M.C. Escher Gravitation 1952
Earlier today, I read that the Russian ambassador to Poland was hit by a paint bomb while laying a wreath for WWII fallen soldiers, with the culprits chanting: “fascist, fascist”! And I thought that is rich, on the day that Russia commemorates the 25-40 million Russian lives lost in WWII fighting fascism.
I don’t know how many of you ever saw Claude Lanzmann’s 1980’s 8-hour documentary “Shoah”, but I did at some point. It shook all of me, every molecule, and I will never watch it again. I come from the land of Anne Frank. What it told me was that nazism wasn’t just a German thing, it was the region, not the nation, it was where most Jewish people lived before Hitler and Goebbels came along.
Lanzmann interviewed scores of Polish people who were loudly proud of having pushed back Jews, trying to flee, onto the cattle trains bound for Auschwitz et al. That same mentality has prevailed in large parts of Ukraine as well over the by now 80 years or so. Just look at the map: that’s where this was happening. And the Russians defeated it in that part of the world, not western troops.
And when it was done, the role of the 25-40 million Russian deaths in it was denied in the west, because: communism vs capitalism. But of course Russia cannot just ignore or deny all those deaths, just because Hollywood wants to sell tickets to Saving Private Ryan. For Russia, WWII meant: never again. And for them that means something slightly different than for us. It’s not just never again fascism or nazism, it’s also that these two things are symbolic for having your motherland invaded from the west, and by the west. Never again. That is why Russia moved into Ukraine.
And they are convinced that NATO was getting ready, with the remaining nazis in Ukraine, to attack the Donbass and Crimea. Note: Russia has an excellent secret service. They’re not just guessing. 100s of 1000s of troops were amassing on their eastern border(s).
And now Zelensky is calling the Russians the nazis. That’s quite the about face. They lost all those lives fighting the nazis, only to become the nazis themselves. Labeled so by an actor who relies heavily on admitted, and tattooed, 2022 nazis to stay in power.
Western media, and governments, had a zillion predictions about what Putin would say today, but still there was no mobilization of Russians, and no total war declaration. They were all wrong, again. But it helped get the clickbait up! Still, he would have said it if we did not announce his intentions!, us who have a direct line into his brain…
I’ll leave you with three full reports from today, so you can make up your own mind- something I always try to do. First, RT, for which I cannot provide a link (banned because it’s propaganda!), then Guardian and then BBC.
Russia’s military operation in Ukraine was a preemptive move against future aggression, President Vladimir Putin has outlined during his address at the Victory Day parade in Red Square in Moscow on Monday. Putin not only praised the achievement of the Soviet people during World War II, but also addressed the Kremlin’s reasons for the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev. Russia had to act because a large-scale offensive against the breakaway republics in the eastern Donbass region was being planned, he claimed.
“We saw the military infrastructure unfolding [in Ukraine]; hundreds of foreign advisers starting their work; there were regular deliveries of the most modern weapons from NATO countries. The danger grew every day,” the president explained. “Russia gave a preemptive rebuff to aggression – this was a forced, timely and the only right decision by a sovereign, strong and independent country,” he added, referring to the launch of the military operation. “Despite all the disagreements in international relations, Russia has always advocated the creation of a system of equal and indivisible security,” Putin continued. He cited Moscow’s attempts to engage in dialogue on security guarantees with Washington late last year, which failed to yield results.
“NATO countries didn’t want to hear us, which means that, in fact, they harbored completely different plans, and we saw it,” he elaborated. There were open preparations for a punitive operation in the Donbass and “an invasion of our historical lands, including Crimea,” Putin insisted, adding that Kiev also announced plans to restore its nuclear capabilities. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US has increasingly spoken of ‘American exceptionalism,’ Putin pointed out. By spreading those ideas, Washington is “humiliating not only the whole world, but also its satellites, which have to pretend that they don’t notice anything and humbly accept it all. But we are a different country,” he insisted.
