Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 31, 2018

The Purpose Of The Babchenko Hoax

The Ukrainian secret service SBU claims it plotted the fake murder of the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko in Kiev to uncover a real murder plot by the Russian state. That makes no sense at all.

The hoax is one of several incidents which dangerously escalate the new cold war.

As former British ambassador Craig Murray comments on the SBU's explanation:

Craig Murray @CraigMurrayOrg - 19:24 UTC- 30 May 2018

If you believe that particular piece of Ukrainian propaganda you are even more stupid than I had already deduced. I wore a book on my head today to prevent Boris Johnson stealing my fridge. My fridge is so there, which is undoubted proof that my scheme worked and Johnson guilty.

Here is how the BBC presents the Ukrainian fairytale:

Ukrainian security chief Vasyl Hrytsak said a sting had been set up to catch hitmen paid by Russian forces.
Babchenko said he had been informed a month ago about an alleged Russian plot to kill him. He said he had agreed to co-operate with a counter-operation and had been in constant contact with Ukrainian security services over the course of the past month.

He added that he thought security services had been planning the operation for up to two months.

Mr Hrytsak said the operation had begun after Ukrainian security services were informed about a Russian plot to kill the journalist.

He alleged that Russian security forces had recruited a Ukrainian citizen to find hitmen within Ukraine. He said the citizen had approached several acquaintances, including war veterans, offering $30,000 (£22,600) for the contract killing, one of whom revealed the plot to the security services.

The story as the SBU tells it:

  • the Russian secret service FSB hired a Ukrainian citizen to find someone to kill Babchenko
  • the Ukrainian citizen hires a killer
  • the hired killer tells the SBU about it and cooperates
  • the SBU knew from him who the Ukrainian middleman of the plot was and has now arrested him

If that is the story why would the SBU stage the murder hoax? They cooperated with the hired killer and had contact or access to the man who allegedly hired him. What else was there to know to prevent the alleged plot? What is the evidence they gained?

The official reason for the murder hoax was:

... to detain those responsible and prove the direct involvement of the Russian special service in the preparation of attempted murder of Mr. Babchenko.

That first part was achievable without the hoax. What about the second one? Was that achieved?

Mascha Gessen writes in the New Yorker:

Ukrainian security services claim to have proof that the middleman was hired by their Russian counterpart, the F.S.B. Babchenko offered one piece of evidence: the ostensible assassin, he said, had been shown a photograph of Babchenko taken twenty-five years ago, when he obtained his first internal passport (at the time, the document, a sort of universal domestic I.D., was issued three times in a Russian citizen’s life: at sixteen, twenty-five, and forty-five). Babchenko claims that the photo could be obtained only from security-service files.

Babchenko is 41 years old. There were plenty of recent Babchenko pictures on Facebook and the Russian social network Vkontakte as well as in the media. Are we to believe that Russian security services would use a picture of the sixteen year Babchenko dug up from an old passport file when a three seconds search would have found them hundreds of more recent pictures? Even this 'Holy Babchenko' fake is more useful to identify him than a 25 year old passport picture. The claimed 'evidence' makes no sense.

bigger - source

Babchenko is by no means a holy man. There are reasons why he is despised in Russia:

Дepлorabлe Russian @TeamTrumpRussia - 6:50 UTC - 31 May 2018

Russian opposition journalist who was "killed by Putin" Arcadiy #Babchenko mourning the death of 71 passengers of a small Russian airline domestic flight crash on February 11, 2018.


While Babchenko was "dead" a staged photo circulated that allegedly showed him killed.


Where did it come from? Is it another "White Helmets" production?

The U.S. propaganda outlet RFL/RE, seemingly miffed about the Babchenko fake, points to a U.S. connection:

The photo was first published on the Facebook page of a former Ukrainian reporter who says he now works for a shadowy consultancy organization based in the Washington, D.C., area.
Yevhen Lauer, the reporter who published the photo along with a caption reading “Damn It, Bitches,” told RFE/RL late on May 29 that he received it from a law enforcement source, whom he declined to identify.

Lauer, who has worked for various Ukrainian media outlets in the past, has more recently been affiliated with Trident Group LLC. Based in the Washington suburb of Arlington, the company says it specializes “in law enforcement, investigations, intelligence gathering and analysis, conflict prevention and conflict resolution, international risk control, executive protection and special operations.”

The company’s president, Yuri Koshkin, confirmed to RFE/RL that Lauer had done work for Trident but said he knew nothing of Lauer’s involvement with the SBU sting operation to nab Babchenko’s would-be killers.

Trident Group is a small company of Washington 'beltway bandits' which consults U.S. companies who want to operate in the former USSR. It is run by two former Russian military officers. Does that make it "shadowy"? It says it has offices in Arlington, Moscow and Kiev. Is it involved in the hoax or does it get framed?

The story of the fake murder of Babchenko made a big wave in "western" media. In 2016 alone 14 journalists were killed in the Ukraine after their names were put on a public hit list maintained by some Ukrainian Nazi outlet. The series of murder received less attention than the recent hoax. What drives the extraordinary sensation?

On the John Batchelor Show Professor Stephen F. Cohen points (@8:00+ min) to the accumulation of defaming anti-Russian stories just before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He sees a parallel to the recent stories and the upcoming soccer Worldcup in Russia. 

Russiagate, the deadly Skripal poisoning and their resurrection, the new sanctions against Russian oligarchs and functionaries, the reissuing of the old report accusing Russia for the downing of the MH17 flight over the Ukraine, the same false allegations of Russian hostility towards gays and now the Babchenko hoax all serve the same purpose. To "isolate" Russia in the global public opinion.

This is all part of the new cold war launched in 2014 by then President Obama after his failed attempt to nab the whole Ukraine out of Russia's sphere.

Another aspect of this cold war are the upcoming large NATO maneuvers near the Russian border just in time for the Worldcup start. I plan to detail those in a future post.

Russia is, as Prof. Cohen argues, far from being isolated. Since the launch of the U.S. campaign against it Russia gained more international standing. Despite U.S. sanctions the recent St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) was attended by some 15,000 business people and politicians from over 120 countries. Japan's Prime Minister Abe, France's President Macron and many other high ranking personalities took part. A week before the Indian Prime Minister Modi and the German Chancellor Merkel visited Putin in Sochi.

It is the Ukraine and the U.S. who are losing international support. Even the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Reporters Without Borders condemned the Babchenko hoax. The new steel and aluminum tariffs against Europe will further split the U.S. from its core allies.

The new cold war propaganda and its various hoaxes have a dangerous aspect. They make it more difficult for the parties to talk. President Trump would be harshly condemned in the cold-war media if he would hold a summit with President Putin. Small incidents, which under normal circumstances would be solved by a phone call and in a peaceful manner, can escalate when the parties don't know and trust each other and no longer talk.

 It is in everyone's interest to avoid that.

Posted by b on May 31, 2018 at 9:20 UTC | Permalink

next page »

We keep using the Cold War as some frame of reference when it bears only a superficial resemblance to the situation at hand: The Cold War was about the USSR exporting an internationalist ideology.

That is not Putin's intention here at all: he is more interested in re-establishing the former Russian Empire and asserting political or at least economic control of its former member states, many of which have a sizable Russian immigrant population.

Posted by: ralphieboy | May 31 2018 9:41 utc | 1

ralphieboy - back peddling your usual trash again I see.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | May 31 2018 10:08 utc | 2

I still don't understand how the hoax reveals FSB involvement? (Even if you take Ukrainian claims at face value)

So they got a passport image from the assassin, who they had regardless of the hoax, lets pretend Putin got this from an archive personally. It still doesn't explain the necessity of running the hoax?

Even if you are the most ardent anti-Putin Ukrainian, it still makes no sense!

Posted by: Bob | May 31 2018 10:13 utc | 3

So what went wrong in this false flag operation? The Ukrainian side might be honest so far when saying that they planned to stage an assassination plot and blame it on the Russians. The alleged purpose to prevent a real assassination by a contract killer working for Russia is of course nonsense.

What happened that forced Babchenko and his confrères to go public with this embarassing revelation? Much room for speculation here. Did someone have pictures of the post-death living Babchenko to threat or blackmail them? Was there an insider or Russian spy involved in the plot ready to blow the whistle? Did someone above of them - Porochenko? - intervene?

Posted by: mk | May 31 2018 10:37 utc | 4

Yes, I will never be a Putinversteher like you guys here...

