Show Some Bloody Humility

As UFOs trend and balloons descend in an American panic that fits with the return to the 1950s, it’s a year on since Russia invaded Ukraine. On the 17 January 2022, Russian troops begin arriving in Russia’s ally Belarus, ostensibly “for military exercises”. On the 25 January 2022, Russian exercises involving 6,000 troops and 60 jets took place in Russia near Ukraine and Crimea. On 10 February 2022, Russia and Belarus began 10 days of “military maneuvers”.

On February 12 2022 Craig Murray wrote:

“The mainstream media is, without exception, repeating the unevidenced claim from the Biden administration that Russia is about to invade Ukraine. They do this with no proper journalistic questioning or scepticism. They do this despite the fact that, in the last month, not only have we had repeated cries that invasion is “imminent”, we have had specific secret intelligence sourced claims from the Americans, that a Russian staged false flag attack was about to happen, and from the British, that there was about to be a coup in Kiev led by very minor figures. Both claims turned out to be nonsense.”

He continued: “Biden and Johnson both have an interest in stoking the fires of conflict to try to improve (well deserved) terrible poll ratings at home. NATO has an interest in promoting Cold War, its traditional raison d’etre. The disastrous results of NATO’s attempts to expand its role in Afghanistan and Libya have led to the organisation needing an apparent success. For all these western political interests, they see a win-win over Ukraine, because when Putin does not invade, they can claim it is a victory and that they forced Putin to back down.”

But also: “By taunting Putin with the position that Johnson and Biden will claim Putin lost if he does not invade, they are effectively daring him to invade.”

In this masterly analysis the West is responsible for both Putin not invading and for Putin invading. But ultimately Murray explains that despite the mass troops and the arrival of huge forces surrounding Ukraine: “I maintain the view that Putin is far too wily to be pushed into an invasion.”

Again, Putin is both wily and yet also has no volition. Any war that he might be involved in is something he has no control over. Murray was not alone on the ‘anti-imperial left’ in producing such grotesque stupidity:


Despite the cheerleaders and apologists, things are going very badly for Russia. Putin has descended from his status as a ‘wily’ genius-strategists to an isolated figure whose every war-aim is failing. As Will Lockett wrote in December 2022: “By now, it is evident that Putin is losing the Ukrainian war. He has failed to capture Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and has had to quickly retreat to stem the colossal losses his military has suffered.”

For many the war in Ukraine (that was never going to happen), and was a figment of the West’s imagination – became a war that was going to be an easy and inevitable victory for Russia. As the weeks and months passed that narrative subsided and became quieter. Now the same voices say it is one which should be sorted by ‘diplomacy’, and with it presumably massive concessions to the Russian aggressor.

As Jen Stout wrote in these pages last year (‘A cult of violence‘): “Coming from people on the Left, people who ostensibly hate imperialism, this stuff is particularly strange. And I think, or hope, that a lot of this is due to basic misunderstandings about Ukraine, and about Russia. Because this war is about imperialism; a crumbling empire with a huge and terrifying military capability trying to wipe out a smaller, neighbouring country, its former colony.”

“To insist on negotiations now is to imply Ukraine should be ready to give away territory. What else could it mean at this stage, when Russia has occupied 20% of Ukrainian land? To ask this is outrageous; they’re not going to give up their citizens to an occupying power, especially one as brutal as that. Russia has no intention or interest in negotiations at this point. But if they start to lose territory – as well they might, given the dire state of the Russian army – they will be interested in negotiations. The war will of course end in negotiations.”

But the war in Ukraine has not just backfired spectacularly against Putin creating the complete opposite effect of his goals, exposed the anti-imperial left, and re-shaped Europe – it has changed completely the European energy market.

For Will Lockett, writing in December: “… the world has dramatically accelerated its shift to renewable energy in response to the Ukrainian war. In fact, the IEA found that the world will build 2,400 GW of new renewable energy capacity (mainly from solar and wind energy) over the next five years. That is equal to China’s entire current generating capacity! This represents a significant quickening in the adoption of these planet-saving technologies.”

Putin’s strongest suit was Russia’s fossil fuel stores and Europe’s abject dependency on it.

But as Lockett points out:

“This is where wind and solar energy come in. These renewables are by far the cheapest forms of energy humanity has ever developed, costing around 70% less per kWh than natural gas power. They can also be built and deployed far cheaper and quicker than other forms of energy, and they can be built locally (though, admittedly, less so with solar). This means they are incredibly attractive to countries desperate to stop suckling at Putin’s oily teat, and according to the IEA, this is what has caused a wind and solar energy boom.

Ultimately, Russia depends on a thriving oil industry. 40% of the Russian Federation’s income, 60% of its exports, and 20% of its GDP come from the fossil fuel industry. Yet, Putin’s pointless war has pushed the world to give up oil faster than ever and, in doing so, has reduced this cornerstone of their economy dramatically. What’s more, current sanctions are causing a recession in Russia, with 13.4% annual inflation expected to continue for the next few years.”

The tilt towards renewables has far-reaching consequences beyond the (slim possibility) of ecological salvation. The shift away from fossil fuels opens up the possibility of an Afro-Futurism which sees Solar Africa as an economic powerhouse and source of (endless) ‘free’ energy as well as the shift away from ‘big state’ energy solutions.

Putin’s Russia may be causing itself irreparable damage on multiple fronts (few of them military) by its attack of Ukraine. But it is ending not just itself as an entity but the idea of fossil fuel powers.

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  1. Derek Williams says:

    I never got around to watching Galloway’s YouTube rant, the link having been sent to me a year ago by an Australian friend who is a Putin-supporting invasion-denier (also antivax, a Masterpiece Cakes supporter and a Trump supporter), because I guessed what it would be, and when in combat mode, I have to fasten my seatbelt before joining battle as a SJ keyboard warrior. Must go back and watch it now. Thanks for the heads-up.

