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The Zelensky Dump

Written By: - Date published: 3:27 pm, December 13th, 2022 - 311 comments
Categories: australian politics, boris johnson, China, defence, Diplomacy, Disarmament, Europe, Propaganda, Russia, uk politics, Ukraine, war, Zelensky - Tags:

Vladimir Zelensky’s message to the New Zealand Parliament will be delivered in the last week before Christmas, in the bury-it time-slot. That seems appropriate, for much has changed since the heady days when our Parliament went straight for sanctions on Russia without discussion.

The sanctions have proved to be worse than a failure. Not only have they not collapsed the rouble or the Russian economy, the blowback on Europe has been severe. It has been forced by sabotage of the NS2 pipeline (by persons unknown???) to pay 4 times more for US liquefied gas than for Russian gas, with the result that industries are decimated and families are freezing.

Ukraine is a story of two wars, the propaganda war and the proxy war.

The US and NATO are winning the propaganda war in the west, but not in the rest of the world. Western mainstream media, including ours in New Zealand, spin Russian tactical withdrawals into Ukrainian victories, along with an endless diet of alleged and unverified atrocities. We are led to believe that Russia’s incursion was unprovoked, despite NATO’s encroachment to Russia’s border, training the Ukrainian army.

In the proxy war, Ukrainian soldiers are losing the shooting war between US/NATO and Russia, a curtain-raiser for their real war with China. They are being massacred, as poorly trained conscripts are pushed forward to face well-aimed Russian artillery barrages. European Union Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen let the cat out of the bag last week when she talked of 100,000 officer casualties in Ukrainian forces.

The underlying cause of this war is the same as it has always been for war – looting and plunder. The US and the UK are financialised bubble economies who covet the real resources of Russia and China. We are seeing the Opium wars redux as the 19th century maritime empires are threatened by the rise of Eurasia. Lord Palmerston who was the British Prime Minister in the first Opium war that forced the cession of Hong Kong to Britain, also wanted Britain to take the whole of Russia in the Crimean War. The British press was as rabid then as it is now.

And Britain must bear some blame for the fact this war was not stopped in April. Negotiations brokered by Turkey were heading for agreement, when the egregious Boris Johnson was sent to Kiev to tell Zelensky that Britain and the United States would not agree to any settlement. Escalation is the result.

And now the fear is of further escalation, as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warns that things could get out of hand. And escalation is what Zelensky needs as Ukraine is losing the war. A few more trainers, a few more dollars, a few more short-range cannons will not do the job. His task here is to cut off any backsliding among the NATO-supporting West, which currently includes New Zealand. This was probably also the job of Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin in her recent visit, as Finland which also borders Russia has recently applied to join NATO. The Australian media got closer to the truth than the local focus on trivialities.

What exactly is New Zealand’s role in Ukraine? What is our end-game? Is it the weakening of Russia, as the ex-Raytheon US Defense Secretary states? Is is the containment of China, as NATO set as an objective from the faraway perspective of the North Atlantic?

I find it impossible to see how any of this is in our interest. As it is mostly Ukrainians who are dying, I find it hard to see how any of that is in their interest either.

On this issue, our Parliament is convergent, as is the case in the United States Congress. This means that there is no debate or discussion, as our parliamentarians behave like lemmings and our media lose their critical faculties. The Russian ambassador is ‘sent to Coventry.’

Truth is the first casualty in war, goes the saying. One of the extraordinary features of this war is the way in which the activities of Ukraine’s extreme nationalists have been white-washed in the white western media. Groups such as the AZOV battalion, condemned as terrorists only four years ago, are now lionised. One of the few voices raised against this part of the propaganda war is the Socialist Equality group at Victoria University, who are protesting against a touring exhibition provided by an anti-Russian NGO based in the United States. Trotsky didn’t get it all wrong.

Zelensky will no doubt ask the New Zealand Parliament to provide more support, moral and lethal, to continue this disastrous war. This should be resisted. Hopefully the Christmas period of goodwill will provide time for much-needed reflection. We should be calling for an end to the war and negotiations to recommence.

For further information on the issues and the recommendation, I offer this excellent short video by Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the US feminist peace campaigners ‘CODE PINK.’


311 comments on “The Zelensky Dump ”

  1. Ed 1

    It’s refreshing to read comments here that don’t kowtow to the neocon narrative.


    • UncookedSelachimorpha 1.1

      But instead faithfully repeat Russian propaganda lines.

    • Adrian Thornton 1.2

      "It’s refreshing to read comments here that don’t kowtow to the neocon narrative"…you forgot to add neocons and war mongering Liberals, because as we now know the 'Liberal' class has seamlessly morphed into the most outragous war pigs on the planet who never see a Western war or intervention they don't like and support…just read the comments here on TS to get an idea of their unquenchable taste for war…of course when it doesn't involve them or their families getting killed and maimed goes without saying.

      And lets all be honest here..if the Iraq invasion were to happen today you can be 100% certain that these clowns would all be supporting it..that is just a sad but indisputable fact of how depraved the Liberal class has become.

      • Gosman 1.2.1

        You may well be correct over Iraq but try and remember if was Russia who invaded Ukraine NOT the other way around.

        • Adrian Thornton

          Maybe you might try and remember that Every superpower in the world would have reacted in the same way to foreign hostile foreign military provication on their boarders..the only difference is that most of them would have acted sooner and harder.
          Now we would probably all agree that in a perfect world, this reaction is not right to say the least, however that does not alter the fact that in this real world, this reaction from Russia was predicted years even decades ago by everyone important who knew anything about the regional geopolitical landscape, and was not attached at the hip to the US and European military industrial complex and their interests…and as anyone who has followed these tensions over the last decade knows, this war could have easily been avoided through diplomatic means, but of course that was never allowed too happen….as Merkels recent admission makes plainly clear..

          Real intention behind Minsk agreements further destroys credibility of the West
          It (Germany) has never really genuinely regarded Russia as a dialogue partner. In an interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit last week, former German chancellor Angela Merkel revealed the West's real intention behind its negotiation with Russia and Ukraine to promote a ceasefire in 2014. She admitted the Minsk agreements were an "attempt to give Ukraine time" and that Kiev had used it "to become stronger."

  2. Barfly 2

    Thanks for the post I really needed some motivation to push me to find out how to donate to Ukraine Ta devil

  3. Sanctuary 3

    Everytime Moscow Smith posts something, I donate money to the Ukrainian army.

  4. RedLogix 4

    Just been listening to Max Brooks audiobook World War Z (far better than the hot mess that was the film). While of course the zombies are an allegorical plot element, the real interest lies in the geopolitical and psychological exploration of the impact on human society under extreme stress.

    I just finished the chapter on how some of the humans flipped, and started emulating the zombies. A Stockholm Syndrome only an order of magnitude more intense and completely unreachable.

    • Adrian Thornton 4.1

      "Stockholm Syndrome"…glad you mentioned that because the Liberal class are a text book case of that for sure…as I said in an earlier comment., the Liberal class are so brainwashed now, that if the Iraq were to happen today..there can be no doubt that you and the rest of the Liberal class would be it's loudest supporters.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 4.1.1

        Adrian – this will shock you.

        I was opposed to the Iraq war and am currently opposed to Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine. Hard to comprehend, I'm sure.

  5. bwaghorn 5

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  6. Francesca 6

    You're a brave man Mike, going against the current like this

    With Merkel now declaring there was zero good faith on the west's part apropos of the Minsk accords, which Germany and France brokered,Russia now has zero trust in any agreements involving Ukraine

    How many lives could have been saved, and territories retained if only Zelensky had been able to stand up to the right wing nutters of his own country.After all , he won the election on the back of promises of peace, he had the mandate but not the balls

    • Ed 6.1

      Agree. Very brave.

      I think everyone should listen to John Mearsheimer, John Pilger, Noam Chomsky on this.

  7. An excellent article, thank you Mike, on Zelensky's imminent address to our parliament. How odious this will be. I think our govt simply got lost with covid and abandoned its independent foreign policy to save time and energy, .and with it went our nuclear-free policy that helped make the world safer.

    Zelensky represents a racist, white supremacist regime that banned speaking the Russian language in 2014 and began shelling its own civilians, a crime against humanity. Thirty percent of Ukranians have Russian as their first language. This year Zelensky additionally banned publishing in the Russian language. This racist discrimination and brutality began after U.S. diplomats supported a violent, neo-nazi, Right Sector, orchestrated coup in 2014 against a democratically elected Ukraine government, even choosing the leader of the new anti-Russian regime. Top US diplomat Victoria Nuland is world famous for her recorded words "F… the EU!" when discussing who should lead the US-imposed retime. This outrageous interference in Ukraine, banned under international law was not denounced by our country. It is America and its NATO allies who undermined the sovereignty of Ukraine for 2 decades, causing death, misery and the conflict in Ukraine today.

    I don't think our govt has thought about consequences of supporting the racist neo-nazi regime that encourages extremists, such as the Australian who murdered 49 Muslims in Christchurch in 2019. He wore Nazi emblems during his massacre, and planned to go to Ukraine, reported by the New York Times.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 7.1

      "Zelensky represents a racist, white supremacist regime that banned speaking the Russian language in 2014"

      "neo-nazi regime"

      Zelensky's first language is Russian and he is Jewish. So we have a Russian-speaking Jew who also bans the Russian language and is a Nazi.

      Sounds like something only Russia could dream up!

      • mikesh 7.1.1

        I suspect that Zelensky takes orders from the army, and that he is, in effect, their public relations officer – a sort of modern Herr Goebbils.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          Any evidence for this, or is it just slander?

          • mikesh

            No evidence, other than the fact that he ran for the presidency on a peace platform. However it is just a suspicion on my part that the army is really running things. His only contribution to the war effort seems to comprise the seeking of support from other nations.

            • joe90

              . His only contribution to the war effort seems to comprise the seeking of support from other nations.

              The Anglo-French union, the Atlantic Charter, the Anglo-Soviet pact, the Anglo-American accords: it's what wartime leaders do.


              • mikesh

                “The Anglo-French union, the Atlantic Charter, the Anglo-Soviet pact, the Anglo-American accords: it's what wartime leaders do.”


                • joe90





                  adjective: ahistorical

                  1. lacking historical perspective or context.
    • Gosman 7.2

      What specific laws has Ukraine passed that suggest the government in the country is influenced in any way by Nazi ideology?

  8. Yes Merkle was candid about Germany and France did not honouring the MINSK II agreement for Donbass autonomy and she admits the West/NATO were using it to buy time to build Ukraine's military capacity to fight Russia.

    YES in addition to Ed's list of brilliant thinkers, I recommend people watch the interviews with world renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs, also Scott Ritter. The excellent video by Medea Benjamin gives NZers a clear understanding of how Russia was provoked by NATO etc and refrain from more war weapons for Ukraine. Instead NZ should offer Humanitarian aid and Peacemaking services to prevent nuclear holocaust. Thanks Francesca, Ed and Mike.

  9. tsmithfield 9

    Thank you for that insightful article, Mike.

    Even though the article you linked to is only five months old, it is absolutely clear that Russia is winning. Since that article the Russians have bravely retreated as fast as they can from numerous fronts including Kharkiv and Kherson while the Ukrainians have been advancing in absolute terror.

    And it is clear that Putin's biggest problem is that he is misunderstood. He is really a lovely guy who wants nothing but the best for Ukraine. He has already done so many wonderful things for Ukraine.

    For instance, Putin has generously provided more weapons to Ukraine than any other country.

    And now he personally has decided to help the Ukrainians find the joy of living a simple life without all the unnecessary trappings of civilisation such as power or running water.

    What a guy.

    People who would call attacking civilian infrastructure a war crime simply do not understand the depth of the wisdom of what Putin is trying to achieve.

    So, Ukraine really needs to just sink back, relax, and enjoy the sunshine of Russian love and allow Russia to assume beneficial control of Ukrainian society. And the west just needs to realize that Russia is a cuddly teddy bear with only generous, kind intent.

    • Tony Veitch 9.1

      Quite agree, tsmithfield, just like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are so keen to re-embrace the benevolent Russian bear!


      • tsmithfield 9.1.1

        Exactly. There are mass protests on the street demanding they be released from NATO and reunited with Russia ASAP. LOL.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          I spent a lot of time in Poland in the 1990's – as you say, they couldn't speak highly enough of their Russian liberators. Events in Katyn Forest were particularly appreciated.

          • Ghostwhowalksnz

            Have you forgotten the Polish invasion of Ukraine right after the end of WW1, around 1920.

            Historically it was part of Austrian Empire but Vienna was a long way away, so local control was exercised by Polish language nobility and ruling class.

            The Versailles treaty deliberations established the Polish Russian Border as the Curzon line roughly approximating the majority language speakers., just like they did in Polish German border . ( but the Allies werent interested in enforcing it)

            Poland newly independent wasnt having a bar of that what was historically and culturally 'theirs' – right back to Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth period…. which ended in about the 1760-90s

            • UncookedSelachimorpha

              Yes, all European countries have a shambolic history and are a mish-mash of modern ethnic / cultural groups as a result.

              But only one major European country is currently actively and repeatedly involved in empire expansion by military means today.

              • Ghostwhowalksnz

                Sorry , Id forgotten you were only thinking about 2022 and excluded any other events and only 'in Europe'

                Did you realise this week there was border clashes between China and India over ' national borders'.

                Will you be calling on China to withdraw and apologise and pay compensation for their war making , with harsh consequences for China if they dont ?

                Laughs out Loud


                • UncookedSelachimorpha

                  "Sorry , Id forgotten you were only thinking about 2022 and excluded any other events and only 'in Europe'"

                  Sorry, didn't realise I had said those things I didn't say.

                  I am totally opposed to Chinese aggression and expansionism, i.e. Tibet, Taiwan etc. Another authoritarian state trying to build an empire.

                  • Ghostwhowalksnz

                    So the Katyn Forest is important but not the 1920 Polish invasion of Ukraine ?

                    'pesky history' is your way of dismissing chosen events

                    • UncookedSelachimorpha

                      "So the Katyn Forest is important but not the 1920 Polish invasion of Ukraine ?"

                      Strange, another thing I don't recall actually saying.

                      They are both important, but different.

                      The Katyn massacre was the mass execution by the soviets of over 20,000 non-combatants in order to decapitate the Polish state. The Soviets said the Germans did it for the next 50 years, before finally admitting they did it in the 1990s. They maintained their vehement denial while at the same time possessing official state documents that recorded their culpability in full – documents finally released by Russia in the 1990s.

                      Imagine commiting deplorable war crimes and then blaming other people – as if Russia would ever do such a thing today!

                      Russia’s denial of responsibility for atrocities in Bucha recalls 50 years of lies over the Katyn massacre

  10. Tily 10

    The Putin regime is a fascist government waging a war of aggression against a democracy. This war needs to end with the Russian military forces back within their own borders and Putin charged with war crimes. He should be in a jail cell alongside other war mongers like Blair and GW Bush.

  11. Mike Smith 11

    Opposition parties are banned in Ukraine –

    it's not a democracy

    • Ed 11.1

      Zelensky has also announced he is going to ban the Orthodox Church.

      • joe90 11.1.1

        Zelensky has also announced he is going to ban the Orthodox Church.

        A tankie lie. Zelenskyy has no intention of banning The Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

        He's banned the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, an arm of the murderous Russian state, under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church and warmonger Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev.

    • Tily 11.2

      It is in a defensive war from a fascist state. Of course they are going to place restrictions on political parties. It is a democracy.

        • Ed

          And this from Tulsi Gabbard.

        • lprent

          In 2014, the democratically elected government ff Ukraine was removed in a coup, supported by the U.S.

          So it had nothing to do with the democratically elected parliament (the legislative branch) removing the president at the time? That was after his policies and leadership had resulted in protests against the changes in the constitution in 2010 that the constitutional court (that the same president stacked) made.

          But ultimately the decision to kick out the president was made by the legislative branch of the government with a bill that was passed. It was made after about a 100 protesters had been killed mostly with live ammunition by interior police.

          That day, the Ukrainian parliament voted to remove Yanukovych from office by 328 to 0 (72.8% of the parliament's 450 members).

          If the succession process in the finagled constitution was followed, then each of the possible successors (like the PM in hiding) would have also been forced out of office in succession. At worst, the democratically elected government of Ukraine

          As far as I can see, the main interfering state at the time was the Russian Federation forcing a constitutional crisis, subsequent protests, deaths, and being defeated by not having sufficient democratic support in the Ukrainian parliament to force their attack on Ukraine sovereignty through. Probably because the armed forces of Ukraine correctly refused to intervene in a constitutional crisis.

