Dehumanizing the enemy

                                              

     The word “Russophobia” has been used very widely in the past couple of years by Russians and by “friends of Russia” abroad to describe the campaign of vilification of President Putin in particular and of the Russian people more generally that the U.S. led West has practiced with rising volume and shrillness ever since the start of an Information War launched in 2007.

In the course of the “Special Military Operation,” the Kiev regime has taken the lead in disseminating vicious calumny about the Russian military.  We have heard about “massacres of civilians” in Bucha by retreating Russians. We have heard about Putin dispensing Viagra to his soldiers so that they might carry out sexual violence against Ukrainian women in occupied areas under their control. These and similar allegations have been repeated endlessly in Western media as if they were proven facts. They were not and are not anything more than bare-faced lies.  The image of savage Buryat and Chechen units within the Russian armed forces has been so widespread that even Pope Francis spoke publicly against these peoples from the Vatican. The apologies later extended by his Secretariat were made privately to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so the damage of this calumny will not be undone.

I suggest that we consider the Russophobia as just a new manifestation of an old trick of those preparing the public for war and managing popular emotions in a jingoist direction. It is all about dehumanizing one’s opponents to make killing more acceptable than Scripture and the basic disposition of civil society would allow.

In many essays I have remarked on Russian foreign policy as being “reactive” rather than aggressive. And so it is in the Information War domain. The Russians took it on the chin when the Bucha narrative was spun in Western media. They whined and complained, but did not fire back.

Russia had sound strategic reasons for initiating and prosecuting the war in Ukraine. To be sure, these reasons changed from pacifying Ukraine (demilitarization and de-Nazification) at the outset to the present objective of de-fanging NATO itself ever since NATO began supplying state of the art weaponry to Kiev, together with military advisers on the ground and real time intelligence.

However, these strategic considerations are apparently deemed to be too abstract for the broad home population to be properly motivated to back the war effort. And so the Kremlin has moved moved into the more emotive domain of dehumanization. Last night’s Evening with Vladimir Solovyov was a case in point.

The past couple of weekends Solovyov went down to the Donbas where Minister of Defense Shoigu arranged for him to spend time on the front lines and mingle with the fighters, from infantry and tank soldiers up to senior officers.  Solovyov has presented on his show clips of the more impressive people he met down there.

Last night we were treated to a long “interview” with the officer who took Solovyov on a drive along the front. Vladimir Rudolfovich was glowing with pride that chaps like this one, who looked to be about 37 but has 25 years as a warrior in his record, are given units to command. He hopes that the General Command will reward them by raising them in the ranks and giving them still greater responsibilities. Solovyov recommended the interview to the audience, because of his admiration for the “profound thinking” of the young officer.

And so we were treated to a five minute “diatribe” against the West as this officer explained what Russia is fighting for, what “victory” will mean for them. The war is about defeating “Satanism,” which has taken the West in its grips and is destroying Western civilization. Ukrainian neo-Nazism is just a subset of this Satanism, as is the West European promotion of LGBT+ culture.  The Anti-Christ has landed in the West and it is for Russia now to vanquish him in defense of traditional values.

The panelists on last night’s show were the usual mix of academics and Duma committee chairmen. One or two looked stupefied at this display of “profound thinking.”  None decided to follow up the outrageous remarks of Solovyov’s hero of the moment. I have heard much of the same rant from the occasional crackpot taxi driver taking me on hour long trips from my Pushkin apartment to the Petersburg city center; fortunately no one ever thought of giving them a microphone on national television.

My only observation is that it is truly sad that both sides to the conflict in and over Ukraine are now deeply engaged in the destruction of all the mental restraints that keep men from barbarism.

Several weeks ago, Russian society was deeply shocked and outraged by videos circulating in social media showing the point blank murder of prone Russian Prisoners of War by gloating Ukrainian soldiers.  In the meantime there is quiet talk on Russian television to the effect that Russia’s Wagner mercenary units and Chechen brigades “take no prisoners.” We can well imagine what that means.

As these violent trends continue on both sides of the confrontation between Russia and the West, the chances for peace talks being held diminish dramatically. And the return of international relations to something resembling the status quo ante becomes ever more improbable.

©Gilbert Doctorow

Translations below into Italian (Roberto Pozzi), German (Andreas Mylaeus) and French (Youri)

Disumanizzare il nemico

La parola “russofobia” è stata molto usata negli ultimi due anni dai russi e dagli “amici della Russia” all’estero per descrivere la campagna di diffamazione nei confronti del presidente Putin, in particolare, e del popolo russo, più in generale, che l’Occidente sotto la guida americana ha praticato con volume e stridore crescenti fin dall’inizio della guerra di disinformazione lanciata nel 2007.

Nel corso dell'”Operazione militare speciale”, il regime di Kiev ha iniziato a diffondere calunnie feroci sulle forze armate russe.  Abbiamo sentito parlare di “massacri di civili” a Bucha da parte dei russi in ritirata. Abbiamo sentito sentito dire che Putin avrebbe fatto distribuire viagra ai suoi soldati per fargli commettere violenze sessuali contro le donne ucraine nelle aree occupate. Queste e altre accuse simili sono state ripetute all’infinito dai media occidentali come se fossero fatti comprovati. Non lo erano naturalmente, e non lo saranno mai perche’ non erano che menzogne spudorate.  Le immagini delle selvagge unità buriate e cecene all’interno delle forze armate russe ha fatto talmente scalpore che persino Papa Francesco ha condannato pubblicamente questa gente. Le scuse che la Segreteria del Vaticano hai poi fatto, sono state fatte privatamente al Ministero degli Affari Esteri russo, e quindi il danno fatto dalla calunnia rimane.

