On February 24, at 5:00 AM I woke up in my Kyiv apartment. “What were those sounds? Lord, I hope it’s not missiles. Please Lord, let it be something else.” I jumped out of bed, opened a window and listened. A few minutes of silence calmed me down a bit. Maybe I had just imagined it? I picked up my phone to read the messages. My colleague Valeriy from Odessa wrote: “I hear the launch of missiles from the sea. I may be wrong, but that’s what it sounds like.” One minute later at 05:12, the silence was broken by a series of sounds that shook the building. I wrote him back, “I hear explosions here in Kyiv. I hope I am wrong, but my building is shaking.” A few more explosions, this time much louder. There was no longer any doubt Russia had begun a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
I tried to call my wife, praying that she and the kids were fine. By God’s providence and mercy, just a week before I had taken my family to Uzhgorod in the west of Ukraine because of the possibility of escalation. I did not know if her city was also under attack. Thankfully, she did not even know what was happening. My biggest desire at that moment was to see my family’s faces and hug them once again. I could only pray that it would happen. Fear, confusion, pain, and anger invaded my heart and I have been fighting against them ever since.
Should I try to find the closest bomb shelter, or is it better to stay in the building? I knew that it was highly unlikely that any nearby bomb shelter was open and ready to accept people now. I knew that ninety-five percent of the population of Kyiv had no idea what was going on and were not prepared. I wasn’t ready either. Is it even possible to prepare yourself for something like this? After another series of loud thumps, I decided to go to the closest metro station to shelter underground.
As I walked outside, I met another man who looked very confused. I asked him if he had a family and if he could give me a ride to the closest metro station. “What is going on?” he asked. I answered, “The Russians are shelling Kyiv.” He could not believe it, how could our “older brother” act so treacherously towards us? Dmytro (as I learned later) needed a few more minutes to process the information and figure out what to do next. Finally, we jumped in the car to find a better place to hide.
The Beginning Of The War?
Even though US intelligence had warned about the possibility of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia, it still came as a surprise to many people in the world, including Russians and Ukrainians. No wonder Dmytro was not ready to hear my answer. How could I even be so sure? This was not the first time I heard the “knocking” of Russkiy mir on my door.1 Back in 2014, Putin’s Russia visited my hometown, Donetsk, bringing its bombs and bullets and shells. It forced me, my pregnant wife, and children to flee. I was familiar with its real face and recognized its footsteps.
The war did not start on February 24, 2022. It started 8 years earlier when Russia annexed Crimea and occupied two eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. In the spring of 2014, Donetsk was flooded with foreigners who spoke with a distinctly Russian accent. These people organized protests against the Ukrainian government. The city was overwhelmed with waves of violence. They burned buildings and beat peaceful, Ukrainian demonstrators. Not long after this, they brought in stockpiles of weapons and so the war came to Donetsk.
The Russians were filled with hatred, but they especially hated Protestant believers. Russkiy mir is proudly Russian Orthodox. It wears a cassock, not a collar. Protestant pastors were beaten in Donetsk and its regions; some were tortured to death. While they were able, many evangelical believers gathered for prayer meetings by the Kalmius river. While pro-Russian protestors attacked and threatened us, evangelical Christians prayed for peace in Ukraine.
Over the course of the last eight years I often heard people talking about “civil war” in the east of Ukraine. “It’s okay,” I thought to myself, “they were not there. They did not see it.” I tried to be polite and calm to avoid confrontation. Perhaps I should have stood up for the truth more decisively. It was not a civil war. Russia first attacked Ukraine eight years ago and has now just increased the scale and changed the strategy of the invasion but how is it even possible that such diametrically opposed views on what is happening in Ukraine exist?
Lies As weapons
Back in the Garden of Eden, the serpent confronted Eve with an alternative view of reality. He told her that the forbidden fruit would bring knowledge and Godlikeness instead of death (Gen 3:4–5). Adam and Eve believed the narrative of the serpent and not of God. As a result, there were devastating consequences that last to this very day and affect all of humanity. The Devil uses lies in order to destroy people (Jn 8:44). Today Putin and the Russian government are using lies to try to destroy Ukraine. My point is that the lies from the Kremlin-controlled Russian media are a very powerful weapon that causes destruction and costs thousands of lives. It is not just an alternative opinion.
