Cracks in the Western Coalition: To What End?

One way you can know that support for a movement is starting to fracture is when you read stories like this in the prestige press:  

Admittedly, you’ll have to  read very carefully between the lines (and ignore the Western talking points) to  see that some people in the commentariat are starting to unfurl the white flag of surrender.

Another indicator is when critical stories can no longer be buried.  What story am I speaking of?  The fact that there is (and has been) a strong neo-Nazi element in the Ukrainian Army and body politic.

Almost a year ago, Monomakhos warned our readers that this was the case but our critics didn’t want to believe it.  It couldn’t be true because “Zelensky is a Jew”.  

This was supposed to shut down all criticism of the Kievan regime, to sweep it under the rug as it were.  For the most part it worked.  However, no matter how often you sweep trash under the rug, it never goes away.  If nothing else, the smell starts to concentrate and then sift out.

And now, the smell of Ukrainian neo-Nazism is starting to make itself known here.  It’s not a pleasant smell as you can tell from the short video below:  

I don’t mean to be cynical, as I’ve always believed that virtue is it’s own reward.  The virtue in this case being the truth and that it came out.  So I’m glad that it did so.  Would that it had come out earlier, perhaps saving hundreds of thousands of lives. 

However, I can’t help but be somewhat cynical.  Why are these stories coming out now?  It’s not like the racialist ideology behind Pravy Sektor, Svoboda and the Azov Battalions was some great secret.  Like the fictitious “church” that Patriarch Bartholomew created for the Western puppets that overthrew the democratically elected Ukrainian government in 2014, it was right out there for all to see.

The video above was produced in 2019 by Time magazine.  The Russo-Ukraine War would not take place for another three years.  

So, again, why now

Is it because the much-vaunted Spring (then Summer) Offensive by the Ukrainian Army is going nowhere?  Or that an estimated 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers since June have been senselessly impaled against the Russian defenses?  Or that Oleksey Reznikov, the Ukrainian defense minister, was sacked?  Or maybe because Kiev is in the process of enacting a general mobilization and is asking Western governments to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian young men in order to make this possible?

Hard to tell.    

And just what’s up with the arrest of Ihor Komoloisky, the Ukrainian oligarch who created the television show Servant of the People, the show that catapulted a little-known Jewish comic named Vladimir Zelensky to national attention in the first place?  

Regardless, the handwriting is on the wall.  And like the Order of Chaos by Leo Tanguma where you see a military figure resembling a German SS soldier wearing a gas mask with a machine gun in one hand and a sword stabbing a dove in the other, it’s beyond disturbing.  Certainly not something anyone expected to see in real life but they’re way ahead of us, and we’ve been slow to wake up to the nightmare.        


  1. Charap, in the New Yorker article, still doesn’t get it. But George is right that it’s an indication that surrender is becoming more palatable to a growing cadre.

    Russia is not at all interested in negotiating on any terms that would be acceptable to Washington. This will not end in negotiation. Russia will continue to defend its territorial gains and probably expand them. It will continue fighting until it is no longer being engaged – period. When Ukraine/NATO quits resisting, it will end. If they don’t, they will be bled dry.

    There is no mystery as to how this will turn out.

    • I believe Russia intends that not only must the West
      be defeated but that it must be seen to be so defeated.
      Otherwise it will start heating the pot again.

      • The one thing we have going for us is a lot of people don’t want to be on this crazy train. We are as disgusted with the cabal as Russia is.

  2. “…the handwriting is on the wall.”

    Challenger 2: The UK tank that’s never been destroyed by the enemy
    [Video – 02:00]

    Russian forces ‘blow up British Challenger 2 tank’ in Ukraine
    [Video – 01:05]

    I understand the crew survived.
    ‘Shaken, but not stirred’ – perhaps…?

  3. I’ve seen multiple waves of ‘Western support for Ukraine is cracking’ attempts at narrative building over the course of the war. I find it often corresponds with times Ukraine is making life very difficult for Russian occupying forces. Russia didn’t just hastily redeploy VDV divisions out of the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kremina axis down to Bakhmut and the Zaporizhzhya for chuckles.

