Heard the one about the guy who lived his life backwards? Started his life with a church service and massive party and finished it with a whopping orgasm?
OK let’s cut to the quick. For some. Or let’s cut a long story short. For others. Western reporting on Russia has never been much more than a fantasy cloud cuckoo world of vapid nonsense, diatribes, Russophobic fetishes and the quirks of trainee journalists paid to spread hatred. It continues today, after a successful media campaign, and the Fascist censorship of Russian news sources (like RT), which succeeded in brainwashing around 65 per cent of the population, gullible as always because they don’t bother to check the facts. They swallow their tidy little news “shows” (they call them shows these days, like some kind of cabaret act) hook, line and sinker.
So the titles “Bad Vlad goes Mad”, “butchers” Ukraine, complete with television images of babies crying (some of them taken at war scenes) compounds the mass idea that “Putin” is mad as a hatter, has terminal cancer, defecated himself in the Kremlin (like what about the dozens of toilets in there and how the Hell would anyone know that anyway even if it were true?), and has now “lost power”.
But it gets worse. Over the last year and a half, we have read stories about Russia trying and failing to take Kiev, strafing civilians on purpose (Russia is not NATO), about Ukraine losing a city and gaining a victory at the same time (by losing the city. Like, what the...?), about NATO troops not being involved in Ukraine (tell that to the families of those who suddenly went missing, but special ops are not reported in the media), stories about the Russian President being a dictator, a tyrant and ruling by fear. Then suddenly losing power. We have not read one single story about the context, the reasons for Russia’s special military operation. There are two sides to every story, two sides to every coin. What is the other side?
I remember the stories I used to read in the 1960s about Russian food, which ran along the lines of “Russia doesn’t really have a national dish, except for beetroot soup with bits of cabbage and raw egg floating on the top”. Fast forward half a century and what do we see today? Reporting along the lines of “Russians do what they are told. They eat cabbage, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and beetroot. Sometimes shallots. Just because someone tells them to, but lots and lots of beetroot”.
So suppose we cut the Russophobic propaganda and examine the facts, suppose we cut the puerile nonsense and address the issues?
Before I start let nobody get me wrong. I do not enjoy seeing military conflicts, perhaps because I have personally fired every type of gun imaginable from pistols to bolt-action rifles to light and heavy machine guns, to automatic pistols and rifles and I have seen the damage they can cause a family. Every bullet fired is a tragedy. And I respect every single victim of military conflict, be they Iraqi boys with their faces blown off from freedom and democracy imposed by a coward in the sky, among a million deaths following an illegal invasion, be they Libyan girls raped before and after being decapitated by takfiri terrorists supported by NATO countries and on their own lists of proscribed groups, be they nuns in Syria facing the same fate, except for the fact that their breasts were sliced off and their heads were used as footballs, by takfiri terrorists supported by the West, be they Russian speakers in Donbass murdered by Ukrainian Fascists, or Ukrainian civilian victims of this military operation today.
But let’s get real and examine the time lines.
The western time line runs something like this.
In 2014 “Putin” suddenly went mad, maybe because of terminal cancer (wow, that is taking a long time, isn’t it?) and one Friday afternoon, sitting in his “compound”, suddenly decided “I know! Let’s invade Ukraine!” and annexed Crimea. Then, because that was too easy, he decided to send little green men into Donbass (the republics in the east of Ukraine where the majority of the population are Russian speakers and follow Russian culture). Then suddenly, eight years later, decided to launch a larger-scale invasion, then failed to take Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Then he lost power.
OOOOOOOoooooo Kaaaaaaaaaaay...sit down boys and girls, we have a question and answer situation here.
So, first off, why do you guys suddenly start calling a President by his surname and drop the titles or first names? Remember? “Saddam”, “Gaddafy”, “Assad” and now “Putin”. A tad primary, what?
So another question, prior to suddenly “going mad” in 2014, was President Vladimir Putin respected as a cool-headed international statesman, or not? We can relegate the cancer story and the “soiled himself in the Kremlin” story as figments of the sadistic or coprophiliac fetishes of a pervert, or his editors.
Now let us start with Crimea (although the Ukraine story is far more complex and has far longer tails attached, as in read up on CIA operations in Ukraine since the 1970s, yeah those guys again). So why would Russia suddenly “annex” Crimea? And where in these stories is the free and fair democratic referendum, run along the same lines as the referendum in the Falklands Isles on nation status? And where in these stories is the reason for the referendum?
