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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    • laguerre

      Rather vague on how much was involved. Could be not a lot. King Abdallah of Jordan, also cited in the Panama papers, could have had more.

  • Tatyana

    Elon Musk on Twitter says:
    “Starlink has been told by some governments (not Ukraine) to block Russian news sources. We will not do so unless at gunpoint. Sorry to be a free speech absolutist.”

    🙂 I knew he is a good guy! Another portrait to my personal galery of heroes!

  • frankywiggles

    I have seen leftists offering explanations for how we got here (by way of Nato expansion, Maidan Donbass, etc); but supporting Putin’s war of siege and bombardment? No.

    Surely you can see that among your own respondants support for this invasion is confined almost entirety to a very different element: the AntiWoke-Tucker Carlson type of conservative who views Putinism and Duginism as a bulwark against modern progressive values? Why amplify the cynical establishment lie that leftists are Putin apologists when it is so in your face that his western supporters are conservatives?

    Anyway, whatever their stripe what I find most cringe about the warmongers is their shameless pecking of birdseed from the hands of Russian politicians and media. The kind of uncritical credulity for which commenters like MJ on here are rightly slammed when parroting the latest British establishment narrative. Just a mirror image of the grotesques who’ve been cheering unjustifiable western slaughter since 2003.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Frankywiggles – you clearly are supporting the 13,000 deaths in the Donbass which have occurred through Russia NOT invading the past 8 years; the Minsk II protocols deliberately NOT being implemented by Ukraine on the instruction of the USA; and the derussification of Ukrainian society, thereby rendering the first language of a sizable minority of Ukrainian citizens to in effect be ‘second class’ in status??

      You have to provide the alternative available to Putin et al to the USA’s behaviour since 1991. I won’t accept you saying that the USA is terrible, but Russia can’t ever put its foot down.

      I won’t accept you saying that the Western propaganda the past 2 weeks is true. It has had so much lying based on Psyops, and all media plurality in the UK is now dead. No-one is saying that people haven’t died, they always die in military conflicts. They died in Northern Ireland during our own civil war when I was growing up.

      I won’t accept you saying that Putin’s actions are entirely akin to US Operation Shock N Awe. Repeatedly, the Russians have allowed safe passage of civilians out of arenas where they considered it likely that civilian casualties could build up. That is the absolute opposite of what NATO/the USA did in Iraq and Libya. You won’t read about in the UK Press, nor hear about it on national news. Why? Because the West is lying its head off, day in day out.

      It is NOT possible to be an adversary of the USA and limit oneself to peaceful negotiations. The entire history of the USA is about contempt for honorable treaties, contempt for human rights of adversaries and contempt for human life when conquest is afoot. You would undoubtedly die if you tried to be a peacenik who refused to obey US Deep State orders. Russia had no desire to be an adversary of the USA, it was a role that the USA Deep State assigned to them, as they wish to break up the entire country, loot it and then tell the world how humane they are. The world knows from Iraq that nothing could be further from the truth.

      I am opposed to almost all wars, but I am quite frankly not surprised that Russia is doing now what it is doing. They negotiated with the West in good faith for 30 years and they have been treated like muck the whole time. They have made it clear that they have drawn a line under those 30 years of diplomatic futility.

      My contempt for the West started during the Iraq war, crystallised during the bombing of Libya and the White Helmets nonsense in Syria meant that the organised crime syndicate that is the USA/NATO satrapies was no longer in my eyes a legitimate force of the West, rather a criminal syndicate of complete evil. Do not tell me you are unaware of how the CIA has been a global drugs trafficker, how it did not deliberately turn US citizens in California into drug addicts: all to create slush funds beyond Congressional accountability.

      Don’t you dare try to say that the CIA has not been provoking terrorism, wars, coups d’etat and genocides the whole of the past 80 years. And don’t you dare try to tell me that the School of the Americas has not been training death squads for deployment all over the world during that time either.

      Do you negotiate with that kind of genocidal monster using bows and arrows?

      If you do, you’ll go the way of the Native American Indians….

      If Putin detoxifies the Ukraine and then stands his military down, I’m looking forward to you giving a profuse and profound apology.

      And if you attempt to support the US/NATO/Israel funding Ukrainian Nazis to keep the country in a state of civil war, then I truly hope that you go and fight there….

      • PearsMorgain

        ” Frankywiggles – you clearly are supporting the 13,000 deaths in the Donbass which have occurred through Russia NOT invading the past 8 years ” Well no, he isn’t.

        The Putinbots would have you believe that those 13,000 people were all killed by Ukraine forces. In reality about 5,000 Ukraine military have been killed plus about the same number of rebel fighters and 400-500 Russians. The remainder being civilians. Numbers from the OCHR show that the number killed has declined dramatically, 2,084 civilians killed in 2014 to just 18 in 2021 (excluding MH17). More civilians have been killed in Ukraine in the past week than were killed in Donbass over the previous seven years. Using your own logic if you support this war you must support their deaths.

        You talk of Nazis but the biggest supporters of Putin in the west are the American far right and white supremacists:-

        If Putin installs his own puppet government and maintains a permanent military presence in Ukraine will you issue a profuse and profound apology?

        • Blissex

          «The Putinbots would have you believe that those 13,000 people were all killed by Ukraine forces. In reality about 5,000 Ukraine military have been killed plus about the same number of rebel fighters and 400-500 Russians.»

          It is not who killed whom that matters here, it is that all the dead, wounded, refugees in the Donbas have been caused by the war of aggression by Ukraine’s government against the right to autonomy or independence of the people of the Donbas. If the government of Ukraine’s had not tried to ethnically cleanse the people of the Donbas in 2014 and then had not tried to suppress their UN Charter right to self-determination there have would have been no casualties.

          Let’s compare the Donbas with Crimea:

          * The Autonomous Republic of Crimea declared independence, and then applied to become a member of the Russian Federation, and that application was accepted (they had already applied in 1994, and Yeltsin rejected it), and as a result the Ukraine government did not dare to start a war of aggression against them and there were nearly no casualties.

          * The people of the Donbas instead of declaring independence aimed to achieved autonomy within a federal Ukraine, as confirmed the Minsk II treaty, and as a results the Ukraine’s government started a war of aggression against them that resulted in massive casualties (among ukrainian troops too of course, as the Donbas people defended themselves) and refugee numbers.

          • PearsMorgain

            Crimea never declared independence. There was a take over by Russian forces and ‘Independence’ was not an option in the following referendum.

            Are you not concerned by the dead, wounded and refugees in Ukraine caused by the war of aggression by Russia against Ukraine’s right to autonomy and independence? The only ethnic cleansing is in Vlad’s mind.

            I see the vaunted ‘safe passage’ agreed for refugees from Mariupol (44% ethnic Russian by the way) and elsewhere never happened. I don’t suppose it was ever intended to. The Russian plan remains the same as it was for Grozny and Aleppo, amongst others; seal off and pound to rubble until the survivors have no option but to surrender.

        • mark golding

          “More civilians have been killed in Ukraine in the past week than were killed in Donbass over the previous seven years.” Proof? IMO linking the Guardian right there exemplifies your picture is blurred, your moral compass marred and your logic vacant.

        • Natasha

          “Numbers from the OCHR show that the number killed has declined dramatically, 2,084 civilians killed in 2014 to just 18 in 2021 (excluding MH17).”

          I prefer references for such claims. On 12 January 2022 the UN HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORING MISSION IN UKRAINE gives Total Conflict-related civilian casualties in 2020 = 149 , and 2021 = 110.

