Ukraine Plan of Crocus City Hall Attack to Start Ethnic Pogroms, Civil War in Russia

Yves here. Many commentators have taken note of Putin exhorting the Russian public not to what in the past was called foreign agitators to use the Crocus City Hall massacre to foment ethnic schisms in Russia. The attack was perpetrated by Tajik mercenaries for what seems like a pittance, reflecting poverty and income levels back at home. There was already resentment of immigrants from the ‘Stans due to the perception (not incorrect) that they were undercutting pay levels of native Russians.

However, many ethnic groups in Russia are natives, such as most of its Muslim population. Putin also regularly talks up the success of Russia as a multi-ethnic society to foster pride in that diversity.

One indicator: a friend who has a prodigious knowledge of and interest in shopping and collecting, high end and low, recalled a visit to A La Vieille Russie, a New York City institution of sorts. From Wikipedia:

A La Vieille Russie is a New York City-based antique store specializing in European and American antique jewelry, Imperial Russian works of art, 18th-century European gold snuff boxes, and objets d’art.

At the time, A La Vieille Russie was displaying a collection of 100 dessert plates that Catherine the Great commissioned for her use. My friend described how and why china back in that day was extremely expensive and therefore prized.

But why 100 plates? Each had a differing painting in the center, to commemorate every one of the 100 ethnicities under her rule.

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

“The unity of Russia’s multiethnic society,” President Vladimir Putin told the Russian Trade Union Congress on Thursday, “is the main fundamental condition of our success. In this connection, and based on the initial results of the investigation, we have grounds to believe that the main goal of those who masterminded the bloody and heinous terrorist attack in Moscow was to damage our unity.”

Putin is repeating the message – four times in two weeks: earlier on March 23,   March 25,  and April 2   — because it happens to be true.

What also happens to be true is that during the Yeltsin period, when  asked by Moscow university students what I thought of anti-semitism in Russia, I said: Russians are the most primitive white tribe in the world – they are hostile to the other tribes, the Jews, Chechens, Armenians,  Chukchi, Uzbeks, Tajiks — each one of them equally. After this sociology was elaborated,  invitations to lecture at Moscow universities stopped.

The sociological problem which Russia’s enemies have is that the foreign white tribes, like the Galicians of the Ukraine, the Anglo Saxons, and the Blin-Noodle gang ruling Washington,  make the primitive sociological mistake of thinking they can trigger intercommunal warfare inside Russia, to weaken and break it up. The British Secret Service (MI6) made their first abortive attempts at this during the Bolshevik revolution and the civil war following. The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and MI6 have been plotting the same thing since 1945, increasing the resources and accelerating their efforts in the Caucasus during the Yeltsin administration of the 1990s.

It is therefore no surprise they have convinced their Ukrainian counterparts to implement the same scheme. On Tuesday of this week, The Times of London headlined this plan “Ukraine Stokes Anti-Immigrant Tensions in Russia”. The newspaper – in the 19th century nicknamed “The Thunderer”, now owned by Rupert Murdoch, nicknamed “The Dirty Digger” —   reported an interview with Andrei Kovalenko, head of the Ukraine’s Centre for Countering Disinformation (CCD). By weaponizing local ethnic communities like the Tajiks in Russia, the operational objective, according to Kovalenko, is “to exploit divisions and distrust among the Russian public.”

Kovalenko is conceding the Ukraine strategy behind the Tajik gunmen’s attack on the Crocus City Hall on March 22. But the foreign tribesmen have misread the Russian sociology again. The attack has failed in its war objective.

Follow the story and the evidence of the Crocus City Hall events here.

The theory of interethnic conflict in Russia was last tested in Moscow in January 2022 by the Levada Centre, a pollster registered as a foreign agent in 2016. Levada has been surveying  ethnic Russian attitudes towards other ethnic groups since 2011, emphasizing for its own reasons what the Levada staff call anti-Semitism.    The polling results over the years show that positive and negative Russian sentiment has been moving on several measures of social distance — acceptance as family members, friends, neighbours, citizens, temporary workers on visa – in different directions for different ethnic groups.

The improvement in the Russian perception of Ukrainians and Jews has been sharply reversed by the Kiev war on the Donbass and then the Israeli war against Gaza. By contrast, the political, economic, and media efforts of the Putin administration to cultivate strategic relations with China, the African states, and the Caucasus, including Chechnya, have accentuated the positive, diminished the negative.


