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MOSCOW PROTESTS. Whatever might have been the reason for the original protests, they've now gone full provocation. How to make a photogenic riot: 1) ask for a demo permit 2) refuse it 3) move to the main drag 4) invite cameras. (Is there any country that allows protests anywhere, anytime? Not USA, not Canada, not UK and certainly not France.) This impresses Western pundits – Putin's frightened! but not Muscovites, who support the authorities. Why? Because they've seen the movie before: the regime changers are running out of ideas. Another sign it's a colour revolution attempt is the creation of a poster girl – just like Bana of Aleppo and I am Ukrainian. (Venezuela too). Moscow's Ms Deeds confronts Evil; the hero facing down the tank (Click on the link: it's not what you're expecting). Not such striking images as these from France, or of France's poster man, but they will have to do. And – another tired trope – Navalniy was poisoned, but not very effectively. So what's the point? Distract attention from Gillets jaunes (Week 38); but who was covering that? Last chance to use the tattered playbook before Trump & Co crush the Russia-interference lie and bring the Deep State down? (Well, one can dream). Force of habit? Seizing an opportunity? Whatever, it's not working very well.

NEW WEAPON. Video of a test flight of a stealth RPV named Okhotnik (hunter).

GOLD. Still buying it, now 2.3 tonnes; and the bet is paying off as gold prices rise. Meanwhile, Russia's US treasury holdings are down to $12 billion USD from nearly $100 billion 12 years ago.

RUSSIA IS FINISHED! Again. Just as well – it doesn't have a "better nature". And they tell us that Russia's the one spewing out the we-they stuff.

ATLANTIC COUNCIL. The Procurator-General named it an undesirable organisation.

FOREST FIRES. Big, but not as big as all that.

INF. INF Treaty is dead. If Trump thought he could include China, he's wrong – Beijing is not interested. Three of the four arms-control treaties left us are gone, all killed by Washington although Russia was blamed of course. But Putin & Co saw it coming and their answers are already here: whatever Washington may think it can do, it's been checkmated: MAD returns. As to nearby missiles, Moscow's got that covered too: Tsirkon on a submarine off the US coast.

RUSSIA/CHINA. The NYT had an absurd editorial chiding Trump for not doing enough to split Moscow away from Beijing. Too late, that ship has sailed. I'd change the illustration – the ship is over the horizon.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. A Pew poll shows 65% of Democrats and 35% of Republicans see "Russia's power and influence" as a "major threat". I would say that the 30-point difference is Muellermania and the lie that Russia hacked the DNC computers. A poll by Gallup, on the other hand, shows concerns about Russia haven't registered all year. A CNN poll (p12) likewise shows Russia's nowhere. So it's only a big concern to Democrats and only when they're asked about it. Interesting. Meanwhile, Tulsi Gabbard, pretty mainstream on most issues, dares to criticise the endless wars: she's a Putinassadbot! Full attack!

THE "FAKE NEWS" FAKE. An article describes how Finland is "winning the war on fake news" (all from Russia of course) by getting students to take their "laptops and cell phones to investigate their chosen topics". This could easily backfire: what would a reasonably intelligent child think when presented with, say, both the BBC coverage of Skripal and Rob Slane's? Not much to the BBC's benefit, I suspect. They sure don't want them to start wondering what happened to Kerry's we saw the whole thing or any of the other tripe they're supposed to take on faith. Best just to train them to love Big Brother and understand that what BB says is true news and be done with it.

MH17. French reporter reveals that there are still many parts aircraft parts and human remains at the site. Also shows photo of what look a lot like bullet holes. Malaysia expresses more criticism of JIT. UKRAINE. "Ukraine is turning to the playbook that helped rebuild the continent’s ex-communist wing back in the 1990s." Well, maybe in Poland or the Czech Republic, but in the other places it was pretty disastrous. Especially in places – like Ukraine – with deeply embedded corruption. Come to think of it, it was a disaster in Ukraine in the 1990s too. Time to re-read Collision and Collusion.

