Доверя́й, но проверя́й – Trust, but Verify

“Trust, but verify, is a well-known saying loved by Ronald Reagan, who was taught it by the writer Suzanne Massey. However, not many people are aware that it came into the English language directly from a Russian saying.”

My new Russian pen – Benu’s Black Skulls

The last six years have not been dull, to say the least. There was the EU referendum campaign; the 3 and a half messy post-brexit years; the Trump election and the years of establishment shenanigans that followed; the covid pandemic; the Ukraine war. Or in MSM terms, the Brexit crisis, America in crisis, the covid crisis, the Ukraine crisis, the energy crisis, the cost of living crisis…

I am not an economist, or epidemiologist, or war strategist, but I have learnt repeatedly not to trust experts unconditionally. You have to do your own research to get a fuller picture. Most of us on here have been reading articles and watching videos on topics that were initially completely alien to us. We heard what the covidians had to say, then the signatories to the Barrington declaration. We read those who repudiated hydroxychloroquine and then Pr Raoult who recommended it; we would have liked to believe the Hail the Vaccine clamour but listened to Pr Montagnier, Reiner Fülmich etc too. We try to apply the same tactics to the Russo-Ukrainian war: No need to look for opinions that are “pro-Ukraine” as they are everywhere. I have found it prudent to stop listening to the radio and reading papers online as it is so blatantly one-sided and with dollops of hysteria when mentioning the devil incarnate in the Kremlin.

We know that there is not one source of truth, we know we should be looking at a multiplicity of sources, especially when it comes to war yet the PTB have actually banned several media. To question ‘our’ side, as it were, is not to condone the suffering inflicted on ordinary people. It is just that for each news item, for each photo of a war scene, a different interpretation, a different story can be found on-line. Truth is definitely the first casualty of war. It was bad enough during the two covid years, the war against the virus was a war for the control of the populace. But now there’s a real war on and any semblance of balance has gone out of the window with bias off the scale. To try and comprehend what might motivate the Russian side is akin to treason. I may be blocked on GP just for enjoying a Russian-made fountain-pen.

Did all those who comment on the Ukraine war watch Ukraine on Fire (Oliver Stone, 2016)? It is still on YouTube, though with a warning it may upset you, and on Rumble. This alternative perspective on Ukraine’s recent history should be prescribed watching for anybody before jumping to conclusions about the Russia-Ukraine conflict. You don’t have to buy it 100% but there is too much detail to ignore. Stone’s schtick is ferreting out the actions of the US Deep State. He does quite a good job. Worryingly, if we were at “3 minutes to midnight” when the film ends, where are we now?

To find alternative news of the front, we end up reading George Galloway’s tweets, articles on the Communist Party of Russia website, so-called conspiracy theorists like Scott Ritter, Thierry Meyssan, people we’ve never heard of before but have been documenting the situation on the ground for the last eight years. We now subscribe to Telegram groups that tell us a totally different story to that peddled by BBC/Sky/LBC/Telegraph/Guardian. We can’t fail to be affected by what people like Alain Juillet, former head of the French DGSE, and Jacques Baud, former head of Swiss Intelligence, tell us. They can’t easily be dismissed.

One of the strengths of GP is to be an aggregate of international news, closely followed by providing a forum for all sides to an issue. However we’ve been tested more and more and even GP is fracturing.

On Brexit, 100% of GPers agreed (though on whether we’ve actually left the EU, or even if this a good Brexit, opinions are more nuanced!). On Trump, it was, say, 85%. We became more divided about covid, lockdown and masks – and even more about the covid vax. But we didn’t fall out over it: Maskless granny-killers and anti-vaxxers cohabited peacefully with people who discreetly, i.e. off-site, masked up and/or got 1, 2, 3 jabs. Then Russia invaded Ukraine and all hell broke loose here too. I would not even hazard an estimated percentage of pro-Ukraine v pro-Putin GPers.

It seems that in the course of the last few weeks a number of GPers have hardened their positions for or against Putin and discussions have sometimes taken an unpleasant personal turn. GP has become a site of blockers and flouncers. I do hope that is not its ‘new normal’!

I am sorry the site has lost, temporarily one hopes, some good commenters a.k.a. friends. Flouncers usually don’t flounce in silence; fine. But some felt the need to insult their fellow GPers and that created a toxic mood – conduct GP unbecoming I’d say.

They can liken Putin to Hitler and Stalin if they wish, refer to him as “tonto”, thug and bully to their heart’s content. But posting on the site “Anyone who supports Putin taking over Ukraine while claiming they are a Leaver is a total hypocrite” was a nasty attribution straight out of remainer and pro-vaccination playbooks of vilifying those who disagree rather than debate.

I am sorry that the flouncers were “sickened” and “disappointed” by their fellow GPers, referred to as “nutters” for questioning the prevailing narrative. Not condemning the invasion outright was seen as a cardinal sin.

I am grateful to the GPers who despise Putin and his actions but have remained on the site and keep on commenting and contradicting. I would prefer that they don’t use bi-directional blocking for fear of this site becoming a dialogue of the deaf (and the blind if we can’t see most comments!).

I respect the opinion of those who don’t think the war was inevitable after the West sowed the seeds of war in Ukraine and think Putin had no right to invade a sovereign country. But others feel that the US foreign policy establishment, NATO, the EU, CIA-funded NGOs paved the road that made the present crisis inevitable, especially after ‘Elensky (the letter Z is not allowed) poked the bear one too many times.

We should be able to all agree with @Mark who posted: “It disgusts me to see the peace in Europe being sacrificed to attack Russia, who could and should have been cultivated as an ally against Chinese Communism and Islamic fundamentalism.” War is terrible, always, and trying to understand where it came from does not mean we don’t feel for ordinary Ukrainians and Russians caught in the crossfire.

