The Putin-Did-It Conspiracy Theory

Exclusive: A new truce agreement in Ukraine rekindles hope that the bloodshed can be reduced if not stopped, but Official Washington’s gross misunderstanding of the crisis, blaming everything on Russia’s President Putin, raises doubts and portends a potentially grave catastrophe, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The original falsehood behind the Iraq War was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and intended to use them against America either directly or by giving them to al-Qaeda. The opening lie about the Ukraine crisis was that Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated the conflict as part of some Hitlerian plan to conquer much of Europe.

Yet, while the Hussein-WMD claim was hard for the common citizen to assess because it was supposedly supported by U.S. intelligence information that was kept secret, the Putin-Ukraine lie collapses under the most cursory examination based simply of what’s publicly known and what makes sense.

President Barack Obama talks with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation as they join other leaders en route to the APEC Family Photo at the International Convention Center in Beijing, China, Nov. 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama talks with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation as they join other leaders en route to the APEC Family Photo at the International Convention Center in Beijing, China, Nov. 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Nevertheless, the New York Times much as it did when it was falsely reporting breathlessly about “aluminum tubes” for Iraq’s non-existent nuclear weapons program continues to promote U.S. government propaganda about Ukraine as fact and dismisses any rational assessment of the situation as crazy.

On Friday, the Times concluded its lead editorial with the assertion that: “What remains incontrovertible is that Ukraine is Mr. Putin’s war.” But the point is anything but “incontrovertible.” Indeed, the crisis was most certainly not instigated by Putin.

The actually “incontrovertible” facts about the Ukraine crisis are these: The destabilization of President Viktor Yanukovych’s elected government began in November 2013 when Yanukovych balked at a proposed association agreement promoted by the European Union. He sought more time after the sticker shock of learning from Kiev economic experts that the deal would cost Ukraine $160 billion in lost revenue by cutting trade with Russia.

It was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, not Vladimir Putin, who pushed the EU agreement and miscalculated the consequences, as the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel has reported. Putin’s only role in that time frame was to offer a more generous $15 billion aid package to Ukraine, not exactly a war-like act.

Yanukovych’s decision to postpone action on the EU association prompted angry demonstrations in Kiev’s Maidan square, largely from western Ukrainians who were hoping for visa-free travel to the EU and other benefits from closer ties. Putin had no role in those protests and it’s insane to think that he did.

In February 2014, the protests grew more and more violent as neo-Nazi and other militias organized in the western city of Lviv and these 100-man units known as “sotins” were dispatched daily to provide the muscle for the anti-Yanukovych uprising that was taking shape. It is frankly nutty to suggest that Putin was organizing these militias. [See’s “When Is a Putsch a Putsch.”]

Evidence of Coup Plotting

By contrast, there is substantial evidence that senior U.S. officials were pushing for a “regime change” in Kiev, including an intercepted phone call and various public statements.

In December 2013, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, a neocon holdover, reminded Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations.” In early February, she discussed with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who the new leaders of Ukraine should be. “Yats is the guy,” she declared, referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk. [See’s “Who’s Telling the Big Lie on Ukraine?”]

The Maidan uprising gained momentum on Feb. 20, 2014, when snipers around the square opened fire on police and protesters touching off a violent clash that left scores of people dead, both police and protesters. After the sniper fire and a police retreat — carrying their wounded — the demonstrators surged forward and some police apparently reacted with return fire of their own.

But the growing evidence indicates that the initial sniper fire originated from locations controlled by the Right Sektor, extremists associated with the Maidan’s neo-Nazi “self-defense” commandant Andriy Parubiy. Though the current Ukrainian government has dragged its feet on an investigation, independent field reports, including a new one from BBC, indicate that the snipers were associated with the protesters, not the Yanukovych government as was widely reported in the U.S. media a year ago.

The worsening violence led Yanukovych to agree on Feb. 21 to a deal guaranteed by three European countries. He accepted reduced powers and agreed to early elections so he could be voted out of office. Yet, rather than permit that political settlement to go forward, neo-Nazis and other Maidan forces overran government buildings on Feb. 22, forcing Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives.

The U.S. State Department quickly deemed this coup regime “legitimate” and Nuland’s choice, Yatsenyuk, emerged as Prime Minister, with Parubiy put in charge of national security.

In other words, there is plenty of evidence that the Ukraine crisis was started by the EU through its mishandling of the association agreement, then was heated up by the U.S. government through the work of Nuland, Pyatt and other officials, and then was brought to a boil by neo-Nazis and other extremists who executed the coup.

A Nutty Conspiracy Theory

But there is zero evidence that Putin engineered these events. There is no evidence that he got Merkel and the EU to overplay their hand; no evidence that he organized the neo-Nazi militias in Lviv; no evidence that he manipulated U.S. officials to manipulate the “regime change” behind the scenes; no evidence that he ordered the Maidan militants to attack.

Is the New York Times really suggesting that Putin pulled the strings on the likes of Merkel and Nuland, secretly organized neo-Nazi brigades, and ruthlessly deployed these thugs to Kiev to provoke violence and overthrow Yanukovych, all while pretending to try to save Yanukovych’s government all so Putin could advance some dastardly plot to conquer Europe?

The Times often makes fun of “conspiracy theorists,” but the Times’ narrative is something that would make even the most dedicated “conspiracy theorist” blush. Yet, the Times not only asserts this crazy conspiracy theory but calls it “incontrovertible.”

Beyond the lack of evidence to support this conspiracy theory, there is no rational motive for Putin to have done what the Times claims that he did.

