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Putin. Yeah that one.

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Thurisaz

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So. I’ve been called a „Putin apologist“ lately, by certain people in here. You know who you are, I will not mention any names.

Let’s get some things clear here about my views on Putin and „the West“. Just as a short PSA, so that you at least can bash me for what I really think mmmmkay?

„Putin is an autocrat / dictator / (insert your preferred label here)!!!“

Yes he certainly isn’t a leader who supports democracy and human rights to their fullest. Not at all. I have not denied that, and I do not deny that now either. However… is that any different in „the West“? Oh yes, the repression system isn’t as drastic and in-your-face here – generally – as it is in Russia. But look your own mirror image in the eye and try to honestly tell yourself that it’s any different in our respective countries, if you really have plans that would change the system. We’re not in danger of falling victim to a Strange Accident™ normally, but when was the last time you have seen anyone promoting real change not getting fought tooth and nail by the ruling system, across all official party divides, including all the major media? Sure, normally such parties/candidates are just not talked about by the journaille, or if they are, then they are badmouthed as much as possible. But is that any different in outcome? We’re allowed to disagree on minor issues, but never on the core issues, namely the rule of the 1 %.

Also, totalitarian or not, he is an officially elected leader. If we’re not happy with that, that’s our right. But if we want to change that, does anyone think that saber-rattling will do the job? Ever checked how much public support Putin enjoys from the Russian people? You let the tanks and bombers roll into position, you only reinforce the impression that the average Russian has of The West.

„Putin annexed Crimea!“

Did he?

Annexion, last I checked, was defined as violent takeover of a region that does not agree to you marching in.

Crimea had declared itself independent of Ukraine and invited Russia. We can certainly argue whether that declaration of independence was or was not engineered by Russia, but that’s a different question. Calling the Crimea thing an annexion is, flatly, a lie.

Oh right, why would anyone want to leave Ukraine after what happened a few years ago? Well even western media with their obvious bias didn’t stay silent about the new regime having recruited far-right groups to support itself very fast.

When was the last time you agreed with anyone calling bona fide nazis a group of good people?

 

This here has become infamous over here, a screenshot from our state-owned "quality" TV. It shows one member of what the TV station called "Ukrainian freedom fighters against the Russian threat". You may notice a certain thing in that image. When called on it, the TV station said "sorry our fault"... then promptly did it again. Several times.

 

zdf_nazis.png

Besides, that the West started meddling in Ukraine at all leads to the following point.

„Putin is a dangerous aggressor!!!“

Is he?

How many countries did Russia conquer and/or wreck since Putin got into office?

Let’s look at the West during the same time mmmkay? Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria… these are just the ones that occur to me spontaneously. Yeah some of you will now mention Russia’s involvement in Syria. Folks, Assad officially invited Russian forces to his country. According to international law that makes the Russian forces the only foreign military that’s allowed to be there. We can certainly argue whether or not Assad is a good leader or not, but see above, he also is an officially elected leader. If we want to work to change that, fine, but we’ll have to do it in accordance with international law. Hint: Sponsoring rebel groups or bombing anyone or anything in that country is not in accordance with the law.

Two wrongs do not make a right.

For most of the world, yes there is a global superpower throwing its weight around and acting like it’s allowed to do anything according to „might makes right“. I point you again to the list of aggressive acts I provided above. Doesn’t look like that’s Russia does it?

„Putin was boss of the KGB! Of course he’s an evil asshole!!!“

He was KGB officer from 1975 to 1982. After Glasnost became a thing under Gorbachev he had a nice number of other functions, being a bona fide mayor for example. He only returned to intelligence work, kind of, as boss of Russia’s internal intelligence (the FSB) from July 1998 to August 1999. For those who don’t want to bother looking it up, that was under Yeltsin, with whom the West was always a-ok. Funny how no one ever even mentions all the other points Putin has been at during his career. That is, funny unless you look at propaganda values.

„Putin’s a threat!!!“

To whom?

Ever looked at Russia’s current military spending? Or do you remember the far-beyond-desolate state the Russian army found itself in after the collapse of the Soviet regime?

Did you know that Putin recently announced that Russia would decrease military spending soon?

Putin’s Russia is only a military threat to those who can’t call upon NATO or other powerful allies. And that assumes that he’s planning an aggression. If Trump gets his wish and all NATO members increase their military spending, Germany alone will invest as much into new war toys per year as all of Russia. Now add to that the other NATO members, and the US with their obscene military budget. Who’s the threat here?

By the way, after the collapse of the Soviets, a certain US official had assured Gorbachev that NATO would, literally, advance „not a single inch“ eastwards. Now look at the map and wonder how trustworthy NATO looks to the average Russian. Just sayin‘.

russia-wants-war-look-how-close-they-put

Yeah sure, Russia still has nukes. And if you assume that Putin is a card-carrying moron that’s certainly an option to him. Only a moron would launche those missiles knowing that his own country would end only minutes later too.

Russia may well be a threat to certain individuals, see the Skripal case if the evidence is good (I have objected to UK’s May blaming Putin because I’ve yet to hear any strong evidence besides her „I said so!“). In such cases, of course that criminal act has to be dealt with. We have to do it right though, the proper way. Unless we no longer want to claim that we’re the Good Ones™.

