Reporting on Russia – A Case of Rigid Orthodoxy

What a week it’s been! 80 days or so since we were told that Russia was about to invade Ukraine, it has yet to march its troops across the border. But the state of tension continues to rise, driven, it must be said, not by Russian officials, who have stated repeatedly that there are no invasion plans, but by those of Western states along with their enablers in the press.

Today, for instance, The Guardian’s Sunday edition, The Observer, was banging the anti-Russian drum as loud as possible with the thoroughly misleading headline “Russian ships, tanks and troops on the move to Ukraine as peace talks stall.”

Note the phrase “to Ukraine,” suggesting that Russian soldiers are actually heading across the frontier. The article itself is a little different from the headline saying merely that “Russia has sent troops more than 4,000 miles to Ukraine’s borders and announced sweeping naval drills,” which is not exactly the same as sending troops “to Ukraine.” But even this more moderate statement turns out to be not really accurate. For as The Observer goes on to tell us, the naval activity involves ships heading to the Mediterranean, while the ground forces “have arrived in Belarus … for joint military exercises set for mid-February.”

Maybe I’m being overly pedantic but the Mediterranean isn’t Ukraine and neither is Belarus. Besides, if the troops are going to be engaged in exercises in mid-February, they’re probably not going to be invading Ukraine in the meantime. The facts don’t back up the scaremongering.

Nevertheless, the Brits are sure that those evil Russkies are up to no good. For they’re not just planning to invade, they’re also plotting a coup in Ukraine – or at least so British intelligence would have us believe. According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, “Moscow may topple the [Ukrainian] government and install Yevhen Murayev, a former MP who controls a pro-Russia television station.”

It’s time people retired this “pro-Russian” label for every Ukrainian politician who happens to disagree with the Ukrainian nationalist agenda. As Murayev told The Guardian, “You’ve made my evening. The British Foreign Office seems confused. It isn’t very logical. I’m banned from Russia. Not only that but money from my father’s firm there has been confiscated.” Murayev is not only not “pro-Russian” and not much liked by the Russian government, but his Opposition Bloc party is so unpopular that it failed to get the 5% of the vote required to get seats in parliament in the last Ukrainian election. A more improbable candidate for coup leader it would be hard to find.

Besides which, one has to wonder how this proposed coup would work. First, the plotters would have to amass sufficient firepower to seize control and then they’d have to defend themselves against the inevitable counter-coup. It beggars belief, given the current state of affairs in Ukraine, that a “pro-Russian” force could do this.

That doesn’t mean that some people in Russia might not be muttering into their beer glasses that a coup in Kiev would be jolly good thing. And it doesn’t mean that Russian intelligence isn’t doing all it can to recruit spies and supporters within Ukraine. But a coup is not a serious prospect. Again, it’s pure scaremongering.

The problem with all this is that the stories of invasion, coups, and so on generate a lot of headlines, raising international tensions along the way, but when they then fail to occur, the headlines are absent. “Russia fails to invade Ukraine again,” isn’t exactly clickbait.

Much the same applies to all the other conspiracy theories concerning Russia – lots of noise when the initial accusations are made, and then more or less silence when it turns out that the theory isn’t true. And certainly, the conspiracy theorists are never held to account for misleading everybody.

Take, for instance, the case of Havana Syndrome, which I cover in an article this weekend for RT (here). For some time now, we’ve been led to believe that the mysterious health problems experienced by scores of American diplomats around the world are the product of Russian microwave weapons that have been frying their brains. But now the US media reports that, according to sources in the CIA, “The idea that widespread brain injury symptoms have been caused by Russia or another foreign power targeting Americans around the world, either to harm them or to collect intelligence, has been deemed unfounded.”

Will all those who spread the story about Russian microwave weapons now repent? I doubt it. Careers rarely suffer from falsely exaggerating the scale of the Russian threat (or indeed any other alleged threat to Western security from actors deemed for some reason to be malign). By contrast, challenging the prevailing narrative that Russia is a deadly and immediate threat to our safety is a career-killer.

If you have any doubts, observe the fate of the head of the German navy, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach, who had to resign (involuntarily, one imagines) after having had the temerity to tell a conference in India the obvious truth that Ukraine had lost Crimea for good. In my opinion, anybody who thinks otherwise is utterly deluded, but God forbid that this truth be said out loud.

Schoenbach dug himself deeper into a hole by saying that Russia sought “respect” and it would be to the West’s benefit to give it what it wanted. One can agree or disagree with this, as one wishes, but the idea is hardly a radical one, and it is surely important that military policy be drawn up in an atmosphere in which different hypotheses are carefully considered and not dismissed without consideration as beyond the pale. Rigid orthodoxy is not conducive to sensible decision-making. Unfortunately, it seems that rigid orthodoxy is now a requirement for senior office.

In fact, this goes far beyond senior officials. As the other stories mentioned in this post illustrate, in much of the West a very narrow orthodoxy has set in regarding all things Russian. Those who challenge it, are dismissed, sidetracked, or blackened as agents of “Russian propaganda.” An example of the last of these comes in a report published last week by the US State Department that seeks to expose “Russian disinformation and propaganda,” and in the process engages in some definite disinformation of its own. But that’s something for another post later this week. It’s a rather disgraceful story, but then again, given everything else, hardly surprising.

