Thursday, July 17, 2014

Current conflict can be setting a stage for millions to perish

Several postings below I issued a vague warning, in which I promised to unveil the real danger behind unhinged Russian TV propaganda.

Today, a number of recognized thinkers arrived to the same conclusion, explaining the menace in details. One of leading American and former USSR experts on things post-Soviet, Paul Goble, translated large excerpts from a solid Russian source on ethnic relations, prof. V. Solovey (see The Interpreter). The professor is warning about the grave dangers of ethnic unrest, which the former USSR could now be facing.

In a nutshell, the good professor is saying that Russians and Ukrainians are getting more and more "angry" at each other, up to the point when they would become as vengeful as it had been happening time and again in this part of the World. When a nation was pitted against another nation. In professor's view, a parallel to watch out for would be Serbs and Croats during the Yugoslav war 20 years ago. If you haven’t done so, I suggest you re-read wiki pages on this particular conflict. The overview of this bizarre, chaotic and bloody war could provide a useful insight into who we, the Eastern Europeans are, and what are we capable of.  To summarize, in that war, the self-appointed anti-fascists of Yugoslavia - Serbs - had gone bigot. They brought upon themselves an eternal and painful shame by staging a mindless massacre of their fellow neighbours, Bosniaks, in a unimaginative Nazi-style death-camp of Srebrenica. This was a Red-Wedding style bloodbath, which no one believed possible beforehand, despite the signs. In the good professor's analogy, Ukraine and Russia are on the verge. And can slip at any moment.

In comparing today’s crisis with former Yugoslavia's, another thing to remember is the size of the countries and territories involved. Russia and Ukraine are large. They more or less dwarf any of the Eastern European countries having times and times larger populations than those of all of the former Yugoslavia. If things go really sideways between those two, it would be on the same shelf with the WW2.

Despite what experts, far smarter and credible than myself, are saying, I don’t believe we are there. All of the destruction and casualties so far have yet been modest, comparing the scale of the conflict. If we consider that the area in question, where the current predicament takes place, is by far larger that any of the hotspots of the former Yugoslavia or even of the hotspots of the former USSR - with sprawling, million-strong cities, minig and manufacturing areas, it is clear enough that the region has escaped the extinction. From what I read in Russian-language Social Media of Donbass things go on largely almost as normal with many offices, as well as schools and hospitals at the cities in question still open and working daily, with kids and strollers filling the parks and recreation zones during some of the calmer days of the conflict. The reason for that could be that Ukrainian authorities or, for that matter, the rebels, show restraint in their military operations. Or, it could as well be plain lack of genuine hatred between the loyalist and separatists soldiers and populations.

But this could change. Russian TV propaganda machine is relentlessly at work, painting a hellish picture of fake-and-false atrocities and calling for a Holy War to “defend Russians”. Unlike country’s abroad-looking news outlets, these domestic ones don’t have to be smart and subtle. The recent Lie-Grandios about child-crucifixion by Ukrainian government troops is just the top of the iceberg of loathing. For some time now the hot steam has been infuriating scores of obscure far-right and far-left movements across vast territory of Russia, where national broadcasts are the only true mass source of information. War veterans, Cossacks, RNE-shniks, Oplotniks as well as countless of firearm-fanatics, “historical re-enactors” and hard-core Ortodox faithfuls are being whipped up into frenzy by the anti-Western teachings and conspiracy theories, lining up at semi-official recruitment offices to be sent into this fake battle. The fighting they are preparing for can well go on oversightlessly, militia-style. How much of their nationalist fever will settle once they arrive to their destination and discover the absence of the infamous “crucified child”, is unclear.  

Funeral of an Ortodox fighter killed in Ukraine, in Russian region of North Ossetia.
photo URL-d from

When you take a country 6 times bigger and 10 times angrier than Texas, with even larger amount of firearms and under little control, you can get armies of fanatics. In Ukraine, those people and their hatred can easily spell disaster last seen in the Yugoslav war and in Checnya, but in the scale of a Holocaust.

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