          The 2 page report, has a graph ‘Total civilian casualties per month from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2021’ which indicates hostility is ongoing.

          • PearsMorgain

            Scroll down to Page 3. The chart there should answer Mr Golding’s question too.

      • frankywiggles

        Quite a collection of straw men to justify invasion and slaughter. It would surely bring an approving smirk to David Aaronovitch’s face.

      • Blissex

        «It is NOT possible to be an adversary of the USA and limit oneself to peaceful negotiations. The entire history of the USA is about contempt for honorable treaties, contempt for human rights of adversaries and contempt for human life when conquest is afoot.»

        It is not exactly as if “realpolitik” is such a new concept, the athenians told the melians:

        “we shall not trouble you with specious pretences — either of how we have a right to our empire because we overthrew the Mede, or are now attacking you because of wrong that you have done us — and make a long speech which would not be believed; and in return we hope that you, instead of thinking to influence us by saying that you did not join the Lacedaemonians, although their colonists, or that you have done us no wrong, will aim at what is feasible, holding in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”

        The “Washington Consensus” obvious do not agree much with the candid attitude of the athenians as to “not trouble you with specious pretences”.

      • Ripples

        Sadly of all people Native
        Americans no matter how progressive are wholly behind the American military escapades totally believing propaganda and of course some may be ex soldiers themselves. They fight their own govt on land and water issues against fossil fuel pollution and even nuclear testing pollution and consequences yet dont seem to see the mirror abroad. Sad. The most evil regime are the Americans. They always say they have the best country and everybody else is jealous or wants to invade them ..nobody does. Yet their own politicians do not have their citizens interests at heart as far as literacy and health care for the poor they may as well be in central Africa for the dearth of investment and deliberate disenfranchisement. Their policies have taken African nations back a hundred and fifty years or more. The USA are the evil scourge on this planet and their citizens don’t seem to even realise it. Happy Clappy ignorance they’d be the crowd in a Roman arena watching death by lions.

    • squeeth

      @ frankywiggles There is a war with nazis on one side and you smear anti-nazis like this? Shame on you. PS I’m an anarchist, a genuine lefty, not a vapid pseudo-leftist.

    • Jimmeh

      Mr Wiggles,

      > but supporting Putin’s war of siege and bombardment? No.

      I’m afraid I see pro-Russian leftists commenting here.

      There is a strong current of accusations that Ukraine is Nazi. At the last Ukrainian general election, far-right candidates got 2%. At the last Russian general election, far-right candidates got 7%.

      The Azov Brigade appears to be a unit that welcomes neo-nazis. It uses symbols associated with the Waffen SS, and has probably been involved in atrocities; even genocide, if that includes “encouraging” the Russian-speaking population of Luhansk and Donetsk to move to Russia. It’s a very bad look to have incorporated them into the Ukraine National Guard.

      Many Ukrainians undoubtedly welcomed the German invasion during WWII; my enemy’s enemy is my friend, and Ukraine was under Soviet domination. It seems probable that Ukrainian units were involved in the extermination of Jews.

      But this was 80 years ago; most of those people have died. If Ukraine is a far-right country, it’s surprising that the far-right couldn’t pull more than 2% of the vote.

  • Ian Shears

    Absolute British rubbish. Until I read this article I was a real Craig Murray ‘fan’. I don’t want to ever read another word from you. The clear fact is that Mr Putin is not attacking any other country. It is also clear he is de-Nazifying. Ukraine has no reasonable excuse for shelling LDNR. They will as you point out in you latter afidavit “answer before God” for this.

    The intelligence services are widely understood to act in the defence of their Home governments for which the God you speak of condemns. Any halfway responsible sinister agency should be acquainted with the notion of co-operation as the central hallmark of this Creator being. Self-focus is death in His sight.

    Wise men do not go around measuring other nations’ arms and equipment. They analyze their relationship to your Supreme Being.

    If the ‘enemy’ is a God’s battle Axe then even if armed with bows and arrows they would easily defeat Britain, US, Germany, etc.

    No-one fights with Boss and wins. Mr Putin knows this better than you do. Your life experience has blinded you to where the real power lies – do you not believe a fifteen-year old boy called David killed a Giant warrior with a pebble? If not why invoke God?

    Wake up!

    • Blissex

      «the hypocrisy of west on Palestine/Ukraine»

      What about the hypocrisy of the western left on Palestine/Donbas? For 8 years the people of the Donbas have been the target of a war of aggression and attempts at ethnic cleaning by the government of Ukraine:
      “3,393 civilians killed (349 in 2016–2021)
      13,100–13,300 killed; 29,500–33,500 wounded overall
      414,798 Ukrainians internally displaced; 925,500 fled abroad”

      It looks almost as if the “western left” is only interested in campaigning for victims if they are colored and muslim, rather than “deplorables”.

      • Tatyana

        Since 2015, the European Court of Human Rights has not made any decision on 5,888 complaints filed by Donbas residents, who were injured in shelling. Human rights activist from Donetsk Sergei Efremov.

      • Jimmeh

        > For 8 years the people of the Donbas have been the target of a war of aggression

        Oh, come on. The people of Donbas (or at least, some of them) rose in an armed rebellion against their own government. Supressing an armed rebellion isn’t a “war of aggression”.

      • IMcK

        Monteverdi – the link worked for me but I have been having problems with blocked access to RT. Sometimes if you try opening a link in a private window (right click / open in new private window) it works.

  • mark golding

    From history we evaluate the dark side of the West and how that nasty thread laid the ground-work to coordinate the EU/UK response to the actual bombshell of the Russian army in Ukraine, a miscalculation that could expose MI6 to injurious detail that at all cost must be mitigated by mass media propaganda and lies.

    During the Cold War secret armies in all West European states prepared themselves for possible Soviet invasion.

    Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley, a former commander of Nato forces in northern Europe, confirmed that a secret network of arms – to be handed out to a civilian guerrilla force in the event of an invasion – was set up in Britain after the war. In the early days of Mrs Thatcher’s Conservative leadership, a group of former intelligence officers, inspired by the wartime Special Operations Executive, attempted to set up a secret unit as a kind of armed MI6 cell.

    Those behind the scheme included Airey Neave, Mrs Thatcher’s close adviser who was killed in a terrorist attack in 1979, and George Kennedy Young, a former deputy chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.

    An ETH study shows how these hidden groups operated and did not even shrink from terror attacks against their own people.

    • Dan Gleeballs

      Airey Neave wasn’t offed by the IRA, he was killed by elements within the security services. Thatcher was going to make him head of British Intelligence and Neave was going to drain the swamp.

  • steve

    Although NATO has never invaded Russia, its predecessors have repeatedly. Based on history and based on the actions of NATO It is not outside the realm of fantasy to conclude that Russia and its vast mineral – and other reserves – are the ultimate prize for the Western Empire and its military arm NATO is positioning itself to be ready to strike the moment that opportunity becomes available.

