What’s worse than a moron?

An ignorant moron, is the answer to that one. And what’s worse than an ignorant moron? An ignorant moron with an ideology.

Rodney Atkinson

And what’s worse than an ignorant moron with an ideology? Ronald Atkinson, Rowan’s giftless brother.

He wouldn’t be worth talking about if he weren’t so typical of a lamentably large group of Putin groupies. But here I must own up to a bad mistake on my part.

Normally I don’t argue with such people, outside my articles, that is. For a rhetorical contest is like any other game: it must be played by some rules.

Alas, ignorant, ideologised morons are always rhetorical anarchists. They don’t accept any rules; usually they aren’t even aware that such rules exist. Hence they’ll say anything – and if there’s nothing to say, they’ll start screaming and sputtering spittle.

Knowing all that, I shouldn’t have commented on Atkinson’s Facebook posting about how it’s all Nato’s fault. Yet comment I did, which elicited a response from him. My only excuse is that I did that silly thing at an emotional moment, when Putin’s hordes embarked on their rape attempt in the Ukraine. So here goes:

Me: “For your sake, I hope you’re getting paid by Putin. Otherwise one would have to consider such possibilities as mental retardation.”

He: “Nice to hear from a supporter of a Nazi friendly regime which closes television channels and arrests opposition leaders.”

Me: “Better than murdering them with radioactive elements or battle gases or bullets or garrottes or defenestration. And do try to look up the history of Russian independent TV or even independent websites. On second thoughts, don’t. One shouldn’t let facts interfere with the call of one’s heart.”

He: “The Zelensky Ukrainian government shut down three television channels and imprisoned the leader of the main opposition party. What democratic allies you have! Have you not joined the Azov battalion yet? Maybe not Nazi enough?”

Do you get the picture? One has to infer that Putin’s gang attacked the Ukraine to impose the sterling standards of Russian democracy, reopen the TV channels and liberate an opposition leader. And anybody who opposes that undertaking is a Nazi.

Atkinson didn’t provide the identity of that innocent victim of Ukrainian Judaeo-Nazi Banderites, but he had to mean Viktor Medvedchuk, a mafioso ‘oligarch’ and Putin’s best friend.

Medvedchuk, the leader of the pro-Putin For Life party, has been charged with treason, spying on Ukrainian military installations and violating trade sanctions against the Russian-occupied provinces of the Ukraine.

Rather than being imprisoned, he was placed under house arrest awaiting trial, but hey, Atkinson could just as easily have said that Medvedchuk was shot out of hand. No holds are ever barred for that lot.

Medvedchuk’s three TV channels were indeed sanctioned a year ago for undermining Ukrainian democracy. The US government beat Zelensky’s to it by seven years, when it put Medvedchuk under personal sanctions on that very charge.

Since then Putin (godfather to Medvedchuk’s daughter and widely celebrated as a staunch champion of democracy) has ordered his acolytes around the world to whip up a hysterical campaign demanding that this worthy individual be freed in the name of liberty.

Medvedchuk’s house arrest strikes me as an unforgivably mild measure. After all, he acted as a conduit for propaganda emanating from the Ukraine’s implacable enemy, Putin. The case for putting him in actual prison was much stronger than that for interning Britons of German descent and Nisei Americans during the Second World War.

Is that the best Messrs Atkinson, Hitchens, Farage, Zemmour et al. can do to prove that Zelensky (and, by ricochet, his supporters, including me) is a Nazi? Rather thin, wouldn’t you say?

Anyone who is neither paid by Putin nor blinded by ideological afflatus would know that Zelensky’s record, while not spotless, stacks up favourably against that of Atkinson’s idol. Hence every stone thrown at Zelensky shatters the glass house inhabited by Putin and Putinistas.

Murdered on Putin’s watch have been 156 journalists, and not just Russian ones. Hundreds of others have been beaten up, crippled, splashed with ghastly liquids, threatened or otherwise harassed.

There are more political prisoners currently held in Putin’s prisons than there were under Brezhnev, which is no mean achievement. Yet those are the lucky ones.

The unlucky ones have been murdered, and I hope their names will never be forgotten: Anna Politkovskaya, Galina Starovoitova, Boris Nemtsov, Natalia Estremirova, Sergei Magnitsky, Alexander Litvinenko, Paul Khlebnikov, Artyom Borovik, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anastasia Baburova… (Google the full list if you’re interested; it’s available).

It’s not just hydrocarbons – murder is another commodity Putin happily exports to the West. At least 15 people Putin disliked have been murdered in Britain alone, some with nuclear or chemical weapons, some garrotted, some poisoned with extracts of rare Chinese plants, some killed in blown-up helicopters, most shot the old-fashioned way.

As for freedom of speech, whose deficit in the Ukraine so vexes Atkinson, every independent Russian TV channel, such as NTV, has been silenced. So have all independent newspapers, except, with certain reservations, one — and even that one is owned by Putin’s KGB colleague. All on-line opposition journals were blocked years ago.

Russian TV has become a generator of nauseating round-the-clock propaganda and nuclear threats to the West (the last such came yesterday from Dmitry Kisilev, whom the Russians affectionately call ‘Putin’s Goebbels’). And Alexei Navalny, the only opposition leader with wide popular support, was first poisoned with Novichok and then clapped into prison on a trumped-up charge.

Putin’s scorecard would be even more impressive had hundreds of opposition leaders not fled for their lives to the safety of Europe and America. But even had they all been martyred in Russia, Zelensky’s treatment of a Russian spy would still be invoked with enviable effrontery by Atkinson and his fellow Putinistas.

Rumour has it that his talented brother Rowan based his Mr Bean character on Rodney. I actually doubt that: Mr Bean is a lovable klutz. There’s nothing lovable about Atkinson et al. They do the dirty work of spreading enemy propaganda, which makes them today’s typological equivalents of Lord Haw-Haw.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that they should suffer the same fate. However, on second thoughts… No, perish such second thoughts – even if I am a crypto-Nazi.

P.S. Putin has sent out 400 professional bandits of the Wagner Group (owned by his stooge Prigozhin) with orders to kill Zelensky. This reminded me of the good old days of Waterloo. One of Wellington’s riflemen told him he had Napoleon in his sights. But the chivalrous Duke forbade him to fire. “It’s not the business of generals to shoot one another,” he said.

Two men 1,300 miles and light years apart

The two men in question are Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin, hero and zero.

Volodymyr is leading his nation with the kind of courage that no modern Western politician has ever shown, nor, I’m convinced, can ever show. By contrast, his namesake Vladimir is cowering in his Urals bunker, 1,300 miles away from the action, just in case.

Just in case of what? A Nato missile hitting the Kremlin? Ukrainian special forces going on a mission to kill him, the way he sent out his Chechen bandits to murder Zelensky and everyone close to him?

If you insist that none of this is likely, you miss the point. Even if the probability of a serious risk to his precious person is measured in the thousandths of one per cent, that probability would be too high for Putin. Like most bullies, he is a coward.

If the two men are separated by a mere 1,300 miles geographically, morally they are light years apart. The moral swamp inhabited by Putin lacks novelty appeal – I’ve known everything there is to know about him since his name first appeared in the news. But I’m genuinely surprised to see Volodymyr Zelensky soar to such moral heights.

He wasn’t especially good as a peacetime leader. Then neither, for that matter, was Winston Churchill. But both men came into their heroic own when guns, not politicians, began to do all the talking.

