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FTR#‘s 1259 and 1260 How Many Lies Before You Belong to The Lies?, Parts 21 & 22

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“Polit­i­cal language…is designed to make lies sound truth­ful and mur­der respectable, and to give an appear­ance of solid­i­ty to pure wind.”

— George Orwell, 1946

EVERYTHING MR. EMORY HAS BEEN SAYING ABOUT THE UKRAINE WAR IS ENCAPSULATED IN THIS VIDEO FROM UKRAINE 24

ANOTHER REVEALING VIDEO FROM UKRAINE 24

Mr. Emory has launched a new Patre­on site.

Vis­it at: Patreon.com/DaveEmory

FTR#1259 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

FTR#1260 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: Updat­ing cov­er­age of the Ukraine war, the title of this series comes from the late, bril­liant polit­i­cal come­di­an Mort Sahl’s 1976 auto­bi­og­ra­phy Heart­land. Mort Sahl was one of Jim Gar­rison’s inves­ti­ga­tors in the New Orleans DA’s inves­ti­ga­tion of the assas­si­na­tion of JFK.

The pro­gram begins with dis­cus­sion of a pow­er­ful eco­nom­ic motive for bait­ing Rus­sia into the Ukraine war–creating a pre­text for oblig­ing Europe and Ger­many to forego use of the Nord­stream 2 pipeline and sev­er the EU from con­sump­tion of Russ­ian nat­ur­al gas.

” . . . . The only way left for U.S. diplo­mats to block Euro­pean pur­chas­es is to goad Rus­sia into a mil­i­tary response and then claim that aveng­ing this response out­weighs any pure­ly nation­al eco­nom­ic inter­est. As hawk­ish Under-Sec­re­tary of State for Polit­i­cal Affairs, Vic­to­ria Nuland, explained in a State Depart­ment press brief­ing on Jan­u­ary 27: ‘If Rus­sia invades Ukraine one way or anoth­er Nord Stream 2 will not move for­ward.’ The prob­lem is to cre­ate a suit­ably offen­sive inci­dent and depict Rus­sia as the aggres­sor. . . .”

Lviv, Ukaine, Sum­mer of 2018. Cel­e­bra­tion of the 75th anniver­sary of the 14th Waf­fen SS Divi­sion (Gali­cian). Note the Ukrain­ian hon­or guard in the back­ground.

In FTR#1245, we detailed Swiss intel­li­gence offi­cer Jacques Baud’s analy­sis of Ukraine’s impend­ing assault on the eth­ni­cal­ly and lin­guis­ti­cal­ly Russ­ian pop­u­la­tion of East­ern Ukraine and Biden’s sign­ing off on that oper­a­tion in order to real­ize Amer­i­can and West­ern Euro­pean goals.

Next, we present an oblique, pos­si­bly very sig­nif­i­cant ele­ment. A For­eign Pol­i­cy arti­cle dis­cussing a for­bear­er of EU pres­i­dent Ursu­la Von Der Leyen’s who was a key Third Reich offi­cial in Gali­cia (West­ern Ukraine).

It appears that Joachim Frei­herr von der Leyen was a mem­ber of the promi­nent silk mer­chant fam­i­ly into which Ursu­la mar­ried.

Con­ven­tion­al fam­i­ly trees make no men­tion of him: ” . . . . Joachim Frei­herr von der Leyen ( Sep­tem­ber 28, 1897 in Haus Meer , Büderich (Meer­busch) ; † 1945 in Dres­den ) was a Ger­man lawyer and admin­is­tra­tive offi­cial who worked as a dis­trict admin­is­tra­tor in the occu­pied coun­tries of Czecho­slo­va­kia and Poland dur­ing the Nation­al Social­ist peri­od and as a dis­trict cap­tain of the dis­trict of Gali­cia was involved in the orga­ni­za­tion of the Holo­caustVon der Leyen comes from the von der Leyen fam­i­ly of silk barons in Krefeld. . . .”

Next, we high­light the ongo­ing lion­iza­tion of Ukrain­ian Nazi and fas­cist ele­ments in the main­stream U.S. press.

A long spread in the Sun­day New York Times beat­i­fies the Nazi Azov Reg­i­ment, the chief Ukrain­ian unit defend­ing the Azovstal steel works.

Anoth­er NYT piece presents a hero­ic por­tray­al of a Ukrain­ian sabo­teur from the Nazi/fascist Azov and Right Sec­tor units: ” . . . . Before the war, Svarog occa­sion­al­ly joined week­end train­ing with Right Sec­tor and Nation­al Corps, a branch of the Azov move­ment, both of which are aligned with para­mil­i­tary units in Ukraine. . . .”

Com­bat Hel­mets of the Azov units.

The ele­va­tion of Ukrain­ian Nazis and fas­cists by the U.S. is exem­pli­fied by a Pen­ta­gon-spon­sored ath­let­ic com­pe­ti­tion: ” . . . .This August, dur­ing the Depart­ment of Defense’s annu­al War­rior Games at Dis­ney World in Orlan­do, Flori­da, lib­er­al come­di­an Jon Stew­art award­ed a Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary vet­er­an named Ihor Halush­ka the ‘Heart of the Team’ award for ‘inspir­ing his team’ with his ‘per­son­al exam­ple.’ Halush­ka hap­pens to have been a mem­ber of the neo-Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion, which has been armed by the US and inte­grat­ed into the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Guard. . . . Per­haps the most famous Ukrain­ian War­rior Games par­tic­i­pant is Yulia Palevs­ka, who the New York Times has dubbed ‘a sym­bol of Ukrain­ian brav­ery and self-sac­ri­fice.’. . . . Yulia Palevs­ka and Ihor Halush­ka were mem­bers of the fas­cist Right Sec­tor orga­ni­za­tion and Azov Bat­tal­ion, respec­tive­ly. . . .”

The extreme nature of the OUN/B suc­ces­sor Nazis and fas­cists in the polit­i­cal driver’s seat in Ukraine are illus­trat­ed by the names of peo­ple on their “kill list”: “ . . . . Why this site is allowed to oper­ate is a good ques­tion. But you can access it eas­i­ly, and even donate mon­ey to help the “cause” – if you are sym­pa­thet­ic to Nazis and think that assas­si­nat­ing peo­ple for their opin­ions is a whole­some way to sup­port Ukraine. The co-founder of “Pink Floyd” [Roger Waters] is known for his sup­port of impris­oned Wik­ileaks’ cre­ator Julian Assange, and for his oppo­si­tion to impe­ri­al­ism and war, as well as for his awe­some music, loved by mil­lions around the world. . . . . Even Hen­ry Kissinger’s name is on the list despite his long his­to­ry of Rus­so­pho­bia. But since he dared to air his con­cerns about how the US is tee­ter­ing toward war with Rus­sia and Chi­na . . . .”

Next, we fur­ther devel­op Ukraine’s enemies/death list, not­ing the expe­ri­ence of for­mer Marine Corps intel­li­gence offi­cer Scott Rit­ter.

Join­ing Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Hen­ry Kissinger on the list, sev­er­al of the mem­bers of which have been mur­dered, Rit­ter notes the pres­ence of OUN/B youth camps in this coun­try, pos­si­ble breed­ing grounds for assas­sins.

Zelen­sky “nor­mal­izes” Stephan Ban­dera

Fur­ther­more, Rit­ter cor­rect­ly locates those OUN/B youth camps in the polit­i­cal con­tin­u­um stretch­ing from the Third Reich, through the Cold War, up to today—a con­tin­u­um inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the Gehlen orga­ni­za­tion.

“ . . . . I had to dri­ve past Ellenville, a sleepy lit­tle town that is home to a camp belong­ing to the Ukrain­ian Amer­i­can Youth Asso­ci­a­tion which, every sum­mer, coor­di­nates with the Orga­ni­za­tion for the Defense of Four Free­doms of Ukraine to hold a ‘Heroes’ Hol­i­day’ hon­or­ing vet­er­an of the Ukrain­ian People’s Army and the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists. . . . That a mon­u­ment to men respon­si­ble for geno­ci­dal mass mur­der and who, in the case of two of them (Shukhevych and Ban­dera) open­ly col­lab­o­rat­ed with Nazi Ger­many, could be erect­ed in the Unit­ed States is dis­turb­ing. [NB—Konovalets coop­er­at­ed with the Third Reich as well, D.E.] That every year Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can adher­ents of the odi­ous ide­ol­o­gy of Stepan Ban­dera gath­er to cel­e­brate his lega­cy at a “children’s camp” where the youth are arrayed in brown uni­forms that make them look like what they, in fact, are — ide­o­log­i­cal storm troop­ers for a hate­ful neo-Nazi ide­ol­o­gy that pro­motes the racial supe­ri­or­i­ty of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple, is a nation­al abom­i­na­tion. . . . Ban­dera has been ele­vat­ed to the sta­tus of a nation­al hero in Ukraine, and his birth­day is con­sid­ered a nation­al hol­i­day. . . . The lega­cy of Stepan Ban­dera is at the very heart of what pass­es for Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism today. It dom­i­nates the polit­i­cal are­na inside Ukraine, where all com­pet­ing polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy and affil­i­a­tions have been out­lawed by Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­sky. . . .”

In FTR #907, we not­ed the pro­found pres­ence of the Ukrain­ian fas­cists in the Unit­ed States, as well as their oper­a­tional con­nec­tions to the Third Reich. In FTR #1072, we not­ed the Ukrain­ian youth cadre in the U.S., and its affil­i­a­tion with the OUN/B milieu in Ukraine.

Our next item out these con­nec­tions, not­ing:

1. The CYM orga­ni­za­tion and its pres­ence in the U.S.

2. The deci­sive involve­ment of post-World War II emi­gres in the growth of that move­ment.

3. CYM’s close affil­i­a­tion with the OUN/B.

4. CYM’s uni­formed, mil­i­tary ori­en­ta­tion: ” . . . . Among the most pop­u­lar activ­i­ties are mil­i­tary-style games where campers are divid­ed into two teams that have to dodge or cap­ture their oppo­nents by mov­ing stealth­ily and orga­niz­ing ambush­es. . . . .”

Fur­ther solid­i­fy­ing the con­ti­nu­ity between the Third Reich, the Gehlen Org and the GOP, we note that, while it was the BND (the intel­li­gence ser­vice of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic) the “Org” was financ­ing the East­ern Euro­pean fas­cist groups that encom­passed the CYM camps in the U.S.

Our pro­grams con­clude with excerpts of anoth­er inter­view with Swiss intel­li­gence offi­cer Jacques Baud.

In the pro­gram, we note Ukraine’s “mir­ror imag­ing” of the polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary aspects of the war, rep­re­sent­ing Ukrain­ian atroc­i­ties and war crimes as Russ­ian.

In turn, West­ern media slav­ish­ly report the Ukrain­ian pro­pa­gan­da as fact, a dynam­ic Mr. Emory has cit­ed as cement­ing the Naz­i­fi­ca­tion of Amer­i­ca, begun dur­ing the clos­ing stages of World War II.

Baud cites Ukrain­ian oper­a­tions behind Russ­ian lines: “ . . . . This is a ter­ror­ist cam­paign tar­get­ing pro-Russ­ian Ukrain­ian per­son­al­i­ties and offi­cials. It fol­lows major changes in the lead­er­ship of the SBU, in Kiev, and in the regions, includ­ing Lvov, Ternopol since July. It is prob­a­bly in the con­text of this same cam­paign that Darya Dug­i­na was assas­si­nat­ed on August 21. The objec­tive of this new cam­paign could be to con­vey the illu­sion that there is an ongo­ing resis­tance in the areas tak­en by the Rus­sians and thus revive West­ern aid, which is start­ing to fatigue. These sab­o­tage activ­i­ties do not real­ly have an oper­a­tional impact and seem more relat­ed to a psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tion. It may be that these are actions like the one on Snake Island at the begin­ning of May, intend­ed to demon­strate to the inter­na­tion­al pub­lic that Ukraine is act­ing. What the inci­dents in Crimea indi­rect­ly show is that the pop­u­lar resis­tance claimed by the West in Feb­ru­ary does not exist. . . .”

Colonel Baud also high­lights Ukraine’s shelling of the Zapor­i­hizia Nuclear Pow­er Plant: “ . . . . By bomb­ing the plant, Ukraine could also be try­ing to pres­sure the West to inter­vene in the con­flict, under the pre­text that Rus­sia is seek­ing to dis­con­nect the plant from the Ukrain­ian pow­er grid before the fall. This sui­ci­dal behavior—as stat­ed by UN Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al António Guterres—would be in line with the war waged by Ukraine since 2014. There is strong evi­dence that the attacks on Ener­go­dar are Ukrain­ian. The frag­ments of pro­jec­tiles fired at the site from the oth­er side of the Dnieper are of West­ern ori­gin. It seems that they come from British BRIMSTONE mis­siles, which are pre­ci­sion mis­siles, whose use is mon­i­tored by the British. Appar­ent­ly, the West is aware of the Ukrain­ian attacks on the ZNPP. This might explain why Ukraine is not very sup­port­ive of an inter­na­tion­al com­mis­sion of inquiry and why West­ern coun­tries are putting unre­al­is­tic con­di­tions for send­ing inves­ti­ga­tors from the IAEA, an agency that has not shown much integri­ty so far. . . .”

Colonel Baud sums up the role of ter­ror cen­tral to the Naz­i­fied Ukrain­ian regime, par­rot­ed by West­ern MSM: “ . . . . Ukrain­ian crimes were begin­ning to be revealed on social net­works, and on 27 March Zelen­sky feared that this would jeop­ar­dize West­ern sup­port. This was followed—rather opportunely—by the Bucha mas­sacre on 3 April, the cir­cum­stances of which remain unclear. Britain, which then had the chair­man­ship of the UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, refused three times the Russ­ian request to set up an inter­na­tion­al com­mis­sion of enquiry into the crimes of Bucha. Ukrain­ian social­ist MP Ilya Kiva revealed on Telegram that the Bucha tragedy was planned by the British MI6 spe­cial ser­vices and imple­ment­ed by the SBU. The fun­da­men­tal prob­lem is that the Ukraini­ans have replaced the ‘oper­a­tional art’ with bru­tal­i­ty. . . .”

1. The pro­gram begins with dis­cus­sion of a pow­er­ful eco­nom­ic motive for bait­ing Rus­sia into the Ukraine war–creating a pre­text for oblig­ing Europe and Ger­many to forego use of the Nord­stream 2 pipeline and sev­er the EU from con­sump­tion of Russ­ian nat­ur­al gas.

” . . . . The only way left for U.S. diplo­mats to block Euro­pean pur­chas­es is to goad Rus­sia into a mil­i­tary response and then claim that aveng­ing this response out­weighs any pure­ly nation­al eco­nom­ic inter­est. As hawk­ish Under-Sec­re­tary of State for Polit­i­cal Affairs, Vic­to­ria Nuland, explained in a State Depart­ment press brief­ing on Jan­u­ary 27: ‘If Rus­sia invades Ukraine one way or anoth­er Nord Stream 2 will not move for­ward.’ The prob­lem is to cre­ate a suit­ably offen­sive inci­dent and depict Rus­sia as the aggres­sor. . . .”

In FTR#1245, we detailed Swiss intel­li­gence offi­cer Jacques Baud’s analy­sis of Ukraine’s impend­ing assault on the eth­ni­cal­ly and lin­guis­ti­cal­ly Russ­ian pop­u­la­tion of East­ern Ukraine and Biden’s sign­ing off on that oper­a­tion in order to real­ize Amer­i­can and West­ern Euro­pean goals.

“How Europe Was Pushed Towards Eco­nom­ic Sui­cide;” Moon of Alaba­ma; 5/18/2022.

With the active help from Europe’s ‘lead­er­ship’ the U.S. is suc­ceed­ing in ruin­ing Europe.

As Michael Hud­son, a research pro­fes­sor of Eco­nom­ics at Uni­ver­si­ty of Mis­souri, Kansas City, wrote in ear­ly Feb­ru­ary, before Rus­si­a’s inter­ven­tion in Ukraine:

Amer­i­ca no longer has the mon­e­tary pow­er and seem­ing­ly chron­ic trade and bal­ance-of-pay­ments sur­plus that enabled it to draw up the world’s trade and invest­ment rules in 1944–45. The threat to U.S. dom­i­nance is that Chi­na, Rus­sia and Mackinder’s Eurasian World Island heart­land are offer­ing bet­ter trade and invest­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties than are avail­able from the Unit­ed States with its increas­ing­ly des­per­ate demand for sac­ri­fices from its NATO and oth­er allies.

The most glar­ing exam­ple is the U.S. dri­ve to block Ger­many from autho­riz­ing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to obtain Russ­ian gas for the com­ing cold weath­er. Angela Merkel agreed with Don­ald Trump to spend $1 bil­lion build­ing a new LNG port to become more depen­dent on high­ly priced U.S. LNG. (The plan was can­celled after the U.S. and Ger­man elec­tions changed both lead­ers.) But Ger­many has no oth­er way of heat­ing many of its hous­es and office build­ings (or sup­ply­ing its fer­til­iz­er com­pa­nies) than with Russ­ian gas.

The only way left for U.S. diplo­mats to block Euro­pean pur­chas­es is to goad Rus­sia into a mil­i­tary response and then claim that aveng­ing this response out­weighs any pure­ly nation­al eco­nom­ic inter­est. As hawk­ish Under-Sec­re­tary of State for Polit­i­cal Affairs, Vic­to­ria Nuland, explained in a State Depart­ment press brief­ing on Jan­u­ary 27: “If Rus­sia invades Ukraine one way or anoth­er Nord Stream 2 will not move for­ward.” The prob­lem is to cre­ate a suit­ably offen­sive inci­dent and depict Rus­sia as the aggres­sor.

In mid Feb­ru­ary OSCE observ­er not­ed that the artillery bom­bard­ment of Don­bas by the Ukraini­ans increased from a hand­ful to over 2,000 explo­sions per day. Rus­sia react­ed to these attack prepa­ra­tions by rec­og­niz­ing the Don­bas republics, sign­ing defense agree­ments with them and by final­ly com­ing to their help.

Short­ly after the launch of the Russ­ian mil­i­tary oper­a­tion Pro­fes­sor Hud­son fur­ther devel­oped his ear­li­er thoughts:

The recent prod­ding of Rus­sia by expand­ing Ukrain­ian anti-Russ­ian eth­nic vio­lence by Ukraine’s neo-Nazi post-2014 Maid­en regime aims at forc­ing a show­down. It comes in response to the fear by U.S. inter­ests that they are los­ing their eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal hold on their NATO allies and oth­er Dol­lar Area satel­lites as these coun­tries have seen their major oppor­tu­ni­ties for gain to lie in increas­ing trade and invest­ment with Chi­na and Rus­sia.
...
As Pres­i­dent Biden explained, the cur­rent mil­i­tary esca­la­tion (“Prod­ding the Bear”) is not real­ly about Ukraine. Biden promised at the out­set that no U.S. troops would be involved. But he has been demand­ing for over a year that Ger­many pre­vent the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from sup­ply­ing its indus­try and hous­ing with low-priced gas and turn to the much high­er-priced U.S. sup­pli­ers.
...
[T]he most press­ing U.S. strate­gic aim of NATO con­fronta­tion with Rus­sia is soar­ing oil and gas prices. In addi­tion to cre­at­ing prof­its and stock-mar­ket gains for U.S. com­pa­nies, high­er ener­gy prices will take much of the steam out of the Ger­man econ­o­my.

In ear­ly April Pro­fes­sor Hud­son took anoth­er look at the sit­u­a­tion:

It is now clear that the New Cold War was planned over a year ago, with seri­ous strat­e­gy asso­ci­at­ed with America’s per­ceived to block Nord Stream 2 as part of its aim of bar­ring West­ern Europe (“NATO”) from seek­ing pros­per­i­ty by mutu­al trade and invest­ment with Chi­na and Rus­sia.
...
So the Russ­ian-speak­ing Donet­sk and Luhan­sk regions were shelled with increas­ing inten­si­ty, and when Rus­sia still refrained from respond­ing, plans report­ed­ly were drawn up for a great show­down last Feb­ru­ary – a heavy West­ern Ukrain­ian attack orga­nized by U.S. advi­sors and armed by NATO.
...
Euro­pean trade and invest­ment pri­or to the War to Cre­ate Sanc­tions had promised a ris­ing mutu­al pros­per­i­ty among Ger­many, France and oth­er NATO coun­tries vis-à-vis Rus­sia and Chi­na. Rus­sia was pro­vid­ing abun­dant ener­gy at a com­pet­i­tive price, and this ener­gy sup­ply was to make a quan­tum leap with Nord Stream 2. Europe was to earn the for­eign exchange to pay for this ris­ing import trade by a com­bi­na­tion of export­ing more indus­tri­al man­u­fac­tures to Rus­sia and cap­i­tal invest­ment in rebuild­ing the Russ­ian econ­o­my, e.g. by Ger­man auto com­pa­nies, air­craft and finan­cial invest­ment. This bilat­er­al trade and invest­ment is now stopped – for many, many years, giv­en NATO’s con­fis­ca­tion of Russia’s for­eign reserves kept in euros and British ster­ling.

The Euro­pean response to the U.S. proxy war against Rus­sia was based on media dri­ven hys­teric mor­al­iz­ing or maybe mor­al­iz­ing hys­te­ria. It was and is nei­ther ratio­nal nor real­is­tic.

The Euro­pean ‘lead­er­ship’ decid­ed that noth­ing but the eco­nom­ic sui­cide of Europe was suf­fi­cient to show Rus­sia that Brus­sels was seri­ous­ly miffed. Dimwit nation­al gov­ern­ments, includ­ing the Ger­man one, fol­lowed that pro­gram. Should they stay on their course the result will be a com­plete de-indus­tri­al­iza­tion of west­ern Europe.

