Sunday, July 31, 2022

An Ill-Conceived Policy - Vox Popoli

People are beginning to figure out that economic sanctions do not work, but they still haven’t figured out why:

Western sanctions against Russia are the most ill-conceived and counterproductive policy in recent international history. Military aid to Ukraine is justified, but the economic war is ineffective against the regime in Moscow, and devastating for its unintended targets. World energy prices are rocketing, inflation is soaring, supply chains are chaotic and millions are being starved of gas, grain and fertiliser. Yet Vladimir Putin’s barbarity only escalates – as does his hold over his own people.

To criticise western sanctions is close to anathema. Defence analysts are dumb on the subject. Strategy thinktanks are silent. Britain’s putative leaders, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, compete in belligerent rhetoric, promising ever tougher sanctions without a word of purpose. Yet, hint at scepticism on the subject and you will be excoriated as “pro-Putin” and anti-Ukraine. Sanctions are the war cry of the west’s crusade.

The reality of sanctions on Russia is that they invite retaliation. Putin is free to freeze Europe this winter. He has slashed supply from major pipelines such as Nord Stream 1 by up to 80%. World oil prices have surged and eastern Europe’s flow of wheat and other foodstuffs to Africa and Asia has been all but suspended.

Britain’s domestic gas bills face tripling inside a year. The chief beneficiary is none other than Russia, whose energy exports to Asia have soared, driving its balance of payments into unprecedented surplus. The rouble is one of the world’s strongest currencies this year, having strengthened since January by nearly 50%. Moscow’s overseas assets have been frozen and its oligarchs have relocated their yachts, but there is no sign that Putin cares. He has no electorate to worry him.

The interdependence of the world’s economies, so long seen as an instrument of peace, has been made a weapon of war. Politicians around the Nato table have been wisely cautious about escalating military aid to Ukraine. They understand military deterrence. Yet they appear total ingenues on economics. Here they all parrot Dr Strangelove. They want to bomb Russia’s economy “back to the stone age”.

I would be intrigued to know if any paper was ever submitted to Boris Johnson’s cabinet forecasting the likely outcome for Britain of Russian sanctions. The assumption seems to be that if trade embargos hurt they are working. As they do not directly kill people, they are somehow an acceptable form of aggression. They are based on a neo-imperial assumption that western countries are entitled to order the world as they wish. They are enforced, if not through gunboats, then through capitalist muscle in a globalised economy. Since they are mostly imposed on small, weak states soon out of the headlines, their purpose has largely been of “feelgood” symbolism.

A rare student of this subject is the American economic historian Nicholas Mulder, who points out that more than 30 sanctions “wars” in the past 50 years have had minimal if not counterproductive impact. They are meant to “intimidate peoples into restraining their princes”. If anything they have had the opposite effect. From Cuba to Korea, Myanmar to Iran, Venezuela to Russia, autocratic regimes have been entrenched, elites strengthened and freedoms crushed. Sanctions seem to instil stability and self-reliance on even their weakest victim. Almost all the world’s oldest dictatorships have benefited from western sanctions.

Whenever one’s logic is proven faulty, the correct response is to question the assumptions that underlie the syllogism. In the case of the repeated failure of economic sanctions, the false assumption is the beneficial nature of free trade. Sanctions intrinsically assume that trade is necessarily good for a nation in any and all circumstances, and therefore imposing sanctions that reduce the amount of trade will weaken the targeted nation.

This is a provably false assumption, as evidenced by the way in which economic sanctions have made Russia wealthier and stronger relative to its former trading partners. Economic sanctions don’t work because free trade doesn’t work.

This conclusive evidence of the failure of free trade dogma should inspire more economists to be skeptical of the claims of the comparative advantagists, but unfortunately, the history of economics suggests that it probably won’t.


Zuesse: Why The EU Could End Within A Year | ZeroHedge

 Authored by Eric Zuesse,

Germany, which has been high-and-mighty within the European Union and has imposed austerity against weaker European economies such as in Greece, Spain, Italy, and Portugal, is now demanding that other EU member nations bail Germans out of what will soon inevitably be an energy-emergency that results from Germany’s having complied with America’s demand to not only join with America’s sanctions against Russia, but to even terminate Germany’s Nord Stream 2 Russian gas pipeline that was supposed to be increasing - instead of (as now will be the case) decreasing - Russia’s natural-gas supplies to Europe.

