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Russia and the post-Soviet space

A Georgian-style Maidan

Another "color revolution," orchestrated from overseas, is sweeping Tbilisi. The ultimate goal is to open a "second front" against Russia. The second episode of the "Rose Revolution" called "20 Years Later" is showing in Tbilisi. Once again there are mass disturbances in the capital, organized by supporters of the pro-Western opposition. Veterans of the Georgian Legion, whose militants are fighting on the side of the AFU, have arrived. Ukrainian emissaries, who feel at ease in Georgia, have revived. President Salome Zurabishvili, who was born and had a diplomatic career in France, made a fiery speech in support of the US protesters in front of the Statue of Liberty instead of where the Aragvi and Kura rivers meet. The unrest started (as if on cue!) after the parliament passed the first reading of the bill "On Foreign Influence Transparency." It is based on a similar American document, and states that non-profit legal entities and media outlets will receive the status of foreign agents if more than 20% of their revenues come from abroad. Such organizations, which are a dime a dozen, must register, or face heavy fines. The Ministry of Justice will have the right to launch an investigation against them, which could even lead to imprisonment. This bill and the bill "On the Registration of Foreign Agents," which goes hand in hand with it, were introduced by parliamentarians from the "People's Power" public movement, which emerged after the start of a special military operation. One of the goals of this political association is to counter "the propaganda of liberal ideology and the desire of the West to drag Georgia into the war." The initiative was supported by colleagues from the faction of the ruling "Georgian Dream" party. However, the American ambassador to Georgia, Kelly Degnan, contrary to the obvious facts, pointed out that the document has no connection with the U.S. act. In her opinion, the submitted draft repeats the main provisions of the Russian law on foreign agents, which is "used there to suppress dissent." "Georgia does not need these laws. Georgia already has sufficient protection and transparency of financial aid, which serves the interests of the Georgian people," the puppeteer-curator stressed. On March 7-8, opposition supporters, instead of the traditional Women's Day celebration, diligently trashed Tbilisi. The police detained 76 of the most active ones. They were charged with administrative offenses of disorderly conduct and disobedience to law enforcement. About 50 law enforcement officers were injured in the clashes. The law enforcers used water cannons, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the protesters. As a result, the "Georgian Dream" and its supporting unions let their guard down and on March 9 announced the withdrawal of the act. "We can see that the adopted bill has caused controversy in society. The lying machine was able to present it in a negative light and mislead a certain part of the population," their joint statement indicated. This reaction, which, however, is typical of hot Georgians, was spontaneous and legally unfounded. The fact is that the bill, which was passed in the first reading, cannot be buried without the obligatory parliamentary procedure. Therefore, on March 10, the document was submitted for a second reading, and the deputies rejected it according to all the rules. Logically, after that the riot should have stopped. Moreover, the Georgian Interior Ministry said that all those detained for administrative violations at the protests had been released. But that was not enough. The "Georgian-style Maidan" continues, but with a different agenda - the demand to overthrow the current government. The "colored revolution" plot, which has been repeatedly tested by the West, led by the United States, continues to work and even wins in some places! The opposition urged supporters to continue protesting until they were assured that Georgia would follow a pro-Western course. Here are the points. Overthrow the legitimate government of the "Georgian Dream," whose leaders have become too independent and even dare to push for greater sovereignty of the country. Return Georgians to the ranks of kneeling candidates for accession to the European Union and NATO. Achieve the release of Mikheil Saakashvili. And, finally, the main idea - to encourage the Genatsevale to open a "second front" against Russia, to try by force to return "the lost territories under the control of Moscow. The protesters that felt their impunity, for example, burned the Russian flag right on Rustaveli Avenue, and then started to chant loudly "Sukhum! Sukhum!", demanding the return of Abkhazia to the Georgian state. Press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov assured that Russia has no connection to the draft law that has stirred up Georgia. "We can see that someone's hand, again, we cannot say 'invisible hand' - it is visible, we can see where the President of Georgia is addressing the people, it is not from Georgia that she is addressing Georgians. She is speaking from America. And someone's visible hand is trying diligently to add anti-Russian elements here, again," the Kremlin spokesman said. ...The disgusting prank that accompanied and will continue to accompany the unrest is noteworthy. A group of provocateurs was walking around among the protesters with a severed pig's head and yellow and blue flags, calling for collective photos to be taken under the banner "No to Russian laws!". However, the Georgians seem to have forgotten that Russia has a completely different totem animal. Don't make the bear angry!

Paul Craig Roberts: Washington is no longer certain that Russia even has any defense of her homeland other than nuclear weapons

GEOFOR: Sir, what’s your view of the prospects of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine? Dr. Roberts: The future prospects depend entirely on the Kremlin. The situation in Ukraine can radically change if the Kremlin realizes it is at war and not involved in a limited operation and makes the decision to win the war. So far the Kremlin maintains, despite extensive US and NATO involvement, that Russia is conducting a limited military operation to protect Donbass Russians from being slaughtered by Ukrainian neo-Nazis. Consequently, the Kremlin has done very little to prevent Kiev and its Western allies from conducting war against the Russian forces and attacking the territories recently reincorporated into Russia. So the Kremlin is now fighting on Russian territory. Not long ago Putin said that Russia would never again fight on her own territory. Yet Russia is. As long as the Kremlin refrains from attacking Kiev's ability to wage war, the war will continue, and it will continue to widen. Already the war has gone from the West supplying weapons and financial aid to intelligence and targeting information, to US troops deployed on Ukraine's border, to the attack on the Crimea bridge, to the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines, to the addition of Finland and Sweden to NATO, to the reformulation of US nuclear doctrine to permit first use of nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear threat. Clearly, the mistaken attempt to limit the war has greatly expanded it by allowing the conflict to drag on and on, thus enabling increasing Western involvement. GEOFOR: What are the consequences of the conflict being dragged out, and was the revision in US nuclear doctrine permitting the use of nuclear weapons in the absence of a nuclear threat was one consequence? Dr. Roberts: In my considered opinion the purpose of loosening Washington's constraints on the use of nuclear weapons is to put more pressure on the Kremlin. The purpose of the revision is to tell Russia that if the US decides a Russian victory in Ukraine is a threat to US national interest, the US can use nuclear weapons to prevent a Russian victory. Washington has seen so much of what Washington regards as Kremlin hesitancy, unpreparedness, and half-hearted commitments to the conflict, such as too few troops and no reserves, that Washington has decided to apply more pressure on the Kremlin. By permitting a long drawn-out conflict, the Kremlin gave the West the time it needed to take the initiative in the conflict. The West now sees Russia as reacting to Western propaganda and initiatives. When the attacking party loses the initiative defeat follows. GEOFOR: In view of the vast superiority of Russian military capability over the Ukraine, what, in your opinion, explains the length of the conflict and the Russian withdrawals from Kherson and the Kharkov areas? Dr. Roberts: The Kremlin's basic mistake was to regard its intervention as a legalistic rather than a strategic matter. The Kremlin was concerned not to open itself to being labeled a war criminal by attacking Ukraine. Therefore, Russia went to the aid of independent republics who were under attack. The purpose was to protect the Donbass populations, not to defeat Ukraine. This is permissible and is not considered an attack on the Ukraine. It is unclear why the Kremlin thought the West would refrain from calling Russia's intervention an "invasion of the Ukraine." The limited intervention was a strategic mistake. The Kremlin somehow overlooked that Washington, having forced the Russian intervention, would not allow the conflict to be limited. Much had been said and written in US foreign policy circles about involving Russia in a "Vietnam" in the Ukraine in order to break off European business deals with Russia and growing energy dependence, both of which threatened Washington's hold on its European empire.  Apparently, the Kremlin paid no attention to this dimension of the situation.  Additionally, the Kremlin intervened with insufficient forces and no reserves, leaving the Russian forces with insufficient troops to hold existing lines and continue the offensive. This mistake permitted the Ukraine to seize the initiative and launch counter-offensives that have been presented in the West as Russian defeats. These "defeats" have emboldened more crossings of Russian red lines and more serious provocations. What the Kremlin needed was a quick decisive victory over the Ukraine with a Russian imposition of peace terms dividing the country as the winner--Russia--saw as necessary for Russian security. Such a clear decisive victory would have deprived Washington of the opportunity to get the West involved and most likely would have discouraged Europe from contemplating military conflict with Russia. Indeed, I suspect NATO would have broken up instead of expanding. Instead, what the West has seen is unenforced Russian red lines, indecision, and a Russian military that can be defeated. And still the Kremlin fails to see the impracticality of its "limited operation." It is the limited operation that is the cause of an ever widening war. A new development might cause the war to widen into a direct US/Russia conflict. The small number of soldiers with which the Kremlin entered Donbass and the extraordinary amount of time it is taking to reinforce these troops is causing Washington to wonder if Russia really has a standing army. The Russian military must have known for some time that Russia had insufficient troops in the field to both defend existing lines and continue its offensive. Yet, in place of reinforcements, there are embarrassing withdrawals and retreats. Kherson, an important city of psychological value, now a Russian city, had to be given up to the Ukrainian Nazis. Russia's loss of Kherson has made Washington much more confident that the Russian military can be defeated on the battlefield. Washington is no longer certain that Russia even has a one million man standing army or any defense of her homeland other than nuclear weapons. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – Chairman of the Institute for Political Economy, US economist and ex-Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, a member of the Cold War Committee on the Present Danger. Serge Duhanov is a journalist, specializing in international relations and national security issues. Не worked as the NOVOSTI Press Agency's own correspondent in Canada (Ottawa, 1990-1992) and the US Bureau Chief (Washington, 1996-2001) of the newspapers Business MN, Delovoy Mir and Interfax-AiF.