Posted by: ralphieboy | May 31 2018 10:47 utc | 5

If the Ukrainians wanted to make their 'sting' story look more convincing, they should have got someone other than the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko to stand right beside Babchenko at the press conference.

Apart from looking creepy in the way he stared around at the audience, Lutsenko previously told another unbelievable story that made the headlines six months ago. That was about a meeting that he had with the billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky in Amsterdam. It was only revealed because a couple of Ukrainian students happened to see them and photographed them.

The Prosecutor General said it was a pure coincidence that he met the oligarch so far away from home: “I flew to Amsterdam for medical treatment,” Lutsenko said. “I was walking around the center of the city and accidentally bumped into Kolomoisky.”

There was at least one topic of conversation that Lutsenko and Kolomoisky might talked about during their "accidental meeting". Ukraine nationalised Kolomoisky's bank Privatbank in December 2016, at a cost of billions of dollars to Ukrainian taxpayers. The General Prosecutor’s Office has not arrested anyone in this case despite the scale of the fraud that led to the bank's nationalisation.

Posted by: Brendan | May 31 2018 10:56 utc | 6

Anton Gerashchenko, who is a Ukrainian lawmaker and an adviser to the interior minister, gave this justification for the Babchenko stunt:
"After all, the hero of Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes successfully used the method of staging his own death for the effective investigation of complex and intricate crimes. No matter how painful it was for his family and Dr. Watson."

Gerashchenko seems to care more about fictional characters than about real people. He is a promoter of the Myrotvorets/ Peacemaker website that publishes names of journalists whom it brands as “traitors” and “terrorist collaborators.”. In 2015, Myrotvorets published the home addresses of Ukrainian writer Oles Buzina and former parliamentarian Oleg Kalashnikov shortly before they were assassinated.

Posted by: Brendan | May 31 2018 11:01 utc | 7

Maybe the explanation is much simpler: as with the Skripal debacle, it is a test to see how absurd a false flag can be and still be accepted.

Posted by: Jimmy Pasha | May 31 2018 11:04 utc | 8


So the U.S. wasn't exporting an internationalist ideology--gangster capitalism?

Posted by: Sharon | May 31 2018 11:13 utc | 9

"What happened that forced Babchenko and his confrères to go public"? One possibility might be that Babchenko realised his untimely but real death would be better for propaganda purposes than his continued existence, and decided to jump up before someone else came to the same conclusion - in much the same way Yulia Skripal made her unauthorised phone call from Salisbury hospital to report her and Sergei being alive.

Posted by: Loftwork | May 31 2018 11:16 utc | 10

A point I want to repeat, when Babchenko was "dead" they said he was discovered by his wife... google "Babchenko wife found"... and when he came out as alive in the press conference he apologized to his wife as not knowing. That makes no sense.

Of course, if she wasn't in on it(doubtful IMO) that could be a possible explanation for aborting the whole thing early because it would be pretty obvious to her that the story was nonsense.

Posted by: blahblablah | May 31 2018 11:27 utc | 11

One effect of the SBU - Babchenko hoax murder must be the taint it leaves on the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team into the July 2014 shoot-down of the Malaysian Boeing passenger jet Flight MH17. How can the public have any faith in future findings from the JIT as long as the Ukrainians continue to be part of the team? From now on, every time the JIT comes up with "new evidence" supposedly found by the SBU or some other group or individual, the Russians can just ask, "Is this piece of evidence for real or a hoax to pressure us to give up and admit to culpability?"

Posted by: Jen | May 31 2018 11:31 utc | 12

Another very insightful article! The Nazi Regime in Ukraine have well and truly shot themselves in the foot this time! Will serve as a warning to them should they attempt another false flag prior or during the World Cup. Even the biased BBC wont believe another word from them.

Posted by: Mary Bailey | May 31 2018 11:32 utc | 13

A number of years ago I used to meet up with a couple of pals and go for a British lads' night out - a bellyful of beer followed by a second bellyful of curry. Happy days. On one such occasion we went back to one mate's place to continue the jollities. Then, out of the blue, one of them made a really weird comment. Bear in mind we would indulge in all kinds of ridiculous and surrealist humour and so on, but this was different. What I did not know, but did possibly intuit, was this was the first indication of my friend's rapid descent into madness. He went from being a clever, funny, politically aware and seemingly untroubled young man to a mad person, something he has remained in the thirty years or so since.

I still remember that night very well, not just because it was effectively the last time I saw my friend (what came after was not him) but also the effect of the comment he made on my own mind. It was like a 'mad bomb', I could actually sense my own reason warping slightly to try and accommodate something that couldn't be accommodated. It was a unique feeling, a sane mind trying to cope with an insane notion.

I mention all this because I feel an echo of that feeling when I read the MSM today. It is no longer sane, it has lost all reason, and I am being exposed to naked insanity. The media has gone mad. The only way to absorb it is by becoming a bit insane yourself. I suppose it is the 'Rove Doctrine' taken to its logical conclusion, it is not a truth distorted or twisted, it is entirely a fabrication, crafted to elicit a specific emotional response. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

The really depressing thing is that it works, most of the time. I would say 80-90% fall for the lunacy, and the gap between the 'reality-based community' and the lowing herd has widened to a chasm. It's all very depressing.

*‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.*

Posted by: Ross | May 31 2018 11:56 utc | 14

Ukrainians are Russians, so why do we trust them?

I am amused that the West declares that the Ukrainians are the good guys just because they are now anti-Russian but in every way they are cut from the same cloth as the Russians whom we hate.

The Ukrainians ...

1. Were part of the Evil Empire, hosting nuclear weapons, manufacturing weapons, oppressors of Eastern Europe and had many high ranking officers in the Red Army, Soviet State, and KGB.

2. They speak Russian and have Oligarchs or do they? We never hear that because they are the good guys, by definition only the Russians have oligarchs.

If we don't trust Russians then logic dictates that we should not trust Ukrainians but it's the same logic that tells us that there are good Jihadists.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | May 31 2018 12:01 utc | 15

Funny, the article by Mascha Gessen in the New Yorker. Instead of expressing outrage at nearly being made a fool of by the Ukranian government because she was about to publish an obituary of Babchenko when his resurrection came through, she sort of dithers around making fun of the inept Russian security, while living in one of the biggest dystopias on earth, and entertaining the notion, in a very vague, roundabout way, that the Ukrainians operated in good faith catching the culprit and brilliantly rescuing Babchenko (from himself). Gessen has a one-note tune---bash Russia and Putin--which finds perfectly into the songbook of the Russia hating, Trump loathing, Hillary loving New Yorker.

Posted by: Quentin | May 31 2018 12:04 utc | 16

It is as you say Ross. The question now is, how do the few retaining their sanity and clarity get through to their brainwashed fellow citizens? The fate of our world may hang on this issue.

Posted by: mike k | May 31 2018 12:12 utc | 17

>>>> ralphieboy | May 31, 2018 6:47:42 AM | 5

Stay a Putinhasser and see his peers in the west fuck over their populations in ways that he'd consider beneath him. How many politicians in the west are actively trying to enrich the entire populations of their countries, improve health care, improve housing, improve infrastucture, etc. Not Trump, Merkel, May or Macron with the latter three having their heads so far up Washington's arse that they never see daylight. And, if you're a Clintonist moron, ha, ha, ha, bloody ha. The best joke I heard last year was that she was the "best prepared candidate ever".

Posted by: Ghost Ship | May 31 2018 12:12 utc | 18

Another rabbit hole.

Posted by: stanforth | May 31 2018 12:37 utc | 19

As Patrick Armstrong says, the point of propaganda is to leave an impression after the details have been forgotten. The idea is to reinforce the "Russia--journalists--bad" neurological connection.

Posted by: Timothy Hagios | May 31 2018 12:40 utc | 20

From :

"It was reported yesterday that this video showed the arrest of a Russian security service operative, but Kiev officials have today said this is in fact one of the two Ukrainians"

And "He has contributed to a number of media outlets including top opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta and is an avid blogger, accusing Russian authorities of killing Kremlin critics and unleashing wars in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere.

Babchenko left Russia in February 2017 after receiving threats, living first in the Czech Republic, then in Israel, before moving to Kiev.

In recent years his increasingly bombastic posts pushed the boundaries of good taste and some of his colleagues and followers stopped reading him on Facebook."

