SOE wireless operator Suzanne Mertzien (sometimes spelt Mertisen).

Suzanne_Mertzizen

On the night of 6 April 1944 Mertizen was dropped by parachute with two other female agents (Marie-Louise Cloarec and Pierrette Louin). After landing in a field in the Limoges region of France the three women made their way to Paris.

On the night of 25 April, the women were arrested after being denounced by a collaborator and interrogated by the SD (Gestapo). In August the women were transported to Ravensbrûck concentration camp where they were shot, and their bodies incinerated sometime in 1945. Mertizen was posthumously awarded the Military Cross, Medal of the Resistance and the Chevalier of the Legion d’honour. Her name will be found on the Tempsford Memorial in Bedfordshire near former RAF Tempsford (138 Special Duty Squadron) which was responsible for parachute operation in occupied Europe. (I’m still researching the other women).

Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent Odette Churchill (nee Sansom)

sansom2

SOE agent Odette Sansom (she married Peter Churchill after the war) was a single mother with three young children in England when she was arrested by the Abwehr and eventually handed to the Gestapo. During their attempt to force her talk Sansom was repeatedly burnt on the back with a red-hot poker and each time she fainted from the pain was revived with buckets of cold water being thrown over her so the torture could continue. When burning failed to break her all her toenails were pulled out but Sansom still refused to give the Gestapo information about her wireless operator who was in hiding and after the war Sansom reluctantly admitted to a journalist she was willing to die rather than answer their questions. Sansom then survived the ill-treatment and horrors of Ravensbrûck Concentration camp and after the war was awarded the GC which she always insisted was not awarded to her personally but represented all those alive and dead, known and unknown who fought for the liberation of France.

Odette

The Kremlin False Narrative: the myth of fighting the Ukraine Nazi regime and its western supporters

putin

The number of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine are known to be high, but figures vary considerably and one of several unconfirmed reports recently claimed, “So far, around 18,000 have been killed and over 30,000 wounded” and many images of destroyed armour, convoys and dead Russian soldiers support  many claims of high Russian losses, but whatever the true costs these continue to be kept from the Russian people.

Alleged war crimes now being investigated

The world continues to hear disturbing eye witness accounts supported by images of mass graves, civilians shot in the streets, mutilated bodies and other alleged war crimes committed by Russian troops which are currently  being investigated by international prosecutors. At the time of writing Russia has been suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council and in response to this decision Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskpov, told journalists “Everything is blamed on Russia”  and like the Kremlin he and other Putin supporters reject evidence to the contrary.  The Kremlin also made the opaque statement, “they will defend their interests.” (BBC News 7 April 2022)

dead

After the introduction of draconian laws, the independent press in Russia was purged and replaced by journalists and news networks  loyal to the Kremlin and by design there is little access to non-Russian news services. According to recent reports from inside Russia Kremlin misinformation/disinformation continues to be a powerful tool for shaping Russian public opinion.

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Some researchers claim western sanctions and the invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin call de-Nazification, has been be used to great effect by the Kremlin news services and 83% of Russians approve of Vladimir Putin’s ‘Special Operations’ and seven in ten Russians have negative feelings towards NATO,  United Sates, European Union and others opposing Russian aggression.

The Kremlin’s success during their battle of perception continues to be based on narrative identity and the narrative of the nation by looking at the past to create motivation and justification for the present through constant reminders of the Soviet Union’s Great Patriotic War (WW2) against Nazi Germany and labelling Ukraine and its elected government as ‘Nazis’ can be seen as the most single most powerful element for unifying Russian national identity whilst using visual metaphors to deny everything including war crimes whilst blaming others.

According to various well placed commentators many Russians believe these war crimes are ‘false flags’ and part of a western conspiracy led by America and NATO during a continued proxy war against Russian and Dunbas was sold to America to allow their nuclear weapons to be aimed at Russia.

dis

According to Alexandre Baeva, Coordinator of the ECHR Program on Human Rights, Putin setup a media channel to encourage ‘good citizens’ to report ‘traitors’ and Russia is like 1939,  also according to Baeva “People are scared and informing on each other.”

Although Kremlin messaging appears to have resonated among normal Russian citizens indications suggest their information war is failing to influence a significant number of people living in western democratic countries and have increasingly began targeting Africa, south and southern Asia and this is supported by the number of trolls from these regions found on social media echoing Kremlin propaganda.