HISTORY. Only a couple of years ago I learned that Poland (1934) had signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler's Germany. Yesterday, thanks to this, I learned that Estonia (1939) and Latvia (1939) did too. Lots of countries taken in by Hitler, eh? Some thought to buy the package, others thought to buy time. (BTW Finnish "fake news" mavens, don't let your students discover that the USSR was not the only one; that could lead to questions and questions are always doubleplusungood.)

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40 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 8 AUGUST 2019 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. Tom Wonacott says:

    Mr. Armstrong

    “….French reporter reveals that there are still many parts aircraft parts and human remains at the site. Also shows photo of what look a lot like bullet holes……”

    Do you think after four years that the MH17 crash site might have been compromised? Even Russia doesn’t believe another plane shot down MH17 – although they went with the SU-25 theory until it was “widely discredited”. I lost count of the amount of Russian lies on MH17. It most certainly exceeds the amount of lies on even the Skripal assassination attempt.
    Between the JIT, Bellingcat and Boris Nemtsov (“Putin. War”), it’s one of the more clear-cut cases to solve. Of course Russia isn’t going to admit the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade traveled with the missile into Eastern Ukraine. Russia doesn’t admit they invaded Eastern Ukraine (twice) or they supply weapons to the separatists or that Wagner works on behalf of the Russian government in Ukraine. Hell, the entire war is run from Moscow.

  2. JamesT says:

    That CBC article is a real beauty, eh. No mention of the fact that Navalny organized white supremecist marches. No photos of Eduard Limonov’s followers, draped in Nazi iconography, giving him the Hitler salute. (Limonov was/is The Other Russia.) Nope – according the CBC, all of the far right nationalism in Russia is due to Putin.
    I feel like a character in a George Orwell novel.

  3. This is the last of your comments I will approve. You’re just a polite troll with a paste and repeat key. Goodbye

  4. A very interesting account of the protests here. The Russian authorities are getting a lot smarter and I had not thought to connect them with Huntsman’s departure.

  5. Christian J Chuba says:

    One of the oldest tricks in the book, plan your rally at the same time as a music festival and then let the western MSM double the size of the music festival and claim they are all protesters. We are dumb as dirt to fall for this.
    I read the first part of the link and found the authorities using detention to lookup the criminal records (including liens and draft dodging) an interesting way to discourage protesters for hirs. I wonder if Russia is sharing what they have learned about Color Revolutions with China. If so then that would be yet another common bond that we setup.

  6. I would be very surprised indeed if Beijing and Moscow and others were not coordinating responses and so forth. One of the big learning experiences I think were the Crimean Berkut spreading the Maidan lessons. see, for example here from about 26:30
    I remember, but can’t now find, another video (although it may be somewhere on the above) with a commentator taking the observer through a demo in Sinferopol or some place pointing out the organisers and conductors of the protest (all wearing red shirts as I recall) and strategically placed.
    They’ve learned alright.

  7. LeaNder says:

    highly recommended, admittedly from a rather subjective perspective, helped me to to not bother about a train connection delay of more then an hour. Not sure if already available in print. Definitively available as ebook.
    The Russia Anxiety, Mark B. Smith
    The fear of Russia and Russians over the centuries and realms
    Concering the present in the first chapter, just move beyond it. …

  8. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Thanks, Patrick. Very illuminating. The English usage of the author is a bit rough, but an extremely damning account of real interference in internal affairs of other nations.

  9. jjc says:

    The perception management efforts are impressive and effective. The protests in Moscow do not have to have any effect in shaping anything to do with domestic politics there, as their efficacy is in support of a narrative which recycles through the west’s media. For example, a Reuters story today on the opinions of Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister can include this:
    “His comments come as Russia detained over 1,000 people over the weekend during protests demanding free elections. The European Union and Poland have condemned police brutality in the protests.”

  10. CK says:

    When the Byzantine empire fell, Russia was supposed to become the third Rome.
    When the Revolution succeeded, Russia was supposed to become the second Judea.
    When Stalin dropped his atom bomb, Russia became the First Enemy.
    Maybe someday it will be just Russia

  11. Nine years ago I thought we were already at that point. Wrong again. Underestimated the power and determination of the war party.