    *1812* French Empire, Duchy of Warsaw, Kingdom of Italy, Kingdom of Naples, Kingdom of Saxony, Kingdom of Bavaria, Kingdom of Westphalia, Kingdom of Württemberg, Grand Duchy of Hesse, Grand Duchy of Berg, Grand Duchy of Baden, Swiss Confederation, Austrian Empire, Kingdom of Prussia, Kingdom of Spain
    *1918-1925* UK, US, Canada, France, Romania, Greece, Italy, Estonia
    *1941-1945* Germany, Italy, Romania, Finland, Hungary, Slovakia
    *1949* NATO created to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.
    *1990* NATO says will not expand east.
    *1991* NATO collapse of Soviet Union. NATO no longer has a reason for existence.
    *1990-2022 NATO expands all the way to Russia’s borders and now looks to include Ukraine

    • curiouslittleman

      Maybe list countries that were invaded by Russia/USSR for counter balance. Maybe consider USSR making a deal with Nazi Germany and invading it’s neighbours. Just for little objectivity…

  • M.J.

    To get around the BBC ban in Russia:
    Download the Psiphon app from the AppStore or Google Play Store
    Look for the dedicated BBC site on the Tor Browser which can be found using this URL:
    Note that this URL only works using the Tor Browser or the Onion Browser (on iPhones)
    (If access to the apps is restricted then send a blank email to [email protected] or [email protected]. An email will be sent in response with a direct and safe download link )

    The BBC has also launched two new shortwave frequencies broadcasting World Service English news for four hours a day to Ukraine and parts of Russia:
    15735 kHz from 14:00 GMT to 16:00 GMT
    5875 kHz from 20:00 GMT to 22:00 GMT

    Слава Україні! I hope the Ukrainians teach Putin a good lesson, as much as Finns and Afghans!

    • mark golding

      Interesting is the BBC‘s coverage of the situation in Ukraine by journalist Orla Guerin reported on people preparing for invasion. The segment covered a training afternoon for civilians organised by the National Guard. But it neglected to tell viewers that it was the Azov Regiment – formerly the Azov Battalion – that ran the training event.

      Azov was formed in 2014. Its first commander Andriy Biletsky is now the leader of the far-right ultranationalist National Corps party.In 2010, Biletsky stated that Ukraine’s mission was to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade … against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans].” The US State department called Azov, a nationalist hate group and it was banned from Facebook:

      The British intelligence service has a room dedicated to BBC World Service content. Thankfully some journalists using shortwave or amateur frequencies that offer insight into the truth behind the BBC’s fake news.

        • mark golding

          Thanks Stevie. I now fully understand why Russian Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov held a meeting with Israeli ambassador Ben Zvi and wisely issued a statement that said, “the hope was expressed that Israel would treat with the necessary understanding the reasons that prompted the Russian leadership to decide to conduct a special military operation to protect civilians in Donbass and to demilitarize and de-nazify Ukraine…”

          • andyoldlabour

            mark golding

            It is quite chilling to read about the extent of far right/Nazi ideology in Ukraine and this from the article I have linked to, is one of the reasons why many people cannot believe it even exists.

            “It might seem ironic for this hub of white nationalists to be situated in Ukraine. At one point in 2019, it was the only nation in the world, apart from Israel, to have a Jewish President and a Jewish Prime Minister. Far-right politicians failed to win a single seat in parliament in the most recent elections. But in the context of the white-supremacist movement globally, Azov has no rivals on two important fronts: its access to weapons and its recruiting power.”


      • Jimmeh

        BBC coverage, ITN coverage are now pretty uniform: all the correspondents are in Lviv, where nobody is shooting. Only Lindsay Hilsum is at the front, hopping from one hotspot to another.

        The format seems to be:
        – A few shots of distant explosions, with no confirmation of who fired or what was hit
        – Film of queues of refugees
        – Interviews with crying grandmas

        There don’t appear to be any reporters at all in Donbas or Russia. I did see film a few days ago of a refugee camp (i.e. tents) in Russia. It’s not too surprising that reporters aren’t keen to report from Russian-held territory; reporters now face 15-year jail sentences for reports that Russia deems to be “fake news”.

        I can’t watch it any more.

    • Wikikettle

      MJ. I agree that the West is winning the information war. I also agree that it won the information war in Ukraine, convincing them that Nato US UK EU would come and save the Ukrainians. Unfortunately for the populations of Ukraine they were led up the garden path by their Coup leadership financed by the West. That leadership is guarantee safe luxury when they decamp to in excile. The people of Ukraine however face an insurgency that will ruin and fragment their country on “ethnic” lines. Divide and Destabilise as usual Western policy. The same as what we engineered in Syria. Ukraine as a failed state, its population divided, dispersed and at each other throats. Russia in my view will now take over its whole coastline where there are significant amount of Russian speakers. The West will send in proxies, jihadists, mercenaries and weapons galore. I fear direct conflict between Russia and Nato is inevitable despite what our media and Western leaders say. Russias back is against the wall. The war mongers got their WW3 sooner than they wised for.

  • andyoldlabour

    This article in Time, would seem to suggest that Asians and Africans who are trying to flee Ukraine to the West, are being treated very differently by the Ukrainian border guards than white people. It would also seem that Polish nationalists are behaving the same way.

  • Tatyana

    points Putin made:

    The West has been ignoring victims in Donbas for the past 8 years. Meanwhile, there are 13,000 to 14,000 dead.

    Russia has tried to resolve the conflict peacefully.

    Ukraine has had expertise in nuclear technologies since the Soviet era. It might build on that and get help from the West, which would be a game-changer for Russia. *Yuzhmash facility in Ukraine produced transcontinental ballistic missile.*

    “Now they are talking about acquiring nuclear status. That is to acquire nuclear weapons. We cannot pass by such things. Moreover, we know how this so-called West behaves towards Russia.
    Our strategic adversaries do not even need to have intercontinental-range ballistic missiles. Here they will directly keep us at gunpoint, on a nuclear one, and that’s it. Well, how can we get past all this? Absolutely real threats, this is not some far-fetched nonsense.”

    The destruction of military infrastructure in Ukraine is almost complete.

    There are many ways to demilitarize, all options are on the table at the negotiations with Ukraine. Moscow is hoping for a positive response from Kiev.

    • Tatyana

      + from Putin
      Russia’s deterrence forces were put on high alert after a UK minister said NATO was involved in the conflict. Since nobody corrected that statement, Russia took it as a signal, the Russian president says.

      Russia will perceive any country declaring a no-fly zone over Ukraine as participation in the military conflict.

    • Andrew H

      Tatayana, the west has no interest in other countries acquiring nuclear weopons. If you recollect, the west paid for and helped decommission a number of nuclear sites after the break up of the soviet union. The wests view on this matter, is that the smaller the club, the better. Ideally we would rather Israel didn’t have them and we would definitely prefer that India and Pakistan didn’t have them. There is no way the west would assist Ukraine in this matter – and indeed the EU would likely apply significant economic pressure to try to stop any move in that direction – say if Ukraine went down the enrichment path that is being pursued in Iran or the testing of ballistic missiles that is being pursued in NK.

      Russia hasn’t made an effort to resolve this peacefully – the last I recollect it was demanding Nato roll its borders back to how it was in Soviet times. That’s not a realistic demand given the concerns of Poland, Czech Republic and Latvia.

      • Wikikettle

        Andrew H. I think you will find the there is no state called ” Ukraine ” now. It no longer exists. There is in fact an East and West Ukraine now, with the southern coastal port in Russian control. Things could have been different with a Neutral Ukraine, milking both Russia and EU.

        • Wikikettle

          Germany has come off the fence now. The old enemy they tried to invade and lay siege to is again their prize ! These Anglo Saxons never give up their feeling of racial superiority against “the sub human slavs”. European population will swing to the far right in droves under economic collapse, which this Nato Expansion to Russian borders has caused.

