Monday, December 9, 2013

Saker rant: why I believe that Russia should not directly intervene in the Ukrainian conflict

And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew (5:29-30)

When I began this blog, almost seven years ago now, I took two very deliberate and fundamental decisions about it:  first, I would make this an anonymous blog and, second, I would try to write only in a fact-based and logical style.  The first decision was prompted by several considerations, but the key factor was that I wanted this blog to be only about issues and not about me.  As for the second decision, it was prompted by a desire to offer a platform for frank and open discussions which would not be stifled by an overbearing and highly opinionated blog author.  Over the years, of course, a lot of aspects of my personality and values did come out and those of you who took the time and effort to "connect the dots" have a pretty accurate idea of where I "come from".  Still, I continued to try to keep myself out from the discussions as best I could.  Today, however, I will have to break both of my usual principles: I will have to explain why I hold the opinions which I will share with you and I will write in a far more polemical style: at best this will turn out to be an "op-ed" piece, at worst, a rant and a screed.  For me, the topic of the Ukraine is a very painful one but since several of you have raised some key issues, I will have to address them directly in the only way I can: directly and with no holds barred and no pulled punches.  On the topic of the Ukraine, the gloves are now off.


Here I go:

My latest piece about the Ukraine concluded with the following paragraph:
As for me, I honestly wonder whether Russia would not be far better off *without* such wonderful "allies", "friends" and "brothers" as the modern Ukrainians and whether it not be a far better option for Russia to let the (already sinking) Ukrainians join the (already sinking) EU and then sit back and relax to watch the ensuing "love fest" between these two russophobic forces.
Several of you have immediately zeroed in on this sentence and asked me a number of direct and crucial questions which I now have to address:

Q: Mark Sleboda: 
Give up the East and the South of the country that are Russian-speaking and largely Russian ethnic?!? Never! My wife was born in the Soviet Union, in the Crimea, in what is now considered the Ukraine. I have in-laws in the Crimea, Donetsk, and Kiev. Kiev is the heart of historic Rus. We will never give our families, shared culture and history up to the EU and the Galician ethnic nationalists and neo-nazis in the Western Ukraine.

A: The Saker: I come from a Russian family which has served Russia and the Orthodox Czar for centuries and which has fought many battles to free what is now called "the Ukraine" from Western invaders, form the Papist Teutonic Knights, the Masonic generals of Napoleon,  the Polish Jesuits,  the Swedes of Charles XII and, of course, the Germans while my wife is a direct descended of the Varangian Rurikides who founded the Kievan Rus'.  I assure you that we are acutely aware that the Ukraine is the historical heart of Russia.  However, I do not confuse the historical Ukraine, the "small Russia" in the Greek sense of "central" or "core" Russia, and the disgusting wannabe fake-Ukrainian state which has emerged in 1991 by the will of a few CPSU apparatchiks turned "nationalist" overnight.  That modern Ukraine is built on nothing but a pure and vicious hatred of everything Russian, on a completely fabricated historiography and it is run by a typical Mafia don (Yanukovich) a ape-like boxer (Klichko), a rat-like lawyer (Iatseniuk), a typical Galician Nazi (Tsiagnibok) and a typical Soviet oligarch bitch (Timoshenko).  To think that this scum seriously claims the heritage of Iaroslav The Wise makes me sick.  Modern Ukraine is not the "heart of Russia" - it is the prototypical anti-Russia!

Q: Yakoub Issa:  The problem is not the opposition or the government, both are abject, the issue is that there are about 17 million russians and several millions russian oriented ukrainians that Russia can't abandon to E.U. control, this would be death for them, let alone the major moral,spiritual, and strategic defeat that abandoning russian land like Sevastopol, the Crimea, Kharkov, Donetsk, Odessa...etc would mean for Russia, no Russia is right, the E.U. must absolutely be kept out. 