    Three months into the current counteroffensive campaign, there are a couple long-form reads out this week that I recommend. Especially if you’re tired of the fantasies of the English speaking pro-Russian camp and want an actual understanding of Ukrainian operations, and a look at their shortcomings and areas of struggle that is actually objective and based in reality:

    Two things can simultaneously be true: first, the West could and should have provided far more heavy weaponry to Ukraine than it actually has to date, and second, Western support is belatedly ramping up for the long game. In general, when evaluating what I think the war looks like in 2024 and into 2025, I see Europe finally getting around to things it should have done a year ago, for example:

    Russia going hat in hand to North Korea for munitions may be one of those short-term solution moves that ends up counterproductive in the long run. South Korea makes a lot of different long range strike systems that could be sold to Ukraine.

    Also on the long-term front, I’m not sure folks have fully digested the strategic implications of Ukraine’s creeping capability escalation both in terms of domestic and externally supplied systems.

    • Tens of thousands of killed and wounded to get 10 square kilometers in 3 months that’s not even at the first part of the Surovikan Line isn’t a success. Besides the Russians being close to running out of munitions is what we’ve heard over and over again for more than a year. Still hasn’t happened.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you, Nate, for providing those links. I will look into them. As for who is winning the war, I look to the commentaries of Col MacGregor, Maj Matthew Hoh, Lt Col Tony Shaffer and others. All of these men are retired veterans but have active contacts within the Pentagon.

      These men paint a different picture from the 24/7 Happy Talk that we receive from the Corporate Media.

      I happen to think that their contacts aren’t of the Happy Talking Cultural Warrior variety.

      • Do scroll down to the “Euractive AI” ad just beyond the end of Nate’s second link to learn how you too can profit from the decisions of EU policy makers.

        Follow the money.

      • Just to save some time for those interested, here is the conclusion of one of these long reads:

        Western capitals have sought to keep this Ukraine’s war, avoiding an in-country presence that includes contractor support or trainers. To be clear, there are Western contractors and companies operating independently in Ukraine, but this is not the same as a government sanctioned and supported effort. There is much more that could be done without becoming directly involved in fighting or deploying uniformed personnel on the ground. The hitherto cautious approach has clear limits to its efficacy. Western support thus far has been sufficient to avert a Ukrainian defeat, and arguably has imposed a strategic defeat on Russia, but not enough to ensure a Ukrainian victory. Independent of the outcome of this offensive, Western countries need to be clear-eyed about the fact that this will be a long war. Taken together, Western industrial and military potential greatly exceeds Russia’s, but without the political will, potential alone will not translate into results.

        Translated into: unless the euroatlanticists INCREASE aid just to the point of direct intervention and dig in for the very long term, Ukraine can’t win.

        Hardly an optimistic prognosis, especially given looming elections in the US with the very real chance of a senile president getting run into the ground in his second term (should his handlers manage to succeed at getting him in), plus the EU having to endure another winter with very expensive energy, and many other geopolitical factors.

        One can do as many mental gymnastics as possible, but Ukraine is doomed over its looming infantry shortfall. Russia has 3x the mobilizational resources of Ukraine. Full stop. Russian technology may be cruder than that of NATO, but as with WWII, it can be cranked out in quantity faster. Russia is no Iraq.

        The unavoidable reality is Ukraine’s only chance of ‘winning’ is direct, concerted military intervention by the NATO coalition, with the use of nuclear arsenal. I’d hardly call that a win given the high cost of human capital and the resulting ecological fallout, and it’s far from certain that it will get broader buy in outside a small group of devoted hawks like the author of the wishful thinking long read, who is “a senior fellow in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he focuses on the Russian military and Eurasian security issues.” – in other words a consultant paid to give false hope.

        The only other big gamble remains “fomenting unrest within Russia”, which has proven to be the only way to militarily defeat Russia: a repeat of the WWI scenario. The best part is that the Russian population itself is not interested in that, as the Prigozhin coop demonstrated. The few jack in the boxes that emerged during that period ended up putting their foot into their mouth real fast and heading for the Georgian border.

        One of the biggest problems is the euroatlanticists have got it into their heads that they are on top of the food chain. Like an anaconda, when attacked they become rather clueless as they never expect it. Yet here we are. Someone stood up to them.

        • I don’t see a “strategic defeat” as alleged by the US government. Whatever the plausible outcome at this point, the Russians will hold on to the five oblasts (including the Crimea). Thus, unless Ukraine renounces its sovereignty over this territory, it cannot join NATO, much the same as the frozen conflict in Georgia prevents it. This is a strategic victory, not a defeat. As is the incorporation of new territory into the RF itself populated by ethnic Russians.

