“New NATO Member Finland Elects a President Set to Keep Up Hard Line on Neighboring Russia”

National Coalition Party candidate Alexander Stubb celebrates after winning the second round of the presidential election during an election party night, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in Helsinki. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Associated Press | By Jari Tanner

HELSINKI — Former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb has narrowly won a runoff vote to become Finland’s next president, who will steer security policy that includes integrating the new NATO member into the alliance at a time of concern over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The final tally from Sunday’s runoff shows Stubb, of the center-right National Coalition Party, had 51.6% of the votes, while independent candidate and former Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto from the green left got 48.4% of the votes. The two were the top vote-getters in the second round of the election. Haavisto had served as Finland’s top diplomat in 2019-2023. Stubb is taking over from the hugely popular President Sauli Niinistö, whose second six-year term expires next month and who wasn’t eligible for reelection.

A runoff was required after none of the original nine candidates got a majority of the votes in the first round on Jan. 28. In tradition with consensus-driven Finnish politics and no below-the-belt attacks during the campaign, Stubb visited Haavisto’s election party event late Sunday after the result was clear. “You’re one of the nicest people I have ever met,” Stubb told his opponent Haavisto at the party event, according to Finnish broadcaster YLE.

The presidency is a key political post in this northern European country of 5.6 million people. Unlike in most European countries, the president of Finland holds executive power in formulating foreign and security policy together with the government. But he is also expected to remain above the fray of day-to-day politics and stay out of domestic political disputes while acting as a moral leader of the nation.

The head of state also commands the military — a key role after Finland joined NATO in April 2023 in the aftermath of Russia’s attack on Ukraine a year earlier. Finnish media outlets on Monday pointed out how Europe’s security is at stake as never before since World War II, due to Russia’s invasion.

At a news conference in Helsinki, Stubb was asked by The Associated Press to assess the state of the Finnish military and whether he intended to be a hands-on commander. “We have one of the strongest military forces in Europe,” Stubb replied. He pointed to Finland´s wartime military strength of 280,000 through reservists – a number that is augmented by some 900,000 men and women who have received military training through conscription service. “When the Cold War ended, Finland did not run down its military – quite the contrary,” Stubb said, referring to the modern state of the country´s defense forces. “We will play our part in the alliance (NATO). People trust us and they know that we are serious about our defense for rather obvious reasons. Will I be an active commander-in-chief? Yes, I intend to do that,” he said.


Comment: A lot has happened since the Grand Duchy of Finland was ruled by Saint Petersburg as part of the Russian Empire. Stubb’s election and the accession of Finland to NATO are only the latest historical permutations. I doubt Putin anticipated his invasion of Ukraine would lead to an additional 830 miles of NATO on Russia’s border and so close to Saint Petersburg. He doesn’t seem too concerned since he’s denuding this border of units. He’s putting air defense units back around Saint Petersburg, but that’s due to Ukrainian drones. He’s also pulled units out of Kaliningrad. I think his desire for a more expansive Russia far outweighs his fear of a NATO attack from Ukraine or elsewhere. I still wonder if he considers the former Grand Duchy of Finland to rightfully be part of the Russkiy Mir.


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63 Responses to “New NATO Member Finland Elects a President Set to Keep Up Hard Line on Neighboring Russia”

  1. Christian J Chuba says:

    ” I doubt Putin anticipated his invasion of Ukraine would lead to an additional 830 miles of NATO”

    A Sophie’s choice. Not invading means a new 1,200 mile border with a new NATO member called Ukraine. The 2008 Bucharest summit established a pathway for membership.

    “NATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO.”

  2. ked says:

    a great opening line in your comment… like from a modern Tolstoy story (or a youthful HST travelog). even the gay loser was firm against Russia, + he didn’t question the results of a close election – imagine that! & could anyone imagine trump stating,
    “We will play our part in the alliance (NATO). People trust us and they know that we are serious about our defense for rather obvious reasons.”? what kinda modern conservative is this Stubb dude?
    Vlad pulling troops out of Kaliningrad… knocking down the walls of his own private House of Cards?


  3. Jovan P says:

    As far as I can tell, the Russians don’t have any aspirations towards Finland, call it the Russkij Mir or whatever.

    ps TTG, how did you feel when the USSSR dissolved, except for the part being happy for Lithuania’s independence? Were you surprised by it or were there signs by the road earlier?

    • TTG says:

      Jovan P,

      As the Eastern European and Baltic nations started regaining their independence, the USSR’s days were numbered. It was fairly obvious working sources in those areas. Most of us were hoping Gorbachev would steer the rump USSR into a soft landing. The hard line coup attempt against Gorbachev pretty much dashed that idea. I was leery of those hard liners who were waiting like jackals to pick up the pieces. Even with those jackals, I was hopeful for a much better outcome and permanent lessening of tensions. I thought the Baltics would have been in a perfect geographic and cultural position to serve as a bridge between East and West. Unfortunately, the jackals prevailed.

      • Fred says:

        Unfortunately, the jackals prevailed.

        Yes, Nuland and the Neocons got the European expansion they wanted. Now the borders of Finland are sacred obligations of America! Just like Ukraine and all the rest. Because Russia Russia Russia. Meanwhile a million plus illegally cross our own border, which is not apparently not an obligation for the democrats to defend.

        I wonder how much American money Finland will need to get from our glorious Senate, which is so profligate with spending? On a related note why did history begin after the Treaty of Tilsit and just what had Sweden been doing to the Russians beforehand? Not important at all I’m sure.

        • TTG says:


          It is us who are getting money out of Finland. They bought our FA-18s years ago and are now buying our F-35s.

          Treaty of Tilsit? That did about as much good for Imperial Russia as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact did for the USSR. For ancient claims, Mongolia recently put out a map of the lands once ruled by the Mongol Empire and claimed those lands in the name of Ulaanbaatar. It was all tongue in cheek, of course, just like the map of the Grand Principality of Lithuania at its height put out by Vilnius in 2022 wondering why those lands shouldn’t return to the fold.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Who is “us”, Kemo Sabe?

            I don’t own an F-35 dealership. I am paying many $thousands in taxes that go to Ukraine, which I can’t see from my front porch, like I can all of the illegal aliens, drug addicts in the streets and inflation from government excessive spending.

            Now Finland and the EU can see Ukraine from their front porches. If there so concerned, let them keep up hard lines by revamping (= destroying) their own economies to pay for all of the viagra that keeps the lines hard. I sure don’t want to be the EU’s fluffer.

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            Us is the US economy. US defense manufacturers are the primary winners as are the US defense manufacturing workers. They are also the recipients of a great deal of that spending on Ukraine. Europe is now spending more than us in support of Ukraine. I agree that’s as it should be.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Yes, I get the trickle down aspect of defense spending (surprised that you approve of such theories). One thing about that is it doesn’t work that a dollar spent is a dollar trickled down. Rather a few cents on the dollar reaches the bottom level of the economy.

