The West Will Ignore Putin’s Weary Anger At Its Peril.


ON CHRISTMAS EVE 1991, Germany and Austria, without warning or consultation, recognised the independence of Slovenia and Croatia.

Six months earlier, on 25 June 1991, these hitherto constituent republics of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had declared themselves independent states. Naturally, the Yugoslav Government objected in the strongest terms and sent its army north. NATO’s Secretary-General, the former British Foreign Secretary, Lord Carrington, attempted to negotiate a peaceful settlement.

Sufficient progress was being made for the Yugoslav Government to order the army’s tanks back to their bases. Its consternation, when the newly re-united Germany recognised the breakaway republics’ independence, and Austria partially mobilised its armed forces along the Slovenian border, is readily imagined. The Americans, the EU, and the United Nations were equally non-plussed.

Yugoslavia may have been crumbling, but the unilateral recognition of Slovenian and Croatian independence by Germany and Austria undoubtedly hastened its disintegration. The tragic consequences: civil war, murderous ethnic cleansing, NATO’s assault on Serbia (the largest of the Yugoslav successor states) cost tens-of-thousands of innocent lives.

Were Germany and Austria punished for their deliberate fracturing of another European state? Did the United States, the EU and NATO impose a devastating regime of sanctions upon them? Were massive supplies of weapons shipped to Yugoslavia in an attempt to keep its fragile constitutional architecture standing? Was the German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, vilified across the Western news media as another Adolf Hitler? Did his neighbours manoeuvre hostile battle-groups along his country’s frontiers?

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Of course not. Indeed, it is highly unlikely than more than one in ten of the people reading this post will even remember Germany’s and Austria’s flagrant breach of international law – or care.

Those belonging to the realist school of international diplomacy may have raised an eyebrow at the two German-speaking nation’s uncharacteristic departure from international diplomatic norms, but they didn’t engage in hysterical name-calling or fill the airwaves with dire predictions of European war. (Even if the more perspicacious among them, remembering the fraught history of the Balkan states, foresaw only bad things flowing from Germany’s and Austria’s rash decisions.)

It was clear to everyone that the Yugoslavia forged by Marshall Tito in the white heat of the Second World War and, while he lived, a remarkably successful experiment in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and socialist co-operation, was unravelling at an alarming rate. Old crimes were being remembered, vengeful ghosts were rising from the killing fields of the German occupation. Few international scholars, and even fewer experienced diplomats, were surprised that Catholic Slovenia and Croatia wanted out, or that they fell gratefully into the nearest pair of outstretched arms.

The contrast with the present hysterical condemnation of Russia’s recognition of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk could hardly be clearer. There is precious little evidence of hard-headed realism in the West’s diplomacy, only inchoate rage at Russia’s stubborn refusal to become the vassal of a declining American super-power and its dangerous kennel of NATO attack-dogs.

Vladimir Putin was absolutely correct to describe the break-up of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical catastrophe. The Russians had done the world an enormous favour in taking responsibility for the cutthroat nations of Eastern Europe and the Baltic littoral.

Few people in the West now recall how many of these states allied themselves with Nazi Germany during World War II. But the Russians have not forgotten whose soldiers were positioned on the flanks of Stalingrad as von Paulus’s Sixth Army closed in for the kill. Nor have they forgotten how eagerly the Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians and, yes, the Ukrainians, helped the Einsatzgruppen murder two million of their Jewish neighbours.

Setting these bloodlands free was always a risky proposition.

Not that the NATO Alliance had many thoughts to spare for the recent history of Eastern Europe. As the Soviet Union fell apart and the elites of its constituent republics seized the moment to make their fortunes, the Americans and their European vassals could only look on in awe at the world of rich geopolitical pickings opening up before their eyes.