      • Tatyana

        Andrew H
        I assume you learned this ‘Nato roll its borders back to how it was in Soviet times’ from media? Refer to the original source.
        In fact, in December Russia proposed a draft treaty, there were 2 packs of them. I’d be happy to find it for you, but my Internet is shit currently, many sources deny access.
        Your words ‘Russia hasn’t made an effort to resolve this peacefully’ is a lie.

        I assure you, it’s not Russia’s interest either, for other countries to own nukes. We dismantled ours also and moved what was the strategic minimum behind the Ural mountains, because some of treaties is about Europe free of nukes.
        Guess who broke it, and you’ll see why we are where we are today.

        • Tatyana

          Are you kidding? Since when Macron is the speaker for NATO? Have you heard Stoltenberg? Have you seen the answer from the US?

          Andrew, I find your argumentation silly, I’m sorry. No need to continue this useless discussion. I really don’t mind if you stay with your opinion.

        • Pigeon English

          If we and up in nuclear war would that be a Karma for ignoring Russia’s security concerns and prioritising Ukrainians wishes?
          What did our Leaders try to achieve in talks with Putin. I doubt keeping Ukraine out of Nato and implementing Minsk agreement. My perception is it was all about Sanctions never seen before. IMO hardly diplomacy and trying to achieve
          peaceful compromise. It takes two to tango !

    • Dan Gleeballs

      Tatyana, you are maybe not appreciating the manufacture of a ‘ballistic missile’ doesn’t necessarily mean the warhead and guidance system are produced in the same location. Yuzhmash produced the launch vehicle not the warhead or guidance. Russia has always confined actual warhead production deep within the mainland, as far from borders as you could get. It would take Ukraine a long time to develop the infrastructure for warhead production, but yes, being able to produce a delivery vehicle is a big step up the ladder.

      • Tatyana

        The West refused to give Russia any guarantees that the weapons are not aimed at us. Refused. Talked about minor collateral problems indicated in the drafts, but our security they refused to guarantee.

        I really don’t like this commenting, every time the same question from a new person 🙂

        • Blissex

          «The West refused to give Russia any guarantees that the weapons are not aimed at us. Refused.»

          Oh please this is a completely ridiculous point! In diplomacy etc. the questions are always “In exchange of what?” and “What can you do about it?”. What is the compelling reason for “the west” to guarantee that?

          For ourselves, we shall not trouble you with specious pretences–either of how we have a right to our empire because we overthrew the Mede, or are now attacking you because of wrong that you have done us–and make a long speech which would not be believed; and in return we hope that you, instead of thinking to influence us by saying that you did not join the Lacedaemonians, although their colonists, or that you have done us no wrong, will aim at what is feasible, holding in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.

    • Blissex

      «Moscow is hoping for a positive response from Kiev»

      It is not for Kiev to respond, they are just the tools/bait.

      «Our strategic adversaries do not even need to have intercontinental-range ballistic missiles. Here they will directly keep us at gunpoint, on a nuclear one, and that’s it. Well, how can we get past all this?»

      I guess that V. Putin knows how the Turkish Missile Crisis in 1961 developed.

      If you want to really worry about “some far-fetched nonsense”:

    • PearsMorgain

      ” Russia has tried to resolve the conflict peacefully. “

      By funding, training and arming the rebels. I suppose that’s Russia’s idea of peaceful.

      • Stevie Boy

        I believe the ‘rebels’ you refer to are the people’s of the Donbas ?
        Whereas the ‘freedom fighters’ funded by the West appear to be terrorists flown in from the ME, mercenaries from the Western nations and American private sector military !
        I suppose that is the west’s idea of defending democracy ?

        • PearsMorgain

          Depends if it really is a popular rebellion or a minority of well armed fanatics. Best solution of course would be a proper referendum.

    • Jimmeh

      > We cannot pass by such things.

      So are you saying that Ukraine can “pass by” the fact that their neighbour Russia is armed with nuclear weapons? And has been threatening to use them?

      > all options are on the table at the negotiations with Ukraine.

      There are no negotiations. There have been a couple of talks about negotiations. Nobody negotiates with an invader that is shooting at them, unless they are negotiating terms of surrender. I don’t think surrender is “on the table”.

  • Rodrigo

    Although it does not take into consideration, and with the necessary weight the role of the conflict in the Popular Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, it is a very balanced and elucidating article.

  • Rosemary MacKenzie

    A few interesting things noted – Sputnik says Zelensky is “staying” in the embassy in Warsaw. Anyone seen anything else to confirm this? ps:// Thomas Roper, Anti-Spiegel says the Russians secured the nuclear power station with paratroops on Monday. The fire in the nearby building was set alledgedly by the Ukraine. Very interesting report by a young German reporter Alina Lipp from the Donbass – Thomas knows her well and often talks to her on the phone.
    I can try copy/pasting the whole article if anyone can’t get into the Anti-Spiegel website. There is lots of information in it – worth visiting and there is a translate button.

      • Rosemary MacKenzie

        Hi Tatyana, thanks for the link. I started today on page 6! I hope you are away from the sound of war and are keeping your spirits up. Let’s all hope it will be over soon, and order restored by Russia.I am afraid the western press and politicians and public are in a state of hysteria. Maybe soon enough will wake up to the fact they have been led around by the nose by Nato, the Americans, the gunmen ie arms traders/manufacturers, oilmen and other greedy outfits.

        • Tatyana

          I hope very much this all stops soon. The level of madness, animalistic hatred, inhuman actions, hysteria, is dreadful.

          I share the link to the Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), speaking in the Unated Nations. He also provides the map, showing the power plant and the place of the fighting.

          IAEA is to forward inspectors anyway, to monitor the situation in Ukraine. Good.

    • Tom Welsh

      Bravo! I cannot resist posting my favourite quotation on this topic:

      “In the Irish Catholic culture I knew as a boy, the faithful – both clerical and lay – violated the principles of the New Testament so comprehensively and precisely that it almost seemed as though they had read it”.
      — Michael Foley, “The Age of Absurdity”

  • Coldish

    I haven’t checked whether anyone here has already linked to Scott Ritter’s analysis (now at least 4 days old, but still relevant) of the Ukraine war, but if not it’s at

  • DunGroanin

    Going to meander a bit. Hard to sleep when such massive death and destruction is about to be visited upon the cauldrons that these proxy nazis have crawled into. They are unsaveable – they won’t let most civilians leave either.

    The Israelis scrambling and going to visit Moscow and the proxy Western governments is a sight. They must have run out of rope. The Iran Deal is going to be reinstated and sanctions removed- looks like Russia/China grand design is delivered.

    Anyway Since 1953!

    “The early CIA operation to destabilize Ukraine, using exile Ukrainian agents in the West who were infiltrated into Soviet Ukraine, was codenamed Project AERODYNAMIC. 

    since 1953 the CIA operated two major programs intent on not only destabilizing Ukraine but Nazifying it with followers of the World War II Ukrainian Nazi leader Stepan Bandera.”

    Of course not just CIA our James Bonds have been pissing there as well.

    That is why there are so many Banderists associated with Canada and that far away region. They were evacuated to there – disappeared from the pow records. Many have progressed to the upper echelons of Canadian and US government for decades. – here is Freeland having to admit her grand daddy as a major collaborator, reported some years ago.

    “Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland knew for more than two decades that her maternal Ukrainian grandfather was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper.”

    How is the Guardian linked to that bunch? It to seems to have a hoard of Russophobes. Has for ever. They did like Lenin for a bit I believe …

    Urgh –
    Luke The Farce Harding’s latest vomit in the Guardian.

