Archive | Europe

As the humanitarian crisis escalates in Yemen, the UK has a lot to answer for

NOVANEWS
As the humanitarian crisis escalates in Yemen, the UK has a lot to answer for
The UN has announced that Yemen is currently experiencing a humanitarian crisis like no other. 17 million people in the country are going hungry, with an estimated 7 million at risk of famine. This is due to a Saudi-led blockade. Saudi military forces have prevented fuel supplies and aid from entering the country. But the UK is playing a huge part in this escalating crisis, as it continues to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia.

The UK’s role

Speaking to The Canary, Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said:

The blockade has exacerbated one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. It is a brutal collective punishment against the people of Yemen, and has put millions of lives at risk. Despite this, and despite the atrocities its forces have inflicted on Yemen over the last two and a half years, the Saudi regime has been able to count on the uncritical political and military support of Theresa May and her colleagues. If Downing Street wants to do what is right for the people of Yemen then it must stop the arms sales and end its complicity.

Selling weapons to Saudi Arabia

In a press release about its latest statistics, CAAT says:

In the two years leading up to the war, the UK licensed £33m worth of ML4 arms (ML4 includes bombs, missiles and countermeasures). In the period since [the war] began the government has licensed £1.9bn.

This is an increase of over 5000%. The fear is that Saudi-led military forces may be using such weapons to destroy vital infrastructure in Yemen, including hospitals. Commenting on the statistics, CAAT’s Sam Walton said:

These new figures are a disappointment but not a surprise. The British government has prioritised selling weapons to Saudi Arabia over any concerns about human rights or the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure by the Saudi Arabians in Yemen.

Tom Barns, also from CAAT, said:

To see this increase in bombs and military aircraft sales at a time when Saudi Arabia is unleashing such utter devastation in Yemen is truly staggering. The United Nations has accused Saudi-led forces of killing hundreds of children and destroying schools and hospitals, yet the UK government seems to see the war as a business opportunity. Not only are these sales fuelling the ongoing conflict, they are also sending a message of political support to the brutal Saudi regime.

The dire situation in Yemen

The UN is clear about how serious the situation is in Yemen right now. UN aid chief Mark Lowcock says the blockade has to be lifted. If it isn’t, then the country will experience:

The largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims.

Jamie McGoldrick, the UN’s aid coordinator in Yemen, said the “humanitarian impact” of the war is “unimaginable”. But perhaps the British government should try to imagine the impact that its trade relations with Saudi Arabia are having. Save the Children has warned that 50,000 Yemeni children could die of starvation and disease by the end of the year.

The government can’t make excuses for its deplorable actions. Selling weapons to Saudi Arabia is likely to only fuel the war in Yemen and, in turn, escalate the humanitarian crisis. We have to hold our politicians to account.

Posted in Saudi Arabia, UK, Yemen0 Comments

Syria Has Shown That dirty Stop the War UK is Not Fit for Purpose

NOVANEWS

Syria Has Shown That Stop the War UK is Not Fit for Purpose

 

Stop the War            Coalition

New York Times ” The Zionist dirty media” investigation has found that the number of civilian casualties of coalition airstrikes in Iraq has been more than 31 times larger than the number acknowledged by the coalition. Britain alone has dropped more than 3,400 bombs in Syria and Iraq, yet Theresa May’s government shamelessly claims that no civilians have been killed.

In times of such extreme deceit, Stop the War’s campaign against the government’s war policies is urgent and vitally important. We need to intensify our campaigning and we are asking for your generous help. Your donations will enable us to expose their lies and promote the anti-war arguments more widely, support new Stop the War groups springing up around the country, sustain an increased level of staffing and upgrade our communications.

 

Jeremy-CorbynSTWISIS

21st Century Wire

This is a sequel to Stop the War, Libya and the CPGB-ML, which considered the response of the UK’s Stop the War Coalition to NATO’s plans for regime change in Libya.

The war on Syria began in much the same way as that for Libya: romantic talk of the Arab Spring, and claims of peaceful protests ruthlessly put down by a dictator with hitherto unsuspected genocidal tendencies. However the non-NATO aligned members of the Security Council, on the one hand, and a high proportion of the general public on the other, had learned from the disastrous consequences of Russia and China’s acquiescence to a no fly zone in Libya, and thus moves to introduce one for Syria, either with or without the agreement of the Security Council, have so far failed.

The purpose of the Libyan war, i.e. the overthrowing of Gaddafi, was achieved within a few months thanks to NATO’s bombing campaign; the lack of such action on the part of NATO and its allies has enabled the Syrian to withstand the terrorist onslaught, with the Russian participation a game-changer. The protracted nature of the conflict has enabled and encouraged research into the facts of the war, with extensive evidence available on essential points, in particular:

1: Forced regime change in Syria had been planned for years by US and allies (see Wesley Clarkon US intentions in 2001, the Clinton emails from 2006 and the revelation by French Minister Dumas relating to NATO plans for Syria in 2009).

2: Syrians had little taste for a revolution in Syria: no-one in Damascus turned out for a pan-Arab Day of Rage on 4 February 2011, while in those early days there were huge demonstrations in favour of the government and Bashar al Assad in Damascus and Aleppo.

3: The early protests, notably in the provincial town of Dara’a, were violent from the outset, with a stiffening of foreign terrorists imported from Libya. There is extensive eyewitness testimony to that violence, including that of Jesuit priest Father Frans der Lugt (murdered in April 2014), of soldierscalled to the famous protest in Dara’a on 15 March 2011, and of civil defence workers.

4: The heavy involvement of outside governments in the war, with NATO powers such as the US, the UK and France, and Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar spending enormous sums on training, arming and funding militants and financing foreign mercenaries; the role of Turkey in the movement of prospective jihadis and trade with militant groups like ISIS cannot be overstated.

5: The barbaric nature of the extremists, native and foreign, who owned the insurrection.

YouTube Video Preview

In ‘The cause and instigation of the war on Syria’, which references many essential primary sources, Angelis Dania concludes:

The fact that the US was plotting regime-change in Syria with the use of false propaganda should colour every report on events in Syria, subjecting them to the need for review in light of the now established pre-existing US regime-change campaign.’

Many who found the idea of overthrowing the extremely oppressive regimes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, or at best undemocratic and unpopular government of Egypt were disillusioned when they realised that regime change was only meant to happen in countries not aligned with the West. The Stop the War leadership, however, whose remit somehow expanded from opposing war to active concern with the internal affairs of other countries, has continued to support in principle the concept of the Arab Spring.

Stop the War’s Position on Syria

Over the years Lindsay German has written a number of articles reiterating the organisation’s position, almost always with a note of apology for not supporting the war on Syria, e.g. There is no hypocrisy in our stance on Syria November 2012.   Stop the War’s official position on Syria, in simple terms, is that it is opposed to external intervention. The leadership have constantly opposed all proposals by the UK government for a no-fly zone or a bombing campaign in Syria, and occasionally objected to external intervention in more general terms.

Accordingly STW protests have been organised in response to any specific proposal that would entail bombing Syria, such as when it was claimed that the Syrian government had crossed Obama’s red line by using chemical weapons in East Ghouta in August 2013. (The sarin attack was a false flag by insurgents, probably Liwa al Islam, an earlier incarnation of Jaish al Islam , see for example the WhoGhouta investigation.)

PROTEST 15 JUNE 1PM US EMBASSY GROSVENOR SQ LONDON. Stop US and UK military intervention in http://bit.ly/16kbjpd 

Protests were held in December 2015 before and after the British government voted to ‘bomb ISIS’ in Syria.

After Russia joined the war, condemnation of Russia was emphasised, e.g. StWC Statement on Syria ‘We oppose all of these interventions, including the current Russian bombing of Aleppo’, and With or without UN agreement, bombing Syria by Russia or UK should be opposed.

‘Stop the War is against Russia’s attacks on Syria. We think they should stop immediately. And we would welcome less hypocrisy from those who have supported US and allied bombing over the last year.’

Stop the War’s record in terms of protest and publications shows that its primary focus is to oppose blatant warmongering such as invasion and bombing campaigns. However STW has on occasion acknowledged, condemned, and even protested against less overt interventions.

Britain secretly equipping  rebels and SAS teams understood to be “slipping into Syria on missions”: http://bit.ly/QyvgSB 

Britain secretly equipping Syrian rebels with latest satellite phones to help topple Assad

The supply of the handsets, designed to withstand rugged environments, is part of the Foreign Office’s mission to mould militias into a coalition capable of governing the country.

dailymail.co.uk

The first step to ending the war in  is stopping western intervention: http://bit.ly/10qDGmy  

The demonstration outside the US embassy on 15 June 2013 was directed against the ‘new’ Obama initiative to arm the rebels in Syria.

PROTEST 15 JUNE 1PM US EMBASSY GROSVENOR SQ LONDON. Stop US and UK military intervention in http://bit.ly/16kbjpd 

In November 2016, STW published Abigail Watson’s article on the role of the SAS in Syria, The UK’s Not So Secret War in Syria, and a few weeks later when action in Aleppo was being mooted by the British government, German acknowledged,

‘It is foolish in the extreme to believe that really the west and its Middle East allies are not doing anything to help the opposition. That simply flies in the face of the facts including money, arms, special forces.’

While Stop the War publicly opposes intervention in Syria, the organisation claims that it does not support ‘Assad’, and is extremely defensive in the face of accusations, real or imagined, that STW might be made up of ‘Assad apologists’. Lindsay German’s Does Opposing Western Intervention in Syria Make the Anti-war Movement “Assad Apologists”? ensures distance from the Syrian government by referring to it as the ‘regime’, ‘Assad’s regime’, and ‘Bashar al Assad’s regime’ – terms favoured by the Syrian government’s opponents.

Stop the War supports a political solution in Syria. The Syrian government have a policy of offering amnesty to insurgents who want to come in from the cold, and Russia has been administering a Centre for Reconciliation to facilitate this. This is not what Stop the War has in mind; rather it looks to negotiations in Geneva which attribute the status of legitimate opposition to groups allied with ISIS and al Nusra, such as Jaish al Islam and Ahrar al Sham.

Many STW officers openly support the ‘revolution’ in Syria, and gloss over the responsibility of the UK and other external governments for the insurgency. In December 2015 Stop the War published a statement drafted by John Rees, setting out the organisation’s official position on Syria. Once again, the statement starts out on the defensive.

For avoidance of doubt: the positions of Stop the War Coalition

The Stop the War Coalition is under unprecedented attack because of its opposition to the bombing of Syria and because attacks on it are perceived to weaken Jeremy Corbyn. Here in straight forward terms are our views on some issues now being routinely misrepresented by the Tory government, the right of the Labour Party and sections of the media.

1. The STWC has never supported the Assad regime. Just as we never supported the Taliban, Saddam Hussein or Colonel Gaddafi. Only in the minds of ‘them or us’ pretend patriots does the opposition to our own government’s wars mean support for dictators or terrorists. Our case has always been that war will worsen the problem and not solve it. We were right in that analysis in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

2. The STWC has never supported Russian intervention in Syria and issued a statement opposing the bombing as soon as it began.

3. The STWC does believe that it is the people of Syria who are the only ones who should decide the fate of their country free of all great power and regional power interference.

4. The STWC is utterly opposed to the IS as a totally reactionary and, in the Arab Spring, counter revolutionary force.

5. The STWC believes that the invasion and dismemberment of Iraq, and western support for Saudi Arabia, were and are instrumental in the creation of the IS.

6. The STWC does not support calls for western invention, including an air war to establish a no fly zone, whether those calls emanate from Syrian exiles or anyone else, just as we did not support such calls from anti-Taliban or anti Saddam Afghans or Iraqis. Syrians do not all speak with one voice but many are opposed to western bombing.

7. The STWC concentrates on campaigning against UK government policy because this is where we are citizens and voters. […]

STW priorities are only marginally different from Barak Obama’s [emphasis added]:

1: The first point, reiterated in the sixth, is to voice opposition to Bashar al Assad, comparing him, furthermore, to Saddam Hussein and the Taliban.

2: The second is to criticise Russia for its involvement in the war.

3: Rees twice mentions ISIS, the fall guy when it comes to jihadi barbarism, but does not mention al Nusra, Jaish al Islam, or any other of the vicious gangs operating in Syria.

4: In December 2015, by which time the character of the ‘moderate opposition’ was well known, he is still talking about the ‘Arab Spring’ and ‘revolution’.

5: The necessary condition for the Syrian war, i.e. the role of the UK and its allies, is only mentioned in the last two points, and then in relatively mild terms.

Lindsay German produced another position statement in October 2016, Stop all intervention in Syria and let the people decide their future, which was consistent with everything said over the previous years: the Coalition did not support ‘Assad’ (i.e. the legitimate government of Syria) or Russia, and was opposed to a no-fly zone and the sale of arms – other interventions by the Western powers are ignored here. German claims: We do not take a position on the internal politics of Syria, and believe that this is a question for the Syrian people alone. Much of the article was self-promotion and self-congratulation.

We did not stop the war in Iraq, but we have helped to shift opinion in this country against further wars. It could be argued that Chilcot would never have happened without an anti-war movement.’

Problems with Stop the War’s approach to Syria

Don’t bomb Syria‘ is a totally inadequate response to the war on Syria.

In August 2013, pursuant to the false flag chemical attack by extremists on Ghouta, the British government voted on the question of officially going to war with Syria. The Stop the War Coalition mobilised demonstrations against the proposal, which was lost. Lindsey German penned a  self-complacent article, A partial victory, but a victory, 30 August 2013:

British MPs’ arguments and information were influenced by a strong public opinion against such a war, itself a product of a mass movement which didn’t stop a war ten years ago but has prevented a further one now. […] Britain will play no part in any Syrian intervention.

German’s article totally disregards the role of Britain in the Syrian war.  The NATO countries and their allies have consciously endeavoured to carry out their plan to achieve regime change in Syria, contrary to the will of the Syrian people, by pouring billions into funding and arming terrorists. Turkey has funneled thousands, or more probably hundreds of thousands, of jihadists through to Syria and in return bought from ISIS stolen Syrian oilantiquities and Aleppo’s factories.

The United Kingdom, moreover, has a large budget for propaganda projects specifically designed to create support for a no fly zone, such as the fake humanitarian outfit the White Helmets, staffed by members of vicious gangs like al Zinki, seven year old Bana who tweeted in perfect English from Aleppo, calling for WWIII in order to ‘save Aeppo’, and fake research organisations like the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, essentially one man in a house in Coventry, but cooperating with the British Foreign Office.

Stop the War’s protests against active intervention are clearly inadequate when it is turning a blind eye to the material and moral support given to the terrorist groups in Syria, and to the propaganda designed to achieve compliance with a no-fly zone.

‘Russian bombing’

Dreadful reports from Aleppo. @STWuk want to see an end to bombing and brutality on all sides in Syria.

Stop the War’s position is that with or without UN agreement, bombing Syria by Russia or UK should be opposedStop the War is against Russia’s attacks on Syria. We think they should stop immediately.

If there were no external intervention, no funding and arming of terrorists, including hundreds of thousands of foreign mercenaries, there would be no Syrian war. Russia, Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah are all militarily involved in the Syrian war, on the invitation of the Syrian government, as a response to external intervention. They are defending Syria against barbaric extremists who are loathed by the Syrian people. The involvement of Russia, Hezbollah and other Syrian allies is consistent with international law and has been absolutely vital for the country’s survival. To put the Russian contribution to defending Syria on a par with the illegal intervention and support for terrorism by NATO and its allies is the height of dishonesty.