105 thoughts on “Reporting on Russia – A Case of Rigid Orthodoxy”

  1. I have a (perhaps pedestrian) question: if Russia isn’t planning an invasion of Ukraine, why do you think Russian troops have been massing close to Ukraine’s border since last fall? Is it routine military exercises? An attempt to over-awe Ukraine by means short of war?

    To be clear, I’m not asking about this to argue that Russia _is_ planning to invade Ukraine. I’m just trying to understand Russian policymakers’ behavior.

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    1. My two cents: Since the Ukrainians have drawn up 125,000 troops with their heavy weapons to their side of the contact line with the Donbass Republics, a deployment that has been accompanied by a constant stream of threats from Ukrainian officials, I suppose that Russian deployments, as you suggest, have been implemented in order to warn the Ukrainians against doing something stupid. I am quite sure that the Russian DO NOT want to invade: the Ukraine is currently a complete basket case. Who would want that responsibility?

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    2. Ukrainians line up against the Donbas border – a small Eastern corner of Ukraine. Russians line up the other side. The long Northern border, the Belarus border and the southern coast are empty of both Russians and Ukrainians. Clearly neither Russia nor Ukraine expects it to invade Ukraine. Someone might invade Donbas – which is de facto controlled by rebels.

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      1. ‘Rebels’ who I’m quite sure have been receiving ample supplies of advanced weaponry in those humanitarian aid trucks of Russia’s, and securely stowed away in warehouses, ready at a moment’s notice to hit the Ukrainian tanks if they ever were so foolish as to roll them into Donetsk or Lugansk. I mean two not playing at that game would be very curious indeed.

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    3. Since 2014, Russia’s troop presence on the Ukrainian border has been in the 90,000 range. Russia’s far eastern flank isn’t under as much of a potential threat.

      Note that the general mood in Russia and Kiev regime controlled Ukraine isn’t of an enhanced chance for a Russian attack.

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    4. My two cents:

      Pressuring an opponent into 1) finally coming to the bargaining table after 20 years of Russian discomfort and appeals and 2) making tactical mistakes that can be used to that end and 3) not creating but more so exposing the internal conflicts within the EU and NATO members re: a revised and comprehensive security architecture for Europe.

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    5. It’s a deterrent! Against Ukranian army trying to retake Donbass by force! This escalation started last spring, eased up a bit over the summer, then renewed again in the fall.

      Prof Robinson and other serious Russia watchers have commented on the situation dozens of times, but no one outside the narrow circle ever got the message.

      I wish it could be conveyed to Aaron Mate. Unfortunately, Aaron talks to Doug Macgregor instead, who may have some worthwhile ideas about his home country, but knows next to nothing about Russia and Ukraine…. incredibly frustrating.

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      1. For a US establishment person, Macgregor is quite good. I disagree with his stated belief (In The National Interest and Gray Zone appearances) that Russia will soon invade Ukraine for the purpose of expanding rebel territory.

        Awhile back, he referred to Russia as a 300 year menace and had suggested that I was a foreign agent. I’ve since seen an improvement in his input.

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      2. The British foreign minister believes that there is a resilient state called “Ukraine” that has existed for over 1,000 years, a proud country that has known invading forces before – “from the Mongols to the Tatars”.

        She certainly knows her stuff, doesn’t she?

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      3. @Occam’s Razor
        Thanks for complimenting my logic Occam : ) As for “too complicated for the average US/UK politician or journalist”, well, Aaron is no average. He’s smart, perhaps not the way Paul is smart, but then he’s not an academic. Anyway, he’s got a clue, and he’s got an outreach.

        Btw, Aaron did some excellent interviews with Stephen Cohen. He also interviewed Richard Sakwa, and imho it was a flop, but it got 41k views and 3.6k likes on YouTube – in 1 month. I’d be very pleased if Paul Robinson’s views got this media exposure!

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      4. In addition to sending a message against any Kiev regime attack on the rebel Donbass territory, the increased Russian troop presence in European Russia concerns seeking a new based security order in Europe.

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    6. Eh, Ukraine is not in the focus at all. Except in western media, of course. What if I tell you – if western mercenaries dressed in Ukrainian uniforms attack Donbas then I will see you in Berlin in several weeks. Do you understand it now? Ukraine just happens to be in the way.

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    7. I think it be more revealing to understand Ukrainian ‘policymakers’ behavior, while Zelensky is not coked up, with Yarosh’s hand up his behind.

      President Zelensky, speaking to the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine:

      “We have learned to contain external threats. It is time we begin offensive actions aimed at securing our national interests. Our citizens are united in wanting their territory returned”

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      1. Well, apparently Zel was referring to a more offensive spy network, feeling their oats now that they’ve arrested all their previous presidents as traitors, silenced and jailed all the dissidents and have James Bond in their corner.

        Little does the evil R.I.G.H.T S.P.E.C.T.O.R know that he brought with him Kharkov-born Tatyana Romanova to infiltrate the SBUks and unravel their dirty plot.

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    8. Maybe you should stop watching TV. Then you would’n have such questions. But you probably believe EVERYTHING they tell you. EVERYTHING!