Lev Gudkov, Levada’s chief sociologist (Jewish), reporting on the December 2021 survey, has been reluctant to admit that Soviet ideology and Marxist education significantly reduced Russian xenophobia and racism, and that the impact of the Yeltsin revolution – which Gudkov supported personally – reversed this. “Xenophobic sentiments, weakly expressed at the time of the collapse of the USSR, gradually increased by the end of the 1990s,” Gudkov reported in January 2022.  Gudkov has also not acknowledged that since 2013 rising real incomes, employment mobility, and public optimism have acted together to reduce the negative sentiments of the 1990s. “The Crimean euphoria noticeably reduced their level and intensity of expression, channeling latent hostility of this kind and concentrating negativity on the images of the ‘Russophobic West’ and ‘Ukrainians’, ‘Bandera’.”

“The overall intensity of negative attitudes has been decreasing in recent years. This is especially noticeable in relation to ‘Jews’ (an increase in positive attitudes from 2010 to 2021 from 22% to 45%; a decrease in negativity and various kinds of restrictions over the same period from 34% to 22%), ‘Chinese’ (the share of positive or neutral responses increased from 12% to 28%; the share of negative decreased from 62% to 45%), ‘Chechens’ (the share of indicators of tolerant attitudes increased from 9% to 22%, negative decreased from 57% to 41%). The attitude towards Africans retains a predominantly negative and cautious tone (an increase in tolerant opinions from 12% to 22%, negative ones remained almost the same, 58%-60%,  during 2010-2020, dropping by December 2021 to 51%). The same can be said about Gypsies (the growth of positive attitudes from 7% to 15%; the volume of negative attitudes ranges from 54% to 63% in August 2020, then decreases to 51%).”

Also, Gudkov’s survey of December 2021 confirmed that in the Russian labour market, the migrant worker problem has been intensifying, although unreported Levada data show that the balance between positive and negative sentiment varied markedly between regions and cities, and between income and age groups; that is to say, there is a correlation by social class.

Left: Lev Gudkov at the state think tank in Washington; right, John Helmer on class in US sociology. Class in the Soviet or Marxist meaning is not measured or reported by Gudkov and the Levada sociologists. They follow the US academic doctrine;  they reject that “reality is Marxist”, as Michael Parenti once said.  For more on  reality in American sociology, read this.  

Gudkov: “The most obvious expression of non-reflexive antipathy [sic] and anxiety is the attitude towards migrant workers. It has the character of frank wishes that the authorities limit the flow of migrants, introduce various prohibitive barriers and measures for migrants. Over the past 5 years, the share of those who believe that the government should prevent the flow of migrants has grown from 58 to 68-73%. This is the dominant public opinion.”

In his public assessments of the Crocus City Hall attack, President Putin has been carefully balancing the elements of public support for combating Russia’s foreign enemies and for  remedying domestic labour market stress. In parallel, since March 22 there has been a new drive by police and prosecutors to crack down on illegal immigration from Central Asia and on the state official corruption which has encouraged it.

There is no Marxism in the mainstream Moscow media, but there is reality.

Yesterday, Yevgeny Krutikov published this analysis of the Ukrainian plan for the Crocus City Hall attack by Tajik gunmen to incite intercommunal, racial violence in Russia’s cities. The essay appears in the semi-official platform for political and geostrategic analysis, Vzglyad.   Omitted from the analysis is whether, if the four gunmen had evaded capture by Russian forces and crossed the Ukrainian border, they would have been more value in the Ukrainian scheme dead than alive.

The translation into English is verbatim without editing. Captioned illustrations have been added.


April 4, 2024
Ukraine talks about its connection with the terrorist attack in Crocus City Hall

By Yevgeny Krutikov

The leadership of the Ukrainian special services openly admits that it “inflames ethnic tensions” in Russia “with the help of information.” In what ways and tools does the Kiev regime sow ethnic strife in our country and how are things really going with interethnic tensions?

Ukrainian agents are conducting a campaign of psychological operations (psyops), which is aimed at destabilizing Russia after the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall by inciting ethnic conflicts. This was told to the British newspaper, The Times, by Andrei Kovalenko, the head of the Centre for Countering Disinformation (CPD) at the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of the Ukraine.


