, 20 industry-based dialogues – all that was derailed simply because the people in Crimea, faced with a radical neo-Nazi threat, voted for reunification with Russia.

Our Western colleagues do have this curious approach towards politics – when considering any problem in international politics, they cut off periods of time that are not favourable to them. When we discussed Ukraine with them, they said that we “annexed” Crimea. Wait, but what happened before that? They failed to make the opposition do what they themselves had signed on to. The opposition violated all guarantees and, contrary to the agreements, carried out a coup d’état and proclaimed an openly anti-Russia policy line. They began trying to suppress everything Russian. But Westerners called it “the price one has to pay for democratic processes.” They could not even say the word coup.

Last autumn, I asked the Germans and the French, how is this so? It is the Minsk Agreements we are talking about. Why are you so stubborn about this annexation part? It all started then. “This is the price one has to pay for democratic processes.” You see, this is their approach – they ignore what is unfavourable to them. They just single out one of the symptoms and begin to build their entire policy on it.

Question: Politics is about forestalling. I would like to take a look into the future. How do you, as an absolute professional in this area, see the future of the Slavic peoples’ coexistence in this space? I am sure that everything will be well. However, the forms of such coexistence may differ. What is your opinion of its stability and preferred forms?

Sergey Lavrov: We should follow the lines dictated by life itself. We have reached an extremely important milestone. I am referring to the 28 union programmes. They are described as roadmaps. These programmes are being actively and efficiently transformed into normative acts. We need to have many of them. The majority have already been drafted, and the rest are at the advanced stage of preparation. They will ensure not just our rapprochement but the creation of a common economic foundation, which is necessary to level out rights in absolutely all spheres, including trade, investment, the implementation of economic projects, access to state orders and more.

As for the political superstructure, we have the union parliament, the union cabinet of ministers, and the Supreme State Council chaired by our presidents. These bodies will deal with economic business development to see if our political bodies should be additionally adjusted to our superstructure. I am sure that we will rely on the opinion of our peoples, who regard each other as fraternal and truly close peoples.

Question: I have a question about soft power. School education concerns not only the external but also the internal contours. For the past seven years, I have been closely monitoring developments in children’s culture, which can be described as extremely pro-liberal. Today we need to overhaul the cultural space here and to quickly launch the introduction of our cultural codes abroad. Here is a simple example: the animated television series Masha and the Bear has done more in the external contour to improve Russia’s image abroad than many official programmes. Are there any programmes, or plans to launch programmes to change the cultural code both in the internal and the external contours? I have a proposal, which I would like to formulate and to submit through this event’s organisers tomorrow, if I may.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, of course. I would like to urge everyone, including those who don’t have formulated proposals, to share their ideas with us. We will discuss all of them.

You have touched upon a very important issue. I am not directly involved in these efforts, but we have always been speaking about the need to start promoting our culture from the cradle, primarily in Russia. There is too much external influence now, and internal influence is not always effective in shaping the right worldview in our children. I am not talking about brainwashing people. But we need to prevent the brainwashing of our children by other forces. This is the issue. Children’s access to information must not be limited to one source. Do please submit your ideas. We will look at them together with the Culture Ministry.

Question: A colleague has mentioned the issue of visas. The lady from Kazakhstan has said what we should do abroad and how we should do it. Can you say what Russia’s priority is: to collect as many compatriots as possible in Russia, or to form a cordon or a barrier of compatriots outside the country?

Sergey Lavrov: I know that some political analysts are pondering this idea. I believe that people have a free choice. We must create the right conditions for those who want to return. I have already mentioned repatriation today. We will certainly deal with this matter at the United Russia’s Commission [on International Cooperation and Support for Compatriots Living Abroad]. I will do my best to help draft a law on this matter.

As for the interests of those who want to live where they are living, we must work with the authorities of their countries of residence to prevent discrimination against Russians, Russian education, [Russian] media outlets, etc. It will be more difficult to do this now, because our Western colleagues are encouraging Russophobia in all areas. Regrettably, they are trying to set the Georgian people on this track. When they recklessly adopted these horrible, inhuman sanctions, leaving 200,000 people outside the national territory, preventing them from using national airlinesand prohibiting Western air carriers from bringing these people home, the Prime Minister of Georgia announced that they were ready, in view of that humanitarian situation, to allow Georgian airlines to bring Russians from Europe and the EU closer to their home country. You remember how fiercely he was attacked for this. It was an elementary human desire to help people in difficult circumstances. If you have any complaints about your authorities, please write to us.

Question: There are no complaints. We will submit the proposals regarding possible support for our compatriots in foreign countries.

Sergey Lavrov: We have a channel for communication. We are interested in normal relations with our Georgian colleagues.

