Kharkov and Mobilization

The recapture of the Kharkov region at the beginning of September appears to be a success for Ukrainian forces. Our media exulted and relayed Ukrainian propaganda to give us a picture that is not entirely accurate. A closer look at the operations might have prompted Ukraine to be more cautious.

From a military point of view, this operation is a tactical victory for the Ukrainians and an operational/strategic victory for the Russian coalition.

On the Ukrainian side, Kiev was under pressure to achieve some success on the battlefield. Volodymyr Zelensky was afraid of a fatigue from the West and that its support would stop. This is why the Americans and the British pressed him to carry out offensives in the Kherson sector. These offensives, undertaken in a disorganised manner, with disproportionate casualties and without success, created tensions between Zelensky and his military staff.

For several weeks now, Western experts have been questioning the presence of the Russians in the Kharkov area, as they clearly had no intention to fight in the city. In reality, their presence in this area was only aimed at affixing the Ukrainian troops so that they would not go to the Donbass, which is the real operational objective of the Russians.

In August, indications suggested that the Russians had planned to leave the area well before the start of the Ukrainian offensive. They therefore withdrew in good order, together with some civilians who could have been the subject of retaliation. As evidence of this, the huge ammunition depot at Balaklaya was empty when the Ukrainians found it, demonstrating that the Russians had evacuated all sensitive personnel and equipment in good order several days earlier. The Russians had even left areas that Ukraine had not attacked. Only a few Russian National Guard and Donbass militia troops remained as the Ukrainians entered the area.

At this point, the Ukrainians were busy launching multiple attacks in the Kherson region, which had resulted in repeated setbacks and huge losses for their army since August. When US intelligence detected the Russians’ departure from the Kharkov region, they saw an opportunity for the Ukrainians to achieve an operational success and passed on the information. Ukraine thus abruptly decided to attack the Kharkov area that was already virtually empty of Russian troops.

Apparently, the Russians anticipated the organisation of referenda in Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhe and Kherson oblasts. They realised that the territory of Kharkov was not directly relevant to their objectives, and that they were in the same situation as with Snake Island in June: the energy to defend this territory was greater than its strategic importance.

By withdrawing from Kharkov, the Russian coalition was able to consolidate its defence line behind the Oskoll River and strengthen its presence in the north of the Donbass. It was thus able to make a significant advance in the Bakhmut area, a key point in the Slavyansk-Kramatorsk sector, which is the real operational objective of the Russian coalition.

As there were no longer any troops in Kharkov to “pin down” the Ukrainian army, the Russians had to attack the electrical infrastructure to prevent Ukrainian reinforcements by train to the Donbass.

As a result, today, all Russian coalition forces are located within what may become the new borders of Russia after the referenda in the four southern Ukrainian oblasts.

For the Ukrainians, it is a Pyrrhic victory. They advanced into Kharkov without encountering any resistance and there was hardly any fighting. Instead, the area became a huge “killing zone” (“зона поражения”), where Russian artillery would destroy an estimated number of 4,000-5,000 Ukrainians (about 2 brigades), while the Russian coalition suffered only marginal losses as there was no fighting.
These losses come on top of those from the Kherson offensives. According to Sergei Shoigu, Russian Defence Minister, the Ukrainians lost about 7,000 men in the first three weeks of September. Although these figures cannot be verified, their order of magnitude matches the estimates of some Western experts. In other words, it seems that the Ukrainians have lost about 25% of the 10 brigades that were created and equipped in recent months with Western help. This is a far cry from the million-man army mentioned by the Ukrainian leaders.

From a political point of view, it is a strategic victory for the Ukrainians, and a tactical loss for the Russians. It is the first time that the Ukrainians have taken back so much territory since 2014, and the Russians seem to be losing. The Ukrainians were able to use this opportunity to communicate about their final victory, undoubtedly triggering exaggerated hopes and making them even less willing to engage in negotiation.

This is why Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, declared that the moment “is not one for appeasement.” This Pyrrhic victory is therefore a poisoned gift for Ukraine. It has led the West to overestimate the capabilities of the Ukrainian forces and to push them to engage in further offensives, instead of negotiating.

The words “victory” and “defeat” need to be carefully used. Vladimir Putin’s stated objectives of “demilitarisation” and “denazification” are not about gaining territory, but about destroying the threat to the Donbass. In other words, the Ukrainians are fighting for territory, while the Russians seek to destroy capabilities. In a way, by holding on to territory, the Ukrainians are making the Russians’ job easier. You can always regain territory—you cannot regain human lives.

In the belief that they are weakening Russia, our media are promoting the gradual disappearance of Ukrainian society. It seems like a paradox, but this is consistent with the way our leaders view Ukraine. They did not react to the massacres of Russian-speaking Ukrainian civilians in the Donbass between 2014 and 2022, nor do they mention Ukraine’s losses today. In fact, for our media and authorities, Ukrainians are a kind of “Untermenschen” whose life is only meant to satisfy the goals of our politicians.

Between 23 and 27 September, there were four referendums in progress, and the local populations have to answer different questions depending on their region. In the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, which are officially independent, the question is whether the population wants to join Russia. In the oblasts of Kherson and Zaporozhe, which are still officially part of Ukraine, the question is whether the population wants to remain within Ukraine, whether they want to be independent, or whether they want to be part of Russia.

However, there are still some unknowns at this stage, such as what will be the borders of the entities that will be attached to Russia. Will they be the borders of the areas occupied by the Russian coalition today or the borders of the Ukrainian regions? If it is the second solution, then we could still have Russian offensives to seize the rest of the regions (oblasts).

It is hard to estimate the outcome of these referenda, although one can assume the Russian-speaking Ukrainians will most probably want to leave Ukraine. Polls, whose reliability cannot be assessed, suggest that 80-90% are in favour of joining Russia. This seems realistic due to several factors.

Firstly, since 2014, linguistic minorities in Ukraine have been subject to restrictions that have made them 2nd class citizens. As a result, the Ukrainian policy has caused Russian-speaking citizens to no longer feel Ukrainian. This was even emphasised by the Law on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in July 2021, which is somewhat equivalent to the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which give different rights to citizens depending on their ethnic origin. This is why Vladimir Putin wrote an article on 12 July 2021 calling on Ukraine to consider Russian speakers as part of the Ukrainian nation and not to discriminate against them as proposed by the new law.

Of course, no Western country protested against this law, which is a continuation of the abolition of the law on official languages in February 2014, which was the reason for the secession of Crimea and Donbass.

Secondly, in their fight against the secession of Donbass, the Ukrainians never tried to win the “hearts and minds” of the insurgents. On the contrary, they have done everything to drive them further away by bombing them, by mining their roads, by cutting off drinking water, by stopping the payment of pensions and salaries, or by stopping all banking services. This is the exact opposite of an effective counter-insurgency strategy.

Finally, the artillery and missile strikes against the population of Donetsk and other cities in the Zaporozhe and Kherson region in order to intimidate the population and prevent them from going to the polls is further alienating the local population from Kiev. Today, the Russian-speaking population is afraid of Ukrainian reprisals if the referenda are not accepted.

So, we have a situation where the Western countries announce that they will not recognise these referenda, but on the other hand they have done absolutely nothing to encourage Ukraine to have a more inclusive policy with their minorities. Ultimately, what these referenda could reveal is that there has never really been an inclusive Ukrainian nation.

Moreover, these referenda will freeze a situation and make Russia’s conquests irreversible. Interestingly, if the West had let Zelensky continue with the proposal he made to Russia at the end of March 2022, Ukraine would more or less retained its pre-February 2022 configuration. As a reminder, Zelensky had made a first request for negotiation on 25 February, which the Russians had accepted, but which the European Union refused by providing a first package of €450 million in arms. In March, Zelensky made another offer that Russia welcomed and was ready to discuss, but the European Union once again came to prevent this with a second package of €500 million for arms.

As explained by Ukraïnskaya Pravda, Boris Johnson called Zelensky on 2 April and asked him to withdraw his proposal, otherwise the West would stop its support. Then, on 9 April, during his visit to Kiev, “BoJo” repeated the same thing to the Ukrainian president. Ukraine was therefore ready to negotiate with Russia, but the West does not want negotiations, as “BoJo” made clear again on his last visit to Ukraine in August.

It is certainly the prospect that there will be no negotiations that have prompted Russia to engage in referenda. It should be remembered that until now, Vladimir Putin had always rejected the idea of integrating the territories of southern Ukraine into Russia.

It should also be remembered that if the West were so committed to Ukraine and its territorial integrity, France and Germany would certainly have fulfilled their obligations under the Minsk Agreements before February 2022. Moreover, they would have let Zelensky proceed with his proposed agreement with Russia in March 2022. The problem is that the West is not looking for Ukraine’s interest, but to weaken Russia.

Partial Mobilization

Regarding Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial mobilisation, it should be recalled that Russia has intervened in Ukraine with considerably fewer troops than the West considers necessary to conduct an offensive campaign. There are two reasons for this. First, the Russians rely on their mastery of the “operative art” and play with their operational modules on the theatre of operations like a chess player. This is what allows them to be effective with reduced manpower. In other words, they know how to conduct operations efficiently.

The second reason that our media deliberately ignore is that the vast majority of the combat actions in Ukraine is carried out by the Donbass militias. Instead of saying “the Russians,” they should (if they were honest) say “the Russian coalition” or “the Russian-speaking coalition.” In other words, the number of Russian troops in Ukraine is relatively small. Moreover, the Russian practice is to keep troops only for a limited period in the area of operations. This means that they tend to rotate troops more frequently than the West.

In addition to these general considerations, there are the possible consequences of the referenda in southern Ukraine, which are likely to extend the Russian border by almost 1000 kilometres. This will require additional capabilities to build a more robust defence system, to construct facilities for troops, etc. In that sense, this partial mobilisation is a good idea. In this sense, this partial mobilisation is a logical consequence of what we have seen above.

Much has been made in the West about those who have sought to leave Russia to avoid mobilisation. They certainly exist, like the thousands of Ukrainians who sought to escape conscription and can be seen in the streets of Brussels driving powerful and expensive German sports cars! Much less publicity has been given to the long queues of young people outside military recruitment offices and the popular demonstrations in favour of the decision to mobilise!

Nuclear Threats

As to the nuclear threats, in his speech on 21 September , Vladimir Putin mentioned the risk of nuclear escalation. Naturally, the conspiratorial media (i.e., those that construct narratives from unrelated information) immediately spoke of “nuclear threats.”

In reality, this is not true. If we read the wording of Putin’s speech, we can see that he did not threaten to use nuclear weapons. In fact, he has never done so since the beginning of this conflict in 2014. However, he has warned the West against the use of such weapons. I will remind you that on 24 August, Liz Truss declared that it was acceptable to strike Russia with nuclear weapons, and that she was ready to do so, even if it would lead to a “global annihilation!” This is not the first time that the current British Prime Minister has made such a statement, which had already prompted warnings from the Kremlin in February. Moreover, I would like to remind you that in April of this year, Joe Biden decided to depart from the US “no-first use” policy and thus reserves the right to use nuclear weapons first.

So clearly, Vladimir Putin does not trust Western behaviour that is totally irrational and irresponsible, and which is ready to sacrifice its own citizens in order to achieve objectives guided by dogmatism and ideology. This is what is happening in the field of energy and sanctions at the moment, and this is what Liz Truss is ready to do with nuclear weapons. Putin is certainly worried about the reactions of our leaders who are in increasingly uncomfortable situations because of the catastrophic economic and social situation they have created by their incompetence. This pressure on our leaders could lead them to escalate the conflict just to avoid losing face.

In his speech, Vladimir Putin does not threaten to use nuclear weapons, but other types of weapons. He is of course thinking of hypersonic weapons, which do not need to be nuclear to be effective and which can thwart Western defences. Moreover, contrary to what our media say, the use of tactical nuclear weapons is no longer in the Russian employment doctrine for many years. Moreover, unlike the United States, Russia has a no-first-use policy.

In other words, it is the Westerners and their erratic behaviour that are the real factors of insecurity.

I am not sure that our politicians have a clear and objective view of the situation. Ignazio Cassis’ recent tweets show that his level of information is low. First of all, when he mentions Switzerland’s role and neutrality in offering its good offices, he is a bit out of touch with geography. In Russia’s mind, Switzerland has abandoned its neutrality status and if it wants to play a constructive role in this conflict, it will have to demonstrate its neutrality. We are a long, long way from that.

Secondly, when Cassis expressed his concern about the use of nuclear weapons to Lavrov, he clearly did not understand Vladimir Putin’s message. The problem with today’s Western leaders is that none of them currently has the intellectual capacity to deal with the challenges that they themselves have created through their own foolishness. Cassis would probably have been better advised to express his concerns to Truss and Biden!

The Russians—and Vladimir Putin in particular—have always been very clear in their statements and have consistently and methodically done what they said they would do. No more, no less. One can of course disagree with what he says, but it is a major and probably even criminal mistake not to listen to what he says. For if we had listened, we could have prevented the situation becoming what it is.

It is also interesting to compare the current general situation with what was described in the RAND Corporation reports published in 2019 as the blueprint for trying to destabilise Russia.

Figure 1—From the RAND Corporation’s 2019 paper on how to destabilise Russia. This document shows that the US was aiming for a campaign of subversion against Russia, in which Ukraine was only an unfortunate instrument.

As we can see, what we are witnessing is the result of a carefully planned scenario. It is very likely that the Russians were able to anticipate what the West was planning against them. Russia was thus able to prepare itself politically and diplomatically for the crisis that was to be created. It is this capacity for strategic anticipation that shows that Russia is more stable, more effective and more efficient than the West. This is why I think that if this conflict is going to escalate, it will be more because of Western incompetence than because of a Russian calculation.


Jacques Baud is a widely respected geopolitical expert whose publications include many articles and books, including Poutine: Maître du jeu? Gouverner avec les fake news, and L’Affaire Navalny. His most recent book is on the war in Uktraine, entitled, Operation Z.

What’s at Stake in the War in Ukraine

After a U.S.- and European Union (EU)-orchestrated coup in Kiev in 2014 and eight years of civil war that followed, Russia decided to go on the military offensive in Ukraine. The mainstream media is focusing on the war, but very important events are also taking place behind the scenes.

While NATO member countries reacted almost as one behind Joe Biden to denounce Russia and implement sanctions against the Kremlin, this was not the case for most of the “rest of the world.” While the EU and the United States are pouring money into arming and supporting V. Zelensky in Kiev, Russia is weaving its web with precisely that “rest of the world” that is not hostile to it. Among other things, it is strengthening its relations with the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – 41% of the world’s population), which are substantially increasing their consumption of Russian products (oil, fertilizers, grain, etc.) and signing new contracts in national currencies, thereby weakening the all-powerful US dollar, the pillar of the American empire. Moscow has also shown that it is resilient in the face of sanctions that are hurting Europe more than Russia, as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban notes: “I thought we were shooting ourselves in the foot, but now it seems that the European economy has shot itself in the lungs and is suffocating.”

The American Decline

The United States is no longer the power it once was. It is torn by a major political and societal crisis that the last presidential elections exposed and that the mid-term elections of next November will amplify. Their empire, built on violence, is running out of steam. While Europe sees a recession, Russia announces trade surpluses. While the euro falls below the dollar for the first time in 20 years and Germany runs its first trade deficit in 30 years, the Russian ruble strengthens. The EU thought it could do without Russian hydrocarbons by replacing them with imports from other countries and American liquefied natural gas (LNG). The problem is that the United States and Europe do not have sufficient infrastructure to import this LNG, and that the “rest of the world” is not fighting to deliver its hydrocarbons to us. La Tribune headlined in early July: “Electricity: prices may triple this winter.” We, the French, are going to pay dearly for our abandonment of political sovereignty in favor of Washington and Brussels.

Vladimir Putin’s real objective is not the Ukraine but American globalism. He says: “This is the beginning of the transition from American liberal globalist egocentrism to a multipolar world. A world that is not based on selfish rules invented for the sole purpose of pursuing a hegemonic policy, nor on hypocritical double standards, but on the basis of international law and the sovereignty of peoples and civilizations; on their desire to live out their historical destinies with their values and traditions and cooperate on the basis of democracy, justice and equality.”

The US and the EU did not see this move coming. They do not want to see that the “rest of the world” is fed up with the hegemony, hypocrisy and interference of the Atlanticists who practice a systematic double standard to their sole advantage. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya… the West has helped itself to hydrocarbons and other natural resources at the expense of international law and respect for the sovereignty of nations. The West has largely tarnished its image in these wars and foreign interference. Also, the “rest of the world” does not adhere at all to the American imperialist program and its woke anthropology, stemming from the cancel culture that Washington and the European and Anglo-Saxon capitals try to impose on them.

Faced with this admission of weakness, Washington is confronted with a historical dilemma: to admit its limitations and adapt peacefully to the emergence of a new world model, or try to go all out in a military confrontation that can only be global and possibly nuclear. Let us not forget that the Americans have already revived their economy twice, thanks to the two world wars. Let us hope that they love their children more than they love their Empire.


Nikola Mirkovic is a French-Serbian graduate of the European Business School and passionate about geopolitics. He has been bombed by NATO. This article appears courtesy of La Nef.


The Third Period of Russia’s Modern History: War

What is happening now in Ukraine is war. There is no more Special Military Operation (SMO)—what we have is called “war.: Not a war between Russia and Ukraine, but a war of the collective West against Russia. When U.S. trackers direct missiles at Russian territory, it can only be called “war.” And it doesn’t matter whose arms they are fighting with. When they aim HIMERS at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant it can be interpreted as an attempt to deliver a nuclear strike on Russia. If the US, NATO and the collective West had not sided with the terrorist regime in Kiev, all the goals of the SMO would have been successfully accomplished long ago. But the real war began. The West has crossed all red lines. This is irreversible.