In the words of one seri­ous observ­er:

Today, we see that for pure­ly polit­i­cal rea­sons, dri­ven by their own ambi­tions, and under pres­sure from their US over­lord, the Euro­pean coun­tries are impos­ing more sanc­tions on the oil and gas mar­kets which will lead to more infla­tion. Instead of admit­ting their mis­takes, they are look­ing for a guilty par­ty else­where.
...
One gets the impres­sion that West­ern politi­cians and econ­o­mists sim­ply for­get basic eco­nom­ic laws or just choose to ignore them.
...
[S]aying no to Russ­ian ener­gy means that Europe will sys­tem­i­cal­ly and for the long term become the world’s most cost­ly region for ener­gy resources. Yes, prices will rise, and resources will go to counter these price hikes, but this will not change the sit­u­a­tion sig­nif­i­cant­ly. Some ana­lysts are say­ing that it will seri­ous­ly or even irrev­o­ca­bly under­mine the com­pet­i­tive­ness of a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of Euro­pean indus­try, which is already los­ing ground to com­pa­nies from oth­er parts of the world. Now, these process­es will cer­tain­ly pick up pace. Clear­ly, the oppor­tu­ni­ties for eco­nom­ic activ­i­ty, with its improve­ments, will leave Europe for oth­er regions, as will Russia’s ener­gy resources.

This eco­nom­ic auto-da-fe… sui­cide is, of course, the inter­nal affair of the Euro­pean coun­tries.
...
Now our part­ners’ errat­ic actions – this is what they are – have result­ed in a de fac­to growth in rev­enue in the Russ­ian oil-and-gas sec­tor in addi­tion to the dam­age to the Euro­pean econ­o­my.
...
Under­stand­ing what steps the West will take in the near future, we must reach con­clu­sions in advance and be proac­tive, turn­ing the thought­less chaot­ic steps of some of our part­ners to our advan­tage for the ben­e­fit of our coun­try. Nat­u­ral­ly, we should not hope for their end­less mis­takes. We should sim­ply, prac­ti­cal­ly pro­ceed from cur­rent real­i­ties, as I said.

Vladimir Putin, Meet­ing on oil indus­try devel­op­ment, May 17 2020, Krem­lin, Moscow

1b. Next, we present an oblique, pos­si­bly very sig­nif­i­cant ele­ment. A For­eign Pol­i­cy arti­cle dis­cussing a fore­bear­er of EU pres­i­dent Ursu­la Von Der Leyen’s who was a key Third Reich offi­cial in Gali­cia (West­ern Ukraine).

It appears that Joachim Frei­herr von der Leyen was a mem­ber of the promi­nent silk mer­chant fam­i­ly into which Ursu­la mar­ried.

Con­ven­tion­al fam­i­ly trees make no men­tion of him: ” . . . . Joachim Frei­herr von der Leyen ( Sep­tem­ber 28, 1897 in Haus Meer , Büderich (Meer­busch) ; † 1945 in Dres­den ) was a Ger­man lawyer and admin­is­tra­tive offi­cial who worked as a dis­trict admin­is­tra­tor in the occu­pied coun­tries of Czecho­slo­va­kia and Poland dur­ing the Nation­al Social­ist peri­od and as a dis­trict cap­tain of the dis­trict of Gali­cia was involved in the orga­ni­za­tion of the Holo­caustVon der Leyen comes from the von der Leyen fam­i­ly of silk barons in Krefeld. . . .”

“The Aris­to­crat­ic Inep­ti­tude of Ursu­la Von Der Leyen” by Peter Kuras; For­eign Pol­i­cy; 4/30/2021.

How the EU president’s fam­i­ly con­nec­tions explain her rise to power—and fail­ures using it dur­ing the pan­dem­ic.

. . . . Von der Leyen’s fam­i­ly tree traces a lega­cy of pow­er and bru­tal­i­ty, incor­po­rat­ing not only some of Germany’s most sig­nif­i­cant Nazis but also some of Britain’s largest slave traders and, through mar­riage, some of the Unit­ed States’ largest slave own­ers. Von der Leyen is descend­ed direct­ly from James Lad­son, who owned more than 200 slaves when the Civ­il War broke out. . . .

1c. “Joachim Frei­herr von der Leyen;“Wikipedia.org

Joachim Frei­herr von der Leyen ( Sep­tem­ber 28, 1897 in Haus Meer , Büderich (Meer­busch) ; † 1945 in Dres­den ) was a Ger­man lawyer and admin­is­tra­tive offi­cial who worked as a dis­trict admin­is­tra­tor in the occu­pied coun­tries of Czecho­slo­va­kia and Poland dur­ing the Nation­al Social­ist peri­od and as a dis­trict cap­tain of the dis­trict of Gali­cia was involved in the orga­ni­za­tion of the Holo­caust .

Von der Leyen comes from the von der Leyen fam­i­ly of silk barons in Krefeld. [This is the fam­i­ly of Ursu­la’s in-laws–D.E.] His father , Friedrich Lud­wig von der Leyen , was may­or of Büderich and dis­trict admin­is­tra­tor of the dis­trict of Neuß , and lived with his fam­i­ly in Schloss Haus Meer until his death in 1945.

From 1915 to 1918 von der Leyen took part in the First World War and from 1919 to 1920 he was a mem­ber of a Freiko­rps . He was a mem­ber of the Young Ger­man Order and from 1926 to 1933 of the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsol­dat­en . He joined the NSDAP on Feb­ru­ary 1, 1940. [1]

He stud­ied law and passed the first state exam­i­na­tion in 1926, and then on Decem­ber 22, 1928 the major state exam­i­na­tion in law. In 1933 he was a per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the chief of police in Uerdin­gen and from April 1934 at the police head­quar­ters in Wup­per­tal . After the smash­ing of the rest of the Czech Repub­lic , he became pro­vi­sion­al Ober­lan­drat in the dis­trict of Deutschbrod , based in Deutschbrod in the Pro­tec­torate of Bohemia and Moravia , and in 1940, after the occu­pa­tion of France , became head of the admin­is­tra­tive depart­ment of the mil­i­tary admin­is­tra­tive dis­trict OFK 591 in Saint-Ger­main-en-Layeappoint­ed.

At the end of July 1942 he suc­ceed­ed Otto Bauer as dis­trict cap­tain in the dis­trict of Lem­berg-Land in the dis­trict of Gali­cia, the dis­trict gov­er­nor there was Otto Wächter . Bauer remained head of the dis­tric­t’s inter­nal admin­is­tra­tion. Berthold Püt­ter, the dis­trict cap­tain of Lem­berg-Grodek , had been draft­ed into the Wehrma­cht , and the dis­trict admin­is­tra­tion had been merged with Lem­berg-Land.

The fact that von der Leyen was informed about the Jew­ish actions in advance is doc­u­ment­ed, as was the case with a num­ber of oth­er dis­trict cap­tains. [2]

He is said to have died of gas poi­son­ing after the air raid on Dres­den .

Von der Leyen had only been head of his manor for a short time . His wid­ow Huber­ta von der Leyen man­aged the busi­ness, which his son Friedrich Hein­rich von der Leyen II took over in 1970.

Lit­er­a­ture [ edit edit source ]

Markus Roth : Mas­ter peo­ple. The Ger­man dis­trict cap­tains in occu­pied Poland — career paths, rule prac­tice and post-his­to­ry. Wall­stein Ver­lag: Goet­tin­gen 2009. ISBN 978–3‑8353–0477‑2

Dieter Pohl: Nation­al Social­ist Per­se­cu­tion of the Jews in East Gali­cia 1941–1944. Orga­ni­za­tion and imple­men­ta­tion of a state mass crime. Old­en­bourg, Munich 1997, ISBN 3–486-56313–0 ( full text avail­able dig­i­tal­ly ).

2. Next, we high­light the ongo­ing lion­iza­tion of Ukrain­ian Nazi and fas­cist ele­ments in the main­stream U.S. press.

A long spread in the Sun­day New York Times beat­i­fies the Nazi Azov Reg­i­ment, the chief Ukrain­ian unit defend­ing the Azovstal steel works.

“Last Stand at the Steel­works: Inside an 80-Day Siege” by Michael Schwirtz; The New York Times; 7/24/2022; pp. 1–16 [West­ern Print Edi­tion]

3. Anoth­er NYT piece presents a hero­ic por­tray­al of a Ukrain­ian sabo­teur from the Nazi/fascist Azov and Right Sec­tor units: ” . . . . Before the war, Svarog occa­sion­al­ly joined week­end train­ing with Right Sec­tor and Nation­al Corps, a branch of the Azov move­ment, both of which are aligned with para­mil­i­tary units in Ukraine. . . .”

“Ukraini­ans Behind Ene­my Lines Tell Invaders: You’re Nev­er Safe” by Andrew W. Kramer; The New York Times; 8/18/2022; pp. A1-A7.

. . . . Before the war, Svarog occa­sion­al­ly joined week­end train­ing with Right Sec­tor and Nation­al Corps, a branch of the Azov move­ment, both of which are aligned with para­mil­i­tary units in Ukraine. . . .

4. The ele­va­tion of Ukrain­ian Nazis and fas­cists by the U.S. is exem­pli­fied by a Pen­ta­gon-spon­sored ath­let­ic com­pe­ti­tion: ” . . . .This August, dur­ing the Depart­ment of Defense’s annu­al War­rior Games at Dis­ney World in Orlan­do, Flori­da, lib­er­al come­di­an Jon Stew­art award­ed a Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary vet­er­an named Ihor Halush­ka the ‘Heart of the Team’ award for ‘inspir­ing his team’ with his ‘per­son­al exam­ple.’ Halush­ka hap­pens to have been a mem­ber of the neo-Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion, which has been armed by the US and inte­grat­ed into the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Guard. . . . Per­haps the most famous Ukrain­ian War­rior Games par­tic­i­pant is Yulia Palevs­ka, who the New York Times has dubbed ‘a sym­bol of Ukrain­ian brav­ery and self-sac­ri­fice.’. . . . Yulia Palevs­ka and Ihor Halush­ka were mem­bers of the fas­cist Right Sec­tor orga­ni­za­tion and Azov Bat­tal­ion, respec­tive­ly. . . .”

“Jon Stew­art and the Pen­ta­gon hon­or Ukrain­ian Nazi at Dis­ney World” by Alexan­der Rubin­stein; The Gray Zone; 8/31/2022.

Defense Depart­ment-spon­sored “War­rior Games” fea­tured lib­er­al come­di­an Jon Stew­art award­ing a mem­ber of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion at Dis­ney World. The Pen­ta­gon refused to tell The Gray­zone whether US tax­pay­ers fund­ed the for­eign com­peti­tors’ trav­el.

This August, dur­ing the Depart­ment of Defense’s annu­al War­rior Games at Dis­ney World in Orlan­do, Flori­da, lib­er­al come­di­an Jon Stew­art award­ed a Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary vet­er­an named Ihor Halush­ka the “Heart of the Team” award for “inspir­ing his team” with his “per­son­al exam­ple.”

Halush­ka hap­pens to have been a mem­ber of the neo-Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion, which has been armed by the US and inte­grat­ed into the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Guard. The award-win­ning ultra-nation­al­ist wore a sleeve over his left arm as he accept­ed the prize, pre­sum­ably to cov­er up his tat­too of the Nazi Son­nen­rad, or Black Sun.

Because the War­rior Games are spon­sored by the Pen­ta­gon, Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers like­ly paid to send Ukrain­ian Nazis like Halush­ka to Dis­ney World. Indeed, at least two mem­bers of a Ukrain­ian team of wound­ed vet­er­an ath­letes flown to Orlan­do, Flori­da are con­firmed mem­bers of neo-Nazi groups in their coun­try. Yulia Palevs­ka and Ihor Halush­ka were mem­bers of the fas­cist Right Sec­tor orga­ni­za­tion and Azov Bat­tal­ion, respec­tive­ly.

The pair are part of a team of forty Ukrain­ian vet­er­ans par­tic­i­pat­ing in the War­rior Games. They were joined at the cer­e­mo­ny for this year’s com­pe­ti­tion by Dar­ius Ruck­er, the for­mer vocal­ist for the glo­ri­fied bar band Hootie & the Blow­fish, and lib­er­al come­di­an Jon Stew­art.

Dur­ing the clos­ing cer­e­mo­ny, Stew­art award­ed the Azov Battalion’s Halush­ka with the “Heart of the Team” award. The announc­er pro­claimed that Ihor “inspires his team with his per­son­al exam­ple and his unique sense of humor. Sgt. First Class Ihor Halush­ka embod­ies the spir­it and deter­mi­na­tion that is the heart of Team Ukraine.” 

Stew­art tri­umphant­ly bel­lowed “Ihor!” as the Nazi was pre­sent­ed with his tro­phy.

Jon Stew­art awards Ihor Halush­ka with the “Heart of the Team” award

Pri­or to Russia’s inva­sion of Ukraine in Feb­ru­ary of this year, main­stream out­lets from the Dai­ly Beast to Vox to For­eign Pol­i­cy, and even the US gov­ern­ment pro­pa­gan­da out­let Voice of Amer­i­ca, have each acknowl­edged the Azov Battalion’s embrace of Nazism. Right Sec­tor group has been sim­i­lar­ly iden­ti­fied as a fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion. Since the inva­sion, how­ev­er, West­ern cor­po­rate media has down­played the pres­ence of Nazis in the Ukrain­ian armed forces as groups like Azov have tak­en on promi­nent front-line roles.

Reached by phone, War­rior Games com­mu­ni­ca­tion direc­tor Travis Clay­tor would not tell The Gray­zone who cov­ered the trav­el expens­es of Team Ukraine and oth­er for­eign com­peti­tors. Clay­tor mere­ly stat­ed that the Depart­ment of Defense is “not respon­si­ble” for their costs. How­ev­er, he not­ed that “the rela­tion­ship with each team is dif­fer­ent.” Ukraine and Cana­da are the only for­eign teams par­tic­i­pat­ing in this year’s com­pe­ti­tion.

While promis­ing this reporter a more com­plete response by email, Clay­tor has so far failed to deliv­er. 

video on the DoD War­rior Games YouTube chan­nel enti­tled “Fam­i­ly Night at Mag­ic King­dom” shows some mem­bers of Team Ukraine enjoy­ing a night out at the world-famous theme park.

This year’s War­rior Games are tak­ing place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Com­plex at Walt Dis­ney World Resort. Com­pe­ti­tions include shoot­ing, wheel­chair rug­by, cycling, pow­er­lift­ing, indoor row­ing, wheel­chair bas­ket­ball, field, golf, track, swim­ming, sit­ting vol­ley­ball and archery.

This is the first year Team Ukraine has par­tic­i­pat­ed in the War­rior Games. Its ath­letes came away with at least 18 gold medals.

Ukraine’s team is com­posed of the same vet­er­an-ath­letes that par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Invic­tus Games, a sim­i­lar com­pe­ti­tion of wound­ed vet­er­ans found­ed by Prince Har­ry after the Eng­lish roy­al attend­ed the War­rior Games. Ukraine’s Invic­tus Games team and War­rior Games team are both led by Oksana Gor­bach, accord­ing to the Ukrain­ian Min­istry of Vet­er­ans Affairs.

“The orga­ni­za­tion­al team of the War­rior Games in Ukraine includes the Min­istry of Vet­er­ans Affairs of Ukraine, the Cen­ter for Strate­gic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions ‘Strat­Com Ukraine,’ the NGO ‘Invic­tus Ukraine Games,’ the Strong­man Fed­er­a­tion of Ukraine, the ‘Come Back Alive,’” the Min­istry of Vet­er­ans Affairs web­site states. Strat­Com Ukraine, like the Min­istry of Vet­er­ans Affairs, is a gov­ern­men­tal body, while the oth­ers appear to be Ukrain­ian NGOs.

As the Gray­zone report­ed, the head of Ukraine’s vet­er­ans affairs agency attend­ed a 2019 neo-Nazi black met­al con­cert fea­tur­ing sev­er­al anti­se­mit­ic met­al bands, and pro­mot­ed the event on Face­book.

Accord­ing to a delet­ed arti­cle from 2017 on an Azov Bat­tal­ion web­site, at least three mem­bers of the noto­ri­ous ultra­na­tion­al­ist fight­ing force have par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Invic­tus Games. Because Azov iden­ti­fied the com­peti­tors by their call signs, and there­fore did not dis­close their real names, it is not pos­si­ble to deter­mine whether they also com­pet­ed in the 2022 War­rior Games.

While the team page on the Invic­tus Games web­site mere­ly states that Ihor Halush­ka was a mem­ber of Ukraine’s Nation­al Guard, an expand­ed bio on the web­site makes it clear he was a mem­ber of Azov.

An unlist­ed YouTube video by the Invic­tus Games on YouTube offers a close-up of Halush­ka work­ing out with Nazi Black Sun sym­bol tat­tooed on his left elbow clear­ly vis­i­ble. Halush­ka opt­ed to cov­er the fas­cist sym­bol dur­ing pho­to ops at the War­rior Games.

Halush­ka has nev­er been shy about his ties to the Azov Bat­tal­ion. Dur­ing the Invic­tus Games this April, he whipped out an Azov flag as he accept­ed a gold medal, which was host­ed in The Hague – where war crim­i­nals are nor­mal­ly tried, not award­ed. Like­wise, in Orlan­do, Haluskha wore an Azov Bat­tal­ion t‑shirt as he accept­ed a gold medal for indoor row­ing. He was hon­ored days lat­er as the “heart” of his team.

“sym­bol of Ukrain­ian brav­ery” was mem­ber of fas­cist Right Sec­tor

Per­haps the most famous Ukrain­ian War­rior Games par­tic­i­pant is Yulia Palevs­ka, who the New York Times has dubbed “a sym­bol of Ukrain­ian brav­ery and self-sac­ri­fice.” 

Palevs­ka gained inter­na­tion­al recog­ni­tion this March when she hand­ed off footage she had filmed in Mar­i­upol to a jour­nal­ist with the Asso­ci­at­ed Press. The video showed Palevs­ka evac­u­at­ing Azov Bat­tal­ion sol­diers from the Azovstal steel plant in Mar­i­upol when she was cap­tured by Russ­ian forces. Three months lat­er, she was released.

Palevska’s release by Rus­sia was such a notable event in Ukraine that Pres­i­dent Zelen­sky per­son­al­ly remarked on the devel­op­ment.

The Asso­ci­at­ed Press down­played her links to the Azov Bat­tal­ion, writ­ing “Rus­sia has por­trayed Taira as work­ing for the nation­al­ist Azov Bat­tal­ion… But the AP found no such evi­dence, and friends and col­leagues said she had no links to Azov.”

How­ev­er, Palevs­ka was a mem­ber of anoth­er neo-Nazi for­ma­tion sim­i­lar­ly incor­po­rat­ed into the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary – a fact not men­tioned by main­stream media out­lets that vault­ed her to war hero sta­tus this March.

A 2019 Bloomberg Busi­ness­week report iden­ti­fied Palevs­ka as “a for­mer mem­ber of Right Sec­tor,.” (“There’s no such thing as ex-Right Sec­tor,” she claimed). After leav­ing the group “amid infight­ing,” she orga­nized a team of com­bat medics named after her World of War­craft char­ac­ter, “Taira’s Angels.”

Bloomberg’s cor­re­spon­dent met with Palevs­ka in Mar­i­upol, which was then con­trolled by the Azov Bat­tal­ion. Palevska’s medic group “runs through about $20,000, half of it from abroad, in cash, fuel, and med­ical sup­plies every month,” he report­ed.

“Every­one I talk to describes [Palevs­ka], dap­pled with Bud­dhist tat­toos and sport­ing dyed blue hair, as moti­vat­ed pure­ly by patri­o­tism,” he added.

In a pho­to post­ed by the offi­cial Face­book page for Ukrain­ian War­rior Games team, Palevska’s tat­too of the ultra­na­tion­al­ist slo­gan “Glo­ry to Ukraine, Glo­ry to the Heroes” is clear­ly vis­i­ble.

Anoth­er mem­ber of Palevska’s media group was “wear­ing a T‑shirt from the neo-Nazi appar­el com­pa­ny Sva Stone and an Iron Cross ring,” accord­ing to Bloomberg.

It is dif­fi­cult to believe that Palevs­ka and Halush­ka are the only mem­bers of Team Ukraine that have belonged to neo-Nazi groups. 

A pho­to post­ed on the team’s offi­cial Face­book page show five team mem­bers per­form­ing a fas­cist salute in front of a War­rior Games ban­ner.

Team Ukraine per­forms a fas­cist salute in front of a Depart­ment of Defense ban­ner

In oth­er pho­tos, a mem­ber of the team wear­ing a War­rior Games t‑shirt can be seen hold­ing a Right Sec­tor flag; and sev­en vet­er­ans asso­ci­at­ed with the team bear the flag of the 14th Waf­fen Grenadier Divi­sion of the Schutzstaffel (SS), a WWII-era Nazi mil­i­tary for­ma­tion made up of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists.

Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers have already forked $60 bil­lion over to Ukraine since the war broke out in 2014. They are there­fore enti­tled to know whether the Depart­ment of Defense paid Team Ukraine’s trav­el expens­es.

Video from the Depart­ment of Defense shows the Ukrain­ian team deboard­ing on the tar­mac at MacDill Air Force Base. Did they even pass through Cus­toms?

The Pentagon’s War­rior Games has refused to answer these ques­tions and stonewalled The Gray­zone ever since.

