In 1943, having murdered most of the Jewish population of the occupied portions of the Soviet Union, the Nazis launched a campaign to exterminate the Slavs as well. As part of this effort, Nazi SS units under the command of Himmler protégé Jochem Peiper (who later achieved infamy in the West as well for his massacre of captured GIs at Malmedy during the Battle of the Bulge) systematically rounded up Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarussian villagers, herded them into their churches, blocked the doors, and set them ablaze. Over a thousand such massacres were perpetrated, and the memory of these horrific crimes is deeply seared into the Russian psyche.
So it was easily predictable, when a similar scene was enacted in Odessa on May 2, with 42 pro-Russian activists burned to death or killed by smoke inhalation while trapped in the city’s Trade Union building, that ferocious rage and demands for revenge should break out in every part of Russia and every ethnic-Russian community in Ukraine. Indeed, in eliminating dissent and unifying Putin’s subjects into a mad herd behind his plans for war and fascism, the massacre could hardly have better served his aims and objectives if the former spymaster had planned it himself.
So the question is, did he?
To a person whose knowledge is limited to the Western political universe, the idea that Putin, or his FSB, might have knowingly arranged for the massacre of 42 Russians to gain political advantage might seem fantastical, like the conspiracy theories that blame FDR for setting up the Pacific Fleet to be sunk at Pearl Harbor or George Bush for plotting with the FBI to ensure the success of the 9/11 attack. But the FSB is nothing like a Western military-intelligence or police agency. The FSB does not exist to protect Russians. It exists to oppress them. Within the past century, the FSB and its prior incarnations under other initials (KGB, MVD, NKVD, GPU, OGPU) have murdered millions of Russians and other Soviet citizens, including many of the country’s most talented people, and particularly those most critically necessary for its actual national defense. Far from being unknown, exceptional, or even occasional, terror (along with lies, disinformation, hate campaigns, frame-ups, murder, mass murder, and genocide) has been the standard operating procedure of the FSB and its predecessors since 1917.
Furthermore, as far as Putin himself is concerned, the dictator’s willingness to employ FSB operatives in covert operations involving the murder of not dozens but hundreds of Russians to achieve political manipulation has already been demonstrated. Specifically, in 1999, when he had just stepped down as the head of the FSB and become prime minister, Putin murdered over 300 Russians by having the FSB explode a series of bombs in apartment buildings in Moscow in order to justify a new war in Chechnya and seize dictatorial powers. All known evidence indicates that the FSB was responsible for those bombings, because they stopped only when local Russian cops on the beat caught FSB agents red-handed in the act of planting explosives for the next “terrorist” attack.
Those who exposed these crimes internationally, including former FSB operative Aleksandr Litvinenko, Putin had murdered, using polonium — a radioactive element that is not commercially available except in minute quantities for scientific uses — as the poison, so that everyone would know who did it, and accordingly fear his FSB for its unlimited capacity to commit evil.
So there is no question that Putin had the motive, capability, and character to arrange for the Odessa massacre. Furthermore, he is the only one of the potential suspects to have, in addition to those characteristics, a history of prior comparable acts. The method and timing of the slaughter — coming a week before Victory Day, thereby maximizing its resonance with World War II memories — fit his needs with unique perfection, and, since then, he has been openly exploiting it for all it is worth. In combination, these facts would be enough to make Putin the prime suspect in any police investigation of the mass murder. But the evidence of premeditated culpability goes further.
Specifically, on March 9 — that is, before the March 15 Crimea referendum and subsequent annexation, and well before the early-April initiation of attacks on government buildings in Donetsk and other parts of eastern Ukraine — top Kremlin fascist ideologue and geopolitical strategist Aleksandr Dugin published the entire plan for the currently unfolding “Scenario Russian Spring” on his Russian-language Facebook page. This scenario, whose name “Russian Spring” has become a slogan carried on banners in many of the demonstrations by the Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, lays out a plan for creating havoc resulting in a civil war in Ukraine and consolidation of totalitarian dictatorship in Russia. In Dugin’s scenario, this would be followed by a Russian invasion of Ukraine, with further operations leading to complete Russian domination of Europe and the subsequent creation of a Moscow-centered Eurasian Union stretching “from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”
A key section reads as follows:
3. . . . In Russia itself, the regime evolves, and starts to clean out the fifth column.
4. In Novorossia [the Kremlin’s revived tsarist term for a large region of eastern and southern Ukraine], resistance increases and gradually moves to the phase of direct rebellion against the Kiev henchmen. There is a bloody civil war. Russia deploys massive effective support structure; symmetrically, the West supports Kiev. At a certain moment, in response to the sabotage in Russia and bloody actions of the nationalists and the repressive apparatus of Kiev against civilians and the east of Ukraine, Russia sends its troops into the east.
In short, all the violence currently occurring in Ukraine, including but by no means limited to the Odessa massacre, as well as the concurrent crackdown on dissent in Russia (opposition and independent media outlets are being shut down, the Voice of America has been shut down, new laws requiring citizens to spy on each other are being set forth, social media is being restricted, etc.), is clearly part of a preplanned script.