A: The Saker:  Tell me - what are these 17 million Russians and several million of Russian oriented Ukrainians doing right now?  It's their country which is driven directly over the cliff, and they are doing nothing at all.  How many Russian flags did you see in the demonstrations in the eastern Ukraine, in Donetsk, or in Sevastopol?  That's right - zero!  Even the so-called "Russians" and "pro-Russians" are marching under the yellow-blue flags which are west Ukrainian, Galician colors.  You speak of moral and spiritual issues at stake - have you ever heard the east Ukrainians raise such issues?  Do they ever speak of the thousands of saints which lived in this hallowed land?  Do they ever mention the millions of Russians who died freeing this land from the Poles, the Jesuits and the Jewish overseers which they imposed upon the Orthodox Christians?  No, never.  All the speak about is money, money and money:  "we will be poor with the EU, with Russia our business will flourish" - that is their idea of spirituality.  Pro-Russians in the Ukraine?  Ha!  Let me ask you this: when it became known that Ukrainian volunteers fought on the side of the Chechen Wahabis - did you see any protests in the Ukraine?  Or when the Ukrainian government was arming Saakashvili to the teeth - did you see any protests in the Ukraine?  No, never.  Their version of "pro-Russian" means "we like Russian money".  They are not pro-Russian, they are pro-Ruble!

Q: SokenekosAnd what is Russia to do when NATO moves in - for which they can't wait?  What to do when anglo-zionists install nukes on the territory of Ukraine? Serbia was attacked for the same reason: to be a US launch pod - assuming that Russians will hesitate to respond in order not to kill its “brothers". Besides, nato ghouls didn’t want to leave any “holes” behind their frontline towards Russia (= Hitler’s school). Could you imagine what will they resort to when they get to Ukraine? It’s gonna be another Iraq with its own version of a perpetual “sectarian violence” fed from abroad to keep it going (= violent neotrotskism).  Ukraine is primarily a military issue.

A: The Saker: The Ukraine has been a de-facto member of NATO since 1991.   Do you know how many military equipment these SOBs destroyed after 1991 even though Russia badly needed them?  I am thinking here of military transport and refueling aircraft, bombers like the Tu-160 or even entire aircraft carriers!  Not only that, but the Ukrainian military has been covertly supporting Chechens and Georgians, with US and Israeli assistance.  They have opened their ports to USN ships and they have basically done everything the Americans told them to do.  Why should NATO give the Ukrainians full membership when they can get 100% collaboration from them anyway without having to extend any guarantees in exchange?  Furthermore, as a result of truly fantastic incompetence, corruption and political indifference, the Ukrainian military today is a joke, as bad as the Russian military was in the early 1990s, but with even more outdated equipment.  It could not fight a war against Monaco in its current state (even if these two states had a common border).  As for NATO, politically it has already "moved in".  Militarily, of course, NATO did not deploy any equipment in the Ukraine, but I honestly don't think that they would want to do that except for the minimum needed to "show the flag" for political purposes.  Why?  Because forward deployment is a bad strategy against a powerful enemy.  If NATO deployed forces inside the Ukraine that would put them in close proximity to far more powerful Russian strike capabilities.  This is, by the way, the mistake made by the Poles and the other in central Europe who, by accepting to deploy US anti-missile systems, have basically painted a crosshair on their heads.  Should a conflict with Russia ever happen - and I don't think it will - they will be the first to know because they will be the first to die.  A very bad strategy.

Q: WizOz: Some people asked why is the "West" so hell bent to "free" the "imprisoned and tortured body" of Yulia Tymoshenko, the braided blond Goddess Berehinya (who was a cute brunette when only a "successful" businesswoman)? And they found an answer: she is a little bit Jewish. Voila. And guess what, her former PM Arsenii Iatseniuk who is now "the leader of the opposition" is Jewish too. So are "some" of the "oligarchs" who financed the erection of the "World Largest Jewish Center" at Dnepropetrovsk.
Is there a push "tsu a Yddish Land" like in the '20s of last century and in the late '40s with the proposal to create a Jewish State in Crimea (which led to the "unsatisfactory" creation of the Birobidzhan Oblast")?   We just find out that "In Ukraine protests, young Jews are marching with ultranationalists". Ukraine is OUR country. Hundreds of thousands Russian Jews emigrated to Israel have returned to where they left.