For the last 12 days, many cities of Ukraine have been systematically bombarded with Russian shells, artillery, and cruise missiles. Most of these bombs are aimed at civilian infrastructure. Civilians, including women, children, and the elderly and disabled, are dying in their own houses and apartments. Russian soldiers shoot people without cause and without discrimination. At the same time, Russian-TV channels parade government officials and journalists who cynically deny all these horrific war crimes, and blame us, the Ukrainians, for the destruction of our own homes. This is strikingly consistent with what we know about the nature of the father of all lies.
I realize that this may sound dubious to some of us. After all, who would believe such an obvious lie? Back in 2014, at the beginning of the uproar in Donetsk, I witnessed how an angry crowd of Russians were trying to take peaceful Ukrainians off of a bus. They surrounded the bus and smashed all the windows. They almost managed to turn it onto its side, yelling “Rossiya.”2 The next day, to my surprise, a journalist on a local pro-Russian news channel reported, “a crowd of angry Ukrainians attacked a bus full of peaceful protesters from Russia.” They showed a video that I immediately recognized as being the incident I had witnessed the day before. It was a jaw dropping moment for me. They twisted everything from top to bottom. This was my first encounter with Russian journalism.
That episode was, for me, just a single dose of the poison produced by the Russkiy mir. But millions of people have been fed that poison every day for years. The sheer quantity of lies is terrifying.
Dealing With Grief
When I reached University metro station in Kyiv on February 24, I saw people sitting underground on top of bags and blankets. Women were crying. Their men were trying to calm them down. I saw the frightened eyes of many children who were hiding from the bombs. I tried to smile at them. I kept repeating to myself to, “be strong and calm and encourage others.” Later, on my way to rejoin my family, I had to hide again in a bomb shelter in Ternopil. I tried my best not to show weakness or tears. I tried to distract the children and women with light-hearted questions and stories so they wouldn’t be as afraid. Lord knows how hard it was for me. My heart was broken apart from pain and anger. I wanted so badly to cry, but there was no time for that.
I finally reached Svalyava on Sunday of February 27 and had a few minutes to myself. It was then that I allowed myself to cry. The pain went out with groans and weeping. A few moments later I forced myself to stop crying; I had to stop. Our church had arranged a Zoom meeting and I wanted to encourage my church with words of comfort and to point to Jesus and the Gospel. I wanted also to let my fellow believers know that it is okay to weep; it is okay to be afraid; to experience anger and pain; it is fine to feel helpless. It is all right to ask God difficult questions. He is not afraid of them.
During the Zoom meeting, we prayed and cried out to the Lord. We prayed for our brothers and sisters that were hiding from shelling, for the Ukrainian army, for the Ukrainian people, for our government. We prayed that God would open the eyes of those who are still blind, those who believe the lies of that ugly beast, Russkiy mir, because that beast first invades people’s hearts and minds and then it invades countries.
Russkiy mir came to destroy Ukrainian peace.3 That militarized Russian Orthodox lie brought only pain and destruction, yet we know that the end of lies is certain, “fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” (Rev. 18:2). Paradoxically, the Lamb that was slain is also the lion who has conquered (Rev 5:5–6). Christ’s death on the cross is at the same time his victory over death, evil and sin. Thus, we know that even through suffering and death, God’s children one day will partake in that glorious victory of our Lord over everyone who worships the beast (Rev 20:10). Meanwhile, as the bombs fall and the lies continue, we continue to pray for a just peace for Ukraine today.
©Fedor Minakov. All Rights Reserved.
1 Russkiy mir is the name of an imperialistic ideology that supports expansionism on the basis of common language, history and culture. Russian government propagate this ideology to justify its pretensions toward neighboring territories. A good introduction to the concept of Russkiy mir can be found here.
2 Rossiya means “Russia” in Russian.
3 Russkiy Mir means “Russian World.” In the Russian language, “world” and “peace” are homonyms.
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- A Report From A Christian In Ukraine
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- Reformed And Evangelical Seminaries In Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, And Germany Issue Joint Statement About The War Against Ukraine
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- Imprecatory Prayers (Or The Theonomist In Each Of Us)
John Owen, Of Communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Chapter 1:
Thank you, Dr. Clark and Prof. Minakov.
