“Let me repeat again, that in Russia’s view, the blame for the crisis in Ukraine lies with those who organized the coup d’etat in Kiev on February 22-23… But whatever the case, we must look for a way to solve the situation as it is today….And, as I said, what is needed is direct, full-fledged and equal dialogue between the Kiev authorities and the representatives of people in southeast Ukraine….I don’t know whether a Geneva-2 round of talks.. is realistic. (But) I believe that if we want to find a long-term solution to the crisis, there must be an open, honest and equal dialogue . That is our only option.”
-Russian President Vladimir Putin, press statement, OCSE meeting, Moscow, May 7, 2014
So many lie beneath the eternal granite
But of those honored by this stone
Let no one be forgotten
Let nothing be forgotten.
-Olga Berggolts, “Leningrad”
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a proposal for ending the violence in Ukraine at an OCSE (Organization for the Cooperation and Security in Europe) in Moscow. Unfortunately, most Americans never heard what he had to say because the media failed to publish his statement. The reason for the omission is fairly obvious, the media doesn’t want people to know that Putin is not the ghoulish, authoritarian caricature he’s portrayed to be, but a levelheaded pragmatist who wants a swift and peaceful resolution to the crisis. Here is what he said:
“We think the most important thing now is to launch direct dialogue, genuine, full-fledged dialogue between the Kiev authorities and representatives of southeast Ukraine. This dialogue could give people from southeast Ukraine the chance to see that their lawful rights in Ukraine really will be guaranteed.”
Does that sound like a bloodthirsty “KGB thug” who’s driven by dreams of territorial expansion and empire-building or does it sound like a responsible leader who wants to facilitate a cease-fire until cooler heads prevail?
Did you know that Putin called for a “genuine…dialogue between the Kiev… and representatives of southeast Ukraine”? Don’t you think the media should publish critical information like that so people can decide for themselves how they feel about Putin? Or do you think the media is entitled to withhold whatever information they choose as long as it benefits their corporate bosses? Is that how a free press is supposed to work?
Putin made a number of concessions in his speech that are worth noting. For example, he agreed to move his troops away from the Ukrainian border which has been a bone of contention with the Obama administration since the Kiev crackdown began more than two weeks ago. Putin agreed to withdraw his army even though he may have weakened Russia’s defenses in the process. This is no small matter, in fact, it’s a question national security which is a president’s primary responsibility and one that Putin does not take lightly, especially now that neo Nazi-crackpots are roaming the countryside armed to the teeth and threatening to kill ethnic Russians wherever they find them. But Putin made the concession anyway hoping that his good-faith gesture would help put an end to the violence. Here’s what he said:
“We have withdrawn our forces and they are now not on the Ukrainian border but are carrying out their regular exercises at the test grounds. This can be easily verified using modern intelligence techniques, including from space, where everything can be seen. We helped to secure the OSCE military observers’ release and I think also made a contribution to defusing the situation.”
Does that sound like a man who’s lying?
Of course not, which is why the media doesn’t want you to hear what he has to say. Because it doesn’t jibe with the “Putin is Satan” trope.
Putin is a plain-speaking guy who shoots from the hip and says what he means. He’s not a bullshitter. People know that, which is why the media won’t publish what he says. It’s because they’re afraid that people will believe him and all their jingoistic, pro-war propaganda will be for naught. The fact is, people have a sense of what the truth sounds like. Call it intuition, call it whatever you like. But people know the difference between a guy like Putin and a dissembling fraud like Kerry. That’s just the way it is.
Putin also asked representatives of the southeastern regions of Ukraine to postpone the referendum scheduled for May 11.
Why would he do that? After all, if he really wanted to rebuild the Russian Empire, as his critics say, then he’d want the balloting to take place so he could show the world that the people in the East reject the junta government and demand greater autonomy from Kiev. But that’s not what Putin wants. What he wants is an end to the carnage, which is why he asked the people to postpone the voting so the government wouldn’t have an excuse for launching another bloody crackdown. Putin doesn’t want to see Ukraine ripped to shreds and reduced to Iraq-type anarchy by external enemies who are using it as a staging-ground for their own geopolitical ambitions. He wants to restore stability and security. He wants the hostilities to stop. Here’s what he said:
“We are asking representatives of the southeastern regions of Ukraine and federalization supporters to reschedule the referendum scheduled for May 11.”
Okay, so he moved his troops back from the border and called on pro-Russian activists to put off the vote on greater political autonomy. That’s two significant concessions, right? But, why is Putin doing this?
Does he have something up his sleeve? Is he trying to lull his enemies to sleep before he orders a full-blown blitz on Kiev?
Be serious. Putin doesn’t want to take over Ukraine, that’s just neocon hogwash. He has his own problems to deal with. He’s not going to add to them by annexing a broken, basket-case failed state that’s rapidly sliding into a major Depression. Why would he do that?
