• The power of silence
    Validation. Empty space. Selkie, creator of Forest of the Fallen, flew up from Tasmania to tell the ASF Conference how it has grown to 131 powerful displays nation-wide

    Alison Bevege
    The stories sway in the wind, each one a person killed or injured by the covid gene-vaccines.

    The Forest of the Fallen is the exact opposite of a protest.

    When Tasmanian mother-of-three Selkie started the Forest in 2021, she didn’t anticipate the surprising power of acknowledgement.


    Loraine from Adelaide with Selkie (right) who started the displays, at the ASF conference in November. Pic: Alison Bevege
    “A co-ordinator from Tin Can Bay in Queensland is a narrative therapist and we spoke of the healing impacts the Forest was having on so many lives,” she said.

    For people who were injured, or lost their jobs, or lost a loved one, or suffered division in their families, this simple acknowledgement can bring a tremendous sense of relief just by recognising the suffering.


    “Having a sense of their story being validated by a tactile, optical display - this alone is so healing for them as many have had no recognition at all,” she said.

    “Some are completely left alone.”

    It’s a silent vigil open to any passer-by to wander in and quietly find out what has happened.

    “There are some out there who’ve experienced the loss of a loved one or are injured by the vaccines. They also set up the forests now and this gives them a sense of purpose, knowing that they are far from alone and can at least help to stop the perpetuation of deaths and injuries.”

    Speaking at the Australians for Science and Freedom conference at University of NSW on November 18, Selkie explained the magic of Forest of the Fallen which has now grown to 131 pop-up displays across Australia with more than 550 stories.

    It’s the magic of an empty space.

    Holding a space for sometimes angry people and a confused country that is still in denial

    Selkie said she found that taking herself out of the memorial was the most effective way to allow people to discover for themselves, quietly, what happened, and to process it.

    “All along I’ve stressed the importance on making sure the display is not affiliated with any other group, movement, religion or political party, keeping it open to all sets of eyes with no exclusion and no bias,” she said.


    This beautiful soul bought us chocolates and helped. Pic: Alison Bevege
    It’s free from politics, it doesn’t try to change people’s minds. It only has one message: stop looking away.

    “By taking away the mutual judgements and not disturbing the onlooker’s process, it’s allowing them the time to grasp what it is they are standing right in front of.

    “Taking away all other propaganda and signage was important as I saw this, too, deterred onlookers from reading the stories.”


    FoTF, High Cross Park, Randwick, November 18. Pic: Alison Bevege
    Selkie said when she first started Forest of the Fallen in 2021, about 95 percent of onlookers were disapproving and outright rude.

    “Today the tables have completely turned and now 95 percent of onlookers are supportive,” Selkie said, and even police have become helpful, sometimes stepping in to protect displays from the rare “angry noodles”.

    “I’m now writing a memoir as it has been a truly profound, incredible journey for me.”

    Selkie, who compiles the PDF master list to print, and coaches all the volunteer co-ordinators, found herself working seven days a week to make the Forests run smoothly, while homeschooling her youngest child.

    The stories used in Forest of the Fallen have been widely reported in corporate media or documented and checked by Jab Injuries Australia, and are willingly shared.

    Share

    Letters From Australia helped set up a Forest of the Fallen, and I witnessed the relief: it’s like rain in the desert.

    On November 18 at High Cross Park, Randwick, we set up a forest with the help of Phil Schultz whose brother Barry died 18 days after the Pfizer shot, Bridget from Coogee Stand in the Park, and Loraine from Adelaide.

    Many passers-by had stories of their own.

    A bright young Russian with sparkling blue eyes told of how his wife died not long after the gene-vaccine, but he was sure it was not related. Then he ran to the shops and bought us chocolates, and promised to help us next time.

    A man on a bike immediately started helping put up the stakes. He refused the jab after the first injected man at his office ended up in ICU. He wasn’t getting it after that, but saw his colleagues lining up. They were afraid for their jobs.


    “Bike man” had his own story to tell. Picture: Alison Bevege
    Two Texan tourists said nobody dares tread on their freedom, yet when the gene-vaccines came out people just rolled over.

    “I couldn’t undestand it,” said one.

    Phil himself had a chance to meet Loraine, with whom he is unexpectedly connected by his late brother Barry.

    When Adelaide doctor Barry Schultz’s story went into Forest of the Fallen for the first time, his widow Diane went to see the display, which Loraine was setting up.


    (left) Diane with Barry’s story in Adelaide. Pic: Loraine. (right) Barry’s brother Phil with Loraine in Sydney. Pic: Bevege
    Loraine told the volunteers that Barry was a new addition, and that he had delivered about 1500 babies in his career before he took the Pfizer shot which killed him 18 days later.

    Just as Loraine was explaining, Diane came up behind her - “That’s my husband,” she said.

    It was a wonderful moment for both of them. A lovely acknowledgement.

    This is the healing that Australia needs.

    Don’t look away.

    Thanks to Kevin Nguyen, the talented filmmaker who compiled a magnificent video of the Randwick FoTF above.

    You can do this, too

    REPORT your gene-vaccine injury to the TGA here.

    TELL your story to Jab Injuries Australia here.

    VISIT the Forest of the Fallen here.

    CONTACT Forest of the Fallen here: You can do this, too.

    SEE the Forest on Instagram here.

    WATCH the Forest of the Fallen videos on Odysee here.

    JOIN the class action for vaccine injured and bereaved here.

    CONNECT with jab injured resources at Coverse here.

    Updates: 27 November, added Diane’s pic from Loraine in Adelaide, corrected spelling. 28 November: more spelling corrections plus Barry delivered about 1500 babies, more than 1000.


    https://open.substack.com/pub/lettersfromaustralia/p/the-power-of-silence?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