  2. SleepingDog says:

    Or, both Russian militarism and NATO militarism are effectively on one side (the “fossil fuel powers”) of a war waged on Nature. Perhaps the USAmerican military were shooting down climate research balloons; that seems more likely than aliens. Surely the USA spies on China as well as vice versa? I understood that a level of tolerated spying was essential during the previous Cold War to avoid the hysterical misjudgements that so nearly brought us to nuclear Armageddon again and again.

    The conflict in Ukraine may be mostly down to Russian imperialist militarism, but at the same time provoked by NATO as part of a planned proxy war. The extent of provocations in these cases may take decades to emerge into public discourse (as with the siting of NATO short-range missiles in Turkey before the Cuban Missile Crisis). Stories like alleged corruption at the heart of the Ukrainian state only confirm my concerns that calls for unending aid and international solidarity were undermined from the beginning by the Ukrainian tax-evading oligarchy (who surely could have financed their own country’s war):

    Whatever the best solution to the Russian invasion of Ukraine might be, I am certain it does not involve the omnicidal nuclear and fossil-fuel-guzzling mechanised armed forces of the UN ‘Security’ Council’s permanent Gang of Five. And I still think that buffer states could join NATO partly out of a fear that NATO could otherwise nuke their territories if occupied, just as Ukrainian cities, ports and airbases were targeted round the clock by NATO nukes within living memory.

    1. Hmm. “provoked by NATO as part of a planned proxy war” – it would be great to have some evidence to back up such an assertion SD?

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Editor, firstly, you would look at the definition of a proxy war, and secondly the evidence for it in this case:
        As far as NATO planning goes, I would find it exceedingly hard to believe that they did not have a plan for this, especially as proxy wars are totally their thing. Whether it is proceeding as planned, I could not say. NATO has a terrible record of soft power, its planners must rank among the most evil people who have ever lived (see Daniel Ellsberg), and as Yuval Noah Harari writes, “War: never underestimate human stupidity”.

        There is a kind of inertia in state militarism (and state terrorism), partly caused I think by a fundamental opposition to admitting to past mistakes, let alone crimes. Like the profitarian aspects of Capitalism, the machinery of Militarism has its own automated functions and vested rivalries (Ellsberg claims the Service infighting in the USA was at times more vicious than the attention paid to their supposed enemies). In any case, the primary targets of state nuclear weapons are, I would say, their own people, who are held hostage by their nuclear-armed dictators (elected or otherwise). As truly terrible an idea a proxy war in Ukraine with Russia might be, if anyone would make the case for it, it would be NATO planners and their military-industrial-securocrat allies. At least Ellsberg apologised for his role.

        1. Hey Sleeping Dog – I don’t disagree for a second that its a ‘proxy war’ in that – as in the article you share “This support has made it possible for Ukraine to fend off a Russian conquest of the country. Without Western aid, equipment and training, Ukraine would likely have already suffered defeat to the Russian incursion … I think the situation in Ukraine represents a classic case of a proxy war, in which outsiders give allies money, weapons and other kinds of support – but not at the risk of their own soldiers’ or civilians’ lives.”

          I don’t challenge that at all. What I do challenge is the idea that Russia is not responsible for the war, which is the idea promulgated by some of the anti-imperial left.

        2. Damn I did a long comment and then it disappeared. Who runs this site!?

          I don’t disagree with the article you link to, which says: “Without Western aid, equipment and training, Ukraine would likely have already suffered defeat to the Russian incursion …I think the situation in Ukraine represents a classic case of a proxy war, in which outsiders give allies money, weapons and other kinds of support – but not at the risk of their own soldiers’ or civilians’ lives.”

          I understand that – what I disagree with is the idea that removes Russian agency and culpability in the conflict.

          1. SleepingDog says:

            @Editor, but provocation does not remove agency nor culpability. If you factor in the USA’s policies of base-encirclement of China and its persistent interference in state elections, in covert influence over foreign cultural institutions and assets, its spying even on allied leaders, even its history of commercial espionage, as well as its proxy/economic wars and periodic nuclear threats, then its proposed *continued* expansion of NATO in peacetime right up to Russia’s borders must be considered a fairly significant provocation to Russia. The Russian leadership may have been planning to invade Ukraine anyway, and bear the responsibility for that, but the tipping point may have been NATO’s expansionism.

            Coincidentally, I have just won a Culture Victory as Teddy Roosevelt for the American Empire in Civilization VI without prosecuted a hot war. They’re all wearing my blue jeans and drinking my coolaid now, I guess. USAmerican economists played their role in the ransacking of post-Soviet Russia and the despoiling of its people by gangster capitalists without them having to fire a shot. I just don’t see what positive role the NATO death cult, whose planners and leaders should have historically faced incarceration for life for their multitudinous crimes, can play. If you don’t see the prospect of NATO marching up to your doorstep as a significant provocation, we have quite different perspectives. However, as well as being substantially wrong, as far as I can see, the Russian actions subsequently appear to have been counter-productive, in injecting the vampiric NATO world-parasite with reviving transfusion of blood.

            If the night sky is clear, look up at the stars. Astronomers and philosophers have wondered how many alien world-cultures have sprung up in the Universe, and how many (since the radio waves are quiet) self-destructed at an early stage. From the Big History viewpoint, it matters less whether the red or black ants fired the fatal last shot, but the causes and effects leading to destruction and survival will, I hope, be of great future interest. All of our human history forms a cautionary tale. One we all have some small part to play in yet. We should call out evil when we see it, whatsoever colours it wears.

        3. Ziroo says:

          RE “Yuval Harari”

          Yuval Harari, WEF’s frontman psychopath, who is sold as an intellectual “genius” or “prophet” by this crazy world is the person who called you and me and all other commoners “useless people” [] — while millions of those “useless people” have been buying his books like candy, serving him very usefully. It’s one proof that most people anywhere are stupid and crazy (while “thinking” they’re intelligent).