And daughter with MAGA hat (from the article)- a nice touch!

Posted by: daffyDuct | May 31 2018 12:42 utc | 21

New cold war , new cold war - over and over from the right from the left from the center - it must me correct arch enemies agree on it.

Except it is misleading and in fact completely wrong.

There was a cold war last century, certainly we should always consider historical perspectives but it is not helpful to pretend that nothing has changed in the interim. War between Russia and the Western Empire is hot with proxies around the Middle East and Africa. There is major economic warfare going on between the US and Russia - but no gun is fired so its "cold" hardly.

Here is a link to an article at Grayzone, which describes and exposes the belligerent use of modern technologies/data and the algorithms of make them effective are now being used as weapons in the new "hybrid" form of warfare.

There is war and that war is not cold - unless you take only the most narrow and useless definition of the term.

Posted by: Babyl-on | May 31 2018 12:54 utc | 22

link - sorry

Posted by: Babyl-on | May 31 2018 12:55 utc | 23

Be wary of citing broken clock, Steven Cohen, neo-con chickenhawk. He was on the local radio program, pushing for more enmity and bellicosity (which he ALWAYS does) I started my call saying, "Mr Cohen, ypur reputation proceeds yourself, can you cite ONE circumstance here you didn't advise more war, hostility or arms?" He flew into an enraged defense, "I WILL NOT ADDRESS SUCH AD HOMINEM."

Posted by: Scottindallas | May 31 2018 13:05 utc | 24

Regardless of a plot or not, this was a ukrainian psyop/desinformation campaign aimed at the EU/US and the western MSM spread the desinfo like facts..

Posted by: Zanon | May 31 2018 13:08 utc | 25

Malaysia claims Russia is NOT responsible for downing MH17

Prepare for another massive cover up...

Posted by: Zanon | May 31 2018 13:10 utc | 26

"The story of the fake murder of Babchenko made a big wave in "western" media. In 2016 alone 14 journalists were killed in the Ukraine "
Not according to the link - most of these were in 2015, many were not journalists in that list, and many were "suicided" which in these cases probably but not definitely is murder.
But yes, it is right to highlight the death rate for journalists in Kiev.

Posted by: michael d | May 31 2018 13:16 utc | 27

@Ross 14

I too have the sense that mass media and many politicians, and unfortunately much of the public has literally gone crazy in this environment. Lies and pretense have normalized in much western politics and mass media, and honesty becomes odd man out.

But there are two other aspects to the general situation which are contributary, I would guess.

One is the degree of sheer criminality that has been and is being perpetrated by much of the west. Top of the list I suppose are the wars of aggression based on lies. The media are indispensable enablers of this, and they know it. So the culture of lies is anything but trivial in effect. It is deeply criminal, pathological.

The other is the descent of western society into a general unhealthy ambience of electromagnetic inundation, bad food, tainted water, pharmaceutical dependence, dissipated lifestyle and what not.

The conjunction of normalized dishonesty, pretense, criminality and dissipated lifestyle and unhealthy environment = or cultivates ... societal insanity.

A revelatory moment for me was watching a video of obvious crisis actors recounting the false story of the recent 'death' of their child. They were not just bad actors. They literally did not have a clue as to how people mourn the recent death of a loved one. Perhaps they had experienced death through the television only? And here they were passing on to the public a pathetic charade. Where does this all lead, in the age of nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants etc; that is, in an era where common sense and realistic thought processes and behaviour are indispensable?

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | May 31 2018 13:26 utc | 28

Posted by: Zanon | May 31, 2018 9:10:56 AM | 26

Malaysia says no conclusive evidence

That is a bit different. I have been waiting for this, since the statement condemning Russia was supported by the Netherlands and Australia only.
Malaysia spent some time thinking about it.

Posted by: somebody | May 31 2018 13:36 utc | 29

There is a reason why I believe absolutely NOTHING the NATO governments and their presstitute mouthpieces say! And this merely vindicates my stance on the matter, yet again!

Posted by: One Tigas | May 31 2018 13:41 utc | 30

I fully agree. What was the point of the staging, filming and publicising of the hoax if, by that time, the assassin had already been arrested?

IMO something else was afoot with this hoax and it went wrong. This forced the Kiev government to come with a script quickly as the worlds media were onto it big style. I dont believe for minute that Babchenko "didnt tell his wife". But, if we assume he didn't, then what a sorry bastard he is, putting his wife and family through such a hell? For what? What price would would a husband have to accept to do that?

Posted by: Hermius | May 31 2018 13:44 utc | 31

So the man the SBU apprehended, "Mr. G." says that he himself was approached by an SBU agent with an offer to participate in a counter-intelligence sting, meaning he believed he also was helping them entrap a Russian assassin. And that SBU now denies ever having such an agent
"G." also says that he put his trust in the offer because he's had some dealings with security services before (arming and supplying the "counter-terrorist effort in East Ukraine). And the article heavily implies that he blames his arrest on his competition in the arms trade.

Granted, it's still just his defense, but nonetheless so hilarious if true.

Posted by: TheGM | May 31 2018 13:56 utc | 32

If the middleman publically "turns" on the FSB or whatever than we know it is a concerted effort by the SBU to waste their tax allowance on some stupid propaganda stunt. If this supposed middleman is never heard from again than we'll know that the SBU operation was genuine but, the evil Russian empire had nothing to do with it. Seems too contrived to be the former and the latter is just a case of the Ukraine intelligence being retarded.

Posted by: anon | May 31 2018 14:06 utc | 33

I suspect it's all the Seinfeld show now. It's about nothing.

There is hardly any deep thinking gone into this latest gaffe. There wasn't any with Skripal - secrets, sure, but no real thinking.

I don't worry that the insanity may contaminate healthy people. There is far more natural wisdom in the world than ever gets publicized. This is simply the old world outing itself. It will not be adopted by the new world.

Posted by: Grieved | May 31 2018 14:11 utc | 34

The SBU invention lost me at stage one, "the Russian secret service FSB hired a Ukrainian citizen to find someone to kill Babchenko." Why in the name of all that's holy would they do that?

Posted by: Bill H | May 31 2018 14:17 utc | 35

Babchenko fled Russia in 2017 after writing a Facebook post (in Russian) about a crashed Tu-154 transport plane, which went into the Black Sea while carrying a Red Army choir to Syria.

Irony alert. Strictly not more then highly superficial check. But imagine: How evil a system must be to sacrifice it's own people? Including even one "Red Amy" (?) choirs? Apparently they don't have proofreaders at BBC. Or should I have read on?

Posted by: LeaNder | May 31 2018 14:54 utc | 36

This post of Piotr Berman from the last thread remains far and away the best theory:

As I wrote, hybridians were eliminated in Poland, so now I can quote comments trusting that they are written by real people, and in cases of correct grammar etc. probably Polish. A nice theory:

40 min. temu
ukraińcy chcieli go odstrzelić by było na Moskwę. Facet wyczuł co się dzieje, zdobył dowody i zagroził że po jego śmierci wypłyną. Teraz opowiadają bzdury, bo się dogadali. W końcu mają wspólnego wroga.
Ukrainians wanted to shot him dead to blame Moscow. The guy got the wind of the plot, found evidence and threatened that in the case of his death it will became public. Now they reached an agreement and they are spreading nonsense. After all, they have a common enemy [but Babchenko did not want to sacrifice for the cause]

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 30, 2018 3:05:59 PM | 25

This fantasy story can only hapen in Ukraine. Or UK, US, Israel or Saudi Arabia, the other cloud coockoo countries.

Posted by: BM | May 31 2018 14:58 utc | 37

A keeper:

Arkady Babchenko tells British press to go F--- itself

Responding to a link to a roundup of UK newspaper headlines posted by a commenter, Babchenko said: "Dear British press, please go f--- yourself. If you want to do good -- give me a UK passport and protection. Then you can teach me how to protect my family. F---ing smart---s."

A.B. shows his lessons in Ukrainian etiquette have stuck.

