Independence for America and none for Ukraine? (Part Two) Who’s the Nazi Now?

Putin just demonstrated his war in Ukraine has nothing to do with defensive concerns that NATO will attack Russia, upon which he has staked most of his case for his war in Ukraine, though his stated justifications have changed over time along with his goals. His statement this week reveals his war has far more to do with knowing that NATO would stand in the way of his annexing Ukraine into Russia if Ukraine ever became a member:

[Note: You may want to read this article in sections because it’s long, but I put it all together because the sections relate back to Putin’s included video.]

Simply put, “Putin Says ‘No Problem’ If Finland, Sweden Join NATO‘”

This supports what I’ve believed all along, which is that Putin knows NATO will never be the first to attack Russia from a border state. NATO has never so much as thrown a rock at Russia. So, he has no problem with Sweden and Finland joining NATO. Absolutely none.

Putin has even said in the past it is each nation’s right to join NATO if it wishes. So, why is Ukraine the only exception, even as Putin now publicly gives his OK to Finland and Sweden joining? It certainly has nothing to do with location, because you can practically see St. Petersburg from Finland, and Moscow isn’t much further away from Finland than from Ukraine.

Clearly the difference is that Putin wants Ukraine, plain and simple, in order to rebuild the old Russian imperium, which has long included Ukraine. He knows he can never attack it and capture the Russian-speaking lands and annex them into Russia (or make them Russian vassal states) if Ukraine were to join NATO. So, he is acting before Ukraine joins and turns absorption of the Russian parts of Ukraine into an impossible Putin imperial dream. You won’t have to take my word for that, though. As I promised in the first half of this series, Putin will reveal his intentions quite clearly in his own televised speech below.

Of course, he states his unique objection to NATO in Ukraine is because Ukraine has been developing an anti-Russian culture, so it might use NATO to attack Russia if it joins NATO. That’s a fake cover story if there ever was one because NATO has never attacked Russia, which is why Putin doesn’t care if Finland and Sweden enter. Moreover, Article 5 in the NATO charter is solely about defending any NATO nation that is attacked. It does does not in any way require member nations join in an offensive attack made by one of its member nations — only in defense. So, Ukraine could never use NATO to attack Russia because NATO would never go along. Besides, it is quite possible for Ukraine to join NATO without NATO putting nukes there.

Notice Putin is not attacking any nations that already are members of NATO, including those with more Nazis than Ukraine? He only attacks nations that are not members of NATO. Putin has never attacked a NATO nation. So, the need for NATO as a defense is also made apparent by Putin’s avoidance of military actions with NATO nations. He has, on the other hand, attacked many nations/regions that are not allied with NATO over the years of his reign. (And “reign” is the right word now that the Kremlin is stating Putin should be referred to as “our ruler,” rather than “president.”) Thus, he doesn’t fear any new nations joining NATO when he has no interest in attacking them anyway (because they are not slavic and have very few people sympathetic to Russian culture or language so would be ungovernable). He is only interested in rebuilding the former empire.

It really is as simple as that. Imperial Putin wants Ukraine (or, at least, the Russia-leaning parts of it because he knows controlling the other parts would be a hundred-year war … or more). Just listen to the words of his leading diplomat and then carefully to Putin’s own words:

Imperial Putin

Last week, close Putin pal and former Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, laid the real motives out quite plainly for anyone who was actually listening and willing to take him at his word:

For us, Crimea is a part of Russia. And that means forever. Any attempt to encroach on Crimea is a declaration of war against our country.

Zero Hedge

Now that Putin has full control of Crimea, it is plain and simple that his invasion of Crimea a few years ago when his involvement in Donbas also began, was all about making certain Crimea belongs to Russia as part of Russia forever. I see no reason at all to think, just because they have not — yet — accomplished that same level of control in Donbas that their goals are even slightly different. After all, they did not first seize Crimea saying, “We want this land to belong to Russia forever.” They seized it saying exactly what they are now saying over the Donbas/Donetsk region about protecting Russian culture and protecting people who speak Russian and about giving people the right (never before accepted or even seen on this earth) to simply vote themselves and their land out of a nation.

What could be more succinct than Medvedev’s statement? It’s not about protecting Russian speakers. It’s all about Crimea belongs to Russia — always has, always will. (Never mind that it was Russia that originally made Crimea part of Ukraine — something Putin considers to have been the “Great Catastrophe” for Russia, so a decision he wants to unilaterally undo. Why even listen to claims that it is about getting rid of Nazis or saving Russophones from genocide? Putin has already killed more of the latter through his war than Ukraine ever did. It is and always was simply about Crimea is Russia! There is nothing ambiguous about it. “It’s ours forever.”

What I find even more convincing is looking at what Putin and paying attention in detail. Putin gave an almost hour-long speech at the start of Putin’s “not-war.” He has in a number of speeches over the years lamented with more passion that the dispassionate Putin usually shows over how Crimea and most of Eastern Ukraine all the way to Kiev were originally part of Russia and how losing those regions was the greatest travesty of history. He does so again here.

I’ll just use this one video as an example from those I’ve watched, but in another video, Putin even went so far as to claim Ukrainian was a bastard version of the Russian language, saying that is not even a real language and that Ukraine was never rightly a nation. However, he admits repeatedly in these speeches that Russia’s own leaders made modern Ukraine, as it is today, a nation by their own hands as their own idea. No one pressed them to it. Even Putin doesn’t say the West did this to Russia, nor that there was any influence from the West in any of this partitioning off of Russian lands into Ukraine. You’ll hear that in the speech below.

In fact, the speech was mostly about restoring the old Russia imperium. Listen to a video of it, and you will hear very little concern about genocide, but a fair amount of deployment of Nazi hatred to justify his actions.

Here it is. Listen to it objectively and see what Vlad the Invader focuses his time and his passion on:

If you’re going to spend an hour giving your justification to the world for your invasion of Ukraine, it’s pretty reasonable to think your main justifications will be the ones you express most emphatically or spend the most of your time on, and Putin just couldn’t stop himself from revealing what really motivates him. Let me provide some notes of the main points with my commentary about Putin’s points in brackets:

  • Putin starts by saying he is going to explain why the war in Ukraine is important for Russians and leads of by saying, “Ukraine is not just a neighboring country for us. It is an inalienable part of our history, culture and spiritual space.” [Kind of leans into the “Ukraine is part of Russia and that means forever” argument, even though it was Russia that made it not a part of Russia under no outside pressure.]
  • “These are people dearest to us … relatives, people bound by blood.” [I guess blowing up tens of thousands of those dearest to him is how Putin shows his love. Sounds warm and fuzzy, but the proof is in the explosions and flying limbs.]
  • Says Ukraine has historically been called Russian land since before part of it officially became part of Russia in the 1700s. [Here we go. In other words, “We want it back. It is ours forever, even though we gave it way.”]
  • He says the purpose of his speech is to explain what Russian actions aim to achieve. (1:50) [Then let’s take him at his word that this speech really does explain what he aims to achieve and why it is important to Russians.]
  • He admits modern Ukraine was “entirely created by Russia,” a process that began back in 1917, which none other than the founding father of the Soviet Union, Lenin, did in a way that was “harsh on Russia,” according to Putin’s lament, by severing what is historically “Russian land” from Russia. [In other words, Russia, not anyone else, made Ukraine a separate state under its own Bolsheviks before the existence of the Soviet Union as a way of bringing the Soviet Union into being.] (2:00)
  • Then Stalin, in the forming the Soviet Union, chose to add more lands to Ukraine from Poland and Hungary and Romania. [That is largely why there are Russian-speaking regions in Ukraine that were intentionally made part of Ukraine by Russian leaders and parts that are not so Russian-speaking added in. So, again, the Russians did this entirely to themselves, while neither Poland nor Hungary nor Romania are asking for their former lands back, willing to let old boundaries be … but Russia is now demanding its contributions back, trying to undo history. Putin will make that clear in this speech.]
  • Then, in 1954, the next Russian leader, Nikita Krushev gave Crimea to Ukraine as well! [So, again, the creating of the modern nation of Ukraine was entirely brought about by Russia’s own leaders. Nothing was taken away from Russia by others or due to pressure from outside of Russia to create the modern state of Ukraine. Russia has no right to complain about what it did to itself just because Putin hates it. It was all part of the formation of “Soviet communist” Russia, as Vlad says, which is also something Russians brought entirely upon themselves — a history Putin now despises, as does most of the world — so, on that Russian creation we can all agree. It was a disaster for everyone, but Russia did it to Russia and sought to impose that Soviet empire on much of Eastern Europe and other lands around Russia as well.] (3:00)
  • Putin, then goes on to describe the formation of the USSR as a confederation of states from the onset, from which he says he wishes to distance himself. He talks about the Bolsheviks bringing damage to Russia. [But remember the Bolsheviks were Russia. They are what overthrew the czars of Russia. The Russians have only themselves to blame, as well, for the Bolshevik revolution that came about as the people of Russia rose up against their czarist leaders. These were Russian ideas dominating, first Russia, then the world around Russia in the reformation of the Russian empire that had existed for centuries, including in the area that was being carved off as “Ukraine.” Should we be surprised they made such a mess of it when the US and the rest of West were saying for decades it was going to turn out to be one of the worst messes every foisted on other nations — something for which Russia hasn’t done a tenth as much to apologize as Germany has done for the atrocities it recked upon the world.]
  • Putin says that more than anything this raises the question of WHY they decided to give more power to “nationalist ambitions on the outskirts of the former empire under Lennin’s federal concepts, which were enshrined into the Soviet constitution. [Putin clearly and emphatically wants to rewrite this history now in order to correct what he lays out as great wrongs done against Russia (albeit entirely by Russians, who simply thought much more negatively about the old Russian imperium than Putin does).] (4:40)
  • As Putin rants about the separation of Ukraine from Russia, he also admits the Russians in power at the time gave these separate states the right to secede from the USSR in the USSR’s founding. He says this was allowed as a concession necessary to get those people to join the union in the first place. [While Putin is clearly of the opinion those regions should have been forced to join, not enticed with this major concession, who is to say joining would ever have happened at all if at gun point. Not giving the right to secede may have just resulted in the same kind of fight we see today. That’s why the concession was made — to gain easier compliance. Putin, however, thinks they should have been made to join without those concessions that Lenin and others saw as necessary to getting them to buy in.]
  • The mistake made of creating the semi-sovereignty of certain Soviet states like Ukraine became abundantly clear, Putin says, when the USSR broke up in 1991. [Having watched more than one speech like this, I think it is clear from what Putin laments the most that Putin’s intention is to right what he calls in this speech the great humiliation of Russia that was “worse than a mistake” under Lenin’s vision of the USSR. He says the great mistake can be called “Vladimir Lenin’s Ukraine. In other speeches, he calls it a “Great Catastrophe.” And all of this is why he doesn’t give a rip about Sweden and Finland joining NATO, but is willing to risk creating WWWIII in order to take Ukraine under his control or as much of it as he can before it joins NATO. Of course, Lenin was a Russian born in Simbirsk, an administrative center in Russia. While that leaves Putin with no one to blame for the formation of modern Ukraine, other than Russia, you can feel how much Putin seethes over the idea from its origin. You can feel his passion as he almost spits out the words through clenched teeth.](6:40)
  • Getting more to the current situation, Putin says the same administrative “mistakes” are true for how the region called Donbas was shoved into Ukraine and made a part of it. [I would think by now it is becoming abundantly clear to all viewers that Putin intends to correct the Russian “mistakes” of history in order to recreate the Russian imperium as he believes it should have always been — and that is pure imperialism, but let’s go on to find out for sure…]
  • Putin says he’s going to show the Ukrainians what “real decommunization” means. Immediately he goes to talking about the old Russian empire again. He says it was impossible to govern that formerly vast area under the new federalism of the communists because such ideas were “far removed from the reality and the historical tradition” that had successfully held the former empire together. [Obviously, Putin is going to lay out another path that does not allow that kind of semi-autonomous statehood that made concession to nationalists to get them to join the Union.] (8:20)
  • Putin admits the reality under the Soviet Union was that none of these states had any real sovereign power, but just the pretense of it because the constitution was never respected. In other words, they were tricked at the outset to believing they’d have more sovereignty than they ever actually experienced under the “Soviet empire.” [He fails to note, of course, that the people who forced control on these regions who did not respect their constitutional sovereignty were Russians — Lenin and Stalin — the latter having been born in the Georgian region after it had been annexed by Czarist Russia a hundred years before he was born, so Russian by birth.]
  • Putin rants about the deep flaws of communism that almost all of us in the US rightly hated (even by Putin’s assessment today) about the USSR throughout the Cold War, including the force by which its mostly Russian leaders ruled. He says the Soviet empire’s destruction was built into its design. [Yet, those are the same misguided leaders who hired Putin to help provide that force back in his KGB days, which he readily did.]
  • Putin, then, rants about how the mostly Russian Soviets chose to break up the Soviet version of the empire when it failed economically due to what Putin describes as its own flaws by doling it out to elites — the oligarchs. [Of course, Putin has never done anything to right the wrongful and despicable actions he describes of doling Russia’s wealth and industry out to communist party elites, who, thus, became the “oligarchs.” Instead, he has infamously maintained the wealth of the elite oligarchs in order to keep peace with them, only offing those that got in his way.]
  • Putin claims Ukrainian nationalists are wrong now to take credit for Ukraine’s independence. He says they are wrong because that independence was a time-bomb built into the original creation of the USSR. [How on earth that strengthens his case is beyond me, as it merely admits they’ve always had a right to be independent and sovereign because the USSR “mistakenly” never stripped that right from them — a mistake he clearly intends to correct.] (14:30)

Throughout the hour-long video Putin admits at every turn that Ukraine’s sovereign over ALL of Ukraine was established by Russians, and that he sees that as a great mistake of history that he must now correct. He calls it the pillage of Russia, but every single point he made was about how Russians were the ones doing all the pillaging of Russia (by carving up the former imperium). It now falls on him to right those wrongs made by Russians alone against Russia.

So, the idea that Putin’s War is about Nazis or genocide is patent nonsense. Putin, himself, says this speech lays out the aims of the war, and most of his time and emphasis is on righting the wrongs that made Ukraine a nation in the first place. He doesn’t sound half has angry about Nazis as he does about “The Great Mistake” nor as determined to rid the area of Nazis as he is to correct “The Great Mistake.” You can feel the difference in his underlying passion when he talks about those two aims and in the time he spends on each of them.

The devastation of Ukraine

Putin acts like he cares about the dire impoverishment Ukrainians found themselves in under the Zelensky regime, but much of what he decries about how Ukrainians have been abused or cheated by their own government and ripped off by the oligarchs as his justification for now going in and cleaning up on their behalf, can equally be said about Russians in Russia under Putin’s rule since the fall of the USSR. More importantly, Putin omits well-known history about how — prior to the fall of the Soviet Union when Ukraine gained in actuality the sovereignty that had been promised to it in the Soviet constitution since the crushing of the czarist empire — the abuse by Russia was drastically worse for every Ukrainian under Russian Soviet rule.