          The SELECTIVE narrative Harari choses (STEERING and CONTROLLING what you should believe) to describe and categorize homo sapiens’ “cognitive revolution” omits the key human elements (ie self-delusion, grandiosity, manipulation, deception, lunacy — all of which shine thru for any lucid reader of his ‘Sapiens’ book and other works of his biased propaganda) that has led humans to be largely destructive and therefore not being wise (sapiens) at all …

          At the core of homo sapiens is unwisdom (ie, madness) and so the human label of “wise” (ie, sapiens) is a complete collective self-delusion — study the free scholarly essay “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room” …

          Once you understand that humans are “invisibly” insane you’ll UNDERSTAND (well, perhaps) why they, especially their alleged “experts” such as megalomaniac psychopaths like Harari, perpetually come up with myths, half-truths and lies about everything … including about themselves (their nature, their intelligence, their origins, etc).

          “All experts serve the state and the media and only in that way do they achieve their status. Every expert follows his master, for all former possibilities for independence have been gradually reduced to nil by present society’s mode of organization. The most useful expert, of course, is the one who can lie. With their different motives, those who need experts are falsifiers and fools. Whenever individuals lose the capacity to see things for themselves, the expert is there to offer an absolute reassurance.” —Guy Debord

          Even just somewhat more coherent intellectuals as Harari, too, have recognized Harari’s ethics-empty “extremely dangerous” propaganda (while still naively, self-foolingly and falsely believing Harari is “brilliant”) []. The production of such “persuasive” but extremely dangerous propaganda a la Harari is of course typical of psychopaths [see 2 Married Pink Elephants essay].

          “You don’t live in a free country. And no, it’s not because they make you pay taxes or that time they made you wear a mask or whatever. The real reason you don’t live in a free country is much, much bigger than that: you don’t live in a free country because the minds of your countrymen are imprisoned. Westerners think they’re free because they can say whatever they want and vote however they want, but WHAT THEY WANT is controlled by mass-scale psychological manipulation. Being able to speak and vote as you wish is meaningless if the powerful CONTROL WHAT IT IS THAT YOU WISH.” — Caitlin Johnstone, Independent Journalist

      2. Mick.R says:

        I think Frauline Merkel & Monsieur Hollande had something to say on the Subject. Where was it again? Minsk!

  3. Alex Wright says:

    Not too sure about your take on the current situation in Ukraine Mike. Unfortunately, like the majority of people, I am struggling to find reliable news source’s due to the incessant propaganda that permeates this horrific conflict. Having listened to US Colonel Macgregor in the past and finding him extremely knowledgeable. I watched this interview with him a few days ago and it doesn’t bode well for Ukraine.
    Breaks my heart thinking about all of the victims, on both sides.

    1. Derek Williams says:

      There are indeed “two sides” in this war, however only one side is invading the other. Douglas MacGregor, like that convicted child-sex offender Scott Ritter, is a Russian shill:

      Both support Russia’s invasion, and both predict annihilation of Ukraine.

      For reliable sources, you can try Ground News, and it does no harm to watch Russian television, where announcers advocate the drowning of Ukrainian children, and claim that Europe are dining on rats because of the lack of Russian gas. No lie is too outrageous for the Kremlin mafia and their crime-boss Putin, who as pretext for starting his benign-sounding “special operation” has mendaciously claimed that Ukraine has a Nazi government, that the US are running chemical weapons laboratories on Ukraine’s border with Russia, that Ukraine is joining NATO, and that the Ukraine government authorised the genocide of 14,000 ethnic Russians in Donbas.

      These lies are uncritically repeated with ne’er a scintilla of corroborative evidence from reliable sources.

      1. Richard Bijster says:

        Please provide your “corroborative evidence” regarding Russian television announcers advocating the drowning of Ukrainian children, and claim that Europeans are dining on rats because of the lack of Russian gas. Links please!

        1. I’ll leave Derek to provide examples but the web is replete with them

          1. Richard Bijster says:

            Let me start with little gem from a Ukranian television presenter on the Ukraine 24 television station. Morally depraved and disgusting.

            Ukraine 24 presenter goes full Nazi, endorses Adolf Eichmann to call for genocide of Russians.

            “By killing children, they will never grow up and the nation will disappear… and I hope that everyone will contribute and kill at least one Muscovite.”


            You can’t simply demonise one side when both are at it.

          2. Alastair McIntosh says:

            Anent Richard B’s comment. Mutual brutalisation is the near-inevitable consequence of a protracted war. In his studies of battle “neurosis” or war trauma/ptsd, Captain Brock wrote to Sigmund Freud c. 1917 that a key symptom was a ‘lack of solidarity’ brought about by a ‘segregation of the parts’ within the mind. Elsewhere, he explained that such patients become ‘like the fragments of their minds, isolated units, unrelated in space and time’. This state of splitting and dissociation manifests as a ‘childishness’ by which ‘the ordinary progress of the individual’s life appeared to halt; he ceased to grow up . . . or he might partly fall back Into childhood’.

            War takes us very deep. In short, it brings about a disarticulation between the inner and the outer life. The imperative of our times, at every level of being, is therefore rehumanisation. That invites psychological and spiritual deepening. What to me makes that analysis so interesting, if valid, is that it sets a very broad agenda in which each one of us can be active participants. Freire called this “conscientisation”.

          3. Geoffrey says:

            Did as you suggested and looked on the web for stories about Russian presenter advocating drowning Ukrainian babies. Found one about a Russian propagandist who was sacked for repulsive behaviour in saying such a thing.
            Replete !? That is untrue.

          4. Derek Williams says:


            Yes, Krasovsky was ‘sacked’, for now; unlike others who are relentlessly promulgating the same kind of genocidal rhetoric 24/7. Meanwhile, the brave journalist who paraded a sign against the Ukraine invasion behind a newsreader has fled Russia to avoid prison:

            There are plenty of links about the rats for Christmas story and myriad others like it. Watching Russian Television’s view of the West is unrelenting state-sponsored propaganda. In one newsreel video, RTV showed a city “ruined by Ukrainian bombing”; however it was in fact a city that Russia had bombed. There truly is no limit to the depths they are prepared to go, no lie too awful to tell.

            If you check out Jake Broe’s videos on his YouTube channel, he goes into forensic detail, with everything sourced and corroborated.

