Wars and Rumors of Wars, part two

Jaded by the disinformation of disinformation by most mainslime media outlets, many Americans, including many fully believing Catholics, have turned to various alternative outlets for news and commentary, including those that are known as conspiracy websites, some of which are run by militant anti-Catholics who are intent on sensationalism without nuance to generate more and more clicks. Some of these alternative news outlets claim to have “inside information” that they do not, baiting viewers for more of what purports to be the “truth” on a daily basis to the extent that many of those viewers lose any capacity of being able to question the information that is presented to them on these sites just as those who permit their immortal souls to be propagandized by the mainslime media outlets long ago surrendered their reasoning process to the naturalist talking heads of one stripe or another.

We know that, quite unlike what the conciliar revolutionaries contend, the entirety of the truths of Divine Revelation have been deposited by Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in only one place, the Holy Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church alone is the sole repository and infallible explicator of all that is contained in in Sacred Scripture and Sacred (Apostolic) Tradition.  In the secular realm, however, there is no one source of truth about politics and world events. We must use the reason that God has given us to sift out the wheat from the chaff, trying to use our sensus Catholicus at all times to make sense out of what is happening around us.

For the moment, however, it is my belief that Catholics should not be “rooting” for one side or another, no less projecting into the mind of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin a desire to adhere to the principles of the Just War Theory and a champion of the  Social Reign of Christ the King as 1.5 million Ukrainians flee their native land perhaps never to return and hundreds others lay dead from Russian bombardment of civilian residences. It is not to indemnify Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is a stooge of the National Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the World Economic Forum (of Klaus Schwab’s “Great Reset of Humanity”), of George Soros, and the moribund claque of globalist Eurosocialists in the European Union. to see what is happening now as a great and very avoidable tragedy and to pray for the only peace that matters: the peace of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as the fruit of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Pope Pius XII explained this peace as follows in his Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that is ready in many truly Catholic venues every First Friday:

Queen of the most holy Rosary, help of Christians, refuge of the human race, victorious in all the battles of God, we prostrate ourselves in supplication before thy throne, in the sure hope of obtaining mercy and of receiving grace and timely aid in our present calamities, not through any merits of our own on which we do not rely, but only through the immense goodness of thy mother’s Heart. In Thee and in thy Immaculate Heart, at this grave hour of human history, do we put our trust; to thee we consecrate ourselves, not only with all of Holy Church, which is the mystical body of thy Son Jesus, and which is suffering in so many of her members, being persecuted, but also with the whole world, torn by discords, agitated with the hatred, the victim of its own iniquities. Be thou moved by the sight of such material and moral degradation, such sorrows, such anguish, so many tormented souls in danger of eternal loss! Do thou, O Mother of mercy, obtain for us from God a Christ-like reconciliation of the nations, as well as those graces which can convert the souls of men in an instant, those graces which prepare the way and make certain the long desired coming of peace on earth. O Queen of peace, pray for us, and grant unto the world in the truth, the justice, and the charity of Christ. Above all, give us peace in our hearts, so that the kingdom of God, may spread it the tranquility of order. Accord thy protection to unbelievers and to all those who lie in the shadow of death; cause the Sun of Truth to rise upon them; may they enabled to join with us in repeating before the Saviour of the world: “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to men of good will.” Give peace to the nations that are separated us from error or discord, and in a special manner to those peoples who profess a singular devotion toward thee; bring them back to Christ’s one fold, under the one true Shepherd. Obtain full freedom for the holy Church of God; defend her from her enemies; check the ever-increasing torrent of immorality; arouse in the faithful a practical love of purity, a practical Christian life, and an apostolic zeal, so that the number of those who serve God may increase in merit and in number. Finally, even as the Church and all mankind were once consecrated to the Heart of thy Son Jesus, because He was for all those who put their hope in Him an inexhaustible source of victory and salvation, so in like manner do we consecrate ourselves forever to thee also and to thy Immaculate Heart, Of Mother us and Queen of the world; may thy love and patronage hasten the day when the kingdom of God shall be victorious and all the nations, at peace with God and with one another, shall call thee blessed and intone with thee, from the rising of the sun to its going down, the everlasting “Magnificat” of glory, of love, of gratitude to the Heart of Jesus in which we alone can find truth, life, and peace. (Pope Pius XII, Rescript from the Secretariat of State, November 17, 1942, document exhibited, November 19, 1942, The Raccolta: A Manual of Indulgences, Prayers and Devotions Enriched with Indulgences, approved by Pope Pius XII, May 30, 1951, and published in English by Benziger Brothers, New York, 1957, pp. 345-347.)

Peace. We must pray for the peace of Christ the King.

No matter the provocations of the Ukrainian government in the past eight years, it must be remembered that the Ukrainian people suffered much under Soviet Russian control for most of the period between 1919 and 1991, including the starvation of over ten million of our own co-religionists in Ukraine, whose history, though complicated and certainly intertwined with that of Russia, is its own. Noting that there are abuses in Ukraine, including unprovoked attacks upon native-born but Russian-speaking Ukrainian citizens by other Ukrainians, as there are everywhere because of the vagaries of fallen human nature, the wanton attacks on the infrastructure and on innocent civilians by the forces of the Russian Federation are immoral and entirely unjustified.

To view matters of armed conflict, though, we must be guided by the principles of the Just War Theory, which I summarized in part one of this commentary three days ago. A lot of Catholics are endeavoring to justify Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin’s massive military invasion of a sovereign nation, Ukraine, by making advertence to the Just War Theory.

Although I will address each of the arguments that some had advanced to me directly later in this very long commentary and, at the same time, will address the endless efforts of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has been responsible for needless bloodshed of its own in The Balkans (see Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine is Revenge for Kosovo), particularly NATO’s war in Kosovo (in support of Mohammedans, I might add), Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere in the world, to provoke the Russian Federation by seeking to expand to every country on its western and southwestern borders, I think that the best way to evaluate Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, a man who has ordered cold-blooded killings aplenty and who is seeking to silence of his invasion of Ukraine inside of Russia just as the governments of Western nations are cutting off all source of Russian news and information in their countries while even just venerable establishments as the Russian Tea Room in the Borough of Manhattan, New York, New York, are being boycotted even though they have nothing to do with the government of the Russian Federation, is to use a speech he delivered on February 24, 2022, in defense of his impending invasion of a sovereign nation, Ukraine. I will interject at various points to point out Putin’s cherry-picking of history and his notable lack of condemnation of Marxism-Leninism, under which the people of Russia, the republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the countries of Warsaw Pact nations were enslaved, oppressed and, in all too many instances, tortured and killed:

Citizens of Russia, friends,

I consider it necessary today to speak again about the tragic events in Donbass and the key aspects of ensuring the security of Russia.

I will begin with what I said in my address on February 21, 2022. I spoke about our biggest concerns and worries, and about the fundamental threats which irresponsible Western politicians created for Russia consistently, rudely and unceremoniously from year to year. I am referring to the eastward expansion of NATO, which is moving its military infrastructure ever closer to the Russian border.

It is a fact that over the past 30 years we have been patiently trying to come to an agreement with the leading NATO countries regarding the principles of equal and indivisible security in Europe. In response to our proposals, we invariably faced either cynical deception and lies or attempts at pressure and blackmail, while the North Atlantic alliance continued to expand despite our protests and concerns. Its military machine is moving and, as I said, is approaching our very border.

Why is this happening? Where did this insolent manner of talking down from the height of their exceptionalism, infallibility and all-permissiveness come from? What is the explanation for this contemptuous and disdainful attitude to our interests and absolutely legitimate demands?

Interjection Number One:

These are certainly very valid points, and they were very well stated. However, what Vladimir Putin does not understand nor can perhaps even admit is that the height of American “exceptionalism, infallibility and all-permissiveness” comes from the anti-Incarnational errors of the Judeo-Masonic civil state of Modernity. As noted in part one of this two-part series, those errors of Modernity, of course, were foreshadowed in large measure by the origins of the errors of Russia found in Russian Orthodoxy itself:

1. Denial of Papal Primacy, presaging the errors of Martin Luther and John Calvin and Thomas Cranmer, et al.

2. Denial of the Magisterial Authority of the Catholic Church, leaving doctrinal decisions in the hands of committees of bishops.

3. The subordination of the Orthodox Church to the civil state, presaging the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King and the separation of Church and State wrought by Martin Luther and cemented by the rise of Judeo-Masonry and other, inter-related forces of naturalism.

Obviously, the errors of Russian Orthodoxy helped to shape the nature of Russian government over the centuries, something that Greek Orthodoxy, finding itself immersed in the heart of Mohammedanism, could not do. Thus, Russian Orthodoxy helped to pave the way over the centuries for Protestantism and Freemasonry by means of its rejection of the Social Reign of Christ King as it must be exercised by the Catholic Church.

The principal error of Modernity, the rejection of the Incarnation as an absolute necessity in the right ordering of men and their nations, had its antecedent roots in Russia. The errors of Russia influenced, albeit indirectly at times and through many filters, the ideas of the so-called Enlightenment in the West. And the failure of those anti-Incarnational and, at times, anti-Theistic ideas to resolve social problems, which have their remote cause in Original Sin and their proximate causes in the Actual Sins of men, made possible the rise of all manner of utopian theories.

Vladimir Putin is a Russian nationalist, and thus cannot see that Russian Orthodox itself helped to pave the way for the Protestant Revolution’s overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King in the West, which is what created the modern civil state that sees itself as “exceptional,” “infallible,” and all-permissive” that is indeed a threat to the Russian Federation.

Subsequently, therefore, Western insolence about other parts of the world is an enduring feature of Protestant Anglo-Saxon and Judeo-Masonic culture that was denounced as follows by the late Dr. Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, who was imprisoned for twenty years for making a joke about the mass murder named Joseph Stalin (the memory of whose atrocities in Ukraine is still strong enough to unjustly and immorally inflame native-born Ukrainians against native-born Ukrainians who speak Russian), something that is ironic as Vladimir Putin himself is imposing on those who criticize his invasion of Ukraine and/or criticize his government (see Russian Law Threatens Journalists with Fifteen Years in Prison), in his commencement address, “A World Split Apart,” at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, June 6, 1978:

There is the concept of the Third World: thus, we already have three worlds. Undoubtedly, however, the number is even greater; we are just too far away to see. Any ancient deeply rooted autonomous culture, especially if it is spread on a wide part of the earth’s surface, constitutes an autonomous world, full of riddles and surprises to Western thinking. As a minimum, we must include in this category China, India, the Muslim world and Africa, if indeed we accept the approximation of viewing the latter two as compact units. For one thousand years Russia has belonged to such a category, although Western thinking systematically committed the mistake of denying its autonomous character and therefore never understood it, just as today the West does not understand Russia in communist captivity. It may be that in the past years Japan has increasingly become a distant part of the West, I am no judge here; but as to Israel, for instance, it seems to me that it stands apart from the Western world in that its state system is fundamentally linked to religion.

How short a time ago, relatively, the small new European world was easily seizing colonies everywhere, not only without anticipating any real resistance, but also usually despising any possible values in the conquered peoples’ approach to life. On the face of it, it was an overwhelming success, there were no geographic frontiers to it. Western society expanded in a triumph of human independence and power. And all of a sudden in the twentieth century came the discovery of its fragility and friability. We now see that the conquests proved to be short lived and precarious, and this in turn points to defects in the Western view of the world which led to these conquests. Relations with the former colonial world now have turned into their opposite and the Western world often goes to extremes of obsequiousness, but it is difficult yet to estimate the total size of the bill which former colonial countries will present to the West, and it is difficult to predict whether the surrender not only of its last colonies, but of everything it owns will be sufficient for the West to foot the bill.

But the blindness of superiority continues in spite of all and upholds the belief that vast regions everywhere on our planet should develop and mature to the level of present day Western systems which in theory are the best and in practice the most attractive. There is this belief that all those other worlds are only being temporarily prevented by wicked governments or by heavy crises or by their own barbarity or incomprehension from taking the way of Western pluralistic democracy and from adopting the Western way of life. Countries are judged on the merit of their progress in this direction. However, it is a conception which developed out of Western incomprehension of the essence of other worlds, out of the mistake of measuring them all with a Western yardstick. The real picture of our planet’s development is quite different. (Dr. Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, A World Split Apart. June 8, 1978.)

All right, give Vladimir Putin a “B+” for understanding the blindness of Western arrogance, noting that he fails to see how Russian Orthodoxy, which itself is heretical and schismatic, contributed to the rise of the very arrogant Western civil state whose alliances he views as imminent, if not existential, threats to the existence of the Russian Federation.

I now return to the text of Putin’s recent address:

The answer is simple. Everything is clear and obvious. In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union grew weaker and subsequently broke apart. That experience should serve as a good lesson for us, because it has shown us that the paralysis of power and will is the first step towards complete degradation and oblivion. We lost confidence for only one moment, but it was enough to disrupt the balance of forces in the world.

Interjection Number Two:

Vladimir Putin does not admit that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics fell apart because Communism is inherently evil. He considers the breakup of the Soviet Union to have been a disastrous turn of events.

Pope Pius XI explained the inherent evil nature of Communism in Divini Redemptoris, March 19, 1937:

See to it, Venerable Brethren, that the Faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived! Communism is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending their aid towards the triumph of Communism in their own country, will be the first to fall victims of their error. And the greater the antiquity and grandeur of the Christian civilization in the regions where Communism successfully penetrates, so much more devastating will be the hatred displayed by the godless. (Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, March 19, 1937.)

All Communist governments are evil and illegitimate. This includes all that exist today (Red China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, and Laos) and all that existed in the past, including the mothership itself, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (and the Vladimir Lenin’s murderous “provisional” government that existed from 1918 to 1922). Vladimir Putin does not accept this, of course. He not only has never condemned Communism, but he has also lamented its collapse:

If a communist-inspired, counterfeit Christianity is what the Kremlin wants, it even comes complete with its own “saint.” And in his comments, Putin literally equated putting the dead body of savage mass murderer Lenin on display in the heart of Moscow with certain Christian churches venerating their saints and martyrs. “Look, Lenin was put in a mausoleum. How is this different from the relics of saints for Orthodox Christians and just for Christians?” Putin asked, neglecting to mention that Christian saints served God and their fellow men while the bloodthirsty tyrant slaughtered his victims by the millions. “When they say that there’s no such tradition in Christianity, well, go to Athos and take a look, there are relics of the saints there, and we have holy relics here.”

But at least one major group celebrated Putin’s eerie comments claiming Communism and Christianity were practically one and the same, with RT reporting that the remarks were “music to their ears.” “I think these words of the president very effectively and reasonably smooth out the acute angles around the theme of the mausoleum,” said Deputy Chairman of the Duma Ivan Melnikov, who also serves as vice-chairman of the Communist Party. “Communists and all the leftist patriotic forces [in Russia] understand that communism is close to Christianity as much as the form of capitalism that exists in our country and our economy today is far from Christianity.”

Of course, it is not the first time Putin has made similar comments. In early 2016, the Russian leader claimed the “Moral Code of the Builder of Communism,” a dozen rules for Communist Party members that includes “intolerance to the enemies of communism,” were “wonderful ideas” that resemble the Bible in many ways. While he acknowledged that the actual implementation of the “wonderful ideas” was not exactly what had been promised, he expressed nostalgia for the Soviet days, revealing that he still kept his Communist Party membership card at home. Putin also described the apparent collapse of communism as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” He even admitted that he continues to like communist and socialist ideas “very much.”

While the strongman’s latest comments were widely ridiculed, there is an extreme danger inherent in equating Christianity with communism. On the one hand, depending on who hears it, the statement could normalize and legitimize the murderous “ideology” of communism by equating it with something good, Christianity. On the flip side, it could discredit Christianity in the hearts and minds of some people by associating faith in Christ and His moral teachings with a barbarous “ideology” responsible for over a hundred million murders, savage torture, concentration camps, the destruction of civilization, genocide, hatred, the brutal suppression of freedom, and myriad other evils. In Isaiah 5:20, the Bible warns of precisely such an error: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil.”  (Putin Calls Communism Very Similar to Christianity.)

Well, it might be unfair to Putin to say that he is a Communist as he is a Russian nationalist. However, he is still sympathetic to Communism and to the way in which his country had been organized under it.

This is the man with a just cause in Ukraine?

How is it in the name of any kind of justice to seek support from the murderous “People’s Republic of China”?

Wake up.

Vladimir Putin is not crusading for Christ the King and His true Church.

Wake up.

Pope Pius XI handled the old lie of Communism being similar to Christianity as follows:

We make this pronouncement: Whether considered as a doctrine, or an historical fact, or a movement, Socialism, if it remains truly Socialism, even after it has yielded to truth and justice on the points which we have mentioned, cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth.

118. For, according to Christian teaching, man, endowed with a social nature, is placed on this earth so that by leading a life in society and under an authority ordained of God[54] he may fully cultivate and develop all his faculties unto the praise and glory of his Creator; and that by faithfully fulfilling the duties of his craft or other calling he may obtain for himself temporal and at the same time eternal happiness. Socialism, on the other hand, wholly ignoring and indifferent to this sublime end of both man and society, affirms that human association has been instituted for the sake of material advantage alone.

119. Because of the fact that goods are produced more efficiently by a suitable division of labor than by the scattered efforts of individuals, socialists infer that economic activity, only the material ends of which enter into their thinking, ought of necessity to be carried on socially. Because of this necessity, they hold that men are obliged, with respect to the producing of goods, to surrender and subject themselves entirely to society. Indeed, possession of the greatest possible supply of things that serve the advantages of this life is considered of such great importance that the higher goods of man, liberty not excepted, must take a secondary place and even be sacrificed to the demands of the most efficient production of goods. This damage to human dignity, undergone in the “socialized” process of production, will be easily offset, they say, by the abundance of socially produced goods which will pour out in profusion to individuals to be used freely at their pleasure for comforts and cultural development. Society, therefore, as Socialism conceives it, can on the one hand neither exist nor be thought of without an obviously excessive use of force; on the other hand, it fosters a liberty no less false, since there is no place in it for true social authority, which rests not on temporal and material advantages but descends from God alone, the Creator and last end of all things.[55]

120. If Socialism, like all errors, contains some truth (which, moreover, the Supreme Pontiffs have never denied), it is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist. (Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, May 15, 1931.)

Vladimir Putin has never renounced socialism of any kind, no less communism, and it is obvious that he believes that there needs to be excessive force for society to exist, something that he has demonstrated by ordering the murder of numerous political opponents at home and by what is happening at this time in the killing of innocent human beings, the bombing of civilian residences that have forced so many to flee their native land, and his stated desire to eradicate the existence of the Ukrainian state.

The next part of Vladmir Putin’s address contains many incontestable truths:

As a result, the old treaties and agreements are no longer effective. Entreaties and requests do not help. Anything that does not suit the dominant state, the powers that be, is denounced as archaic, obsolete and useless. At the same time, everything it regards as useful is presented as the ultimate truth and forced on others regardless of the cost, abusively and by any means available. Those who refuse to comply are subjected to strong-arm tactics.

Interjection Number Three:

This, of course, is very true about how Western nations treat the rest of the world. Although Putin may not have meant it in this way as the surgical killing of innocent preborn babies in Russia remains has been in place for the most of the past century, noting times when there have been curbs to increase the population (something that took place at the decimation of the Russian population during World War II) have been introduced, Western nations have certain engaged in a policy of population imperialism with nations in the so-called Third World. This is not the only example, of course, but it is one that I want readers of this site to bear in mind as no country, including Ukraine, has any kind of moral high ground if its laws permit the chemical and/or surgical assassination of the innocent preborn.

Back to the part of the Putin address that is essentially a summary of post-Cold War American efforts to impose its will on various nations:

What I am saying now does not concerns only Russia, and Russia is not the only country that is worried about this. This has to do with the entire system of international relations, and sometimes even US allies. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a redivision of the world, and the norms of international law that developed by that time – and the most important of them, the fundamental norms that were adopted following WWII and largely formalized its outcome – came in the way of those who declared themselves the winners of the Cold War.

Of course, practice, international relations and the rules regulating them had to take into account the changes that took place in the world and in the balance of forces. However, this should have been done professionally, smoothly, patiently, and with due regard and respect for the interests of all states and one’s own responsibility. Instead, we saw a state of euphoria created by the feeling of absolute superiority, a kind of modern absolutism, coupled with the low cultural standards and arrogance of those who formulated and pushed through decisions that suited only themselves. The situation took a different turn.

There are many examples of this. First a bloody military operation was waged against Belgrade, without the UN Security Council’s sanction but with combat aircraft and missiles used in the heart of Europe. The bombing of peaceful cities and vital infrastructure went on for several weeks. I have to recall these facts, because some Western colleagues prefer to forget them, and when we mentioned the event, they prefer to avoid speaking about international law, instead emphasizing the circumstances which they interpret as they think necessary.