 

By the way, don't point at secret services as source of "evidence". Remember those WMDs in Iraq, which were supposedly such a threat even though no one ever found a trace of them? Or Tonkin? Northwoods? GLADIO? All that came from secret services and the like. Guess how much I trust them.

 

And while we’re at it, yes those who spit on democracy and human right should be dealt with. However, looking at how the Western nations have acted in recent times, they definitely have no right to act as judge. You know who should hold court over that? The United fucking Nations. That’s what we have them for.

But strangely, no one, not even the most „but we’re the good virtuous ones!!!“ Western nations, considers them much. Wonder why…

(EDIT: Aaaaand I'll just leave this link here.

"The best the MSM have come up with is that a St. Petersburg outfit called Internet Research Agency (IRA) placed $100,000 in ads on Facebook (compared to the $81 million Facebook ad spending by the Trump and Clinton campaigns), some of the Russian ads actually directed against Trump. As Jeffrey St. Clair pointed out in the pages of CounterPunch, in the key states where Clinton lost the election, the traditional Democrat strongholds of Michigan ($832 spent on token IRA buy ads), Pennsylvania ($300), and Wisconsin ($1,979), all but $54 of this amount was spent before the party primaries even started.

Facebook’s vice president for advertising Rob Goldman said that in fact most of the total Russian ad buys occurred after the presidential election."

" Even if there were genuine evidence that Russian officials had hacked the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta emails, as originally claimed by the intelligence agencies, one should put this in context of the long history of the CIA’s efforts to overthrow many democratically elected leaders who had the temerity to stand up to the superpower. These would include Allende, Arbenz, Mossadeq, Lumumba, Chavez, Goulart, Ortega, and others. The list of US interventions in foreign elections just since 1948 (Italy) is voluminous. ")

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Whataboutism 101, Putin couldn't do it better himself, which is why I call you an apologist.  The US is not above criticism, and those of us in this country who are against the Imperial ambitions of Neoconservatives need your support, but instead you defend Putin.

 

To highlight how you have twisted the facts without spending too much time, lets focus on Crimea.  The Ukrainian Prime Minister who was nothing more than a puppet to Putin had just been removed and fled to Russia to avoid charges of High Treason.  He was ousted on February 22nd and Putin convened the all-night meeting to reclaim Crimea that same night.  The next day, Russian sponsored protests broke out in the region and by February 26th masked Russian Special Forces had infiltrated the region and gained control of key infrastructure and the Supreme Court building.  Only after that illegal occupation and invasion did an illegal vote take place on March 16th to join Russia, and then Russia did annex the region two days later.  Hitler had much ethnic support when he annexed the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia, that doesn't mean it was legitimate one bit.  These are complex issues and your simplistic conception of international relations is in desperate need of some additional education beyond (US=bad).  

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18 minutes ago, Thurisaz said:

I see you still ignore most of what I wrote.

Its not my responsibility to re-educate your ideologically indoctrinated worldview which ignores the realities of international relations.  You can't tell the difference in the degrees of corruption, so I highlighted the specific example lf how you twisted Putin to be some champion of Crimean democracy.  

 

Trump wants out of NATO, and him putting pressure on Europe to pay more will just be his excuse if he is given a chance to do so.  How will you like Russia then Thur?!  With an armed force of under 200,000, Germany has been afforded all those nice Social programs as part of the Cold War Strategy which sought to entice those in the Soviet Union to see higher standards of living and better consumer goods.  NATO was all about ensuring a US ground commitment in the instance of an invasion, and getting involved in Vietnam was all about trying to ensure leaders like De Gaulle felt confident that the Americans would respond.  The actual circumstances of all these events are extremely complicated, but when you gloss over them and compare them to Putin (who you really don't understand one bit), then you make him immune to being criticized by any existing regime.  I don't agree with much of American foreign policy over the 20th Century, but to say Putin is no different is simply an anachronism.  Your utter hatred of Capitalism has blinded you from seeing and understanding US geopolitical concerns, some of that hatred is well placed but instead of actually trying to understand it, you just view the US as just another evil empire.  Corruption is a universal problem, but Russia is nearly a mob-state with the corrupt levers of government centralized in the hands of a single individual who has been seeking to undermine Democratic institutions around the world who otherwise might hold him accountable.  You claim people like me are saber rattling?  Are you even paying attention?  Russia has a nuclear policy laid out in their latest military doctrine called "escalate to deescalate" which would authorize the limited use of nuclear weapons in order to deescalate a crisis by forcing an opponent to match or back down.  But in your fairy tale world of made up nonsense, Putin would never do such a thing?  Putin as mayor was extremely corrupt too and used that post as well as his current as head of state to enrich himself and the oligarchy loyal to him with some estimates of his wealth expropriated from the Russian people being as high as 200 billion.  His latest election "victory" is a lie, CCTV footage demonstrates people being bullied at polling sites, and many instances of voter fraud with individuals continually stuffing additional votes in at the polling sites.  Not to mention the three main people who could oppose him could not run, one because of fake criminal charges, and another who was stabbed in the back in 2015.  America has corruption which I am likely more aware of than you, but it pales in comparison to what we see from the Kremlin these days.  

 

Now go YouTube some more Putin speeches.

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