Russia has a different character, we’ll never give up on our love for our Motherland, on our faith and traditional values and customs of our ancestors; on respect for all peoples and cultures. But the West has apparently decided to “cancel” those values, with such “moral degradation becoming the basis for cynical falsifications of the history of World War II, and the incitement of Russophobia,” he said. “We know that American veterans, who wanted to come to the parade in Moscow, were basically banned from doing so,” Putin added. But he pointed out that Russia remembered the feats of the US servicemen and their contribution to victory in World War II.
Returning to the military operation in Ukraine, the president illustrated that “the self-defense forces of the Donbass Republics together with the Russian military are fighting on their land… for the Motherland, for its future, to make sure that no one forgets the lessons of World War II, so that there would be no place in the world for butchers, punishers, and Nazis.” Announcing the “special military operation” on February 24, Putin said that Moscow should not repeat the mistakes of the Soviet leadership of 1940-1941.
Back then, he explained, the USSR tried not to provoke Nazi Germany by “refraining or postponing the most urgent and obvious preparations it had to make to defend itself from an imminent attack.” As a result, the president continued, the moment was lost and the country was not prepared to counter the invasion. “The attempt to appease the aggressor ahead of the Great Patriotic War proved to be a mistake which came at a high cost for our people…We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so,” Putin said.
The essence: “We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so,”
Vladimir Putin has told Russian soldiers they are “fighting for the same thing their fathers and grandfathers did” as he used his Victory Day speech to justify his invasion of Ukraine. As Putin sought to rally his country through the memory of the second world war, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, pushed back in his own address from Kyiv. “We will not allow anyone to annex this victory, we will not allow it to be appropriated,” he said. The dual speeches marked a closely watched anniversary in eastern Europe, where Russia has used claims that it is fighting fascism to justify its bombardment of cities such as Mariupol and Kyiv and to launch the largest military campaign in Ukraine since the 1940s.
Prior to the speech, foreign officials had said Putin could use it to launch a full mobilisation of Russian troops or formally declare war in Ukraine, but there were no large policy announcements. Instead he suggested Russia was “forced” into the war by Nato and pledged to provide aid for the families of soldiers who had died in what the Kremlin is calling a “special operation”. Speaking at the 77th annual celebration of the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Russian president launched a defence of his war in Ukraine, pivoting from a recognition of Russia’s “greatest generation” to a description of how it was believed Ukraine was being armed by the west for an imminent attack on Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.
“Nato countries did not want to listen to us,” Putin said. “They had different plans, and we saw it. They were planning an invasion into our historic lands, including Crimea … Russia gave a preemptive rebuff to aggression, it was a forced, timely and only right decision.” He also described the war as “sacred”. “The defence of the motherland, when its fate was being decided, has always been sacred,” Putin said, speaking of the second world war. “And now, you are fighting for our people in the Donbas. For the security of our homeland – Russia.” Russia provided fewer armoured vehicles than in past years during the Red Square parade on Monday and a planned flyover was cancelled, ostensibly due to weather conditions.
Putin did not bring up specific Russian victories in his speech, despite speculation his forces were engaged in a last-ditch effort to secure Mariupol and its Azovstal plant from the remaining Ukrainian defenders by 9 May. Instead, the Russian president addressed troop losses in the war, saying he had signed a new order that would give educational aid to the children of those killed. The Kremlin has been accused of seeking to cover up losses. After the sinking of the Moskva cruiser in the Black Sea, a number of families went public with claims the Russian military was trying to avoid confirming deaths onboard the ship.
“The death of each of our soldiers and officers is a grief for all of us and an irreparable loss for relatives and friends,” Putin said. “The state, regions, enterprises, public organisations will do everything to take care of such families and help them. We will provide special support to the children of the dead and wounded comrades. The presidential decree on this was signed today.”
