The first casualty of war -and the Reichstag fire in Kiev?

by Dmitry Orlov

Club Orlov (March 01 2014)

[Since the situation in Ukraine is so volatile, I am once again rushing this
piece out ahead of the normal schedule.]

Once upon a time I had an excellent history teacher, who has made a lasting
impact on how I view the world. “It’s about the dates”, he taught us;
“Be sure to remember the dates, and you’ll have the key to history”.
You see, dates are important because most of the important historical events
are, in fact, anniversaries. There is a hackneyed phrase that history does not
repeat – it rhymes; but it would be a lot closer to truth to say that history
has a rhythm – a rhythm based largely on multiples of the annual cycle.

Take, for instance, the Boston Marathon bombing which occurred on April 19
2013. I seem to have been the only one to note that the unprecedented
imposition of martial law in large parts of Boston – ostensibly justified by
there being at large two Chechen youths who were thought to be carrying
handguns – occurred on Patriot’s Day. This day is a Massachusetts state holiday
and a major anniversary of the American Revolution commemorating the Battles of
Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolution, which
occurred on April 19 1775. What an excellent choice of date for ignoring the
constitution and setting a precedent for military take-over of a major urban
area on the thinnest of pretenses! Perhaps future historians will see these two
dates as the two book-ends in the 238-year history of American constitutional

On 23 February of this year in Kiev there took place a coup d’etat in which
armed neo-Nazi militants surrounded and took over Parliament and forced the
parliamentarians, under duress, to replace the elected government with
opposition figures supported and promoted by the EU representatives and the US
State Department. Representatives of the party of the overthrown government –
the Party of Regions – were threatened into resigning.

What provided the rationale for the coup d’etat was the killing of
demonstrators by uniformed snipers, blamed on the previous government. The
overthrown president, who has since fled to Russia, was accused of mass murder,
and the new government demanded his extradition (a dumb move, since Russia’s
constitution forbids extradition). But there are serious questions about this
interpretation of events: the special forces were never issued rifles and were
never ordered to open fire on the protesters; there were quite a few special
forces members themselves among those killed; the killings were carried out in
such a manner as to incite rather than quell protest, by targeting women,
bystanders and those assisting the wounded. The killings were followed by a professionally
orchestrated public relations campaign, complete with a catchy name –
“Heaven’s Hundred” (“Небесная сотня”) – complete with
candlelight vigils, rapid clean-up and l aying of wreaths at the scene of

the crime and so on.

Unfortunately, this name has a nasty antecedent in the “Black
Hundred” (“Чёрная сотня”), which was the name of a coalition of
Ukrainian anti-Semites and ultra-right-wing nationalists back in 1905. It is
illustrative of a certain ham-handedness on the part of the PR campaign’s authors,
and bears a similarity to the choice of white ribbons – a World War Two symbol
worn by Nazi collaborators and Wehrmacht auxiliaries in Nazi-occupied
territories – during the anti-government demonstrations in Moscow in December
of 2011. These demonstrations are commonly thought to have been organized by
Western NGOs. It would seem that the same PR organization is behind both
events. Wouldn’t it then make sense to assume that this PR organization is
staffed by fascists, hence their consistent choice of fascist symbols and

Now let’s look back exactly 81 years. On February 23 1933, somebody set fire to
the Reichstag building in Berlin (the fire was blamed on the Communists, but
this remains far from proven and the event is commonly suspected to have been a
false flag operation). A day later, Hitler used the fire as an excuse to assume
emergency powers and to flush the Communists from government, giving the
National Socialists a majority. February 23 1933 is the day remembered as the
definitive turning point in the rise of fascism in Europe, setting it on course
for World War Two and the loss of millions of lives.

Obviously, this is far from a replay but more of a faint echo. It is a work-out
of a long sequence of events. Leaving aside the dim past which gave rise to the
Black Hundred and its Pogrom artists, the major problem is that Western Ukraine
(Eastern Poland prior to World War Two) was never properly de-Nazified. Then
there was the fateful mistake of giving away Russian Crimea to Ukraine by
Khrushchev (a Ukrainian), neatly paralleling the giving away of Abkhazia to
Georgia by Stalin (a Georgian). Then came the years of neglect following the
collapse of the USSR during which Ukraine, never quite capable of
self-governance, achieved truly stunning levels of misery and corruption and
became famous for its main export – young prostitutes. Then came the Orange
Revolution, in which Yushchenko, who is the husband of a former
Reagan-administration neocon, was thrust into office in a US-orchestrated
campaign. He, along with his side-kick Yulia Tymoshenko, continued the orgy of
corruption ,until they
were voted out of office and replaced by an equally venal, but additionally
very thick-headed Yanukovych, who was the one chased out of office on the
anniversary of the Reichstag fire.

