Ukraine is ‘first multipolar’ conflict – Dugin

  • The conflict in Ukraine is the world’s “first multipolar war,” in which Russia is fighting for the right of every civilization to choose its own path while the West wishes to maintain its totalitarian hegemonic globalism, Aleksandr Dugin told RT in an exclusive interview on Friday.

Multipolarity is “not against the West as such,” Dugin said, but “against the claim of the West to be the model, to be the unique example” of history and human understanding.

The current Russophobia and hatred of Russia, he argued, are a relic of Cold War thinking and the “bipolar understanding of the architecture of international relations.”

When the Soviet Union self-destructed in December 1991, it left the “global Western liberal civilization” in control of the world, Dugin noted.

  • This hegemon is now refusing to accept the future in which it would be “not one of the two, but one of [the] few poles,” put in its proper place as “just a part, not the whole, of humanity.”
  • Dugin described the West as “pure totalitarian liberalism,” which pretends to have the absolute truth and seeks to impose it on everyone. “There is inherent racism in Western liberalism,” the philosopher told RT’s Donald Courter, because it “identifies the Western historical, political, cultural, experience [as] universal.”

“Nothing universal exists in multipolarity,” Dugin insisted, explaining that each civilization can and should develop its own values.

  • Russia specifically needs to overcome centuries of Western ideological dominance, he said, and create something “new, fresh, creative” that would nonetheless stand “in direct refutation of the Western liberal hegemony, against open society, against individualism, against liberal democracy.”

He rejected the “dogmatic” approaches of Marxism, fascism or liberalism to politics and economics, saying that Russia ought to strive for a “holistic” approach in which the spiritual would be more important than the material. Obsession with material goods ends up enslaving people, Dugin told RT.

  • Dugin lamented the December 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union as a “suicide” perpetrated by the power-hungry bureaucrats in Moscow.
  • He echoed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s description of it as a “geopolitical disaster” and described it as a major victory for “Sea Power.”

While the USSR was the polar opposite of the Russian Empire in terms of ideology, he explained, in geopolitical terms the two were one and the same, the strongest power in what English geographer Harold Mackinder described as the global Heartland.

While some Western observers have dubbed Dugin “Putin’s brain,” the 60-year-old philosopher and author has no official relationship with the Kremlin.

He is an outspoken supporter of the current military operation in Ukraine – whose independence he considers a Western imperial project aimed against Russian sovereignty.

  • Dugin’s daughter Darya, 29, was assassinated in August by a car bomb planted by Ukrainian agents. Though Kiev has officially denied it, US intelligence officials later said they believe someone in the Ukrainian government was responsible.

Source: RT

Pope Benedict XVI, died on Saturday at age 95. Netanyahu :”We will remember him as a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Benedict’s body will be laid in St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday so the crowd can pay respects.

“With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be provided as soon as possible.” tha Vatican’s annonucement read.

  • “On behalf of all the citizens of Israel, I send my deep condolences to the Christian World on the passing of Pope Benedict XVI.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote. “He was a great spiritual leader who was fully committed to the historic reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people, which he movingly expressed during his historic visit to Israel in 2009.”
  • “In my meeting with him, he spoke warmly about the common heritage of Christianity and Judaism and the values ​​that this heritage gave to all of humanity. We will remember him as a true friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.” Netanyahu added.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Xi says Happy New Year to Putin

Chinese President Xi Jinping has sent New Year greetings to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Chinese state TV has reported.

In his telegram to Xi, the Russian head of state, in turn, expressed confidence that cooperation between Beijing and Moscow will strengthen further in 2023.

According to a Chinese TV report, “PRC Chairman Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 31 exchanged congratulatory telegrams on the occasion of New Year.”

On Friday, the two heads of state spoke via video link, and Putin invited his “dear friend” to visit Moscow in the spring of 2023.

The Russian president also sent messages to a host of other world leaders.

According to the Kremlin website, he congratulated the presidents and prime ministers of all former Soviet republics, except for the Baltic States, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

  • In Southeast Asia, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trọng and the President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, received telegrams from Putin.

The Russian president also congratulated India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Droupadi Murmu.

Putin extended his congratulations to several European leaders, including the prime minister of EU member Hungary.

  • In his telegram to Viktor Orban, the Russian head of state said that “despite a complicated international environment,” relations between Moscow and Budapest continue to show positive dynamics.
  • Addressing Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Putin expressed his hope that the two countries would keep developing bilateral ties “for the benefit of the fraternal peoples of Russia and Serbia.”
  • In addition, Putin made a point of congratulating former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, with whom he has long enjoyed personal friendships.