Solzhenitsyn, in 2006, could see it coming: “The Communist dictatorship cried out for a sure and immediate resistance. However I on multiple occasions also asked Western countries not to equate Soviet Communism with Russia itself and with Russian history. Alas, many camps in the West drew no such distinction. The policy of western powers toward Russia after the fall of the Soviet dictatorship changed little in terms of rigidity. That is deeply disappointing.” As for Ukraine, he had already written in 1981 that “the Russian-Ukrainian problem is one of the major current issues and, certainly, of crucial importance to our peoples.”

Fun times in the dying days of the USSR

The media speculate about Putin’s strategy and represent the West as purely responsive. On one level perhaps but the RAND Corporation, formed after WWII to provide foreign policy research to the Pentagon, has moved into policy. Its recent analysis from 2019 foretells what is happening now in Ukraine as a US foreign policy objective:


of “overextending and unbalancing Russia”. The causa causans of the war is a decision by Putin but one engineered by the US.

The other day @Jonathan Davies wrote ATL: “the Ukraine situation is a trap set for Putin by the globalists. Bog down Russia and make them waste resources they cannot replace.” It does feel like that: They actually wanted the crisis to come to a head, as per the Reagan doctrine, get Russia to destroy itself and they’ll swoop in! Europe replacing Russian gas with previously-vilified American shale gas might give us a clue about what is going on.

So here we are. I am leaning on the side that sees the Ukraine crisis as part of the Great Reset, as a proxy war. I say “lean” because I don’t pretend to understand geopolitics, there’s so much we don’t know, and tomorrow’s evidence might still convince me otherwise. However when phrases like “it’s a Holocaust”, “it’s genocide” are repeated on all airwaves, the escalation of words is a further step away from peace and is meant to shut down our powers of analysis. We – all GPers – should resist the official narrative and manipulation. It does not mean we support “gangster states” or Putin in particular, but nor are we obliged to fall for St Elensky.

What do we do with the following facts (selection)? After the Maidan coup of 2014 the US invested $5.4 billion dollars in Ukraine, a statement that they regarded Ukraine as “ours”. After Minsk II, Ukraine increased its shelling of Donbass with, it is estimated, some 10,000 to 15,000 killed in the eight-year war since Maidan. The UK have been training Ukrainian military since 2015.

Why it took Putin so long to respond we may never know. What I noticed was that there were discussions as Russian troops built up on Ukraine’s border, but who said what was not reported, nor what was put on the table.

A pocket of homely resistance, SW1

Freedom of speech and freedom of conscience are the other casualties of war. And covid gave us a good taste of that.

As David Kurten tweeted: “It is nauseating to hear Western leaders pretend to be against ‘authoritarianism’ after two years when they have closed businesses, removed ancient freedoms, send paramilitaries to beat up opponents & stolen their money, & fired people for not being injected with experimental mRNA.”

We’ve just had two years of constraints, restraints, lockdown, house arrest, don’t do this, don’t do that, stand here, don’t go there. We’ve just about emerged from this nightmare and all I hear on the radio is: we have to ration our energy, turn down the thermostat, eat lentils instead of meat, go to work three days a week only – There’s a war on, you know… People have developed a taste for punishment remarkably quickly. And the last two years have not improved their critical thinking faculties. Watching people embrace the covid narrative was concerning; watching them now clamour for WWIII is scary.

We should not be surprised: Russophobia has been thriving for years, feeding anti-Russian conspiracy theories like the Russians interfered with the Brexit vote, the Trump election and the Gilets Jaunes uprising. If Le Pen wins in France that will probably be the Russians again. (Incidentally, in 2017 no French bank would lend to her. She was forced, after a failed attempt to raise funds in the US, to take a loan from a Russian bank. That was not her first choice nor her second but to this day it’s held against her)

It’s decades of American tv and Netflix series where the baddies are the Russians – rarely the ropers, sometimes the Mexicans, most of the time the Russians. Series after series of brainwashing audiences: The Russians are the bad guys. The result in March 2022 is this hysterical russophobia and massive expression of cancel culture. Parallel to that, we hear that the Americans are wooing Venezuela, “at one time a pariah state”. PM Johnson went to Saudi, “a key international partner”… Iran is given 400 million, old debt, ransom, or bribe unclear. There is no morality when the West’s self-interest is involved. Moral principles are applied to enemies (for which read competitors).

This proxy war, in which there is no limit to the number of ordinary civilians that are sacrificed, is making me very uneasy, – hence this article to dump my confused thoughts and consolidate my thinking.

Moreover, it all seems to tie in with seemingly unconnected events: We saw a glimpse of the shape of things to come with the Canadian truckers and their supporters suffering frozen bank accounts and we looked on with bewilderment at the seizing of the Russian oligarchs’ property, then with growing anxiety at the cancelling of Russian culture. Freezing your money and confiscating your assets for wrong-think or assign a refugee to your spare room, that’s not science fiction, that’s tomorrow’s work of the devil. Digital ID and digital currency are being prepped. We are left in no doubt as to what tomorrow looks like.

At the beginning of the covid crisis, we realised we were in a position of PPE and Paracetamol dependence; with the Ukraine crisis, we realise we’re in a position of energy dependence (and food dependence too with shortage in fertiliser and wheat coming). Global supply chains, another myopic idea.

Basically we’re being mismanaged by incompetents if not also malevolent forces. The Great Reset has accelerated. Hold on tight.

I leave you with another Russian saying: ПЕРВЫЙ БЛИН КОМОМ – the first blini is always lumpy. Nowadays it means that you should not expect the first attempt at something to be successful. But the original meaning evoked the blini offered to the bear waking up from its hibernation…

© text and images Sunshine&Showers 2022