    “ Ukrainians defy Putin’s hopes of swift victory as 66,000 return from overseas to fight
    US says Ukraine ‘absolutely can win’ as Russia bombs multiple civilian targets
    By Luke Harding
    The image is one of the most evocative of the war so far. Ukrainian self-defence forces surround a man in a blue uniform. His T-shirt is bloody. The captive is a Russian pilot.“

    He really aid a nasty piece of work isn’t he?
    I hope they treat the pilot pow with due respect as a PoW.
    Not that Luke is interested in that within that article by the time I stopped reading it.

    Finally the Ukrainians are splitting from the 70 years of Banderists in their midst – the negotiator with the Russians got executed! By the Azov/Canuck/CIA/MI6 mob. For being a traitor while the unfortunate man gets called a hero by his own government department!

    Also the martial arts fighter captured and horribly being tortured by the Uke nazis for not hating Russia enough is surely going to open the eyes of even the reddest necked morons.

    Zelensky will soon be in his Florida pad. If he isn’t already.


    ‘The centre won’t hold’!

    it will be kept in place though as the spirit of the Red Army Generals master planners forms the ‘Cauldron’.
    I doubt many of these demented Nazi Azov types will make it back to a happy retirement in Canada.

    It is a massive shame that they have been encouraged to recruit their own Hitler Youth types who think killing Romanies in Ukraine is good practice before they use the most high tech weapons as mujahideen to face down the professional and deadly enemy they have been raised to poke.

    Back in 2019 the Groan let this slip through their net

    Katherine must have been on her holidays.

    I still agree that Putin and his court are making billions from their resources just as Bozo and the Tories with the help of the Official Opposition have pocketed Billions from their Covid scams here in the U.K. and all the MIC spending.

    On which note I will finish with the fact that reported Covid cases were UP THIRTY percent in a day! We are doing a lot fewer tests and if Omicron has mutated in the U.K. through our lax efforts over Xmas – welcome to the 4th/5th wave. But don’t worry about that just look at the wall to wall brainwashing of some made up Ukrainian victim. Doesn’t matter if it is priced as fake within hours – the emotional buttons have been received by the dumbed down public.

    Ok I’ll stop, have a hot chocolate and try to think of the innocents caught up in the Great Game again and sleep while they can’t.


    • Tom Welsh

      If there were any trace of justice in the UK, Brown would have been hanged beside Blair and Bush for the infinitely worse Iraq invasion. So we wouldn’t have to put up with his hypocritical gushing.

    • Tom Welsh

      Not for me, Tatyana: I get a consistent “Unable to Connect”. Perhaps because the MoD is under DDoS attack.

      Pity, because my first acquaintance with their commentary was during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. After giving up what the Western governments and media said as hopelessly unreliable, I noticed a link and thenceforth followed their reports every day.

      • Tatyana

        Tom, try this

        Today in UN Russian representative said that the center for information war was destroyed, perhaps we will see less fakes now. Platoshkin states they were posting 3 every hour.

        Very calm and reasonable analysis from PhD in International Relations, diplomat

        Answers many important questions, one of which is evident, but was never asked by anyone in our recent discussions:
        Why Ukraine haven’t declared state of war?

        • Ingwe

          No, still not opening for me, Tatanya. Anyway, thanks for the post. I’m able to visit enogh sites to get a more accurate picture of what is occuring. The BBC is so mendacious, it no longer even has a pretence to accuracy. Every program, even music or sport manages to get an anti-Russian invective going. Have these people no shame whatsover? No integrity? Self respect? There isn’t a single main stream ‘journalist’ in the UK with one iota of professional pride and balls to even enquire into the UK narrative.
          I’m now waiting for the internet to go down in the UK. It’s the only way they will stop access to sites such a this, Moon of Alabama, the Duran, Consortium News etc. What a bleak time for us and especially for you Tatyana and people of Russia and Ukraine.

  • Tatyana

    I don’t know if it is even human or decent to find something funny among the events like this one, still I better write it.

    In videos you can see letters Z and V painted on tanks and other vehicles. People speculated a lot over what these marks might be made for, here are some:
    Vladimir Zelensky
    Vladimir Zhirinovsky (who said the war will start February 22)

    Some speculated if Harry Potter might be involved

    In fact, Z is for Zapad (Russian word for West), and V is for Vostok (Russian word for East). So, they painted marks to denote two different groops, adversaries in an imaginatory conflict. These were for military exercise, which in fact was taking place before February 24.

    • David

      Bellend Cat, of downed airliner fame, insisted from his internet researches that it was to distinguish between Ukraine and Russian vehicles which share common roots in the Soviet Union. When he was looking at downed airliners he could easily distinguish between them from blurred Web images. Funny how things change.

      It was even harder to tell them apart in the early days of the conflict when both sets of vehicles were heading West as fast as they could.

  • M.J.

    Natalya Sinedeya has been forced to close her independent broadcasting station Dozhd under threat of prosecution. That reminds me however of a 1941 film “Freedom Radio” AKA “A voice in the night” about a clandestine broadcasting station in Nazi Germany.
    Here is a clip on Youtube:

    Hopefully Freedom Stations may make themselves present in Russia, where stations like Dozhd have closed down and receive help from the West in safety precautions against repressive state agencies.

    The BBC World Service and Voice of America will no doubt do their bit to strengthen and further the cause of democracy and truth by broadcasts in Russian and Ukrainian, just as they did in Soviet times.

    In the Soviet era a clandestine magazine was circulated called “Chronicle of Current Events”. This was an example of “samizdat” literature. Decades ago I corresponded with someone who risked a 5 year jail sentence to read such material. It may be time for printed as well as electronic and broadcast versions of “Samizdat” to become present again in Russia, to serve the needs of the people, to counter lying state propaganda.

    And now, to boost the morale of the brave young people resisting the war started by Russia, who has invaded their country, that they may put up fierce resistance to the invader:
    Слава Україні!

    • Tatyana

      Слава Україні is the slogan connected with Bandera and other Nazi collaborators, it was introduced into the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists ( OUN *) in the 1920s by the Union of Ukrainian Fascists.

      I’d be very careful using it, M.J.
      Anti-Nazi UN resolution is valid.

    • Bayard

      “Natalya Sinedeya has been forced to close her independent broadcasting station Dozhd under threat of prosecution.”

      Forgive me if I don’t believe that on your say-so, perhaps you would like to provide a source, since a search of the internet for “Natalya Sinedeya” does not turn it up.

          • glenn_nl

            Please don’t presume to speak for everyone here, as pointing out insufferable arrogance often offends.

          • glenn_uk

            Your behaviour here is pretty pathetic. You deny MJ’s statement, and loftily ask for a source. He provides two, and with great sanctimoniousness, you dismiss it because it’s from (gasp!) The Guardian. Daring to speak for everyone here while you’re about it.

            I point this out, and what do you do? Nyaa.. nyaa, no that’s you!

            Really low-grade stuff. Aren’t there some tabloid sites you where could fit in better with this yah-boo style of “debate”?

          • Bayard

            If you’d bothered to read the sources and the other comments, you would have seen that one was Wikipedia, which wasn’t a source in that it didn’t corroborate what MJ was saying and that the other was debunked by Tatyana below. I assume you take everything the Guardian says as gospel truth, but I can assure you that an awful lot of commenters on here are wise to its lies. Yes, it was a mistake to include you in that group, but then, I’d mercifully forgotten about you.
            Also you seem to have completely misunderstood my previous comment: your offensive reply was unnecessary, but, as I now recall sadly, typical.