Where in these stories is the illegal ousting of the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich? Where in these stories is the removal by the democratically elected President by Fascists, accompanied by armed groups of thugs in the streets, some of them clad in Swastikas? Where in these stories is the fact that with the removal of the President, the entity with the power to enforce the law in the Republic of Crimea was its Assembly, which in turn voted to hold the Referendum and over 90 per cent of the population voted to return to Russia (hardly surprising because most of them are Russians). So much for the “annexation” story.
Where in these stories do we read about groups of armed thugs yelling “Death to Russians and Jews”, thugs wearing T-shirts saying “I love Hitler”, making Fascist salutes, wearing Fascist insignia? The western news reports into the growth of Fascism in Ukraine suddenly ceased. And where in these stories do we read about the massacres of Russian-speaking Ukrainians by Fascists? Where do we read about the activities of the Azov Battalion, integrated into the official armed forces of Ukraine?
And where in these stories about being a tyrant and a dictator do we read about President Putin’s popularity rating? People vote for the man, for Christ’s sake! In November 2021, his popularity rating was 65%, in February 2022 it was 71% and today it stands at 82%. Ignoring the fact that Russians elect him as their President is insulting the tens of millions of Russians who practise their democratic right. Are they calling all Russians stupid, or what?
And to answer the stories about suddenly losing power, Russia is a democratic country with an electoral system like anywhere else. The President is elected, not imposed. And again, on losing power, where is President Putin today? In the Kremlin, speaking to international leaders every day. Where is Evgeny Prigozhin?
Finally, speaking about politics, why do Western media outlets refer to anyone who is against the Kremlin for whatever reason (often after committing crimes), as “the leader of the opposition?” Like Navalny. The Leader of the Opposition in any other country is the leader of the Party which has the second most supporters. In the USA it’s the Republicans, not the Greens; in the UK it’s Labour, not the Liberal Democrats, so in Russia, following the same logic, it is not someone from the fringe of Russian society, but the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the leader being Gennady Ziuganov.
Now, without taking sides, let us draw the time line from the other side.
Russia, as part of the Soviet Union (the main part) was part of a defensive bloc which opposed an offensive NATO and which held the balance of power, each with its own economic and military spheres of influence. In the late 1980s/early 90s, the COMECON model ceased to continue in operation, through top-down vectors replacing social policies with social terrorism.
No more free housing, no more guaranteed employment, no more free food, no more free transportation, no more free public utilities, no more free gas, no more free electricity, no more free water, no more indexed pensions, no more free communication, no more social mobility, no more free higher education, no more free leisure time activities and sports. Gone, at a stroke. Why? Ask the enterprises which gained billions from this vast new market.
Russia agreed to disband the Warsaw Pact, while NATO promised not to encroach eastwards. So what does Russia see? It sees a gradual expansion despite the pledge, to the south (Romania and Bulgaria), to the north (Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia) and then, hearing the cooing noises between Kiev and NATO, saw the red lines being crossed with the (pending) adherence of Ukraine. Worse, it sees growing evidence of NATO involvement within Ukraine.
What does it do? Given this ominous movement eastwards, placing a vice around Russia’s throat, and seeing the growing Russia-hating belligerence inside Ukraine, with the worship of the pedophile child murderer Fascist Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera as a national hero, the ultimate insult after the USSR lost 26 million souls fighting and exterminating this scourge, given that the armed conflict in Donbass (where 14 thousand people were killed and still are being attacked), Russia and more specifically, President Putin, proposed the Minsk Agreements, which Ukraine signed, which would keep Donbass inside Ukraine with the citizens enjoying their rights to practise their language, culture and religious rites.
Ukraine signed but refused (or was told to refuse) and stated it would never implement Minsk. Enter frontstage Joe “the sandbag” Biden, along with his son, Hunter, BURESMA, Ukrainian shale gas and transgenic cereals pals. Google it all up.
So after eight long years of trying all the diplomatic channels, only to be rebuffed by the West already planning on phase two, after eight long years seeing Russian-speaking citizens being massacred, after seeing growing American influence in Ukraine (always the A plan), Russia listened to the pleas for help from Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics and launched the Special Military Operation.
By the way from day 1 the plan was to help the residents of Donbass, not to take Kiev, indeed Moscow said it had no intention of attacking large civilian population centres, so what it did was launch a force in the north to split the Ukrainian resources in the south. There was no failed capture of Kiev. Another myth busted.
And here we are today.