Question: All states are playing the same game: the author has trump cards and a support team in case there are dissenters. I am referring to the UK and the United States. This will go on until one of the parties ceases to exist. Is it not high time Russia started its own game within the framework of the Eurasian continent and friendly countries to promote peace, justice and security? Given its nuclear arsenal, Russia could guarantee the security of states (where it has been confirmed – Syria, Ukraine) for countries that currently depend to some or other extent on big, major players so that they can feel they are also involved.

Sergey Lavrov: I wouldn’t call it a game in the sense implied by Zbigniew Brzezinski’s terms “great Game” and “grand chessboard”. We proceed from the premise that our friends are people, states, and political parties which are our equals. Unlike the Western organisations, where there is little democracy. They invented consensus, but in NATO and the EU this consensus is a sham.

They adopted sanctions in instalments even before the current stage in the development of our geopolitical space (there has been a series of sanctions for no reason at all since 2014).   Everything seems to have happened – Crimea, Donbass, the Minsk agreements… But every six months, they imposed new sanctions. Many of my European counterparts tell me confidentially: we understand that this is stupidity and a dead end, but we have consensus. I told one of them: a consensus means that a decision is not taken if there is even one “nay” vote.     If you object, say so! This is a case of collective responsibility. Everyone says: I am against it, but all of them want a consensus.  This consensus is shaped by an aggressive, Russophobic minority, primarily by the Baltic states (to my great regret), Poland, and recently Denmark.

Today, it is a sign of good manners for them to demonstrate that you are more of a Russophobe than your neighbours. In NATO, it is the United States that rules the roost. The EU is being dominated by the alliance. The neutral countries, which are not NATO members – Sweden, Finland, and Austria – are being drawn into cooperation under the cloak of “collective mobility.” This means that the neutral countries will allow NATO to use their roads and territories when it needs to move its military infrastructure east. This is being palmed off as NATO-EU partnership. I have mentioned Nord Stream 2 as an example. There is no longer any independence in Europe. They were just told: Stop taking care of your energy security on the terms that are beneficial to you; we will guarantee your security at a much higher price, but we will be in chips. President of France Emmanuel Macron is the only politician who continues to focus on strategic autonomy. Germany has resigned itself to the fact that they will have no such autonomy. There is no diktat of this sort in our country.

The difficulties arising in the work of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are contingent on and explained by the democratic nature of these organisations rather than their weakness. They decide all matters by consensus and nothing can be imposed on them from outside. We have allied relations with Syria and good relations with Iran. I don’t think it will be a good idea to “knock together” a bloc. This will tie everyone’s hands, if we look at the situation pragmatically. It is better to have allied relations or an unprecedentedly close relationship of the kind we have with China. Our leaders said in one of the [bilateral] documents: relations have reached an unprecedentedly high level that in some respects even exceeds the traditional allied relations. That is absolutely true and hence we have multivariance.

The Russian Empire was created as follows. There was no melting-pot like in the United States. They have melted everyone into Americans. Generally, all Americans favour human rights. Practically all the states have an equal balance of rights. In the Russian Empire, as ethnic groups joined, Moscow and St Petersburg always sought to have regard for their unique identities and made efforts to preserve their cultures and religions. Multivariance in relations with foreign partners seems more effective and enables greater freedom of action in cases where such actions will be necessary.

Question: I am a citizen of the People’s Republic of China. I was born and grew up there. For many years, I have been involved in humanitarian cooperation (education) between China and Russia. I believe that Russia and China are two great powers that enjoy historical and cultural affinity. What areas of cooperation between China and Russia have best prospects?

Sergey Lavrov: It would be impossible to list the promising areas of cooperation between Russia and China. It would need an entire session of its own. Through Moscow and Beijing, we disseminate detailed information on what our two countries are working on together. Currently, this cooperation will be growing stronger. At a time when the West is most flagrantly eroding the entire bedrock that the international system stands on, we as two great powers have to think about our future in this world.

For the first time in many years, China has been declared the main target, previously it was Russia. Now we are targets on rotation. At this stage, their proclaimed goal is to deal with Russia and then go after China. When we communicated with the Western countries during less turbulent times, we asked them why they were allowing the American course against China to be built up and why was everyone being dragged into it? What did China do? “China is a threat.” What makes China a threat? “They are starting to defeat everybody economically.”

If you look at the beginning of China’s economic elevation, China started by simply accepting the rules of the game, which had been essentially created by the West, led by Americans. These rules included the international monetary system, the international trade system, the Bretton Woods System and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). China started playing by their rules and is now outplaying them on their home field by their rules. Is it a reason for changing the rules? It appears so. Who is proposing to reform the WTO? The West. Because the World Trade Organisation in its current form is providing rules that are fair. Therefore, if we just forget about the situation in Ukraine and the sanctions for a minute, the actions of the West confirm it is not reliable, either as a part of the world that generated the major reserve currencies, or as economic partners or as countries to store gold and currency reserves. We have things to work on. Our leaders and other members of the Government, foreign affairs agencies are working on this extensively as part of our traditionally regular dialogue.