Churchill’s heroism was mostly moral; Zelensky’s, also physical. What is it about this young Jewish man, who first became popular as a comedian, that drives him to the front line, rallying his nation to fight for its freedom, its very life?

When in 2004 Ukrainian people rose against Putin’s puppet government (a genuine popular revolution that Putin’s acolyte Hitchens describes as a ‘putsch’ in the hope of evoking Nazi associations), its head Yanukovych fled in a Russian plane, never to be heard of again – this though his life was in no immediate danger.

You can be sure that Putin will try to do the same when his time comes, as I pray it will soon. But Zelensky isn’t running even though Putin has sent out a Chechen assassination squad with the specific task of murdering the Ukrainian president.

That vile attempt has failed. Ukrainian forces ambushed the Chechen hit squad and blew its 56-tank column apart with the anti-tank weapons provided by Nato. Hundreds died, including the Chechen general in command.

As an aside, there I was, believing Messrs Farage, Hitchens, Zemmour et al. that, unlike our own impotent governments, Col. Putin is an implacable enemy of fundamentalist Islam. Yet his Chechen murderers were photographed praying with their imam before the mission, their bushy beards touching their camouflaged thighs. Now their 72 virgins await, and I hope they have enough of their bits left to do those lasses justice.

When Zelensky addressed his nation from the front line, saying, “This may be the last time you’ll see me alive”, he wasn’t pulling a PR trick. He leaves that activity for his Western colleagues to indulge in. Zelensky was ready to look death in the face, as if saying, “Death, where is thy sting?”

I don’t know about you, but that was the first time in my life that a politician’s words truly moved me. Suddenly I knew how Britons must have felt when listening to Churchill’s “blood, toil, tears and sweat” speech on 10 May, 1940.

Since I’ve promised Penelope not to swear in writing (she gave up long ago the effort of extending that injunction to everyday speech), I shan’t comment at length on the mantras being repeated by Putin’s British quislings.

Nor shall I try to get to the bottom of the tastelessness, intellectual paucity and moral decrepitude required to repeat at this time their pro-Putin apologetics, along the lines of “it’s all Nato’s fault.” Such an undertaking would take Shakespeare’s genius, not my modest ability.

One ‘argument’, however, is worth mentioning because it’s a ubiquitous component of their shamanistic chants. Instead of being tough on Russia, they say, we should concentrate on our real, more powerful, enemy – China.

The logic is staggering in its implications. They seem to be saying that, because Xi isn’t our friend, we should let Putin rape any European country he fancies.

One enemy at a time, chaps, if you please. And I hope it will be one at a time, for Xi may be sufficiently emboldened by the West’s limp-wristed sanctions on Putin to launch an attack on Taiwan. But, thank God, he hasn’t yet. So I suggest we follow the example set by Teddy Kennedy in 1969 and drive off that bridge when we get to it.

I don’t know how long the Ukraine can hold out. Nor do I know how close the Russian invaders have come to taking the 50,000 casualties Putin reportedly regards as acceptable.

If it’s true that the war is costing Russia £15 billion a day and her armament stocks are running out, perhaps there is a flicker of hope that the fascisoid aggressor will retreat, tail between his legs. Or maybe even a flicker of hope is too much.

Putin’s stormtroopers are clearly prepared to do to Kiev what they did to Grozny (see the photo), the capital of the same Chechnya that now sends its murder squads after Zelensky. Grozny was inhabited by Russian speakers, 80 per cent of them actually Russian. That didn’t stop Putin then, as it probably won’t stop him now.

But unlike Grozny, which was only founded in 1818, Kiev is an ancient city that has retained some lovely vestiges of its past beauty. What Putin is perpetrating now is therefore not just a war crime or a crime against humanity. It’s also a crime against the same Orthodox culture he professes to worship.

If you still harbour doubts about who’s on the right side in this war, just compare Zelensky’s handling of it with Putin’s. That done, I’m sure you’ll join me in shouting: Slava Ukraine! Geroiam slava!

The words came to me not in Ukrainian but in Russian, which is how I’ve transliterated the battle cry of Ukrainian patriotism: Glory to the Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!

And, may I add, glory to one particular hero: Volodymyr Zelensky.  

How to checkmate Putin

Seldom do I read articles on Russia where I agree with every word. Yet only distaste for plagiarism prevents me from claiming the authorship of the piece written by Garry Kasparov, former world champion and one of the best players ever to push wood around a chess board.

Garry Kasparov

Here it is:

The Putin regime will find the cost of aggression unacceptable if the West takes the following steps:

1) Every country that condemns the aggression must recall its ambassadors. Isolation must be demonstrable.

2) Complete expulsion of Russia from all financial markets, including SWIFT and all credit institutions. The regime must be bankrupted.

3) Complete and unconditional ban on Russian propaganda media around the world.

4) All citizens of countries of the free world must be immediately required to quit, on pain of prosecution, any Putin concerns with which they are associated. Russia’s actions in the Ukraine must be classified as war crimes, and those who remain employed by Gazprom or Rosneft treated as accomplices to war criminals.

5) Complete expulsion of Putin’s officials from all international organisations, including Interpol.

6) Immediate impounding of all Russian assets scattered around the world, and we are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars. This money must be frozen. I even believe it could be confiscated – the West has enough laws against money laundering. These people, and their companies, supported Putin and created his war machine. Freezing as a minimum, confiscation ideally. Immediate expulsion of all Russians who have golden visas, starting with the families of those guilty of war crimes. Let them spend holidays in their own Sochi or Krasnodar.

7) Immediate and complete expulsion of Russia from the energy markets. That will cost the West quite a bit, but this is the price that has to be paid for all the years of placating Putin’s regime. It is essential that steps be taken to provide Europe with energy in case of an oil and gas embargo on Russia.

8) Only immediate and resolute measures can now stop the dictator running amok with a nuclear bomb. Any delay will mean that the same problems will have to be solved when Putin’s aggression spreads to Nato countries.    

Well put, I could have said all that myself. In fact, I have said it all myself, many times, over many years. The trouble is that no one listens to me – and I’m afraid no one will listen to Mr Kasparov, for all his name recognition.

It’s that second sentence in Point 8, the one about the West having to bear the cost of confronting Putin’s kleptofascist regime. Heaven forbid our standard of living will drop even one per cent as a result. And if it’s more than one per cent – well, Putin can have the whole of Eastern Europe, Nato or no Nato, see if we care. And even if Finland or Germany catches his fancy, we won’t raise a finger if that puts an extra quid on a pound of silverside.

My only question is about Point 4. Does it cover only Russian-owned media or also Western journalists disgorging pro-Putin propaganda in Western papers? Such as… well, you know.

P.S. According to newspaper reports, French presidential candidates Le Pen, Zemmour and Mélenchon have “climbed down from supporting Moscow”. They haven’t. All three quislings have expressed perfunctory regrets about Putin’s aggression against the Ukraine, while reiterating the Kremlin’s mendacious propaganda line about it all being Nato’s fault. That’s what I’d call praising with faint damning.

We’re all shrinks now

Over the past couple of days, I’ve read dozens of articles by our pundits and Russian opposition figures. I’ve also watched countless video clips and a live stream from a Russian anti-Putin group called the Forum of Free Russia.

All the people involved have turned out to be keen amateur psychiatrists with a highly developed knack for diagnostics. They analysed Putin’s mental health and pronounced him insane.