Suggerisco di considerare la russofobia come ennesima manifestazione di un vecchio trucco di chi prepara l’opinione pubblica alla guerra e gestisce le emozioni popolari in direzione sciovinista. Si tratta di disumanizzare gli avversari per renderne l’uccisione più sacrosanta delle Sacre Scritture, preparando cosi’ il terreno nella cosiddetta società civile.

In piu’ di uno dei miei articoli precedenti ho sottolineato come la politica estera russa sia “reattiva” piuttosto che aggressiva. E così è anche nel campo della guerra dell’informazione. I russi hanno preso la palla al balzo quando la narrazione di Bucha è stata diffusa dai media occidentali. Si sono lamentati e hanno protestato, ma non hanno risposto al fuoco.

La Russia aveva valide ragioni strategiche per iniziare e portare avanti la guerra in Ucraina. Certo, queste ragioni sono cambiate: dalla pacificazione dell’Ucraina (smilitarizzazione e de-nazificazione) all’inizio all’attuale obiettivo di “tagliare le unghie” alla stessa NATO, obiettivo emerso da quando quest’ultima ha iniziato a fornire a Kiev armamenti all’avanguardia, oltre che consiglieri militari e intelligence in tempo reale.

Tuttavia, queste considerazioni strategiche pare che ora vengano ritenute troppo astratte per motivare la popolazione nazionale a sostenere lo sforzo bellico. Così anche il Cremlino sembra avviarsi anch’esso sulla stessa via presa dai media occidentali ovvero quella della disumanizzazione del nemico. La trasmissione di ieri sera con Vladimir Solovyov ne è un esempio.

Negli ultimi due fine settimana Solovyov si è recato nel Donbas, dove il Ministro della Difesa Shoigu gli ha permesso di trascorrere del tempo in prima linea e di mescolarsi con i combattenti, dai soldati di fanteria e carri armati fino agli ufficiali superiori. E Solovyov ha presentato nel suo programma alcuni dei personaggi più rappresentativi che ha incontrato.

Ieri sera abbiamo visto a una lunga intervista con l’ufficiale che ha accompagnato Solovyov lungo il fronte. Vladimir Rudolfovich, che sembra non arrivare a 40 anni di eta’ ma ne ha già 25 anni di carriera militare alle spalle, era pieno di orgoglio per essere uno di coloro che ha ricevuto l’incarico di comandante in questa guerra. Spera che il Comando Generale ricompensi quelli come lui facendoli salire di grado e dando loro responsabilità ancora maggiori. Dal canto suo Solovyov raccomandava l’intervista al proprio pubblico perche’, a suo modo di vedere, il giovane ufficiale avrebbe espresso“pensieri profondi” sulla natura della guerra in corso.

E così abbiamo assistito a una sfuriata di cinque minuti contro l’Occidente, in cui l’ufficiale spiegava per cosa sta combattendo la Russia, cosa significherà per loro la “vittoria”. La guerra servirebbe a sconfiggere il “satanismo” che di cui l’Occidente e’ diventato preda e che sta distruggendo la civiltà occidentale. Il neonazismo ucraino sarebbe solo una delle espressioni di questo satanismo, così come la promozione della cultura LGBT+.  L’Anti-Cristo essendo sbarcato in Occidente, spetterebbe ora alla Russia sconfiggerlo in difesa dei valori tradizionali.

I relatori della trasmissione di ieri sera erano il solito mix di accademici e presidenti di commissione parlamentari della Duma. Un paio di questi sembravano sconcertati dalle affermazioni fatte dal militare e nessuno le ha fatte proprie. Simili sproloqui li ho sentiti fare da qualche strampalato tassista che nel lungo tragitto dal mio appartamento di Pushkin al centro di Pietroburgo; e cui fortunatamente nessuno ha mai pensato di dare un microfono alla televisione nazionale.

Mi limito ad osservare che è davvero triste che entrambe le parti in conflitto in Ucraina siano ora profondamente impegnate nella distruzione di tutti i freni mentali che separano gli uomini dalla barbarie.

Alcune settimane fa, la società russa è rimasta profondamente scioccata e indignata dai video che circolavano sui social media e che mostravano l’esecuzione di prigionieri di guerra russi in ginocchio da parte di giubilanti soldati ucraini.  Nel frattempo, alla televisione russa si parla tranquillamente del fatto che le unità mercenarie russe Wagner e le brigate cecene “non fanno prigionieri”.

Possiamo ben immaginare cosa significhi.

Se queste tendenze violente continuano da entrambe le parti del confronto tra Russia e Occidente, le possibilità che si svolgano colloqui di pace diminuiscono drasticamente. E il ritorno delle relazioni internazionali a qualcosa di simile allo status quo ante diventa sempre più improbabile.

