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How the West continues to fatally misunderstand Russia & Putin

by Tony Kevin, from a talk given to ANU Business Students, 7 June

Posters across the city of Lviv in Ukraine compare Putin with Hitler

Two and a half years ago, in Jan-Feb 2016, I visited Russia for a month. The result was this published book, a literary travel memoir,  Return to Moscow.  I returned  in January-February this year, 2018. I gave a public lecture in the Moscow Museum of Contemporary Russian History.

In the two years since I wrote my book, relations between Russia and the West have become worse. On the other hand, Russian relations with China, and with the whole vast Eurasian region bounded by China, Korea, Japan, the ASEAN countries, India and Pakistan, and westwards through Central Asia as far as Iran, Syria and Turkey, even with Israel, have correspondingly warmed and deepened.

For a country with a GNP allegedly similar in size to Australia’s, Russia is punching way above its economic weight in the world. I attribute this to the Russian people’s high intelligence, their national unity of purpose, and their efficient priority-setting in allocating their limited national wealth to what they see as most important. Little of Russia’s GNP goes to waste. Their national security, despite the loss of 25% of their territory and 49% of their population when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991 – which Mr Putin has described as a geopolitical disaster – is now securely protected by Putin’s rebuilding of a credible second-strike nuclear weapons deterrent capability, that could respond to any actual or threatened surprise attack on Russia.

Also, the strategic and economic alliance with China is enormously strengthening both these great nations’ security and economic potential. They have each other’s back now.

China’s One Belt One Road initiative

China’s One Belt One Road vision is already transforming the whole Eurasian Heartland, including Russia. It is actually beginning to reshape the whole world economy, away from the historic Euro-Atlantic centred economy, to a diverse multipolar world economy.

Russia and China by virtue of their geography, size and resources, sit at the centre of this geopolitical transformation now just getting underway. The challenge for the Euro-Atlantic world, to which Australia belongs by history and alliance ties, is either to join in the building of this new world economic axis, or to stand aside and become increasingly marginalised from it.

It is going to be a very different multipolar world 10, 20, 30 years from now, with very different strategic power balances and world trading and investment patterns.

In some ways, we seem to be moving towards the world foreseen by British pre-WW1 strategic geographer Halford Mackinder in his classic 1904 book  The Geographical Pivot of History , postulating a world in contest between the Eurasian continental Heartland and the Anglo-American maritime world.

Russia’s economy is growing steadily and living standards are improving in all parts of the country, the largest country by land area in the world. Population, at around 150 million,   is at last beginning to grow again after the demographic disasters and collapse of national morale in the 1990s, the Yeltsin decade after the collapse of the Soviet system.

You will shortly see, as I did on my two recent visits, a country of high educational and cultural level, and high civility, ethical values and morale. This may surprise some of you.

You will also get a sense of the buoyant Football World Cup atmosphere. I don’t like to predict too much but I can predict this. Over the next few weeks, the spate of Western mainstream media articles hostile to the Russian hosting of the World Cup will rise to a crescendo. There will be stories alleging unsportsmanlike behaviour, unfinished stadiums and visitor facilities, tourist scams, and hostility of Russian people towards visiting football fans. None of this will be true. The Russian people will make their football visitors, players and spectators, very welcome. Any isolated acts of football hooliganism will be quickly brought under police control. The World Cup contest will be a happy experience for all.

Let me focus now on what has sadly become over the past few years my main area of expertise, the deteriorating political relationship between Russia and the Western alliance, built around NATO and the EU but also taking in Australia.

The prime movers of this hostility are the security and intelligence complexes in the US and the UK. Something similar, but not yet quite as bad, is happening now in China’s relations with the West. Again, the main cause is Western attitudes and behaviour towards China.

A key theme in my book is the contest between two Russian views of Russia’s place in the world, the Slavophile tendency versus the Westernising tendency. The giants of Russian literature, from Pushkin through Tolstoy and Turgenev and Dostoeyevsky and Anton Chekhov and Alexander Blok to Boris Pasternak, were at heart Slavophiles, believers in Russia’s unique destiny: that Russia is not just another European nation.

This continues to be Russia’s eternal existential debate – the question, who are we Russians? What is our specific role and responsibility in world history? I have tried in the central part of my book fairly to portray that debate, as it developed in Tsarist Russia and how it was transformed in the Soviet Communist period, and then again since the fall of Communism in 1991. I explore where the Yeltsin and Putin governments have sat in this debate.

It pains me to have to analyse, as the third section of my book on the West’s information warfare against Russia does, the negative and hostile role that the Western world, including Australia, now plays towards Russia. This third section offers my perspective as a former Australian diplomat who served in Soviet Russia 50 years ago, on how and why Russia-West relations have become so dysfunctional and dangerous in recent years.

How did such a hostile language and imagery mind-set form in the West since around 2008, of an inbuilt disdain for Russia? We are now living in a permanent default condition of Western information warfare against Russia.

In this escalating information war against Russia over the past ten years, words and images have been weaponised by the West, with the aim of discrediting, demoralising, and destabilising the Russian nation. This was at its height in the 1990s . Most of us did not realise this was happening, but Russia was at its lowest ebb. Women stopped having babies, there was widespread alcoholism among men, Russian people were emigrating,

England, always master of the dark arts of propaganda and disinformation, has played and continues to play a key role in this hidden war: London is egging on its senior partner Washington to ever more audacious lies and false claims against Russia. Only Trump offers some sort of resistance to this rampant Russophobia in Washington and London.

Under Putin, whose presidency began in 2001, Russia has been skilfully fighting back in its own defence, using adept official diplomacy, Internet channels and social media, while still trying to maintain basic norms of respect for facts and elementary good international manners.

Britain and the US have mostly abandoned those norms in recent years. Their diplomacy towards Russia now consists mostly of slanders, false-flag operations, threats and ultimatums. As Putin has put Russia back in its feet, these two key Western nations have become correspondingly more hostile to him and to Russia.

Since  2016, much has happened to set in stone the breakdown of working trust between Russia and the West. I thought things were bad then, but they are much worse now.

EU leaders have mostly, though sometimes reluctantly, followed Anglo-American Russophobic policy leads.

Only at military-to-military level, as in the Syrian War deconfliction arrangements, does some form of essential trust-based communication survive between the two militaries. The strategic balance is still very fragile.

 how President Putin tries to speak to the West.

Putin has gone up twice on television in 2017 and 2018 against the smart and sexy American TV presenter Megyn Kelly. Don’t waste your time watching truncated American news versions. Watch the full-length Russian-filmed YouTube videos, to see how he deals with Megyn’s ‘gotcha’ questions politely, calmly and logically, but with occasional flashes of humour. Megyn tries desperately to stay on message, to stay hostile and confrontational, but Putin charmingly wins these amiable battles of wits. And we, the viewers, can learn a lot about his country’s priorities and concerns, if we choose to watch these entertaining interviews on YouTube.

A different kind of attraction – a bromance, actually – develops between Putin and Oliver Stone in the making of Stone’s 2017 ‘Putin Interviews’ documentary series. Stone does not try to play ‘gotcha’ with Putin. Over several conversations, the two men build a friendly relationship of mutual liking and respect. Putin opens up, and Stone learns why one should not joke with a Russian about Kubrick’s film Dr Strangelove. For Russians, the certainty of mutual assured destruction under second strike nuclear deterrence is no joking matter at all. It is the real world they inhabit. It is the world they have learned to live in, under years of constant American military pressure around their borders since around 2002, after the tough disciplined Putin in 2001 replaced the alcoholic US- compliant Yeltsin.

Putin was determined to restore Russian pride, military and economic strength, and self-respect. He has never wavered from this goal through three American Presidents George W Bush, Obama and Trump.

Russians do not see their restored nuclear deterrent under Putin as some kind of video entertainment game: it is what they see as ultimately defending their sovereignty as a nation: their preparedness to start the Doomsday Clock ticking, if pressed by the West beyond their endurance limits. They have recently shown this during the ongoing war in Syria.

The message Stone tries to bring back to the West: that Russians are a deeply serious and truthful people, a brave people, and that Putin is the strong and able leader they are fortunate to have.

Stone returns to America, and goes on the popular liberal Stephen Colbert show to publicize his TV series and book. To watch this on YouTube is dispiriting. Stone tries to explain seriously to Colbert what he has learned from his hours conversing with Putin, on what interests the US and Russia might find they have in common, on how their relations might be improved to mutual benefit. He is met with disbelief and facetious sarcasm. The studio audience soon get into the spirit of Colbert’s game: they start to laugh mockingly with Colbert at everything Stone says. Later, mainstream American viewers express amazement and contempt for Stone’s ‘soft’ and ‘gullible’ approach to the ‘wily’ Putin.

