Category Archives: Putin

Cultural mathematics – and other inadequate thinking

A couple of days ago the head of the editorial office for culture and arts in our prestigious paper Dagens Nyheter, Bjorn Wiman, drew attention to Russian journalists who suffer violence and murder. The column focused on the atrocities directed towards women, but the author made one small miscalculation. He claimed as a fact that “female journalists are particularly vulnerable to repression against independent media in Russia”.

As proof of this statement he pointed to a survey showing that female journalists have to endure threats and hatred on the Internet three times more often than their male colleagues. But in the next sentence he wrote that women constitute 80 percent of the journalists in Russia. In other words: if the attacks were distributed regardless of gender, one would expect women to be four times more affected than men, not just three times. Bottom line: male journalists are particularly vulnerable to repression in Russia.

Apart from this mishap in the text, it’s an important topic. There are way too many journalists murdered in Russia, and way too few attempts by western media to investigate and understand these deplorable events. One can’t avoid the suspicion that this obscurantism is intentional, opening for readers to intuitively believe that Putin lies behind it, after all.

When the almost daily mass shootings occur in the US, media is not just interested in the misdeed itself but also in the perpetrator’s background and motives. But when Russian criminals are brought to trial for murdering journalists, the western interest for them is low. The court proceedings are usually open to journalists, but anything substantial is seldom reported. It’s as if we want people to think that every such event is a show trial serving to send some scapegoats to prison to protect the real culprits higher up (accusations never accompanied by any evidence).

Anna Politkovskaya was murdered ten years ago. She had been very critical towards Putin over the war in Chechnya, and – ergo – Putin gave the orders for her assassination! That seems to be a widespread opinion in western circles. And yes, if Putin wanted to hurt himself to the maximum, that would be plausible. It suffices to see the damage done to Russia by this murder as it is. The Russian justice system, on the other hand, seems to have evidence that a Russian oligarch – Boris Berezovsky – hostile to Putin and living abroad, instigated the murder of Politkovskaya, which at least appeals to elementary common sense.

The most recent high-profile murder was that of Boris Nemtsov. Here the distinguished Dagens Nyheter openly speculated that Putin was responsible, and if that by any chance couldn’t be proved, still “his name will forever be tied to this murder”. This is our elevated defamation activities in action! The premise for that view – that Putin is stupid beyond the comprehensible – is something our propagandist perhaps are too stupid themselves to grasp (or more sinister: they expect their readers to be).

Looking for motives to murder Russian journalists one can’t avoid thinking about false flag operations. But there are evidently terrorists and loose cannons, with or without Chechnyan connection, enough to cause all kinds of problems. We don’t know very much about these subjects here, and it would call for some investigative journalism, had our media not been so definitely restricted to dumb propaganda whenever it comes to Russia.

Sweden to join NATO? Time going backwards?

I served for a few years in the Swedish military as a reserve officer during the darkest period of the first Cold War. In those days the Soviet Union was regarded as absolute evil and a threat to everything human and benign on earth. The Swedish defense was focused entirely on a WWII-style Soviet invasion, albeit under a thin veil of neutrality. I learned then that a few odd and intelligent professional officers were skeptical towards the whole scenario, believing that the Soviets had neither the interest nor the capability of invading our country.

The Soviet threat was used by western powers as a political means to push through excessive military spending and to create NATO as a “protection”. Being the leading western force the United States waged numerous illegal and immoral wars with the Soviet threat as a pretext. Then the Wall fell, the Evil Empire collapsed – and the scam was disclosed. NATO was not to be dismantled; it expanded, meaning that Soviet communism had not been the menace. New fanciful pretexts for keeping NATO alive had to be concocted (such as protection against “the technological sophistication of third world countries”).

For ten years during the 1990s, Russia was demolished while NATO crept ever closer to its borders. With a toothless Russian bear it became increasingly difficult to market the need for NATO and to motivate extravagant military budgets in many countries. Then, as a gift from heaven, came Vladimir Putin who threw a spanner into the works of robber capitalism in Russia. There was a man to target! He made the government reclaim some of the country’s riches that unscrupulous oligarchs had stolen (how dared he!). Eventually Russia reacted forcefully to a western induced (and long prepared) coup d’état in Kiev and the Cold War II was a fact, by good luck for lovers of western militancy.