Putin doesn’t mention how the largely Russian soviet parceled things out to those oligarchs that oppress them (creating the oppression by giving ownership to a few elites), and he also doesn’t mention how he helped enforce all of that when he was a leader in the KGB! No wonder he says he must describe the period “from a distance;” he must distance himself from the things he was a part of. Putin is never inclined to describe what he did in the KGB. We’ll touch back on that. Let’s face it, Russia has more to do with the creation of the “Russian mafia” — the oligarchs — than any other entity does when its Soviet empire crumbled. Russia did that to Russia and to Ukraine like all the other things Putin laments above. They are part of wretched ugliness of Russia’s political past that the US rightly hated for decades as it watched the corruption and oppression under Russian leadership in areas like Eastern Europe and Ukraine.

It is even more risible, when Putin says (24:40) eight years after the Maidan revolution in Ukraine, 6-million people are without work because their replacement government (the coup government) failed them. He fails to mention that those 6-million are without work because Putin’s War during those years over Crimea and in Donbas displaced them! He has the audacity to say they “had to go abroad to find work.” No, they had to go abroad to find refuge from Putin just like now; then they had to try to find work!

Similarly, he rants about the shortages they faced under their government and the high prices. I’m sure all Ukrainians would consider those shortages an abundance compared to what Putin has delivered to them now, which is impoverishment that will last for years; and they would consider the high prices during the Zelensky regime fire-sale bargains compared to what they have to pay to get food inside of war-torn Ukraine today.

Putin argues that they didn’t have the money to pay for utilities, but doesn’t mention how he subsequently blew up most of their utilities for years to come, making the situation so much better for them (as if he cares about how they suffered due to lack of good utilities in the decades after the collapse of an utterly corrupt Soviet empire that stripped away all wealth and industry and gave it to oligarchs, assuring the region would be a mess for decades to come as the oligarchs milked those utilities and everything else dry by not reinvesting in what was give to them by the Soviets during the disseminating of the goods of the dying empire).

Putin has the audacity to complain these high utility prices came because of how the oligarchs were made rich at the people’s expense. True enough, but also fairly true inside of Russia. When a decaying empire is parceled out to mafia lords, it will certainly take decades to clean up the corruption and the mess you made of it all. He talks about how Ukrainian industry has been destroyed, but doesn’t mention that his bombs are destroying it now far more than ever before. That’s how much he cares. He’s not even slightly trying to keep his bombs and missiles to purely military targets. On the contrary, he deliberately targets broad civilian areas with carpet bombing.

To be sure, Ukraine had plenty of economic problems and plenty of corruption, thanks to the Soviet mess; but Putin has assured all of that is now hundreds of times worse and has created devastation that will likely take decades to rebuild. (So, it is worse than farce when he pretends he has to do this to help the Ukrainians out of the poverty and abject corruption the Soviets foisted upon them by their utterly corrupt parceling out of the old empire’s treasures.)

Putin’s revisionist history

In spite of the numerous problems that Russia created for itself in the formation and reformation of Ukraine, which Putin admits to throughout his speech, his is a revisionist history. It omits Russia’s oppression of Ukraine and complains about Ukrainians outlawing Russian language while omitting the outlawing of Ukrainian language that was forced in earlier times by the Russians on Ukrainians. In that kind of setup, there are certainly going to be lingering hostilities between the two nationalities that live there; but I’ve heard the testimonies of Russian-speaking people in Ukraine who feel far more solidarity with their Ukrainian-speaking counterparts than they do with Mother Russia now that they’ve watched Putin blow their beloved towns apart.

You can read an adjusted version of Putin’s revisionist history by Serhii Plokhy, a professor of Ukrainian and Eastern European history at Harvard, here: “Vladimir Putin’s Revisionist History of Russia and Ukraine.”

I read the article subsequent to writing my notes about about the video, but it came as no surprise to me that the professor describes what I was hearing between the lines of Putin’s speech, such as the fact that the concessions of sovereignty that Putin visibly bristles over were essential to getting Georgia and Ukraine, the two most nationalist and independent regions, to join the USSR without a war in the first place — which Reagan rightly (even by Putin’s description of it) labeled “the Evil Empire.”

Free-speech, protest-supporting Putin … not!

Ironically, Putin points out that nearly a hundred people died in the US-sponsored coup that became the culmination of the Urkainian Maidan revolution. The irony is that he has the audacity to ask, “What did they get for their sacrifice?” The number who died during the weeks of the Maidan revolution pales to utter insignificance compared to the tens of thousands of Ukrainian’s, including thousands of civilians, Putin has slaughtered in their homes, in theaters, in the streets and in uniform in the same amount of time plus the tens of thousands of Russian soldiers. Yet, he calls the Ukrainian Maidan, which began before the US coup, a “real terror regime.”

When he talks about how those who resisted the regime that subsequently took power were beaten in the streets, as if he cares about such brutality, it recalls to my mind the many images of Russians who resisted Putin’s War in Ukraine being beaten in the streets and now thrown in gulags for daring to call it a “war.” Articles about how Russians are beaten in the streets by those who resist Putin’s regime are still appearing in spite of Putin’s extreme takeover and censorship of all major media in Russia, such as this article last week: “Some Russians won’t halt war protests, despite arrest fears.” Word is still slipping out, Putin. You haven’t managed to black everything out, but you sure have tried:

Do not believe the propaganda you see on the [Russian] TV, read independent media! Violence and death have been constantly with us for three months now — take care of yourselves.

With equal irony, Putin decries the Ukrainian prior “crack down on freedom of speech” in his talk above, even though, days later, he banned the word “war” at the cost of fifteen years imprisonment. He speaks against Ukraine’s cracking down on dissent by Russian-speaking people, even though he, days later, imprisoned Russian people for assembling to protest against his government’s war. In one particularly notorious example, he arrested a famous reporter, Maria Ponomarenko, in Russia who protested his war, and this beautiful, brave woman has since been imprisoned in a Siberian mental hospital: “Russian journalist detained in psychiatric hospital over ‘fake news’ posts on Telegram.” (And that story is compliments of a very right-leaning, free-speech dedicated website.) Of course, we all know Putin’s outlawed use of the word “war” means there are undoubtedly many protesters who are less famous than this popular television reporter who can be “disappeared” to Siberia for a good part of their lives without anyone but their close family ever knowing.

This reporter was famous enough to need a government cover story about why she has disappeared — mental illness, of course. (But I don’t think you have to move a person thousands of miles from home into the upper reaches of Siberia just to get them qualified mental help that is not readily available much nearer home in Moscow. Sounds like a pretty familiar KGB/Soviet MO to me! It stretches any credibility. Nor do you need to bar visits by all family members, as has been done in her case. So, that is all rubbish — a cover story.) Meanwhile, she is being tried for the new crime of “fake news” and will face ten years in prison if sentenced — something that is free in the US where everyone can and does create fake news for the government and against the government in a daily melee of mental gymnastics and anguish for those of us who have to plow through it all and try to set our biases aside and figure out what is true and what is false.

Putin, however, will control that for you to make sure you are not confused by more than a single, clear storyline. You won’t need to think for yourself under Putin. (Nor will you be able to because you’ll wind up lobotomized in a state mental hospital or, at least, have your mind imprisoned there.) The law Ponomarenko will be sentenced under, of course, became a law after Putin’s War began as a necessity of war. (You can read about the case from The Moscow Times, which notes it is one of the few significant independent presses remaining in Russia, having been founded during the fall of the Soviet empire.)

Putin even rails against Ukraine purging pro-Russian officials from their government positions, never mind that he has almost certainly purged right out of life, itself, some of his most outspoken government opponents in Russia through various infamous poisonings that have KGB written all over them, even though Putin denies having any role in the poisonings. One of those was the very leader who replaced Putin’s puppet in Ukraine, which we’ll also get to.