Question: Russia is conducting an operation in Ukraine. It is not a secret that Russia is building a Greater Eurasia. Can you clue us in a little: is Sergey Shoigu going to stop at the border with Poland? Or are we going into Transnistria and Moldova? What is the plan? Are we going to unite further?

Sergey Lavrov: We declared our goals. They are fully legitimate and clear: to protect the people of Donbass (with which we are now allies) that are subject to blatant aggression. For these purposes and based on our treaties, we applied Article 51 of the UN Charter on collective self-defence. Another goal is to eliminate any threats to Russian security posed by the militarisation of Ukraine that is carried out by the West. There must be no strike weapons in the country or threats in the form of Ukraine’s nazification, for obvious reasons. The aggressive spirit of the Ukrainian elite has been consciously created to be like this by Western instructors throughout these decades. They trained neo-Nazi battalions, showing them how to conduct aggressive combat operations, etc. We have no other goals beyond these.

Alternatively, the other side may come up with some curious goals. For example, Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki has proposed an idea that will be discussed soon, which is to send NATO peacekeeping forces to Ukraine. It is possible that, should this decision be made all of a sudden, it will entail that Polish personnel will make up the core of these peacekeeping forces and they will take control over Western Ukraine, including the major city of Lvov, to remain there for a prolonged period of time. It appears to me that this is the plan.

I believe this initiative is doublespeak. NATO will realise they should be reasonable and realistic.

Question: It is now clear to everyone that the world will never be the same again. There is much talk these days about the new global architecture and the fact that its foundations are now being laid. I do agree with the notion that we have no need of a world without Russia. But what kind of a world do we want to build? What place will Russia and the Union State have in the new international order?

Sergey Lavrov: What we want is an equitable world, free from war, aggressive projects or attempts to pitch one country against another. Equitable is also the way we see Russia’s place in the world. Similarly, the Union State must enjoy all the benefits of this ideal world as you have described it.

What we want is to discuss how to live on this planet in the future. Too many problems have been piling up, and the existing institutions have been unable to resolve them. This is the gist of the initiative President of Russia Vladimir Putin put forward two years ago to convene a summit of UN Security Council permanent members. Almost everyone supported it but the West will now drag its feet. There is a preliminary agenda. We have coordinated it with our Chinese friends, while the others are reviewing it. But now everything will be put on hold. This is not about the P5 reimagining a “new Yalta,” as some claim. Under the UN Charter, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council have primary responsibility for maintaining international peace.

When we express the need for more democracy in international relations, this does not mean cancelling the UN Charter. It means stopping violations of the UN Charter. The sovereign equality of states and the requirement to respect territorial integrity and the right of nations to self-determination – it is all in the Charter. Had all its provisions been respected, this would have ensured peace and cooperation in good faith among all countries. However, the West manipulates them for its own benefit.

For example, we stand accused of violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity, starting with Crimea and Donbass. Crimea held a referendum. Everyone knew that this was an open, honest process when people expressed their will. The Americans know this too. Let me share a secret with you (I hope that no one will get cross at me). In April 2014, after the Crimea referendum then US Secretary of State John Kerry told me that they understood that this was an honest vote. However, he noted that we fast-tracked it by announcing the referendum and holding the vote in a matter of just one week. I explained to him that the Ukrainian radicals posed a direct threat at the time. All the formalities had to be completed in order to protect this territory. He suggested that we hold another referendum in the summer or autumn, announce it about two months in advance and invite foreign observers. The result would be all the same but they would be there to “bless” and verify it. This was not a matter of substance, since everyone understood where it was all heading, but about creating a favourable image for the outside world in order to be able to report that the people of Crimea cast their ballots in a referendum, while the Western “comrades” verified the results.

As for sovereignty and territorial integrity, ever since the founding of the UN in 1945, it has been debating whether sovereignty takes priority over the right to self-determination or vice-versa. A negotiating process was put into motion, paving the way for the adoption by consensus in 1970 of a Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States under the UN Charter. This is a lengthy document with an entire section on the relationship between sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right to self-determination. It says that everyone must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states whose governments ensure the right to self-determination and represent the people living in their territory. Has the Ukrainian leadership ensured Crimea’s right to self-determination? All they did was curtail Crimea’s rights within Ukraine. Did the Petr Poroshenko regime or the current leadership represent all the people of Ukraine, including Crimea, as they pretend? No. They did not represent Donbass either. They have been ignoring all these principles.

According to the principle of indivisible security, everyone is free to choose alliances but no one can reinforce their security at the expense of others. They say that only alliances matter and nothing else. However, when it suits their interests, the principle of self-determination comes to the fore, relegating Yugoslavia’s territorial integrity into the background, as happened with Kosovo. Its self-determination took place without a referendum. They engineered the creation of a parliamentary structure of sorts, and it voted on the matter. Serbia took the case to the International Court, which issued a curious ruling, saying that consent from the central government was not required for a declaration of independence. President of Russia Vladimir Putin has quoted this landmark ruling by the International Court on multiple occasions.

