Thursday 25th of July 2024

a philosopher in vladimir's pocket.....

Anti Communist, Russian nationalist, enemy of Hitler: Who was ‘Putin’s favorite philosopher?’
How Ivan Ilyin, a thinker falsely accused by some in the West – seeking to promote a certain narrative – of being a ‘supporter of fascism’, became so influential...


By Maxim Semenov


He was a staunch supporter of the anti-Bolshevik White Movement during the Russian Civil War and a monarchist who was close to far-right Russian émigré circles. He was also a thinker who was accused of supporting fascism, but was persecuted by Nazi Germany as soon as Hitler came to power. Despite his an ardent anti-communism, he strongly supported the Soviet state in its confrontation with the Third Reich. All these facts describe one person – the renowned Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin. 

RT explores whether Ilyin really was a fascist, why his socio-political views can give us a better understanding of 21st century Russia, and how he apparently became the Russian president’s favorite philosopher. 

The symbolism of the times

“I want to end my speech with the words of a true patriot – Ivan Aleksandrovich Ilyin: ‘If I consider Russia my homeland, this means that I love, reflect, and think in Russian, I sing and speak in Russian; I believe in the spiritual strength of the Russian people and accept their historical fate with the strength of my instinct and will. Their spirit is my spirit; their fate is my fate; their suffering is my grief; their prosperity is my joy.’” With these words, President Vladimir Putin concluded his speech in the St. George Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace at the ceremony marking the accession of four new regions to Russia in September 2022.

Moscow’s military confrontation with Kiev and the return of its historical territories are obviously highly significant for the modern Russian state. Therefore, the fact that Putin cited Ilyin on such an important occasion underlines the role that the Russian leader assigns to this philosopher. And indeed, there is ample reason for it. 

While Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – another great thinker admired by Putin – came from a simple peasant family, Ilyin came from a renowned aristocratic clan which had served the state for centuries. His ancestors included outstanding engineers who built the Grand Kremlin Palace, specialists who helped construct the railways, and the founders of one of the best technical schools in St. Petersburg. His father was baptized by Emperor Alexander II himself.

The future philosopher received a brilliant education. He was born in Moscow in 1883, graduated from the law faculty of Moscow University, and at the age of 26 became a privatdozent (an academic title which roughly corresponds to associate professor in the US or senior lecturer in the UK).

It seemed that his life would continue to revolve around university lecturing, studying Hegel’s philosophy and the history of the philosophy of law. But the Russian Revolution of 1917 changed everything.

Emigrating from one country to another

Incidentally, Ilyin, who was an aristocrat and later came to be a strong supporter of the state, initially saw the 1917 February Revolution in a positive light – he thought of it as the liberation of the people. However, he was quickly disappointed, and after the Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917, he said the revolution “turned into the self-interested plundering of the state.”

Ilyin did not change his mind about communism as long as he lived. Shortly before his death, he wrote“by its very nature, socialism is envious, totalitarian, and involves terrorism; and communism differs from it only in that it manifests these features openly, shamelessly, and ferociously.”

Because of his strong anti-communist views, Ilyin was thrice arrested by the Cheka (the Bolshevik secret police, known for its repressive and terrorist activity) in the year 1918 alone. Miraculously, his life was spared. In May 1918, between arrests, he even managed to defend his dissertation titled ‘Hegel’s philosophy as a doctrine of the concreteness of God and man’. This work turned out to be so successful that he was unanimously awarded both a master’s degree and a doctorate degree.

However, the Soviet government which had just come to power had no use for scholars. In 1922, Ilyin was arrested once again. The charge sheet stated that “from the time of the October revolution to the present, [he] has not come to terms with the existing Workers’ and Peasants’ Government in Russia, and has not ceased his anti-Soviet activities.” Along with 160 other renowned intellectuals, Ilyin was exiled from the country on the so-called ‘philosophical steamer’.

This forced emigration allowed him to avoid further persecution in the USSR. Ilyin settled in Berlin, where he started teaching at the Russian Scientific Institute. This scientific and educational institution was established by Russian émigrés to study Russia’s spiritual and material culture and to encourage higher education among young people of Russian descent in Germany.

At the same time, Ilyin was in close contact with the Russian All-Military Union – an association of Russian White Movement military organizations. He soon became the informal main ideologue of the ‘White émigrés’. The ‘Whites’ were the national conservative forces who opposed the Bolsheviks, or the ‘Reds’, during the Russian Civil War. Although as befits a true philosopher, Ilyin did not join any party or association, his publications and philosophical writings had a huge impact on the Russian émigrés during the interwar period.