  12. TI says:

    “BTW Finnish “fake news” mavens, don’t let your students discover that the USSR was not the only one”
    The Molotov-Ribbentropp non-aggression pact was the only one that contained a secret protocol dividing Eastern Europe into spheres of influence. The Soviet Union subsequently annexed the Baltic states and Eastern Poland, with thousands being executed by the NKVD and even more deported to the interior of the Soviet Union. Comparing Molotov-Ribbentropp and its consequences with the German-Polish non-aggression pact of 1934 (which really was nothing more than a non-aggression pact) is seriously misleading.
    It’s true that Russia is often unfairly demonized today, but Russians and Russophiles are doing their cause no favours by such revisionist attempts to explain away Soviet crimes.

  13. Nonetheless it is true that that was Stalin’s Plan B. A deal with France and the UK was his Plan A.

  14. TI says:

    Why should Britain and France have trusted Stalin’s Soviet Union? Before WW2 the Bolsheviks had a lot more blood on their hands than the German Nazis (hundreds of thousands, millions, if one counts the famines, vs. a few thousand killed by the Nazis). There was also a long history of attempts at subversion and espionage against Western powers by the Soviet Union.
    It seems very misguided to me to seek improved relations with today’s Russia by trying to whitewash Stalin’s regime. The argument should rather be that contemporary Russia isn’t the Soviet Union, let alone its Stalinist version, anymore.

  15. 2. Stalin had just wiped out his best officers so what’s his offer worth anyway?
    3. Soviet Army’s just a bunch of peasants with pitchforks.
    4. Wouldn’t it be nice if Hitler and Stalin fought each other to the death?
    5. Poland’s afraid that if they get in, they’ll never leave.
    6. Poland’s got a deal with Hitler, it’s OK.
    7. Maybe something will turn up…
    And so on. And so it never happened. But what if it had?
    Nobody is whitewashing anybody; this is the historical reality.

  16. johnf says:

    From memory I think Poland and Hungary also helped Hitler in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia.

  17. d74 says:

    It may be worth noting the reasons why the Brit and French Staffs sabotaged military negotiations with the Soviets ( Marshal Voroshilov):
    A- “2 Stalin had just wiped out his best officers so what’s his offer worth anyway? ”
    B- “3 Soviet Army’s just a bunch of peasants with pitchforks. ” ( the proof: they failed in front of tiny Finland a few months later.)
    C- An allied war with the Soviets, won or lost, will bring communism to the participating countries (GB and Fr) and to Europe.
    The fear of their own weakness ( GB and Fr) was decisive.
    The Brit had sent Admiral Plunkett, courteous, cold and ‘slow’. The French had sent General Doumenc, a supporter of this alliance. Very intelligent, very active and lucid. He was convinced of the (future) value of the Soviet steamroller. Looked like a little frog with big ears!
    Negotiations stumbled over Poland’s refusal to allow the Soviets to cross Poland to reach the Germans, to the relief of everyone. The French made some efforts to bend the Poles, but without success. A Polish man said: With the Germans Poland loses its body, with the Russians it loses its soul… Polish romanticism made a Frenchman say: “Show a abyss to a Pole, immediately he throws himself into it.»

  18. Martin Oline says:

    I found something interesting this morning regarding the nuclear powered missiles of Russia. It may be somewhat off-topic, but I am putting it here as it involves Russia.

  19. Seamus Padraig says:

    Yup. Whether it’s Russia or Iran, Europe always bears the brunt of these failed régime-change plots hatched in Washington, and they’re finally starting to wise up.

  20. the Bolsheviks had a lot more blood on their hands than the German Nazis (hundreds of thousands, millions, if one counts the famines, vs. a few thousand killed by the Nazis)
    Another victim of Solzhenitsyn’s “history of Russia”? I am sure you are a troll but in case you are not–find Krivosheev’s books, I promise you–you will be surprised. Per GULAG–read Zemskov.