Question: The West is planning to replace Russian oil and gas in the coming years. What is Russia’s interest in participating in the Iran-US nuclear deal? Iran will have an opportunity to increase oil production and replace the Russian market in Europe. How ready are our Venezuelan partners for a deal with the Americans to replace Russian oil?

Sergey Lavrov: We never betray our friends in politics. Venezuela is our friend. Iran is a close state. Unlike the Americans, we do not act only out of selfish interests. If they need to “teach the Russians a lesson,” then it’s okay to agree with the regime in Caracas (as they called it). The United States would rather restore the programme with Iran, just to punish Russia. This reflects problems not so much with international institutions as with “liberal democracy.” As it turns out, it is not “liberal” at all, and it is not “democracy” at all.

When the leading country of the world (which the United States is) solves the problem of global, planetary importance, primarily on the basis of its own domestic interests, which are determined by two-year electoral cycles, then the biggest problems are sacrificed to these electoral cycles. What we can see now in US actions is a desire to prove that a Democratic president and administration are doing well and feel strong enough ahead of the November congressional elections. China does not understand this. What is two years? Nothing. Although the Chinese say that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” they see the horizon of that great journey. Here, in addition to the US desire to command everything, there are no more horizons. They will act the way they need to today.

It has been noted that the Americans are running around with the issue of oil and gas, turning to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. All these countries, like Venezuela and Iran, have made it clear that when they consider new entrants to the oil market, they are committed to the OPEC+ format, where quotas for each participant are discussed and agreed upon by consensus. So far, I see no reason to believe that this mechanism will be broken in any way. No one is interested in that.

Question: What formats do you see for post-crisis settlement and intra-Ukrainian dialogue? What role might the DPR and LPR play? Ukraine’s governance and education system are permeated with Ukrainian nationalism. Several generations have grown up with this discourse. War criminals will be held accountable under criminal law. What about cultural aspects?

Sergey Lavrov: We have announced the goals we are working to achieve. As for the intra-Ukrainian dialogue, this will be up to the Ukrainians after the special operation ends – I hope, with the signing of comprehensive documents on security issues, Ukraine’s neutral status with guarantees of its security.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, commenting on our initiatives on the non-expansion of NATO, said: we understand that every country needs security guarantees. We are ready to negotiate and work them out for ourselves, for Ukrainians and Europeans outside the framework of NATO expansion. Therefore, a neutral status, security guarantees and bringing the legal framework to a civilised level with regard to the Russian language, education, the media, and laws that encourage the country’s nazification, as well as the adoption of a law prohibiting this. Most European countries have such laws, including Germany.

As for the DPR and LPR’s involvement in the all-Ukrainian dialogue, it should be a sovereign decision of the people’s republics.

Question: Why was the military operation launched now and not eight years ago? At that time, a pro-Russian “anti-Maidan” movement emerged in Odessa and Kharkov, which installed the Russian flag on top of the Kharkov regional administration without firing a shot. The city supported Russia. Now these people are hiding from shelling.

Sergey Lavrov: A lot of factors influence developments at each specific historical moment. Back then, it was a shock, primarily because the West turned out to be an absolutely unreliable guarantor of the things that we supported. US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the French leaders called Russian President Vladimir Putin and asked him not to interfere with the agreement between Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition. Vladimir Putin said that if the incumbent president was signing something, it was his right, and he had the authority to negotiate with the opposition. But the West dumped us and immediately began to support the new government because they announced an anti-Russian policy line.

People got burned alive in the House of Trade Unions in Odessa; combat aircraft fired at the centre of Lugansk. You must remember the Novorossiya movement better than anyone else. We also had a public movement for support.

We certainly relied too much on what remained of our Western colleagues’ conscience. France initiated the Normandy format; we were asked not to state categorically that we refused to recognise Petr Poroshenko’s election at the end of May 2014. The West assured us they would do everything to normalise the situation, so that Russians could live normally.

We must have trusted them because of some naivety and kindness of heart, which is something Russians are known for.

I have no doubt that lessons will be learned.

War in the Ukraine, Tragedy and Hope (Part III)

March 18, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Niloufer Bhagwat 

Ukraine, as it once was, is an industrialized and technologically advanced republic of the former USSR.