Putin & the Patriarch – a story of power and persuasion

Putin also pretends to stand for freedom of religion by criticizing Ukraine’s restrictions on Russian Orthodoxy, never mind that Putin, himself, banned evangelism outside of church in Russia, including inside one’s own home. Putin also shut down evangelical seminaries in Russia and regulated religious training as safeguards to protect the religious hegemony of the Russian Orthodox Church over all others. Yet, Putin supposedly hates hegemony.

Putin is no different than other autocrats who have donned the robes of religion to try to justify their reign, their rules. It is but a strategic alliance between Church and State to win the minds of the masses with the endorsement of the Church’s highest Patriarch. He’s politicized Ukraine’s and Russia’s common religion, headquartered in Moscow, to try to unite Ukraine with Russia based on common religious heritage.

As Ukraine turned toward Europe, the Russian Orthodox Churched via its branch, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), pressed Ukrainian parishioners to turn toward Moscow as the religious center and guardian of their faith. On Putin’s behalf, the UOC-MP also dissuaded Ukrainian soldiers from defending themselves against Russian and Russian-supported separatists. The Russian Orthodox Church, on the other hand, seems to have been silent on dissuading Russian separatists from their military actions against Ukrainians, and the Russian Patriarch Kirill went so far as to defend Putin’s invasion of Ukraine (because, of course, it would assert dominance of the Moscow headquarters of the church over Ukraine if it succeeded). It pays to have a state church on your side to shore up your moral position before the people! Don’t be the beguiled by the religious veneer; it’s one of the oldest tricks for authenticity and divine authority in the imperial play book.

Such marriage of the interests of Church and State in defending and empowering each other are reminiscent of the days of the Holy Roman Empire, and they were the very reason for prohibiting the State from enacting any laws restricting the free practice of religion under the American constitution, including empowering one denomination or religion over another as the state-endorsed religion. By such unholy alliances the state empowers one religion to hold sway over others, while the dominant religion, in return, empowers people like Putin with apparent divine rights as God’s warrior and tribal chief; then wars are shaped as holy wars to uphold the values of religion or the ordinances of God by the unholy power of the State! By such unholy alliances, religion becomes an instrument of statecraft and political persuasion in exchange for the powers of state over the minds of people.

The Russian Orthodox Church is committed to bringing the independent Ukrainian branch back under a single patriarch in Moscow, in order to allow it to control the holiest sites of Orthodoxy in the Slavic world. [Of course it is.] Those interests and Putin’s interests overlap, as Orthodox chaplains bless and accompany the Russian troops into battle. While religion is definitely part of this war … it is not religion in general, but a government’s restrictions on religion…. It is not religion itself that leads to violent persecution and conflict, but the level of social and government regulations on religion…. Russia is in a league of its own among countries in Europe when it comes to government restrictions on religion….

Pew [the polling outfit] assigned 20 different measures on government restrictions, including the prohibition or limiting of public preaching, restrictions on proselytizing and foreign missionaries, restrictions on religious literature or broadcasting and prohibition or limitations on the wearing of religious symbols, such as head coverings for women and facial hair for men. Russia scores poorly on most of the measures….

[And] While Putin’s attack on Ukraine is shaking the world order, Putin’s new best friend, the People’s Republic of China, is the most religiously restrictive country in the world, according to the same Pew study…. China’s government restrictions are so pervasive and powerful that social dissent or uprisings are quelled forthwith.

Deseret News

So, while Putin pretends — for the sake of becoming Guardian of the Faith and getting full church endorsement and backing — to care about religious freedom in Ukraine, his laws in Russia are “the most repressive legislation since the Soviet era against the right of freedom of religion or belief.”

Petulant Putin

Let me point out that Russia and ONLY Russia is constantly threatening World War III and nuclear attack. The US and Europe have made ZERO nuclear threats during this war, so how are they the nuclear provocateurs here as some are claiming? Sure, there are thousands of NATO nuclear missiles pointed at Russia along its border that many writers in the alternative press say are a provocation, but those same articles rarely mention that Russia has about 1,000 more than that in the same region, focused on Europe, and has had for decades!

So, let’s get some historic perspective on the facts. I wish all of those missiles were gone, and headway on that came about under Reagan and Gorbachev and was lost under George Bush II and the Neocons; but it is, nevertheless, Russia that has the most missiles, while NATO is attempting catch up (foolish as that is), and only Russia that keeps threatening OFFICIALLY to launch its nukes as way of extracting their empowerment by threat for the purpose of controlling the behavior of others. That makes Putin the rogue player here and the true provocateur.

The Putin puppets and American muppets

There are ample reasons, if not proof, to believe Russia interfered in Ukraine’s election prior to the 2014 coup to get a Russian puppet in place as leader of Ukraine, spending millions of dollars and hiring Paul Manafort to run the campaign and launder the money, as that was his area of expertise, so that it would not look like Putin was interfering in Ukraine’s election. Most Putin praisers just dismiss that because it’s inconvenient and cannot be clearly proven; but it only cannot be proven at the same level that Joe Biden cannot be proven to have done anything wrong in Ukraine either, though there is grounds for suspicion. In both cases, let’s add the words “so far.”

Ukrainian courts, before the coup, on the other hand, ruled that the Ukrainian election that put Putin’s favored guy in charge before the coup was rigged, so they tossed it out. Next, the man who was awarded the presidency after that was suddenly and mysteriously poisoned. Once he was out of commission, Putin’s man, subsequently, returned to the scene and ran again with a Manafort Makeover, becoming the new Viktor of a new and still suspicious election (the kind of election the KGB was infamous for “helping out with” in the days of now flamed-out, former Soviet glory). THEN came the coup. After all that crap!

So, I am far from accepting anyone’s word that a clean process put Putin’s pal in place. I see a lot of dots of corruption there prior to the coup, begging to be connected to Putin; so, I would certainly not hold Putin free of suspicion. In fact, I think that is why the US felt justified in getting involved in a coup in the first place — to correct Putin’s massive and illegal (if it could be proven) interference. I am not jumping to that conclusion, but I’m certainly saying it bears further investigation. And I do not say it justifies backing the Ukrainian coup, as I felt way back then US intrusion in the ongoing Maidan greatly muddied the waters for good.

A U.S. embassy cable sent from Kiev to Washington in 2006 described Manafort’s job as giving an “extreme makeover” to a presidential hopeful named Viktor Yanukovych, who had the backing of the Kremlin and most of Ukraine’s wealthiest tycoons. His Party of Regions, the cable said, was “a haven” for “mobsters and oligarchs.”


Yes, it was the guy Putin liked who was deeply affiliated with the oligarchs in Ukraine! So, it’s pitiful when Putin says he has to conduct his little special operation now in part because Ukraine is run by oligarchs. Some on the right will claim in knee-jerk fashion the fact that Time is reporting this means it is a lie; but it connects all the dots better than any other theory I’ve seen for Paul Manafort’s involvement, and I’m a big believer in Occam’s Razor, which says the most economical answer that satisfies all the details is most likely to be the true answer. It passes the smell test in terms of its own logic, and there is no question in anyone’s account that the Party of Regions is riddled with corruption or that it is the one that is pro-Russia.

This much, at least, is objective fact: Manafort remade the public image of a known thug with a rap sheet and got him elected. Yanukovych, the mafia-style thug, by the way, was the governor of Donetsk, the Russian-speaking region now under fire from both sides, and he had an iron-clad reputation of being a crime boss until Manafort gave him a political makeover. What is also a fact is that an oligarch paid Manafort to work his magic for Yanukovych — an oligarch who leaned heavily toward Putin. I can’t stand people like Manafort who are even willing to take on a job like that just for the money (and lots of it as it turned out).

Some might say, “Anyone would do it for that kind of money.” I certainly wouldn’t, and I know plenty of others who would not either.