When asked whether the Russian president would send any messages to incumbent Western leaders, such as US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron or German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Kremlin spokesperson replied in the negative on Friday.

“We effectively don’t have any contacts with them,” Dmitry Peskov explained, citing “hostile actions” by those leaders with regards to Russia.

  • Meanwhile, in the Middle East and Western Asia, Putin’s congratulations went to Syrian President Bashar Assad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
  • The Russian head of state also sent messages to the leaders of Brazil, Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Source: RT

Russian soldiers released from Ukrainian captivity – Defense Ministry

Some 82 Russian servicemen were released from Kiev-controlled territories on New Year’s Eve as a result of negotiations, the country’s Defense Ministry announced in a statement on Saturday.

The POWs were facing “mortal danger in captivity,” the ministry added, in a post on Telegram.

“Russian Aerospace Forces’ aircraft will transport the released servicemen to Moscow for treatment and rehabilitation at medical institutions of the Russian Defense Ministry,” the military said. It added that the soldiers were also receiving the necessary psychological assistance.

  • The acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said on Telegram that in the latest of a series of such swaps, Russia and Ukraine exchanged 82 prisoners on each side.

Later on Saturday, Kiev confirmed the exchange. According to Andrey Yermak, chief-of-staff for Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, “140 people are returning home,” including 82 soldiers from the country’s armed forces.

“132 men and eight women, 22 officers and 118 sergeants and soldiers,” he announced in a post on social media.

Saturday’s swap marks the third this month. The previous exchange was reported by the Russian military on December 6, when 60 servicemen were freed.

Another 50 POWs returned from Ukrainian captivity on December 1.

Source: RT

Israel Health Ministry planning: ‘Treat COVID-19 like the flu as of February’

Israel’s coronavirus czar, Prof. Salman Zarka, met on Monday evening with the heads of the four health maintenance organizations and presented them with a schedule for the end of the unique treatment for COVID-19 cases.

  • As of January 18, the Home Front Command’s COVID-19 test complexes will be closed and those who still need a test will do so at the HMOs.

At the end of January, the Home Front Command will finish dealing with issue related to COVID-19 altogether.

At that point, the coronavirus will be considered to be just like the flu, and the requirement for isolation after the virus is contracted will be completely abolished.

  • The HMOs said they needed more time and budgets to deal with the situation, and the government is expected to approve a working plan.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Book: Biden distrusts secret service, claims they’re ‘MAGA sympathizers’

A new book reveals alleged friction between President Joe Biden and the secret service detail sworn to protect him, who he claimed were secret “MAGA sympathizers.”

  • The soon to be published book on the Biden presidency by noted author Chris Whipple details that Biden accused secret service agents of making up stories after his dog bit agents repeatedly over an eight day period in March 2021, according to The Independent.

Internal emails seen by Whipple contained claims by Biden that the incidents of his German Shepherd attacking agents did not make sense, with the president saying that “somebody was lying… about the way the incident had gone down,” according to the book.

While Biden did not outright accuse the agents of lying about being bitten, he reportedly did not believe they could have been attacked on the second floor of the executive mansion.

  • “Look, the Secret Service are never up here. It didn’t happen,” Biden told a friend, according to the book.

The president also claimed that “MAGA sympathizers” had been placed in the Secret Service and were part of his security detail assigned to protect him from danger.

Biden alleged this was because the Secret Service was “full of white ex-cops from the South who tend to be deeply conservative,” the book explains.

  • Biden took this belief so seriously that he decided he could not speak “freely” in front of Secret Service agents, Whipple writes.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Trump’s tax returns released after lengthy legal battle

After a six-year battle with Congressional Democrats, former President Donald Trump’s tax returns have been made public.

On Friday, hundreds of pages of Trump’s personal and business tax records were released.

The move was announced on Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee, whose Democratic leaders had been pushing for the release for years.

Trump’s returns were entered into the congressional record during a special House pro forma session at 9 a.m. The panel, through which Democrats had waged a three-year legal saga to obtain and release Trump’s financial documents, also made a formal announcement.

The release of the former president’s returns took place after the panel alleged last week that the IRS failed to audit Trump’s taxes in a timely manner while he was in the White House.