            However, whatever trickling down may be occurring. is being negated, for the rest of us, by massive inflation created by out of control monetary supply increases – much for foreign aid. And please don’t quote the Biden admin’s inflation figures to the contrary. They are lying to our faces, which anyone who buys groceries, tries to eat out and pay there rent understands completely.

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            That trickle down only extends to the workers in those industries and maybe a little to the communities. I agree that it very seldom, if ever, reaches the bottom level of the economy.

            Inflation is ugly, but I’m not sure if government spending is the only culprit or even the major culprit. I find it odd that those on the higher end of the economic ladder don’t suffer the vagaries of inflation. They raise prices in order to maintain or even increase profits. How could inflation continue if the price setters didn’t raise prices?

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Inflation is always caused by increased monetary supply. ALWAYS. Though it is true that the feds are wont to proclaim that economic fundamentals no longer apply; especially when their policies are causing things to go south.

            The wealthy do raise prices of good and services to account for the increased cost of production inputs under inflation. They don’t – and can’t – simply increase prices to create more profit than they enjoyed previously. Where the wealthy do have an advantage under inflation is that their previous debt is diminished. A $10 million debt they’ve started paying on prior to inflation may have created a debt to assets ration of 25%. When inflation causes their assets to be worth more and their income to increase in raw terms, the debt remains the same ($10 million) and is, therefore, a smaller percent of total business.

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            I assume you know way more than I about these macroeconomic matters. But what causes those “increased cost of production inputs” to which the wealthy are compelled to respond? I can understand higher wages as one of those inputs. Are other wealthy owners increasing the prices on those production inputs and why are they compelled to do so? If you can explain the role of increased money supply or increased government spending in simple terms,I would appreciate it. I truly don’t get it.

          • Fred says:


            We allowed NATO to increase our obligation to go to war over a nation of 5 million so we could sell a few airplanes which we would have sold them anyway? Do you really believe that hogwash?

          • Eric Newhill says:

            I know. Inflation is, indeed, a complicated and confusing subject matter.

            Yes. You’re correct about higher wages. Wages are a big component of business costs. In fact, we’ve seen that here in the US with the livable minimum wage movement. People working at Burger King now making $15 an hour (or more). The people harvesting the eggs and taking care of, or processing, the chickens are making $15/hr. Healthcare worker wages have increased steeply. All sectors and all levels of employment have seen sudden and large wage increases . As costs inflate, wages have to go up. If they didn’t, people couldn’t afford to live at all. Of course, it is also possible for wage increases to occur first and then drive up costs. That could happen due to government wage setting or due to simple supply and demand – as in a labor shortage drives up wages. But there’s something else – a wage should reflect the true value of the labor. Is a burger flipper really worth $15/hr? These were supposed to be short term jobs for young people, students and the like; not careers for adults with families. When manufacturing left the US, these jobs became careers for adults. I get it. When wage is greater than value, then wage is an inflation driver.

            However, putting wages aside, the basic driver of inflation is the government adding more money to the economy. This can be done in a few different ways.

            One of the primary ways it has been done in this inflationary round is via very low interest rates. That started before Trump. Trump gleefully pressed to continue the policy. With low interest rates, people borrow more money and buy more stuff with what they’ve borrowed. Then, in march the forces of good old supply and demand. Borrowed money = more demand = labor, goods and services shortages = higher prices for everything.

            And yes, here is where your idea of increased prices for increased profit margin can occur. Say a builder has capacity to build, max, 30 houses a year. In non-inflationary time, he contracts for around 25 on average. He needs to build all 25 to keep his business afloat. He is a price taker in that market. Now, in inflationary, low interest rate/high demand times, he is asked to contract for 60 houses a year. He could hire more workers, purchase more equipment, etc and build the 60; or he can choose to not risk the investment in expanding his business and remain the same operationally, and build 30 houses for the top 30 bidders. Sure, the builder’s costs have increased under inflation, but now he has the luxury of increasing profits margins with price increases above and beyond what cost increases force him to charge. Now he has become a price setter.

            For a while, over the past ten years, the interest rate was even lower than the inflation rate. Like I was saying in the previous comment, that really encourages even more borrowing because your debt decreases in terms of relative value as soon as you sign the loan papers. You borrow $500K to buy a $700K house. A year later the house is worth $ 1 million, but your debt and interest payments are still based on the $500K. You borrowed money and made money off the debt very quickly, which encourages more borrowing. It’s a like a drug addiction. A lot of this inflationary trend involves self-reinforcing cycles.

            Then there were all of the covid stimulus checks. That put lots of free money into the economy (though it was a much smaller effect than the interest rates). Again, more money the economy = more demand for goods and service = price inflation.

            The war in Ukraine and other huge government programs also put more money into the economy with the same resultant increase in demand = higher prices, but there is another more sinister impact. In order to spend hundreds of $billions ($trillions if we include the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) we had to “print more money” that we didn’t have to pay for it all. The government didn’t dare – and, really couldn’t – tax the workers for it. The government doesn’t actually print more money, it issues more bonds (= debt), but that’s a discussion for another time. Basically, it amounts to simply printing money. As the national debt increases, outpacing economic growth, the US dollar becomes worth less relative to our trade partners’ currency. It takes more US $s to purchase foreign goods that are sold in the US economy. So US prices for those goods, when being sold to Joe and Jane citizen, have to go up. Remember, a dollar is basically a promissory note from the US treasure. The promise used to be backed by gold. It isn’t any longer. As our debt increases the security of the promise decreases. You could sort of think of it like this, who would rather lend a thousand bucks to, the guy with no debt or the guy who already owes someone else $10,000? If you take the psi to lend to the latter, you’re going to ask for more in return in interest (or discount the interest off the front end – like you give him $9K and he pays you back $10K). At any rate, the US dollar has less relative purchasing power and foreign produced good will cost relatively more.

            Trump’s tax cuts, in the face of all the spending/govt debt increases further fueled inflation by not only putting more spending in people’s/companies’ hands, but also by causing the need to print more money (see above).

            The aging baby boomers consuming entitlements like social security and medicare are also increasing debt and depressing the value of US dollar.

            A side note – government spending – even spending that puts us in debt – isn’t bad per se. It was the money is being spent on that counts, and how much is being spent. If the government invests in an education program that really does create a well educated ready to work young population cohort, then that is a worthy investment in the future. Better roads can promote commerce. A military that can protect key US economic interests and even those of our best trade partners is another good investment. There are others. And these programs have to be monitored to take care that the spending doesn’t become excessive; that we are still getting bang for the buck, as they say.

            However, saving Ukraine or nation building in Afghanistan, that kind of thing has no pay-off to Americans. It is inflationary spending via debt increase/dollar devaluation and, to a lesser extent, via putting more money into the economy, artificially (the trickle down we mentioned to each other).

