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Will we execute the Russian oligarchs?  The West's moral fervour breeds persecution

(DMITRY ASTAKHOV/AFP via Getty Images)

(DMITRY ASTAKHOV/AFP via Getty Images)


September 21, 2023   4 mins

As the war was starting in the early hours of February 24, 2022, when the CIA was forecasting Kyiv’s imminent fall and a quick victory for Moscow, a wealthy Russian friend mailed me for my views. His own were conveyed by the words “absolutely beyond any reasonable apprehension”.

That is, my friend was extremely anxious even before he found out that he was no longer a normal human being who could only be charged and prosecuted for a specific crime: he had become an “oligarch” and, as such, a criminal associate of war-criminal Putin. This made him subject to the confiscation of whatever he owned anywhere outside Russia, which I imagine is quite a lot.

It was a very 20th-century development: first, create a thoroughly pre-condemned category; then, without any need for evidence, list your enemies as belonging to it. For the Bolsheviks, that category was “counter-revolutionary”, quite enough for a bullet and, under Stalin, a train journey to the gulag. The Nazis had their purely racial definition of “Jew”, thereby preventing escape-by-conversion as in almost all prior persecutions, including Spain’s in 1492.

Then came Mao’s definition of “landlord”: as soon as the Communists came to power, anyone so labelled in a Chinese village, including the owners of very modest plots, lost their house and contents along with their land and food supply. That did not, however, cause much starvation — since many landlords, or rather ex-landlords by then, were simply killed, with any desirable spouses redistributed as concubines or pressured into marrying their late husband’s persecutors. When Mao unleashed his Cultural Revolution in 1966, he needed no fewer than nine categories to snag his millions of enemies: ex-landlords, “rich” peasants (three pigs were enough), counter-revolutionaries, bad elements, rightists, traitors, foreign agents, capitalist roaders and the “Stinking Ninth”: intellectuals.

Xi Jinping’s father, Xi Zhongxun, already in exile for having inadvertently published the biography of a Communist hero whom Mao secretly hated, had more than one category listed on the heavy placard hanging from his neck when he was brought back to Beijing to run the gauntlet, while Xi’s mother, herself periodically beaten, was shouting abuse at every step. More than 36 million were beaten or killed under one or more of Mao’s nine categories, including those who were sliced, barbecued and eaten in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

So far, nobody has suggested the public execution of the Russian oligarchs. But the category has been very firmly established in the collective minds of public opinion as irremediably criminal, and the names of those listed have been widely publicised and pounced upon. Along with unpublicised restrictions, confiscations and humiliations, Putin’s invasion triggered the much-televised confiscation of yachts all over the world, causing a global effusion of schadenfreude.

It was with a cheerful tweet that French Finance minister Bruno LeMaire personally announced the early seizure of Igor Sechin’s 280-foot yacht Amore Vero in a repair yard near Marseilles: “I thank French customs officers who ensure the respect of the European Union’s sanctions against those near to power in Russia.” There had been no French trial proving that Sechin had committed a crime; with the “category” short-cut, none is needed.

LeMaire did cite European Union sanctions, which hardly applied when the government of Fiji, nowhere near EU membership, seized the 348-foot Amadea of Suleyman Kerimov. Not to be outdone, the Spanish police seized the 255-foot Tango because its owner was Viktor Vekselberg, whom the US Treasury Department listed as having close ties to Putin.

Italy’s first seizure was the Lady M, only 213 feet long, not much given that its owner was Alexei Mordashov, Russia’s richest businessman. But he was not the richest for nothing: Mordashov’s real yacht with two helicopter pads and a waterfall was safe in the Seychelles. (Yes, the waterfall is a bit much, but the fact remains that no court has proven that Mordashov is a criminal.) Italian officials also seized Gennady Timchenko’s Lena, with five cabins but worth only a measly $8 million: in Portofino, if your yacht is worth $8 million, you anchor it well out of sight, and in Monaco they will not let you in at all. In no case was there a trial, or evidence of wrong-doing presented.