          The Russian response to those events was telling. They subsequently invaded the Crimea with military force and annexed it after a referendum to which they allowed no observers. They also supported with material and personnel in insurrections in other provinces of Ukraine on the Russian border.

          Those are all documented facts. As far as I can tell the US and European influence was mostly limited to ineffectual protests and promised sanction about Ukrainian appointed ministers who gave orders to kill protesters.

          There are of course wild claims about CIA operations. But at best these are only documented to the point of inference rather than actual fact. Similarly wild claims about Nazis – none of which I can see as actually affecting the process of government in the Ukraine. Certainly the attempts to ‘prove’ either on this site have been pathetic. I could use exactly the same arguments that Nazis run NZ because of a few sieg heiling dimwits in Christchurch. Or that NZ policy is run by China because they have big embassies and consulates here and presumably intelligence agents in their diplomatic staff.

          In essence Ed – I think you're a gullible idiot who is too lazy to actually read and assess the veracity of unsupported claims. Instead you prefer propaganda that fits in with your own little bigoted world. I treat assertions by blinkered idiots who can’t offer more than links to other idiots making unsubstantiated claims on youtube as just being dross. The inevitable consequence of running a moderately open site.

          • Ghostwhowalksnz

            The Ukraine legislature didnt follow the constitution in impeaching Yanukovych and replacing him by an interim President.

            They just acted unilaterally because they said he had fled the country, which was fair enough.

            'According to Daisy Sindelar from Radio Free Europe, the impeachment may have not followed the procedure provided by the constitution: "[I]t is not clear that the hasty February 22 vote upholds constitutional guidelines, which call for a review of the case by Ukraine's Constitutional Court and a three-fourths majority vote by the Verkhovna Rada — i.e., 338 lawmakers."

            That was 10 votes short of that required even if the impeachment process was followed, which it wasnt

            In modern terms its a parliamentary coup, where the elected representatives bend the rules to get the required result claiming ‘urgency’

            5 days after the vote, the parliament again acted unilaterally by removing 5 judges of the Constitutional court, presumably so they wouldnt rule against their decisions
            Not that Yanukovych was was a model President in his actions either , corrupt to the bone is too small a phrase to describe him

            • lprent

              I didn't say that they had followed the constitution. You probably need to read my comments much more closely.

              The constitution itself was rendered rather moot by the president fleeing, the PM going into hiding (according to some reports so that there was no succession), etc

              I'd agree that it is a parliamentary coup. They didn't go through a long impeachment process. However you had various regions starting to go separatist in the west as well as the east, the armed forces starting to take some quite overt political positions like their refusal to get involved in clearing the protesters, the actual police starting to do the same thing, etc.

              However a parliamentary coup that had almost 75% support was a pretty good indication of the inherent stability and common sense of the parliamentarians and parliamentary system. Things couldn't go on as they had

              I'd also point out that this is one of the main problems with rigid constitutional republics and why they seem so damn unstable to me and most people with a deep interest in history. What you see over and over again with this particular style of government is the way that they just keep stretching the way in which powers are used to the benefit of a small number of oligarchs of political, family, or commercial might until they fall apart through stress. That provides the opportunity for military takeovers, actual revolutions, or just aristo familial juntas as happened in the demise of the Roman republic.

              The constitutional court in Ukraine is about as useful and stable as a font of constitutional reason as that last fart of the current president…

              Personally after I read this a while ago – I kind of decided that NZ should never have a constitutional court. wikipedia: Constitutional Court of Ukraine

              Amidst the 2007 Ukrainian political crisis, on 30 April 2007, on the eve of the Constitutional Court's ruling on the legality of the president's decree dismissing Ukraine's parliament, President Yushchenko, in defiance of the PACE resolution of 19 April intervened in the operation of Ukraine's Constitutional Court by summarily dismissing two Constitutional Court Judges, Syuzanna Stanik and Valeriy Pshenychnyy, for allegations of "oath treason."[16] His move was later overturned by the Constitutional Court and the judges were returned by a temporary restraining order issued by the court.[17] On 16 May, Viktor Yushchenko, for a second time, issued another decree dismissing the two Constitutional Court Judges Syuzanna Stanik and Valeriy Pshenychnyy.[18] On 17 May, the Constitutional Court chairman Ivan Dombrovskyy resigned and was replaced by Valeriy Pshenychnyy. On 23 May, The Constitutional Court of Ukraine acted to prevent the president's undue influence on the court system.[19] The court's ruling was made after Viktor Yushchenko was accused of unduly seeing to influence the court by illegally firing two Constitutional Court judges Valeriy Pshenychnyy and Syuzanna Stanik for allegations of "oath treason.".[16] On 20 July, Syuzanna Stanik won an appeal against the President in the Shevchenko district court of Kyiv. The Court ruled the President's actions illegal and reinstated Ms Stanik's entitlement as a member of Ukraine's Constitutional Court. According to the ruling, the President is obliged to cancel his decree on discharge of Mrs. Stanik.."[20] The other two judges who were also illegally dismissed had previously tendered their resignations and as such were not subject to the courts order. Following the president's intervention the Constitutional Court still has not ruled on the question of legality of the president's actions. On 25 March 2008 Ukraine's Supreme Administrative Court ruled the President's dismissal of Syuzanna Stanik as a Constitutional Court judge illegal. Ms Stanik's position has been reinstated. The decision is final and not subject to further appeal [21] On 3 April 2008 Stanik was dismissed from the Court by the order of the President.[22] On 28 April 2010, President Viktor Yanukovych reinstated Stanik as Constitutional Court judge.[23] She resigned the next day.[24]

              On 1 October 2010 the Court determined the 2004 amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine unconstitutional, repealing them.[25] On 21 February 2014 parliament passed a law that reinstated these December 2004 amendments (of the constitution).[26]

              You'll note that there is a reason why I talked about Yanukovych stacking the Constitutional Court.

              The only real difference was that in 2014 the Ukrainian parliament (ie Rada) joined the Constitutional court farce by dismissing all of CC judges that were in the Rada’s quota. I can't see that it has ever reinstated or replace them.

              This hasn't exactly ceased to happen from the presidents quota.

              On 29 December 2020 President Volodymyr Zelensky suspended Tupytskyi for two months in an effort to end the 2020 Ukrainian constitutional crisis.[3]

              • Ghostwhowalksnz

                "I didn't say that they had followed the constitution. You probably need to read my comments much more closely."

                I never said you said that…I said it, it wasnt in quotes

                You alluded to it being a democratic process.

                'the democratically elected parliament (the legislative branch) removing the president at the time?

                Thats how they wanted to stop Biden becoming president too, the elected representatives skirting the constitution and inserting new rules to get the result they want.

                From memory a similar call was made in 2017 when Ardern and Labour-Greens- NZF became the government, many ( uninformed) calls for the Governor General to use their powers to dismiss the government and install National , who had the most elected representatives…..

                It never ends well

                • lprent

                  Now you're just splitting hairs.

                  A democratic process is not necessarily a constitutional process. Generally most democracies have a process where legislation is formed from body broadly representative of bulk of the population (however that is defined).

                  Presidents, constitutions, senates and upper houses are just add-one to that. Typically to entrench the privileges of aristocracies, and other interested parties or to provide a elected monarch for the reserve powers. I'm not defending or even referring to any of those. If you look at them closely – none of them anywhere are even vaguely democratic.

                  What I am arguing is that a hodge-poge structure like any of those never ends well, and is also a damn sight more likely to fail than one with a more representative democratic structure.

                  NZ dumped all but a nominal non-elected monarchy and their executive council back in 1951 when the superfluous legislative council was abolished.

                  Hell – we don't even have a constitution you could really write down.

                  But we have a democratic process. What was done in the Rada was exactly what we could do here, and what could be done in most democracies – but in few republics – those obscenities of privilege are most notable for their fragile rigidity.

                  National didn't have the representatives in parliament in 2017 to form a government. That was because it also couldn't get a majority of votes cast that resulted in a party to get into parliament – which MMP requires.

                  I'm sure that under convention, the GG gave National the first opportunity to say that they could form a governing vote. They were unable to do so.

                  I'd love to get rid of the monarchy from NZ. To date I haven't seen any proposals that I think are likely to get us more democratic than we are right now. So I expect we'll keep muddling through until a compelling reason to take a risk arises. Basically when a monarch of NZ manages to screw up the balance. Where upon the parliament will decide what proposal to put in front of NZ voters either in a referendum or by risking revolt, or loss of the government benches next election.

          • mikesh

            My understanding is that the bill was passed after he fled the capital, and was therefor deemed to have stepped down. Also, I have always thought that a president cannot be removed just by an act of parliament, but only after a successful impeachment (though I don't know whether this was the case with respect to the Ukrainian constitution).

            A monarch is different inasmuch as they are not elected.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 11.3

      Some opposition parties are banned – specifically those with links to Russia, banned after the Russian invasion commenced.

      Would you have expected Britain to allow political parties with links to Germany, during World War II, while they fought for their very survival against a vicious German attacker?

      Meanwhile, Russian is a democratic utopia – anyone care for some novichok?

    • Jenny are we there yet 11.4


      “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process they do not become a monster…”Friedrich Nietzsche

      “Opposition parties are banned in Ukraine – ”Mike Smith

      Why did Ukraine suspend 11 ‘pro-Russia’ parties?

      The suspensions have more to do with the post-Euromaidan polarisation of Ukrainian politics than genuine security concerns related to the Russian invasion.

      …..Ukraine is facing an existential threat. The Ukrainian government needs to understand that moves such as these suspensions that alienate parts of the Ukrainian public – and make them question the intentions of their leaders – make the country weaker not stronger, and only serve the enemy.


      As the commentator above points out these attacks on democracy weaken Ukraine and serve the enemy.

      Not just the democratic rights of political parties that the Zelenksy administration have rolled back but other civil rights as well.
      Using the occasion of Russia's invasion the Zelensky administration have taken the opportunity to attack the trade unions and workers rights'.

      Enemies on All Sides: Zelensky Uses War to Attack Worker Rights


      OCTOBER 4, 2022

      In the midst of the ruination of millions Ukrainians’ lives as a consequence of the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian parliament has been pushing forward the harshest cuts to workers’ rights in the country’s history….

      …..Ukraine’s economic advisor to the president, Alexander Rodnyansky, said the country needed to “create the foundations for rapid economic growth,” while also fueling the war effort. To this end, he has proposed a series of “reforms” to “revamp” (i.e. demolish) labour laws, and privatize thousands of state companies….


      Ukraine Uses Russian Invasion to Wreck Workers’ Rights

      By Thomas Rowley and Serhiy Guz

      …..In two laws passed on Monday and Tuesday, MPs voted to legalise “zero-hours contracts” and made moves towards removing up to 70 percent of the country’s workforce from protections guaranteed by national labour law.

      The latter measure means the national labour code no longer applies to employees of small- and medium-sized enterprises;…..
      …..It also removes the legal authority of trade unions to veto workplace dismissals.

      Draft law 5371 had previously been criticised by the International Labor Organization, as well as Ukrainian and European trade unions, on the basis that it could “infringe international labour standards.”

      Ukraine’s ruling Servant of the People party argued that the “extreme over-regulation of employment contradicts the principles of market self-regulation [and] modern personnel management.”

      Red tape in Ukraine’s HR laws, it suggested, “creates bureaucratic barriers both for the self-realisation of employees and for raising the competitiveness of employers.”


      ….to “create the foundations for rapid economic growth,”

      Endless growth on a finite world leads to social and environmental instability and war. Attacks on civil society in Ukraine and Russia's expansionist invasion come from the same place.

      [Ukraine] "It's not a democracy" Mike Smith

      It can be argued that capitalism is not democracy.

      Capitalist countries like NZ, like Australia, like the UK the US, like Ukraine have shibboleths that can not be challenged by the democratic process. Endless growth (profits) are good and cannot be restrained. Unions restrict growth and so are bad and so face constant attack. Which is why working people have to continually refight for gains and democratic political rights that were hard won in the teeth of fierce resistance in the past and constant erosion in the present. War, capitalist economic crise, are all opportunities for capital to attack democratic gains.

      In that narrow sense, yes Ukraine is not a democracy, but in the same sense neither is Russia.

      In both countries democratic rights of assembly and other forms of popular organisation are under attack.

      But is Ukraine a totally undemocratic fascist regime as pro-war Kremlin propagandists insist?

      Ilya a Russian anarchist who fled to Ukraine to escape repression in Russia. Ilya gives her reasons why she has enlisted in the Ukraine military and why she is fighting the invading Russian military forces.

      Denazification done right: How Russian anti-fascists and anarchists are battling Putin’s invasion

      23 May 2022

      My name is Ilya. I’m an anarchist living in Ukraine. I left Russia a few years back because of the crackdown on the entire anarchist movement….

      …..Unfortunately, many European leftists still support Putin’s narrative about the invasion of Ukraine being an “anti-fascist war against NATO”.

      …..In my opinion, the Ukrainian state is corrupt, oligarchic, and neoliberal. I’m not too fond of it. However, Ukrainian society has a lot more freedom and pluralism than its Russian and Belarusian counterparts – than almost all of its neighbors. Turkey is no better than Putin’s Russia, while Poland and Hungary have swayed considerably towards conservatism lately. The Ukrainian state exerts considerably less control over its citizens’ private lives. Since Russia decided to export its authoritarian Mordor-style regime, Ukrainian society needs protection….


      I leave the last word to the Ukrainian people themselves.

      ‘It’s You That’s Fascist’

    • Sanctuary 11.5

      The British Union of Fascists was proscribed in the UK in 1940 and Oswald Mosley was at first imprisoned then spent the rest of the war under house arrest.

      The parties banned in the Ukraine are the pro-Russian ones, which is what you'd expect to happen in a war – these parties were riddled with Russian sympatheisers who readily became traitors when the war started, accepting offices in Quisling local governments in over-run regions and conniving in the torture and murder of their patriotic and loyal fellow Ukrainian citizens, Many have suffered the fate of such collaborators and traitors everywhere, being asassinated with an impressive frequency.

      The wider point is this particular comment is a constructive lie from someone in a position to know it is a constructive lie, a bland half truth and simplification designed to achieve a pro-Moscow outcome.

      One is forced to conclude that at best, Mike Smith is a simple minded liar, and at worst a propagandist ready to lie on command for a revanchist, irredentist, fascist, and criminal ganster regime in Moscow.

      • RedLogix 11.5.1

        Mike Smith is a simple minded liar, and at worst a propagandist

        As someone who leans strongly toward the free speech principle, I can accept Smith's arguable opinions being posted here. Even if they do subsequently give oxygen to a torrent of tankie propaganda in the thread underneath.

        The problem I have with Smith is that far from being 'brave' as some commenters imagine – quite the opposite is true. Invariably he dumps a post and then engages minimally (if at all) in the debate. Far from arguing his case, he slinks away from the noisome dump he has created.

        So – not just a simpleton liar – a cowardly one as well.

        • lprent

          You're going a bit far there.

          I often have to do that as well. It is called having a life outside blogs. Most of the time I have to be ill to have time to spend on here after writing one of my rare posts.

          Invariably he dumps a post and then engages minimally (if at all) in the debate.

          I can also remember a number of occasions when you did that as well. Would you like me to start looking them up and adding some caustic commentary and unfounded interpretations and opinions about your behaviour as well?

          At various stages virtually every author has to do that and leave the post in the hands of moderators. There is and never has been a requirement for authors to engage in discussion.

          And as you will remember I really dislike people trying to impose their expectations upon what authors should or should not write about. Apart from I don't want to spend time in court – so make sure it is legal and accurate on facts.

          In this case I disagree almost entirely with Mike's post. But most of the post outside of the fact that he had completely wrong, was legitimate opinion, interpretation, and arguable in comments.

          • RedLogix

            I can also remember a number of occasions when you did that as well

            My memory differs; for example this post I did a few years back I can count at least 20 or more substantive contributions in the thread below. I would also stand on my long record here of engaging intensively and robustly on many different themes.

            By contrast Mike Smith puts up highly controversial posts – and then consistently fails to engage, much less defend his views. Views that many people find not just disagreeable, but obnoxious to say the least.

            It may not be a requirement for authors to engage, but the pattern is plain enough to see – and I am free to draw my own conclusions.

            • Ed

              As you can see from the debate so far, while there are people like you who find Mike Smith's post 'highly controversial', there are quite a few of us who agree with the general tenor of the post.