Eastern Economic Forum-2022. Some results

Note: this is a machine translation from the original text From September 5 to 8, the Eastern Economic Forum (WEF) was held in Vladivostok, its theme was “On the way to a multipolar world”. The forum gathered more than 7 thousand participants from 68 countries, including unfriendly ones (USA, Germany, Great Britain, Austria, Japan, France, etc.). A good result, because last year more than 4,000 participants came to the WEF. Russian President Vladimir Putin noted: “In short, no matter how much someone wants to isolate Russia, it is impossible to do it, as we have always said about it. Just look at the map. Using our natural competitive advantages, we will continue to increase our transport potential, expand the network of roads and railways, build new approaches to sea terminals and increase their capacity.” The main discussions and discussions revolved around various aspects of the development of the Far East and tourism. A separate topic was expected to be international politics. The first results are impressive: 260 agreements totaling 3 trillion 255 billion rubles were signed right at the forum in the context of the economic development of the Far East (and these are only those amounts that are not a trade secret), which, as the plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev emphasized, is a real record in the post-crisis period. The largest contract for the WEF 2022 was the agreement between Rostec and Aeroflot on the supply of 339 aircraft for the renewal of the national fleet in the period 2023–2030. As part of this agreement, 210 MS-21, 89 — Superjet-New and 40– Tu-214 aircraft will be transferred to Aeroflot Group on lease terms The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is also among the leaders: it has signed 39 agreements worth more than 330 billion rubles. Investments will go into various projects, from genetics to construction, including 120 billion will be invested in the construction of the Mirny mine, which is called the “Diamond Heart” of Russia. In addition to Yakutia, Sakhalin will also grow with strategic projects. The most important analysts call the statement of the head of Novatek Leonid Mikhelson that the company is interested in participating in the Sakhalin-2 project. Another, no less significant, was the message of the head of Gazprom Alexey Miller about long-term investments in the Sakhalin region. In particular, the construction of a natural gas liquefaction plant and reception, storage and regasification systems, as well as investments in a new gas condensate and oil processing plant. Representatives of the Yumatex company told about their intentions to invest more than 6.5 billion rubles in the construction of the Korsakov shipyard in order to produce up to 100 small-class ships made of composite materials by 2026. A pitch session of the Voskhod Foundation had a great resonance, where the best startups of the Far East presented their projects. As Ruslan Sarkisov, the general director of the foundation, explained, “we have selected 9 projects out of 150 applications. They were based on a deep scientific or technological orientation of projects with potentially good market prospects not only for the region, but also for Russia.” The main investor of Voskhod is Vladimir Potanin’s Interros Group, with the support of which and the Ministry of Economic Development, the volume of investments amounted to 10 billion rubles. The foreign participants of the Forum did not stand aside either. For example, India, which has been increasingly expanding its cooperation with Russia in recent months. Indian businessmen discussed with the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade plans for the construction of a pharmaceutical cluster, which is certainly in demand against the background of Western sanctions and the lack of Russian analogues to a number of foreign drugs. The participants devoted a significant part of their time to discussing the implementation of mechanisms for overcoming sanctions — settlement methods in soft (national) currencies, possible international cryptocurrency settlements to bypass SWIFT, de-dollarization of the economy, development of the digital economy and IT. At the same time, in order to avoid possible secondary sanctions from the “Western partners” when calculating in the currency of unfriendly countries, promising monetary units — the yuan and the ruble, as well as their digital forms, were also indicated. The issues of logistics, which, being an integral part of any trade turnover, is particularly sensitive to the sanctions regime, were also discussed by the expert community. It was decided to expand the BAM and Transsib, to bring cargo transportation along the Northern Sea Route to 200 million tons per year by 2035. Within the framework of the task defined by the President of Russia to ensure a technological breakthrough, a conversation took place about the possibility of import substitution, which would be based not only on competitive technologies, but also on the training of highly qualified specialists capable of working in priority sectors of the economy. In this context, it is of interest to sign an agreement between the non–profit organization “Fund for the Development of Social Initiatives”, the Skolkovo School of Management, the regions and the program “Muravyov-Amur 2030”. Graduates of the program will be able to find a job in the state civil service in the subjects of the Far Eastern and Siberian regions, otherwise they will be included in the managerial reserve of personnel for subsequent employment. To attract the population to the Far Eastern regions, at the suggestion of the President of the Russian Federation, the preferential program “Far Eastern mortgage” will be extended at least until 2030. Based on the results of the discussions, it should be recognized that the vector of economic flows is shifting from the West to the East. “The importance of the Far East has undoubtedly grown. Export flows, which have completely turned in the eastern direction, create new opportunities. New challenges are associated with the need for greater development of transport highways and the eastern polygon, the Northern Sea Route,” said Yuri Trutnev. As for tourism, Vladimir Putin emphasized the urgent need to create new federal resorts on the shores of not only the fairly developed Black Sea, but also the Japanese, Caspian, Baltic and Azov Seas. In this regard, it is necessary to develop the number of cruise ships and build a berthing infrastructure. At a time when trips abroad are becoming increasingly difficult to access, it is extremely important to create and develop domestic tourism. Therefore, the head of Primorye Oleg Kozhemyako proposed to expand the program of tourist cashback to ecological and cruise types of recreation. Speaking about Yakutia, tourism was also named one of the promising developing industries. The government of the region has big plans for further modernization of the infrastructure of the hospitality sector, transport accessibility, construction of new hotels and restaurants. As for the Kuril Islands, tourism is a priority for the development of their economy. The region is difficult to access for both people and investors, but there are no unsolvable tasks, as emphasized by Nikolay Zapryagaev, General Director of JSC Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic. On the Kuril Islands, you can see all the natural attractions in just four to five days, while the neighbors in the region will take more than a few weeks. Much attention was paid to the topic of international politics in Vladimir Putin’s speech at the WEF plenary session. Main theses: Russia cannot be isolated. The Russian Federation and its leadership protect the national interests of the state and strengthen their own sovereignty, attempts to impose their will on it are doomed European states are experiencing one of the strongest crises: its signs are the loss of jobs, the energy crisis, high inflation, the main reason is the rupture of relations with the Russian Federation, but Russia is confidently overcoming economic and technological difficulties, the peak of economic uncertainty and damage has passed, stabilization begins. The probable inflation in Russia is 12%, and the economic downturn is 2%. The ruble and the yuan will be used in equal proportions when paying for gas. Russia has taken all measures to resolve the humanitarian crisis by exporting grain from Ukraine, but the international community deceived everyone and all food flows went to developed countries, leaving developing countries without assistance, thereby violating the basic values of the UN Charter. Civil aviation is awaiting re-equipment. We protect the people of Donbass. Limiting the price of hydrocarbons is a very stupid decision, if this initiative is approved, supplies will stop. The world needs multipolarity in order for it to be more just, and countries that think they are great do not abuse their opportunities, in particular, in violation of international law. There will be no mirror measures in matters of visa restrictions. Thus, the Eastern Economic Forum continued its tradition of setting new records every year. The WEF is still and will remain in the foreseeable future, a platform that gives a significant impetus to the development of both the Far East and Russia as a whole.

