Is Putin the worst thing to happen to Russia?

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Over the years Russia and it’s people have been subject to some incredible horrors, Czarist pogroms, Napoleon’s invasion, WW1, The Russian revolution, the barbarity of Communism, gulags and mass murder, WW2 and much more. But Putin will go down in history as being one of the very worst, maybe the very worst. Here is why:

  • The Russian state exists for the benefit of Putin and just over 100 of his cronies. This is a kleptocracy. They steal the wealth of the nation for themselves and keep the vast majority of the population poor. It is a mafia state. Bribery alone totals an estimated $300bn a year. This is worse than the Czars or communism.
  • Russia had a chance at democracy. Putin stole this. He knows the result of every election before it happens. Bussing people from polling station to polling station is just one small tactic. Russia is a shamocracy with Putin and his cronies exercising all the power.
  • When communism fell the oligarchs stole the wealth of Russia. Putin stole much of this back for himself and his cronies. Boris Berezovsky fled to Britain and died suspiciously. Mikhail Khodorkovsky was stripped of his wealth and thrown into prison. Many others met similar fates.
  • Putin is the richest person ever in history. 37 percent of the oil company Surgutneftegaz and 4.5 percent of natural gas monopoly Gazprom are just a couple of his assets. The huge Swiss based global trading company Gunvor is controlled by him, allowing him to accumulate vast wealth outside Russia. But Putin’s official salary was just 3,672,208 rubles ($102,660) in 2013.
  • Putin has not developed the economy of Russia. They just suck oil and gas out of the ground and sell it. Siphoning off most of the profit for the mafia cronies. They had a chance to invest in infrastructure and a balanced economy. They didn’t.
  • Corruption and lack of development have made Russian oil and gas very expensive to extract. They need a high world price to break even and are in very big trouble when the price drops, as it has now.
  • Putin controls ALL the Russian media and fills it all with lies. Culturally the Russian people are used to being a communist state, so they largely accept this, like lemmings. So the Russian people have a world view that bears no relationship to the truth and they have been deluded into thinking that Putin is a good thing. Putin tries to brainwash the West with his RT channel. This should be banned until a Western channel is allowed throughout Russia.
  • Putin’s enemies and opponents have two fates. They end up dead or in prison. Putin knows that the reality of his position is so weak that he had to incarcerate a few girls, Pussy Riot. If I published this article in Russia it would be very bad for my health. Guaranteed.
  • Putin and his cronies are nasty bigots who barbarically suppress anyone who does not conform to their narrow world view. It is not good being homosexual in Russia today.
  • Putin wants to conquer and control all Russian speaking lands, whether they want it or not. We see this in Georgia and Ukraine. This is like the UK invading modern USA, Australia, New Zealand and Australia.
  • Putin lies all the time, to everyone. He does not honour agreements, contracts or treaties. He is an unpredictable loose cannon whose main concerns are keeping power for himself and increasing his personal wealth. The people of Russia are just pawns who have no option but to allow him to do this.
  • The Russian police and judiciary are Putin’s tools, they do what he tells them. Beat people up, kill them, throw them in prison, hit them with massive fines and run protection rackets for their bosses. There is no law and order, just gangsterism.
  • There is no political opposition to Putin in Russia, it is not allowed. Oppose him and your views will not be reported and the legal system will beat you up and lock you up. If you are lucky.
  • Russia had a great chance to be part of the global community. To be a thriving democracy with a vibrant economy and the rule of law. Putin has stolen all this from 140 million people for his own narrow personal interests.

The cost to Russia and the Russian people has been horrendous in every way, they are effectively slaves to the Putin mafia, fed lies, brutalised and stolen from at every opportunity. How Russia will ever get itself out of this situation looks impossible.

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And worse is to come. Sanctions, a low oil price and an infrastructure riddled with corruption all mean that Russia is a failed economy, in a downwards spiral. Putin is cornered and there is no predicting what he will do. And this is a man with LOTS of nuclear warheads.

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Yet another reason why the lefties, who say that the UK should not replace Trident, are utterly mad.

And the West are largely to blame for all this. Being weak, not standing up to him and ignoring his excesses. Thatcher and Reagan would never have allowed this situation to get so out of hand.

Thatcher Regan 2 650




Other articles in this series, click on the highlighted text to see them:

What should we do about Putin?

