back to article It's OK to fine someone for repeating a historical fact, says Russian Supreme Court

The Russian Supreme Court has upheld a conviction against a blogger who correctly noted that the Soviet Union jointly invaded Poland with the Nazi government in 1939. The truly bizarre decision follows the conviction of 37-year-old Vladimir Luzgin earlier this year for posting "knowingly false information," under a new law …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But not as bizarre as ...

    ... the machinations of the English Legal System processes when it comes to seeking redress for alleged victims of UK Parliamentarians.

    1. Small Furry Animal
      Trollface

      Re: But not as bizarre as ...

      Citations needed!

      If you want to make a valid point, give us some detail (if it exists).

      ... and try to post using your El Reg handle, then I can avoid reading any other crap you post.

    2. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: But not as bizarre as ...

      I don't know about that; but if you are unfortunate enough to fall into the clutches of the UK Family Courts you will then see all sorts of nonsense used to justify capricious orders.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But not as bizarre as ...

        "I don't know about that; but if you are unfortunate enough to fall into the clutches of the UK Family Courts you will then see all sorts of nonsense used to justify capricious orders."

        The first time I went to family court I got chatting to someone that had been going for a decade. At the time I thought that was an outlier. 11 years later we've finished... for now.

      2. Andy 97

        Re: But not as bizarre as ...

        It must be a busy day in Moscow today for all those social media commentards working for Vlad.

    3. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: But not as bizarre as ...

      the machinations of the English Legal System processes when it comes to seeking redress for alleged victims of UK Parliamentarians.

      And right on cue, here's a putintroll with, as usual, a masterful display of Whataboutery that would put an Ulster Orangeman to shame.

      Well done, comrade.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But not as bizarre as ...

      Didn't take long for the systematic deflections to begin.

      In Soviet Russia, comments section reads YOU!

      AC post because I prefer sugar over polonium in my tea.

      1. Milton Silver badge

        Re: But not as bizarre as ...

        "Anonymous Coward" is about as far as one needs to read.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But not as bizarre as ...

        > AC post because I prefer sugar over polonium in my tea.

        Sugar? Sugar in your tea? And what else, a slice of lemon maybe?

        Pass the polonium, I say!

    5. scrubber

      Re: But not as bizarre as ...

      Whine about that post all you like, but we have an unelected head of state and second chamber yet call ourselves a democracy. We also assisted in illegal renditions of innocent people for the Americans when we knew they were gonna torture them. And spy on people with no oversight. Democracy my arse.

      1. Deltics

        Re: But not as bizarre as ...

        As much as I may sympathise with those who fall victim to the UK courts, if you would prefer Russian "justice" or "democracy" then you are of course free to emigrate and subject yourselves to Putin's rule, if you think you would prefer that to HM EIIR's.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: But not as bizarre as ...

          ...then you are of course free to emigrate and subject yourselves to Putin's rule...

          Ah yes, the old concept of deflecting attention rather than fixing problems... I can hear it now...

          [engage whiney childish voice] "But he did more!"

          Instead of pointing fingers, fix your problems. And it doesn't pay to say that it's not your job; you live there adn one day you may fall victim to those things. So muck in and do what you can so when your turn comes, either you will have managed to lessen the impact or can hold your head high and know that you did your best to fix the issues.

          1. CJM

            Re: But not as bizarre as ...

            Ah yes, the old concept of false equivalence... deflecting attention from a fair question.

            One option does not have to be perfect to be considered preferable to another option. The British legal system is far from flawless, but to compare it to Russia is unfair.

            By all means, do what you can to improve things. but have the good grace to realise how relatively fortunate we are to live under this system.

  2. Christoph Silver badge
    Big Brother

    But we've always been at war with Eastasia!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Comrade! We have just received this missive ....

    2. Magani
      Big Brother

      Orwell's alive & living in the Kremlin

      "The Russian Supreme Court has upheld a conviction against a blogger who correctly noted that the Soviet Union jointly invaded Poland with the Nazi government in 1939."

      Double plus ungood!

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Orwell's alive & living in the Kremlin

        I really think Orwell is far more powerful on the "Blue Side" (aka "Good Side", aka "Freedom Side", aka "Side Against the Side Who Gas Their Own People", aka "Genocide Interdictor", aka "Annexiation Avengers" etc.)

        Hell, I'm still hearing P.U.T.I.N. is breaking the Minsk accords while in actuality Ukraine randomly shells stuff, "activists" do their show on the Crimea strait or Donbass leaders get assassinated.

