Rethinking Ukraine: Putin and the Mystery of National Identity 579


The genocide in Gaza – or more precisely the major NATO powers’ active and practical support for the genocide in Gaza – has forced me to re-evaluate my views on Ukraine in a manner more sympathetic to the Russian narrative.

In particular, I was complacent in my dismissive attitude to the argument that the Western powers would back ethnic cleansing and massacre in the Donbass, by forces including some motivated by Nazi ideology. The same powers who are funding and arming Ukraine are funding and arming a genocide by racial supremacist Israeli forces in Gaza. It is beyond argument that my belief in some kind of inherent decency in the Western political Establishment was naive.

I apologise.

This does not mean that I was wrong to call the Russian invasion of the Ukrainian state illegal. I am afraid it was. You see, the law is the law. It has only a tenuous connection to either morality or justice. A thing can be justified and morally right, but still illegal.

The proof of this is that we have an entire legal structure governing transactions which is designed to achieve massive concentration of wealth. In consequence, the world is predicted to have its first trillionaires inside the next five years, while millions of children go hungry. That is plainly immoral. It is plainly unjust. But it is not only legal, it is the purpose of the system of law.

I am, however, content that the “Right to Protect” doctrine has not become accepted in international law, because it is in general application neo-imperialist. It was developed by the Blair government initially to justify NATO bombing of Serbia and the British re-occupation of Sierra Leone, and was used by Hillary Clinton to justify the destruction of Libya on the basis of lies about an imminent massacre in Benghazi. We should be wary of the doctrine.

(That is the major theme of my book The Catholic Orangemen of Togo).

The causes of the Russian invasion of Ukraine are plain. Alarm at NATO expansionism and forward positioning of aggressive military assets encircling Russia. The Ukrainian coup of 2014. Exasperation at Ukrainian bad faith and the ignoring of the Minsk accords. The continuing death toll from shelling of Russian speakers in the Donbass.

The suppression of the Russian language, of Russian Orthodox religion and of the main pro-Russian opposition political party in Ukraine are simple facts. These I have always acknowledged: until I saw the positive enthusiasm of leaders of the Western states for massacre in Gaza, I was not convinced they could not have been addressed by diplomacy and negotiation. I now have to reassess that view in the light of new information, and I now think Putin was justified in the invasion.

It is not that any of the arguments are new. It is simply that before I did not believe that the West would sponsor mass ethnic cleansing and genocidal attack on the Donbass by extreme Ukrainian nationalist-led, Western-armed forces. I thought the “West” was more civilised than that. I now have to face the fact that I was wrong about the character of the NATO powers.

The alternative to Putin’s action probably was indeed massacre and ethnic cleansing.

The urgent need now is for negotiation to put an end to the war. On that my position has not changed. The war is a disaster for the people of Europe. The American destruction of Nord Stream has devastated the German economy and resulted in huge energy price increases for consumers all across Europe, including the UK. There was a step jump in food inflation which has not been pulled back.

The continuation of the war will of course prime the pump of the military-industrial complex. Massive defence spending is the most efficient way to ensure kickbacks to the political class who control the flow of state funds, through both legal and illegal forms of corrupt reward to politicians.

As Julian Assange said, the object is not to win wars: the object is forever wars, to keep the funds flowing.

The truth is that the longer the war persists, the less generous Russia will be over returning occupied territory to Ukraine. The deal which was torpedoed by the West nearly two years ago (and in truth the US played more of a role than Boris Johnson – I was actually there in Turkey) ceded only the Crimea to Russia, with a Minsk plus deal for the Donbass which would have remained Ukrainian. That is unthinkable now. The major question is how large a coastal corridor Russia will insist on keeping westward from Crimea, and whether Putin can be persuaded to accept less than the historical dividing line of the Dnieper.

I do not share the Russian triumphalism at the dwindling manpower resources of the Ukraine. With the obscene billions the West is pumping into remote warfare in Ukraine, that is not the factor you might expect. But the political will of the West to continue to pump in these billions is plainly sapping, as it becomes obvious there will be no successful Ukrainian offensive. Put simply, Russia will outlast its opponents.

It has always been the case that the sooner Ukraine and the West settle, the better deal they will get, and that is more true every day. But prolonging the war is an end in itself to those who make money from it.

Putin’s historical disquisition to Tucker Carlson opened some Western eyes to another national perspective, and gave rise to widespread claims by Western media that Putin was factually wrong. In fact almost all of his facts were correct. The interpretation of them, and the position of other facts which were omitted or given less weight, is of course the art of history.

There is no question I find more fascinating in history than the formation and dissolution of national identities.

My own perspective on this – and there is no subject on which it is more important to understand the vantage point of the person writing – is governed by two factors in particular. Firstly, I am a Scot and come from one of Europe’s oldest nation states, which then lost its independence and struggles to regain it after being submerged in a new “British” national identity.

Secondly, as a former diplomat I lived and worked in the political field in a number of countries with differing histories of national identity.

These include Poland, a nation state which the historian Norman Davies brilliantly quipped “Has emerged from time to time through the mists of history – but never in the same place twice”.

It includes Ghana, a state with an extremely strong sense of national identity but which was an entirely artificial colonial creation.

It includes Nigeria, another entirely artificial colonial creation but which has struggled enormously to build national identity against deep and often violent ethnic and cultural differences.

It includes Uzbekistan, a country which also has entirely artificial colonial borders but which the western “left” fail to recognise as an ex-colony because they refuse to acknowledge the Soviet Union was a continuation of the Russian Empire.

So I have seen all this, as someone with a training and interest as a historian, who has read a great deal of Eastern European history. I have also lived in Russia and was for a time both a fluent Russian and Polish speaker. I do not write this to claim I am right, but so that you know what has formed my view.

Putin argued at great length that there never was such a country as “Ukraine”. The BBC has run a “fact check” and claimed this is “Nonsense”.

There are several points to make about this. The first is that the BBC did not, as it claimed, go to “independent historians”. It went to Polish, Ukrainian and Armenian historians with their own very distinct agenda.

The second is that these historians did not actually take issue with Putin’s facts. For a fact-check it does not really examine any of Putin’s historical facts at all. What the historians did was put forward other facts they felt deserve more weight, or different interpretations of the facts referenced by Putin. But none argued convincingly for the former existence of a Ukrainian national state or even the long term existence of Ukrainian national identity.

In fact their arguments were largely consistent with Putin. The BBC quote Prof Ronald Suny:

Mr Suny points out that the inhabitants of these lands when they were conquered by Russia were neither Russian nor Ukrainian, but Ottoman, Tatar or Cossacks – Slavic peasants who had fled to the frontiers.

Which is absolutely true: 18th century Russia did not conquer a territory called “Ukraine”. Much of the land of Ukraine was under Muslim rule when conquered by Catherine the Great, and nobody  called themselves “Ukrainian”.

The BBC then gives this quote:

But Anita Prazmowska, a professor emerita at the LSE, says that although a national consciousness emerged later among Ukrainians than other central European nations, there were Ukrainians during that period.

“[Vladimir Putin] is using a 20th Century concept of the state based on the protection of a defined nation, as something that goes back. It doesn’t.”

Which is hardly accusing Putin of speaking “nonsense” either. Prazmowska admits the development of Ukrainian national consciousness came “later than other Central European states”, which is very definitely true. Prazmowska herself has a very Central European take – the idea of the nation state in England, Scotland and France, for example, developed well ahead of the period of which she was speaking.

I should address the weakness in Putin’s narrative, around the origins of World War 2. Russian nationalists have great difficulty in accommodating the Stalin/Hitler pact into the narrative of the Great Patriotic War, and while Putin did briefly reference it, his attempt to blame World War 2 essentially on Poland was a low point. But even here, there was a historical truth that the standard Western narrative ignores.

The Rydz-Smigly–led military dictatorship in Poland after the death of Pilsudski was not a pleasant regime. Putin was actually correct about Munich: both the UK and France had asked Poland to allow the Soviet army to march through to bolster Czechoslovakia against Germany, and Poland refused (Ridz-Smigly did not trust Stalin, and frankly I don’t blame him). But this is an example of part of Putin’s narrative that countered the received Western tradition, that most well-informed people in the West have no idea happened, and is perfectly true.

The fusing back then of Ukrainian nationalism with Nazism, and the atrocities of Ukrainian nationalists in WW2 against not just Jews but also Poles and other minorities, were also perfectly true.

It is a simple and stark truth there never was a Ukrainian state before 1991. There just was not. Lands currently comprising Ukraine were at various times under the rule of Muslim Khans, of the Ottomans, of Cossack Hetmans (possibly the closest thing to proto-Ukrainians), the Polish-Lithuanian confederation and Russian Tsars.

