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Putin Keeps Cool and Averts WWIII as Israeli-French Gamble in Syria Backfires Spectacularly

Putin vowed that Russia would take extra precautions to protect its troops in Syria, saying these will be “the steps that everyone will notice.”

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Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


By initiating an attack on the Syrian province of Latakia, home to the Russia-operated Khmeimim Air Base, Israel, France and the United States certainly understood they were flirting with disaster. Yet they went ahead with the operation anyways.

On the pretext that Iran was preparing to deliver a shipment of weapon production systems to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israeli F-16s, backed by French missile launches in the Mediterranean, destroyed what is alleged to have been a Syrian Army ammunition depot.

What happened next is already well established: a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft, which the Israeli fighter jets had reportedly used for cover, was shot down by an S-200 surface-to-air missile system operated by the Syrian Army. Fifteen Russian servicemen perished in the incident, which could have been avoided had Israel provided more than just one-minute warning before the attack. As a result, chaos ensued.

Whether or not there is any truth to the claim that Iran was preparing to deliver weapon-making systems to Hezbollah in Lebanon is practically a moot point based on flawed logic. Conducting an attack against an ammunition depot in Syria – in the vicinity of Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base – to protect Israel doesn’t make much sense when the consequence of such “protective measures” could have been a conflagration on the scale of World War III. That would have been an unacceptable price to achieve such a limited objective, which could have been better accomplished with the assistance of Russia, as opposed to NATO-member France, for example. In any case, there is a so-called “de-confliction system” in place between Israel and Russia designed to prevent exactly this sort of episode from occurring.

And then there is the matter of the timing of the French-Israeli incursion.

Just hours before Israeli jets pounded the suspect Syrian ammunition storehouse, Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan were in Sochi hammering out the details on a plan to reduce civilian casualties as Russian and Syrian forces plan to retake Idlib province, the last remaining terrorist stronghold in the country. The plan envisioned the creation of a demilitarized buffer zone between government and rebel forces, with observatory units to enforce the agreement. In other words, it is designed to prevent exactly what Western observers have been fretting about, and that is unnecessary ‘collateral damage.’

So what do France and Israel do after a relative peace is declared, and an effective measure for reducing casualties? The cynically attack Syria, thus exposing those same Syrian civilians to the dangers of military conflict that Western capitals proclaim to be worried about.

Israel moves to ‘damage control’

Although Israel has taken the rare move of acknowledging its involvement in the Syrian attack, even expressing “sorrow” for the loss of Russian life, it insists that Damascus should be held responsible for the tragedy. That is a highly debatable argument.

By virtue of the fact that the French and Israeli forces were teaming up to attack the territory of a sovereign nation, thus forcing Syria to respond in self-defense, it is rather obvious where ultimate blame for the downed Russian plane lies.

“The blame for the downing of the Russian plane and the deaths of its crew members lies squarely on the Israeli side,” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said. “The actions of the Israeli military were not in keeping with the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership, so we reserve the right to respond.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, took admirable efforts to prevent the blame game from reaching the boiling point, telling reporters that the downing of the Russian aircraft was the result of “a chain of tragic circumstances, because the Israeli plane didn’t shoot down our jet.”

Nevertheless, following this extremely tempered and reserved remark, Putin vowed that Russia would take extra precautions to protect its troops in Syria, saying these will be “the steps that everyone will notice.”

Now there is much consternation in Israel that the IDF will soon find its freedom to conduct operations against targets in Syria greatly impaired. That’s because Russia, having just suffered a ‘friendly-fire’ incident from its own antiquated S-200 system, may now be more open to the idea of providing Syria with the more advanced S-300 air-defense system.

Earlier this year, Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached an agreement that prevented those advanced defensive weapons from being employed in the Syrian theater. That deal is now in serious jeopardy. In addition to other defensive measures, Russia could effectively create the conditions for a veritable no-fly zone across Western Syria in that it would simply become too risky for foreign aircraft to venture into the zone.

The entire situation, which certainly did not go off as planned, has forced Israel into damage control as they attempt to prevent their Russian counterparts from effectively shutting down Syria’s western border.