In the actual chronology of event, Putin was preoccupied with the Winter Olympics in Sochi when the Ukraine crisis took its turn for the worst a year ago. He was fearful that the Olympics would be marred by Chechen or other terrorism and thus was personally overseeing security.

Putin had spent some $40 billion on making the Olympics a glamorous show to introduce the new Russia to the world as a country ready to join the West. I’m told that he was very proud of Russia’s position in the G-8 and felt he had built a constructive relationship with President Barack Obama by helping him resolve crises in Syria and Iran in 2013.

The last thing Putin wanted to do was provoke a crisis in Ukraine. Nor is there any intelligence that he had designs on the Baltic States, as the conspiracy theory contends.

However, when a right-wing regime seized power in a violent coup in Ukraine on Russia’s border and then took provocative actions against Ukraine’s ethnic Russians, Putin responded to calls from Crimea both from its parliament and a referendum to take the peninsula back into Russia.

Putin also feared that the new powers in Kiev might give the historic Russian naval base at Sevastopol to NATO with its nuclear-armed submarines. In other words, as much as the New York Times has bandied about claims of a Russian “invasion” of Crimea, the Crimeans requested Russia’s intervention and up to 25,000 Russian troops were already there in the agreement with Ukraine over the naval base.

Reactor, Not Instigator

But the key point is that Putin was reacting to the Ukraine crisis, not instigating it. As even former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger explained to Der Spiegel, “The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest. It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia.”

Kissinger added, “Putin spent tens of billions of dollars on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The theme of the Olympics was that Russia is a progressive state tied to the West through its culture and, therefore, it presumably wants to be part of it. So it doesn’t make any sense that a week after the close of the Olympics, Putin would take Crimea and start a war over Ukraine.”

In this case, Kissinger is clearly right. It never made any sense for Putin to provoke the Ukraine crisis. Yet, that became the lie upon which the United States has built its increasingly aggressive policies over the past year, with politicians of all stripes now shouting that America must stand up to the madman Putin and “Russian aggression.”

This is a dangerous “group think” for a number of reasons, not the least the disturbing fact that both the United States and Russia have lots of nuclear weapons. On a less existential level, the “Putin-is-Hitler” analogy has prompted a major miscalculation on the right approach for the Obama administration to take vis a vis Putin.

As Harvard Professor Stephen M. Walt has noted, the most effective response to a crisis is different if a foreign leader is an aggressor on the march or if the leader feels cornered. The former calls for a “deterrence model,” i.e., a tough reaction. But a tough response in the latter case will only make the beleaguered leader more belligerent like a cornered animal, thus spinning the crisis into more dangerous territory under what’s known as the “spiral model.”

“When insecurity is the taproot of a state’s revisionist actions, making threats just makes the situation worse,” Walt wrote. “When the ‘spiral model’ applies, the proper response is a diplomatic process of accommodation and appeasement (yes, appeasement) to allay the insecure state’s concerns.” [See’s “‘Realists’ Warn Against Ukraine Escalation.”]

Perhaps the new ceasefire agreement in Minsk spearheaded by German Chancellor Merkel will finally help defuse the crisis, with the legitimate concerns of the various sides being taken into account rationally rather than letting the past year’s hysteria continue to control events.

But the Times’ editorial doesn’t give much reason for hope that America’s upside-down “group think” has righted itself in any meaningful way. In the mainstream media’s latest repeat of the Iraq-WMD fiasco, the Times and virtually every other major news outlet remain committed to a dangerous misreading of the facts about Ukraine.

And anyone who dares point out the real history of the crisis is immediately shouted down with the anti-intellectual riposte: “Putin apologist!” — just as in 2002-2003, when anyone who doubted the certainty about Iraq’s WMD was a “Saddam apologist.”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

54 comments for “The Putin-Did-It Conspiracy Theory

  1. TotallyNotThatAvatar
    February 23, 2015 at 16:02

    Is is possible for one man to conspire? In any case, Putin is a NWO stooge like the rest.

  2. Jonathan Knudsen
    February 18, 2015 at 04:52

    As an earlier commenter said, your reporting is indeed indispensible, and deeply appreciated. Thank you!

    This link is to a talk on the floor of the Ukrainian Parliament in November 2013 by MP Oleg Tsarov. In it he clearly demonstrates his knowledge of the disinformation apparatus being set up by the CIA and the State Department to build support for the coup that was to follow:

  3. Baldur Dasche
    February 18, 2015 at 00:08

    The BIG lie – Putin’s European aspirations is going viral in London, Washington and among leaders in the Baltic States and Poland. Whether they caught the infection from Kyiv, or gave it to them is a moot point, for the threat of imminent Russian invasion – across Ukraine , through Poland and right up to the Fulda Gap is as real now as it was in 1964. NATO is standing its proverbial watch on the Rhine and the Elbe but also on the Danube and the Bug. Not only standing watch but baying out the alarm as well.

    And equivalent nutter would invade if only to shut them up.

    The only positive thing is that the more they scream, and the less Putin invades, the more obviously wrong and hysterical they will appear., even to the dolts among us. If it wasn’t for fear and ‘support’ they are powerless.

    Putin needs only bide his time.

  4. GeorgyOrwell
    February 17, 2015 at 11:00

    I deeply respect Robert Parry for so many reasons…..EXCEPT one. When it comes to the obvious nonsense that is the official story of 9/11 he is blind as a bat! Sorry!