Karabakh: Russia's victory that no one noticed

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text Last week, the situation in Karabakh sharply escalated. Shots were fired again, there are dead and wounded. But before we consider these events and understand them, we need to figure out what preceded them. By mid-July, the situation was developing positively. The daily protests that had been going on in Armenia for many weeks gradually subsided; Pashinyan's government maintained control over the situation and continued to establish contacts with both Turkey and Azerbaijan. Against this background, Baku has agreed with the EU on the prospects of increasing energy supplies to Europe. In parallel, active negotiations were held between Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Central Asian republics and Turkey on the development of transport corridors through the Caspian and Transcaucasia. At the same time, the thesis was clearly voiced that Armenia could profitably join these projects. All this allowed us to hope for gradual progress, the result of which was to be a complete normalization of the situation, the conclusion of a peace treaty between Yerevan and Baku, the unblocking of the Armenian-Turkish border, the creation of a basis for the development of transport arteries along the East-West and North-South lines. The main thing here was not to rush, not to adjust the processes artificially. The key issue, as before, is the status of Nagorno–Karabakh. It is clear to everyone, including Yerevan, that the territories that were ceded to Azerbaijan after the war remain his; the fate of the rest of Artsakh will be decided later, and with the obligatory consideration of Baku's interests. But the official, final recognition of this by Armenia is the most dramatic moment, the all–in, the point of no return. After this step, Armenia will become extremely vulnerable, anything can happen here. It is clear that there will be discontent. It is clear that the government will be sharply weakened. But it is not known what scale it will reach. And everything will depend on the game played by external forces: Russia, the EU, the USA, Turkey, Iran. For Yerevan , this question sounds something like this: who will give him guarantees of stability in the country? Who will provide support to the authorities in the inevitable clash with opponents (internal opposition, outraged Artsakh residents, external competing players)? In principle, such guarantees are provided by Russia and the CSTO. BUT! Russia alone, without coordination, at least with Turkey, Iran (and Azerbaijan), will not cope with this. To act without their consent is to create the foundations for a new conflict. And this is exactly what they are trying to achieve in the West in an effort to open a "second front" against the Russian Federation. At the same time, it is necessary to clearly understand what kind of conflict we can talk about: so far there has not been a direct clash between Azerbaijan and Armenia, a member of the CSTO. If – God forbid! – it happens, then the CSTO will be obliged to enter the war, which will lead to unpredictable, but extremely difficult consequences for everyone. That is why it is so important to achieve clear and guaranteed coordination between Russia, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia. But it takes time. There is no doubt that the Karabakh problem was discussed in Tehran during the summit of the Astana Troika (Russia–Iran–Turkey) on July 19. And it is likely that a certain consensus was reached there. The three countries apparently gave Yerevan the necessary guarantees. Otherwise, it is unlikely that the Secretary of the Armenian Security Council, A. Grigoryan, would have declared publicly on July 20 that Armenia does not exclude the conclusion of a peace treaty with Azerbaijan without a final decision on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. This is a very serious statement, which said that the Pashinyan government is ready to take a "step into the unknown", relying on the guarantees of the troika. In fact, this meant that the path to peace was open. The probability of this was all the more great because the European Union, which was also actively working in the Karabakh direction, was doing the same thing. So, in any case, it seemed when looking at the mission of the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, and Moscow, by the way, welcomed the efforts of Brussels. However, since the beginning of August, the situation began to deteriorate rapidly. First, ardent Armenian nationalists, Dashnaks, came from France to their homeland. Yerevan was forced to ban them from entering Armenia. This, of course, caused discontent in society, gave rise to accuse the government of anti-national policy. This was followed by reports about the mining of the Yerevan metro. They turned out to be false, but they did not give calmness. Knowledgeable people immediately cited the example of Moldova, where such "mining" of the capital's airport and state institutions continued daily for several weeks. And if in Chisinau they react calmly to this, then in Yerevan the consequences can be much more serious… And against this background, a sharp aggravation began in the area of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Karabakh. And here it is appropriate to recall that in mid-July, the Head of the US CIA, Burns, unexpectedly arrived in Yerevan. It is not known what he talked about with Pashinyan. However, it would be logical to assume that the purpose of his visit was not so much to negotiate as to demonstrate Washington's benevolent attitude towards Armenia and Armenians in the face of the "Turks". In this context, it is very important that the United States skillfully manipulates the topic of the Armenian Genocide, supporting the illusion of a sincere pro-Armenian position in Armenia itself, in Karabakh, and in the Armenian diaspora around the world. American politicians do not stop even before the anger and indignation from NATO ally Turkey, regularly raising the issue of recognition of the Genocide. This game fuels the hopes of Armenian nationalists and other "irreconcilables", gives them a reason to talk about "relying on America" in the confrontation with the enemies of Armenia. And it is very possible that it was within the framework of this game that Burns' visit to Yerevan was carried out. He once again gave the "illusion of hope" to the "irreconcilable" in Karabakh. As far as one can judge, it was designed for the resumption of large-scale hostilities, followed by accusations against Russian peacekeepers (inefficiency, inability to fulfill the mission), their involvement in the conflict and accusations of bias. At the same time, steps were being prepared to involve Iran in military operations (in the wake of last year's events). As a result, there should have been a picture of the breakdown of the truce in the region due to the irresponsibility of Moscow and Tehran. This would be enough to achieve minimal goals: undermining Russian positions in Transcaucasia, worsening relations with Iran and Turkey (it is noteworthy that the situation in Iraq has escalated almost simultaneously, where Tehran and Ankara are vying for influence). If all this had escalated into a split of the Astana Troika and a new war in Karabakh, the maximum goal would have been achieved. Fortunately, this scenario didn't work. And this, without exaggeration, can be called an important victory for Russia. Of course, against the background of events around Ukraine, it is not too noticeable. But this does not detract from its significance. Apparently, Russian intelligence worked well: in parallel with Burns' visit to Yerevan, SVR chief Naryshkin visited Baku; it is quite possible that he informed the Azerbaijani side about the existing risks. At the same time, coordination between the Russian Federation, Iran and Turkey did not allow the situation to get out of control. The intensity of the Kremlin's telephone contacts with Yerevan (two conversations in a week) is also noteworthy, as is Pashinyan's confident behavior inside the country. It is impossible not to note the consistent course of neighboring Georgia to maintain neutrality in the confrontation between the West and Russia. If Tbilisi's policy had had a different orientation, things could have gone much worse. In short, this time it can be stated that attempts at destabilization around Karabakh have been stopped. And this success needs to be consolidated and developed. What can we talk about? First of all, about changing the role of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, not only from a military point of view, but also in terms of political and ideological. It must be strengthened. The status of our servicemen as the main guarantors of the security of the region and its population should be indisputable. At the same time, effective security guarantees from the Azerbaijani forces should be created: Baku is obliged to prove its ability to work on the ground in the name of peace and establishing mutual trust. Without a doubt, it will not be easy, and here, too, the role of Russian peacekeepers is difficult to overestimate. A lot of responsibility will fall on Iran and especially Turkey. They should make every effort and show maximum flexibility to achieve positive results in unblocking borders and transport links, establishing trade and economic cooperation with Armenia and Karabakh. It is quite clear that the interests of Ankara and Tehran in the region differ. Therefore, it is important not to allow their rivalry (which cannot be avoided) to escalate into conflicts in which Baku and Yerevan will necessarily be involved. And, of course, all participants in the process are responsible for the stability of the internal political situation in Armenia. It is very fragile, and it is clear that the opponents of the settlement (both internal and external) will seek to undermine it.