 

Pdf version for download 

 

 

 

Loyal Guards of the Soviet Border

(First published 24 April 2014)

Russian hard-line nationalists continue to blame the west, especially the USA, for the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 but realists understand this was entirely due to the corrupt and unworkable Soviet political system. Also, to the annoyance of many Russian nationalists the demise of the Soviet Union resulted in the independence of 15 former Soviet states and democratic elections in countries once dominated by the Soviet system further fuelled nationalist paranoia leading to a false narrative of Russia being deliberately humiliated by the United States and NATO which represent a serious threat to their nation, Russian culture and language. Although nothing could be further from the truth President Vladimir Putin continues to skilfully use these fears and uncertainties to further his own political ambitions and a return to a closed Soviet Society where the only ‘truth’ is from Kremlin propaganda.

Post-Soviet era: Resentment ‘historical justice’ and Putin’s Russian ‘inheritance’

Russia is a vast country with 11 time zones but is said to have the economic power of Spain which is appreciably lower than the United Kingdom and the EU and Russia’s economic decline continues to accelerate since the western nations-imposed sanctions in Response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Crimea, but the Kremlin is reported to be modernising its military forces.  

Under the leadership of Putin Russia has shown a continued commitment to increase its military capability: there are said to be a million men under arms, thousands of new tanks, a hundred new military satellites; the development of next-generation weapons and the planned modernisation of its navy, but because of Russia’s information war and Putin’s military posturing it is prudent to question their increased military capabilities whilst at the same time remaining cautious.  Apart from the continuous flow of Russian disinformation/misinformation few understand Putin’s true intentions.

 Former KGB officer, Vladimir Ussolzev, who worked alongside Putin at the notorious Stasi (Ministry of State Security) Headquarters in Dresden, then part of East Germany, described Putin as, “Pragmatic, someone who thinks one thing and says something else… Someone who was a complete conformist, who did not believe in any changes in his native country {Russia}…”   Ussolzev recalls that after he was being critical of conditions in the Soviet Union Putin replied, “Contain your criticism of the Soviet Union and think about your family”

Ussolzev also claimed, since Putin became President he quickly passed a large share of the Kremlin’s power to the intelligence services and Boris Nemstov, a member of the opposition party and a staunch critic of Putin said the Federal Council was responsible for all decisions regarding military action and the council did not approve the invasion of Crimea. Not only did Putin ignore the Russian Constitution, according to Nemstov, his unilateral decision was not challenged and added, the same can be said for Russian rearmament, modernisation and current restructuring of the armed forces, “Vladimir Putting only appears to be answerable to his trusted inner circle.”

Statements from several people said to have known Vladimir Putin describe him as having a fanatical belief in the ‘glorious past of the Soviet Union and Tsarist Russia’. Also, according to several commentators, for Putin and other extreme-nationalists these periods represents Russia’s powerful military force which dominated Eurasia, and a strong political leadership which played a major part in international relations. Putin firmly believes Eurasia, due to ‘historical rights’, is his sphere of influence. According to Eve Conant, “Putin’s view is that he protects what belongs to him and his predecessors… and Parts of Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and Finland are states which Putin claims to have ownership”.

 Based on what Putin calls ‘historical justice’ and ‘historical rights’, in recent years his so-called inheritance has expanded and includes all countries formally under Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union. There have also been claims Putin’s thinking is stuck in 1930’s Europe.

 Since coming to power in 1999 Putin has attempted to restore ‘Soviet greatness’ through various acts of political subterfuge and invading neighbouring countries which were once part of the Soviet system.  For Putin, Russia’s past along with its regional dominance is not a tool with which to create patriotism, it is a model he wishes to emulate in order to restore lost power and respect from the international community.

Military Expansionism and Custom Union

The Russian invasion of Crimea which Putin and his supporters claim is to “protect the Russian speaking minority” is not the first time Russia has invaded a former Soviet state. Following the demise of the Soviet Union Russian soldiers in the region of Transnistria in eastern Moldavia, declared their loyalty to Russia and remained to ‘protect’ the Russian speaking Moldavians. Russia now recognizes this regions’ independence. In 2008 Russia used the excuse ‘we need to protect Russian speaking people,’ to invade Georgia. After capturing southern Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russia declared them to be independent republics and troops are still in these Kremlin declared ‘republics.

 In September 2014 Bob Ainsworth, the former British Defence Secretary said, “Vladimir Putin is as dangerous as Stalin and is much more of a threat than ISIS…{Islamic State} No leader of a major power has behaved as overtly aggressive since Stalin in the post-war period, and sadly, Putin would be very pleased with the comparison”

After Putin publicly announced the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest tragedy of the twentieth century and proclaimed the right to act on behalf of all Russian minorities living in other countries, Ainsworth compared Putin with Hitler and in 1938 Hitler made similar claims after seeding Sudetenland!