            Helps a little?

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            Yes, that does help. Thanks for tying all those elements together. It does seem that human avarice or just a basic desire for more is a common thread in all this.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Thanks. Glad I could help.

            You’re right. Human psychology is behind the economy and everything else – and human psychology, in my experience, is usually selfish and greedy to the point of self-destruction. That isn’t going to change on any meaningful scale.

            Americans are always griping about the cost of healthcare insurance. Then they go out and excessively consume, year after year, the worst foods, drugs and alcohol, don’t exercise, don’t see their doctor timely and end up costing a fortune – a fortune that the insurance has to cover, leading to higher premiums, and that could have been avoided if they had employed some self-control, common sense and loftier values in their lives.

            Similarly, no one needs a mansion, a garage full of expensive cars, the latest and greatest entertainment center and all the rest. But Americans think they do and feel less than human if they don’t have it. Also, America doesn’t need to be the world’s policeman and savior except where our critical trade interests are at stake. Wanting everything all the time and being the most magnanimous nation on the planet, ever, just isn’t healthy at a certain point. There are diminishing returns.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            At the risk of being more long winded than usual…..

            I don’t know why autocorrect changed “risk” to “psi” – that was weird.

            I want to be clear that think Trump was a terrible steward of the economy. He is as responsible for inflation and associated woes as the rest of them by overheating the economy (tax cuts when in debt, free covid bucks and low interest rates).

            The builder example where he has capacity to build up to 30 houses and chooses to stay at that production capacity level when he has demand for 60 houses, under a low interest environment, but at top dollar – he is inflationary in that he is charging extra profit, because he can, due to excess demand, but also because he will go out and spend that extra profit. He puts those dollars back into the economy. He is also keeping demand high.

            Another builder, might elect to grow his business to meet the demand of 60 homes. He is inflationary as well as he is purchasing more equipment at low interest rates and increasing the demand for skilled labor.

            Both are acting in an environment of increased monetary supply and therefore both end up contributing to inflation in their own way. Monetary supply is to blame.

  4. F&L says:

    TTG –
    You may want to look this over from Nesmiyan today. I don’t know how accurate it is. I’ve pasted a verbatim translation below the link. It’s interesting, Especially in combination with Vladimir Pastukhov’s thoughts today pasted directly beneath. My initial reaction is that these go together consistently, since I think it would make more sense not to attack Moscow with these machines under development due to escalation risks but to use them (see Pastukhov’s point #4) to advise the Kremlin it’s better off with the negotiated settlement he foresees.
    The drone war is gaining momentum, which is generally recognized by Russian federal channels .
    It is reported that 12 factories have already been built in Europe based on Japanese robots, which produce components for various drones using an assembly line method. The Japanese have made several modifications to the FPV drone, accelerating with a load of up to 105 mph. The total volume of components by the end of 2024 – mid-2025 can be increased to 5 million FPV drones per year.
    At the same time, components are made not only for small drones. Workshops have already been launched for 3D printing of small turbines for long-range jet drones with a range of 600 miles or more. Samsung is due to launch a chip plant by March that will produce electronic warfare-resistant chips and thermal imaging cameras.
    In fact, today we are at a transition when in the near future quantitative indicators will begin to transform into a qualitatively different picture of combat operations, not only at the front, but also in operational and strategic depth. 600 miles is Moscow and the Moscow region, which may no longer face isolated attacks, but massive raids.
    Japan is working to equip groups of drones (so-called “swarms”) with artificial intelligence systems. We are talking about the use of group raids of up to 120-200 drones in one group, capable of independently identifying and selecting targets. Which could also be an unpleasant surprise for those who find themselves the target of such attacks.

    Everyone wants “analysts on the Hamburg account”, without embellishment – this is possible. But it’s like sanding glass for those who believe that good always wins. In principle, this is true, but only over long historical distances, sometimes marathons. There is such a genre – “weighted average scenario”. This is not so much a forecast as a current assessment of the most likely trajectory of events, provided that no unforeseen events occur in the foreseeable future that dramatically change this trajectory. Such a scenario often does not come true, since “unforeseen events” are included in the mandatory “history menu,” but this does not eliminate the need to build such scenarios, since no one has yet come up with another way to navigate in the future.
    Without my thoughts running wild, I will describe how I see the scenario for the outcome of the second year of the war:
    1. The likelihood of Ukraine receiving adequate (not from a pipette) financial and military assistance from the United States and Europe in the next 6-9 months seems very low. The amount of assistance will constantly lag behind the size of Ukraine’s needs for weapons and money. The gap at some point may become critical with, in general, significant absolute values. They will give a lot, but always less than necessary.
    2. Against the backdrop of a shell and financial famine, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are unlikely to be able to improve their positions at the front within the specified period. A change in military leadership is also unlikely to have a significant effect, since the people who replaced Zaluzhny did not fly from the moon, but are the second echelon of the same team, they are simply more accommodating. And vice versa, successes of the RF Armed Forces, even operational ones, are very likely for the same reasons.
    3. Dissatisfaction with mobilization, indignation at the injustice of distribution of the “tax of war”, irritation from growing corruption in war conditions, disappointment from unfulfilled promises of “summer coffee on the Yalta embankment”, coupled with the weakening of Zelensky’s legitimacy will most likely lead to his loss of power within the next 12 months. This will work if Zelensky himself does not dramatically change his political course. But, firstly, this is becoming less and less credible, and secondly, then he will have other problems.
    4. Regardless of whether Trump wins, his approach to resolving the Ukrainian crisis will most likely win in the United States. Both Ukraine and Russia will be put on stretch marks. Ukraine will be told in confidence that no more financial and military assistance will be provided unless it begins peace negotiations in exchange for territorial concessions. Russia will also be informed that if the Kremlin does not stop the war after Ukraine refuses to liberate its territories by military means, the United States will “inundate” Ukraine with weapons, regardless of any Russian “red lines.”
    5. Zelensky likely won’t be able to afford to accept the offer of peace in exchange for territory, but his successor will likely be able to do so, and will receive the support of a war-weary population in the process. Putin, on the contrary, will most likely willingly accept this proposal with the idea that after a respite he will again take up the old ways and repeat aggression in direct or indirect (military coup in Kyiv) form at a time convenient for him.
    6. A new war is not excluded, but a more likely scenario seems to be in which Putin’s hopes for a continuation of the banquet will not come true. History will no longer present him with such a chance, since “yesterday’s joke is no longer a joke.” Everyone already knows what to expect from him (hint: everything), so the West will now again live in anticipation of war and prepare for it. And this will be the best guarantee of peace. Just like in the famous saying.
    7. After the truce in Europe, a “little ice age” will begin with an arms race, the Iron Curtain, a policy of containment and other “jokes” of the good old Cold War. This will continue at least until the moment when Putin leaves us in a political or physical sense, and most likely for some time after this happens.