While the pres­ence of neo-Nazis with­in Ukraine’s fight­ing forces may come as lit­tle sur­prise to crit­i­cal observers of NATO’s con­flict with Rus­sia, their invi­ta­tion to Dis­ney World by the Depart­ment of Defense is with­out a doubt one of the weird­est episodes in the Ukraine proxy war.

5. The extreme nature of the OUN/B suc­ces­sor Nazis and fas­cists in the polit­i­cal driver’s seat in Ukraine are illus­trat­ed by the names of peo­ple on their “kill list”: “ . . . . Why this site is allowed to oper­ate is a good ques­tion. But you can access it eas­i­ly, and even donate mon­ey to help the “cause” – if you are sym­pa­thet­ic to Nazis and think that assas­si­nat­ing peo­ple for their opin­ions is a whole­some way to sup­port Ukraine. The co-founder of “Pink Floyd” [Roger Waters] is known for his sup­port of impris­oned Wik­ileaks’ cre­ator Julian Assange, and for his oppo­si­tion to impe­ri­al­ism and war, as well as for his awe­some music, loved by mil­lions around the world. . . . . Even Hen­ry Kissinger’s name is on the list despite his long his­to­ry of Rus­so­pho­bia. But since he dared to air his con­cerns about how the US is tee­ter­ing toward war with Rus­sia and Chi­na . . . .”

“Roger Waters Added to Ukraine Gov­’t Spon­sored Hit List” by Deb­o­rah Arm­strong; The Gray Zone; 8/25/2022.

Russian political analyst Daria Dugina, who was killed in a car bomb explosion in Moscow on Saturday, now appears as “liquidated” on the Ukrainian online hit list. The site was created under the watch of the Minister of Internal Affairs.

This arti­cle was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by Deb­o­rah L. Arm­strong at Medium.com

Editor’s note: The IP address of Mirotvorets has been traced to a serv­er in Brus­sels, Bel­gium

I have writ­ten about the Ukrain­ian hit list known as Mirotvorets, or “Peace­keep­er,” twice before. The first time was in this arti­cle about inter­net cen­sor­ship, and the sec­ond time was when a 13-year-old Ukrain­ian girl, Faina Savenko­va, was added to the list for pub­licly speak­ing out against Kiev’s bloody war on Russ­ian-speak­ing civil­ians in the east­ern part of Ukraine, a region known as the Don­bass.

Screen shot of Faina Savenkova’s pro­file on Mirotvorets.

Mirotvorets is a data­base which lists thou­sands of jour­nal­ists, activists, and any­one else who is declared an “Ene­my of Ukraine.” Their per­son­al infor­ma­tion is pub­lished, such as the address­es of their homes, their phone num­bers and bank account num­bers; any­thing that can help them be eas­i­ly locat­ed. When the peo­ple on this list are mur­dered, like Ital­ian jour­nal­ist Andrea Roc­chel­li was, the word ЛИКВИДИРОВАН, “LIQUIDATED,” writ­ten in Ukrain­ian, is stamped across their pic­ture in big red let­ters.

And, as of August 22, Daria Dug­i­na, who was killed in a car bomb explo­sion in Moscow on Sat­ur­day, appears as “liq­ui­dat­ed” on the web­site, adding more cred­i­bil­i­ty to Russia’s asser­tion that she was assas­si­nat­ed by a Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist who rent­ed an apart­ment in the build­ing where Daria lived in order to sur­veil her pri­or to her killing. It is believed that she was killed because her father, Alexan­der Dug­in was referred to as “Putin’s brain” and “Putin’s spir­i­tu­al guide” in west­ern media, though these claims are real­ly just more spec­u­la­tion.

Ital­ian jour­nal­ist Andrea Roc­chel­li is list­ed as “liq­ui­dat­ed” on Mirotvorets site.

Daria Dug­i­na, Russ­ian war cor­re­spon­dent, is list­ed as “liq­ui­dat­ed” on Mirotvorets site.

It seems that almost any­one can be added to this kill list. Even Hen­ry Kissinger’s name is on the list despite his long his­to­ry of Rus­so­pho­bia. But since he dared to air his con­cerns about how the US is tee­ter­ing toward war with Rus­sia and Chi­na, Kissinger, who once sug­gest­ed drop­ping nuclear bombs on Moscow, is now declared an “Ene­my of Ukraine.”

Kissinger’s Mirotvorets pro­file.

Real­ly, so many peo­ple have been added to this list that it has now become a badge of hon­or among those opposed to Ukraine’s regime, when they are includ­ed on the Mirotvorets site.

Fil­mak­er Igor Lopatonok is tar­get­ed by Mirotvorets because of a film he worked on with Oliv­er Stone.

Why this site is allowed to oper­ate is a good ques­tion. But you can access it eas­i­ly, and even donate mon­ey to help the “cause” – if you are sym­pa­thet­ic to Nazis and think that assas­si­nat­ing peo­ple for their opin­ions is a whole­some way to sup­port Ukraine.

Here is Roger Waters’ pro­file:

Roger Waters’ pro­file on Mirotvorets.

The co-founder of “Pink Floyd” is known for his sup­port of impris­oned Wik­ileaks’ cre­ator Julian Assange, and for his oppo­si­tion to impe­ri­al­ism and war, as well as for his awe­some music, loved by mil­lions around the world.

Waters recent­ly referred to Joe Biden as a “war crim­i­nal” on CNN, and said that Biden is “fuel­ing the fire in Ukraine.”

“This war,” the musi­cian stat­ed, “is basi­cal­ly about the action and reac­tion of NATO push­ing right up to the Russ­ian bor­der, which they promised they wouldn’t do when [Mikhail] Gor­bachev nego­ti­at­ed the with­draw­al of the USSR from the whole of East­ern Europe.”

Waters also said that Crimea belongs to Rus­sia, because the major­i­ty of peo­ple liv­ing on the penin­su­la are Russ­ian.

The rock star’s views have out­raged the pro-NATO crowd and their Nazi friends, as well as the social jus­tice war­riors who froth at the mouth in sup­port of what­ev­er the main­stream media declares to be “the cur­rent thing.” Waters, who has always been some­thing of a dis­si­dent and anti-war, the way all rock stars used to be when rock and roll was still real, is attacked mer­ci­less­ly by the “woke” crowd, who are intol­er­ant of all who are not in lock­step with their views. . . .

6. Next, we fur­ther devel­op Ukraine’s enemies/death list, not­ing the expe­ri­ence of for­mer Marine Corps intel­li­gence offi­cer Scott Rit­ter.

Join­ing Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Hen­ry Kissinger on the list, sev­er­al of the mem­bers of which have been mur­dered, Rit­ter notes the pres­ence of OUN/B youth camps in this coun­try, pos­si­ble breed­ing grounds for assas­sins.

Fur­ther­more, Rit­ter cor­rect­ly locates those OUN/B youth camps in the polit­i­cal con­tin­u­um stretch­ing from the Third Reich, through the Cold War, up to today—a con­tin­u­um inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the Gehlen orga­ni­za­tion.

“ . . . . I had to dri­ve past Ellenville, a sleepy lit­tle town that is home to a camp belong­ing to the Ukrain­ian Amer­i­can Youth Asso­ci­a­tion which, every sum­mer, coor­di­nates with the Orga­ni­za­tion for the Defense of Four Free­doms of Ukraine to hold a ‘Heroes’ Hol­i­day’ hon­or­ing vet­er­an of the Ukrain­ian People’s Army and the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists. . . . That a mon­u­ment to men respon­si­ble for geno­ci­dal mass mur­der and who, in the case of two of them (Shukhevych and Ban­dera) open­ly col­lab­o­rat­ed with Nazi Ger­many, could be erect­ed in the Unit­ed States is dis­turb­ing. [NB—Konovalets coop­er­at­ed with the Third Reich as well, D.E.] That every year Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can adher­ents of the odi­ous ide­ol­o­gy of Stepan Ban­dera gath­er to cel­e­brate his lega­cy at a “children’s camp” where the youth are arrayed in brown uni­forms that make them look like what they, in fact, are — ide­o­log­i­cal storm troop­ers for a hate­ful neo-Nazi ide­ol­o­gy that pro­motes the racial supe­ri­or­i­ty of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple, is a nation­al abom­i­na­tion. . . . Ban­dera has been ele­vat­ed to the sta­tus of a nation­al hero in Ukraine, and his birth­day is con­sid­ered a nation­al hol­i­day. . . . The lega­cy of Stepan Ban­dera is at the very heart of what pass­es for Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism today. It dom­i­nates the polit­i­cal are­na inside Ukraine, where all com­pet­ing polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy and affil­i­a­tions have been out­lawed by Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­sky. . . .”

“SCOTT RITTER: The Death List” by Scott Rit­ter; Con­sor­tium News; 8/31/2022.

 The odi­ous lega­cy of Stepan Ban­dera dri­ves the sup­pres­sion of those who dare chal­lenge the nar­ra­tive of the Russ­ian-Ukrain­ian con­flict pro­mul­gat­ed by the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, its West­ern allies and a com­pli­ant main­stream media.  

Stepan Ban­dera mon­u­ment in Ternopil, Ukraine, 2017. (Myko­la Vasylechko, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wiki­me­dia Com­mons)

In May 1986 I received orders to attend a coun­tert­er­ror­ism aware­ness course at the John F. Kennedy Spe­cial War­fare School, in Fort Bragg, North Car­oli­na. For the next two weeks I learned about the var­i­ous ter­ror­ist threats fac­ing the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary, and was taught var­i­ous skills to over­come them, such as high-speed eva­sive dri­ving, counter-sur­veil­lance method­ol­o­gy and reac­tive shoot­ing tech­niques.

Upon my return to Twen­ty-Nine Palms, where I was sta­tioned as a Marine Corps intel­li­gence offi­cer, I was giv­en the task of putting my new­ly learned skills to work by car­ry­ing out a base-wide coun­tert­er­ror­ism exer­cise. I bor­rowed a scout-sniper team from the infantry bat­tal­ion on base, and set them up in an apart­ment off base, where I turned them into a ter­ror­ist cell tasked with col­lect­ing intel­li­gence on the senior offi­cers who lived and worked on the base. The only rule was that the ter­ror­ists could not engage with civil­ians — no fam­i­lies were to be impact­ed by the drill.

Over the course of the next 30 days, my ter­ror­ist team was able to “assas­si­nate” every bat­tal­ion com­man­der, the reg­i­men­tal com­man­der and the base com­man­der, using impro­vised explo­sive devices and sniper fire — and had the pho­tographs to prove it.

The take­away from this exer­cise was that if some­one want­ed you dead, you were prob­a­bly going to die.

Vig­i­lance was your only real defense — to be alert for any­thing sus­pi­cious. In short, to live a life gov­erned by para­noia. In the age of ter­ror­ism, if you feel like some­one is seek­ing to do you harm, it is prob­a­bly because some­one is seek­ing to do you harm.

Using Those Skills

Through­out my pro­fes­sion­al life, I have had occa­sion to use the skills I learned at Fort Bragg on sev­er­al occa­sions — I was tar­get­ed for assas­si­na­tion while work­ing as a U.N. weapons inspec­tor in Iraq and I was informed that I was the sub­ject of a “hit” put out by the Russ­ian mafia for my role in break­ing up an illic­it mis­sile com­po­nent smug­gling ring.

I would con­duct a 360-degree inspec­tion of my vehi­cle before enter­ing it, look­ing for signs of tam­per­ing. And I would con­duct counter-sur­veil­lance drills while dri­ving, accel­er­at­ing at odd inter­vals to see if any­one kept pace, or rapid­ly exit­ing a high­way to see if any­one fol­lowed.

Today, I’m a 61-year-old writer liv­ing in the sub­urbs of Albany, New York. It’s a qui­et neigh­bor­hood, where every­one knows every­one. And yet, due to recent cir­cum­stances, I once again find myself inspect­ing my vehi­cle before get­ting inside, keep­ing a watch­ful eye out for strange vehi­cles dri­ving down my street and con­duct­ing counter-sur­veil­lance maneu­vers while dri­ving.

Why the para­noia? Sim­ply put, my name has been added to a Ukrain­ian “kill list.” Think I’m get­ting too wound up? Ask the fam­i­ly of Daria Dug­i­na, the 29-year-old daugh­ter of the Russ­ian philoso­pher Alexan­der Dug­in. Both she and her father were on the same list. Both were tar­get­ed for death by an assas­sin dis­patched by the Ukrain­ian secu­ri­ty ser­vices. Only a last-sec­ond change of plans, which put Alexan­der Dug­in behind the wheel of a dif­fer­ent car, kept him from being killed in the blast that took the life of his daugh­ter.

Daria Dug­i­na. (1RNK, CC BY 3.0, Wiki­me­dia Com­mons)

I’ve been writ­ing for some time now about the Ukrain­ian Cen­ter for Coun­ter­ing Dis­in­for­ma­tion and their pub­li­ca­tion in mid-July of a “black­list” con­tain­ing the names of 72 intel­lec­tu­als, jour­nal­ists, activists and politi­cians from sev­er­al coun­tries who were labeled “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­dists” by the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment for hav­ing the audac­i­ty to speak crit­i­cal­ly, yet fac­tu­al­ly, about the ongo­ing Russ­ian-Ukrain­ian con­flict.

I took umbrage over this list for sev­er­al rea­sons, first and fore­most that the salaries of the Ukraini­ans who com­piled this list appeared to be paid by the U.S. tax­pay­er using funds appro­pri­at­ed by Con­gress for that very pur­pose. The idea of Con­gress pass­ing a law which empow­ered the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment to do some­thing — sup­press the First Amend­ment guar­an­tees of free speech and a free press — that Con­gress was Con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­hib­it­ed from doing angered me.

[Relat­ed: SCOTT RITTER: Chuck Schumer’s War on Free Speech]

So, too, did the fact that the Cen­ter for Coun­ter­ing Dis­in­for­ma­tion announced the exis­tence of this “black­list” at a func­tion orga­nized by a U.S.-funded NGO and attend­ed by State Depart­ment offi­cials who sat mute while their Ukrain­ian col­leagues labeled the per­sons on this list “infor­ma­tion ter­ror­ists” who deserved to be arrest­ed and pros­e­cut­ed as “war crim­i­nals.”

At the time, I cau­tioned that the use of such inflam­ma­to­ry lan­guage meant that the “black­list” could be turned into a “kill list” sim­ply by hav­ing a fanat­ic decide to take jus­tice into his or her own hands. Giv­en that the U.S. gov­ern­ment fund­ed the cre­ation of this list, orga­nized the meet­ing where it was pre­sent­ed to the world and gave an implic­it stamp of approval to the list and its accom­pa­ny­ing label­ing through the atten­dance of U.S. gov­ern­ment offi­cials, these fanat­ics don’t have to be for­eign sourced. Plen­ty of peo­ple in the U.S. adhere to the same hate-filled ide­ol­o­gy that exists in Ukraine today and which gave birth to the “black­list.”

Some of them are my neigh­bors.

In June I drove down to Bethel, New York (the site of the orig­i­nal Wood­stock music fes­ti­val), to par­tic­i­pate in a Spar­tan Obsta­cle Course Race. To get there, I had to dri­ve past Ellenville, a sleepy lit­tle town that is home to a camp belong­ing to the Ukrain­ian Amer­i­can Youth Asso­ci­a­tion which, every sum­mer, coor­di­nates with the Orga­ni­za­tion for the Defense of Four Free­doms of Ukraine to hold a “Heroes’ Hol­i­day” hon­or­ing vet­er­an of the Ukrain­ian People’s Army and the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists.

The camp boasts a “Heroes’ Mon­u­ment”, con­sists of a 42-foot-tall struc­ture with a Ukrain­ian tri­dent at the top flanked by the busts of Yevhen Kono­valets, Symon Petliu­ra, Roman Shukhevych and Stepan Ban­dera —four lead­ing fig­ures in the his­to­ry of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism, all of whom were involved in the mur­ders, col­lec­tive­ly, of hun­dreds of thou­sands of Jews, Poles and Rus­sians.

Ban­dera has been ele­vat­ed to the sta­tus of a nation­al hero in Ukraine, and his birth­day is con­sid­ered a nation­al hol­i­day.

That a mon­u­ment to men respon­si­ble for geno­ci­dal mass mur­der and who, in the case of two of them (Shukhevych and Ban­dera) open­ly col­lab­o­rat­ed with Nazi Ger­many, could be erect­ed in the Unit­ed States is dis­turb­ing.

That every year Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can adher­ents of the odi­ous ide­ol­o­gy of Stepan Ban­dera gath­er to cel­e­brate his lega­cy at a “children’s camp” where the youth are arrayed in brown uni­forms that make them look like what they, in fact, are — ide­o­log­i­cal storm troop­ers for a hate­ful neo-Nazi ide­ol­o­gy that pro­motes the racial supe­ri­or­i­ty of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple, is a nation­al abom­i­na­tion.

From Ellenville to Bethel, I saw evi­dence of this hate­ful real­i­ty in every blue-and-yel­low Ukrain­ian flag flut­ter­ing in the wind — and every red-and-black ban­ner of the Ban­dera-wor­ship­ping Ukrain­ian neo-Nazi fanat­ics that flut­tered next to them.

Stepan Ban­dera Lega­cy 

The lega­cy of Stepan Ban­dera is at the very heart of what pass­es for Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism today. It dom­i­nates the polit­i­cal are­na inside Ukraine, where all com­pet­ing polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy and affil­i­a­tions have been out­lawed by Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­sky.

It is behind the sup­pres­sion of all dis­sent­ing voic­es — for­eign and domes­tic — that dare chal­lenge the nar­ra­tive about the Russ­ian-Ukrain­ian con­flict being pro­mul­gat­ed by the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, its West­ern allies, and a com­pli­ant main­stream media.

After Con­sor­tium News pub­lished my let­ter to my New York con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion (Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gilli­brand and Rep. Paul Tonko), in which I called them out for vot­ing for Pub­lic Law 117–128 appro­pri­at­ing $40 bil­lion in U.S. tax­pay­er mon­ey to under­write the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary, there was con­cert­ed action by oth­ers impact­ed by the Ukrain­ian “black­list,” which the leg­is­la­tion had fund­ed.  This was led by Diane Sare, the LaRouche Par­ty can­di­date chal­leng­ing Schumer for his Sen­ate seat.

The pub­lic­i­ty about con­gres­sion­al­ly-fund­ed sup­pres­sion of free speech appeared to be too much for those who are com­plic­it in a frontal assault on the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion. The Cen­ter for Coun­ter­ing Disinformation’s “black­list” was removed from the inter­net.

Vic­to­ry, how­ev­er, was short lived. With­in days of the Cen­ter for Coun­ter­ing Disinformation’s “black­list” being tak­en down, a list pub­lished by the Ukrain­ian “Myrotvorets” (Peacemaker’s) Cen­ter incor­po­rat­ed names that had been on the Cen­ter for Coun­ter­ing Dis­in­for­ma­tion “black­list.”

Coat of Myrotvorets staff mem­ber with field ver­sion of their emblem on sleeve. (Shao, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wiki­me­dia Com­mons)

The Myrotvorets list has been in exis­tence since 2014 and has been described as “effec­tive­ly a death list for politi­cians, jour­nal­ists, entre­pre­neurs and oth­er pub­lic fig­ures who have been ‘cleared for fir­ing’” by the list’s cre­ators.

Daria Dugina’s name was on that list. 

And now so is mine, along with sev­er­al oth­er West­ern­ers, such as Cana­di­an jour­nal­ist Eva Bartlett and British rock musi­cian Roger Waters. 

Scott Rit­ter on the death list. (Click to enlarge).

The Biden admin­is­tra­tion is silent about this abom­i­na­tion.

So is Con­gress.

Accord­ing to 6 USCS § 101, the term ter­ror­ism is

“any activ­i­ty that involves an act that is dan­ger­ous to human life or poten­tial­ly destruc­tive of crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture or key resources; and is a vio­la­tion of the crim­i­nal laws of the Unit­ed States or of any State or oth­er sub­di­vi­sion of the Unit­ed States; and appears to be intend­ed to intim­i­date or coerce a civil­ian pop­u­la­tion, to influ­ence the pol­i­cy of a gov­ern­ment by intim­i­da­tion or coer­cion, or to affect the con­duct of a gov­ern­ment by mass destruc­tion, assas­si­na­tion, or kid­nap­ping.”

There is lit­tle doubt that the mur­der of Daria Dug­i­na was an act of ter­ror­ism per­pe­trat­ed on behalf of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment. (Her pho­to on the list now has the word “liq­ui­dat­ed” writ­ten diag­o­nal­ly across it in red.)

While the Ukraini­ans deny any such alle­ga­tions, Russ­ian author­i­ties have assem­bled a con­vinc­ing fac­tu­al case to the con­trary.

The exis­tence of the Myrotvorets “death list” is an instru­ment of ter­ror and should be tak­en down at the insis­tence of the U.S. Gov­ern­ment.

The fail­ure of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment to shut down the Myrotvorets Cen­ter and con­demn its activ­i­ties would con­sti­tute mate­r­i­al sup­port of ter­ror­ism.

The U.S. should also rec­og­nize any orga­ni­za­tions which embrace the ide­ol­o­gy of Stepan Ban­dera as ter­ror­ist enti­ties — includ­ing those respon­si­ble for rais­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of brown-shirt­ed neo-Nazis in the heart­land of Amer­i­ca.

The “Hero’s Mon­u­ment” in Ellenville must be closed, and the stat­ues of Ban­dera and the oth­er three Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists removed from pub­lic view.