None of this was supposed to happen when the US Treasury published its list of 96 Russian oligarchs in 2018 — that being the mother of all lists but for Canada’s, which includes names unmentioned by anyone else, possibly because of clerical errors. The Treasury document made it crystal clear that it was not listing criminals of any sort: “in no way should [the list] be interpreted to impose sanctions on those individuals or entities.” It continued: “[inclusion in the report] does not constitute the determination by any agency that any of those individuals or entities meet the criteria for designation under any sanctions program… [nor that] the US Government has information about the individual’s involvement in malign activities.”

So why did the US Treasury publish the list at all? The straightforward answer is that it had no choice: intense lobbying had resulted in the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017” which required the Secretary of the Treasury to submit a detailed report on “senior political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation”. The Treasury then published its list, mingling real rogues with lucky businessmen and brilliant entrepreneurs. Officials told the press and all who would listen that the only criterion for inclusion was simply to have a Russian name in Forbes’s list of individuals with a net worth over $1 billion. The 2017 Act had provided for consultations with the Director of National Intelligence to obtain specific information, but none of the 17 different intelligence agencies he controls has more than one or two Russian readers on staff, and they are much too busy to research biographies. And so the pre-condemned category “oligarch” was created…

Back to today, the latest word from Brussels is that European Union officials have become queasy about the indiscriminate use of “oligarch”, which is now displaced by “influential Russian entrepreneur” in EU documents. But this hardly makes a difference; there has been a colossal violation of that very great blessing that allows honest citizens to sleep soundly, and that Russia tragically lacks: The Rule of Law. Defined by just four short Latin words nulla poena sine lege (“no penalty without a law”), it requires specificity in defining crimes and not just a label, whether it is oligarch or the EU’s “influential Russian entrepreneur.

Anybody who is not troubled by what has happened to the 96 listed by the US Treasury, with its categorical but totally ignored disclaimers, is morally in the same boat as those who are indifferent to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Between us and oppression there is only the Rule of Law, which can never be compromised without evil consequences.


Professor Edward Luttwak is a strategist and historian known for his works on grand strategy, geoeconomics, military history, and international relations.

ELuttwak

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Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
7 months ago

First they came for the oligarchs,
and I said nothing (way too rich, Russian, Putin’s mates)
Then the Canadian Truckers
and I said nothing (since they were evil anti-vaxxers, or something)
Then they came for Nigel Farrage
and I said nothing (rich, Brexiteer)
Now they’ve come for Russell Brand
and I said nothing (not very nice at all according to his exes)
And in between a whole bunch of other people
and I said nothing (a bad bunch, according to the media. No smoke without fire old boy)

You know how this ends.
(I acknowledge that it is perhaps crass to echo Paster Niemoller in this context. The above are after all not being sent to the gas chambers. But the principle, of framing someone as being so awful that we don’t have to observe legal norms, and gradual erosion of the principles of law upon which the whole edifice of a free society is based is an absolutely real present danger to us all. And once it’s gone, who’s to say the penalties will remain financial?)

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Which is why we need to confiscate their wealth to rebuild Ukraine, and then try them in a court of law.

michael harris
MH
michael harris
7 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Perhaps you should try them in a court of law before confiscating their wealth. Or you might be mistaken for a looter.

TheElephant InTheRoom
TI
TheElephant InTheRoom
7 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Your comments are always so pathetic. And you spend a lot of time on here, sadly. Is is your job, perhaps?

Duane M
DM
Duane M
7 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Right, because confiscating their wealth can be used as evidence in court: they must have been guilty or we wouldn’t have seized their assets. That sort of thinking worked well in the witch trials.

Johann Strauss
JS
Johann Strauss
6 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Try the Russian Oligarchs in court for exactly what crime: the crime of being born in the ex-soviet union and being incredibly rich. As for Ukraine, Ukraine is not all good and likewise Russia in not all evil. The current conflict is far more subtle and the situation could have been completely avoided if the US, the neocons and Victoria Nuland had not continually pushed NATO ever eastwards while engineering a western-looking coup in Ukraine. When one has sown the wind, one inevitably reaps the whirwind.

