Move over COVID hysteria - war mongering and clueless international political takes are the latest craze as we gear up for the Cold War 2.0
A great saying I've heard many times is"The first casualty of war is the truth" - but that begs the question, just how many times can truth die a grisly, bloody death and still be expected to return?
If you thought the collapse of the COVID narrative would signal the end of people falling for blatant propaganda, think again.
War propaganda has always been in a league of its own, but the internet and more recently social media have elevated it to entirely new heights.
We've seen how powerful a political tool western propaganda has turned into - in the past two years we've witnessed it used to devastating effect across the western world, with sweeping violations to individual rights committed by governments virtually across the board as braindead sheep cheer it on.
We've seen how a so-called "civilized" society has turned into the antithesis of civil - the dehumanizing and "othering" rhetoric coming from political leaders and their lackeys being echoed amongst the populace to the point where people who disagree with the narrative are treated like outcasts and even governments seizing the bank accounts of political opposition is viewed as just.
As the COVID hysteria has begun to collapse under its own weight, the propaganda machine has turned to a new yet oh-so-familiar frontier - war.
Just as quickly as COVID stirred up a flurry of hysterics and incredibly inaccurate public discourse, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has swept in to steal the spotlight from the politicians beginning to feel the heat for their gross misconduct over the last two years.
You'll be hard-pressed to find any headlines now that don't mention the conflict in Ukraine, and yet so much of the news being spread is at best strongly misinformed and at worst (and more likely) pure propaganda, just as it has been from the second Russia sent troops to their border.
If you think Russia's invasion was unprovoked or a surprise, think again - the Ukraine has been fighting with Russia for the past eight years since a US-backed coup took place in 2014, with over 13,000 casualties during that time that have been largely ignored by the media (and outright forgotten about in current coverage).
I encourage readers to do their own research on the conflict as well as the country of Ukraine, but here we will take a simplified look at some of the basics along with the ridiculous myths that are currently going around.
The Maidan Uprising and Western Expansion
Just like many other former Soviet-controlled nations, Ukraine has a long and complicated relationship with Russia, but the root of the current conflict began late in 2013 with the Maidan Uprising, or "Euromaidan".
Ukraine has long been recognized as one of if not the most corrupt countries in Europe. Ukrainian citizens had grown increasingly hostile toward their corrupt officials in recent years, but tensions boiled over late in 2013 after their Russian-friendly government suddenly decided to pull a 180 and refused to sign a trade agreement with the EU, opting instead to strengthen ties with Russia even though the EU trade agreement had overwhelming support in the Ukrainian parliament.
The decision sparked outrage and mass protests, particularly in western Ukraine, and only grew in support after the sitting government violently responded to protesters. The protest's social media presence and coordination led the uprising to also be referred to as the "Facebook Revolution", marking it as the first major civilian uprising to be largely triggered and conducted on social media.
The uprising was also supported by the United States, with President Obama sending funds to the Ukrainian opposition party and backing the coup against a democratically elected president.
Clashes between police and protesters continued for months and the death toll reached into the hundreds before an agreement between the seated president's party and the opposition party was reached to form a temporary government, reduce presidential powers, and call an early election. Shortly after the agreement however, the president and his allies fled the country, relinquishing control to the opposition party and the protesters.
Ukraine effectively went from having a Russian puppet government to having a western puppet government, but it turns out that may not have been the right choice in the long run.
The coup quickly led to the annexation of Crimea, as the Russian-speaking and largely pro-Russia Crimean Peninsula was captured by Russian forces in mere days without bloodshed and a referendum was hosted. The region voted overwhemingly to become a part of Russia, much to the chagrin of Ukrainian and western officials who condemned the move.
While Crimea avoided virtually any bloodshed in leaving the Ukraine, pro-Russian groups centred in eastern and southern Ukraine protested the coup in the Donetsk and Luhanks oblasts, commonly referred to as the Donbas region - those protests quickly turned into armed conflict with the Ukrainian police and led the newly formed Ukrainian government to send in armed forces to quell the "insurgency".
The conflict turned into full-on war as the Russian separatists were given arms and supplies by Russia while the Ukrainian government was given arms by the Obama administration, turning the situation into a regional proxy war that has left thousands dead including many civilians in the Donbas region. The conflict also displaced over a million Ukrainians in the country internally, and over 750,000 Ukrainians fled the country entirely, with most of them going to Russia to escape Ukrainian shelling of Donbas.
Since the 2014 coup, the Ukrainian government has grown increasingly opposed to Russia despite a large portion of their country supporting friendly relations with their neighbour.