Russia—both the government and the people—cannot fail to comprehend this. Hence the first steps toward declaring martial law and mobilization—in Chechnya, in Crimea, and then, I think, in other regions as well, especially the border regions.

What is going on requires, above all, reflection. There are three geopolitical periods in modern Russian history.

The first is the 1990s. The USSR collapsed and Russia capitulated to the West. The price for capitulation was the dismemberment of the great power (Russia as the USSR = Russian Empire), and the delayed disintegration of the Russian Federation, a fragment of the USSR. Up front, the West planned the final, smooth disintegration of the Russian Federation. Admittedly, Yeltsin tried—albeit clumsily and inconsistently—to resist this—hence the point of the first Chechen campaign. If Russia had lost that campaign, it would have had only one choice: what modern Western ideologists call “decolonization;” that is, complete disintegration and the final transfer of power to a pro-Western occupying administration, the so-called “liberals.”

The second period began with Vladimir Putin’s accession to power. The new course was to stop the inevitable (as it seemed at the time) collapse and restore Russia’s sovereignty, which had received a severe, almost life-threatening, blow. The government’s main policy was not to directly confront the West, to lull it into a false sense of security, and to create the illusion that Russia agreed with the globalists’ basic demands but only insisted on a postponement. It worked. The second Chechen campaign was won, and the Chechens, once separatists and Russia’s enemies, became Russia’s most loyal sons and defenders. Separatism was also eradicated in other regions. Russia strengthened its independence and began to actively influence international processes. At some point Putin’s strategy and his focus on sovereignty was recognized by the West, and it began to prepare for a serious confrontation.

In 2014, the globalists made a breakthrough in Ukraine, and organized and supported a coup d’état and brought to power in Kiev a neo-Nazi Russophobe terrorist clique, slavishly loyal to the United States and NATO. Moscow responded by reuniting Crimea and supporting the long-suffering people of Donbass. But it was a compromise. The denouement came on February 24, 2022.

This is a purely racist approach: Whoever thinks differently than we do should be wiped off the face of the earth. It is not new to the West. The only thing new is its fusion with liberalism, with the LGBT agenda, with the radical desire of the modern West and its elites to destroy all the structures of traditional society—religion, state, family, ethics, man himself, by fusing him with a machine and placing him under total surveillance, under total control. Welcome to the Matrix, to the “brave new world.”

Russia—and above all, sovereign Russia—does not fit into this context at all. That’s why the West openly supports all terrorist and extremist organizations and direct terrorist acts if they are directed against Russia, against the Russians, against the Russian civilization itself and its bearers.

We are in a war. It is already impossible to avoid it. From the very beginning it was impossible, because that is the underlying logic of the history of things: some powers want to keep the unipolar world and their planetary hegemony at any cost, while others revolt against it and openly proclaim a multipolar world order. The future will depend on who wins this war. If there will be future at all.

Russia has already entered the war. China, another powerful sovereign pole, is about to enter.

So, it should come as no surprise that Russia is in a ring of fire. The escalation of hostilities between Russia’s allies, Azerbaijan and Armenia, the conflict between other allies—Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the promise by some political forces in Georgia to open a second front against Russia, the artificial stirring up of the Transnistrian conflict in Moldova, growing threats to Belarus and the policy of its sovereign leader Alexander Lukashenko, and finally, the attempt to isolate the Kaliningrad region and direct attacks on Russian regions (Crimea, Belgorod region, Voronezh, Kursk, Rostov regions, Krasnodar region)—all these are elements of the Western Anaconda strategy, customary for the US, to strangle Russia. Legitimately, we are looking for an answer. And this explains the true meaning of the last SCO summit. We need allies in a multipolar world. And we have a chance to find them—but this time outside the West.

In essence, we are in World War III.

What to do in such a situation?

We have entered the third period of Russia’s modern history—a war with the West, which it managed to impose on us.

This period is the most difficult and decisive. But we were unable to prevent or avoid it. The price was surrender. The geopolitical war of the West against Russia is ongoing. In it only the stages that change—cold or hot. Right now, it’s hot. There is nowhere hotter.

The West does not even allow the very possibility of the existence of a sovereign, independent, autonomous Russia. The same is true of China, as well as other countries that take their sovereignty seriously. From the point of view of the globalists, only those states have the right to exist that agree with the ideology of liberalism, with the general line of the United States and NATO, with the movement towards World Government. All those who are against it are subject to destruction.

The first and most important thing is to accept things as they are. This is very important. Public consciousness does not keep up with the course of events, does not understand the meaning of history, is not aware of the irreversibility—fatality—of change. Suppose a murderer enters a house, while the owners are asleep. Or another situation: he sneaks in and they, aware of the threat, are awake. Of course, that too could end badly, but there is a chance of a good outcome. When everyone is asleep, there is no chance of salvation. Russia, wake up.

Secondly, we must declare martial law in the country and act accordingly. Not everywhere, but in the most vulnerable key areas, especially the border regions. In those areas that are already at war. Or in those areas, where the authorities understand objectively and soberly the situation in which the country finds itself. Remember how the regions behaved during the covid epidemic? Some imposed more stringent measures, others less. And the Kremlin was watching, noting, monitoring. It’s the same now. We impose martial law and modify our policies according to the clear motto: “Everything for the front. Everything for victory.” And we are responsible for this. If we were too hasty, we will be corrected. And if we are too late?

Third: the restructuring of the economy in a warlike manner. Maybe I will be condemned by the patriots who hate our government’s economic bloc, but I can see that in Russia the economic situation is more or less the same, given such radical conditions. We thought it was the weakest link, but it turns out it is not. I do not want to and cannot go into details any further, but the main thing is the following: we need to put industry and the financial system on a war footing. It is everyone’s job to equip our troops with everything they need. From weapons, transport, UAVs, body armor and secure communications to clothing and medical supplies. This is a matter of life and death today. Army and volunteer supply. And here, perhaps, for sabotage and corruption, the worst penalties should be imposed. The excesses we are all hearing about in terms of supplies for our soldiers make our blood run cold.

Fourthly: the mobilization of society. Most competent people and those who are fighting say we don’t need a total mobilization; we need a full complement and an influx of qualified reservists with military experience and a vocation. People are ready, but they need to be provided with the proper conditions, both material and psychological. in order to change from peace (or, more precisely, the illusion of peace) to war, there needs to be a compelling reason. Russia’s information machine needs to provide them with that reason.

Fifth: a culture of awakening. Society needs to wake up to the war. This requires a tremendous amount of effort—in education, in the arts, and in reorganizing the information sphere.

Who are we? Who is our enemy? Where does this conflict come from? What are its reasons? What are our traditions, ideals and values for which we are now shedding blood, enduring hardship, receiving blows?

Who are they? Where did their hatred for us come from? Why have they decided to destroy us? What kind of world do they want to build?

In a thousand ways, scientists, artists, philosophers, journalists, and teachers must give clear answers to these questions over and over again.

The culture of awakening is the ideology. The ideology of our Victory.

One last thing. Many already awakened are still thinking in the categories of loyalty/traitor. This is already behind us. There are no more conditions for betrayal. The die is cast, and there is no turning back. Those on our side are condemned by that side. Those who try to go over to the side of an enemy intent on destroying us are signing their own sentence.

Yes, we are not on an equal footing. While the collective West fights for its planetary supremacy, we fight only for our being, for our life, for the right to be what we are. They can retreat, as long as they have a place to go. We don’t. We are backed against the wall.

The West is attacking us on our own native Russian soil.  And no one can count on the forgiveness of the enemy. Everyone will be reminded of everything.

It remains to be won. In the name of the fallen. In the name of the living. In the name of those who have yet to live—and who may not get such an opportunity to be born. Everything depends on us.


Alexander Dugin is a widely-known and influential Russian philosopher. His most famous work is The Fourth Political Theory (a book banned by major book retailers), in which he proposes a new polity, one that transcends liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism. His most recent book is Eurasische Mission: Eine Einführung in den Neo-Eurasianismus (Eurasian Mission: An Introduction to Neo-Eurasianism). This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geoolitica.


Featured: “The People’s War,” by Andrei Gorodnichyov; painted in 2009.

It’s Putin’s Fault!

If Vladimir Putin did not exist, he would have to be invented. This is, in any case, what the leaders of the oligarchic regime that rules the Western world through fear, lies and corruption, think. In order to achieve their ends, they need to create an enemy, and for that they need a scapegoat who will bear the full weight of their mistakes. And the fabrication of information is essential for the fabrication of the enemy.

They have therefore found an easy way to clear their name in the eyes of their population by attributing to this public enemy, which has become the enemy of humanity, their own strategy of world domination.

To explain their own infringements of people’s rights, all they have to do is to claim at every turn: “It’s Putin’s fault!” This is the key to the process that, since the end of the world war, has led to a fratricidal war in Ukraine and to the rupture between Russia and the West, the consequences of which are incalculable.

Doctor Angela and Mrs. Merkel

However, one cannot clear the responsibility of Russia, of the Russians and of Vladimir Putin himself in the evolution that led to this disaster. It is certainly not a question of giving credence to accusations that feed a Russophobia that the war in Ukraine has exacerbated, by extending to all Russians a discredit that previously tended to oppose Vladimir Putin and the interests of Russia and Russians. From now on, it is the whole Russian people; it is the fact of being Russian alone which is the object of a hateful and contemptuous rejection.

But it must be recognized that the Russians, by ratifying the changes that brought about the end of the Cold War and by carrying out self-destructive reforms, are themselves at the origin of this “demonization,” sought by the United States and carried out with the help of their victims. Drunk with their hubris and confident in their victory, the sorcerer’s apprentices who have taken the reins of the West do not realize that they are endangering world peace and security. But they would never have taken this path if Russia, after having put an end to the USSR, had not encouraged them to take it.

General Desportes, one of the few intelligent, honest and informed observers of political life, indicated in a recent interview one of the keys, according to him, to a war that will undoubtedly only result in defeated people, recalling the words of Vladimir Putin, who, when asked by Mrs. Merkel what his greatest mistake was, replied: “It is to have trusted you.”

Zinoviev’s Lesson on the “Global Supra-Society”

The Russians have every reason to blame their leaders for having actively contributed to their downfall. But, accustomed to passivity in the face of their rulers, they did not react after their refusal to put an end to the USSR in the referendum organized by Gorbachev and left unresolved. It was only after having suffered the consequences of this self-destruction in the sinister 1990s, under the presidency of Boris Yeltsin, that they endorsed the recovery policy undertaken by Vladimir Putin.

The results obtained explain the popularity of the latter. But, as he himself recognized in his answer to Mrs. Merkel, he is not himself exempt from responsibility in the subjugation of his country to foreign powers that unscrupulously practice double standards.

To better understand the game that is currently being played between Russia and the West through Ukraine, one must go back to the end of the Cold War, marked by the reunification of Germany and the self-dissolution of the USSR by its president Gorbachev. Gorbachev’s death gave rise to a discreet tribute from the Europeans and a hostile silence from the Russians, who did not forgive him for having betrayed the state for which he was responsible.

If Gorbachev had the merit of putting an end to communism, he also destroyed the Russian power, built by the Soviet Union, in the heritage of the tsarist empire. In the Russian collective consciousness, he trampled on a history of which he was the heir. This concordance has been very well analyzed by Alexander Zinoviev in his book, Global Suprasociety and Russia. In his conclusion, Zinoviev wrote:

The Gorbachev-Yeltsinian treason is the greatest treason in the history of mankind by its main parameters, by the importance of its participants, by its degree of calculation and premeditation, by its social level, by its consequences for many countries and peoples, by its role in the evolution of mankind. So, if we Russians have been robbed of the right to be the first to discover a new way, the communist way, of the social evolution of mankind, we should at least recognize that we are the champions in the sphere of treason.

The Non-Implementation of the Minsk Agreements

At the root of this betrayal is the Western syndrome and the democratic mirage. In Russia Under the Avalanche, in 1998, Solzhenitsyn described the collapse of his country and the decay of a society left to be plundered by the bandits in power, in the name of democracy. In his reports, he revealed the despair of a population that had lost faith in its future. But some people still believed in the arrival of a providential man who would save Russia.

When Vladimir Putin took power and brought the oligarchs to heel, restoring the state’s sovereignty, he identified himself with this savior who was restoring Russia’s history and memory. And this sheds light on the support of his population in a war that does not speak its name and for which the Russian people are called to suffer, in flesh and soul.

This is why Russophobia, which associates in the same demonization the Russians and their president, is not totally wrong. Faced with a crusade that reminds the Russians of other crusades that they have defeated by their heroism and self-sacrifice, the people are united to their tsar. But there is a difference between patriotic wars and the invasion of a brother-country, accused of treason.

And if it has come to this, it is because Vladimir Putin was mistaken as much about a Ukraine that he thought was subservient as about a Europe that never wanted to apply the “Minsk agreements,” intended to peacefully resolve the conflict between the government of Kiev and the separatist republics. And if he made this mistake, it is because, in spite of what he said, he continued, in his relations with the “collective West,” to trust enemies that he took for partners.

Dangers of a War that will not be Named, Until It’s Over

By calling this invasion a “special operation,” Vladimir Putin was undoubtedly aware of the impossibility of waging a war, a real war, a total war, against Ukraine, guilty of being in a pact with the West.

Clausewitz had warned against the danger of waging war without wanting to do so, since war is only the continuation of politics by other means. The Russian army, obliged to wage war, not to defend its own country but to attack another country, whatever the reasons for doing so, is now seeing the truth of this warning. Between a shameful peace and nuclear escalation, the die is now cast and Russia, Europe and the world are facing an uncertain future. NATO strategists, who have provoked this war to maintain the existence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, may well come to regret their decision.

And it will be useless yelling, to clear themselves of their own responsibility—”It’s Putin’s fault!


Gérard Conio, professor emeritus of the University Nancy-2, edited the fabulous book series, “Classiques slaves” at the l’Age d’Homme publishing house. This article appears courtesy of Éléments.

Eurasianism: A Reaffirmation of Empire

Contemporary Eurasianism is undoubtedly marked by the strong personality of Alexander Dugin (1962). However, Eurasianist thought cannot be reduced to that of the latter (which he does not claim). At the same time, the Eurasianist movement has been able, during the two clearly differentiated phases of its history, to gather original and independent thinkers (and regularly in disagreement), while keeping a very specific intellectual identity.

Pyotr Savitsky: Father of Eurasianism and Theorist of Topogenesis

Eurasianist thought was born in exile at the beginning of the 1920s, at the initiative of certain White Russian intellectuals. Its main theorists were Prince Nicholai Trubetzskoy (1890-1938) and Pyotr Savitsky (1895-1968). The Eurasianist movement gradually broke up during the 1930s, before disappearing after the Second World War: the fairly complex thinking of Eurasianism was probably no longer suited to the simplistic confrontation of ideologies typical of the Cold War. However, Eurasianism experienced a revival in Russia in the 1990s (it was then referred to as neo-Eurasianism), around the personalities of Alexander Dugin and Alexander Panarin (1940-2003). It is not insignificant to note that the two historical phases of Eurasianism reacted each time to a fall: the fall of the “White Empire” of the Romanovs for classical Eurasianism, and the fall of the “Red Empire” of the USSR for neo-Eurasianism. We can thus readily define Eurasianism as a will to rethink the fundamentally imperial identity of Russia, at times when it seemed threatened with dissolution.

Before Eurasianism

If the double birth of Eurasianism is thus linked to precise contexts, the latter was obviously not constituted like Athena already emerging armed from Zeus’ brain. Without falling into the always somewhat vain exercise of “searching for precursors,” it is obvious that Eurasianism is rooted in a typically Russian intellectual soil, inaugurated by the father of Slavophilism, Aleksey Khomyakov (1804-1860). He interpreted history as the confrontation of two principles: the Iranian principle and the Kushite principle. These two principles were conceived as covering all the structural dichotomies of the world. To the Iranian/Kushite opposition thus corresponds the oppositions freedom/determinism, spirituality/ materialism, peasant civilization/industrial civilization, autocracy/plutocracy, Orthodoxy/Catholicism and Protestantism, East/West. Khomyakov thus radically opposed to a Kushite West an Iranian East, to which he integrated Russia. This integration of Russia with the East nourished Khomyakov’s interest in Iran and India (he would go so far as to learn Sanskrit to be able to read in the original the classical works of Hinduism). This conception of a Russia, open to the East but closed to the West, would become a constitutive pillar of Eurasianism.

The work of Constantine Leontiev (1831-1891) can be seen as a link between nineteenth-century slavophilism and twentieth-century Eurasianism. The latter, a veteran of the Crimean War, conceived of “Western progress” as a globalist and aggressive process of standardization of humanity from below. In contrast, he defended a diversity of men and cultures, finding its unity in a common imperial identity. This dialectic of the respect of the human diversity in the unity of the empire, put in opposition with the petty-bourgeois uniformity of the Western State-nation, will find itself in the Eurasianist thought. Thinking that the future of Russia was not in Europe but in Asia, Leontiev invited his compatriots to consider themselves no longer as Slavs, but as “Turanians” (the term “Turanians” designating, in the vocabulary of the time, the Turko-Mongolian peoples of Central Asia). Inaudible for his contemporaries, this renewal of Russian identity proposed by Leontiev will find an echo among Eurasianists.