As I have stated on this blog before, the boundary between Polish/Lithuanian and Russian influence became settled on the Dnieper. I have also published this map before, showing that history resonates through the current conflict.

There is also the case of third-party recognition of the Ukrainian nationality. I have read, for example, the letters and memoirs, both published and unpublished, of scores of British soldiers and civil servants involved in the Imperial rivalry with Russia in Asia. Many had contact with Russian officers or diplomats. They did clearly recognise different ethnic identities within the Russian Empire. The Russian diplomat Jan Witkiewicz was described repeatedly by British officers as “Polish”, for example. “Cossack” and “Tartar” were frequently used. I cannot recall any of these British sources ever using the description “Ukrainian”.

Nor did British officers who actually passed through Ukraine, like Fred Burnaby and Arthur Connolly, describe it as such in their memoirs. Now I am not claiming that if British imperialists did not notice something, it did not exist. But if there were a centuries-old recognition by the rival Empire of the existence of a Ukrainian national identity, that would definitely mean something. There does not appear to be such.

I should be interested to know where Ukrainian nationalists claim their cultural heritage lies as proof of early national identity. What is the Ukrainian equivalent of Shakespeare’s John of Gaunt speech, of Scotland’s Blind Harry, or even of Poland’s Pan Tadeusz? (This is a genuine question. There may be areas of Ukrainian historic identity of which I am unaware).

Putin was not wrong about history (apart from the dodgy bit about origins of the second world war). But the correct question is whether any of this matters.

It is not whether Putin’s historical analysis is broadly correct, it is whether this matters. I am inclined to the view that Putin is correct that there is little evidence that the people living in Ukraine, hundreds of years ago, ever considered themselves a distinct national entity.

But they are all dead, so they don’t get a vote. The only thing that matters is the opinion of those living there now.

It seems to me beyond dispute that there is now a Ukrainian national identity. I know several Ukrainians who consider themselves joyously and patriotically Ukrainian, just as I know patriotic Ghanaians and even patriotic Uzbeks. The question of how this identity was forged and how recently is not the point.

I should add there are undoubtedly a great many Ukrainians whose sense of national identity is not linked to Nazism. There is a historical and a current strain of Nazism in Ukrainian nationalism, and it is far too tolerated by the Ukrainian state; that is certainly true. But to claim all Ukrainian nationalists are Nazis is a nonsense.

The formation of national identity is a very curious thing. Ivory Coast has just won the African Cup of Nations at soccer, beating Nigeria in the final. The competition arouses huge patriotic fervour throughout the continent of Africa. But the boundaries of all the African nations, except arguably Ethiopia, are entirely artificial colonial constructs. They cut right across ethnic, cultural and linguistic boundaries.

Much of modern Ghana was the old Ashanti kingdom, but that extended much further into now Ivory Coast. The coastal areas were never Ashanti. In the east, the Ewe people’s lands are cut by a completely artificial boundary with Togo. To the north, largely Muslim populations live a much more rural lifestyle. Yet Ghanaians are fiercely proud of this imposed state of Ghana. They are proud it was the first African state to attain Independence, they are proud of its heritage of supporting African liberation movements including the ANC, they are proud of its education system. They have a real sense of national identity that goes far beyond the passionate support of its sporting teams.

Ghanaian identity is modern, ahistoric, within entirely colonial boundaries. But it is real and valid.

In Central Asia, the boundaries of the “stans” are again colonial boundaries that cut right across the pre-existing Khanates. The boundaries of these ex-Soviet republics were carefully designated by Stalin not to be ethnically or culturally coherent, to guard against the development of national opposition. So the greatest Tajik cities, Bokhara and Samarkand, are not in Tajikistan but Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan has important similarities to Ukraine. Both are states with boundaries of Soviet republics, which have no relationship to any pre-existing state or nation. In both – and this may be a legacy of Soviet authoritarianism – the state has attempted to force national identity by compulsory homogeneity. So Russian language medium in education was first banned in Uzbekistan, and then Tajik. Ukraine has similarly banned the Russian language. This of course is nothing new in state behaviour, as Highland Scots well know.

Yet even in Uzbekistan, a passionate national identity has been created, even among Kazakhs, Tajiks etc who reside there. The alchemy by which this happens is mystifying; partly it seems to depend on a natural loyalty to whatever authority exists, which is a rather troubling thought. For Central Asia, Olivier Roy’s The New Central Asia, the Creation of Nations has some thoughts on the sociology of the process.

I am aware I need to read more on the creation of national identity, because most of my thought is based on simple observation. It is however entirely plain that national identity can appear, and can be genuine, and can do so in a period of merely decades. There is now a Ukrainian national identity, and those who subscribe to it have the right to their state.

That they have a right to the former boundaries of Soviet Ukraine is a different proposition. Given the reality that it is plain a significant minority of the population do not subscribe to Ukrainian national identity, that civil war broke out, and that this relates to historic geographic fracture lines, it seems that division of territory is now not only inevitable but desirable.

All people of good will should therefore wish to see an end to fighting and a peace settlement, of which the territorial elements are somewhere close to the current lines between the forces, with Russia giving back some territory in return for recognition of its gains. The alternative is more death, human misery and economic malaise.

 
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579 thoughts on “Rethinking Ukraine: Putin and the Mystery of National Identity

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  • ronan1882

    You’re saying that the statesmen and women who for the past two years have been expressing horror at Russian illegality and brutality are not actually moral lanterns but rather scum?

    That’s a big claim.

  • Stevie Boy

    So Bozo, America’s pet clown would only talk to Tucker Carlson if it personally enriched him: ” He wants a million in US dollars, gold or bitcoin”. Interesting to also note that he didn’t want paying in pounds sterling. I wonder how much the traitorous scumbag was paid for his Ukrainian trip(s) ?

  • harry law

    Let me get this straight, the ‘West’ is willing to wreck their own economies, threaten to arm [the losing badly Ukraine] with long range missiles, and finally enter into a cold war with Russia, China and the rest of the BRICS on one side and the ‘West’, led by the US and its lackeys on the other. With the aim of stopping ethnic Russian speaking peoples in the East and Crimea from exercising their right to self determination as enshrined in the UN charter, this is crazy, the West deserve everything that is coming to them.

    • Stevie Boy

      It’s several orders of magnitude worse than that Harry.
      The West, and specifically the UK, is currently spraying billions annually at ‘lost causes’, including Ukraine. Meanwhile, the citizens are suffering badly with: food banks more prevalent than McDonalds; NHS waiting lists running into millions who are waiting years for treatment; NHS dentistry virtually nonexistent and housing unaffordable and unavailable. No hope or help on the horizon for us but Ukrainians get free travel and priority benefits. Go figure.

  • fonso

    Yesterday Ursula von der Leyen hosted Zelensky in Brussels to mark the tenth anniversary of the deaths of what she called “the Heavenly Hundreds Heroes – the brave souls who sacrificed their lives on the Maidan for Ukraine’s freedom in 2014.”

    The head of the European Commission perpetuated a myth that the police massacred the Maidan activists – the myth that led to the overthrow of the democratically-elected government in the Maidan coup. She decided to simply ignore the nearly one-million-word verdict from Ukraine’s Maidan massacre trial last year which confirmed the Maidan activists were shot by snipers located in the far-right-controlled Hotel Ukrainia and other Maidan-controlled locations. The Maidan activists were massacred not by “the forces of the Yanukovych Regime” but by fascist snipers of the Maidan movement in order to try and justify a coup.

    https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/buried-trial-verdict-confirms-false-flag-maidan-massacre-in-ukraine-2024

    The origins of the Ukraine-Russia war can be traced directly back to this far-right false-flag event a decade ago, knowledge of which is being suppressed by western politicians and media.

    • harry law

      Ursula fond of Lying has the blood of over 500,000 Ukrainian and Russian deaths and the destruction of Ukraine on her hands. Word has it that she may replace that Norwegian piece of wood and US puppet Stoltenberg as NATO General Secretary. God help us all.

  • Christopher Sutton

    Thank you as always, sir…and do continue Assange reportage’ (dare I say) with other luminaries we find you ethically on video …

  • Tatyana

    I understand that Mr. Murray is probably currently busy with Mr. Assange’s case, but I hope he could still help with the interpretation of this news:
    Berlin is ignoring the provisions of the 1990 treaty that made the unification of Germany possible; the document needs to be denounced, Federation Council member Sergei Tsekov told RIA Novosti.
    The Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany is also known as the Treaty of Two Plus Four. On September 12, 1990, in Moscow, it was signed by the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, as well as the USSR, the USA, France and Great Britain. The document came into force in March 1991.
    The head of the German national-cultural autonomy of Crimea, Yuri Hempel, called for the treaty to be denounced. He told RIA Novosti that the agreement “is in fact not being implemented and is subject to denunciation.” According to him, this opinion is shared by the entire German community of the peninsula.