  • “The Committee expected that these mandatory audits were being conducted promptly and in accordance with IRS policies,” Committee chair Richard Neal (D-MA) said in a statement.

“We anticipated the IRS would expand the mandatory audit program to account for the complex nature of the former president’s financial situation yet found no evidence of that. This is a major failure of the IRS under the prior administration, and certainly not what we had hoped to find.”

Trump responded to the release on Friday, warning that it will lead to the partisan divide in the US becoming “far worse.”

“The Democrats should have never done it, the Supreme Court should have never approved it, and it’s going to lead to horrible things for so many people,” he said in a statement.

  • Committee member Don Beyer (D-VA) said on Friday that the release was necessitated because Trump “abused the power of his office to block basic transparency on his finances and conflicts of interest which no president since Nixon has foregone.”

The tax documents range from 2015 to 2020, including Trump’s presidential campaign through his time in office.

They include personal and business financial records, giving the public insight into Trump’s income for the first time.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Ex-pontiff Benedict XVI passes away at 95

The Vatican has announced that retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has passed away at the age of 95 on Saturday.

That’s after the ex-pontiff’s health had recently turned for the worst due to his age, according to doctors.

  • “With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” the Holy See Press Office said.

His passing comes shortly after Pope Francis asked followers to pray for Benedict XVI during a public address on Wednesday, stating the ex-pontiff was “very sick.”

“Let us remember him. He is very sick, asking the Lord to console and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church, until the end,” Francis said.

Several weeks ago, those who had seen Benedict said his body looked frail but noted that his mind was still sharp, according to France 24.

  • Benedict XVI was the first German pope in nearly 1,000 years. He ruled as the head of the Catholic church from 2005 until his surprise resignation in 2013 when he said he no longer had the physical or mental strength to continue with his duties.

During his reign, Benedict advocated to return the Catholic church to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularization of many Western Countries. In his writings, the pontiff claimed that central problem of the 21st century was relativism which denied moral and objective truths.

  • However, his legacy has recently been clouded by an investigation launched by prosecutors in Germany, who accused the former pontiff of failing to prevent abuse by clerics during his tenure as Archbishop of Munich and Freising between 1977 and 1982.
  • The ex-pontiff has insisted that he was unaware of the transgressions committed by the clergy in Munich but has issued a “heartfelt request for forgiveness” over any errors he made in failing to prevent the heinous acts.

Source: RT

Freedom and insecurity

John Barclay, in his prophetic novel Argenis (1621), defined in these terms the security paradigm that European governments would later progressively adopt: “Either give men their freedom or give them security, for which they will abandon freedom”.

In other words, freedom and security are two antithetical paradigms of government, between which the State must always make its choice.

If he wants to promise his subjects security, the sovereign will have to sacrifice their freedom and, conversely, if he wants freedom he will have to sacrifice their security.

However, Michel Foucault has shown how security (la sureté publique) should be understood, which the physiocratic governments, starting with Quesnay, were the first to explicitly assume among their tasks in eighteenth-century France.

It was not a question – then as now – of preventing catastrophes, which in Europe of those years were essentially famines, but of letting them occur in order to then be able to intervene immediately to govern them in the most useful direction.

Governing here regains its etymological meaning, i.e. “cybernetic”: a good pilot (kibernes) cannot avoid storms, but, when they do happen, he must still be able to steer his ship according to his interests.

  • In this perspective, it was essential to spread a feeling of security among the citizens, through the belief that the government was watching over their tranquility and their future.

What we are witnessing today is an extreme development of this paradigm and, at the same time, its punctual overthrow.

  • The primary task of governments seems to have become the widespread diffusion among citizens of a feeling of insecurity and even panic, which coincides with an extreme compression of their freedoms, which finds its justification precisely in that insecurity.

The antithetical paradigms today are no longer freedom and security; rather, in Barclay’s terms one should say today: «give men insecurity and they will give up freedom».

  • Therefore, it is no longer necessary for governments to show themselves capable of managing problems and catastrophes: insecurity and emergencies, which now constitute the sole foundation of their legitimacy, can in no case be eliminated, but – as we are seeing today with the substitution of the war between Russia and Ukraine for the one against the virus – only articulated according to convergent modalities, but each time different. A government of this type is essentially anarchic, in the sense that it has no principle to abide by, other than the emergency that it itself produces and maintains.

It is probable, however, that the cybernetic dialectic between anarchy and emergency will reach a threshold, beyond which no pilot will be able to steer the ship and men, in the now inevitable shipwreck, will have to go back to questioning their freedoms they have so recklessly sacrificed.

