This is how the world ends

Will the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine lead to a World War that quickly escalates to an end of the world scenario in nuclear exchanges?  That remains unlikely, but we are clearly well on our way. It is long past debate whether the conflict is merely between two neighboring countries at the eastern fringe of the European Union. It is a full-blown proxy war between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, and it is about ending or perpetuating American global hegemony.

The latest approval in Washington of $800 million in further urgent military assistance to Ukraine, including the Pentagon’s most advanced attack drones and powerful Soviet era S300 ground to air missile systems makes it perfectly clear that U.S. is sabotaging the ongoing peace talks between Moscow and Kiev for the sake of prolonging a war that can only result on the Ukrainian side in the utter shattering of civil as well as military infrastructure, mass emigration and ubiquitous, calamitous poverty for those remaining; and on the Russian side in wholesale and painful reorganization of the economy away from the West as well as civil discord amid deep disagreements over the war and crackdown on dissent. The centuries-long debates and hair-pulling in Russia between “Westernizers” and “Slavophiles” is breaking out into the open yet again, as we saw in Vladimir Putin’s remarks yesterday during a speech otherwise devoted to increasing social benefits at home. I will direct attention to that speech in a moment. 

So far the West has been spared the pain arising from pending economic distortions on a global scale. However, as the conflict progresses in the direction of total war, which is happening before our eyes now that the United States President and Senate have designed Vladimir Putin as a ‘war criminal,’ the share of misery borne by the broad public in the West may rise dramatically.  The Russians have yet to unleash their own “nuclear option” of economic sanctions against the West, meaning immediate halt in export to “hostile nations” (the USA, the EU in particular) of hydrocarbons, strategic metals, grains and other agricultural commodities. That may come in the days immediately ahead.

Whatever the outcome of the still virtual negotiations between Moscow and Kiev over a cease fire and implementation of a 15-point peace agreement, Moscow’s move on to its Plan C, namely direct nuclear confrontation with Washington remains ‘on the table,’ as they like to say in the American capital. Peak-a-boo surfacing of Russian nuclear submarines just outside U.S. territorial waters on the East and West coasts, daily patrols of Russian strategic bombers in the Caribbean – these threats have clearly been held in reserve by the Russians for their possible Plan C scenario.

Meanwhile, the American-led Information War has been proceeding apace, presenting to Western media for instant, unquestioning dissemination a stream of fake news that is intended to raise the public mood of hatred for Russia and things Russian to fever pitch. Our television newscasts are filled with scenes of destroyed apartment buildings in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities. Yesterday’s biggest news item was the destruction of a theater in downtown Mariupol said to have housed up to a thousand people seeking refuge from Russian air strikes.

The production of fake war videos became a big industry among American and British propaganda organs during the Syrian War, when Western audiences were shown utterly fraudulent films of alleged chemical attacks by the Assad regime.  Many featured the supposedly heroic and selfless work of  ‘white helmet’ humanitarian volunteers operating in the Syrian war zones. Now these talents and experience are being unleashed to whip up popular outrage over the conduct of the Russian campaign in Ukraine.

This morning’s Russian state television featured an expose of the latest fake news exploits being served up to world media by the Kiev regime. A half dozen such videos and photographic montages were analyzed by Russian experts who tracked down the original footage and on split screen show how what the Ukrainians are claiming to be Russian attacks on the civilian population in Kiev are, for example, footage taken from the SS-21 (Tochka-U) missile blast in downtown Donetsk city this past Monday which killed 21 people outright and injured critically 30 more. That attack was launched by the Ukrainian army from a distance of perhaps 30 miles. Other videos showing alleged destruction of civil buildings are taken from cities, mostly in the Donbas, several years ago, where the aggressor was Ukrainian militias, not Russians or their Donbas allies today. 

Of course, none of the Russian proofs of fraud perpetrated by Ukrainian propagandists with the help and guidance of their American curators will be shown on Western media.  However, we the people can for ourselves determine who is telling the truth and who is lying just by putting on our thinking caps when we look at what is shown on the BBC News, for example. 