According to Kovalenko, for Ukraine, provoking tension between ethnic groups within Russia is “fertile ground.” Since the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall in Moscow, Ukrainian agents have become more active in Telegram channels and are trying to incite ethnic strife using the ethnic origin of the terrorists. Among the detainees, the four direct perpetrators are citizens of Tajikistan.

“Of course, it is very beneficial for us to support any national splits there [in Russia] and to warm them up with the help of information…We are using everything we can because we know that by stoking ethnic tensions, we are weakening Russia,” Kovalenko  said.

The Times notes that the CPD of Ukraine is trying through Tajik Telegram channels to evoke sympathy for the terrorists, who were roughed up when they were detained by Russian security forces. Thus, Ukrainian agents are provoking Tajik citizens against the Russian law enforcement agencies.

In parallel, there have been other attempts to turn Russians against migrants or provoke conflicts between other ethnic or religious groups. The head of the Centre at the National Security Council also said that Kiev has fueled various rumours to pit Russians and Chechens against each other.

First of all, it is surprising that the heads of the Ukrainian special services — if we consider the Centre for Countering Disinformation (CPD) and the Centre for Information and Psychological Operations (CIPsO)   as special services — regularly engage in such self-disclosure sessions. Not so long ago, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), Vitaly Malyuk,  confessed to organizing terrorist attacks on the territory of Russia, and the Russian Foreign Ministry demanded that Kiev extradite him. Maybe the Ukrainians are simply obliged to publicly report to the Western audience about the work they have done?

It is also significant that Ukraine openly approves of the very idea of the terrorist attack on Crocus City Hall. “The main goal of terrorists and their customers is to sow discord and panic, strife and hatred in our country, to split Russia from within,” Russian President Vladimir Putin has said after the event. The fact that the leadership of the Ukrainian special services confirms this goal, in fact, proves once again the connection of the Kiev regime with the organizers and perpetrators of this crime.

But the main thing is that Kovalenko is “selling” the West a myth, to put it mildly. There is no “national split after the terrorist attack” in Russia, although the enemy is making significant efforts to incite discord. There is no “wave of xenophobia” either.

Ukrainians and Russian liberal exiles broadcast to Western politicians, experts, and the media a distorted view of Russia and its internal processes. It’s wishful thinking.

In particular, as recently as a few months ago, the head of the [Russian] Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs, Igor Barinov, said that since the beginning of the Special Operation in Russia, not a single significant conflict on ethnic and interreligious grounds has been recorded. “Our opponents in the West have  chosen interreligious relations as a target, they believe that this is a weak point of our country, and through this they are trying to upset the internal political situation, weaken public support for the Special Military Operation. And despite this, we see that the state national policy has withstood the challenge,” Barinov said.

The terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall is undoubtedly a monstrous event, but in terms of the magnitude of what is happening, it is smaller in scale than the Ukrainian special operation which has been going on for more than two years. This means that its impact on Russian society will be less.

In this sense, the statements of the Ukrainian special services play into Russia’s hands. The incorrect information that the West receives from the Kiev regime leads to incorrect assessments and to the development of wrong decisions based on them. It is enough to watch some debates about Russia at the well-known British analytical centre Chatham House with the involvement of local academic experts, to see how far from reality their idea of life in Russia and the sentiments of Russian citizens is. Let them keep making mistakes.

Russia is unique not only for its ethnic diversity, but also for the very form of coexistence of different peoples and religious groups. In Russia, during its entire historical path, there was almost no forced assimilation of small peoples. Moreover, minority cultures, languages, and identities were maintained at the state level, especially during the Soviet period.

On the one hand, this was a condition for interethnic peace in a large and diverse country. But on the other hand, it was among minorities, who retained their ethnic identity thanks to Moscow’s policy,  that the external forces were looking for the most radical “fighters against Russian imperialism.”

Russia’s internal diversity has always been perceived by external players as our weakness, a condition of the “non-monolith”. This gave rise to the idea of Russia’s opponents to split our country primarily on a national basis. Two hundred years ago, the British and Turks rocked the Caucasus, the French provoked the Poles, and in Soviet times, the Americans nurtured dissidents and their movements from the national republics of the USSR.

The caption of this undated Soviet poster says: "Long live the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - great socialist Fatherland, the indestructible multinational community of fraternal peoples is the living embodiment of the principles of proletarian internationalism."