The Boris Nemtsov murder

Putin’s killed opponents

Putin timeline to power

Nemtsov killed. Putin wins


  1. A lot of this may be true but to claim he’s worse than the crimes of the Communists until Stalin’s death is just stupid. The tens of millions that were murdered/starved/worked to death, the genocide of the Chechens, Crimean Tatars, the Ukranian Holodomor, the list is endless. Putin is more comparable to one of the later Soviet leaders or maybe a Gulf king. As for Trident, considering Britain can’t even use it (the Yanks control it), what’s the point? It’s just another example of the UK trying (and failing) to be one of the big boys, like with the latest aircraft carrier fiasco, which it appears, will be carrying American planes


  2. True. And the worst thing is that the majority of population has no clue what’s going on, there is a very low level of economical education, 82% never been abroad, average age of man’s life is 65 (!) years – very convenient for mr. Putin. But I’m afraid “the people have the government they deserve”, we have Putin because of people’s indifference


  3. And I guess the U.S. State Dept/CIA illegal coup in Ukraine (result now a FAILED STATE) and the Ukrainian Govt (U.S.) downing of the Malaysian airline is also Putin’s fault ….If your not going to speak out about the criminal foreign policies of our U.S.Govt and the daily U.S. news media propaganda…then this article demonizing Putin has failed the smell test.


    1. John Swain, the Russians shot down flight MH17, the proof is incontrovertible, all the knowledge is here:
      The fact that you are spreading a pack of lies means one of the following 1) You are being paid by Putin to lie 2) You are simple minded and have a head full of Putin propaganda lies.
      Either way any well informed person can see straight through you.
      Go and tell your lies somewhere else.


      1. I am informed and am against the US illegal coup in Ukraine…and will continue to speak out against US corrupt foreign policies & involvment in Syria and Ukraine…


      2. You spread lies about socialism and communism throughout your site… you have no room to tell another person “Go and tell your lies somewhere else”.


        1. Dear Child, do you even know what socialism and communism really are? I know, I used to live in a socialist country under Russian rule for many years and let me tell you, never again! Only a naive person like yourself can believe socialist and communist propaganda! Russia must be brought to their knees, and not allowed to mingle with other countries affairs. Period!


  4. People is so poor in Russia that when ruble fell down people bought cars, houses, expensive tvs and stuff 😀 Funny to read people that never been in Russia and speak about it using propagandists cliche from “independent” media like CNN and Fox News ))))


  5. The intelligentsia in western countries has grown so accustomed to their leaders being either gutless homosexuals or sh*t-for-brains cowboys, that they fail to recognise effective leadership when they see it.


  6. There’s very few comments here I would bother to read, and additionally your article is False, Misleading, Inaccurate, Not ONE WORD of truth in it, I swear, where the hell are you getting your research at, because NONE, NOT ONE WORD of what you wrote is CREDITABLE.
    See, people like you are the problem. You don’t know, what you don’t know, and instead you spread lies and FEAR.
    You are NO American Either, because as an American your ethics should be a tad bit better than this, especially with what we are going through with the Mass Media and their Propaganda ever since SCOTUS made it legal what, 5 years ago now.

    you should be ashamed of yourself. if your mother or father read this, they would hide their heads in shame.


    1. Elaine,

      You prove how effective Putin’s propaganda lies are. He owns your brain and has filled it with lies.


    1. did they forget our own government, the media corporation who received Billions and Billions of dollars to run Fiber to every house in America, yet haven’t finished even 1/3 of it. How about the $16.00 Per Student Per Month in Cash Subsidies they receive from our tax payer dollars, Then additionally they also receive payment from the School Districts on top of That subsidy I just quoted AND Additionally, they take BILLIONS of dollars in Tax Breaks Each and Every Year.
      YET, the top 5 executives of Comcast EACH take home over 30 Million in “Bonus” each and every year. Oh, and btw, small, start up companies are *not eligible* for the student cash subsidies.

      1. How much money he is, or isn’t worth is the business of the Russian people and *not* the american people.
      2. It is up to the Russia People to choose to investigate or not.
      3. If more Americans LIKE YOU were interested in our own country NEARLY as much as you are in pointing fingers at other countries, then maybe, just maybe we could get one or two of our OWN OLIGARCH’s in Jail for defrauding the american people.

