Our Interview with Jacques Baud

In this penetrating interview, Jacques Baud delves into geopolitics to help us better understand what is actually taking place in the Ukraine, in that it is ultimately the larger struggle for global dominance, led by the United States, NATO and the political leaders of the West and against Russia.

As always, Colonel Baud brings to bear his well-informed analysis, which is unique for its depth and gravity. We are sure that you will find this conservation informative, insightful and crucial in connecting the dots.


The Postil (TP): We are so very pleased to have you join us for this conversation. Would you please tell us a little about yourself, about your background?

Jacques Baud (JB): Thank you for inviting me! As to my education, I have a master’s degree in Econometrics and postgraduate diplomas in International Relations and in International Security from the Graduate Institute for International relations in Geneva (Switzerland). I worked as strategic intelligence officer in the Swiss Department of Defense, and was in charge of the Warsaw Pact armed forces, including those deployed abroad (such as Afghanistan, Cuba, Angola, etc.) I attended intelligence training in the UK and in the US. Just after the end of the Cold War, I headed for a few years a unit in the Swiss Defense Research and Procurement Agency. During the Rwanda War, because of my military and intelligence background, I was sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo as security adviser to prevent ethnic cleansing in the Rwandan refugee camps.

During my time in the intelligence service, I was in touch with the Afghan resistance movement of Ahmed Shah Masood, and I wrote a small handbook to help Afghans in demining and neutralizing Soviet bomblets. In the mid-1990, the struggle against antipersonnel mines became a foreign policy priority of Switzerland. I proposed to create a center that would collect information about landmines and demining technologies for the UN. This led to the creation of the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining in Geneva. I was later offered to head the Policy and Doctrine Unit of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. After two years in New York, I went to Nairobi to perform a similar job for the African Union.

Jacques Baud, Darfour.

Then I was assigned to NATO to counter the proliferation of small arms. Switzerland is not a member of the Alliance, but this particular position had been negotiated as a Swiss contribution to the Partnership for Peace with NATO. In 2014, as the Ukraine crisis unfolded, I monitored the flow of small arms in the Donbass. Later, in the same year I was involved in a NATO program to assist the Ukrainian armed forces in restoring their capacities and improving personnel management, with the aim of restoring trust in them.

TP: You have written two insightful articles about the current conflict in the Ukraine, which we had the great privilege to translate and publish (here and here). Was there a particular event or an instance which led you to formulate this much-needed perspective?

JB: As a strategic intelligence officer, I always advocated providing to the political or military decision-makers the most accurate and the most objective intelligence. This is the kind of job where you need to keep you prejudice and your feelings to yourself, in order to come up with an intelligence that reflects as much as possible the reality on the ground rather than your own emotions or beliefs. I also assume that in a modern democratic State decision must be fact-based. This is the difference with autocratic political systems where decision-making is ideology-based (such as in the Marxist States) or religion-based (such as in the French pre-revolutionary monarchy).

Jacques Baud with the New Sudan Brigade.

Thanks to my various assignments, I was able to have an insider view in most recent conflicts (such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria and, of course, Ukraine). The main common aspect between all these conflicts is that we tend to have a totally distorted understanding of them. We do not understand our enemies, their rationale, their way of thinking and their real objectives. Hence, we are not even able to articulate sound strategies to fight them. This is especially true with Russia. Most people, including the top brass, tend to confuse “Russia” and “USSR.” As I was in NATO, I could hardly find someone who could explain what Russia’s vision of the world is or even its political doctrine. Lot of people think Vladimir Putin is a communist. We like to call him a “dictator,” but we have a hard time to explain what we mean by that. As examples, people come up invariably with the assassination of such and such journalist or former FSB or GRU agents, although evidence is extremely debatable. In other words, even if it is true, we are not able to articulate exactly the nature of the problem. As a result, we tend to portray the enemy as we wished him to be, rather than as he actually is. This is the ultimate recipe for failure. This explains why, after five years spent within NATO, I am more concerned about Western strategic and military capabilities than before.

Jacques Baud.

In 2014, during the Maidan revolution in Kiev, I was in NATO in Brussels. I noticed that people didn’t assess the situation as it was, but as they wished it would be. This is exactly what Sun Tzu describes as the first step towards failure. In fact, it appeared clear to me that nobody in NATO had the slightest interest in Ukraine. The main goal was to destabilize Russia.

TP: How do you perceive Volodymyr Zelensky? Who is he, really? What is his role in this conflict? It seems he wants to have a “forever war,” since he must know he cannot win? Why does he want to prolong this conflict?

JB: Volodymyr Zelensky was elected on the promise he would make peace with Russia, which I think is a noble objective. The problem is that no Western country, nor the European Union managed to help him realize this objective. After the Maidan revolution, the emerging force in the political landscape was the far-right movement. I do not like to call it “neo-Nazi” because “Nazism” was a clearly defined political doctrine, while in Ukraine, we are talking about a variety of movements that combine all the features of Nazism (such as antisemitism, extreme nationalism, violence, etc.), without being unified into a single doctrine. They are more like a gathering of fanatics.

After 2014, Ukrainian armed forces’ command & control was extremely poor and was the cause of their inability to handle the rebellion in Donbass. Suicide, alcohol incidents, and murder surged, pushing young soldiers to defect. Even the British government noted that young male individuals preferred to emigrate rather than to join the armed forces. As a result, Ukraine started to recruit volunteers to enforce Kiev’s authority in the Russian speaking part of the country. These volunteers ere (and still are) recruited among European far-right extremists. According to Reuters, their number amounts to 102,000. They have become a sizeable and influential political force in the country.

The problem here is that these far-right fanatics threatened to kill Zelensky were he to try to make peace with Russia. As a result, Zelensky found himself sitting between his promises and the violent opposition of an increasingly powerful far-right movement. In May 2019, on the Ukrainian media Obozrevatel, Dmytro Yarosh, head of the “Pravy Sektor” militia and adviser to the Army Commander in Chief, openly threatened Zelensky with death, if he came to an agreement with Russia. In other words, Zelensky appears to be blackmailed by forces he is probably not in full control of.

In October 2021, the Jerusalem Post published a disturbing report on the training of Ukrainian far-right militias by American, British, French and Canadian armed forces. The problem is that the “collective West” tends to turn a blind eye to these incestuous and perverse relationships in order to achieve its own geopolitical goals. It is supported by unscrupulous far-right biased medias against Israel, which tend to approve the criminal behavior of these militias. This situation has repeatedly raised Israel’s concerns. This explains why Zelensky’s demands to the Israeli parliament in March 2022 were not well received and have not been successful.

So, despite his probable willingness to achieve a political settlement for the crisis with Russia, Zelensky is not allowed to do so. Just after he indicated his readiness to talk with Russia, on 25 February, the European Union decided two days later to provide €450M in arms to Ukraine. The same happened in March. As soon as Zelensky indicated he wanted to have talks with Vladimir Putin on 21 March, the European Union decided to double its military aid to €1 billion on 23 March. End of March, Zelensky made an interesting offer that was retracted shortly after.

Apparently, Zelensky is trying to navigate between Western pressure and his far right on the one hand and his concern to find a solution on the other, and is forced into a ” back-and-forth,” which discourages the Russian negotiators.

In fact, I think Zelensky is in an extreme uncomfortable position, which reminds me of Soviet Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky’s during WWII. Rokossovsky had been imprisoned in 1937 for treason and sentenced to death by Stalin. In 1941, he got out of prison on Stalin’s orders and was given a command. He was eventually promoted to Marshall of the Soviet Union in 1944, but his death sentence was not lifted until 1956.

Today, Zelensky must lead his country under the sword of Damocles, with the blessing of Western politicians and unethical media. His lack of political experience made him an easy prey for those who were trying to exploit Ukraine against Russia, and in the hands of extreme right-wing movements. As he acknowledges in an interview with CNN, he was obviously lured into believing that Ukraine would enter NATO more easily after an open conflict with Russia, as Oleksey Arestovich, his adviser, confirmed in 2019.

TP: What do you think will be the fate of the Ukraine? Will it be like all the other experiments in “spreading democracy” (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.)? Or is Ukraine a special case?

JB: I have definitely no crystal ball… At this stage, we can only guess what Vladimir Putin wants. He probably wants to achieve two main goals. The first one is to secure the situation of the Russian-speaking minority in Ukraine. How, remains an open question. Does he want to re-create the “Novorossiya” that tried to emerge from the 2014 unrests? This “entity” that never really existed, and it consisted of the short-lived Republics of Odessa, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov and Lugansk, of which only the Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk “survived.” The autonomy referendum planned for early May in the city of Kherson might be an indication for this option. Another option would be to negotiate an autonomous status for these areas, and to return them to Ukraine in exchange of its neutrality.
The second goal is to have a neutral Ukraine (some will say a “Finlandized Ukraine”). That is—without NATO. It could be some kind of Swiss “armed neutrality.” As you know, in the early 19th century, Switzerland had a neutral status imposed on it by the European powers, as well as the obligation to prevent any misuse of its territory against one of these powers. This explains the strong military tradition we have in Switzerland and the main rationale for its armed forces today. Something similar could probably be considered for Ukraine.

An internationally recognized neutral status would grant Ukraine a high degree of security. This status prevented Switzerland from being attacked during the two world wars. The often-mentioned example of Belgium is misleading, because during both world wars, its neutrality was declared unilaterally and was not recognized by the belligerents. In the case of Ukraine, it would have its own armed forces, but would be free from any foreign military presence: neither NATO, nor Russia. This is just my guess, and I have no clue about how this could be feasible and accepted in the current polarized international climate.

I am not sure about the so-called “color-revolutions” aim at spreading democracy. My take is that it is just a way to weaponize human rights, the rule of law or democracy in order to achieve geo-strategic objectives. In fact, this was clearly spelled out in a memo to Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s Secretary of State, in 2017. Ukraine is a case in point. After 2014, despite Western influence, it has never been a democracy: corruption soared between 2014 and 2020; in 2021, it banned opposition media and jailed the leader of the main parliamentary opposition party. As some international organizations have reported, torture is a common practice, and opposition leaders as well as journalists are chased by the Ukrainian Security Service.

TP: Why is the West only interested in drawing a simplistic image of the Ukraine conflict? That of “good guys” and the “bad guys?” Is the Western public really now that dumbed down?

JB: I think this is inherent to any conflict. Each side tends to portray itself as the “good guy.” This is obviously the main reason.

Besides this, other factors come into play. First, most people, including politicians and journalists, still confuse Russia and the USSR. For instance, they don’t understand why the communist party is the main opposition party in Russia.

Second, since 2007, Putin was systematically demonized in the West. Whether or not he is a “dictator” Is a matter of discussion; but it is worth noting that his approval rate in Russia never fell below 59 % in the last 20 years. I take my figures from the Levada Center, which is labeled as “foreign agent” in Russia, and hence doesn’t reflect the Kremlin’s views. It is also interesting to see that in France, some of the most influential so-called “experts” on Russia are in fact working for the British MI-6’s “Integrity Initiative.”

Third, in the West, there is a sense that you can do whatever you want if it is in the name of western values. This is why the Russian offensive in Ukraine is passionately sanctioned, while FUKUS (France, UK, US) wars get strong political support, even if they are notoriously based on lies. “Do what I say, not what I do!” One could ask what makes the conflict in Ukraine worse than other wars. In fact, each new sanction we apply to Russia highlights the sanctions we haven’t applied earlier to the US, the UK or France.

The purpose of this incredible polarization is to prevent any dialogue or negotiation with Russia. We are back to what happened in 1914, just before the start of WWI…

TP: What will Russia gain or lose with this involvement in the Ukraine (which is likely to be long-term)? Russia is facing a conflict on “two fronts,” it would seem: a military one and an economic one (with the endless sanctions and “canceling” of Russia).

JB: With the end of the Cold War, Russia expected being able to develop closer relations with its Western neighbors. It even considered joining NATO. But the US resisted every attempt of rapprochement. NATO structure does not allow for the coexistence of two nuclear superpowers. The US wanted to keep its supremacy.

Since 2002, the quality of the relations with Russia decayed slowly, but steadily. It reached a first negative “peak” in 2014 after the Maidan coup. The sanctions have become US and EU primary foreign policy tool. The Western narrative of a Russian intervention in Ukraine got traction, although it was never substantiated. Since 2014, I haven’t met any intelligence professional who could confirm any Russian military presence in the Donbass. In fact, Crimea became the main “evidence” of Russian “intervention.” Of course, Western historians ignore superbly that Crimea was separated from Ukraine by referendum in January 1991, six months before Ukrainian independence and under Soviet rule. In fact, it’s Ukraine that illegally annexed Crimea in 1995. Yet, western countries sanctioned Russia for that…

Since 2014 sanctions severely affected east-west relations. After the signature of the Minsk Agreements in September 2014 and February 2015, the West—namely France, Germany as guarantors for Ukraine, and the US—made no effort whatsoever to make Kiev comply, despite repeated requests from Moscow.

Russia’s perception is that whatever it will do, it will face an irrational response from the West. This is why, in February 2022, Vladimir Putin realized he would gain nothing in doing nothing. If you take into account his mounting approval rate in the country, the resilience of the Russian economy after the sanctions, the loss of trust in the US dollar, the threatening inflation in the West, the consolidation of the Moscow-Beijing axis with the support of India (which the US has failed to keep in the “Quad”), Putin’s calculation was unfortunately not wrong.

Regardless of what Russia does, US and western strategy is to weaken it. From that point on, Russia has no real stake in its relations with us. Again, the US objective is not to have a “better” Ukraine or a “better” Russia, but a weaker Russia. But it also shows that the United States is not able to rise higher than Russia and that the only way to overcome it is to weaken it. This should ring an alarm bell in our countries…

TP: You have written a very interesting book on Putin. Please tell us a little about it.

JB: In fact, I started my book in October 2021, after a show on French state TV about Vladimir Putin. I am definitely not an admirer of Vladimir Putin, nor of any Western leader, by the way. But the so-called experts had so little understanding of Russia, international security and even of simple plain facts, that I decided to write a book. Later, as the situation around Ukraine developed, I adjusted my approach to cover this mounting conflict.
The idea was definitely not to relay Russian propaganda. In fact, my book is based exclusively on western sources, official reports, declassified intelligence reports, Ukrainian official medias, and reports provided by the Russian opposition. The approach was to demonstrate that we can have a sound and factual alternative understanding of the situation just with accessible information and without relying on what we call “Russian propaganda.”

The underlying thinking is that we can only achieve peace if we have a more balanced view of the situation. To achieve this, we have to go back to the facts. Now, these facts exist and are abundantly available and accessible. The problem is that some individuals make every effort to prevent this and tend to hide the facts that disturb them. This is exemplified by some so-called journalist who dubbed me “The spy who loved Putin!” This is the kind of “journalists” who live from stirring tensions and extremism. All figures and data provided by our media about the conflict come from Ukraine, and those coming from Russia are automatically dismissed as propaganda. My view is that both are propaganda. But as soon as you come up with western data that do not fit into the mainstream narrative, you have extremists claiming you “love Putin.”

Our media are so worried about finding rationality in Putin’s actions that they turn a blind eye to the crimes committed by Ukraine, thus generating a feeling of impunity for which Ukrainians are paying the price. This is the case of the attack on civilians by a missile in Kramatorsk—we no longer talk about it because the responsibility of Ukraine is very likely, but this means that the Ukrainians could do it again with impunity.

On the contrary, my book aims at reducing the current hysteria that prevent any political solution. I do not want to deny the Ukrainians the right to resist the invasion with arms. If I were Ukrainian, I would probably take the arms to defend my land. The issue here is that it must be their decision. The role of the international community should not be to add fuel to the fire by supplying arms but to promote a negotiated solution.

To move in this direction, we must make the conflict dispassionate and bring it back into the realm of rationality. In any conflict the problems come from both sides; but here, strangely, our media show us that they all come from one side only. This is obviously not true; and, in the end, it is the Ukrainian people who pay the price of our policy against Vladimir Putin.

TP: Why is Putin hated so much by the Western elite?

JB: Putin became Western elite’s “bête noire” in 2007 with his famous speech in Munich. Until then, Russia had only moderately reacted to NATO expansion. But as the US withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2002 and started negotiations with some East European countries to deploy anti-ballistic missiles, Russia felt the heat and Putin virulently criticized the US and NATO.

This was the start of a relentless effort to demonize Vladimir Putin and to weaken Russia. The problem was definitely not human rights or democracy, but the fact that Putin dared to challenge the western approach. The Russians have in common with the Swiss the fact that they are very legalistic. They try to strictly follow the rules of international law. They tend to follow “law-based International order.” Of course, this is not the image we have, because we are used to hiding certain facts. Crimea is a case in point.

In the West, since the early 2000s, the US has started to impose a “rules-based international order.” As an example, although the US officially recognizes that there is only one China and that Taiwan is only a part of it, it maintains a military presence on the island and supplies weapons. Imagine if China would supply weapons to Hawaii (which was illegally annexed in the 19th century)!

What the West is promoting is an international order based on the “law of the strongest.” As long as the US was the sole superpower, everything was fine. But as soon as China and Russia started to emerge as world powers, the US tried to contain them. This is exactly what Joe Biden said in March 2021, shortly after taking office: “The rest of the world is closing in and closing in fast. We can’t allow this to continue.”

As Henry Kissinger said in the Washington Post: “For the West, the demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one.” This is why I felt we need to have a more factual approach to this conflict.

TP: Do you know who was involved and when it was decided by the US and NATO that regime change in Russia was a primary geopolitical objective?

JB: I think everything started in the early 2000s. I am not sure the objective was a regime change in Moscow, but it was certainly to contain Russia. This is what we have witnessed since then. The 2014 events in Kiev have boosted US efforts.

These were clearly defined in 2019, in two publications of the RAND Corporation [James Dobbins, Raphael S. Cohen, Nathan Chandler, Bryan Frederick, Edward Geist, Paul DeLuca, Forrest E. Morgan, Howard J. Shatz, Brent Williams, “Extending Russia : Competing from Advantageous Ground,” RAND Corporation, 2019; James Dobbins & al., “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia,” RAND Corporation, (Doc Nr. RB-10014-A), 2019]. .This has nothing to do with the rule of law, democracy or human rights, but only with maintaining US supremacy in the world. In other words, nobody cares about Ukraine. This is why the international community (that is, Western countries) make every effort to prolong the conflict.

Since 2014, this is exactly what happened. Everything the West did was to fulfill US strategic objectives.

TP: In this regard, you have also written another interesting book, on Alexei Navalny. Please tell us about what you have found out about Navalny.

JB: What disturbed me about the Navalny case was the haste with which Western governments condemned Russia and applied sanctions, even before knowing the results of an impartial investigation. So, my point in the book is not “to tell truth,” because we do not know exactly what the truth is, even if we have consistent indications that the official narrative is wrong.
The interesting aspect is that the German doctors in the Charité Hospital in Berlin, were not able to identify any nerve agent in Navalny’s body. Surprisingly, they published their findings in the respected medical review The Lancet, showing that Navalny probably experienced a bad combination of medicine and other substances.

The Swedish military lab that analyzed Navalny’s blood—redacted the name of the substance they discovered, which is odd since everybody expected “Novichok” to be mentioned.

The bottom line is that we don’t know exactly what happened, but the nature of the symptoms, the reports of the German doctors, the answers provided by the German government to the Parliament, and the puzzling Swedish document tend to exclude a criminal poisoning, and therefore, a fortiori, poisoning by the Russian government.

The main point of my book is that international relations cannot be “Twitter-driven.” We need to use appropriately our intelligence resources, not as a propaganda instrument, as we tend to do these days, but as an instrument for smart and fact-based decision-making.

TP: You have much experience within NATO. What do you think is the primary role of NATO now?

JB: This is an essential question. In fact, NATO hasn’t really evolved since the end of the Cold War. This is interesting because in 1969, there was the “Harmel Report” that was ahead of its time and could be the fundament of a new definition of NATO’s role. Instead, NATO tried to find new missions, such as in Afghanistan, for which the Alliance was not prepared, neither intellectually, nor doctrinally, nor from a strategic point of view.

Having a collective defense system in Europe is necessary, but the nuclear dimension of NATO tends to restrict its ability to engage a conventional conflict with a nuclear power. This is the problem we are witnessing in Ukraine. This is why Russia strives having a “glacis” between NATO and its territory. This would probably not prevent conflicts but would help keep them as long as possible in a conventional phase. This is why I think a non-nuclear European defense organization would be a good solution.

TP: Do you think that NATO’s proxy war with Russia serves to placate internal EU tensions, between conservative Central/Eastern Europe and the more progressive West?

JB: Some will certainly see it that way, but I think this is only a by-product of the US strategy to isolate Russia.

TP: Can you say something about how Turkey has positioned itself, between NATO and Russia?

JB: I have worked quite extensively with Turkey as I was in NATO. I think Turkey is a very committed member of the Alliance. What we tend to forget is that Turkey is at the crossroads between the “Christian World” and the “Islamic World;” it sits between two civilizations and in a key region of the Mediterranean zone. It has its own regional stakes.

The conflicts waged by the West in the Middle East significantly impacted Turkey, by promoting Islamism and stimulating tensions, in particular with the Kurds. Turkey has always tried to maintain a balance between its desire for Western-style modernization and the very strong traditionalist tendencies of its population. Turkey’s opposition to the Iraq War due to domestic security concerns was totally ignored and dismissed by the US and its NATO Allies.

Interestingly, when Zelensky sought a country to mediate the conflict, he turned to China, Israel and Turkey, but didn’t address any EU country.

TP: If you were to predict, what do you think the geopolitical situation of Europe and the world will look like 25 years from now?

JB: Who would have predicted the fall of the Berlin Wall? The day it happened, I was in the office of a National Security Adviser in Washington DC, but he had no clue about the importance of the event!

I think the decay of US hegemony will be the main feature of the next decades. At the same time, we will see a fast-growing importance of Asia led by China and India. But I am not sure Asia will “replace” the US strictly speaking. While US worldwide hegemony was driven by its military-industrial complex, Asia’s dominance will be in the research and technology area.

The loss of confidence in the US dollar may have significant impact on the US economy at large. I don’t want to speculate on future developments in the West, but a significant deterioration could lead the United States to engage in more conflicts around the world. This is something that we are seeing today, but it could become more important.

TP: What advice would you give people trying to get a clearer picture of what is really driving competing regional/national and global interests?

JB: I think the situation is slightly different in Europe than in North America.

In Europe, the lack of quality alternative media and real investigative journalism makes it difficult to find balanced information. The situation is different in North America where alternative journalism is more developed and constitutes an indispensable analytical tool. In the United States, the intelligence community is more present in the media than in Europe.

I probably could not have written my book based only on the European media. At the end of the day, the advice I would give is a fundamental one of intelligence work:

Be curious!

TP: Thank you so very much for your time—and for all your great work.


Featured image: Detail from the “Siege of Sevastopol,” by Franz Roubaud; painted 1902-1904.

Do Russians like Putin?

The following data is provided by the Levada Center, an independent Russian organization that is anything but “Putinist.” It is so little so that it is even included in the list of independent analysis centers in Europe, published by Freedom House.

The data from these polls represents yet another confirmation that the West’s political and military strategy against Russia (a strategy that even penalizes Russian writers, artists and sportsmen) is not only leading to a barbarization of the political and social life of the West itself, but is also acting as a kind of terrible political and economic boomerang—it produces the opposite effects of what is desired by the promoters of such a strategy.

These are the results of the March 2022 Levada Center polls:

  • Compared to February, the President’s approval rating rose from 71% to 83%. The approval for his government rose from 55% to 70%. The Prime Minister’s rose from 60% to 71%. United Russia’s [Putin’s political party] rose from 39% to 54%.
  • 69% of Russians (52% in February) think the country is heading in the right direction, while those who think otherwise have dropped from 38% to 22%.
  • After Putin (44% trust-rate), the most popular politicians (at 15%) are Sergei Shoigu, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Mikhail Mishustin and Sergey Lavrov.
  • 64% of Russians (43% of young people) follow the Ukrainian conflict with interest.
  • 81% (71% of young people) support the military operation; 14% are against it.
  • Specifically, 89% of those who approve of Putin’s policies are in favor of the military operation, while 32% among them disapprove of it.
  • Those who disapprove are either against war and killing civilians (43%), or interfering in another state (19%).
  • Those who approve of the military operation support the need to protect the population of the Donbass (43%), the need to prevent attacks on Russia (25%), the need to denazify Ukraine (21%), the need to discourage NATO (14%).
  • The dominant feelings are national pride (51%), fear (31%), shock (12%). Among young people fear, depression and shock prevail.
  • Condemnation of the war by other countries is explained by obedience to the United States (36%), misinformation in the Western media (29%), prejudice against Russia (27%), violation of international law by Russia (16%), fear of a Russian invasion (15%), and outrage at Russian actions (12%). Among young people, the last three options prevail.
  • 53% of Russians (40% of Muscovites) are not worried about sanctions.
  • 69% do not feel any problems because of the sanctions.
  • 58% (72% of young people, 80% of those on Telegram) have heard about the anti-war protests, but 32% believe that the protesters are paid.

This analysis appears courtesy of El Manifesto.

Ukraine: Air Warfare and Air Defense in High-Density Conflict

On February 24, the Russian armed forces launched a lightning offensive on Ukraine. This attack was preceded by a bombardment carried out by cruise missiles, including 3M14E Kalibr, KH-555 and KH-101, 9M728 Iskander-K semi-ballistic missiles and KH-31P anti-radar missiles. These missiles targeted Ukrainian air bases, ground/air defense sites, air surveillance radar sites and command posts. Barely 4 hours later, Russian ground forces crossed the Ukrainian border while a particularly daring and risky helicopter assault was launched against the Hostomel airport.

Several hundred missiles were launched during these first hours, destroying on the ground a good part of the Ukrainian fighter force—which had been spread over several bases—the main long-range ground/air defense sites made up of S-300 systems, as well as a good number of air surveillance radars. If this first phase strongly resembled the operations carried out by Western forces, the rest was radically different.

Partial and Short-Lived Air Superiority

An offensive preceded by the firing of cruise missiles and anti-radar missiles to eliminate strategic sites and ground/air defenses is not original in itself. It is the prerequisite for all military operations. However, completely neutralizing a ground/air defense and all enemy combat aircraft is generally a long-term operation, lasting from several days to several weeks. And even then, this work is almost never completely finished. During the Kosovo war, despite 58,574 air missions over 78 days—including 4,397 missions to suppress enemy air defenses—neither Serbian fighter aircraft nor ground/air defense were completely neutralized. However, the Serbian ground/air defense and its air force had nothing to compare with what Ukraine can offer, which is much better equipped, both in quantity and quality, not to mention the size of the country.

This first phase of the Russian attack was nevertheless likely to neutralize for a few hours the bulk of the enemy’s fighter and ground/air defense; but it was very far from being able to neutralize all the available means.

The Ukrainian fighter aircraft seem to have been hit hard during this first phase; the number of flights remained relatively low afterwards, which seems to indicate that there were few aircraft left able to take to the air. It is unclear whether the Ukrainian aircraft that continued to fly were operating from their air bases or from secondary runways or routes. In the latter case, the ability to operate the aircraft must have decreased rapidly, as it is very complicated to maintain and refuel sophisticated aircraft, such as combat aircraft outside their support infrastructure. Apart from the losses suffered in combat, this could also explain the slow but gradual disappearance of Ukrainian fighter aircraft from the sky.

The Ukrainian ground/air defense has proven to be much more difficult to neutralize. Not only were not all Ukrainian S-300 systems deployed on the ground—so that a number of the 20 or so S-300 systems in the field were in reserve—but all short- and medium-range systems were generally protected from strikes. In fact, the Ukrainian ground/air defense could still count on a few S-300 batteries and also on several hundred short- and medium-range systems (2K12 KUB (SA-6), 9K37 BUK (SA-11), 9K30 TOR-M1 (SA-15), 9K33M2 Osa-AK (SA-8), 9K35 STRELA-10 (SA-13), and hundreds of MANPADS (SA-7, SA-14, SA-16 and SA-18). Nevertheless, it seems that the air surveillance radar network was durably affected, at least on the eastern part of the country; which means that Ukraine probably did not have a complete air situation anymore. Without this, it is much more difficult to set up a structured anti-aircraft defense. Each weapon system also becomes more vulnerable because it must operate its own surveillance radar and thus reveal its presence, instead of taking advantage of a remote air situation that allows the system to be activated only when a target is in range.

Nevertheless, this partial neutralization and of short duration (a few hours), appeared sufficient for the blitzkrieg hoped for by the Russians. But the failure of the helicopter operation on the Hostomel airport greatly complicated the continuation of the operations.

Russia Facing Ukrainian Ground/Air Defense

As the numerous images broadcast on the internet show, the Ukrainian ground/air defense remains active and is capable of shooting down planes, helicopters and even cruise missiles.

Having engaged its ground forces very quickly without having air superiority, the Russian army found itself very exposed. As a result, Russian helicopters and attack aircraft were forced to take on ground support for the troops, despite the threats, hence the losses suffered. The weather conditions—low ceiling, fog—also hampered air operations. All this may also explain the relative discretion of Russian fighter aircraft during the first days of the conflict.

The lack of guided ammunition also forced the Russian fighter aircraft to operate at low altitude. It should be remembered that a guided munition costs between 100 and 600 times more than an unguided one, and that the Russians have favored the development of bombing calculators, such as the SVP-24 or GeFest-24, which allows for an CEP (circular error probable) of around 5 meters for a maximum release altitude of 5,000 meters. This is certainly much less precise than a guided bomb, but it is undoubtedly sufficient in the majority of cases for a much lower cost. The other advantage is that the stocks of smooth bombs are very large and easy to replenish, contrary to guidance kits which take a long time to produce; but this means that the planes are more exposed to ground/air systems.

After a period of uncertainty during the first two weeks, SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) missions seem to have been implemented more systematically in order to progressively reduce the most dangerous systems. Recurrent images of SU-30 aircraft equipped with KH-31P anti-radar missiles have been posted on the internet and the use of E95M target drones to attack Ukrainian anti-aircraft defenses is also attested. There have also been reports of the transformation of old AN-2 biplanes into drones to play the same role, but their use has not yet been confirmed. The deployment of electronic warfare aircraft has also been noted in Belarus, suggesting that jamming actions against weapons systems will be implemented.

Nevertheless, given the number of ground/air systems in the Ukrainian arsenal and the many very short-range missiles delivered by the West, Russian aircraft are not in a position to operate without any threat on Ukrainian territory, especially for those operating closest to the ground, such as helicopters or SU-25 and SU-34 attack aircraft. Unless such aircraft are not used, attrition will remain inevitable.

Russian Ground/Air Defense

Russia does not seem to have modified its defensive system; only two or three S-400s seem to have been deployed on Belarusian territory and, a priori, one in the north of Donbass; but none on Ukrainian soil. The ground/air defense around Moscow, Saint Petersburg, the Kaliningrad enclave, Crimea, the Murmansk region and the Russian Far East continues to hold the bulk of the S-400 systems. The rest of the country is still mostly protected by S-300P systems, whose replacement by S-350s is just beginning. This may explain why the OTR-21 Tochkaukrainian missiles launched at the Russian air bases of Tarantog and Millerovo were able to get through, knowing that the former had, for any protection, only an old S-300P located 50 km to the east, which was incapable of handling a ballistic missile, and the latter had no ground/air system within 200 km. The missiles could therefore not be intercepted. Although Russia has one of the densest air defense networks in the world, total anti-aircraft protection is impossible, given the vastness of the territory. Only the most strategic sites are systematically protected. This explains why two Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopters were able to carry out a raid on Belgorod, a city with no strategic installations and therefore no particular means of protection. Air defense is not a kind of magic that can create an invisible shield to protect a territory.

With regard to the invading forces, anti-aircraft cover was provided but in a very incomplete manner. As plethoric as the Russian anti-aircraft arsenal is, it is not sufficient to ensure the protection of all deployed forces. Ground/air systems, such as the Tor-M1, the 2K22M1 Tunguska and the old 9K35 Strela-10 and OSA have been supplemented by systems normally used for static protection, such as the Pantsir-S2, but in insufficient numbers to be able to provide protection for all the armored and supply columns.

Another problem is that Russia is now facing an air threat from drones, such as the TB-2, or the locally built Punisher. These relatively small and slow drones are particularly difficult for ground/air systems to detect while in motion. To be effective, the radars must be in a static position. Indeed, the speed of the vehicle and the movements accompanying it considerably hinder the detection of relatively slow targets because they are drowned in the Doppler speeds of the moving environment. These systems were designed to detect aircraft, missiles or helicopters, moving at much higher speeds and not likely to blend in with the environment. Empirically, we can consider that a drone moving at less than 200 km/h will be very difficult to detect by a moving radar. It should be considered that this problem will be aggravated by the arrival of suicide drones that the Americans are planning to deliver to Ukraine.

Russia has also deployed medium-range ground/air systems, such as the BUK-M1-2, whose interception capabilities are more extensive, with even an anti-ballistic missile capability up to 20 km.