    • TTG says:


      There’s nothing Pastukhov said that I find unreasonable. It’s certainly not written in stone, but events could play out as he predicts. I think European NATO is definitely at a crossroads. Will they step up if the US pulls back? I can see eastern NATO taking the lead from western NATO.

      • F&L says:

        This post below by Sergei Markov this morning must have been difficult and painful to write. Apparently though the new chief commander General Syrsky has already suffered the loss of possibly 1500 of his best troops in a rocket attack on staging area for the Avdeeka defense. Are Odessa and Nikolaev now out of the question for Russia? I sure don’t know but they might be.

        Military logic. The Ukrainian Armed Forces attacked the large landing ship Caesar Kunikov in Crimea. The extent of the damage is not yet clear. Maybe strong.
        In general, the Ukrainian Armed Forces successfully use unmanned sea drones. Western experts and Zelensky even claim that in 2023 the Ukrainian Armed Forces won the big battle for the Black Sea. Well that’s not true. Because the Ukrainian Armed Forces do not have their own ships on the Black Sea. But the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ naval drones really create big problems for the Russian Black Sea Fleet. And many ships apparently moved from Crimea to Novorossiysk. And the likelihood of a large landing operation of the Russian army in Odessa and Nikolaev is now only theoretical.

    • Morongobill says:

      We can barely rub two howitzer shells together and with our boutique weapons procurement process and deindustrialization have no means to flood the area again for a long time.

      Russia on the other hand….

      • TTG says:


        Russia, on the other hand, is reliant on North Korea and Iran to keep her war machine going.

        • Peter Williams says:

          TTG, please wake up from your Western dreams. Allegations of supply from North Korea, and Iran, are not facts. The US begging South Korea and Japan for munitions are facts.

          • TTG says:

            Peter Williams,

            The last count I saw was 47 countries providing aid to Ukraine including South Korea, Japan and even India and Pakistan. Do you deny the photographic evidence of Iranian drones and North Korean artillery ammunition in use by Russian forces in Ukraine? There are also videos of Russian soldiers boasting of North Korean ammunition.

      • leith says:

        Morongo –

        Russia on the other hand…. is buying North Korean howitzer shells – buying Iranian drones and missiles with their reserves of gold bullion – and giving away oil for Chinese & Indian technology.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          And we’re just printing money, creating inflation and increasing our debt to absolutely insane levels, all the while lacking resources for domestic programs and therefore having to ignore a massive invasion on our borders, massive drug abuse and associated deaths, increasing homelessness on our streets, failed schools, massive crime in our cities (stores having to close permanently due to theft, etc), falling and insufficient military recruitment, shall I continue? But yeah, those Russians sure are in bad shape as the out fire mission the Ukies.

          You guys have a kamikaze like focus on Russia.

          • leith says:

            Putin seems to be the 21st Century Kamikaze. Russia is a great country. Sad to see him destroy it.

          • ked says:

            while the Maga Movement has fluffed-up tax breaks for billionaires when in control, it NEVER pushes or pursues Regular Order to address the budget in a coherent manner. there’s more than enough blame to go around for everyone on that score. news flash: hasn’t a prayer of improving until the Old Old Order dies out and the current Party System transitions into a new alignment. it’s taking a lot longer than it ought while political & economic failures grow in magnitude & pace. the social issues you cite are complex long-term trends of many causes – welcome to the 21st Century, everywhere on the planet. the US, being Exceptional & Competitive, won the race to get there first… & now suffers angst over consequence mgmt in the afterglow. kinda the way Empires go. {& as to the MIC, for those who overlooked making sure-fire investments in that sector, is the gov responsible?}

  5. babelthuap says:

    One of the dumbest wars of all time. For what? Russian speaking people who use to be part of Russia. All the money spent on this nonsense, could have just paid them to be part of Ukraine…meh. Horrible horrible situation. The result of spoiled rotten pathetic sycophant leaders, most of whom were not elected by a MAJORITY. Stupid system they props up some outcast. What could possibly go wrong?

    • Christian J Chuba says:

      Russia tried, they offered Ukraine billions of $ in 2014 and we did a color revolution to get our guy in power. Russians living in Ukraine learned the hard way that no candidate that they vote for will ever be allowed to serve in office.

      Message to TTG, I will not discount your concerns completely. Any former Soviet State with a large Russian population is of interest to present Russia. This includes the baltic states as well as Ukraine and possibly the central Asian ‘stans’.
      I do completely discount Russia’s intentions beyond. Russia has no interest in Poland or Finland. I don’t believe Russia will ever invade the baltic states because of NATO membership but it’s not irrational to worry about it. I wish the baltic states would stop oppressing the ethnic Russians who live there.

    • Eric Newhill says:

      Yeah, I know. It’s insanity and we are ruled by corrupt thieving children who think we’re idiots.

      But but the emotional appeal of Ukrainian Freedom! What a con.

      • Stefan says:

        100% agree and the sad fact is it is BOTH parties. The two party system in the US has completely failed. Both parties are ruled by the rich elite who really dont care much for the average people. The whole identity politics issues are were just created and exploited to keep the people’s at each other’s throats whilst the rich elites of both political parties rob the average American blind.

        Billions and billions of aid to countries like Ukraine, Israel, Egypt ect, all of which are rather failed projects of these same political elite. Time for a change and NO real change will come from either establishment party in the US.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          Yes. I agree, it’s both parties (hence, Trump, the walking, talking raised middle finger to the establishment).

          I am undecided on the question of whether or not they know how much damage they are doing. Do they really believe we can eat cake because we’re out of bread – or do they understand there is neither bread nor cake for us? Or, in other words are they divorced from reality, or just don’t care?

          No one, except Washington DC and cronies, cares about Ukraine, at least not enough to sacrifice major needs here at home for the cause.

          • Stefan says:

            You and I will differ on Trump. I believe Trump is part of the rich elite, one of the reasons he didnt drain the swamp in the 4 years he was in office. Trump was born into the rich elite, he has used the laws and the rich establishment to make himself even richer and promote his own family.

            Is he a thorn in the side of the rich elite? Sure. Doesnt mean he isnt part and parcel of that same system. It is entirely possible to do both. If you think Trump will upend the rich elite and destroy his privileged place within it you are mistaken.

            Trump is all about Trump. The fact that he has been able to fool millions of people that he really cares about them is his genius. Trump would never contemplate about helping his supporters do better if it came out of his own bottom end. People like him, and the other rich elite, feel that they are ordained by God or whatever power to have this money and to hold this power.

            Those who dont have the wealth and power are somehow lower beings, rightfully deserving of less. Trump is no different in this respect. If you can show me the myriad of policy changes he enacted to help the day to day life of his followers in rural America, or anywhere else for that matter, I’d love to hear it.

            Trump is a swamp rat himself. He will always be counted on doing what is best for himself and the rich elite on both parties.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            RE; Trump – You are misunderstanding me, for the most part.

