Russia: An Alternative View

By   /   April 6, 2018  /   108 Comments

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BEFORE CRITICISING THOSE who continue to treat Russia as an “evil empire”, I should first explain why I don’t. It’s not only because I know that without the extraordinary sacrifices of the Russian people during the Second World War (twenty million dead!) the United States and British Empire losses would have been much, much higher.

BEFORE CRITICISING THOSE who continue to treat Russia as an “evil empire”, I should first explain why I don’t. It’s not only because I know that without the extraordinary sacrifices of the Russian people during the Second World War (twenty million dead!) the United States and British Empire losses would have been much, much higher. It is also because our side – the West – has consistently demonstrated the most appalling bad faith towards the Russians. How any nation on the receiving-end of such strategic malevolence could end up being anything other than defensive and mistrustful is difficult to imagine.

Consider the fact that the Manhattan Project (the United States and British effort to create an atomic bomb) was deliberately kept secret from their Soviet allies. A weapon which, had it been used against Nazi Germany, could have saved millions of Russian lives (as it almost certainly saved millions of American lives when used against the Japanese) was withheld from the nation that was doing all of the heavy-lifting against fascism.

How would you have reacted to the news that your allies were developing a new super-weapon without you? Do you think it would have increased your level of trust in the USA and the British Empire? Or, would it have pushed your paranoia to new heights? Would it have caused you to be relaxed about the political complexion of post-war Eastern Europe? Or, would it have led you to create a series of socialist buffer-states under strict Russian control?

Never forget, the Cold War began at a time when the Soviet Union lay in ruins: its people and economy utterly exhausted; and its armed forces completely vulnerable to the USA’s growing stockpile of atomic weaponry. Was Joseph Stalin really going to risk the total annihilation of what remained of the Soviet population by ordering the Red Army to advance all the way to the English Channel?

It is also worth remembering that even after the Soviet Union acquired its own atomic weapon in August 1949, not one Russian combat-boot was ever set upon the soil of the so-called “Free World”.

Fast forward to the collapse of the Soviet Empire between 1989 and1991. Was there ever a more auspicious moment to turn the page on mutual and assured destruction and demilitarise the entire European continent? The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, certainly believed that such a moment was at hand. He sought – and was given – the personal assurance of the American president, George H.W. Bush, that the Nato powers would not attempt to fill the power vacuum created by the collapse of the Warsaw Pact.

Did Nato keep its promise? Like hell it did! Within the space of a very few years, Nato powers ringed the territory of the Russian Federation. Stalin’s worst fears were now the new Russia’s strategic realities.

And that wasn’t the worst of it. With the collapse of communism, the Russian state and its vast portfolio of publicly-owned industries and natural resources was asset-stripped bare. With the “help” of the West’s economic “shock therapists”, the Russian Federation was transformed into a corrupt kleptocracy: a “mafia-state” ruled by a collection of “oligarchs” whose twisted characters Dostoevsky would have struggled to depict. Not surprisingly, the life-expectancy of the average Russian began to track backwards.

This was the Russia that greeted Vladimir Putin when he was finally in a position to replace the Western powers’ favourite drunk, Boris Yeltsin. Was Putin, a former KGB colonel a hard man? Yes, he was. But after the democratic delights of the Yeltsin years, a hard man was exactly what the Russian people were looking for. Was his arrival generally considered to be bad news for Russia’s oligarchs? You bet! Especially after Putin arranged for one or two of them to be put on trial in cages – to encourage the others. Was anybody in Russia, aside from a handful of Western-aligned politicians and journalists, unduly upset by their President’s actions? Not really. Not when soaring oil and gas prices were delivering higher living-standards to millions of ordinary Russian citizens.

A prosperous and self-confident Russian Federation under strong political leadership was not, however, in Nato’s script. The deep-state denizens of the Western alliance looked at their maps and concluded (as so many geopolitical strategists had done before them) that the best way of getting their hands around Russia’s throat was through Ukraine.

Putin watched with growing alarm as Ukraine’s very own colour revolution (i.e. Western-inspired protests followed by a Western-assisted election campaign) installed an anti-Russian regime just a few hundred kilometres from Moscow. When Putin’s pushback resulted in the creation of a Moscow-friendly government in Kiev, the West upped the ante. With the blessing of European Union leaders, neo-Nazi hoodlums were unleashed on the streets of the Ukrainian capital. The pro-Russian Government fell. For the first time since the end of World War II, the West accorded diplomatic recognition to an overtly fascist regime.

We all know the rest. Russia annexes the Crimean Peninsula. Russian-speaking Ukrainians rise up against the fascists in Kiev. Russian volunteers cross the border in support. The West imposes sanctions and moves armoured units eastwards to “head-off Russian aggression”. Russian hackers of undetermined political status attempt to set off a colour revolution of their own. Donald Trump is elected President of the United States.

Do I really need to write any more about the sort of people who denounce the Russian Federation and its leader? Or why I am so loath to join them?

 

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108 Comments

  1. Francesca says:

    Thank you Chris
    What a concise and accurate synopsis.I don’t think I’ve ever seen it put so clearly

    And when asset strippers and thieves like oligarch Berezovsky (Aeroflot), get prosecuted they flee to the warm embrace of London where they pose as “harsh critics of Putin”as if they have any moral standing whatsoever.

  2. Afewknowthetruth says:

    A good narrative in general, Chris, but there are few things I believe you have got very wrong.

    ‘Consider the fact that the Manhattan Project (the United States and British effort to create an atomic bomb) was deliberately kept secret from their Soviet allies. A weapon which, had it been used against Nazi Germany, could have saved millions of Russian lives (as it almost certainly saved millions of American lives when used against the Japanese) was withheld from the nation that was doing all of the heavy-lifting against fascism.’

    1. The Japanese navy was utterly decimated by the beginning of 1945, and the imports of food and oil necessary for the Japanese to keep fighting were not arriving. Not only were the Japanese starting to starve but they were also incapable of putting aircraft into the shy to defend themselves from massive raids designed to progressively burn cities to the ground (most houses being of wooden construction). America had total air dominance. A few cities were deliberately left unattacked, to be used for ‘the experiment’.

