Paris, January 17, 2023, by Socrates George Kazolias
This is an abstract from a long and on-going discussion I am having with an American friend on the ‘misconceptions’ of what is happening in Ukraine and on Putin and Russia. I am convinced Russia is on the right side of history here.
Americans tend to use the word ‘fascist’ in a very cavalier fashion, when referring to Vladimir Putin. Putin may be somewhat autocratic, but he is not a fascist. Putin doesn’t advocate the supremacy of a religion, race, ethnicity, etc. (1) and, by US standards, he is elected ‘democratically,’ and, I believe, the results do reflect the mood of the Russian people. The latest polls from different sources have his popularity hovering at around 80%. I also believe this is close to reality.
They say Putin didn’t respect the Minsk Accords, but they omit to say that Russia was not a signatory to the Minsk Accords. The Accords were signed by Kiev, the Donbas autonomists, Germany, and France. The former Ukrainian President, Poroshenko, has since said they had no intention of implementing the Accords and were just buying time to be armed and trained by NATO. Germany and France signed, and in December both Merkel and Hollande admitted they only signed the treaty to buy time and had no intention of respecting the Accords. It is interesting the western press chose to ignore, down play, or misrepresent this important news.
The Minsk Accords called for a referendum in Donbas on autonomy, very similar to what exists in Sud Tirol, the part of Italy annexed from Austria after WWI. That was an autonomy deal worked out after a low intensity insurrection in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Russia had nothing to fear from a referendum as Donbas would have voted for autonomy. Moscow called for the referendum to be held time and time again. It is because Donbas would have voted for autonomy that Ukraine, and the ‘Collective West,’ did not implement the Accords but, rather, planned an all-out offensive against the break-away areas last February.
So, to justify the West’s noncompliance by Russia’s noncompliance is nonsense.
Secondly, Putin is a patriotic, if somewhat autocratic, leader. If you were to compare him to anybody, it would be Napoleon or de Gaulle. Like those two, Putin will do anything to protect his nation against existential threats from the outside, which includes preventing America from putting missiles on its border with Ukraine. Much greater minds than mine have been warning the warmongers in Washington about this for 30 years. (2.)
He Who Lives in Glass House …
We hear over and over American whining about the Oligarchs in Russia even though their wealth pales before the wealth of the Oligarchs in the US. The top 10% in the USA own 70% of the wealth of the richest country in the world, and 63% of the wealth created these past two years has gone to the top 1%! In Russia, in 2020, a much lower, yet still too high, 20% of the wealth created went to the top 1%. (3.)
I am in no way apologizing for corruption and obscene accumulation of wealth. I just want to cast light on the proportions.
The US Gini index rating is .49 (extremely-extreme inequality), one of the highest in the world, compared to Russia’s .36 (4. & 5.). But the total wealth of the American Oligarchy is many fold greater than that of the collective wealth of the Russian top 10%, due to the great differences in the wealth of the two countries.
The Bottom 50% in the US own only 3% of the country’s wealth. They have to work two and three jobs to put food on the table. Russia’s poor work one job for food and don’t have to sell the house if they fall seriously ill. They consider this their ‘freedom’ from insecurity and want.
Once again, the wealth of Russia’s Oligarchs pales before that of the top 10% in the US. He who lives in a glass house should not throw stones… The US is very badly placed to criticize Russia for its Oligarchs.
In fact, I feel that an American who attacks Russia for its corruption and wealth inequality is really worse than the pot calling the kettle ‘black.’
Private Media Freedom does not Make
I would argue that the media landscape in the US is not much freer than Russia’s. Those who control what most people have easy access to, are a handful of Oligarchs and rich financial concerns in whose interests the ‘crooks‘ sent to Washington work (the average wealth of a member of Congress is estimated at $8 million, Piketty, 2013). The media in the US is in the hands of four or five mega-corporations, all catering to the military industries and Wall Street and owned by the same. How is that democracy and freedom of speech?
Oh, yes, an individual can shout into the night but because of the monopoly on platforms of expression held by the 1%, those voices are never heard. The level of propaganda, of outright lying, and of lying through omission, in western countries has rarely been so extreme in my lifetime. People in the West, and especially in the US, are very badly informed. At least France has a healthy tradition of not believing what the government says, nor the media working for the interests of the ‘Oligarchs’ and the people in power. The French manage to resist despite the extreme active and passive censorship.
Private ownership of the media, when concentrated in the hands of the warmongering industrialists, financiers, the 1%, does not make freedom of speech. Where is the difference between the government owning and controlling the media and the media oligarchs owning and controlling the government? Recent data shows how the FBI worked with Twitter to suppress free speech.
Private platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube & al.) now have joined the censorship and propaganda arm of the governments of the ‘Collective West’ to promote war. Again, pro-war, pro-interventionist, propaganda and censorship is extreme, even by European standards.
How many times do Americans have to be lied to before they wake up? The list of US wars of aggression on false pretenses and encouraging proxy wars is very long indeed.
We Owe the Russians, Big Time!
Americans have rewritten the history of WWII in which they claim to have not only single handedly defeated NAZI Germany, but also to have saved the Soviet Union through “massive aid.” They can’t see and won’t admit that there could possibly have been no Allied victory against Germany if not for the Soviet Union. Yes, every mother’s lost son is tragic and American families lost sons in the war, but not 25 million of them! The USA’s 460,000 KIAs, in both theaters, count for little before the Soviet Union’s losses. I can’t even imagine how such a comparison can be uttered in the first place, nor how anybody can take it seriously.
Again, if not for the Soviet Union’s determined war to destroy NAZI Germany, the US and its allies would have lost millions of men; Germany would have developed the bomb; the jet fighter would have been on time to knock allied planes out of the sky; and the US would most likely have sued for peace when US public opinion, which was overwhelmingly against going to war in Europe in 1941, would have forced Washington to disengage as deaths started being counted in the millions. (7.)
You know it is true. It was this fear which led the US to use atomic bombs on Japan. The rewriting of the history of WWII is straight out of Orwell’s 1984.
My friend regrets the US sent aid to the USSR? But would he have preferred the Germans beat the USSR? I maintain that US aid to the USSR was a drop in the bucket and didn’t make a difference to Moscow’s war effort. But for the sake of argument, let’s say it did. The only alternative to a Soviet victory was a NAZI victory which would have meant an allied defeat.
I don’t know where this visceral hate of Russia comes from. Obviously, Russians don’t want to be Americans. If they did, I think somebody would have noticed. It doesn’t mean I like their system. But it is theirs.
- We could talk about Israel in this context as well as many Islamic Republics.
- This from Professor Jeffry Sachs eight years ago (click here): and this from Professor John Mearshiemer (click here):
- Wealth Distribution in America by Percentiles from Statistica: (click here)
- This from Forbes: (click here)
- World Bank, Gini Index: (click here)
- Although there are no internationally defined standard cut-off values, it’s commonly recognized that Gini index<0.2 corresponds with perfect income equality, 0.2–0.3 corresponds with relative equality, 0.3–0.4 corresponds with a relatively reasonable income gap, 0.4–0.5 corresponds with high income disparity, above 0.5 …
- On how FDR and his secret cabal worked from 1939 to get the US into the war in a bid to reap the harvest and rule the world after the war, I recommend ‘Tomorrow The World‘ by Stephan Wertheim. You can read my book review by clicking here.