The Washington Post sums it up thus: ‘Oliver Stone defended Vladimir Putin to Stephen Colbert. The audience laughed at him.’

This is the arrogant voice of American liberal Democratic opinion. This powerful segment of America – the liberal globalisers who support what they are most familiar with, an American-led rules-based world order – have by now almost entirely succumbed to obsessive Russophobic prejudice.

 books that convey truth about Russia.

Almost every book published in the West about Russia and Putin is misleading, but the authors cannot see this. They come from within self-indoctrinated intellectual communities that – whether physically living in the West, or even in Western journalistic and diplomatic enclaves within Russia, it makes no difference really – have internalised group mindsets of hostile Western perceptions of Russia to the point where they cannot see outside this framework. Anti-Russian assertions of belief, repeated and exchanged often enough, become the alternative reality. As Goebbels understood.

Look at these examples of titles of a few well-regarded recent books about Russia:

  • The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin,  Steven Lee Myers, 2016
  • Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped, by Garry Kasparov, 2016
  • Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, by Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy, 2015
  • Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? by Karen Dawisha, 2015
  • Putin’s Wars: The Rise of Russia’s New Imperialism, by Marcel H Van Herpen, 2015
  • The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, by Masha Gessen, 2013

Since at least 2008, perhaps earlier, the majority of Western commentators and writers on Russia have come to live in such a distorted mental world of their own imagining. They prefer to re-circulate their own Russian nightmare images – their own language of Russian politics – than to reckon with the reality of what is now a generally decent and serious, well-governed and well-mannered country. To these writers, Putin is simply a greedy criminal whose brutal kleptocratic regime threatens the peaceful world order.

For example: One of the leading Western journalists of this new Cold War, Luke Harding of the UK Guardian , cannot see how silly he sounds when he solemnly intones, after having been caught out in yet another evidence-free Russophobic claim:

Ah, but you must look at the whole context. You see, this is what they always do.

Most Western commentators writing about Russia today fall into this same ideological strait-jacket. They are the new Stalinists. Even when they think they are being objective and fair-minded about Russia, their superior and condescending stereotypes of Russia dull their brains and compromise their integrity.

John Le Carré understood the Cold War very well, the moral ambiguities and yet the humanity that persisted in citizens on both sides, even through the worst years. He never demonised Russia or Russians. To me one of his wisest books is The Russia House, written in 1989, the last years of Gorbachev’s rule.

Fred Schepisi’s film version made in 1990, starring Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer, is one of my favourite films.

Le Carre’s engaging anti-hero Barley Blair, and his Russian lover Katya who is played with heartrending warmth and sincerity by Michelle Pfeiffer, refuse to play the Cold War games demanded of them by the governments of their day.  We can still today, 28 years later, learn much from reading or watching The Russia House, a charming fable in which love and human decency triumph over Cold War hatred and ruthlessness.

Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago is the indispensable novel of 20th century Russia, which truthfully represents Russia’s complex and tragic past hundred years, from Tsarism to Soviet Communism and prophesying contemporary Russia. . I visited Pasternak’s home at Peredelkino two years ago. I hope that my chapter on Pasternak, I think the best chapter in my book, captures him fairly.

He came from a cultured and comfortably-off intelligentsia family in Moscow. He made the fateful choice to stay in Russia with his brothers, when his parents and sisters emigrated after the Civil War ended. He never saw them again. His life was tragic and heroic. He confronted and triumphed over both the cruel Stalinist state, and the Anglo-American intelligence agencies which tried to use his great work as a tool to undermine the Soviet system.

Pasternak was intensely patriotic for Russia, his motherland. He never lost his faith that Russia after all its sufferings would grow into a decent humanist country and become an inspiration to the world. I think he would be unreservedly proud of Russia today.

These days one frequently comes across passionate and illogical Russophobia in Australia’s elite government, academic and mainstream media circles, the people who basically set the parameters of Australian policy towards Russia. I have recently been characterised unfavourably by a person from within this group as one of a number of ‘contrarians, Putinists and instant experts’ in Australia. I have also been described as ‘in love with Russia’. I actually take both these remarks as compliments.

What never seems to go away nowadays in our Anglo-American national security elite world is the presumption that Western conduct is generally proper, and Russian conduct is generally improper. I see evidence of such confirmation bias now again on display, acutely, in Western government and mainstream media handling of the Skripal Affair, and of the alleged Assad Government series of three chemical weapons attacks on rebel-held areas in Syria since 2012. People filter out the sources and information elements they want to believe, and ignore the rest as presumed ‘fake news’.

It is sad that a whole people and culture can be misrepresented in such ways. This must be countered, and I am doing my best to help counter it.

The Russian and Western narratives on both these events, the Skripal Affair and the Syria War, sharply conflict. In the end, one must make a choice – one cannot split the difference, or sit on the fence – and I have made my choice. To my mind, the Russian government’s positions on the Skripal Affair and the alleged series of three Syrian Government CW attacks on rebel-occupied areas in recent years fit best with the available public evidence. The Western governments’ positions on these events are false propaganda constructs, and I am no longer prepared to take them on trust.

On every issue in contention, Western governments and mainstream media simply refuse to consider – or even to report – evidence presented by Russia. Instead, they turn their backs, or they resort to angry anti-Russian rhetoric.

The Skripal affair
The Skripals Affair, the attack on Sergey and his daughter Yulia , allegedly with lethal quick-acting Novichok (A234) poison of Soviet Russian origin, in Salisbury on 4 March, initially seemed to offer to UK Prime Minister Theresa May a politically convenient Russophobe narrative. Its falsity has been progressively exposed by the accumulation of public facts ever since. It seems now that the Skripals were victims of an anti-Russian false-flag poisoning and narrative, designed to lay a Western public opinion foundation for the false-flag alleged CW attack in Syria in Douma a month later, which led to a US and allied aerial attack on Syria.

Whoever designed the bizarre Skripal operation went so far as to tamper with the Skripal biological samples that the UK government sent some weeks later to the UN Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, for testing in OPCW’s own trusted Swiss laboratories. Theresa May had demanded a simple yes-or-no answer from OPCW: did the samples contain a Novichuk –type poison?

But the OPCW laboratory in Spiez actually did comprehensive professional sample testing and found inconvenient truths. The Skripal samples were found to contain traces of a strong temporary debilitating but non-lethal toxin called BZ, long in use by NATO, which produced the exact same symptoms as the lethal A234 Novichuk, but with recovery under good medical care expected after around 4 days. Which is what happened to Yulia.

The Spiez lab also found in the samples that OPCW was given by the UK government large freshly added concentrations of the lethal agent A234, in the Novichuk family, as well as decomposed residues of lethal A234 which had been added much earlier , soon after the samples were obtined from the Skripals. It would seem therefore that the OPCW safe chain of custody protocols had twice been seriously violated during the weeks the samples were in British government sole custody.

We only know about these sensational findings because Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov obtained them from a Spiez Lab or OPCW source, and deliberately leaked them publicly in Moscow on 14 April.

Britain, though caught red-handed, tried to deny the story, and still continues brazenly to reject or ignore it, supported by all its Western allies including Australia. At the OPCW Executive Council meeting on 18 April, every Western ambassador lined up to denounce Russia, in abusive language, for allegedly bringing the trusted OPCW inspection system into disrepute. The Council decided to suppress its own laboratory reports. The Secretariat offered an improbable cover story as to why BZ toxin had been found in samples. No explanation was offered at all for the presence of freshly added A234, in concentrations that would have certainly killed the Skripals outright if they had been exposed to it on 4 March.

A few days ago, a fully recovered Yulia Skripal appeared on Reuters television reading a prepared statement in Russian. She has said she looks forward to returning to her home country.

She clearly had not ingested Novichuk, A234. D-notices have been imposed on British media by the British Goverment, and Western mainstream media have fallen strangely silent on the Skripal story as it collapses under its own factual contradictions. I believe that more will come out on the Skripal story, because in the end truth does come out. I hope that both the Skripals, father and daughter, will sooner or later be able to return unharmed to their country, now that proof of Yulia’s life and her desire to return home has been publicly established.

Conclusion

So where do relations now stand between Russia and the West? Certainly worse that when my book was published, just 16 months ago. Putin and Lavrov and the charismatic Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova patiently state again and again their understanding of the truth of these matters, and the need for civil and business-like regular Russia-West dialogue based on mutual respect for national sovereignty, and simply on mutual good manners. Western governments’ manners towards Russia were much better during the Cold War than now.

