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Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 05:32 PM PDT

Understanding The Russians

by rotekapellerin

By Gaither Stewart, Senior Editor, The Greanville Post
 Native land of enduring patience,
The land of the Russian people!
                           (Fyodor Tiutchev,(1803-1873), Romantic poet, second to Pushkin)

Russia has been forced to fight off invaders and plunderers for millennia. The West has attacked her directly (Napoleon, the Nazis), or by proxy (The Turks in the 1850s Crimean War, egged on by the French and British) almost every 50 years. Russia has always prevailed—or survived—but at huge cost in lives and suffering. Image: Relief of the (British) Light Brigade, National Army Museum.


ALL THINGS RUSSIAN have always seemed exotic, strange and incomprehensible to Westerners. Russians themselves have long debated the question as to who they are: Westerners or Asians? Or are they something else? In any case, as reflected in current Russian foreign policy, the history of Russia is also inextricably bound up with Eurasia, the territory between Europe and Asia.

Though of primary importance to Russia, the borders with Europe have always been far more rigid that those open borders with Asia itself. Asia for Russia remains an open space. That historical reality is of fundamental significance today in the dispute over Ukraine (which ignorant policy makers in the USA aim at sucking into Europe) as well as in Russia’s recent about-face and its search for primary relations with Asia and the creation of an exchange currency that is no longer Western.


In the same light, again today, Western peoples in general are perplexed by the Russia-Ukraine question. What does it mean? Just who are these “ethnic Russians” living in Ukraine anyway? If they don’t like it there, shouldn’t they move to Russia?


On this site, Mike Whitney produced an excellent interview with Russian President Putin’s advisor and friend, Sergei Glaziev, under the title of “Understanding Ukraine in 15 minutes”. Well, that title appears to me a bit of a journalistic exaggeration for the answers to these questions are complex and reach far back into the history of the Slavic peoples.


Here I have sketched out some of the related problematics, offered a scant historical background to the Slavic question, and taken a closer look at just who these Russians and Ukrainians really are.


The short answer is that they do not know themselves who they are. Russians wonder if Russia is an European country or whether she is not an extra-European country, westernized artificially and hastily by an elite of Peter the Great and to the detriment of her true values. Russians intellectuals too have long been puzzled by the problem. “Westernizers” in Russia saw the salvation of their country in a rapid assimilation of western culture; the so-called “Slavophiles” believed Russia could only be true to herself by maintaining and strengthening all that separated her from the West, by remaining loyal to her past values, and the development of a culture in opposition to the culture of the West. The struggle has gone on for eons, marked and distinguished by the Great Russian Revolution.


Today’s disputed country of Ukraine lies between Russia to its East and Poland to its West. One should keep in mind that Russians and Ukrainians, together with the Byelorussians of Byelorus just north of Ukraine, are historically one people, each however with its linguistic and cultural differences. For over three millennia these peoples, the Slavs, have inhabited parts of the enormous territory now known as Russia extending from the Black Sea eastwards across two continents nearly to Alaska, and from the North Pole to Persia in the South, an area bigger than the entire North American continent and one-sixth of the world’s land surface. Those peoples are known by the linguistic name of East Slavs. (The West Slavs are chiefly Poles and Czechs, the South Slavs Serbs, Croatians and Bulgarians).


However, as has been said, “geography may set the stage for history; men make history.” (Nicholas Riasanovsky, A History of Russia.) And what men made Russia’s history! Giants of men. Throughout the ages and across these great lands, hundreds of non-Slavic nationalities and cultures, European and Asian, Mongol and Persian, ancient Summerians and the Iranian-speaking Asiatic Scythians from Central Asia have intermingled. Two of the most international rail stations in the world are Moscow’s Yaroslavsky and Kazansky stations serving hundreds of such peoples from Europe to Asia.

Russian tanker crews parade in victory celebration over fascism (2013). Note that while technically living under capitalism, they still honor Communist emblems.

Who are the Russians? you still ask. Telling, the answer of the great Russian poet, Alexander Blok, who wrote: “Yes, we are Scythians. Yes, we are Asiatics. With slanting and greedy eyes.”

My close friend, a Russian painter and originally an ethnic Russian from Kkarkov in today’s Ukraine, ( I find it difficult to write the Ukrainian Kharkiv) now for forty years in New York, has those slanting eyes, as do his two children, and to a minor degree, his grandchildren. Scythians, Russians, Ukrainians, Europeans, Americans? As much as my Russian-speaking friend tries to speak Ukrainian just to show off, I who do not know Ukrainian as such understand him perfectly. It’s like hearing English with a thick French accent.


