The Universal Boosting of Putin 1818


Back in the days when I was one of the British state’s more efficient functionaries, I spoke with British officers who had been in Russia during the Yeltsin period, when they had been able to get up close and effectively inventory the Russian armed forces. (For those who don’t know, I was First Secretary at the British Embassy in Warsaw, I was British Ambassador in Tashkent, and I was taught to be fluent in both Polish and Russian, which included living in St Petersburg as a language student while Ambassador designate).

What we (as I was then a cog in this machine) found was that the strength of the Soviet Union’s Red Army had been massively exaggerated in all our intelligence estimates, on which defence strategy had been based for decades. We had over-estimated the numbers, the mobility and above all the capability of Soviet weapons systems. Much of it was barely functional; the problems with both quality and maintenance were not just the product of the disintegration of the Soviet system, they evidently went back decades.

One interesting thing – and I recall discussing this with a British Brigadier General at the Polish exercise area in Drawsko – was that years of military planning had involved scenarios which revolved around successive defensive lines in Western Europe and eschewed any kind of counter-attacking strategy. That conversation had started because, when the British Army first started exercising on the former Warsaw pact training area at Drawsko, we had to strengthen bridges in Eastern Germany and Western Poland in order to get our tanks there.

We were musing that this had never been considered a problem in cold war strategy, because it was presumed our tanks would never go forward. We now knew they could have, which was interesting the analysts.

The truth, of course, was that it had always been in the interest of MI6, the Defence Intelligence Service, the British armed forces, of their American counterparts, and of all their NATO counterparts, massively to exaggerate the strength of the Red Army. Because the greater the perceived enemy, the more we needed to throw money at MI6, the Defence Intelligence Service, the British armed forces, their American counterparts, and at all their NATO counterparts.

Nothing has changed. Exaggerating the strength of the nominated enemy is still very much in their interest.

It is also, of course, massively in the interest of the arms industry. This is the classic operation of the military industrial complex, which does not just need an enemy, it needs a massive, terrifying, ultra-powerful enemy. Or why would you and I keep feeding the military industrial complex huge sums of money?

We see this operating today. The war profiteers have already made billions from the war in Ukraine. Look at this surge in defence stocks.

The German chancellor has already announced $200 billion of extra defence spending. The market expects to see similar boosts, totalling trillions of dollars across NATO, of money into the arms manufacturers and dealers, as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Yet this is an irrational response. What the Russian invasion of Ukraine has actually revealed is the limitations of Russian power. Those limitations consist both of the capacity of its armed forces, and the desire of its people to be a part of European civilisation, not to destroy European civilisation.

You can pretty well stand inside Russia and throw stones into Kharkiv, where Russian is an everyday language (and locals call the place Kharkov), yet Russia has not yet managed to subdue it. Yet we are supposed to be terrified that the mighty Russian army could roll across Western Europe and its tanks could fight their way through Kiev, Warsaw, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and London? It is plainly an utter nonsense (I address nuclear war later, a quite different proposition).

It says something very interesting about mass psychology that our political and media classes are able to convince the population, both that Russia is an incredible threat to us in our homes, and that the gallant Ukrainians can hold the Russians off. The western political and media class, almost universally, are managing both to crow that Russia is militarily weak, and to claim that we need to throw yet more money at the military industrial complex. As nicely observed by Moon of Alabama.

There are however, even in “respectable” media, a few voices pointing out that what is happening in Ukraine shows NATO defence spending to be already disproportionate. I was very surprised to read this eminently sensible article in Newsweek:

In the longer term, the recognition of Russian military weakness represents a fundamental challenge to U.S. strategy, spending priorities and even its firm hold on the world. It questions Washington’s obsession with a supposed “peer” adversary and the U.S. emphasis on a larger military and ever-increasing defense spending to deal with Russia. Changing the narrative on the Russian military also fundamentally challenges NATO and its European members. Though there might be heightened awareness and even fear of Moscow’s willingness to resort to extreme and even reckless behavior, the reality is that there doesn’t need to be increased defense spending or a renewal of European ground forces….

For Washington, this display of Russian military weakness should be comforting in terms of Moscow’s true military threat to Europe. At the same time though, it exposes the need for a different national security strategy, one that doesn’t imagine Russia as a military equal, and one that doesn’t push Vladimir Putin’s back against a wall.

This war in Ukraine should represent such a moment of epiphany in western political thought.

According to the Russians themselves, Russian military spending is just 5% of NATO military spending. That is about right.

Total NATO spending is over 1 trillion dollars a year. Russian defence spending in 2019 was $65.1 billion a year, just higher than the UK. So nominally Russian spending is a little over 6% of NATO spending a year. Of course, purchasing power in the defence industry makes nominal calculations not entirely helpful. Here is a short link from an excellent discussion from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute of the factors that might make Russian real resources put into defence greater than the nominal total:

Nonetheless, there are strong indications that military goods and services cost less in Russia than in the USA or most of Europe and, therefore, that Russian military spending has a higher purchasing power. For example, unlike the USA and other large European states, Russia still relies on conscription. In addition, Russian career soldiers have lower salaries: for example, in 2019 a Russian lieutenant colonel received approximately $1330 per month, whereas a (lower-ranked) captain in the British Army received more than $4000 monthly. Adequate data to make a similar comparison of the cost of acquiring military equipment is not available.

Converting Russian military expenditure using GDP-based PPP rates (based on data from the International Monetary Fund) gives spending of $166 billion in 2019 (instead of $65.1 billion using market exchange rates). This is still less than one-quarter of US spending of $732 billion. A similar calculation gives Chinese military spending of over $500 billion (instead of $261 billion using market exchange rates).

I would argue that while paying and feeding troops may be indeed be much cheaper in Russia, military hardware costs are much dependent on metals, processors and other internationally traded commodities and an overall comparison to the simple relative cost of living PPP index for Russia is not appropriate. But even using the general IMF PPP calculator, Russian defence spending is, at the very most, 12% of NATO spending.

The idea that NATO has to spend more to match the threat to NATO of Russia is plainly a nonsense.

So those of us who have always opposed NATO’s militarism, NATO’s involvement in illegal wars and NATO’s massive propaganda operation aimed at boosting the funds fed in to the arms manufacturers, the security services and the military, should welcome the opportunity for growing understanding that a large portion of this defence expenditure is not necessary.