On Thursday, Israeli Major-General Amikam Norkin and Brigadier General Erez Maisel, as well as officers of the Intelligence and Operations directorates of the Israeli air force will pay an official visit to Moscow where they are expected to repeat their concerns of “continuous Iranian attempts to transfer strategic weapons to the Hezbollah terror organization and to establish an Iranian military presence in Syria.”

Moscow will certainly be asking their Israeli partners if it is justifiable to subject Russian servicemen to unacceptable levels of danger, up to and including death, in order to defend Israeli interests. It remains to be seen if the two sides can find, through the fog of war, an honest method for bringing an end to the Syria conflict, which would go far at relieving Israel’s concerns of Iranian influence in the region.

 

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spikeregolo gelliniA.F.tiredofthemedialiestherevolutionwas Recent comment authors
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Lena Jones
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Lena Jones

It is smart to first wait for the findings of the Russian investigations into the incident before we can be absolutely certain of EXACTLY what happened and EXACTLY what Russia will be doing about it. Until then, articles like this are full of conspiracy theories and regurgitation.

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

Russia will do nothing! Well, nothing is also to much. They will sign in the future some joint ventures pipelines contracts to cross over Syria.

This way the long GAS WAR that Russia is fighting since the USSR times doesn’t go down the drain and they keep control of the flow of natural gas into European Market!

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY!

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

bull-shit, it’s about “SOVEREIGNTY” ,Russia is there by invitation to protect a legitimate sovereign government duly elected by the Syrian peoples !!!!!!!

therevolutionwas
Guest
therevolutionwas

Yes. But the “GAS WAR” is certainly a reason all parties are interested in this area in the first place.

tiredofthemedialies
Guest
tiredofthemedialies

yes, just like Donbass. (Oh I forgot, it let 20 thousand folks die there, at the hands of the Banderast filth..)

regolo gellini
Guest

You are right !

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

And Lena everything in this CIVILIZATION is a conspiracy… I always say that the BANKS ARE THE NUMBER ONE MONEY LAUNDRY SCUM IN THE PLANET, but other slaves just say “You’re a conspiracy theorist”! I just don’t have the means to expose the LAUNDRY MACHINE! But from time to time the SHIT DOES IT THE FAN! “Danske Bank money laundering ‘is biggest scandal in Europe’ Unpleasant lesson of €200bn case shows need to be vigilant – European commission” Of course that the scoundrels (you call them politicians!) are just pretending to be shocked! “The European commission has described the €200bn… Read more »

therevolutionwas
Guest
therevolutionwas

China and Russia seem to be working on the banking problem. The world will experience what places like some South American countries are suffering through, currency collapse. Russia and especially China have been obtaining precious metals for a long time now and will someday leave the SWIFT system.

Vince Dhimos
Guest

This article does not assert that all the details are in and does not pretend to know them. It only references already well known facts. The most important fact is that Israel has admitted to fireing missiles at an area dangerously close to a Russian asset. The rest is secondary. After all, we know that after Turkey shot down a Russian plane, Russia beefed up air defenses in Syria. It is highly likely that it will repeat this kind of behaviour after this Israeli shootdown.

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

If the Israelis were, as they say, already back in Israeli airspace when the plane blew up – then what was that warning they sent less than a minute before it blew up?

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

What’s the point of “beefed up air defenses” if you’re not going to use them?!

Until now all of that “beefed up” only resulted in one IL-20 shoot and right next to those “beefed up” air defenses!

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

I’m getting the sneaking impression we’ll be waiting till hell freezes over – and hell will freeze over first.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

Russian Army downed their own plane……Russia wants WW3.

Kaput
Member

kindly supply Mr Shoigun with your REal facts……….. or start running to your bunker.

Cicero
Guest
Cicero

Only in your delusions!

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

Gavin Williamson commits extra British troops in Ukraine to stop Russia ‘reversing Cold War outcome’ – media
MORE BRITISH TROOPS TO FIGHT THE RUSSIAN ARMY IN OCCUPIED DONBASS!!