        Meanwhile, America has become the Bridge Policeman of the World. What the actual fuckety fuck?

        (OT, but this one is interesting, too: Is Putin the Godfather of Extreme Nationalism? ... well, no!)

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Orwell's alive & living in the Kremlin

          Yeah Animal Farm displayed quite clearly what Orwell though of the glorious Russian revolution and Russia's (USSR technically) actions leading up to WW2. Not a lot has changed except Orwell was about 50 years too early on the 1984 date.

        2. JLV Silver badge

          Re: Orwell's alive & living in the Kremlin

          You have to be pretty special to believe any ethics shortcomings and desinformation in Western governments is comparable to the crap Putin and his gang are pulling off in their own country. Including this particular anecdote, but also political assasinations, invasion of neighboring countries (remember Georgia?) who are scared shitless. And an incredible level of corruption - it took Canada $10B to host the winter Olympics, but $50B in Russia, for example.

          I realize that we are now being fed a staedy stream of "bad Russia" news because it's flavor of the month. I really do. But that hardly means there isn't something fundamentally wrong with modern Russia. Starting with the Chechnya Wars, during which they were still seen as "good Russia" here, but were already conducting a counterinsurgency war with an incredible disregard for civilian life, against nominally their own citizens. Remember the botched hostage rescue in which the police gassed about 140 people dead?

          I really hoped better from the Russian people post-Communism. That period's behavior was imposed and not really their fault. But I am starting to believe there is really some deep flaws of character when supposedly informed and intelligent people can be nostalgic for someone like Stalin, who was Hitler-level in his atrocities. And the folk running the Russian Orthodox Church should be ashamed to support the rising bigotry there.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "invasion of neighboring countries (remember Georgia?)"

            the OSCE monitors who were observing the sensitive Georgian border reported that Georgia launched their own war, attacking their own citizens, with multiple rockets fire.

            the neutral OSCE monitors retired (as in from their careers, sent on gardening leave) very shortly after publishing this report

            follow the context, look at the details!

            DO NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING THAT YOU ARE TOLD, including by me - look it up - carefully.

            then "remember Georgia" becomes a slightly more accurate football-hooligan-slogan

            . . . but I agree with you that Russia is highly corrupt! - perhaps it is improving slightly - perhaps not . . .

          2. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Orwell's alive & living in the Kremlin

            I really hoped better from the Russian people post-Communism.

            The big problem is that the Russian people have a long history of no say whatsoever in government. The government always took care of them (for some value of "care" - good or bad) and told them what to think and how to act. Goes back in history a long way. So, they end up voting for the strong person who "will take care of them".

            There is also a fear of outsiders.. Russia's been a target by many countries over the centuries and the governments have played into this.

            As for determining who's BSing them or who's not.. there not any such thing as a free-press to give them help. Corruption and fear of those powerful go a long way to keeping things under wraps.

            The Russian mindset is slightly (ok... more than slightly) different than those of us in the West.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Orwell's alive & living in the Kremlin

              "There is also a fear of outsiders.. Russia's been a target by many countries over the centuries and the governments have played into this."

              Indeed, I've heard that the Russian "we need a strong leader to protect us" mentality goes back as far as Genghis Khan (i.e. the 13th century) and the paranoia he engendered.

              Of course, the irony is that Russia has long been a threatening influence on its neighbours for the sake of having a buffer region purely in its own self-interest. You have to laugh when Russia starts painting neighbouring countries joining up to defend themselves against Russian aggression as a "threat". Russia has the sense of entitlement of a bully that's been used to having its own way for so long that it's lost sight of that fact and sees any such behaviour as its "right". (Not so concerned with the rights of neighbouring countries, however).

              As for the first comment in this thread, while I'd be the first to say that (e.g.) flaws in the English legal system can't be excused by (e.g.) pointing to Russia and saying "they're worse", it's even more disingenuous to do it the other way round when we were discussing Russia in the first place.

              I've no idea whether the OP is actually, in whatever form, a pro-Russian propagandist, but this is a well-known technique of theirs; not to attempt to justify their own actions, but to draw attention to those of Western governments in an attempt to distract and to (indirectly) suggest or imply an analogy and similarity between them, blurring the line in people's minds between what the Russians are doing and the actions of their own governments.

