Wading through the 18,000-word transcript of an hours-long meeting that President Vladimir Putin took with the “soldiers’ mothers” last Friday in Moscow, one gets the impression that the fighting in Ukraine may continue well into 2023 — and even beyond.
In a most revealing remark, Putin acknowledged that Moscow blundered in 2014 by leaving Donbass an unfinished business — unlike Crimea — by allowing itself to be lured into the ceasefire brokered by Germany and France and the Minsk agreements.
Moscow took some time to realise that Germany and France connived with then leadership in Kiev to scuttle the implementation of Minsk accord. Then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko admitted in a series of interviews with western news outlets in recent months, including on Germany’s Deutsche Welle television and Radio Free Europe’s Ukrainian unit, that the 2015 ceasefire was a distraction intended to buy time for Kiev to rebuild its military.
Earlier this month, a New York Times (7/2/22) report, “How the Russian Media Spread False Claims About Ukrainian Nazis,” argued that falsely branding people as Nazis is inherently propagandistic:
The lie that the government and culture of Ukraine are filled with dangerous “Nazis” has become a central theme of Kremlin propaganda about the war.
The New York Times (7/2/22) attributed a spike in mentions of Nazism at the start of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine to Putin describing Ukraine as “full of Nazis,” but did not discuss Western media comparing Putin to Hitler.
To say Ukraine is “filled” with Nazis is an obvious exaggeration, although even a relatively small number of Nazis has wielded disproportionate influence in the Ukrainian government (Kyiv Post, 3/26/19; Euronews, 8/4/21). Nevertheless, FAIR (3/7/14, 1/15/22, 1/28/22, 2/23/22) has covered the Western media’s denial of the far-right’s role in the Ukrainian 2014 coup, as well as their complicity in amplifying Ukrainian neo-Nazi publicity stunts during the war.
Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, Western media have depicted Russian President Vladimir Putin as an irrational—perhaps mentally ill—leader who cannot be reasoned or bargained with. Such portrayals have only intensified as the Ukraine crisis came to dominate the news agenda.
The implications underlying these media debates and speculations about Putin’s psyche are immense. If one believes that Putin is a “madman,” the implication is that meaningful diplomatic negotiations with Russia are impossible, pushing military options to the forefront as the means of resolving the Ukraine situation.
If Putin is not a rational actor, the implication is that no kind of diplomacy could have prevented the Russian invasion, and therefore no other country besides Russia shares blame for ongoing violence. (See FAIR.org, 3/4/22.) Yet another implication is that if Putin’s defects made Russia’s invasion unavoidable, then regime change may be necessary to resolve the conflict.
War is a crime against humanity and today war between the great powers threatens total annihilation. The only answer is to give peace a chance, which requires finding a solution that guarantees the security of all parties to the civil war in Ukraine as well as Russia. In the longer view, we must recognize that war is endemic to capitalism, and both Russia and the NATO powers are capitalist. Only a return to the socialist path in both Ukraine and Russia can offer a lasting solution.
In light of the current events in Ukraine we have decided to make the Notes From the Editors for the April 2022 issue of Monthly Review immediately available. —Eds.
As we write these notes at the beginning of March 2022, the eight-year limited civil war in Ukraine has turned into a full-scale war. This represents a turning point in the New Cold War and a great human tragedy. By threatening global nuclear holocaust, these events are also now endangering the entire world. To understand the origins of the New Cold War and the onset of the current Russian entry into the Ukrainian civil war, it is necessary to go back to decisions associated with the creation of the New World Order made in Washington when the previous Cold War ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Within months, Paul Wolfowitz, then under secretary of defense for policy in the George H. W. Bush administration, issued a Defense Policy Guidance stating: “Our policy [after the fall of the Soviet Union] must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor.” Wolfowitz emphasized that “Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia.” Extraordinary efforts were therefore necessary to weaken Russia’s geopolitical position permanently and irrevocably, before it would be in a position to recover, bringing into the Western strategic orbit all of those states now surrounding it that had formerly either been parts of the Soviet Union or that had fallen within its sphere of influence (“Excerpts from Pentagon’s Plan: ‘Preventing the Re-Emergence of a New Rival’,” New York Times, March 8, 1992).