The Idea of Eurasia

Eurasianist thought is vast and embraces many fields and themes. It is thus impossible to reveal it in its entirety here (we would in any case be hard pressed to give an account of Nicolai Trobetzskoy’s structural linguistic work). However, Eurasianists share a common way of conceiving the Eurasian discourse in itself. Totally anti-constructivist, Eurasianist thought considers that Eurasia pre-exists in its essence. The idea of Eurasia is an Idea, in the Platonic sense of the term, and the purpose of the Eurasianist discourse is therefore not to construct it, but to unveil it. This Eurasian Idea is thus fundamentally revealed in a territory that is neither Europe nor Asia, but a third continent: Eurasia. That the Idea of Eurasia is revealed in the territory of Eurasia may seem a very trivial statement, but it is not. Indeed, it means that, for the Eurasianists, Eurasia is a fact of nature, whose unity and specificity will have to be demonstrated by the geographical sciences. Eurasianism is thus thought of, on the theoretical level, as a scientific demonstration of the Eurasian Idea. Eurasian thought is thus characterized at the same time as a metaphysics and as a science (Trubetzskoy thus spoke of a geosophy of Eurasianism).

This naturalistic conception of Eurasia explains why the delimitations of the latter have never been the object of a clear consensus among Eurasianists, without them regarding this state of affairs as a real problem. Indeed, being defined by geographical and not historical-political criteria, Eurasia is not delimited by borders in the strict sense of the term, but rather by peripheral zones, by boundaries. Globally, Eurasia corresponds to the territory of the former USSR. In the East, Mongolia and possibly Tibet are generally added to it. Dugin excludes the Kuril Islands, which he proposes to return to Japan. The problem of the eastern limits of Eurasia has never really worried Eurasianists, insofar as they think of an opening of Eurasia to Asia, and see in the Asian countries natural allies in the face of Western hegemony (Alexander Panarin, who was a professor of political philosophy at Moscow State University, thus theorized the construction of a Sino-Eurasian alliance against the American “new world order”).

The problem of the Western limits of Eurasia is quite different, and has been of great concern to Eurasians (which is explained by their conception of a Eurasia closed to the West). The Eurasian territory is also based on that of the former USSR, excluding the Baltic States and the enclave of Kaliningrad, and with the addition of Bessarabia for some. Ukraine is considered Eurasian, but suffers from a very ambiguous status. As a western boundary of Eurasia, and because of its historical links with Poland, Ukraine is seen as having been largely influenced by the West (to such an extent that Eurasianists called the westernization of Russia in the Petersburg period “Ukrainization”). As a result, Eurasianists always considered that an independent Ukraine detached from Russia could not be anything other than a Trojan horse of the West in Eurasian unity.

The Concept of Topogenesis

Alexander Dugin describes this basically continental Eurasian space as “tellurocratic,” characterized by a traditional and socialist spirit, and opposes it to a “thalassocratic” Atlantic space, modern and capitalist (an opposition that we already find, mutatis mutandis, in The Peloponnesian War, where Thucydides opposes a “tellurocratic” and aristocratic Sparta to a “thalassocratic” and democratic Athens). The geographical opposition between a continental Eurasian space and a maritime Atlantic space is thus coupled with a civilizational opposition. Eurasian thought holds that civilization is conditioned (and not determined) by place. This is what Pyotr Savitsky proposed to call “topogenesis” (and which he considered a scientific concept): A specific geographical space conditions a specific civilization. To the Eurasian space thus corresponds a Eurasian civilization.

In the eyes of Eurasianists, religion is at the foundation of any civilization. The Eurasian civilization is thus for them fundamentally Orthodox. Atheism, deism, Catholicism, or Protestantism are seen as Western elements, foreign, and even opposed to Eurasian civilization. Thus, with a few exceptions, all Eurasianists are explicitly Orthodox. However, without questioning the sincerity of the personal faith of the Eurasianists, some criticized the ensuing notion that Russian Christianity thus does not seem to be based on a supernatural revelation, but simply as an expression of the Eurasian topogenesis; Father Georges Florovsky distanced himself from the movement for this reason, seeing in it a naturalistic reduction of the Christian mystery. Nevertheless, Eurasianists always remained conscious that not all Eurasians are Orthodox, and stressed that Russian Orthodoxy, while keeping its central role, can recognize, esteem, and fraternize with other Eurasian religious expressions. Thus, in the inter-war period, the Jewish Eurasianist Yakov Bromberg defended the existence of a specifically Eurasian Jewishness through the Khazar experience. More recently, Dorji-Lama, a spiritual leader of the Kalmyk Buddhists, joined Alexander Dugin’s Eurasianist organization.

But it is especially to Islam that the Eurasianists opened up, underlining the precocity with which the Russian empire was equipped with a representative institution of the Muslims of Russia (the great Muftiate of Russia was created by the empress Catherine II in 1788), and not forgetting that 40% of the citizens of the ex-USSR were Muslims. They held the existence of a specifically Eurasian Islam, Turkic, and influenced by Sufism and Shiism (Wahhabi Islam is on the other hand absolutely rejected as non-Eurasian, and being totally subservient to hated America). Dugin, mobilizing a conceptuality drawn from his reading of René Guénon, affirmed that Turkic Islam and Russian Orthodoxy are both linked in their essence to the “Primordial Tradition” (as well as all the authentically traditional religions) coming from “Hyperborea,” which he situates in Siberia (this conception is not foreign to Russian mythology; indeed, in the fourteenth century the archbishop Basil of Novgorod affirmed the existence of a secret terrestrial paradise in Siberia, which obviously refers to the biblical myth of the Garden of Eden and is very reminiscent of the Buddhist myth of Shamballah). Muslim personalities thus drew closer to Eurasianism: Talgat Tadzhuddin, former grand mufti of Russia, joined Dugin’s Eurasianist movement; and especially Nursultan Nazarbayev, former president of Kazakhstan and promoter of a specifically Turkic Eurasianism, distinct from the properly Russian Eurasianism (and to whom Dugin devoted a dithyrambic book).

As we can see, topogenesis is neither a determinism nor a universalism; it conditions and adapts that which exists. The various religions and cultures of Eurasia keep their particular identity, while showing common civilizational traits, making them all converge in the Eurasian unity, understood as a community, both natural and mystical, of destiny. The concept of topogenesis is thus a nodal point of Eurasian thought, where a dialectic of the one and the many is woven, founding an imperial affirmation of identity that respects (but also embraces) the particular identities of Eurasian peoples. it should also be noted that this strictly organicist conception leaves no room for individual choice—a Mormon Tatar who loves the country cannot be anything but a dangerous anomaly from a Eurasian perspective).

A Differentialist Critique of Western Universalism

This notion of topogenesis is also the basis of the Eurasian critique of Western universalism. The latter is understood as postulating the existence of a unique human civilization, the different cultures being only the expression of this unique civilization at different historical stages of advancement, obviously leading to the Western model, seen as the most advanced and most desirable historical stage of humanity (Eurasianists note that white supremacism is finally only a naturalized form of this universalism). Western civilization is thus seen as the goal of all humanity, and its model of development as the unique direction of history. Alexander Panarin considers that this superiority complex of the West comes from the obvious power of its industrial and consumerist model, while underlining that the contemporary ecological crisis undeniably demonstrates its harmful character.

To this historicist universalism of the West, justifying its political hegemony as well as the cultural westernization of the world, Eurasianists resolutely oppose a “geographist” differentialism. In their eyes, the Western model is absolutely not universal. As we have already said, each geographical space corresponds for Eurasianists to a given civilization, the Western model therefore legitimately and exclusively corresponds to the Western geographical space. Eurasianism thus defends an incommensurability and an equality of civilizations between them, which must each be respected in their specificity. The inexpiable fault of the West is thus to have believed itself superior to the rest of the world, granting itself the right to invade it “for its own good,” scorning thereby the irrefutable right of each people to remain itself and to develop according to its own internal logic; that is to say to remain faithful to its own topogenesis. The Eurasianists thus always presented themselves as anti-colonialists and Third Worldists (and this already in the 1920s; that is to say at a time when this was not yet fashionable). In France, Aleksander Dugin came closer to the New Right led by Alain de Benoist, which also carried a differentialist critique of Western universalism, while Aleksander Panarin, for his part, came closer to certain researchers from postcolonial studies. The latter affirmed in this respect that the providential mission of Eurasia is to take the lead in the revolt of the Third World against Western hegemony.

Eurasia as Ideocracy

Panarin’s Eurasian messianism undeniably reproduced certain “tics” of Russian nationalism. It is an observation that can be extended to the whole of Eurasianist thought, which grants Orthodox “Holy Russia” the role of the “spearhead” of Eurasia. Eurasianists, however, have always denied being reactionary. In the 1920s, they strongly criticized White Russians who stubbornly remained monarchists, and instead claimed to be “futurists” (and even “cosmists” for the most left-wing). If they rejected the Marxist ideology, they saw in the Soviet experience an important step in the process of political incarnation of the Eurasian Idea. For the Eurasianists, the Russian people, Orthodox and theophore, were providentially elected to carry out this process, i.e., to make the Eurasian empire come true. The latter, political incarnation of the Eurasian Idea, is thus understood by Eurasianist thought as an ideocracy, aristocratic and authoritarian regime, of religious and socialist essence, expressing the Eurasian organicity.

The Eurasianists trace the history of the constitution of the Eurasian ideocracy, through a historical meta-narrative breaking with traditional Russian historiography. Indeed, the Rus’ of Kiev is thus seen as denying its usual founding role. Only Saint Vladimir of Kiev (958-1015), for his historical choice of Byzantine Christianity, and Saint Alexander Nevsky (1220-1263) are preserved. The latter, confronted in the East by the Mongols, and in the West by the Teutonic Knights (launched in the famous Baltic, or Northern Crusades), chose to recognize the suzerainty of Batu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, and to oppose the Teutonic Knights—thus making the choice of Eurasia against the West (the Eurasianists also contrasted Saint Alexander Nevsky with another Russian prince, Daniel of Galicia, who made the opposite choice, and whom they condemned to hell-fire for that; one finds here the dual character of Ukraine in Eurasianist thought)—because it is indeed the Mongolian empire which is seen as the matrix of the Eurasian ideocracy. The Eurasianist historiography, in an original way, thus rehabilitated Genghis Khan and the Genghisids. Lev Gumilev (1912-1992) pointed out the Christian dimension of the Mongol empire, including among its high aristocracy (the mother of Kublai Khan, emperor of China and grandson of Genghis Khan, was a Church of the East Christian princess). While traditional Russian historiography sees in the affirmation of Muscovy a founding struggle for national liberation against the Mongols, Eurasian historiography sees in Moscow the heir to the Mongol empire. The providential mission of the Russian people is therefore to bring to its historical completion the work that the Mongolian people started: the constitution of the Eurasian ideocratic empire.

It is difficult to assess the influence of Eurasianism on contemporary Russian politics. Those who have made Dugin into an eminence grise of the Kremlin, or even into a Eurasianist of President Putin, have probably greatly exaggerated. However, it would be wrong to underestimate the capacity of Eurasianist thought, with its mystical, political and scientific roots, to infuse some of its ideas into the state ideologies of the countries of the former USSR (as the examples of Russia, Kazakhstan and, to a lesser extent, Kyrgyzstan demonstrate).


Grégoire Quevreux currently teaches philosophy at the Institut Protestant de Théologie de Paris, and is completing a doctoral thesis on process theology under the direction of Professor Cyrille Michon. This article appears through the kind courtesy of PHILITT.


Featured: “The Road in the Rye,” by Grigoriy Myasoyedov; painted in 1881.

Crimea’s Energy Independence

From August 26 to 30, a group of international journalists had the opportunity to visit Crimea and see what effects the European Union sanctions might be having. I was among that group of international journalists. As a reminder, Crimea again became part of Russia in 2014. In March of that year, a referendum was held in Crimea, where the absolute majority of citizens were in favor of unification with Russia. This is not surprising considering that even while Crimea was part of Ukraine, the majority of citizens were pro-Russian and spoke Russian.

When the legitimate government in Kiev was overthrown during the Maidan revolution, and a new anti-Russian government brought into power with the help of Washington, the local population in Crimea did not accept it. As people in Crimea say: “We have been waiting for a long time to come back to our motherland, Russia.” This is exactly how the return of Crimea to Russia began.

However, after the return of Crimea to Russia, the harsh sanctions of the European Union against Crimea immediately followed. In short, these sanctions by the European Union consist of a complete import and investment ban for the area of Crimea and Sevastopol, the Black Sea fleet port.

And this is where we come to the key question—how did the sanctions affect Crimea? Based on everything I’ve seen, I can safely say that the sanctions have had a positive effect.

Here are some examples:

In Crimea, wine production is increasing every year. A huge amount of money has been invested in new wineries as well as in improving the quality of the wine. Today, Crimean wine is better than most European wines. Sanctions have had a positive effect on wine production, as the large Russian market, plus the Asia Pacific region, were opened up to Crimean wineries. Notable Crimean winemakers today include: Alma Valley’, Massandra, Inkerman, Gold Beam, Koktebel, Magarach, Suter, Novyi Svit, and Legend of Crimea.

Apart from wine, which has been produced in Crimea for more than 2000 years, I could see that other areas are rapidly developing in Crimea, primarily agriculture, the results of which are visible to everyone.

Crimea is also developing technologically, so today batteries for electric cars are being produced there. With these batteries, electric cars will be supplied all over Russia, and in the coming years, exports outside of Russia will also begin.

Certainly, tourism has a very important place in the economy of the Russian Republic of Crimea. What can be immediately noticed when arriving in Crimea on the new highway that was built and which is excellent is the huge number of tourists.

Also, there is improvement in infrastructure, such as the building of new roads and repair of old ones which were allowed to badly deteriorate during Ukrainian rule.

First Made-in-Russia Turbines

At the Saki gas combined heat and power plant of the KRYMTETS company, we could see that a two-year experimental period of operation of the gas turbine units, made in Russia for the first time by domestic specialists, specifically for this project, was 100 percent completed and without the use of imported components.

The need to build such a natural gas-fired power station arose eight years ago. After Crimea returned to Russia, Ukraine abruptly cut off the power supply of the peninsula by blowing up the main power lines. Crimea, being 80 percent energy dependent on the mainland, plunged into darkness. The peninsula was urgently provided with mobile power systems and began to actively build new, local generation facilities.

During a visit to the Saki gas-fired power plant, Crimea. [Photo: Slavisha Batko Milacic].

A complication during this process was the sanctions which made impossible to bring imported equipment into Crimea, and almost all generation facilities in Russia were built with the use of Siemens and General Electric’s equipment. At the time, Russian manufacturers developed and produced exclusive equipment specifically for the Saki gas-fired power plant. Therefore, all the turbines, boilers and other generating equipment of the plant have factory-set serial numbers, starting from the first one.

The Saki power plant, with its total capacity of 120 megawatts (MW), was built in a year—a record-breaking time for such kind of projects. Usually, it takes at least two-and-a-half years. As well, the plant was built without secondary sources pf funding. The funding was solely undertaken by the KRYMTETS company.

After the launch of the new gas-fired power plant, all the attention of specialists was riveted on the operation of the equipment—no one knew for sure how it would work when fully operational. But now the pilot project of the first Russian gas-fired power plant based on Russian equipment and Russian software has been completed after a two-year test period, and in conditions of increased loads of the Crimean region, proving that Russian equipment works with high efficiency and has proven itself better than imported know-how. This result means that the turbines used at the Saki plant may be recommended for installation at other natural gas-fired power stations in the Russian Federation; and also, after meeting domestic demand, they will be exported to friendly countries. At the same time, the Saki plant will become training ground and learning center for specialists who will operate this equipment at power plants in other regions and countries.

In addition, this year, the first virtual power plant in Russia was put into commercial operation on the basis of the Saki plant. This is the digital twin of a real power plant and is a prototype of the plant’s existing production facilities: turbines, boilers, auxiliary equipment, electrical installations, etc. The digital model helps to change the parameters of the equipment and make improvements much faster and safer than working in manual mode. The created software product is a domestic development as well and was created from scratch by Russian specialists.

And now the management of all the processes at the Saki plant is carried out only with the use of Russian software.

Currently, representatives of the largest Russian energy supply companies regularly visit the Saki plant to get acquainted with the operation of equipment in industrial conditions and prepare for its implementation at their own facilities.


Slavisha Batko Milacic is a historian and independent analyst, and writes about the situation in the Balkans and Europe.


Ukraine and the Collapse of Western Values

“Russia, an aging tyranny, seeks to destroy Ukraine, a defiant democracy. A Ukrainian victory would confirm the principle of self-rule, allow the integration of Europe to proceed, and empower people of goodwill to return reinvigorated to other global challenges. A Russian victory, by contrast, would extend genocidal policies in Ukraine, subordinate Europeans, and render any vision of a geopolitical European Union obsolete. Should Russia continue its illegal blockade of the Black Sea, it could starve Africans and Asians, who depend on Ukrainian grain, precipitating a durable international crisis that will make it all but impossible to deal with common threats such as climate change. A Russian victory would strengthen fascists and other tyrants, as well as nihilists who see politics as nothing more than a spectacle designed by oligarchs to distract ordinary citizens from the destruction of the world. This war, in other words, is about establishing principles for the twenty-first century. It is about policies of mass death and about the meaning of life in politics. It is about the possibility of a democratic future.”

This is how Timothy Snyder, one of the most prominent academic representatives of the Western establishment, describes what’s at stake in the war in Ukraine, in the September issue of the American journal Foreign Affairs. Defense of “European values” against barbarism, democracy against dictatorship, heroic virtues against war crimes. Such is the narrative that has been served up to us, day after day, by Western leaders and media, since February 24, with a tone and a unanimity that broaches no dissent.