              • Incognito

                I’d suggest that most Posts here on The Standard are written to generate robust discussion rather than dividing commenters into 2 camps of agree vs. disagree or like vs. dislike. I’d also suggest that Authors like to stimulate thinking among the much larger group of silent readers of the site. Different Authors have different ways to achieve their goals.

                • Ed

                  I’d suggest that most Posts here on The Standard are written to generate robust discussion

                  This post has certainly achieved that.

                  • lprent

                    This post has certainly achieved that.

                    The majority of them do if they get over (rule of thumb) about 50 comments. That usually means that they have a whole lot more human views.

                    I was going to point to some of the larger numbers of comments on posts, but one of mine had 1346 comments and I thought – that wasn't right.

                    But it was before I turned off the links to the posts which are stored as comments. That was a whole lot of twitter links that I keep forgetting to clean out. My task list has a date of 2012 for that job….


        • Sanctuary

          We are guilty of the old post and flounce, dump and run, etc etc. What gets me is the regurgitated Russian propaganda like it's the good old union boys of the SUP running Moscows PR like it's 1977 when Russia is now a hard out fascist project.

    • Mike the Lefty 11.6

      Ukraine democracy might be flawed, but it isn't half as flawed as the non-democracy practiced in Russia. How much rights do the opposition parties have in Russia, Mike?

  12. weston 12

    It would be nice to think our gov and ministers might receive especial briefings on important world events such as the proxy war in Ukraine but who could tell given the actions of our PM and foreign minister ?Of course given that little nz is just a humble satellite whirling around the great planet America perhaps the briefings are just turning on CNN for ten minutes ?

    Its certainly true that Ukraine appears to be winning the propaganda war in fact it will be interesting to estimate how much money has changed hands there for the manufacture of bullshit, Goebbels would be green !!Ukrainian trolls are everywhere in social media and as the ausie university study showed recently fake accounts and bots hit the floor running so to speak back in feb .

    On an even more sinister note Ukrainian nationalists deal with their perceived enemies in many different ways and no doubt their prisons are chocka but they also have something called 'the list 'or ' Myrotvorets ' on which they post a picture of the 'enemy'and a list of their crimes plus handily an address where an interested party might find them ! On this list was Daria Dugina who was blown to pieces by car bomb .There are many apparently on this list including famous people like Roger Waters for example .The regime doesnt care who you are if you dont follow the narrative of believing Ukraine is a sweet little democracy it wants you dead !!

  13. UncookedSelachimorpha 13

    The name of the person the article is about is offensively mispelled at the first word…and it descends into Kremlin propaganda from there.

    Putin and his associates are brutal tyrants who murder their political opponents and tolerate no criticism or discussion of their actions or free press in Russia. The unprovoked invasion of Ukraine was driven by a desire to build an empire and the Russians commit a continuous stream of war crimes. The horrific war in Ukraine was started by Russia and is entirely Russia's fault. Russia can end it at any time, by just going home.

    Send more weapons for Ukraine!

  14. Tiger Mountain 14

    The impressive pile of sarcastic remarks above illustrates a long standing phenomenon related to imperialist wars and conflict.

    Civilian populations are encouraged by all means necessary to support “their” imperialist power during certain armed conflicts. Which in this case really translates to US imperialism itself, expansionist NATO and 5 Eyes. We should be supporting an end to the Ukraine war via actively advocating further negotiations, not ramping up the meat grinder.

    Mr Zelensky’s visit seems a rather obvious “hold the line” instruction from 5 Eyes partners. It is appalling that a shooting war of this scale is happening in 2022, but to not examine the complex causes–and the easier to discern causes which Mike Smith describes, just makes it more difficult to achieve the solution.

    Oh for the day when West Papuan and Palestinian representatives are invited to such a Parliamentary session to put their case for assistance.

    [lprent: It isn’t a ‘visit’ as I understand it (or as a dictionary does). Having a war beleaguered executive fly around the world for a meat visit would be rather weird. It is a remote address to parliament. Much the same as the many other that have been reported. ]

    • Adrian Thornton 14.1

      "We should be supporting an end to the Ukraine war via actively advocating further negotiations, not ramping up the meat grinder"…100% correct.

    • tsmithfield 14.2

      "We should be supporting an end to the Ukraine war via actively advocating further negotiations,''

      Of course we all should support a stronger nation invading a weaker one in order to grab territory through forced negotiation at the point of a gun. What a wonderful world that would be.

      On the otherhand, Russia could leave Ukraine in order to facilitate negotiations…

      • RedLogix 14.2.1

        Why should Russians leave Ukraine? It is according to them part of Russia and therefore it is the Ukrainians who have invaded Russia by their mere existence.

        The best way to end the war would be for all the Ukrainians (who are all satanic, baby eating Nazis) to top themselves, leaving the territory they so brutally invaded, open and empty for the democratic, peace-loving, people of Russia to restore and resettle.

        And yeah we have seen this movie before.

      • Adrian Thornton 14.2.2

        Both your and Redlogix's infantile response to the question of negotiations to help put an end to a pointless bloodbath only reinforces my assertion that the Liberal class are quite unhinged and live in a sound proof bubble of their own making.

        • Ed

          Chris Hedges speaks so much sense on this matter, Adrian.

          The handful of anti-militarists and critics of empire from the left, such as Noam Chomsky, and the right, such as Ron Paul, have been declared persona non grata by a compliant media. The liberal class has retreated into boutique activism where issues of class, capitalism and militarism are jettisoned for “cancel culture,” multiculturalism and identity politics. Liberals are cheerleading the war in Ukraine. At least the inception of the war with Iraq saw them join significant street protests. Ukraine is embraced as the latest crusade for freedom and democracy against the new Hitler. There is little hope, I fear, of rolling back or restraining the disasters being orchestrated on a national and global level. The neoconservatives and liberal interventionists chant in unison for war.


          It all started with Tony Blair and Yugoslavia….

        • tsmithfield

          "Both your and Redlogix's infantile response…."

          Let me state in plain language then:

          You obviously do not appreciate the gravity of moral hazard in this respect. If we in any way validate a larger nation invading a smaller one, and then benefit by "negotiating" the annexation of the territory it has just invaded, then where does that end?

          Would you support similar "negotiation" in the case of Israel invading Palestine or similar? Because, you, and those who argue in a similar way about Ukraine, are in effect arguing for a precedent to be set that could be used to justify such action, because it would save the lives of the resisting Palestinians, for instance.

          Anyway, the Russians effectively closed the door on negotiation through their sham referendums and bogus annexation of Ukrainian territories. Before then, negotiation was probably a realistic prospect. But by Russians taking that sort of action, they basically have ruled out negotiation.

          • Nic the NZer

            Israel presently runs Palestine. Exactly what point are you making here?

            • tsmithfield

              Israel is just an example to illustrate the point. If Palestine doesn’t quite fit your world view, then Israel invading Lebanon, or similar.

              But the point applies to world order generally. If we want a world where countries respect each other and respect international law, then we absolutely need to make sure that we do not set precedents that justify the opposite.

              And some things are so simple that it doesn't really require explanation.

              For instance, Ukraine doesn't need to negotiate with Russia to stop Russia from committing war crimes by deliberately targeting Ukrainian infrastructure and putting Ukrainian lives at risk. Russia just needs to stop.

              Ukraine doesn't need to negotiate with Russia for it to leave Ukraine. Russia just needs to leave, pay reparations for the damage done, and return the children and citizens unwillingly sent to Russia.

              Russia just needs to behave in the right way, and be subject to severe consequences until it does so, and makes reparations for the damage done.

              • Ghostwhowalksnz

                Turkiye invasion of part of Cyprus in 1974 , which continues to this day has never had consequences.

                but but …Turkiye was a crucial nato partner at the time . They could and should expel them, but didnt and dont

                So severe and precise for solving the invasions beginning only in 2022 and ignoring the rest. A Faux Nobel peace prize for you

                • tsmithfield

                  The implied argument you make there is facile.

                  Basically, the argument is that because Turkey didn't face consequences for its illegal action, Russia shouldn't face consequences for its actions now, and by extrapolation, no country should ever face consequences for this type of action.

                  If we look back in history we will always be able to find examples of one country or another not obeying the rules we want to apply now.

                  The situation in Ukraine is at a whole different level. It is recognised as the largest war in Europe since the second world war. It has involved Russia flattening entire Ukrainian towns and a good part of some of their cities. Plus it involves large numbers of documented war crimes, and an ongoing war crime where Russia is deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure putting the safety of numerous civilians at risk.

                  Plus some leading commentators and analysists contend that Ukraine isn't the end of Russian ambitions, and their ultimate goal is to basically restore the USSR, which would future conflict with other nations if Russia succeeds in Ukraine.

                  So, there is good reason for the world to take a stand here, and appeasing Russia won't necessarily end conflict, but rather likely just kick the can down the road.

                  • Ghostwhowalksnz

                    I didnt say that any thing can be ignored Its you thats being selective

                    Turkiye is still in occupation , so The EU and Nato could force the situation this week and expel Turkey and sanction

                    they wont because they too are selective like you.

                    Putin made a collossal mistake maybe because he saw a blase world when western nations decided to go to war in their national interest

                    PS . It wasnt the end of the world because of all the small invasions in the last 50 years ( often involving US) , so spare us the beatup about 'impending doom' and recyucling the red menace

                    • tsmithfield

                      That is fine. And I agree that historical injustices should be rectified. And, sure, allies can be a bit "blind'' when it suits them.

                      But those are seperate and distinct issues unrelated to the current conflict.

                      Those past injustices are not at anything like the same level of immediate threat as the current situation. It is a case where we need to focus on the house that is currently on fire right now, rather than debate the rights and wrongs of historical cases where houses have been burnt down

        • RedLogix

          Both your and Redlogix's infantile response

          Fair enough. On the other hand I will point on my record of substantive responses here at TS, on many issues over many years, to claim that I am capable of solid argument.

          Just cannot be arsed wasting the effort on you.

      • mikesh 14.2.3

        On the otherhand, Russia could leave Ukraine in order to facilitate negotiations…

        Or Ukraine could, in order to facilitate negotiations, accept that Russia has now regained a part of what it foolishly gave away in the early nineties.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          "Or Ukraine could, in order to facilitate negotiations, accept that Russia has now regained a part of what it foolishly gave away in the early nineties."

          …And accept for the occupied territories the establishment of torture chambers, rape as a weapon, forced 'adoption' of Ukrainian children, deportation of citizens to Russia and elections held at gunpoint.

  15. Gosman 15

    For those who think Ukraine is some haven of Nazism that Russia is countering ask yourself a few questions about Russia and Ukraine.

    Which nation has had a substantive change of leadership since 2014?

    Which nation officially promotes an ideology involving the nation returning to the former glory it enjoyed when it's control over land was much greater than today?

    Which nation arrests people simply because they do not call a conflict by the correct officially approved term?

    Which nation annexes the land of another nation after holding a referendum that was not subject to international scrutiny, was undertaken during a conflict, and involved parts that were not even under their control?

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 15.1

      Heard of Kosovo?

      Under continuing Nato occupation, clearly they arent going to return to Serbia the country it was shadow annexed from by Nato

      https://www.army.mil/article/260781/hoosier_guardsmen_depart_indiana_for_kosovo_deployment Oct 2022

      'Maj. Gen. Dale Lyles, Indiana’s adjutant general, said the deployment demonstrates America’s resolve to defend the sovereignty of free and democratic nations like Kosovo."

      All complete lies of course as Kosovo isnt 'independent' nor sovereign. This is Putin or Boris level bullshit

      This was also a war that wasnt approved by UN Security council and is thus just as illegal as the Russian invasion.

      A feature of the Nato war was the complete destruction of Serbias power grid, now copied by Russia in Ukraine

      PS Dont mention the continuing Nato member Turkiye part occupation of its neighbour ( and commonwealth and EU member) Cyprus

      • Gosman 15.1.1

        NATO forces being deployed to Kosovo were authorised by the UN (including Russia)

        • Ghostwhowalksnz

          That resolution came after the war 10th June 1999


          Oct 1998 Nato activated its war plan in mid october 1998, and the bombing began in March 1999

          Why are US troops still there , Serbia is no longer the same country and leadership.

          • lprent

            It probably has something to do with this kind of things.

            "Kosovo Serb police surrender weapons as Serbia issues veiled threats"

            "US expresses deep concern over situation in north Kosovo"

            "Kosovo: Why is trouble flaring up between Serbs and the Albanian-led government?"

            Many Serbs consider it the birthplace of their nation.

            But of the 1.8 million people living in Kosovo, 92% are Albanian and only 6% Serbian. The rest are Bosniaks, Gorans, Turks and Roma.

            After the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Kosovo – a province of the former country – sought its own autonomy and independence.

            Serbia responded with a brutal crackdown against ethnic Albanians seeking independence.

            This ended in 1999, with a Nato bombing campaign against Serbia, between March and June.

            Serbian forces withdrew from Kosovo – but for many Kosovo Albanians and Serbs, the conflict has never been resolved.

            The Nato-led Kosovo Force (KFor) is still based in Kosovo, with a current strength of 3,762.

            In 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared independence.

            Based on past performance by the Serbian government and armed forces and on the basis of the current troubles and the posturing of current Serbian government, I'd anticipate a repeat of the killing, rapes, and ethnic cleansing that Serbia tried last time they had access to Kosovo. Not to mention a bloody guerrilla war and a need to intervene by surrounding states.

            To date Serbia hasn’t done some very basic things like guaranteeing that they won’t do the same thing again. Instead we see this.

            An MP from Mr Vucic’s party said Serbia would soon be compelled to begin the “denazification of the Balkans” – using the same language President Putin used to justify his invasion of Ukraine. He later apologised for his words.

            It kind of sounds like a threat to me that the Serbian army will act like genocidal barbarians. It has been consistent attitude from Serbian political figures since the 1990s.

            The main difference would be that NATO would then have to intervene as they’re the guarantee from the last time it started.

      • Ed 15.1.2

        There is a denial of history going on by those cheering for ongoing war in the Ukraine. An infantilism in discussion, which reverts back to the days of Ronald Reagan.

        There are simply goodies and baddies in this childlike zeitgeist.

        Gil Scott-Heron wrote this masterful piece in 1981 as this juvenile world view started to unfold. So many important lyrics, as relevant today as ever.

        Nostalgia, that's what we want: the good ol' days, when we gave'em hell. When the buck stopped somewhere and you could still buy something with it. To a time when movies were in black and white, and so was everything else. Even if we go back to the campaign trail, before six-gun Ron shot off his face and developed hoof-in-mouth. Before the free press went down before full-court press, and were reluctant to review the menu.

        • Gosman

          Of course there are shades of grey on all sides but there is also a set of views that are on the whole good and a set of views that are on the whole not good and we should always attempt to support the set of views that are on the whole good.

          • mikesh

            Michael Hudson, discussing the current inflation, points to statements by Joe Biden which indicate that he is initiating a new cold war against Russia, with a view to weakening her, and that the Ukrainian conflict is just the opening salvo. One has the impression that the US has pushed Ukraine into goading Russia in order to to try and bring about just this situation. Biden is also trying to bring economic ruin to Europe, and in particular, Germany, by cutting off the supply of cheap Russian fuels. All in the
            interests of bringing about American hegemony.

            It’s not just “shades of grey” that matter One needs to consider the broader picture.

            Ref: the latest posting on michael-hudson.com (unfortunately I cannot give a better link as I am using unfamiliar equipment).

        • Sanctuary

          This is pointless, are you arging we shouldn't have gone to war with Nazi Germany because Poland wasn't an exemplar liberal democracy?

          Defeatists and shirkers always looks for reasons to avoid confrontations with fascist bullies.

          • Ghostwhowalksnz

            Poland was a formal ally of Nazi Germany ( treaty and participated in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia with a small piece like the Nazis other ally Hungary.


            Because of these events the UK and France didnt go to Polands aid ( much to their indignation) but declared war to protect their own future interests. Poland was the last straw really and but for Polands location on Germanys eastern border could well have been on the Germans side once war was declared

            • Gosman

              Incorrect. France and the UK both declared war to protect Poland. France had a formal alliance to do so and the UK was duty bound after the humiliation of the outcome of Munich conference around Czechoslovakia.

              However there was little chance the French and British would offer the Poles anything substantive in terms of military support as they were not in a position to attack Germany at that time.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 15.2

      Which nation officially promotes an ideology involving the nation returning to the former glory it enjoyed when it's control over land was much greater than today?

      Agree, and glorifies a former unhinged dictator (Stalin) responsible for tens of millions of deaths of their own and other nation's citizens?

  16. denby 16

    blah blah blah! he said she said. You're all a bunch of wankers.