And now the situation in the Ukraine is roughly as follows. The new Ukrainian
government, born, as it were, of an incestuous relationship between a Ukrainian
neo-Nazi skinhead and his pig (or was it a US State Department operative?)
lacks legitimacy. In the Russian-speaking provinces in the east, people are
taking over local governments and appealing to Russia for help, which Russia is
quick to offer, moving troops into the historically Russian Crimean peninsula
and handing out Russian passports to anyone who wants one. (Interestingly, they
are handing out Russian passports to the members of Ukrainian special forces,
who are now on the run. Clearly, the Russians don’t think that the allegations
of mass murder will stick.) Having lost 26.6 million dead fighting fascists
during World War Two, it is not in Russia’s political DNA to allow fascists to
rise to power right in the Slavic heartland. Nor is a newly resurgent Russia,
whose team just came in first at the winter Olympics! in Sochi ,beating the old Soviet
record for the number of medals, likely to strike a relaxed pose with regard to
a fascist takeover of Ukraine. And so, on March 1, the Russian parliament
approved Putin’s request for the use of the armed forces in Ukraine. Right now
in Western Ukraine they are busy demolishing World War Two memorials and
celebrating Nazi collaborators as national heroes, but my guess is that, as
events unfold, Western Ukraine will finally be de-Nazified, seventy years late.

I realize that many readers in the US may find what I say here shocking, but it
must be understood that they are subject to the same ham-handed PR campaign
that has run amok in Moscow and Kiev. The people who run this campaign are not
particularly well-read, but there are two books that they apparently find
seminal and follow slavishly, textbook-fashion: George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous
Huxley’s Brave New World. Their initiatives tend to be a blend of these two
approaches to mind control. Specifically, they have embraced the concept, from
1984, of “two minutes of hate” – a daily ritual in which the populace
is made to redirect its negative emotions away from the obvious failings of its
own government and toward a possibly nonexistent external enemy.

And so US citizens, saddled with their feckless, thieving Presidents and
Congressmen and gradually going broke as a result, are being systematically
conditioned to hate Vadimir Putin. (As thieving presidents go, Bush is ahead so
far with over a trillion dollars stolen via the bank bailouts and the so-called
“Iraqi Reconstruction” while Obama is behind, having gobbled up just
the “stimulus spending”, but may pull ahead of Bush soon thanks to
the massive grift scheme known as “Obamacare” and other assorted

Now, Putin is only the most competent Russian leader since perhaps Peter the
Great, enjoys greater popularity among his own people than Bush and Obama did
put together, and is a respected statesman around the world, which, by the way,
sees the US as the greatest threat to world peace. Putin’s first great
initiative, dictatorship of the law, transformed a once lawless Russia into a
generally law-abiding state, though slightly too conservative and restrictive
for some people’s taste. His second great idea, sovereign democracy, made
Russia almost completely impervious to Western attempts at political

Add to that his economic successes (Russians’ incomes have doubled repeatedly
while US incomes stagnated) and his foreign policy successes (his government recently
prevented a major conflict in Syria, then engineered a rapprochement between
the West and Iran) and you can begin to see why he makes US State Department
apparatchiks and assorted US neocons absolutely livid with rage. That kind of
anger tends to be catchy, and so we find journalists and commentators in the US
so wrapped up in their negative feelings towards Putin that they are neglecting
to do their job, which is to inform people. If Putin now manages to achieve
peace in Ukraine, then perhaps they will all succumb of apoplexy, and the world
will rejoice.

Finally, it bears pointing out that, Reichstag fires aside, the current state
of affairs in Ukraine is the West’s direct fault: Ukraine was forced to choose
between signing a worthless deal with the EU, and entering a customs union with
Moscow. Both Washington and Brussels, along with most of Western media,
completely ignored Putin’s suggestion that all the sides negotiate a compromise
solution to avoid Ukrainian bankruptcy, which is now all but assured. Because
of Western intransigence, Ukraine’s government was forced to lurch between the
EU and Moscow, losing face in the process and providing the fascists with a
convenient opening.

In light of all this, some people might wonder: were the people in Washington
and in Brussels always eager to favor fascists, or is this a new thing for
them? I believe the answer is that it doesn’t matter. Their assigned job is to
destroy countries, and this they do well. They have destroyed Iraq, Libya and
Syria, but these are small, and the beast is still hungry. They would love to
destroy Iran, but that has turned out too tough a nut to crack. And so they
have now set their sights on larger prey: Venezuela and Ukraine. And the reason
they have to continue destroying countries is so that the process of wealth
destruction, which is inevitable as the world runs short of critical resources,
can run its course some place other than the West’s economic heartlands in the
US and Northern Europe. It matters very little to them whether they have to
support al Qaeda fighters in Libya and Syria or fascists in Ukraine; it’s all
the same to them.

Some people might also wonder whether Ukraine’s masked gunmen are really
fascists. Yes, there are a lot of skinheads, and they like swastikas and their
leaders hate Jews and like to quote Goebbels, but are they really fascist?
(Yes, they are.) Such soul-searching on the subject of fascism is most touching
(not to me). If you find the topic interesting, John Michael Greer recently
came out with a 3,200-word treatise on the subject with a similarly lengthy
follow-up. He takes a long time to define fascism and his thesis is, roughly,
that fascism tends to spring forth like a naked lady from a cake whenever the
political center fails to hold.

In case you would prefer something much shorter, my thesis is that fascism can
be handily equated with militarized bigotry, and that while most countries are
at this point immune to it, seeing it as idiotic at best and criminal at worst,
certain countries are not – weak, socially disrupted, destitute countries, with
an unresolved fascist past, that are subject to unscrupulous external political
manipulation – such as poor Ukraine.

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