Then came the turn of Iraq, Libya and Syria. The illegal use of military power against Libya and the distortion of all the UN Security Council decisions on Libya ruined the state, created a huge seat of international terrorism, and pushed the country towards a humanitarian catastrophe, into the vortex of a civil war, which has continued there for years. The tragedy, which was created for hundreds of thousands and even millions of people not only in Libya but in the whole region, has led to a large-scale exodus from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe. (True.)

A similar fate was also prepared for Syria. The combat operations conducted by the Western coalition in that country without the Syrian government’s approval or UN Security Council’s sanction can only be defined as aggression and intervention.

But the example that stands apart from the above events is, of course, the invasion of Iraq without any legal grounds. They used the pretext of allegedly reliable information available in the United States about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. To prove that allegation, the US Secretary of State held up a vial with white powder, publicly, for the whole world to see, assuring the international community that it was a chemical warfare agent created in Iraq. It later turned out that all of that was a fake and a sham, and that Iraq did not have any chemical weapons. Incredible and shocking but true. We witnessed lies made at the highest state level and voiced from the high UN rostrum. As a result we see a tremendous loss in human life, damage, destruction, and a colossal upsurge of terrorism.

Overall, it appears that nearly everywhere, in many regions of the world where the United States brought its law and order, this created bloody, non-healing wounds and the curse of international terrorism and extremism. I have only mentioned the most glaring but far from only examples of disregard for international law. (Agreed)

This array includes promises not to expand NATO eastwards even by an inch. To reiterate: they have deceived us, or, to put it simply, they have played us. Sure, one often hears that politics is a dirty business. It could be, but it shouldn’t be as dirty as it is now, not to such an extent. This type of con-artist behavior is contrary not only to the principles of international relations but also and above all to the generally accepted norms of morality and ethics. Where is justice and truth here? Just lies and hypocrisy all around.

Interjection Number Four:

Not only is all this true, but it calls to mind as well the chain of broken promises made by the government of the United States of America to American Indian tribes, to say nothing of the unbroken chain of promises made and countless lies told by American governmental leaders, especially during wars and during the plandemic, to the people of this country from 1776 to this very day.

I return now to the next part of Vladimir Putin’s address, which will become very hypocritical soon enough as cherry picks Russian history, ignores the starvation of ten million Ukrainian Catholics during the Holodomor, which some Russians believe never happened, and paints a nice, rosy picture of Soviet anti-Nazism even though his country was allied with Adolph Hitler for nearly two years before one devil, Hitler, turned on the other, Stalin:

Incidentally, US politicians, political scientists and journalists write and say that a veritable “empire of lies” has been created inside the United States in recent years. It is hard to disagree with this – it is really so. But one should not be modest about it: the United States is still a great country and a system-forming power. All its satellites not only humbly and obediently say yes to and parrot it at the slightest pretext but also imitate its behavior and enthusiastically accept the rules it is offering them. Therefore, one can say with good reason and confidence that the whole so-called Western bloc formed by the United States in its own image and likeness is, in its entirety, the very same “empire of lies.” (Yes and no)

As for our country, after the disintegration of the USSR, given the entire unprecedented openness of the new, modern Russia, its readiness to work honestly with the United States and other Western partners, and its practically unilateral disarmament, they immediately tried to put the final squeeze on us, finish us off, and utterly destroy us. This is how it was in the 1990s and the early 2000s, when the so-called collective West was actively supporting separatism and gangs of mercenaries in southern Russia. What victims, what losses we had to sustain and what trials we had to go through at that time before we broke the back of international terrorism in the Caucasus! We remember this and will never forget.

Properly speaking, the attempts to use us in their own interests never ceased until quite recently: they sought to destroy our traditional values and force on us their false values that would erode us, our people from within, the attitudes they have been aggressively imposing on their countries, attitudes that are directly leading to degradation and degeneration, because they are contrary to human nature. This is not going to happen. No one has ever succeeded in doing this, nor will they succeed now.

Interjection Number Five:

This is a very good point as Putin is making a not-so-veiled reference to the American push for sodomy and its related vices in the name of “human rights” and “inclusivism.”

Well, here comes the part of the speech where Putin pivoted to his sanitized history of the Soviet Russia’s “sacred” fight against Nazism:

Despite all that, in December 2021, we made yet another attempt to reach agreement with the United States and its allies on the principles of European security and NATO’s non-expansion. Our efforts were in vain. The United States has not changed its position. It does not believe it necessary to agree with Russia on a matter that is critical for us. The United States is pursuing its own objectives, while neglecting our interests.

Of course, this situation begs a question: what next, what are we to expect? If history is any guide, we know that in 1940 and early 1941 the Soviet Union went to great lengths to prevent war or at least delay its outbreak. To this end, the USSR sought not to provoke the potential aggressor until the very end by refraining or postponing the most urgent and obvious preparations it had to make to defend itself from an imminent attack. When it finally acted, it was too late.

As a result, the country was not prepared to counter the invasion by Nazi Germany, which attacked our Motherland on June 22, 1941, without declaring war. The country stopped the enemy and went on to defeat it, but this came at a tremendous cost. The attempt to appease the aggressor ahead of the Great Patriotic War proved to be a mistake which came at a high cost for our people. In the first months after the hostilities broke out, we lost vast territories of strategic importance, as well as millions of lives. We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so.

Interjection Number Six:

This is an irresponsible revisionism of true history.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was allied with Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich from the time of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Agreement on August 24, 1939, that was described as follows by Dr. Paul Johnson in Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties:

The deal with Stalin was struck the following night. It was the culmination of a series of contacts between the Soviet and German governments which went right back to the weeks following Lenin's putsch. They had been conducted, according to need, by army experts, secret policemen, diplomats or intermediaries on the fringe of the criminal world. They had been closer at some periods than others but they had never been wholly broken and they had been characterized throughout by total disregard for the ideological principles which either party ostensibly professed a contempt, indeed, for any consideration other than the most brutal mutual interest-the need of each regime to arm, to arrest and kill its opponents, and to oppress its neighbours. For two decades this evil stream of exchanges had flowed underground. Now at last it broke the surface. That night of 23-4 August there was a gruesome junket in the Kremlin. Ribbentrop reported: 'It felt like being among old party comrades.' He was as much at ease in the Kremlin, he added, 'as among my old Nazi friends'. Stalin toasted Hitler and said he 'knew how much the German people loved the Fuhrer'. There were brutal jokes about the Anti-Comintern Pact, now dead, which both sides agreed had been meant simply to impress the City of London and 'English shopkeepers'. There was sudden discovery of a community of aims, methods, manners and, above all, of morals. As the tipsy killers lurched around the room, fumblingly hugging each other, they resembled nothing so much as a congregation of rival gangsters, who had fought each other before, and might do so again, but were essentially in the same racket. (Paul Johnson, Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties, Revised Edition, HarperCollins, 1991, p. 360.)

The Nazis were killers. The Soviets were killers.

The army of the Third Reich invaded Poland from the west on September 1, 1939, and the Red Army of the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east on September 15, 1939, thereby portioning this proud Catholic land once again and subjecting to vicious, inhuman persecutions, including attacks upon Catholic priests, and consecrated religious. Part of Russian “truth,” though, is it that this never happened, that it was the victim of Hitler’s aggression when the two countries had collectively dismembered the Polish nation which neither believed had any right to exist.

Also omitted from Vladimir Putin’s speech was the fact that the Soviet battle against the forces of the Third Reich would not have prevailed without help from the very Western nations he has criticized correctly for their aggressive post-Cold War policies.

The assistance provided to Stalin by the United States of America and the United Kingdom in 1941 and thereafter was in full violation of Pope Pius XI’s categorical prohibition of any assistance to Communist nation, not that such mattered to the thirty-third degree Masons named Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Spencer Churchill nor to the American bishops of the United States of America, and it was opposed by then United States Senator Harry S. Truman (D-Missouri), who believed that the two devils would destroy each other and thus end both Nazism and Communism (President Truman later permitted himself be taken in by Stalin at the Potsdam Conference in 1945 before coming to realize that the man he had considered “honest” was a liar intent on world dominance.)

Truman’s 1941 beliefs were echoed thirty-seven after the fact as follows by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:

I have said on another occasion that in the twentieth-century Western democracy has not won any major war by itself; each time it shielded itself with an ally possessing a powerful land army, whose philosophy it did not question. In World War II against Hitler, instead of winning the conflict with its own forces, which would certainly have been sufficient, Western democracy raised up another enemy, one that would prove worse and more powerful, since Hitler had neither the resources nor the people, nor the ideas with broad appeal, nor such a large number of supporters in the West—a fifth column—as the Soviet Union possessed. Some Western voices already have spoken of the need of a protective screen against hostile forces in the next world conflict; in this case, the shield would be China. But I would not wish such an outcome to any country in the world. First of all, it is again a doomed alliance with evil; it would grant the United States a respite, but when at a later date China with its billion people would turn around armed with American weapons, America itself would fall victim to a Cambodia-style genocide. (A World Split Apart.)

Patrick Joseph Buchanan noted much the same thing in a column he wrote twenty-three years ago:

In "A Republic, Not an Empire," I take many controversial stands: indicting Jefferson for naval disarmament, defending Polk's war with Mexico, decrying U.S. annexation of the Philippines and supporting Harding's Washington naval treaty.

But all has been trampled by the hysterical reaction to two assertions: that Britain's war guarantee to Poland was a monumental blunder, and that after the Luftwaffe lost the Battle of Britain in 1940, Germany posed no strategic threat to the United States.

Why was Britain's war guarantee flawed? Because Britain had neither the will nor power to honor it. In 1939 only one nation could save Poland from Hitler: Russia. "Without Russia," declared Lloyd George, "our [Polish] guarantees are the most reckless commitment any country has ever entered into. I say more, they are demented."

By threatening war for Poland, Britain impelled Hitler to cut his deal with Stalin. Result: annihilation of Poland, and Stalin's serial rape of Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as Hitler swallowed Denmark, Norway, the Low Countries and France. By mid-1940 Hitler controlled Western Europe, and Stalin, Eastern Europe; the British had been routed at Dunkirk and ensnared in a war that would cost 400,000 dead and bring down the empire.

Yet Poland was not saved. What, then, did the war guarantee accomplish? And why would it have been immoral for Britain to redirect Hitler's attack away from the West, toward Stalin's slave empire and let the monsters eat each other up as Harry Truman urged?

Had Britain not declared war, Hitler would have attacked an unprepared Stalin in 1940. The result might have been the eradication of Bolshevism in Russia and China, no Cold War, no Korea and no Vietnam. Instead of six years of World War II bloodletting, we might have seen six months of a Hitler-Stalin war, ending with one dead and the other crippled.

But, comes the cry, Hitler sought "world domination." After Russia he would have seized Western Europe and Britain and launched his final attack on us. But would he? According to historian A. J. P. Taylor, "Eastern expansion was the primary purpose of Hitler's policy, if not the only one." To Labor Party statesman Roy Denman, "The fear that after Poland Hitler would have attacked Britain was an illusion. . . . Britain was dragged into an unnecessary war."

On Aug. 11, 1939, Hitler had railed to the Danzig League of Nations commissioner: "Everything I undertake is directed against Russia. If the West is too stupid and too blind to comprehend that, I will be forced to come to an understanding with the Russians, to smash the West and then after its defeat, to turn against the Soviet Union."

This, writes Henry A. Kissinger, "was certainly an accurate statement of Hitler's priorities: from Great Britain, he wanted noninterference in continental affairs, and from the Soviet Union, he wanted Lebensraum, or living space. It was a measure of Stalin's achievement that he was about to reverse Hitler's priorities. . . . "

Yes, and an equal measure of Britain's blunder.

Challenging my contention that the United States faced no strategic threat after 1940, critics cite Nazi plans for an "Amerika-Bomber." Berlin, they say, had "embarked on a campaign to obtain bases in Africa and the Canary Islands as part of what . . . foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop called a 'huge program . . . of an anti-American character.'"

But this is comic-book history. Not only did the Royal Air Force achieve superiority in 1940, the Royal Navy had never lost it, as the French learned when Churchill ordered his ships to sink the French fleet at Mers el-Kebir in mid-1940 to keep it out of Hitler's hands.

In November of 1940, the Italian fleet was smashed at Taranto. "By this single stroke," exulted Churchill, "the balance of naval power in the Mediterranean was decisively altered." In early '41 Hitler's mighty surface raider, Bismarck, was sunk on its maiden voyage; the Graf Spee had been scuttled off Montevideo in 1939. (Patrick Buchanan, October 11, 1999.)

Soviet Russia benefited greatly from American assistance, and the short=sightedness of the dupe named Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave the pariah Joseph Stalin an important seat at the “table” at the Teheran and Yalta Conferences during World War II. He legitimized Stalin, who then showed his thanks by enslaving Eastern Europe by refusing to hold free elections in those countries occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II and systematically liquidating all anti-Communist political figures within then as part of his “denazification” program. Denazification is simply a code word for getting rid of all unwanted political opposition. Do not be fooled.

Returning now to Vladimir Putin’s speech:

Those who aspire to global dominance have publicly designated Russia as their enemy. They did so with impunity. Make no mistake, they had no reason to act this way. It is true that they have considerable financial, scientific, technological, and military capabilities. We are aware of this and have an objective view of the economic threats we have been hearing, just as our ability to counter this brash and never-ending blackmail. Let me reiterate that we have no illusions in this regard and are extremely realistic in our assessments.

As for military affairs, even after the dissolution of the USSR and losing a considerable part of its capabilities, today’s Russia remains one of the most powerful nuclear states. Moreover, it has a certain advantage in several cutting-edge weapons. In this context, there should be no doubt for anyone that any potential aggressor will face defeat and ominous consequences should it directly attack our country.

At the same time, technology, including in the defense sector, is changing rapidly. One day there is one leader, and tomorrow another, but a military presence in territories bordering on Russia, if we permit it to go ahead, will stay for decades to come or maybe forever, creating an ever mounting and totally unacceptable threat for Russia.

Interjection Number Seven:

As one who is not in favor of globalist organizations, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its efforts to include countries situated nowhere near the North Atlantic Ocean, the Russian Federation President’s invasion and disproportionate use of military force in Ukraine, apart from causing a massive humanitarian crisis and the destruction of much of Ukrainian infrastructure, is only stiffening the resolve of the globalists in their schemes of expansion and thus hurtling everyone into a wider conflict. Putin’s use of force, although justified in his own mind, has created a massive, global Russophobia that will only isolate him all the more, and an isolated Putin is a dangerous Putin.

As explained in part one of this series, one of the calculations that a statesman must make when considering whether to engage in the use of armed force is whether the foreseen evil consequences of its use outweigh the perceived good end to be sought. In this instance, you see, Vladimir Putin has worsened his own nation’s standing in the world, puffed up the globalists’ pride and the insatiable thirst for power and control and made the bad, corrupt actors and stooges of the globalists in Ukraine admirable figures on the world stage.

All right, I return once again to Vladimir Putin’s recent speech:

Even now, with NATO’s eastward expansion the situation for Russia has been becoming worse and more dangerous by the year. Moreover, these past days NATO leadership has been blunt in its statements that they need to accelerate and step up efforts to bring the alliance’s infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders. In other words, they have been toughening their position. We cannot stay idle and passively observe these developments. This would be an absolutely irresponsible thing to do for us.

Any further expansion of the North Atlantic alliance’s infrastructure or the ongoing efforts to gain a military foothold of the Ukrainian territory are unacceptable for us. Of course, the question is not about NATO itself. It merely serves as a tool of US foreign policy. The problem is that in territories adjacent to Russia, which I have to note is our historical land, a hostile “anti-Russia” is taking shape. Fully controlled from the outside, it is doing everything to attract NATO armed forces and obtain cutting-edge weapons.

For the United States and its allies, it is a policy of containing Russia, with obvious geopolitical dividends. For our country, it is a matter of life and death, a matter of our historical future as a nation. This is not an exaggeration; this is a fact. It is not only a very real threat to our interests but to the very existence of our state and to its sovereignty. It is the red line which we have spoken about on numerous occasions. They have crossed it.

This brings me to the situation in Donbass. We can see that the forces that staged the coup in Ukraine in 2014 have seized power, are keeping it with the help of ornamental election procedures and have abandoned the path of a peaceful conflict settlement. For eight years, for eight endless years we have been doing everything possible to settle the situation by peaceful political means. Everything was in vain.

As I said in my previous address, you cannot look without compassion at what is happening there. It became impossible to tolerate it. We had to stop that atrocity, that genocide of the millions of people who live there and who pinned their hopes on Russia, on all of us. It is their aspirations, the feelings and pain of these people that were the main motivating force behind our decision to recognize the independence of the Donbass people’s republics.

I would like to additionally emphasize the following. Focused on their own goals, the leading NATO countries are supporting the far-right nationalists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine, those who will never forgive the people of Crimea and Sevastopol for freely making a choice to reunite with Russia.

Interjection Number Eight:

There has been quite a sad history of Russian social engineering in Ukraine, whose borders have changed twenty-two times in the past nearly five hundred years.

In addition to the starvation of ten million Ukrainian Catholics in the 1930s, which was an effort to decimate the Catholic population and to Russify the “Ukrainian Soviet Republic,” the Soviets forced a number of those arrested under their “denazification” program in countries behind the Iron Curtain to Donetsk to work as prisoners in such harsh conditions that many of them died. The Soviets moved in replacements from other regions of the Soviet Union.

Even disregarding this, however, the Soviets also starved the people of what is known as the Donbass region, which encompasses Donetsk, during the Holodomor in the 1930s, making Putin’s concern for what is happening them more an example of crocodile tears shed as a pretext for an unnecessary war:

Ukrainians living in the Donbas were further decimated by the state-sponsored 1932–33 Holodomor (meaning ‘to kill by starvation’) famine and the Russification policy of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Since most ethnic Ukrainians were rural peasant farmers, they bore the brunt of the famine, with the government confiscating their land and removing any means they had to feed themselves.

The term Holodomor emphasizes the famine’s man-made and intentional aspects of the atrocity, including rejection of outside aid, confiscation of all household foodstuffs and restriction of population movement so that no one was allowed to leave the region to find sustenance elsewhere.

As part of the wider Soviet famine of 1932–1933 which affected the major grain-producing areas of the country, millions of inhabitants of Ukraine — the majority of whom by now were ethnic Ukrainians — died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe that was unprecedented in the history of the country.

Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by Ukraine and 15 other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet government.

Early estimates of the death toll by scholars and government officials varied greatly. A United Nations joint statement signed by 25 countries in 2003 declared that 7–10 million perished. Current scholarship estimates a range of 4 to 7 million victims, with more precise estimates ranging from 3.3 to 5 million.

According to the findings of the Court of Appeal of Kyiv in 2010, the total demographic losses due to the famine amounted to 10 million, however, with 3.9 million direct famine deaths, and a further 6.1 million birth deficits.

Russification stepped up after depopulation from WWII

Donbas was greatly affected by the Second World War. War preparations resulted in an extension of the working day for factory laborers, while those who could not produce according to the new standards were arrested.

Adolf Hitler viewed the resources of the Donbas as critical to Operation Barbarossa, his plan for the invasion of Russia. The region accordingly suffered greatly under Nazi occupation during 1941 and 1942.

Thousands of industrial laborers were deported to Germany and forced to work in factories. In the Donetsk Oblast alone, 279,000 civilians were killed over the course of the occupation. In what is now now the Luhansk Oblast, 45,649 were killed. The 1943 Donbas strategic offensive by the Red Army resulted in the return of Donbas to Soviet control, but the famine and the war had taken an enormous toll, leaving the region both destroyed and once again depopulated.

It was during the subsequent period of reconstruction that the Donbass received its most recent wave of Russian citizens after masses of Russian workers descended on the area after the War.

By 1959, the number of ethnic Russians living there was 2.55 million; just 33 years prior, it had been just 639,000. The Russification of the area accelerated after the 1958–59 Soviet educational reforms, which led to the near elimination of all Ukrainian-language schooling in the Donbas.

According to the Soviet Census of 1989, 45% of the population of the region reported their ethnicity as Russian.

So it is no surprise that in the 1991 referendum on Ukrainian independence, 83.9% of voters in Donetsk and 83.6% in Luhansk supported independence from the Soviet Union. In October of 1991 a congress of southeastern deputies from all levels of government took place in Donetsk, where delegates demanded federalization.

Constant unrest after 2014

The region’s economy deteriorated severely in the ensuing years, however, and by 1993, industrial production had collapsed, with average wages falling by 80% since 1990. Donbas was then in total crisis, with many accusing the new central government in Kyiv of mismanagement and neglect.

Donbas’ invaluable coal miners went on strike in 1993, causing a conflict that was described by historian Lewis Siegelbaum as “a struggle between the Donbas region and the rest of the country.” One strike leader said that Donbas people had voted for independence because they wanted “power to be given to the localities, enterprises, cities”, not because they wanted heavily centralized power moved from “Moscow to Kyiv.”

This strike was followed by a 1994 consultative referendum on various constitutional questions in Donetsk and Luhansk, held concurrently with the first parliamentary elections in independent Ukraine.