      • Tatyana

        Bayard, you’re welcome 🙂
        Dozhd CEO Natalya Sindeeva announced the suspension of the TV channel
        March 3, 2022

        Dozhd CEO* Natalia Sindeeva announced live on the temporary suspension of the TV channel.

        “There has never been such a difficult decision in our life. We have made a decision for ourselves that we are temporarily suspending the work of the TV channel. I mean, the word “temporarily” is very important in this. We need strength and time to exhale and understand how to work further. Because after the adoption of this law [on criminal prosecution for disseminating false information about the actions of the Russian military], work will be practically impossible,” Sindeeva explained.

        Feels a little different now, isn’t it? 🙂
        Nice try, M.J.

        • Tatyana

          Also, if you’re interested how it all works.
          M.J. links The Guardian article written by Tim Adams. Googling for ‘Tim Adams journalist’ brings some info, like this

          Muck Rack is the software for journalists, to quickly share their content, and to trace who is reposting it, you may read the description

          Co-founder and CEO

          That’s how it works

          And, there are other software for journalists. All of this allows to create coordinated hysteria, especially if you pay for the set of key words, like $20 for ‘Ukraine+Putin+aggression’ or $30 for ‘Russia+dictatorship+war+Ukraine+refugees’. I hope you get what I mean. Well, stories for money, and hardly fact-cheking. Reposting or rewriting.

          • Tatyana

            Old time journalism is like you meet people to interview them, or visit events to report, or make photos etc. Todays mass journalism is Copy Paste of what other people say. I think they also use referral fee system 🙂 If I were Gregory Galant, I’d certainly implement it to boost profit.

            By the way, the entry says:

            Gregory Galant
            Co-Founder and CEO, Muck Rack
            Host, Venture Voice
            New York
            Business and Finance
            As seen in: Venture Voice, C-Suite Market Update, LinkedIn, CNN, Forbes, Medium, Business Insider, CNET, TechCrunch, Fortune, PR Daily,, Spin Sucks,

            Cofounder/CEO of MuckRack & ShortyAwards. Podcasting Member of Twitter’s and IG’s first name club. Angel investor.

            Shorty Awards gives more detail. They give money for the most popular content. Tweets, or the like

          • Tatyana

            Found the article praising Muck Rack software. The author is Natasha Tynes. See the list of publishers! Oh! Impressive!

            Natasha Tynes
            Freelance Contributor, Freelance
            U.S. Regional
            As seen in: HuffPost, The Washington Post, Voice of America (VOA), Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab, Writer’s Digest, HelloBeautiful, Nature Middle East, State Journal-Register, MetroWest Daily News, International Journalists Network, Milford Daily News, The Register-Mail, The Shawnee News-Star, Lake Sun Leader, Siskiyou Daily News, The Sault News, Mineral Daily News – Tribune, Neosho Daily News, Chillicothe News Constitution-Tribune, The Miami News-Record, Daily Register, Beauregard Daily News, Wellington Daily News, The News Eagle, Montevideo American News, Benton Evening News, Nebraska City News-Press, Hockessin Community News, Olney Daily Mail, Boonville Daily News, Morton Times-News, St. James Leader-Journal, The Grove Sun, Galva News
            Covers: citizen journalism, digital media, media development, middle east


            See her achievents – led digital strategies for the World Bank Group, no less 🙂

            “Natasha Tynes is the founder of Suburban Media Group. She is a veteran communications professional with over twenty years of digital communications experience. Tynes has led digital strategies at the World Bank Group and managed global media training programs at the International Center for Journalists. She is a regular contributor to many publications inside and outside the United States. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Elle Magazine, Nature Magazine, The Huffington Post, Esquire magazine, Aljazeera, and others. She has appeared on several national and international TV programs, including Larry King Live, PBS, Paula Zahn show, CBS’s Morning show, Scarborough Country, ABC News Live, BBC’s Up All night, among others.”

          • On the train

            That is so interesting Tatyana. It clarifies why journalists all seem to say more or less the same thing, and why they seem to “ hunt as a pack” . For the public this means that wherever they turn the same message is reinforced.

  • Barking

    With witnessing how fast things can change in this world, a hypothetical…

    Could Israel nuke Germany in the near future?

    If the far right AfD got into power, started to glorify its nazi past like Ukraine, celebrating the holocaust and began rearming Germany.

    Israel has the capacity; nuclear weapons, stealth F35 etc Germany has no air defense.

    Possible or not possible?

  • Tatyana

    I’m devastated emotionally. For good, without the huge amounts of stress hormones and enourmos quantity of moral labor, finally my brain can work.

    Well, we all are inside the psyop. Watch my hands 🙂

    On the Russian side the events are named ‘military operation’; on the US side ‘invasion of Ukraine’ and ‘agression’; on Ukrainian side I’m not sure which term their government uses, but still they do not declare the state of war. There’s a legal procedure for it.
    The key is here!

    The term ‘war’ used some French minister, somewhere in a legally non-biding media, like Twitter, so even Medvedev had to warn him to choose the words. Other ‘speakers’ seem like avoid it, maybe only journalists and ex-officials, but these are not legally bound to be responsible for their sayings.

    All the rhetoric around the event is extremely hot, but still they choose the words carefully. Remember Lindsey Graham called to assassinate Putin? Ms.Psaki had to explain it is not the official position of the State Department (or the White House, sorry, cannot remember the exact words). And even here on this site in this discussion someone noted, that Graham actually didn’t use the name Putin.
    If you somewhere close to Liz Truss, let her know. She made much harm already with her statements, Maria Zakharova commented Russia noted the position of London and is working on it.

      • Tatyana

        I’m careful. Legislation of my country obliges me to use ‘Special Military Operation’. Not my personal choice, I find this terminology heartless, sterile.

        • DunGroanin

          I think Russian leaders have said that economic war has been declared against the country.
          From where I’m sitting that’s what seems to be going on.
          In which case they will have to respond proportionately.
          It is going to be interesting – will the US have to pay with real roubles for their Russian oil ? And their cheap bullets that the gun owners rely on for their practice shooting?

          Do let us know if there is any actual on the ground effects for Russians daily buying and selling. I doubt if it will be much affected especially if not involved in import/export.

    • Stevie Boy

      Divide and conquer. So blatantly obvious that even half wits like Biden, Bozo and Truss wouldn’t fall for it.
      Maybe the US is beginning to panic about the Oil situation.
      It’s good to see though that the US implicitely recognises that Maduro is the actual democratically elected leader of the people of Venezuela, rather than the unelected puppet Guido.

      • Tatyana

        Most probably so. Turkey is not sanctioning us, and Saudi seem like not joining the hysteria. The Middle East oil may turn big problem now.
        Perhaps it’s time to talk to Maduro, offering to return the state’s wealth, that the US seized in the name of Guaido 🙂
        I wonder, do they also think to return money to Afghanistan?

    • Bayard

      “President Joe Biden’s administration has insisted it will not lift sanctions, including on Venezuela’s vital oil sector, unless Maduro takes concrete steps toward holding free elections.”

      “They’ve got to be protected, all their rights respected,
      Until someone we like can get elected”

      Presuambly any election that re-elects Maduro an his socialists won’t be a “free” one.

    • Wikikettle

      The US has gone to Venezuela not to negotiate but to give them an ultimatum I think. The nutters in Pentagon will now put their invasion plans for Venezuela using Colombia as proxy.