TheElephant InTheRoom
TI
TheElephant InTheRoom
7 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

If you say things like this – you will be MORE than cancelled. Sorry Russell.
Reading from a sheet of paper, Brand claims that “the pandemic created at least 40 new big pharma billionaires,” before saying: “Pharmaceutical corporations like Moderna and Pfizer made $1,000 of profit every second from the COVID-19 vaccine.”
“More than two-thirds of Congress received campaign funding from pharmaceutical companies in the 2020 election,” he continued.
“Pfizer Chairman Albert Bourla told Time magazine in July 2020 that his company was developing a COVID vaccine for the good of humanity, not for money. And of course, Pfizer made 100 million dollars in profit in 2022.”

Dermot O'Sullivan
DO
Dermot O'Sullivan
7 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

2008 article on Brand:
https://thebrokenelbow.com/

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
7 months ago

Grim unfunny behaviour for sure, but hardly of a magnitude to suspend fundamental legal principles. This man is apparently being cut off from his income sources on account of allegations that, never mind not having been proved, haven’t even been investigated properly yet.

D Walsh
DW
D Walsh
7 months ago

The oligarchs hate Putin, the oligarchs support the neo cons, unless you understand this, you don’t understand the war on Russia

Also why are the rich in Russia called oligarchs, but not in the West, Why is Bill Gates or George Soros not called an oligarch

Chris D.
CD
Chris D.
7 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Exactly. As Balzac said (in so many words): all great fortunes are built on a crime, more or less respectable. With Russia a dangerous precedent has been set. As we saw with Robespierre, the executioner’s head is also attached at the neck.

Michael McElwee
MM
Michael McElwee
7 months ago
Reply to  Chris D.

I read recently, and for the first time, Kafka’s The Trial. It captures perfectly what we are now witnessing and what this writer points to; namely, persecutions by the nameless, without oral or written indictments, all of which ends one night with a knife in the heart at the edge of the city.

Douglas Redmayne
DR
Douglas Redmayne
7 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Bill Gates and the tech barons became rich by producing products that people want, ie computers, smartphones, the internet and soon Artificial General Intelligence and they therefore deserve reward. The oligarchs of Russia became rich when assets in Communist Russia were privatised by handing over shares to the workers which the latter were then forced to give to their elite in return for money when they weren’t paid. The oligarchs are like medieval robber barons.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
7 months ago

Russia’s billionaire class is more obviously sinister but perhaps you underestimate the corruption complex relationships that helped the tech barons achieve their fortunes (with the taxpayer’s ample assistance).

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

Correct, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed! Retribution normally follows excessive greed as history has shown on numerous occasions.
It shall DO so again.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
7 months ago

“Bill Gates and the tech barons became rich by producing products that people want, ie computers, smartphones, the internet and soon Artificial General Intelligence and they therefore deserve reward”.
Do you really think so?
If you scratch the surface of Microsoft’s success there is much to be concerned about

Duane M
DM
Duane M
7 months ago

Truly, the very cornerstone of Microsoft is MS-DOS, which Bill Gates obtained from its actual programmers and licensed to IBM.
See: https://www.businessinsider.com/history-of-dos-2011-7?op=1
And: https://computerhistory.org/blog/microsoft-ms-dos-early-source-code/
Bill Gates may be a clever businessman, but he’s not that much of an inventor.

D Walsh
DW
D Walsh
7 months ago

I don’t like the Russian oligarchs, I completely agree with you. They made their vast fortunes dishonesty.

It was the oligarchs who made Putin president, he then stabbed them in the back, so they hate Putin. Watching Roman Abramovich lose Chelsea and scrambling to save his mega ship, Made me chuckle, I bet Putin nearly died of laughter

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Probably because they didn’t get their assets from collapsed govt companies, usually through illegal means.
Last time I looked, Twitter was a failed US asset that Musk snapped up for pennies.