All these anti-aircraft systems, far from having been demerited, have been able to shoot down Ukrainian aircraft and TB-2 drones—at the end of March, 35 of the 36 TB-2s delivered would have been shot down (information to be confirmed) when they were in a position to do so, i.e., in operation and in a fixed position. However, the enormous logistical problems encountered by the Russian army, particularly in terms of refueling, meant that a good number of these ground/air systems were “dry,” which meant that they were mechanically inactive due to a lack of electrical power; hence the number of pieces of equipment abandoned on site. Under these conditions, the Ukrainians were able to widely broadcast images of TB-2 drones destroying ground/air systems, which does not mean, however, that they had defeated them.

The other deficit of the Russian army is in the area of air surveillance. While the Russian territory is dotted with numerous air surveillance radars interconnected with anti-aircraft defense, this is not the case in Ukraine, where ground/air systems are generally isolated, which greatly reduces their overall effectiveness, as they are unable to function as a network and do not benefit from depth in surveillance. It would appear that at least two A-50 radar aircraft have been deployed to Belarus to compensate for this lack.

*

This is the first time since the Second World War that we are witnessing a high-intensity war in the third dimension in Europe, bringing into direct confrontation two armies with a set of first-rate capabilities (air force, dense and relatively modern ground/air defense, drones) and a more or less similar technological level. Three lessons can already be drawn from this conflict:

  1. Faced with a country richly endowed with ground/air systems, it is impossible to completely eliminate the threat. This means that aircraft flying over the protected territory must accept risks, and therefore inevitably suffer losses. Even old systems remain a threat that should not be neglected;
  2. in addition to missiles, the appearance of drones on the battlefield maintains a permanent air threat, practically impossible to suppress, which requires a respectable number of anti-aircraft/anti-drone systems capable of protecting ground forces, notably armored formations and logistical convoys which are particularly vulnerable;
  3. High-intensity warfare requires a very high consumption of ammunition, which implies that the use of guided ammunition, which is in limited supply due to its price, will be reduced over time. As the rate of industrial production is incompatible with the level of consumption, the air forces will have to rapidly accept the use of unguided munitions (much easier and quicker to produce) and therefore to operate at lower altitudes, i.e., within the firing volume of practically all ground/air systems.

Unlike all Western military operations conducted over the past several decades, where air dominance has always been achieved, a high-intensity war will require aircraft to operate in a constantly contested and threatening space. Losses will be inevitable, and therefore sufficient equipment must be available to deal with attrition. This only serves to remind us of what the relative operational comfort of the last few decades has made us forget—that any military equipment that is supposed to go into combat must be considered “expendable,” if not consumable.


Olivier Dujardin is associate researcher at Centre Français de Recherche sur le Renseignement, and his expertise includes intelligence, technology, weapons, electronic warfare, radar signal processing and weapons systems analysis. We are deeply grateful to Centre Français de Recherche sur le Renseignement for their kind generosity. Translated from the French by N. Dass.


Featured image: The MiG-29S.

The Military Situation in the Ukraine—An Update

The Operational Situation

As of March 25, 2022, our analysis of the situation confirms the observations and conclusions made in mid-March.

The offensive launched on February 24 is articulated in two lines of effort, in accordance with Russian operational doctrine:

1) A main effort directed toward the south of the country, in the Donbass region, and along the Azov Sea coast. As the doctrine states, the main objectives are—the neutralization of the Ukrainian armed forces (the objective of “demilitarization”), and the neutralization of ultra-nationalist, paramilitary militias in the cities of Kharkov and Mariupol (the objective of “denazification“). This primary push is being led by a coalition of forces: through Kharkov and Crimea are Russian forces from the Southern Military District; in the center are militia forces from the Donetsk and Lugansk republics; the Chechen National Guard is contributing with engagement in the urban area of Mariupol;

2) A secondary effort on Kiev, aimed at “pinning down” Ukrainian (and Western) forces, so as to prevent them from carrying out operations against the main thrust or even taking Russian coalition forces from the rear.

This offensive follows, to the letter, the objectives defined by Vladimir Putin on February 24. But, listening only to their own bias, Western “experts” and politicians have gotten it into their heads that Russia’s objective is to take over the Ukraine and overthrow its government. Applying a very Western logic, they see Kiev as the “center of gravity” (Schwerpunkt) of Ukrainian forces. According to Clausewitz, the “center of gravity” is the element from which a belligerent derives his strength and ability to act, and is therefore the primary objective of an adversary’s strategy. This is why Westerners have systematically tried to take control of capitals in the wars they have fought. Trained and advised by NATO experts, the Ukrainian General Staff has, predictably enough, applied the same logic, focusing on strengthening the defense of Kiev and its surroundings, while leaving its troops helpless in the Donbass, along the axis of the main Russian effort.

If one had listened carefully to Vladimir Putin, one would have realized that the strategic objective of the Russian coalition is not to take over the Ukraine, but to remove any threat to the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass. According to this general objective, the “real” center of gravity that the Russian coalition is trying to target is the bulk of the Ukrainian armed forces massed in the south-southeast of the country (since the end of 2021), and not Kiev.

Russian Success or Failure?

Convinced that the Russian offensive is aimed at Kiev, Western experts have quite logically concluded that (a) the Russians are stalling, and that (b) their offensive is doomed to failure because they will not be able to hold the country in the long term. The generals who have followed each other on French TV seem to have forgotten what even a second lieutenant comprehends well: “Know your enemy!”—not as one would like him to be, but as he is. With generals like that, we don’t need an enemy anymore.

That being said, the Western narrative about a Russian offensive that is bogged down, and whose successes are meager, is also part of the propaganda war waged by both sides. For example, the sequence of maps of operations, published by Libération from the end of February, shows almost no difference from one day to the next, until March 18th (when the media stopped updating it). Thus, on February 23rd, on France 5 [TV station], the journalist Élise Vincent evaluated the territory taken by the Russian coalition as the equivalent of Switzerland or the Netherlands. In reality, we are more in the area of Great Britain.

As an example, let us observe the difference between the map of the situation on March 25, 2022, as published by Ouest-France:

… and as published by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces:

In addition, it should be noted that Ukrainian forces do not appear on any map (presented in our media) of the conflict-situation. Thus, if the map of the French Ministry of Armed Forces gives a slightly more honest picture of reality, it also carefully avoids mentioning the Ukrainian forces encircled in the Kramatorsk cauldron.

In fact, the situational map, as of March 25, should look more like this:

The Situation as of March 25, 2022. [“Poussée principale”= main thrust;
“poussée secondaire”= secondary thrust].
The bone-shaped, blue area marks the location of the mass of the Ukrainian army (in reality, this “massed” Ukrainian army is split into several smaller cauldrons). The red-lined arrows show the overall offensive of the Russian army. The orange-lined arrows show the thrust of the Donbass forces. The red dotted line shows the maximum advance of Russian coalition forces.

Moreover, Ukrainian forces are never indicated on our maps, as this would show that they were not deployed on the Russian border in February 2022, but were regrouped in the south of the country, in preparation for their offensive, the initial phase of which began on February 16th. This confirms that Russia was only reacting to a situation initiated by the West, by way of the Ukraine, as we shall see. At present, it is these forces that are encircled in the Kramatorsk cauldron and are being methodically fragmented and neutralized, little by little, in an incremental way, by the Russian coalition.

The vagueness maintained in the West about the situation of the Ukrainian forces, has other effects. First, it maintains the illusion of a possible Ukrainian victory. Thus, instead of encouraging a negotiation process, the West seeks to prolong the war. This is why the European Union and some of its member countries have sent weapons and are encouraging the civilian population and volunteers of all kinds to go and fight, often without training and without any real command structure—with deadly consequences.

We know that in a conflict, each party tends to inform in order to give a favorable image of its actions. However, the image we have of the situation and of the Ukrainian forces is based exclusively on data provided by Kiev. It masks the profound deficiencies of the Ukrainian leadership, even though it was trained and advised by NATO military.

Thus, military logic would have the forces caught in the Kramatorsk cauldron withdraw to a line at the Dnieper, for example, in order to regroup and conduct a counteroffensive. But they were forbidden to withdraw by President Zelensky. Even back in 2014 and 2015, a close examination of the operations showed that the Ukrainians were applying “Western-style” schemes, totally unsuited to the circumstances, and in the face of a more imaginative, more flexible opponent who possessed lighter leadership structures. It is the same phenomenon today.

In the end, the partial view of the battlefield given to us by our media has made it impossible for the West to help the Ukrainian general staff make the right decisions. And it has led the West to believe that the obvious strategic objective is Kiev; that “demilitarization” is aimed at the Ukraine’s membership in NATO; and that “denazification” is aimed at toppling Zelensky. This legend was fueled by Vladimir Putin’s appeal to the Ukrainian military to disobey, which was interpreted (with great imagination and bias) as a call to overthrow the government. However, this appeal was aimed at the Ukrainian forces deployed in the Donbass to surrender without fighting. The Western interpretation caused the Ukrainian government to misjudge Russian objectives and misuse its potential of winning.

You don’t win a war with bias—you lose it. And that’s what is happening. Thus, the Russian coalition was never “on the run” or “stopped” by heroic resistance—it simply did not attack where it was expected. We did not want to listen to what Vladimir Putin had explained to us very clearly. This is why the West has thus become—volens nolens—the main architect of the Ukrainian defeat that is taking shape. Paradoxically, it is probably because of our self-proclaimed “experts” and recreational strategists on our television sets that the Ukraine is in this situation today.

The Conduct of Battle

As for the course of operations, the analyses presented in our media come most often from politicians or so-called military experts, who relay Ukrainian propaganda.

Let’s be clear. A war, whatever else it is, is drama. The problem here is that our strategists in neckties are clearly trying to overdramatize the situation in order to exclude any negotiated solution. This development, however, is prompting some Western military personnel to speak out and offer a more nuanced judgment. Thus, in Newsweek, an analyst from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the American equivalent of the Direction du Renseignement Militaire (DRM) in France, noted that “in 24 days of conflict, Russia has carried out some 1,400 strikes and launched nearly 1,000 missiles (by way of comparison, the United States carried out more strikes and launched more missiles on the first day of the Iraq war in 2003).”

While the West likes to “soften up” the battlefield with intensive and prolonged strikes, before sending in ground-troops, the Russians prefer a less destructive, but more troop-intensive approach. On France 5, the journalist Mélanie Tarvant presented the death of Russian generals on the battlefield as proof of the destabilization of the Russian army. But this is a profound misunderstanding of the traditions and modes of operation of the Russian army. Whereas in the West, commanders tend to lead from the rear, their Russian counterparts tend to lead from the front—in the West they say, “Forward!” In Russia, they say, “Follow me!” This explains the high losses in the upper echelons of command, already observed in Afghanistan—but it also tells of the much more rigorous selection of staff-personnel than in the West.

Furthermore, the DIA analyst noted that “the vast majority of the airstrikes are over the battlefield, with Russian aircraft providing ‘close air support’ to ground forces. The remainder—less than 20 percent, according to U.S. experts—has been aimed at military airfields, barracks and supporting depots.” Thus, the phrase “indiscriminate bombing [that] is devastating cities and killing everyone” echoed by the Western media seems to contradict the U.S. intelligence expert, who said, “If we merely convince ourselves that Russia is bombing indiscriminately, or [that] it is failing to inflict more harm because its personnel are not up to the task or because it is technically inept, then we are not seeing the real conflict.”

In fact, Russian operations differ fundamentally from the Western concept of the same. The West’s obsession with having no fatalities in their own forces leads them to operations that are primarily in the form of very lethal air strikes. Ground troops only intervene when everything has been destroyed. This is why, in Afghanistan or in the Sahel, Westerners killed more civilians than terrorists did. This is why Western countries engaged in Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa no longer publish the number of civilian casualties caused by their strikes. In fact, Europeans engaged in regions that only marginally affect their national security, such as the Estonians in the Sahel, go there just to “get their feet wet.”

In the Ukraine, the situation is very different. One only has to look at a map of linguistic zones to see that the Russian coalition operates almost exclusively in the Russian-speaking zone; thus, among populations that are generally favorable to it. This also explains the statements of a US Air Force officer: “I know that the news keeps repeating that Putin is targeting civilians, but there is no evidence that Russia is intentionally doing so.”

Conversely, it is for the same reason—but in a different way—that the Ukraine has deployed its ultra-nationalist paramilitary fighters in major cities, such as Mariupol or Kharkov—without emotional or cultural ties to the local population, these militias can fight even at the cost of heavy civilian casualties. The atrocities that are currently being uncovered remain hidden by the French-speaking media, for fear of losing support for the Ukraine, as noted by media close to the Republicans in the United States.

After “decapitation” strikes in the first minutes of the offensive, the Russian operational strategy was to bypass the urban centers, and to envelop the Ukrainian army, “pinned down” by the forces of the Donbass republics. It is important to remember that the “decapitation” is not intended to annihilate the general staff or the government (as our “experts” tend to understand it), but to sunder the leadership structures so as to prevent the coordinated maneuver of forces. On the contrary, the aim is to preserve the leadership structures themselves in order to be able to negotiate a way out of the crisis.

On March 25, 2022, after having sealed the cauldron of Kramatorsk which denied any possibility of retreat to the Ukrainians and having taken most of the cities of Kharkov and Marioupol, Russia has practically fulfilled its objectives—all that remains is to concentrate its efforts on reducing the pockets of resistance. Thus, contrary to what the Western press has claimed, this is not a reorientation or a resizing of its offensive, but the methodical implementation of the objectives announced on February 24.

The Role of the Volunteers

A particularly disturbing aspect of this conflict is the attitude of European governments that allow or encourage their citizens to go and fight in the Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelensky’s call to join the International Legion for the Territorial Defense of Ukraine, which he recently created, has been greeted with enthusiasm by European countries.

Encouraged by the media that present a routed Russian army, many of these young people head off, imagining they are going—literally—on a hunting trip. However, once there, disillusionment is high. Testimonies show that these “amateurs” often end up as “cannon fodder,” without having any real impact on the outcome of the conflict. The experience of recent conflicts shows that the arrival of foreign fighters brings nothing to a conflict, except to increase its duration and lethality.

Moreover, the arrival of several hundred Islamist fighters from the Idlib region, an area under the control and protection of the Western coalition in Syria (and also the area in which two Islamic State leaders were killed by the Americans) should arouse our concern. Indeed, the weapons we are very liberally supplying to the Ukraine are already partly in the hands of criminal individuals and organizations and are already beginning to pose a security problem for the authorities in Kiev. Not to mention the fact that the weapons that are being touted as effective against Russian aircraft could eventually threaten our military and civilian aircraft.

The volunteer proudly presented by the RTBF on the 7:30 p.m. news of March 8, 2022 was an admirer of the “Corps Franc Wallonie,” Belgian volunteers who served the Third Reich; and he illustrates the type of people attracted to the Ukraine. In the end, we will have to ask ourselves, who gained the most—[in this case] Belgium or the Ukraine?

Distributing weapons indiscriminately could well make the EU—volens nolens—a supporter of extremism and even international terrorism. The result—we are adding misery to misery, in order to satisfy the European elites more than the Ukraine itself.

Three Points Deserve to be Highlighted by Way of Conclusion

1. Western Intelligence, Ignored by Policymakers

Military documents found in Ukrainian headquarters in the south of the country confirm that the Ukraine was preparing to attack the Donbass; and that the firing observed by OSCE observers as early as February 16 heralded an imminent outbreak in days or weeks.

Here, some introspection is necessary for the West—either its intelligence services did not see what was happening and they are thus very bad, or the political decision-makers chose not to listen to them. We know that Russian intelligence services have far superior analytical capabilities than their Western counterparts. We also know that the American and German intelligence services had very well understood the situation, since the end of 2021, and knew that the Ukraine was preparing to attack the Donbass.

This allows us to deduce that the American and European political leaders deliberately pushed the Ukraine into a conflict that they knew was lost in advance—for the sole purpose of dealing a political blow to Russia.

The reason Zelensky did not deploy his forces to the Russian border, and repeatedly stated that his large neighbor would not attack him, was presumably because he thought he was relying on Western deterrence. This is what he told CNN on March 20th—he was clearly told that the Ukraine would not be part of NATO, but that publicly they would say the opposite. The Ukraine was thus instrumentalized to affect Russia. The objective was the closure of the North Stream 2 gas pipeline, announced on February 8th, by Joe Biden, during the visit of Olaf Scholz; and which was followed by a barrage of sanctions.

2. Broken Diplomacy

Clearly, since the end of 2021, no effort has been made by the West to reactivate the Minsk agreements, as evidenced by the reports of visits and telephone conversations, notably between Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin. However, France, as guarantor of the Minsk Agreements, and as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has not respected its commitments, which has led to the situation that the Ukraine is experiencing today. There is even a feeling that the West has sought to add fuel to the fire since 2014.

Thus, Vladimir Putin’s placing of nuclear forces on alert on February 27 was presented by our media and politicians as an irrational act or blackmail. What is forgotten is that it followed the thinly veiled threat made by Jean-Yves Le Drian, three days earlier, that NATO could use nuclear weapons. It is very likely that Putin did not take this “threat” seriously, but wanted to push Western countries—and France in particular—to abandon the use of excessive language.

3. The Vulnerability of Europeans to Manipulation is Increasing

Today, the perception propagated by our media is that the Russian offensive has broken down; that Vladimir Putin is crazy, irrational and therefore ready to do anything to break the deadlock in which he supposedly finds himself. In this totally emotional context, the question asked by Republican Senator Marco Rubio during Victoria Nuland’s hearing before Congress was strange, to say the least: “If there is a biological or chemical weapon incident or attack inside the Ukraine, is there any doubt in your mind that 100% it would be the Russians behind it?” Naturally, she answered that there is no doubt. Yet there is absolutely no indication that the Russians are using such weapons. Besides, the Russians finished destroying their stockpiles in 2017, while the Americans have not yet destroyed theirs.

Perhaps this means nothing. But in the current atmosphere, all the conditions are now met for an incident to happen that would push the West to become more involved, in some form, in the Ukrainian conflict (a “false-flag” incident).


Jacques Baud is a former colonel of the General Staff, ex-member of the Swiss strategic intelligence, and specialist on Eastern countries. He was trained in the American and British intelligence services. He has served as Policy Chief for United Nations Peace Operations. As a UN expert on rule of law and security institutions, he designed and led the first multidimensional UN intelligence unit in the Sudan. He has worked for the African Union and was for 5 years responsible for the fight, at NATO, against the proliferation of small arms. He was involved in discussions with the highest Russian military and intelligence officials just after the fall of the USSR. Within NATO, he followed the 2014 Ukrainian crisis and later participated in programs to assist the Ukraine. He is the author of several books on intelligence, war and terrorism, in particular Le Détournement published by SIGEST, Gouverner par les fake newsL’affaire Navalny. His latest book is Poutine, maître du jeu? published by Max Milo.

This article appears through the gracious courtesy of Centre Français de Recherche sur le Renseignement, Paris. Translated from the French by N. Dass.


Featured image: “Medal in Khankala,” by I.S. Araslanov; painted in 2007. (Photo Credit: Moscow Museum of Modern Art).

The Military Situation In The Ukraine

Part One: The Road To War

For years, from Mali to Afghanistan, I have worked for peace and risked my life for it. It is therefore not a question of justifying war, but of understanding what led us to it. I notice that the “experts” who take turns on television analyze the situation on the basis of dubious information, most often hypotheses erected as facts—and then we no longer manage to understand what is happening. This is how panics are created.

The problem is not so much to know who is right in this conflict, but to question the way our leaders make their decisions.

Let’s try to examine the roots of the conflict. It starts with those who for the last eight years have been talking about “separatists” or “independentists” from Donbass. This is not true. The referendums conducted by the two self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in May 2014, were not referendums of “independence” (независимость), as some unscrupulous journalists have claimed, but referendums of “self-determination” or “autonomy” (самостоятельность). The qualifier “pro-Russian” suggests that Russia was a party to the conflict, which was not the case, and the term “Russian speakers” would have been more honest. Moreover, these referendums were conducted against the advice of Vladimir Putin.

In fact, these Republics were not seeking to separate from Ukraine, but to have a status of autonomy, guaranteeing them the use of the Russian language as an official language. For the first legislative act of the new government resulting from the overthrow of President Yanukovych, was the abolition, on February 23, 2014, of the Kivalov-Kolesnichenko law of 2012 that made Russian an official language. A bit like if putschists decided that French and Italian would no longer be official languages in Switzerland.

This decision caused a storm in the Russian-speaking population. The result was a fierce repression against the Russian-speaking regions (Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Lugansk and Donetsk) which was carried out beginning in February 2014 and led to a militarization of the situation and some massacres (in Odessa and Marioupol, for the most notable). At the end of summer 2014, only the self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk remained.

At this stage, too rigid and engrossed in a doctrinaire approach to the art of operations, the Ukrainian general staff subdued the enemy without managing to prevail. The examination of the course of the fighting in 2014-2016 in the Donbass shows that the Ukrainian general staff systematically and mechanically applied the same operative schemes. However, the war waged by the autonomists was very similar to what we observed in the Sahel: highly mobile operations conducted with light means. With a more flexible and less doctrinaire approach, the rebels were able to exploit the inertia of Ukrainian forces to repeatedly “trap” them.

In 2014, when I was at NATO, I was responsible for the fight against the proliferation of small arms, and we were trying to detect Russian arms deliveries to the rebels, to see if Moscow was involved. The information we received then came almost entirely from Polish intelligence services and did not “fit” with the information coming from the OSCE—despite rather crude allegations, there were no deliveries of weapons and military equipment from Russia.

The rebels were armed thanks to the defection of Russian-speaking Ukrainian units that went over to the rebel side. As Ukrainian failures continued, tank, artillery and anti-aircraft battalions swelled the ranks of the autonomists. This is what pushed the Ukrainians to commit to the Minsk Agreements.

But just after signing the Minsk 1 Agreements, the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko launched a massive anti-terrorist operation (ATO/Антитерористична операція) against the Donbass. Bis repetita placent: poorly advised by NATO officers, the Ukrainians suffered a crushing defeat in Debaltsevo, which forced them to engage in the Minsk 2 Agreements.

It is essential to recall here that Minsk 1 (September 2014) and Minsk 2 (February 2015) Agreements did not provide for the separation or independence of the Republics, but their autonomy within the framework of Ukraine. Those who have read the Agreements (there are very, very, very few of those who actually have) will note that it is written in all letters that the status of the Republics was to be negotiated between Kiev and the representatives of the Republics, for an internal solution to the Ukraine.

That is why since 2014, Russia has systematically demanded their implementation while refusing to be a party to the negotiations, because it was an internal matter of the Ukraine. On the other side, the West—led by France—systematically tried to replace the Minsk Agreements with the “Normandy format,” which put Russians and Ukrainians face-to-face. However, let us remember that there were never any Russian troops in the Donbass before 23-24 February 2022. Moreover, OSCE observers have never observed the slightest trace of Russian units operating in the Donbass. For example, the U.S. intelligence map published by the Washington Post on December 3, 2021 does not show Russian troops in the Donbass.

In October 2015, Vasyl Hrytsak, director of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), confessed that only 56 Russian fighters had been observed in the Donbass. This was exactly comparable to the Swiss who went to fight in Bosnia on weekends, in the 1990s, or the French who go to fight in the Ukraine today.

The Ukrainian army was then in a deplorable state. In October 2018, after four years of war, the chief Ukrainian military prosecutor, Anatoly Matios, stated that Ukraine had lost 2,700 men in the Donbass: 891 from illnesses, 318 from road accidents, 177 from other accidents, 175 from poisonings (alcohol, drugs), 172 from careless handling of weapons, 101 from breaches of security regulations, 228 from murders and 615 from suicides.

In fact, the army was undermined by the corruption of its cadres and no longer enjoyed the support of the population. According to a British Home Office report, in the March/April 2014 recall of reservists, 70 percent did not show up for the first session, 80 percent for the second, 90 percent for the third, and 95 percent for the fourth. In October/November 2017, 70% of conscripts did not show up for the “Fall 2017” recall campaign. This is not counting suicides and desertions (often over to the autonomists), which reached up to 30 percent of the workforce in the ATO area. Young Ukrainians refused to go and fight in the Donbass and preferred emigration, which also explains, at least partially, the demographic deficit of the country.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense then turned to NATO to help make its armed forces more “attractive.” Having already worked on similar projects within the framework of the United Nations, I was asked by NATO to participate in a program to restore the image of the Ukrainian armed forces. But this is a long-term process and the Ukrainians wanted to move quickly.

So, to compensate for the lack of soldiers, the Ukrainian government resorted to paramilitary militias. They are essentially composed of foreign mercenaries, often extreme right-wing militants. In 2020, they constituted about 40 percent of the Ukrainian forces and numbered about 102,000 men, according to Reuters. They were armed, financed and trained by the United States, Great Britain, Canada and France. There were more than 19 nationalities—including Swiss.

Western countries have thus clearly created and supported Ukrainian far-right militias. In October 2021, the Jerusalem Post sounded the alarm by denouncing the Centuria project. These militias had been operating in the Donbass since 2014, with Western support. Even if one can argue about the term “Nazi,” the fact remains that these militias are violent, convey a nauseating ideology and are virulently anti-Semitic. Their anti-Semitism is more cultural than political, which is why the term “Nazi” is not really appropriate. Their hatred of the Jew stems from the great famines of the 1920s and 1930s in the Ukraine, resulting from Stalin’s confiscation of crops to finance the modernization of the Red Army. This genocide—known in the Ukraine as the Holodomor—was perpetrated by the NKVD (the forerunner of the KGB), whose upper echelons of leadership were mainly composed of Jews. This is why, today, Ukrainian extremists are asking Israel to apologize for the crimes of communism, as the Jerusalem Post notes. This is a far cry from Vladimir Putin’s “rewriting of history.”

These militias, originating from the far-right groups that animated the Euromaidan revolution in 2014, are composed of fanatical and brutal individuals. The best known of these is the Azov Regiment, whose emblem is reminiscent of the 2nd SS Das Reich Panzer Division, which is revered in the Ukraine for liberating Kharkov from the Soviets in 1943, before carrying out the 1944 Oradour-sur-Glane massacre in France.

Among the famous figures of the Azov regiment was the opponent Roman Protassevitch, arrested in 2021 by the Belarusian authorities following the case of RyanAir flight FR4978. On May 23, 2021, the deliberate hijacking of an airliner by a MiG-29—supposedly with Putin’s approval—was mentioned as a reason for arresting Protassevich, although the information available at the time did not confirm this scenario at all.

But then it was necessary to show that President Lukashenko was a thug and Protassevich a “journalist” who loved democracy. However, a rather revealing investigation produced by an American NGO in 2020 highlighted Protassevitch’s far-right militant activities. The Western conspiracy movement then started, and unscrupulous media “air-brushed” his biography. Finally, in January 2022, the ICAO report was published and showed that despite some procedural errors, Belarus acted in accordance with the rules in force and that the MiG-29 took off 15 minutes after the RyanAir pilot decided to land in Minsk. So no Belarusian plot and even less Putin. Ah!… Another detail: Protassevitch, cruelly tortured by the Belarusian police, was now free. Those who would like to correspond with him, can go on his Twitter account.

The characterization of the Ukrainian paramilitaries as “Nazis” or “neo-Nazis” is considered Russian propaganda. Perhaps. But that’s not the view of the Times of Israel, the Simon Wiesenthal Center or the West Point Academy’s Center for Counterterrorism. But that’s still debatable, because in 2014, Newsweek magazine seemed to associate them more with… the Islamic State. Take your pick!

So, the West supported and continued to arm militias that have been guilty of numerous crimes against civilian populations since 2014: rape, torture and massacres. But while the Swiss government has been very quick to take sanctions against Russia, it has not adopted any against the Ukraine, which has been massacring its own population since 2014. In fact, those who defend human rights in the Ukraine have long condemned the actions of these groups, but have not been supported by our governments. Because, in reality, we are not trying to help the Ukraine, but to fight Russia.

The integration of these paramilitary forces into the National Guard was not at all accompanied by a “denazification,” as some claim. Among the many examples, that of the Azov Regiment’s insignia is instructive:

In 2022, very schematically, the Ukrainian armed forces fighting the Russian offensive were organized as:

  • The Army, subordinated to the Ministry of Defense. It is organized into 3 army corps and composed of maneuver formations (tanks, heavy artillery, missiles, etc.).
  • The National Guard, which depends on the Ministry of the Interior and is organized into 5 territorial commands.

The National Guard is therefore a territorial defense force that is not part of the Ukrainian army. It includes paramilitary militias, called “volunteer battalions” (добровольчі батальйоні), also known by the evocative name of “reprisal battalions,” and composed of infantry. Primarily trained for urban combat, they now defend cities such as Kharkov, Mariupol, Odessa, Kiev, etc.

Part Two: The War

As a former head of the Warsaw Pact forces in the Swiss strategic intelligence service, I observe with sadness—but not astonishment—that our services are no longer able to understand the military situation in Ukraine. The self-proclaimed “experts” who parade on our screens tirelessly relay the same information modulated by the claim that Russia—and Vladimir Putin—is irrational. Let’s take a step back.

1. The Outbreak Of War

Since November 2021, the Americans have been constantly threatening a Russian invasion of the Ukraine. However, the Ukrainians did not seem to agree. Why not?

We have to go back to March 24, 2021. On that day, Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree for the recapture of the Crimea, and began to deploy his forces to the south of the country. At the same time, several NATO exercises were conducted between the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, accompanied by a significant increase in reconnaissance flights along the Russian border. Russia then conducted several exercises to test the operational readiness of its troops and to show that it was following the evolution of the situation.

Things calmed down until October-November with the end of the ZAPAD 21 exercises, whose troop movements were interpreted as a reinforcement for an offensive against the Ukraine. However, even the Ukrainian authorities refuted the idea of Russian preparations for a war, and Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukrainian Minister of Defense, states that there had been no change on its border since the spring.

In violation of the Minsk Agreements, the Ukraine was conducting air operations in Donbass using drones, including at least one strike against a fuel depot in Donetsk in October 2021. The American press noted this, but not the Europeans; and no one condemned these violations.

In February 2022, events were precipitated. On February 7, during his visit to Moscow, Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed to Vladimir Putin his commitment to the Minsk Agreements, a commitment he would repeat after his meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky the next day. But on February 11, in Berlin, after nine hours of work, the meeting of political advisors of the leaders of the “Normandy format” ended, without any concrete result: the Ukrainians still refused to apply the Minsk Agreements, apparently under pressure from the United States. Vladimir Putin noted that Macron had made empty promises and that the West was not ready to enforce the agreements, as it had been doing for eight years.

Ukrainian preparations in the contact zone continued. The Russian Parliament became alarmed; and on February 15 asked Vladimir Putin to recognize the independence of the Republics, which he refused to do.

On 11th February, President Joe Biden announced that Russia would attack the Ukraine in the next few days. How did he know this? It is a mystery. But since the 16th, the artillery shelling of the population of Donbass increased dramatically, as the daily reports of the OSCE observers show. Naturally, neither the media, nor the European Union, nor NATO, nor any Western government reacts or intervenes. It will be said later that this is Russian disinformation. In fact, it seems that the European Union and some countries have deliberately kept silent about the massacre of the Donbass population, knowing that this would provoke a Russian intervention.

At the same time, there were reports of sabotage in the Donbass. On 18 January, Donbass fighters intercepted saboteurs, who spoke Polish and were equipped with Western equipment and who were seeking to create chemical incidents in Gorlivka. They could have been CIA mercenaries, led or “advised” by Americans and composed of Ukrainian or European fighters, to carry out sabotage actions in the Donbass Republics.

In fact, as early as February 16, Joe Biden knew that the Ukrainians had begun shelling the civilian population of Donbass, putting Vladimir Putin in front of a difficult choice: to help Donbass militarily and create an international problem, or to stand by and watch the Russian-speaking people of Donbass being crushed.

If he decided to intervene, Putin could invoke the international obligation of “Responsibility To Protect” (R2P). But he knew that whatever its nature or scale, the intervention would trigger a storm of sanctions. Therefore, whether Russian intervention were limited to the Donbass or went further to put pressure on the West for the status of the Ukraine, the price to pay would be the same. This is what he explained in his speech on February 21.

On that day, he agreed to the request of the Duma and recognized the independence of the two Donbass Republics and, at the same time, he signed friendship and assistance treaties with them.

The Ukrainian artillery bombardment of the Donbass population continued, and, on 23 February, the two Republics asked for military assistance from Russia. On 24 February, Vladimir Putin invoked Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which provides for mutual military assistance in the framework of a defensive alliance.

In order to make the Russian intervention totally illegal in the eyes of the public we deliberately hid the fact that the war actually started on February 16. The Ukrainian army was preparing to attack the Donbass as early as 2021, as some Russian and European intelligence services were well aware. Jurists will judge.

In his speech of February 24, Vladimir Putin stated the two objectives of his operation: “demilitarize” and “denazify” the Ukraine. So, it is not a question of taking over the Ukraine, nor even, presumably, of occupying it; and certainly not of destroying it.

From then on, our visibility on the course of the operation is limited: the Russians have an excellent security of operations (OPSEC) and the details of their planning are not known. But fairly quickly, the course of the operation allows us to understand how the strategic objectives were translated on the operational level.

