Of Collective Security: An Interview with Michael Jabara Carley

Michael Jabara Carley is a specialist in 20th century international relations and the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. His research focuses on the Soviet Union’s relations with Western Europe and the United States during the years 1917 and 1945. This research has come together in a three-volume study, first of which, entitled, Stalin’s Gamble: The Search for Allies against Hitler, 1930–1936, will be published by the University of Toronto Press.

He is the author of 1939: The Alliance That Never Was and the Coming of World War II, Silent Conflict: A Hidden History of Early Soviet-Western Relations, and Une Guerre sourde: l’émergence de l’Union soviètique et les puissances occidentales.

Professor Carley has also written many essays on French intervention in the Russian Civil War (1917-1921), on Soviet relations with the Great Powers between the two world wars, on questions of “appeasement,” the origins and conduct of the Second World War, and on major current issues. He is a Professor of history at the University of Montreal. It is a great pleasure and honor to discuss his work with him in this interview.

The Postil (TP): You have written a trilogy on the Great Patriotic War, that is the Second World War as experienced by Soviet Union. The first part of this magisterial study will be published soon. What is your overall aim?

Michael Jabara Carley (MJC): My trilogy, as I call it, deals with the origins and early conduct of the Second World War and the Great Patriotic War (Velikaia Otechestvennaia voina). The VOV is the name given to the war in Soviet and Russian history arising from the German invasion of the USSR on 22 June 1941. My work runs from January 1930 to December 1941. My project was first entitled “A Near-run Thing: The Improbable Grand Alliance of World War II,” supported by an “Insight” research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. My initial objective was to write a narrative history of how the USSR, Britain, and the United States, powers hostile to each other during the interwar years, became allies against Nazi Germany and the Axis. The work evolved from an envisioned single volume into three dealing with Soviet relations with the great and lesser European powers and the United States.

Michael J. Carley.

TP: Is there a difference between a Western historiography of WWII and a Russian one?

MJC: Oh yes, the difference is enormous. During the war, it was clear to all who had eyes to see that the Red Army played the key role in smashing the Nazi Wehrmacht and winning the war in Europe. The United States and Britain played supporting roles. After 1945 the war became an important object of propaganda in the Cold War. The new narrative was that the United States or Churchill single-handedly won the war in which the USSR was practically invisible.

In the western media, histories, iconography, Hollywood films, comic books, more recently video games, the Red Army is invisible. The key moment in the war was operation Overlord, the Normandy landings, when in fact, they were an anticlimax, grand to be sure, in a war whose outcome had already been determined by the Red Army. In the context of the Cold War, it was normal that the United States would seek in various ways to rub out the memories of the Soviet role in the war, for otherwise how could you portray the USSR as a menacing communist enemy.

TP: Would you tell us about the other two volumes in the trilogy?

MJC: Volume 1: Stalin’s Gamble: The Search for Allies against Hitler, 1930–1936, explores the Soviet Union’s efforts to organize a defensive alliance against Nazi Germany, in effect rebuilding the anti-German Entente of the First World War.

Volume 2: Stalin’s Failed Grand Alliance: The Struggle for Collective Security, 1936-1939 covers the period from May 1936 to August 1939. These were the last three years of peace in Europe during which occurred the great crises of the pre-war period (the Spanish civil war, Anschluss and the Munich sellout of Czechoslovakia) and the last Soviet efforts to organise an anti-Nazi alliance.

Volume 3: Stalin’s Great Game: War and Neutrality, 1939-1941 covers the first phase of the war in Europe, notably the disappearance of Poland, the Winter War between the USSR and Finland, the fall of France, the battle of Britain, and the Nazi build-up and invasion of the USSR. All this occurs within the broader framework of Soviet diplomacy and intelligence operations and Stalin’s failures to interpret correctly the signs of Hitler’s intention to destroy the Soviet Union.

TP: Your work has focused on Russian archival records. Were there any surprises, which made you rethink your position(s)?

MJC: My work has focused on Russian archival sources and western archival sources (inter alia French, British, US, etc.). The Russian sources indicate—and this will be a surprise for some people—that Soviet foreign policy as conducted by the Commissariat for foreign affairs (NKID) functioned like that of any other foreign ministry. It sought to define and protect Soviet national interests, as perceived by the NKID, and promoted amongst the Soviet leadership, especially in the Politburo (in effect the Soviet cabinet), which over time became synonymous with a single person, Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin. In the 1920s this meant seeking to improve political and economic relations with the main western powers. No country was too small to escape NKID attention and wooing. In the 1930s it meant seeking to build an anti-Nazi alliance to contain Hitlerite Germany or to defeat it in war if containment failed. The first generation of Soviet diplomats were well-educated (or self-taught), multilingual, sophisticated, and good at their jobs.

So? What is so surprising about these “discoveries?” Several generations of western historians have maintained that Soviet foreign policy was made by the Communist International or Comintern and intended to pursue world socialist revolution and not the protection of Soviet national interests. These did not exist. My previous book Silent Conflict deals with the complicated interaction of the NKID, Comintern, Stalin, and the Politburo in the 1920s. Suffice it to say that traditional western historiography requires revision based on the study of Russian archives. We now have histories before the opening of Soviet archives and histories after their opening.

TP: The Soviet era is largely dominated by Joseph Stalin. Are there aspects about him that are ignored or misconstrued by Western historians?

MJC: People have been writing books about Stalin since the interwar years. His recent biographer Stephen Kotkin reminds us that he was a “human being.” He was that, but of course human beings can also be serial killers. Stalin was what he was, amongst other things, crude, cynical, vengeful, murderous. He placed little value on human life and freely dispensed with it.

In the realm of foreign policy, he had a more or less normal relationship with the NKID and its leadership until the purges. In the 1930s his principal NKID interlocutor was Maksim M. Litvinov, the commissar or narkom for foreign affairs. Stalin’s interactions with Litvinov were those of a head of government with his/her foreign minister. There was give and take on both sides, but most of the time until 1939 Stalin supported Litvinov’s policy recommendations. Not always but most of the time. It is a “normal” side of Stalin that we sometimes miss because of his ruthlessness and the purges.

TP: In the years leading up to WWII, how did the West view, or understand, Stalin and Soviet Russia? And, likewise, how did Stalin view the West?

MJC: The “west” did not have a uniform view of Stalin. There was the mainstream media view of him as bloodthirsty communist. In some government circles, in the British Foreign Office, for example, he was perceived as a ruthless “realist” looking to secure his own power. Western iconography, political posters, cartoons, etc., are rich in their portrayal of Stalin, amongst other roles, as a vampire feeding on the blood of innocents. This was a consistent view of him during the interwar years with some moderation in the 1930s when western realists—Winston Churchill is the best known of these people— recognised the need to cooperate with the USSR against Nazi Germany. The “realists” were always a minority amongst western governing elites and were never able to impose this policy in government until the Nazi invasion of the USSR. Of course, western communists were more disposed to recognise Stalin as the great leader of the USSR. They had to or were expelled from European parties or purged when Stalin got his hands on them. There were however exceptions to the rule when communists (in France for example) could initiate policy changes accepted in Moscow.

As for Stalin, he remained a communist, but he was willing to cooperate with the western powers against Hitler both in the 1930s and after June 1941. We operate under different social systems, he often said, but this should not prevent us from recognizing common interests and cooperating against common foes.

TP: Then, there is the notorious year, 1932, with its Great Famine, in which 5 to 7 million died. Was this famine “political strategy,” ethnic cleansing (Holodomor), a natural disaster, or something else?

MJC: I only deal in passing with this issue in my work because the famine did not affect foreign policy, but the best recent treatment of the famine is in the second volume of Kotkin’s biography of Stalin. Kotkin argues that the famine was the result of various factors, political, economic, weather, and insect infestations. It was not aimed at the Ukraine as a form of genocide or “ethnic cleansing.” The famine affected the entire Soviet grain belt with Kazakhstan being the hardest hit.

TP: The next year, 1933, brought Adolf Hitler to power. How did Stalin and the Soviets view Hitler?

MJC: The initial Soviet reaction to Hitler’s assumption of power in early 1933 was to try to maintain the “Rapallo” policy of tolerable relations with Germany. Nazi hostility to the USSR in 1933 was so intense that the maintenance of Rapallo became impossible and in December 1933 the Politburo approved a shift in policy to collective security against Nazi Germany. This meant in effect the rebuilding of the World War I Entente against Wilhelmine Germany. Litvinov became the great Soviet spokesperson for this policy, but it was not his personal policy, it was that of Stalin and the Soviet government. Stalin was the Soviet government. No policy, large or small, could pass without his approval.

TP: The years leading up to 1939 are complex and often little understood, especially in regards to the motivations and concerns of Soviet Russia. Did the Soviets see a war coming?

MJC: There is not the slightest doubt that the Soviet leadership saw war coming. Nazi Germany was the great danger to European peace and security. Litvinov and other Soviet diplomats liked to quote to their western counterparts Mein Kampf, Hitler’s best-selling book, outlining his plans for European conquest. France and the USSR were identified as targets of German conquest. Germany needed Lebensraum, additional living space in the USSR. Slavs, Jews, Roma were lower species of human being good only for slavery or death.

TP: What was the role of Britain and France in this regard? Were they more suspicious of Hitler or of Stalin, or of both equally? And why could they not form an alliance with Stalin against Hitler?

MJC: The answer to this question is complicated and is the subject of Stalin’s Gamble, vol. 1 of my trilogy. In France and Britain anti-communism was a driving force, though its intensity fluctuated from time to time during the interwar years. Political and economic elites were largely anti-communist, but not entirely, as I have noted above. This was especially true during the 1930s after Hitler became German chancellor. One Soviet diplomat noted that the great question of the 1930s was who was enemy no. 1, Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union? Western elites, with important exceptions, got the answer wrong to this question. Fascism was the great bulwark against communist or socialist revolution, the ideology arising from the crisis of capitalism during the interwar years. Remember, Germany was not the only fascist state, the Duce Benito Mussolini had taken power in Italy in 1922. In France and Britain there were tolerant attitudes toward Italian fascists. If only Hitler would soften the hard edges of Nazism and adopt the “softer” fascism of Mussolini, it would be easier to accept him. For numerous European conservatives Hitlerite Germany was not an enemy but a potential ally against the left.

When Soviet diplomats tried to warn of the Nazi danger, many western counterparts did not buy the argument that Hitler was the problem. This was especially so after the eruption of the Spanish civil war in July 1936. It looked to many conservatives that communism might take root in Spain and then spread to France. What a catastrophe! So, when Soviet diplomats warned of Hitlerite Germany, conservatives, the political right, but also spreading into the political centre and centre-left, saw this as a ruse de guerre to spread communism into Europe. Collective security and mutual assistance against the common foe, did not work as an argument, because European elites did not see or did not want to see Hitler as a common foe. The British Foreign Office was against collective security and against anti-fascism as arguments for unity. Anti-communism was a major impediment to an Anglo-Franco-Soviet alliance against Hitler, even in 1939 when war looked increasingly inevitable.

TP: Then there is Poland. How would you characterize the Polish view of Hitler, especially given that Poland was allied with Nazi Germany until 1939 (a little-known fact)? What were Poland’s ambitions and motivations?

MJC: Yes, then there was Poland. I call it the skunk in the woodpile of collective security, but it was not the only one. A Polish state reappeared on the map of Europe in 1918 at the end of World War I. It was intensely nationalist. During 1919-1920 Poland sought to reestablish its frontiers of 1772, as a great European power. This led to war with Soviet Russia and a white peace, signed in early 1921 which satisfied neither side. Poland did not re-establish its 1772 frontiers, but obtained important Ukrainian and Byelorussian populated territories, which Soviet Russia saw as lost because of military weakness.

The Polish leadership saw itself situated between two potentially hostile great powers, and so explained its foreign policy as neither one or the other. But when push came to shove the Polish leadership always leaned toward Germany. In January 1934 Poland signed a non-aggression pact with Germany. Soviet offers of rapprochement were rejected. In following years Poland acted as a saboteur of collective security and worked against Soviet diplomacy. Everywhere in central and eastern Europe, diplomats warned that Poland was marching toward its ruin if it continued to pursue a pro-German, anti-Soviet policy. I would not say Poland was a Nazi “ally” but it was certainly an accomplice in 1938 when it cooperated with Germany to bring about the dismemberment of the Czechoslovak state. For its troubles Poland got a small portion of Czechoslovak territory. Incredibly, in 1939 it continued to sabotage attempts to conclude an Anglo-Franco-Soviet alliance. It did so until the very day the Nazi Wehrmacht invaded Poland on 1 September 1939.

TP: Was the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 the Soviet attempt to thwart war, or was it a reaction to the Munich Conference of 1938, in which the West thought it had won “peace in our time?”

MJC: The Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact was not a Soviet attempt to thwart war, it was an attempt to stay out of the war and to remain neutral. Yes, in part, it was a reaction to the Munich accords, but it was more than that. It was the direct result of six years of failed Soviet attempts to construct an anti-Nazi grand alliance. One by one, the prospective members of this failed grand alliance fell away: the United States in the spring-summer 1934, France paradoxically in late 1934 (in a more complicated process), Italy, yes, fascist Italy in 1935, Britain in February 1936, and Romania in August 1936. One after the other they fell away; and Poland of course, the spoiler of collective security, the proverbial skunk in the woodpile, never contemplated an alliance with the USSR against Germany. Moscow was always the undesirable ally, the greater enemy, even though, paradoxically, it was Poland’s only option for salvation.

The Soviet Union could not, on its own, organise mutual assistance against Nazi Germany. Collective security had to be a grand political coalition from left to centre-right, a World War I union sacrée, of all-in national defence of all political parties against a common foe. In the west no one wanted it; no one wanted the Soviet Union as an ally (with the exception of communists and “realists”; a Soviet ambassador called them “white crows”) in a potential war-fighting alliance, in a situation where there was no agreement on the common foe. Even Czechoslovakia, the most needy potential ally, would not go all-in with the USSR. No eastern European country would without France and Britain, but France would not march without Britain, and Britain would not march at all.

This is a complicated story related in volumes 1 and 2 of my trilogy. In the great cover-up of the genuine history of the origins of World War II after 1945, it was the necessary corollary of Cold War propaganda to rub out the primary role of the Red Army in the destruction of the Wehrmacht. Early on, revisionist historians began to put the story together, starting with the “Guilty Men,” the appeasers, who prepared the way to catastrophe. It was the release of Soviet government papers in the 1990s, however, which has allowed the emergence of a more complex narrative, constructed with the assistance of Soviet eyes. In this narrative Stalin, the “human being,” understandably could not trust the British and French governments, conniving, manipulative, unwilling, to be all-in allies against Nazi Germany even in August 1939.

As it was, the British and French left their ally Poland to blow in the wind when Germany invaded it. Stalin correctly assumed that France and Britain would sit on their hands while Germany and the USSR fought it out in the east. Would they have been more loyal to the USSR than they had been to Poland? Of course not, if you asked Stalin. However, war is full of the unexpected. The USSR ended up fighting a ground war practically alone against Nazi Germany from June 1941 to September 1943 and even after the Normandy landings still carried the main burden of fighting on the ground. That of course is another story.

TP: World War II, when it broke out, was the result of diplomatic failure on the part of Britain, France, and Poland. Is this a fair assessment?

MJC: I have answered this question in my above responses, but yes, Britain, France, and Poland bear a large responsibility for the failure to organize an early grand alliance in Europe against Hitler.

TP: Could the Allies have defeated Hitler without the Soviets?

MJC: No, and this is not a conclusion made in hindsight. The main argument of western “realists” was that without the USSR, France and Britain could not win a war against Nazi Germany and would certainly lose it. Britain had no army to speak of, two divisions could at once be sent to France in the event of war. The French army could not alone fight off a German invasion. On the other hand, the Red Army could at once mobilise 100 divisions, in fact, more, against Nazi Germany. Churchill and former prime minister David Lloyd George said it plainly in the House of Commons during the spring of 1939. Victory was impossible without an alliance with the USSR. Do the math of relative contributions to boots on the ground: Britain, two divisions; the USSR, 100. This is not to mention 35 Czechoslovak divisions prior to the Munich betrayal. The French and British governing elites liked to count every enemy twice over and potential allies not at all.

TP: In your book, Silent Conflict: A Hidden History of Early Soviet-Western Relations, you discuss Soviet relations with the West. How would you categorize these? And did these early years set the tone for the Cold War?

MJC: With the notable exception of Soviet-German relations and the conclusion of the treaty of Rapallo (spring 1922) which regularised Soviet relations with Weimar Germany, Soviet-western relations were poor. Anti-Communism was an insurmountable obstacle to better relations even though there were “realists,” notably in France, who advocated rapprochement. The Comintern was active in China where a great revolutionary movement was underway. Britain especially had important commercial interests in China threatened by the revolutionary movement. I see this period as the early (or stage 1 of the) Cold War which ended in 1941. Western-Soviet hostility in the 1920s was an impediment to building an anti-Nazi alliance in the 1930s.

TP: The West has long had deep-seated Russophobia. What accounts for this?

MJC: Russophobia is not really a subject directly treated in my work. It is a form of western racism against Russia, motivated these days by the Russian threat to US world domination. This is a topic for another discussion.

TP: Are there other projects that you are researching?

MJC: I am getting on in years, and the publication of my trilogy will take up my time, inshallah, for the next couple of years. I see the trilogy as the capstone of my work as historian and author. After the trilogy is published, as I hope it will be, who knows?

TP: Professor Carley, thank you so much for your time.


Featured: “Europe will be Free!” Poster by Viktor Koretsky, 1944.

“Russia has Lost the War”

So says Western media… And if all we do is listen to what is published in the West and listen to what the various “strategists” say on all the talk-shows, we would come to the following conclusions:

  • Russia has lost the war, with the capture of Kherson by the Ukrainian army and its offensives in the north of the Donbass.
  • The casualties among the ranks of the Russian army are very considerable and it is demoralized, its generals are incompetent and are dying at the front, if they are not dismissed and arrested.
  • The Russian army has practically no more ammunition left to continue the war and its missiles are unable to reach their targets, thanks to the excellent Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense that intercepts them. And Russia is also running out of missiles.
  • The Ukrainian army has reconquered territory in the Kherson region and its offensives in the north of Donbass, as well as its resistance on the Donetsk front, augur a clear victory of its army which will lead them to reconquer all the territory annexed by Russia, including, of course, Crimea, forcing Russia to sign a peace which will lead its current president, Vladimir Putin, to be tried and sentenced and make recompense for all the expenses undertaken because of the conflict.
  • As for the Russian people, they do not want this war and hope for a quick replacement of their president by one of the opposition leaders, who will be much more liberal and supported by the United States and Europe.
  • Faced with this disaster, Putin and his generals have resorted to wild, indiscriminate shelling of the Ukrainian population, leaving these people without electricity, water and supplies. The Russians do not rule out the use of nuclear weapons, if things get even worse.

Such is the picture painted by the European and Anglo-American mass media, although it must be acknowledged that the latter are making an effort to provide other, more objective analyses in view of the latest developments in the conflict. The intellectual laziness of many information professionals, who limit themselves to reproducing the propaganda reports of Zelensky’s government, if not submitting to the doxa dictated by the media management bodies, as well as the censorship imposed by the authorities and pressure groups, prevent a more impartial knowledge of the real situation of the conflict.

To begin with, Russia cannot lose this war, nor can it give up the territories that since the referendums have been incorporated into the Russian Federation. First of all, it is a question of survival in the face of the Anglo-American world’s determination to put an end to the existence of a Russia that opposes its hegemonic domination and that, on the contrary, is committed to a multipolar world where a balance of forces coexists. Secondly, the Russian society, and even more so the recently annexed populations, and in particular the Donbass regions which have suffered a war for eight years, would never accept to stop being part of Russia.

As for the situation on the ground, if we look at the development of events from the information provided by objective military specialists and analysts, some even coming from armies committed to Ukrainian interests, since the appointment of General Surovikin as Commander-in-Chief of the Armies in the Ukrainian campaign, things have changed quite a lot. His appointment has meant a single command, subordinating the rest of the generals who earlier directed the operations in each of the territories where they acted independently and without coordination with the rest. Since his appointment, a reorganization of the troops assigned to the operation has been carried out, rotating them after the attrition suffered during these nine months of war and reinforcing their material, in particular with artillery pieces and armored vehicles, and massively incorporating observation and destruction drones.

From the tactical point of view, Russia has no need, as Surovikin himself stated, to expose its soldiers uselessly, when it has other means at its disposal to win this war. Russia, because of its demographic situation, cannot afford to send hundreds of thousands of young men to the front, as the Soviets did in World War II, with the result that that entailed. The use of tactical missiles directed against military installations and recently against strategic infrastructures, whose effectiveness is difficult to refute in view of the express acknowledgement by the Ukrainian authorities themselves, is bringing about a substantial change in the course of this conflict.

What some media have considered as a defeat and a withdrawal of the Russian army in Kherson, has been in reality a tactical withdrawal to avoid exposing a significant part of its troops who could have been surrounded in a compromising situation, and thus to better defend themselves. It has been sold that the Ukrainians had defeated the Russians and that this meant that they had practically won the war. The reality is that the Russians have temporarily ceded ground to regroup and organize themselves. They have abandoned the city, transforming it into a ghost town without electricity or water and with a population, albeit a very small one, which the Ukrainian troops will have to feed. At the same time, they have moved, in a successful operation, to the other bank of the Dnieper, turning the river into a natural line of defense very difficult to cross, since at this time, its width is about two kilometers.