    https://telegra.ph/The-power-of-silence-04-03
    The power of silence Validation. Empty space. Selkie, creator of Forest of the Fallen, flew up from Tasmania to tell the ASF Conference how it has grown to 131 powerful displays nation-wide Alison Bevege The stories sway in the wind, each one a person killed or injured by the covid gene-vaccines. The Forest of the Fallen is the exact opposite of a protest. When Tasmanian mother-of-three Selkie started the Forest in 2021, she didn’t anticipate the surprising power of acknowledgement. Loraine from Adelaide with Selkie (right) who started the displays, at the ASF conference in November. Pic: Alison Bevege “A co-ordinator from Tin Can Bay in Queensland is a narrative therapist and we spoke of the healing impacts the Forest was having on so many lives,” she said. For people who were injured, or lost their jobs, or lost a loved one, or suffered division in their families, this simple acknowledgement can bring a tremendous sense of relief just by recognising the suffering. “Having a sense of their story being validated by a tactile, optical display - this alone is so healing for them as many have had no recognition at all,” she said. “Some are completely left alone.” It’s a silent vigil open to any passer-by to wander in and quietly find out what has happened. “There are some out there who’ve experienced the loss of a loved one or are injured by the vaccines. They also set up the forests now and this gives them a sense of purpose, knowing that they are far from alone and can at least help to stop the perpetuation of deaths and injuries.” Speaking at the Australians for Science and Freedom conference at University of NSW on November 18, Selkie explained the magic of Forest of the Fallen which has now grown to 131 pop-up displays across Australia with more than 550 stories. It’s the magic of an empty space. Holding a space for sometimes angry people and a confused country that is still in denial Selkie said she found that taking herself out of the memorial was the most effective way to allow people to discover for themselves, quietly, what happened, and to process it. “All along I’ve stressed the importance on making sure the display is not affiliated with any other group, movement, religion or political party, keeping it open to all sets of eyes with no exclusion and no bias,” she said. This beautiful soul bought us chocolates and helped. Pic: Alison Bevege It’s free from politics, it doesn’t try to change people’s minds. It only has one message: stop looking away. “By taking away the mutual judgements and not disturbing the onlooker’s process, it’s allowing them the time to grasp what it is they are standing right in front of. “Taking away all other propaganda and signage was important as I saw this, too, deterred onlookers from reading the stories.” FoTF, High Cross Park, Randwick, November 18. Pic: Alison Bevege Selkie said when she first started Forest of the Fallen in 2021, about 95 percent of onlookers were disapproving and outright rude. “Today the tables have completely turned and now 95 percent of onlookers are supportive,” Selkie said, and even police have become helpful, sometimes stepping in to protect displays from the rare “angry noodles”. “I’m now writing a memoir as it has been a truly profound, incredible journey for me.” Selkie, who compiles the PDF master list to print, and coaches all the volunteer co-ordinators, found herself working seven days a week to make the Forests run smoothly, while homeschooling her youngest child. The stories used in Forest of the Fallen have been widely reported in corporate media or documented and checked by Jab Injuries Australia, and are willingly shared. Share Letters From Australia helped set up a Forest of the Fallen, and I witnessed the relief: it’s like rain in the desert. On November 18 at High Cross Park, Randwick, we set up a forest with the help of Phil Schultz whose brother Barry died 18 days after the Pfizer shot, Bridget from Coogee Stand in the Park, and Loraine from Adelaide. Many passers-by had stories of their own. A bright young Russian with sparkling blue eyes told of how his wife died not long after the gene-vaccine, but he was sure it was not related. Then he ran to the shops and bought us chocolates, and promised to help us next time. A man on a bike immediately started helping put up the stakes. He refused the jab after the first injected man at his office ended up in ICU. He wasn’t getting it after that, but saw his colleagues lining up. They were afraid for their jobs. “Bike man” had his own story to tell. Picture: Alison Bevege Two Texan tourists said nobody dares tread on their freedom, yet when the gene-vaccines came out people just rolled over. “I couldn’t undestand it,” said one. Phil himself had a chance to meet Loraine, with whom he is unexpectedly connected by his late brother Barry. When Adelaide doctor Barry Schultz’s story went into Forest of the Fallen for the first time, his widow Diane went to see the display, which Loraine was setting up. (left) Diane with Barry’s story in Adelaide. Pic: Loraine. (right) Barry’s brother Phil with Loraine in Sydney. Pic: Bevege Loraine told the volunteers that Barry was a new addition, and that he had delivered about 1500 babies in his career before he took the Pfizer shot which killed him 18 days later. Just as Loraine was explaining, Diane came up behind her - “That’s my husband,” she said. It was a wonderful moment for both of them. A lovely acknowledgement. This is the healing that Australia needs. Don’t look away. Thanks to Kevin Nguyen, the talented filmmaker who compiled a magnificent video of the Randwick FoTF above. You can do this, too REPORT your gene-vaccine injury to the TGA here. TELL your story to Jab Injuries Australia here. VISIT the Forest of the Fallen here. CONTACT Forest of the Fallen here: You can do this, too. SEE the Forest on Instagram here. WATCH the Forest of the Fallen videos on Odysee here. JOIN the class action for vaccine injured and bereaved here. CONNECT with jab injured resources at Coverse here. Updates: 27 November, added Diane’s pic from Loraine in Adelaide, corrected spelling. 28 November: more spelling corrections plus Barry delivered about 1500 babies, more than 1000. https://open.substack.com/pub/lettersfromaustralia/p/the-power-of-silence?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web https://telegra.ph/The-power-of-silence-04-03
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    The power of silence
    Validation. Empty space. Selkie, creator of Forest of the Fallen, flew up from Tasmania to tell the ASF Conference how it has grown to 131 powerful displays nation-wide
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  • Scott Ritter: We are witnessing the bittersweet birth of a new Russia | VT Foreign Policy
    March 10, 2024
    VT Condemns the ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINIANS by USA/Israel

    $ 280 BILLION US TAXPAYER DOLLARS INVESTED since 1948 in US/Israeli Ethnic Cleansing and Occupation Operation; $ 150B direct "aid" and $ 130B in "Offense" contracts
    Source: Embassy of Israel, Washington, D.C. and US Department of State.

    Tucker Carlson’s confused exasperation over Russian President Vladmir Putin’s extemporaneous history lesson at the start of their landmark February interview (which has been watched more than a billion times), underscored one realty. For a Western audience, the question of the historical bona fides of Russia’s claim of sovereign interest in territories located on the left (eastern) bank of the Dnieper River, currently claimed by Ukraine, is confusing to the point of incomprehension.

    Vladimir Putin, however, did not manufacture his history lesson from thin air. Anyone who has followed the speeches and writings of the Russian president over the years would have found his comments to Carlson quite familiar, echoing both in tone and content previous statements made concerning both the viability of the Ukrainian state from an historic perspective, and the historical ties between what Putin has called Novorossiya (New Russia) and the Russian nation.

    For example, on March 18, 2014, during his announcement regarding the annexation of Crimea, the president observed that “after the [Russian] Revolution [of 1917], for a number of reasons the Bolsheviks – let God judge them – added historical sections of the south of Russia to the Republic of Ukraine. This was done with no consideration for the ethnic composition of the population, and these regions today form the south-east of Ukraine.”

    Later during a televised question-and-answer session, Putin declared that “what was called Novorossiya back in tsarist days – Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson, Nikolayev and Odessa – were not part of Ukraine then. These territories were given to Ukraine in the 1920s by the Soviet Government. Why? Who knows? They were won by Potemkin and Catherine the Great in a series of well-known wars. The center of that territory was Novorossiysk, so the region is called Novorossiya. Russia lost these territories for various reasons, but the people remained.”

    Novorossiya isn’t just a construct of Vladimir Putin’s imagination, but rather a notion drawn from historic fact that resonated with the people who populated the territories it encompassed. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was an abortive effort by pro-Russia citizens of the new Ukrainian state to restore Novorossiya as an independent region.

    Scott Ritter: Helping Crimea recover from decades of Ukrainian misrule is a tough but necessary challenge

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    Scott Ritter: Helping Crimea recover from decades of Ukrainian misrule is a tough but necessary challenge

    While this effort failed, the concept of a greater Novorossiya confederation was revived in May 2014 by the newly proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. But this effort, too, was short-lived, being put on ice in 2015. This, however, did not mean the death of the idea of Novorossiya. On February 21, 2022, Putin delivered a lengthy address to the Russian nation on the eve of his decision to send Russian troops into Ukraine as part of what he termed a Special Military Operation. Those who watched Tucker Carlson’s February 9, 2024, interview with Putin would have been struck by the similarity between the two presentations.

    While he did not make a direct reference to Novorossiya, the president did outline fundamental historic and cultural linkages which serve as the foundation for any discussion about the viability and legitimacy of Novorossiya in the context of Russian-Ukrainian relations.

    “I would like to emphasize,” Putin said, “once again that Ukraine is not just a neighboring country for us. It is an integral part of our own history, culture, and spiritual space. It is our friends, our relatives, not only colleagues, friends, and former work colleagues, but also our relatives and close family members. Since the oldest times,” Putin continued, “the inhabitants of the south-western historical territories of ancient Russia have called themselves Russians and Orthodox Christians. It was the same in the 17th century, when a part of these territories [i.e., Novorossiya] was reunited with the Russian state, and even after that.”

    The Russian president set forth his contention that the modern state of Ukraine was an invention of Vladimir Lenin, the founding father of the Soviet Union. “Soviet Ukraine is the result of the Bolsheviks’ policy,” Putin stated, “and can be rightfully called ‘Vladimir Lenin’s Ukraine’. He was its creator and architect. This is fully and comprehensively corroborated by archival documents.”

    Putin went on to issue a threat which, when seen in the context of the present, proved ominously prescient. “And today the ’grateful progeny’ has overturned monuments to Lenin in Ukraine. They call it decommunization. You want decommunization? Very well, this suits us just fine. But why stop halfway? We are ready to show what real decommunizations would mean for Ukraine.”

    In September 2022 Putin followed through on this, ordering referendums in four territories (Kherson and Zaporozhye, and the newly independent Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics) to determine whether the populations residing there wished to join the Russian Federation. All four did so. Putin has since then referred to these new Russian territories as Novorossiya, perhaps nowhere more poignantly that in June 2023, when he praised the Russian soldiers “who fought and gave their lives to Novorossiya and for the unity of the Russian world.”