        2. Derek Williams says:

          Russian television presenter advocating drowning of Ukrainian children on RTV:

          RTV ad showing European children getting rats for Christmas:

          Russia’s Eliminationist Rhetoric Against Ukraine: A Collection:

          Vladimir Putin’s war against children:

          I have dozens more, but a Google by you will save me the bother.

          As for the Nazi video you shared, all that shows is there are Nazis in Ukraine. It doesn’t show they have political power, or have been elected by the general Ukrainian population to seats in the Ukraine Parliament.

          The far-right paramilitary group the Azov Battalion has (or used to have) only 900 members out of the total Ukraine military force of over 215,000 active personnel. Ukraine is a centrist democratic country with a Jewish president. To call them “Nazi” is regurgitating Kremlin propaganda. Less than 2% of Ukraine is politically “far-right” enough to merit the label “Neo-Nazi” – more or less the same as in most countries. They are not powerful enough to rule politically. The US and Europe have just as much interest in “de-nazifying” Ukraine as anyone does, but no-one has a greater interest in denazification than Ukraine itself. It has been doing so through the election of a Jewish president, and a shift towards centrist democratic European-style rule-of-law governance – the polar opposite of Russia’s fascist regime. Ukraine now has candidate status for EU membership, hardly something that Europe would accord a nation ruled by Nazis. Try looking outside Russia for the bigger picture.

          We have Nazis here in the UK. Should Russian self-righteously invade us too because we also ave a problem with Nazis?

          Nazis are ubiquitous, but only in Russia are they the government.

          1. Richard Bijster says:

            As I said, you can’t simply demonise one side when both are at it.

          2. By “at it” you mean invading a sovereign European democracy and committing war crimes?

        3. Derek Williams says:

          False Balance Fallacy, aka ‘bothsidesism’. There are two sides, but only one ‘side’ is invading the other.

          1. Richard Bijster says:

            Oh, get out of here with the ridiculous “bothsidesism” nonsense. Both sides are at it, as well you know.

        4. Derek Williams says:

          I “know” no such thing. Your assertion that there are two equal sides “both at it” is risible, unless you can show us evidence of 14 million Russian refugees who’ve fled Ukainian bombing of Russian cities, 200,000 Russian children who’ve been kidnapped into Ukraine from Russia for ‘Ukrainification’, 800,000 Russian homes that have been bombed by Ukraine’s military, and evidence of Ukrainian shelling having taken out 75% of Russia’s water and power infrastructure.

          Can you show that? If you can, you’ll be an international celebrity, because not even Russia is claiming any of this, nor have they adduced a scintilla of corroboration of their four mendacious pretexts for invading Ukraine in the first place, viz. that Ukraine is ruled by Nazis, that the US have chemical weapons labs on Ukraine’s border with Russia, that Ukraine is joining NATO and that Ukraine conducted a genocide of 14,000 ethnic Russians in Donbas.

          Links please to reliable sources, and no; Kremlin propaganda is not a “reliable source”.

      2. Alex Wright says:

        Yes, Rolling Stone used to be quite good back in the day, especially when doing great articles, like Carl Bernsteins’ expose’ of the CIA employing a multitude of journalists in the majority of magazines and newspapers ( America & Europe ) to plant false information. Sound familiar?
        That template couldn’t be used now – surely not.
        In my previous post, I highlighted a video of Col Douglas Macgregor who is someone I have been aware of for a number of years and someone I’m happy to listen due to his extensive military career. We’re on different sides of the political spectrum but I have no reason to doubt someone with his experience in matters of armed conflict and I assume he must have an awful lot of contacts within this sphere.
        I have searched through my post and for the life of me, I can’t find any reference to Scott Ritter. If I had a suspicious mindset, it could look like a clumsy attempt to create a nefarious connection between the two. Naw, you wouldnae do that, would you?
        I’m not sure but it doesn’t look like you have watched the video, which is a bit of a shame, as it might have given you another insight into what may happen in this hellish situation and if true, will show that the powers behind this tragedy are completely evil to the core. I’m including all powers, East and West.

        1. Derek Williams says:

          I had already seen that video before and others like it, wherein MacGregor uncritically regurgitates Kremlin propaganda. More here about this Russian shill.

          I conflated MacGregor with Ritter (and there are many others like them), because both are celebrated in Russian state media as justification for their crimes against humanity in Ukraine, and both trot out the same litany of lies.

  4. Alan says:

    Good piece calling out the Putin’s “cheerleaders and apologists”. For anyone interested in  following up Jen Stout’s excellent piece on crumbling Russian imperialism, here are some additional resources:

    Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (HURI):

    The Ukrainian historian Serhii Plokhii (HURI’s Director) has a forthcoming book on the war:

    Serhii Plokhy recommends five books on Ukraine and Russia:

    Also worth checking out:

    Timothy Snyder (Historian at Yale): The Making of Modern Ukraine:

    Putin and the Presidents:

  5. Tom says:

    in fairness to Craig Murray, he admitted early on that he got this wrong.

    1. Well he did. I’m not sure what alternative he had? He is currently hiding in the Outer Hebrides, drunk.

      1. Tom says:

        I feel sure the one thing we can agree on is that Craig had no option but to admit his misjudgement, which he did, promptly (unlike others), although you’d never know it from your article, built on the lie that he had shown no “bloody humility” for getting it so wrong. As to your announcement that Craig is currently in the Outer Hebrides, ‘hiding’ and ‘drunk’, what’s that to do with anything, even supposing it’s true? Shame on you for that, Mike ..

        1. Hi Tom – Im quoting Craig himself in which he tweeted: “I am now happily in the Outer Hebrides. This makes it much harder to send the police to intimidate me because
          a) they will have to find me
          b) I shall be too drunk to notice”

          His words

          1. Tom says:

            you could have explained that previously Mike, but perhaps it suited your purpose not to. Calling CM a drunk and a fearty as you did, without referencing his tweet (clearly intended to be ironic), was misleading, as you must know.