      Those who were prosecuted under Holder not one, not a single one of them spent a day in jail, The American People Are STILL PAYING for that banking crap.

      1. None were prosecuted personally for criminal behavior
      2. The Corporations were prosecuted and received healthy fines, which they
      3. Get to use these fines as a Tax Write-Off. (just who do you think will pay for those?)
      4. The fines and penalties were CORPORATE.. so who is really taking the fine?

      You want to spread hate, spread it of your own elected officials, because they are WAY MORE CORRUPT than President Putin has ever thought of being.


    1. There’s currently media (a video, voice, etc) of one of the flight attendants of the plane who actually shot doing the MH17. It was a mistake, the guy didn’t mean to do it, and I doubt he’d ever been in combat before.
      He was Ukrainian Military. and I would like to say again, I was a terrible accident.


        1. Bruce don’t waist your time answering Putin’s trolls. Obviously you have been invaded by these trolls who have only one agenda to spread Putin’s propaganda and they are using your format to do it.


  7. The worst thing that has happened to Russia, along with everyone else from Korea, to Vietnam to Libya, is US foreign policy. The pro-war chickenshit fringe, which this blog is an example of, would have you believe that the reason the US burns the rest of the world is not because the US is evil, but because everyone else is evil. Wake up to the fact that the US government is a an ugly cancer and its soldiers are innocent pawns. That’s why so many of them kill themselves, for their shame.


  8. This is probably worse than FOX news or CNN. Bruce I’m gonna take a wild guess here.. you are either American are you watch a lot of main stream media.

    Let’s just compare something open and obvious, how many countries has the USA invaded since WW2 vs how many Russia have.

    I can count Russia on one hand.
    I cant even count the USA on both my hands.. not even both hands and both feet.

    Russia as a government does not answer to corporations therefore it has no reasons to pursue war for profits, only in Defense such as WW2.

    Western countries have long been run by the few that are driven by financial gain and because the weapon trade is so lucrative, war is a good way to make big money. Added to the sale of weaponry further gains such as oil and rare material provide bonus funds and more incentive for wars to be started.

    If the world leader in nuclear and science wanted to have a war, they wouldn’t lose. They might not win, but still they wouldn’t lose.

    Both China and Russia are a key threat to the western elites way of life and because of this they will always be trying to apply some form of pressure to suppress that.

    Times are changes very quick in today’s ‘information age’ where information can be shared to a wide audience at a click of a button, and because of this the main stream media have a less of a hold over the working classes.

    I watch many different media outlets including RT and i actually find RT to be one of the least biased. Both UK and USA media are highly biased and only a small handful of independent news outlets provide reputable news in a neutral way.

    As I’m sure you are aware, much of main stream media is owned or ran by Rupert Murdoch, and I’m sure the last thing he would like to tell his audiences is… ‘I’m bombing innocent Iraq citizens because I want to test these new toys from Lockheed martin, and get some more money from my oil companies over there by killing the competitors’

    I’ll leave this with…

    All war is bad. But it is still interesting. I would like for you to surf the net like crazy and dig deeper into the history books, indulge your mind and ask the question ‘why’ at every step of the way. For if we do not question, we will never truly know the answer and what we are told can be far from what is the truth.



      1. One of the least biased. I don’t rely on one source as I like to get a broader picture of what is going on in the world. I sit on the fence so I can clearly see both sides. Have you watched RT? It’s a news outlet that has at lot of influential guest speakers that have no other means to get there views across to a mass audience as many of the alternatives are censored by establishments they aim to protect. I put RT in the mass area of media because of the amount of audience it reaches and the alternatives to that tend to be FOX, CNN, BBC and SKY news and this is exactly why I say… one of the least biased.

        The internet and particularly social media has changed media forever and in today’s world many media outlets are shrinking however RT is growing rapidly. When access to information is very open and accessible at the click of a button, it is very difficult to be biased and untruthful and still gain an audience that seek truthful news.

        I prefer Twitter as it is an open media source, and usually first to report.

        I choose RT, Al Jazeera, Reuters as my primary new sources out of personal preference however, I do also intake lots of news from BBC, FOX, SKY and many many more as it opens my mind and makes me question what I have been told.