The hatred of the (modern) Russian Orthodox toward Protestantism is something that the conservative apologists for President Vladimir Putin haven’t grappled with, and in many cases may honestly know nothing about. It’s not to the advantage of the Russians to widely advertise that their version of Christian ethnonationalism is not only pro-Orthodox but deeply hostile to Western Christianity in both its Roman Catholic and Protestant forms.
Prof. Minakov, I particularly appreciate your firsthand update on what happened to evangelicals in Donetsk. My knowledge of that region has always been secondhand, but goes back to the 1990s when a group of Reformed pastors who had longstanding ties with the Hungarian Reformed Church in the Transylvanian region of Ukraine were telling me many positive things about the work in Donetsk. I knew some of the American pastors who went over there to lecture and I had been invited, though I always declined since there’s no possible way I could have spent even a few days, let alone weeks or months, on an overseas trip. More recently, I had been told about the devastation and the attacks on Protestants, and had read about the attacks on Protestant institutions including your seminary in secular media, but this is the first time I’ve read about that from a firsthand observer who is Reformed rather than an outside observer of the destruction.
I do not know this to be true, but I’ve been told repeatedly that the Russians have a particular hatred for Reformed Christians due to their experience with German Reformed people who, along with many other Germans from other religious backgrounds, were brought to Russia under the Czars to farm what was then largely unused land and to bring then-modern agricultural technology to the Russian Empire. Dr. Clark, due to his background in the RCUS, may have considerably more information than I do on that subject.
The way it’s been explained to me is that the Germans who were invited by the Russian Czars were generally either Mennonite, Catholic, Lutheran, or Reformed, which is pretty much what would be expected, but the Reformed suffered much worse under the Bolsheviks.
Apparently, the Mennonites who were invited to Russia under the Czars generally fled due to their pacifism if efforts were made to conscript them during World War I or during the various conflicts that led to Communist rule, generally ended up in Canada or the US, and left little trace. The German Catholics and German Lutherans were not treated well for both ethnic and religious reasons. However, the German Reformed were treated especially badly, and because they responded with organized self-defense and fought the Communists, were regarded not only as “foreigners following a false faith,” but also as armed “enemies of the People” by the Bolsheviks once they took firm control of the agricultural regions of what became the Soviet Union.
I’m quite aware that most Reformed people in Russia and the Ukraine have no ties to the older German Reformed settlements, except that under Boris Yeltsin, at least some local government units told Reformed people they could reclaim the confiscated German Reformed churches if they could organize a congregation that could use them. I don’t know how much of that actually happened; all I know is that the statements were made that the church buildings could be restored.
But if I’m being told correctly, false information or honest misunderstandings about supposed ties to the older German Reformed settlers have led to a level of animosity toward Reformed people in Russia that is different from the broader animosity toward American evangelicals.
Again, perhaps Prof. Minakov can clarify. My information could well be incorrect and is definitely old.
ACK — obviously I meant “Transylvanian region of Romania,” not Ukraine. Bad typo.
Hi Darrell, I can speak to the Mennonite part. Many Mennonites were in fact unable to leave and this is why the Mennonite Central Committee exists (to support Ukrainian Mennonites through the post-war famines). The Soviets stopped issuing passports, collectivised the land, banned religious worship, education in German and eventually doprted many of the men. There was truly horrendous suffering in that community. My Grandmother survived, but many did not. There’s a collection of their stories called “The silence echoes” if you are interested. https://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/82/9486
Much appreciated, David Morris. That’s a part of the Russian-German heritage I don’t know well. Will read it.
Thank you too. Now I’m learning about the Volga Germans 🙂
The Germans from Russia Museum in Lincoln, NE is where I would start. They can point you in the right direction. I’m sure there are websites and there are volumes on this. Most of what of their social-cultural history I know is oral history.
Glad to help, David. I think Dr. Clark would be a great resource on the Volga Germans, or if he can’t refer you to resources, he personally knows men who can. Dr. Clark was originally ordained in the Reformed Church in the United States, a remnant of what was once a much larger German Reformed denomination. The modern RCUS originated in a single classis in the Dakotas mostly composed of Germans who had left Russia, and who refused to join a series of mergers that wrecked the denomination. While the RCUS has expanded far beyond the Russo-German settlers in the Dakotas, that is their heritage, and for them, it’s not just ancient history in the books but rather the lived experience of their grandparents and great-grandparents.