    The story of those who fought and gave their lives to Novorossiya is one that I have wanted to tell for some time now. I have borne witness here in the United States to the extremely one-sided coverage of the military aspects of Russia’s military operation. Like many of my fellow analysts, I had to undertake the extremely difficult task of trying to parse out fact from an overwhelmingly fictional narrative. Nor was I helped in any way in this regard by the Russian side, which was parsimonious in the release of information that reflected its side of reality.

    In preparing for my December 2023 visit to Russia, I had hoped to be able to visit the four new Russian territories to see for myself what the truth was when it came to the fighting between Russia and Ukraine. I also wanted to interview the Russian military and civilian leadership to get a broader perspective of the conflict. I had reached out to the Russian Foreign and Defense ministries through the Russian Embassy in the US, bending the ear of both the Ambassador, Anatoly Antonov, and the Defense Attache, Major-General Evgeny Bobkin, about my plans.

    While both men supported my project and wrote recommendations back to their respective ministries in this regard, the Russian Defense Ministry, which had the final say over what happened in the four new territories, vetoed the idea. This veto was not because they didn’t like the idea of me writing an in-depth analysis of the conflict from the Russian perspective, but rather that the project as I outlined it, which would have required sustained access to frontline units and personnel, was deemed too dangerous. In short, the Russian Defense Ministry did not relish the idea of me being killed on its watch.

    Under normal circumstances, I would have backed off. I had no desire to create any difficulty with the Russian government, and I was always cognizant of the reality that I was a guest in the country.

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    The last thing I wanted to be was a “war tourist,” where I put myself and others at risk for purely personal reasons. But I also felt strongly that if I were going to continue to provide so-called “expert analysis” about the military operation and the geopolitical realities of Novorossiya and Crimea, then I needed to see these places firsthand. I strongly believed that I had a professional obligation to see the new territories. Fortunately for me, Aleksandr Zyryanov, a Crimea native and director general of the Novosibirsk Region Development Corporation, agreed.

    It wasn’t going to be easy.

    We first tried to enter the new territories via Donetsk, driving west out of Rostov-on-Don. However, when we arrived at the checkpoint, we were told that the Ministry of Defense had not cleared us for entry. Not willing to take no for an answer, Aleksandr drove south, towards Krasnodar, and then – after making some phone calls – across the Crimean Bridge into Crimea. Once it became clear that we were planning on entering the new territories from Crimea, the Ministry of Defense yielded, granting permission for me to visit the four new Russian territories under one non-negotiable condition – I was not to go anywhere near the frontlines.

    We left Feodosia early on the morning of January 15, 2024. At Dzhankoy, in northern Crimea, we took highway 18 north toward the Tup-Dzhankoy Peninsula and the Chongar Strait, which separates the Sivash lagoon system that forms the border between Crimea and the mainland into eastern and western portions. It was here that Red Army forces, on the night of November 12, 1920, broke through the defenses of the White Army of General Wrangel, leading to the capture of the Crimean Peninsula by Soviet forces. And it was also here that the Russian Army, on February 24, 2022, crossed into the Kherson Region from Crimea.

    The Chongar Bridge is one of three highway crossings that connect Crimea with Kherson. It has been struck twice by Ukrainian forces seeking to disrupt Russian supply lines, once, in June 2023, when it was hit by British-made Storm Shadow missiles, and once again that August when it was hit by French-made SCALP missiles (a variant of the Storm Shadow.) In both instances, the bridge was temporarily shut down for repairs, evidence of which was clearly visible as we made our way across, and on to the Chongar checkpoint, where we were cleared by Russian soldiers for entry into the Kherson Region.

    At the checkpoint we picked up a vehicle carrying a bodyguard detachment from the reconnaissance company of the Sparta Battalion, a veteran military formation whose roots date back to the very beginning of the Donbass revolt against the Ukrainian nationalists who seized power in Kiev during the February 2014 Maidan coup. They would be our escort through the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions – even though we were going to give the frontlines a wide berth, Ukrainian “deep reconnaissance groups”, or DRGs, were known to target traffic along the M18 highway. Aleksandr was driving an armored Chevrolet Suburban, and the Sparta detachment had their own armored SUV. If we were to come under attack, our response would be to try and drive through the ambush. If that failed, then the Sparta boys would have to go to work.

    Our first destination was the city of Genichesk, a port city along the Sea of Azov. Genichesk is the capital of the Genichesk District of the Kherson Region and, since November 9, 2022, when Russian forces withdrew from the city of Kherson, it has served as the temporary capital of the region. Aleksandr had been on his phone since morning, and his efforts had paid off – I was scheduled to meet with Vladimir Saldo, the local Governor.

    RT

    Genichesk is – literally – off the beaten path. When we reached the town of Novoalekseyevka, we got off the M18 highway and headed east along a two-lane road that took us toward the Sea of Azov. There were armed checkpoints all along the route, but the Sparta bodyguards were able to get us waved through without any issues. But the effect of these checkpoints was chilling – there was no doubt that one was in a region at war.

    To call Genichesk a ghost town would be misleading – it is populated, and the evidence of civilian life is everywhere you look. The problem was, there didn’t seem to be enough people present. The city, like the region, is in a general state of decay, a holdover from the neglect it had suffered at the hands of a Ukrainian government that largely ignored territories that had, since 2004, voted in favor of the Party of Regions, the party of former President Viktor Yanukovich, who was ousted in the February 2014 Maidan coup. Nearly two years of war had likewise contributed to the atmosphere of societal neglect, an impression which was magnified by the weather – overcast, cold, with a light sleet blowing in off the water.

    As we made our way into the building where the government of the Kherson Region had established its temporary offices, I couldn’t help but notice a statue of Lenin in the courtyard. Ukrainian nationalists had taken it down in July 2015, but the citizens of Genichesk had reinstalled it in April 2022, once the Russians had taken control of the city. Given Putin’s feeling about the role Lenin played in creating Ukraine, I found both the presence of this monument, and the role of the Russian citizens of Genichesk in restoring it, curiously ironic.

    Vladimir Saldo is a man imbued with enthusiasm for his work. A civil engineer by profession, with a PhD in economics, Saldo had served in senior management positions in the “Khersonbud” Project and Construction Company before moving on into politics, serving on the Kherson City Council, the Kherson Regional Administration, and two terms as the mayor of the city of Kherson. Saldo, as a member of the Party of Regions, moved to the opposition and was effectively subjected to political ostracism in 2014, when the Ukrainian nationalists who had seized power all but forced it out of politics.

    Aleksandr and I had the pleasure of meeting with Saldo in his office in the government building in downtown Genichesk. We talked about a wide range of issues, including his own path from a Ukrainian construction specialist to his current position as the governor of Kherson Oblast.

    We talked about the war.

    But Saldo’s passion was the economy, and how he could help revive the civilian economy of Kherson in a manner that best served the interests of its diminished population. On the eve of the military operation, back in early 2022, the population of the Kherson Region stood at just over a million, of which some 280,000 were residing in the city of Kherson. By November 2022, following the withdrawal of Russian forces from the right bank of the Dnieper River – including the city of Kherson – the population of the region had fallen below 400,000 and, with dismal economic prospects, the numbers kept falling. Many of those who left were Ukrainians who did not want to live under Russian rule. But others were Russians and Ukrainians who felt that they had no future in the war-torn region, and as such sought their fortunes elsewhere in Russia.

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    “My job is to give the people of Kherson hope for a better future,” Saldo told me. “And the time for this to happen is now, not when the war ends.”

    Restoration of Kherson’s once vibrant agricultural sector is a top priority, and Saldo has personally taken the lead in signing agreements for the provision of Kherson produce to Moscow supermarkets. Saldo has also turned the region into a special economic zone, where potential investors and entrepreneurs can receive preferential loans and financial support, as well as organizational and legal assistance for businesses willing to open shop there.

    The man responsible for making this vision a reality is Mikhail Panchenko, the Director of the Kherson Region Industry Development Fund. I met Mikhail in a restaurant located across the street from the governmental building which Saldo called home. Mikhail had come to Kherson in the summer of 2022, leaving a prominent position in Moscow in the process. “The Russian government was interested in rebuilding Kherson,” Mikhail told me, “and established the Industry Development Fund as a way of attracting businesses to the region.” Mikhail, who was born in 1968, was too old to enlist in the military. “When the opportunity came to direct the Industry Development Fund, I jumped at it as a way to do my patriotic duty.”