What is not a fact is whether the oligarch got a call from Putin seeking the kind of political favor that keeps oligarchs rich under Putin’s reign. What is a fact is that Manafort is a twice-tried, many-time-convicted fraudster and money launderer. What are the crimes he was charged with in the first case brought against him which ended in eight convictions?

Engaging in a conspiracy against the United States … engaging in a conspiracy to launder money … failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts … acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal … making false and misleading statements in documents filed and submitted under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) … and making false statements…. Prosecutors claimed Manafort laundered more than $18 million, money he had received as compensation for lobbying and consulting services for Yanukovych.


His second trial and conviction was when he pled guilty under the Mueller investigation — the same investigation that reported honestly, after doing its best to pin things on Trump, that it could find no evidence connecting all these Russian dots to Trump — but was certain it could connect them to Manafort. That case, of course, involved Manafort allegedly conspiring with Russia to interfere in the US election and ended in a hung jury; however, Manafort took a plea bargain and pled guilty to obstruction of justice and witness tampering to keep from going back to court over everything in that second case.

This is my short-and sweet account. Read the full details linked to above, and the further you dig down through it all, the more Russian dirt you see smeared all over Putin’s puppet and his campaigns — no dirt connecting Trump to Russia but plenty connecting Manafort to Putin’s preferred puppet and a whole ship load of crime and criminals working Putin’s side of the Ukrainian ballot.

That makes Manafort the ideal political campaign manager for anyone buying an election by funding a campaign with millions of dollars who doesn’t want to be known because he’s outside government interference. What is not a fact is that all of this means Putin is the kingpin. However, what is fact is that Yanukovych was Putin’s ideal pick, and Manafort went to prison for multiple illegal acts involved in aiding Putin’s pal into office, including money laundering. So, the only pro-Russian candidate who allied himself after he won with Putin and steered his nation away from Europe and toward Putin was put in office by an intense amount of expensive criminal activity, according to a US court, the Mueller investigation and finally Manafort’s own plea to some of it to avoid going back to court after a hung jury in the second case. And THAT is why the US wrongfully involved itself in a coup to kick the crime boss out.

So, a summary of the known facts long before any recognized US involvement in Ukrainian election: 1) Yanukovych was blocked from taking power by an earlier Ukrainian revolt against what people said was a rigged election, which happened back in 2004. 2) The election was, then, voided by the courts as being corrupt. 3) The man who was elected to take Yanukovych’s position was an economist named Viktor Yushchenko, who fell mysteriously ill as his movement for European integration gained momentum. 4) It turned out he was poisoned with dioxin. 3) He was replaced by the man whom the courts threw out in the previous election for fraud and who was a member of the crime-ridden, Russian-leaning party.

It may be a leap of logic to say the M.O. in the poisoning sounds like Putin, but it’s not a very big leap; and it is certainly the leap that Yushchenko, who survived after a long time of struggle and disfigurement, has made. It does seem a little peculiar that so many of Putin’s adversaries die conveniently from some kind of poisoning, which is an old KGB tactic. It reminds me of the Soviet days when enemies of the communist party “caught a cold” and were never seen again. I won’t say Putin is guilty, but he looks like the prime suspect to me. I certainly would not give him the benefit of the doubt on anything.

Putin patsy Yanukovych, on the other hand, never struggled with any poison problems; but the US clearly did help throw him out. If they had intel, and if that intel was correct, that Putin put him in, then US actions would be no more interfering than Russia’s actions; but who knows? It looks to me like they tried to secretly correct Putin’s many extreme wrongs in that election and, so, muddied the waters forever. If not Putin, then some very pro-Russian, criminal oligarchs for certain. Manafort gave these crooks a makeover:

For his mastery of political campaigning, Manafort was dubbed a “mythical figure” in the Ukrainian press, and the country’s powerbrokers still give him much of the credit for turning the pro-Russian party around. “I can tell you he’s a real specialist,” says Manafort’s friend Dmitry Firtash, the Ukrainian billionaire and former partner to the Kremlin in the European gas trade. “He won three elections in Ukraine. He knew what he was doing….”

Once installed in the presidency, Yanukovych began to amass an enormous fortune, easing cronies from his home region of Donetsk into key posts around the country. The President also built an opulent palace for himself outside Kiev, complete with a private zoo, a golf course and a restaurant in the shape of a pirate ship docked in his backyard.

How odd that last bit is. I thought we heard Putin saying in the video above that he didn’t like oligarchs and that his purpose was to get them out of power! Yet, whether he financed Yanukovych’s campaign (or called in a favor from an oligarch), Yanukovych — the guy Putin readily provided sanctuary for during the coup — rapidly became an oligarch like so many others who have done well under Putin so long as they don’t oppose him.

When I look at so much oligarch corruption all around Putin’s favored candidate, it is impossible for me to see Putin as doing anything but lying through his teeth when he pretends in that video to care about how Ukrainians were mistreated by oligarchs while acting like he has nothing to do with that.

I’ll also note that the American backing of the coup has a lot less solid evidence than the Putin backing of Yanukovych. However, for my part, I think the dots on either one connect clearly enough that I am inclined to believe in both. Putin paid to put his guy in place, so the US returned the favor and paid to help get him out and to get their guy in place. One thing is abundantly clear: Putin’s favored guy certainly became another oligarch after he entered power. No wonder he was ousted by a coup. You don’t get that rich from being elected without taking from the people and giving to the rich in massive favors.

To top it off, while Putin’s puppet was in power, he also had a habit of arresting all his adversaries. So, let’s not pretend the coup threw a nice guy out of office. Now, maybe they are all bad guys who deserved it, but Yanukovych’s justification for his position back then sounded much more traditionally Russian:

The party is powerful. The voters support it. Today the President of Ukraine has the highest ratings of any politician.

One could have said the same thing about the Communist Party. In other words, “It’s the way business is done.” The people support whatever the party gives them to support because of what it costs them if they don’t. That is reflective of the Soviet days.

Here is where Manafort’s skills helped out. He did what Washington experts do best. He hired a lobbyist to spin the arrests in Washington as Ukraine doing its part to clean up corruption. That’s beyond laughable, not just on the face of it but, because after all was said and one, there was another juicy tidbit:

The national anti-corruption bureau [in Ukraine] discovered a secret ledger of off-the-books payments from the Party of Regions [the anti-West, anti-NATO party in Ukraine that backed Yanukovych]; Manafort’s name appears in the document 22 times, with payments worth $12.7 million designated for him between 2007 and 2012

Both sides are coup-coup

I’m perfectly happy to go with the opinion that they are ALL bad guys. But that still leaves the coup no more proven to be US-sponsored than the ostensibly Putin-backed elections. However, a hundred deaths from the coup are microscopically insignificant when compared to Putin’s sponsored resistance in Donbas and now his clearly proven slaughter of tens of thousands — aged civilians, mothers and children included. You may not be able prove the sponsorship conclusively in either the coup or the civil war by either side, but there is no question at all of who is instigating, financing and driving the war that can’t be called a “war.” Putin is the invader here, so it all comes about in response to him.

The way I see it is that the US got ticked off about Russia’s interference in the Ukraine election a decade ago, so it sponsored a subsequent coup to throw out the Putin Puppet. (I would FULLY agree the US was bad on that one). Russia has also interfered in Crimea for years, seeking to influence the people of Crimea to vote for independence from Ukraine and solidarity with Russia, as if people have ever been able to do that in any nation on earth; but Putin entices people to believe they can in order to foment civil war that will turn the Russian-speaking half of Ukraine into a Russian state. As the former KGB kingpin of disinformation, he is exceptionally trained in that. In response to the US-sponsored a coup in Ukraine, Russia did something far more egregious that Putin had long wanted to do and took all of Crimea by military force so now claims it as Russia’s forever.