The Soviet Union (historical Russia) collapsed, among other things, because of the “atomic bomb” laid by Lenin, the status of the republics of the USSR. Nevertheless, the rapid growth of nationalism in the late 1980s was the result of the ideological collapse of the Soviet regime and the sharp weakening of the system of state power, and not the root cause of this weakening.

In the Soviet Baltic States, for example, the extreme nationalist forces were not active until a certain point – until they realized that Moscow would not – was not capable or intending – to punish outright separatism. And this is despite the fact that the CIA had been pumping agents and money into the Baltic States for decades, including active engagement in psychological operations.

From 1949 to 1955 the British MI6 Operation Jungle attempted to land agents in Poland and the Baltic states by fast boats like these.  

Now the Kiev regime and its special services are publicly boasting about operations of this kind against Russia — and a British newspaper is relishing these details.

From the point of view of Russian legislation, we are faced with subversive, anti-state activities which can be characterized as terrorism, incitement to overthrow state power, and incitement to ethnic hatred. Consequently, the relevant Ukrainian structures should also be characterized by us as terrorists and their leaders as leaders of terrorist organizations. Also, the newspapers which give them a platform are like propagandists of terror.

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  1. Keith in Modesto

    At the time, A La Vieille Russie was displaying a collection of 100 desert plates that Catherine the Great commissioned for her use.

    Perhaps that should read “a collection of 100 dessert plates…”??

    1. Carolinian

      Perhaps one reason our deep staters were so convinced by Russiagate–or at least thought it convincing–was that they do it all the time. It doesn’t seem to occur to would be manipulators like Hillary that our weakness is less ethnic division than people like her. But then she did study at the knee of Madeleine “the price is worth it” Albright.

      Our Leisure Class has way too much time on their hands and spend it pretending to be wonks and–Tom Wolfe’s satirical term–Masters of the Universe. At heart conservatives like Wolfe may have been wrong in their own way but had the number of their satirical targets. Radical Chic was always a fake.

  2. GM

    The sad truth is that Putin has been extremely weak on internal messaging (and the external too) since the start of the war, and this tactic may well succeed as a result.

    Because despite it being in opposition to the West, and despite some baby steps being taken to fix the mess (out of necessity and for the sake of survival, not because it was actually desired), it is still at heart a neoliberal capitalist regime in Russia. Much more sincerely so than in the West in fact. Which means that preserving the sense of normalcy, keeping business as usual going internally, and not rocking the boat with respect to the interests of Russian big business are still the major priorities. Forget about total war footing and 1941-style mobilization under such conditions.

    Putin could and should have come out from the start with “Look, in 2014 the modern-day descendants of the Nazis successfully the equivalent of half of Operation Barbarossa and half of Operation Case Blue, but without firing a shot, and this after they did another half a Barbarossa 1941 between 1997 and 2004 with the NATO expansion; we were too weak to openly resist at the time, but now there is no other option. Everything for the front, everything for the victory!”. Russian people would have understood him. Then he could have actually fought this existential war the way an existential war is supposed to be fought, i.e. isolate the battlefield, block western weapons transfers (why are the border crossings with Poland still functioning, as is the rail network inside Ukraine?). targeted leadership (which they very much deserve anyway after their countless war crimes), etc. etc.

    But he did none of that.

    Instead it was vague talk about denazification and demilitarization (but nothing has been done on the denazification part aside from finally blowing up Shukhevych’s museum two years into the war, and on the demilitarization task the progress is actually strongly negative), then he moved to babbling about the satanic West and defending “traditional values”, all the while doing gestures of goodwill, absurd deals (remember the grain and ammonia fiascos), turning the other cheek on every case of what were essentially direct NATO attacks on Russian territory, etc., etc.

    All this combined with the fundamentally schizophrenic nature of claiming to be liberating Ukraine from the Nazi regime because Ukrainians are part of the greater Russian nation, then proceeding to slaughter half a million of them plus what will eventually be at least a six-digit number of people with Russian passports, yet leaving the Nazi regime completely untouched. Instead of making the elites responsible for all this pay, and instead of ending the war quickly and decisively and avoiding all this bloodshed, it is the ordinary grunts that are subject to industrial massacre, with no end in sight. And the goal of the West — to drive an eternal wedge between the formerly brotherly people — is thus achieved.

    Meanwhile the people who were calling for fighting the war seriously inside Russia were strongly repressed — Strelkov is in jail, Kvachkov will be on trial soon too, several others were also arrested, etc.