The Russian economy is about the size of the Spanish economy. Russian defence spending is, at the highest, 12% of NATO defence spending. Russia is not the great threat to Western Europe. The limit of Russian power has been shown up in its inability quickly to defeat Ukraine, a militarily third rate European power.

But a large section of the western left – including many regular readers of this blog – is not shouting this out. A section of the western left chooses to boost the propaganda of western arms manufacturers by talking up Russian power, claiming the Russian military is massively capable, putting a good gloss on the performance of the Russian military in Ukraine, and insisting that Putin is a strategic genius.

That “left” narrative is music to the ears of NATO and the military industrial complex. So how has the left been manoeuvred into the position of being the amplifiers of the argument of their natural enemies?

The answer, strangely enough, is not intellectual but emotional.

It is rather lonely being a dissident voice in the West, arguing against the consensus of the media and political elite. Even where that political elite completely screws up, as in the invasion of Iraq, where they launched an illegal war, caused the deaths of millions of people, destroyed the infrastructure of a country, yet still lost the war, there are no deleterious consequences for the political elite.

The International Criminal Court is investigating Russian war crimes in Ukraine. It has done nothing effective about western crimes in Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of civilians died.

This level of injustice is hard to stomach. There is a natural yearning for an alternative, for a good power in the world to match the bad power in the world, and to give at least some hope of justice or balance. Thus many on the left have come to idolise Vladimir Putin as the balance to outweigh and thwart the corrupt, warmongering, neo-imperialist Western states.

Syria gave some comfort to this viewpoint. In the war for hegemony that the West has waged all over the Middle East, the contradictions of allying with a country as anathematical to supposed Western values as Saudi Arabia reached their apotheosis. The American-led West was providing arms, finance and logistical and air support to ISIS and closely allied jihadist groups in an effort to overthrow the Assad regime. The western sponsored civil war had already caused devastation and huge refugee flows. Had the western backed jihadists succeeded, the results would have been unthinkable.

Putin saved the world from that, by a small but timely Russian military intervention, and I for one am glad he did. I say that as absolutely no fan of the Assad regime.

So I can sympathise with those who see Putin as the answer to their desire for the West to be counterbalanced. The problem is it is unrealistic. Russia is just not that strong. It has an economy the size of Spain or another second tier Western European state. Any military intervention by Russia that seriously crosses the West is ultimately dependent on nuclear brinkmanship.

The more fundamental point is that Putin is no more a “good guy” than Western leaders. Russia is a massively kleptocratic state where the gap between the extremely wealthy and the exploited general populace is every bit as big as the gap in the West, and until recently was inarguably much bigger. The human rights situation in Russia is poor. In fact in both those respects, the West is moving increasingly to looking like Russia, which is a very bad thing.

Putin’s Russia is no kind of socialist model.

Putin’s image as the strong man of Eurasia is boosted out of all proportion by those on the right who benefit from portraying a powerful enemy: and by those on the left who yearn for a powerful friend. This is the universal boosting of Putin. But in real life he is a much smaller figure, controlling a waning power of very limited resources. He has just made his largest miscalculation. In the last hour the UN General Assembly has condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine. The UN General Assembly is a forum where the US and its allies can normally muster between 2 and 12 votes. They had 141. Russia mustered 5, the kind of position the US, Israel and the Marshall Islands frequently find themselves in. That is the extent of Putin’s diplomatic blunder.

History teaches us it is a huge mistake to attack Russia. The Russian people have an enormous capacity for wartime resilience when attacked. But the plain truth is NATO has never attacked Russia, and though I intensely dislike NATO’s pushing of weapons systems closer to Russia, NATO doctrine has never included plans to initiate war with Russia.

Just as I have frequently stated Russia has never had any intent to attack the UK; to persuade the population otherwise is the everyday job of the military industrial complex.

But the Russian military industrial complex is just as powerful within Russia as the western military industrial complex is here, and the Russian people are just as exploited by their elites as we are in the West. On either side, the offices of heads of government are not the right place to search for the good guys. Everybody gets lied into war.

It is of course a truism that Russian security concerns were made neuralgic by the ever tightening encroachment of NATO and its missiles. It is a valid point. But it is an equally valid point that NATO has never attacked Russia and none of those missiles has ever been fired at Russia. The point of the missiles was never to fire them at Russia. The point of the missiles was to manufacture and sell them at enormous profit margins and provide large salaries and cash funds for politicians, with endless revolving door jobs for ex-military and civilian defence personnel, who all keep the contracts flowing.

We are now in a position where only a severe Russian military setback can reduce the political momentum for more arms spending, more militarism and more censorship of dissenting opinion in the west – and yet many on the left are hoping for a Russian victory. That despite the fact that not only is Putin’s attack on Ukraine illegal, it is an aggressive war with precisely the same spurious justification as the US-led destruction of Iraq; pre-emptive disarmament to prevent possible attack.

To make matters worse, Putin’s attack is popularly seen as justification of the appalling Russophobia that has formed a fundamental part of the Establishment political narrative in recent years. Putin has appeared to justify years of lies by Russophobes.

I first became fully aware of the untruth of the mainstream Russophobic narrative when it was claimed that Wikileaks had published the Clinton material on the rigging of the primaries against Bernie Sanders, in collaboration with Russia. I knew that was definitely untrue. We then saw an expansion of this narrative, including aspects of the official Skripal story that made no sense whatsoever.

As a result of the invasion of Ukraine, popular opinion holds as validated any lunatic suggestion of evil Russian influence ever to emerge from the disorganised brain of Carole Cadwalladr. “Putin has invaded Ukraine. I told you he fixed the 2016 election” is not a proposition that holds up to a millisecond of logical analysis, but logical analysis is the first casualty of war.

Finally, a couple of thoughts on nuclear weapons. Putin has put his nuclear forces at some kind of initial alert level. In a rational world, this would lead to an increased demand for genuine attempts at nuclear disarmament negotiations, but again I fear that is not in the interest of the elites who control governments. NATO’s insistence on pushing missile systems ever closer to a nuclear-armed Russia and continually ratcheting up Russia’s fear of aggressive encirclement, will make it extremely unlikely that Russia will have any interest in disarmament. Which is so obvious, it proves NATO has absolutely no interest in disarmament either.