  21. TI says:

    iirc there were about 700 000 executions in 1937/38 alone; worst thing the Nazis did before September 1939 was probably Kristallnacht when several hundred Jews were killed. It’s true that some of the claims made during the Cold war by Robert Conquest etc. have been shown to be much too high. But Stalin’s Soviet Union was still a totalitarian dictatorship and British conservatives were 100% correct to distrust it.
    This isn’t meant btw to trivialize the suffering and sacrifice of Russians and other Soviet peoples during WW2. But trying to pretend Stalin’s regime wasn’t profoundly abnormal isn’t convincing imo.
    As I wrote before, Russians and Russophiles are doing their cause no favour by trying to deny this history, it repels even people who might otherwise be sympathetic to some at least of Russia’s grievances.

  22. irc there were about 700 000 executions in 1937/38 alone
    No, there were not. From 1923 through 1953 through the so called GULAG system by different estimates 3.8 to 4.1 million people went through. Around 800, 000 have been executed throughout those 30 years. 1937-38 saw higher levels of executions. Of major note is the fact that these numbers are related to ALL prisoners among which larger part were your run-of-the-mill criminals, from bandits to thieves. All numbers are (confirmed today) from Prosecutor General Rudenko to Khrushchev on the eve of the XX party Congress. Since then thousands of studies have been conducted–numbers didn’t change.
    P.S. Conquest is not a historian–he is propagandist and not a very bright one, I may say.

  23. “Mysterious isotope power source” is as old news as I am. E.g. power sources used in providing operations of border guards infrastructure, including electric fences and surveillance systems have been used since 1960s. Isotope power sources could be found on a variety of military technology both in Russia and elsewhere. The Drive is a collection of fanboys who write for fanboys about cewl sexy military toys while having zero expertise in those, especially Russian ones. The fact that they may invite couple of Afghan or Iraq vets to write for them doesn’t change the fact that…well…they are rumor and click bait mill. They have zero expertise.

  24. rkka says:

    Ah, someone else who’s still upset that the Nazis were prevented from conquering all of Poland & occupying the Baltics in 1939.
    During the August 1939 Anglo-French-Soviet staff talks in Moscow, the head of the British delegation estimated that If Poland did not have Soviet assistance when the Germans attacked, Poland would only be able to offer 2 weeks of effective resistance.
    That was an extremely accurate estimate. By 15 September, Guderian’s panzergroup was at Brest, and Kleist’s panzer group was on the outskirts of Lvov. Both were over the demarcation line. The Polish army had been cut into 3 groups, incapable of acting in mutual support. The Polish army had suffered 50% casualties, the Germans 2%.
    In August 1939, the Polish gvt had a choice:
    1) Prompt and utter defeat & conquest by Nazi Germany
    2) Accept Soviet assistance.
    The Polish gvt decided not to accept Soviet assistance, and so the Soviet gvt decided to allow Herr Ribbentrop to visit.

  25. rkka says:

    “Why should Britain and France have trusted Stalin’s Soviet Union?”
    As a glance at a map will show, only the USSR could promptly provide Poland immediate military assistance on a scale to significantly delay the total conquest of Poland my Nazi Germany.
    “There was also a long history of attempts at subversion and espionage against Western powers by the Soviet Union.”
    One of the reasons “The Trust” deception worked so well on Western intelligence services is that Western intelligence services were incessantly attempting subversion and espionage against the USSR. You’re just upset that those attempts constantly failed.
    “It seems very misguided to me to seek improved relations with today’s Russia by trying to whitewash Stalin’s regime.”
    “Stalin’s regime was incessantly lied about, especially regarding the M-R Pact, just as Putin’s government is today. The themes of the lies are similar.

  26. TI says:

    “Accept Soviet assistance.”
    Given that the Soviet Union proceeded to murder tens of thousands of elites in eastern Poland (ever heard of what happened to those Polish officers taken pow by the Soviets?) and deport even more to labor camps, it seems to me Poland’s leaders were proven absolutely correct that Stalin’s regime shouldn’t be trusted.
    Sure, the Nazis with their racial persecution killed many more Poles and actually wanted to destroy Poland as a nation (instead of “only” turning it into a Sovietized people’s republic). But that doesn’t make the reality of Soviet actions in 1939-1941 any less sordid.