They only differed in their chosen terminology, with a whole thesaurus of synonyms for ‘insane’ seeing the light of day. Putin, according to them, is mad, deranged, maniacal, crazy, unhinged, paranoidal, senile – just find a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus and try to find a synonym that hasn’t figured in those reports.

Now let’s backtrack to the previous century and identify its greatest villains. Different people may put forth different nominees, but Lenin, Stalin and Hitler are likely to make most lists.

And what do you know, exactly the same things were said about them. Lenin went mad because tertiary syphilis destroyed his brain. Stalin had paranoidal delusions. Hitler was a homicidal maniac suffering from fits of hysteria.

Many commentators, especially those inspired by the Freudian afflatus, traced those chaps’ conditions back to their childhood traumas. Lenin’s brother was hanged for trying to murder the tsar. Stalin’s father was a violent alcoholic. Hitler was raised by a standoffish stepfather. The last two also suspected they were illegitimate.

One gets the impression that those gentlemen would have turned out positively angelic had they not been cheated out of the requisite number of parental hugs in childhood. At it was, they were mad, deranged, insane, maniacal and so forth, all the way down the thesaurus entry.

Of all the unpleasant traits widely shared by modern people, their obsession with cracker-barrel psychology erupting in a torrent of psychobabble is among the most risible. Every little problem of life has to be medicalised and explained by the onset of some mental disorder.

The old, true, understanding of man’s nature has given way to a new, false, one. Hence, having expanded no end their psychobabble lexicon, people have expunged one word that alone explains most of human beastliness. EVIL.

Having discarded the notion of original sin, they have been led astray by Rousseau’s presumption of human goodness. Everyone is born good, and if some people demonstrably grow up bad, why, it’s all society’s fault, m’lord.

It’s society that drove them to a life of crime by setting a limit on their welfare cheques. It’s society that made them play truant at school. And, especially, it’s society that failed to treat their emotional disorder, thereby leaving them to their own awful devices.

Punish them? God forbid, even though everyone knows God doesn’t exist. Those lost lambs must be found, rehabilitated and helped to rediscover their innate virtue.

Nobody is evil. The word doesn’t appear in any decent person’s vocabulary – unless used to describe a wretch who dares to apply it to criminals. I’m speaking from personal experience, having twice appeared on BBC panel discussions of crime and punishment. Both times I uttered the E-word, only to be shouted down by my fellow panellists and thenceforth ignored by the show host.

The general assumption is that evil doesn’t exist, a view easily disproved by even a cursory look at human behaviour. We refuse to accept that evil takes permanent residence in some people’s souls – as a result of evil choices they freely make over a lifetime.

Rousseauian folly takes human out of beings. People are no longer seen as autonomous agents endowed with free will and thus the power to choose between good and evil. Instead they are equated to automata whose actions are dictated by either external circumstances or faults in their own cerebral wiring.

That way the whole complexity of man’s motives can be reduced to a glossary of ready-made shibboleths. When this approach is applied to personages who steer history, it leads to a woeful misunderstanding of geopolitics, current events and indeed history.  

Putin isn’t mad. He is evil. Evil people do evil things, which equation also works in reverse: evil things are done by evil people – as a rule deliberately, purposefully and rationally.

Those who accuse Putin of emotional instability simply don’t understand the amount of animal cunning and coldblooded calculation it takes to rise through the ranks of the KGB all the way to the top of government.  

Putin’s whole life is a fabric woven out of evil deeds inspired by evil choices. As a youngster, he was a self-described “common street thug”, a member of a gang terrorising his neighbourhood. He, like me and most other inner-city Russians, had to choose between running with or from the gangs. I chose the latter; Putin, the former.

To paraphrase Mao, a journey of a thousand evil miles starts with one evil step. Becoming a street thug was the first such step Putin took, and all his subsequent life has been made of longer and longer strides.

As a schoolboy, he developed a lifelong ambition to become an officer in the KGB, an organisation that by then had murdered 60 million of his countrymen. Five gets you ten he trained for that career not only by developing a lifelong obsession with martial arts, but also by informing on his classmates and teachers.

As a young man, Putin realised his ambition by joining the KGB. Before becoming a spy-runner, he first made his bones in the Fifth Chief Directorate, responsible for suppressing dissent.

Putin’s zeal in that career bought him a transfer to the First Chief Directorate, foreign intelligence. His posting to Dresden was inauspicious, but he did the KGB’s bidding with alacrity. The Dresden station was mainly responsible for stealing West German technologies, especially those usable in the Soviet growth industry, military.

When what he describes as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century” (collapse of the Soviet Union) occurred, he was transferred to the KGB Active Reserve, whose members were assigned as overseers, in effect case officers, to politicians and businessmen.

Putin’s charge was Sobchak, the mayor of Petersburg. As deputy mayor responsible for foreign trade relations, Putin stole the starving city blind, cheating it out of food supplies. He made his first millions running scams on an ever-increasing scale, even pilfering and flogging submarines. It was then that he formed lasting links with organised crime figures.

When at that time he ran into an old KGB colleague who harboured political ambitions, Putin exclaimed: “Are you nuts or what? You’ve got to make dosh!”

However, the KGB made it possible for him to do both, politics and thievery. Putin was transferred to Moscow, where he was used as a front man for the Collegium, KGB governing body. It moved him to a succession of top jobs, including FSB head, prime minister and eventually Yeltsyn’s successor.

To make sure no rivals blocked his rise, the FSB blew up several apartment blocks, together with their residents. That false-flag atrocity was blamed on the Chechens, and Putin started the Second Chechen War that produced enough corpses to establish his bona fides as the strong leader the Russians craved. He started as he meant to go on.

His crimes as Russia’s president are well-documented. They include larceny on a global scale and unrestrained brutality towards both his own citizens and foreign nationals. And every one of his crimes showed a rational, logical mind at work, however warped his logic may look to decent people.

It took thousands of logical steps for Putin to climb from his starting position as a puppet of a shadowy group of wirepullers up to his present status of national leader able to slay his enemies domestically and internationally, while scaring off their potential supporters with well-calculated blackmail.

The on-going rape of the Ukraine is another upward swing on Putin’s evil trajectory. He learned as a small boy that he could only survive as a gang member by making the bigger and older boys respect him and everyone else fear him. That mentality has stood Putin in good stead every step of the way, and he has successfully applied it to international relations.

The self-described “common street thug” of yesterday has become the evil global thug of today. Same principle, different scale.

P.S. Joe Biden gets top marks for honesty. He admitted, with his usual vacuous smile, that the sanctions he imposed on Russia weren’t going to stop anything or deter anybody. Their effect was only going to be felt in the future, perhaps in years. I’m sure that was music to the Ukrainians’ ears, who are being murdered en masse at the moment.  

I too blame the West

A fortnight ago Hitchens wrote that his idol Putin would never invade the Ukraine because he’d be insane to do so. Yet Hitchens had it on good authority that the humanoid bandit in the Kremlin was as sane as they come.

Well, he has invaded. Now I’m eagerly awaiting Hitchens’s mea culpa for his unswerving commitment to regurgitating Kremlin propaganda emanating from a madman. Something tells me I’ll have to wait a long time.

Stephen “I-Agree-With-My-Colleague-Peter-Hitchens” Glover is welcome to join the breast-beating, as are all other fools and knaves who have been shilling for Russia’s KGB regime, kissing Putin’s less attractive parts with ever-increasing gusto.