These questions included whether Russian should be declared an official language of Ukraine, whether Russian should be the language of administration in Donetsk and Luhansk, whether Ukraine should federalism, and whether Ukraine should have closer ties with the Commonwealth of Independent States, the remnants of the Soviet Union.

Almost 90% of voters voted in favor of these propositions; however, none of them were adopted: Ukraine remained a unitary state, Ukrainian was retained as the sole official language, and the Donbas gained no autonomy.

In March of 2014, following the Euromaidan and the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, large swaths of the Donbas experienced major unrest. This later grew into a war, with pro-Russian separatists affiliated with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics,” both of which are now recognized by Russia but not by any other member of the United Nations as legitimate.

Pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions took over government buildings in 2014, proclaiming the regions as independent “people’s republics” after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Since 2014, more than 14,000 people have been killed in fighting in the Donbas region between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces. Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of backing the separatists both militarily and financially.

Amid the fighting, a Malaysian airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board in a shocking event which catapulted the unrest onto the world stage once again. International investigators concluded the missile was supplied by Russia and fired from an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists; Russia has denied involvement in the shooting down of the airplane.

On Monday, Putin announced the independence of the regions after meeting with the Russian Security Council following a video appeal by the regions’ separatist leaders for the recognition of independence.

Each of the regions has its own self-proclaimed president, with Denis Pushilin elected in 2018 to lead the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, while Leonid Pasechnik is the leader of the Luhansk separatist region.

Russia’s recognition of the independence of the regions on Monday in effect ends the Minsk peace agreements, which were never fully implemented in any case. The agreements, which were signed in 2014 and 2015, had called for a large amount of autonomy for the two regions within Ukraine. (History of Donbas-Donetsk-Luhansk.)

The history of the disputed regions is very complex as the Russians had troops in the Donbas region even before the events of 2014 (A Woman Imprisoned for Years by Separatists in Eastern Ukraine Says No One Wants to Stay There) and neither the governmental officials of Ukraine nor of Russia have covered themselves in glory. The Russians have committed atrocities against Ukrainians in the Donbas region.

Alas, Slavs tend to have long memories, and long memories without the forgiveness found in the tender mercies of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus are used by the adversary to lead people to hate those they blame for their problems and then to justify acts of violence against them. Here, good readers, we see once again what happens when men and their nations do not submit themselves to Christ the King and His true Church, a situation that has been exacerbated aplenty during this time of apostasy and betrayal and the absence of a true Pope to teach and guide men in the ways of true peace and everlasting salvation.

We return now to Vladmir Putin’s speech:

They will undoubtedly try to bring war to Crimea just as they have done in Donbass, to kill innocent people just as members of the punitive units of Ukrainian nationalists and Hitler’s accomplices did during the Great Patriotic War. They have also openly laid claim to several other Russian regions.

If we look at the sequence of events and the incoming reports, the showdown between Russia and these forces cannot be avoided. It is only a matter of time. They are getting ready and waiting for the right moment. Moreover, they went as far as aspire to acquire nuclear weapons. We will not let this happen.

I have already said that Russia accepted the new geopolitical reality after the dissolution of the USSR. We have been treating all new post-Soviet states with respect and will continue to act this way. We respect and will respect their sovereignty, as proven by the assistance we provided to Kazakhstan when it faced tragic events and a challenge in terms of its statehood and integrity. However, Russia cannot feel safe, develop, and exist while facing a permanent threat from the territory of today’s Ukraine.

Let me remind you that in 2000–2005 we used our military to push back against terrorists in the Caucasus and stood up for the integrity of our state. We preserved Russia. In 2014, we supported the people of Crimea and Sevastopol. In 2015, we used our Armed Forces to create a reliable shield that prevented terrorists from Syria from penetrating Russia. This was a matter of defending ourselves. We had no other choice.

The same is happening today. They did not leave us any other option for defending Russia and our people, other than the one we are forced to use today. In these circumstances, we have to take bold and immediate action. The people’s republics of Donbass have asked Russia for help.

In this context, in accordance with Article 51 (Chapter VII) of the UN Charter, with permission of Russia’s Federation Council, and in execution of the treaties of friendship and mutual assistance with the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, ratified by the Federal Assembly on February 22, I made a decision to carry out a special military operation.

The purpose of this operation is to protect people who, for eight years now, have been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kiev regime. To this end, we will seek to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine, as well as bring to trial those who perpetrated numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation.

It is not our plan to occupy the Ukrainian territory. We do not intend to impose anything on anyone by force. At the same time, we have been hearing an increasing number of statements coming from the West that there is no need any more to abide by the documents setting forth the outcomes of World War II, as signed by the totalitarian Soviet regime. How can we respond to that? (Vladimir Putin’s Empire of Lies Speech.)

Gee, just how well did the Soviet Union keep those postwar agreements?

Go ask the people of Eastern Europe.

Furthermore, Putin has said repeatedly that modern Ukraine is an invention of Soviet Russian and that its statehood is a fiction and, more recently, he has said that there is no guarantee of Ukraine’s continued existence as an independent state:

“Modern Ukraine was entirely and fully created by Russia, more specifically the Bolshevik, communist Russia,” Putin said. “This process began practically immediately after the 1917 revolution, and moreover Lenin and his associates did it in the sloppiest way in relation to Russia — by dividing, tearing from her pieces of her own historical territory.”

In  a misreading of history, it was extreme even by the standards of Putin, a former KGB officer who has declared the Soviet Union’s collapse the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.

Ukraine and Russia share roots stretching back to the first Slavic state, Kievan Rus, a medieval empire founded by Vikings in the 9th century.

But the historical reality of Ukraine is complicated, a thousand-year history of changing religions, borders and peoples. The capital, Kyiv, was established hundreds of years before Moscow, and both Russians and Ukrainians claim it as a birthplace of their modern cultures, religion and language.

Kyiv was ideally situated along the trade routes that developed in the ninth and 10th centuries, and flourished only to see its economic influence diminish as trade shifted elsewhere. The many conquests by warring factions and Ukraine’s diverse geography — with farmland, forests and a maritime environment on the Black Sea — created a complex fabric of multiethnic states.

The history and culture of Russia and Ukraine are indeed intertwined — they share the same Orthodox Christian religion, and their languages, customs and national cuisines are related.

Even so, Ukrainian identity politics and nationalism have been irritants in Russia since the feudal czarist times that predated the Russian Revolution. Ukraine is seen by many Russians as their nation’s “little brother” and should behave accordingly.

Eastern Ukraine, which came under Russian influence much earlier than the west, still features many Russian speakers and people loyal to Moscow. But the happy brotherhood of nations that Putin likes to paint, with Ukraine fitted snugly into the fabric of a greater Russia, is dubious.

Parts of modern-day Ukraine did indeed reside for centuries within the Russian empire. But other parts in the west fell under the jurisdiction of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Poland or Lithuania.

“Putin’s argument today that Ukraine is historically subsumed by Russia is just not right,” said Cliff Kupchan, chair of the Eurasia Group, a political risk consulting organization. While the themes of Putin’s speech were not new for the Russian leader, Kupchan said, “the breadth and vehemence with which he went after all things Ukrainian was remarkable.”

The newly created Soviet government under Lenin that drew so much of Putin’s scorn on Monday would eventually crush the nascent independent Ukrainian state. During the Soviet era, the Ukrainian language was banished from schools and its culture was permitted to exist only as a cartoonish caricature of dancing Cossacks in puffy pants.

Putin also argued on Monday that the myth of Ukraine was reinforced by the crumbling Soviet government of Mikhail Gorbachev, which allowed Ukraine to slip free of Moscow’s grasp. It was a weakened Moscow that “gave” Ukraine the right to become independent of the Soviet Union “without any terms and conditions.”

“This is just madness,” he said.

It was not Moscow that granted Ukraine’s independence in 1991, but the Ukrainian people, who voted resoundingly to leave the Soviet Union in a democratic referendum.

Now, with an estimated 190,000 Russian troops surrounding Ukraine like a sickle, Putin’s declaration that Ukraine’s very existence as a sovereign state was the result of historical error threatened to send a shudder through all the lands once under Moscow’s dominion. It also elicited expressions of contempt from Ukrainians.

“For the past few decades, the West has been looking for fascism anywhere, but not where it was most,” said Maria Tomak, an activist involved in supporting people from Crimea, a Ukrainian territory Putin annexed in 2014. “Now it is so obvious that it burns the eyes. Maybe this will finally make the West start to sober up about Russia.”

It is not clear whether Putin believes his version of Ukrainian history or has simply concocted a cynical mythology to justify whatever action he plans next. But his contention that Ukraine exists solely within the context of Russian history and culture is one he has deployed at least as far back as 2008, when he attempted to convince George W. Bush, who had expressed support for Ukraine’s NATO membership, of the country’s nonexistence. (Putin Calls Ukrainian Statehood Fiction.)

Hundreds of civilians have been killed and thousands wounded, with hundreds of thousands of people -- mostly women and children -- pouring into neighbouring countries such as Poland, Romania or Moldova for refuge.

Efforts Saturday to get people out of Mariupol -- the scene of some of the war's greatest ferocity -- collapsed almost immediately, with both sides accusing each other of breaching a ceasefire agreement.

A fresh attempt on Sunday also failed, with the warring parties again exchanging recriminations.

Vladimir Putin blamed Kyiv for not keeping to "agreements reached on this acute humanitarian issue", the Kremlin said in a read-out of a phone call between the Russian president and French President Emmanuel Macron.

But the governor of the eastern region Donetsk, Pavlo Kirilenko, said "the column to evacuate the population could not leave Mariupol" because Russian forces "started to bombard the city".

Very few refugees from the strategic city on the Azov Sea made it out on Saturday, but one family -- who did not give their names -- arrived in the central city of Dnipro and recounted their harrowing experience.

"We stayed in the basement for seven days with no heating, electricity or internet and ran out of food and water," one of them said.

"On the road, we saw there were bodies everywhere, Russians and Ukrainians... We saw that people had been buried in their basements."

Since hostilities erupted, disturbing scenes from the fighting have filled social media. The New York Times posted a particularly gruesome photo on its website showing what it said were a mother and two children killed by Russian shelling outside Kyiv.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmygal urged the Group of Seven countries to expel Russia and Belarus from the International Monetary Fund and all World Bank organisations to further isolate Putin.

Western allies have imposed unprecedented sanctions against businesses, banks and billionaires in a bid to choke off the Russian economy and pressure Moscow to halt its assault.

Further punitive action, including a possible ban on Russian oil imports, could be imposed if Putin fails to change course, world leaders warned.

US officials said Sunday they were in "active discussions" with European nations about such a ban.

But the Russian leader has equated global sanctions with a declaration of war and warned that Kyiv is "putting in question the future of Ukrainian statehood".

Russia would reach its aims of "neutralisation" of Ukraine "either through negotiation or through war," Putin told Macron in their phone call Sunday, an Elysee official said. (Putin Threatens Ukraine’s Statehood.)

Sadly, Putin’s fallacious beliefs about Ukraine were also shared by his fellow Russian nationalist, Dr. Aleksandar I. Solzhenitsyn:

On returning to Russia in 1994, Solzhenitsyn opposed the excesses that went with the introduction of capitalism in Russia during the 1990s. In addition, he vociferously opposed Ukrainian independence. But the rise of Putin and the resurgence of nationalism, and the notion of Russia as "unique" and "different" from western liberal culture, gave new currency to his views. Recently, he claimed in an article in a pro-Kremlin newspaper, which was reprinted widely in the west, that to call the 1932-33 Holodomor genocide in Ukraine was a "loopy fable" made up by Ukrainian nationalists and picked up on by anti-Russian westerners. This article came at the same time as the State Duma's ruling to the same effect.

His article contained no serious historical analysis. Holodomor, in fact, coincided with an attack on Ukrainian culture and nationalism, which were considered a threat by Soviet leaders in Moscow. They were frightened of the Ukrainian national movement, terrified of many in the country's desire for independence, and acted to bring it into line. "If we lose Ukraine," Lenin had said, "we lose our head." They, like Solzhenitsyn, considered Ukraine a part of their empire.

The parallels with contemporary Russian leaders' attitudes are striking, and Solzhenitsyn's pan-Slavism, alongside his powerful dissident credentials, made him an ideal ally for those who continue to seek to restrict Ukrainian independence. Ironically – disturbingly, in fact – the self-same unmasker of Stalinist terror with its sacrifice of human lives to a future ideal exhibited a desire to ignore people's desires (Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly for independence in 1991) in favour of an equally fictitious ideal.

Solzhenitsyn's importance as the writer who stripped bare the Soviet regime to reveal its true essence cannot be underestimated. His writings inspired people throughout the Soviet Union and the world with their unflinching revelations. But his credentials as a historian are dubious to say the least, and the fantastical, backward-looking political idealism that led him to support Putin's project is a dangerous relic. Like many of those disillusioned with western liberalism, in Russia and the west, he fancied that "Putin's path" provided an alternative. The reality of this "alternative", involving, for example, the pilfering of resources by Kremlin-backed "businessmen" and the silencing of the media by censorship and killing, is less than promising. (Solzhenitsyn’s Views of Ukraine.)

As anyone with a modicum of intellectual honesty can understand, Vladimir Putin’s exaltation of “freedom” in the Russian Federation is fallacious as Russian nations, including true Catholic priests as well as others, can go about their work unmolested as long as there is no criticism of him or his policies. Some freedom, which Putin had the temerity to claim that he respects for the people of Ukraine:

The outcomes of World War II and the sacrifices our people had to make to defeat Nazism are sacred. This does not contradict the high values of human rights and freedoms in the reality that emerged over the post-war decades. This does not mean that nations cannot enjoy the right to self-determination, which is enshrined in Article 1 of the UN Charter.

Let me remind you that the people living in territories which are part of today’s Ukraine were not asked how they want to build their lives when the USSR was created or after World War II. Freedom guides our policy, the freedom to choose independently our future and the future of our children. We believe that all the peoples living in today’s Ukraine, anyone who want to do this, must be able to enjoy this right to make a free choice.

In this context I would like to address the citizens of Ukraine. In 2014, Russia was obliged to protect the people of Crimea and Sevastopol from those who you yourself call “nats.” The people of Crimea and Sevastopol made their choice in favor of being with their historical homeland, Russia, and we supported their choice. As I said, we could not act otherwise.

The current events have nothing to do with a desire to infringe on the interests of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. They are connected with the defending Russia from those who have taken Ukraine hostage and are trying to use it against our country and our people. (Vladimir Putin’s Empire of Lies Speech.)

Interjection Number Nine:

Freedom guides Vladimir Putin’s policies?

Please, no one who rounds up thousands of people who have criticized his invasion of Ukraine and imprisons them is interested in any kind of freedom but the freedom to agree with him.

Freedom is Russia is conditioned on Vladimir Putin’s arbitrary desires just as freedom in the West is conditioned upon uncritical acceptance of what governmental, medical, pharmaceutical, scientific, political, cultural, and educational elites say is true. Those who dissent from the agendas of the “woke,” feminists, sodomites, and multiple varieties of mutants, the party-line coronavirus narrative, the “Russian collusion delusion,” the results of the elections on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, the “omniscience” of the military-industrial-technological-information complex, and the belief that Roe v. Wade established a “constitutional right” to kill preborn babies by surgical means must be censored, “cancelled,” fired from positions of longstanding, denied access to the mainslime media, branded as “haters” by the Southern Poverty Law Center and placed under investigation by the United States Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. Furthermore, neighbors, friends and relatives have been encouraged to inform on each other during the plandemic, creating an East German Stasi-style system of informants to isolate, control and, if necessary, to punish dissenters and/or purveyors “misinformation.”

Ah, but the situation is not exactly rosy in the supposedly “free” Ukraine either as the “heroic” President Volodymyr Zelensky, a willing stooge of globalist elites, has cracked down on the press during his presidency in a manner that calls to mind a certain Vladimir Putin:

When President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Servant of the People party swept into power in 2019, the president’s office famously said it “doesn’t need journalists.” 

Instead, Andriy Bohdan, the head of the president’s office at the time, said that Zelensky’s team could communicate “directly” with the people. 

Two and a half years later, Zelensky’s administration seems to have realized it does in fact need the media if it wants to win the next elections in 2024. But the media’s been criticizing the government.

Instead of improving its dialogue with the press, Zelensky’s government decided to take a more direct route: amplify supporters and pressure critics into silence. 

“We thought that the president’s media background would predispose them to solve questions of information and freedom of speech like media types who understand these subjects well,” said Sergiy Tomilenko, head of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine. “But unfortunately we see otherwise.” 

The past four months have seen a surge of attempts to control the media. This included pressure on publication owners, demands to political talk shows, attempts to cancel the screening of a documentary film and threats of criminal prosecution against media outlets and journalists. 

A bill threatening media independence has also been registered during Zelensky’s tenure and awaits review by parliament. The government wants to expand funding for tame state media to amplify its message. 

“We’re seeing the displeasure of the government towards the media that isn’t under direct control,” said Tomilenko. “We’re seeing a trend of government attacks on the rights of journalists… (messages) that journalists are controlled by bad people and oligarchs… This rhetoric is intensifying and can be tied with the elections that are drawing closer.” 

Natalia Ligacheva, head of the watchdog NGO Detector Media, agrees.

“Why now? We’re approaching parliamentary elections… and then the presidential elections and this government believes that it lacks the resources to win. Both the oligarchic and the free press criticize it,” she told the Kyiv Independent. 

The president’s office did not respond to requests for comment for this article. The Zelensky administration previously denied pressuring journalists. 

However, Ukrainian media experts and journalists pointed out that there have been too many incidents in too short a time period to ignore. 

What Ukrainian media looks like

Compared to many other post-Soviet countries, speech and the press are both relatively free in Ukraine. However, free does not mean independent.

While Ukraine’s media landscape is competitive and a significant number of independent outlets exists, many publications and especially TV channels are owned by oligarchs. These media tend to push the narratives of their owners. Most Ukrainians get their news from TV. 

The past few years have seen a “professionalization” of Ukraine’s journalist corps and media business models, said Andrii Ianitsky, an economic journalist who teaches his craft at the Kyiv School of Economics.

Besides oligarch owners, the media is also pressured by politicians and powerful figures. “For now it’s not systematic and for now, it’s more the exception than the rule,” Ianitsky said.

That’s not to say that journalists have an easy time in Ukraine, where journalist Georgiy Gongadze was famously kidnapped and murdered in 2000 after former President Leonid Kuchma allegedly told his associates to silence him. Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed by a car bomb in central Kyiv in 2016; to date, there have been no convictions.  A total of 13 journalists were killed between 1992 and 2021.

According to the Institute of Mass Information (IMI), the year 2020 saw 229 violations of the freedom of speech, including 171 cases of physical aggression against journalists. Tomilenko said that every five days, someone uses force in confrontation with a reporter. 

Post-Maidan media landscape

Things got especially bad during the tenure of pro-Kremlin former President Viktor Yanukovych and the 2013-2014 EuroMaidan Revolution that ousted him. 

A May 2014 report from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) found approximately 300 perceived violent attacks on the media in Ukraine since November 2013 and IMI said that there were almost 1,000 violations in free speech in 2014. During that year, 78 journalists had been abducted. Police stormed press rooms and used cyberattacks. 

After the EuroMaidan Revolution achieved victory, the IMI’s press barometer would show incremental improvements. Ianitsky said that while there was pressure on the media during former President Petro Poroshenko’s tenure from 2014-2019, it was not as bad as before. 

“Poroshenko had a strategy not to control the media… but he had his favored channels and ones he did not like,” said Ianitsky. 

Things were far from perfect. According to an investigation by the Kyiv Post in 2019, Poroshenko’s allies paid media outlets for favorable coverage and directed smear campaigns against his critics on social networks throughout his presidency. 

Zelensky defeated Poroshenko in a landslide in April 2019, on a promise of reform. Experts said that press freedom was decent in the first two years of Zelensky’s presidency. Worrying signs began to appear in the second half of 2021, after a surprise in the first half.

Lights out on pro-Kremlin media

The year 2021 started off with a bang for Ukraine’s media landscape. 

In February, the National Security and Defense Council at Zelensky’s initiative yanked three pro-Kremlin TV channels off the air: NewsOne, Channel 112 and ZIK, which belonged to pro-Kremlin lawmaker Taras Kozak, widely believed to be a proxy for opposition party leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ally, Viktor Medvedchuk. 

The sanctions were applied according to a 2014 law that allows Ukrainian citizens to be sanctioned if they threaten Ukraine’s national interests. 

The channels aired Kremlin propaganda even as Russia and its proxies occupied the Donbas and Crimea, having killed close to 14,000 people since 2014. Many Ukrainians were in favor of the channels’ summary shutdown, believing that their content caused explicit harm and getting rid of them in the standard way, through Ukraine’s corrupt courts, would be too long and difficult a process.

Kozak and Medvedchuk denied wrongdoing throughout and accused the government of persecution.

Some western observers said the Security Council’s move sends a worrying sign to other media. 

Kyiv Post shutdown

Eventually, independent media would also feel the pressure.