  27. All,
    It has been argued in this discussion that ‘Stalin’s Soviet Union was still a totalitarian dictatorship and British conservatives were 100% correct to distrust it’; also that ‘the Brit and French Staffs sabotaged military negotiations with the Soviets’.
    It was not the British military who sabotaged the negotiations. From a useful short summary on the British ‘Spartacus Educational’ site, explaining the way the debate in Britain changed after the German occupation of the rump of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 rendered central premises of the ‘appeasement’ strategy incredible:
    ‘The chiefs of staff supported the idea of an Anglo-Soviet alliance. On 16th May, Ernle Chatfield, 1st Baron Chatfield, Minister for Coordination of Defence [he was an Admiral – DH], strongly urged the conclusion of an Anglo-Soviet agreement. He warned that if the Soviet Union stood aside in a European war it might “secure an advantage from the exhaustion of the western powers” and that if negotiations failed, a Nazi-Soviet agreement was a strong possibility. Chamberlain rejected the advice and said he preferred to “extend our guarantees” in eastern Europe rather than sign an Anglo-Soviet alliance.’
    (See .)
    The decision to send Admiral Drax, a relatively low level figure, by slow boat to Moscow with no authority to conclude an agreement was the responsibility of the civilians, and above all Chamberlain.
    Also quoted in the ‘Spartacus Educational’ piece is that figure’s justification of his position in a letter written to his sister shortly after the German occupation of the rump of Czechoslovakia:
    ‘I must confess to the most profound distrust of Russia. I have no belief whatever in her ability to maintain an effective offensive, even if she wanted to. And I distrust her motives, which seem to me to have little connection with our ideas of liberty, and to be concerned only with getting everyone else by the ears. Moreover, she is both hated and suspected by many of the smaller States, notably by Poland, Rumania and Finland.’
    The issues involved have contemporary resonance. So, the suggestion that Chamberlain was ‘100% right’ has been made in a succession of articles and books by the GRU defector Vladimir Rezun, who uses the pen name ‘Viktor Suvorov’ – likely, I think, to be a British intelligence asset.
    In addition to restating the view held by Chamberlain – partly because he accepted the advice of MI6, incompetent then as now – that Stalin had a long-term strategy aimed at finessing Germany and the Western powers into war, in his writings from 1985 onwards Rezun/‘Suvorov’ has attempted to defend Keitel’s defence at Nuremberg.
    According to this, ‘Operation Barbarossa’ only pre-empted an imminent attack by Stalin.
    Apologias for ‘appeasement’ are now, it appears, becoming fashionable in rather unexpected quarters. So Ron Unz, whose site I have often found extremely useful, appears to have swallowed Rezun/ ‘Suvorov’ hook, line and sinker.
    Meanwhile, according to Christopher Steele’s amanuensis, Luke Harding of the ‘Guardian’, in a December 2018 interview with that figure:
    ‘From his new home in the UK, Suvorov wrote one of the most influential books of the perestroika era, Icebreaker. When it was published in 1988, his argument was heretical: that Stalin had been secretly plotting an offensive against Hitler’s Germany, and would have invaded in September 1941, or at the latest by 1942. Stalin, he wrote, wanted Hitler to destroy democracy in Europe, in the manner of an icebreaker, thereby clearing the way for world communism. The book undermined the idea that the USSR was an innocent party, dragged into the second world war. Russian liberals supported Suvorov’s thesis; it now has broad acceptance among historians.’
    (See .)
    This is the reverse of the truth. Competent Western historians, in particular, those who actually have serious understanding of military strategy, do not agree with the kind of ‘liberals’ to whom people like Harding and Christopher Steele listen.
    A pre-eminent – if not the pre-eminent – American historian of the war in the East, Colonel David M. Glantz, published in 1998 a study entitled ‘Stumbling Colossus’, specifically devoted to demolishing Rezun/‘Suvorov.’
    Shortly before that figure produced the first version of his thesis, in 1985, the Israeli historian Gabriel Gorodetsky had published a pathbreaking study of the mission of Sir Stafford Cripps to Moscow in 1940-42, based upon deep familiarity with the English archival material.
    Greatly disturbed by the way that so many Russian intellectuals were swallowing apologias not just for Chamberlain but for Hitler, Gorodetsky spent the next decade and a half in detailed research designed to demolish these.