War in the Ukraine, Tragedy and Hope (Part III)

Ukraine was once one of the most advanced and industrialized republics of the former USSR, well integrated into the former multinational state of the USSR, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It is also true that for the first time after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the first Socialist Revolution, that the Ukrainian Republic was constituted as one of the republics of the former USSR, before that it was an integral part of the territories of Tsarist Russia. It is necessary to recall that the peoples of all the republics of the Soviet Union lived in harmony, in a closely-knit society sharing culture, inter-marrying. It was not uncommon for one spouse to be Russian and the other Ukrainian. There was even more exotic pairing, such as Tartar and Cossack, Daghestani and Ukrainian, and so on. The Ukrainian Republic of the USSR had regions that were culturally Russian-speaking regions, integrated for administrative and other reasons into the Ukrainian Republic. Ukrainian and Russian languages are similar as is the culture of both people, there was never any problem of co-existence. It was much more than co-existence; it was a mutual culture and life shared over a thousand years. The Russian-speaking nationality and, to a lesser extent, other nationalities settled in different parts of what was earlier an integral part of the Tsarist Russian Empire. This continued in the USSR.

For those of us living for almost a year on the Black Sea in 1982-1983, awaiting the commissioning of the destroyer built by the once-famous Nikolayev Shipyard to be handed over to the Indian Navy by the Soviet Navy after completion of trials in the Black Sea and military exercises off the Crimea, the cities of Sevastopol, Mariupol, and Odessa were all Russian. The Indian contingent/ Team or ‘Ekipazh’, was not the only contingent there. There were seven other contingents from different countries, including Libyan and Cuban, awaiting the delivery of ships and boats of all sizes. None of us used the politically correct term ‘Soviet’, for us everything was Russian. Citizens from our host country from different republics of the USSR did not dissent or frown on or attempt to correct our expression or to explain or distinguish what was Ukrainian from what was Russian, or what was Crimean from what was Russian, and no one from the host country complained about ‘Great Russian National Chauvinism’.

To me, a ‘ Soviet watcher’, a legacy from my father, an Indian Muslim by birth, religion, and culture, who believed that the Russian Revolution of 1917 was one of the most important events of the 20th Century, influencing National Liberation Struggles around the world, including those that led India’s freedom struggle, with some Indian revolutionaries in exile crossing over from Afghanistan into Uzbekistan after the 1917 Revolution, as recorded by Soviet scholars… to me, what seemed remarkable was that for decades the USSR from 1922-1953 was led by Josef Stalin, a Georgian and Asian by nationality. Josef Stalin, a former student of a religious seminary training to be a priest, before he became a revolutionary, as a Commissar after the revolution, was directed to implement the Bolshevik policy of autonomy for ‘nationalities’ to be reorganized into Republics of the USSR, by the famous Russian revolutionary, visionary, and first head of state of the revolutionary government, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov or Lenin, as he is widely known; still loved across Asia, Africa, and Latin America; even today considered a leading authority against ‘Imperialism’. Ukraine was a beneficiary of this policy as President Putin correctly asserted.

Lenin was determined to abolish the oppression of all subject nationalities by empires and colonialists. On the other hand, Josef Stalin’s reservations on aspects of this policy were known, though he implemented the policy deferring to his leader. Josef Stalin personally witnessed the misuse of Russia’s ‘nationalities’ in the famous Oil city of Baku, a beautiful city now in independent Azerbaijan on the Caspian, then a part of the Tsarist Russian Empire in the pre-revolutionary period. In Baku, murderous attacks took place to divide workers’ movements; one nationality was used against another. It was because of this direct field experience that Stalin understood, as did Rosa Luxemburg, the famous German Revolutionary, of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, later of the ‘Spartacus’ group of the SPD, that Imperialism would ‘pervert this policy for autonomy for  Nationalities’ to divide people in every country targeted for plunder of resources and the working class.

This is predictably what occurred in Western Ukraine during the Second World War, in those regions of Ukraine earlier occupied by the Polish – Lithuanian Kingdom and later the Second Polish Republic – and in Hungary and Romanian territories of the Austrian-Hapsburg Empire. The Nazis at the very outset of their infamous military invasion, ‘Operation Barbarossa’, used Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian fascist, and other extreme right-wing Ukrainian nationalists for the killings and genocide of Slavs, Poles, and Jews, manipulating the theory of a Ukrainian ‘Superior Race’. This was a barbaric attempt by the German Nazi Army to divide people in Ukraine to weaken the national defense of the Soviet Union. This cynical and cold-blooded Nazi policy, though it inflicted death and destruction on people of different nationalities in Ukraine in millions, in what was clearly genocide, could not defeat the USSR, as the majority of the Ukrainians defended the Soviet Union, serving selflessly and courageously in the Red Army. Every republic of the USSR, including Ukraine, made a heroic contribution to the victory of the former USSR in what is known as the ‘Great Patriotic War’, during which the Soviet army faced not only the might of the German Army, but also the combined military and technological might of the advanced countries of Europe, closely allied with Hitler and the Nazi party. It was a ‘Fascist Europe’ with its contingents led by Nazi Germany which was defeated by the Soviet Union’s Red Army liberating one country of Europe after another; one of the remarkable achievements in military history. The United States was to enter the war in its last stage with the Normandy landings, to participate in the spoils of a tragic war that destroyed Europe.

