Arrested Spanish communists banded with ‘Nazis’ to ‘liberate Russia from Ukraine’

Spanish National Police on Friday arrested eight individuals on suspicion of joining pro-Russian militants while in Ukraine and charged with compromising Spanish national security, possession of arms and explosives, and homicide.

The arrests have been detailed by the New York Times and two reports by El Pais, Spain’s largest newspaper. Previous reports have placed Spanish fighters among the notorious Vostok Battalion, a unit documented for the use of child soldiers.

The group, arrested in what Spanish officials are calling Operation Danko (a reference to the 1988 Schwarzenegger movie Red Heat), included three former Spanish armed forces personnel.

Members of several communist organizations, the men reportedly received support from an ‘unofficial’ pro-Kremlin network in Europe. Two, however, were met by a Russian government worker during a stopover in Moscow. Only one of the un-named men so far has been confirmed by police to have taken part in frontline action against Ukrainians.

“We fought together, communists and Nazis alike [for] the liberation of Russia from the Ukrainian invasion.”

In a bizarre statement by the suspects, half of the pro-Russian militants they enlisted with were fellow communists, while the other half were neo-Nazis. The group then collaborated with pro-Russian Nazi militants to ‘liberate’ Russia from Ukraine, from within Ukraine. “We fought together, communists and Nazis alike,” they said. “We all want the same: social justice and the liberation of Russia from the Ukrainian invasion.”

This sentiment is a microcosm of Russia’s indoctrination and war propaganda that has seen extremist far-left and right groups in Europe often intertwine in its favor. Author and political expert Anne Applebaum attributes this to a divide in Europe between “established, integrationist politics and isolationist, nationalist politics.” In an almost anarchistic effort, members of the radical left and right are thus predisposed to band together against the European Union by aiding what they see the ‘anti-Europe’ – Russia.

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The Spanish sting operation was assisted in identifying the suspects through their social network postings, which included photos of themselves showing off military equipment and making statements seeking to recruit fighters for the pro-Russia militias. In the raids that followed, police recovered Russian military clothing, knives, machetes, and military insignias

According to multiple posts by other Spanish volunteers, the men were joined by similar militants from Italy, France, Serbia and the U.S. Police have said that another group of pro-Russian, communist Spaniards were also planning to travel to Ukraine.

Leftist “anti-fascist” slogans (and even organizations) are also typically espoused as a smokescreen by Russia’s far-right to lure members of the far-left under a common cause, a political sphere that ironically contains a plethora of racist, neo-Nazi and indeed fascist figures. Acclaimed historian Timothy Snyder best explains the politics of the fascist-anti-fascist phenomenon:

Thus began the politics of fascism and anti-fascism, where Moscow was the defender of all that was good, and its critics were fascists. This very effective pose, of course, did not preclude an actual Soviet alliance with the actual Nazis in 1939. Given today’s return of Russian propaganda to anti-fascism, this is an important point to remember: The whole grand moral Manichaeism was meant to serve the state, and as such did not limit it in any way. The embrace of anti-fascism as a rhetorical strategy is quite different from opposing actual fascists.

United Kingdom & Emirates strike deals with Ukraine to arm and instruct military

The United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates have struck substantial deals to better equip Ukraine’s armed forces as the country seeks to rapidly equip, train, and modernize its military in the face of war with Russia. In separate deals, the UAE will supply Ukraine with armaments and military hardware, while the Britain will provide necessary medical, intelligence, logistics and infantry training.

The deployment of up to 75 British Armed Forces personnel to Ukraine will begin as soon as next week as part of what the Ministry of Defense called a “training mission.” While a seemingly small contingent, the deployment of British troops to Ukraine would mark a significant boost in assistance relative to the benign non-lethal aid received to date.

“Over the course of the next month we’re going to be deploying British service personnel to provide advice and a range of training, to tactical intelligence to logistics, to medical care,” British Prime Minister Cameron told lawmakers during a session of parliament. “We’ll also be developing an infantry training program with Ukraine to improve the durability of their forces.”

In parallel to Cameron’s statements, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced the signing of a deal on military and technical cooperation with the United Arab Emirates during a tour of the IDEX 2015 arms expo in Abu Dhabi. Details on the much needed arms deal were scarce, with Ukrainian interior minister Anton Herashchenko vaguely noting it would involve the “delivery of certain types of armaments and military hardware to Ukraine.”