    The first year of the fund’s operation saw Mikhail hand out 300 million rubles (almost $3.3 million at the current rate) in loans and grants (some of which was used to open the very restaurant where we were meeting.) The second year saw the allotment grow to some 700 million rubles. One of the biggest projects was the opening of a concrete production line capable of producing 60 cubic meters of concrete per hour. Mikhail took Alexander and me on a tour of the plant, which had grown to three production lines generating some 180 cubic meters of concrete an hour. Mikhail had just approved funding for an additional four production lines, for a total concrete production rate of 420 cubic meters per hour.

    “That’s a lot of concrete,” I remarked to Mikhail.

    “We are making good use of it,” he replied. “We are rebuilding schools, hospitals, and government buildings that had been neglected over the years. Revitalizing the basic infrastructure a society needs if it is to nurture a growing population.”

    The problem Mikhail faces, however, is that most of the population growth being experienced in Kherson today comes from the military. The war can’t last forever, Mikhail noted. “Someday the army will leave, and we will need civilians. Right now, the people who left are not returning, and we’re having a hard time attracting newcomers. But we will keep building in anticipation of a time when the population of the Kherson region will grow from an impetus other than war. And for that,” he said, a twinkle in his eye, “we need concrete!”

    I thought long and hard about the words of Vladimir Saldo and Panchenko as Aleksandr drove back onto the M18 highway, heading northeast, toward Donetsk. The reconstruction efforts being undertaken are impressive. But the number that kept coming to mind was the precipitous decline in the population – more than 60% of the pre-war population has left the Kherson region since the Russian military operation began.

    According to statistics provided by the Russian Central Election Commission, some 571,000 voters took part in the referendum on joining Russia that was held in late September 2022. A little over 497,000, or some 87%, voted in favor, while slightly more than 68,800, or 12%, voted against. The turnout was almost 77%.

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    These numbers, if accurate, implied that there was a population of over 740,000 eligible voters at the time of the election. While the loss of the city of Kherson in November 2022 could account for a significant source of the population drop that took place between September 2022 and the time of my visit in January 2024, it could not account for all of it.

    The Russian population of Kherson in 2022 stood at approximately 20%, or around 200,000. One can safely say that the number of Russians who fled west to Kiev following the start of the military operation amounts to a negligible figure. If one assumes that the Russian population of the Kherson Region remained relatively stable, then most of the population decline came from the Ukrainian population.

    While Saldo did not admit to such, the Governor of the neighboring Zaporozhya Region, Yevgeny Balitsky, has acknowledged that many Ukrainian families deemed by the authorities to be anti-Russian were deported following the initiation of the military operation (Russians accounted for a little more than 25% of the pre-conflict Zaporozhye population.) Many others fled to Russia to escape the deprivations of war.

    Evidence of the war was everywhere to be seen. While the conflict in Kherson has stabilized along a line defined by the Dnieper River, Zaporozhye is very much a frontline region. Indeed, the main direction of attack of the summer 2023 Ukrainian counteroffensive was from the Zaporozhye region village of Rabotino, toward the town of Tokmak, and on towards the temporary regional capital of Melitopol (the city of Zaporozhye has remained under Ukrainian control throughout the conflict to date.)

    I had petitioned to visit the frontlines near Rabotino but had been denied by the Russian Ministry of Defense. So, too, was my request to visit units deployed in the vicinity of Tokmak – too close to the front. The closest I would get would be the city of Melitopol, the ultimate objective of the Ukrainian counterattack. We drove past fields filled with the concrete “dragon’s teeth” and antitank ditches that marked the final layer of defenses that constituted the “Surovikin Line,” named after the Russian General, Sergey Surovikin, who had commanded the forces when the defenses were put in place.

    The Ukrainians had hoped to reach the city of Melitopol in a matter of days once their attack began; they never breached the first line of defense situated to the southeast of Rabotino.

    Melitopol, however, is not immune to the horrors of war, with Ukrainian artillery and rockets targeting it often to disrupt Russian military logistics. I kept this in mind as we drove through the streets of the city, past military checkpoints, and roving patrols. I was struck by the fact that the civilians I saw were going about their business, seemingly oblivious to the everyday reality of war that existed around them.

    As was the case in Kherson, the entirety of the Zaporozhye Region seemed strangely depopulated, as if one were driving through the French capital of Paris in August, when half the city is away on vacation. I had hoped to be able to talk with Balitsky about the reduced population and other questions I had about life in the region during wartime, but this time Aleksandr’s phone could not produce the desired result – Balitsky was away from the region and unavailable.

    If he had been available, I would have asked him the same question I had put to Saldo earlier in the day: given that Putin was apparently willing to return the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions to Ukraine as part of the peace deal negotiated in March 2022, how does the population of his region feel about being part of Russia today? Are they convinced that Russia is, in fact, there to stay? Do they feel like they are a genuine part of the Novorossiya that Putin speaks about?

    Saldo had talked in depth about the transition from being occupied by Russian forces, which lasted until April-May 2022 (about the time that Ukraine backed out of the ceasefire agreement), to being administered by Moscow. “There never was a doubt in my mind, or anyone else’s, that Kherson was historically a part of Russia,” Saldo said, “or that, once Russian troops arrived, that we would forever be Russian again.”

    But the declining population, and the admission of forced deportations on the part of Balitsky, suggests that there was a significant part of the population that had, in fact, taken umbrage at such a future.

    I would have liked to hear what Balitsky had to say about this question.

    Reality, however, doesn’t deal with hypotheticals, and the present reality is that both Kherson and Zaporozhye are today part of the Russian Federation, and that both regions are populated by people who had made the decision to remain there as citizens of Russia. We will never know what the fate of these two territories would have been had the Ukrainian government honored the ceasefire agreement negotiated in March 2022. What we do know is that today both Kherson and Zaporozhye are part of the “New Territories” – Novorossiya.

    Russia will for some time find its acquisition of the “new territories” challenged by nations who question the legitimacy of Russia’s military occupation and subsequent absorption of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions into the Russian Federation. The reticence of foreigners to recognize these regions as being part of Russia, however, is the least of Russia’s problems. As was the case with Crimea, the Russian government will proceed irrespective of any international opposition.

    The real challenge facing Russia is to convince Russians that the new territories are as integral to the Russian motherland as Crimea, a region reabsorbed by Russia in 2014 which has seen its economic fortunes and its population grow over the past decade. The diminished demographics of Kherson and Zaporozhye represent a litmus test of sorts for the Russian government, and for the governments of both Kherson and Zaporozhye. If the populations of these regions cannot regenerate, then these regions will wither on the vine. If, however, these new Russian lands can be transformed into places where Russians can envision themselves raising families in an environment free from want and fear, then Novorossiya will flourish.

    Novorossiya is a reality, and the people who live there are citizens by choice more than circumstances. They are well served by men like Saldo and Balitsky, who are dedicated to the giant task of making these regions part of the Russian Motherland in actuality, not just in name.

    Behind Saldo and Balitsky are men like Panchenko, people who left an easy life in Moscow or some other Russian city to come to the “New Territories” not for the purpose of seeking their fortunes, but rather to improve the lives of the new Russian citizens of Novorossiya.



    For this to happen, Russia must emerge victorious in its struggle against the Ukrainian nationalists ensconced in Kiev, and their Western allies. Thanks to the sacrifices of the Russian military, this victory is in the process of being accomplished.

    Then the real test begins – turning Novorossiya into a place Russians will want to call home.