    Had no atomic bombs been dropped, the Japanese would have surrendered anyway, probably within a few weeks but certainly within months (they were looking for terms of surrender even as the bombs were being prepared for use).

    The ‘millions of American lives saved’ story put out by the Americans was pure propaganda, designed to conceal the truth.

    The real reason for the use of atomic bombs was:

    1. to find out how the atomic explosions would affect buildings and humans.

    2. to demonstrate to the USSR what could (would) happen to its cities if the USSR did not do as instructed by the US.

    I suggest you check the facts here, Chris.

    ‘We all know the rest. Russia annexes the Crimean Peninsula. Russian-speaking Ukrainians rise up against the fascists in Kiev.’

    Well actually, what happened was that the Americans deliberately destablised Ukraine, as a step towards taking over Russia, and the fascist government the Americans sponsored into power banned the speaking of Russian by Russian speaking people in the eastern regions of Ukraine. (It pays to remember that the borders of Ukraine are artificial and were moved by Khrushchev for purely economic reasons back in mid-1950s.)

    Unhappy with not being allowed to use their own language, and disgusted by the actions of the American-sponsored fascists in Kiev, the eastern states attempted to break away. That was not part of the American plan (to raid the country, set up fracking wells etc., and use the eastern parts as sites for missiles), so units of the Ukraine military were sent in. But they could not cope with the resistance of the people, and they never managed to invade Crimea. In the absence of fascist Ukrainian military, the people of Crimea set up a government and voted to rejoin Russia. The annexation narrative churned out by the corrupt western media has stuck. The corrupt western media conveniently forgot that the people of Crimea voted to rejoin Russia and continued to churn out the faux ‘annexation’ narrative because people in the west are supposed to hate Putin ( as per Orwell’s two minutes of hate, brilliantly depicted in the film version of ‘1984’).

    But as has been noted many times, all you have to do is tell a big lie and get it established in the minds of the people by repeating it enough times, and that lie becomes the truth, an no amount of evidence will undo the brainwashing. Indeed, it is often the case that the more the evidence refutes a false belief, the more people hold on to that false belief.

    Ultimately, as has been noted many times before, it is all about resources, and the fact that western industrialised nations are running out of them and will soon implode if they don’t get them, and Russia has a lot more resources than anyone other nation still left.

    • Marc says:

      “The real reason for the use of atomic bombs was:

      1. to find out how the atomic explosions would affect buildings and humans.

      2. to demonstrate to the USSR what could (would) happen to its cities if the USSR did not do as instructed by the US.

      I suggest you check the facts here, Chris.”

      I tend to agree with this, as the US did also have no scruples to test chemical and biological weapons on its soldiers and civilian population, which nobody these days ever talks about.

      NZ Inc was already in boot licking territory towards the US during WW2, as the Brits had enough to struggle, they could not protect NZ Inc, so NZ Inc went blindly loyal to the US then, also putting up with the tensions of many US soldiers here marching off with the young NZ ladies then, causing stress with local males.

      Since WW2 it has been put up and shut up, or else, when it comes to USA, and we still have many support this ‘alliance’.

      Just one example of the US disregarding the rights of its own citizens:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Sea-Spray

      To this day the MSM know their masters sit in Washington, in New York and London, they work with them, or risk their jobs.

    • John W says:

      The Japanese were in agreement to surrender well before the bomb, providing the Emporer who was “sacred” to them, could remain.

      At that stage the USA would not agree to them retaining their Emperor.

      The US dropped the bomb and still the Japanese did not surrender until the USA then agreed to allow the Emperor to remain, and THEN Japan surrendered.

      The inhuman US swine don’t care about lives whether they be civilians of any age, or troops armed or not.

  3. Francesca says:

    To further illustrate bad faith towards Russia , Churchill suggested dropping a nuclear bomb on them , very shortly after Russia had , according to Churchill broken the back of the German army

    “I have left the obvious, essential fact to this point, namely, that it is the Russian Armies who have done the main work in tearing the guts out of the German army. In the air and on the oceans we could maintain our place, but there was no force in the world which could have been called into being, except after several more years, that would have been able to maul and break the German army unless it had been subjected to the terrible slaughter and manhandling that has fallen to it through the strength of the Russian Soviet Armies.”

    —Winston Churchill, Speech in the House of Commons, 2 August 1944, “War Situation”

    and

    “I have always believed and I still believe that it is the Red Army that has torn the guts out of the filthy Nazis.

    —Winston Churchill, Speech in the House of Commons, October

    An historical fact not taught in many Western history classes.
    80% of German military deaths were at the Eastern Front

    And yet here is Churchill urging the Americans to nuke Moscow

    https://www.icij.org/blog/2014/10/churchill-urged-us-wipe-out-moscow-bomb/

    By the way, this is a terrific article by Ben Norton on who won WW2 and how it has been misrepresented

    https://bennorton.com/how-the-ussr-tore-the-guts-out-of-the-filthy-nazis/

  4. Francesca says:

    Thank you Chris
    What a concise and accurate synopsis.I don’t think I’ve ever seen it put so clearly

    And when asset strippers and thieves like oligarch Berezovsky (Aeroflot), get prosecuted they flee to the warm embrace of London where they pose as “harsh critics of Putin”as if they have any moral standing whatsoever.

  5. Michelle says:

    why do we treat Russia different from China =Trade

  6. Christine says:

    Say it again Chris.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      100%

      “Reds under the bed” – stuff was all manufactured by the elitists who want their hands on massive russian oil reserves.

      So it is all about money and oil as usual.

  7. Brigid says:

    I agree entirely.

    However “it (the nuclear weapon) almost certainly saved millions of American lives when used against the Japanese” is not correct. The Japanese were trying to negotiate an armistice. The bombing of Japanese cities was an abomination.
    Which German city where German civilians lived would you have could have been similarly destroyed?

    • D'Esterre says:

      Brigid: “The Japanese were trying to negotiate an armistice. The bombing of Japanese cities was an abomination.”

      You’re quite right about that. And the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki achieved nothing of strategic moment.

      “Which German city where German civilians lived would you have could have been similarly destroyed?”

      Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart. Hamburg – if there was anything left of it after Allied bombing.