Trump is unpredictable and irresolute. He seems most of the time to wish to be friends with Putin and Russia, but he seems powerless to defy the obsessively Russophobe lobby which effectively controls Washington. There is renewed talk now of a possible Putin-Trump summit meeting, but powerful elements of the Anglo-American strategic bureaucracy and mainstream media seem determined to derail it.

This is also the dominant message we hear in Australia from the ABC, Fairfax, The Australian, and The Guardian. The Anglo-American elite world seems to need an existential Russian enemy.

In conclusion, I urge you to read critically and widely, and to monitor reputable Russian official websites in their English versions – in particular, rt.com, the Russian global news and commentary equivalent of the BBC World Service; and the Russian Foreign Ministry website mid.ru; and the Russian Embassy websites in Washington, London and Canberra – and also trustworthy independent Western social media writers like the UK’s Craig Murray, Australia’s own Caitlin Johnstone, Vanessa Beeley on Syria, or even my own Facebook and Twitter pages, if you want to make up your own mind on what is really happening in this strange new world of Russia-West relations.

When our mainstream media will almost always distort, or simply not report at all, credible new disclosures of facts as just more pro-Russian propaganda or ‘fake news’, we must read more sources. We must question the anti-Russian stereotypes that are being served up to us. Repetition of lies does not make lies into truth.

Former Australian career diplomat and independent writer Tony Kevin is the author of the 2017 literary travel memoir ‘Return to Moscow’

108 Comments

  1. bevin says

    Anyone interested in the history of modern russophobia should look up David Urquhart.I can’t vouch for wiki’s entry but it is a start. And further proof that the Rothschilds were not responsible for everything
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Urquhart.

    As to whether Putin is a gangster or the re-incarnation of Lenin or whatever, who cares? His position as the President of Russia- and Russia being, thanks to the Clinton gang, a country with a ‘strong’ presidency- compels him to act in Syria in support of the government.
    He is compelled in the sense that, after the long litany of regime changes choreographed by the US Empire, it finally became plain to even the densest brains in Moscow that, unless the habit of changing regimes was knocked out of the Americans’ brains, Russia and China’s turns would be coming up in short order.
    In other words Russia intervened in Syria- as the UK intervened in Poland in 1939- in order to defend its vital national interests.
    It is that simple: there is no need to attribute saintly motives to Putin or to descend into adolescent cynicism to explain what Russia reluctantly concluded that it has to do.
    The notion that the “Hard left” supports Syria in its defence against imperialist/wahhabi militias because it thinks that Putin is a socialist is arrant nonsense- anti-imperialists support movements defending themselves against imperialist aggression, for very practical reasons.
    The sad truth is that large numbers of those on the left who consider themselves ‘socialists’ and ‘marxists’ actually support imperialism in Libya, Syria and Ukraine.
    See Diana Johnson’s excellent piece
    https://consortiumnews.com/2018/05/04/trotskyist-delusions-obsessed-with-stalin-they-see-betrayed-revolutions-everywhere/

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  2. chrisb says

    ‘How the West continues to fatally misunderstand Russia & Putin.’ There is of course no one single view in the UK of Putina nd Russia. There are several.

    The Masters of War understand Putin & Russia very well. It is a country that refuses to be militarily subjugated by the US (and why shouldn’t it). It is also a country that is prepared to use its military strength in foreign wars to serve its economic interests. Just like the US – which is why the Masters of War understand Putin’s Russia so well. While the US wants to overthrow Assad in order to build a gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe in order to undercut Russian gas and sever the consequent hold that Russia has over Western Europe, the Russians under Putin want to do the opposite: to keep Assad in power so that the pipeline doesn’t get built and they continue to have a hold over Europe.

    There are two groups of people who don’t understand Putin’s Russia. First there are the useful idiots who masquerade as journalists in the MSM and amplify the propaganda they receive from the Masters of War. Then there is the Hard Left who see Putin as a socialist. He is not. He is a gangster, the mirror image of the gangsters in the US government, gangsters who understand that it is better to run organised crime as part fo the government than to run organised crime in opposition to the government.

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    • HannaB555 says

      chrisb – I find your view hopelessly cynical and narrow-minded (although I can see how appealing and neat it may seem to you). That’s quite some gangster…saved the country from total collapse, stopped rampant crime (many of my generation did not even live to this day as they were murdered or died from drugs and alcohol in the 1990s when they were only starting their lives), repaid all Soviet external debt, built up the army again, resurrected the church, extinguished the Chechen war (initiated and financed by the West), made friends with Chechnya, hugely improved many aspects of life for people (the list is too long), all the while standing up to relentless attacks and aggression from the West, and maintaining good manners, humour and playing hockey. The man is quite frankly a legend. Pipe in Syria is all very well (nothing wrong with being pragmatic if so), but much more important is the fact that Syria is the cradle of Christian civilization and Russians actually do not want to see that beautiful country destroyed by head-chopping Satanists (financed by their Western buddies) and they also want to stop the spread of extremist disease close to its borders. To paraphrase Dostoevsky – even if someone gave me incontrovertible proof that Putin is a gangster I would still, with all the facts at my disposal, remain his supporter. If Putin is wrong I don’t want to be right.

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      • chrisb says

        ” … even if someone gave me incontrovertible proof that Putin is a gangster I would still, with all the facts at my disposal, remain his supporter.” Quite a statement on either your ignorance or your lack of morals.

        • chrisb – I used to be in the anti-Putin camp (when I was entirely influenced by Western press and media), and I quite consciously changed my views on the basis of a lot of reading and listening to primary sources, and personal experience actually in Russia. People like you always do tear words and phrases out of context to suit their own agenda – knock yourself out, I don’t care, opinion of people like you of me is totally irrelevant to me.

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        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          Your ‘lack of morals’ in peddling Imperial hate propaganda against Putin, while affecting a nauseating moral equivalence between Russia and Thanatopia, is, in my opinion, rather more nauseating.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      The thought that Putin intervened in Syria to protect the Syrian people from the most Evil, sadistic and brutal death-squad army that Thanatopia and its stooges, like the genocidal Sordid Arabian despotism, had ever assembled, would never occur to twisted psyches like yours. You’re just projecting your own gangsterism onto Putin.

      • Ross says

        Anyone who thinks Putin acts out of generosity to the human race, or as a selfless act of global humanitarianism needs to do a bit more reading. Russia and Putin are controlled just like Trump and the US are controlled, just like all regions of interest are controlled.

        The East/West narrative has served many purposes over history. Right now it is helping the people transition away from a US-dominated geopolitical era to a short Russian/Asian dominated period before consolidation into a single governance structure.

        Everything is planned and it seems pretty much in place to do this. The BIS, IMF and World Bank, along with the SDR are lined up, and once the financial control is in place the rest will be easy. We will be literally begging them to exert their control by the end.

      • chrisb says

        The thought that Putin intervened in Syria to protect the Syrian people from the most Evil, sadistic and brutal death-squad army that Thanatopia and its stooges, like the genocidal Sordid Arabian despotism, had ever assembled, would only occur to naive idiots such as yourself.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          So the question concerning your type remains-is it a ‘useful idiot’, brainwashed by Western fakestream lies, or a knowing disinformer on the side of the takfiri child-crucifiers, for the purposes of destroying Arab states and seeing their people slaughtered ie almost certainly a Zionist.

          • chrisb says

            The war in Syria as in much of the Middle East is primarily between two versions of Islam and between competing exporters of oil and gas. Israel may be taking sides but it is not one of the immediate actors in this dispute. Not surprising given that it is not an Islamic country nor a country needing a pipeline across Syria to transport gas or oil to Europe. To suggest I am a Zionist because I see why Putin and Russia
            are involved in Syria is ridiculous.

            • Funny how the “two versions of Islam” got along just fine with each other until the Tafkiri terrorists showed up.

    • Your arguments against Putin are somewhat reductive along the lines of Western ‘Saddam Hussein/Assad is a brutal dictator’. Yes, he works with oligarchs and mafia gangsters, but he’s good for Russia and if a majority of Russians support him, good.

      The rest of the world cheers him because he’s the balance against American hegemony. Given how much harm the Us has done world-wide, that’s why I respect his acumen.

  3. HannaB555 says

    Could not agree more, well-said, sir, really enjoyed your article! Keep countering the dangerous misrepresentation. Sounds like a very worthy book, which I’ll be buying.