The Kyiv Post, a formerly flagship English-language paper ran critical articles about Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, a Zelensky appointee, in 2020. 

After the November 2020 article, Venediktova served the Kyiv Post with a notice of a defamation lawsuit. Editor-in-chief Brian Bonner was summoned to Venediktova’s office, where Venediktova herself said she wanted to pursue the lawsuit, but ultimately decided to withdraw it.

For a time, there was a truce as the Kyiv Post ran 11 op-eds by Venediktova on various topics. Negotiations were ongoing for a big interview, which the prosecutor general’s office kept postponing. 

Eventually, the Kyiv Post ran another article criticizing Venediktova in September 2021. After that, she opened and then closed criminal cases against Kyiv Post owner Adnan Kivan, according to Bonner’s interview with Ukrainian Weekly. 

Soon after, Kivan said he would be expanding the paper by launching a Ukrainian language edition run by a handpicked TV presenter from his non-independent TV channel in Odesa. Fearing a loss of editorial independence, the Kyiv Post staff demanded that the person in charge of the Ukrainian edition go through a rigorous job interview. 

Several weeks later, Kivan announced that he was closing the paper, firing everyone and reopening it under new management. 

Venediktova stated in November that she never pressured anybody or even met Kivan, who has also denied allegations of pressure. But experts said that it would be very easy for officials to control a real estate businessman, the lifeblood of whose businesses are government land and state-issued construction permits. 

Since then, the Kyiv Post has relaunched with a new editorial staff. The Kyiv Post’s new CEO, Luc Chenier, stated that his paper will try to focus less on criticism and more on positive news about the country. 

The newspaper’s fired staff created their own publication, the Kyiv Independent. 

In 2020, Venediktova also launched a civil suit against news outlet Ukrainska Pravda and activist non-profit Anti-Corruption Action Center. The watchdog ran an article in Ukrainska Pravda saying Venediktova’s husband influenced hiring policy at the State Investigation Bureau.

The prosecutor general claimed libel and asked for $5,500 in damages. On Dec. 21, the Supreme Court threw out the lawsuit. 

200 criminal cases 

These wouldn’t be the only times that the prosecutor general would get directly involved in media discourse.

After oligarch Rinat Akhmetov’s television channels bombarded Zelensky with criticism throughout the fall of 2021, Venediktova issued a Facebook statement on Dec. 2, saying she didn’t have to “sit on the sidelines” while there’s a political attack going on.

“While politicians are arguing at the parliament and on TV, we will make our argument with the language of criminal case documents,” she wrote.

Venediktova went on to say that she would pursue 200 criminal cases against “the owner of several well-known television channels, coal companies and energy companies.” While she didn’t mention Akhmetov by name, the post was clearly referring to him.

Zelensky and Akhmetov have been engaged in a public feud connected to Zelensky’s recently passed law cracking down on oligarchs. Another law also raised rents for iron ore production, affecting Akhmetov as Ukraine’s top iron producer.

On Nov. 26, the president accused Akhmetov of being involved in a coup attempt scheduled for Dec. 1 or 2, referring to supposed audio recordings of Ukrainians and Russians discussing it. Akhmetov stated that this is “an absolute lie.” No coup attempt eventually materialized.

Howitzer scandal 

Another criminal investigation was opened against Yurii Butusov, the editor-in-chief of online publication Censor.net. 

Butusov had a verbal spat with Zelensky at the president’s five and a half hour marathon press conference on Nov. 26. Butusov accused Zelensky of appointing corrupt and pro-Kremlin officials. The president accused Butusov of working for oligarchs and causing combat deaths in Donbas by publishing information about a Ukrainian drone strike.

Only days later, the State Investigation Bureau announced that it opened a criminal probe into a video on Butusov’s social media. In it, the camo-clad Butusov fires a 152 millimeter artillery piece, in the company of Ukrainian troops, saying “fire on the occupiers.” The bureau was to review whether Butusov was “planning, preparing, launching and waging war.”

Butusov stated that the video had been shot during the training of territorial defense units. Later, he said that he had not been informed of any suspicion before the bureau went public. He believes the case to be retaliation for his military reporting and criticism of Zelensky.

“The speed with which the investigation was announced, it could only have been an order from the government,” he said, adding that he is suing Zelensky’s administration for libel.

Oleksiy Arestovich, an aide to Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak, later wrote that the Kremlin could kill Butusov to provoke large-scale protests and destabilize Ukraine. Butusov said he interpreted this as a threat from the administration. 

Blocking a documentary premiere

In October, investigative journalists at Slidstvo.info wanted to air “Offshore 95,” a documentary film about Zelensky’s offshore businesses revealed in the recent Pandora Papers leaks. Zelensky’s companies, created long before he went into politics, allegedly arranged for dividends to keep flowing to a company owned by Zelensky’s wife Olena. 

The film was scheduled to be screened at Mala Opera theater, which is owned by the city of Kyiv. However, Slidstvo journalists alleged that Ukrainian officials tried to halt the screening. 

Anna Babinets, the Slidstvo chief editor, wrote that she got a call from the acting director of the theater five hours before the premiere. The director told her the screening was canceled, claiming the theater had no electricity and was under repair. Babinets said she visited the theater and saw that it had power and there were no repairs, while the film posters had been removed.  

After Babinets’ post about the incident went viral online, the theater backed down and showed the film during its original time slot. 

Ukrainska Pravda reported that the incident resulted from a call by a Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) employee who threatened “problems” if the screening wasn’t canceled. The chief of the SBU is Ivan Bakanov, Zelensky’s childhood friend. 

Dictating terms to talk shows

Political talk shows on two television channels, UA: Pershyi and Pryamyi, accused President Volodymyr Zelensky and his party of political pressure in October. 

Pershyi is Ukraine’s public broadcaster. Pryamyi is owned by Zelensky’s rival Poroshenko.

Both channels said that the President’s Office sent them demands on whom to include and exclude from their political talk shows. If they did not comply, the President’s Office allegedly retaliated by blocking the ruling Servant of the People party members from participating. 

For example, Myroslava Barchuk, the host of UA: Pershyi’s political talk show Countdown wrote on Oct. 20 that she was told to feature two Servant of the People members who are not energy experts on an episode about energy security. If she refused, party members would be banned from attending. A week later, the President’s Office said it would only allow two “Servants” to attend the program if it disinvited Geo Leros, a lawmaker who got kicked out of the party after criticizing Zelensky. 

Barchuk went on to say that all appearances by Servant of the People members had to be approved by the contact person of Zelensky’s adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak. Countdown refused to cooperate. 

Pryamyi stated that it also rejected ultimatums from Zelensky’s office, which punished it by refusing to provide accreditation for the president’s events. In September, the President’s Office “gave direct orders to completely ignore the Pryamyi channel,” the TV station wrote.

Savik Shuster, the host of political talk show Freedom of Speech which airs on Akhmetov’s TV channel Ukraine, also claimed that the President’s Office pressured his program. 

The President’s Office denied all these accusations. Zelensky said “I don’t understand what the President’s Office or I have to do with this but it’s hype. We don’t confirm anything, there are no lists. Deputies can go or not go on any program.”

Journalists attacked inside state bank

Earlier in October, a team from the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty investigative program Schemes was attacked while interviewing the head of the state-owned Ukreximbank, Yevhen Metzger.

Journalists Kirill Ovsyaniy and Oleksandr Mazur were recording an interview with Metzger in his office as part of an anti-graft investigation on Oct. 4. One of their questions provoked an angry reaction from the bank chairman, who ordered his security to seize their equipment and delete all data recorded during the interview. Metzger and his associates reportedly locked the journalists in the office for nearly an hour and threatened them. 

Ukreximbank at first denied taking any forceful actions and stated that the interview had to be terminated due to journalists posing questions on bank client information considered confidential. 

The journalists later managed to restore their data and air the video that proved their claims. The news caused a stir and launched a police investigation. Metzger was forced to apologize — on Oct. 11, he resigned. 

According to banking sources who declined to be identified, Zelensky knows Metzger quite well, something Metzger denied. The former chairman’s wife Julia has represented Zelensky on the board of state-owned PrivatBank and is reportedly friends with staff from the president’s old entertainment company Kvartal 95. Zelensky has been known to call Metzger on his phone and address him by first name. 

“This shows how (Zelensky’s) circle thinks of the media,” Ianitsky said. 

Legislative crackdown on media

While by themselves, any of the above would be alarming, the fact that they happened in quick succession is a warning sign that political pressure is becoming more systematized and dangerous, experts believe. 

“The people surrounding Zelensky are not trying to solve the problem, they’re trying to please Zelensky and they’re coming after the media,” Ianitsky said. “It’s moving in a more systematic direction,” he added. “It’s a snowball effect.”

One of the biggest signs of systematization is the bill “on media” registered during Zelensky’s presidency. The bill purports to reduce the concentration of media in the hands of a small number of oligarch owners. Pro-government columnist Serhiy Leshchenko wrote that the bill is expected to be passed by the end of 2022.

While oligarch ownership hurts the media landscape, journalists have published joint critical statements, complaining that this bill will grant a dangerous amount of power to the National Council on Television and Radio, letting it censor media that don’t agree with the president.

Among other things, the council will be able to revoke media licenses and registration if editorial offices don’t submit for mandatory inspection, including of their finances. The council would also be empowered to impose fines on online media.

“When the government can block certain permissions, it’s very easy to pressure an owner who has media resources,” Ligacheva said. “Free speech is the foundation of democracy and oligarchic freedom of speech is still better than a government monopoly.”

Tomilenko said that his National Union of Journalists constantly criticizes the regulator as a “politically dependent, politically motivated organ.”

“But before, there was the consensus of various oligarchs in Ukraine. Now, the council’s composition is loyal to the president. The majority of members have a history of working with Kvartal 95 or (oligarch Ihor) Kolomoisky’s media,” he said. Kolomoisky’s channel 1+1 airs content by Kvartal 95. 

Expanding loyal state media

Besides trying to increase control over other media, the president’s office wants to expand its own. 

“It’s tendentious,” Ligacheva said. “The post-2014 reforms towards government media are now turning into the government trying to take control of whatever channels it can.”

Ligacheva said that besides constant attacks on UA: Pershyi, the government has allocated a lot of money to expand TV channel Rada, the official channel of the Ukrainian parliament. The government also wants to grow the profile of state news service Ukrinform. 

“Our sources say that Ukrinform correspondents will have to create a positive image of Ukraine abroad,” she said. “Usually, Ukrinform collects information from abroad rather than pushing certain narratives about Ukraine.” 

There is also a plan to expand the state TV channel Dom — broadcast in Russian-occupied Crimea and Donbas — into a nationwide network. In a November interview with Ukrainska Pravda, former Dom journalists said that the broadcaster told them what they are and are not allowed to say and urged them to frequently bring up and praise Zelensky’s projects.

Ligacheva said it appears as though the government is trying to make up for its failure to communicate effectively.

“Although any channel is ready to carry forward the government’s message, the fact that they have weak speakers isn’t the problem of the media, it’s the problem of the government itself,” she said. (How Zelensky Administration Moves to Dismantle Press Freedom in Ukraine.)

There can be no true freedom in a world when men are enslaved to their own sins and falsehoods and refuse to embrace the only standard of true human liberty, the Holy Cross of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, He is Who is the King of all men and of all nations.

While it is true that the situation in Ukraine is complex as the 2014 overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych was engineered by the United States of America and the governments since then have been as rife with corruption as any since Ukrainian independence in 1991, to say nothing of the blight of the legalized slaughter of the innocent preborn in Ukraine, the problems that exist there are for the Ukrainian people to resolve, not to be imposed by the Russian Federation. Moreover, for all of Putin’s references to Crimea and Sevastopol, which do belong rightly to Russia, he himself failed to observe the terms of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances and the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine by annexing Crimea, a matter that many dispute. The history is complex.

Moreover, I would like to observe that Vladimir Putin’s rationale for why the forces of the Russian Federation had to invade Ukraine at this time are very similar to the propaganda released by the government of Adolph Hitler in 1940 about six months after Nazi forces invaded Poland from the West and Soviet forces, who, of course, were involved in the “sacred battle” against Nazism, invaded from the East:

The continuous efforts of Germany to bring about tolerable relations between the German minority and the Polish population were of no avail. Her efforts were completely frustrated by the sterile attitude of the Polish Government. Poland's absolutely negative attitude, marked by an unbroken chain of violations of the spirit of the German-Polish pact, and also by a continual breach of the fundamental principles governing the protection of minorities, agreed to and signed by Poland in the reciprocal minority agreement of Nov. 5, 1937 became manifestly clear when the respective representatives of the central administrative offices of both countries met in Berlin on Feb. 27, 1939, to discuss all outstanding questions, pertaining to minorities. These unsuccessful discussions showed that Poland had no intentions of carrying on Marshal Pilsudski's clearly defined policy of peace and harmony with his German neighbour. The specific desire of the Führer for a definite settlement of the Danzig question, and that of a territorial link between East Prussia and the Reich were repeatedly placed before the Polish Government in the friendliest manner. The evasive attitude, however, of Colonel Beck, Minister for Foreign Affairs, made it clearer from month to month that the Polish authorities were methodically turning their backs on any intention of agreement [p. 15] with Germany. Poland's increased resistance to any kind of reparation or even alleviation of the injustice of Versailles as regards Germany's Eastern boundary, corresponded with the stiffening of the Polish policy towards the members of the German minority and with an intensified. Chauvinistic activity of the Polish press, tantamount to a direct challenge to the Reich.

Even in the spring of 1939 it became quite clear that the change in Poland's foreign policy was being definitely advanced and guided by two forces. Polish public opinion, influenced by the Government's toleration of anti-German propaganda, was imbued with an unparalleled feeling of hatred against everything German. Any statement or expression pertaining to the daily life of the German minority was considered as an hostile act against the Polish State and in consequence the extermination of everything of German origin was put forward as a national duty. It was evident that the restraint of the German Government towards this degeneration of hatred towards minority Germans was regarded by the Polish authorities as an expression of weakness. This fateful error was the underlying motive for the vehement attacks on Germany which expressed themselves in impassioned demands for the annexation of German territory, and reached their climax in the ridiculous display of megalomania, as displayed in a demand for the River Elbe as a boundary necessary to Polish national requirements. The Polish Government gave a free hand to the perpetrators of such bellicose demonstration of annexation, as well as to the miscreants of acts of violence against the German minority in the Western provinces, who were in their turn aided and abetted by the provincial authorities. The responsibility for this feverish atmosphere was hereby placed on the shoulders of the Polish Government. This finally resulted in moral chaos in towns and in the country, accompanied by indiscriminate murders of thousands of defenceless and innocent minority Germans by Polish soldiers and armed civilians. (German Propaganda: Polish “Atrocities” Against the German People.)

This false line of reasoning would have had the world forget all that Polish suffered from the Prussians and Germans over the centuries, especially during the Kulturkampf of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck that had been visited upon that part of Poland, which did not exist as a nation at the time, under the control of the German Empire (as opposed to Austro-Hungarian or Russian Empires), was condemned by Pope Pius IX in no uncertain terms:

Meanwhile by a decree and vote of the civil magistrates of Bern, sixty nine pastors of the territory of Jura were first forbidden to carry out the functions of their ministry and then deprived of office. This was because they had openly attested that they recognized only Eugene as legitimate bishop and pastor, or were unwilling to separate themselves dishonorably from Catholic unity. This whole territory, has constantly held onto the Catholic faith and was earlier joined to the canton of Bern under the legal stipulation and agreement that it preserve the exercise of its religion free and inviolate. But now it is deprived of parish sermons, solemn baptisms, weddings, and funerals. The multitude of the faithful is protesting in vain that on account of consummate injury done to them, they are compelled either to accept schismatic and heretical pastors forced on them by the political authority or else be deprived of any priestly ministry and aid.

10. We, for Our part, give thanks to God who, with the same grace with which He formerly strengthened and confirmed martyrs, sustains and strengthens that select part of the Catholic flock which courageously supports their bishop as he builds a wall in defense of the house of Israel that it may stand in battle the day of the Lord.[3] Without fear they follow in the footsteps of the head of the martyrs of Jesus Christ; while offering the gentleness of the lamb to the ferocity of wolves, they constantly and readily fight for their faith.

11. This noble constancy of the faithful Swiss is emulated with no less commendation by the clergy and faithful in Germany, who themselves follow the illustrious example of their ecclesiastical leaders. The Germans, assuming the shield of Catholic truth and the helms of salvation, fight the battles of the Lord and are a wonder to the world, to the angels, and to men who look on them from every side. All the more is their fortitude of spirit and unbroken constancy admired and extolled with outstanding praise as the bitter persecution set in motion against them in the German Empire and especially in Prussia increases with each day.

Unwarranted Power Given to Laity

12. In addition to many grave injuries inflicted on the Catholic Church last year, the government of Prussia with harsh, iniquitous laws totally different from previous ones have subjected the whole institution and education of clerics to lay power. One can now legitimately ask how clerics are to be educated and formed for the priestly and pastoral life. Going further still, the government grants to the same lay power the right to bestow any office or ecclesiastical benefice and even the right to deprive sacred pastors of office and benefice.

13. Moreover so that the ecclesiastical government and the hierarchical order of subordination constituted by Christ Himself may be more quickly and fully subverted, these same laws impose many obstacles on bishops so that they cannot provide, through canonical censures and punishments, for the salvation of souls, the soundness of doctrine in Catholic schools, and the obedience due them from clerics. These same laws forbid bishops to do these things unless they are in accord with the wishes of the civil authority and the norms proposed by it. And so that nothing be lacking in the total oppression of the Catholic Church, a royal tribunal for ecclesiastical affairs has been instituted. Bishops and holy pastors can be summoned before it, both by private individuals and by public magistrates, so as to stand trial like criminals and be coerced in the exercise of their spiritual functions

Existence of Church Threatened

14. Thus the holy Church of Christ, whose necessary and full freedom of which religion had repeatedly been guaranteed by public pacts and the highest princes, has in these same places been deprived of all its rights and exposed to hostile men. Its final extinction now threatens. For the new laws, to be sure, have as their intent its destruction.

15. No wonder, then, that the former religious tranquility has been gravely disturbed in that Empire by this kind of law and other plans and actions of the Prussian government most hostile to the Church. But who would wish to falsely cast the blame of this disturbance on the Catholics of the German Empire! For if they are faulted for not acquiesing in such laws in which they could not acquiesce with good conscience, for the same reason the apostles of Jesus Christ ant the martyrs, who preferred to undergo most dreadful tortures and death itself than to betray their duty and violate the rights of their most holy religion by obeying the commands of the princes who persecuted them, must also be faulted. (Pope Pius XII, Etsi Multa, November 21, 1873.)

Vladimir Putin’s sweeping accusations of Ukrainian atrocities is thus very reminiscent of the way in which the Nazi propaganda machine sought to justify Der Fuhrer’s invasion, occupation, and evisceration of the western part of Poland. The Nazi propaganda piece quoted just above, cited Polish “atrocities,” thus choosing to universalize from particular incidents involving Poles who could not bring themselves to forgive the Germans for their acts of savagery and oppression. Fallen human nature is what it is, but the acts of individuals do not justify large-scale invasions designed to subjugate an entire nation and to exterminate its very existence.

Returning now to the Putin address:

I reiterate: we are acting to defend ourselves from the threats created for us and from a worse peril than what is happening now. I am asking you, however hard this may be, to understand this and to work together with us so as to turn this tragic page as soon as possible and to move forward together, without allowing anyone to interfere in our affairs and our relations but developing them independently, so as to create favorable conditions for overcoming all these problems and to strengthen us from within as a single whole, despite the existence of state borders. I believe in this, in our common future.

Interjection Number Ten:

The President of the Russian Federation does have a valid point here, especially when considers how the incompetent President of the United States of America in Name Only, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., kept using Ukraine to provoke Putin without providing the Ukrainian government with the military equipment that they needed to defend themselves:

As the world teeters on the edge of nuclear catastrophe, the Democrats are doing what they do best: projecting. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, opined Adam Schiff in Rolling Stone on Friday, “hammers home how despicable an act it was to treat Ukraine as a political plaything.” 

Well, yes, but treating Ukraine as a political plaything has been a reckless Democrat obsession for a long time, not least when Schiff, as chair of the House Intelligence Committee, led the impeachment of Donald Trump over a phone call to President Volodymr Zelensky. 

The hypocrisy makes me faint! 

Other Democrats were quoted peddling the same narrative. 

“I sense the first impeachment sounded kinda obscure to some people,” said Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii. “But withholding lethal aid was both an actual crime and a moral crime.” 

Except that Trump did send lethal aid to Ukraine, unlike the Obama-Biden administration, which sent blankets and

And do Democrats really think Americans have forgotten Joe Biden’s boast that he withheld $1 billion in aid from the Ukrainians unless they fired the prosecutor who was investigating his son Hunter’s oligarch boss at the corrupt energy company Burisma. 

