Truth is always the first casualty of war – and no less so than the current conflict in Ukraine. Russia insists it’s a localized police action to uproot a new Nazi uprising. Ukraine, which has become a US protectorate, insists it’s fighting to halt Russian aggression against a freedom-seeking nation. No mention that Ukrainians used to be called Russians.

For interesting contrast, go back to the first Chechen War from 1994 to 1996 and the second one from 1999 to 2009. The 1.4 million Chechen, a fierce Muslim people of the Caucasus Mountains, who had been battling Russian imperial expansion for 300 years, rose up and waged two David v. Goliath wars to regain their freedom from Russia.

In the first war, Chechen fighters routed Russian forces. Moscow agreed to independence for the Chechen Islamic Republic. But then hardliners, led by security chief Vladimir Putin, resumed the war after a staged fake bombing of Moscow apartments by the renamed KGB, the SVR that killed 200-300 people.

At that time, the US was actively supporting the Yeltsin regime in Moscow, particularly so with massive financial aid. Yeltsin had long-established links to CIA and Britain’s intelligence agency, MI6.

The US refused to help the Chechen resistance or recognize its fight for independence. I know this because I was closely following this tragic story and trying to raise some support for free Chechnya.

As fighting raged in Chechnya, the US called on the then Chechen leader, Gen, Dzhokhar Dudayev, to negotiate with Boris Yeltsin. Dudayev was given a special mobile phone supposedly connected to one held by Yeltsin for the ’peace talks.’

As so as Dudayev and Yeltsin were connected, a covert US aircraft launched a missile that homed in on Dudayev’s phone receiver. The Chechen leader was blown to bits. With further help from US intelligence, the Chechen resistance was relentlessly ground down and eliminated. Chechens were arrested and tortured en masse in so-called Russian ‘filtration camps.’ A Chechen warlord, Ramzan Kadyrov, was named ‘gauleiter’ of Chechnya. Chechen leaders were hunted down and assassinated by KGB or Kadyrov’s agents.

Chechnya was literally thrown to the wolves by the US. What a contrast this is to the current situation in Ukraine which has been flooded by $15-20 billion of modern US weapons in recent months and aided by a massive propaganda campaign directed by the US and Britain.

Unlike 1991, the US sees the war in Ukraine as a rare chance to tear a big chunk of Russia away or even go on to crush the Russian Federation into fragments. Many Ukrainians would be happy to see this outcome. The memory of how Stalin’s USSR starved or shot some six million Ukrainians in the 1920’s and 1930’s lingers among the older generation.

But younger Ukrainians must question what will happen if their war with Russia continues. Will Ukraine invade Russia and try to regain Crimea? Will the US or some European powers support an attack on Crimea? Poland and Britain are already deeply involved in the war. Who will be next?

The right wing of the US Democratic Party, now in power, is far more warlike and anti-Russian than most Americans realize. In fact, it’s the real `war party.’

If this half-baked war continues, the risks of a nuclear or chemical confrontation grow daily. So does an accidental clash in the Black Sea between Russia and the US. Off on the sidelines the Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Azeris, Egyptians. Iranians and Israelis may be spoiling for a fight.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2022

This post is in: Crimea, Russia, Ukraine


  1. dormus jessop says:

    Thanks Eric in one essay you put more light on the folly in Ukraine and GEO politics than 99% of the talking rhetoric machines that we are forced to consume. I became disillusioned after 9/11 with your help in books and articles along with Fisk, Chomsky, C Hedges, Orwell, Bertrand Russel, Pappe, Gideon Levy and Amira Hass. It is laughable to watch the talking heads regurgitate official USA propaganda and point at the “stupid” Russians for believing Putin. No embarrassment of non existent WMD’s and the censure of you and ANYONE who spoke out about invading Iraq! The very same ‘EXPERTS” that were pro war then are pro war now and living high off the hog with the USA oligarchs pulling their puppet strings! Nuclear armed folly and the Abys mostly shrugged off. The USA and Israel both have used the threat of nukes. What do the rhetoric heads think “all options on the table” mean? P.S. I have missed your weekly articles you help keep my sanity. Like the scholars in pre Holocaust Germany who watched their friends one by one turning into Nazi’s! Self Censure ruled! Speaking out can be the most brave thing a person can do! You are Very Brave!

  2. Nothing much to add. I’m a little confused that Russia’s initial attack was so poorly executed. It makes you wonder if the problem with them being the evil one is not a figment to prompt more military idustrial complex involvement. Their actions at the end of WWII were nothing like this.
    The sad part is that if the Ukraine had have remained neutral, as they should have, none of this would happen. Putins actions are not unlike Kennedy’s Cuban missile crisis… but his reaction was ‘for real’.

  3. Then there is the issue of when America starts a war its main goal isn’t victory, it’s to profit off of it and it will do everything it can to drag it on as long as possible to make as much money as possible.

  4. peter mcloughlin says:

    Either Russia or America will use nuclear weapons first, if the circumstances require it. Deterrence Doctrine could not work if that were not the case. It requires being able to control the scenarios in which nukes will be used: that control is ebbing away. And history warns: every empire eventually gets the war it is trying to avoid – including nuclear war it would seem.

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