So much so that in spite of the fact that the operation had been announced in advance by Surovikin himself, something surprising for a military commander, the Ukrainian forces did not give him credit and delayed their entry into the city until they were certain that it had been abandoned by the Russians, as they believed that it was all a trap. The withdrawal was made without loss of material or men and in an orderly manner, despite the fact that more than 20,000 men were mobilized. Previously, more than 150,000 civilians had been evacuated from the city to the other side, under Ukrainian artillery shelling. They even moved the remains of the founder of the city and mythical person in the history of Russia, Marshal Potemkin, so that his remains would not be desecrated by the Ukrainian troops. Clear proof of this is that we have not seen those images of casualties or destroyed materials that the Ukrainian propaganda media lavished so much on when, at the beginning, they confronted the Russian forces. What has been seen, on the contrary, is a deserted city whose population is trying to survive in hardship and which has been announced that it will be evacuated because of the impossibility of supplying it, while the repressive rearguard forces are engaged in arresting the Russians’ collaborators. In their military history, the Russians have a long experience of strategic retreats that have been successful.

Located on the other bank of the river, with the natural barrier of its width and the difficulty of crossing it under artillery fire, the Russian troops have a considerable advantage. So much so that part of the troops assigned at the time to this front have been transferred to the Donbass front to reinforce the offensive which is being carried out there and which, little by little, is gaining ground despite the difficulty of overcoming the lines of fortifications built by the Ukrainians more than eight years ago and which they have been defending with extraordinary courage and tenacity.

The mobilization of reservists decreed last September and the enlistment of volunteers means the incorporation of 318,000 soldiers and commanders directly on the front line. Unlike the mobilized Ukrainians, who are already in their seventh or eighth mobilization with hardly any training, these troops are undergoing intense military training by veterans of the operation, so that their incorporation will be carried out when they have completed their training and proven their operational capacity. As of today, about 80,000 of them have already joined the front lines, integrating into already hardened units. The rest will do so by mid-December. There has been no haste, and their training is being prioritized to avoid casualties and strengthen their effectiveness.

Meanwhile, on other fronts, Donetsk and Lugansk, Russian troops are advancing slowly, favoring artillery fire both when advancing and retreating, avoiding unnecessary exposure of men and material. The use of observation drones for the localization of enemy forces is being abundantly employed, with excellent results, as this allows for accurate and effective artillery fire. There is abundant filming that proves their use and effectiveness. The practical non-existence of Ukrainian aviation, because it was cancelled at the beginning, and the little effectiveness of its anti-aircraft defenses, in spite of receiving new Western materials, makes Russian aviation have control of the skies and intervene more and more in support of the troops on the ground. Although the equipment provided is not always of the latest generation, the technological complexity also requires trained servants when it comes to more modern systems, which is why the Russians are suspicious of the involvement of NATO troops who covertly handle such equipment.

The Russians are expected to carry out a major offensive when weather conditions permit, i.e., when the ground freezes, because now, with the heavy rains, it is impracticable. The Ukrainians are suffering to a greater extent, because much of the material sent by the Ottoman allies, replacing the Soviet material they had and have been losing, is wheeled, unlike the Russian material, in which tracks predominate. The priority will undoubtedly be focused on recovering the territories of the Donbass up to its territorial limits and, perhaps, on descending from above along the right bank of the Dnieper to recover the territories of Zaporiyia and Kherson. Who knows if they will not go on to Odessa. Nor can the Russians afford to delay their offensive too long, because the longer they delay, the more time the Ukrainian army will have to mobilize and train its levies.

On the other hand, the destruction, by means of tactical missiles, of energy infrastructures, especially power plants and sub-power plants, by the Russian forces, is having considerable effects on the deterioration of the supply on the material fronts, since it prevents their transfer from the borders, slowing down their offensives and weakening their defenses. Although its effects are being felt to a greater extent on the living conditions of civilians, depriving them of electricity and water, the destruction of these infrastructures was something that Russian military officials had been demanding for some time in view of the increase in military aid received by the Ukrainian army from its NATO allies.

Finally, as far as casualties are concerned, the number of deaths in the ranks of the Ukrainian army is staggering. According to American officials, there are about 100,000 dead, to which must be added the wounded in the proportion of three for every one dead. This means that, between the dead and the wounded, they are losing between 300 and 400 men a day on the various fronts. Russian losses are around 48,000 wounded and 16,000 dead, 8,000 of which belong to the Russian army and the rest to the territorial units, Chechen forces and the Wagner group. It should be borne in mind that the brunt of the war has so far been carried out by the territorial units of the Donbass and the special forces on their respective fronts. Initially, the Russian army have started the conflict with between 125,000 and 150,000 troops, to which were added about 60,000 mobilized between the territorial troops of the Donbass and the Chechen special forces and the Wagner Group, with 10,000 troops each. For its part, the Ukrainian army numbered about 600,000 men at the beginning of the conflict. According to UN data, more than 10,000 civilians were killed between the two sides during the eight months of the conflict.

We will probably soon witness a change in the situation, both on the ground and politically, although the media and talk show hosts with careers in the offices of Brussels or NATO headquarters tell us that the Ukrainian army is going to win this war and that they will force Russia to return the annexed territories. American officials have already suggested to Zelensky that he should reconsider negotiating with Russia, and we know that he who pays the piper calls the tune, and American governments have never been known for their unswerving loyalty to the leader of the day. Rather, they have been dedicated to defending their own interests.


Eugenio de Dobrynne writes for El Manifesto, through whose courtesy this article appears.

The Ukrainian Army Promotes War Crimes

The crimes of the Ukrainian army, which we can often see on social networks, horrify the entire civilized world. And if the West is the main financier and logistics-provider for the Ukrainian army, the crimes committed by Ukrainian soldiers appalled even them. After the recent Ukrainian war crime in Makiivka, it was the Western media that put pressure to launch an investigation. Unfortunately, despite the pressure from the West, it is difficult to expect that the Ukrainian army will respect the Geneva Convention in the future. It is more realistic to expect that they will continue to behave like a wild horde.

Therefore, the video of the execution of Russian prisoners of war by Ukrainian troops, which circulated in the media and social networks, is far from the only video recording of war crimes by Ukrainian army.

Since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, videos of beaten and stripped prisoners of war and civilians suspected of collaborating with the Russians have appeared on social media. Records of torture also circulated widely.

However, what shocks the public is that official Kyiv promotes the violation of the Geneva Convention and does not care about the promotion of war crimes. What are the reasons for such “public violence,” which greatly compromise both the Ukrainian military and President Zelensky himself?

It is certain that the Russian army in Ukraine also committed some crimes, bearing in mind that it is an armed formation of over 200,000 people. However, the Russian military police has an iron discipline in this matter, and such things are severely punished. And such an order comes from the Kremlin, because President Putin has repeatedly emphasized publicly that Russians and Ukrainians are one nation. And that the Russian army must take into account not only Ukrainian civilians but also captured soldiers.

The above can be confirmed by the fact that since the beginning of the conflict, a large number of independent journalists have been accompanying the Russian army and reporting from the front. It must be emphasized here that the majority of journalists are not from Russia but from the West. This is evidenced by the fact that more than once, due to journalists filming and revealing the positions of the Russian army, there have been losses of equipment in the Russian army.

But Russians are not characterized by cruelty. The main difference between Ukrainian nationalists and Russian fighters is different cultural traditions. In the 80th brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, formed in Lviv from the natives of Western Ukraine, the personnel were brought up in the spirit of the traditions of the Ukrainian underground during the Second World War. Recall that back then the supporters of Stepan Bandera shot pro-Soviet and pro-Polish activists, including doctors and teachers sent to western Ukraine, and also massacred entire Jewish and Polish villages.

In the Russian mentality, mockery and mistreatment of prisoners is unacceptable. You can kill the enemy, but not torture. Russians in their ideology have always opposed themselves to the German Nazis with their concentration camps and gas chambers. So, if someone posted a video of the torture and murder of captured soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Russian audience would explode with indignation, recognizing the perpetrators of such acts as war criminals.

However, the true reason for the appearance of Ukrainian torture videos lies not even in the different mentality of Ukrainian nationalists and Russians. In fact, Kiev propagandists deliberately give the green light to such videos. This is primarily done to scare Russian soldiers and reservists. And official Kiev does not pay much attention to these crimes.

Take for example the recent Ukrainian war crime in Makiivka. The Ukrainian army immediately began to claim that the video was staged and fake. However, it was the Western experts who confirmed the authenticity of the video and the Western media exerted pressure to launch an investigation.

However, such video-propaganda of cruelty actually has a much more serious purpose. Its main task is to form a stable feeling of hatred between Russians and residents of Ukraine. EU residents have little idea of the mentality of the average Russian. The fact is that many in Russia sincerely consider the current war to be a civil one. Almost all Russians treat Ukrainians either as a very close people or as southwestern Russians. Half of the inhabitants of Ukraine have Russian surnames, relatives in Russia and use Russian as their main language. However, each such video, according to the plan of Kiev radical propagandists, is meant to change the mentality of Russians more and more. They must hate all the inhabitants of Ukraine; stop treating them as “their own” and recognize that reconciliation with Ukraine and a new reunification with it is impossible. Peace will come sooner or later, but a steel wave of hatred will fall between the future Ukraine and Russia. At the same time, Russia’s desire to punish the killers of defenseless prisoners of war and civilians will also prevent the settlement of relations between Moscow and Kyiv for many decades.

The line of military contact between Russia and Ukraine is lengthening; fresh troops and new weapons are coming to the front from both sides. Obviously, the execution in Makiivka will not be the last video demonstrating the complete disregard of Kyiv, for “democratic values,” the Geneva Convention and human rights.

[Warning—this link contains videos and images of extreme cruelty].

However, what appalls observers of the conflict in Ukraine even more is the fact that the Ukrainian army tortures and kills its own citizens. We saw this during the Ukrainian seizure of Izyum and Kherson. After which hundreds of Ukrainian citizens simply disappeared; that is, they were liquidated by the SBU and the Ukrainian army.

The question involuntarily begs itself, does a united Europe need such a Ukraine, proud of the massacres?


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

Will Poland be at War?

In the context of hostilities in Ukraine, media and messenger publications focus on the fighting, shelling, and supply of weapons and military equipment. Occasionally there is information about the actions of mercenaries. No less significant events fall outside the scope of the above—the build-up of Poland’s own armed forces, the massive presence of combatants (read—not necessarily soldiers, but people trained in the military) in Ukraine, the provision of unprecedented benefits for Polish citizens in the neighboring state. If you take into account the strategy of warfare, then in addition to action on the line of contact and neighboring territories, an important component is the preparation of a reserve or even the formation of a strike group outside the conflict territories. This was the case at Stalingrad, when troops formed in Siberia decided the overall outcome of the battle. In the events under consideration for the coalition, composed of Ukraine and Western countries supplying it, the “Siberians” mentioned could be the Polish army. This is the first scenario, where Poland will make up a kind of reserve for the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU), allowing it to free up available forces and means to continue fighting with Russia. This would require the introduction of troops into Ukrainian territory and the occupation of defensive lines.

With such a development, Ukraine should be fully assured of Poland’s loyalty to the regime. At a minimum—that the deployed Polish divisions will not remain forever on the “defended” territories with their further annexation to Poland. Then there will almost certainly be pockets of resistance to the new invaders, given the centuries-old contradictions between Poland and Ukraine, including in the issue of ownership of the territories, given the same dissatisfaction of the inhabitants of Western Ukraine to any power, whether the Soviets, or the Rzeczpospolita. Warsaw itself actively promotes the idea of creating the Third Rzeczpospolita, or the no less famous Mezhmorye with an axis between Warsaw and Ankara.

The implementation of this option is connected with “technical” moments. Of the four existing Polish divisions (mechanized divisions: the 12th, 16th and 18th, and one tank division, the 11th), the 16th mechanized division is supposed to be used in the direction of Kaliningrad, and the 12th overlaps with the army of Belarus. Two more divisions remain for action in Ukraine: the 18th Mechanized Division and the 11th Armored Cavalry Division, including the 6th Independent Airborne Brigade.

The second scenario considers the direct involvement of the Polish army against Russia. Here further development is possible in two directions: in the first, Poland will fight after Ukraine has finally lost its combat capabilities to continue the armed conflict with Russia; in the second, with a much lower degree of probability, it will take part in the armed confrontation together with Kiev.

In all of the options under consideration, Warsaw needs a significant amount of manpower and resources. This is not only the numerical increase of the army, but also equipping (re-equipping) it with weapons and military equipment (WME), taking into account the modern nature of combat operations. That is the availability of a large number of multiple rocket launchers with correction of firing results (targeting). Similarly—in the part concerning artillery, as well as the use of UAVs for reconnaissance purposes, to direct fire on the enemy, in general—the creation of a single information field for data exchange.

Poland has taken the route of receiving new equipment by sending its old equipment to Ukraine. To date, it has transferred from its existing stockpiles:

  • 150 units of barrage ammunition (the Polish equivalent of Geraney) Warmate;
  • 230 units, T-72M;
  • 232 pieces of Polish RT-91 Twarday tanks (T-72 modification);
  • 20 pcs. BM-21 (“Grad”) MLRSs;
  • 20 pcs. of howitzers 2S1 “Gvozdika”;
  • 19 units. 19 pieces of AHS Krab anti-tank gun.

Thus, there was a need for more than 400 tanks, artillery and MLRS.

Poland planned to receive the above-mentioned equipment from the US and Germany. However, due to various reasons, the deliveries have not yet been made. Warsaw therefore negotiated with South Korea, which will provide what the U.S. promised, with similar (and in some cases even superior) quality.

Including:

  • More than 1,200 K2 “Black Panther” tanks (replacing the former 115 M1A1 SA “Abrams” tanks);
  • More than 600 K9 155-mm. self-propelled howitzers;
  • 288 K239, Chunmoo (MLRS analogue) rocket systems;
  • 3 squadrons of FA-50 light fighters.

According to various experts, South Korea’s artillery is ranked among the best in the world. The K-9 howitzer has a British BAE Systems barrel mounted on a Polish Crab (T-72 chassis and turret of the same BAE Systems), and the K-2 tank is armed with a German-made 120-mm L55 gun produced under license.

An additional incentive for striking a deal with South Korea is that, unlike the United States, Seoul offers localization of production. If we take the K-2 tanks as an example, then 180 tanks (three battalion-size sets) will be supplied in the first stage in 2022-2025, and then 820 tanks (14 battalion-size sets) K2PL will be produced through localization of production beginning in 2026. The latter are an upgrade of the basic K-2 with enhanced armor, all-around vision system, and ASOP active protection system. Production of the K3PL, a new promising Polish-South Korean tank to be manufactured in Poland and South Korea, is scheduled for the future.

Similarly with the Krab ACS. In 2022, two Regina division firing modules comprising 48 Krab SAUs were delivered, which makes it possible to “load” the output capacities of the Huta Stalowa Wola SA (HSW). Until 2025, the production of howitzers of the following modifications will be localized: K9A1 with the Polish automated artillery control system TOPAZ; K9PL, K9PLA3 – (“Krab 2”).

The same with MLRSs. Production of key components and ammunition for them is planned to be transferred to Poland. Chunmoo guided missiles (239 mm caliber) will be produced by the Polish factory Mesko. The claimed range of high-precision operational-tactical ballistic missiles used is up to 290 km., which is equal to and even exceeds the launch capabilities of ATACMS missiles from MLRS and HIMARS.

UAVs, as well as guidance and reconnaissance systems, are necessary for the effective use of artillery and MLRS.

Poland has three projects in this area:

Gryf (“Gryf”) – procurement of medium-range tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capable of carrying guided munitions;

Ważka (“Dragonfly”) – procurement of microdrones, weighing no more than 1,600 g, intended mainly for reconnaissance in urbanized areas by day and night;

Płomykówka (“Sipucha”) – procurement of visual (IMINT), electronic (SIGINT) and radar (RADINT) reconnaissance aircraft, possibly on the Airbus C-295 platform.

In the latter case, Warsaw already now has capabilities for precision targeting, because as a NATO member it is connected through the National Air Operations Support Center to the Unified Intelligence and Control System (ASOC).

The Polish government bought eight Aerostar UAVs and six Orbiter-2 UAVs from Israel to implement the first two projects, with plans to deliver 20 Hermes-450 and Hermes-900 drones to Israel’s Elbit Maarahot. As in the case of multiple rocket launchers, anti-missile guns and tanks, plans are to localize production in the future. At the first stage of the deal, Elbit will supply data on the construction, assembly and control of drones, while the Poles will produce encryption parts and other equipment.

In addition to Israel, Turkey is the UAV supplier, with its Bayraktar TB2 strike drones, the first batch of which has already entered service with the Polish Air Force’s 12th UAV base.

In the long term, constant aerial reconnaissance and a unified data exchange network are necessary for more effective application of forces and capabilities. This can be ensured through the purchase of the Eitan (Heron TP) UAV developed by IAI back from Israel. The latter is one of the world’s largest drones—its wingspan is 26 meters, which is comparable to the dimensions of a Boeing 737 airliner. The onboard equipment includes tracking and target detection systems in optical, infrared and radio bands, satellite navigation.

In addition to the use of drones themselves, in the event of war against a country that uses them en masse (Russia in particular), countermeasures are needed. The Geraniums used by Russia are an analogue of the Iranian Shahedin. Israel has the most experience in countering these UAVs. According to Zman Yisrael and The Times of Israel, to counteract the UAVs used by Russia, Tel Aviv has transferred through Poland to Ukraine rather innovative SmartShooter systems, designed to hit ground unprotected targets, as well as to destroy drones. There is no full information available about the effectiveness of their use at the moment. However, Israel has a “Drone Dome” complex with a declared 100% efficiency against drones. The latter was created by “Rafael Defense Systems,” to combat a variety of aerial objects, including drones weighing from 2 to 150 kilograms. It includes four RPS-42 radars, the Control MEOS optronic and infrared surveillance subsystem, the S-Gard RD REB subsystem with the NetSense Wideband Radio Network detection kit.

In addition, the counter-drone lineup includes the Drone Guard (ELI-4030) system developed by Elta, the Convexum suite, and an advanced anti-drone system called EnforceAir, developed by D-Fend Solutions.

As for the development of the armed forces, Poland currently has about 58,000 troops in its ground component, which it plans to raise to 300,000. This thus compares the land component with the current strength of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

As a result, Poland will be able to replenish and obtain the necessary forces and means to implement any of the variants of events in the period from 2024 to 2025.

The assumption of offensive rather than defensive actions by Poland follows from the ratio of equipment transferred to Ukraine and purchased. In a situation where Warsaw would be focused exclusively on defense against an external enemy, it would only need to replenish the fleet of equipment transferred to Ukraine (460 tanks, 20 MLRS, 39 SAU). In contrast to the “defense” assumption are the figures of the purchased AVT: 1200 tanks, 600 SAU, 288 MLRS, plus UAVs. It is three times the original number. According to previous Soviet military canons, a threefold superiority in capabilities is required for offensive operations.

It is quite possible that Russia will be designated as the “main” enemy. From where does this assumption come? From a recent analytical report by the British Intelligence Service, published on Twitter, subsequently reviewed by various publications (including the Polish, Niezależny Dziennik Polityczny, and the British, Independent).

To summarize what was said in the report, Ukraine is 40 times weaker than Russia. The Russian troops have an overwhelming advantage in rocket and barrel artillery, as well as in combat support (dozens of times) compared to the AFU. Russia exceeds Ukraine 20-fold in the number of guns and MLRS, and 40-fold in ammunition. The AFU is experiencing a shell starvation, and it has practically exhausted rockets for Smerch and Uragan MLRS. The main firepower of the AFU is represented by “grads” and howitzers, with a maximum range of 20-30 km. “Long arms” in the form of modern missiles and modernized howitzers, the Russians have an overwhelming air superiority. The irretrievable losses are in the order of 100 thousand people. The factor of the concentration of artillery, multiplied by the range, losses in manpower, depress the fighting spirit of the Ukrainians. To summarize: the suppression of the Ukrainian armed forces by Russia is a matter of time. In this case, the Ukrainian armed forces will be destroyed and the Russian ones weakened, which can be used both to seize territories and to destroy Russia as a global adversary.

A number of reports can be noted in the media confirming the indicated hypothesis. In particular, this is stated by the Deputy Chief of the Belarusian General Staff Valery Gnilozub, based on data on the militarization of Poland. Inside Poland, Dziennik polityczny says this. The article by Marek Galash says that the “War Party,” represented by the ruling coalition of Poland, officially recognizes participation in a foreign conflict. Returning to the already mentioned intelligence analysis, Britain claims the participation in the conflict of 2,300 Polish mercenaries on the territory of Ukraine. In fact, this is the first stage of the operation to return the “Eastern regions,” carried out by the ruling party “Law and Justice.” At the same time, it is emphasized that the Poles and Ukrainians will not become brothers. Already, Polish mercenaries are not too eager to follow the orders of the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and it comes to skirmishes with the nationalists.