And contrary to what some may believe if they've been watching the news lately, the US and every other western nation was well aware of the turmoil happening in Ukraine and did its best to stoke the fires - just take a look at warmongers Lindsey Graham and John McCain rallying the troops and promising their support to Ukrainians fighting against Russia and "Russian aggression" back in 2016.
In 2019, former actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected as president after running a campaign that promised peace between the Ukraine and Russia, yet he and his cabinet grew increasingly entrenched with the west and put the country on the path to war we now see unfolding.
Post-USSR NATO Expansion
Without getting too far into the weeds, NATO was originally a defensive alliance between North America and various European countries meant to curtail Soviet expansion and protect democratic values. As the USSR expanded their influence around the world, so too did NATO as the US and Soviet Russia engaged in the cold war and various proxy wars over the years like in Vietnam or Afghanistan.
When the USSR eventually dissolved in 1991 however, many top foreign policy advisors advised against continuing NATO expansion and instead of continuing to isolate Russia, inviting them more into the international fold.
This thread does a great job of highlighting top foreign advisors and their warnings about Ukraine over the years, from the architect of the US' cold war strategy George Kennan to Bill Clinton's former defense secretary William Perry, all warning that NATO's continued expansion would eventually lead to catastrophic results.
John Mearsheimer was widely criticized for his take on the west leading Ukraine to destruction in 2015, yet looking at what's happening seven years later he couldn't have called it any more accurately.
Even the current CIA director (he was the US ambassador to Moscow at the time) wrote about the dangers of expanding NATO, particularly in the Ukraine, given that Russia would feel encircled and have serious security concerns.
Those voices have been completely drowned out however, and NATO has continued their expansion efforts in the years since despite being well aware of the risks.
This expansionism has led to various talks with Ukraine over the years about the country potentially joining the alliance, which Russia sees as a direct threat to its security - Ukraine had already given up their nuclear weapons in the 90's in a peace deal with Russia, but a pact with NATO would not only allow NATO to build military bases in Ukraine and along the over 2000km long border it shares with Russia, it would also allow them to move nuclear weapons into the country and within range of Moscow should war break out.
Though many have simply dismissed these fears as paranoia, consider this - if Mexico wasn't a friendly state to the US like it currently is, and they decided to join an alliance with Russia which allowed Russia to build military bases along its border with the US, and potentially even deploy nuclear weapons if required, would you think the US was paranoid if it saw this as a direct threat to its country?
The situation Russia faces is identical yet like usual, most people have been presented the situation through a single lens which neglects to identify the concerns of the other side, especially with western media depicting Russia as the "bad guys" in every way possible dating back to the cold war.
Despite campaigning on negotiating peace with Russia and the segment of their country vehemently opposed to western alliances, Zelenskyy did the exact opposite, taking a hard line approach to Russia and openly vying for western alliances against their northern neighbour.
Putin made his concerns clear and certainly didn't hide the fact that there would be consequences should Ukraine continue down this path - the message was to stay neutral or else. In the long run, having Ukraine as a buffer state between the two powers works best for everyone, NATO nations and Ukraine included, but western leaders would rather antagonize Russia than choose diplomacy.
Rather than heed Putin's warning, Zelenskyy continued down his suicidal path, either out of sheer hubris or the belief that the west would surely support him should Russia attempt anything major in response. After all, Ukraine was already receiving massive amounts of weaponry from the US and other western countries - in 2021 alone the US sent $650 million worth of weaponry to Ukraine - as they shelled the Donbas region and built up their defenses against the Russians.
The west was happy to let their new friend antagonize Russia and make the arms manufacturers that "donate" to their campaigns happy - after all, the only people that would be hurt should it backfire would be the people of Ukraine, something that the west - and clearly Zelenskyy - don't actually care about.
Well, it turns out that if you poke the bear long enough, that bear is eventually going to rip your fucking head off.
The Reality of the Invasion
As troops lined up along the Ukrainian border, it was clear things would escalate in the near future unless diplomacy prevailed. Russia, though it wasn't presented in western media, made their demands clear: remain neutral and stop trying to join NATO, recognize Crimea as a Russian territory (which the rest of the world has already done), and stop getting weapons from the west.
Rather than even attempt to negotiate and prevent bloodshed, Zelenskyy and his allies ignored Russia and continued posturing.
When Russia did invade on February 23 (exactly eight years to the day of the end of the Maidan Uprising, which also coincided with a bill to eliminate Russian as an official language in the country, though the president at the time vetoed it - a similar bill marking Ukrainian as the sole language of the state was passed in 2019 under Zelenskyy), the west acted with shock and horror and claimed Russia invaded with no provocation.