It is a nation­al dis­grace that U.S. cit­i­zens are sub­ject­ed to death threats from an erst­while ally of the Unit­ed States for sim­ply exer­cis­ing their Con­sti­tu­tion­al right of free speech. The adher­ents to the ide­ol­o­gy of Stepan Ban­dera, in Ukraine and in the Unit­ed States, must be treat­ed as ter­ror­ists, and pros­e­cut­ed with the same lev­el of inten­si­ty and pur­pose as were the fol­low­ers of al-Qae­da and the Islam­ic State.

Until this is done, I will have no choice but to take the appro­pri­ate pre­cau­tions to make sure that nei­ther my fam­i­ly nor I suf­fer the fate of Daria Dug­i­na.

7. Fur­ther solid­i­fy­ing the con­ti­nu­ity between the Third Reich, the Gehlen Org and the Ukrain­ian dias­po­ra in the U.S., we note that, while it was the BND (the intel­li­gence ser­vice of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic) the “Org” was financ­ing the East­ern Euro­pean fas­cist groups that were part of the Eth­nic Her­itage Out­reach Coun­cil.

Gehlen: Spy of the Cen­tu­ry by E.H. Cookridge; Ran­dom House [HC]; Copy­right 1971 by Euro­pean Copy­right Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed; ISBN 0–394-47313–2; pp. 362–363.

. . . . Gehlen even set up a num­ber of “cells” in the Unit­ed States. As ear­ly as 1963, the Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions com­mit­tee dis­cussed the activ­i­ties of the Julius Klein pub­lic rela­tions com­pa­ny, which had estab­lished branch­es in Wash­ing­ton, New York and Los Ange­les and also in Cana­da, employ­ing a fair­ly numer­ous staff with­out appar­ent­ly engag­ing on any pub­lic­i­ty busi­ness. From this firm, the trail led to the Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­can Cit­i­zens of Ger­man Ori­gin, which was receiv­ing large sub­si­dies from an unspec­i­fied Fed­er­al Ger­man gov­ern­ment department—the Bun­desnachri­ten­di­enst, it was lat­er estab­lished. This for­eign sub­sidy amount­ed to the hand­some sum of 280,000 dol­lars in 1964 and was increased in lat­er years. . . .

Not so sat­is­fac­to­ry at first were the expla­na­tions of Gehlen’s con­nec­tions with the large orga­ni­za­tions of Ukraini­ans, Poles, Lithua­ni­ans, Lat­vians and oth­er East Euro­pean immi­grants in the Unit­ed States, which received finance and advice from three “reg­is­tered” BND agents—Roman Hen­linger, alias “Dr. Grau,” Vic­tor Sale­mann and Alexan­der Wieber. . . .

8. In FTR #907, we not­ed the pro­found pres­ence of the Ukrain­ian fas­cists in the Unit­ed States, as well as their oper­a­tional con­nec­tions to the Third Reich. In FTR #1072, we not­ed the Ukrain­ian youth cadre in the U.S., and its affil­i­a­tion with the OUN/B milieu in Ukraine.

Our next item out these con­nec­tions, not­ing:

1. The CYM orga­ni­za­tion and its pres­ence in the U.S.

2. The deci­sive involve­ment of post-World War II emi­gres in the growth of that move­ment.

3. CYM’s close affil­i­a­tion with the OUN/B.

4. CYM’s uni­formed, mil­i­tary ori­en­ta­tion: ” . . . . Among the most pop­u­lar activ­i­ties are mil­i­tary-style games where campers are divid­ed into two teams that have to dodge or cap­ture their oppo­nents by mov­ing stealth­ily and orga­niz­ing ambush­es. . . . .”


“Ukrain­ian Youth Orga­ni­za­tion CYM thriv­ing in Amer­i­ca” by Askold Krushel­ny­cky; Kyiv Post; 07/29/2019

The Kyiv Post joined hun­dreds of peo­ple who came to a Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can Youth Asso­ci­a­tion camp and resort in New York state for an extend­ed week­end that includ­ed cel­e­brat­ing America’s Inde­pen­dence Day and com­mem­o­rat­ing Ukrain­ian heroes who fought through­out the ages for their country’s free­dom.

The asso­ci­a­tion is known by the Ukrain­ian acronym CYM – pro­nounced “SUM” – of its name “Spilka Ukrayin­skoyi Molo­di.” Along with the Ukrain­ian Scout­ing move­ment, Plast, it is one of the two main youth groups that flow­ered in the post-World War II dias­po­ra and taught younger gen­er­a­tions about their her­itage and ensured that the Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ty remained vibrant.

CYM has four camps in var­i­ous parts of the U.S. The New York one named after the near­est small town of 4,000 res­i­dents, Ellenville, is set in pic­turesque undu­lat­ing coun­try­side near the Catskill For­est Pre­serve nation­al park and its ter­ri­to­ry includes hills, woods and a stream filled with trout and bass. It was bought by the Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ty in the 1960s. . . .

. . . . There are ele­ments of mil­i­tary dis­ci­pline in CYM, as there are in oth­er youth orga­ni­za­tions such as the Scout­ing move­ment. They learn drill so that they can march or assem­ble in for­ma­tion.


They wear uni­forms for Sun­day church ser­vices and on some oth­er spe­cial occa­sions. Uni­forms con­sist of gray shirts with match­ing trousers or skirts. Dif­fer­ent col­ored ties denote age groups with green for the youngest, bur­gundy for teenagers, blue for young adults and brown for the over-thir­ties. CYM mem­bers around the world wear the same uni­form except for a shoul­der patch say­ing which coun­try they belong to. . . .

. . . . Among the most pop­u­lar activ­i­ties are mil­i­tary-style games where campers are divid­ed into two teams that have to dodge or cap­ture their oppo­nents by mov­ing stealth­ily and orga­niz­ing ambush­es. . . . .

. . . . The top­ics that fea­tured in talks for the old­er mem­bers this month includ­ed the his­to­ry of Ukraine’s strug­gles in the 20th cen­tu­ry for free­dom. Much time was devot­ed to the leader of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists, Stepan Ban­dera, as 2019 sees the 110th anniver­sary of his birth and 60th anniver­sary of his assas­si­na­tion by the Sovi­et KGB. . . .

. . . . After World War II, CYM start­ed to be rebuilt by refugees from Ukraine, tens of thou­sands of whom lived for sev­er­al years in dis­placed per­sons’ camps in Ger­many and Aus­tria. Ban­dera sup­port­ers were instru­men­tal in reviv­ing CYM in the West after the war and the asso­ci­a­tion is clear­ly streaked with their style of impas­sioned Ukrain­ian patri­o­tism. . . .

. . . . It also flour­ished in every coun­try with sig­nif­i­cant Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ties includ­ing the Unit­ed King­dom, Cana­da, Ger­many, Bel­gium, France, the Nether­lands, Argenti­na, Brazil, Aus­tralia and New Zealand. CYM has some 1,600 mem­bers in the U.S. in its 28 branch­es in 12 of America’s states. . . . .

. . . . The man head­ing up, for the fourth time, the camp for old­er CYM mem­bers this year is Myko­la Hryck­owian. His par­ents came to the U.S. after World War Two and both had staunch­ly patri­ot­ic back­grounds.

On July 7, with CYM mem­bers in full uni­form, and vis­i­tors also tak­ing part, there was a church ser­vice at the camp’s own chapel. That was fol­lowed by a wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mo­ny at a near­by mon­u­ment ded­i­cat­ed to all Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence heroes.

Dmitri Lenzcuk, as chief instruc­tor, was respon­si­ble for work­ing out the sched­ule of lessons and activ­i­ties for the camp. He is a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Amer­i­can whose grand­par­ents arrived in the U.S. after the war . . . .

9. Apol­o­gists for Ban­dera and his acolytes in the Zelen­sky regime have not­ed the offi­cial break between ele­ments of the Third Reich lead­er­ship and the OUN/B milieu fol­low­ing Ukraine’s dec­la­ra­tion of inde­pen­dence.

This “break” was—in essence—for PR pur­pos­es, as the UPA (OUN/B’s mil­i­tary wing) con­tin­ued to staff Nazi mil­i­tary units such as the 14th Waf­fen SS divi­sion.

Ban­dera was priv­i­leged: “ . . . .  Ban­dera had a two-room suite with paint­ings and rugs, was allowed to have con­ju­gal vis­its with his wife, per­formed no forced labor, wore no uni­form, was exempt from roll call, ate with the guards and did not lock his cell door at night. The Nazis released Ban­dera in 1944 after a meet­ing with Otto Sko­rzeny, Hitler’s top com­man­do, to car­ry out a cam­paign of ter­ror­ism against the advanc­ing Red Army. . . .”

“How Pre-WW II Ukrain­ian Fas­cists Pio­neered Bru­tal Ter­ror Tech­niques; Lat­er Improved By CIA, Now Iron­i­cal­ly Taught to Descen­dants” by Evan Reif; Covert Action Mag­a­zine; 6/9/2022.

. . . . Sev­er­al months after the dec­la­ra­tion of inde­pen­dence, which the Nazis did not accept, ten­sions would rise to such an extent that the Nazis arrest­ed Ban­dera, Stet­sko and oth­er lead­ers. After a peri­od of house arrest, they were trans­ferred to Sach­sen­hausen con­cen­tra­tion camp in 1943.

Bandera’s stay was not typ­i­cal, how­ever. Ban­dera had a two-room suite with paint­ings and rugs, was allowed to have con­ju­gal vis­its with his wife, per­formed no forced labor, wore no uni­form, was exempt from roll call, ate with the guards and did not lock his cell door at night.

The Nazis released Ban­dera in 1944 after a meet­ing with Otto Sko­rzeny, Hitler’s top com­man­do, to car­ry out a cam­paign of ter­ror­ism against the advanc­ing Red Army. The Nazis could have killed Ban­dera and Stet­sko at any time in the inter­im, but they did not. Rather, they made a great and suc­cess­ful effort to recruit them. . . .

10. Our pro­grams con­clude with excerpts of anoth­er inter­view with Swiss intel­li­gence offi­cer Jacques Baud.

Colonel Baud’s CV: Jacques Baud is a for­mer colonel of the Gen­er­al Staff, ex-mem­ber of the Swiss strate­gic intel­li­gence, spe­cial­ist on East­ern coun­tries. He was trained in the Amer­i­can and British intel­li­gence ser­vices. He has served as Pol­i­cy Chief for Unit­ed Nations Peace Oper­a­tions. As a UN expert on rule of law and secu­ri­ty insti­tu­tions, he designed and led the first mul­ti­di­men­sion­al UN intel­li­gence unit in the Sudan. He has worked for the African Union and was for 5 years respon­si­ble for the fight, at NATO, against the pro­lif­er­a­tion of small arms. He was involved in dis­cus­sions with the high­est Russ­ian mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence offi­cials just after the fall of the USSR. With­in NATO, he fol­lowed the 2014 Ukrain­ian cri­sis and lat­er par­tic­i­pat­ed in pro­grams to assist the Ukraine. He is the author of sev­er­al books on intel­li­gence, war and ter­ror­ism, in par­tic­u­lar Le Détourne­ment pub­lished by SIGEST, Gou­vern­er par les fake newsL’affaire Naval­ny. His lat­est book is Pou­tine, maître du jeu? pub­lished by Max Milo.

For the edi­fi­ca­tion of the read­er, we present the full text of the inter­view here.

In the pro­gram, we note Ukraine’s “mir­ror imag­ing” of the polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary aspects of the war, rep­re­sent­ing Ukrain­ian atroc­i­ties and war crimes as Russ­ian.

In turn, West­ern media slav­ish­ly report the Ukrain­ian pro­pa­gan­da as fact, a dynam­ic Mr. Emory has cit­ed as cement­ing the Naz­i­fi­ca­tion of Amer­i­ca, begun dur­ing the clos­ing stages of World War II.

Baud cites Ukrain­ian oper­a­tions behind Russ­ian lines: “ . . . . This is a ter­ror­ist cam­paign tar­get­ing pro-Russ­ian Ukrain­ian per­son­al­i­ties and offi­cials. It fol­lows major changes in the lead­er­ship of the SBU, in Kiev, and in the regions, includ­ing Lvov, Ternopol since July. It is prob­a­bly in the con­text of this same cam­paign that Darya Dug­i­na was assas­si­nat­ed on August 21. The objec­tive of this new cam­paign could be to con­vey the illu­sion that there is an ongo­ing resis­tance in the areas tak­en by the Rus­sians and thus revive West­ern aid, which is start­ing to fatigue. These sab­o­tage activ­i­ties do not real­ly have an oper­a­tional impact and seem more relat­ed to a psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tion. It may be that these are actions like the one on Snake Island at the begin­ning of May, intend­ed to demon­strate to the inter­na­tion­al pub­lic that Ukraine is act­ing. What the inci­dents in Crimea indi­rect­ly show is that the pop­u­lar resis­tance claimed by the West in Feb­ru­ary does not exist. . . .”

Colonel Baud also high­lights Ukraine’s shelling of the Zapor­i­hizia Nuclear Pow­er Plant: “ . . . . By bomb­ing the plant, Ukraine could also be try­ing to pres­sure the West to inter­vene in the con­flict, under the pre­text that Rus­sia is seek­ing to dis­con­nect the plant from the Ukrain­ian pow­er grid before the fall. This sui­ci­dal behavior—as stat­ed by UN Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al António Guterres—would be in line with the war waged by Ukraine since 2014. There is strong evi­dence that the attacks on Ener­go­dar are Ukrain­ian. The frag­ments of pro­jec­tiles fired at the site from the oth­er side of the Dnieper are of West­ern ori­gin. It seems that they come from British BRIMSTONE mis­siles, which are pre­ci­sion mis­siles, whose use is mon­i­tored by the British. Appar­ent­ly, the West is aware of the Ukrain­ian attacks on the ZNPP. This might explain why Ukraine is not very sup­port­ive of an inter­na­tion­al com­mis­sion of inquiry and why West­ern coun­tries are putting unre­al­is­tic con­di­tions for send­ing inves­ti­ga­tors from the IAEA, an agency that has not shown much integri­ty so far. . . .”

Colonel Baud sums up the role of ter­ror cen­tral to the Naz­i­fied Ukrain­ian regime, par­rot­ed by West­ern MSM: “ . . . . Ukrain­ian crimes were begin­ning to be revealed on social net­works, and on 27 March Zelen­sky feared that this would jeop­ar­dize West­ern sup­port. This was followed—rather opportunely—by the Bucha mas­sacre on 3 April, the cir­cum­stances of which remain unclear. Britain, which then had the chair­man­ship of the UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, refused three times the Russ­ian request to set up an inter­na­tion­al com­mis­sion of enquiry into the crimes of Bucha. Ukrain­ian social­ist MP Ilya Kiva revealed on Telegram that the Bucha tragedy was planned by the British MI6 spe­cial ser­vices and imple­ment­ed by the SBU. The fun­da­men­tal prob­lem is that the Ukraini­ans have replaced the ‘oper­a­tional art’ with bru­tal­i­ty. . . .”

Our Lat­est Inter­view with Jacques Baud

Sep­tem­ber 1, 2022 Jacques Baud

We are pleased to bring you this fresh inter­view with Jacques Baud, in which we cov­er what is now hap­pen­ing in the geopo­lit­i­cal strug­gle that is the Ukraine-Rus­sia war. As always, Mr. Baud brings deep insight and clear analy­sis to the con­ver­sa­tion.

The Pos­til (TP): You have just pub­lished your lat­est book on the war in Ukraine—Oper­a­tion Z, pub­lished by Max Milo. Please tell us a lit­tle about it—what led you to write this book and what do you wish to con­vey to read­ers?

Jacques Baud (JB): The aim of this book is to show how the mis­in­for­ma­tion prop­a­gat­ed by our media has con­tributed to push Ukraine in the wrong direc­tion. I wrote it under the mot­to “from the way we under­stand crises derives the way we solve them.”

By hid­ing many aspects of this con­flict, the West­ern media has pre­sent­ed us with a car­i­cat­ur­al and arti­fi­cial image of the sit­u­a­tion, which has result­ed in the polar­iza­tion of minds. This has led to a wide­spread mind­set that makes any attempt to nego­ti­ate vir­tu­al­ly impos­si­ble.

The one-sided and biased rep­re­sen­ta­tion pro­vid­ed by main­stream media is not intend­ed to help us solve the prob­lem, but to pro­mote hatred of Rus­sia. Thus, the exclu­sion of dis­abled ath­letes, cats, even Russ­ian trees from com­pe­ti­tions, the dis­missal of con­duc­tors, the de-plat­form­ing of Russ­ian artists, such as Dos­toyevsky, or even the renam­ing of paint­ings aims at exclud­ing the Russ­ian pop­u­la­tion from soci­ety! In France, bank accounts of indi­vid­u­als with Russ­ian-sound­ing names were even blocked. Social net­works Face­book and Twit­ter have sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly blocked the dis­clo­sure of Ukrain­ian crimes under the pre­text of “hate speech” but allow the call for vio­lence against Rus­sians.

None of these actions had any effect on the con­flict, except to stim­u­late hatred and vio­lence against the Rus­sians in our coun­tries. This manip­u­la­tion is so bad that we would rather see Ukraini­ans die than to seek a diplo­mat­ic solu­tion. As Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Lind­sey Gra­ham recent­ly said, it is a mat­ter of let­ting the Ukraini­ans fight to the last man.

It is com­mon­ly assumed that jour­nal­ists work accord­ing to stan­dards of qual­i­ty and ethics to inform us in the most hon­est way pos­si­ble. These stan­dards are set by the Munich Char­ter of 1971. While writ­ing my book I found out that no French-speak­ing main­stream media in Europe respects this char­ter as far as Rus­sia and Chi­na are con­cerned. In fact, they shame­less­ly sup­port an immoral pol­i­cy towards Ukraine, described by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, pres­i­dent of Mex­i­co, as “We pro­vide the weapons, you pro­vide the corpses!”

To high­light this mis­in­for­ma­tion, I want­ed to show that infor­ma­tion allow­ing to pro­vide a real­is­tic pic­ture of the sit­u­a­tion was avail­able as ear­ly as Feb­ru­ary, but that our media did not relay it to the pub­lic. My goal was to show this con­tra­dic­tion.

In order to avoid becom­ing a pro­pa­gan­dist myself in favor of one side or the oth­er, I have relied exclu­sive­ly on West­ern, Ukrain­ian (from Kiev) and Russ­ian oppo­si­tion sources. I have not tak­en any infor­ma­tion from the Russ­ian media.

TP: It is com­mon­ly said in the West that this war has “proven” that the Russ­ian army is fee­ble and that its equip­ment is use­less. Are these asser­tions true?

JB: No. After more than six months of war, it can be said that the Russ­ian army is effec­tive and effi­cient, and that the qual­i­ty of its com­mand & con­trol far exceeds what we see in the West. But our per­cep­tion is influ­enced by a report­ing that is focused on the Ukrain­ian side, and by dis­tor­tions of real­i­ty.

First­ly, there is the real­i­ty on the ground. It should be remem­bered that what the media call “Rus­sians” is in fact a Russ­ian-speak­ing coali­tion, com­posed of pro­fes­sion­al Russ­ian fight­ers and sol­diers of the pop­u­lar mili­tias of Don­bass. The oper­a­tions in the Don­bass are main­ly car­ried out by these mili­tias, who fight on “their” ter­rain, in towns and vil­lages they know and where they have friends and fam­i­ly. They are there­fore advanc­ing cau­tious­ly for them­selves, but also to avoid civil­ian casu­al­ties. Thus, despite the claims of west­ern pro­pa­gan­da, the coali­tion enjoys a very good pop­u­lar sup­port in the areas it occu­pies.

Then, just look­ing at a map, you can see that the Don­bass is a region with a lot of built-up and inhab­it­ed areas, which means an advan­tage for the defend­er and a reduced speed of progress for the attack­er in all cir­cum­stances.

Sec­ond­ly, there is the way our media por­tray the evo­lu­tion of the con­flict. Ukraine is a huge coun­try and small-scale maps hard­ly show the dif­fer­ences from one day to anoth­er. More­over, each side has its own per­cep­tion of the progress of the ene­my. If we take the exam­ple of the sit­u­a­tion on March 25, 2022, we can see that the map of the French dai­ly news­pa­per Ouest-France (a) shows almost no advance of Rus­sia, as does the Swiss RTS site (b). The map of the Russ­ian web­site RIAFAN © may be pro­pa­gan­da, but if we com­pare it with the map of the French Mil­i­tary Intel­li­gence Direc­torate (DRM) (d), we see that the Russ­ian media is prob­a­bly clos­er to the truth. All these maps were pub­lished on the same day, but the French news­pa­per and the Swiss state media did not choose to use the DRM map and pre­ferred to use a Ukrain­ian map. This illus­trates that our media work like pro­pa­gan­da out­lets.

Fig­ure 1 – Com­par­i­son of the maps pre­sent­ed in our media on 25 March 2022. It is this way of pre­sent­ing the Russ­ian offen­sive that has led to the asser­tion that the Russ­ian army is weak. It also shows that the infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed by the Russ­ian media seems clos­er to real­i­ty than that giv­en by Ukraine.

Third­ly, our “experts” have them­selves deter­mined the objec­tives of the Russ­ian offen­sive. By claim­ing that Rus­sia want­ed to take over Ukraine and its resources, to take over Kiev in two days, etc., our experts have lit­er­al­ly invent­ed and attrib­uted to the Rus­sians objec­tives that Putin nev­er men­tioned. In May 2022, Claude Wild, the Swiss ambas­sador in Kiev, declared on RTS that the Rus­sians had “lost the bat­tle for Kiev.” But in real­i­ty, there was nev­er a “bat­tle for Kiev.” It is obvi­ous­ly easy to claim that the Rus­sians did not reach their objectives—if they nev­er tried to reach them!