Aspects of this more than 75-year-old history of the use of fascism in Ukraine have been repeated by the descendants of those who created Hitler and the Nazi party. How many know that it was the United States of America’s Rockefeller’s New Jersey Standard Oil Company which supplied fuel to the Nazi Army, without which the fascist subjugation of Europe and the invasion of the USSR by Nazi hordes was not possible? IBM among other US companies equally collaborated in maintaining an efficiently compiled data of Slavs, Jews, Romas, and other minorities in Nazi Germany to be targeted. Some US companies used slave labor in Nazi Germany like the best and brightest German Corporations, which even stole whole factories from occupied territories; similar to what happened recently when Syria was occupied by Turkish troops and ISIS legions of NATO and its alliance partners who stole whole factories from Syria, from Aleppo and other occupied regions. The United States and Turkey have been regularly looting Syrian oil after unleashing ISIS hordes on Syria for invasion and occupation, stationing their troops in Syria.

 After the Second World War, even as the ink on the Judgments of the Nuremberg trials was hardly dry, ‘Operation Paper Clip‘ began by the United States, to rehabilitate Nazi war criminals, intelligence agents, scientists, doctors, and others in the United States for use in the so-called “Cold War”, a continuance of the war on the Soviet Union by other means, and to use the scientific and medical expertise of German and Japanese scientists and intelligence agents, who were war criminals. Many former Nazis were successfully rehabilitated along with East European fascists, who subsequently, along with their descendants, held high-ranking posts in National Security Councils and the State Department of the United States. Significantly, a leading member of President Trudeau’s cabinet in Canada, prominent during the crackdown on the democratic struggle of the ‘Truckers’ Resistance’ to indiscriminate vaccine mandates, is the progeny of one such Nazi collaborator. Is it surprising that those who made small donations to the ‘Truckers Movements’ had their bank accounts blocked by a government decree?

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Russia Reacts to Nato and History

January 20, 2022

Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Russia Seeks Security

In mid-December 2021 the Russian government publicly announced that it would “seek legally formulated guarantees of security” from the United States and its allies that would end NATO military activity in eastern Europe as well as military support for the Ukraine.

U.S. media reporting on this event, characterized by the New York Times, framed it as a Russian attempt to “wind back the clock 30 years to just before the collapse of the Soviet Union,” and thus Russian demands were “echoes of the Cold War.” Little media credence has been given to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repeated insistence that his country is “threatened” by NATO activities close to its borders.

In the meantime, “NATO officials emphasized that NATO countries will not rule out future membership for any Eastern European countries, including those bordering the Russian Republic, such as Ukraine.” U.S. President Biden has responded Russian demands with contradictory policies. On the one hand, Washington insisted that what was necessary was a “context of de-escalation,” and on the other, declared that the American “flow of arms to Ukraine would continue.”

It would seem that while Washington and its allies, to say nothing of the media, heard the Russian demands, they displayed no evidence of understanding them within an accurate historical context—a history that goes back considerably further than the dissolution of the Soviet Union 30 years ago.

Part II—Historical Background

For those readers who are interested in understanding what historically motivates the Russian leadership to behave as they now do, and make their current demands, here is a rundown of relevant past events.

— In modern times, Russia was first invaded from Western Europe in 1812. In that year, Napoleon Bonaparte’s multinational Grande Armée attacked Russia. The invasion failed and ultimately helped lead to Napoleon’s fall from power. For the Russians this was not so much a victory as a national tragedy. An estimated 200,000 Russians died, and soon after Napoleon occupied Moscow, then the “spiritual capital” of the country, the Russians burned the city down around him.

— Between 1812 and 1914, Russia maintained one of Europe’s huge multiethnic empires alongside those of Austria-Hungary, Germany, France and Great Britain. On its European side, the Russian Empire held sway over Poles, Finns, Ukrainians, and various other Slavic and Baltic people—that is, Russia established a sphere of influence that encompassed a good part of eastern Europe. Operating as an absolute monarchy, it did not readily respond to the needs of its subject peoples. By the early twentieth century, the Russian Empire’s centralized government was growing weak and was roiled by challenges to its dictatorial ways.

— In 1914 World War I broke out with Russia, Britain, France and the United States on one side and Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire on the other. After a brief Russian incursion into East Prussia, the Germans went on the offensive and moved deep into western Russia, inflicting heavy casualties. This marked the second time Russia was invaded from the West. Successive defeats led to the collapse of Russia’s imperial government and eventually the founding of the Soviet state in 1917. Overall, Russia lost approximately two million soldiers and over a half million civilians in this war. Russia also lost most of its Eastern European lands.