The beginning of the implementation of Poland’s ambitious plan has been laid—this is the participation of mercenaries in the conflict, and the re-equipment of its own army. The active phase is predicted in two cases: the complete re-equipment of the Polish army with the planned forces and means, which, as mentioned, can be completed by 2024-2025, or when Russia declares that it has completed the tasks of the special operation, including returning the lands of the east and south of Ukraine, including Transnistria. In the second option, Poland, under the pretext of introducing a peacekeeping contingent, will invade the western territories of Ukraine. Further, using various social levers, the dissatisfaction of Ukrainians with the actions of their own government, the destruction of the social structure, Poland will ensure the holding of a referendum on the accession of the western territories of Ukraine to Poland, with a guarantee of ensuring further security and ensuring the well-being of the population.

Conclusions. Considering that by 2024 (2025) Poland will be equipped with the latest self-propelled guns, MLRS, tanks, UAVs, in combination with an increase in numbers to the strength of the Ukrainian army, in the event of an armed confrontation with Russia, this will create an adversary for us, superior to us in the area of application. If the Armed Forces of Ukraine, having the size of the army planned by Warsaw (300,000 people), in the presence of a small number of modern weapons and military equipment, resists Russia, and also conducts successful offensive actions (operations) for 9 months, then in the case of Poland, with the same size and equipment of the Russian army, it could turn into a disaster for us.

The use of Israeli systems by Poland can completely neutralize the opportunities gained with the receipt and production of kamikaze drones “Shahed” and “Geran.” According to recent Israeli statements, this is quite possible, especially after the localization of the production of Iranian drones in Russia, as well as the transfer of Iranian ballistic missiles to Russian troops. But this can happen also without these reasons, based only on economic benefits.

The probability of a war between Poland and Russia by 2024-2025 is assessed as high. By the time of 2024-2025, the Polish army will in any case be ready for offensive operations. If Ukraine fails as an adversary, the United States will be interested in continuing the conflict to weaken Russia and will make every possible effort to do so. This will be supported by forces inside Poland with the promotion of the Intermarium idea.


Sergei Atamanov writes from Russia. This articles appears courtesy of Geopolitika.

Armenia, A Historical Betrayal

This history should never be forgotten. Its roots go back to myths, in it we find Noah, the universal flood, the beginnings of civilization and human culture, Urartu. Many pages of the Bible refer to all of this. Indeed, the southern mountains of the Western Caucasus were the ancestral home of the Armenian people, and very specifically the valleys and mountains where the so-called Artsakh or Upper Karabakh is located today. It is no coincidence that the Shusha Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Ghazanchetsots, was erected by Simon Ter Hakobyan on the remains of an ancient Armenian chapel. Artsakh is not just any region, it is the place where the founding father of the Armenian people, Hayk, decided that his people should settle forever. The mountains of Artsakh are the symbol of the faith of a people who believe in their destiny.

But let us descend from myths and legends to the harsh reality that the Armenian people are experiencing as they see how their precious cradle is being manipulated in a clear attempt to annihilate historical reality. How could it happen that an essential part of Armenia ended up in the hands of Azerbaijan? What were the motivations and circumstances that, after the Bolshevik revolution, led an ancestral Armenian territory to become an integral part of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, and to remain part of that country today? Why did a territory that was Christian to the core, an area where Christianity was established from time immemorial—more than three centuries before the appearance of Islam—come to be dominated by Shiite Muslims? What strange events allowed such a thing to happen? Let us analyze the process.

Nagorno-Karabakh (Credit: The Economist).

From the beginning of the Bolshevik revolution, the relationship of the Supreme Soviet with the Islamic peoples of what had been Tsarist Greater Russia was uneasy, difficult to manage, since the Bolshevik propaganda, Marxist and atheist, seemed to produce any results; not even the creation of the new republics seemed to satisfy the national claims of the various Muslim peoples and their particularities. Communism and Islam have never gotten along, Marxism and Koran are antithetical. Atheism is a declared enemy of Islam, because it denies its own existence. But it was not only the profound differences between the Bolshevik government and the different Muslim peoples of the new USSR. For example, some of the Tatar minorities were Shiites, others were not; while the Chechens were radical Sunnis, the Muslims of the upper Volga were not, and therefore their claims were very different.

But let us analyze the process: in 1918 a committee for the Muslim nationalities existing in Soviet Russia was created, a committee that naturally depended on the Narkomnats, and by a series of circumstances Stalin accepted that the majority of that committee would be in the hands of the Tatars, which would mark his future. Obsessed with securing his power, and as was asserting his will, Stalin tried to manipulate the sub-commissioners, not wanting the internal problem of both sides allying against him.

On the other hand, in those very days, the Armenians had just survived the genocide carried out by the Ottoman Turks, so they were very weakened from all points of view, including politically, since even within Lenin’s own circle, it was believed that Armenians would be incapable of carrying on the existence of their own Armenian homeland. It should be pointed out that the recently re-founded Armenian state was economically ruined, defenseless, without an army to defend it, unable to feed its own people, abandoned by the advanced nations, and for all these reasons it was an easy prey for Turkey which sought to put an end to “the Armenian problem” once and for all. It should also be made clear that Kemal Atatürk did not modify Ottoman policy one iota, and although he assured Europe that he wanted a modern and secular Turkey, he also wanted it to be free of Christians and above all of Armenians.

The Democratic Republic of Armenia, independent from the Ottoman Empire since 1918, was by force of circumstances transformed on November 29, 1920 into the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, and from that very moment it did not have the slightest autonomous capacity to carry out a process of regulation of its borders based on its historical reality, but became -as all the other Soviet socialist republics- a bargaining chip for the selfish interests of the Soviet protagonists of the revolution, Stalin, Lenin, Trotsky and the other general secretaries, who, as mentioned above, were carrying out their particular strategy for power, while the socialist utopia remained in the background. Lenin asserted that without power, socialist reality could not be built, which was obvious. Stalin, who at that time was a parvenu without a curriculum vitae, was ready to take the plunge. It is more than demonstrated that he used the Commissariat for the Nationalities as a mere lever to achieve his political ends, and that there was not the least coherence in his decision making, although it was the circumstances that finally made him General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, unbelievably against the resounding will of Lenin, of course also of Trotsky and of the majority of the remaining leaders who at a given moment were coerced and had no alternative but to submit to Stalin, and for that reason almost all of them ended up paying for their indecision or their cowardice with their lives.

Let us see what Trotsky has to say about this, it in his biography of Stalin:

“On November 27, 1919, the 11th Congress of Muslim Communist Organizations of All-Russia and the Peoples of the East was held in Moscow. The Congress was opened by Stalin on behalf of the Central Committee of the Party. Four honorary members were elected: Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev and Stalin. The chairman of the Congress, Sultan-Galiev, proposed that the Congress salute Stalin as “one of those fighters who burn with a flame of hatred against international imperialism.” But it is very characteristic for the gradation of the leaders at that time, that even at this Congress the Sultan-Galiev Report on political revolution in general ended with the salutation: “Long live the Russian Communist Party! Long live its leaders, comrades Lenin and Trotsky!” Even this Congress of the Peoples of the East, held under the immediate leadership of Stalin, did not think it necessary to include Stalin among the leaders of the Party. Stalin was People’s Commissariat of Nationalities from the time of the Revolution until the dissolution of the Commissariat in 1923, when the Soviet Union and the Council of Nationalities of the Central Executive Committee of the U.S.S.S.R. were created. It can be considered firmly established that, at least until May 1919, Stalin did not have much to do with the affairs of the Commissariat. At first, Stalin did not write the editorials of The Life of the Nationalities [Zhizn Natsionalnostei, a weekly newspaper and then a magazine, published from 1918 to 1924]. Then, when the paper began to be published in magazine format, Stalin’s editorials began to appear one issue after another. But Stalin’s literary productivity was not great, and it decreased from year to year. In 1920-1921 we find only two or three articles by him. In 1922, not a single one. By then Stalin had gone over entirely to machine politics.”

In other words, Stalin used the post as Commissar of Nationalities to guarantee his future within the politburo, knowing that until Lenin disappeared nothing was assured. Trotsky dissects in detail Stalin’s personality in that exciting and dramatic stage.

On August 10, 1920, the Treaty of Sèvres was signed in Sèvres, France, in the presence of the Turkish representatives. It was the logical consequence of the Treaty of Versailles, in which the Ottoman Empire, still ruled by Sultan Mehmed VI, accepted the de facto situation, and lost Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Arabia, Iraq, while Asia Minor was cut up according to the demanding criteria of the victors. Armenia, in that treaty, put together as Wilsonian Armenia, became a viable state again with the eastern part of Turkey, recomposing in part—and only in part—the historical Armenia. Naturally Atatürk assured his generals that the treaty would not be carried out, and that they would have to fight to the death to change things. He was a pragmatic man and referred exclusively to Asia Minor, to Turkey itself, knowing that its own existence as a country was at stake.

Immediately the Turkish army attacked the territories under French, Italian and Greek influence, as well as those assigned to Armenia. France did not wish to lose more men or invest more resources in a distant war. Italy could not continue either, and Greece even less. The Turks focused on expelling the Armenians from their cities, until the situation became impossible for the Armenian government, with no funds, no credit, hardly any soldiers, no weapons, although it is true that the British gave some military aid.

Atatürk, who was a good strategist, had made a pact with the SSR of Azerbaijan, which he considered Turkish, and for that reason in June 1920 the Democratic Republic of Armenia was forced to declare a costly truce with the Azeris, since the Turkish army was besieging them and driving them to exhaustion, becoming at that time the SSR of Armenia. It was the overwhelming situation which forced the Armenian government to sign peace with the Azeris, having to cede Zangezur and Nagorno-Karabakh to them, besides recognizing their dominion in Nakhchivan.

But Atatürk’s Turks kept up the war pressure on a practically exhausted Armenia, unarmed, without ammunition, without resources, without a real army that could defend its borders. It simply had no one to turn to. There were no resources, much less financial; no provisions, not for the weak Armenian army, not even for the starving and impoverished civilians. Armenian children continued to die of starvation, without hospitals, without medicine. That is why the Turks took advantage of the situation, the extreme state of the Armenian state, and entered Alexandroupolis, forcing peace.

Let us analyze the circumstances. A few days later, in fact four days later, on December 2, 1920, the Treaty of Alexandropol was signed between the recently created Armenian SSR and Turkey and what is today Gyumri, the beautiful city that during Tsarist Russia had been christened as Alexandropol. Supposedly this treaty was an agreement to end the Turkish-Armenian war, and it dismantled the Treaty of Sèvres, since Turkey demanded Armenia’s renunciation of all the territory that before the Great War had belonged to the Ottoman Empire, besides forcing it to recognize the independence of Nakhchivan.

A few months later, in mid-March 1921, within the framework of the Treaty of Moscow, Lenin decided to reach an agreement with the Great National Assembly of Turkey, whose undisputed leader was now Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the victor of Gallipoli, the only Turkish leader who could face the victors of the Great War on equal terms. It must be emphasized that neither the USSR nor the Republic of Turkey yet existed. The “Turkey” of that time was that of the National Pact, according to the resolution adopted by the Ottoman parliament on January 28, 1920. It should be noted that the northeastern borders of Turkey and those of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan were defined without the participation of Armenian and Georgian representatives, while the interests of Azerbaijan were well represented by Turkey, which considered the Azeris as Turkish allies in Atatürk’s Pan-Turkist policy. Therefore, in the Treaty of Moscow it was unilaterally decided that the Kars Oblast would be assigned to Turkey, and at the request of the Turkish leader the autonomous region of Nakhichevan was also created under the protection of Azerbaijan. In compensation, at the demand of Russia, supposedly at the will and discretion of Lenin, Turkey ceded Batumi and the adjacent area to Georgia, and in such a way that the Armenians lost an essential part of their territory, and above all they were deprived of the vital possibility of having an exit to the Black Sea, that is to say, a limited and dependent Armenia was left for strategic purposes, while the Turks guaranteed their relationship based on stability with the future USSR.

At the same time, the 10th Congress of the Communist Party was taking place, where decisions of great importance were taken:

“Every group, fraction or tendency within the Party was suppressed, tendencies that arose as a consequence of the post-war crisis. Everyone had to accept the official orthodoxy under penalty of being expelled. The aim was to achieve loyalty and uniformity. Authority was concentrated in the central organs of the Party. The idea was Lenin’s and was supported by the entire Bolshevik leadership.

“In order to achieve strict discipline within the Party and in all Soviet activity and to attain the highest degree of unity possible with the suppression of all factionalism, the Congress grants the Central Committee full powers in the case or cases of any breach produced in discipline by resurgence or toleration of factionalism, to apply all measures of Party sanction, including expulsion.”

Galiev and Stalin openly confronted each other during the congress. The false, impossible friendship between the two leaders was over, and both were well aware of it. Stalin branded as reactionary the proposal that the Islamic autonomous territories should be incorporated into the Soviet Union as independent republics—in fact the claim of the Muslims not to be linked to the USSR, since Galiev was in fact very suspicious about what the future would hold for the Soviet republics, and feared that Islam would be diluted in the Marxist atheism of the Bolsheviks. Time proved him right.

Recent history has not been consistent with historical reality. Barely three months later, on July 5, 1921, Stalin’s boundless ambition prevailed. It should be remembered that it was Stalin who, without any grounds or historical basis, unilaterally, capriciously, dictatorially, decided to create the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) and transfer it to the newly created Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic without any justification for his decision. Why did he carry out such an incoherent act? He was well aware of what could happen with that capricious and absurd decision.

It should be emphasized that at that time Stalin held the post of People’s Commissariat for Nationalities, (Narodny Komissariat po delam natsionálnostei, or Narkomnats). Researcher Stephen Blank maintains that this commissariat was created by the Bolsheviks to control the participation of those non-Russian ethnic groups, supposedly to give voice to the minorities, which were politically grouped in sub-commissariats for each of them: Jewish, Georgian, Armenian, Azeri or Tatar, Latvian, Polish, Buryat, Lithuanian, Estonian, and many others. In reality, what mattered to Stalin was how he could use his strategic position to climb politically and establish himself in power. For Levon Chorbajian, “the creation of Nagorno-Karabakh” was a challenge to history. Stalin, who knew very well the bitterness between Turks and Azeris on the one hand, and Armenians on the other, bet on the former “for political convenience,” that is to say within the context of Soviet-Turkish cooperation, trying to keep the influence of the Bolsheviks in the Caucasus.

Both Stalin and Kemal Atatürk were urged to resolve the burning issue of the South Caucasus, an open ulcer that bothered and harmed both sides, and which generated continuous frictions. For Stalin it was not an unknown or very distant issue; on the contrary, it was something close to him, something he had known well since his youth. No one had to explain to him about the Caucasus and its peculiarities, nor about what had just happened with the Armenians for whom he had never felt sympathy. In Georgia the Armenians had a reputation for being pragmatic people, ambitious, businessmen and good merchants; they were not empathetic with their hosts the Georgians. In Azerbaijan the same thing happened to them. In Baku they ran the main oil companies, import and export warehouses, financial institutions. They did not bother about being nice.

On the other hand, Atatürk had too many open fronts, including the very future of Turkey as a country; and Stalin was also playing for his political prestige—in short to be or not to be. It was evident to the unstable Bolshevik government that Lenin’s distrust of Stalin had already begun. Even so, Lenin allowed Stalin and Atatürk to reach an agreement and take the decision to modify and adjust the Treaty of Moscow in a new agreement to be concluded in one of the towns with the largest Armenian population eliminated during the genocide: the Treaty of Kars, to be signed on October 13, 1921, an agreement that would tie up and finalize all pending issues, especially the borders of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Not even three months had passed since the unexpected cession of Upper Karabakh to Azerbaijan, which the Armenian government hoped to reverse and return to the previous situation.

In the new Treaty of Kars, the Georgians were content with the port of Batumi, not because of political sense, nor because of the Bolsheviks’ responsibility towards Georgia, but because Stalin had his own commitments. To the Azeris, Stalin—it had been a personal decision because the commissar of nationalities did not agree on anything—had granted Upper Karabakh, and also Nakhichevan, so the Azeris had nothing to object to, and besides, it was the Turks who were pressing to sign such an agreement.

On the other hand, everyone was well aware that at that very moment razzias and pogroms were being carried out in Baku and all the eastern part of Azerbaijan to eliminate the Armenians and their strong interests in the oil market with Europe. It was not something concealed—that the Turks wanted to annihilate not only the Armenian population in Turkey itself, but also in those nearby countries where Turkish influence was decisive, as was the case of Azerbaijan. The relationship between Istanbul and Baku was already akin to colonialism. But at that time the British, who had troops stationed in the Caucasus, looked the other way, among other things because the Bolsheviks, led by Stalin, allowed all this. There were too many economic and political interests involved.

The situation needs to be told in detail. From the very moment Stalin awarded Upper Karabakh to the Azeris—to their surprise since they were not expecting the present size—the latter decided to carry out an ethnic and cultural cleansing of the oblast. The Armenians protested the decision as incoherent, unjust and sectarian. It was futile. At that time the strong relationship of common interests between the Tatar leader Mirza Sultan-Galiev and Joseph Stalin prevented the incomprehensible decision from being carried out. Both of them needed each other politically; their relationship was based on a false friendship. In reality they were two strong personalities who aspired to achieve their goals at any cost.

However, the pogroms against the Armenian population of Upper Karabakh, the destruction of churches, monasteries, khachkars, of any Armenian vestige existing in the ancestral settlement, were on-going. In spite of this, the stubborn reality of the facts could not be dismissed, since near ninety percent of the population settled in the valleys and mountains of the Upper Karabakh was of Armenian origin, all of them with deep roots that came from many centuries and millennia, in which the Armenians had modeled the hard landscape of what for them was their precious Artsakh. A harsh and difficult land; unkind, yet for them it signified the roots of their ancestral homeland, the place from which Hayk’s descendants came.

On the other hand, the Azerbaijani authorities found it unfeasible to move the Azerbaijani population there and force them to settle, although in certain places of Artsakh there were occasional Azeri settlements representing about 15 percent of the population. Among other reasons, the Azeris moved there considered it a punishment, because a deep knowledge based on hundreds of generations was necessary to survive and prosper in those harsh mountains of the southern Western Caucasus.

But the Armenians resisted pogroms and threats, political coercion, attempts at physical elimination, the destruction of their cultural references. If a hermitage or a monastery was demolished, the inhabitants raised it again, showing a strong will to remain. When the Azerbaijanis decided to destroy even the stones of the resulting ruins, the Armenians returned to the old quarries to carve the necessary stones. The elders remembered even the smallest ornamental and symbolic details of their monasteries and churches, and the skilled stonemasons patiently rebuilt what had been demolished and turned to dust, in an attempt to destroy and change the true history.

It should be remembered that the policy agreed to between Galiev and Stalin was one of selective application of anti-religious propaganda. For Galiev, in those days apparently a very close and loyal friend and protégé of Stalin, who cunningly used him in his service, the religion professed by the Armenians was only a demonstration against the interests of the Bolshevik party, while the Islam of the Tartars—their Islam—was nothing other than the expression of the will of Almighty God.

In the background, Galiev’s political ambition in those days was the creation of a great Tatar-Baskir republic in which Christian Armenia had no place. His secret, unspoken will was to finish what the Ottoman Turks had attempted: the definitive elimination, the disappearance, the expulsion of every last Armenian from the Armenia that had been allotted to them—in the end barely twenty percent of Wilsonian Armenia, of which neither Galiev, nor the administration of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, nor Stalin himself wanted to know anything about.

We say here that the Wilsonian Armenia contained in the Treaty of Sèvres remains intact—intact, complete, no matter how much people try to throw dirt on it, no matter how much they try to erase it from memory, no matter how many intermediate treaties have been signed—for the simple reason that that process was closed falsely. The political representatives of the Armenian people did not sign the Treaty of Lausanne in which an attempt was made to hastily modify the previous Treaty of Sèvres, without the necessary valid agreements, which did include precisely everything agreed upon and signed, including by the authorized representatives of the State of Turkey.

As for the Armenian participation in the Treaty of Moscow, it was null and void; and in the Treaty of Kars, the Armenian representatives were coerced and forced to sign it. However, two years later, in 1923, Galiev was tried and convicted for nationalist deviationism, and although Stalin carried out a series of purges against the Bashkir and Tatar followers of Galiev, he did not want to change his decision to award Upper Karabakh to the Azeris. In 1940 Galiev’s drama ended when he was shot in Moscow on Stalin’s orders, like the vast majority of those who opposed him for whatever reason. However, an essential matter, such as the allocation of an essential part of the historical Armenian territory, such as the Upper Karabakh to Azerbaijan, was not annulled, in spite of energetic Armenian protests.

Many years later—an eternity for the great majority of the peoples subjugated under the USSR—in 1991, the USSR was dissolved and, like all the other republics that made it up, the Soviet Muslim republics of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were transformed into independent republics, as had been Galiev’s intention seventy years earlier. Within the current Russian Federation itself, we still find the Muslim republics of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachai-Cherkessia, which had no other choice, or which for their own reasons preferred to remain linked to Russia. In spite of everything, Galiev was not wrong. However, against common sense and logic, producing terrible damage to two peoples who should bury their quarrels forever, Stalin’s spurious decision is still remains, defying historical justice, like a festering ulcer that will only heal definitively with determination and intelligence.