‘The hatred of the (modern) Russian Orthodox toward Protestantism is something that the conservative apologists for President Vladimir Putin haven’t grappled with, and in many cases may honestly know nothing about. It’s not to the advantage of the Russians to widely advertise that their version of Christian ethnonationalism is not only pro-Orthodox but deeply hostile to Western Christianity in both its Roman Catholic and Protestant forms.’
I wonder if the reason that Team Christendom has been lukewarm against Putin is that the Orthodox Third Rome fantasy mirrors their own project. Perhaps, to borrow a Piperism, the way we should ‘use’ this war is to get our own house in order.
Come, Lord Jesus! Ukraine has seen so much suffering over the past century. Russian Orthodox killing Protestant Ukrainians. Ukrainian neoNazis killing ethnic Russian Ukrainians. A national border drawn not tribally but the result of the crack-up of the USSR. Foreign powers meddling and using Ukraine to conduct proxy wars. And in the midst, Christians trying to live peacefully and worship God. The today the report that President “Zelensky has just signed into law the first steps of Schwab’s Great Reset. He announced he is introducing a Social Credit Application combining Universal Basic Income (UBI), a Digital Identity & a Vaccine Passport.”
The globalists have decided to use Ukraine as a platform for their New World Order, essentially Communism 2.0. May we pray continually for peace and the safety of believers in that troubled land, and help the churches in surrounding nations assist the refugees.
Mike, your response to this piece about the lethal danger of Kremlin lies, is to repeat the same cynical Kremlin lies about “foreign powers meddling” or “Ukrainian neoNazis killing ethnic Russian Ukrainians”? Really? Are you talking about Russian-speaking Ukrainians like Fedor the author? Did you get this information too from Martin Armstrong? As for the incredible claims about Zelensky signing into law “Schwab’s Great Reset” – did you actually look at the link you posted and notice it was entirely based on a tweet about how Ukraine has legalized the use of cyptocurrency exchanges? It’s unfortunate that your reply contains such an unsubstantiated dishonoring of the sovereign nation whose people we seek to minister to at the seminary of the Presbyerian and Reformed churches of Ukraine.
I think I have to side with Alister on this. This is a Kremlin talking point re neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
As for the WEF allegation re social credit etc, I can’t verify your claim beyond the source you cite. I don’t doubt that the WEF has a globalist agenda but that Ukraine is a staging ground I can’t verify.
The civilians being bombed in Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine are not neo-Nazis. They are innocent non-combatants.
NATO and our FBI believe there was a neo-nazi problem in the Ukraine before the war:
Given that there are two types of propaganda – internal and external – I propose a synthesis of John Mearsheimer’s points and Fedor’s. Russia has been warning about NATO expansion for 30 years since they were denied membership. They were warned for at least 10 years about NATO expansion into Ukraine. Ukraine’s problems with the mirsky began in 2014 after our CIA-backed color revolution in the Ukraine. It’s easy to see, therefore, how both Russia’s external propaganda about NATO expansion and legitimate security concerns and their internal propaganda to the Russian people – this so-called mirsky ideology – could both be true from the Russian point-of-view.
What did Sun Tzu say about knowing your enemy? Now I’d like someone to take a stab at Russian nuclear doctrine. Do the Russians believe like Joe Biden that nuclear war is unwinnable or do they have a civil defense plan to evacuate and shelter most of their people and credible missile defense using their latest iteration of the SA-20 missile system (S-500)?
Dear all, with absolute respect to the story we have heard.
Is it not the case that Ukraine *does* have a problem with neo Nazis? I believe all western nations have some issue with some degree of far right groups. But I’m lead to beleive it’s a bigger one in Ukraine shown by the existence of groups like Azov battalion and the fact the far right coalition got 2.5 % of the vote in the 2019 elections. No justification for an invasion for sure. And these facts alone don’t support the Russian lies we just read about. But it ( the nn prob in ukr) too is a truth that must be stated.