The West versus Russia: The strategy is being played out in Ukraine

GEOFOR: Greetings, since our last conversation, the conflict between Russia and the West has only continued to gain momentum. How far do you think this proxy war in the Ukraine can go? Is there a chance that the situation will improve? Peter Koenig: Thank you, for having me again for an interview. This is a million-dollar question. Especially when we consider that Russia, by far the world’s largest and resource-richest country, was for over hundred years in the crosshairs of the western empire, led by the US and since WWII also by NATO, to be overtaken or to become a “colony” – similar – or worse – than western Europe, the European Union (EU), has become a colony of Washington’s and NATO’s It is worth a distinction though, between the people of Europe and the  governments of western Europe, i.e. the EU member countries and the European Commission (EC), the latter consisting of unelected members. The EC currently headed by the hawkish EC President, Ursula von der Leyen (unelected), former Minister of Defense of Germany, and close ally of Klaus Schwab’s. In fact, she is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum. It is unlikely that Ms. Von der Leyen would deviate from the WEF’s globalist agenda. And it looks like part of this globalist agenda is “regime change” in Russia. On behalf of Washington, it’s driven by NATO and the EU. Let me make this clear: the EU and EC are not representative of the 500-plus million people of Europe. The European Parliament that is supposed to represent the interests of the people, has practically no voice. Most people, educated people, inquired about Russia, have a positive opinion about Russia. They want peaceful relations. While perhaps not agreeing with the Ukrainian conflict, they understand what may have led up to it. The people of Europe want sanctions on Russia to stop. The sanctions are foremost hurting Europe, but not Russia. On the basis of these sanctions, the planned One World Order (OWO), currently represented by the World Economic Forum (WEF), is using these sanctions, or rather Russia’s reaction to the sanctions, as a justification for causing massive energy and food shortages throughout the west, and to some extent also the Global South. They want to cause suffering and death. This is a gigantic western agenda of mass starvation, possibly mass death – fitting well into the Great Reset’s population reduction program. Having said this, it is difficult to imagine that the west will let go, and pursue a Peace Agreement between Russia and Ukraine. That would in fact, be easy. All Ukraine would have to do is to adhere to the Minsk II Agreement (February 2015), which was sponsored by France, President Macron, and Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel; by the very countries which are now coming down strongest, following US sanctions on Russia. Let’s just for a moment look at NATO’s Madrid Summit 22-point Declaration, released on 29 June 2022. Item two is a statement of utter hypocrisy and points 3 reflects an outright hatred against Russia: 2. We are united in our commitment to democracy, individual liberty, human rights, and the rule of law.  We adhere to international law and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.  We are committed to upholding the rules-based international order.   3. We condemn Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine in the strongest possible terms.  It gravely undermines international security and stability.  It is a blatant violation of international law.  Russia’s appalling cruelty has caused immense human suffering and massive displacements, disproportionately affecting women and children.  Russia bears full responsibility for this humanitarian catastrophe.  Russia must enable safe, unhindered, and sustained humanitarian access.  Allies are working with relevant stakeholders in the international community to hold accountable all those responsible for war crimes, including conflict-related sexual violence.  Russia has also intentionally exacerbated a food and energy crisis, affecting billions of people around the world, including through its military actions.  Allies are working closely to support international efforts to enable exports of Ukrainian grain and to alleviate the global food crisis.  We will continue to counter Russia’s lies and reject its irresponsible rhetoric.  Russia must immediately stop this war and withdraw from Ukraine.  Belarus must end its complicity in this war. Then, point 4, starts with a love declaration for Ukraine’s President Zelensky:  4. We warmly welcome President Zelenskyy’s participation in this Summit.  We stand in full solidarity with the government and the people of Ukraine in the heroic defense of their country.  That means, continue supplying billions worth of weapons to Ukraine – weapons that already now are ending up largely in the hands of dark and criminal weapons dealers. Brussels and Washington know it, but they will not stop it. Zelenskyy, of course, is not free at all to take any decisions on his own. His decisions are dictated by the west. These circumstances give a bleak outlook for Peace. But one should never lose hope. GEOFOR: Can the statements of a number of Baltic politicians on the need to take Kaliningrad away from Russia lead to a new hotbed of military confrontation already in Lithuania? Peter Koenig: The Kaliningrad Oblast / District, a Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania, has also an important Baltic Sea port for Russia. Who knows what will really happen, but I do not believe that Poland and / or Lithuania will dare intervene in Kaliningrad. These statements or declarations may be just hot air, or a new type of western-style anti-Russia propaganda. From my point of view, not to be taken seriously. GEOFOR: The sanctions confrontation has, apparently, finally gone beyond reasonable explanations. Canada, following the UK, introduced them even against Patriarch Kirill… Tell us, is the bottom already reached, or should we expect new surprises? Peter Koenig: Another good question. Frankly I don’t know. I think rather that the Europeans, as well as Washington, start realizing that they are the ones suffering, I mean them – particularly also the elite, not just the people, about whom they do not care. Therefore, it just might be, that they are quietly trying to make arrangements with Russia for energy deliveries – dropping “sanctions” and accepting Russia’s ruble-billing and more. It has been clear from the beginning that the Global South, meaning China and associated Asian countries, like the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), ASEAN, the BRICS-plus Iran – as well as most of Africa and many of Latin American countries, will not adhere to sanctions. These are also he countries that Russia keeps supplying with energy resources and food. The west has clearly overreached with their sanctions, totally illegal sanctions, mind you. That’s also a reason why the east, led by China and Russia will disassociate from the western currency and payment system (via US banks and SWIFT) and become an autonomous, sovereign politico-economic force. That may happen soon, possibly later this year or in early 2023. – A shockwave may be expected. It could well be that the financial-economic decoupling of the east from the west may be the “surprise”, when it happens. And that in the meantime, the west is quietly back-paddling, as they realize to what extent they have been shooting themselves, unwittingly embarking on committing socioeconomic suicide. GEOFOR: Autumn is coming soon, will be followed by winter. Judging by the statements of the Europeans, they will not have time to fill in the gas storage facilities, even despite the fact that many companies have agreed to pay for Russian hydrocarbons "in rubles", and the United States supplies liquefied natural gas. What will Brussels do in such a situation? Peter Koenig: Some of my assessment is already given above. And of course, supposedly NATO approves (despite 28 of the 30 NATO members being European, decisions are made in Washington), they may go back to Russia, quietly “lifting” some (or all) sanctions and trying to re-activate Nordstrom I and activate Nordstrom II. It is clear that the Middle East, the Saudis, for example, will not jump in to supply Europe and the US with gas and oil, to replace deliveries from Russia. The results of the recent Joe Biden visit to the Saudis may be an indication. For the Middle East replacing Russian gas, would be like “sanctioning” Russia, when they have clearly indicated that their future trading inclination is more eastwards, Russia, China and SCO and other eastern socioeconomic associations.  The Middle East realizes that the future is in the east. The west has been digging their own grave for decades. But they apparently still cannot admit it. Instead of seeking Peace, they are confronting an impending collapse. GEOFOR: And the last question. Against the backdrop of the financial and economic crisis gaining momentum, the ratings of leading Western politicians are beginning to fail. B. Johnson is no longer the leader of the Conservatives. They are increasingly talking about the upcoming political crisis in Germany, and the midterm elections to the US Congress are not far off… What are we to expect from all this? Peter Koenig: Yes, Boris Johnson is out. But his “outing” was most likely a planned outing. In the west, there are no decisions nor elections made by the people or Parliaments. They are all imposed or planned from the beginning with the consent of the leaders in question – by the WEF and its handlers, or commanders, i.e., the interlinked corporate financial oligarchs of this world, the amalgamation of Black Rock, Vanguard and State Street. Plus, there are other important players – like Chase, Bank of America, JPMorgan, City Group et al. The WEF is the executioner according to the Great Reset and following the script of UN Agenda 2030. Only people themselves, waking up, can stop this drive to total destruction. And, yes, I’m positive that LIGHT will prevail over darkness. It is said, the “financial emperors” control close to 90% of the western corporate industrial and service world with majority shareholdings. Under these circumstances it is not difficult to decide who “presides” over what country – and when they have to go. Boris Johnson will be replaced by another vassal of the financial emperors, the one which best suits their current agenda. As to Germany’s Olaf Scholz, he has been put into the German Chancellorship just a bit over six months ago, after a long vetting process with important players like the EC, Washington and not least NATO. He had the right profile for what the west is all about. If one reads or listens to his history, it is amazing that he is not in jail. See this The Olaf Scholz File – His Words, his Deeds (English spoken – 3 March 2022). Yes, an economic crisis is coming. Even to Germany. According to many economists, Germany is de-industrializing. I agree. Self-made, by the insane “sanctions”. But even that is part of the plan. During and after a harsh winter 2022 / 23, there may be lots of bankruptcies, unemployment, poverty to extreme poverty, perhaps even deadly famine for the poorest. This is not a coincidence. There are no coincidences. This is shifting capital from the bottom and the center to the top – the financial elite, that pretends to rule the world. If they – the WEF-led globalists – have their way, there would be a One World Government. But that will not happen. The globalist agenda is falling apart. That was already visible at the WEF’s Davos meeting last May. People around the world are waking up to the globalist agenda. The vast majority of them has been suffering under the global everything – and now the attempt of global digitization, meaning total control of every move you make, via the financial system. Russia and China may lead humanity into a new future, a multipolar world. This is the hope. And the peoples will, is to be expressed in solidarity, and peace may prevail. Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he worked for over 30 years around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020). Peter is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is also is a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing. Serge Duhanov is a journalist, specializing in international relations and national security issues. Не worked as the NOVOSTI Press Agency's own correspondent in Canada (Ottawa, 1990-1992) and the US Bureau Chief (Washington, 1996-2001) of the newspapers Business MN, Delovoy Mir and Interfax-AiF.