I think in particular of an evening news BBC front line reporter in Kiev who stood before a heavily damaged 15 story residential building a couple of days ago in which all windows were blown out by some explosion. The lady journalist was well coiffed and dressed immaculately in what can only be described as a surreal setting. Pointing to the building, she told us indignantly that four people had been killed in this latest Russian attack.  Here, unnoticed evidently by her producers back in London, there is the kind of discrepancy between what we are shown and what we are being told that should set off alarm bells in anyone who has his head screwed on properly. The building itself and the kind of destruction we saw on our television screens should have yielded 400 fatalities, not 4 if this were anything but bogus information.  Instead, what the BBC was presenting aligns perfectly with the Russian narrative that in Mariupol, in Kharkiv, in Kiev and other Russian cities the Ukrainian army and militias of irregular radical nationalists fighting by its side are using the civilian population as ‘human shields.’ What this means is that residential buildings and civilian infrastructure are taken over by the army, who chase out the civilians and move artillery and other weaponry into the buildings from which they attack Russian troops and attempt to attract counter fire into genuinely civilian homes for the sake of atrocities to publicize on the internet.

Note:  we do not have any body counts relating to the destruction of that theater in Mariupol.  During the course of last evening, the BBC report shifted imperceptibly from claims that hundreds were sheltering there during the attack to claims that hundreds had been sheltering there in recent weeks. Meanwhile the Russians flatly denied that they were responsible for the destruction of the theater and laid the blame entirely at the Ukrainian army and its special propaganda mission.

Given the near total jamming by Europe, by the USA of Russia-based internet resources, the Russian counter charges do not reach the eyes or ears of Western audiences.  My own access to this information is chiefly coming from satellite channels that are not yet prohibited in Western Europe.


As the USA and Europe have each day piled on new sanctions against Russia, the awareness of a ‘total war’ situation has penetrated the consciousness of Russia’s leadership and the tone of public discourse about the war has hardened noticeably in recent days. Talk shows which I follow regularly have changed course yet again from what I reported a week ago.  On the Vladimir Solovyov evening programs, the bearer of grim expectations about war prospects, Mosfilm general director Karen Shakhnazarov, has disappeared, his place taken by others who take the conversation in a wholly different direction, including fierce denunciations of unpatriotic personalities within Russia. Still other newcomers are presenting their own half-baked speculations on how the entire Russian economy and society has to be reorganized to respond to the new realities of a total permanent break with the West. While the Putin government remains resolutely pro-business and pro-entrepreneurship, though with a heavy dose of state direction of the economy, the new panelists in talk shows denounce free markets as just one more manifestation of the West’s hijacking in the 1990s Russia’s domestic political economy.  Still other panelists on the Russian talk shows are talking about purging the government and all public institutions of Liberals, who are synonymous with Fifth Column traitors and have no place in Russian society under conditions of a war for the country’s survival.

As BBC and other Western journalists have remarked, Vladimir Putin addressed the issue of the Fifth Column in a televised speech yesterday that was otherwise dedicated to the increases in pensions and social benefits that he just announced to counteract negative results of the newly imposed Western sanctions. In the BBC interpretation, the scum and traitors denounced by Putin are the oligarchs. These are the people who live there, meaning in the West, either physically or just mentally, while earning their money in Russia.

However, this identification with the oligarchs only shows how little Western news organizations, Western think tanks and Western government leaders know about Russia and about what makes it tick. No, oligarchs were not in the sights of Vladimir Putin yesterday: it was the multitude of little traitors to the country and its people who have in recent weeks come out of the woodwork and taken flight in an attempt to avoid having to publicly take sides in the conflict and so lose their fortunes and/or their social standing.