Ukrainian and UAE companies have previously worked together in the development and production of BTR-3 personnel carriers. Notably, the UAE Army maintains the second largest detachment of Russian-made BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles in the world outside of Russia.

Poroshenko had also reportedly planned to meet with chief Pentagon weapons buyer, Frank Kendall, at the show with the intent of finally securing U.S. weaponry to defend Ukraine from the ongoing Russian invasion.

In addition, Ukrainian companies were involved in several multi-million dollar contracts, including joint development of Superhind Mi-24 attack helicopters with a South African firm, as the country aims to expedite its military modernization process, Poroshenko later said in a news release. Ukraine’s Air Force has been battered in the conflict.

The Ukraine deals coincide with a flurry of activity to bolster military support in the Baltics, with Lithuania announcing a planned reintroduction of military conscription. The Lithuanian government’s motion will see its armed forces increase by 45% in size. Meanwhile, U.S. Soldiers from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment took part in a joint parade with Estonian forces in Narva, a city directly on the border with Russia. It was the second time U.S. forces took part in the annual parade, marking the 97th anniversary of Estonian Independence.

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U.S. forces in Narva, Estonia during the military parade

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The Russian Church’s war against Ukrainian culture and history

As Ukraine engages in a war against the Russian invasion of the Donbas and soldiers give their lives for the sake of freedom, a silent war is being waged at the Monastery of the Caves in Kyiv.

The Pecherska Lavra is a territory that includes churches, monastic quarters, the Metropolitan of Kyiv’s residence, and the holy relics of generations of saints; in addition to housing six National Museums and an artists’ studio. The Moscow Patriarchate, which has exclusive permission to hold services at the Lavra, has targeted the artists’ studios and the museums in what can be described as a corporate raidership of property. If successful, the cultural and artistic heritage of Ukraine and the city of Kyiv could potentially be destroyed.

Overlooking the mighty Dnipro River, the Ivan Yizhakevych Lavra Art Studios was founded over 130 years ago and has housed countless prominent Ukrainian artists and iconographers such as Mykhailo Boitchuk, Maria Pryjmachenko, Heorhii Yakutovych, Petro Vlasenko, Yuriy Khymych and others. Boitchuk, the founder of the Monumentalist School of Art, was executed by Stalin on the grounds that he was a Vatican spy. Diego Rivera worked with Boitchuk during the early 1930s at the Artists’ Studio.

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Prior to the Revolution of Dignity of 2013-2014, numerous attempts were made to evict the artists from their premises. During Viktor Yanukovych’s presidency the heat and electricity were turned off, eviction notifications were sent, and the artists took to the streets in the hopes that citizens of good will would defend them. In conversations with a former director of the Lavra the reason given for the eviction was that this studio does not serve a religious function. It was rumored that the monastic authorities were planning to remodel the building into a residence for Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

However, another historical structure was successfully evicted. The Hromashevsky Infectious Diseases Hospital, built at the beginning of the 20th century and funded by the citizens of Kyiv, was closed last year. Metropolitan Pavlo Lebid, instrumental in the eviction of the hospital, has been criticized by the press for money laundering, an ostentatious lifestyle, and celebrating his 50th birthday to the tune of $100,000.00 American dollars. The monks who founded the monastery in the 10th century attended to the needs of the sick by studying medicine, visiting Mt. Athos in the search of medicinal herbs, and by opening the first hospital on monastery grounds. There are plans to turn the building into a hotel for Lavra visitors and pilgrims. The argument of what defines a “religious function” seems skewed in favor of financial profit as opposed to meeting the needs of the poor, sick and marginalized.

The Monastery of the Caves (Pecherska Lavra) has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The guidelines for the inclusion of a site are the following:

Each property nominated should therefore: represent a masterpiece of human creative genius; or exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design; or bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared; or be an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural ensemble.

The stewards of a UNESCO World Heritage Site are tasked with the responsibility of maintaining the site’s historical authenticity. Building new structures and the reconstruction of buildings that mar their original design are strictly forbidden. Repurposing a structure also brings the UNESCO designation into question and constitutes a violation of this status.