          2. Hi Tom – Craig Murray has fled to the Outer Hebrides while he figures out what to do with emails hacked or stolen from an elected MP. Why you think this is great or laudable behaviour I have no idea. If as early indications suggest this material was gathered by a group believed to be linked to Russia’s spy services then Murray’s behaviour is colluding with the secret service of vile repressive regime. Again, why any of this is something you should support, I have no idea.

        2. The ‘bloody humility’ reference is (obviously) to Galloway

  6. Richard Bijster says:

    “By now, it is evident that Putin is losing the Ukrainian war. He has failed to capture Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and has had to quickly retreat to stem the colossal losses his military has suffered.” Pure fantasy and projection from Small. His piece contains such glaringly obvious ommissions. It does not mention the 2014 coup in Ukraine, the Ukrainian government shelling its own citizens in the Donbass region since 2014 because they wanted more autonomy or the documented deliberate breaking of the Minsk agreements by Germany’s Merkel and France’s Hollande. It also shows a complete lack of understanding regarding the history that led up to the current conflict and does not take in to consideration the current facts on the battleground.

    Anyone scratching the surface can immediately see that the Ukrainian army has already lost over 100,000 individuals, if not 150,000 plus, the Russian economy has not collapsed and, unlike the UK, the IMF has already projected positive economic growth for Russia in 2023 (recently recalculated upwards by the IMF). (Russia’s forecast was upgraded even more than the global figures: in October, the IMF expected a 2.3% fall in Russian GDP in 2023, now it is talking about 0.3% growth. In 2024, they believe Russia’s GDP will increase by as much as 2.1%.) So much for your losing oil revenue nonsense, Russia has pivoted East with its oil exports.

    Certainly the operation in Ukraine cannot be condoned and is illegal but I don’t hear Small mention the fact that the USA is still illegally occupying one third of Syria, stealing its oil and using food as a weapon against the Syrain population. I also don’t hear Small’s indignation concerning the trail of destruction NATO has left in its path over the past 20+ years. Libya (now with open human slave markets, great “Western” values there!), Afghanistan (the US stole 7.5 billion dollars from Afghanistan on leaving and left the Afghan people to starve, again great “Western values”), Iraq (a Western invasion based on complete lies, thoroughly illegal and cost approx. 1 million Iraqi’s their lives, there’s those great Western “values” again!), Yemen (pure genocide, with Western arms companies profiting from the genocide of the Yemeni people), Syria and Somalia to name a few.

    Small also seems more than willing to condemn Russia whilst conveniently ignoring the fact that the West and NATO has done exactly the same, and worse, over the past 20+ years. Leaving such facts out shows quite a degree of what can only be called self-censorship and hypocrisy. Like many journalists Small seems desperate to keep the fantasy “Russia is losing” narrative going that’s being pumped out by Western governments and the main stream media. The facts on the ground completely contradict the “Russia is losing” narrative.

    As for the green revolution fantasy, is that why Germany and many other countries have now restarted old coal fired power stations and nuclear plants? The fact of the matter is that EU will face a massive energy crisis later this year and renewables will never be able to replace the gas and oil that was coming from Russia.

    1. This website is full of condemnation of NATO activities and British and American military atrocities. If you think the war is going well for Russia and for Putin’s aims I wish you well

      1. Richard Bijster says:

        “This website is full of condemnation of NATO activities and British and American military atrocities.” Not in this article from Small though. Very important details either deliberately left out or left out through ignorance. Any loss of life in this comflict should be rightly condemned and all parties should start negotiatoing immediately. However, thinking that the West and NATO have some sort of moral highground in this conflict is utterly deluded and shows a scant disregard and understanding of how the world came to the position it now finds itself in.

        1. Derek Williams says:

          “Negotiating immediately” with Putin is pointless. He will still be in power, and will invade again after fixing his shambles of a military. Whatever agreement he signs he will break when it suits him. Putin is a crime-boss, mass-murderer, arsonist, kleptocrat who understands force and force alone. His oligarchs have siphoned billions out of the Russian economy to offshore locations, stealing from the Russian taxpayer in plain sight with an elaborate mafia protection racket masquerading as law and order. How can Putin be worth $US70 billion on a politician’s salary?

          Putin is ex-KGB, for whom lying, poisoning people and staging false flag operations are all in a day’s work. Suggesting we should all tread lightly around Putin misses that point that trying not to provoke a bully only convinces that bully that everyone is afraid of him, which only invites more bullying. The bully is the only one who gets to decide whether the bully has been “provoked”. Of course, if there was no provocation, it is always possible to manufacture a false flag ‘provocation’. Putin does not respect or honour agreements of any kind. If you make an agreement with him, he will eventually break it, and blame you.

          Since the 2008 Bucharest Summit, NATO have consistently refused membership to Ukraine, to avoid provoking Putin. Trying to appease a bully only tells the bully you are afraid of him. Had Ukraine been a NATO member, do you really think Russia would have invaded? Not wanting NATO ‘on its doorstep’ becomes another lie, the instant they seize Ukraine, which has NATO on its doorstep already.

          Regarding a “promise” not to expand NATO eastward;

          In 2014, the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall by noting in an interview that Nato’s enlargement “was not discussed at all” at the time:

          Not a single Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders didn’t bring it up, either.



          Putin invaded Ukraine because he wants the territory to expand into former Russian possessions. He wants the old Soviet UNION back, and he wants other countries as well. The Kremlin state-controlled propaganda television Network, RT, is declaring that once Russia have conquered and ‘Russified’ Ukraine, Europe is next. Russia has form.

        2. Derek Williams says:

          NATO doesn’t invade countries to force them to join the alliance; weaker countries have to apply for membership for national security. Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO for protection from Russia, which had previously invaded Finland in the 100-Day Winter War 1939. Every time Russia invades another country, NATO expands. Doesn’t that tell you something?

          In the prosecution of its illegal war against the citizens of Ukraine, Russia has violated the Minsk Agreements, the Budapest Memorandum, and every article of the Geneva Convention.

    2. John Fotheringham says:

      Richard, I share your views on this. But Small is only mouthing the prejudices of the rest of the “respectable” media which has tried to force us to view the conflict through the NATO prism and outlawed any other voice. Not only that, as Small does here, to his shame, it has tried to depict anyone who doesn’t share their stance as apologists for Putin. It is enough to smell two lines of such wretched, reactionary propaganda to feel nausea.