  5. Nick
    February 17, 2015 at 08:19

    The way more i watch reaction in westerm media the way more i feel dejavue. On my eyes western media concentrated their view on Russia and Putin instead of the problem region. It was when it was a Syria reaction, it is now when Ukraine civil war still eliminating humans lifes. I can remember topic “Putin a hypocrite with blood on his hands” and it was in CNN in 12 september 2013 before Ukraine crisis started. And again and again there is no even a single topic about what “Rebels” in Syria and Ukraine army doing against their opponents.
    P.S. Here is a special gift to Robert Perry about Ukraine crisis: stealed video about russian “human rights activist” Vasilyeva, US and EU used her information to blame Russia and Putin. With english subtitles. Have i nice watch.

  6. Human Being
    February 16, 2015 at 12:38

    Dear moderator, feel free to remove this comment by “Pidorashka”. It says “Americans suck d**k” in Russian (grammatically bad Russian).

    • Abe
      February 16, 2015 at 16:22

      Posting comments with profane language is a crude “counter-information” tactic.

      It is quite obvious that the only people paying attention to Consortium News are uncouth, aggressive, America-hating, illiterate Russians. Yeah. Clearly.

  7. Akim
    February 16, 2015 at 02:50

    Just wonderful, how the moderator is only leaving the posts here that are pro-Putin an and immediately taking away ANY other opinion. Truly amazing.

    Keep up the good work, your Kremlin sponsors must only see what they wish to see. Other wise you will not get paid.

    • Human Being
      February 16, 2015 at 14:15

      It looks like the comments are being reviewed before they are allowed to be posted here (that’s a good thing). It can take a little time for a comment to be published. I have seen several anti-Putin, pro-Ukrainian comments on this website in the recent weeks and they are still here (just like yours are now), so there is no need to worry in that regard.

    • Oleg
      February 17, 2015 at 19:04

      To be honest, it is much more damaging to your ilk to keep your comments ;)

  8. Akim
    February 15, 2015 at 22:41

    It never seize to amaze me how many Russia paid trolls reside in US and write this pro-Putin propaganda nonsense. Truly increasable how many people hate the same very country they live in and willing to damage the democracy by writing such articles as above and singing koombaya to Kremlin dictator.

    • JiminNH
      February 18, 2015 at 12:42

      It never ceases to amaze me to find so many people who deem any heterodox voice expressing opposition to the the present actions of our government as being “paid trolls.” It seems you’d prefer automatons who follow the directions of their leaders without question or dissent.

      Since when does opposing the actions of one’s government, or more specifically of its criminal ruling elites that have seized the government and who assert a stated national strategy of global hegemony (nicknamed the Wolfowitz Doctrine), who violate international law with repeated “regime change” operations, among them the illegal invasions of Iraq under lies, falsehoods and fabrications, who violate their oaths to uphold the Constitution by enacting unconstitutional measures to spy on each and every citizen’s phones, computers and EZpass transponders (thats the 4th Amendment), who have executed American citizens, one a 16 year old minor, without being charged of a crime, tried before a jury of their peers, convicted or sentenced (that’s the 5th Amendment) based upon a decision of a secret tribunal, the membership of which is secret, without the right to cross examine “evidence”, indicates that one “hates” his/her own country, or that stating one’s opposition is somehow “damaging democracy?” Since when does standing up for the principals upon which this Republic were founded, and for demanding our leaders comply with the Constitution and international law, become harmful to the country? Only in a totalitarian country could that be the case.

      The simplicity, and error, of your opinion is, frankly, patently offensive, slavish, and absurd.

  9. Nick
    February 15, 2015 at 05:38

    On the 20th November 2013, in other words, the day before the decision by the Ukrainian government not to sign an agreement of association with the European Union – a decision which served as a trigger for the events of Maïdan (Independence Square) – a Ukrainian deputy, Oleg Tsarov, speaking from the podium before the Assembly, denounced the preparation of a civil war by the United States ambassador, Geoffrey R. Pyatt.

    • Pat
      February 15, 2015 at 15:44

      Thanks for posting that, Nick. I check in with Saker regularly, but somehow I missed that one.

      Your post is timely for another reason: Tsarov is now saying that the West is unhappy with Poroshenko and about to throw him under the bus. They don’t see him as being aggressive enough — sort of like what the Republicans are saying about Obama. I read this just yesterday, and at first didn’t put much stock in it, because I wasn’t familiar with Tsarov. But right after I found that, I found a Stratfor report saying that Kolomoisky is gaining power and that it appears there’s going to be a regime change. It’s possible to put two and two together. Tsarov’s comments can be found on his Facebook page. Stratfor report here:

  10. Human Being
    February 14, 2015 at 23:14

    A valuable article, as usual. Thank you for continuing to bring up these important facts!

    One thing I do remain skeptical about, though, are the results of the Crimea referendum. 96.7% out of 83% voting people… I know there has always been a strong pro-Russian sentiment in Crimea but that strong? Looks rigged to me. And rigged isn’t right. Is there any solid proof that I’m wrong on this? Or at least solid proof that it was a majority wanting to leave Ukraine?

    • Oleg
      February 15, 2015 at 08:02

      UN conducted a number of polls in 2009-2011. All of them showed that the Crimeans prefer to be part of Russia (66 to 70 %). This sentiment became much more pronounced after the coup and the attempt to ban the Russian language.,_2014

      • Human Being
        February 15, 2015 at 08:23

        Thanks for this, Oleg!

        I had looked at the same article some time ago and somehow I recalled different percentages. Might have been looking at the poll about all of Ukraine joining Russia.

        Something else I came across today – the former ambassador of USA to Ukraine talking about Crimea before the referendum and saying that “it’s pretty much a given” that the majority will want to join Russia — (the part about the referendum begins at 0:36).