December 8, 2022

Source: Giorgio Agamben – Quodlibet

Header: Security personnel with dogs stand guard outside Saks Fifth Avenue, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in the Manhattan borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • Translated

Deri decides: Passengers on flights from China required to get COVID test

Incoming Health Minister Aryeh Deri decided on Friday that airlines will require foreign citizens to undergo a COVID-19 test on flights from China to Israel, following the recommendation of the leadership of the Ministry of Health.

The decision follows the renewed outbreak of the pandemic in China.

  • Deri also directed the professional echelon to establish a voluntary sampling point in Israel for foreign and Israeli citizens returning from the country.
  • “The Ministry of Health recommends that Israeli citizens avoid traveling to China unless it is essential,” the Ministry of Health said.

The United States announced this week it will require all travelers from China to show a negative COVID-19 test result before flying to the country.

Passengers flying to the US from China will need to get a test no more than two days before flying, and present proof of the negative test to their airline before boarding.

The tests can be either a PCR test or an antigen self-test administered through a telehealth service.

  • The new rules take effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on January 5.

Since the start of December, 248 million people have fallen ill with COVID-19 in China.

  • China’s National Health Commission announced on Friday that it had a conversation with the World Health Organization about the current epidemiological situation.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Wall Street wraps up worst year since 2008 financial crisis

US stocks dropped on Friday as investors made their final trades in what was the worst year for the market since the financial crisis of 2008 amid growing recession fears.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 280 points, or 0.8%, on the last trading day of 2022, and finished down over 9% for the year.

The S&P 500 shed 1.1% on Friday, and lost almost 20% for the year, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.4% on Friday. The tech-heavy index nosedived by over 30% for the year.

The three major indices finished what has been their worst year since 2008, as soaring inflation and aggressive rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve battered growth and weighed on investor sentiment.

Inflation in the US hit a four-decade high this year, with consumer prices soaring by over 9% in the summer in annual terms.

The inflation rate slowed towards the end of the year. However, experts expect it to remain above the pre-pandemic levels and believe that it will take a few years for price growth to return to 2019 levels.

Meanwhile, although some investors expect next year to herald a market recovery, many others warn that stocks could hit new lows in 2023.

  • “We’re sort of stuck in neutral right now, because there are more unanswered questions than there are known entities,” a senior market strategist at Riverfront Investment Group Rebecca Felton told CNBC.
  • “We’ve got a lot riding on this coming earnings season, when we think about the pressures that are going to exist on margins,” she explained.
  • “There are a lot of questions as we head into the new year, but we certainly will be happy to see 2022 over,” Felton added.

Source: RT

Nobel Peace Prize winner jailed for another 7 years

A Myanmar court sentenced the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to an additional seven years behind bars on Friday. The new case has become the last one in a lengthy string of court proceedings the politician has faced after she was overthrown in February 2021 by the military junta.

  • The conviction brings Suu Kyi’s total prison time to 33 years, including three with hard labor, effectively meaning a life sentence for the 77-year-old. The latest case involved five offenses under the country’s anti-corruption law, a legal official told AP.

Suu Kyi, dubbed a ‘democracy icon’ by the media, has been repeatedly convicted on assorted charges in the aftermath of the coup.

  • The charges she faced have ranged from electoral fraud to illegal smuggling of walkie-talkies into the country. The ousted leader has consistently denied any wrongdoing, insisting the charges against her were absurd and politically motivated.

The politician was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her work to bring democracy to Myanmar.

In her time in office, however, she faced human rights abuse allegations herself, particularly over the controversial treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority in the country, described by some experts as a ‘genocide’.

Suu Kyi became the first – and, so far, the only – State Counsellor of Myanmar back in 2016, securing a comfortable re-election for herself and a landslide win for her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in late 2020.

  • The alleged widespread fraud during the elections was cited by the military as the pretext for deposing the State Counsellor, with Suu Kyi and her fellow politicians strongly denying all the accusations.
  • The 2021 coup ended a brief period of civilian rule in Myanmar, which was controlled by the military from the early 1960s to 2011.

The coup prompted months-long unrest in the country, with the violence resulting in some 2,000 deaths, according to various watch groups.

Thousands of the military government’s opponents ended up jailed, but some 6,000 were released last November during a wide amnesty launched by the authorities.