        1. Jay do you mean as less bias that RT prints total opposite of BBC CNN SKY etc than it must be the only truth that opens up your mind than you are more closed minded than you think and if you really read routers than you would know they also covered the story of MH17 as Russia’s fault As for RT & Al Jazeera they fall in line with Fox as far as Propaganda is concerned So you admit you are getting a steady diet of propaganda as your primary reading choices.


  9. There are potentially thousands of things to say here. And maybe no point in saying them, unless you have the courage to not have unshiftable opinions. Hopefully at least there will be subtly-thinking readers who come to this page who my comments might be of some value to.
    There is some element of something real and true behind every point you make, to varying degrees, but ultimately you, though you have an impressive list of points, contextualize it all too simplistically and one-sidedly so that it defeats its own purpose. If you want some progress in the world then we need to get at the more complex underlying realities, not one where Russia is just Putin, and only the Ukraine or the west can be threatened and only Russia/Putin can have its negative elements. There is a complex of reasons why every ‘side’ does what it does. And even if you were sure that a place was a total dictatorship you would have to know that it’s supported by a complex situation that includes other people. No place or situation could really be as one-dimensional as your description here. Some motives are aggressive, some are defensive, some are aggressive in order to be defensive, some people are more narrow-minded, selfish and corrupt, some people have more humane motives (most people are a mix of these things), some have more influence, some have less, and no-one, not even Putin, has total control of reality. Even Stalin didn’t, even though he was far, far more a dictator of day to day reality for Russians that Putin is or ever could be.

    There is, and has long been, in Russia, a large element of corruption and kleptocracy. It also does to some extent or other exist pretty much anywhere else, but that both doesn’t excuse a thing, plus Russia is noticeably worse than many places. That doesn’t mean it’s all just one man reaping it in for himself and his buddies, or that the circumstances that led to and support that corruption are all down to him or people in his own country, or people with influence now, as opposed to influences from the past. Though none of this removes responsibility from them.

    Corruption isn’t something that isn’t reported on in Russia, though media is severely weighted in favour of the establishment. But your view of how that works is far too blinkered. Western channels are watched by people across Russia, and in fact they watch and have been watching far more foreign channels than westerners have. CNN and Fox and Sky and whoever have been around longer than RT and fully available in Russia, though not massively popular, mainly because they don’t broadcast in Russian, but loads more people speak English now, most professional people under 50 speak some English, and often speak it very well, with no attempts to stop that by the state, in fact quite the opposite. Plus western media in all its other forms has been here and even mainstream for the last 25 years or more. Music, movies, tv shows, etc., etc., with all the cultural values that come with it. If you’re ever at passport control into Russia think about the fact that the young man or woman sitting there looking at your passport has grown up with Hip Hop, Will Smith movies, MTV, Death Metal, David Lynch, western video games, Harry Potter, Hardcore Punk, Jackass, pornography, Stephen Fry (his films, books, opinions and visits are not blocked in any way that I’ve seen, though you’d have to ask him) Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, South Park, Experimental Electronica, the Simpsons, Breaking Bad, etc., etc., etc. The government has its conservative elements, but that cultural openness has been allowed and continues to be, and there is enough of a legal and constitutional system, though far from an ideal or completely incorruptible one, for less of the arbitrary repression of alternative thought than you may think.

    There is some conservatism in that they wouldn’t show the most ‘fringe’ of western stuff, but that conservatism is no more, probably less, than you meet in the political, moral and religious right in western countries. The mainstream media is definitely far too state-run, meaning that alternatives don’t have such a high exposure, biasing the information people get, it’s true, but there is opposition media. Echo Moscow is one such outlet, and it’s listened to across Russia and the world. It has a significant audience, but not like the mainstream terrestrial TV channels, but simply because most people just like some easy stuff to watch and make that choice. The ‘Rain’ channel has experienced issues from the ‘new wave of Russian conservatism’, but still exists, still can be watched, and is seriously oppositional, unlike any western channel. On top of this the state owned and run ‘Kultura’ channel, one of the biggest, gives its frequency over the breakfast slot (6.30 to 10 am) to Euronews, which is transmitted fully and with no censorship, despite its generally taking the ‘Ukraine=simple victim, Russia=coarse bully” view that you see in the west most of the time. And that’s the Russian-language version, translated and dubbed at its headquarters, not here in Russia, with the exact same, full content that it has in the rest of the EU and beyond.