They’ll never wash the brown stuff off their noses, but an apology would be welcome. Instead I’m sure they’ll continue to blame the West in general and Nato in particular for the latest crime committed by Russia’s evil regime.

And here our paths converge: we arrive at the same point, if by different routes. Unlike Putin’s army of Western fools and knaves, I don’t blame the West for being nasty to Putin. I blame it for being too acquiescent, too negligent, too greedy – and yes, too stupid.

Putin’s strength comes from his ability to blackmail the West with his trillions parked in Western banks, his tanks and planes wholly dependent on Western electronics, and his oft-stated resolve to use nuclear weapons, which is unmatched by our vacillating, venal, vacuous governments.

Last year he reiterated that threat of an all-out nuclear holocaust with a quasi-religious dimension: “We as martyrs will go to heaven, and they’ll croak.” I don’t know how many Russians are willing to accompany Putin to the pearly gates. I hope not too many, although the polls show popular support for this crime.

I also hope that the West will offer a proper response to the nuclear threat Putin issued in the early hours of the morning:

“Whoever tries to get in our way, and especially to create threats to our country and our people, ought to know that Russia’s response will be instant, leading to the kind of consequences they have never encountered in their history. We are ready for every eventuality, and all the relevant decisions have been made. I hope I’ll be heard.”

Loud and clear. The ghoulish yahoo in the Kremlin is ready to attack you, me, our families, our cities, our whole life with nuclear weapons. And it’s we, ladies and gentlemen, who have let it come to this.

For everything that powers Putin’s juggernaut has been imported from the West. There isn’t a single Russian-made computer in Russia, nor a single piece of military equipment without Western components.

Russian hydrocarbon production is wholly dependent on Western technologies and equipment. The money to import all that stuff came from the markets offered by the West and the capital obligingly provided by Western financial institutions.

Driven by the Vespasian principle of pecunia non olet, the West allowed Russian gangsters, including Putin himself, to recirculate their ill-gotten trillions through Western havens. London in particular has been turned into a giant laundromat, with a whole industry rising to serve Putin’s loot: banks, brokerages, consultancies, legal firms, security services, trading houses.

Our governments have been infiltrated from top to bottom by Russian spies and gangsters (the two groups have been fused into one). Our top politicians, including those currently active, form a beeline for directorships in Russian energy monopolies, effectively trading influence for bribes.

And our top newspapers hospitably offer their column inches to blatant and mendacious pro-Putin propagandists, such as Hitchens consistently, the late Christopher Booker in the past, now Glover, occasionally Liddle – and I’m only mentioning some of the British hacks.

France too has its fair share of this breed, one of whose specimens, Zemmour, is trying to become president. And Putin proudly and profitably counts among his friends a former chancellor of Germany, a former president of the US, a former prime minister of France, the current leaders of Hungary and Poland – along with a small army of smaller fry.

At the heart of it all lies the cretinous euphoria (Hitchens described it vividly yesterday) over the transfer of power in Russia from the Party to the KGB, sold to the West as glasnost, perestroika and the collapse of communism. Few Western commentators or politicians saw through that ploy, and those who did chose to shut their eyes and rake in the money.

As a result, the West didn’t demand real changes in Russia as a precondition for any aid or technology transfer. The so-called victory in the Cold War wasn’t at all like the victory in the latest hot war. Russia didn’t disarm and, most important, the most sinister organisation in history, the KGB, didn’t disband. Instead it grabbed all power in Russia, becoming the government, not its servant.

The signs were there from the beginning, and they’ve become bigger and clearer with each year of Putin’s rule, with each crime his bandit regime committed. All such signs have been ignored – even yesterday many commentators, including those within the Russian opposition, sneered at the very possibility of a full-scale Russian invasion.

And now the chickens have come to roost: Europe is facing a major war in its second-largest country (to start with); for the first time since 1962 the danger of a nuclear war is real; the aggressive bandit in the Kremlin has been emboldened and encouraged to press on.

All of this has been entirely predictable, and indeed predicted. But voices crying in the wilderness are only ever heard by the birds and the grass.

I’ve been trying to write in the dispassionate manner prized so highly in British journalism. This has proved impossible. I can no longer whisper, other than praying for the Ukraine and her poor people.

Other than that I have to shout: “Are you happy now, bastards?” And, on a different note, “Long live the Ukraine!”

Mr Trump, meet Mr Hitchens

Both gentlemen are Putin’s agents, witting or unwitting, I don’t particularly care which. That distinction is a matter for the courts to decide, either in this world or, more likely, the next.

“It’s the West what done it, m’lord”

Trump’s response to Russia’s latest bandit raid is more idiotic and hence, paradoxically, less emetic. He has never bothered to conceal his admiration for Putin personally and his modus operandi in general.

One detects in Trump an envious longing for the same kind of government: dictatorial, uncivilised, unaccountable, brutal, corrupt to the point of being mafioso, contemptuous of any legal restraints.

None of such preferences can be publicly stated in America, but Trump palpably acted in that spirit before, during and after his presidency. He and his acolytes proudly state that his detractors never managed to make an airtight legal case against him, but that’s nothing to be proud of.

Trump’s whole career, specifically his dealings with Russia, has been based on walking the thin line separating immorality from criminality. True, the latter couldn’t be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The former, however, has been blatant throughout Trump’s life. Anyone seeking proof of that should read the small library of recent books on the subject, each lavishly illustrated with photos of Trump hobnobbing with known Russian gangsters.

As president, he did all he could for his friend and role model Vlad, fighting the sanctions imposed by Congress every step of the way, and never once voicing disapproval of Russia’s land grab in Georgia and the Ukraine.

Trump never minded voicing his admiration for Putin, although, when president, he made some effort not to be too obvious. There’s no longer any need for such reticence and Trump let it all hang out in yesterday’s interview.

“This is genius,” he said. “Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine – of Ukraine – Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful.

“How smart is that?” Trump continued. “And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s the strongest peace force… We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right.”

I hope his American readers and would-be voters made a mental note of Trump’s intentions should he return to the White House. He must be planning to send American armour to occupy the northern provinces of Mexico. Clearly, no moral or legal restraints need apply. For Trump, replacing morality and legality with brute force is a “wonderful” and “smart” manifestation of genius.

To his credit, Trump spoke from the heart, without letting such cardiophonic self-expression be sullied with subterfuge, spurious arguments and ignorant references to history. All these are amply present in Hitchens’s article on the same subject.

As a minor point, I wish he didn’t shove his credentials down our throats, repeating in practically every piece the mantra he has again intoned today: “I lived in Russia, I knew Russians as friends. I learned to distinguish between what was Russian and what was Communist.”

That would have been an easy distinction for him to draw: Hitchens himself was a communist or damn near until his late thirties, yet he never was a Russian. So the two things were clearly demarcated.

And he never lived in Russia. He spent about a year whipping around Moscow in his “red Volvo” and living in a cossetted enclave he himself describes as “my elite block of flats, which I shared illegally with dozens of hoary old Stalinists, KGB men and Kremlin loyalists.”

Living in Russia means (or certainly did at the time) being on the receiving end of her regime, feeling enslaved, bullied, starved of information and unprotected by any laws, having to go to inordinate lengths just to scrape the kind of living Englishmen only ever see in slums, sharing a single room with three generations of the same family and the bathroom with five families of strangers.

