Now the conflict in Ukraine is almost three weeks old, the initial paroxysms and reactivity have begun to fade and it is time for us to explain the situation as we see it, and to shutter some of the false narratives that have woven their way into the discourse amongst Western observers. It is often said that truth is the first casualty of any war, but in this age of social media, in which everyone with a smartphone is a potential journalist and all of history is available at the click of a button, we have a wider range of tools available to us to elucidate these tumultuous events.
The History Lesson
On 21st February Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a televised address announcing his government’s recognition of the independence of Ukraine’s breakaway republics; Donetsk and Luhansk. His speech was more of a history lecture than a political declaration and, we must admit, an edifying lesson indeed. He described the foundations of Ukrainian statehood, and how the political machinations of Vladimir Lenin and co engendered this state on Russia’s western border complete with awkward boundaries and a somewhat misfit population that cannot be said to belong to one people or another. We were previously unaware of Nikita Krushchev’s decision to transfer Crimea to the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic in 1954, and further research confirmed the complex history of the peninsula. The lecture was, of course, Vladimir Putin’s attempt to justify the coming invasion of Ukraine through the invalidation of Ukrainian statehood, and the illegitimacy of its territorial integrity.
Scouring history for pretexts is risky business. Go back far enough and any land becomes someone else’s. And Vladimir Putin’s reading of Soviet history conveniently omits the salient points of more recent history, which demonstrate the absurdity of Putin’s claims of Russia’s rightful dominion over Ukraine. For instance, he neglected to mention the referendum held in 1991 on Ukrainian independence, which resulted in an overwhelming declaration of support from citizens for Ukrainian statehood, even in regions that are considered largely Russian, ethnically and linguistically.
In the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, which are today partially controlled by so-called Russian separatists, 83% of the population voted in favour of independence from Moscow. Even Crimea, which had only been a part of Ukraine for 37 years at the time of voting, signalled its desire to be part of a Ukrainian state. Not a single region of Ukraine indicated its desire to sit within a Russian or greater Soviet state.
Vladimir Putin, in explicating his reasons for the coming war, failed to recognise the Budapest Memorandum, a 1994 treaty signed by Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States which brought the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan into the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in exchange for security assurances from neighbouring world powers. The memorandum prohibited the signatories from using the threat of military force or economic coercion against the former republics in exchange for their relinquishing nuclear weapons. Ukraine did not break this treaty; it possesses no nuclear weaponry of its own, it does not station the nuclear weapons of foreign powers on its territory, and had no plausible route to a native, clandestine nuclear program.
Russia broke this treaty through its invasion of Ukraine. Belarus broke this treaty by recently reversing its status as a non-nuclear state by law.
In his subsequent speech announcing his “Special Military Operation in Donbass”, President Putin provided a pretext his ministers had been filtering into the narrative for weeks: genocide.
The narrative goes that the “Neo-Nazi Regime” in Kiev has been committing genocide against Russian-speakers in the separatist Donbass region, carried out by Neo-Nazi regiments of the Ukrainian Armed Forces/National Guard such as the AZOV Battalion. However, the figures immediately refute this claim. The number of civilians killed during the War in Donbass (2014 – Present) is 3,393 on both sides, and just 349 between 2016 and 2021. This is dwarfed by the 30,000 military personnel killed throughout the same period, a point which clearly demonstrates that civilian casualties are incidental rather than indicative. It’s also worth noting that the population of the separatist regions combined is over 3,000,000, of whom a majority are ethnic Ukrainians.
It is important to point out, too, that the so-called Nazis allegedly conducting this genocide aren’t even anti-Russian. Indeed, Russian is the lingua franca of the infamous AZOV Battalion, and also of the other members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces fighting in Donbass. Some of them are also ethnic Russians.
The conflict in Donbass is entirely political in nature, and also requires some context in order to further demonstrate the absurdity of Russia’s claims. Vladimir Putin and his government have conveniently forgotten the history of the separatism in eastern Ukraine, and the chronology of events.
Following the Euromaidan coup in which pro-Russian Ukrainian President Yanukovych was deposed for reneging on a commitment to sign an economic partnership treaty with the European Union, the Russian Federation seized Crimea militarily. Why? Because they leased the country’s only warm-water port of Sevastopol from Ukraine’s previous government and feared the loss of this arrangement in the post-revolutionary environment. They also sent weapons and a significant number of Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms to separatist agitators in Donetsk and Luhansk in order to ferment a revolution to dislodge these regions from the Ukrainian state. The separatists took over government buildings in eastern Ukraine and conducted a series of military offensives, actually seizing territory through force of arms before being pushed back at the Second Battle of Mariupol in 2014 to the contact line between Ukraine and separatist regions that existed until the current war in 2022.
Normal protestors don’t have Multiple Launch Rocket Systems and heavy artillery pieces unless they’ve been armed by somebody.