The wildest dreams of Western geopoliticians, dating all the way back to the end of the First World War, could now be realised. Georgia, the Caucasus, Moldova, Belarus, and the geopolitical jewel in the crown, Ukraine: all of them were up for grabs – daggers pointed directly at the heart of Mother Russia. “Come one, come all!” cried Washington and Brussels – “NATO’s door is always open!”

Poor, deluded Mikhail Gorbachev: how could he possibly have been so innocent as to take on trust George H. W. Bush’s pledge that NATO would not advance “one inch” beyond the River Elbe? Had the combat boot been on the other foot, would the Soviet Union have given such a pledge? Or, if it did, would it have felt bound to honour it?

Some have laughed at Putin’s rambling history lesson of 22 February, preliminary to his signing of the documents recognising the breakaway Donbass republics. He was not, however, joking. His criticism of Lenin and the Bolsheviks was entirely serious.

As good socialists they were determined to honour the principles of national self-determination. Putin’s argument is that by doing so they made the later disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics a great deal easier than it should have been. Had the Bolsheviks treated Ukraine and the other constituent republics in the same way as the Tsarist regime: beloved provinces of one great, indissoluble nation – Russia – then the almost casual agreement of December 1991 to break up the Soviet Union might have been averted.

But, we are where we are. Like a baited bear, the Russian Federation has watched through small, black eyes as NATO’s attack-dogs crept closer and closer. Unlike the doomed creatures chained by neck and ankle in the bear-pits of yesteryear, however, the Russian Bear is constrained only by how many of these slavering curs it is willing to kill, and when.

Putin’s weary anger said it all. The Ukraine and Russia are one. The West cannot have her. If NATO is determined to fight, then Russia will fight back. But, if she falls, she will not fall alone.

This Russian Bear has nuclear teeth.


  1. The independence story did not just stop with Slovenia and Croatia. After gaining independence, Serbia encouraged the ethnic cleansing of its minorities – to the point where Kosovo then gained independence from Serbia with American help. Such newly independent states were then eagerly exploited by NATO as trojan horses projected right up to Moscow’s doorstep. For some strange reasons, the fuller picture of hypocrisy remains curiously missing from the narrative from media.

  2. “The Russians had done the world an enormous favour in taking responsibility for the cutthroat nations of Eastern Europe and the Baltic littoral. Few people in the West now recall how many of these states allied themselves with Nazi Germany during World War II.”

    Tell that to the Germans, Poles, Hungarians and Romanians who suffered for decades under the heel of soviet socialism!
    As for siding with the Germans, well it seemed like a good idea at the time because compared to Stalin’s Russia, Nazi Germany appeared, well, nice. Hard to imagine eh? But those central European states knew what Stalin was doing and his body count was far higher than Hitler’s.

    • would that be the polish military dictatorship that was happy to take a slice of czechoslovakia when adolph invaded, or the anti Semitic cesspit that was prewar poland(they also ethnically clensed the ukrainians from parts they ‘aquired’) in percentage deaths the poles suffered more than anyone in ww2 but they were not ever the violated innocent virgins some make them out to be….everybody and I do mean EVERYBODY in eastern europe has shit on their neighbour at some point…we need to ditch all that bullshit and deal with the situation in front of us now today.

    • Stalin’s bloody paranoia was birthed in reaction to the West’s active interference in the infant Bolshevik republic. Russia, whether Czarist or Bolshevik, has never had cause to trust the West instead every justification to distrust it. Bonaparte marched 1500 km into Russia employing scorched earth tactics and 27 Million Russians died in WWII.

    • Just a clarification to my comment on Bonaparte, Bonaparte was met with a desperate scorched earth policy he didn’t instigate it. Nevertheless the end result was the same, the countryside (and Moscow) in smoldering ruins.

  3. Good points, Chris!

    How can we forget the Austrian and German tanks crossing into Slovenia and Croatia to assist as peacekeepers in 1991!

    Nor should we forget that NATO is crouched like a tiger ready to spring upon a peaceful Russia if it shows the slightest weakness, after simply minding its own business in its former puppet states!