Die Entmenschlichung des Feindes

Das Wort „Rossophobie“ wurde in den letzten Jahren von Russen und von ausländischen „Freunden Russlands“ häufig benutzt, um die Verleumdungskampagne gegen Präsident Putin im Speziellen und gegen die russische Bevölkerung im Allgemeinen zu beschreiben, die der von den USA geführte Westen seit dem Beginn des Informationskrieges im Jahr 2007 immer lauter und schriller geführt hat.

Im Verlauf der „Speziellen Militäroperation“ hat das Kiew-Regime die Führung bei der Verbreitung übler Verleumdungen über die russische Armee übernommen. Wir haben von „Massakern an Zivilisten“ durch zurückweichende Russen in Butscha gehört. Wir haben gehört, dass Putin seinen Soldaten Viagra gibt, damit sie in den von ihnen kontrollierten Gebieten sexuelle Gewalt gegen ukrainische Frauen begehen. Diese und ähnliche Vorwürfe wurden endlos in westlichen Medien wiederholt, als wären sie bewiesene Fakten. Sie waren es nicht und sie sind auch jetzt nichts weiter als unverschämte Lügen. Das Bild von wilden Burjaten- und Tschetschenen-Einheiten innerhalb der russischen Streitkräfte war so weit verbreitet, dass sich sogar Papst Franziskus öffentlich gegen diese Völker ausgesprochen hat. Die später von seinem Sekretariat verbreiteten Entschuldigungen wurden dem russischen Außenministerium privat übermittelt, sodass der Schaden dieser Verleumdung nicht ungeschehen gemacht wurde.

Ich schlage vor, dass wir die Russophobie als eine neue Manifestation eines alten Tricks derer betrachten, die die Öffentlichkeit auf Krieg vorbereiten und die allgemeine Gefühlswelt in einen säbelrasselnden Nationalismus zusteuern. Es geht darum, seine Gegner zu entmenschlichen, um das Töten akzeptabler zu machen als es die Bibel und die grundlegende Einstellung der Zivilgesellschaft erlauben würden.

Ich habe in vielen Essays darauf hingewiesen, dass die russische Außenpolitik eher „reaktiv“ als aggressiv ist. Und so ist es auch im Bereich des Informationskrieges. Die Russen haben es hingenommen, als das Butscha-Narrativ in den westlichen Medien verbreitet wurde. Sie haben sich beschwert und beklagt, aber sie haben nicht zurückgeschossen.

Russland hat gewichtige strategische Gründe, den Krieg in der Ukraine zu initiieren und zu führen. Tatsächlich haben sich diese Gründe geändert: ursprünglich sollte die Ukraine befriedet werden (Entmilitarisierung und De-Nazifizierung). Seit die NATO begonnen hat, Kiew mit Hochtechnologie-Waffen und militärischen Beratern vor Ort sowie Echtzeit-Geheimdienstinformationen zu versorgen, ist jetzt das Ziel, die NATO selbst unschädlich zu machen.

Allerdings scheinen diese strategischen Überlegungen für die breite Bevölkerung zu abstrakt zu sein, um diese angemessen zu motivieren, um die Kriegsbemühungen zu unterstützen. Deshalb ist der Kreml auf das emotionalere Gebiet der Entmenschlichung übergegangen. Die Sendung Evening with Vladimir Solovyov von gestern Abend war ein Beispiel dafür.

An den vergangenen Wochenenden hat Solovyov den Donbass besucht, wo ihm Verteidigungsminister Schoigu ermöglicht hat, Zeit an der Front zu verbringen und sich mit den Kämpfern zu unterhalten, von Infanterie- und Panzersoldaten bis hin zu höheren Offizieren. Solovyov hat in seiner Sendung Aufnahmen von den beeindruckenderen Menschen gezeigt, die er dort getroffen hat.

Gestern Abend wurde uns ein langes „Interview“ mit dem Offizier gezeigt, der Solovyov auf einer Fahrt entlang der Front mitgenommen hat. Vladimir Rudolfovich strahlte for Stolz, dass Typen wie dieser, der wie etwa 37 Jahre alt aussah, aber bereits 25 Jahre als Kämpfer hinter sich hat, Einheiten befehligen dürfen. Er hofft, dass das Oberkommando sie durch Beförderungen und größere Verantwortlichkeiten belohnen wird. Solovyov empfahl das Interview dem Publikum wegen seiner Bewunderung für das „tiefgründige Denken“ des jungen Offiziers.

Und so wurden wir Zeugen einer fünf Minuten langen „Schmährede“ gegen den Westen, als dieser Offizier erklärte, wofür Russland kämpft und was „Sieg“ für sie bedeutet. In dem Krieg drehe es sich darum, den „Satanismus“ zu besiegen, der den Westen im Griff hat und die westliche Zivilisation zerstört. Der ukrainische Neonazismus ist nur ein Teil dieses Satanismus, ebenso wie die westliche Förderung von LGBT+-Kultur. Der Anti-Christ ist im Westen angekommen und es ist jetzt Russlands Aufgabe, ihn im Namen traditioneller Werte zu bezwingen.

Die Podiumsteilnehmer in der Sendung gestern Abend waren die übliche Mischung aus Akademikern und Vorsitzenden von Duma-Ausschüssen. Einer oder zwei sahen bei dieser Darbietung von „tiefschürfendem Denken“ verständnislos aus. Keiner beschloss, den skandalösen Äußerungen von Solovyevs Held der Stunde zu folgen. Ich habe viele von solchen Hasstiraden von den gelegentlichen verrückten Taxifahrern gehört, die mich stundenlang von meiner Wohnung in Pushkin in die Stadtmitte von Petersburg gebracht haben. Zum Glück hat niemand jemals daran gedacht, ihnen bei einer landesweiten Fernsehübertragung ein Mikrofon zu geben.