Fourth­ly, the West and Ukraine have cre­at­ed a mis­lead­ing pic­ture of their adver­sary. In France, Switzer­land and Bel­gium, none of the mil­i­tary experts on tele­vi­sion have any knowl­edge of mil­i­tary oper­a­tions and how the Rus­sians con­duct theirs. Their “exper­tise” comes from the rumours from the war in Afghanistan or Syr­ia, which are often mere­ly West­ern pro­pa­gan­da. These experts have lit­er­al­ly fal­si­fied the pre­sen­ta­tion of Russ­ian oper­a­tions.

Thus, the objec­tives announced as ear­ly as Feb­ru­ary 24 by Rus­sia were the “demil­i­ta­riza­tion” and “denaz­i­fi­ca­tion” of the threat to the pop­u­la­tions of Don­bass. These objec­tives are relat­ed to the neu­tral­iza­tion of capa­bil­i­ties, not the seizure of land or resources. To put it blunt­ly, in the­o­ry, to achieve their goals the Rus­sians do not need to advance—it would be enough if Ukraini­ans them­selves would come and get killed.

In oth­er words, our politi­cians and media have pushed Ukraine to defend the ter­rain like in France dur­ing the First World War. They pushed Ukrain­ian troops to defend every square meter of ground in “last stand” sit­u­a­tions. Iron­i­cal­ly, the West has only made the Rus­sians’ job eas­i­er.

In fact, as with the war on ter­ror, West­ern­ers see the ene­my as they would like him to be, not as he is. As Sun Tzu said 2,500 years ago, this is the best recipe for los­ing a war.

One exam­ple is the so-called “hybrid war” that Rus­sia is alleged­ly wag­ing against the West. In June 2014, as the West tried to explain Russia’s (imag­i­nary) inter­ven­tion in the Don­bass con­flict, Rus­sia expert Mark Gale­ot­ti “revealed” the exis­tence of a doc­trine that would illus­trate the Russ­ian con­cept of hybrid war­fare. Known as the “Gerasi­mov Doc­trine,” it has nev­er real­ly been defined by the West as to what it con­sists of and how it could ensure mil­i­tary suc­cess. But it is used to explain how Rus­sia wages war in Don­bass with­out send­ing troops there and why Ukraine con­sis­tent­ly los­es its bat­tles against the rebels. In 2018, real­iz­ing that he was wrong, Gale­ot­ti apologized—courageously and intelligently—in an arti­cle titled, “I’m Sor­ry for Cre­at­ing the Gerasi­mov Doc­trine” pub­lished in For­eign Pol­i­cy mag­a­zine.

Despite this, and with­out know­ing what it meant, our media and politi­cians con­tin­ued to pre­tend that Rus­sia was wag­ing a hybrid war against Ukraine and the West. In oth­er words, we imag­ined a type of war that does not exist and we pre­pared Ukraine for it. This is also what explains the chal­lenge for Ukraine to have a coher­ent strat­e­gy to counter Russ­ian oper­a­tions.

The West does not want to see the sit­u­a­tion as it real­ly is. The Russ­ian-speak­ing coali­tion has launched its offen­sive with an over­all strength infe­ri­or to that of the Ukraini­ans in a ratio of 1–2:1. To be suc­cess­ful when you are out­num­bered, you must cre­ate local and tem­po­rary supe­ri­or­i­ties by quick­ly mov­ing your forces on the bat­tle­field.

This is what the Rus­sians call “oper­a­tional art” (oper­a­tiv­noe isk­oust­vo). This notion is poor­ly under­stood in the West. The term “oper­a­tional” used in NATO has two trans­la­tions in Russ­ian: “oper­a­tive” (which refers to a com­mand lev­el) and “oper­a­tional” (which defines a con­di­tion). It is the art of maneu­ver­ing mil­i­tary for­ma­tions, much like a chess game, in order to defeat a supe­ri­or oppo­nent.

For exam­ple, the oper­a­tion around Kiev was not intend­ed to “deceive” the Ukraini­ans (and the West) about their inten­tions, but to force the Ukrain­ian army to keep large forces around the cap­i­tal and thus “pin them down.” In tech­ni­cal terms, this is what is called a “shap­ing oper­a­tion.” Con­trary to the analy­sis of some “experts,” it was not a “decep­tion oper­a­tion,” which would have been con­ceived very dif­fer­ent­ly and would have involved much larg­er forces. The aim was to pre­vent a rein­force­ment of the main body of the Ukrain­ian forces in the Don­bass.

The main les­son of this war at this stage con­firms what we know since the Sec­ond World War: the Rus­sians mas­ter the oper­a­tional art.

TP: Ques­tions about Russia’s mil­i­tary rais­es the obvi­ous question—how good is Ukraine’s mil­i­tary today? And more impor­tant­ly, why do we not hear so much about the Ukrain­ian army?

JB: The Ukrain­ian ser­vice­men are cer­tain­ly brave sol­diers who per­form their duty con­sci­en­tious­ly and coura­geous­ly. But my per­son­al expe­ri­ence shows that in almost every cri­sis, the prob­lem is at the head. The inabil­i­ty to under­stand the oppo­nent and his log­ic and to have a clear pic­ture of the actu­al sit­u­a­tion is the main rea­son for fail­ures.

Since the begin­ning of the Russ­ian offen­sive, we can dis­tin­guish two ways of con­duct­ing the war. On the Ukrain­ian side, the war is waged in the polit­i­cal and infor­ma­tion­al spaces, while on the Russ­ian side the war is waged in the phys­i­cal and oper­a­tional space. The two sides are not fight­ing in the same spaces. This is a sit­u­a­tion that I described in 2003 in my book, La guerre asymétrique ou la défaite du vain­queur (Asym­met­ric War, or the Defeat of the Win­ner). The trou­ble is that at the end of the day, the real­i­ty of the ter­rain pre­vails.

On the Russ­ian side, deci­sions are made by the mil­i­tary, while on the Ukrain­ian side, Zelen­sky is omnipresent and the cen­tral ele­ment in the con­duct of the war. He makes oper­a­tional deci­sions, appar­ent­ly often against the military’s advice. This explains the ris­ing ten­sions between Zelen­sky and the mil­i­tary. Accord­ing to Ukrain­ian media, Zelen­sky could dis­miss Gen­er­al Valery Zoluzh­ny by appoint­ing him Min­is­ter of Defence.

The Ukrain­ian army has been exten­sive­ly trained by Amer­i­can, British and Cana­di­an offi­cers since 2014. The trou­ble is that for over 20 years, West­ern­ers have been fight­ing armed groups and scat­tered adver­saries and engaged entire armies against indi­vid­u­als. They fight wars at the tac­ti­cal lev­el and some­how have lost the abil­i­ty to fight at the strate­gic and oper­a­tive lev­els. This explains part­ly why Ukraine is wag­ing its war at this lev­el.

But there is a more con­cep­tu­al dimen­sion. Zelen­sky and the West see war as a numer­i­cal and tech­no­log­i­cal bal­ance of forces. This is why, since 2014, the Ukraini­ans have nev­er tried to seduce the rebels and they now think that the solu­tion will come from the weapons sup­plied by the West. The West pro­vid­ed Ukraine with a few dozen M777 guns and HIMARS and MLRS mis­sile launch­ers, while Ukraine had sev­er­al thou­sand equiv­a­lent artillery pieces in Feb­ru­ary. The Russ­ian con­cept of “cor­re­la­tion of forces,” takes into account many more fac­tors and is more holis­tic than the West­ern approach. That is why the Rus­sians are win­ning.

To com­ply with ill-con­sid­ered poli­cies, our media have con­struct­ed a vir­tu­al real­i­ty that gives Rus­sia the bad role. For those who observe the course of the cri­sis care­ful­ly, we could almost say they pre­sent­ed Rus­sia as a “mir­ror image” of the sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine. Thus, when the talk about Ukrain­ian loss­es began, West­ern com­mu­ni­ca­tion turned to Russ­ian loss­es (with fig­ures giv­en by Ukraine).

The so-called “counter-offen­sives” pro­claimed by Ukraine and the West in Kharkov and Kher­son in April-May were mere­ly “counter-attacks.” The dif­fer­ence between the two is that counter-offen­sive is an oper­a­tional notion, while counter-attack is a tac­ti­cal notion, which is much more lim­it­ed in scope. These coun­ter­at­tacks were pos­si­ble because the den­si­ty of Russ­ian troops in these sec­tors was then 1 Bat­tle Group (BTG) per 20 km of front. By com­par­i­son, in the Don­bass sec­tor, which was the pri­ma­ry focus, the Russ­ian coali­tion had 1–3 BTG per km. As for the great August offen­sive on Kher­son, which was sup­posed to take over the south of the coun­try, it seems to have been noth­ing but a myth to main­tain West­ern sup­port.

Today, we see that the claimed Ukrain­ian suc­cess­es were in fact fail­ures. The human and mate­r­i­al loss­es that were attrib­uted to Rus­sia were in fact more in line with those of Ukraine. In mid-June, David Arakhamia, Zelensky’s chief nego­tia­tor and close advis­er, spoke of 200 to 500 deaths per day, and he men­tioned casu­al­ties (dead, wound­ed, cap­tured, desert­ers) of 1,000 men per day. If we add to this the renewed demands for arms by Zelen­sky, we can see that the idea of a vic­to­ry for Ukraine appears quite an illu­sion.

Because Russia’s econ­o­my was thought to be com­pa­ra­ble to Italy’s, it was assumed that it would be equal­ly vul­ner­a­ble. Thus, the West—and the Ukrainians—thought that eco­nom­ic sanc­tions and polit­i­cal iso­la­tion of Rus­sia would quick­ly cause its col­lapse, with­out pass­ing through a mil­i­tary defeat. Indeed, this is what we under­stand from the inter­view of Olek­sei Arestovich, Zelensky’s advi­sor and spokesman, in March 2019. This also explains why Zelen­sky did not sound the alarm in ear­ly 2022, as he says in his inter­view with the Wash­ing­ton Post. I think he knew that Rus­sia would respond to the offen­sive Ukraine was prepar­ing in the Don­bass (which is why the bulk of his troops were in that area) and thought that sanc­tions would quick­ly lead to Russia’s col­lapse and defeat. This is what Bruno Le Maire, the French Min­is­ter of the Econ­o­my, had “pre­dict­ed.” Clear­ly, the West­ern­ers have made deci­sions with­out know­ing their oppo­nent.

As Arestovich said, the idea was that the defeat of Rus­sia would be Ukraine’s entry tick­et to NATO. So, the Ukraini­ans were pushed to pre­pare an offen­sive in the Don­bass in order to make Rus­sia react, and thus obtain an easy defeat through dev­as­tat­ing sanc­tions. This is cyn­i­cal and shows how much the West—led by the Americans—has mis­used Ukraine for its own objec­tives.

The result is that the Ukraini­ans did not seek Ukraine’s vic­to­ry, but Russia’s defeat. This is very dif­fer­ent and explains the West­ern nar­ra­tive from the first days of the Russ­ian offen­sive, which proph­e­sied this defeat.

But the real­i­ty is that the sanc­tions did not work as expect­ed, and Ukraine found itself dragged into com­bats that it had pro­voked, but for which it was not pre­pared to fight for so long.

This is why, from the out­set, the West­ern nar­ra­tive pre­sent­ed a mis­match between media report­ed and the real­i­ty on the ground. This had a per­verse effect: it encour­aged Ukraine to repeat its mis­takes and pre­vent­ed it from improv­ing its con­duct of oper­a­tions. Under the pre­text of fight­ing Vladimir Putin, we pushed Ukraine to sac­ri­fice thou­sands of human lives unnec­es­sar­i­ly.

From the begin­ning, it was obvi­ous that the Ukraini­ans were con­sis­tent­ly repeat­ing their mis­takes (and even the same mis­takes as in 2014–2015), and sol­diers were dying on the bat­tle­field. For his part, Volodymyr Zelen­sky called for more and more sanc­tions, includ­ing the most absurd ones, because he was led to believe that they were deci­sive.

I am not the only one to have noticed these mis­takes, and West­ern coun­tries could cer­tain­ly have stopped this dis­as­ter. But their lead­ers, excit­ed by the (fan­ci­ful) reports of Russ­ian loss­es and think­ing they were paving the way for regime change, added sanc­tions to sanc­tions, turn­ing down any pos­si­bil­i­ty of nego­ti­a­tion. As the French Min­is­ter of Econ­o­my Bruno Le Maire said, the objec­tive was to pro­voke the col­lapse of the Russ­ian econ­o­my and make the Russ­ian peo­ple suf­fer. This is a form of state ter­ror­ism: the idea is to make the pop­u­la­tion suf­fer in order to push it into revolt­ing against its lead­ers (here, Putin). I am not mak­ing this up. This mech­a­nism is detailed by Richard Nephew, head of sanc­tions at the State Depart­ment under Oba­ma and cur­rent­ly Coor­di­na­tor on Glob­al Anti-Cor­rup­tion, in his book enti­tled, The Art of Sanc­tions. Iron­i­cal­ly, this is exact­ly the same log­ic that the Islam­ic State invoked to explain its attacks in France in 2015–2016. France prob­a­bly does not encour­age terrorism—but it does prac­tice it.

The main­stream media do not present the war as it is, but as they would like it to be. This is pure wish­ful think­ing. The appar­ent pub­lic sup­port for the Ukrain­ian author­i­ties, despite huge loss­es (some men­tion 70,000–80,000 fatal­i­ties), is achieved by ban­ning the oppo­si­tion, a ruth­less hunt for offi­cials who dis­agree with the gov­ern­ment line, and “mir­ror” pro­pa­gan­da that attrib­ut­es to the Rus­sians the same fail­ures as the Ukraini­ans. All this with the con­scious sup­port of the West.

TP: What should we make of the explo­sion at the Saki air­base in the Crimea?

JB: I do not know the details of the cur­rent secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion in Crimea. . We know that before Feb­ru­ary there were cells of vol­un­teer fight­ers of Praviy Sek­tor (a neo-Nazi mili­tia) in Crimea, ready to car­ry out ter­ror­ist-type attacks. Have these cells been neu­tral­ized? I don’t know; but one can assume so, since there is appar­ent­ly very lit­tle sab­o­tage activ­i­ty in Crimea. Hav­ing said that, let us not for­get that Ukraini­ans and Rus­sians have lived togeth­er for many decades and there are cer­tain­ly pro-Kiev indi­vid­u­als in the areas tak­en by the Rus­sians. It is there­fore real­is­tic to think that there could be sleep­er cells in these areas.

More like­ly it is a cam­paign con­duct­ed by the Ukrain­ian secu­ri­ty ser­vice (SBU) in the ter­ri­to­ries occu­pied by the Russ­ian-speak­ing coali­tion. This is a ter­ror­ist cam­paign tar­get­ing pro-Russ­ian Ukrain­ian per­son­al­i­ties and offi­cials. It fol­lows major changes in the lead­er­ship of the SBU, in Kiev, and in the regions, includ­ing Lvov, Ternopol since July. It is prob­a­bly in the con­text of this same cam­paign that Darya Dug­i­na was assas­si­nat­ed on August 21. The objec­tive of this new cam­paign could be to con­vey the illu­sion that there is an ongo­ing resis­tance in the areas tak­en by the Rus­sians and thus revive West­ern aid, which is start­ing to fatigue.

These sab­o­tage activ­i­ties do not real­ly have an oper­a­tional impact and seem more relat­ed to a psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tion. It may be that these are actions like the one on Snake Island at the begin­ning of May, intend­ed to demon­strate to the inter­na­tion­al pub­lic that Ukraine is act­ing.

What the inci­dents in Crimea indi­rect­ly show is that the pop­u­lar resis­tance claimed by the West in Feb­ru­ary does not exist. It is most like­ly the action of Ukrain­ian and West­ern (prob­a­bly British) clan­des­tine oper­a­tives. Beyond the tac­ti­cal actions, this shows the inabil­i­ty of the Ukraini­ans to acti­vate a sig­nif­i­cant resis­tance move­ment in the areas seized by the Russ­ian-speak­ing coali­tion.

TP: Zelen­sky has famous­ly said, “Crimea is Ukrain­ian and we will nev­er give it up.” Is this rhetoric, or is there a plan to attack Crimea? Are there Ukrain­ian oper­a­tives inside Crimea?

JB: First of all, Zelen­sky changes his opin­ion very often. In March 2022, he made a pro­pos­al to Rus­sia, stat­ing that he was ready to dis­cuss a recog­ni­tion of Russ­ian sov­er­eign­ty over the penin­su­la. It was upon the inter­ven­tion of the Euro­pean Union and Boris John­son on 2 April and on 9 April that he with­drew his pro­pos­al, despite Russia’s favor­able inter­est.

It is nec­es­sary to recall some his­tor­i­cal facts. The ces­sion of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 was nev­er for­mal­ly val­i­dat­ed by the par­lia­ments of the USSR, Rus­sia and Ukraine dur­ing the com­mu­nist era. More­over, the Crimean peo­ple agreed to be sub­ject to the author­i­ty of Moscow and no longer of Kiev as ear­ly as Jan­u­ary 1991. In oth­er words, Crimea was inde­pen­dent from Kiev even before Ukraine became inde­pen­dent from Moscow in Decem­ber 1991.

In July, Alek­sei Reznikov, the Ukrain­ian Min­is­ter of Defense, spoke loud­ly of a major counter-offen­sive on Kher­son involv­ing one mil­lion men to restore Ukraine’s ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty. In real­i­ty, Ukraine has not man­aged to gath­er the troops, armor and air cov­er need­ed for this far-fetched offen­sive. Sab­o­tage actions in Crimea may be a sub­sti­tute for this “counter-offen­sive.” They seem to be more of a com­mu­ni­ca­tion exer­cise than a real mil­i­tary action. These actions seem to be aimed rather at reas­sur­ing West­ern coun­tries which are ques­tion­ing the rel­e­vance of their uncon­di­tion­al sup­port to Ukraine.

TP: Would you tell us about the sit­u­a­tion around the Zapor­izhzhia nuclear facil­i­ty?

JB: In Ener­go­dar, the Zapor­izhzhia nuclear pow­er plant (ZNPP), has been the tar­get of sev­er­al attacks by artillery, which Ukraini­ans and Rus­sians attribute to the oppos­ing side.

What we know is that the Russ­ian coali­tion forces have occu­pied the ZNPP site since the begin­ning of March. The objec­tive at that time was to secure the ZNPP quick­ly, in order to pre­vent it from being caught up in the fight­ing and thus avoid a nuclear inci­dent. The Ukrain­ian per­son­nel who were in charge of it have remained on site and con­tin­ue to work under the super­vi­sion of the Ukrain­ian com­pa­ny Ener­goatom and the Ukrain­ian nuclear safe­ty agency (SNRIU). There is there­fore no fight­ing around the plant.

It is hard to see why the Rus­sians would shell a nuclear plant that is under their con­trol. This alle­ga­tion is even more pecu­liar since the Ukraini­ans them­selves state that there are Russ­ian troops in the premis­es of the site. Accord­ing to a French “expert,” the Rus­sians would attack the pow­er plant they con­trol to cut off the elec­tric­i­ty flow­ing to Ukraine. Not only would there be sim­pler ways to cut off the elec­tric­i­ty to Ukraine (a switch, per­haps?), but Rus­sia has not stopped the elec­tric­i­ty sup­ply to the Ukraini­ans since March. More­over, I remind you that Rus­sia has not stopped the flow of nat­ur­al gas to Ukraine and has con­tin­ued to pay Ukraine the tran­sit fees for gas to Europe. It is Zelen­sky who decid­ed to shut down the Soyuz pipeline in May.

More­over, it should be remem­bered that the Rus­sians are in an area where the pop­u­la­tion is gen­er­al­ly favor­able to them and it is hard to under­stand why they would take the risk of a nuclear con­t­a­m­i­na­tion of the region.

In real­i­ty, the Ukraini­ans have more cred­i­ble motives than the Rus­sians that may explain such attacks against the ZNPP. , which are not mutu­al­ly exclu­sive: an alter­na­tive to the big counter-offen­sive on Kher­son, which they are not able to imple­ment, and to pre­vent the planned ref­er­en­dums in the region. Fur­ther, Zelensky’s calls for demil­i­ta­riz­ing the area of the pow­er plant and even return­ing it to Ukraine would be a polit­i­cal and oper­a­tional suc­cess for him. One might even imag­ine that they seek to delib­er­ate­ly pro­voke a nuclear inci­dent in order to cre­ate a “no man’s land” and thus ren­der the area unus­able for the Rus­sians.

By bomb­ing the plant, Ukraine could also be try­ing to pres­sure the West to inter­vene in the con­flict, under the pre­text that Rus­sia is seek­ing to dis­con­nect the plant from the Ukrain­ian pow­er grid before the fall. This sui­ci­dal behavior—as stat­ed by UN Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al António Guterres—would be in line with the war waged by Ukraine since 2014.

There is strong evi­dence that the attacks on Ener­go­dar are Ukrain­ian. The frag­ments of pro­jec­tiles fired at the site from the oth­er side of the Dnieper are of West­ern ori­gin. It seems that they come from British BRIMSTONE mis­siles, which are pre­ci­sion mis­siles, whose use is mon­i­tored by the British. Appar­ent­ly, the West is aware of the Ukrain­ian attacks on the ZNPP. This might explain why Ukraine is not very sup­port­ive of an inter­na­tion­al com­mis­sion of inquiry and why West­ern coun­tries are putting unre­al­is­tic con­di­tions for send­ing inves­ti­ga­tors from the IAEA, an agency that has not shown much integri­ty so far.

TP: It is report­ed that Zelen­sky is free­ing crim­i­nals to fight in this war? Does this mean that Ukraine’s army is not as strong as com­mon­ly assumed?