Obama’s much vaunted campaign against Daesh in Syria only saw ISIS and associated groups grow and flourish. The presence of a US air force did nothing to prevent ISIS convoys cross the desert from Iraq and take Raqqa and Palmyra. On the other hand, the attack by NATO forces on Syrian troops protecting the besieged town of Deir ez Zor caused the loss of more than 60 Syrian lives and facilitated ISIS advancement. (Many people, including the Syrian government, believe NATO consciously provided ISIS with air cover according to a pre-arranged plan, though this is denied by NATO.)

Russian air-cover enabled the Syrian Arab Army and its allies to retake Palmyra in March 2016, though not before the museum curator was murdered as an ‘Assad stooge’ and extensive damage was done to the historic site.  Russian assistance helped liberate Aleppo from ISIS and al Qaeda affiliated gangs, who were terrorising eastern Aleppo and shelling western Aleppo, causing horrific casualties. Since then Russia has provided extensive humanitarian aid to Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria, ranging from food aid and mobile hospitals to demining eastern Aleppo. Stop the War, however, wants to see an end to Russian involvement in Syria.

Stop the War accepts the NATO narrative on Syria without question

Stop the War’s leadership specialises in producing flabby articles devoid of content: there is no new information, no analysis, just NATO’s discredited mantras of popular revolution, moderate rebels and wicked despot Bashar al Assad. Much of the space is taken up in apologising for not supporting invasion or a no-fly zone, or claiming that STW is not pro-Assad. Given that Stop the War never addresses an alternative and more valid concern, i.e. whether the Syrian government is right to resist an externally sponsored insurgency, its protestations of not being pro-Assad have to be seen as a dishonest ploy.

While Lindsay German satisfies herself with referring disparagingly to the ‘Assad regime’ and becoming indignant if anyone suggests that STW should (heaven forbid) support Syria against an immoral and illegal war driven by, amongst others, the United Kingdom, other officers of Stop the War are openly hostile to the Syrian government, for example chairman Murad Qureshi:

Syria revolution four years on: Don’t bet against President Assad – a ruler willing to see his country destroyed http://ind.pn/1NPVYDg 

Syria revolution four years on: Don’t bet against President Assad – a ruler willing to see his…

How has Bashar Hafez al-Assad survived these past four years? Ever since the Syrian revolution of 2011, his overthrow has been predicted by the greatest statesmen of our day, by the finest journali…

independent.co.uk

You’ll find that you don’t have the National Socialists in Syria but you’ll find the Baath Party which Alawites like Assad belong too.

and John Rees:

@MsIntervention @STWuk Assad is a butcher responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. And Blair for over million Iraqi’s …do the maths

George Galloway: Assad must go. No place for dictatorship. But we are not swapping Assad for US dictatorship.  

Stop the War’s position is essentially the bogus ‘third way’: while it opposes direct bombing, and occasionally complains about the better publicised aspects of direct intervention, it assumes the validity of the regime change narrative. Despite the wealth of contrary evidence, at no point does STWC question the NATO narrative of a legitimate uprising and an illegitimate government.

There has been an enormous amount of research carried out on the subject of the Syrian war, by people alert to the inconsistencies in the NATO narrative, who have wanted to find out the truth. Some of these people have traveled to Syria more than once, and recently. 21st Century Wire alone has published over 100 articles on the Syrian war. The articles contain a wealth of references, photographic and video evidence, and testimony from Syrians.

STW has not published, promoted or referenced, either in its homepage or via social media, a single article that gives an assessment of the facts that differs from that of the corporate media.

Mother Agnes Mariam

Stop the War has continued to suppress alternative views on Syria as it did with Libya. Most notable was the shocking incident when STW, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, allowed the likes of Owen Jones and Jeremy Scahill to bully Mother Agnes Mariam out of speaking at the 2013 Anti-War Conference in London.

Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib, mother superior of St. James Monastery in Qara, Syria, is a nun who has worked in Syria for over 20 years. She has spoken out about the Syrian ‘revolution’, warning of the danger that religious minorities in Syria face from Western-backed extremists. She also queried the charge that the Syrian government was responsible for the sarin attack on Ghouta, having carried out her own research into the matter. Mother Agnes was interviewed by RTin September 2013.

Mother Agnes was invited by Stop the War to speak at the International Anti-War Conference held on 30 November 2013. A campaign was orchestrated by hardline proponent of the war on Syria Mohammed Idrees Ahmad and others to ‘deplatform’ Mother Agnes, with pressure applied on other invited speakers primarily via social media.

@jeremyscahill Please don’t share platform with leading Assad propagandist Mother Agnes at the @STWuk gathering.

 Owen Jones and Jeremy Scahill eventually declared that they would not share a platform with Mother Agnes, and at that point Mother Agnes voluntarily withdrew.
 Owen Jones explained his actions on his own blog, Mother Agnes, Syria and free speech, relying on an article by an obscure pro-jihadist group, Syrian Christians for Peace.  His principle objection to Mother Agnes, aside from the fact of her being an ‘Assad supporter’ (read ‘opponent of the war on Syria’), is that she queried attribution of the Ghouta chemical attack to the Syrian government. According to Jones:

‘Mother Agnes is perhaps most infamous for publishing a 50-page report claiming that the video footage of the Ghoutta massacre was faked, that the children suffocating to death had been kidnapped by rebels and were actually sleeping or “under anaesthesia”’.

Owen Jones does not give a link to Mother Agnes’s report, and for good reason, as it gives the lie to his accusation.

 ‘The chemical attacks which took place in East Ghouta on August 21, 2013 could be the most horrific false flag operation in history.

‘To date, available evidence indicates that numerous children were killed by “opposition rebels”, their bodies manipulated and filmed with a view to blaming the Syrian government for the attacks, thus sparking outrage and galvanizing worldwide public opinion in favor of another bloody, imperial US-led war.’  Mother Agnes Mariam

The UN report on the Ghouta attack does not ascribe blame, and well before the conference doubts had been expressed on the likelihood of the culprits being the Syrian government, on both technical and political grounds. On 13 September Sharmine Narwani and Radwan Mortada analysed the weaknesses of the UN report Questions Plague UN Syria Report on Syria, while WhoGhouta published a Summary of Conclusions on 24 September, which pointed the finger at insurgents.  Any fair person would have applauded, rather than condemned, Mother Agnes for querying the claims of the corporate press that ‘Assad’ was responsible for the attack.

Owen Jones also relies on the Open Letter to Stop the War Coalition penned by Idrees Ahmad. The striking feature of this letter is that most or all of the signees, for example, including Peter Tatchell, Mary Rizzo, Louis Proyect and Ahmad himself, support active intervention in Syria against the government including a no-fly zone. Jones chooses to identify with active proponents of the war on Syria rather than those who oppose it.

@OwenJones84 the NCC is the “only group to have called for open dialogue with the Syrian government”, unlike you who won’t talk to a nun.

@theLemniscat Er – I entirely supported a negotiated peace. I just don’t want to make common cause with Mother Agnes at anti-war event

Owen Jones was not asked to ‘make common cause with Mother Agnes’, except insofar as they were both presumed to oppose imperialist wars. As the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), has pointed out:

Jones has shared platforms with Labour politicians who were key architects of the invasions and genocides in Iraq and Afghanistan – some of the worst crimes of the modern era.

Stop the War itself kept its response to Mother Agnes’s withdrawal to a minimum, though taking care to reassure Jones and Scahill:

UPDATE: Mother Agnes has withdrawn from 30 Nov International Anti-war Conference: http://bit.ly/1jcAqP6  @OwenJones84@jeremyscahill

brief statement was published that managed to be both bald and dishonest.

We have always provided a platform for a diversity of opinions within a broad anti-war perspective. We hope that we can now build the conference as a strong focus for opposition to war and imperialism.

This is patently false: once Mother Agnes was removed from the equation, there was no-one present to put forward the perspective of the legitimate Syrian government, and the conference was dominated by people who essentially support the war on Syria.

The implications of the deplatforming of Mother have been addressed by a number of commentators, including Neil Clark and the indefatigable Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist).

‘Mother Agnes has single-handedly demonstrated that Stop the War is not about stopping the war; it is about keeping the anti-war movement within limits that are acceptable to the imperialist warmongers. It is about the warmongers keeping the masses of anti-war activists under tight control.’ CPGB-ML

Is the Stop the War leadership genuinely opposed to a no-fly zone in Syria?

Although the official policy of STW is to oppose external intervention in Syria, the behaviour of its officers contradicts this. Counterfire, which was founded by Stop the War officers and is closely linked to STW, has promoted Syria Burning by Robin Yassin Kassab and Leila al Shami, both of whom seek a no-fly zone in Syria.

In January 2012, John Rees interviewed two guests on his show In Islam: Iman Mujahed, an Irish woman married to a Syrian and the British Moussab Azzawi. Thus neither of the guests were Syrian, both supported the ‘revolution’, and both wanted external intervention. Moussab Azzawi asked for a humanitarian corridor, buffer zone, and a no-fly zone, Mujahed’s priority was a buffer zone, but she has no objections to a no-fly zone. The purpose of the interview, in fact, was to promote a no-fly zone in Syria on the Libyan model.

YouTube Video Preview

The British Foreign Office has invested heavily in propaganda projects relating to Syria that are specifically designed to gain acceptance for a no-fly zone from the public, in particular the White Helmets.  Stop the War makes no attempt to expose these scams: their position on the White Helmets, for example, is simply that they have no position.

I really don’t want you to follow me, would just prefer if you’d answer my question about whether you condemn smear on white helmets @STWuk

@STW doesn’t take a position on the White Helmets.

That the Foreign Office is funding a supposed humanitarian organisation which blatantly supports Foreign Office policy should be a red flag. However, even if one naively assumes that the organisation’s primary purpose is humanitarian, any anti-war movement should condemn the White Helmets’ calls for a no-fly zone. Stop the War has not done this.

In September 2015 Stop the War was involved in the organisation of a march in support of refugees; Jeremy Corbyn was in attendance as the newly elected leader of the Labour Party. Primary responsibility for the march was claimed by Syrian Solidarity UK (SSUK). SSUK supports the ‘revolution’ in Syria and seeks a no-fly zone in Syria. FSA (Free Syrian Army) flags, anti-Assad slogans and demands for a no-fly zone featured prominently. Jeremy Corbyn appeared on the same platform as SSUK’s Clara Connolly, who used an event in support of refugees to plug the White Helmets and to demand a no-fly zone (which would inevitably mean more refugees), and he stood right alongside Abdulaziz Almashy, co-founder of SSUK, who was wearing an FSA scarf.

So while Owen Jones refused to appear on a platform with Mother Agnes Mariam, who never spoke anything but the truth about Syria, Jeremy Corbyn shared a platform with open supporters of a no-fly zone in Syria and of the FSA, which was already known to be associated with al Nusra, ISIS, the use of chemical weaponscannibalism and all manner of other atrocities (see also Eva Bartlett’s The Non-Useful Atrocities,  or even the Daily Mail).

CorbynFSABigger

Jeremy Corbyn may not have fully understood the implications of his presence on this platform, however SSUK and Stop the War officers like John Rees certainly would have.  Genuine opponents of the war, who should have objected strongly, are the very people who hope Corbyn will rescue the country from the Tories, the Blairites and austerity – thus they remain silent, not just about this incident, but about Stop the War’s shortcomings in general and the implications of Corbyn’s ties to the organisation.

Stop the War is not fit for purpose

A feature of the debate over the wars on Libya and Syria has been the participation of those who have claimed to oppose external military intervention in those countries but at the same time facilitate that intervention by expressing sympathy for the ‘revolutionaries’ and vilifying the respective governments. Common characteristics include:

  • Support for the long-discredited Western construct of a ‘popular revolution’ in Syria
  • Demonisation of Bashar al Assad (and before him Muammar Gaddafi)
  • Condemnation of Russian support for Syria
  • Positioning themselves as being the only anti-war alternative
  • Repeated apology for not supporting a no-fly zone
  • Total blanking of research which questions the NATO narrative
  • Neither confirming nor questioning the validity of scams such as the White Helmets.

Stop the War shares all these characteristics with other organisations and individuals who function as gatekeepers in the context of the Syrian war. Its leadership has ensured that the movement has been reduced to the role of controlled opposition, deflecting the rank and file by focusing on overt intervention and ignoring the realities of Western imperialism in Syria.

‘What we need to understand is that, whether accidentally or on purpose, StW’s leaders always manage to come down on the side of imperialism, helping to demonise the victims of imperialist aggression and to neutralise the opposition to imperialist war at home.’  CPGB-ML

See also:

Eva Bartlett:
Syria Dispatch: Most Syrians Support Assad, Reject Phony Foreign ‘Revolution’

Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria

Michel Chossudovsky:
Five Years Ago: The US-NATO-Israel Sponsored Al Qaeda Insurgency in Syria. Who Was Behind The 2011 “Protest Movement”?

RT:
Syria: Hospitals Russia accused of bombing don’t exist

Vanessa Beeley and Steve Ezzedine:
The Syria White Helmets Exposed as US UK Agents Embedded with Al Nusra and ISIS

Vanessa Beeley:
Journey To Aleppo Part I: Exposing The Truth Buried Under NATO Propaganda.

… Part II here

 

 

 

 

Posted in UK0 Comments

Turkey threatens to remove US radar systems from its soil and indicates future intentions for Syria

NOVANEWS

In one speech, Turkey’s President Erdogan clarified his position vis-a-vis both NATO and Syria.

Turkey’s increasingly fraught relationship with NATO has just entered a new crisis as Ankara threatens to remove a substantial US radar system from its soil, should Washington fail to complete the transfer of F-35 fighter jets ordered by Turkey.

The row has its origins in Turkey’s recent purchase of Russia’s powerful S-400 missile defence systems.

The Pentagon has announced that Turkey’s purchase of the S-400s “would jeopardise the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey”.

In response, Turkey has stated that if the F-35s are not delivered, Turkey may take steps to remove the Malatya- Kürecik AN-TPY-2 radar system that the US set-up on Turkish soil in 2012. Turkish media outlet Yeni Safak has reported that if Turkey were to force the removal of US radar facilities from its soil, the US would lose its key means of gathering intelligence on movements which occur inside Iranian borders. This is significant as Turkey and Iran continue to make further mutual commitments to bilateral security at a time when the US has upped its anti-Iranian rhetoric inline with near identical Israeli propaganda. By contrast, Washington’s other radar systems in the Middle East are not able to penetrate beyond Iran’s western borders.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has responded by challenging the “trustworthiness” of NATO. This comes days after Erdogan’s name as well as that of Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic were found on a poster of NATO “enemies” during a recent pan-NATO military drill in Norway, which Turkey subsequently withdrew from.

Erdogan has stated,

“Yesterday, you saw impudence at a NATO exercise in Norway. Some mistakes are not committed by fools, but by vile people. This impudence that targets me and the founder of our republic … reflects the distorted point of view that we have been observing in NATO for a while.

And now, when we try to buy S-400 air defense systems from Russia, the reaction from some countries of the alliance [NATO] proved this distortedness”,

Erdogan then issued a statement whose interpretations will be much debated internationally, over the coming days and weeks. Turning to the conflict in Syria, the Turkish President stated,

“We will also save Afrin and we will deliver Manbij (Kurdish enclaves on Syrian soil) to its original owners. We will clear terrorist organisations out of all areas”.