Ilyin and fascism 

Since Ilyin exerted enormous influence on the Russian socio-political philosophy of the time, it is impossible to ignore the most challenging and contradictory aspect of his biography and political views – his alleged support of fascism.

Such accusations are often put forward by the Russian opposition and Western researchers. For example, in 2016, Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder called Ilyin a “prophet of Russian fascism” and claimed that his ideas contribute to the supposed spread of fascism in Russia. And even some students of the Russian State University for the Humanities opposed the opening of the Ilyin Research Center because he was allegedly an admirer of Hitler. But what did Ilyin really think about fascism and the Austrian-born dictator?

In an article titled ‘On Fascism’, Ilyin wrote“The mistakes [of fascism] consisted of the following: the absence of religion, the creation of right-wing totalitarianism, the establishment of party monopoly, extreme nationalism and militant chauvinism.” In other words, Ilyin criticized all the main principles of fascism – and in fact, of all the ultra-right hateful ideologies of the 20th century.

And he adds: “If they [i.e. Russian fascists] settle in Russia (God forbid this happens), they will compromise the state and all healthy ideas and will disgracefully fail.”

At the same time, as a scholar, Ilyin pointed out an obvious fact which has become widely accepted in modern political science: “Fascism arose as a reaction to Bolshevism, as a concentration of state-protective forces to the right.” Indeed, the ultra-right wave of fascism in Europe was a response to the surge of communist ideology in the aftermath of WWI. However, Ilyin quite rightly and accurately wrote, “In assessing it [fascism], calmness and justice are needed. But its dangers must be thought through to the end.”

In other words, even though he was an ardent anti-communist who professed national-conservative views, Ilyin’s position in regard to fascism was quite unambiguous. 

However, critics of the philosopher like to point out that he praised Hitler. Indeed, in the article ‘National Socialism’ published in 1933, Ilyin wrote“What did Hitler do? He stopped the process of Bolshevization in Germany and in this way rendered the greatest service to the whole of Europe.”

Although from a modern-day perspective, these words sound extremely ambiguous, in 1933, things were quite different. Hitler came to power via elections (albeit the Nazis had failed to win a majority). From Ilyin’s point of view, in 1933, Hitler and Mussolini fought against the communist revolution. This was before Hitler’s brutal totalitarian regime, the Holocaust, and the concentration camps. At that time, the Nazi regime had not yet initiated WWII or committed brutal war crimes.

This is why it is difficult to condemn Ilyin for his position in 1933. Moreover, it soon turned out that the so-called ‘fascist’ philosopher had no place in Hitler’s Germany.

Hitler came to power in January 1933, and by April, Ilyin received a visit from the Gestapo. This was followed by several arrests and searches. A year later, in the spring of 1934, Ilyin, whom critics like to accuse of fascism, refused to participate in the anti-Semitic campaigns of the Nazis, and as a result lost his job. 

Ilyin tried to earn a living working as a part-time lecturer, but with each year, the situation in the Third Reich became worse. He was once again called up by the Gestapo after his public speeches were declared unacceptable since they didn’t include anti-Semitic statements and promoted Christian values. The philosopher also refused to participate in Germany’s ideological preparations for the military campaign against Russia. Realizing that it was dangerous for him to remain in Hitler’s Germany, Ilyin emigrated to Switzerland in 1938.

War changes everything 

Ilyin was able to settle in Switzerland thanks to the efforts and financial support of the great Russian composer Sergey Rachmaninoff. The philosopher settled near Zurich and lived in the mountains for the rest of his life. His authority among the Russian diaspora remained unshakeable, and for good reason. 

Ilyin’s love for Russia and the Russian people turned out to be greater than his hatred of communism. In July 1941, a few weeks after Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, he wrote about the awakened “instinct of national self-preservation” in Russian people, noting that the people “are actively involved in the new war,” and Russian soldiers “not only fight bravely, but in many cases, even when the situation is hopeless, fight to the last bullet.” From the first days of the war, his support for the USSR and his confidence that Germany would be defeated were unshakeable.

In an article titled ‘Germany is Russia’s main national enemy’, he noted that at the heart of Nazi Germany’s pathological desire to march East was the idea to exterminate the Russian people and dismember the country. The philosopher directly called Hitler’s Germany “Russia’s main national enemy.”