Then why is he so eager to make concessions? Is it because he’s scared? Maybe he’s afraid of a confrontation with NATO and the US so he’s caving in before war breaks out on his western flank?
Is that it? Is Putin a coward?
According to the western media he is, but that’s because the coverage has focused exclusively on his willingness to move his troops which makes it look like Washington’s hardline policies (sanctions, threats, saber-rattling) are actually working instead making things worse. Which they are. What’s been left out of the reporting is Putin’s plan to end the violence. That never gets mentioned because the media doesn’t want Putin to look like a peacemaker. That doesn’t serve their interests at all.
Putin’s not afraid. He’s not going to end up like Gadhafi or Saddam. But he is worried. He’s worried that the US is going block access to his biggest market, the European Union. Russia can’t simply reroute its gas from west (EU) to east (China) as many of the pundits seem to think. That’s nonsense. Russia needs Europe, just as Europe needs Russia. There is a strong, natural business/trade relationship between the two that Washington wants to sabotage so it can be the big cheese in Central Asia. That’s what this is all about, right? The pivot to Asia.
So, yes, Putin’s interest in peace is not entirely altruistic. It’s also about money too. Big money. But, so what? What difference does that make? So Putin is not as pure as the driven snow. Big deal. The fact is, he’s still pushing for peace, which is not only beneficial for Moscow, but Europe and Ukraine as well. The only one that doesn’t benefit from peace is Washington, which is why the media is suppressing information that promotes de-escalation. It’s because Washington wants a war. War is the vehicle for breaking up the Russian Federation into tiny statelets that pose no threat to US military bases spread throughout Asia. War is the means by which Washington can make its pivot, surround China, and control its future growth. War paves the way for establishing US outposts in Ukraine and subverting greater economic integration between Russia and Europe. War is US policy because war advances US interests. Period.
Washington cannot achieve its strategic or economic objectives without a confrontation. That’s why the present situation so worrisome, because –judging by the scalding rhetoric emerging from the White House, the US State Department, and all the major media– Obama is going to continue to provoke Moscow until he gets the reaction he wants. If 40 dead in Odessa doesn’t do the trick, then the next provocation will be 400, or 4,000, or 400,000. Whatever it takes. It doesn’t matter. As Madeleine Albright noted some time ago when she was asked if the sanctions on Iraq were worth the half million lives they cost, she answered without the slightest hesitation, “We think the price is worth it.”
Whatever it takes. That’s US foreign policy in a nutshell.
Here’s more from Putin:
“The responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine now lies with the people who carried out an anti-constitutional seizure of power,.. and with those who supported these actions and gave them financial, political, information and other kinds of support and pushed the situation to the tragic events that took place in Odessa. It’s simply blood-chilling to watch the footage of those events.”
Try to imagine Obama saying something like that. Try to imagine Obama even caring about the people who died in Odessa. It’s a bit of a stretch, isn’t it? By now, Obama has seen the same videos as Putin. He’s seen the people hurtling themselves out of windows to escape the flames. He’s seen the victims being pummeled to death on the streets by neo Nazi goons. He’s seen the charred remains of the people who were incinerated in the fire. But he’s said nothing. He hasn’t even offered his condolences to the families who lost loved ones. He’s remained stone silent since the incident took place believing that any reference to the massacre would only undermine US policy. His callousness is all part of a political calculation. People don’t matter, what matters is the policy. Obama is no different than Albright or any other high-ranking member of the US political establishment in that regard. They’re all the same. Life means nothing to any of them. All that matters is the objectives of their constituents.
So, what does Putin really want?
Here’s what he says: “Russia urgently appeals to the authorities in Kiev to cease immediately all military and punitive operations in southeast Ukraine. This is not an effective means of resolving internal political conflicts and, on the contrary, will only deepen the divisions.”
“Cease all military and punitive operations”? In other words, he wants peace.
Unfortunately, Obama’s crew strangled Putin’s peace plan before it ever left the cradle. Just yesterday, the US-backed puppet regime in Kiev promised to step up attacks on protestors in the east. According to Defense Secretary Andriy Parubiy:
“The counter-terrorist operation will continue unhindered, despite the presence of terrorist and insurgent groups in the Donetsk region.”
As for Putin’s appeal for peace, puppet-PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk swiftly dismissed it as “hot air.”
So, there you have it. The threat of peace has been skillfully avoided giving Obama’s fascist friends the green light to pursue their strategy of tearing Ukraine apart, killing untold thousands of civilians, and deploying NATO to Russian’s western perimeter.
And that’s why Putin’s speech was blacked out by the media, because it conflicted with Washington’s plan to launch another war.
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.