I have said much which is highly critical of Russia, and rightly so because Russia had started an illegal war. But that in no way reduces the very large amount of blame that attaches to NATO for its absurd militarism and territorial triumphalism, and the complete lack of interest NATO has shown towards finding a less confrontational approach to Russia.

NATO does not defend the interests of the people of Europe. It embodies the interests of the global elite, who benefit from feeding the military industrial complex. NATO is an instrument of the military and the weapons manufacturers. To exist, it needs an enemy. NATO’s role will always be to secure its own existence and its controllers’ cashflow, by creating enemies.

The only good guys in this are the common people of Ukraine, and the unfortunate conscripts in the Russian army. Let us all pray, hope or think on them tonight.

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1,818 thoughts on “The Universal Boosting of Putin

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  • Tatyana

    Pears Morgaine
    You asked what about de-nazification. I guess it might be that Ukraine will be made to reconsider its glorification of Nazis. Practically, by removing monuments, re-naming the streets in their cities, re-write their history textbooks, and the like.

    For instance, Ukrainian capital city Kiev has a National Opera building. They commemorated Miron Orlik with a memorial plate on the building. You can see photos here

    http://kiev-foto.info/ru/memorialnye-doski/1895-memorialnaya-doska-dmitriyu-mironu-orliku

    The linked article says “leading theorists of Ukrainian nationalism, author of the fundamental work “The Idea and Order of Ukraine”, commandant of the Ukrainian police in Kyiv.

    Russian Wiki still holds this document, signed by Orlik, commandant of the Kiev auxiliary police

    https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Мирон,_Дмитрий_(ОУН)#/media/Файл:Big-babijar14.jpg

    it says:

    “All the Jews of the city of Kyiv and its suburbs must appear on Monday, September 29, 1941, by 8 o’clock in the morning at the corner of Melnikovskaya and Dokterivskaya streets (near the cemeteries).
    Take with you documents, money, valuables, as well as warm clothes, underwear, etc.
    Those among the Jews who does not comply with this order and is found in another place, will be shot down.
    Those of the citizens who will penetrate into the apartments left by the Jews, and will appropriate things for themselves, will be shot down.”

    September 29-30, 1941 the mass execution took place, 33,771 Jews were killed. Two days before, 752 patients of a psychiatric hospital were executed. This tragedy is known here as Babiy Yar, the name of the large ravine near Kiev. The Nazis shot people at the slope so that the dead fell into the ravine.
    Executions continued. Jews, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war. The Germans and their Ukrainian collaborators didn’t count children under 3 years of age during executions, so victims estimates vary from 100,000 to 150,000 dead at Babiy Yar.
    Only 29 people escaped.

    Today, Ukraine defends its right to glorify her heroes, you know, they argue they were Ukrainian patriots and fought for liberty.
    This nazi and nazi glorification ideology originates and spreads precisely from the Western part of Ukraine. I understand that there are no experts on this region in the West now, so I advise you to look attentively into history and geography textbooks.

    Western Ukraine historically was part of the Habsburg monarchy. So the ideas of Aryan superiority were existing there historically.
    Like ‘Königreich Galizien und Lodomerien mit dem Großherzogtum Krakau und den Herzogtümern Auschwitz und Zator’ – you may know the words Galizien as in Ukrainian SS Galicia division; and Auschwitz as in Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. This principality existed till 1918, the capital city was Lvov, then name was Lemberg, it was part of Austria-Hungary. Modern Ukraine’s parts historically belonging there are: Transcarpathian, Ivano-Frankovsk, Lvov, Ternopol and Chernovtsy.

  • Harry Law

    With Biden driving the clown car with us sitting in the back, the Doomsday Clock is now 1 gaffe till midnight
    But don’t worry Kamala may take over soon and we will be saved.

    “I am here….in front of you….behind this podium….which is made of wood….with you….in front of me….at this moment in time…which is not yesterday….but not tomorrow either….. ”

    Zerohedge.

  • Pigeon English

    Last week or two I have been watching Al Jazeera news and realized that more $hit is happening in the world than Ukraine! I follow The Independent and those events are never on “top page”. I gave up on Guardian long time ago and thought Independent is least bad.

    • Stevie Boy

      IMO, It’s important to note that Al Jazeera gives a different MSM perspective and has some good stuff BUT it definitely is still part of the MSM.
      You’re going to have to ‘pick and mix’ if you truly want to find out what’s going on.

    • DunGroanin

      PE,

      Read widely. With following caveats.

      That does not mean that if you read the Groan. Times, Telegraph, Mirror, etc you are therefore reading widely. Because they follow the same Narrative – just look at the new stands every morning and you will see that writ large.

      Same goes for broadcast media and mainstream social media which is controlled equally as the rest from top down.

      Same goes for supposed ‘Indy’ blog sites – including here – YOU. Should make up your own mind about who is being genuine and who is following a Narrative, even if they claim to be the opposite.

      Don’t watch snuff videos.

      Anything that is censored – not for its gory content but for propaganda accusation – should be searched out. You are an adult and should be allowed to make up your own mind.

      Remember that left/right was not a natural human cultural evolution; it came out of the blue in the C19th as the Bankers hid behind the curtain and invented the wizardry of Capitalism/Anti-capitalism to divide their slaves, us, so that we would stay busy fighting between ourselves rather than punching up at them and pulling them down. They built Empires and created Nations and subjugated the peoples and their lands and resources using such artifice.

      Many commentators below the line are equally owned as these above – the 77th types and bots working out of PR industry and military and for the capos – the oligarchs and billionaires who make millionaires of their presstitutes.

      Hence this current mass delusion of us who live in this land of Oz – and have done like the cults who have kept us fooled into believing that we alone represent Civilisation, Morality, Laws and RULES as part of the 15% of humanity (which is tied to Aryan White supremacist peoples only).

      This dissonance is currently coming through thick and fast as these ancient Masters have an April Fools day joke where we are button-pushed to raise poxy funds for ‘victim’ Ukrainians, whilst our government sends massive amounts of advanced weapons to create further victims there! We are soft minded and have been trained into it through Covid. Where we were induced to stand in the streets and bash our pans and cheer randomly for the NHS and the key workers – but equally quickly switched off – as the NHS gets back to getting salami sliced and these workers are forgotten and left to wither like our health services. Like the P&O workers who benefited from furlough but are dumped.