Are we really sure that this vision corresponds to reality and that this war corresponds to a struggle between the good guys and the bad guys? And what are these famous values that we hear so much about, but which we are careful not to define and, above all, to put to the test in our own behavior? For what is the value of a “value” that has been rendered useless because it has been adulterated or devalued by attitudes that are even more criminal than those of which the adversary is accused? These questions are not insignificant because, seen from the rest of the world, Europe is showing that it has failed to share its internal model—cooperation between member nations on an egalitarian basis of mutual respect—with the other nations of the world and that it is losing its honor and its credit with them.

An inventory is necessary.

The first problematic observation is that the founding value of Europe since 1945, the one that was proclaimed for seven decades to justify the creation and success of the European Union—peace between nations—has totally disappeared from official and media discourse since last April.

It is true that peace had already suffered a serious setback in the 1990s, during the Yugoslav war, when Germany’s premature recognition of the independence of Slovenia and Croatia set off a firestorm; and in 1999 the German and NATO chiefs concocted the false Operation Horseshoe and staged the Raçak massacre, allegedly planned by the Serbs to liquidate the Kosovars, and thus justifying the bombing of a European state for 78 days at the cost of dozens of deaths and billions of damages. This ideal of peace was also undermined by the gradual transformation of NATO into an increasingly aggressive alliance after the demise of the Soviet Union, as evidenced by the aforementioned attacks on Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan, most of them committed in violation of international law. Not to mention the continuous bombing of the civilian population of Gaza or the deportation of the inhabitants of the Chagos Islands by the British to install a military base (Diego Garcia), recently condemned by the International Court of Justice.

Despite these deviations, peace, officially at least, remained a foundation for action and a claimed “value” of Europe and the West. It was in the name of preserving peace that President Sarkozy rushed to Moscow in the summer of 2008 to meet with President Putin after the failure of the war in Georgia, unleashed by Saakashvili.

It was also in the name of peace that Europe, led by France and Germany, negotiated and guaranteed the Minsk Agreements that followed the overthrow of the Ukrainian government and the uprising in Ukraine’s Eastern provinces after the February 2014 riots and the joining of Crimea to Russia. There had even been hope that peace would be possible between Ukraine and Russia in late March of this year, until the media coverage of Bucha and the visit of Boris Johnson in early April put an end to any hint of negotiations on the Western side.

Since then, peace has disappeared from the European horizon. Moreover, ministers and the media, led by the President of the European Commission, are constantly calling for more war, more arms deliveries, more sanctions, more financial support, more energy austerity, stigmatizing the few voices that dare to call for de-escalation and diplomacy—as traitors. This wide gap between proclaimed values and actual behavior undermines the entire Western discourse on values.

In the same vein, how are we to interpret the discourse of European leaders and media, who have no words harsh enough to castigate the nationalism of Serbia, Russia, Hungary, Turkey, China (vis-à-vis Taiwan), the chauvinism of the so-called “far-right” parties in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria and elsewhere, as well as the separatism of the Catalans, of the Donbass and Crimean republics—but who then have every possible consideration for the secession of Kosovo, the independence of Taiwan, the occupation of the Golan Heights and the colonization of the West Bank, which are not recognized by international law, and for the “righteous struggle” of the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist battalions, which has been condemned by the United Nations in the resolutions against Nazism? How can one praise the nationalism of some by providing them with arms, financial support and political recognition, while condemning the nationalism of others, who, unlike the former, have not started any war? What is a value that deserves all respect, even when it is stained with blood, but is given no respect when it is expressed peacefully through the ballot box?

The second value defended by the West is democracy. As for peace, we want to applaud. But on closer inspection one has doubts. How can one justify the unconditional support to a country, Ukraine, under the pretext of democracy, when this same country has banned all opposition parties (last March), closed all non-governmental information channels (in 2021 and 2022), banned all opposition parties (last March), closed all non-governmental news channels (in 2021 and 2022), banned minority languages (and even majority languages, since Russian is spoken by two thirds of the population), has had dozens of journalists, political opponents and even negotiators murdered by its security services, and allowed rampant corruption to develop (122nd position in the world corruption ranking, not far from Russia), sold off 17 million hectares of good agricultural land to three American multinationals despite popular opposition, forcibly enlisted the male population in its army, executed prisoners of war, used its own civilian population as human shields (see the Amnesty report), filled its army and its administration with notorious neo-Nazi sympathizers—to name but a few of the facts that have been acknowledged by the dominant media? Is this really the model of democracy we want to defend?

And what about our own appetite for democracy when we rush to Baku to cajole the dynast Aliyev who keeps attacking Armenia, to Saudi Arabia to coax Prince MBS who had the journalist Kashoggi cut into pieces, to Qatar to smile at the emir, or to Cameroon to make friends with President Biya who has been in power for 40 years—for the sole aim of getting a little gas or oil? All this to boycott Vladimir Putin, who has only been president for 18 years and who is ready to deliver us less polluting gas and oil for cheap?

Similarly, there are no words harsh enough to denounce Russia’s interference in the affairs of democratic countries, as was the case throughout Donald Trump’s term and during the 2017 French elections. But what is the response when two American special prosecutors (Messrs. Robert Mueller and John Durham) establish the opposite? Nothing! On the contrary, we enthusiastically endorse our interference in the political functioning of third countries, as was the case in Venezuela in 2019 with the support for the self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido, with the putsch against Bolivian president Evo Morales and with all the color-revolutions designed to overthrow legitimate governments like the one in February 2014 in Ukraine.

Australian journalist and filmmaker John Pilger recounts that during his eighty-three years of life the United States government has succeeded in or attempted to overthrow fifty foreign governments, most of them democratic; that it has interfered in the elections of thirty countries; that it has waged war or dropped bombs on thirty countries, most of them poor and defenseless; that it has fought liberation movements in twenty countries and tried to assassinate the leaders of fifty nations—all this at the cost of carnage, massacres and destruction beyond reckoning. A fine example of democracy and respect for the people!

And finally, what are we to think of our own democratic functioning when we support a war without having consulted the citizens, when we scuttle neutrality without debate, as is the case of Switzerland, when we are engaged in warmongering against the opinion of the people? Let us recall in this regard the poll conducted in Germany and published on August 30 by the magazine Stern, to the absolute indifference of the Western media, because it is contrary to the dominant doxa: 77% of Germans are in favor of peace negotiations in Ukraine (as opposed to 17% who believe that nothing should be done); 87% believe that it is necessary to talk to Putin (as opposed to 11%); 62% that heavy weapons should not be delivered to Ukraine (as opposed to 32%). Another survey in Austria gave more or less the same results. These are popular opinions that we should not listen to.

The third category of values we are supposed to defend in Ukraine is human rights. Western ideologists claim that Russia committed a crime of aggression, the worst of all crimes according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, by launching its “special operation” against Ukraine. This is possible. But the Russians, in the same fashion as the Western accusations about the Uyghurs in China, counter that they have only responded to the crime of “genocide,” perpetrated by Ukrainian forces since 2014 in the Donbass, at the cost of 14,000 deaths, attested by the UN. Ditto for violations of humanitarian law, the taking of civilians as hostages, the execution of prisoners. According to estimates in August, the UN put civilian casualties at 5587 dead and 7890 wounded since February. That’s 6,000 dead and 8,000 wounded civilians too many, but it’s a far cry from the widespread massacre and hundreds of thousands of civilians killed by NATO troops and pro-Western armies in Iraq, Afghanistan or Yemen.

Crimes against crimes, accusations against accusations. We are no further ahead if we look at things from a little distance. And in any case, if we are honest, we have to admit that we do not know enough at the moment and that, if we wanted to judge the supposed aggressor for his crimes, we would have to start with ourselves.

In the same way, the West, and Europe in particular, likes to present itself as a model of freedom of expression, compared to a Russia that would shamelessly flout them. But how to explain then that our sycophantic media trample all the criteria of objective information by unanimously taking sides with Ukraine, without listening to the other party? Altera pars audiatur say journalism manuals. On Wednesday morning, three experts were debating, on the morning news on France Culturel all of them viscerally anti-Russian, Edwy Plenel in the lead. Where is the famous pluralism of the press? The diversity of opinion? And why were the Russian media RT and Sputnik banned from the EU? Isn’t this a crass attack on freedom of expression, even when it is justified under the pretext of countering “Russian propaganda?” Since when is censorship democratic and representative of freedom of expression? And how can we justify the despicable treatment inflicted on Julian Assange, Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning, because they denounced the turpitude of the NSA, the American crimes in Iraq, or the compromises of Hillary Clinton and the Biden son?

The last point, for a list that could be lengthened—is the flagrant violation of the right to private property, with the confiscation of the assets of the Russian Central Bank, the private assets of the oligarchs, and the sequestrating of billions of Afghan and Venezuelan assets by the American and British central banks?

The fourth and final category of values betrayed by Western practices is ecology and the fight against climate change. Since the Rio Summit in 1992, the West has posed itself, not without difficulty and with much internal debate, as the champion of the fight for the “preservation of the planet” and the development of green technologies by declaring war on CO2 emissions. In 2019, its political and media elites were swooning over Greta Thunberg and the youth-strikes, while at the same time calling on the countries of the South, which account for almost nothing of greenhouse gas emissions, to join the pack in exchange for huge investments, which the manipulative President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars.

Three years and six months of war in Ukraine later, what has happened? Nothing but an abandonment of all the promises made and the betrayal of the countries of the South. In the name of the fight for Ukraine and the “bringing of the Russian economy to its knees,” Europe has begun to import, at great expense and with great quantities of oil tankers and polluting bulk carriers, gas and shale oil that were once reviled. Coal-fired power plants are being reopened in Germany and Poland with the blessing of environmental ministers who would have cried scandal only 12 months ago. And soon it will be the turn of nuclear power plants.

All over Europe, the Greens, who were once at the forefront of the anti-nuclear and pacifist struggle, have become leaders of the most warmongering and anti-environmental policies, under the pretext that this would be temporary and that it would not compromise the climate objectives! Like the socialists who voted for military credits in 1914, today’s Greens have put on the green-gray uniform to adhere to the most virulent militarism and convert to the benefits of fossil fuels certified as “democratic” even though they are bought in Qatar, Saudi Arabia or Azerbaijan. Look for the error!

As for the countries of the South, they feel more cheated than ever. At the last Euro-African summit on climate change held in Rotterdam on September 5, not a single European head of state made the trip, with the exception of the Dutch host! This is a slap in the face that Africans will not soon forget, as the continent has only contributed 3% of historical greenhouse gas emissions and was promised $100 billion per year in aid from 2020. The European heads of state were too busy fine-tuning the latest sanctions against Russian natural gas.

The preceding catalogue of small and large violations of the values professed by the West in the context of the war in Ukraine is symptomatic not only of the hypocrisy of the West—which is nothing new—but of the collapse of the moral principles and exemplary behavior which it used to pride itself on, in order to justify its domination over the rest of the world. It was in the name of these values that it fought and won the Cold War against the Soviet adversary. The great diplomat and Cold War theorist George Kennan had already written in 1951 that “…the most important influence that the United States can bring to bear upon internal developments in Russia will continue to be the influence of example: the influence of what it is, and not only what it is to others but what it is to itself…. Any message we may try to bring to others will be effective only if it is in accord with what we are to ourselves, and if this is something sufficiently impressive to compel the respect and confidence of a world which, despite all its material difficulties, is still more ready to
recognize and respect spiritual distinction than material opulence.”

We have to admit that we are not on this path. Fed on propaganda, to the point of indigestion, Europe is convinced that it still embodies a moral ideal and that it can be satisfied with declaiming the moral clichés of the Cold War—Good against Evil, democracy against dictatorship—without having to apply them. Whatever the outcome of this conflict, whatever the responsibilities of each party, it is clear that it is only deceiving itself, and that this war, waged in the name of morality through the Ukrainians, is only the mask of a desire for universal predation and world hegemony that has never been satisfied and that no longer deludes—nor amuses—the other six billion inhabitants of the planet.


Guy Mettan is a well-known Swiss journalist, writer, and politician. His latest book is Creating Russophobia: From the Great Religious Schism to Anti-Putin Hysteria. His website is Planète bleue.


Featured: “Escuchando la lengua detractora” (Listening to the detractor’s tongue), by Edwin Alverio; painted in 2015.

Russophobia: A WMD (Weapon of Mass Deception)

Resume: Russophobia, as psycho-social-political pathology, is diagnosed as a disorder in the West since before the 1000-year-old Roman-Orthodox religious schism that then manifested with a vengeance in the course of 2013-14 in attacking Edward Snowden for his revelations of mass surveillance by the U.S. and its covert activities leading to the Ukraine coup in February 2014. And ever since, the West has continued to wield Russophobia as a weapon of mass media-political deception: setting up Russia as “The Enemy” to justify pushing NATO troops, war planes and ships right up to Russian borders. Thus, The West’s relentless propaganda and aggression provoked the Russians to defend themselves against this existential threat by means of its military intervention in Ukraine this past February 24 to “de-militarize and de-nazify” the region adjacent to Russia and also to protect the mainly Russian-speaking population, which had been under neo-Nazi attack ever since the 2014 coup.

Indeed, in the spring of 2018 we witnessed a blatant example of Russophobia being wielded as a WMD when we heard the BBC “breaking news” about the “Russians Poisoning the Skipals.” All we heard were allegations, not facts, as there was no real evidence to present before a judge and jury for a just trial, only media propaganda which provoked even more fear and hysteria apparently meant to distract people from the government’s bungling and high level of anxiety over Brexit by instantly blaming Russia for a manufactured crime. Never-the-less, it prompted politicians to administer instant sanctions against Russia as punishment.

That first day, the “evidence,” presented in the usual clipped, “authoritative” British accents, included interviews with a conservative British MP and the former US Ambassador to Russia, Alexander Vershbow (2001-05), then a member of the notoriously hawkish U.S.-based think tank, the Atlantic Council. Thus, the three of them (the BBC “journalist” and the two “experts”) colluded to transform false allegations into “facts”… fueled, as always, by their perpetual prejudice, RUSSOPHOBIA, in the course of their propaganda war to force Russia to surrender to American-led Western domination or else: have their economy destroyed and their people suffer. Indeed, it is a threat to the whole world played to the discord of rattling nuclear swords, with a chorus of vindictive Russian oligarchs, whom Putin expelled for robbing the Russian people. At the time, living in London as expats, these oligarchs might have been considered the more likely culprits. Meanwhile elsewhere in London, thanks to our “special US-UK relationship,” Julian Assange was excommunicated as an exile in a tiny “cell” at the Ecuador embassy for revealing embarrassing American secrets via Wikileaks. That is, until last year when British authorities illegally broke into the embassy, seized Assange and incarcerated him in an actual London prison ever since, while “legal proceedings” play out over his fabricated extradition for trial in the US.

There we have it: the poisoning of our minds by the media and politicians, which are owned and controlled by the US-UK-EU 1%, who benefit from Western hegemony. So, these deluded few are now desperately defending it from the rising powers led by Russia and China with India not far behind, demanding a multi-polar, democratic world order.

My search for the roots of this particularly vicious and extremely dangerous hate campaign began in a Dartmouth College Russian Foreign Policy course, which led me to the book, Russophobia: Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy by San Francisco State University Professor Andrei P. Tsygankov (2009). And there, the detoxification of my mind began, as I studied his deft, well-documented deconstruction of the political propaganda disseminated “by various think tanks, congressional testimonials, activities of NGOs and the media” (Preface p. XIII).

Then in Italy the following winter, I discovered the work of the Swiss journalist, Guy Mettan, in the Italian geopolitical journal, LiMes, an excerpt from his book, Creating Russophobia: From the Great Religious Schism to Anti-Putin Hysteria (2017). There, Mettan informs us that this psycho-social pathology in Western Civilization goes back more than 1000 years: to the division of Christendom between the Orthodox and Roman churches. Indeed, his research into the depths of history confirms the diagnosis by our renowned American psychiatrist, Robert Jay Lifton, in his 2003 book, Superpower Syndrome: America’s Apocalyptic Confrontation with the World. Therein, Lifton states: “More than merely dominate, the American superpower now seeks to control history. Such cosmic ambition is accompanied by an equally vast sense of entitlement, of special dispensation to pursue its aims” (p. 3). And Mettan’s analysis of Russophobia also underscores the work of University of Chicago Professor John J. Mearsheimer, our leading international relations “realist” in his three Henry L. Stimson lectures at Yale University November 2017: “The Roots of Liberal Hegemony,” “The False Promises of Liberal Hegemony” and “The Case for Restraint,” as an introduction to his latest book, “The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams, International Realities” published in 2018.

But what about “Russian Aggression” in Crimea and now Ukraine?

In the first place, it was the astute Mearsheimer who, in the Sept-Oct 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs, informed us “Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault: The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin.” But the American foreign policy establishment, together with ambitious politicians and the me-too media, paid no heed, and continues to repeat its own fabricated “facts.”

Never-the-less, Mearsheimer is backed up by Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent. In Sakwa’s book, Russia Against the Rest: The Post-Cold War Crisis of World Order (2017), we turn to the section on “Reality Wars and American Power” on p. 217 to read: “It does indeed seem that Russia and Western elites live in totally different worlds, divided by different epistemological understandings of the nature of contemporary reality. The Ukraine crisis crystallized the profound differences between Russian and Atlanticist understandings of the breakdown and its causes.” And he continues on p. 218: “Elite and policy-maker perceptions and attitudes forged in the Cold War years sustain these legacies and frame the discussions of such crucial issues as NATO enlargement, democracy promotion in the post-Soviet area, and strategic arms talks.” Adding that these “are no longer so much legacies as self-regenerating narratives and modes of discourse that preclude a more open-ended understanding of the dynamics and concerns of Russia today.”