  4. “In Russia there comes the hope of the world, not as that sometimes termed
    of the communistic, or Bolshevik, no; but freedom, freedom!
    That each man will live for his fellow man! The principle has been born.
    It will take years for it to be crystallised, but out of Russia
    comes again the hope of the world.”
    – Edgar Cayce, 1944

  5. reinertorheit says

    [[ Fred Schepisi’s film version made in 1990, starring Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer, is one of my favourite films. ]]

    And this is the main problem. Westerners still view Russia (or the USSR, terms they wrongly view interchangeably) through the prism of saccharine Hollywood pap they’ve written themselves. Whether the Russians are dastardly bulry woman with flip-out daggers in the boot-tips, or fur-clad dispossed Countesses in urgent need of the shagging their own men cannot provide for them (haaaahahaha!) they remain laughable 1-dimensional memes who operate in the background, while James Bond (Eton, Cambridge.,NATO Academy of Defence) is there to save the world as usual.

    That’s what makes this article pile of risible, post-Colonial bolllocks.

    • MinutebisMitternacht says

      England, always master of the dark arts of propaganda and disinformation, has played and continues to play a key role in this hidden war: London is egging on its senior partner Washington to ever more audacious lies and false claims against Russia.

      It would be close to the truth to describe the feelings of England’s elites and political psychopaths towards Russia and Russian people as pathological hatred. I read somewhere that this dates back to the Crimean War.

      • Probably here:
        Headline: London Telegraph
        Russian Orthodox Church Suggests Tsar’s Death was a Jewish ‘Ritual Murder’
        http://tomatobubble.com/rothschild_romanov.html

        1844: BENJAMIN DISRAELI WRITES OF ROTHSCHILD’S HATRED FOR RUSSIA
        Benjamin Disraeli is a British-Jewish literary figure and aspiring politician. He will become two-time Prime Minister of Britain (1868, and again in 1874) and the dominant politician of 19th century Europe. Long before his rise to prominence, Disraeli publishes a political novel, Coningsby: The New Generation. Although fictional, Coningsby is based on contemporary British politics.

        In the book, there is a character named Sidonia who represents Lionel de Rothschild (son of Nathan). Sidonia reveals to the politician Coningsby how unseen forces – the Jewish “Sidonias” foremost among them, shape Europe’s affairs and secret revolutionary movements.

        Sidonia (Rothschild) reveals his dislike for the Romanov Family (Russia’s Tsars): ” there has been no friendship between the Court of St. Petersburg (Russia) and my family.”

        • Or here: https://www.rothschildarchive.org/materials/ar2006japan.pdf

          Richard Smethurst recalls the genesis of the relationship between the Rothschild banks and one of the great figures in Japan’s history, Takahashi Korekiyo.

          During the war with Russia in 1904–1905, he sold £82 million of Japanese war bonds, almost half the cost of the war, in London and New York to British, American, and later German investors. After the war in 1905–1907, he negotiated in Europe the issuance of £48 million more in bonds, largely through the London and Paris Rothschilds.

      • chrisb says

        I don’t think the US needs to be ‘egged on’.

        How do you explain why the UK has allowed Russian oligarchs including those close to Putin to launder money through the UK? Maybe Abramovich’s difficulty over renewing his visa indicates a change of policy. However, for the last 20 years, the UK has played a key role in anchoring Putin and his cronies to the West.

  6. Great article. My 2 cents on my limited sphere of knowledge: I believe there was no poisoning of any kind regardless of samples submitted and it was a complete false-flag hoax – come on Skripal spied for the UK (assumption of course that if anyone poisoned them it was the UK)! The only alleged hard evidence we have is Julia’s tracheotomy wound. The fact that she even had to have a tracheotomy seems suspect for a start and the wound shows signs that it could be moulage – there is a bulginess around it to lend credence to the wound being indented and the cord in her dress seems to rub against it in the video – it’s also shown in low resolution. We have to wonder why she would wear a dress with a cord that might rub against her wound like that. They justify their hoaxes by TELLING us with things that don’t add up, ridiculousness, strange changes in story, etc and the Skripal affair is so loaded with these things even the Daily Mail readers have caught on. I can’t help chortling over the cat and two guinea pigs nonsense even if I detest the people who perpetrate these crimes.

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    • D'Esterre says

      flaxgirl: “I believe there was no poisoning of any kind regardless of samples submitted….”

      You wouldn’t be alone in that. Here in New Zealand last year, we had a very curious case of a family getting dangerously ill very soon after eating wild pork. Originally, it was thought to be botulism, then 1080 poisoning. However, tests were negative for both. Last I heard, the conclusion was that an unknown toxin was responsible. Here’s a link to the story; the family members are gradually recovering:

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/100749727/wild-boar-meal-victims-take-recovery-day-by-day

      So: when the Skripal incident hit the headlines, many of us here immediately thought of food poisoning. I’ve seen nothing since to change my mind about that.

      • Yes, but I don’t think it was food poisoning either. I think it was a completely fabricated story, aka, a false-flag hoax.

  7. rudy says

    Be careful what you wish for. I live in Russia. It’s complicated, but the author’s version of Russia is not complicated or nuanced or even wedded to basic facts, rather I would put it in the nostalgic tray, alongside all the other wannabe radicals who don’t understand their position is not radical at all, but white bread authoritarianism. I agree that one can critique the West, that it should be critiqued–there are so problems (brought on by the neo-liberal order) which require vigilant action and pressure on all fronts for any kind of change. At the same time, one should also be able to critique Russia, where there are also many problems (with more basic things like the rule of law). The difference is that the only place you can’t critique Russia is in Russia! RT is not critical of Russia, it is not even made for a Russian audience. We have our own propaganda, which many people don’t bother to watch. They know more than the west that their own news is pure spin. How Russia appears is quite different to how it is domestically. There is no ‘real’ free press here. So when there’s no free press and no ‘off Guardian’ for you folks, then tell me how much you’re loving life, and how much you’re being listened to. Ditto with the vote. Tell me how much you enjoy having no say over who is elected, because it’s not a real election, because only Kremlin approved (ie Putin approved) candidates are on the ballot. Ditto with no rule of law, when say, you’re fighting to try and stop your small business being stolen by corrupt oligarchs. As I said, be careful what you wish for. If that’s really what you want, then move to Russia. No-one’s stopping you. And the wrong answer is, but it’s just like the US/UK. It is not just like the US/UK. There may be corruption everywhere, but there is still the freedom to vote a person out, to be protected by the law, and to engage in politics, without being jailed. A bit of perspective is helpful.

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    • reinertorheit says

      I’m not sure I can agree with you on all this. I, too, live in Russia – I have lived in Moscow since 1999. I was not born in Russia, but it has been my full-time home for nearly 20 years.

      No ‘real’ free press? C’mon, what are you reading? Can you read Russian at all? Or are you waiting for an English translation? Have you seen Nezavisimaya Gazeta? Have you seen Russky Reporter?

      Only Kremlin-approved candidates? You mean like Ksenia Sobchak? Whatever you might think of her, she certainly was not Kremlin-approved. And Russia is not just Moscow. Many important regional cities (viz Ekaterinburg) have political leaders who are not from Edinnaya Rossiya.

      The freedom to remove someone from office?? Fascist crackpot Alexander Dugin, formerly head of the Politics faculty at MGU, was removed from his post after he publicly advocated a military attack on Ukraine, and a policy that Russia should “Kill! Kill! Kill!” all Ukrainians on the basis of ethnicity. He was not removed by the Kremlin. He was removed by a ballot held among the teaching staff of the University, who were shocked and ashamed at the claims he made.

      Where do you iive – Pokrovsky Hills?

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    • In addition to reinertorheits reply to you I would add that you veiw western elections with rose tinted spectacles. Our electoral processes may be more sophisticated in their illusory purpose of delivering choice but in reality there is no choice at all and every leader is selected not by the people but by corporate plutocrats. Even on the open surface who gets to stand for election in any seat is not a choice of the people but of party comittees who in turn are selected by said plutocrats. The game is rigged from top to bottom and voting is entirely meaningless.

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    • I live in Russia, too, Rudy, and you’re pushing Western propaganda – albeit from behind a deceptive veneer of moderation. Nice try, though.
      Slava Ukraina!

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    • Baron says

      Have you ever come across, rudy, or even watch the TV channel ‘The Rain’? You know what it is?

      No doubt that Russia has many warts and boils, the poor state of the judiciary being one of them, but anyone who lived there when the communist thugs were in governance cannot but agree that the Russians have never had it so good.