    [sounds like you need a holiday mate. Take the same time as the kids, out of ban 1/2/23. Please read the site Policy if you want to comment here again. We require people to debate not stick their tongues out and go nyah, nyah. – weka]

  17. adam 17
    1. There is no peace movement in Russia

    2. Sanctions are making the Russian people support Putin

    3. Putin is more popular now than when he started the war.

    4. Putin is going to keep the war going, because he has no way to stop it and stay popular

    5. Putin and co. are going to bomb Ukraine back to the stone age. Because they have no idea what to do.

    6. Russia is NOT the USSR, the military and the economy are a pale shadow of the former super power

    7. A negotiated peace is not a capitulation to Russian Aggression as some commentators keep banging on about here. As the war crime of invading another country needs to be front and center of any negotiation.

    8. The longer we let this war carry on , the chances of it spilling out to a wider conflict increase.

    • lprent 17.1

      There is no peace movement in Russia

      There is however a well documented recently exported migration of people of military age to places outside Russia – most of whom seem to indicate that they wish to escape the draft. Personally as a ex-soldier, I’d class that as a pretty strong peace movement. Percentage wise of the population able to called up, it would dwarf the largest actual peace movements that NZ has ever had – in either of the first or second world wars.

      That is before I look at prosecution and imprisonments of all opposing political movements, the active closures by the state of any alternative media sources, and what appears to be some pretty deliberate attempts to do untargeted press-gang call-ups in areas outside of European Russia.

      I think that you’re somewhat delusional.

      • Adrian Thornton 17.1.1

        "and what appears to be some pretty deliberate attempts to do untargeted press-gang call-ups in areas outside of European Russia"..links please

        Without unbiased verification to your above allegation,…it might turn out that it is you whom is "somewhat delusional"..lets find out shall we.

        I wouldn't be so quick to conflate dodging a draft with a emergence of a "pretty strong peace" movement either.

        • lprent

          Since the Russian government doesn't actually produce much detail data beyond vague hand-waving assertions. However there is some reasonably hard data around. A quick search gave me these over luncn (helps to know terms to search for).

          Please check the links in these back to where the data was obtained from.

          Economist: Where are Russia’s newest soldiers coming from?
          meduza.io: A new report shows discrepancies in Russian draft statistics

          A lot of this comes from the way that the mobilisation was carried out through regional means. I haven't had time to plow through all of the links in here. Those that I did look at were appalling.

          RUSI: "The New Boyars? How Russia’s Governors Facilitate Mobilisation"

          Take a note in particular about how the Buryatia mobilisation was handled.

          There are of course heart-rending reports about just how badly trained and poorly equipped conscripts have been tossed in as cannon fodder. But we'll skip those for another time. Suffice it to say that the Russian army appears to have a love affair with military stupidity.

          The military bloggers inside Russia have been quite explicit about their view on it. But perhaps this will assist you – try Girkin

          SCMP: "Some Russian soldiers in Ukraine unhappy with top brass: ‘Fish’s head is completely rotten’"

          Vladen Tatarskiy – not to mention families.

          CNN: "Anger on the front lines and anxiety at home as Russia’s mobilization is mired in problems"

          Now I'd expect that you're too much of a lazy loudmouth to actually read your way through this.

          I rather expect that I will get your usual hand waving assertions with youtube videos, statements by central government, and your typical religious style head of a pin avoidance behaviour.

          • Adrian Thornton

            Okay lets get to this…

            1.The Economist article was a pay for view so that one is no good…though I will say that judging from the language I could read it wasn’t a promising start.

            1. Meduza I am not even sure why included this article as it only pointed out the obvious…that more conscripts come from poorer area’s, which often happen to be in the regions…“The different percentages may also be connected to regional differences in the numbers of experienced reservists — but this hypothesis cannot be verified, since this information is classified.”..etc
            2. RUSI This one was a real mess, while on the one hand it offered these type of explanations of different types of conscription and it’s practices…. “Regional governments have been tasked to 'balance' the needs of mobilisation and shelter local businesses and companies from worsening economic conditions”
              “Some governors offer cash payments at summoning; others offer money to the families of the mobilised; many offer compensation in the case of significant injury or death.”
              “Earlier on Tuesday, federal lawmakers passed a bill to simplify the process of obtaining Russian citizenship for foreigners who sign a one-year contract with the Russian army.
              ”…which all sounds reasonable enough, however when it got into its’ negative stride on this subject, all the links were from CNN, BBC, Radio Free Europe etc and some Russian language ones I didn’t follow…so obviously as I am sure you would agree, those Western (or Western linked) media links are worse than useless if it is the truth we are after in this conversation.
              Anyway lets focus on Buryatia, as that is where you specifically wanted the focus…I followed the sole link cited to Mediazone, a rabid anti Russia source and written by Alla Konstantinova who only writes anti Russian pieces for a living it seems…seriously? …come on man, are you kidding?..the rest of the paragraph you encouraged me to take special note of had no other links..so pointless.
            3. SCMP I am very familiar with Igor Girkin..maybe you would like to point out where in that article he supports your allegations of “untargeted press-gang call-ups in areas outside of European Russia”?…I must of missed it
            4. And last but most assuredly the least, you propose a CCN article..you must have been taking the piss so I politely will just ignore that one.

            So in conclusion I could find no creditable information in any of those articles to back up your claim "and what appears to be some pretty deliberate attempts to do untargeted press-gang call-ups in areas outside of European Russia" (If there are creditable sources contained within those articles you linked to, please show us those sources specifically)…. of course none of this surprises me in the least, as I have said before, you write a lot of words, but in matters of geo-politics they rarely carry any substance.

      • adam 17.1.2

        I think that you’re somewhat delusional.

        Always good to have you personally attack me lprent, albeit a rather stupid attack. One so light on engaging with reality, it's funny.

        You will notice I said – "IN" Russia, and that was said for a reason.

        All the formal and informal connections have been ripped apart. Their is no organised resistance to this war in Russia. As the majority of the people who would be organising it, have left (not just draft age people I might add) , or as you say – been arrested. There is a large Russian peace movement outside Russia, no denying it.

        But within a state as oppressive as Russia you should not confuse people who don't want to die for Putin, as being part of a peace movement, a organised movement to end a war. It's just not their.

        • lprent

          idiot – read my comment. I never said that was IN Russia. I merely referred to the small proportion outside Russia or who have been locked up.

          Inside Russia has the people who couldn't or wouldn't do something about whatever misgivings they had. But that is just a lid on a problem.

          It just that isn't a organised peace movement inside Russia. Just as it wasn't an organised peace movement back in 1916 or 1917.

          What there was in 1917 was a amorphous anti-war movement – most of whom had significantly differing about what do do with the war. The only commonality was that they did think that the Czar and his ministers had severely fucked up the progress of the war and that they didn't like it.

          That is what I call a movement towards peace, but in reality it is usually and anti-war movement. I can't recall actually ever reading about an actual organised peace movement outside of some teeny activist groups calling themselves a peace movement and being mostly ignored (like they are here).

          Anti-draft movements, anti-imperial movements, mothers against their babies being murdered, deserter movement movements who think that the current fuckwits in power couldn't organise a pissup in a brewery etc are all very common in history. Often getting pretty large and able to crystallise magically into a cohesive but severely conflicted force overnight when their governments start losing or the casualties get too high or the suppression of expression gets too damn frustrating.

          I don't think that it is much different in Russia. But I think you're confusing quiescence with support for a war. I can't see much support in Russia for Putin's war. Even the bloody military bloggers and pundits are starting to look for blood amongst his ministers and generals.

          I just see a saturated solution steadily getting less enamoured of their expensive and casualty ridden non-war. Especially as the mobilisation / conscription process keeps getting wider and the loses and lack of any victories grates.

          Same in Ukraine as well of course. But there is a key difference. They were the ones that were attacked by a military fool.

  18. tsmithfield 18

    You really need to provide sources to justify those statements. Because there is strong contradictory evidence against some of them.

    For instance, Putins popularity has been dropping recently, as much as it is possible to make definitive statements in a country infiltrated by secret police and the like. So, arguments around Putin becoming more popular are contradicted by key evidence.

    • adam 18.1

      Your link supports what I was saying. Come on. And then you go on to deny even your own link, because of a feeling? Is that because most of what else your link is saying, is guess work.

      Plus the stawman "Putins popularity has been dropping recently," really dude, it's a bit much.

      The reality is most authoritarian douchebags get a rise in popularity out of war. It's just how people are.

      • tsmithfield 18.1.1

        Really? Here is a couple of quotes from the article (remember these polls are in the context of a nation that sent soldiers with ballot papers for the recent referendums. So the high ratings should difinitely be taken with a healthy grain of salt ):

        ''Authoritarian leaders like Putin need to keep up the appearance of popularity to maintain unanimity and social consensus. It is difficult to predict whether Putin’s public support will remain strong enough for him to remain in power.

        Putin’s approval ratings dropped from 83% in August 2022 to 77% in September 2022. Most Russians continue to believe the country is moving in the right direction, but public sentiment may change as more people are mobilized into the army.''


        "The percentage of Russians who say they intently monitor the situation in Ukraine slowly declined after March 2022. But this trend recently reversed, and the proportion of Russians reporting they “very closely” follow the war rose from 21% in August 2022 to 32% in September 2022.

        The most common emotions evoked by the war are no longer national pride but rather “anxiety, fear, horror” and “anger, indignation,” people say in the latest polls."

        Part of the issue for Putin is that by partially mobilising the Russian population he has broken the unwritten contract with the Russian people that allows him to wage his wars while leaving the Russian population out of it, and leaving them to live their lives at a comfortable level.

  19. Stephen D 19

    Geopolitics is a grey area. Either decisions are made by committee, or men wearing 3 piece suits in back rooms. Wriggle room is key, as no one, or no country wants to be pinned down to absolutes. The days of a British civil servant drawing lines on a map to demarcate new borders are long gone.

    There are rules, however. Borders do have a black and white meaning. This is our country, people, resources so keep out. Many argue that Russia had good reason to invade Ukraine; the Minsk accords, Nazis, the old Soviet Empire, the old Tsarist empire. All grey areas.

    What is not grey is the border between two sovereign nations. Russia invaded a sovereign nation. The reasons, once that has been established, become irrelevant.

    When invaded, a nation has the right to defend itself. It can call upon its allies to help. In the case of Poland, Great Britain weighed in. In the case of Ukraine, help has come from a wide collection of Western aligned nations.

    We can, and no doubt will debate endlessly the whys, and whos of this invasion, but invasion it is. Unless we want to see Russia, and by extension any autocratic country emboldened, Ukraine must be helped to return to the pre 2014 borders.

    • tsmithfield 19.1


      And, Russia has made negotiations nigh on impossible by illegally annexing regions of Ukraine, including areas it wasn't even occupying. So, from Russia's point of view, Ukraine was technically invading Russia when it took back Kherson.

    • RedLogix 19.2

      Geopolitics is a grey area.

      It is worth taking this thought a few steps further. Formally the study of geopolitics merges ideas around geography, demography, security and political continuity into a system of thinking that endeavours to explain the factors which determine the long-term fate of peoples and nations.

      Recently Peter Zeihan pointed to Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel as a key prototype – a way of thinking that goes beyond personalities and short-term politics, and delves into enduring root causes.

      In the case of Russia, Zeihan predicted in his 2014 book The Accidental Superpower that Putin was highly likely to invade Ukraine in 2022. He based this reasoning on three factors. The most important being the historic need of the Russian state to expand it's borders to the defensible borders corresponding to that of the Soviet Union. Essentially all of Eastern Europe, and especially Ukraine. This is the geographic argument.

      Then he pointed to the demographic collapse of the Russian Federation, showing that as each year goes by the Russians have fewer and fewer young men capable of effective fighting. Putin's window of opportunity to have enough manpower to conduct war was rapidly closing and Zeihan's 2022 date was based on this projection.

      Thirdly the source of all political power in the Kremlin is the FSB (or ex-KGB) security services. Everything is centralised in Moscow or St Petersburg. The regional cities and oblasts are utterly dependent on the decisions that flow from a bare few hundred people who firmly grasp all institutional power in the Kremlin. And that over time such a regime necessarily fails to regenerate itself, and becomes increasingly brittle in it's attempts to assure continuity of power. Inevitably such people would see the organic expansion of Europe eastward as a threat to their personal existence – and then conflate this fear with a wholly paranoid threat to the Russian nation itself.

      The grey area arises as we try to disentangle these geopolitical drivers, from the personal choices of Putin and his criminal cronies. Until about 2008 I was expecting Putin to tilt Russia progressively toward Europe, and engagement with the rest of the world as a respected peer. He absolutely had this choice, and has manifestly fucked it up. Putin assumed absolute power in Russia, and now he is solely and absolutely accountable for the outcome.

      • tsmithfield 19.2.1

        Yes, that prediction of Zeihans was quite remarkable in the light of recent history.

        I have heard on good authority that Santa is delivering his latest book to me for Christmas. So, looking forward to a good read.

        • Ed

          I prefer to read Chomsky, Pilger and Hedges.

          • RedLogix

            Theirs is a more conventional political analysis. And while all three have made excellent criticisms of the west, and US politics in particular, in the past – as time went by they have become increasingly captive to the formula that made them successful.

            For instance it is possible to be both critical of the US in many matters – the Julian Assange debacle for instance – while at the same time recognise that other even more pressing concerns exist.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 19.3


      Who invaded who is the key issue.

      • Jenny are we there yet 19.3.1

        "Who invaded who is the key issue."

        In the struggle between the various rival imperialist powers for global influence it is.

        The supporters of the Russian Federation bloody invasion of Ukraine excuse for Russia's aggression was because NATO was on its borders.

        This argument holds little water.

        In 1939 the British Empire had 300,000 soldiers of its Expeditionary Force, the bulk of Britain's standing army massed at the Franco German border. History records that Germany never declared war on Britain or the British Empire. Britain declared war on Germany. Yet history records Nazi Germany as the aggressor and rightfully so.

        Despite all the posturing and maneuvering and chest beating of Nato. Russia is the aggressor. Russia invaded Ukraine. Ukraine did not invade Russia. Nato did not invade Russia. The US did not invade Russia.

        If they had, we on the Left would have rightly condemned them.

        Imperialism is the cause of this war. My hope is that the defeat and withdrawal of Russian forces back to their own borders will be a lessen to all the imperialist and colonialist powers

        • Ed

          Have you read or heard John Mearsheimer on the Ukraine?

          According to wikipedia , he is 'is an American political scientist and international relations scholar, who belongs to the realist school of thought.'

          To summarise.

          Mearsheimer sees NATO's eastward expansion as a dangerous provocation of Russia.

          The narrative that Russia had only been waiting for opportunities to annex Ukraine is seen as erroneous by Mearsheimer.

          Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Mearsheimer reiterated his belief that NATO and the EU were largely to blame for the war in Ukraine.

          • tsmithfield

            The thing is, the only reason NATO is expanding, or for that matter even exists, is due to the threat posed from Russia.

            And, one of Putin's stated goal in invading Ukraine was to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO, thus slowing the "spread'' of NATO.

            Well that didn't work out too well for Putin as it has given extra impetus for Finland and Sweden to join up.

            And before anyone brings up the nonsense about Russia being promised that NATO would never spread east, even Gorbachev denied that such promises were ever made.


            • Ed

              Newsweek is hardly a Russian propaganda outlet.

              So this makes compelling reading.

              No-one could call George Kennan and Robert M. Gates 'tankies' or 'putinbots.'

              Russian leaders and several Western policy experts were warning more than two decades ago that NATO expansion would turn out badly—ending in a new cold war with Russia at best, and a hot one at worst.

              George Kennan, the intellectual architect of America's containment policy during the Cold War, perceptively warned in a May 2, 1998 New York Times interview what NATO's move eastward would set in motion. "I think it is the beginning of a new cold war," he stated. "I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake."

              Yet U.S. and European officials blew through one red light after another. George W. Bush began to treat Georgia and Ukraine as valued U.S. political and military allies, and in 2008, he pressed NATO to admit Ukraine and Georgia as members. French and German wariness delayed that endeavor, but the NATO summit communique affirmed that both countries would eventually achieve that status.

              In his 2014 memoir, Duty , Robert M. Gates, who served as secretary of defense in both Bush's administration and Barack Obama's, conceded that "trying to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO was truly overreaching."

              Amazingly, though, the Obama administration still sought to turn Ukraine into a NATO political and military asset. In late 2013 and early 2014, the United States and several European governments meddled shamelessly to support the efforts of demonstrators to unseat Ukraine's generally pro-Russia president, Victor Yanukovych, some two years before the expiration of his term.