Posted by: librul | May 31 2018 14:59 utc | 38

@28 You are sooo right!
As for Babchenko, as we learned here, he is a desperate man trying to make a living for his family (now when nobody wants him as a journalist and none is reading his blog and donate money). He tried to find country to take him in and is now practically begging west to take him (no chance anymore). To do this hoax he was either paid by SBU or he was blackmailed (and probably would be really killed if he did not do it). He is a scum and they are type that is easy to involve in all kinds of crimes.
The whole hoax was so stupid (the way it went altogether) and something unexpected definitely happened so they had to resurrect him. Otherwise they will " bury" him with tones of flowers and western media in tears and in reality would give him another identity somewhere in USA.
One has to think of something going wrong with Skripals too because it was done so amateurish and those guys from "intelligence community" never were amateurs.Or is it shortage of intelligent people in "intelligence community" ?
What bothers me is the fact that with all these hoaxes and false flags it seems that they either believe that world population is stupid enough to swallow this sh*t or they simply do not care anymore because they already ( and will in the future even more) use naked force against "their own people".
I am sensing for some time that something really catastrophic is in the making and they know it, so they are more desperate and crazy every day, not being able to do anything to even reverse situation let alone resolve it.
Symptomatic is that more and more countries are refusing to stay "in line" with Empire and slowly we are approaching a Big "earthquake" it seems...How many more crazy years ? 2-3? In the main time we have to try to stay matter what they serve us...

Posted by: vbo | May 31 2018 15:12 utc | 39

@24 - Scottindallas

Really, Cohen is the embodiment of the perpetually moribund US "left" - Which has not existed sense Angela Davis and Eldredge Clever or Malcolm X they were the only real left the US has ever seen.

Posted by: Babyl-on | May 31 2018 15:14 utc | 40

Scottindallas @ 24

Yes - Steven Cohen may be reprehensible.

Stephen F. Cohen is not -

Posted by: daffyDuct | May 31 2018 15:20 utc | 41

The photo of Babchenko laying in his blood is so posed and fake it is laughable.

I listened to S. Cohen while doing housework. Russia is not isolated, nor are Russia and the US isolating themselves ‘off’ as sorta mutual thing (as was suggested on the John Batchelor podcast.) I haven’t followed the details, so thanks to b for the post. Rather, Russia still hopes to interact with the W - which is does anyway in spades, but it would appreciate some recognition.

Note how the USuk accusations are in the main media tall tales, narratives to appeal, the lovely Yulia, Russian Spies, assassins, one anti-Putin journalist killed (or not - subsequent fascinating plot complications!), all totally apolitical and focussed on individuals as in a Le Carré novel. But lower down, inferior, as Le Carré masters fiction, yes fiction, interesting and entertaining. The MSM tales involve cats pets and poison on doornobs, valiant policemen, nursing staff, etc. All this is offered up as horror-show rubbish, to distract.

One level up is not better. Trump attacked Syria to ensure that chem warfare has to be repressed…? Err?

Dumbing down of the ppl, maxima.

How are poor children faring for food in one of the richest countries of the world, GB?

Posted by: Noirette | May 31 2018 15:34 utc | 42

The scandal is not so much the hoax. The scandal is the fact that the Ukrainian government blamed Russia though they should have known that their own security service was involved.

Which somehow makes me believe that his did not go as planned.

Posted by: somebody | May 31 2018 15:38 utc | 43

thanks b for going into this further... did any major msm issue an apology over what the spread? i very much doubt it..

@ 16 quentin.. thanks for stating what i was thinking..

@ 40 daffyduct.. thanks for clarifying that for some who need the clarification... oh well!

Posted by: james | May 31 2018 15:44 utc | 44

Posted by: Zanon | May 31, 2018 9:10:56 AM | 26
Malaysia says no conclusive evidence

The new populist anti-corruption government in Malaysia is a wild card that the corrupt governments controlling the MH17 narrative will not be able to control. There must have been massive bribes paid to persuade Malaysia to shut up, and the recipients will be arrested, documents uncovered, inter alia, this was a crime against Malaysia and her people. The new government will not be party to the cover-up. It will take time for things to come out though, they have other priorities at the moment.

Malaysians have the privilege of watching a great political work in progress and should continue not to shy from raising their public voices if they fear a stray from purpose.

Posted by: BM | May 31 2018 15:47 utc | 45

Like a worn out magic trick. But let's not forget to keep an eye on what the 'other hand ' is doing !!!
Bet there up to all sorts dirt behind there back. Great distraction.
Or am I paranoid ?
Definition- paranoia - a real or imagend fear!

Posted by: Mark2 | May 31 2018 15:49 utc | 46

Right, daffy, there are hundreds of Steven Cohens out there.

I liked this from the Gessen column: That following the news that Babchenko was alive "...each of the women in the office got a rose." Presumably any soft toys left out front were sent to a nearby orphanage.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | May 31 2018 15:50 utc | 47

Right now, Deutsche Bank stock is crashing and Trump is announcing new tariffs on German luxury cars and several other areas. At the same time, we are seeing information attacks such as this one (undoubtedly there are more to come). I think that they're still trying to cancel the Nord Stream 2, and this is part of the political and economic pressure.

The case of Deutsche Bank is particularly interesting, as it seems to be a thoroughly zombified bank kept alive by a series of extremely crooked deals.

Posted by: Timothy Hagios | May 31 2018 15:58 utc | 48

IMO, yet another distraction aimed at further befuddling the global public, the scenario probably hatched from Babchenko's addled mind for yet A Few Dollars More as already suggested. I say distraction because there're some really serious ongoing actions this staged event is meant to veil. Pepe reveals many and their web of interconnections. As most longstanding barflies know, I never bought the notion of this being Cold War v2.0; rather, I've argued we're in the midst of a Hybrid Third World War. Now we see the onset of what's going to become a very serious Economic War between the Outlaw US Empire and the rest of the globe's nations aside from the Zionist Settler State--it's only remaining ally. Like the Skripals, Babchenko's merely a pawn and will soon burn through his Fistfull of Dollars.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 31 2018 16:02 utc | 49

Two fakes make a "modern truth".

Arkady Babchenko invokes Skripal.

Journalist who faked death: I didn't want to share Skripal's fate


Posted by: librul | May 31 2018 16:03 utc | 50

Timothy Hagios

Re tariffs,
EU are so pathetically stupid its amazing, here they believe US somehow care for them and support US every time they want something and now this happens, hilarious actually.

Posted by: Zanon | May 31 2018 16:15 utc | 51

Maybe they needed the fake death to provide proof for payment. Then once the check cleared, so to speak, they could indict the payer.

Posted by: Chris | May 31 2018 16:21 utc | 52

A simple hoax that did the job. First the murder is blamed on the Russians then in the very next news cycle the reserection more than doubling their media exposure. I'd missed the first story but there was no missing the second. They're not asking questions about 25 year old id photos in the msm.

Posted by: Nobody | May 31 2018 16:26 utc | 53

@ librul 49

The article you linked to was from Reuters, that includes the following 'dedication' to 'principle:

"The Trust Principles
Thomson Reuters is dedicated to upholding the Trust Principles and to preserving its independence, integrity, and freedom from bias in the gathering and dissemination of information and news"

And here we have the first sentence of the article:

"Arkady Babchenko, the dissident Russian journalist who faked his own death in Ukraine’s capital, said on Thursday he had to undertake the ruse because he feared he would share the fate of poisoned former Russian spy Sergei Skripal."

Hmmm: Let's do a reality patch-up job favour for you Reuters, introduce a breathe of fresh air, and rephrase your Trust Principle: Thomson Reuters is dedicated to dishonesty and bias in the gathering and dissemination of information and news"

There you go.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | May 31 2018 16:28 utc | 54

Are these 'new' sanctions all about forcing some horsetrading to get U-rope to drop JCOPA?

In other news:

Is this further proof that under all the public roaring and chest-beating, reality is actually recognized by the loonies?

The second item is a biggie if it occurs. It seems to me that despite the US backing of the Kurds in Syria, their position is still very weak, as any look at the map showing the bordering countries abundantly shows. It would allow the US to gently disengage while claiming they haven't betrayed the Kurds and provide In Sultin' Erd O'Grand leverage with Russia. I'll believe it when I see it.

Posted by: et Al | May 31 2018 16:29 utc | 55

@ralphieboy, im just here to comment on your ignorance

for an unknown reason, i believed the people reading articles that actually make sense wouldnt blab out pure lack of common sense out in comments. i guess the lack of common sense cant be noticed when you dont have it...lets skip past my disappointment straight to the issue at hand.