      All because we are trained stooges over the centuries who easily revert to slapping, gouging and bashing our neighbours and fellow humans across the planet on behalf of these above, way above in this magic realm where they hide behind curtains and Lord it over the Earth.

      Find their ankles, grab hold and heave them down, these Olympians and Gods.

      Let’s not be April Fooled.

    • Pigeon English

      Stevie Boy and DG
      I agree with what you are saying.
      My point is that:
      Today for couple of hours Al Jazeera was running and then later BBC world.
      While on BBC was Ukraine and Oscar ad naseum AJ covered Meeting
      “Israel boosts ties with Arab allies, Palestinians not included” or Corsica in political fire etc.

  • Tatyana

    Another video by Patrick Lancaster, I wish Pears Morgaine watch it
    https://youtu.be/6LQSYmda0Sc

    School #25 in Mariupol. Visiting basement. Abandoned military uniforms with National Guard of Ukraine insignia. Abandoned small size boots. It points out that Ukrainian democratic freedom fighters were women, they changed their uniforms for civilian clothes and left into the city, with weapons.
    Dead body found, a woman tortured to death and a swastika painted with blood on her chest.

    Pears Morgaine, next time you see in your mainstream media, that Russians target schools or hospitals, please just keep this video in mind.

  • Jack

    Instead of making peace, Ukraine call on other nations to pick a fight with Russia!
    Very irresponsible.

    “Georgia responds to Ukrainian call to attack Russia
    The head of Ukraine’s national security council has suggested other countries should fight Moscow while it’s busy in his country”

    https://www.rt.com/russia/552809-georgia-ukraine-second-front/

    But this is the goal by Ukraine, US; EU, Nato: to get Russia into a quagmire.

    • Tom Welsh

      “But this is the goal by Ukraine, US; EU, Nato: to get Russia into a quagmire”.

      Close. Here is the corrected version:

      “But this is the goal by Washington: to get Russia into a quagmire”.

      The EU and NATO are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Washington. Especially now that the EU has decided to cut its ties with Asia and obey Washington.

    • Bruce_H

      She had been tortured to death by the previous occupants of the cellar, Azov nasties. But Ol’ Pears will probably tell us it’s just a Russian scam. I suppose it makes sleeping easier when one sees the world in black and white.

  • GFL

    Just watched Liz Truss in the HoC promising more lethal aid to Ukraine. I’ve come to the conclusion that the west just wants to see as many dead women and children as possible just to justify more actions against Russia.

    When will the people of Ukraine realize that they are being used and at some time, in the near future, they will be tossed aside like a used condom, useless and not wanted!

    • Bayard

      “the west just wants to see as many dead women and children as possible just to justify more actions against Russia.”

      I think that was fairly obvious from when the Ukranian government started handing out weapons to untrained civilians.

    • Pigeon English

      Somewhere else someone else asked similar question. Can Ukraine realistically defeat Russia or we are supporting
      as you say:” the west just wants to see as many dead women and children as possible just to justify more actions against Russia.”
      I must admit it is cynical but we live in brutal world and in my opinion Media and politicians are adding oil to fire. Not that long ago everyone would pretend to be for peace but now they openly support war.

  • Jack

    Something is terribly wrong with Ukraine,
    there are alot of racism against Roma people, photos and videos are spread past weeks how roma people are caught on the streets and tied with ducktape and then humiliated by neo-nazi groups.

    One photo from such an event
    https://i.4cdn.org/pol/1648475663548.jpg

    Makes me sick to my stomach how gullible westerners are supporting this state, they do not know what is going on!

        • Bayard

          Pears Morgaine, your method of arguing is like the reviewers of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity saying “Thanks very much, Mr Einstein, for your paper, but there is a spelling mistake on page 783 which means that we doubt the veracity of your workings”.

          You said the mark is “nothing like” a swastika, when it quite clearly is. It is not exactly like the particular type of swastika used by the German Nazis, true, but that doesn’t mean it is nothing like a swastika. I doubt whoever did it had the time to get it exactly right, all they needed to do is produce something that was recognisable as a swastika, which this clearly is. Perhaps you would care to let us know, if this symbol isn’t a swastika, what it is supposed to represent.

          • Pears Morgaine

            It’s all very convenient isn’t it? “This is a Nazi base and just to prove it they’ve painted a Swastika (or something that might resemble one to anybody squinting at it from a galloping horse) in blood on this body” Couldn’t they find a picture of Hitler to hang on the wall?

          • Bayard

            Well, sure, it could all be fake news, but that still doesn’t make the symbol any the less like a swastika. All that would mean is that the intention was to portray a swastika. I know your swastika recognition circuits might have been turned down to minimum, but it is hardly likely that someone would go to the trouble of painting a random symbol on a woman’s stomach and then plastering it all over the internet, is it? Without a convincing explanation from you as to what this “not a swastika” symbol is supposed to represent and why it has been drawn on a woman, it is pretty certain, whichever way anyone (apart from you, of course) looks at it, that this is a swastika, albeit badly drawn.

      • Tatyana

        I wonder if M.J. or Pears Morgaine are delighted with the idea to host a ‘refugee’ from this video in their houses? They may like sleeping the next room to one of those men in the video.
        I’ve heard UK government offers good money for hosting.

      • Niggle Noggle

        An offensive comment. Do you all believe that the Russians are only killing Nazis, and have the right to kill Nazis in another country, and that there is no antisemitism in Russia?

  • ET

    There is an article in today’s guardian referencing the video of the Russian soldiers being shot in the knee:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/28/ukraine-government-investigates-video-alleged-torture-russian-prisoners-of-war

    Needless to say there are denials as well as assurances that such accusations will be “taken seriously” and investigated. Also there is the reminder that these are war crimes if true. I am somewhat surprised that an article adressing these videos has surfaced in any of the corporatocratic (CRAP) media at all.

    “Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said: “We are a European army, and we do not mock our prisoners. If this turns out to be real, this is absolutely unacceptable behaviour.”
    Arestovych added: “I would like to remind all our military, civilian and defence forces once again that the abuse of prisoners is a war crime that has no amnesty under military law and has no statute of limitations.”