Source: RT

Note: This woman sold her country to the west. The Idea was to stop China from having a trade route bypassing the traditional route where trade transit usually.

French ministry responds to energy crisis

France’s ministry of energy transition has cut power from its offices for four days and asked employees to work from home, Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher has revealed.

The move, which was also implemented by the country’s ministry of ecological transition, is intended to gauge how much energy can be saved this way.

  • Speaking to France’s TF1 radio station on Thursday, Pannier-Runacher explained that the planned power outage will last from December 30 until January 2, and will affect a total of nine government buildings.
  • “In our country, we have never had a study on what the development of telework could lead to in different structures,” the ministry stated.

The four-day experiment is expected to give officials a “precise idea of what this can allow in terms of energy savings.”

According to TF1, the ministry first tested the scheme in early November. However, with the heating season now in full swing, the measure’s effectiveness needs to be reevaluated anew, officials clarified.

  • While the heat in the affected offices has not been switched off completely, the temperature inside is being kept at just above 8 degrees C.

Back in September, French President Emmanuel Macron called on his compatriots to reduce energy consumption by 10% by 2024 amid the ongoing energy crisis in Europe.

  • Speaking to France’s Inter radio station on Wednesday, Emmanuelle Wargon, the head of the country’s energy watchdog CRE, said that the population had largely heeded the authorities’ call, with electricity consumption falling by 8.7% over the past four weeks.
  • Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that France faces a greater risk of electricity deficits this winter following a decision by the nation’s grid operator, Electricite de France (EDF), to extend maintenance halts at several nuclear power plants.

Energy prices in Europe began rising toward the end of 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • This was further exacerbated in late February of this year, when Russia launched its military offensive against Ukraine. In late August, gas prices hit a record high above €343 per megawatt hour.

Source: RT

Doomed to fail: How Lenin and Stalin placed a ticking time bomb under the Soviet Union exactly 100 years ago

Exactly 100 years ago, on December 30, 1922, the largest country in world history was created.

  • At the First All-Union Congress of Soviets, representatives of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) and Belarusian SSR, and the Transcaucasian Federation all signed Declaration and Treaty on the Formation of the USSR.

The huge country left an ambiguous legacy, and most of the Bolsheviks’ promises were never fulfilled. However, despite its collapse in 1991, to this day the history of the Soviet Union remains relevant for residents of Russia and the former Soviet republics. In fact, it was the beginning of Bolshevik rule that marked the national revival of minorities and the creation of republics that received not only autonomy, but also the right to secede from

RT recalls how the decision to create the USSR was made and why its structure was determined by a dispute between the “red chiefs” – Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin.

According to Lenin’s original plan, the USSR was not really meant to be a “state” from the point of view of “state structure.”

  • It was supposed to be a free confederation of independent states (republics), each having nearly full sovereignty. That’s where the phrase “self-determination up to secession” came from. The unity of this formation was ensured not by “state” or “supranational” mechanisms, but by a single ruling Communist party.

Such a model assumed the possibility of the USSR’s unlimited expansion, up to a global scale. Any country could merely recognize the Communist Party as a “ruling and guiding force” and integrate into the Soviet Union as a new republic. That is why the formula of self-determination up to secession did not particularly concern the leader of the world proletariat, Vladimir Lenin. After all, if communism won over the whole world, where and for what reason would its republics secede?

  • “We still have to conquer five-sixths of the earth’s landmass to have the USSR all over the world,” proclaimed chairman of the 5th Congress of the Comintern, Grigory Zinoviev, in June 1924.

This logic applied not only in the 1920s, but also after the end of World War II, when the Belarusian SSR and the Ukrainian SSR became co-founders of the UN, having their own foreign policy departments.

  • When the “global growth” model was transformed during perestroika, it became apparent that the Soviet republics were held together within the Soviet Union only by a bureaucratic management system.
  • The concept of a single space was doomed. As a whole, the USSR could only exist within the framework of its historical mission, “the construction of communism.”

Autonomy or federalization?

In June 1919, the RSFSR, Belarusian SSR, and Ukrainian SSR officially united their armed forces, economy, finance, transport, and mail services. The role of national authorities was assigned to the Russian people’s commissariats – analogues of ministries. Republican communist parties joined the Russian Communist Party-Bolsheviks, or ‘RCP(b)’ as territorial organizations. A paradox then arose: the entire territory controlled by the Bolsheviks was governed as a single state, while the republics formally remained independent.