As with in the US, and to a much greater degree in Russia, yes there are neo-Nazi groups, if you really try and go looking for them, but on that basis you would have to logically start with “de-Nazifying” the US or the Russian Federation before Ukraine. In Ukraine far-right groups in previous elections have consistently gained less than 0.5% of the vote. At the 2019 parliamentary elections several of the tiny far-right grouping made a coalition. That coalition managed to scrape together 2.15% of the overall vote gaining no members of parliament. Azov does have far-right roots and leanings, it’s true. They have been defending Mariupol and I hear that the people of Mariupol are incredibly thankful for it. But that does not mean that there is any appetite whatsoever in Mariupol or Ukraine for their political views, and it is only a single such battalion defending it’s home territory. Zelenskyy himself is Jewish and speaks Russian. The whole Nazi stuff is a cynical pretext of Putin for the war- a way to try to convince Russian soldiers to kill Ukrainians.
All nations have some issue with some degree of far right groups, not just western countries and certainly not just Ukraine. Any country that has been undermined and invaded by their neighbour, as Ukraine has been since 2014, is going to see an increase in nationalist feeling and the far right will use that to their advantage but 2.5% of the 2019 vote is not very high, particularly given the circumstances. The narrative that Ukraine has a big problem with far right groups is being pushed by Russia and and their western apologists. Russia is led by a nationalist with imperial ambitions and has its own array of neo-Nazi and ultranationalist groups which the Kremlin is happy to tolerate and use for its own ends. Putin is also popular with extremists of verious types around the world. The origins of the Azov battalion have been well reported in the western media since 2014 and it is right to keep an eye on them but Russian aggression will only strengthen their position.
Thank you for this helpful clarification.
Dr. Clark, is there a way to donate to Fedor or his church? We would love to help. Sorry if I missed it.
Working on it. Stand by.
When I hear about foreign meddling in Ukraine my understanding is that this is referring to U.S. government involvement in Ukraine. Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain were regularly over in Ukraine in the lead up to Maidan supporting the protestors. Joe Biden calling for a prosecutor to be fired. And then Victoria Nuland in her infamous call in 2014 in which she and Geoffey Pyatt were deciding that Yatsenyuk was their guy to lead Ukraine after the Yanukovych government fell. https://www.cato.org/commentary/americas-ukraine-hypocrisy
When I hear about foreign meddling in Ukraine I think of Representative Adam Schiff saying on the floor of the Senate during the first impeachment trial, “The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there and that we don’t have to fight Russia here.” (This is clear evidence that Ukraine is a proxy of the U.S. government to fight Russia.) https://twitter.com/aaronjmate/status/1497593878295236609
I don’t think that it is a Kremlin talking point to say that there is foreign meddling in Ukraine. Meddling has been going on for a long time by the American government. And in my opinion, it is one of several causes for this terrible war.
The bit about “foreign meddling” in Ukraine is probably the central mainstay of the Kremlin propaganda narrative in relation to Ukraine. It seeks to undermine its status as a free and sovereign nation with a freely-elected government, and imply that it’s merely a puppet of the US or NATO or other foreign entities, incapable of its own decisions. This, on the one hand, plays to Putin’s ego (after all, unlike Russia, the Soviet Union was somewhat of a superpower) as he can then imagine himself as being worthy of the attention of a big power like the US, and on the other hand it plays brilliantly to his vehemently anti-American home populace. Kleptocratic dictators require an external evil boogeyman (cue the US or in recent months NATO) to distract from the economic problems at home and persuade them to put up with the political slavery.
The EuroMaidan protests were a very big threat to Putin, because he knew that if his own people in Russia similarly started protesting for an end to goverment cronyism or closer ties to the West in Russia (as many middle class in Moscow had begun to do in 2011 before being suppressed), then that would be a direct threat to the longeveity of his own regime. Thus, for internal consumption, he had to demonize the EuroMaidan protests and accuse it all of being a US coup!! After all, look at Victoria Nuland visiting Maidan and handing out cookies! Or look there’s John McCain sharing the stage with some of the Ukrainian politicians and protestors.
Characterising the EuroMaidan protests as orchestrated by the US is shameful propaganda that is without substantiation. I was in Kyiv right throughout the EuroMaidan protest period, and I know and remember well the sentiments and motivations that drove my neighbors and the people in our congregations to go out to the independence square. It started with deep disappointent when Yanukovych under pressure from Putin went back on his decision to pursue EU membership. It spread and turned into collective shock when a few days later a young protester was shot as the riot police tried to clear the protestors. People from all walks of life realised that if they didn’t go out and make their voices for democratic change heard now, then their children would likely be doomed to grow up in the same sort of Putinist police state as their eastern neigbor. Some of my neighbors and some of my brothers in Christ even risked their lives by staying on the square overnight each night (at the very real risk of sniper-fire) that democracy protest not be snuffed out. Did they take this risk because Nuland bribed them with cookies?