Putin’s belief in his right to act on behalf of all Russian minorities, restoring Russia’s ‘glorious’ Soviet and Tsarist past, and blaming the west for their demise are common themes in his extreme nationalist interpretation of history.

To address Russia’s ailing economy whilst at the same time restoring a degree of Russian prestige and dominance within their region of interest, in July 2010 Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan created a Custom Union. Putin was keen to include Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine. After Kyiv decided the far larger EU was more beneficial to their national interests and applied to join, the Custom Union was no longer a viable economic initiative. In response to this set back Putin used a common Soviet reaction to non-compliance – military aggression to force change.   

 In March 2014 Putting described the annexation of Crimea as correcting an ‘historical injustice’ and declared Russian compatriots, wherever they live in the former Soviet States as being part of a single Russian nation. This clearly suggests justification for other military incursions to ensure ‘protection’

Disinformation/misinformation, political coercion and threats of military aggression are throwbacks to the Cold War era.  Soviet style rhetoric has now been mixed with a modern narrative designed to promote tsarist terminology, the revival of Soviet symbolism and mythology. In Ukraine we also see the sponsorship of terrorism under the guise of separatist military formation as part of Russia’s proxy war against the legitimate government in Kyiv.

 Apart from Russia’s current military engagement in Ukraine we also see other Soviet Cold War Tactics including Kremlin instigated and coordinated conflicts in Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan; the use of Gazprom as a political tool and promoting the right to protect Russian speakers abroad and many other examples can be used to illustrate Russian aggressive expansionism.

Revisionist history

At the time of writing it is widely claimed the distortion of history is now compulsory reading for school children and textbooks reinforce Tsarist and Soviet beliefs that the intrinsic value of the state is more important than the individual which means the interests put forward by the Kremlin takes precedence over its citizens.

Putin’s beliefs of historic injustices, protecting the Russian speaking minorities in other countries which represent one nation; his resentment of the western nations and NATO who he continues to blame for the demise of the Soviet Union; and his continued attempts to turn the clock back to tsarist Russia and the mythical glories of the Soviet Union; provide the excuse for military aggression. Unfortunately, it appears these views are also shared by a large number of Russian nationalists.

Russian approach to silencing opposition

Among the most prominent figures alleged to have been assassinated include:

Boris Nemstov, a vocal critic of Putin, who was in the process of organising a protest march against the invasion of Crimea, was shot dead in Moscow, near the Kremlin. 

Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist, writer, and human rights activist known for her opposition to the Second Chechen War and President Putin.

Alexander Litvinenko, assassinated in London to allegedly prevent him exposing Putin’s links to organised crime.

Ivan Ivanovich Safronov, a Russian journalist and columnist who covered military affairs for the daily newspaper Kommersant, died after falling from the fifth floor of his Moscow apartment building. His apartment was on the third floor!

The unpredictable and seemingly irrational Vladimir Putin, who takes every opportunity to remind the world of his nuclear arsenal should not be underestimated and his irrational belief in his ‘inheritance’ of former Soviet states and the need to address ‘historical injustices ‘can only be achieved through the use of subversion and military aggression. The main concern is that nobody knows how far Vladimir Putin will go to turn back the clock to Russia’s glorious past, or whether he truly believes he must honour his ‘inheritance’ by becoming one of the Loyal Guards of the Soviet Border.

Pdf version for download.

Russian Misinformation/Disinformation supporting the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Alan Malcher rt3  

According to several press reports filed before the Russian government passed draconian laws to silence the free press in Russia, an estimated 14,000 war protesters mainly in Moscow and Saint Petersburg are said to have been arrested. The Kremlin’s false narrative directed towards the Russian people which manipulates prior cultural attitudes especially fatalism; the meaning of nationalism, patriotism and the promotion of a distorted view of Russian history are among the Kremlin’s concerted effort to convince Russian civilians the United States and the NATO alliance has hostile intent against the Russian Federation.

Alan Malcher Russian Propaganda   

Through state-controlled news networks the Russian people continue to be spoon- fed a diet of false news and so-called expert analysis to encourage the acceptance of an alternative reality based on the Kremlin’s own moral universe: the Russian people now live in a world which through the power of narrative is little more than a manipulative relationship between the oppressive Russian government and its people. By dominating the news cycle the Kremlin continues to create myth and reality at the same time which is framed by an agreed context within a cognitive environment by shaping public debate and influence without outside distractions (from the worlds media) and Putin hopes his strategy of deception supported by draconian laws to silence opposition will convince the people of Russia to support his desire to rebuild Russia on the Soviet model which can only be achieved through aggressive military expansionism.

