Ukraine War Day #162: Putin And The Golden Billion

Dear Readers:

As promised, I am returning to the Russia/Third World theme with a review of this piece from July 21, 2022. The reporter is Petr Akopov. Putin’s musings have gotten a lot of coverage and I’m sure his words have been translated and discussed a lot in various media, even MSM. Therefore I don’t intend to do much with it, just add my 2 cents, plus highlight the irony of it all. How this war has changed so many things, changed people; the irony of a Sergei Lavrov touring Africa and drinking in the love of people who fondly remember the USSR; a former Yeltsinite like Putin (who helped to destroy the USSR), now sounding more like his Soviet forebears (former bears – haha!?) whom he once rejected, but now going all Patrice Lumumba with fiery anti-colonialist and anti-racist rhetoric.

BUT FIRST THIS BREAKING NEWS! A quick update from the front lines. Most of my military info comes from the youtube channel Ukraine Military Summary and Analysis (Dima), and secondarily also Defense Politics Asia (Wyatt). Yesterday the news was quite startling, and also quite good, if one is rooting for the Russian side. So, it finally happened: All along the Donetsk Front, Ukrainian defenses are cracking, like a ripe overheated chestnut. As Russian Allied forces break through in multiple important locations, even the fortress-like Avdeevka. We are finally starting to see some light at the end of this long tunnel.

Dima’s map shows Ukrainian entrenchments in blue.

From what I understand, the Ukrainian side made an incredible blunder. Given the infinite layers of defensive trenches (which made the Maginot Line look like a child’s sandcastle at the beach) which they had built up over the past 8 years before the Russian incursion, Ukrainian forces could have held out much longer on the Donetsk front. I mean, the outcome of this war was never in doubt: It’s like your son’s Little League team going up against the Red Sox. Those kids might put up a heck of a fight, but in the end they are destined to be defeated. Just as there is no doubt that the Ukrainian war will end with Zelensky’s unconditional surrender to Putin. Until that moment, however, the Ukrainians put up a heck of a fight. Those Donbass trenches were made to withstand just about anything. Provided the Ukrainian artillery were still in place and playing their part in the artillery duels.

Then, what happened is that the Ukrainian leadership (Zelensky) decided to move several important artillery battalions from the Donbass front to the Southern front. As part of their harebrained scheme to “recapture” Kherson. Their big counteroffensive plan, which they announced to the world, was to (a) destroy the 3 bridges over the river connecting Kherson to the rest of the Donbass; (b) by so doing isolate the 30,000 some Russian soldiers (=30 Battle Tactical Groups, BTG’s) defending the Kherson Front; and (c) then invade and recapture Kherson. From what I understand, the Ukrainians were told they had to do this, i.e., recapture Kherson, by the end of August, otherwise the Americans will cut off the funds and give up on this ill-timed adventure. In other words, the Southern Counteroffensive was an American project. From what I understand, Ukrainian Commander Zaluzhny was against it, and rightfully so. Now he wants to move those artillery units back to Donetsk, but alas for him, it’s too late.

Because, the moment the Ukrainians moved the artillery units from the Donbass front, opportunistic Russians (always poking, always poking!) were able to pulverize the remaining infantry/artillery and break through multiple layers of defensive trenches. In some cases, it only took the Russians 10 minutes to break through a trench that had kept them at bay these past 5 months. Zelensky was so horrified that he appeared on TV (I think this was a couple of nights ago, it was covered in Westie MSM) complaining about the “hell” that his soldiers had to endure. Usually Zel is upbeat (“We’re winning, yeh!”), so why the long face? Well, he was ticked off and needed somebody to blame, so he blamed the Americans: “You didn’t send us enough HIMARS!” As if the HIMARS are the only problem. He is incapable of looking in the mirror and blaming himself.

So, this is the battlefront news for now. Dima ended his report last night with his usual disclaimer: “Military Summary Channel reminds you that we condemn all violence in Ukraine.” And this disclaimer came right after he had stated, rather coldly, that the Russians will most likely show no mercy to the Ukrainian artillery guys in Avdeevka, once they capture them. Given that those guys have been torturing Donbass civilians since 2014, with their indiscriminate shelling.

But now back to Putin’s speech: The title is:

The Exceptionalism Of Exceptional People: Putin Accuses The West Of Racism and Neocolonialism

On July 20 Putin spoke at a forum for Strategic Initiatives, called “Strong Ideas For the New Era”. Musing on the New World Order, Putin opined that “Truly revolutionary transformations are acquiring more and more momentum.”