Demilitarization:

  • ground destruction of Ukrainian aviation, air defense systems and reconnaissance assets;
  • neutralization of command and intelligence structures (C3I), as well as the main logistical routes in the depth of the territory;
  • encirclement of the bulk of the Ukrainian army massed in the southeast of the country.

Denazification:

  • destruction or neutralization of volunteer battalions operating in the cities of Odessa, Kharkov, and Mariupol, as well as in various facilities in the territory.

2. Demilitarization

The Russian offensive was carried out in a very “classic” manner. Initially—as the Israelis had done in 1967—with the destruction on the ground of the air force in the very first hours. Then, we witnessed a simultaneous progression along several axes according to the principle of “flowing water”: advance everywhere where resistance was weak and leave the cities (very demanding in terms of troops) for later. In the north, the Chernobyl power plant was occupied immediately to prevent acts of sabotage. The images of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers guarding the plant together are of course not shown.

The idea that Russia is trying to take over Kiev, the capital, to eliminate Zelensky, comes typically from the West—that is what they did in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and what they wanted to do in Syria with the help of the Islamic State. But Vladimir Putin never intended to shoot or topple Zelensky. Instead, Russia seeks to keep him in power by pushing him to negotiate, by surrounding Kiev. Up till now, he had refused to implement the Minsk Agreements. But now the Russians want to obtain the neutrality of the Ukraine.

Many Western commentators were surprised that the Russians continued to seek a negotiated solution while conducting military operations. The explanation lies in the Russian strategic outlook since the Soviet era. For the West, war begins when politics ends. However, the Russian approach follows a Clausewitzian inspiration: war is the continuity of politics and one can move fluidly from one to the other, even during combat. This allows one to create pressure on the adversary and push him to negotiate.

From an operational point of view, the Russian offensive was an example of its kind: in six days, the Russians seized a territory as large as the United Kingdom, with a speed of advance greater than what the Wehrmacht had achieved in 1940.

The bulk of the Ukrainian army was deployed in the south of the country in preparation for a major operation against the Donbass. This is why Russian forces were able to encircle it from the beginning of March in the “cauldron” between Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and Severodonetsk, with a thrust from the East through Kharkov and another from the South from Crimea. Troops from the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) Republics are complementing the Russian forces with a push from the East.

At this stage, Russian forces are slowly tightening the noose, but are no longer under time pressure. Their demilitarization goal is all but achieved and the remaining Ukrainian forces no longer have an operational and strategic command structure.

The “slowdown” that our “experts” attribute to poor logistics is only the consequence of having achieved their objectives. Russia does not seem to want to engage in an occupation of the entire Ukrainian territory. In fact, it seems that Russia is trying to limit its advance to the linguistic border of the country.

Our media speak of indiscriminate bombardments against the civilian population, especially in Kharkov, and Dantean images are broadcast in a loop. However, Gonzalo Lira, a Latin American who lives there, presents us with a calm city on March 10 and March 11. It is true that it is a large city and we do not see everything—but this seems to indicate that we are not in the total war that we are served continuously on our screens.

As for the Donbass Republics, they have “liberated” their own territories and are fighting in the city of Mariupol.

3. Denazification

In cities like Kharkov, Mariupol and Odessa, the defense is provided by paramilitary militias. They know that the objective of “denazification” is aimed primarily at them.

For an attacker in an urbanized area, civilians are a problem. This is why Russia is seeking to create humanitarian corridors to empty cities of civilians and leave only the militias, to fight them more easily.

Conversely, these militias seek to keep civilians in the cities in order to dissuade the Russian army from fighting there. This is why they are reluctant to implement these corridors and do everything to ensure that Russian efforts are unsuccessful—they can use the civilian population as “human shields. Videos showing civilians trying to leave Mariupol and beaten up by fighters of the Azov regiment are of course carefully censored here.

On Facebook, the Azov group was considered in the same category as the Islamic State and subject to the platform’s “policy on dangerous individuals and organizations.” It was therefore forbidden to glorify it, and “posts” that were favorable to it were systematically banned. But on February 24, Facebook changed its policy and allowed posts favorable to the militia. In the same spirit, in March, the platform authorized, in the former Eastern countries, calls for the murder of Russian soldiers and leaders. So much for the values that inspire our leaders, as we shall see.

Our media propagate a romantic image of popular resistance. It is this image that led the European Union to finance the distribution of arms to the civilian population. This is a criminal act. In my capacity as head of peacekeeping doctrine at the UN, I worked on the issue of civilian protection. We found that violence against civilians occurred in very specific contexts. In particular, when weapons are abundant and there are no command structures.

These command structures are the essence of armies: their function is to channel the use of force towards an objective. By arming citizens in a haphazard manner, as is currently the case, the EU is turning them into combatants, with the consequential effect of making them potential targets. Moreover, without command, without operational goals, the distribution of arms leads inevitably to settling of scores, banditry and actions that are more deadly than effective. War becomes a matter of emotions. Force becomes violence. This is what happened in Tawarga (Libya) from 11 to 13 August 2011, where 30,000 black Africans were massacred with weapons parachuted (illegally) by France. By the way, the British Royal Institute for Strategic Studies (RUSI) does not see any added value in these arms deliveries.

Moreover, by delivering arms to a country at war, one exposes oneself to being considered a belligerent. The Russian strikes of March 13, 2022, against the Mykolayev air base follow Russian warnings that arms shipments would be treated as hostile targets.

The EU is repeating the disastrous experience of the Third Reich in the final hours of the Battle of Berlin. War must be left to the military and when one side has lost, it must be admitted. And if there is to be resistance, it must be led and structured. But we are doing exactly the opposite—we are pushing citizens to go and fight and at the same time, Facebook authorizes calls for the murder of Russian soldiers and leaders. So much for the values that inspire us.

Some intelligence services see this irresponsible decision as a way to use the Ukrainian population as cannon fodder to fight Vladimir Putin’s Russia. This kind of murderous decision should have been left to the colleagues of Ursula von der Leyen’s grandfather. It would have been better to engage in negotiations and thus obtain guarantees for the civilian population than to add fuel to the fire. It is easy to be combative with the blood of others.

4. The Maternity Hospital At Mariupol

It is important to understand beforehand that it is not the Ukrainian army that is defending Marioupol, but the Azov militia, composed of foreign mercenaries.

In its March 7, 2022 summary of the situation, the Russian UN mission in New York stated that “Residents report that Ukrainian armed forces expelled staff from the Mariupol city birth hospital No. 1 and set up a firing post inside the facility.”

On March 8, the independent Russian media Lenta.ru, published the testimony of civilians from Marioupol who told that the maternity hospital was taken over by the militia of the Azov regiment, and who drove out the civilian occupants by threatening them with their weapons. They confirmed the statements of the Russian ambassador a few hours earlier.

The hospital in Mariupol occupies a dominant position, perfectly suited for the installation of anti-tank weapons and for observation. On 9 March, Russian forces struck the building. According to CNN, 17 people were wounded, but the images do not show any casualties in the building and there is no evidence that the victims mentioned are related to this strike. There is talk of children, but in reality, there is nothing. This may be true, but it may not be true. This does not prevent the leaders of the EU from seeing this as a war crime. And this allows Zelensky to call for a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

In reality, we do not know exactly what happened. But the sequence of events tends to confirm that Russian forces struck a position of the Azov regiment and that the maternity ward was then free of civilians.

The problem is that the paramilitary militias that defend the cities are encouraged by the international community not to respect the customs of war. It seems that the Ukrainians have replayed the scenario of the Kuwait City maternity hospital in 1990, which was totally staged by the firm Hill & Knowlton for $10.7 million in order to convince the United Nations Security Council to intervene in Iraq for Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

Western politicians have accepted civilian strikes in the Donbass for eight years, without adopting any sanctions against the Ukrainian government. We have long since entered a dynamic where Western politicians have agreed to sacrifice international law towards their goal of weakening Russia.

Part Three: Conclusions

As an ex-intelligence professional, the first thing that strikes me is the total absence of Western intelligence services in the representation of the situation over the past year. In Switzerland, the services have been criticized for not having provided a correct picture of the situation. In fact, it seems that throughout the Western world, intelligence services have been overwhelmed by the politicians. The problem is that it is the politicians who decide—the best intelligence service in the world is useless if the decision-maker does not listen. This is what happened during this crisis.

That said, while some intelligence services had a very accurate and rational picture of the situation, others clearly had the same picture as that propagated by our media. In this crisis, the services of the countries of the “new Europe” played an important role. The problem is that, from experience, I have found them to be extremely bad at the analytical level—doctrinaire, they lack the intellectual and political independence necessary to assess a situation with military “quality.” It is better to have them as enemies than as friends.

Second, it seems that in some European countries, politicians have deliberately ignored their services in order to respond ideologically to the situation. That is why this crisis has been irrational from the beginning. It should be noted that all the documents that were presented to the public during this crisis were presented by politicians based on commercial sources.

Some Western politicians obviously wanted there to be a conflict. In the United States, the attack scenarios presented by Anthony Blinken to the Security Council were only the product of the imagination of a Tiger Team working for him—he did exactly as Donald Rumsfeld did in 2002, who had thus “bypassed” the CIA and other intelligence services that were much less assertive about Iraqi chemical weapons.

The dramatic developments we are witnessing today have causes that we knew about but refused to see:

  • on the strategic level, the expansion of NATO (which we have not dealt with here);
  • on the political level, the Western refusal to implement the Minsk Agreements;
  • and operationally, the continuous and repeated attacks on the civilian population of the Donbass over the past years and the dramatic increase in late February 2022.

In other words, we can naturally deplore and condemn the Russian attack. But WE (that is: the United States, France and the European Union in the lead) have created the conditions for a conflict to break out. We show compassion for the Ukrainian people and the two million refugees. That is fine. But if we had had a modicum of compassion for the same number of refugees from the Ukrainian populations of Donbass massacred by their own government and who sought refuge in Russia for eight years, none of this would probably have happened.

Civilian casualties caused by active hostilities in 2018-2021, per territory

 In territory control- led by the self-pro- claimed “Republics”In Government- controlled territory  In “no man’s land”  TotalDecrease compared with previous year, per cent
201812827716241.9
20198518210535.2
202061907033.3
202136804437.1
Total310629381 
Per cent81.416.32.3100.0 
As we can see, more than 80% of the victims in Donbass were the result of the Ukrainian army’s shelling. For years, the West remained silent about the massacre of Russian-speaking Ukrainians by the government of Kiev, without ever trying to bring pressure on Kiev. It is this silence that forced the Russian side to act. [Source: “Conflict-related civilian casualties, United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.]

Whether the term “genocide” applies to the abuses suffered by the people of Donbass is an open question. The term is generally reserved for cases of greater magnitude (Holocaust, etc.). But the definition given by the Genocide Convention is probably broad enough to apply to this case. Legal scholars will understand this.

Clearly, this conflict has led us into hysteria. Sanctions seem to have become the preferred tool of our foreign policies. If we had insisted that Ukraine abide by the Minsk Agreements, which we had negotiated and endorsed, none of this would have happened. Vladimir Putin’s condemnation is also ours. There is no point in whining afterwards—we should have acted earlier. However, neither Emmanuel Macron (as guarantor and member of the UN Security Council), nor Olaf Scholz, nor Volodymyr Zelensky have respected their commitments. In the end, the real defeat is that of those who have no voice.

The European Union was unable to promote the implementation of the Minsk agreements—on the contrary, it did not react when Ukraine was bombing its own population in the Donbass. Had it done so, Vladimir Putin would not have needed to react. Absent from the diplomatic phase, the EU distinguished itself by fueling the conflict. On February 27, the Ukrainian government agreed to enter into negotiations with Russia. But a few hours later, the European Union voted a budget of 450 million euros to supply arms to the Ukraine, adding fuel to the fire. From then on, the Ukrainians felt that they did not need to reach an agreement. The resistance of the Azov militia in Mariupol even led to a boost of 500 million euros for weapons.

In the Ukraine, with the blessing of the Western countries, those who are in favor of a negotiation have been eliminated. This is the case of Denis Kireyev, one of the Ukrainian negotiators, assassinated on March 5 by the Ukrainian secret service (SBU) because he was too favorable to Russia and was considered a traitor. The same fate befell Dmitry Demyanenko, former deputy head of the SBU’s main directorate for Kiev and its region, who was assassinated on March 10 because he was too favorable to an agreement with Russia—he was shot by the Mirotvorets (“Peacemaker”) militia. This militia is associated with the Mirotvorets website, which lists the “enemies of Ukraine,” with their personal data, addresses and telephone numbers, so that they can be harassed or even eliminated; a practice that is punishable in many countries, but not in the Ukraine. The UN and some European countries have demanded the closure of this site—refused by the Rada.

In the end, the price will be high, but Vladimir Putin will likely achieve the goals he set for himself. His ties with Beijing have solidified. China is emerging as a mediator in the conflict, while Switzerland is joining the list of Russia’s enemies. The Americans have to ask Venezuela and Iran for oil to get out of the energy impasse they have put themselves in—Juan Guaido is leaving the scene for good and the United States has to piteously backtrack on the sanctions imposed on its enemies.

Western ministers who seek to collapse the Russian economy and make the Russian people suffer, or even call for the assassination of Putin, show (even if they have partially reversed the form of their words, but not the substance!) that our leaders are no better than those we hate—for sanctioning Russian athletes in the Para-Olympic Games or Russian artists has nothing to do with fighting Putin.

Thus, we recognize that Russia is a democracy since we consider that the Russian people are responsible for the war. If this is not the case, then why do we seek to punish a whole population for the fault of one? Let us remember that collective punishment is forbidden by the Geneva Conventions.

The lesson to be learned from this conflict is our sense of variable geometric humanity. If we cared so much about peace and the Ukraine, why didn’t we encourage the Ukraine to respect the agreements it had signed and that the members of the Security Council had approved?

The integrity of the media is measured by their willingness to work within the terms of the Munich Charter. They succeeded in propagating hatred of the Chinese during the Covid crisis and their polarized message leads to the same effects against the Russians. Journalism is becoming more and more unprofessional and militant.

As Goethe said: “The greater the light, the darker the shadow.” The more the sanctions against Russia are disproportionate, the more the cases where we have done nothing highlight our racism and servility. Why have no Western politicians reacted to the strikes against the civilian population of Donbass for eight years?

Because finally, what makes the conflict in the Ukraine more blameworthy than the war in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya? What sanctions have we adopted against those who deliberately lied to the international community in order to wage unjust, unjustified and murderous wars? Have we sought to “make the American people suffer” for lying to us (because they are a democracy!) before the war in Iraq? Have we adopted a single sanction against the countries, companies or politicians who are supplying weapons to the conflict in Yemen, considered to be the “worst humanitarian disaster in the world?” Have we sanctioned the countries of the European Union that practice the most abject torture on their territory for the benefit of the United States?

To ask the question is to answer it… and the answer is not pretty.


Jacques Baud is a former colonel of the General Staff, ex-member of the Swiss strategic intelligence, specialist on Eastern countries. He was trained in the American and British intelligence services. He has served as Policy Chief for United Nations Peace Operations. As a UN expert on rule of law and security institutions, he designed and led the first multidimensional UN intelligence unit in the Sudan. He has worked for the African Union and was for 5 years responsible for the fight, at NATO, against the proliferation of small arms. He was involved in discussions with the highest Russian military and intelligence officials just after the fall of the USSR. Within NATO, he followed the 2014 Ukrainian crisis and later participated in programs to assist the Ukraine. He is the author of several books on intelligence, war and terrorism, in particular Le Détournement published by SIGEST, Gouverner par les fake news, L’affaire Navalny. His latest book is Poutine, maître du jeu? published by Max Milo.

This article appears through the gracious courtesy of Centre Français de Recherche sur le Renseignement, Paris. Translated from the French by N. Dass.


Featured image: “Capitulation,” by Petr Krivonogov, painted in 1946.

The Nazis Of Ukraine

There is an inconvenient truth that those beating the war-drum against Russia love to ignore—namely, the Nazis of Ukraine. We are told that this is all somehow “Russian disinformation/misinformation,” or that Putin loves to call people whom he doesn’t like, “Nazis” (notice, this is what actually is done in the West against opponents of the elite). Of course, no real evidence is ever given to back up these claims, as has now become a sad habit, any self-righteous assertion is considered “truth.”

Here are the facts about Nazis in Ukraine. The drumbeaters have yet to disprove any of them.

Origins

When Hitler invaded Ukraine, for many it was a liberation from communism and openly celebrated, and soon led to the creation of the 14th SS-Volunteer Division “Galician” (later, the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, 1st Galician). It was nearly annihilated in the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive (1944). What remained was regrouped as the Ukrainian National Army (UNA), under the German High Command (OKH) and led by General Pavlo Shandruk (1889-1979). The UNA numbered some 220,000 volunteers and fought in various theatres throughout Europe with the Wehrmacht, including Austria. What marked all these volunteers was a strong antipathy to the Soviet Union. With the defeat of the Nazis, the UNA surrendered to the British and the US. All the volunteers did not want to be sent back to the Ukraine and sought asylum elsewhere (a large number coming to Canada and the US).

General Shandruk struck a special deal with Poland (with the help of General Władysław Anders), which accepted members of the UNA as “pre-war Polish citizens.” Shandruk was given the Polish Virtuti Militari order, and he settled in Germany, before eventually moving to the US, where he died in 1979.

In effect, in Ukraine, Nazi Germany was not regarded as the enemy; rather, it was an ally in the fight against the Soviet Union, or the “Russians.” And therefore the negativity associated with Nazis and Nazism is weak, if not absent, in the Ukrainian context, where “uncle Hitler” was seen as a liberator from the Soviets.

This positive view of Germany goes back to that bloody period after the Russian Revolution, when Civil War broke out in all parts of what was once the Russian Empire, fueled by resistance to the Bolsheviks. As happened everywhere in the former Russian Empire, regions that did not want to become communist went into armed conflict with the Bolsheviks, including Ukraine, which declared itself independent of Moscow in 1918, with the establishment of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UPR).

The Bolsheviks did not accept such independence and launched a series of highly successful campaigns in the region that saw the capture of key cities and put the UPR government in a position of total collapse. To prevent such collapse, the UPR turned for help to Germany, which quickly sent in troops and supplies, and bolstered the weak Ukrainian National Army (UNA), and beat back the Reds.

But it was 1918, and Germany itself was exhausted and before long signed the Armistice of November 11, 1918, thus ending the First World War. This left Ukraine to fight on, on its own, until gradually it lost and became part of the Soviet Union, in 1922, as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Thus, in the post-1917 Ukrainian psyche, the enemy was always the Soviets, or the Russians, while Germany, whether in the figure of Kaiser Wilhelm or Hitler, was always the friend. Thus, also Nazism carried none of the negative connotations in Ukraine as it carries in the West.

Stepan Bandera

A Nazi-sympathizer, collaborator and murderer, Stepan Bandera is nevertheless a hero for many now fighting the Russians in Ukraine. His statues are proudly displayed and streets are named after him. Who was he? (What follows is summarized from Stepan Bandera: The Life and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Nationalist, by Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe.)

Born in Galicia (now Western Ukraine, but then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), Bandera early showed signs of violence. As a university student in Lvov, he routinely tortured himself in order to toughen himself up for the time when authorities might question him. Such discipline included self-flagellation and slamming a door on his fingers. He was getting ready for his life ahead—as a national revolutionary.

By this time, the Russian Revolution had already happened and new countries came into existence. But in Eastern Europe, the struggle was not simply the winning of a national destiny but also the fight for or against communism; for the Russian Revolution had also unleashed a bloody civil war which would devour entire populations. What was once Galicia now became part of Poland. The eastern portions of Ukraine belonged to the Soviets. Both outcomes stuck in the craw of the nationalists who wanted to unite the western portion and the eastern portions into one unified whole (Ukraine). The eastern portions had already been engaged in a long, bloody war with the Soviets (from 1917 to 1921), a war which was lost.

At the age of 20, Bandera joined the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), in whose ranks he rose quickly, given his penchant for violence. Aside from robberies (to fund the movement), in 1933, he organized an attack on the Soviet embassy in Lvov, killing one of the staff. This was the first of his murders in the thousands. In 1934, he planned and carried out the assassination of Bronisław Pieracki, the Polish Minister of Internal Affairs, as well as other murders. Bandera was arrested by the Poles, tried and given a death sentence, which was commuted to life. But the killings continued. Things got so bad that the Polish government carried out mass arrests of OUN members, which led to further dislike of Poland. Just before the outbreak of the war, the general sentiment was to appeal to Hitler to come and rescue Ukraine.

And in 1939, it seemed Hitler granted the Ukrainians their dearest wish; he invaded Poland. In the fog of war, Bandera escaped from prison and made his way to his allies, the invading Germans. As Bandera declared the “German army as the army of allies.” Once safely among the Nazis, Bandera created a break-away “Bandera faction” of the OUN, known as “OUN-B[andera],” or Banderites, whose goal was to fashion a Nazi Ukraine, under the auspices of Hitler, because Bandera had stated that “German and Ukraine interests” were identical.

The Banderites set up various militias, such as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and Ukrainian People’s Militsiya, or the Ukrainian National Militsiya. The Banderites then undertook vicious reprisals and ethnic-cleaning actions, against Poles, communists, “ethnic Russians,” and against Jews. Or, in the words of Bandera: “Muscovites, Poles, and Jews” must be “destroyed.”

It was during this time that a distinct Ukrainian “identity” was also fashioned, one which stated that the “real” Ukrainians were supposed descendants of Vikings who set up Kievan Rus. There is no real historical or genetic basis for this designation, but it was a convenient merging with Nazi ideology. In other words, in the “true Ukraine,” there were the superior humans and the sub-humans. This “Germanic identity” of Ukraine would have tragic consequences down to today.

The inevitable result of all this was mass slaughter of those that were “undesirable,” the bloodiest of which occurred in June and July of 1941, all coordinated by Bandera, and in which some 9,000 people were murdered (Jews, Poles, and “Muscovites”).

Given the success of this violence and thinking that he had the upper hand, Bandera blundered and declared the Ukraine as independent, and so was promptly arrested by his friends, the Nazis, who sent him off to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he stayed until 1944, when he was released to coordinate resistance against the Red Army, a task he took up with renewed fervor.

After the war, the Banderites were reorganized by the British (MI6) and the CIA, as a way to fight the Soviets. During this time, Bandera moved about, often in disguise and in secret, and always protected by the many members of the former SS, who had found convenient shelter in Ukraine and who formed an extensive underground network.

During this time, Bandera and his organizations killed thousands; some say hundreds of thousands; and all the while he worked closely with the BND, the Federal Intelligence Service of what was then West Germany.

Finally, Bandera was assassinated by the Soviets in Munich, in 1959. But this did not end the deep influence of Hitler and the Nazis in the aspirations of Ukraine nationalists—so much so that it is now difficult to say where Nazism ends and Ukrainian nationalism begins.

In the new Ukraine, statues of Bandera are everywhere. He is the official, national hero.

Which Ukrainians?

In view of the above, it is important to note that theme of the “Ukrainian people” is again at the center of the current Ukraine-Russia conflict. In the West, this has come to mean an alliance with the “Ukrainians” in order to defeat the Russians who are regarded as aliens and who do not belong to “us.” Such is the legacy of Nazism in Ukraine, in that people repeat its core tenet of the inferior Other, in their “defense” of Ukraine. Russians are not “Western” and so must be fought and defeated. That is the gist of the hysterical Russophobia that now grips the West, where “innocent Ukraine” and the “bully Russia” has become “settled science.”

Few in the grip of this hysteria seem to want to understand the complexity involved, let alone the near-impossibility of separating Ukrainian nationalism from Nazism—for the Banderites never went away—meaning that the Ukraine was never de-Nazified. Rather, the Banderites became inseparable from the country’s power-structures and institutions. This relationship only intensified with the dissolution of the Soviet Union when Ukraine became independent in 1991, and when Ukrainian nationalism gained full legitimacy.

And the myth of a “superior, Germanic Ukrainian” was central to the “new Ukraine,” which in turn was central to Euromaidan and what came later—the relentless slaughter of the “sub-humans” in the Donbas regions, as many have meticulously catalogued from 2014 to today.

And according to current Ukrainian law, there are two kinds of “Ukrainians”—the “Germanic Ukrainians,” along with allied people, the Tatars and Karaites (neither of whom actually live in Ukraine).

Then, there are the undesirable people, who are not legally “Ukrainians.” These are the Slavs, and a few others like the Magyars and the Romani who are denied the use of their own language in public. They have to use the official “Ukrainian” language which officially has nothing to do with Russian (!!).

This is the “Law of the Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine” which states that only Germanic Ukrainians, Tatars and Karaites have “the right to fully enjoy all human rights and all fundamental freedoms.” It was signed into law by the current BFF of the West, President Volodymyr Zelensky, on July 21, 2021. In other words, racial segregation of society into the Uebermenschen and the Untermenschen.

This law is not an aberration; rather it reflects the widespread view of where Ukraine “belongs.” For example, in 2018, a book appeared (which became a bestseller and won the Stepan Bandera Prize) in which wide-ranging claims were made about ancient Aryan Ukrainians who invented all kinds of things, including civilization itself. The book was happily “reviewed” by three professors of history and philology at Lviv University (Iryna Kochan, Viktor Golubko and Iosif Los).

As a further demonstration of this positive understanding of Nazis, recently the Ukrainian Parliament tweeted out a photo, comparing what the Russians were supposedly doing to what happened to Hamburg in 1943. The tweet was subsequently deleted. This could again be naivete. But in the context of Ukraine’s twentieth-century history, this should never be assumed.

Then, there is Hitler as the protector of Ukraine, a trope that appears often in children’s school textbooks. For example, one of the more popular textbooks is Andrei Kozitsky’s История Украины. 1914-2014 (History of Ukraine. 1914-2014), in which Ukrainian patriots often wear Nazi uniforms.

In another such textbook, Hitler is nearly teary-eyed with Ukrainian nationalism: “On April 1, 1939, he [Hitler] said: ‘My soul aches when we see the suffering of the noble Ukrainian people… The time has come to create a common Ukrainian state.'”

In other words, in Ukraine, uncle Hitler was never the bad guy; and Nazis equal real Ukrainian nationalism.

The West’s Grooming Of Nazis

Although the term “Nazi” is tossed about in the West to smear ideological opponents, the West also has a long and sordid history of grooming neo-Nazis in Ukraine.

In 2007, the CIA put together a “conference” of various anti-Russian factions in Ukraine whose purpose seems nothing other than to groom neo-Nazis and jihadists, both groups being solidly anti-Russian. Overseeing the conference was Dmytro Yarosh, who led the Trident and the Right Sector, both neo-Nazi organizations. Yarosh’s career is widely known.

These various neo-Nazi units were organized into anti-Russian fighters, trained by the West, and which were integrated into the Ukrainian army. Victoria Nuland, in 2021, told Zelensky to appoint Yarosh as adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian army—because no one can fight Russians better than Nazis, right? After 2014, the West actively protected these neo-Nazi groups

Of course, it is usual to hear that all this is “Russian disinformation,” and that Putin just likes to call people he doesn’t like “neo-Nazis.” The facts, however, are straight-forward enough. Here are the larger units of neo-Nazis, or Banderites currently fighting Russians in Ukraine:

  • Members of Svoboda (formerly the “Nation-Social Party of Ukraine,” which curiously rhymes with Hitler’s “National-Socialist German Workers Party”)
  • The AZOV Battalion (likely now destroyed by the Russians)
  • C14 of Kiev
  • The Aidar Battalion (destroyed recently by the Russians)
  • The Wotanjugend (who are actually Russian in origin)
  • Ukraine Patriot (co-founded by Andriy Parubiy)
  • The National Militia
  • Karpatska Sich
  • Freikorps

There are also many other smaller units (more than 30) that have merged with the larger ones, and all have been integrated into the Ukrainian army. And the various symbols of these organizations are common-place in Ukraine (i.e., the Sonnenrad, the Totenkopf, the Wolfsangel). After 2014, Ukraine also became the main “exporter” of Nazi ideology throughout the world (the mosque shooter in New Zealand was an ardent supporter, for example).

Fighting alongside the neo-Nazis and the Ukrainian army are a slew of jihadis and mercenaries, many of whom are from other Western neo-Nazi groups like the Misanthropic Division. These mercenaries are known as the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine.

There are some who say that none of this is true because Zelensky is Jewish. There is no need to go into the history of Jewish collusion with the Nazis. Suffice to say that the Azov Battalion, and various other neo-Nazi militias, are funded by the oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky who happens to be Jewish and who, it is said, hand-picked Zelensky. Both men also figure prominently in the Pandora Papers which further explains Zelensky the billionaire, complete with a mansion in Florida, lording it over the poorest nation in Europe.

Trudeau And The Nazis

In 2016, the government of Canada invited Andriy Parubiy to Ottawa, when he was the leader of the Social-National Party of Ukraine (now Svoboda), co-founder of Ukraine Patriot, and at that time Parliamentary Speaker of the Rada (the Ukrainian parliament). And Trudeau met him again in Ukraine later that same year.

In 2018, Parubiy opined about democracy: “I’m a major supporter of direct democracy… By the way, I tell you that the biggest man, who practiced a direct democracy, was Adolf Aloizovich [Hitler—and note the use of the honorific form of Adolf’s name, to show great respect].”

In his inimical way, Trudeau lined up with Ukrainian nationalism in a tweet (here translated from the French): “Five years ago, brave Euromaidan protesters were killed in Ukraine while demanding a better future for their country. Today, we honour the Hundred Heavenly Heroes and their sacrifices for democracy. Canada will always stand with the Ukrainian people.”

Irony aside, from the man who is now dictator of Canada, “the Hundred Heavenly Heroes” refers to protestors during Euromaidan who died, many of whom were neo-Nazis.

This may all be put down to naivete, but it is also clear that when Parubiy was invited to Ottawa, the government was fully briefed about his neo-Nazi credentials. But it seemed not to matter, in the greater game of besting Russia.

Perhaps, therefore, it is not surprising that Trudeau’s prominent role in backing Zelensky does have a precedent, and that neo-Nazis in Ukraine are perfectly acceptable, as long as they fight Russians. This is a very old story in Ukraine.

More recently, the current Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland happily posed with a neo-Nazi banner and posted the photo on Twitter, then removed it and posted another without the banner, while saying that anyone who said that she posed with a neo-Nazi banner was obviously spreading “Russian disinformation.”

The black-and-red banner read: “Slava Ukraini” (“Glory to Ukraine”), and it was the slogan of Banderites and the official slogan of the OUN-B. The colors, black and red, are the banner of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).

Of course, one should never believe one’s lying eyes. It is better to believe the official narrative. It is also said that Freeland’s own family has connections to Banderites. The point being, not blood-guilt, but the deep-rooted problem of Nazism in Ukraine.

Such images might be seen as “innocent mistakes.” But in the blood-soaked history of Ukrainian nationalism, they carry a lot of weight and are used as valuable currency.

But the West helping Nazis is also nothing new.

More Atrocities

Ever since 2014, the sad litany of atrocities committed by the neo-Nazis, especially the Azov Battalion, are well-known and widely catalogued. And in the recent conflict, it these neo-Nazi units who are at the forefront of committing further atrocities against civilians. And there are also false-flag operations and yet more atrocities. Where will justice for these crimes come from? From the enablers of the Nazis?

But it would seem, few in the West care, as long as we can all collectively hate Putin and his Russians. Hatred is a great unifier, while the West keeps handing out cash and Wunderwaffen, in the hope that a great Volkssturm will sweep the Russians back where they came from. But notice too that the model of such efforts is always Nazi Germany.

And why does no one object to civilians being made into combatants? Is it a tactical Western move to get “bad press” about Russians “killing civilians?” Whatever the case, Zelensky is certainly guilty of a terrible crime against his own people whom he has pitted against a trained, professional army—and how are Russian soldiers to differentiate between combatants and civilians? Such is the face of a war led by Wokists.

Putin famously, at the beginning of Operation Z, said that Ukraine was ruled by a bunch of drug-addicts and Nazis. Others have looked at the wide-spread drug habits of the rulers, and in the Ukrainian army. The neo-Nazis we have outlined here.

Russia will succeed in its objectives, because it is not led by hysterical woke social justice warriors; and Russia will finally ne-Nazify Ukraine, a job long overdue. Here is Konstantin Pulikovsky, the Russian commander who sets the record straight. His is a voice of true sobriety. (You can watch with translation enabled):


C.B. Forde practices permaculture and builds log-houses in remote locations.

The Russia-Ukraine Conflict And The Tumult Of Our Time

1. Is Operation Z (The Invasion Of Ukraine) Explicable By “Putin Is Evil?”

I cannot agree with what seems to be the dominant explanation in the West that the Russian invasion of Ukraine occurred because Putin is evil. The ‘explanation’ is usually accompanied by claims that Putin is a megalomaniac and a Russian criminal; that his rulership lacks all legitimacy; that Ukrainians are the victims of his overriding ambition to restore Russia’s imperial place in the world; and that Putin is pushing the world to the brink of a third world war and hence must be stopped.