In another article, ‘September 1941’, Ilyin once again stated that there is nothing more important for him than the fate of Russia. “All the talk about this war being a ‘crusade’ against communism, as the invaders say, is false and stupid – those who propagandize it utter falsehoods, and those who believe them are stupid. This war is not waged against the communists, for the sake of their ‘ideological defeat’, but against Russia.”

Ilyin unconditionally hated Nazi Germany which dared to attack the USSR and, in a sense, came to regard communism in a new light. He still despised the Soviet government and the Stalinist regime, and considered Stalin an enemy of Russia and the Russian people, but at the same time, he recognized that during WWII, this regime was an organizing force of resistance against the aggressor.

Although he remained a strong opponent of communism to the end of his days and regarded the Soviet government as an absolute evil for Russia, during WWII, Ilyin strongly supported his homeland in the confrontation with Nazi Germany. 

Transforming Russia 

Ilyin did not lose hope of returning home sooner or later, but as an émigré, all he could do was construct projects for the future transformation of Russia. However, these projects were not mere fantasies.

The philosopher wanted to transform the country and the Russian people primarily on the internal, moral level. Believing that the Bolsheviks had destroyed historical Russia, he wrote that “Russia can be restored only by serving it faithfully and substantively, which must be felt and understood as serving the Cause of God on earth. We must be guided by religiously meaningful patriotism and religiously inspired nationalism.”

Ilyin’s nationalism was not about extending his right hand in a Roman salute. On the contrary, for him“true nationalism opens a person’s eyes to the national identity of other peoples: it teaches one not to despise other peoples, but to honor their spiritual achievements and their national feeling, because they too have received the gifts of God, and they put them to use in their own way, according to their ability.”

For Ilyin, the great Russian nation was an imperial project – the alliance of the Russian people with the other peoples of Russia.

“Imperial project” was not merely a figure of speech for Ilyin. His ideal was the Russian Empire of the past – a great and strong Russia which stood alongside other European powers but had its own special mission. He saw Russia as a country that maintains balance in the world and does not allow it to fall into extremes or aggression. 

Despite being accused of ‘fascism’, Ilyin wasn’t radical-minded. He was a moderate monarchist who did not fall into extremes. He was a nationalist, but felt no aggression or hatred towards other nations. Christianity was very important for him, yet Ilyin did not harshly criticize the secular state. While he was a strong supporter of Russian nationalism, Ilyin was also open to dialogue, he valued freedom and criticized the Bolsheviks for establishing a dictatorship. 

Ilyin’s only mistake was the sincere hope that Western democracies could save Russia from communism, that they would not identify Russia with communism and would not want Russia to be humiliated and dismembered. But history turned out to be different. 

Ilyin dreamed of a strong, national-minded, free, capitalist Russia. “Whoever loves Russia must wish it freedom; first of all, freedom for Russia itself, its international independence and freedom; [then] freedom for Russia as the unity of Russian and all other national cultures; and, finally, freedom for Russian people, freedom for all of us; freedom of faith, [freedom in] the search for truth, creativity, labor, and the possession of property,” he wrote

The Ukraine issue 

One of the key issues for Ilyin – and one which remains relevant to this day – was the Ukraine issue. “Ukraine is recognized as the most endangered part of Russia in terms of secession and conquest. Ukrainian separatism is an artificial phenomenon, it has no real grounds. It arose because of the ambition of leaders and international conquest intrigues,” Ilyin wrote

He added that by separating from Russia, the Ukrainian state would break off its ties with the Russian people and give itself over to foreigners who will conquer and plunder it. 

The philosopher wrote about the fate of ‘independent Ukraine’ with amazing foresight. “This ‘state’ will first of all have to create a new defense line from Ovruch to Kursk and then through Kharkov to Bakhmut and Mariupol.” He added that due to its lack of geopolitical power and strategic depth, Ukraine would either become an organic part of Russia or a battering ram used against Russia.

At the same time, Ilyin understood that the problem did not arise in Ukraine itself, but was created by those who stood behind Ukraine. Like Solzhenitsyn, Ilyin wrote that the main sponsor of Ukrainian separatism was Germany, which would take revenge for losing the First and Second World Wars. He added that “foreigners who plan to dismember [Ukraine] should remember that they declare eternal war on the whole of Russia. The country that is responsible for this dismemberment will become Russia’s most hated enemy.”