    ATTENTION READERS

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    https://www.vtforeignpolicy.com/2024/03/scott-ritter-we-are-witnessing-the-bittersweet-birth-of-a-new-russia/


    https://telegra.ph/Scott-Ritter-We-are-witnessing-the-bittersweet-birth-of-a-new-Russia--VT-Foreign-Policy-03-11
    Scott Ritter: We are witnessing the bittersweet birth of a new Russia | VT Foreign Policy March 10, 2024 VT Condemns the ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINIANS by USA/Israel $ 280 BILLION US TAXPAYER DOLLARS INVESTED since 1948 in US/Israeli Ethnic Cleansing and Occupation Operation; $ 150B direct "aid" and $ 130B in "Offense" contracts Source: Embassy of Israel, Washington, D.C. and US Department of State. Tucker Carlson’s confused exasperation over Russian President Vladmir Putin’s extemporaneous history lesson at the start of their landmark February interview (which has been watched more than a billion times), underscored one realty. For a Western audience, the question of the historical bona fides of Russia’s claim of sovereign interest in territories located on the left (eastern) bank of the Dnieper River, currently claimed by Ukraine, is confusing to the point of incomprehension. Vladimir Putin, however, did not manufacture his history lesson from thin air. Anyone who has followed the speeches and writings of the Russian president over the years would have found his comments to Carlson quite familiar, echoing both in tone and content previous statements made concerning both the viability of the Ukrainian state from an historic perspective, and the historical ties between what Putin has called Novorossiya (New Russia) and the Russian nation. For example, on March 18, 2014, during his announcement regarding the annexation of Crimea, the president observed that “after the [Russian] Revolution [of 1917], for a number of reasons the Bolsheviks – let God judge them – added historical sections of the south of Russia to the Republic of Ukraine. This was done with no consideration for the ethnic composition of the population, and these regions today form the south-east of Ukraine.” Later during a televised question-and-answer session, Putin declared that “what was called Novorossiya back in tsarist days – Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson, Nikolayev and Odessa – were not part of Ukraine then. These territories were given to Ukraine in the 1920s by the Soviet Government. Why? Who knows? They were won by Potemkin and Catherine the Great in a series of well-known wars. The center of that territory was Novorossiysk, so the region is called Novorossiya. Russia lost these territories for various reasons, but the people remained.” Novorossiya isn’t just a construct of Vladimir Putin’s imagination, but rather a notion drawn from historic fact that resonated with the people who populated the territories it encompassed. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was an abortive effort by pro-Russia citizens of the new Ukrainian state to restore Novorossiya as an independent region. Scott Ritter: Helping Crimea recover from decades of Ukrainian misrule is a tough but necessary challenge Read more Scott Ritter: Helping Crimea recover from decades of Ukrainian misrule is a tough but necessary challenge While this effort failed, the concept of a greater Novorossiya confederation was revived in May 2014 by the newly proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. But this effort, too, was short-lived, being put on ice in 2015. This, however, did not mean the death of the idea of Novorossiya. On February 21, 2022, Putin delivered a lengthy address to the Russian nation on the eve of his decision to send Russian troops into Ukraine as part of what he termed a Special Military Operation. Those who watched Tucker Carlson’s February 9, 2024, interview with Putin would have been struck by the similarity between the two presentations. While he did not make a direct reference to Novorossiya, the president did outline fundamental historic and cultural linkages which serve as the foundation for any discussion about the viability and legitimacy of Novorossiya in the context of Russian-Ukrainian relations. “I would like to emphasize,” Putin said, “once again that Ukraine is not just a neighboring country for us. It is an integral part of our own history, culture, and spiritual space. It is our friends, our relatives, not only colleagues, friends, and former work colleagues, but also our relatives and close family members. Since the oldest times,” Putin continued, “the inhabitants of the south-western historical territories of ancient Russia have called themselves Russians and Orthodox Christians. It was the same in the 17th century, when a part of these territories [i.e., Novorossiya] was reunited with the Russian state, and even after that.” The Russian president set forth his contention that the modern state of Ukraine was an invention of Vladimir Lenin, the founding father of the Soviet Union. “Soviet Ukraine is the result of the Bolsheviks’ policy,” Putin stated, “and can be rightfully called ‘Vladimir Lenin’s Ukraine’. He was its creator and architect. This is fully and comprehensively corroborated by archival documents.” Putin went on to issue a threat which, when seen in the context of the present, proved ominously prescient. “And today the ’grateful progeny’ has overturned monuments to Lenin in Ukraine. They call it decommunization. You want decommunization? Very well, this suits us just fine. But why stop halfway? We are ready to show what real decommunizations would mean for Ukraine.” In September 2022 Putin followed through on this, ordering referendums in four territories (Kherson and Zaporozhye, and the newly independent Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics) to determine whether the populations residing there wished to join the Russian Federation. All four did so. Putin has since then referred to these new Russian territories as Novorossiya, perhaps nowhere more poignantly that in June 2023, when he praised the Russian soldiers “who fought and gave their lives to Novorossiya and for the unity of the Russian world.” The story of those who fought and gave their lives to Novorossiya is one that I have wanted to tell for some time now. I have borne witness here in the United States to the extremely one-sided coverage of the military aspects of Russia’s military operation. Like many of my fellow analysts, I had to undertake the extremely difficult task of trying to parse out fact from an overwhelmingly fictional narrative. Nor was I helped in any way in this regard by the Russian side, which was parsimonious in the release of information that reflected its side of reality. In preparing for my December 2023 visit to Russia, I had hoped to be able to visit the four new Russian territories to see for myself what the truth was when it came to the fighting between Russia and Ukraine. I also wanted to interview the Russian military and civilian leadership to get a broader perspective of the conflict. I had reached out to the Russian Foreign and Defense ministries through the Russian Embassy in the US, bending the ear of both the Ambassador, Anatoly Antonov, and the Defense Attache, Major-General Evgeny Bobkin, about my plans. While both men supported my project and wrote recommendations back to their respective ministries in this regard, the Russian Defense Ministry, which had the final say over what happened in the four new territories, vetoed the idea. This veto was not because they didn’t like the idea of me writing an in-depth analysis of the conflict from the Russian perspective, but rather that the project as I outlined it, which would have required sustained access to frontline units and personnel, was deemed too dangerous. In short, the Russian Defense Ministry did not relish the idea of me being killed on its watch. Under normal circumstances, I would have backed off. I had no desire to create any difficulty with the Russian government, and I was always cognizant of the reality that I was a guest in the country. Western ‘expertise’ on the Ukraine conflict could lead the world to a nuclear disaster Read more Western ‘expertise’ on the Ukraine conflict could lead the world to a nuclear disaster The last thing I wanted to be was a “war tourist,” where I put myself and others at risk for purely personal reasons. But I also felt strongly that if I were going to continue to provide so-called “expert analysis” about the military operation and the geopolitical realities of Novorossiya and Crimea, then I needed to see these places firsthand. I strongly believed that I had a professional obligation to see the new territories. Fortunately for me, Aleksandr Zyryanov, a Crimea native and director general of the Novosibirsk Region Development Corporation, agreed. It wasn’t going to be easy. We first tried to enter the new territories via Donetsk, driving west out of Rostov-on-Don. However, when we arrived at the checkpoint, we were told that the Ministry of Defense had not cleared us for entry. Not willing to take no for an answer, Aleksandr drove south, towards Krasnodar, and then – after making some phone calls – across the Crimean Bridge into Crimea. Once it became clear that we were planning on entering the new territories from Crimea, the Ministry of Defense yielded, granting permission for me to visit the four new Russian territories under one non-negotiable condition – I was not to go anywhere near the frontlines. We left Feodosia early on the morning of January 15, 2024. At Dzhankoy, in northern Crimea, we took highway 18 north toward the Tup-Dzhankoy Peninsula and the Chongar Strait, which separates the Sivash lagoon system that forms the border between Crimea and the mainland into eastern and western portions. It was here that Red Army forces, on the night of November 12, 1920, broke through the defenses of the White Army of General Wrangel, leading to the capture of the Crimean Peninsula by Soviet forces. And it was also here that the Russian Army, on February 24, 2022, crossed into the Kherson Region from Crimea. The Chongar Bridge is one of three highway crossings that connect Crimea with Kherson. It has been struck twice by Ukrainian forces seeking to disrupt Russian supply lines, once, in June 2023, when it was hit by British-made Storm Shadow missiles, and once again that August when it was hit by French-made SCALP missiles (a variant of the Storm Shadow.) In both instances, the bridge was temporarily shut down for repairs, evidence of which was clearly visible as we made our way across, and on to the Chongar checkpoint, where we were cleared by Russian soldiers for entry into the Kherson Region. At the checkpoint we picked up a vehicle carrying a bodyguard detachment from the reconnaissance company of the Sparta Battalion, a veteran military formation whose roots date back to the very beginning of the Donbass revolt against the Ukrainian nationalists who seized power in Kiev during the February 2014 Maidan coup. They would be our escort through the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions – even though we were going to give the frontlines a wide berth, Ukrainian “deep reconnaissance groups”, or DRGs, were known to target traffic along the M18 highway. Aleksandr was driving an armored Chevrolet Suburban, and the Sparta detachment had their own armored SUV. If we were to come under attack, our response would be to try and drive through the ambush. If that failed, then the Sparta boys would have to go to work. Our first destination was the city of Genichesk, a port city along the Sea of Azov. Genichesk is the capital of the Genichesk District of the Kherson Region and, since November 9, 2022, when Russian forces withdrew from the city of Kherson, it has served as the temporary capital of the region. Aleksandr had been on his phone since morning, and his efforts had paid off – I was scheduled to meet with Vladimir Saldo, the local Governor. RT Genichesk is – literally – off the beaten path. When we reached the town of Novoalekseyevka, we got off the M18 highway and headed east along a two-lane road that took us toward the Sea of Azov. There were armed checkpoints all along the route, but the Sparta bodyguards were able to get us waved through without any issues. But the effect of these checkpoints was chilling – there was no doubt that one was in a region at war. To call Genichesk a ghost town would be misleading – it is populated, and the evidence of civilian life is everywhere you look. The problem was, there didn’t seem to be enough people present. The city, like the region, is in a general state of decay, a holdover from the neglect it had suffered at the hands of a Ukrainian government that largely ignored territories that had, since 2004, voted in favor of the Party of Regions, the party of former President Viktor Yanukovich, who was ousted in the February 2014 Maidan coup. Nearly two years of war had likewise contributed to the atmosphere of societal neglect, an impression which was magnified by the weather – overcast, cold, with a light sleet blowing in off the water. As we made our way into the building where the government of the Kherson Region had established its temporary offices, I couldn’t help but notice a statue of Lenin in the courtyard. Ukrainian nationalists had taken it down in July 2015, but the citizens of Genichesk had reinstalled it in April 2022, once the Russians had taken control of the city. Given Putin’s feeling about the role Lenin played in creating Ukraine, I found both the presence of this monument, and the role of the Russian citizens