Russia: from 'denazification' to 'desatanization'
Since launching its invasion of Ukraine in February, the Kremlin has been using the rhetoric of "denazification" to justify its war of aggression. It now appears to be updating its nomenclature. Aleksey Pavlov, assistant secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, told state news agency RIA Novosti Oct. 25 that Ukraine has become a "totalitarian hypersect" where citizens have abandoned Orthodox Christian values. He added that the "desatanization" of Ukraine should be a goal of the "special military operation." Pavlov also favorably quoted Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov as calling for the "complete de-shaitanization" of Ukraine. (Pravda)
Ukraine: anarchists reject Moscow propaganda
The British anarchist journal Freedom features an interview Oct. 4 with Ukraine's Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists (RKAS), challenging the hegemony of Russian propaganda on the supposed anti-war left in the West, entitled "'Leftists' outside Ukraine are used to listening only to people from Moscow." The two longtime RKAS militants interviewed are Anatoliy Dubovik, born in Russia but now living in Dnipro, and Sergiy Shevchenko, from Donetsk but forced to relocate to Kyiv after the Russian-backed separatists seized power in Donbas. Both have been involved in protests against the Ukrainian government's gutting of labor protections and other "neoliberal" reforms. But they strenuously reject the flirtation between elements of the international left and the authoritarian Donbas separatists and their Russian sponsors. They especially protest Western lecturing to Ukrainians that they must "negotiate"—which inevitably means ceding territory to Russia in exchange for "peace."
Podcast: Grozny, Aleppo, Mariupol
In Episode 144 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes Putin's annexation of Ukraine's Donbas region not only came on exactly the same day as the 1938 Munich Agreement, which approved Hitler's annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland—it was also the same day that Putin launched two of his previous criminal military adventures. On Sept. 30, 1999, Russian tanks rolled into Chechnya, marking the start of the Second Chechen War, with massive aerial bombardment of the region's capital city of Grozny. On Sept. 30, 2015, Russia began air-strikes in Syria, marking the start of a massive military intervention on behalf of the Bashar Assad dictatorship, in which the city of Aleppo would be virtually destroyed by bombardment. And in Putin's new war of aggression in Ukraine, the Azov seaport of Mariupol has been similarly nearly obliterated. A review of this history reveals Vladimir Putin as a serial city-destroyer, who must be deposed and put on trial for his crimes against humanity. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
Russia keeps escalating nuclear war threats
As Russia suffers more territorial losses on the ground in eastern Ukraine, figures close to the Putin regime are escalating both the frequency and blatancy of their threats to use nuclear weapons. Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia's region of Chechnya who has mobilized his regional forces to fight in Ukraine, stated on social media platform Telegram Oct. 1: "In my personal opinion, more drastic measures should be taken, right up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons." (Reuters)
Intrigue over assassination of Daria Dugina
Darya Dugina, Russian state media war propagandist and the daughter of ultra-nationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin, was killed when a remote-controlled explosive device planted in her SUV went off Aug. 20 as she was driving on the outskirts of Moscow. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) is charging that the assassination was "prepared and perpetrated by the Ukrainian special services." According to the FSB, a Ukrainian citizen, Natalya Vovk, carried out the attack and then fled to Estonia. Russian media reports are claiming she was a member of Ukraine's Azov Battalion, and that the elder Dugin was the actual target of the attack. A statement from Russia's Foreign Ministry said Dugina's killing reflects Kyiv's reliance on "terrorism as an instrument of its criminal ideology."
Podcast: Tolstoy would shit
In Episode 132 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes that deputy Duma speaker Pyotr Tolstoy, one of the most bellicose supporters of Putin's Ukraine war, is a direct descendent of Leo Tolstoy—and recently invoked his great-great-grandfather's "slaughter" of British and French troops during the Crimean War as a warning to the West. This is, of course, an utterly perverse irony given that the literary giant's anarcho-pacifist beliefs were antithetical to everything that his descendant Pyotr stands for. Indeed, it was Leo Tolstoy's experiences in the Crimean War that turned him into a committed pacifist. His final novel, Hadji Murat, vivdly depicts the brutality of Russia's counterinsurgency campaign in Chechnya in the 1850s—a history that repeated itself in Chechnya in the 1990s. This is bitterly recalled by the Chechen volunteers fighting for Ukraine, where this history is now repeating itself yet again. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
Chechen rebels take up arms for Ukraine
The long-simmering conflict in the Russian Federation's Chechen Republic appears to now be playing itself out in the war in Ukraine. As Vladimir Putin launched his invasion, the "official" (Moscow-installed) Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov declared: "We will support any decision of the Commander-in-Chief [Putin]. We won't let you down. We will follow any order." The next day, Kadyrov announced on Telegram that elements of the Russian National Guard (Rosgvardiya) from Chechnya are taking part in the war. Reports shortly broke that Magomed Tushayev, head of the 141 Motorized Regiment of the Chechen Rosgvardiya, was killed in fighting with Ukraine's elite Alpha Group outside Kyiv. Tushayev was named as a key architect of the campaign of terror against the LGBTQ community in Chechnya.
Fascist pseudo-anti-fascism: Moscow's propaganda offensive
Russia announced on March 1 that it intends to host an international "Anti-Fascist Conference"—with hideous irony, on the same day its forces bombarded a Holocaust memorial site in Kyiv. Russia struck the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial in a raid apparently targeting a nearby TV tower, killing five people. The memorial marks the site of the murder of 33,771 Jews by the Nazis in one of the most heinous acts of World War II. Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s first Jewish president, last year attended a ceremony for the opening of a synagogue at the site. He responded to the missile attack on the monument by tweeting: "To the world: what is the point of saying «never again» for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar? ...History repeating…"
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