Yet Russia shows that continuity is the real stuff of history. Events like the arrival of Christianity in Russia in the 9th century, the Mongol domination over Russian lands from the early 13th century to the late 15th, the Napoleonic invasion in 1812 and the burning of Moscow, World War I and II, and the Russian Revolution each brought about great change at enormous loss in Russian lives.

In the light of these confusing and historically tremendous occurrences the thinking person is made aware that it is the relationship of the present with the past that makes a given present meaningful. Without continuity in the histories of Europe, in Russia, China, and also in America, each new generation would have to start over again and again, as, say, in a typical story invented by Jorge Borges. Myths, anecdotes and stories about the Mongol (Tatar) domination abound in Russian literature. The period extending from the Tatar invasion to the unification of Russia by the Moscow ruler Ivan III appears like a black hole in Russian history that historian D.S. Mirsky labels Russia’s “Dark Ages”. The saying ‘Scratch a Russian and find Tatar’ is valid, if only in those slanting eyes of my dear friend.


Here we are most interested in the so-called East Slavs, that is, those peoples who remained in their original territories north of the Black Sea after the Slavs split into three groups in the mid First millennium A.D., some moving south, others more westwards. The East Slavs speak the Eastern variety of the common Slavic. Russian speakers, the Great Russians, have always dominated the East Slavs. Their descendants remain today among those “ethnic Russians” in southeast Ukraine, in Crimea, the country of Moldova and the Transdnestr Republic, whom their brothers in Kiev, seduced by promises of gold from the West, want to expel or exterminate. And their language and culture are Russian.


KIEVAN RUSSIA


It is an irony of history that the city of Kiev, today’s Ukrainian capital situated west of a more Asian Russia, was the first Russian state. Kiev, the city where this year the USA first ruthlessly overturned Ukraine’s legally elected Russian-friendly government and ignorantly installed a puppet government to rule over a phony state with the phony goal of becoming part of he European Union,  A phony and impossible state in any case because Ukraine for Russia is like Texas or Midwestern states are to the United States. Russia would never surrender it totally to the West. Enough today for Moscow to turn off the oil spigots to re-establish the order the Slavs have always needed.


Mystery surrounds the establishment of the Kievan state. Its origins are connected with a tribe of people called “Rus”, from which the word Russian derives. Some historians claim the quarrelling Slavs called in Varangians (Swedes) to come and rule over their lands and create order out of chaos. According to many historians the Rus were one of those Varangian tribes; other theories link the Rus to Slavic tribs or people in northern lands or even in the south of Crimea and surrounding territories. Although the name Rus, many historians have discovered, was previously unknown in the West, the name stuck. Rus became identified with the Kievan East Slavic-speaking state. In any case, the Rus formed a large group among them, most certainly Slavic, spoke a language that soon became Russian and established themselves from Kiev northwards to the heart of traditional Russian lands—like Novgorod, Vologda, Vladimir-Suzdal. And finally Moscow—which because of the city’s central position and because its great river, the Moskva, was a principle trade route—became the center of the future Russian empire.


I try not to stray from the subject of who these modern day Russians are but this minor and limited incursion into the complex story of the origins of Slavs and their state is necessary in order to know what we are talking about. Suffice it to say here that the Kievan state has the place in Russian history as does, say, the thirteen original colonies in the formation of the USA. An important and influential world capital in those times appears today as a second-class, boring puppet city-state controlled by a failing and waning US world power, a power with no concept of the significance of history.


As Kievan Russia—the future Russia itself—developed and expanded its borders ever farther eastwards, and became an important state, a new element was introduced into its culture: Christianity. Riasanovsky writes that by the early eleventh century Kiev had become a new Christian civilization, a civilization that added “literary and artistic attainment to the political power and high economic development characteristic of the age.”


Kiev’s rulers over pagan Russians first studied the major religions and according to legend decided against Islam—it forbade alcohol—because “drink is the joy of the Russian”—and against Judaism because it reflected beliefs of a defeated people without a state. Kievan Rus chose to become the Eastern version of  Christendom, opening Russia to Byzantine culture and the Christian world at large, thus early on belying its reputation of a closed civilization. However, lest one forget, Christianity came to Russia from Byzantium, not from Rome. Since the break between the two churches the controversy between Roman Catholicism and Russian Orthodoxy remains today.


During the late Soviet period I had occasion to speak with Alexis II, the Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church, at a historic meeting of eleven heads of the various Eastern churches held in Istanbul. To my question about attempts to mend the millennium old separation of the Eastern and Western churches and of relations with the Vatican, Alexis said clearly: “We are after all Russians.”