“What are we going to do about Putin?” as an old friend, in her late sixties, full of existential distress and brimming with moral fervor, exclaimed at a recent lunch. The same sentiments have also been repeated by scholars I admire deeply and have often found common cause with, in this very magazine. Thus, in an email chain I am part of, a historian, whom I consider one of the finest of our times, wrote in support of Ryszard Legutko’s condemnation of Putin in the European Parliament that he spoke “for all of us.” Given that I have recently written very enthusiastically on Legutko’s book on freedom here in the Postil, as well as having written an open letter condemning his appalling treatment at the hands of his fellow colleagues and students at his university, I wish that I did see things like him. But I cannot unsee what I see, and what I see comes from my readings and thought gathered over my adult life as a university teacher, where amongst other things, I taught International Relations.

Likewise, the very friend who introduced me to the Postil, and whose writings I have also applauded in these pages, Zbigniew Janowski, sent me his essay, “Ukraine And The West’s National Interest,” about the Ukraine war for comment. That and the request by another friend to share my take on this war have led me to set out my considerations.

War today is mass death, and horrific suffering, but I find all of the above “diagnosis,” to put it mildly, not only lacking in analytical seriousness but contributing to the mindset that has cried out in support of what—each and every time—have turned out to be disastrous military interventions which have only added chaos in regions which were bad enough before the toppling of regimes said to be guilty of “killing their own people”—a turn of phrase that people utter with such seriousness, as if its very formulation gives the situation a special kind of moral significance that we might otherwise be silly enough to conflate with any other kind of mass killing.

Thus, it is now that the people wanting to line up to morally address this geopolitical tragedy—why I formulate it thus shall become evident—have mostly been silent on Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Many, though far from all, who want NATO to “teach Putin a lesson” (said at the same lunch, where the woman’s husband squared up, “Putin is a bully who must be taught a lesson”) had also supported the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. I confess to having been ambivalent back then—in the case of Iraq, at least when it seemed that the CIA had definite proof about the WMD’s; and now seeing I was utterly wrong to believe that these operations were, at best, anything more than massive strategic blunders (leaving aside the whole “blood for oil” dimensions) that made things far worse than they were—and has only highlighted the deficiencies of the armed forces of the West.

This “essay”—if essay it be—is really a collection of considerations that bring together aspects of the tumult of the times which most would think irrelevant—and they are certainly irrelevant to the narrative-thematics mentioned above—but which for me are critical for any serious response to the war. It is a response that eschews the search for a single cause—because, like everything historically important, such searches are as futile as they are distracting and wrong-headed. That means that it is also not a search for moral culpability as such—for as is very evident to me and as I shall lay out, there is plenty of culpability to go around—though it does seem that plenty of people, including journalists, are either ignorant of, or silent about, all matter of circumstances and players that are pertinent to the disaster of this war. Geopolitical questions are never adequately answered by “He did it!” And yes of course Putin ordered the invasion. But the question that must always be posed to an event is: How has the “who” come to be doing the “what?” And what exactly does the “what” involve?

My observations and concerns are also not the response of a specialist on Ukrainian or Russian politics—I read neither language. Though area specialists are not always very good guides to anything—how many Sovietologists foresaw the end of the USSR? What I think is also not from my own first-hand experience on the ground, but it comes from open sources, some of which are provided by first-hand witnesses to the event taking place—even though it is ever more difficult to dig up information, as the internet has become increasingly algorithmically colonized by those who think they should dictate what is genuine information and what is misinformation—as if they would know.

Not only do I have no stake in thinking what I think, but I would really like to be convinced that I am not seeing clearly, that I am missing some essential evidence that would make me change my mind—as opposed to seeing that what people are presenting as evidence/facts are an admixture of dubious psycho-politics, and the ham-fisted application by analogy of historical facts to contemporary contingencies which require consideration of other historical and geopolitical facts rather than reminisces about the Russian empire and the “Russian soul,” and appeals to abstract moral and political ideals that have nothing to do with these or any other circumstances or characters.

I am well aware that many will just think that I and others who see things like me are moral pariahs or conspiracy theorists, and stooges of the evil Vladimir Putin—but the idea that someone who is trying to understand something and who disagrees with a particular diagnosis is a mere puppet of someone else (in this case Putin), and that he is spreading misinformation, and should be censored or denounced, is a symptom of what we have lost in the West—our minds along with our souls. It is much more comfortable to think that this issue is a clear-cut case of good and evil, and we all need to sing along with the rousing, feel-good moral crescendos of denunciation that are taking place wherever friends meet for a meal or drink.

Let me also say that what I present below is indicative not only of a disagreement I have with political “friends,” but also with people whose views I generally consider utterly stupid and contemptible and who are also all yelling to the rooftops that Putin is evil, and Zelensky a hero or saint.

Such people include the US triumvirate (Biden, Harris, Pelosi) who are the “leaders” of the “free world;” and the owners of the media/tech universe; and the ant-like army of mindless academicians and journalists who constitute the Greek chorus to those in power.

It is certainly possible to agree with scoundrels and imbeciles because they may be correct on a particular issue; but in the tumult of our times. it is noteworthy that almost every issue of importance is a matter of life and death, and ends up being one more reason to sort out those who are “enemies” of humankind from the self-proclaimed good, the true and the beautiful. I guess that I must be an enemy of humankind (on multiple fronts) because I hesitate to believe any of the things that have enabled the technocratic global elite. And it is fairly obvious that no matter what the crisis, it is pretty well the same bevy of benignly-beaming countenances who all know how to set us right: ranging from the benign philanthropic crew patenting vaccines like Bill Gates, or hedge fund meddlers in the political fate of nations like George Soros, or the sweat-shirted “geniacs” (I know I made that word up but it fits) at the helm of the platforms of global communication and censorship, those royal founts-of-wisdom and virtue, Charlie, Harry and Meghan, and the rest of the good, true and beautiful crew of pied pipers, court jesters, and acrobats, to the glum-drum-hum-drum-dumb-dumb ring-a-ding-zing-a-ling fun-loving types (imagine a group so interesting and hip that Klauss Schwab is their role model, and whose best bet for getting laid is attending a Davos meeting ). This last lot may seem to be relatively innocuous in the greater scheme of things, with their grey suits and with their blurred pasty faces, and clear blue-sky minds. But they are responsible for enough hot air to make us wonder if there really is another thirty years before we all burn to death, not to mention their devastating destruction of the world’s forests so they can print up their detailed plans. You got to hand it to them, though, they have come up with perfect their plan of ridding the planet of six billion people—they are going to bore everyone to death. I confess the above lot are the real reason I can’t get into Darwin’s theory of evolution.

As much as the whole gang in a sane world would be players in some Aristophanean farce, we are living in a Western cold civil war and issues that people generally treat as separate are not separate at all. For while the issues that cause division vary from climate to biology to virology, the sociology of race, ethnicity, to political theology and to domestic politics and geopolitics—the pitch and consequence is the same: families and friends, classes and nations turn against each other with ferocity; and the West is in a phase of ideological divisiveness, reminiscent of the political chaos in the post-First World War period. Putin cannot be blamed for any of this. In this civil war, the technocratic lords and their minions are winning in the West (I am sure though that their victory though will be pyrrhic). There are plenty of indications that the “glorious future” (of Western developed societies) will be one of total surveillance. All matters, from climate to environmental issues, to everything social, political, and economic will be in the hands and minds of specialists.

Thinkers of the left (Marcuse in One Dimensional Man) and the right (Heidegger in too many places to mention) envisaged and warned against this almost a century ago. Now one does not need to be a philosopher to make sense of the future, as it takes shape before our eyes, and we witness the transformation of politics into the mere administration of things, including humanity, as Saint-Simon initially formulated it. Food, water and air—all of life—become the “things” to be treated as part of one great calculable planning and trading system by the global oligarchs, political elite and technocrats working on behalf of their version of the good of human kind.

These considerations are neither fanciful, nor off-point. On the contrary, the idea that what is happening in Ukraine can even be remotely considered apart from what else is happening in the Western world strikes me as mad—or, in less polemic terms, methodologically deficient.

2. The Bigger Picture, Or The Great Contestation Of Our Time

The political contestation today that matters in the Western world, and thereby impacts upon the entire planet—and the only one that is really about making the future—is between those who are with a program of global leadership and compliance to the narratives of rights, sustainability, censorship, population control, and the complete technocratization of life, and those who oppose it. The lines of division are not lines that most people are even conscious of (which is typical of people in a phase of an event whose meaning is yet to become known even to the inside players—i.e., the makers of it). But in our age of crisis building upon crisis, the lines always come down to more or less the same people, providing the same methods, for the same kinds of solutions—and all based in moral principles that are ostensibly and fortuitously congruent with “the science,” and which will supposedly lead to a more equal and emancipate world (even though they actually lead to a world of greater conformity and compliance, greater censorship and control and an unprecedented scale of inequality). On this last point, consider how Western COVID policies have impacted on the economies of impoverished countries.

The Ukraine war is one more component of an assemblage of a technocratic globalist world outlook that has multiple open organs of articulation and instantiation. This outlook is widely publicized and broadly crafted. It is not a conspiracy, if one means that there is a plan that is hatched secretly and well executed. The plan—and the vocabulary in which it is formulated—is publicly aired in multiple forums from the UN to the World Economic Forum, from corporate CEOs to NGOs, from newspapers and television stations, and in university and primary school class-rooms.

If, however, one means that a group of players seeks to impose their will upon others to control the direction of resources and the organization and administration of life is a conspiracy—stated thus, then all politics is a conspiracy. Those who believe that “the science,” and hence a technocratic elite, are both necessary to solve the problems of the species and the planet then have to accept that the consequences of implementation are and will be extremely violent. It is very understandable why people think that population control, green energy, universal income etc. are very good outcomes, just as it is very understandable why peasants and workers in Russia and China thought that the solution of communism would be a very good thing. The problem with their position is not only what the world will be like if it arrives to where it is being led (see above), but the horrific costs involved in getting from this world to that future “world.” Those who are challenging this globalist vision believe that this arrival can only be achieved by a level of destruction, and domination that will make the totalitarianism of the twentieth century seem but a prelude to a greater horror.

The “to come” is the messianic formulation that a number of philosophers have used to invoke this future, which will ostensibly emancipate every oppressed group. It is just a fancy name for what Marxists-Leninist used to call “the glorious future” and the “New Man.” Its greatest obstacle is not (as endlessly repeated) the privilege and prejudices of dominators who ideologically indoctrinate the dominated—but traditions which give most people a thicker identity than the thinner ones of race, ethnicity (the very issue that has been the tinderbox in Ukraine), gender, sexuality—all distorted and self-serving ideas of intellectuals who advocate the globalist “view” of emancipation and personhood. The victims of these ideas are primarily the working classes.

Amongst the intelligentsia, it is a tiny and insignificant group of outcasts who are coming to see that any allegiances to the old alliances of left and right (liberal-conservative) have not the slightest relevance at all—because states, corporations and NGOs are equally culpable, being fully integrated into the program, which is (to use a term of that Parisian enthusiast of “nomad thinking,” Gilles Deleuze) rhizomic in its “logic” and evolution, rather than arboreal. This program is a contagion in which the makers of “the future” act in concert, without even realizing what it is that they are making or what the program even is. This too is simply the way events generally transpire, and how we all live, i.e., mostly unaware of what we are doing whilst we do it. It is global in the variety of interests, ideological preferences and types of people that are drawn into its epicentre.

Those who are being drawn in, come from every corner of the globe, and one should not underestimate the attractive “goods” that are promised—prosperity, which given the technological potential unlocked by the fusion of global forces, resources and techniques, enable the chosen ones to live as gods (no wonder the dream is to find technologies to defeat not only sickness but death itself), and pleasure, including the most intense sexual pleasures and array of pleasurable possibilities (the most widely cited philosopher of our time, Michel Foucault, was both prophet and avatar of this new “higher” type).

In most traditional societies those who seek to live their lives pursuing such pleasures have been either outlawed outright, though mostly left to seek their pleasures in hidden, draped and private spaces. But to fabricate entire life identities around a sexual act or preference, so that it becomes a means for the complete overturning of traditional institutions and the touchstone of value is insane, not least because it cannot create the same kinds of sacrificial bonds of solidarity that enable societies to persist over long period of times.

Lest anyone think I am overstating the significance of sexual identity politics, consider the public head of MI6, who came out saying at the very beginning of the Ukraine war that the real difference between Russia and the West is to be seen in how they respectively respond to LGBTQ rights.

Like pretty well every political leader in the non-Western world, not to mention the Islamic world (is it Islamophobic to mention that rainbow flags do not fly atop government buildings in Islamic countries?), Putin does not want to allow sexual identity/diversity politics to flourish in Russia; and it is one reason he is hated so much by liberals in the Western world.

I am reminded of a book I once reviewed, God in the Tumult of the Global Square, where the authors are completely flummoxed by the fact that the Russian Orthodox contingent were not on board with the other delegates at an interfaith conference that denounced critics of gay clerics—but the fact was that the Russians simply valued the importance of traditional sexual values in social formation more than individual sexual orientation, rights and choices. To think that Putin cares about private homosexual acts, because he is a nasty/pasty homophobe and who encourages the persecution of gay people, is to either be willfully misleading or to fail to see the very different point that Putin has made very clear in a number of speeches: Western sexual (and all styles of identity) politics is destructive to the traditions of Church and family; and after some seventy years of communist social destruction and another ten or so years of mayhem, Putin—and his support base—will do all in their power to resist what they see as a Western trojan horse.

With respect to the role of sexual identity politics in the dismantling and reconstruction of social institutions—and hence what the West now stands for—it is significant that the argument in favour of decriminalisation of homosexuality was based upon the sanctity of privacy. Had the matter of sexual preference and pleasure been solely a matter of private concern, it would not have posed any threat to the role of the family as such.

However, to put the pursuit and open celebration of sexual desire at the centre of our drives and needs, as Freud and the generation that came of age in the 1960s did, and now our pedagogues do, is to place appetite against traditions—all traditions—and thereby create the clearing in which we live today; and the consequences of which are also relevant to this war.

For this combination is the great attractor-force of the West today; and it is particularly attractive to the young, wealthy and vital; and it is as just as attractive to the more well-heeled Chinese, as it is to Russians, as it is to Ukrainians, as it is to the majority of middle class youth with prospects and spending power in Western lands, as it is, indeed, to those Polish students and philosophy professors who denounced Ryszard Legutko for having the temerity to see through the destructive nature of implanting a surveillance unit (of the sort that pretty well all Western universities now have) at his university to ensure that “diversity” (of sexual styles of pleasure and identities formed around those pleasures) will be protected.

That its attractiveness—and more generally the attractiveness of a life dedicated to slaking one’s desires and searching for comfort—is a mere veneer and false promise of emancipation is all too evident in the widespread despondency and social decay in the richest society the world has ever seen—drug dependency, broken marriages, abandoned or single mothers struggling to raise their children, abandoned and run away children, race conflicts, suicide rates and the widespread use of opiates to transport their users out of the pain and despair of everyday life. This is the end of the line of what the more philosophical of readers might recall was Descartes’ great vision of us becoming lords and masters of nature, viz. an eternal, comfortable life (achievable through advances in medicine).

Given this reality, is it also any wonder that given what they know through their own empty experiences of hooks-ups without love and serial monogamy, the youth and their teachers, who have been caught up in this pursuit of the pleasure-principle and its equation with life’s very meaning, as well as the most important feature of all in one’s identity, there is a search for a spiritual purpose that might redeem this morass of sadness, and despair that dwells within the surface phantasmagoria of opulence, infantilism, and eroticism.

That search, though, is undertaken by souls already brainwashed and broken and all they can do is plea for more of the same cause—they want more equity, more social justice so all on the planet may share their opulence and self-indulgence, and emptiness. These empty zombified people find their greatest spiritual core in demanding ever more service to the idols that have malformed them. Their prayers and rituals, their band of solidarity, their most genuinely joyful act is the moral outrage that they express at anyone who deviates from thinking and talking about the world that would lead others away from their gods. Their gods are (as Kant would say of the God that reason itself conjures) the “mere ideas” of their own “moral freedom,” which is their power to form absolutes that all must obey because—so they truly believe—all (except the ideologically deformed) want what they want: they call this “social justice.”

It is not only to do with sexual pleasure, but also with the divvying-up of material resources and ensuring no identity group is more privileged than another. The people who love this way have no idea what they are really doing. They are slaves of the gods of sexual indulgence, “social justice,” intersectionality, etc. and imagine they are the elite/priests selecting who will be fit to be on board the ark of the future.

What we are living through is the apogee of modern ambition and technology. Its roots combine the enlightened and romantic thinkers of the modern age. This apogee involves tearing out all other forms of sociality and encountering. But its adherents believe that they are involved in redeeming the best of traditions and people that have been silenced by history (cf. Walter Benjamin on the redemption of the oppressed). This is all advanced through an appeal to rights, anti-domination/ emancipation, equity—and an inability to consciously understand the sacrificial requirements of any kind of society; though they do unconsciously understand that they must sacrifice others (largely those who do not agree with them about their socio-political objectives or processes) to realize their dream.

That premodern societies were generally sacrificial orders is something they simply know nothing of—their moral fantasies require they speak of tribal societies as egalitarian and democratic. The Australian author and faux aboriginal man Bruce Pascoe has written a book that has received many prestigious awards and is taught in schools around the country and which claims that Australian aborigines were agrarian, settled people who lived in large towns, in a country that was the first and largest democracy. He is also a professor at Australia’s most prestigious university—the University of Melbourne. It is not the fact that he ignores the hardships of tribal life, the wars and feuds between tribes, the severity of punishments for acts of transgression, and the existential precariousness which was so great that there were numerous reports by nineteenth century authors of cannibalism; but that he depicts that world as a kind of model of what the future can and should be, if we but get our story straight and find common ground.

The symptoms of the deranged thinking of Western societies are endless—and although imbecilic thinking as the order of the day is recognized by various authors who generally badge themselves as “conservatives”—what is far less common is to identify these very bad ideas with the globalist project that is enabled, in conjunction with what is basically a sexually woke diverse Walt Disney view of the world, in which the United States and its entertainment industries provide the cultural leadership that mainstream politicians, corporations, and all the other leader types disseminate.

I am surprised that so few of my friends see the connections between the attacks upon tradition and the brainlessness and heartlessness of the woke world and the globalist forces that are not incidental to the Ukraine war—and while I cannot account for what they see, or why they don’t see it, I think that as astute as many of their critical writings of the modern spiritual and political crisis are, they are duped by the phantasm of a West that is no more, if ever it was; and the adequacy of the political vocabulary and the categories of distinction it deploys to understand the current circumstance.

It is not that I support Putin as if he and the Russians are to be likened to a team I follow, but I am very sure that much of what I am seeing is seen by Putin, as it is by a philosopher, Alexander Dugin, whose thought is gaining increasing exposure as the true source of Putin’s evil thoughts—as if apart from Dugin’s Taking over the World for Dummies, Putin’s library might resemble Pelossi’s bookshelf, and he does not have enough information-flow just by observing the world he is in. Is it being a Putin lackey to suggest if there were a test in political history and geo-politics Putin might blow away any world western leader including Boris, who one would expect to fare well in the Classics bit, but not so great in the final question, “What is going on now and what are you going to do about it?”

Apart from the ridiculousness of this cartoonish division of the world into this hybrid monster (supposedly knowing about Dugin is a sign that one really understands the mechanics of evil coming out of Russia ) and the innocent rest, what I am seeing is not something I want to see—nor is it something that I think Putin and Dugin want to see. Or to say it another way—if one looks at speeches or writings by Dugin and Putin, it is clear that they see the West in its death throes—last October Putin likened the West under the dominion of identity politics to Russia under communism, and (in spite of Putin really being a commie) that was not praise.

When Putin rebukes the West for being an “Empire of Lies” (I take up the problem of widespread Western lies—and the matter of “Russian lies” is simply not relevant to the lies of the West)—I do not know how one can deny that he has seen the rottenness that has become simply part of the day-to-day reality in the West—the fabrication, denunciation and persecution now usual in the West. I do not consider someone either wrong or an enemy, if they show me a character flaw; and I cannot see how the West can begin to heal the rifts that threaten to break it other than by addressing the lies that its elite states about itself, its opponents, and the world at large.

3. International Relations 101: The Russian-Ukraine War

International conflicts are driven by all manner of reasons, from conflict over resources, to ideological or faith-driven decisions, to prestige. Often wars are the explosive resolutions of entanglements that have occurred over protracted periods of time and past decisions which cannot be unmade without tragic collisions. The history of nations and their interests are not, at least for the most part, as in one’s own life, the result of principles and wisdom, but of circumstances that involve our own and our forefathers’ oversights, missteps, sins and crimes, as well as our and their better judgments and qualities.

In spite of the Western media coverage of this war as a clear-cut case of good vs. evil, I find the position of those who depart from that narrative more compelling. There is John Mearsheimer, International Relations Professor, who, for many years, has been warning that the United States and NATO have been creating an intolerable geopolitical threat to Russia that would result in war.

There is the former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter whose time in active service in the first Iraq war gave him important insights into the regime of Saddam Hussein and why the claims being made about Hussein’s army and the weapons of mass destruction were false.

There is Jacques Baud who has an important essay in the Postil; and Colonel Douglas McGregor, who sums up the situation in terms of whether the USA has a legitimate and genuine national interest in what is a regional conflict.

As counter positions to the mainstream, I have also found 21st Century Wire, Patrick Henningsen podcasts, UK Column, George Galloway, Lee Stranahan, the Duran, Richard Medhurst, the Grayzone to be amongst those I tune into quite regularly and find informative. Anyone familiar with these podcasts and figures will know they fall on opposing sides on some important issues about states and markets—i.e., the left and right. But, as I state above, anyone who thinks that the demarcation between left-right, liberal-conservative, is living in a “literary reality.”

The analyses the aforementioned people provide comes from people challenging the mainstream media line (oozing out of our screens, earbuds and pages) that anything that does not support the Ukrainian cause and narrative is Russian propaganda. The most basic lesson one learns in International Politics is that peoples have different stakes to protect, and live in different “worlds” and they generally wish to protect their livelihoods and ways of being in the world—that is, people have different interests; and the word interest is synonymous with the how and why of life lived within a particular place and time. That is why it is important not just to listen to what Zelensky and the Ukrainians are saying and what we believe them to be doing, but also to what Putin and the Russians are saying and doing.

Putin has said that the invasion is to de-Nazify Ukraine—i.e., destroy the ultra-ethnic nationalist elite whose insignificant electoral representation is no indication of its social and institutional influence, and end NATO expansion.

None of the criticisms I have read against these claims takes these words seriously, though plenty try and deny that there is a neo-Nazi problem; or that the US ever conceded it would stop NATO expansion (a claim Putin often makes); or that there is any reason why Russia should be fazed by NATO expansion. I cannot take these “critical” claims seriously; and in any case, the issue is not what you or I think about how Putin should react to the number of neo-Nazis in Ukraine and the power they have garnered institutionally in pressing their interests, or about NATO expansion—what matters is how Putin and the Russian government think—and it would be wise to commence with the proposition that what they think is what they say, and if there is a mismatch between their words and deeds then interpret accordingly. I don’t think there is a mismatch. What I do see is a lot of people not listening, or not taking their words seriously.

On the matter of Russian expansion, I am inclined to defer to two figures who did foresee where NATO expansion into the East would lead, as they strongly advised against ignoring Russia’s concerns about that expansion—the architect of the US Cold War policy, George Kennan and the former ambassador to Ukraine, and career ambassador, and former ambassador to the Russian Federation William Burns. A similar position has also been aired by Peter Ford, a former UK ambassador to Syria, who has first-hand experience of that ongoing debacle of supplying arms to jihadists who were supposedly our friends and who helped in the creation of ISIS.

But NATO expansion aside, the immediate occasion of the invasion was the mass positioning of Ukrainian troops and the imminent threat of even greater escalation by the Ukrainians of border disputes arising out of the Maidan. The establishment of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic, like the secession of Crimea, are the direct result of attacks upon Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Though, if the Western media is to be believed, the escalation of violence against Russian-speakers, like everything else that Russians say, was mere propaganda and it was simply an open-and-shut case of invasion.

In the Donbas, a civil war has cost many thousands of lives (14000 is the common number bandied around), most of which are Russian-speakers. This too has received scant (albeit occasional) Western media attention, though Patrick Lancaster has been living there and reporting on this unknown civil war for eight years.

What people like John Mearsheimer have been seeing and saying since the Maidan is that while this was happening the expansion of NATO and its direct support for the Ukrainian military was akin to building a massive dynamite factory beside a nitroglycerine plant—very reminiscent of the events transpiring in the Balkans prior to the outbreak of the First World War. And as with anyone investigating the causes of the Great War, it is extremely unhelpful to break the conflict down into moral bites and depict the players involved in purely moral culpability-terms, in a manner that befits school children (“Please Sir, it was the Germans and the blank cheque they gave to the Austro-Hungarians that caused it” was the answer of British schoolchildren to the “test” question: Who caused the World War).

Moralistic approaches to political history and current geopolitical circumstances are the means for avoiding rather than solving complex geopolitical antagonisms. Such antagonisms are only resolved through war (yes, sadly, it is the means of last resolve) and statecraft.

Statecraft and international diplomacy require having honed one’s mind to deal with the generation and culmination and impact of specific contingencies, actors, and historical and current forces, as well as perceived national interests; and how to deal with limited available choices of action quickly. The reduction of such complexities to normative principles is a scandal that only discloses a fundamental arrogance and ignorance within the modern liberal mind, that to be sure has gone a long way in helping the US become a hegemon, but a hegemon which inevitably leaves ruin as its monument, and causes far many more deaths than it saves.

Further, far from bringing the nations together, as the creators of the League of Nations and United Nations hoped to do, it has simultaneously devalued the international currency of norms by making it seem nothing more than a smokescreen of a particular way of being and acting in the world, which is no less violent and no more benign than the ways of other nations who not only have their own problems to deal with but, when their interests come into collision with the Western democracies, face putative measures; from ruination of their economies to invasion and a scale of warfare that makes what is happening in Kiev look like a soldiers’ picnic. (Consider how many died in the first 24 hours of the invasions of Iraq with the reported death toll in Ukraine—shock and awe.)

None of the enemies of the US fail to note that the representatives of the United States, and more generally the defenders of a liberal hegemonic international order, in international forums, deploy the moral philosophy of deontology—the rectitude of principle [i.e., Human Rights] is all important—whilst blithely embracing consequentialism on every occasion when that order and national interest is threatened (provided said order can marshal enough resources to defeat the threat).

For US and NATO interventionism (as is invariably the case with any player considering the option of initiating war) is very much driven by strategic realities; whereas poor Mr. Zelensky is a genuinely tragic figure wading in waters that he was never prepared for. Caught twixt ethnic-nationalists, who think him a clown, and oligarchs, who use him as a puppet, and portrayed by the Western media as the saintly stateman of the hour (much like Time‘s list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2019 included that other genius of statecraft, AOC). If poll reports are to be believed, he has managed to claw back popularity amongst Western Ukrainians who had initially voted in droves for him, before thinking they had one more turkey, but who seem now eager to buy the message that Ukrainian freedom is worth armed resistance against Russia.

But forgive me if I am somewhat sceptical—what I see is that a huge number of Ukrainians have the very good sense to simply want to get out of the place. And while the Ukrainian army is sizable and well-armed, there are also reports of the government distributing tens of thousands of assault rifles to civilians. This is, as the Russian media and government rightly point out, in breach of international law, requiring the clear demarcation between civilians and combatants. While the Western media has no problem finding stories about unwilling Russian troops, we are supposed to believe that Ukrainians still in Kiev, one and all, are noble, patriotic freedom fighters. Sorry, but I grew up a long time ago, and in spite of the absurd, albeit widespread depiction within anti-Russian media, of Russia as the USSR and Nazi German redux, such analogies do not hold up to even the most cursory of examinations.

There have also been stories coming out of Mariupol of Ukrainian soldiers using civilians as human shields. Like all inconvenient stories about the war they are immediately denied, without investigation by Western journalists and said to be Russian propaganda. But, I ask, why would the non-combatants want to stay in the city, and why would the battalions that Russian soldiers are intent on destroying not be prepared to save themselves at any cost? The military tactics of the Russians do indicate that the objectives of Russia are what Putin says they are—to demilitarize Ukraine and not simply erase it. Thus, it seems plausible that any captured Ukrainian soldier found to have links with the Azov battalion or any other ethnic ultra-nationalist Ukrainian group will in all likelihood be executed immediately.

Whatever we say about Zelensky, he was as incapable of building peace in Ukraine as he was in reducing corruption. In spite of all the media hoopla he receives for his courage in standing up to a tyrant, and speeches that look like they come from US hack-tv drama writers, he was no statesman. He is either truly child-like or has so little knowledge of relatively recent history that he really thought that Russia would simply standby and wait for the Minsk agreements to continually be ignored and watch as Ukrainian forces were got ready to launch a final defeat of the Russian-speaking resistance in the Donbas.

If, by the way, anyone thinks that ethnic-nationalist militias killing Russian first language speakers with impunity, and infiltrating the various institutions of Ukraine, including the military is untrue, which is now the Western media default position, you should go back and read/watch reports in the Guardian and BBC when they were not just outlets of propaganda. You might also turn to a paper, put out by the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University just last September, by Oleksiy Kuzmenko, “Far Right Group Made its Home in Ukraine’s Major Western Military Training Hub.” And if you do not think providing a de facto, if not de jure, front for NATO’s strategic advancement, and threatening Russia with nuclear war, is not brinkmanship, I hazard to guess what would be.

In any case, Mr. Zelensky has had the kind of lesson in geopolitics that those who had the temerity to defy the United States have often had to learn to their peril. And while the United States and other European Nations desist from direct military involvement at least for the moment—though engaging in the now widely accepted practice of asset-seizures of Russian nationals (the future consequences of this policy bode very ill indeed for the world’s economy generally, as well as a future peace, or even the West’s economic power and credibility) as well as the sackings of Russians from all manner of jobs, from teaching to the arts—Mr. Zelensky berates the West for not being brave enough to have a full scale war.

As for the innocence of Saint Zelensky, I have said he is a tragic figure. But as he calls ever more desperately to bring the entire world into war, I cannot see him as anything other than a man who has stumbled blindly into this like a drunk with a match in the aforementioned nitroglycerine factory, panicking for his own survival; or, I will grant him this, possibly a place in the pantheon of the nation’s heroes, right alongside Stepan Bandera, that anti-Soviet Nazi ally and mass-murderer of Jews, Poles, and Russians.

If Western journalists stopped for a moment and realized that Putin does not care what they think of his actions, but he understands Russia and the events and figures within Russia’s historical memory. Putin understands that when President Yushenko posthumously awarded the medal of Hero of the Ukraine in 2010 to Bandera, and when the extremely crooked and much-hated President Pyotr Poroshenko, who emerged out of the Maidan, signed a law in 2015 glorifying the neo-fascist OUN and the UPA, this was a signal of support to Bandera neo-Nazi supporters and an acknowledgment of the need for the support of this influential power block.

Gone are the days when I, at least, could trust anything I see on the BBC. And yet again this prejudice I have developed was confirmed not just to be sheer prejudice, when a friend of mine sent me today a BBC report about how insignificant the Azov battalion and other neo-Nazi groups are in Ukraine and hence Putin was—yet again—telling lies that the roving intrepid BBC journalist was exposing. The “exposure” consisted of loosely tossing around some figures and speaking with Ukrainians who said: No there was no Neo-Nazi problem, there were hardly any of them; and in any case, they were good fighters, and their ideology was personal—akin to being a Seventh Day Adventist. One person who provided important evidence to discredit mad bad Vlad was good old Honest Poroshenko himself—who merely had to roll his eyes when asked of the existence of Ukrainian neo-Nazis.

I make no secret of the fact I think Joe Biden an idiot, but he is not such an idiot that he really thinks that Americans who have just presided over a humiliating debacle in Afghanistan want to start rounding up their kids, who are busily studying sexual and racial identity inflected subjects so they can go hook up with what and who they want, in the hope they may make themselves more virtuous, if they don’t have enough people to denounce or de-platform, by finding a riot in the summer, that is, if some unfortunate black person fulfils their dreams and gets caught in the cross-fire of police panic.

Perhaps Zelensky simply does not understand the elite priorities of the US, from its president to its woke military higher ups, which is to turn the entire world into something that highly sexualised, irresponsible teens want and understand, which certainly does not include dying for anything, let alone other people’s freedom. Moreover, on the ground, none knows where Ukraine is, and Kiev is a style of chicken dinner. They don’t really want to see their little “It,” who is doing so well at college, come back home in a coffin. Heck, one even might recall one of the major reasons why Trump got elected; that is, as Joe now stumbles around airing threats of the sort that seemed to work well enough when he had deal with that bum Corn Pop—and Vlad is just another bum after all. But for all that, Joe is not so gone (yet) that he doesn’t know that taking the US into a war would not really help him get re-elected.

The heroic leader Zelensky, as he is portrayed in the West, looks like he is in an all-or-nothing situation. And the millions of dollars he has stashed away overseas, thanks to his former media mogul boss, oligarch—and all-round gangster—political backer, also the former employer of Hunter Biden, Ihor Kolomoyskyi (yes, he was the real owner of Burisma) won’t help him much. In the midst of a country mired in corruption (a little more of which anon), Zelensky, like his predecessor, has been completely played by the US and the EU for their own interests.