    Then there’s the printed press. Again there have been problems of conservative elements reacting against opinions they disagree with, but this is along the lines of when they think it’s damaging, much like your idea that RT should be banned and the populace is unable to make sense of various points of view itself, in fact their approach is generally milder than yours. But then this is also not a rule. The news magazines that are quite popular among professionals and educated people are everywhere, and often clearly not taking the Russian state’s side. Just a couple of weeks ago I bought a magazine in the main supermarket chain with its front page feature article being about the idea that there is a cultural tide in Russia working against independent thought and dissent. It’s a dangerous country for journalists, for sure, but the situation isn’t just a dictator wiping out the opposition there, it’s even naive to think Putin requires such a thing. There are other people also influencing things, mainly moral conservatives, very like the Tea Party people in the USA, though that’s away from the issue of killings of journalists, who generally are victims of powerful people who are making a big buck out of corruption of power and funneling of wealth in their own direction. But that this is such a singular and simple thing as you express, with nothing working against it, no freedoms to oppose it, with Putin as its ringleader and not plenty of people and elements within the system that are actually something very different, is simplistic to the point of paranoid delusion.

    Unsavoury motivations and practices also come into play from some quarters in terms of geopolitical relationships, but the situations in Georgia and the Ukraine are far from as one-sided as you seem to believe. Not one side is without blame, and not one side is without those who do what they do for good reasons, or out of genuine belief in those good reasons. No doubt that applies to you too, but I’m sure you’re very misguided, and no level of trying to show your education and how you’re wiser to stuff while everyone else is brainwashed is going to prove otherwise, in fact that would just go to support that point of view.

    Oh yeah, and there’s the internet too. Millions of educated people across Russia have internet access. Russia is actually very advanced, in its cities at least, in its electronic interconnection; it kind of skipped some stages of development and went quickly to paying electronically and internet shopping and that kind of stuff. is the biggest social network in Europe, and far from tightly censored. It’s probably true that the pro-Russian view of most of the Russian users on there would mean people presenting a pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian view would get loads of offensive messages and stuff, though they have privacy settings too so stop it, but Ukrainians are on there promoting exactly those points of view, and using the offensive, anti-Russian term ‘Moskal’, and much else, but there’s no sign they’re being taken down. The offices of that are on the main street in St. Petersburg, above the main bookshop. But the authorities do not just move in and censor stuff like that. And that’s just a social media site, we can read most everything else. Turkey is far worse for blocking things. Russia has asked YouTube to take things down, and blocked some sites, and there do seem to be political reasons for some of that, but it’s never blocked YouTube itself, or Facebook, unlike our friend Turkey. Some sites have been blocked, most are extremist sites, extreme porn, ones that are seen to promote suicide, etc., like anywhere else, but some seem to have received too strong a reaction for unpatriotic things they’ve published. Maybe Putin cares about this a lot and the conservative representatives in the Duma that enact the laws that lead to this stuff are his puppets, but there’s also an argument for the fact that they just are what they are, voted in by people who agree with them, and that Putin neither needs to nor has the time to spend on such considerations. If you really want to confront problems in Russia, you’re helping no-one by narrowing it all down to Putin. You’d find that he was gone, and much remained. Also maybe that you threw the baby out with the bathwater in some sense.

    Corrupt Police, etc., it’s true, but it’s not universal, it’s also far less like that than it was, whatever you want to believe (under Yeltsin it was better? Have you ever been to Russia?). Intolerance of opposition, yes, but again not total, and was less attention to dissent in the 90s more to do with a more liberal society or to do with the lack of resources and organization of the government and its related services in the country at large? Cops would stop you and rob you and maybe rough you up. I knew it to happen to women even. But that was a chaotic force, with rogue cops, and some were far from rogues, but now it’s far more organised, doesn’t hassle you at random on the street (as much at least, I used to get it, I haven’t for years now) with far less of that stuff. People were free to campaign against it, and did so, and changes in both the command, and structure, as well as the practices, of the police, were plainly made.