It has now come to a point where right-wing pundits here advocate for Sweden to join NATO. An editorial in our foremost MSM – Dagens Nyheter – the other day is archetypal for the arguments. It’s first of all held as self-evident that Russia is the only power we have to defend ourselves against, despite historical experiences that point in other directions. The most serious diplomatic conflict Sweden has had with any of the great powers had to do with our government’s strong opposition to the Vietnam War, culminating in the US government recalling its Ambassador to Sweden. Our disputes with Russia have been more numerous, but have not reached that high level.

DN describes NATO as “the only organization that exists for firm protection of democracy and freedom”, which is true – with our definitions. “Democratic” in the western sense is an attribute attached to regimes we approve of. Russia is thus not a democracy, regardless of how well monitored their elections are. But since NATO through the years has been characterized by its “firm protection” of a large number of murderous and dictatorial monsters, there is not much real substance in DN’s apology at all.

“Freedom” as we see it does apparently not include freedom for peaceful civilians from being murdered by bombs and grenades. NATO countries (in different clusters) have been waging almost continuous wars of aggression since the organization was established. Their latest achievements have set the entire Middle East on fire, with consequences that really poses severe danger to our countries. NATO, with its expansionism and its members’ military aggression, is far from a defense alliance. It’s an offensive organization that poses an imminent threat, not just to its own members but to world peace.

Alternatives for Sweden? Well, why not seek a non-violent partnership with China, who is demonstrating to the world that peaceful cooperation is the road to prosperity, and that war is counterproductive in all its aspects.

Putin – “the new Stalin” – to build a museum denouncing the former Stalin

When a licensed hawk like Dr. Henry Kissinger persistently argues that the present demonizing of Vladimir Putin in the West is not just bad policy, but even lack of policy, one could expect that at least those less right-wing than him had taken some notice. And when he with the same determination claims that Russia’s security interests near its borders must be recognized by USA and EU, he cannot be suspected to be Putin’s tool. A plausible conclusion is instead that western conservatives and liberals along the line have run amok in Russophobe frenzy.

The uniform narrative on the Russian issue, spread all over western mainstream media, is embarrassingly ignorant and naïve or – more exactly – mostly outright stupid. It’s as if the old format from the blatant anti-communist propaganda in the first cold war has been recovered from the archives and recycled. It’s not just one-sided, like all propaganda, it’s also deliberately misleading (or, as Paul Craig Roberts would say: it’s all lies).

(One hour ago I heard a segment in the Swedish public service radio, to take just a minuscule example. It has been reported today that Poroshenko will put forward new legislation that will permit some kind of autonomy for the break-away regions in eastern Ukraine. The “public service” reporter supposes that Poroshenko is under pressure from Germany and France (to get financial support), and then he devotes most of the time to an interview with some unknown Ukrainian nationalist who is allowed to thoroughly describe his opposition to the legislation. Not a word is said about the central fact: that the autonomy in question is a fundamental clause in the Minsk accords.)

According to our propaganda the civil war in Ukraine is “Putin’s war” although Russia had pushed harder than anyone else for a negotiated solution. “Putin wants to conquer Ukraine” (a lie by Yatsenjuk and others) although Russia has put forward a resolution to the UN Security Council, guaranteeing Ukraine’s integrity and secure borders. “Putin wants to restore the Soviet Union” (McCain et.al.), “Putin is a new Hitler” (Clinton) etcetera.

A completely different event concerning Putin has been announced by Professor Stephen Cohen in The Nation recently. No president in Russia before Putin has managed to push through the establishment of a museum commemorating all the victims of Stalin’s reign of terror. Now he has done that, probably in defiance of a large part of Russians that consider Stalin to be a great nation builder and a war-winning marshal. We now just have to wait and see how our media will distort the building of this museum to match the demonizing of Putin (if they can’t manage that, they can be expected to be dead silent). The museum will be inaugurated in October this year.