To ensure state mews management is not challenged, all independent news networks in Russia have ceased to exist and any journalist questioning the official narrative or even describing the conflict in Ukraine as a ‘war’ or a Russian invasion could find themselves serving 15 years in prison. Independent journalism has been replaced with news networks and journalists loyal to Putin who are redirecting discussions by overtly simplifying phrases and arguments to support the illusion of Russian ‘special operations’ being a force of liberation against enemies of Russia.

Russia fighting to liberate the people of Ukraine from a Nazi Regime

If the Russian people had access to independent news and the evidence put forward by professional journalists, the International Red Cross, the United Nations, and various  non-government organisations they would be in no doubt this is a Russian invasion and most Ukrainian civilians including those of Russian speaking communities have taken up arms to defend their nation against what they call “Russian invaders” and “oppressors” from a tyrannical regime. The people of Ukraine are fighting to maintain their independence, democracy and freedom. Also, Putin’s so-called ‘liberation of the Donbas Region’ is no more than a continuation of the 2014 Russian invasion of the region which was replaced by their proxy war.

1372164611               Alan Malcher Ukraine6    Putin and his inner circle continue to claim the Russian army is fighting a “Nazi regime”, again,  if the Russian people had access to independent news and unbiased expert commentary many would be aware only the Kremlin and Russian forces can accurately be described as Nazis. The continued artillery and rocket bombardment of cities and towns filled with civilians, the bombardment of humanitarian corridors and other war crimes currently being investigated by the international community and the forced deportation of civilians to Russia is reminiscent of Nazi Germany during their invasion and occupation of large parts of Europe during the Second World War and the Russian ‘Z’ Symbol has been likened  to the Swastika used by the Third Reich.

z prop     z   

A freelance photojournalist put the ongoing Russian war crimes into perspective when he told Sky News (25 March 2022) about the smell of rotting corpses of civilians buried under the rubble of their homes, dogs eating body parts,  mass graves at the side of the road and Russian starvation tactics against besieged civilians.

Russian war dead

Although figures are impossible to verify, it has been claimed by various sources around 14,000 Russian soldiers may have been killed and these claims are supported by many images showing columns of destroyed Russian armour and convoys and dead Russian soldiers scattered around the countryside and streets of Ukraine.

Unlike the official Russian narrative this so-called ‘Special Operations’ is not a war of ‘liberation’: most Ukraine civilians including many from Russian speaking communities continue to show defiance against what they call the ‘invaders’ and are fighting Russian forces throughout Ukraine.

Kremlin Narrative: Russia under threat and the shifting of blame

False statements from the Putin regime claiming Russia has been threatened by Ukraine which is controlled by the United States and NATO is not only false but has a striking similarity to lies put forward by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi politician and Reich Minister for propaganda, during World War Two.

It is important for Russian readers to understand Vladimir Putin is responsible for an unprovoked attack against Ukraine and though NATO and other democratic nations support the Ukraine Resistance by supplying defensive weapons and many Russian citizens continue to suffer from economic sanctions enforced by most of the international community, it needs to be emphasised the Kremlin narrative is false: this is not aggression towards the people of Russia by NATO, EU, the United States or the democratic countries which are not part of the NATO alliance, as already stated, this is a reaction to Putin’s unprovoked attack against Ukraine and to prevent Putin reconstituting the former Soviet Empire which threatens eastern Europe and beyond. NATO has sent troops, sophisticated weapons and equipment to eastern Europe to prevent further Russian aggression and there should be no doubt that an attack against a NATO member would swiftly result in the destruction of the Russian military.

Nuclear blackmail

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After Putin threatened nuclear war, the Russian people should be left with no doubt a nuclear attack against a NATO member would immediately be met by a massive response from NATO’s three nuclear powers: United States, Britain and France. This fact raises an important question: is Putin bluffing or is he crazy enough to start a chain reaction which would ensure all life on earth is destroyed by making the Cold war expression ‘mutually assured destruction’ (Mad) a reality?

Important Advice to Russian readers

I frequently remove the number of Russian viewers from the daily web statistics and suggest anyone living in Russia access this blog via social media. Furthermore, please don’t press the like button or make comments as this could reveal your location and identity.

 

Further reading: Sky News, BBC International News, Aljazeera news, CNN, France 24, Russia Today (RT), Moscow Times, NATO press releases, United Nations, comments from members of the International Red Cross.

Pdf version for download

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: a summary dated 20 March 2022

Putin Russia

The following summary for March 2022 is based on reports from professional journalists in Ukraine and informed comments from a number of recognised military and security experts.