The broad Russian public has been utterly shocked at the departure of a good many stars in the entertainment industry, the kind of folks who in the West are images on the covers of People magazine and of the yellow press more generally. Veteran singer Alla Pugacheva and her husband Galkin have been darlings of Russian television and music halls across the country for decades.  They are known to have quietly flown to Israel, where so many of their friends from show business and from high society have already found refuge earlier still.  Then there is one of the two leading television news presenters, Sergey Briullov, host of The News of the Week on Saturday nights. Sergey carries a British as well as Russian passport; his family is based in their home in England and his children study there.  About a week ago, Briullov disappeared from Russia and eventually surfaced in Brazil, where he says he is doing a film project about the Brazilian attitude to the Ukraine-Russia War.  No one is fooled for a moment about the fact that Briullov is just one more traitor to his homeland, and comments on the Russian portals bear this out daily.

No, Messrs BBC News, it is not oligarchs whose behavior if not their very existence has embittered the middle and lower class Russians during the current war. Those middle and lower classes constitute the 70% of the population which backs Putin through thick and thin. It is the smaller fish of Fifth Column populations who exist in much greater numbers: as, for example, Russian  lawyers who have homes near the Champs Elysees and split their time between France and their law offices in Moscow, whence the money from their servicing oligarchs comes. Then there is the intelligentsia, the university dons, the occupants of often important offices in government and private public institutions who loathed Putin from his first election to the presidency in 2000 and have never relented. Their contempt for the broad Russian public, which they see as the great unwashed, as a herd of animals, was never well hidden, and this contempt is now being reciprocated on Russian state television and on the internet.

All of these fissures in Russian society are being deepened and discussed on Russian media as a result of the ongoing war for survival.  If Russia is becoming a much less free society, that is a direct result of Western pressure. But there is nothing new under the sun.  This was precisely one of the key arguments in favor of détente as opposed to confrontation during the 1990s.


The accusation that Putin is a ‘war criminal’ coming from the top U.S. leadership has far greater importance than Western media have given to it. For them, it is just one more joke in a long line of adjectives vilifying the Russian leader.  For Biden as Vice President, Putin was ‘a thug.’  For Biden one month into his presidency, Putin was ‘a killer.’  Now the words ‘war criminal’ are actionable, not merely descriptive.  In this regard, Vladimir Putin is no longer a man with whom you can negotiate a peace deal in Ukraine  Instead, he is a dangerous man who you can justifiably assassinate.

A call for Putin’s assassination was made by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on 4 March. That utterly outrageous and vile statement was never properly rebuked by the President, by the Secretary of State. 

If there are officials in the Biden administration who are actually seeking to have the Russian President assassinated, then it is one more example of their total ignorance of the ‘enemy,’ an ignorance that is possible only because anyone who knows something worth knowing is denounced in American universities and on air as a Putin stooge.

The murder of Vladimir Putin in the present context of the ongoing war to the death over global overlordship would surely precipitate the launch of Russia’s nuclear arsenal against the United States.  As I have said in the past, the Russian political elite is much more aggressive and much readier to push the button than Vladimir Vladimirovich.  I have also said and here repeat, that the Russian Federation likely has First Strike Capability, meaning that it can launch a nuclear attack first, destroy nearly all of America’s arsenals and most important population centers, disorganize or frustrate any counter attack, and rely on its well developed anti-ballistic missile defenses to ward off any of the residual U.S. capability. That was the clear objective of Putin back in 2007 when Russia was humiliated and impotent before the American hegemon.  He reached that objective in 2018.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

21 thoughts on “This is how the world ends

  1. Just wanted to say thanks for this, it is incredibly difficult to get an accurate analysis on this conflict. It always seems to have been this way when the Americans are involved in their shenanigans, but just the sheer scale this time is like nothing I have ever experienced. In a way I think it’s good though, there is only so much garbage people can be exposed to before some at least will realize it, and search for the truth. Maybe it’s a sign of desparation, this full scale load of used toilet paper called news, that and the economic harikari we’re doing to themselves against a country that has obviously long prepared for such a battle.