    What are we to make of that?

    Also, Crocus City Hall happened now two weeks ago. There were loud threats to exact revenge on those responsible, but it very much looks like the Kremlin is just stringing everyone along as usual and waiting for people to forget about the whole thing, and none of the dear partners in Kiev and further West will pay for what they did.

    With such displays of pathetic weakness, indecisiveness and incoherence, what do we think will happen eventually internally? The ghost of 1917 is very much hovering over the current situation…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      IMHO you have the revenge part all wrong. Russia, like Iran and Hezbollah, know that haste is a bad idea. In the same way, they are prosecuting the SMO on their timetable when Western armchair generals have been hankering for big arrow offensives….which are clearly not necessary and either won’t happen at all or will be armed convoys moving into areas effectively already defeated to due the de-electrification + military collapse/extreme weakness.

      Russian officials have made clear they intend to find out who the puppet masters are and go after them. Russia is not about to act like US big city cops faced with high profile crimes. They feel and are politically compelled to wrap up the case quickly, which regularly results in unintentionally or deliberately charing the wrong guy(s). A friend who was a big city DA said cops plant evidence all the time in these crimes.

      Russia really wants to get the real perps, not just for the purpose of retribution, but more important, to stop or hinder this network from engaging in repeat terrorist acts.

      And surely you must recognize the use of cutouts was intended to hide the string-pullers, so it will take some doing to identify with confidence who they are. Even a simple hit is layered. A friend had an ex-KGB driver in the 1990s (she said as of then she was the only person who sued a Russian oil company, won in court, collected the judgement and lived to tell the tale). Her driver said it takes as least 3 people: A, who makes the execution. B, who arranged the hit, and C, who arranged B. A is cheap and B is expensive. Both A and B get whacked to erase the tracks.

      Untangling who was behind the massacre means following money and communications trails. The money was crypto, and hence will take some doing to untangle. However, Russia with Turkiye’s help collapsed a 40 member terror network and the cell phone of one of the killers, so they likely have some good leads.

      Moreover (I am basing this on reports, since I can’t find the Russian readout), French Defense Minister Sebastian Lecornu made an urgent request to speak to Sergei Shoigu. Although it can’t have been the main point of the call, Lecornu tried depicting Western governments as not involved:

      Lecornu, for his part, offered condolences over the terrorist attack on the Crocus City concert hall in Moscow region on March 22, the [Russian] ministry said, noting that the French minister “persistently tried to clear Ukraine and Western countries of suspicions of involvement in the terrorist attack, shifting responsibility to ISIS (Daesh).”

      Shoygu underscored that the investigation is ongoing, which will find those involved. “All those responsible will be punished. There is a Ukrainian trace in the terrorist attack organization,” he said.

      “The Kyiv regime does nothing without the approval of Western curators. We hope that in this case, the French special services are not behind this,” he stressed.

      We are way way into “the lady doth protest too much” terrain.

      In addition, your demand for a speedy resolution amounts to the sort of overreaction which the perps are eager to see. This is a tragic and pretty high body count terrorist event, but it is no more than that. This is not going to change the outcome of the war. Putin does need to devote some cycles to it, given how high profile it is. But it would be a very bad outcome if Putin were to take his eye off more important balls because of it.

    2. Socal Rhino

      I think you missed that denazification and deli-militarization were direct references to the Potsdam conference and Allied goals for Germany post war. And you may have missed the many comments from Putin and others that they realize the conflict is really with Nato and particularly the US, not just Ukrainian proxies. Heck, Professor Hudson at the outset opined that the conflict was really between the US and Nato, primarily Germany, and ensuring their reliance on energy from the US.

      1. JonnyJames

        Good point. Two birds, one stone…In retrospect, Michael Hudson called this from the very beginning and indirectly predicted the Nordstream destruction. He was one of the very first to do so, if I recall…

        The plan to isolate and choke Russia (asset seizures, economic warfare, “sanctions” etc.) and provoke a massive military expenditure to bankrupt the country in a one-two punch has backfired of course. Putin has been quite cautious, some say too cautious but it seems he has been careful to use time and not expend a huge amount of military or financial resources on the SMO. Also, not to provoke the reckless, desperate US/UK

    3. zach

      Mr. Helmer regularly provides translations and analysis of Russian domestic political sentiments. If the Ghost of 1917 is indeed hovering over the situation, then it must be sharing a cockpit with the Ghost of Kiev…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Gee, and GM was arguing Russia was not doing enough.