Russia has one of the largest militaries in the world and for 45 years (1946 to 1991) the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact were locked in a tense conflict with the NATO countries during a Cold War consisting of an aggressive arms race and several Soviet proxy wars across the world. These 45 years have also been informally described as a period of ‘Violent Peace’  and ‘War in Peace’.

cold war

During this period of instability and dangerous uncertainty the Soviet Union dominated eastern Europe and the Cold War was a conflict between east and west but after the fall of the Soviet Union on 25 December 1991 when the Soviet hammer and sickle flag was lowered for the last time over the Kremlin and replaced by the Russian tricolour, nine years later, under the increasing influence and later leadership of Vladimir Putin, who was a former KGB career officer not a professional politician, we increasingly witnessed the gradual transformation of the long conflict between east and west becoming a conflict between the world’s liberal democracies and totalitarian states and a loose alignment of ‘convenience’ between Russia, China, North Korea and other oppressive regimes.

Crimiea 2

2014 Russian invasion of Crimea.

We should not lose sight of the fact Putin’s war against Ukraine started in 2014 after his unprovoked invasion of Crimea which developed into a proxy war comparable with the Soviet playbook of the Cold War period along with false justifications in the form of misinformation for Russia’s continued aggression against an independent and democratic sovereign state.

Russia Victory Day

Over a period of 45 years the west became accustomed to Soviet military posturing: large military parades to project an image of military might, the false narrative of superior Soviet military arms and technology, but after Russia invaded Ukraine again on 24 February 2022 the world suddenly became aware Russian conventional military might was an elaborate illusion.  Some military commentators suggest Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons if ‘outsiders’ intervened was possibly an indication Putin is aware NATO is capable of a swift military victory against his forces.

Map-Soviet-Union-countries

This map of the former Soviet Union which many believe Putin is obsessed with reconstituting illustrates why many eastern European counties including NATO members are alarmed at Russian aggression.

Misguided Assumptions

According to several commentators specialising in Russian affairs Vladimir Putin is trapped in a closed world of his own making: he is obsessed with his goal to reconstitute the Russian Empire, he believes  the Russian Empire was  destroyed by the United States, and as Professor Michel Clark pointed out on Sky News (22 (March), only last week Putin was telling Russians ”NATO was planning a war against Russia. NATO intends a holocaust of Russia. That is why we are in Ukraine.” Putin’s misguided assumptions, his resentment of the USA and NATO, his willingness to commit blatant war crimes and his threat to use nuclear weapons should be a serious cause for concern.

Putin also greatly underestimated Ukraine’s military capability and the resolve of the civilian population to protect their land and democracy and  early during his invasion it also became apparent he  grossly overestimated Russia as a conventional military power. For instance, a Ukraine military commander recently commented that “Russian tactics are like when Germany invaded France in 1941”.  Although France was invaded in 1940 his comparison is clear and because Putin is a former KGB career officer some commentators also say Putin is a victim of his own propaganda.

Crimea

Ukraine’s military capabilities have greatly increased since 2014

Unlike the unprovoked Russian invasion of Crimea in 2004 Putin and his Chiefs-of-staff wrongly assumed their special forces could once again play an important role in helping deliver a quick and decisive blow and a western intelligence officer told the BBC that Russia thought it could deploy lighter spearhead units like Spetsnaz and VDU Paratroopers “to eliminate a small number of  defenders and that would be it.”

 

brit2brit train

It also appears Russia was unaware the Ukrainian forces they would confront were far more formidable than  those they faced in 2014: since Russia’s relatively easy invasion in 2014 the Ukraine military has received extensive training from the British and American army and is equipped with an assortment of western weapons which would not look out of place in a NATO armoury.

russian tank  tank ru2

Since the invasion Russian forces have consistently displayed bad leadership; the Russian army has been using outdated tactics and senior commanders have been unable to coordinate their forces and pass orders due to poor communications.  After failing to seize airfields Russia has been forced to transport supplies mostly by road and this has created traffic jams and choke points which are easy targets for Ukraine forces to ambush or destroy by UAV’s.

According to BBC Defence Correspondent James Beale (19 March 2022) Russia massed a force of around 190,000 troops for the invasion and most of these have already been committed to battle but have lost about 10% of that force. Though there are no reliable figures, according to Beale Ukraine claim to have killed 14,000 Russian troop and  western officials also say there is evidence of dwindling morale among Russian troops with one saying it was “Very, very low”.  Another said Russian troops were “cold, tired, and hungry” as they had already been waiting in the snow for weeks in Belarus and Russia before they were given orders to invade (Beale).