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    9. You could also look at it from the point of view of very simple human terms…

      If I, the leader of a nation, had observed another nations behaviour over the last 80 years, bombing it’s way around the world to prop up it’s increasingly failing currancy and shit stirring all around the world, trying to take advantage of other nations, then I watched as that nation started shit stirring in my next door neighbours nation including supporting NAZI groups which my nation had sacrifised many people to get rid of, I think I would be … very concerned.

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  2. Putin is playing the West beautifully. They are now bogged down in eastern Europe, in a permenant state of hysteria awaiting … awaiting what exactly, oh yes. that invasion from 80 days ago. Ukraine isn’t even in Russias plans, beyond the obvious, but buying time for China is. No pivot to Asia now that Russia has refused to agree to being ‘parked’ by the Americans. This year is going to continue to be very very interesting and the US/UK/NATO triumverate are going to continue to get it wrong on all fronts. ‘state of the nation’ address by Putin on 22nd Feb should be interesting. Maybe the West will just invade Eastern Ukraine themselves come Olympic opening day? They usually have a well designed distraction/provocation of the Novichok variety (or Georgian) before major eastern sporting events.

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    1. S.A. Karaganov writes: “And the seizure of Ukraine, I am sure, is not included in our military plans. If only for the reason that capturing a country that is castrated economically, morally and intellectually, a country with a destroyed infrastructure and an embittered population is the worst-case scenario. The worst thing America can do for us is to give us Ukraine in the form to which they brought it.” http://karaganov.ru/publications/589

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Who in God’s name would want to be responsible for that banderite den of thieves and murderers, other than to throw the entire lot of them into a cage for a remake of Thunderdome?

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  3. Imagine the US really thought Russia was going to send 3 or 4 hypersonic missiles to the Romanian site. And the US said so. The media would be talking little but Russian hypersonics. The US having predicted it would be duty bound to guarantee that it could never happen. Duty bound to promise its missile shield would protect the site.
    The media would chatter incessantly about “do hypersonics really work” and the military balance would become a discussion topic (a Russian talking point).
    And then what?? It happens.

    Far better to claim Russia is going to do something it won’t and then take credit for it not happening, while blasting Russia for deviousness in doing something it wasn’t supposed to… …We’ll be ready for them next time

    The same works with Russia to take out a US warship in Black sea or Med.

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    1. Russia is actually creating a rather clever trap (or so I suspect). With all the western hyperventilating about an imminent attack, once it fails to happen – they’ll look like fools.

      Of course, they’ll try saying that it was their stalwart support for Ukraine and threats against Russia that forced Russia to back down and maybe it’ll fly for 50% but the other 50% will see through their gambit. Given previous trends, a 50% failure rate is a BIG accomplishment.

      Then again, the ultimate danger being that false flag attack by Ukraine et. al., to avoid the above.I guess we’ll all know how it ends sooner or later.

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      1. I wish you were right, but… it’s not gonna be 50-50. It’s gonna be 99-1 for “we stood firm and the russkies chickened out”, at least in the US of A. And everyone will cheer, and down a Coors Light, and go home.

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  4. “First, the plotters would have to amass sufficient firepower to seize control and then they’d have to defend themselves against the inevitable counter-coup”

    Well, if such a coup were ever to be executed, it would in fact BE a counter-coup and whatever ‘inevitable counter-coup’ to follow would in fact be a counter-counter-coup.

    That said, can you just imagine the mess the Russians would take on if they in fact did accomplish a coup? Besides all those Contra-style and ideologued banderite guerrilla fighters, zero intl recognition of its government. All western funding cut off. All exports, minimal as they are, to be cut off. They’d have to feed the entire nation. It’d turn into, well…..another Afghanistan!

    No, Russia is not that insane. Its detractors may be, but not Russia.

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    1. At this stage after seeing how this new lot in Ukraine conducts its wars and treats its dissidents, if they fed the entire nation to the dogs, other than feeling sorry for the dogs, I wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep.

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      1. If anybody tries to feed the Ukrainian people to the dogs, Russia will fight to protect them. Btw, protecting the Russian/Ukranian people in the Donbass is precisely the reason why the Russian troops are on the border.

        The fact that a handful of Nazis managed to grab power doesn’t change our common history, our family ties, our genes. We are the same people, and as long as Russia is Russia, Ukraine is NOT going to the dogs.

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  5. Re: “In fact, this goes far beyond senior officials. As the other stories mentioned in this post illustrate, in much of the West a very narrow orthodoxy has set in regarding all things Russian. Those who challenge it, are dismissed, sidetracked, or blackened as agents of ‘Russian propaganda.’ An example of the last of these comes in a report published last week by the US State Department that seeks to expose ‘Russian disinformation and propaganda,’ and in the process engages in some definite disinformation of its own. But that’s something for another post later this week. It’s a rather disgraceful story, but then again, given everything else, hardly surprising.”

    ****

    I saw and should have something out on that soon.

    On par with an earlier State Dept report on some other venues including the Strategic Culture Foundation.

    First they came for….

    Indicative of feeble minded sorts uncomfortable with having to see and possibly answer dissenting views.

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  6. Russia is actually creating a rather clever trap (or so I suspect). With all the western hyperventilating about an imminent attack, once it fails to happen – they’ll look like fools.