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

Mr Williams is still hoping the Russians will just shoot-toop ‘n go way.

guest
Guest
guest

Better idea would be a police contingent from missing persons division. They may be more successful in finding this illusive Russian army.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

They occupy Donbass since 2014

7.62x54R
Guest
7.62x54R

More Russian troops to fight the British foreigners in Nazi Ukraine.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

Nazzies are Russians

Martha
Guest
Martha

“On the pretext that Iran was preparing to deliver a shipment of weapon production systems to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israeli F-16s, backed by French missile launches in the Mediterranean, destroyed what is alleged to have been a Syrian Army ammunition depot.”

Show everyone the recon photos/info Bibi.

VFL
Guest
VFL

The War Criminal Land + Resources Thieving Genocidal Apartheid Regime of Israel LIES Always! It’s in their DNA, 70+ Years Experience.

Kaput
Member

Lets put it this way, Portugal offered a nation to all Jews in the Planalto of Benguela in Angola……..45 0000 sq km of fertile land, plus imense natural resources…. THEY did refuse . I suppose the roths wanted a : bigger fish :… continuous war in order to fill their coffers. so lets cook the Balfour Dec. and all has just worked out fine. lol There was never apartheid in Angola, and Isabel dos Santos is the one and only African queen… all is well then. stop crybaby nhau.

Prometheus
Guest
Prometheus

Not to mention the Jewish Autonomous Oblast they were given by the Russian. Natural Resources are there too. The Khazars did migrate there but have since move on to Palestine leaving very few Jews in the Oblast. The interesting thing I found was the predominant symbol in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast was the Menorah not the Star of David.
The need for the Khazars presence in Palestine was completely unnecessary.

Kaput
Member

ALL info bellow on the Benguela offer can be read at MALOMIL, A Port. Palestine. —– The biggest blunder nhau.?…….. beware of blue eyes……….. lol the famous turkish amulet .

Stephan Williams
Guest
Stephan Williams

3000 years of psychotic murdering experience…

regolo gellini
Guest

Of course you mean 3 thousanf years of lies !

Kaput
Member

It is about time for Mr Shoigun, to be loud and clear…… someone not afraid of mossad, the roths , and Lucifer. It is all about oil….imense natural resources, water supply, and greater isrhell……. lol I wonder why the word holocaust was invented by the jews ????? ……………….L. Bros. crash is responsible for the death of 16 million human lives……….. ……… where is the joke ??????

G George
Guest
G George

Being cowardly often averts a fight, at the same it just invites more of the same. If Putin would, just once, live up to his talk the West might back down; however, he keeps inviting them to do more by being chickenshit.

Guy
Member
Guy

I would suspect that the S-300s will soon be brought in and positioned strategically so as to be used by the SAA next time, if there is a next time.Which would be entirely justified and legal by the way under international. I don’t think that Russia could legally fire missiles at another nation from Syrian territory, even if it is deemed the protectorate of Syria.Russia is very sensitive about international law , at least under Putin’s leadership.

Guy
Member
Guy

“These weapons were meant to attack Israel and posed an intolerable threat against it”
So says the IDF but it is clear to any awake thinking person that any weapons that Hezbollah could/would have will be used to defend Lebanon from Israeli attack .Remember the Litani River that Israel so covets but is in Labanese territory.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

comment image

Only in The Russia

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

Everyone needs to have fun!

niner
Guest
niner

Gordon Duff, veteranstoday.com, with considerable force of argument, said on rense.com, that the russian S200 are built to make it impossible for them to shoot down russian aircraft of any kind.

he claims it was the french missiles which actually hit the russian surveillance plane. and this description of events makes more sense out of the admitted facts.

Kaput
Member

so instead of 5 S 300 s, lets employ 10

S 300 s, just to make sure .

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

To which you can add, the Syrians say they didn’t do it.
But hey – let’s believe Israel.

Vince Dhimos
Guest

Hezbollah is not seen as a terror organization at all in Lebanon, where it enjoys the distinction of being one of the main political parties ruling the nation and is remembered for its valiant defence of Lebanon from the Israelis in 2006, when they tried to annihilate that nation. No Lebanese — incl Christians — will ever see Hezbollah as a terrorist org,and if the US stops lying about Hezbollah and Iran, Israel will be sitting with egg on its face.

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

It’s my understanding that Syria has denied responsibility – I certainly haven’t seen Asaad make an apology to the Russian people….. which I would expect if his forces accidentally killed 15 allied servicemen.