G.H. Guarch is one of the leading writers of historical novels in Spanish. He received the 1997 Blasco Ibáñez Narrative Award for his novel, Las puertas del paraíso [The Gates of Paradise], and in 2007, he received the prestigious AGBU Garbis Papazian Award, for his trilogy of novels about the Armenian genocide: El árbol armenio [The Armenian Tree], The Armenian Testament, and La montaña blanca [The White Mountain]. He has recently been awarded the Movses Khorenatsi Medal, the highest cultural distinction in Armenia. [This article appears through the kind courtesy of El Manifesto].


Featured: Church of Varazgom.

Decree No. 809: The Foundation of Sovereign Ideology is Laid

In his keynote Valdai speech on October 27, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed the following thesis:

“The direct threat to the political, economic, ideological monopoly of the West is that alternative social models may arise in the world.”

Or even more sharply and definitely:

“I am convinced that real democracy in a multipolar world, first of all, implies the possibility of any people—I want to emphasize this—any society, any civilization to choose their own path, their own socio-political system.

“If the United States and the EU countries have such a right, then the countries of Asia, the Islamic states, the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, and the states of other continents certainly have such a right. Of course, our country, Russia, also has it, and no one will ever be able to dictate to our people what kind of society and on what principles we should build.”

Today in Russia it is a matter of putting forward just such an alternative social model to liberal democracy, of building its own socio-political system. It is this constructive step that is called upon to become the next stage of our strategy in the development of an acute civilizational war.

The basis of such a social model is necessarily traditional values, the Decree on the preservation and strengthening of which was signed by the President on November 9, 2022 (Decree No. 809). This is what the model should be based on.

Here is an enumeration of traditional values, which from now on acquire, in fact, a national character. These are the foundations of a sovereign ideology, which in a sense is obligatory for all citizens of Russia.

Let’s look at this most important code of the new operating system of Russian society in a little more detail. We quote Decree No. 809:

“Traditional values include:

Life,
dignity,
human rights and freedoms,
patriotism, citizenship, service to the Fatherland and responsibility for its fate,
high moral ideals,
a strong family,
creative work,
priority of the spiritual over the material,
humanism,
mercy,
justice,
collectivism, mutual assistance and mutual respect,
historical memory and continuity of generations,
the unity of the peoples of Russia.”

These 14 points should be regarded as nodal points of sovereign ideology. The State from now on is responsible for the state of public consciousness, and the social model, alternative to the West, will be based on these 14 points. In a sense, they become sacred.

The first three points are common to the Russian tradition and to Western liberal ideologies.

Right to Life. The first point is recognized as a traditional value by a wide variety of societies, both traditional and modern. A person’s life is entrusted to him alone, and another person has no right to take another’s life at his discretion. Moreover, in religious societies, the very act of suicide (not to mention being forced to commit it) is also considered a crime.

The only exception is the State, which, under certain circumstances, has the right to dispose of the lives of its citizens—by punishing convicted persons for proven crimes or by sending them off to fight in defense of the fatherland. But if life is a traditional value, which must be preserved and strengthened, then the state must also take it into account in extreme cases—showing, if possible, mercy to criminals and protecting the lives of soldiers and combatants.

Dignity. The second point asserts the natural dignity of the human being, which must be recognized and taken into account, both by society and by the state. Again, this value is common to religious cultures and modern liberal ideologies. In religion, the dignity of man derives from his special place in creation, where he is placed in the position of representing God in the face of the rest of nature and bearing full responsibility for it. In the secular context, this responsibility before God disappears, but man’s special place in nature remains unchanged. It is only in contemporary theories of deep ecology and posthumanism (as well as in postmodernism and speculative realism) that man is stripped of his dignity and seen as a threat to the environment.

Human rights and freedoms. The third point is also not unlike the principles of liberal ideologies, which also declare human rights, although in practice they are constantly flouted and trampled upon. Ideology is not a question of practice, but of norms. In the case of norms, what matters most is not whether they are respected or not, but what they are in themselves, what their content is.

With regard to the first three points, the following should be emphasized. One might think that they all coincide with liberal ideology and therefore are not an alternative to it. But they are not.

Since we are talking about ideology, all fourteen points together make sense. And the first three principles should not be considered separately, but on the basis of the totality of all fourteen principles, on the basis of which they acquire their own special, peculiar to our civilization and tradition, meaning. And it is from the integrity of the understanding of all fourteen points that a special Russian conception of man himself reveals itself.

A person becomes normative when he accepts all 14 properties as a value. This means that rights and freedoms apply to this full person. These rights and freedoms should be interpreted in the context of Russian history—Russian law and Russian truth. And one should especially take into account here the Christian view of life, dignity, right and freedom, which is in harmony with the views in other traditional confessions.

The alternative nature of Russian civilization clearly reveals itself from point 4 onwards—patriotism, citizenship, service to the Fatherland and responsibility for its fate. Here we are dealing with a purely Russian attitude towards the state as the supreme value. Before 1917, this was reflected in the idea of the sacred nature of the monarchy. The Russian Tsar was conceived as a Sustainer; that is not just a political, but also a religious figure, preventing the arrival of the Antichrist in the world. So, patriotism in Russia acquired a partly religious character—service to the Fatherland and responsibility for its fate was a spiritual feat.

During more secular times, and especially during the Soviet era, the interpretation of patriotism changed, but it invariably remained the most important line of force holding people and society together. Accordingly, an attack on this value, an insult to patriotic feelings, an irreverent attitude toward the state and state symbols is regarded by us as a challenge to public morality.

Patriotism, elevated to a value, readily contradicts a liberal ideology based on cosmopolitanism and the conviction that social progress consists in globalization, the abolition of nation-states and the creation of a World Government. This is the first clear challenge to the ideology of the collective West that we resist. From this point on, all the other items on the list of traditional values will only strengthen the identity of our sovereign ideology, and the divergence from liberalism (as well as the convergence with other illiberal types of societies) will only grow.

High moral ideals. The fifth point establishes the value priority of morality in society. Moral ideals are emphasized as “high,” indicating their vertical nature. In the Russian tradition, the highest ideal of morality was considered holiness, which draws us to the religious cult of saints, elders, martyrs, who are models of man and his behavior. Their role in moral education should be restored. Other traditional faiths have their own models of holiness, which in no way contradict the Orthodox faith. In the secular context (especially during the Soviet period), the highest moral ideal was seen as the hero who bravely sacrificed himself for the common good, the man-soul, giving his neighbor his last and not sparing energy for the sake of a brighter future.

But for ordinary people in Russian society there had always been quite certain norms of behavior, the treatment of others, ethical attitudes, disregard of which was perceived as immorality, a challenge and subjected to public condemnation.

Here, again, is the opposition to liberalism. Liberalism recognizes only individual morality, and regards any social ideal as an attack on the freedom of the individual. This individualism triumphed in Russia after the end of the USSR, which led to an unprecedented fall in society’s morals. The fact that high moral ideals are now enshrined as traditional values should radically change the very moral climate in society.

A strong family. This sixth point is particularly important in the context of the spread of liberal ideology, which denies gender, replaces it with an artificially constructed social gender, fully legitimizes homosexual marriage and other forms of perversion, and, in effect, abolishes the institution of the family as such. Since the Russian Constitution recognizes the family as such and only in the case of a union between a man and a woman, and since homosexual propaganda is legislated, the declaration of the family as a value already assumes that it is a marriage between a man and a woman. At the same time, it is obvious that abortion and even divorce are morally condemned, since neither of these is at all a sign of a strong family. A truly strong family includes children as well as the care of the older generation.
Again, this point directly contradicts liberalism, which, on the contrary, relativizes the family in every possible way and is oriented toward its complete abolition.

The family is at its strongest in a religious context, where marriage is viewed as a sacrament, divorce is actively condemned, and abortion is considered a sin.

Anything can happen in life, but it is important that the orientation toward a strong family prevail in society as a whole. This requires the revision of educational, upbringing and cultural policies. At the same time, it is harmoniously combined with the measures on saving the demographic situation in the country.

Creative labor. The seventh point refers to an absolutely special Russian ethical system in which labor is interpreted not as a heavy (although necessary) obligation, not as a punishment, but as a spiritual endeavor, as a creative transformation of the world. The declaration of labor as a value (and not just as a material necessity for survival) runs counter to liberal ideology, which places its stakes in capital, finance, and maximum profit, and relegates labor and laboring people as such to the bottom of the social ladder.

In Russian history, the work of the peasant was thought of as a spiritualized way of life, inseparable from family, religion, rituals, society, the surrounding nature and the animal world. Russian philosophers spoke of the liturgical nature of peasant labor, of its almost religious dignity.

The value of free social labor in Soviet times was stressed even more. Russian Slavophiles, Narodniks and Bolsheviks equally hated capitalism and its vampires, who appropriated the results of toilers’ work and grew rich through exploitation and market speculation. The value of labor further contrasts Russia and our natural social system with the liberal West. But for this legally enshrined value to become effective, a great deal will also have to be changed in Russian society itself, where capitalist attitudes, paradigms and practices were crudely copied in the 1990s. Now, insofar as they oppose the value of creative labor and have the character of blatant parasitism and exploitation, they turn out to be, at the very least, reprehensible. In fact, this clause of Decree No. 809 rejects the oligarchic system by law.

The priority of the spiritual over the material. The eighth point of Decree No. 809 is the culmination of sovereign ideology, the core of its code. This provision poses a radical challenge to materialism as a whole; that is, to such a picture of the world as is based on the primacy of matter and the derivative nature of spirit, thought, and soul. Materialism in science developed in parallel with the secularization of society, the rejection of God, the Church, religion, the sacraments, belief in the posthumous existence of the soul, the Last Judgement, the general resurrection of the dead. This is called the “process of secularization,” which became the basis of a whole Western ideology – secularism. It is secularism that His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia blasted at the last session of the World Russian People’s Council as the source of all present-day troubles. Secularism is a dogmatic materialism that is being forcibly introduced by the liberal bourgeois elites into both the natural sciences and the humanities. It is what all modern Western ideologies are built on—liberalism (certainly predominant today on a global scale), but also dogmatic communism and nationalism. All of them are built on the priority of the material over the spiritual and reduce all existence—natural and social—to material factors.

By legislating to the contrary, that is, the priority of the spiritual over the material, Decree No. 809 declares a break with the soulless materialism of the collective West—readily at its very roots, in the realm of causes, not just effects. All prevailing value systems in the contemporary West, and the political, cultural, educational, and economic superstructures based on them, are wholly materialistic, utilitarian, appealing to quantity rather than quality, placing the lower, corporeal aspects of existence above the higher, spiritual ones. Even the Western view of the individual as the basis of society is nothing more than the application of the atomistic principle of physics to man. Liberal democracy, based on social atomism and materialism, is precisely the creation of a political system from below.

Since in our case we overturn this basic ratio and swear to the Priority of the spiritual over the material, which is peculiar to Russian ethics, Russian tradition, Russian culture, we thus lay the foundation of our own, alternative to the West, social model. From this point you can deduce everything else; it is it from the standpoint of ideology the most important; it is central; it is key.

Humanism. The ninth point again seems to refer to liberal ideology and does not contain anything fundamentally Russian and alternative. However, here, too, things are not so simple. First of all, by this value we mean the humanism that is specific to Russian culture. And this humanism has always included not only body and psyche, but also the soul and the moral core of the human being. Russian humanism responded to those thoughts about man that revealed his depth, his moral freedom, his tragedy and sacrifice, his personality in an ongoing dialogue with God, people, and the world. This is an intense “maximal humanism,” quite different from liberal individualism, which, on the contrary, seeks to free the individual from all forms of collective identity.

Secondly, the modern West, which began with humanism (though in its individualist interpretation) has now reached a point where the abolition of the individual himself is on the agenda. In seeking to free the individual from all forms of collective identity—religious, class, national, class, and finally gender—the West has come close to transhumanism, in which what remains is to free man from his humanity (human optional). Singularity as the final transfer of power over humanity to a strong Artificial Intelligence logically follows from the whole liberal value system and completes the ideological path of Western civilization. We, however, remaining faithful to humanism, that is, to man—in all his spiritual, moral existential volume—again challenge the West and swear to a different vector of development.

Mercy. Tenth on the list of traditional values is mercy. Again, we are talking about a profound feature of Russian religious tradition, where mercy, compassion, care for the weak, the poor, the sick, the unfortunate, and the dispossessed were seen as indispensable aspects of a well-rounded person. The very recognition of this property of the soul as the highest value stems from Russian culture, which is deeply alien to cruelty, vindictiveness, selfishness, and disregard for the needy and suffering. Of course, mercy is a deeply personal feeling. But society, having recognized it as a value, shows how it should be treated—immensely respected, encouraged and cultivated in every way, turning it into the most important axis of culture and education.

Mercy is the direct antithesis of selfishness, which liberals systematically foster, and the resulting indifference to near and far.

Justice. This eleventh point resonates deeply with the Russian tradition and culture, with our past and political history—the building of socialism in Russia was an attempt to build a society based on the principles of justice. The West usually contrasts justice with freedom, claiming that socialism, by restricting freedom in the name of justice, condemns people to poverty and scarcity, while capitalism, by rejecting justice altogether and cultivating egoism, makes society prosperous and comfortable. If, for Russia, justice is recognized as a value, then this linear liberal logic is completely rejected. A just society does not necessarily have to be poor; equally, among capitalist countries with free markets, there are countries that are both prosperous and deprived, mired in poverty and corruption.

Russia cannot imagine itself without justice, which is the most important feature of our social identity. Consequently, this eleventh point already rejects capitalist dogmatism and opens up the possibility of exploring social alternatives in non-capitalist ideologies, not necessarily dogmatic Marxist: there are models of Christian, Chinese-Confucian and Islamic socialism. The term “socialism” itself is by no means necessary, but an orientation toward justice overrides the dogmatic status of capitalism as a particular political and economic order, which the West regards as having no alternative, although this is not the case.

Collectivism, mutual assistance and mutual respect. This feature of the Russian tradition, put forward as the twelfth point, encompasses various levels of the social order of Russian life. This applies to the organization of life on the land, the peasant way of life, where the rural community initially dominated—the “world.” Later urban industrial artels were built on exactly the same principle. The minimum unit of society in Russia was traditionally a family (primary collective), and then a large family, clan and so on up to the community (village, hamlet, etc.).

In the church structure the principle of sobornost’ corresponded to it. It was by gathering together that people performed worship, rituals and sacraments. And here the minimal unit was the collective, the parish.

In Bolshevism, the glorification of the peasant community by the Narodniks was transformed into the principle of collectivism, which was extended to the working class. But again, it was solidarity, mutual assistance, and mutual respect among workers that were elevated to the moral ideal. Therefore, collectivism as a priority of social ethics remained unchanged in spite of the differences in formal ideologies.

The sovereign ideology of contemporary Russia should not only take into account all these historical forms, but also create new ones. The main thing is to put collective identity above individual identity. Only then will the individual acquire his true content and his life will be full and meaningful, since an identity is formed only in a dialogue with others.

Historical memory and intergenerational continuity. The thirteenth thesis actually elevates identity to the status of a value. Identity is historical memory and continuity, which is what makes people a people and society a society. It is impossible to create a nation from an arbitrary set of atomic individuals (contrary to the claims of liberal ideology). It is created over centuries in the course of a difficult, sometimes tragic and sacrificial journey through the trials of history. Each generation contributes its own identity and passes it on to the next. This is how the nation is constructed: through deeds, remembrance, and continuity in the fulfillment of the designs begun by the ancestors. Cutting off the connection between the generations and cutting out the individual from his historical context is killing the nation. This is exactly what the globalists and the collective West are leading to. And this is what the nations of the world are increasingly rebelling against. If identity is a value, then the process of continuity, the transmission of the image, including the image of the future, should be treated with the utmost attention.

The unity of the peoples of Russia. The fourteenth point is the statement that the peoples of Russia, despite their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity, constitute an organic whole. And this whole is one and indivisible. The Russian people is the axis, the core around which all others are united. But the peculiarity of Russian culture is that it does not impose itself on others, does not extinguish diversity in favor of a single national example, but carefully preserves the identity of each society and supports and helps each local culture to develop. The fact that this is precisely a value was first proclaimed by the philosophers of Eurasia. In the USSR, the principle of the brotherhood of peoples was justified differently, but in general it came down to a combination of unity and diversity in a common inconsistent socio-cultural ensemble. Such unity reflects the principle of an empire uniting different peoples and cultures on the other side of any nationalism, large or small.

So, putting together all the points of Decree No. 809, we get the framework of an original and completely original ideology. Its main features, however, are the following:

it sharply diverges from liberal democracy, which the collective West seeks to impose on all mankind (to contain, block the free development of other civilizations—V. Putin in Valdai speech) and represents an alternative model of socio-political system;
it succeeds in Russian history what are cultural and ideological constants (both in traditional society and in the Soviet era);
at the same time, it does not coincide with any previous ideology, each of which is historically limited, but offers a distinctive and original synthesis of what was most essential in each of them;
it invites all citizens of Russia to freely and creatively build a truly just, spiritual, honest moral society on the other side of narrow dogmas and artificial axiomatics—in a sense, it is an open ideology aimed at the future;
Revealing the essence of Russia’s civilizational peculiarity, it dialogues with other civilizations in the context of multipolar order (“The development must take place in the dialog of civilizations, based on spiritual and moral values”—Vladimir Putin in his Valdai speech).

In the complex situation in which Russia finds itself in the course of the Special Military Operation, which has turned into a full-fledged conflict of civilizations, Decree № 809 is the most important conceptual weapon, the value of which can hardly be overestimated. The Decree has been drafted, signed and adopted. There is only one thing left: to draw all the relevant conclusions from it. And as soon as possible.


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. He has also introduced and developed the idea of Eurasianism, rooted in traditionalism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geopolitica.


Featured: “The appeal of Minin to the People of Nizhni Novgorod,” by Konstantin Makovsky; painted in 1896.

What Ukraine Tells Us about the Coming War

At the end of 2021, Bernard Wicht published Vers l’autodéfense : le défi des guerres internes (Towards Self-Defense: The Challenge of Internal Wars). His reflections remain highly topical, despite the recent return—apparently—of “inter-state” conflicts. We asked him a few questions in order to better understand the new front lines.

In his review of this book, the philosopher Eric Werner stressed the most worrying aspect of war in the 21st century—its irruption into the internal space of societies, its transformation into a war of “all against all,” without limits and without rules. As a historian and strategist, Wicht “does not content himself with describing the transformations in question, but links them to the overall evolution of our societies, showing that they are the consequence of more profound upheavals.”

We are now direct witnesses of these deep-seated upheavals, on a daily basis. Since the publication of his book, events of tectonic proportions have occurred. We thought it would be useful to take stock of the spirit and modalities of self-defense at a time when “conventional” warfare between armed forces is returning. [This interview is conducted by Laurent Schang, who runs the publishing house Éditions Polémarque, in Nancy, France, and Swiss-based Slobodan Despot, who publishes the magazine Antipresse.

A huge thank-you to Arnaud Imatz and Jean-Cyrille Godefroy, who made it all possible.

In the current scientific literature on post-9/11 armed conflicts in general, and on the war against the Islamic State in particular, it is customary to draw a more or less explicit line between the protagonists involved. This principle of distinction is based on the presupposition that contemporary conflicts are between two sides, one of which is good and the other bad by default. This moralization of the study of conflicts, which is original on the scale of the history of war, or more precisely on the scale of the ways in which so-called “Western” nations think about war, nevertheless poses a number of theoretical problems. This tendency is detrimental to the study of war on the one hand, and to the development of an appropriate response on the other (Olivier Entraygues, Regards sur la guerre: L’école de la défaite—Views on the war: The School of Defeat).

Laurent Schang and Slobodan Despot (LS-SD): First, a necessary preliminary question. In a context of almost complete disinformation, on both sides, is it possible to think of deciphering the military operations in progress?

Bernard Wicht (BW): If one day we manage to arrive at the difference, the war in Ukraine will undoubtedly be taught first as the greatest maneuver of disinformation ever carried out in the history of the art of war. Let’s recall in this regard that since the First Iraq War (1990-1991), disinformation has been an integral part of the strategy implemented by the United States and its Western allies.

Bernard Wicht.

On that occasion, it was the case of the incubators of the maternity hospital in Kuwait City, which was given to the media. These incubators were allegedly disconnected by Iraqi soldiers when they invaded Kuwait, causing the death of the newborns who were in them. It was the post-conflict investigation of a team of Danish journalists that exposed the lie—the hospital in Kuwait City does not have a maternity ward and women do not go to give birth there. In addition, the young woman who denounced this apparent war crime before the UN authorities in New York turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador in Washington, a student for several years at an American university. For Washington strategists, the aim of the maneuver was then to provoke an “emotional shock” within the international community, making it unavoidable to give a UN mandate for the military liberation of Kuwait.

Then, in 2002, before the outbreak of the Second Iraq War, the famous “proof” of the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein possessed was brandished before the same UN bodies, in the form of a small vial, by the American Secretary of State at the time, the former Chief of Staff of the American army, General Colin Powell. Again, the aim was to convince the world of the grave danger posed by Iraq to international stability. Up to now, these weapons of mass destruction have not yet been discovered.