Karl Rove: “We’re an empire now; we create our own reality.”

[In 2004, journalist Ron Suskind wrote in The New York Times magazine that a top White House strategist for President George W. Bush—identified later as Karl Rove, Bush’s Deputy White House Chief of Staff—told him, “We’re an empire now, we create our own reality.”]

Thus, we’ve become trapped in a contrived “reality” promulgated by neo-conservative warriors under cover of neo-liberal “democracy-spreading-humanitarian-interventionists” to justify an American Empire promoting itself as the indispensable “Liberal World Order.” However, under that global order, as Sakwa points out on p. 219: “If a foreign power is considered to have violated ‘international order’, then it can be overthrown” as a rationale for American “regime change” anywhere around the world: whether to control the supply of copper in Chile or oil in Iran. And, with its eye on Russia’s vast oil, gas and other natural resources, America claims the right to threaten Russia by ringing it with weapons which we would not abide were the Russians to place missiles in Mexico…as the Soviets did in Cuba to defend it after our “Bay of Pigs” invasion that brought humanity to the brink of nuclear war. Thus, Russia was defending itself in Ukraine against further NATO expansion, while in Crimea, where the great majority of citizens are Russian-speaking, they voted in a democratic referendum to rejoin Russia as they had been one country ever since the reign of Catherine the Great in the 18th century…except for an interval in the 1950s when Crimea was” gifted” to Ukraine, while they were all members of the Soviet Union.

Then, as long-time Director of the Moscow office of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Dmitri Trenin, proclaimed last December 28, 2021 in Foreign Affairs journal: “What Putin Really Wants in Ukraine: Russia Seeks to Stop NATO Expansion, Not to Annex More Territory.” Thus, we were warned by Trenin: “As 2021 came to a close, Russia presented the United States with a list of demands that it said were necessary to stave off the possibility of a large-scale military conflict in Ukraine. In a draft treaty delivered to a U.S. diplomat in Moscow, the Russian government asked for a formal halt to NATO’s eastern enlargement, a permanent freeze on further expansion of the alliance’s military infrastructure (such as bases and weapons systems) in the former Soviet territory, an end to Western military assistance to Ukraine, and a ban on intermediate-range missiles in Europe.” But it was dismissed and after the Russians took action on February 24th to enforce it, the West proceeded to send Ukraine weapons to fight and die in their on-going proxy war against Russia, together with brutal sanctions… which have since only boomeranged to the detriment of Europe, Ukrainians and the rest of the world which is dependent on Russian exports of food, fuel and other critical resources.

“Ditching Solzhenitsyn, Defender of Russia”

And not to forget that in 1974, after being expelled from the Soviet Union, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn and his family fled first to Zurich then to Vermont in 1976 and lived on a farm near Cavendish, where he continued to write and publish his work. Meanwhile, Mettan, as a journalist covering events related to Russia, became quite distressed over “the widespread prejudices, cartloads of clichés and systematic anti-Russian biases of most western media.” And he went on to say that “the more I traveled, discussed and read, the wider I perceived, the more the gap of incomprehension and ignorance between Western Europe and Russia became evident.

“That was why, during the 1990s, I was shocked by the way the West treated Solzhenitsyn. For decades, we had published, celebrated, and acclaimed the great writer as bearing the torch of anti-Soviet dissidence. We had praised Solzhenitsyn to the skies as long as he criticized his native country, communist Russia. But as soon as he emigrated, realizing that he preferred to isolate himself in his Vermont retreat to work rather than attending anticommunist conferences, western media and academics began to distance themselves from the great writer.

“The idol no longer matched the image they had built and was becoming a hindrance to their academic and journalistic career plans. And once Solzhenitsyn had left the United States to go back to Russia and defend his humiliated, demoralized motherland that was being sold at auction, raising his voice against the Russian ‘Westernizers’ and pluralist liberals who denied the interests of Russia to better revel in the troughs of capitalism, he became a marked man, an outdated, senile writer, even though he himself had not changed in the least, denouncing with the same vigor the defects of market totalitarianism as those of communist totalitarianism.

“He was booed, despised, his name was dragged through the mud for his choices, often by the very people who had praised his first fights. Despite that, against all odds, against the most powerful powers that were trying to dissuade him, Solzhenitsyn defended his one and only cause, that of Russia. He was not forgiven for having turned his pen against that West that had welcomed him and felt it was owed eternal gratitude. A dissident today, a dissident wherever truth compelled, such was his motto. This deserves to be remembered” (Mettan, pp. 15-16, in Creating Russophobia).

Russophobia: akin to Racism

From another perspective, Mettan’s chapter on “German Russophobia” set me thinking that this “Western Supremacy” political-cultural pathology known as Russophobia is like the racism which I knew growing up in totally segregated Oklahoma. Until in high school, I became so perplexed and appalled by the curtain of hate and “justifications” in which we were smothered (the Negro schools on the other side of town? and why were there separate waiting rooms, drinking fountains & restrooms in bus and train stations?) that I began poking holes in the curtain to see what was outside, and found a book in the library: South of Freedom by Carl Rowan, an African-American Minneapolis Star Tribune journalist, describing his journey from South to North. So, thanks to what I learned from Rowan, I began to tear the whole damned curtain down… at least in my mind.

Whom the Gods would destroy, they first drive mad?

So, here’s a Swiss journalist punching a hole in this wall of Russophobic Western Supremacy… and through that gaping hole, we are reminded that the Russians are Europe’s neighbors who sacrificed more than 26 million of their own lives to save Europe, America and Russia from the Nazis. These are not poor “niggers” from the Eurasian ghetto we’ve been trying to club into submission as second-class citizens of “The Liberal World Order” dominated by US; they’re nuclear-armed and no longer willing to sit at a separate, inferior table with no vote and no voice over who makes the rules…nor are China, India and Brazil. And in 2018-19, while the wave of Russophobic hysteria over alleged “Russian poisoning” was rolling out of the UK and engulfing the Western world in the latest siege of mass madness…with only Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labor party, having the courage to stand up in Parliament on the Ides of March and demand Evidence! only to be pilloried by the mindless politicians and media…led by the once esteemed BBC. And the week following the August 7, 2018 Trump-Putin Helsinki summit, will surely go down in psychiatric circles as another case of mass media-political delusions led by cheer-leader-in-chief, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC.

Meanwhile, not to forget that it was Hearst newspaper propaganda that whipped the American public into a war frenzy to support our first step in empire-building: our 1898 intervention in Cuba’s war for independence from the Spanish Empire which had dominated all of Latin America for 500 years. As the former NYTimes journalist/bureau chief in Istanbul, Berlin and Central America, Stephen Kinzer reminds us in his latest book The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire, Twain, Booker T. Washington and even Andrew Carnegie leading a handful of other anti-imperialists…were not able to prevail against Roosevelt with his Rough Riders and the Hearst newspapers’ war propaganda.

Regime Change Comes Home

Never-the-less, after a very long run of American “regime change” abroad leaving a bloody trail of destruction, dictatorships and chaos from Iran in 1953, when we joined with the British to overthrow the democratically-elected President Mohammad Mossadegh to maintain the Brit-US control of its oil…on through Guatemala, Vietnam and Chile…to name a few of our interventions…we were back for a second round with “coalitions of the willing” (or not?) in the Middle East where our regime-change machine managed to plow its way through Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya…before breaking down in Syria. Until 2016, when it was brought home again, renovated and renamed “RussiaGate” for another attempt at removing a President for trying to mend US relations with Russia. Though even after more than a year of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigations, accompanied by such cinematic support as the movie, Felt, another “Watergate” re-run, did anyone else notice the resemblance between “Felt” and Mueller? And despite the media’s commemoration of its 44-year-old “moment of courage” with the movie The Post to promote Trump’s ouster, our democratically-elected President remained in power. However, in this rush to “regime change,” didn’t the our 21st century “ruling elite” read Jane Mayer’s “The Danger of President Pence” in the 10/23/17 New Yorker? At least the 1970s’ “ruling class” was smart enough to remove an unqualified Vice President Spiro (who?) Agnew…before “regime changing” Nixon and replacing him with the more or less benign Gerald Ford.

A Florentine Epiphany

But back to January 2018, in Florence, Italy, when I was hiking in the hills beyond the Piazzale Michelangelo, with its spectacular view of that Renaissance city and its centerpiece, the Duomo, I came across the Villa Galileo, which had been the scientist’s last home after his trial as a “heretic,” during which to save himself from torture and execution, he was forced to deny his helio-centric vision and henceforth lived under “villa arrest,” from 1631 until his natural death in 1642. While pondering his fate, I continued walking along the gently rising, ever-narrowing road between ancient stone walls overlooking villas and olive groves, until I reached the peak, where I felt as if I were standing on top of the world as I contemplated both the Arno and Ema river valleys far below and where I swear I heard Galileo declare: “The world does not turn on an American axis!”

The 21st Century Inquisition

So, how is it that we now have contemporary inquisitors persecuting so many truth tellers…such as Edward Snowden, our electronic age “Solzhenitsyn?” in Russian exile; Chelsea Manning, imprisoned some seven years for revealing US brutality in Iraq, then despite Obama’s “pardon,” jailed for another year in Alexandria, Va for refusing to testify against Julian Assange, until she was released after attempting suicide… and again; Julian Assange confined to his Ecuadorian Embassy exile in London, since August 2012 and now in a London prison; Katharine Gun, a whistleblower attempting to stop the Iraq invasion, who faced two years of British imprisonment before her case was dropped; James Risen, former New York Times journalist who was persecuted by our “justice” system for revealing our government’s surveillance of US!

Any Good Sense Left?

So, do we the people have enough good sense and independent thinking left to follow the advice of Henry David Thoreau?

“Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality” (Walden, 1854).

If not, the Doctor prescribes intensive therapy:

For a week, a month, or however long it takes to cleanse and open the mind, one must adhere to strict abstinence from Mainstream Media propaganda, junk news, pseudo analysis, fake photos, TV & videos, including absolutely no phony “for, by & of the people” NPR, PBS, BBC or other Government-funded Neo or LibCon Imperial tranquilizer.

In addition, take one, two, three of these prescribed satirical pills morning, noon and night for a week, a month or whatever length of time required to get the message and laugh at our self-deception. Then altogether come out on the street to dance and demand PEACE!

Pill #1: The Potemkin Empire

Hill & Billy from Arkansas: as President and Empress-in-Waiting (1992-2000)…until she found him in the Oval Office closet with Monica, then slept in a single bed unhappily ever after (1993-2001).

Bush the Shrub: but better known as the Hop-a-Long Cowboy, who never learned to ride a horse (2001-09).

Obama: The Emperor as Empty Suit: half ‘n half ~ black ‘n white. In Kenya he might have been the First White President! (2009-17).

Donald the Great: The Bull in the Imperial China Shop (2017-21).

Uncle Joe: The fading candidate of the Goldman-Sachs Democrats who thought they had their own Reagan. They do! He, too, is asleep at the wheel, but it’s not “Morning in America.” It’s past midnight and to the NeoLibs’ and Cons’ dismay, they’ve missed the New Century train, which has long since left the station and is halfway to Asia, filled with passengers from China and Africa to Latin America.

Dedicated to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a Russian Orthodox Prophet. Exiled from the USSR, he and his family came to live in America on a farm in Cavendish, Vermont from 1976–1994. But who was listening? Not the Clintons, who sent US down this slippery slide by expanding NATO eastward to threaten Russia.

Pill #2: WHO’S STILL AFRAID OF THE BIG BLACK SOVIET BEAR?!?

He was hospitalized with arterial sclerosis in 1989 and died in 1991, after which the huge hulk was hauled off to the taxidermist to be preserved then exhibited as a tribute to the long-suffering Russians and finally stored in the basement of The Hermitage as a relic of the Cold War.

However, when the American Triumphalists led by Harvard Professor Warsacker arrived, they claimed responsibility for his death and confiscated him as a war trophy. Then after Victory Marches wheeling him around St. Petersburg and Moscow’s Red Square in front of the humiliated Russians for several days, they auctioned him off along with the rest of the former soviet state assets cheap to Russian & American oligarchs.

Hence, the globalist financier, Georgio Soroff, paid only 36 rubles for the gigantic bear and promptly shipped it to the United States for display in his Open Sesame Museum as a trophy boasting that he was Founder-in-Chief of American-style Free Marketeering Democracy in Russia. But despite the fact that his project flopped, it could still be preserved one day as the epitaph on his tomb stone.

Pill #3: THE RED, WHITE & BLUE PLUSH REVOLUTION

The Old York Times missed it because they were too busy cranking out their “Russian Hacking” series: 87 +/- allegations from mid-June 2016, right up to the eve of Trump’s inauguration January 20, 2017, by which date, at the rate of essentially the same set of allegations published every three days, The Times’ Alchemy Machine had transformed that pile of haywire, not into gold… but fake “facts” firmly planted in most folks’ minds… or at least those of the true blue Coastal Cosmopolitans.

But the unpublished “October Surprise” of 2016 was that a Bernie backer in the basement of the Vermont Teddy Bear factory in the village of Shelburne, VT had confessed to Green Mountain investigators that she, Goldie Lock, not Putin! had hacked the DNC emails in order to reveal that the Democratic National Committee had sabotaged her candidate. Furthermore, she explained that “Fancy” and “Cozy” Bears, about which there had been raging CIA suspicion and much media hysteria regarding their alleged “Russian identification,” were actually two of their most popular plush products. So, thanks to all of the free media marketing, the factory had geared up to meet the demand for a bear in every Vermont Christmas stocking and made enough profit to mail a free baby bear to every Vermont family for the New Year!

However, after Bernie, Vermont’s very own Socialist Senator, didn’t get the Democratic party nomination, then made the big mistake of campaigning for Hillary, Goldie, who was previously best known for her expertise in sewing button eyes on the bears and never suspected of being a hacker, together with her comrades at the factory, had called a press conference to declare that “It Only Took a Village” to depose a phony and demanded that “Hillary must go!” So, she lost the election and they got four years behind the scenes of the DC Reality Show & the Mainstream-Media-Fake-News, to restore The American Republic which had been divided and almost conquered by the 1% and its media: The Old York Times, The Bezos Post and the rest of the me-too-media and almost two more under Sleepy Joe and his Ukraine Nightmare. But now in November, we have another chance for to vote for change.

Let the Red, White & Blue Plush Revolution begin!


Jean Ranc is a psychologist retired from the University of North Carolina.


Featured: “A House of Cards,” Puck, January 20, 1904.

Our Latest Interview with Jacques Baud

We are pleased to bring you this fresh interview with Jacques Baud, in which we cover what is now happening in the geopolitical struggle that is the Ukraine-Russia war. As always, Mr. Baud brings deep insight and clear analysis to the conversation.


The Postil (TP): You have just published your latest book on the war in Ukraine—Operation Z, published by Max Milo. Please tell us a little about it—what led you to write this book and what do you wish to convey to readers?

Jacques Baud (JB): The aim of this book is to show how the misinformation propagated by our media has contributed to push Ukraine in the wrong direction. I wrote it under the motto “from the way we understand crises derives the way we solve them.”

By hiding many aspects of this conflict, the Western media has presented us with a caricatural and artificial image of the situation, which has resulted in the polarization of minds. This has led to a widespread mindset that makes any attempt to negotiate virtually impossible.

The one-sided and biased representation provided by mainstream media is not intended to help us solve the problem, but to promote hatred of Russia. Thus, the exclusion of disabled athletes, cats, even Russian trees from competitions, the dismissal of conductors, the de-platforming of Russian artists, such as Dostoyevsky, or even the renaming of paintings aims at excluding the Russian population from society! In France, bank accounts of individuals with Russian-sounding names were even blocked. Social networks Facebook and Twitter have systematically blocked the disclosure of Ukrainian crimes under the pretext of “hate speech” but allow the call for violence against Russians.

None of these actions had any effect on the conflict, except to stimulate hatred and violence against the Russians in our countries. This manipulation is so bad that we would rather see Ukrainians die than to seek a diplomatic solution. As Republican Senator Lindsey Graham recently said, it is a matter of letting the Ukrainians fight to the last man.

It is commonly assumed that journalists work according to standards of quality and ethics to inform us in the most honest way possible. These standards are set by the Munich Charter of 1971. While writing my book I found out that no French-speaking mainstream media in Europe respects this charter as far as Russia and China are concerned. In fact, they shamelessly support an immoral policy towards Ukraine, described by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, president of Mexico, as “We provide the weapons, you provide the corpses!”

To highlight this misinformation, I wanted to show that information allowing to provide a realistic picture of the situation was available as early as February, but that our media did not relay it to the public. My goal was to show this contradiction.

In order to avoid becoming a propagandist myself in favor of one side or the other, I have relied exclusively on Western, Ukrainian (from Kiev) and Russian opposition sources. I have not taken any information from the Russian media.

TP: It is commonly said in the West that this war has “proven” that the Russian army is feeble and that its equipment is useless. Are these assertions true?

JB: No. After more than six months of war, it can be said that the Russian army is effective and efficient, and that the quality of its command & control far exceeds what we see in the West. But our perception is influenced by a reporting that is focused on the Ukrainian side, and by distortions of reality.