These claims are supported by the fact Russia has already been forced to look for foreign troops and mercenaries to make up for the numbers lost and this approach has been described as “Russia scratching the bottom of the bucket  of desperation.”

convoy      convoy5

Failed Logistics

Logistics are both essential and the Achilles heel of a military formation and as we continue to see armoured columns and lorries are running out of fuel and food, ammunition, other essential stores are failing to reach the front line;  vehicles including tanks are being abandoned after breaking down and being towed away by Ukrainian farmers using tractors. It is also believed that due to the breakdown of logistics Russia is running low on some munitions and it has been estimated Russia has fired between 850 to 900 long-range precision munitions including cruise missiles and the US believe Russia has approached China for munitions. In stark contrast there continues to be a steady flow of western weapons and equipment  for the Ukraine Army.

War Crimes- deliberate bombardment of towns and cities

Russia still has sufficient firepower to deliberately bombard cities, towns and other civilian targets.  The current Russian bombardment of Mariupol which has been   called “an act or terror”  by Ukraine officials and the international community; the deliberate bombardment of humanitarian corridors, residential areas, hospitals, schools, food warehouses and the forced deportation of Ukraine civilians to Russia can only be regarded as a strategy of desperation and the forced deportation as a component  of the Kremlin’s information war which  is little more an than unconvincing attempt to create the illusion of a war of liberation rather than the true reason which is Russian expansionism.

Inside Russia and the Kremlin information war.

WAr protest Russia                                        ruinfo3

 Anti-war protest in Russia

The Russian information war against the international community is farcical at best but still has resonance among a minority of people the former KGB and now the FSB call ‘Useful Idiots’.  Eye witness accounts, the international media and forensic evidence proves without doubt Russian war crimes continue to be committed and the main casualties are women and children. Apart from the increasing number of civilian deaths, several towns and cities have no water, heating, electricity, food, medical supplies and other essentials to sustain life but the Kremlin propaganda machine denies this is the case.  It is interesting to note most of Russia’s misinformation has recently been directed towards Africa, south east and south Asia which might indicate Putin’s strategic objectives.

In an attempt to prevent the Russian public discovering the truth Putin passed draconian laws: it is now illegal to call the conflict in Ukraine a war or an invasion, anyone questioning Kremlin accounts can be sent to prison for 15 years and Russia’s independent news networks has been replaced by state media networks controlled by the Kremlin.  Despite the Kremlin going to great lengths to hide the truth news continues to be received through social media and an estimated 14,000 (numbers vary according to sources) anti-war protesters are said to have been arrested.

The Number of Russian war dead not being reported in Russia and bodies secretly being cremated to hide numbers

There have been several accounts of bodies of dead Russian soldiers not being repatriated to ensure the number of casualties don’t become public knowledge. According to Sarah Newey, (The Telegraph 19 March 2022) more than 2,500 dead Russian soldiers were secretly taken to mortuaries in Belarus and a doctor described terribly disfigured soldiers and said the morgues were overflowing.  According to another newspaper, after there was no room in the mortuaries other bodes were secretly burnt.  These accounts support a comment made by a Ukraine army commander who told Sky News? (it may have been the BBC) that after 12 Russian soldiers were killed their commander was told there bodies could be collected but the Russian commander said “he could keep them because they were of no use to him.”

Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine: An Historical Perspective of European Resistance and the dangers now facing the Russian military. (WARNING – VERIFIED, GRAPHIC War IMAGES FROM UKRAINE USED TO ILLUSTRATE THIS ARTICLE)

Some of the following videos from Ukraine contain patriotic music and comments which are not edited – this would be censorship and in light of the ongoing Kremlin false narrative the people of Ukraine have a right to express their views.  

According to viewer statistics this blog is also visited by people living in Russia, consequently, if this blog suffers a cyber-attack it is likely associated with the Kremlin’s news blackout throughout Russia recently reported by the ‘independent’ international press.     

Ukraine 2022 containing images not dissimilar to the Nazi invasion and occupation of Europe (1939-1945)

I use the expression Putin’s war because many Russian citizens have little knowledge of the War in Ukraine due to news censorship by the Kremlin which has been replaced by a patriotic version and false justification for the illegal invasion of an independent nation with a democratic government.  

The Kremlin narrative is from the Soviet play book consisting of false claims of fighting Nazis, the liberation of the people of Ukraine from a Nazi regime and the use of ambiguous expressions such as ‘Special Operations’ and ‘Peace keeping’ in an attempt to mask the fact Putin ordered an unprovoked attack against an independent and peaceful country. The Soviet narrative being used by Putin also attempts to draw attention away from continued war crimes by the Russian military which is being investigated by the United Nations for the International Criminal Court in the Hague. From what we know of the Soviet doctrine of propaganda and various Kremlin statements during the Russian involvement in Syria we are likely to see Putin and his inner circle attempting to convince Russian citizens America and NATO are the aggressors whilst blaming these war crimes on Ukraine, America and NATO. Despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary Putin and his supporters are likely to peddle the lie that evidence given to the International Criminal Court and the subsequent investigation is western propaganda orchestrated by the United States.  