The muted speech came in stark contrast to that delivered by Zelenskiy, who delivered a recorded address to a piano accompaniment as he walked through central Kyiv past anti-tank barricades. “This is not a war of two armies,” he said. “This is a war of two world views. A war waged by barbarians … who believe that their missiles can destroy our philosophy.” In the speech, Zelenskiy took aim at Russian claims Ukraine had sought to block 9 May celebrations, a focus of Russian state media in advance of the holiday.
“Our enemy dreamed that we would refuse to celebrate 9 May and the victory over Nazism,” said Zelenskiy. “So that the word ‘denazification’ will have a chance [to succeed] … On the day of victory over Nazism we are fighting for a new victory. The road to it is difficult but we have no doubt that we will win. “And very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine. And some will not even have one left.”
“The defence of the motherland, when its fate was being decided, has always been sacred.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russian forces in Ukraine were fighting for the future of their motherland, in his annual address marking victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two. Despite rumours he would make a major announcement his speech stuck largely to defending Russia’s invasion. He tied the war in Ukraine to victory in 1945, blaming the West and Nato for rejecting security demands. Almost 10 weeks into the invasion, civilian casualties continue to mount. Some 60 civilians are feared dead in the eastern town of Bilohorivka, after a Russian attack on a school where people were trying to escape bombardment.
Flanked by military top brass, Russia’s leader spoke of Ukrainians as fascists, repeating his false claim that the democratic government in Kyiv was run by neo-Nazis. Defending the motherland had always been sacred, he said, referring to the eastern region which is now the main focus of Russia’s assault: “Today you are fighting for our people in Donbas, for the security of Russia, our homeland.” He also made unfounded allegations against Nato and Ukraine and described the invasion as a pre-emptive rebuff: “They were preparing a punishing operation in Donbas to intrude on our historic lands. In Kyiv they were saying they might get nuclear weapons and Nato started exploring the lands close to us, and that became an obvious threat to us and our borders.”
Ukrainian presidential official Mykhailo Podoliak later responded, tweeting that there were no rational grounds for the war: “Nato countries were not going to attack Russia. Ukraine did not plan to attack Crimea.” There had been speculation that Russia’s president may be considering a change of military strategy, either a full declaration of war, rather than the current so-called special military operation, or a mobilisation of Russian men to boost the armed forces. Instead he said he was signing a decree for families of the dead and wounded in Ukraine to receive special support.
There was a minute of silence, including for the fallen in Ukraine, and he ended his 11-minute address with the words: “Glory to our armed forces – for Russia, for victory, hurrah”, at which the assembled forces responded with a big cheer. The parade was more modest than in recent years. Russian news agencies said 11,000 troops and 131 armoured vehicles took part in the event, including Russia’s widely feted Armata tanks, which have not been considered combat-ready for the war in Ukraine.
Not everything went according to plan. A flypast by the air force had to be cancelled shortly before the parade because of “weather conditions”, according to the Kremlin. Ahead of Victory Day, warplanes had rehearsed over Red Square in a Z-formation, the motif used by the Russian state during its war in Ukraine. Smaller parades took part in cities across Russia and the weather was also blamed for similar cancellations of flypasts in Yekaterinburg, Rostov and Novosibirsk. There was no mention in Vladimir Putin’s speech of Mariupol, the southern Ukrainian port city where a small group of Ukrainian forces continue to hold out in a maze of tunnels under the Azovstal steelworks.
But Russia was able to claim limited success on Monday in Kherson, the one Ukrainian city it can claim to have fully occupied. State-run news agency Ria Novosti showed footage of a Victory Day march in memory of those who died in the war. It was led by Volodymyr Saldo, a pro-Russian local official who has been named Kherson governor and is now being investigated for treason by Ukraine. What was then the Soviet Union lost 27 million lives during World War Two, with Ukraine accounting for eight million of them. In a separate message marking 9 May, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Nazis had been expelled in 1945 and Ukraine would not allow anyone to “annex this victory”. Very soon, he said, Ukraine would have two victory days to celebrate.
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