Kremlin Aggression

Mentioning Kremlin aggression today surely brings to mind immediately Russia’s 2014 invasion and occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, and then Russia’s on-going war against Ukraine in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas. In this war cease-fires have meant little as they have been violated constantly.

Indeed, OSCE reports that there were over 300,000 cease fire violations in 2019.  14,000 have been killed over a quarter of them civilians including women and children. A reported 30,000 have been wounded and Russian land mines pose a unconscionable threat to the people of Ukraine.

Those gross violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty grabbed early headlines and resulted in, among other things, western sanctions against Russia. But they are only a piece of the historic and current on-going story of malevolent Kremlin aggression.  Kremlin aggression toward Ukraine has a very long history and continues to be pervasive.

Hundreds of years of evidence make the case that aggression against Ukraine the people of Ukraine, Ukrainian culture, the Ukrainian language, and Ukraine’s churches is in the Kremlin’s demented DNA.

Apparently unsatisfied and/or insecure with Russia’s limitations as a nation and a culture, the Kremlin has been unending in its malevolent desire to dominate Ukraine and her people and appropriate what is Ukrainian as if it were Russian.

For example, in July, 1863, there was the secret decree of the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Empire – “the Valuev Circular.”  This was a Tsarist decree forbidding Ukrainian-language publications and, despite the obvious inconsistency in banning something it says never existed, the circular states flatly “A separate Ukrainian language has never existed, does not exist, and cannot exist.”

The Kremlin does not and apparently cannot genetically acknowledge Ukraine is older than Russia and that much of what the Kremlin claims to be part of Russian history and cultural are, in fact, from Ukraine.  So, to try to protect it fallacious claims the Kremlin strikes out against Ukraine using every tool and method it can.

In fact, the Kremlin’s contrived and pervasive world-wide narrative that “Russia” and “the Soviet Union” were synonyms was, among other things, a repression of Ukraine, her people, culture and history as it was of other nations and people who were captured behind the Iron Curtain by Moscow.  That ingrained misrepresentation by the Soviet Union continues today by the Kremlin’s aggressive and inaccurate telling of history and because of ignorance or simply sloppiness in the West.

Russia was not the Soviet Union and Russia is not Ukraine

Russia was not the Soviet Union and Russia is not Ukraine

But words and public narrative matter, and the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation attempts at every opportunity to challenge and correct the Kremlin’s mischaracterizations and outright lies about history and Ukraine.

It is Kremlin propaganda and either ignorance or sloppiness in the West that allows Putin to sell the world on “Russia’s” victorious role in World War II with military parades across Red Square, and to have Russia included at other World War II memorial events (like at Normandy a few years ago) to the exclusion of the other republics of the former Soviet Union.  And, of course, Putin seeks to have President Trump join him at 2020 May Day parade to honor the United States’ World War II “ally” — Russia.

Despite the Kremlin’s lies, it was not Russia who was the West’s ally in winning the Second World War.
That was was the Soviet Union.
And it was not just Russian soldiers in the Soviet Army who died in that war.
That was the people of all countries of the former Soviet Union, including 1.2 million Ukrainian soliders!

The aggressive Kremlin propaganda wants the world to forget or discount the role of the other nations of the Soviet Union.
See table:

Soviet military dead and missing 1941-1945:
Nationality Total Percentage of Soviet Total
Russians 5,756,000 66.402
Ukrainian 1,377,400 15.890
Belarussians 252,900 2.917
Tatars 187,700 2.165
Jews 142,500 1.644
Kazakhs 125,500 1.448
Uzbeks 117,900 1.360
Armenians 83,700 0.966
Georgians 79,500 0.917
Others 545,300 6.291
Total 8,668,000 100.0

That is 2,912,400 non-Russian casualties the Kremlin’s aggressive self-promotion propaganda wants to disregard or count as Russians.

 

And, of course, changes in Kremlin leadership over the years have never changed the consistent aggressive behavior toward Ukraine.  Indeed, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is as conniving and malevolent as any prior Kremlin leader.

Whether it be cyber interference in elections and anything and everything else it can touch in the cyber world, a 24/7 propaganda machine, maneuvers to compromise foreign countries, corporations or individuals the Kremlin uses every tool available.  And, of course, that includes military action.

Even the Kremlin’s farcical cover stories are blatant propaganda.

The “little green men” who invaded and occupy Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula were Putin’s Russian regular troops.

The silly cover story used whenever convenient about Russia stepping in to protect “Russian-speakers” would be laughable if so many in the West were not duped by the propaganda. As noted above, during the Soviet era and at any other opportunity the Kremlin acts to Russify countries and people.  With everyone in the Soviet Union having to speak Russian, the Kremlin when wanting a convenient rationalization for physical aggression can and does claim a perverted ownership over anyone who lived behind the Iron Curtain and in countries that were in the Soviet Union on the basis of their being able to speak Russian.

And, of course, Ukraine is now living in a state of war because Russia has invaded and is conducting a war against Ukraine.

The Budapest Memorandum refers to three identical political agreements signed 5 December 1994, providing security assurances relating to the accession of Ukraine  and to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine (and Belarus, Kazakhstan).

Based on these assurances, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons. (Before that, Ukraine had the world’s third largest nuclear weapons stockpile).

The promises of the Budapest Memorandum and other international treaties and agreements mean nothing to the aggressively expansionist Kremlin.  Remember, without Ukraine Russia is a country, with Ukraine, Russia becomes an empire, and an empire the Kremlin wants to be.

To grab Ukrainian territory the Kremlin uses its tanks, its artillery, its snipers, its gunboats, and its satanic land mines.  The people of Ukraine have suffered thousands-upon-thousands of deaths and thousands more casualties and continues to do so because of the Kremlin’s aggressive appetite to dominate.

In addition, as of December, 2019, according to Ukraine’s Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture the direct losses of Ukraine’s economy caused by the Russian aggression in 2014-2015 made up about 20% of GDP, while total losses amounted to about UAH 150 billion.

Lives, livelihoods, disruptions of families and communities, devastation of land and property none of it matters to the Kremlin in its deranged efforts to be an empire.

We at the Foundation have always understood this, and fighting all forms of aggression has been a necessary part all our programs – helping the people of Ukraine to continue to recapture their identity and for the nation of Ukraine to maintain its independent place in the community of nations.

Today the Foundation stands with the people of Ukraine fighting Putin’s war. The Foundation actively seeks to present to the world a balanced image of Ukraine to counter the false and misleading voices coming from the Kremlin.

“It cannot be stressed enough that without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire.”

zbigniew brzezinski

Zbigniew Brzeziński
National Security Advisor
1977-1981

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: BECAUSE WHAT WE CALL THINGS MATTERS

May 9 2015 – – Russia stages its biggest ever military parade in Moscow’s Red Square to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Victory Day. Of course Putin wants extravaganzas like this but one must be attentive to the messages he is trying to present to the world. Among others he still likes to take advantage of the almost century-long mistake of using “Russia” and “Soviet Union” as synonyms.

Russia celebrating World War II Victory Day is fine, but part of Putin’s suggested message is that Russia had a victory over the Nazis 70 years ago and that is incorrect. The Soviet Union, after starting the war as an ally of Germany, ended up on the other side and shared significantly in the victory, but it was not Russia, it was the Soviet Union.

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