“…In some countries, the political turf for governance will turn hot for the present faction of the ruling capital – a part of arithmetic of this war.
“Whatever the last calculation of gain and loss, the work of redrawing the map of hegemony by the world imperialists has begun as Russia will make a gain in a number of terms. At the end of this part of fire spewing war, as compromises will follow, the dominating part of the world capitalist system has to give away a certain amount of space to Russia – a net gain that will be made by Moscow. Now, that, extent and form of space, is being ascertained in capital cities and cities including Versailles in formal and informal meetings.
“Ukraine has been made a pawn in this weeks-long war…
A thick cloud is now shrouding Ukraine, once a part of the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Sufferings of about two million people from Ukraine are now overwhelming all around the world, as sufferings of refugees in many parts of the globe always pain humanity. There’s the dark cloud of a confrontation over the land. The darkness of imperialist intrigues and intervention covers everything in and around Ukraine.
Two million people have been made homeless. They are fleeing away from their abodes, but they don’t know their destiny, and address of a peaceful life. There’s cold, there’s hunger and there’s fear haunting them all the time. The old, the infirm, the persons unable to walk don’t know the path to survival and shelter. The children, walking along parents or being carried by parents, don’t understand the intricacies behind their suffering, background of the burning buildings they are leaving behind.
There are many aspects to the ongoing Ukraine crisis which are not reflected in the mainstream media coverage. JoP feels that it is its duty to bring analyses of those aspects to the attention of our readership. In that spirit, we publish four posts from Indian Punchline which may help readers understand the ongoing situation in Ukraine. However, we would like to clarify that the articles posted here are for non-profit, non-commercial, educational purpose. The views expressed in this article are that of its author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the JoP
It didn’t have to come to this. If leaders and policymakers had shown some wisdom and understanding over the last few decades, things never would have reached this point. In fairness, a few of them did, only to be overridden by the short-sighted, the greedy, the arrogant, the ignorant, the power-hungry and the downright evil.
Clearly we all lose in a nuclear conflagration, a distinct possibility in these chaotic, reckless times.
The choice is stark for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: accept that his defeat is inevitable and accept Russian terms for surrender or continue to seek a way for NATO to become perilously involved in his fight against Moscow.
Russia is making three demands of Kiev to end the war on its terms: recognize Crimea as part of Russia; grant independence to Lugansk and Donetsk in the Donbass and enshrine Ukraine as a neutral state in its constitution, meaning it will never join NATO. A 90-minute meeting in Turkey on Thursday between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers resulted in no progress at all towards a solution, as this phase of the war enters its third week.
As the world responds to Russian aggression in Ukraine with protests, government imposed sanctions and calls for cultural boycotts – including cancelling concert tours to the country and withdrawal of film released, a university in Milan perhaps took things too far.
The administration of the University of Milano-Bicocca, it seems, responded to global events with an attempt to cancel a class on Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky.
The news came to light when Paolo Nori, an Italian writer who had been invited to host a four part guest lecture on Doestoevsky’s work at the University of Milano-Bicocca, took to instagram to say that he had received word that his course was “postponed” indefinitely.
Russian servicemen fold the national flag during ceremony marking end of CSTO mission in Kazakhstan, Almaty, January 13, 2022
The readout of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “working meeting” in the Kremlin on Wednesday with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu regarding the Collective Security Treat Organisation’s mission to Kazakhstan needs careful analysis.
As is customary with Putin, so much more was said in the unsaid.
Putin spoke with the world audience in mind — Central Asia, Asia-Pacific, Eurasia and as far away as North America. But his number one priority would have been to be accountable to the Russian public.