The building which houses the Ivan Yizhakevych Lavra Art Studios was constructed solely for the study and propagation of the visual arts. It is the duty of Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture, the administration of the city of Kyiv, and the Monastic community of the Pechersk Lavra to uphold, maintain and foster the legacy of the founding artists and to guarantee the continued presence of their descendants for generations to come.

The controversy surrounding the eviction of artists’ studios and the national museums is ongoing. The National Museums and Institutes threatened by closure at this time: 1) Museum of Decorative Arts, 2) the Museum of Theatre and Cinema, 3) the Museum of Printing, and the 4) National Institute of Scientific Research and the Protection of Cultural Monuments.

The silent war which is being waged on the Ukrainian culture and heritage by the Moscow Patriarchate needs to be exposed. As over a hundred Maidan activists were gunned down by Russian snipers last year, video footage was captured on the grounds of the Pecherska Lavra showing monks burning what seemed to be stacks and stacks of documents. What were they burning and what were they trying to hide?

The very presence of a foreign church entity on Ukrainian soil needs to be responsibly reviewed by government authorities. This is of particular importance when that church entity, the Moscow Patriarchate, actively supports terrorism, refuses to bury Ukrainian soldiers killed on the frontlines, and agitates the faithful to hate a legitimately elected Ukrainian president and parliament. If the stewardship of the Pecherska Lavra was in the hands of the Kyivan Patriarchate the place and integrity of Ukrainian cultural museums and institutions would be in safe hands.

This brief article constitutes a preliminary attempt at bringing this matter to the attention of our worldwide Ukrainian diaspora community and to all persons of good will. Please take the time to inform your friends and to advocate on behalf of our esteemed Lavra artists and all of the historical and cultural museums and institutions at the Pecherska Lavra.


Rev. Myron Panchuk M.A.

Minsk-2

The peace agreement reached after 16 hours of talks in Minsk between the French and German leaders, Vladimir Putin, and Petro Poroshenko represents the second attempt to stop the fighting in the Donbas. Quickly, analysts assailed it or offered faint praise and even Angel Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, the leader of the initiative, would say only that it offers a “glimmer of hope.”

The first point to be noted is that Minsk-2 does not supersede Minsk-1, which remains in effect though neither side has followed its mandates very closely. Before offering an assessment, one should examine briefly its contents.

Minsk-2 agreed to a ceasefire by midnight on February 14 and the removal of heavy weapons from the conflict zone within sixteen days, with an exchange of POWs over the following three weeks. There have been cynical comments in the Western media as to how an immediate ceasefire could take two days, but in fact the original text does not contain the word “immediate,” it states “not slowly.”

Ukraine is to retain control over the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, but must grant them more autonomy, and by the end of 2015, the country is to restore its control over the border with Russia.

Concerning the first point, the time lag is dangerous, because it allows both sides to consolidate their positions and in the separatists’ case to try to capture the strategic town of Debaltseve, which constitutes a Ukrainian salient in rebel-held territory. Debaltseve is on the main highway M-04 between Donetsk and Luhansk, but more importantly it is a rail junction. Its capture would allow the rebels to transport coal from the mines to consumers.

The logistics of monitoring the agreement have been left to the OSCE, which lacks the numbers to do so efficiently at present. Moreover, over the past year the OSCE has had considerable difficulty in accessing areas held by the rebels. Since Minsk-1 was so flagrantly ignored, one cannot assume that the same fate will not befall Minsk-2, particularly if the separatists believe that they can strengthen their position.

Neither Ukraine nor the DNR/LNR emerge as winners from the agreement. Ukraine has effectively conceded some sovereignty over the eastern regions, and the subject of Crimea is excluded. Ukraine has also agreed to lift restrictions imposed on these areas, which on paper at least can now receive goods from Ukraine and restore regular trading practices.

For President Poroshenko, the difficult task now arises of getting the constitutional changes through a parliament that is much more radicalized in the absence of its former Regions and Communist delegates. The deal moreover implicitly recognizes the DNR and LNR, habitually referred to by the Ukrainian government as “terrorist” regimes. The Ukrainian president increasingly cuts an isolated figure, forced to take a moderate line in order that an agreement could be reached, traveling frequently to European capitals in search of support, and distancing himself from what might be termed the Euromaidan factions in Kyiv that would prefer a more confrontational approach.