The media portrayed the military assault as akin to Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland, pretending Putin was a violent madman planning to occupy Ukraine and possibly even gain more territory after it had been conquered. Rather than accurately portray the conflict and what Russia is there for, the narrative turned to an all-out assault of Europe and freedom itself.
In reality, Russia's rather limited (in comparative terms) invasion has shown exactly what their intentions are, and it certainly isn't interested in occupying Ukraine.
Putin has stated his demands from day one, though they now include giving Russia the Donbas region that has been fully captured by Russian forces, along with what he had previously asked for: Ukraine refusing to join NATO and thus staying neutral to both sides, putting a stop to arms shipments from the west, and to recognize Crimea's independence from the Ukraine.
Had Ukraine simply stayed neutral, none of this would be happening, and they could put an end to it at any point - that isn't to excuse Russia's actions or to claim they're innocent, but it certainly isn't a case of having a "good" guy against a "bad" guy as the media has presented it, nor is Russia trying to take over the entire country or recreate the USSR's empire.
Thus far, Russia has made a considerable effort in avoiding civilian and even military casualties in Ukraine - rather than a NATO style-invasion which involves bombarding a nation with rounds of indiscriminate air assaults before boots are even deployed (see: Serbia), Russia has targeted military installations first and foremost and have avoided indiscriminate shelling (something Ukraine hasn't done during its attacks on Donbas), have been urging Ukrainian troops to surrender at every turn (plenty of examples: see the Chernobyl site which was surrendered and is now being guarded by both Ukrainian and Russian forces, or the "Snake Island 13" that ended up in reality being over 80 soldiers that surrendered and were unharmed), and have been pleading with civilians not to enter the conflict.
The Russians have even been giving areas advance notice of any strikes so civilians can flee or bunker down, which is why virtually all of the video footage shared showing "Russian" attacks on civilian areas have proven to either be Ukrainian troops or old footage - if they were killing civilians en masse like the media would have you believe, we'd have actual footage of it by now considering virtually everyone there has a smartphone and internet access is still intact.
Seized areas aren't even having Ukrainian flags removed or replaced by Russian flags, normally a given during a so-called occupation - instead they're being told not to travel in groups of more than two people and that vehicles in the area must drive slowly; I've seen far worse restrictions placed on civilians in "free" countries over the past two years in the name of COVID.
Meanwhile in Kyiv and other cities still under Ukrainian control, Zelenskyy appears to be purposely putting citizens in harms' way - in addition to official Ukrainian channels publishing instructionals on how to make Molotov cocktails to throw at Russian tanks, he released violent criminals, rapists and even pedophiles from Ukrainian prisons and armed them on the claim that they'll fight against the Russians, leaving citizens to fend for themselves as criminals walk the streets and crime runs rampant.
They're even reportedly training children how to use AK-47s in Lviv, a major city in western Ukraine.
For an invasion, the Russians are handling Ukraine with kid-gloves compared to US or NATO foreign interventions and they are keeping civilian infrastructure intact - this further reinforces the reality that they are there simply to remove what Russia deems as a threat, whether you agree with their assessment of that threat or not.
Retired US Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor rather simply summed things up on Fox Business the other day, which seemed to stun yet another clueless media member when someone dared to be informed about the situation.
Even if you believe Russia to be completely at fault for the current situation, to argue that they are simply there to gain territory or that Russian citizens not involved should be punished is purely ignorant of the situation.
If Russia deserves to be punished by the global community for invading a sovereign nation, how come the US hasn't been punished at all despite their many transgressions over the course of decades?
Just look at the war in Iraq - the same people calling for World War III are the ones who backed the Iraq invasion that ended up resulting in the rise of ISIS and left Iraq even worse off, all to eliminate "weapons of mass destruction" that there was never any proof of and is now widely accepted never existed.
If a country should be punished for invading another nation when it believes its security is under threat, shouldn't a country that invades on those pretexts when it knows its security isn't under threat be punished even more?
The US and its allies in NATO are currently bombing Yemen and Syria, where drone strikes have killed countless civilians, yet most people in the US and Europe don't even know it's happening. The international outrage is simply ignorant of reality and shows the incredible lack of self-awareness that now permeates western society.
Just look at all of the interventionism the US and NATO have taken part in over the last few decades and you'll find their track record is absolutely appalling - can you even think of a single time in recent history where the US has participated in a war and pushed for "regime change", where it has actually improved a situation and hasn't backfired in the long run?