Germany was, until recently, the industrial motor of the EU, and therefore has the most to lose from reduced and far costlier energy-supplies; but this has now happened, and will escalate in the coming winter. As those energy supplies get reduced, energy prices will rise, then soar, and Germany’s economy will get crushed. Germany’s leaders (like in the other EU nations) complied with the American anti-Russia sanctions demands (which are based on faked ‘information’); and, as a result, the German public will soon be freezing, even while Germany will be spending astronomically higher prices for energy than it had previously been paying. The plunging energy supplies from Russia will be replaced by increased supplies from other countries (including America) whose energy is far costlier than Russia’s; and only a small fraction of those reduced supplies from Russia will be able to be replaced at all. Something will have to give, probably the EU itself, because the resultant rapidly escalating internal hostilities between EU nations — especially between Germany and the nations that it now expects to bail it out of this crisis - could blow the EU itself irrevocably apart.

This will be happening at the same time when the EU - which was extremely committed to reducing or even eliminating both nuclear and fossil fuels and especially coal - is suddenly rushing to increase greatly its use of those non-green fuel-sources, and when European voters who had placed those people into power will not like seeing their leaders turn 180 degrees now into the opposite direction, toward global warming. Previously unanticipated new questions will inevitably become raised. Furthermore, the transitions back to fossil fuels can’t even possibly be done as fast as Europe’s leaders are promising; and, as a consequence, not only will Europeans be chilling-out and shivering during this coming winter, but their leaders will have a lot of explaining to do that can’t be explained except by admitting that they had been wrong - terribly wrong and unprepared - and this undeniable fact will cause political chaos, as the mutual recriminations about their multiple failures will embitter Europeans about the entire EU project, the project of creating one single incomprehensibly bureaucratic U.S.-satellite European mega-nation, the “European Union,” that is composed of virtually all European nations. Nostalgia about the past, of beautiful independent European nations, and bitterness about the future, of “north versus south” (etc.) in Europe, will take over, weakening the EU’s fabric, and bringing into question the entire post-WW-II cross-Atlantic alliance (subservience, actually to the Russia-hating U.S. Government), both America’s NATO and its political twin, the U.S.-dominated EU and its thousands of American servants in Brussels.

The most-recent comprehensive evaluation of the energy-needs of the EU nations is the September 2008 “Europe’s Dependence on Russian Natural Gas: Perspectives and Recommendations for a Long-term Strategy” by Richard J. Anderson of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, funded by the U.S. and German Governments. It made clear that the lowest cost and fastest-growing fuel in Europe (unless EU countries would institute polices to change this, which didn’t occur) was pipelined natural gas from Russia, and that this was especially so regarding electricity-production, industrial uses, and chemical feedstocks for plastics etc.

That’s what has happened - Russian dominance of Europe’s energy-supplies (and industrial supplies) - and, as-of 2008, the countries that were the most dependent upon cheap Russian pipelined natural gas were (see this image there): Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Hungary, Turkey, Austria, Czechia, Greece, Finland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

Presumably, those are the nations that will be especially “chilling out” this coming winter, in order to continue America’s political domination over Europe.

The supposed moral imperative that has supposedly triggered this “chilling-out” is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 as being Russia’s inevitable ultimate response to America’s coup grabbing of Ukraine in February 2014 and NATO’s insulting-to-Russia insistence that this U.S.-made new Russia-hating Ukrainian regime has a sovereign right to place American missiles on Russia’s border only a mere five-minute striking-distance to nuking Moscow - that’s the EU’s supposed moral-imperative reason to turn Russia (Europe’s cheapest energy-supplier) off as being a supplier of energy to Europe.

But, as a result of turning off Russia’s energy-spigots in Europe, the EU itself might become destroyed, and a mere has-been economically, culturally, industrially, and otherwise, just so that Europe will remain as being vassal-nations to America (its “dispensable” nations, like all the rest are), instead of to become what it always should have been, and naturally would have been - the radiant glory of the world’s largest continent: Eurasia, a Europe that includes Russia, instead of that endangers Russia.

The glory of Europe is done for, finished as what it was, and the only real question now is how fast? Oh - and WHY? Why did Europe’s leaders do this? That will be the real EU-killer question.

The Europe that was, is gone - killed by the regime in Washington DC, using its many hired agents in Europe, and their hired guns in NATO.