      Mark Sleboda spent a lot of time in one of his recent talks delineating the close ties between various Western intel services and ISIS. So if the West is indeed trying to restore ISIS as a force, going after them now might be a useful interim move.

      1. JonnyJames

        I agree:and Sleboda is not the only one who has made this observation: IS never attacks Israel and they attack the enemies of the UK/US/Israel. The history of US “intel” supporting “terrorists” is a long one: Latin America, Europe (Gladio) and the ME.

        I was disappointed that Aurelien denied this in a comment a week or so ago, and indirectly claimed that IS acting in the interests of Israel/US/UK was a series of coincidences. I find this far too convenient, unlikely and highly implausible. The role of the KSA should not be ignored either.
        Iran of course seems to be aware of this.

        Ed Snowden has also pointed to documentation that support the connection between IS and western intelligence. And, as to be expected, there are posts online that dismiss all this as a “conspiracy theory”.

  3. hk

    Interesting and useful contrast in approach to multiethnic society vis a vis the “multiculturalism ™” in the West. One would imagine that Catherine the Great, particularly, would have been very much appreciative of the multiethnic nature of Russia, given her own background and all.

    I would imagine that there is a certain degree of exaggeration on both sides, but I remember being very surprised by the very nuanced view towards Russians from a Lithuanian(!) friend a while ago–very much in contrast to the kind of LIthuanian perspective that I’d seen among Lithuanian-Americans. It is quite peculiar, though, that, at least, the official version of the narrative coming out of Lithuania nowadays is much closer to the “American” version of their history…

    1. upstater

      My relatives residing in Soviet Lithuania had no such nuanced views of Russians. As Yves has said, they hate Russians hotter than the sun.

      1. Feral Finster

        Yes, it is rich that the Baltics and Poland are entitled to WWIII because of real or perceived ethnic beefs, some hundreds of years old, but the people living in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Vietnam, etc. are just supposed to walk it off.

    2. Daniil Adamov

      Catherine the Great was notable for instituting religious toleration towards Jews and Muslims; she is still remembered fondly by the Kazan’ Tatars because of it.

      1. hk

        She was also responsible for protecting the Jesuits while they were suppressed in multiple Catholic countries.

    3. digi_owl

      Take it from this Norwegian, USA more and more seem like this zoo where imported cultures are frozen in time. Seeing Norwegian-Americans brandish their heritage foods and rose-painting is like looking back to some romanticized past that barely ever existed.

      And when it comes to the Baltic migrant view on Russia etc, i get the distinct impression that most that emigrated during the soviet takeover carried with them a person blood feud. That has been passed through the generations unchallenged. And is now either being exported back over, or has made its way into DC foreign policy.

  4. upstater

    “Moreover, minority cultures, languages, and identities were maintained at the state level, especially during the Soviet period.”

    I do not believe Helmer is correct regarding Lithuania in Czarist times. Ethnic Lithuanians were mostly illiterate peasants, while city and manorial elites were Poles and Russians. Jews had their own robust culture. Late in the empire Lithuanian language was suppressed.

    In Soviet times schools all naturally taught Russian and college bound students took German. As Helmer notes language and identity flourished. It was fertile ground for the CIA and MI6 to fuel extreme right wing nationalism. The irony of post-Soviet Baltic “independence” is that culture has become a homogenized Eurovision thing and English has become lingua franca. Like Ukraine and Latvia, local WW2 Nazi collaboraters are celebrated.

    1. hk

      Not entirely true: during the 19th century revival of the LIthuanian culture and language, the Czarists were interested in its revival but with a twist: as a counter to the Polish culture. There were attempts (that did not succeed) in having Lithuanian written with a Cyrillic alphabet, for example. I think the Russians had some influence in the shape of the eventual Lithuanian orthography which adopted some Czech elements (also emerging in 19th century) rather than the Polish. The Poles were the real “enemy” of the Russians and Lithuanian nationalism was acceptable within limits, especially if it can be directed against Poles.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Yup. Upstarter sort of forgot to mention that the suppression of Lithuanian language concerned only publications using Latin alphabet, not Cyrillic and was in response to an uprising in Poland spreading to Lithuania.