But hey – let’s believe Israel. They are after all – the masters of truth.

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

This entire affair is very strange and suspicious.
Not even a week and already even RT has forgotten these men existed let alone were murdered.

Walter Dublanica
Member

Russia needs to retaliate against Israel and teach them a lesson. Putin needs to stop his meetings with BiBi, they are of no value to Russia.

cstahnke
Guest

The alliance of US, UK, France, Israel and Saudi Arabia are testing Russia to see how far they can go before Russia responds. It makes some sense to know this for this alliance to take steps to take out Syria and Iran which is the objective. They’re not giving up on that objective despite Assad’s popularity and that he defeated the mercenaries hired by the alliance. At some point Russia must deliver a counter-blow here or it will have to accept the partition of Syria–that seems the bottom line for the alliance at this time.

Kaput
Member

” the alliance ” is not unique, even if they throw in the north atlantic terrorist org. ….. it will be stale mate……… Russia+China+Iran+Hezbollah+Mongolia + ?????? . Besides I dnt believe in the partition of Syria, unless Putin has suddenly become a coward or a lizard. Some kind of no fly zone + offshore naval protection, will work just fine…………. Golan Heights is not bibs to keep either., lets do the job professionally. I grew up with “next door jews ” they are arrogant and have a huge IQ, BUT they dnt mix with humans. Was in isrhell ( 50… Read more »

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

Mike Pompeo blasts Russia: ‘They have not proven helpful’ anywhere in the world

spike
Guest
spike

so the editor of this article thinks that the IAF actions were deliberate? how numb do you have to be to get a job with the duran?

it’s common sense for the IAF pilots to have used any available cover…the syrian air defence units are in the habit of letting loose with a barrage of anti-air missiles for every airframe that see on the target acquisition radar

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Trump’s wish to take the US out of NATO leaves NeoCons seething

The US President has seen the truth of the irrelevance of NATO, but there is enormous resistance to change.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Tucker Carlson, Fox News and Russian and American news outlets alike have picked up the story that US President Donald Trump has on numerous occasions, opined that the United States would do well to depart from the North Atlantic Military Organization, or NATO.

This wish caused enormous fury and backlash from those opposed, which, oddly enough include both Democrats and Republicans. Their anger and alarm over this idea is such that the media networks through much of the US are alive with the idea of impeaching the President or bringing 25th Amendment proceedings against him for insanity!

Take a look:

Tucker Carlson, as usual, nailed it.

NATO was formed to make Western Europe secure in the face of a perceived Soviet threat. In 1991, the USSR collapsed and the threat of Ivan the Communist bad guy collapsed with it.

But 28 years later, NATO is still here. And, why?

Well, many “experts” continue to point at Russia as a threat, though after that statement no one seems honestly able to elucidate precisely how Russia would, in fact, threaten any nation, take over it, or conquer the world. Indeed, if anyone seems to understand the perversity of being in charge of the whole world, it seems to be Russia, as expressed by politician and LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky (see how this is so here).

Zhironovsky observed that China is the other nation that is running at full force, but viewing the problems the US is having with being the leader of the world, China stops short of trying to attain this position itself. The question becomes “What does a nation that rules the world actually do then?”

President Trump appears to be seeing the same question, or some similar variant based on the same theme. NATO serves no constructive purpose anymore. Despite the conflicts in Ukraine and Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Israel and Syria, there simply are no great threats in the world as it stands today. While there are certainly still wars, none of these wars represents an existential threat to the United States.

Why wouldn’t a US leader want out? In fact, there is further no existential threat to Europe from any present war, nor is there a threat from Russia itself. In fact, Russia has been entering into business relations with many European countries who wish to buy cheap and easily available Russian natural gas. Turkey purchased an S-400 antimissile system in addition to its US made Patriot battery.

There would seem to be very little in the way of concrete and reliable reasoning for the alliance to continue.

But the American Deep State and liberal establishment have come together to resist the US President in a truly furious manner, and it is revelatory of the hypocrisy of anti-Trump politics that American liberals, typically the “sing Kum-ba-yah peacenik” crowd, displays paroxysms of outrage and horror that NATO might be disbanded.