JB: Zelen­sky faces the same prob­lem as the author­i­ties that emerged from Euro­maid­an in 2014. At that time, the mil­i­tary did not want to fight because they did not want to con­front their Russ­ian-speak­ing com­pa­tri­ots. Accord­ing to a report by the British Home Office, reservists over­whelm­ing­ly refuse to attend recruit­ment ses­sions . In Octo­ber-Novem­ber 2017, 70% of con­scripts do not show up for recall . Sui­cide has become a prob­lem. Accord­ing to the chief Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tor Ana­toly Matios, after four years of war in the Don­bass, 615 ser­vice­men had com­mit­ted sui­cide. Deser­tions have increased and reached up to 30% of the forces in cer­tain oper­a­tional areas, often in favor of the rebels.

For this rea­son, it became nec­es­sary to inte­grate more moti­vat­ed, high­ly politi­cized, ultra-nation­al­is­tic and fanat­i­cal fight­ers into the armed forces to fight in the Don­bass. Many of them are neo-Nazis. It is to elim­i­nate these fanat­i­cal fight­ers that Vladimir Putin has men­tioned the objec­tive of “denaz­i­fi­ca­tion.”

Today, the prob­lem is slight­ly dif­fer­ent. The Rus­sians have attacked Ukraine and the Ukrain­ian sol­diers are not a pri­ori opposed to fight­ing them. But they real­ize that the orders they receive are not con­sis­tent with the sit­u­a­tion on the bat­tle­field. They under­stood that the deci­sions affect­ing them are not linked to mil­i­tary fac­tors, but to polit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions. Ukrain­ian units are mutiny­ing en masse and are increas­ing­ly refus­ing to fight. They say they feel aban­doned by their com­man­ders and that they are giv­en mis­sions with­out the nec­es­sary resources to exe­cute them.

That’s why it becomes nec­es­sary to send men who are ready for any­thing. Because they are con­demned, they can be kept under pres­sure. This is the same prin­ci­ple as Mar­shal Kon­stan­tin Rokossov­ki, who was sen­tenced to death by Stal­in, but was released from prison in 1941 to fight against the Ger­mans. His death sen­tence was lift­ed only after Stalin’s death in 1956.

In order to over­shad­ow the use of crim­i­nals in the armed forces, the Rus­sians are accused of doing the same thing. The Ukraini­ans and the West­ern­ers con­sis­tent­ly use “mir­ror” pro­pa­gan­da. As in all recent con­flicts, West­ern influ­ence has not led to a mor­al­iza­tion of the con­flict.

TP: Every­one speaks of how cor­rupt Putin is? But what about Zelen­sky? Is he the “hero­ic saint” that we are all told to admire?

JB: In Octo­ber 2021, the Pan­do­ra Papers showed that Ukraine and Zelen­sky were the most cor­rupt in Europe and prac­ticed tax eva­sion on a large scale. Inter­est­ing­ly, these doc­u­ments were appar­ent­ly pub­lished with the help of an Amer­i­can intel­li­gence agency, and Vladimir Putin is not men­tioned. More pre­cise­ly, the doc­u­ments men­tion indi­vid­u­als” asso­ci­at­ed” with him, who are said to have links with undis­closed assets, which could belong to a woman, who is believed to have had a child with him.

Yet, when our media are report­ing on these doc­u­ments, they rou­tine­ly put a pic­ture of Vladimir Putin, but not of Volodymyr Zelen­sky.

Fig­ure 2 – Although he is not men­tioned in the Pan­do­ra Papers, Vladimir Putin is con­sis­tent­ly asso­ci­at­ed with them. Where­as Volodymyr Zelen­sky is nev­er men­tioned in our media, even though he is wide­ly impli­cat­ed.

I am not in a posi­tion to assess how cor­rupt Zelen­sky is. But there is no doubt that the Ukrain­ian soci­ety and its gov­er­nance are. I con­tributed mod­est­ly to a NATO “Build­ing Integri­ty” pro­gram in Ukraine and dis­cov­ered that none of the con­tribut­ing coun­tries had any illu­sions about its effec­tive­ness, and all saw the pro­gram as a kind of “win­dow dress­ing” to jus­ti­fy West­ern sup­port.

It is unlike­ly that the bil­lions paid by the West to Ukraine will reach the Ukrain­ian peo­ple. A recent CBS News report stat­ed that only 30–40% of the weapons sup­plied by the West make it to the bat­tle­field. The rest enrich­es mafias and oth­er cor­rupt peo­ple. Appar­ent­ly, some high-tech West­ern weapons have been sold to the Rus­sians, such as the French CAESAR sys­tem and pre­sum­ably the Amer­i­can HIMARS. The CBS News report was cen­sored to avoid under­min­ing West­ern aid, but the fact remains that the US refused to sup­ply MQ-1C drones to Ukraine for this rea­son.

Ukraine is a rich coun­try, yet today it is the only coun­try in the for­mer USSR with a low­er GDP than it had at the col­lapse of the Sovi­et Union. The prob­lem is there­fore not Zelen­sky him­self, but the whole sys­tem, which is deeply cor­rupt­ed, and which the West main­tains for the sole pur­pose of fight­ing Rus­sia.

Zelen­sky was elect­ed in April 2019 on the pro­gram of reach­ing an agree­ment with Rus­sia. But nobody let him car­ry out his pro­gram. The Ger­mans and the French delib­er­ate­ly pre­vent­ed him from imple­ment­ing the Min­sk agree­ments. The tran­script of the tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion of 20 Feb­ru­ary 2022 between Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin shows that France delib­er­ate­ly kept Ukraine away from the solu­tion. More­over, in Ukraine, far right and neo-Nazi polit­i­cal forces have pub­licly threat­ened him with death. Dmit­ry Yarosh, com­man­der of the Ukrain­ian Vol­un­teer Army, declared in May 2019 that Zelen­sky would be hanged if he car­ried out his pro­gram. In oth­er words, Zelen­sky is trapped between his idea of reach­ing an agree­ment with Rus­sia and the demands of the West. More­over, the West real­izes that its strat­e­gy of war through sanc­tions has failed. As the eco­nom­ic and social prob­lems increase, the West will find it hard­er to back down with­out los­ing face. A way out for Britain, the US, the EU, or France would be to remove Zelen­sky. That is why, with the dete­ri­o­rat­ing sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine, I think Zelen­sky starts to real­ize that his life is threat­ened.

At the end of the day, Zelen­sky is a poor guy, because his best ene­mies are those on whom he depends: the West­ern world.

TP: There are many videos (grue­some ones) on social media of Ukrain­ian sol­diers engag­ing in seri­ous war crimes? Why is there a “blind spot” in the West for such atroc­i­ties?

JB: First of all, we must be clear: in every war, every bel­liger­ent com­mit war crimes. Mil­i­tary per­son­nel who delib­er­ate­ly com­mit such crimes dis­hon­or their uni­form and must be pun­ished.

The prob­lem aris­es when war crimes are part of a plan or result from orders giv­en by the high­er com­mand. This was the case when the Nether­lands let its mil­i­tary allow the Sre­breni­ca mas­sacre in 1995; the tor­ture in Afghanistan by Cana­di­an and British troops, not to men­tion the count­less vio­la­tions of inter­na­tion­al human­i­tar­i­an law by the Unit­ed States in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guan­tanamo and else­where with the com­plic­i­ty of Poland, Lithua­nia or Esto­nia. If these are West­ern val­ues, then Ukraine is in the right school.

In Ukraine, polit­i­cal crime has become com­mon­place, with the com­plic­i­ty of the West. Thus, those who are in favor of a nego­ti­a­tion are elim­i­nat­ed. This is the case of Denis Kireyev, one of the Ukrain­ian nego­tia­tors, assas­si­nat­ed on March 5 by the Ukrain­ian secu­ri­ty ser­vice (SBU) because he was con­sid­ered too favor­able to Rus­sia and as a trai­tor. The same thing hap­pened to Dmit­ry Demya­nenko, an offi­cer of the SBU, who was assas­si­nat­ed on March 10, also because he was too favor­able to an agree­ment with Rus­sia. Remem­ber that this is a coun­try that con­sid­ers that receiv­ing or giv­ing Russ­ian human­i­tar­i­an aid is “col­lab­o­ra­tionism.”

On 16 March 2022, a jour­nal­ist on TV chan­nel Ukraine 24 referred to the Nazi war crim­i­nal Adolf Eich­mann and called for the mas­sacre of Russ­ian-speak­ing chil­dren. On 21 March, the mil­i­tary doc­tor Gen­nadiy Druzenko declared on the same chan­nel that he had ordered his doc­tors to castrate Russ­ian pris­on­ers of war. On social net­works, these state­ments quick­ly became pro­pa­gan­da for the Rus­sians and the two Ukraini­ans apol­o­gized for hav­ing said so, but not for the sub­stance. Ukrain­ian crimes were begin­ning to be revealed on social net­works, and on 27 March Zelen­sky feared that this would jeop­ar­dize West­ern sup­port. This was followed—rather opportunely—by the Bucha mas­sacre on 3 April, the cir­cum­stances of which remain unclear.

Britain, which then had the chair­man­ship of the UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, refused three times the Russ­ian request to set up an inter­na­tion­al com­mis­sion of enquiry into the crimes of Bucha. Ukrain­ian social­ist MP Ilya Kiva revealed on Telegram that the Bucha tragedy was planned by the British MI6 spe­cial ser­vices and imple­ment­ed by the SBU.

The fun­da­men­tal prob­lem is that the Ukraini­ans have replaced the “oper­a­tional art” with bru­tal­i­ty. Since 2014, in order to fight the auton­o­mists, the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment has nev­er tried to apply strate­gies based on “hearts & minds,” which the British used in the 1950s-1960s in South-East Asia, which were much less bru­tal but much more effec­tive and long-last­ing. Kiev pre­ferred to con­duct an Anti-Ter­ror­ist Oper­a­tion (ATO) in the Don­bass and to use the same strate­gies as the Amer­i­cans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fight­ing ter­ror­ists autho­rizes all kinds of bru­tal­i­ty. It is the lack of a holis­tic approach to the con­flict that led to the fail­ure of the West in Afghanistan, Iraq and Mali.

Counter-Insur­gency Oper­a­tion (COIN) requires a more sophis­ti­cat­ed and holis­tic approach. But NATO is inca­pable of devel­op­ing such strate­gies as I have seen first-hand in Afghanistan. The war in Don­bass has been bru­tal for 8 years and has result­ed in the death of 10,000 Ukrain­ian cit­i­zens plus 4,000 Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary per­son­nel. By com­par­i­son, in 30 years, the con­flict in North­ern Ire­land result­ed in 3,700 deaths. To jus­ti­fy this bru­tal­i­ty, the Ukraini­ans had to invent the myth of a Russ­ian inter­ven­tion in Don­bass.

The prob­lem is that the phi­los­o­phy of the new Maid­an lead­ers was to have a racial­ly pure Ukraine. In oth­er words, the uni­ty of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple was not to be achieved through the inte­gra­tion of com­mu­ni­ties, but through the exclu­sion of com­mu­ni­ties of “infe­ri­or races.” An idea that would no doubt have pleased the grand­fa­thers of Ursu­la von der Leyen and Chrys­tia Free­land! This explains why Ukraini­ans have lit­tle empa­thy for the country’s Russ­ian, Mag­yar and Roman­ian-speak­ing minori­ties. This in turn explains why Hun­gary and Roma­nia do not want their ter­ri­to­ries to be used for the sup­ply of arms to Ukraine.

This is why shoot­ing at their own cit­i­zens to intim­i­date them is not a prob­lem for the Ukraini­ans. This explains the spray­ing of thou­sands of PFM‑1 (“but­ter­fly”) anti-per­son­nel mines, which look like toys, on the Russ­ian-speak­ing city of Donet­sk in July 2022. This type of mine is used by a defend­er, not an attack­er in its main area of oper­a­tion. More­over, in this area, the Don­bass mili­tias are fight­ing “at home,” with pop­u­la­tions they know per­son­al­ly.

I think that war crimes have been com­mit­ted on both sides, but that their media cov­er­age has been very dif­fer­ent. Our media have report­ed exten­sive­ly about crimes (true or false) attrib­uted to Rus­sia. On the oth­er hand, they have been extreme­ly silent about Ukrain­ian crimes. We do not know the whole truth about the Bucha mas­sacre, but the avail­able evi­dence sup­ports the hypoth­e­sis that Ukraine staged the event to cov­er up its own crimes. By keep­ing these crimes qui­et, our media have been com­plic­it with them and have cre­at­ed a sense of impuni­ty that has encour­aged the Ukraini­ans to com­mit fur­ther crimes.

TP: Latvia wants the West (Amer­i­ca) to des­ig­nate Rus­sia a “ter­ror­ist state.” What do you make of this? Does this mean that the war is actu­al­ly over, and Rus­sia has won?

JB: The Eston­ian and Lat­vian demands are in response to Zelensky’s call to des­ig­nate Rus­sia as a ter­ror­ist state. Inter­est­ing­ly, they come at the same time a Ukrain­ian ter­ror­ist cam­paign is being unleashed in Crimea, the occu­pied zone of Ukraine and the rest of Russ­ian ter­ri­to­ry. It is also inter­est­ing that Esto­nia was appar­ent­ly com­plic­it in the attack on Darya Dug­i­na in August 2022.

It seems that Ukraini­ans com­mu­ni­cate in a mir­ror image of the crimes they com­mit or the prob­lems they have, in order to hide them. For exam­ple, in late May 2022, as the Azovstal sur­ren­der in Mar­i­upol showed neo-Nazi fight­ers, they began to allege that there are neo-Nazis in the Russ­ian army. In August 2022, when Kiev was car­ry­ing out actions of a ter­ror­ist nature against the Ener­go­dar pow­er plant in Crimea and on Russ­ian ter­ri­to­ry, Zelen­sky called for Rus­sia to be con­sid­ered a ter­ror­ist state.

In fact, Zelen­sky con­tin­ues to believe that he can only solve his prob­lem by defeat­ing Rus­sia and that this defeat depends on sanc­tions against Rus­sia. Declar­ing Rus­sia a ter­ror­ist state would lead to fur­ther iso­la­tion. That is why he is mak­ing this appeal. This shows that the label “ter­ror­ist” is more polit­i­cal than oper­a­tional, and that those who make such pro­pos­als do not have a very clear vision of the prob­lem. The prob­lem is that it has impli­ca­tions for inter­na­tion­al rela­tions. This is why the US State Depart­ment is con­cerned that Zelensky’s request will be imple­ment­ed by Con­gress.

TP: One of the sad­der out­comes of this Ukraine-Rus­sia con­flict is how the West has shown the worst of itself. Where do you think we will go from here? More of the same, or will there be changes that will have to be made in regards to NATO, neu­tral coun­tries which are no longer neu­tral, and the way the West seeks to “gov­ern” the world?

JB: This cri­sis reveals sev­er­al things. First, that NATO and the Euro­pean Union are only instru­ments of US for­eign pol­i­cy. These insti­tu­tions no longer act in the inter­ests of their mem­bers, but in the inter­ests of the US. The sanc­tions adopt­ed under Amer­i­can pres­sure are back­fir­ing on Europe, which is the big los­er in this whole cri­sis: it suf­fers its own sanc­tions and has to deal with the ten­sions result­ing from its own deci­sions.

The deci­sions tak­en by West­ern gov­ern­ments reveal a gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers who are young and inex­pe­ri­enced (such as Finnish Prime Min­is­ter San­na Marin); igno­rant, yet think­ing they are smart (such as French Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron); doc­tri­naire (such as Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Ursu­la von der Leyen); and fanat­i­cal (such as the lead­ers of the Baltic States). They all share some of the same weak­ness­es, not least of which is their inabil­i­ty to man­age a com­plex cri­sis.

When the head is unable to under­stand the com­plex­i­ty of a cri­sis, we respond with guts and dog­ma­tism. This is what we see hap­pen­ing in Europe. The East­ern Euro­pean coun­tries, espe­cial­ly the Baltic States and Poland, have shown them­selves to be loy­al ser­vants of Amer­i­can pol­i­cy. They have also shown imma­ture, con­fronta­tion­al, and short-sight­ed gov­er­nance. These are coun­tries that have nev­er inte­grat­ed West­ern val­ues, that con­tin­ue to cel­e­brate the forces of the Third Reich and dis­crim­i­nate against their own Russ­ian-speak­ing pop­u­la­tion.

I am not even men­tion­ing the Euro­pean Union, which has been vehe­ment­ly opposed to any diplo­mat­ic solu­tion and has only added fuel to the fire.

The more you are involved in a con­flict, the more you are involved in its out­come. If you win, all is well. But if the con­flict is a fail­ure, you will bear the bur­den. This is what has hap­pened to the Unit­ed States in recent con­flicts and what is hap­pen­ing in Ukraine. The defeat of Ukraine is becom­ing the defeat of the West.

Anoth­er big los­er in this con­flict is clear­ly Switzer­land. Its neu­tral sta­tus has sud­den­ly lost all cred­i­bil­i­ty. Ear­ly August, Switzer­land and Ukraine con­clud­ed an agree­ment that would allow the Swiss embassy in Moscow to offer pro­tec­tion to Ukrain­ian cit­i­zens in Rus­sia. How­ev­er, in order to enter into force, it has to be rec­og­nized by Rus­sia. Quite log­i­cal­ly, Rus­sia refused and declared that “Switzer­land had unfor­tu­nate­ly lost its sta­tus as a neu­tral state and could not act as an inter­me­di­ary or rep­re­sen­ta­tive.”

This is a very seri­ous devel­op­ment because neu­tral­i­ty is not sim­ply a uni­lat­er­al dec­la­ra­tion. It must be accept­ed and rec­og­nized by all to be effec­tive. Yet Switzer­land not only aligned itself with the West­ern coun­tries but was even more extreme than them. It can be said that in a few weeks, Switzer­land has ruined a pol­i­cy that has been rec­og­nized for almost 170 years. This is a prob­lem for Switzer­land, but it may also be a prob­lem for oth­er coun­tries. A neu­tral state can offer a way out of a cri­sis. Today, West­ern coun­tries are look­ing for a way out that would allow them to get clos­er to Rus­sia in the per­spec­tive of an ener­gy cri­sis with­out los­ing face. Turkey has tak­en on this role, but it is lim­it­ed, as it is part of NATO.

Fig­ure 3 – Coun­tries and orga­ni­za­tions that applied sanc­tions to Rus­sia. Although Switzer­land is a neu­tral coun­try, it stands on the first place. Accord­ing to own sources, this was done under pres­sure and black­mail from the Unit­ed States. Nev­er­the­less, this is a severe blow to the very prin­ci­ple of neu­tral­i­ty that will have con­se­quences in oth­er future con­flicts.

The West has cre­at­ed an Iron Cur­tain 2.0 that will affect inter­na­tion­al rela­tions for years to come. The West’s lack of strate­gic vision is aston­ish­ing. While NATO is align­ing itself with US for­eign pol­i­cy and reori­ent­ing itself towards Chi­na, West­ern strat­e­gy has only strength­ened the Moscow-Bei­jing axis.

TP: What do you think this war ulti­mate­ly means for Europe, the US and Chi­na?

JB: In order to answer this ques­tion, we first must answer anoth­er ques­tion: “Why is this con­flict more con­demnable and sanc­tion­able than pre­vi­ous con­flicts start­ed by the West?”

After the dis­as­ters of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Mali, the rest of the world expect­ed the West to help resolve this cri­sis with com­mon sense. The West respond­ed in exact­ly the oppo­site way to these expec­ta­tions. Not only has no one been able to explain why this con­flict was more rep­re­hen­si­ble than pre­vi­ous ones, but the dif­fer­ence in treat­ment between Rus­sia and the Unit­ed States has shown that more impor­tance is attached to the aggres­sor than to the vic­tims. Efforts to bring about the col­lapse of Rus­sia con­trast with the total impuni­ty of coun­tries that have lied to the UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, prac­ticed tor­ture, caused the deaths of over a mil­lion peo­ple and cre­at­ed 37 mil­lion refugees.

This dif­fer­ence in treat­ment went unno­ticed in the West. But the “rest of the world” has under­stood that we have moved from a “law-based inter­na­tion­al order” to a “rules-based inter­na­tion­al order” deter­mined by the West.

On a more mate­r­i­al lev­el, the con­fis­ca­tion of Venezue­lan gold by the British in 2020, of Afghanistan’s sov­er­eign funds in 2021, and then of Russia’s sov­er­eign funds in 2022 by the US, has raised the mis­trust of the West’s allies. This shows that the non-West­ern world is no longer pro­tect­ed by law and depends on the good­will of the West.

This con­flict is prob­a­bly the start­ing point for a new world order. The world is not going to change all at once, but the con­flict has raised the atten­tion of the rest of the world. For when we say that the “inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty” con­demns Rus­sia, we are in fact talk­ing about 18% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion.

Some actors tra­di­tion­al­ly close to the West are grad­u­al­ly mov­ing away from it. On 15 July 2022, Joe Biden vis­it­ed Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) with two objec­tives: to pre­vent Sau­di Ara­bia from mov­ing clos­er to Rus­sia and Chi­na, and to ask him to increase its oil pro­duc­tion. But four days ear­li­er, MbS made an offi­cial request to become a mem­ber of the BRICS, and a week lat­er, on 21 July, MbS called Vladimir Putin to con­firm that he would stand by the OPEC+ deci­sion. In oth­er words: no oil pro­duc­tion increase. It was a slap in the face of the West and of its most pow­er­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

Sau­di Ara­bia has now decid­ed to accept Chi­nese cur­ren­cy as pay­ment for its oil. This is a major event, which tends to indi­cate a loss of con­fi­dence in the dol­lar. The con­se­quences are poten­tial­ly huge. The petrodol­lar was estab­lished by the US in the 1970s to finance its deficit. By forc­ing oth­er coun­tries to buy dol­lars, it allows the US to print dol­lars with­out being caught in an infla­tion­ary loop. Thanks to the petrodol­lar, the US economy—which is essen­tial­ly a con­sumer economy—is sup­port­ed by the economies of oth­er coun­tries around the world. The demise of the petrodol­lar could have dis­as­trous con­se­quences for the US econ­o­my, as for­mer Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Ron Paul puts it.

