Putin’s ‘Russian Spring’
The West’s betrayal of Ukraine is playing into his fascist game plan.

Russian president Vladimir Putin


Robert Zubrin

On April 6, Eurasianist storm troopers operating under Kremlin coordination launched assaults, seizing government buildings in Donetsk, Kharkiv, Lugansk, and several smaller cities in eastern Ukraine; declared themselves to be the assemblies of independent governments; and immediately invited Russian troops to invade and annex their respective fictional statelets.

There can be no doubt that many of the thousands of invaders involved were in fact Eurasianist storm troopers, and not, as reported by some media outlets, “pro-Russian protesters.” They carried the outward-radiating eight-arrowed flag of Putinist ideologue Aleksandr Dugin’s fascist Eurasianist movement and shouted and displayed its slogan for the operation, “Russian Spring.” There can be no doubt that their moves were made in coordination with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, because he, for his part, has positioned 50,000 Russian troops just across the border, armed and equipped to carry out the requested invasion.

None of this should have been a surprise. Dugin actually published the plan for the current operation under the name “Scenario Russian Spring” on his Facebook page March 9. But no action was taken by Western leaders to prevent the invasion. Far from it; the Obama administration and its European counterparts have been rolling out the red carpet.

It’s hard to say which Western government has been the worst betrayer of Ukraine’s hopes for freedom, but my vote goes to our very own, which has mocked the Ukrainians’ desperate plea for arms by offering them $3 million worth of prepackaged Meals Ready-to-Eat instead. This comes after a series of stern threats of strong sanctions (if Russia invaded Crimea, if Russia annexed Crimea, if Russia began to destabilize Ukraine, etc.), followed by actions so weak as to be utterly risible when Putin went right ahead and took each forbidden step in turn. Thus, following the “absolutely unacceptable,” “illegal,” “intolerable,” etc. annexation of Crimea, the administration’s primary response was to freeze the U.S. bank accounts of eleven midlevel Russian officials who do not have U.S. bank accounts, leaving hundreds of other Russian officials who also do not have U.S. bank accounts to cheekily demand the same treatment.

At the same time, billions of dollars of payments of U.S. taxpayer money to the Russian military-industrial complex are continuing without interruption. This includes payment for Russian rocket launches to send astronauts to the International Space Station, a subsidy that could be eliminated by allowing the U.S. SpaceX company to do the job. Instead our government has continued the subsidies but engaged in political theater by having NASA stop its interactions with Russian planetary scientists and astronomers. Even worse, our own Department of Defense is sending billions more directly to the Russian-state arms giant Rosoboronexport, a firm that was supposed to already be sanctioned, even before the Ukrainian crisis, because of its role in selling anti-aircraft weapons to protect the Iranian nuclear-bomb program. The current (illegal) Pentagon cash transfers to the Putin-run, Iran-sanction-violating firm are to pay for M-17 attack helicopters for the Afghan military. So even as it deliberately leaves Ukraine as vulnerable as possible, the Obama administration is building up the Russian arms industry at the direct expense of American taxpayers, as well as American companies and workers who were denied the helicopter contracts in favor of a foreign adversary.

As if that were not enough, on April 8, two days after Operation Russian Spring began, and one day after Secretary of State John Kerry threatened Russia with a forceful response to its continued aggression and treaty violation, the administration announced that it was accelerating U.S. nuclear disarmament, getting rid of a third of America’s strategic nuclear deterrent a full four years in advance of the schedule required by the 2010 New START treaty. This is quite serious, because, as a result of other cutbacks, Russian tactical nuclear weapons now outnumber America’s by four to one. Apparently it is not just Ukraine that the administration is willing to make vulnerable to Russian military blackmail.

Of course the Obama administration’s betrayal of Ukraine would not be completely effective if others did not also participate. In this matter, the Europeans have been only too willing to oblige, with Germany taking the lead in ensuring that no effective actions are taken by the EU or NATO to either assist Ukraine or deter Putin. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is also playing its role by placing severe austerity conditions on any monetary help to Ukraine, an action that guarantees riots and the subsequent destabilization of the country. Special prizes for spreading defeatism and pro-Putin propaganda must go to the Socialist International, led by the German SPD, whose head, Gerhard Schroeder, is actually a business partner of the Putin regime.