It is naive to think that both Ilyin and Solzhenitsyn were mystical prophets. Rather, the accuracy of their forecasts regarding both Ukraine and those who encouraged Ukrainian separatism was based on a profound understanding of the world and the actions of a nationally-oriented Russia.

Ilyin in 21st-century Russia

Ivan Ilyin died in Switzerland in 1954, and never had a chance to return to his homeland. “There is something unacceptable about the fact that a Russian philosopher and patriot rests in a cemetery in Zollikon [Switzerland],” Ilyin’s widow wrote to her friends in the 1950s. While in the Soviet years there was no question of reburying the philosopher in his homeland, in modern Russia, this became possible.

In 2005, the remains of Ilyin and his wife, along with those of White Movement General Anton Denikin, were returned to Russia. He was reburied at the Donskoy Monastery cemetery. Russian leaders and government and church officials, including Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and then Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov attended the reburial, and President Putin installed a tombstone at his own expense. However, Ilyin’s role in modern Russia is not limited to the symbolic transfer of the philosopher’s remains back home.

In 2006, Kommersant wrote that officials in the presidential administration particularly revere Ilyin. “Ivan Ilyin is not only one of the most brilliant Russian thinkers whose works have been extensively reprinted, but also, in fact, the only Russian philosopher who wrote about the post-Soviet system. That is why he is so relevant for the current government,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed source in the Putin administration as saying. 

Throughout his presidency, Putin himself has often quoted the philosopher, and said he regularly reads his works. Former President Dmitry Medvedev, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow have also quoted or mentioned Ilyin. Despite his party affiliation, even the head of the Russian Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, notedthat Ilyin made “a considerable contribution to the development of the ideology of state patriotism.”

Ilyin’s writings have long been part of Russia’s political mainstream. 

Ilyin’s mother was an ethnic German and German was his second native language – so the philosopher could have easily assimilated into the Western European environment after being expelled from the USSR. Due to his hatred of the communist regime in Russia, he could have also become a supporter of Hitler and justified Nazi Germany’s attack on the USSR. But none of that happened.

Ilyin is the embodiment of a patriot with an indomitable spirit. A man who never sought compromise with the enemies of Russia and the Russian people, he avoided all temptations in this respect and even sacrificed his own comfort for the sake of his values. 

He fervently clung to his Russian identity and to the idea of reviving Russia. And many decades after Ilyin’s passing, we may confidently say that his life’s work lives on. National revival is taking place in Russia and everything that Ilyin stood for, including his vision of a strong and national-minded Russia, is gradually becoming a reality.


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 Odessa Massacre Ten Years On: How Radicals Drowned City in Blood to Subdue Ukraine


BY Ilya Tsukanov


Thursday marks the 10th anniversary of the May 2, 2014 Odessa Trade Unions Building massacre, in which 48 anti-Maidan activists were burned alive by neo-Nazi thugs. The violence, coming soon after Kiev kicked off its ‘anti-terrorist operation’ in the Donbass, demonstrated the new regime’s readiness to drown Ukraine in blood to cling to power.

The warm weather of the spring of 2014 was accompanied by the winds of revolutionary fervor across southeastern Ukraine, with activists from across Kharkov, the Donbass, Zaporozhye, Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson, Nikolayev and Odessa rising up in opposition to the Euromaidan coup in Kiev that had taken place in February.

The US and EU-sponsored insurrection in the Ukrainian capital, which culminated in the ouster of democratically elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych and his replacement by radical pro-US and ultra-nationalist forces seeking to scupper relations with Russia in favor of closer ties with the West, was met with anger by many residents in Ukraine’s southeast. Holding dear the centuries of common historical, cultural, linguistic, family, economic and other bonds with Russia, residents of southeastern regions favored Ukraine’s entry into the Eurasian Union, and expressed opposition to the pro-EU, pro-NATO course of the new authorities in Kiev.

Odessa, Ukraine’s third-largest city after Kiev and Kharkov, was a crown jewel in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, bearing witness to almost all of the dramatic events of the 20th century. Odessa’s residents were involved in the 1905 Russian Revolution and the Russian Civil War of 1917-1922. The city became a key center of resistance to the Nazis during the opening months of the Great Patriotic War, heroically holding out against numerically superior Axis forces for 73 days until mid-October 1941, and liberated in April 1944 after over two-and-a-half years of grueling occupation.