            Yes, I like the policies he claims to seek to promote. Will he actually do it? Doubtful, in part for the reasons you cite. However, I disagree with you in that, as I see it, while Trump may be part of the wealthy elite in some aspects, he is not a member of the specific club that is populated by what Col Lang called “The Borg”. I understand that Trump’s failures his first term were due to sabotage from the Borg. There is no reason to believe his second term won’t be similarly undermined.

            Yes, Trump is all about Trump. I have no delusions about his primary focus. However, all of those Borg members are also about furthering themselves. So Trump’s personality faults are not in the least unique in the DC crowd.

            That said, I have long expressed the opinion that with Trump we have a lucky arrangement wherein the glory his large ego craves is aligned with, and dependent on, success for America. He gets high when he sees the economy doing well, when the people adulate him for a secure border, for relative peace in the world, etc. It’s a coincidence of sorts, but one we don’t get with all of the others. Perhaps one could see it as a healthy, or positive, form of narcissism.

            Personally, I wish that DeSantis had made a better showing in the primaries.

  6. babelthuap says:

    Why can’t the ruling class in the US (Council On Foreign Relations) use their influence and get some real tough men to run these puppet states instead of these feckless sissies? Now is not the time for these momma’s boys. We need stoic looking men with broad shoulders and barrel chested.

  7. wiz says:


    if Putin’s ambition is territorial expansion then why didn’t he attack non NATO Finland instead Ukraine ? Despite Finland’s fierce patriotism they are a much easier prey than 40+ million country such as Ukraine.

    Why didn’t he overrun, regime change and annex Georgia in 2008 after defeating its army and withdrew instead ? Yes there is Abkhazia and S Osetia, but still he could have had the whole thing.

    As Kissinger wrote in March, 2014 when this mess really got going:

    “The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country. ”


    • TTG says:


      Kissinger believed only a few great states mattered. All others were pawns to those few. What Kissinger never understood is that to Ukraine, the Baltics and others, Russia is a foreign country and one with unrequited designs on her neighbors.

      • Fred says:


        He certainly understood that defending none of them was in our national interest.

        • TTG says:


          Kissinger was always strong proponent of NATO and an early supporter of NATO enlargement. He even came around to supporting bringing Ukraine under the NATO umbrella, although he was skeptical at first.

          • Fred says:


            The USSR collapsed in 1991. There is zero need for the US to be defending all the member states of the former Warsaw Pact. Europe can pay their own damn way, which means they need to choose between the socialist nanny state and a capable defense force, or making peace and abiding by reasonable agreements rather than expecting the US to bail them out when they keep doing what they’ve always done for the last couple centuries.

  8. leith says:

    Lot of Finns here in Southwest WA. It’s the same on the other side of the Columbia River in Northwest OR. I’ve some friends & associates in that community. Good people, the salt of the earth. Their grandfathers and great grandfathers were lumberjacks, fishermen & farmers; now they’re cops, nurses, dentists, etc and a lot of veterans. Some of their ancestors came over fleeing the Finnish Civil War. Many running from both sides, Red Guard & White Guard, in that war. I’m told that a few who were communists emigrated to Karelia in the USSR during the Great Depression – where they ended up being shot by the NKVD and buried in the mass graves at Sandarmokh.

    PS – I’ve suffered through the Finnish version of Christmas Lutefisk plus a whole roasted head of cauliflower at Suomi Hall in Astoria with a golfing buddy. But the dessert was to die for – they claim to have invented the cinnamon roll. After eating Lutefisk you have to wonder about the Finnish reputation as being humorless, which by the way is not true as their jokes are just very subtle. But they should spice up that Lutefisk in a tomato base stew with onions and garlic like my Aunt Rosa used to do with Bacala.

    • Stefan says:

      Interesting you bring up Astoria. I lived there for a couple of years in the early 1990s. Big northern European community there, I remember attending some sort of Nordic celebration in the area there. Lovely place.

      • leith says:

        Stefan –

        I’m guessing you’re thinking of the Midsummer Scandinavian Festival at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds. Every year they have a dance group or two come over from either DNK, FIN, NOR, SWE and even one year from Iceland. But there are lots of of other Scandi celebrations there and north of the river. I read in today’s weekly paper that the Finnish Brotherhood is going to hold the Winter Nordic Market this weekend. I might cross the river Saturday and get some of their delicious Pannukakku.

    • LeaNder says:

      Karelia in the USSR … where they ended up being shot by the NKVD and buried in the mass graves at Sandarmokh.

      Hmm, ….? What are the latest news or the latest twist of Russia’s justice system? … I have very, very fond memories of my Finnish colleagues. Humorless hardly.

      • leith says:

        LeaNder –

        The corpses buried at Sandarmokh killing fields never faced any kind of justice system. They were the victims of ‘non-judicial’ execution by troikas of low level NKVD thugs. There were no public trials. There were only a small number of Finnish-Americans and Finnish-Canadians killed there, less than 300 are known out of the total of 6000+. Most of those were Karelian Finns, but also Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Balts. And those 6000 were only a tiny fraction of the murders carried out by the Kremlin in the 1930s.

        Great question you ask on the latest twist of Russia’s justice system. At a high level I have no idea. But I note that Putin’s cronies tried to cover up the Sandarmokh murders claiming they were Russian POWs killed by Finns. Just last year the FSB tried something similar for the Katyn Forest Massacre, claiming the executions there were carried out by the Nazis. Doing the four ‘D’s of Putin’s Kremlin: Deny, Divert, Deflect, Distract.

        I’m sure Kremlin ‘justice’ has come a long way from the horrors of 80 years ago. But it has a longer distance to go before individual Russian citizens, or foreigners, are treated in an equitable and fair manner.

      • English Outsider says:

        LeaNder – video you might already have seen. Krone-Schmalz.
        Recorded a while back but my attention was recently drawn to it and I believe it’s still relevant:+


        A quietly courageous woman. In the maelstrom of Russophobia and proxy war fever that swept Germany after 2022, very courageous indeed. Surprised she didn’t suffer the same fate as Alina Lipp and so many others but she seems to have held her own at no worse cost that being labelled a Putinversteher or Russian shill and having her academic reputation savaged. Key quote (Wiki):-

        “In February 2015, Krone-Schmalz appeared on Maischberger’s People talk show and expressed, among other things, the opinion that the European Union had caused the war in Ukraine by negotiating an association agreement with Ukraine and thus provoking Russia. “

        That backing up Dr North’s account mentioned here recently, and I think also Sakwa’s, of the Association Agreement. That agreement leading to the events of 2014 in Kiev. That in turn leading to the current war.

        Though as Putin proved to us recently in that interview, history is so boring. So for us in the West, best pretend it never happened.