    Unsurprisingly, he was given access to Russian archives. This, combined with his use of writings and advice from competent Western military historians, including both Glantz and his Fort Leavenworth colleague Bruce W. Menning, produced an account which now actually does have ‘broad acceptance among historians.’
    (For a useful summary, and some relevant criticisms, see .)
    An interesting feature of this history is that, while it is clear that Stalin gravely miscalculated in the summer of 1941, it turns out that his suspicions of ‘Perfidious Albion’ were hardly without foundation.
    A difficulty he confronted was that it can be very difficult to know whether a given pattern of military preparations is an exercise in coercive diplomacy, or indicates that a decision to resort to war has been made. However, the appropriate courses of action may be diametrically opposed, according to which interpretation one adopts.
    It is now clear that, until the evidence from Bletchley Park pointed unequivocally to the latter conclusion, the British were pretending to the Russians that they believed Hitler was intending to attack, while actually thinking he was engaged in coercive diplomacy.
    As Gorodetsky brings out, one of the few dissenters from the conventional wisdom was the economic historian Michael Postan, then in charge of Russia at the Ministry of Economic Warfare. A Jewish refugee from Bender/Tighina, once part of the Imperial Russian province of Bessarabia, now of the breakaway Transnistria region, he was, rather obviously, not keen on Hitler, but he was also, to put it rather mildly, no friend of communism.
    As my late father was a pupil of his, I heard anecdotes about Postan’s views on communism when young. It was thus with a mixture of interest and amusement, that I read, in Gorodetsky’s earlier study, about his attempts to explain to rather stupid British officials, in the period between the Nazi-Soviet Pact and the onset of ‘Barbarossa’, that Stalin’s policy was motivated above all by fear of Germany.
    This, he pointed out, had resulted in ‘appeasement’ of Hitler, but there was no reason why this should be permanent – and it was imperative that Britain should not do anything that would jeopardise the possibility of a reversal.
    One then comes to an irony. In essence, Gorodetsky’s work is a restatement of the interpretation of Stalin’s policy which was developed, at the time, by the diplomats of the German Moscow Embassy.
    His account can usefully be complemented by that given in the 1981 memoir by its sometime official, Hans-Heinrich (Johnnie) Herwarth von Bittenfeld, entitled ‘Against Two Evils.’ (A good quality used copy of this extraordinarily fascinating, and also very readable, book can be purchased for $5, including postage.)
    As both Gorodetsky and Herwarth explain, the ‘house view’ of the Embassy was that, in essence, Trotsky was right: that Stalin was indeed betraying the Revolution, and, with judicious encouragement – what one might call ‘appeasement from strength’ – he could be encouraged to betray it some more.
    In essence, they thought that he was turning more and more into a ‘national socialist’ – and the spectacle of him killing or sending to the camps all the ‘international socialists’ he could lay his hands on was hardly a matter of great grief to them.
    Like Postan, and unlike Chamberlain, the German Moscow Embassy diplomats thought that Soviet policy was dominated by fear of Germany, and they also thought that creating this fear was dumb.
    Rather than pushing the Soviets into the arms of Britain and France, in the view of the then German Ambassador, Friedrich Werner, Count von der Schulenberg, the appropriate course of action for Germany was to include in the Anti-Comintern Pact the power against which it had been directed. Doing so would form an invulnerable ‘continental bloc’ of Germany, Italy, Japan and the Soviet Union.
    Something of this kind could easily have been the result of the preference of figures like Chamberlain for allowing their policy to be dictated by ‘distrust’, rather than serious analysis.
    Fortunately for them, Hitler chose to ignore the advice of the German Moscow Embassy diplomats, who told them that, while Stalin was, and was likely to remain, far too fearful to attack Germany, hopes of easy victory would mean ‘finis Germaniae.’
    One then comes to the ultimate irony. Without realising it, precisely those Western élites who have spent so much time screeching ‘Munich’ at every opportunity have pursued a policy towards a – no longer communist – Russia based upon precisely the same premises as that of Chamberlain.
    Just as the result of the earlier strategy was to push Stalin into the arms of the Germans, the result of the current one has been to push Putin into those of the Chinese.
    A ‘continental bloc’ is now, once again, a very real possibility. And there is, I think, not overmuch reason to be confident that we will be saved by Xi Jinping’s disregard of good advice, as we once were by Hitler’s.