    • Best comment so far. It must surely be obvious to everyone that Germany of the last 30 years is every bit as bad as Putin’s Russia. German luxury cars have invaded virtually the whole world.

      I was in the former Yugoslavia in late 1990. It was very obviously a tinder box about to explode. Croatians could not wait to break free of the old Yugoslavia that was clearly dominated by Serbia.

      • Just to avoid any doubt, I was being sarcastic.

        No German or Austrian tanks crossed any border in 1991. Or any border since 1945.

        And NATO is not going to invade Russia or anyone else. They can barely agree to defend themselves, let alone go invade elsewhere.

        • but the germans did supply their ex fascist allies in croatia with arms and uniforms(old DDR stock was much in evidence in the early stages of the balkan war amongst croat militias)….so your ‘jest’ wasn’t entirely off the mark.

  4. If only this post could be on the front page of all NZ newspapers. Instead we are bombarded with never ending western puffery and bullshit. Time to make it clear that it is the USA doing all the “destroy Russia at all costs”. Time to realize how NATO are simply American lapdogs, that Britain /Australia are nothing but American mouthpieces , and that even the UN is subservient to American money.
    Thank you Chris.

    • The days of the Western MSM even attempting a balanced, even a heavily straw manned, alternative POV are long gone Garibaldbi.

      “The media is fully integrated into the managerial network that hangs over American society. They do not have to be told what to do, as that information is transmitted seamlessly through the network, like the pheromones used in a beehive.

      A good example is this item in the war propaganda about Ukraine. The three “journalists” were given a story by the State Department that claims Putin is organizing death squads for after the invasion. He plans to unleash these death squads on the LGBTQI+ community in Ukraine. They also plan to fan out around the world to assassinate Ukrainian and Belarusian political opponents.

      The whole thing is laughable nonsense, but the people authoring the story are unqualified to question any of it, even if they possessed the self-awareness to wonder why they were handed this scoop by government agents. Of course, that is why they were selected for the leak. That node on the network instinctively looks for the most gullible and compliant nodes on the media side for these selected leaks.”
      “This is what we see with the Ukraine crisis. The American actions thus far are like programmed moves that were based on an assumed set of facts on the ground that do not exist or have rapidly changed. Anyone pointing this out is attacked as a tool of Putin and anyone trying to work from the facts on the ground is viewed as the enemy. It is not particularly clear right now that anyone is actually in control of American foreign policy.”

      • Thank you DG. Your comment should be on our newspapers front page too!
        All we are going to get from the media is how terrible the Russians are and that we in the West are the innocent goodies who should go to war with the dirty ,rotten, cheating Ruskies. Sickening.

  5. Never poke the Russian bear, something a few military leader in Europe learned to say – generally the hard way.
    But then history rhymes, and repeats, and the highly educated are still the dumbest, learned so many good words and understood the meaning of none.

  6. The hysterical hype over the Ukrainian crisis is nothing more than desperate, liberal western globalists gnashing their greedy teeth. Buy into the western bullshit at your peril.

    Check out some background facts;

    What’s going on over there is simply a Slavic family squabble. It’s being stirred up by liberal western ideologues & corrupt Ukrainian pricks who’re desperate for more western cash, arms & recognition.

    NZ’s future should be about developing a more resilient, localized & self sufficient economy & a non-aligned foreign policy.

    Continuing to follow our foreign masters down their war mongering rabbit holes will be the death of us.

    Not all of us have forgotten the blatant ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq lies?

    • The RT? Looooooool.

      It’s like reading the North Korea State News for objective analysis. Fark me the Russia bots are out in force already. First the ground invasion, now the disinformation.

      “In 2012, RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan compared the channel to the Russian Ministry of Defence.”

      An independent democracy was invaded, by force, by a virtual dictatorship. We can debate foreign policy rights rights and wrongs, but it’s a simple fact of invasion, yet again.