John McCain stood with the 500,000+ Ukrainian protestors (from all walks of life) in Kyiv, because he believed that the direction and policies of Ukraine should be determined by the people of Ukraine themselves and not by a foreign dictator! I deeply respect him for that, and the people of Kyiv were so thankful they even re-named a street after him. But the protests were spontaneous and Nuland and McCain did no more than lend their support to the people by briefly showing up. Standing up for democratic freedoms used to be something celebrated in the US I thought.
I’ve listened to the Pyatt-Nuland intercepted recording many times and it doesn’t prove what the FSB and the Kremlin apologists would like it to prove. I remember having similar conversations myself with folks in the congregation about who the likely players in a future government would be, but it doesn’t mean it was my decision to make, or that Nuland or Pyatt made those decisions.
It’s very interesting to me that some folk in the US would rather blame Putin’s evil aggression towards Ukraine on NATO or Biden or just about anyone other than Putin himself! I understand that, like the CATO institute, you may hold to a non-interventionist position. That’s fair enough and arguable, but brothers, let’s be careful not to repeat offensive Kremlin propaganda in an effort to shore up a belief that the US should not get involved in far away wars.
Thank you for your reply. I will attempt to respond later.
In the meantime, would you kindly respond to Representative Adam Schiff’s statement, “The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there and that we don’t have to fight Russia here.” https://twitter.com/aaronjmate/status/1497593878295236609
Sounds to me as if the U.S. is using Ukraine as a proxy in a war with Russia. I don’t know how else to interpret his statement.
And yes, I am a non-interventionist.
Consider this, U.S. meddling in Iran in 1953 removed the Prime Minister. The U.S. backed the Shah and his awful secret police who arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and killed many Iranians. The Iranians hated the American government. It resulted in the Iranian Revolution, the hostage crisis, sanctions that have hurt the Iranian people, backing Iraq in the Iraq Iran war, and the Iranian government’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. It would have been far better to have not meddled in Iran’s internal affairs in 1953, but nobody in the American government thinks about blowback and the consequences to its foreign policy.
Dr. John J. Mearsheimer, University of Chicago, traces the present conflict in the Ukraine all the way back to 1993 when Warren Christopher promised Boris Yeltsin that NATO would not, in fact, expand eastward and that any decisions regarding the future of Eastern Europe would include Russia. Instead, NATO expanded eastward.
Mearsheimer states his case in a little over 20 minutes, here: https://youtu.be/Nbj1AR_aAcE
You may find it interesting that this particular lecture, given remotely to a group of Cambridge students, was delivered exactly one day before Russian invaded the Ukraine, just last month.
The last time NATO expanded further to the East was March 29, 2004, when Latvia and Estonia joined. So it’s an old topic rejuvenated by the Kremlin as one of it’s pretexts for attempting to annihilate Ukraine. Please compare the so-called verbal commitment given to Yeltsin, to Russia’s and the US’s written commitment in the Budapest Memoransdum to defend Ukraine’s territorial inregrity in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons. It’s Ukraine that was duped.
Actually the most recent member states to be added to NATO are Montenegro on 5 June 2017 and North Macedonia on 27 March 2020.
What is your interest in Ukraine? Do you live there?
I head up the faculty at ERSU. I’ve been living in Kyiv since 2006.
No offense man but a lot of you Brits seem to have a deranged hatred of Russians. I was talking to another of my colleagues from Britain and he out-neoconned the neocons. Does this stem from the Great Game back when both Russian and Britain were imperial powers?
Just to be clear, I think everybody who reads Fedor’s observations ought to support him and all of the people in his country, with prayer. The United States has not fought a war on our own soil in a terribly long time and consequently we can’t imagine what he and his fellow countrymen are going through. Is is unfortunate that so many nations around the world are embroiled in military conflict or corruption of the worst kind.
I’ve added my thoughts to this thread not as somebody who can pretend to say comforting words to our Ukrainian brother but rather to push back on the “Nazi” remarks (I think that is a Kremlin pretext) and to suggest a historically plausible rationale behind Russia and Vladmir Putin.