of Genichesk in restoring it, curiously ironic. Vladimir Saldo is a man imbued with enthusiasm for his work. A civil engineer by profession, with a PhD in economics, Saldo had served in senior management positions in the “Khersonbud” Project and Construction Company before moving on into politics, serving on the Kherson City Council, the Kherson Regional Administration, and two terms as the mayor of the city of Kherson. Saldo, as a member of the Party of Regions, moved to the opposition and was effectively subjected to political ostracism in 2014, when the Ukrainian nationalists who had seized power all but forced it out of politics. Aleksandr and I had the pleasure of meeting with Saldo in his office in the government building in downtown Genichesk. We talked about a wide range of issues, including his own path from a Ukrainian construction specialist to his current position as the governor of Kherson Oblast. We talked about the war. But Saldo’s passion was the economy, and how he could help revive the civilian economy of Kherson in a manner that best served the interests of its diminished population. On the eve of the military operation, back in early 2022, the population of the Kherson Region stood at just over a million, of which some 280,000 were residing in the city of Kherson. By November 2022, following the withdrawal of Russian forces from the right bank of the Dnieper River – including the city of Kherson – the population of the region had fallen below 400,000 and, with dismal economic prospects, the numbers kept falling. Many of those who left were Ukrainians who did not want to live under Russian rule. But others were Russians and Ukrainians who felt that they had no future in the war-torn region, and as such sought their fortunes elsewhere in Russia. Fyodor Lukyanov: How does the Russia-Ukraine conflict end? Read more Fyodor Lukyanov: How does the Russia-Ukraine conflict end? “My job is to give the people of Kherson hope for a better future,” Saldo told me. “And the time for this to happen is now, not when the war ends.” Restoration of Kherson’s once vibrant agricultural sector is a top priority, and Saldo has personally taken the lead in signing agreements for the provision of Kherson produce to Moscow supermarkets. Saldo has also turned the region into a special economic zone, where potential investors and entrepreneurs can receive preferential loans and financial support, as well as organizational and legal assistance for businesses willing to open shop there. The man responsible for making this vision a reality is Mikhail Panchenko, the Director of the Kherson Region Industry Development Fund. I met Mikhail in a restaurant located across the street from the governmental building which Saldo called home. Mikhail had come to Kherson in the summer of 2022, leaving a prominent position in Moscow in the process. “The Russian government was interested in rebuilding Kherson,” Mikhail told me, “and established the Industry Development Fund as a way of attracting businesses to the region.” Mikhail, who was born in 1968, was too old to enlist in the military. “When the opportunity came to direct the Industry Development Fund, I jumped at it as a way to do my patriotic duty.” The first year of the fund’s operation saw Mikhail hand out 300 million rubles (almost $3.3 million at the current rate) in loans and grants (some of which was used to open the very restaurant where we were meeting.) The second year saw the allotment grow to some 700 million rubles. One of the biggest projects was the opening of a concrete production line capable of producing 60 cubic meters of concrete per hour. Mikhail took Alexander and me on a tour of the plant, which had grown to three production lines generating some 180 cubic meters of concrete an hour. Mikhail had just approved funding for an additional four production lines, for a total concrete production rate of 420 cubic meters per hour. “That’s a lot of concrete,” I remarked to Mikhail. “We are making good use of it,” he replied. “We are rebuilding schools, hospitals, and government buildings that had been neglected over the years. Revitalizing the basic infrastructure a society needs if it is to nurture a growing population.” The problem Mikhail faces, however, is that most of the population growth being experienced in Kherson today comes from the military. The war can’t last forever, Mikhail noted. “Someday the army will leave, and we will need civilians. Right now, the people who left are not returning, and we’re having a hard time attracting newcomers. But we will keep building in anticipation of a time when the population of the Kherson region will grow from an impetus other than war. And for that,” he said, a twinkle in his eye, “we need concrete!” I thought long and hard about the words of Vladimir Saldo and Panchenko as Aleksandr drove back onto the M18 highway, heading northeast, toward Donetsk. The reconstruction efforts being undertaken are impressive. But the number that kept coming to mind was the precipitous decline in the population – more than 60% of the pre-war population has left the Kherson region since the Russian military operation began. According to statistics provided by the Russian Central Election Commission, some 571,000 voters took part in the referendum on joining Russia that was held in late September 2022. A little over 497,000, or some 87%, voted in favor, while slightly more than 68,800, or 12%, voted against. The turnout was almost 77%. Sergey Poletaev: As the second anniversary of the Russia–Ukraine conflict approaches, who has the upper hand? Read more Sergey Poletaev: As the second anniversary of the Russia–Ukraine conflict approaches, who has the upper hand? These numbers, if accurate, implied that there was a population of over 740,000 eligible voters at the time of the election. While the loss of the city of Kherson in November 2022 could account for a significant source of the population drop that took place between September 2022 and the time of my visit in January 2024, it could not account for all of it. The Russian population of Kherson in 2022 stood at approximately 20%, or around 200,000. One can safely say that the number of Russians who fled west to Kiev following the start of the military operation amounts to a negligible figure. If one assumes that the Russian population of the Kherson Region remained relatively stable, then most of the population decline came from the Ukrainian population. While Saldo did not admit to such, the Governor of the neighboring Zaporozhya Region, Yevgeny Balitsky, has acknowledged that many Ukrainian families deemed by the authorities to be anti-Russian were deported following the initiation of the military operation (Russians accounted for a little more than 25% of the pre-conflict Zaporozhye population.) Many others fled to Russia to escape the deprivations of war. Evidence of the war was everywhere to be seen. While the conflict in Kherson has stabilized along a line defined by the Dnieper River, Zaporozhye is very much a frontline region. Indeed, the main direction of attack of the summer 2023 Ukrainian counteroffensive was from the Zaporozhye region village of Rabotino, toward the town of Tokmak, and on towards the temporary regional capital of Melitopol (the city of Zaporozhye has remained under Ukrainian control throughout the conflict to date.) I had petitioned to visit the frontlines near Rabotino but had been denied by the Russian Ministry of Defense. So, too, was my request to visit units deployed in the vicinity of Tokmak – too close to the front. The closest I would get would be the city of Melitopol, the ultimate objective of the Ukrainian counterattack. We drove past fields filled with the concrete “dragon’s teeth” and antitank ditches that marked the final layer of defenses that constituted the “Surovikin Line,” named after the Russian General, Sergey Surovikin, who had commanded the forces when the defenses were put in place. The Ukrainians had hoped to reach the city of Melitopol in a matter of days once their attack began; they never breached the first line of defense situated to the southeast of Rabotino. Melitopol, however, is not immune to the horrors of war, with Ukrainian artillery and rockets targeting it often to disrupt Russian military logistics. I kept this in mind as we drove through the streets of the city, past military checkpoints, and roving patrols. I was struck by the fact that the civilians I saw were going about their business, seemingly oblivious to the everyday reality of war that existed around them. As was the case in Kherson, the entirety of the Zaporozhye Region seemed strangely depopulated, as if one were driving through the French capital of Paris in August, when half the city is away on vacation. I had hoped to be able to talk with Balitsky about the reduced population and other questions I had about life in the region during wartime, but this time Aleksandr’s phone could not produce the desired result – Balitsky was away from the region and unavailable. If he had been available, I would have asked him the same question I had put to Saldo earlier in the day: given that Putin was apparently willing to return the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions to Ukraine as part of the peace deal negotiated in March 2022, how does the population of his region feel about being part of Russia today? Are they convinced that Russia is, in fact, there to stay? Do they feel like they are a genuine part of the Novorossiya that Putin speaks about? Saldo had talked in depth about the transition from being occupied by Russian forces, which lasted until April-May 2022 (about the time that Ukraine backed out of the ceasefire agreement), to being administered by Moscow. “There never was a doubt in my mind, or anyone else’s, that Kherson was historically a part of Russia,” Saldo said, “or that, once Russian troops arrived, that we would forever be Russian again.” But the declining population, and the admission of forced deportations on the part of Balitsky, suggests that there was a significant part of the population that had, in fact, taken umbrage at such a future. I would have liked to hear what Balitsky had to say about this question. Reality, however, doesn’t deal with hypotheticals, and the present reality is that both Kherson and Zaporozhye are today part of the Russian Federation, and that both regions are populated by people who had made the decision to remain there as citizens of Russia. We will never know what the fate of these two territories would have been had the Ukrainian government honored the ceasefire agreement negotiated in March 2022. What we do know is that today both Kherson and Zaporozhye are part of the “New Territories” – Novorossiya. Russia will for some time find its acquisition of the “new territories” challenged by nations who question the legitimacy of Russia’s military occupation and subsequent absorption of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions into the Russian Federation. The reticence of foreigners to recognize these regions as being part of Russia, however, is the least of Russia’s problems. As was the case with Crimea, the Russian government will proceed irrespective of any international opposition. The real challenge facing Russia is to convince Russians that the new territories are as integral to the Russian motherland as Crimea, a region reabsorbed by Russia in 2014 which has seen its economic fortunes and its population grow over the past decade. The diminished demographics of Kherson and Zaporozhye represent a litmus test of sorts for the Russian government, and for the governments of both Kherson and Zaporozhye. If the populations of these regions cannot regenerate, then these regions will wither on the vine. If, however, these new Russian lands can be transformed into places where Russians can envision themselves raising families in an environment free from want and fear, then Novorossiya will flourish. Novorossiya is a reality, and the people who live there are citizens by choice more than circumstances. They are well served by men like Saldo and Balitsky, who are dedicated to the giant task of making these regions part of the Russian Motherland in actuality, not just in name. Behind Saldo and Balitsky are men like Panchenko, people who left an easy life in Moscow or some other Russian city to come to the “New Territories” not for the purpose of seeking their fortunes, but rather to improve the lives of the new Russian citizens of Novorossiya. For this to happen, Russia must emerge victorious in its struggle against the Ukrainian nationalists ensconced in Kiev, and their Western allies. Thanks to the sacrifices of the Russian military, this victory is in the process of being accomplished. Then the real test begins – turning Novorossiya into a place Russians will want to call home. ATTENTION READERS We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion. About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT. https://www.vtforeignpolicy.com/2024/03/scott-ritter-we-are-witnessing-the-bittersweet-birth-of-a-new-russia/ https://telegra.ph/Scott-Ritter-We-are-witnessing-the-bittersweet-birth-of-a-new-Russia--VT-Foreign-Policy-03-11
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    Scott Ritter: We are witnessing the bittersweet birth of a new Russia
    Building Novorossiya back up after Ukrainian neglect and war is a monumental but unavoidable task
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    The house is in perfect condition and features hot/cold air conditioning in all rooms, as well as a fireplace.