Meine einzige Betrachtung ist, dass es wirklich traurig ist, dass beide Seiten des Konflikts in und um die Ukraine jetzt tief in der Zerstörung aller mentalen Hemmungen verwickelt sind, die den Menschen vor der Barbarei bewahren.

Vor einigen Wochen wurde die russische Gesellschaft durch Videos tief erschüttert und empört, die in den sozialen Medien kursierten und die zeigten, wie ukrainische Soldaten russische Kriegsgefangene aus nächster Nähe ermordet haben. Inzwischen gibt es verstohlene Gespräche im russischen Fernsehen, wonach die sogenannten Wagner-Söldnereinheiten und Tschetschenen-Brigaden „keine Gefangenen machen“. Wir können uns gut vorstellen, was das bedeutet.

Während diese gewalttätigen Trends auf beiden Seiten der Auseinandersetzung zwischen Russland und dem Westen weitergehen, werden die Chancen auf Friedensgespräche immer geringer. Und die Rückkehr der internationalen Beziehungen zu etwas, was dem status quo ante ähnelt, wird immer unwahrscheinlicher.

Déshumanisation de l’ennemi

Le terme « russophobie » a été très largement utilisé ces dernières années par les Russes et par les « amis de la Russie » à l’étranger pour décrire la campagne de dénigrement du président Poutine en particulier et du peuple russe en général, que l’Occident dirigé par les États-Unis a pratiquée avec une intensité et une virulence croissantes depuis le début de la guerre de l’information lancée en 2007.

Au cours de l’« opération militaire spéciale », le régime de Kiev a entrepris de diffuser des calomnies odieuses sur l’armée russe.  Nous avons entendu parler de « massacres de civils » à Bucha par les Russes en retraite. Nous avons entendu dire que Poutine distribuait du Viagra à ses soldats pour qu’ils puissent commettre des violences sexuelles sur les femmes ukrainiennes dans les zones occupées qu’ils contrôlent. Ces allégations et d’autres du même genre ont été répétées à l’infini dans les médias occidentaux comme s’il s’agissait de faits avérés. Ils n’étaient et ne sont rien d’autre que des mensonges éhontés. La représentation de la sauvagerie des unités bouriates et tchétchènes au sein des forces armées russes a été si répandue que même le pape François s’est exprimé publiquement contre ces peuples depuis le Vatican. Les excuses présentées par la suite par son Secrétariat ont été faites en privé au ministère russe des Affaires étrangères, de sorte que les dommages causés par cette calomnie ne seront pas effacés.

Je suggère que nous considérions la russophobie comme une nouvelle manifestation d’un vieux stratagème utilisé par ceux qui préparent le public à la guerre et gèrent les émotions populaires dans un sens jingoïste. Il s’agit de déshumaniser ses adversaires pour rendre le meurtre plus acceptable que ne le permettent les Écritures et la nature fondamentale de la société civile.

Dans de nombreux essais, j’ai fait remarquer que la politique étrangère russe était plus « réactive » qu’agressive. Il en va de même dans le domaine de la guerre de l’information. Les Russes ont pris les choses à bras-le-corps lorsque les médias occidentaux ont diffusé le récit de Bucha. Ils ont protesté et se sont plaints, mais n’ont pas riposté.

La Russie avait de bonnes raisons stratégiques de déclencher et de poursuivre la guerre en Ukraine. Certes, ces raisons sont passées de la pacification de l’Ukraine (démilitarisation et dénazification) du début à l’objectif actuel de désamorcer l’OTAN elle-même, depuis que l’OTAN a commencé à fournir à Kiev des armes de pointe, ainsi que des conseillers militaires sur le terrain et des renseignements en temps réel.

Cependant, ces considérations stratégiques sont apparemment jugées trop abstraites pour que la population locale soit suffisamment motivée pour soutenir l’effort de guerre. Le Kremlin s’est donc rabattu sur le domaine plus émotif de la déshumanisation. La soirée avec Vladimir Solovyov d’hier en était un bon exemple.

Ces deux derniers week-ends, Solovyov s’est rendu dans le Donbass où le ministre de la défense Shoigu s’est arrangé pour qu’il passe du temps sur les lignes de front et se mêle aux combattants, depuis les soldats de l’infanterie et des chars jusqu’aux officiers supérieurs.  Solovyov a présenté dans son émission des clips des personnes les plus marquantes qu’il a rencontrées là-bas.

Hier soir, nous avons eu droit à une longue interview de l’officier qui a emmené Solovyov faire un tour sur le front. Vladimir Rudolfovich rayonnait de fierté à l’idée que des hommes comme lui, qui semblait avoir environ 37 ans mais qui avait 25 ans de carrière en tant que combattant à son actif, se voient confier des unités à commander. Il espère que le commandement général les récompensera en les élevant dans la hiérarchie et en leur donnant des responsabilités encore plus grandes. Solovyov a recommandé l’interview au public, en raison de son admiration pour la « profondeur de la réflexion » du jeune officier.