Nell Clover
NC
Nell Clover
7 months ago

We can add to “oligarch” the condemning label of “Russian”. Russian artists, Russian musicians and Russian writers have all been abused, dismissed and cancelled in the US and Europe for the sole crime of being Russian. For other Russians, shadow banking restrictions make life difficult (shadow because the UK government regulator’s published proposal was highly illegal).

You don’t need to be a European citizen to be protected by European law. Nationality is a protected characteristic of those who reside in Europe. Major public institutions and many private organisations have crossed a legal red line, often very publicly. Yet curiously there have been no complaints from the human rights moral guardians.

There are now quite a few cases going before the criminal and civil courts and tribunals. So far, the law for these Russians is being upheld. These cases show supposed “grown ups” leading major organisations were either pushed to behave illegally or swept up by hysteria. Neither explanation bodes well for the future of Western rule of law.

Last edited 7 months ago by Nell Clover
Anna Bramwell
AB
Anna Bramwell
7 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Remember when Cyprus seized bank accounts over 100000€ to help repay its debts, having lent money to Greece? So many people said, oh well, they are mostly Russians.

Samir Iker
SI
Samir Iker
7 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

The Russian thing is actually just a part of a trend – in a western world that is hyper politically correct, and where you can’t criticise certain groups at all (women, blacks, muslims, “indigenous” people)…..
It has become very common, fashionable even, to be bigoted against certain other groups, badmouth and slander them, even oppress them legally without due course of law.

Men, and white men are the prime example. Where you can punished for something allegedly done by you 10-20 years back, which may not even be illegal, without proof. Or be proclaimed of being guilty of everything, even while you are expected to run everything and invent the modern world at the same time.

Certain other groups fall in this bracket – Israelis, Indians and Russians for instance.
The Russian bit is fascinating, given that they were if anything the victims of authoritarianism and dreadful invasions in the last century. But those same “liberals” who despise “islamophobia” find it ok to speak of Russians as if they were subhuman.
There is a reason Demrats used the Russia angle for supposed election interference. Leave aside the hilarity of such accusations given what the US was doing in Ukraine at the same time, but accusing the Chinese or islamic countries wouldn’t work the same way.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Russians aren’t “sub-human.”
Nobody says that.
But their culture certainly is “sub-normal.” Unlike many places in the Americas, Africa and Asia, they embrace any strong man who will take care of them. They have the same mores as those of a criminal gang.
And because of this “shayka mentality” they never strive to do a good job, just appear to be best in the gang leader’s eyes.
That’s clearly why all their offensives have failed. As Russian milbloggers complain again and again, instead of doing a good job, each officer and NCO simply lies to his superior, stealing what he can along the way.
This is a clear case of the arrested development of a whole civilisation. It’s the contemptible submission of a peasant to the king or emperor.
No one can respect that in the 21st Century.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

The lack of pushback on a genocidal war condemns most Russians.

Benedict Waterson
BW
Benedict Waterson
7 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Yes, it is interesting in the context of this hysterical liberal culture, which uses ‘xenophobia’ as one of its policing words, how soon they switch into an anti-Russian rhetoric. Anyone from Russia is suddenly declasse, and no longer included in their supposedly infallible legal and moral systems. These people are following social fashions on an extremely superficial level.

Harry Child
HC
Harry Child
7 months ago

What is the Rule of Law. It has been stated that Blair’s decade in power produce over 127,500 pieces of new legislation and a judge at the time commented that it would take years to work through the implications.
There must be some basic laws that are a foundation for society but what are they? The rest are devises made by lawyers to keep other lawyers in employment. I would vote for any political party that stated it was not going to legislate any new laws but set Parliament the task to clear up the mess they have made in the past.

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
7 months ago
Reply to  Harry Child

Law has long been just what lawyers do.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  Harry Child

I suspect most laws in most nations forbid the ethnic cleansings and attacks on civilians we see every day in Russia’s war on Ukraine.
That is, unless you claim that deliberately blowing up an apartment complex is legal.
Fun Fact:
Putin came to power by blowing up four of them, and tried to do that to a fifth.