    @AG, if by chance you see it, would be nice to know if there’s something about this treaty said in Germany?

    So many effort was spent by generations to fine tune this mutual security system. And now it’s falling apart. So sad, and scary.

    • harry law

      The German leadership are almost at war with Russia; they supply long range missiles and supply German leopard 2 battle tanks with an iron cross (although not the original) emblazoned on its hull to confront Russian troops. What could possibly go wrong?
      In fact Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov wrote to all EU Foreign ministers before the special operation reminding them of an agreement everybody signed to the effect that no country will take any measures which could undermine its neighbors and that security concerns should be indivisible.
      At the moment the perfidious teutons are in the process of expropriating the Rosneft refinery in Germany.
      https://johnhelmer.net/perfidious-teutons-and-their-polish-accomplices-how-the-rosneft-refinery-in-germany-is-being-expropriated/
      Regarding the 1990 agreement here is some expert opinion…

      Director of the Center for German Studies and deputy director of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladislav Belov, in conversation with KP.RU, assessed the prospects of denouncing the treaty:

      “I don’t really understand why we should denounce this treaty, what obligations we have that contradict the country’s current objectives.” It is correct to point out the anti-Russian rhetoric of the current German authorities. And criticize them for it. But, in my opinion, breaking one of the fundamental treaties on which the European security system was built, even with all its shortcomings, makes no sense.
      In fact, current relations with Germany are already frozen. There remain some economic ties that coexist with sanctions. The German business community remains the largest remaining in Russia and can withstand significant pressure from anti-Russian media. There are some improvements in the humanitarian sphere in terms of moving away from the “cancellation of Russian culture.”

      In my opinion, on the contrary, we must return to the “Two plus Four” agreement. Remember to whom Germany owes its unification, and pay attention to what was not done. Put on the agenda questions about why NATO is a challenge and a fundamental security issue for Russia.
      https://eprimefeed.com/latest-news/these-are-the-consequences-that-russia-can-expect-after-breaking-the-treaty-that-led-to-the-unification-of-germany/473545/

      • Tatyana

        Thank you, Harry Law!
        News come in quickly. Another treaty denounced, this time with Britain:
        State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that on Putin’s initiative, Russia has returned to itself the fish that the British ate for 68 years 🙂
        Oh! I find the wording very funny! You guys ate my food!
        “Putin returned to us our fish which the British had been eating it for 68 years. Unscrupulously. They announced sanctions for us, and they themselves form 40 percent of their diet and fish menu from our cod. Now let them lose weight. Let them get smarter! Because 40 percent – it is cod and other types of fish, including haddock – that form their diet. And one of the favorite dishes. But now we have returned this favorite dish to ourselves on the initiative of our president”
        I must say I’m ashamed of Volodin. There’s no dignity in saying words like this. We’ve got plenty of resource, including fish. There’s plenty of fish in Russian stores. Volodin sounds as if we are starving here while letting the British to eat our only food 🙂

        • harry law

          Yes the Barents Sea, might make fish and chips a lot more expensive, Putin has so many options on dealing with sanctions etc for instance nationalizing foreign companies, he does not want to, but would do so if they got stroppy like not offering compensation for the Rosneft refinery possible theft.
          By the way a quite famous UK comedian Stan Boardman from Liverpool, always used to joke.. “You know them Germans, they bombed our chippies you know”. now the Russians are doing something similar. Only joking.

          • Tatyana

            I think about omega3 and vitamin D… I was diagnosed vit D deficit some time ago… It was a surprise as I live in a southern region near the Black Sea. I had to take this vit D and also I ate cod’s liver , rather expensive canned food from Iceland (they said the best is from Iceland).
            I think I’m 45, and you guys ate my cod for 68 years…So you not only robbed me of vit D, but also robbed my parents!
            I think, well, I should prompt Volodin to file a claim to British state for eating my cod 🙂

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            There are currently no British trawlers fishing in the Russian sector of the Barents Sea. In any event, you cannot have robbed what you had permission to take. Note too that cod & haddock form nowhere near 40% of the typical British person’s calorific intake.

            Vitamin D & omega-3 fatty acids are vitally important nutrients, and most people in the world are not getting anywhere near enough of them. However, you don’t need to prepare and/or eat expensive fish/seafood to obtain them: in the UK, vitamin D pills (25 micrograms, 1000 IU) & omega-3-rich fish oil capsules (1000 milligrams) are available for less than 5 pence per day from the ‘Savers’ shops. If you learn one thing from me*, learn that – nukes permitting, it should add years of healthy lifespan to your life (funnily enough, the pharma companies don’t want people to know this).

            Enjoy the weekend.

            * As you may have noticed, I generally prefer that people learn things from me, rather than argue with me.

      • Gerrard White

        ‘almost at war’ is almost meaningless

        try and locate meaning in and define the actions you ascribe

        to help you – try saying almost at peace and wondering what this can mean

        or almost fat, almost gay, almost anything –

        It appears the German ruling class is trying to, pretending to, summon up the courage to put into action the proclamations of warlike or at least violent aggressive intent made over the, at least, last 2 years

        without so far any hint of ‘declaring war’

        Some of these actionsthey know not how to, some they have not the money to, some they lack the political will to, some public support…etc

        The brigade of 4000 troops they say they wish to form to send to Lithuania who say they have not the infrastructure to receive it – of which it is said by they themselves they will not be able to manage even by the date fixed for 2027

        Is this almost at war? Or is it merely….more than almost unable to organise the very slightest of any action which might almost be thought of constituting an effort to go to what they think maybe a warlike ‘posture’

        • harry law

          Germany may not have officially declared war on Russia, however at what stage does Russia decide to take action against any country supplying weaponry to Ukraine such as long range missiles to target Moscow? At what stage do the Russians decide the Germans are an active and willing co belligerant? Could those missiles or F16 aircraft taking off from German bases and laying waste to Moscow mean war?
          Unlike fascist Germany, current Germany openly declared a war against Russia on January 25. Arguing in favor of sending NATO tanks and ACV/APC to Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said EU countries were fighting a war against Russia. US and EU officials have previously gone out of their way to claim ‘they were not a party to the conflict in Ukraine’.
          This is a quotation from what Baerbock has stated at PACE. “And therefore, I’ve said already in the last days – yes, we have to do more to defend Ukraine. Yes, we have to do more also on tanks,” Baerbock said during a debate at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on January 25. “But the most important and the crucial part is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe, because so far from the German Government, it means that her statement is fully shared by the FRG Government we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.” https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2023/01/29/baerbock-has-publicly-declared-a-war-against-russia/

        • Tom Welsh

          Actually, Gerrard, although your point of view is reasonable and understandable, on reflection I would suggest that “war” and “peace” are no longer useful terms. Since 1945 no NATO member has ever declared war even once, yet they have been almost perpetually at war – and have killed, at a conservative estimate, some 10 million foreigners (mostly civilians). So we are legally not “at war”, yet we are never at peace. This is the deliberate and conscious choice of our ruling elites, not of the designated enemies whom those elites have chosen to attack and overthrow.

          “Integrated Operating Concept dated August 2021, is promulgated as directed by the [UK] Chiefs of Staff”

          “We live in an era of strategic competition in which long-held assumptions are challenged daily. Old distinctions between ‘peace’ and ‘war’, between ‘public’ and ‘private’, between ‘foreign’ and ‘domestic’ and between ‘state’ and ‘non-state’ are increasingly out of date.

          “Our authoritarian rivals see the strategic context as a continuous struggle in which non-military and military instruments are used unconstrained by any distinction between peace and war. These regimes believe that they are already engaged in an intense form of conflict that is predominantly political rather than military. Their strategy of ‘political warfare’ is designed to undermine cohesion, to erode economic, political and social resilience, and to compete for strategic advantage in key regions of the world”.

          https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/612f91b28fa8f50328e2c8f5/Integrated_Operating_Concept_2025.pdf

          Those opening words of a recent UK Government strategy document perfectly illustrate the propaganda technique of attributing to the designated “antagonists”, “adversaries”, or just plain “enemies” exactly the UK Government’s own thoughts and policies. The techniques of “hybrid warfare”, discussed later in the document, are even referred to as the “Gerasimov Doctrine”, although the Russian General Gerasimov did not invent or popularise them, but only remarked on their use by NATO.

  • Jack

    The baltics must be one of the whiniest population on earth: every day lamenting about the alleged Russian threat against them… and then do everything to pick on Russia and russians as such! What the heck is wrong with these people? Why are they acting so immature? Instead of focusing on Russia 24/7 they should deal with their own crimes during WW2 that they never want to talk about. Estonia was one of the first nations that exterminated and ethnically cleansed jews to the fullest before any germans showed up helping them!