Unless both John Mearsheimer and myself are “useful idiots” I am unaware that I am promoting Russian propaganda as suggested by your post of 3/19. I’m parroting Mearsheimer and Russian journalist Vladamir Pozner, who both have a presence on You-Tube. I have not engaged with the Cato Institute for as long as I can remember . . . probably 20 years or more.
The reason I cited the promises made to Yeltsin by our state department or by other high ranking officials, with respect to no NATO expansion (this was in 1993) is because the promises, are in fact, in writing.
Russia, the U.S. the U.K. and to a lesser extent, France and China were signatories to the Budapest Memorandum. I am very much aware of this and I especially remember the U.K. arguing that it was not a “real” treaty when Russia invaded the Crimea in 2014.
The Bucharest Summit goes a long way in explaining Russia’s action in Georgia, the Crimea and now in Ukraine. NATO Expansion ceased in 2004 but “talk” of NATO continued. If you look at the map of Europe, it is understandable why Ukraine and Georgia may excite the Russians a little more than Spain. In the 1960’s, the U.S. objected vehemently when USSR missiles were placed in Cuba. Proximity matters.
I find your suggestion that the U.S. should be ready, willing and able to enter yet another war, very troubling. Germany plus practically any other substantial EU member (France, Poland, U.K.) have combined military budgets greater that that of Russia. “Weapons of Mass Destruction!!!/Yellow Cake Uranian!!!” is not enough to draw Americans into a war in Europe.” Americans don’t like sacrificing their sons for unsound logic, lies and nation building.
Help me understand where my historical understanding or grasp of a sensible foreign policy is wrong.
“In the 1960’s, the U.S. objected vehemently when USSR missiles were placed in Cuba. Proximity matters.”
That’s been my take on the whole thing. Whether I like it or not, I am old enough to have lived through the ’62 Cuban missile crisis, which just makes this the ’22 Ukrainian NATO missile crisis, if not the ’22 American funded Ukrainian biolab crisis. (Victoria Nuland wouldn’t lie to Congress would she, even if some of her listeners might try to read between the lines, no?)
FTM we also lived through the Asian and Hong Kong flu episodes in ’59 and ’69 ala the more recent CovIdiocy 1984. IOW when the same political numskulls, featherheads and dung beetles and their media mouthpieces and bootlicks start advocating another war, after the previous on IraqIranAfghanistan/terrorism, carbon warming, raycism, homo/transphobia, corona virus we is a little bit skeptical/jaded to say the least (sic).
I am not saying that innocent people are not suffering, even Christians, just that a self righteous moral crusade to demonize Adolph Putin is neither called for – though he is no angel – nor an excuse for WW3 whatever Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney or the NYT might think.
Besides Mearsheimer or Colonel Douglas Macgregor, David Stockman has also attempted to put this is historical perspective, something that is inexcusably missing in all the sosh/legacy moron media blather, yipping and yapping. Frankly I am inclined to agree with the former three since I can still remember getting something like a C- for a book report on the Charge of the Light Brigade in which the Brits got it handed to them by the Russkies – not the Ukrainians. In Crimea. In 1854.
In that there are no successful conspiracy theories, because successful conspiracies become the status quo. as our Bolshevik administration continues to bumble from one crisis to another, remember. This is not a bug, but a feature. It’s all part of the Plan/excuse for the Great Reset.
That, if not that all the hysterical virtue signaling sanctions really do is continue the assault on America and drive the rest of the world toward Russia and China.
‘Yet wars and rumors of wars must come.’
And your home nation . . . Wales, England, some other English speaking country? I find this helpful in understanding someone’s perspective.
NATO expansion is a useful excuse for Putin, but as As Fedor Minakov has already explained in his article, the real cause of the war is the Russkiy Mir ideology. Just as the real cause for Hitler’s initial invasions of his neighbours was not the humiliation of Versailles or to protect ethnic Germans in neighbouring countries but was because he wanted an Empire, lebensraum etc.
President Putin simply does not accept that Ukraine is a real country, or has any right to exist in true independence from Russia, he has made that clear in the past. Russia has been meddling in Ukraine since their independence from USSR (which over 90% of Ukrainians voted in favour of).
We should not take Putin’s stated reasons for the war at face value. If his aim is territorial expansion and subjugation of the Ukrainian people then he isn’t going to openly state that, even Hitler resorted to false stories such as protecting his fellow German speakers to justify invading his neighbours.