    • Tatyana

      Arestovich is a story teller. I mean, he may say this or that, but where is a guarantee that he will be heard and taken seriously? He is not the commander of those troops.
      He is Zelensky’s advisor, by the way, with some show-business experience
      https://youtu.be/gCrahX9fkg0
      As we say here ‘два сапога пара’ with his president. They are both not those who control the army and paramilitary.

    • Jack

      ET

      Look how the article is framed and you understand why it is reported: Ukrainan gov. is allegedly repulsed by the torture, that is the angle by the MSM, this is not what Ukraine is about is the argument.
      But abductions, torture and warcrimes have been going on for years and they did nothing because they do not care, but it is bad PR when the perps. record and share their crimes for the world to see.

    • Dawg

      A thorough investigation by the BBC Reality Check team suggests that the video appears to be genuine.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/60907259 – “Does video show Russian prisoners being shot?”

      It’s interesting that the Beeb seems prepared to concede war crimes on the Ukrainian (‘good’) side. Either they’re being uncharacteristically open about the moral complexity of war, or they’ve realised that the footage has been circulated so widely now that it risks undermining the simple goodies-vs-baddies bipolar narrative of the US and UK governments.

        • Rosemary MacKenzie

          Thank god for that! I hope they are not permanently disabled and are back soon with their families. Any news of the poor young man who was screaming? I do not believe the Ukrainian forces or government can have any credibility left or support!

          • Tatyana

            Russian officials hasn’t confirmed yet, info from activists:
            Sergey Velichko, nickname ‘Chili’, National corpse. Released from prison by Zelensky amnesty to defend Ukraine. Leader of Kharkov Azov.
            Konstantin Nemichev, local territory defence head, last year stood as a candidate for Mayor of Kharkov.
            I doubt any of them deserve to be released back to their families.

            On young man screaming, Rosemary, I don’t understand which of the videos linked you are referring to. If you mean the second, then I only may comment – you’re blessed to not understand Russian or Ukrainian language.

        • ET

          When I watched that video, aside from lamenting the shockingly inhuman brutality of it, I thought to myself that the perpetrators and some of the Russian soldiers would be easily identified and verifications easily made. In turn, I thought that such easily achievable verification was why it had penetrated the propaganda defensive wall and generated a response. It’s brutal, these Russian soldiers, if they survived, will never walk properly again.
          More than likely it will be blamed on “rogue” elements within the Ukraine forces much as Abu Ghraib tortures were blamed on rogue USA forces. That they are admitting that it happened or might have happened is possibly progress no matter how small.

      • Tatyana

        Good news! POW swapped, and just look at this! That brave warrior, who launched ‘Russian warship’ phrase – he is not dead, as Zelensky had reported ( and even rewarded all of the Snake Island defenders with Hero medals post mortem ).
        He spent about a month in Russia and now get another medal, apparently for surrender?
        https://9gag.com/gag/a310g8N

        My favourite comment on 9gag:

        “thanked the Russian warship for staying alive and returning home like hero. And apologize for his dirty words”

        • Rosemary MacKenzie

          Tatyana
          There was a horrible video of some Russian pows being tortured by Ukrainian paramilitaries ie a nasty procedure called kneecapping – it was a common occurrence in Northern Ireland during the troubles – I understood you to mean that the pows had been rescued. I’m pretty sure the video of the Russian pow screaming was on RT. I’ll see if I can find the link.

          • Tatyana

            Kneecapping, it sounds dreadful.
            Rosemary, unfortunately the pows were not rescued, on the contrary, even worse rumors and photos here and there, mentioning burnt bodies. But we have no official statements yet, so I do not want to spread lies. Just reporting what I see. Perhaps it only is fake news.
            I was talking on Ukraininan men, those who were shooting. Their names are known, and our ex-general even said they were captured and asking for mercy right now. But again, yesterday I’ve seen video of both of them, filming themselves in Kharkov, with weapons, saying they feel good. The video raises more questions, because Ukrainian officials stated they obey Geneva convention and are taking measures to investigate and punish the perpetrators.

            Screaming man, I shared a link here. An ukrainian killing a russian pow with a dagger on the steps in an apartment building. There was someone third, who filmed it and said ‘kill him’. In the end of video the man says both parts of the slogan. I shared it for M.J., because M.J. defended Слава Украине.

    • DunGroanin

      Not as risky as the multiple attempts at evacuating top brass from the Azol steel city fortress in Mariupol. Final attempt saw at least two of 4 supposed copters shot down after collecting their cargo. These are people that Macron has been harassing Putin about daily for many days, with non stop phone calls, to arrange an evacuation of trapped civilians including Greeks – the little Sunkings pants are blazing now (the French need a late entry of a real state person to their presidential election – Manny is not worth a shekel; paging Mssr Barnier?).

      Many dead from these shot down copters. Reported survivors – spilling beans as the Russians try and keep them alive. Foreigners – us westerners – alive and dead.

      Macron reportedly fired Intelligence Chief! More likely resigned. Next our Secret Services, but being perfidious, we have no shame or honour even when daily caught with multiple lies.

      Hence the night time sortie and attack directly by helicopters in Belgorod in Russia – seems most likely either the work of some kamikaze types to avenge their fellow pilots not caring for their own safety or some other faction and least like a direct order from the top. Seeing how the ‘peace talks’ are supposed to resume today.

      It does seem desperate that the crazies are being forced to be exterminated. There are many such nasty rats who will need to be captured, tried, punished, and kept in confinement for decades seeing as how many are so young. Some may be able to be reprogrammed, but none should ever be free to roam in society for the rest of their lives.

      (What has happened to these head chopper Uighers by the way??)

      Those who have been torturing civilians in the streets deserve their gonads removing so that their high-pitched voices will always show them up even as they try and hide their idiotic tattoos.

      It’s April Fools day – none of the above is a joke – for me that comes this evening as many idiotic British people rush to raise funds for random Ukrainian ‘refugees’ in Poland through unknown agents here in the U.K. who are raising tens, hundreds of thousands by arranging entertainment and champagne-quaffing evenings – the literal FOOLS of this April 1st are us Western emotionally-blackmailed button-pushed morons who only know what the MSM tells us.