>>>>russian immigrant population<<<< in the >>>>russian empire<<<< >>>>former member states<<<<


how to explain where someone has made a mistake when the mistake is everything that certain someone has said?!

when i read comments like this, it looks to me like people learn history from comics these days... i dont get it how people dont understand the sense of national identity either? as if changing borders changes personalities completely?!

russians have lived over large parts of eastern europe. in their empire, they have spread even further. those people didnt just disappeared in soviet union. (its not like germans didnt try to make them disappear) and calling those people immigrants would imply that all russians should go back to ukraine and live there, since its there the russian state was born. and what to do with those who actually changed their identity, and are now calling themselves ukrainians? (hey, where i come from, those guys calling themselves like that, ofc in my variant of slavic, identify themselves more with the coreregions than those from core regions, but i digress) what should we do with them when we bring all russians back to kievan borders?

oh yeah, an empire doesnt have freaking member states. my guess is that you must be from 'commonwealth'. second guess would be, holy roman 'empire' fan...either way, learn what the words you use actually mean, it would improve your communication greatly.

i just dont want to read comments any further, i really wouldnt like to come across anything similar...

Posted by: montenegrin | May 31 2018 16:46 utc | 56

Seems more like a plot from the American cartoon series Bull Moose and Rocky the Squirrel! This 'squirrely' plan had only one purpose: Interfere with the upcoming World Cup Games. It is likely one of the amateurs involved took a quick smart phone photo of the resurrected dead and foiled the plot as Boris and Natasha escapes again.

Posted by: ger | May 31 2018 16:58 utc | 57

@ Mary Bailey 13. The BBC will believe what they are told to believe.

Posted by: Beibdnn. | May 31 2018 17:02 utc | 58

@Ross | 14.

Very good analogy about your reaction to your friend and the madness that has gripped so much of the news media and Hillary Democrats here in the US.

I have been increasingly using psychopathology terms to describe what has been happening in the US over the last 18 months. Maybe it is time to for someone to update "Madness of Crowds ...".

Posted by: ToivoS | May 31 2018 17:12 utc | 59

funny you mention the white helmets and their embarrassing performances because this instantly validates many of what the MSMtards would call "conspiracy theories" such as the obvious fakery of said "syrian civil defense" stunts. not that it matters much in the "i get my news from facebook" era but reasonable doubt can use all the help it gets.

i have noticed that trump and his team seem to bungle into good outcomes in spite of their intentions.

"we'll kill all you goddamn koreans!" leads to "peace between north and south".

"toughest sanctions in history!" leads to "take your dollar and your SWIFT system and shove them up your..." and such.

"jerusalem is for zionists only! no coloreds allowed!" leads to an unfortunate and repulsive slaughter (because that's israel's default setting) but also to "well, at least we know the Peace Process Industry is full of shit and we can finally admit that DC is occupied territory". plus no shakira for them. come back one year.

just as obama and his team thinking "let's proxy war syria into hell on earth" leads to "have you met my friends iran, hezbollah and russia?"

also showing the true colours of the KSA in yemen with western weapons (where they haven't done much except kill thousands of civilians). etc. etc.

as for this story, it has the same flaw as the skripal nonsense: why not kill the guy when he's in russia? where russian authorities would be in charge of the case and could do any shady stuff they wanted? did the russians want to give MI6 the bestest birthday EVAR? whatever.

Posted by: the pair | May 31 2018 17:49 utc | 60

Hey, who killed that journalist?
Hey, who shot down MH-17?
Hey, who invaded Donbass?
Hey, who stole Crimea?
Hey, who poisoned the Skirpals?
Hey, who violated the intermediate missile treaty?
Hey, who wants to conquer the Baltics?
Hey, . . .

Highly Likely, it will always be remembered as The Russians.

Mass Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

Posted by: Red Ryder | May 31 2018 18:04 utc | 61

"I am sensing for some time that something really catastrophic is in the making and they know it, so they are more desperate and crazy every day, not being able to do anything to even reverse situation let alone resolve it."
Posted by: vbo | May 31, 2018 11:12:45 AM | 39
I agree, and I keep thinking back to the UoM professor who did an audit of the publicly available US govt yearly military budgets available on line. He came up with 21 trillion missing:
Then a fund manager did a further analysis and came up with 58 trillion. This is since 1995. In addition to this there are outstanding OTC derivatives contracts amounting to $542 trillion as of June 2017:
Next is the fact that the US govt employee and consultant data base was hacked followed by the entire payment system of the US govt military; so now they have NO idea who they are paying nor why. Which may be why Trump upped the military budget by ten percent and why the UoM kept finding amounts (800,000 was one example) paid that lacked corresponding invoices.
Now consider what will happen and who might benefit from this financial fiasco failing? This is what I think they fear, it is in the wind and no one can stop it. Just a guess...

Posted by: frances | May 31 2018 18:21 utc | 62

@ Ross | 14

Thanks for this insightful anecdote. Needless to say, I guess (but that never stops me), I think you have succinctly captured that feeling when one's mental footing suddenly seems caught in a disorienting, mysterious, and sinister undertow.

FWIW, I've also long considered that chilling "Empire" quote to be seminal, and memorable.

Posted by: Ort | May 31 2018 18:42 utc | 63

@41 Stephen F. Cohen belongs in a movie called Night of the (once)Living Left. Give me Angela Davis.

Posted by: Babyl-on | May 31 2018 20:45 utc | 64

"We keep using the Cold War as some frame of reference when it bears only a superficial resemblance to the situation at hand: The Cold War was about the USSR exporting an internationalist ideology..."@1

The history of the Cold War is not controversial: it is the story of western aggression and Soviet caution. The borders not only of the Soviet Union but of the Warsaw Pact bloc were established in Yalta, in February 1945.
Far from exporting an 'ideology' the USSR, totally committed to peaceful co-existence and determined not to go to war, allowed the US and its allies to roll back the real advances of Communist Parties-who provided the brains and the infrastrucure of Resistance movements throughout Europe- which were on the brink of achieving power electorally or were de facto powers. The case of Yugoslavia is instructive Tito broke with Moscow over Stalin's conservatism and the betrayal of Greece where the Communists were ejected from power-fairly won-by the British army with the King in its baggage.
Around the world while the US and its puppets set out to re-establish their power, by force, the Soviet Union regularly turned down requests from allies for assistance. The most famous case was China where Stalin and the USSR actually supported Chiang and the KMT in their war against the Communist revolution, giving Chiang on the eve of his flight to Taiwan a massive military credit.
The point is that the "Cold War" was a propaganda stunt designed at one and the same time to condemn socialists in the west as foreign agents and fellow travellers, to break the power of the Communists in the Trade Unions, handing them over to the Business Unionists (for their monument look around you) and criminals, to justify the re-establishment of colonial plunder (Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia as examples) as anticommunist campaigns and to mount guerrilla warfare and the precursors of colour revolutions in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. And all in order to establish US imperialism as the global hegemon.
Those wishing to understand what the imperialists are up to today have to begin by looking at what they were doing in 1948 when they started the Cold War and 1950 when they attacked north Korea, in large part in order to break the Chinese Revolution.

Posted by: bevin | May 31 2018 21:04 utc | 65

This isn't directly related to Babchenko, but still falls into the "how can they make this stuff up with a straight face" category:

Poor, brave Ukraine! So truthful! So honest! Especially compared to those evil Russians who like to use these things called "facts" in their news and in their arguments.

Posted by: WorldBLee | May 31 2018 22:01 utc | 66

bevin @65--

The Cold War was primarily used as cover for the Outlaw US Empire's policy of continuing the disparity of using 60% of global resources with only 4% of global population. It began in 1943 in occupied Italy. See Gabriel Kolko's Politics of War. Upon ratification of the UN Charter on 28 July 1945, the Outlaw US Empire immediately broke it and its own Supreme Law of the Land by commencing Operation Overcast followed by Operation Paperclip and innumerable others since. The fact that the Outlaw US Empire's lawlessness has never really been challenged within itself is the most amazing feat of escaping criminal judgement of all time. And of course, the lawlessness continues under Trump at home and abroad.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 31 2018 22:38 utc | 67

The largest scandal here, imho, is the German Journalists' organization (DJV) engaging in politics(!), when they called fora boycott of the Soccer World Cup.

That is outrageous, and fatally damning for a Journalists' organization -- at least as fatally damning as this story is to the credibility of Babchenko and the Ukraine in general.

Are Germans just shrugging shoulders, taking a piss, and let it go by?

