Book review: Jacques Baud: Putin – Master of the Events?

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By Elisabeth Hellenbroich

In a new book (*) that was written by Swiss author, Jacques Baud, a security expert and economist, who was a former official in the Swiss Secret Service and in 2014 worked for NATO in Ukraine and later served as official for the UN in several missions, the author systematically “deconstructs” the “fake news”, “prejudices” and “disinformation” that have been spread by Western main stream press concerning Russia’s role in the Ukraine war.

* Jaques Baud: Putin – Herr des Geschehens? (2. Auflage, Westend Verlag, Frankfurt/Main 2023), Titre original: Poutine: maître du jeu? 1ère édition en France, 2022, Éditions Max Milo, 2022

The author of this article is reminded of a brief discussion which she recently had with a former American diplomat in Germany, who when asked how he would see events in Ukraine evolving, responded: “We have to send more weapons to Ukraine, so that it can win this war.” Being further asked about the risk of a “nuclear conflict”, he responded that „this is not a serious threat.”(!) Another point of the discussion was the history of the first nuclear bombs that the US detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6th /9th1945) in order to end the US- Japan war. The interlocutor added that at that time „one nuclear bomb” had also been designed by the US for Germany (!) which however capitulated before, on May 8th 1945.

The example illustrates in a terrifying way the systematic blocking of reality in the Ukrainian war, along the line of Western delusion that with more weapons “we can and will win the war.” The book of Jacques Baud illustrates well that the “prejudices” used in Europe don’t correspond to reality and that political decisions based on prejudices will in the end have the contrary effect. Hence Bauds conclusion at the end of his book is that Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite enormous sanctions imposed on Russia and predictions of his failure “is in control of events.”

Deconstructing myths and lies

In his book Baud reviews several myths. Starting with the history of NATO expansion towards the East, which began after communism, had collapsed. This included the integration of Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland 1999, followed by the three Baltic States, Slovakia, Slovenia, Rumania and Bulgaria 2004. When the US began to think about stationing “Ballistic Missile Defense Systems” in Eastern Europe (Poland and Rumania) -this according to Baud- changed the “geopolitical map of Europe”, which brought NATO got closer to the Russian border.

This “turn” of US and NATO policy was also the reason for the harsh address which President Putin gave at the 2007 Munich Security Conference. In it he referred to the “assurances” that had been given to Gorbachev 1990-91 that clearly excluded a NATO eastward expansion.  Baud refers to several documents -like the December 2017 published documents from the “Archive for National Security” (George Washington University). The declassified documents would clearly show that security assurances against NATO expansion were given to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major and Woerner. (NAS 12.12.2017 Washington D.C.)

While Baud underlines that “it is correct that neither written treaties nor decision of the North Atlantic Council” existed, that prove such “assurances”, this doesn’t mean on the other hand that they were not expressed! The argumentation is somewhat simple, because of many reasons. There is today the feeling that the USSR as loser of the Cold War had no say in the development of world events. That is wrong, according to Baud. “Since November 1989 the idea of reunification of Germany was in the air. The West knew that the USSR had as victor over Germany in 1945 de jure a veto right in respect to reunification. The West was therefore obliged to get the consent of the USSR and to respect its legitimate security interest.”  According to Baud this is what Genscher stated in a speech 31.1.1990 in Tutzing (as the American Ambassador in Bonn reported in a secret cable). “Genscher warns however that any attempt to expand the military structures of NATO on the territory of today’s GDR, would block German unification.” This would mean for the USSR, that NATO ipso facto would get closer to the Soviet border. At that time the Warsaw Pact still existed and NATO doctrine remained unchanged. Therefore it was legitimate for the USSR to see in this a security risk. In addition the USSR with German reunification also after withdrawal of its Group of Soviet Armed Forces (GSSD), its strongest and most modern troop contingency, accepted this, which had as consequence a significant weakening of its strategic position in Europe. Therefore then German Foreign Minister Genscher made clear: (…)  “The changes in Europe and the German unification process should not lead to a cut in soviet security interest. Therefore NATO should exclude a territorial extension towards the East, i.e. a getting closer to soviet borders.”