    People are killed for what they write and say by whatever powerful hidden person or people took offense, but there are those who are not, and there’s little reason to think Putin needs to do such things or would consider himself helped by doing such things. Maybe in the more extreme cases, where the threat is more serious, but there’s no clear evidence that it comes down to him, that he has that level of insight into everything and control of it. Maybe. I don’t know, but it’s not conclusive. You can’t just decide that everything is so simple. The forces behind that kind of thing are more diffuse than him. I can’t say how much or how little he’s involved in nefarious practices. I have no clear evidence. Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, etc.? It looks like they had the force of the law disproportionately brought on them in particular because they annoyed elements in power, but that they were simple victims with no question as to their innocence is open to debate. Oppressive political forces at work, yes, but not as simplistically or extremely or exclusively to Putin or Russia as you portray it here. And not without opposing forces that exist within Russia and even in the establishment. Life and the world is never that simple. Even with our squabbles with the Soviet establishment it wasn’t so simple, but nowadays Russia has seriously moved on from what it was. It’s not a communist country, it’s not just a simple total dictatorship but has the roots of its conservatism to a great extent in a democratic representation of the conservative tendencies of a large part of its population. There is propaganda and suppression of dissenting points of view, but it is not universal and absolute and there are plenty of forces working away from that, including in the government and establishment at large.

    I was amazed back in England not so long ago to hear a relative talk about modern Russia as totally in league with North Korea. That’s such an extremely uninformed point of view. Maybe it can be forgiven if you’ve never visited the country, but it also suggests you missed a lot of news over the last 30 years. It’s maybe fair enough to propose that there could simply be a move away from that system into a fake western model with an equally corrupt and oppressive government behind it, but if you’ve witnessed any of the processes occurring during that transition at all, even from a distance via a biased media, it’s clear that actual real people expressing themselves openly and having open access to information was a part of that, and that for that to exist there inevitably have been massive changes. You’re saying a chance has been missed in Russia, but things have massively changed, both day to day and in the overarching political system. I think a lot is stll in need of change, and that there has been a slip back into a more controlling and conservative system, but the reasons for it and the motives behind it are not so clear-cut or so simply to be centred on Putin or even Russia on its own, plus I think you’re missing a chance to give Russia credit for the big advances it has made. I’d suggest you know very little about Russia really, and that you don’t really want to know. You seem attached to a simple ‘us and them’ view of things. Probably not just with Russia.

    And your economic analysis seems to me to have taken away a massive amount of historical and international context. Your criticisms here are not unfounded, but again narrow it and oversimplify it.

    Plus again you’re probably quite ignorant of the masses of practical organisation that Putin’s regime has brought in. Lots of the practical, nitty-gritty, boring things that Yeltsin just didn’t pay anything like the same attention to, like savings guarantees, pension reform, a honing down of bureaucracy (still has a way to go, but progress is real), police reform, the setting up and maintenance of a financial buffer which has protected the economy, some advances in developing industry and business beyond just natural resources (yes, still not easily enough, but progress is real again), all sorts of infrastructure, roads, stations, housing, heating, water meters, proper insurance systems, regulation of the chaotic roads, improvement of city environments, etc., etc., etc. Your picture of it is like some bandit village in the Wild West where the gang leader is stealing the local farmers’ food at gunpoint and raping their wives. You really haven’t been here or really been paying attention to news about Russia all these years, have you? There’s a grain of truth in much of what you say, but it’s so immensely decontextualized and made very, very coarse and one-dimensional.

    And, yeah, I really don’t like all the conservative laws about ‘propaganda of non-traditional relationships to minors’ or other such opinion-oppressing and ‘tradition’-imposing laws like the ones about not offending Christians or the Soviet war effort (in fact I don’t think they passed that law, though others that made life more difficult for media expressing that did have a stifling effect). I think they’re misguided and based on shallow analyses of reality. But even then that conservative mentality sees itself as protecting traditional relationships and children, or the perceived attack on religion by modern attitudes. I think it’s a misguided approach, but it’s far from different from the western conservative attitude and the limits they to wish to implement. Likewise the simplistic response to the current conflict with Ukraine and the West and much of the biased media reports and debates about it, etc., etc., just like it works the other way. The way out of this is to stop being such children with such simplistic black and white views of things. Too much of that here, for sure, much more than in my native England, though it’s there to some extent too, and in some people to an extreme.

