by Sean Jobst
April 8th, 2017
There are two current extremes when it comes to Russia. One extreme is that pushed by the liberal mainstream media, and Establishment politicians of both the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as similar parties in other Western countries. They scapegoat the Russian government as having interfered in or determined elections in the U.S. or other countries, or hypocritically accuse it of the very same things their own governments are guilty of. BUT, there is another extreme and this is one of excessive Russophilia and Putin-worship, very present (and I need go no further than the FB newsfeed to see the innumerable examples from several of you).
The principled writer and investigative journalist in me is disgusted by any hypocrisy or lack of consistency, so I will now call out these trends. I don't care about any popularity contest, and I know several of the same people who applaud whenever I - as an American citizen - speak out against the policies or actions of the U.S. government, will suddenly get defensive that I dare challenge their worship of Putin or their Russophilia because what some are opposed for, others should be opposed for the very same policies. Yet, those people will be unable to challenge anything actually written in the following post since I have only gone wherever the evidence takes me without making excuses for some and not others.
It goes without saying that I oppose the clamouring for war against Russia by the liberal and Neocon establishment, and the trends which oppose Putin solely for the very same policies (like invading other countries or interfering in other countries' elections) they are themselves guilty of, or those which oppose Putin's Russia because it goes against the liberal social values and standards prevalent in the modern West. Just like what I experienced during the U.S. elections, whenever I would write or post against one side they would accuse me of being with the other side - even if in the very same post I also spoke out against that side. People have too much of a visceral and emotional reaction, especially online, throwing consistency and principles to the wayside whenever it runs contrary to their own personal bias. Both the mainstream media and the governments are this way, but so are large segments of allegedly anti-Establishment or alternative media outlets, who cling to their own fundamental assumptions and ignore any evidence challenging these.
First, Putin is not to be commended for his actions in Syria. The Russian government - just like the governments who have been supporting the other side, the rebels - are out for their own interests and care nothing about Syrians. There is no altruism when it comes to the actions of politicians and governments, no matter what side they represent. He ONLY got involved in Syria after four years, when the country had already been devastated and divided beyond any foreseeable redemption. Even then it was largely to protect Russian bases, in the same way that the U.S. government interferes in other countries to protect their own bases. And in the beginning of the war, Russian negotiators were more than willing to sell out Assad in their negotiations with U.S. and NATO diplomats - at meetings where the fate of Syria was being discussed but no Syrians present. The negotiations fell apart, but nevertheless Putin's government was more than willing to sell out their "ally" Assad.
Why would this surprise anyone? They never used their Security Council veto power when it came to NATO's aggression against Qhadafi and Libya (a war where even Iran was championing the same Wahhabi and Muslim Brotherhood rebel groups they now decry in Syria). There were no Russian bases in Libya, and Qhadafi was more independent, so they were more than willing to throw him to the NATO and Gulf Arab wolves just as their Western counterparts threw the Chechens to the Russian wolves in 1996. Whenever the two have spats, they bring up these crimes of the others but that's only for later propaganda purposes because they were complicit when those crimes were being committed.Putin's Russia is NOT free from international banks or from IMF/World Bank debts - it’s very much part of the same global economic system. Nor did Putin "free" Russia from the oligarchs - he had disputes with SOME oligarchs but is very close and was actually groomed into power early on by other oligarchs, such as Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovitch. These are all matters of fact to anyone who cares to investigate and research with an honest mind without merely repeating baseless slogans, as will be Putin's close ties with the Jewish supremacist Chabad Lubavitch movement and its representative in Russia, Berel Lazar. Ironically, some of the same people who rightly condemn such connections of U.S. or other politicians will completely give their idol Vladimir Putin a free pass. For his links with Chabad and these oligarchs, I have provided a link to my article complete with sources, in the comments section below.