    EU state’s leader sees elderly Russians as potential threat
    Some people who arrived in the Soviet era miss the feeling of being in charge of Estonia, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has claimed

    https://swentr.site/russia/592860-estonia-russian-speakers-ukraine/

    Thus when she pick on ethnic russians, which side does she think these people are going to sympathize with? This woman and her nation or Russia?

    Same woman of course supports Israel:
    We stand strong with Israel and its people.
    https://twitter.com/kajakallas/status/1711201971451928716
    Apparently some occupation, annexation is just fine according to these hysterical cocky warmongers.

    • Tatyana

      Nationalists. They aren’t generally anti-Semitic or Russophobe.
      It’s another facet.
      They see our planet, its map, as a patchwork blanket. Each patch should belong to a certain genetic string. Like Estonia for Estonians, Ukraine for Ukrainians, Israel for Jews etc. Not very much crazy view, at first glance. On the contrary, rather rational and rather attractive idea.
      The bad things only get obvious if you explore what exactly do they mean? Sometimes you may find out that Estonia for Estonians may mean Jews-clean or Russians-clean piece of land. Just like Nazis dreamed of land free of certain ‘subhumans’. I don’t even go into current situation in Gaza.
      That’s why I’m extremely cautious about all things nationalism. People may interpret it differently and act accordingly.

    • Ian Stevenson

      this was in yesterday’s Guardian letters. It is another point of view
      «Simon Jenkins says that “At a more pragmatic level, the turn-of-the-century expansion of Nato to include the Baltics and Poland was blatantly provocative” (Yes, Donald Trump’s Putin comments were unhinged – but he’s right to question Nato’s future, 12 February). Nato is depicted as the one that initiated “the inclusion”. It’s terribly painful to me, and I believe many others from the Baltics, to witness an approach where an author of an article presumes that my country and the others in question were sheepishly absorbed by some administrative military entity just because that entity wished so.

      Does Mr Jenkins not realise that it is really horrible to live under occupation of an enemy who ill-treats you, takes away your language, belittles and patronises you, kills your grandparents or deports them to Siberia, controls you everywhere, forbids you to go abroad and gaslights you constantly saying that all of this is normal, beautiful and righteous? Do the above-mentioned countries have a right to ask for protection in order to live normal lives?Please do not patronise us.
      Rasa Cuckson»

      • Jack

        Ian Stevenson

        Does Mr Jenkins not realise that it is really horrible to live under occupation of an enemy who ill-treats you, takes away your language, belittles and patronises you, kills your grandparents or deports them to Siberia, controls you everywhere, forbids you to go abroad and gaslights you constantly saying that all of this is normal, beautiful and righteous? Do the above-mentioned countries have a right to ask for protection in order to live normal lives?Please do not patronise us.

        No one is thinking of occupying the baltics, the baltics need to let go of their self-made victimhood, paranoia and their racism – because they do not only dislike Russia, they dislike russians. Also, who “patronize” the ethnic russians, who “take-away their language”, who “controls” them and who “deport” them? Well obviously the baltics do all this.
        Just yesterday:
        EU state legalizes deportation of Russians
        Moscow has described the decision by Latvia as “inhumane”

        https://swentr.site/russia/592563-latvia-legalizes-russian-deportation/
        This is like, I do not know Hungary would deport all their jews to Israel. Abomination, racism right? But when it comes to ethnic russians these baltic nations think they can do anything because they have such low views of ethnic russians. They seems to be too immature to have “own” nations to be frank and that trait may be to a disadvantage if they keep their provocative racist machinations ongoing.
        One thought that they would learn something from the bad example Ukraine set but the baltics just keep doubling down like they are entitled to harass ethnic russians. Well what you reap is what you sow.

        • Gerrard White

          KK is merely knocking at the door of the trans atlantic MIC think tank club

          All and every one of her pronouncements are to this purpose – clearly she knows not what she is saying – Kamala Harris in a Santa outfit

          For evidence of more than usual levels of stupidity read her recent interview with the FT on the proposed on off again confiscation of the CBR assets mostly in the EU held by Euroclear

          ‘Seize frozen Russian assets before US election, says Estonian PM’
          https://archive.is/WkvwO

          A confused mishmash on CBR confiscation, and on the Register of Damage the Council of Europe established on May 17, 2023, who’s Inaugural Meeting was held 11- 15 December 2023, subsequent to the UN resolution of 14 November 2022 which seemed to allow the independent and third party establishment of such a register, but merely recognised, nada mas, the need for a mechanism of reparations

        • Tatyana

          By the way, victimhood is a very interesting phenomenon. Maybe you remember the riots in the USA after the BLM protests? I was then crafting and selling on Amazon some African cultural themed things, so I had acquaintances among Americans of different groups. Since creative people communicate quite closely, and I was interested in figuring out what was going on, I got a pretty clear idea of what it all is about.

          So, then after the protests, some groups of people (who were never slaves) robbed stores and threatened people (who were never masters). And I thought, “hey, these actions have nothing to do with the ideas of freedom, equality, opposition to racism and police brutality! It seems someone is taking advantage of the situation for personal gain.”
          A statement attributed to Marcus Tulius Cicero came to my mind – “a slave does not dream of freedom, he dreams of having his own slaves.”

          Now I draw parallels with the mood in the Baltic states – the USSR has not existed for a long time, but today people who were not oppressed want to take their revenge on people who were not oppressors. And yes, this does not give the Baltics any attractive image of freedom fighters. You define this as “immature,” and we here have a ready-made stereotype, it’s difficult to explain. Something like a provincial with ideas divorced from reality hammered into his head, who suddenly had the good fortune to tell the whole world what he thinks.

          • Tatyana

            By the way, on the topic of racism, extreme nationalism and similar manifestations of intolerance, and victimhood as a tool for achieving one’s benefit, the BLM movement encouraged me to familiarize myself with some extremely interesting works exploring manifestations of intolerance. Since I was Russian and quite clearly felt Russophobia, I perceived these studies through this prism, trying on what was said about racism in America to my situation with Russophobia.

            Yes, indeed, among people from Western countries there are often things built into the mentality, thing that they do not even notice, but only consider to be completely natural.

            Even here in the comments, I remember someone said that they have experience communicating with Russians, namely working with them. They commented something like this: “Russian women are quite nice, I generally like women, but men are typical Russians.”
            Quite an innocent observation, isn’t it?
            Compare: “Jewish women are quite nice, I generally like women, but men are typical Jews” or “Black women are quite nice, I generally like women, but men are typical blacks.”
            And it doesn’t seem so innocent anymore, right?

            This is how institutionalized intolerance works.
            Earlier, among decent people, it was considered normal to criticize someone’s ideas or positions, that is, for those things that a person could possibly change during discussions.
            It is now “allowed” and even encouraged to hate people for who they are, who they were born to be, and what they cannot change about themselves.

          • Bayard

            “A statement attributed to Marcus Tulius Cicero came to my mind – “a slave does not dream of freedom, he dreams of having his own slaves.”

            In many institutions, like the armed forces, it is accepted that the raw recruits are given a hard time by the longer-serving men. However, this does not fill these recruits, in the knowledge of the misery they suffered, with a desire to give the next lot of recruits an easy time, it fills them with the desire to make them suffer as they suffered. Such is human nature.

          • Tatyana

            Bayard,
            In Russia, this army phenomenon is called “dedovshina” from the word “d’ed”, which means “old”.

            Slavery, oppression, and dedovshina are samples of hierarchical system. Those exist as long as there are people willing to participate in them.
            People who dream of one day becoming “masters” and having their own “slaves” in fact support this hierarchical systems.
            No matter how justified their motivation is and how much support victimhood can gather, it is still nothing more than working towards supporting the hierarchical system.

            If you allow the descendants of the oppressed to have their sweet revenge and oppress the descendants of the oppressors, you understand that sooner or later times will change, slaves will again become masters and a new circle will begin. Unfortunately, human nature is such that we are selfish and seek satisfaction of our desires. And this “peospect of revenge” is one of the convenient things for manipulation.

            What about getting out of the system?
            People should look to the future and work on the kind of world they want to live in. Not endlessly chewing and re-chewing on the old grievances of their long-dead ancestors.
            Respect for ancestors is not a bad thing in principle, but we should invent a new kind of respect, without revenge, violence or oppression.