Despite Putin insisting the Russian Army is liberating the people of Ukraine many videos of civilians protesting against Russian troops whilst shouting, ‘Go home’ and ‘Ukraine is our country not yours,” clearly shows Ukraine has been invaded and the troops have no support from the civilian population.    

Maternity hospital after a deliberate Russian bombardment (photo)     

We also see Russian misinformation/disinformation is outdated and unable to compete with the digital community where news, but more importantly the truth, appears on personal computers, tablets and mobile phones across the globe within seconds and what appears on the internet can’t be deleted and a basic internet search can reveal conflicting stories and blatant lies from various Kremlin officials. A recent example is the Kremlin statement that a pregnant woman rescued from a maternity hospital after a deliberate Russian missile attack “was wearing makeup and was an actress being used for propaganda.” The fact this image was seen across the world and photographic software to examine images is commonly available showed the incompetence of the Kremlin propaganda machine and within seconds this claim was dismissed as another Kremlin lie.  

Russian Losses

Unlike previous wars the digital revolution also allows anyone with an internet connection to know the realities of day-to-day life in Ukraine and the Kremlin stopped claiming continued military success after Ukrainian soldiers and civilians used their mobile phones to upload images of dead Russian soldiers, destroyed armour, convoys and Russian prisoners of war.   

We also see the word ‘Nazi’ used by Putin and his inner circle to describe the Ukraine Army and its government is seldom used after images supported by eye witness accounts show the word is more fitting to describe the tactics and war crimes being committed by the Russian Army. In fact, the destruction of cities and war crimes which continue to be documented are no different to the barbaric tactics used by Nazi Germany during their invasion and eventual occupation of many European countries during the early stages of WW2.       

Day one of the invasion Russian helicopter shot down by a Stinger missiles

Russian aircraft shot down by Ukrainian air defence system

Attacks against Civilian targets

Unexploded bomb in a residential area

 

Ukraine Resistance 

Ukraine officials continue to say the “war against the invaders is a war of Resistance”.  It has to be pointed out Resistance is not simply a war waged by civilians against occupying forces through the use of guerrilla warfare and the war of resistance developed during the Second World War goes beyond what is commonly called guerrilla tactics, it is multi-layered, coordinated; has a coherent strategy for a protracted war and is designed to destroy and disrupt all essential elements of the occupying forces,  all of which is undoubtedly within the capability of Ukraine but a full description is beyond the scope of this article.  

Over a nine- year period the Soviet Army lost an estimated 15,000 soldiers and around 35,000 were wounded. According to unverified reports Russian deaths in Ukraine may quickly be more than the number of Soviet casualties in Afghanistan against the Mujahideen which unlike resistance movements only used guerrilla warfare and often lacked coordination with other factions and numerous warlords.

As several commentators have remarked, a war of resistance could last many years and the history of various underground resistance movements throughout occupied Europe during the Second World War shows a trained resistance movement which has sufficient external and internal support; is coordinated and has a coherent strategy due to its underground nature is more difficult to defeat than most military formations.

As we continue to see, the Russian military is far from being as formidable as once thought and possibly through frustration continue to commit war crimes and as we also see from history similar crimes, reprisals, acts of terror and intimidation intended to prevent opposition to occupying forces greatly fan the flames of national resistance of both a passive and aggressive nature which complement each other to create a potent force.  

Image taken before children were evacuated from Ukraine

Women and children being evacuated from Ukraine  

At the time of writing able bodied men between the age of 18 and 60 are remaining in Ukraine to fight whilst their wives, children and grandchildren are being evacuated to other countries and the hatred towards Russia by children old enough to understand what is happening in their country is not only apparent history shows if close  family members are killed their deaths are likely to create the next generation of resistance fighters bent on revenge.    

Putin insists Ukraine is part of Russia and quotes history to support his argument, but on 9 October 1989 without warning the Berlin Wall, a symbol of Soviet Communist Rule which divided Eastern and western Europe came down, and the people of Ukraine, like other countries previously controlled by the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union based in Moscow eventually experienced freedom and democracy. On 24 February 2022 Russian began their unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, an independent sovereign country, and was immediately faced by Ukrainian men and women from all sections of society, of all ages and of all religions fighting to preserve the independence of the Ukrainian people based on freedom and democracy which the Ukraine authorities correctly describe as a war of resistance.