          As to Western “potential” regarding military industrial production, frankly, the writer of the article is misleading. Present capacities clearly indicate that Russia can outproduce the entire West. Could the US ramp up? Certainly. So could the Russians. Moreover, if it became necessary, Russia could import surplus weapons from China. The combined potential of Russia and China in military industrial production far exceeds that of the West.

    • Nate, let’s check back in 6 months to see just how effective Ukraine’s ‘creeping capabilities’ will be. You can wish them a success along with the euroatlantic elites, they do need some mighty hearty cheerleading these days.

      But one thing is beyond certainty: nobody has ever won a war without infantry. Ukraine is running out of it, Russia is not. At the end of the day, that says more than all the fancy packages our tax payer dollars are sending to Zelensky.

      • Ukraine isn’t really facing any serious manpower constraints in the near to mid term, especially not in the next six months. The limiting factor likely to cause culmination of the current campaign is munitions supply versus the rate of use in offensive operations. I’ve seen some analysists I respect posit that Ukraine probably would already have culminated if the US hadn’t provided DPICM. Ukraine likely isn’t going to have near enough of a mechanized force to capitalize on recent advances and make a deep breakthrough in the next couple months. That said, I do expect them to hold, secure, slightly expand and continue inflicting heavy losses before the current intensity dies down.

        Belief that Ukraine is facing a critical infantry shortage and on the verge of catastrophic collapse is borne of repeated gross overestimations of Ukrainian men and material losses and underestimation of Russian. Both sides can stay in the war and are going to do so. Back in December I expressed skepticism the war would end before 2025 at the earliest. The last nine months haven’t caused me to change that assessment.

        • We probably won’t agree on casualty estimations, but the fact that Zelensky is already seriously talking about a widening mobilization campaign that includes women and reaches higher in age is already a big warning sign.

          Ukraine is a victim to the American war mentality: in the post eastern bloc period, Americans are used to fighting wars where they have significant superiority. This was not the case during the cold war where the forces were considerably more balanced, and thus strategy was different. And that’s not the case now with Russia, either. One sure way to lose a war is failing to readjust to the realities on the ground.

          Since Washington banked on Russian internal instability and a morale crisis, both of which failed miserably thusfar, the situation speaks for itself. The usual American answer to this is to throw more technology and money at the problem.

          The US could not prevail in many theaters where they had superiority of technology, including Afghanistan. Some of the Afghans were still fighting with bolt action Lee Enfields of UK vintage (now of course they upgraded to M-4s, thanks to Tony Saigon Blinken). It’s been proven over and over again.

          Ukraine’s population is 1/3rd of Russia’s. And those numbers are declining not just due to casualties but due to people fleeing from mobilization. And this gets to the core of the Ukrainian problem on many levels: the whole “European aspiration” of Ukraine has mostly to do with the magic word “Shengen”, which means emigrating from Ukraine. That is the real European dream of the pro-EU Ukrainians. If you speak to them casually you will learn that many of them are not interested in processes of internal reform, as they don’t believe in such a possibility. They’d rather show up to a country where they can plug into the system and exist, like the many migrants lining up at the Mexican-US border.

          That constitutes a major morale problem in the long run. The die hard Azov types live for violence, the battle field is where they define themselves. But for many others, it’s quite a different story.

          At the moment, euroatlanticist propaganda is making the rank and file Ukrainian believe this is a battle for ‘democracy’. But when you keep seeing your mates return in coffins or with missing limbs, while your elites are hiding in European chatels hosting Skype conferences on ‘Ukraine’s reconstruction’ with western banks, it starts to look rather dim.

          As time goes on, more and more Ukrainians are seeing their victory in successful emigration from Ukraine, to a country where there is some Ukrainian diaspora that gives them a link to home. I don’t really call that patriotism.

          Meanwhile on the Russian side, public opinion continues to strongly back the war and people are regularly volunteering to fight. That even includes previous Putin haters. They are well aware that Russia can’t afford to lose this one, and most of them are not naive enough to believe that any normative relations can be established with the current euroatlantic elites – especially if Russia steps back.