  2. (texte original en français)

    Monsieur Doctorow, merci infiniment pour votre article et votre courage dans ces moments troublés.

    Le “décervellement” des masses passe d’abord par le non respect du principe de la recherche de la vérité.
    « Là où l’on brûle des livres, on finit aussi par brûler des hommes ».
    Ce vers prémonitoire de l’écrivain Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) inscrit sur une plaque en métal incrustée dans le pavé de la Place Bebel à Berlin, rappelle aux passants la date du 10 mai 1933,… Tolère-t-on en ce moment dans nos démocraties que d’autres dates plus sinistres puissent encore survenir ?

    Les pièges du Prince de ce monde sont innombrables, subtils et pervers. Beaucoup d’entre nous s’y laissent piéger acceptant ainsi la ruine intime de leur conscience au profit de tous les “raccourcis-imbéciles” et de toutes les pieuses compromissions en faveur d’une “démocratie-de-bazar” prétendant être au service du Droit et des Droits de l’Homme.

    Certains orateurs pensent que la réalité importe peu mais que l’essentiel est d’amener les masses à croire à ce qu’ils pensent être la réalité. Mais, il arrive un moment où la Vérité remonte finalement à la lumière – à la vue de tous… Alors, en ce moment, à quel citoyen  l’instrumentalisation ou la manipulation des peuples convient-elle ? Combien de temps peut-on vivre sans repère au milieu de nulle part ?

    Un état d’euphorie né de la supériorité absolue, une sorte d’absolutisme moderne, qui plus est, sur fond de faible niveau de culture générale et d’arrogance de ceux qui ont préparé, adopté et fait passer les décisions qui n’étaient profitables que pour eux-mêmes.

    Contre toute attente, la situation a commencé à évoluer d’une manière violente. La tempête à laquelle nous assistons impuissant ces jours-ci met à l’épreuve tous les discours…

    Il suffit de réfléchir un peu et de se souvenir de ce qui se passe depuis des années pour constater que la Russie et l’Ukraine sont toutes deux victimes des convoitises et des mensonges des provocateurs de la crise. Il s’agit bien d’une guerre entre le globalisme atlantiste contre la Russie souveraine… “Le plus grand dérèglement de l’esprit, c’est de croire les choses parce qu’on veut qu’elles soient, et non parce qu’on a vu qu’elles sont en effet”. (Bossuet).

    Alexander M. Samygin


  3. Echoing others’ comments here, but thank you for your incredibly valuable perspective in the face of F5 tornado level Western propaganda. If I might suggest a slight correction, “sights” in the following phrase: oligarchs were not in the sites of Vladimir Putin.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think the fact that you live in the west (Brussels?) makes it impossible to avoid western media seeping in. I don’t mean that in a bad way. There is a full court press like I’ve never seen in my life, and I heard that it is actually worse in Western Europe than in the USA, where we do have meaningful 1st amendment protections. What I am trying to say is that I don’t think the situation is nearly as bad for Russia as even Russia-friendly commentators in the West are assuming.

    First, from a isolation point of view, it seems clear to me that American pressure on China has failed. The Chinese state is not full of idiots, they understand that it is helpful to have a significant ally like Russia if things get out of hand in Taiwan, they understand that America and these days even the EU are not coming at them with good will, and they understand that if the Russian government falls, this will green light action against them. Not necessarily right away, but soon enough and China is clearly next in line. India has shown very surprising to my eye support for Russia. India has always had a prickly foreign policy elite and they don’t like taking orders just as a matter of principle. Saudi and UAE support for Russia was even more surprising to me, and I think it ultimately stems from fear/anger that the same asset confiscations now done to Russia could easily be done to them down the line, without even a competent military and diplomatic corps to protect them. I also see cracks in desire for sanctions from the Japanese, and from some European countries, who in their heart of hearts just don’t care about Ukraine.