As the result of that, the American media is determined to choke off any possibility of one thinking, “well, what if we were to disband NATO?”

Why is this?

Simple. A lot of people make their living by preparing for the Russian “threat”, and it would mean the end of their work, the end of their money, and a great disruption in life. It does not matter that while this is true, these same people could conceivably apply their considerable skill sets to deal with real problems that face a world that no longer has a dipolar alignment, or to help prevent a real problem from arising from real situations, such as the recent and current Islamization of many European cities.

One of the great afflictions of American politics and policy has been that so much of it appears to be focused on “short term” or “no term” matters. We see this with the problems related to border security, the coming advent of AI-based automated processes that may furlough low-skilled workers in tremendous amounts in a short period of time. Rather than solve real problems, the elected representatives and media seem more content to oppose Donald Trump when he, as a businessman ought to do, makes a federal case out of what he sees on the horizon.

The Border Wall, for example, is a highly logical part of a properly handled set of immigration policies. But the very direct behavior of President Trump helped amplify the resentment the Democrats still hold against him for defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016, and so, the Democrats have effectively said “nuts!” to the needs of the nation and they take out their resentment on the nation by refusing to negotiate with the President about how to close the border.

NATO is another example. The alliance served its purpose. It is time for the alliance to end, or to be radically restructured in terms of new goals based in real, and not just flimsy rhetorical, needs.

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BREXIT storm deepens, as parliamentary coup may be forming against May and Corbyn

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 166.

Alex Christoforou

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Emboldened by Theresa May’s lack of leadership and will to deliver the Brexit that UK citizens voted for in a democratic referendum, remain MPs are now mobilizing to do the EU’s bidding in forcing Britain to nullify the Brexit process and eventually stay a part of the European Union.

After yesterday’s thumping of May’s Brexit plan in parliament, The Times’ Matthew Parris is now openly floating the idea that “it’s time for parliament to wrest control from the zombies, stating that “Theresa May isn’t any good” and “Jeremy Corbyn is equally useless”…

There exists no leadership in either the government or the opposition capable of taking us through this mess. No hidden strengths, no unexpected qualities; no whizzbang new thinking, no magic. Forget May. Forget Corbyn. Salvation is not coming from these directions.
So it’s up to parliament. MPs are coming to understand that they have to act. It has been stealing on parliamentarians for months now and close contacts between leading members of both parties have been made and have been deepening.
From within the Commons a shadow executive must emerge, and is beginning to. Labour’s Yvette Cooper talks to the Tories’ Dominic Grieve. Around them is a cluster of senior parliamentarians who are getting used to talking.
A common purpose unites them: rescuing the country from a no-deal Brexit that only a small minority actually want. Whether this is to be done by seeking a better deal than May’s or by a new referendum, or both, they need to find a way soon. An “indicative” vote of the House of Commons may help guide them.
And however speedily the House can find its leadership and direction, it’s hard to imagine this can be done without an extension to the Article 50 negotiating period.
Overwhelmingly, the conclusion to be drawn from last night’s vote is that parliament must wrest control from a zombie prime minister, a zombie cabinet and a zombie opposition. I heard in May’s response to the result the hint of the straw at which she may now clutch: a Labour-style Brexit under a Tory nominal prime minister. I would be amazed if her party would accept it.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the turbulent and uncertain road ahead in the Brexit saga as a March deadline looms.

Shifting sands, and betrayal at the highest level is now crystallizing, as hints of a possible parliamentary coup against May and Corbyn is being floated as a possible solution to the impasse that will ultimately steer the UK back under EU control, and cancel the Brexit referendum.

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Via Straits Times

The words “humiliated” and “crushed” featured prominently in British newspaper headlines following Parliament’s massive rejection of a divorce deal with the European Union on Tuesday (Jan 15).

Dailies said Prime Minister Theresa May’s grip on power was waning after the huge vote against the agreement struck between her government and Brussels, as she prepared to fight a no-confidence motion on Wednesday.

“May humiliated by 230 votes,” The Daily Mirror tabloid said.

The Daily Telegraph wrote: “Humiliation for Prime Minister as MPs overwhelmingly reject deal and Labour tables no confidence vote.”