      In his book “Berlin: the Downfall” the military historian Antony Beevor observes that, when the siege of Stalingrad was lifted, a Soviet colonel screamed at a couple of Nazi officer (I think) PoWs “What you’ve done to Stalingrad, we’re going to do to Berlin!” Or words to that effect. And they did, too. A nuke would’ve been faster, but I’m not sure that the number of deaths would’ve been much higher. The toll was huge there, according to Beevor.

      Can I just say that I’m glad Munich wasn’t nuked. It’s a beautiful city.

    • Marc says:

      But they flattened Dresden anyway, where there was no need to kill so many civilians, they used conventional weapons to do the job, how ‘humane’:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Dresden_in_World_War_II

      Lies may not have been invented in the UK, but it is home to many liars, especially in the elite and government circles:

      “In the raid, major industrial areas in the suburbs, which stretched for miles, were not targeted.[8] According to historian Donald Miller, “the economic disruption would have been far greater had Bomber Command targeted the suburban areas where most of Dresden’s manufacturing might was concentrated”.[44]”

      • D'Esterre says:

        Marc: “But they flattened Dresden anyway….”

        Indeed. Many people still think that the UK ought to have faced prosecution for war crimes over that.

        There was a contemporary belief that bombing German cities would destroy citizens’ morale. Well, that hadn’t worked for the Brits during the Blitz: in virtue of what would anyone have thought that German citizens would react differently?

        I have extended family living in Dresden; another beautiful city, before bombing destroyed it. But rebuilt now, of course.

        • Lone comet says:

          They also firebombed Tokyo, many tried to escape the flames in the Sumida River…but they couldn’t…

  8. Tiger Mountain says:

    well put Chris

    and no, bringing this needed perspective does not make you a Stalinist!

    it is shameful to some of us New Zealanders at least, that Sir Roger Douglas, not content with laying waste to much of provincial NZ and flogging off the peoples assets, also went onto to advise the new Russian elite on how best to rob their own people

  9. Olwyn says:

    Thank you for writing this Chris. It is terrifying to see politicians from “our” side picking on a nuclear power in the manner of school kids trying to turn some child they don’t like into the class wretch. And it is alarming that they no lo longer seem to see any use for diplomacy, negotiation or mutually agreed rules of conduct. Perhaps this is the result of TINA, whereby realpolitik is all about money and stays firmly in the hands of bankers and corporations, while politicians are reduced to managers. The US and UK politicians are making heavy demands Putin’s political skills, while exhibiting few such skills themselves.

  10. G.A.P. says:

    Concise and %100 accurate, thank you Chris.

  11. Lone comet says:

    The A bomb was dropped on the Japanese to see what it would do, it was an experiment. That’s why they dropped two, even tho the first one was enough to stop the war. The Americans were not going to experiment with the A bomb in Europe to end the war, because….
    I recommend you watch the 1950’s movie Black Rain, and the animation Grave of the Fireflies.
    Putin is the biggest oligarch of them all, the ones he put on trial were the ones who fell out with him. Its pretty obvious Putin runs Russia like his personal gangsta state, and it looks like he wants to establish connections with fellow tyrants to rule the world. Your rose tinted view of Russia and Putin you put forth here seems deluded to say the least, fanatical at worst. This piece rings out not unlike the Western scholars who lauded Mao’s cultural revolution before the reality of all horrors of that , became apparent.

  12. Mjolnir says:

    Sorry, if I dont share the adulation of Putin and his self-enriching cronies. The bolsheviks knew what to do with oligarchs. Repeat now until Russian soil is cleansed of corruption. Ditto for the 1% ruling the West.

    • D'Esterre says:

      Mjolnir: “Sorry, if I dont share the adulation of Putin and his self-enriching cronies…….Repeat now until Russian soil is cleansed of corruption. Ditto for the 1% ruling the West.”

      This is just western propaganda. If there is in fact corruption in Russia, it is for Russian citizens to be concerned about, not you. Confine your attention to corruption in your own polity.

      “The bolsheviks knew what to do with oligarchs.”

      Hahaha, say what? Where have you been getting your news? As if I didn’t know….

      • Confine your attention to corruption in your own polity.

        Hmmm, interesting, D’Esterre. You call upon critics of Putin to “confine your attention to corruption in your own polity” – yet you’re very eager to offer your own views in support of Putin and his regime? So it’s a one-traffic now, is it?

        It is instructive when Putin’s supporters don’t seem to be able to take criticism of their idol very well. (I’ve struck the same thing with John Key’s fanclub.)

        • D'Esterre says:

          Frank Macskasy: “…yet you’re very eager to offer your own views in support of Putin and his regime?”

          Government, Frank, government. It’s elected, just as ours is.

          Enough with the wittering on about corruption in Russia – as if those who do had any evidence of it, aside from what the likes of NYT or the WaPo – or the egregious UK media outlets – bray about. Produce the evidence, say I. Or just shut up.

          It’s another manifestation of that very tiresome and apparently incurable condition: Russophobia.

          • Lone comet says:

            I guess any evidence produced you would not believe because you are an indoctrinated pednant.

            • D'Esterre says:

              Lone Comet: “I guess any evidence produced you would not believe because you are an indoctrinated pednant.”

              So: still no actual evidence, just ad hom. I’ll call you out on your spelling, too. Not something I would normally do, but I really have no idea what you’re talking about.

            • Lone comet says:

              Its a thpo.

          • Samwise says:

            So can you guarantee, Hand on heart, D’esterre, that the Russian elections are not rigged? It is apparent that Putin has all nut eliminated his opponents either by convenient deaths or by trumped up charges such as opposition leader Navalny. Who can forget that Putin avoided the two term limit on his presidency by installing Medvedev (his puppet) and then afterwards ran for a further two terms? That doesn’t sound a paragon of virtue to me.

            It’s a corrupt system and those who think otherwise are deluding themselves.

            • D'Esterre says:

              Samwise: “So can you guarantee, Hand on heart, D’esterre, that the Russian elections are not rigged?”

              Well, you ask this question, then go on to answer it according to what you believe. So I’m correct in concluding that you’re not really interested in a countervailing view.

