Europe grows tired of the war, the prices are rising, the business is suffering, and the refugees keep coming. Plus the Ukrainians keep demanding expensive advanced weapons which our politicians are reluctant to give, for various bad reasons. Instead, suggestions arrive on how to help putin save face in order to end or at least to freeze the war. Ukraine must cede territories to russia, the Putin-Versteher insist.
It is a nasty, evil demand. We in the free pampered West order Ukraine to surrender millions of its people, all of them unable to flee, into russian slavery. Not even a modern, but an archaic form of slavery, where murder, torture, rape and starvation are applied to enforce obedience, where children are abducted, and where young men are forcibly conscripted into the imperial army. A slave army, which russia will then most certainly send to attack and kill us Europeans. This is the important bit our politicians and other elites, who have no qualms about sacrificing Ukrainian lives, haven’t figured out yet.
Because this slave army is what already being deployed in Ukraine. The russian soldiers who murder, rape and pillage in Ukraine do not come from Moscow or St Petersburg, but from the poorest, most destitute, most oppressed and most polluted provinces of the russian empire, where the only job perspective for a young man is to join the army, and the only career perspective for a young woman is to marry a soldier.
Many of these people who live in Siberia or in the Caucasus without jobs, education, roads or even toilets are neither ethnic russian nor Christian, which is another reason why the rascist army has no problem with using them up as cannon fodder. We wrongly imagine the russian federation as a monolithic Slavic nation of ethnic russians, all russian orthodox, all speaking russian.
Only the last bit is true, but that is because over the centuries, the rulers in Kremlin have been working to enslave their empire’s ethnic minorities and to erase their identity, by violently obliterating their history, culture, religion, even and especially their language. Under czars, under Stalin and now under putin, those who opposed the cultural extermination of their nations have been killed right away and their children “re-educated”. Religious leaders in those provinces may be Muslim imams or traditional shamans, yet they all are agents of russian secret police. Schools teach russian history, literature and russian language only, while education in general is kept to bare minimum there, because slaves must not become too clever. The children of these ethnic groups are taught to grow up without any national identity, their native language is an accented russian, just as English became the new mother tongue of African slaves.
Like the African slaves, the Siberian and Caucasus people are made to understand that they can never be like their masters due to their looks alone, that their lives and welfare depend on the whims of their owners. They became the butt of racist jokes for the whites seeking to compensate for their own miserable situation. Now these slaves of russian empire, were brought often against their will to fight and die in Ukraine, so the russian empire can subjugate and enslave yet another nation. A loyal slave’s reward is a war trophy, this is why the russian army command encourages its soldiers to rape and to steal electronics, carpets and even toilets.
There is a good Ukrinform article about the history of the Buryat nation in Siberia, whose soldiers have been accused of having committed war crimes in Bucha (other sources say the ethnic russians were the worst by far). Buryats used to be proud and prosperous successors of the Mongol empire until the Muscovites arrived centuries ago. Since then, the czarist troops were exterminating the Buryat people and their national identity, with such excessive cruelty it even shocked czar Peter back in St Petersburg. One such russian army leader most notorious for gruesome mass murders of Buryats was actually a Ukrainian cossack eager to please the russian czar. Now Buryatia is the poorest and most miserably destitute province in russia, the native language is russian, alcohol is the only thing plentily available, and the only career prospect Buryat men can hope for is to serve in russian army. They are russian slaves, the cannon fodder of the rascist army as it attacks Ukraine.
Slavery is also exactly what russia plans for Ukrainian people. It is part of a genocide program quite similar to the genocide German Nazi troops performed in Ukraine 80 years ago, with a small difference in long-term plans. The common parts are the annihilation of entire towns and villages, mass executions and concentration camps for those suspected to dislike the occupiers, rapes of women and children, robbery of food and anything remotely valuable, deportation of slave workforce etc. The key difference is that russia has long term plans for Ukrainians, which are to erase all of their Ukrainian identity, especially the language, in order to turn the subjugated survivors into a nation of slaves who will then be used as workforce in unpopulated or economically depressed area throughout the empire, or as disposable soldiers for a World War 3 which russia keep threatening the West with.
In fact, the rascist empire already started using Ukrainians in this way. Eight years ago, russia began its war on Ukraine, back then the west negotiated a ceasefire (the Minsk agreements) because oil, gas and other busines with russia were more important than Ukrainian lives. Crimea was annexed with silent support from the West, and the Donetsk and Luhansk areas came under russian control, or as our media bullshitted us and itself, under “pro-russian separatists”. The enslavement process began with the total ban of Ukrainian language and Ukrainian identity, and now entered its logical conclusion.
Because the current military invasion in Ukraine is not working to putin’s plans, the empire needs to mobilise more soldiers. But mobilising people in the European part of russia is out of the question, these pampered ethnic russian elites are already upset about the loss of Ikea and McDonalds, and about their cancelled beach holidays and shopping trips in Europe. Putin must be nice to them. But in Chechnya, Dagestan or in Siberia, men are conscripted (often by force) to “volunteer” to fight in the “special military operation for denazification” of Ukraine. And not only there.
Have you heard of men snatched off the streets in Donetsk and Crimea, buses stopped and searched, flats being broken into, to drag out everyone male between 18 and 65 years of age? This is happening in those Ukrainian territories whose millions of people russia made its slaves in 2014 while these naively cheered for Russkiy Mir. These men are now sent straight to the front, literally as cannon fodder, where they die in masses, shocked and surprised by what unjust fate their beloved russian masters chose for them. Their task is simply to die drawing fire from the Ukrainian artillery, so that the ethnic russian elite artillery units and air force can shoot back from a safe distance. This forced conscription, blatantly contradicting the Geneva agreements, is exactly what russia does with the population of every Ukrainian territory in conquers, right now the rascists attempt this in Kherson and the destroyed Mariupol.
We in the west even offer to help, by forcing Ukrainian government to lay down arms and surrender “territories”, i.e. millions of people into slavery. We might even deport the refugees back where they came from, even if they cry and plead, surely Donbass and Kherson areas will be declared safe enough under russian rule? We closed our eyes to torture and executions in occupied Donetsk for 8 years, surely we can continue?
Then we will have some cosy years of doing nice business with our dear russian friends who we think share our European values. Until the russian empire sends its slave army to conquer the rest of Eastern Europe, as it in fact announced even before the full-scale attack on Ukraine started.
Russia is not a European state. It is not even an Asian state. It is a warmongering, marauding, slave-holding racist tyranny which fell through the cracks of history straight from the times of ancient empires. It has less values than the Golden Horde had. Russian elites may enjoy modern lifestyles, but they do not understand the modern world, they have only contempt for democracy, freedom, human rights or basic humanist values. They don’t care about climate change or environment, human lives are literally cheap, justice even cheaper, denunciation is a public sports, economic value is created by destruction, theft and violent robbery. The russian state treats its own people as slaves, not just its oppressed ethnic minorities, but everyone.
In every single war, the russian strategy was basically to send in new troops until the enemy runs out of bullets. As a famous russian WW2 general once said: don’t spare soldiers, women will give birth to more.
Right now the West is considering to sacrifice the Ukrainian people to pacify russia. But the plan has many snags. One is that the rascists will throw every nation they enslave to attack us.
Слава Україні! Героям слава!
Please find charities to donate here at taz. Prof Timothy Snyder lists ways to help Ukrainian army and civilian help charities here. Or donate to a humanitarian charity project of your choice. Ukrainians are fighting for all of us.