More about this issue can be listened to via The Nation’s web edition where Stephen Cohen discusses with John Batchelor.

The anatomy of propaganda – a contemporary plague

For quite some years in the 1960s our main newspaper – Dagens Nyheter – asserted that the Vietnam affair was a war waged by the communists – Soviet Russia and China with North Vietnamese as mercenaries – against the people of South Vietnam. Today we would call such propaganda unbelievably stupid. How could anyone swallow that? In fact, it was a different time, and it was swallowed.

It was no secret that South Vietnam, a US vassal state, was headed by one or other dictator, appointed and dismissed (and occasionally murdered) by CIA. But such details didn’t matter; in the fight against the profoundly evil world communism none of US’s actions, no matter how grotesque, were debatable.

Now we are back on the same playing field. According to DN and the western mainstream the fighting in Ukraine is not just to blame on Russia; it’s more exactly “Putin’s war”. To achieve this level of wisdom a number of elementary facts and logical truisms have to be overlooked.

It seems first of all self evident that someone who starts a war must want that war. Russia under Putin had worked insistently for years to build friendly commercial and political relations with the western world, in order to benefit its own development. Putin had just come home from the Sochi Olympics where Russia had invested billions to enhance its good-will in the world. Around that time the President of Ukraine was presented an ultimatum from EU to turn down an economic proposition from Russia as a precondition for an agreement with EU.

It would have been suicide for Ukraine (as we can see now), with its essential economic ties with Russia, to surrender the EU ultimatum. It didn’t, and the Maidan followed, exacerbated by neo-Nazi groups opening fire and throwing Molotov cocktails, the whole scenario with an unmistakable CIA scent all over it. The coup regime immediately demonstrated its hostility towards everything Russian and the possibility of the country eventually being overtaken by NATO became an obvious threat.

That Russia reacted by annexing Crimea, protecting its large naval base from falling under NATO control, was naturally a defensive move, enhanced by the dominantly Russian population’s wishes, demonstrated with overwhelming majority in a referendum. Such was Putin’s “crime”: a correction of history which should have taken place when Soviet Union collapsed, if the West had allowed itself some rational considerations instead of just wanting to annihilate Russia as much as possible.

The right-wing and anti-Russian coup urged people in the south-east to free themselves from Kiev rule. The rebel leaders hoped for Russian military intervention which they immediately learned they were not getting (one of the leaders then calling Russia “an enemy”). Russia’s policy has stayed the same ever since, communicated in words and actions over and over again: Ukraine (Crimea excluded) must remain a sovereign state with secured borders. The war must stop, and controversies be solved by negotiations, leading to some form of autonomy for the Donbas region.

But our media still labels this “Putin’s war”! Recently our propaganda pamphlet Dagens Nyheter proudly presented “two recognized experts on Russia” (one Lilia Sjevtsova and one James Sherr). The female one (from Brookings Institution) had the superhuman capacity to creep into Putin’s head and find out what he was thinking. After the successful Crimea expedition Putin thought, according to Lilia: “Why not also take south-eastern Ukraine?” Well, he so much didn’t want to take any part of Ukraine that he infuriated some rebel leaders. Lilia must have thought: “What the heck, facts have nothing to do with this!”

Mr. Sherr feels important enough to personally overrule the Minsk agreement, which he considers incompatible with Ukraine’s sovereignty, thus obviously disavowing Mr. Poroshenko himself. On Ms. Merkel’s statement that there is no military solution he comments: “It’s an extremely stupid cliche”.

Regardless of the Russian leaders’ aversion to the war in Ukraine, it is self evident that they won’t tolerate Kiev’s massacring of their countrymen in Donbas. Russia most certainly provides every kind of voluntary assistance a non-belligerent party is allowed, and maybe some more than that. For the West to moralize over Russia’s actions is presumptuous, to say the least, considering the 25 years of intense US/EU preparations for the present explosive situation.

The kind of Orwellian propaganda we have to consume day in and day out when we read our daily paper is hard to digest. (Luckily we can get the Internet version for free, which eases the pain.)