The US invaded Afghanistan two decades ago, vowing to eliminate terrorism and corruption in the "Graveyard of Empires". After twenty years, the US abandoned the country and left billions of dollars worth of military equipment and infrastructure to the Taliban, leaving the terrorist organization with much more power than they possessed before Afghanistan was ever invaded.
How about we circle back to Iraq? Ignoring the since proven completely false reasons why Iraq was invaded, their "successful" campaign and toppling of a dictator gave rise to ISIS and left Iraq in a worse state than before they arrived, with tens of thousands of innocent people tortured and killed by the terrorist group in the aftermath.
Let's try Libya - remember dictator Moammar Gaddafi and how he was brutally murdered, his corpse paraded around in the streets, while warmongers like Hillary Clinton joked about his demise? Surely that counts for something! Well, not only is Libya still in turmoil, it is now known as the world capital of the slave trade.
The irony of warmongers condemning Russia and ignoring their own past is truly something to behold - just take Condoleeza Rice, the former Secretary of State during the Afghan and Iraq wars, calling the invasion of a sovereign nation a war crime and condemning Russia for their actions as if nobody remembers who she is.
And let's not even talk about the astounding hypocrisy involved in punishing Russia while continuing to expand ties with China, a nation that was (is) running concentration camps and even organ harvesting operations (see the Panama Papers) and has suffered zero consequences to date.
Putin has proven over his decades in power to be nothing if not practical - occupying Ukraine for any extended period ends up being far more costly than beneficial (especially with the world's response to the conflict) and the sheer amount of force required to occupy a country of Ukraine's size for any extended length of time would be detrimental even to a nation with the power Russia has - just look at the costs involved in occupying Afghanistan which is a third the size of Ukraine.
Putin has made his demands clear and it would benefit all involved for Ukraine to return to neutrality, making negotiations a must; there is a clear out for Ukraine and it has been reasonable from the start, and considering the alternative will come at grave human costs, it's really a no-brainer.
Yet, for some reason, both the US and Europe have been against peace talks - despite all the feigned outrage for the Ukrainian people, they claim that diplomacy can't take place "at the end of a gun".
Apparently, they believe nobody has ever paid attention in history class, or has seen what the US and European nations have done countless times over the past decades. Remember NATO bombing the hell out of Serbia and killing hundreds of civilians? According to Time magazine that was brilliant diplomacy that "opened the door to peace", yet when Russia does it (and far less savagely), Russia is labelled as Nazi Germany 2.0.
Though Zelenskyy has still held peace talks with Putin (and has thus far refused to concede anything), his willingness to keep Ukrainians in harms way is stunning - he even dismissed Russia's offer to create humanitarian corridors for civilians to escape battlefronts given that several of the proposed exit routes would lead them to Russia or Belarus.
At this point, it appears that everyone is set to lose - Ukrainians have seen their country once again ravaged by corruption and violence, Russian citizens have lost many luxuries and connections to the west, the western world is seeing an already crumbling economy spiral out of control - but there is one clear winner that no one in the media appears willing to talk about...
Crippling the West From Within - China's Second Assault
As if the self-imposed havoc the west has seen over the past few years in the name of COVID wasn't enough, all of which was at the very least somewhat aided by the Chinese government, we have now turned to outright economic suicide under the false pretense that it will somehow deal a devastating blow to Russia.
The astoundingly stupid economic sanctions that the US and most of Europe has imposed on Russia not only hurts innocent Russian citizens far more than it will ever hurt Putin or his allies, but it will also hurt the west far more in the long run.
This economic warfare - which was not only done through official sanctions, but by various virtue-signalling companies that includes everything from Microsoft stopping Xbox and software sales in Russia to Exxon Mobil abandoning Russian oil and gas projects - is only further isolating Russia and forcing them to expand trade with their other allies.
It's also shutting Russia off from the rest of the world as a society, as everything from social media sites to gaming platforms are abandoning the country's citizens, as if that isn't simply going to bolster resentment toward the west.
Even Apple has shut down all sales and services in Russia - the very same company that continues to manufacture its wares using slave labour in China and even railed against the notion of removing child labour in the country - and were praised for "standing up to Russia", proving just how ignorant the average person nowadays really is.
Everything that Russia needs however, China is eagerly stepping up to provide.
Already announcing the expansion of a massive new oil deal with Russia in February, the two nations are negotiating vast increases in trade and Russia is now even moving to use China's credit card system after Visa and Mastercard stopped operations in the country, joining online payment processors like Paypal, Apple Pay and Google Pay in their own boycotts of Russia.