      • except the ukrainian ‘democracy’ is run by US backed neo-nazis…you might say no worse than putin but certainly no better….can we please can the ‘poor little belgium’ routine

    • You’re so right about “NZ’s future should be about….”
      Sadly and very unwisely we lost that ‘future’ when Rogernomics took over our commerce and industry
      We could pay a massively high price for those decisions and policies – much, much more than we are already paying.
      Could be a grim time a-coming for NZ – we can but hope not!

  7. Some excellent points, Chris. You could add to that list recognition of Kosovo in violation of Serbia’s sovereignty. Would be interested to see Hon. Nanaia Mahuta explain away the bare-faced hypocrisy of the west
    in taking Russia to task.

  8. Thanks also from me, Chris, for one of the few balanced and accurate analyses I have seen.

    And so far, only one numpty trying to distract with that old canard – ‘Oh, but Stalin was SO much worse than Hitler!’ Stalin was not good: like all the great Tsars he ruled Russia with a cruel rod of iron. But claiming he was even worse than Hitler is tendentious.

  9. A timely history lesson from Chris. Thank you. I can now understand what motivates Putin but if he is given permission from nato or anyone else to take back what he considers Russian territory what would stop him from going further. Why not take a bit more of the old Soviet Union. Not all, just the bits with useful ports and minerals to exploit. Does he really care about the culture and peoples of these regions or is it the strategic location and industrial advantage he sees. Mmm.

  10. ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL Chris – A full, concise and most timely presentation of the facts, which should be made required reading by everyone, not least the craven media which, in thrall to US cold war propaganda stoke the fires of war. But, the tragedy is, as with so much that appears on independent media, those who most need to read it, won’t be allowed to

  11. DON’T BITE VINO, the stalin vs hitler rightwing talking point isn’t to make stalin bad but to make their idol adolf look good.

    • Heh, it is an oldie and still a “baddie” that line. The Soviets sacrificed millions of people to bring the Nazis to a grinding halt in WWII. Would be fascists are pushing all around the world at the moment including in NZ and Canada. I hope the funding and communication trails are publicised sooner rather than later so we know exactly who we are dealing with.

      Is it too much to ask that the state security agencies earn their money for once and find out?

    • Well, poor old Hitler did seem to get an awfully bad run of publicity out of our heavily left-wing-biased press, didn’t he? (sarc)

  12. Remember NATO, the US have not won, beaten or come out on top of any battles, conflicts ‘wars’ as an absolute ‘winner’.
    It usually ends in death and destruction and then abandonment, regime change and re-corporatisation. Then the natural resources are stolen and the nations population are impoverished. Colonised. Again.

  13. And our independent foreign policy is trashed again! Mahuta is proving to be a great waste of space. Her mission is now selling NZ out to the US and its other poodles. She had advice for the Australians when they deservedly got slammed by China. What will her response be now when Russia’s Friend bites her backside and blocks our trade.

    • the ironic thing is that in both the us and uk which pollies get russian oligarch money will decide the outcome both the tories and the gop/dems are bought and paid for.

  14. ‘Ukraine and Russia are one’. Putin has said as much in that they share history and ancestry. And if we go far enough back in time we all share common ancestors.

  15. Excellent piece Chris,
    But the question is?? why is this massive anti Russian propaganda being mounted? it must rewards capital in some form or another, but who benefits?
    I offer some suggestions
    Is it to create an incentive to fund more oil wells and production to remove western reliance from the enemy[In this case Russia]
    What about the denying of Germany of gas so it will have to reinstate its Nuclear power generation.
    Or is it something as simple and obvious that the US economy and society can only operate with a huge investment in the military this cannot be justified unless there is a real enemy the Russia China bogy man narrative fits the bill. If we want to find the real reasons of this round of sabre rattling, do as they say on wall st follow the money. For money is what this is all about it would not be reported otherwise.