My collected reader’s comments to NYT articles

Follows a collection of commentaries I’ve made in the New York Times Reader’s Comments section on different articles (mostly for me keeping track of them myself). They’ll be accessible as long as NYT keeps the links alive, I suppose.

31 January 2015. A comment on the vaccine debate that followed the recent outbreak of measles in U.S.:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/31/us/as-measles-spreads-in-us-so-does-anxiety.html?comments#permid=13989276
-.-.-.-

25 March 2015. On signs of increasing poverty albeit growing wealth in the society (Sweden) as a whole:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/25/opinion/how-poor-are-the-poor.html?comments#permid=14521337
-.-.-.-

30 March 2015. On the horrific number of deaths in China during the Mao era, which we constantly are reminded of, compared to the even larger mortality caused by capitalism in India – which we very seldom hear of:

http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/cambodian-historians-call-for-china-to-confront-its-own-past/?comments#permid=14562852:14581199
-.-.-.-

3 April 2015. Another complete imbalance in our fields of interest: our laser-like scrutiny of terrorism carried out by others, compared to the forbearance with our own, much graver and deadlier terrorist activities:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/03/world/africa/garissa-university-college-shooting-in-kenya.html?comments#permid=14598017:14604023
-.-.-.-

9 May 2015. This article appeared simultaneously in NYT and Dagens Nyheter (Sweden), not surprisingly. It’s that kind of text our propaganda model loves: a Russian author who more or less regrets that his country defeated Nazi Germany in WWII. He just thinks that one oppression was replaces by another, obviously unaware of the Nazi’s Generalplan Ost which aimed at exterminating most people in Russia and enslaving the rest. This was not some high-flying Nazi plan or empty threat, it was implemented from day one of the German invasion. The existence of the special Sonderkommando with the explicit task to exterminate Jews, Communists and other unwanted humans was the terrible evidence of that reality.

One could have hoped that NYT and DN had been kind enough to save the poor ignorant (or just propagandistic) author from his embarrassment, but the temptation to publish his sentimental excesses was maybe to overwhelming. As some Readers’ Comments point out, the article was also a slap in the face on Putin and Russia, on the very day, sacred for Russians, of commemorating the death of 27 million people which Russia had to sacrifice to defeat the most atrocious and inhuman ideology in all history: Nazism.

An interesting difference: Dagens Nyheter didn’t open its comment section on this article, as opposed to New York Times. This is one reflection on the difference in effective freedom of expression which is taken much more seriously in the U.S. than in Europe. My comment, like some other critical ones, was listed as “NYT Pick” by the editor, another sign of openness for critique. But on the other hand: the propaganda gain was taken home by the printed article. (I suppose that the reader’s comments are mostly read by the commentators themselves.)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/09/opinion/mikhail-shishkin-how-russians-lost-the-war.html?comments#permid=14915384
-.-.-.-

11 May 2015. A comment on one of Paul Krugman’s many enlightened columns in NYT.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/11/opinion/paul-krugman-wall-street-vampires.html#permid=14932711
-.-.-

17 May 2015. An article on the prospects for western economy after the last collapse, with discussions about singularities, neglecting the overall picture.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/upshot/dont-be-so-sure-the-economy-will-return-to-normal.html?comments#permid=14975427

“Mortality among the opposition” in Ukraine “is high”!

The murder of Boris Nemtsov right outside the Kremlin walls in Moscow was rightfully a very well covered story in Swedish media. Dagens Nyheter reported extensively and continuously for weeks, culminating during the large manifestations in connection with the funeral.

DN didn’t make too much effort to prevent readers from believing that Vladimir Putin had something to do with the killing. In a key editorial the paper declared that Putin’s name forever would be tied to this murder, even if any hard evidence for his involvement never may appear.

One should perhaps expect that DN’s moral outrage had something to do with the abomination of political assassinations as such, but not so, evidently. The important thing was neither the victim nor the principle; it just had to do with the alleged perpetrator, or at best, the immoral atmosphere created by the dictatorial leadership in Russia.