With that background fixed in mind, we leap over centuries of wars and pestilence, the Tatar invasion, serfdom, to the last stages of Tsardom. Prior to the Russian Revolution, the ex-serfs were still linked in an economic vise to the land and large property owners from which they had been officially emancipated. While their desire for their own property plots drove the serfs, the Revolution itself opposed the very idea in the name of collectivization. Collectivization in agriculture was not one of the successes of the new Socialist state because the serfs of this traditionally agricultural land, resisted and wanted their own private plots of land. As a result of collectivization in agriculture, the number of families on the land diminished from 26,000,000 to 21,000,000 which meant that 5,000,000 abandoned the land, (Riasanovsky), some moving to urban areas, others to the Far East or elsewhere. In any case, the price was too high and was never really recovered, contrary to Socialist theory and expectations.


SOVIET KIEV

The Donetsk region, in the Donbas (Donetz Basin), now an important part of the new entity, Novorossiya.

After centuries of silence, Kiev, as the capital city of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, became an agricultural giant and regained some small part of its former luster. The Donbas (the Donetz-Basin) in East Ukraine became a major Soviet industrial center. Populated by “ethnic Russians”, it is today the region of the “rebels”, the “terrorists” in American political lingo, the Russian-Ukrainians who have separated from the Kiev puppet state and without which Kiev cannot survive economically.

Though Kiev was one of Soviet Russia’s most important cities, it was already sinking into provincialism. The second rate glory of THE Ukraine, the “bread basket” of former Soviet Russia, ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Especially since the Russian Revolution, the Ukraine has been one thing, Kiev another.


History itself opposes the dream of newfound Kievan glory instigated by the USA. That ahistorical dream is destined to boomerang against the rest of Europe itself. For Russia is present … ever present.

During the military occupation of Ukraine by Nazi Germany, a large number of Ukrainians chose to cooperate with the Nazis, as these images from Lemberg (aka Lviv) attest. Reasons for this generally included resurgent Ukrainian nationalism and aspirations for independence, however these were coupled with rampant racism towards other ethnic groups (such as Tatars, Roma peoples and Poles) as well as a prevailing sentiment of antisemitism. Nazi atrocities soon prompted a change in attitudes. By the time the Red Army returned to Ukraine, a significant number of the population welcomed its soldiers as liberators.[1] More than 4.5 million Ukrainians joined the Red Army to fight Nazi Germany, and more than 250,000 served in Soviet partisan paramilitary units.[2] (Source: Ukranian Collaborationsim with the Axis Powers)

Talk about a battle between East and West for Ukraine’s soul is simply linguistic terminology, and at its worst political propaganda. An impossible quandary. Ukraine (the word means “borderlands”- like, say, New Mexico or Southern California in the USA. Ukraine is a geographical term. As such it has no soul. Only a handful of maverick, sold-out Ukrainians (Borderland Russians or Little Russians as they have long been called) can sell their souls. But not Ukraine itself which would be a contradiction of terms. As discussed above, Ukraine IS Russia. Its people are the original Russians. They are basically the same. Many Great Russians to the East do not recognize this as a historical-geographical-demographical reality. Borderlands have no fixed borders. In that sense it is farcical to even speak of Ukraine’s eastern borders. American imperialistic-military planners as well as West Europeans, do not, can not grasp the real Ukrainian story. How can Americans know when they do not even know exactly where Ukraine is and who its people are? Ukraine’s Nazis and Fascists who collaborated with the German Nazi invaders in WWII do not, can not reflect the real Ukraine.


RUSSIA


Moscow responds to Western economic sanctions with counter-sanctions that already loom dramatic for economies of West Europe, especially the major economies of Germany, France, and Italy. Germany’s  industrial exports to Russia amount to 36 billion Euros; and over 400,000 German workers are employed in companies exporting to Russia. The sanctions have cost Italy over $1 billion in lost exports, especially agricultural producers whose crops are already rotting in the fields. Big Italian energy companies, with major investments in Russia, face even bigger losses. With the sanctions Italy’s sick economy has lost any chance for recovery. Spanish farmers stand to lose 158 million Euros from the sanctions against their fresh fruit and nuts, or 22% of their total exports to non-EU countries; Greek farmers will lose 107 million Euros. Spanish meat exporters will lose 111 million Euros.

Much of this age is bedeviled by the sheer toxicity of the so-called Anglo-American alliance.