    Oh yeah, and I don’t know who shot that airliner down. It could have been separatists, but maybe not, but, yeah, maybe. Maybe with equipment from Russia, maybe, that’s if it was them, maybe not, but maybe. The stuff you’ve linked to doesn’t prove it, though who knows, it could be correct. I don’t know. I’m not going to accuse when I don’t have conclusive evidence. If it was proven, we’d all be sure by now. The U.S. state department can’t prove it even. Much of their ‘evidence’ has been shown to be falsified, though not by them, just too quickly accepted by them, video of some supposed Russian equipment proven to be Ukrainian, footage of troop movements proven to be from pre-Maidan times when they were free to move in the Ukraine by their agreements with the government there, or when the footage was not established to be either in the Ukraine at all or even nearby, a BUK supposedly in separatist-controlled territory shown to actually be in Ukrainian-controlled territory, etc., etc., and then that same BUK to be shown to be on a Ukrainian train with others in earlier footage, pictures taken at the wrong time, or showing Russian-made equipment but missing the point that the Ukrainians have the same equipment, etc., etc., etc. I’m not saying it was or wasn’t anybody, and maybe these ‘proofs’ of the falsity of evidence is false in itself. I just am not close enough to the real events and I just don’t have enough evidence and there is no sign that you do either. For the same reason I’m not going to accuse the Ukraine of shooting that plane down either, despite them actually having that kind of technology and the men to work it nearby at the time, or the fact that immediate reports on the day showed local people saying they saw a Ukrainian Mig jet nearby when it happened. I don’t know. I believe that on both sides, in Kiev and in Donetsk, there are the kind of psychologically simple and shallow people that take a simplistic view of everything and paint the other side as more of a devil than it is, with less real reasons for its behaviour than it really has, and as more singular, like one mass of people who are all bad, than the truth that there is a mass of different people involved. Thus Ukrainians all become ‘Banderovtsy’ and the Donbass separatists all ‘terrorists’ and the Russians all ‘aggressors’ and the west all interventionists with double standards.

    Oh yeah, and the idea that the Ukraine doesn’t have similar problems would be naïve too. The present government has had such incidents as turning off the microphone when an MP objects in the Rada (parliament) violently ejecting MPs from the Rada, banning opposition parties, the speaker openly stating that if you don’t vote for this then you must be a traitor, incidents of violent attacks on Russians in other parts of the Ukraine (Odessa, for example, where many Russians live), as well as clear and multiple examples of shelling civilian areas in towns and cities in Eastern Ukraine. Most of this is not reported In the west, but it also has been admitted to by western authorities. I’m not going to claim that similar transgressions by separatist forces may be suppressed in Russia, though strangely I’ve seen little evidence of it presented in the western media. Though I don’t doubt that crimes are committed on both sides. Probably one side is more ‘wrong’ that the other, but how we’ll ever really be able to clearly establish that, I don’t know. I’d suggest that thinking you know that now is simply deciding to think what suits some emotional need that you have.

    There’s also the claims about Russian incursion into Ukrainian territory, while the OSCE observers have been on the border all the time, reporting very little movement across the borders. Maybe they can be tricked to some extent, but they’re not a bunch of idiots. Strangely when I’m in the UK the news makes virtually no mention of the OSCE. Once I heard a report mentioning that they’d seen 3 Russian men crossing the border (openly, at an official border crossing) who had a suspicious military look about them. That was it.

    Then there’s the whole Crimean question, of course, basically a whole other subject, but also, seen in its historical and broader geopolitical context, and in the context of the people there and their relationship to the change of government in Kiev, plus their history of fraught relationships with Kiev, being Russians themselves, governed from Moscow for more than a couple of hundred of years until 1991, then that just can’t be seen as a simple invasion, annexation, etc. That’s just ignoring so much context. Amazingly serious politicians in the west keep doing this, just as badly as conservative fools in Russia bleat out their coarse anti-western rhetoric. Do I think that Russia just simply saved the poor Crimean people out of the goodness of its heart and did it with the utmost correctness and honesty on the part of everyone involved? No. But it’s still not such a simple situation that they’re all devils that just came and stole it out of singular greed and lust for power. Let me say that the talk of Russia maybe wanting to take territory in the Baltics seems to me to be close to deranged. I remember telling people back in 2008 that there’s no way Russia intended to take the whole of Georgia. And it didn’t. Were they just protecting South Ossetia out of kindness without any ulterior motives or zero manipulations to prompt certain circumstances to forward their interests in Georgia/Ossetia and the region? I doubt they were such angels either. But not just simple invaders wanting to build a new empire. Like a crazy villain from a James Bond movie.