This strategy of disinformation is currently being pursued on a global scale, mainly by the European and American media and a handful of experts close to NATO circles. This maneuver has so far succeeded in preventing any coherent analysis of the Ukraine conflict. The Ukrainians keep issuing victory communiqués, while the Russians are very discreet. In other words, in the words of the famous detective (created by Agatha Christie) Hercule Poirot, “in this case everyone is lying,” forcing our man to reconstruct events according to his experience of crime, common sense and basic questions (cui bono, motive, opportunity and means).

In this particular war, we find ourselves in a very similar situation to Poirot, and we are forced to try to reconstruct the course of operations according to some bits of reality and using knowledge of the art of war and military history. This is why we must ask ourselves, beyond the successive narratives that the United States and NATO have sought to impose since the beginning of the conflict (victorious resistance by Ukrainian forces; then Russian war crimes; and, more recently, a vast Ukrainian counter-offensive and retreat by the Russian army), what can be said with a minimum of certainty at this stage:

  • At the end of 2021, on the eve of the outbreak of war, the Ukrainian army was in a state of decay (See insert: “Ukraine, A Failed State?”).
  • In June 2022, senior Ukrainian officials acknowledged that their troops were suffering appalling losses in the face of the firepower of the Russian army, with around 100 dead and 500 wounded per day.
  • On the ground, since the end of the summer, we see a Russian army that does not seem to be in any hurry to end things, taking its time by advancing in some places and retreating in others. Although largely mechanized and with complete control of the sky, it does not launch the great decisive offensive aimed at the capitulation of the Zelensky government. On the contrary, it has allowed the Ukrainians to retake some towns and villages.

Should we therefore accept the official Western narrative of a decisive counter-offensive, thanks to the miracle weapons delivered by NATO (including the mercenaries to serve them) and the general withdrawal of Russian forces unable to react?

This version of the facts could be acceptable if we were facing the Russian army of the 1990s, the one that got bogged down in Chechnya and whose decay was then equivalent to that of the Ukrainian army on the eve of February 24, 2022. It took Vladimir Putin more than a decade to restore an effective and competent military whose qualities were seen during the intervention in Syria alongside Bashar al-Assad, starting in September 2015.

Ukraine, A Failed State?

In his 2017 study, Emmanuel Todd gave a pessimistic diagnosis of Ukraine. He considers it a nation “which has not been able to build itself in a state since its separation from Russia.” He adds that the country is dangerously empty of its population: “above a certain threshold of emigration… in Ukraine, for example… flows can destabilize societies… without being able to predict much more than the appearance of sociological black holes.” In this regard, he evokes “the appearance of a zone of anarchy” and recalls that the massive departure of the Ukrainian middle classes to Europe or Russia, makes it very unlikely that this country will be politically stabilized because, precisely, “the construction of a state is only the institutional crystallization of the supervision of society by its middle classes.”

Since 2014 (Euro Maidan), the Ukrainian political class has disintegrated into internal quarrels between the pro-Russian and the pro-European, leaving the field open to far-right paramilitary organizations.

LS-SD: How would you explain this “game of cat and mouse” that the Russian army is engaged in?

BW: I think that this expression itself gives us the “key” needed to decipher what is happening at the present time:

  • For the record, Russia’s objective is not primarily Ukraine, but to stun and unbalance the EU and NATO (energy crisis=> economic crisis=> inflation, recession. See insert: “The Legacy of Soviet Operational Thinking”).
  • On the other hand, under pressure from his Western mentors, President Zelensky withdrew his February-March peace proposals, so the war can continue until it is exhausted. This is most likely the game that the Russian cat is playing with the Ukrainian mouse. Since a negotiated solution seems impossible today, only the (demographic) exhaustion of Ukraine can guarantee Russia relative long-term “tranquility” on its southwestern border.
  • This cat-and-mouse dialectic could explain the Russian attitude of “not wanting to end it all.” Such a strategic posture is not unheard of in military history.

Let’s explain this with a historical example.

The case of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) is particularly emblematic from this point of view. General Franco, commander-in-chief of the nationalist forces, was considered for a long time, certainly as a very shrewd politician, but as a poor strategist on the ground. Despite the military superiority at his disposal, he made poor operational choices, giving the Republicans the opportunity to carry out desperate counterattacks, prolonging, in this way, the war by at least two years.

Then recently, historical research revealed that these “wrong choices” were made knowingly in order to exhaust the human potential of Republicans in battles of annihilation, where the firepower of the nationalist army could reach its full potential. For example, even in September 1936, rather than seizing Madrid, then very little defended, and thus obtaining the capitulation of the Republican government and ending the war in two months, Franco opted for the capture of Toledo—a city certainly very symbolic, but whose strategic importance was limited. Franco wanted a long war to destroy the demographic pool of the Republicans and thus “cleanse” the conquered regions of populations favorable to the regime in place. He felt that he could not have the stability necessary to rebuild the country if a young and sufficiently large pro-Republican generation survived the war. He said it explicitly in an interview: “In a civil war, it is better to systematically occupy the territory, accompanied by the necessary cleansing, than a rapid rout of the enemy armies that would leave the country infested with adversaries.”

The Legacy of Soviet Operative Thought

Thinking in terms of the “Ukraine” objective is too narrow. It is important to bear in mind that, geographically speaking, Russia is a world country (in the Braudelian sense). Neither Western Europe nor the United States are. Russian strategic thinking unfolds at a macro-spatial and macro-cultural level. It takes up the achievements of its big sister, Soviet strategic thought, which developed and conceptualized what is called the operational level of war, which no longer primarily targets tactical military objectives (troops, equipment, infrastructure, etc.), but the adversary as a system.

Operative thought does not view the enemy from a strictly military angle, unlike the classical Clausewitzian doctrine of destroying enemy armed forces in a great battle of annihilation deemed as the key to victory. Soviet and then Russian operative thinking approaches the adversary from a systemic perspective—it aims at its collapse, not in a great decisive battle, but by actions in depth.

It should be noted that this notion covers different aspects: the term depth does not necessarily refer to the defensive device of the adversary (fortifications, logistics centers, communication networks), but to all political, socio-economic and cultural structures as well as the infrastructures which allow the enemy country to function. Therefore, from the perspective of Russian operative thought, the objective pursued is rarely specific; it is holistic.

Russia is not simply seeking to bring a recalcitrant neighbor to heel, it is the “systemic enemy” that it is aiming at by showing in concrete terms that it is not only ready, but above all capable of waging war, including nuclear war. This systemic enemy is obviously the EU and NATO. Russia was able to become aware at the latest with the war in Syria (from 2011 onwards) of the meagre capacities of Western intervention which, in this case, were limited to sending a few contingents of special forces to support the Kurdish militias. It was able to get a concrete idea of the severe operational limits and the inability of the Atlantic Alliance to conduct a large-scale military operation due to a lack of manpower and logistics.

After that, Vladimir Putin and his staff were able to plan their intervention in Ukraine. But Ukraine is not the main objective of the war; it is only a battlefield, i.e., a place where military operations take place. The Russians have other effects and targets.

As for the effects, Russia wants to demonstrate that it can declare a conventional war and bring it to an end. In the face of this show of force, it must be noted that NATO and the European Union (EU) are militarily “absent.”

LS-SD: Do you think that the Russians also want a long war? Do they really have an interest in it?

BW: Mutatis mutandis, this could be the calculation of the Russians in the face of the war (by proxy) that the United States and NATO are waging against them through the Ukrainians. This war will eventually end because of a lack of fighters. But we must hasten to add that, on the Russian side, everything is not simple either. The shock caused by the partial mobilization of the young generation does not bode well. Indeed, a part of the society of this great country has been tasting for more than twenty years the “delights” of the consumer society—possibility to travel abroad, a certain feeling of freedom linked to the consumerist way of life, etc. For all of them, suddenly, everything has changed. For all them, suddenly, everything has stopped and closed. The specter of war and death now haunts their daily lives—hence the question, is a war that is prolonged and begins to affect the young Russian generations themselves, still acceptable—and especially bearable?

Under these conditions, we can hypothesize that Russia and Ukraine are both at risk of a mutual collapse. A bit like the dialectic between Greece and Rome in antiquity, the antinomy between these two worlds being summarized by the famous formula— Captive Greece took captive her savage conqueror—expressing the fact that, militarily defeated, Greece nevertheless managed to completely Hellenize the Roman world. In this case, a militarily destroyed Ukraine would provoke, as a shock in return, a collapse of Russia because of the sacrifices required or, at least felt, by a part of the Russian people. The recent attacks perpetrated on the Russian soil could reinforce this feeling of sudden fragility?

LS-SD: What is the relevance of your study on self-defense when war is raging on our doorstep?

BW: As its title indicates, my latest little book is devoted to self-defense, which I consider to be the operational concept instead of that of “national defense,” which became obsolete with the decline of the nation-state (marked in particular by the concomitant and exponential return of mercenarism.

[Weberian sociology regarding the formation of the modern state (Max Weber, Norbert Elias, Otto Hintze, Charles Tilly, to name the main ones) focuses on the construction of the state monopoly of coercion—also called monopoly of legitimate violence. It thus highlights the evolution of the military apparatus and its progressive control by state authorities. From the point of view of this conception of state-building, the recourse to mercenaries represents an intermediate stage between the feudal age (characterized by the absence of the state as well as by an anarchic chivalry practicing private warfare—Faustrecht), and the contemporary period with the advent of national armies completely controlled by the state. The current return of mercenarism, via the recourse to private military companies, tends to signal a “return to the past,” and consequently a relative de-construction of the state monopoly. On this subject, see Yves Déloye, Sociologie historique du politique.]

That is why, when war broke out in Ukraine, I thought that my study had also ipso facto become obsolete, for the Russian attack seemed to indicate the great return of conventional war between states and that of regular armies. My working hypothesis, based on “molecular civil war” type threats, with a predominance of non-state actors, such as narco-gangs, narco-terrorists and Islamo-jihadists, seems therefore compromised. As my friend Laurent Schang said to me on the evening of February 24, “this time it’s the end of war 2.0” (referring to sub-war challenges).

LS-SD: Are the Western/European nation-states still capable of waging war?

BW: It is apparent that apart from a few scattered battalions, NATO no longer has any effective military power; that the German army is in an advanced state of decay; that the French army (although still very operational) has only seven days’ worth of ammunition in the event of a high-intensity confrontation, and it is the same with all the rest.

All this means that in Western Europe, the nation-state is no longer capable of “making war,” a function that was its main regalian attribute and the driving force behind its historical construction (according to Charles Tilly’s famous formula, “war makes the State.” (See insert “War as the Driving Force behind Nation-State Construction”).

Today, the nation-state is huddled over its sole penal-carcenary privilege. Moreover, the storm of media disinformation, orchestrated since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, shows that citizenship has lost all substance and that it is no longer important to inform free and responsible men and women, but to keep a populace, always on the verge of a riot or revolt, calm.

War as the Driving Force behind Nation-State Construction

In his approach to state-building, Charles Tilly highlights two factors that contribute to the formation of the state monopoly of legitimate violence—on the one hand, constraint (the capacity to impose order and, above all, to mobilize the human resources necessary to wage war); and, on the other hand, capital (the capacity to finance and equip armies through taxes and the profits of foreign trade).

Thus, Tilly demonstrates that it is the combination of these two factors (hence the title of his work) that determines the type of state organization in force, at a given historical moment—that is, the one capable of “making war.” In our case, from the 16th century onwards, the transformations in the art of war (systematization of the use of firearms, recourse to professional soldiers, exponential growth in the number of soldiers) led to the need for the existing political units in Europe to have sufficient financial resources to be able to “afford” this new military tool.

Hence the institutionalization of taxation, in place of the old local feudal dues. The foundations of the modern nation-state were thus laid (a bureaucracy in charge of levying taxes, a standing army). From then on, the constraint-capital dynamic was set in motion—the more wars succeeded one another in Europe, the more the above-mentioned nation-state phenomenon was strengthened in the geographical areas concerned (the Netherlands, France, Spain, and later on, Prussia and Sweden). And thus we come to the famous formula: war makes the State.

Today, this analysis remains fully relevant for understanding the evolution of military-political units. However, the dynamics described above have changed scale—with globalization, capital is no longer located at the national level. As a consequence, states are emptied of their substance and depend on global finance for their functioning.

Nowadays, at the junction of constraint (mobilization of human resources) and capital (mobilization of financial resources), we no longer find regular armies, but two types of non-state military organizations—on the one hand, mercenarism in the form of private military companies (PMCs), and, on the other hand, armed-paramilitary-criminal groups. The former are generally financed by global capitalism, the latter by the grey economy. On the one hand, there is the combination of Wall Street and PMCs, and on the other, the combination of drug trafficking and various irregular armed groups.

LS-SD: So, your analysis remains relevant?

BW: Vanitas vanitatis… Yes. It is that of a nation-state emptied of its substance by disaster capitalism, of post-national societies subjected to an internal violence that is no longer channeled by the now obsolete state monopoly. If it were still necessary, the war in Ukraine and the decisions it has generated (in particular the sanctions of which we are the first victims) demonstrate that European states are no longer concerned with the well-being of their peoples; that their political elites are sucked in by the dynamics of global capitalism and by those who hold the control levers.

Fernand Braudel said: “Capitalism only triumphs when it identifies itself with the State; when it is the State.” Moreover, its regulation no longer goes through the nation-state (welfare), but through war (welfare => warfare), whether it is internal or against an enemy, designated by the media apparatus (Russia in casu). It is important to keep this reality in mind and to make it the starting point of any effort to understand the mechanisms of the present world—in the framework of global capitalism, the empty-shell nation-state is no longer the subject of war; it is only the theater (the setting, one might say), the geographical space where the confrontations take place. If we try to study it beyond the media noise, the war in Ukraine reveals this new state of affairs.

LS-SD: Yet this conflict marks the return of war between nation-states. So, isn’t it contradictory to say that the nation-state is no longer the subject of war?

BW: No, and this question allows me to clarify my point. Roughly speaking, one can say that until February 24, 2022, many analysts (myself included) considered that infra-state warfare represented the major risk in Europe: 1) confrontations at the molecular level (suicide attacks, machete attacks, shootings); 2) taking place below the technological threshold; 3) involving armed groups, gangs and terrorist cells; 4) financed via drug trafficking and other channels of the grey economy. In other words, a representation that follows directly from Martin van Creveld’s observation: “Modern armaments have become so expensive, so fast, so indiscriminate, so impressive, so cumbersome, and so powerful that they are sure to drive contemporary warfare into dead ends, i.e., into environments where they do not work. (The Transformation of War, p. 52).

As I said at the beginning, the outbreak of the war in Ukraine has shattered this threat picture by making us think of a return to conventional warfare in Europe (battles between regular armies, tank engagements, artillery, aviation and long-range missiles, the specter of the use of tactical nuclear weapons). However, on closer inspection, the reality of combat is not so obvious. Certainly, conventional warfare is well and truly present on the Russian side, with a disciplined, well-equipped, well-commanded army practicing joint maneuver.

On the Ukrainian side, on the other hand, the situation is much more blurred, as the regular conscript army was already in disarray before the conflict broke out, thus forcing the Zelensky government to rely on paramilitary groups, in particular the sinister Azov battalions, whose abuses against the civilian population are now well known. Nevertheless, they are the only real fighting forces on which the “failing” Ukrainian state (let’s be honest and use this term) can rely to confront the Russian offensive. Let us specify that these units are not directly dependent on the Ukrainian state; they have their own mode of financing, based on trafficking and mafia racket of the local populations whom they do not hesitate to use as human shields. However, they were completely decimated in the fighting around Marioupol and the Azovstal steelworks. From that moment on, it must be considered that they ceased to exist as constituted troops.

[It would seem that since the outbreak of the conflict, the Ukrainian authorities have issued eight calls of mobilization to make up for the heavy losses suffered. It is therefore worth asking why the younger generation is still responding to these calls when they are almost certain to die on the battlefield. The following hypothesis can be evoked: Ukrainians from the working classes did not have the possibility to flee abroad for lack of means; in a destroyed country where the economy is exsanguinated, it is not unreasonable to think that a “nice” bonus for the commitment (financed by the dollar) can represent for them a sufficient motive, because the sum thus received makes it possible to guarantee the survival of the remainder of the family. As is often the case in military history, it is the poor who pay the blood tax.]

Today, after the frightening human losses suffered by Ukrainian troops, it is mercenaries who seem to bear the brunt of the fighting—but who, above all, are taking over the predatory role previously played by the Azov battalions. These mercenaries are obviously not paid by Ukraine, which does not have the means, but by the American-NATO military-media complex. Capitalism is at work! We can therefore already say that at the moment, a weakened (failing) state—Ukraine in this case—is no longer able to wage war with its own national forces. It is obliged to call upon external forces that it does not control. We are thus in line with our previous observation on the incapacity of the nation-state to wage war.

[According to the analysis of the available videos, they would be mercenaries of Latin American origin, probably recruited by the services of Erik Prince (founder of the infamous SMP Blackwater). The latter had been called, at the time of the Arab Spring, by the oil-rich monarchies of the Gulf, to provide them with military police battalions, composed of Colombian mercenaries. The latter had no qualms about firing on the crowd, whereas the Tunisian and Egyptian armies had refused to do so in their respective countries. Erik Prince has the necessary connections for this recruitment pool].

Let us digress a little to note how much we find here the scenario of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). This war is a perfect illustration of the above-mentioned developments: the confusion between internal and inter-state warfare; the relative weakness of the states involved; and, as a result, the exponential recourse to private military contractors (mercenaries). For the record, the young European kingdoms (France and Sweden) sought to take advantage of the temporary weakness of the Holy Roman Empire to increase their territory and their influence in Europe. For the latter was entangled in an internal struggle against the Protestant princes who were challenging the imperial power.

First France, then Sweden entered the war to take advantage of this momentary fragility of the Empire. But, neither the king of France nor the king of Sweden had the means for their policy. They did not have sufficient nation-state apparatus to maintain such a war over a long period of time and over vast territories; their bureaucracy, still in its infancy, did not allow them to raise taxes in an efficient and sustainable manner, nor to recruit the necessary troops from among the population.

The Holy Roman Emperor had the same limitations. This is why all of them called upon military entrepreneurs (Wallenstein, Tilly, Saxe-Weimar in particular). In addition to their skills as great captains, these military entrepreneurs were also talented businessmen with the appropriate networks to recruit soldiers and maintain their armies. From then on, and precisely because of the implementation of this business model, this war became a “commercial affair,” largely determined by the interests of these entrepreneurs and their financial backers. It was they who decided on the goals, not so much according to the politico-strategic priorities of the States, but rather according to the “commercial” interests of their respective companies (the armies of mercenaries made available to the European princes in struggle). To do this, and given the insufficiency of public funding, they relied on the first “transnational financial system”—the Bank of Amsterdam. However, no matter how clever the Batavian bankers were, the credits provided were never enough to cover all the needs, especially in terms of logistics. As a result, mercenary armies continued to “live on the land,” looting and pillaging almost all of Central Europe.

The duration of the conflict can also be explained by this reason—in a Europe emerging from feudal economy and entering the so-called “first capitalism,” military entrepreneurship brought really juicy profits.

In short, the Thirty Years’ War offers an example of a confrontation that can be described as “pre-Clausewitzian,” i.e., a confrontation in which, although initiated by states, war quickly ceased to be the continuation of politics by other means, for lack of adequate state resources. Mutatis mutandis, it is a similar situation that we find today in Europe with the war in Ukraine.

LS-SD: So, are we witnessing (or not) the return of conventional war in Europe?

BW: Certainly, but this statement requires some explanation, because if there is a return to conventional warfare, we must hasten to say that it is a conventional NG (new generation) war in which, on the Ukrainian side, the paramilitary and mercenary forces, charged with defending the country are proving to be more dangerous for the Ukrainians than the Russian army that is attacking them.

From this point on, the following parameters seem to be emerging concerning this “new generation conventional war”: 1) at the core level, a weakened (failing) nation-state which is no longer able to ensure its defense by means of its national armed forces; 2) which has to call upon irregular forces, paramilitary and mercenary; 3) these forces are “living off the country” through racketeering and predation; 4) and are massively financed and equipped by global capitalism. Moreover, it appears that Ukraine is by no means a precursor in this matter—at the beginning of the war in Syria (2011), it was the intervention of Lebanese Hezbollah irregulars that saved the weakened state of Bashar El Assad from collapse.

In the same way, the case of Azerbaijan points to a similar situation—it is thanks to the arms and mercenaries made available by Turkey, as well as to the contingents of Arab-Muslim fighters, all paid for by Azeri oil revenues, that this country manages to achieve the successes that we have seen in Nagorno-Karabakh.

But despite all their differences, Ukraine, Bashar’s Syria and Azerbaijan are not strong states. This is not the case in the United States, which is the only country in the world that has a strong social cohesion and a prosperous economy that benefits all its citizens. Nor do any of these countries have a genuine national political elite on which the nation-state apparatus can rely; power is held by clans or mafia-like cliques seeking above all to monopolize wealth for their own benefit.