*  *  *

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s next book (soon to be published) will be AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change. It’s about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ - duping the public.

No Farmers, No Food, No Life | ZeroHedge

 Authored by Carla Peeters via The Brownstone Institute,

The world is now facing a man-made food catastrophe. It is reaching crisis levels...

Current policies in many parts of the world place a priority on climate change for realizing a green new deal. Meanwhile, such policies will contribute to children dying from severe malnutrition due to broken food systems, with shortages of food and water, stress, anxiety, fear, and dangerous chemical exposure. 

More negative pressure on farmers and the food system is asking for a catastrophe. The immune system of many people, especially children, has lost its resilience and has weakened too far with high risks for intoxication, infections, non-communicable and infectious diseases, deaths and infertility.

Dutch farmers, of whom many will face a cost of living crisis after 2030, have drawn the line. They are supported by an increasing number of farmers and citizens worldwide.

It’s not the farmers who are the most heavy polluters of the environment, but industries who make the products needed for a technocracy revolution to green energy, data mining, and Artificial Intelligence. As more of the WEF plans are rolled out by politicians, inequalities grow, and conflicts are rising all over the world. 

The strong farmers’ revolt in the Netherlands is a call for an urgent transition to a people-oriented, free and healthy world with nutritious food cultivated and harvested in respect to natural processes. The cooperation of ordinary people worldwide is on the rise to prevent a mass famine catastrophe caused by the plan of scientism and technocracy to rule and control the world by unelected scientists and elites.

Enough food, access to food is the problem

Farmers around the world normally grow enough calories (2,800) per person (while 2,100 calories/day would be sufficient) to support a population of nine to ten billion people worldwide. But still over 828 million people have too little to eat each day. The problem is not always food; it is access. The UN which wrote in 2015 in the Sustainable Development Goals goal 2: No hunger and malnutrition for all in 2030 will not be reached

Throughout history many times natural or manmade disasters led to food insecurities for longer periods of time, resulting in hunger, malnutrition (undernourishment) and mortality. The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the situation. Since the global pandemic began, access to food estimates show that food insecurity has likely doubled, if not tripled  in some places around the world. 

Moreover, during the pandemic, global hunger rose to 150 million and is now affecting 828 million people, with 46 million at the brink of starvation facing emergency levels of hunger or worse. In the hardest hit places, this means famine or famine-like conditions. At least 45 million children are suffering from wasting, which is the most visible and severe form of malnutrition, and potentially life-threatening. 

With global prices of food and fertilizers already reaching worrying highs, the continuing impacts of the pandemic, the political forces to realize climate change goals and the Russia-Ukraine war raise serious concerns for food security both in the short and the long term. 

The world is facing a further spike in food shortages, pushing more families worldwide at risk for severe malnutrition. Those communities which survived former crises are left more vulnerable to a new shock than before and will accumulate the effects, diving into famine (acute starvation and a sharp increase in mortality).

Furthermore, growth of economies and development of nations are currently slowing down due to a lack of workforce due to a sharp decrease in well-being and higher mortality rates. 

In the wake of new nitrogen limits that require farmers to radically curb their nitrogen emissions by up to 70 percent in the next eight years, tens of thousands of Dutch farmers have risen in protest against the government. 

Farmers will be forced to use less fertilizer and even to reduce the number of their livestock, in some cases up to 95%. For smaller family-owned farms it will be impossible to reach these goals. Many will be forced to shutter, including people whose families have been farming for up to eight generations. 

Moreover, a significant decrease and limitations of Dutch farmers will have huge repercussions for the global food supply chain. The Netherlands is the world’s second largest agricultural exporter after the United States. Still, the Dutch government pursues their agenda on Climate Change while there is currently no law to support the implementation, while they will not change much in the planet’s major air pollution. Models used to arrive at the decision of the Dutch government are debated by acknowledged scientists

In no communication have Dutch politicians considered the effects of their decision on breaking a most important goal in the UN agreement: ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all in 2030

Unfortunately, Sri Lanka, a country whose political leader introduced zero Nitrogen and CO2 emissions policy, is now facing economic problems, severe hunger, and difficulties to access food upon a political decision that farmers were not allowed to use fertilizers and pesticides. Still, politicians responsible for Nitrogen emissions/climate change in other countries pursue the same green policy. 