              That campaign was especially inappropriate since Yanukovych became president in 2010 as the result of an election that even the European Union and other international observers acknowledged was reasonably free and fair.


              • tsmithfield

                See my comment below. Ukraine was miles away from being able to join NATO and had some major hurdles to get across before that was even a possibility.

                So, ''the West made me do it'' really isn't an excuse for Putin.

                • Ed

                  As a matter of interest, have you listened to the 2015 talk by John Mearsheimer 'Why is Ukraine the West's Fault?'

                  It has had nearly 28 and a half million views on you tube.

                • lprent

                  Ukraine was miles away from being able to join NATO and had some major hurdles to get across before that was even a possibility.

                  See "What is NATO, and why isn’t Ukraine a member?" for most of the reasons. Written about the time of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

                  Political instability being a primary one, and the political / governmental issues in 2004, 2010, 2014, and 2020 surely didn't help enhance their perceived readiness.

                  But also the way that the military structure operated in Ukraine. It was and still is intensely regional and designed for a in depth semi-partisan defence. That plus Russian hubris proved its worth at the start of this year. It allowed the stalling of the blitzrieg. It survived a shock and awe attack by overwhelming force and under surprise.

                  But NATO is a military system for strong joint command and control using locally commanded forces. The Ukraine armed forces barely have strong central command system. That is because a very dispersed command and control was most likely to survive the initial onslaught of Russian air superiority.

                  A partisan survival military system with wide territorial forces won't integrate too well with the NATO command and control. That C&C system is designed for a self-defence treaty designed to deal with external aggression with forward defence. They don't want to absorb attacks to defeat them. They deploy forces designed to break up an oncoming invader with combined strength – especially air power and a high tech military.

                  There is also the question of time. North Macedonia started the process in 1999, but only became a member 20 years later. Georgia and Ukraine only started the process in 2008.

                  Both of these nations have unresolved border disputes with Russia. In both cases that is all from the Russian side – because Russia follows the Nazi imperial model and seems to consider that any population speaking Russian is russian. In Nazi Germany resident german speaking populations was the excuse for the take over of Austria, the dismemberment of the Czechoslovakia and the invasion of Poland .

                  In my opinion the Russian propagandists have swallowed the Nazi propaganda playbook whole – they plagiarise it almost verbatim.

                  Right down to regarding defensive pacts as being aggressive. A military pact between Britain and France to protect themselves and other states against Germany was, according to the Nazi propaganda, only about them wanting to dismember Germany. We see that same theme with the Russian propaganda paranoia about NATO. There are a number of other similarities.

                  Anyway, border disputes fro new members make NATO members nervous, and all have to agree to allow a new member in. Each member has to ratify an amended treaty to accommodate a new member – and usually in front of a very sceptical democratic or republican framework.

                  That was the main delay with North Macedonia – they had to change their name from just Macedonia. The Greeks didn't like the implication that they may covert the Macedonia administrative region of Greece.

          • UncookedSelachimorpha

            Got it – "I felt provoked", even though no-one actually attacked or invaded me (in last 70+ years).

            Therefore I am justified launching a full-scale invasion, levelling cities, slaughtering civilians, setting up torture chambers, continuous war crimes, and destroying civilian infrastructure as a means of terrorising the population.

            And I heard Ukraine was also wearing a short dress.

            • tsmithfield

              Exactly. The problem with arguments that it was Ukraine's desire to join NATO that caused Russia to invade is:

              1. There are a lot of other options available to resolve such concerns that don't involve invading a neighbouring country. Diplomacy being one of them.
              2. Even if it was a threat, it wasn't such a immediate threat that would justify any sort of military action. It would have taken years for Ukraine to be admitted to NATO, if it ever could be. For a start, it would have had to resolve its own internal conflict with the Donbass areas before it could even be considered for membership.
              • Ed

                I agree.

                There were other options.

                1. The Minsk Agreements were an attempt by Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine to find compromise. Angela Merkl's recent comments have shown these discussions were not held in good faith.

                2. As the US found in the 1960s, missiles placed in a hostile neighbour are an immediate threat.

                • RedLogix

                  What next? Are you going to rely on the Bay of Pigs fiasco to justify the invasion of Ukraine?

                • tsmithfield

                  As Churchill supposedly said, "it is better to jaw jaw than war war''.

                  There was plenty of time for a peaceful solution given that there was no immediate threat the Ukraine was going to join NATO. It may have taken decades for that to happen given the situation Ukraine was in internally.

                  And you are assuming that Putin was ever going to stop back in 2014. As Red pointed out below, Peter Zeihan correctly predicted back in 2014 that Russia would have a crack at Ukraine in 2022. Because he realised that Russia has much bigger ambitions than just Ukraine.

                • UncookedSelachimorpha

                  "As the US found in the 1960s, missiles placed in a hostile neighbour are an immediate threat."

                  Of course, Ukraine did the exact opposite of that, by giving its nuclear missiles to Russia and decommissioning the rest, under the Budapest memoranda. In return Russia promised to:

                  • Respect the signatory's [Ukraine] independence and sovereignty in the existing borders.
                  • Refrain from the threat or the use of force against the signatory.
                  • tsmithfield

                    Good point. They probably regret they gave up their nukes now. Because no way would Russia have invaded them if they had a nuclear deterence.

                    • lprent

                      Ukraine actually had the skills to maintain those weapons. There was a lot of nuclear weapon creation and assembly done in Ukraine SSR.

          • RedLogix

            Following on from tsmithfields comment above – I would argue it was the organic success and expansion of European economies that was the core driver here.

            The Eastern European nations that were once part of the Soviet Union have a collective population of about 240m people; substantially larger than the population of the Russian Federation at about 140m. And over the past two decades this group of nations have progressively become more prosperous, more democratic, more oriented toward Brussels than Moscow. I am not arguing here for perfection, but the trend is undeniable.

            And where their economies went it was inevitable their institutions would follow. Initially membership of the EU, and then membership of the security alliance NATO would in time follow. It was not so much the expansion of NATO that threatened Russia as it was the economic liberation of their former colonies.

            In an ideal world, one could have imagined Russia following the same path – certainly Andrea Merkel hoped for this. But at some stage it dawned on Putin and his cronies, that this pathway was fundamentally incompatible with the authoritarian, kleptocracy regime they depend on.

            • Macro

              But at some stage it dawned on Putin and his cronies, that this pathway was fundamentally incompatible with the authoritarian, kleptocracy regime they depend on.

              If anything, this is precisely what frightens Putin and his cronies the most. Just imagine the threat of a state of previously subjugated people, now enjoying a life of prosperity, and a non-corrupt, democratically elected government next door. This wasn't fully the case when Putin invaded; but it was obvious following the last elections, (which were overseen by international observers from around the world, and given the big tick of approval as being fair open), that Ukraine was heading towards becoming such a state. Quite the opposite to that of Putin's Russia.

              From the link above:

              Ukraine pulled off the March 31 election with no major hitch. Voting and ballot-counting proceeded smoothly. The Central Election Commission’s vote tallies corresponded with exit poll results and a non-governmental parallel count. The International Election Observer Mission (IEOM) released a preliminary assessment that noted some problems but termed the election competitive, reported that candidates campaigned freely, and said that the electorate had a broad choice.

            • mikesh

              The negro in the woodpile was the US, for whom NATO was only useful as long as it promoted US hegemony. Russian membership was incompatible with this aim, Russia being a rival hegemon in a di-polar world.

          • Jenny are we there yet


            14 December 2022 at 3:37 pm

            Have you read or heard John Mearsheimer on the Ukraine? …

            'The Ukraine'!?! WTF.
            Can you really be that ignorant?

            Or, are you being deliberately chauvinistic?

            In Russian, the difference between the terms “Ukraine” and “the Ukraine” is not just descriptive or geographical.

            By KATHRYN E. GRABER

            14 MAR 2022

            Ukraine’s official name in English does not include “the” and for good reason….

            …..What is at stake? Nothing less than the political sovereignty of Ukraine. Yet in their coverage of the current crisis, some journalists and commentators still refer to events unfolding “in the Ukraine.”

            It might seem innocent, but it’s not….


            ….To a Ukrainian worried about the nation-state’s territorial integrity, that little word “the” might suggest that the speaker does not much care whether Ukraine is an independent state. Like it or not, and intentionally or not, the language a person uses reflects their political positions, including their position on Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty.


            • Ed

              I shall rephrase.

              Have you read or heard John Mearsheimer's 2015 talk on Ukraine?

            • UncookedSelachimorpha

              Possibly some commenters are soaking this nomenclature up from Russian propaganda sites. The russification of Volodymr Zelensky's first name in Mike's article may have a similar origin.

              • Jenny are we there yet

                Putin deliberately always, and his minions and useful idiots regularly, use this diminution of Ukraine as a region and not a country.

                It just so clunky and so obviously and a glaringly unnatural usage of language. I find it hard to believe that it is not a conscious slight when bloody pro-war, pro-invasion, pro-imperialist, apologists, like Ed refer to Ukraine as 'The Ukraine'. Note, that Ed was very quick to 'rephrase' when I pulled him up on it.
                English speakers in New Zealand regularly talk of 'the Waikato' (a region) or 'the King Country' (a region). But I can honestly say that I have never, ever heard anyone say 'the New Zealand' (a country).
                It is just not done.

                • Ed

                  You are misrepresenting my point of view.I quote Clare Daly, whose view I share.

                  "I urge a cease-fire, negotiations, and genuine E.U. efforts to secure a peace."

                  "In fact, most people seem to get off on the fact that it's escalating," said Daly, an Independent. "And at this precise moment, of course, as usual, the voices challenging the rush to war are attacked and silenced, smeared as traitors, cronies, Putin puppets, Kremlin stooges, Russian agents."

                  Opposing the horrible madness of war is not anti-European, it's not anti-Ukrainian, it's not pro-Russian: it's common sense. The working class of Europe has nothing to gain from this war and everything to lose.

                  And I find it laughable that those calling for arms to Ukraine never call for arms for the people of Palestine, or for the people of Yemen. Unlike you,

                  I oppose all war. I want it stopped. I make no apology for that."

                  • Jenny are we there yet


                    “I oppose all war. I want it stopped. I make no apology for that.”Ed

                    "An appeaser is someone who feeds a crocodile hoping that it eats him last." Winston Churchill

                    Ed have you seen the movie 'The Darkest Hour'?

                    Neither have I. But I know the history. All of Europe was occupied by the German fascist empire. Britain had a chance to negotiate a peace with Germany. In exchange Germany would agree not to attack Britain. Churchill knew such an agreement would only be delaying an inevitable clash between the British empire and the expansionist Nazi empire on the march.

                    Ed, can you comprehend why Lynn Prentice might be peeved with Mike Smith?

                    Possibly like me, Prentice sickened by all the death and destruction resulting from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has had a gutsful of apologists for Russian expansionism and bloody aggression amounting to mass murder.

                    Russian withdrawals from Kherson and Kharkiv have been explained in Russia as a temporary setback and a 'Tactical Pullback'.

                    'Tactical Pullback', or tactical retreat; a military tactic to regroup to continue an assault.


                    Russia has shown no interest in making peace.

                    Russia will continue the war to retake all the territory they claim is Russian. (And probably more).


                    To take this territory, Putin has told the world his Special Military Operation, SMO, will be "lengthy".


                    Ed, now that Russian ground forces find themselves on the back foot, calling for the fighting to stop will allow the Russian imperialists time to regroup.. Ed this is not opposing the war, it is giving your continued partisan support to allow Russia to regroup to continue their "Lengthy" SMO. (AKA War).

                    In an attempt to end the fighting, despite being offered extremely generous peace terms by the Zelensky administration, the Russians showed zero interest in ending their aggression when they were advancing,
                    Russia refused to agree to a temporary ceasefire during the peace talks in March, instead Russia aggressively pressed ahead with military attacks on Ukraine right throughout the period of these so called 'peace talks'.
                    As well as making a mockery of the peace talks by pressing ahead with their invasion during the talks, Russian negotiators kept making bizarre demands that Ukraine must 'Denazify' before they would stop the war. President Zelensky said at the time, he didn't even know what they meant by that.
                    It was pretty clear to me what the Russian negotiators meant -the Zelensky administration be replaced with a pro-Russian puppet government by force if necessary.
                    In essence, the Russia negotiator's demand for the 'Denazification of Ukraine' is no less than the Russian imperialists code word for regime change, no more, no less.

                    Freedom is Not Guaranteed: Sometimes You Must Fight

                    WrittenBy: ADVANTAGE – Date published:8:00 am, September 11th, 2022 – 177 comments


                • mikesh

                  English speakers in New Zealand regularly talk of 'the Waikato' (a region) or 'the King Country' (a region). But I can honestly say that I have never, ever heard anyone say 'the New Zealand' (a country).
                  It is just not done.

                  It seems to a peculiarity in some languages that they refer to use the definite article when referring to a country. For example a Frenchman might refer to "La France" or "L'Angleterre" where we might say "France" or "England".

                • weka

                  English speakers in New Zealand regularly talk of 'the Waikato' (a region) or 'the King Country' (a region). But I can honestly say that I have never, ever heard anyone say 'the New Zealand' (a country).

                  It is just not done.

                  The Netherlands. The Soviet Union. The United States of America.

                  • Jenny are we there yet


                    “The Netherlands. The Soviet Union. The United States of America.”Weka

                    Don't you mean the United States of 'the' America?

                    Not clunky and forced enough for you.

                    How about the Netherlands of 'the' Holland, and 'the' Zeeland, and 'the' Utrecht.

                    Not forgetting all 'the' subject territories of the Soviet Union.

                    Why stop there: The United Kingdom of 'the' Scotland and 'the' Britain and 'the' Wales.

                    A collection of federated states gets the 'the'. An independent country not so much.

                    Which according to Professor Graber, is exactly the point that the Russian imperialist leader Vladimir Putin is making when he uses the diminutive Russian 'v Ukraine' instead of 'Ukraine'.

                    But forget pedantics, the people of Ukraine find it offensive.

                    Old Tankies never die they just smell that way.

                    What Ukrainians Think About Jeremy Corbyn’s Ukraine Interview

                    Chris York

                    3 August 2022

                    Jeremy Corbyn has sparked frustration, anger and disappointment among Ukrainians after he claimed in an interview that they should seek a peace deal with Russia rather than fight on with weapons supplied by the West……

                    Here in Ukraine, the comments were met with disbelief that a prominent member of the UK’s anti-imperialist movement would suggest negotiating with an imperialist aggressor….

                    …..In the past, Al Mayadeen has repeated conspiracy theories and war crimes denial related to the conflict in Syria and has been accused of using antisemitic conspiracy theories about George Soros “to sow doubt about whistleblowers and leaks” that led to the Pandora Papers scandal, in which Vladimir Putin featured heavily.

                    Then there is Corbyn’s reference to Ukraine as “the Ukraine” – a phrase that greatly offends the country's citizens…..


                    "…Corbyn’s reference to Ukraine as “the Ukraine” – a phrase that greatly offends the country's citizens….."

                    (Almost as insensitive as saying 'The Maoris' instead of Maori).

        • mikesh

          Yet history records Nazi Germany as the aggressor and rightfully so.

          Why "rightfully so". One might argue that Britain had good reasons for adopting the role of "aggressor", but one cannot reasonably that Britain was not the aggressor.

          One might also argue that Russia has good reasons for adopting such a role.

          • UncookedSelachimorpha

            Ah, the feeling when you find yourself revising history to defend the nazis, to justify your support for another brutal and criminal authoritarian empire!

            • mikesh

              I am not revising history. Hitler never declared war on Britain. Chamberlain declared war on Germany.

              Where, in my comment, did I mention Nazis?

            • Ed

              Caitlin Johnstone is a courageous journalist who speaks truth to power.

              I don’t “support dictators”, as one will inevitably be accused of doing whenever scrutinizing imperial propaganda narratives. I do however always hope the US fails to accomplish its objectives against every government that it targets, because the US is far and away the single most tyrannical regime on this planet.

              I don’t support tyranny, I oppose it. It just happens that the major force of tyranny in this world isn’t where the TV tells you it is.

              No other regime has spent the 21st century slaughtering people by the millions in wars of aggression. No other regime is circling the planet with hundreds of military bases. No other regime works to destroy any nation which disobeys it using starvation sanctions, war and terror. Only the US-centralized empire does this. While supporting most of the world’s dictators.

          • Jenny are we there yet

            Good grief!

            Justifying Russian imperialism seamlessly bleeds into justifying German imperialism.