LS-SD: As a result, for the Ukrainians, it is “a war within a war?”

BW: Yes, and this is not surprising, if we follow the grid of Hobbes’ Leviathan: in the absence of the State, it is the war of all against all—which, in the age of global capitalism, can last indefinitely because it represents a very lucrative business—hence the concept of “disaster capitalism.”

In other words, conducted by fighters from paramilitary and mercenary units, this NG belligerence is “limitless” and itself becomes the objective; civilians supposedly defended become the main objective of the aforementioned armed groups, and the war effort is financed by global capitalism in its “disaster” declination. Such a war does not respect the distinctions of civil/military, front/back, war/crime. It is mixed [I will not use the term “hybrid” because it is so overused and misunderstood]: conventional on the battlefield, criminal in its functioning, terrorist in its acts and targeting populations. Let me emphasize how we get to the characteristics of sub-state warfare described above.

LS-SD: From this vantage point, what further general perspective can be drawn from the Ukrainian situation?

BW: The Ukrainian case highlights the profound transformation of Europe and the Western world (in fact its disintegration) through two specific dimensions: one macro-economic and the other macro-geographic. The first reminds us of the relevance of the principle that war is waged in the same way as wealth is produced: the mode of economic production at a given time has a determining influence on both the type of war and the configuration of the military tool. Thus, wars between states in the 19th and 20th centuries were essentially based on a three-term equation: Nation + Industrial Revolution = mass armies. Industrial capitalism has formatted national spaces (nation-states) and increased competition between them in a paroxysmal way.

Today, the era of regular national armies financed and equipped, thanks to the progress of the Industrial Revolution, is definitively over. Capital has mutated; it has become entirely financialized and has migrated to the supranational level, leading to what is usually called globalization. It is at this level that wealth is now produced and the conduct of war is irrevocably modified. This means, as we have already said above in reference to the return of mercenarism, that states are no longer masters of their own defense. A regular army, even if it remains apparently financed by a state, has become de facto a tool at the service of global capital, as illustrated by the (almost surreal) eagerness of European governments to empty their meager arsenals, disarming their own armed forces to send weapons to Ukraine, some of which are already being sold on parallel markets. The analysis of this war reveals such a reality which was is both unprecedented and unimaginable before.

[In such circumstances, and following the announcement that the Bundeswehr (German army) had only a two-day supply of ammunition, a German commentator questioned this state of affairs and its official recognition by the authorities. He went so far as to formulate the hypothesis of a “de facto surrender,” explicitly admitted, in order to preserve Germany from destruction in the event of the war spreading westwards. According to him, by declaring itself “bankrupt” due to the liquidation of its very modest stocks of arms and ammunition in favour of Ukrainian forces, the country could avoid “becoming the next battlefield” once Ukraine is destroyed. While this may be a bit far-fetched, it does highlight the extent of Western European disarmament in the current conflict.]

As regards the macro-geographic dimension, the Ukrainian case underlines the value of the analysis delivered by David Cosandey in his monumental study published in 1997 and entitled, Le secret de l’Occident: du miracle passé au marasme présent (The Secret of the West: From the Past Miracle to the Present Morass). In his quest to understand this “past miracle,” Cosandey focuses on the geographical factor as the decisive element of European dynamism. Europe being a priori only a promontory of Eurasia, it is its coastal perimeter, in the north as in the south, which is jagged, meandering and irregular, which allows for the establishment of very diverse socio-political entities, but intensively practicing commercial exchanges among these entities first, then with the rest of the world.

It is thus because of this specificity of the European geographical space that Cosandey proposes his explanation of “the” miracle based on two neologisms of his creation: “mereupory” and “thalassography.” The first term aims at explaining the scientific progress of Europe by its stable political division and its commercial dynamism. The second term specifies that the commercial dynamism as well as the diversity and the stability are favored by this very particular coastal contour, compared to the other continents. Therefore, based on this mereuporico-thalassographic articulation, Cosandey examines the contemporary evolution of our continent.

In casu, it is not a question of subjecting the theses of Cosandey to criticism, but to consider what they say to us of Europe in the framework of the war in Ukraine. Cosandey indeed thinks that the power of the armaments developed since the Second World War fundamentally questions the morphology of Europe. In other words, space is no longer sufficient to absorb military force. It is now too small to be able to form a stable geopolitical zone.

Consequently, Cosandey argues that the European geographical advantage is now obsolete because of the power of armaments: “Because of the progress of military technology, the thalassography of the European continent, however extraordinary it may be, no longer allows a system of states to establish itself there durably.” This insight obviously deserves some explanation.

The reference to the progress of military technology refers mainly to the continental and intercontinental reach of modern weapons (ballistic missiles, aircraft carriers and long-range aircraft capable of striking any point on the continent). Faced with these capabilities of force projection over very long distances, the meteoric and thalassographic qualities of Europe become ineffective—the specificity of its coastline is no longer sufficient. The continent becomes once again a simple tongue of land, a Eurasian promontory, which can be crossed very easily, and in all directions (migratory flows seem to confirm this). Hence the impossibility, under such conditions, of maintaining a stable and dynamic chessboard of states, since these no longer have the capacity to protect themselves, and their geographical borders no longer fulfil a defense function.

Following Cosandey on this trajectory, the war in Ukraine seems to indicate that the future of Europe in terms of states can only be that of a large-scale disorder—a kind of new Middle Ages in which the Church is replaced by the dollar.

LS-SD: To conclude, let us return to the initial question. Is self-defense still relevant in such a state of chaos and disorder, of war without limits?

BW: Now more than ever—especially in a Western Europe incapable of defending itself, where the Ukrainian pattern is likely to be repeated. For, if the nation-state is no longer the subject of war, then it is the individual himself who becomes the subject of war (hence self-defense). Moreover, this individual is no longer a citizen, but a “naked man” stripped of all protection, without a city (a-polis) and liable to be put to death by the police as well as by the gangs or the aforementioned actors of the conventional NG war without limits. For this naked man, from now on, self-defense represents the only horizon in terms of residual freedom and security, the last means of preserving some snippets of the status of political animal that citizenship in arms (the hoplitic polis) previously conferred on him.

[Several factors argue not only for a prolongation of the war, but for its possible extension to the European region: the attitude of Russia, which is ready to continue the fighting as long as the Ukrainian government does not make a peace proposal; the possible involvement of Belarus; the clumsiness and blunders of the Poles and Lithuanians with regard to the enclave of Kaliningrad; the activism of the EU, the United Kingdom and the United States to prevent any end to the hostilities; and, last but not least, the blind eagerness of Germany to empty its arsenals and send their contents to Ukraine.]

Let us specify that the notion of self-defense understood here goes beyond the simple technique of fighting with bare hands. It represents the reverse side of self-defense because it is not a legal concept protecting the citizen, but a state of affairs, a defensive tactic, a survival reaction. In this sense, it constitutes the ultimate barrier of the banished and the proscribed against the violence they are subjected to. For them, it is the means to rebuild themselves, to become human persons again and not only bodies (homo sacer) that can be violated at will.

The philosopher Elsa Dorlin speaks in this respect of the construction of a “martial ethic of the self,” through practices that the disarmed individual, without citizenship, uses to protect himself physically from aggression. And, given the generalized chaos and the collapse looming on the horizon of European societies, in the wake of the war in Ukraine, it is important to insist on this reconstitutive function of self-defense. To defend oneself is to exist—the insurgents of the Warsaw ghetto are an emblematic example!

Let us also point out however that even in this scenario of re-empowerment, the margin of maneuver of homo sacer remains very narrow. This is why the putting into perspective of events (according to the method of long historical time), that is to say the narrative, occupies a strategic place. This allows for the definition of a space, an “alternative” reality to the narrative imposed by the military-media complex of global capitalism. The philosopher Eric Werner seeks to articulate this minority narrative with the triptych—autonomy-crisis-proximity—in response to that of the dominant discourse—insecurity-crisis-resilience. For the record, this last notion does not mean to resist, but “to meekly accept one’s fate, however bad it may be.”

Autonomy, proximity, self-defense, understood as “defense as close as possible,” will, in all likelihood, constitute the new reference points in a European world where the war in Ukraine marks the ultimate end of the Western historical cycle: “The time of revolutions is over. We are living in the time of extermination; and, by implication, the time of survival and self-defense. This is the era of pockets of autonomy.”

Having qualified the world-system by the state of insecure governance, we can begin by defining the new framework of war. It is part of the abatement of national sovereignties. The European nation-state no longer seems to be relevant to solve the security problems of its citizens. The latter, a historical legacy of the Westphalian state (1648), and theorized by Hobbes in Leviathan (1651), geographically delimited, is in decomposition… Moreover, the degradation of the nation-state model sees its military sovereignty put under the tutelage of another form of sovereignty, non-military, that is to say economic, carried by global capitalism (Olivier Entraygues, Regards sur la guerre: L’école de la défaite—Views on the war: The School of Defeat).

Bernard Wicht is a lecturer at the University of Lausanne, where he teaches strategy. He is a regular speaker at military institutions, including the Ecole de Guerre, and think-tanks abroad. He is the author of several books, including Vers l’autodéfense: Le défi des guerres internes (Towards Self-Defense: The Challenge of Internal Wars), Les loups et l’agneau-citoyen. Gangs militarisés, Etat policier et desarmement du peuple (The Wolves and the Citizen-Lamb: Militarized Gangs, the Police State and the Disarmament of the People); Citoyen-soldat 2.0, Mode d’emploi (Citizen-Soldier 2.0: A User’s Guide); Europe Mad Max demain ? retour à la défense citoyenne (Mad Max Europe Tomorrow? A Return to Citizen Defense); Une nouvelle Guerre de Trentre Ans ? Réflexion et hypothèse sur la crise actuelle (A New Thirty Years War: Reflections and Hypothesis on the Current Crisis); L’OTAN attaque : la nouvelle donne stratégique (NATO Attacks: the New Strategic Order); L’Idée de milice et le modèle suisse dans la pensée de Machiavel (The Idea of the Militia and the Swiss Model in Machiavelli’s Thought).


Featured: “Defenders of the Brest Fortress,” by Pyotr Krivonogov; painted in 1951.

Lies, Spies and US Bioweapons on the Verge of Armageddon

Initially, when the Russians brought the existence of the Ukrainian biolabs to the attention of the world, it was denied outright—the official Western response was—”those Ruskies just never stop lying.” And having shut down RT news, hardly anyone in the West knew anything about the Russian claim except that it was being made and it was therefore “disinformation,” and only conspiracy theorists believed it. Given there still has been no declaration of war by any Western country against Russia, one might think the “voices of social conscience” and the “guardians of truth” might at least be curious to know why the Western population was generally being “protected” from Russian news sources because the bright sparks thought the people just too dumb to be able to distinguish between truth and lie.

For a few years now, the bright sparks have decided that they alone know “the truth.” I am not sure which “settled science” it was exactly that decided that Russian media always tells lies, and that Western people are too gullible to be trusted with open access to Russian media. But it must have been the result of some scientific study by irreproachable “scientists,” because the masters of social conscience know and own the science on any given topic, and it was only us stooges that thought that such control of information was further proof of the dangerous totalitarian stranglehold of the Western world’s “leaders” and their mental enforcers.

But glory be, thanks to Victoria Nuland, that brain box and Democrat wife of Republican neo-con Robert Kagan, the current Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and former Assistant Secretary of State European and Eurasian Affairs, the US go-to girl in the “Revolution of Dignity” (you know, the one where “Dignity” meant burning alive their political opponents in Odessa—which local Russian speakers put at close to 400. But, hey, what would they know—they only lived there)—the story needed to by updated. Nuland clarified to the hapless Marco Rubio, who, when questioning her, expected her to respond that there were no labs, that they were actually just perfectly safe biolabs, conducting public health research. But with Russians in the picture, Nuland took on the role of Cassandra to warn that said labs in Ukraine were now a cause for concern, because their benign public health research was sure to be turned into “bioweapons” by those evil Russian.

Of course, the issue of biolabs and bioweapons is central to what is happening now—and is yet another factor in Russia’s “invasion.” And to make sure we would all share “the correct” memory of all this, on June 9, 2022 AD, the Pentagon released a Fact Sheet on WMD Threat Reduction Efforts with Ukraine, Russia and Other Former Soviet Union Countries. I think the centerpiece of the document is this:

The United States has also worked collaboratively to improve Ukraine’s biological safety, security, and disease surveillance for both human and animal health, providing support to 46 peaceful Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and disease diagnostic sites over the last two decades. The collaborative programs have focused on improving public health and agricultural safety measures at the nexus of nonproliferation.

On its release, some journalists, like Steve Sweeney from People’s World reported (June 14) that “The Pentagon said on Thursday that it has operated 46 biolabs in Ukraine handling dangerous pathogens, after previously dismissing the charges as Russian propaganda.” PolitiFact quickly weighed in with “The 46 facilities referenced in the articles and in the government’s fact sheet are owned and operated by Ukraine.” In the world of PolitiFact “working collaboratively” does not seem to be a synonym for funding. But while for the strict grammarians and guardians of “facts,” a tomato is definitely not a tomahto, the pertinent issue is smothered in the race to present nice, neat, clean facts to prevent us from ever believing anything that was not put together by team Goody Global Two Shoes—and that is the point made by bioweapons analyst Francis Boyle:

One of the latest explanations from a U.S. State Department spokesperson is that Ukraine has ‘biodefense’ laboratories, which are ‘not biological weapons facilities.’ The problem with making a distinction between ‘biodefense’ and ‘biowarfare’ is that, basically, there is none. No biodefense research is purely defensive, because to do biodefense work, you’re automatically engaged in the creation of biological weapons. All dual use research can be used for military purposes, and often is. As explained by Boyle, the idea behind ‘biodefense’ research is that there might be a natural pathogen out there that can cause a pandemic, or someone might release an engineered biological weapon, that we need to prepare a cure for.

How did such an obvious point pass the mental geniuses who tell us what to think? By the way Boyle is a human rights lawyer for all sorts of causes that generally fit neatly into the educated politically activist academic consensus (a critic of Israel and exponent of Palestinian rights, an advocate for indigenous and first nation rights, a supporter of Hawaiian self-determination, an international-law expert and legal adviser to the first Bosnia-Herzegovinian president). Then, he took an interest in bioweaponry and connected it to COVID. At once he became a “conspiracy theorist.” Anyone who thinks Big Pharma is capable of hazardous decisions, leveraging government and being involved in cartel collusion, and profiteering, and that it should be subjected to the kinds of protocols that no longer seem to exist for any of the larger corporation—is now labeled a “conspiracy theorist.”

If such a prime fact as Boyle’s about the nature of “biodefense” is smothered by weasel words, and by simply deferring to official statements made by the very operatives whose operations are being questioned, how was it ever possible for questions about government bioweaponry to get a serious airing in the public sphere? Answer—it was not possible, because the rules governing the “public square” no longer favor any kind of critical discussion—the public square itself dictates “the acceptable answers” to topics, and the public square is what the owners of that square say that it is—for the public square is very much a private possession.

But apart from the logic that Boyle brought to the conversation, even before every major news outlet in the country was falling over itself to attack right-wing conspiracy theorists, Newspunch counterpunched by demonstrating what a bunch of fraudsters the factcheckers are—when it reached back into the archives and found a piece from BioPrepWatch.com published in 2010: “Deleted Web Pages Show Obama Ordered Ukraine BioLabs to Develop ‘Deadly Pathogens.’” Allow me to reproduce the rest of the report:

Thenationalpulse.com reports: The article, which also highlighted the work of former Senator Dick Lugar, was additionally included in Issue No. 818 of the United States Air Force (USAF) Counterproliferation Center’s Outreach Journal.

Lugar said plans for the facility began in 2005 when he and then-Senator Barack Obama entered a partnership with Ukrainian officials. Lugar and Obama also helped coordinate efforts between the U.S and Ukrainian researchers that year in an effort to study and help prevent avian flu,” explained author Tina Redlup.

A 2011 report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Anticipating Biosecurity Challenges of the Global Expansion of High-Containment Biological Laboratories explained how the Odessa-based laboratory “is responsible for the identification of especially dangerous biological pathogens.

This laboratory was reconstructed and technically updated up to the BSL-3 level through a cooperative agreement between the United States Department of Defense and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine that started in 2005. The collaboration focuses on preventing the spread of technologies, pathogens, and knowledge that can be used in the development of biological weapons,” the report continues.

The updated laboratory serves as Interim Central Reference Laboratory with a depozitarium (pathogen collection). According to Ukrainian regulations, it has a permit to work with both bacteria and viruses of the first and second pathogenic groups,” explains the report.

A separate document detailing Ukraine’s biolab network from the BioWeapons Prevention Project outlines in greater detail the scope of pathogens the facility has conducted research with.

Among the viruses the lab studied were Ebola and “viruses of pathogencity group II by using of virology, molecular, serologica and express methods.”

Additionally, the lab provided “special training for specialists on biosafety and biosecurity issues during handling of dangerous biological pathogenic agents.”

The unearthed biolab facility follows intense scrutiny over the U.S. government’s decision to fund risky, “gain-of-function” research in Wuhan at a Chinese Communist Party-run lab with military ties.

The combination of algorithmic-controlled information and the vanishing of web sites that disprove the approved “line” of the cabal at Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, etc., as well as the CIA, the FBI and the Government—is now such a conspicuous feature of our information flow in the West that an obvious question arises—how can anyone, who wants to get at the truth of things, still believe any official news source today? With respect to the war, in general, and the biolabs, in particular, the only position that is now permitted to be published in mainstream media is that if the Russians claim something, it is ipso facto propaganda and false. All nice and Manichean. And the way this seems to now be proven is that Government intelligence officials tell us so. Once upon a time academics and journalists were far more inclined to think that if the CIA said something there was a fair to good chance it was a lie.

So, before we carry on with looking briefly at the history of US biowarfare and what the Russian arguments and claims about US biolabs and weapons are, and why this should be widely known and discussed, instead of being denounced, and shutdown—let us just remind ourselves of a few unpleasant truths about the CIA, and why it is utterly imbecilic (and fully in keeping with the our age of the imbecilic) that journalists have derived their facts and larger narrative for understanding the Russia-Ukraine war from the Central Imbecilic (sorry, I meant, Intelligence) Agency.

Trust US. We are the CIA

Those of a certain age will most like be familiar with Phillip Agee’s Inside the Company: CIA Diary, which is Agee’s first-hand account of his twelve years as a CIA agent during his time in Uruguay, Ecuador, Mexico and Washington. The essentials are laid out in a couple of early paragraphs of the book, where he writes:

When I joined the CIA I believed in the need for its existence. After twelve years with the agency I finally understood how much suffering it was causing, that millions of people all over the world had been killed or had had their lives destroyed by the CIA and the institutions it supports. I couldn’t sit by and do nothing and so began work on this book. Even after recent revelations about the CIA it is still difficult for people to understand what a huge and sinister organization the CIA is. It is the biggest and most powerful secret service that has ever existed. I don’t know how big the KGB is inside the Soviet Union, but its international operation is small compared with the CIA’s. The CIA has 16,500 employees and an annual budget of $750,000,000. That does not include its mercenary armies or its commercial subsidiaries. Add them all together, the agency employs or subsidizes hundreds of thousands of people and spends billions every year. Its official budget is secret; it’s concealed in those of other Federal agencies. Nobody tells the Congress what the CIA spends. By law, the CIA is not accountable to Congress.

In the past 25 years, the CIA has been involved in plots to overthrow governments in Iran, the Sudan, Syria, Guatemala, Ecuador, Guyana, Zaire and Ghana. In Greece, the CIA participated in bringing in the repressive regime of the colonels. In Chile, The Company spent millions to “destabilize” the Allende government and set up the military junta, which has since massacred tens of thousands of workers, students, liberals and leftists. In Indonesia in 1965, The Company was behind an even bloodier coup, the one that got rid of Sukarno and led to the slaughter of at least 500,000 and possibly 1,000,000 people. In the Dominican Republic the CIA arranged the assassination of the dictator Rafael Trujillo and later participated in the invasion that prevented the return to power of the liberal ex-president Juan Bosch. In Cuba, The Company paid for and directed the invasion that failed at the Bay of Pigs. Sometime later the CIA was involved in attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro. It is difficult to believe, or comprehend, that the CIA could be involved in all these subversive activities all over the world.

Since Agee’s diary. there have been other accounts of the CIA, mainly by former operatives or academics, which go into the details of all the election rigging, coups, assassination attempts, false flag operations, torturing and various conspiracies (yes, shock, horror! the CIA has a history of conspiring to overthrow regimes, and fuel revolts and start wars). Before the Left was a woke joke, and the CIA had set up shop as a diversity service provider, scholars like William Blum (see his Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II) would write books exposing the various dirty tricks and machinations (installing bloody dictators, arming terrorists, working with drug runners, arms runners and money laundering—all for the good of the world. I thoroughly recommend Douglas Valentine’s 2017 book, The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World—it also has a chapter on the CIA in Ukraine. Here is synopsis of another book, Big White Lie: The CIA and the Cocaine/Crack Epidemic, by former DEA agent, Michael Levine which gives a pretty good account of what the CIA have been up to in the more overtly criminal stakes:

…the CIA has perverted the American criminal justice system by protecting drug dealers and murderers from prosecution; that Federal judges and prosecutors alleged to have broken narcotics laws have been protected from investigation; that the government of Bolivia and South American drug cartel leaders have been assisted and even paid by the CIA…without CIA support, South American cartels and the epidemic of cocaine and crack use in the U.S. would never have occurred.