      • Pears Morgaine

        “Final attempt saw at least two of 4 supposed copters shot down”

        Straight from the pages of state-controlled outlet TASS. Back in February they claimed this ‘special military operation’ would all be over in five days. How’s that working out?

        Uighers still the subject of genocide, if you haven’t noticed; I suppose, being Muslims, they have to be ‘head choppers’.

        “These who have been torturing civilians in the streets deserve their gonads removing “

        That would include Russian raping and looting dog-eaters of course.

        ITV News hears allegations of Russian troops filming rape of 15-year-old girl (29 Mar 2022) – ITV News– (YouTube, 3m 39s)

        Ukraine war: Gruesome evidence points to war crimes on road outside Kyiv (1 Apr 2022) – BBC News

        The Ukrainian woman shot by Russian soldiers on the front line (30 Mar 2022) – BBC News

        If you can quote TASS, I can use the BBC; at least their reports have some evidence.

          • Pears Morgaine

            Who knows. If genuine, and I’ve not yet discovered anything to suggest that it isn’t, the guy predicted Russian aggression back in 2019.

            Oleksiy Arestovych and his prediction of Russian aggression (2019) – EN subtitles (14 Mar 2022) – RuCz Subs (translation by Nikola Repin) – YouTube (1m 37s)

            TASS previously claimed that Zalensky had fled Kyiv and even that he’d surrendered so excuse me if I take their reports with some healthy cynicism.

          • Jack

            Pears Morgaine

            I have no idea where Zelensky is, that he travel to different cities during this war, I do not find that hard to believe.

          • Pears Morgaine

            ‘Persecuted minority’ is the expression used in that clip, thank you. Do you believe that the actions a few hot heads justifies the persecution of a whole race?

          • Laguerre

            I’m not sure how we got on to the Uyghurs, they seem entirely irrelevant. But there are a lot of Uyghur Jihadis, it’s not a minor issue. Lots in Syria, and ISIS in general. It’s their form of resistance to the Chinese.

        • Tatyana

          “at least two of 4 supposed copters shot down”

          Pears Morgaine, you say

          “Straight from the pages of state-controlled outlet TASS”

          It’s a lie.
          You are a liar, Pears.

          Here is one detained survivor from the copter

          https://youtu.be/m7lEXqj40sE

          Here is the second

          https://youtu.be/wAls-PKewsY

          I guess you don’t understand Russian language, do you, Pears? I guess you do not, but someone close to you does. Ask her to translate for you.

          • Wikikettle

            Richard Medhurst has another detailed interview with Scott Ritter on Russian strategy in Ukraine. The second half of Richard’s show explains how the Saudi blockade on Yemen actually works. Professor Michael Hudson must be amazed how quickly his predictions are taking shape with de-dollarisation. Lavrov’s visit to India and US threats to India mark the beginning of a multipolar world, while the EU – in its “International Community” fantasy – chokes on the way to the bank to open Ruble Accounts to pay for Russian gas. Russia certainty has been transformed by Putin’s leadership. A strong military with a strong economy, huge gold reserves to back its currency. Sanctions and Western defaulting by seizure marked his decree on 31st March as a historic turning point in world affairs.

          • Pears Morgaine

            A month ago Ritter was predicting that the invasion would all be over in a week!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDXMRlWO79U

            Mind you he did say that the current government would be replaced with a Russian puppet but that’s pretty obvious.

            Four days before it happened Medhurst was scoffing at the idea that an invasion would take place at all.

            https://www.richardmedhurst.com/no-russian-invasion-media-look-like-fools-hyping-war/

            Neither of them has a shred of credibility.

            De-Dollarisation has been ongoing since 2011 (Australia buying Chinese oil with Yuan}. No amazing predictions required.

            If Russia has a ‘strong military’ it needs to send it to Ukraine to replace the ineptly led, poorly equipped conscripts currently dying there.

          • Laguerre

            The western propaganda machine that you support also got lots wrong. There’s no invasion of the Baltic states or Poland as was claimed.

          • Tatyana

            I call you a liar, for what you personally said with great aplomb. Why do you refer to some Ritter or a Medhurst?
            Aren’t you responsible for your own statements? Pears?

          • Pears Morgaine

            Yes Tatyana I did notice you calling me a liar.

            I treated the comment with the contempt it deserved.

          • Tatyana

            Pears, your face-saver was expected behavior. Common tactic of liars is not to respond to the point, but to argue modalities.

  • DunGroanin

    For the MSM shills amongst us – check out Mark Urban ex Wank Regiment spook – that well known ‘Independent bbc journalist’ with the title ‘Diplomatic & defence editor, Newsnight’ report on the BBC website today.

    “The heavy losses of an elite Russian regiment in Ukraine”

    I won’t bother with the bullshit of the whole pathetic report but direct anyone interested to proceed directly to the bottom of that article.

    “The BBC has verified the deaths of 39 soldiers from the 331st regiment”

    Heavy losses? 39?
    Yes it’s 39 more than they would want but HEAVY??

    The propaganda war at home upon our own citizens in the U.K. is the only thing they can claim to be winning 😂

    • Pears Morgaine

      Depends how many men they started with. A Russian regiment is usually 600-800 men IF it’s at full strength. Many are not. Furthermore for every man killed it would reasonable to expect 2-3 wounded and either out of action for the time being or permanently.

      • Tom Welsh

        Well, Pears, you carry on expecting whatever you deem reasonable. And when it’s all over and the dust clears, we’ll see what really happened.

        “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on”.

    • Tom Welsh

      The British and US governments would never tolerate such heavy casualties. If even a single soldier gets a hangnail, they panic. That’s why they adopted the charming technique of employing head-chopping, liver-gobbling fundamentalist terrorists to serve as their light infantry.

      • DunGroanin

        I know Tom, we are the best of the best – our soldiers and generals are well bred know how to lead our salt of the Earth, err Fodder – we didn’t sail 40 years ago to some far way little island and die in our dozens as we Won our ancient island state in the South Antarctic front these pesky people who live nearest to it. Not a single casualty. Never.Max counted them all back in! Not in Afghanistan which we rushed to when some buildings fell down in New York killing thousands. Not in Iraq when we rushed in there looking for a ticking WMD and certainly not now in Ukraine because we don’t have any – er – of our boys there, ahem – well the ones vaporised aren’t there anyway but that pesky kid who ran away and made it back home that we charged with desertion but immediately released back to his family to be cared for! Nah we are cuddly little bears who only want to save dogs and cats in such places – while we daily kill In Yemen and many other clandestine spots in endless undeclared wars.
        Heroes all!