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      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        Until quite recently Russians, when polled, saw the Brezhnev years as the best they had lived through. Those with memories of those years, of free or very cheap housing, transport, healthcare, education, cultural events etc, and guaranteed work, are dying out, inevitably, so the Communist years can be freely traduced. The really hideous years of thuggery, want, poverty, alcoholism, falling life expectancy, falling birth-rates etc, were under the Free Market capitalism of Jeffrey Sachs and his Harvard confreres, and the looting oligarchs, and their patron, the US stooge, Yeltsin.

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Ah, Rudy-such very poor agit-prop. Surely they don’t pay you for this swill?

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    • Hanna says

      ​Rudy, just because you live in Russia or allege to live in Russia it certainly does not give you the right to speak for the Russian people or claim to represent a balanced and fair view. You are one of those people Tony Kevin writes about (who do not see reality outside their own ideological straightjacket). As a born and bred Moscovite Russian whenever I hear someone say there is no freedom of speech in Russia I know they are either lying or are not familiar with reality. I can say that there is extraordinary freedom of speech in Russia (certainly much more so than in the UK or the US), you can say freely absolutely anything, including against the President, every political spectrum has a voice and is represented. I actually believe there is too much freedom of speech and expression, but then Putin is very open minded and liberal. 55 million Putin voters can’t have been forced to vote and don’t try to suggest elections were rigged – I voted in London and even there twice as many people voted for Putin as last time. No one suggests there are no problems in Russia, there are many, but there are problems in every country – it is not the West’s place to preach to Russia how to solve them. Tony Kevin IS providing a bit of perspective against the mainstream Russophobia, lies and hypocrisy, and his article is a breath of fresh air. If you want to read what is dear to you – just keep reading most mainstream media.

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      • Very well said, Hanna. As an expat living in Moscow and regularly comparing Russia with the West, I couldn’t possibly agree with you more.
        The far greater breadth of awareness possessed by Russians can be easily summed up by one simply and easily verifiable fact: Russians are exposed daily to the Western perspective, via all platforms and media. They get the western perspective on events as well as their own.

        Which perspective does the West get?
        It gets only one – the West’s. If it were subjected to an alternative, it would be exposed as propaganda and implode in fairly short order, since the truth is always more compelling than lies.

  8. John Marks says

    Perhaps the worst travesty is the MH17 atrocity malignantly blamed on Russia to kindle EU support for the Americans’ Kiev coup and sanctions against Russia.
    The kangaroo court of Holland, Australia and Malaya have refused to release the plane’s “black box”; they have refused to hear the eye-witness testimony of pilot Voloshin when the plane was shot down; they have refused to ask the Ukraine’s air-traffic control why the plane was diverted to the conflict zone.

    All the lies about the Ukraine, Donbass, Crimea, MH17 arise from the same naked western aggression that fuelled the Kiev coup.

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      It’s all so reminiscent of the vicious travesty of the Lockerbie ‘trial’ fiasco, also held in Holland.

    • D'Esterre says

      John Marks: “the MH17 atrocity malignantly blamed on Russia to kindle EU support for the Americans’ Kiev coup and sanctions against Russia.”

      Yup. The “Russia dunnit!” story has taken shape gradually over the years since the tragedy.

      In the month immediately following the shootdown of MH17, we flew from Japan to central Europe. Our flight was originally slated to overfly the Ukraine; however, all such flights were rerouted over Russia. We flew almost as far north as Archangelsk, before our flight turned for central Europe. At the time, the US stated that it had incontrovertible evidence, in the form of radar trace, which indicated the trajectory of the missile. It’s wildly implausible that international aviation would have directed civilian flights over Russia, were it the case that the US had evidence of the missile having been shot from Russia.

      Nor was it the Ukrainian citizens who’d risen up against the junta in Kiev. At that stage, they’d been fighting for a matter of a few months only, with fairly basic weapons. In addition, for complicated technical reasons to do with the equipment required, it can’t have been the so-called rebels.

      The missile was Russian-made of course, but an old model no longer used by the Russian military. The Ukrainian military was still using them, though.

      Occam’s Razor: the explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is the most plausible.

  9. I enjoyed reading this and it’s good to get some real balance into the “Russia house*.. of horror” perspective pushed by the Guardian. A view which is so outmoded and out of date it only serves as an echo chamber for its stymied hacks.

    Harding who pretends to be some sort of expert on Russia has never set foot [let alone a ball] in the country for years [and then only briefly]. But the rest of the stenographic operatives follow in his prejudiced myopic wake. One quote sums up Harding’s mind set for me, “GCHQ boffins watched over as we smashed the hard drives…” The British who honed the dark arts of serious “trade craft”, as Harding likes to call it, only have “BOFFINS”??? Did I miss a meeting?

    And already as if on cue, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/09/we-want-to-thrill-to-beautiful-game-but-fifa-world-cup-is-toxic

    We have this “toxic” barrel of bilge from brother Cohen, a kind of World Cup warmer, just to get the footie fans in the right frame of mind post Novichock fakery. You didn’t have to wait long Tony… for this long list of prejudiced sound bites tripped out in this machine manufactured piece.

    Unfortunately the flaky Guardinistas have no point of reference regarding reality in the outside world. But if they did stray to Russia they would be amazed. They would find that far from the dark satanic unban landscape full of thugs and troglodytes they would find a friendly, entertaining and intelligent population living in smart cities with all the mod-cons far in advance of anything imagined by forelock tugging Royal Wedded, Brexiteering quaint little Englanders.

    As I live in Russia I have to confess the picture painted of it is an accurate illustration of one place I am also very familiar with, er Ukraine. But then when did you ever read anything true about Ukraine in the Guardian too…So

    Here we go, here we go, here we go….!

    *The Russia House is my favourite LeCarre too.

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  10. George says

    That’s the very point I was about to make. The US power elite has no intention of even making the attempt to understand Russia. The role that Russia must play in their power games has already been established. The actual truth about Russia is irrelevant.

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    • George says

      My comment seems to have been inserted at the wrong point. It was meant to be in response to Schlüter below who says:

      “On the title: we have to make a distinction between the manipulated public of the West surely misunderstanding Russia and Putin, and the US Power Elite, knowing very well!”

  11. Yossi says

    Very good summary of the Russiaphobic reaction by the US/UK. I’d be interested to hear the author’s views on WHY. Is it because of Putin spoiling the big plan to dominate Russia initiated under Yeltsin? Is it because of the fears that the days of the “petro-dollar” are coming to a close?

    • reinertorheit says

      Or could it be (gasp!) that a fair and equitable relationship with Russia – based on mutual trust, rather than mutually-assured destruction – would kick the bottom out of the Defence Industry market?

      Which would be very bad news indeed for nations like the USA or Norway, whose economies are critically centred on military manufacturing? What a surprise to see that both nations, along with Sweden, the Netherlands, Britain and Germany are stalwart NATO members.

      Oh, and let’s not forget the supercilious glee that pissing on Russia gives to inadequate nutters (Williamson, Johnson, Pompeo, McCain, Bolton, the Clintons, Allbright, May, Stoltenberg, McMaster, and the rest of the uneducated leadership classes).

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  12. Meanwhile in the real world, a report from Syrian Arab News Agency on warm agreement and positive outcome between Russia and Iran at the SCO summit in Beijing:

    Beijing, SANA-Russian President Vladimir Putin affirmed Saturday that Moscow and Tehran successfully cooperate to settle the crisis in Syria and there are tangible outcomes.

    “Our country successfully cooperates with Iran to settle the crisis in Syria,” Putin said during a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

    He added “I welcome this opportunity to work with you on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

    https://sana.sy/en/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/1-21.jpg

  13. Robbobbobin says

    “…the smart and sexy American TV presenter Megyn Kelly.”

    I beg to differ.

    “…Luke Harding of the UK Guardian , cannot see how silly he sounds…”

    I beg to agree.