        As a German, you’ll be one of TTG’s few readers who’ll understand how very courageous this woman was back then. She’s advancing views that in the States wouldn’t be regarded as out of the way or impermissible but that in Germany lead at best to social and professional ostracism, and at worst to legal penalties.

        So she’s walking like a cat on hot bricks throughout the lecture and Q & A session. Scarcely dares touch the subject that’s unmentionable in Germany, the nature of the current Kiev government, but then, she’s still got more guts than I have. When I chat to my German friends, all SPD or Green oddly enough, I never dare ask them straight out why Nie Wieder land is now backing Wieder. You could lose a whole lot of friends in Germany by asking them that question.

        Though I know they’ve all seen the Melnyk interview and some will be aware of Biletsky’s mission statement. The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival, a crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.


        And this evidence cannot be dismissed as “Putin shilling”.




        Current dissent in Germany, and I’m aware there’s lots of it, is to do primarily with the backlash of the sanctions. It’s only a few in the AfD, ironically itself suspected of being Nazi inclined, who dare protest about Scholz and Baerbock, and Merkel before them, backing neo-Nazis.

        Other than that we see in Germany the Country of the Whited Sepulchre. A country that virtuously asserts it’s put the ’30’s behind it while gradually allowing itself, in terms of censorship and repression of non-standard opinion, to be taken back to just those times.

        So yes, lots of dissent around in the Heimat just now, But until you get to grips with what your government has been backing in Ukraine over the last thirteen years and how, it’ll not be the sort of dissent that will lead to German politics getting back to normal.

  9. English Outsider says:

    Don’t agree with Yves Smith, linked to below. Russia will grind on until remnant Ukraine is neutralised right up to the NATO frontier.

    Either because the remnant Ukrainians will neutralise themselves – which in practice means getting out from under the neo-Nazis – or by occupation, or by agreement with the Americans.

    Of those last two possibilities a military occupation of remnant Ukraine being, one assumes, the last thing the Russians want to do. Expensive and bad image. Most of the neo-Nazis will be dead or in Germany but there’d still be pockets left. And Russian occupation of remnant Ukraine, with outbreaks of partisan resistance supported by the West, would suit Washington down to the ground.

    So though the Russians might be forced to go down that road they won’t want to. Not forgetting that in 2022 the West was expecting Ukraine to become “Russia’s Afghanistan” and is again hoping for that in 2024. There’d be nothing like a smouldering insurrection on NATO’s frontier to keep alive the Cold War II our politicians are taking us into. But the Russians want the Ukraine problem put to bed, not remaining a nuisance for years or decades.

    On the last possibility agreement with the Americans, with some face-saving formula to keep the Western politicians happy, could be possible. President Putin has stated he’s open to that. But it would require a volte face from Washington. Is that likely?

    Because after the failure of the Istanbul talks, my view well before, any agreement with the West, and however it was wrapped up with face saving clauses, would simply be an agreement on the terms of Ukrainian capitulation. Given the botched retreat from Afghanistan, the current debacle in the ME, and now the loss of Ukraine, that’d be one foreign policy disaster too many for President Biden or his possible replacement to want to take into the next Presidential elections.

    So the problem of remnant Ukraine isn’t going to be an easy one for the Russians to solve. It never was. It’s been the obvious problem since the start of the SMO – since 2014 in the opinion of the Russia expert Patrick Armstrong – and it’s not a problem that’s gone away.

    But the Russians are after more than dealing with the Ukraine problem. They want the new “European Security Architecture” they were after in 2021. I can’t see how they’ll get it other than by reverse sanctioning the Europeans. So although it’s encouraging to see the day after considered in the article, I don’t think it’s the full consideration that is needed.

    I could be wrong. This Yves Smith looks to be very sharp. And it is in any case a better informed and more realistic consideration than one sees emerging from the UK or European press. Also shows a considerably more accurate appreciation of the military realities:-


    Then there’s Big Serge, thinking geostrategically. The only problem I have there is that I don’t for a moment believe US or Western foreign policy is as consistent or as thought out as the experts think. I’m reminded of the astonished reaction of the EU negotiators when they were trying to make sense of British proposals on Brexit. “They haven’t got a plan! They haven’t got a … plan!” Sabine Weyand is reputed to have said when she encountered the UK negotiating team. Same here. Now that the sanctions war has failed I don’t believe there are stern faced strategists sitting in Washington or Berlin/Brussels working out this or that long term plan. Merely headless chickens responding to this or that pressure of the moment and no geostrategic plan in sight.

    With that proviso, Big Serge’s musings do make a lot of sense when we consider the various bramble patches the Western politicians have rammed their electorates into.


    Only discovered Big Serge recently. Vladimir Trukhan only the last week or so. But Trukhan’s a real breath of fresh air. I wish I could sit him down with the Lees and the Kofmans and all the other fake “analysts” of the West and have him put them straight on what really happened during the SMO.

    All the fictions – the “Battle for Kiev”, the “Kharkov Defeat”, the “Victory of Kherson” debunked and the obvious stated. There was an early attack that took the Ukrainian army apart and ensured the Donbass was safe. After that, various forms of attrition warfare. The “Big Arrow” offensives all in the West were eagerly awaiting, and many in Russia, eschewed to keep casualties low. Options kept open throughout. The Russian Army revealed as a thoroughly professional outfit and the NATO forces all show and bluster and incompetence.

    Hard truths. Someone has to tell them. Trukhan does. I doubt the Rands and the RUSI’s will listen. But then, it’s that arrogant complacency that got our various armed forces into the condition they’re in, and it’s that arrogant complacency that’ll keep them so.


    Very difficult and time consuming listening. No matter, given the content.

    • English Outsider says:

      Omitted the final link. Andrei Martyanov will be remembered here for his contributions to SST way back. I hadn’t realised at that time but he’s a military authority familiar with both Russian and US military organisation. That’s a real advantage because the Russian way of war is not our way. Martyanov and Trukhan:-


      In both videos a little is mentioned about the early days of the SMO, which is the subject I’m hoping to find out more about.

      Hoping to find out more about partly because it relates to the crucial question on the SMO. Was it “unprovoked” or “provoked”. Ten thousand information warriors from President Biden and Chancellor Scholz down have dinned it into our heads that this was an “unprovoked” military action. But any examination of the facts relating to the run up to that military action shows otherwise.

      On that, we have what we may term the “Mearsheimer thesis” generally held to in the West: that the SMO was a Russian response to ever increasing NATO pressure. But we also have a more pedestrian explanation: although the various factors Mearsheimer and so many others detail are essential background, the reason for the SMO was that it pre-empted an incursion by the Kiev forces into the Donbass.

      That last explanation is the only one that makes sense. Putin was reluctant to take military action but was forced to. That, as he well knew at the time and as he explicitly stated he knew, triggering the Western sanctions war that we expected to break Russia. A sanctions war that was our chief hope of defeating Russia, and that was lost conclusively even as President Biden in Warsaw was triumphantly proclaiming we had won it.