            15 December 2022 at 11:15 am

            Yet history records Nazi Germany as the aggressor and rightfully so.

            Why "rightfully so". One might argue that Britain had good reasons for adopting the role of "aggressor", but one cannot reasonably that Britain was not the aggressor…..

            I will leave it up to the people of Ukraine to tell you what they think of your viewpoint.

            • mikesh

              I don't really care what the Ukranian people think about my comment. However I am inclined to credit them with sufficient nous to recognise a logical statement when they see one, which is more than one can say for you.

              • Jenny are we there yet


                15 December 2022 at 11:15 am

                Yet history records Nazi Germany as the aggressor and rightfully so….

                …..but one cannot reasonably that Britain was not the aggressor.

                Jenny are we there yet

                15 December 2022 at 4:30 pm

                Good grief!….

                ….I will leave it up to the people of Ukraine to tell you what they think of your viewpoint.


                16 December 2022 at 5:49 pm.

                …..I am inclined to credit them with sufficient nous to recognise a logical statement when they see one, which is more than one can say for you.

                No I get it. I really do. Mikesh, your progression from justifying Putin's aggression, to justifying Hitler's aggression makes perfect logical sense.


                16 December 2022 at 5:49 pm

                I don't really care what the Ukranian people think….

                From this statement, would it be logical for me to assume Mikesh, that you don't care what the Polish people think of Hitler's invasion either?

                • mikesh

                  What the Ukrainian (or Polish) people might think about an invasion, and what they might think about a statement of mine are two different things.

    • mikesh 19.4

      Ukraine must be helped to return to the pre 2014 borders.

      Why? It could be argued that when Ukraine gained independence the borders should have been set further Westward.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 19.4.1

        Why? For the same reasons that annexing / invading etc is generally frowned upon everywhere.

        The borders of Ukraine were established under the USSR and were signed up to by Russia when the USSR dissolved in 1991.

        In 1994 Russia signed the Budapest memoranda, agreeing that Ukraine was independent and sovereign in its existing borders..

        In 1997 Russia signed the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation and agreed that Crimea was part of Ukraine, existing borders were inviolable and Russia would never invade Ukraine.

        Only problem today is the warmongering dream of an expanding Russian empire.

        • mikesh

          In 1997 Russia signed the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation and agreed that Crimea was part of Ukraine, existing borders were inviolable and Russia would never invade Ukraine.

          It would seem that in those circumstances the original agreement would need to be renegotiated.

          An agreement that would hold for as long as Ukraine continued to be a country friendly to its neighbour, Russia, and the latter had access to her bases in Crimea and access to them by land. Once Ukraine turned its sights Eastward, and made noises about joining NATO, all bets were off.

          • RedLogix

            Fair enough, Russia's interests in the Crimea have some historic merit. And if Putin was going to act in good faith he might well have opened up fresh dialog with the new govt in Kyiv and started negotiations. (The same kind of negotiations everyone now thinks are such a good idea.) After all time was on his side – any actual membership of NATO was decades into the future.

            But instead as soon as Ukraine showed signs of no longer being a puppet regime all bets were indeed off. Within mere hours he had instigated an invasion and subsequent annexation of Crimea.

            • mikesh

              And if Putin was going to act in good faith he might well have opened up fresh dialog with the new govt in Kyiv and started negotiations.

              I don't think the Americans would have allowed the Ukrainians to negotiate.

              Yanukovich was not a 'puppet", though he was probably pro Russian.

              Would you call Jacinda a British, or American, "puppet".

            • mikesh

              The reason Yanukovich was ousted was because he accepted an economic assistance deal from Russia. He had been trying to negotiate a deal with Europe but they, for some reason, seem to have been dragging the chain, so he went with the Russian offer. At any rate, a deal with Russia should not have been an "oustable" offense – anyone who didn't like it could have voted him out of office in the next election. That’s what would have happened in a democracy.

              As it happens, at the time of the fascist coup, he offered to hold an immediate election but the fascists didn't want that. (They probably thought he might just get re-elected.)

      • Jenny are we there yet 19.4.2


        Russia should be helped to return to their 2014 borders.

  20. Ed 20

    Irish MEP Clare Daly. A modern day hero.

    “Opposing the horrible madness of war is not anti-European, it's not anti-Ukrainian, it's not pro-Russian: it's common sense.

    “The working class of Europe have nothing to gain from this war and everything to lose, and I find it laughable that those calling for arms to Ukraine never call for arms for the people of Palestine, or for the people of Yemen.

    “Unlike you I oppose all war. I want it stopped, I make no apology for that and I'm not going to be scapegoated or labelled for it either.”

    • RedLogix 20.2


      I can fully grasp the idea that war is an appalling thing and that we both agree it should stop as soon as possible.

      The simplest path toward achieving this would be for Putin to retreat to the 2014 borders, rescind the annexation of Ukrainian territory, and accept unconditional responsibility for both war crimes and reparations for the immense damages inflicted.

      In return NATO would agree to postponing any consideration of Ukraine applying for membership for at least 20 years, and the lifting of sanctions in a timely fashion. Something like a 200km deep DMZ monitored by the UN might also be necessary, given the complete absence of trust on either side.

      That might be a reasonable basis for negotiation. Would you agree?

      • Ed 20.2.1

        I would agree that all countries should be putting all their energies into securing an immediate ceasefire and a negotiated peace.

        However Russia would never have given up the Crimea – even before February 2022. The events of the 2014 coup made them fear for the security of their warm water naval base at Sevastopol..

        Now, with tens of thousands dead on both sides – over a hundred thousand Ukrainian casualties- such a peace would be hard for the Russian leadership to sell to their population.

        Something along the lines of the Minsk Agreement might work and it is certainly worth a try. Anything beats the horrific war at the moment with the ongoing risk of a world ending nuclear exchange.

        • RedLogix

          While I can understand Russia placing a very high value on Sevastopol, and this likely being the crux of any terms – unless Putin opens negotiations soon he may well lose Crimea anyway. Strategically it is as exposed as Kherson was.

          But that aside, I don't think anyone here would disagree with a negotiated end to this war in principle. But there is a substantial gap between this ideal and what might work in reality – and that must be spelled out in detail in order to have usefulness or credibility.

      • mikesh 20.2.2

        There would be greater incentive for Ukraine to accept that the territories in the East, which have been their's for about … er … twenty years, and which had been part Russia since the time of the Tsars, have been lost. The war is doing enormous damage in Ukraine.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          The war Russia is doing enormous damage in Ukraine.


          • mikesh

            The war Russia is doing enormous damage in Ukraine.

            Exactly so. However, you seem to be missing the point.

  21. tsmithfield 21

    Before Russia decided to conduct its bogus referenda and annexations I could envisage a negotiated solution that both sides could likely accept.

    The type of solution I had in mind was Ukraine and Russia entering into a lease agreement for the disputed territory. So, Russia would lease the land off Ukraine. Ukraine would still own the territory, and earn lease income from it.

    Sanctions would be removed from Russia so long as they kept paying the lease, and if not, the international community could levy Russian oil exports if necessary.

    So, both sides would end up with what they want, though not everything. But Ukraine would still own their land, and Russia would be able to occupy it.

    However, the Russian annexation has really torpedoed any likelihood of that type of solution unfortunately.

    • RedLogix 21.1

      That is an interesting proposal. Any number of variations that could have been made to work. And I agree, annexation disqualified Putin from ever being part of the solution now.

      It is crystal clear however, that any demand to end the war by negotiation, however desirable that is, is meaningless at best unless you also spell out the terms and settlement you have in mind.

      • Ed 21.1.1

        The key is to organise an immediate ceasefire.
        Countries like India, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, China and South Africa should be the arbiters and form the United Nations contingent to keep the peace.
        The US and Europe have been involved in a proxy war and will not be trusted by Russia.

        • tsmithfield

          The problem with a ceasefire is that it requires good faith on both sides.

          The way Ukraine would view a ceasefire is that it simply gives Russia a chance to train up more forces and refit itself, manufacture more missiles etc to continue attacking Ukraine. And Ukraine is absolutely justified in having these concerns given the way that Russia lies with every word they say.

          From a military perspective Ukraine is best to keep the pressure on Russia as Ukraine is in a strong position at the moment with respect to Russia. The Ukrainian army is well kitted with winter gear compared to the Russians, many who now are untrained, poorly equipped conscripts.

          Any ceasefire really needs to be accompanied with a full withdraw before Ukraine would even think about a ceasefire.

          And so far as a proxy war goes, Russia has been engaged in one against Ukraine since 2014 by supporting the DPR and LPR forces in the Donbass.

          So, Russia isn’t a saint in that respect either.

          • Adrian Thornton

            "The problem with a ceasefire is that it requires good faith on both sides.

            The way Ukraine would view a ceasefire is that it simply gives Russia a chance to train up more forces and refit itself"

            You do know that is exactly what Ukraine and NATO did right?…

            Real intention behind Minsk agreements further destroys credibility of the West

            "former German chancellor Angela Merkel revealed the West's real intention behind its negotiation with Russia and Ukraine to promote a ceasefire in 2014. She admitted the Minsk agreements were an "attempt to give Ukraine time" and that Kiev had used it "to become stronger."

            “Any ceasefire really needs to be accompanied with a full withdraw before Ukraine would even think about a ceasefire.”

            By that one statement alone you reveal your complete ignorance to the actual real life reality of this conflict…Russia will never fully withdraw from Ukraine now unless it is defeated completely on the battlefield…and that is not going to happen with only the Ukrainian Army facing it…that is a fact you would do well to consider the implications of…if the Ukrainian army alone can’t defeat the Russian Army, then who else would need to be involved on the ground to make that happen…and were would that end?

            • RedLogix

              Wars are won or lost on willpower and logistics. It is plain that Ukraine has the far greater willpower and NATO the much stronger logistics.

              Your assumption that Russia can slog it out indefinitely – taking months to gain a few tens of km or unimportant towns at a stupid cost in lives is not a good one. Artillery is fast and deadly – but sanctions are the slow burn here.

              • Adrian Thornton

                Okay…I bet you $100 right now that this war will be still going on in six months and that Russia will have taken more ground that it has as of today….

                • Adrian Thornton

                  Didn't think so…

                  • RedLogix

                    I have consistently avoided any predictions of a detailed tactical nature regarding this conflict. There are simply too many variables and unknowns.

                    But it is reasonable to point out that it is not always the larger country with the greater military power on paper that succeeds. Vietnam and Afghanistan being the most obvious recent examples.

                    Besides war is far too serious a business to make petty bets on.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      Not really a petty bet..more like putting your money where your mouth is.

                      Vietnam and Afghanistan are not that similar at all, for obvious reasons.

      • tsmithfield 21.1.2

        I think this is the point of that those clamouring for negotiation miss. That Russia is deliberately acting in a way that makes negotiation very difficult. Negotiation requires good faith on both sides. So, I just don't see that happening any time soon.

    • mikesh 21.2

      So, Russia would lease the land off Ukraine. Ukraine would still own the territory, and earn lease income from it.

      Until Ukraine decided to cancel the lease.

      • tsmithfield 21.2.1


        Did you not see what happened with Russia holding fake referenda in various areas of Ukraine with obviously cooked results in the high 90s for joining Russia? If any country was going to behave in the way you describe it is Russia. Any possible deal like that is now off the table due to Russia's actions anyway. So, Russia has intentionally taken the possibility of negotiations off the table.

        The other thing is do you think the west would support Ukraine again if they decided to renege on a deal with Russia that ended the war?

  22. Well said Mike. So sad that at Parliament not one leader raised the prospect of a negotiated peace, or a Christmas truce. In war everyone suffers, except those profiting from weapons. In wartime, truth is also a casualty. New Zealand lost a chance to make a real contribution in not challenging Zelensky to do all he can to end this was swiftly, as people die daily. Code Pink have got it right once again. Happy Christmas, Liz.

    • tsmithfield 22.1

      People keep banging on about a negotiation.

      On what basis can there be a negotiation since Russia has illegally annexed the regions of Ukraine it occupies? That cynical action on the part of Russia basically eliminates the possibility of any negotiation. If Russia was truly interested in negotiating they would not have taken this action.

      And so far as a truce is concerned, that will only give the Russians time to rest, recover, and rebuild their forces to continue with their aggression. There is absolutely no benefit to Ukraine in a truce. So don't expect them to accept one.

      • tsmithfield 22.1.1

        Further to my post, from what I can see, when people talk about Ukraine "negotiating", what they usually mean is Ukraine capitulating.

      • mikesh 22.1.2

        The other thing is do you think the west would support Ukraine again if they decided to renege on a deal with Russia that ended the war?

        Yes. I believe they would. The West has been trying to weaken Russia for a long time.

    • Ed 22.2

      Totally agree Liz.

      Happy Christmas to you, too.

  23. Ed 23

    John Wight is another brave voice prepared to challenge the prevailing narrative. He provides historical context to the events of 2022 by looking at the history of Russia since the end of the Cold War.

    The Putin so demonised in the West today is the same Putin that broached the possibility of Russia becoming a member of NATO with US President Bill Clinton in 2000. The Putin so demonised in the West today is the same Putin who was the first leader to call US President George W. Bush to express his condolences after 9/11 and offered the use of Russian airbases in Central Asia for US airstrikes against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, staged in response.

    That Putin is now to all intents engaged in conflict against the West in Ukraine marks an abject failure not of Russian but Western foreign policy in the wake of the demise of the Soviet Union.

    Former German chancellor Angela Merkel’s astonishing admission vis-a-vis Minsk II, made during an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit recently merely confirms that Putin was played for a fool when he entered negotiations for Minsk II with Germany, France and Ukraine in 2015. Russia entered said negotiations in good faith while the other parties involved did not. Thousands of lives lost and counting seven years on is the result.

    Again and again, Ukraine’s future prosperity, security and stability upon becoming independent in 1991 was always dependent on it being a bridge between Russia and the West not the battlefield it became.

    In the words of Professor John J. Mearsheimer:

    U.S. and European leaders blundered in attempting to turn Ukraine into a Western stronghold on Russia’s border. Now that the consequences have been laid bare, it would be an even greater mistake to continue this misbegotten policy.


    If John Wight is not your cup of tea, I recommend you view Adam Curtis's brilliant documentary 'Traumazone' which came out this year. The BBC 7 part series demonstrates 'What it felt like to live through the collapse of communism and democracy

    • RedLogix 23.1

      And what else happened in 2014? Oh yes the Russian invasion of Crimea.

      Of course Merkel did not trust Putin. This recall is the same great guy who spent months early this year massing his troops on the Ukrainian border, and swearing blind it was only an exercise.

      And you FFS, paint this reflexive liar as a poor misunderstood as the victim here.

      • Ed 23.1.1

        You have missed the point.

        The key message behind Wight's article is this…..

        I quote from his article.

        That Putin is now to all intents engaged in conflict against the West in Ukraine marks an abject failure not of Russian but Western foreign policy in the wake of the demise of the Soviet Union.

        This is the point Professor John J. Mearsheimer makes as well.

        U.S. and European leaders blundered in attempting to turn Ukraine into a Western stronghold on Russia’s border. Now that the consequences have been laid bare, it would be an even greater mistake to continue this misbegotten policy.

        You continue to use pejorative language to those on this site who challenge the predominant narrative. You are also therefore accusing Mearsheimer, Wight, Pilger, Sachs and a host of other independent thinkers, academics and journalists of the same.

        The key is to organise an immediate ceasefire and negotiate peace.

        New Zealand should be putting all its energies into these objectives.

        • RedLogix

          The key is to organise an immediate ceasefire and negotiate peace.

          Yes that would be very desirable.

          Now what terms would you negotiate?

          And why would anyone trust the Kremlin to abide by them?

      • Adrian Thornton 23.1.2

        And here we all were, being led to to believe by Reflogix (and on many occasions I seem to remember) that "whataboutisim" was not a creditable counter in a debate…well that is unless it is him doing it seems.

        ….and now here we are, witnessing Redlogix sinking to using that exact tactic to defend probably the most powerful person in Europe (at the time) admitting they used their pivotal role in moderating serious peace negotiations, that had the potential to stop a war that has now killed and maimed hundereds of thousands of human lives, not to help bring about that peace agreement in any form at all, but to cynically "buy time" for one side to arm itself ….You really have no moral compass left do you.

        • RedLogix

          And yet here you are demanding Merkel naively trust Putin, while at the same time Putin was actively supporting the Donbas separatists with both material and manpower – and invading Crimea.

          Yet this is the same Angela Merkel who was building critical business relationships with Russia in the expectation this might normalise the relationship over time.