Posted by: bjd | May 31 2018 22:49 utc | 68

So, let me get this straight, a former conscript, later Russian military volunteer, served several tours in service and later declared himself a pacifist. In 2011 and 12 he was involved in protests against the elections, encouraging other demonstrators to resist. Even though he said all of his friends had left, he managed to stay in Russia another five years before he fled first to "a Russian expat" community in Tel Aviv and eventually to Ukraine (where he claims he gets regular death threats and insists that they are from Russia, rather than Ukrainian fascists). So, what are the odds that this "pacifist" was involved in Gene-Sharp-nonviolence-inspired color coup activities in Russia, or even that he had been recruited by Western intelligence agencies who used his journalism as a front for traveling to targeted countries? Why mention Skripal at all? Surely, not just any Russian could move to Tel Aviv. Here's Gessen's account:

"It wasn’t until February, 2017, that a combination of threats—of legal persecution and death—forced Babchenko to leave Russia. He first went to Prague, then to Tel Aviv, where I saw him in June of last year. I was on a reporting trip in Israel, spending most of my evenings at a café recently opened by new political exiles from Russia. A small crowd of similarly new arrivals gathered there every night, and Babchenko was always among them, chain-smoking, sometimes reporting back on his fruitless negotiations with the local authorities. Like many people in that crowd, he seemed shell-shocked and uncertain of who he was, or where. His journalism was now confined to his blog. He called it “journalism without mediators,” and he encouraged readers to make any payments they saw fit. Every post was accompanied by information on how to make a contribution. One evening, I didn’t find him at the café, and the owner told me that he had left the country. We later learned that he had decided to move to Kyiv, where he continued to write about Russian politics and, especially, the Russian war against Ukraine, making it clear in every post that his sympathies, and now his loyalty, were with Ukraine. Sometimes he mentioned getting death threats, which he believed were linked directly to the Putin administration."

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | May 31 2018 23:40 utc | 69

Posted by: BM | May 31, 2018 11:47:38 AM | 45

A slight digression - I fear the new Malaysian government will have hell to pay once Mahathir, a master of juggling neutrality within global politics (evident in its friendly diplomatic and business ties with everyone including Iran and North Korea), steps down. He announced he would do so during his 5-year term to hand power to his ex-successor who had a short track record, thanks to two decades of prison, of being an IMF/US tool.

Malaysia has no doubt managed to irk China by cancelling a series of mega projects handed to Chinese state firms to the tune of bailing out 1MDB and are carrying out investigations into past deals with them, and at the same time the deeply rooted Western financial interests by taking fast hitting counter-neoliberal action of immediately abolishing the GST/VAT consumption tax, slimming down Big Government and what looks to me like strengthening the government position given the entirety of the privatised state corporations and ilk are still manned by the "hostile" ex-ruling party members, for now - pending corruption investigations which will no doubt force a lot of reorganization.

Posted by: Tongkat Ali | May 31 2018 23:52 utc | 70

@Rusty Pipes
Sounds like a journalist without a journal.
More an adventurist, a 'Journalist of Fortune' so to speak. I could be wrong.

Posted by: bjd | May 31 2018 23:58 utc | 71

b. agreed
This incident backfired like the White Helmets Mannequin Challenge meme video. More people are getting tired of being fooled and are starting to question the BS fed to them. And the major media sounded the "Russia did it!" trumpets loudly.

Posted by: Curtis | Jun 1 2018 0:03 utc | 72

@ Babyl-on | 64 Give me Angela Davis.

Sadly, like Noam Chomsky, she's another aging 60s leftist icon who stoops to recommending making deals with electoral-politics devils.

See: "Ignoring Angela Davis" by Margaret Kimberley

Posted by: Ort | Jun 1 2018 0:22 utc | 73

Oh I'm so sure that head Russophobe-in-charge and "influencer" Masha Gessen was on an unrelated "reporting job" in Tel Aviv and it was just a coincidence that she camped out at an anti-Russian Russian expat cafe for the duration of her "reporting job". She really must have a massively sized ego, to speak this way. Dare I say, it borders on bragging.

Posted by: sejomoje | Jun 1 2018 2:11 utc | 74

bevin @65

That is good summary of the cold war that began in 1947. Though I do not agree with your brief summary for why Tito broke with Stalin. In those days Stalin demanded a solidarity that was determined in Moscow. Tito resisted that kind of Party unity which would have required becoming a Moscow puppet. Greece was a minor issue in that debate. I have sense of that debate given that my father was expelled from the CPUSA for supporting Tito in 1948 -- he had established a few personal contacts with the Yugoslav volunteers in Spain in the late 1930s and admired them intensely.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 1 2018 2:22 utc | 75

Jen, Yes! And, Ukraine has absolute veto power on the MH17 investigation, so they can refuse to allow any finding and refuse to release any evidence.

Babyl-on - the first Cold War went “hot” in many places and many times. And there was sabotage and such, too. I’ve always considered the term to mean, “not lobbing nukes yet.”

So many millions were killed across the globe in the various “chessboard” wars of the Cold War that some consider it was WW III. The Global War OF Terror that began in 2001 has killed millions, so some refer to it as WW IV. Competing terminology can all sound like a “not a true Scotsman” situation. They’re all deadly hostilities, and none of them smell as a rose by any name.

Jimmy Pasha - I do sometimes think TPTSB are just f***ing with us at this point. They can and do get away with anything, so they’re just mocking us. This really strikes me with some of the false flag/crisis actor stuff a few barflies mention. They are so absurd, and so poorly constructed/acted that it’s clear that, at the least, TPTSB aren’t putting their all into them anymore. Why so lame?

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 1 2018 2:58 utc | 76

karlof1. Yep. Much of the world is caught up watching the first fully Reality TV Show Presidency, and the never-ending stream of new outrages to divert our attention. Thanks for helping pull us back in from the deep end.

Pepe’s article is one of a few posted here that look at some of the real stuff that’s going on while most of us are chasing squirrels. He notes Ziggy’s “Grand Chessboard” of US/AZW Empire goal to control the resources and markets of all of EurAsia. Though I cite Ziggy for that frequently, Kissinger shared that goal, and really FDR set it in motion with his 1945 deal with King Saud on Bitter Lake. Bitter Lake, Jekyll Island…. do these thieving banksters pick these locations on purpose?

Pepe specifies the following as entities that could foreclose on the US’s domination plans:

“Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)”

But I must remind that I’ve posted primary sources that show that IMF/World Bank/Federal Reserve and even the Rothschilds specifically are deeply invested in each one of those “alternatives.” As much as I’d like to see this multi-polar world to prevent the Unipolar Global Fascist World Order, it looks more and more like the supra-national banksters are just hanging we spoiled Westerners out to dry.

Nation states? They serve their purposes, but the real power is trans- or supra-national entities.

Possibly related: Why haven’t we seen milk cartons with Clown Prince MbS's picture on them?

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 1 2018 3:12 utc | 77

bjd @68. We also recently had "Reporters Without Borders" trying to shame the Swedish Press Club into canceling a presentation on Syria by journalist who've actually been there. And just a few days ago, the "Media on Trial" presentation on Syria was cancelled at all Leeds public venues due to pressure from "journalists."

They ultimately did hold it, but in a tent!
It's well worth watching:>

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 1 2018 3:37 utc | 78

"What happened that forced Babchenko and his confrères to go public"? One possibility might be that Babchenko realised his untimely but real death would be better for propaganda purposes than his continued existence, and decided to jump up before someone else came to the same conclusion - in much the same way Yulia Skripal made her unauthorised phone call from Salisbury hospital to report her and Sergei being alive.
Posted by: Loftwork | May 31, 2018 7:16:43 AM | 10

Yep. You've nailed it, imo.
One can even speculate, idly, on the instant the penny dropped for Babchenko. My money says it was very soon (about 5 milliseconds) after someone took a snapshot of his 'dead' body. One imagines that the hours between his 'death' and resurrection were the most stressful in his life - having to pretend he was still enjoying the prank but unable to drop his guard for one more millisecond.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 1 2018 3:51 utc | 79

@sharon # 9

"So the U.S. wasn't exporting an internationalist ideology--gangster capitalism?"

The Cold War in the sense of two competing world ideologies: Capitalism vs Communism is over, it is about national interests now.

