Cross-posted from Counterpunch
"Let me repeat again, that in Russia's view, the blame for the crisis in Ukraine lies with those who organized the coup d'etat in Kiev on February 22-23... But whatever the case, we must look for a way to solve the situation as it is today...And, as I said, what is needed is direct, full-fledged and equal dialogue between the Kiev authorities and the representatives of people in southeast Ukraine...I don't know whether a Geneva-2 round of talks... is realistic. (But) I believe that if we want to find a long-term solution to the crisis, there must be an open, honest and equal dialogue. That is our only option." ~~Russian President Vladimir Putin, press statement, OCSE meeting, Moscow, May 7, 2014
"So many lie beneath the eternal granite
But of those honored by this stone
Let no one be forgotten
Let nothing be forgotten."~~Olga Berggolts, "Leningrad"
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a proposal for ending the violence in Ukraine at an OCSE (Organization for the Cooperation and Security in Europe) in Moscow. Unfortunately, most Americans never heard what he had to say because the media failed to publish his statement. The reason for the omission is fairly obvious, the media doesn't want people to know that Putin is not the ghoulish, authoritarian caricature he's portrayed to be, but a levelheaded pragmatist who wants a swift and peaceful resolution to the crisis. Here is what he said:
"We think the most important thing now is to launch direct dialogue, genuine, full-fledged dialogue between the Kiev authorities and representatives of southeast Ukraine. This dialogue could give people from southeast Ukraine the chance to see that their lawful rights in Ukraine really will be guaranteed."
Does that sound like a bloodthirsty "KGB thug" who's driven by dreams of territorial expansion and empire-building or does it sound like a responsible leader who wants to facilitate a cease-fire until cooler heads prevail?
Did you know that Putin called for a "genuine... dialogue between the Kiev... and representatives of southeast Ukraine"? Don't you think the media should publish critical information like that so people can decide for themselves how they feel about Putin? Or do you think the media is entitled to withhold whatever information they choose as long as it benefits their corporate bosses? Is that how a free press is supposed to work?
Putin made a number of concessions in his speech that are worth noting. For example, he agreed to move his troops away from the Ukrainian border which has been a bone of contention with the Obama administration since the Kiev crackdown began more than two weeks ago. Putin agreed to withdraw his army even though he may have weakened Russia's defenses in the process. This is no small matter; in fact, it's a question of national security which is a president's primary responsibility and one that Putin does not take lightly, especially now that neo-Nazi crackpots are roaming the countryside armed to the teeth and threatening to kill ethnic Russians wherever they find them. But Putin made the concession anyway, hoping that his good-faith gesture would help put an end to the violence. Here's what he said:
"We have withdrawn our forces and they are now not on the Ukrainian border but are carrying out their regular exercises at the test grounds. This can be easily verified using modern intelligence techniques, including from space, where everything can be seen. We helped to secure the OSCE military observers' release and I think also made a contribution to defusing the situation."
Does that sound like a man who's lying?
Of course not, which is why the media doesn't want you to hear what he has to say. Because it doesn't jibe with the "Putin is Satan" trope.
Putin is a plain-speaking guy who shoots from the hip and says what he means. He's not a bullshitter. People know that, which is why the media won't publish what he says. It's because they're afraid that people will believe him and all their jingoistic, pro-war propaganda will be for naught. The fact is, people have a sense of what the truth sounds like. Call it intuition, call it whatever you like. But people know the difference between a guy like Putin and a dissembling fraud like Kerry. That's just the way it is.
Putin also asked representatives of the southeastern regions of Ukraine to postpone the referendum scheduled for May 11.
Why would he do that? After all, if he really wanted to rebuild the Russian Empire, as his critics say, then he'd want the balloting to take place so he could show the world that the people in the East reject the junta government and demand greater autonomy from Kiev.
But that's not what Putin wants. What he wants is an end to the carnage, which is why he asked the people to postpone the voting so the government wouldn't have an excuse for launching another bloody crackdown. Putin doesn't want to see Ukraine ripped to shreds and reduced to Iraq-type anarchy by external enemies who are using it as a staging-ground for their own geopolitical ambitions. He wants to restore stability and security. He wants the hostilities to stop. Here's what he said:
"We are asking representatives of the southeastern regions of Ukraine and federalization supporters to reschedule the referendum scheduled for May 11."