For years, Russia has done all it can to take all of the Donbas plus a land bridge to Crimea. In pursuit of this effort it has slaughtered, at least, 30,000 Ukrainians, including deliberate attacks over and over on residential areas, theaters, malls, and all kinds of civilian targets. Putin’s War has also resulted in the deaths of 30,000 of its own soldiers. Yet, Russia is presented in most of the alternative press as the good one here on the basis that the US got around a hundred people killed in its coup that supposedly forced Russia to take Crimea. Where is the moral equivalence? I think the US instigation of a coup during the Maidan rebellion was dead wrong, but do I think it even remotely compares to the masacre of tens of thousands of people in Putin’s quest for influence or outright control over the region? It is a moral aberration to even think the two are comparable just because both are wrong.

It’s presented as all the West’s fault because, well, NATO has no reason to exist because Russia has apparently never in the last hundred years or now ever threatened the nations that are Europe’s eastern border with nuclear war or conventional war because, well, Russia, good! People who believe Russia never does that have lost their memories. It does it all the time and is proving once again why NATO has to exist in the first place. But, everything that is happening is presented as NATO’s fault because Russia ordered NATO to cease expanding its defenses along Europe’s border, and NATO didn’t follow Russias demand because it didn’t take Russia’s word for it for some reason when Russia said, “We never attack Europe. We never have and never will. That’s not what we do.”

“But by the way, we are also not attacking Ukraine either because we would never do that; however, Crimea is ours FOREVER, and the Donbas will soon be ours forever, and we haven’t told you yet what other areas we plan to never attack.”

Most writers in the alternative press lovingly lap up the lies because … well, Russia, good, Putin, saint and US evil! Those Russians told us Russia would never pre-emptively (like the US in Iraq) invade the Eastern Ukrainian — oops, Eastern European — regions because it is not even invading Ukraine now because Russia did not even start a “war” because, well, that word isn’t even legal anymore in Russia because, well, Russia, good, Putin saint. Crimea ours.

Let’s, at least, have a little perspective and proportionality here. There is nothing about Putin that looks saintlike and nothing any more solidly proven against the US regarding the coup (though I am ready to believe it was involved prima facia) than there is against Putin.

Says one of the oligarchs who worked alongside Manafort in Ukraine,

If I were to call him now, I’m sure he’d come visit me and we’d sit down and talk…. But why would I do that? I know what’s going on. I can’t get any help from him now. He can’t help me.

So, the guy (Manafort) who got Putin’s favorite politician in Ukraine into power just before the coup is the helper of oligarchs. Not exactly an affirming endorsement. “He can’t help me now” that’s he’s tied up with the law.

A leaked U.S. State Department cable from 2006 said that Manafort’s job was to give the Party of Regions an “extreme makeover” and “change its image from … a haven for mobsters into that of a legitimate political party….”

Manafort was untouchable — “a big cheese here, in charge of everything….”

Manafort was working for a party whose base was in Russian-speaking Eastern Ukraine. Manafort’s new bosses were oligarchs friendly to Moscow, and hostile to America’s principal military alliance, NATO.


So, that is the raft of thieves who were given the Manafort Makeover. Isn’t tossing Russian mafia thugs out in a coupe, at least, as good as tossing Nazis out via all-out war? The coup cost a hundred lives. Bad as US involvement in coups against thugs is, we’re still running the adding machines at full speed to keep up the tally of lives that Putin is excising to keep his oligarch crime bosses in power in the Donetsk region.

Manafort’s strategy was to set Russian speakers against Ukrainian speakers, and supporters of Moscow against supporters of NATO. So, he ginned up arguments on both sides in order to polarize the nation so as to split off half of it for Russia. Divisive people like that, in my way of thinking, are pure evil for personal financial gain. The goal was to crack a linguistically and culturally divided Ukraine in two. It worked. Manafort, however, called it “developing a democracy.”

The poor Putie argument

Finally, there is the argument that the West left Putin no choice because they crossed his red line. Supposedly they wanted this war as a means to wear down Russia in another war of attrition. First, who declared Putin gets to set the red line? Second, supposing they do want to drag Russia into a war that grinds its military down into mere shrapnel, their argument, then, is based on saying Putin was dumb enough to take the bait and get sucked into yet another war of attrition like Afghanistan. It’s a lame argument that claims Putin just couldn’t help himself. He had to take the bait.

The claim here is that US is essentially still following the Brzezinski doctrine that expedited the end of Cold War:

In 1998, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbiegnew Brzezinski told Le Nouvel Observateur that the CIA “knowingly increased the probability” that the Russians would invade Afghanistan by covertly supporting the Mujahideen before the Soviet invasion. Later in that same interview, Brzezinski claims that this covert intervention caused the end of the Soviet Union:

Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.” Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

In July 2014, almost six months after the Maidan Revolution and Russia’s subsequent annexation of Crimea, Brzezinski hinted at a similar plan for Ukraine….

Zero Hedge

If that’s true, Russia was dumb enough to fall for it twice, and who can regret the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union, which even Putin describes as doomed to failure from its own bad ideas and misgovernance? In fact, if Putin walked into such an obvious trap, it happened because he desperately wanted to invade for all the reasons he laid out in his speech, so he seized the opportunity.

There was nothing hidden about this. Brzezinski openly wrote,

If Ukraine has to be supported so that it does resist, the Ukrainians have to know the West is prepared to help them resist. And there’s no reason to be secretive about it. It would be much better to be open about it and to say to the Ukrainians and to those who may threaten Ukraine that if Ukrainians resist, they will have weapons. And we’ll provide some of those weapons in advance of the very act of invasion.

Russia took a devastating pounding in Afghanistan that resulted in the destruction of the Soviet Union — a war they never had to enter, but they chose to enter because they couldn’t resist the lure. And someone is going to argue Putin had no responsibility to learn something from that bitter lesson about being lured into a conflict? So, now Russia took the bait again in Ukraine, where they are, AGAIN, bogged down in a war of attrition that is already badly wearing down their conventional military strength, slaughtering all their top generals, and badly denting morale. And, ONCE AGAIN, they had no need at all to go in there. If this is an intentional proxy war by the US, am I supposed to feel sorry for Russia because they were stupid enough to get drawn into starting another quagmire? No one made Putin invade. NATO in Sweden and Finland don’t bother him because he doesn’t want to take over Sweden and Finland; but he clearly wants to reclaim the old empire for Russia.

While I think Russia’s actions, as I’ve delineated throughout this series and through Putin’s own words clearly reveal Russia’s invasion is due to Putin’s own imperial ambitions, I’m just pointing out how lame the argument is that poor Pootang had no choice. He had every choice. Ukraine was’t attacking him. NATO has never attacked him, and he already has far more nukes and a far bigger military along the border than NATO, so has always been a greater threat to Europe than Europe is to him, and Russia is the only nation that chooses to constantly use its nukes to threaten others. And he’s chasing to ignore Finland and Sweden because they have no slavic connections that ignite his imperial ambitions, which are obsessively focused on Mother Russia.

Just as Afghanistan posed very little threat to Russia that it could not simply contain by defending its border from any movement by Afghans into Russia, Ukraine posed no threat to Russia at all, having never attempted to send terrorists into Russia or to expand its borders into Russia. But Russia likes to flex its muscles — Putin especially — and show it is powerful and dominate the regions around it. Putin craves Russia’s former super-power status and its former lands; and the West and Ukraine knew this about him and had ever reason to fear he would do it.

Russia has TRIED ITS HARDEST FOR DECADES to add land from Europe and along Russia’s southeastern border with a lot of past success … but not anymore. That is why Europe is drawing its own red line and saying, “Never again!” That is why it started arming Ukraine. The memories of people in all those Eastern European nations are not so short as to forget how they were conquered and harshly enslaved by Russia under the Soviet Union — turned into communist labor drones with no autonomy over their own lands. If you believe people should have some local self-rule, Russia did not. It heavily oppressed them for decades, so why on earth would they trust Putin, and liar by profession in the KGB?