Whatever your opinion on the War in Donbass or the separatist cause, it is quite clear that Russian or Russian-backed forces fired the first shot, as it were, and that there is absolutely no evidence for Putin’s claim that a genocide has been underway in the region. In fact, there is only evidence to the contrary.
Pretext: De-Nazification & Demilitarisation?
Putin claimed that he was forced to act in order to “Denazify” Ukraine’s power structures which posed a threat to Russian-speakers or Russian sovereignty – in some way that is yet to be explained, incidentally. The Russian President further claimed that his mission goals include the “demilitarisation” of Ukraine.
Irrespective of Russia’s claim that the Ukrainian government is “Neo-Nazi” in nature, it is a government that was popularly elected through a free and largely fair process. It is the choice of Ukrainians who governs them, not Russia. But even then, the government in Kiev is quite clearly the opposite of Neo-Nazi. The President, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish, and he leads a government of centrists and moderates which also has a majority in the Ukrainian parliament. In fact, Ultranationalist/Neo-Nazi political parties have precisely 1 representative in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament), from the Svoboda political party, who sits on the opposition benches and is completely irrelevant.
As a point of interest, the actual Neo-Nazis in Ukraine are moderately anti-Western, so it would be in Russia’s interests if they really were in power.
It is also important to note that President Zelensky should have been far more acceptable to the Russians than his predecessor Poroshenko. Zelensky is a moderate, a native Russian speaker, who has repeatedly signalled his opposition to any persecution or dis-privileging of the Russian language in the country.
The desire to “demilitarise” Ukraine is equally puzzling, for the reasons for this are unclear. Ukraine’s army consists (pre-war) of 250,000 active personnel and an annual military budget of around $6bn, making it weaker to countries of a comparative size and means and, not to mention, dwarfed by the Russian Armed Forces which has a budget ten-times greater than it, with over a million active personnel and a further 2 million reserve personnel – not to mention the fact that Russia has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal. What could Russia possibly have to fear from Ukraine’s military? Was Ukraine supposedly intent on invading Russia – again, a nuclear power – in a suicidal war of self-destruction?
Moreover, it is difficult to justify in moral terms the desire of the Russian Federation to have demilitarised countries on its borders. No other country in the world demands the military enfeeblement of its immediate neighbours (except perhaps Israel), because to do so would be an overreach and a breach of those countries’ sovereignty. Russia does not have any greater right to dictate Ukrainian defence policy than the United States has to dictate Mexico’s, or Canada’s or any other nearby country. The desire by Russia to pursue this “neutral neighbourhood” policy appears to be born out of an inability to adjust to the post-Soviet world, in which even superpowers cannot dictate these terms to their neighbours.
Pretext: NATO Expansion
Another narrative that is popular amongst Western advocates of Putin’s War is the apparent validation of his pretext by the obvious point that NATO has expanded to incorporate countries closer to Russia’s borders in the years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is a point often utilised by Vladimir Putin in an attempt to demonstrate Western aggression and position Russia as the victim simply defending itself.
It is important to note that Putin was President of Russia when a number of former Eastern Bloc countries joined NATO, and at this time Russia had a cooperation agreement with the alliance through which this could have been lobbied against. In 1997 the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council was established, in an agreement in which both parties stated they did not see the other as adversaries, and at which Russia understood it would not have veto powers over former Soviet countries’ membership aspirations, and that it did not desire such rights. In 2009, Russia permitted the use of its airspace for NATO planes headed for Afghanistan, and in 2011 NATO and Russia conducted joint military exercises. Since these apparently friendly interactions just 10 years ago, NATO has not expanded further nor has it stationed nuclear weapons or other offensive capabilities on the territories of its eastern members. The only reason Russia didn’t actually join NATO was because it wasn’t happy to follow the process that lesser countries – in their view – had to follow in order to be eligible.
President Putin was happy to work with an expanded NATO in 2011, and registered no “security concerns” at this time. The only thing that’s changed in the meantime is Russia’s actions in Ukraine. And so, Putin cannot now suddenly raise the point of NATO expansion to justify his invasion of non-NATO Ukraine.
Some argue that Ukraine intended to join NATO, or at least register an application for membership, which could be conceived of as a hostile act against Russia. But why is it hostile? For it to be conceived of as such, we have to make the following assumptions as fact:
- Ukraine will apply to join NATO
- NATO will accept this application
- NATO will station nuclear weapons in Ukraine
- NATO will invade Russia (for no reason)
Points 1 and 2 are feasible, but nuclear weapons would not be stationed in Ukraine – we’ve been here before in 1962, and both sides simply cancel each other out. And NATO couldn’t invade Russia. It isn’t possible to take aggressive actions against a nuclear power for obvious reasons, a fact which all nuclear powers are well aware of. This is, after all, the point of a nuclear deterrent.
Logically, this narrative doesn’t accord with reality.
It is also important to dispel the notion that NATO is a political organisation. It isn’t. It has engaged in actions which we have been highly critical of, certainly, but it is not a political organisation. It doesn’t have particularly strong political conditions for entry, except for upholding democracy and the subordination of the armed forces to civilian control, conditions which Russia met up until 2012 at least.