              Good luck with rigging elections, such that said rigging would actually influence outcomes, in a country of that size.

              Although I recall reading a piece by Gordon Campbell about US Republican party gerrymandering, designed to maximise their chances of winning the 2016 election.

              And we all know what the DNC did to white-ant Bernie Sanders’ chances- in the primaries.

              Navalny: hahaha! Just emote over him to ordinary Russians: you’ll get it right back between the eyes.

              Do you not understand? If there is corruption in other polities’ electoral systems, it isn’t our business. It’s the business of the citizens of those polities.

              Russia is a democracy; it has been since the fall of the USSR. Western shrieking about corruption and the dastardly Putin is just so much hot air.

              And in the case of the US, all one can say is: pot, meet kettle.

          • Samwise says:

            “Elected”? So was Sth Africas previous apartheid regime. Yet no one would call them legimately elected. Elections may offer a measure of pseudo legitimacy but it doesn’t mean its truly democratic.

        • Brigid says:

          Neither Chris nor any commenter has declared Putin as their idol. Claiming this is so as a counter argument is beneath you Frank

        • Historian Pete says:

          An intelligent rational person would first of all concentrate their efforts on eliminating the corruption in their own Western civilization/Western Narrative. Frank has consistently ignored all of that. Any mention of the massive corruption emanating from the U.S. Empire has Frank either silent or trying to change the subject. To Frank the prison industrial slave complex in the U.S. does nor exist. The predations of the U.S. Banksters does not exist. The insanity of the Q.E. in the U.S. financial system is a minor destraction.The continuous slide of the standard of living and ever increasing inequality in the West is a myth. The lack of all regulatory systems that used to keep the economy on a level plane is of no real consequence. The madness of the Pentagon/State Department/Govt by Generals/ Continuous War/ Military Industrial complex is a slight aberration. If we bring the Ghastly Russians to task and prevent their threat to the U.S.Empire , well once more we shall travel to Camelot, to the Shining Light on the Hill that is the Neo -Liberal Experiment.If you believe that crap, you would believe anything !!!

          • Mjolnir says:

            Pete, Frank hasnt ignored corruption in the US. Ive read his posts. On the other hand, ive read your climate change denying BS. Still engaging in conspiracies that NASA fudged satellite data? You seem bitter at having your claims challlenged

            • Historian Pete says:

              Mjolnir: refer me to one of Franks posts from the archives about U.S.corruption[not just anti Trump].

              • Theodore says:

                Pete, I’ve been reading Frank’s writings since he first started blogging. You’ve picked on the wrong person, mate. How bout you provide us with concrete examples of Frank being a mouthpiece for the US? Trying to character-assassinate someone you’re debating with suggests you have a poor grasp on the issues being discussed.

                • Historian Pete says:

                  Theodore: D’Esterre makes an argument and Frank criticises him. I criticise Frank over his criticism. Then you accuse me of character assassination. Yet in other parts of this blog Frank is doing the same to me. This is the game we play.I notice you never state a position yourself but stand at the margins making ad hominen comments. As far as making a contribution to this blogsite goes, you are as useful as tits on a bull!

                  • Samwise says:

                    I tend to agree with Theodore, H Pete. Demanding evidence of Frank’s ideological purity is a poor way for you to debate a point. What next, when did you stop beating your wife??

                    I’ve noticed your climate change denying BS as well, so while I’m not sure this is the right discussion thread to bring it up, it does indicate your willingness to dismiss evidence in favour of your own beliefs.

                    I notice you never back up any of your claims. So it’s hard to known where you’re coming from. At least Frank and Francesca reference their claims , though they’re both on opposite ends of the debate spectrum.

          • Priss says:

            Historian Pete, your comments to Frank and Christine are disgraceful. Please tell us you’re not a troll? From Kiwiblog?

            Demanding Frank prove he is not a pro US mouthpiece is “virtue signalling” on your part. It proves you can’t stand on your own viewpoints without undermining one of the best bloggers we have.

      • Mjolnir says:

        Ok, you’re a fan of Putin, Desterre, i get that. “Strongmen ” have always held a fascination for some in society. I guess thats why dictators always seem to have a folowing.
        Regarding telling me not to be concerned with corruption in Russia, is there anything else you woud like me to turn a blind eye to? A list would be useful.

        By the way, check out the Mossack Fonseca papers. They list one of the wealthiest men in Russia as a cellist, also close frind of Putin. The cellist is a billionaire. The money was probably just “resting in my account, Dougal”. Who wouldve thought playing a cello in Russia pays so weell? Being Putins close associate helps I guess. But keep pimping for Putin and his oligarchal pals. I’m sure they apprdciate your blind devotion. Meanwhile I’m off to learn to play a cello

        • D'Esterre says:

          Mjolnir: “Ok, you’re a fan of Putin….”

          Right. You’ve called me a Putin fan-boy; that’s an ad hom. People who resort to insults of this sort are bereft of an actual argument; clearly, that applies to you.

          Know this: when Putin was first elected president, the Russian economy was a basket case, having been systematically asset-stripped by Russian and western oligarchs, all on the watch of that old lush Yeltsin.

          Putin stood on the oligarchs’ hands, preventing them from doing any further damage to the economy; moreover, some of those Russians were convicted of fraud in the Russian court system. To avoid prosecution, other oligarchs fled to places such as the UK, and from there whined about that nasty Putin.

          Western neolibs and oligarchs – in particular, but not exclusively, the US – loathe Putin, just because he prevented them from stealing any more Russian assets.

          The accusations of corruption stem from these events, and are used as a reason to call for “regime change”. In other words, the west wants Putin toppled.

          It is in this context that I say to you and others who scream about corruption in Russia: it is not your business. If there is any truth at all to claims of corruption on the part of Putin, it is for Russian citizens to decide whether they re-elect him. And I think that they’ve just answered that for you.

          If corruption were a sufficient condition for the toppling of presidents and the like, we’d have quite a lot of candidates in the west for liberal interventionism, would we not?

          “By the way, check out the Mossack Fonseca papers.”