That is WHY Europe embraced NATO in the first place. NATO has never fired so much as pea shooter into Russia nor ever tried to take legitimate lands away from Russia, but it is there to make sure that Russia never AGAIN tries to conquer European countries to — again — add them to the lands it controls or directly rules.

If Russia would just learn to live peaceably within its existing borders, instead of always seeking reasons to justify expanding them, it would be a prosperous and commendable nation. But it just cannot resist the lure into a trap to expend all its expansionist energies in one place where it bogs down … as we saw in Afghanistan and as we saw in the very first month in Ukraine. I’m not saying the US used Ukraine as a pawn. I think everyone — all of Europe and Ukraine — knew full well Putin was not going to stop at Crimea or even earlier at election interference. He was like a prowling lion, always looking for a way to devour Ukraine. The US and West just said, “Let’s be ready for this,” and the US has tried to avoid taking arms to a level that will trigger nuclear war while empowering Ukraine as much as it can to defend itself. For, Eastern Europe based on experience, it’s an existential war.

Sad for the people of Russia and sad for the people of Ukraine if this argument is true. It’s sad also that it is unfortunately better to lure Russia into a trap than just let it go on successfully expanding into areas to dominate and control them … as it did in Georgia and Chechnya and as it tried in Afghanistan and now Ukraine … and especially as it formerly did throughout the entirety of Eastern Europe. IS IT ANY WONDER EUROPEANS DON’T TRUST RUSSIA??? I think it is incredibly naive to not recognize Europe’s red line against Red Russia. It is incredibly naive to think decades of Russian dominance and oppression in Eastern Europe and Ukraine would just be casually washed away in a few years.

No double standards

When the US intervenes in other nation’s civil wars, as Putin is doing, it often says it is “to prevent genocide” … just as Putin is claiming. Often it appears to have the same underlying reason Putin would appear to have — vast energy reserves underlying the land (natural gas reserves and coal reserves in this case and likely a lot of oil, given those three resources often go hand in hand). People who say the US is going to war over oil, need to be just as quick to say the biggest oil hegemon in the world — Russia — is doing the same thing with its neighbors to further its regional monopoly. Why would I find one standard acceptable for the US and not for Putin? He’s no saint. Just ask the people he is imprisoning for protests.

When Putin carries on at the end of the video about the Ukrainian shelling of Donbas and the slaughtering of women and children there, he fails completely to mention his own abominable actions in Donbas as if he is pure and innocent of all the violence there. In fact, Putin has fed weapons into that area for years and has encouraged the people there to fight and to secede … for years. If Putin had not constantly been baiting the people in the region to secede and funding their fighting, Ukraine might not even be in a civil war there. Most of the Ukrainian shelling that has happened has been to put down secession efforts by Russian-speaking rebels that Putin was baiting and arming. So, why does Putin get to operate with a different standard that holds him guiltless over all he is constantly stirring up by the same people who decry the US, claiming the US baited Putin into a proxy war in Ukraine? It is not as if he hasn’t been doing exactly the same thing in a proxy war against Ukraine, using the people in Donbas.

In just four months this year Putin has slaughtered far more women and children than ten years of Ukrainian shelling of the breakaway rebels in Donbas did. None of that gets mentioned in the alternative press. Even right now, Russia is killing more civilians in Donbas than Ukraine is in this battle against Russian occupation of the region. Russia has slaughtered many civilians in Donbas.

Many of these towns have already experienced years of war since Russia’s proxies first seized large parts of Donbas. Severodonetsk is normally a city of 100,000 people – 15,000 were still there, mainly in bomb shelters, as Russian troops advanced in late May.

Maryna Agafonova, 27, fled her family’s home in Lysychansk weeks before: “They attacked hospitals and residential buildings,” she said….

Slovyansk, a city of 125,000 people that was seized by Russian-backed forces in 2014 before being recaptured….

Serhiy Haidai believes Russia’s leader is now determined to capture the Luhansk region, no matter what the cost – in money, soldiers’ lives or military equipment….

Men of military age were required to join the local Russian proxy militia, so anyone who wanted to avoid mobilisation was in hiding. People called it “mogilisation” after the Russian word mogila which means grave, she said.

“There are many dead and many funerals. Wives often do not know anything about the fate of their mobilised husbands.”

Asked about the prospect of a vote on joining Russia, she said people understood they had no real say in the matter: “It’s like a train you can’t get off.”


A vote essentially at gunpoint and under great Russian enticement to secede will mean nothing because another fact is that no nation on earth, other than Russia, has recognized the right of the Donbas to consider itself a separate nation from Ukraine. Russia has always isolated itself in that stance.

And what was Donbas to the former Soviet Russian empire?

It was a place, too, of “extremely high-stakes industrial production, and repression,” Dobczansky adds. “Terror was present under Soviet rule. Repression happened all over the Soviet Union, but it happened intensely in the Donbas.” Suspicion, arrests and show trials were rife.


Why on earth would Ukraine’s government want that region to fall back under Russian rule after years of hostile experience when it was under Russian rule? Just forgive and forget? It is true as Putin says in his video that the region badly declined since its Soviet days when it became independent from Russia. However, something Putin leaves out of his speech when talking about the decline is how the region was experiencing revival in recent years until war began to ravage the region in 2014 after Putin armed the rebels. So, it is his interference there that brought the latest and greatest stage of its decline.

Regardless, decline in the area does not give Putin any legitimate right to take it back, since the Russians long ago made their own decision to give the area to Ukraine and to declare Ukraine a sovereign state. Even more interesting: in spite of all Putin has said, only a third of the region is ethnic Russian. Half are ethnic Ukrainians, and the rest are a mix of everything else. So, Putin presents himself as the noble liberator of Russian-speaking people in an area he agitated into war and equipped for war with soldiers whose salaries he supplied, all of which is only one-third Russian-speaking. But Putin’s pro-Russian narrative is far more twisted than that:

“It’s important not to fall to notions that the Donbas is pro-Russian or anti-Ukrainian,” a concept that has been stirred up relentlessly by the Kremlin since 2014 but is roundly debunked by experts.

That is just an argument of convenience for Putin who applies one standard to justify all of his destruction and another to Ukraine. In a poll of the region conducted just before Putin’s War, fewer than one-in-five people in eastern Ukraine felt the Donbas region should break away as a separate nation; but, more telling, only one-in-three Russian-speaking people felt the region should break away and become its own nation.

More than 14,000 people have died in the conflict in Donbas since 2014, including 3,000 civilians caught up in the conflict. Ukraine says that since 2014, almost 1.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes… Russia has meanwhile aggressively attempted to stir up separatist feeling in the region, which it has then pointed to as a justification for invading.

“In propaganda since 2014, the Donbas has become a sacrificial lamb in Russian narratives…. It’s the place where the Russians have cultivated a cult of victimhood. They’ve managed to turn their own fomenting of a war into a narrative of victimhood at the hands of Ukrainian nationalists,” he added. “They hammer this point home.”

Bear in mind that Putin’s role in the KGB was as the leader of disinformation. He is one of the world’s most renowned and highly trained masters of counter-intelligence and deception — of feeding people false information to create false perceptions of “facts.” He is not a novice at this. He got the leadership role by being one of the best people in the world at exactly this kind of deception and manipulation. So, think thrice before you believe the view he presents. He is highly skilled at warping minds for the sake of Russia. For years, it was his whole reason for existence. And that, too, is a well-known fact.