There are two distinct interpretations of this statement, should it be taken at face value. First of all, the interpretation that is consistent with international law is that Erdogan seeks to return Kurdish occupied territories of the Syrian Arab Republic back to the Syrian government which is literally rightful owner of its own territory.

Others will be quick to jump onto the fact that Erdogan may be referencing the Ottoman Imperial map of the region, in which Afrin and Manbij, like almost all of the Arab world were territories belonging to Ottoman Turkey. Some will assert that this is what Erdogan means when he talks about “original owners”.

The reality most likely leans towards the first interpretation of the remarks. Practical realities on the ground and in geo-political relations attest to the likelihood of this interpretation.

Turkey is now in a position, largely thanks to tacit Syrian approval and an implied Russian lack of disapproval, to go after unilaterally declared Kurdish regimes operating on Syrian soil. As the war against Takfiri terrorism draws gradually to a close, Syria has become intent on preventing any would-be Kurdish insurgencies, especially since this could be the cover the US seeks to expand its illegal occupation of Syria.

Because of Turkey’s increased reliance on its economic partnership with Russia, it is becoming equally clear that Turkey is not in a position to defy Russia in Syria, even if it sought to do so.

At present Turkey’s once illegal occupation of Syria has gained a quasi-legal status through Turkey’s participation in the Astana peace talks which are co-chaired by Syria’s allies Russia and Iran and whose decisions are each approved by Damascus.

However, when the conflict in Syria is officially over, Turkey will lose any mandate for a continued presence in Syria.

Today’s remarks by Erdogan shed clarity on his future goals for northern Syria. He seeks to deprive Kurdish insurgent groups of their ability to create a de-facto statelet on Syrian territory. Thus, Erdogan’s words signal a clear mission with a clear goal. This can be contrasted with remarks made in previous years by Erdogan, suggesting that the Turkish occupation of Syria would be an indefinite phenomenon.

While many will remain sceptical of Erdogan’s remarks seeing as Turkey has established post-offices and other state offices in Syria’s Idlib, this is by no means a sign of permanence. When the Soviet Union was illegally broken-up by the leaders of the Russian Russian Soviet Federation Socialist Republic, Ukrainian Soviet Soviet Republic and Belorussian Soviet Social Republic, facilities throughout the Soviet Union were instantly taken away from Moscow in spite of years of legitimate economic activity by Moscow on its own legal territory. Likewise, after 1991, Russia’s former allies in central and eastern Europe unceremoniously kicked Russia out, in spite of previous agreements. Russia left and has no desire to come back. Whether this was a wise decision or not is open to debate, but the facts dictate that it is possible for allied troops to leave a country when no longer welcome, in spite of a lengthy alliance, the kind which Syria and Turkey certainly do not have.

If Moscow could so easily accept the loss of control of its territories and influence over her allies after 1991, Turkey’s small state-ventures in Idlib suddenly appear minuscule by comparison. One way or another, Turkey will have to cut its losses and Erdogan’s remarks clarify that once Kurdish militants are pacified, Ankara will likely be willing to do so in one way or another, not least because without support from the US, Turkey will not want to anger its new partners in Russia or Iran whose relationship with Ankara remains generally positive for all sides.

Posted in USA, Turkey0 Comments

This new book shows the future of the US

NOVANEWS

Review of a collection of essays on Russian-American relations 2015 – 2017 by one of the US’s top Russia experts

One of the most deeply frustrating things for anyone with any knowledge of Russia who has been following the Russiagate saga is the staggering ignorance of basic facts about Russia which is so prevalent amongst elites in the US.

What makes this especially frustrating is that there is actually no shortage of knowledgeable and erudite experts about Russia who could be called upon if any true desire for knowledge about Russia actually existed.

Of those one who who stands out is Gilbert Doctorow, who has been a professional Russia watcher since 1965.

Gilbert Doctorow has now offered us a new book – “Does the United States have a Future” – which brings together his splendid collection of essays about Russia and about Russian-American relations which he has been writing since 2015.

This is of course the same period when in the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis and because of Russia’s intervention in Syria Russian-American relations entered upon their present catastrophic downward spiral, with the US rolling out successive sanctions against Russia, and deploying ever greater numbers of its troops ever closer to Russia’s border.

In this heavy atmosphere of heightened Russian-US tensions, and amidst a shrill media campaign, the Russian side of the story rarely gets told.  What we get instead is an exaggerated focus on the largely misunderstood doings of one man – Vladimir Putin – who is not just routinely blamed for everything that goes wrong – be it Trump’s election, the Brexit vote, the 2015 European refugee crisis, the secessionist outbreak in Catalonia and the rise in Germany of the AfD – but who has become dangerously conflated with Russia itself.

The huge achievement of Gilbert Doctorow’s essays is that they put entirely behind them this disastrous paradigm.

For someone fixated on psychoanalysing Putin’s personality and on learning the gossip about the internal squabbles of the Kremlin this collection of essays has little to offer.  Doctorow has as little patience for this sort of thing as do I.  Suffice to say that one of the essays, which goes by the dismissive title “Kremlinology is alive and well in Russia”, turns out to be focused not on mythical Kremlin power struggles but on the impact on the people of St. Petersburg of a visit by Putin to their city.

For anyone interested in Putin what anyone reading these essays will get instead is detailed and erudite analyses of his speeches, of his massive and truly astonishing Q&A sessions, of his media interviews, and of the effect of all these doings on Russian public opinion and what they tell us about Russian policy.

Not by chance, the only reference to me in the whole collection is when Doctorow disagrees with me about an interview Putin gave to the German newspaper Bild-Zeitung.  I gave the German interviewers high marks for their conduct of the interview.  Doctorow politely expresses his incredulity.

Ultimately far more interesting to anyone genuinely interested in understanding the rapidly recovering Great Power which is Russia, and who wants to get a genuine grasp of the sort of things that move its people, are those essays which touch on topics other Western reporters of Russia tend to ignore.

Here Doctorow’s immense knowledge of Russia and of Russian history is essential, and it shines through every essay.

Thus we find masterful discussions of works about tsarist history by the historian Dominic Lieven, and an outstanding discussion – the best I have come across – of Henry Kissinger’s insights and  limitations as they concern Russia.  There is even a remarkable essay which takes Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina as a starting point to discuss war.

However the single thing which sets the essays which are specifically about Russia apart is the extraordinary rapport Gilbert Doctorow has with Russia’s ‘everyman’.  Take a comment like this one from the very first page of the very first essay in the book, which is dated 30th May 2015.  Against a background of a deepening recession Gilbert Doctorow tells us this

I say assuredly that the mood across the social spectrum of my “sources” is uniformly patriotic and uncomplaining.  These sources range from the usually outspoken taxi drivers; through the traditionally critical journalists, academics, artists and other intelligentsia who are family friends going back many years, to former business contacts and other elites.

How many of those who report from Russia are able to speak to a wide range of contacts like this?  How many of them pay heed to the opinions of Russia’s “usually outspoken taxi drivers”, reliable purveyors of the public mood though those people are?  How many of those who report from Russia even know how to talk to such people? (confession here: I don’t).

Or take Gilbert Doctorow’s deeply moving account from 10th May 2016 of the March of the Immortal Regiment, held now every year on 9th May to commemorate Russia’s sacrifice in the Second World War.  What other Western reporter of Russia has both the erudition and the common touch necessary to write a passage like this?

Given the manifestly patriotic nature of Victory in Europe Day celebrations, which open in Moscow and cities across Russia with military parades, precise marching columns, displays of military hardware on the ground and in the air, I was uncertain how possibly strident the Immortal Regiment component might be.  As it turned out, the crowd was uniformly good humoured and focused on its private obligations to be met: the celebration of parents, grandparents, even great grandparents’ role in the war and reconfirmation of their status as family heroes whatever their military or civil defence rank, whether they survived or were among the countless fatalities.

Elsewhere Gilbert Doctorow is able to talk knowledgeably in two different essays about the state of the Russian shopping basket – a matter of fundamental importance to Russians and therefore given Russia’s power and importance to everyone – of Russian responses to the Trump-Clinton debate, of the Russian public’s response to one of Putin’s mammoth annual Q&A sessions, and of the steely response – utterly free of sentimentality and hysteria – of the people of St. Petersburg and of Russia generally to a terrorist attack on the city.

Of the essays specifically about Russia it is however what Doctorow writes about the Russian media which Western readers may find most surprising.

It is now generally conceded even in the West that Russia does have a public opinion, something which tended not to be admitted in Soviet times, though there still seems to be little genuine interest in finding out what it is.

The lazy assumption is anyway that in Russia public opinion is effectively manipulated by the government through its supposedly all-encompassing control of the news media.

Though it is sometimes grudgingly admitted that the printed media does have some independent voices, and that the Russian media now has a degree of sophistication unknown in Soviet times, the prevailing opinion in the West is that it remains every bit as propagandistic and mendacious as it was in Soviet times.  The classic statement of this view is Peter Pomorantsev’s “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia”.

Doctorow’s essays are an important corrective to this bleak and distorted picture.

Doctorow does not sugarcoat the reality.  He concedes that the television media has a bias favouring the Kremlin and that ‘non-system’ politicians whose parties are not represented in the Duma like Kasyanov and Navalny have difficulty gaining access to it.

I would say in passing that Russia’s television media is not exceptional in this.  In my opinion Russian television today is much less controlled by the government than was French television during Charles De Gaulle’s and Georges Pompidou’s time in France, when I was in Paris as a child.

In any event, as a regular participant in Russia’s extraordinarily extended and elaborate political talk-shows – a vital and massively popular information tool for the Russian population – Doctorow shows that the common Western view that Russian television viewers get no exposure to the Western view-point and hear only the Kremlin’s view is simply wrong.  Here is one passage where Doctorow describes them

The regulars of these talk shows are a mix of Russians and foreigners, pro-Kremlin and anti-Kremlin voices.  There inevitably is at least one American who can be counted on to purvey the Washington Narrative.  A reliable regular in this category has been Michael Bohm, who was for a long-time op-ed manager at The Moscow Times and now is said to be teaching journalism in Moscow….

From among Russians, the talk show hosts bring in one or more representative of opposition parties.  On the 11th it happened to be a personality from the Yabloko Party (Liberals).  But at other times there will be the leader of the Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, the founder of the right nationalist LDPR, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, or the leader of the social democratic party, Just Russia, Sergei Mironov.  They all get their time on air in these shows.

Elsewhere Doctorow gives vivid accounts of these sprawling and at times chaotic talk shows, which have no precise analogue anywhere else that I know of.

Doctorow’s book, as its title shows, is not only about Russia.  Rather it is about the collapse of any sort of dialogue based on mutual respect and understanding between the US and Russia.

In essay after essay Doctorow pinpoints the cause: at a time when the Russian mind is becoming increasingly open, the American mind is becoming increasingly closed.

The title of the book – “Does the United States have a future?” – is in fact an intentional exercise in reverse imaging.

At its simplest it refers back to Doctorow’s previous book: “Does Russia have a future?” published in 2015.

However the title of both books must also be seen as a comment on the ‘disaster literature’ about Russia which has become so prevalent in the West, and which continues unabated to this day even as it is repeatedly proved wrong.

Basically what Doctorow is saying is that it is in the US not Russia that the suppression of debate and independent voices is putting the future in jeopardy.

It is in these essays that look at the situation in the US where Doctorow dissects the evolution or rather regression of US policy towards an increasingly strident Russophobia, and where one senses Doctorow’s growing exasperation and alarm.

Take for example what Doctorow has to say about one of the most outspoken Americans calling for ever more confrontation with Russia: NATO’s former military chief General Breedlove

Most everything is wrong with what Breedlove tells us in his article.  It is a perfect illustration of the consequences of the monopoly control of our media and both Houses of Congress by the ideologists of the Neoconservative and Liberal Interventionist school: we see a stunning lack of rigour in argumentation in Breedlove’s article coming from the absence of debate and his talking only to yes men.

Perhaps the biggest mistakes are conceptual: urging military means to resolve what are fundamentally political issues over the proper place of Russia in the European and global security architecture.  Whereas for Clausewitz war was ‘a continuation of politics by other means’, for Breedlove politics, or diplomacy, do not exist, only war.

The alarm in the last paragraph finds still greater emphasis in the essay which immediately precedes ot.  This has the ominous title “The Nuclear Clock is at Two Minutes to Midnight”.

It is however in the closing of the American mind where Doctorow pinpoints the danger

My point is not to ridicule the very earnest and well-intentioned anti-war campaigners whose ranks I joined that day.  It is to demonstrate how and why the highly tendentious reporting of what we are doing in the world and what others are doing to us, combined with the selective news blackouts altogether by major media has left even activists unaware of real threats to peace and to our very survival that American foreign policy has created over the past 20 years and is projected to create into the indefinite future if the public does not awaken from its slumber and demand to be informed by experts of countervailing views.  We are living through a situation unparalleled in our history as a nation where the issues of war and peace are not being debated in public.

Along with the alarm and frustration there is also very real disappointment.

Like most people who lived through the later stages of the Cold War Doctorow remembers a world where the US’s European allies acted as a force of restraint on the US.

Based now in Brussels at the very epicentre of the European Union Doctorow is shocked at the extent to which this is no longer the case, and at the degree to which the same attitudes of hubris, belligerence and hysteria which have gained such a hold in the US have now also managed to gain a hold in Europe.

Like many others Doctorow is totally unimpressed by the current crop of European politicians, and as someone able to remember the likes of Charles De Gaulle and Helmut Schmidt Doctorow does not balk from expressing his scorn in withering terms.  A good example is to be found in the title of one of his essays: “News flash: Europe is brain dead and on the drip”.

It is in his discussions of Europe that Doctorow allows himself his brief flashes of anger.  Take these comments he makes about Elmar Brok, the truly dreadful chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs

I remember with a shudder an exchange I had with Elmar Brok on 5 March 2015 on The Network, a debate program of Euronews. Brok, a German, is the chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. He comes from Angela Merkel’s CDU party and within the Parliament is in the European People’s Party bloc, on the center right, the bloc which really calls the shots in the EP.

Brok is big, brash and does not hesitate to throw his weight around, especially when talking with someone outside the Establishment whom he has no reason to fear. We were discussing the shooting of Boris Nemtsov, which occurred just days before. Brok insisted the murder was the responsibility of Vladimir Putin. Not that Putin pulled the trigger, but he created the atmosphere where such things could happen, etc., etc. One way or another the talk shifted to the allegedly autocratic nature of the Putin ‘regime,’ with its crackdown on freedoms, and in particular ever tightening control of media.

At that point, I objected that the Russia media were very diverse editorially, with many different points of view expressed freely. Brok shot back that this was patently untrue, and he did not hesitate to cross all red lines and indulge in libel on air by asking how much the Kremlin paid me to say that.

Apart from the obvious truth that an authoritarian like MEP Brok would not know freedom of speech if he tripped on it, I think back to that exchange every week whenever I turn on Russian state television and watch one or another of the main political talk shows.

Doctorow’s strongest feelings of disappointment however remain firmly focused on the US.