Rod McLaughlin
RM
Rod McLaughlin
7 months ago

Is ‘oligarch’ a racist term? Have you ever heard of a British oligarch?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
7 months ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

Yes, they are known as ‘philanthropists’ down our way.

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
7 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

And contrafribularities, I’m guessing?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
7 months ago

You understand the context from which I speak

Samir Iker
SI
Samir Iker
7 months ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

It’s as much of a racist term as muslim.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

“Russian Oligarch” signifies someone who obtained his wealth through stealing bankrupt Soviet companies.
Not many in the West have done that.

Anna Bramwell
AB
Anna Bramwell
7 months ago

It’s strange because the state that totally relied upon its oligarchs was Poroshenko’s Ukraine. It goes without saying that before the blessed St Victoria help bring real democracy to the Ukraine, there were more oligarchs in Ukraine than in Russia, and with one ex President in Prison and two narrowly escaped, the reputation of the government was not very good.

Martin Butler
MB
Martin Butler
7 months ago

If your happy with human beings owning limitless amounts of wealth and property with few questions asked about how they acquired it – or at least questions that wouldn’t stand up in a court of law – then fine you certainly shouldn’t have any problem with the Russian oligarchs. And it shouldn’t matter what his personal relationship with Putin is either. Neither should you have any problem with the tech billionaires – or any other type of billionaires come to that. And why should they pay anymore tax than anyone else – a flat rate seems fair. After all they earned their money so what’s your problem?
It will be interesting to see how far this absurd limitless wealth philosophy we are prepared to accept. We think the Oligarchs and the tech billionaires are very rich now. But I think this is just the beginning. Imagine billionaires owning a hundred times what Elon Musk owns, or a million times what he owns? According to the libertarian individualism that many parade as ‘common sense’, there are no limits. We can imagining someone owning most of the land in a country. After all there is no such thing as society. Just individual rights. Read Robert Nozick.

Andrew Boughton
AB
Andrew Boughton
7 months ago

Great piece.

Reginald Duquesnoy
RD
Reginald Duquesnoy
7 months ago

Hear who’s talking, the ultra-conman of the neo-cons, now springing to the defence of the oilygarchs who have looted and raped Mother Russia and salted, cleansed and stashed it away in the big Wall Street laundromat.
That cheeky flamboyance defies belief and common sense. But, honour amongst thieves, as they say in the “milieu”. And as the French bard so pointedly sang:” Nouveau con ou vieux con…quand on est con, on est con!” There is no cure for it.

Jürg Gassmann
JG
Jürg Gassmann
7 months ago

Thank you

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
7 months ago

It’s strange that this is happening when the US is beating itself up for its internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII.

D Walsh
DW
D Walsh
7 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I never met anyone from the US who cared about that issue, it was common sense at a time of war, the UK did similar, as did other countries

Howard S.
HS
Howard S.
7 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

The internment of Japanese, both citizens and non-citizens, only occurred on the West Coast of the United States, facing Japan. Not in the heartland or the East Coast. Made a lot of sense at the time.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
6 months ago
Reply to  Howard S.

About as much sense as the craze for masks during COVID. They were both the products of ignorant (in the technical sense) popular panic.

rob clark
RC
rob clark
7 months ago

Why was a such list published by the US treasury in 2018 indeed! The timing just happens to coincide with the frenzied “Russia collusion” narrative that was being peddled by the entire US political/MSM establishment. Perhaps they were fishing for any connection one or more of the 96 baddies might have had with #45?

Last edited 7 months ago by rob clark
Dermot O'Sullivan
DO
Dermot O'Sullivan
7 months ago

An excellent article and the first time I have seen it in print. Some easy targets taken out without due process, taking us into Putin- lite territory.

Mark epperson
ME
Mark epperson
7 months ago

First, let’s start executing the Western oligarchs! Let’s see how that works out.