Unfortunately, the Ukrainians, who are caught in the midst of the horrors, are learning what I think is the kind of thing anyone learns about in IR or IP classes 101, at least those classes that (admittedly becoming rare) are not taught by some eager beaver social justice warrior reducing geopolitics to race, class and gender. (If you think I am joking, check out how big a field feminist International Relations is now.)

In a world where one would not be denounced as a traitor or apologist of evil for thinking about national interests, International Politics teachers, when trying to understand Russia’s position and role in this event, would, I think, typically (and I have a seen a number of people more or less raise this same example) ask their students to imagine that the US has returned large parts of land annexed by Texas and California in the 19th century to Mexico.

Imagine then that the predominantly English-speaking groups within those territories found themselves disputing about regional resource extraction and distribution with Spanish-speaking groups, most of whom lived on the other side of the country. Then these ethnic tensions culminated in a coup, partly enabled by Chinese meddling in internal affairs. The regions that had formerly been parts of Texas and California became embroiled in a civil war.

The Texan and Californian Mexicans were being continuously bombed by the Mexican government—they were hearing true stories of the government closing down media outlets sympathetic to their cause, and forbidding the English language being taught in Mexican schools—just as the English did with the Irish and Welsh (and has been done in Quebec).

Then China wanted to put rockets on Mexican soil, and were sending in troops on the ground to train Mexican troops; and then the Mexican President said he wanted to build up the country’s nuclear capacity as well as have a more formal security alliance with China which it was desperate to join with other allies of China.

If a student in discussing this scenario were to pipe up and say, “The US President not only should, but would accept all this, and that any President who took military action to intervene on behalf of the persecuted ethnic Anglo-Americans and push back against Chinese meddling in its sphere of influence, would be proof of him being an evil megalomaniac”—any IR teacher would be thinking, “I have completely failed this student—he (sorry, I meant it) has no clue.”

But this all is meant to sound reasonable when we just insert the words “Putin,” “Russia,” “Ukraine” and the “USA.” It reminds me of how our educated elite think it perfectly acceptable to say that “white men are exploiters, thieves, privileged, undeserving etc.,” but were the “white men” replaced with “Jews,” “women,” “blacks,” there would be mass outrage.

The thinking that ignores geopolitical “realities” (and they are realities because of forces that have accrued over a protracted period of time; they are delicately poised; and the failure of statesmen to balance them come with massive consequences)—enables mass death. And in spite of the voluntarist metaphysical tendency that has completely seized the Western mind, these realities do not wilt under the glare of a moral(izing), that is to say, hypocritical, conscience.

It seems just yesterday, when journalists could not line up quickly enough to denounce George Bush, and prior to that Ronald Regan for being warmongers. Then at least they acknowledged (or at least a substantial number did) that the “neo-con” idea of “regime change” was deranged. Though when the Obama administration weighed in with tremendous enthusiasm for the “Arab Spring,” in what was really another variant of the same fantasy—a world of liberal democracies, all singing from the “International Community” hymn book, it should have been obvious to any thoughtful people that very few Western journalists were able to think with any real clarity outside of the safe partisan parameters that they had picked up in their training and developed in conversation with others from the same background. So it was that they easily drifted into rebooting the Cold War in order to topple that other monster Trump; and now they find themselves in that battle with the monster Putin.

Irrespective of journalists intermittently opposing US interventions, at times the US has been a mere spoiler, providing arms, training etc. At other times it has been a direct intervener—and the results have always been the same—mass death and utter disaster. I think the United States not only stood for something worth defending during the Cold War, and that Reagan (ridiculed by most of the intellectual elite) and his administration were right to break away from the Washington consensus that the Cold War was permanent, and unwinnable, and that Regan had taken the world to the brink of a world war—when in fact he was canny, and had good advisers, and took action at the right time – though if any forethought were given to the immediate aftermath, nothing good came to pass.

But this is not the Cold War. Russia is not the USSR; and the America of today has no unified spiritual core, or even a unified political purpose. Thinking that joining forces against Putin will magically produce such purpose is magical thinking. Unfortunately, the amount of magical thinking that the US has produced since the end of the Cold War has been endless (not that it was not doing some before then—e.g., whoever took over in Iran had to be better than the Shah; supporting the mujahedeen in Afghanistan against the Russians would lead to something good, etc.).

In concluding this section, I should also add that I can easily imagine that if I were a Ukrainian “first language” person living in Kiev, I would have been amongst the tens or hundreds of thousands flooding the square and streets in 2014, demanding that my interests be met, and that the President sign on to the association agreement that the EU was dangling, as a way to draw the country further into its sphere of influence. I may even have become so inflamed by the event that I may have found myself joining one of the nationalist militias, with heroes who sided with the Nazis because I would have realized that just standing in the streets, singing songs and chanting does not topple governments.

I most likely would have been full of rage that the Russians, who had promised independence, were still pulling the strings of the government, and that it was impossible to trust the good will of an ethnic group who had starved millions of my countrymen to death just as I would not feel ashamed that I had ancestors who threw their lot in with Hitler, because say what you like about Hitler, he killed a lot of Russians. Being part of such a group, I may well have beat up, or if things got really out of hand, even killed Russian-speaking Ukrainians that wanted to continue to oppress me and my family by keeping us as prisoners. Now, I would desperately want the West to come and save me, and hate Putin and see him as the cause of the panic and suffering that makes me want to flee the country.

But I am not that person—and nor am I a Russian-speaking Ukrainian from the Donbas who has also seen hospitals and schools bombed, who has lost family members since the Maidan, and whose prayers of being defended have been answered with the incursion of Russian forces. The war in the Donbas, and the bombing, shelling and shooting, as Russian foces surround major cities in their goal of toppling the government, demilitarising the country and rounding up, imprisoning, and killing members of the ethnic nationalist militias are all related to the Maidan—just as the Maidan is the consequence, not just of the enormous number of spontaneous protestors, US/ EU and Western money-meddling, but of the Homodor, and that massive crime, because of the triumph of Bolshevism. All that too is an important aspect of the part played by the likes of Stepen Bandera in the holocaust. The strands of these entanglements go back a long way, and the event of this war is an outbreak of forces that have been incubating and developing through the entanglement. Saying, “Yes but Putin started it” is, quite frankly, not a serious matter for consideration.

4. “A Thug In The Kremlin?” Or, Comparative Politics 101

If International Politics/International Relations brings with it a perspective that transports us away from what we want and what principles we think should prevail, Comparative Politics also forces us to put aside moral judgments which reach for absolutes that are also “mere ideas” and ask—just or good, in comparison to what? It was Aristotle who initially developed this as a basic procedure of Political Science, when he departed from his teacher, Plato, on the question of whether identifying the good in itself was the appropriate standard for appraising the conditions and problems of states and their constitutions.

Aristotle’s morphological approach to reality in general, though a handicap for those wanting to study the mechanics of nature, has remained as central to the development of Political Science as his discovery of Logic was to that discipline and philosophy more broadly. He saw that all living bodies have their own dynamics and pathologies. He invented the idea (albeit Plato had prepared the ground) that the Political Scientist was a diagnostician whose task was, inter alia, to tap into the strengths and weaknesses of the particular state and constitution under examination (Aristotle is reported to have collected and studied almost 160 constitutions), which led him to the conclusion that potentialities for the good of the community within states very much depended upon their circumstances. This did not mean that he did not distinguish between better and worse regimes, or that he did not acknowledge the importance of justice as a communal good. But he realized that certain goods must already be in place if others are to be achieved. And that takes time.

The history of political philosophy can roughly be broken down into two schools—one consists of thinkers like Aristotle, such as Montesquieu, Burke, and in some important ways G.W.F. Hegel, and de Tocqueville, who are driven by the comparative method which takes account of historical and social conditions which dictate the choices available to statesmen and peoples. The other school takes its bearing from norms, rational principles, arguments and ideal standards, Plato is their founder; and its modern exponents include John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau (who in his less known and better political observations drops it), Immanuel Kant, J.G. Fichte, the neo-Hegelians and (once one unveils the fog and contradictions of historical materialism) Marxist-Leninists, John Rawls, and (also once one gets through the thicket of fog) the post-structuralists—and George Bush and the neo-cons, Barack Obama and the liberal world order more generally.

As you can see, this second group is ideologically very diverse (hence I suppose some clown in university administration can satisfy themselves that this would be a good thing—hell, there is even a black guy in the list, and plenty of feminist theorists to fill the bill). Unfortunately, their position is built upon inferences rather than detailed knowledge of circumstance, which is also why their position is a great platform for making noble-sounding speeches; but when it comes to political action is either irrelevant (the cause of very bad decisions and inevitable failure to get the outcomes that accord with the principles, which inevitably leads to charges of outright hypocrisy), or catastrophic. This latter method, if method it really be, is easy to grasp once one adopts a first principle, an unassailable idea, which, of course, can be done with greater (as in Immanuel Kant or J.G. Fichte) or lesser sophistication, like the mainstream Western journalists and commentariat reporting on this war.

In keeping with this ‘idea-ist’ (sic.) approach, most arguments and reports about the war are framed as ethico-political denunciations of Russia—and the idea that if some fact harms the war effort of our team it must be Russian propaganda—and I have no doubt that this essay will be dismissed by many who skim it as pure Russian propaganda …oh well, this is the world we now live in.

The denunciations tend to assume one or both of the following: (a) Russia is a tyranny while the West is the font of freedom; and (b) Ukraine is really like the West both culturally and politically.

I might be more tempted to go along with this if I really believed that the West still stood for freedom, or even anything more noble than the decay, infantilism, indulgence, material grasping, and spiritual emptiness that I see devouring it. (Alert—just because Putin and Xi see this does not make them wrong, nor me their lackey in saying it.) The West no longer even stands for freedom of thought, let alone freedom of expression—the only things that might eventually enable it to get to a better, even if far from perfect, place. As for Ukraine and democracy, and Russia and their lack thereof…let’s do some comparison.

First, let us briefly consider “the money”—that variable which is so widely used to identify a people’s welfare—as in GDP per capita. In Ukraine, the official GDP per capita in 2020 was $(US) 3,800 (adjusted for ppp $12, 100). In Russia, in 2020, GDP per capita had declined by some 30 percent, since its peak in 2013, but it was still over $10, 000, and rendered in ppp almost $ (US) 26,500.

Figures such as these never tell the whole story, but I think it symptomatic of a fact that I think is indisputable—since the demise of the Soviet Union there has never been a government in the Ukraine that has not been plagued by corruption, or, and this follows inexorably from the scale of the country’s corruption, that has managed to retain great popular support. Nor one that has been able to sufficiently rein in the power of the oligarchs that Ukraine could achieve even a moderate level of economic well being.

Before addressing Russia’s “authoritarian government,” I will state another fact that I think will not appeal to people whose image of Putin comes exclusively from Western main-stream media outlets. Putin has the kind of support base in the population that Western politicians only dream of, and the reason for that is not primarily because he is a thug/criminal/stand-over merchant.

The circumstances and challenges in Ukraine and Russia, in the aftermath of communism, were somewhat similar, though Ukraine was economically the poorer, with GDP per capita being $ (US) 1257 – but had halved by 2000; in 1993 Russia’s was a tad over $ (US) 3000, and had almost halved by 2000. The geographical distribution of resources in the country had created what many might consider a very undesirable state of things—the West was more dependent upon the East for its wealth, which is also why the Crimea and the Donbas were not just a matter of national pride for the various governments operating out of Kiev.

By the turn of the millennium the GDP per capita of both had roughly halved. Then, in the Putin years there came astonishing growth in Russia, around 10 percent until 2014. This was the kind of growth which is impossible to retain for protracted periods; and not only did it slow, with a combination of sanctions and a drop in oil prices, there was a steep decline. And though it has risen since 2014, it is still not back to the figures of 2010. But compared to the previous decade substantial improvements had been made in the material conditions of most Russians.

In Ukraine the take off point occurs around the same time, but the rise is far less substantial, also followed by decline and moderate rise. Also noteworthy is the telling figure that in 2021 remittances made up 12 percent of GDP in Ukraine, foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2021 was a third of that—estimates at the beginning of the war, based upon the large outflow of refugees, were that remittances would increase by 8 percent. Yes, that increase in remittances as a percentage of GDP may be laid at the door of the Russians, but the figure of 2021 is the kind of figure that one associates with a country with economic opportunities which make leaving a smart economic move.

The other important part of the story is corruption. We hear much of Putin and his Russian oligarch cronies in the West—but I am astonished how poorly informed are most people, who are otherwise well educated, about oligarchs in Ukraine and the problems of corrupt government. As with Russia, state assets were dissolved into vouchers, and the vouchers were bought at bargain basement prices, or simply stolen by those with the know-how or muscle to do so.

Katya Gorchinskaya’s six part report, “A Brief History of Corruption” identifies the major players and plays which have left Ukrainians amongst Europe’s poorest and most corrupt nations. It begins with President Kravchuk, the first to hold power in post-Soviet Ukraine, presiding over the economic privatisation and resource gobbling.

Amongst those doing the gobbling were two Ukrainian Prime Ministers, one of whom would be successfully prosecuted in the US for money-laundering, fraud and extortion; another, Yulia Tymoshenko, would become the attractive poster face—along with Victor Yushchenko—of the Orange Revolution. Tymoshenko would eventually be prosecuted for a range of crimes, from embezzlement to involvement in the murder of another oligarch, Yevhen Shcherban, with Yushchenko himself being a witness against her.

Tymoshenko was found guilty of profiting from gas contracts signed with Russia. Although she found support amongst European human rights organizations (Yuschchenko begged to differ with their defence of her). During the 1990s she and her family had made their fortunes in energy and controlled the United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU). It was Ukraine’s largest gas trader, “supplying gas from Russia’s Gazprom to seven of Ukraine’s large industrial and agricultural regions.”

While the initial distribution of vouchers had initially enabled the oligarchs’ rise to power, Gorchinskaya sees the biggest asset grab as the work of politicians in 1998. As she writes: “The list of parliamentarians reads like the yellow pages of Ukraine’s future oligarchy.”

Politics and corruption are common bed-fellows. I hazard the obvious conjecture: the difference between them and Russian and Western politicians, who have made spectacular amounts of money after decades of public service, is that in Ukraine and Russia there was a brief moment of a bonanza round of assets available to them that made the usual grift seem like child’s play.

The scandals surrounding every President in the Ukraine parliament are easily discovered, and I don’t need to enter into more detail. In any case the headline from a piece in the Guardian in February 2015 sums it all up: “Welcome to Ukraine, the most corrupt nation in Europe.” It showed the West what everyone who lived there knew—that in spite of the victory over the Russian stooge/crook Yanukovich, in spite of the deaths, the noble speeches, the visits of US and European dignitaries, and promises of support, in spite of the flags, songs, international media coverage Ukraine was an economic and crime ridden dump—with magnificent scenery and a capital as beautiful as any city in the world. The article also pointed out that while “officials from the general prosecutor’s office, who were interviewed by Reuters, claimed that between 2010 and 2014, officials were stealing a fifth of the country’s national output every year,” nothing had improved.

Later that same year, a writer in Forbes magazine wrote a piece “Corruption is Killing Ukraine’s Economy.” As with Poroshensko, Zelensky, like the Presidents before him, was elected on the promise of ending corruption—though he also indicated he was the man to mend fences with Russia. He didn’t, and he wasn’t.

It is not simply the corruption I wish to underscore; it is that since the dismantling of the Soviet Union Ukraine has had two “revolutions,” and achieved nothing other than an outright civil war and a war with a great power. I don’t know how anyone who is impartial and not blinded by the patriotic fog and fervour accompanying the avoidance of the basics of international diplomacy can see it otherwise. And need I say that none of these problems—with the obvious exception of the war itself—can be traced back to Putin.

Turning to Russia, everyone of a certain age will recall that between the end of the Soviet Union and the Yeltsin years, Russia and the fall-out from its empire were in free-fall. Yeltsin had gone from being a hero of the people to a corrupt drunken buffoon. Oligarchs had taken over all the most important resources; and gangsters simply took over apartments; and the streets were not safe. The poverty was widespread and wretched.

And the reality of post-Soviet Russia made the drab days of Brezhnev and Andropov look like the golden years.

While people in the West were still celebrating Gorbachev and talking about him being a great man who changed the course of history, most Russians cursed him for creating the havoc they were living through. One cannot begin to understand Putin’s popularity if one does not concede the hell of Russia in the Yeltsin years—captured in videos of the period by images of the extremes of the old and recently rendered destitute standing on the streets huddled around a fire in the snow and ice with their knickknacks and baubles and pleading eyes; or the new phenomenon of Russian prostitution for export—the international sex trade really takes off with the end of communism—and the oligarchs and mafia with their great fur-coats, cruising by in their convoys of Western cars, and armies of protection. Stalin would not have allowed this, they reasoned. And you can say what you will about him, but he not only dressed with moderation, but he never draped his great big fur coats with gold chains, while pushing aside beggars on the way to the night club to snort blow and be blown by a girl who had drifted into the city to make some money.

Western journalists seem to think that when Putin speaks of the most terrible event being the end of the Soviet Union, that he is saying he loved communism. That is nonsense. He saw a once respected leading world power, a power, that for all its shockingness did export resources and training to those who fought on its side and from whom it saw geopolitical strategic advantage—I don’t want to get all maudlin about a system and regime that was ultimately a massive mass-murdering experiment and monstrous disaster (in no small part paid for by Western capitalists, as Anthony Sutton meticulously demonstrated). But I think to see that it was not only all for nothing; that whatever slim achievements it had made (and it would have made far more had it just been left to the autocrats prior to the Bolsheviks) had vanished along with the Soviet Union. In its place was a beggarly, broken state, of utter disorder— nothing resembling the Western commercialized sheen and shine images that one might have seen on television – but then again the sprawling tents of the homeless and junkies in Portland and San Francisco today bespeak a world resembling a similar kind of corruption, and ineptitude that Yeltsin and his mates were tolerating in Russia.

It is an odd thought, I know. But maybe what Putin said was rhetorically done for political purpose. But irrespective whether he is a “murdering swine,” as old an friend, Political Science ex-colleague, and mentor has posted on Facebook, Putin understood the rage of the humiliated, of a people who had been tricked out of the relative security—with all its scarcity—that the communist state provided, and thrown out of work and onto the streets. And he could see, as could the rest of the population, that all of this chaos was facilitated by the IMF and the Harvard Russian Project crew.

Moreover, aside from ex-party officials and their friends with their on-the-ground advantage and the armed to the teeth “wise guys” snapping up for peanuts, resources (energy and media/ communications being prime targets) worth billions and conning Russians out of, when not simply stealing, the vouchers, which were supposedly designed to distribute Soviet assets to “the people”—were Western grifters (like Bill Browder discussed below). It was a free for all in free-fall.

And on top of this were the Chechnyan terrorists and their bombs, deliberately killing innocent school children as well as adults. What made matters even worse was that Chechnyan rebels had been trained and funded by the CIA. That is a fact that Western journalists no doubt would like to put down to Russian propaganda. By the way, and lest I am sounding like the kind of left-wingers I usually take issue with for their blindness to the nature of markets, I have never been anti-everything the US does to protect its interests. But the incompetence of the US as a military and strategic power has become increasingly breathtaking, and its funding of such groups has brought nothing but havoc and understandable hatred of the West.

And, then, in the midst of this, Putin, who had been working for the mayor of Saint-Petersburg, facilitating foreign investments, and suspected of masterminding a kick-back scheme worth tens of millions of dollars, receiving a PhD for a work that had, in part at least, been plagiarised, were it even written by him, looked like just another junior on the grift “yes man” political operator had been given the nod by Yeltsin and backed by the oligarch Berezovsky, who came to regret misreading Putin’s character till the end of his life. Though, almost every Western documentary or biography depict Putin with the same sneering disbelief that this little jump-start still has power and struts around the world stage killing people, while great philanthropists and lovers of liberty like Berezovsky himself or Khodorkovsky were banished so that Putin could get nearly all of the pie.

In any case, not long after the tap on the shoulder Putin took on the oligarchs. Or, more precisely, sided with one bunch of oligarchs against another. It is fanciful to think that any political leader in Russia would have been able to survive without finding factional support amongst oligarchs— men who whose control extended to “armies” to do their bidding, protect their wealth, and trade (from arms running, to sex and drug trafficking, to gas and information). I think even the moralising denouncers of Putin don’t doubt that the level of criminality and the scale of violence of Russia’s oligarchy, and that that had touched ever part of Russia’s social fibre.

Quiz question: How would you have stopped it?

The manner in which the oligarchs accumulated their wealth as well as the tactics they deployed in defending it were all carried out in a manner befitting the kinds of weapons, financial conduits and systems, goods and services demand and supplies and political racketeering that are as mod con as mod con can possibly be: international banks laundered their money; politicians did their bidding by making deals and enacting laws that benefit them; shipping, planes and transport systems moved the girls and drugs, and immigrants with enough money to pay for their forged passports and relocation. Their computers and codes, and bank accounts in far-away lands, their hotels and majestic villas, clubs and casinos, private jets and helicopters, and yachts, their weapons and preferred drugs may have spoken of the unprecedented quality of the spoils of ill-gotten gain. But the motivation and operation were not really different from ancient tribes, or ancient and modern nations or empires seizing land and resources from enemies, or lords and kings providing their protection in return for services rendered (protection included their preparedness to not simply take everything from those they might crush were their offers of protection refused, to fighting off others desirous of those lands), or the cattle barons and robber barons, or the mafia, or those like Joe Kennedy who made a fortune out of prohibition. We accept that no one running for the presidency in the United States could be successful without finding wealthy political donors—or, at least, being an extremely rich person. But as with state foundations, the older the money the more likely it was to be founded in blood.

The way politics and wealth form a bond may vary by location, but the bond is universal, and the difference between what counts as corruption tends to also be bound up with merely how things gets done, and the wealthy get to keep their wealth and pay others to help them acquire more, and enact processes that assist their political preferences and priorities. “Not that there is anything wrong with that”—but journalists in the West tend to sleep at the wheel when it comes to following up leads that might bring down those who represent their political interests. People in far-away lands whose doings may safely be reported—even if the doings, as in the case of Putin, often (albeit not always) come from sources who also have their interests, which involve being rid of Putin.

In any case, the influence of oligarchs is no less decisive in the United States than it is in Russia. Yes, there is a rule of law, but while we may find exceptions, money generally still makes the laws.

The decisive difference between the West now and the Russia in which Putin came to power and outplayed his enemies is not in the role played by those who have the greatest wealth/control of the nations resources, it is in the timing: the violence and usurpation which provided the original sources of great wealth occurred generations back (not that long really in the USA, generally longer in the UK). And then—yes, I am really happy to go left when it is true—there was the piracy, the slavery, the colonialism. And of course it is not all in the past, where modern US “interventions” fit may vary, energy (and I don’t mean solar and wind farms) is a major factor in the West’s strategic and geopolitical decisions involving the Middle East.

This is not to make the false argument that therefore private property and capital should be eliminated, or that property is theft and all wealth ill-gotten, but commercial society is a late arrival, and where and whenever it arrives its existence requires historical and social preparedness provided by power, plunder, and protection rackets. Would that it were not so. But this is the problem with those who want to denounce Putin as if he were somehow an evil anomaly amongst those who really held power – it is so, and has ever been so. The desire it not be so is behind the ridiculous romanticization of indigenous life that originally afflicted Rousseau and now the infantilized moralizing West and its children.

The people Putin went after were amongst, or would become, the richest, the most influential people on the planet—not only financially, but also in terms of the importance of the resources they controlled for shaping the world; the other two most famous examples, apart from Berezovsky, being the media magnate Vladimir Gusinsky, who would go on to pose as a kind of religious and spiritual beacon by becoming the Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress (a gesture that would give all the Russian anti-Semites evidence to sit alongside their copies of The Protocols of Elders of Zion; he had previously cofounded and become President of the Russian Jewish Congress), and the banker, energy magnate, convicted, imprisoned and then pardoned criminal, Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Like Berzovsky, they spend much time in exile, screaming loudly about Putin’s unprecedented wickedness (comparable, so they said to… yes, of course, who else? Adolf Hitler) to a media ready to quote them on the latest body or scandal that could be attributed to Putin and his henchmen. It seemed that Putin had nothing better than do to send out armed assassins all over the globe to silence all his critics and political opponents, because he was not only completely paranoid but his whole view of the world was picked up from KAOS in Get Smart.

Khodorkovsky has been lauded as a man of great principle by standing to face trial. This did present him with the opportunity to portray himself as a political martyr, going to prison for his belief in the sanctity of human rights and the future of democracy. The West lapped it up and lauds him still. I have a bridge with a spectacular harbour view to sell you at a discount price of ten million dollars if you actually believe Khodorkovsky has turned his life around to become a human rights activist from being a gangster and in all likelihood a murderer. It would be interesting to actually do a comparative body count between them if we could locate them.

As we skim over Putin and his “autocratic” government, let us keep before us what I consider the one issue that is both indisputable and all important—Putin drastically improved the lives of most Russians. No matter how much more peaceful and prosperous the Russians may have been under the political leadership of Tony Blair, or Boris Johnson, or Joe Biden, or George Bush Jr, or Bill Clinton—does anyone seriously think these men have the kind of competence that would mend a fallen state? Putin was the guy at the head who turned things round. If we were doing moral examinations of politicians, I am happy to concede that Vladimir would probably have to get an F—though among Western moral paragons, I don’t see any who would get a Pass in those circumstances.

But, but…surely, they are better than him? Well, that depends whether you think that having salvaged and then ridding a state of enemies that threaten to bring it back into chaos is a crime (I assume much of which I read is true; though, as the next piece/section shows Western media has manufactured such a long and egregious litany of lies that I simply cannot be sure of anything it reports). Here too is a question—and it is the kind of question that political leaders in times of social crisis and havoc have to confront, and I will pose it by way of a historical case.

Given what we know about Russia’s rapid advances and modernization and economic growth just prior to the Great War, and given what we know about the scale of murder inflicted by the Bolsheviks, did the Czar’s failure of will (and that of his generals) contribute to the tens of millions who died after? The answer is not difficult—yes it did. Posed so starkly, the issue of the sheer ability to stomach the infliction of more violence upon “one’s own people” (there’s that phrase again) is irrelevant. Perhaps the failure of will came from a sense of moral horror at what world the Tzar was making and the choices he had to make, or perhaps it came from an inability to see who and what this new elite political elite were.

In any case, he relinquished power, to be sure not quite to those as violently wilful as Lenin, but still to those who themselves were not strong enough to do anything but pass the power that they had not come by legitimately to those with political wills of steel, though recall Lenin’s famous phrase that “found power lying in the streets and simply picked it up.” They were capable of killing more “of their own people” in a few months than the Czars had killed in a century. In short, tens of millions of lives might have been saved had the autocracy in Russia been prepared to kill more people, possibly hundreds of thousands more, possibly millions. In any case, the gap between body counts would have been huge, and the autocracy would have also spared Russia not only from the gulags but communism itself—which as an old joke goes was the longest way of getting from capitalism to capitalism.

Unlike philosophers in their classrooms and studies, rulers in times of great crisis, stand at crossroads where the alternate paths to the future, each with its own trials and troubles awaiting, are completely covered by the fog of the present– the consequences may be untold millions of deaths; the choice maybe—as it was for the Czar, then, as I think it is for Putin, certainly as I think he sees it. It is a choice between steeling one’s political will even though the circumstances of the time offer only differences in the amount of blood to be shed. And there is simply no way of knowing for sure how much blood there must be and where it will end.

Academicians in the main and journalists are generally utterly lacking in seriousness on such matters—in part that is because the academicians make their observations in the safe sequestered ‘play’ spaces which wall out reality—only in such a place so partitioned from the problems of the real could people dream up the ideas of trigger warning, safe spaces, and micro-aggression. Unlike the news hosts at home, those journalists who enter the fray, as opposed to those hanging out in hotel bars waiting for a story to send in, tend to report a very different story to the propaganda oozing out at home.

When rulers get it wrong they are but stepping names toward players and events which are recorded on account of the scale of their horror. The horrific event prevented, though, remains invisible, so the statesman who is successful in preventing the event rarely is recognized (Kennedy is one of the few perhaps who is renowned for a successful preventative call—but that call was on a palpably visible enemy with immediate consequence that were not hard to imagine). This is the situation of Putin now toward Ukraine, and it is another reason why the various moral denouncements bespeak a smugness and assuredness that comes from the safeness of the study or newsroom.

When considering Putin’s actual body count, on any possible measure—including the Chechen War which he can be credited with winning, and this one which is fading day by day from the West’s interests (Will Smith punching Chris Rock seems to be the big story of the moment), we can say without equivocation the numbers pale into insignificance when compared to the untold millions of dead in the Iraq and Afghan wars, in Yemen, and Syria, and in the bombing of Belgrade. My point was primarily that to believe that Putin has done more evil than the motley crew who rule over us, and who we are supposed to consider to be morally superior to Putin. That Putin is Hitler and our leaders are saints? In the case of the Bushes, Clinton, Blair et. al. they have achieved nothing; they have saved no people’ they have left behind more ruin. This is not even a moral judgment; it is merely a statement of fact that these men made disastrous geopolitical choices, that they, not Putin, are largely responsible for why China, Russia, Iran, etc. do not want to be part of the international order. Need I say they are all globalists? That their regime change dream/drive was a grotesque fantasy? And I am supposed to believe that Putin’s hostility to NATO is unwarranted? That he is really Hitler?

I know there were plenty of journalists who criticized the Bushes and Blair (Clinton bombing of Serbia not so much), though they generally cheered on Trump’s swift response to Assad supposedly using chemical weapons in Syria (I think Trump was really played on that one—see reports from Vanessa Beeley). But it is one thing to be anti-war on some moral principle because you have a conscience, as opposed to being the person dealing with the fate of nations. There the question is never answered by the principle: war is evil, therefore I should abolish the army along with prisons, and while at it take a knee. It is only answered by an ability that is a gift of few and is completely uncanny: knowing in spite of all the fog, all the hostility (consider Churchill), that one is right and that action must be taken. And when the action is taken, it must be successful. I may have seen the Afghan and Iraq Wars very differently if they were fought for people that shared a common sense of spiritual purpose with their “liberators” (which they never did) and if they really did assist in nation-building, which it did not know how to do because there was neither common purpose nor real plan.

Of the War in Ukraine I cannot be sure that Putin will come out well—I have no crystal ball; but it is not all in his hands. He has calculated that the West will not respond with nuclear weapons, or act in such a way that he sees that there is no other alternative. He shares common purpose with the breakaway republics and Crimea—it seems that as long as Ukraine becomes a buffer state, and does what that requires then war will stop. But that is no easy matter for those Ukrainians who since the Maidan have been able to fuel their dreams of a new nation devoid of its Russian presence and past, who have exercise influence in institutions they will no longer have: they either have to retreat back into the obscurity of every-day life, and hope they are not informed upon, or face imprisonment if not execution. They have much to fight for. But so does Russia.

Both the matters of Putin’s rise to power and this war and its meaning also serve to remind us of the importance of an idea that seems largely lost to the modern imagination with that entirely false “theolo-philosophical” doctrine that human beings are basically good. The untruth of this proposition has bought in its train the psychological malformation of so many modern youth who believing in their original innocence believe that all the sins of their forefather can be washed away by moral pronouncements and denunciations of the forefathers who helped accrue the ill-gotten gains that have contributed to the wealth of the nation in general, and their global “privilege.”

The culture wars, which as I have indicated are but a prelude to blood wars, are an example of what befalls a people when it fails to see what it is doing because of its ambition and pride. Had the children of the 1960s not believed in their own perfectness, and in their own innocence what we are living through in the West may not have come to pass. This sense of innocence and the existential privilege that has come from the doing of their forefathers is a major factor in the shallowness of their perspective on every serious subject, including this one. They are a generation for whom moral decisions and appraisals on each and every topic come as natural as breathing.

And this generation has entered swiftly into the fray: Ukrainian flags abound on social media; anti-Russian sentiments and slogans along with pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian podcasts are everywhere. Mainstream media has finally found a topic where even Fox and CNN and the rest find complete common cause—sanctifying Zelensky/Ukraine; demonizing Putin/Russia. Making an eternal enemy of Russia will be on the head of this generation who holds power, but knows not how to exercise it, and a younger generation who only want to pull the nature of power ever more in a direction that makes the United States even more hateful to its enemies. All in all, it is done by a powerful idiocracy who do not know where they are heading, nor about what they speak—but they do know what pronoun they should be addressed by.

When considering Ukraine, we saw that it was one failed political leader after another; and to state what I think is obvious but which goes against the consensus of the moment, Zelensky is by far the worst because of his recklessness and failure to preserve the peace—which is one of the key variables of evaluation of political leadership.