Firstly, there is the reality on the ground. It should be remembered that what the media call “Russians” is in fact a Russian-speaking coalition, composed of professional Russian fighters and soldiers of the popular militias of Donbass. The operations in the Donbass are mainly carried out by these militias, who fight on “their” terrain, in towns and villages they know and where they have friends and family. They are therefore advancing cautiously for themselves, but also to avoid civilian casualties. Thus, despite the claims of western propaganda, the coalition enjoys a very good popular support in the areas it occupies.

Then, just looking at a map, you can see that the Donbass is a region with a lot of built-up and inhabited areas, which means an advantage for the defender and a reduced speed of progress for the attacker in all circumstances.

Secondly, there is the way our media portray the evolution of the conflict. Ukraine is a huge country and small-scale maps hardly show the differences from one day to another. Moreover, each side has its own perception of the progress of the enemy. If we take the example of the situation on March 25, 2022, we can see that the map of the French daily newspaper Ouest-France (a) shows almost no advance of Russia, as does the Swiss RTS site (b). The map of the Russian website RIAFAN (c) may be propaganda, but if we compare it with the map of the French Military Intelligence Directorate (DRM) (d), we see that the Russian media is probably closer to the truth. All these maps were published on the same day, but the French newspaper and the Swiss state media did not choose to use the DRM map and preferred to use a Ukrainian map. This illustrates that our media work like propaganda outlets.

Figure 1 – Comparison of the maps presented in our media on 25 March 2022. It is this way of presenting the Russian offensive that has led to the assertion that the Russian army is weak. It also shows that the information provided by the Russian media seems closer to reality than that given by Ukraine.

Thirdly, our “experts” have themselves determined the objectives of the Russian offensive. By claiming that Russia wanted to take over Ukraine and its resources, to take over Kiev in two days, etc., our experts have literally invented and attributed to the Russians objectives that Putin never mentioned. In May 2022, Claude Wild, the Swiss ambassador in Kiev, declared on RTS that the Russians had “lost the battle for Kiev.” But in reality, there was never a “battle for Kiev.” It is obviously easy to claim that the Russians did not reach their objectives—if they never tried to reach them!

Fourthly, the West and Ukraine have created a misleading picture of their adversary. In France, Switzerland and Belgium, none of the military experts on television have any knowledge of military operations and how the Russians conduct theirs. Their “expertise” comes from the rumours from the war in Afghanistan or Syria, which are often merely Western propaganda. These experts have literally falsified the presentation of Russian operations.

Thus, the objectives announced as early as February 24 by Russia were the “demilitarization” and “denazification” of the threat to the populations of Donbass. These objectives are related to the neutralization of capabilities, not the seizure of land or resources. To put it bluntly, in theory, to achieve their goals the Russians do not need to advance—it would be enough if Ukrainians themselves would come and get killed.

In other words, our politicians and media have pushed Ukraine to defend the terrain like in France during the First World War. They pushed Ukrainian troops to defend every square meter of ground in “last stand” situations. Ironically, the West has only made the Russians’ job easier.

In fact, as with the war on terror, Westerners see the enemy as they would like him to be, not as he is. As Sun Tzu said 2,500 years ago, this is the best recipe for losing a war.

One example is the so-called “hybrid war” that Russia is allegedly waging against the West. In June 2014, as the West tried to explain Russia’s (imaginary) intervention in the Donbass conflict, Russia expert Mark Galeotti “revealed” the existence of a doctrine that would illustrate the Russian concept of hybrid warfare. Known as the “Gerasimov Doctrine,” it has never really been defined by the West as to what it consists of and how it could ensure military success. But it is used to explain how Russia wages war in Donbass without sending troops there and why Ukraine consistently loses its battles against the rebels. In 2018, realizing that he was wrong, Galeotti apologized—courageously and intelligently—in an article titled, “I’m Sorry for Creating the Gerasimov Doctrine” published in Foreign Policy magazine.

Despite this, and without knowing what it meant, our media and politicians continued to pretend that Russia was waging a hybrid war against Ukraine and the West. In other words, we imagined a type of war that does not exist and we prepared Ukraine for it. This is also what explains the challenge for Ukraine to have a coherent strategy to counter Russian operations.

The West does not want to see the situation as it really is. The Russian-speaking coalition has launched its offensive with an overall strength inferior to that of the Ukrainians in a ratio of 1-2:1. To be successful when you are outnumbered, you must create local and temporary superiorities by quickly moving your forces on the battlefield.

This is what the Russians call “operational art” (operativnoe iskoustvo). This notion is poorly understood in the West. The term “operational” used in NATO has two translations in Russian: “operative” (which refers to a command level) and “operational” (which defines a condition). It is the art of maneuvering military formations, much like a chess game, in order to defeat a superior opponent.

For example, the operation around Kiev was not intended to “deceive” the Ukrainians (and the West) about their intentions, but to force the Ukrainian army to keep large forces around the capital and thus “pin them down.” In technical terms, this is what is called a “shaping operation.” Contrary to the analysis of some “experts,” it was not a “deception operation,” which would have been conceived very differently and would have involved much larger forces. The aim was to prevent a reinforcement of the main body of the Ukrainian forces in the Donbass.

The main lesson of this war at this stage confirms what we know since the Second World War: the Russians master the operational art.

TP: Questions about Russia’s military raises the obvious question—how good is Ukraine’s military today? And more importantly, why do we not hear so much about the Ukrainian army?

JB: The Ukrainian servicemen are certainly brave soldiers who perform their duty conscientiously and courageously. But my personal experience shows that in almost every crisis, the problem is at the head. The inability to understand the opponent and his logic and to have a clear picture of the actual situation is the main reason for failures.

Since the beginning of the Russian offensive, we can distinguish two ways of conducting the war. On the Ukrainian side, the war is waged in the political and informational spaces, while on the Russian side the war is waged in the physical and operational space. The two sides are not fighting in the same spaces. This is a situation that I described in 2003 in my book, La guerre asymétrique ou la défaite du vainqueur (Asymmetric War, or the Defeat of the Winner). The trouble is that at the end of the day, the reality of the terrain prevails.

On the Russian side, decisions are made by the military, while on the Ukrainian side, Zelensky is omnipresent and the central element in the conduct of the war. He makes operational decisions, apparently often against the military’s advice. This explains the rising tensions between Zelensky and the military. According to Ukrainian media, Zelensky could dismiss General Valery Zoluzhny by appointing him Minister of Defence.

The Ukrainian army has been extensively trained by American, British and Canadian officers since 2014. The trouble is that for over 20 years, Westerners have been fighting armed groups and scattered adversaries and engaged entire armies against individuals. They fight wars at the tactical level and somehow have lost the ability to fight at the strategic and operative levels. This explains partly why Ukraine is waging its war at this level.

But there is a more conceptual dimension. Zelensky and the West see war as a numerical and technological balance of forces. This is why, since 2014, the Ukrainians have never tried to seduce the rebels and they now think that the solution will come from the weapons supplied by the West. The West provided Ukraine with a few dozen M777 guns and HIMARS and MLRS missile launchers, while Ukraine had several thousand equivalent artillery pieces in February. The Russian concept of “correlation of forces,” takes into account many more factors and is more holistic than the Western approach. That is why the Russians are winning.

To comply with ill-considered policies, our media have constructed a virtual reality that gives Russia the bad role. For those who observe the course of the crisis carefully, we could almost say they presented Russia as a “mirror image” of the situation in Ukraine. Thus, when the talk about Ukrainian losses began, Western communication turned to Russian losses (with figures given by Ukraine).

The so-called “counter-offensives” proclaimed by Ukraine and the West in Kharkov and Kherson in April-May were merely “counter-attacks.” The difference between the two is that counter-offensive is an operational notion, while counter-attack is a tactical notion, which is much more limited in scope. These counterattacks were possible because the density of Russian troops in these sectors was then 1 Battle Group (BTG) per 20 km of front. By comparison, in the Donbass sector, which was the primary focus, the Russian coalition had 1-3 BTG per km. As for the great August offensive on Kherson, which was supposed to take over the south of the country, it seems to have been nothing but a myth to maintain Western support.

Today, we see that the claimed Ukrainian successes were in fact failures. The human and material losses that were attributed to Russia were in fact more in line with those of Ukraine. In mid-June, David Arakhamia, Zelensky’s chief negotiator and close adviser, spoke of 200 to 500 deaths per day, and he mentioned casualties (dead, wounded, captured, deserters) of 1,000 men per day. If we add to this the renewed demands for arms by Zelensky, we can see that the idea of a victory for Ukraine appears quite an illusion.

Because Russia’s economy was thought to be comparable to Italy’s, it was assumed that it would be equally vulnerable. Thus, the West—and the Ukrainians—thought that economic sanctions and political isolation of Russia would quickly cause its collapse, without passing through a military defeat. Indeed, this is what we understand from the interview of Oleksei Arestovich, Zelensky’s advisor and spokesman, in March 2019. This also explains why Zelensky did not sound the alarm in early 2022, as he says in his interview with the Washington Post. I think he knew that Russia would respond to the offensive Ukraine was preparing in the Donbass (which is why the bulk of his troops were in that area) and thought that sanctions would quickly lead to Russia’s collapse and defeat. This is what Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of the Economy, had “predicted.” Clearly, the Westerners have made decisions without knowing their opponent.

As Arestovich said, the idea was that the defeat of Russia would be Ukraine’s entry ticket to NATO. So, the Ukrainians were pushed to prepare an offensive in the Donbass in order to make Russia react, and thus obtain an easy defeat through devastating sanctions. This is cynical and shows how much the West—led by the Americans—has misused Ukraine for its own objectives.

The result is that the Ukrainians did not seek Ukraine’s victory, but Russia’s defeat. This is very different and explains the Western narrative from the first days of the Russian offensive, which prophesied this defeat.

But the reality is that the sanctions did not work as expected, and Ukraine found itself dragged into combats that it had provoked, but for which it was not prepared to fight for so long.

This is why, from the outset, the Western narrative presented a mismatch between media reported and the reality on the ground. This had a perverse effect: it encouraged Ukraine to repeat its mistakes and prevented it from improving its conduct of operations. Under the pretext of fighting Vladimir Putin, we pushed Ukraine to sacrifice thousands of human lives unnecessarily.

From the beginning, it was obvious that the Ukrainians were consistently repeating their mistakes (and even the same mistakes as in 2014-2015), and soldiers were dying on the battlefield. For his part, Volodymyr Zelensky called for more and more sanctions, including the most absurd ones, because he was led to believe that they were decisive.

I am not the only one to have noticed these mistakes, and Western countries could certainly have stopped this disaster. But their leaders, excited by the (fanciful) reports of Russian losses and thinking they were paving the way for regime change, added sanctions to sanctions, turning down any possibility of negotiation. As the French Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire said, the objective was to provoke the collapse of the Russian economy and make the Russian people suffer. This is a form of state terrorism: the idea is to make the population suffer in order to push it into revolting against its leaders (here, Putin). I am not making this up. This mechanism is detailed by Richard Nephew, head of sanctions at the State Department under Obama and currently Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption, in his book entitled, The Art of Sanctions. Ironically, this is exactly the same logic that the Islamic State invoked to explain its attacks in France in 2015-2016. France probably does not encourage terrorism—but it does practice it.

The mainstream media do not present the war as it is, but as they would like it to be. This is pure wishful thinking. The apparent public support for the Ukrainian authorities, despite huge losses (some mention 70,000-80,000 fatalities), is achieved by banning the opposition, a ruthless hunt for officials who disagree with the government line, and “mirror” propaganda that attributes to the Russians the same failures as the Ukrainians. All this with the conscious support of the West.

TP: What should we make of the explosion at the Saki airbase in the Crimea?

JB: I do not know the details of the current security situation in Crimea. . We know that before February there were cells of volunteer fighters of Praviy Sektor (a neo-Nazi militia) in Crimea, ready to carry out terrorist-type attacks. Have these cells been neutralized? I don’t know; but one can assume so, since there is apparently very little sabotage activity in Crimea. Having said that, let us not forget that Ukrainians and Russians have lived together for many decades and there are certainly pro-Kiev individuals in the areas taken by the Russians. It is therefore realistic to think that there could be sleeper cells in these areas.

More likely it is a campaign conducted by the Ukrainian security service (SBU) in the territories occupied by the Russian-speaking coalition. This is a terrorist campaign targeting pro-Russian Ukrainian personalities and officials. It follows major changes in the leadership of the SBU, in Kiev, and in the regions, including Lvov, Ternopol since July. It is probably in the context of this same campaign that Darya Dugina was assassinated on August 21. The objective of this new campaign could be to convey the illusion that there is an ongoing resistance in the areas taken by the Russians and thus revive Western aid, which is starting to fatigue.

These sabotage activities do not really have an operational impact and seem more related to a psychological operation. It may be that these are actions like the one on Snake Island at the beginning of May, intended to demonstrate to the international public that Ukraine is acting.

What the incidents in Crimea indirectly show is that the popular resistance claimed by the West in February does not exist. It is most likely the action of Ukrainian and Western (probably British) clandestine operatives. Beyond the tactical actions, this shows the inability of the Ukrainians to activate a significant resistance movement in the areas seized by the Russian-speaking coalition.

TP: Zelensky has famously said, “Crimea is Ukrainian and we will never give it up.” Is this rhetoric, or is there a plan to attack Crimea? Are there Ukrainian operatives inside Crimea?

JB: First of all, Zelensky changes his opinion very often. In March 2022, he made a proposal to Russia, stating that he was ready to discuss a recognition of Russian sovereignty over the peninsula. It was upon the intervention of the European Union and Boris Johnson on 2 April and on 9 April that he withdrew his proposal, despite Russia’s favorable interest.

It is necessary to recall some historical facts. The cession of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 was never formally validated by the parliaments of the USSR, Russia and Ukraine during the communist era. Moreover, the Crimean people agreed to be subject to the authority of Moscow and no longer of Kiev as early as January 1991. In other words, Crimea was independent from Kiev even before Ukraine became independent from Moscow in December 1991.

In July, Aleksei Reznikov, the Ukrainian Minister of Defense, spoke loudly of a major counter-offensive on Kherson involving one million men to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity. In reality, Ukraine has not managed to gather the troops, armor and air cover needed for this far-fetched offensive. Sabotage actions in Crimea may be a substitute for this “counter-offensive.” They seem to be more of a communication exercise than a real military action. These actions seem to be aimed rather at reassuring Western countries which are questioning the relevance of their unconditional support to Ukraine.

TP: Would you tell us about the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility?

JB: In Energodar, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP), has been the target of several attacks by artillery, which Ukrainians and Russians attribute to the opposing side.

What we know is that the Russian coalition forces have occupied the ZNPP site since the beginning of March. The objective at that time was to secure the ZNPP quickly, in order to prevent it from being caught up in the fighting and thus avoid a nuclear incident. The Ukrainian personnel who were in charge of it have remained on site and continue to work under the supervision of the Ukrainian company Energoatom and the Ukrainian nuclear safety agency (SNRIU). There is therefore no fighting around the plant.

It is hard to see why the Russians would shell a nuclear plant that is under their control. This allegation is even more peculiar since the Ukrainians themselves state that there are Russian troops in the premises of the site. According to a French “expert,” the Russians would attack the power plant they control to cut off the electricity flowing to Ukraine. Not only would there be simpler ways to cut off the electricity to Ukraine (a switch, perhaps?), but Russia has not stopped the electricity supply to the Ukrainians since March. Moreover, I remind you that Russia has not stopped the flow of natural gas to Ukraine and has continued to pay Ukraine the transit fees for gas to Europe. It is Zelensky who decided to shut down the Soyuz pipeline in May.

Moreover, it should be remembered that the Russians are in an area where the population is generally favorable to them and it is hard to understand why they would take the risk of a nuclear contamination of the region.

In reality, the Ukrainians have more credible motives than the Russians that may explain such attacks against the ZNPP. , which are not mutually exclusive: an alternative to the big counter-offensive on Kherson, which they are not able to implement, and to prevent the planned referendums in the region. Further, Zelensky’s calls for demilitarizing the area of the power plant and even returning it to Ukraine would be a political and operational success for him. One might even imagine that they seek to deliberately provoke a nuclear incident in order to create a “no man’s land” and thus render the area unusable for the Russians.

By bombing the plant, Ukraine could also be trying to pressure the West to intervene in the conflict, under the pretext that Russia is seeking to disconnect the plant from the Ukrainian power grid before the fall. This suicidal behavior—as stated by UN Secretary General António Guterres—would be in line with the war waged by Ukraine since 2014.

There is strong evidence that the attacks on Energodar are Ukrainian. The fragments of projectiles fired at the site from the other side of the Dnieper are of Western origin. It seems that they come from British BRIMSTONE missiles, which are precision missiles, whose use is monitored by the British. Apparently, the West is aware of the Ukrainian attacks on the ZNPP. This might explain why Ukraine is not very supportive of an international commission of inquiry and why Western countries are putting unrealistic conditions for sending investigators from the IAEA, an agency that has not shown much integrity so far.

TP: It is reported that Zelensky is freeing criminals to fight in this war? Does this mean that Ukraine’s army is not as strong as commonly assumed?

JB: Zelensky faces the same problem as the authorities that emerged from Euromaidan in 2014. At that time, the military did not want to fight because they did not want to confront their Russian-speaking compatriots. According to a report by the British Home Office, reservists overwhelmingly refuse to attend recruitment sessions . In October-November 2017, 70% of conscripts do not show up for recall . Suicide has become a problem. According to the chief Ukrainian military prosecutor Anatoly Matios, after four years of war in the Donbass, 615 servicemen had committed suicide. Desertions have increased and reached up to 30% of the forces in certain operational areas, often in favor of the rebels.