  7. David+B says:

    Unfortunately the shift to solar has its dark side too:

  8. Tom says:

    Mike, ref. your comment at 10.09am (interestingly, without a ‘reply’ option this time):

    Where did I say that it is “great or laudable” that CM has fled to the Other Hebrides?

    Where did I say that I support “colluding with the secret service of a vile repressive regime” even if, as you allege (without, so far, evidence) that CM does?

    You are now making it up as you go along Mike, inventing lie after lie in support of your original one. As I said at the start of this exchange: shame on you.

    1. I think your getting a bit confused

      1. Derek Thomson says:

        And I think that “you’re” getting overly defensive Mike. It was a low blow, and unworthy of this site.

  9. Colm B says:

    I agree with Mike’s well-made observations and think it is important to make these points to influence public opinion. On the other hand I see little point in arguing with Putin apologists, be they conspiracists, reactionary-left or far-right (or some weird red-brown combination of all three).

    For those who support the Ukrainian resistance to Russian imperialism here’s an opportunity to show that support:

    1. Niemand says:


      And it is noticeable that at last here is something the commenters at Bella and Wings agree on. Says it all and is a classic example of how too much ideological thinking can trump reality even to the point of defending someone like Putin. Quite incredible.

  10. John Monro says:

    Dear Mike,

    If George Galloway’s and Craig Murray’s early opinions in the times leading up to Russia’s “Special Military Operation”, more commonly and rationally described in the West as an invasion, were not exactly nuanced, then neither has been the response of NATO or the MSM in the West. I was for one extremely doubtful of US claims about an imminent invasion, had we not heard so many lies leading up to wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya? How on earth were we supposed to tell the difference? I wrote at the time, I am sure Russia is not about to invade Ukraine, they haven’t amassed nearly enough men or resources for a full invasion, I wrote, here we go again, yet more lies from the US, but I did admit they might try to partition the Donbas. So GG and CM didn’t have any preferential admission to the mind of Putin, but then neither have you nor I nor anyone else, yet politicians and the MSM are full of nothing but assumptions about what Putin is thinking or planning, for the most part wildly absurd. You talk about humility, it should apply in all circumstances.

    But the problem with your opinion piece is that you’re just as wrong as GG and CM. Things are not going very bad for Russia. The most severe economic and fiscal sanctions have been placed on Russia. Recall Biden’s triumphalism “The Rouble will be worth just 200 to the dollar” It was around 100 to the dollar, instead for a while it nearly doubled in value, and even now is substantially above its pre-war value. So let’s have some humility from Biden, perhaps. Russian overseas deposits were frozen, $300 billion dollars we were told. Apparently only about a tenth of this has actually been found. Russian industry, now on a war footing remains resilient, whilst Europe’s economic and energy woes continue. India, China, BRICS, Africa, S America, much of Asia are not partaking sanctions at all, indeed India and China have been and continue pursuing advantageous energy deals with Russia and are busy working out ways to divest themselves from US dollar domination – other countries are keen to follow suit. This might ultimately turn out to be the most serious self-inflicted wound on the US economy and society.

    Russia is winning this war, that’s just a statement of fact, and unless NATO and the West declare war on Russia and mobilise a couple of million men and all their military might, there’s nothing we can do about it. We are fighting a proxy war against Russia, but has a single politician in the West explained this matter to their citizenry or gained their permission to do so? NATO , that is really the US, under the control of insane neo-cons such as Nuland, Blinken etc, and the fanatically Russophobe Jens Stoltenburg, and the German greens (who’d have believed that) and the gung-ho flag waving jingoism of the UK and Boris Johnson’s worthless Churchillianisms, have embarked on a “lets provoke Russia to war with Ukraine, they can fight this war for us, and we can bring down Russia and Putin” It’s not working, this is insanity after insanity, double down after double down. And what is doubling down but doing the same thing again and again, only more so each time, and expecting a different result each time?

    So Ukraine will have to give up territory, yes it will. It was always going to have to give up Crimea, whose population of 2.4 million have, by a huge majority, wished to continue their 200 year relationship with Russia. Over half the population were actually born in the USSR. As for the other areas. Well, that’s what happens when you lose. If NATO and Ukraine had negotiated in good faith, if diplomacy had not been cynically usurped by NATO, in the last few years, then Donbas might have remained as a semi-autonomous part of Ukraine, under the Minsk accord (arguments about which will continue, though we do have public admissions from Poroshenko and Merkel that this accord was to buy time for Ukraine to re-arm and was not negotiated in good faith) , Crimea would have gone, and Ukraine would have had to remain neutral and partially demilitarise with no foreign agency such as NATO interfering , Ukraine would have remained as viable, non violated, state, and perhaps could have had international UN agency help to deal to its endemic corruption and right wing violent extremism

    A bit of history. After the Winter War in Finland, which Finland ultimately lost, they had to agree to terms with Stalin’s USSR to remain neutral, have a Russian naval base just 20 kms from Helsinki, and lose a large amount of land in Karelia. Since then Finland has enjoyed a robust and civilised democracy, great wealth and is the happiest country, self-reported, on the planet. Russia has kept its side of the bargain, and never threatened Finland in any way. There was an actual word for this “Finlandisation”. I heard some wise counsel suggest something similar for Ukraine before the invasion , it’s more than a shame, but a truly bloody tragedy, that they weren’t taken seriously. Similarly, with the USSR withdrawing from Austria post WW2, Austria agreed to remain neutral, so this was indeed under duress but Austria is a rich, smug nation now, that like Finland, avoided the horror of forty years under USSR and communist control .

    In Yalta, reality meant that Churchill and Roosevelt had to agree to Stalin’s USSR controlling half of Europe. Yes, it’s called reality. Prof. Mearsheimer is worth listening to on the nature of reality in regard to Urkaine.