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  14. bevin says

    A reminder that the real ‘phoney war’ began in 1945.
    The ‘Cold War was a continuation of the long struggle between the maritime powers of western Europe. the founders of the Empire which the US took over, and the land powers of Eurasia.
    That was what both world wars were about, the struggle by the non atlanticist Europeans to substitute, internal, land routes for the maritime trade which those who controlled the sea lanes dominated.
    Bismark who saw things much more clearly than his successors realised that the key to such a strategy was Russia, which stood athwart the roads between Europe and Asia. He insisted that Germany needed to ally itself with Russia and that if Russia allied itself with the maritime empire German efforts to build connections eastwards would fail.
    In one form or another this struggle between Russia and the Empire whose capital now rests in Washington goes back to the late fifteenth century, (its ideological origins are much older.)
    What this means is that all the nonsense about Communism, from the Cold War, a vast sprawling ideology embracing almost everything in the Academy, had nothing to do with the real struggle. That was between the Eurasian option and -the current OBOR- and the US determination to ‘contain’ its rivals employing fleets and bases. The wars it fought-and tricked so many into sacrifices for ‘freedom’ – were fought to maintain bridgeheads in Asia, to prevent natural alliances between neighbours from forming, to divide and to foster jealousies, tensions, racism and wars.
    The imperialists understood that, basically since Railways had been built, seapower was becoming marginal and the maritime empire vulnerable.
    What the Cold War was about, apart from the long struggle for mastery of Eurasia, was brainwashing the people of the Free World- as the utter indifference to suffering in the Yeltsin era proved, nobody with any power in Washington or London gave a pinch of shit about the ‘captive nations’ behind the ‘iron curtain’ under the ‘yoke of communism’. All the nonsense about Stalin’s crimes (no graver than Churchill’s or any other imperialist leader) was directed internally: it was designed to discredit socialists, and preserve the Empire from its only real challenger. The Russians and Chinese never moved a finger to defeat the Empire. The enemy was not in Moscow of Beijing but in the factories and communities where people were realising both that the wealth in society was created by them and that seizing the power to redistribute it was a fairly simple job, which had to begin by electing a socialist government.

    So the hatred of Russia so evident around us is nothing more than the desperation of the owners of the maritime empire, whose hold on power will end the moment that high speed rail links Madrid with Pyongyang, Frankfort with Tehran and Paris with Madras: it is the unification of eurasia that is feared and to prevent it, imperialism will build walls wherever it can. That is why Ukraine is so important. That is why Iran is always ostracised. That is why, thinking ahead, Britain partitioned India into competing states, and built a cancer into the Levant and left ethnic jealousies and sectarian struggles in every place it ruled, from Ireland to Guyana.

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    • The hatred of Russia by the western hegemony predates 1945 by some way. Indeed it’s overtures really started in 1812 when Russia forced the retreat of Napolean back beyond the Elbe. Nathan Rothschild by that time was quietly financing all nations involved in fighting the army of Napolean. Tsar Nicholas 1st alone refused to take the userous loans, initiated many pogroms against Russian Jews, and demanded substantial payments from the Rothschild funded quartet of nations (GB,France,Prussia and Austria) for Russia to continue the war with Napolean. Indeed like WW2 the participation of Russia was as hugely pivotal as it has been hugely downplayed in western historical narratives.
      Some say Napolean himself was taking the Rothschild coin. However I personally doubt it. Then as now the tentacles of Jewish finance were as intertwined at all levels of the domestic economy as they were in the rest of Europe and in Russia too. Napolean recognised this and introduced measures in 1806 whereby prominent Jews in France who were sympathetic to the revolution were tasked to organise a body to represent French Jewry. This was ostensibly a method to identify all Jews In France. In December 1807 laws were passed forcing all Jews to take surnames and abolished all debts of French citizens to any Jew. Additionally all non French Jews were forced to buy a property in France and were explicitly banned from commerce.Not something Nathan Rothschild was happy about.
      In the Autumn of 1818 at the Congress of Aachen Nicholas was maneuvering to maintain a European Army in Europe with its core operations and divisions made up of Russians. Reparations to Russia saw the Rothschilds lose some 140,000,000 Guilders from their profits in their endeavours. The incorruptible nature of Nicolas enabled by the vast wealth of Russia and his manoeuvres to thwart Rothschild hegemony in Europe led Rothschild to declare that “The Rothschilds will never be friends of Russia” to Lord Castlereigh at the Vienna Congress.
      From the end of the Napoleonic wars through to 1914 there were dozens of uprisings in Russia all of which successive Tsars, (Nicholas 1st, Alexander 2&3 and Nicolas the 2nd), squarely blamed with accuracy on Jewish agitators. Marx, Lenin, Trotsky and many of the other pivotal players in the Bolshevik revolution were of course all Jews. Western histories like to downplay Lenin as a Jew but his mother was Jewish and he managed to get his Law degree in just 1 year at the Rothschild funded St Petersburg University, which was still being funded through Soros 2005-2009 with $5m. Almost alone amongst the upper echelons of the Bolshevik, (or Menevik), revolution as a Russian nationalist was Joseph Stalin.
      There are actually many parallels between Stalin and his saving Russia from Rothschild hegemony and Putin doing the same. Perhaps why in early years Putin voiced some admiration for Stalin? I have not studied Stalin in sufficient detail to offer any revisionist epilogue to this post but I now wonder how many of his purges were a continuation from the efforts of the Tsars to limit Rothschild plots.

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  15. About Boris Pasternak, an excerpt from a 2014 article in the Guardian, “How MI6 helped CIA to bring Doctor Zhivago in from cold for Russians”, published exactly four years ago:

    Pasternak also gave the manuscript to two visiting dons from Oxford, Isaiah Berlin and George Katkov, who saw Pasternak separately at his rustic home in Peredelkino, near Moscow.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/10/mi6-cia-doctor-zhivago-banned-boris-pasternak

    _____________

    George Katkov was my Godfather.

    • More, from an article in the NYT published in 1983:

      From 1956 until the late 60’s Hayward was a research fellow in the Russian and East European Center at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford. It was here that his friend George Katkov gave him the opportunity that would profoundly change his life – and Pasternak’s: translating ”Doctor Zhivago.” Pasternak had given the manuscript to Katkov in 1956, asking him to smuggle it to the West and see to its translation and publication. Convinced of Hayward’s remarkable linguistic gifts and superb command of Russian, Katkov offered him the project.

  16. John Gilberts says

    At the G7, Trump actually made a sensible suggestion. That Russia should re-join the G7.

    “It may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run…They should let Russia come back in’. “But Canada, which pushed for Russia to get the boot in 2014, is not onside.
    Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada’s position has not changed.

    ‘Russia was invited to be part of this club and I think that was a very wise initiation full of goodwill,’ she told reporters at the summit. ‘Russia, however, made clear that it had no interest in behaving according to the rules of the Western democracies…”

    Canada Rejects Trump’s Call To Let Russia Back In to G7
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trump-russia-g7-canada-1.4697655

    Hilarious outrageous disgusting hypocrisy. This from a country whose general, Charles Bouchard led NATO’s campaign to bomb Libya back to the stone age and IS slavery, who actively conspired and assisted the ascendancy of the US coup regime in Ukraine, as this minister also attempts now with Venezuela, and acts as Israel’s most fervent international supporter. Not to mention its own Indigenous genocide and land thievery, more ‘successful’ than Israel’s even. As is Canadian ‘hasbara’.

    The curiously enduring myth of a ‘nice Canada’ is only that, and an especially virulent official Russophobia, just one its distinctly unattractive features. Which is why Off Guardian and their continuing supply of ‘antidote’ for these and other poisons, is very much appreciated.

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      But Freeland is an hereditary Ukronazi fascist-what else do you expect?

  17. tttbnr says

    Thank you for this well reasoned response to the coordinated smears against Putin and Russia.

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  18. A J B says

    .”Over the next few weeks, the spate of Western mainstream media articles hostile to the Russian hosting of the World Cup will rise to a crescendo. There will be stories alleging unsportsmanlike behaviour, unfinished stadiums and visitor facilities, tourist scams, and hostility of Russian people towards visiting football fans. None of this will be true”

    It’s begun.
    Nick Cohen, like the predictable poisonous miserablist that he is, has just kicked off for the Observer.
    It’s not funny, but I had to laugh.

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      • I’d rather read OffGuardian than the Guardian. Plus, Guardian put my comments in permanent moderation once I recommended you 🙂

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        • A J B says

          Gosh! ….3 down votes for collecting evidence?
          What kind of people don’t approve of research?

      • Jen says

        Is AJB not entitled to read The Fraudian for its comedic slapstick entertainment value?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Cohen represents one of the prime Evils driving the West to self-destruction-fanatical Zionist supremacism. Putin is indefatigably friendly towards Israel, for which he is accused of ‘selling-out’, but refuses to treat them as demi-Gods, as they demand, hence Zionism’s central role in the Russophobic frenzy.

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Cohen’s contribution is deranged with sheer unadulterated hate-as usual.

  19. robjira says

    I can’t exactly remember (mayne someone else does), but I think it was Jack Matlock (former US ambassador to the USSR) who related an anecdote of the Soviet ambassador to the UN, or maybe US, telling him: “This will be bad for us but worse for you; we’ve just taken away your best enemy,” or along those lines.
    Excellent article; thanks for posting.