    Of course, they’ll try saying that it was their stalwart support for Ukraine and threats against Russia that forced Russia to back down and maybe it’ll fly for 50% but the other 50% will see through their gambit. Given previous trends, a 50% failure rate is a BIG accomplishment.

    Then again, the ultimate danger being the potential for that false flag attack by Ukraine et. al., to avoid the above. Its counter accusation’s already been prepared. I guess we’ll all know how it ends sooner or later.

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    1. The West is not afraid to look like fools. Bush & Blair invented WMDs – the greater example of looking like fools when those failed to materialize is hard to find – and were perfectly fine afterwards. I heard Blair has recently even received a quite prestigious order for the job well done.

      Compared to that, what’s a little invasion that never was?

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      1. “Compared to that, what’s a little invasion that never was?”

        True but look at it this way:

        Russia says ‘no plan to invade Ukraine’, innumerable times and reported in the MSM. Why? to try to catch Russia in a lie).

        West says ‘absolutely a plan to invade Ukraine’, innumerable times x 10 in screaming headlines. They have staked their position. It’s immovable.

        Final result: No invasion. Hard for the West to spin that one.

        Granted, they’ll be at it for months. Lots of spin cycle time.

        Frankly, this whole overblown reaction is laughable it’s so absurd. Repubs trying to hang Biden for being weak on Russia. Dems mouthing blowfish absurdities in retaliation. Russia is again smack dab in the middle of an American (and European) civil war. I think it may have even planned it this way to finally expose the prevailing idiocy of western powers. (If not, it sure lucked into something). This IS the Twilight Zone.

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      2. No invasion? Western values and LGBTQxΦΞΘ flags successfully deterred Putin’s hordes. It’s just proof the West still hasn’t lost its mojo.

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    2. “Of course, they’ll try saying that it was their stalwart support for Ukraine and threats against Russia that forced Russia to back down…”

      Yeah, I thought that could be the purpose of this particular hysteria. To make the Biden admin look like heroes, to give them a ‘win’. Internal politics.

      But then, it seems like nowadays they don’t need such a complicated effort. They could simply declare Biden a hero and keep repeating it, without all this.

      So, who the hell knows what the game is. Perhaps it’s to provoke some sort of military confrontation.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I can only conclude from this hysteria
    that the USA and NATO want to avoid addressing the Russia proposals for a new security architecture.

    So instead of addressing the points raised in the publicly published document- they scream about an invasion of Ukraine.

    The western powers rely on the fact most people don’t pay attention to world affairs.

    If they did we would not have had Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya,Syria.

    Same hysterical demonisation of the leaders of these countries and the playing of the humanitarian card.

    The United Kingdom where I reside is out in front warmongering.
    And the media BBC in lockstep with this dangerous warmongering – they are a disgrace.

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    1. Of course, a ‘new security architecture’ would kick the US out of its sole claim to the driver’s seat, a true existential threat to its notion of exceptionalism. It’s not the rumblings coming from Russia that so upsets the US. It’s those coming from within NATO itself that may cause the beginnings of a mental breakdown for the US. Dangerous times ahead.

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    2. The Beeb just gave another absurd puff segment to Evelyn Farkas, who proceeded to state a number of lies which went unchallenged. Shortly thereafter, another BBC segment had on the erudite Anatol Lieven.

      Since the Blinken-Lavrov meeting, there’ve been some pretty good discussions on Russia-Ukraine. This article references a couple of those segments, along with some other issues, including Paul Robinson’s beef with the US State Department:

      https://www.eurasiareview.com/24012022-spotlight-ukraine-latest-blinken-lavrov-aftermath-oped/

      Robustly providing top quality analysis on a range of key foreign policy, historical, media and sports issues.

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    3. “The western powers rely on the fact most people don’t pay attention to world affairs.” What makes you believe that anyone outside the tiny “international community” cares about what western people pay attention to?
      As far as avoiding addressing Russian proposals – there is a deadline. After that Kinzhal might move to Cuba. Nothing to worry mate. Just take your time.

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      1. Aren’t you embarrassed by so much self-promotion?

        I mean, congratulations but just say: “I wrote a piece that you may find of interest” every time you’ve made it into print.

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  8. Russia, China and the rest of the peace-loving world (not your “international community” made of 5 eyes and 30+ blind slave followers) knows that there are only 5 real targets that would result in peace returning to this tired planet. And you know exactly which five are them. Are you ready?

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  9. This is Helmers analysis of the “negotiations”, as not being reported by the usual suspects:

    “US Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed publicly in Geneva on Friday, January 21, that he will not negotiate a no-war agreement with the Russians because he cannot. This is already understood by the Russians; by the French and Germans; and by several senior officials of the Biden Administration.

    The evidence of Blinken’s incapacity is in the words he says.
    ……………………..
    Tested in two hot wars, and during the Cold War, the RAND method for gauging the intention of the adversary predicts this about Blinken – he wants war with Russia; he has no mind for any alternative.”

    http://johnhelmer.net/content-analysis-of-secretary-blinken-at-geneva-reveals-psychopatholical-incapacity-to-negotiate-with-russia/

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    1. After applying the RAND stress test to Blinken, Helmer is convinced that he’s dead set on going to war.