          I’ve read a good chunk of them. The west was completely discombobulated that Putin’s name didn’t appear, so they’ve desperately clutched at straws, including the cellist. If they can’t do better than that, perhaps that’s because there’s nothing to find. Poroshenko’s name was there though: maybe you ought to pay attention to him.

  13. Historian Pete says:

    A very timely summary of what happened to the Soviet Union after it disintegrated, and the Formation of the Russian Federation. And the consistent attempts of the West to destabilize it , rather than accept it as a European partner, as Russia wished. However , it was accepted by the East, and a great opportunity was lost thanks to the efforts of rabid neocons obsessed with the hegemony of the U.S. Empire.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Russia is now the only stabilizer we have as used to be USA.

      So we need to side with a ‘stabilizer’ or we just get placed in the warships and troop carriers again by the war-morgerers as we were in 1939 off to some far away foreign war, how sad is this?

  14. Lone comet says:

    Are you kidding cleangreen? It’s idiot ideas like these that creates fanatical loyalty, because clearly not an iota of intellect has gone into it. Imagine what it would be like if Putin ruled the world…Check Pussy Riot for one, maybe some significant journalist killed on her doorstep for two(research who that is). Opposition candidates arrested to stop them standing in the election (who are they/him)…Roman Abramovich, a 0.1percenter and Putin’s good friend hmm

    • D'Esterre says:

      Lone Comet: “Imagine what it would be like if Putin ruled the world…”

      Would you prefer Trump? Are you not one of the many Trumpophobes who comment here?

      “Check Pussy Riot…”

      If they’d tried to pull a stunt of that sort in St Peter’s Basilica – or the Notre Dame, or Westminster Abbey, even – they’d have met the same fate.

      “….some significant journalist killed on her doorstep for two(research who that is). Opposition candidates arrested to stop them standing in the election (who are they/him)…Roman Abramovich, a 0.1percenter and Putin’s good friend hmm”

      More propaganda. It looks to me as if you don’t know anything about this stuff, except for what you’ve read in the mainstream msm. And that’s propaganda, of course.

      Do you speak and read Russian? It’d be helpful if you did.

      • Lone comet says:

        Res ipsa loquitur

        • D'Esterre says:

          Lone Comet: “Res ipsa loquitur”

          In that context, to what do you refer?

          • Lone comet says:

            I refer to the things that happen to people that go against Putin

            • D'Esterre says:

              Lone Comet: “I refer to the things that happen to people that go against Putin”

              This is what’s claimed by western news outlets. But I want to see evidence – and not from said outlets – of what you aver.

              For many years, we’ve been subjected to a sustained and vicious anti-Russian – and a fortiori anti-Putin – propaganda campaign. So: I question everything that casts Russia and Putin in a negative light. As should you.

              I’d add that none of those sins attributed to Putin justify in any way western attempts at “regime change”. The leadership of Russia is for Russian citizens to decide.

              • Lone comet says:

                Ok, the artist AI Wei Wei in China, members of Pussy Riot, for singing badly in a cathedral… The people of Russia could make a choice if they had a choice to choose from..Putin was the only candidate all other credible ones accused of corruption and unable to stand. Who is the largest shareholder of Gazprom? Putin. Why do you support dictators?

    • Francesca says:

      What, Russia wants to rule the world?
      Wake me up when they take Poland, in the immortal words of Bill Maher

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3A7yX1RG48

      • Lone comet says:

        Its not necessary to ‘take’ Poland

      • Theodore says:

        Not “rule the world”, Francesca. The game is to extend influence at the expense of your opponant. The old days of direct Empire are passe. The new rules are soft-power, economic influence, and installing puppet regimes where possible. For the US, their influence resides in Riyadh and Tel Aviv. For the Russians, it’s Damascus.

  15. David Stone says:

    Thank god (if you have one) there is a respected historian and political commentator in our media mix who is prepared to apply some reason and balance to the out of control propaganda generators that our MSM has become. So called “news ” outlets should not be allowed to be owned by anyone who owns anything else. Like banks.
    The evidence free vilification of Russia over the Skripal poisoning is about preparing the masses for US/UK war looming in Syria where the coalition esp. US is illegally building bases and attacking the Syrian army in Syria. Sometimes killing Russian personnel in the process. Russia is a legitimate ally of Syria, and if US digs in there and denies the Syrian government control of northern Syria, and sciezes Syria’s main oil and gas
    reserves, and hydro generation, and irrigation, and best agricultural land
    as is the situation at present, there will be war with Russia. And the Western media has taken up the job of managing the perception of the Western populations to accommodate that eventuality.
    There is always the risk if government action in what pretends to be a democracy is too extreme , and the drongo population not sufficiently misled , that some rank outsiders get elected who actually represent the will and the interests of the population. Not only of the particular country but of the world’
    D J S

    • Francesca says:

      I agree with you there, David
      A lot of this is about Syria. Both the UK and US ambassadors to the UN made sure to link Russian dastardliness in Salisbury, and chemical weapons in Syria
      (recent security council meeting Russia called)
      If you want some examples of some pretty vile attitudes toward Russia, you need only stroll across to the The Standard. I think I’m close to being kicked out for “naivety, inanity , and stupid sensitivity”
      Such fun

      • D'Esterre says:

        Francesca: “If you want some examples of some pretty vile attitudes toward Russia, you need only stroll across to the The Standard. I think I’m close to being kicked out for “naivety, inanity , and stupid sensitivity””

        No: really? You’ve been called names of that sort? That sounds to me like a case of pot: meet kettle.

        I admire your stamina, arguing with facts against the crazies with their propaganda. I’ve found it all so distasteful, that I’ve not been back there in a while. I have extended family connections in Russia and the Ukraine, and I feel so sad for them that people here apparently believe the garbage coming out of the western msm.

        I really must nip over there and come to your defence. If it’s any consolation, you know that you’re right and they’re wrong!

        Eva Bartlett succinctly summed up the situation in Syria:

        ““You have to be brain-dead or you have to have an agenda” to believe the “myth” that peaceful, pro-democracy demonstrations allegedly sparked the conflict, Bartlett added. She said that Syrians told her there were demonstrations prior to war breaking out – but they were sectarian and violent in nature.”