For this reason, it became necessary to integrate more motivated, highly politicized, ultra-nationalistic and fanatical fighters into the armed forces to fight in the Donbass. Many of them are neo-Nazis. It is to eliminate these fanatical fighters that Vladimir Putin has mentioned the objective of “denazification.”

Today, the problem is slightly different. The Russians have attacked Ukraine and the Ukrainian soldiers are not a priori opposed to fighting them. But they realize that the orders they receive are not consistent with the situation on the battlefield. They understood that the decisions affecting them are not linked to military factors, but to political considerations. Ukrainian units are mutinying en masse and are increasingly refusing to fight. They say they feel abandoned by their commanders and that they are given missions without the necessary resources to execute them.

That’s why it becomes necessary to send men who are ready for anything. Because they are condemned, they can be kept under pressure. This is the same principle as Marshal Konstantin Rokossovki, who was sentenced to death by Stalin, but was released from prison in 1941 to fight against the Germans. His death sentence was lifted only after Stalin’s death in 1956.

In order to overshadow the use of criminals in the armed forces, the Russians are accused of doing the same thing. The Ukrainians and the Westerners consistently use “mirror” propaganda. As in all recent conflicts, Western influence has not led to a moralization of the conflict.

TP: Everyone speaks of how corrupt Putin is? But what about Zelensky? Is he the “heroic saint” that we are all told to admire?

JB: In October 2021, the Pandora Papers showed that Ukraine and Zelensky were the most corrupt in Europe and practiced tax evasion on a large scale. Interestingly, these documents were apparently published with the help of an American intelligence agency, and Vladimir Putin is not mentioned. More precisely, the documents mention individuals ” associated ” with him, who are said to have links with undisclosed assets, which could belong to a woman, who is believed to have had a child with him.

Yet, when our media are reporting on these documents, they routinely put a picture of Vladimir Putin, but not of Volodymyr Zelensky.

Figure 2 – Although he is not mentioned in the Pandora Papers, Vladimir Putin is consistently associated with them. Whereas Volodymyr Zelensky is never mentioned in our media, even though he is widely implicated.

I am not in a position to assess how corrupt Zelensky is. But there is no doubt that the Ukrainian society and its governance are. I contributed modestly to a NATO “Building Integrity” program in Ukraine and discovered that none of the contributing countries had any illusions about its effectiveness, and all saw the program as a kind of “window dressing” to justify Western support.

It is unlikely that the billions paid by the West to Ukraine will reach the Ukrainian people. A recent CBS News report stated that only 30-40% of the weapons supplied by the West make it to the battlefield. The rest enriches mafias and other corrupt people. Apparently, some high-tech Western weapons have been sold to the Russians, such as the French CAESAR system and presumably the American HIMARS. The CBS News report was censored to avoid undermining Western aid, but the fact remains that the US refused to supply MQ-1C drones to Ukraine for this reason.

Ukraine is a rich country, yet today it is the only country in the former USSR with a lower GDP than it had at the collapse of the Soviet Union. The problem is therefore not Zelensky himself, but the whole system, which is deeply corrupted, and which the West maintains for the sole purpose of fighting Russia.

Zelensky was elected in April 2019 on the program of reaching an agreement with Russia. But nobody let him carry out his program. The Germans and the French deliberately prevented him from implementing the Minsk agreements. The transcript of the telephone conversation of 20 February 2022 between Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin shows that France deliberately kept Ukraine away from the solution. Moreover, in Ukraine, far right and neo-Nazi political forces have publicly threatened him with death. Dmitry Yarosh, commander of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army, declared in May 2019 that Zelensky would be hanged if he carried out his program. In other words, Zelensky is trapped between his idea of reaching an agreement with Russia and the demands of the West. Moreover, the West realizes that its strategy of war through sanctions has failed. As the economic and social problems increase, the West will find it harder to back down without losing face. A way out for Britain, the US, the EU, or France would be to remove Zelensky. That is why, with the deteriorating situation in Ukraine, I think Zelensky starts to realize that his life is threatened.

At the end of the day, Zelensky is a poor guy, because his best enemies are those on whom he depends: the Western world.

TP: There are many videos (gruesome ones) on social media of Ukrainian soldiers engaging in serious war crimes? Why is there a “blind spot” in the West for such atrocities?

JB: First of all, we must be clear: in every war, every belligerent commit war crimes. Military personnel who deliberately commit such crimes dishonor their uniform and must be punished.

The problem arises when war crimes are part of a plan or result from orders given by the higher command. This was the case when the Netherlands let its military allow the Srebrenica massacre in 1995; the torture in Afghanistan by Canadian and British troops, not to mention the countless violations of international humanitarian law by the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo and elsewhere with the complicity of Poland, Lithuania or Estonia. If these are Western values, then Ukraine is in the right school.

In Ukraine, political crime has become commonplace, with the complicity of the West. Thus, those who are in favor of a negotiation are eliminated. This is the case of Denis Kireyev, one of the Ukrainian negotiators, assassinated on March 5 by the Ukrainian security service (SBU) because he was considered too favorable to Russia and as a traitor. The same thing happened to Dmitry Demyanenko, an officer of the SBU, who was assassinated on March 10, also because he was too favorable to an agreement with Russia. Remember that this is a country that considers that receiving or giving Russian humanitarian aid is “collaborationism.”

On 16 March 2022, a journalist on TV channel Ukraine 24 referred to the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and called for the massacre of Russian-speaking children. On 21 March, the military doctor Gennadiy Druzenko declared on the same channel that he had ordered his doctors to castrate Russian prisoners of war. On social networks, these statements quickly became propaganda for the Russians and the two Ukrainians apologized for having said so, but not for the substance. Ukrainian crimes were beginning to be revealed on social networks, and on 27 March Zelensky feared that this would jeopardize Western support. This was followed—rather opportunely—by the Bucha massacre on 3 April, the circumstances of which remain unclear.

Britain, which then had the chairmanship of the UN Security Council, refused three times the Russian request to set up an international commission of enquiry into the crimes of Bucha. Ukrainian socialist MP Ilya Kiva revealed on Telegram that the Bucha tragedy was planned by the British MI6 special services and implemented by the SBU.

The fundamental problem is that the Ukrainians have replaced the “operational art” with brutality. Since 2014, in order to fight the autonomists, the Ukrainian government has never tried to apply strategies based on “hearts & minds,” which the British used in the 1950s-1960s in South-East Asia, which were much less brutal but much more effective and long-lasting. Kiev preferred to conduct an Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) in the Donbass and to use the same strategies as the Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fighting terrorists authorizes all kinds of brutality. It is the lack of a holistic approach to the conflict that led to the failure of the West in Afghanistan, Iraq and Mali.

Counter-Insurgency Operation (COIN) requires a more sophisticated and holistic approach. But NATO is incapable of developing such strategies as I have seen first-hand in Afghanistan. The war in Donbass has been brutal for 8 years and has resulted in the death of 10,000 Ukrainian citizens plus 4,000 Ukrainian military personnel. By comparison, in 30 years, the conflict in Northern Ireland resulted in 3,700 deaths. To justify this brutality, the Ukrainians had to invent the myth of a Russian intervention in Donbass.

The problem is that the philosophy of the new Maidan leaders was to have a racially pure Ukraine. In other words, the unity of the Ukrainian people was not to be achieved through the integration of communities, but through the exclusion of communities of “inferior races.” An idea that would no doubt have pleased the grandfathers of Ursula von der Leyen and Chrystia Freeland! This explains why Ukrainians have little empathy for the country’s Russian, Magyar and Romanian-speaking minorities. This in turn explains why Hungary and Romania do not want their territories to be used for the supply of arms to Ukraine.

This is why shooting at their own citizens to intimidate them is not a problem for the Ukrainians. This explains the spraying of thousands of PFM-1 (“butterfly”) anti-personnel mines, which look like toys, on the Russian-speaking city of Donetsk in July 2022. This type of mine is used by a defender, not an attacker in its main area of operation. Moreover, in this area, the Donbass militias are fighting “at home,” with populations they know personally.

I think that war crimes have been committed on both sides, but that their media coverage has been very different. Our media have reported extensively about crimes (true or false) attributed to Russia. On the other hand, they have been extremely silent about Ukrainian crimes. We do not know the whole truth about the Bucha massacre, but the available evidence supports the hypothesis that Ukraine staged the event to cover up its own crimes. By keeping these crimes quiet, our media have been complicit with them and have created a sense of impunity that has encouraged the Ukrainians to commit further crimes.

TP: Latvia wants the West (America) to designate Russia a “terrorist state.” What do you make of this? Does this mean that the war is actually over, and Russia has won?

JB: The Estonian and Latvian demands are in response to Zelensky’s call to designate Russia as a terrorist state. Interestingly, they come at the same time a Ukrainian terrorist campaign is being unleashed in Crimea, the occupied zone of Ukraine and the rest of Russian territory. It is also interesting that Estonia was apparently complicit in the attack on Darya Dugina in August 2022.

It seems that Ukrainians communicate in a mirror image of the crimes they commit or the problems they have, in order to hide them. For example, in late May 2022, as the Azovstal surrender in Mariupol showed neo-Nazi fighters, they began to allege that there are neo-Nazis in the Russian army. In August 2022, when Kiev was carrying out actions of a terrorist nature against the Energodar power plant in Crimea and on Russian territory, Zelensky called for Russia to be considered a terrorist state.

In fact, Zelensky continues to believe that he can only solve his problem by defeating Russia and that this defeat depends on sanctions against Russia. Declaring Russia a terrorist state would lead to further isolation. That is why he is making this appeal. This shows that the label “terrorist” is more political than operational, and that those who make such proposals do not have a very clear vision of the problem. The problem is that it has implications for international relations. This is why the US State Department is concerned that Zelensky’s request will be implemented by Congress.

TP: One of the sadder outcomes of this Ukraine-Russia conflict is how the West has shown the worst of itself. Where do you think we will go from here? More of the same, or will there be changes that will have to be made in regards to NATO, neutral countries which are no longer neutral, and the way the West seeks to “govern” the world?

JB: This crisis reveals several things. First, that NATO and the European Union are only instruments of US foreign policy. These institutions no longer act in the interests of their members, but in the interests of the US. The sanctions adopted under American pressure are backfiring on Europe, which is the big loser in this whole crisis: it suffers its own sanctions and has to deal with the tensions resulting from its own decisions.

The decisions taken by Western governments reveal a generation of leaders who are young and inexperienced (such as Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin); ignorant, yet thinking they are smart (such as French President Emmanuel Macron); doctrinaire (such as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen); and fanatical (such as the leaders of the Baltic States). They all share some of the same weaknesses, not least of which is their inability to manage a complex crisis.

When the head is unable to understand the complexity of a crisis, we respond with guts and dogmatism. This is what we see happening in Europe. The Eastern European countries, especially the Baltic States and Poland, have shown themselves to be loyal servants of American policy. They have also shown immature, confrontational, and short-sighted governance. These are countries that have never integrated Western values, that continue to celebrate the forces of the Third Reich and discriminate against their own Russian-speaking population.

I am not even mentioning the European Union, which has been vehemently opposed to any diplomatic solution and has only added fuel to the fire.

The more you are involved in a conflict, the more you are involved in its outcome. If you win, all is well. But if the conflict is a failure, you will bear the burden. This is what has happened to the United States in recent conflicts and what is happening in Ukraine. The defeat of Ukraine is becoming the defeat of the West.

Another big loser in this conflict is clearly Switzerland. Its neutral status has suddenly lost all credibility. Early August, Switzerland and Ukraine concluded an agreement that would allow the Swiss embassy in Moscow to offer protection to Ukrainian citizens in Russia. However, in order to enter into force, it has to be recognized by Russia. Quite logically, Russia refused and declared that “Switzerland had unfortunately lost its status as a neutral state and could not act as an intermediary or representative.

This is a very serious development because neutrality is not simply a unilateral declaration. It must be accepted and recognized by all to be effective. Yet Switzerland not only aligned itself with the Western countries but was even more extreme than them. It can be said that in a few weeks, Switzerland has ruined a policy that has been recognized for almost 170 years. This is a problem for Switzerland, but it may also be a problem for other countries. A neutral state can offer a way out of a crisis. Today, Western countries are looking for a way out that would allow them to get closer to Russia in the perspective of an energy crisis without losing face. Turkey has taken on this role, but it is limited, as it is part of NATO.

Figure 3 – Countries and organizations that applied sanctions to Russia. Although Switzerland is a neutral country, it stands on the first place. According to own sources, this was done under pressure and blackmail from the United States. Nevertheless, this is a severe blow to the very principle of neutrality that will have consequences in other future conflicts.

The West has created an Iron Curtain 2.0 that will affect international relations for years to come. The West’s lack of strategic vision is astonishing. While NATO is aligning itself with US foreign policy and reorienting itself towards China, Western strategy has only strengthened the Moscow-Beijing axis.

TP: What do you think this war ultimately means for Europe, the US and China?

JB: In order to answer this question, we first must answer another question: “Why is this conflict more condemnable and sanctionable than previous conflicts started by the West?”

After the disasters of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Mali, the rest of the world expected the West to help resolve this crisis with common sense. The West responded in exactly the opposite way to these expectations. Not only has no one been able to explain why this conflict was more reprehensible than previous ones, but the difference in treatment between Russia and the United States has shown that more importance is attached to the aggressor than to the victims. Efforts to bring about the collapse of Russia contrast with the total impunity of countries that have lied to the UN Security Council, practiced torture, caused the deaths of over a million people and created 37 million refugees.

This difference in treatment went unnoticed in the West. But the “rest of the world” has understood that we have moved from a “law-based international order” to a “rules-based international order” determined by the West.

On a more material level, the confiscation of Venezuelan gold by the British in 2020, of Afghanistan’s sovereign funds in 2021, and then of Russia’s sovereign funds in 2022 by the US, has raised the mistrust of the West’s allies. This shows that the non-Western world is no longer protected by law and depends on the goodwill of the West.

This conflict is probably the starting point for a new world order. The world is not going to change all at once, but the conflict has raised the attention of the rest of the world. For when we say that the “international community” condemns Russia, we are in fact talking about 18% of the world’s population.

Some actors traditionally close to the West are gradually moving away from it. On 15 July 2022, Joe Biden visited Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) with two objectives: to prevent Saudi Arabia from moving closer to Russia and China, and to ask him to increase its oil production. But four days earlier, MbS made an official request to become a member of the BRICS, and a week later, on 21 July, MbS called Vladimir Putin to confirm that he would stand by the OPEC+ decision. In other words: no oil production increase. It was a slap in the face of the West and of its most powerful representative.

Saudi Arabia has now decided to accept Chinese currency as payment for its oil. This is a major event, which tends to indicate a loss of confidence in the dollar. The consequences are potentially huge. The petrodollar was established by the US in the 1970s to finance its deficit. By forcing other countries to buy dollars, it allows the US to print dollars without being caught in an inflationary loop. Thanks to the petrodollar, the US economy—which is essentially a consumer economy—is supported by the economies of other countries around the world. The demise of the petrodollar could have disastrous consequences for the US economy, as former Republican Senator Ron Paul puts it.

In addition, the sanctions have brought China and Russia, both targeted by the West, closer together. This has accelerated the formation of a Eurasian bloc and strengthened the position of both countries in the world. India, which the US has scorned as a “second-class” partner of the “Quad,” has moved closer to Russia and China, despite disputes with the latter.

Today, China is the main provider of infrastructure in the Third World. In particular, its way of interacting with African countries is more in line with the expectations of these countries. Collaboration with former colonial powers such as France and American imperialist paternalism are no longer welcome. For example, the Central African Republic and Mali have asked France to leave their countries and have turned to Russia.

At the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, the US proudly announced a $150 million contribution to “strengthen its position in the broader geopolitical competition with China.” But in November 2021, President Xi Jinping offered $1.5 billion to the same countries to fight the pandemic and promote economic recovery. By using its money to wage war, the US has no money left to forge and consolidate alliances.

The West’s loss of influence stems from the fact that it continues to treat the “rest of the world” like “little children” and neglects the usefulness of good diplomacy.

The war in Ukraine is not the trigger for these phenomena, which started a few years ago, but it is most certainly an eye-opener and accelerator.

TP: The western media has been pushing that Putin may be seriously ill. If Putin suddenly dies, would this make any difference at all to the war?

JB: It seems that Vladimir Putin is a unique medical case in the world: he has stomach cancer, leukemia, an unknown but incurable and terminal phase disease, and is reportedly already dead. Yet in July 2022, at the Aspen Security Forum, CIA Director William Burns said that Putin was “too healthy” and that there was “no information to suggest that he is in poor health.” This shows how those who claim to be journalists work!

This is wishful thinking and, on the higher end of the spectrum, it echoes the calls for terrorism and the physical elimination of Vladimir Putin.

The West has personalized Russian politics through Putin, because he is the one who promoted the reconstruction of Russia after the Yeltsin years. Americans like to be champions when there are no competitors and see others as enemies. This is the case with Germany, Europe, Russia and China.

But our “experts” know little about Russian politics. For in reality, Vladimir Putin is more of a “dove” in the Russian political landscape. Given the climate that we have created with Russia, it would not be impossible that his disappearance would lead to the emergence of more aggressive forces. We should not forget that countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland or Georgia have never developed European democratic values. They still have discriminatory policies towards their ethnic Russians that are far from European values, and they behave like immature agents provocateurs. I think that if Putin were to disappear for some reason, the conflicts with these countries would take on a new dimension.

TP: How unified is Russia presently? Has the war created a more serious opposition than what previously existed within Russia?