      The initial Russian military operation itself was a masterpiece. Working under impossibly restrictive ROE – Chirkin comments sourly on those – and taking relatively heavy casualties, a series of lightening attacks wrecked the Kiev forces in depth. That in conjunction with missile and air attacks that, sometimes within the first few minutes, destroyed AD and communications facilities.

      That leads to what has been for me the central puzzle of this war since early 2022. OK, the Western “analysts”, or at least the open source ones, got it wrong. They were fussing about the invented “Battle of Kiev” and all the rest of the nonsense. But there must be competent analysts buried somewhere in the Pentagon and they’d have known that from those early days on the military war was irretrievably lost.

      The sanctions war – those “Sanctions from Hell” that we thought would break the Russians – lost also. There were enough Fed officials scrambling around Washington warning against that sanctions war before it kicked off; and they’d certainly have known early on that the sanctions had not only not brought Russia to its knees, but was in a fair way to doing just that to Europe.

      That being the case, why did our politicians keep the Ukrainians on the rack for a further two disastrous years? We know the thinking in Washington and Berlin/Brussels behind this failed venture. But the reasons why they forced it on, in spite of the clearest evidence that it had failed in the first few days of the SMO and the equally clear evidence that the sanctions war was a bust, remain unclear.

      Headless chickens, unable to back out of a failed venture? Or politicians looking to find some way out of the mess without losing face? Or looking towards a Cold War II end game. I wish it were possible to ask these strutting pygmies in Washington and Berlin/Brussels what they thought they were up to, as they casually steered the hapless Ukrainians on to half a million casualties and the loss of their country.

      • TTG says:


        I’m only halfway through that Martyanov interview. I’m enjoying it, but haven’t heard any revelations yet. Yes, Ukrainian brigades are but a shadow of themselves. The same applies to the Russian units. I’d be surprised if units are much more than 50% of their full strength. It’s not that unusual. My rifle platoon was 25 strong while the full TO&E called for 44. Both sides are now using much smaller assault forces not just due to this depletion but also due to required changes in tactics to address the threat of drones.

        The description of Russian doctrine was clear and useful to anyone not familiar with military doctrine. It’s not really different from Soviet era doctrine or our doctrine for that matter.

        I look forward to listening to the rest of the interview.

        I see you’ve fully bought into the Kremlin line that they were forced to launch this invasion. Very similar to the explanation offered by Putin in his latest interview claiming that Poland started WWII by forcing hitler to invade because she wouldn’t give in to all Hitler’s demands. That’s some weird-assed logic there.

        • English Outsider says:

          That’s not so much the Kremlin line as my line, TTG. It’s the line I took early ’22. If the Kiev forces had got into the Donbass there’d have been hell to pay. That’s as far as I look. It is for me the sole justification of the SMO.

          Of course, had the Kiev forces got into the Donbass Putin and his team would be history. The Russians would never have forgiven Putin for letting that happen. Then the hard men would have come in and there’d have been a real war. But that’s not the main consideration as far as justification is concerned. Stopping a recurrence of the post-Maidan atrocities in the Donbass was.

          Is it the Kremlin line? A bit. A few remarks dropped by Putin at the start, particularly that interview with the airwomen, showed that. But he and Lavrov don’t emphasise it much. That’s because, having been pushed this far, they’re now after bigger game than only ensuring the safety of the Donbass. When the guns started to thunder across the LoC we were in reality giving Putin carte blanche to pursue that bigger game.

          They’re now after neutralising the entirety of Ukraine so that we can’t go in there, or into any part of it, and use it as a means of over-extending and unbalancing Russia. We’re playing into the Russians’ hands on that – every shell that falls on Donetsk or Belgorod, every stunt we assist our proxies to pull inside Russia, every long range missile we give or might give in the future, is us giving the Russians licence to neutralise the country right up to the NATO border.

          We’re forcing the Russians to neutralise remnant Ukraine because if they don’t we’ll make sure it’ll remain a permanent running sore on their Western borders. In Sleboda’s words, “A zone of destabilisation and insecurity for the rest of our lives.”

          But I suspect it’ll go further yet than that. What are the Euros themselves but a permanent running sore? ABM’s and, in the future hypersonics, on bases pretty well next door to the most heavily populated regions of the RF? In your face military exercises that Shoigu’s going to have to waste an inordinate amount of manpower and resources to match? Is that what the Russians are to expect in perpetuity?

          It’s just possible the US might become tired of playing sugar daddy to those pursuing their ancient tribal animosities in the snake pit of a continent that Europe has become. So the US might back off to an extent. But the Euros won’t. All talk incessantly of the destabilisation efforts of the CIA in and around the RF. All ignore the fact that many of the European countries are equally active in that field.

          And as far as I can judge gut Russophobia is prevalent across most of the continent. Or at least right across most of Northern Europe. There is going to be no kiss and make up after all this is over, not between the Russians and the Euros.

          So what was in my eyes the justification for the SMO – protecting the Donbass – has now ballooned out of all proportion. And protecting the Donbass is no longer the Kremlin line. Putting an end to the “Ukrainian nuisance” for good is where they’re at right now. Putting an end to the “European nuisance” will also be in their minds. Those 2021 European Security Demands are still on the table and for the Russians they will remain so.


          Though I’m not being entirely honest with you in professing “my line” to be so, TTG. True, I don’t like to see what the Donbass had to endure for eight years and I didn’t want to see them enduring more of it. But atrocities occur all over the world and always will. What special business of mine are these particular atrocities?

          They are my business because my own government is party to and partially responsible for those atrocities. That, for me, is the shame of this affair and why I cannot go along with it.

          There is also the question of what we have done to Ukraine. In these mindless geopolitical games that we allow and sometimes encourage our governments to play, we have destroyed what could have been a viable country. Is that something for any of us to look back on with pride?

          • TTG says:


            I shared your concern about the Donbas rebels when this all kicked off. Those Pravy Sektor, Svoboda, Azov and similar militia boys were out for blood and had no real checks on their actions. But those days are long gone. The bigger threat to the original rebel heroes became their own crooked compatriots. If Putin was truly concerned about the DNR and LNR, he could easily have easily move his troops into those territories up to the line of contact and escaped the consequences of their all out invasion. If you remember, even Biden let slip that Putin could do something that he would not consider an invasion. Putin could have retained his military’s reputation, avoided all those losses and probably most of the sanctions and been one step closer to his goal of controlling Ukraine. It might have worked. I guess he’s getting too old to be patient.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          You’re a tougher man than me to sit through that interview. I find Martyanov to be an insufferable bloviating ass; always on about the amazing Russians as 4D chess players and superior in every way. Worse, he hates America, though he lives here. He should go back to Russia.

          He is demonstrably wrong about Russian 4D chess playing. That said, Russia will most likely prevail in Ukraine. Then Martyanov will proclaim that it all went exactly according to the masterful plan, with lots of backfilling and revision of history.