Evidence to that came with the political assassinations in Ukraine, not one but ten (so far), some of them possibly disguised as suicides. Among the victims are former prominent politicians in the opposition against the Kiev government: three PMs, a governor, a prosecutor, a police chief, a mayor, a journalist etc. In seven of the cases the police quickly stated that the deaths were suicides (even one where the victim was shot in the head – from behind).

It took some months for DN to even notice these deaths of unwanted political figures at all, in sharp contrast to the Nemtsov case. If there hadn’t been so many alternative media today covering the events, DN had most likely chosen to forget them altogether. But now they had to make some noise.

As to indicate its low interest DN didn’t appoint any of their own reporters to the job but just copy/pasted a short text from the news agency TT (as much biased as the rest of the media). The first sentence reads: “Mortality among the opposition to the new government in Ukraine is extremely high” (a jaunty remark, of course unthinkable in the case of the Nemtsov murder). Ukraine’s president is quoted as saying that it’s all “a deliberate action which plays into the hands of our enemies”, obviously pointing at Russia.

A foreign policy analyst in the Swedish Defense Research Institute just follows up on Poroshenko by referring to Ukrainian experts, “speculating that Russia lies behind the murders, aiming at destabilizing the situation in Ukraine before a possible upcoming military offensive in the east…” What the “expert” should have done to earn his salary would have been a plausibility test on that claim. It’s true that the Nemtsov murder had a destabilizing effect in that it deepened the critical attention on the already vilified Russian leadership. But there is no equivalence to that in the Ukrainian case.

The very idea that Russia would send agents to Ukraine to murder their own friends there, just to discredit the Ukrainian Nazis, is indeed far-fetched beyond the improbable. These Nazis have already discredited themselves to the extreme by killing innocent fellow citizens in Donbas, in the most unscrupulous and cruel way, without western media reacting significantly. Russia knew, as well as everybody else with eyes and a brain, that this apparent western cover-up would not change a bit by a few more Nazi murders.

Another Swedish “expert” prefers the suicide hypothesis, according to TT. The victims were namely facing criminal charges of different kinds, probably politically motivated in accordance with recent Ukrainian principles. This expert thus thinks that sane people, threatened with prison sentences, would desire to kill themselves instead of simply move to Russia with their families, where they would have been taken well care of. It seems as if the brains of these experts stop functioning normally as soon as the issues involve Russia. They are civil servants, paid by the public, engaged in what amounts to outright political propaganda, not research.

Not that I’m surprised. Nor disillusioned. I had no illusions to start with.

The Soviet Union – mainly Russia – defeated the Nazis

It’s a token of our superior western propaganda model that Russia’s role in WWII now is more or less marginalized in our media, and increasingly in people’s minds. That is: Russia’s positive role is diminished. For the rest of it the red hoards are put on rather equal terms with Nazi Germany, first of all by pointing at the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, leading to the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland and the Baltic states.

In this remolding of history the realpolitik of the 1930s is conveniently obscured. Among other things the main geopolitical goal for the Nazis, which was to conquer the land of the Slavs and make the entire Slavic region a service area for the Aryans in the future Germania. For that you didn’t have to read (the unreadable) Mein Kampf, it was reiterated in numerous speeches and texts by the Nazi leaders. So every sober observer realized that the pact between Soviet and Germany was just a tactical move and only temporary.

To understand Russia’s motives in that game is not really hard. The western countries, formerly great colonial powers, had declared war on Germany but were completely impotent militarily. They had been reluctant to form alliances with the Soviet Union who stood alone before the coming attack by the German war machine, the most impressive in history up till then. When the strike hit and an alliance could be formed, Russia still had to fight more than 200 elite German divisions for three years before the other members of the alliance were able to do at least some noticeable military effort against (significantly smaller) German units. (In the much hyped battles in North Africa Germany had three [3] divisions engaged.)