    • Joe
      February 16, 2015 at 12:01

      Pew Research Center: “Despite Concerns about Governance, Ukrainians Want to Remain One Country” (May 8, 2014):

      “Crimean residents are almost universally positive toward Russia. At least nine-in-ten have confidence in Putin (93%) and say Russia is playing a positive role in Crimea (92%). Confidence in Obama is almost negligible at 4%, and just 2% think the U.S. is having a good influence on the way things are going on the Crimean peninsula.

      International attention has focused on Crimea in large part due to the March 16th referendum on seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia. According to the reported results, most of the Crimean residents who participated voted for secession. However, the legitimacy of the referendum has been hotly disputed, and few in the international community have accepted the outcome.

      For their part, Crimeans seem content with their annexation by Russia. Overwhelming majorities say the March 16th referendum was free and fair (91%) and that the government in Kyiv ought to recognize the results of the vote (88%).”

      • Human Being
        February 17, 2015 at 00:14

        Thank you, Joe!

    • JiminNH
      February 18, 2015 at 12:21

      In addition to other responses for the 2014 referendum, if you look into the history of Crimea since the collapse of the USSR, you will find the following:

      1. The Autonomous Republic of Crimea, its formal name, in Jan. 1991 voted to be restored as an Autonomous Republic of the USSR, and thereby indicating an intent to remain part of the USSR but not Ukraine as Ukraine was moving towards independence from the USSR later in 1991;

      2. When Ukraine held its nationwide referendum to secede from the USSR in Dec. 1991, while the nationwide vote was 92% in favor, in Crimea it was only
      54%, which was evidence that nearly half of the voters did not desire to be separated from the USSR, i.e. “Russia.”

      3. In May 1992, the Parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea voted to secede from the Ukraine; the vote was rescinded after negotiations with Kiev for more autonomy were concluded;

      4. Not being happy with the degree of autonomy they were given, in 1994 Crimea voted for pro-independence, pro-reunification with Russia candidate Meshkov as President of Crimea (with 73% of the vote), and two months later a referendum (held despite a was held whereby over 75% of the vote was for “more autonomy”, which was understood to be for eventual independence from Ukraine. Those votes were rescinded by the Ukraine Parliament and President as being illegal, and Meshkov was deposed by the Ukraine gov’t and the post of President of Crimea abolished by national decree.

      The bottom line is that the people of Crimea, whenever given a chance to actually vote, have consistently voted in favor of independence from Ukraine, to which it was only administratively joined by the USSR in 1954, and reunification with Russia. If they voted in the 70 percentile in the 1994 election, should we be surprised that the vote total was only 20% higher given (a) the dire economic circumstances of the time and the political turmoil in Ukraine thanks to the Maidan revolution/coup (take your pick), and (b) the better economic circumstances that existed in the Russian Federation? The objective empirical evidence is consistent, if one cares to analyze it, objectively.

      • Human Being
        February 21, 2015 at 21:52

        Any good references for this information? I like to have those for the rare occasions when I debate with someone.

  11. Pat
    February 14, 2015 at 20:46

    The Right Sector has stated outright that it reserves the right to ignore the ceasefire. In other words, it can provoke fighting and then blame Russia.

    Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government got busted for giving Congress laughably false evidence of Russian troops in Ukraine. Sen. Jim Inhofe, a co-author of the bill to send lethal aid to Ukraine, made a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday in which he cited photographic evidence that was given to him by Ukrainian officials. The Washington Free Beacon obtained the photos and ran a story. Shortly afterward, Twitter lit up with posts showing that the photos were taken in Georgia in 2008. Inhofe gave Buzzfeed a list of people on the committee that gave him the photos (but his original statement remains intact on his Web site).

    As someone said after Poroshenko showed Russian passports he alleged were found on dead Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine, “They must take us for idiots.”

  12. Ken Bolles
    February 14, 2015 at 19:03

    Great work as always Robert. Your reporting is indispensable.
    Let’s also remember that Obama himself recently confirmed your central thesis.
    “And since Mr. Putin made this decision around Crimea and Ukraine — not because of some grand strategy, but essentially
    because he was caught off-balance by the protests in the Maidan and [Ukraine’s then-President Viktor] Yanukovych then
    fleeing after we had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine,” Obama said in an interview.”

  13. Michael T Bucci
    February 14, 2015 at 16:21

    This article serves many purposes. One that is most useful is its succinct background history of the Kiev coup and events leading to today. For me, it is the very type of article that I circulate to those least aware, most brainwashed souls who have became “true believers” in what I submit is the “The Biggest Lie in History” (Russian aggression and culpability) that, if left on course, could move the Doomsday Clock closer to Midnight, or worse.

    Arguably, in such a case the survival of everyone hinges on whether the collective mind-forged manacles induced by Western leaders and media is shattered by the incursion of Truth in sufficient time to prevent purposeful or inadvertent catastrophe. Extremely high stakes are being wagered by Western leaders and, for some, done consciously, with volition, intent and for reasons that are purely self-serving.

    I believe cracks are beginning to appear, however small. Western readers are culling sites like RT; reading journalists like Parry, William Blum, Pepe Escobar and others (add your own); attempting to break down the mental conditioning in others that media has expertly instilled. These are real forces that were once only seeds but have become more potent, if not yet fully convincing. I also believe in the power of “conscience”. How long an individual can live with him/herself who has perpetuated raw lies, distorted facts, concealed evidence, obstructed justice, and collaborated in the BIG LIE is not quantifiable. But…it takes only one individual to brave the consequences and shatter one or more illusions and encourage others. That individual is a hero or heroine, and in times like these I believe more brave souls, such as whistleblowers, will surface when cowards hide.