Betsy Warrior
BW
Betsy Warrior
7 months ago

Obviously this war in Ukraine has been prompted by the USA wanting to jam it’s NATO military arm up against the border of Russia. Thus they can add to their hundreds of military bases circling the planet to aim their nuclear warheads at Moscow. Zelensky, the man who claims he can play the piano with his p***s and presides over the most corrupt country in the global North according to the Pandora Papers, doesn’t mind sacrificing many thousands of his citizens supposedly to join NATO, which he’s not even qualified for because he’s mired in corruption. While fear of Russian economic competition drove the USA to underwrite the bombing of the Russian oil pipeline NordStream it also illustrates the contempt Ukraine and the USA have for the environment. For years US politicians like Paul Maniford, Tony Podesta, and Hunter Biden have been crawling like scavengers all over Ukraine, representing every US party, trying to profit from the upsurge of corruption following the dissolution of the USSR. Zelensky’s fellow Ukrainian gangster, Semion Mogelivich, now residing in Russia, along with his murderous oligarch pals obviously has an understanding with Putin, “I won’t try to prosecute you as long as you continue to not challenge me.” Mikhail Khordorkovsky didn’t get that message so Putin kicked him out of the club. Now Russia’s economic recovery and China’s burgeoning economy have put them in the crosshairs of American imperialism. The USA doesn’t want the competition, or rather the paymasters of the politicians are now prompted to crush those who challenge their economic hegemony.

Howard S.
HS
Howard S.
7 months ago

There are people in D.C., Wall Street, and Kyiv making a whole lot of money from this war, and it ain’t me.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago

For some reason I save my sympathy for victims in Morocco and Hiftar’s Libya. Putin’s oligarchs went into this with open eyes.
These people are just a latter day version of the Krupps. Like them, they didn’t realize that the nation would take a sickeningly genocidal turn. But it has. Now they are objectively supporting genocide in Ukraine.
Moreover, with the absence of Rule of Law in Russia, we can never say that they legitimately own their wealth.
Their status will just have to be adjudicated after Putin’s regime falls.
Just a new version of Judgment at Nuremburg…

Last edited 7 months ago by martin logan
D Walsh
DW
D Walsh
7 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

The Russians are winning

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

That’s why they post videos of themselves, saying they haven’t been given supplies or artillery support.
That’s also why they are surrendering in droves.
That’s why almost daily we see Russian ships and aircraft destroyed on the ground.
Because their winning.
Looks like July in Normandy, 1944…

D Walsh
DW
D Walsh
7 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

You’re delusional. The Russians have captured far more Ukrainians than the other way around

Prisoner swaps stopped a while back, because the Ukrainians don’t have enough for a one to one swap. Look it up

Yes. The Russians are winning

Howard S.
HS
Howard S.
7 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

The Russians don’t have to win. They just have to not lose long enough for the West to get tired of sending used military hardware and blank checks to Zelensky and his own gang of oligarchs.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
7 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

It is not about the oligarchs it is about us.
It may be on them for now but our turn will come

Leejon 0
L
Leejon 0
7 months ago

Well said, it will come for us, and we will deserve it. Human stupidity periodically triumphs, and until we are well and truly wading in that effluvia we will not look up again.

Benedict Waterson
BW
Benedict Waterson
7 months ago

My heart bleeds for Russian multi-millionaires/billionaires

Tony Price
TP
Tony Price
7 months ago

“The Nazis had their purely racial definition of “Jew”, thereby preventing escape-by-conversion as in almost all prior persecutions, including Spain’s in 1492.”
Has no-one else picked up on this? The vast majority of anti-Jewish pogroms were not concerned with conversion, surely?

Howard S.
HS
Howard S.
7 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

The expulsion of the Jews from Spain and Portugal in 1492 included the conversos, Jews who had converted to the Roman faith. The Bishop of Rome and his minions in the royal courts offered no succor to their fellow Catholics of Jewish heritage.