        • Francesca says:

          Well actually D’Esterre, I no longer go there
          A moderator (apparently, but I’ve never come across such an unhinged immoderate display)came crashing in to the exchange with big black letters like a maniacal drunk on speed, laying waste with what he obviously thought were devastating weapons of wit , to dispatch me , cowering in to the naughty corner.It was just a warning, mind, and as long as I BEHAVE (shades of Nikki Haley)I will be tolerated
          As it happens I’ve never been a fan of S&M , so I’ve declined the invitation
          No hard feelings , there’s some good people there, but the atmosphere can get toxic fast,
          Sometimes it also felt like a committee meeting in the staff room of a provincial High School discussing school uniforms or bus timetables.
          Anyway

          • D'Esterre says:

            Francesca: “A moderator (apparently, but I’ve never come across such an unhinged immoderate display)came crashing in to the exchange with big black letters…..as long as I BEHAVE (shades of Nikki Haley)I will be tolerated”

            Jeezus Christ on a bicycle! They sure don’t like the facts up ’em over there, do they?

          • D'Esterre says:

            Francesca: “Sometimes it also felt like a committee meeting in the staff room of a provincial High School discussing school uniforms or bus timetables.”

            Haha, many people will relate to that! I’ve never been a teacher, but friends and family have been. Besides, I’m familiar with primary school staff rooms and BoT meetings. ‘Nuff said, qu’on dit.

            I’m fairly certain that at least one of the moderators over there is female. Maybe she’s a teacher in another life?

            The thing that puzzles me about the Standard is that it purports to be the voice of the Labour movement. So I think it jarring that both the uncritical acceptance of Russophobia and the apparent attempts to stand on commenters’ toes regarding freedom of speech are to be found on such a blog site.

  16. Francesca says:

    This may be sentimental or shallow of me, but I’m really wild that so far the only mortalities of this novichok nonsense are Yulia and Sergey’s beloved cat and guinea pigs,locked up in the house, simply neglected, forgotten about and left to starve by the British authorities.The guinea pigs died of thirst and the cat was so malnourished and distressed it had to be put down
    All have been incinerated.
    Good old British values eh?

    • D'Esterre says:

      Francesca: “I’m really wild that so far the only mortalities of this novichok nonsense are Yulia and Sergey’s beloved cat and guinea pigs,locked up in the house, simply neglected, forgotten about and left to starve by the British authorities.The guinea pigs died of thirst and the cat was so malnourished and distressed it had to be put down”

      Me too, Francesca, me too. I’m infuriated by it; these are people who are supposed to be animal-lovers? Bloody callous.

      I mentioned this – UK citizens being animal-lovers – to a relative. Whose salty response was (slightly edited for language): “animal-shaggers – not quite the same thing.” Heh!

      Although it’s good that one of the moggies escaped.

  17. Francesca says:

    apparently there were 2 cats .
    One was seen by neighbours legging it down the road before the house was sealed up
    Thats something

  18. Richard says:

    When an argument for not denouncing criminality, invasions and propping up the Assad regime is in part that the West did not share atomic weapons tech with Stalin (did he kill more or less Russians than the Nazis), then that argument has some of the worst arguments you could ever find.

    • Sam Sam says:

      Utter rubbish. What right do you have to be telling Syrians or Russians What to do? The democratically elected Syrian government requested Moscow help them in there fight against the US funded ISIS militants.

      Do you want ISIS to grow stronger?

    • Brigid says:

      For your information, The Syrian Government is not ‘propped up’ by anyone. It is supported by a 70% or so majority of Syrians.

      Yes Stalin killed thousands and thousands , just as Bush did in Iraq.

      Bashar Assad’s forces have not killed any that have not been a threat to the Syrians he rules the country for.

      • Richard says:

        Do we have Moscow’s troll farm visiting?

        Now Assad is something other than an authoritarian war criminal and his govt is ‘democratically elected’? I think you’ll find the Assad regime was near collapse before Russian and Iranian intervention. You’ll also find that the earlier Assad massacres didn’t have anything to do with ISIS.

        Stalin only killed 1000s and 1000s (history seems to say 10s of millions, but I understand on RT he’s being rehabilitated).

        WTF has happened to this blog.

        • D'Esterre says:

          Richard: “Now Assad is something other than an authoritarian war criminal and his govt is ‘democratically elected’?”

          Authoritarian: well, so what? Syria is a secular state: it may need a bit of authoritarianism to keep the Islamist crazies at bay, in that neck of the woods.

          War criminal? Nope. If you have substantive evidence to the contrary, evidence that doesn’t involve Washington, London or NATO msm mouthpieces, be so good as to present it.

          Democratically elected? You bet he was! He has the support of enough Syrians – including those displaced by war – to remain in power. Were that not the case, do you not realise that he’d have been long gone?

          I’m well aware that the US in particular screams about “regime change”, on the basis of Assad’s alleged crimes. But a change of governing arrangements in Syria is the business of Syrians themselves. Not the US; nor ours. The west ought to get out of Syria. And stay out.

      • Lone comet says:

        Whaaaaat?

      • Marc says:

        In 2014 there were only the first ever ‘nominally free elections’ in Syria, before then their ‘elections’ were hardly free, under a virtual one party state led by a man from a ruling dynasty.

        Having the dominant candidate run against two hardly known candidates, in elections only in government held territories, under rather strict rules, with a rather biased media landscape, that does not seem like such elections were all that representative of ALL Syrians:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_presidential_election,_2014

        “Eligibility criteria”

        “The conditions required to be a candidate in a presidential election are the following according to the Syrian constitution:[39]

        A candidate must have the support of at least 35 or more members of the parliament
        A candidate must be at least 40 years old
        A candidate must be Syrian by birth, of parents who are Syrians by birth
        A candidate must enjoy civil and political rights and not convicted of a dishonorable felony, even if he was reinstated
        A candidate must not be married to a non-Syrian spouse
        A candidate must have lived in Syria for 10 years before the election”

      • Marc says:

        Same as stone throwing Gazans on the border to Israel were deemed a ‘threat’ by Israel’s government to send out snipers to shoot at them, I suppose the protesters, the youth and also adults, who ‘dared’ protest against the Assad regime in 2011 and after, they were all a ‘threat’ to the wonderful ‘free’ and ‘democratic’ Syria that you believe in, right?