So here we have the two timelines and the two sides of the story. This is not propaganda, it is fact. In the middle are those suffering and once again let us respect all of them, including all Ukrainian victims and including all Russian victims. And who is suffering while the lines are drawn? Not Americans, because they claim they are not there (again, tell that to the families of those suddenly missing in action). Russia’s original objective, to liberate Donbass, downgrade the offensive capacity of Ukraine’s military and quash Fascism, is practically completed because Ukraine today does not now have Fascist squadrons in its official armed forces and has no military capacity unless it is supported by a West keen to get rid of its out-of-date systems stored in warehouses where contracting companies with lobbying power in parliaments are making millions out of the conflict, and so wish to prolong it. One again, who is suffering?
The people in the world outside watching on, horrified at each and every death, can help by networking and providing comfort where none exists today to families, frightened old ladies, pets, which is commendable. Their elected representatives have to question whether they prolong the conflict by providing more weapons systems (which will be met by Russia, which is not going to suddenly pack up and go away) or else push for peace.
This starts with a ceasefire. And from there on, it’s diplomacy, something which seems to be forgotten from time to time.
To conclude, let me expose my own opinion. I have Ukrainian friends who have been like brothers to me along the years, I have Russian friends, for decades, who have been like brothers and sisters to me over the years. I have partied with Ukrainians and Russians many times and Ukrainians and Russians have partied in my main residence. I have even had both groups together here, and after this conflict started, and nobody mentioned war or fighting or hatred, we all got monumentally drunk together, had a barbecue and ate loads together, played Pickleball, and had a great time.
So it isn’t about people. Not all Ukrainians are fascists (indeed the Communist Party has been “democratically” banned along with others in Ukraine) and not all Ukrainians support the Azov Battalion, not all Ukrainians were involved in pogroms against Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine. And Russians, in general, do not hate Ukrainians. It’s about geo-politics and security. It's about Kiev being ruled by Washington which uses Ukrainians as pawns.
Think about it and ask how your country would have acted. You see your ex-enemy gathering strength and closing ranks around you and the final piece of the puzzle looms ominously in the near future in a country with which you share a long frontier. You see a Nazi collaborator worshipped as a war hero and Fascist groups spring up like mushrooms, together with Russophobia gaining steam on the streets. You see a Fascist Putsch and the overthrow of a democratically elected President, you see increasing belligerence. You see people from your cultural/ethnic identity attacked. You see NATO looking at Russian Navy bases in the Crimea. You take to the international diplomatic forums and everyone ignores you. So what do you do? Close your eyes and think of Madonna?
After Napoleon and Hitler, Russia cannot be blamed for thinking that evil winds blow from the West.
In my opinion, two things could have averted this. One, the West should have listened to Russia more carefully (but it couldn’t because most Western leaders are Russophobic, because in turn they or their parties are in the pockets of the BARFFED lobbies (Banking, Arms, Raw Materials, Finance, Food, Energy, Drugs). Solution: Remove lobbies from Parliaments. Method: Greater public scrutiny of political parties and systems. If the BRICS or CPLP communities had greater clout, this would not have happened.
Two, Ukraine signed Minsk. Why didn’t it implement it? Today, Donbass would be inside Ukraine with the citizens’ rights guaranteed instead of being trampled on and massacred, and considered Untermenschen in their own country.
The third point, should Russia have given Diplomacy more of a chance before involvement? Well, they tried, for eight years.
And once again, let us not try to score points over the deaths of men, women and children on all sides who have nothing to do with this but nevertheless were involved.
My advice: For governments, push for a ceasefire instead of prolonging the misery, then use the D word, Diplomacy, in a peace and reconciliation process. Build bridges, not cemeteries. For the people: continue your networking efforts to bring some comfort to those whose lives has become a living Hell, namely children, grandmothers, grieving families, men and women of all ages, and of course, pets.
To close, some words from my mother, who passed away in 2020 and who was a reference for me for the first 61 years of my life. Her childhood was spent wiping shards of glass (from Nazi bombs) from her table, her house was blown up, her friends were killed and her adolescence was spent wondering whether V1 or V2 rockets would land on the house. One day, she saw a German warplane caught in the floodlights with tracer bullets going up into it, and saw everyone jeering and cheering. Get the b*stard! She said she could imagine terrified boys up there thinking about their mothers. So after all she went through, she did not hate the Germans, and later we spent some wonderful holidays there and met some wonderful people. Enough said.
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey can be reached at [email protected]
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