The West cuts industrial exports to Russia, Russia answers: no more Western automobiles to Russia; we’ll use our own; we’ll also eat our own cheese and drink our own beer. And they will. (I’ve drunk a lot of Russian beer and eaten a lot of Russian cheese and was perfectly satisfied.)


The question ordinary Europeans ask is: Why does Europe not rebel against America’s selfish and base diktats? And that, dear readers, is a key question. It is true that Europe is in decline and that the future is in Asia and elsewhere. Yet Europe is still Europe, the cultural home of many of us, and a continent-market of 450,000,000 persons, who export to and import from Russia. So what Europe does in this circumstance is not secondary.


At the same time many Russians want to be part—even if peripherally—of Europe. Even the old de Gaulle dream of a Europe extending from the Atlantic Ocean to Russia’s Ural Mountains and on to Vladivostok is no longer valid; a renaissance of the European idea and resumption of normal Russo-Europe relations has more economic-cultural-demographic sense than a Europe deprived of Russia and hanging —abjectly—onto America’s coattails. Although in this turnaround no small shame attaches to the leaders of France, Italy and Germany, the lion's share of the blame belongs with the utterly cynical role played by Britain, which has clearly chosen a complicit—if second-banana— position at the feet of the US empire than a more rational integrationist posture with the rest of Europe, including Russia. In that sense, much of this age is tarnished by the sheer toxicity of the so-called Anglo-American alliance.

I have a number of Facebook Russian “friends”, some among ethnic Russians in Ukraine, others scattered here and there across Russia. One I read frequently is Sergey Zelenin, a free lance writer in the very Russian city of Vologda, called “the cultural capital of the North”, a city of 300,000 located between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Zelenin often posts entire articles on Facebook in which he describes what is happening and what is being discussed in Russia. In a recent article he portrayed the internal histories of the United States and Russia as more similar than I would guess 99% of Americans and Russians realize.

Zelenin examines salient points of the similarity of the formation and development of the two nations by comparing each of their bloody fratricidal wars that created their social character and brought about dramatic changes in each. I have both translated and interpreted his interesting article and his points of view and have added my own comments.


Under Russia’s internal wars the writer lists:

1. The “Time of Troubles” (Smutnoye Vremya) of 1598-1618), a bloody internal war that brought chaos and devastation to the country and resulted in the birth of the Romanov dynasty of the Tsars and the empire it created.


2. The Civil War of 1917-1922, another terrible, fratricidal carnage, brought down the Romanov tsardom which was then replaced by the new Soviet (Socialist/Communist) system. “And only by God’s Providence,” writes Zelenin, “was Russia spared a repetition of the same slaughter in the early 1990s after the fall of Communism in Russia when there were only local hotbeds of instability.”


Zelenin then devotes more space to the historical formation of the United States of America than to Russia, with which country Russians are much more familiar than are Americans with Russia.


1. The Revolutionary War (1775-1783) like Russia’s wars above pitted Americans against Americans, or rather, as Zelenin notes, “English loyalists to the British Empire against English fighting for independence”, that is for self-determination, as are ethnic Russians in southeast Ukraine today against a foreign imposed regime in the nation’s capital of Kiev. In any case the result of that war was the birth of the American nation, that is, the United States of America. (Today we witness the birth of the Donetsk People's Republic and similar entities in Novorossiya.)


2. The Civil War (1861-1865) the now clearly Americans fought against other Americans. A ferocious war allegedly to free the black slaves but in reality for the rights of the southern states to indulge and expand their "way of life" and the unity of the country. “Though the conflict had a constitutional character, the situation of Black slaves did not bother anyone excessively. I, (Zelenin) would place their liberation on one table together with the Homestead Act, which together attracted Abe Lincoln to their side.” The Russian writer explains that decisions for the benefits of Blacks and farmers were not only of momentary interest; they affected the subsequent history of the USA as a whole. Thus the frontier moved forward and by the 1890s the American pioneers stopped only at the Pacific Ocean. However, the real freedom of the Blacks had to wait 100 years more. Here Zelenin notes that the liberation of Russia’s serfs came about earlier. Their freedom then became full rights after the 1917 Communist Revolution when all the restrictions and harassment they had suffered were eliminated.


Zelenin thus raises not only historical but political-ideological questions. By implication, he asks, which system—that imposed by the American pioneers free to own lands as far as the eye could see or the Socialism born with the idea of a classless society based on social equality—offers society more?


Many Americans—the Exceptionalists, Libertarians, the self-made men, the me-for-me people, the Capitalists, the 1%, the piously religious—believe the former.  People of the Left, unfortunately not the majority in the USA but, like the huge majority of the “real” peoples of the world, the truly spiritual, believe the latter.