Betsy Warrior
BW
Betsy Warrior
7 months ago

Obviously this war in Ukraine has been prompted by the USA wanting to jam it’s NATO military arm up against the border of Russia. Thus they can add to their hundreds of military bases circling the planet to aim their nuclear warheads at Moscow. Zelensky, the man who claims he can play the piano with his p***s and presides over the most corrupt country in the global North according to the Pandora Papers, doesn’t mind sacrificing many thousands of his citizens supposedly to join NATO, which he’s not even qualified for because he’s mired in corruption. While fear of Russian economic competition drove the USA to underwrite the bombing of the Russian oil pipeline NordStream it also illustrates the contempt Ukraine and the USA have for the environment. For years US politicians like Paul Maniford, Tony Podesta, and Hunter Biden have been crawling like scavengers all over Ukraine, representing every US party, trying to profit from the upsurge of corruption following the dissolution of the USSR. Zelensky’s fellow Ukrainian gangster, Semion Mogelivich, now residing in Russia, along with his murderous oligarch pals obviously has an understanding with Putin, “I won’t try to prosecute you as long as you continue to not challenge me.” Mikhail Khordorkovsky didn’t get that message so Putin kicked him out of the club. Now Russia’s economic recovery and China’s burgeoning economy have put them in the crosshairs of American imperialism. The USA doesn’t want the competition, or rather the paymasters of the politicians are now prompted to crush those who challenge their economic hegemony. The neocons as usual are initiating and pushing the agenda.

Last edited 7 months ago by Betsy Warrior
Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
7 months ago

Well, Putin has not been convicted in a court of law either. Maybe we should not sanction Putin.

More realistically, these people are the equivalent of ‘enemy aliens’ in wartime.

Jürg Gassmann
JG
Jürg Gassmann
7 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

In other words, you are saying that a state of war exists between Russia and one hand and the US/NATO/EU on the other.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
7 months ago
Reply to  Jürg Gassmann

No, a state of war exists between Russia and Ukraine. The fact those you mention are allied with Ukraine and are supplying them with the weapons to defend themselves doesn’t mean those nations/blocs are at war with Russia. By your logic anybody selling guns to Russia is also at war with Ukraine are they not?

Duane M
DM
Duane M
7 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Actually, Ukraine has not declared war on Russia and Russia has not declared war on Ukraine. So, at least for now, a state of war does not exist between Russia and Ukraine. And that is an important difference.

Samir Iker
SI
Samir Iker
7 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Did any Western nation sanction Blair, Obama or Kissinger?

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
7 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Did Russia bring Prigozhin (let alone Putin) to trial for war crimes? We are not talking about abstract justice here, or even law, but about measures taken in the matter of hostile powers in a war situation. That was the point of comparing it to interning ‘enemy aliens’.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago

The real question is: just what is Russia, and what are the Russians?
They certainly aren’t Post-War Europeans, as this war amply demonstrates. Many actually revel in the crimes on television, and push for mass killings of all Ukrainians.
They certainly aren’t Central Asians. Those regimes are repressive, and engage in border disputes. But no govt has deliberately targeted other ethnicities as “Nazis.” Indeed, unlike Russians, Central Asians are the heirs of literally millennia of civilization. They didn’t steal their culture from first Byzantium, then Louis XIV, then the Bolsheviks.
Perhaps their current fascination with Africa points to the future. The ruling class in places like Niger, Sudan and Zimbabwe are almost identical in behaviour to what we see in Russia.
So perhaps all this is about Russians really wanting their nation to be an African country, and leaving “decadent Europe” far behind.
They certainly don’t behave in any European or North American way.
And arguably never will…

predrag eror
PE
predrag eror
7 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Have you ever been in Moscow or St. Petersburg? If you want to talk about Russia and Russians, I suggest you do some homework first, or you will sound as pathetic racist, what obviously you are!
This excellent text is not about Putin and Russians. It is about West and their political and moral norms.
The point of the story is, if the Law exist, respectable society (or political and legal system) will apply it across the board, absolutely to anyone, regardless of material status, race or nationality.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago

The coming war crimes trials will sort all this out.
This is just a new iteration of a nation driven into a racist frenzy by a dictator. The Hague will try the Big Fish, while I suspect the small fry will escape, as they did in Germany after the war.
BTW, RTS below 1000.
The sanctions are working…