    SOLD FURNISHED.

    This is an excellent investment, suitable both as a family home and for tourist use (B&B), with an already granted license for the ground floor.

    Price : 1.200000€

    https://www.bluehorse.es/gb/terraced-house-in-antequera-with-views-gb1137136.html
    Townhouse for sale in Antequera, Málaga Impressive Manor House in the Heart of Antequera Fantastically preserved, this manor house is decorated with quality Andalusian-style furniture and high-quality materials. An authentic treasure in a privileged location, it's a real gem that maintains all its essence while being adapted to modern times. The house is sunny and bright in all rooms. Antequera enjoys the privileged position of being centrally located in Andalusia, offering easy access to all its capitals. Malaga airport is just 39 km away, with Córdoba and Granada each 100 km, and Seville 160 km. The property is set within the El Torcal Natural Park, an enclave declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO since 2016. Antequera, with a population of 41,000, thrives on olive tree and cereal cultivation, along with tourism boosted by the Torcal, the Dolmens, and its surroundings. This pleasant and quiet place also maintains rich traditions, including the Spring Fair, the August Fair, Holy Week, Christmas festivities, and more. This incredible house spans 400m2, distributed over 3 floors, plus a roof terrace and a laundry/ironing room. The ground floor comprises 2 large bedrooms, a fully equipped living-dining room-kitchen, 1 bathroom with a shower, and 1 patio. All areas are decorated with elegance and comfort in mind. The house also comes with an active tourist license. The first floor houses a magnificent living-dining room furnished in style, with access to a fantastic sunny patio perfect for enjoyable breakfasts or dinners. The very bright, fully equipped kitchen features a large window with views of the patio and includes a pantry. There's also a large bedroom with two French balconies, and a bathroom. A marble staircase leads up from the living room to the second floor, which consists of two double bedrooms with views of Antequera and two complete ensuite bathrooms. Also on this floor is a quiet space for reading, leisure, or work. Access to the roof terrace is via well-preserved hardwood stairs from the second floor, offering fantastic views of Antequera. This space also serves as an auxiliary bedroom and includes washing and ironing areas. The house is in perfect condition and features hot/cold air conditioning in all rooms, as well as a fireplace. SOLD FURNISHED. This is an excellent investment, suitable both as a family home and for tourist use (B&B), with an already granted license for the ground floor. Price : 1.200000€ https://www.bluehorse.es/gb/terraced-house-in-antequera-with-views-gb1137136.html
    WWW.BLUEHORSE.ES
    For sale Terraced House in Antequera
    Impressive Manor House in the Heart of Antequera Fantastically preserved, this manor house is decorated with quality Andalusian-style furniture and high-quality materials. An authentic treasure in a privileged location, it's a
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  • Top Resorts in Udaipur: Eco-Friendly Luxury in the Aravalli Hills