Putin: “These grandiose changes are, of course, irreversible. Both on the level of individual nations, as well as on the global plane, the process is underway, of working out the bases, the principles, of a harmonious, a more just, socially oriented and secure world order; an alternative to the existing or, one might say, formerly existing, up until this point, uni-polar world order which, by its very nature, without a doubt, has become a brake on the development of civilization.”

Putin: From anti-Communist Westernizer to leader of the Third World?

Putin’s criticism of Atlanticist Globalism becomes sharper with every day that passes: “The model of total domination, of this so-called Golden Billion, is unfair. Why should this Golden Billion, out of all the population of the planet, why should they get to dominate over all the others? Why do they get to impose their rules of conduct, which they base upon their illusion of exceptionalism? This model divides people into first-class and second-class, and therefore is racist and neo-colonialst by its very essence. The Globalist, so-called Liberal ideology which lies at the core [of this model] acquires evermore the characteristics of totalitarianism. It stamps out the creative impulse, the free, historical, creativity.

“I get the impression that the West simply has no vision of the future, to offer the world. And of course, this Golden Billion became Golden just by accident, in truth they accomplished a lot, but they took these positions not only thanks to their ideals [and accomplishments]; to a significant degree they acquired their positions at the expense of robbing other peoples, both in Asia, as well as in Africa. Not to mention how they pillaged India. And therefore, even today, the elites of this so-called Golden Billion are in a panic, worried that other centers of world development may present their own variants of development. But no matter how much Western and international elites strive to preserve the existing order, all the same a new epoch is at hand, a new stage in world history.”

Akopov spends the rest of his piece arguing why Putin, despite this Soviet-sounding rhetoric, is still not a Communist. It’s just that the Soviet leaders pragmatically faced many of the same geopolitical issues and challenges as does the current Russian government. I don’t usually agree much with Akopov, but he is an interesting thinker; so I have decided to continue on with this thread and outline his thoughts on this matter. In other words, a comparison of Soviet to modern Russian geopolitical strategies, in relation to political ideology.

[to be continued]

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23 Responses to Ukraine War Day #162: Putin And The Golden Billion

  1. olavleivar says:

    By pushing Marxism You loose it all om the Floor … where it also belongs.. to be trampled upon and ridiculed as OBSOLETE … So in the End you DEMASK Yourself as a NEO MARXIST…Good to know whwn evaluating what You write ! .. Personally i HATE COMMUNISM .. because it has KILLED at least as many as the megalomaniac anglosaxon SCHEISSE

    Like

  2. peter moritz says:

    “So in the End you DEMASK Yourself”

    Actually, yalensis never was shy about his politics. So, no demasking here.

    You hate communism. Interesting, as communism is an old idea, actually traces can be found in the new testament. (Acts 2:42-47), and I encountered several functioning Christian communes not far from where I lived in Canada. Some where created in the late 1960’s, some by Russian immigrants in the early 1990s.
    Marx actually never developed a model of communism, as this would have been a-historical and also contrary to dialectic materialism. Marx in essence critiqued the inherent contradictions in capitalism, especially the inevitable drive to monopolization – the most successful companies will accumulate most capital and then destroy the competition – and the result of the monopolization the government is no longer a mediator between the interest of both parties but solely beholden to and controlled by a small elite of owners of the means of production. In the end the state is owned by the capitalist class, which also means the end of classic capitalism.
    Marx by his analysis scientifically demonstrated the inevitability of this process and his conclusion that only the collective ownership of the means of production leads to a democratic society. This analysis sets Marx’s theory apart from any previous communism, which was based on romantic ideas and not based on a solid analysis of the political economy.

    This is also why I do not call Marx’s theory an ideology. It just shows a way through the process of dialectic materialism: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis of how to develop towards a truly democratic society.

    Compare the idea of Marx what socialism/communism should mean with the reality of what emerged in those nations that attempted but never really completed the development, but got stuck in “state capitalism”, where a political class becomes, often, but not always, the undemocratically controlling force, and see how far they are from that goal.
    According to the Oxford book of communism: “Marx used many terms to refer to a post-capitalist society—positive humanism, socialism, Communism, the realm of free individuality, free association of producers” the latter meaning that everyone has access to the means of production as no private ownership exist.
    Which in essence means true democracy, the demise of the state, and interactions of free individuals in a classless society.
    Which can never exist in a system where private wealth and the ownership of the means of production guarantees an outsized and increasing influence in politics through outsized and increasing economic power, to the detriment of the majority of the populace, to ensure that this ownership continues unabated and progressively, as Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens demonstrated in their work.