In addi­tion, the sanc­tions have brought Chi­na and Rus­sia, both tar­get­ed by the West, clos­er togeth­er. This has accel­er­at­ed the for­ma­tion of a Eurasian bloc and strength­ened the posi­tion of both coun­tries in the world. India, which the US has scorned as a “sec­ond-class” part­ner of the “Quad,” has moved clos­er to Rus­sia and Chi­na, despite dis­putes with the lat­ter.

Today, Chi­na is the main provider of infra­struc­ture in the Third World. In par­tic­u­lar, its way of inter­act­ing with African coun­tries is more in line with the expec­ta­tions of these coun­tries. Col­lab­o­ra­tion with for­mer colo­nial pow­ers such as France and Amer­i­can impe­ri­al­ist pater­nal­ism are no longer wel­come. For exam­ple, the Cen­tral African Repub­lic and Mali have asked France to leave their coun­tries and have turned to Rus­sia.

At the Asso­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Nations (ASEAN) sum­mit, the US proud­ly announced a $150 mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion to “strength­en its posi­tion in the broad­er geopo­lit­i­cal com­pe­ti­tion with Chi­na.” But in Novem­ber 2021, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping offered $1.5 bil­lion to the same coun­tries to fight the pan­dem­ic and pro­mote eco­nom­ic recov­ery. By using its mon­ey to wage war, the US has no mon­ey left to forge and con­sol­i­date alliances.

The West’s loss of influ­ence stems from the fact that it con­tin­ues to treat the “rest of the world” like “lit­tle chil­dren” and neglects the use­ful­ness of good diplo­ma­cy.

The war in Ukraine is not the trig­ger for these phe­nom­e­na, which start­ed a few years ago, but it is most cer­tain­ly an eye-open­er and accel­er­a­tor.

TP: The west­ern media has been push­ing that Putin may be seri­ous­ly ill. If Putin sud­den­ly dies, would this make any dif­fer­ence at all to the war?

JB: It seems that Vladimir Putin is a unique med­ical case in the world: he has stom­ach can­cer, leuke­mia, an unknown but incur­able and ter­mi­nal phase dis­ease, and is report­ed­ly already dead. Yet in July 2022, at the Aspen Secu­ri­ty Forum, CIA Direc­tor William Burns said that Putin was “too healthy” and that there was “no infor­ma­tion to sug­gest that he is in poor health.” This shows how those who claim to be jour­nal­ists work!

This is wish­ful think­ing and, on the high­er end of the spec­trum, it echoes the calls for ter­ror­ism and the phys­i­cal elim­i­na­tion of Vladimir Putin.

The West has per­son­al­ized Russ­ian pol­i­tics through Putin, because he is the one who pro­mot­ed the recon­struc­tion of Rus­sia after the Yeltsin years. Amer­i­cans like to be cham­pi­ons when there are no com­peti­tors and see oth­ers as ene­mies. This is the case with Ger­many, Europe, Rus­sia and Chi­na.

But our “experts” know lit­tle about Russ­ian pol­i­tics. For in real­i­ty, Vladimir Putin is more of a “dove” in the Russ­ian polit­i­cal land­scape. Giv­en the cli­mate that we have cre­at­ed with Rus­sia, it would not be impos­si­ble that his dis­ap­pear­ance would lead to the emer­gence of more aggres­sive forces. We should not for­get that coun­tries like Esto­nia, Latvia, Lithua­nia, Poland or Geor­gia have nev­er devel­oped Euro­pean demo­c­ra­t­ic val­ues. They still have dis­crim­i­na­to­ry poli­cies towards their eth­nic Rus­sians that are far from Euro­pean val­ues, and they behave like imma­ture agents provo­ca­teurs. I think that if Putin were to dis­ap­pear for some rea­son, the con­flicts with these coun­tries would take on a new dimen­sion.

TP: How uni­fied is Rus­sia present­ly? Has the war cre­at­ed a more seri­ous oppo­si­tion than what pre­vi­ous­ly exist­ed with­in Rus­sia?

JB: No, on the con­trary. The Amer­i­can and Euro­pean lead­ers have a poor under­stand­ing of their ene­my: the Russ­ian peo­ple are very patri­ot­ic and cohe­sive. West­ern obses­sion to “pun­ish” the Russ­ian peo­ple has only brought them clos­er to their lead­ers. In fact, by seek­ing to divide Russ­ian soci­ety in an effort to over­throw the gov­ern­ment, West­ern sanctions—including the dumb­est ones—have con­firmed what the Krem­lin has been say­ing for years: that the West has a pro­found hatred of Rus­sians. What was once said to be a lie is now con­firmed in Russ­ian opin­ion. The con­se­quence is that the people’s trust in the gov­ern­ment has grown stronger.

The approval rat­ings giv­en by the Lev­a­da Cen­tre (con­sid­ered by the Russ­ian author­i­ties as a “for­eign agent”) show that pub­lic opin­ion has tight­ened around Vladimir Putin and the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment. In Jan­u­ary 2022, Vladimir Putin’s approval rat­ing was 69% and the government’s was 53%. Today, Putin’s approval rat­ing has been sta­ble at around 83% since March, and the government’s is at 71%. In Jan­u­ary, 29% did not approve of Vladimir Putin’s deci­sions, in July it was only 15%.

Accord­ing to the Lev­a­da Cen­tre, even the Russ­ian oper­a­tion in Ukraine enjoys a major­i­ty of favor­able opin­ions. In March, 81% of Rus­sians were in favor of the oper­a­tion; this fig­ure dropped to 74%, prob­a­bly due to the impact of sanc­tions at the end of March, and then it went back up. In July 2022, the oper­a­tion had 76% pop­u­lar sup­port.

Fig­ure 4 – Not all Rus­sians sup­port the spe­cial oper­a­tion in Ukraine, but three quar­ters of the pop­u­la­tion do. Ukrain­ian war crimes, West­ern sanc­tions and the good man­age­ment of the econ­o­my by the Russ­ian author­i­ties explain this sup­port. [Source]

The prob­lem is that our jour­nal­ists have nei­ther cul­ture nor jour­nal­is­tic dis­ci­pline and they replace them with their own beliefs. It is a form of con­spir­a­cy that aims to cre­ate a false real­i­ty based on what one believes and not on the facts. For exam­ple, few know (or want to know) that Alek­sey Naval­ny said he would not return Crimea to Ukraine. The West’s actions have com­plete­ly wiped out the oppo­si­tion, not because of “Putin’s repres­sion,” but because in Rus­sia, resis­tance to for­eign inter­fer­ence and the West’s deep con­tempt for Rus­sians is a bipar­ti­san cause. Exact­ly like the hatred of Rus­sians in the West. This is why per­son­al­i­ties like Alek­sey Naval­ny, who nev­er had a very high pop­u­lar­i­ty, have com­plete­ly dis­ap­peared from the pop­u­lar media land­scape.

More­over, even if the sanc­tions have had a neg­a­tive impact on the Russ­ian econ­o­my, the way the gov­ern­ment has han­dled things since 2014 shows a great mas­tery of eco­nom­ic mech­a­nisms and a great real­ism in assess­ing the sit­u­a­tion. There is a rise in prices in Rus­sia, but it is much low­er than in Europe, and while West­ern economies are rais­ing their key inter­est rates, Rus­sia is low­er­ing its own.

The Russ­ian jour­nal­ist Mari­na Ovsyan­niko­va has been exem­pli­fied as an expres­sion of the oppo­si­tion in Rus­sia. Her case is inter­est­ing because, as usu­al, we do not say every­thing.

On 14 March 2022, she pro­voked inter­na­tion­al applause by inter­rupt­ing the Russ­ian First Chan­nel news pro­gram with a poster call­ing for end­ing the war in Ukraine. She was arrest­ed and fined $280.

In May, the Ger­man news­pa­per Die Welt offered her a job in Ger­many, but in Berlin, pro-Ukrain­ian activists demon­strat­ed to get the news­pa­per to end its col­lab­o­ra­tion with her. The media out­let Politi­co even sug­gest­ed that she might be an agent of the Krem­lin!

As a result, in June 2022, she left Ger­many to live in Odessa, her home­town. But instead of being grate­ful, the Ukraini­ans put her on the Mirotvorets black­list where she is accused of trea­son, “par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Kremlin’s spe­cial infor­ma­tion and pro­pa­gan­da oper­a­tions” and “com­plic­i­ty with the invaders.”

The Mirotvorets web­site is a “hit list” for politi­cians, jour­nal­ists or per­son­al­i­ties who do not share the opin­ion of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment. Sev­er­al of the peo­ple on the list have been mur­dered. In Octo­ber 2019, the UN request­ed the clo­sure of the site, but this was refused by the Rada. It should be not­ed that none of our main­stream media has con­demned this prac­tice, which is very far from the val­ues they claim to defend. In oth­er words, our media sup­port these prac­tices that used to be attrib­uted to South Amer­i­can regimes.

Fig­ure 5 – Darya Dug­i­na marked as “Liq­ui­dat­ed.”

Ovsyan­niko­va then returned to Rus­sia, where she demon­strat­ed against the war, call­ing Putin a “killer,” and was arrest­ed by the police and placed under house arrest for three months. At this point, our media protest­ed.

It is worth not­ing that Russ­ian jour­nal­ist Darya Dug­i­na, the vic­tim of a bomb attack in Moscow on 21 August 2022, was on the Mirotvorets list and her file was marked “liq­ui­dat­ed.” Of course, no West­ern media men­tioned that she was tar­get­ed by the Mirotvorets web­site, which is con­sid­ered to be linked to the SBU, as this would tend to sup­port Russia’s accu­sa­tions.

Ger­man jour­nal­ist Ali­na Lipp, whose rev­e­la­tions about Ukrain­ian and West­ern crimes in the Don­bass are dis­turb­ing, has been placed on the web­site Mirotvorets. More­over, Ali­na Lipp was sen­tenced in absen­tia to three years in prison by a Ger­man court for claim­ing that Russ­ian troops had “lib­er­at­ed” areas in Ukraine and thus “glo­ri­fied crim­i­nal activ­i­ties.” As can be seen, the Ger­man author­i­ties are func­tion­ing like the neo-Nazi ele­ments in Ukraine. Today’s politi­cians are a cred­it to their grand­par­ents!

One can con­clude that even if there are some peo­ple who oppose the war, Russ­ian pub­lic opin­ion is over­whelm­ing­ly behind its gov­ern­ment. West­ern sanc­tions have only strength­ened the cred­i­bil­i­ty of the Russ­ian pres­i­dent.

Ulti­mate­ly, my point is not to take the same approach as our media and replace the hatred of Rus­sia with that of Ukraine. On the con­trary, it is to show that the world is not either black or white and that West­ern coun­tries have tak­en the sit­u­a­tion too far. Those who are com­pas­sion­ate about Ukraine should have pushed our gov­ern­ments to imple­ment the agreed polit­i­cal solu­tions in 2014 and 2015. They haven’t done any­thing and are now push­ing Ukraine to fight. But we are no longer in 2021. Today, we have to accept the con­se­quences of our non-deci­sions and help Ukraine to recov­er. But this must not be done at the expense of its Russ­ian-speak­ing pop­u­la­tion, as we have done until now, but with the Russ­ian-speak­ing peo­ple, in an inclu­sive man­ner. If I look at the media in France, Switzer­land and Bel­gium, we are still very far from the goal.

TP: Thank you so very much, Mr. Baud, for this most enlight­en­ing dis­cus­sion.

 

 

Discussion

One comment for “FTR#‘s 1259 and 1260 How Many Lies Before You Belong to The Lies?, Parts 21 & 22”

  1. There’s no short­age of dis­turb­ing news cat­e­gories. But few cat­e­gories of sto­ries are more fun­da­men­tal­ly dis­turb­ing than sto­ries that should have been news but was­n’t. Sto­ries that just fell down the mem­o­ry hole. Or worse, were forced down the mem­o­ry hole. No news is very bad news in those kinds of sit­u­a­tions, because when a sto­ry is forced down the mem­o­ry hole it’s usu­al­ly a very impor­tant sto­ry. Impor­tant and sen­si­tive.

    That brings us to the lat­est sto­ry about Nazis in Ukraine to be shoved down the mem­o­ry hole. A sto­ry that real­ly tells itself because it’s a sto­ry about a sim­ple pho­to­graph: a PR pho­to-op made by Ukraine’s Pres­i­dent Zelen­sky in the recent­ly recap­tured city of Izyum last week. A pho­to with a sol­dier who appears to be part of Zelenksy’s per­son­al guard stand­ing direct­ly behind him, with a Totenkopf ‘Death’s Head’ patch on his back­pack. The patch is near­ly adja­cent to Zelenksy’s head in the pho­to and not hard to make out. In fact, peo­ple on the inter­net iden­ti­fied it almost imme­di­ate­ly. It’s unmis­tak­ably the same patch. Right there next to Zelenksy in a PR pho­to op.

    The pho­to did­n’t last long on Twit­ter. Zelenksy’s Face­book and Telegram accounts qui­et­ly took it down. Twit­ter then pro­ceed­ed to cen­sors a Mint­Press tweet of the pho­to as “sen­si­tive-con­tent”. And that, for the most part, was the end of the sto­ry. The whole inci­dent came and went with­out com­men­tary oth­er than the fol­low­ing Gray­zone report. The Pres­i­dent of Ukraine was being guard­ed by overt Nazis for a pho­to op and it’s such a non-sto­ry that it was active­ly ignored, cen­sored, and shoved down the mem­o­ry inter­net hole:

    The Gray­zone

    Zelen­sky qui­et­ly deletes pho­to of his bodyguard’s pro-Hitler patch

    Alexan­der Rubin­stein
    Sep­tem­ber 15, 2022

    The Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent pub­lished a pho­to­graph on his social media chan­nels show­ing one of his secu­ri­ty escorts bear­ing a patch ref­er­enc­ing the per­son­al body­guard unit of Adolf Hitler.

    On Sep­tem­ber 13, Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Vlodymyr Zelen­sky made a sur­prise trip to the city of Izyum in the Kharkov Region for a pho­to op fol­low­ing his military’s recap­ture of the town from Russ­ian forces. Dur­ing the vis­it, a sol­dier who appeared to be guard­ing Zelen­sky was pho­tographed wear­ing a Nazi-inspired patch on his uni­form.

    When the image drew crit­i­cism on social media, the Ukrain­ian president’s offi­cial Telegram and Face­book accounts qui­et­ly delet­ed it.

    In Izyum on Sep­tem­ber 14, Zelen­sky par­tic­i­pat­ed in a flag rais­ing cer­e­mo­ny to the tune of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Anthem and took self­ies with local civil­ians and sol­diers. While most of the men on the scene wore offi­cial mil­i­tary fatigues, it was not dif­fi­cult to see which ones were for lack of a bet­ter term, work­ing, and which ones were sim­ply present to par­tic­i­pate in the event.

    One pho­to­graph post­ed on Zelensky’s Telegram and Face­book accounts (archived here and here) cap­tured the pres­i­dent as he posed for self­ies with Ukrain­ian troops. As Zelen­sky flashed a smile for the cam­era of a cheer­ful ser­vice mem­ber, he was flanked by a heav­i­ly equipped sol­dier stand­ing guard and fac­ing the oppo­site direc­tion. Just over Zelensky’s right shoul­der, a small but sig­nif­i­cant patch could be seen on the back of the soldier’s flak vest.

    Social media users quick­ly iden­ti­fied the sym­bol. It was derived from the “Totenkopf,” (Ger­man for “Death’s Head”), an insignia wide­ly used in Nazi Ger­many. Badges incor­po­rat­ing the skull and bones motif were pop­u­lar­ized by Germany’s Death’s Head Units, whose orig­i­nal task was to serve as guards at con­cen­tra­tion camps. In Octo­ber 1939, some 6,500 mem­bers were task as front­line fight­ers in the attempt­ed con­quest of Europe and the Sovi­et Union, car­ry­ing out war crimes and eth­nic cleans­ing on their way.

    Zelensky’s body­guard appeared to sport a slight­ly altered ver­sion of the SS-Totenkopf’s patch; it was miss­ing the cross­bones and the skull was wear­ing a hel­met.

    How­ev­er, this reporter was able to find three online ven­dors based in Ukraine that sell the patch, which is brand­ed the “Oper­a­tor Skull” and man­u­fac­tured by a com­pa­ny called R3ICH, an explic­it ref­er­ence to Nazi Ger­many.

    While a clear and siz­able shot of the insignia dec­o­rat­ing Zelensky’s appar­ent body­guard has yet to emerge, enhanced ren­der­ings of the image demon­strate he was clear­ly sport­ing the same design man­u­fac­tured by R3ICH. Both badges fea­ture a skull wear­ing a hel­met, the head­gear is vir­tu­al­ly iden­ti­cal, the nose and eye holes share the same amount of space between them, the sil­hou­ettes are indis­tin­guish­able, and the tal­ly marks drawn on the hel­met appear in the same loca­tion.

    A clos­er look at the R3ICH’s “Oper­a­tor Skull” patch reveals an even more dis­turb­ing detail: a skele­ton key dis­played on the top right of the hel­met is a clear ref­er­ence to SS Divi­sion Leib­stan­darte, or Leib­stan­darte SS Adolf Hitler — Hitler’s per­son­al body­guard unit. The unit lat­er evolved into a Panz­er, or armored tank divi­sion and, like the Totenkopf, par­tic­i­pat­ed in sev­er­al inva­sions through­out Europe and the Sovi­et Union.

    While the SS Divi­sion Leib­stan­darte made its way through Kharkov — where this week Zelensky’s body­guard was pho­tographed with the “Oper­a­tor Skull” patch — dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, one of its units earned the nick­name “Blow­torch Bat­tal­ion” for its habit of burn­ing down Russ­ian-speak­ing vil­lages.

    After this reporter took to social media to report that Zelensky’s body­guard appeared to be wear­ing the “Oper­a­tor Skull” patch, no less than eight Twit­ter users assert­ed the image was pho­to­shopped. Shock­ing­ly, Twit­ter even deemed Mint­Press News’ tweet about the pho­to­graph to be “sen­si­tive con­tent,” an appar­ent attempt at dam­age con­trol on Zelensky’s behalf that reduced the image’s vis­i­bil­i­ty on the plat­form.

    The sight­ing of the Nazi patch recalled a 2018 inci­dent in which then-Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko posed with sol­diers bear­ing plac­ard fea­tur­ing the Nazi Totenkopf sym­bol. Newsweek spu­ri­ous­ly claimed, “The image includ­ed a skull and bones that appear to have been Pho­to­shopped onto the pho­to­graph of the Ukrain­ian troops.” How­ev­er, as The Gray­zone report­ed, the sol­dier stand­ing direct­ly beside Poroshenko was wear­ing the Nazi-inspired patch on his chest. The para­troop­ers lat­er apol­o­gized for dis­play­ing the Nazi sym­bol, fur­ther dis­cred­it­ing Newsweek’s spin.

    ...

    ———-

    “Zelen­sky qui­et­ly deletes pho­to of his bodyguard’s pro-Hitler patch” by Alexan­der Rubin­stein; The Gray­zone; 09/15/2022

    “When the image drew crit­i­cism on social media, the Ukrain­ian president’s offi­cial Telegram and Face­book accounts qui­et­ly delet­ed it.”

    It was an after­thought. That’s the sig­nif­i­cance of this sto­ry. It’s such a rou­tine occur­rence to see sol­diers sport­ing Nazi insignia that no one even both­ered to won­der if it was a good idea to have a ‘Death’s Head’ Totenkopf patch adja­cent to Zelen­sky’s head in this pho­to. Again, this was a pho­to op. They were pos­ing to take a pic­ture that would be shown across the world. And no one thought this was a prob­lem until it was post­ed on the inter­net and a bunch of peo­ple imme­di­ate­ly point­ed out what should have been total­ly obvi­ous:

    ...
    One pho­to­graph post­ed on Zelensky’s Telegram and Face­book accounts (archived here and here) cap­tured the pres­i­dent as he posed for self­ies with Ukrain­ian troops. As Zelen­sky flashed a smile for the cam­era of a cheer­ful ser­vice mem­ber, he was flanked by a heav­i­ly equipped sol­dier stand­ing guard and fac­ing the oppo­site direc­tion. Just over Zelensky’s right shoul­der, a small but sig­nif­i­cant patch could be seen on the back of the soldier’s flak vest.

    Social media users quick­ly iden­ti­fied the sym­bol. It was derived from the “Totenkopf,” (Ger­man for “Death’s Head”), an insignia wide­ly used in Nazi Ger­many. Badges incor­po­rat­ing the skull and bones motif were pop­u­lar­ized by Germany’s Death’s Head Units, whose orig­i­nal task was to serve as guards at con­cen­tra­tion camps. In Octo­ber 1939, some 6,500 mem­bers were task as front­line fight­ers in the attempt­ed con­quest of Europe and the Sovi­et Union, car­ry­ing out war crimes and eth­nic cleans­ing on their way.
    ...