Now you may think that these crippling sanctions are devastating to Russia - and sure, it isn't convenient for them especially in the short term - but they are already securing deals with China and even India (which the US is apparently considering adding sanctions to for not joining western nations in sanctioning Russia, ironic given China hasn't either, but then again India hasn't paid the Biden family and many other US politicians millions of dollars over the years) to get what their country requires and appear to be having a much easier time doing so than the US and Europe as they desperately scramble to find energy sources that they currently rely on Russia for.
The US is even trying to secure deals with Venezuela and Iran for oil, both violent dictatorships with Iran being one of the biggest terrorist hotbeds on the planet and Venezuela headed by a regime that the US has previously been trying to oust.
The greatest irony is the US and Europe purposely left out energy purchases from their sanctions so they could still buy much needed resources from Putin, only to now scramble to figure out what to do should Putin justifiably turn off the taps.
In the immediate future, the entire world (outside of perhaps China which is once again benefitting greatly, what a coincidence) is looking at major problems with an economy that was already crumbling under the weight of inflation, Europe is facing potential famine if Russia decides to cut off fertilizer supplies, oil is surging to record highs that will only continue to rise, and the US is undermining its own currency.
Such a sudden and drastic isolation of Russia shocked many in the west, but it doesn't appear to be a surprise to Russia as the country had already been heavily investing in the Chinese yuan over recent years. After the recent sanctions they're even apparently requesting payments for their current deals with China to be paid in yuan rather than the Russian ruble.
They're also implenting workarounds for the international payment system that is SWIFT, and along with China, have also heavily invested in gold, priming what is undoubtedly an attempt to move away from the US dollar as the global reserve currency.
With India also possibly joining in on the fun, such an economic alliance creating essentially their own separate economy would seriously undermine the US dollar, a currency which is already struggling as runaway inflation takes hold and crushes both the US and Europe under its weight.
Western governments are essentially pushing three major nations comprising nearly 3 billion people to trade with each other in currencies that aren't the US dollar - sounds smart right?
This is undoubtedly going to end up backfiring in a major way against the west, and its clear that even if there was an end to the conflict in Ukraine (which, given Russia's control of Eastern Ukraine at this point, that appears to be imminent), the economic ramifications are here to stay.
Russia is not going to simply go back to the status quo after such actions were taken against them, and after all the outrage and ridiculous rhetoric around Putin and Russia being the second coming of Hitler and Nazi Germany, that genie is likely never going back into the bottle.
Speaking of Nazis...
Ukrainian Government's Corruption and Neo Nazi Ties
Since Russia began invading Ukraine, the media and politicians across the west have turned the story into one we should all be familiar with - that this democratic, free nation is being invaded to destroy its democracy and oppress its peaceful, free people.
As we've already covered, Ukraine isn't going to be occupied for long, and it's not going to go back to the Soviet-style existence it previously endured during the USSR's reign. But what has become almost laughable is the blatant gaslighting that has been circulating about Ukraine and its government.
Prior to this year, Ukraine has long been recognized as one of, if not the, most corrupt countries in Europe, and for good reason. The myth going around now is that since the coup in 2014, the corruption was rooted out by the Ukrainian citizens - things couldn't be further from the truth.
Many of the Ukrainians that are there know better - just watch as this French-Ukrainian woman whose family remains in Ukraine stuns a French news panel by explaining how they view the current administration as corrupt puppets and many of their fellow Ukrainians don't want to die for a war they started.
Perhaps the funniest moment of the interview comes when one of the panelists thinks that a government couldn't possibly be called a puppet government when they're democratically elected, and that if you're unhappy with your government you vote them out, when another panelist then had to remind him that just 8 years ago a prior democratically elected president was called a puppet and was ousted in a coup in the same country.
As for the politician the west is currently lionizing, let's take a closer look at their current president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Red flag numero uno of course is that Zelenskyy, much like various corrupt political leaders around the world such as Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau, and Emmanuel Macron, is a member of the World Economic Forum.
Formerly an actor and comedian, Zelenskyy actually played a teacher in a Ukrainian sitcom that saw his character, so fed up with corruption in Ukraine, run in a presidential election which he then surprisingly won. In 2019, he turned fiction into reality when he campaigned on an anti-corruption platform and specifically targeted politicians who hid their wealth offshore, promising to change Ukrainian politics and bring peace to Ukraine.
Once he gained power however, that facade quickly evaporated. Zelenskyy and his partners in his administration (many of whom he worked with on the afforementioned show, and have other ties to criminal elements) were named in the Panama Papers, where he was connected to a web of shady offshore accounts worth millions.