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            You’d be surprised to see what kind of encounters I’ve experienced with various Russians all for the sake of God and country. That includes several Martyanov types. Still, I enjoyed the vast majority of them. Yes, I also think Martyanov is a bloviating apologist chock full of Kremlin bullshit, but there’s still something about him that I find amusing and sometimes enlightening.

          • English Outsider says:

            Do have another think, Eric. Martyanov loves America, loves Americans, but is scathingly contemptuous of the Beltway crowd.

            Transferring that to the English scene, that’s exactly how I feel here! I don’t find myself in that much of a minority. We are not well governed in the West.

            You’ll see above a difference of opinion on who’s in the right in Ukraine. But if we set that difference on one side we do have to agree that the Western leaders have screwed up in this affair in every possible way. Can give you chapter and verse on that. Never seen such a crowd of losers.

            What Putin said of the German administration can be said right across the board. Looking at the Western leaders generally, these are “highly incompetent” people. What are my lot doing, as but one example, when they can’t get their boats out of port and provide our armed forces, we’re told, with largely inadequate equipment.

            ” Conclusion

            This report reveals a woeful story of bureaucratic procrastination, military indecision, financial mismanagement and general ineptitude, which have continually bedevilled attempts to properly re-equip the British Army over the last two decades. Even on the MoD’s own current plans (but subject to the Integrated Review), we are still some four years away from even being able to field a “warfighting division”, which, itself, would now be hopelessly under-equipped and denuded of even a third combat brigade.

            Were the British Army to have to fight a peer adversary—a euphemism for Russia—in Eastern Europe in the next few years, whilst our soldiers would undoubtedly remain amongst the finest in the world, they would, disgracefully, be forced to go into battle in a combination of obsolescent or even obsolete armoured vehicles, most of them at least 30 years old or more, with poor mechanical reliability, very heavily outgunned by more modern missile and artillery systems and chronically lacking in adequate air defence. They would have only a handful of long-delayed, new generation vehicles, gradually trickling into the inventory, to replace them.”


            As for Ukraine, I don’t take my lead from any American commentators though you have some very fine ones. I take it from a first class soldier at the top of his profession, General Lord Richards. He stated in terms early on that he feared we were doing in Ukraine what we had done in Syria. Sending our proxies into battle without giving them anything like the support they needed.

            He was dead right. Never mind what the Russians feel about us. I doubt the Ukrainians love us much either now.


            On the vexed question of whether Ukraine is dominated by neo-Nazi types, I gave a few instances here:-



            A closer look here:-


            Seems to be taken mainly from a Harvard publication. From memory, I remember some academics at Stanford looking into the subject of modern neo-Nazism in Ukraine with particular reference to the international reach of the Azov. The literature on the subject in America alone is extensive and until 2022 there were also numerous articles on the subject in the popular press.

            One does not have to agree with the conclusion – I don’t! – to see that the characters we installed in power in 2014, and who have since extended their power and influence, are not people we should be backing as we are.

          • wiz says:


            The thing Martyanov loves above all else is the sound of his own voice.
            Like Eric said, the guy is an insufferable bag of hot air, always droning about how the US military professionals know nothing about “real” war.
            I’ve tried to overcome my intense dislike of him to see if he actually says something interesting but I found it to be not worth the effort.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          Yes, a Russian agent would be critical of the beltway crowd. His sowing of discontent and, ultimately, psychological alliance with Russia in the US population would begin with something fairly reasonable that many of us can mostly agree on, like the beltway. That is the seduction.

          Notice the comment sections in spaces that carry Martyanov’s message. All hateful, rabidly anti-American to the point of actually openly hoping the destruction of my country. That is who Martyanov panders to. That is the ultimate objective of his mission.

          When I criticize the beltway it is because I want my country to be better and to live closer to its ideals. When he does it, it is to result in Russia being seen in a favorable light and turn the US population against itself.

          Is Russia to be viewed favorably? Are the Russians superior? Well, they can’t seem to readily defeat the beltway backed Ukrainian military that Martyanov scoffs at for being so incompetent. Russia has been at it for two years with no end in sight. So apparently the Russians suffer from ample endemic problems themselves and/or the USA isn’t as incompetent as Martyanov deems it to be. That should be obvious to any objective thinker. However, Martyanov and his subversive friends, like LJ, can’t admit it. Rather, they create all manner of ridiculous excuses and claim that the war is actually going exactly as Russia wants it to and anyone who can’t understand that “fact” is a moron American.

          As with most things, I strongly suspect the truth of all of this is somewhere in the middle. For what it’s worth, I call out TTG and Leith, et al when they over emphasize anti-Russian/pro-Ukraine stories. But I know those guys are real Americans who want the best for our country. We may sometimes disagree on what is best and/or how to get there, but I know their hearts are in the right place. Not so much with Martyanov.

          • English Outsider says:

            Eric – I’m afraid that makes me the ultimate “moron Englishman”. I was saying before February 2022 that the sanctions war would be a dead loss, and soon after that I was asserting that our unfortunate proxies would get hammered.

            After I’d been saying that for a few months I came across that British General I mentioned above and found he’d been saying much the same since the beginning. But that confirmation, though welcome, wasn’t really needed. You don’t need to be a mechanical engineer to know that a truck against a bicycle can only end one way. This war was a lost war lost from February 21st 2022 on and the only mystery is why we kept our proxies at it for so long.

            So in defending Andrei Martyanov, Colonel Macgregor, Larry Johnson, Ray McGovern and a host of other superb American commentators I’m really,, though I don’t have their depth of knowledge or anything like, defending myself.

            In saying for so long that this is neither a just war nor a winnable one I’ve been called traitor, Kremlin agent, anti-English or Russian dupe. If it’s all those things to state the obvious then I am all those things. This war was never going to be won and our politicians should never have started it. And as stated clearly above, the Russians have played a blinder in the way they’ve gone about it from the start and our people have made just about every mistake you could imagine and even a few you can’t.

            Now, where’s that firing squad. Tell ’em I don’t like being kept waiting.

            Second thoughts, tell the lads to take their time if they like.

          • TTG says:


            You’re cheering for the success of a war of naked aggression or, more likely, you’ve convinced yourself that the Russians must inevitably succeed in their war of naked aggression. The later would be understandable. Don’t you think the Ukrainians would resist this invasion on their own? You assume they are only resisting because we directed them to do so as our proxies. Granted our support is allowing them to resist far beyond expectations, but they would continue to resist just like the Baltics resisted until they finally regained their freedom. We never gave them anything except empty words of encouragement for decades and yet they resisted.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Feh, countries get invaded and sometimes the invader wins.

            You’re clearly not a moron. You have common sense; same as I do. We saw through the ISW/neocon BS. That does not make us one with Martyanov, LJ, Ritter and the likes; all of whom have a deeper agenda.

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