      Interesting phrase ‘dead set’.

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  10. “…thoroughly misleading headline “Russian ships, tanks and troops on the move to Ukraine as peace talks stall.””

    Welp, they’ve found it! They’ve finally found the legendary soviet submarine in the Ukrainian steppes

    “Murayev is not only not “pro-Russian” and not much liked by the Russian government, but his Opposition Bloc party is so unpopular that it failed to get the 5% of the vote required to get seats in parliament in the last Ukrainian election”

    They got 3 (three) % of the vote.

    You know who is Murayev though? He’s Rinat Akhmetov’s creature. Now add to that recent hullabaloo by Zekensky in late 2021 with accusations of Akhmetov plotting a coup. Now add to that prior conflict between Kolomoysky and Akhmetov over whether to sanction Belorussia and thus no longer importing electricity from it. It’s not a small issue you know – the choice is basically between getting “dirty dictatorial leccy” from the “tyrant” Lukashenko… or get it via burning democratic coal mined from the Akhmetov owned mines… Which, most often than not, is not actually Ukrainian but re-exported via Russia (with which, you know, the Ukraine allegedly wages life-or-death war) from the DNR and LNR.

    Won’t it be (post)ironic to learn, that the whole world had been brought to the edge of the titanic conflict because two oligarchs could not agree on how better to rob their own people? 😉

    “That doesn’t mean that some people in Russia might not be muttering into their beer glasses that a coup in Kiev would be jolly good thing. And it doesn’t mean that Russian intelligence isn’t doing all it can to recruit spies and supporters within Ukraine. But a coup is not a serious prospect.”

    Now, if *I* was a Russian intelligence operative, I’d be banking on a figure utterly amoral, who’s THE ultimate political survivor, who, nevertheless, can still deal with Russia.

    There is such a figure in the Ukrainian political panopticum. Her name is Julia Timoshenko 🙂

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    1. What about Savchenko? She’s out in the political wilderness, but she could be a suitable candidate. I get the feeling that she is still popular with the mob, what with her being a “heroine”.

      СУГС!

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      1. Nah. After she was persecuted under Poroshenko for plotting to blow up Verkhovna Rada (and the rest of the nonsense of her being secretelt Manchurian Candidate brainwashed while in Russian captivity) she’s been let go and, basically, “canceled”. There are no TV stations left to give her any time to “perform”.

        As for the “being popular with the mob”… There is no real “mob” currently in the Ukraine – only competing “rent-mobs”, beholden to this or that provider of petty cash and sacks of buckwheat.

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    2. Considering she made billions reselling subsidized Russian gas contracted by Ukraine to the Brits at market rates, she might make a good broker between the two at that.

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  11. Professor, my comment is a sidebar on your sidebar about the Havana syndrome. I read your piece in RT, but just before I saw it, I happened to be skimming this piece in VZGLIAD by reporter Alexander Berezin.

    The interesting thing is that the Havana microwaves actually existed. The physical reactions to them may have been (a) real or partially real symptoms, or (b) the product of a mass hysteria type delusion, or (c) a combination of both. Nonetheless, the microwaves themselves existed, and that is a very interesting story in itself. Here is the gist:

    Once upon a time, in the 1940’s, there lived a very clever Soviet Russian scientist and musician named Lev Sergeevich Termen , best known in history as the inventor of the Theremin.
    Stalin never trusted this guy further than he could throw him, so it was inevitable that Lev would end up in prison. He was arrested in 1939 with the usual bullshit charges thrown at him by the NKVD: He conspired to assassinate Kirov, was plotting a fascist coup, yada yada.
    Fortunately, instead of shooting him, the NKVD allowed Lev to continue working, and he came up with some amazing inventions for them, including a device called “Zlatoust”, which was basically an eavesdropping device. It didn’t require any external source of power, nor did it require “bugs” placed inside the building. If I am understanding the science correctly, it is basically a “detector” which reads the most subtle changes in the microwave background.
    In order to function properly and listen in on people’s conversations inside a building, said building needs to be bombarded with microwaves at a certain frequency.

    And so it came to pass. Between the years 1953-1976 the Soviets bombarded the American Embassy in Havana with a constant stream of microwaves between the frequencies of 2.5 to 4.0 gigaherz. Which resulted in an overall “bathing” of the building at a rate of .005 watts per square centimeter. Which the reporter believes is not nearly enough to cause anybody any real harm. [Especially compared to what we endure today with all this wi-fi, I might add.] Hence, the Americans great fear and reporting of scary medical symptoms was probably mostly just in their heads and the product of mass hysteria, once they realized they were being bathed in these microwaves.
    I might add that Soviets, being basically good people, their aim was not to harm any of these nice American diplomats, they just wanted to politely listen in on their conversations.

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      1. Exactamente! And Termen’s invention ZLATOUST is a direct calque (and Church Slavonicky word) from the Greek Chrysostom, which literally means “Golden Mouth”.
        Named after Antioch Priest (Saint John) Chryso-stom, later Archbishop of Constantinople.

        Saint John got that nickname because he was a terrific orator and gave thrilling sermons to his flock, so it just seemed to them like gold flowed out of his mouth. When Bible was translated from Greek to Slavonic, translators would calque many names and expressions from the Greek into their Slavonic equivalent. Many of these words still exist in modern Russian and have a “Churchy” feel to them, because they are in the Bible.
        It’s uplifting that the Soviets use this “Biblical” word to describe one of their greatest spy inventions!