Since gaining power, Zelenskyy has banned no less than four news outlets from Ukraine that had reported negatively on him, and similarly to what is regularly talked about when discussing Russia, several journalists who were highly critical of Zelenskyy have ended up going missing under suspicious circumstances over the last few years.
The more you dig on Zelenskyy and his lackeys, the more corruption you'll find, including links to a powerful and extremely corrupt oligarch fraudster.
So, you ask, what does all this have to do with Nazis? And that's where things get complicated.
One key historical figure whose name and symbols associated with him have popped up plenty recently (including at a Canadian rally for Ukraine featuring Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, a World Econimic Forum member who seized Canadian protesters bank accounts for "being extremists" and claimed her grandfather literally being a Nazi propagandist was "Russian disinformation") is Stepan Bandera.
Bandera's story, like virtually every politician's in Ukraine, is complicated, but the jist of it is this - he was an ultranationalist and antisemetic fascist that fought against communist Russia and is viewed by many as a fighter for Ukrainian independence, but he and his followers were also responsible for the massacre of tens of thousands of civilians in Poland and Jews in Ukraine during the Ukrainian holocaust.
Despite being a fascist war criminal, you can spot slogans from his political party OUN and banners and merch with his name being proudly sported at plenty of Ukrainian rallies, and he's even featured on a postage stamp in Ukraine, still being hailed by many as a national hero.
Ukraine has a long history with Neo Nazi groups that is simply too long to explain here, but unlike in most societies where those kinds of groups are cast to the fringes of society, those groups have become quite literally embedded within the Ukrainian government and military in recent years.
Just take the now infamous Azov Battalion for example.
The Azov Battalion was formed as a volunteer unit in 2014 following the coup that year and was vital in recapturing Mariupol from pro-Russian separatists that same year. The group consisted largely of white supremacists and they drew fire for their usage of Nazi symbols, as well as allegations of torture and war crimes against separatists.
The group was nevertheless incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard late in 2014; in 2018, the US congress even passed a bill blocking military aid to the Azov Battalion due to their white supremacist ideology, though that provision has since been ignored following the Russian invasion.
The Azov Battalion, and other groups like it, have also boasted being trained by NATO forces in the past, including the Canadian military.
Another Neo Nazi group embedded in Ukrainian politics is the S14 (also referred to as the C14 in English).
A far-right ultranationalist political party called Svoboda, which has since faded into relative obscurity politically, gave birth to S14 in 2010 as its "youth wing". The 14 in S14's name is a reference to the Fourteen Words slogan by American white supremacist David Lane and its current leader recently explained how vital the gang was during the Euromaidan; he also claimed that they started the war (this was before the Russians invaded) and that the west keeps sending them arms because "we have fun killing".
Despite their Neo Nazi ideology and reputation for violence, in 2018, Ukraine's capital of Kyiv entered an agreement to have the group form a municipal guard to patrol the city's streets and the group was also being funded to "promote national patriotic education projects" in the capital. Just months later S14 made international headlines for their violent assaults on Romani camps in the city, yet they remain to "guard" Kyiv's streets today.
And those views are far from the fringes - even the official social media accounts for the Ukrainian government promote the kind of vile thinking that permeates groups like the Azov Battalion and S14.
Just take the official Ukrainian Special Operations Command's Facebook page, which posted a since-altered warning to Russian soldiers claiming they will no longer capture surrendering Russians and will instead "slaughter them like pigs" regardless of rank, publically proclaiming that their forces would be committing war crimes.
The official Twitter account of the Ukrainian National Guard similarly shocked people by posting a video clip of one of their members coating bullets in pig fat as an insult to Muslim soldiers fighting for Russia.
It should also come as no surprise that there are widespread reports of black and brown people being barred from evacuation buses and other transport by Ukrainian militia as they tried to escape the conflict.
Neo Nazi and white supremacist ideology run rampant in Ukrainian society today and this has been reported extensively in the past, though mysteriously it has all seemingly been forgotten in the last few weeks.
In fact, it's now being openly supported - Facebook had previously banned mention of the Azov Batallion under its "Dangerous Individuals and Organizations" policy, yet since the Russian invasion they are temporarily allowing individuals to praise the Neo Nazi group. Amazon is even selling Azov Battalion shirts around the world.
Twitter has similarly abandoned its policy of "removing posts that incite violence" - remember when people's accounts were being suspended and tweets removed for supporting the January 6th protests because they were "inciting violence" (even if those posts explicitly called for peaceful protests)? Hell the President of the United States was even permanently banned from the platform.