  • Harry Law

    Too many Jeremiahs on this topic. Yes, Russian sanctions on Europe could cause economic collapse in Europe, Germany in particular having to forgo NS2 and half its gas supply and other vital natural resources, wheat and precious metals etc. Germany is rearming with an extra $100 billion added to its defence bill. Russia is embracing China, India, Iran and most other non US and EU countries. Could be we all freeze and starve to death.
    But think of the positives: the US will profit from the uncompetitiveness of Europe and the resultant increased arms sales; it may not profit as much from promised US LNG supply because they [the US] neither have the quantities of gas required, nor the ships to deliver it, nor do the EU have the LNG terminals to off load the gas – any that does get through will be at least three times the price, if not more, of Russian gas.
    All the above is necessary so that the US can get Ukraine in NATO with bases and missiles 5 minutes flying time from Moscow. Oh, and we are going to sacrifice every Ukrainian soldier [to the last man] in order to do it, no worry sleepy Joe and his team of Neo-cons will save us. Do I need a sarc tag?

  • ET

    Anti-Russian propaganda has been going for donkeys years. I stumbled across a yt video related to the cold war Strategic Air Command days starring James Stewart. They knew how to make propaganda back in those days. Many of the same elements today used in the Ukraine propaganda. It’s worth a watch just for the nostalgia alone.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPnW5GIB0JU

  • Harry Law

    The 5 Stages of Grief for Europe;
    1. Denial
    2. Anger
    3. Bargaining
    4. Depression
    5. Paying in Rubles
    On the bright side, Finally we are going to see some real climate change in Europe. Inside people’s houses

      • Tom Welsh

        People in the UK are also calling for the government to double the number of windmills. Unfortunately they lack the intelligence to realise that, when the wind isn’t blowing, the number and size of windmills is irrelevant. X times 0 is always 0, regardless how big X may be.

  • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

    Tatyana you in particular,

    The Moderator on the main page directed me over here – so this is what I have to say:-

    Fellow Murray bloggers,

    Please forgive me for this – but I truly think that the issues at hand are so important that it might helpful to share before Mr. Murray, I anticipate, will revert to this ongoing global issue.

    The article below, which I here share, recently came to hand.

    Friends have repeatedly asked me both my economic and legal assessment of events in Ukraine. Sometimes I express my economic assessment by reference to US deficit – almost 50% of the entire US budget being defence spending – and of course the elephant in the room which is that China is the largest creditor nation while America is the largest debtor nation funded by bonds – treasury bills and the like – underpinned by the US dollar being the world’s reserve currency. The legal answer is easy for me – UN Charter Article 2(4).

    But, while I think I may have some legal ability – let me leave the big economic question to a truly respected and accomplished economist:-

    http://thesaker.is/america-shoots-its-own-dollar-empire-in-economic-attack-on-russia/

    • Tatyana

      Ah, we discussed it much on other media. Personally, I find it sickening to talk about money and future well-being, when people die.
      Putin issued a decree, russian gas is sold for roubles now. Europe screamed a lot that they will not pay in roubles. In fact, the solution offered is very simple (except for binary thinking half-wits).
      New scheme starts April 1.
      We’ve got long term contracts (till 2035) with major Europian companies from Germany, France and Italy. As soon as their next payment is due, they pay their Euros to Gazzprombank. The bank sells the currency for roubles at Moscow Exchange. As soon as roubles credited to the customer’s bank account, they’re able to pay to the supplier.
      Minor change for the customer, great one for Russia and Gazzprom.

      Our parliament discusses selling our other exports for roubles, like grain, metals, etc.
      India is discussing trade with Russia in national currency,some other regional states too.
      USA increased Russian oil imports and also excluded fertilizer from the sanctions list. USA also said they start using their strategic oil reserves, offering 1 million barrels daily, for 180 days – trying to low down the market price.
      Gas flow from Russia to Europe never stopped. Half-wits in Europe call for people to use less heat in their apartments.

      • Tatyana

        Actually, from what I said above, I conclude USA are smart guys. They secure energy and food for themselves, while urging Europe to ban everything Russian from European markets. Any ideas?
        My guess is that European countries stopped to use their own brain, thinking they can outsource common sense from USA.

        • Tom Welsh

          It’s not at the expense of just Russia and Europe. It’s at the expense of the great majority of US citizens too. The tiny minority of the super-rich do not even have the interests of the USA as a nation at heart, but more their own wealth. They will be quite ready to flee the USA when it sinks beneath the waves, and fly to their luxurious ranches and private islands.

          As I may have said before, the “West” has achieved the dubious honour of somehow evolving social and political systems that elevate their very worst and most psychopathic people to supreme power. In other countries, meanwhile, the quality of leaders remains somewhat random, occasionally allowing superb men like Messrs Putin and Xi to rise to the top. When that happens, the benefits to the nation and all its citizens – apart from criminals – are immense and unmistakable.

          Compare Russia to day with the Russia of 1999. Or China today with the China of 1948. Meanwhile, countries like the USA and the UK have gone steadily downhill in almost every way.

          • Tatyana

            Agree. It’s the habit to change the government every 4 years, letting ministers to flee the country, and the next one blames every mistake on the predecessor. Corrupt, interested only in personal enrichment, never end up in prison.

            The windmill project is very interesting, but it’s doomed. I won’t even go into technical details about efficiency, maintenance, and obsolescence.
            The vulnerability of the project is that the government is filled with half-wits, and tomorrow one of them would say that you cannot use a windmill if the wind blows from the East! Because the wind from the East lacks democracy, and that only winds from the West are politically orthodox!
            And the idea of ​​supplementing windmills with solar panels will find its quarter-wit, who would suddenly discover that the Sun ALWAYS moves from the East!
            Never ending idiocy.

          • Stevie Boy

            Russia said, the EU needs to sober up. It’s also the case that ‘the people’ in the West need to wake up !

      • jordan

        You rightly said:

        “Ah, we discussed it much on other media. Personally, I find it sickening to talk about money and future well-being, when people die.”