In foreign policy, Putin has pursued the most pro-Israel policy of any Russian leader in recent years. He is a close personal friend with Netanyahu and is very popular among the Russian-born communities within Israel, many of whom have direct connections with the most extremist settler Zionist movements. Anyone who knows about history will know that during that great proxy "war" called the "Cold War" (when the two countries never actually fought directly), the Soviets would give sub-standard equipment to "Third World" countries with a lot of strings attached. So, it is with Iran and Syria, with the Russian government now giving just enough technical aid to keep it afloat so Russia can continue to benefit from it, but not even close enough to bring it to parity with Israel. Is it any accident that Israeli planes have repeatedly flown freely above Syria, killing Syrian, Iranian and Hezbollah forces alike, without any direct reaction from Russian planes? There is an understanding between Putin and Netanyahu, that is why! Nor has Putin ever done anything against the Zionist slaughter of Palestinians, including many Orthodox Christians (allegedly Russia sets itself as a defender of Orthodoxy).
Nor am I one to simplistically claim Putin's Russia is the same as the Soviet Union, as several dinosaur Cold Warriors-turned-Neocons and Neoliberals may assert. BUT, it is also true that Putin regularly praises and holds celebrations in honor of the same Soviet Red Army that raped and pillaged across large areas of Europe, committing many atrocities in the process. He has not disavowed this legacy, just as Western leaders have not disavowed their own imperialist or colonialist legacies either, because the very moment German forces (including my great-grandfather, who was in the Wehrmacht Gebirgsjäger and was killed by the Soviets) invaded Russia during Operation Barbarossa, Joseph Stalin began appealing to Russian nationalism and even scaled back some of the Atheistic campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church, because he knew the power of "Mother Russia" is what would rally people behind his government and not heady, cosmopolitan, and foreign concepts like dialectical materialism or international Marxist revolution.
Harnessing many of these same Russian imperial forces, Vladimir Putin has stamped out on any separatism and self-determination from different nationalities who wish to be free from Russia, such as the Finnish Karelians or most notably the Chechens - and just because he has installed a corrupt puppet in Chechnya (Kadyrov), does not mean the typical Chechen has abandoned the desire for freedom and self-determination. If Western governments are to be condemned for invading and colonizing other countries, and installing puppet governments, Putin should not be given a free pass. These puppet rulers - whether Kadyrov in Chechnya or his pro-Western counterparts in other occupied countries - are simply corrupt politicians who want to carve out personal power for themselves on the backs of occupying forces. I support freedom and self-determination for all peoples, and oppose imperialism in any forms no matter who practices it.
As for Ukraine, I did NOT support the meddling in that country by the Obama administration or Hillary Clinton and her Neocohen advisors, Victoria Nuland and Robert Kagan. But I recognize that BOTH the Russian and U.S. governments were fighting a proxy war in Ukraine just as they did so in Syria - NEITHER care anything about Ukrainian or Syrian sovereignty or the lives and future of the Ukrainian or Syrian peoples. Anyone who knows ANYTHING about Ukrainian history, going back to when the Tsar would side with usurers and corrupt landlords who exploited Ukrainian peasants and farmers, or to all the barbarism and atrocities against Ukrainians during Bolshevism, including the forced collectivization and Stalin and Kaganovich's man-made famine which murdered 7 million Ukrainians during the early and mid-1930s, will know there are legitimate grievances held by Ukrainians against Russia - and this is neither an excuse or support for the Western puppets of Ukraine, who want to tie the Ukraine to NATO and Western multinational corporations to loot the country (like the bankster schemes of Soros). Both sides merely want their own puppet governments in power in the Ukraine, so they can loot and plunder the country for their own benefit.
We should care more about being consistent, judging all with the same standards and not making excuses for some because it may not be "convenient truths". Principles and objectivity, any sense of honestly and justice, demand that politicians and governments the world over do not care about the masses or any interests aside from their own personal ones or those of the banking and financial interests which stand behind their governments. If you're ready to condemn one side for doing something, but all of a sudden defend or excuse another side for the very same actions, then your criticism of that other side is insincere and shows you care nothing about the justice behind something - just personal bias or ideology.