The broadsheet’s parliamentary sketchwriter Michael Deacon said Mrs May had somehow defied the odds by making a historic event an anticlimax.

“Her speech had all the brio of a mouldy gym sock,” he wrote.

“She sounded as winningly persuasive as a mother snapping at her children to eat up their cabbage or go to bed hungry.”

The vote itself “was as if Agatha Christie has allowed Miss Marple to solve the murder half way through and spend the rest of the novel pottering about in the garden”.

‘ZOMBIE PM’

The Times columnist Matthew Parris said it was time for senior MPs to take over the Brexit process.

“There exists no leadership in either the government or the opposition capable of taking us through this mess,” he wrote following the vote.

“Theresa May isn’t any good; she doesn’t have a fiendish, secret strategy; she’s careless with the truth and will say anything to get her through another week. She doesn’t know what to do.

“Overwhelmingly, the conclusion to be drawn… is that Parliament must wrest control from a zombie Prime Minister, a zombie Cabinet and a zombie opposition.”

The Daily Mail said the defeat left Mrs May’s power “hanging by a thread”, calling it a “devastating result, which threatens to plunge the Brexit process into chaos”.

The Sun, Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper, said: “Crushed PM dares MPs to vote for general election after record Brexit defeat.”

“The crushing defeat – which saw 118 Tories turn against the PM – is the worst since the advent of full democracy and suggests Mrs May will never win enough support for her strategy,” said the tabloid.

The Financial Times newspaper ran a headline reading: “May’s defeat spells trouble for the EU’s Brexit approach.”

“Huge loss leaves PM in race against time,” the broadsheet said.

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Ukraine’s Cult of Stepan Bandera: Not a Detail, but a Cornerstone

Unlike Poroshenko with his aerial bombings of the Russian-speaking Donbass in 2014 and 2015, Bandera killed the “wrong” victims, the representatives of those nations that are valued even by the modern Western media.

Dmitry Babich

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Authored by Dmitry Babich via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


During the recent years of the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, there has been one issue where the Western mainstream press simply cannot fully ignore or reject the Russian arguments. This issue concerns the life and actions of Stepan Bandera (1909-1959) and his followers from what is known as the “Banderite” faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN, a far-right organization that took terrorist actions against Polish and Soviet officials from the 1920s to the 1950s and which is now legally protected from any criticism in Ukraine).

THE “WRONG” AND “RIGHT” VICTIMS

Because Bandera was born on January 1, 1909, celebrations of his birthday have become disgusting New Year’s rituals in Ukraine in recent years, with thousands participating in Nazi-style torch-lit marches that include shouted protests against “Putin’s Russia” and rants such as, “Jews out!” which are heard by everyone except the police. This New Year was no exception, since the current Ukrainian government under President Petro Poroshenko (who publicly identified himself as a Banderite after taking office in 2014) officially added Bandera’s 110th birthday to the list of Ukraine’s most important anniversaries. This time, there were several quiet voices of condemnation heard in Poland, Israel, and even the US. Why? In truth, torches, masks, political murders, and mob attacks against “pro-Russian” public figures are nothing new in post-Maidan Ukraine. And these things usually pose no problem for the mainstream press of the US and its allies. So, why is Bandera an exception?

The answer is ethnic, as awful as that may sound. Unlike Poroshenko with his aerial bombings of the Russian-speaking Donbass in 2014 and 2015, Bandera killed the “wrong” victims, the representatives of those nations that are valued even by the modern Western media, with its double and triple standards. In the 1930s Bandera killed Polish officials, in the 1940s his people killed civilian Jews and Polish peasants, and these are groups whose plight even the New York Times cannot ignore today. If Bandera’s infamous slogan “Death to enemies!” had been directed only against “disloyal” Russians and anti-Banderite Ukrainians (the groups currently persecuted by Poroshenko), Bandera would have been no different from his modern admirers in the Ukrainian government. But Bandera’s followers from the OUN decimated the Jewish population of Lvov and Kiev in 1941, trying to curry favor with the advancing Germans. And between 1943 and 1944, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), taking its orders from Bandera’s OUN officers, ethnically cleansed his native Western Ukraine of ethnic Poles, killing from 70,000-100,000 of them (the infamous “slaughter of Volhynia”). The aim was to create an “ethnically pure” Ukraine before the arrival of the Red Army in late 1944. Documents published by the Polish historian Grzegorz Motyka indicate that Bandera and the OUN hoped that the Red Army would soon be replaced by Anglo-American domination. “His strategy was to clean up the house before the arrival of the real master,” Motyka concludes in his book.