JB: No, on the contrary. The American and European leaders have a poor understanding of their enemy: the Russian people are very patriotic and cohesive. Western obsession to ” punish ” the Russian people has only brought them closer to their leaders. In fact, by seeking to divide Russian society in an effort to overthrow the government, Western sanctions—including the dumbest ones—have confirmed what the Kremlin has been saying for years: that the West has a profound hatred of Russians. What was once said to be a lie is now confirmed in Russian opinion. The consequence is that the people’s trust in the government has grown stronger.

The approval ratings given by the Levada Centre (considered by the Russian authorities as a “foreign agent”) show that public opinion has tightened around Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. In January 2022, Vladimir Putin’s approval rating was 69% and the government’s was 53%. Today, Putin’s approval rating has been stable at around 83% since March, and the government’s is at 71%. In January, 29% did not approve of Vladimir Putin’s decisions, in July it was only 15%.

According to the Levada Centre, even the Russian operation in Ukraine enjoys a majority of favorable opinions. In March, 81% of Russians were in favor of the operation; this figure dropped to 74%, probably due to the impact of sanctions at the end of March, and then it went back up. In July 2022, the operation had 76% popular support.

Figure 4 – Not all Russians support the special operation in Ukraine, but three quarters of the population do. Ukrainian war crimes, Western sanctions and the good management of the economy by the Russian authorities explain this support. [Source]

The problem is that our journalists have neither culture nor journalistic discipline and they replace them with their own beliefs. It is a form of conspiracy that aims to create a false reality based on what one believes and not on the facts. For example, few know (or want to know) that Aleksey Navalny said he would not return Crimea to Ukraine. The West’s actions have completely wiped out the opposition, not because of “Putin’s repression,” but because in Russia, resistance to foreign interference and the West’s deep contempt for Russians is a bipartisan cause. Exactly like the hatred of Russians in the West. This is why personalities like Aleksey Navalny, who never had a very high popularity, have completely disappeared from the popular media landscape.

Moreover, even if the sanctions have had a negative impact on the Russian economy, the way the government has handled things since 2014 shows a great mastery of economic mechanisms and a great realism in assessing the situation. There is a rise in prices in Russia, but it is much lower than in Europe, and while Western economies are raising their key interest rates, Russia is lowering its own.

The Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova has been exemplified as an expression of the opposition in Russia. Her case is interesting because, as usual, we do not say everything.

On 14 March 2022, she provoked international applause by interrupting the Russian First Channel news program with a poster calling for ending the war in Ukraine. She was arrested and fined $280.

In May, the German newspaper Die Welt offered her a job in Germany, but in Berlin, pro-Ukrainian activists demonstrated to get the newspaper to end its collaboration with her. The media outlet Politico even suggested that she might be an agent of the Kremlin!

As a result, in June 2022, she left Germany to live in Odessa, her hometown. But instead of being grateful, the Ukrainians put her on the Mirotvorets blacklist where she is accused of treason, “participation in the Kremlin’s special information and propaganda operations” and “complicity with the invaders.”

The Mirotvorets website is a “hit list” for politicians, journalists or personalities who do not share the opinion of the Ukrainian government. Several of the people on the list have been murdered. In October 2019, the UN requested the closure of the site, but this was refused by the Rada. It should be noted that none of our mainstream media has condemned this practice, which is very far from the values they claim to defend. In other words, our media support these practices that used to be attributed to South American regimes.

Figure 5 – Darya Dugina marked as “Liquidated.”

Ovsyannikova then returned to Russia, where she demonstrated against the war, calling Putin a “killer,” and was arrested by the police and placed under house arrest for three months. At this point, our media protested.

It is worth noting that Russian journalist Darya Dugina, the victim of a bomb attack in Moscow on 21 August 2022, was on the Mirotvorets list and her file was marked “liquidated.” Of course, no Western media mentioned that she was targeted by the Mirotvorets website, which is considered to be linked to the SBU, as this would tend to support Russia’s accusations.

German journalist Alina Lipp, whose revelations about Ukrainian and Western crimes in the Donbass are disturbing, has been placed on the website Mirotvorets. Moreover, Alina Lipp was sentenced in absentia to three years in prison by a German court for claiming that Russian troops had “liberated” areas in Ukraine and thus “glorified criminal activities.” As can be seen, the German authorities are functioning like the neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine. Today’s politicians are a credit to their grandparents!

One can conclude that even if there are some people who oppose the war, Russian public opinion is overwhelmingly behind its government. Western sanctions have only strengthened the credibility of the Russian president.

Ultimately, my point is not to take the same approach as our media and replace the hatred of Russia with that of Ukraine. On the contrary, it is to show that the world is not either black or white and that Western countries have taken the situation too far. Those who are compassionate about Ukraine should have pushed our governments to implement the agreed political solutions in 2014 and 2015. They haven’t done anything and are now pushing Ukraine to fight. But we are no longer in 2021. Today, we have to accept the consequences of our non-decisions and help Ukraine to recover. But this must not be done at the expense of its Russian-speaking population, as we have done until now, but with the Russian-speaking people, in an inclusive manner. If I look at the media in France, Switzerland and Belgium, we are still very far from the goal.

TP: Thank you so very much, Mr. Baud, for this most enlightening discussion.

In Defense of German Colonialism

Through the kind courtesy of Regnery Publishing and Regnery Gateway, we are so very honored to present this excerpt from Professor Bruce Gilley’s recently published book, In Defense of German Colonialism, a tour-de-force of the great good that the German colonial effort achieved in Africa, such as economic development, the rule of law, good governance, and human rights for minorities and women.

In an insightful link-up with the present, Professor Gilley shows that the dismantlement of the German colonies enabled Nazism which, in turn, is the root of wokeness. Professor Gilley’s research is impeccable and his conclusions undeniable. Please support his valuable work by purchasing your copy of this intriguing and informative book. You will not be disappointed.


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The Spirit of Berlin

Bismarck’s ironclad indifference towards the colonies cracked in 1883 when a failed tobacco merchant from Bremen named Adolf Lüderitz wired to say that he had run up the German flag on a thin strip of land on the Atlantic coast of southern Africa. Lüderitz had bought the land from natives of the Nama tribe for two hundred loaded rifles and a box of gold. The Nama needed the rifles for their ongoing wars against their historic enemies, the Herero. Bismarck at last gave in. Following his recognition of Lüderitzland (population twenty), Bismarck told the Reichstag that henceforth he would fly the flag whenever established German merchants requested the protection of the state. “We do not want to install colonies artificially,” Bismarck sighed. “When they emerge, however, we will try to protect them.” His hope was for empire on the cheap: “Clerks from the trading houses, not German generals,” would handle the functions of government.

Since Germany was a colonial newcomer, it had the neutrality to convene the 1884–85 conference to set new ground rules for colonial endeavors. Being sensitive to publicity, the Germans invited some Africans from the Niger river to join their delegation, at first calling them porters, then river navigators, then caravan leaders, and finally “princes.” Other European powers hastened to bring their own “loyal Africans” to wintry Berlin to demonstrate their own legitimacy.

During the meetings, Bismarck oversaw a major redefinition of colonialism. The Germans spoke most frequently and thus their views had tremendous influence on the final agreement. While the immediate issues were the Congo and West Africa, as well as free trade, the broader question was on what basis colonial rule could be justified. Initial fears that Bismarck planned to make vast claims on unmarked territory proved unfounded. His aim was simply to promote European trade in a way that did not bring the European powers to blows and that delivered uplift for the natives.

The Spirit of Berlin was embodied in two principles. First, colonial powers, whatever else they did, had a responsibility to improve the lives of native populations. European powers, the agreement stated, should be “preoccupied with the means of increasing the moral and material wellbeing of the indigenous populations.” When a colony was established, the powers “engage themselves to watch over the conservation of the indigenous populations and the amelioration of their moral and material conditions of existence.” That included putting an end to slavery and the slave trade. It also meant supporting religious, scientific, and charitable endeavors to bring the “advantages of civilization.” Bismarck praised the “careful solicitude” the European powers showed towards colonial subjects. Native uplift was now an explicit rather than implicit promise of colonialism. A British delegate noted that “humanitarian considerations have occupied a prominent place in the discussions.” Words only. But words that would create norms, and norms that would shape behavior.

The second principle insisted that any colonial claim needed to be backed up by “the existence of an authority sufficient to cause acquired rights to be respected.” Merely planting the flag or signing a treaty with local chiefs for a box of cigars was no longer enough. Colonialism required governance so that “new occupations . . . may be considered as effective.” This was later known as the principle of “effective occupation.” With this idea, Bismarck introduced the expectation that colonialism was not mere claim-staking or resource development—even if those things were still better than no colonialism at all. Rather, as with his newly created Germany, political institutions needed to provide the means to deliver the end of good governance.

The “effective occupation” principle applied at first only to coastal areas since the powers did not want to set off conflicts over border demarcations in inland areas. But as mapping of the inland proceeded in subsequent years, it crept willy-nilly into the bush as well. It “became the instrument for sanctioning and formalizing colonial occupation even in the African hinterland,” noted a legal historian.

One result of the Spirit of Berlin was a surge in trans-colonial cooperation among the major colonial powers. British, French, and German officials, especially in Africa, acted as if they were part of a common European project. They regularly swapped bits of territory, shared tips on governing, and got gloriously drunk to cement the bonds of colonial friendship. Germany’s top colonial official hosted a dinner to honor the retiring British governor of Uganda when they found themselves together aboard a homebound German steamer in 1909: “We made flowery speeches, vowing eternal friendship between our two nations,” the governor recalled. In German Samoa, the governor in 1901 appointed a Brit who did not speak German as the top official of the largest island. At the outbreak of war in 1914, the Brit was still expecting to draw his civil service pension from the British colonial office, arguing that European colonialism was a unified endeavor for the betterment of other peoples.

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The Berlin conference has been subject to a relentless campaign of debunking by modern intellectuals. One claim they make is that the assembled delegates “carved up” Africa like a bunch of gluttons. This is wrong. For one, the carving was already happening when Bismarck acted. The conference was a response to, not a cause of, expanded colonial claims. Critics seem to think that absent the conference Africa would have been left untouched. Quite the opposite. The scramble for Africa created tensions, suspicions, and fears on all sides. Bismarck wanted to set some ground rules.

Second, if “carving up” is taken to mean staking territorial claims on a map with a view to gobbling up resources, this is flatly untrue. Of course, economic interests took a prominent role in colonial expansion as a way to pay the costs and reward the effort. But the attendant responsibilities were new. Expansion now required an explicit commitment to native uplift alongside economic development, and this commitment required the creation of effective governing structures.

Finally, the notion of “carving” conjures images of high-handed mandarins in Europe ignorant of local conditions absent-mindedly drawing boundaries on a map while playing a game of whist. The myth of “artificial boundaries” drawn by ignorant Europeans is one that dies hard. In fact, as the French scholar Camille Lefebvre has shown, colonial administrators went to great lengths to figure out where boundaries should be drawn. In doing so, they made use of extensive local knowledge. Later demands by critics to redraw borders along ethnic lines, she argued, “had the paradoxical effect of erasing the history of African political structures and the role of the local populations in defining colonial boundaries.” This reflected a racist idea “that the essence of Africans is to be found in their ethnicity.”

The final border between German Cameroon and neighboring British and French colonies, for instance, was the result of tortuous field surveys carried out with native guides between 1902 and 1913. “The boundary is, as far as possible, a natural one, but, whenever practicable, tribal limits have been taken into consideration,” a Times of London correspondent reported on the arduous demarcation, noting “no opposition was met with by the natives, who realize the advantage of having a definite chain of landmarks between English and German territory.” In German East Africa, the Germans allowed the neighboring British territory to control all of the lake between the two in order to protect native trading patterns. The treaty of 1890 also allowed that “any correction of the demarcation lines that becomes necessary due to local requirements may be untaken by agreement between the two powers.” Critics forget that drawing borders on a map would mean little if they could not be enforced, and enforcement in turn depended on local social and economic conditions.

What is true is that these political boundaries did not always coincide with ethnic boundaries. Many ethnic groups ended up on different sides of borders because carving up “ethnic homelands” would have been both impractical as well as, in Lefebvre’s view, racist. If there is a “high-handed” assumption at play, it is the assumption of later critics that Africans are essentially tribal and need to be organized on tribal lines. Thus borders should be redrawn not based on political, social, and economic logic but on ethnic essentialism. When the apartheid state of South Africa created such ethnic “homelands,” they were roundly derided because they created ethnic ghettos cut off from modern lines of economic and political life. Yet the “artificial boundaries” critique of the borders resulting from the Berlin conference is an appeal for just such apartheid-style “homelands.”

Broader criticism of the Spirit of Berlin is even more hyperbolic: no white man, German or otherwise, the critics avail, had a right to march around the world oppressing helpless brown and black people at gunpoint. One Harvard professor wrote that the British and French should be equally blamed for the rapacious Spirit of Berlin even though the Germans hosted the conference. There should be no Sonderweg or “separate path” theory that explained why only Germans were evil. Any suggestion of a “German (colonial) Sonderweg” would exculpate Britain and France from their fair share of the blame for the great evil that was European colonialism. Scholars like him censure as racist the idea that Western civilization had anything to offer to non-Western peoples. The so-called humanitarian principles of the conference were so much hypocrisy, a clever cloak for
self-interest, they charge.

Not one of these claims withstands scrutiny. Civilization is a descriptive concept that emerged in the field of archaeology to measure the progress that cultures achieved towards the universally common ends of intensive agriculture, urbanization, state formation, the division of labor, the use of machinery, civic government, and a written tradition with record keeping. If Europeans truly believed that black Africans were inherently inferior, why would they try to raise them up to European levels of civilization? It would be impossible. The assumption that European progress was accessible to all was based on a belief in the universal human potential of all peoples.

As to the inevitable coercion that this entailed against dominant local elites, critics forget important lessons from the past in their sermonizing. World history is a story of more civilized nations conquering less civilized ones because they are better organized and thus able to create and sustain more lives, production, and material wealth. Nowhere in the world at the time was it assumed that conquest was bad. Certainly, powerful African groups like the Fulani and the Buganda assumed they had a right to conquer nearby peoples. As Jörg Fisch wrote: “Strictly speaking, the colonial acquisition of Africa needed no justification. The Europeans had the necessary strength and, even within Europe, the right of conquest was widely accepted both in theory and state practice.”

Claims that no African was involved or that colonial expansion ignored African interests are rather bizarre given that such norms were alien to Africa itself. The Fulani, Buganda, Bantu, or Ngoni had not asked whether they should “consult” the African peoples they subjugated before the Europeans arrived. With the Spirit of Berlin promising high living standards, Europe’s conquest of Africa was justified, not just legally but also ethically, and just as much it was unavoidable. The idea that it was “arbitrary” for Western civilization to spread (or that such a spread was based on ill intent) simply ignores the fact that human societies all strive to be more civilized.

Civilization isn’t racist and violent; denying it is. Anti-civilizational discourses that wish upon non-European peoples a return to the five thousand–year developmental gap that they faced when the European encounter began deny the humanity of non-Europeans. These Woke theories embody the racism they decry. As the Canadian scholar Tom Flanagan asked in rebutting claims that the “First Nations” (Siberian migrants to North America) should have been left in their primitive state in Canada, “Though one might dislike many aspects of civilization, would it be morally defensible to call for a radical decline in population, necessitating early death and reproductive failure for billions of people now living?”

The “civilizing mission” was both proper and reasonable as an aim of European colonialism. Germany more than any other colonial power took that mission seriously, as shown by its extensive training academies for colonial administrators and special institutes to understand native cultures, geographies, languages, and economics. As one American historian wrote:

Of all the European powers engaged in colonization in tropical territories before 1914, the Germans made the most extensive efforts in the direction of preparing themselves for their colonial responsibilities. Though their emphasis on colonial education had developed only late in the history of the German colonial empire, it was one of the determinants of their stature in 1914 as one of the most progressive and energetic of all the colonial powers.

In 1988, American historian Suzanne Miers claimed to have “uncovered” a dark secret about the Spirit of Berlin: the conference participants did not give a fig about the civilizing mission (an odd critique when set against the charge by others that they did, but that this mission was racist). Her evidence? The powers were also motivated by self-interest, and they did not try their hardest to enact their altruistic ends. Miers writes, for instance, that the British agreed to limit liquor sales in the Niger River region only “if all powers agreed to it, as, if they refused, British traders would be excluded from a lucrative traffic.” In the next sentence she states: “The Colonial Office certainly was not contemplating British self-denial for humanitarian reasons.” Yet her own sentence shows that they were contemplating this if it could be achieved. Like other scholars, she seems to think that Quixotic and ineffective romantic gestures are what was needed. Thank goodness the Colonial Office was staffed by men of practical bent.

None of this will convince colonial critics, of course, who hasten to point out that the abolition of slavery came slowly, liquor imports continued despite prohibitions, wars were fought using brutal tactics, and all the blessings of civilization like the rule of law, health systems, roads, and education came only piecemeal. Having set up a high standard, the European powers immediately fell short of it, thus “proving” in the eyes of the critics that they never meant it in the first place. Yet these critics never seek to establish what “best effort” would have looked like: What was fiscally, technically, and organizationally feasible circa, say, 1885, even if we wish away all political obstacles? A more accurate view, propounded by the Stanford economists Lewis Gann and Peter Duignan, is that Western colonial powers like Britain and Germany exceeded “best effort,” and the costs that this effort imposed eventually forced Europe to abandon the colonial project altogether.


Bruce Gilley is a professor of political science at Portland State University and the author of five books, including The Last Imperialist.


Featured image: a postcard from ca. 1910. Caption reads: “Our navy. ‘Take me across handsome sailor.'”