That is why I have trouble with people using "The New Cold War" as a frame of reference to the current situation.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 1 2018 10:55 utc | 80

@montenegrin #56

"immigrant" was a bad choice of words, I must admit. "expatriate" might be a better term. They have been inhabiting regions outside of Russia for centuries, following the expansion of the Russian Empire. After the collapse of the USSR, they were left stranded and often themselves as minorities but no longer enjoyed the privileged status they had in the Soviet Union.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 1 2018 11:02 utc | 81

@ Ghost Ship #14

you come to assume that I hate the fellow, whereas I just see him as much of an oligarchical power broker as any of his western counterparts, he just has his own approach. Of course it is in the interest of his opponents to paint him as the heir to the evil empire and a great threat to world security.

Of course he is going to act in his perceived national interest, it is what world leaders do.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 1 2018 11:07 utc | 82

A famous Russian journalist Oleg Lurie posted this one yesterday.

The "irrefutable evidence" ("confirming" Russia's guilt) supposed to be Babchenko's passport data, in particular, a young photo from his Russian passport.
Babchenko (& Ukrainian authorities) claims that "only Russian special forces could get this kind of personal data".

Oleg Lurie rightly notes a complete stupidity of this claims.

1) One can easily get\find a lot of "personal data" in Internet (for example, Oleg Lurie named Babchenko's personal ИНН (Individual Tax Number) easily found in Internet).
2) When Babchenko arrived on Ukraine some years ago, doesn't he showed his passport to enter the country? Sure he did show his passport, i.e. Ukraine (in particular, SBU) knows his personal data.
3) Visiting state institutions in Kiev (for example, Rada), didn't he show his passport to get a badge to enter the buildings?

I.e. it's obvious Ukrainian special forces has all Babchenko's personal data, including passport photo.


1) Theoretically, if the FSB would had to eliminate him for some odd reason - why use the old photo from the passport? There're hundreds of photos of Babchenko at his present age in the Internet. No one would use his old photo (when he was young).
2) Operations of special services with imitation of death are, of course, carried out in many countries, including Russia. But special forces never do it "on the camera". Operations of this kind are always secret and quiet. No special service will turn such an operation into a dubious advertisement for the whole world, including Foreign Minister telling a direct lies in the United Nations.
3) Special services of any country, carrying out this kind of operations with imitation of death, allow the "victim" to resurrect only after all the participants in the crime are found and arrested - the customer, the performer, the intermediaries etc.
4) Living on Ukraine, doesn't Babchenko has some necessary documents (medical insurance, drivers lisence etc.)? Or Ukraine has some 'special laws' that don't demand a person's passport to make these documents?

Posted by: alaff | Jun 1 2018 12:06 utc | 84

Re: alaff @84

In many countries you have to show picture ID when you check into a hotel, hostel etc., so well-travelled Arkadiy would show his passport in a lot of places where they could scan it. And if you are a foreigner, this has to be a passport (not a driver license etc.)

The "plot" is so nonsensical that it could be conceived only during copious and steady intake of mind altering substances, perhaps alcohol, with in this day and age, it is hard to tell. Masha Gessen probably got drunk herself upon getting the news, her article in New Yorker makes sense in some paragraphs, but it is much less coherent than her usual work.

One benefit we gained from those events that at last we got the list of true friends of freedom: those who managed to condemn the murder of Arkadiy Babchenko before his resurrection. Boris Johnson is there, the full list would surely be instructive. Around the same time, UK and USA jointly condemned a heinous act of Syrian government: official recognition of Abkhasia and South Ossetia as independent republics. A naive person would wonder: why they bother?! But this is just a glimpse on innumerate chores that standing for freedom requires.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 1 2018 13:18 utc | 85

The plot reeks of desperation - this here is official German Deutsche Welle's comment - they are not amused.

What amazes me is that Babchenko felt safe taking part in this plot as it would obviously have worked much better had he really disappeared.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 1 2018 13:48 utc | 86

@86 "But must Ukraine really resort to such Russian methods?"

Thank you DW. I think I get the message. Ukrainians have been a bit naughty but Russians are still much worse.

Posted by: dh | Jun 1 2018 14:02 utc | 87


What makes Deutsche Welle's claim especially stupid is that, to my knowledge, the Russians themselves have never used such "Russian methods."

Posted by: Timothy Hagios | Jun 1 2018 14:18 utc | 88

88 I am not sure about that but the mentionned method is certainly British.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 1 2018 14:57 utc | 89

As the preposterous story continues to unravel, it is now being reported that not only was the dead-man-walking admittedly cooperating with the SBU, and the first person to publish the death porn a likely SBU-US agent, but now Col. Cassad and Southfront are both reporting that the humble Ukranian citizen supposedly acting as a middle-man was anything but a Russian sympathizer, and the money trail leads back, not to the Kremlin, but to the SBU. So it turns out that besides there being no logical reason to run this so-called "sting" operation in the first place, every single piece of "evidence" turns out to be acts of the SBU, and nothing in any way pointing to Russia. It's even more ridiculous than a typical FBI sting on some poor, unsuspecting Muslim to continue hyping the war on terror--whatever that is.

Colonel Cassad at

Southfront at

Posted by: J Swift | Jun 1 2018 14:58 utc | 90

Posted by: dh | Jun 1, 2018 10:02:54 AM | 87

LoL. I've always had trouble believing that DW is anything other than a BBC/MI6 front. Admittedly, DW has a Finance Expert with a German accent but its overall BBC-ish-ness is ludicrously obvious. And whilst BBC routinely cross-promotes DW, I've never heard DW reciprocate. DW's 'angle' on Babchenko is a bit too "terribly British" for my bs detector.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 1 2018 15:06 utc | 91


Modi is India's prime minister, not president. The president of India is Ram Nath Kovind.


Babchenko is a "journalist" like I am a real jihadi. One only needs to read his book, "One Soldier's War In Chechnya", to understand that he has been from the start a professional Russia-hater and fantasist. Here are some excerpts of the review I wrote of this alleged "autobiography":

"Babchenko’s account of his own experiences, which seem to have included daily beatings that ought to have killed any normal human, allied with starvation (apparently nobody fed his unit) ...(is) so obviously a compendium of many individual’s experiences, put together and made his own (and of a few friends, not one of whom is identified fully and completely). It’s impossible to believe that one man could withstand all that hurt without any long term effects – and that day after day, week after week, without medical help or even food. And, also, the soldiers themselves apparently spent all their spare time stealing things from their base to sell to the Chechens across the wire, in return for food and money and booze, all of which was to be handed over to their seniors. I have no problem believing this happened once in a while, but the way he describes it, nothing would have been left.

Babchenko then goes into a brief, very brief account of his service in Chechnya in the first war. It occupies scarcely one chapter, and segues into his service with a penal battalion in Moscow after he was arrested for overstaying his leave (granted on the death of his father) due to illness. And the next we hear of him, he’s back in Chechnya, and it’s 1999, and the Second Chechen War is in full swing....

Babchenko’s account, superficially highly plausible, just doesn’t hold up when you think about it in detail. There are holes; chronological holes, logic holes, contradictions, and all without any particular reason why they should exist.

The chronological problem is great in itself. Babchenko writes in page xi of the Preface, “A few of the stories have been complied from several real episodes that have been compressed into a single period and shifted in time.” (Emphasis mine.) Why shifted? Who knows? Babchenko doesn’t say.

A great part of the book is devoted to the Battle of Alkhan Yurt, where Babchenko played an observer’s role, if one is to believe him, calling in strikes, helping carry out reconnaissance, and the like. All this begins most dramatically on New Year’s Eve, 2000, with our hero, in the ice and mud of Chechnya, thinking of home and so on (there’s also an unexplained misdating of the Russian Orthodox Christmas thrown in for good measure). Then he talks in detail about how they got into their vehicles and moved out and their travails over the next days as the battle of Alkhan Yurt developed around them.

Well, here’s what: the battle of Alkhan Yurt ended on the first of December 1999, a full month before Babchenko claims it even started, and involved claims of a massacre by Russian forces of Chechen civilians – a massacre Babchenko, an alleged witness of everything that happened, completely fails to mention, even to deny that it happened.

Then there are the logical inconsistencies.

Babchenko talks (Page 193) about a captain named Sitnikov, and says right away that he was one of those officers who get decorations but get all their men killed. Dangerous people, as Babchenko says. We follow Sitnikov and Babchenko around for several tens of pages, in and out of battle. In all this time, do we see the captain’s hunger for glory, which Babchenko has told us about at the outset, successfully poisoning our attitudes towards the man? No, we see a man who seems to be a careful, professional officer. Are there two different captains called Sitnikov, and Babchenko has forgotten which one he’s talking about?