During the Maidan revolution in 2014, McCain and Nuland were doing photo ops with Svoboda (the neo-Nazi political party) leader Oleh Tyahnybok and his cronies who were busy assisting in regime change. After all, at the end of the Second World War US intelligence agencies, including the CIA, recruited General Reinhard Gehlen, the German army’s intelligence chief for the Eastern Front during World War II, who “successfully maintained his intelligence network (it ultimately became the West German BND) even though he employed numerous former Nazis and known war criminals.” This was hidden from the public for some fifty years, until documents pertaining to this history were declassified in 2002. The following from The National Security Archive in 2005 is worth quoting:

The documentation unearthed by the IWG (The Nazi War Crimes Interagency Working Group) reveals extensive relationships between former Nazi war criminals and American intelligence organizations, including the CIA. For example, current records show that at least five associates of the notorious Nazi Adolf Eichmann worked for the CIA, 23 other Nazis were approached by the CIA for recruitment, and at least 100 officers within the Gehlen organization were former SD or Gestapo officers.

The IWG enlisted the help of key academic scholars to consult during the declassification process, and these historians released their own interpretation of the declassified material in May of 2004, in a publication called US Intelligence and the Nazis. The introduction to this book emphasizes the dilemma of using former Nazis as assets:

The notion that they [CIA, Army Counterintelligence Corp, Gehlen organization] employed only a few bad apples will not stand up to the new documentation. Some American intelligence officials could not or did not want to see how many German intelligence officials, SS officers, police, or non-German collaborators with the Nazis were compromised or incriminated by their past service.

Apparently, the Nazi spies were a disaster! As the report continues:

Lack of sufficient attention to history-and, on a personal level, to character and morality-established a bad precedent, especially for new intelligence agencies. It also brought into intelligence organizations men and women previously incapable of distinguishing between their political/ideological beliefs and reality. As a result, such individuals could not and did not deliver good intelligence. Finally, because their new, professed ‘democratic convictions’ were at best insecure and their pasts could be used against them (some could be blackmailed), these recruits represented a potential security problem.

But now that Russia’s geopolitical concerns are strategically regional and have nothing in common with the globalist aspirations of the former Soviets, many of the very people who previously were very willing to denounce the CIA for its interventions in Chile, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Argentina, Cuba, Greece, Iran, Indonesia etc. are more than willing to read from the script prepared by the CIA. Still, the take-home point from any of the left-leaning books on the CIA, written in the last thirty years or so, is that the CIA acted covertly, criminally, and very often under the veil of “plausible deniability;” which is to say, it was often left free to do whatever it thought necessary, without there being any followable line of command that would link its actions to the President—and, of course, it lied—constantly. It also involved itself in propaganda. It is obvious that the entrenchment of nefarious practices tend to continue well after any rationale for adopting them has vanished. On the issue of propaganda, the following from Agee is important:

The CIA’S role in the US propaganda program is determined by the official division of propaganda into three general categories: white, grey and black. White propaganda is that which is openly acknowledged as coming from the US government, e.g. from the US Information Agency (USIA); grey propaganda is ostensibly attributed to people or organizations who do not acknowledge the US government as the source of their material and who produce the material as if it were their own; black propaganda is unattributed material, or it is attributed to a non-existent source, or it is false material attributed to a real source. The CIA is the only US government agency authorized to engage in black propaganda operations, but it shares the responsibility for grey propaganda with other agencies such as USIA. However, according to the ‘Grey Law’ of the National Security Council contained in one of the NSCID’S, other agencies must obtain prior CIA approval before engaging in grey propaganda. The vehicles for grey and black propaganda may be unaware of their CIA or US government sponsorship. This is partly so that it can be more effective and partly to keep down the number of people who know what is going on and thus to reduce the danger of exposing true sponsorship. Thus editorialists, politicians, businessmen and others may produce propaganda, even for money, without necessarily knowing who their masters in the case are. Some among them obviously will and so, in agency terminology, there is a distinction between ‘witting’ and ‘unwitting’ agents.

Sound familiar? Allow me to align this with a piece by NBC (April 6 2022) that is breathtaking in its combination of chutzpah and imbecilic integrity. The headline reads “In a break with the past, U.S. is using intel to fight an info war with Russia, even when the intel isn’t rock solid.” “It doesn’t have to be solid intelligence,” one U.S. official said. “It’s more important to get out ahead of them [the Russians], Putin specifically, before they do something.”

It continues:

It was an attention-grabbing assertion that made headlines around the world: U.S. officials said they had indications suggesting Russia might be preparing to use chemical agents in Ukraine. President Joe Biden later said it publicly. But three U.S. officials told NBC News this week there is no evidence Russia has brought any chemical weapons near Ukraine. They said the U.S. released the information to deter Russia from using the banned munitions. It’s one of a string of examples of the Biden administration’s breaking with recent precedent by deploying declassified intelligence as part of an information war against Russia. The administration has done so even when the intelligence wasn’t rock solid, officials said, to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin off balance. Coordinated by the White House National Security Council, the unprecedented intelligence releases have been so frequent and voluminous, officials said, that intelligence agencies had to devote more staff members to work on the declassification process, scrubbing the information so it wouldn’t betray sources and methods.

Who needs rock solid when the government and its intel are so great?

Let’s consider one last piece on the CIA—Tim Weiner’s, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. It is a fairly sober account of the CIA by a journalist whose recent pronouncements—short of anything resembling proof—on this war seem to me to make him prey to his own quarry. But his book of 2007 makes some good points. The first is a good summing up of the limits of “intelligence”—which is salient to why it is insane for journalists to think they are doing a democracy anything other than a disservice by parroting the “talking points” of their “intelligence” sources: “Intelligence fails because it is human, no stronger than the power of one mind to understand another. Garrett Jones, the CIA station chief during the disastrous American expedition in Somalia, put it plainly: ‘There are going to be screw-ups, mistakes, confusion, and missteps,’ he said. “One hopes they won’t be fatal.”

The second, is a good summary of how the intelligence game changed with the war on terror, and how that “war” has led to how the CIA now operates:

The CIA had run secret interrogation centers before–beginning in 1950, in Germany, Japan, and Panama. It had participated in the torture of captured enemy combatants before–beginning in 1967, under the Phoenix program in Vietnam. It had kidnapped suspected terrorists and assassins before–most famously in 1997, in the case of Mir Amal Kansi, the killer of two CIA officers. But Bush gave the agency a new and extraordinary authority: to turn kidnapped suspects over to foreign security services for interrogation and torture, and to rely on the confessions they extracted. As I wrote in The New York Times on October 7, 2001: “American intelligence may have to rely on its liaisons with the world’s toughest foreign services, men who can look and think and act like terrorists. If someone is going to interrogate a man in a basement in Cairo or Quetta, it will be an Egyptian or a Pakistani officer. American intelligence will take the information without asking a lot of lawyerly questions.” Under Bush’s order, the CIA began to function as a global military police, throwing hundreds of suspects into secret jails in Afghanistan, Thailand, Poland, and inside the American military prison in Guantanamo, Cuba for interrogations. The gloves were off. “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there,” Bush told the nation in an address to a joint session of Congress on September 20. “It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.

Of course, the justification for the “war on terror” moved from the war against the Taliban to the war against Iraq; and while the rationale of that war, mentioned below, was based on false information, the real rationale enthusiastically repeated on numerous occasions by Tony Blair was that it was the task of democracies to overthrow tyrants wherever they were. Hence the requisite procedure in the international arena becomes one of declaring one’s enemy a tyrant to legitimate regime change. And as was signaled with the passing of the Magnitsky Act back in 2012, which enabled the seizure of Russian assets, the decision that regime change had to occur in Russia precedes not only the present war in the Ukraine, but the Maidan.

And if anyone out there still thinks the CIA is a trustworthy institution (and I have not even touched upon its various debacles which have been addressed by other authors) let’s go to the third passage from Weiner, which I think particularly pertinent because even the slew of pro-war Democrats might remember where they purportedly once stood (of course, I am joshing. Most of them went in boots and all with young George W and the CIA. So much for principles):

President Bush presented the CIA’s case and more in his State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003: Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to kill millions, chemical weapons to kill countless thousands, mobile biological weapons labs designed to produce germ-warfare agents. “Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” he said. “Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. All of this was terrifying. None of it was true.

In a nutshell, there is nothing about the CIA’s history which indicates that it is a trustworthy operation. The good thing about most of the left-wing writings on the CIA—and even though I am often critical of the Left, I have always thought this aspect of their investigations to be a valuable contribution to any public considerations of state action—is that they invariably identity the nexus between corporate interests and the state. An iconic expression of the problem was by Major General Smedley Butler back in the 1930s in his War is a Racket:

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Nothing has changed in that the real reason for NATO expansionism and for the most brazen proxy war funded by way Western governments funneling tax payers’ money, without resorting to anything remotely resembling electoral approval, to send weapons to Ukraine.

Far less reported are NATO’s nuclear war games which are being held some six hundred miles from Russia. And what is simply not known at all—is what the Russians are saying about US bioweapons.

A Brief History of The US Bioweapon Research and Why the Russians Are Bothered

US government research into biological warfare originated in the Second World War in response to British and French concerns that the Nazis might attack with biological weapons. They didn’t, but the Japanese were also developing biological weapons that they would use against the Chinese—they experimented on prisoners, poisoned wells, and dropped plague infested fleas over cities and rice fields. The Soviets had also been attacked with biological weapons, and after the war they convicted some of the Japanese researchers, although the Soviets had already been working on biological warfare from the 1920s and would become world leaders in bioweaponry until the Union collapsed.

The defeat of the Japanese provided a valuable source of new recruits for the US government in the area of biological warfare. The extent to which the US was able to make use of the Japanese research is not altogether clear, but we do know that both in the US and Japan secret research was being conducted, involving known war criminals for the next forty years. This information started coming to light in the 1990s when, as Sheldon Harris in his book of 1994, Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare 1932-45 and the American Cover Up, the Clinton administration “began to lift the veil of secrecy concerning United States; experiments with human subjects in hundreds of studies during and since the end of World War II.” Forgive the lengthiness of the quote from Harris; but as most people will not be aware of this, I think it important to cite in full; and it nicely provides something of a history of US, Japanese and Soviet bioweaponry:

We now know that American scientists tested humans with mustard gas, other chemical agents, exposed others to radiation tests, and still others to a variety of pathogens without the subjects’ knowledge or consent. In many instances, the most distinguished scientists from the most prestigious American universities participated both in deceiving their patients and in conducting the experiments. Even today, those scientists still active in the field, and their host universities, deny involvement. Recently opened former Soviet archives disclose that the Soviet Union inaugurated a large-scale biological warfare program beginning in the mid-1920s. Humans were used often in experiments that covered a variety of diseases potentially useful in biological warfare. Research facilities were established throughout that vast nation, and, according to Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin, such research continues covertly today.

The Soviet cover was partially blown in 1979 when a massive outbreak of anthrax affected a large area around the Urals city of Sverdlovsk. The most conservative estimates are that at least ninety-six people were infected, and that some sixty-six people died as a result of the outbreak. The true figures, no doubt, are higher. The most terrifying aspect of the outbreak was the disclosure that the Sverdlovsk biological warfare plant accidentally released less than one gram of anthrax spores, possibly as little as several milligrams. It does not take much imagination to calculate how much death and destruction the release of a few grams of anthrax spores into a heavily populated community could cause.

In Japan, scientists who participated in involuntary human experiments during World War II, and earlier, dominated the administration and controlled the areas of research of the country’s National Institute of Health for one half-century after the war ended…it should be noted here that at least seven of the NIH’s Directors and five of the Institute’s Vice Directors, during the 1930s and 1940s, engaged in biological warfare experiments which employed human test subjects. The National Institute of Health is a government-supported agency. Yet these known war criminals were employed by this institution, were given great powers within the organization and continued to use humans without their consent, and often without their knowledge, in investigations that were carried on during the course of more than forty years. It is known that experiments were authorized on prisoners, babies and patients in psychiatric hospitals in 1947, and from 1952 until 1955 by the NIH’s Vice Director Masami Kitaoka. Another researcher conducted bacteriological experiments on infants hospitalized in Tokyo’s National First Hospital in 1952. Later, this same researcher, from 1967 until 1971, used shigella in experiments on soldiers in Japan’s Self-Defence Forces. In May 1985, an NIH researcher experimentally injected an unapproved vaccine against a Japanese encephalitis virus into nearly 200 hospitalized children without their parents’ consent. At different times over a three-year period, 1987, 1988, 1989, Kuniaki Nerome experimentally tested two types of genetically modified vaccine against influenza on approximately forty hospitalized children. Their parents were unaware of the tests and did not give their informed consent for the vaccines to be used on their children.

There are a number of international treaties being drawn up that seek to outlaw biological warfare, and, by implication, involuntary human experimentation. The United States, Russia (the former Soviet Union) and Japan are signatories to the various international agreements outlawing human experimentation, and the production of biological warfare agents. Nevertheless, both these activities appear to be flourishing today in all three countries, as well as elsewhere in various parts of the world. It appears that human testing, biological and chemical weapons will be part of former President George Bush’s so-called new world order for some time to come.

It is true that in 1969 President Nixon made a statement signaling the end of US offensive biological weapons programs and in 1972, along with Soviet Union, the Biological Weapons Conventions, outlawing biological warfare. What one makes of this very much depends upon what one thinks of the efficacy of international declarations, pieces of paper and signatures, and whether one thinks public gestures disclose hidden operations.

One investigative journalist who was doing his job well was Gordon Thomas. Early in his book, Spies and Lies: A History of CIA Mind Control and Germ Warfare, in the midst of discussing the anthrax attacks that took place in the US in October 2001, he writes:

In 2004, the U.S. armory of weaponized biological agents consisted of 19 bacteria, 43 viruses, 14 toxins and 4 rickettsiae. Their use remains outlawed under the Geneva Protocol of 1925. Within five years of the protocol’s creation Italy, Belgium, Canada, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Poland and the Soviet Union had all signed. The United States did not sign until 1975. By then the U.S. had developed a massive biochemical arsenal. Shortly before the September 11 attack, the Pentagon admitted that at Nellis Air Force base, one of the most secret in America, it had established the world’s largest stockpile of biological and chemical weapons. It had been created largely by CIA scientists. One of these scientists had been an obsessive “biochemist whose work pioneered the research which eventually led to the stockpile. His name was Frank Olson.

On that terrible September day in 2001, Olson’s son, Eric, was living in the family home in Frederick, Maryland, a short distance from Fort Detrick, where his father had worked for the CIA. That establishment then—and now—remains a restricted place, guarded by a variety of electronic defenses and armed “guards. As the television set in Eric’s living room endlessly replayed the 9/11 scenes of destruction from New York and Washington, he typed into his computer—on which he had stored so many astonishing matters relating to the death of his father—the most astounding claim of all:

“My father was murdered because the CIA feared he would reveal the biggest American secret of the Cold War, perhaps of all time. It is the secret of how the CIA was involved in biological warfare as well as mind control. My father had a key part in both programs.”

The takeaways from this very brief history are simply that the US has engaged in bioweapon research; that it has stockpiles—an “armory”—of weaponized biological agents; and that it is extremely secretive. Everything can of course have a purely benign spin—the research is purely defensive/preventative. It exists to save us from bio attacks by terrorists or rogue states—like Russia—and that it is important to prevent terrorists and rogue states from getting hold of the research and having access to the biological agents. As we all know the United States is still the only state to have used nuclear weapons. It sets itself up as the moral arbiter of nations and what constitutes a just international order. It is entitled to be an exceptional state—that’s part of its Calvinist heritage (hard to believe when you see its public clowns today)—but it sticks to it. The question is: is the USA a force for the angels? Or does it say one thing and do another? Is its bioresearch all for the human good? Or is it a potential source of devastation?

Irrespective of what you or I might think, the thing that must be born in mind when the Russians went on the offensive about the biolabs in the Ukraine, and the US went from denial (and when that became too implausible) to “nothing to see here, all above-board, and there is nothing remotely dangerous in any of this.”

Apart from what seems to me to be the Western explanation—one can very easily find out why the Russians are bothered, and why it might even be reasonable for them to be bothered when one listens to what they are saying. And what they are saying is deeply disturbing, and as far as I can see it, while the very idea that Ukrainian/ US biolabs could be genuinely perceived as a serious threat to Russia is ridiculed and ‘factchecked’ by repeating government/ intelligence press releases, anyone who reads the Russian Government Report, The activities of the biological laboratories of the US Department of Defense in Ukraine will see that, at the very least, there is a story here, and that to bury it is but one more egregious example of the complete moral and intellectual bankruptcy of our “idea-broking” professionals.

An essential component of that story is the connection between the end of the Soviet Union, the expansion of NATO (which the West refuses to concede is any serious cause of aggravation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and which involves “experts” and “journalists” repeating the lie that none ever said NATO expansion would stop with the end of the Cold War), and the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. That Program was initiated by the US government working in cooperation with the Pentagon and CIA—the Pentagon Division was originally entitled the “Defense Special Weapons Agency,” before changing its name to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the US Army Institute for Medical Research on Infectious Diseases. The Program’s ostensible purpose was the elimination of stockpiles of Soviet nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, which effectively gave the US control over former Soviet biological weapons.

Although, it might be a source of puzzlement for those who think that the USA, unlike any other imperial or hegemonic power, simply acts for the good of all human kind—and that it and its allies are not driven by the strategic self-interests of their ruling classes—the “Cooperative Reduction Program” not only involved taking over the stockpiles (and specialists trained in developing and studying pathogens and bioweapon technology) in Russia, but also countries “along the perimeter of the borders of Russia: Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan,” before expanding into other parts of Asia and Africa.

What was meant to be an elimination program morphed into something far more in keeping with a geopolitical strategy commensurate with the continuation of NATO expansion and the United States’ mission of a unipolar world, and a source of concern for the Russians, viz. “one after another transferred their collections of dangerous pathogens to the United States in exchange for American help. Who neutralized them in America, how and whether they were actually destroyed—remained a mystery.”

But then everything to do with the labs was a mystery—which, on a tangential though not completely unrelated matter, is why the issues of the laboratory source of COVID, and the pharmaceutical and financial and political networks involved in the origin of the pandemic (whether true or fake) are still smothered in deceit and mystery.

In any case, what was officially presented as a program of elimination turned into an opportunity too good to miss, as an extensive network of labs working with dangerous viruses were set up in former Soviet countries: “All of them were financed by the US Department of Defense, were called differently everywhere and were created, as a rule, on the basis of scientific research institutes and SES, created back in the Soviet period. One of the features of this program consisted in the fact that in each country not one object was erected, but a whole cluster at once. Part of it was concentrated directly in the capitals of the former republics, while related institutions were located in different parts of the country.”

The Report then identifies what it calls two “strong opinions” about this network in the former Soviet republics, and they are worth citing at length:

First. American biological programs in the post-Soviet states are a way to circumvent the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and Their Destruction (BTWC). Despite the fact that the Convention was signed back in 1972, to this day, the control mechanism does not work largely due to the efforts of the United States, although the world expert community spent more than 45 years developing it. In 2001, the US demonstrated to the world that it had active bioprograms. After the attack on September 11, 2001, deaths of anthrax among people suddenly began to be recorded, and postal envelopes became the transmission route of this infection. The US Congress conducted an investigation (later it turned out that the recipe was combat and came out of the walls of the US Army bacteriological center at Fort Detrick). The attack against its own people, attributed to terrorists, gave huge political dividends to the US leadership. Now there was a formal reason to declare that the States are victims of biological terrorism and therefore unilaterally withdraw from the mechanism of collective control over the implementation of the BTWC. In autumn 2001, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced this in Geneva. At the same time, a biological threat reduction program (the Nunn-Lugar program) was proposed, and the United States began large-scale construction of military biological laboratories, including around Russia. But holding the United States accountable for conducting biological experiments that violate the UN Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons is almost impossible. The US does not recognize the International Criminal Court and was not a signatory to the founding Rome Statute….

Second. The United States, after the collapse of the USSR, became very concerned about the conditions for the storage of pathogens and, as a result, the threat of a biological attack on America. The global American project declares its goal to minimize these threats, which is why tens and hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in laboratories in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Moldova, and Ukraine. They say that dangerous strains of microorganisms may leak into the environment in these countries. However, it does not explain how, for example, Armenia or Uzbekistan can organize a biological attack on the United States or why the laboratories are mainly located in large cities with a high population density or at a close distance from them. After all, it is much more logical, if there is even a minimal threat of pathogen leakage, to build such facilities in a desert area in order to eliminate the possibility of the spread of pathogens and epidemics.

As for the more specific purposes of the research, the penultimate paragraph of the Report sums it up thus:

The activities of American biological laboratories damage the economy, including by indirect methods (due to the destruction of livestock of diseased livestock, discrediting livestock products on local and world markets), as well as the human potential of Russia (reduction of general immunity and resistance to seasonal diseases, ability to reproduce, decreased efficiency, etc.), the diversion of significant forces and resources of the state to combat artificial outbreaks of infectious diseases. As a result the dependence of the attacked countries (Russia, China and Iran) on the products of the Western pharmaceutical industry is increasing, hoping in the future to offer medicines against artificially caused outbreaks of infectious diseases.