Sprinkled with stunning 19th century neo-Baroque architecture and populated by residents immersed in a unique blend of Russian, Jewish and Ukrainian culture, Odessa traditionally considered itself Russian in its essence and cultural self-identification, with an overwhelming majority of residents speaking Russian (known as ‘Odessan Russian’ - a blend language featuring loan words from Yiddish and Ukrainian). Economically too, centuries of membership in a single economic space with Russia played an important role in Odessa’s post-1991 desire to maintain close relations with Moscow, with the city having functioned as the USSR’s largest port, and containing a wealth of port infrastructure, including oil, gas, chemical and grain storage facilities – and energy and resource links stretching as far as Siberia and the Urals via an extensive network of pipelines.

When the Euromaidan protests began in November 2013, and as pro-Maidan activists had only just established their first encampments in the center of Kiev to protest the Yanukovych government’s rejection of a European association deal with the EU, Odessa became among the first cities in Ukraine’s southeast where opposition to the Maidan was organized.

Between November 2013 to January 2014, supporters and opponents of the Euromaidan organized competing rallies. The former gathered before the Duc de Richelieu Monument, at the top of Odessa’s Potemkin Stairs, while the latter set up a presence at Kulikovo Field (formerly October Revolution Square) – a garden square in the historical center of the city containing the House of Trade Unions Building.

The opposing movements’ demands were straightforward. Euromaidan supporters joined with their compatriots in the capital calling for Yanukovych’s ouster and closer ties with Europe. Opponents called on the authorities to restore order, demanded the preservation of ties with Russia, and marked vocal opposition to the rise of radical nationalist sentiments which would make up the aggressive backbone of the pro-Maidan camp.

The situation in Odessa escalated in sync with events in Kiev, with pro-Maidan activists clashing with police and protesting in front of administrative buildings amid a wave of government building seizures sweeping western Ukraine. Pro-Maidan hooligans from the ‘AutoMaidan’ and ‘Odessa Euromaidan Self-Defense’ volunteer groupings also began clashing with volunteer Odessa ‘People’s Squads’ opposed to the Maidan.

Tensions intensified after the victory of the pro-coup forces in February 2014, with anti-Maidan activists, dismayed by the new authorities’ radical new anti-Russian course, demanding protections for the Russian language, calling for federalization and the decentralization of power among the regions, asking for special protections for the interests of Ukraine’s southeastern regions in national policy, demanding a restoration of friendly ties with Russia, and marking their opposition to ultra-nationalist extremism.

The situation in Odessa escalated through March of 2014, after Crimea’s residents voted in a referendum to break off from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, and in April, amid a series of protests in Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov which saw anti-Maidan activists capture administrative buildings and join in calls for federalization. The latter were met with punitive military and intelligence operations by Ukraine’s security services and army, with hundreds of activists in Kharkov rounded up, beaten, disappeared, jailed or forced to flee their homes, while the residents of the Donbass formed people’s militias and proclaimed people’s republics to resist Kiev’s brutal ‘anti-terrorist’ operation.

Brought to power on the back of a coup, Ukraine’s pro-Western leaders recognized that they needed to do something to stop the fledgling pro-autonomy, pro-independence and pro-Russian sentiments in the east and southeast from growing and spreading into an organized, unified political movement, threatening to culminate in Ukraine’s disintegration as a unified state.


May 2 Massacre

Sputnik has extensively documented the events of May 2, 2014 over the past ten years, speaking with eyewitnesses and journalists, and keeping tabs on Ukrainian authorities’ efforts to hunt down and arrest the victims, rather than the perpetrators, of the extreme violence that took place that day.

On the afternoon of May 2, as many as 2,000 pro-Maidan activists, buoyed by FC Chornomorets Odessa and FC Metalist Kharkov football ultras, marched toward the anti-Maidan encampment at Kulikovo Field, which Odessa’s new authorities had demanded be taken down ahead of the Victory Day festivities. Fistfights and scuffles between men armed with sticks, bats, makeshift shields, rocks, airguns and a sprinkling of firearms quickly broke out. Police did little to stop the violence, sparking claims from Kulikovo Field’s defenders that the security forces were in collusion with the nationalists and ultras.