Furthermore, experts are warning that heat, flooding, drought, wildfires, and other disasters have been wreaking economic havoc, with worse to come. Food and water shortages have been in the media. 

On top of that, Australian experts announce a risk for an outbreak of a viral disease in cattle. This could cause an A$80 billion hit to the Australian economy and even more real supply chain issues. Countless businesses and producers go bankrupt. The emotional toll they are facing to euthanize their healthy herds is immense and hardly bearable. It is pushing more farmers to end their life. 

Hopefully, the need for the Danish government to apologize, as an investigative report on the cull of more than 15 million minks in November 2020 criticized the action that led to the misleading of mink breeders and the public and the clearly illegal instructions to authorities, will help politicians to reconsider such drastic measures on farmers.

Worldwide, farmers’ protests are rising, supported by more and more citizens who stand up against the expensive mandates for changes to “green policies” that already brought massive miseries and instability. 

At a ministerial conference for food security on June 29 2022, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that worsening food shortages could lead to a global “catastrophe”.

Malnutrition responsible for more ill health than any other cause

The increased risk of food and water shortages the world is facing now will bring humanity to the edge. Hunger is a many-headed monster. For decades conquering world hunger has become a political issue in a way that it could not have been in the past. The use of authoritarian political power led to disastrous government policies, making it impossible for millions of people to earn a living. Chronic hunger and the recurrence of virulent famines must be seen as being morally outrageous and politically unacceptable, says Dreze and Sen in Hunger and Public Action, published in 1991.

 “For those at the high end of the social ladder, ending hunger in the world would be a disaster. For those who need availability of cheap labor, hunger is the foundation of their wealth, it is an asset,” wrote Dr. George Kent in 2008 in the essay “The Benefits of World Hunger.” 

Malnutrition is not only influenced by food and water shortage, but also to exposures of extreme stress, fear, insecurity of safety and food, social factors, chemicals, microplastics, toxins, and over-medicalization. No country in the world can afford to overlook this disaster in all its forms, which affects mostly children and women in reproductive age. Globally more than 3 billion people cannot afford healthy diets. And this is in contradiction to what many people think is just a low-income country problem.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic began, about 8% of the population in North America and Europe lacked regular access to nutritious and sufficient food. A third of reproductive-age women are anemic, while 39% of the world’s adults are overweight or obese. Each year around 20 million babies are born underweight. In 2016 9.6% of the women were underweight. Globally in 2017, 22.2% of the children under the age of five were stunting, while undernutrition explains around 45% of deaths among children under five.

As stated by Lawrence Haddad, the co-chair of the Global Nutrition Report independent Expert Group, “We now live in a world where being malnourished is the new normal. It is a world we must all claim as totally unacceptable.” While malnutrition is the leading driver of disease with nearly 50% of deaths caused by nutrition related non-communicable diseases in 2014, only $50 million of donor funding was given. 

Malnutrition in all its forms imposes unacceptably high costs – direct and indirect – on individuals, families and nations. The estimated impact on the global economy of the chronic undernourishment of 800 million people could be as high as $3,5 trillion per year, as was stated in a Global Nutrition Report in 2018. While child deaths, premature adult mortality and malnutrition-related infectious and non-communicable diseases are preventable with the right nutrition.

This will be much more at this precious moment, as the population sharply increases in excess mortality and non-communicable diseases among the working age people as recently shown by insurance companies.

Famines cause transgenerational effects

Famine is a widespread condition in which a large percentage of people in a country or region have little or no access to adequate food supplies. Europe and other developed parts of the world have mostly eliminated famine, though widespread famines that killed thousands and millions of people are known from history, like the Dutch Potato famine from 1846-1847, The Dutch Hunger winter 1944-1945 and a Chinese famine of 1959-1961. 

The latter was the most severe famine both in terms of duration and number of people affected (600 million and around 30 million deaths) and led to a widespread undernutrition of the Chinese population in the period from 1959-1961. Currently, Sub-Saharan Africa and Yemen are countries with recognized famine. 

Unfortunately, global destabilization, starvation and mass migration are increasing fast with more famines to be expected if we do not act today.

Epidemiological studies of Barker and later of Hales showed a relation between the availability of nutrition in various stages of pregnancy and the first years of life and diseases later in life. Their studies demonstrated that people with metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases were often small at birth. More and more research proves the role of nutrition-related mechanisms influencing gene expression. Even the period prior to pregnancy might influence a later risk for insulin resistance or other complications of the fetus. 