  28. rkka says:

    Ok, so you believe that the Polish gvt was correct to reject Soviet assistance in August 1939.
    How then would the Nazis be prevented conquering all of Poland & occupying the Baltics when they attacked Poland in the late summer of 1939?

  29. TI says:

    ” And I distrust her motives, which seem to me to have little connection with our ideas of liberty, and to be concerned only with getting everyone else by the ears. Moreover, she is both hated and suspected by many of the smaller States, notably by Poland, Rumania and Finland”
    That was absolutely correct. It’s also true that Stalin hoped the “imperialist powers”, that is Britain/France and Germany, would bleed each other out in a WW1-style conflict, so the Soviet Union could intervene at an opportune moment. Obviously that turned out to be a grave miscalculation.
    Frankly, the apologias found here for Stalin and his regime are tiresome. There’s a lot to be said for the argument that the current conflict with Putin’s Russia is unneccessary, after all Russia today is probably as liberal in its domestic politics as never before in its history, and its foreign policy ambitions seems to be limited to holding on to some influence in its neighbourhood and preventing encirclement by NATO. The situation with Stalin’s Soviet Union was very different, there really were genuine and irreconcilable conflicts of interest with that system.

  30. You really have to update yourself on some historic facts. here is a quote from Correlli Barnett–you may Google who this tremendous British historian is. This is his view.

  31. It’s also true that Stalin hoped the “imperialist powers”, that is Britain/France and Germany, would bleed each other out in a WW1-style conflict, so the Soviet Union could intervene at an opportune moment. Obviously that turned out to be a grave miscalculation.
    Guess three times what Stalin wrote in 1930 about being smashed and being 50 years behind and trying to make it up in 10. You have a peculiar view of the history of Europe in XX century.
    and its foreign policy ambitions seems to be limited to holding on to some influence in its neighbourhood and preventing encirclement by NATO.
    Hm, isn’t it remarkably similar to…Stalin? You obviously forgot just a teeny-weeny fact that Russia is the only country (not even China) which can defeat the United States conventionally in eastern Europe and annihilate her completely in nuclear conflict. So, this little fact dictates, thus, not only similarities but gigantic strategic differences with pre WW II world. It also puts Russia squarely (as admitted by a variety of American professionals, no less) into the position of containment of NATO, which otherwise would have unleashed half-a-dozen new and disastrous wars.

  32. Thank you David for this, I learned a lot. Unfortunately none of the books you mention is in e-form and I rarely buy actual books any more. I read Icebreaker some time ago and asked Glantz what he thought of it; he dismissed it and that was enough for me (who would dare disagree on these subjects with David Galntz?)
    PS What I remember from AJP Taylor’s book, when I first heard about the negotiations, was the rather preposterous surname Plunkett-Ernle-Earl–Drax. Stuck in the tiny brain for 50 years now.

  33. rkka says:

    “t. It’s also true that Stalin hoped the “imperialist powers”, that is Britain/France and Germany, would bleed each other out in a WW1-style conflict, so the Soviet Union could intervene at an opportune moment.”
    His overwhelming preference was to ally with them, and together defeat the Slav-exterminating Nazis. Fortunately, he had a Plan B.
    “Obviously that turned out to be a grave miscalculation.”
    On the contrary. The Pact brought peace with Japan, German machine tools, BF109s & FW190s to test his new MiGs & Yaks against, 22 months of time, and much greater depth.
    An Op. Barbarossa starting 100km from Leningrad would have been far more catastrophic than the actual one was.