  20. Baron says

    The Western governing elites (GEs), the lot the Donald calls ‘the swamp’, have at least three solid reasons to bash Vlad’s Russia, him in particular.

    He contradicts fully their progressive project of the multy-culty, borderless world, its gender fluidity, identity politics and stuff with his backing for the heterosexual family, sovereignty of nations, the need to defend the Judaeo-Christian culture, et hoc genus omne and, to make things worse, the majority of the Western unwashed seem to agree with him hence the Brexit, the Donald, Orban in Hungary, Zeman in Czecho, the Italian election results (to start with).

    The threat the USSR was perceived to present to the West, still very much in everyone’s memory, furnishes a useful base for depicting today’s Russia also as an enemy, a proxy enemy diverting people’s attention from the real threat to the Western culture – the growing influence of Islam, for which the GEs have no answer (or are unwilling to curtail).

    The need for the Western Armed Forces (mostly the Republic’s) to undergo a serious MOT. Most of the gear the Western military deploy was designed in the 70s and 80s, it’s no longer a match for the Russia’s new weaponry. Russia scrapped the Soviet made armaments that were crap (except perhaps for the missiles branch), re-armed with weapons based on the newest know-how.

    The American governing elite can hardly convince the voters to tighten their belts, spend trillions on the military if the enemy were the jihadists with AK-47s and home made devices from fertiliser, they need an enemy that possesses sophisticated (and costly) gear i.e. Russia.

    The risk associated with this insane Russia bashing is that in may reach a point at which to save one’s face, one side or the other will have to call the other side’s bluff – one doesn’t want to be around when that happens.

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Your comment re. Islam is baffling. It is the West that has relentlessly attacked Islam, for decades, killing millions, and creating the refugee flows out of Iraq, Eritrea, Syria, Libya etc. It is NOT Islam attacking the West, save in false-flag operations by Western fostered jihadists, like ‘al-Qaeda’, or in complete conspiracies, like 9/11, designed by the Western perpetrators to justify Western aggression and genocide against the Moslem world.
      I would agree that the West cannot live with Wahhabist or takfiri fundamentalism, but neither can the Islamic world. But Wahhabism, through the Evil Sordid Arabian despotism, is fully backed by the West, which turns a blind eye to takfiri, Sordid Arabian financed, proselytism, in order to rip the Moslem world apart (as ordained by the Oded Yinon Plan)along sectarian lines, the better for Israel to ‘redeem’ EretzYisrael, ‘ ..from the Nile to the Euphrates’, and for the USA to control the region’s hydrocarbon riches, ‘..the greatest material prize in history’.

      • grandstand says

        Decades? I think a little longer – how about a millenium?

      • Baron says

        The recent high influx of refugees from mostly, but not entirely Muslims lands, Mulga, is the largely unexpected by-product of the US foreign policy, which has been unchanged at least since WW2. It’s ‘America First’ (the Donald may have been unaware of it, or was astute to adopt it).

        It part, it boils down to the securing of natural resources for the Republic, oil sits high on that list, rightly so, the ME has it in buckets. (Btw, the focus on natural resources is the main reason for the US military staying put in Afghanistan, the country’s rich in rare earth, google for it).

        Not only is the ME important because of its oil an gas reserves, it’s also that the Saudis made a deal with the US Administration somewhere in the 70s to price oil in dollars, thus furnishing one of the key underpinnings of it as the reserve currency (the world buyers of oil need each year several trillion of dollars).

        The massive population move from the underprivileged South to the wealthy North brought with it an unforeseen problem – how does one bring about a harmonious and smooth assimilation of a culture that’s rather distant from the historical culture of the Old Continent, (which has been finding it rather tricky to even engineer the integration of the not so diverse cultures of the European tribes – viz. the current EU headache to keep the 27 member states in line). The European governing elites have been singularly unsuccessful in mixing the culture of the newcomers with that of the indigenous people whether in the UK, France, or elsewhere.

        The mainstream followers of Islam have by and large accepted the secular governance that rules Europe, but the risk is that after their numbers swell they will use the tools of Western democracy to inject more of the teaching of the Quran in not just the executive branches of government, but into law making and the judicial system, too.

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        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          The gravest risk, or rather, reality, is that Israel and the USA’s ally, Sordid Arabia, will continue to proselytise their Evil Wahhabist genocide cult throughout the Islamic world. That guarantees the Zionists’ beloved ‘Clash of Civilizations’ wars will rage for decades-or until the ecological collapse renders all the hatred irrelevant.

  21. Humbaba says

    As a European, I hope that Brexit and Trump will help to ease continental Europe off Anglo-American domination. US attempts to draw Ukraine into Nato have been vetoed by Germany, France and Italy since 2008; however, the Kiev coup engineered by Victoria Nuland from the US State Department aborted Putin’s vision of an economic zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Confidential cables from the US embassy in Warsaw prove that the US interfered in Ukraine in the full knowledge that Russia would react the way it did. The coup was an Anglo-American plot to drive a wedge between Europe and Russia.

    With the British on their way out, the EU has initiated military cooperation programs to give Europe an independent conventional capacity that has been vetoed by the British for the 45 years of their membership. That will be a first step to make Europe independent of Nato. As long as we are in Nato, we’ll always be in danger of having to follow the Anglo-Americans in one of their deceptions like in the Skripal affair. Even the mainstream media in Germany is now reporting that according to a parliamentary committee, the German government is still waiting for evidence from the British and that the German intelligence service has found no information implicating the Russians, which any halfway intelligent person would have known from the start.

    But the Russians didn’t handle that very well. That Lavrov fell for the BZ ploy was embarrassing. When it comes to deception nothing beats the British as is shown by outfits like Cambridge Analytica, SCL, Orbit Communications, the While Helmets, and many more.

    I also don’t believe that the Russian economy is doing that well. The over-dependence on fossil fuels doesn’t anybody any good, and autocratic rule perpetuated under the threat from the West cannot but increase corruption.

    Russia and Europe need each other, but the Anglo-Americans will spare no effort to drive us apart.

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    8
    • Baron says

      Good points, Humbaba, except for this: The Russian response to the Skripal’s affair (and other false flag ops e.g. the Syrian gassing) may have been restrained because Putin didn’t want to lose the World Cup. The country spent a fortune preparing for it, yet there was a real danger that if he were to react more aggressively, the Swamp would have put pressure on FIFA to have it moved to Europe. (The risk still exists the Ukrainian Poroshenko may try something before the first ball gets kicked).

      This may have been a smart decision by Vlad, the million plus visitors to Russia will find a country quite unlike that described by the Western MSM poodles, a PR win bigger than other money could buy.

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      • Humbaba says

        I didn’t think the Russian response in the Skripal affair wasn’t aggressive enough, quite on the contrary. I think they could have been smarter, for example in not falling for the BZ ploy. Lavrov has made these propaganda mistakes before. Just because we want to see detente with Russia doesn’t mean we have to be blind to problems.

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        1
  22. Gary Weglarz says

    author – (“The Washington Post sums it up thus: ‘Oliver Stone defended Vladimir Putin to Stephen Colbert. The audience laughed at him.’ This is the arrogant voice of American liberal Democratic opinion.”) And as the author points out, the audience laughed at Mr. Stone, because Colbert, in all his arrogant (but oh-so-hip) idiocy, laughed at Mr. Stone.

    A tremendous article that shows great insight into the minds of not only U.S. elites and policy makers, but into the minds and behavior of the “liberal” media figures who lead the public like sheep be it on the television or through Hollywood movies. While relatively meaningless dissent “between” the two political parties (both war parties) is permissible, no debate WHATSOEVER is permitted in ANY MSM regarding the “Putin is Hitler” message. Censorship and repression of any sane competing narratives is almost 100% complete. It is truly quite amazing to behold how total lies can become “common sense” with repetition and the control of dissenting voices.

    Thanks for this wonderful article.

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      If you watch the Stone interviews you see Putin to be relaxed, intelligent, candid, honest and prepared to answer questions without bull-dust. In other words the exact antithesis of virtually all Western power holders, particularly in politics. The antipathy of Western elites towards Putin is that of of the very, very, low against their betters.

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    • John Marks says

      Is Colbert’s full name “Stephen Goebbels Colbert”?