          It is entirely possible to walk and chew gum at the same time – Merkel clearly knew the pro-European, pro-democracy govt in Kyiv was fragile and highly exposed to Russian coercion. If the Minsk Accords had worked well and good, if not then buying some time also made sense – it is called hedging your bets.

          • Adrian Thornton

            "It is entirely possible to walk and chew gum at the same time" " If the Minsk Accords had worked well and good" that the fucking point, she said herself that they (the German govt) were not there to facilitate in enabling that to happen, but to buy time for Ukraine to arm itself…Merkel was not "walk(ing) and chew gum at the same time " she was just chewing.

            I have never "demanding Merkel naively trust Putin" it was she and her govt whom were put in that most important position of these type of knife edge international negotiations, the neutral partners, a position that all sides must trust to act in good faith, which she has now admitted herself, right out in the public domain, that they did not act in good faith..and yet you sit there and applaud this shocking breakdown of the rules based system…quite a bizarre response from you when stand back calmly, and think about it for a moment ..don't you think?

            • RedLogix

              Not in the slightest. There is no rule that says Merkel had to abandon the new pro-European govt to the tender mercies of Putin.

              Again if Putin had not so blatantly supported the Donbas separatists, not invaded Crimea, not so vehemently denied the shoot down of MH17 – had done literally anything to have built trust – the Minsk Accords might well have worked. In which case it made sense to take the gamble and sign up to them. That is an expression of good will if I ever saw it.

              Merkel was essentially giving Putin his last and best chance to avoid war. He failed to take it and in this Merkel is also correct – she really did buy the Ukrainians time to defend themselves.

              Why would you be unhappy with this?

        • tsmithfield

          Adrian, imagine yourself as the lead negotiator in this situation. What would you expect Ukraine to give up, and what would you expect Russia to give up?

          Remember, as far as Russia is concerned, the territory they illegally annexed ''belongs'' to them now.

          So, should Ukraine be negotiating to get their own territory back? It is equivalent to negotiating with a theif to get stolen property back, or paying money to a ransomware attacker to regain access to a computer.

          So, how do you propose a negotiated settlement that both sides could live with?

          Or are you really just wanting Ukraine to capitulate rather than negotiate?

          • Adrian Thornton

            What I want or think has no bearing on this subject…I only hope that they can at least start to have meaningful and direct negotiations with each other of some sort, without interference from the West, and most especially the USA.

            • RedLogix

              Evasion. You are the one demanding negotiations above all, a demand that is meaningless absent the terms.

              It would be exactly like me demanding you sign an employment contract, but refusing to even discuss pay and conditions.

      • mikesh 23.1.3

        And what else happened in 2014? Oh yes the Russian invasion of Crimea.

        Yes, the bloodless annexation of Crimea, her former territory, after Ukraine had broken the agreement entered into when Ukraine became independent, occurred in 2014. The treaty envisaged that the two countries would remain friendly, but Ukraine's apparent decision to join NATO, egged on by the USA, would hardly have been considered "friendly".

        • joe90

          the bloodless annexation of Crimea,

          Serhiy Kokurin's wife and young sons would differ.


          • mikesh

            Google doesn't seem to have caught up with Sehrly Kokurin, so I cannot really comment, except to re-iterate that the annexation was bloodless.

            Your comment is is not really an argument if neither you nor google can provide any information about him.

            • joe90

              Sehrly Kokurin was murdered by little green men, masked gunmen dressed in Russian uniforms without insignia, during an illegal armed assault on the Ukrainian base in Simferpol.

              • mikesh

                Unless he, like Duncan I of Scotland, had, and spilled, an awful lot of blood then I guess the annexation would have to be considered, to all intents and purposes, bloodless.

        • RedLogix

          but Ukraine's apparent decision to join NATO, egged on by the USA, would hardly have been considered "friendly".

          So what. Why does Russia's interests trump Ukraine's interest in it own territory?

          And the invasion – let us use the correct term – was only bloodless because Ukraine was not able to defend itself at that time, nor was NATO going to war to defend a nation that was not a member, nor likely to be one in the foreseeable future.

          The timeline of events early in Feb and March 2014 clearly show that Putin very quickly decided to invade Crimea pretty much the moment his puppet Vanukovych was ousted. Realising he had lost control of Ukraine, he determined immediately to invade the one part of it he desired most – Crimea.

          Russia was concerned that the new government avowedly committed to closer relations with the West put its strategic positions in Crimea at risk. On 22–23 February, Russian President Vladmier Putin convened an all-night meeting with security services chiefs to discuss extrication of the deposed Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, and at the end of that meeting Putin had remarked that "we must start working on returning Crimea to Russia". After that GRU and FSB began negotiating deals with local sympathizers to ensure that when the operation began there would be well‑armed "local self‑defense groups" on the streets for support. On 23 February pro-Russian demonstrations were held in the Crimean city of Sevastopol.

          This is Russia's eternal strategic problem – it looks large on the Mercator map – but in reality it is a crap geography. Frozen wasteland to the north, deserts to the south, relatively low density agriculture and weak transport routes. The lack of natural barriers on the great open steppes makes it very hard to maintain a defensible border with the relatively modest population and economy available to them. Worst of all is the absence of secure warm water ports to give secure access to the oceans.

          About the only thing going for them was a lot of natural resources, oil, gas and metals. A valuable trade position they have subsequently weaponised and destroyed for generations.

          And yet despite the fact that maintaining an outsized military to defend this unwieldy geography broke the Soviet Union, the position of the diminished Russian Federation was even worse – the borders now unanchored across thousands of km of indefensible flat plains. Putin has a choice – accept that that the era of Russian super-power status was over and become part of Europe; or attempt to resurrect vainglorious dreams of the past.

          Worse still as former Soviet colonies in Eastern Europe turned toward Europe one after another, the Kremlin’s position became even weaker. You claim the USA was plotting to weaken Russia – it may well have – but the Americans have hardly had to exert themselves in such a pursuit. Putin did most of the work for them.

          • mikesh

            I think that when Ukraine became hostile it gave Russia the right – the moral right if not the strict legal right – to disregard Ukraine's interests and pursue its own. But then, Crimea should not have been handed over to Ukraine in the first place. When Ukraine became independent, its population made it clear by referendum that they did not wish to be part of Ukraine.

            • RedLogix

              I think that when Ukraine became hostile it gave Russia the right – the moral right if not the strict legal right – to disregard Ukraine's interests and pursue its own.

              So when Finland joins NATO and becomes 'hostile', would you defend a hypothetical Russian invasion of that country too?

              • mikesh

                I think the Europeans would be wise not to accept Finland as a member of NATO. However they will probably follow American's Gung-Ho ledership and accept.

                • RedLogix

                  Untangling your evasive answer – if you are saying it would be 'unwise' of the Finnish to join NATO this can only mean a Russian invasion. And that you would support this too.

                  • mikesh

                    if you are saying it would be 'unwise' of the Finnish to join NATO this can only mean a Russian invasion.

                    You are misquoting me. I said it would be unwise of Europe to accept Finland as a member. The war in Ukraine must be causing a lot of discomfort in Europe, particularly with the cold winter they are about experience. It would not be in their interests to see a similar war being enacted in Finland.

                    Another factor is that I don't think Finland has ever been "owned" by Russia, so the latter would not have any "historical" claims against Finnish territory.

                    I also think that it would be wise for countries like Ukraine and Finland, located as they are between the Eastern block and the West, to adopt a neutral stance politically as regards the two.

                    As to whether I would support an invasion of Finland by Russia, I don't really know. And, for the record, I also think it is foolish of Finland to be applying to join NATO, unless they have hopes of regaining territory won from them by Russia in the Winter War (a large slice of the Keralia province, I think).

                  • mikesh

                    PS: Nord Stream 2 doesn't pass through Finland, but through the gulf of Finland, which lies between Russia and Finland. Russia may see a NATO Finland as a threat to Nord Stream 2.

                    • Anne

                      Russia may see a NATO Finland as a threat to Nord Stream 2.

                      Equally Finland may see Russia as a threat to their sovereignty which is why they are seeking protection under the NATO Alliance.

    • joe90 23.2

      John Wight is another brave voice prepared to challenge the prevailing narrative.

      Wight challenges nothing. His prolific contributions to Russian state media mark him as a mercenary, Putin humping apologist for a brutal, repressive terror state.

      John Wight site:https://www.rt.com/

      john wight site:https://sputniknews.com/

      • Ed 23.2.1

        Is Professor John J. Mearsheimer a 'Putin humping apologist for a brutal, repressive terror state'?

        Is Jeffrey Sachs a 'Putin humping apologist for a brutal, repressive terror state'?

        Is John Pilger a 'Putin humping apologist for a brutal, repressive terror state'?

        Is Naom Chomsky a 'Putin humping apologist for a brutal, repressive terror state'?

        • RedLogix

          What they all do have in common is they all played the curmudgeon's role, the brave iconclast, lonely arbiters of truth challenging the conventional wisdom at every turn. It worked for them very well, so why would they stop now?

          Although right now I very much doubt any of them would be stepping foot in Ukraine to wander about telling the people just how wrong they are.

        • joe90

          None have vocally opposed and condemned a brutal, repressive terror state's invasion of it's sovereign neighbour, preferring instead to blame the victims and make dissembling excuses for the perpetrators.

          So yes, Putin humping apologists for a brutal, repressive terror state.

    • aj 23.3

      I've read the interview and I'm not convinced her intent was just to give Ukraine time to arm. She's not stupid – that would also give Russia time to arm, AND better prepare itself against sanctions.

      Who has used the time better? – not Europe, I'd suggest.

      Adam Curtis's brilliant documentary 'Traumazone' which came out this year.

      Traumazone is very good.

  24. Stephen D 24

    This has been a fascinating discussion. Lots of idea, and opinions. Yet very little discussion about what actually happened. Presumably because it's not up for debate.

    Russia invaded a sovereign nation. At that moment the whys and wherefores became irrelevant. Yes, they need to be discussed so we can all learn from them, (not that we ever have. Poor old George Santayana, must be shaking his head in disbelief.)

    What needs to happen now is to ensure Russia doesn't get its own way. The world has seen what happens when autocrats are appeased.

    • Ed 24.1

      It’s impossible to look at events as if they started in February 2022. Context is essential. Events in 2008 and 2014 had a massive impact on 2022.

      And if lessons can be taken from history, maybe World War 2 is not the perfect analogy.There are more parallels with World War 1. An imperial war fought over resources- not in the interests of the working class anywhere.

      The world fortunately has not seen the results of nuclear brinkmanship which the U.S. and the UK are seemingly hellbent on.

      Peace now.

      • tsmithfield 24.1.1

        Sure. There is context and history to everything.

        But what you (and others) are saying basically boils down to:

        1. Russia is pissed off.
        2. Invasion of Ukraine was a justifiable expression of that anger.
        3. Ukraine should capitulate to Russia and give them territory as part of any settlement.
        4. Therefore, Russia should be rewarded for its wanton destruction and its committing of thousands of war crimes.

        What part of that have I got wrong?

        • Ed

          What part of that have I got wrong?

          A lot.

          • RedLogix


            • tsmithfield

              Pretty much what I expected though.

              I think it is good to present this sort of summary to those who put forward a Putin appeasement argument.

              People who make these sort of arguments try and sugar coat a turd of a position with fretting about peace and saving Ukrainian lives etc. When, in reality, they are advocating for something they would rather not state in the terms they actually mean.

              • mikesh

                When, in reality, they are advocating for something they would rather not state in the terms they actually mean.

                I for one have never disguised the fact that I think Ukraine should relinquish territory to the Russians. I have usually given reasons why I think the territory should be Russian, and those reasons have nothing to do with saving Ukrainian lives. However, in the interests of saving lives, I think seeking peace would be the smart thing for the Ukrainians to do. I'm not saying they should of course. The army, though not the general population, may have values they consider more important.

  25. Stephen D 25

    Yes, context is important. The context of having a land border with Russia, and not being part of a major defense alliance.

    Appeasement didn't work in the 1930s, and given Russia's doublespeak, wouldn't work now. So, I am not sure why you wouldn't want to stop Russia in the Ukraine, rather than have it emboldened to attack elsewhere.

    • Ed 25.1

      Do you seriously think Russia is about to embark on the invasion of other European countries?


      • RedLogix 25.1.1

        How many people seriously thought Russia was about to embark on an invasion of a European country in January of this year?

        • mikesh

          Russia had good reason to invade Ukraine. I don't see that they have any reasons for invading Europe. I'm pretty sure what Putin wants most of all is to be accepted as a respected member of a European/Eurasian alliance. He has previously applied to be a member of NATO, but has been rebuffed.

          An alliance between Europe and Russia is what America is trying to prevent. This war in Ukraine is "music to America's ears".

          • RedLogix

            Russia had good reason to invade Ukraine.

            Well I can imagine any number of 'good reasons' why the US might want to invade say – Mexico. I somehow cannot see you getting quite such a hard on for that.

            An alliance between Europe and Russia is what America is trying to prevent.

            Given that much of Eastern Europe was moving away from Russian kleptocracy, incompetence and brutality as fast as they could – the Americans scarcely had to exert themselves to prevent such an alliance.

            • mikesh

              Given that much of Eastern Europe was moving away from Russian kleptocracy, incompetence and brutality as fast as they could – the Americans scarcely had to exert themselves to prevent such an alliance.

              I was thinking more of Western Europe, particularly Germany, which could benefit greatly from an alliance with Russia (and China). However they would have drive the world's number 1 mischief maker, the US, out of Europe, and send him back to his own hemisphere. I think the Eastern European states would soon fall in line.

              • RedLogix

                And there we have it – the reflexive anti-US bigotry that underlies and explains all of your contradictions and stupidity. It's like you never grew out of the 70's.

                • mikesh

                  Calling it "bigotry" changes nothing. I think it was Kissinger who said "America does not have friends, only interests".

                  That just about says it all. At present their “interests” consist of driving a wedge between Western and Eastern Eurasia. The Ukranians are not their “friends”, just their cannon fodder.

                  • RedLogix

                    And yet here you are shamelessly defending Russian interests …

                    And given their brutal mass murder of Ukrainian people, it is fair to say they do not regard them as friends either.

                    • mikesh

                      And yet here you are shamelessly defending Russian interests …

                      The "interests" that Russia is pursuing lie on its very doorstep. On the other hand I believe the US should get the fuck out of Europe and return to its own hemisphere. And I don’t think that that can be called “bigotry”.

                      And given their brutal mass murder of Ukrainian people, it is fair to say they do not regard them as friends either.

                      I don't think their beef is with the Ukrainian "people", although it probably looks that way.

                      But I guess this is ever the way. Wars are fought between governments, but the people suffer.

                    • RedLogix

                      The "interests" that Russia is pursuing lie on its very doorstep. I believe the US should get the fuck out of Europe and return to its own hemisphere.

                      What so as you can wave welcome banners to Chinese warships in Wellington Harbour?

                      Everyone knows the Americans can be ruthless dickheads at times, yet the large majority of nations of earth have figured out how to live with them. Because we also knew that we largely depended on them to provide a de-facto security umbrella against the far worse authoritarian bastards of the world.

                      Russia and China despite decades of opportunity and growth, remain very modest in terms of quality of life and score worse by any measure of political liberty and freedom. If you were living in either of these countries, you would certainly not be typing out criticism of your regime with the impunity you enjoy here in the West.

                      The fact of you placing such a low value on the openness and tolerance of our society, that indeed that you seem so willing to exploit it in order to spread the enemy's propaganda marks you out as a either a naive dupe or something most societies abhor.

                    • mikesh

                      The fact of you placing such a low value on the openness and tolerance of our society, that indeed that you seem so willing to exploit it in order to spread the enemy's propaganda marks you out as a either a naive dupe or something most societies abhor.

                      Don't be silly. Of course I value openness. But, so what. One might wish there was more of it in Russia, but wishes are just wishes.

                    • mikesh

                      Russia and China despite decades of opportunity and growth, remain very modest in terms of quality of life and score worse by any measure of political liberty and freedom.

                      Modern Russians, through no fault of their own, have inherited a crap system which seems to be coming apart around them. The problems there seem to lie in the clumsiness inherent in trying to centrally plan the economy of such a large country. Gorbachev tried to improve the system by computerising it, but it didn't work – garbage in, garbage out, I suppose. He also advocated perestroika (decentalisation) and glasnost (openness), but was ousted before he could apply such concepts. Yeltsin, after him, tried bring about change by introducing market freedoms and democracy, but these just made things worse as food prices rocketed and became unaffordable for most Russians. Democracy is now a "dirty word" in Russia. Putin seems to be restoring some sembalance of order, but it looks as if it will be a long, slow process.