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      1. Every time you pull up CNN, MSNBC, FOX, BBC, WAPO, NYT, CBC, DW and a host of others, you need rescue from spam.

        I;m sure the Russians have their daily diet of spam as well but as we in the West all know (from the above sources), Russians are subjected to daily sparsely stocked food shelves and we are more than amply fed.

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  12. Why are the Orcs taking so long?

    Typically indolent behaviour of the Russians.

    “That doesn’t mean that some people in Russia might not be muttering into their beer glasses that a coup in Kiev would be jolly good thing” you say, Professor?

    Oh come off it!

    The Russians couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery!

    Totally incompetent, the lot of them!

    [For those who do not “do irony”, I am writing ironically.]

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      1. He’s got an honor code and waiting for the opponent to not just draw but fire first. No cowboy rules for him. It’s 19th century duel etiquette at 20 paces.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Is Putin still on the lookout for a suitable Ukrainian puppet president after the Ukrainian “coup”? I wonder if Venezuelan hotshot Guano Gusano might still be available?

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  13. While I have dismissed all previous claims of an impending invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the current build up along the Ukrainian border is supposedly much larger in hardware and personnel than anything previously seen. In particular, there are some reports from Belarussian train workers that movements of equipment to Belarussia are supposed to be ten times the size of what was used in the last Zapad exercise. Given that Russia has essentially made an ultimatum to NATO that NATO has said it cannot accept (basically, return to the status quo of early 1997 or else), then either Russia gets what it wants and NATO loses all credibility or Russia doesn’t get what it wants, in which case it can either take military action or lose all credibility. I don’t see a way for either party to back out of this without looking foolish.

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    1. While I have dismissed all previous claims of an impending invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the current build up along the Ukrainian border is supposedly much larger in hardware and personnel than anything previously seen.

      Russian troops will invade the Ukraine on the night from 30 to 31 February. Highly Likely ™

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    2. Technical-military means does not necessarily imply immediate military action. However, if Ukraine marches on the Donbass, for which chances are now looking better by the day, immediate military action from Russia is guaranteed. The western media has adequately set the stage by the non-reporting of Ukraine’s military buildup on the Donbass line prior to Russia’s moves and all their subsequent hysteria. May they be the first to reap what they’ve sown.

      Zelensky: “We have learned to contain external threats. It is time we begin offensive actions aimed at securing our national interests. Our citizens are united in wanting their territory returned”

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      1. Would appreciate if you can expand on why it’s becoming likely Ukraine will march on the Donbas.

        Gee, dunno. Guess it’s for the same reason they marched on it in the first place. They hate democracy.

        Like

  14. It’s not ‘orthodoxy’ its simple bigotry. There are absolutely no consequences for repeated lying, exaggerating, making up or just not flushing the toilet. It’s become a fun common sport that everyone (except the target) can take part in and bond. Nobody of consequence is hurt.

    This is our ‘civilized’ west as it circles its own plughole.

    Like

    1. Like Robert Menendez’s incendiary comments on MSNBC and CNN about Russians coming home in body bags.

      On Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show, Victor Davis Hanson appropriately slammed Menendez’s remark at about the 14:30 mark:

      That virulent **** is catering to the pro-Bandera group in his state. He and they should know that in the unfortunate event of a Kiev regime-Russia war, it’ll be their favored side needing the greater number of body bags. Furthermore, not everyone in Kiev regime controlled Ukraine is anti-Russian.

      Some good stuff beforehand as well in that above video.

      There’s also the Ukrainian Olympic chief openly telling Ukrainian athletes not to come close to Russians at the upcoming winter Olympics. Much different than Lutz Long congratulating Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin summer Olympics, before a cheering audience.

      Like

      1. @ Mikhail, I cancelled my TV cable subscription about 20 years ago, so thanks for doing some of the hard, painful work for us.

        Like

      2. I also have not watched Fox News in quite a while. Astounding that these war-mongerers are ALMOST as nasty as the pro-Democrat channels like CNN, NBC, ABC, etc.
        In the case of this pro-Republican channel (=Fox), it seems like they want to go to war against China instead of Russia. And, with typical American hubris these smug talking puppets believe that all it would take is to offer Russia a rotten alliance against China; and that Russia would jump at the chance. These people are amoral sociopaths, so they project those traits onto others and assume everybody is just as cynical and amoral themselves.
        I personally would like to believe that the Russia-China “friendship” is a real thing, based on mutual respect (albeit national interests do not necessarily coincide on every little point), and that the one nation would not betray the other just because the rich-shit “cool kids” offered them a temporary position in their clique.
        Having said that, I have no illusions about the Russian Liberals, who would certainly jump at the chance to get back in America’s graces, and would throw China under the bus in a heartbeat. But I like to think the “healthier” elements of the current Russian government know better than to run and kick every time Lucy places the football down on the field.

        That was my take-away from watching this Fox segment.

        Like

      3. Retired senior British Army officer and member of the House of Lords, former Chief of the General Staff from 2006 to 2009 Lord Dannatt believes ‘the Ukrainians will fight and fight hard’, and that would mean Russian fatalities and casualties.