        Raised in Germany’s sixties in a Benedictine boarding school I understand that feeling very well (maybe for other reasons than yours.) Yet I have learned to overcome that hesitation to talk about money much later when I learned that people are dying because we do not flag the cause of money imperialism (now IMF, World Bank.) Nice quote from Andrei Martyanov in the latest Pepe Escobar Op-Ed https://thecradle.co/Article/columns/8638:

        “Only two things define the world: the actual physical economy, and military power, which is its first derivative. Everything else are derivatives but you cannot live on derivatives.”

    • DunGroanin

      C F R Barnett (channeling a bit of the great James?) being Sunday,I will take your question as subject for a impromptu sermon.

      The ‘accomplished economist’ has stopped being a teacher of that defunct ‘pseudo science’ as he admits it is in his latest interview at Consortium News a few days ago. He admits the subject curriculum does not allow for Real World explanations to intrude within it. He had been plying pigs in pokes upon students his whole life and has come to his senses and realised it before he dies and is trying to correct this while he can.

      The reason for that is that the whole subject was designed from the beginning to be such a fairytale generator that would separate actual reality, day to day existences of peoples with a new biblical element of Faith; a whole slew of concepts and dogmas – demand&supply, free markets, profit motive etc

      There is no Left or Right. There has only ever been these high and invisible Above and all the rest of us Below.

      It was yet another invented religion to control the masses so the forever Owners of Every Human and reapers of all Natural Resources could carry on their ancient ways forever more. From the Ancient Sphinx via the pyramids and a multitude of empires and nations they create and which eventually fall – ever more outlandish new ‘religions’ are invented to cover up the forever unraveling lies they insist we believe. They have newer ones in play now – Putin has identified it for n his speeches, Xi is exposing the latest. The Dominate Empires perversity is grander by the day as it enters its final moments.

      We are born mere slaves, sundered with high priests that look like us slaves, they are employed to control their own peoples with dogma, lies and punishments for these who would challenge such false certitudes and look above and point, and say look! there, there are the ‘gods’ who have their heel upon us all through the centuries – keeping us separated from each other and fighting and killing ourselves, through the high priests they control within each of our lands, through their approved churches’ the MSM /Social Media being the latest versions.

      Capitalism/ Anticapitalism was invented as flat earthism was lost ; the Earth was proved round; proved not to be the centre of the universe with the Sun circling it; proved older than 6,000 years; proved as Evolution was obvious to actual self educating scientists – Natural Philosophy as it was called in these days in Europe. Even these who were raised to believe the grand fairy tales and be the apparatchiks of it! E.g Darwin suffered greatly for his self realisation. The greater Wallace and Humboldt less so but even they were not perfect.

      The last 50 years have proved that humans are the same inside even more now through genetics. These Aristos don’t have different blood. There are no Chosen people. There is no Sky Fairy that gives anyone such power of the Earth.

      That is the Truth that has allowed the Chinese to raise their poorest and the Russians know it too – if they can avoid the false hierarchy of Sky Fairyism – they can and are joined in tearing through the veils and curtains of the ‘West’ and the high priests string pullers these royals sitting in their Olympian idylls with their heels upon us squirm as we the rest of Humans punch up at them and grab their ankles and pull them to the ground to be revealed not as Great Wizards – just self entitled born lucky Slave Owners who have set up religions of Money and laugh as we chase around for it while they gather the actual Wealth of al Nations.

      The Chinese and Russians have overthrown these gods NS their priests in their own lands – the rest of the world is raising their eyes at these Spartacus’s and raising up to join them.

      The Unipolar Empire (centuries old) is Dead.
      Long live the all human multipolar Empire that is at our gates.

      Hope that’s cleared it all up CLR.

      Amen.

        • Tatyana

          Wiki, coming battle is in Mariupol. Azov is bloked there, three major points are the center of the city, seaport and AzovSteel production plant, which will be the hardest. It is a sort of citadel, enormous facility, and tunnels under it. I’m afraid that USA saying constantly about possible chemical attack might mean this place. It must have lots of chemicals on the territory, since they allied with Markochem in 2005. Benzol and sulphur compounds are used there.

          • Wikikettle

            Tatyana, yes, sorry. Its a long bitter struggle against Azov who are using civilians as human shields. The truth will come out for sure. The focus will then be the big battle of Donetsk. Although it is said that after Mariupol, Oddessa is next along the coast. The propoganda war is very effective in shaping the Western public opinion yet has no effect on the outcome of the actual battles. If you haven’t already, do listen to Andrei Martyanov, who writes for The Saker and he has his own YouTube channel ” smothieX12 ” a Russian living in US since the 90s. Both he and Scott Ritter, have military explanations of Russian strategy that counter the propaganda.

          • Tatyana

            Wiki, I read russian news, Defence Ministry briefings, Pikabu in Russian. I visit Ukrainian media, including Azov.

            In English, I listened to Duran guys, to Gonzalo, to Jimmie Dore, to Scott Ritter, maybe some more. I should say, every here and there I notice small inaccuracies, or strange interpretation of the events. People lack the knowlege of the country, history, national mentality, culture, political background etc. But the most annoying thing is the comments from English-speakers, as they understand little, but all make their opinions and predictions. As if watching a football match.

            So yesterday I unfollowed some and decided to get my news as I usually did – analysing what is said and, as Mr. Murray advised once here in one of his blogs, paying attention to what is NOT said. I check every unknown word, place, and even concept, to get a better picture in my head. To Andrey I listened a couple of times, nothing new for me. Perhaps he gets his news in the same manner as I do.

          • jordan

            Tatyana, you are right saying:

            “But the most annoying thing is the comments from English-speakers, as they understand little, but all make their opinions and predictions. As if watching a football match.”

            I feel that using — particularly military — jargon in popular conversation has become a feature of our time, often pushed by Hollywood culture. IMHO, there is no shame anymore attempting to look professional by using jargon. Some scientific examples might be funny (as D. Adams made fun of in Hitchhikers Guide.) The now popular military jargon is just disgusting.

            I used military jargon myself when I was conscripted as a paramedic ~7 years after near mobilisation when Russian tanks run through Prague. And I found it silly or cynical to talk like about a sports game but it was a way to overcome the personal unease. My survival time in a conflict was estimated 3 to 4h, or so I was told.

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