Gorbachev quickly made a linkage between his consent and brought US Foreign State Secretary Baker to the point to immediately have talks with him. In order to diffuse Gorbachev’s doubts, Baker declared (9.2.1990): “Not only for the SU but also for other European countries it is important to have guarantees, that if the USA keep their presence in Germany in the framework of NATO, that the present military jurisdiction of NATO will not expand one inch to the East.”(Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker , 9.2.1990; National Security Archive, The George Washington University Washington, DC).

Hence there was a “deal” independent from written documents. The problem was however that the West, in particular the Americans, understood the collapse of communism as “their victory”, that they wanted a total victory and that Russia had nothing anymore to say. In reality the West had n o t won the Cold War. The communist system had “lost” it. It could no more survive. The US hawks saw the opportunity to destroy Russia completely. Robert Gates in his memoirs reveals that the then Defense minister Dick Cheney was determined to “annihilate Russia.”  According to Gates: “In 2000, in a period of great humiliation and difficulty for Russia the push of NATO Eastern expansion, when one made Gorbachev and others believe that it wouldn’t take place at least not in the foreseeable future, not only darkened the relation between the USA and Russia but made it also more difficult to work constructively with Russia.”

Baud emphasizes by referring to the Ukraine crisis, that it shows the lack of “strategic thinking” in the West. This explains the proposal which Russia in Mid- December 2021 presented in “written form to the USA and NATO in form of treaty between USA and Russian Federation about Security Guarantees;” as well as “Agreements about measures to keep the security between the Russian Federation and the member states of the North Atlantic Pact.”

How the Ukraine crisis evolved

iowwHowBaud demonstrates on the background of the history of the Ukraine crisis, that it was not the Russians but the Americans that did everything “to weaken Europe and divide it.” He refers to the “Euromaidan 2014” as a “coup” with support from the EU and USA. At that time a government was overthrown “violently” whose election has been qualified by the OSCE as “transparent and honest” and an impressive sign of democracy.  (..) “The Euromaidan was far away from being a popular revolution, but was carried by a minority of “radical nationalist elements” from the West of Ukraine (Galicia) that had not been representative for the entire Ukrainian population. The first legislative act of the parliament which grew out of the “coup” was the abolishing of the “Law Kiwalow- Kolesnitschenko” from 2012, which had introduced the Russian language as being equal to the Ukrainian official language.”  The West legitimizes however the right- wing extremist coup. They arrested the chairman of the biggest parliamentary opposition party “Oppositional platform”, Viktor Medvedchuk in Ukraine and prohibited Russia friendly media. Meanwhile in the Donbass more than 80% of civilian victims were caused by Ukrainian bombs i.e. according to Baud the “Ukrainian government massacred its own people with advice from NATO Military and the EU.”

The Author shows that the links between Maidan Revolutionaries and the “extreme right” go back to a time where parts of Ukraine were under the 2dn “SS-Panzer-Division ‘Das Reich’” that had liberated Kharkov in 1943 in the fight against the Red Army. Its emblem was taken over by the ASOW regiment. Since the Euromaidan one could see in demonstrations flags from right wing extremists like Svoboda and portraits of Stefan Bandera. According to Baud among the most important ultranationalist militias there are the “ASOW regiment; the Ukrainian voluntary Army UDA”, which is financed by the US and some European countries; the “Patriot Ukraine paramilitary” which wants to fight the pro-Russian separatists; the Ukraine national Self-defense -a nationalist anti-Russian militia- “Prawyj Sektor” (Right Sector). According to Baud Western media systematically are silent about the right-wing extremist character of some movements and their influence on the Ukrainian government.

Baud reports that in 2014 he worked for NATO and watched the Ukraine crisis from within.  “It was clear from the beginning,” according to him, “that the crisis was heated up by the West”. Videos show that the Putschists were supported by armed men that spoke English with an American accent. Spiegel reported about the presence of militias of the enterprise Academi (former Blackwater).