Nous avons donc eu droit à une « diatribe » de cinq minutes contre l’Occident, alors que cet officier expliquait pourquoi la Russie se bat, ce que la « victoire » signifiera pour elle. La guerre vise à vaincre le « satanisme », qui a pris l’Occident sous son emprise et détruit la civilisation occidentale. Le néonazisme ukrainien n’est qu’un sous-ensemble de ce satanisme, tout comme la promotion de la culture LGBT+ en Europe occidentale.  L’Antéchrist a débarqué en Occident et c’est à la Russie de le vaincre pour défendre les valeurs traditionnelles.

Les intervenants de l’émission d’hier soir étaient le mélange habituel d’universitaires et de présidents de comités de la Douma. Un ou deux ont eu l’air stupéfait devant cet étalage de « profondeur de réflexion ».  Aucun n’a décidé de donner suite aux remarques scandaleuses du héros du moment de Solovyov. J’ai entendu à peu près la même chose de la part des chauffeurs de taxi cinglés qui m’emmenaient pour des trajets d’une heure entre mon appartement de Pushkin et le centre de Pétersbourg. Heureusement, personne n’a jamais pensé à leur donner un micro à la télévision nationale.

Ma seule observation est qu’il est vraiment triste que les deux parties en conflit en Ukraine soient maintenant profondément engagées dans la destruction de toutes les barrières mentales qui empêchent les hommes de devenir des barbares.

Il y a plusieurs semaines, la société russe a été profondément choquée et indignée par des vidéos circulant dans les médias sociaux et montrant le meurtre à bout portant de prisonniers de guerre russes par des soldats ukrainiens en liesse.  Entre-temps, on entend à la télévision russe des propos discrets selon lesquels les unités mercenaires russes Wagner et les brigades tchétchènes « ne font pas de prisonniers ». Nous pouvons imaginer ce que cela signifie.

Si ces tendances violentes se poursuivent des deux côtés de la confrontation entre la Russie et l’Occident, les chances de voir se tenir des pourparlers de paix diminueront considérablement. Et le retour des relations internationales à quelque chose qui ressemble au statu quo ante deviendra de plus en plus improbable.

45 thoughts on “Dehumanizing the enemy

  1. The Vatican was the only foreign government to recognize the Confederacy. Richmond had hoped that Britain would recognize it, but the British instead turned to Egypt to supply cotton for its mills. Judah Benjamin, Richmond’s best intellectual justifier who maintained the theory that Africans were property, nevertheless became s leading British barrister after the war.
    Nothing changes… except physics. Planck’s discovery of the energy quantum appears in the last analysis to have doomed humanity. Every other species on earth and the ghosts of the thousands driven to extinction by man applaud him.

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  2. I share your sorrow as the opposing parties in this conflict increasingly view each other as less than human. To do so makes it more acceptable, or positively desirable, to kill the opponent. It does seem that things may get worse before they get better. As far as the status quo ante, that really seems to have gone over the falls.

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  3. I used to have a book entitled, “Faces of the Enemy” which was about this exact subject. It was very interesting. Unfortunately, the longer the conflict goes on the more likely and deeper the dehumanization will go. War simply creates a spiritual wounds in everyone who is involved; Beauty is required to heal. I recommend reading Dr. Patitsas’ book, “The Ethics of Beauty”, which is about the healing of trauma. It is very excellent in this regard.

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  4. I think you have to expect soldiers on the front line will hold fairly blunt views on their role. The publicity given to Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi groups and their atrocities will inevitably find fairly stark responses. How much this influences the general public, is up to the Russian press in large part.

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  5. It is absolutely amazing to see the racism arrayed against anything Russian. I do admire Russian stoicism in the face of this, and I believe Russia to be absolutely correct in their dealings in Ukraine. I am saddened by some actions Russia is taking however. The crusade against LGBT people within Russia is a black mark upon Russian culture. There are problems with the way the west glamorizes LGBT people, but that does not mean the reactionary persecution of these people in Russia is correct. I also am in total agreement with your comments re: the Satanism claims. I suspect this is being done because, given Russia’s embrace of capitalism and it’s tolerance of oligarchs in it’s own society, it cannot very well denounce capitalism and the corrupting influence and greed of the western oligarchy as the main drivers of this conflict. People in the US are beginning to see this, so it is a shame not to see it grasped by those that are affecting military opposition in to US oligarchic imperialism. Despite these flaws, Russians are still the good guys in this conflict. My prediction since 2/24/22 has been that Russia’s actions will allow the bulk of humanity to experience a renaissance, while we in the west will be dragged backward toward feudalism. I wish Russians success in their efforts.

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    1. I don’t see a “crusade against LGBT within Russia” taking place. I do see that Russia will not allow them to take over the educational system, as has happened here in the U.S. The entire glorification of “gender identity” in the West is likely a part of the Russian reaction, I think. There’s a lot to unpack in this and I think the roots of it include, but extend beyond, the LGBT agenda.

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      1. I am on Telegram, and I have witnessed the homophobia among Russians skyrocket, so do not try to tell me otherwise. LGBT people themselves do not have an agenda beyond acceptance and equality. American liberals on the other hand, most certainly DO have an agenda, and that is to distract everyone with identity politics, so that is why they are obsessed with LGBT issues and push them to the fore. They do this because they know it produces divisions rather than solidarity, and prevents people from uniting against the economic rot, corruption, and state sponsored violence that is rampant in the US and is inherent in the US system (and these efforts are extremely successful- just look at your own reaction here). As I stated, you can point out that the glamorization of LGBT is problematic without also generating homophobia and forcing people into the closet, and keeping them there.