Last year I reviewed a book by Grigory Yavlinsky, The Putin System: An Opposing View. Yavlinsky argues his case against Putin, methodically and comprehensively (and without screaming, “But he is a murderer”). It is a serious enough case about the benefits to be had by Russia going West; and the book’s economic analysis highlights weaknesses in the Russian economy in general, and Putin’s role in its mismanagement. Though I think the weak part of the book is his understanding of politics, Yavlinsky is not only an Economics Professor, but he has been a political candidate. In his attempt to gain political office, he managed to get less than 2 percent of the vote. At one stage in his book, Yavlinsky concedes that given its recent past and the sentiments and priorities of Russians, he thinks that Russia must continue for the immediate future with what he considers to be its mistaken economic and political policies, until it inevitably comes to its senses.

Given Russia’s conditions after the dismantling of the Soviet Union, and the state of the institutions still in operation, and the mentality of Russia’s population—and the crooks running the place—had it not been Putin it would have had to have been someone of much the same ilk who would have risen to power, if there were to be secure stability in Russia. If not Putin—Khodorkovsky? Would he have been a better political leader? Would someone more like the Ukrainian ineffectual and corrupt politicians be better?

Putin emerged out of the failed state—and the problems that he faced were not of his own making. Were his choices the best? I doubt that any politician would make the best choices. Even if it were the case that Putin may be guilty of all accusations against him—from plundering state funds to murder—in his political fights with oligarchs controlling media and energy and banks, I think it very understandable why the majority of Russians are prepared to look past the accusations levelled at him, and, Western media to the contrary, not think that they would be better off under the kind of “democracy” that a Khodorkovsky might engineer.

One might respond, but without an open society how would you know? And my only response is—an “open society” is a neat phrase, for each and every society has as much openness as its culture, institutional development, and social historicity, and political ruling class have.

After what I have witnessed in the West in the time of COVID, the mass destruction of small businesses here in Australia, the destruction of the livelihoods and right to protest by truckers in Canada, the toleration of mass burnings, and looting in the United State, on the one hand, with, what a mere few years back, would have been unimaginable with the draconian and haphazard treatment, charges and sentences of some of the January 6 protestors and rioters, and the extent of censorship and corporate and state control over speech.

And just as in Russia, large numbers of people support authoritarian decisions which they think suits their interests. To claim that the West is an “open society” is hard to take seriously. We live in a society that once was fairly open, but is now closing up, second by second, right before our eyes, Russians live in a society whose brief period of openness was one of plunder, assassinations and general mayhem.

Failed states don’t and indeed cannot simply turn into democracies—as if democracies, that are not just nominal facades for oligarchical vote-buying, election-rigging, paramilitaries, etc., are not themselves the result of the evolution of a sufficiently widespread dispersion of power blocks and class resource pooling. Consider how the working-class democratic parties evolved at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The damage that liberal democracies are now doing to themselves is shocking. But the damage the United States and its allies have done in countries, where the choice was not and could not have been between democracy and non-democracy but between one strong man or another, is even more shocking in the sheer number of deaths that it has facilitated, along with the battles and wars still raging.

Finally, failed states inevitably break down into war-lordism, and the securing of strong foundations is the result of the formation of bonds of social, economic, cultural, and political solidarity. These need time. Until then, the struggle between the warlords continues; and I do not deny for a second this is not happening—on the contrary, it is because it is happening that Russia—and countries with histories extremely different from the West, including Ukraine—will continue to get low scores on human rights and various other indices of freedom.

But to acknowledge that Putin has strong control over the media is not to say that the West should be spending billions trying to destabilize this regime. Yes Putin controls a media landscape formerly controlled by oligarchs wanting to destroy him (as now do Western media oligarchs). Prior to Trump’s election I would have agreed the United States safeguarded freedom of expression that made it a free country which Russia is not. When people now want to end this kind of equivocation and bluntly ask: where would you rather live? Leaving aside the obvious wealth gap between my country and Russia and the standard of living I enjoy here in Australia—which is a matter of very different political and economic histories—when it comes to where I would feel freer, I think it is really is a matter of what the issue is.

I believe that were I still employed by an Australian university and this paper came to light, I would most definitely lose my job. Indeed, certainly in Anglo speaking Western countries, there are now a far greater array of topics—all of which connect with a globalising-technocratic-identity based view of life—which now require strict conformity and compliance than I think is the case in Russia. But it is not only freedom of speech that has been lost.

Indeed, with the help of corporations, government reach has extended into ever space once considered part of one’s private property, extending from one’s bank account to one’s own body. Is it really any wonder why there is such a very large number of writings claiming the Pandemic was a “Plandemic?” Certainly, there is overwhelming evidence that the Bill Gates Foundation was preparing itself for a pandemic that would require a vaccine to stop it – and Peter McCulloch has plausibly asked why were so many resources put into vaccines rather than in the study of preventative methods and cures. Certainly, there are questions about the source of COVID. And the answer to anyone who want to dig away is: “You are a conspiracy theorist.”

Once upon a time when there was an old left (which I have always thought had more going for it in terms of critiquing geopolitical overreach, military overread, corporate criminality etcetera than identity progressivism), it was considered reasonable to ask questions about the machinations of corporations and the state. In today’s world, merely asking such questions in the West is evidence of being the dupe and purveyor of a conspiracy theory. Is this not a degree of mind control far beyond anything that occurs in Russia?

Russia, under Putin, is an obstacle to globalism and hence to the raison d’être of what the West has become (not what it is becoming, but what it is in essence now) for one main reason: it refuses to follow the globalist technocratic dream—as with China, where it is technocratic it is not globalist. That Russia has been seen by the United States Government as a patient in need of the cure of Westernization has never been a secret, but Victoria Nuland put a figure on the amount spent on the “cure” in 2015 when she said: “The United States alone has spent more than $20 billion dollars since 1992 to help Russia strengthen and open its economy.”

Would anyone other than a “factchecker” seriously think that a substantial amount of that money was not used for “regime change?” Which brings me to the final part of this lengthy essay—the lies. As Putin famously quipped the West is an “empire of lies.” I wish it were not so.

4. The Empire Of Lies

We are presently confronted with all sorts of images and reports about the war which are meant to convince that Russia is being outfought; the Russian state on the brink of regime change; its brutality almost beyond measure as it targets civilians and schools and hospitals; its soldiers despondent and on the verge of revolt; and that Russia indulges in false flag operations and sells fake news to its people; defeat is imminent.
Other sources, some of which I have mentioned above, tell a very different story, a story in which the Ukrainians are providing plenty of fake images and false narratives, lots of “wag the dog” to Western media outlets. These sources are inevitably countered with “that’s just Russian propaganda.” It is “us” versus “them,” and “they” are liars. The biggest lie thus far concerns the West and which the media, working in conjunction with politicians, have tried to cover. It has to do with the US funded biolabs operating in Ukraine.

A report in the Daily Mail (a real rag, I grant, but one that occasionally goes against the grain of consensus) reported yesterday that Hunter Biden’s laptop (remember that suppressed story that was supposed to be Russian disinformation, but, as anyone who digs around knows, was not) seems to confirm the claim that Hunter Biden helped finance a US military “bioweapons” research program in Ukraine. And there we were all thinking that between the coke, the hookers, that stuff with Beau’s widow, and some other fishy stuff that really riled up some family members about Hunter’s sexual transgressions, and the graft that Hunter was not up to much at all, except perhaps convincing his pop that blacks needed free crack pipes.

Whether this connection turns out to be true or not is not the main issue though, because whatever Hunter did to get the money for sitting on the board at Burisma (in any case most of those who knew what was on his laptop though was far less of a scandal than the Biden China money), the evidence for the existence of US funded biolabs is overwhelming—nothing less than official US documents. Their existence confirms the investigations of Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, who in 2018 reported that “The US Army regularly produces deadly viruses, bacteria and toxins in direct convention on the prohibition of Biological Weapons.”

Victoria Nuland—now the current Under Secretary of State—blew her chance Marco Rubio offered when fishing for her to give an unequivocal denial about the labs, when she said that it would be a very dangerous thing if the research from the labs were to fall into Russian hands. Honestly, it just goes to show what a brainless bunch are running this shitshow. Maybe they are just as dumb on Putin’s team. I have no clue. But let’s go back to the lies and murk surrounding the event that kicked off the Ukrainian civil war, the Maidan—or, for those wanting the whole thing to have amounted to something noble, “The Revolution of Dignity.”

Whatever one calls it and however one views it—the Maidan created far more problems than it solved. It was not really a step into Europe. You will recall that the EU had all manner of looming problems, including the rumbling discontents that led to Brexit; and the EU was in no position to embrace a country of such poverty, with such a sizable population. It was also not the 1980s, and, Russia aside, there was no Soviet empire, which was a serious threat as opposed to a fabricated one.

There were still consequences from the financial crisis, a debt problem spearheaded by Greece (who were starting to depict their German EU masters as Nazis), and Central and Eastern Europeans were often ungrateful and difficult members for an organization that had made Germany the geopolitical hegemon of Western Europe (even Mutti was such a sweety, how could anyone question her führerschaftliche—sorry we must use the English now—leadership skills). And that was not even taking into account the inevitable Russian response, which was also why, in spite of all the love between Ukraine and NATO, it is true, as critics of Russia’s invasion say, Ukraine was not, de jure at least, invited into NATO. It did oust one corrupt President only to replace him with another, and it raised the wrath of Russia, led to the secession of the Crimea (some prefer the word “invasion,” which I think is simply a misuse of a good word), and created an ongoing Civil War; as well the carrying out of various acts of persecution and media censorship of Russian-speaking media outlets. If that is a success, I don’t know what failure would be like.

In any case, if the Maidan were a “Revolution of Dignity,” it is difficult to see in what exactly that “Dignity” consisted of? Getting some bundles of money from foreign governments and foreign NGOs, money that disappeared into the vast coffers of the oligarchs and their political cronies? Yes, we have pictures of Victoria Nuland, then the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, and (at last check) wife of leading Republican neo-con, Robert Kagan (please tell me there is no swamp or political ruling class), handing out coffee and cookies, or sandwiches to the protestors in 2014. So maybe some people got something substantial out of it. But, in the main, what was acquired were slogans and a public image of a nation of “heroes” fighting for their “dignity.”

The event itself had many layers and players. The West primarily saw pictures of the floods of protestors “spontaneously” (as if any protest does not require communication, organization and when, it is protracted in nature, funding) seeking to overthrow an elected government—even if a corrupt one. But if the sheer scale of public protest were the critical issue, would any Western government that has had to deal with widespread protests have survived? Maggie Thatcher at the time of the Falklands War or the poll tax? Macron with the Yellow Vests? Trump or Biden with everyone on the other side? Trudeau with the truckers, etc.? Was Yanukovych really more vicious in suppressing the protestors than Trudeau or Macron? How one answers that very much depends on who one thinks was doing the sniping at the protestors that moved the event into another level of international outrage.

Given that most Westerners knew nothing about the event except what they had seen flickering on their screens, or possibly even read with more diligence in their daily newspapers, the answer was they did not know very much. And in the murky far-away land, the idea that the American government and George Soros, and neo-Nazis played an important role in the event was rarely reported by the mainstream media—and a year or two later even the main stream media released a trickle of stories about the pernicious institutional influence of the Azov Battalion.

But at the time of the Maidan, there was generally little interest in a media landscape still having a love-fest with Obama, and even less interest in a story that would expose a winner of the Nobel Prize for peace as the instigator of a coup. As for Soros, one is immediately consigned to the loony bin marked “conspiracy theorist,” if one merely mentions his name and his financing of the various front organizations he uses around the world to assist in his—very publicly expressed—endgame of creating “an open society.” Some of you may know how he likes to credit the philosopher Karl Popper for his vision and philosophy—poor Karl.

The Soros money-trail is important in the story, which does not mean that the hundreds of thousands of protestors were simply conjured out of thin air and were merely summoned by the dosh: yes the overwhelming number of the protestors were there spontaneously expressing their political will– some though, especially those involved in organizational tactics were on the pay roll. Events like these are occasions for interested players to seek to get their way. Though, invariably the instigators trying to direct the course of history get way, way more than they bargained for—“Hey, we wanted you to kill the Ruskies, Osama, not blow up our Twin Towers you ungrateful #&%^&%^!”

The following is from the Open Society web site, about one of its organizations, the International Renaissance Foundation, in Ukraine: “By 1994, the International Renaissance Foundation was the biggest international donor in the country, with an annual budget of roughly $12 million for projects that ranged from retraining tens of thousands of decommissioned soldiers to the creation of a contemporary arts center in Kyiv. In the early 2000s, the foundation oriented itself around European integration, while mobilizing resources to help those affected by conflict after Russia’s invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. Over its lifetime, the foundation has supported more than 18,000 projects, benefiting millions of people.”

Now, consider again the problems of GDP per capita, corruption, the oligarchs, and the neo-Nazis in Ukraine and ask: Has this foundation achieved anything of lasting value in the country? If your answer is yes, let me raise the bridge-sale prospect again. Also, what exactly does “mobilizing resources” mean? For a man dedicated to creating a more open society, there sure is lots of murk here.

There is plenty of information out there on Soros, though algorithms now make the digging harder. But one can commence with just going through his organizations, investigating what they do, and hunting around to see who are involved. Lee Stranahan, former Huntington Post and then Breitbart journalist, and now at Sputnik News, has done a lot of that digging on Soros and his organizations, and Ukraine, as well as the fake Russia narrative and Ukraine’s role in it. I suggest you dig it up and see for yourselves whether it is just Russian propaganda—his sources are open and checkable.

When the Maidan broke out, one genuinely intrepid journalist who was on the ground, and had a track record of uncovering stories, and not merely repeating what was picked up in press releases and official pronouncements. He had previously broken the Iran-Contra story and blown the lid on the involvement of the CIA in cocaine trafficking. He was Robert Parry (1949-2018). He could scarcely believe the misinformation and outright lies, the sheer propaganda that Western media was publishing. He was there watching it all unfold and wrote regular reports. This is from one the piece “Phony ‘Corruption’ Excuse for Ukraine Coup” (2016):

If Ukraine becomes a flashpoint for World War III with Russia, the American people might rue the day that their government pressed for the 2014 overthrow of Ukraine’s allegedly corrupt (though elected) president in favour of a coup regime led by Ukrainian lawmakers who now report amassing, on average, more than $1 million each, much of it as cash.

The New York Times, which served as virtually a press agent for the coup in February 2014, took note of this apparent corruption among the U.S.-favoured post-coup officials, albeit deep inside a story that itself was deep inside the newspaper (page A8). The lead angle was a bemused observation that Ukraine’s officialdom lacked faith in the country’s own banks (thus explaining why so much cash).”

There have since been other accounts of the event, most notably the documentaries directed by Igor Lopatonok and produced by Oliver Stone; Ukraine on Fire (that had briefly been de-platformed but now carries the “offensive/ inappropriate” warning, but is available on Rumble) that appeared in 2016; Revealing Ukraine (carries the “offensive/ inappropriate” warning on You Tube; see it on Rumble) in 2018; and most recently, The Everlasting Present. Ukraine: 30 Years of InDependence (sic.) There are numerous comments posted on You Tube saying that Lopatonok’s films are all Russian propaganda bs—though none supply any evidence to prove this.

That there was US meddling is impossible to refute, given Nuland’s infamous conversation with US ambassador to the Ukraine about who was the right man for the top job; and McCain standing alongside Svoboda (the neo-Nazi political party) leader Oleh Tyahnybok, as well as dining with other Neo-Nazis and addressing protestors in the square. Why? For “freedom” and “dignity,” of course.

Back to International Relations 101. Imagine, would the US not have seen the presence of a major Russian political figure publicly encouraging revolt in a country in its sphere as a sign of interference and aggression? Oh, and let’s not forget what was known back in 2016 for those who were following closely that Ukraine played a leading part in the whole Russia-gate lie—a suspicious man might think the Democrats were calling in favours. But how could that possibly be, the Democrats are the moral paragons?

To anyone unfamiliar with the role of Ukraine in what has been the great big porky pie of the Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, as told to the US public by the establishment media, and embellished by congressional hearings, false documents involving urinating prostitutes (apparently to pleasure one of the world’s most famous germaphobe), false testimonies of FBI and CIA agents, false FISA warrants, the spying of one regime upon a potential and then elected president and his team, and books about Trump being cultivated by the Russians, spawning a report—that it seems its overseer, Robert Mueller, did not even read very carefully—a report that came up with… nothing. Well, OK, it came up with the conclusion that the President may have obstructed justice, not bad given how that led to the imprisonment of retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn. But even that didn’t work.

Trump, for many including me, is the most important president since the Second World War, even more so than Regan in one all-important way: it was during his term that the divide within the United States of America reached a breaking-point of no return. I can agree with the never-Trumpers that such a man being elected was a sign of moral decay, though unlike them I agreed with his supporters that his greatest virtue, amongst countless vices, private and public, was his utter refusal to cower in the face of endless adversity. And then there is the issue of the 2016 two-horse race: one candidate had made a fortune out of shonky real estate deals, and fleecing gullible students and investors; the other had started her fortune by a legal, property flip scam preying on retirees who could not meet the small print requirements, which allowed her and Bill and other cronies to take back and resell the assets—that, and all the stuff in Clinton Cash, of trading political influence for dosh.

There was simply no other position that one could take once he was elected than being against him, or not so much for him, but against those who were against him because they could not abide by the usual protocols of truth and decency, and the most fundamental requirement for the persistence of democracy, acceptance of electoral defeat. An anti-democratic virus swept through the media, the courts, the Senate and Congress, and ate into friendships and families. The Cold Civil War had begun, and its centre was exaggerated fears, and lies.

I have never been interested in Trump’s hyperbole, which was part and parcel of his character, and the common way of all politicians (though he had a pretty clever way, as Scott Adams observed, of coming up with sling-shots to hit his enemies—”crooked Hilary,” “Lying Ted,” etc.) and which were often treated as literal directives/claims (“drink the disinfectant and be cured of COVID”). And the lies that were obviously lies (like how Stormy Daniels was not paid to keep her mouth shut), as opposed to what the media said were lies but weren’t—were the kinds of things that only mattered in a world where there were some common core values and national commitments. I was more sympathetic to the plight of his regionally located working-class supporters, who had been getting the raw deal of globalization and who were treated as stupid because they objected to the urban smarties, stars, and monied people telling them what to think and accept as normal and desirable—and ensuring their wages were never going to go up. It wasn’t the lies about Trump as such that I found so reprehensible, it was the lies enabling the rapid and destructive impact of a ruling class whose faux compassion, spiritual emptiness and self-indulgent sense of its own rectitude and entitlement to rule not only the United States of America but the rest of the planet, was destroying what had once been seen as the global centre of creative ingenuity, enterprise and independent-mindedness.

And at the centre of those lies were the universities that had originally crafted and inculcated these lies in their more highfalutin versions, and the mainstream media whose lies about the “facts” were as flies to the sandpaper of a nihilistic and stupid mindset. Their lies led to what we have now: a mainstream media that is but a megaphone of the globalist world that they, like their employers and most of the political and global capitalist class, share. One will, of course, recall, that of all Trump’s promises (one he did not fulfil), the key to his platform and support base was, “build the wall.” The national labor-capital nexus (that had by the way been a key plank of the Democrats even in the 1990s)—as opposed to global capital-labour (that had been the Republican rallying position)—meant nothing, if there were no nation, and if capital flow paid no heed to the labour of citizens.

Victor David Hanson, whom I admire so much, but disagree with so deeply about this war, was absolutely right to see the issue of citizenship and its loss at the heart of Trump and his victory and defeat. Angelo Codevilla, another International Relations expert, initially someone rather contemptuous of Trump before seeing what the issue really had become, saw that this was a kind of last stand for the republic (this idea is mocked in the television drama the Succession, which is the kind of clever confused irrelevance that feasts the mind of a dying culture).

Open borders was the desired end that the Democrats could not present as policy in government, but could do all in their power to enable whilst in opposition, was ever a way of bringing about the end of citizenship. The power to bestow citizenship has always been the prerogative of peoples and their government (and it still is the official Democrat position). But this was the issue that defined Trump as a racist, and thus made of him and his supporters something less than human—and it was the issue that the media and their masters most lied about.

The initial big piece of deceit—the concealment of information, just prior to the election—was the suppression of Hilary Clinton’s private email server, which meant there would never be a public record of how she combined official affairs of state with private fund-raising. History has a funny way of repeating itself—just prior to the 2020 election, there was another story crying out for reporting that journalists wanted to know nothing about. That was Hunter Biden’s missing lap-story, a story that just keeps leaking out. Here though what is an important part of the repetition with a difference was the part that has direct bearing on how the current war is being sold in the West as a war of Western freedom and truthfulness versus those lying deceitful Russian conquerors. Not only did the journalists not follow up on the missing laptop by going and investigating and reporting the startling materials it contained, they accepted a completely concocted story—a lie by any other name—that it was a Russian false-flag/piece of disinformation.

This lie that had the authority behind it of a pack of liars in the intelligence and military services, whose task in a normal democracy was to serve the administration of the elected president. But by 2020, lies were unquestionable truth: Trump supported and did not condemn white supremacists in Charlottesville; Justice Kavanaugh was a rapist; the Floyd riots of 2020 were not violent, the expressions of grief for a martyr to justice; Kyle Rittenhouse was a white supremacist; the January 6 riot of 2021 was an “insurrection” and there was no hidden Antifa presence. Indeed, there were so many lies that even leftist journalists like Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, Jimmy Dore, (and ex-Bernie supporter) Tim Pool could not bear the toxic sludge.

But the lies and deceptions, as I have indicated, were not only coming from the media, nor from politicians, who one expects to lie so they can gain/retain power. The fact that the term “deep-state” became so widely used by podcasters and journalists who were critical of the political misbehaviour and lies, including those of high-ranking CIA and FBI, was a symptom of the scale of the problem—and not, as the mainstream journalists would have it that it was all proof of the widespread influence of the crazy conspiracy whack-job Q Anon.

The feverishness of the mindset of the elite reached such extraordinary levels of panic that the highest officials in the intelligence agencies and army thought it their duty to protect the people from the man that the people had voted into office by withholding information, leaking confidential memos, or bald-facedly lying to him. The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Milley, of his own initiative, assured his Chinese counterpart that if ordered to attack China by the President, he would not do so. In normal times this would have been called what it was—treason. But this was a time when generals and admirals could not line up quickly enough to publicly defy their commander-in-chief.

It was also, and still is, a time so completely crazed that its ruling class appointed a man to the most important military position in the world, and chief military advisor to the most powerful man in the world, who is so stupid that he not only cannot see what anyone other than a complete brainwashed nincompoop can—that critical race theory is just a pile of half-baked truths and total bollocks that rival in historical nuance any primary school book the Nazis or communist had their kiddies read—but that he thought the armed forces should also get down and study it. Heck, why stop at burning and looting stores and cities, let’s take the peaceful protests into base camps.

After 2016 what now was evident to all was that the media, the academy, the deep state, schools, and the majority of those presiding over US political and legal institutions had all allied themselves with one political party. And while they were happy to hand out the megaphones to the never-Trumpers, who never understood what was going on in the world—Trump is evil/ Putin is evil/Hitler is evil, ergo…. Together they all conspired (oh, there’s that word again!) in the compete destruction of the independence of these institutions, as well as their essential function within the preservation of liberty and democracy.

So arrogant and blind to their own admixture of uncontrollable ambition, and the limits of their intelligence and knowledge were they that it seems none of the Democrats, whether politicians, professors, judges, journalists or other leading professions thought to get together with their pals and ask: did the people vote for that philandering clownish scam artist fraud because we were total rubbish? Had they asked the question and sought to stop being “total” rubbish—instead, of being mere rubbish like Trump’s Team, they doubled down. And as Molly Ball infamously let the cat out of the bag, formed “a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.”

Instead of looking at their own failings to connect with such a substantial part of the American people, by thoughtfully exploring how they might assist in making the USA a far less sorry and stupid place than it is today, they denounced anyone who didn’t think like them. They didn’t ask the question because they just wanted to save their own pathetic asses so they could continue to “lead” the charge in the destruction of very basic common sense and decency. These people—irrespective of their race, gender, sexual proclivity, limb “able-ness”—are to the end of democracy what the French frock-wearing puff-powder-wig lot in 1788 were to the end of the “ancient regime.” And they then had the temerity to dream up the term “white privilege” to abuse and crush the political voices of people who struggle to put food on the table and pay school bills, and the shameless cunning to paint the whites who voted against them as white supremacists along with the blacks and peoples of colour as their brainwashed lackeys.

And to rub the noses of the people whose hatred they could never fathom, they engineered the electoral victory of Joe Biden – did they really think the white trash and their Uncle Tom allies, who were so desperate to stop the social break down, and economic decline that they were living in that they voted for Trump, did not notice that the Du Pont family and their man Biden, and most of the whole zillionaire crowd backing the Democrats and a whole bunch of Democrat leaders—Pelossi, Schumer, Schiff etc.etc. were as wealthy as they were white. And making Harris VP was also a real strike against privilege.

One can hear them sitting round deciding who would be Joe’s back up, and provide the true face of diversity: “Yeah, yeah, we know her family had piles of money. Ok, so she is not really (US) black. Come on man/ sorry I meant ZI is black enough—the people will love her, especially when she cracks up. And you know out there is some poor starry-eyed black child brought up in a crack-house (yeah, we should give them a free crack pipe—I know that was Hunter’s idea)—thinking she too could be in the White House just like Obama and now Kamala. We need to get hold of Harvey. Sorry, he’s preoccupied at the moment, I mean Steve to make a biopic her—and throw in an ending in which the kid is President. Hey, pass the blow, Joe.” “Yeah,” the more profound among them reflected, “but it’s us—or Hitler.”

From the moment that Trump won the election, and celebrities, many of whom years earlier had schmoozed up to him in their talk-shows and parties, even encouraged him to run for politics, began to tell everyone that he was a tyrant. And just in case people didn’t get it, a production of Julius Caesar—with Caesar made to appear like Trump—was put on in Central Park, where the audience would feel great that a living replica of the “tyrant” had been stabbed to death. Surely, he was a tyrant, even that Yale historian Timothy Snyder (before he became a regular on the political talk show circuit, he had been a serious professor of history) had written a book saying the same thing—and to prove it he pointed out that back in the 1930s American fascists wanted to make America great again too, and so Trump was just like Benito Mussolini. Trump was such a tyrant that there were calls for his impeachment, before he had enacted any policies—and to repeat, there was not a single policy that was not previously part of the consensus of all Western democracies.

And as for wanting to cooperate Russia, hadn’t it been Bernie Sanders who flew off to a have his honeymoon in the USSR (you’ve got to hand it to Bernie; he really knows how to sweep a girl off her feet) to establish sister city relations with a Russian city, and wasn’t it Obama who, thinking he was off mic told the then President Medvedev that he would have more “flexibility in dealing with Russia after the election”? But when Trump wanted to do that – well shebang. That was bigger than World War Three. And how could anyone let Trump be in charge of the nuclear button. It didn’t matter what the issue anything that Trump did was a source of utter hysteria, though generally it was things he didn’t do but that people said he had done that led those more suited to politics actually having something to do with reality to describe what was happening around them as Trump Derangement Syndrome—an adaptation of the term that Krauthammer (a former Mondale Democrat, and stolid anti-Trump Republican commentator) had coined for Bush.

The Director of the FBI, who spied, leaked, and lied, thought it was perfectly reasonable to set the ball rolling for all those other treasonous intelligence and military leaders to show their contempt for the nation’s President (and thus by implication all those who voted for him. He went on TV to say how proud he was of his daughter and wife joining the pussy-hatted protest that occurred immediately upon Trump taking office.

Robert de Niro, in his 70s and not in terrific shape, though I suspect completely coked up, went on TV thinking he was really Jake LaMotta and said he was gonna punch Trump’s lights out. In the mix of this Walpurgis night some could just not get the pitch-and-madness of the mood quite right—poor Kathy Griffin pulled up a wax severed head of Trump dripping blood—as if she had saved the country by beheading the tyrant. But there was some tut-tutting that this was just a little too much—and she boo-hooed about the unfairness of it all: why had she just not called for his assassination like other celebrities and journalists?

One would think that if Putin really were hell-bent on destroying the West, this must have been the moment. There would have been no better time than the 2020 summer race riots for him to have walked and said, “OK, hands up,” while Milley and the generals and the boys from intel were in a study group parsing the more highfalutin texts of Judith Butler and Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw so they could better understand how to lead the nation and free those people who at the moment were busy burning down neighbourhoods. If you think I get hot under the collar about the imbecility of all this please check out Karen Kennedy. She is a lady of wrathful truth, the likes of which gives one a flicker of hope.

Given the lies and sheer scale of abuse of power, the blatant refusal to play by any rule book that would enable power not only to be transferred legitimately but accepted by those administering and executing the elected government’s power (this would be part of any 101 Introduction to Political Science course dealing with democracy)—is it really any wonder that there are so many people who simply do not trust a word that the media reports—about anything?

Question: how many times does someone have to lie to you before you stop listening?

But it was that one big fat mother of all lies that was the most reckless of the lot, one that not only succeeded in breaking any trust between those who want to make completely different futures, in which there is no longer any place for their opponents, but of making an enemy of Russia, when there was absolutely no need to. I won’t go into the mechanics of the lie, but there was a huge amount of coverage in the “off Broadway” media, which in those days was easy to discover, for anyone who wanted to wander into the narrower streets of information gathering and dissemination, which Google, DuckDuckGo and YouTube now want to eliminate in the way Amazon’s aim is to ensure that there are no towns with bricks-and-mortar stores competing with them.

People who found their news there found some really interesting and talented people. Far cleverer, in the main, than what was offered up as commentary on the television. Has anyone ever though Rachel Maddow, Don Lemon, the gaggle that do the View (Whoopi’s still there, the she’s so smart that she can see that the holocaust had nothing to with racism), Anderson Cooper have ever once said anything that was remotely insightful? Well, sadly, yes—which shows yet again why Xi and Vlad don’t want anything to do with the world these people are trying to make. In any case, you only have to look at this bunch and pretty much all the other self-righteous airheads on the main networks to understand why millions of people tune into Stephen Crowder, Jordan Peterson, Joe Rogan, just to a name few of the more famous youtubers whose very existence has caused thousands of heart attacks and aneurisms among those who are addicted to mainstream media misinformation.

The old media modes had become outmoded, and losing money hand over fist. Their commercial model has been in trouble for quite a while, and they had to take a stand to distinguish what they did as truth from what citizen journalists, and podcasters did was… that was “conspiracy theory”, or misinformation. The mainstream media could provide the fact-checkers, that is people who came from the mainstream media, to establish what truth was really truth, which was what they and their mates said it was. Shortly after Biden took office the New York Times called for a “truth commission” and “reality Czar.” That was when all the search engines and YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. became the de facto “truth commission”—many like Sascha Baron Cohen (who has turned into the Manhattan version of his creation Ali G, though with more self-righteousness and half the brain power) think it is nowhere near enough.

How crazy could things get in the USA , and the rest of the West is just a heartbeat behind usually? So crazy that the ruling political class’ version of new normal is what Rachel Levine or Sam Brinton represent. While it is a sackable offense in some environments, possibly a crime of hate speech, to say this, to take them and their fantasies of self-creation seriously is something that just can’t be done by most people because it is completely silly—that’s not being transphobic, that’s merely reflexive “insaneo-phobia.”

But don’t take my word for it, Joe, please just have them visit India, China, Africa, and a bunch of Muslim countries to discuss any topic they have expertise in. Or, to make it even easier and cheaper (they will only need one-way tickets), send them to speak with the Taliban government in Afghanistan where they can deliver Anthony Blinken’s message of disappointment in their lack of diversity since kicking out the infidel—they could also bring presents, such as little rainbow flags, or signed copies of books like Cemetery Boys. He might also want to send the Squad along with them in case they still fail to realize just how diverse the US government really is. And while they are at it, they might just inform their various counterparts of their preferred pronouns—and whisper in their ear that they don’t like to be called women, but “birthing people,” and they like to choose their own “bathrooms.”

If Vlad or Xi ever really get serious about taking over the planet, their biggest obstacle will be to actually stop rolling around the ground laughing at the countless examples of what has befallen what was once the greatest military power on earth.

What has also befallen the elite of the Western world is a complete inability to distinguish fact from fantasy—and because they think everybody else, except the very stupid and ignorant, think like them. Most of them don’t even realize that they resort to lying when enabling the common self-deluding stories does not suffice. What they, or someone who thinks like them, says is true—that is the real meaning of “trust the science.” Which is why they will eventually have to change every search engine algorithm and de-platform anything or anyone they do not agree with; or if they are feeling that maybe the plebs should have some peanuts, just issue warnings saying that what they are watching or reading has been “deemed to be offensive as inappropriate for some viewers.”

Yes, that is truly what now greets anyone wanting to watch documentaries that deviate from the consensus as laid down by this unofficial “reality czar.” This is what came out of the Trump years- nothing Trump did came anywhere near the destruction of the very possibility of cultivating independence of mind or even providing an environment for “higher learning.” Trump had his agenda and goals, agree or not, but they did not require the complete and total control of which pronouns had to be used, or of what thoughts might be expressed on a range of topics.

Trump connected with a group of people who wanted what he promised—even if he did not deliver that much. Though, I have never seen a presidency fighting on so many fronts, including within the administration itself which was just another front for the civil war. But he did not entrench a panoply of formulae and observances, as commandeering as any divine scripture might mandate, that are as brainless as any ideas have ever been ‘thought up’ and yet the themselves are precisely the requisite “stuff” for brainwashing a society of infantilism, imbecility and indulgence.