              Sorry; one can make perfectly legitimate criticisms of the English courts in numerous respects, but to even compare it to (and use it to justify) the state of Russian society is laughable.

              Edit; Just realised there's a word for it and someone already mentioned it; "whataboutery" or "whataboutism".

            2. arkhangelsk

              Re: Orwell's alive & living in the Kremlin

              @Mark 85

              It doesn't help that the Western media, when they can access it, also tends to be less than objective when reporting on Russian events, preferring Russophobic hyperbole to analysis, as is the web commentary. So far for example, this article failed to conduct any dispassionate analysis on the legal factors invoved, and the forum's commentary has reached away from the event at place all the way to Warsaw in 1944, Crimea in 2013, and so on.

              Sometimes, people are writing without even thinking what their latest proposal means to the issue at hand. For example, Voland is pushing a broadly-Rezunist theory. For the purposes of this thread, it is sufficient to note that:

              a) It is still possible to discuss Rezunist theory in Russia w/o getting into trouble, as evidenced by the Wikipedia article on same.

              b) If we accept Rezunist theory as true, then Luzgin is STILL wrong (thus legally liable) because the idea of Stalin getting ready to backstab Hitler actually runs against the idea of them "closely collaborating".

              With such "quality", suddenly the local media looks very warm to a Russian in comparison. I'm not saying don't criticize. I'm saying criticize after learning all the factors at play, so the criticism is reasoned and useful.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Russian mindset

              The Russian mindset is slightly (ok... more than slightly) different than those of us in the West.

              I am not sure there is such a thing as the "western" mindset, distinct from the "russian" mindset. I interact on a daily basis with Russians, Americans, Canadians, Germans, Spanish, British, French, and a few other nationalities (yes, it is that kind of place) - and I see the individual variations in a person's opinions, beliefs, and cultural practices which are far in excess of differences between any discernible patters within each national group. If anything, Spaniards are culturally closer to Russians than to Americans, and tend to think and react alike, for example.

          3. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: Orwell's alive & living in the Kremlin

            Why surprised at the church?

            Many religious groups thrive on a bit of bigotry (UK CofE a bit of an outlier as quite low bigotry for a religious organisation, though recent gay archbishop & his partner news soon got members of the frothing anti gay CofE crowd onto the media as a reminder)

        3. collinsl
          Mushroom

          Re: Orwell's alive & living in the Kremlin

          Would you rather the west put sanctions on Glorious Leader's friends and relations, or invaded the Crimea to hand it back to it's rightful owners Ukraine?

          Hint: The second option would end with the icon.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    Ah well

    Russia has this thing about WWII and the Soviet Union. It's part of the national mystique. Yep, they were not the good guys either, counting up from 1918 they were arguably worse. But that's messianism in action.

    The Bandera referred to is Stepan Bandera, an historical figure that became a famed Ukranian nationalist. He was assassinated by the KGB in 1959 and has become a figurehead for a new movement critical of Russia's annexation of Crimea and its continued interference in the country.

    Well, in truth Bandera is maybe a bit too hardcore to be described as a "nationalist". This "movement" is not particularly "new" either. It's from the old school of the people who love marching, uniforms, boots, symbols inspired by runes and seriously beating up (or worse) the odd guy who disagrees with them, especially if Jewish (at least historically, currently this seems to be kept in check until the cheques have cleared, see also Russian Jewish Leader Slams Ukraine Moguls in Flap Over World War II Nazi Ally). The Social National Party of Ukraine is not fun even if the Obama clownshow (it's not longer an "administration" in my eyes) pretends otherwise. Not content with messing around in Russia's front yard, America pals around with the arch enemy. This must be doubly insulting to any Russian.

  4. iOS6 user

    "Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past."

    -- George Orwell

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and yet

      And all too often the present is controlled by the village idiot who is the only one that doesn't believe it (ever).

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      "He who controls the past commands the future, He who commands the future, conquers the past."

      -- Kane

    3. Steve Knox

      "He who controls the spice, controls the universe"

      -- Paul Muad'dib

      1. Kimo

        He who smelt it dealt it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          He who smelt it dealt it.

          I dropped off a real corker in the "deep ocean" tunnel at the Sea Life centre yesterday. It was a fantastic location - enclosed space, no ventilation, crowds. I'm sure EVRYBODY smelt it, but I alone dealt the eggiferous blow.

        2. Andy 97

          He who said the rhyme committed the crime.