THE LADY OF THE RADA VS. ISRAEL’S PRESIDENT

The American domination took another 70 years, but it did come. And now the Banderites’ (and Poroshenko’s) only historic disagreement with the West is over the infamous “ethnic cleansing,” to which Bandera’s “glorious heroes” subjected Ukraine in 1941-1944. When Israeli President Reuven Rivlin dared to raise the issue during his visit to Ukraine in 2016, he got a scolding from the vice speaker of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada), Irina Gerashchenko: “The Israeli president allowed himself some incorrect and undiplomatic words about the OUN’s tragic history,” Gerashchenko said at the time. “It was highly inappropriate, especially now, when Ukraine is fighting for its independence.” Gerashchenko forgot to mention the fact that Babi Yar, the burial site of some 30,000 Jews killed by German and Ukrainian Nazis in Kiev in 1941, was vandalized nine times between 2015 and 2016, according to data provided by the Ukrainian Jewish Committee.

WHY THE WEST WANTS TO FORGET, BUT CANNOT

In the immediate aftermath of the Maidan coup in 2014, the mainstream press was ready to forget even that, since an honest account of Bandera’s activities between 1939 and 1959 could rekindle memories of the undesirable parallels to the “resistance to Russian occupation” by Poroshenko’s army in the Donbass in 2014 and 2015. Between the summer of 2014 and the winter of 2015, about 10,000 people died there, victims of the aircraft and tanks sent by Poroshenko (just months earlier, the US and the EU had been unable to abide the use of truncheons by the police of the ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych). At the time, the NYT called Bandera the “Ukrainian nationalists’ hero.” Obviously, the NYT’s authors were taking their cues from the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum, with her Banderite headline, “Nationalism is exactly what Ukraine Needs” in the once-glorious New Republic.

But here the mainstream press tried to kill off a memory that will never die — the memory of how Hitler’s East European Nazi allies participated in the destruction of the region’s Jewish population in the early 1940s. This was something not even Anne Applebaum could make people forget.

In his articles in the American press, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, Eduard Dolinsky, tried to explain to the American public that Bandera’s cult is not an isolated, unpleasant phenomenon: Stepan Bandera never acted alone, he represented a crudely nationalist ideology. Unfortunately, this ideology reigns triumphant in modern Ukraine behind the “liberal” façade displayed for the West. For example, Dolinsky notes that Poroshenko’s hypocritical speeches memorializing Jewish victims can be heard next to, say, a memorial to OUN activist Ivan Rogach, whose newspaper called Jews “the greatest enemy of the people” in 1941. “The Ukrainian leadership set itself on the course of rehabilitating anti-Semitism and introducing censorship of history,” concludes the official statement of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human-rights group, famous for its work to bring Nazi criminals to justice.

THE RUSSIAN QUESTION BEHIND THE JEWISH ONE

If the West cannot afford to be completely silent about Bandera’s participation in the Holocaust, it is willingly ignoring another huge injustice that is inseparable from Bandera’s cult in modern Ukraine — the erasure of the Russian and anti-Banderite component of Ukraine’s historic memory. In 2017, Kiev’s Vatutin Avenue was renamed Bandera Avenue, resulting in an outcry in Russia and complete silence in the West. This avenue, a major thoroughfare in the Ukrainian capital, had originally been named in honor of General Nikolai Vatutin, who liberated Kiev from Nazi occupation in 1943 and died in a shootout with the OUN’s guerillas in 1944. At the time, there was no question about where America’s sympathies lay: the fight against Hitler was not yet over, and Vatutin, born in 1901 to a peasant family living immediately adjacent to the future Russian-Ukrainian border, was a useful ally for the United States. Will Bandera and his modern followers be a good replacement? Only someone with Poroshenko’s plans for Ukraine or with Anne Applebaum’s views on history could agree.

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