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      2. LGBT groups (as opposed to just “people”) definitely have an agenda well beyond acceptance and equality. There are any number of groups pushing for power (everyone’s agenda, it seems) to recast society in their own image. LGBT are certainly among those groups–and have openly, and arrogantly, pursued it in the West. They are in no ways innocent in this regard. People that disagree with this are not “homophobic” (a favorite slur) but definitely don’t agree with the agenda that openly exists.

        You made a distinction between the U.S. “Left” and Russia–and that is a fair distinction to make. Russia has (largely) nipped the issue in the bud by denying the teaching/propaganda that the LGBT groups are using so effectively in the West. We can see the results that occur when that is allowed.

        As for Telegram, it’s a lot like Twitter–all the trolls come out in the worst way.

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  6. the soldier was just giving orthodox flavor to the same outlook the new atheists had when they pretended someone took down the WTC by throwing korans at it. it’s easy to blame “satan” or “religion” for the repulsive behavior of the human animal. “satan” is a spiritual concept and the real problem is the dead-eyed bags of meat in DC disguised as sentient beings. it’s typical materialism.

    the same goes for whining about “LGB” (the “T” is its own issue) among russians; it come from their goofy christian culture but it realy boils down to “derp f_gs can’t make babies derrr”. just pure limbic ape reaction. when it comes to actual evolved thinking ideas don’t care if they’re expressed by a guy with a wife and kids or a guy who “enjoys theater”.

    and of course, not to disparage the soldiers with more spine and guts than most, wars aren’t fought by theoretical physicists. these guys are a weapon that higher ups point at a problem and tell them to shoot.

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    1. There is no “evolved thinking” on the Left in the U.S. (the public sphere, largely controlled by the Left, is an example of how ridiculous their thinking is…). The political Right is not much better. The roots of our humanity, well established and understood in the “goofy [C]hristian culture” of Russia reflects a proper view of humanity and doesn’t entertain the hedonistic, self-centered views that rule the West now.

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  7. Aggression, hate, disdain, and scorn are unhealthy and socially destructive.

    The soldiers who participate in war will be traumatized and mentally impaired till the end of their lives. They may have difficulties to fit in society, quite a few will commit suicide or end as criminals. They will be a burden for society and social cohesion will suffer.

    These are the costs of war which are often overlooked.

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  8. Why are you not telling the name of the officer with 25 years as a warrior in his record? Apti Alaudinov, the Chechen Major-General, Hero of Russia, who heads the Akhmat Special Forces detachment. A level headed, always quiet and unassuming man.
    You seem to discover him for the first time on Solovyov show, but he’s been invited on TV many times since last February. His argument about “satanism” is not new, see for example this video from last spring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxlbmZHH2JA
    Moreover it must be added that following the video of the execution of a group of Russian soldiers, when there were calls to “take no prisoners”, Apti Alaudinov on his Telegram channel made it very clear that the Akhmat Forces would continue to treat their prisoners humanely. Because if the enemy is satanic, you simply cannot act like him. See how his argument is the opposite of the one you’re trying to make in this post, Mister Doctorow?
    I find your post to be borderline, to be honest. You’re trying to depict both sides as equally evil. But only one side makes returning to status quo ante impossible.

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    1. Thanks for the link. Apti Alaudinov is clearly the right man in the right place. He is an inspirational leader for his troops. But that is not the same as being an inspirational leader for the nation at large. His words on the Solovyov show regarding the Satanic West bring us to a clash of civilizations. That makes for nice reading, as Sam Huntington found out counting the royalties of his book sales. But it is utterly irrelevant to serious understanding of the ongoing conflict in and over Ukraine, which is, I insist, geopolitical in nature, meaning all about breaking the U.S/NATO security threat to Russia in both military and economic dimensions. Solovyov’s whipping up anti-Western passions in his latest television programs will make the job of the leadership in ending the conflict on any basis less than total capitulation of the enemy exceedingly difficult. Comments by panelists that Russian troops are ready to move on Warsaw and Berlin are similarly unhelpful.

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      1. Is NATO’s security threat a manifestation of the schism that occurred in 1054? The demise of NATO might bring about peace in Europe, but will it bring about harmony? If not, how long can the peace last? An enduring peace will be possible when the West’s millennia-old superiority complex ends, I suppose.

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      2. I fail to see how you don’t see that this is precisely what we are living, a sort of religious fight. Yes, what is being promoted in the western world is pure and simply satanic. You can refuse to see it but it doesn’t change the reality. If Rusia lost this war we will see the end of everything we had called Christian or traditional in the western world. What do you need to see in order to accept the reality? The evidence is everywhere. Promoting pedophilia in the schools, more than 40% of students in college declaring non binary, a literary satanic person, and a freak, member of the satanic church as an expert of nuclear waste. There’s a moment when is a matter of life or death to name things by its real name. We are in a civilization war. You’d be clear of this mr Doctorov. Because you know it’s true. Look are what is being teach in Europa or USA, Google a bit sex with a donkey and see what apear.