Doctorow’s essays show that like many people he entertained very cautiously worded hopes about Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton after all was the self-styled ‘war candidate’ and the preferred choice of the Neocons, whilst Trump at least spoke of the need for better relations with Russia.

Not for nothing is one of Doctorow’s essays entitled “War or Peace: the essential question before American voters on November 8th”.

Doctorow’s hopes were never very high and like many others he was appalled by the conduct of the 2016 election, which he calls disgraceful.  His essays which follow Trump’s election victory show the speed of his disillusionment.  Not only has Trump proved completely incapable of fulfilling any of Doctorow’s hopes; he seems to have no idea of how to conduct foreign relations, and is rapidly reverting to the aggressive belligerence which is now the default position of all US Presidents.

In the meantime his election has heightened partisan tensions within the US to unheard of levels.

In his final chapter, which has the same title – “Does the United States have a future?” – as the whole book, Doctorow sets out the consequences.

A US which twenty years ago bestrode the world is now incapable of governing itself, whilst its increasingly reckless conduct is spreading conflict and alarm around the world.

Not only has trust in “American leadership” as a result all but collapsed but the two other Great Powers – Russia and China – have been completely alienated, and are busy forging an alliance whose combined resources will soon dwarf those of the US.

About all that the US however remains in denial, as it is about the world crisis its actions are generating.  In a political system where all dissenting opinions are excluded it cannot by definition be otherwise.  Thus the US looks set to continue on its present ruinous course, with no ability to change direction

….a still greater threat to our democracy and to the sustainability of our great power status has come from the inverse phenomenon, namely the truly bipartisan management of foreign policy in Congress.  The Republican and Democratic Party leaderships have maintained strict discipline in promotion of what are Neoconservative and Liberal Interventionist positions on every issue placed before Congress.  Committees on security and foreign affairs invite to testify before them only those experts who can be counted upon to support the official Washington narrative.  Debate on the floor of the houses is nonexistent.  And the votes are so lopsided as to be shocking, none more so than the votes in August on the “Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act”….

It would be comforting if the problems of our political culture began and ended with the elites operating in Washington DC.  However that is patently not the case.  The problem exists across the country in the form of a stifling conformism, or groupthink that is destroying the open marketplace for ideas essential for any vital democracy.

I recognise the accuracy of this picture and am prey to no illusion.  However in my opinion it is still too early to give up hope.

Trump’s victory, if it shows nothing else, shows that there is more resistance to the ‘groupthink’ in the US than Doctorow in these passages perhaps allows.  What is the Russiagate hysteria after all if not the expression of a collective nervous breakdown on the part of the US elite at the discovery that the American people as a whole do not share their obsessions?

A state of hysteria of the sort we are going through now cannot be sustained indefinitely.  Eventually a reaction will set in, at which point those at the forefront in spreading the hysteria will be exposed as the charlatans that they are, whilst many of those they fooled will feel ashamed.

When that point comes it is good to know from this outstanding collection of essays that there are still genuine experts available that the US can call upon to guide its policies like Gilbert Doctorow.

Posted in USA, Russia0 Comments

Russian Federation SITREP

NOVANEWS

” … the side that mostly lies wants to stop its population hearing the side that mostly tells the truth.”

The best SITREP out there

WESTERN VALUES™. So now RT America is a “foreign agent“. (Remember all the faux outrage about Russia’s FARA imitation law? No? But it was only a year ago: “Russia: Four years of Putin’s ‘Foreign Agents’ law to shackle and silence NGOs“. Hard to keep up, isn’t it?) In case you think this reflects poorly on the “champion for free speech and free press”, John McCain, channelling Brezhnev, explains why it doesn’t. In the Cold War they blocked us but we didn’t bother to block them.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out: the side that mostly lies wants to stop its population hearing the side that mostly tells the truth. One reason is that telling (mostly) the truth is just easier. For example, Russian propaganda for the home audience lets the Western side say whatever it wants as long as it wants. Why? “the Russians have no need to lie, their propaganda is fundamentally truthful, fact based and logical…. unlike their American counterparts, the Russians are not engaging in policies which they cannot justify before their own public opinion or before the public opinion of the rest of the planet”.

In Syria the Russians are doing what they say they are doing; no need to explain why Russian troops supposedly in Ukraine can’t be seen; there are no Pokemon stories in Russia. In short, Russian propaganda is all made in the West and every idiotic story is re-played. “So yes, the Russians are using the immense arrogance and poorly-concealed hatred for Russia of some of the more pompous and least intelligent representatives of the West to paint an absolutely fair and accurate representation of the western ruling elites”.

SPEAKING OF THINGS HARD TO JUSTIFY before the Western public. “Raqqa’s dirty secret…. a secret deal that let hundreds of IS fighters…. escape from Raqqa, under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition…“. “Some of the U.S.-made weapons available on these markets likely first entered Syria as part of an ill-fated Pentagon program to train and equip fighters in northern Syria to take on the Islamic State.” Are these bugs or features? Either way, the West isn’t doing what it says it is doing.

advertisement

RELIGION. I found this video interesting: Putin and most of the Russian religious establishment (named here, but not the RC Ordinary for some reason) honour Minim and PozharskyThat’s diversity.RUSSIA INC. Inflation fell to 2.7% in October; this is a post USSR record low. Slowly but surely.

BOMB SCARES. There have been a series of hoax bomb scares across Russia lately. Phoned in from abroad we are told. Wondered that myself: I’m not suggesting it was governments but the panic is constantly pumped higher and there are a lot of excitable people out there.

REMITTANCES. A study shows that all FUSSR states except Russia and Kazakhstan are “intensely dependent” on remittances. Author’s summary: “a new system of transnational, cross-border dependency, unprecedented in its intensity”. The two “magnets” are the EU and Russia. An interesting take on the post-Soviet reality; at the end of the day, you’re either a dependent of one or of the other.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. Best summary of the story so far: “The two sources that originated the allegations claiming that Russia meddled in the 2016 election… were both paid for by the Democratic National Committee…“. Even the MSM is starting to notice (WSJ): “The Clinton campaign commissioned a foreign ex-spy to gin up rumors, which made it to U.S. intelligence agencies, and then got reporters to cite it as government-sourced.” Crowdstrike and Fusion GPS are the ur-sources. We get closer: a Fusion GPS exec spent seven hours with the House Committee on Tuesday. Bershidsky, no friend to Putin & Co, points out how ludicrous the theories have become. This was never expected to become public; it was supposed to stay in the background of her march to the White House.

PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. Spreading fast. “How the Russian meddling machine won the online battle of the illegal referendum” (El Pais). “Putin’s lying machine: Revealed, how Russia’s spewing out ruthless propaganda… “. Enjoy the map which shows how the Kremlin is “stoking discord” around the world. Again we see that lying takes more effort. And a constant effort too: always plugging holes in the narrative which gets ever more preposterous. (But read the comments: the story isn’t selling well).

MAYBE FILE. “American” LNG delivered to Europe is actually purchased in RussiaSame sourcesaid “American” coal for Ukraine also came from Russia. It wouldn’t surprise me, but I await confirmation.

SYRIA. The Syrians have liberated Abu Kamal, the last urban hold of Daesh in Syria; 25 months after Russia intervened. Some American talking heads are still in denial (more convolution).

UKRAINE. Maidan II continues but the WMSM doesn’t see it. On Sunday Saakashvili led a march demanding Poroshenko’s impeachment. Couldn’t make this stuff up.

Posted in Russia0 Comments

The Jews, The Poles, and the History of Western Ukraine (Galicia)

NOVANEWS

WW2 drove hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Slavic peoples who identified as part of the Russian world off of lands they had been inhabiting for 1000 years, beginning with the original Russian nation state of Kievan Rus’. These lands are now part of Poland.

Understanding the historical backdrop to this, going back hundreds of years, is critical to understanding what is happening today in the region, especially to understanding relations between Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.

Galicia – a land trapped between east and west.

Galicia was part of Kievan Rus’ dating back to the year 1,000. For almost 700 years it was under the control of Poland or Austro-Hungry.

A migration to the United States took place from there in the late 1890s and up to the onset of WWI in 1914.  At that time Galicia was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire from 1773 to 1918.

advertisement

The Austro-Hungarian empire took over Galicia from Poland in 1773 as part of the portioning of Poland by Russia, Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire. At the end of WWI in 1918 the Austro-Hungarian empire was broken up. The Curzon line was established by Lord Curzon to accurately demark the boundaries between Polish and Ukrainian populations.During the Russian revolution in 1918, Poland attacked and moved their border east of the Curzon line by about 130 miles thereby enslaving 6,000,000 Ukrainians/Russians/Byelorussians for a period of about 20 years until the onset of WWII.

A small but influential group of people contributed to the conflicts over the centuries. They were the Szlachta (pron: ShlAKH-ta) and their Jewish financiers. Szlachta were the wealthy Polish landlords whose actions and lifestyle contributed to much of the turmoil in the 16th century until 1939.

Polish Nobility (Szlachta) were ideally considered social equals regardless of what titles they held in the Elective Monarchy that was the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Above is a painting of them in costumes of the different Viovodeships (provinces) of Poland). 


When the Red Army moved into Galicia in 1939, the Szlachta were eliminated for good. This happened when the local Ukrainian population took revenge against the Szlachta , some were executed by the KGB and others shipped off to Siberia.

The Jewish population perished in WWII at the hand of the Nazis. The Szlachta and their Jewish financiers and their actions had much to do with what happened to Poland in what has been described as the “Paradise of Nobility & Jews” period.

This period came to an abrupt end in 1939 when the Szlachta was wiped out by Red Army and soon afterward the Jews by the German army. The peasants of all nationalities (including Poles) lived in POVERTY.

The Szlachta actually regarded themselves as being biologically unique. This was the Sarmatism theory that the Szlachta were special descendants of Sarmatians This happened 4 centuries before the Nazi’s took up the idea.

While the archetypical Polish Szlachtic (noblemen) is dressed in red Zupan and coat as shown on the far left holding the Hetman’s mace, the man in the blue, almost far eastern inspired silk robes exemplifies Polish-Sarmatian fashion. 


The Jewish alliance with the Szlachta remained constant. The Ukrainians denounced the Jews as the selected accomplices of the Szlachta . This was long before the Nazi Holocaust. This information comes from a noted historian who wrote a 2 volume book about the history of Poland.

The Ukrainian conflict with Poles and Jews is centuries old. An example of Ukrainian rage was the  Cossack-led  Koliyivshchyna battles in 1768/1769 against the Szlachta and Jews in which over 100,000 were killed.

Poland came back into existence in 1918 after being divided between Russia, Germany, and Austro-Hungry starting in the 1700s for about 150 years. In the 1600s Poland was militarily aggressive having invaded Moscow twice. The first time being 1610.  In addition, the Polish forces starting in the 1500s  controlled a large part of the Ukraine up to the area of Kiev which has been the capital of the Ukraine back to the start of the Kievan Rus’ in about the year 990.

The Intervention of Polish King Boleslaw the Brave in the Kievan Interregnum. King Boleslaw is depicted with Russian Prince Svatopolk the Accursed who betrayed the city to Poland as the King famously damages his sword on the Golden Gate of Kiev. 


The dismemberment of Poland in the 1700’s was a result of Poland’s aggressive behavior in the previous centuries. There were 3 divisions of Poland in the 1700’s  The first 2 involved taking back Russian, Ukrainian and Byelorussians territory that Poland had occupied. It is only the last partition in 1795 that the Russians took over truly Polish lands.

The repressions by the Russians were less than the Poles inflicted on Russians, Ukrainians and Byelorussians when they occupied their lands.  While Poland held the upper hand, in 1596, they imposed the Uniate Catholic religion on the Ukrainians.

“You can still have your Slavonic Orthodox liturgy, your priests can be married, but you must accept the Pope as your supreme leader.” The same dictate was imposed on the Galician’s when under the Austro-Hungarian rule.  What the Poles inflicted on others in their heydays of the 1500’s and mid-1600s, resulted in their being partitioned in the 1700s for a period of about 150 years.

When I speak of the Poles, I do NOT include the masses of the Polish population, they are just like any other population. I speak ONLY of the Polish Szlachta (landowner gentry). These are the landowner Polish gentry that lorded over as many as they could, for as long as they could. Their unraveling started in 1648 when the Cossack Bohdan Khmelnitsky led his forces against the Polish Szlachta and their Jewish financiers and inflicted heavy casualties on these 2 groups.

The Victorious entry into Kiev of Hetman Khmelnitsky


During WWII, there was a Khmelnitsky medal for valor issued by the Red Army. Jews refused this medal.  One needs to know that in the 19th century 80% of the world’s Jews lived in the Pale of Settlement that included Poland, western Ukraine and Belarus and surrounding areas. They were not biblical Jews but simply a tribe of Khazar Turks that converted to Judaism about 1,000 years ago.

Orthodox Christians had to pay rent to Jewish merchants to attend their own churches.  What happened to the Szlachta also happened to the Polish nation.

Khmelnitsky aligned his forces with Orthodox Russia from which he and the Ukrainian people gained support to this day.

Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky leads the reunification of Ukraine with Russia at the Pereslav Rada in 1654. Painting by famous Ukrainian artists Mikhail Khmelko “Forever with Moscow, Forever with the Russian People!”


When Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, a significant number of Poles joined his army. He was defeated and Poland suffered many casualties.

The Austro-Hungarian empire lasted for several hundred years until it fell apart in 1918 and the end of WWI. During that time the majority Slavic population were treated as second-class citizens.

Vienna was a happy city. Most of the Ukrainians ( many call themselves Russian or made no distinction between Russian or Ukrainian and the term Halychyna Rus was common). were happy to move on to America and seek a new life.

In so doing they avoided the tragedies that befell those who remained in Europe during the two World Wars.

Between WWI and WWII, the Galician’s  were ruled by a Polish fascist military dictatorship. This dictatorship was in negotiations with the Japanese in the early 1930s with plans to invade the Soviet Union. Japan invaded China in 1931. Japan fought a war with the Soviet Union in 1938 on the border between Manchuria and Mongolia. The Japanese were defeated.

Simply, the Ukrainians were oppressed to the point that they killed the Polish Interior minister and other Polish officials. In the years between 1918 to 1939, the Poles sent in hundreds of thousands of Polish “settlers”  with the intent of eventually getting rid of the Ukrainians from lands they have lived on for a thousand years. The Polish leaders spoke openly of expelling every Ukrainian from Polish occupied Galicia. Ethnic cleansing in today’s terminology.

In September 1939 Galicia was liberated by the Red Army and remains part of the Ukraine to this day. What happened in Galicia from the time of their liberation from Polish rule in September 1939 and the onset of WWII when the Germans attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941 and their eventual liberation from the Nazi’s in 1944 needs clarification and quantification.

From mid-September 1939, when the Soviet army liberated Galicia, to mid-June 1941 when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, corrections had to be made to the Polish rule. In this 21 month period, the wrongs inflicted on the Galician population from 1921 till 1939 had to be and were corrected. Sentences were carried out and some 200,000 Poles were deported to Siberia. The Soviets encouraged revenge against the Polish landlords and state officials. Between 1939 and 1941 tens of thousands of Poles fled West Ukraine to the Nazi General Government.

War with Germany was on the horizon and getting rid of potential collaborators had to be done. No doubt there were errors in the sentences, but when the Germans attacked in June of 1941, the Germans found few collaborators.  So the purges carried out from September 1939 to June 1941 were effective. The Soviets won World War II in Europe almost single-handed.