For the Bolsheviks, this meant little – the Communist Party held a monopoly over politics and decision-making anyway. However, following the end of the acute phase of the Civil War, the problem of external representation arose. On the eve of the international debut of the new government, at the Genoa Conference in April-May 1922, it was decided that a delegation of the RSFSR would speak for all the republics. But in the future, foreign partners wanted to clearly see who they were dealing with. Moreover, the country’s own population had to understand where they lived.

  • Joseph Stalin was the party’s specialist in interethnic relations (although, according to rumors, Nikolai Bukharin could have been involved in writing his main work “Marxism and the National Question”).

As the RSFSR People’s Commissar of Nationality Affairs responsible for working out the issue, he proposed to include the remaining republics in the RSFSR as autonomous entities. In autonomization, Stalin saw a means of solving several problems at once. Firstly, it could strengthen a single national space and create a rigid vertical alignment of power. And secondly, it would weaken local nationalists and “social-independents” who advocated the full sovereignty of the Soviet republics and were annoyed by the interference of the central government in their affairs. At the same time, the central power and the all-Russian legislation would extend to new territories. Essentially, the plan did not envisage the unification and formation of a new state, but an absorption of the national Soviet republics by the RSFSR.

In September 1922, Joseph Stalin sent his project to Vladimir Lenin and soon presented the program of “autonomization” before the preparation commission for the Central Committee Plenum on the Relationship Between the RSFSR and Other Soviet republics.

  • The commission, chaired by Vyacheslav Molotov, met on September 23-24, 1922, and managed to approve the plan developed by Stalin. Now it had to be approved at the plenum of the Central Committee, which was scheduled for October 5. However, Lenin, who was in an unstable condition at the time due to deteriorating health, refused to accept the project and demanded the creation of the USSR according to the model of maximum federalization – that is, with semi-independent Union republics.

His proposal would not only create tension within the party, but also show the world an example of a “fundamentally new solution to the national question.” Lenin insisted on the creation of equal treaties between the republics with the possibility of other non-capitalist countries around the world joining the Soviet Union in the future.

This included creating a new constitution and forming federal authorities with representatives from all republics. The Soviet Union was conceived by its ideologists as a global communist project, open, among other things, to the accession of those countries that were never part of the disintegrated Russian Empire. This was a serious argument for those who criticized Stalin’s plan of autonomization. After all, focusing on the world revolution as a global project, the federation was seen as the most convenient structure of the state, since it would be easier to include new subjects.

  • At the same time, appeasing some of the nationally oriented Bolsheviks was also an important issue. Some influential national communists, who were especially strong in the Ukrainian SSR and Transcaucasian SFSR (especially among Georgians), opted for the prospect of confederation since they wanted a greater degree of freedom.

This is most clearly evidenced by the so-called “Georgian incident.” On October 20, 1922, at a meeting of the Transcaucasian Regional Committee of the RCP(b) a dispute arose between Grigory (Sergo) Ordzhonikidze and the Georgian Bolsheviks on whether Georgia should enter the USSR as part of the Transcaucasian SFSR or independently. When Ordzhonikidze called his opponents “chauvinistic rot,” one of them, Akaki Kabakhidze, called Ordzhonikidze “Stalin’s donkey,” and Ordzhonikidze hit him in the face.

The central power had to intervene, and a Central Committee commission headed by Felix Dzerzhinsky headed to Transcaucasia. Without even talking to the other side, its representatives sided with Ordzhonikidze.

  • Lenin, however, no less strongly supported the Georgian Bolsheviks and demanded that Ordzhonikidze be expelled from the party for assault. At the same time, both Stalin and Lenin understood that the incident, spurred by feelings of nationalism, was a serious issue that could have consequences for the future of the state.

A ticking time bomb

Discussions on autonomization and federalization lasted throughout the autumn of 1922 and ended with the victory of Lenin’s project. Shortly before the signing of the treaty, Lenin summoned Stalin to his Gorki residence near Moscow and demanded he change the first paragraph. Soon, he wrote the note “On the formation of the USSR” to politburo members in which he expressed the opinion that the RSFSR should recognize itself as equal with other republics and enter the union “together and on an equal footing with them.” Lenin made concessions, and both political and territorial compromises.