A: The Saker:
it is absolutely sickening and revolting for me to see how Poles, Jews and Ukrainian nationalists always join forces against Russia even though they hate each other with a passion which is hard to conceive for normal people.  Did you know that the Simon Wiesenthal Center placed Oleg Tsiagnibok in its annual list of top 10 anti-Semites on the planet and accused him of calling for the “purges of the 400,000 Jews and other minorities living in Ukraine”?! And yet the Ziomedia does not have anything to say against Klichko and Co. for constantly sharing the podium with this guy and EU politicians express their full support to this opposition!  Can you imagine the planetary oy veh! if Putin had a political ally like this?  The entire Ukrainian opposition is run by Russia-hating Nazis, Jews and Papists, who all also hate each other, but who hate Russia even more.  To make it all even more ridiculous, these folks nowadays have the full support of Germany - another nation famous for its love of Jews, Poles and Ukrainians...

And yet these are the folks for whom the typical Ukrainian citizen votes for!  Anything that the big evil "Moskal" I suppose.   Ok, that is their sovereign right, but you will forgive me if I am rather dubious that Russia has any kind of moral obligation towards these people...

Having answered these question, let me know give you my take on all this.

I have spent most of my life in categorical opposition to the power in the Kremlin.  I volunteered to participate in what was then called "anti-Soviet activities" which included sending banned books into the Soviet Union (authors like Solzhenitsyn, Solonevich, Tikhomirov, Borodin, Ogurtsov and others) and sending money and help to families of political prisoners incarcerated in the Soviet Gulags.  We even managed to successfully sent help inside the Gulag a few times.  I was also a participant in various activities to support the underground "Catacomb Church" in Russia (on the problem of the persecuted True Orthodox Church in the Soviet Union and nowadays please read this).  All this got me blacklisted by the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the KGB and a few other agencies as a "antisovetchik" (anti-Soviet activist).  I even once got a direct death threat from a real KGB officer who acted without authorization (only the Politburo could take the decision to kill somebody abroad), illegally and out of frustration and who got in a heap of trouble with his own bosses after that.  But still, even though this was not a "real real" threat, it felt real enough to me at the time (I must have been 19-20 years old).  I am writing all this to explain and illustrate the fact that I am hardly a knee-jerk automatic supporter of Russia, Russian policies or whoever is in the Kremlin.  And yet, to my immense amazement, I find myself not only in almost complete agreement with what Vladimir Putin did since he came to power,  I actually have to admit to myself that I deeply admire this ex-"enemy" of mine (him being in the KGB and me being an anti-Soviet activist, we were on two opposing sides of the Russian ideological barricades for many years).  For me, who used to hate Brezhnev, Eltsin, Chernenko, Shevarnadze, Grachev, Kozyrev, Gromyko and all the other Soviet and Russian leaders which sat in the Kremlin during most of my life, I now enjoy a really bizarre and new feeling: I truly like and admire folks like Lavrov, Shoigu, Ivanov or, especially, Rogozin, and I think that they are a fantastic team who is finally succeeding in pulling Russia out of the constant state of deep crisis which it has lived under for over 100 years now.

It took immense efforts but Russia is finally healing and standing up from the hideous crises which have plagued it for way too long.  Even the years of relative prosperity under Putin were far from being easy and Russia is still very very far from having fully recovered - what will take many decades, I am afraid.  So here is my question to you all:

Is this really the right time for Russia to get involved in the absolutely disgraceful mess taking place in the Ukraine?  Why should Russia make any efforts in helping the Ukrainians when the Ukrainians themselves do nothing but make things worse and worse and worse?

Yes, the Ukraine was the heart of Russia.  I know that.  I will even go much further than that and probably really shock many of you:

I don't even accept the notion that there is such thing as a "Ukrainian" nation or culture.  Yes, there is a Galician Ukraine and whatever that region was, it was never really part of Russia.  But most of what is today's "Ukraine" is no less Russian than "Belarus" (another invented nationality).  Look into a halfway decent history book and you will see that all the famous "Ukrainians" became famous in the Russian empire and as part of the Russian cultural elite.  What kind of music or literature did the "Ukraine" produce under Polish or Lithuanian rule?  Zero!  What about the russophobic nationalist "culture", what kind of great Ukrainians did it ever produce?  Zero, again.    Unless, of course, you count the "great" composer Mykhailo Verbytsky or the "great" author Tomasz Padura...