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  9. Quote — “Ukrainian neo-Nazism is just a subset of this Satanism, as is the West European promotion of LGBT+ culture. The Anti-Christ has landed in the West and it is for Russia now to vanquish him in defense of traditional values.”

    ******

    I think this requires some deep analysis. What could be the origin of this “Satanism”, as the officer describes it? Clearly a spiritual and ideological vacuum has emerged in the West. How did this happen? Consider the following developments that have taken place over the past few decades:

    1. The death of Marxist-Leninist ideology.
    2. A dying Christianity.

    Something else is filling the vacuum and challenging established values, mores, and morals — some kind of new norm that is totalitarian in nature. But what is it? Is it a wholesale rejection of the wisdom and experience the western civilization has cultivated over the centuries? And the conflict is not just between Orthodox Christian societies and ‘The West’. We see this conflict with the West in Africa, too. Ask any African bishop in the Anglican Communion about the challenges to established norms in the West, and the perversions of the natural order that are being glorified there. I use the word perversions because that is how these bishops describe them. Are they the works of Satan? It’s a yes or no question. How do you think the African bishops would answer it? Am I wrong to suggest that the bishops and the officer on the same wavelength?

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  10. On the intellectual front, I see the forced choice between traditional (religious) values and U.S. dominance as the biggest problem, since both are equally associated with irrationalism. The most significant achievement of the West was the Enlightenment, the rejection of the ties of tradition and authority and the propagation of the free use of reason. As is well known, the triumph of irrationalism began afterwards in the imperialist period. It was Marxist-inspired analysts who carried on the spirit of the Enlightenment. Today, these voices are missing in public perception. Here, after all, is the common ground of LGBT rights (equality!) and national self-determination: not identity politics, which is irrationalism both individually and societally, but free, reasoned self-determination and recognition of it in others.

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    1. Are you implying that there is a theological element found in US foreign policy? It has been said that the best way to really know a people — to really find out what makes them tick — is to study their theology. Find out what it is they believe. Words that were regularly used in Puritan sermons, such as ‘providence’ and ‘destiny’, are often found in US presidential speeches. It seems that the Puritan vision of the New World as the ‘City on a Hill’ (Matthew 5:14) is present among the American political class in the 21st century. Some academics have studied this. I’ve never heard European heads of state talk like this. I wonder if the providential worldview of those who inhabit the “indispensable nation” is still alive and well, despite increased secularization and shallow religious belief among the American political elite today. Dr. Doctorow correctly states that we should focus primarily on US geopolitical and economic imperatives. But perhaps the geopolitical imperatives, co-opted/coupled with remnants of early 17th century beliefs the Puritans had of the world and their place in it, is what has put the US on a collision course with Russia.

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      1. Whatever its psychological reasons, I miss a struggle of European intellectuals against today’s irrationalism. It needs not only geopolitical analysis, but also philosophical analysis and psychoanalysis. How much more reflection there was about National Socialism and the way leading to it. Even if the (geo)political development could not be prevented, the insights helped to build something new after the collapse. At least there were some beginnings.

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  11. IMO it is ‘satanic’ to go anywhere near courting nuclear war with a nuclear armed adversary with the primary aim of plunder, which Gilbert, quoting Tolstoy in an much earlier post, stated was the main aim of war (see Michael Hudson et al as to how plunder takes place in the contemporary world).

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  12. Dehumanizing the enemy is a feature of war and it obviously applies to both sides. I would dispute however that the “Kiev regime [sic] has taken the lead” . Quite the reverse in fact–the dehumanization and contempt for everything Ukrainian has far older roots. The pairing of Ukraine and Nazism goes back to Soviet times. The contempt for Ukrainian language and culture toTsarist times. Bulhakov called Ukrainian a “vile language that does not exist in the world”.

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    1. Aren’t you all forgetting that Bulgakov also wrote The White Guard?
      And I do think he is one of the twentieth century greatest writers.
      But in contrast to the twentieth century, ideology in Western Europe seems dead; there is nothing but silly egotism – so there well may be an existential war with people in the East (like Russians) who reject near-sighted materialism. In the past, we had the most bloody wars in Europe on “religious” grounds – now for the first time we seem to get into a war in which at least one side has no religion, no cultural values to defend, no ideology good or bad (just an I-Phone to stare at). That’s a very interesting human experiment.

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  13. This easily becomes a spitting contest without value for onlookers. Bulgakov (with a G) had other things on his mind than to trash Ukraine, and it is for those other things (starting with Master and Margarita) that he is rightly remembered as one of the literary geniuses of the 20th century. The whole issue of Ukraine was in the late 19th century a major feature in the rivalry of the Rusian Empire and the Austro-Hungarian empire for domination in the Slavic lands. The Lvovshchina was the Austrian battering ram and it is they who promoted the Ukrainian language for political purposes to sow discord in the part of present day Ukraine that was ruled from Moscow. Ukraine was then as it is today simply a battlefield for other powers.

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    1. I read Master and Margarita in Polish, in which the name Bulgakov is transliterated with an h, presumably on the rather non-sensical assumption that it is Ukrainian. Literature aside, Bulgakov’s animosity to both the Ukrainian language and the very idea of an independent Ukraine is well documented. His opinions were not unique but representative.