Much has been made of the massacre at Katyn where 4500 Polish officers were executed by the Soviets. The Russians took 400,000 Polish soldiers captive. 380,000 continued to fight for the Allied cause in WWII, some under the command of General Anders and General Berling. Six Polish divisions were part of the Red Army that took Berlin. The 20,000 “unaccounted for” were reserve officers who in civilian life were public officials, police and other professional people the Russians had good reason not to trust. All were sworn enemies of Soviet authorities and full of hatred of the Soviet system. They had to be eliminated.

The Soviet system won WWII in Europe almost single-handedly. No one speaks of what happened to the Polish army that the Germans captured. WHY? Nor the 5,000,000 citizens that were killed in WWII. 3,000,000 Jews killed is well known. But the 2,000,000 Poles killed by the Germans is given little or no acknowledgment.

In the 3 year period from June 1941, when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, to June 1944, when they were driven out, there was much turmoil in Galicia among various factions of Ukrainians, Poles and Jews. The German army moved through Galicia quickly in 1941 and was expelled from there quickly in 1944. During the war, there were 3 Slavic countries in which small segments of the population collaborated with the Nazi’s. Complicit in this activity was the Catholic Church and clergy.

The Ustashe (Fascists) in Croatia ( cardinal Stepanic and the Franciscan order), Monsignor Tiso in Slovakia who was executed after the war and  Ukrainians. The leaders of the Ukrainian collaborators were children of Ukrainian Catholic priests. There were about 30,000 collaborators and several hundred thousand sympathizers out of a population of 5,000,000. The reasons why some Ukrainian people collaborated vary. Some were forced to do so or face death, others looked upon this as an opportunity to rid themselves of Polish rule and some did it out of anti-Semitic feelings.

The leaders of the collaborationists looked upon this as an opportunity to assert themselves and gain control which they never had under Polish rule. That was understandable. Germany would help them achieve their aspirations. Simply put, the collaborators were WRONG.

As the war turned against Germany, they had to change their outlook.  Neither Poland or Germany had any good intentions for the people of Galicia or the Ukraine.  The turbulence experienced by the Galician’s during this period were horrific. When liberated by the Red Army in 1944, for the first time in about 700 years the people of Galicia were reunited with the entire Ukraine as they had been in the times of Kievan Rus’. Foreign domination ended!

However, west of the Polish/Ukrainian border established at the end of WWII the Ukrainian population continued to suffer under Polish rule. Ukrainians were being driven off the lands they have occupied for a thousand years. Ukrainians were a demographic majority in many areas in southeast Poland west of the border established after World War II from a depth of 20 to 30 miles and a stretch of about 120 miles.

Cities currently west of the border such as Yaroslav, Peremyshl, Przeworsk, Sienawa and Sanok were ancient towns that were part of Kievan Rus’. For centuries these cities and towns were populated by Ukrainians /Russians. The Carpatho-Russians (sometimes called Rusyns) always had a strong feeling for Russia as their protector.

Carpatho-Russian Women


In the spring of 1945, many of these Ukrainians had no choice but to be repatriated to the Soviet Ukraine. Soviet authorities took the necessary steps to relocate these people into villages inside the Ukraine. Ukrainians were forced to leave their native cities and villages and went into the Ukraine.

During the entire period of “repatriations” from October 1944 to June 1946, 482,000 Ukrainians departed to the Soviet Union from areas west of the border. These numbers are from a recent book.

The Polish state murdered & criminalized the Ukrainian population and set about redistributing the properties it had taken from resettled Ukrainians in southeast Poland which included churches.

So ended the one thousand years of continuous  Ukrainian settlement in ancient Kievan Rus’ cities and towns that are now under Polish rule.


REFERENCES

BLOODLANDS Europe between Hitler & Stalin by Timothy Snyder. Publisher: Basic Books 

GODS Playground, History of Poland (2 volumes) by Norman Davies. Columbia University Press

 Curzon Line, from Bing Web Search or Wikipedia

 Operation Vistula from Bing Web Search

Posted in Europe0 Comments

America’s Righteous Russia-gate Censorship

NOVANEWS

“But what is perhaps most troubling to me … is the silence of many civil liberties advocates, liberal politicians and defenders of press freedom who might have been counted on in earlier days …”

A stark difference between today’s Washington and when I was here as a young Associated Press correspondent in the late 1970s and the early 1980s is that then – even as the old Cold War was heating up around the election of Ronald Reagan – there were prominent mainstream journalists who looked askance at the excessive demonization of the Soviet Union and doubted wild claims about the dire threats to U.S. national security from Nicaragua and Grenada.

Perhaps the Vietnam War was still fresh enough in people’s minds that senior editors and national reporters understood the dangers of mindless groupthink inside Official Washington, as well as the importance of healthy skepticism toward official pronouncements from the U.S. intelligence community.

Today, however, I cannot think of a single prominent figure in the mainstream news media who questions any claim – no matter how unlikely or absurd – that vilifies Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country. It is all Russia-bashing all the time.

advertisement

And, behind this disturbing anti-Russian uniformity are increasing assaults against independent and dissident journalists and news outlets outside the mainstream. We’re not just entering a New Cold War and a New McCarthyism; we’re also getting a heavy dose of old-style Orwellianism.Sometimes you see this in individual acts like HuffingtonPost taking down a well-reported story by journalist Joe Lauria because he dared to point out that Democratic money financed the two initial elements of what’s now known as Russia-gate: the forensic examination of computers at the Democratic National Committee and the opposition research on Donald Trump conducted by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.

HuffingtonPost never contacted Lauria before or after its decision to retract the story, despite a request from him for the reasons why. HuffPost editors told a BuzzFeed reporter that they were responding to reader complaints that the article was filled with factual errors but none have ever been spelled out, leaving little doubt that Lauria’s real “error” was in defying the Russia-gate groupthink of the anti-Trump Resistance. [A version of Lauria’s story appeared at Consortiumnews.com before Lauria posted it at HuffPost. If you want to sign a petition calling on HuffPost to restore Lauria’s article, click here.]

Muzzling RT

Other times, the expanding American censorship is driven by U.S. government agencies, such as the Justice Department’s demand that the Russian news outlet, RT, register under the restrictive Foreign Agent Registration Act, which requires such prompt, frequent and detailed disclosures of supposed “propaganda” that it could make it impossible for RT to continue to function in the United States.

This attack on RT was rationalized by the Jan. 6 “Intelligence Community Assessment” that was, in reality, prepared by a handful of “hand-picked” analysts from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency. Their report included a seven-page addendum from 2012 accusing RT of spreading Russian propaganda – and apparently this Jan. 6 report must now be accepted as gospel truth, no questions permitted.

However, if any real journalist actually read the Jan. 6 report, he or she would have discovered that RT’s sinister assault on American democracy included such offenses as holding a debate among third-party candidates who were excluded from the Republican-Democratic debates in 2012. Yes, allowing Libertarians and Greens to express their points of view is a grave danger to American democracy.

Other RT “propaganda” included reporting on the Occupy Wall Street protests and examining the environmental dangers from “fracking,” issues that also have been widely covered by the domestic American media. Apparently, whenever RT covers a newsworthy event – even if others have too – that constitutes “propaganda,” which must be throttled to protect the American people from the danger of seeing it.

If you bother to study the Jan. 6 report’s addendum, it is hard not to conclude that these “hand-picked” analysts were either stark-raving mad or madly anti-Russian. Yet, this “Intelligence Community Assessment” is now beyond questioning unless you want to be labeled a “Kremlin stooge” or “Putin’s useful idiot.” [An earlier State Department attack on RT was equally ridiculous or demonstrably false.]

And, by the way, it was President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who testified under oath that the analysts from the three agencies were “hand-picked.” That means that they were analysts personally selected by Obama’s intelligence chiefs from three agencies – not “all 17” as the American public was told over and over again – and thus were not even a full representation of analysts from those three agencies. Yet, this subset of a subset is routinely described as “the U.S. intelligence community,” even after major news outlets finally had to retract their “all 17” canard.So, the myth of the intelligence community’s consensus lives on. For instance, in an upbeat article on Tuesday about the U.S. government’s coercing RT into registering as a foreign agent, Washington Post reporters Devlin Barrett and David Filipov wrote, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the network and website push relentlessly anti-American propaganda at the behest of the Russian government.”

In the old days, even during the old Cold War and President Reagan’s ranting about “the Evil Empire,” some of us would have actually examined the Jan. 6 report’s case against RT and noted the absurdity of these claims about “relentlessly anti-American propaganda.” Whether you want to hear the views of the Greens and Libertarians or not – or whether you like “fracking” and hate Occupy Wall Street – the opportunity to hear this information doesn’t constitute “relentlessly anti-American propaganda.”

The U.S. government’s real beef with RT seems to be that it allows on air some Americans who have been blacklisted from the mainstream media – including highly credentialed former U.S. intelligence analysts and well-informed American journalists – because they have challenged various Official Narratives.

In other words, Americans are not supposed to hear the other side of the story on important international conflicts, such as the proxy war in Syria or the civil war in Ukraine or Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians. Only the State Department’s versions of those events are permitted even when those versions are themselves propagandistic if not outright false.

For example, you’re not supposed to hear about the huge holes in the Syria-sarin cases, nor about Ukraine’s post-coup regime arming neo-Nazis to kill ethnic-Russian Ukrainians, nor about Israel’s evolution into an apartheid state. All right-thinking Americans are to get only a steady diet of how righteous the U.S. government and its allies always are. Anything else is “propaganda.”Also off limits is any thoughtful critique of that Jan. 6 report – or apparently even Clapper’s characterization of it as a product of “hand-picked” analysts from only three agencies. You’re not supposed to ask why other U.S. intelligence agencies with deep knowledge about Russia were excluded and why even other analysts from the three involved agencies were shut out.

No, you must always think of the Jan. 6 report as the “consensus” assessment from the entire “U.S. intelligence community.” And you must accept it as flat fact – as it now is treated by The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other mainstream news outlets. You shouldn’t even notice that the Jan. 6 report itself doesn’t claim that Russian election meddling was a fact. The report explains, that “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.”

But even quoting from the Jan. 6 report might make an American reporter some kind of traitorous “Russian mole” whose journalism must be purged from “responsible” media and who should be forced to wear the journalistic equivalent of a yellow star.

The Anti-Trump/Russia Hysteria

Of course, much of this anti-Russian hysteria comes from the year-long fury about the shocking election of Donald Trump. From the first moments of stunned disbelief over Hillary Clinton’s defeat, the narrative was put in motion to blame Trump’s victory not on Clinton and her wretched campaign but on Russia. That also was viewed as a possible way of reversing the election’s outcome and removing Trump from office.The major U.S. news media quite openly moved to the forefront of the Resistance. The Washington Post adopted the melodramatic and hypocritical slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” as it unleashed its journalists to trumpet the narrative of some disloyal Americans spreading Russian propaganda. Darkness presumably was a fine place to stick people who questioned the Resistance’s Russia-gate narrative.

An early shot in this war against dissenting information was fired last Thanksgiving Day when the Post published a front-page article citing an anonymous group called PropOrNot smearing 200 Internet news sites for allegedly disseminating Russian propaganda. The list included some of the most important sources of independent journalism, including Consortiumnews.com, apparently for the crime of questioning some of the State Department’s narratives on international conflicts, particularly Syria and Ukraine.

Then, with the anti-Russia hysteria building and the censorship ball rolling, Congress last December approved $160 million for think tanks and other non-governmental organizations to combat Russian propaganda. Soon, reports and studies were flying off the shelves detecting a Russian behind every article, tweet and posting that didn’t toe the State Department’s line.

The New York Times and other leading news organizations have even cheered plans for Google, Facebook and other technology companies to deploy algorithms that can hunt down, marginalize or eliminate information that establishment media deems “fake” or “propaganda.” Already Google has put together a First Draft coalition, consisting of mainstream media and establishment-approved Web sites to decide what information makes the cut and what doesn’t.

Among these arbiters of truth is the fact-check organization PolitiFact, which judged the falsehood about “all 17 intelligence agencies” signing off on the Russian “hacking” claim to be “true.” Even though the claim was never true and is now clearly established as false, PolitiFact continues to assert that this lie is the truth, apparently filled with the hubris that comes with its power over determining what is true and what is false.

But what is perhaps most troubling to me about these developments is the silence of many civil liberties advocates, liberal politicians and defenders of press freedom who might have been counted on in earlier days to object to this censorship and blackballing.

It appears that the ends of taking down Donald Trump and demonizing Vladimir Putin justify whatever means, no matter the existential danger of nuclear war with Russia or the McCarthyistic (even Orwellian) threats to freedom of speech, press and thought.

Posted in USA, Russia0 Comments

Is Putin Is Russia’s Anti-Stalinist

NOVANEWS

” … Cohen concludes, the new memorial to Stalin’s victims, however historic, will not end the bitter controversy and political struggle over his reputation in Russia, which began with his death 64 years ago.”

Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fourth year, are at The Nation)


In November 1961, at the end of a Community Party Congress that publicly condemned Stalin’s crimes, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev unexpectedly called for the building of a national memorial to the tens of millions of victims of Stalin’s nearly 25-year reign, much of it accompanied by mass terror.

Part 1:

Part 2:

During the next five decades, a fierce political struggle raged between anti-Stalinists and pro-Stalinists, sometimes publicly but often behind the scenes, over whether the victims should be memorialized or deleted from history through repression and censorship. On October 30 of this year, Russia’s anti-Stalinists finally won this struggle when Putin officially and personally inaugurated, in the center of Moscow, a large memorial sculpture named “Wall of Sorrow” depicting the victims’ fate. Though nominally dedicated to all victims of Soviet repression, the monument was clearly—in word, deed, and design—focused on the Stalin years, from 1929 to his death in 1953.

Cohen explains that he has spent decades studying the Stalin era, during which he came to know personally many surviving victims of the mass terror and had closely observed various aspects of the struggle over their subsequent place in Soviet politics and history. (This history and Cohen’s is recounted in his book The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin.)

As a result, he and his wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, felt a compelling need to be present at the ceremony on October 30. Having gained access to the semi-closed event, attended perhaps by some 300 people (including officials, representatives of anti-Stalinist memorial organizations, aged survivors, relatives of victims, and the mostly Russian press), they flew to Moscow for the occasion.

Cohen gave Batchelor his firsthand account of the event, at which Putin, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, and a representative of a memorial organization, Vladimir Lukin (whom Cohen had known since 1976, when Lukin was a semi-dissident outcast in Moscow, and later a post-Soviet Russian ambassador to Washington), spoke.

The formal ceremony began just after 5 pmand lasted, after a choir’s hymns, about 45 minutes. At first, Cohen felt it was marred by the dark, cold, rainy weather, until he heard someone in the gathering remark quietly, “The heavens are weeping for the victims.” In the context of other anti-Stalinist speeches by Soviet and post-Soviet leaders over the years,

Cohen thought Putin’s remarks were heartfelt, moving, even profound. (They can be found in English at Kremlin.ru.) Without mentioning their names, Putin alluded to the crucial roles played in the anti-Stalinist struggle by Khrushchev and by Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet leader during the years of reform from 1985 to 1991.