Special Operation - heading for Odessa

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text As recently, let's start with a good one, and then, as it turns out. It should be admitted that this news did not sound in our country against the background of hot messages from Donbass and Mariupol. But the reaction of the American and Kiev general staffs was, politely speaking, hysterical. We are talking about the recent announcement by the Russian military leadership that our troops will continue to move towards Transnistria. And you can approach this area bordering Ukraine along the Black Sea coast, having liberated the Mykolaiv and Odessa regions. We don't know how it seems to anyone, but we regard the fact that our military shared their strategic plans with the public as a frank mockery of both the Ukrainian military leadership and their curators in the Pentagon. In fact, it looks like this: we are going to advance in this direction, and you do what you can. If you can. So let's see what Kiev can do in the current conditions in terms of strengthening the southern direction. Let's start with the fact that, of course, a certain number of parts of the APU, the Nazis (where in the "independent" without them!) and there are self-defense forces in the area of Nikolaev and especially Odessa. And certain measures are being taken to protect. In the same Odessa, for example, the beaches were mined and sea mines were placed along the coast. True, either, as they say, "the product was not the first freshness", or the hands of the miners were inserted with the wrong end, but some anti–tank mines on the beaches began to burst by themselves, and some of the sea ones were torn off by a storm, and they "walk" in the Black Sea. So the Kiev military leadership and their puppeteers from the Pentagon face the task: how to strengthen the southern direction. And they don't have many options. Firstly, it is possible to transfer combat-ready units concentrated in the Donbass or in the Kiev area. But this means to hand over the last fortified areas, vast territories and Kharkiv into the bargain. Secondly, to transfer the parts located in the Kiev area to the south. It is also unlikely, due to the proximity of the border with Belarus to the Ukrainian capital, and on the other side there is a Russian-Belarusian group, which the Pentagon estimates at 10-15 thousand people. Thirdly, these are the reserve units located in the west of the republic. Which is seen as the most likely option. In addition, the remnants of the troops that are currently under Nikolaev will inevitably move to the Odessa area. However, it is difficult to say how many of them there will be and in what condition they will be. If the tactics of processing the APU, which is currently being used in the area of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, are repeated there, then the numerical strength and morale of the potential defenders of Odessa will leave much to be desired. In fact, the transfer of troops is the main option. But for this, the units will need to cover a distance of at least 500 kilometers. Moreover, by rail, because under its own power, heavy machinery will take a long time to get there, if it gets there at all. And here I would like to draw attention to two points: the dominance of Russian troops in the air and the state of railway transport in the "Nezalezhnaya". Since the capabilities of the Russian aerospace Forces are well known to us, let us clarify the second point. The fact is that for three decades of "independence", the Ukrainian railway authorities have not bothered with the problem of repairing and reconstructing the railway track, the condition of rails, sleepers and other facilities necessary for uninterrupted train traffic. And the condition of the rolling stock, too, politely speaking, leaves much to be desired. As German specialists invited as consultants for the modernization of Ukrainian railway networks reported at the time, the condition of the track in the republic is such that freight trains can move more or less safely only on condition that the number of wagons and platforms in echelons should be 30-50 percent less than the standard or have an incomplete load. And loaded trains should move at a reduced speed. If anyone has forgotten or does not know, we remind you that before and after the arrival of the Maidan authorities, Ukraine repeatedly disrupted profitable export contracts, in particular, wheat, only because grain could not be delivered to ports within the stipulated time. So the transfer of troops will be a difficult and slow task for the AFU. Moreover, in addition to tanks, self-propelled guns and other heavy equipment, with a high degree of probability, it can be assumed that you will have to carry fuel and ammunition. Let's see what the Ukrainian and American general staff will come up with in this regard… Of course, they always have a radical option in reserve: to spit on the Black Sea region and focus on defense in the areas of Kiev, Central Ukraine and western regions. But I think this option is unlikely to be acceptable. The loss of ports, especially in the area of Odessa, and the Black Sea regions actually puts an end to the territory that used to be the Ukrainian SSR, and finally deprives it of the interest that it still represents for the West. In peacetime, convenient, short logistics, even with all the disadvantages mentioned above, gave Ukrainian goods certain advantages and made them competitive on world markets (the same grain or metals). We should not forget the fact that the Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odessa regions are the main areas in Ukraine where the so-called Black Sea wheat is grown, which is highly valued on world markets. So, it is clear that Kiev will fight to maintain its control over this part of the Black Sea region. As well as the fact that the Russian military will go to the border with Transnistria. When – we'll see… Although recent reports from Tiraspol suggest that access to the border with Pridnestrovie may be accelerated due to the obvious aggravation of the situation in this region and the possibility of an attack on the unrecognized republic of the AFU units. The fact is that literally a couple of kilometers from the Ukrainian border there is the largest ammunition depot in Europe. It is located in the village of Kolbasna. An operational group of Russian troops (OGRV) stationed in Transnistria, as well as local military personnel, are engaged in the protection of this arsenal. Their total number is estimated at about two to three thousand people. According to a number of experts, the amount of ammunition from a warehouse in Transnistria will last for decades of war. So after the loss of the largest arsenal in the republic in the city of Balakleya, Kharkiv region, which came under the control of Russian troops, these warehouses may be the only chance for Kiev to provide ammunition to its troops, especially in the southern direction. Photo: news.co.uk