This was the scandal that Trump, in his clumsy fashion, was trying to get to the bottom of. He was impeached for pressing Zelensky to look into Biden’s quid pro quo. But Biden’s bullying of Ukraine was far more sinister and consequential. Trump got nothing. The Biden family got millions of dollars from Ukraine

Biden was Obama’s point man in Ukraine, and often flew into Kyiv to deliver lectures about corruption, at the time his son was earning $83,333 on the Burisma board. 

But their pleas were ignored. 

As he is wont to do, Biden made lots of empty promises to Ukraine, giving them the impression that joining the North At­lantic Treaty Or­ga­ni­za­tion would be good for the country, not a fatal provocation to Putin. 

John Mearsheimer, the Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, one of America’s foremost international relations theorists, warned at the time: “The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path and the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked . . . What we’re doing is in fact encouraging that outcome.” 

Seven years later, his tragic prophesy is realized. 

Oxford historian Robert Service, a fel­low at the Hoover In­sti­tu­tion, points to another provocation by Biden last year. 

“It was the last straw” for Putin when the US and Ukraine signed a Char­ter on Strate­gic Part­ner­ship on Nov. 10 last year, declaring Amer­i­ca’s sup­port for Ukraine’s right to pur­sue NATO mem­ber­ship, Service told The Wall Street Journal last week. After that, Russia began amassing troops on the Ukrainian border. 

Biden spoke with Zelensky on Saturday night. The next day Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that NATO members have the “green light” to send fighter jets to Ukraine

This would be a major escalation, with Russia’s Defense Ministry warning on Sunday that any countries hosting warplanes which attacked Russian forces “could be considered as those countries’ engagement in the military conflict.” 

In comments widely interpreted as threatening a nuclear strike if NATO imposed a no-fly zone over Ukraine, Putin warned of “colossal and catastrophic consequences not only for Europe but also the whole world.” 

Frightening times. 

Yet the priority for the Democrat brains trust all weekend was to spin the war to their own political benefit. The same people who pushed the Russia collusion hoax are back blaming Trump for the catastrophe in Ukraine and claiming that the situation is a triumph for Biden who has “united NATO.” Putin probably had more to do with that. 

“We got the best damn generals in the world,” Biden told General Mark “White Rage” Milley as he shook his hand after the State of the Union. “I’m counting on you, man. Now don’t tell nobody, but I listen to everything you say.” 

But while Putin was preparing to recreate the Soviet empire, what was our military doing? Forcing officers to undergo mandatory training on gender pronouns and how to offer soldiers sex change surgery, according to documents provided by a whistle-blower to the Washington Free Beacon. 

No wonder Putin regards the West as so decadent and weak that he could stroll into Ukraine with impunity. The fact he met such fierce resistance is due to the courage of the Ukrainians, not fear of the West. (As the Threat of Nuclear War Looms, How Democrats Spin a Crisis.)

It must be remembered that Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., has been wrong on every foreign policy issue for the past half century since his election to the United States Senate on November 7, 1972.

We turn again to Vladimir Putin’s appeal to the Ukrainian military personnel to lay down their arms in the face of the Russian invasion, once again calling to mind the fight about the Nazis that the Soviets did not take up until they had been invaded by their Nazi allies on June 22, 1941:

I would also like to address the military personnel of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Comrade officers,

Your fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers did not fight the Nazi occupiers and did not defend our common Motherland to allow today’s neo-Nazis to seize power in Ukraine. You swore the oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people and not to the junta, the people’s adversary which is plundering Ukraine and humiliating the Ukrainian people. (Vladimir Putin’s Empire of Lies Speech.)

Interjection Number Eleven:

A secular commentator explained Vladimir Putin’s mind in this regard as follows:

So there is, in Putin’s mind, a seamless connection between Russian nationalism and Russian security interests. Putin believes that the current Ukrainian government threatens Russia for reasons bound up in their imperial past; restoring Russian control over territories that he believes it rightfully owns would be one way of ending the threat.

This thinking is most clearly on display in the most ominous line in Putin’s speech, one that we can now clearly read as a promise to invade Ukraine:

“You want decommunization? Very well, this suits us just fine. But why stop halfway? We are ready to show what real decommunization would mean for Ukraine.”

With this history in mind, it’s possible to make sense of Putin’s seemingly unhinged ranting about genocide and the de-Nazification of Ukraine. For starters, the idea of Ukraine as a Nazi state is deeply rooted in the Russian nationalist narrative.

“It goes back to World War II, [when some] Ukrainian partisans took the Nazi side against the Soviets,” Gunitsky explains. “The [new official] narrative in Russia [today] is that these are all neo-Nazis running the show.”

Putin is wrapping this history into his basic idea that Ukraine is not and cannot be a legitimate sovereign state. Ukraine, in this view, is not merely a historically Russian territory wrongly severed; it is the inheritor of a neo-Nazi tradition that contributed to untold Russian deaths during World War II.

Similarly, Putin’s claims of “genocide” in Ukraine reflect Russian nationalism. Ukraine has a large ethnic Russian population, especially in its East, and many Ukrainians of all ethnicities speak Russian. In Putin’s paranoid telling, these people are not merely rightful Russian citizens wrongfully separated from the motherland; they are potential victims of an ethnic cleansing campaign by the neo-Nazi Ukrainian government.

The formation of an ethnically pure Ukrainian state, aggressive towards Russia, is comparable in its consequences to the use of weapons of mass destruction against us,” as he put it in his 2021 essay. “As a result of such a harsh and artificial division of Russians and Ukrainians, the Russian people in all may decrease by hundreds of thousands or even millions.”

There is a small amount of truth in this hyperbole. The Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi militia, played an important role in fighting Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014; since then, it has been integrated into the Ukrainian national guard. Ukraine’s government has pushed to make Ukrainian the country’s dominant language. Many ethnic Russians — though by no means all — would rather live under Moscow than Kyiv.

But there is an ocean of difference between these real concerns and hyperbolic claims that Ukraine is a neo-Nazi state committing genocide against ethnic Russians.

In Ukraine’s 2019 national election, a far-right political alliance including Azov’s political arm only received 2 percent of the vote. There is no evidence that Zelensky’s government is engaging in large-scale extermination of Russians; no international human rights group nor credible expert has made such a claim.

But while Putin’s arguments may be unserious, the implications of them for Russian policy are deadly.

By casting the Ukrainian regime in the most negative possible light — and officially linking Russia’s official war aims to “de-Nazification” and “demilitarization” — he is all but openly turning his belief that Ukraine is not a legitimate sovereign state into action, making a veiled threat to remove its leadership and permanently end its military capacity. No sovereign state could accept that. The invasion aims to defeat Ukraine utterly, to force its surrender and submission to the Russian yoke.

The case for the war is built on lies, both about Ukraine’s history and its present. But the Russian policy is coherent: it aims toward turning Putin’s maximalist vision for a Ukraine returned to the Russian fold into reality. Whether Russia can accomplish that — and what price ordinary Russians and Ukrainians will pay for it — remains to be seen. (Putin’s Goals in Ukraine.)

Although I have dealt with the “denazification” slogan before, it is useful to do so again as the alleged threat comes from several military units which have had those elements eliminated from their ranks:

Propaganda efforts have redoubled since Putin launched its aggression against Ukraine a week ago. Suddenly, a host of stories has appeared in conservative media that try to rally support for Vladimir Putin because he is allegedly fighting Nazis and the New World Order in Ukraine.  One of the worst examples is, perhaps, the Gateway Pundit, which has been duped into publishing stories by one Larry Johnson, whose only focus is the glorification of Russia and the smearing of Ukraine as a nation of Nazis.

We could respond by advising Russia and its advocates to worry about their own neo-Nazi infestation, but since this smear has now become widespread, it is prudent to address it.

The Nazi smear is a twisted but effective technique used by Russian propaganda and our left-wing media in equal abundance.  Russia has been doing it since Stalin made it "a thing."  This smear is effective because its victims try to distance themselves from one another and sometimes join in accusations, hoping others won't think of them as Nazis.  It's also effective because it's extremely dirty.  Trying to debunk it makes one dive deep into repulsive dirt.

Remember how Trump was smeared over Charlottesville — where did those Neo-Nazis even come from?  Remember Nick Sandmann?  Remember how Kyle Rittenhouse "became" a neo-Nazi for shooting at violent thugs in self-defense?  Of course you do.  But somehow no one remembers it when exactly the same technique is used on Ukraine.

When the Nazis occupied Ukraine in 1941, my Armenian grandfather became trapped there with four of his children, while his fifth and oldest joined the Soviet Army and was killed in action.  The Nazis arrested my grandfather and sent him to a concentration camp because they decided that he looked Jewish.  By some miracle, he survived and returned home to raise my father and my three aunts.  Growing up, I have been a few times insulted by random antisemites who thought I was Jewish, and I know from personal experience how unfair and downright evil it is to single out people because of their ethnicity.  I've written articles in support of Israel and one time was arrested for hanging pro-Israel posters on the GMU campus.  Don't even bother accusing me of whitewashing a bunch of Nazis.

A lot of the anti-Ukrainian propaganda points have been growing from a widely planted story claiming that their Azov battalion is a Nazi organization.  Debunking that libel today is especially difficult because the Russian influence operators have already distributed the myth around the world, all the way to the U.S. Congress.  It would take an entire think-tank to shovel through that pile of "evidence."

Why have the Russian propagandists chosen that particular group?  Azov is extremely effective against the Kremlin-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.  The fact is, Russian aggression was the only reason Azov was formed in the first place, so the Kremlin has only itself to blame for it.

The Azov battalion was organized in 2014 when the poorly armed and unprepared Ukrainian army was forced to fight an unexpected war against Kremlin-orchestrated "separatism" in eastern Ukraine.  Seeing how the military was failing, one of the richest Ukrainian industrialists and the governor of the Dnipro Oblast, Igor Kolomoisky, spent a hefty chunk of his own money to recruit and arm a volunteer battalion to defend Ukraine.  The unit was named Azov after the small Azov Sea in southern Ukraine.  This was quickly followed by a series of Ukrainian victories, in which Azov played a part.

Its initial sponsor, Kolomoisky, is Jewish and has since become an Israeli citizen, living in Israel.  Not exactly neo-Nazi material, but the media influencers conveniently omit that fact.  The smear is as absurd as if Hitler were to spread rumors about General Patton being a Nazi so as to hinder the American war effort.

Have there been volunteers with extremist views?  Surely, there have been.  Extremists exist in every nation, and they tend to join militias, as such people are drawn to violence.  In a life-or-death situation for the country, when every fighter and every minute counts, no one does background checks on people who volunteer to fight for a good cause.  Or would you rather they stay home and send bespectacled academics to the war instead?

It's not difficult to single out a dimwit or two and provoke them to make stupid statements on record, then magnify them out of proportion in the media.  The media have done it many times to American conservatives; conservatives should know better.

Were there extremist or racist soldiers fighting in George Patton's army?  I bet there were a few, but it doesn't follow that Patton was one of them, or that the U.S. Army had no moral right to fight Hitler and its victory was not legitimate.

To reference American popular culture, Azov is the Ukrainian version of the Suicide Squad.  Accordingly, they chose a bellicose, ominous-looking emblem of the crossed letter Z that also calls to mind a modified Ukrainian Trident but, to the critics, it appears too close to the SS emblem or the swastika.  It arguably follows traditional embroidery ornaments, and, after all, we don't demonize the entire Buddhist community in Asia for the continued use of their traditional swastika symbol.

There is some scary quality about the designs one can make with the letter Z.  Germans used it, Ukrainians used it, and so have the Russians in the war against Ukraine (see the illustration).  Yet, if I were the Azov P.R. agent, I'd probably advise them to hire a different art director.

In the seven years since Azov was formed, it has been cleaned up to become a special unit in the Ukrainian National Guard, but the smear of being a neo-Nazi militia is still being artificially inflated out of proportion.  It came to a point in January of 2021 when the battalion had to write an official refutation to a Time Magazine article that called them a "white-supremacist militia."  If you remember what happened in Washington in January of 2021, you may wonder if the timing of that story was not coincidental and if a Russian influence operation may play a role in the sudden surge of "white supremacist" and "Nazi" name-calling in the American media, aimed to split and demoralize the country.

Appealing to the history of antisemitism in Ukraine isn't much proof.  Ukraine is not unique here because the history of Europe, especially Russia, is littered with examples of antisemitism.  What makes Ukraine unique is its current Jewish president, Zelensky — the only such head of state in the entire world outside Israel.  By the logic of the Nazi smear, Azov should be fighting on the Russian side against Zelensky.  But Russian propaganda has never bothered to be consistent.  The more insane, the better.

By the same propaganda logic, Germany should be open for invasion by anyone willing to do so because it has a history of state-sponsored antisemitism under Hitler.  Except that today's Germany is not what it was generations ago, and that is what should matter now.

It would seem that the Russian influence operation has been successful not just in planting smear stories, but also in removing the stories that counter their narrative.  The existing links that support this article are in Ukrainian or Russian, so they won't be of much use in the U.S., but for those who read either of those languages, here is a detailed breakdown published by Hromadske, a Ukrainian nonprofit organization for public journalism.

Of the English-language sources, observe the debunking of one of the vile examples of the anti-Azov Russian hoaxes.  On the eve of the Netherlands' referendum about relations with Ukraine, Russian propaganda released a video in which alleged "Azov members" in masks threaten Dutch citizens with violent terrorist acts and burn the Dutch flag.  This example speaks volumes about the goals, methods, and targets of such operations.

Speaking of neo-Nazi videos, here's a recent one on Instagram, in which neo-Nazis swear allegiance to their Fuehrer.  Only they are not Azov fighters, nor are they even Ukrainians.  They are goose-stepping, black-clad young Russians declaring their undying love for the Putin regime.  In other words, Putlerjugend.

The best source is saved for last. It was published by The Hill and written by Kristofer Harrison, who worked for defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and was a foreign policy adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential campaign.  He is a co-founder and principal of AMS, a company that specializes in Russian information warfare.

In the article "Did California's Ro Khanna get duped by Russia's propaganda?," Harrison writes:

Congratulations, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), it appears you were just duped by Russia (and bragged about it). As a result, you promoted Russian propaganda about Ukraine's Azov Battalion being Nazis with text in the behemoth $1.3 trillion spending bill. The question is, who put you up to it? ...

It is ridiculous nonsense that Ukraine is beset with a bunch of Nazis. The Russians have been pushing this foolishness for a while. In Russia, if you want to discredit someone, call them a Nazi. Putin is using it to justify his war to his subjects. Russians are not particularly keen on attacking Ukraine. But if it is to free them from the yoke of Nazis, well, that's different.

The reason why the Kremlin is using information war against the Azov Battalion, specifically, is partially because they sometimes make themselves easy PR targets. These are guys with guns fighting a Russian invasion, not a PR agency with media training. But the bigger reason is that the Azov Battalion is one of the most effective defensive units.

Russia can't beat them on the battlefield, so they use K Street lobbyist sellouts to help cripple them. Who wants to provide guns to fascists? Nobody. That is the ruse you fell for.

In this instance, the Russian active measure began with an article in a publication that should know better: Foreign Policy. John Conyers read the piece on the Congressional Record. It then spread like wildfire among lazy journalists and Russia's network of foolsknaves and propagandists. ...

Russia is attacking the U.S., and quisling K Street lobbyists are helping them. Help us identify them.

Propaganda surely exists on both sides, it's part of any war.  But it's curious to see how, in American social media, especially among some conservatives, it has become popular to ridicule and debunk any embellishments coming out of Ukraine, with no attention whatsoever to a less noticeable, creeping insertion of anti-Ukrainian tropes in the American media, which comes not as a meme, but as an "eye-opener" of a "serious political expert."

Think about that before you make another disparaging comment about an underdog nation fighting for freedom and independence against a stronger, dictatorial neighbor.  Just like some Americans on January 6, Ukrainians rebelled over a brazenly stolen election by a Kremlin-backed candidate in 2004, and then they rebelled again against a Kremlin-backed president in 2014, and they have been fighting off Russian aggression ever since.  Today, Russia is bombing Ukrainian cities, and the Azov battalion is the only force that bravely stands in the way of a superior invading army, defending a strategic port city, Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov. (About Those Neo-Nazis in Ukraine.)

Putin is lying, and so many Catholics have been duped by his lies because they know that Western globalists have helped to create this tragedy. We must be governed by facts, and not by a simplistic Manichean worldview that serve as a justification for the massive invasion and wholesale destruction of a sovereign nation’s infrastructure and the wanton killing of innocent human beings, including infants.

Forget about the “denazification” slogan, and those who keep repeating it are doing a disservice to truth and showing themselves to be unserious, uncritical commentators on the events that are unfolding before our very eyes.

Vladimir Putin’s goal is to defeat and then subjugate Ukraine, which is why he urged members of the Ukrainian military to refuse to obey “criminal orders” and permit the Russian troops to takeover their country:

I urge you to refuse to carry out their criminal orders. I urge you to immediately lay down arms and go home. I will explain what this means: the military personnel of the Ukrainian army who do this will be able to freely leave the zone of hostilities and return to their families.

I want to emphasize again that all responsibility for the possible bloodshed will lie fully and wholly with the ruling Ukrainian regime.

I would now like to say something very important for those who may be tempted to interfere in these developments from the outside. No matter who tries to stand in our way or all the more so create threats for our country and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history. No matter how the events unfold, we are ready. All the necessary decisions in this regard have been taken. I hope that my words will be heard.

Citizens of Russia,

The culture and values, experience and traditions of our ancestors invariably provided a powerful underpinning for the wellbeing and the very existence of entire states and nations, their success and viability. Of course, this directly depends on the ability to quickly adapt to constant change, maintain social cohesion, and readiness to consolidate and summon all the available forces in order to move forward.

We always need to be strong, but this strength can take on different forms. The “empire of lies,” which I mentioned in the beginning of my speech, proceeds in its policy primarily from rough, direct force. This is when our saying on being “all brawn and no brains” applies.

We all know that having justice and truth on our side is what makes us truly strong. If this is the case, it would be hard to disagree with the fact that it is our strength and our readiness to fight that are the bedrock of independence and sovereignty and provide the necessary foundation for building a reliable future for your home, your family, and your Motherland.

Dear compatriots,

I am certain that devoted soldiers and officers of Russia’s Armed Forces will perform their duty with professionalism and courage. I have no doubt that the government institutions at all levels and specialists will work effectively to guarantee the stability of our economy, financial system and social wellbeing, and the same applies to corporate executives and the entire business community. I hope that all parliamentary parties and civil society take a consolidated, patriotic position.

At the end of the day, the future of Russia is in the hands of its multi-ethnic people, as has always been the case in our history. This means that the decisions that I made will be executed, that we will achieve the goals we have set, and reliably guarantee the security of our Motherland.

I believe in your support and the invincible force rooted in the love for our Fatherland. ( Vladimir Putin’s Empire of Lies Speech.)

Putin’s speech be summarized as follows:

  • The presence of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military forces on the borders of the Russian Federation pose an existential threat to the Russian Federation;
  • The push by the leaders of the countries belonging to NATO to incorporate former Soviet-bloc nations, including Ukraine, into NATO, thereby threatens Russia by surrounding it with conventional and nuclear weapons;
  • Volodymyr Zelesnky’s expressed desire to be part of the European Union, and hence part of the New World Order is a cause for war;
  • The desire of many Ukrainians to be more attached to the West than to Russia and a persecution of Russian speakers since 2014 necessitates Russian to protect its own;
  • The 2014 American-sponsored and engineered coup d’etat that removed the Russophilic Viktor Yanukovych from office and replaced in due course by what Putin considers to be Russophobic governments cannot be tolerated;
  • Volodymyr Zelensky’s close ties with Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum and to the ever-nefarious Georg Soros
  • The bombardment of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhentsk by the Ukrainian government had to be stopped;

I answer these contentions as follows:

First, conceding that NATO has no business expanding into Ukraine, the forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization were arrayed all throughout Europe during the era of the Cold War, including on the borders of Soviet-bloc nations, without a military attack upon the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The mere presence of those did forces do not result a represent a clear and immediate threat to the territorial security of the Russian Federation necessitating a Russian military invasion of Ukraine, admitting that NATO has been involved in lots of unjust conflicts without a casus bello itself (on the side of Kosovo in the 1990s ,the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, the takedown of Moammar Ghaddafi in 2011, etc.) that have caused untold human suffering.

It is no more permissible for Vladimir Putin to launch a preventative war now that it was for George Walker Bush to have launched his own “preventative war” against Iraqi’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, because he was alleged to have had those “weapons of mass destruction.”

Second, regime change has been wrong when Americans have undertaken it, and they have been undertaking it since all those efforts to invade The Philippines, get rid of Catholic governments in the aftermath of World War I and, concurrently, to change Mexican regimes at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, and Vladimir Putin has no warrant from God to effect “regime change” in Ukraine no matter Volodymyr Zelensky’s government desires to associate with the West and his constant needling of the Russian bear. Make no mistake about it, Vladimir Putin desires “regime change” to revanche the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 and to show the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that he can avenge his Serbian allies by doing in Ukraine what its forces did in Kosovo.