  23. Francis Lee says

    I’m not sure if the point has been made already, so I am going to make it. The Hitlerised version of the Putin poster showed up the abject stupidity of those responsible for putting it there – in Lviv of all places. In 1941 the inhabitants of this western Ukrainian city welcomed the arrival of Hitler’s legions, particularly the Waffen SS units and the and einsatzgruppe (SS death squads); these killers were augmented by Bandera’s Ukrainian ultra-nationalists later to become the UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army). The Lviv pogroms claimed up to 7500 Jews killed in the first massacres. But this was just the starter on the menu. Altogether victims of the SS, UPA, and various Baltic ultra-nationalists killed hundreds of thousands of Jews, Poles, Russians between 1941-45.

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  24. The Russians are one of the most cultured races on earth, far more so than the USA. That Putin should defend his nation against the invasion of Western culture is to his credit. The US argument against Russia is no more than that the military/industrial complex in the US needs create enemies in order to manufacture arms for profit and that at its heart the US Deep State ultimately seeks world domination. US actions followed by their puppet UK has driven Russia towards China, the nation the US fears most. Trump understands this and has just yesterday proposed that Russia re-join the G7 to become the G8 once more, only to be rejected by other G7 members. Trump is a brave man to persist in trying to make peace with Putin. We must all hope he does so.

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  25. summitflyer says

    Very good article.Well written and of course on OffGuardian preaching to the well informed choir .I just wish that we could see such an article reproduced in main stream .Perhaps wake up some deeply hypnotized sheeple.
    I have never been in Russia , though would love to visit ,but believe every word that Tony Kevin wrote.
    Strange how Russia is a country that the West loves to hate but know so little about .Pure ignorance on display.

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    • rtj1211 says

      I think Western elites know quite a bit: they after all attempted looting the country in the 1990s. Pupils of Eton College met Putin in Moscow at the height of Russia bashing, showing the wilful unacceptable behaviour of the top British people in preaching one thing and doing the opposite. In my view all those Etonians should now be under surveillance, the Head of Eton should be sanctioned and imprisoned sithout trial and if there are Russian pupils at Eton, they should be sent home and not allowed back.

      If people are punished for doing business in Russia, bankrupt Eton College for its actions. There simply cannot be one rule for Etonians and another for honest European businesses.

      • A J B says

        It’s interesting that there are suddenly far fewer brands advertising on RT(UK) than there were.
        Is someone threatening to punish their advertisers?

  26. bevin says

    ” Western governments and media have been influencing their peoples to not be able to distinguish truth from lies..”

    “.. people will not listen to factual truths, the are only interested in the resonance in their echo chamber…”

    The reality is that most people either have, or feel that they have, and have been socialised to think that they have ‘better things’ do do than worry their heads about political matters.
    Just as the Victorians ‘civilised’ the traditional village football matches, which involved the whole population or all the men in both places, into contests under FA rules, mere shadows of the real thing, so our democracy has come to exclude 99% from participation, leaving them only the ballot casting.

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  27. Den Lille Abe says

    Brilliant and clarifying article. Unfortunately people will not listen to factual truths, the are only interested in the resonance in their ekko chamber chamber.
    The Skripal story is so unbelievable, that it defies me, that ran it. The story is so stupid, it beggars belief. On top odf that, a PM and SoD announcing almost within minutes “The Russians did it !!” is not a behavior of persons that sit in a government.
    The gas attack “evidence” were all based on statements given by their own paid Jihadi head-choppers, this is irrefutable fact.
    British governments behaviour has become increasingly untrue and perfidious.
    At least Britain is leaving the EU, then we are rid of them, real sorry that they cant physically also sail off to to their hero in the west, and anchor up outside New York.

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    • There are a myriad of reasons to question Mrs May’s honesty but the Skripal affair in which people’s lives were either put at risk or a community was put in fear for the sake of her posturing career is one that need go down in history no less than the recently revived Jeremy Thorpe scandal for sheer outrageous deceit.

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    • rtj1211 says

      There is a detailed play book for false flag events, drawn up over a century by MI6, CIA, Mossad et al. It always includes announcing who did it before the investigation starts. 9/11 did that, 7/7 did that, Douma ‘gas attack’ did that, Skripal charade did that. JFK, MLK and RFK assassinations were the same.

      It does not matter how many people believe it, what matters is not allowing MSM to deviate from it to credible alternatives. And being prepared to assassinate credible whistleblowers.

    • Betrayed planet says

      Den Lille, I live in Wales and though I am not English I have always found the English to be the salt of earth type people, oppressed by their endless stream of ignorant aristocrats, treated like 3rd class citizens unless you have money, abused by their current government at every turn. What perhaps you do not understand is that the people of the U.K. for the most part are horrified at the present dire situation we find ourselves in. Depression, suicide, addiction, hunger, destitution to namebut a few are on a steep rise, children are only being half educated, art, drama, joy, play gone. So how about trying to offer some constructive advice and a little compassion instead of painting these people in your light without real knowledge of what is happening on the ground.
      Do you really think most British people believe the Skripal story? Believe me they do not. Nor do most believe a word the Tory government says, not a word.

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  28. Gwyn says

    When I hear the likes of Sergey Lavrov and Maria Zakharova speak, I wonder what we’ve done to deserve the execrable Gavin Williamson (of ”go away and shut up” infamy) and the pathetic, childish and self-centred Alexander Boris de Piffle Johnson.

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    • rtj1211 says

      When a nation is corruptly controlled by neoliberal fascists, you either need ignorant dupes or amoral bounders to front your desecration of a whole society. I suspect Williamson is mostly the former but growing slowly into the latter.

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      • Gwyn says

        Yes, rtj1211 – he’s getting on-the-job training to prepare for his full descent into Tory psychopath arsehole status.

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    • reinertorheit says

      An army of presstitutes has already arrived here in Russia. to ‘report’ (allegedly) on the Football World Cup. I accidentally bumped into a whole troop of them (around 20, all in identikit nylon tracksuits) on a Moscow Metro train (dark-blue line, westbound) this week. They clearly had their entire script prewritten for them by de Piffle before they’d left Good Ole Blighty.

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      • Gwyn says

        Aww, all the little stenographers had matching tracksuits? That’s so cute!

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        I heard four of the vermin on the execrable BBC hate-machine last night, ‘discussing’ the World Cup in Russia. Arrogant, lying, hate-crazed thugs, one of which took time out to spew hatred at the Beijing 2008 Olympics as well.

  29. Manda says

    “It is sad that a whole people and culture can be misrepresented in such ways. This must be countered, and I am doing my best to help counter it.”

    Really enjoyed this article and thank you for the uplifting blast of reality.

    I hope Offg can reinstate the article rating system at some point.

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    • Admin says

      we are trying to find some good software to allow article and comment rating.

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      • Robbobbobin says

        On what/where do you want to run this comment software? Shared virtual server or “dedicated” VM in a data centre somewhere or a bare metal system running anywhere? Any OS preference?

        • Robbobbobin says

          No reply, so I’ll assume you just want to run a WordPress plugin like the current “Jetpack” but ‘better”. No comment from me on that – it’s just a matter of sifting through the multitude, but I’d suggest you take considerable care to avoid web bugs like Disqus or data aggregators like Google+. Whatever can be used against divergent views with a tendency to deploy any politically effective “freedom of association” at some point will be so used (and the way this exponential world is going, probably sooner rather than later). “Anonymized” data collection is, to varying degrees, not. That is not to say that at least some of it doesn’t often try, it’s just that success is methodologically very elusive. On the whole, you’ll have a better chance at looking after those your commenters who care about its’ anonymity (which, I presume, your option for not-logged-in posts implies) if you run your forums from an off-Wordpress, out-of-the-cloud, bare-metal server. Alternatively, you might care to check out riseup.net, either itself or its list of like-minded option providers at https://riseup.net/en/security/resources/radical-servers

      • nazeing3101 says

        I’ve written this once before and I’ll do it again as I know I speak for several others. Would it be possible to have a time (HH:MM) next to the articles and the comments, showing when they are posted to OffG? It would make browsing the site so much eassier and I’d prepared to donate more money than I have in the past if this could be done.

  30. On the title: we have to make a distinction between the manipulated public of the West surely misunderstanding Russia and Putin, and the US Power Elite, knowing very well!
    “The US Power Elite and Plan B”: https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/the-us-power-elite-and-plan-b-die-us-machtelite-und-plan-b/
    &
    „Geo-Politics: The Core of Crisis and Chaos and the Nightmares of the US Power Elite“ https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/geo-politics-the-core-of-crisis-and-chaos-the-nightmares-of-the-us-power-elite/
    Weekend regards

  31. Jo says

    Western governments and media have been influencing their peoples to not be able to distinguish truth from lies….in their belief as “trurh holders” they can preserve the bubbles of their false civilisational model.
    Thanks for article .

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