  • Luke

    Its nice to see Craig finally getting to the last stages of his laboriously slow awakening. The naivety he had regarding his perception of humanity and decency in the western power elite was always shocking to me as a working class intellectual. I guess he just wanted to believe that his old job was more than just shilling for the empire. The lower tier ‘true believer’ that the record industry execs send to interface with the newly signed band seems an appropriately analagous comparison.
    Still there is more work to be done.
    Firstly, state sanctioned and taxpayer funded memorials dedicated to mass murdering fascists does not constitute ‘tolerance’ of Nazism, the apt term is promotion.
    Secondly, the creation of a Ukrainian national identity along with most of the other states mentioned was and is an entirely contrived process led by external forces. These people have been indoctrinated since childhood through learning materials provided by western NGO’s (mainly Soros’ OSF in Ukraines case) in an entirely unorganic and deliberate program. The intention behind this is obvious. To convince a bunch of people who are basically Russian, to hate their neighboring brothers (oftentimes literally as in Srsky). To hate them with a genocidal passion. So we can cynically send Russians to kill other Russians. In the foriegn office they call this a win-win. They just make sure that Craig is out of earshot.

    Side note: Football is a surrogate for male political will that channels potentially useful tribal energy into a harmless goose chase. With the added benefit that if things get hairy the stadiums double as concentration camps. If that sounds paranoid or fanciful then you need to read a little more history, particularly Chile 1973.

    • Gerrard White

      Good comment, thank you

      A note on football – with what you say I concur, almost – in Africa at least it is to be observed as a cargo cult, the promise of everything, but notably great riches

      Even a minor footballer in a small club anywhere outside of Africa can earn enough money to support his family, his family’s families, and their’s too

      The recent CAN was the occasion for breathless homages to the sums of money proposed or paid to anyone scoring a goal, etc etc, but also for national leaders to fawn to the vast power of the ‘game’, and taking every opportunity to show their implication and support

  • Gerrard White

    Having just gone over the history and recognised your previous mistakes, and gone over President Putin’s version of history, it is surprising to find a refutation of the importance of history when it comes to the Ukrainians’ sense of history (identity forged)

    ‘Beyond dispute?’ ‘I know several Ukrainians’ – you are promoting anecdotal and sentimental considerations to the analysis of a war?

    Why are identities ‘forged’

    (as you and almost anyone says of minorities or underdog like identities, but never of those identities on the other side of the equation, as these discussions are always binary – no one speaks of the forging of the British Imperial identity, and yet this would be a much more apposite use of language and description of an historical process)

    Forged is rather brutal industrial and indeed war like metaphor, why not say ‘formed’ or ‘created’

  • Nota Tory Fanboy

    Astonishing report on Sky News last night – as in astonishing that they actually broadcast it – on how the arms manufacturers/British State have been profiteering from Russia’s war on Ukraine by redirecting their distribution networks to circumvent sanctions on exports. The exports of UK military hardware directly to Russia fell off a cliff after Russia invaded Ukraine but from that same moment exports of the same hardware has skyrocketed to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan etc.

    Meanwhile the MSM and politicians continue to gaslight the public over the importance of voting for a ceasefire condemning the Israeli State for committing war crimes, arguing that it would make no difference (never mentioning that it would be Parliament voting to oblige the UK to cease arms exports to Israel).
    In light of Sky News’ report, how do people think the British State would redirect arms distribution to Israel in a way that would circumvent sanctions on exports to Israel?

    Interesting also the scant coverage being given to Starmer explaining to Hoyle that he should break with convention because if Labour had to vote with the unamended SNP motion (which Labour had initially stated they would support), Labour MPs would face life-threatening consequences from pro-Israeli State quarters.
    Imagine the furore if Hoyle had said Labour MPs must be able to vote for a Labour amendment avoiding condemning Hamas for October the 7th because Labour MPs faced life-threatening consequences from pro-Hamas quarters.

    • Nota Tory Fanboy

      On this subject, the UK Government has today announced 50 new sanctions against Russia, in particular against suppliers of missiles.

      Why on Earth weren’t these sanctions already in place? Why have Tories tried to claim for 1.5 years that they’ve already put in place as many sanctions as possible?

    • Nota Tory Fanboy

      Of course I should have expected that the MSM would make out that Starmer was seeking this break with convention because of pro-Palestinian campaigners, which just doesn’t make sense.
      Pro-Palestinian campaigners aren’t going to be threatening the safety of Labour MPs if they voted in favour of the SNP’s motion.

    • Nota Tory Fanboy

      Grant Shapps (or Michael Green/Sebastian Fox/Corinne Stockheath…) gave comment on this today to the effect that he was “concerned” that Russia was circumventing sanctions…no comment that he was concerned that British arms manufacturers were circumventing sanctions. How did they get export licenses from the UK Government to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan etc.? How were those licenses allowed to remain in place for these past two years?

    • Nota Tory Fanboy

      And now they’re complaining about how much it costs to police the peace protests in London every weekend – yet they conveniently fail to mention how much it costs to keep supplying Israel with weapons we know are being used to commit war crimes and, realistically, genocide.

  • Johnsanella

    Now then Craig. How long in your narrative before, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland, are part of Old Russia; “The mother of all Russias” as Catherine the Great said.

    • Tom Welsh

      “How long in your narrative before, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland, are part of Old Russia…?”

      Approximately forever. Those nations have literally nothing that Russia, the Russian government, or anyone in Russia could conceivably want.

      • Nota Tory Fanboy

        So you think that this war is actually about control over exploration rights of natural resources…just as the UKUSA wars against Iraq etc. were?

        • Tom Welsh

          The war of NATO against Russia, yes. Russia is the largest country in the world – nearly twice the size of USA, China, or Canada, and its population is almost perfectly balanced with its area and resources. It has everything: some of the richest arable land in the world, huge forests, plenty of clean fresh water, and almost every mineral. Including, of course, copious oil and gas. And uranium.

          The Western oligarchs are dying to sink their teeth into all those delicious resources, but there’s a problem: Mr Putin and the Russian Armed Forces.

          • Nota Tory Fanboy

            I think the idea that the West is crazy definitely has merit but I don’t think we’re crazy enough to want to invade Russia…
            What I was alluding to was what you implied: that Russia wouldn’t invade states West of Ukraine’s borders because those states don’t have natural resources that Russia would like to exploit, whereas Ukraine contains plenty of natural resources that Russia would like control over.

        • Pigeon English

          I doubt Russia wants to be a Hegemon.
          There’s only one Hegemon that wants to keep that position (and you love it).
          Comparing importance of Lithuania and Ukraine to Russia is ridiculous.
          Estonia with 20% of Russians could be a problem.
          Finland as neutral country was never attacked during USSR or Mad Vlad reign.

    • iain

      You do know Sweeney has nothing to say about Assange? (Or about the West’s genocide in Gaza.) You might as well hold Bono up as the voice of moral clarity.

  • harry law

    Craig Murray had this to say on X yesterday…
    “Labour MPs are not scared for their security from the Ceasefire campaigners.
    They are scared for their jobs.
    The supporters of genocide try to paint the opponents of genocide as violent.
    Starmer is morally disgusting. A vile bought worm”.
    I could not agree more except for the fact that comparing Starvem to worms is insulting to worms, worms do usful work, whereas Starver is a supporter of a racist, supremacist and Apartheid supporting Genocidal state.
    .

    • Alyson

      Hegemony. Yes, this is the issue the world faces today. My comment will no doubt drop straight into the spam dungeon again, but nations are having difficulty protecting national resources from fossil fuel companies and massive hedge funds. A British oil company sued Italy for 192 million for having banned offshore drilling. This I believe, is why Starmer has cut the 28 billion green investment policy. The gas under Gaza is sufficient attraction to slaughter the entire population of the nation that owns it. Europe and Turkey will be the beneficiaries. Britain has bought shares. Russia was intending to supply Europe with clean gas via Nordstream. Hegemony says No. Farage says Khan should have privatised the London Underground. Bernie is trying to stop Black Rock from buying up public infrastructure around the world and pricing it out of affordability for workers. My car insurance went up by £1000 this year. Roadside and Recovery insurance had an added £50 for shareholder dividends and £50 for the salesperson selling me the package on top of the service. National governments face difficult decisions where trading blocks hold the cards. Russian oil and gas is very attractive to dollar hegemony, as was Iraq’s. Libya’s half built city for its banking system, to lend without interest, just a fee upfront, was enough to collapse the country to protect hegemony. The theory is that if a country relies on just one leader it should be easy to topple. The Arab Spring in Egypt is greatly regretted by those who lost the secular leadership of Mubarak and women’s freedom to work and to go out alone. Oil off Alexandria. It’s always about oil and gas and dollar hegemony.

      • Nota Tory Fanboy

        The irony is that there is a possible argument that if the US hegemonic attitude will never change, the World might actually be better off in the long run if it did do an Edo-era Japan. But the idea Trump would do that for them is fundamentally dishonest, given how many fingers he has in international pies (he won’t cut ties with them).