Then there is the unnamed mortar battery commander, a man who (page 255) never doubted the correctness of his actions and was prepared to kill readily, and even happily. This man is described as a superb professional, who has total command over his troops, and obeys orders rigidly. So, when his unit is ready to fire on a certain sector of the battlefield, and orders come on the radio from headquarters to cancel the bombardment and withdraw, what does our by-the-book commander do? Does he withdraw? No, he waxes furious, orders his men to load their bombs, and to get ready to launch the bombardment anyway, as though he was some kind of warlord independent of the main command. And yet when another infantry officer informs him that the Russians are now in the target sector, he accepts that and cancels the bombardment – the exact orders he had just refused to obey when conveyed directly from headquarters. Is this professionalism? (Of course, since the bombardment was never launched, and the officer never named, there’s no way to check on whether Babchenko is telling the truth about this episode.)

The third part of the book continues about Chechnya, in the tense peace that followed the formal end of fighting. The same Babchenko who joined the second war of his own free will suddenly can’t wait to go home; but even though he claims that a kontraktnik can demand to be sent home in the middle of the fighting, he apparently makes no attempt to ask to be sent home; the circumstances of his discharge from the army in April 2000 are never explained.

During this period, Babchenko slips back into observer mode; lambasting the corrupt Russian officer corps, where according to him, generals beat colonels, colonels beat majors, majors beat captains, and so on, all the way down the line, and nobody cares about anything but themselves. In true Babchenko fashion, he then describes (page 365) a Captain Vladimir Shabalin, a compassionate, courageous officer, who brings flowers to the grave of a soldier who saved his life in an ambush. Babchenko doesn’t even seem to notice his own self-contradictions.... the second part of the book (the section discussing the First Chechen War), the author claims to have been in Mozdok, which is not in Chechnya, unloading corpses and watching necropsies (performed with a bread knife, no less) after the Second Battle of Grozny. And after that, he claims to have been sent off to fight in Chechnya and witnessed at first hand the destruction of Grozny. This is absolutely not possible for a simple reason: the Second Battle of Grozny, as a peek at Wikipedia will inform you, led to the signing of the Khasav Yurt accord and the withdrawal of all Russian units from Chechnya. Babchenko could have been either in Chechnya or in Mozdok; he could not have been in both places at once. Translation: He is either making the whole thing up or passing off someone else's experiences as his own.

Then there's the episode in the part of the book set in Mozdok where a senior conscript called Timokha demands Babchenko find 600,000 rubles for him. Babchenko tries to find something to steal and sell to the Chechens for money, but can't - the only items he does find are cannon shells he fails to sell, though he was offered a million rubles for a rocket launcher. Yet, after a couple of pages, he reports that he was (on alternate days) in charge of the armoury, from which this same Timokha and others could freely steal weaponry and sell for cash, and it was simplicity itself to fudge the accounts. It passeth understanding why Babchenko didn't steal the weapons himself.

Well, so far, I’ll admit, my suspicions about Babchenko’s account were all subjective. So I decided to do a little checking on Babchenko himself, and there it was; the proof.

In an interview, Babchenko (who wrote on that conflict as well) openly claims that Russia was responsible for the 2008 war between itself and Georgia, which led to the latter’s defeat; even though the US, Georgia’s military and propaganda backer, itself admitted (in the person of Condoleezza Rice, no less) that Georgia had started the war.

In other words, he’s a professional anti-Russian propagandist, the kind who always gets a ready audience in the West, because those of us who keep our eyes open know that anti-Russian propaganda is alive and well among the neo-imperialists in Washington and NATO headquarters in Brussels."

A better candidate for a false flag you couldn't find if you tried.

Posted by: Jihadi Colin | Jun 1 2018 15:16 utc | 92

If we're being pedantic, the Cold War was a result of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. not reaching a unification settlement for Germany in the Moscow Conferences, which themselves fell through because the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. couldn't agree over the administrative nature of the Marshall Plan. It was less about ideology and more about when unifying German elections were to be held and whether a unilateral treaty or bilateral treaties would better deliver comprehensive aid across Europe without 'influencing anyone.' The rest was petty squabbling: the U.S.S.R. gaining oil contracts for a total withdrawal from Northern Iran (which Iran withdrew from afterward), the British occupation in Greece mandating selective disarmament (of Greek socialists) in Athens, and the U.S. supporting the U.N. calls for 'internationalization' of the Turkish Straits, with the U.S.S.R. requesting the same policy for the Suez and Panama Canals.

The current 'Cold War' isn't real, so it has no beginning. If it was about Russia 're-establishing Empire' or 'regaining control over former member states', it would require evidence. You'd have to compare German and Russian FDI in Eastern Europe, compare the rate and scale of German or Russian CEOs or TNCs monopolizing most of the shares in the largest private companies of the region, compare which has the largest technical or technological monopolies, learn which was and is buying up the state owned capital goods of Eastern Europe, learn which is Europe's largest exporter and creditor (regionally and globally). Compare 'economic control' by estimating and comparing their practical leverage. As far as 'political control,' you seem to believe the Russians (known for their almost frustrating diplomatic caution in Ukraine and Syria) are planning on invading and occupying the whole of Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the South Caucasus. That's the only effective 'political control' that exists. Either that or you believe the Russians have tens of billions of dollars left over to spend on countless internet forums convincing 'Eastern populations' that the U.S. is run by unhinged, unaware, and incompetent people, and that 'a Great Russian Empire' is the only solution, and that this policy is widely successful.

Posted by: oneandthesame | Jun 1 2018 16:59 utc | 93


My above comment was directed at this person.

Posted by: oneandthesame | Jun 1 2018 17:06 utc | 94

@Piotr B #85 & @Jihadi Colin #92:
Is Babchenko Russian Orthodox, secular or Jewish? He was raised in modern Russia but doesn't know when Russian Orthodox Christmas is celebrated? When Gessen met him in Tel Aviv, he expected to be able to stay in Israel and kept meeting with officials? Israel frequently copies the passports of its visitors and uses them as covers for Mossad agents abroad -- so it might have a copy of Babchenko's 16-year-old face from his old passport. Again, it's worth asking whether Babchenko had been recruited by an intelligence agency (American, British or Israeli) to instigate some NED-funded "Democracy" protests during Putin's 2011 election and write anti-Russian propaganda about Chechnya and Ukraine.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jun 1 2018 17:23 utc | 95

@t Jihadi Colin 92

Good and very thoughtful comment. (Saw your blog ,kewl :))

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jun 1 2018 17:38 utc | 96

Daniel @77--

MbS's public appearances ended very abruptly at a time when he was being very visible, thus lending credence to rumors he was shot. Plus the lack of mention by other national politicos and media again at a time when he was mentioned daily. This captioned video from Khamenei's Twitter reviews his statements about the JCPOA negotiations in a rather telling manner. Unfortunately, it hasn't been viewed by nearly enough people.

It's amazing the amounts of treasure spent on control instead of uplifting people's wellbeing which would lessen the need for control. But in a world where it's deemed proper for "every child gots to have its own" and improper to share the wealth preference for such policy shouldn't surprise.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 1 2018 18:33 utc | 97

@95 Now the Times of Israel is claiming that Babchenko's maternal grandmother is Jewish and that Babchenko loves Israel.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jun 1 2018 19:22 utc | 98

@Jihadi Colin @92

I have now corrected Modi's title - my mistake. Thanks.

Also thanks for the book review. As I said in the new piece, Babchenko comes off as a naive - easy to influence and definitely not smart enough to be a good journo.

Posted by: b | Jun 1 2018 20:01 utc | 99

karlof1. Yep. Video seemingly of a gun battle at MbS's palace are released, and poof! A couple of still photos are all KSA has released as "proof of life" since.

Thanks for the link to Khamenei's words. I'd read a summation only. Riddle me this. Since the Supreme Leader has been saying for years that nuclear weapons are anti-Islamic, and so Iran would never use them, and all evidence is Iran has not even had a study program on nuclear weapons since earlier than 2005, and the only reason Iran wants to have any nuclear program whatsoever is for energy and medical....

...why is his threat upon failure of the JCPOA to reestablish their nuclear program? He's a smart guy, he knows that the West will interpret that as a threat to build nuclear weapons. So why say that?

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 2 2018 2:42 utc | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.