Zelenin, I believe, wanted to say also that pragmatic, cool American thought is diametrically opposed to the Russian mirovozreniye, their world outlook, which has a spiritual quality. American thought has a purely religious outlook which is hardly the same thing.

THE RUSSIANS


So how are these Russians, so like and at the same time so unlike Western peoples? Most certainly Russia itself is different. Different as the elements in Russia are different. Russians have a strong sense of nature which also acquires a spiritual significance. Russians are a spiritual people. Russians are conscious of belonging to nature and are strongly aware of nature’s beauty. A sense of the beauty of nature that is reflected in its art, especially in the pictorial arts. In fact Russia decided upon Greek Orthodoxy because of the beauty of its liturgy; they were convinced that God lay in that beauty. Their affinity with that beauty is reflected in the beauty of their ecclesiastical buildings, the shapes and colors of their elaborately decorated churches. For the Russian Orthodox—believers and clergy alike—Christ’s life on earth is less important than the idea of a reigning Christ-God. They prefer the resurrection to the crucifixion. The humanity of Jesus on earth creates an uneasy feeling in Russian believers. For the spiritual person Christ shouldn’t be too human, nor weak and depraved like Dostoevsky’s characters.

The dominant trend in Russian literature and thought has been ethical since the times of the Kievan state. The problem for Russian literature and its creative writers has been how to live and what to do for one’s salvation. (Again, see Dostoevsky, whose whole work was an idea.) That the answer was sought more in a moral life than in the sacraments constitutes a cutting difference between Russian and Western religious minds.

Many Americans—the Exceptionalists, Libertarians, the self-made men, the me-for-me people, the Capitalists, the 1%, the piously religious—believe in a society based in the "rights" of unlimited property, with terrible consequences for humanity. 

The dominant Russian ethical attitude is to be found in charity. Not fear of God or other men, but charity. In Russian history neither purity nor the law is morally dominant. Even justice is an application of charity. Russian charity is the strongest among blood kin, the extended family (the rod) which for Russians is as powerful as the Italian family. This charity-love comes to embrace all fellowmen worldwide.


And thus, charity becomes the common denominator of Russian ethics. All men are brothers! One grasps without further explanation the connect between charity and love for one’s brother and all fellowmen with the basic concepts of Socialism/Communism.

The Russian in more normal times is allergic to hierarchy. I saw and experienced this myself in Russia and with Russians in the world. According to his spiritual make-up he is severe with his superiors and humble toward social inferiors. This too you read in Dostoevsky. Formality is one thing, love for one’s fellowman another.


Somewhere in this personality picture is concealed the Russian's power of resistance, his instinct to survive and to win. As in the siege of Leningrad in WWII. As in the battle of Stalingrad. As in his resistance to the severity of the elements, to the cold of winters, to the madness of his fellowmen. And in turn to his proverbial patience: the image of the Russian soldier buried for days under ice and snow to emerge at the very moment the enemy appears in his sights. His ability to retreat into himself in wait of the propitious moment to emerge and to win … or to lose.


I like the metaphor of Russian rain. There are maybe a dozen Russian words to describe the types of rain. I think of Moscow rain as the German rain I lived under for many years that once it begins wants to stay with you. An affectionate rain. Unlike Rome rains—thunderous, magnificent, threatening, romantic, terrifying and electrifying, like an unbearable orgasm that you hope never ends—Russian rains are relentless, constant, rains that harden the people receiving it like a purifying gift from terrestrial skies and instill tenacity and resistance to hardships. Rains that then soon turn to snow and bring the cold of the Russian winter that has many times frustrated invaders and saved Russia.


And then there are the cold winds. Asian Russia-Siberia produces the winds that still chill Romans as they did Roman centurions two millennia ago. The Siberian winds change names several time as they sweep southwards; by the time they reach central Europe and Trieste on the Adriatic they are the “Bora”, winds that a few hours later freeze Rome overnight.


Or Russian faces, stern, curious, serious faces that like the rain only break and smile when there is a reason to smile.


And then there are the superstitions and customs that help define a people:


Russian travelers and those seeing them off sit for some moments in silence, allegedly to think if anything has been forgotten but in reality a quiet formality of goodwill that I’ve done hundreds of times. Then, you don’t clean the room of the departed until they have safely arrived. Handshakes across the threshold are absolutely forbidden: no Russian will ever offer his hand across the threshold. Looking at oneself in a broken mirror brings bad luck as does a boast about a future, hoped for success; silence reigns until success is achieved, then the celebration begins. Then, when you drink alcohol you must finish the whole bottle; home bars in a Russian house are rare. You buy a bottle, you drink it. And you must absolutely eat something with each drink, but careful to cut bread with a knife instead of breaking it by hand.