    In these arguments there’s the greatest danger of forgetting the reality and horror of war. It’s worth almost anything to avoid war, or to come to terms as early as possible. NATO has refused to do this, has interfered with efforts Ukraine and Zelensky were prepared to make and the consequences for everyone, Russia, the West but most of all of course, for Ukraine, have been dire. I confidently predict when this war is over, and when the details of what went on in NATO and in Ukraine’s corrupt government, that the Ukrainians themselves will learn how they have been conned and , as Prof Mearsheimer puts it, led up the primrose path, and they will learn to revile the US, the UK, NATO just as much as they do Russia. Ukrainians might then have a chance to make the wise decision to make their remaining country a worthwhile sovereign and moral democratic entity, ban the right wing extremists, and to hell with everyone else.

    in this matter at least, Jeremy Corbyn shows wisdom, humanity, and dare I say it, humility. The lasting shame for the UK is that every other single MP in Westminster has totally failed to show these same moral attributes. As the New Statesman wrote just one week ago, “Enraptured MPs put aside their squabbles for Volodymyr Zelensky” So the only moral attributes that might bring about some resolution of this conflict before we stumble into the land of Armageddon lie bruised and buried beneath the trampling feet and the rumbling tracks of the war machine.

    In regard to your comments about the impetus this war has given to renewable energy. Well, I’m not entirely sure about this, your enthusiasm seems a bit premature, although I’d love to think your were right. Most of the rest of the world will use discounted Russian fossil fuels, Germany and Europe are to make up the shortfall by importing LPG at two to three times the cost – and which has much more global warming potential than piped natural gas from Russia, coal mines are being resurrected and nuclear power facilities being require to operate beyond their use by date. And here in so-called 100% pure New Zealand, actually one of the world’s worst climate derelicts, we suffer one horrible weather event after another – with the seas warmer than ever fuelling them.

    Mike, you regularly supply us with reasoned, interesting and useful articles and opinions. This unfortunately is not one of them. But keep up the good work, I will be looking forward to reading what you write about Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation.

    Cheers JKM, New Zealand.

    1. Paddy Farrington says:

      You are denying that Ukrainians have any agency in their resistance against aggression, and should just accept it. This is as reactionary as it is delusional. It is exactly the same argument that the supporters of Petain made in Nazi-occupied France. Thankfully, many disagree, and can express their support for the Ukrainian resistance here:

      1. Michael says:

        Excellent comment and analysis. Far more helpful and grounded in reality than this contorted wishful “article”.

  11. John Fotheringham says:

    Mike Small, who normally views himself as some kind of radical, exults in being in the NATO camp on the war in Ukraine. To him, the war has no context, no background, and his chief objective is to discredit those who fail to share his reactionary interpretation. Blackening Galloway’s name, how easy he makes it on himself. Not a word about the role played by US imperialism in provoking Russia, no, such a stance is dismissed by Small and others like him, as apologising for Putin. We, the West, he thinks, are the good guys, the guardians of morality, while Putin is the bad guy, evil incarnate, the new Hitler – the US always defines its enemies as the new Hitler. Yet the war is, as some very prominent voices have pointed out, geo politics 101. A look at the map is enough to show why no Russian leader could tolerate Ukraine coming under the NATO umbrella. Or would Mike Small imagine for a moment that US imperialism would look on benignly if Russian or Chinese forces set up camp on, for example, the Mexican or Canadian border? So why should Putin allow US ships to dock in Sevastopol? Only a fool or a knave would refuse to see the force of this analogy. And no one can deny that the US had not been warned decades ago that Ukraine was a red line for Russia and that further NATO expansion was bound to provoke precisely the reaction we have seen. And let us not forget Cuba and the missile crisis, in which the US threatened the whole world with extinction as it sought to defend its geo strategic interests. It is not my job to enlighten you on this, go and do your own research, it is not hard to find these warnings being expressed in the plainest terms. And don’t think these are all the ravings of left wing zealots. May I suggest the right wing Cato Institute as a starting point. There you will be amazed to find the views I have only touched on here explained in detail. But never mind, Small and his editorial team have taken the line of least resistance, been seduced by group think, feel comfortable and virtuous taking the view of the so called mainstream media. They have allowed others to do their thinking for them and end up in the camp of the most reactionary forces on the planet. US imperialism and its lackeys, whether they be called Sunak, Starmer, Scholz or Macron, there, behold the repository of transcendental morality. Never mind the bloody crimes they have committed in the defence of their beefsteaks, that can be forgotten now that they have rushed to the defence of democracy in peril. It only goes to show, Small and his co thinkers may imagine themselves to be apostles of freedom and justice when it comes to Scotland, but this crisis has exposed them as nothing more than conservative petit bourgeois.

    1. Derek Williams says:

      Victim blaming. You don’t punish someone “in case they do something you don’t like”.

      Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, only 6% of its borders were shared with NATO countries. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, this has now doubled, thereby instantiating a new thousand mile border with Finland and Sweden. Finland by the way has ghastly memories of having been invaded by Russia in the 100-day Winter War of 1939, at the conclusion of which they were forced to cede 11% of their lands to Russia. In the same year, Russia invaded Poland as allies of Nazi Germany, triggering WW2.

      Not only are NATO’s congruent borders with Russia now about to double, Ukraine has been hastily admitted with candidate status to the EU, and must be allowed finally to join NATO after kicking Russia out. Whoever might have been ‘neutral’ in Ukraine before Russia’s preposterous invasion, certainly is not now tens of thousands of their families are being murdered, 800,000 homes bombed to oblivion and their infrastructure destroyed. Whatever Russia feared from the so-called ‘West’, we fear a thousand times more from the trigger-happy nuclear superpower that is Russia, especially now we have witnessed the horror Russia’s military have perpetrated.


      Regarding a “promise” not to expand NATO eastward;

      In 2014, the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall by noting in an interview that Nato’s enlargement “was not discussed at all” at the time. Not a single Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders didn’t bring it up, either.



      Putin invaded Ukraine because he wants the territory. He wants the old Soviet UNION back, and he wants other countries as well. The Kremlin state-controlled propaganda television Network, RT, is declaring that once Russia have conquered and ‘Russified’ Ukraine, Europe is next. Russia has form.