          So let’s revisit this in 2025. It took Franco 3 years to win in Spain, a considerably smaller country. Currently we’re still at 1.5 years…

  4. This exchange involving Paul Craig Roberts is quite good. He actually provides a prescription for what ails America both internationally and domestically. He is also frank that the political dynamic in the US would prevent his remedy.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Admittedly, the US is by far the wealthiest economy on earth. Of this there can be no doubt. However, with an astronomical national debt of $32 trillion (with no end in sight), a non-existent border which has been flooded by several million immigrants (with no hope of assimilation) and inner cities that are approaching Calcutta-style levels of poverty, I worry about OUR future.

      I believe we are on the knife-edge, which can go either way. If Trump comes back into power, then we have a chance to reverse this rottenness. If not, I can easily see America fracturing, not unlike what happened to the Byzantine Empire after the Battle of Manzikert. Even the Greek-speaking Christians in Anatolia switched allegiance to the Seljuk Turks. (The Arab Christians had made side-deals long before, mainly because of the anti-Arab ethno-religious policies perpetrated against them by the Byzantine court.)

      As to our present situation, we are seeing individual governors rebelling against Federal policies. Even private institutions like Harvard, are refusing to adhere to the recent Supreme Court ruling against them in regards to Affirmative Action.

      This is death by a thousand cuts. Look for more.

  5. Black Nazis! A Study Of Racial Ambivalence In Nazi Germany’s Military Establishment: Non German Ethnic Minority And Foreign Volunteers, Conscripts, Laborers And Po Ws, 1940 1945 by V.K. Clark | Goodreads

    Veronica Kuzniar Clark (Veronica K. Clark/V.K. Clark) specializes in World War II and military history. She earned her M.A. in history with honors in 2009 and she completed one year of doctoral studies in Organizational Psychology with a 4.00 GPA in 2010. She is the creator of the ‘Warwolves of the Iron Cross’ series as well as the ‘Powerwolf Publications’ series and the cult classic, “Black Nazis”.

    Apparently during WWII Jews fought BOTH for Hitler’s 卐 Nazis and Stalin’s ☭ Communists.

    Assuming the claim that Jews, Blacks, and Asians fought for Hitler is correct:

    (1) How many of the Jews who fought for Hitler knew what was going on at the concentration camps?
    (2) How many participated and why?

    In 2023 how many supporters of the far right and the far left are aware of the following?

    150,000 Soldiers of the German Army Were Actually Jewish | by Andrei Tapalaga ✒️ | History of Yesterday

    Short List of Jews in Hitler’s Military – Wikipedia

    (1) Walter Hollaender, colonel, [3] (15 October 1903 – 8 August 1974) was a highly decorated Oberst in the Wehrmacht during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Walter Hollaender was a half-Jewish (Mischling) officer who received a German Blood Certificate.
    (2) Bernhard Rogge, admiral, Jewish ancestry[3]
    (3) Hans Eppinger, Austrian, SS doctor, half-Jewish[3]
    (4) Emil Maurice,[9] German Nazi, Jewish great-grandfather
    (5) Erhard Milch, German, Wehrmacht Generalfeldmarschall, Jewish father (reclassified as Aryan by Adolf Hitler)
    (6) Werner Goldberg, German, foot soldier, half-Jewish
    (7) Alexander Löhr, Generaloberst in the Luftwaffe, mother with Jewish-Ukrainian roots
    (8) Helmuth Wilberg, German, Luftwaffe general, Jewish mother.

    Note: Many Jews who fought for Hitler were high ranking officers in the military

    • I have heard that even Hitler was part Jewish.

      RE: “(1) How many of the Jews who fought for Hitler knew what was going on at the concentration camps? (2) How many participated and why?”

      As a race, it is interesting to see why certain peoples (plural) do certain things, but individual people, less so, because across the board, people do stupid things for stupid reasons and still do.

      I graduated in the mid-70s with a science degree in social psychology. I was taught by one of the best, Dr. Robert Cialdini, whose name may ring a bell. As students, we were strongly encouraged to participate in psychology experiments. One particular study, however, caused such a stir, universities were left debating if experiments using students should even be done:

      This is also of note:

      These studies go a long way to answer the question “why” and it’s not because of race.

    • George Michalopulos says

      True story, there was a Ukrainian Jewish soldier who fought for the USSR during WWII. His name was Simyon Hitler.