Such are these Russians, complex, unsmiling (be wary of a smiling Russian unless he has a reason to smile), superstitious, tenacious, curious, an expert on all the plants and animals of the world, tendentious with an opinion on everything, staunch, uncomplaining, more ready to be your brother than your enemy, generous (Russians hardly distinguish between what is a loan and what a gift), adaptable to the most extreme circumstances, the Russian, however loud and boisterous and tasteless as a tourist, is a spiritual creature aware of the entire world around him and in search of how to live best and sometimes a reason to live.


I will conclude this introduction to Russia and Ukraine with an article by the Russian writer, Egor Prosvirnin, as far I can ascertain a far rightist writing for a big far rightist website:

My name is Egor Prosvirnin, I am the chief editor of the Russian site www.sputnikipogrom.com which advocates European values.


I’ve heard that one of the aspects of life that Europeans, and Germans especially cherish is history. If we were to recall recent history, we would remember that a vast army of 300,000 Soviet troops along with 5,000 tanks, 1,500 aircraft and 10,000 artillery pieces (including tactical nuclear weapons) simply left the then just-united Germany without firing a shot.


It was an operation unprecedented in scope and brevity, when the entire Soviet army withdrew literally to open fields. Tens of thousands of Soviet officers, obeying the orders of the supreme command, went from their warm barracks to live in moldy tents set up in the middle of sodden snow-covered fields. In many instances along with their families.


For what?


For hope. Hope that the dark pages of history between our two countries were finally and forever past. Hope that we no longer have to keep armies of tanks in the center of Europe, and that Europe would respect and consider our interests. Hope that in a united Germany we would have a good friend and ally, with whom Russia would fulfill the dream of Charles de Gaulle of a united Europe stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.


When our armies were leaving Germany, our soldiers were told that Germany had recognized and redeemed its mistakes of the past, there were no undecided issues with Germany, and that we would no longer hear German voices calling for retribution against Russia, therefore we did not need our Army of tanks positioned in the middle of Europe.


From that moment, Russians and Germans were friends, and friends have no need for vast armadas of armor and tanks. Russians should cease being afraid of a united Germany and disarm.


And we disarmed. And for 20 years we felt that we did the right thing, that the past is forgotten forever, and that the Germans appreciated how readily we closed all the bases and brought all the troops home (although there are American bases in Germany to date).


In good times our friends know us; in troubled times we come to know our friends; and troubled times did come via the Ukrainian crisis. It became clear that the Germans do not remember the good. It turned out that the Germans did not learn the lessons of history, it seems that the Germans viewed the voluntary dismantling and withdrawal of our war machine not as humanism and goodwill, but weakness.


It turns out that when the Americans spoke loudly and sharply with the German chancellor, whom they for all these years have kept under surveillance like some sticky-fingered housemaid, the entire German society leaped up like a submissive dog running obediently to its American master…. even when the conflict with Russia goes against German economic and political interests. It seems therefore that if one blunts their sword, removes their armor, ceases the Soviet-era preparations for World War III, and is reaching out to the Germans, the Germans will spit in your extended hand at the first opportunity.


It turns out that Russians are yet again “Untermensch”, who can be savaged with impunity on the pages of the German press and punitive sanctions demanded from the rostrum of the Bundestag, while disallowing an opportunity for Russia to openly and equitably argue its case. It turns out, however, that the Ukrainian government can without any liability prohibit the Russian language, jail Russian activists, target residential neighborhoods with volleys of artillery, kill thousands of civilians who happen to be mostly Russian – and that’s OK. It is OK because it’s a “democracy”, and it suits Germany because Russians are “Untermensch”, because Russians are Jews whose blood for Germans is worth nothing. And what’s more, for trying to defend themselves, for attempting to return fire against the Ukrainian armed forces, Russians should be punished, publicly harassed, their will to resist broken, and then forced into an international Russian ghetto.


Then burn that ghetto, as the Trade Unions building in Odessa was burned with 49 pro-Russian protesters inside. Do you know how the Ukrainian social networks responded to this holocaust? By referring to the dead as “Colorado Shishkebabs”(*) – this is what tens of thousands of people in the Ukrainian social networks wrote, including indecent sayings copied into photos of the charred bodies.