The conflict, which has taken thousands of lives over the past months, and has escalated sharply over the winter, has never been confined to Kyiv and Donbas. Many Western analysts believe that Vladimir Putin is entirely to blame for its longevity and intensification, both by providing advanced lethal weaponry to the separatists and for encouraging “volunteers”—his term—to join in the fight against the Ukrainian ATO.

Putin in turn claims heavy US involvement both in Euromaidan and the ATO operation. Western analysts in contrast often chide Barack Obama for his reluctance to confirm the US Congress’ decision to send lethal defensive weapons to the Ukrainians. And US Senator John McCain constitutes his own personal war cabinet, threatening to send weapons, with or without the consent of his president.

The arguments in favor of providing lethal weapons to Ukraine seem dubious. What weapons and how many? Will advisors and technicians also be sent to assist Ukrainian forces in using them? What response would there be to further Russian buildup and escalation to what will be perceived as NATO’s move into Ukraine? Logically there would be little to dissuade Moscow from endorsing much heavier troop movements over the border.

The Ukrainian Army has not elicited confidence among the citizens it purports to defend, particularly not from those in the Donbas subject to regular shelling from both sides in the shambles that used to be their hometowns. The coal-mining areas were grim places at the best of times, but now they have become a devastated war zone. The officers are still transplants of the former Soviet army, many are corrupt, and perceive the war as a way to make profits.

Poroshenko thus relies heavily on volunteer battalions whose loyalty to the government is shaky at best. Some speak of another Euromaidan to deal with the government once the conflict in the east is over.

Both Ukraine and Russia need a respite, mainly to restore their economies. In this respect, Minsk-2 constitutes a respite. And Ukraine’s position was improved by a $17.5 billion loan from the IMF, which covers approximately half of its current debts, but tranches of that loan will be forthcoming only under certain conditions, namely stability, reforms, and stringent economic policies, and above all a reduction—only the most naïve would demand “the end of”—corruption.

None of this is to say that the deal should be belittled or ridiculed. Merkel and Hollande did their best. Several months ago, I suggested that Ukraine might cut its losses, abandon the Donbas and Crimea, providing that the rump state remaining could apply to join NATO and be slowly integrated into European structures. That remains, I still believe, one alternative, but it would be small consolation to those seeking to retain the integrity of the 1991 state and its borders, which Russia recognized not once, but at least three times in various treaties (1990, 1994, and 1997).

It would moreover leave the Donbas in the hands of the DNR and LNR, both of which are led by Russian security officials and freebooters, gangsters and militant locals. Some of the first group took part in earlier separatist movements, including in Transnistria in the early 1990s. They have few moral scruples and no recognition for an independent Ukrainian state. There is no benefit to Ukraine, short or long term, in dealing with the DNR and LNR, but Poroshenko was obliged to agree to their inclusion in the agreement.

Putin’s Russia has consistently violated Ukrainian borders, just as it has done with borders of other states of the former Soviet Union. In this respect, we should lay blame on the Kremlin. On the other hand, the problems of the Donbas precede Putin, and they have been exacerbated by the war. Its residents oppose a full-scale Russian invasion; but they are equally angry with the government in Kyiv—a very different issue from whether they would wish to leave Ukraine given the choice.

Ukraine above all needs a backup plan if Minsk-2 fails. It must use the armistice wisely and above all consider some serious questions. Can it retake the Donbas without foreign assistance? Can it afford to live without the Donbas and Crimea? Would its membership of NATO be guaranteed if it is forced to lose these regions for the immediate future?

If the answers to these questions are no, yes, and yes, then a fourth question, EU membership, might also be placed on the table once extensive and deep reforms are clearly under way. Ukraine, lamentably, needs to resolve not one problem but three: the conflict in the east, relations with Russia, and its failing economy. It is highly doubtful that it can address all three simultaneously.


Originally published on Ukraine Analysis

 

War stirs Ukraine’s youth to action

KYIV – While voting statistics show political engagement among youth in Canada, the United States and parts of Europe is declining, the same cannot be said of Ukraine. Maybe what Canada needs is a nasty little foreign invasion on its eastern flank to stir greater interest among its young people in politics and the country’s future. It sure seems to be working in Ukraine.