      You can’t make this stuff up.

      As far as African-Americans were concerned, W E B DuBois, the famous black intellectual, went to Nazi Germany in 1935 and was given the red carpet treatment. He was so impressed by national socialism that he wrote in his diary that this socio-economic system was “necessary for the American Negro”.

    • Interestingly enough, according to the Nuremberg Laws (which set the parameters regarding racial purity), if a German had two Jewish grandparents (i.e. was half-Jewish) he could still be considered an Aryan. What tipped him over the edge was that if he had three Jewish grandparents at the very least.

      As far as inclusion in the SS was concerned, all one had to do was prove 100% Aryan ancestry from 1750 onwards. That meant that you could have had scads of Jewish ancestors prior to that date.

      Contrast this with the “One-drop Rule” in America, where just the possibility of one black great=great-grandparent made you “colored”. An octaroon for example was a person who had one black great-grandparent (a quadroon was one who had one black grandparent and of course a mulatto was one who had one black parent).

      But here’s where it gets tricky: any one of those black ancestors may have only had marginal ancestry themselves but they were considered to be black regardless. In other words, “Grandma Sophie” may have been a quadroon but because she couldn’t “pass” for white, was considered black. So instead of a person being a quadroon, he was actually only 1/16th black.

  6. ‘ W E B DuBois, the famous black intellectual…was so impressed
    by national socialism that he wrote in his diary that this
    socio-economic system was “necessary for the American Negro”. ‘

    Few are as foolish as intellectual fools…

  7. George Michalopulos says

    More bad news for the Zelensky regime: the Poles just said that they weren’t going to give any more arms to them.

    Ouch, that’s gotta hurt. Especially since the Poles are the most anti-Russian nation in Europe.

    • George, I’m betting quite heavily that El Presidente Zelensky (and his cronies) already have their escape plans well thought out. Money has been laundered, and people bribed…it’s only a matter of time.

      • Yeah, St Zelensky has a mansion in Miami, a villa in Tuscany and he just bought his mother-in-law an apartment in Egypt.

        His problem? If it looks like he’s going to bug out, then the Ukronazis who “protect” him will have other ideas.

        • Unless those ‘protecting’ him are part of his escape plan. Luggage and bags full of cash will do wonders for altering or changing people’s minds 😉

        • It just now occurred to me that this is the date in which the world turned against Zelensky. What Poland did was a “stab in the back”. I believe –really, am convinced–that the Poles and the Russians worked out an arrangement vis-a-vis Galicia.

          If I am right, then keep your eye on Romania and Hungary. They’re going to want a piece of the Ukrainian pie.

      • I think you’re right, Alex. The indicator may have been when Defense Minister Reznikov was fired and then sent to be Kiev’s ambassador to Great Britain.

    • It was worse than I thought: PM Duda of Poland said that the Ukraine was like a “drowning man” who was “dragging down” those who tried to save him.

    • That sound you hear is the fat lady warming up.

      Poland was the only nation that might have sent troops en masse into the Ukraine as a second American proxy. No other country wanted any piece of this. But the Poles have an election coming up and the Polish public wants no piece of this disaster either.

      That’s it for NATO solidarity.

      Z’s expression during Biden’s address at the UN indicates to me that he understands he is being thrown under the bus. He was not allowed to address Congress. I still suggest that eventually the Ukrainians will turn against their Western masters much as the Chechens did. They have much greater reason than the Chechens.

      America is moving toward attempting to freeze the conflict. Russia has not gotten the memo. They don’t trust the US and will likely press on with the SMO even if the US calls for a cease fire. The current US strategy seems to be to project the notion that Ukrainian diplomacy has turned toward a negotiated settlement, despite Z’s protests to the contrary. A series of messages were sent to Z during the past few days that his stock is dropping precipitously.

      But he has to deal with the Banderistas. He might flee in short order. Or he may try to purge the Banderistas. God alone knows. But as long as he sends Ukrainians into the Russian meatgrinder, they will be killed. The question is what happens when Ukraine ceases to attack. To what degree is Russia prepared to take casualties for further territorial advances?