      • Bayard

        I wonder what the reaction of the US would be if Russia started “training” the Venezuelan army, supplying the Venezuelans with arms and making foreign policy statements on their behalf?

  • Tatyana

    Who was asking on biolabs?

    Russian MoD reports on these, publishing also papers (yet to be examined by experts) in which labs are ordered to destroy pathogens.

    It’s a pity you have no access to Ria or Sputnik. Though, Elon Musk offered to keep them via Starlink.

    Igor Konashenkov.

    “In the course of a special military operation, the facts of an emergency cleansing by the Kiev regime of the traces of a military biological program being implemented in Ukraine, funded by the US Department of Defense, were uncovered.”

    Article further says: the Pentagon had serious fears that the world would become aware of the conduct of secret biological experiments on the territory of Ukraine. To hide the violation by Washington and Kiev of the first article of the UN Convention on the Prohibition of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health sent an instruction to all biolaboratories to urgently eliminate stocks of dangerous pathogens, the department added.

    “We have received documentation from employees of Ukrainian biological laboratories on the emergency destruction of especially dangerous pathogens on February 24 — the causative agents of plague, anthrax, tularemia, cholera and other deadly diseases,” Konashenkov said.

    [ Mod: English translation here. ]

  • ET

    There is a high probability of a very real and difficult humanitarian situation developing regardless of who you may think is right or wrong.

    1.5 million already thought to have fled Ukraine and up to 5 million likely fleeing in the short term.

    “The State is likely to be expected to take in over 100,000 Ukrainian refugees , Minister of State Anne Rabbitte has said. She said significant numbers could begin arriving within weeks or sooner.”

    That would be 2% of the current total Rep of Ireland population. I don’t know how accurate or reasonable such an assessment of numbers is but it’s still shaping up to be a very large logistical problem and other countries in the EU would be expected to accomodate Ukrainians fleeing the conflict. They will be welcomed in Ireland and Irish sympathies are overwhelmingly with Ukraine. Nonetheless, finding accommodation, utilities, food etc will be a difficult problem and the ensuing social issues may stretch that welcome. A 3 year temporary residency will be given to all Ukranian refugees, what happens after 3 years?

    • Blissex

      «Nonetheless, finding accommodation»

      It is going to lead a massive property boom in Ireland, UK, and several central european countries. Not so much in Ukraine. 🙁

    • Tatyana

      Relieved to see this, sincerely. At least people won’t suffer the absence of the basic needs. Safety, food, energy to move forward. Very good and thank you for posting this, ET.

      I really don’t want to look like making sarcastic statements, or anything, I’ve just run out of emotions and see the things abstractly. With this disclaimer, any statements from Western Europe on Donbassians? Those refugees that Russia hosted? Anyone mentions them at all?

      Actually, I was wounded much deeper than ever in my life, with the single news on Herr Scholz sending weapons to support Ukraine. I felt doomed like Jews in WW2, as if the whole West conspired to kill us, pretending they are not intending to. I found myself amongst a Big Lie. As if every person ‘standing with Ukraine’ were speaking in my face ‘don’t worry, this train will only bring you to a building site’ when everyone knew this train is going to Auschwitz.

      I will never forget the feeling.

      • On the train

        I’m so sorry you feel so anxious Tatyana….all the people I know have no hostility to Russian people. And we understand and support you . Our media are shameful.

      • ET

        “any statements from Western Europe on Donbassians?”

        No Tatyana, you will not see such statements because the narrative is that it never happened. Some few articles on the rise of facist like organisations in Ukraine have been seen and some people have posted links in this thread. There is A LOT of chatter about the rise of far right ideologies in countries but not Ukraine. I think Russia did a poor job in making this information available worldwide. That message has only been received by people reading blogs such as this.
        Russia is seen Europe wide and in USA and UK as the sole agressor. That will not change anytime soon. Any references to Donbass/Luhansk attacks by Ukraine are dismissed out of hand or justified as those areas are Ukranian territory. This conflict has bolstered NATO, bolstered “western” intelligence agencies and has created a big push towards a more integrated and independent EU defense. Almost everyday I see articles in the Irish media questioning Ireland’s neutrality and that it is time for a change to that policy. Ireland’s “neutrality” was always a little suspect anyway, for instance, returning lost British pilots during WW2 but holding the German pilots. It would be a huge shift in Irish politics nonetheless.
        Russia will be economically and diplomatically isolated from the “west” at least for the forseeable future, probably only thawing when Putin retires or dies. I am not predicting Putin’s retirement or death but he is 70 years old and can’t have much time left in the top job. I wonder if that played a part in his decisions. Blame me for this now and my successor will have an easier time renegotiating contact.

        From a public perspective so far Tatyana, Russia has surrendered the moral highground. From my perspective, and not necessarily what I would have wanted, the USA has won every hand so far. NATO emboldened, more spending, nord stream 2 suspended, Europe struggling for energy supplies and economically weakened as a USA rival, It all works for USA benefit.

    • Bayard

      “1.5 million already thought to have fled Ukraine and up to 5 million likely fleeing in the short term.”

      Surely someone can come up with something more definite than that. It’s not as if Ukraine is on the other side of the world, surrounded by deserts. The refugees must have gone to Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Moldova or Hungary, all of which are countries not at war and with modern communications systems. Why are we still working on wild guesses?

      • Tatyana

        Currently banned in the West, Ria reports:

        “Ukrainian radicals are carrying out ethnic cleansing and checking the passports of local residents, the interdepartmental coordinating headquarters for humanitarian response in Ukraine said.
        “Radicals break into the houses and apartments of the civilian population, check documents on the streets,” the statement said.

        All those who do not have a Ukrainian passport are being taken away by the militants in an unknown direction, the headquarters noted.”

        Blessed are those who are recognized as true Europeans fleeing to the European countries. While the rest of that one European country’s population is checked for the true Europeanionity. Very European thing, after all. I guess, those fled Europeans don’t put any questions bout their unfortunate compatriots.

      • Bayard

        It’s just sheer journalistic laziness. All the information is available, just no-one can be bothered to go and look for it.

      • ET

        Equally, as you say, Ukraine is not a back water. There are trains, overland routes with roads, people own cars, bikes and so on. The Ukranian nation will continue even without a territory. At least initially it will be fully and comprehensively supported by the EU.

        The current size of Ukraine is 42 times in terms of land area the size Northern Ireland is. Even if Russians take over half of it it will still be approx 20x the land area of Northern Ireland. The UK couldn’t manage to close off border crossings with 35,000 troops and the largest helicopter base in Europe at the time. I worked in NI at the time and used the “unapproved” border crossings to get to work quicker and avoid traffic when I was travelling back from a weekend of debauchery.. Although it is almost 20 years since I drove those routes I still have in my head every one of them. I wasn’t a threat to British security services and perhaps they knew that. My point is, you CANNOT close down borders regardless of your military strength.

