balkanization

Podcast: can Russia foment civil war in the US?

In Episode 135 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines Russia's obvious attempt to bring about a return to power by MAGA-fascism in the US, or to have the country collapse into civil war—leaving Moscow considerably freer to carry out its campaign of reconquest in Ukraine and possibly beyond. This is the evident design of the FSB (neo-KGB) in coordination with a political network in the orbit of Alexander Dugin, the intellectual mastermind of Vladimir Putin's revanchist imperial project, and the strategy of building a "Red-Brown alliance" of the radical right and radical left against the "liberal order" of the West. How is it possible that Black Nationalists and supposed "progressives" are being taken in by the same FSB-backed astroturf organizations that are also grooming white supremacists and neo-Confederates? Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

FBI raids Russian-backed Black Nationalists?

Federal agents executed search warrants July 29 at a Black Nationalist meeting place in St. Petersburg, Fla. The agents were seen carrying out unidentified boxes for hours at Uhuru House, local headquarters of the Uhuru Movement, an arm of the African People's Socialist Party (APSP). This is a pan-Africanist formation with separatist inclinations dating back to the early '70s. The Uhuru Movement is evidently the "US Political Group 1" named in a federal indictment unsealed that same day, formally charging a Russian national with spearheading a multi-year "influence campaign" in the United States. Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov is accused using three unnamed "political groups" to spread pro-Russian propaganda in the US and interfere in elections. Ionov, a Moscow resident, is founder and leader of the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia (AGMR), which the indictment says operates "in conjunction with" the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB, successor agency to the KGB).

Karakalpakstan retains right to secede after unrest

Following a day of angry protests that left 18 dead and hundreds wounded, Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on July 2 announced that he will not proceed with a planned constitutional change to revoke the right of the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, in the country's remote northeast, to secede via referendum. The announcement came as Mirziyoyev made an emergency visit to Nukus, the riot-stricken regional capital of Karakalpakstan. He also imposed a month-long state of emergency in the region.

ICC issues warrants for crimes in Russo-Georgian War

The International Criminal Court's Pre-Trial Chamber I on June 30 issued arrest warrants for three individuals for alleged war crimes committed during the Russia-Georgia war in 2008. Russian nationals Mikhail Mayramovich Mindzaev and Gamlet Guchmazov, along with Georgian national David Georgiyevich Sanakoev are charged with various war crimes, including illegal detention, torture and inhumane treatment, hostage-taking, and illegal transfer of civilians. The ICC says the crimes were committed in August 2008, when the three were fighting for the Russian-backed South Ossetian separatist forces.

South Ossetia suspends referendum to join Russia

The de facto president of South Ossetia, Alan Gagloev, on May 30 suspended a planned referendum to determine whether the breakaway region of Georgia should join the Russian Federation. The referendum, scheduled for July, had been ordered by decree of Gagloev's predecessor Anatoly Bibilov, and was widely seen as a play to cement his grip on power. However, Bibilov lost his bid for reelection earlier in May, bringing his rival Gagloev to the presidency. In calling off the vote, Gagloev said that the Kremlin must be consulted on "issues related to the further integration of South Ossetia and the Russian Federation." Georgian officials had denounced any moves by South Ossetia to join Russia as "unacceptable."

Podcast: Somalia in the Great Game

In Episode 122 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines the ongoing conflict in Somalia in light of both climate change and Great Power politics. Despite a pseudo-withdrawal of US forces, the Pentagon continues drone strikes against the Shaabab insurgents—as the Horn of Africa faces it worst drought in a generation, with millions on the brink of extreme hunger and possible starvation. A paradox of the situation is that "government-controlled" Somalia (the southern third of the country) is not controlled by any government, but wracked by insurgency. In contrast, the unrecognized de facto independent state of Somaliland in the north is a bastion of comparative stability and even social progress. Reports of Russian designs on Somaliland as a potential site for a naval base threaten to draw it into the imperial contest for control of the strategic Horn. Progressives in the West can demand international recognition for an independent and non-aligned Somaliland. We can also loan solidarity to the Sufi resistance now fighting both the Shaabab and the "recognized" Mogadishu quasi-government. Most importantly, we can support the secular and pro-democratic voices of civil society that are standing up for human rights and basic freedoms at great risk to themselves, and in spite of everything. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Transnistria blasts signal spread of Ukraine war

A series of blasts tore through the building of the de facto "Ministry of State Security" in Tiraspol, capital of Moldova's separatist-controlled enclave of Transnistria, on April 25. Officials said the building was fired on by unknown assailants with grenade launchers. Video footage showed windows and doors blown out, although there were no reports of casualties. (Reuters) Ominously, the attack comes one day after a Russian military commander openly broached extending Moscow's war in Ukraine to neighboring Moldova.

Podcast: the looming breakup of Russia

In Episode 118 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores the possibility that Putin's criminal adventure in Ukraine could backfire horribly, actually portending the implosion of the Russian Federation into its constituent entities, the "autonomous" republics, oblasts and krais. Troops from Russia's Far East were apparently involved in the horrific massacre at the Kyiv suburb of Bucha. But indigenous leaders from Siberia and the Russian Arctic are breaking with Moscow over the Ukraine war. Rumblings of separatist sentiment are now heard from Yakutia (Sakha), Khabarovsk, Kalmykia, Kamchatka, Tatarstan, Tuva, the Altai Republic, and the entirety of Siberia. China, which controlled much of what is now the Russian Far East until the 1850s, has its own expansionist designs on the region. Frederick Engels called for the "destruction forever" of Russia during the Crimean War, but it may collapse due to its own internal contradictions rather than Western aggression.

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