    I also believe the Truth ALWAYS prevails in the end, whenever that “end” arises and however it arises.

    Finally, thank you, Mr. Parry, for your fine mind, investigative skills and relentless pursuit of the Truth that, I believe, more and more people will embrace as the minute hand moves closer to Midnight. No God has ordained the destruction of this planet. Humanity will prove itself by saving itself in the end. I do believe.

    • Joe
      February 15, 2015 at 13:42

      Listening to you you’d think the fighting is happening in Russian territory.

  14. Julian
    February 14, 2015 at 09:14

    Many Americans, politicians and “average Joes” alike, are deeply committed and dependent to the belief that problems can always be traced back to one singular cause. The concept of a world where things work in tandem and affect each other scares them, because it’s not easily explained and often difficult to grasp. In fact the majority of the human population probably prefers a simpler reading of history and current events. This is why the myth of Imperial Germany being the sole reason for World War 1 endured for so long.

    And what people really enjoy is when “evil” has a face. Most Americans have probably never even met a Russian and probably wouldn’t even recognize one, but they all know Putin and “know” that he is evil. Because their tabloid journalists tell them that he is. Putin’s face is a stand-in for an entire country of diverse people, just like Adolf Hitler was the face of Nazi Germany, Saddam Hussein for Iraq, Osama bin Laden for Afghanistan (though he was actually Saudi) and Emperor Hirohito/Hideki Tojo for Imperial Japan during WW2.

    Also having one singular cause gives people something to rally behind/against. I highly recommend Arthur Ponsonby’s book “Falsehood in War-Time: Propaganda Lies of the First World War” in this regard. It shifts blame away from the actions of the own country, makes out a culprit and justifies horrendous actions as necessary, because they are for the greater good.

    • Abe
      February 14, 2015 at 14:18

      Falsehood In Wartime
      By Arthur Ponsonby, MP

      Falsehood in War-time identifies the role propaganda played in World War I, in general and specific terms and lists over 20 falsehoods that were circulated during the First World War. Indicative of his worldview Ponsonby regards these falsehoods as a fundamental part of the way the war effort was created and sustained, claiming that without lies there would be “no reason and no will for war”.

      Ponsonby states that the book was written to inform the masses and to highlight the media’s role as a manipulator of mass opinion. It is part of a cultural movement which questioned and criticised the cause, conduct and idealism of the First World War during the interwar years and has come to be considered as part of the canon of that movement.

      Anne Morelli has summarized and systematized the contents of Ponsonby’s classic in “ten commandments of propaganda”:[4]

      1. We do not want war.

      2. The opposite party alone is guilty of war.

      3. The enemy is the face of the devil.

      4. We defend a noble cause, not our own interest.

      5. The enemy systematically commits cruelties; our mishaps are involuntary.

      6. The enemy uses forbidden weapons.

      7. We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.

      8. Artists and intellectuals back our cause.

      9. Our cause is sacred. “The ages-old ‘God bless America’ is playing once more.”

      10. All who doubt our propaganda, are traitors

      • Dima
        February 16, 2015 at 20:59

        Interesting. Those ten commandments are basically the rules of Russia’s mass media today. Thank you, I will share them with other people :)

        • Oleg
          February 17, 2015 at 19:31

          You seem to be pretty good yourself at this game ;)

    • Hugh
      February 27, 2015 at 17:40

      I don’t know if Putin is evil, but someone who manages to amass $200 billion in 15 years and holds the reins of power for the rest of his life seems as greedy as Yanukovich wanted to be.

      At least give the chance to others to steal a bit from the country, why only you have that divine right?!!?!? I guess that’s not the KGB’s oath

  15. Peter Loeb
    February 14, 2015 at 07:26


    Certainly Israel and the Us-Israeli connection have a role regarding the Ukraine and
    Russia etc.

    There are many possibilities based on mere speculation and needing your more
    careful analysis.

    When we are subjected to the US Government’s holier-than-thou pontifications
    on adhering to International Law one wonders if this is not a farce both as
    concerns the US takeover of the Ukraine, the involvement of Nazi stormtroopers,
    and the defiance of uncountable tenets of International Law by Israel in

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  16. Peter Loeb
    February 14, 2015 at 07:25


    Certainly Israel and the Us-Israeli connection have a role regarding the Ukraine and
    Russia etc.

    There are many possibilities based on mere speculation and needing your more
    careful analysis.

    When we are subjected to the US Government’s holier-than-thou pontifications
    on adhering to International Law one wonders if this is not a farce both as
    concerns the US takeover of the Ukraine, the involvement of Nazi stormtroopers,
    and the defiance of uncountable tenets of International Law by Israel in

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  17. Brendan
    February 14, 2015 at 06:20

    On 20 Novemer 2013, Ukrainian Deputy Oleg Tsarov spoke in parliament about clear evidence he had received from infiltrators about US interference in Ukraine:
    “with support and direct participation of the US Embassy [in Kiev], the “Tech Camp” project is realised under which preparations are made for a civil war in Ukraine … potential revolutionaries for organising protests and the toppling of State order. The project is currently overseen and under the responsibility of the US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt.”

    Remember that this was said before the Maidan protests even started, and months before Victoria Nuland’s intercepted conversation with ambassador Pyatt about selecting the new Ukrainian leaders. If Tsarov was just making all that up, it’s a huge coincidence that what he said has been backed up by subsequent events and revelations.

    • Hugh
      February 27, 2015 at 17:33

      How can you let yourself be manipulated like that??????????