Now, posts showing "weak spots" on tanks and how to make molotov cocktails to take advantage of them (seriously, do not attempt this, ever) are allowed to stay up after going viral, and calls for Putin's assassination or death to Russians are rampant yet not one user has been banned for it.
Neocon RINO Lindsey Graham openly called for Putin's assassination and his social media posts haven't even been removed nor has he been suspended or banned - just imagine someone calling for Zelenskyy's assassination and not being "cancelled" for it.
PBS meanwhile just promoted an interview with a Ukrainian mayor that is an unabashed Neo Nazi and member of the Svoboda party. Konotop's mayor Artem Semenikhin reportedly drives around in a car bearing the number 14/88, a numerological reference to the phrases "we must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children" and "Heil Hitler" - he also replaced a portrait of the last Ukrainian president with one of the afforementioned Stepan Bandera, and even refused to fly the city's official flag because it sported the star of David.
The ridiculous interview sees Semenikhin holding a rifle up to the camera that he thanks America for sending and he refers to the Russian soldiers as cockroaches - all in his office that features his portrait of Bandera that is notably blurred for the entire video.
The irony that for the past several years a large portion of western society has called anyone that disagrees with "the narrative" a Nazi, and that same portion of society is now openly supporting proven Neo Nazi groups, is quite something.
The Propaganda War
Since Russia began its invasion, you've undoubtedly heard some of the propaganda stories making the rounds in the media. For example, the Ghost of Kyiv story about a brave Ukrainian pilot striking fear into the hearts of Russians everywhere, only for it to be revealed as an utter fake, with footage making the rounds actually being taken from a videogame.
Or how about the Snake Island 13, which featured 13 brave Ukrainian soldiers defiantly tell a Russian warship to "go fuck yourselves" after the warship demanded their surrender, after which the men were slaughtered, only for it to be revealed that the 13 men were actually some 82 and that they were all alive and well, and did in fact surrender, after which they were captured without incident by Russian troops.
Maybe you heard about the Babi Yar holocaust memorial in Kyiv being bombed by Russia? That too never happened, as confirmed by an Israeli reporter who visited the memorial after the fact and showed that it was untouched, with the closest shells having struck over 300 metres away at a TV tower that was being used by the Ukrainian military.
All of those stories were posted by official Ukrainian government social media accounts and made the rounds on news casts and social media without any vetting. The New York Times even acknowledged that much of what's being shared from the Ukraine is either false or purely fabricated, but defends the propaganda by stating its a part of the Ukrainian strategy and is intended to keep morale high.
Because apparently the truth doesn't matter in times of war. As if that isn't the time when the truth matters most.
Some of the stories being passed off as news in the past few weeks are simply absurd - Zelenskyy has supposedly fended off three separate assassination attempts in the past week alone, thousands of Russian soldiers have dropped their weapons and surrendered without fighting (with not a single shred of evidence) because they weren't told what they'd be doing, the Russian army thought they'd capture the country within four days and are already out of fuel and supplies (they've supposedly been out of fuel for the past week, yet they continue capturing more land every day, funny how that works); the list goes on.
But hey, critical thinking is likewise unimportant according to the "paper of record".
Even COVID propagandists have gotten in on the action, apparently feeling left out now that the corona hysteria has been replaced with war mongering.
Eric Feigl-Ding, who has somehow managed to be pushed as a "COVID-19 expert" by various news outlets despite being a nutritionist with no actual expertise on the matter, recently posted a "scoop" that Russians cut off access to the main warehouse of Novo Nordisk, a pharma company. He goes into detail about how Russia is cutting off the country's insulin supply and how war crimes are being committed, yet of course never updates his thread when Novo Nordisk itself responds by saying they are fully operational and are only being impacted by shortages in driving staff.
And then there's all of the clips and pictures going around supposedly taken in Ukraine, yet are old images or footage, were from other unrelated conflicts (ironically, some have even been from countries being attacked by NATO forces), or were actually depicting Ukrainian troops rather than Russian (such as the viral social media post about a fighter jet firing a rocket at an apartment building, only for it to actually be a Ukrainian MIG rather than a Russian jet, or the Ukrainian assault vehicle that ran over a civilian car that was blamed on the Russians).
Instances of this are far too numerous to count and have even gotten into the realm of comedy.
The BBC was caught presenting Russian parade footage of jets flying over a city as if it were harrowing footage from the Ukrainian invasion.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was recently confronted by a "Ukrainian journalist" in a now viral video where she is practically begging for the UK to enter into the war. That "journalist" is one Daria Kaleniuk, a member of the World Economic Forum who has previously appeared in a number of pro-Biden campaign ads and is actually the executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center in Ukraine, which may just be the most incompetent agency in the world if the Ukrainian government is any indication.