        Whether successful or not, it was supposed to prevent the Polish from spreading their version of Lithuanian nationalism. As in, Lithuania as part of re-instituted Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Oddly enough, the rebels largely failed to mobilize the aforementioned peasantry, lost and as a result serfdom was abolished in Lithuania.

      2. upstater

        I stand corrected, thank you. Most of my readings in Lithuanian history came from semi-polluted emigree sources bequeathed from my mom and aunt.

  5. Ignacio

    The Ukraine regimen is desperate. It also has a background of proven atrocities (against several non combatant particulars and not so particulars as the shelling of civilians in Donetsk and other places), against environment (the ammonium pipeline explosion), missiles to NATO countries disguised as Russian, shelling a nuclear plant… and yet a bigger background of unproven atrocities though highly suspicious. Kakhova dam, Bucha? and others.

    Now it is more desperate than before and running out of tools. This is to say they have motivation and have proven they are ruthless enough to try terrorist stunts. Of course this doesn’t prove their participation on the newest atrocity but they, together with rogue elements among their Western handlers are the main suspects.

    And yes, the lady doth protest too much.

  6. The Rev Kev

    With nearly 200 ethnic groups, I suppose that the CIA thought that it would be easy to sow discord and eventually breakup the country in a civil war. But considering the fact that the Russian Federation is such a massive country, it is surprising the resilience that they have. One Russian put it down to the fact that Russia never indulged in slavery so they do not have that baggage to live with. With so many different groups, it is not that simple to say who is a typical Russian. One young girl from Russia’s frozen far east went on a visit to Japan and many people refused to believe that she was actually Russian because she looked Asian. If that terrorist attack was meant to fuel dissent it seems to have had the opposite effect as numbers nearly doubled of people wanting to sign up for military service. It’s going to be interesting to keep watch on this country ad to see how it develops in the coming years.

    1. GM

      Serfdom was only abolished in Russia in 1861, and functionally it was the same thing as slavery, with many of the same appalling practices involved.

      But the catch is that it actually affected primarily ethnic Russians in the European core. The non-Russian ethnic groups on the periphery were not subjected to it. Partly it was geography (serfdom was tied to the land, thus what serfdom can we even conceive of in Yakutia?). partly it was the fact that many of those groups only came under Russian rule very long after serfdom was established or even close to or after the moment it was abolished (e.g. Chechens were only officially defeated and conquered in that same 1861 year).

      More generally though, Russians don’t do genocidal settler colonialism the way Europeans, and especially Anglo-Saxons do. The Spanish/Portuguese conquest of Central and South America was genocidal in many ways, but if you look at the current populations there, they are mostly mixed, with the native component being very strong and actually dominant in most regions. Meanwhile in North America, Australia and New Zealand native populations were nearly fully wiped out and replaced, and the same would have happened in Africa and Asia if there had been more time and if it had not been for tropical diseases.

      The Russian model is very different — over time lots of Russians did move into their new territories, but they did not displace and wipe out the locals and did not eradicate their languages and cultures. All that is asked of you under that model is to not rebel, thus it has historically been a much better deal to be conquered by the Russians — you get investment into education and infrastructure and decent levels of autonomy rather than ruthless exploitation, your culture disappearing, and often physical extermination too. There were a few unfortunate exceptions — the final campaigns in Chukotka were very vicious against the natives because of their fierce resistance, the Circassians were actually ethnically cleansed in the mid-19th century, and the wars with the Chechens and subsequent rebellions were carried out/put down in the best traditions of the US Army against the plains tribes on the Great Plains. But mostly that pattern holds true.

      It’s a double edged sword though — any time you give autonomy to people, especially if they are on your periphery, that can be exploited by outside powers and even without external interference, the risk of separatism is always there. Especially if you are a traditionally strongly centralized eastern empire type of state that tends to keep elites on a tight leash, i.e. it is easy for them to get the idea in their heads that they will be better off as local independent rulers. It’s why the USSR is no longer a thing and why Finland, Poland and the Baltics were lost after WWI…

  7. Feral Finster

    This was obvious from the outset, even as Ukraine still denies any involvement whatsoever, LOL.

    What does Russia propose to do about it?

    1. JonnyJames

      What can Russia do in the short-term, short of provoking an escalation in hostilities? The reckless desperation of the US to maintain hegemony has been demonstrated many times. Dealing with the US is like dealing with mentally unstable, hubris-filled sociopaths “not capable of agreements”

      1. Feral Finster

        That is a good question.

