Alfred KOCH: “Putin’s lies are the highest form of lies known to mankind”

One year and two hundred and ninety-seven days of war have passed. Over the past 24 hours, the Russians have pressed almost all along the front and in some places (for example, in Avdiivka) they have slightly advanced. But nothing critical. In any case, on today’s ISW maps I did not see any notable successes of Putin’s wonder-kings. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the front is standing. And has been standing for at least three months now.

During these three months, Russian propagandists have already told the whole world such stories about Putin’s army and its incredible strength that even Putin himself has come to believe these bravura reports. He is easily deceived, however: he is happy to be deceived himself.

Today, at the Defense Ministry board meeting, Putin again gave out crusts. But they were so old and dried up that no one even raised an eyebrow, so used to his, if I may say so, “arguments”.

There are few theses. And Putin repeats them time after time, not even caring to diversify his arsenal of arguments in any way. The same words, the same assertions, the same pose of deceived virtue.

The first thesis is that in 1991, NATO promised Gorbachev not to expand eastward, but then “cheated” and expanded. The second thesis is newer, but it will soon be in its second decade. It is that the US forced him to start a war against Ukraine. It is as if he had no choice.

So much has been said about the NATO promise not to expand eastward that it is shameful to repeat it: in reality, no one (of those who had the right to do so) made such a commitment. And when Gorbachev was asked directly whether there was such a commitment or not, he said that no, there was no such commitment.

Moreover, no one demanded it from NATO. Because the only moment when the USSR could influence this issue was when in 1990(!) the issue of German unification was being decided. And then, yes, German Foreign Minister Genscher and U.S. Secretary of State Baker in the framework of the discussion purely hypothetically talked about a possible commitment of NATO not to expand eastward. But this commitment was not included in the final documents. And there was no other reason to talk about it.

I think that if you dig for a couple minutes on the Internet, you can even find a video clip of Gorbachev’s interview on this subject, where he says that there was no such commitment. And if you dig for another three minutes, you can find a video where Putin himself says directly and clearly that yes, no one made such a commitment. That on his instructions they dug through all the archives and found no mention of such legally significant commitments anywhere.

I myself recently, when writing the next chapter of my “Living Yeltsin”, scrutinized the transcript of Yeltsin’s negotiations with Clinton in March 1997. There they specifically talk about NATO’s eastward expansion, and Yeltsin asks “friend Bill” to simply wait with the admission of the Baltic States to NATO and not to accept them in the first batch together with Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

Nowhere, not once, do Yeltsin, Primakov or any of their aides refer to NATO’s commitment “not to expand eastward”. (Which, as Putin said today, was made as early as 1991). If there had been such a commitment, Yeltsin would certainly have referred to it. But he never mentioned it.

And in 2004 (already under Putin), when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were admitted to NATO in the second wave together with Romania, Bulgaria and other Eastern European countries, neither Putin, nor Lavrov, nor anyone else mentioned that there is a NATO commitment not to expand eastward.

And now almost 20 years have passed and Putin suddenly starts telling everyone time and time again that Russia has been lied to. It’s not enough to say it’s not true. Here we are dealing with a special type of lie. This is Putin’s lie, which is the highest form of lie known to mankind. It is such a lie that a person realizes perfectly well that he is lying. Moreover, he realizes that his listeners know that he is lying.

And he knows that many of them remember his own words, that there is no such obligation. But he lies anyway. Against the facts, his own words, against logic, against common sense and without concern for his own reputation.

He doesn’t even try to explain why he said otherwise before. He just goes and says exactly the opposite of what he said before. And everyone has to pretend that’s what he’s always said. And immediately forget everything they’ve heard before. Because there’s no such thing as an unchanging past. It changes every time to suit the needs of the day.

He did the same thing with 2014. He claims that it was the US that organized the coup d’état in Ukraine. I have already written that I cannot imagine how it is possible to bring a million people thousands of kilometers from Kyiv to the Maidan in winter and keep them there for more than two months and then throw them under bullets. How much money do they have to pay for this?

Putin doesn’t stoop to explanations. He just says it, not caring in the least to be convincing. He’s sure his listeners will eat it up. And in the right place they will applaud their favorite leader. And everything will be fine and dignified. And no one will even think that the man standing on the podium is lying. If Putin said so, it is so. And not from this moment, but it has always been so. And they all thought so from the very beginning. And no other explanation has ever existed…

He knows that such a flash mob cannot be organized for money and against the will of the people. And all his listeners know it. If it were possible, Putin would be the first to do such flash mobs in his support. But he knows very well how difficult it is to get even 50,000 people out on the street, even for a couple hours, without people wanting to do it themselves.

But he lies anyway. And everybody knows he’s lying. And he knows that everybody knows he’s lying. And he’s not the least bit ashamed. And he lies selflessly, and slowly he begins to believe that it’s true…

And that NATO promised not to expand, and that the State Department can bring millions of people to the streets for cookies and overthrow presidents thousands of kilometers away from Washington, and that massacres were supposed to take place in Crimea and Donbass, and that the Americans also wanted to organize this massacre, and so on and so forth and so on and so on… It’s just as ridiculous, obviously impossible, senseless and stupid…

I’m thinking: can he win? If all these lies are the only justification for his aggression, how can it be taken seriously for long? Nah, I really don’t get it. This isn’t even crazy. It’s a daycare center. It’s a nursery. There’s no clear line between reality and fantasy. The kid’s just playful and delusional. Take away his toys and put him to bed. He needs to rest. He’s tired.

That’s it. And our cause is right (haven’t you forgotten yet?).

Glory to Ukraine!

Israel said today that it is ready for a second pause in hostilities with Hamas in exchange for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip. Well. I can only wish it would happen as soon as possible.


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