It is far from clear, however, even after Putin is all said and done with his military misadventures and masterminded mental manipulations, that the region would break away if given such an internationally invalid vote. Just prior to the invasion (a mere few months ago) “no part of Ukraine felt their country and Russia should be one.” Even in the Donbas region, only 18% felt their part of the country should join Russia. Prior to Putin’s constant interference and agitation in the region, pro-Russian separatism was even much smaller than that! Besides, the region was given exactly such a vote when the Soviet Union broke down in 1991, and it voted for independence from Russia. So, all of this separatism is dissension stirred up by Putin.

Why? Because since the founding of the USSR, Russia has dubbed Donbas “the heart of Russia.” Putin wants the industrial heartland back. Donbas was part of …

“Novorossiya,” or New Russia, a term given to territories towards the west of which the Russian empire had expansionist ideas.

Yes it became the industrial heart of Russian expansionism as well as a region rich to this day in energy resources. The Donbas supplies the former Soviet Union with an abundance of raw materials.

Putin “believes he is like the czars,” the imperial dynasties that ruled Russia for centuries, “potentially called by God in order to control and restore the glory of the Russian empire.”

Those are the most dangerous kinds of megalomaniacs of all. Taking the Donbas would be a sugar plum of a consolation prize to deliver to Mother Russia to justify her huge cost in Putin’s War. In the process of trying to get it, Putin is destroying almost all of it in an all-out scorched-earth policy because, if he can’t have it, no one can. He will reck whatever destruction necessary to either get it or leave nothing worth having behind. Let’s just keep the blame on the guy doing it and not help him find a scapegoat for his perishing imperialism.

Does Ukraine have no right to defend its borders?

The most telling thing of all about those who pretend the US is dragging Ukraine into a proxy war against Russia, is that they act as if they care about Ukraine’s interests while exhibiting their profound hatred for the US, but they always manage to leave out what Ukraine’s interests and desires are. Ukraine has clearly stated on its own terms — with or without weapons from the West — Ukraine intends to fight to the last man or woman standing to hold onto Ukraine as is its right and obligation to defend itself and its people.

Putin and his apologist try to make it sound as if the West is just dragging Ukraine into an extended war, apparently oblivious to the fact that millions of Ukrainians choose to stay in this war for as long as it takes to drive Russia back out of their land. No one but Putin is pressing them to do so. The Ukrainians clearly view this as an existential battle, and it is Ukraine that is making the endless pleas for more arms from the West, not the West that is shoving arms at Ukraine. No one forced Putin to start the war, and no one is forcing him to remain engaged in it.

In fact, no matter how much the West moves weapons into Ukraine, Ukraine pleads for more and for heavier weapons and almost derides the West for not giving enough. So, the idea that the US is just using Ukraine falls down right out of the gate. Ukraine would fight this war with or without Western weapons. The difference the weapons make is whether the Ukrainians all lay slaughtered on a hopeless battlefield where they lost to a far more powerful nemesis or actually have a hope of saving a good part of Ukraine to remain their own. Writers in the alternative press write as if they should just give up that right for everyone else’s sake, though none of those writers would be so quick to lay down arms if people came gunning for their homes.

Already, the Ukrainians would have lost it all, had their own bravery and determination and the rightness of their cause, which is to protect their land from an invader, not been empowered by Western weapons to decimate Russia’s ranks of tanks in order to shove Russia back to the original front lines.

What those who see nothing but American evil in all of this also fail to account for is that Europe sees this as an existential war, too, and that it is NOT the US driving Europe into this. In fact, Europe was first to place sanctions on Russia. Europe has been on the front lines of handing weapons to Ukraine, and the US has actually been restraining some of those weapons to try not to turn this into a nuclear conflict. To insist, as I’ve read some saying, that the US is driving Europe as a collective of US vassal states on this issue is beyond absurd.

Finland and Sweden have even readily thrown off their neutrality over the Russian threat to Europe. No one had to entice them. Even Switzerland almost immediately gave up the total neutrality it held to throughout World War II and all the ensuing years. So, Putin’s claim that the US is driving this is beyond stupid. The evidence everywhere screams that Ukraine and Europe are driving even ahead of the US on this; but all are on the same side of the fight.

Those who ask, What good does helping Ukraine do for the US, are really asking “Why should the US stand by its World War II allies? Why should we stand strong with Europe when its edges are being hostilely invaded?” I would answer because, maybe when you have been allies with other nations for the better part of a century, you should not just walk away from those friendships in their hour of need when the Russians are storming up their doorsteps and killing tens of thousands of people on the pretext of ridding the world of Nazis and corrupt oligarchs that Russia, itself, is full of!

Since Russia has an extensive history of successfully invading and conquering multiple European nations, Europe has every historical reason to believe nothing Putin says and to not trust the Russian government. Neither does Europe have any reason to believe the liars who said they would not invade Ukraine are telling the truth when they claim they would not go further than Ukraine. Remember, even after Putin started assembling his invasion, he and all of his government spokespeople assured the world there would be no Ukraine invasion. Then, when they entered Ukraine, Putin said he was only interested in helping Donbas; yet, not more than two days later, he started invading all of eastern Ukraine and northern Ukraine to close in on Kiev. You’d have to be a fool to believe anyone who has already lied to you repeatedly in such a brazen manner.

Putini is a liar, plain and simple. Why would any nation in Europe trust that he will not do exactly what Russians did for decades in Europe, especially in the Baltic Republics in Europe’s northeast corner? It is important to point out that his slaughter of tens of thousands of civilians and destruction of their homes was not collateral damage from a cruise missile that missed its target. This was intentional carpet bombing of residential districts where Putin has presented no evidence in almost all cases of those areas being used to launch missiles or mortars at Russian forces. So, they were not legitimate military targets.

It is a well-known part of Russia’s war doctrine based on real experiences elsewhere that Russia will deliberately attack residential areas of zero military importance just to terrorize the citizens into begging their government to surrender. Putin does it to soften the general populace toward compliance and surrender. Tens of thousands of non-combatant civilians, including the elderly, the pregnant and children have been slaughtered or seen their only homes ripped to shreds in Putin’s War.

And, yet, many in the alternative press want one to provide Putin cover by saying he really had no choice because … well … Nazis … and NATO.

The wrongs of the US do not right the wrongs of Russia!


The similarity between the chosen symbol for Russian nationalism emblazed on every tank and on many Russian public buildings and Hitler’s swastika or the SS symbol that were equally blazoned on everything by the German Nazis is eerie and makes one wonder what darker global evil this way comes.

Hitler began his expansion first into German-speaking areas to free the German-speaking people, then he ventured further. He was all about the German-speaking Arian people. Putin is beginning his expansion first into the Russian-speaking areas to free Russian-speaking people, then he ventured further. He is all about the Russian-speaking slavic people. So, who is the real Nazi today?

Putin has far more Nazis on his side of the fence than Ukraine, and he works with them. Then there are the Nazis he has fighting for Russia inside of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the US likely has as many Nazis in Idaho as Ukraine has. Maybe we should invite Putin to invade Idaho to help exterminate our Nazi pestilence and excuse him for blowing up lovely towns like Boise and that other Moscow in western Idaho as the cost that must be paid to rid the world of the Nazi pestilence. Justified because … Nazis!

Don’t believe the Putinprop. As far as I am concerned, Putinazi is the king of Nazis, and here are some articles to hugely broaden the picture of Putin and his own Nazis:

Who Are The Neo-Nazis Fighting For Russia In Ukraine?

Putin’s claim of fighting against Ukraine ‘neo-Nazis’ distorts history, scholars say

Russia says it’s fighting Nazis in Ukraine. It doesn’t mean what you think.

Putin isn’t fighting neo-Nazism. He nurtures it, making his pretext for invading Ukraine even more repellent.

Russia is the World’s Breeding Ground for Neo-Nazi Culture.

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