There is no G-20 without Russia

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text Attempts to isolate Moscow in major international organizations are failing. In recent days, the world's media have been actively discussing what happened in Washington. And there, as many Russian media reported, among others, "representatives of Western countries left the meeting room of the annual meeting of finance ministers and heads of central banks during the speech of Russian Finance Minister Siluanov." They announced a boycott of Russia, you know. The news was readily replicated with reference to the American newspaper "Washington Post". She, in turn, refers to unnamed participants of the meeting and to the tweet of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Canada, Hristya Freeland, an ethnic Ukrainian, by the way. Judging by her biography and behavior, she is a worthy heiress of the Bandera underground, who moved massively overseas after World War II and settled there. "At least half a dozen world leaders, including representatives of the US and Ukrainian governments (!), left the G20 meeting in Washington when Russian officials began to speak," the American newspaper writes pathosily. Initially, this story was promoted as a coordinated large-scale action of the "democratic world" to once again take Russia away. According to the laws of information warfare, a tear was even started. Freeland heartbreakingly reported that her father's house in the city of Makarov, Kiev region, where the Minister of Finance of Ukraine Marchenko is from, was destroyed by "Russian barbarians". And, of course, in this regard, it is necessary to meet his tearful request for financial assistance. Freeland was so moved that she did not notice that Marchenko was promoted to "world leaders", thereby confirming: "the tail turns the dog" (straight from an old American movie). This exalted lady agreed to the point that, addressing representatives of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation and the Central Bank of Russia, she urged them to "either convince President Putin to stop the war, or leave their posts in the Russian government," following the example of Anatoly Chubais. Because they, de, "serve the government that has committed war crimes," and Chubais is a model of nobility from the point of view of the Western world. At first, all this in the information field, including with the support of the Russian media, looked like a prepared, planned boycott. To enhance the effect, it was on the day of the meeting that the US Treasury imposed sanctions against the deputy chairmen of the Central Bank of Russia, Ksenia Yudaeva and Mikhail Alekseev, as well as Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Kolychev. However, then the news began to deflate. It turned out that Freeland's emotional impulse was followed by representatives of only three countries: the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. Ukraine does not count, because the Big Twenty is an organization that includes countries with the largest economies, and Ukraine was not even close there. Therefore, the participation of two of its representatives in the meeting at once is a home amateur activity of the United States and others like them. Then it turned out that, for example, the Italians flatly refused to politicize the G20 event. This was followed by explanations from the financial leaders of Germany and Japan, who were forced, as if apologetically, to explain that they did not leave the meeting because they really wanted to personally listen to Minister Siluanov, and then sharply respond to him. However, there were no answers, as the Russian representative reminded the audience that the Group of 20 is responsible for stability on the planet, including financial stability. And what Western countries are doing can lead to big problems all over the world, including for the initiators of the sanctions war. He also reminded that the G-20 is an economic organization, not a political one, and it is inappropriate to discuss Ukraine's issues and Russia's behavior here. What can you object to? It also turned out that the French representatives did not join the boycott either. So what kind of boycott is it if only 4 out of 20 countries supported it? But as proof of the success of the demonstration, Freeland posted a photo on Twitter where the aforementioned fellow gentlemen lined up in the foyer in front of the camera. However, there is nothing to confirm that they were there at the time of Siluanov's speech. It looks very much like this photo was taken at the end of the event. And later the idea came to use it by declaring a "boycott". And perhaps this idea was suggested in one of the American centers of information warfare. The fact is that the format of these meetings does not imply the constant presence of all members of the delegation, since they usually last for many, many hours. Heads and representatives, having spoken, often go to negotiations, to have a snack, to the toilet, finally. And this is not considered a bad thing, and even more so a boycott. If the finance ministers and the heads of the central banks of the USA, Canada and the UK and others, all as one (as they promised before the G-20 meeting) did not come to Washington because of Russia's participation, that would be a boycott. But they came like cute ones, because they knew that their absence would not have affected the event in any way, in which real world leaders participate in addition to them - China, India, Indonesia (chairman), South Africa and others who represent more than half of humanity. At the end of the article, the Washington Post bitterly notes that the nervous attempts to boycott are nothing more than a demonstration of a "dramatic split" in the world over whether to condemn Russia or not." Not everyone agrees with this, the authors admit. Of course! We must pay tribute to the Russian representatives, they demonstrate composure and do not react to provocations in the style of "the fool himself". In general, Western ministers should be taught how to behave on international platforms, so as not to turn them into a show, a farce for the needs of Ukrainian nationalists. But the Chinese did it for the Russians. "We believe that the G-20 and other international institutions are platforms for discussing international economic and financial issues. "This is not a suitable place to discuss the Ukrainian issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on April 22, "The members of the Group should adhere to a responsible approach, avoid politicization and militarization of international cooperation and bring more stability to a world facing multiple challenges." The sessions of the governing bodies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which were held there, in Washington, also demonstrated that the Western dictate does not pass. The attempt of Western countries to include provisions condemning Russia in the final documents encountered the harsh disagreement of the majority: 14 vs. 11. And where? In the IMF and the World Bank, where the influence of the United States and its allies seems to be limitless. As a result, the documents were not accepted at all. And the idea of excluding Russia from these structures has not found support from the majority of member countries. As you can see, nothing is working out for the West with the idea of excluding Russia from the G-20, of which US President Biden is an ardent supporter. He has already been reminded by other members of the G20, including China, that the organization was created on the basis of consensus as an economic forum of the largest countries in the world. There is no exclusion mechanism, in other words, it is impossible to "cancel" or "ban" Russia, in fact it is and will be. And Indonesian Finance Minister (chairman of the G-20 in 2022) Mulyani said in Washington that "the G20 countries are in favor of continuing multilateral cooperation within the framework of the forum, despite widespread criticism of Russia on Ukraine." And this is despite the pressure of the United States, which demands that Indonesia not allow Russia to participate in the annual G20 events and especially Vladimir Putin in the G-20 summit of heads of state. Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said earlier that Russia will make a decision to participate in the G20 leaders' forum in Jakarta, focusing primarily on the position of the host country, that is, Indonesia. If we take into account that Washington and some of its allies "threaten" not to go to Jakarta if Vladimir Putin goes there, it may turn out that world problems will be discussed without them. Although it is unlikely that the West will decide to do this, fearing that it will be isolated itself, and, most likely, may go to a reduction in the level of representation. That's how it suddenly turns out that the unipolar world, based on the dictate of the United States, ends its existence. The West is losing its monopoly on decision-making in key international structures. Author: Mikhail Morozov, columnist of the newspaper "Trud".