        It was perfectly ‘ok’ for the security services to arrest people randomly, to lock them up in overcrowded jails for weeks or months or more, even torture and kill some of them, right?

        All, because they were a ‘threat’ to Syria.

        • D'Esterre says:

          Marc: “I suppose the protesters, the youth and also adults, who ‘dared’ protest against the Assad regime in 2011 and after, they were all a ‘threat’ to the wonderful ‘free’ and ‘democratic’ Syria that you believe in, right?”

          Gawd, you don’t seriously believe that furphy, do you? I can do no better than to quote Eva Bartlett (who’s actually reported from inside Syria):

          ““You have to be brain-dead or you have to have an agenda” to believe the “myth” that peaceful, pro-democracy demonstrations allegedly sparked the conflict, Bartlett added. She said that Syrians told her there were demonstrations prior to war breaking out – but they were sectarian and violent in nature.”

          “It was perfectly ‘ok’ for the security services to arrest people randomly, to lock them up in overcrowded jails for weeks or months or more, even torture and kill some of them, right?”

          Well, so we are told. But – given the quantity of frothing anti-Assad propaganda screamed by the west, in virtue of what should anyone do other than take this story with a grain of salt?

          Again: the governing and security arrangements of Syria are the business of Syrians. Not of us. And certainly not of the US, or of the head-choppers that they support and fund.

          Assad invited Russia to help get rid of said head-choppers from Syria. In which enterprise it was very successful; which is more than can be said for the yanks, who’d been pissing round there for years, without managing to do anything of moment.

          And now said yanks are throwing a tanty at having been shown up for the incompetent clods that they are. And their response? Support false flag chemical “attacks”, as a stalking horse for their real mission: regime change in Syria.

          How many times do we need to say it? Assad’s tenure as president of Syria is the business of Syrians themselves. Yanks need to butt out. So does the west generally.

          • Marc says:

            “Again: the governing and security arrangements of Syria are the business of Syrians. Not of us. And certainly not of the US, or of the head-choppers that they support and fund.”

            Same applies to Saudi Arabia then, to Bahrain, to Egypt, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar and so forth, I presume.

            Include China and what they have done in Tibet, include other authoritarian regimes, no matter what, they mostly have forms of ‘elections’, but not as what we may be used to.

            When it comes to human rights and the right of free expression, to personal dignity, independence and so forth, I think it is absolutely acceptable to be critical of conditions in other places.

            • D'Esterre says:

              Marc: “Same applies to Saudi Arabia then, to Bahrain, to Egypt, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar and so forth, I presume.”

              Well of course it bloody does! What: are you suggesting that western forces should ride across the border to effect regime change in those countries? Good luck with that: we’ve all seen how successful that’s been in the ME. You first, professor….

              I’d add that Congo – and no doubt others of those countries – was screwed by the CIA in the first place. We haven’t the least idea of what’s going on in Burma; given that fact, even were intervention possible, it’d be a catastrophic misstep.

              We may well deplore what’s happening – or what we think is happening – in other countries, but it doesn’t at all follow that we should, or even could, do anything pointful about it. Our best course of action is to get the hell out, and stay out.

              And – speaking of CIA machinations – remember that it had a hand in the Whitlam government’s overthrow all those years ago. It’s worth noting that Australia has never returned to the social democratic path envisaged by Whitlam.

              The CIA was also up to its fetlocks in the 1987 Rabuka coup in Fiji.

              It’s not just “them over there” who are likely to suffer from the unwanted attentions of uncle Sam. We’d all be better off, had the US and the UK in particular taken a more Westphalian approach to foreign policy in the years since WW2.

              • Marc says:

                Should have left Hitler and what the Nazis did the the Germans also then, right?

              • Marc says:

                So going by this you would have been ok with Hitler and the Nazis doing their thing (e.g. gas the jews, gypsies and dissenters and those not ‘worthy’ of life), and others staying out of it, right?

      • Lone comet says:

        You are a blind fanatic

      • Lone comet says:

        Its hard to comprehend the cynicism of what you say here. Otherwise extreme stupidity, you know about the refugee crisis caused by this war don’t you?

    • Lone comet says:

      Agree

    • Lone comet says:

      The very worst.

  19. Marc says:

    “Fast forward to the collapse of the Soviet Empire between 1989 and1991. Was there ever a more auspicious moment to turn the page on mutual and assured destruction and demilitarise the entire European continent? The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, certainly believed that such a moment was at hand. He sought – and was given – the personal assurance of the American president, George H.W. Bush, that the Nato powers would not attempt to fill the power vacuum created by the collapse of the Warsaw Pact.”

    And the lies that followed, that explains why an also somewhat controlling, authoritarian and actually anti democratic leader like Putin gets away with what he and his government does.

    The west, that is especially the US, its leaders, the UK, its leaders, and perhaps a little less so the French, Germans and Italians and so forth, cannot be trusted.

    I am especially worried about the US, the UK and Australia, a staunch ally of the both.

    Nevertheless, with all that they do and did wrong, I call for great caution towards Putin and his nationalistic version of the Russia we have today.

    As powers compete, a little country like New Zealand, like many other countries with less clout, have to be very careful, as we are just little pawns or attempted pawns in the strategic game played on this planet.

    That is why this new government should be even more careful than they have so far been, to continue this cheer leading game to favour one power over the other.

    We cannot trust ANY one of those superpowers, not one bit.

  20. let me be frank says:

    “Consider the fact that the Manhattan Project (the United States and British effort to create an atomic bomb) was deliberately kept secret from their Soviet allies. A weapon which, had it been used against Nazi Germany, could have saved millions of Russian lives (as it almost certainly saved millions of American lives when used against the Japanese) was withheld from the nation that was doing all of the heavy-lifting against fascism.”

    Am somewhat surprised that a student of history such as yourself wouldnt have known that the war in europe was over before the first test of the atomic bomb….nor that the distrust between the USSR and the west during WW2 may have had its origins in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

    • You are quite right, LMBF. By the time “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945 the war in Europe was, indeed, over.