As to Hitchens’s Damascene insight into the difference between Russians and communists, that’s at best platitudinous and at worst wrong. Having spent 15 years in early 19th century Russia, Joseph de Maistre quipped: “Every people gets the kind of government it deserves.”

That adage doesn’t cover every eventuality, and it would be wrong to derive Bolshevism entirely from Russia’s history and national character (as Richard Pipes does in his books). Yet it would be fatuous to deny that some link exists.

But that’s a minor matter, able to cause only a wince, not full-blown nausea. The onset of emesis comes from Hitchens’s description of his elation at the “collapse of the Soviet Union”. People who both knew and understood Russia better (well, me) reacted differently. I shan’t bother repeating what I wrote a few days ago: http://www.alexanderboot.com/putins-russia-began-in-1953/ but do cast a quick retrospective glance.

Hitchens wasn’t the only member of the large group Lenin ungratefully described as “useful idiots”. Joy and triumphalism were widespread among crepuscular Western ignoramuses, one of whom even declared “the end of history”.

They didn’t realise that Russian communism collapsed not in 1991, but in 1937, when Stalin had every deranged believer in that nonsense shot. Communist jargon was still preserved as the glossocratic yoke on hoi polloi, but Stalin was after recreating and expanding the Russian Empire, not exporting Marxism.

He was proved right in 1941, when Russians refused to die for Bolshevism, preferring instead to surrender to the Nazis in their millions. It took Stalin a couple of months to realise that, but realise it he did.

The Orthodox Church was taken off the mothballs, and Lenin was the only Marxist who lent his name to a military decoration. All the other awards named after people featured imperial heroes of the past: Nevsky, Suvorov, Kutuzov, Ushakov, Nakhimov, Khmelnytsky.

Hitchens can’t be blamed for having gone with the flow, or rather effluvia, of public enthusiasm. He can, however, be blamed for claiming that Putin’s banditry is all the West’s fault.

The first prong in Hitchens’s offensive on “the foolish, arrogant West” is based on its reluctance to spend trillions to drag Russia’s economy out of her self-inflicted ruins. Here he draws a foolhardy parallel between Germany, 1945, and Russia, 1991:

“Had not Marshall Plan aid revived and rebuilt a ruined Western Europe after World War Two? Had Britain and the other occupying powers not vowed to bring democracy, freedom and the rule of law to a prostrate Germany? Was this not a moment for an equally unique act of generosity and far sight?”

Yes, it was – for those with a weak grasp of history. Hitchens is blind to the fundamental difference between post-Nazi Germany and post-Soviet Russia.

The Nazi period of German history ended in the Nuremberg trial and all the subsequent trials of lesser monsters. Hundreds of them were executed, thousands went to prison.

Germany then embarked on a massive de-Nazification campaign, repudiating and repenting her Nazi past. What followed was an economic miracle, only partially produced by Marshall aid. Adenauer and Erhardt eschewed socialism and put faith in free markets and stable currency. Since then Germany has been free and prosperous, if not exactly saintly.

Nothing like that happened in Russia. The Communist Party wasn’t banned and membership in it remained legal (in Germany NSDAP membership was seen as ipso facto criminal). The KGB wasn’t disbanded, it merely changed its name. And all the post-1991 governments have been full of communists and KGB officers organically fused with organised crime.

Now imagine that no Nuremberg trial had taken place in Germany after the war. Neither the NSDAP nor the SS had been disbanded and outlawed. And heading the German government were not Adenauer and Erhardt, but Goering and Bormann.

How willing would the Americans have been to underwrite the rebirth of such a Germany? Not very, would be my guess. So there goes the first prong of Hitchens’s offensive, routed by a simple exercise of reason and knowledge of history (things he calls “anti-Russian hysteria”).

His second prong is repeating Putin’s mendacious propaganda about “the continued expansion of Nato eastwards across Europe. This was by then a more or less openly anti-Russian alliance (who else is it directed against?).”

Since we’ve already established that Hitchens isn’t Russian, one has to assume he doesn’t suffer from the traditional Russian paranoia about their country being encircled by bloodthirsty enemies yearning to do her in. He suffers from other things though, such as a cavalier approach to facts.

The process he refers to wasn’t so much “expansion of Nato eastwards”, but expansion of Russia’s former colonies westwards, towards liberty and civilisation. God knows they had suffered enough at the hands of Russians (not just Soviets) to be suspicious of Russia’s instant conversion to virtue.

Since they understood Russia considerably better than our ex-communist, they naturally sought lasting protection from her imperial designs. Those, they suspected, were only dormant, not nonexistent. And they have been proved right.

So yes, Nato is indeed an anti-Russian alliance, but in what way is it threatening to Russia? Here Hitchens has always repeated the Putin line about the existential menace those handfuls of soldiers present to his country.

This is, putting it mildly, disingenuous. The only things Nato has ever threatened in its past, present or future shape is Russia’s aggressive designs on her former colonies. For, unlike Hitchens, Putin doesn’t even pretend to have welcomed the demise of the Soviet Union. He describes it as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.”

That century saw two world wars and the rise of two satanic, carnivorous regimes. As a result, more people died violent deaths in the 20th century than in all the previous centuries of recorded history combined. And yet it’s the collapse of the Soviet Union that Putin sees as an incomparable catastrophe, one he dearly wishes to reverse.

His actions prove that. But his words, especially those uttered about the Ukraine, are uncannily similar to Hitchens’s. To give Hitchens his due, he has agitated against the Ukraine’s independence for years, with laudable consistency.

This is what I wrote in 2014, after another blow Hitchens had struck for Putin’s cause: “No doubt, when the Ukraine is first raped and then murdered, Peter will dance on her grave, his arm tenderly embracing Col. Putin’s waist.”

They should invite Trump to make it a threesome. Harrowing thought, that. Enough to turn me off my food.

Every silver lining has a cloud

Over the past week, Britain has been hit by three consecutive storms, with winds gusting at over 120 mph.

Three people died, property damage is measured in hundreds of millions, thousands of households lost electricity and still haven’t found it. I don’t know where this ranks on the list of natural disasters, but just getting on that list is bad enough.

But, and that’s where the original proverb about silver linings comes in, energy prices actually fell because a quarter of our electricity is produced by wind farms. And gusting gales made their turbines spin like crazy, creating a temporary glut of energy.

As another electrical effect, broad smiles lit up the faces of our carbon-fighters. Didn’t they tell you that wind farms would eventually enable us to go carbon-free? Who needs hydrocarbons and uranium when we have wind?

Quite. There’s a slight snag though. If strong winds give us plenty of energy, the logician in me can’t help feeling that weak or no winds must give us little energy or none at all. And the dialectician in me insists that the gusty thesis must coexist with the windless antithesis to give us the synthesis of cold and dark houses.

Of course it’s always possible to ask God to keep winds blowing and, who knows, he may agree to go along with such supplications. The trouble is that most carbon-fighters are atheists and therefore don’t have an open channel of communications with the deity.

And even the few believers among them may be rebuffed by God. He’ll probably tell them in no uncertain terms that he has already granted the earthlings ample sources of energy. Rather than playing silly buggers with ideologies, they should just get on with extracting energy from the ground.