    This is my take on communism, and violence was a part of its history to achieve a classless society, which Marx hoped could be achieved by nonviolent means, but the excesses that happened in Russia (and in China) with the elimination, even if accidentally through faulty policies, or desired as part of the elimination of “enemies of the state” a state that the leaders should have worked to in the end destroy.
    However, this “elimination” of the state as the end goal shows that to my mind this is impossible to achieve in a world where there is a mix of societies, that the negotiations needed to mediate their interests and needs and avoid conflicts rely on instruments and the organization of a state, so the best one can achieve at present are mixed economies, that are guided by the hands of a government not beholden to those it allows to own private means of production but acting in the interests of the majority of the populace.

    Sorry, the intended short reply to your screaming post turned out to be rather long, and I hope yalensis can forgive me to hog space.

    Liked by 3 people

    • yalensis says:

      Not at all, peter, that was an excellent response to that moron’s screamatory post. SCHEISSE! (some people out there…)

      Liked by 1 person

    • lou strong says:

      I’m a kind of sentimental Marxist with some pessimist stripes from Gramsci’s thought, that’s why I think that unfortunately the sociological analisis of Marxists is lacking and that the cultural egemony of capitalism is irreversible.

      Like

      • yalensis says:

        Hey, lou. I totally respect Gramsci. I tried to read him in my youth and maybe picked up a few things, but, unfortunately, I am not actually smart enough to understand his thinking, it’s too deep for me!
        🙂

        Like

    • peter moritz says:

      There is a piece missing, so the sentence makes little sense:
      but the excesses that happened in Russia (and in China) with the elimination, even if accidentally through faulty policies, or desired as part of the elimination of “enemies of the state” a state that the leaders should have worked to in the end destroy.

      So let’s end his sentence correctly:
      but the excesses that happened in Russia (and in China) with the elimination, even if accidentally through faulty policies, or desired as part of the elimination of “enemies of the state”, a state that the leaders should have worked to in the end destroy to create a classless society, have nothing to do with his goal, but spring from a desire to protect the party apparatus and the personal power of the leaders. It is akin to blaming the excesses of the Christian churches on the teachings of JC, some of which are quite bad but are far from advocating ethnocide or genocide as part of salvation.

      Like

      • moon says:

        I don’t mind “trolls” if they trigger such great responses. 😉 What happened with Lytt?

        Was attracted to your monopoly quote. First encountered it as argument, something I wasn’t too aware of, admittedly in then still Eastern Germany (meeting Shakespeare Society East …). Not too long ago, I stumbled across Peter Thiel’s American economic winners theory: Competition is for losers. … 😉

        Ideological upheavals are like shifts in continental plates. At first, they happen almost imperceptibly, underground, but their tremors can shake the world. Peter Thiel triggered such an earthquake with his book, „From Zero to One“. The slim volume, first published in 2014, claims to be a manual for aspiring startup founders. It outlines a radical way of thinking that has had a massive influence on Silicon Valley.

        Spun out of a course Thiel gave at his Alma Mater, Stanford University, its main message is that competitive markets destroy profits. Therefore, Thiel writes, aspiring founders should try to seek monopolies wherever possible. “Competition is for losers”, as he later summarized it.

        Like

  3. lou strong says:

    ” because it has KILLED at least as many as….”.
    It’s a cruel world out there , and causal chains can be quite complex, but even without knowing him, I’d bet that Yalensis has nothing to do with killings.
    Hate is a demonized and underestimated feeling, and me too I hate for instance death metal, or overcooked pasta, but I don’t take these situations as a good base for reasoning.

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, lou! Just for the record, I never killed anybody. (that I know of…)

      Like

      • moon says:

        Once had this really, really disturbing experience. Waking up I vividly remembered a dream, absolutely convinced I had killed someone, and thus far had repressed the memory of it. Took me quite some days to get my feet back on the ground.

        I was working on Surrealism, Freud, Breton and écriture automatique/ automatic writing at the time. In the days before I had been experimenting without results with a rather obscure para-psychological model and theory by an American psychologist Anita Muhl. (of German background? Anita Mühl). My prof had warned me, I might awaken complexes I might not be able to deal with, he advised me. And yes,I raised a monster, but also learned something about myself in the process. 😉

        Like

  4. Lex says:

    Putin’s transformation has been impressive, and I say that because he was so strongly committed to turning Russia to the west and being a “partner” for so long. He was once feted at Munich just like Zelensky. I find it impressive because apparently his mind is capable of change based on facts; a seemingly rare skill these days and especially at his level of society. I think he was always a patriot and that he understood the power imbalance. He did much to remove the leverage of international debt when he could have let it ride. It’s sort of funny that his great failure was that he’s always been a geopolitics guy and his great failing was development of the domestic economy and that it was US sanctions which pushed him to do the things most likely to protect him domestically. I’m coming to the conclusion that his actual shift happened years ago and he’s been playing a part since then. It’s all too well planned for the road to Damascus moment to be recent. 2014? As far back 2008?