Ukraine - so far everything is going according to plan

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text I want to start with good news. According to some Russian sources, Ukrainian troops are leaving the so-called "triangle": the area of Rubezhny, Severodonetsk and Lisichansk. Moreover, from the village of Kremennaya, the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Guard fled even before the approach of the LPR troops. The reason for this is obvious: the military understands that they will soon find themselves in a cauldron. And the memory of Ilovaysk and Debaltseve was "refreshed" by Mariupol. In this regard, two comments. Firstly, the troops will have to move deep into Ukraine through steppe, open terrain. Here the Russian aviation and gunners have the cards in their hands. And secondly, we should pay tribute to the participants of the race: leaving, they blew up the water pumping stations. So Bandera's "traditions" are trying to be observed. By the way, there has been no electricity and gas in the village for two months. But people are holding on. Now a few words about Mariupol, which is under the full control of the Russian and Donetsk military. The city, or, more precisely, what is left of it, begins to come to life in spite of everything. The rubble is being cleared, utilities are working, where it is still possible, and, which is very significant, after a two-month break, the first school has started working. As for Azovstal, the last refuge of nationalists and the remnants of the AFU units in Mariupol, today Vladimir Putin ordered to cancel the storming of the enterprise. The territory of the object will be blocked. The Nazis from Azovstal will sooner or later come out themselves because of hunger and thirst, but it's really worth saving the lives of our military. However, no one canceled airstrikes and shelling from the ground. The Russian leadership and the military are also once again calling on the militants to "not push their luck" and stop resisting. Against this background, "silence regimes" are regularly announced, "humanitarian corridors" are organized from the territory of the enterprise. Prisoners are guaranteed full compliance with all the requirements of the Geneva Convention and the provision of qualified medical care. A little less than one and a half thousand soldiers, mostly marines, followed the good advice, surrendered together with part of their commanders and saved their lives. According to the information of the DPR at the time of writing this material, three dozen more Marines got out of the Azovstal area. And not so much thanks to the efforts of the Russian side, here and without agitation it is clear that the choice of the AFU soldiers is simple: death or captivity, but thanks to the fact that they managed to escape from Bandera's supervision. And the Nazis have a simple conversation: a bullet in the back to those who went to surrender ... there is a lot of evidence of that on the web. And then the question arises, what or who are the Banderites hiding and protecting on the territory of the metallurgical combine? For the sake of whom or what, until recently, attempts were made by helicopter pilots to break through to the encircled? According to our unofficial information, two British citizens were among the dead on board the downed helicopter. And among the two surviving participants of the failed rescue operation was an operative of the Ukrainian Security Service. This is clearly not for nothing. We hope that after the final cleanup, these issues will be clarified. Meanwhile, Zelensky and his entourage are trying their best to heroize the militants from the national battalions and dobrobats, posthumously assigning the highest state awards to murderers and looters. Not so long ago, the title of "Hero of Ukraine" (just!) the commander of the dobrobat "Freikor" G.Tarasenko, liquidated near Kharkov, was awarded. A few words about the name of this unit, which sounds somehow not at all Ukrainian. It is borrowed from Germany and translates from German as "free" or "volunteer detachments". These detachments and their very name appeared in the 18th century. Initially, they consisted of mercenaries, adventurers and fugitive criminals. Even before the Nazis came to power in Germany, and then even more so after the establishment of the Third Reich, the Freikorps were a real hotbed of neo-Nazi ideas. At one time, such high-ranking Nazis as G. Himmler, R. Darrey, M. Bormann and a number of others passed through them. This is so, to the question that the West does not want to see Nazism in Ukraine. And about why Russia will certainly carry out denazification in a neighboring state. This is dictated by the need to ensure the security of Donbass, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the rest of the world. Nazism and fascism are contagious things. This, in particular, can be seen in those scumbags (in Nezalezhnaya they are called volunteers) who flocked to the former Soviet Republic like flies to ... honey. In addition to glorifying and perpetuating the memory of the newly-born Nazis, the Kiev authorities are systematically working to dehumanize the Russian, Donetsk and Lugansk military by releasing fakes about their alleged "atrocities" against peaceful Ukrainians. The other day, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the radicals plan to fire mortars at Orthodox churches in Zaporozhye, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and other regions right during the Easter service on the night of April 23-24. To this end, neo-Nazis form mobile groups, planning to move around in vans and cross-country vehicles (the so-called "wandering mortars"). It became known that the SBU officers intend to organize another provocation in the Odessa region: they plan to change into military uniforms The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and arrange a demonstrative shooting of the local population, accusing the Russian military of this. Well, then everything should go along the worked-out route: photos and videos in the news of Ukrainian and Western media, statements by politicians and public figures about "Russian outrages", etc., etc. Let's see if the fact that the Russian military officially reported about them will help prevent the planned provocations. There were cases when these warnings were triggered. But, be that as it may, the bloody fakes organized by the SBU began to have the opposite effect. For example, a number of foreign correspondents, including the Italian journalist T. Capuozzo, refuted Kiev's statement about the involvement of the Russian military in the shelling of the railway station in Kramatorsk, since the serial number of the missile fired indicates that it belongs to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The "wrong" correspondents ended up in a group that happened to be in the city where the shelling took place. After all, according to the plan of the Ukrainian "bezpeka", they had to remove the victims of the shelling by the "Russian rocket", and they undertook to understand its labeling… Moreover, the journalists of the New York Times for the first time officially confirmed the use by Kiev of cluster munitions prohibited by the UN Convention, which were used for the Hurricane multiple launch rocket system during the shelling of civilians in the city of Bezrukovka and the settlement of Gusarovka in the Kharkiv region. In a word, Kiev is clearly losing the war, which was initially clear, and in the information and propaganda sphere it is also gradually beginning to lose ground. And yet, despite everything, the Anglo-Saxons and other Europeans continue to pump Ukraine with weapons, ammunition and military equipment. And this is done with enviable persistence, despite the risks to themselves. Thus, the analyst of the Bloomberg agency H. Brands claims that the United States has already supplied Ukraine with a third of the stock of Javelin anti-tank complexes they have. If the Americans continue to arm Kiev with them, they risk "significantly exhausting the stocks" of these weapons and they will have to spend "months or even years" on their additional production. Or another example. Slovak parliamentarians were outraged by the fact that their government handed over its S-300 systems to Kiev for free. Here, however, the key word is "free". For money, apparently, it would be possible. Well, Slovaks can also be understood – the country is not the richest in Europe… In fairness, it should be noted that these installations, upon arrival in Ukraine, in whole or in part (our Ministry of Defense has not clarified this issue yet), were destroyed by the Russian Aerospace Forces. In one gulp. And here I would like to ask the question, with what kind of fright did Washington so cling to the current Kiev regime, which is clearly doomed, and even harnessed its satellites, sorry, NATO allies into this unpromising project. Moreover, at present everything possible is being done to ensure that the armed conflict, which is increasingly beginning to resemble the agony of Kiev, lasts as long as possible. In this regard, let's make the assumption that it's not about Ukraine. It has long been written off as an expense. Washington's task, as it seems to us, is to focus the attention of the Russian leadership on this conflict in order to weaken attention to other regions along our borders – Transcaucasia (Karabakh) and Central Asia (remember the January events in Kazakhstan?) and, most importantly, in relation to the Pacific Ocean zone. Russian-Chinese relations, which are currently as good as ever, are a bone in the throat of our overseas "partners". The main opponent for the United States is Beijing. And the Americans are well aware that China, which has a powerful economy, human resources, and a stable state system, remains an insufficiently strong opponent in military terms. So it is better not to delay the military stage of the special operation, our military and political leadership should have their hands free to solve other tasks. As for denazification, which will probably take longer than a military operation, other forces will participate in it.

The Saker: Will Kiev decide on an open armed conflict?