  34. rkka says:

    “and its foreign policy ambitions seems to be limited to holding on to some influence in its neighbourhood and preventing encirclement by NATO. The situation with Stalin’s Soviet Union was very different, there really were genuine and irreconcilable conflicts of interest with that system.”
    Stalin didn’t seem to think so.
    In the immediate postwar period, Stalin believed the main threat the USSR faced was a revived Germany in 15-20 years. He was concerned to keep the USSR’s favorable geopolitical position for facing that threat, and he was concerned to keep “The Grand Alliance” with the US and the British Empire together. During this period, he continued to refer to the US and British Empire as “our allies”
    It wasn’t until 1947 that he came to understand that the actual threat the USSR faced was a nuclear-armed Anglosphere determined on global dominance, and on the revival of Germany under its auspices.
    Michael MccGwire The Genesis of Soviet Threat Perceptions 1987
    It is an axiom of Western politics that the actions of the SovietUnion created the cold war. So entrenched is this judgment that itcarries a corollary with it: Soviet leaders must realize that theresistance of the West–the practice and philosophy of containment–isan inevitable result of their commitment to expansionism. It isdifficult in Western perspective to imagine that Soviet leaders couldseriously doubt this understanding of the past, however firmly theSoviets may deny it for the sake of public justification. The historical record suggests, however, that the Soviet Union neither intended nor anticipated the intense rivalry that developed.In the wake of World War II, Stalin saw a resurgent Germany in fifteen to twenty years time as the principal threat to Russia, and he soughtto preserve a collaborative relationship with the United States as ameans of containing the threat. It was not until 1947-48 that he acknowledged belatedly and reluctantly that the primary threat was anideologically hostile coalition led by the Anglo-Saxon powers. This evolution of Soviet perspectives very likely has strong contemporary resonance. In 1969 the Soviets again committed themselves to a policy of collaborating with the United States and in 1983 they apparently concluded that such a policy was not feasible. Whether they have also acknowledged, as Stalin did, that the United States poses an imminent danger and whether they will in some measure repeat Stalin’s highly belligerent reactions are questions of major significance, and they require cool-headed assessment. However firmly we may reject the ultimate validity of Soviet perspectives, it is distinctly dangerous to misperceive what they in fact are.

  35. johnf says:

    I think there are other contemporary parallels to those you’ve explained.
    To Brexit or not to Brexit.
    Just as in the late 30’s the London-based British Elite – political, financial and media – were overwelmingly in favour of Appeasement with the full backing of a deeply incompetent MI6, so today that same metropolitan elite – political, financial and media – again with the backing of a deeply incompetent MI6, are deeply opposed to Brexit.
    Pro-Brexiteers, like the anti-appeasers, tended to be provincial and working class – hence the Bridgwater by-election etc, or anarchic Tories. Sir Joseph Ball (much more competently) played the part of Alistair Campbell.
    Fear was at the root of the elite appeasers (Britain’s not up for to it any longer). It was this same fear which got us into the Common Market in the first place and which is now fighting so desperately to keep us in. (|Always aided by the deep incompetence of MI6).
    We are approaching new Norway Debates. Will Jeremy Corbyn reprise Clement Attlee’s role?

  36. An interesting comparison. Though Great Britain was regarded as a World Power back then so the fumbling around at the start of WW2 did matter. Not sure that what our Great Leaders get up to now is that big a deal. Whatever one thinks of Chamberlain he was rather more heavy duty than May, as Churchill than Johnson.
    As I expect you have I’ve followed the discussion above with great interest. The history one had long regarded as settled science being challenged on all hands. As with the French, the then British position must have been confused by much of our upper and middle classes quite liking Hitler. Not, I think, because they were Blut and Boden enthusiasts, though there was a bit of that in a moderate sort of way, more because the Nazi/Fascist dispensation seemed to offer a way of keeping the working classes and their dangerous Red proclivities at bay. Straight class war. And that’s how many in the working class saw it – enthusiasm for industrial production for the British war effort was reckoned to have increased considerably after we found ourselves fighting on the same side as the Soviet Union.

  37. I’ve suggested below in a reply to “Johnf” that the class war also contributed to Chamberlain’s reluctance to ally in good time with Stalin. Looking at the popular novels of the early 20th Century straightforward loathing of the Reds, and often of the Jews as well as associated with the Reds, is very apparent.
    Add to this the hangover from the “Great Game” nonsense, that I recollect you have mentioned before, and there was already a potent brew of Russophobia to back up the considerations you mention above.

  38. ben says:

    Today I am the first time here, well done on banning the troll.

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