Immediately after the war everyone, Churchill, Eisenhower and the rest, admitted the obvious: Russia had overwhelmingly taken the blow and was the main victor. In Europe it was also a widespread feeling that the ordinary working people were the frontrunners. Soviet Union was still considered some kind of workers’ state (an illusion, at that time yet to be disclosed), and the partisans fighting the Nazis in many countries filled their ranks with ordinary citizens, many of them communists, anarchists or social democrats. In Greece, Yugoslavia and Italy the partisans played a crucial role in defeating the Nazis and liberating their countries.

In Sweden the labor movements, mainly the Trade Unions and the Social Democrats, came out strong after the war, captured the political leadership for many years to come and began building a solid welfare state. Hard to believe today is that a serious discussion of transforming Sweden into a centrally planned economy indeed took place. Business leaders realized that real democratic forces had been strengthened by the outcome of the war, and were compelled to make important concessions to at least avoid that. An era of consensus and compromise was solidified, lasting some 40 years, until neoliberalism started to wear down both those gains and a number of others.

To deprive Russia the honor of being the main victor in defeating the horrible and despicable Nazi regime in Germany is sickening in its stupidity (though Hillary Clinton claiming that USA defeated the Nazis is just ordinary and expected ignorance). And to do so as part of propaganda efforts regarding the situation in Ukraine is merely demagogic. As John Mearsheimer (and many others) thoroughly have demonstrated, the crisis in Ukraine has been meticulously prepared by the West for 25 years and, according to Victoria Nuland, with §5 billion invested. That these so called democratic countries then let pure neo-Nazis take the lead in the violent overthrow of an elected president is just simply shameful.

Sweden has a particular role in this process through a man named Carl Bildt, at times Prime Minster and Foreign Minister during this period. He has contributed greatly to undermine Russian security by working for the western area of influence moving closer, and sometimes up to, the Russian border. He will claim that he has been promoting “democracy”, but it’s easy to show that he in numerous cases has preferred highly undemocratic regimes, so far that they secure western superiority, which is his de facto main interest.
—–
These days it would be appropriate for us to celebrate the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany which laid the ground for truly democratic progress in many parts of the world. Russia itself eventually were to reform its authoritarian system 25 years later, only to undergo total break-down caused by capitalist “reforms” which killed 10 million people, a Harmagedon which a man named Putin started to raise his country from some 15 years ago. Since Russia has made progress with Putin at the helm, we obviously think that we have to intervene to stop him in any possible way. That’s us!

Swedish media on Russia – cynicism defined

I’ve mentioned our most prestigious daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter quite some times on these pages. DN is a kind of hillbilly version of New York Times, but still pompous and condescending, obviously all too aware of its local significance. Today DN (of course) is leading this country’s witch hunt on Russia and Putin.

DNs editor in chief – Peter Wolodarski – is a fairly young man. He had just become a teenager when Soviet Communism disappeared, yet he reiterates almost verbatim the slander, insinuations, deliberate misinterpretations and all the other characteristics of the (first) Cold War propaganda.

Especially amusing was when he some time ago wrote an editorial piece condemning countries that obstruct international cooperation by regularly vetoing Security Council resolutions, referring specifically to Russia. Now being 74 years old I lived through that period with daily reports on Russian (Soviet) vetoes. They really happened, and the fact that United States had almost the entire UN in its pocket was not considered a proper excuse for Soviet vetoes.

But this is the funny thing: during Wolodarski’s whole life United States have issued by far the largest number of vetoes in the Security Council, no other country even in shouting distance. What happened was that colonialism started to disintegrate in the 1960s, and US’ absolute dominance in UN thus seeped away. So from the mid 60s US took over the lead in the not very honorable competition of veto production, and have kept it since.

Wolodarski’s gaffe is in a way understandable. As long as Soviet provided the vetoes the topic was prioritized news, highlighted in every western media. But when US took over the leading role in issuing UN vetoes the subject immediately lost all media interest. That’s how propaganda works, nothing surprising about that. Wolodarski just copied what he must have read in retrospect, not aware of his present. He fell victim of the propaganda he himself is part of.