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      1. Ну, и что? Bulgakov was born in Kiev which, in the eyes of today’s Zelensky regime or of the madmen running Poland makes him a Ukrainian. Never mind that he wrote only in Russian. Never mind that half of the Russian government today seems to have been born somewhere in Ukraine, starting with the Speaker of the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, Matvienko. Well, my friend, when I visited Kiev on business in the 1990s it was a purely Russian speaking city. Not a word of Ukrainian to be heard. It is only the rabid nationalists in today’s regime who, like bad mannered dogs, go sniffing up everyone’s crotch to proclaim on their ethnicity.

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  14. H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956): “The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville : “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.”

    Whimpering about Russian responses to Western lies doesn’t impress me. US-NAYOYO media cloaca defined the nature of this war with lies. US-NAYOYO will now reap the hatred that follows from their bigoted, sneering contempt for every notion of truth and human rights.

    It’s obvious Russian front line soldiers have seen AFU atrocities up close and in person. Mr. Doctorow only sees brief, censored versions when he clicks on Facebook and Twitter. The executions, unmistakable signs of torture, civilian rapes and executions, weapons positions next to destroyed schools and hospitals, hunger, fear, destroyed childhoods and families. I expect these brave Russian soldiers tried to make sense of wanton cruelty. The monstrous extent of smirking Nazi crimes can only be the result of evil.

    Max Born (November 1960, Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientist): “Should the human race not be extinguished by nuclear war it will degenerate into a flock of stupid, dumb creatures under the tyranny of dictators who rule them with the help of [social media] and … computers. This is not a prophecy but a nightmare.”

    Mr. Doctorow: “In the meantime there is quiet talk on Russian television to the effect that Russia’s Wagner mercenary units and Chechen brigades “take no prisoners.” We can well imagine what that means.” “Meantime”, is that journalist code for I don’t know anything for sure but I love sounding tough, intelligent, and ‘sadly certain of the truth’? At least, until the next Tweet or article appears. Until a quiet Papal retraction takes the place of Doctorow’s imagination.

    Eduardo Galeano: “My great fear is that we are all suffering from amnesia. It’s not a person. It’s a system of power that is always deciding in the name of humanity who deserves to be remembered and who deserves to be forgotten.”

    It couldn’t be that humane Russian treatment of AFU soldiers resulted in nothing but battlefield executions and torture of Russian soldiers and civilians. Ukrainian politicians, AFU commanders and soldiers, are obviously willing to create a ‘dirty nuclear bomb’ by shelling Zaporizhzhia NPP wet and dry spent nuclear fuel storage areas. They have killed at least 20,000 civilians with shelling and human shield tactics. US-NAYOYO strategy was to fight this war in ethnic Russian areas to cause the most damage and suffering. The war’s conclusion will reveal hundreds of execution pits and torture centres scattered cross Ukraine. US-NAYOYO politicians, soldiers and journalists are willing to commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the planet, for nothing more than bigoted greed.

    Jesse Ventura, “When the government lies, the truth becomes a traitor.”

    This war’s history, genesis, and practice is defined by cruelly stupid lies. US-NAYOYO defined this war with no humane limits. Soon they will reap the whirlwind created by their stupidity.

    Aldous Huxley ‘After Many a Summer Dies the Swan’: “…But the fact remains, nevertheless, that you can’t help if they persist in the course of behaviour which originally got them into their trouble. For example, you can’t preserve people from the horrors of war if they won’t give up the pleasures of nationalism. You can’t save them from slumps and depressions so long as they go on thinking exclusively in terms of money and regarding money as the supreme good. You can’t avert revolution and enslavement if they will identify progress with the increase of centralization and prosperity with the intensifying of mass production. You can’t preserve them from their collective madness and suicide if they persist in paying divine honours to ideals which are merely projections of their own personalities – in other words, if they insist on worshiping themselves…”

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    1. Thank you for your literary citations and thoughts on the unfolding catastrophe in Ukraine. I do not get my news from Twitter, instead relying heavily on what I see on Russian state television and relying on my own conversations with people on the ground during my periodic visits to St Petersburg. What I see now on the Solovyov show, which is one of my key markers, is upsetting. Solovyov is now rabidly nationalistic and acting in the worst traditions of Russian talk shows wherein the panelists shout one another down. Only it is the jingoist and populist Solovyov himself who is shouting down deans of MGU and MGIMO, not letting them finish a sentence; it is he who is mocking openly the common sense attitude of none other than the chairman of the Duma Committee on IT towards returning IT specialists who ran away at the start of the SMO: as if the war heros from the front can spare Russia the loss of half of its IT expert community, which now seems to be the situation. The fact is that none of us, including you, really knows the state of play on the ground in the Ukrainian war. There have been too many lies and cover-ups from BOTH sides for us to know. So I urge upon you some restraint in setting out your black and white analysis.

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      1. I regret and apologize for the Twitter paragraph. I do enjoy your articles and welcome their wisdom, especially as they come from someone who has on the ground Russian experience. Sometimes the keyboard warrior in me gets carried away.

        Thank you again for kindly showing me a better path.

        Yours Truly, Richard Graham

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  15. “…It is truly sad that both sides to the conflict…are now deeply engaged in the destruction of all the mental restraints that keep men from barbarism.”
    This is very true. Warring parties seek to create the illusion they are fighting over principles, binary choice of good v evil. But it is not so: wars are fought over interests. And this brings nations into alliances with others who do not share their values, often against those who do. The inability to see this has catastrophic consequences.

    A free ebook

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