No one was easier to dupe than the elite of the United States—well, OK, New Zealand and Australia punched way above their weight in believing whatever was required. And that is how it was possible to get people in the United States to buy the big lie of Trump being a Russian plant.

When the Russia-lie was being spread, it was not hard to uncover. Anyone who went hunting around on their computer quickly found that the lie had been exposed as soon as it had been hatched.

The hatching involves numerous players that go back to Hilary’s campaign, and the Steele dossier—but they are just the start of it. The scope and scale and mechanics, which became a kind of obsession of mine through 2016 to 2018 is too intricate to repeat here. Of course, because it is wide-ranging and was deliberate—even though it was mostly spread by idiot journalists and talk show hosts who couldn’t wait to tell it because this was going to bring Trump down and show the world what a scheming crook he is—it can easily be made to be a conspiracy theory. But what else can one call a bunch of people using their political and economic influence in back room deals, conversations, plans, tactics and deeds that they conceal from public viewing—other than a conspiracy?

My point is not that the Republicans don’t and didn’t conspire to have their way in this or other elections. It is that the mainstream media stopped investigating anything that would harm their “team,” which is why people who still believed in the New York Times being a bastion of impartial truth, or that CNN was a candid and critical source of absolutely reliable information believed the big lie they were being told, and did not bother to follow through to uncover information about (off the top of my head) GPS fusion, Glenn Simpson, Christopher Steele, the Penn Quarterly, money connections between the Hilary campaign and/or organizations connected with the disinformation trail from Khodorkovsky and Soros—who themselves are pals and cronies as with each other as well as Hilary.

Everyone knew about the infamous Trump tower meeting, but who is Natalia Veselnitskaya, and what exactly did she want to tell the Trump campaign about (hint the Magnitsky Act has a lot to do with it, and Don Jr., had little time or capacity to grasp its significance)? Or who is Alexandra Chalupa and what role did she play? These people are just a tiny tip of the story. It was such a dizzying tale in terms of who did exactly what that it was much easier to just say, “Nah, that’s a conspiracy theory.”

The fact that FBI and CIA agents had been proven to have conspired against the president did not lead any reporters from the big print media to ask, “But what is being claimed here and what is happening exactly?” Given that it was also the media moguls who hated Trump and, most pertinently the anti-globalist direction he was trying to revive (even Rupert did not like him), reporters in most mainstream media (Fox was not all pro-Trump, but it was the one mainstream outlet where pro-Trumpers could tune into hosts expressing their views and concerns) simply did their bidding and skewed the news so that everything globalist was very good, and everything MAGA/populist was very, very bad.

I spoke earlier about IR requiring an understanding of interests—that also involves, in any serious analysis, placing oneself in the picture and identifying one’s own interests, so that one can see the limit of one’s own place in the world and start to comprehend that of others. Any sense of that, which is to say any sense that might have elevated an understanding of the political circumstances, issues, and choices of the hour by asking where the media and its owners and reporters fitted into the larger good of the country’s future was never asked by mainstream reporters themselves.

Thus, ignorance spawned arrogance on a monstrous scale—in part because of the amplificatory nature of the technologies which we now deploy to express our better or worse hearts and minds and souls. The better, more creative part led to the emergence of “citizen journalists” who were not aligned to old power-structures, and who were beholden only to their own sense of what they saw and wished for. It was to the media what the Reformation was to Christendom, but unfortunately there was no equivalent to the reforms, and reinvigoration of Catholicism that was the Counter-Reformation.

Thus, they never even tried to expose the players and machinations involved in a conspiracy infinitely bigger than Watergate (yes, back then one could say that people who conspired to spy on their political opponents had conspired to spy on their political opponents), and possibly even more intricate than the WMDs being a lie, belief in which probably had more to do with CIA incompetence, and a failure to vet sources (because of the desire to get the answer they wanted). They were happy to garner favour with their bosses and repeat whatever someone who was in on it or would benefit from it (the entire Democrat machine—which also, happily, included most reporters) told them.

The lie, though, was spotted very early on by a number of former intelligence officials aware of the technology involved in early parts of the hatching—people like William Binney, and Ray McGovern, who really hated Trump, but who did a ton of stuff having to do with servers and downloads and deliberately misleading server “prints.” Others followed the trails of many of the players—Lee Stranahan was right up there—which is why he turns up again in the documentary about Ukraine in 2018; so were journalists from the Epoch Times. There were also some writers from the Hill—of course, there were far more than I can now recall.

The politics of those doing the exposing varied and the aforementioned leftist journalists also joined in: what they saw and what I saw went far beyond divisions concerning policy. It was horror at the recklessness of what the rulers of commerce, technology, ideas, were doing—it was nothing less than a threat to world peace. Putin had, as if from nowhere become the evilest man on the planet. So much so that even Fox presenters, who hated the Democrats and who night after night denounced and brought on guests exposing the lie, made sure that they established their anti-Putin bona fides.

All this created a completely unnecessary enemy of a man they knew next to nothing about; whose sphere of influence and, more importantly, whose geopolitical priorities were on the other side of the world. And it had done so at a time when people, who only a few years earlier were complaining about their political opponents, now spoke of the coming civil war, or the prospect of state secession. It had succeeded in completely breaking up the spirit of the nation, and with it contributed hugely to the cracks and fractures in the rest of the Western world, produced by the same polarised forces and elite mindset.

Need I repeat the obvious—this had nothing to do with Putin.

I have no way of knowing whether the intention, dated back to before 2014, was always to provoke Russia into a war, as an excuse to try and bring its economy down and bog Russia in another, albeit closer to home, dispute that might eventually bring down that “crook Putin.” I would not put it pass them. It has all the hallmarks of other great disastrous plans. In any case, the fact is that the claim was a lie that the majority of those who voted for the Democrats still think is the truth. And none of the journalists/ talk show people who spread it have ever apologized for misinformation—and of course YouTube, Twitter, Facebook don’t censor the people who continue to tell this Russia lie—a lie which rebooted the Cold War.

One of the people who could barely believe the scale of the “Russia stole the election” lie and who saw that this was an act of madness that would have a disastrous impact upon US/Russian relations was the former Soviet expert and historian (and, incidentally, a Democrat who utterly disliked Trump) Stephen Cohen. He went from being a regular commentator on Russian affairs at CNN to persona non-grata, after initially trying to explain why the expansion of NATO was a bad thing and why what the West was reporting about Ukraine in 2014 was also wrong.

To make matters worse for himself, Cohen had publicly expressed his doubts about some of the crimes that the West had blamed on Putin. He pointed out that even the family of Anna Politkovskay, (author of Putin’s Russia: Life in a Failing Democracy), who were personal friends of his, were certain it was Chechen gangsters not Putin behind her death. Cohen also drew attention to the fact that the other death the media always present as an open-and-shut case of a Putin assassination, Litvenenko, was most likely not one of his either—which was also what Litvenenko’s father said. But the climate was and remains such that any claim can be made about Putin, which involves oodles of cash and bodies, must be true.

Speaking of which, enter William Browder, self-proclaimed Number 1 enemy of Putin. As he tells the story, Putin can’t sleep at night scheming and plotting to get Browder. One wonders how Putin manages to run a country, in between the schemes and dreams of revenge and the poker games with his cronies. Browder is a best-selling author of two books, Red Notice, A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice, and (for those who found the previous title just a little too bland) Freezing Order : A True Story of Russian Money Laundering, State-Sponsored Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath. He is also a regular commentator on all the media outlets (Fox loves him), where he pontificates on all things Putin, including the war. According to him, he knows Putin’s mind inside out; he knows where the bodies are buried, and where the cash is stashed. Oh, and he is also a serial liar, hence he fits right into our story and the media empire of lies.

Browder, the grandson of Earl Browder, the general secretary of the US communist party, made a fortune by sweeping up the assets for a fraction of their real prices in the country his grandfather had seen as the future land of hope and plenty. When Bill visited that future in those Wild West days of the 1990s, he had his hopes fulfilled and got plenty. He set up an “investment” company and made so much money that he made himself an Irish citizen (cheaper taxes—America, the land of free enterprise, demands that if its overseas citizens are working, then any gap between the tax paid to their country of residence and the United States must go to Uncle Sam). He was also done for tax evasion in Russia.

In his meeting with Trump in 2018, it was Browder whom Putin was talking about when he spoke of 400 million dollars illegally being sent from Russia to the Clinton campaign. Politifact, in the typical ham-fisted manner that is meant to pass as genuine factchecking, does a meticulously stupid piece wanting to disprove the claim by focusing upon publicly declared monies that were donated to the Clintons. It does not address the really important part, that the 400 millions dollars were unpaid taxes on profits made by Browder’s company. Politifact also assumes Putin must be lying because Browder and the Clintons (who like Putin are also said have buried bodies (see the View’s response to Norm MacDonald on that one). But even saying that is a conspiracy theory, while everything you think you know about bad Vlad must be true) would be incapable of finding ways to launder the money—that is evil Vlad’s specialty.

Though Trump probably did not pick it up, Putin was referring to the money and the event that is at the centre not only of Browder’s Red Notice, but the impetus behind an Act that had already set Russia and the US on a path of serious conflict, the Magnitsky Act, a bi-partisan Bill that came into being under the Obama regime in 2012. It allowed for the freezing and confiscation of assets of those deemed to be violators of human rights—funnily enough, at the time of its implementation, all Russians, and all on the wrong side of Putin versus Khodorkovsky, Lebedev and the other ‘victims’ of Putin’s grand larceny and persecution. Though, what is really funny, is that this bunch of extremely wealthy Russians had managed to get an Irishman to lobby on their behalf. Moreover, however much wealth they had lost, had not made them paupers. The idea that maybe they were just tax frauds never seemed to bother anyone – anyway what right did Putin have to prosecute anyone for tax evasion? It was introduced by Benjamin Cardin and John McCain.

One might recall that back in 2008, when he was running for President, all sorts of dirt had been dug up by the Democrats to the effect McCain had done a lot of singing in the Vietnam cage. The hatred of Vietnam toward McCain blocking their efforts to recover and bring home missing and dead service men is still intense. Trump’s notorious quip about preferring heroes who hadn’t been captured was his nod to the Vets. Dan Bongino from Fox—very anti-Putin—also claimed that Russia-got-Trump-elected elected was a replay of a plan initially hatched back in 2007 in case McCain got in. That might be true or complete nonsense. I have read his book, but not checked his sources; but if true, I don’ think that they would have needed to unload that fabrication because McCain had already become very tight with what the Democrats were brewing up in terms of foreign policy (which was not that different from the neo-con derangement syndrome stuff). He was also sidling up to Browder and Khodorkovsky (who also pushed for the bill) by using his political influence to join the task of taking Putin down. Apart from his stint in the Maidan, Browder’s (and McCain’s) success in crafting and implementing The Act, which was initially limited to the USA and Russian nationals, has since been adopted in the EU, Canada and several other countries. Need I say it, Browder may be a liar, but he is a very powerful man.

One would be very naïve to underestimate the importance of the Magnitsky Act in the straining of international relations between the Western world and Russia, though as it turns out it was but a prelude to the present decision by the US government to freeze assets and impose sanctions on Russia because of its invasion. But I should just mention that we get into some pretty murky stuff when we start looking at US political legislation and Russia.

First, isn’t it weird that the US would introduce legislation instigated by an Irish citizen who has no government position? Browder, by the way is also a business associate of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and isn’t it also interesting that it was Joe Biden who introduced S.Res.322—”A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on the trial, sentencing and imprisonment of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev.”

Back in 2010, Hilary was also very vocally denouncing Russia for finding poor Mikhail and other oligarchs guilty of plundering the country—tax fraud was a topic near and dear to her heart, as was the cause of saving and recruiting billionaire clients for hers and Bill’s noble Foundation. Is it really far-fetched to believe that people as wealthy as Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, would be buying power and influence in the US government and leaving money trails so that politicians will help them bring down their enemy? Like Browder, Khodorkovsky is also talking to anyone who will listen and publishing about Putin’s tyranny and how this war will lead to regime collapse and overthrow—he is calling for demonstrations against the war, and using his considerable media machine influence to prepare Russians for him—or his man— as the next leader of Russia.

Whether orchestrated or not, the players who are intent on taking down Putin stand the most to benefit from Ukraine being in civil war; or, as now, outright war with Russia. Anyone who knows the least bit about the region and its history knows that the fate of Russia is inextricably tied to that of Ukraine (another thing Putin has stated repeatedly). And the US interference in the Maidan was above all a means of destabilizing the region in order to curb the power of Putin, and dismantle the reach of the regime—and, gain is it far-fetched to think that the stated objectives of Putin’s oligarch enemies, regime change, might not be what is the real end-game?

Maybe Khodorkovsky and co. have been trying to spell out the strategy for Joe in ways that he could say it without looking like he was saying it, yet making sure it was being said. If that sounds convoluted, it is because it is and Joe’s recent summersaults around the matter of “regime change” sure sounded convoluted. Besides, crafting legislation to redress the wrongs done to two non-American citizens, Joe also took such a personal interest in Ukraine that he threatened to withhold a billion dollars in military aid if the Ukrainian President did not change his prosecutor in the case against Burisma who also happened to employ his son. Joe’s smirking braggadocio, as he recounts the tale to fawning journalists is available for all to see on YouTube—and again the factchecking on this is as laughable as the idea that Hunter’s lost laptop is a Russian fabrication. Intrigue and murk? I think so.

But what any of us know, who are not actually in the game, is little. Still, there are questions aplenty that need to be asked, and our mainstream reporters are not asking them; and given the connection between the Magnitsky Act and the timing of the Maidan, questions about the Irish man behind an Act that has spread around the globe, and was the prelude to what is now a proxy weapons war and outright economic war against Russia, are definitely worth asking.

One person who ended up digging into that story through his firsthand acquaintance with Browder was the Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a friend and sometime collaborator with Politkovskay. His CV also includes a string of critical documentaries on Putin and the FSB. Nekrasov was so inspired by Browder’s first book, he decided to do a feature film of it. But as work on the film progressed, he came to the realization that Browder’s fiction wagged the tail of any truth the dog might have had. Nekrasov had intended to tell the story of Browder’s heroism in the face of rogue officials robbing the titles of his business and murdering his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky. In the making, it transformed into a documentary about Browder’s lies.

Nekrasov’s loss of faith in the Browder story started with his attempt to recreate the scene in the cell in which Magnitsky had ostensibly been murdered—and which he had received official access to—and discovered that the details, beginning with the size of the cell and number of police involved in the murder, could not possibly have been true. As he gathered more evidence, he reluctantly concluded that the official report about the cause of Magnitsky’s death (natural causes from a pre-existing health condition) was probably accurate. One would think any journalist familiar with how the Magnitsky Act had come into being and has been sold, and what it has meant to US (now Western) Russian relations, might be interested in following up on the fact that the martyr to the story was not, in fact, a martyr. Nor, as it turns out, is another claim about Magnitsky, a claim that is repeated wherever and to whomever Browder tells his story, was Sergei Magnitsky Moscow’s finest lawyer – he wasn’t a lawyer at all but an accountant – assisting Browder in tax fraud.

Watch the numerous videos of Browder’s talks and see how scripted they are. Also note the way in which the pauses and asides come with rehearsed regularity. They are not the gestures and manners of speech of a man whose mind is flooded by the associations that have come from persecution, whose feelings go into turmoil whenever these painful memories come up. They are the manners and gestures of a calculative man, a man who once he has plotted out the story sticks rigidly to the script, lest someone notice the loose threads that may unravel it. Note too, if you can watch this movie that Browder has attempted to banish from ever being publicly shown, like Khodorkovsky he can go from sweet charmer to deadly harmer in the blink of an eye. He is a bully as well as a liar; and as the film unfolds—it begins as a film about the making of the film—Nekrasov is on the receiving end of Browder’s early threatening glares and stares when he seeks clarification about the anomalies in Browder’s story—that also include the location and nature of this great corporation that he has built up.

The film then explosively addresses the centre-piece of Browder’s claim about the raiding and seizure of the deeds of registration and ownership when Nekrasov tracks down the ostensible policeman, supposedly living a life like Browder himself and his friend Mikhail, but who drives an old bomb and lives in a very modest flat, closer to what Browder’s “business dwellings” look like than the swanky places Browder lives in. (The film is worth watching just for the comedy of the scene where Nekrasov “discovers” the exact location of this billion-dollar plus operation, and the “staff” running it).

None with an open mind could watch this film, The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes (available only through a website of that name) and think that Browder’s story was anything other than fake—unless one is either on Browder’s payroll or a hack journalist. The film was denounced as a piece of “agit-prop” by the Washington Post.

For further information discrediting claims that Bill Browder was an innocent victim of crooked Putin, and that he is a great example of Western enterprise and moral courage apart from Lee Stranahan’s many podcasts on the topic, Lucy Komisar written major exposés of Browder’s porky pies.

If Browder is, as he and his publishers, love to tell us, Putin’s Number 1 enemy, it might be worth pausing on the claim: that the Number 1 enemy of Putin are Western lies; and in the broader picture that is also the case for Ukrainians now fleeing a country in which those who have told the lies to induce the war are nowhere to be seen. I might have been pretty scathing of Zelensky, but anyone who has been deceived this badly and who is living in the midst of such a horror—including those who were previously left to suffer in media silence—deserved our pity, and for us to at least try and speak some truth.

Conclusion

I may very well have lost readers on the way through these thickets thinking it is a mere ramble and haphazard rummage and roaming. My digressions about the craziness of our times are intended to highlight the relationships between the events and interests that either are essential to understand the war’s background, foreground, or what is at stake in it. I have merely scratched the surface. I know how little I know—there is so much more than main players know, that we don’t, as well as so much more that they don’t know- like how it will all play out in the immediate and distant future.

I have attempted to express why I cannot help but see this war as but one more “item” in a world divided between those seeking to fabricate a technocratic future and those who fear the mind-numbing conformity and spiritless nature that is required for its creation, as well as the vacuity of its destination. This would be truly an end of history, and an end of man—to use formulae from two ostensibly opposed enablers of this brave new world.

The forces at work both in the making and in the reaction are great; and as I have said throughout, most of those involved do not see exactly what they are doing or making. Hence too it is not unreasonable to fear the explosive consequences that are ever the inevitable accompaniment of great and rapid demographic upheaval through mass waves of immigration and the swift juxtaposition of different cultures.

I mentioned Karl Popper’s influence on George Soros; and to those who think they are being clever by not seeing how powerful this man is, all I can say is read up. Leaving aside Popper’s contribution to the philosophy of science and more generally how knowledge is best gathered and developed for the benefit of society, his great omission, which tends to be an oversight of most liberals, certainly of those in the “idea-ist” camp, is a failure to give sufficient importance to traditions. That is Soros’ failure, and the failure of globalists more generally. The failure is generally hidden, as I have also said, by a dialectical web of enlightened progressivism and Disney-styled romanticism, which wants Muslims, Confucian based tradition, tribal peoples, Hindus, Orthodox and all the world to live like Western, sexually-fluid undergraduates, celebrities and the mega rich. How this horrible stupidity plays, has already been seen in the disastrous attempts at regime change that the US and NATO have precipitated.

It is also being played out in Western Europe between an “indigenous” population, itself deeply divided between those who wish to trade the traditions of millennia for the globalist one depicted above, and a much more recent group of migrants whose appeals and spiritual commitments come from an entirely different set of circumstances and historical memory—these people themselves have their own divisions and pressures coming from the overspill and fallout of conflicts coming out of their former lands.

The problems back in their homelands are many, as are the causes, but the West’s collaboration in their making is something that intensifies the hatred of the West from people and organizations which hope that they may escape the intolerable present by leaping back into the past and hanging on ever more tightly. Only by living ever more faithfully to the stricture of their traditions can they escape the cursed world that they dwell within and they see as caused by the Western devils, whose own worlds are very hell.

This problem, like all serious political problems, is not a moral problem—morals certainly won’t solve it. It is Europe’s inevitable problem. The US, on the other hand, has made for itself another problem, the problem of racial strife. Race is a dangerous genie, when combined with seeing people primarily as racial types, and the world as a place in which there are only the privileged and the oppressed; and when the privileged themselves teach that they are not deserving of their privilege, then they are welcoming their demise. Again, none of my objections to critical race theory are to some kind of moral ideal standard—it is simply to see that the ideas behind it, and identity politics generally, are as stupid as the implications are deadly. Throw in open borders and the rest of the craziness I have touched upon—it is definitely “Good Night Irene.”

I repeat. I do not like what I see. Please convince me otherwise. But I will add one last thing. In any time or place, where serious matters are being discussed, if you are ever tempted, please pause before you reach for the kinds of platitudinous formulae that seem to be manufactured by Globalist Inc. for nincompoops—they who gave you such gems of thoughtlessness as “99 percent of scientists agree that…”; “trust the science;” “our X strives for excellence;” “we are committed to diversity;” “the discredited claim that;” “conspiracy theorists hold that”—and so on. Such formulae, stupid as they all are, do serve a purpose—to stop people asking awkward questions which might destabilize the consensuses required by globalizing technocrats and their minions to bring us all into their future, with them doing the leading. To such formulae we can add: “This war has happened because of the evil Putin;” “We must stop this evil madman;” and “That is just Russian propaganda.”


Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen books.


Featured image: “Diogenes searching for an Honest Man,” by Jan Victors, ca. 17th century.

The Russian Peace: A Conversation With Alexander Dugin

This wide-ranging conversation with Alexander Dugin, Russian philosopher, on President Putin, on the current conflict in the Ukraine, and the future destiny of Russia provides much-needed context on what is happening now throughout Eurasia, as the world undergoes a shift in allegiances, or what Dugin would call “multipolarity.” The West, mired in Wokery, has lost its way, while the world has chosen to move on. This conversation is with Yekaterina Sazhneva, columnist at the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK). It is through the kind courtesy of Geopolitica that we bring you this English-version.


Yekaterina Sazhneva (YS): Alexander Gellievich, I was rereading one of your interviews about the existence of two Putin’s. “Solar” and “Lunar.” “Solar” is Krymnash, the restoration of the Eurasian empire, messianism. “Lunar” is a rational practitioner, a realist, a supporter of capitalist economics, looking back to the collective West. At the time, you lamented that Putin would never choose the “solar” path, preferring to combine both. So how is it today – has the choice been made?

Alexander Dugin (AD): Yes, of course, the “solar” Putin won, and I’ve been saying that he would win not a year ago, but for many years in a row. I have even published a book about this, Putin vs Putin, dedicated to the main paradox of Russian politics. The book has been translated into many languages, and in it I present my theory in detail.

There is an interesting author in historical science, Ernst Kantorowicz, who wrote a study called The King’s Two Bodies. It is about the fact that any great ruler is always dual. On the one hand, physically, he is certainly a man; and on the other hand, he is an historical figure, part of a continuous historical process. As a man, he can think one way. But as a historical figure, on which the fate of nations and states depend, he acts very differently.

Alexander Dugin. Photo Credit: Geopolitica.

This duality creates the deepest tension, the drama of the ruler, and is characteristic of a variety of political regimes. It does not matter whether we are dealing with democracy, as in the case of Churchill or Roosevelt, or with monarchy, as under Ivan the Terrible or Nicholas II. It is a split that arises in the soul and in the heart, in the consciousness of the ruler; when he is truly aware of his responsibility before history; when the future of humanity depends on his actions, his decisions with reliance on himself and his destiny; on the depths of his “I.”

An ordinary, normal person acts rationally, by inertia; this is what I call the “lunar” side. He adapts to circumstances and recognizes the rules of the game; follows moral and ethical norms.

The “solar” side, on the other hand, forces him to perform a great deed. In the image of our president, this is expressed very vividly.

On the one hand, Putin is devoted to the sovereignty of Russia as a state, but on the other hand, rationally, I think he was well aware of the consequences of a persistent insistence on his position. In this respect, Putin’s “solar” beginning is extremely tragic, because it implies a struggle with the ideas and values of the West. But Russia has crossed the Rubicon, which I am personally very happy about.

YS: But what was the reason for such a radical change in course? After all, back in December, we all went together into the “digital concentration camp,” introduced almost unanimously in the regional QR-certificates, as in the West, and, in general, nothing foretold a break with the West and its agendas. The impression is that there were some events of which we are not aware…

AD: I think that for all 22 years of Russian politics, associated with the rule of our president, he has continued to strive to combine the incompatible at all costs. On the one hand, integration into the global world system and meeting all its requirements—joining the WTO, WHO, adopting a liberal economic model, digitalization, and inclusion in international human rights institutions. And on the other hand, the strengthening and reinforcement of Russia’s sovereignty.

At the same time, in the military sphere, we have remained independent and promoted our own interests. For example, we defended territorial integrity during the second Chechen campaign, strengthened the central government and countered separatism inside Russia. These two objectives, “lunar” and “solar,” were in principle incompatible with each other. Up to a certain point, both aspects were fundamentally important for our president. But the internal conflict was growing. I think the overall relative equilibrium was maintained until February 22, 2022.

YS: Wait, but the exercise “Allied Resolve 2022” on the border with Ukraine began earlier than February 22, so we can’t talk about any sudden start of a special operation in principle?

AD: In fact, the two plans—the “lunar” and the “solar” ones—were not found on the same level. Liberalization and participation in international processes was one level; while the military and strategic defense of our national interests was another. These levels did not overlap, as far as I can see. But at some point, our leadership saw that the next step would be an attack by the Ukrainian regime on Donbass and on Crimea with Western support; and the concentration of troops on our own border was completely insufficient to prevent this attack. So it was impossible to preserve Russian sovereignty, without a special military operation.

The Siege Of Kiev Is Always

YS: So was Ukraine going to attack the Donbass or Russia?

AD: The success of the operation in the Donbass, if Kiev had started it first, would have led, under the current Ukrainian regime, to an inevitable attack on Crimea and the involvement of NATO troops. First, Ukrainian regime would have attacked the Donbass, then Russia… There were such plans.

YS: But how quickly could they have come to fruition? In a day? A week? A month?

AD: I don’t know. But I have no reason not to trust our administration to talk about these plans

YS: As we can see, neither the West nor NATO has intervened directly in what is happening so far. Although in theory they had every opportunity to do so. Not only that, they had a reason—it was Russia that started the special operation. But they are in no hurry to help Ukraine with military force or to close the sky with their air defenses. How then can you be sure that they would have helped Ukraine in any other circumstance?

AD: They wanted to attack with foreign hands. They wanted to pit the Ukrainian fascist regime against us.

Why aren’t they themselves attacking right now? I think the time is not right yet. They are now watching our progress and reserving the opportunity to take the escalation of the conflict to the next level. I think they believe that those measures, those sanctions that they were able to impose against Russia, taking advantage of our preventive, independent, preemptive, warning start of a special military operation—have worked. They believe that they have a chance to defeat Russia; not literally, because it is impossible, but to crush and force it to surrender, by excluding it from their global system.

They believe that by isolating us from everything into which they previously so diligently integrated us, by throwing us out of their civilization, they will make Russia cease to exist.

Yes, there are benefits to which the Russian inhabitants have become accustomed; they’ve been made to become accustomed to; they’ve been forced into these protocols of life. I think that the West believes that steps to isolate Russia are enough. That direct military action and confrontation with NATO will not have the desired effect.

After our president crossed the Rubicon, all the contradictions that were embedded in this dual model came to light. That system carried an internal poison, which—at least in the long term—was killing our society; but it also had a healthy military-strategic component. Globalization was a tool of a unipolar world. It sought to strengthen Western hegemony and weaken all those involved in this process. Apparently, it was not obvious to the country’s leadership until the last minute that the globalists were using us.

YS: Incidentally, China somehow managed not to be used.

AD: Yes, China, up to a certain point, was perfectly able both to respect its sovereignty, particularly on the Internet, and to take advantage of the open opportunities of globalization. But we are different. What China was able to do, we are not able to do.

YS: We have a different cultural code, first of all, it seems to me. It is easy for the Chinese to submit to power. If only because Confucianism originally contained the idea of a state order, where the ruler is the father of the nation and everyone must love him simply by virtue of the fact; where the individual and his interests are not important compared to the interests of society.

AD: Yes, you’re right. They have a unified culture; and, much more importantly, a particular centralist political system, with complete control of the Communist Party. It’s not so much capitalist or socialist as it is Chinese-Communist-Confucian.

Maybe because there is no real ideology in Russia, there has not been a hard line to reject the toxic sides of globalization. But, of course, we have the prerequisites to be like China. By the way, today China, as well as Russia, is in a confrontation with the globalists. All this is quite obvious. The experience of China and Russia should be combined and combined, building a multipolar world. We should be friends with China.

YS: And why would China want to do that?

AD: Because China looks at us with deep respect, because we are not inferior to it in some respects. For example, we have the great Russian people, which has united all other peoples. We have a unified history. We have a strong identity. The “solar” world we are all now entering can be diverse.

YS: And who builds the “solar” world? Sorry, but the faces are all the same; the positions are the same as they were under the “lunar.” The people who were in power and looked up to the West are now saying the exact opposite slogans. Chubais just left for Turkey…

AD: There is no hurry. The irreversible shift in the tectonic plates of history, the return to the true Russia, happened just a month ago, everything is just beginning. And Chubais’ flight is actually a symbolic gesture. “Chubais flying away” is a symbol.

YS: He still feels good about himself. He can still take out his cash from the ATM.

AD: No need to be bloodthirsty. If he ran away, so be it. It’s important to have some kind of amnesty in society. If someone who was a liberal yesterday is no longer a liberal today, but warmly supports the special military operation and the president, then he is on our side. Let Chubais run. Let Dunya Smirnova run away with him.

All that matters to a Russian is that there should be no evil. Russian people are very kind. And if some officials continue to engage in sabotage, then they will be treated in the same way as the Nazis from the Azov battalion [recognized as terrorists in Russia and banned—MK). But every person today has the opportunity to become a Russian. And we should not deprive him of this opportunity.

YS: This is the most important question I would like to ask you. Are you the ideologist of the very Russian world that everyone is talking about?

AD: I do not deny that I am an ideologist of the Russian world. But this does not contradict Eurasianism, which I also adhere to. It is hard to imagine more supporters of the Russian world than Russian Eurasians.

It was Eurasians who rightly and correctly insisted that Russia is an independent civilization; that the Russian identity is not national, not ethnic, it is a cultural type, an open identity. It is, in a sense, an empire that has absorbed everything.

Its center is the Russian people. And it is open to those peoples who combine their destiny with the fate of the Russian people, so that they get a decent and full opportunity to participate in our destiny. I came to this back in the 1980s, studying and researching the fate of Russia. By the beginning of the 1990s my worldview had been honed and became my own truth and my life program.

YS: And you haven’t changed since then, since the early 1990s?

AD: Yes, I laid out my principles at the beginning of the 1990s in a series of works. They have been translated into a lot of languages. These are natural things before me, and a lot of the things that are happening now, I was describing in detail thirty years ago.

I have always believed that my main idea and the idea of my people is the idea of a great free and independent Russia. Russia as a civilization. And I, as a philosopher, am called to gaze into the depths of the Russian beginning, which I have been fortunate enough to carry within me. The logic of Russian destiny is transparent to me.

YS: And what is that?

AD: It is certainly the assertion of Russia as an independent civilization with its own traditional values. And it will not be complete until we unite all the eastern Slavs and all the Eurasian brothers into one big space. Everything follows from this logic of destiny—and so does the Ukraine.

YS: And if someone doesn’t want to be a part of our destiny voluntarily?

AD: Sometimes it is difficult to take the right path. At every critical stage of history, we used to lose our Western-Russian territories, then to restore our unity anew; the siege of Kiev is a constant in Russian history.

YS: Siege of Kiev—now or in the Middle Ages?

AD: The siege of Kiev—always. These are different levels of the same pattern. Do you know how long we have been fighting for Kiev with the Western Russian principalities?

YS: Seven hundred years?

AD: From our Russian Middle Ages. We had a conflict between Velikorussians and Galicians for Kiev. Western Russia was closely formed by the Catholic and Polish identity and culture; and in Eastern Russia, since its inception with Grand Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky you can see a prototype of the Great Eurasian Empire, which we have become. And so, Kiev will be ours.

We Will Win, And Then We Will Explain Everything

YS: As Patriarch Kirill recently put it, the struggle is on the metaphysical level?

AD: The metaphysical and physical levels of being are much more closely connected than we may think. For me, it doesn’t matter when or what was or will be. That’s why I am able to see events that haven’t happened yet.

So, the siege of Kiev is a struggle for the unification of the Eastern Slavs and the creation of a sovereign civilization of the Russian world, which is directed against the West. But always the West—forever—uses Western Russian collaborators, starting with the backing and sending the crown to Daniel of Galicia by the Pope in 1253. And at a critical moment, the West betrays everyone. Everyone, of course, remembers Gogol’s famous phrase: “Did your Lyakhs help you, son?”—and this phrase is repeated again and again through the ages; and today, too. You could ask Zelensky.