    Udaipur, the 'City of Lakes', is a popular tourist destination in Rajasthan, India. It is known for its beautiful lakes, palaces, and forts. Udaipur is also a great place to relax and rejuvenate, with a number of top resorts in Udaipur offering luxurious accommodations and amenities. If you are looking for a relaxing and luxurious vacation, Udaipur is the perfect destination. And with so many top resorts to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect place to stay.

    https://www.kavishhotels.com/kavish-holiday-hill-resort-udaipur/
    Top Resorts in Udaipur: Eco-Friendly Luxury in the Aravalli Hills Udaipur, the 'City of Lakes', is a popular tourist destination in Rajasthan, India. It is known for its beautiful lakes, palaces, and forts. Udaipur is also a great place to relax and rejuvenate, with a number of top resorts in Udaipur offering luxurious accommodations and amenities. If you are looking for a relaxing and luxurious vacation, Udaipur is the perfect destination. And with so many top resorts to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect place to stay. https://www.kavishhotels.com/kavish-holiday-hill-resort-udaipur/
    WWW.KAVISHHOTELS.COM
    Kavish Holiday Hill Resort Udaipur | Best 3 Star Resort in Udaipur
    At Kavish Holiday Hill Resort, we take pride in being recognized as one of the best resorts and hotels in Udaipur. Book now for the rich cultural tapestry of Udaipur.
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  • Hurricane Otis Leaves Behind ‘Nightmare Scenario’ After Striking Acapulco, Mexico, Knocks Out Communications

    Otis was the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall on the Pacific side of Mexico. It was also the first time an Eastern Pacific hurricane made landfall at Category 5 intensity.

    Hurricane Otis made a historic landfall near Acapulco, Mexico, at Category 5 intensity early Wednesday, packing destructive winds up to 165 mph after rapidly intensifying just hours before reaching the coast.

    Hurricane Otis knocked out all communications and unleashed a “nightmare scenario” in Acapulco in southern Mexico on Wednesday morning. Tracking over the incredibly warm ocean water near the coast, the storm rapidly intensified just before landfall and gave officials and residents little time to prepare.

    Otis strengthened from a tropical storm to an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane in just 12 hours before it slammed ashore as the strongest storm on record to hit this area and the Pacific coast of Mexico.

    The sudden burst of power took many by surprise as Otis bore down on Acapulco, a popular tourist destination that’s also home to roughly 800,000 people.

    Axios Reports — The big picture: The storm "explosively intensified" on Tuesday into the evening, with its maximum sustained winds jumping by 110 mph in just 24 hours — a mark only exceeded in modern times by Hurricane Patricia in 2015, per NHC. It remained a powerful Category 5 hurricane through landfall early Wednesday.

    The storm's 12-hour intensification rate of 80 mph was the fastest in the eastern North Pacific during the satellite era, per meteorologist Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University.

    🔗Source: Fox (https://www.foxweather.com/weather-news/damage-hurricane-otis-landfall-acapulco-mexico),

    CNN (https://www.cnn.com/2023/10/24/weather/hurricane-otis-acapulco-mexico/index.html#:~:text=Otis%20strengthened%20from%20a%20tropical,the%20Pacific%20coast%20of%20Mexico.),

    Axios (https://www.axios.com/2023/10/24/hurricane-otis-acapulco-mexico) #mexico #news #hurricane #cat5
    Hurricane Otis Leaves Behind ‘Nightmare Scenario’ After Striking Acapulco, Mexico, Knocks Out Communications Otis was the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall on the Pacific side of Mexico. It was also the first time an Eastern Pacific hurricane made landfall at Category 5 intensity. Hurricane Otis made a historic landfall near Acapulco, Mexico, at Category 5 intensity early Wednesday, packing destructive winds up to 165 mph after rapidly intensifying just hours before reaching the coast. Hurricane Otis knocked out all communications and unleashed a “nightmare scenario” in Acapulco in southern Mexico on Wednesday morning. Tracking over the incredibly warm ocean water near the coast, the storm rapidly intensified just before landfall and gave officials and residents little time to prepare. Otis strengthened from a tropical storm to an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane in just 12 hours before it slammed ashore as the strongest storm on record to hit this area and the Pacific coast of Mexico. The sudden burst of power took many by surprise as Otis bore down on Acapulco, a popular tourist destination that’s also home to roughly 800,000 people. Axios Reports — The big picture: The storm "explosively intensified" on Tuesday into the evening, with its maximum sustained winds jumping by 110 mph in just 24 hours — a mark only exceeded in modern times by Hurricane Patricia in 2015, per NHC. It remained a powerful Category 5 hurricane through landfall early Wednesday. The storm's 12-hour intensification rate of 80 mph was the fastest in the eastern North Pacific during the satellite era, per meteorologist Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University. 🔗Source: Fox (https://www.foxweather.com/weather-news/damage-hurricane-otis-landfall-acapulco-mexico), CNN (https://www.cnn.com/2023/10/24/weather/hurricane-otis-acapulco-mexico/index.html#:~:text=Otis%20strengthened%20from%20a%20tropical,the%20Pacific%20coast%20of%20Mexico.), Axios (https://www.axios.com/2023/10/24/hurricane-otis-acapulco-mexico) #mexico #news #hurricane #cat5
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  • Kerala tour packages from Ahmedabad offer travelers an incredible opportunity to explore the natural wonders and cultural richness of this beautiful South Indian state. Departing from Ahmedabad, tourists can immerse themselves in Kerala's lush green landscapes, serene backwaters, and vibrant traditions. Whether it's a houseboat cruise through the enchanting backwaters of Alleppey, a visit to the picturesque hill stations of Munnar and Wayanad, or an exploration of historic sites like Fort Kochi and the temples of Trivandrum, Kerala has something to offer every traveler. These thoughtfully curated packages ensure that visitors from Ahmedabad can experience the warmth of Kerala's hospitality, savor its delectable cuisine, and create lasting memories in this tropical paradise.https://www.seasonzindia.com/tours/kerala-tour-packages-from-ahmedabad
    Kerala tour packages from Ahmedabad offer travelers an incredible opportunity to explore the natural wonders and cultural richness of this beautiful South Indian state. Departing from Ahmedabad, tourists can immerse themselves in Kerala's lush green landscapes, serene backwaters, and vibrant traditions. Whether it's a houseboat cruise through the enchanting backwaters of Alleppey, a visit to the picturesque hill stations of Munnar and Wayanad, or an exploration of historic sites like Fort Kochi and the temples of Trivandrum, Kerala has something to offer every traveler. These thoughtfully curated packages ensure that visitors from Ahmedabad can experience the warmth of Kerala's hospitality, savor its delectable cuisine, and create lasting memories in this tropical paradise.https://www.seasonzindia.com/tours/kerala-tour-packages-from-ahmedabad
    WWW.SEASONZINDIA.COM
    Kerala Tour Packages from Ahmedabad
    Cherai 1 nights | Munnar 2 Nights | Thekkady 1 Night | Houseboat 1 Night Starting from ₹19,300/-
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  • Ceylon | ???? pramudi senaya

    #visitsrilanka

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    ???????? Sri Lanka
    Ceylon | ???? pramudi senaya #visitsrilanka •••••©ï¸••••• #travelling #photography #beauty #naturelovers #instagram #lovelife #lifestyle #natural #travelgirl #femmetravel #girlphotographer #girls #photo #travel #ceylon #srilanka #vacation #travelphotography #tourist #beautiful #nature #travelblogger #mountains #instagood #adventure #tour #love #srilankatravel #travelsrilanka ???? Credit to Respective Owner ???????? Sri Lanka
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  • Kandy Lamissi....
    ????????????
    •••••©ï¸•••••

    #travelling #photography #beauty #naturelovers #instagram #lovelife
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    ???? nufarta
    nishadhani deshani
    Kandy Lamissi.... ???????????? •••••©ï¸••••• #travelling #photography #beauty #naturelovers #instagram #lovelife #lifestyle #natural #travelgirl #femmetravel #girlphotographer #girls #photo #travel #ceylon #srilanka #vacation #travelphotography #tourist #beautiful #nature #travelblogger #mountains #instagood #adventure #tour #love #srilankatravel #travelsrilanka ???? nufarta nishadhani deshani
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