      The crooked Party of Regions has received info from “infiltrators” – yeah right. The party which stole $80 billion from our schools, hospitals, roads, pensions, the party that turned police and courts into a farce, the party that wanted to implement martial law and throw in jail any journalist or protester who published info on their offshore bank accounts and lavish residences around the world. Just like the party who has absolute control over Russian “free” media, which has more money than any other in the world.

      Of course there would be preparations for a civil war in Ukraine if Yanukovich continued with his historic greed. But there is no civil war in Ukraine. All the cities are peaceful, despite the terrible economic destruction. The only war is where Russian “holiday-makers” mixed suitcases with Kalashnikovs whilst roaming the cities of Eastern Ukraine, plundering at will.

      For 3 years Ukrainian businessmen have been constantly victims of tax police and other racketeers. Even those in Donetsk couldn’t put up anymore. The unlucky ones who became stripped and destitute, were likely to join Pravdy Sector, just to stop the corruption. Wouldn’t you join the Maidan protests too? Now, Pravdy Sector almost doesn’t exist.

      I guess you are not familiar with “The Family”, who’s only escape from hiding all their crimes would have been either a life-long stronghold on power, just like Mr. Putin, or to foment a civil war so that their massive plunder could be quietly moved elsewhere. Where are they now? Oh yes, in safe old Russia, where the rule of law is… prosecute the victim, never the rich cronies.

      I guess it’s time for you to start posting Putin’s “evidence” he received from infiltrators that the US or even Martians are preparing a civil war in Ukraine, just in case the Russian people will start wanting the same freedoms as you enjoy, instead of a North-Korea type repression. Just in case the old Russian mothers who haven’t yet been sent to asylums for claiming that their sons were forced to sign papers coercing them to be sent to “New Russia” “on holiday” start making too much noise.

  18. February 14, 2015 at 05:52

    Perhaps YOU are misunderstanding?

    2LT Dennis Morrisseau USArmy [armor – Vietnam era] retired. POB 177 W Pawlet, VT 05775 802 645 9727 [email protected]

  19. February 14, 2015 at 01:31

    As long as President Obama is surrounded by warmongers such as Mrs. Rice or Mrs. Clinton, his foreign policy in general follows that of prior Administrations. Since 1953, the US government has created over 80 Coups in the world creating increasing calamity. Wherever we go, we bring misery. The current situation in Ukraine is due to a Coup cooked up in Washington.

    If we knew Senator Obama would attack seven countries, all Muslims, upon presidency, would we vote for him? Certainly not. We have been cheated.

    • Miriam
      February 16, 2015 at 17:51

      We continue to read/write that the poor president is “surrounded” by all these war mongers….Bush-type war-mongering Machiavellian neocons….but WHY? it’s not that he doesn’t know this..that he hasn’t brought them in and kept them in the WH /State /Dod, etc. WHY does he keep them close ?

    • Hugh
      February 27, 2015 at 16:42

      Dear Akbar Montaser,

      I respect Muslims dearly, and protested energetically against the invasion of Iraq. But the situation in Ukraine is NOT because of the US. For years the Ukrainian people have been dreaming of better standards of living. Fairer society. They wanted to turn away from the oppressive police and corrupt courts. Do you know who used to win in a court case? Not the one with the best lawyer, or the one who was wronged, but the one who paid the judge the most. What do you think it’s like in Russia today?

      When Yanukovich’s greed exceeded all tolerable and conceivable limits, the people couldn’t take it anymore. They wanted their children to live in a fair society. Wouldn’t you?

      And those who are destroying Ukraine, accusing the “evil West” are hypocrites. Where do the Russian and Ukrainian gangsters/oligarchs/politicians send their kids to: The West? Why? Because they want their kids to live in a fair society, but don’t want a fair society in their own countries and for the “sheep” they oppress and steal from. Hypocrites!

      Because I am not an oligarch nor a gangster, I hope someone like the US will finally come to our aid, help us against the big bully who has amassed $200 billion from the Russian people and is now destroying the Ukrainian economy and its people.

      Imagine what will happen when the people of Russia will want the same freedoms as Westerners, instead of North-Korea type isolation?

      Peace in Ukraine? Build a wall on the border with Russia to stop this neverending flow of mercenaries and heavy weaponry.
      Prosperity in Ukraine? Mr. Putin, please take a long holiday! You haven’t rested since KGB and government work.

  20. Abe
    February 14, 2015 at 00:55

    IMF announces $17.5bn loan for Ukraine

    Padded with power here they come
    International loan sharks backed by the guns
    Of market hungry military profiteers
    Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
    With the blood of the poor

    Who rob life of its quality
    Who render rage a necessity
    By turning countries into labour camps
    Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

    Sinister cynical instrument
    Who makes the gun into a sacrament —
    The only response to the deification
    Of tyranny by so-called “developed” nations’
    Idolatry of ideology

    North South East West
    Kill the best and buy the rest
    It’s just spend a buck to make a buck
    You don’t really give a flying fuck
    About the people in misery

    IMF dirty MF
    Takes away everything it can get
    Always making certain that there’s one thing left
    Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

    See the paid-off local bottom feeders
    Passing themselves off as leaders
    Kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
    Open for business like a cheap bordello

    And they call it democracy

    – Bruce Cockburn, “Call It Democracy”

    • Philip Kraske
      February 17, 2015 at 14:17

      Hello Bruce.

      Liked your verse. Here’s my own poetic take on Putin

      by Philip Kraske

      I’ve always felt sorry for Vladimir Putin.
      First there’s his name, not Jordan or Newton,
      But a thud or a punch, a jelly-jar rap
      That rolls off the tongue like diddly-crap.
      And he looks like a wrestler, ready to choke
      Some poor s.o.b. who cracked a bad joke.