    • well if the yanks couldn’t even beat vietnamese peasants or afgan tribesmen then I don’t hold out much hope for them…but a protracted low level conventional like war in donetsk might suit, though the only way to win, if that were indeed the purpose would be battlefield nukes…hopefully no one is quite that insane.

  16. All good points made. but equally Putin is certainly no angel and an equally corrupt megalomaniac. So lets not lose sight of this as well. Cold war politics never left us, we just had a we rest from it….

    • Well said and as I write Putin has declared war on Ukraine. A far cry from Trumps version that his good friend Putin has gone there in the capacity of peace keeper.

      • Trump…”So, Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s [the] strongest peace force,” Trump said.

  17. Have you heard of the famine in the Ukraine in the thirties artificially caused by the Soviets. It is a monstrous crime that the left have always conveniently ignored. I’m sure the Baltic States that joined in in WW2 on the side of the Germans remember Soviet rule with very little fondness.
    Didn’t Chechnya seek to have independence? Poland was invaded by the Germany and Russia.
    Talk about viewing history through a very one sided lens.

    • ok here we fuckin go tom..

      poland attacked the ussr in 1920 hoping to annex the ukraine…that ended in stalemate…
      the ukrainian nationalist ‘partisans’ in the civil war and ww2 spent more time murdering jews than they did fighting the red army killing as many poles as they could along the way.
      the baltics were invaded by the nazis like the soviets had done and provided volunteer troops the fight and murder jews russians and poles.

      see what I means about everybodys grandads goat tom?

  18. After that rant against the Ukranian people, described bizarrely as ‘balanced’, it’s time for some genuine balance I think –

    In total, the number of ethnic Ukrainians who fought in the ranks of the Soviet Army is estimated from 4.5 million[102] to 7 million.[110]

    Some western Ukrainians, who had only joined the Soviet Union in 1939, hailed the Germans as liberators. Brutal German rule eventually turned their supporters against the Nazi administrators, who made little attempt to exploit dissatisfaction with Stalinist policies.[114] Instead, the Nazis preserved the collective-farm system, carried out genocidal policies against Jews, deported millions of people to work in Germany, and began a depopulation program to prepare for German colonisation.[114] They blockaded the transport of food on the Kyiv River.[115]

    The total losses inflicted upon the Ukrainian population during the war are estimated at 6 million,[118][119] including an estimated one and a half million Jews killed by the Einsatzgruppen,[120] sometimes with the help of local collaborators. Of the estimated 8.6 million Soviet troop losses,[121][122][123] 1.4 million were ethnic Ukrainians.[121][123]
    The losses of the Ukrainian people in the war amounted to 40-44% of the total losses of the USSR.[125]

    The republic was heavily damaged by the war, and it required significant efforts to recover. More than 700 cities and towns and 28,000 villages were destroyed.[126] The situation was worsened by a famine in 1946–47, which was caused by a drought and the wartime destruction of infrastructure. The death toll of this famine varies, with even the lowest estimate in the tens of thousands.[119] Post-war ethnic cleansing occurred in the newly expanded Soviet Union. As of 1 January 1953, Ukrainians were second only to Russians among adult “special deportees”, comprising 20% of the total.[129] In addition, over 450,000 ethnic Germans from Ukraine and more than 200,000 Crimean Tatars were victims of forced deportations.[129]

    • indeed anyone feeling sympathetic to the nazi liberators from stalin(who was indisputably a murderous tyrant) bit should research ‘plan ost’ it makes the wannsee conference look like a church coffee morning

    • no because if the orange one had his way the us would have withdrawn from europe and left nato… THAT SENSE you’re perfectly right bert, if you’re implying the watersports enthusiast would have stood up to the oligarchs that fund him…dream on sonny

  19. Russia has become a fascist (nationalist socialist state) Mudering opposition leaders, lying about their foul deeds – shooting down a civilian aeroplane, talking about hysteria in the west. Now they are doing to Ukraine what Hitler did to Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939, first the Sudetenland then the whole country. Thr strongest possible sanctions for a start.