        He told Times Radio: “If Russian television screens get filled with body bags and casualties coming back from a bloody incursion in Ukraine, that will damage his popularity and damage his standing as opposed to boosting his position – so he has got a calculation to make”.

        That “when the body bags start coming home” meme is very popular amongst such pundits.

        However, though there were neither black, plastic body bags nor TV screens in 1941-1945, there were 23 million dead bodies as a result of the Great Patriotic War and the Soviet peoples knew full well about them: barely a family in the USSR was not touched by the loss of one its members KIA in that war for survival.

        One of those fallen was my wife’s great-uncle Stepan, who fell in 1942 and nobody knows where his body is. We have an old studio portrait of him here in Moscow, taken when he was in his Red Army uniform and before going to the front. My 21-year-old elder daughter proudly carries it during the yearly “Immortal Regiment” march.

        When the body bags come home, Dannat?

        Then the Russians will fold up?

        Russians are made of far sterner stuff than you might think, Lord bloody Dannatt!

        You know sweet F A about Russia and Russians!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. What bloody opposition?

        I don’t think Dannatt means the CPRF. Probably thinks that the imprisoned criminal and foreign agent known in the West as “The Leader of the Opposition” and “Putin’s Fiercest Critic” is due for liberation and a “come back”.

        As I have said already, Dannatt knows sweet FA about Russia.

        Like

      5. RS,

        I might’ve an upcoming link to an alternative show involving someone providing robustly top quality analysis on a range of key foreign policy, historical, media and sports issues.

        Regarding some comments from others on the above linked Fox segment, it did have some redeeming points. Here’s a newly released one from the same show, just aired on 1/26:

        Scroll to the 19:08 mark. Regarding China, Macgregor gives reason for why he believes that China will not strike at Taiwan. He continues to believe in a Russian strike that’ll see some additional territory getting loose from the Kiev regime. I’m a bit more doubtful about the chance for that happening.

        Such a move makes it tougher for the remaining pro-Russian elements in Kiev regime controlled Ukraine. With the right approach, much of Ukraine can at some point get on better terms with Russia.

        Like

  15. The whole bloody affair (literally speaking) is the US and UK and supporting cast promoting a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    Like

  16. The entire crisis in a nutshell:

    RF: We’ve been tolerating NATO’s creeping expansionism for 25 years. Now you just not want to be at our doorstep but in our vestibule. All we’re demanding now are security guarantees against your increasing first-strike advantage, or we’ll take measures we consider appropriate to our national interests. In simple terms, we will now push back.

    US: Nobody dictates to us how we conduct our affairs. Haven’t you read our book “Project for the New American Century”? We’ll push back even harder. With both political parties on board, we’re indestructible.

    RF: Indeed, we have read your book, several times over and even taken notes. If that’s how you see it, then what can we say? Give it your best shot.

    End of Story (if not Civilization).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I first visited Moscow to warm welcome in 1993, I came across an interesting brand of cigarettes sold at the local kiosk called Udarniy Otvet (Retaliatory Strike).

      It was at that very moment it dawned on me that this is not a nation you want to mess around with.

      Like

  17. CNN doing what it does best:

    “Analysis: The West fears Russia is about to attack Ukraine. But that’s not the way Russians are seeing it on TV.”

    Translation: “Believe us. We know. Russia is about to attack Ukraine and the Russians are being fed falsehoods.”

    Hmmm

    Soon to follow: “Everything you need to know about the Russia-Ukraine crisis” A CNN ‘need to know’ staple.

    Like

  18. Another CNN gem from today :

    “Russia to Germany pipeline has become what the two countries insisted it would never be.”

    Translation: US swears it will shut down NS2 over Russian warnings of gas stoppage through NS2 that the US has sworn it will shut down if Russia continues to threaten Ukraine by cancelling plans to send gas through NS2 which Ukraine has been lobbying the US/EU to do for years, while Germany stands idly by trying to figure out who’s on first, who’s asleep in the dugout and who’s way out in left field suffering from sunstroke.

    If you can solve that one, then the yet unsolved Collatz conjecture deserves your attention.

    Like

    1. Extra bonus points for Collatz Conjecture shout-out! The Ukrainian Conjecture is very similar because in the end, no matter how many talking heads you add, in the end it all scales down to a single neuron.

      And then the last person standing says “Hitler”, and Collatz becomes Godwin.

      Like

  19. Not long ago, I was walking through Macy’s department store at the mall.
    A Chinese looking woman was selling men’s cologne in the aisle.

    I spoke to her and detecting an accent, asked her where she was from.

    She said Hong Kong, she had been here for about a year.
    I said cool. I’ve been through the airport.

    Aware of the recent demonstrations in Hong Kong, I asked her:
    “Do you think there’s a lot of propaganda and brainwashing going on in China?”

    She looked around nervously for a moment, looked me directly in the eyes, then said in a hushed voice:

    “Yes, I thought so. Until I came here”.