And yet, when I read the Ukrainian nationalist history books I discover something new every time.  One book tells me that the Ukrainians are the most ancient Aryan race from which all Europeans come from.  Another book tells me that all the ancient cites along the Black Sea cost were founded by, you guessed it, Ukrainians, long before the Greeks ever showed up.  And, just to reassure the Ukrainian Jew-haters, it turns out that Jesus was a Ukrainian too, through His Mother.  What I am still looking for is a book explaining to me that Adam and Eve were also Ukrainians and that the Serpent in the Garden of Eden was a disguised Moskal.

Seriously now - I have absolutely no objections against nations invented overnight.  To me, it makes no difference at all whether a national myth is based on fact or fiction.  Yes, I find it deplorable when people put Belarussians (an invented nation) and Georgians (an ancient nation) into the same category, but that is purely an intellectual objection.  I happen to believe in the self-determination of people.  If tomorrow some folks decide that they are the direct decedents of Atlanteans or of extra-terrestrial visitors of Ancient Egypt - let them create their own country somewhere if they get a majority of people backing them and they do so peacefully.  So for all my contempt for the very notion of a "Ukrainian people" I fully recognize the right of the folks currently living inside the modern Ukraine to decide of their own future.  I see absolutely no reason why a single Russian Ruble, nevermind a single Russian life, should be spent trying to prevent that.

Now, if there was some part of the Ukraine in which a majority of people was truly pro-Russia and not just pro-Ruble, if these folks demonstrated with Russian flags, and if they demanded that Russia refuse to recognize the internal administrative borders of the Ukrainian SSR and Russian SSR as an international border, or if they openly demanded that Crimea be returned to Russia, I might reconsider because what would be at stake would be people, actual real people, not historical concepts, monuments and ideological principles.  For example, I think that Russia did the right thing in 08.08.08 not only when it beat back the Georgian military, but when it recognized South Ossetia.  Why?  Because the Ossetians not only depended on that, they deserved it (if only by their absolutely heroic resistance during the first 24 hours of the war).

But what of the so-called "Russians" and "pro-Russians" in the Ukraine?  What right do they have to hope for Russian assistance?  What have they done in the past decades to deserve any help from Russia?

At least the Neo-Nazis and nationalists are speaking of a civilizational choice.  Somewhere, I have to say that they are right.  There is more to the Ukrainian question than just a choice between the Euro and the Ruble.

To be honest, I am not a big fan of any form of national exceptionalism, and when I sometimes listen to Russian nationalists I cringe.  But I have to say that I agree that there is more to being Russian than just to speak the language or live in the country.  The Russian civilization has always been different and I personally categorically disagree that Russia is a "part of the West" or even the "European culture".  In my opinion, Russia is neither European nor really Asian, but it is far more Asian than it is European.

Think about it, what are the roots of Russia?  I would submit that three key elements have shaped the Russian nation: its original Slavic roots (Kievan Rus'), its succession to Byzantium as an independent Orthodox Empire and the unification of the Russian lands and power by the Mongols.  So yes, Russians are mostly "White" (although the vast majority have plenty of Asian blood - I wish I could post a picture of my grandmother here - with her high cheekbones, slanted eyes, round skull and long black hair!), but the Russian culture has been fundamentally shaped by the Orthodox faith of the Middle-East and by its exposure to the Mongol hordes from the steppes of East Asia.

The sentence "scratch the Russian and you will find a Tatar" is sometimes attributed to Napoleon and it has been often used by russophobes to make the point that, unlike Europeans, Russians are Asian savages.  Well, setting aside the silly notion that Asians are savages, and taking away from it all its anti-Russian connotations, I would argue that this thesis is fundamentally correct.  Culturally, the Russians are far closer to the Kazakhs than to the Poles, and this is no coincidence.

So what about our modern Ukrainians?  Are they aware of that?  Do they even care?  Or are they so submerged in the fairy tales about the (inevitably) "blue eyed" Ukrainians of the antiquity they like to imagine to realize that there is really a civilizational choice at stake here and not just a choice between the Euro and the Ruble?

I would say that the western Ukrainians, the Galicians, the nationalists, the Jews, the Poles, the Lithuanians, the Germans and even the Americans are all, to one degree or another, aware of that.  Except for the so-called "Russians" and "pro-Russians" of east and south Ukraine.  These are topics which they simply never ever raise.