    Also, from a military standpoint, what is actually happening is Putin insisting on doing this campaign on the cheap, so to speak. Not mobilizing more forces, not putting the economy on a war footing, with the result that there are insufficient troops in Ukraine to advance on 4 fronts at once against a competent foe (which anyone has to admit the Ukrainians have turned out to be). Instead, Putin is going at “my pace”, as a Japanese-English phrase would describe, focusing now on Mariupol and the Donbas, taking lots of time to attrition forces and trying to avoid annihilation of the regular Ukrainian army in Donbas. This will take time, then a move with freed forces in Kharkiv, or Odessa, and then finally on Kyiv. He seems in no hurry whatsoever, which belies claims of a Russian imminent collapse. There is also a lot of learning my doing going on with Russian forces, another way to put it is the Russian army started the conflict very green. So there are unnecessary loses here and there that do make for good propaganda value, but change absolutely nothing strategically.

    Finally, Ukrainian media is all joking aside at a level of Baghdad Bob from the 2003 Iraq war. Giant transport planes shot down 2 weeks ago, “confirmed by sources at the pentagon”, but not a single photo of the downed planes since then. A Russian naval vessel, sunk, that sailed back to Sevastopol yesterday. I understand the propaganda, the Ukrainians need to keep morale up. But western media takes Ukrainian statements as facts, from which they build their analysis. So of course that analysis will not be accurate


  5. Also, in this brave new world we find ourselves in, Russia is a good potential ally or backup to have, for countries ranging from Saudi Arabia to Brazil to South Africa. I have sympathy toward Russia, but it is clearly not a full-spectrum superpower. It has neither the capacity nor desire to invade and occupy Saudi Arabia for example. But if Saudi Arabia ever gets “canceled” in the way that Russia has just been, Russia has capacity to supply weapons, satellite & other intelligence, as well as technical know how and manpower in oil extraction. Without Westerners, the gulf states would collapse overnight. This was never seen as a realistic possibility, until now. China could certainly step in, but China like the West might be too strong for comfort. Russia is neither too weak nor too strong, so it’s in almost everyone’s interest in the global south for it to survive and remain an independent great power.

    I would argue that countries like Japan, South Korea and Germany (in something like that order) could theoretically occupy a similar independent great power but not superpower niche, but they are firmly in the Western camp, so only Russia out there filling this role.


    1. You have no idea what you’re talking about, parroting US media and their “experts” who havn’t had a clue about this proxy war and Russia’s abilities yet. We have too many parrots and arm chair generals and too few Doctorow’s to comprehend.


  6. Do not forget what they did to General Solemeini just over two years ago.

    TheBiden Junta have said nothing about that.

    Perhaps President Xicould ask President Biden for his thoughts?


  7. I have also said and here repeat, that the Russian Federation likely has First Strike Capability, meaning that it can launch a nuclear attack first, destroy nearly all of America’s arsenals and most important population centers, disorganize or frustrate any counter attack, and rely on its well developed anti-ballistic missile defenses to ward off any of the residual U.S. capability.

    There is I think also the possibility that Russia might have a First Strike conventional weapon capability – meaning the possibility to destroy all US nuclear capability with exclusively non-nuclear weapons, i.e. high explosives. Most probably as a combination of large strategic ballistic missiles (but with high explosive warheads rather than nuclear), hypersonic missiles with conventional warheads, and poseidon underwater drones with conventional warheads. Modern missiles can be so accurately targetted, that the actual explosive force required to complete their mission is much reduced. In addition to the hypothetical completely conventional first strike there is also the possibility of what one might think of as a ‘hybrid’ first strike – namely a huge ESP nuclear blast very high in the upper atmosphere (virtually in space), in combination with otherwise conventional explosives in all other missiles.

    Of course, the incoming ballistic missiles with conventional warheads would be indistinguishable to the Americans from incoming nuclear warheads, and would necessarily trigger efforts to launch a (nuclear) response, so far as they would be capable.

    The world gets ever more complicated.


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