(Cohen and vanden Heuvel spent the evening before the ceremony at a private dinner with Gorbachev and one of his closest friends, often recalling Gorbachev’s pathbreaking de-Stalinizing reformation, known as perestroika, much of which they had also observed firsthand.) One of Putin’s remarks at the ceremony struck Cohen as especially important. After allowing that most events in Russian history were the subject of legitimate debate, Stalin’s long mass terror, Putin suggested, was not.

Other controversial episodes may have their historical pluses and minuses, but Stalin’s terror and its consequences were too criminal and ramifying for any pluses. That, he emphasized, was the essential lesson for Russia’s present and future.

Based on reading the Russian press and watching Moscow television for three days, Cohen concluded there were three general reactions to the memorial monument and Putin’s role, at least among Moscow’s political and intellectual elites. One was full approval. Another, expressed in a protest by a number of Soviet-era dissidents, most of them now living abroad, and reported in Russian media, was that such a memorial to historical victims was “cynical” while there were still victims of repression in today’s Russia.The third view, expressed by ultra-nationalist writers, was that any condemnation of Stalin’s “repression,” especially officially and by President Putin personally, was deplorable because it weakened the nation’s will to “repress” US and NATO encroachment on Russia’s borders and its “fifth column” representatives inside the Russian political establishment today. If nothing else, Cohen points out, these reactions testify to the spectrum of public political opinion in Russia under Putin.

Understood in historical and political context, the official creation of the memorial monument was a historic development—not only a much belated tribute to Stalin’s victims and their millions of surviving relatives but official acknowledgment of the (Soviet) Russian state’s prolonged act of massive historical criminality. And yet American media coverage of the October 30 event was woefully characteristic of its general reporting on Russia today—either selectively silent or slanted to diminish the significance of the event, whether because of ignorance or the evidently mandatory need to vilify everything Putin does or says.

The title of the New York Times report (October 30) was representative: “Critics Scoff as Kremlin Erects Monument to the Repressed.” (The article also contained an astonishing allegation: The Kremlin “has never opened the archives from the [Stalin] period.” As every historian of the Soviet period, and all informed journalists based in Moscow, knows, those archives have opened ever wider since the 1990s. This is certainly true of the Soviet Communist Party archive, which includes Stalin’s personal documents, where Cohen works during his regular visits to Moscow.)

Considering this systematic American mainstream media malpractice in covering Russia (and Putin) today, Cohen comments on a number of related themes, which he and Batchelor discuss:

The US media demonization of Putin regularly presents him as a kind of crypto-Stalin who has promoted the rehabilitation of the despot’s reputation in Russia. This is factually untrue. Putin’s rare, barely semi-positive public references to Stalin mostly relate to the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, from which, however great Stalin’s crimes, he cannot truthfully be separated.

For better or worse, Stalin was the wartime Soviet leader. Nor was October 30 the first time Putin had appeared at a public memorialization of Stalin’s victims—he had done so previously, then and now the only Soviet or post-Soviet leader ever to do so. Above all, as Cohen knows from his own study and sources, Putin personally made possible, against formidable high-level opposition, the creation not only of the new memorial monument but, several years earlier, the construction of a large State Museum of the History of the Gulag, also in Moscow.It is true that Stalin’s historical reputation in Russia today is on the rise. But this is due to circumstances that Putin does not control, certainly not fully. Pro-Stalin forces in the Russian political-media-historical establishment have used their considerable resources to recast the murderous despot in the image of a stern but benign leader who protected “the people” against foreign enemies, traitors, venal politicians, and corrupt bureaucrats.

In addition, when Russia is confronted with Cold War threats from abroad, as it perceives to be today, Stalin reemerges as the leader who drove the Nazi war machine from Russia all the way back to Berlin and destroyed it along the way. Not surprisingly, in a recent poll of positive popular attitudes toward admired historical figures, Stalin topped the list. Briefly stated, Stalin’s reputation has fallen and risen due to larger social and international circumstances. Thus, during the very hard economic times of the Yeltsin 1990s, Stalin’s reputation, after plunging under Gorbachev, began to rise again
.

§ It is often reported that Putin’s relative silence about controversial subjects in modern Russian history is a form of sinister cover-up or censorship. This misinterpretation fails to understand two important factors. Like any state and its leadership, Russia needs a usable, substantially consensual history for stability and progress. Achieving elite or popular consensus about the profound traumas of the Czarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet pasts is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.

Putin’s approach, with rare exceptions, has been twofold. First, he has said little judgmental about controversial periods and events while encouraging historians, political intellectuals, and others to argue publicly over their disagreements, though “civilly.” Second, and related, he has avoided resorting to the Soviet practice of imposed state historical orthodoxy, which required heavy-handed censorship and other forms of suppression. Hence his refusal to stage state events during this 100th anniversary year of the 1917 Revolution—not, as is widely reported, because he “fears a new revolution”—leaving such public celebrations to the large Russian Communist Party, for which 1917 remains sacred.

Surely Putin deserves credit for avoiding state-imposed historical orthodoxies, the only important exception being those around  the Soviet victory in the Second World War, during which 27.5 million Soviet citizens perished, and even in this regard there are considerable controversies in the Russian media.§ It is also regularly asserted in the American media that Russia has never grappled publicly with, “confronted,” its dark Stalinist past. This too is factually untrue. From 1956 to his overthrow in 1964, Khrushchev permitted waves of revelations and judgments about the crimes of the Stalin era. They were mostly stopped under his immediate successors, but under Gorbachev’s glasnostthere was, as was commonly said at the time, a kind of “Nuremberg Trial of the Stalin Era” in virtually all forms of Soviet media.

It has continued ever since, though to a lesser degree, with less intensity, and facing greater pro-Stalin opposition. Indeed, Americans might consider this: In Moscow, there are two state-sponsored national memorials to Stalin’s millions of victims—the Gulag Museum and the new monument. In Washington, there are none specifically dedicated to the millions of victims of American slavery.

Nonetheless, Cohen concludes, the new memorial to Stalin’s victims, however historic, will not end the bitter controversy and political struggle over his reputation in Russia, which began with his death 64 years ago. It will continue, not primarily because of one or another Kremlin leader but because millions of relatives of the Stalinist terror’s victims and victimizers still confront each other in Russia and will for perhaps at least another generation. Because the Stalin era was marked both by a mountain of crimes and a mountain of national achievements, which even the best-informed and best-intended historians still struggle to reconcile or balance. And because the nearly 30-year Stalinist experience still influences Russia in ways arguably no less than does a Kremlin leader, even Vladimir Putin, however good his intentions.

Posted in Russia0 Comments

9 Myths About the Last Russian Tsar Meant to Defame Him: #4 – Bloody Sunday

NOVANEWS

“a violent mob (and not ‘peaceful and unarmed’ as the Western propaganda goes), burning and looting vehicles and other property, revolted on Bloody Sunday in 1905”

 
Part of Communist legend – and not true

Editor’s note: A Russian website recently published a long, fascinating article by renown historian Gleb Eliseev. It names nine most widespread myths about Nicholas II. We decided to relay it to you in a series of weekly articles, in order to help people better understand why the Russian church made Nicholas II a saint. This is the fourth one in our series. (Myth 1;  Myth 2;  Myth 3 


Every high schooler learns that ‘Bloody Sunday’, was a ‘peaceful demonstration’ that was violently fired upon by soldiers of the Imperial Guard in 1905.

The story goes that a peaceful delegation of workers and peasants spontaneously marched to the palace, having decided to ask the Tsar for help, bringing to the Tsar-Father ‘their needs and longings.’

Instead of listening to them, the Tsar unleashed his Imperial Guard and gave orders for them to fire upon the unarmed civilians.

1000s of people died. The Tsar proceeded to squelch all the requests of the common people.

In reality, though, this is a highly romanticized — and highly inaccurate — representation of the historical reality, which is, according to Orthodox England: 

In the absence of the Tsar from St Petersburg (because of the almost successful assassination attempt on him and his family three weeks before), a violent mob (and not ‘peaceful and unarmed’, as the Western propaganda goes), burning and looting vehicles and other property revolted on Bloody Sunday in 1905.

While stories always represent Nicholas II as a cruel, unfeeling leader, all evidence points to the contrary. Always, the Tsar was heartbroken when violence broke out. On the night of Bloody Sunday, he wrote.

“A heavy day! In Petersburg there were serious disorders as a result of the workers’ desire to reach the Winter Palace. The guard had to shoot in various areas of the city, and there were many killed and wounded. Lord, how painful and heavy!”

Among the first questions people ask very piteously is this one: if the Tsar didn’t actually want people to be shot, and cared about his people, why didn’t he just march out if the Winter Palace and greet the demonstrators? Why didn’t he just listen to them?

Fact Check 1: The Tsar WASN’T in the Winter Palace.

In fact, he wasn’t even in St. Petersburg at all.  Nicholas II had stayed in his summer home, kilometres away. His family was still shaken and recovering from a recent assassination attempt by revolutionary terrorists.

The police authority had told Nicholas II that there was nothing to worry about; that while workers were striking, there was no danger of tension in the city.

Sviatopolk-Mirsky, the recently appointed Minister of Internal affairs, who often worked behind the back of the Tsar to advance a liberal agenda, deliberately withheld the information about the upcoming march from the Tsar:

According to Ortho Christian:

the Minister of Interior Affairs reassured himself and others with the words that it would be enough to explain to the people that the Tsar was not in the capital, and they would peacefully disperse…

On the evening of January 8, 1905, Sviatopolk-Mirsky came to Tsarskoe Selo and reported on the situation in the capital to the Tsar.

He assured him that despite the enormous number of striking workers, the situation does not merit serious caution;

he did not say a single word about the upcoming march of workers to the Winter Palace, the calling of army battalions to the capital, and the plans to oppose the demonstration using the armed forces.

Perhaps, if the Tsar had been in the city, the dimensions of the tragedy would have been substantially decreased, for the workers were, indeed, marching to a Tsar they loved and trusted.

However, the liberals in the government, the traitorous politicians, and the revolutionaries at large knew it was necessary to create a rift between the Tsar and his faithful people in order to make revolution possible; thus, the Tsar was consistently misinformed and misrepresented by his officials and revolutionaries.

Fact Check 2: The ‘peaceful’ demonstrators were first to shoot at the Imperial Guard

Despite the rumours of unwarranted violence on the side of the Imperial Guard, the first to open fire were actually the protestors.

Of course, the workers participating in the march were unarmed, but among them there were plenty of well-armed revolutionaries who had become very well versed in violence over the years of terrorist attacks that they waged in the name of the ‘Coming Revolution.’

Members of the Eserov party, a group of radical armed revolutionaries that committed numerous terrorist acts in Russia, started shooting at soldiers. It is easy to imagine how violence ensued.

While there were some examples of callousness on the side of the guard, there were also generals who did everything to prevent bloodshed and stop the havoc.

People threw stones, sticks, and pieces of ice at his men, showering them with insults. Litke, however, restrained his men and preferred to retreat to a secluded area, not attempting to solve the problem with force.

He was not able to clear out Nevsky Prospect right away, breaking up the crowd with rifle butts “due to their stubbornness and animosity,” as he wrote in his report.

Especially aggressive was the crowd that gathered by the gate of Alexandrov Park, where they shouted insults at the guard, yelled, whistled, and at the warnings shouted, “Shoot us.”

After repeated peaceful attempts and three warning trumpets given with pauses in between, shots were fired, the crowd scattered, leaving around thirty people dead and wounded.

Fact Check 3: The March was not a spontaneous populist movement. Revolutionaries had planned the march…and violence was part of their plan.

  

Despite the ubiquitous portrayal of the marchers as innocent, peaceful people who spontaneously decided to ask the Tsar for help, the march was strategically organized by revolutionaries with the specific goal of sparking a violent clash with the authorities. According to Orthodox England:

It was led by a renegade, twice-married priest, Fr George Gapon, who hanged himself the next year, when it was discovered that he was in fact a secret agent.

The necessity for a crisis to be concocted and exaggerated in order to create an environment conducive to ultimate revolt was discussed in September 1904 in Paris, at a conference (which was incidentally funded by Japanese money).

While some of the strikes that led to Bloody Sunday were indeed spontaneous, there were documented cases of activists appearing at factories and forcing people to strike.

Fr George Gapon, who came up with the original plan to march on the Tsar, helped put together a document of demands from the Tsar. Many of the demands were completely unrealistic and simply impossible to satisfy at a time when the country was torn by the Russo-Japanese War.

And although the purpose of the march is often described as a humble request for help, it was actually a demand for unquestionable, complete submission from the Tsar…or else….

Here’s what Gapon told his followers:

And what if the Tsar does not accept the petition, then what will I do? I will raise a red flag, which means that we do not have a Tsar, that we ourselves must fight for our rights…”

There is a peaceful march for you!

It is appropriate to note here, as a prelude to the next story, that one of the columns that marched on January 9 was revolutionary, plain and simple, carrying not portraits of the Tsar, but red flags.

advertisement

The Leftist powers were thrilled with the occurrence and immediately began framing it as “a shooting by the Tsar at a peaceful demonstration.”

Though the revolutionaries professed to want ‘political reforms,’ nothing of the sort appeased him. They did not need political reforms, they needed “great upheavals” as a Russian politician, Pobedonostev, later said of the revolutionaries.

Fact Check 4: The Casualty Numbers have been systematically and grossly exaggerated

Here is what Ortho Christian writes:

According to official statistics, there were 128 people killed in all (including police), and 360 wounded (including guard and police).

According to the Bolshevik historian V. Nevsky, who was a witness to the events of January 9, 1905, there were from 150 to 200 people killed.

Meanwhile, certain authors (for example, Edward Radzinsky), and textbooks still write that there were thousands of victims.

In Conclusion

Though the Tsar systematically did everything in his power to prevent bloodshed, the use of Bloody Sunday as ‘proof’ of his callousness has become so ingrained into the public consciousness that saying anything to the contrary is often considered to be a sign of ignorance.

According to OrthoChristian: 

No one cared about the meeting that the Tsar then had with the workers, about the large sum of money paid to the families that suffered on that day (50,000 rubles, the equivalent of just less than $600,000 today).

Nor did anyone care about the government commission he formed to attend to the workers’ needs, nor that in 1906 the periodical Byloe (What Was) (No.1) printed an article with a truthful and thorough account of the events of January 9, 1905.

Let’s hope that at least now there are people who want to know the truth about those events.

 A video introducing Russian Faith:

Posted in Russia0 Comments

12 Cherished Liberal Myths About the Bolshevik Revolution

NOVANEWS

One of Russia’s favorite and most talented conservative publicists takes a sledgehammer to some of the favorite arguments of the neo-bolshie crowd.

In his latest article, published at Vzglyad, Egor Kholmogorov demolishes twelve myths about the Bolshevik revolution, using a recent article by the Russian novelist Zakhar Prilepin as a foil.

Why Prilepin? Who is he, anyway? You won’t find many mentions of him in the Western media, like you would of Vladimir Sorokin, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, or Dzerzhinsky admirer turned maniac Russophobe Svetlana Alexievich – writers that take a “handshakeworthy” anti-Russian stance.

However, Zakhar Prilepin enjoys far more popular acclaim within Russia itself than any of those third rate entities – the only modern Russian literary authors comparable to him in eminence are Boris Akunin (historical mystery), Viktor Pelevin (satire), and Sergey Lukyanenko (sci-fi).