      I’ve always felt sorry for Vladimir Putin.
      So high in the polls? You’re darn-tootin’.
      But scorned abroad for his taciturn grace
      Asserting his power, not knowing his place,
      Or working with Hillary, John and The One,
      As they picked off his allies, wars yet unwon.

      I’ve always felt sorry for Vladimir Putin.
      Not a nice guy, but surely well-suitin’
      The times of an empire falling to pieces,
      Its business held up by quan’tative eases.
      He kindly received their silly “reset”
      And braced for an onslaught, ongoing yet.

      I’ve always felt sorry for Vladimir Putin.
      He does what he does with minimal shootin’.
      His foes being glad of Ukranian fascists,
      He sent the Crimea his boys without patches.
      They snapped off a portion to wide applause,
      Except in the West, where statesmen dropped jaws.

      I’ve always felt sorry for Vladimir Putin,
      Tricked by the West for their refutin’
      A gents’ accord to observe the stat’-quo
      And making of Europe a steady strip-show.
      Yet still he abides, he has sent no nukes,
      Unlike old Brezhnev, he’s put up no dukes.

      I’ve always felt sorry for Vladimir Putin,
      His rouble tankin’, his oil mootin’.
      With China he’s made amends and said,
      “We give you oil, you give us bread,”
      Not a dumb thing for a leader to do,
      Except for ol’ Vlad, whom they love to chew.

  21. February 13, 2015 at 21:46

    The narrative that Putin wrecked the Minsk 2 ceasefire is already underway, 24 hours before the ceasefire even begins. I have blogged about this, and it’s quite interesting.

    Several thousand troops are bottled up at Debaltsevo. Poroshenko has adamantly denied that they are surrounded. But the rebels report, and Kramer and Gordon of the NYT confirm that the rebels control the highway to Artemivsk (the last point of access that Kyiv controlled), and that Debaltsevo is tightly encircled. There was apparently a big battle at Artemivsk, which Kiev lost. But the NYT implies that the rebels attacked, which is unlikely, since they already control the highway.

    The interesting point that the rebel sites make is that the encircled soldiers are unable to meet the terms of the ceasefire, since they can’t withdraw. Therefore, Poroshenko can either admit that they’re surrounded and surrender them, or be in violation of the ceasefire. This assuming the rebels don’t just use Grad fire to kill all the defenders.

    Will Putin have caused the failure of the ceasefire? The West will say yes. But in fact, he seems to have just offered Poroshenko a choice: admit that he, Poroshenko was lying when he said that Debaltsevo was surrounded, or re-start the conflict and perhaps let thousands of men die for nothing.

    Putin’s a bastard, and he’s got a lot of blame for what’s going on (if only because he tolerated massive corruption in Ukraine). But the pro-Russian media is being a lot more honest about the tactical situation than the Kyiv Post. I’m less worried about the State Department lying to us than that they’re lying to themselves. They’ve been consistently outplayed, and they don’t seem to have a clue about what tools to use besides the military.

    • Human Being
      February 15, 2015 at 01:48

      “Putin’s a bastard, and he’s got a lot of blame for what’s going on (if only because he tolerated massive corruption in Ukraine).”

      What is he supposed to do about corruption in another country? Also, the feeling I get about him is that he has an no-corruption vision but doesn’t want to be dictatorial about implementing that vision. In December 2014 he had his annual press-conference to sum up the year, and he mentioned that it is a big problem for Russia that whoever comes to any position of power is quick to use that position for sucking the money out of others by requesting bribes on every possible occasion. I think the main culprits in that comment were the lowest-ranking police officers. So, if it’s such a deep-rooted problem it takes a fundamental shift in culture which doesn’t come fast and easy. Education and parenting need to be involved, above all. Also, if the same culture of deep-rooted corruption exists around him in the higher levels of business and politics, he has to be careful about in what way and how fast things can be changed — there are probably only so many toes he can step on before he gets taken out. (It is probably a significant factor in why many Ukrainians want nothing to do with Russia anymore.) Just my two cents here…

      • goldhoarder
        February 17, 2015 at 02:03

        The Orange Revolution with Ukraine lost an honest election to the Russia backed candidate due to massive corruption. WTH is this clown talking about? The West is the most corrupt institution on the planet. The Tarp bailouts were the largest theft in human history

        • aRcaNum
          February 23, 2015 at 15:11

          No one is more corrupt than Putin, He’s lying to his country while filling his bank account to one of the richest people in the world. Anyone who believes or backs Putin has air between their ears and is going down the Russian road to ruin. America is producing so much oil and gas now that Russia will be useless to the world soon. Long gas lines and Empty grocery store shelves are coming back to Russian towns everywhere all curtesy of you’re Egomaniachle Asberger suffering disaster of a leader Putin. He will go down in history as the one who sank Russia.

          • Oleg
            February 23, 2015 at 19:51

            Putin has support of the Russian population because of his anti-corruption measures. Believe it or not, he will go down in history as one of the greatest Russian leaders who prevented Russia from disintegrating (I quote Gorbachev).
            So, I guess I have “air between my ears” (now I quote you).

          • February 24, 2015 at 17:19

            @Oleg: What sort of “corruption measures” are we talking about?

          • Anonymous
            February 26, 2015 at 18:27

            Just for now Oleg, only for the near future. Check it 5 years from now when it’s biting hard.

          • Anonymous
            February 26, 2015 at 18:38

            @Oleg, He had the support now while his people are fat and happy and his BS propaganda rings in Russian ears while suppressing the truth. Gorbachev, lol. Let’s see in 5 years when the country is crumbling into ruin. And yes air between the ears even old senile Gorby.