      If you look back at what I wrote shortly before the war, you will find that I thought that Russia, if it invaded, would only go as far as the Donbass and Novorossiya (along the southern coast). And that is precisely what they have done so far. However, I don’t know how far they intend to take it from here given all that has transpired. If they continue, the logical thing to do would be to press toward Transnistria in the south and complete their occupation of the five annexed provinces. Beyond that, they might press towards the Dnieper, or not.

      Just being on territory claimed by Ukraine is an invitation to Ukrainian forces to continue to try to displace them in quixotic offensives. And the Russian presence, whether the Ukrainians engage or not, may be enough to bring down the Ukrainian state due to the demographic and infrastructural consequences of the war and internal political conflict.

      My guess is that the Russians, not pressed for time at all, will continue the slow grind until the Kievan regime collapses under its own weight. However, domestic opinion inside Russia may press the government to engage in big arrow offensives once the Ukrainian forces have been sufficiently degraded.

      The former is more likely but the latter cannot be ruled out. Putin declared that denazification and demilitarization were objectives. The latter has largely been accomplished and could be completely achieved without additional large territorial gains. However, denazification, IMO, would require occupation of the whole country if he were serious about it – either that or it could be done by a puppet regime after the collapse.

    • Worth mentioning there was a lot of misreporting going on with regards to Polish arms transfers to Ukraine. Duda put out a pretty clear statement:

      Poland has a pipeline of ongoing stuff headed to Ukraine. Poland also has gone on a massive, massive shopping spree for new kit, much from the US and South Korea, with some co-production in Poland. They are making clear the shiny new stuff, incoming over the next several years is for Poland, and is not going to Ukraine. However, as they get new stuff, Ukraine is likely to receive more of Poland’s older stock.

      Poland front-loaded and donated early and often, compared to much of the rest of Western Germany, so they are limited in what they are willing to continue to draw down on until the bonanza arrives. I found it amusing that at the same time Russia propagandists were floating the preposterous notion that Poland was going to invade and annex Western Ukraine, actual Poland was donating hundreds of tanks.

      • Poles and Ukrainians are an alliance that can never hold together, it’s like mixing oil and vinegar. Those who are blind to history (most of the neocon establishment and their shills) won’t get that…

        The Poles agreed to the devil’s bargain in Ukraine because they want the benefits of EU membership without being forced into the EU social contract. By being useful to the euroatlantic military machine they stave off – at least temporarily – the demands of fealty on social liberalism coming from Brussels. Note how just prior to the war in Ukraine the Polish government was being constantly attacked for being a dictatorship, much like Orban is today.

        The Poles also stand to gain significantly if there is a situation where they are authorized to come in as ‘peacekeepers’. They will in essence reenter their old domains. There is no reason why Poland would care to see a strong independent Ukraine, for if that happens Brussels will have a new point of pressure against them.

        Poland is in the fight because from a geopolitical standpoint they can’t afford the consequences of any settlement being decided without their participation. I can assure you it has nothing to do with their love of “European values” or pan-Slavism (note how the current slate of Ukrainian heroes has notorious Polonophobes like Bandera).

        For that matter, their patience is running thin. They always looked down on the Ukrainians historically, and the attitude is hard to disguise – especially given Zelensky’s shameless chutzpah. They’ll take it as much as necessary to ensure they’ll have a seat at the final negotiations table: clearly they have to stay on the Brussels side of the divide because that’s where they’ve thrown in their lot. But they do it with great displeasure and once all is said and done, they will do whatever they can to pull out their pound of flesh from the remnants. Let history be your guide…

        • Really highlights one of the (many) strategic mistakes by Putin. The Kremlin had lots of levers to work to widen tensions between Poland and the rest of the EU, or Ukraine and the EU. Embarking on a massive war of conquest flushed much of that right down the toilet for a good long while. And of course, Poles and people in the Baltic states take note of presenters on Russian state media fantasizing about subjugating them again, just like the good old days.

          • Nate, there is no doubt that Putin made “strategic mistakes”. Perhaps the first was launching an SMO instead of a full-scale war. The reason he did so is that his advisors warned him that any incursion into the Ukraine would diminish the Russian economy by 25%. Therefore, he was looking for a quick “in-and-out”, looking to bring Kiev to the bargaining table.

            Let’s look at these one-by-one:

            1. The Russian economy did take an inflationary hit in the first months. However, Putin did something brilliant:
            a. he put the ruble on the gold standard,
            b. the Ukrainians did enter into negotiations, first at Minsk then again in Istanbul.