One has to marvel at the suicidal impulse energising modern governments, emphatically including ours. They have all bought, or rather pretend to have bought, the canard of anthropogenic climate change caused by our producing about three per cent of a trace gas, atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Using that ideological hoax as a lantern lighting up a path to virtue, they are prepared to destroy our economies, leaving us at the mercy of the elements. The cost of going carbon-free is measured in trillions, but the economic debacle, awful though it undoubtedly will be, isn’t the worst part of it.

By denying themselves any chance of becoming self-sufficient in energy, Western governments put themselves at a strategic disadvantage vis-à-vis regimes openly hostile to the West. And such regimes do all they can to nudge the West to the precipice.

Long before global warming became fashionable, and when global cooling was in vogue instead, the West was becoming heavily dependent on Arab oil. Since most Arab states were Soviet clients at the time, the communists had a vested interest in preventing the West from becoming self-sufficient.

Hence the hysterical anti-nuke campaign whipped up, encouraged and largely financed by the KGB. Those of a certain age must remember CND posters of mushroom clouds rising over nuclear power stations, with the credulous public led to believe that explosions were a distinct possibility.

In fact, explosive, weapon-grade U-235 is enriched to about 90 per cent. By contrast, reactor-grade uranium is enriched only to about 2–6 per cent, making an explosion impossible. Other dangers, such as a meltdown, do exist, but technologically advanced countries know how to prevent, or at least contain, them.

That’s why there has never been a fatal accident at a nuclear power station in a civilised country (the Soviet Union, with its Chernobyl, didn’t qualify as such). Thus no one died in the two major such events, one at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island in 1979, the other at Japan’s Fukushima in 2011.

Both were described as disasters by the CND and similar groups. That left people wondering what word they reserved for accidents in which people actually died. Meanwhile, the Arab countries were trying to turn their oil into blackmail weapons, and to a large extent they succeeded. Fast-forward to today, and Russian gas is being used in exactly the same way.  

In standing up to Putin’s aggression, the resolve of each Western country seems to be inversely proportionate to the amount of gas it imports from Russia.

Thus the US (energy self-sufficient) and Britain (only five per cent of our gas comes from Russia) show a greater inclination towards harsh sanctions than do the EU as a whole (60 per cent, going up to 80 within a few years) and specifically Germany (49 per cent and growing) and France (24 per cent).

Since Europe’s addiction to Russian gas is unlikely to disappear, Putin knows he is on a winning wicket. His is a low-risk strategy. When the Germans and the French get cold enough, so will their devotion to collective security.

This emphasises yet again the costs of Europe’s asinine, suicidal energy policy dictated by the Greens and largely funded by the KGB/FSB. The old anti-nuke campaign is ticking along nicely and it’s still producing results. Germany, for example, is shutting down all her nuclear power stations, leaving the country at the mercy of Putin’s gas.

Yet most European countries, especially France and Britain, have practically unlimited reserves of shale gas that can be produced easily enough by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Hence the Green scare campaign against it, with earthquakes used the same way as the anti-nukers’ mushroom clouds.

This campaign is equally mendacious. In fact, fracking has been going on in hundreds of thousands of wells all over the US (mostly in Texas) for 75 years – with the blessing of the Environmental Protection Agency. Nothing resembling an earthquake has ever been recorded.

In fact, it takes extremely sensitive instruments to register the microseismic activity accompanying fracking. This is similar in strength to tremors produced by wind, groundwater, traffic, erosion, any kind of mining and normal life in general. Each day sees many natural tremors of a magnitude tens of thousands of times greater than anything fracking ever delivers – but facts have no effect on the scare campaign.

A French friend of mine led the legal team fighting the fracking industry’s corner, only to vindicate Napoleon’s adage about God being on the side of the big battalions – or in this case fat wallets. The anti-fracking campaign was financed by the Russians, and no number of billions is too high for them.

A Europe self-sufficient in energy wouldn’t have to rely on sanctions or, God forbid, military action to contain Putin’s Russia. It would find itself in a position of strategic strength – with sizeable economic gains as a side benefit.

Instead European countries are busily competing among themselves to see which one can destroy her economy faster in the name of a pernicious ideology. Britain, especially the present administration, is committed to winning this race, with an impoverished population, strategic frailty and grinning Greens the only prizes on offer.

Manny’s Nobel mission

“Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice, and that shout is resonating through my mind even as we speak (about the Ukraine, what else).

The only obvious development is that Macron and Biden are angling for a joint Nobel Peace Prize, and they may even invite Johnson and Putin to partake. Everything else is open to conjecture.

Trying to come up with a theory explaining all the facts of the on-going Ukrainian brouhaha, I studiously avoid even hints at a possible conspiracy. Alas, when I impose that requirement on myself, I can’t think of any theories whatsoever. All I can do is offer you facts.

Today’s headlines scream of Biden and Putin agreeing “in principle” to hold a summit on the Ukraine. That agreement seems to have been brokered by Manny Macron, who desperately wants to claim the role of a world leader in spite of his obvious limitations.

The reports of that momentous shift fail to mention whether President Zelensky will have even a walk-on part to play in that forthcoming spectacle. One would think he is entitled to at least that, but this horror show may have a different plot.

He was certainly not invited to attend the annual Munich Security Conference that ended yesterday. There 30 presidents and prime ministers, 100 ministers, heads of Nato, the EU and the UN supported by a group of top international experts were mulling over the crisis at the Russo-Ukrainian border.

Kamala Harris graced the assembly with her presence, lending it credibility with her vice-like grip on international relations in general and Eastern Europe in particular. She probably wanted to offer her perspective as a ‘woman of colour’, only then to realise that no chromatic differences exist between the Russians and Ukrainians.

Zelensky was, colloquially speaking, NFI, but he came anyway. To draw a parallel with that other Munich event, he didn’t want to be cast in the Beneš role, watching from the sidelines as Czechoslovakia was being gift-wrapped for Hitler. Zelensky insisted on having a say in the fate of the country he has been elected to lead, and fancy the gall of some people.

Having crashed the party, he shook the distinguished assembly by uttering the N-word. No, not that one. The word was ‘nuclear’, as in the capability renounced by the Ukraine following the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.

Then the Ukraine agreed to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in exchange for the US, Britain and Russia guaranteeing her territorial integrity — a promise broken in 2014. Now Zelensky hinted, not so subtly, that the Ukraine may not keep up her end either, by possibly developing nuclear weapons or, more likely, unveiling one or two devices she might surreptitiously have held back just in case.

The way he spoke suggested that Zelensky is growing into his unlikely role: “ We will defend our land with or without our partners’ support…,” he said.

“We appreciate any help, but everyone must understand that these aren’t charitable contributions that the Ukraine needs to beg for or remind about…

“These are your contributions to the security of Europe and the world, for which the Ukraine has been a reliable shield, holding off one of the world’s largest armies over the past eight years.”

In general, whatever scenario is being played out, Zelensky acts as if he hasn’t read the script. For weeks now he has been saying that Western politicians and media are whipping up the hysteria, claiming that a full-scale invasion is imminent.

Biden in particular puffs up his cheeks, adjusts his footing to make sure no tumbling accident occurs, focuses his eyes on the teleprompter and pretends to be a Mister-Know-All – only succeeding in coming across as a Mister-Know-Bugger-All.

A fortnight ago he said that his unimpeachable intelligence sources were certain that Russian armour would roll on to Kiev on 16 February. That fateful date came and went, and Biden again cited his unerring spy services in moving the date to 20 February, presumably to coincide with the end of either the Munich conference or the Peking Olympics.