DN today is an echo of its earlier version from the darkest years of the last Cold War, the 1950s up to the Vietnam War (not that the Cold War ended then, it just became somewhat moderated). Russia is depicted as a dictatorship ruled by some kind of new Stalin, intimidating Europe and the entire world. Sweden is threatened and must greatly strengthen its military forces. Putin is naturally guilty of most atrocities in Russia, everything from incarceration of pop singers to murdering politicians and journalists. Now DN of course has some journalistic ethics, so accusations like that are printed just as insinuations, though with an unequivocal certainty.

I’ve just read the latest of PW’s weekly epistles on Putin’s lies and Russia’s threats. He writes about the country’s unwarranted feeling of being encircled by western powers. For PW this feeling is “somewhat paranoid”, considering “how many hands have been stretched out to Russia after the Soviet collapse”. (One is not supposed to laugh.)

What did those “many hands” really do? First they helped destroy the Russian production system thoroughly, throwing the country back to the third world from which it came in 1917, creating a social catastrophe of gigantic proportions leading to the death of ten million people, mostly young men.

Secondly those hands helped a few former “communist” thugs to “legally” steal everything of value in the country, further deepening the suffering ordinary Russian endured.

Thirdly the West did what was needed to cover the whole thing up. This has been a success in the “democracies” where one of the worst social catastrophes of all times is completely wiped out of history. It has also left westerners ignorant of Putin’s role in reversing that collapse, thus also unaware of the main reason for his popularity in Russia. We may choose to close our eyes and ears, but the Russians will never forget the capitalist catastrophe of the 90s, not as long as they live and not in generations to come. And they will remember who passably put thing together again.

Russia vs. Citizens United – corruption vs. supercorruption

My paper Dagens Nyheter (Daily News) has an editorial writer who is specialized in writing childish thinking in a causal and appealing style. Now he recently went to the cinema to watch the much praised Russian film Leviathan. His mission was thus to concoct an editorial piece combining his artistic impressions with the more notorious critique of Russian command politics and corruption.

The film obviously draws attention to corruption on the daily basis in Russia. According to my reporter the main character in the story has a dispute with a mayor over some property, and since his adversary has the justice apparatus in his hand the hero is rejected with his complaints everywhere. It seems like a traditional Kafka scenario. This is naturally not very gratifying for Russia, so my informer – the editorial writer – has to show how the officials have tried to hamper the movie in different ways.

It turned out not to be very easy. The film maker Andrey Zvyagintsev was already famous for earlier films, such as his debut The Return, which won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival in 2003, among numerous other honors. Thus Zvyagintsev was granted money by the Russian Ministry of Culture to make Leviathan. But this, says my informer, was before 2012 which Kremlinologists hold as an important year in Russian cultural decline. Thus it’s in the monolithic system’s expected spirit that the minister himself has criticized Leviathan for not having real heroes and for spitting at Russian politicians.

Then, on the other hand again, this despicable nomenklatura system nevertheless selected the film to represent Russia at the Academy Awards. As a reader one may be somewhat puzzled by the contradictory signals here. But that’s unnecessary, my informer is a master of his art and easily sort things out: We are just witnessing the typical Russian capriciousness! The art of Tautology is namely also on his repertoire, in this case to express a conclusion that becomes true under every possible circumstance.

There was probably very little corruption in Russia before 1990. Then in the following decade the country was completely devastated by the roller coaster called capitalism. The breakdown of social cohesion that followed unsurprisingly prepared the ground for everyday corruption, in the beginning as a means of mere survival. Russia is a country struggling its way up from the chaos it was dumped into in the 1990s. Since Vladimir Putin marked the turning point we may ask ourselves if our hatred of him means that we had preferred a Russia remaining in the third world.

Small scale corruption is a dear subject in my paper. It could of course be a coincidence that such fraud provides the convenient weapons to use against countries and political systems we find most interesting to attack. Anyway, certain kind of corruption, incredibly worse, is typically and almost totally ignored.