This was motivated by the fear that a single administrative apparatus would lead to bureaucrats discriminating against peoples in remote parts of the union. “It is necessary to distinguish between the nationalism of an oppressive nation and the nationalism of an oppressed nation, the nationalism of a large nation and the nationalism of a small nation. In relation to the latter nationalism, almost always in historical practice, we, the nationals of a large nation, find ourselves guilty of an infinite amount of violence. Moreover, we commit an infinite amount of violence and insults without noticing it,” he wrote. Stalin, however, stood by his opinion and in a note to the members of the politburo called Lenin’s position “national liberalism.” Yet the authority of the leader of the world proletariat, despite his serious illness, remained unquestionable.

The morning of December 29, 1922, was lively outside the Bolshoy Theater in Moscow. Figures in overcoats, commissar’s leather uniforms, and national costume floated out of the frosty fog.

  • Delegates of the First All-Union Congress of Soviets were gathering to establish a new state. On the same day, the delegations of the RSFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and Belarusian SSR, as well as the Transcaucasian SFSR signed an Agreement on the Formation of the USSR. A day later, it was approved, and December 30 became the day of the formation of the Soviet Union, which existed for almost 69 years.

Except for issues concerning foreign policy and foreign trade, finance, defense, and communications, which were transferred over to the Union authorities, each republic had jurisdiction over all remaining areas. The All-Union Congress of Soviets became the supreme body of the country. Between its convocations, the Central Executive Committee of the USSR, consisting of two chambers – the Union Council and the Council of Nationalities, was established.

The adopted declaration outlined the reasons, principles, and goals for the unification of the Soviet republics. The most important principle was the right of peoples to self-determination, and the ultimate goal was the creation of a World Union of Communist Republics.

  • “Access to the [Soviet] Union is open to all socialist Soviet republics, both existing and future. The new Union State will serve as a stronghold against world capitalism and a decisive step towards uniting the working people of all countries into a World Socialist Soviet Republic,” stated the first Constitution of the USSR, adopted on January 31, 1924.

The new state was deliberately given supranational character, so that in the future any “Soviet socialist republic” could be accepted into it. Advocating the liquidation of the state as such, the Bolsheviks saw only a temporary solution in such a state structure. Initially, Lenin even proposed to call the state the “Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia,” but eventually it was decided to avoid geographical references.

  • The USSR coat of arms is the only example of its kind where the entire globe is depicted but state borders are not marked in any way.

A failed project

However, the hopes of the “Old Bolsheviks” for a world revolution were not fulfilled, and the system created with this perspective in mind could not resist the onslaught of new realities. The thesis of “peaceful coexistence” with the capitalist world was established soon after the Second World War in the mid-1950s, although Vyacheslav Molotov found it “disorienting” until the end of his long life.

  • This wasn’t incidental, since Molotov saw the USSR enter into another race with the United States, in addition to the “arms race” – the race for “quality of life” – also lost by the Soviet system. It turned out that outside of the task of spreading communism in the world, the Soviet Union, as a whole, was an impossibility.

Ultimately, the practical fulfillment of the right of nations to self-determination played out as a cruel joke. Shortly after the creation of the USSR, a process of nation-building was launched in the new Soviet republics.

  • The 185 nationalities of the Soviet Union were divided into union republics directly subordinated to the central authority. These included autonomous republics within the Union republics, autonomous regions within the territories, and national districts. At the same time, it was determined which of the subjects should have rights and privileges, and which should not. For example, each national republic had its own Communist Party and academy of sciences, but Russians were not allowed to have these. Following the foundation of the USSR, the RSFSR was entirely sterilized of state infrastructure.

The new borders between the republics, largely drawn up with economic needs and Communist rationality in mind, also caused discontent. For example, Abkhazians and Ossetians did not want to be part of the Georgian SSR, and the Russians who lived in Donbass did not want to be governed by the Ukrainian SSR. Some majority Tajik regions became part of the Uzbek SSR, and Nagorno-Karabakh, with a predominantly Armenian population, was included in the Azerbaijani SSR.

Subsequently, all these issues caused the aggravation of interethnic conflicts and the implementation of the republics’ right to secession, preserved in all Union constitutions. This right was first invoked in 1990 by the Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Georgian SSRs.

Their example was eventually followed by almost all the other republics, of which there were fifteen in the “classic” composition of the USSR. The attempt made in 1991 by the first and last President of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, to prepare and agree on a new version of the Union Treaty was unsuccessful not only because of the attempted coup by part of the leadership in August, but also because of cardinal disagreements on the division of powers between the central authority and the republics, including the budget issue.

In December 1991, the Supreme Soviets of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia announced the denunciation of the Treaty on the Formation of the USSR.