A secular writer made the following observations that are worth considering as they are very sobering:

As Russian bombs pound Ukraine, and its soldiers pour into Ukrainian territory, the question on everyone’s mind is: Why? What does Russia hope to accomplish with a massive invasion?

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his version of an answer in his televised speech Wednesday night, announcing a “special military operation” whose “goal is to protect people who have been abused by the genocide of the Kyiv regime for eight years.” Ultimately: “We will strive for the demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine, as well as bringing to justice those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians.”

On its face, this sounds detached from reality. There is no ongoing genocide in Ukraine. While there are government-aligned fascist militias in Ukraine, ones that have risen in influence since the pro-Western Euromaidan uprising in 2013, the Ukrainian government itself is not even close to a Nazi regime. The country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish; he speaks proudly of how his Jewish grandfather fought against Hitler’s army.

But with this seemingly absurd rhetoric, Putin is laying the propaganda groundwork for the overthrow of Ukraine’s government.

“It is a military operation with maximalist war aims, whose [ultimate] aim is regime change,” writes Michael Kofman, director of Russia studies at the CNA think tank.

US intelligence has warned that Putin aims to topple Ukraine’s government, round up prominent Ukrainians “to be killed or sent to camps,” and install a puppet regime in Kyiv. When Putin speaks of “de-Nazification” and “bringing [Ukrainians] to justice,” this is exactly what he means.

The word “demilitarization” hints at the real reasons he’s willing to do this: that he wishes to end Ukraine’s status as an independent sovereign state.

Putin believes that Ukraine is an illegitimate country that exists on land that’s historically and rightfully Russian. Zelensky’s willingness to move away from Moscow and toward the West is, in Putin’s mind, an attempt to legitimize the “false” regime in Kyiv. The existence of an anti-Russian regime in what he views as rightfully Russian territory populated by rightfully Russian people is unacceptable to him — so unacceptable that he is willing to wage a costly and bloody war over it.

“Ukraine might have remained a sovereign state so long as it had a pro-Putin government,” says Seva Gunitsky, a political scientist at the University of Toronto who studies Russia. “Reuniting the lands formally would probably not have been at the forefront of the agenda if Putin felt he had enough political support from the Ukrainian regime.”

So talk of “de-Nazification,” while absurd on a factual level, is nonetheless revealing. It tells us that Putin is acting on his long-held belief that the Ukrainian government has no right to be independent. It hints at his ultimate goal: to transform Ukraine into a vassal of a new Russian empire.

Putin has laid out key elements of his thinking in statements over the years, ranging from a 2005 declaration that “the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster” to a 5,000-word essay on Ukrainian history published last year. But his most relevant formulation, for the purposes of understanding the current invasion, came in an inflammatory speech on Ukraine policy delivered on Monday.

The speech was ostensibly a justification for his decision to recognize the independence of pro-Russian secessionist regimes in the eastern Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk. But it was also a lengthy disquisition on nationalist grievances, one that Russia experts widely saw as an authentic guide to his motivations during the Ukraine crisis.

“I am convinced that Putin was ‘speaking from the heart,’” says Alina Polyakova, the president of the Center for European Policy Analysis think tank.

The central contention of the address is that Ukraine and Russia are, in historical terms, essentially inseparable.

“Ukraine is not just a neighboring country for us. It is an inalienable part of our own history, culture and spiritual space,” he said, per the Kremlin’s official translation. “Since time immemorial, the people living in the south-west of what has historically been Russian land have called themselves Russians.”

What we now call Ukraine, he says, “was entirely created by Russia or, to be more precise, by Bolshevik Communist Russia.” In this questionable narrative, a trio of early Soviet leaders — Lenin, Stalin, and Khrushchev — carved land away from Russia and several nearby nations to create a distinct and ahistorical republic called Ukraine. The creation of Ukraine and the other Soviet republics, Putin says, was an attempt to win the support of “the most zealous nationalists” across the Soviet Union — at the expense of the historical idea of Russia.

In the speech, he uses a revealing metaphor on these issues: “the virus of nationalism.” Ukrainian nationalism, in his view, is an infection introduced to the Russian host by the Bolsheviks; when the Soviet Union collapsed, and republics from Ukraine to Estonia to Georgia declared independence, the virus killed its host.

Putin’s narrative is twisted history: It is simply incorrect to say that Ukraine has no independent national identity separate from Russia. “Putin is no historian,” Timothy Snyder, a Yale University historian of Eastern Europe, writes in the Financial Times.

Regardless, Putin does see the former Soviet republics — and, above all, Ukraine — as parts of Russia wrongly wrenched from the motherland. As a result, he cannot see post-Soviet Ukraine as a real country; in his view, it has no real history nor national tradition to unite it. Instead, he sees it as a playground for oligarchs who deploy anti-Russian demagoguery as a smokescreen for their corruption.

“The Ukrainian authorities — I would like to emphasize this — began by building their statehood on the negation of everything that united us,” he says.

Russian control over Ukraine, he argues, has been replaced by a different kind of foreign rule: that of the West. After the 2013 Euromaidan protests, which toppled pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, “Ukraine itself was placed under external control ... a colony with a puppet regime,” Putin says.

The implication of this historical narrative is that the Ukrainian government, in its current form, is illegitimate and intolerable.

It is illegitimate, to Putin, because he views Ukraine as a rightful part of Russia separated purely by an accident of history. It is intolerable to him, because Ukraine’s government seeks to legitimize itself by courting conflict with Russia, as he sees it, both oppressing its native Russian speakers and menacing Russia’s borders. In his mind, a pro-Western Ukraine could serve as a launching pad either for a NATO invasion of Russia or, somewhat more plausibly, a CIA-backed popular uprising against his regime. (Why is Putin attacking Ukraine? He told us.)

This is a very good summary of how Putin sees Ukraine, a point that was made at length earlier in this commentary.

Second, the Just War Theory requires that all reasonable means be undertaken to avert a conflict, that war must be undertaken only as a regrettable last resort, not as a first resort.

Vladimir Putin has admitted last year that was not interested in negotiations, and in this regard, he is no different than was George Walker Bush, who was intent upon waging war in Iraq to make the “Middle East safe for Israel. Putin was intent on conducting his war against Ukraine without regard for a negotiated settlement. I am sorry, Putin supporters: the fact that the West overthrew Viktor in 2014 and that the government of Zelensky has bombed Donetsk does not justify a massive military invasion that has put innocent civilians needlessly at ris:

In a lengthy essay penned in July 2021, Putin referred to Russians and Ukrainians as "one people," and suggested the West had corrupted Ukraine and yanked it out of Russia's orbit through a "forced change of identity."

That type of historical revisionism was on full display in Putin's emotional and grievance-packed address to the nation last Monday announcing his decision to recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, while casting doubt on Ukraine's own sovereignty.

But Ukrainians, who in the last three decades have sought to align more closely with Western institutions like the European Union and NATO, have pushed back against the notion that they are little more than the West's "puppet."

In fact, Putin's efforts to bring Ukraine back into Russia's sphere have been met with a backlash, with several recent polls showing that a majority of Ukrainians now favor membership of the US-led transatlantic military alliance.

In December, Putin presented the US and NATO with a list of security demands. Chief among them was a guarantee that Ukraine will never enter NATO and that the alliance rolls back its military footprint in Eastern and Central Europe -- proposals that the US and its allies have repeatedly said are non-starters.

Putin indicated he was not interested in lengthy negotiations on the topic. "It is you who must give us guarantees, and you must do it immediately, right now," he said at his annual news conference late last year. "Are we deploying missiles near the US border? No, we are not. It is the United States that has come to our home with its missiles and is already standing at our doorstep."

High-level talks between the West and Russia wrapped in January without any breakthroughs. The standoff left Europe's leaders to engage in a frenzy of shuttle diplomacy, exploring whether a negotiating channel established between France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine to resolve the conflict in Ukraine's east -- known as the Normandy Format talks -- could provide an avenue for calming the current crisis. (What Does Putin Want in Ukraine?)

Putin is not made “good” just because Zelensky is a very bad actor on the international stage in his own right. All manner of governments in the world have done and continue to do bad things. The government of the United States of America sanctions the killing of innocent preborn babies. Is this a cause for a coalition of nations to invade the United States of America?

Third, a duly constituted authority must decide to undertake a war as a regrettable last resort. Vladimir Putin made this decision because, contrary, to point Four (that ends be narrowly defined and capable of being achieved), Vladimir Putin wants regime change, and he wants to make Ukraine a puppet state of Russia once again. The terms “denazification” and “demilitarization” are simply code terms for overthrowing the Ukrainian regime and installing one that can be controlled by the Russians.

While the West has no business interfering in this, it is truly unbelievable that so many Catholics believe that Putin means to fight the New World Order when what he wants is to reestablish Imperial Russia for his own nationalistic ends that have nothing do with the Social Reign of Christ the King. This is as silly as to have asserted, as some Catholics did with a straight face in 2008, that then Alaska Governor Sarah Heath Palin and her family represented “American Family Values.” The last time I saw any news about Mrs. Palin, though, she was a divorcee who is being seen in public with a former National Hockey League player. Oh yes, and Donald John Trump was the “New Constantine.” What absurdity.

The ability of Catholics to suspend rationality and project their fondest hopes for a restoration of Christendom in one secular figure after another, including Vladimir Putin, a killer, and a serial adulterer, is phenomenal.

Fifth and Sixth, the precepts of the Just War Theory include the principle of Proportionality that requires decision-makings to weigh whether the pursuit of a justifiable end, if one exists, that is, is outweighed by the amount of perceived harm that would be done by its prosecution. Although this is admittedly a subjective judgment on the part of such decision-makers, every effort must nevertheless be made to indemnify, not to target, civilians and civilian population centers. Despite what is being contended by Vladimir Putin’s supporters, residential buildings and civilians are being bombed with ready abandon (Photographs of Civilian Centers Bombed.) Those who think that Putin has any scruples about this are sadly mistaken. Even one of Putin’s own advisers “cannot comprehend” the invasion of Ukraine:

A top Kremlin adviser has broken ranks to call for a ceasefire in Ukraine as he blasted the invasion as 'embarrassing' for Russia.

Andrey Kortunov said 'many of us are depressed' in an extraordinary intervention, after Vladimir Putin made his country a pariah on the international stage.

The foreign policy expert, who is the director general of the Russian International Affairs Council and sits on a panel which advises the Kremlin, said he does not understand the rationale behind the invasion.

He told Sky News: 'I was shocked because for a long time, I thought that a military operation was not feasible. It was not plausible.  

'My advice today, given the current situation on the ground, would be to turn a ceasefire into the top priority. We have to stop the conflict.'

He said Ukraine and the West needs to get round a negotiating table with Russia to bring about an end to the costly war.

Putin recently narrowed his group advisers to a small number of securocrats known as siloviki who consist of generals, friends and spies.

Their closeness to Putin has coincided with a distancing from the more qualified and experienced experts who would normally brief the Russian strongman.

The siloviki have increased Putin's fears the West is trying to destroy Russia, Kortunov believes.

He said: 'We tend to believe that the name of the game is development, but I can imagine that some people around Mr Putin believe that the name of the game is survival.' 

He added: 'I'm depressed. I think many of us are depressed.

'I think that there are many people in the Kremlin who should be depressed because the price will be substantial and of course, you know, we should be depressed also because people are being killed.

'You know, it's something that we should never forget.'

Dissent against the invasion is growing in the country where opposition to the regime often leads to a prison sentence. 

Thousands of Russian scientists and journalist have condemned the military action, risking fines or even prison sentences.

In an open letter to the increasingly isolated dictator, they said there was no 'rational justification for this war' and warned the country was 'doomed to isolation'.

Russian science and medicine could be left behind because of a lack of international funding as the world turns the country into a 'pariah' state, they claimed.  

More than 6,100 academics, scientific journalists and medics have put their name to the document despite Russia's strict anti-freedom of speech laws.

Any public criticism of the Russian state can result in fines of up to £6,200 or jail sentences, under laws introduced in 2012. 

The coalition has demanded 'an immediate halt to all military operations directed against Ukraine'.    

Meanwhile jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny called on Russians to stage daily protests, depicting Putin as an 'obviously insane tsar.'

Navalny called for protests across the country and abroad to signal that not all Russians support the war and show solidarity with the thousands of people detained in anti-war protests in Russia since last week's invasion. 

'We cannot wait even a day longer. Wherever you are. In Russia, Belarus or on the other side of the planet. Go out onto the main square of your city every weekday at 19.00 and at 14.00 at weekends and on holidays,' he said in a statement published on Twitter by his spokesperson.

Navalny said Russia wanted to be a nation of peace but few people would call it that now.

'Let us at least not become a nation of frightened silent people. Of cowards who pretend not to notice the aggressive war against Ukraine unleashed by our obviously insane tsar,' he said.

'I am from the USSR. I was born there. And the main phrase from there - from my childhood - was 'fight for peace'. I call on everyone to come out on to the streets and fight for peace... Putin is not Russia.'

Navalny, the most prominent of Putin's opponents, was jailed last year after his return from Germany following treatment for what Western laboratory tests showed was an attempt to poison him with a nerve agent in Siberia. He said he was sentenced on trumped-up charges.

Russia denied carrying out such an attack and dismisses suggestions that Navalny's treatment was politically motivated. It describes its actions in Ukraine as a 'special military operation'. 

Navalny's activist movement had already called for a campaign of civil disobedience to protest against Russia's invasion, but police have cracked down on demonstrations.

Some 6,840 people have been detained at anti-war protests since the invasion began on February 24, according to the OVD-Info protest-monitoring group.

Navalny, 45, has been the biggest thorn in the Kremlin's side for over a decade, persistently detailing what he says is high-level corruption and mobilising crowds of young protesters in a country where the opposition has no meaningful power.

But his appeal to Russians outside big cities appears limited and the opposition's ability to challenge Putin has been hampered by the authorities' moves to stifle dissent in the past few years and by the state's tight grip on the media.

Many opposition figures are now in exile after being designated by the authorities as 'foreign agents', a legal designation used for what authorities say are foreign-funded organisations engaged in political activity.

Opposition unity has often been undermined by internal policy differences and squabbling among factions, including during mass protests in 2011-12 that brought Navalny to prominence but faded after a police crackdown.  (Kremlin Adviser Cannot Comprehend Invasion.)

Putin is being advised by John McCain-Richard Cheney-Liz Cheney-Lindsey Graham-type war hawks, by his own “neoconservatives,” if you will. They want war. They got war. This does not make it just.

Former President Donald John Trump, for instance, called off an airstrike against Iranian targets in 2019 after an American drone had been shot down over Iranian territory because he believed that the cost of up to one hundred fifty Iranian lives that might be killed did not justify such an attack:

Donald Trump has said the US air force was “cocked and loaded” to attack three Iranian targets on Friday morning, but he called off the strike with 10 minutes to spare after being told that the airstrike might kill as many as 150 people.

Trump said in a series of morning tweets that he decided late on Thursday that the death toll was not a proportionate response to the Iranian shooting down of a US spy drone off the Iranian coast 24 hours earlier.

The tweets revealed how close the world may have come to a Middle East conflagration, and raised questions over why the commander-in-chief was told so late in the planning of a military operation about the predicted loss of life involved. It would be routine for a president to be informed of the likely civilian casualties when the options are first presented.

Trump tweeted: “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, ‘How many will die?’ ‘150 people, sir’, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not … proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.

“I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”

In an interview with NBC, released Friday, Trump elaborated on his decision. “I thought about it for a second and I said, you know what, they shot down an unmanned drone … and here we are sitting with a 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said go ahead,” Trump said. “And I didn’t like it … I didn’t think it was proportionate.” (Donald Trump Cancelled Retaliatory Airstrike Against Iran             .)

Former President Trump had scruples about killing people unnecessarily, and while Vladimir Putin’s contentions about the reasons for his brutal invasion of Ukraine do not involved an unmanned drone having been shot down, it is nevertheless true that he has authorized the use of massive military force in Ukraine and has no scruples whatsoever about the killing of innocent civilians and the destruction of residential dwellings. His conscience is not in the least bothered by the humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion of his forces and the fact that the lives of over a million people who have been forced to flee from their native land, perhaps never to return, will never be the same.

Mind you, as mentioned several times above, Volodymyr Zelensky and the globalists who support him bear their own share of fault for what led up to the invasion, and one can be sure that fomenters of chaos in this country, such as Zelensky bankroller George Soros, who finance the elections of district attorneys who indemnify criminals by refusing to enforce just laws and thus cause the reign of crime to increase in many American cities, are delighted by the chaos that is occurring at this time even though they condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and partake in a vilification of all things Russian that makes President Thomas Woodrow Wilson’s Germanophobia during the unjust and immoral catastrophe called World War I seem tame by comparison.

Here are a few examples of the current Russophobia psychosis:

Russian cats are the latest target of the world's backlash against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine a week ago. It follows worldwide sanctions by governments and private entities that has spilled beyond hitting Russian leaders and oligarchs.

The International Cat Federation, officially known as Fédération Internationale Féline, has announced that as a result of the assault, no cats bred in Russia may be imported or registered in any FIFe pedigree book outside of Russia.

Also, no cat belonging to Russian owners may be entered into FIFe cat shows outside of Russia.

The restrictions will last until May 31, when they will be reviewed.

FIFe also said "our Ukrainian fellow feline fanciers are desperately trying to take care of their cats and other animals in these trying circumstances. We are extremely happy that many members of FIFe clubs bordering Ukraine, such as Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova, are lending a helping hand to their Ukrainian breeder friends."

Within hours of Russia launching the war last week, world governments imposed unprecedented sanctions to economically cut off Russian President Vladimir Putin and those in his circle. 

The ratcheting up of sanctions has had a surprisingly quick effect. The ruble has dropped sharply and inflation is on the rise, creating new anxiety for Russian consumers — not just the oligarchs targeted in early measures. A pullout of foreign companies has caused car factories in Russia to shut down, and Boeing and Airbus have stopped supplying parts and services to Russian airlines.

Russia’s economy is less than one-tenth the size of the U.S. economy — only half as big as California’s alone — and economists believe it will shrink further, a fate incongruous with Russia’s standing as the world’s second-leading nuclear power. (Russian Cats Banned from International Competition.)

This is nuts. It is insanity.

However, there is more of this insanity. Meow:

As the war in Ukraine escalates, customer traffic is drying up at the Russian Tea Room.

The opulent eatery on West 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan — a mecca in its heyday for A-listers like Frank Sinatra, Raquel Welch and Liza Minelli — stood nearly empty on Tuesday.

Over three hours at lunchtime, a mere 16 customers filtered in and out of the restaurant’s lavishly decorated dining room, famously outfitted with red banquettes, ornate samovars and old paintings on the walls. At the height of the lunch hour, a table of eight was outnumbered by twice as many staff.

Those who showed up for their Tuesday shifts declined to comment on how they were weathering anti-Russian sentiments. 

That’s despite the fact that the 95-year-old restaurant on Monday posted a statement on its website and social media accounts that condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“For 95 years, the NY institution’s history has been deeply rooted in speaking against communist dictatorship and for democracy,” the statement read. “Just as the original founders, Soviet defectors who were displaced by the revolution, stood against Stalin’s Soviet Union, we stand against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and with the people of Ukraine.”

The desolate scene stood in contrast to mobbed Ukrainian eateries in the city including East Village diner Veselka, which saw more than 100 customers stand in line for a table on Saturday.

At least one Twitter user claimed the Tea Room had received “death threats,” and others told The Post that the staff has been harassed online. On its Instagram page, there were pointed posts about Putin and the war, including “what about the war you started? Got nothin to say?” (War in Ukraine Empties Out Russian Tea Room.)

Mar. 4—A longtime Arlington restaurant has altered its name in solidarity with Ukraine after Russia's invasion last week.

A Taste of Europe, which has been at 1901 Pioneer Parkway in Arlington since 2002, has promoted the restaurant and grocery with "Russian Gifts" on its sign.

But since Russia's invasion, owner Val Tsalko said threatening phone calls and emails forced him to black out the word "Russian" on his sign, according to social media posts. He's also hung a Ukrainian flag in a front window and added "We stand with Ukraine" on the homepage of the restaurant's website.

The restaurant specializes in Eastern European dishes. Tsalko told WFAA-TV that his family used "Russian" because it was an easily identifiable geographic region.

"I was born in Minsk, Belarus," Tsalko told WFAA. "Not many people know where that is."

Tsalko's grandfather opened the original restaurant at the Galleria in Dallas after immigrating from Belarus, which is on Ukraine's northern border and has been used by Russia during the invasion.

Not only did Tsalko put duct tape over "Russian" in his sign, and display a blue and yellow Ukrainian flag in his window, he added a "Stop War" sign in his dining room.

Tsalko was already planning to remove references to Russia in his signage and menu to make them more region-specific, but the war expedited the changes, he told WFAA.

The menu has been updated to give items more region-specific designations.

According to the Taste of Europe website, "Our menu spotlights anything from Classic Borscht and Hungarian goulash, Beef stroganoff and German schnitzel to Ukrainian pirogues and Chicken Kiev and much more."