The violence soon took a deadly turn, with the pro-Maidan thugs and football fanatics, outnumbering anti-Maidan protesters 10-to-1, managing to heard dozens of ‘People’s Squad’ members and civilians into the House of Trade Unions Building, setting it ablaze with petrol bombs. Trapped from all sides and offered no chance to escape, at least 42 anti-Maidan activists were killed, asphyxiated by smoke, burned alive, murdered inside the building or jumping out of windows and finished off by ultras on the ground. Another six people were killed by gunfire, with over 200 people injured.

Ten years on, despite protests from the European Court of Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the perpetrators of the Odessa Trade Unions Building Massacre remain free, with authorities, law enforcement and courts showing through inaction that they are uninterested in prosecuting the case.


Terrifying Ukraine Into Submission

The Odessa Massacre was a premeditated crime designed to put down anti-Maidan protests not only in the city, but across Ukraine, says Vasily Polishchuk, an eyewitness to the events and a former lawmaker in the Odessa City Council who has devoted ten years of his life to investigating the incident.

“They were looking to intimidate people – not just to disperse them, but to intimidate them. And not only the residents of Odessa, but of all of Ukraine, making clear that this is what happens” to opponents of the new regime, Polishchuk told Sputnik.

A veteran of the Soviet War in Afghanistan and former lawmaker from Ukraine’s Communist Party, Polishchuk was forced to leave his home city of Odessa in the wake of the events of May 2, 2014, facing persecution and physical violence targeting his son and assistance amid his investigation into the Trade Unions Building fire.

Polishchuk says the events of that day claimed the lives of not 48 people, but at least 51, and likely more.

Odessa’s Anti-Maidan activists were “99.9 percent” locals, Polishchuk recalled, debunking claims by Ukrainian authorities and Western media that the protests in the city had been organized by Russian nationals or even Russia’s intelligence services.

“There were so many different kinds of people among them: there were a lot of women, both religious and atheists. Roughly speaking, there were two of every creature, and a peaceful mood generally prevailed among them. The day before was May 1st [International Worker’s Day, ed.], and this was always a holiday for us. By the way, at a holiday rally that day we adopted a resolution – there was not a word about secession from Ukraine, only peaceful demands.”



Operation Prepared Well in Advance

Among the pro-Maidan forces, the former lawmaker estimates that as few as 10 percent were locals, with the majority made up of residents of other cities and regions, brought into the rebellious city to enforce the new order in the wake of the coup in Kiev.

Polishchuk is convinced that the violent operation to disperse the anti-Maidan forces at Kulikovo Field was prepared well in advance – as much as a month and a half beforehand. Having come to power in Kiev, Ukraine’s new authorities began to send armed and trained thugs south to tame anti-Maidan sentiments in the south and southeast, particularly in Odessa and Nikolayev, where serious protest movements had sprouted in opposition to the new government.

“These ‘guests’, under the guise of vacationers, filled the recreation centers in the Zatoka area [a suburb of Odessa, ed.], the Pavlov’s House Hotel in Odessa, and Dofinovka [a resort suburb, ed.]. A lot of them rented apartments in Odessa, and stayed at the Gorky, Lermontovsky and other sanatoriums. As a result, there were at least 1,500 people at these ‘bases’ who had gone through the Kiev Maidan,” Polishchuk estimates.

These forces were well-organized, the investigator emphasized, pointing out that as many as five checkpoints were set up around Odessa manned by Euromaidan activists, who took it upon themselves to inspect vehicles coming into and out of the city, and ignored the police and even government officials’ orders that the posts be dismantled.

The Chernomorets-Metalist football match became a perfect chance for pro-Maidan hooligans, Polishchuk said, with the match accompanied by the arrival of hundreds of additional radicals into the city.

“In the end, under the pretext of a football match, they organized a ‘march for the unity of Ukraine’ through the city, and other its guise, destroyed the so-called Kulikovo Field encampment. That’s first. Second, their goal was to intimidate not only the residents of Ukraine, but everyone in Ukraine. Because Kulikovo Field was like a thorn in their side.”

Polishchuk speculates the direct involvement of the Ukrainian Security Service in putting down the anti-Maidan unrest, pointing to bragging by the agency in the Odessa Massacre’s aftermath that operations carried out in Kharkov, Nikolayev and Odessa to dismantle anti-Maidan forces had been successful and that “opponents were defeated.”