A rich blend of teens and twenty-somethings assembled with a core group of 40- to 70-year-olds on Maidan or Independence Square in downtown Kyiv last Sunday, as speaker after speaker criticized the government’s handling of the war in the Donbas or exhorted citizens to put their patriotism into action by saving energy and supporting their soldiers with donations of food, clothes and money.

And this happens almost every weekend.

“We are standing on the very place it all began,” an opposition speaker declares, alluding to the revolution last winter that saw the departure of former president Viktor Yanukovich, accused of corruption and close ties to Russia. “Take off your hats and give a minute’s silence for the fallen,” and everyone does, including 15-year old Ihor Dykun and three of his peers.

Dykun says he and his friends are involved because the burden of protecting the state from Russia’s soldiers and the separatist rebels on the eastern border, which lately has exploded into more deadly warfare in places like Debaltese, will fall to them in a few short years. As well, he says, they soon must grapple with the corruption and enormous debt that also threatens the welfare of Ukrainians.

“It’s our country, it’s our life, it’s our soldiers, it’s our brothers,” he says. “We are children but we can also do something – we can write letters to the soldiers, save energy, wear Ukrainian flags and symbols,” as his friends nod in agreement. “I think in Ukraine there are a lot of teenagers like us who really interested in politics.”

Nearby, 21-year-old Helena Vigowskaja, dressed like Bugs Bunny to lure people into paying her for a picture, listens carefully to what the speakers – opposition members, civil society activists, soldiers from the east – say.

Ihor Dykun, 15, right, and his friends at a political rally Sunday in downtown Kyiv.
Ihor Dykun, 15, right, and his friends at a political rally Sunday in downtown Kyiv.

“Every Sunday they talk about the things they want,” she says. “More changes. Our Ukrainian money is down, down, down. The cost of products is up, up, up, and people don’t like this. If we want to integrate with Europe we must have higher wages. It’s bad. People here have a very hard life. And this is only one of a number of problems.”

Other young people have starker links to the war. Eighteen-year-old Andrey Kalinchenko’s father is fighting there and he himself is a “volunteer,” meaning a civilian who devotes many hours to helping accumulate, package and convey food and other materials to the men and women at the front, since the government is unable to supply them sufficiently.

His father, he says, was fighting in Debaltseve but now is in hospital. In recent weeks dozens of soldiers have been injured or killed in intensified fighting which has seen the rebels take additional turf in the oblast of Donetsk.

Katya Konta, 30, married and the mother of a little boy, says that before the war “we weren’t interested” in politics “but today we have war, so we must.” She is also a volunteer who has traveled east more than 10 times.

“Tomorrow we have the funeral of a very, very close friend,” she says, pausing and tearing up. “Ivan was 37. He was killed in Luhansk on 29 of January. A sniper (got him). He was a very good friend, a good man. He had two sons, a wife, and he was very popular in our town, Fastov. Everything I can, I do.”

Moscow readying a massive Russian invasion of Ukraine

The Kremlin’s calls for a ceasefire and calls by the pro-Russian militants in the Donbas for a mass mobilization are all designed to distract attention from Moscow’s preparations for a massive invasion of Ukraine sometime in the coming days, according to Russian military analyst Aleksandr Golts.

And that conclusion is strengthened, he suggests, by something else: Moscow is moving troops from other regions of the Russian Federation and even from troubled areas of Central Asia toward the Ukrainian border in order to have sufficient forces for a large-scale invasion.

“Games at mobilization” are being launched “in order to mask preparation for another broad-scale introduction of Russian forces

In a Yezhednevny Zhurnal commentary today, Golts says that even as Vladimir Putin’s press secretary declared that the Kremlin leader is “extremely concerned about the development of the situation in the Donbas,” TASS in the same news item reported that a Kremlin aide had said Moscow can understand why the militants are calling for a general mobilization.

“The leaders of the self-proclaimed republics understand” what Moscow is saying, Golts says. They too are for talks but “only if” they get to keep the territory they have seized, and since that doesn’t seem to be on the table, they will continue to fight – and with the support of Moscow as well.

Golts notes in passing that the militants are unlikely to be able to raise the 100,000 troops they have promised to bring to the colors within ten days. There simply aren’t enough people under their control to allow them to do so: If they did, they would be drafting a larger share of the population than even Stalin did during World War II.