As demonstrated in a study with 3,000 participants in Northern China, prenatal exposure to famine significantly increased hyperglycemia in adulthood in two consecutive generations. Severity of famine during prenatal development is related to the risk for Type 2 diabetes. These findings are consistent with animal models that have shown the impact of prenatal nutritional status on neuro-endocrine changes that affect metabolism and can be programmed to transmit physiologically across multiple generations through both male and female generations. Early life Health shock conditions can cause epigenetic changes in humans that persist throughout life, affect old age mortality and have multigenerational effects. Depending on which trimester the fetus is exposed to food deprivation or even stress alone a related disease later in life may vary from schizophrenia, ADHD to renal failure and hypertension among others. Other studies of famine exposure in people have produced evidence of changes in the endocrine system and to prenatal gene expression in reproductive systems.

The effects of periods of famine or undernutrition have predominantly been seen in people with low social economic income. However, 1 in 3 persons in the world suffered from some form of malnutrition in 2016. Women and children are 70% of the hungry. There is no doubt that undernutrition increased further during the past six years. Stunting and wasting increased in the most vulnerable. Two out of three children are not fed the minimum diverse diet they need to grow and develop to their full potential. 

The hungry people in countries like Sri Lanka, Haiti, Armenia ,and Panama are the tip of the iceberg, opening the eyes of many citizens worldwide to a fast-growing problem as a result of the lockdowns, mandates and coercive policies in climate change, drought and the Ukraine war.

Citizens of the world have been facing for years: excess mortality, a fast decline in infertility and childbirth with a threat to human rights for women and more diseases. 

Shocking reports of the UN and WHO acknowledged the health of people and environment is declining. The world is moving backwards on eliminating hunger and malnutrition. The real danger is that these numbers will climb even higher in the months ahead.

The truth is that food innovation hubsfood flats (vertical farming), artificial meats and gene and mind manipulations will not be able to tackle the depressing state humanity is facing.

Zero-Covid policy has brought humanity at risk in its existence. Covid-19 vaccines with a risk for harm have been rolled out even for children under five years, hardly at risk for a severe disease, but undernourishment that greatly increases susceptibility to major human infectious diseases has not been taken care of. 

Conflicts are growing worldwide, increasing instability. Citizens will no longer accept policies without a clear harm-cost benefit analysis.

We need to act now to decrease food and fuel prices immediately by supporting farmers and effective food systems for nutritious food to heal the most malnourished (children and females at childbearing age) in the population. 

Let us hope for a return of Hippocrates’ principle: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Russia From the Right: An Interview With Alexander Porozhnyakov of the “Tsar’s Cross” Movement – The Occidental Observer - by Rolo Slavski

 Alexander Porozhnyakov is a young, conservative grassroots activist in Russia. He’s been in the wider right-wing movement for a decade, which makes him a veritable veteran of right-wing Russian politics.

Alexander Porozhnyakov

He runs a media project called “Tsar’s Cross” that promotes Orthodoxy, Russian nationalism and criticizes Liberals in both civil society and the government. We met near the American Embassy, funny enough, at a very pro-Tsar and pro-White Russian Orthodox Church.

Alex, can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Alexander Porozhnyakov and I am a Russian patriot. My organization and I stand for a healthy, positive form of Russian nationalism that includes other nations who have been historically part of the Russian project. We believe in friendship with other peoples, but also the self-assertion of Russian identity. Russianness cannot be denied as a form of appeasement or misplaced politeness to others. I come from an Orthodox background and that means that I am for an Orthodox monarchy, which I believe is the only legitimate form of government for Russia and the only kind of government that can stand against the power of the globalist agenda. The way I see it, Democracy is just rule by those who have money, the capitalists. It is an inherently corrupt system, and we deserve to live in a Russia without corruption.

Put simply, I want an Orthodox dictatorship. Everything that runs contrary to Christian morals should be banned. Here I am referring to everything including culture, medicine and so on. We want a restoration of pre-Revolutionary Russia. We want an end to the favoritism for non-Russians within Russia. We want the law equally applied to all. We want the reign of the security structures [secret police] to end.