“Another piece of evidence that these events were planned in advance is that on April 29, [then-Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Andriy] Parubiy came to Odessa. As I said, there were five checkpoints around the city. There was also a post near the Seventh-Kilometer Market, which he visited, bringing bulletproof vests to the Maidan protesters. I don’t know what else he brought, but in any case, it included about 20 pieces of level 5 body armor. Then he held a meeting at the Odessa Regional Administration. I believe he came to review the preparations, to check whether everything was ready for the operation, which was already planned for May 2, under the pretext of the football match…Was he in Odessa on May 2? I cannot say. I don’t think he was. But among those who committed the crimes of that day, some were in touch with him,” the investigator said.

Polishchuk also pointed out that on May 2, hours before the Kulikovo Field clashes, Ukrainian Deputy Prosecutor General Mykola Banchuk had arrived in Odessa, gathering members of the security forces and officials from the regional prosecutor’s office on Pushkinskaya Street at 12 noon. He ordered that mobile phones be turned off, with the meeting dedicated to the ‘fight against separatism’. For what reason? So that the police, who are supposed to ensure the protection of public order, did not interfere with the conduct of the ‘special mission’. He provided them with an alibi.”


‘Horror Ensues’

The former lawmaker, who was at Kulikovo Field and witnessed events firsthand as they developed, recalled his desperate efforts to get the anti-Maidan activists to leave the area after realizing the balance of forces.

“The ratio was about 1,500-2,000 Maidan supporters against 150-200 anti-Maidan activists. It was immediately clear to me how it would end. I told them ‘get out of here, leave.’ ‘No, we won’t leave, we won’t leave’, they answered. The Euromaidan forces had plenty of weapons. Naturally, horror ensued,” Polishchuk recalled.

“At about 7 pm, when the Trade Unions building had started to burn and I saw that people were dying, I began calling the Fire Department, but the line was always busy. I saw a man jump out of the building before my eyes, or get thrown out the window – literally five meters in front of me a body slammed down onto the ground. As it turned out, it was former Odessa Regional Council lawmaker Slava Markin. Before that, I heard a woman’s cry ‘help, people, help!’ They shouted from the street in response ‘Shout your mouth!’ Suddenly the woman fell silent, and a man appeared in the window with the flag of Ukraine shouting ‘Glory to Ukraine!’ and from the street they shouted back ‘Glory to Heroes!’ and applauded. I don’t know for certain, but I believe they killed Irina Yakovenko – the woman who was then shown repeatedly in television reports dead in an unnatural position on the table in the Trade Unions building. She was strangled with a wire.”

Polishchuk is “100 percent” certain on the names of at least 51 people were killed, and about 230 injured. “Only an honest investigation will reveal the exact number,” he said.

Unfortunately, the former lawmaker noted, Ukraine’s authorities aren’t interested in such an investigation, because carrying it out would only “incriminate themselves.”

“I am convinced that Parubiy was involved in this, as well as [Valentin] Nalyvaichenko, who became head of the SBU. [Former Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen] Avakov is also involved. [Ukrainian oligarch Ihor] Kolomoisky provided financing. And [Volodymyr] Nemirovsky, the head of the regional administration, who carried out Kolomoisky’s wishes,” Polishchuk said.

An honest investigation never stood a chance, Polishchuk added, and of the two commissions that were created – in the Verkhovna Rada parliament and in the Odessa regional council – both turned out to be toothless, with investigators’ call for witnesses simply ignored by potential suspects.

As for the official investigation carried out by the SBU, the police and the prosecutor’s office, it was designed to erase evidence of wrong-doing by pro-Maidan forces, and nothing more, Polishchuk believes.

Polishchuk began his investigation into the massacre in its immediate aftermath, prompting pro-Maidan forces to make two attempts on his son’s life – on May 20 and September 5 of 2014, with his assistant targeted in January 2015 directly in front of a police building. The second attack put his son in a coma, and doctors spent nearly a month performing neurosurgery after a trio of attackers struck him on the head.

This is how the forces who carried out the February 2014 Euromaidan coup operate, Polishchuk stressed, pointing out that their strategy toward the opposition is simple: buy off whoever you can, and if that doesn’t work, simply murder opponents and target members of their families.

Asked how residents of Odessa today feel about the events at Kulikovo Field a decade ago, Polishchuk lamented that it’s probably with mixed feelings. “Information and psychological processing is doing its job. I call the situation in Ukraine in general, including in Odessa, a concentration camp, only without the barbed wire and crematorium.”







in sydney?....