    • HISTORIAN – yes russia is a nationalist state, largely run by capitalist robber barons of the kind right wing economists that get sexually excited, it has a baleful and strong theological influence on domestic politics and a cult of ww2, not unlike the brits, the US ‘greatest generation’ stuff.

      but I can’t for the life of me find the ‘socialist’ in modern russia…or did you just throw that in because of your own personal political convictions?..if not name one socialist policy in russia today…g’wan darez ya.

      • Find one in Nazi Germany. That was a National Socialist state because it stole the rhetoric of socialism from the mouths of the Communists. “Plutocratic democracies” etc.
        Now Putin does the same, when he talks about the “denazification” of Ukraine. He’s practically Antifa.

  20. During the cold war we lived under a bipolar world system ie US and USSR.
    After the cold war ended we have lived under a unipolar world system ie the US.
    They have used that power to sanction, blockade, arm and fund paramilitary, terrorists or both to destabilise and eventually overthrow elected governments that do not follow their hegemonic world order.
    If all that fails, invasion and occupation is the next option with support from their western power cronies and US created organisations while we sit and watch the tragedy that ensues.
    Now US hegemony is being challenged by a rapidly overtaking powerhouse in China.
    But China is growing pragmatically closer to Russia and though it may not be an economic powerhouse Russia is still geopolitically powerful, militarily respected and rich in natural resource.
    China can and will work with Russia to present a formidable united front and Russia in turn will also re-emerge as economically much stronger.
    The seeds for Cold War 2 have been planted long ago when the numbers were trending down for the US and China’s numbers were trending rapidly up.
    The continual march eastwards by NATO/US military alliance has been and is clearly provocative to Russia.
    The refusal to listen to Russian edicts on NATO expansion has purposefully fallen on deaf ears and has been manipulated by the establishment West.
    In regards to Putin’s speech and his reference to Lenin, I agree with you CT that far from rambling it was a rare insight into Putin’s historical awareness.
    For this to be resolved quickly, negotiations must start asap and NATO inclusion for the Ukraine is off the table.
    Thank you CT for your excellent post.

  21. You do realize that when Stalin died he had started the imprisonment of Jews in preparation for his own pogrom? He even had the composer Vainburg in jail, a very rare act for him.
    Before the Soviets retreated from Ukraine, which they invaded in 1920, they murdered all the Ukrainian political prisoners they could get their hands on, those who had survived the Holodomor. The relations between Ukraine and the Nazis were more complex than you admit – for example, the Nazis established the Carpatho-Ukraine puppet state in Czechoslovakia in 1939, collected the Ukrainian nationalist leaders there, then allowed Hungary to invade and massacre most of them when they sidled up the the gallant USSR later that year, so by the time Germany invaded Poland Ukrainian politicians were, unusually, on Poland’s side.
    8 million Ukrainians died in WW2, Zelensky’s grandfather fought in it, and of course he’s a Jewish leader elected overwhelmingly by the Ukrainian people. Times have changed Chris. Putin has relied on the neo-Nazi and Nazbol elements in Russia to support his own regime.
    Putin harassing Memorial recently was as if Germany had closed down its Holocaust museum, the reddest of flags for anyone paying attention.
    The dream is dead, the Russian empire, like Ukraine, no longer represents what you think it does.

  22. Chris, you have uncharacteristically, provided imbalanced and partially obscured view of history with the statement “Nor have they forgotten how eagerly the Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians and, yes, the Ukrainians, helped the Einsatzgruppen murder two million of their Jewish neighbours.” How about the several million Ukrainians who were either mass murdered or sent to Gulags only to be later killed, or starved to death by Russia, during Stalins various ‘Terrors’ and his deliberately induced famines immediately prior to WWII? Did Putin mention that in his so called “history lesson”? Thought not.

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