    But you’re right, the whole crew sounds downright soviet and sure looks the global south is down for it. I hope they mean it and walk the walk. And I hope that the current trajectory of Russian policy can be maintained after Putin/Lavrov exit the scene. Until then I’ll just enjoy the whole crew being allowed to showcase their excellent and highly refined Russian humor in all its dark, cynicism. Maybe some will write a Putin biography entitled “From Peter to Catherine, the transformation of V.V. Putin”.

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      Excellent comment, Lex. Yes, this is definitely something that future historians and biographers will ponder.
      That’s a very interesting speculation exactly when Putin had his “Damascus” moment, I think I just assumed it was 2014, but maybe it was earlier. The other interesting topic, which I will be exploring in my upcoming post, is how some of the pro-government elite analysts didn’t really “get the memo” until this Ukraine war started. Then they had to jog to catch up. It couldn’t have been more than a few months back, a lot of them, like Mirzayan and Akopov, might have been sneering at the “anti-colonialist, anti-racist” meme and regarding it as just more “woke” nonsense – LOL!

      Like

    • moon says:

      He was once feted at Munich just like Zelensky.
      2007? Feted? Not as I remember it really, it felt he was ridiculed with that haughty approach, our rules count your desires don’t. If they understood at al. Double Standards, post Iraq war? The liberal international order? Kosovo versus Crimea et al …?

      Thus yes, starting 2008 maybe? Georgia War too. Bush juniors statement that both Georgia and Ukraine can join NATO. Would make sense.

      2014 Remember how G7 shifted back to G7 post Crimea with its little green man. But strictly, this time it’s a war, the contrast is striking. …

      Like

      • Lex says:

        Feted back in 1999. He was young, not an alcoholic like Yeltsin and oriented to the west. He was even in the WEF “young leaders” program.

        Like

  5. buratino says:

    Here we go… 🙄
    One of my fav jokes is a classic: “The Lone Ranger and Tonto are riding across the plains when they see a group of Indians in full war-paint galloping toward them, tomahawks at the ready. The Lone Ranger digs in his heels and says to his faithful companion, “Well, Tonto old friend, looks like we got trouble.” Tonto replies, “What do you mean ‘we,’ white man?”

    Let me put it this way: I am convinced, that each and every one of You in Your lifetime will come to the conclusion, that the premise of the joke is substantially correct in addressing an essential part of the human condition. In effect, that the accepted paradigm of the “left and right ruling” our political discourse is not useful.

    I am not saying this, because I like it, I am saying it because I am convinced, that I am factual.

    Look, yalensis, You have an amazing, entertaining and informative site here, with sympathetic and smart people commenting in the open. I would fully understand, if You didn`t want to take it down that route, and if you want, I WILL stop voicing my take – I do not want to destroy a beautiful flower by picking it up…

    Now, that fight is ongoing all over as we speak, it just doesn`t need to happen here…I guess…

    I am in the live and let live – tent. In other words, the do to others…tent.
    But that notion has a built in recognition of the concepts of “others”, “live”, the presence of choice in the matter and all, that it entails.

    well…I`ll leave it at that.

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      Hey, Buratino, you can always voice your “take” here. I have an inkling what it is, and it’s okay, you don’t have to use Aesopian language, just come out and say it, and people can (respectfully) debate whatever. We are all big boys and girls.

      By the way, there is another variant of that joke, with an addendum:
      In this version, the Lone Ranger says, “Well, Tonto, my faithful companion, it looks like we have a situation on our hands.”
      Tonto replies with his standard, “What do you mean WE, Pale Face?”
      Lone Ranger looks at him sideways, aghast and with astonishment.
      Tonto adds bashfully: “Also, by the way, Kemosabi, this might be a good time to come clean, I have not been all that faithful to you recently…”

      Like

      • buratino says:

        well now…wonder how the horse felt about that one…

        aight…I`ll try to keep it civvie…taking coveralls off – searchin for big boy pants… 🧐

        Like

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