    Like

  20. Maybe the Europeans are slowly waking up, and trying to formulate their own inter-European Security policies, leaving behind the US as a tertiary partner?
    The only quibble that I have with Doctorow’s piece is to call the SPD a “socialist party”. Originally it was thus, but soon the party split into an accommodationist wing that never challenged capitalism as the preferred mode of organizing the economy and the KPD, the German communist party.

    https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2022/01/26/the-pro-detente-position-of-willy-brandts-ostpolitik-still-is-alive-and-finding-its-voice-in-germany-today/

    “We therefore call on the new German government to return to the cornerstones of the peace policy of Willy Brandt and Egon Bahr. Security for Germany and the EU is only possible together with Russia. This requires equality and equal rights, as laid down in the Charter of the United Nations, the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris and the NATO-Russia Founding Act. On these bases, it is indeed necessary to assume more responsibility for peace and security.”

    Like

  21. Commenting on Moscow Exile’s comment above (thread getting too tight): Re. English TV bloviating about Ukrainian valor and how Russian soldiers will be returning home in body bags..

    Westie press is full of these memes right now, they are all egging on Ukrainians to “fight hard”, “fight to the last man and woman” so they can send Russian soldiers home in body bags while Westie couch-potatoes have multiple orgasms over their morning coffee while watching the action on CNN. It’s so sick and disgusting… these people don’t know what war is like at all.

    What IS true is that Zelensky in Ukraine has instituted almost universal draft, even women of every age have been drafted, even pregnant women. What does he plan to do next, push these women into the front lines against Russian soldiers? What are Russian soldiers supposed to do then? They are not going to shoot at pregnant women. Hopefully they won’t even be put in such a position. The best hope is that the Ukrainian army will simply melt away, and Russian soldiers can take over bloodlessly; if it even comes to that.

    Like

    1. “What are Russian soldiers supposed to do then? They are not going to shoot at pregnant women.”

      True. They may very well garrot them or burn them alive in retribution or imitation of the Odessa massacre but only if they fail to restrain themselves from behaving like one of those western-trained and honorable Ukrainian patriots that march in tiki torch parades with NATO weapons and Nazi SS regalia down avenues newly renamed to honor Nazi-aligned WWII war criminals.

      Like

    2. Sorry to say, any women that is put on the front line, pregnant or not, is part of the system that put her there.

      As demonstrated by several posters here, no German, draftee or not, SS man or regular grunt deserves exoneration; there are no excuses for not to kill any and all Germans, presently alive, their surviving fathers and Grandfathers, for what they did in WW2.

      So it is only a matter of consequences that any member of a Nation with a corrupt regime like the UKI govt., bears equal responsibility and is equally liable to be eliminated, pregnant or not.
      Why did the bitch not protest and /or refuse military service, but let the UK Nazis get away with it?
      They are all in it together, aren’t they?

      Like

      1. joey_n
        Seems you are rather new here. It happened here and on other sites when discussing Russian/German relations and history, after I tried to argue that definitely not all the Germans and likely not even a majority were in support of Hitler.
        The backlash, contending that all Germans were equally responsible and collectively guilty – and all soldiers no matter what were evil and deserved no mercy – and therefore should have suffered collective consequences, was something to behold.

        So please excuse me when I just regurgitate the idiotic arguments here and apply them to the UKI situation.

        Like

      2. @Peter Moritz
        Oh, I see. (If it was supposed to be sarcastic, then I missed it. I’m not very good at parsing sarcasm unless it’s indicated as such.)

        By ‘here’ I was merely focusing on this site alone and not on others. Sorry.

        Like

      3. “By ‘here’ I was merely focusing on this site alone and not on others. Sorry.”
        It happened on this site, sometime last fall shortly after I entered into discussions here.

        I can understand the anger of Russians about the encounter with the Nazi horrors, but the concept of “collective” guilt (but not collective responsibility, after all Germany paid reparations according to the Yalta and Potsdam agreements) rightly has been dismissed as inappropriate for obvious reasons.

        After all, regarding the atrocities committed by the Russian Empire, i.e. the genocide and expulsions of the Circassians, the horrors committed by Stalin as leader of the USSR in Ukraine and other places in the USSR through a – foreseeable – failure of forced collectivization? Blame collective Russia for that?

        Like

  22. Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. Moritz.

    It happened on this site, sometime last fall shortly after I entered into discussions here.

    I can’t remember seeing any such debates at the time. Tried finding your name on the September, October and November 2021 archives (unless this is not how you’d define ‘last fall’) and of the blog posts that you commented in, I couldn’t find any such debate. Maybe it got deleted and I didn’t notice?

    Like

    1. Sorry, my mistake. The topic of killing anyone who is your enemy came up on Yalensis blog. And my timeframe was off, my excuse is old age when time flies even if you don’t have fun.

      “If we realise in hindsight that the Soviet government should have killed all German military and government personnel as well as local collaborators rather than just a few of the more egregious ones, then the appropriate course of action is clear.”

      “As for the German Communists, they were mostly worthless anyway. For every Fritz Schmenkel you have millions of orcs who served Hitler faithfully for almost the whole of his rule, and only started digging out their faded KPD cards in April 1945. Such people are better employed as fertiliser”

      “The only man-made famine in Soviet history was created by Germany. All National Socialist propaganda accused the Soviet government of doing what Germany intended to do.”
      https://awfulavalanche.wordpress.com/2021/02/
      etc. ec….

      Like

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