Crusade Against Globalised Homogeneity (“GloboHomo”)?
One narrative that has emerged online amongst Western Rightists is that Putin’s Russia represents a bulwark against everything that is wrong about the modern West. It posits that Russia refutes the decadent values of the West and is fighting against the proliferation of these values, in Ukraine and around the world. Even if this were true – which it isn’t – a Russian invasion of Ukraine does nothing for the aims of Rightists except strengthen the Western institutions and organisations that they hate. NATO is resurgent, the European Union is more unified and relevant than ever before, and Western liberalism is emboldened to fight against Russia on all fronts. Besides, Russian conservatism is hardly justification for cruise missiles and heavy artillery used to massacre Europeans in Ukraine. Countries such as Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary have demonstrated that your country doesn’t need to be razed by Russian missiles to retain a conservative outlook and hold firm against Western decadence.
Indeed, the very notion that an aggressive war is justified because of the respective leaders’ political views is pretty absurd in itself.
The main point against this argument, however, is that it isn’t even true. The same dissidents who aggressively support Russia wouldn’t have to worry about being banned from social media for “hate speech” under Putin’s governance, because they’d be in prison. The Russian state is incredibly corrupt and despotic; it imprisons nationalists who aren’t state-sponsored, and doesn’t tolerate dissent from the Right. Russia also has strong laws against discriminatory views, with fines up to 500,000 roubles (which admittedly isn’t much these days) and up to 5 years’ imprisonment for ‘raising hate or hostility, or equally the humiliation of human dignity’ on the grounds of sex, race, national origin, language, or ‘affiliation to any social group’. Needless to say, Holocaust Denial is banned in Russia, a law further enshrined by Vladimir Putin himself in 2014. People are routinely prosecuted for innocuous breaches of this law, such as posting pictures of German soldiers on social media or questioning any aspect of the historical point.
Russia has more liberal abortion laws than many other countries, including European countries. Abortion in this supposedly conservative, Orthodox state is elective, “on demand” in other words. Transgenderism is a reality in Russia, with people legally allowed to change their gender since the 1990s. Single homosexuals are permitted to adopt children. Liberal artists who perform in drag and promote the very same Western decadence that we dislike are patronised by the Kremlin. Russia has more prostitutes and OnlyFans “content producers” than its Slavic neighbours. The average number of sexual partners per person (“body count”, if you like) in Russia is comparable to Western European nations such as the United Kingdom, and higher than other Western nations like France and The Netherlands. We could continue, but the point is thus: Russia is not the bastion of traditionalism Westerners think it is.
Russia has all the decadence of Western states, with none of the freedom associated therewith.
We must say that we sympathise with much of the worldview defined by Russian Eurasianist ideologues. A world in which Western decadence is refuted in favour of the state patronage to live traditionally, amongst our own tribes and without the constant Cultural Marxist (for want of a better descriptive) propaganda is appealing, but it is not, sadly, the ideological motivation of Putin or his war.
Soros and the Rothschilds Support Ukraine
Soros and the Rothschilds support breathing, too. Are you going to suffocate yourself?
In all seriousness, though, this is a poor argument for taking the other side. Every issue should be examined on its merits, and support should be given for the reasons that are important to you, not those that others proclaim. Globalists and liberals support Ukraine because they project their values of democracy and liberalism thereon, but there are plenty of other reasons to do so. We support Ukraine because it’s morally right, and because we support the territorial integrity and the self-determination of Europeans, and because we oppose the use of arms and wars of aggression against European nations.
Furthermore, this argument can easily backfire when one observes the panoply of Western communist organisations and anti-fascists who side with Russia, or the extensive collection of third-world, anti-White mercenaries enthusiastically offering their support to the Russian Federation.
We hope to have convincingly dispelled much of the false narrative that has seeped into Western discourse over recent weeks and months. Unfortunately, we have noticed that Kremlin propaganda has been extraordinarily effective at convincing natural allies of Ukrainian statehood of the validity of Putin’s War, to the extent that Western ultranationalists align themselves with separatist forces who public proclaim themselves anti-fascists, and Putin’s desire to ‘destroy nationalists’ in a European country.
We have seen Rightists cheering on the armed forces who enter Ukraine under the Red Flag – as seen on Russian state TV – and people cheering on Putin from countries he’s obliquely threatened to nuke. We have noted conspiratorial theories adopted without evidence or even the request for evidence. We have seen the slander and mendacity about the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Ukrainian nationalists parroted by Westerners, which can be easily and openly retraced to Kremlin or Russian MoD spokespeople.
It has to stop. Thousands of people, Europeans, are dying every day for these lies. Nationalists are losing their country for these lies, and rather than support their cause we’re lending favour to the self-proclaimed anti-fascists attempting to revive some nostalgic, 1960s view of the world which means perdition and oblivion for the Ukrainian nation.