— The next twenty years marked the so-called interwar period, the time between World War I and World War II. For our purposes, the most important consequence of this period was the creation of independent states such as Poland, Hungary, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and others out of what, until the end of World War I, had been the imperial territories of the German, Austrian and Russian empires. Unfortunately, the initial lifespan of this independent status was short.

— It was World War II that brought an end to this initial period of East European national revival. The war began on 1 September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland. Nazi Germany soon conquered most of continental Europe. Then on 22 June 1941 Germany launched a massive invasion of Soviet Russia. This marked the third invasion of Russia from the West in a little over one hundred years. Initially, Germany occupied much of Soviet Russia west of the Ural Mountains. However, the situation changed in 1942, particularly after the German troops failed to capture the city of Stalingrad. After that failure the Soviet forces began a long slow process of pushing the Germans back—a long German retreat that would go on till the end of the war in 1945.

—Those new East European nations mentioned above were free of German control by early 1945. However, they never did regain full independence. German control was now exchanged for Soviet Russian control. The Western interpretation of Soviet post-war occupation was that it was the product of an inherent drive for world conquest by the communists. However, there are other explanations that flow more logically from the history given above.

— Communism as an ideology might predict the eventual victory of the working classes and the withering away of the state, but in every case where communists have come to power, they have eventually settled down and ruled as nationalists. It might have been different if Trotsky had gained power in Soviet Russia instead of Stalin, but we will never know for sure. Thus, it is highly unlikely that Stalin ordered the permanent occupation of Eastern Europe for communist ideological reasons. He had at least two nationalistic reasons motivating him. One was that Russia was traditionally a great imperial power and holding vast territory was the part of the definition of a great power. That was a status the Russians hoped to recapture. The second reason was perhaps more immediately important. Given that Russia had been repeatedly invaded from the West, what the Soviets wanted from their war-won occupied territories was the creation of a large and deep buffer zone. That is, a security zone between the historical sources of their pain—countries such as France and Germany—and the Russian border. Nonetheless, the Western leaders interpreted Soviet behavior as communist-inspired aggression and created NATO, a military alliance, to forestall further Russian advances. The Russians, in turn, interpreted NATO as yet one more reason why they needed a buffer zone. They may have been right.

— Soviet Russia’s buffer zone lasted as long as the Soviet Union lasted—that is, until 26 December 1991. After that, Russian troops were pulled back to the new Russian Republic. At that point, the Eastern European countries founded after World War I, and other non-Russian territories such as Ukraine, moved to assert their independence. The other side of this coin is that the collapse of Soviet Russia left millions of ethnic Russians who had migrated within the Soviet empire prior to 1991 stranded in new political entities, such as the Ukraine, with which they had no strong identification.

— The leaders of these new nations knew their history and assumed that Russia would someday seek to recreate its lost empire qua buffer zone. So they sought to protect themselves by sheltering under the NATO umbrella. NATO embraced most of them, and thus a military organization that was designed, ostensibly, to prevent Russia from expanding westward, now rapidly expanded eastward. Sooner or later Russia, motivated by its own history, was bound to react.

Part III—The Situation Today

NATO’s expansion eastward has set up the confrontation we witness today. The Russians had to accept NATO’s early move to the east because the new Russian Republic was initially in political and economic disarray. Nonetheless, as President Putin put it, “Russia feels threatened by an encroaching Nato.” Today, the disarray has passed, separatist movements within the Russian Republic, such as in Chechnya, have been brutally crushed, and the Russians have decided to draw a “red line” to forestall further NATO expansion into what remains of the non-Russian areas between themselves and a historically hostile West. That red line encompasses Ukraine. Thus, that country’s recent turn toward the West and its expressed desire to eventually join the NATO alliance has triggered historically embedded alarms in Moscow. To emphasize this point to the Ukrainian leadership, Russia has amassed troops on their mutual border in a manner that suggests the possibility of invasion. Russia has also increased aid to the separatist pro-Russian part of eastern Ukraine—the Donetsk People’s Republic.

A singular problem here is that none of the Western media coverage and very few of the Western politicians demonstrate an understanding of the situation within an appropriate historical background. Essentially, few of these otherwise influential people know any of the relevant history before 1991, and that is why you get this from the Los Angeles Times: “Thirty years ago this month, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the Ukraine broke away from Moscow’s control. Russian President Vladimir Putin has never gotten over it.”

For a while now the United States and its NATO allies have had the Russian Republic surrounded with long- and intermediate-range missiles. There are plans to place these weapons in NATO’s Eastern European member states. These weapons are described as “defensive,” but most of them have offensive capabilities. For the Russian Republic this seems too much like a replay of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. If the Americans were alarmed by such missiles on their doorstep at that time, why should they now be surprised that Moscow is alarmed? The Biden administration, looking to switch subjects from the Russian demands for comprehensive security agreements to particular agreements on missile placement and the nature of NATO military exercises in Eastern Europe, has offered to enter negotiations on these specific topics. This is certainly a good first step, but it’s probably not sufficient.