      The point I am making is that if the Soviets had been brought into the Manhattan Project in 1941, then the additional scientific heft may well have produced a usable atomic bomb by 1944 rather than 1945.

      It’s use against Berlin would have decapitated the Nazi regime, thereby unleashing a successful Operation Valkyrie (i.e. the formation of an emergency military government which the unsuccessful attempt on Hitler’s life in July 1944 was supposed to precipitate) and an early end to the war in Europe. What’s more, the demonstration effect of an atomic attack on Germany may well have hastened the demise of the military regime in Japan. As things actually turned out, part of the reason for dropping the bomb on Japan was to provide a demonstration of what the US could now do to the USSR.

      • Lone comet says:

        Er even in a weird fucked up revisionist what if kind of way…your argument here totally sucks.

      • let me be frank says:

        I dont doubt that the demonstration of power towards the Soviets entered the thinking of the US however I would point out that even with that demonstration (and advantage) it was a sabre never rattled in the immediate stand off between the west and the Soviets post WW2….instructive considering the USSR didn’t successfully build a copy until some 4 years latter.

      • Theodore says:

        Chris, have you forgotten the American’s Lend-Lease programme which provided arms, ammunition, equipment, vehicles, etc, to Great Britain and the Soviet Union? It appears you have.

        You’ve also forgotten, conveniently, that Putin has enriched himself as well as other Oligarchs who pillaged the Russian economy after the collapse of the USSR. Those assets rightly belong to the Russian people. Putin has done nothing NOTHING! to re-nationalize those assets and return them to State ownership.

        I’m no apologist for the US. Their appalling track record in Latin America and attempts to kill Fidel Castro reveal them to be every bit as flawed as their Russian counterparts. But if you’re going to cite history, at least get it right and don’t cherry pick the bits that suit your narrative. Otherwise you’re engaging in the very Orwellian rewrite of history that you complain of.

        As for those who support Putin as some kind of standard-bearer for democracy and human rights, you are misguided. If Putin is the new standard to look up to, then the bar is pretty damn low.

        • Historian Pete says:

          Theadore:”I am no apologist for the U.S.”Then you mention South America and Cuba. Like events that happened 50 years ago. How about all the U.S. war crimes after that , like the attack on Vietnam, Serbia,Afghanistan,Libya,Iraq, Syria, Yemen [by proxy], and threats to attack Lebanon, North Korea, and Venezuala, and the financing, enabling and support for war criminal Zionist Israel. Did you forget about these.Is there any country on the planet that comes anywhere close to the murderous war criminal U.S.?

        • Francesca says:

          Theodore,
          That was not actually a great act of magnaminity
          Russia finally paid back the debt in 2006, 100s of millions of dollars
          Even before the war was over, The Soviets were paying in gold, manganese and chrome ore

          Lend-Lease was not charity. In June 1941 Harry Truman was quoted in the pages of New York Times saying, “If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; and if that Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible …”

        • Lone comet says:

          Yes, what us all this apologist narrative around Putin in aid of

    • Mjolnir says:

      Indeed, frank. Chris is an excellent blogger, but i found his revision of history to suit his narrative to b john key-like with its manipulation of facts. All chris has achieved is become a focal point fir fans of russian nationalism. Putin didnt put an end to the olligarchs, he simply forced them to share their ill-gotten wealth (stolen from the rusian people) with him. Putin and Trump deserveceach other other.

      • In Vino says:

        Bollocks. Trotter has a far better grasp of history than so many commenters here. Russia is a country that has always grown when it had intelligent but utterly ruthless rule. All the great Tsars were so, and (forget the revolution) Stalin was the most recent of the great Tsars, even if the bloodline was missing. Putin may or may not be the next, but if you expect him to be an angelic apologist for personal liberty you are a simpleton. Russia was always that way.
        I find it utterly sickening that so many people are incapable of seeing that despite the pretence of democracy and justice, our own leaders here in the ‘West’ are in fact equally duplicitous and evil.
        Trotter is absolutely right about the raw deals that Russia has suffered from our ‘Western Democracies’ in recent history.
        Do some of you donkeys expect Russia to simply lie down and die? Warning – Russia won’t.

        • Samwise says:

          For someone who has an “excellent grasp on history” Chris seems to have forgotten some very pertinent points. Selectivity doesn’t give up a historical perspective, it distorts it.

          This was not one of Chris Trotters better examples of analysis.

      • let me be frank says:

        and we deserve neither.

  21. Lois Griffiths says:

    NO NO NO NO NO
    No Chris . Don’t praise the dropping of atomic bombs ( twice!) on Japan.

    It was a hideous crime. Shame on Obama for not apologizing on behalf of the American people when he was in Hiroshima.

    fyi, Eisenhower said, “The Japanese were ready to surrender, and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

    • Lone comet says:

      Totally agree.

    • Lone comet says:

      Exactly, its totally inhuman to promote the dropping of the A bomb even in some off beam hypothetical rewrite of history that has zero merit. Sociopathic and hideous.

  22. SC says:

    Everyone should thank the USSR daily for its heavy losses during WW2 and to whom we owe the demise of fascism after WW2. And it is to the USSR that we owe social democratic Keynesianism: without the viable alternative of the Soviet Union and vibrant European communist parties we would never have had the “thirty glorious years” that created the welfare state – (as the French call them).

    Putin is no angel. We cannot be apologists for his transgressions. But neither should we “fetishize” our beloved Western democracies that are objectively doing such a poor job of standing up to environmental and economic problems of epic proportions.

    • Marc says:

      I thank the USSR for ‘liberating’ East Germany, for building the defence wall and barb wire fences between that ‘liberated’ part of the country, and the agressive, hostile and ‘imperial’ forces on the western side of it. How many Red Army soldiers were sent to their deaths knowingly, as they would never return, as their order giving leaders and general knew?

      Yes, the Russians fought hard, and deserve respect for standing up against the Nazis, but was Stalin the great leader and humanitarian as some here seem to consider him as?

  23. Priss says:

    Chris, this wasn’t one of your better blogposts. Didn’yt the US supply billions in weapons to the Red Army during WW2 under their Lend/Lease arrangements??