      • Nota Tory Fanboy

        The other irony about Trump and his fellow white supremacist, KKK gang with their “American nativist” policy, is that if they were to be fundamentally honest about it, they would have to exile themselves from America and give it back to the Apaches, Comanches, Sioux etc. that white people effectively genocided.

  • harry law

    This is disgusting, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says there is “excellent progress” in talks with Egypt over a loan program that seeks to “support” the country in weathering its financial woes and handling a potential deluge of Palestinian refugees that Israel seeks to ethnically cleanse from Gaza Egypt has been in talks for the last month with the US-based financial agency to revive and expand a $3 billion loan agreement signed in December 2022
    Furthermore, this week, US multinational energy firm Chevron announced plans to expand production at Israel’s Tamar field in a move that will increase gas exports to Egypt by an additional 4 billion cubic meters in the coming years. https://thecradle.co/articles/imf-vows-to-support-egypt-as-nation-braces-for-mass-displacement-of-gazans
    All this to give the green light to the Israelis to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians to Egypt, and to assure the Egyptians it will not cost them anything. Boy are they disgusting creatures and delusional.

  • Conall Boyle

    Thank you Craig for pointing out that the Russian Federation limited military operation in Donbass (NOT Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine!!) was and is “justified” and “morally right”. If it is also illegal then that Law is a complete Ass! Whose law is it anyway?

    • Rosemary MacKenzie

      I followed the Ukraine Russia thing for a long time – and still try to – but my observation is that Russia did everything it could to resolve the issue of the Donbass – the security of the people there, its own security with regards to the “Nato membership” of Ukraine, diplomatically over a number of years and got nowhere. Hence the SMO. The Donbass declared independence in 2022 and asked for Russia’s protection which became the SMO. This could have been very peacefully resolved in March/April 2022 with great saving of life, resources etc etc but for the intervention of Boris Johnson under orders from the US. The Donbass are now part of Russia and their interests are protected.

      Sadly, the Palestinians have to rely on the ordinary people of the world and the Houthis to protect them from the the same genocide and ethnic cleansing faced by the people of the Donbass. No neighbouring power seems to be ready to step into protect them. The Israelis, like the Americans have no interest in negotiating and have free rein to murder as many Palestinians as they want.
      Is there a way to make countries negotiate in good faith? And abide by international law? The problem in the UN is the setup in the Security Council and its voting anomalies – veto.
      On the issue of German reunification and the 2-4 agreement, which I admit I haven’t got my head around, Anti-Spiegel – Thomas Roeper – reported on the Crimean Germans suggestion that Russia pull out. The comments are the interesting part of this post. Have a read if you have time folks.

  • harry law

    This declaration by China at the ICJ is wonderful and puts into perspective the Wests turning a blind eye to Israel putting facts on the ground in the form of settlement expansion [now 700,000 illegal settlers] whilst playing for time [10’s of years] in order to achieve it. The US/EU have the leverage to stop those settlements through economic pressure i.e. the EU/Israel Association agreement and the US Arms deliveries. What have they done in the face of expanding settlements, they have declared that “this is unhelpful” then continued turning a blind eye. The West is 100% at fault here and will pay a huge price.
    “China counters the US point by point at the ICJ: Israeli occupation of Palestine”
    (Ma Xinming, China foreign ministry legal advisor)
    China affirms:
     - the Palestinians have a right to self determination
     - the Palestinians are under foreign occupation
     - are under colonial occupation by ‘israel’
     - the occupation is unlawful and belligerent in nature
     - are entitled to resistance to occupation by any means necessary
     - including armed struggle
     - all signatories to the UN charter have an obligation to assist Palestinians in the preservation of their rights
     - have an obligation to avoid preventing the Palestinian achievement of their rights as affirmed by the UN charter.
     - affirms the inadmissibility of Israeli acquisition of Palestinian territory by means of war

    Most significantly: China affirms that acts of violence carried out by the Palestinians under occupation in order to break the occupation cannot be construed as terrorist acts:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaCrM0L3YBk

    • harry law

      At last a frightening new word to stop Israels illegal expansion as Explained above not ‘unhelpful’ but ‘disappointed’.
      Binken responds to Israeli announcement of new settlements in West Bank.
      “US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday said he was ‘disappointed’ regarding Israel’s announcement of its intention to construct 3,000 new homes in settlements across the occupied West Bank. During a press conference in Buenos Aires.
      The US has nothing to offer in the Middle East except to be Israels Lawyer and financial backer.

    • harry law

      These guys are delusional, China can muster an army from a population of one and a half billion. In fact the Chinese army are instructed to not march in lockstep, as most armies do, because to do so would cause the earth to tilt and lose its axis.

    • Jack

      Oh that little twerp:

      Oleksiy Goncharenko Ukrainian politician in the EU Parliament, explains how “Being human” is the most important thing.
      This Ukrainian politician participated in the lynching and burning alive of innocent people in Odessa in 2014..

      https://twitter.com/LucyGatsby/status/1682531486103228416

      Goncharenko, the one who was mocking the Ukrainians killed and burned by Ukrainian nationalists in Odessa’s Trade Union building on 2nd May 2014, demanded Blinken to make Ukraine a NATO member. Or else he threatened to create nuclear weapons in Kyiv.
      Reminder, Goncharenko is a representative of Ukraine in the EU

      https://twitter.com/mazzenilsson/status/1759235122656620924

      Seems like every ukrainian representative out there have a, to say the least, controversial background.

      • Tatyana

        Yes, here is the link, Goncharenko video-reported at the live show:
        Родина Моя: Одесса.2 мая,2014 .Гончаренко на пожаре в Одессе – YouTube, 4m 16s

        At the beginning he says “you see behind us the remnants of the separatist camp are burning” and people applaud.
        In the middle he says “pro-Ukrainian forces attacked, freed the space in the center of the city, and we went to the separatists’ camp in the Kulikovo field. We seized it. The camp is destroyed. A part of separatists flew into the building and it seems like they died there from fire”.
        At the end the host asks him repeatedly about the fire, in which 38 people were killed. The host asks “how did the fire start?”. Goncharenko says “Molotov cocktails were thrown at the building. Shots and firecrackers flew from there. The fire started, but it’s hard to say why”.

        Nobody was punished for that tragedy, Goncharenko wasn’t convicted either. Perhaps because his father was the mayor of the city. Or, I’m more inclined to think Nuland ordered the crime to be silenced; the Americans do things like that in Ukraine. Remember Biden ordered to fire prosecutor Shokin for looking into the Hunter Biden case.

        • Jack

          Tatyana

          Nobody was punished for that tragedy,
          It is so sickening. It was pure mayhem, a murderfest, people cheering the killing of civilian people, people that assembled petrol-bombs in the streets and threw them into the building knowing full well what would happen: people that tried to escape from the Union house were beaten outside the house, people that jumped from the windows to escape the fire were taken and lynched.
          A good documentary raw footage video about this massacre is “Roses Have Thorns The Odessa Massacre”: I mean just look at 39:00 for example, this is pure fascism, nazism.
          https://www.bitchute.com/video/oo5TjhDl4YuR/
          Full documentary series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDl9_LuL-uw7Ot9l6V6DTbZg1Zhv98gUv
          ^^ This is of course what Russia mean when they claim Ukraine have a neo-nazi bent. But the naive westerner have no idea about these events believing that Russia just make these accusations up out of the blue!

          And the police on the ground worked with the murderers, the fire-fighters took forever to arrive. It was a massacre with many complicit state actors.

          And look how Wikipedia frame it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Odesa_clashes
          Calling it mere “clashes” and put the blame on the victims!

          • Tatyana

            They also have this witch Farion there in Ukraine. She commented about this murder “Bravo, Odessa, the pearl of the Ukrainian spirit, the homeland of the great nationalists Lipa” !!!

            When I saw this on the news, I couldn’t believe my eyes! I went on Facebook and saw with my own eyes that she actually wrote it! I left a comment, and immediately my poor Facebook account began recording visit statistics from strange Ukrainian and American guests.

            I’m even a little happy that this disgusting Meta, with their new policy of allowing calls for the murder of Russians, was banned here. What was allowed to be published there, on Meta’s Instagram and Facebook, is outright Nazi fascist hatred. It was on Facebook that I saw the Ukrainian ambassador in Munich with a Mein Kampf birthday cake; and it was there that lovely Ukrainian girls joyfully shared photos in Ukrainian national clothes combined with a white Ku Klux Klan cap.

          • Tatyana

            Jack, nobody was punished, moreover, some moths later, their then president Poroshenko* visited Odessa
            https://youtu.be/zmhar0J27Hw
            What he is saying in the video is:
            “Leave your sentiments. Look what is happening to people in Donbass. We are using military force against them, their region is destroyed. Our children will go to kindergartens, and their children will sit in basements – this is how we will win.”