    And note I’m saying this. Typing it on a computer just south of central Moscow, using my facebook account to do so, records of me and my entering and leaving the country stored at the embassy in London and local authorities here, my address registered with the local police, not using Tor or anything else, while stating, along with some stuff that ‘defends’ (I see it more as giving ‘realistic context’) Russia, that I think there is corruption, that democracy is in danger, that Putin is becoming more blinkered, that the moral conservatism of many in this country is dumb to me, that I think MPs like Sergei Mironov and Yelena Mizulina, and I could list a bunch more, are close to insanity with their shallow moralizing conservatism, that those laws, despite ostensibly protecting children (and are you going to argue with that principle?), are seriously misguided, shallow and narrow in their analysis, that Russian nationalistic pride is a diversion of human energy into a shallow intellectual construct, when there are deeper things, that the establishment of the Russian Orthodox Chuch has got carried away in its memory of being victimised into a negative force of suppression of thought that goes against what God and Jesus are really symbolic of, and that half of Russia’s problems are and always have been about their misinterpretation of the idea of the soul into one about their own selfish specialness, which means they can’t even pay each other enough respect and consideration. And I think their judiciary system looks pretty bought-out by power and subject to serious influence from totally undemocratic sources. I also feel the country as a whole, the populace, the culture, needs to learn more about what freedom really means and to trust the ‘soul’ they harp on about all the time and not to believe instead that correctness needs to be imposed by systems of restriction from the outside of individuals, and that their belief that a collective of people is a more human thing than the appeal to individual meaning is an error and philosophically nonsensical. I believe that power having organised itself and finding things to struggle against is on the whole becoming corrupted and intellectually lazy and emotionally backward, though I believe, know, and see, that that collective negativity exists alongside positive forces and very positive individuals. I also think Putin should heed this advice from his 1996 self (I translated this into English a few years ago, though the site failed to credit me for it): Am I scared of the government from criticising it like that? Not really. Would they lock you up or kill you for your article here? No they wouldn’t. You really don’t know. There are some people who would come and beat the hell out of you, murder you maybe, dangerous, conservative shallow lunatics. That nut who has a site and had a twitter feed exposing ‘Pathological Russophobes’ and insisting the government not let any of them in the country (they never took his advice) would no doubt put you on his site, maybe he already has. But you’re exaggerating the general situation here. Possibly there are dangerous lunatics like that in power here, in government or elsewhere, and there is an argument that that kind of irrationality does dominate her e more than in other places. But the government on the whole? The police? Even the FSB? No, that’s just far too simple a wishful view of things, something based in fantasy and little to do with any real connection with this place or its reality. This is not Tom Cruise against green Martians. Russians really are just other people. Though to your credit you do seem to make some distinction between Putin and the populace, but then all the same that’s to miss the fact that he and his cronies really are in a far bigger and more diffuse a context than the picture you draw here. Just focusing on him and his circle also frees the populace at large for the responsibility it does nonetheless, and should, share for the problems of the country and its relations with others.

    I think a narrow and antagonistic view of reality is the root of the problem. Each side’s oversimplification of the truth of the other side leads to a justification of blanket hostility which makes the other side in turn more and more simplistic and blinkered in its reactions, thus it escalates. Either you’d like to help stop that and maybe even actually save some lives, or maybe you’d just like to be a part of the problem, which I think you are with how you’ve written this article.


  10. And it should have said, “I’m not going to claim that similar transgressions by separatist forces may not be suppressed in Russia”, or better, “I’m not going to deny that reports of similar transgressions by separatist forces may be suppressed in Russia”


  11. Sorry, but for all your clumsy one dimensional claims, you present no proof, no facts, no reliable info, links, no nothing…So you could be better writing the modern Snowwhite and use your fantasy to make the story more boring. Dudue really if you have claims, better bakc it up with real, verifiable proof, otherwise it’s just a brain fart!! remember, the year is 2016!! not 1950!!


    1. ruiz,

      How much is Putin paying you for doing his online propaganda work?


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