That in turn means, the independent Russian military analyst says, that these “games at mobilization” are being launched “in order to mask preparation for another broad-scale introduction of Russian forces.” The militants and Moscow did much the same thing last summer, and thus it appears likely a new invasion is in the offing.

And confirming that conclusion is a report by Ekho Moskvy picking up Tajik media stories that “approximately 3,000 Russian soldiers from the 201st Russian military base in Tajikistan will be sent to the border with Ukraine.”

Their places will be taken by Tajik soldiers, a step that raises some serious security issues. Given the withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan, the threat of radical Islam to Central Asia is becoming ever greater. Pulling Russian troops out of the region now suggests just how important Moscow’s next moves in Ukraine must be in its calculations.

As Golts notes, “having [now] concentrated on the war in Ukraine, Russia risks losing Central Asia.” Indeed, he says, Moscow may soon face “a strategic nightmare” as a result. By sending troops from Central Asia to Ukraine, it may soon face the influx from Central Asia of “tens of thousands of refugees.”

‘Why Doesn’t Moscow Set Up an Institute for Enslaving Other Countries?’

Why don’t Russia and the other former Soviet republics have an special institute to produce specialists who know how to “enslave other countries,” having organized pro-Moscow revolutions in them, seized power via coups, and exported “pro-Russian ideology” to them?

That outrageous question is posed today by Erlan Esenaliyev and Ermek Taichibekov, two ethnic Kazakh journalists who proudly identify themselves as Russian imperialists and argue that it is high time Russia created just such a training center so that it won’t be at a loss in knowing how to export its revolutions.

What is important about this article is not that it is much of an indication of what Moscow is about to do – although some would say it has already taken many steps in this direction – but rather as an indication of the radical expansion in recent months of what people in that Russian world think it is entirely reasonable to say.

A year or even six months ago, not even the most fevered Russian imperialist would have asked the question that Esenaliyev and Taichibekov do, and consequently, just as the dangerous ideas of Aleksandr Dugin and his ilk have spread into the mainstream so thoughts like those of these two may do as well.

And just as Vladimir Putin has pursued a policy in Ukraine of two steps forward and one back, to suggest to some in the West that he is reasonable, the appearance of such articles may make it possible that many in Russia and then in the West may find other slightly less outrageous ideas more acceptable than they would have had the more outrageous ones not been said.

In their article, Esenaliyev and Taichibekov say that the events in Ukraine over the past year show that [Russians] do not have any well-developed technologies for seizing entire states” and thus have not been as able as they might be to come to the aid of pro-Moscow forces, who thus fell victim to “small numbers of Ukrainian Nazis and Russophobes.”

Thinking that Russia can get by with ideas that worked a century or more ago, like an atamanshchina, is a mistake, the two says. “The 21st century requires completely new approaches, more contemporary ones, more advanced, and more certain to produce the necessary results.”

Russia together with the member states of the Eurasian Union, Esenaliyev and Taichibekov say, need a special institute where they can prepare “systematically and at a high professional level” specialists who will know how to “extend” the borders of Russia, enter “any corner of the world in a short time with minimum costs,” and “replace any political regime” that Moscow doesn’t like.

If such an institute were to be created and if it were to work “on a conveyor system,” then, they say, “ten years from now, the borders of Russia could be extended to an enormous extent. And again people throughout the world would begin to speak about Russians as a great nation, and Russia would become again as before a world super power.”

Basing troops in former Soviet republics simply isn’t enough, they say, because these troops “sit in their barracks and do not have increase pro-Russian attitudes among the populations there.” It would be far more effective to send “a thousand specialists on expanding the borders of Russian influence” there and elsewhere – including into the US and the EU.

According to these two writers, the US and Britain have been doing this for a long time. “We see how they take over markets, lands, trading points, influence for their goods and services. [They] are occupied with this enslavement system for centuries,” with “the result we know.” Russia, the two say, can do no less.

“Many of the recent misfortunes of Russia and the CIS,” they write, reflect not just the actions of foreign enemies and corruption. They are the product, the two insist, “in the first instance of the lack of systemic institutions for enslavement and the broadening of spheres of influence.”

Russia must move in this direction now, Esenaliyev and Taichibekov say, because if it doesn’t, it will find itself feeding others rather than feeding off them.