            *there is some strange concentration of people with Jewish roots in all these Ukrainian affairs. Poroshenko, the godfather of the children of former Ukrainian President Yushchenko, bought from him the title of Hero for his father (his father’s last name was Valtsman, he replaced it in marriage to Poroshenko’s mother). Poroshenko was also associated with Berezovsky and Zhvania, and Forbes Israel ranked him on a par with the richest oligarchs of Jewish origin in Ukraine – Akhmetov, Pinchuk, Kolomoisky, Bogolyubov.
            There was also a funny story in 2013 or 2014 – these listed rich people with Jewish roots put claims to Israeli Forbes, like their Jewish roots do not appear in their public biography. Forbes commented that it tracks not only public biographies, but also uses its sources.

  • Baron

    An excellent take on the question of the Putin’s facts on Ukraine, Mr. Murray.

    Until about the second half of the 19th century most people in the rural part of the south west Russia and Ukraine, didn’t identify with any nationality, they identified as belonging to a village or the owner or owners of the village, if anyone travelling through today’a Ukraine (or rural Russia) were to ask any of the villagers ‘ are you an Ukrainian?’ the individual would have been baffled and puzzled, not knowing what the question was all about, since most the population of the lands called Ukraine today were peasants it’s silly to talk about Ukraine as a seperate entity until about the end of the 19th century when Marx’s ideas began penetrating first the urban concurbations, later the villages.

  • Dave

    It is most disappointing that you have fallen for Putin’s propaganda. It is even more disappointing that, despite pretending to care about journalists in the Assange matter, you are totally silent on Russia’s killing of Navalny.

    • NewPoster

      On the contrary, he is quite smart for having figured out that he was lied to.

      The most likely outcome was that Navalny was killed by the West. Putin had no incentive to do so, as Navalny as in prison and was no threat to Putin. There is opposition to Putin, but not from Western oriented liberals. It’s mostly Russian nationalists.

      https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2024/02/16/death-of-aleksei-navalny-the-brits-did-it/

      As for the war, well, it’s taken a while, but I’m glad that Murray understands the real causes of the war. NATO expansion and the ultimate to loot Russia’s natural resources were the causes of this war. Ultimately, they underestimated the Russians and now NATO is looking at a major loss.

      Seeing NATO decline and get defeated will be one of the best things to happen.

      • Alyson

        The killing of journalists in order to hide crimes that would otherwise become widely known, would seem to be increasingly common. The deliberate targeting of press in Gaza has seen the deaths of more than a hundred different reporters, who were clearly identified and had notified Israel in advance of their locations. In Russia I can only comment on the death of Darya Dugova whose father, on the day before her death, had proudly posted on Facebook that his daughter was number one on a list for ‘sanctions’ by the West. Our news outlets pretended that her father was an extreme right wing nationalist, as he has published his unhappiness at the encroaching Americanisation of culture across the world, and the concomitant loss of minority languages, traditions, and community identity. She was blown up in her car, like the woman in Malta who was exposing corruption there.
        Businessmen in Russia also seem to have an unfortunate habit of falling off their balconies. Who is responsible and why, are questions that are open to speculation.

      • joel

        140 journalists targeted and assassinated in the last 4 months, along with their families. You know where. Justified and enabled by you know who.

  • annie o'hara

    It is good to know that you have confirmed what V Putin said. Good to know that V Putin and his historic knowledge is second only to you. My, that’s a lot off my mind. Fortunately V Putin does not have a blog, because if he did, that’s where readers everywhere would go.

    ps When you put out a kind of apology for being wrong in one sentence, it’s bad manners to retract it in another.

    • Rosemary MacKenzie

      Try en.kremlin.ru
      All Putin’s speeches, press conferences etc are on this site. It is very interesting. There is also a contact with telephone numbers. You’ll probably get to talk to his office staff. Haven’t tried it personally but I may some day.

      • Tatyana

        Rosemary 🙂 glad to see you here! Feels like a warm regards from far away 🙂 Hope you are well.

        Putin does not have accounts on social networks and does not maintain a personal blog, and thank God, as we say in Russia.
        Here it’s believed that if society has assigned you a job, then please understand that you are now a public person representing the state. If you suddenly feel an itching desire to share a photo of your cocktail, or comment on the stupid hairstyle of a foreign guest, then you can do this privately, please.
        For the entire duration of your employment, focus on performing your duties, and let the protocol department decide about the photos and comments that end up in public space.
        Because this is called an official, not a showman, also we have already passed by the cult of personality in our history (with Stalin), that was quite enough.

        • Rosemary MacKenzie

          Quite agree. I am, however, very impressed with his press conferences, also those of Lavrov and Maria Zhakarova. I think they give an idea of the way of thinking of the Russian government. It is not the malevolent, aggressive Russia which, we in the west, are led to believe in. The msm is appalling. Trudeau was meeting with Zelensky, von der Leyden and a few others recently https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-kyiv-ukraine-russia-1.7124330 – handing out another 3 billion dollars to Zelensky.

          Hope all is well with you and yours!

  • Tatyana

    I can’t help but feel like Nato hired Ukraine as a subcontractor.
    Look how similar it is: they supply them with ‘materials and finance’ to ‘get the job done’, and keep their ‘management’ on the hook, motivating their enthusiasm with promises of one day accepting them onto the ‘board of directors’.
    Everything is in place: the corporate dress code, and badges for everyone involved, and even the regularly performed corporate anthem broadcast through the corporate communication system.

  • Stephanie Welch

    Really important piece. I have a few questions: What role did the US and EU play in exacerbating a national identity crisis in Ukraine in the first place? In 2013, the the country was very divided when Yanukovych paused the decision on whether to accept the EU’s economic proposal, which forced a total split with Russia economically from what I’ve read. I don’t think Russia had similar demands in its proposal at the time, but not sure. If the EU deal wasn’t demanding such a draconian direction, could Ukrainians have worked out something that took into account all the ethnic Russians in the eastern half of the country who obviously would never have accepted something that cut them off from Russia?

    Also, the U.S. exacerbated Anti-Russian sentiment (even prior to this particular economic decision, I believe) with the NED drumming up the fever pitch over the decision Yanukovych was making on the EU deal. They worked with the ultranationalists on propaganda to turn people against Russia,

    Then, of course, the US, UK and NATO empowered ultra nationalists, trained them and encouraged them to overthrow Yanukovych. Without all of this intervention, do you think Ukraine would have survived and sorted out the question democratically? Or would the ultranationalists have been able to do it on their own eventually?

    • Stephanie Welch

      I should add also that we also never hear how much Putin tried to help Ukraine stay together through the Minsk negotiations, rejecting requests for Russia to annex those territories. I know you say the RTP argument is a tool of imperialists, but wondering what you think Putin should have done after all those years of failed negotiations, after the US gave Russia a middle finger when they sent their list of security concerns, and knowing Ukrainian troops were poised for a massive slaughter of residents in the Donbass?

      • Tatyana

        In our Russian news today there is mention of a press conference that took place in Ukraine:

        Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a ceasefire during a personal meeting in 2019, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said at the press conference “Ukraine. 2024”.
        “I told him that the Minsk agreements would not work, because the very idea of withdrawing troops to the contact line would not work. He constantly raised the issue of a ceasefire. I don’t remember exactly if anything surprised me in personal contact. Because it was generally as if in another life. I don’t remember the details,” Zelenski admitted.

        They met in 2019 at the Normandy Format summit in Paris. At the same time, Putin also held bilateral meetings – with Zelensky, Macron and Merkel.
        Today it is just as simple as ‘I don’t remember’ and ‘I believed it wouldn’t work’.

        I wonder, if they agreed to ceasefire then, if the EU sanctioned Ukraine for not obeying Minsk agreement, if the US pressured them to – what would today’s days look like?