                      China, after a late start, is starting to succeed economically by moving to a more market oriented economy, but only because it runs a low wage economy. Therefor it's hardly likely to be producing high living standards.

                      In both cases I think authoritarian governments are probably appropriate.

                  • Ed

                    And they are hoping the Taiwanese fall for the same trap in East Asia.

            • JeremyB

              Do you mean invade Mexico again?

      • joe90 25.1.2


        Because Lithuania, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic are all boosting their defences budgets for fun.


  26. joe90 26

    Russia is a terror state that can never be trusted to adhere to its security guarantees.

    KYIV, Ukraine — Shortly after a large wave of Russian missiles slammed into targets across the country in October, Ukraine’s intelligence officials noticed something strange in the rubble.

    It was the wreckage of a Kh-55 subsonic cruise missile designed in the 1970s to carry a nuclear warhead. The warhead had been removed and ballast added to disguise the fact that it was not carrying a payload, said Gen. Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy intelligence chief — an assertion now backed by the Pentagon and British military intelligence.

    But that was not all the intelligence officials found. The missile had been built in a Ukrainian weapons factory.

    The missile, and the bomber that most likely delivered it, was part of a cache of weaponry handed over to Russia by Ukraine in the 1990s as part of an international agreement aimed at assuring Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, General Skibitsky said.


    • Ed 26.1

      Russia is a terror state that can never be trusted to adhere to its security guarantees.

      Can we not apply the same definition to the US, Israel and the UK?

      I think the Iraqis, Yemeni, Afghanis, Pakistanis and Palestinians would have a view on this.

      • joe90 26.1.1

        Can we not apply the same definition to the US, Israel and the UK?

        Knock your dissembling, poot humping apologist-self out.

        • Ed

          The comparison is highly relevant.

          By the way, do you think hurling abuse at people with a different perspective to you adds weight to your point of view?

      • Macro 26.1.2

        Gezz Ed, the fall back by you to 'whataboutism" speaks volumes.

        A Soviet propaganda tool

        The use of whataboutism is mostly closely associated with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and with Russia since then. A classic example would be for a reporter to raise the topic of unemployment in the USSR, to which a Soviet official would reply, “In the US they lynch” black people.

        Having been described as “practically a national ideology” in Russia, this simple tactic in this case draws attention away from any wrongdoing the person being questioned may be accused of by implying that nobody’s without fault, and therefore, it leaves the individual off the hook.

        Columbia University professor Dmitry Dubrovsky told National Public Radio that whataboutism is “real policy” in Russia. And he pointed to the now defunct Institute for Democracy and Cooperation: a pro-Kremlin organisation that was charged with documenting US human rights violations.

        • Ed

          The comparison is highly relevant.

          • Macro

            Are you saying that the US has occupied Pakistan and Palestine? Sure they have sent weapons to Saudi which have been used in Yemen but an Occupation force?.

            A small number of United States military personnel are deployed to Yemen to conduct operations against al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS. The United States military continues to work closely with the Republic of Yemen government and regional partner forces to degrade the terrorist threat posed by those groups.

            They have withdrawn their forces from Afghanistan – and look how well that has turned out. American forces have now mostly been withdrawn from Iraq – around 2500 remain at the request of Iraq in an advisory and training role. Also note that from 2014 – 2021 they were there at the request of Iraq

            On 15 June 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered United States forces to be dispatched in response to the Northern Iraq offensive (June 2014) of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. At the invitation of the Iraqi government, American troops went to assess Iraqi forces and the threat posed by ISIL.

            None of the above represent anything similar to the invasion now being pursued by Russia in Ukraine. Ukraine has never invited Russian troops to be there

            • Ed

              Israel has ignored numerous U.N. resolutions and has occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since 1967.

              The US. Where does one start?

              It is estimated its invasion of Iraq caused the deaths of between 184,382 and 207,156 civilians


              To save a bit of time….

              Here’s a list of all the countries the US has bombed since World War II


              • RedLogix

                I bothered to scan that list of countries – and as was easily predicted they are all related to the Cold War fight against the spread of marxism.

                In essence the Allies not only won a hot war with fascism in WW2, but then immediately faced an equally intense and dangerous one against marxism in the decades that followed.

                Given the evident evils of both political systems – as manifested by the brutal, murderous death camps both systems operated – I have no problem openly supporting the general aims and purposes of the Cold War. A war fought by a broad alliance of western nations, but naturally led by the US as the only power left intact after WW2.

                And given the unprecedented nature of this conflict, the subterfuge, the spies and their treachery, the covert secretive operations, the proxy wars – it is inevitable that we look back on many of the decisions made and actions taken with deep regret. Many things were done that in hindsight were terrible mistakes, can be rightly criticised and important lessons learned from. At least in the liberal west we still had – until recently – the relative freedom to do so.

                The entire point of western liberal democracy is not that it is innately morally superior, not that it is immune from making terrible mistakes, not that it does not resort to ruthless coercion at times – but that it embeds the political openness to self-correct it's mistakes rather than ossify them as do the authoritarian ones.

                Moreover the practical value of this openness is proven by the simple fact that any list of the top 30 or so nations that people would choose to live in if they could – are all without exception liberal democracies to some degree.

                And I make no apology for defending this system – even as imperfect as it might be. Just as Ukrainian people are choosing it with their lives.

                • Ed

                  I think the Iraqis and Afghanis might not agree with your whitewash of the American empire and its tools in Europe and the Anglosphere.

                  • RedLogix

                    A weary whatabboutism being all you have left.

                    • Ed

                      You appear to be a hypocrite.

                      You constantly condemn Russia and China and ignore American imperialism.

                      I am against all war.

                      Like Clare Daly.

                      "I find it laughable that those calling for arms to Ukraine never call for arms for the people of Palestine or of Yemen. Unlike you, I oppose all war."

                    • RedLogix

                      You lost the Cold War – get over it.

                • mikesh

                  Moreover the practical value of this openness is proven by the simple fact that any list of the top 30 or so nations that people would choose to live in if they could – are all without exception liberal democracies to some degree.

                  I think it's the vast array of consumer goods that Western nations produce, and the well paid jobs, that is attracting them rather than "openness".

                  • joe90

                    I think it's the vast array of consumer goods that Western nations produce, and the well paid jobs, that is attracting them rather than "openness"

                    Affluent westerner living one of the most open societies that's ever existed tankie-splains to oppressed people what they want.


                    • mikesh

                      I wasn't trying to "tankie-splain" anything to the Ukrainians. I was letting the likes of you know what I thought might be motivating them.

                    • Incognito []

                      You can stop playing Dr Freud or a mind-reader and address the comments rather than the commenters and their state of minds as perceived by you.

                • mikesh

                  Given the evident evils of both political systems – as manifested by the brutal, murderous death camps both systems operated – I have no problem openly supporting the general aims and purposes of the Cold War.

                  Ironically, I think many Russians would have said the same about fascism and the West.

        • mikesh

          “a pro-Kremlin organisation that was charged with documenting US human rights violations.”

          Gosh I hope they pay them plenty of overtime.

          • Macro

            Your comprehension skills aren't up to much are they mike. The sentence includes the phrase "the now defunct". Now why do you think that might be? Possibly because they ran out of US human rights violations to document?

            • mikesh

              The sentence includes the phrase "the now defunct".

              I must have missed that.

              Now why do you think that might be?

              They were probably all suffering from writers' cramp or RSI.

              • Macro

                They were probably all suffering from writers' cramp or RSI.

                Being all wankers – definitely RSI

  27. UncookedSelachimorpha 27

    Well it has been an interesting discussion that has aired both sides.

    People who dislike invasion, torture, mass rape and imperialism etc

    And on the other side, Putin fanboys, tyrant sympathisers, war-crime justifiers, police-state apologists and whataboutists.

    Personally I'm leaving the conversation there.

    • Ed 27.1

      Do you think hurling abuse at people with a different perspective to you adds weight to your point of view?

      • tsmithfield 27.1.1

        You still haven't told what is wrong with the summary I gave of the views of Putin appeasers, of which I assume you are one judging by your comments to date. Here is that summary again. Kindly point out the parts you don't agree with:

        1. Russia is pissed off.
        2. Invasion of Ukraine was a justifiable expression of that anger.
        3. Ukraine should capitulate to Russia and give them territory as part of any settlement.
        4. Therefore, Russia should be rewarded for its wanton destruction and its committing of thousands of war crimes.
        • mikesh

          !,2, and 4 are incorrect. 3 seems about right.

          • mikesh
            1. We don't really know whether Putin is "pissed off"

            2. Is based on the recognition of a geopolitical situation which poses an existential threat to Russia (though of course Putin may also be angry).

            4.No-one should be rewarded for wanton destruction and war crimes. However I would not see the annexation of the Eastern states and Crimea as a reward for things of that sort.

        • mauī

          The views of a Putin appeaser puppet attached to tsmithfields arm 😆

    • mikesh 27.2

      I guess those unable put up coherent arguments have no choice but to resort to insulting those on the other side. Still, no skin off our nose. You are just showing the rest of us your true colours.

      • joe90 27.2.1

        You are just showing the rest of us your true colours.

        You persistently assert Ukrainians have no autonomy in their own internal political determinations, no agency in their decision to fashion themselves as a West-facing democracy, no independent foreign policy, insulted and belittled Zelenskyy and then compared him to the virulent anti-semite directly responsible for the murder of millions of his fellow Jews.

        Those are your colours, sport.

        Fuck you.

        • mikesh

          I have never said any of those things. If you think I have, show me where, or go fuck yourself.

  28. Brigid 28

    "Ukraine should capitulate to Russia and give them territory as part of any settlement."

    The people who live in this territory voted for self governance. Ukraine's response was to bomb the fuck out of them resulting the deaths of 14,000. They asked Russia to intervene.

  29. Ed 29

    NATO is not a defensive alliance.

    Just ask the people of Afghanistan. Iraq and Libya….

    • SPC 29.1

      That's arguable.

      If NATO was engaged in a forever war in defense of the rights of the woman of Afghanistan to be safe and free, would they welcome it?

      If NATO was engaged in a forever way to enable the emancipation and self government of national peoples would Kurds in Iraq (and Syria and Iran and Turkey) welcome it?

      If NATO was engaged in a war to end a corrupt theocracy that pretends they represent God would BOTH the Iranian people and the women of USA welcome it?

      But yeah it looks like they just wanted to remove socialist regimes with oil and pretend this was part of their war against terrorism, and they left with Afghanistan now known as the Khorasan province of the now extinct (and only existed because of their WAT) Islamic State.

  30. Ed 30

    'It is utterly, utterly unconscionable' – Richard Boyd Barrett lectures Ursula von der Leyen on the similarities between Russian invasion in Ukraine and Israel attacks in Palestine.

    • remo.rogermorris 30.1

      The same can be asked of Zelenski and the hegemon. When is it a war crimes investigation into the provocations of NATO and Ukranazi Svoboda/AZOV/Praavy Sector and CIA/MI6 -giving Russia no choice but to attack the threats delivered every single day to the doors of 'Russia'?? Has not Merkle acknowledged Minsk was a Lie? Buying time? With no intentions to honour?

      Anyone with even the remotest link to reason and justice knows full well what the Maidan was in 2014. What the ODESSA trades hall massacre was. Knows the 8 year artillery war crime across Donbass delivered by our 'democratic' ally in Kiev. Knows who didn't shoot down MH17 and who was training the armies in the east and financing the bio-labs across Ukraine: and with what aim. Yet our Parliament, under orders of the sainted one, invite the Nazi representative into 'the peoples house for 'war advice', at behest of the one eyed hegemon; as if in any way they are democrat.

      Of all nations in the world most similar to the racist Israel, is the racist Ukraine under Zelenski and the NATO/Ukrainian nationalists.

      • Ed 30.1.1

        Anyone with even the remotest link to reason and justice knows full well what the Maidan was in 2014

        And yet US propaganda works so well.

        Witness my recent dialogue with joe90 who is clearly of the opinion that the US has no connection to Maidan. None,

      • SPC 30.1.2

        The old eliminate Israel, eliminate Ukraine and eliminate all those supporting the continued existence of Israel and Ukraine.

        Cancel culture HQ, Nazis vs Jewish other, Russia vs Ukrainian other.

      • SPC 30.1.3

        The post you linked to was an argument that Russia's occupation of Ukrainian territory is akin to that of Israel on the West Bank.

      • Incognito 30.1.4

        One month ago, a Dutch Court reached guilty verdicts about the MH17 shooting.

        • remo.rogermorris

          Do some reading.


          • Incognito

            In a nutshell, Helmer claims that the Dutch Court case was rigged from the outset. If that’s your belief too then say so instead of linking to a dumping ground of opinion pieces and hiding behind others who do the talking for you. You are free to believe any conspiracy or counter-conspiracy that you can find on the internet. All you need to do is to state your belief clearly so that others know whether your comments are worth their time for replying or whether you’re simply another conspiracist who peddles propaganda.

            • remo.rogermorris

              Being 'Incognito', while accusing another named commenter of 'hiding behind others', at very least defines you as hypocrite..

              John Helmer introduces us to facts and nuances of a most sophisticated conspiracy; at the highest levels of Government, lying about the deaths of 300+ innocent souls. A black operation designed to take the world to War.

              You, Incognito, are given the opportunity to read his work.. see who some of the players are but instead harp on about my 'stating belief' as if my stated belief means anything. Study his writings before opening up again. In these critical times he introduces us to a serious and evidential counter narrative that helps us comprehend a bigger and more frightening world. Yours, are petty and worthless.

              Of course MH17, JIT and the Dutch court is a cover-up. A conspiracy.

              • Incognito

                You misunderstood what I said, which was not about being anonymous. In any case, you should read https://thestandard.org.nz/about/#say_whom and https://thestandard.org.nz/policy/#privacy before you make stupid comments like that again here.

                When you say ‘read this’, “read his work”, and “[s]tudy his writings” [with the added emphasis, of course; I can imagine the finger wagging and stern look on your face] as if he wrote the Book of Gospel, you have not offered any decent argument or anything of substance that can be debated. It is a giant fob off and a tactic that’s often used by disingenuous as well as self-confessed conspiracists such as yourself to send off others into a quagmire of links and onto a mountain of mis- and dis-information with the intention that they never come back, come back dazed and confused (gaslighting), or come back converted (the latter is the preferred option, of course).

                • remo.rogermorris

                  In the war of stupid,
                  you win.

                  • Incognito

                    How would you know?

                    Anyway, your response is better than many of your other comments on this site, judging by your history here that thankfully is rather limited. They do confirm, however, that you live in an imaginary world filled with conspiracies.

    • SPC 30.2

      At one level he has a point in that Israel is enabling Jewish settlement of land under occupation on the West Bank (and annexed East Jerusalem and ruling with favour for Jew over Arab there), and Russia is driving Ukrainians out of their homes with the ambition of annexing land (nova Russia if not all Ukraine) for ethnic Russians.

      At another not so much, as Israel offered the PA a peace settlement enabling a Palestinian state on near all the 1967 territory occupied by Jordan and Egypt since 1949 (sans full sovereignty over borders) and it was no enough (wanted full right of return and citizenship within Israel of the 1948 refugees, rather than compensation for lost property and a Palestinian passport).

  31. Ed 31

    The West is spending billions to support a ‘democracy’ that bans political opponents, vetoes dissident media, bans religions and prohibits languages.

    A ‘democracy’ created by a neo Nazi led coup, supported by the US.

    The UK has billions for such a corrupt nation, but nothing spare for its nurses, train drivers, elderly….

  32. remo.rogermorris 32

    Reviewing our idiot government; riding the Ardern trojan horse, flapping to the wicked Zelenski and his NWO script – IN our Parliamentary house;

    one can only despair .

    "The new concept is the neutering bomb. This has been designed to destroy the minds of Americans, Germans, other Europeans, British, Canadians and Australians, (NewZealanders.ed) but leave them at work to keep paying their taxes, voting for their members of parliament, and paying subscriptions to keep reading newspapers and magazines which warn against suspecting this scheme of things is a grand fraud and a big lie.

    The suspicion is impossible because of the secondary effect of the neutering bomb. This is neurological. Your ears hear, and your eyes read. But you can no longer detect fabrication and falsehood. This is the Novichok effect – paralysis of the brain box from droplets you have been told were squeezed by Russian soldiers on to your front doorknobs; in your perfume atomisers; and inside your underpants."


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