    And note the sell­er of this patch: a com­pa­ny called R3ICH. The patch even had a ref­er­ence to Hitler’s SS body­guard unit. Sub­tle:

    ...
    Zelensky’s body­guard appeared to sport a slight­ly altered ver­sion of the SS-Totenkopf’s patch; it was miss­ing the cross­bones and the skull was wear­ing a hel­met.

    How­ev­er, this reporter was able to find three online ven­dors based in Ukraine that sell the patch, which is brand­ed the “Oper­a­tor Skull” and man­u­fac­tured by a com­pa­ny called R3ICH, an explic­it ref­er­ence to Nazi Ger­many.

    ...

    A clos­er look at the R3ICH’s “Oper­a­tor Skull” patch reveals an even more dis­turb­ing detail: a skele­ton key dis­played on the top right of the hel­met is a clear ref­er­ence to SS Divi­sion Leib­stan­darte, or Leib­stan­darte SS Adolf Hitler — Hitler’s per­son­al body­guard unit. The unit lat­er evolved into a Panz­er, or armored tank divi­sion and, like the Totenkopf, par­tic­i­pat­ed in sev­er­al inva­sions through­out Europe and the Sovi­et Union.
    ...

    And as before — when Petro Poroshenko had his own ‘Death’s Head’ moment in 2018 — the main­stream media start­ed off by play­ing dam­age con­trol:

    ...
    After this reporter took to social media to report that Zelensky’s body­guard appeared to be wear­ing the “Oper­a­tor Skull” patch, no less than eight Twit­ter users assert­ed the image was pho­to­shopped. Shock­ing­ly, Twit­ter even deemed Mint­Press News’ tweet about the pho­to­graph to be “sen­si­tive con­tent,” an appar­ent attempt at dam­age con­trol on Zelensky’s behalf that reduced the image’s vis­i­bil­i­ty on the plat­form.

    The sight­ing of the Nazi patch recalled a 2018 inci­dent in which then-Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko posed with sol­diers bear­ing plac­ard fea­tur­ing the Nazi Totenkopf sym­bol. Newsweek spu­ri­ous­ly claimed, “The image includ­ed a skull and bones that appear to have been Pho­to­shopped onto the pho­to­graph of the Ukrain­ian troops.” How­ev­er, as The Gray­zone report­ed, the sol­dier stand­ing direct­ly beside Poroshenko was wear­ing the Nazi-inspired patch on his chest. The para­troop­ers lat­er apol­o­gized for dis­play­ing the Nazi sym­bol, fur­ther dis­cred­it­ing Newsweek’s spin.
    ...

    This time it was Twit­ter cen­sor­ing, which makes this a good time to recall how Twit­ter has been aggres­sive­ly hir­ing senior staff from US nation­al secu­ri­ty agen­cies. Back in 2018 it was Newsweek. But as we’ve seen so many times, part of what makes this phe­nom­e­na so dis­turb­ing is how the West­ern media has effec­tive­ly white­washed its own cov­er­age of these groups as the con­flict has deep­ened and the rules of what’s ‘accept­able’ shift­ed. And that makes this a great time to take a look back at an impor­tant piece by Christo­pher Miller pub­lished in Buz­zFeed in Jan­u­ary of this year, weeks before the war broke out. As Miller’s report makes clear, when you see a solid­er with a Totenkopf on their uni­form, you’re very like­ly look­ing at a mem­ber of the Azov Batal­lion. And as Azov mem­bers also make clear, they have big plans for Ukraine. Long-term plans that go well beyond the cur­rent con­flict. Plans for Ukraine’s future that, in the words of one of the Azov mem­bers inter­viewed for this report, are “some­thing that in your coun­try you can’t say”:

    Buz­zFeed News

    Ukraine’s Far-Right Forces See An Oppor­tu­ni­ty In Russia’s Inva­sion Threat To Grow Their Vio­lent Move­ment

    The US sees the Azov move­ment as a “nation­al­ist hate group,” and human rights groups have accused it of tor­tur­ing civil­ians. But the far-right group is also pre­pared to fight for Ukraine, which is in need of troops against Russia’s stronger forces.

    Christo­pher Miller
    Buz­zFeed News Reporter
    Map of Kyiv, Ukraine

    Report­ing From Kyiv, Ukraine
    Post­ed on Jan­u­ary 31, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    KYIV — The first weapon pulled from the brown sacks deliv­ered in the back of a van was a shoul­der-fired rock­et-pro­pelled grenade launch­er. A machine gun fol­lowed. Then came oth­er high-pow­ered guns and explo­sives.

    The weapons were dis­played by burly men wear­ing mil­i­tary uni­forms adorned with an array of Nazi sym­bols: the SS-favored Totenkopf, per­haps bet­ter known as death’s head; the son­nen­rad, or black sun; the Wolf­san­gel; and many more. One patch with a masked skull read, “Born to kill for Ukraine.”

    As more sacks streamed in, it became appar­ent that the men had brought a small arse­nal. Where the arms came from is some­what of a mys­tery. One man said he had tak­en sev­er­al from the front line in east­ern Ukraine after fight­ing there in 2014 and 2015; anoth­er said it was a “state secret.”

    The weapons didn’t belong to any offi­cial mil­i­tary force but to mem­bers of Ukraine’s far-right Azov move­ment.

    As the world waits to see whether Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin uses the more than 100,000 troops massed at Ukraine’s bor­der to esca­late his 8‑year-long war against the coun­try, Ukraini­ans are prepar­ing to fight back. Among them are far-right para­mil­i­tary forces that also see this moment as a way to raise their pro­file, secure pop­u­lar favor, and pos­si­bly gain polit­i­cal influ­ence.

    And as they pre­pare, far-right extrem­ists across the West are watch­ing close­ly to see whether they will be suc­cess­ful — in both bat­tling Russ­ian forces and cement­ing their move­ment in the main­stream.

    The US State Depart­ment has called Azov a “nation­al­ist hate group,” human rights orga­ni­za­tions have accused it of abus­ing and tor­tur­ing civil­ians, and Face­book banned it for vio­lat­ing its hate speech rules. Experts who mon­i­tor transna­tion­al extrem­ism have warned that Azov has served as inspi­ra­tion for far-right groups in the US and the EU, and Buz­zFeed News has report­ed on Amer­i­can extrem­ists who went to Ukraine to train with the move­ment and learn from it in hopes of repli­cat­ing it back home.

    But many Ukraini­ans view the group’s mem­bers favor­ably, for their role in fight­ing Russia’s army and sep­a­ratist proxy forces in 2014 and play­ing a key role in keep­ing the strate­gic east­ern port city of Mar­i­upol from falling into Moscow’s hands.

    The far right are not just attract­ed to Ukraine. Russ­ian far-right para­mil­i­tary forces with neo-Nazi mem­bers have also fought in the war. And there are some clues that per­haps they are look­ing to also return to the bat­tle­field.

    The Azov move­ment, born from the war as a vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion eight years ago, is com­posed of a para­mil­i­tary wing, a polit­i­cal branch, and youth and cul­tur­al groups. The bat­tal­ion is now an offi­cial reg­i­ment in Ukraine’s Nation­al Guard. Tak­en togeth­er, Azov has thou­sands of mem­bers, includ­ing hun­dreds of heav­i­ly armed and bat­tle-hard­ened fight­ers who enjoy a cozy rela­tion­ship with Ukraine’s secu­ri­ty struc­tures.

    On Sun­day, Buz­zFeed News got an up-close look at just how cozy, when dozens of them brought weapons to a mil­i­tary train­ing ses­sion for Ukraini­ans who want to be ready to fight Russ­ian troops if they enter the cap­i­tal. Azov’s var­i­ous fac­tions pro­mot­ed the event on Telegram with the catch­phrase, “Don’t pan­ic! Pre­pare your­self!” Some 350 par­tic­i­pants turned out for it at the movement’s sprawl­ing train­ing base on the grounds of a defunct state trac­tor fac­to­ry out­side cen­tral Kyiv.

    “Will there be a full-scale Russ­ian inva­sion? Nobody knows. But what I know for sure is that we need to pre­pare for any devel­op­ment,” Maksym Zhorin, a 32-year-old for­mer Azov Bat­tal­ion com­man­der who now serves as a leader of its polit­i­cal wing, the Nation­al Corps, told a group of trainees stand­ing in for­ma­tion. “Pan­ic comes when peo­ple do not know how to react, how to use a weapon, how to defend them­selves, what to do in case of shoot­ing.”

    But in this pre­car­i­ous moment, Azov also sees an oppor­tu­ni­ty to pol­ish its image in Ukraine and abroad, grow its ranks, and earn some polit­i­cal and social cap­i­tal.

    “I believe our role is high­ly impor­tant because it’s an exam­ple of a grass­roots Ukrain­ian move­ment that’s proven itself to be a suf­fi­cient defense force,” Ole­na Semenya­ka, a pub­lic rela­tions offi­cial for Azov, told Buz­zFeed News at the train­ing event. “I think [Azov] can also play a big­ger role [in Ukraine] in the future.”

    That prospect con­cerns experts who have tracked Azov and oth­er mil­i­ta­rized far-right groups in Ukraine that use their sta­tus as war “heroes” to attack minor­i­ty groups with impuni­ty and their street mus­cle to try to influ­ence Ukrain­ian domes­tic pol­i­cy.

    “I wor­ry that a new war with Rus­sia could not only help the Azov move­ment, but basi­cal­ly be the wind in its sails that it needs to grow its ranks and influ­ence,” Michael Col­borne, author of From the Fires of War: Ukraine’s Azov Move­ment and the Glob­al Far Right and a jour­nal­ist who cov­ers extrem­ism for Belling­cat, told Buz­zFeed News.. “A new war or some new inter­ven­tion by Rus­sia could very well pro­vide them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to fur­ther solid­i­fy their pres­ence in Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics and soci­ety, a fur­ther oppor­tu­ni­ty to brand and frame them­selves as the truest defend­ers of the nation and thus fur­ther swat away accu­sa­tions that come from peo­ple like me about their far-right nature.”

    Azov is at home at war.

    In 2014, Ukraine’s under-equipped and unpre­pared mil­i­tary fal­tered as a much larg­er and more sophis­ti­cat­ed Russ­ian army seized Crimea and foment­ed a faux sep­a­ratist war in the east­ern Don­bas region. Many Ukraini­ans believe Russ­ian forces would have tak­en more ter­ri­to­ry if it weren’t for dozens of vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions like Azov and Right Sec­tor, anoth­er far-right vol­un­teer unit, who leaped into the fray and filled the void left by Ukraine’s mil­i­tary.

    The groups quick­ly became some of Russia’s favorite tar­gets, and the coun­try used them to jus­ti­fy attacks against Ukraine as fight­ing against “fas­cists” who had seized con­trol in Kyiv after the pro-Russ­ian pres­i­dent, Vik­tor Yanukovych, was oust­ed in Feb­ru­ary 2014.

    The truth is that Azov and Right Sec­tor fight­ers nev­er came to pow­er in Kyiv, although sev­er­al mem­bers did serve stints in par­lia­ment and the Inte­ri­or Min­istry, and some cur­rent­ly serve as mil­i­tary advis­ers. And Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment was then and is still today a demo­c­ra­t­ic one, if flawed.

    But Azov’s neo-Nazi links are clear. In 2010, the battalion’s founder, Andriy Bilet­sky, said that Ukraine should “lead the white races of the world in a final cru­sade … against Semi­te-led Unter­men­schen [sub­hu­mans].” (He couldn’t be reached for com­ment.) And mem­bers of Azov boast tat­toos of swastikas and oth­er Nazi sym­bols, and they have been seen mak­ing the Hitler salute.

    That rep­u­ta­tion is what attracts many Ukraini­ans, like Dany­lo Hrabovskiy, a 21-year-old who’s study­ing to be a mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer at the Ivan Chernyakhovsky Nation­al Defense Uni­ver­si­ty of Ukraine in Kyiv. Buz­zFeed News shad­owed him as he trudged through shin-deep snow on Sun­day. Hrabovskiy’s father, Yaroslav, a retired Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer, was there too. He said he want­ed his son to get prac­ti­cal train­ing in bat­tle­field med­i­cine and han­dling a weapon.

    Hrabovskiy, who wore fatigues adorned with the patch of his uni­ver­si­ty, said he felt like he was among “fam­i­ly” with the Azov group. “It’s like when you come to church and you feel some­thing in your heart,” he explained.

    He said he aligned with Azov ide­o­log­i­cal­ly and hopes the group will rise to pow­er from the ash­es of a war with Rus­sia to form a “nation­al­ist-social­ist” gov­ern­ment. And if he could help in his role as a mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer when he grad­u­ates in four months, he said, all the bet­ter.

    Some­one say­ing they are in favor of “nation­al social­ism,” Col­borne said, “whether in Eng­lish or in Russ­ian or Ukrain­ian, is an unam­bigu­ous ref­er­ence to Nazism and Nazi-inspired ide­olo­gies.”

    Asked explic­it­ly if what he meant was Nazism, Hrabovskiy said with a seri­ous stare that he want­ed to con­vey “some­thing that in your coun­try you can’t say.”

    “If the far-right forces can unite, then we will go to par­lia­ment and make laws that reflect our ideas and goals,” he added.

    Not every­one at the Azov train­ing was ide­o­log­i­cal­ly aligned with the group. Sofia and Solomiya, twin 30-year-old mil­i­tary para­medics from the west­ern city of Lviv, said they chose to come to the Azov event as opposed to oth­er sim­i­lar ones in Kyiv because of the group’s rep­u­ta­tion for being “strong” and “skilled,” Sofia said.

    Solomiya said the pair had nev­er fired a weapon, but with the threat of renewed large-scale war with Rus­sia loom­ing, they felt it was time to learn how to do so.

    Inside an aban­doned build­ing spray-paint­ed with nation­al­ist slo­gans, the pair were giv­en wood­en cutouts of Kalash­nikov rifles and instruct­ed how to hold them. The twins’ instruc­tor was a beard­ed Azov Bat­tal­ion vet­er­an with a col­lec­tion of far-right nation­al­ist patch­es on his uni­form. A black death’s head was vis­i­ble on his bul­let­proof vest beside a “Val­hal­la tick­et” that includ­ed the num­bers 88 and 14 — numer­i­cal codes for “Heil Hitler” and the 14 words, a pop­u­lar white suprema­cist slo­gan.

    The instruc­tor showed the twins how to hold their wood­en weapon with their left hand firm­ly grasp­ing the low­er guard and their right com­fort­ably wrapped around the grip with their trig­ger fin­ger straight­ened at the side.

    As the women stood in a fir­ing posi­tion, he pushed on the bar­rels of their rifles, test­ing to see whether they were in a strong stance and couldn’t be knocked over.

    “Move your left leg back a bit,” the instruc­tor said. “And bring up the rifle more.”

    Near­by, dozens of oth­ers trained to clear rooms of “ter­ror­ists.” An instruc­tor taught a young man with a shaved head and a Nazi sym­bol on his sleeve how to effec­tive­ly swing his rifle around to check his six o’clock.

    Azov is train­ing the Ukrain­ian pop­u­la­tion because, Zhorin said, Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­sky, who also serves as the country’s supreme com­man­der in chief, hasn’t done enough to mil­i­ta­rize soci­ety and pre­pare it for war and has down­played the threat.

    ...

    ————–

    “Ukraine’s Far-Right Forces See An Oppor­tu­ni­ty In Russia’s Inva­sion Threat To Grow Their Vio­lent Move­ment” by Christo­pher Miller; Buz­zFeed News; 01/31/2022

    “The US State Depart­ment has called Azov a “nation­al­ist hate group,” human rights orga­ni­za­tions have accused it of abus­ing and tor­tur­ing civil­ians, and Face­book banned it for vio­lat­ing its hate speech rules. Experts who mon­i­tor transna­tion­al extrem­ism have warned that Azov has served as inspi­ra­tion for far-right groups in the US and the EU, and Buz­zFeed News has report­ed on Amer­i­can extrem­ists who went to Ukraine to train with the move­ment and learn from it in hopes of repli­cat­ing it back home.”

    It was just 2018 when the US State Depart­ment called Azov a nation­al­ist hate group. And Jan­u­ary of this year, less than a month before this con­flict, when we were get­ting these reports on the dan­ger­ous nature of these groups. And then the war broke out and now every­one has to pre­tend that the pres­i­dent of Ukraine isn’t being per­son­al­ly guard­ed by Azov Nazis known for their Totenkopf patch­es:

    ...
    The weapons were dis­played by burly men wear­ing mil­i­tary uni­forms adorned with an array of Nazi sym­bols: the SS-favored Totenkopf, per­haps bet­ter known as death’s head; the son­nen­rad, or black sun; the Wolf­san­gel; and many more. One patch with a masked skull read, “Born to kill for Ukraine.”

    As more sacks streamed in, it became appar­ent that the men had brought a small arse­nal. Where the arms came from is some­what of a mys­tery. One man said he had tak­en sev­er­al from the front line in east­ern Ukraine after fight­ing there in 2014 and 2015; anoth­er said it was a “state secret.”

    The weapons didn’t belong to any offi­cial mil­i­tary force but to mem­bers of Ukraine’s far-right Azov move­ment.
    ...

    And note how the Azov mem­ber who issues that chill­ing com­men about how their goals are “some­thing that in your coun­try you can’t say,” is him­self an aspir­ing mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer hail­ing from a fam­i­ly of mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cers. The Naz­i­fi­ca­tion of Ukraine’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cers: that’s about as big a red flag as you can get for the future of your coun­try:

    ...
    But Azov’s neo-Nazi links are clear. In 2010, the battalion’s founder, Andriy Bilet­sky, said that Ukraine should “lead the white races of the world in a final cru­sade … against Semi­te-led Unter­men­schen [sub­hu­mans].” (He couldn’t be reached for com­ment.) And mem­bers of Azov boast tat­toos of swastikas and oth­er Nazi sym­bols, and they have been seen mak­ing the Hitler salute.

    That rep­u­ta­tion is what attracts many Ukraini­ans, like Dany­lo Hrabovskiy, a 21-year-old who’s study­ing to be a mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer at the Ivan Chernyakhovsky Nation­al Defense Uni­ver­si­ty of Ukraine in Kyiv. Buz­zFeed News shad­owed him as he trudged through shin-deep snow on Sun­day. Hrabovskiy’s father, Yaroslav, a retired Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer, was there too. He said he want­ed his son to get prac­ti­cal train­ing in bat­tle­field med­i­cine and han­dling a weapon.

    Hrabovskiy, who wore fatigues adorned with the patch of his uni­ver­si­ty, said he felt like he was among “fam­i­ly” with the Azov group. “It’s like when you come to church and you feel some­thing in your heart,” he explained.

    He said he aligned with Azov ide­o­log­i­cal­ly and hopes the group will rise to pow­er from the ash­es of a war with Rus­sia to form a “nation­al­ist-social­ist” gov­ern­ment. And if he could help in his role as a mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer when he grad­u­ates in four months, he said, all the bet­ter.

    Some­one say­ing they are in favor of “nation­al social­ism,” Col­borne said, “whether in Eng­lish or in Russ­ian or Ukrain­ian, is an unam­bigu­ous ref­er­ence to Nazism and Nazi-inspired ide­olo­gies.”

    Asked explic­it­ly if what he meant was Nazism, Hrabovskiy said with a seri­ous stare that he want­ed to con­vey “some­thing that in your coun­try you can’t say.”

    “If the far-right forces can unite, then we will go to par­lia­ment and make laws that reflect our ideas and goals,” he added.
    ...

    And note how, while not every­one asso­ci­at­ed with Azov, is them­selves an extrem­ist, they’re all being trained by extrem­ists. It’s a reminder that when you hear about non-extrem­ists mem­bers of Azov, it’s not a sign that the group has some­how mod­er­at­ed itself. Quite the con­trary, it’s a sign of the Azov move­men­t’s wild suc­cess at main­stream­ing itself. These non-extrem­ists are basi­cal­ly extrem­ists-in-train­ing. Pro­pa­gan­da works:

    ...
    Not every­one at the Azov train­ing was ide­o­log­i­cal­ly aligned with the group. Sofia and Solomiya, twin 30-year-old mil­i­tary para­medics from the west­ern city of Lviv, said they chose to come to the Azov event as opposed to oth­er sim­i­lar ones in Kyiv because of the group’s rep­u­ta­tion for being “strong” and “skilled,” Sofia said.

    Solomiya said the pair had nev­er fired a weapon, but with the threat of renewed large-scale war with Rus­sia loom­ing, they felt it was time to learn how to do so.

    Inside an aban­doned build­ing spray-paint­ed with nation­al­ist slo­gans, the pair were giv­en wood­en cutouts of Kalash­nikov rifles and instruct­ed how to hold them. The twins’ instruc­tor was a beard­ed Azov Bat­tal­ion vet­er­an with a col­lec­tion of far-right nation­al­ist patch­es on his uni­form. A black death’s head was vis­i­ble on his bul­let­proof vest beside a “Val­hal­la tick­et” that includ­ed the num­bers 88 and 14 — numer­i­cal codes for “Heil Hitler” and the 14 words, a pop­u­lar white suprema­cist slo­gan.
    ...

    Again, this was just back in Jan­u­ary of this year. How many more reg­u­lar Ukraini­ans have flood­ed into arms of Azov of sim­i­lar groups over the past eight months? How many tens of thou­sands of Ukraini­ans are there right now get­ting trained by fig­ures with a Totenkopf patch­es? How many mil­lions of Ukraini­ans are going to end up hav­ing gone through this kind of indoc­tri­na­tion by the time this con­flict is over? Grim ques­tions. Because it’s grim news. The kind of grim news that pre­sum­ably won’t be report­ed on until its too late to do any­thing about it.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 19, 2022, 3:57 pm

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