            1a. staunched the collapse of the Russian economy. Ironically, today their economy is going great guns.

            2a. also worked; Zelensky was ready to sign on the dotted line. At least until Boris Johnson flew into Kiev and promised Zelensky the sun, moon and stars.

            The 40,000 man army group that the Russians mobilized to march on Kiev was a feint, designed to move Zelensky to the negotiating table in Istanbul. It also caused the Ukrainians to abandon their massive formation which they intended to re-take the Crimea. This relieved not only the Russian hold on the Crimea, but softened up Kherson and Zaporizhia for their eventual conquest by the Russians, thus creating their much-desired land bridge from the Donetsk/Lugansk front to the Crimea itself.

            As for the Baltic states, their conquest by Russia was never in the cards. Such imperialistic fantasies only exist in the febrile minds of the warmongering neocons of the West.

            Seriously, anybody who believes that Russia (or China for that matter) want to conquer the world are taking some seriously strong hallucinogens.

            • Many things come to mind, but all I will say is that I hope the West continues with its present strategy. It is making Russia and China more powerful by galvanizing them both into the realization that they must contain the West and decouple from it in order to thrive.

              That is a most valuable lesson.

            • Well, suffice to say I have material disagreements with virtually all the assertions you made in that post. I will just state a couple brief points.

              First is that the picture of the Russian economy and economic outlook is far, far more complicated than a binary choice of ‘humming along fine, hunky dory’ or ‘collapse into economic depression and ruin any day now’. Last year, there was plenty of chest thumping about the rebound of the ruble. This year, I’m sure there are people rushing to explain why the ruble’s continued slide is great for Russia, actually (I haven’t bothered to look). And thus we have always been at war with Eastasia. It is possible for Russia to simultaneously be able to continue the war for years, but also be on an unsustainable fiscal trajectory that is going to cause some economic pain in the coming years. I know folks here like long YouTube videos, so on the subsection related to defense industrial production, this recent video does a good job of explaining the complexities and realistic limits:


              And a piece of friendly advice: personally I could care less if you continue to refer to the comprehensive defeat of multiple Russian CAAs in the 2022 Battle of Kyiv as a ‘feint’. But if you do so with anyone who has studied the first six-eight weeks of the war, they will probably stop paying attention to anything you say after that point. The most comprehensive analysis will have to wait until years after the conclusion of the war, but much is clear even in preliminary works. I don’t recall if I’ve linked this in a previous comment before or not, as one example:


          • And of course, Poles and people in the Baltic states take note of presenters on Russian state media fantasizing about subjugating them again, just like the good old days.

            I follow not only Russian media but Russian nationalistic groups/forums of different political spectres quite closely.

            I’ve seriously NEVER EVER heard of anyone seriously suggest conquering Poland or the Baltic states. Russians have never seen Poland as a ‘lost part of Russia’. Even Russian pan-Slavists are pretty much resigned to the fact that Polono-Russian relations in the 21st century are not at the state where there can be talk of serious political integration – forced or voluntary.

            The Baltic states are also seen as a political lost cause, and nobody in Russia considers Balts to be Slavs or some long lost traditional tribe that has to be returned ‘into the fold’.

            This is the problem with western propaganda: you can always lie about Russia without fear of consequences. That was the case even before 2014. Western media gets away with pretty much whatever it wants.

            • GeorgeS, thank you for setting the record straight. You are completely right about how true pan-Slavists feel about the Baltic states. It’s actually laughable.

            • Please note that I said subjugated, not part of Russia or considered Russian or Slavic. The USSR nostalgia isn’t for communism, but Russian imperialism.

              What do you think Solovyov means when he rants about giving the Soviet Union back its territory? That it collapsed because degenerates starting talking about sovereignty? Last year, one might also have taken note of Margarita Simonyan marking Gorbachev’s passing by saying “Time to collect the scattered.” Mind you, I’m cherry picking prominent figures here, ignoring the B or C tier.

              • Duly noted. The RF doesn’t even want to “subjugate” the Baltic states. That would only happen if NATO foolishly started placing troops there in anticipation of an attack on Byelorussia.