I made a search in Dagens Nyheter’s online archive for the concept “Citizens United”, only to find just a couple of mentions and only one short description of that fundamental legitimizing of corruption on a gigantic scale. In Russia one can buy mayors and officers, in USA the already extremely powerful ultra rich and the corporations can buy the entire political monitoring system all the way to the very top. Alas, to survive morally in the West requires a well developed ability to become a hypocrite, that’s for sure.

Sweden is not at all innocent in these respects, even if the amounts of money are smaller. We were for many years criticized by international organizations for having secret lists of contributors to the political parties. Now some kind of compromise has been reached and the debate is silenced. But following the usual pattern we could expect to have the US system of legalized corruption on a large scale here in a few decades. Or – preferably – the US system has come to such an extreme that something radical has to be done there. Those who live will see.

Russia wants united Ukraine – the West doesn’t care?

Russia created a problem for western biased Kremlinologists by submitting a resolution to the UN Security Council calling for the Council to reaffirm “its full respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine”, unanimously adopted on 17 February this year. This initiative contradicts the very basis for mainstream western propaganda, which requires Russian intentions to subdue Ukraine through a war of aggression, even aiming at territorial gains.

During the former cold war every benign signal from the Russians were easily interpreted as a form of insidious and diabolic tactic with hidden, evil intentions. This western habit of reversing messages is no longer feasible to the same extent. There are too many complementary sources of information and debate today, first of all on the ever growing Internet, but also in the mainstream.

It’s interesting in this context to follow the very mainstream New York Times, whose reporting and commentary on the whole is tilted towards anti-Russian views. Still NYT has some objective news reporting never seen in Swedish media, for instance from areas in Ukraine suffering from the shelling by Kiev forces. The tidy Readers Commentaries are often appealing on articles about the Ukraine conflict. In mostly very articulate posts people in general have a much broader and more enlightened view on the subject than the article itself reflects, often with appreciation for the Russian point of view.

What I can find in the NYT online archive, the Security Council resolution was reported only as a ten-line Reuter’s note. Its Swedish analogue, Dagens Nyheter, had a one-line misrepresentation of the resolution in an editorial otherwise venomously despising Russia. It seems that silencing is the only tactic left when the old cold war technique of turning benign into malignant no longer holds. But silencing won’t work either in this new, multifaceted media world.

What basis has western propaganda media had for their view of an aggressive Russia wanting war to subdue Ukraine? It seems that they have tried to conjure up a picture of the old communist wickedness under which to hide and repress everything important that Russia signals. For an un-blinded eye Russia didn’t look extremely pleased with the armed uprising in Donbas. Putin made remarks about Ukrainian unity early on, disavowing the not very happy rebel leaders. As events evolved Russia naturally couldn’t remain idle as Kiev let Nazi voluntaries loose in killing Russian speaking people, and was forced to engage in support of the separatists.

Throughout the whole process Putin and Lavrov has repeatedly demanded negotiations to solve the crisis, something never highlighted in western media. The core interest here has been to speculate (in the old Kremlinologist spirit) about what Putin “really” has in mind, as opposed to what he says. This is an occupation that must have taken scholars, politicians and other pundits man-years of fruitless work.

A criminal investigation starts by looking for a motive. Has Russia anything to gain from a war of aggression towards a neighboring country? As we have seen: then have everything to lose! So why did the war start? The basic analysis is made by Professor John Mearsheimer in Foreign Affairs, who demonstrates unequivocally that the West created the prerequisites through 25 years of systematic provocations against Russia (spending 5 bn dollars, according to Mrs. Nuland).

The problem with Crimea, a natural part of Russia with mostly Russian inhabitants and a large Russian military base, should have been solved 25 years ago by a proactive West. But that was not even considered since the single goal was to cripple the former Russian dominion as much as at all possible. The purpose has obviously been, not to solve any of Russia’s problems, but to create as many as time and money allowed.

It’s a hope for the future and for peace that so many people see through the western propaganda machinery. And it’s inspiring to read the commentary sections in all sorts of papers. What people write there is not picked up from mainstream media; it requires critical thinking of one’s own, a gratifying phenomenon that seems to be spreading. That’s why Kerry and others are talking about “information war”, and that war will in the long run be won by reason, insight and compassion.