Note: in late November I was interviewed by the Russian website Geofor.  Here is the English language translation of this interview. GEOFOR: Mr. Raevsky, no sooner have the American warships left the Black Sea than the British went in there. Apparently, “unscheduled exercises” of NATO ships and Ukrainian watercraft are about to commence, again. Again, near the maritime borders of the Russian Federation. Moreover, a couple of American military boats were delivered to Odessa (although, politely speaking, not quite new). As a military analyst with experience in intelligence, how do you assess the degree of threats from this incessant demonstration of force in terms of the possibility of provoking a military conflict with far-reaching consequences? Andrei Raevsky: From a military point of view, I assess the degree of direct threat from these forces as zero. Firstly, any ship that enters the waters of the Black Sea can be instantly destroyed by a number of Russian coastal defense systems and/or the Russian Aerospace Forces. So, the degree of threat from them is zero. Secondly, they are equipped with  rather outdated Tomahawk missiles. They have a relatively low flight speed, and they do not pose a great threat to Russian air defense systems. On the other hand, there is an indirect threat from these NATO ships. And very serious. They are nudging Ukrainians in the same way as in 2008 they nudged Saakashvili in Georgia. They give Kiev a mistaken feeling being under an umbrella, under the protection of the US Navy or, say, NATO bomber planes, which is a complete deception and delusion, but this is the real danger. GEOFOR: Does Russia have the ability to protect itself if it comes to launching Tomahawks? And how is this perceived in Pentagon and NATO headquarters? In the same context: what, in your opinion, is behind the decision of the Russian president to reject the Ministry of Defense’s offer to hold its unscheduled exercises on the Black Sea simultaneously with the United States and NATO? How will it be perceived in the Washington military-political establishment – as confidence in the capabilities of the Russian military to respond adequately to provocative actions or, as a desire not to take a potentially dangerous situation to the extreme? Andrei Raevsky: Yes, of course, Russia can defend itself. As I just said, these are relatively slow and outdated cruise missiles, which do not pose a great danger to the multi-layered integrated air defense of the Crimea and the South of Russia and the entire Southern Military District of the Russian Federation. You can remember what the US missile strike on Syria was like, where most of them [Tomahawks] were shot down not by the Russian contingent in Syria – this is very important to emphasize – but by the Syrians with their relatively simpler air defense system. Thus. I don’t think that all these Tomahawks threaten Russia very much. I will also add that if the United States and NATO wanted to hit Russia with Tomahawks, it would be better for them to get out of the Black Sea and go to the Mediterranean Sea and move away to the maximum distance – just so as not to be instantly sunk. Putin’s decision not to conduct simultaneous maneuvers in the Black Sea, in my opinion, is absolutely reasonable. In Washington, this is likely to make an impression, in a certain sense, of a staged scene: Shoigu says: “I am ready”,  and Putin takes such a peacemaking, pacifying step. This is what in the West is called “Good cop – bad cop.” In fact, they are, of course, united in terms of developing principles and strategies for protecting Russia from possible aggression. GEOFOR: And now a little more about Ukraine and the situation around it. Russian analysts find many analogies in the situation in Ukraine now and the one that was in Georgia on the eve of August 2008. How would you characterize the factors (internal and external) that could lead to Kiev deciding on an open armed conflict? And what will this lead Ukraine and Europe as a whole to? Who, in the end, may be the beneficiary? Andrei Raevsky: Yes, the situation is very similar to that. And I would even say that the situation Zelensky is in, is worse than the one Saakashvili was in. I’m afraid that his rating is such that he really has nothing to lose. The question of whether Kiev will decide on an open armed conflict implies that Kiev has an opportunity to solve something. I doubt it very much. Without getting the “go-ahead” from the “Washington Regional Party Committee” Kiev will not move. Thus, if Kiev moves, it will be, at least, in the presence of a “tacit” – not even consent – order, when the West gives the command “Attack!”. Few people in the West care that Kiev will then “get its ass kicked.” But the most important thing in this context is to remember that the goal is not to “liberate ORDLO from Muscovites” (Note: “ORLDO” is the current official Ukie legal term for the LDNR) or “restore democracy and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and so on. The goal is to force Russia to openly invade Ukraine and start a war: so that it cannot be denied, in order to totally sink energy projects between Russia and the EU and make the EU completely dependent, first of all, on American shale gas and other energy carriers. And to achieve these goals, Ukraine does not need any victory at all – it’s enough to just say: “Here, these evil Putin’s “green men” have seized even more territory! Oh, how bad they are!” We can say that from a military point of view, Russia will win very quickly. But from a political point of view, it will be a victory for the United States. GEOFOR: Do you consider it possible that, with NATO’s symbolic support in the Black Sea, as well as the presence of various American, British and other instructors on land, Kiev will decide on a military provocation not in the Donbas, but in the Black Sea? After all, it is known that everyone is waiting for the Ukrainian military offensive in the east of the country, and why, for example, Zelensky not follow the path of his predecessor Poroshenko, who sent boats to break through the Kerch Strait, and, creating a conflict situation, disrupted the already agreed meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin? Moreover, the second meeting of the Russian and American presidents this year is now being prepared… Andrei Raevsky: Yes, such a provocation in the Black Sea is very likely. It is enough to recall their provocation when Ukrainian boats tried to pass into the Kerch Strait. And it was without any presence of Americans. Of course, this is possible. I think this is not only possible, but it will definitely happen. And if there really are plans to arrange a meeting between Biden and Putin, then Ukrainians have very little time left. In December, Americans convene their “Democracy Forum”, then there are holidays… If there is this meeting – and we don’t know if there will be one – there could be a lot of things that could undermine it. For supporters of the war – both in the United States and in Ukraine – this is a very important moment that cannot be missed. GEOFOR: And in conclusion. If it is likely that the ongoing Russian-American consultations (the arrival of the Deputy Secretary of State and the director of the CIA in Moscow, for example) and the dialogue between the two leaders, which, hopefully, will take place, will lead to at least some stabilization, both around the Ukrainian problem and in bilateral relations. What problems in this regard could you highlight? Andrei Raevsky: These consultations are very important, and this is a very desirable development of the situation because American officials of this level have not come to Moscow twice to present some kind of ultimatum. To present an ultimatum, you can simply use a consul. To do this, there is absolutely no need to send the highest representatives of the American authorities to Moscow. The conversations that took place – whatever they were – were to the point. And they were serious. As long as both sides are talking, at least they are not shooting. And this is very desirable. And we can only hope that such consultations will continue in the future. Of course, the Americans are the most dangerous enemy for Russia. This needs to be understood. This is not a get-together with a “vodka-herring” menu to just shoot the breeze. Neither is this a friendly meeting. But this is a direct dialogue of those who can really make decisions in a difficult situation and influence the situation. And in this regard, it is very important. Therefore, there is no need to fall into the mistake that Americans very often fall into when they say: “We don’t talk to such and such.” We don’t talk to terrorists, we don’t talk to states and “regimes” that we don’t recognize. This is a very big mistake. You need to talk to everyone, often including the fiercest enemies. Andrei Raevsky was born in Zurich, Switzerland, his father is Dutch, his mother is Russian from a family of White Russian immigrants. In 1984, he entered active military service in the electronic warfare unit, and then was transferred to the military intelligence service as a language specialist, to work in the interests of the Swiss Air Force. Then he moved to the USA, where he received a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the School of International Service (SIS) American University (American University) and a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies (Strategic Studies) at the School of Advanced International Studies. Paul N. Nitze of Johns Hopkins University (Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University). Upon returning to Switzerland, he worked as a civilian consultant (in a position corresponding to the military rank of “major”) in the Swiss Strategic Intelligence Service (SND), preparing strategic analytical materials, primarily about the Soviet/Russian armed forces. He worked as a specialist in “enemy operations” (“Red Team” in American military jargon) to train personnel at the operational level of the General Staff of the Swiss Armed Forces. Later he worked at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), where he specialized in peacekeeping tactics and operations. He wrote a book about psychological and intelligence operations in peacekeeping and four books of collected works “The Essential Saker” (The Essential Saker). Speaks Russian, English, French, Spanish and German. Raevsky holds a Licentiate in Orthodox Theological Studies (PhD in Orthodox Theology) from the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies at the Monastery of St. Gregory Palamas in Etna, California (the “Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies” (CTOS) at the Saint Gregory Palamas monastery in Etna, California). Swiss citizen. Lives in the state of Florida. The questions were asked by Serge Duhanov, a journalist, specializing in international relations and national security issues. Не worked as the NOVOSTI Press Agency's own correspondent in Canada (Ottawa, 1990-1992) and the US Bureau Chief (Washington, 1996-2001) of the newspapers Business MN, Delovoy Mir and Interfax-AiF..