When we last spoke, we discussed the curious situation surrounding pro-Russian activist and politician Alexey Silivianov in Donbass. Can you tell us who he is and what happened with him?

Alexey Silivianov is a Kievan. Back in 2014, he was an active proponent of the Russian Spring. Eventually, he became the deputy director of the MVD [Ministry of War Affairs] in the Zaparozhian oblast of Ukraine [now under control of Russian forces]. He is a true Russophile and suffered immensely for his outspoken position from the authorities who took power in Kiev. He served in the Kievan government at one point, but as the general situation worsened, his own situation became increasingly precarious. In short, he is one of us — a Russian patriot in Ukraine who worked for Russian interests.

Silivianov had enemies in Kiev, obviously, but things took a turn south for him when he started a fight with the narco mafia in his newly-liberated region, in Melitople. The mafias in our part of the world aren’t like the ones that you have in Mexico whose names and faces you know and who ostentatiously build their armies and states within states. These guys work quietly and with the help of the various police agencies, without whom they could not be able to operate as they do.

His fight against corruption and organized crime in his oblast attracted the attention of people who want to live by the old rules and who don’t take kindly to someone cutting into their profits. Recently, he disappeared. But this was in Russian-controlled territory. In other words, it wasn’t the Ukrainians who disappeared him.

Overall, this sends a bad signal to patriots in Russia. Someone who was on our side got nabbed by … well, we don’t know who, really, but someone with connections and power and working under the krisha [translates to “roof”, but means protection] of one security agency or another [secret police] for making too much trouble. For people who want to go to the Donbass and start building the “Russkiy Mir” [Russian world] this is a bad development.

A week ago, he resurfaced and was forced to record a video where he read from notecards, from a script, saying that he was okay and under arrest and not being mistreated. These kinds of video confessions mean literally nothing, I hope that you understand. And we found out that it was his boss who incarcerated him.

I believe that Silivianov got in trouble for his unabashed pro-Russian positions — that is, his explicit Russian nationalism. Many of the higher-ups in Moscow are now pushing a neo-Sovok strategy and remain leery of embracing Russian nationalism. We see this with the unfurling of Soviet flags and Soviet-sounding rhetoric in the newly-liberated territories of the Donbass. Silivianov’s biggest problem is that he is not a Red. He is an unabashed White who wants to see the Russian Empire, its system and values restored. His ideology is wrong, you see? He was pushing Orthodoxy and Russian nationalism — what we can call “the White Idea” and the idea that we want to be the governing ideology of the Russkiy Mir.

Alexey Silivianov

Can you tell us more about these narco mafias and the crime networks in the East?

The people who run the narco business in Donbass are all protected by people in the secret police/security apparatus. We don’t know exactly who, or what secret police agency and so on and we don’t know how high up it goes. We have the same problem with crime networks in Russia that are connected to the secret police.

I do know that Oleg Kavtunov, Silivianov’s boss and the new manager of the oblast, which is under the jurisdiction of the MVD, is directly involved in the arrest of Alexey Silivianov. Oleg is a strange character with many scandals under his belt.

Oleg Kavtunov

He made his career in various security agencies, battling corruption, supposedly. Eventually, he was fired from his position in МУР [Moscow internal police] for taking a bribe and transferred to the front, as it were, to make up for his mistake. He is a Bolshevik by ideology who literally wrote theses about continuing the Red revolution in Russia. The conflict between the two of them cannot be understood without understanding this Red vs White divide in their worldviews. Within a month of his arrival to his new post in the oblast, he arrested Silivianov.

And to get a position administering the new territories, you need friends in Moscow — everyone knows this. So, the Silivianov story is really important, because it reveals a lot of the underlying problems that we have in our society.

Hasn’t this happened before? Many of the militia commanders in the Donbass were knocked off either by the SBU or someone in Donbass or even Russia.

In the past, Alexey Mozgovoi, a famous militia commander was killed because he openly declared that he was going to create a corruption-free, Orthodox, Russian nationalist government in Donbass. He ran afoul of the local oligarchs and, probably, their friends in Moscow. His death was ordered by organized crime to make an example of him — that no populist Orthodox leader popular with the people would be tolerated.

Alexey Mozgovoi

Nowadays, thanks to Telegram samizdat channels, it has become more difficult to kill Russia’s heroes. Word gets out and the patriotic community is larger and more organized. So, the mafia goons have to resort to softer methods.