Part of the reason is Prilepin’s background. He has nothing to do with the Moscow intelligentsia; he is the quintessential Russian redneck. Worked as a laborer, a security guard, and with the OMON riot police. Chechnya vet. Went into journalism in the 2000s, but found his true calling in artistic literature: Writing socially critical novels, typically about life in the Russian podunks (he himself hails from the rustbelt city of Nizhny Novgorod).

advertisement

Worst of all, he is a vatnik, a Communist (a National Bolshevik, to be precise), and a Donbass supporter. Most definitely not handshakeworthy – especially since he doesn’t exactly keep his politics on a back burner. Prilepin is also Chief Editor of Svobodnaya Pressa, an intelligent online journal and media success story that enjoys 15 million monthly visits (they even once translated one of my articles). He also pals around with DNR bigwigs and has even gathered a battalion for the War in the Donbass, though its more PR spectacle than anything else.As one of Russia’s leading “patriotic”/vatnik intellectuals, and one of the most authoritative spokespersons for what Russian Neo-Stalinists actually think, a point-by-point critique of Prilepin’s apologia for the Bolshevik Revolution has value beyond just another recitation of Bolshevik crimes and hypocrisy (of which there is no shortage of anyway).

Moreover, even if you substantively or wholly disagree with Egor Kholmogorov’s critique, I hope that this translation will at least help you get a better picture of the actual state of the debate about the Soviet legacy amongst normal Russians, beyond the banal (not to mention 90% wrong) Western representation of it as a binary struggle between a Stalinophile Kremlin and pro-Western liberals.

– Anatoly Karlin


Twelve Myths of the Bolshevik Revolution: A Conservative Refutation

By Yegor Kholmogorv

The defense of Lenin and the Bolshevik regime in Zakhar Prilepin’s recent article is so representative of the genre that one can barely leave it uncommented.

The Great October Revolution lies in ruins on its centenary. The essence of its defeat lies in that even the modest apologists for Bolshevism hardly ever cite their actual programs, slogans, and values. Nobody now says that the Revolution opened the path to socialism and Communism all over the world, nobody expresses joy over the collapse of the bourgeoisie and the Tsar’s henchmen and their replacement by a workers’ state. Nobody says that the light of atheism shone through the darkness of clerical obscurantism, nobody insists that the Bolsheviks gave the land to the peasants, the factories to the workers, and peace to the people.

The justification of the October Revolution, of Bolshevism, and of Soviet power – in short, the entirety of Red apologetics – now occurs from within patriotic, nationalist, conspirological, populist, and even Christian Orthodox frameworks, all of which were mostly or entirely antithetical to the Communist value system itself. In practice, this consists of sophistic manipulations of Hegel’s “Cunning of Reason.” That is, the Bolsheviks wanted one thing, but something entirely different happened in reality, and it is actually this unconscious benefit which constitutes the real blessing of the revolution.

This form of apologetics was invented as early as the 1920s by the National Bolsheviks, from Ustryalov – who viewed Lenin as a patriot and a great statesman, and the Whites as agents of foreign powers in the form of the Entente – to Klyuev – who saw the Bolsheviks as liberators of the more authentic, pre-Petrine, “Kerzhen” Russia. But the value of all these apologetics was most poignantly demonstrated by the execution (Ustryalov, Klyuev) or imprisonment (Karsavin, Savitsky, Shulgin) of everyone who glorified Bolshevism through prisms other than Marxism-Leninism. Sure, the Bolsheviks were not averse to using smenovekhovstvo – the White emigres pushing for conciliation with the Soviet regime – for their own purposes, but they most assuredly did not subscribe to their vision of their historical mission as patriots, regatherers of the Russian lands, and custodians of the Russian state.

Why do people still bother with Red apologetics today?

Partly, on account of inflexibility. Russia in the 1990s was infested by ghouls, screeching that they had freed us from Lenin, the Communists, and the revolutionary heritage – while quietly freeing us from the contents of our pockets. And since this looting occurred under the banner of anti-communism, it is no surprise that pro-Soviet discourse grew popular, since it, at least, did not brook this mass looting.For all intents and purposes, Red apologetics was an apologetics for a social state; for public property, that had been created by the common labor of the Soviet people; for the Army, cosmonautics, the military-industrial complex, the Navy, the research centers, and so forth. And this was logical.

To my shame, there was a period, when I myself, despite never having imbibed the Leninist spirit, partook of similar activities. The most popular aspect of these apologetics was the Stalinist one – yes, the Revolution may have been horrific, but then came along Stalin and set everything right again…

But this train has passed. Russian society now faces new challenges, in which the political canonization of Bolshevism, Leninism, and Stalinism are not the friends, but the enemies, of our future.

And yet the Red people are still stuck in their polemics about Gaidar and Chubais. For instance, take the issue of creeping separatism in Tatarstan. It is impossible to solve it from a neo-Soviet position because it was Lenin who created the Tatar ASSR and accommodated the Sultan-Galievs. The Ukraine, which demolished all its Lenin monuments, was his beloved child. In reality, regardless of which question we consider, appeals to the Soviet experience are block brakes on our future progress. It is either a false alternative to the liberal solution, or it is the liberal solution. Therefore, it is no surprise that we are hearing increasingly Bolshevik overtones in the rhetoric of our liberal cliques, for example, in the matter of anti-clericalism. The Zyuganov era of traditionalist-friendly Communism is coming to its inevitable end, and is becoming displaced by a new era of Communist liberalism, which is hostile to the Russian traditional values that are held in equal contempt by both liberals and conventional Communists. [1]

It is precisely this form of apologetics that was advanced by Zakhar Prilepin in his recent article 12 Points about the Revolution and the Civil War. His defense of Lenin and the Bolshevik order is so representative that the urge to deconstruct it is irresistible, so that is what we shall do, point by consecutive point.1. The Bolsheviks did not overthrow the Tsar – they overthrew the liberal-Westernist Provisional Government.

The Bolsheviks were the most categorical supporters of overthrowing the autocracy amongst all the Russian opposition parties. They excluded the possibility of keeping the monarchy even in a purely constitutional form; they were the most consistent republicans.

The Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party considers its immediate political task to be the overview of Tsarist autocracy and its replacement by a democratic republic,” read the program of the RSDRP accepted at its 2nd Congress, the very one where Lenin’s supporters constituted the majority, and henceforth came to be known as the Bolsheviks.

The Bolsheviks didn’t play a major role in the overthrow of the monarchy only because the party was still very weak as of February 1917.

But they more than compensated for this through their murder of the royal family, which, besides the innate abhorrence of the murder of the children and the servants, constituted the true overthrow of the Russian monarchy. As many historians and legal theorists have pointed out, the abdication of Nicholas II in March 1917 was legally null and reversible, whereas death was final.2. Prilepin, arguing that the Civil War between Whites and Reds was started by the Februarists (Kornilov, Alekseyev, Savinkov), poses this rhetorical question: “Do those who oppose Lenin and the Bolsheviks really believe that Russia would have been better off in the 20th century if it was governed by liberals, revolutionaries with a penchant for terrorism, and generals who broke their vows”?

Unfortunately, the majority of our readers are still not sufficiently familiar with the history of the anti-Bolshevik resistance, and might, therefore, be inclined to agree with this assertion. But that doesn’t make it correct.

The leaders, the real icons of the White movement – generals Drozdovsky, Markov, Kappel, Yudenich, Kutepov – were convinced monarchists. The only consistent republican amongst the leadership was Denikin. The position of Admiral Kolchak remains unclear.

The rest in one way or another expressed support for the monarchy. Moreover, despite the dissatisfaction of Entente emissaries, the White movements continuously moved rightwards throughout the years of the Civil War towards a more definite monarchism, culminating in a Zemsky Sobor in Vladivostok in 1922.

General Kornilov: “I was never against the monarchy… I am a Cossack. A true Cossack cannot be anything but a monarchist.

General Alekseyev: “In the course of time Russia has to move towards a restoration of the monarchy.

General Wrangel: “The Tsar must appear only when the Bolsheviks are vanquished.

Even the republican Denikin admitted that half of his Army consisted of monarchists.

But to honestly answer the question of whether it would have been better for Russia to be ruled by liberals, retired Social Revolutionary pyromaniacs, and turncoat generals in the 20th century, it is merely sufficient to pose the following questions:

“Would Savinkov, the terrorist Social Revolutionary, have implemented general collectivization, dekulakization, and the expulsion of people whose lands and property had been seized, into areas of permafrost, where they died of hunger?”

“Would Kornilov, the general who betrayed the monarchy, have created a system of concentration camps covering the entire country, where people would have been sent for telling a joke about himself, or for stealing a sheaf of wheat from one of Savinkov’s collective farms?”

“Would Kerensky, that undoubted leftist scoundrel, have issued orders blocking relief to the famine-stricken oblasts of Malorossiya, the Kuban, and the Volga, and instead barred their denizens from leaving the disaster zones?”

“Would Denikin, the republican, have signed off on lists of hundreds of names to be executed and approved the requests of local secret police HQs to raise the shooting quotas?”

“Would Milyukov, unrivaled in his liberal vulgarity, have closed churches, shot monks, priests, bishops, and hole fools, tear off crosses from children’s necks and open up holy relics for “examination”?”

An honest answer to these questions demonstrates how even a regime of incredibly odious Februarists was still far preferable to Bolshevik tyranny. Even the most authoritarian right-wing regimes are incomparable to leftist totalitarians on the scale of their repressions and destruction. Pinochet is not Pol Pot.

Furthermore, we can see why even the Februarists were preferable to Communist power by the example of the 1990s. In those years, the new Februarists encountered fierce political, ideological, and sometimes violent resistance from the national-patriotic forces. In the end, before a single decade passed, and Russian February ended, voluntarily surrendering power to Putin, who began the process of state rebuilding. Why would the 1920s have been any different?

3. “Supporters of the idea that the Revolution was financed by German and British money should try to explain, first, whether they actually obtained the advantages they sought; and second, identify the goals that both pursued by intervening against Soviet Russia, if the Bolsheviks were indeed their agents.

Nobody ever suspected the Bolsheviks of acting in the interests of the Entente. It is the Februarists, overthrown by the Bolsheviks, who were probably English agents, whereas Lenin and his colleagues are, not without justification, seen as German agents.

There were no even minimally significant clashes between the Bolsheviks and the German Army, which occupied a large portion of Russia under the Brest Peace. Lenin and his government was absolutely loyal to Germany up to the last day of the Hohenzollern monarchy, with tremendous benefits to the German war effort – a large part of the Army was freed from the Eastern Front and hurled west instead, helped along by food supplies from the Ukraine.

You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Lenin was most scrupulous about keeping his side of the German contract, up to and including pressuring even his own party to ratify the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. It is sufficient to recall that on March 1, 1918, the Bolsheviks matter-of-factly surrendered Kiev, liberated from the Petlyurites on February 8 as a result of a workers’ uprising.

The enduring nature of the Bolshevik-German alliance is testified to by its quick resurrection under Germany’s new republican rulers, despite them having suppressed all attempts to seize power by Moscow-backed Cominternists.

4. “When discussing the exile of part of the aristocracy from Russia, and its replacement by “cooks and bandits,” as some of us say, it is worth recalling that Lenin, too, was a noble, as were many of the most prominent Bolshevik figures and leaders of the party” [there follows a discussion of the noble descent of Lenin, Ordzhonikidze, Mayakovsky, and even the Chekist, Gleb Bokii].

There is nothing new about some members of the aristocracy defecting to anti-aristocratic movements. One can cite many other historical examples, from Pericles in Ancient Athens to Philippe I, Duke of Orléans.

The list of names mentioned by Prilepin himself shows that the number of noblemen amongst the leaders of the Bolsheviks was negligibly small (especially when your exclude Polish nobles such as Dzerzhinsky, who hated everything Russian and were considered revolutionaries a priori in the Russian Empire).

Moreover, the degree of Lenin’s noble stock shouldn’t be exaggerated; his father, Ilya Ulyanov, was the son of a petty bourgeois, and only acquired the rank permitting him to pass on his noble status seven years after Vladimir’s birth.

Relations between the Bolsheviks and the nobility were determined not by individual relationships, but by the political philosophy of Bolshevism, the essence of which was class war – and the nobility, just like the priesthood, the bourgeoisie, and well-to-do peasants were seen as class enemies, destined for destruction.

5. “75,000 former Tsarist officers served in the Red Army (62,000 of whom were of noble origin), whereas the Whites only attracted 35,000 of the 150,000 officer corps of the Russian Empire.

Prilepin’s numbers are an arbitrary fiction concocted by the Soviet researcher Alexander Kavtaradze in the book Military Specialists in the Service of the Soviet Republic 1917-1920. His speculations were refuted in Sergey Volkov’s ground-breaking research manuscript The Tragedy of the Russian Officers.

Kavtaradze arbitrarily sums up completely different categories, such as:

1. The 8,000 officers who voluntarily signed up with the Bolsheviks to participate in the “curtain forces” shielding Russia from German forces in the spring of 1918. These were men who wanted to continue fighting the German enemy, but were betrayed by the Bolsheviks, and subsequently, a significant number of them left the Red Army or even joined up with the Whites.

2. The 48,000 former officers conscripted into the Red Army from 1918-2020, often coercively.

3. The 14,000 imprisoned White officers, who entered the Red Army to save their own lives. These former officers constituted around a quarter to a third of the command of the Red Army, but their percentage steadily declined, since the Bolsheviks didn’t trust the Tsarist military experts.

It also a manipulation to put the numbers of the officers’ corps of the Russian Empire at 150,000. That was the number of officers in the active Army, whereas the numbers given as serving the Bolsheviks included all officers, regardless of where they were in 1918 – in the rear, in hospital, etc. According to Volkov’s calculations, the size of the Russian officer corps was 276,000 at the end of 1917. Consequently, less than a quarter of all Russian officers ended up serving the Reds.

For comparison, there were 170,000 officers who took part in the White movement, of whom 55,000 died in the Civil War, and a similar number of whom ended up in the emigration.

So you still want to talk about how the cooks and bandits deceived and defeated the wonderful, blue-blooded Russian nobles, who didn’t at all renege on their oaths to the Emperor?” asks Prilepin.

The quality of the officers who went to the Bolsheviks should be discussed separately.

The Russian Army command could be separated into two main groups by 1917.

The first group were the cadre officers of the Imperial Army, like Roschin in The Road to Calvary by Alexey Tolstoy. This category was seriously depleted by the war, especially in its early stages, which predetermined the discipline crisis in the Imperial Army.

The second group constituted officers produced by the exigencies of wartime, such as the poet Nikolay Gumilev and Alexander Blok, Telegin from the aforementioned Road to Calvary, the notorious ensign Nikolay Krylenko, etc. These people were, essentially, ordinary intellectuals in epaulets, neither from military families nor possessing serious military training.

General Gurko spoke with distain about the “clerks and bathhouse attendants” turned officers. A significant part of them, ensigns, didn’t differ much from ordinary soldiers, and from the civilians, whose ranks they had recently withdrawn from. The vast majority of Red officers came from this group, while cadre officers constituted no more than 6% of the command.

Wikipedia currently lists 385 Tsarist generals who served in the Red Army. For comparison, there were close to 4,000 generals in the Imperial Russian Army in 1916, and even more by the end of 1917. No more than 10% of the generals went on to serve in the Red Army.