The Report also notes the mutuality of political, military and corporate interests that are embedded in bioresearch, and the geopolitical conditions that the US needs to establish and maintain for it to be effective. Again, I quote at length:

US biolaboratories located along the borders of the Russian Federation have a number of common features. These objects are strictly classified and are located in cities or near cities with a population of over a million (Odessa, Kharkov, Almaty), near seaports (Odessa), airports (Tbilisi, Yerevan, Kyiv) or in earthquake-prone countries such as Armenia (Yerevan, Gyumri, Ijevan) , and even in areas with a probability of 9-magnitude earthquakes (Almaty). The construction of laboratories as part of projects to counter biological threats allows the United States to fully control the biological situation on the territory of both the respective post-Soviet countries and their transboundary neighbors. Virologists know that there is only one step from studying bacteria to creating a bacteriological weapon. In addition, the biolaboratories created by the United States, operating in a closed regime, are removed from the control of the governments of the countries in which they are located. Laboratories are often staffed by Americans with diplomatic immunity, and local health officials do not have direct access to these facilities.

The number of laboratory staff, from 50 to 250 people, far exceeds the number of personnel needed to maintain modern civilian laboratories with stated goals. The heads of the facilities are often appointed by persons from among the military loyal to Washington or intelligence officers. So, the CRL in Tbilisi was previously headed by the chief of Georgian intelligence Anna Zhvania and he was subordinate not to the Ministry of Health, but to the Ministry of Defense of Georgia.

In the case of Ukraine, and unlike other parts of the former USSR, it was not until the Presidency of George W. Bush that bioweapon research was conducted there. Like Obama and Trump after him, George W. originally campaigned on a foreign policy platform of cooperation with Russia—but that counted for zero once elected, and his regime’s setting up of military laboratories in Ukraine would be an important part in a chain of events that has led to the brink we now live upon.

The Report quotes the Political Scientist Dmitry Skvortsov: “Now there are 15 military laboratories in the country at once, and their activities are absolutely non-transparent and unaccountable. Hence the conclusion: these facilities were created by the Pentagon as manufacturers of biological weapons. Otherwise, why aim to prevent the spread of ‘technologies, viruses and pathogens’ used in the development of biological weapons in facilities where these weapons have never been developed?”

The Report also quotes the former Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov complaining about the secrecy surrounding the research and the lack of controls able to be exercised on the research.

When the story about the existence of the US/Ukraine biolabs was labelled “misinformation,” before being changed to “so what? It’s for our own good,” one might have thought that would be some follow up by journalists about claims of odd viral outbreaks in Ukraine. But that has never happened. Just because journalists do not report things does not mean such things do not exist. And the Report points out that there have been bacterial and viral outbreaks in Ukraine of the sort which indicate laboratory sources.

For example in 2010 and 2015, there were California flu pandemics:

…when the epidemiological threshold was exceeded in 20 regions. From October 2015 to February 2016, more than 350 virologically confirmed deaths from this type of A (H1N1) virus were registered in Ukraine, with 40% of deaths were young people from 18 to 26 years old who did not have chronic diseases.”

Also,

Since 1995, no cases of cholera have been registered in Ukraine. And suddenly in 2011 in Mariupol, 33 people get sick at once. In 2009, 450 Ukrainians in Ternopil suffered from a rare virus that causes hemorrhagic pneumonia. In 2014, there was another outbreak of cholera in Ukraine, which came from nowhere—then 800 people fell ill. The same thing happens in 2015 and 2017: about a hundred cases were registered in Mykolaiv.

In 2015, fatal cases of leptospirosis, rabies and other pathologies, which have long been forgotten in the EU countries, were recorded in Ukraine. In 2016, an epidemic begins in the country botulism, from which four people die, and in 2017—eight more, only according to official data.

In January of the same year, 37 residents of Nikolaev were hospitalized with “jaundice”, six months later 60 people with the same diagnosis were hospitalized in Zaporozhye. At the same time, an outbreak of hepatitis A was noted in Odessa, and 19 children from the boarding school were sent to the hospital in the Odessa region. In November 27 cases of infection have already been recorded in Kharkiv. The virus was transmitted through drinking water.

The Report also notes:

…the existence of 13,476 permanently dysfunctional anthrax sites in the country, which no one deals with, and some of them graze cattle. Only in the Odessa region there are 430 potentially dangerous objects where animals can catch the disease.

This is exactly what happened in 2018, when anthrax broke out in several villages of the Odessa region: five people ended up in the hospital with a skin form of the disease. In the Sumy region there are at least 20 animal burial grounds with anthrax, and not designated in any way.

The situation with the incidence of botulism is also close to catastrophic. In 2016, 115 cases of botulism were reported in Ukraine, of which 12 were fatal. In 2017, the country’s Ministry of health service has confirmed an additional 90 cases and 8 deaths. In subsequent years, the trend continued: 13 outbreaks were registered in the first three months of 2020 botulism, 15 people got sick, including one child of 9 years old.

The Report also draws attention to another tactic of biological weaponry that might be easier to ignore because its effects are far less dramatic and overt—and that is the release of many “small viruses, colds, varieties of runny nose, multiple strains of influenza,” that do not kill or seriously injure those affected, but which impact the general well-being and energy of a population.

And then there are the epidemics affecting agriculture and the economy:

With the beginning of the active work of DTRA in Ukraine, mass deaths from epidemics began not only of people, but also of animals. Avian flu and African swine fever have dealt a heavy blow to the country’s agriculture. For example, in 2015, 60 thousand pigs were killed and burned at the Kalita agricultural plant alone. At the end of 2016, the EU banned the import of poultry meat from Ukraine due to the epidemiological situation in the country. According to published data, since 2017 Ukraine already imports more sausage than it exports. Thus, Ukraine from a competitor in the market of agricultural products is turning into a market for these products from the EU and the USA. The money invested in the laboratory is returned.

Another example were the outbreaks of bird flu was in 2016 and 2017 that led to a temporary bans by the EU and some Eastern European countries on Ukrainian poultry.

Finally, let me cite one last section of the Teport which discusses another report undertaken by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) “analyzing the risks associates with activities in the field of American biological laboratories. In particular, the document notes that the program provides for the accumulation in the Kherson Regional Laboratory Center of the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service of Ukraine of samples of pathogens from different regions of Ukraine under the pretext of studying the specifics of local strains and determining the degree of virulence of the obtained samples among the population”:

The next stage of cooperation, according to the SBU, should be the generalization and referral of research results to the Center for Biological Research at the US Defense Ministry, ostensibly to attract American specialists to develop vaccine samples that are maximally adapted to the residents of a particular region. The persistent efforts of the United States to resume the project indicate the intention to establish control over all domestic studies of pathogens of particularly dangerous infectious diseases that can be used for creation or modernization of new types of selective biological weapons. At the same time, it is not excluded that in the conditions of broad rights and powers guaranteed by the program, a foreign party will be able to study its own test systems on the territory of Ukraine, which creates a potential threat to epidemiological and epizootic situations, both in the region and in the country as a whole.

In sum, what the Russians fear about the biolabs is that research has been done with the explicit intention of breaking down the “national biological protection system.”

I have not the slightest doubt that if these claims were being made about the Russians the mainstream media would be creating a state of utter hysteria in the Western population. Already Western propaganda has succeeded in dehumanizing not only the Russians, but anyone who does not go along with the primary main stream media and the Pentagon and Intelligence claims made about the cause, meaning and justification of the war.

For my part, and as I have indicated in various essays for the Postil, I cannot ignore the constant calls for depopulation coming from the World Economic Forum and the likes of such gigantic brains and compassionate people as Klaus Schwab and Yuval Harari—and I cannot but think that bioweaponry can easily be used for that purpose.

Indeed, I ask myself, if it is necessary to save the planet by killing a few billion people, why wouldn’t our global leaders resort to biological weaponry? Perhaps that weaponry might be used in the most charitable way by simply attacking the reproductive capacities of the weakest of the species—and the weakest would be those who come from nations whose biological protective systems have been weakened through the deliberate release of pathogens.

That is not a conspiracy theory, it is simply posing the question, why would those who openly conspire to achieve the world they want—one with far less “useless people,” and as Harari points out without the least hesitation or sense of shame, most of the world’s population simply no longer have any further use—also not do the deeds that achieve their ends?

One way of doing the culling is to condemn entire peoples by dehumanizing them—initially by taking out nations who have been branded as “monsters,” and when that is not enough simply moving on to the useless.

As for those of you who think the concerns of the Russians “monsters” are just lies and propaganda, you might ask yourself why have they just drafted a proposal urging the UN Security Council to “set up a commission consisting of all members of the Security Council to investigate into the claims against the US and Ukraine contained in the complaint of the Russian Federation regarding the compliance with obligations under the [Biological Weapons] Convention in the context of the activities biological laboratories in the territory of Ukraine,” and present a report by November 30, 2022?


Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen booksHe also doubles up as a singer songwriter. His latest album can be found here.


Featured: “The Triumph of Death,” by Pieter Brueghel the Elder; painted ca. 1562.

The Narrative of Sham Elections

Every mainstream media outlet described the referenda in September in the Donetsk, Lugansk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR), Kherson Region and part of Zaporozhye as a “sham” and therefore “rigged.” The results were certainly not what one finds in Western style party political contestations:

  • DPR: Turnout 97.51%, and 99.23% voted for the integration of the Republic into the Russian Federation.
  • LPR: Turnout 92.6%, and 98.42% voted for the integration of the Republic into the Russian Federation.
  • Kherson region: 76.86% turnout, and 87.05% voted for the integration of the region into the Russian Federation.
  • Zaporozhye region: 85.4% turnout, with 93.11% voting in favour of the region’s integration into the Russian Federation.

So, it is very easy to pass these results off as “rigged” to an audience that has not investigated beyond what main stream Western media choose to report. But to equate what was going on there with what is going on in the West is sheer idiocy. To see why the vote went the way it did, follow the reports of Patrick Lancaster, Eva Bartlett, Graham Phillips, or others on the ground; or if you don’t trust them just consider how deeply entrenched in 2010 the support for Yanukovych was in these areas (around 90%), and how ethnic Russians had been treated since the Maidan, and who therefore fled Eastward into these regions (a million or so fled to Russia).

Also recall that Zelensky, a Russian-speaking Ukrainian, was voted in because he was supposed to be able to unify the nation by mending economic and political relations with Russia. He couldn’t, because the polarization of the country had become so much worse since the Maidan. The Maidan meant that never again would Eastern Ukrainians electorally determine their own political and economic future.

Be that as it may, the question of whether these elections were a sham or not is easily addressed—because there were international observers throughout the election process, whose reports we provide below:

The international observers who participated in the observation of the referendum on the accession of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions to the Russian Federation took part in a special briefing at the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation. They spoke about their impressions of the plebiscite.

Alena Bulgakova, Deputy Chair of the Coordination Council for Public Oversight over Voting under the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, opened the meeting. She thanked the foreign guests for their willingness to learn the truth about the situation in the regions against all odds.

“For the residents of the DPR, LPR, Zaporozhye, and Kherson regions, the referendum is a right that they have earned with blood. The events that have been taking place for eight years have hardened the character of the people to the point that they are no longer afraid of anything. The people have made their decision. It is important to each of them because they are determining not only their own fate, but also the fate of their children and loved ones,” she emphasized.

Alexander Kofman and Alexey Karyakin, Presidents of the Civic Chambers of DPR and LPR, noted that Ukraine itself succeeded in making Donbass want to secede. They stressed that the referendum was a long-awaited event for the republic’s residents.

Maxim Grigoriev, Chair of the Coordination Council for Public Oversight over Voting under the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, pointed out that the U.S. and European countries do not recognize the referendum results for political reasons.

“They were well aware of what was going on during those eight years of civil war in Ukraine, they were well aware of how many children had died, they were aware of how the Kiev regime was torturing people, killing people, what it was doing, just as they are aware that it is Western weapons that are now shooting at civilians in those republics that voted to separate from the Kiev regime, to be part of Russia,” he pointed out.

During the first three days of the referendum, Donetsk was shelled 115 times, Alexander Malkevich, Deputy Chair of the Coordination Council for Public Oversight over Voting under the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation stated.

“This is hatred, hatred against people who have made their choice. Over the past six months, the residents of Kherson and Zaporozhye regions have finally seen the true attitude of the Kiev regime toward them. The bombings, shelling, terrorist attacks, and murders. And from Russia’s side – care, repair of roads, payment of pensions, etc.,” the speaker stated.

The people of Donbass want to vote and self-determine, and this must be encouraged, stressed Modli Kulikani, Chairman of the international relations subcommittee of the African National Congress Youth League.

“Nelson Mandela said: freedom for some is not freedom. We have an obligation to promote freedom around the world, and so we came to see that the voting process is legitimate, that people vote and participate voluntarily. We found that most people in Zaporozhye couldn’t wait to express themselves because many times the elites spoke for these people. The most important thing for us was to understand what people really wanted. We can say that the referendum was free and fair,” he stated.

“Ballots against bombs,” as William Parra, an independent journalist from Colombia, called the referendum. He stressed that the people of Donbass and the liberated territories expect the international community to respect their choice.

“To me it’s just a way out for people wanting to get out of the death game, expecting it to end faster. We expect peace and freedom for these people. The most important thing here is to call on the international community to respect their choices,” he stated.

No one can say that voting was done at gunpoint, said Purnima Anand, an international observer from India.

“Everyone came to the referendum to express support for what is being done in the Russian Federation in the face of the world community. We support this transparent referendum in our difficult times. We need to understand the pain that people in eastern Ukraine are experiencing. I think the UN Security Council and Russia will come to an agreement in the near future. We wish for peace and justice for all humanity, especially for Donbass,” she added.

Michael Radachovsky, political advisor to the European Commission, noted that there were no violations in terms of voting procedures at the polling stations he visited.

“The elections were well organized in terms of how people were treated, the process itself was very well organized,” he stated.

The referendum was fairer and more transparent than the recent U.S. election, said French political scientist Emmanuel Le Roy.

“We would like to thank the organizers of the referendum and of course everyone who gave their vote and expressed their position. The voting system was impeccably organized, there were no violations or attempts to falsify the election results,” the speaker added.

Other representatives of foreign countries also expressed their support for the referendum and the decision of the residents of Donbass and the liberated territories.

So, who is lying about these elections? The many international observers, or our leaders and our media who imagine that they always occupy the moral high ground? You decide.


Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen booksHe also doubles up as a singer songwriter. His latest album can be found here.

How the West Brought War to Ukraine: A Review

[Read an excerpt from How the West Brought War to Ukraine]

It can be rather effectively argued that the greatest export commodity of the USA is war, commonly known as the Military Industrial Complex, which has spent the bloody decades after WWII bringing “democracy” to the benighted of the world—by bombs and sanctions, if necessary.

The latest such grand crusade is the war in Ukraine, which we have all been told to think of as “us” defending a fragile “democracy,” invaded out of the blue by the latest manifestation of Attila the Hun. Here was Ukraine happily minding its own business, until one day Putin woke up and decided that he needed to be a world-conqueror and off he went to “invade” Ukraine. The simplistic narrative of the “innocent” and the “criminal” has deep appeal in the Western psyche, conditioned no doubt by Hollywood. Thus, all the media had to do was point out the “criminal,” and the rest took care of itself. Out came all the virtue-signaling that the West is now so good at mustering. Now, there is not a shred of doubt in the minds of the majority in the West that this is a war between the “good guys” and the “Great Villain,” with the likes of Biden, Justin Trudeau, Britain and all the other cheerleaders for “democracy” constantly handing David’s loaded sling-shot to Ukraine to get the job done—but which the likes of Zelensky keep dropping. This is what fighting villainy to the last Ukrainian actually looks like.

But there is a far worse invasion that was completed a long time ago—that of the Western mind, addled by what is euphemistically known as “the mainstream media,” which knows that spin is the most effective form of victory in any war.

This is why Benjamin Abelow’s book, How the West brought War to Ukraine is a must-read, for it shows that this war is not about Ukraine, but about Russia, which needs to be brought to heel and become “democratic”: “…the vaunted goal of ‘regime change,’ which in the United States is sought by an informal alliance of Republican neoconservatives and Democratic liberal interventionists” (p. 5).

Abelow is careful in his analysis and gives a thorough and balanced account of what led Russia to undertake an attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Despite mainstream narratives, the attack was carefully provoked (orchestrated comes to mind). So, unlike “settled history,” which would have us believe that Ukraine is the “innocent bystander” in all this, Abelow undertakes a meticulous unpacking of the various provocations (Ukrainian and Western), which began in 1990 and finally came to a head on February 24, 2022. Wars don’t just happen; they are the result of a long series of failures and outrages. In the words of Professor Richard Sakwa: “In the end, NATO’s existence became justified by the need to manage the security threats provoked by its enlargement. The former Warsaw Pact and Baltic states joined NATO to enhance their security, but the very act of doing so created a security dilemma for Russia that undermined the security of all” (p. 51).

Given that Russia is a nation-state, it must look after its geopolitical interests and defend what is crucial to what it deems necessary to continue, as Jacques Baud has so often pointed out in this magazine. Not to recognize these interests is to be blind to reality: “The underlying cause of the war lies not in an unbridled expansionism of Mr. Putin, or in paranoid delusions of military planners in the Kremlin, but in a 30-year history of Western provocations, directed at Russia, that began during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and continued to the start of the war. These provocations placed Russia in an untenable situation, for which war seemed, to Mr. Putin and his military staff, the only workable solution” (p. 7).

These provocations are now well-known, and thus rigorously ignored, denied or glossed over as “Russian propaganda.” These include bringing arms as close to the Russian border as possible; the expansion of NATO, despite promises given to Russia that that would never happen; the withdrawal of the US from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty and the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (which now gives the US first-strike capability); the ousting of a democratically elected Ukrainian government and installing neo-Nazis into power in 2014; NATO military exercises along the Russian border; pushing Ukraine to join NATO, despite warnings from Russia that that would mean war; since 2014, training and arming the Ukrainian military, in which many of the units are openly neo-Nazi; actively nurturing Russophobia in Ukraine; encouraging the bloody war in the Eastern portions of Ukraine, which were seen as “pro-Russian” and therefore hostile. There are many others that can be listed.

Of course, the last provocation was telling Zelensky not to negotiate when Russia attacked on February 24. He was ready to do so, and a war would have easily have been avoided, and many helpless lives saved. But Boris Johnson flew out, met the Ukrainian president, and negotiation was off the table.

And this is the most baffling thing—the West does not want peace at all. It wants a war of total annihilation for Russia, which will never happen, of course, but which the West so far seems not to understand (perhaps because it is now governed by leaders who have little understanding of warcraft). No Western politician bravely calls for negotiations, for a ceasefire, for peace, for even a little breather. It’s war and more war, and the billions and arms keep pouring in: “To my knowledge, Zelensky never received any substantial American support to pursue his peace agenda. Instead, he was subjected to repeated visits by leading American politicians and State Department officials, all of whom spouted a theoretical principle of absolute Ukrainian freedom, defined as the “right” to join NATO and to establish a U.S. military outpost on Russia’s border. In the end, this “freedom” was worse than a pipe dream. Although it advanced the aims of the United States—or, more accurately, the interests of certain American political, military, and financial factions—it destroyed Ukraine” (p. 60).

The military historian Bernard Wicht, whose interview appears elsewhere in this magazine, very astutely observes that the West no longer has the ability to wage conventional war—not even the United States; this is why armed conflict in the 21st century is now “farmed” out to modern-day condottieri, who bring their private armies wherever their paymasters tell them to go. Is this is why billions are being sent to Ukraine, to pay for all the mercenaries? The war machine chugs along, indeed.

The strength of Abelow’s book is that it makes complexity accessible. Wars have so many moving parts, and Abelow with a deft hand guides the reader along. As is true of all good writers, this book is filled with clarity and insight, with an eye for the bigger picture, and all the while letting facts lead where they will. This is a rare talent nowadays.

Given the much-mentioned threat of nuclear war, the book ends with a prescient warning: “Policy makers in Washington and the European capitals—along with the captured, craven media that uncritically amplify their nonsense—are now standing up to their hips in a barrel of viscous mud. How those who were foolish enough to step into that barrel will find the wisdom to extricate themselves before they tip the barrel and take the rest of us down with them is hard to imagine” (p. 62).

Finally, as professor Sakwa pointed out, this entire tragedy would have been easily avoided if Zelensky had been encouraged to say just five little words: “Ukraine will not join NATO.” Why he could not say that lays the entire blood-guilt upon the collective leadership of the West.

How the West brought War to Ukraine is satisfying to read because it brings truth to light—and that is the highest calling any worthy writer can pursue. Rush out and buy it; and after you’ve read it, you will be both amazed and infuriated. The condottieri now run the show—but perhaps we the decent folk of this world will learn once again how to get rid of them. Perhaps this will be this war’s silver lining.


C.B. Forde lives in rural Ontario, Canada, where he reads, thinks and dreams.