The invasion of Ukraine also has much wider implications: Putin’s unprovoked military aggression has become a wakeup call for other eastern European countries who are now concerned Putin is attempting to reconstitute the Soviet Empire which crumbled with the Berlin Wall in 1989.     

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Messaging from the Ukraine Government.

Ukraine: An historical perspective.

The messaging coming from Ukraine has powerful resonance in parts of Europe. The constant use of the word ‘resistance’ and expressions such as a ‘people’s war’ and a ‘war fought by the people’ goes back to the European resistance against Nazi occupation. In the case of Ukraine, it acts as a reminder this is not simply a war between two armies: like those who resisted subjugation and German occupation during WW2, we currently see Ukrainian civilians who were once shop keepers, farmers, office workers and from a multitude of other non-military employment also fighting to preserve their freedom and democracy.   

Ukraine 2022

Another historical connection are the war crimes and Russian attacks against civilian targets which are currently being investigated and continue to be reported by the ‘free’ press.  Also, like Germany during WW2 the Russian government controls all news entering the country but according to press reports Russia is slowly losing their information war as an increasing number of citizens turn to social media to learn the truth.

Resistance in Ukraine: Putin’s dangerous miscalculation

Originally published on LinkedIn after being attacked by Russian Trolls

This short article was encouraged by several questions I continue to be asked in my posts and by those aware of my interest and knowledge of WW2 Resistance. I, like many, have been attacked by Russian trolls but although inevitable I was surprised they continue to use the same script from 2014 which shows a distinct lack of messaging strategy and the trolls are also showing a distinct lack of trade craft skills, but that’s another subject.

Russian Trolls

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Trolls from The Internet Research Bureau/Agency at 55 Savushkina Street, Saint Petersburg, Russia, also known as ‘Glavset’, are once again active on multiple social media platforms but their approach is farcical rather than effective: unlike the people of Russia who only receive selective news from the outside world whilst being subjected to Kremlin propaganda the western democratic nations allow access to world news and the people are left to make their own judgment about news, images and analysis of events.

A common mistake made by the Russian Trolls is claiming images are fake but not providing evidence support their claim. For instance, one Troll told me one of my images was fake and his evidence was from a reserve image search but disappeared after I asked what analysing software he used to reach that conclusion. The same troll then blocked me and I assume they were frustrated because I forced them off script. Many who used this platform in 2014 would have experienced this crude attempt to influence international public opinion.

Putin’s nuclear threat

Some have said Putin would never use nuclear weapons and is bluffing; its has also been suggested Putin was referring to battle field nuclear warheads in short range rockets and artillery shells against Ukraine-the fact is nobody knowns his intentions or state of mind and from events in Syria and now in Ukraine we see Putin has no concerns when it comes to the destruction of civilian targets and the humanitarian crises which follows.

Russian casualties

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According to Ukraine authorities 6,000 Russian soldiers have been killed but trolls say this is fake and my reply to them is nobody knows the real figures because they can’t be verified, and this is the same during most conflicts. However, after seeing recent videos and still images from Ukraine showing burning armour, lorries, other equipment and large numbers of dead Russian soldiers I agree with commentators who claim Putin not only greatly underestimated the capability of the Ukraine military he also failed to realise Ukraine would be using western equipment that is far more advanced than Russian armaments.

Resistance by civilians

UK RES

A common statement from the troll factory in Saint Petersburg is Ukraine will soon be defeated. In response I say don’t be so sure: Putin already grossly underestimated the capabilities of the Ukraine military and now civilians have been armed, like the resistance movements during WW2; if they are trained, coordinated and have a coherent strategy, Resistance movement are capable of a protracted war whilst inflicting heavy casualties.

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Consequently, occupation does not mean defeat: Russian forces and their administration would always be vulnerable to clandestines and guerrilla fighters and any attempt to stem resistance through terror and war crimes, like during WW2, is likely to fan the flames of resistance whilst increasing international support for a Ukraine Resistance fighting for freedom and democracy.

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Another lesson Putin failed to learn from history is the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Nine years after their invasion the Soviet Army retreated whilst under fire and and estimated 14,455 Soviet soldiers had been killed and around 60,000 wounded during their attempted occupation.

Also, the history of WW2 resistance went far beyond the guerrilla tactics used to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan and included political and subversive warfare; sabotage of facilities, infrastructures and mechanisms needed by occupying forces to remain in control of the country and I would not be surprised if this was well within the capabilities of the Ukraine Resistance.

Putin’s Russia

I believe it is also important to stress the invasion of Ukraine has nothing to do with the Russian people, they along with the young conscripts being sent to Ukraine are also victims of the repressive Putin regime.

Pdf version for download