Some commentators are opining that this is a devilishly clever strategy. The US publicises accurate intelligence reports as a way of telling Putin: “We’re on to you”. This is supposed to make him squirm and cancel his plans, although it’s not immediately obvious why he should be so docile.

In the meantime, the US embassy was evacuated from Kiev to Lvov, which contributed to the doomsday atmosphere. Sceptical observers point out that the embassy stayed put in 2014, when the Russian invasion of the Ukraine was in full swing, with thousands being killed, all sorts of sophisticated weaponry being fired and civilian airliners being brought down by Russian SAMs.

History buffs even note that the US embassy in Moscow, 1941, was only evacuated when Nazi officers were able to see the dreamy spires of the Kremlin through their field glasses. Why such a hasty flight now?

After all, even assuming that the Russians are planning to take Kiev, surely that would take days, rather than hours. Plenty of time for the Americans to move out, one would think.

Biden has graciously agreed to have a chinwag with Putin, but only if Russia doesn’t invade. He thereby played the popular grammatical trick of implying that such an invasion hasn’t yet taken place. This is either perfidious or ignorant or stupid, take your pick.

The Russian invasion of the Ukraine happened eight years ago, and war has been raging uninterrupted ever since. Over 14,000 Ukrainians have been killed, along with some 4,000 Russians, and they haven’t fallen victim to traffic accidents.

However, Manny’s initiative and, so far, Biden’s and Putin’s acquiescence suggest that the Drang nach Kiev is being put off yet again. The proposed summit will take days, possibly weeks, to organise, and meanwhile those Russian tanks will have to be revving up their engines without putting the gear stick into Drive.

My reluctance to indulge in conspiracy theories notwithstanding, the aspiring analyst in me has to look for some explanation of these facts. Applying the ancient cui bono principle, I can’t help noticing that all three parties, Joe, Manny and Vlad, stand to gain much and lose nothing by maintaining the border tension for months without a major escalation.

Both Macron and Biden have elections coming up this year, presidential in France, congressional in the US. Anybody familiar with the mentality of modern politicians will know that these events overshadow everything else in their minds.

So suppose the summit takes place and a ‘diplomatic solution’ is found. Biden certainly, Macron probably and Johnson possibly will mount their white steeds and ride in as some kind of knights errant whose gallantry has saved the world from a major war.

The Nobel Committee will start arguing how many ways the Peace Prize could be split, and the politicians involved will win a secure place in history – along with the hearts of their voters that aren’t at the moment glowing with affection.

Putin too will have a claim to his share of the Nobel spoils, while achieving his objectives without too many KIA notices reaching Russian families. He’ll get his hands on the garrotte slowly throttling the Ukraine.

When the peace parties have claimed a resounding victory, it will be churlish for the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ and Manny to support the Ukraine. God forbid Vlad changes his mind and decides to march anyway – especially if that comes before the Nobel Committee has voted.

The only assured loser will be the Ukraine, left to her own devices in a state of virtual isolation, with Putin clogging her energy arteries and the West starving her of investments. Before long, Putin will achieve his goals of grafting his bandit bailiwicks of Donetsk and Lugansk onto the Ukraine’s body politic.

These cancerous cells won’t take long to destroy the host organism, making armoured thrusts unnecessary. The Ukraine may still be allowed to retain her nominal independence, but it will be the independence of, say, Czechoslovakia, c. 1960.

Such is my attempt at rational analysis, undertaken in full realisation that ratio may not apply to the situation in hand. One thing for sure: the Nobel spirit is in the air.     

P.S. Speaking of the Peking Olympics, a Finnish cross-country skier, Remi Lindholm, suffered a frozen penis during the 50km race. The reports don’t state whether the athlete was male or female, which, considering that his Christian name could be either, is a regrettable omission, and one out of touch with our times.

We should invade Holland

We can, as Lenin liked to say, and therefore must. Our population is four times greater, we have nuclear weapons, the Dutch don’t, let’s march.

Lvov, 1 July, 1941. Ukrainian and Polish nationalists are laughing as they kill their Jewish neighbours.

“But why must we?” I hear you say. Do I detect doubt? Then wait till you’ve heard this.

During the Nazi occupation, 20,000 young Dutchmen enlisted in the Waffen-SS. Per capita, that was more than in any other country. Do I need to tell you what cause the Waffen-SS served?

Also, Many Dutchmen collaborated with the Nazis even without donning that cute Hugo Boss uniform. It was a Dutch snitch who betrayed Anne Frank, and Dutch policemen who arrested her. Did you know that 75 per cent of Dutch Jews were murdered by the Nazis and their local stooges?

And do you know that even some of today’s Dutchmen are neo-Nazis? They even have their own party, the Dutch People’s Union, that stands in local and national elections. QED. Let’s send what’s left of the Royal Navy to the Hook of Holland.

Every fact I have mentioned is true, but the conclusion is hardly logical, is it? Yet that’s precisely the logic Peter Hitchens co-opts in defence of Putin’s aggression against the Ukraine.

According to him, those who oppose massive violence in the middle of Europe spread falsehoods, such as “the ridiculous cartoon idea that Russia is like Mordor in Lord Of The Rings, an utterly evil country ruled by a Dark Monster. And that Ukraine, its current enemy, is by contrast a shining Utopia, pluckily defending itself against the orc-like hordes of Moscow.”

Do you get it? The trick has been pulled out of the bag; the stage is set for a hey, presto moment. Show that the Ukraine isn’t a “shining utopia”, and a credulous reader will assume that Putin’s Russia isn’t a “Dark Monster” either. Job done, Vlad’s your uncle.

The blatant non sequitur doesn’t deter Hitchens. This isn’t about rhetorical purity. It’s about loyal service to what he once called “the most conservative and Christian country in Europe”.

Just as I did in pretending to call for an invasion of Holland, he cites correct facts. Thus Hitchens spies with his little eye the insignia of a Ukrainian Waffen-SS unit on the shoulders of some of today’s militiamen.

From this he draws the irrefutable conclusion that some Ukrainians (just like some Dutchmen) are neo-Nazis. As such, they are guilty by association of the crimes committed by Ukrainian Nazis during the war:

“This unit is still famous for murdering 200 people in Serbia, for a massacre of 920 Jews in Minsk, now in Belarus, for hanging 99 people in retaliation for French Resistance operations in Tulle… “

All true. Moreover, I too believe in guilt by association. That’s why I can’t help noticing that Col. Putin himself and most of his ministers are proud and unrepentant officers in history’s most murderous organisation, the KGB. It’s ‘are’ rather than ‘were’ because, as Col. Putin once explained, “There’s no such thing as ex-KGB. This is for life.”

If Ukrainian neo-Nazis are retroactively complicit in the crimes mentioned by Hitchens, then Putin and his jolly friends are equally guilty of some 60 million murders committed by their sponsoring organisation. The analogy isn’t quite accurate though.

Those Hitchens correctly identifies as “bigoted racialist thugs” may indeed “have an influence way beyond their numbers in that country”. But they don’t run it. Russia, on the other hand, is run, in effect owned, by direct descendants of the CheKa/OGPU/NKVD/KGB ghouls (I have skipped a few nomenclatures).