"It's a Ukrainian borscht instead of it just staying borscht and we put Hungarian in front of our goulash," Tsalko told WFAA. "The plan was to remove all that anyway and start being really specific about the items, but [the invasion] kind of escalated all that. So, we went real quick. The second it happened everything was out."

They're still receiving threats but they are fewer since the changes were made, Tsalko said.

"We are on the side of Ukraine. We're fully supporting them, and we hope the war stops really soon," he said WFAA. "Everyone's devastated, but we're doing what we can here in Texas to help them out. I mean it might not be a whole lot, but we're trying our best." (Arlington restaurant removes 'Russian' from sign after threats, shows Ukraine solidarity.)

Like examples abound.

It is quite ironic that the very people who call Americans who support a process of orderly migration and the enforcement of existing immigration laws, which are very just if already far too lax, as xenophobic are engaging in an irrational xenophobia against an entire country for decisions made by its leader and his war hawks.

One of the best and most objective commentaries I have read in the past week explains everything that has been discussed thus far in this commentary in a very cogent manner:

The war in Ukraine poses a palpable threat to Western democracies, but this has little to do with Russia posing an inherent strategic threat to the United States or its European allies. No — more so than the Russian state, the threat to the West comes from within, a consequence of our congealing perceptions towards the conflict.

Bombs are not raining down on our cities; instead, what we are experiencing is the psychological weaponisation of war — and its exploitation as a tool of indoctrination and statecraft in the hands of the establishment.

The Ukraine crisis is undoubtedly a tragedy, but it is merely the latest in a series of geopolitical events stretching back at least 20 years in which the media coverage has been biased, one-sided, and ideological. All of these instances — Iraq, Libya, Syria, and the Afghanistan Withdrawal — were riddled with “structural information traps” that we ignored at our peril.

With each of these conflicts, the coverage gets worse, and the traps become ever more luring and incendiary. In each case, a narrative is constructed and transposed over the reporting, reinforced by sensationalist imagery that could rationalise an intervention and perhaps military action. But none compares to Ukraine. Here, we have witnessed the media of the Free World disseminating dishonest or otherwise uncritical coverage, fake news, Ukrainian disinformation, and propaganda aimed at conditioning the public to internalise the establishment’s Manichean narrative of a deranged madman’s random war of aggression.

Not only has the Ukraine coverage been highly charged, morally self-righteous, and plainly political, it actively demands a collective suspension of disbelief as it cultivates and redirects a natural reaction of sympathy felt by all into a moral outrage that insists on certain retaliation. Some, such as the former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, have irresponsibly vilified the entire Russian population. Others, such as The Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum, have begun to senselessly demonise prescient realist American academics for daring to shed light on Russia’s basic national security interests and the possibility of a confrontation if they go unrecognised.

So far as the Western legacy media is concerned, we really do live in the post-historical age Francis Fukuyama triumphantly proclaimed in 1989, with liberal internationalism the only acceptable paradigm through which to understand the world. Alternative views are now tantamount to championing tyranny. In each instance, the dictator comes to personify internationally Hegel’s thymotic, if savage, primitive man — the inhumane antithesis of the “last man” —  fighting maniacally against liberal democracy, the march of modernity, and progress itself. Assad, Ghaddafi, the Taliban, and Vladimir Putin all fit this archetype as reactionary actors par excellence necessitating a holy alliance to confront and civilise.

Such a melioristic framing of international politics justifies and indeed privileges a Manichean narrative of good and evil. In this context, rationality itself is bound to the good, defined as effective conformity with liberal hegemony.

This is how the permanent members of the ruling class view the world. The former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, for instance, has made the enlightening observation that the years-brewing war in Ukraine was a result of Putin simply becoming “unhinged”, suggesting he might be suffering from neurological problems. Not to be outdone, Condoleezza Rice, one of the architects of the Iraq War and the ill-advised 2008 Bucharest declaration (which affirmed Nato’s “open door” towards Ukraine and therefore helped to spark this most recent conflict), bemoaned Putin’s “delusional rendering of history” and “erratic” behaviour.

Perhaps, given the profound crisis of meaning in the West and the gap in solidarity and social cohesion, we should not be surprised. Living under the conditions of rootlessness, spiritual emptiness, and angst, every crisis is an opportunity for mythopoesis. Tragedy is reborn, and we are easily enthralled by the periodic cycles of worship and hero-making. Our faith in the cult of expertise, meanwhile, blinds and lulls us to the potential dangers of such black and white thinking.

As good Straussians, American neoconservatives were among the first to intuit this fact: that owing to disenchantment and the dissolution of our “sacred canopy”, the myth — or the Platonic “noble lie” — can be used to strengthen the Regime. Through their co-option, they would ensure the inherent power of the “noble lie” would be harnessed to regularly generate casus belli for global liberal imperialism. After all, what better unifying force than the “grand American project” of war to energise one’s desire for national greatness and the need for the regimentation of life in a disordered, chaotic Zeitgeist. Led by America, the grand mission of the Anglosphere would therefore have to be “to advance civilisation itself”. Not to mention, heroes also need villains, and it does help that in the Ukrainian archetype, ‘evil’ is not an intangible virus but can be personified onto an ‘other’ — in this case, Vladimir Putin.

This is the fake, performative, and internationalist nationalism of the American elite class: they use emotional triggers to rally the people behind the flag of the state in the name of lofty humanitarian causes which mask their own self-importance and narcissistic greatness. In fact, the systematic and periodic milking of tragedy to sow mass hysteria and manufacture support for the liberal imperium and its rulers has become the modus operandi in Washington. The consequence is not only further empowerment of the martial state, but also the enabling and even the ennobling of America’s war machine.

But so what? So what if our information ecosystem in the West is substantively flawed and prejudiced? Is this kind of systemic information bias, unbalanced coverage, and outright favouritism not endemic to all culture-complexes, prevalent also across state-run media in China, Iran, and Russia? The answer is certainly yes, but with an important qualification: the latter are not liberal democracies.

Some might say the foreign policy hawks have not learned from their catastrophic regime-change wars in the Middle East. But they have. They learned the importance of narrative control and information warfare targeting domestic audiences: consolidating the media, tightening their hold on information, marginalising the few investigative journalists that remain, and nullifying scepticism as examples of appeasement or Putinism. Undoubtedly, the situation seriously endangers civil liberties and freedom of thought in the Anglosphere, undermining the very foundation of Western democra

But wedded to a disturbing, yet ascendant, neo-McCarthyism, the homogenisation of the Western media environment could ultimately prove more ominous than simple government censorship à la North Korea or Iran. At its core, the phenomenon aims to condition public opinion into “correct” acceptable speech patterns in the service of the “noble lie” — using the good heart of most ordinary citizens and their repulsion at human suffering as bait.

This noxious development, unless fully defanged and neutralised, could yet tear the very fabric of Western society, unleashing the dystopia of internalised totalitarianism, wherein the public-private boundaries disappear and citizens — even informed ones — can hardly distinguish between planted or socially-reinforced information and their own views. In such a world, the only choice is to virtue signal and self-censor.

Gone unchecked, it could amount to mass indoctrination around key national security questions and spell the end of democracy — in spirit if not procedurally. This is the ultimate fog of war.

Despite their litany of failures, the lesson drawn by the foreign policy establishment from their calamitous interventionism under the banner of democracy and freedom (“democratism“) was not to abandon their evangelical crusades for empire and to affirm restraint, moderation, and prudence. It was, instead, a desire not to be caught in the lie, as they were with their patently false claim about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD). To achieve this, the military-industrial-congressional complex and the professional-managerial class that runs it had to dominate a new battlespace: information. Not for foreign audiences, in which Western intelligence has had a long track record, but to domesticate, intellectually sterilise, and effectively neutralise their own citizens.

To guarantee the continuation of its globalist misadventurism, the establishment had to control and limit the political discourse at home. It has done so largely in two ways. The first was to claim monopoly over ‘truth’, and to discredit anyone who might not go along with the endorsed narrative by doubting their patriotism and brandishing them as appeasers, apologists, and/or outright traitors. The second was to ensure a total consolidation of national security narratives — so that even when instances of falsehood and misinformation are discovered, this would not receive much exposure but be shunned to the darkest corners of the internet.

Any war is a tragedy. We should work to de-escalate and see it end in Ukraine. But there are always at least two sides to a conflict: two agendas, not counting the designs of external actors. War does not occur in a vacuum. It often betrays (and is the culmination of) a long history of grievances and distrust.

Having claimed over 14,000 lives since 2014, the conflict in Ukraine is not about Vladimir Putin and his character but realpolitik, national interest, and great power rivalry. Countries have genuine security interests, some of them existential. They have real red lines.

“No Russian leader could stand idly by,” Putin told William Burns, now the director of the CIA, and accept Nato membership for Ukraine, Georgia, or Belarus, or allow Western weapons systems into these countries. As one of American greatest strategists and the architect of “containment” against the Soviet Union, George Kennan’s reaction to the Clinton administration’s insistence on Nato’s enlargement is particularly telling: “I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the founding fathers of this country turn over in their graves.”

Almost 25 years on, such sober-minded analysis is increasingly rare. And this sidelining of neutral, dispassionate scrutiny in the Russo-Ukrainian War is particularly alarming because this is not America’s war. The North Atlantic has little vital geostrategic interest in Ukraine other than in trying to avoid a refugee or energy crisis. Yet many in Washington, London, or Brussels have goaded and encouraged, and are now revelling in, the conflict — convinced as they are that an extended quagmire there could become the kind of vulnerability for Russia that Afghanistan was for the Soviet Union, a malignant tumour metastasising to the whole of the Russian body politic and instigating regime change.

While diehards may desire a West-East clash packaged under the tired rubric of Democracy versus Autocracy to prove their machismo, the situation in Ukraine is boiling over — and it is still early days. Things are about to get far more dreadful. Ukraine is a small state neighbouring a great power, a historical buffer and bridge between Russia and the West. “To Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country,” wrote Henry Kissinger in 2014. “Russian history began in what was called Kievan-Rus,”. The sooner we heed and accept this fact, the sooner we can sensibly gauge the situation as is and review our commitment critically.

Statesmanship is the art of not letting emotions drive policy. Sentimentality is the enemy of reason, all sense of proportion, and limits: in short, it kills realism and breeds wishful thinking. Such utopianism is senseless and dangerous: it will prolong the conflict and get lots of innocent civilians needlessly killed. Meanwhile, fomenting false hope in the public domain could further fan the flames of war, entangling Europe and the US in a confrontation with nuclear Russia — an Armageddon the tale of which we will likely not live to tell.

War is not sports-betting, where one can feel good about siding with the underdog from the comfort of a couch or a bar. It is geopolitics in its most visceral, existential form: wagers have real costs involving human lives, and they are settled only with power and political will.

The point is that this tragedy was entirely predictable and avoidable. We invited (if not compelled) conflict with our politics of intrigue and meddling in Eastern Europe, our disregard for Moscow’s security interests, and our moral grandstanding over items like Nato’s eastward expansion, Ukrainian neutrality, and demilitarisation. Any seasoned diplomat of the Cold War would be left utterly mystified. This was and remains political and strategic malpractice.

The question now is whether we want to put millions of Ukrainian lives in jeopardy simply to keep it as a Western Bulwark on Russia’s frontier and a dagger at Moscow’s throat. The Russo-Ukrainian War must be condemned and brought to an end using diplomacy, but the West must accept a degree of culpability for leading the Ukrainians “down the primrose path” and egging on their showdown with their giant neighbour to the east. Any attempt to escalate and prolong this conflict by giving false hope to the Ukrainian people with tough rhetoric, moralistic bluster, lethal arms, and economic sanctions, the brunt of which will be felt by civilians on both sides, is irresponsible and callous. It would only ensure more death and suffering.

As former US Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor contended in a recent television interview: “I see no reason why we should fight with the Russians over something that they have been talking about for years, [and] we simply chose to ignore… We will not send our forces to fight, but we are urging Ukrainians to die pointlessly in a fight they can’t win. We’re going to create a far greater humanitarian crisis than anything you’ve ever seen if it doesn’t stop.” Only this time, our liberal conceit and messianic delusion could potentially spiral a regional conflict into a global maelstrom that would exterminate humanity in a nuclear apocalypse.

The road to hell, as the wise aphorism has it, is paved with good intentions. Unless we course-correct now, we could soon find ourselves in a Huxleyan Brave New World that exploits the illusion of freedom while normalising the sophistic manipulation of public discourse to manufacture consent around the establishment’s liberal internationalist foreign policy.

When all roads lead to interventionism and war, pause, think, and consider how we got to where we are. Ask yourself who designed this dystopian city of lies and to what purpose — before it is too late. (How Elites Exploit Ukraine.)

This entire war, coming as it does in the holy season of Lent, is diabolical in every manner possible, including how the administration of President in Name Only Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., which is responsible for helping to create this mess, is exploiting it by blaming higher energy costs on the war when it was the addled-brain “I want to go back to Delaware every weekend and eat ice cream outside of Lent” Biden ended construction on the Keystone Pipeline and terminated the leasing of Federal lands for the drilling of oil and natural gas. The elites will continue exploit Ukraine for a long time, no matter whether the war ends quickly or whether the forces of the Russian Federation, including the Mohammedan mercenaries from Syria that Vladimir Putin is trying to recruit as his own forces continue to encounter stiffer resistance from the Ukrainians than was anticipated, or whether the Russian invasion becomes a long, drawn-out morass of endless bloodshed, destruction, and the depopulation of Ukraine by death and exile.

Whatever merit there may be to some of Vladimir Putin’s grievances, this is a case where one can be so right that he is wrong. That is, nothing in Catholic moral theology justifies the carnage that is taking place right now. The war and the way in which the Russians are conducting is completely disproportionate to the perceived threat, and it is as morally repugnant in this regard as the Allied obliteration bombing of Dresden, Germany, on February 13-14, 1945, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively.

Concluding Thoughts

Obviously, none of the secular authors whose works have been included in this commentary understand that nations must at war with each and people inside of nations must live in a state of conflict with one another when they are not bound together by the lingua franca provided by the Catholic Faith and thus do not see in each other the very impress of the Divine Redeemer, Christ the King, something that Pope Pius XI explained in his first encyclical letter, Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 23, 1922:

There exists an institution able to safeguard the sanctity of the law of nations. This institution is a part of every nation; at the same time it is above all nations. She enjoys, too, the highest authority, the fullness of the teaching power of the Apostles. Such an institution is the Church of Christ. She alone is adapted to do this great work, for she is not only divinely commissioned to lead mankind, but moreover, because of her very make-up and the constitution which she possesses, by reason of her age-old traditions and her great prestige, which has not been lessened but has been greatly increased since the close of the War, cannot but succeed in such a venture where others assuredly will fail.

It is apparent from these considerations that true peace, the peace of Christ, is impossible unless we are willing and ready to accept the fundamental principles of Christianity, unless we are willing to observe the teachings and obey the law of Christ, both in public and private life. If this were done, then society being placed at last on a sound foundation, the Church would be able, in the exercise of its divinely given ministry and by means of the teaching authority which results therefrom, to protect all the rights of God over men and nations.

It is possible to sum up all We have said in one word, "the Kingdom of Christ." For Jesus Christ reigns over the minds of individuals by His teachings, in their hearts by His love, in each one's life by the living according to His law and the imitating of His example. Jesus reigns over the family when it, modeled after the holy ideals of the sacrament of matrimony instituted by Christ, maintains unspotted its true character of sanctuary. In such a sanctuary of love, parental authority is fashioned after the authority of God, the Father, from Whom, as a matter of fact, it originates and after which even it is named. (Ephesians iii, 15) The obedience of the children imitates that of the Divine Child of Nazareth, and the whole family life is inspired by the sacred ideals of the Holy Family. Finally, Jesus Christ reigns over society when men recognize and reverence the sovereignty of Christ, when they accept the divine origin and control over all social forces, a recognition which is the basis of the right to command for those in authority and of the duty to obey for those who are subjects, a duty which cannot but ennoble all who live up to its demands. Christ reigns where the position in society which He Himself has assigned to His Church is recognized, for He bestowed on the Church the status and the constitution of a society which, by reason of the perfect ends which it is called upon to attain, must be held to be supreme in its own sphere; He also made her the depository and interpreter of His divine teachings, and, by consequence, the teacher and guide of every other society whatsoever, not of course in the sense that she should abstract in the least from their authority, each in its own sphere supreme, but that she should really perfect their authority, just as divine grace perfects human nature, and should give to them the assistance necessary for men to attain their true final end, eternal happiness, and by that very fact make them the more deserving and certain promoters of their happiness here below.

It is, therefore, a fact which cannot be questioned that the true peace of Christ can only exist in the Kingdom of Christ -- "the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ." It is no less unquestionable that, in doing all we can to bring about the re-establishment of Christ's kingdom, we will be working most effectively toward a lasting world peace. (Pope Pius XI, Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 23, 1922.)

There can never be peace when men persist in their sins unrepentantly and when they and their nations refused to submit themselves in humility and docility to Christ the King as He has revealed Himself to us exclusively through His true Church, she who is the sole repository and the infallible teacher of all that is contained in the Sacred Deposit of Faith.

Pope Pius XII reiterated this truth in his own first encyclical letter, Summi Pontificatus, October 10, 1939, just a month after Germany had invaded Poland from the west and the Red Army of Joseph Stalin had invaded it from the east, thus beginning World War II:

82. Once the bitterness and the cruel strifes of the present have ceased, the new order of the world, of national and international life, must rest no longer on the quicksands of changeable and ephemeral standards that depend only on the selfish interests of groups and individuals. No, they must rest on the unshakable foundation, on the solid rock of natural law and of Divine Revelation. There the human legislator must attain to that balance, that keen sense of moral responsibility, without which it is easy to mistake the boundary between the legitimate use and the abuse of power. Thus only will his decisions have internal consistency, noble dignity and religious sanction, and be immune from selfishness and passion.

83. For true though it is that the evils from which mankind suffers today come in part from economic instability and from the struggle of interests regarding a more equal distribution of the goods which God has given man as a means of sustenance and progress, it is not less true that their root is deeper and more intrinsic, belonging to the sphere of religious belief and moral convictions which have been perverted by the progressive alienation of the peoples from that unity of doctrine, faith, customs and morals which once was promoted by the tireless and beneficent work of the Church. If it is to have any effect, the reeducation of mankind must be, above all things, spiritual and religious. Hence, it must proceed from Christ as from its indispensable foundation; must be actuated by justice and crowned by charity. (Pope Pius XII, Summi Pontificatus, October 10, 1939.)

Jorge Mario Bergoglio does not believe this. He believes in “fraternity” and “solidarity” (see  Jorge Signs Off on the One World Ecumenical Religion), and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch is a loyal client of Vladimir Putin and of the oligarchs who support him, something that was pointed out recently by a conciliar presbyter, “Father” Marcel Guarnizo:

To the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow:

The entire world is witnessing Vladimir Putin’s barbaric, unjustified war of aggression upon an innocent, free, democratic country in Europe. The immense courage and faith of the Ukrainian people have united the West and the world in unequivocal condemnation of the Russian president’s actions, unconditional sanctions against his regime, and unwavering support for Ukraine. Yet the deafening silence of the Russian Orthodox Church continues. 

I was ordained as a priest in Russia, and for years before Putin’s autocratic regime I assisted the reconstruction of the cultural and spiritual patrimony the Soviet Union had destroyed. I have great affection for the Russian people and have friends among them, so I lament the tragedy that, again and again, this great nation’s leaders continue to use their vast resources to scourge the innocent. As president of aid to the Church in Russia, I assisted not only the Catholic Church but also the Russian Orthodox Church. I have frequently met and worked with members of the Russian Orthodox hierarchy, most notably Hilarion Alfeyev, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk and Chairman of the Department of External Relations of your Holy Synod. 

Why is the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate not condemning this unjust war? Why do you not call on the Russian soldiers to lay down their weapons and abandon the field of battle? Putin’s forces not only flagrantly breach international law, but this is an anti-Christian war violating the Gospel you and I stand for. I have in person expressed my outrage and dismay that the Orthodox hierarchy has been in an unseemly long-term alliance with the Putin regime, despite its criminality inside and outside of Russia. We know of the immense benefices the Russian Orthodox Church has received from Putin and his oligarch friends for years. I have warned some of your high prelates that the Church’s dependence on the Putin regime would bring the loss of moral freedom to stand up against his criminality, let alone his manipulation of the Church.

Because of that, the voice of the Russian Orthodox Church is silenced again. One reason why Putin maintains such a strong hold on Russia is the constant blessing and veneer of Christianity showered upon so many of his public acts. The presence of Patriarch Kirill and other prelates at these functions continues to enable a ruthless autocrat to maintain control. Where is the Church’s support of Alexei Navalny and the hundreds of imprisoned Russians who seek freedom and peace? Where is its defense of those arrested in Moscow and St. Petersburg for peacefully protesting this insane Putin war? Why is the Russian Orthodox hierarchy not teaching that this war is without cause and, by all measures of morality and faith, unjust? 