      NATO doesn’t invade countries to force them to join the alliance; weaker countries have to apply for membership for national security. Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO for protection from Russia, which had previously invaded Finland in the 100-Day Winter War 1939. Every time Russia invades another country, NATO expands. Doesn’t that tell you something?

      1. John Fotheringham says:

        I wish I could be bothered responding to you but I won’t for you clearly have some obsessional problems.

        1. Derek Williams says:

          And yet you went ahead and responded anyway.

          1. John Fotheringham says:

            Ok, seeing as you seem to think that pasting websites is a substitute for using your own mind, here is my own contribution, this is a quote from, get this, The American Conservative of all journals, which in an article excoriating the US for its reckless provocations has this:

            If Blinken had any questions about Putin’s position, the former need only have consulted CIA Director William Burns, who earlier served as U.S. ambassador to Russia. In 2008 Burns wrote Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, then serving under President George W. Bush: “Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for the Russian elite (not just Putin). In more than two and a half years of conversations with key Russian players…I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests.” In the same year, national intelligence officer Fiona Hill, who later served in the Trump National Security Council, warned Bush that adding Ukraine and Georgia was “a provocative move that would likely provoke pre-emptive Russian military action.

            Mike Small, who has taken a vow of silence, might like to read the whole article.

          2. LOLs – I haven’t taken a vow of silence. The odd thing is that Ukraine wasn’t in NATO but will end up there because of Putin’s war.

    2. “Blackening Galloway’s name” – I mean, come on! : )

      1. John Fotheringham says:

        Is that an attempt to defend your position? You have painted yourself into a corner by backing the reactionary NATO imperialist line and I hope your readers never forget that. So what next for the war enthusiast? Support for aircraft? Boots on the ground? Maybe you’ll follow the logic of your own position and sign up yourself? I await that with interest.

        1. Derek+Williams says:

          Please list the countries NATO have invaded and occupied.

          While I’m waiting:


          Russia has gone to war in Finland, Afghanistan, Syria, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Chechnya, and now Ukraine to expand its borders or install puppet leaders.

          It has occupied Romania, Estonia, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Poland, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Moldova.

          Only two of these countries were voluntarily occupied by Russia. Not one voluntarily signed up to be ruled by Russia’s Soviet empire.

          Links I am providing below show that in almost every case, these countries were invaded and involuntarily occupied in the horrific bloodbath of the Russian Empire’s expansionism with concomitant mass-slaughter of civilian populations. Human suffering caused by Russia’s brutal, barbaric treatment of the people upon whom it imposed its rule sometimes became apparent only after these countries were liberated. Under Stalin, over 20 million Russians were themselves put to death for opposing the regime. Lessons to be learned from this by Ukraine and all Western countries, NEVER do a deal with fascist Russia, and NEVER give up your nuclear weapons:
          Afghanistan – to enforce Brezhnev Doctrine and expand Russia’s borders:
          Albania – a Russian pawn against the West:
          Armenia – Russian genocide:
          Azerbaijan – invaded by Russia:
          Bulgaria – invaded by Russia:
          Chechnya – invaded by Russia:
          Czechoslovakia – invaded by Russia:
          East Germany – occupied and barricaded by Russia:
          Estonia – occupied by Russia in a pact with Nazi Germany:
          Finland – invaded by Russia in the Winter War:
          Georgia – invaded and occupied by Russia:
          Hungary – occupied by Russia:
          Kazakhstan – consensually occupied by Russia:
          Latvia – invaded by Russia:
          Lithuania – invaded and occupied by Russia:
          Moldova – military occupation by Russia:
          Poland – invaded by Russia:
          Romania – under Russian military occupation:
          Syria – consensual occupation at request of Syrian government:
          Ukraine – invaded by Russia 1917-22, Holodmor Famine imposed 1932-22, invaded by Russia 2014, and again 2022:
          Uzbekistan – conquered by Russia:

        2. It’s not an attempt to defend my position it’s an attempt to ridicule yours

          1. John Fotheringham says:

            I see no ridicule, only a craven attempt to avoid the argument. Let it be noted by all your readers, on one of the the most important foreign policy issues for decades, Mike Small and Bella Caledonia lost their heads and embraced wholeheartedly the idea of the reactionary liars who represent NATO and US imperialism. Not only that, you don’t hesitate to characterise anyone who challenges your as apologists for Putin and refuse to engage with ideas that are shared by growing numbers of ordinary people across Europe. But good luck to you, I hope you don’t mind sharing a bed with the likes of Bush, Trump, Bolton, Blair and all the rag bag of warmongers and war criminals who share your standpoint.

          2. There is no argument to avoid just you ranting from within some bizarre silo.

      2. John Fotheringham says:

        I see you have replied to me but managed to shut down my ability to reply to you. Not surprising, but very telling. As for your point about Ukraine not being in NATO, that is so childish that it’s not worth answering. But I note your satisfaction that, according to you at least, NATO membership is now certain. Good, let all your readers note too, if they hadn’t already, that the great progressive Mike Small stands firmly behind the NATO militarist-imperialist block.

        1. I have not shut down your ability to reply to me John – here you are.

          1. John Fotheringham says:

            So, you must be delighted that Biden continues to ratchet up the tension, travelling to Poland to plan more troop deployments, promising more lethal aid etc etc. Where does this end? What does it mean to give Ukraine what it takes? What does “it” mean in this context? What does victory look like? Is the west prepared to drive Russia right out of Ukraine, including Crimea, which is the stated aim of the Ukrainian leadership? Are you in favour of the US strategy of using this war to weaken Russia? Do you deny it’s a proxy war with the lives of the Ukrainian people nothing more than a pawn in their game? Do you not remember we have seen all this before? In Afghanistan, arming the Mujahadin to stuff it to the Soviet Union in revenge for Vietnam? And did the US care a fig for the lives of the Afghans? All of this is so elementary that it is embarrassing to have to repeat it. But don’t let this affect your enthusiasm for NATO, the embodiment of transcendent morality, or so Biden would have us believe.

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