  • Dario Calvisi

    I enormously appreciate this statement on Craig’s side, demonstrating one more time his great character and moral standing.
    Full disclosure. I do regard the Russian invasion of Ukraine as illegal, very much like Craig does.
    Yet, I was also one of those who strongly objected to his original standing on Russian arguments about the invasion, and was honestly quite disappointed with them.
    Professor and former State Department officer Michael Brenner and Swiss intelligence insider and expert Colonel Baud, citing top level confidential sources, had explained that the precipitating cause of the February 2022 invasion was precisely the urgency to prevent the massive ethnic cleansing operation aimed at Donbass population that Kiev was about to launch.
    This stance has been reinforced by the authoritative endorsement of Eric Denecé, a leading intelligence expert, director of the Centre Français de Recherche sur le Renseignement (CF2R; strongly recommend his recent editorial https://cf2r.org/editorial/les-faux-postulats-de-la-guerre-dukraine/).
    The West had covered up the onslaught of the Russian speaking populations in Eastern Ukraine for eight years.
    It was certainly fallacious on Putin’s side to dismiss a great majority of the Kiev establishment as Nazis.
    But the error of many analysts in the West was to ignore the basic fact that Nazis do not exactly have the monopoly on xenophobia, ethnic discrimination, when not outright annihilation intentions. Plenty of Kiev political leaders, who did not exactly qualify as nazis, ideologically and politically speaking, did harbor those inclinations toward the ethnically Russian populations, and, as Craig recalls, they implemented them in their actual policies.
    Now, you just cannot have it both ways. You are free to endorse NATO intervention in the ex-Yougoslavia, which was completely illegal, if you believe that it was driven by superseding humanitarian reasons (it was not, actually).
    But then you should apply the same standard to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Bearing in mind all along, as Craig accurately recalls, that NATO did everything to push Russia to the brink with Ukraine for over 20 years.
    Moscow, until the very end, did everything to avoid an invasion, and showed a restraint in its dealing with NATO expansion to Eastern Europe that countries like the US or England wouldn’t have abided in a million years.

  • Antonym

    Benign nation states: confidently focused internally on progress in their own culture, interested in other cultures too, not jealous. Non expansionist but self preservatory, so defensible borders needed. Nation soul based.

    Malign states: insecure in own culture and territory, jealous of others, expansionist, in a word egoistic.

    Biggest harmer of the above notions: Adolf Hilter labeling his egoistic regime National Socialist while it actually was Globalist Autocratic. Many fell in his trap after WWII and condemned nation states instead of the NAZI ideology.

  • Jan Wiklund

    It seems to have been quite a lot of Ukrainian identities a hundred-odd years ago. The author and memoirist Konstantin Paustovskij grew up in Kiev with Polish, Tartar, Turkish etc. ancestries (which he emphasised himself), and he apparently considered himself Ukrainian or “Little-Russian”. The whole Russian empire was, as you said, a melting-pot where the authorities did the best they could to integrate at least the upper classes of all the different ethnicities. But when the Western Ukrainian forces under Petljura took Kiev during the civil war Paustovskij was perplexed to hear that they considered their language Ukrainian. He probably spoke surzhyk himself and had never heard about the Western variety.

    But I agree that this is of scant significance today. I saw the results of a gallup taken about 2005 that a huge majority of the Ukrainian citizens then considered themselves Ukrainian and nothing else, regardless of language. But I have no idea how many of the Russian speakers would do so today, after many years of bullying from West Ukrainian nationalists.

    • Tatyana

      Well, this is a question of identity, this is now trending in the modern world. Not only national identity, but also, for example, sexual, gender, there are still transhumanists, and in general there is a huge field for different ideas. It’s a matter of tolerance, I think.

      I mean, if it doesn’t hurt anyone, then I can play along and call them an Apache military helicopter. Well, if I am truly kind to them and want to show goodwill. Or, if I’m indifferent. This is just a level of social communication, and I may prefer to avoid a possible conflict about using the pronoun/nationality that they prefer. Or just don’t care.

      It’s a different matter when we look at the facts. For example, biological reality does not allow me to recognize an individual as an Apache military helicopter. So, I can insist that my mouth speak truthfully of what my eyes see.
      The same with historical facts, with archival documents, with human memory and other real things.

      • Jan Wiklund

        You can’t imagine how much I agree with you. Narrow identities make me sick. But they still are there, I’m afraid. And there is a considerable amount of Ukrainan nationalists who consider those who speak Russian (or surzhyk) traitors. Perhaps their influence has begun to shrink, though, I saw that recruitment of voluntaries to the Ukrainan army is not going very well. But it’s sad that the Ukrainans have had to take so much beating before this happened. Perhaps it may be a lesson to other identity politicians.

        • Tatyana

          Jan, hope you will not see ir as impolite, just my common style of speech.

          🙂 oh, I’m afraid you can’t imagine how often I’m invited to join ‘games’.
          Like, Jews are God’s chosen people. Or, Men are supposed to rule over women. Or, the West is the nest of democracy and stinks of freedom. Or, more recently, the person calling me is a security officer at my bank and I supposedly have to transfer my funds to a special bank account 🙂

          There are many different ideas wandering around in many heads. Show me one really altruistic , one that isn’t desined to benefit the inventor.
          While I was raised in the secular atheistic education system of the USSR, where the Earth is round, the sun rises in the East, there are two genders in humans, and every “belief” can be explained if you take the trouble to carefully understand it.

          As to Ukrainian national identity, I don’t mind people identify as they wish. My own ancestors came from Ukraine.

          The problem with current Kiev regime is that they violently forced people to identify as Ukrainians, regardless of the fact that they identified as Russians. They used state power, military force, political repression, social sanctions etc.

          I think many would agree that forced identity is rather weird thing.

  • Greg Park

    You are a real outlier on this issue in the UK, which when it comes to Ukraine is far more uniformly warmongering and neocon than even the US. For months polling in the US has shown a majority of Americans oppose more US aid for Ukraine, a sentiment that has started to be reflected among Republican politicians. In Britain they are all in, even the likes of John McDonnell and the Socialist Campaign Group. Of course it hardly needs saying that they will abandon Zelensky the instant the US pulls the plug and tells them we’re moving onto Taiwan. That’s what Britain is and it doesn’t even care that the whole world sees it.

  • Jan Wiklund

    A reading tip: Nicolai N Petro: The tragedy of Ukraine, De Gruyter 2022.

    From an interview:

    “Simply put, the conflict within Ukraine stems from the state’s reluctance to recognize the “Other Ukraine” – the third of the population that regards its own Russian cultural identity as compatible with a Ukrainian civic identity – as a legitimate part of the Ukrainian nation. As a result, the government has systematically suppressed the Russian language and culture. Since these are native to a large portion of the population, these policies have in the past spawned considerable resistance.

    This tragic cycle is fed by the destructive narratives that each side tells about the other, which are then used to justify conflict in the name of achieving justice. Trapped by their insistence on correcting the injustices of the past before engaging in dialogue, both sides have unwittingly contributed to the perpetuation of their mutual tragedy. Today’s tragic events are thus part of a larger tragic cycle that has gripped Ukrainian political elites for the past century.” https://www.uri.edu/news/2022/12/uri-professors-new-book-looks-at-internal-divisions-in-ukraine-that-contributed-to-current-conflict-with-russia/

  • harry law

    Many people on this blog have been aware of the US machinations in Ukraine since well before the Maidan coup, including Nuland at the state department who spent 6 billion dollars financing various NGO’s and think tanks in Ukraine to facilitate regime change, the US finally achieved it. The confirmation of it was the intercepted phone call fro her to US ambassador to Ukraine G Piatt when she said “fuck the EU” then went on to say who would govern Ukraine, naming various US choices.
    “On Sunday The New York Times published an explosive and very belated full admission that US intelligence has not only been instrumental in Ukraine wartime decision-making, but has established and financed high tech command-and-control spy centers, and was doing so long prior to the Feb. 24 Russian invasion of two years ago.

    Among the biggest revelations is that the program was established a decade ago and spans three different American presidents. The Times says the CIA program to modernize Ukraine’s intelligence services has “transformed” the former Soviet state and its capabilities into “Washington’s most important intelligence partners against the Kremlin today. the US is fighting hand in glove with the Ukrainians. And yet the revelations contained in the NY Times report also confirm what President Putin has precisely accused Washington of all along”.
    “Huge NYT admission that Putin was basically right
    Below is a hugely ironic excerpt from the Times report. The section begins by noting that Putin has repeatedly blamed the US-NATO for expanding its military and intelligence infrastructure into Ukraine. Not only had this precisely been going on for the past decade, as is now being admitted, but was presented by the Kremlin as a key cause of the Russian invasion of Feb.24, 2022. Putin and his officials were adamant on the eve of the invasion that NATO was militarizing Ukraine. The Times appears to now fully admit that, yes – this was actually the case”:
    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/cia-built-12-secret-spy-bases-ukraine-waged-shadow-war-last-decade-bombshell-nyt

  • Stevie Boy

    When considering the Minsk agreements, the events of 2014 and the failed ceasefires it seems logical to apportion blame for the breakup of Ukraine and for every single Ukrainian and Russian death onto the West, primarily the USA and UK. Whichever way you cut it, the West is to blame and still persists in supporting the killing.
    Some things don’t change:
    “Nationalism, … , is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.”
    https://www.orwellfoundation.com/the-orwell-foundation/orwell/essays-and-other-works/notes-on-nationalism/

    • Stevie Boy

      Of course, I’ll probably be censored saying this, but there is an epidemic of ‘died suddenly’ amongst healthy young people. So, maybe Navalny is just another case of this mystery illness.

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