Most ridiculous however was the footage of a downed TIE fighter and several fully-costumed Stormtroopers that somehow made it into a real news cast in Israel that was supposed to be showing the invasion of Ukraine.
The poorly orchestrated propaganda hasn't just been harmless stupidity or posturing however, as Ukraine appears increasingly deadset on drawing the west into nuclear conflict under false pretenses.
The scariest example of this came late last week as officials in Ukraine (including President Zelenskyy himself) spread word that Europe's largest nuclear power plant was being shelled by Russian forces, even going so far as to claim that elevated radiation levels were detected in the area.
These claims would quickly be rebuked by the International Atomic Energy Agency itself and even Ukrainian admins, as it was soon revealed that a small training building near the power plant was shelled and caught fire - the power plant itself was unscathed and was never attacked, however captured live stream footage appears to show that Russian forces were fired upon by someone in the building outside the plant, raising questions of whether Ukrainian forces were trying to bait Russian forces into attacking the facility.
The blatant propaganda even supposedly earned Zelenskyy a lengthy phone call with Biden as he again campaigned to have the US enter into open conflict with Russia - even a day later after the attempt failed, Zelenskyy continued to promote the lie to garner more support for World War III from western audiences. They also tried a similar tact previously with the Chernobyl site, which has since been forgotten about since nothing actually happened there.
Despite the power plant never being fired upon or ever being in danger like what was first reported, virtually every major news network is still spreading the lie that Russia attacked and set a nuclear power plant on fire, with articles reporting the initial erroneous news staying up and unaltered even days later at the time of writing.
Zelenskyy has also run with the west's comparisons to Nazi Germany (how ironic given his own nation's current state) by claiming Putin is essentially seeking to recreate the USSR and their regional dominance, with countries like Poland being targets in the near future. He's even gone so far as to suggest that the west are too scared to do what's necessary (because apparently nuclear war is the solution), and that they should simply send him the weapons and planes to defeat Russia instead.
The former actor is proving to be the "madman" the west has claimed Putin to be for many years, leading his nation forward down a path of destruction as he pretends to play soldier for the camera and watches as his country suffers for his hubris.
All the while, the mass cancellation of Russia by western governments and media is creating two separate realities.
With Europe officially banning Russian news channels and many North American broadcasters following suit even if the US government hasn't officially censored those outlets, western audiences are effectively being cut off from Russian sources to see for themselves what Russia claims - as the truth regularly lies somewhere in the middle, censorship of one side during a conflict is never a good thing for any society especially if they're trying to figure out where the "other side" is coming from.
This has led to Russia banning western outlets in the same fashion, along with social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, further isolating the region in much the same way as China - this is creating insular societies that are more prone to propaganda given their inability or difficulty accessing other viewpoints, with the west receiving one narrative and one narrative only while Russia receives the opposite.
Increased societal aggression towards the Russian people is also being encouraged by western media and is running rampant on social media - take one look at accounts of people that have believed they can hide from a virus for the past two years, and you'll see calls for boycotts of Russian athletes, for students to be removed from universities, for Russian citizens to have their assets seized, and for a "no fly zone" to be established in Ukraine by the US or EU that would result in open war between Russia and whoever attempts to do such a thing. Because apparently a virus with a 99.7%+ survival rate is the second coming of the apocalypse, but nuclear conflict is a smart thing to throw yourselves into.
The penalization of Russian citizens for something they have no control over is not only showing western society has no self-awareness and is incredibly hypocritical, it's also more evidence the "cancel culture" bubble has absolutely no awareness of history.
The same crowd that decries Japanese internment camps as a major black mark against North America and wonder how on earth such a thing could happen, are now turning against Russian citizens who have nothing to do with the situation in Ukraine and calling for them to be exiled from society, and anyone that disagrees with the Ukrainian narrative is labelled a Putin apologist or Russian asset.
According to the BBC, Russian propaganda works so well on Russians because those who criticize Russia have for so long been presented as traitors or foreign agents for the west. Hmm, that seems familiar doesn't it?
It's almost as if anyone that's disagreed with the COVID narrative here has been labelled as "anti-science" and a selfish threat to society; protesters standing up for their individual freedoms have been labelled as white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers with "unacceptable views"; and people that call for freedom of speech and push back against censorship are labelled as racists and extremists.
Perhaps it's time to send the media members and politicians off to fight their wars and simply mind our own business.