There were practically no top-level commanders from the First World War; for the most part, they were either staff generals (Mikhnevich, Manikovsky, Zayonchkovsky), or dashing colonels, who got their high ranks in the war. Even more telling is that the Bolsheviks did not entrust these generals with independent command, instead using them more as specialist consultants, and surrounding them with commissars. One rare exception was major-general Vladimir Olderogge, who finished off Kolchak’s army in Siberia in 1919.

However, the ultimate fate of most of the Tsarist generals and officers who went to serve the Bolsheviks is even more germane.

They were destroyed in 1931 in the Vesna case, fabricated by the OGPU. A total of 3,000 people were arrested, and many of them – including the aforementioned Olderogge – were shot. In 1937-38, those who had hitherto received only prison sentences were also shot: The great military theorist Svechin, generals Sytin, Verkhovsky, Morozov…

Consequently, we come to the following conclusion: Either the Soviets inducted enemies into the Red Army, who served it insincerely; or the Bolsheviks deliberately destroyed the officers and generals who believed them and chose to serve them out of their love for the Motherland.

6. “The Civil War was unleashed by the Whites…

The first event of the Civil War in Russia was the Bolshevik coup in Petrograd and Moscow that included such acts as the shelling of the Kremlin – that is, a usurpation of power.

Apparently, the author assumes that all citizens of the former Russian Empire had to accept the usurpation simply because some Congress of the Soviets in the capital proclaimed the transfer of power to something called the Sovnarkom.

If every usurper has the right to unconditional submission, then Major Prilepin is out of place in the Donetsk People’s Republic military. By his own logic, they are typical mutineers who failed to accept the self-proclaimed régime in Kiev and “unleashed” a war by refusing to submit to Maidan usurpers.

Fourteen (14!) foreign countries intervened in the Civil War – and, in this situation, blaming its victims on Bolshevism alone is utter hogwash.

Painting the Bolsheviks as Russia’s defenders against intervention is an old propaganda stunt.

The Entente intervention sought to contain the consequences of their largest ally’s withdrawal from the Great War, then in full swing, and the signing of a separate peace treaty by its usurper government.

Neither Britain nor France nor the US sought to annex a part of Russian territory or overthrow the Bolsheviks by military force (however successful those attempts could have been), and lent very scanty aid to the anti-Bolshevik resistance while being very assertive in demanding gold in exchange for said aid.

In Spring 1919, the Entente decided to completely cease all military intervention in the Russian Civil War. None of the different “interventions” ever posed any credible threat to the Bolshevik régime.

7. “The first pieces of legislation adopted by the Bolsheviks after their rise to power had nothing repressive in their nature. The Bolsheviks came as unprecedented idealists, liberators of the people, and democrats in the best sense of the word”.

On October 27th (November 9th New Style), the Soviets promulgated the Decree of the Press, its fourth decree up to that date.

It justified and introduced criteria for a repressive crackdown on all “bourgeois” press outlets by the Sovnarkom. They were three in total: calling for “an open resistance or disobedience to the Government of Workers and Peasants” (i.e., when a legitimate government refuses to defer to usurpers); attempts at “fomenting dissent via grossly obvious perversions of fact” (i.e., any information the Bolsheviks deemed unfavorable to their cause); and calling for “acts of patently criminal or felonious nature” (i.e., given that no Penal Code existed at the moment, acts of any nature the Sovnarkom didn’t like).

Over November and December, the preaching of violence in Soviet acts intensified: confiscation of private printing presses and reserves of paper (November 17th, this and the following dates New Style); state monopoly on public notices (November 20th); demands for arrest and trial “by the revolutionary court of the people” for anyone deemed “harmful to the people’s cause” (November 18th); explicit ban on direct and intermediary negotiations with the “leaders of the counterrevolutionary insurrection” (December 8th); arrest warrant for the leadership of Constitutional Democrats branded as the “party of the enemies of the people” (December 11th).
So much for “democrats in the best sense of the word”.

8. “Faced with an impending collapse of the Empire and separatist movements at its fringes, the Bolsheviks immediately shifted their tactics and rapidly reassembled the Empire, only permanently losing Finland and Poland, whose being a part of Russia is even now seen as irrelevant and superfluous anyway. The Bolsheviks have done nothing to merit the title of “wreckers of the Empire” – even if they called their offensive campaigns “internationalist”, their result was a traditional Russian territorial expansion.

The Bolshevik Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia, eulogized by Prilepin, explicitly allows for a “right of nations within Russia to free self-determination, including seceding and creating an independent state.

It turns out that Bolsheviks were typical hypocrites – when different nations actually tried to use the rights they were entitled to, they immediately “shifted their tactics” and turned to “territorial expansion”. Seems very familiar in the light of how the Bolsheviks treated all other human rights.

And, of course, the Bolsheviks did not expand to any territory in the end.

By the time the Civil War ended in the Russian Far East, they had lost the Baltics, Western Ukraine, and Western Belarus, ceded to Poland by the Riga peace treaty, as well as Bessarabia, annexed by Romania. Stalin took all of this back in 1939, no thanks to Bolshevism but thanks to World War II and a deal with Hitler (and none of this, save several districts transferred from Estonia and Latvia, was added to the territory of Soviet Russia proper).

The territory that got misplaced on the road to Communism included even the Uriankhai Krai (now the Tuva Republic), only reintegrated in 1944. Permanent losses included regions of Western Armenia ceded by 1921 Moscow and Kars treaties to “our friend Kemal”: Kars, many times washed by the blood of Russian soldiers, and Mount Ararat.

After recognizing Finland’s independence, Lenin, in a gesture of largesse, gave up Vyborg, conquered by Peter the Great from the Swedes.

In 1940, Vyborg returned to Russia only thanks to Marshal Mannerheim. His obstinate resistance to Soviet forces caused Stalin to abandon plans for a puppet Democratic Republic of Finland led by Otto Kuusinen. Instead of signing a treaty with the puppet state, voluntarily ceding a good half of Karelia and drawing the border south of Vyborg, the Soviet Union was forced to sign a full-fledged peace treaty with harsh conditions.

The Soviets did exactly zilch in terms of expanding Russian territory until the very capture of Lvov during Stalin’s “liberation campaign” against Poland. However, Lvov would have become a part of the Russian Empire anyway had the Tsar not been deposed. Under Stalin, Lvov became a poisoned gift that contaminated the Ukraine with the most radical strain of nationalism.

9. “Point one: there’s no Tsar. Point two: there are only White generals who are mostly okay with divvying up the country. And there are Bolsheviks who are against this divvying up.

Eulogizing about Leninist national and territorial policy is a particularly arduous affair for Prilepin. He resorts to parroting the Liberal thesis of “all empires are bound to collapse” and appealing to a treaty between Britain and France regarding the “partition of zones of influence in Russia”.

Let’s start with an outright hoax. The Whites were fighting for a united and indivisible Russia. This was the chief slogan and the main goal of the White movement. Gens. Kolchak, Denikin, and Wrangel alike were adamantly against recognizing any separatist statelets that had sprung up in the territory of the Russian Empire.

As has been said, treating a British-French agreement signed on December 23, 1917, and establishing zones of responsibility of Entente powers in the South of Russia, with the Great War still ongoing, as a “partition of Russia between Britain and France”, is entirely baseless.

The author may fulminate against the idea of Bolshevism as the culprit that had planted the bomb under Russian territorial unity as much as he wishes to. But nothing can be done to disprove the fact that the Bolsheviks established a “Kyrgyz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic” in 1925, rechristened the Kazakh Republic in 1925, its capital until that year having been Orenburg. Such was the revenge of the Bolsheviks against the Orenburg Cossack Host for their resistance. That Russian city having been transferred away from Kazakhstan and back to Russia is nothing short of a miracle. Many other parts of Southern Siberia were much less lucky.

The Soviets, everywhere they could reach, created republics with a right to autonomy and secession, created “titular ethnicities” [2], granted them development funds, constructed their histories and gave them Latin-based writing systems (something reattempted by Nursultan Nazarbayev with much fanfare). [3] Terry Martin’s study The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 is a terrific analysis of this process.

Mykhailo Hrushevsky, the founding father of Ukrainian separatism, came to enact, in his capacity as President of the Ukrainian Soviet Academy of Sciences, more than he ever could dream of as President of the Ukrainian People’s Republic – turning millions of Little Russian peasants into “Ukrainians”.

Ukrainization was a central policy of the Soviets in the 1920s – 1930s and never ceased completely in later eras. Indeed, Stalin did dampen those processes somewhat (even though he upgraded Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Karelia-Finland from autonomies to full-fledged Soviet republics, the latter fortunately abolished by Khrushchev), but they never stopped for the entirety of the Soviet régime.

Finally, the artificial borders chartered by Communists exploded in 1991 thanks to Liberals.

Who is to blame for falling to the ground – the one who laboriously sawed the chair’s legs or the one who carelessly parked his rear end on its seat?

10. “They say Patriarch Tikhon anathematized the Bolsheviks, and that’s why one cannot support them. But neither did he bless or endorse the White movement.

The Patriarch did not anathematize the Bolsheviks, only those who enacted cruel persecutions against the Church and Orthodox Christians, those who murdered priests, robbed churches, stripped decorations from icons, desecrated holy vessels, and so on.

However, he did censure Bolsheviks proper in his epistle dated October 13 (26), 1918, and his words are a dreadful argument against Prilepin himself:

Our great Motherland is conquered, diminished, and dismembered, and, as a tribute imposed upon her, you secretly send to Germany the gold that doesn’t belong to you.

No one feels safe anymore. Everyone lives in constant fear of searches, robbery, eviction, arrest, and execution. Innocents are taken by the hundred, tortured in prisons for months, often put to death with no trial or jury, even an expedited trial that you introduced.

The executions affect not only those guilty before you in some way but even those who are patently blameless but taken as “hostages”. Those unfortunates are murdered as a revenge for crimes enacted by people who not only don’t have opinions similar to theirs but also support you or have convictions comparable to yours.

First, under the name of “bourgeoisie”, you robbed well-to-do people; then, under the name of “kulaks”, you turned to robbing richer and more diligent peasants, thus multiplying poverty, even though you must realize that, by ruining a great multitude of individual citizens, you destroy public wealth and lead the entire country to destitution.

In this context, it seems that the point of whether the Patriarch, taken hostage by the Bolsheviks and subject to constant mortal danger, supported the Whites or not is moot.

11. “The Bolsheviks nationalized the industries, harming the interests of large-scale capitalists by siding with those of the laborers. The class most interested in the Civil War were, metaphorically speaking, the Russian Forbes 500…

The identity of the laborers that the Bolsheviks sided with is rather unclear. Were they factory workers doomed to several years of devastation, famine, and non-functional plants? Or peasants, languishing from the terror of Prodrazvyorstka and Kombeds [4] and later rising up in the Tambov rebellion [5] (and many others), suffocated with chemical weapons?

When the “exploiters” were in charge, the Russian economy grew by 8% a year; it took the Soviets more than a decade to reach its 1913 levels.

Regarding the “Russian Forbes 500”: with the exception of Russia’s richest man Nikolay Vtorov, murdered in 1918 in Moscow under suspicious circumstances, the others emigrated and saw the twilight of their years in Paris or Monaco. In the 1920s, Mikhail Tereshchenko’s 127-meter yacht, the Lolanthe, was the world’s largest yacht afloat.

Meanwhile, the living standards of the proletariat liberated from the yoke of capitalists and Tsarist social legislation was graphically described by poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, the chief panegyrist of Bolshevism: “Workers sitting in the dark, munching on damp bread.”

This was all peanuts compared to what came next: a system of forced labor, the main know-how of Stalinist industrialization. Having no means of concentrating enough capital to fulfill his 5-year plan, Comrade Stalin found an elegant solution – dropping the costs of the other industrial factor, labor itself, to near zero.

For the first time in history, the world saw a modern industrialization based on slave labor. The Bolsheviks were successful in annihilating private capital. The state remained the sole capitalist. And it was the state, not individual businessmen, who conducted negotiations with workers, with the barrel of an NKVD pistol as its ultima ratio.

While their comrades in both Europe and America successfully campaigned for better wages and welfare and formed the system of the social state, Russian workers spent decades in slave-like conditions and deemed themselves lucky if they weren’t converted from slaves of the 5-year plan to bondsmen of the Gulag.

12. “The main victor of the Civil War was the Russian People. The Russian Revolution of November 7th 1917 is an achievement, a victory, and a tragedy of the Russian nation. It is fully responsible for it, and has every right to be proud of this momentous achievement that changed the course of world history.

I won’t contest that the Russian People emerged victorious from the Civil War. If many, all too many Russians hadn’t thrown their lot with Bolshevism, either actively or by submission, no Latvian riflemen or Chinese volunteers could have led Lenin and his gang to victory.

The Russians, however, won a victory over themselves and their kin who dared to side with honor, God’s truth, and a tormented Fatherland, the united and indivisible Russia. This victory led all who kowtowed before Bolshevism to decades of poverty, terror, slavery, and Kafkaesque everyday life. Their only daily consolation was the hope of suffering for the greater good, a Grand Project.

No one reminded those people that only recently Tsarist Russia had completed one of the most astounding projects in the history of mankind, the transcontinental Trans-Siberian railway. It was achieved with no waste or exhaustion, no payment of tens of thousands of human lives for an infrastructural breakthrough.

Every human community, including the Russians, has a basic set of values and goals. Spiritual: spreading its worldview and faith, bolstering its national character and original creativity in national culture. Material: increasing the welfare of the nation and expanding its numbers. (Geo)political: increasing its national habitat and the security of its borders.

The Russians failed to achieve any of those goals over the 20th century as a direct consequence of the Bolshevik coup.

The Russian Orthodox Church endured a most savage persecution that put it on the brink of extinction. The originality of Russian culture was forcibly erased, having just reached its fin de siècle apex. Russians were subjected to decades of horrific poverty, terror, and famine, falling into a demographic abyss of enormous proportions.

The Bolshevik period ended with a rapid contraction of Russian borders, a reduction of Russian habitat, and our people turned, even within Russia itself, into second-grade citizens.

If this passes as a victory, then our goal is not to triumph over ourselves in this fashion once again.

Translator’s Notes

[1] This entire paragraph does not appear in the Vzglyad text, but did appear in Kholmogorov’s original draft. I considered it too good not to translate and publish anyway. – AK

[2] A semi-official term for ethnic groups whose name coincided with the name of an autonomy of a full-fledged republic in both the USSR and modern Russia (even though they weren’t/aren’t necessarily the most populous ethnicity), e.g. Kazakhs in Kazakhstan, Ukrainians in the Ukraine, Bashkirs in Bashkortostan, etc. Most of the time, the “titular” ethnicity was/is given the largest leeway possible by the central Soviet/Russian government.

[3] Reference to a recent decree of the Kazakh President proclaiming the shift the Kazakh alphabet from Cyrillic- to Latin-based , to be completed by 2025.

[4] The Prodrazvyorstka was a Soviet policy of forceful grain confiscation, formally reimbursed with a nominal fee much lower than the market price, leading to mass pauperization of peasants and famine. Kombeds (Poor Peasants’ Committees) were organs of Soviet power in rural settlements, mostly charged with enacting said policy.

[5] A 1920-21 peasant insurrection in the Volga region caused by mass grain requisitions and other forms of Soviet-sanctioned abuse, leaving more than 200,000 civilians dead. Often claimed as the first documented use of chemical weapons in internal conflict.

Posted in Russia0 Comments

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930