A pro-Russian motorcade has kicked off in Australia to celebrate President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration and Victory Day.

One of the attendees is none other than the stepson of Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrsky.


Pro-Russian motorcade kicks off in Australia to celebrate President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration and Victory Day.

One of the attendees is none other than the stepson o Ukrainian commander in chief Oleksandr Syrsky.

— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) May 7, 2024

Ivan Syrsky has explained to Sputnik why he is taking part in the event.

The Australian stepson of Ukrainian commander in Chief Syrsky is leading a pro-Russian convoy in Sydney.

Ivan Syrsky told Sputnik that he’s taking part in the event to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his inauguration and to commemorate his great grandfather,…

— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) May 7, 2024

The stepson of the top Ukrainian commander also conveyed his best wishes to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Australian stepson of Ukrainian top general Oleksandr Syrsky congratulates Russian President Vladimir Putin on his inauguration

“Congratulations, Vladimir Vladimirovich, I wish you further success in developing and improving the lives of Russians, and making our Motherland,…

— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) May 7, 2024



















a chef d'état....


Scott Ritter: Putin’s Inauguration Began Final Stage of Russia’s Purge of Malign Western Influence


Vladimir Putin was sworn in as Russia’s president on Tuesday, signaling the start of what former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and UN weapons inspector-turned political commentator Scott Ritter expects to become the final stage of Russia’s complete restoration of its self-identification and status as separate from and equal to the West.

In his speech at his inauguration ceremony, President Putin paid special emphasis to his responsibility as head of state “to protect Russia and serve our people,” and expressed Russia’s readiness for dialogue with the West, so long as the latter drops its efforts to restrain Russia’s development and apply pressure on the country.


“Dialogue is possible, including on issues of security and strategic stability. But not from a position of strength, without arrogance, conceit or personal exclusivity, but only on equal terms, respecting each other’s interests,” Putin said.


In the meantime, the president said, Russia will continue to work with its partners toward Eurasian integration “other sovereign development centers” to speed the formation of “a multipolar world order and an equal and indivisible security system.”

At home, Putin stressed, the foundations of Russian statehood include “interethnic harmony, the preservations of the traditions of all peoples living in Russia – a civilization unified by the Russian language and our multicultural culture.”

The task of the state going forward will be to “ensure reliable continuity in the development of the country for decades to come, to raise and educate young generations who will strengthen and develop the country,” he said.


Common Themes

Putin’s inauguration speech was very different from the televised address he gave when he first became acting president in 1999, but is nevertheless linked by one very important common theme, Scott Ritter told Sputnik.



“In his inauguration speech, Vladimir Putin made it clear that the security of Russia and the Russian people are his top priority. Why would he have to say this? Because as we speak, Russia finds itself under attack from many nations around the world – nations that seek the existential extermination of Russia, if not through violence, then through economic strangulation,” Ritter said.


By contrast, in 1999, Russia faced a threat of a different sort, according to the commentator.

Scott Ritter: Putin’s inauguration began final stage of Russia’s purge of malign Western influence

“This time, it was different,” former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter told Sputnik, commenting on Vladimir Putin’s inauguration for a fifth term as Russia’s…

— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) May 7, 2024

“In 1999, Russia wasn’t facing attacks from without from foreign influence, but rather attacks from within," Ritter said, pointing to the deep infiltration of Western economic and political interests, and Western values, both into Russia's government, and among ordinary citizens. "This was a Russia that had lost touch with itself,” the observer said.

Over Putin’s tenure, Russia has gradually “purged” itself of these attitudes, Ritter said, with the conflict in Ukraine serving as a catalyst accelerating Russia’s transformation, forcing elites and ordinary citizens alike to reconsider who they are and what defines them.


Going forward, Ritter expects Putin’s new term in office to “redefine Russia in the final stages of this transformation that it has been making continuously since 1999, a Russia that will for once and all purge the poison of Western malign influence out of its system, and create a pure Russian notion of what Russia is.”


As for communication and potential cooperation with foreign power centers, it will be defined by Western readiness to respect Russian independence, the commentator said.


“Vladimir Putin made it clear in his speech that he is seeking good relations with the West. Russia’s not seeking to dominate anybody. But Russia wants to live in peaceful coexistence with its Western neighbors as an equal, as a nation defined not by Western values, but by Russian values,” Ritter summed up.