We are again the subhumans, we are again nothing but animals that Ukrainian Nazis may kill with impunity, creating a “Russian-frei Ukraina”.


According to the data collected by Human Rights Watch, only during this past July the Ukrainians killed one thousand one hundred fifty PEACEFUL RUSSIANS in the eastern part of the country, and these killings continue daily. Where are your protests, Germany? Where are your sanctions against Ukraine? Where is your vaunted humanism that you profess to have learned since 1945 by recognizing the errors from your past?


Saur-Mogila, which is located on strategic heights and is a memorial to Russian soldiers who died there 70 years ago during a fierce battle with the Wehrmacht, has once again been stormed. This time by the Ukrainian battalion “Azov” wearing their Wolfsangel patches, a symbol of the 2nd, 4th and 34th SS divisions, and you are silent! Russian militia are ducking behind the granite statues of Soviet soldiers from neo-Nazi bullets fired by “the National Guard” of Ukraine, and you dare to agree with the American nonsense about “Russian aggression”! Ukrainians shoot cities with ballistic missiles, leaving craters in places homes once stood, and you impose sanctions not against Ukraine but against Russia!


Again, troops are killing unarmed Russian civilians, and you are debating whether it is time to start delivering weapons to these murderers so that they can kill more Russians? All of your vaunted “politics of memory” and “learning from the past” is simply a pile of dog shit, as again before your eyes unarmed civilians are butchered, and you applaud this and promise these Ukrainian murderers fresh financing.


You have not learned humanism, you Germans. You have not learned responsibility. You have not learned to resist Evil and tell that Evil clearly to its face, “No, you are the killer, I will not help you, you must stop the killing immediately.” You have not learned to be a responsible, independent, free people, who are capable of giving good in return for good.


You are slaves who think good is a weakness.


In 1934, Hitler drove you like sheep, and in 2014 Obama is your shepherd. If tomorrow in Germany, the Americans open a concentration camp for Russians, half of you will immediately submit their curriculum vitae for jobs as operators of the gas chambers, and your press will start to explain how this camp is patriotic and good for the German economy. It would then follow that killing these Russian “Untermensch”, crafting lampshades out of their skin for daring to resist, and sending this nicely packaged to Washington to please your American ally.


Germans have failed their test. When Evil has returned again to Europe, you do not even attempt to resist it, and immediately fall prostrate at its feet like a slave after the eagerly-awaited, long delayed return of your master. Serve Evil, impose sanctions, support the murder of Russians, supply weapons to the killers of Russians, justify this genocide – the end of your story will be familiar, because Evil cannot win.


I will conclude this text with a popular quote from the famous American stateswoman Ms. Victoria Nuland, who obviously makes the decisions in Ukraine instead of your Chancellor:


“Fuck the EU”.


Like it or not, but admit that the Americans are a smart people capable of accurately determining the “price” of a united Germany and a united Europe.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Senior Editor Gaither Stewart's latest book is RECOLLECTION OF THINGS LEARNED: Remembering Socialism (Punto Press). His trilogy of novels a la Carré about Cold War-style espionage [The Trojan Spy, Lily Pad Roll, Time of Exile (forthcoming)] incorporate a lucid  panorama of what Western intel services do, and the criminal wrong-headedness of US Foreign Policy. Stewart is an expert in Eastern European culture. 
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UPDATE!
The ugly meaning of what Bob Schieffer and other countless (if less prominent) media shills for the global status quo do becomes perfectly clear and urgent when you get closer to the consequences of their lying and dissembling, as one of you puts it in this thread, seeing the world from within "the bubble."

This morning (7.29.14) the horror of what a Zionist-controlled Israel is doing in Gaza (I say Zionist-controlled because there are many many Jews, including IDF members, who bravely oppose Israel's policies there and around the world) was again brought to me and my co-editors when we got a dispatch from India (Countercurrents) carrying an article by Alan Hart (former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent. He is author of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews) showing this heart-breaking picture of a Palestinian baby killed.

I'm still shaken, it's a searing picture which the media refuse to show for a million reasons, some valid some not, but which I think at least some people should see, and reflect. This is the real face of war, the real price of what our politicians and sellouts in the media accomplish through their lies and distortions. I really hate to do this to you but something must be done to stop this horror once and for all. Kossacks, who wield some power over the Democrats, should do something about this. Incidentally, my colleagues at Countercurrentshave compiled a great dossier on the Israeli/Gaza conflict that starts on their home page. I urge you to examine it.