Countdown to the war

Since spring 2021, Baud reports, the Americans began to threaten with the monstrous perspective of a Russian offensive in Ukraine. On 24 March Selenskyj announces a decree to reconquer Crimea and relocates troops in the south of the country.  At that time there were the NATO Defender Europe 21 exercises from March till June 2021 near the Russian border and Black Sea. No press however reported about the Ukrainian troop movements mid-March and end of April. Then six months later, (30.10.2021) WAPO speaks about an unusual relocation of Russian troops to Ukrainian border.  On the 23 January 2022 part of the US diplomatic personnel from Kiev is withdrawn. What really happens according to Baud, is preparation of the Ukrainian army to attack autonomous republics (to overcome mines etc.). Nobody reports about this in the West.

US Foreign State Secretary Anthony Blinken in a 17th February speech at the UNSC 2022 stated at the time: “We don’t know exactly how things will evolve… but Russia wants to create pretext for its attack.  It could be a violent act, for which it makes Ukraine responsible or an accusation against the Ukrainian government. We don’t know about the reasons for it. It could be a pretended so called terrorist bomb attack in Russia, the invented discovery of a mass grave, a staged drone attack against civilians or an artificial or real chemical attack. Russia may describe this event as ethnic cleansing of genocide and makes ridiculous a concept which we take seriously, in particular I myself because of my family history.” (Antony John “Tony” Blinken was born in New York City on April 16, 1962 to Jewish parents, B.’s family ancestors came from Ukraine, Germany and Hungary, E.H.)  “Second: Russian government could call for an emergency session to deal with the crisis. The Government will say what is has to do in order to defend ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Then the attack is to begin, Russian missiles and bombs will hit everywhere in Ukraine. Communication channels will be blocked. Cyber-attacks will shut down key Ukrainian institutions. After that Russian tanks and soldiers will take key posts that have been detailed in plans. We believe the aim of Russia is Kiev- a city with 2,8 Mio. We have information that Russia will in a targeted way attack Ukrainian groups.”(state.gov17.02.2022)  According to Baud these reflections are made by the so called “Tiger Team” about a possible Russian invasion.

On the 16th February Ukraine intensifies artillery fire against the population of the “autonomous republics” in Donbass that become evacuated.  No western publications speaks about this development.  Baud sees a high probability that CIA units were channeled into Donbass that in February 2022 committed terrorist acts. According to Baud “all points to the fact that the US wanted to have a Russian attack as trigger, in order to impose exemplary sanctions against the country. Germany decided to stop the certification of Nord Stream 2 (22.02.2022) which had been since the beginning the aim of the USA. On the 23rd of February the Republics Donezk and Luhansk ask for military help from Russia, in light of the intensified Ukrainian military offensive. In his speech February 24rth 2022, President Putin defined as aims, the demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine. He wants neutralization and prevent the installation of Western and American weapon systems on Ukrainian territory. On February 27 2022 Putin also put Russia’s nuclear forces in alert.  Baud concludes that the Russophobia of the “new Europeans” is the main Achilles heel of NATO- since the smallest incident could quickly widen into a nuclear catastrophe.  Keeping in mind that Russia further increases its oil deliveries to the US as well as supply of rocket fuel for the US, its noteworthy that end of April 2022 there was a change in US nuclear weapon policy,  when it abolished the principle of “no first use”.  Since then President Biden approved a policy that leaves all options open. Nuclear weapons not only as retaliation for a nuclear attack, but as also a “reaction to non-nuclear threats” i.e. the USA allows to deploy nuclear weapons any time.

In conclusion:

The book (315 pages) indeed compiles very detailed material (more than 60 pages footnotes alone) about the countdown to today’s Russia-Ukraine war, which may easily escalate into nuclear conflict, unless reason prevails and steps are taken for a ceasefire and durable peace.

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Pubblicazione gratuita di libera circolazione. Gli Autori non sono soggetti a compensi per le loro opere. Se per errore qualche testo o immagine fosse pubblicato in via inappropriata chiediamo agli Autori di segnalarci il fatto e provvederemo alla sua cancellazione dal sito

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