Of course, one can legitimately ask the following question: if I claim that Russians and Ukrainians are essentially one and the same people, how can I also claim that modern Ukrainians and modern Russians are so radically different from each other?

My answer to that is simple: if we compare the history of the people who lived in what is today the Ukraine and what is today Russia, we will see that the history of both groups is often tragic and difficult.  Both groups suffered immensely during their past, but there is one huge difference between the two: in the Ukraine the Russian people were subjugated people and their elites either exiled (mostly to Russia) or killed.  There was no such thing as a "Ukrainian Czar" who could defend Ukrainian national interests.  There never was a stable Ukrainian state - it was either foreign subjugation or chaos.  To make things worse, during the Soviet period the mostly Jewish commissars truly engaged in a bloody orgy as a revenge for what they (correctly) perceived as intense dislike of most Ukrainians for Jews (itself a direct result of the role imported Jews from Poland had during the Papist occupation of the Ukraine).  As soon as the Jewish commissars were more or less done, the German Nazis took over and, assisted by their Galician Nazi allies, engaged in another massive campaign to terrorize, exploit and oppress the Ukrainian people.  Yes, World War II was horrible both of Russia and the Ukraine - but at least the former had the strategic depth to save what possible could be saved.  All of the Ukraine, including millions of its best people, completely destroyed by what is by several orders of magnitude the biggest and most contested war humanity ever witnessed.

Being aware of the true history of the Ukrainian land and the immense suffering of the people which inhabited it makes it even more painful for me to look reality in the eye and accept, however reluctantly, that the folks who live there nowadays really cannot be called "Russians" any more (even they call themselves "Ukrainians").  All I see is a population of more or less Russian speaking people who distrust the west Ukrainians and who believe - correctly - that these rabid nationalists will bankrupt the country.  I am very sorry, but this is not enough of a reason in my opinion for Russia to get involved.

Yes, the historical Ukraine is an integral part of the body of Russia.  But it now suffers from a combined case of infection (nationalism) and a impotent immune system (the cluelessness of the east and south Ukrainians).  Every time I look at the news coming out of the Ukraine, and especially these days from the center of Kiev, I think of the warning in the Gospel: it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. First and foremost, I want Russia and its real friends - Belarus, Kazakhstan - its allies - South Ossetia, Abkhazia and its partners - Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tadjikistan - to continue to collaborate on the road to recovery from the Soviet era.  I also agree with Alexander Solzhenitsyn that the real future of Russia is not in its south-west, but in its north-east.  As for the West, I think that Russia should stick to the foreign policy outlined several times by Sergei Lavrov and Dmitri Rogozin: make neutrals out of enemies, make partners out of neutrals, make friends out of partners and make allies out of friends.  Right now, the Ukrainians - both the opposition and the party in power - do not even qualify as neutrals.  Instead of trying to intervene in the ugly conflict taking place in the Ukraine, I believe that Russia's priority should be to protect itself from the inevitable impact on Russia this conflict will have.  Sooner or later - but probably later than sooner - the Ukrainian people will wake up from their current insanity and realize that they have sold themselves to the ugliest kind of political pimps possible and that as a result of that, they have ruined their country.  If or when that happens, Russia should most definitely sincerely extend a helping hand and do whatever possible to help the slow process of reconstruction and recovery which the people of the Ukraine will have to embark upon.

But until that happens, I hope that Russia stays out of this conflict.

That's it.  I spilled my guts and I have tried to be has honest as possible.  I am sorry if I have offended anybody with what I wrote above.  All I can say is that I am also offended, deeply offended, by what I see taking place today.  There are probably many shortcuts in the narrative above, plenty of logical and even grammatical holes, and you can easily attack much of what I wrote.  I wrote the above in one session, I will not even try to re-read myself, because I decided to write mainly from the heart and not from the brain.  Please ignore the innumerable typos.

One last thing to any Ukrainian nationalist reading the above: please spare me your usual crap about me being an evil Russian imperialist, Asian, Moskal or Mongol.  Except for the "imperialist" part, I plead guilty to all the other charges and, like Blok's Scythian, I make no apologies for it.

The Saker