          • aRcaNum
            February 26, 2015 at 18:39

            @Oleg, He had the support now while hugs people are fat and happy and his BS propaganda rings in Russian ears while suppressing the truth. Gorbachev, lol. Let’s see in 5 years when the country is crumbling into ruin. And yes air between the ears even old senile Gorby.

      • Hugh
        February 26, 2015 at 13:09

        $200 billion – is Putin’s estimated wealth, in 16 years!!!! Forget Harvard, KGB seems a better investment. All within his circle also became multi-billionaires. Tell me how!
        $80 billion was stolen from Ukraine since Yanukovich took power. Both by Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs. They’re in business together, and Putin has also made a buck or two from Ukraine’s murky nuclear sector. This is not about Russians vs Ukrainans. It’s about mafia govs vs people.

        What exaclty has Putin done to fight corruption?
        – distributed Russian wealth fairly?
        – tolerated political opposition and fair elections? Free press or internet?
        – a fair court system? Do you stand any chance of winning a case if you prove you’ve been wronged by the government?

        I didn’t like Bush, eventually he lost the elections. In America, EU, at least there is an opposition. If the Russian president were to become a megalomaniac, what election could stop him? A cult of personality, in power for life, at odds with democracies but befriending regimes with poor human rights records and massive wealth disparity.

        Maidan was about saying no to massive corruption, unfair courts, etc. Ukrainian people reacted when they saw Yanukovich wanting to turn their country into a North Korea owned by “The Family”. For that they are being punished and Eastern Ukraine with all its shale gas is to be handed over to mercenaries and mafia lords. Best way to dissuade any democracy hopefuls from dreaming about a fair system in Putin’s Russia, where most of the wealth lies among 0.0005% of its people.

        Yes, Ukrainians dreamt of a fairer society, where they wouldn’t have to be afraid of being thrown in jail if they refused to hand over their businesses to The Family. They wanted to turn to a Western, EU model, where corruption doesn’t exceed annual GDP. I fear to imagine what would happen in Moscow if Russians dreamt of the same – Putin has just shown a glimpse in poor Eastern Ukraine.

        • aRcaNum
          February 26, 2015 at 18:59

          Well done, I just didn’t have the energy.

  22. Gregory Kruse
    February 13, 2015 at 20:40

    One only has to observe the tiny piece of territory held by the ethnic Russians against the whole weight of the Ukrainian army to conclude that this is a racist assault based in Kiev.

    • Hugh
      February 26, 2015 at 12:21

      In Kiev people still speak Russian, myself included. As in many other cities. I’ve been to Eastern Ukraine. This conflict is not ethnic. The poor Russian kids are being forced to sign papers and being rushed to destroy Eastern Ukraine. All the other major cities in Ukraine that have majority of Russian populations are at peace. Until mercenaries storm administrative buildings with machine guns. They’re plundering shops, stealing people’s cars and appartments, raping and implementing gangster-rule. Even in Crimea look at what has happened to the larger businesses – stolen.
      “Ethnic Russians” in Mariupol, Kharkiv, Odessa are afraid that Russian mercenaries might decide to “deliver” them. What is the Ukrainian army to do?
      70% of Ukrainians have Russian relatives. They don’t want to fight each other.

      The real conflict is between justice and prosperity vs. corruption and oligarchy:
      Yanukovich’s gang stole over $80 billion from our schools, hospitals, pensions, etc. Next step was trying to control all media, eradicate freedom of speech, rights of manifestations, fair judiciary, etc.
      Putin’s wealth has now surpassed $200 billion – look at the state of Russian towns, roads, hospitals, etc. He controls most media in Russia, protects the mafias, there is little freedom of speech, even internet, fair judiciary, journalists who criticise are swiftly removed, Olympic games and the like are schemes to steal even more money… Is this path sustainable?

    • Hugh
      February 27, 2015 at 16:19

      This is what is happening in Crimea:

      “This month the armed men — who last year helped take over government buildings and army bases and were never disbanded — came to Massandra, the iconic Crimean wine producer which has operated since the tsarist era and was last year put under control of the Kremlin’s property management office. In a letter to Putin this month, the company said its operations and staff of 2,500 are at risk due to “utter incompetency and unquenchable profiteering” of the new owners and the Crimean authorities, who are pressuring the company to cede valuable coastal land where its vineyards are located.”

      This is what awaits Eastern Ukraine if they are put under “righteous Kremlin management”

      This has nothing to do with racial or ethnic. It’s whether to live in a system with total disregard for your freedom, right to property, right to free speech, or for the rule of law, and entirely conceived to take from the poor and give to the oligarchs, or to live in a less corrupt, fairer society.

      Everytime I read posts like yours, I wonder if you receive money to write that stuff, just like Yanukovich’s supporters received money to get down to the streets, just like the recent pro-Putin anti-Ukraine march in Moscow paid $100 to each supporter (protesters generally not allowed)!

      What have Ukrainians done (in reality, not in Russian TV) to Russians to deserve losing Crimea, the Donbass invaded by mercenaries, and flooded with military hardware coming from Russia?

      Is the Ukrainian army destroying Russophone cities like Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Krivoy Rig, Zaparozhye, Poltava or Mariupol? No. They’re peaceful. If a bunch of lawless mercenaries started walking around your streets with machine guns and bazookas, plundering shops, shooting at police for sport, and stealing people’s cars and flats, wouldn’t you want your country to bring in reinforcements to stop the lawlessness?!!!!??

      Imagine what will happen when the people of Russia will want the same freedoms as Westerners, instead of North-Korea type isolation?

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