You are also far too close to many of the corrupt oligarchs who support Putin’s malevolent acts, by which much pain, suffering, and death will come to not only the great people of Ukraine but also hundreds of Russians soldiers. Young men who are part of your flock have already lost their lives in a fratricidal war engineered by Putin’s delusions and mad aspirations. Will your young Russians be sent to the front to kill and be killed without a word of condemnation by your hierarchy? Furthermore, many Russians have families and friends in Ukraine, and citizens around the world. 

But the silence of Patriarch Kirill and the Orthodox Church is unworthy of your position and the faith we profess. The actions and support of the Russian Orthodox Church for the Putin regime give ample rationale for the split of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from your jurisdiction. But how will you erase the stain that will now be laid at the feet of the Russian Patriarchate for their lethal silence? If this does not awaken all of you prelates in Russia from your stupor, it is unlikely anything will. You have been called to guide the faithful in Russia, and it should be evident that, to regain your moral freedom, you must now stand up and condemn unequivocally and publicly this unjust war. For Christ clearly taught, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit his soul?” (Luke 9:25)

In the initial account of fratricide, we read that, after Cain had murdered his brother Abel, God asked for an account. This account at the genesis of humanity should ring loud for the Russian hierarchy, their faithful, and indeed the Russian soldiers who should lay down their arms, refuse to obey unjust orders, and return to Russia. The Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” Then came the unholy reply of those who pretend to wash their hands of responsibility: “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Indeed you are, and may the whole world remember that, at the hour of need of your brothers and sisters in Ukraine, the Russian hierarchy rested in complicit deadly silence.

So I call upon you, the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church to join together in breaking your silence at this grave hour and unilaterally condemn the horrid, illegal actions of Vladimir Putin, for the good of your innocent neighbor, Ukraine, and for the good of your country. (Deafening Silence from the Russian Orthodox Church.)

What “Father” Guarnizo does not understand, however, is that the heretical and schismatic Russian Orthodox Church was the progenitor of the primacy of the civil state over ecclesiastical authority and has been duly submissive to czars and commissars alike. “Father” Guarnizo also does not understand that Catholics do not share a common faith with the Orthodox, who reject numerous points of doctrine taught definitively by the true Church, the Catholic Church.

It is nevertheless telling, however, that some Russian Orthodox priests have taken it upon themselves to want Vladimir Putin of the harm that will come to his immortal soul if he persists in ordering the wanton killing of innocent human beings and the destruction of their very residences:


We, the priests and deacons of the Russian Orthodox Church, each in our own name, appeal to everyone on whom the cessation of the fratricidal war in Ukraine depends, with a call for reconciliation and an immediate ceasefire.

We send this appeal after Sunday about the Last Judgment and on the eve of Forgiveness Sunday.

The Last Judgment awaits every person. No earthly authority, no doctors, no guards will protect from this judgment. Concerned about the salvation of every person who considers himself a child of the Russian Orthodox Church, we do not want him to appear at this judgment, bearing the heavy burden of mother's curses. We remind you that the Blood of Christ, shed by the Savior for the life of the world, will be received in the sacrament of Communion by those people who give murderous orders, not into life, but into eternal torment.

We mourn the trial that our brothers and sisters in Ukraine were undeservedly subjected to.

We remind you that the life of every person is a priceless and unique gift of God, and therefore we wish the return of all soldiers - both Russian and Ukrainian - to their homes and families safe and sound.

We bitterly think about the abyss that our children and grandchildren in Russia and Ukraine will have to overcome in order to once again begin to be friends with each other, respect and love each other.

We respect the God-given freedom of man, and we believe that the people of Ukraine should make their choice on their own, not at gunpoint, without pressure from the West or the East.

In anticipation of Forgiveness Sunday, we remind you that the gates of paradise are opened to anyone, even a seriously sinned person, if he asks for forgiveness from those whom he humiliated, insulted, despised, or from those who were killed by his hands or by his order. There is no other way but forgiveness and mutual reconciliation.

“The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground; and now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive the blood of your brother from your hand,” God said to Cain, who was envious of his younger brother. Woe to every person who realizes that these words are addressed to him personally.

No non-violent call for peace and an end to war should be forcibly suppressed and considered as a violation of the law, for such is the divine commandment: "Blessed are the peacemakers."

We call on all warring parties to dialogue, because there is no other alternative to violence. Only the ability to hear the other can give hope for a way out of the abyss into which our countries were thrown in just a few days.

Let yourself and all of us enter Great Lent in the spirit of faith, hope and love. (Translation found at: Letter from Russian Orthodox priests to Vladmir Putin.)

This is very good letter as it fulfills the duties of a Spiritual Work of Mercy by admonishing a sinner, Vladimir Putin, who lives in sin with at least one mistress (see Vladimir Putin Hiding Alina Kabaeva and his children by her in Switzerland), for his undertaking a war according to the terms of Nicolo Machiavelli’s realpolitik rather according to the dictates of the Just War Theory, which forbids even a just undertaking from being pursued if the foreseen evil consequences outweigh the good end sought. No one who is thinking as a Catholic can come to the conclusion that the amount of death and destruction being visited upon Ukraine is proportionate to Putin’s stated goals. Ukraine will never be the same again, and that is precisely what he wants.

As for this writer, my principal concern is for the Catholics of Ukraine. Sure, they are in the conciliar structures. Of course. However, they, like so many Catholics worldwide in the conciliar structures, are busy with their own lives to have any time to study all that has happened since the death of Pope Pius XII on October 9, 1958. They are victims of the conciliar revolution just as surely as they were victimized by the Soviets, who had even outlawed the Ukrainian Catholic Greek Church for decades:

In recent years, American Catholics have found our country violently at odds with many of our firmly-held beliefs—from traditional marriage to defense of the family to defense of the unborn. In response, many of us have looked to the outside world for a Christian country that would emit a glimmer of hope. 

Some conservative Catholics have found Russia as a potential ally. However, given the Russian invasion of Ukraine, perhaps we need to look a bit more closely.

It is true that President Putin’s Russia defends the family and traditional marriage, but so does President Zelensky’s Ukraine. Both countries are about the same on “gay rights,” and both vehemently oppose same-sex “marriage.” On this issue, both countries are quite conservative.

When it comes to abortion, President Putin and President Zelensky oversee countries very open to legalized abortion. Russia has the world’s highest per-capita abortion rate, while President Zelensky wishes to make abortion more accessible in Ukraine. President Zelensky also wants prostitution and other immoral practices legalized. While prostitution is also illegal in Russia, it is only punishable by a minimal fine. Thus, prostitution is very popular and even lauded by President Putin himself. 

Russia and Ukraine, while both Christian on some issues, are pretty much like any other nation when it comes to their laws—cafeteria Christian and non-Christian on the preeminent issues. 

Yet, even with all of these facts, you will hear that Russia is a Christian country, as if Ukraine is less of one. You will hear justification of Russia’s aggression as a type of a Christian crusade against Western atheism. But such an outlook fails to line up with the facts. 

When looking at the demographics, Russia is actually less Christian than Ukraine. Furthermore, and more importantly, Russia is also less Catholic than Ukraine. Ukraine not only has a higher percentage of Catholics (~7.8% to ~0.5%) but also has more total Catholics (~3,354,000 to ~717,101). 

In addition, Ukraine is home to the largest Eastern Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Its former mother church is in Lviv, where the United States and many Western allies have been placing their embassies. Lviv is a majority Ukrainian Greek Catholic city and oblast. Two other oblasts (provinces) in Western Ukraine are mostly Catholic as well. Lviv has been and still is home to the Roman Catholic Church (Latin Rite) and Armenian Catholic Church (another Eastern Catholic Church) in this region of Ukraine. 

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is not only the largest Eastern Catholic Church, but it also provides a direct connection back to the Christianization of Kievan Rus’ as one of the successor churches to the conversion of St. Grand Prince Vladimir I of Kiev to Christianity in 988. Therefore, the Catholic roots for Ukrainians run deep.

In addition to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Ukraine also has the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church, with its mother church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. This church is for Ruthenians/Rusyns, another East Slavic group who make up a sizable minority in Ukraine, in addition to other areas of the Carpathian Mountains where they live. This area is called Carpatho-Ruthenia and includes Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania, and is actually in the same region where the White Croats originate from, one of the tribes that founded the strong Catholic nation of Croatia. 

In Ukraine, the Ruthenians inhabit the Zakarpatska Oblast in Western Ukraine where the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church is the main Catholic jurisdiction there. The Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church can trace its origins to Saint Cyril and Methodius converting the Slavs of Great Moravia to Christianity in 863.

It is true that a Russian Greek Catholic Church exists too, but it has never garnered as much membership or sense of national identity as the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has garnered.

Due to the changing borders of Ukraine, Ukrainians at one time lived under Habsburg Rule in places like Lviv and thus have more deeply Catholic roots. Many of the Ukrainian diaspora, especially in the United States, are part of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The same cannot be said for Russia, where there are not any significant cities, regions, or history where the Russian Greek Catholic Church plays a major role.

As one can see, there is a deep affinity between Ukrainians and the Catholic Church that is not present in Russia. And these Catholics are usually the most fiercely patriotic to Ukraine. There is a reason for that. Ukrainians have often looked West, as they did under the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia when they looked for protection from the Mongols in the 1200s. This kingdom and the Galician region were centered on Lviv as their capital. 

Lviv and the other Catholic Ukrainian regions of the West were also key in the struggle for Ukrainian independence in the “Rukh” Movement that saw Ukraine achieve independence from the brutal Russian-led USSR in 1991—with 92.5 percent of the vote, and a sizable majority in all oblasts except the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and a city with special status, Sevastopol, where there was still a majority but with extremely low turnout. 

Ukrainian Catholics and their countrymen sought independence from the abuses Russian-led empires had committed on the Ukrainian people over the years. Just take Catholic clergy in the Soviet Union for example. There were many martyrs and confessors, such as 128 bishops and nuns of the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church who were sent to gulags and 36 Ruthenian Greek Catholic priests who were murdered. 

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, meanwhile, was outlawed by the Soviet Union from 1946-1989. In 2014, in Crimea, many Catholic clergy were forced to leave after the Russian takeover. Some may think these abuses were merely because of communism. But in fact, as seen in this Crimean example, it appears to be a Russian Federation problem too

The Russian invasion of Ukraine will come with much Catholic heartache. As loyal Catholics, we must remember that the quest of other large Slavic experiments has not boasted proudly for our Church or most others in the recent past. Russia often has revanchist goals, and while it may seem like Russia will stop at Ukraine, there are always worries its invasion could spread to other parts of the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact.

Catholic countries like Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary could be next in line for Russian onslaught. Beyond that, other Catholic countries like Croatia and Slovenia are just a stone’s throw away. Already, Catholic Lviv is in the crossfire. For Catholics, the threat of Russia is very real, not just inside Russia. (The Myth of the Crusader Putin.)

Our Lady herself appeared in Ukraine in 1914 to warn Catholics there of grave chastisements that would befall their nation, which is why she implored them to pray the Rosary, a practice that is not part of the tradition of many Uniat Rites, although many individual Uniat Catholics, including Ukrainians, do indeed pray the Rosary daily. The warnings of Our Lady were quite specific and should serve as a wake-up call to us all:

Ukraine 12th May 1914

The year 988 marks the beginning of Christianity in Kievan Rus’ when Grand Prince Vladimir and his family were baptised. Kievan Rus’ was a loose federation of Eastern Slavic and Uralic people and ‘Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, all claim Kievan Rus’ as their cultural ancestor’. In 1037, Prince Yaroslav the Wise, dedicated the region to the Mother of God, making it the first European state to honour the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Our Lady appeared in the village of Hrushiv some 350 years ago and a weeping willow was planted to commemorate the apparition. A spring developed under the tree and in the Cholera plague of 1855, the villagers restored the spring, and from then  on, no one died of cholera.

On 12th May 1914, two weeks before WWI, twenty-two people were mowing the field near the church of The Holy Trinity, when they saw Our Lady. She asked for prayer, fasting and penance and said,

“There will be a war. Russia will become a Godless country. The Ukraine, as a nation will suffer terribly for eighty years – and will have to live through the world wars but will be free afterwards.”

(In 1929, Stalin’s intensive collectivised farming destroyed Ukraine’s independence. This plan to ‘liquidate the kulaks as a class’, was the beginning of the famines which killed between 7 and 10 million people.)

26th April – 15th August 1978

Ukraine had been a Christian state for nearly one thousand years, when Our Lady appeared in Hrushiv a third time. Exactly one year after the Chernobyl disaster, Marina Kizyn, aged twelve, saw a bright light covering the church of the Holy Trinity, and a woman, who appeared to be floating above the cupola. Over the next four months approximately 500,000 people saw Our Lady, including the KGB and Russian Military personal. The apparition was also filmed and shown on TV.

‘I have come on purpose to thank the Ukrainian people because you have suffered most for the Church of Christ in the last seventy years. I have come to comfort you and to tell you that your suffering will soon come to an end. Ukraine will become an independent state.’

‘Do not forget those who have died in the Chernobyl disaster. Chernobyl is a reminder and a sign for the whole world.’

‘Forgive your enemies, through you and the blood of the martyrs will come the conversion of Russia. The times are coming which have been foretold in the end times…. See the desolation which surrounds the world…. the sin, the sloth, the genocide. Pray for Russia. Oppression and wars continue to occupy the minds and hearts of many people. Russia, despite everything continues to deny My Son…. if there is not a return of Christianity to Russia, there will be a third world war, and the whole world faces ruin.’ (As found at: Our Lady of Hrushiv. There are references to “Saint John Paul II” in other parts of this article that one can ignore as completely irrelevant. For more information on Our Lady’s apparition in 1987, please see Our Lady of Ukraine.)

Our Lady’s specific call for the Rosary to be prayed by Ukrainian Catholics was made when she appeared to Marina Kizyn on April 26, 1987. Here is the message:

I have come on purpose to thank the Ukrainian people because you have suffered most for the church of Christ in the last 70 years. I have come to comfort you and to tell you that your suffering will soon come to an end. Ukraine will become an independent state.

Do not forget those who have died in the Chernobyl disaster. Chernobyl is a reminder and a sign for the whole world.

Forgive your enemies. Through you and the blood of martyrs will come the conversion or Russia. Repent and love one another. The times are coming which have been foretold as being those in the end times. See the desolation which surrounds the world…the sin, the sloth, the genocide. Pray for Russia. Oppression and war continue to occupy the minds of and hearts of many people. Russia, despite everything, continues to deny my Son. Russia rejects real life and continues to live in darkness. If this not a return to Christianity in Russia, there will be a Third World War: the whole world will face ruin.

Teach the children to pray. Then them to live in truth and live yourselves in truth. Say the Rosary, It is the weapon against Satan. He fears the Rosary. Recite the Rosary at any gathering of people.

I have come to comfort you and to tell you that your suffering will end soon. I shall protect you for the glory and the future of God’s kingdom on earth, which will last for a thousand years. The Kingdom of Heaven and Earth is close at hand. It will come only through penance and the repentance of sins.

This wicked world is feasting on depravity and impurity. Many lies are proclaimed against the Truth. The innocent are condemned. Many come as false messiahs and false prophets. Be diligent. Be on your guard.

Happy are they whose lives are blameless and who walk in fear of the Lord.

My children, all of you are dear to me and please my heart. I make no distinction of race of religion. You her in the Ukraine have received knowledge of the One, True, Apostolic Church. You have been shown the door to Heaven. You must follow this path, even though it may be painful.

The Eternal God is calling you, This is why I have been sent to you. You in the Ukraine were the first nation to be entrusted to me. (The ruler Yaroslav the Wise dedicated the Ukraine to the Most Holy Mother of God in the year 1037.) Throughout your long persecution you have not lost faith, hope, or love. I always pray for you, my dear children, wherever you are. (As found at: Our Lady of Ukraine.)

Before any legalists in cyberspace point out that this apparition has not been approved by the authority of the Catholic Church, I would urge one and all to see that the words attributed to our dear Lady, she to whom the cause of world peace has been entrusted by her Divine Son through her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, are both inspiring and efficacious. They serve as a warning to us take seriously our Lenten observances, especially prayer and fasting, and they exhort us to pray her most Holy Rosary, forgive our enemies, and that she loves all children, including infidels, apostates, and heretics, and desires them to be enfolded in the one true church, the Catholic Church.

Vladimir Putin knows nothing of forgiveness as he is a vengeful former KGB officer in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the head of its successor, the FSB, the Russian Federation under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s. He is a ruthless, remorseless killer who has ordered a massive roundup of those opposing his war policies at this time.

Volodymyr Zelensky, whose “comedy” act was so lewd that it cannot be mentioned, is a secular Jew who knows nothing of forgiveness, which is why he has sought control the press in his own right and why is unwilling to cede the Donbas to the Russians to stop the carnage that he, egged on by his Western enablers, helped to provoke and thus unleash Putin’s pent up rage about the dissolution of the Soviet empire.

The world must be punished because men continue to sin unrepentantly and because they believe that they can establish a “better” world and build “peace without Christ the King and His true Church and without a tender devotion to and firm reliance upon His Most Blessed Mother, especially through her Most Holy Rosary. This is true of the West, and it is true of Russia, which has not been converted back to Christianity as true Christianity is found only in the Catholic Church:

Just as Christianity cannot penetrate into the soul without making it better, so it cannot enter into public life without establishing order. With the idea of a God Who governs all, Who is infinitely Wise, Good, and Just, the idea of duty seizes upon the consciences of men. It assuages sorrow, it calms hatred, it engenders heroes. If it has transformed pagan society--and that transformation was a veritable resurrection--for barbarism disappeared in proportion as Christianity extended its sway, so, after the terrible shocks which unbelief has given to the world in our days, it will be able to put that world again on the true road, and bring back to order the States and peoples of modern times. But the return of Christianity will not be efficacious and complete if it does not restore the world to a sincere love of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. In the Catholic Church Christianity is Incarnate. It identifies Itself with that perfect, spiritual, and, in its own order, sovereign society, which is the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ and which has for Its visible head the Roman Pontiff, successor of the Prince of the Apostles. It is the continuation of the mission of the Savior, the daughter and the heiress of His Redemption. It has preached the Gospel, and has defended it at the price of Its blood, and strong in the Divine assistance and of that immortality which has been promised it, It makes no terms with error but remains faithful to the commands which it has received, to carry the doctrine of Jesus Christ to the uttermost limits of the world and to the end of time, and to protect it in its inviolable integrity. Legitimate dispenser of the teachings of the Gospel it does not reveal itself only as the consoler and Redeemer of souls, but It is still more the internal source of justice and charity, and the propagator as well as the guardian of true liberty, and of that equality which alone is possible here below. In applying the doctrine of its Divine Founder, It maintains a wise equilibrium and marks the true limits between the rights and privileges of society. The equality which it proclaims does not destroy the distinction between the different social classes. It keeps them intact, as nature itself demands, in order to oppose the anarchy of reason emancipated from Faith, and abandoned to its own devices. The liberty which it gives in no wise conflicts with the rights of truth, because those rights are superior to the demands of liberty. Not does it infringe upon the rights of justice, because those rights are superior to the claims of mere numbers or power. Nor does it assail the rights of God because they are superior to the rights of humanity. (Pope Leo XIII, A Review of His Pontificate, March 19, 1902.)

Those of you who have yet to accept the simple truth that the Catholic Church cannot make any compromises with error ought to reread the following sentence from the passage above as the conciliar “popes” have indeed made terms with error have polluted the integrity of the doctrine of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and all that Jorge Mario Bergoglio at this time to put these errors in easily understandable terms to as to tickle the itching ears of the multitudes:

It makes no terms with error but remains faithful to the commands which it has received, to carry the doctrine of Jesus Christ to the uttermost limits of the world and to the end of time, and to protect it in its inviolable integrity. (Pope Leo XIII, A Review of His Pontificate, March 19, 1902.)

Yes, Pope Leo XIII was a very wise pope, and we love had not the voice of a true pope for nearly sixty-three and one-half years, which is why so many people are looking to “conservative” figures in the counterfeit church of conciliarism for leadership and guidance. The counterfeit church of conciliarism is more the standard bearer of Christianity than is the Russian Orthodox Church.

Use this Lent to beg Our Lady to grant us a true pope.

Use this Lent to beg Our Lady to grant protection to the Catholics of Ukraine.

Use this Lent to beg Our Lady for the peace of her Divine Son, a peace that can be had in the lives of us all if we pray, fast, go to Confession regularly (if possible in this time of a paucity of true priests), pray the Rosary with fervor, keep the promises of the Brown Scapular, protect ourselves with the Miraculous Medal and distribute blessed Green Scapulars to all those God’s Holy Providence places in our path during our journey in this passing, mortal vale of tears.

Do not fear what may happen because of current events. Just beg Our Lady to help you stay in a state of Sanctifying Grace as sin is not only more deadly the coronavirus, it is more dangerous and deadly than any world conflict.

Pray the Rosary daily.