EYE ON THE MEDIA
ORIGINALLY ON THE GREANVILLE POST UNDER THE TITLE:
POLL: When did Bob Schieffer become a full-fledged suckup?
The Coverage of the latest Gaza / Israel fighting has been defined again by overwhelming bias in favor of Israel. All leading figures in the media universe have quickly and eagerly fallen in, doing their part to create the sensation of unanimity on account of truth. CBS's Bob Schieffer has been distorting international and domestic issues for decades now, and, if possible, getting worse. His panels of witnesses are as usual dominated by establishmentarians. Schieffer and his journalistic tribe is one of many who never heard of Noam Chomsky, Michael Parenti and scores of other cogent critics of establishment policy. But his main and overriding allegiance, like that of all prominent "professional journalists" in the Western media, is to the global capitalist system, that is the 0.001% of humanity that controls and owns outright just about everything worth controlling.

That such people will do anything to increase their power and grotesque property—from crookedness to wars— is apparently of no pressing concern to the comfortable in the ranks of the media royalty. Schieffer is of course part of that privileged layer, and, unfortunately he's far rom alone. Meanwhile, he'll keep on doing their bidding.

Poll

When did Face the Nation's Bob Schieffer become a full-fledged shill for the empire?

77%79 votes
7%8 votes
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| 102 votes | Vote | Results

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By Patrice Greanville (rotekapellerin)

The US TV networks —the West's Ministry of Truth organs—and other media have been blabbering all morning almost nonstop about the Malaysian airliner downed in Eastern Ukraine, blown clear out of the sky, as Joe Biden so delicately put it, by some malevolent force. Events of this nature taking place in areas where the two long contending blocs clash and overlap almost invariably mean trouble for world peace, so, brothers and sisters, fasten your seat belts.

Poll

Did the US contribute to this mess?

24%13 votes
64%34 votes
11%6 votes

| 53 votes | Vote | Results

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One of the countless reasons why capitalism stinks: it allows socially insensitive morons like Steve Ballmer to indulge their egotistical whims, while enriching fellow tycoons and trumping all semblance of justice.
Poll

Would YOU buy a sports franchise if you had the dough?

29%7 votes
62%15 votes
8%2 votes
0%0 votes

| 24 votes | Vote | Results

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"Deliver us from Drought!"
Free market Capitalism inevitably produces massive inequality, thrives in political corruption and imbecility.  Texas is a good example of the disease, as the state confronts climate change and its inevitable effects. I think this episode of VICE, the excellent HBO documentary series, encapsulates the tragedy of Texas, and the threat that its culture represents for the nation as a whole.

By Patrice Greanville (Rotekapellerin)

Poll

Does religion advance or retard justice and human progress?

26%34 votes
65%83 votes
3%5 votes
3%4 votes

| 126 votes | Vote | Results

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Glossary of Major Distortions
BUILD YOUR OWN LIST!
(NOTE: This essay is a revised version of the original draft first published in the fall of 1982 in the premiere edition of Cyrano’s Journal, America’s First Radical Media Review. )

By Patrice Greanville

Capitalism is preferentially identified by its euphemisms: “Free Enterprise,” “market system,” “private enterprise.” “the American Way,” etc. Overt and pervasive partisanship in support of capitalism is not regarded by the American media as an ideological bias negating professional “objectivity” but rather something comparable to the serene acceptance of natural laws.

Poll

Do you think capitalism can be reformed by democratic means?

27%3 votes
9%1 votes
63%7 votes

| 11 votes | Vote | Results

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What you need to know.
Like a bad virus the Kony 2012 video is but the latest liberal-establishment con to hit the public mind

By Patrice Greanville, The Greanville Post

    Liberal snake oil has a long history of propping up the status quo but now, using social media, it has become bolder than ever as a tool to whitewash US interventionism across the globe.

As George Carlin warned us many times, when it comes to bullshit, the best product is made in America. Yes, folks: grade A, red-white-and-blue bullshit has no match in the world.

Armed with that kind of wisdom it is easy to spot a stinkeroo, and Kony 2012, a highly manipulative video, certainly qualifies for the label. The insalubrious DNA of sneaky propaganda is writ large all over this effort.  Produced by a suspicious outfit called Invisible Children (more on that later), just a few minutes suffice to conclude that this is a big scam (with some strains of Christian fundamentalism thrown in for further confusion) trying to sell us once again some baloney whose true impact on the world is likely to be negligible for the good it accomplishes, and horrendous for the bad.

Poll

How do you see Kony 2012?

22%4 votes
16%3 votes
33%6 votes
5%1 votes
22%4 votes

| 18 votes | Vote | Results

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