YS: But besides Zelensky, there are 40 million people living in Ukraine. The special operation that is going on right now is in the Russian-speaking areas of Ukraine. Russians live here. The Russian language is spoken here. Kharkov, Mariupol…

How to explain to a Russian mother who lost her home, her child, seeing all the horrors of destruction and bombing that all this was done for her own good? Not on a metaphysical plane, but on a concrete one—what is she suffering for?

AD: There are people who think and seek to comprehend the truth; and there are people who solve some technological problems on reunion. In 2014, it was clear to me what was going on and what to tell her. The streets of Kharkiv in 2014 were covered with flyers with my statements and quotes, my portraits were hanging on the building of the city administration.

YS: Yes, and Russian volunteers were going to Donbass with your ideas about the Russian world, but it’s now 2022. The homes of Russian-speaking Ukrainians were destroyed not eight years ago, but now.

AD: There is the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. He is known for his lamentation. Here I can say that the state of my soul from 2014 to 2022 is Jeremiah’s lament for the Russian world. My heart was breaking as to what we needed to do.

Of course, we are in a difficult situation now, and many opportunities for soft solutions have been lost. I don’t know who is to blame. Just as I don’t know who is to blame for the fall of Troy…

YS: So how do you explain to a Russian mother from Mariupol that everything that is happening is a good thing?

AD: The death of loved ones is a terrible grief. It is practically impossible to explain a lot of things now. We’ll explain it all later, when we liberate Ukraine. When Mariupol will be ours, then your question will become relevant. Right now, our plan is to win.

As soon as the flag of Eastern Ukraine, Russia, freedom and independence soars over Kherson and Novorossiya; as soon as the Donetsk and Lugansk regions are liberated; the Kherson, Nikolayev, Zaporozhye, Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk and other republics are established—after that we immediately begin to explain.

YS: Igor Strelkov, the first Minister of Defense of the DNR, your pupil, by the way, as well as Alexander Boroday—the first head of the DNR. Where you were and them in 2014 is clear. And where have you been all these eight years?

AD: Before the decision was made about the setting of the “Russian Spring,” I was always on TV. After that, I disappeared. I was thrown into a kind of social prison, into exile. Nevertheless, I continued to do what I believed in.

I followed the logic I told you about. I had always been absolutely convinced of the arrival of such a figure as Putin, long before he came. And when there was only Yeltsin and Chubais.

But I knew that deliverance would come. And a “man of destiny” would appear who would reunite the Russian world.

My friend, the French writer, mystic, and poet Jean Parvoulesco, now deceased, wrote a terrific book, Putin and the Eurasian Empire. Jean predicted, by way of a number of signs. that Putin was the man Russia needed. Even before Putin appeared, Jean was saying that a great leader would come from the military and special services who would restore ancient Russian civilization. And will also “establish an imperial eschatological will over the land, from the Atlantic to the Pacific,” I read.

Ties with the old world are irreversibly severed. A special military operation is irreversible. I wish all this had happened in 2014. But then we wouldn’t have exhausted the full potential of “lunar light.”

YS: Have we exhausted it all now?

AD: Yes, all of it now.

He Who Is Not With Us Is With Satan

YS: And when will we win? Your disciple Strelkov complains that everything is taking too long to move forward; that an immediate mobilization, including of human resources, is required. But will the Russian people agree not just to support the president from the sofa, but to fight for the Russian idea with weapons in their hands, and maybe even die?

AD: The way Strelkov has been presenting his thoughts and views for the last eight years is, for me, categorically unacceptable. It is clear that he too is sick of the Russian world, and this is his lament. But the form in which he puts it, I cannot accept.

And in essence he is right. The military-technical side of the special military operation is not my area of expertise—how it goes, according to what plan, I do not know. But, in any case, the mobilization of the people in all senses is inevitable. We underestimate the “passionariness” of the Russian man. He breathes only when he acquires a “solar” origin.

YS: So maybe Putin should appeal to the nation to support him.

AD: In the near future, support for Putin will be total as it is. Chubais is gone; so power is now with the people. When the people are freed from the underground in which they have been driven, and the government inevitably turns to the Russian people, then the Russians will show what they are and what they can do.

YS: We are a peaceful people, but is our armored train on the reserve track?

AD: Yes, it’s worth it for Putin to say: Russian, get up, you’re really needed now. And the people will definitely respond.

The special operation should not be run by the state alone, but by the people. So far, the Russian people have not yet fully engaged. Without mobilizing the Russian people, without explaining to them their historical mission, without awakening their deepest beginning, without these words “brothers and sisters”, it is impossible to do without.

“Arise, Russian people, awaken, you are called to perform great deeds…” All your ancestors, all generations have been on their way to this moment, to this clash with our ontological enemy. Truth and God are on our side. We are fighting the absolute Evil embodied in Western civilization, its liberal-totalitarian hegemony, in Ukrainian Nazism. We were created for this mission. This is what is needed now—a call is needed.

YS: In one of your previous interviews, you talk about the inevitability of some kind of catastrophe that could destroy most of humanity. As we can see, the previously unthinkable is already being openly discussed, the possibility of using nuclear weapons – like that Chekhov gun on the wall that should go off. Aren’t you scared?

AD: We’re always on the balance of probability. Any weapon is designed to go off.

YS: And for the balance of power? I don’t shoot, you don’t shoot, nobody shoots.

AD: That’s right. It was explained to us that nuclear weapons are weapons to keep other weapons from firing; it is a method of deterrence, and it was not used in conventional wars, medium-intensity wars. But nuclear weapons, under certain circumstances, if we are talking about a clash of civilizations, can also turn into offensive weapons.

Naturally, Russia will never be the first to do this. Because our nuclear weapons bring peace, and their nuclear weapons are fraught with aggression. But I am not saying that a nuclear catastrophe is inevitable.

YS: I would very much like to avoid it.

AD: I think right now you and I can’t influence the decision as to whether or not humanity’s annihilation will begin.

YS: The point of no return – has it been passed or not yet?

AD: I think NATO going to war on the side of Ukraine will be such a point.

YS: And then that’s it?

AD: It seems to me that the people who represent Washington are balancing between manic rage and some rationality. When rage prevails, they are the ones calling for the destruction of Russia with nuclear weapons.

YS: And in my opinion, on our television we also have calls to use them. I heard it myself in a program on Solovyov.

AD: I think there are different messages that the government wants to send to other countries through TV. But I am deeply convinced that the decision to destroy humanity can only be made by the United States.

I think I understand the logic of the “solar” ruler; he really didn’t want what happened, he cares about people and keeping the peace. But I remember him saying that if Russia was put before the choice of accepting a nuclear strike, to respond or not to respond to it, he would not allow peace without Russia.

YS: “That is, we all go to heaven, and let the rest die,” to quote the “solar” ruler. You are a religious philosopher, a mystic. Doesn’t it seem to you that the struggle between the Good, which we represent, and the absolute Evil, which, from your point of view, the West embodies, can only end with one thing: the end of the world? As John’s Revelation suggests, Pestilence (coronavirus) is followed by War, followed by Famine and Death. Are the horsemen of the Apocalypse coming?

AD: We have all forgotten that Christianity is an end-time religion. Christ is coming in the Last Days, and it is impossible for a Christian waiting for the Second Coming to think otherwise. It is abnormal to believe in progress, in technical development, in the endless evolution of species. Either you are a Christian, or you belong to the modern, material world.

For a Christian, the Apocalypse is something that is always around. A return to Russian identity is a return to a deep, and only possible, Christianity, containing the book of the Apocalypse, as the last book of the New Testament. Of course, we cannot ignore the events described there. And sooner or later they will come true, literally.

YS: Now?

AD: I didn’t say that. But it would be very right, very responsible, very Russian, to consider what is happening today in the apocalyptic dimension and to do everything possible to ensure that the inevitable consequences do not come to pass. And if it is impossible to avoid what is destined to happen, it is important to be on the right side at the moment of the End of the World. On our side.

We Are First

YS: These are challenging times for the Church as well. After all, not everyone understood and accepted Patriarch Kirill’s sermon on March 9, stating that the state has the right to coerce other states by force, to do as it sees fit, if it feels threatened by them. He soon uttered another phrase of concern to theologians, that “forgiveness without justice is surrender and weakness.” Is not the moral and ethical basis of Christianity in forgiveness?

AD: In this new apocalyptic cycle, all proportions have been changed. What in peacetime might have been considered “the rule” has now been discarded as unnecessary. But there is no “Christianity in general.” Catholics themselves consider the Orthodox Church “schismatic,” and we respond in kind. So, they can’t tell us anything.

For us, Christianity is the Russian Orthodox Church, and no one else. We are conducting an eschatological military operation, a special operation on the vertical plane between Light and Darkness, in an end-time situation.

YS: We are the party of Light, I take it?

AD: And the West is the party of Darkness by all its signs and symbols.

YS: Where do you see yourself now? In the new Russian world?

AD: I guess I’m a symbol and a mythological figure, too, in a sense. Like Chubais. Only with an “anti” prefix. If Ukraine is the anti-Russia, then I am the anti-Chubais. I can be anything I want: from a private cartridge dispenser or a mobilized reservist during special operations to any position where the state and the authorities call me. Any position necessary for our victory.

YS: One last question: Putin practically speaks in quotations from your writings. Especially before the start of the special operation. Do you think he reads you?

AD: I think that he and I read the same writings, written in golden letters on the sky of Russian history.

YS: But it’s not on the metaphysical level, but on the ordinary earthly level, you communicate?

AD: I never respond to such a question.


Featured image: A late 15th-century icon of Saint George of Novgorod slaying the dragon.

The Failed End Of History And Russia’s War Against The Liberal World Order

Fukuyama’s Thesis Of The End Of History

From an ideological point of view, the world still lives in the shadow of the controversy of the 1990s, between Francis Fukuyama and Samuel Huntington. No matter how much the theses of both authors have been criticized, their importance has not been diminished, since the dilemma still remains and, moreover, is still the main content of world politics and ideology.

As I recall, in connection with the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and then the USSR, the American political philosopher Francis Fukuyama formulated the “end of history” thesis. It boiled down to the fact that in the twentieth century, and especially after the victory over fascism, the logic of history was reduced to the confrontation of two ideologies—Western liberalism and Soviet communism. On the outcome of their confrontation depended the future, and therefore the meaning of history. And now, according to Fukuyama, the future has arrived, and this moment was the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the coming to power in Moscow of liberals who recognized the ideological supremacy of the West. Hence the “end of history” thesis. According to Fukuyama, history is a history of wars and confrontations, hot and cold. In the second half of the twentieth century, all the confrontations and wars were reduced to the opposition of the capitalist, liberal West against the communist East. When the East collapsed, the contradictions disappeared. The wars stopped (as it seemed to Fukuyama). And, accordingly, history ended.

The End Of History—Postponed, But Not Rejected

In fact, this theory is the basis of the entire ideology and practice of globalism and globalization. Western liberals are still guided by it. It is the idea advocated by George Soros, Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, Bernard Henri Levy, Hillary Clinton and… Joe Biden.

Liberals admit that not everything has gone smoothly since the 1990s. Liberalism and the West have faced different problems and new challenges (political Islam, the new rise of Russia and China, populism—including in America itself in the form of Trump and Trumpism, etc.). But globalists are convinced that the end of history has been somewhat delayed, but it is inevitable and will come soon enough. Under the slogan of a new effort—to make the end of history a reality and irreversibly consolidate the global triumph of liberalism—the campaign of globalist Joe Biden (Build Back Better, meaning “Back to globalization again—and this time more successfully, more thoroughly rebuilding the rear”) took place, inscribed in the planetary program of Klaus Schwab’s “Great Reset.” That is, Fukuyama and his thesis have not been discounted—just the implementation of this plan, ideologically flawless from the point of view of the liberal worldview in general, has been postponed. Nevertheless, over the past 30 years, liberalism has continued to permeate society—technology, social and cultural processes, the spread of gender politics (LGBTQ+), education, science, art, social media, etc. And it has not only been about Western countries, but even of such semi-closed societies as the Islamic countries, China, and Russia.

The New Phenomenon Of Civilizations

Back in the 1990s, another American author, Samuel Huntington, contrasted Fukuyama with an alternative vision of world processes. Fukuyama was a convinced liberal, an advocate of World Government, denationalization and de-sovereignization of traditional states.

Huntington, on the other hand, adhered to the tradition of realism in International Relations; that is, he recognized sovereignty as the highest principle. But unlike other realists who thought in terms of nation-states, Huntington believed that after the end of the Cold War and the disappearance of the Eastern Bloc and the USSR, there would be no end to history, but new actors would compete with each other on a planetary scale. As such, he named the “civilizations” and predicted in his famous work (Clash of Civilizations) their clash with each other.

Huntington proceeded from the following: the capitalist and socialist camps were not created in a void, by abstract ideological designs, but on quite certain cultural and civilizational foundations of different peoples and territories. These foundations were in place long before the New Age and its simplistic ideologies. And when the dispute of modern ideologies ends (and it did with the disappearance of one of them, communism), the underlying contours of ancient cultures, worldviews, religions and civilizations would emerge from beneath surface shapes.

The True And False Enemies Of Global Liberalism

Huntington’s rightness became particularly evident in the 2000s when the West confronted radical Islam. By that time Huntington himself had died before enjoying his theoretical victory, while Fukuyama admitted that he had jumped to conclusions and even put forward the thesis of “Islamo-fascism,” after whose defeat the “end of history” would come, but not before.

Nevertheless, Huntington’s correctness was not limited to political Islam. Moreover, Islam was in practice so heterogeneous that it did not form a unified force against the West. And it was convenient for Western strategists to manipulate the Islamic threat and Islamic fundamentalism factor to justify their interference in the political life of Islamic societies in the Middle East or Central Asia. A much more serious process was the quest for full sovereignty by Russia and China. Again, neither Moscow nor Beijing confronted the liberals and globalists with any particular ideology (especially since Chinese communism recognized economic liberalism after Deng Xiaoping’s reforms). These were two civilizations that had developed long before the New Age. Huntington himself called them Orthodox (Eastern Christian) civilization in the case of Russia and Confucian civilization in the case of China, quite rightly recognizing in Russia and China a connection to deep spiritual cultures. These deep cultures made themselves known precisely when the ideological confrontation between liberalism and communism ended in a formal, but not real (!) victory for the globalists. Communism disappeared, but the East, Eurasia, did not.

Victory In A Virtual World

But the proponents of the end of history have not been complacent. They are so enmeshed in their fanatical models of globalization and liberalism that they do not recognize any other future. And so, they began to increasingly insist on a virtual end to history. As in… if it’s not real, let’s make it look like it is. In essence, the policy of controlling consciousness, through global information resources, network technology, the promotion of new gadgets, and the development of models for merging people with machines, has been bet on. This is the “Great Reset” proclaimed by the creator of the Davos Forum, Klaus Schwab, and adopted by the U.S. Democratic Party and Joe Biden. The essence of this policy is as follows: while the globalists do not control reality, they completely dominate virtuality. They own all the basic networking technologies, protocols, servers, etc. Therefore, based on a global electronic hallucination and total control over the consciousness, they began to create an image of the world in which history had already ended. It was an image. Nothing more. But the tail seriously decided to wag the dog.

So, Fukuyama retained his importance; no longer as an analyst, but as a global political technologist, trying to impose perceptions stubbornly rejected by much of humanity.

Putin’s War On The Liberal Order

As such, Fukuyama’s assessment of the special military operation in the Ukraine is of some interest. At first glance, it might seem that in this case his analysis becomes altogether irrelevant, as he simply repeats the common clichés of Western anti-Russian propaganda that contain nothing new or convincing (in the style of banal Russophobe journalism). But upon closer examination, the picture changes somewhat, if we ignore what is most striking: the rabid hatred of Russia, Putin, and all those forces that oppose the end of history.

In an article published in the Financial Times, Fukuyama in the very title expresses the main idea of his claims about Russia: “Putin’s war on the liberal order.” And this thesis in itself is absolutely correct. The special military operation in the Ukraine is a decisive chord in the assertion of Russia as a civilization, as a sovereign pole of a multipolar world. This fits perfectly with Huntington’s theory; but it completely contradicts Fukuyama’s “end of history” (or the Popper/Soros open society).

Yes, that’s exactly it—the “war on the liberal order.”

The Ukraine’s Key Role In Global Geopolitics

The importance of the Ukraine for the rebirth of Russia as a fully independent world power has been clearly recognized by all generations of Anglo-Saxon geopoliticians—from the founder of this science, Halford Mackinder to Zbigniew Brzezinski. Earlier it was formulated as follows: “Without the Ukraine, Russia is not the Empire, but with Ukraine it is the Empire.” If we put the term “civilization” or “multipolar world pole” instead of “Empire,” the meaning becomes even more transparent.

The global West staked on the Ukraine as the Anti-Russia, and for this purpose instrumentally gave the green light to Ukrainian Nazism and extreme Russophobia. To fight against the Orthodox civilization and multipolar world any means were good. Putin, however, did not accept this turn and entered the battle; but not with the Ukraine, but with globalism, with the world oligarchy, with the Great Reset, with liberalism and the end of history.

And here is where the most important thing came out. The special military operation is directed not only against Nazism (denazification—along with demilitarization—is its main goal), but even more against liberalism and globalism. After all, it was Western liberals who made Ukrainian Nazism possible, supported it, armed it, and pitted it against Russia—as the new pole of the multipolar world. Even Mackinder called the lands of Russia “the geographical pivot of history”—that was the title of his famous article.

For history to end (a globalist thesis, the goal of the “Great Reset”), the pivot of history must be broken, destroyed. Russia as a pole, as a sovereign actor, as a civilization simply must not exist. And the diabolical plan of the globalists was to undermine Russia in the most painful area, to pit the same eastern Slavs (that is, in fact, the same Russians), and even the Orthodox. To do this, Ukrainians needed to be placed inside the globalist matrix, to gain control over the consciousness of society with the help of information propaganda, social networks, and a giant operation to control the psyche and consciousness, which millions of Ukrainians have fallen victim to in recent decades. Ukrainians have been persistently inculcated with the idea that they are part of the Western (global) world, and that the Russians are not brothers, but bitter enemies. And Ukrainian Nazism, in this strategy, coexisted perfectly with liberalism, which it instrumentally served.

The War For A Multipolar World Order

This is exactly what Putin has engaged in a decisive struggle with. Not against the Ukraine, but for the Ukraine. Fukuyama is completely right in this case. What is happening today in the Ukraine is “Putin’s war on the liberal order.” It is a war with Fukuyama himself, with Soros and Schwab, with the “end of history” and globalism, with real and virtual hegemony, with the Great Reset.

Dramatic events—and this is a universal dilemma—they decide the fate of what the coming world order will be. Will the world become truly multipolar, that is democratic and polycentric, where different civilizations will be given a voice (and we hope that this is exactly what will happen—this is the meaning of our future victory)? Or (God forbid!) it will finally sink into the abyss of globalism, but in a franker form, where liberalism will now not oppose Nazism and racism, but merge inseparably with it. Modern liberalism, ready to use Nazism and ignore it when it comes to the interests of nations, is the true evil. Absolute evil. It is this, and it is this, that the war is being waged about right now.

Fukuyama’s 12 Theses Based On One False Premise

Another recent text by Fukuyama, “Preparing for Defeat” in American Purpose, a publication of the American “neocons” (neoconservatives), as vocal representatives of liberal Nazism, deserves some attention. In it, Fukuyama offers 12 theses of how, in his view, events will unfold during the conflict in the Ukraine. Let us cite them in their entirety. Let’s say right away that we are talking about complete disinformation and enemy propaganda, and it is in this capacity—fake news—that we cite this text:

“Russia is heading for an outright defeat in Ukraine. Russian planning was incompetent, based on a flawed assumption that Ukrainians were favorable to Russia and that their military would collapse immediately following an invasion. Russian soldiers were evidently carrying dress uniforms for their victory parade in Kyiv rather than extra ammo and rations. Putin at this point has committed the bulk of his entire military to this operation—there are no vast reserves of forces he can call up to add to the battle. Russian troops are stuck outside various Ukrainian cities where they face huge supply problems and constant Ukrainian attacks.”

The first sentence is the most important. ” Russia is heading for an outright defeat in Ukraine.” Everything else builds on the fact that it represents absolute truth and is not questioned. If we were dealing with analytics, it would start with a dilemma: if the Russians win, then…, if the Russians lose, then…. But there is no such thing here. “The Russians will lose because the Russians can’t help but lose, which means the Russians have already lost. And no other options are considered, because that would be Russian propaganda.” What is this? This is what liberal Nazism is all about. Pure ideological, globalist propaganda, placing the reader instantly from the beginning in a virtual world where “history is already over.”

Then everything becomes predictable; only adding to the hallucination. We are dealing with an example of a “psy-op,” a “psychological operation.

“The collapse of their position could be sudden and catastrophic, rather than happening slowly through a war of attrition. The army in the field will reach a point where it can neither be supplied nor withdrawn, and morale will vaporize. This is at least true in the north; the Russians are doing better in the south, but those positions would be hard to maintain if the north collapses.”

No proof. Pure wishful thinking. The Russians must be losers because they are losers. And this we hear from the model loser Fukuyama, whose predictions have all been demonstrably disproved.

On the whole, everything is built on the assumption that Moscow was preparing for an operation that was to take two or three days and culminate in a victorious greeting with flowers from the liberated population. As if the Russians were such idiots that they did not notice the thirty years of Russophobic propaganda, the West’s coaching of neo-Nazi units, and a huge, by European standards, not badly armed (by the same West) and trained in Soviet times (and the training was serious back then) army, which was going to start a war in Donbass and then in the Crimea. And if a special operation by the Russians in such a situation was not completed in two weeks, it is a “failure.” Another hallucination.

The West Sacrificed The Ukrainians

And then Fukuyama says a rather important thing:

“There is no diplomatic solution to the war possible prior to this happening. There is no conceivable compromise that would be acceptable to both Russia and Ukraine given the losses they have taken at this point.”

This means that the West continues to believe its own virtual propaganda and is not going to compromise with Russia and implement a reality check. If the West waits until Russia is defeated to begin negotiations, they will never begin.

“The United Nations Security Council has proven once again to be useless. The only helpful thing was the General Assembly vote, which helps to identify the world’s bad or prevaricating actors.”

In this thesis, Fukuyama is referring to the need to dissolve the UN and create in its place the League of Democracies; that is, fully subordinate to Washington, states that are willing to live under the illusion of “the end of history.” This project was formulated by another liberal Nazi Russophobe McCain and has begun to be implemented by Joe Biden. Everything is going according to the “Great Reset” plan.

“The Biden administration’s decisions not to declare a no-fly zone or help transfer Polish MiGs were both good ones; they’ve kept their heads during a very emotional time. It is much better to have the Ukrainians defeat the Russians on their own, depriving Moscow of the excuse that NATO attacked them, as well as avoiding all the obvious escalatory possibilities. The Polish MiGs in particular would not add much to Ukrainian capabilities. Much more important is a continuing supply of Javelins, Stingers, TB2s, medical supplies, comms equipment, and intel sharing. I assume that Ukrainian forces are already being vectored by NATO intelligence operating from outside Ukraine.”

With the first sentence, however, one can agree with Fukuyama. Biden is not prepared to launch a nuclear duel that would immediately follow the announcement of a no-drone zone and other direct steps for NATO to intervene in the conflict. And “the Ukrainians defeat[ing] the Russians on their own” sounds cynical and cruel, but the author does not understand what he is saying: the West first pitted the Ukrainians against the Russians and then allowed the Ukrainians to be left alone with the Russians by refraining from effective assistance. The Ukrainians win virtually only in a world where history is over. And they should, in Fukuyama’s thought, be happy about it. It’s just a question of defeating the Russians.

“The cost that Ukraine is paying is enormous, of course. But the greatest damage is being done by rockets and artillery, which neither MiGs nor a no-fly zone can do much about. The only thing that will stop the slaughter is defeat of the Russian army on the ground.”

When Fukuyama utters the words “the cost” is “enormous,” it is clear from his nonchalant expression that he does not know what he is talking about.

Putin And The New Beginning Of Populism

Next, Fukuyama reflects on the fate of President Putin. All in the same vein of daydreaming about the end of history. In no uncertain terms, he declares:

“Putin will not survive the defeat of his army. He gets support because he is perceived to be a strongman; what does he have to offer once he demonstrates incompetence and is stripped of his coercive power?”

Another thesis built entirely on the first premise. The defeat of the Russians is inevitable, which means that Putin is finished. And if the Russians win, then Putin is just beginning. This is what matters, no longer for the delusional Fukuyama, but for us.

“The invasion has already done huge damage to populists all over the world, who prior to the attack uniformly expressed sympathy for Putin. That includes Matteo Salvini, Jair Bolsonaro, Éric Zemmour, Marine Le Pen, Viktor Orbán, and of course Donald Trump. The politics of the war has exposed their openly authoritarian leanings.”

First, not all populists are so directly influenced by Russia. Matteo Salvini, under the influence of the liberal Nazis and Atlanticists in his inner circle, has changed his previously friendly attitude toward Russia. One should not exaggerate the pro-Russian sympathies of the others either. But here again there is a curious point. Even if we accept Fukuyama’s position that the populists are Putin-oriented, they only lose if the Russians are defeated. And in the case of victory? After all, this is “Putin’s war with the liberal order.” And if he wins it, then all the populists win along with Moscow? And then the end of the global oligarchy and the “Great Reset” elites.

A Lesson For China And The End Of The Unipolar World

“The war to this point has been a good lesson for China. Like Russia, China has built up seemingly high-tech military forces in the past decade, but they have no combat experience. The miserable performance of the Russian air force would likely be replicated by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, which similarly has no experience managing complex air operations. We may hope that the Chinese leadership will not delude itself as to its own capabilities the way the Russians did when contemplating a future move against Taiwan.”

Again, this is all true if “the Russians have already lost.” And if they have won? Then the meaning of this lesson for China would be just the opposite. That is, Taiwan will return to its native harbor faster than one might assume.

“Hopefully Taiwan itself will wake up as to the need to prepare to fight as the Ukrainians have done, and restore conscription. Let’s not be prematurely defeatist.”

It would be better to be realistic, and view things as they are, taking all factors into account. But maybe the fact that the West has ideologues like Fukuyama, hypnotized by their own delusions, is good for us?

“Turkish drones will become bestsellers.”

Now fragments of these “bestsellers” are being collected by bums and looters in the dumps of the Ukraine.

“A Russian defeat will make possible a “new birth of freedom,” and get us out of our funk about the declining state of global democracy. The spirit of 1989 will live on, thanks to a bunch of brave Ukrainians.”

Here’s the brilliant great conclusion: Fukuyama already knows about “the defeat of Russia,” as he knew about “the end of history.” And then, globalism will be saved. And if not? Then there will be no more globalism.

And then—”welcome” back to the real world, to the world of peoples and civilizations, cultures and religions, to the world of reality and freedom from the totalitarian liberal concentration camp.


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 image: “Aeneas fleeing from Troy,” by Pompeo Batoni; painted in 1753.

Zelensky’s Zauberer Zone: Quo Vadis, Ukraïna?

Once again a major question of international affairs fell on Germany to decide. After the denegation of overflight rights, prohibiting the use of weapons systems containing German-supplied components, and turning down a meeting with the White House in DC (which Berlin subsequently accepted), it is safe to say the status quo ante remains extant for Germany’s governing class where NATO is concerned. Seven years after the Obama administration delivered the NATO Wales summit commitment for the member states to spend no less than 2% of GDP on defense, Germany remains the biggest laggard in bringing to bear the full weight of its mighty economy for Allied priorities. Scholz’s recent promise to bump up spending is a welcome development, but being ready for this moment would have been better—and given years of broken promises on this same subject, no shortage of reasons for the subject to remain sore.

The Ukraine, on the other hand, would love to be in NATO; they said so themselves. The sticking point—a “Russian veto”—has already been applied not only De Jure but on the De Facto grounds of the Cypriot Precedent: A candidate country mustn’t have ongoing territorial conflicts (Sorry, Georgia, having a border with Russia is a hard lot). Let’s hope our rules-loving Kantian friends have considered the possibility of a Belarusian veto on the Ukraine. Dare one invoke a Polish veto on Belarusian membership? One does pray a Finnish veto on Russian membership may yet be stilled.

Developments in the nuclear domain, a more proximate cause of this back-and-forth, are welcome: Intermediate-range Nuclear weapons (IRBMs), the sort that the defunct INF treaty covered, combined with the hypersonic sleeve of recent vintage, deliver a new strategic situation wherever the feared THAAD (USA) and S-400 (Russia) air defense systems are deployed. Nuking a sky full of hostile warheads was always the best Moscow could come up with to counter Reagan’s “star wars.” A new INF treaty seemed inevitable, given the implications of the reduction of the nuclear response window to less than 10 minutes, to say nothing of the potential ballistic missile defense possibilities given hypersonic IRBMs in range of hostile nuclear delivery systems. As ever these developments augur more advances in spaceflight, it is safe to assume (and necessary to consider in strategic scenarios) that every advantage they provide will be brought to bear. If North Korea got them so quickly, they can’t be that hard to make.

Will Germany really deny any country the means to repel active nuclear aggression? Perhaps they should specialize in SAM battery manufacturing. But in the spirit of a recently uttered French argument (Britain’s economy should be less attractive to migrants) perhaps it is time to persuade Berlin to be less invadable. If America sank into the sea tomorrow and the law of the jungle returned to International Relations, Germany’s rich, technologically advanced, and militarily weak state would be one of the ripest plums for the picking by whichever barbarians decided to do so. But Germany insists on toxically holding America’s will live against it. Very sad!

The specter of Finlandization has often been summoned into the Ukrainian conversation, always with a negative declination. This attitude betrays the heroism behind Finnish independence, when most of “Eastern” Europe and the Baltics were absorbed into the Soviet empire after Lenin’s takeover of the Czar’s security state and Stalin’s creation of facts on the ground during the Great Patriotic War (WWII). Finland won its war against Communist imperialism by force of arms and maintained its independence in an extremely sticky situation (having a border with Russia is not something you volunteer for). Finland hasn’t joined NATO yet because it hasn’t needed to—it provides for its own defense (Germany, please take notes). Berlin’s “encirclement by friends” allows it to treat nations like Poland as buffer states for its own security, making everyone regret having allowed their reunification—we could have had a second Poland, inoculated against both Nazi and Soviet excesses by the long martyrdom of its people and their freedoms under both regimes.

As part of his justification for invasion, a highlight of Moscow’s propaganda was a live speech by President Putin where he surprisingly denounced (as communists, no less) Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev in terms general and with specific regard to their records on the Ukraine. Insofar as “Self-Determination of People’s” was a rhetorical backbone of the post-1917 revolutions, we see here a slow-motion repeat of Hungary’s 1956 uprising—Kiev turned away from Moscow in 2014 and the tanks have rolled in, dropping any pretense. The Spanish civil war tie in—international brigades come to the aid of both Stalinism and Franco’s Fascist Falange—put us in context. In the end, Kissinger’s position—Finlandization is the best Kiev can hope for—will remain the realist’s default.

And so we come to the Kabbalah which Prime Minister Zelensky—Tarot’s Jester risen to Emperor, as he must in our times—has to perform for his people. The only Jewish Head of Government outside of Israel, Zelensky must find the Zauberer (that’s German for Magician) within him to repeat the Finnish feat of the Winter War. Though most analysis considers all Russian intervention in the Ukraine (and places like Transnistria) as co-terminous, important distinctions must be drawn: Moscow had not claimed the Donbass as its own territory (the way it has with Crimea) and the forces it backs remain “little green men,” in that no state claims them. No less than the pacification Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics,” restoring Kiev’s sovereignty (read: Monopoly of Force) over its own territory, is necessary precondition to its ambition of joining NATO—it is the assertion of its statehood analogous to Finland’s own victory which Kiev requires to win the day.

Should Zauberer Zelensky manage to cast Kiev’s spell over the now-occupied Zones once again, the wind would be at his back. Whataboutism unfairly equating Moscow and Kiev will be quieted by the most certain guarantee of Good Government: true love for the people one is responsible for, which Putin has definitively renounced by resorting to force. The inhabitants of the areas currently ruled by the sort of rent-extractive, barbarous warlords Moscow backs have always deserved better. At that point, the Ukraine may well remain “Finlandized,” or it could trade victory on the battlefield—facts on the ground—for Moscow’s veto-abstention on Kiev’s EU and NATO memberships. With a bit of the Jester’s special Providence, Kiev might even carry the day for Helsinki and Stockholm to join as well.

It is too early to predict what new realities can be summoned into existence—first, these political questions must be settled by transmuting them into reality through other means than the Logos. To ascend fully into his role of Zauberer, Zelensky must get into the Zone—And stay there.


Felipe Cuello is Professor of Public Policy at the Pontifical university in Santo Domingo. He remains an operative of the Republican Party in the United States, where he served in both the Trump campaigns as well as the transition team of 2016/17 in a substantive foreign policy role. His past service includes the United Nations’ internal think tank, the International Maritime Organization, The European Union’s development-aid arm, and the office of a Brexiteer Member of the European Parliament previous to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. He is also the co-author and voice of the audiobook of Trump’s World: Geo Deus released in January 2020, back when discussing substance and principles were the order of the day.


Featured image: “Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine,” by Garyck Arntzen, 2021.