We suspect that it was either a local oligarch who disliked Silivianov or the order came from someone higher up, maybe in Moscow.

Bad things may be in the pipeline for Silivianov. The situation is uncertain and I don’t want to comment on it now, but we expect a character assassination scandal to emerge in the coming days and weeks.

I see. How is the situation generally in Donbass?

You have to understand that Donbass is not Russia. They have lived in a wartime regime for 8 years. They are all armed and walk around with weapons. People are more honest and straightforward. They are more Russian than us Russians.

As for the future of Donbass, Moscow sends its people to take the reins and it seems like the Kremlin doesn’t know who they are going to put in charge of the newly-liberated territories. This is probably because the war has not taken the course that the Kremlin planned. They don’t know how to deal with the situation as it has unfolded. So, they are scrambling to find people to put in charge of the situation. There doesn’t appear to be a well-thought-out plan as things stand now.

And we need to consider: what exactly are we offering the people of Donbass?

How can we fix their mess when we have a mess in our home as well?

Can I ask your opinion on the general state of the Russian nationalist/patriotism movement in Russia?

In the past, Russian nationalism was suppressed by the secret police. Nowadays, progress has been made. The government is forced to reach out to patriots because they need their rhetoric and their ideas and their support base while the war is going on. This is a positive trend, but we have yet to see our people taking up important positions in the presidential administration or in other state organs. The situation may be comparable to Stalin having to bring back patriotism and Orthodoxy to defeat the Germans. That is, the state is forced by the West to start becoming more nationalistic and to start making much-needed changes.

The pro-Russian movement was quite strong in the 90s leading up into the early 00s. That was the high point in the independent pro-Russia movement. Since then, internal fights and pressure put to bear on them ended the movement. Now, we just have independent people and projects who promote the ideas, but there is no movement.

Luckily, there are no organized Liberal movements anymore either. The start of the special operation saw the state finally getting serious about dealing with the Western-funded opposition.

Unfortunately, we see that some members of the chinovnik [bureaucrat] and silovik [secret police/security apparatus] caste are pushing a neo-Sovok ideology, especially in Donbass. They are putting up monuments to Lenin now even though Lenin is the reason that we are in this mess to begin with. This is a top-down idea being forced on the people. They don’t have any better ideas and they’re deathly afraid of the alternative system proposed by the ideas of Russian nationalism.

Also, our groups and projects are constantly hampered by the tech companies, like [social media company] VK, which constantly covers up and bans our content. No one from the state, however, puts pressure on us now. We can speak freely, but any political organizing on our part will be looked at suspiciously.

The last three years have been rather difficult, but also interesting for the movement. We fought back against the Covid hysteria and this was difficult for us because many Orthodox people and right-wingers were split on this question. For this reason, conservatives were unable to close ranks and fight together against the WEF agenda. The wider right-wing movement was “anti-conspiracy” at the time for PR reasons and because of this, did not allow itself to believe that the Covid thing was part of a wider agenda.

If we had a unified front, we would have had more success pushing back against the Covid agenda.

What about the state’s support for Orthodoxy? Doesn’t the Russian government support Orthodoxy? There have also been positive changes in the Church recently, no?

You must be referring to Metropolitan Hilarion. Yes, there are rumors that Metropolitan Hilarion had become an asset of Western intelligence agencies. There are yet more rumors that his offices were raided by men from the secret police. It is very possible.

Our government has an interesting relationship with Orthodoxy. During the Corona hysteria, one could go out to the liquor store, but one couldn’t go to pray. The sacraments were violated when disinfectant was introduced into the Eucharist ritual. The government makes a big show of being pro-Orthodox, but just look at how they behave. There was talk of QR codes that would be instituted on Church grounds. Members of the clergy who were against the corona hysteria were kicked out of their posts. The health authorities put a lot of pressure on the Church.

I don’t know where the Patriarch or the Church stood on this question. But he made the decision that he made. That’s all we can say. The Church went along with the Corona agenda. That is a fact. Whether it was pressure from the government or a Church decision, I don’t know.

Are you optimistic in general?

Yes, cautiously optimistic, but optimistic nonetheless. As the situation gets “worse” for Russia in terms of pressure from the West, it will get better for us. We want to see lasting changes implemented and so far, we don’t know if the positive changes are temporary or permanent. The trend, however, is encouraging, yes.