The United States and its NATO allies may well have to swallow some of their pride and go further. They may have to give up any further eastern expansion of the Western military alliance. The Russian Republic, motivated by three tragic invasions and convinced of the need for a security buffer zone, seems very serious about their “red line.” I don’t think they are bluffing, and therefore the West should realize this is not just Putin playing from a “tough guy” script. History speaks here as well.

Book Review: The Russian Army on Parade

October 07, 2021

Book Review: The Russian Army on Parade

Today, I want to quickly review a truly superb two volume book called “The Russian Army on Parade” and “The Russian Commemoration Parade at the 75th Anniversary of Victory in World War Two” both written by Jim Kinnear (and Andrey Akesenow for the 2nd volume).  Here are the links to publisher from whom you can order both books:

These two books are absolutely unique and, in my opinion, invaluable.

First, let’s talk about the parades themselves.

Both in the Soviet times and in the post 1991 Russia, the Victory Day parades have had a very special meaning to both the Russian people and for their enemies.  These were not just “patriotic shows” (which they definitely are), but also a way to show to the Russian people and their enemies the latest achievements of the Russian military industry.  Furthermore, for military specialists, what might look like a boring parade of military hardware to a civilian can yield extremely valuable information not only about the hardware itself, but also about the Russian military thinking.  One example:

Russian tanks tend to be very different from their western counterparts.  They are all the product of compromises: the ideal tank is light, can cross rivers or even float, small, indestructible, fast and has unstoppable weapons – but in reality such a tank cannot be built as these criteria, and many many more, are mutually exclusive.  For example, tank building countries can put so much armor on their tanks that they would be close to impossible to breach (at least in theory), but the weight and size of the tank will make them huge which, in turns, limit the kind of bridges they can cross, what kind of river banks they can climb or how big they will look in the targeting systems of the enemy.  Then there is the issue of costs.  Would you rather have one (purely theoretically) “perfect” tank costing X or 10 “somewhat less than perfect” tanks for the same price (or even less!)?

So, as most weapons systems, tanks are the results of very complex compromises and a trained eye will even see what kind of terrain and tactics one tank has been designed for, as opposed to another tank.  Furthermore, if you look “deeper” inside the tank (even by its external features) you can make some good guesses on the kind of sensors or communication systems these tanks probably have.  Of course, the Soviets and the Russians always knew that, so they carefully decide what they do want to show or don’t want to show.  They can even deliberately try to hide the real capabilities of any weapons system/platform from “unfriendly eyes”.

I mention all of the above to explain that these two superb volumes (filled with hundreds of excellent color photographs!) are not just for hardware geeks and technology fanboys, they are a voyage through Russian military thinking!

The first volume covers the Russian military parades in the 1990s, then those in the 2000s and then those in the 2010s.  It concludes with an commented index of all the hardware shown between 1992-2019.

The second volume covers “only” the truly amazing parade in 2020 for the 75th commemoration of the defeat of Nazi Germany.

One might wonder, what about the Soviet, pre-1991 parades?

Here you have to remember that the development cycle for a weapons system/platform can take years or even decades, so almost all the current Russian military technologies have deep roots in Soviet military thinking.  Furthermore, the design philosophy of a complex weapons system can change over time, but often rather slowly.  This is simply an issue of common sense: why re-invent the wheel when it already works?  Of course, if the geostrategic environment changes dramatically, and instead of being deployed in eastern Europe the Russians now have NATO literally right across their border, things will change, and they have changed, often dramatically.

These two volumes focus on post-Soviet, Russian, military parades, they will give the reader an superb insight into Soviet military thinking (as opposed to the crap western propaganda like to spew about it during the Cold War).  Of course, the fall (or, more accurately, the dismembering by the Party elites) of the Soviet Union in 1991 had a major impact on Russian military thinking and while much of the superb Soviet military and scientific capabilities still lies at the root of modern Russian weapon systems/platforms, a new generation of (often much younger) engineers and scientists has produced (quasi) purely ‘Russian’ technologies (such as the Su-57 or the “Armata” series).

Thus, these volumes are also a extremely interesting way to look not at hardware, but at the evolution of Russian designs and their underlying force planning philosophy.

I highly recommend these two volumes to all those who want to understand why Soviet/Russian designs are so different from their western equivalents.  And no, it is not true to say that Russians like cheap and sturdy while westerners prefer high tech (that is purely propaganda). But I think that it is true to say that Russian designs are by and for soldiers and war whereas western designs are mostly by and for engineers and for big, juicy, military contracts.

If you want to see what kind of designs result from about 1000 years of existential, survival, warfare, then you can’t do better than getting these two volumes.  You will not be disappointed.

Andrei

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