        • Bayard

          ET, as it took me only as long as it took me to put “Ukraine refugees in Poland” into a search engine and press “enter” to get a figure accurate to the nearest hundred and similar figures for other countries, I can only assume that journalists are so used to copying others work that they have not bothered to do even that simple task.
          I can’t see that there is any incentive for the refugees not to use the border crossings, as all the bordering countries have said that they welcome refugees, so long as they are white, it appears. The Eire/NI border was famously porous, but it wasn’t an EU border. Indeed, an awful lot of effort has recently gone into making sure it didn’t become one.
          I have to say that I sadly have to agree with your bleak assessment of the immediate future at the end of your previous comment. However, there is one way in which it looks the USA might lose out, in that isolation of Russia will weaken the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

  • Allan Howard

    “If there had been no decision to move NATO eastward to include Ukraine, Crimea and the Donbass would be part of Ukraine today, and there would be no war in Ukraine”.
    — John Mearsheimer

    (From wikipedia entry: John Joseph Mearsheimer is an American political scientist and international relations scholar, who belongs to the realist school of thought. He is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. He has been described as the most influential realist of his generation).

  • mark golding

    I have to say if Russia has irrefutable proof of US aided biological weapons programs (Iraq flashed through my mind) then the British heirachy have a problem. MI6 have a problem and most Conservative worshippers have a problem.

    None of these aristocrats, commanders, peers, parliamentarians and men upstairs, who, give eyeteeth for the benefits of war, conflict, regime change, sanctions, control and manipulation-none of them-care a damn about the inhabitants of Donbas who have been suffering for eight years while the US, Britain and the whole world is silent. –

    “The extermination of people in Donbas has been going on for eight years. Eight years of suffering, and the whole world is silent…”

    So eyeteethers, who among you is going to feel shame? Because I feel shame especially having witnessed the suffering created by the American and the West ‘coalition of the willing’ blitzkeig in Iraq 2003 against legal advice and UNSC unambiguous approval.

    Stop the propaganda – stop the bull-shit and I ask what British media has the balls to show the Russian video archives of the Donbas struggle.

    • mark golding

      Just heard the BBC poking into our minds the fact that broadcasing in Russia has been restricted and young Russians are now troubled by lack of news and information to make judgements.

      So why did Mr B Johnson squeeze the balls of ‘independent’ regulator OFCOM to ban Russia Today so UK folk can make judgements??

      RT disappeared off Sky then some minutes later RT disappeared from Freeview. That brief respite was in fact the power of intention…

    • DunGroanin

      We do need a independent academic site looking at all the media evidence and history – it surely exists. Many have cited plenty to counter the full spectrum tsunami of Narratives daily – yet no PUBLISHER is going to do the job nor any of their craven scribes object.

      We live in a fascist state. That is now beyond dispute.

  • fredi

    First 20 mins John Mearsheimer says it as it is, pretty much what he said in 2015, except that now the stakes are far, far higher, and don’t rule out nukes and Armageddon.

    This is where ‘American exceptionalism’ has got us, a fkn mess, getting worse..

    Prof. John Mearsheimer and ex-C.I.A. Russia specialist Ray McGovern discuss the Ukraine conflict and U.S. policy towards Moscow, presented by the Committee for the Republic in Washington.

      • mark golding

        I might add Armageddon is interesting.when you consider the generic sense, which is the ‘end of the world’ scenario, fits nicely with the original Hebrew meaning where in the final battle negative world events reach a climax and punch through into another reality.

        Similar I guess to what happened to some so called ‘black holes’ at the mercy of gravity or us at the mercy of psychopaths and a few million souls that can go deep and survive until sun-light returns and radiation reduces.

        It is those disciples, those ‘exceptionists,’ and their military heirachy, slaves and bodyguards that believe, take gospel, America (and Israel) will win a nuclear war that would kill 3.1 million people within 45 minutes.

  • ET
    Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics with John Mearsheimer.
    This video is from 10 years ago but has some interesting conclusions. Democratic governments lie more often and more thoroughly to their own peoples than any other kinds of government. Worth a watch when you have time.

    • Jimmeh

      > Democratic governments lie more often

      Hardly surprising; “democratic” governments care about what people think.

  • Clark

    2008 diplomatic cable from US Ambassador in Moscow, leaked by Chelsea Manning to Wikileaks who published it as part of the so-called “Cablegate” material. I’ve pasted in the title and summary; the full cable is at the link below:


    Summary. Following a muted first reaction to Ukraine’s intent to seek a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the Bucharest summit (ref A), Foreign Minister Lavrov and other senior officials have reiterated strong opposition, stressing that Russia would view further eastward expansion as a potential military threat. NATO enlargement, particularly to Ukraine, remains “an emotional and neuralgic” issue for Russia, but strategic policy considerations also underlie strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene. Additionally, the GOR and experts continue to claim that Ukrainian NATO membership would have a major impact on Russia’s defense industry, Russian-Ukrainian family connections, and bilateral relations generally. In Georgia, the GOR fears continued instability and “provocative acts” in the separatist regions. End summary.

    MFA: NATO Enlargement “Potential Military Threat to Russia”

    Some points:

    The Russian government was correct about Ukraine; absolutely spot on. Paragraph 5:

    > [Russian] Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. In that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face.

    That’s really not surprising; I’d expect Russian officials to understand the situation in neighbouring Ukraine better than anyone. “A major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war” is of course exactly what came about following the US backed coup in 2014.

    Russia’s concerns were known, to the US, NATO and more, in 2008; note the recipients of the cable:

    > Joint Chiefs of Staff (of the US military)
    > NATO – European Union Cooperative
    > National Security Council
    > Russia Moscow Political Collective
    > Secretary of Defense (of the US)
    > Secretary of State (of the US)

    Yet in 2014 the US State Department piled into Ukrainian politics, in the most alarming way possible for the Russian government, by supporting (among others) elements of the Ukrainian extreme right wing (Right Sektor etc.). Although an unconventional interpretation, this provides rational grounds to suspect the the US +manoeuvred+ Russia into this war.

    But why would the US manoeuvre Russia into war? Well, why is the US trashing the atmosphere with carbon dioxide? That’s massively illogical too, but we understand it; the US is a capitalist country, so maximising profits takes precedence over everything else. Unfortunately, making weaponry is highly profitable.

    – – – – – – – –

    How can conflicts be avoided or, once started, resolved? It’s about each side understanding and then addressing the concerns of the other, isn’t it? Violence is something +resorted to+ when communication and negotiation fail.

    In 2008 Russia told NATO and the US that its concerns were ‘that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war’, and ‘a growing tendency for new members [of NATO] to do and say whatever they wanted simply because they were under the NATO umbrella (e.g. attempts of some new member countries to “rewrite history and glorify fascists”)’

    So how do the “Putin is a monster” / “Putin has gone insane” narratives play into this? They +invalidate+ Russia’s genuine concerns, and thereby +legitimise+ the Western side of the conflict. These narratives +absolve+ the West of all responsibility. If the war is purely a consequence of one individual’s insanity, there is no point in “us” thinking about how we should change our way of life.

    And where are these narratives being promoted? Why, in the +corporate+ media, of course. The same media that doubles its income stream whenever there’s a war. In the West we don’t get government propaganda; we get +corporate+ propaganda.

    This is not why I disengaged from the corporate media decades ago, but it is why I now know that I was right to do so, and will never re-engage with it.

    • ET

      CRAP media. Corporatocratic Rapacious “something* Propagandising media.
      I am sorry to belabour this point but I am gonna do it anyway. ‘Corporate’ means united or combined into one body, inferring it is part of a greater whole and thus a vital part of the whole. That is not the case.
      It serves no purpose to society as a whole. It is cancer serving only itself. Corporatocratic is a term used to refer to an economic, political and judicial system controlled by corporations or corporate interests. This is what needs to be emphasised. I suspect you all think I am mad but I want this term to be introduced into the lexicon because it is more explanatory.
      All help appreciated. And I need help finishing off this acronym.

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