  • The corresponding resolution of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR was canceled by the State Duma of Russia in March 1996, but the deputies clarified that their decision did not affect the sovereignty of Russia and other former Soviet republics.

Source: Alexander Nepogodin – RT

Hollande backs up Merkel revelation on Donbass peace

The 2014 Minsk Agreement was indeed a ploy to buy Ukraine time and should be credited for Kiev’s “successful resilience” now, former French president Francois Hollande said on Friday.

Confirming former German chancellor Angela Merkel’s assessment of the truce, Hollande also blamed US weakness for the failure to deter Russia.

Earlier this month, Merkel described Minsk as “an attempt to give Ukraine time” to build up its military. Speaking with the Kyiv Independent, a pro-government Ukrainian outlet, Hollande agreed, saying Merkel was “right on this point.”

  1. “Since 2014, Ukraine has strengthened its military posture. Indeed, the Ukrainian army was completely different from that of 2014. It was better trained and equipped. It is the merit of the Minsk agreements to have given the Ukrainian army this opportunity,” Hollande said, adding that it also stopped the advance of Donbass “separatists” on Mariupol.

Hollande was president between 2012 and 2017, choosing not to run for re-election after polls showed him as the least popular French leader in recent history, with a 97% disapproval rating.

  • In Friday’s interview, he credited himself for wanting “maximal” sanctions against Russia, while other EU leaders were reluctant.

Here Hollande diverged from Merkel, pointing out she greenlit the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in 2015, while he canceled the sale of Mistral-class ships to Moscow.

  • The former French leader also had harsh words for his American counterparts, accusing Barack Obama of “American withdrawal from the international scene” in Syria, Donald Trump of undermining NATO, and Joe Biden of “the rout in Afghanistan” that signaled “weakness in the Western camp” to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

By contrast, Hollande praised Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky for the “ability to appeal to the whole world and mobilize the Ukrainian nation,” saying this will be “central to the outcome of the war and the respect of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”

According to Hollande, the conflict will end when Russia fails, and then the Minsk agreements “can be resurrected to establish a legal framework already accepted by all parties.”

Moscow has yet to comment on the former French leader’s statements.

Putin has responded to Merkel’s revelations by saying he had thought her honest, and that trust between Russia and the West was currently “almost at zero,” making future negotiations difficult at best.

He also said her comments vindicated his decision to send troops into Ukraine and that in hindsight, the military operation should have started sooner.

Source: RT

Israel may attack Iran – defense minister

Israel could launch a military offensive targeting Iran’s nuclear sites within a two to three-year timeframe, Defense Minister Benny Gantz told a class of graduating Israeli Air Force cadets on Wednesday, boasting that the country had “significantly increased its preparedness in recent years and is preparing for the possibility of an attack on Iran.”

  • Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid clarified that such an attack would be a response to “threats that we see as existential,” assuring the newly-minted pilots of Israel’s military superiority while warning the country’s “enemies” that “no Israeli government will agree to Iran becoming nuclear. If it is necessary to act, we will act.”

Lapid was replaced by Benjamin Netanyahu when the latter’s newly-elected government was sworn in on Thursday.

Israel’s longest-serving prime minister until he was unseated last year, Netanyahu is a committed Iran hawk who has been predicting the Islamic Republic would have a nuclear bomb within three years since 1992.

  • Israel’s own military intelligence forecast does not include Tehran getting the bomb anytime soon, however.

Instead, the country “will continue on its current path of slow progress” in the nuclear realm, a report seen by Israel Hayom on Sunday predicted, adding that “Iran will only change its policies if extreme sanctions are imposed on it; then it could decide to accelerate enrichment to military grade.”

While Iran revealed last month it was producing enriched uranium at 60% purity at two of its nuclear plants, weapons grade requires 90% purity.

  • Tehran has long insisted its nuclear program is entirely peaceful in nature, though the head of its Atomic Energy Organization claimed in August that they had the technical ability to build a bomb if they wanted to.

While some of the partners in the now-defunct 2015 nuclear agreement that limited Iran’s uranium enrichment to 4% have made efforts to reanimate the deal, Tehran has accused the US of stonewalling negotiations even while Israel has urged Washington to ditch the deal entirely.

  • Israel has vowed to maintain its hostile posture regardless, insisting that Tehran is determined to “build a nuclear weapon that endangers Israel’s existence” and any potential deal would merely help them accomplish that.

Source: RT