              • Nate, you seem to be backwalking into a wall: subjugation can only mean control of territory, which can only come about through either direct military action or the threat thereof. There is no talk of redrawing Russian borders to include the Baltic states or Poland: neither on the level of Russian diplomatic rhetoric, nor the political establishment at large (including the radical fringes), nor the influential thinkers and public figures.

                That said I’m sure if you look far enough you have people in many countries talking about fantasy border adjustments. That includes Ukraine btw, which has had certain political activists calling for sections of the Russian Don, Moldova, and Hungary to be ceded to Ukraine, as you have some Poles and Romanians calling for western Ukrainian territory, etc. We’re not discussing these individuals, because their statements do not affect policy. Otherwise we might as well include the Flat Earthers when discussing US policy.

                I’ll say it again: your average Russian and even your average Russian nationalist does not want nor hope to see Poland and the Baltic states enter into a federation or any other umbrella structure with the Russian Federation. As a matter of fact when Finland (which was part of the Russian empire for years) just joined NATO that did not elicit any strong emotional responses either.

                Your comment re: Solovyov, Simoyan et all talking about “Gathering what was scattered” refers specifically to the “Russkiy Mir”. This encompasses those Russians who originally lived on indigenous Russian territory that ended up having its borders redrawn, first by Stalin as republics within the USSR (including Ukraine and Kazakhstan) and then by the post-Soviet breakup where these artificial lines were used to affect a permanent partition of those territories into national boundaries.

                The Russkiy Mir does not include Poles, Balts, or any of the other nationalities within the USSR. Neither does it call for a redrawing of boundaries to include Russian enclaves.

                However, US politicians and pundits always get away with the argument that “the Russians are coming after everybody”, conflating modern Russian policy with Soviet expansionist doctrine. I’ll agree it’s a convenient way to hit your opponent by appealing to a past that no longer applies, because at that point it shifts from being a fact based argument to pulling at emotions. But if this war is to ever end, it has to shift from emotions to facts on the ground. We’re not there yet, and the more Russia’s enemies promulgate the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Moscow, the further we get from a settlement of the conflict and the establishment of a stable basis for some peaceful coexistence.

              • If you’re going to cherry-pick, you might want to choose better sources. Solovyov and Simonyan are journalists. This is like asking Rachel Maddow and Chris Cuomo to describe the lay of the land in America.

                It might be profitable to read how Putin views Ancient Rus, as his is the only vision that counts.

                Putin: “Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians are all descendants of Ancient Rus, which was the largest state in Europe. Slavic and other tribes across the vast territory – from Ladoga, Novgorod, and Pskov to Kiev and Chernigov – were bound together by one language (which we now refer to as Old Russian), economic ties, the rule of the princes of the Rurik dynasty, and – after the baptism of Rus – the Orthodox faith. The spiritual choice made by St. Vladimir, who was both Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Kiev, still largely determines our affinity today.”

                • “The spiritual choice made by St. Vladimir, who was both
                  Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Kiev,
                  still largely determines our affinity today.”

                  Indeed. And the Metropolitan of Kiev transferred his seat,
                  first to Vladimir and then to Moscow where, in due time,
                  it became the seat of the Patriarchate of Moscow.
                  These transfers occurred under pressure of invasion,
                  external invasion: from Mongols, Poles and Lithuanians.
                  But, despite these invasions, Rus remains alive.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Very well said.

  8. “I found it amusing that at the same time Russia propagandists
    were floating the preposterous notion that Poland was going
    to invade and annex Western Ukraine…”

    ‘Tain’t over yet, Nate.

    • It’s only preposterous if you take Western rhetoric at face value and believe they are concerned about the sanctity of borders. But this turning on Ukraine may make an intervention less likely. Before, for a while, it looked as though they were moving in the direction of a union state with Polish citizenship guaranteeing the same rights as Ukrainian, etc. Now, given the complications of massive Ukrainian migration and their dumping of grain on the Polish market before an election, Poland may be entering a phase of non-cooperation with the Kievan regime, except for continuing to act as a conduit for Western arms from other countries which they need to continue as part of NATO.

      I am continually reminded of what my mother said to me when the Soviet Union dissolved: “Communism was the only thing keeping those people from killing one another.”

      • My Russian friend Slava used to say that history’s earliest description of the Slavs is in the writings of Strabo: “a people who live in filth and hate one another.”

        And I say that as one who is 1/4 Slavic myself (Croatian, on my Catholic mother’s side).