Rather than repenting the crimes of their alma mater, they are acting in the same spirit and in the same manner. I shan’t bore you with a list of crimes committed by Putin’s Russia, each either ignored or dismissed as irrelevant by his Western acolytes. Suffice it to say that there are more political prisoners in Russia today than there were in Brezhnev’s Soviet Union, which Ronald Reagan accurately called an “evil empire”.

Hitchens’s indictment of the Ukraine would be more valid if he could show the same line of descent there, demonstrating that the neo-Nazis are in control. But he can’t.

Neo-Nazism exists in the Ukraine, especially in the west of the country. But it survives only on the margins of society – witness the fact that Ukrainians elected a Jew as their president. That, indeed their free elections themselves, wouldn’t have happened if admirers of the OUN (the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists) and of its wartime leaders, Messrs Bandera, Melnyk, Shukhevych et al., carried any political weight.

The OUN was indeed a fascist group, committed to creating a Ukraine on the Nazi model. Extermination, or at least expulsion, of Jews was thus a ubiquitous plank in all their draft constitutions, along with the cult of the Leader, state control of the economy, territorial expansion, racial purity and so on. And they acted accordingly.

When the Nazis advanced into the Soviet Union, there was a two-day interregnum in Lvov, the capital of Ukrainian Galicia. The Soviets had already left, but the Nazis hadn’t yet moved in.

The OUN declared its own provisional government and went into action. Its thugs sadistically murdered several thousand Jews and, as you can see in the picture above, they did so joyously, almost playfully.

However, before the Soviets left Lvov, the NKVD had hastily murdered thousands of prisoners held there, including those in remand prisons. The difference today is that the Ukraine is trying to redeem her past sins, while Putin’s KGB gang are perpetuating theirs.

I wonder how far Hitchens is prepared to go in his insistence that we mustn’t “interfere in this very complex problem”. No, of course not. Instead we should sit back and observe with dispassionate neutrality as Putin rapes one former Soviet republic after another, rebuilding the evil empire by evil means.

For the Ukraine isn’t the only former Soviet colony whose denizens collaborated with the Nazis and their Final Solution. All three Baltic republics bear that stigma, as does just about every other Eastern European country, with the partial exception of Hungary. Would Hitchens be using that history to justify Russia’s invasion of all those lands?

Any why stop there? Holland, France, Belgium all had their murderous collaborators – and don’t get me going on the subject of Germany herself. Hitchens would have a hard time explaining why his logic wouldn’t apply there.  

The Ukraine is far from being what the Russians call “white and fluffy”. But she is trying to be our friend, and she is certainly not an implacable enemy of the West.

Putin’s Russia is just that, in word and deed. Hence, even if the Ukraine were the devil incarnate, which she isn’t, we should still treat her as an ally – the way Churchill treated Stalin’s USSR, a country he cordially loathed.

Stalin was an enemy of Britain’s enemy, Nazi Germany. That made him our ex tempore friend. Using the same rudimentary logic, whose friend is Peter Hitchens?

The alphabet soup is getting rancid

Most acronyms and single-letter identifications are confusing, to me at any rate.

I’m prepared to swing with the times, but within a very narrow amplitude. Thus, reading about a new Gallup poll, I had to look up the definition of Generation Z, something that everyone else seems to know without having to consult dictionaries.

Turns out Gen Z, as it’s affectionately called, describes people reaching adulthood in the second decade of the 21st century. Having established that, I decided that Gen Z must be minuscule. After all, today’s youngsters stubbornly resist the arrival of adulthood, hanging on to their immature selves for dear life.

However, even though they refuse to embrace adulthood, the poll shows they are more than willing to embrace everything, or rather everybody, else. Compared to ten years ago, the proportion of young Americans who identify as LGBTQ has doubled to 7.1 per cent.

Add to this 6.6 per cent who chose not to divulge that information, and we are left with a mere 86.3 per cent of steadfast straights.

What further confused the issue is that the now-customary plus sign was missing at the end of LGBTQ. That effectively disfranchised such clearly defined identities as pansexual, Two-Spirit and about 70 other possibilities currently recognised as valid.

As a simple boy from downtown Russia, I find it hard to keep track of this taxonomic profusion. However, assuming that the reticent 6.6 per cent would actually be covered by the missing plus sign, almost 14 per cent of young Americans are sexual deviants.

Moreover, they are multiplying rapidly without, one assumes, the benefit of the traditional method of procreation. Why such a rapid increase?

No one has suggested that mankind, specifically its American sub-species, is undergoing wholesale hormonal or cellular changes. Hence one has to leave the domain of physiology and enter one of culture, defined in the broadest possible sense.

The key is in the word I used above, ‘deviant’. No pejorative connotations were implied – I used it in the literal sense, as someone who deviates from the norm. That of course presupposes that a norm exists, which presupposition nowadays seems unsafe.

Gen Z has been indoctrinated in rampant anomie, either rejecting all norms or accepting everything as normal. That amounts to the same thing because, if everything is normal, nothing is.

The term ‘deviance’ has left everyday speech, meaning that aberrant behaviour is no longer stigmatised even socially or culturally, never mind legally. This is a logical development in a civilisation that foolishly replaced equality before God with equality before one another.

When equality becomes the ultimate social, political and cultural virtue, no authority is recognised – unless it has at its disposal coercive means to enforce recognition. And, since no large group of people can survive even physically without discipline, the central state becomes the only entity whose authority is accepted, if only under duress.

Since in the West the state acquires power by mass appeal, it too has to assert its authority by pledging allegiance to universal equality. It therefore has to anathematise all norms, other than those required for its own self-perpetuation.

Thus, if society insists that the sexual alphabet soup belongs on the table side by side with traditional dishes, the state has to follow suit – or even take the lead. The state has to be what modern illiterates call ‘proactive’.

This is achieved by a two-prong offensive. First, the state shields aberrant groups with a wall of protective laws. Second, it monopolises education and imbues it with propaganda of anomie across the board.  

The ball of anomie is bouncing to and fro between state and society, and the harder one side hits it, the harder it’s hit back. Whoever wins this perverse ballgame, traditional morality always loses.

The distinction between crime and legality survives, if in a modified form, because it’s enforced by the state. But such vital distinctions as those between good and evil or sin and virtue fade away. Holding sway instead is Hemingway’s eudaemonic (demonic?) definition of morality: if it feels good, it’s moral.

That’s why one can confidently predict that many other things that make some people feel good will soon acquire an equal status. Necrophilia, bestiality, incest – use your own imagination.

If one ‘community’ feels good copulating with corpses, animals or animal corpses, and the state doesn’t mind, who are we to cry havoc? In the absence of the ultimate moral authority, on what basis can we object?

This anomic tendency explains the results of the Gallup poll. Acceptance, practically encouragement, of eccentric sexuality means that marginal cases see no reason to desist, on the off chance it’ll feel good.

It’s there, on the margins, where I’m sure the numbers are growing. I’d be surprised if the proportion of hardcore homosexuals changed all that much from one decade to the next. The largest British poll I’ve seen placed their number at somewhere between one and two per cent, and I doubt American data would be strikingly different.

The shocking results of the poll shouldn’t really shock us. All we have to do is juxtapose the aforementioned Hemingway aphorism with the anguished words of Dostoyevsky’s Dmitri Karamazov: “‘But what will become of men then?’ I asked him, ‘without God and immortal life? All things are permitted then, they can do what they like?’”

You know the answer to that one.