The Russians clearly still practice maskirovka (military deception) and vranya (blatant lying even when everyone knows they’re lying). They denied that it was Russian troops occupying Crimea in advance of their staged referendum in 2014, in 2014 and onwards they lied that Russian troops weren’t in Eastern Ukraine, early this year they lied that Russian troops were returning to barracks after their military exercises on the Ukrainian border, they staged blatantly false provocations in eastern Ukraine in the days leading up to the invasion, they lied about genocide against Russian speakers in Ukraine, they lied that the Ukrainians were just about to launch a full-scale attack the separatist areas (hardly likely when there were more than 150,000 Russian troops on the border!). Now they’re continuing to lie by portraying their constant and deliberate attacks on civilian targets as having been carried out by the Ukrainians themselves.
For more on Putin and NATO expansion, the following is an interesting read:
There is a report that when the USSR dissolved, George H.W. Bush and James Baker informed a concerned Gorbachev that NATO would not expand, “not even an inch.” This is like Bush’s “No knew taxes” pledge. Any of us who paid taxes under Bush understood that Bush was true to his word: He just raised the old taxes.
The Clinton Administration made similar assurances to Yeltsin. You may also recall the “We are not Haiti!” speech by Yeltsin when he learned he was double-crossed.
There is a common denominator to all of Putin’s behavior and it is not about gathering up the lost children of Mother Russia. Putin wants a geographic buffer against the West. This is not an unusual predicament for a country. Israel was caught between the Selucids and Ptolemies, the Egyptians and the Assyrians.
Russia does not want to own Ukraine. Russia is going to wreck the Ukraine so that just as in Georgia in 2008, (following the Bucharest Summit) their NATO and EU aspirations will cease.
Hopefully, someone in Europe will broker a cease fire in Ukraine before there is no longer anything left.
This comes directly from the National Security Archives at George Washington University.
NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard
The gap between the American news, Russian telegram channels, and Asian sources like Asia Times (see David P. Goldman’s twitter) is so large it’s astounding. If you’re an American, just remember the “WMD in Iraq” story we were told that turned out not to be true and the story about Serbia, etc and consider you’re not being given the full set of facts from our press, but a narrative various people want you to believe. Anyone remember Walter Duranty?
The HB isn’t a space for the discussion of US foreign policy. We’ve lost the thread of Fedya’s original post. Thus, as lifeguard of this pool, I’m blowing the whistle.
One final comment from Alister in reply to Paul:
I hope you had a peaceful Sabbath. It seems you’ve misunderstood me if you think in my comments I was arguing for greater US involvement in Ukraine, I did not offer an opinion on that to my knowledge, and to the contrary I explicitly stated that it was a defensible position to hold. It’s defensible because the US is a sovereign nation and has the right to decide that question itself and will indeed do so. Equally, Ukraine, has the right to take its own decisions and determine it’s own path, including pursuing membership of the EU and NATO, both of which, according to polls, the majority of Ukrainians desire. Contrast this to the perspective of Mearsheimer where Ukraine and other smaller nations are no more than political footballs to be kicked around by the only two genuine players on the pitch – the US and Russia. Perhaps this is indeed a uniquely Russian and American view that harks back to the Cold War. Incredibly, he even talks about the US “making” a whole host of counties join NATO as if 1) those countries didn’t have to apply themselves and 2) as if the US was the only voting member of the alliance. What I do know is that the majority of Ukrainians are overwhelmingly in favour of closer ties with the West and approximately none of them desire to be invaded and occupied by Russia and thus lose all their cherished freedoms. This is also reflected in the fact that in 2014 and 2019 Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly in favour of pro-Western parties and for a pro-Western president.
Because Mearsheimer’s position also aligns with Kremlin line you feel that I maligned you, so let me deal briefly with that. Mearsheimer gives the game away when he talks not only about a “US coup” (dealt with above), but also of a “civil war” in the Ukrainian Donbas. Not only Fedor, but also Mearsheimer himself knows that this is a fictional Kremlin narrative. The whole world saw the satellite images of tanks crossing over the border into Ukrainian Donbas in 2014. The local people of Donetsk and Luhansk did not acquire (not-for export-from-Russia) T-72B3 tanks at their local store.
I hope this helps.