        Which is precisely why Ukraine and its western sponsors do what they do.

  8. paul

    I’ve long given up on trying to remember all the acronynimed groups, and their confusing full names, and just think of them as the NFL, nato foreign legions.

  9. Glen

    Thanks for continuing to link to Helmer’s reporting. It provides a good view by a westerner providing news on Russia which will never be reported through sources in the West. I also happen to think the simplest explanations are best, and Helmer’s reporting, the Russian government’s findings make sense. To be honest Ukraine is in a terrible position so attacks like this are to be expected.

    I have been impressed by Russia (and the rest of the BRICS) prudence with regard to handling it’s relations with America, and it’s (idiotic barking lapdog) ally, the EU. Many people seem to wonder why Russia is not prosecuting this SMO faster, but I think us in the West just do not appreciate how America is viewed by the world as a nuke armed rogue nation that has a long record of rash actions. Plus, America and the West has done such an excellent job of destroying itself internally that Russia would just as soon maintain a slow careful powerful push into Ukraine.

    I don’t think Americans understand how many times full on nuclear war ALMOST happen during the Cold War with the USSR, but I think the Russian leadership does (not sure about American elites, the people with WW2 experience are gone, and the current batch of elites are so use to being the unipolar power that I don’t think it’s possible for them to think back that far.)

    1. Feral Finster

      “I think us in the West just do not appreciate how America is viewed by the world as a nuke armed rogue nation that has a long record of rash actions.”

      I understand it just fine. So do the folks at State, but as long as they have carrots and sticks, they do not care.

      1. Glen

        Yeah, anybody that hangs out here is way more informed. Most Americans are blissfully unaware of the world’s opinion of America, but I suspect the whole Gaza stuff is opening some eyes, plus I think Gen Z is much more aware of how bad things are (they get to live it).

    2. digi_owl

      If Americans do, they invariably see it as the USSR being the mad dog. This even though it was USA that was ratcheting, feeding a constant paranoia at the politburo. Them missiles on Cuba was in response to missiles in Turkey and Greece for one. But American tellings of the story is DC suddenly spotting them on recon photos as if they were an unprovoked escalation.

    3. CA

      “Thanks for continuing to link to Helmer’s reporting…”

      Agreed, and thank you for the helpful comment.

  10. digi_owl

    Our major fault is that we try to read the Ukraine situation, and thus Russian behavior, as if it is the Iraq invasion and subsequent Saddam Hussein manhunt.

    It is not. The de-Nazification thing was not about Russian army going door to door, but rather about Z kicking the Azovs etc to the curb.

    And it almost worked, until BJ showed up in Kiev and promised Z the full NATO arsenal as long as he kept the war going.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      What if BJ quietly told Z that the West would have Z and Z’s family all assassinated if Z did not keep the war going?

  11. AntonioB

    Republic of Ukraine is the former Ukraine SSR, itself a post-soviet country ie. it has the similar ethno-national structure of Russia just with lesser Uralic, Central Asian and Eastern Asia people, the bulk of non-Slavic population in SSR Ukraine being more Kavkaz in general (Armenian, Georgians,…) and Tatars with some Kazakhs. Otherwise among the Slavic element, the usual mix of Belarusian, Russians.

    two anomalies:
    – if gringos want to push brownish/islamic element vs. whitish/christian then it contradicts their stance about the Tatars of Ukraine who are brownish muslims….
    – the weaponization of ethno-national differences, is indeed what has been done since long in Ukraine, from the times of Austro-Hungarian Empire and the collaboration of Rome: catholic “uniates” Galicians turned into total radical hate racists against the orthodox “moskali” ie. the Russians. Ie. Ukraine is nowadays an ethnically broken country, by the work of gringos and the Germans (BND, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung)

    this tells that the gang ruling in Kiev is brain dead. Double brain dead because they should know too that russian society is not prone to serious ethnic division. Tatars for instance are in totally balanced relation with Russians since the 16th century.
    But then racial hatred is a staple among Galicians and Xoxols. See the pogroms in the 17th then again in 19th and Civil War times.

    Ironically the platoon that helped capture the terrorists and was cited for that are Chechens of the Akhmat army.

    what I found weak with russian government is that they don’t drop non-nuclear weapons of mass destruction on Lwow, Tarnopol and Stanislasow (Ivano-Frankovsk). Make Galicians bleed.

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