  5. Stratman

    FTOA "Luzgin's lawyer, Henry Reznik, said after the decision that the Supreme Court had "discredited itself" and said he would appeal the ruling."

    How do you appeal a Supreme Court ruling?

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      You pray and see how far that gets you too.

    2. Graham Dawson

      Russia is a member of the ECHR. This would be well within the court's remit.

      1. Fibbles

        They might be a member of the ECHR but it's no guarantee they'll adhere to any ruling.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          "They might be a member of the ECHR but it's no guarantee they'll adhere to any ruling."

          They can join us in the club then:

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11911057/David-Cameron-I-will-ignore-Europes-top-court-on-prisoner-voting.html

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "How do you appeal a Supreme Court ruling ?"

      And if you _can_ appeal a Supreme Court ruling, then it's not really the _Supreme_ Court, is it ?

      Although I suppose if the appeal is heard by the exact same court, that would be fitting.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fact-checking, we've heard about it

    Every time I see a news report which does not link to the primary source (which in this case would be the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation), I am naturally dubious as to the veracity and the purpose of that report.

    Fortunately, all documents of the Court are available online, so anyone with at least rudimentary command of russian can take a quick decco. Searching for "Лузгин" in the case database, we find case 44-АПУ16-17, which appears to be the one refered to in the article.

    The last entry in the case file is indeed from September 1st. It shows that a hearing did occur on this date. However, no decision on the case was rendered, and no futher hearings have been scheduled so far.

    Now when an actual decision comes down (and I have no idea when, or what it might be), it might become a news-worthy story.

    For now, I'll just go back to my much-needed nap.

    1. Nuno trancoso

      Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

      Whatever their decision, if they accepted an expert witness willing to lie and deny something that is pretty much public knowledge, credibility's already shot one way or another.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

        if they accepted an expert witness willing to lie and deny something that is pretty much public knowledge

        There is a good form in doing that lately. Just look at the special "preface" mandated by the Polish Television to "Ida" in order to be screened.

        1. JC_

          Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

          That preface before the broadcast of 'Ida' is loathsome, but I think it is due less to lying than it is to the nationalist bent of the Kaczynski government and their manipulation of the state broadcasters.

          I have some sympathy for Poles feeling prickly about how they are represented - 60 years of hearing "Polish death camps" in publications that really ought to know better would infuriate me, too. But reacting as if every gentile Pole behaved unquestionably behaviour is absurd and diminishes the vast majority who were brave and did not collaborate with the Nazis, let alone participate in the Holocaust.

          That said, Poles are free to have these discussions. Under Putin, Russians aren't.

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

        Bill Gates to the court: "You cannot uninstall Internet Explorer from Windows 95, it is built-in!."

        Happens everywhere ...

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge

          Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

          >Bill Gates to the court: "You cannot uninstall Internet Explorer from Windows 95, it is built-in!."

          >Happens everywhere ...

          At the time of this writing, the above post got 5 down-votes, I did not know we had 5 Russian readers on el'reg who read comments ... then again, it could also be MS-fanboys in denial ... The above post IS fact, he knew bloody damn well he was lying to the court, as did I at the time ...

          http://www.groklaw.net/pdf/GatesDepo/Gates1Depo.ogg

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

            ...he knew bloody damn well he was lying to the court, as did I at the time ...

            You lied in court during the MS trials as well?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

        Just look up what 'Pravda' means and what the publication of that name was used for in the time of the USSR.

        Remember comrades, the galliant freedom fighters of the USSR invented, the Television, the jet engine, antibiotics and computers (and everything else we use today). It was all stolen from the USSR by Imperialist spies.

        to me, it is not strange that Putin is the 3rd Russian leader since the revolution to have the letter 'in' at the end of their names. Under Lenin and Stalin annexations of whole countries took place. It is no difference under Putin. He wants to remove Ukraine from the map as a country and make it part of the greater NUSSR. New Union of soviet Socialist(sic) Republics. Belarussia is next (IMHO)

        1. Blofeld's Cat

          Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

          "Just look up what 'Pravda' means and what the publication of that name was used for in the time of the USSR."

          There was a popular saying at the time that there was "no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

            > There was a popular saying at the time that there was "no truth in Pravda and

            > no news in Izvestia".

            Fox News claimed they were, "Fair and Balanced", the Daily Mail would claim its not racist. Both write completely made-up crap demonizing North Korea and her leader which they pass off as the truth.

            1. Steve Todd

              Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

              Even China is getting hacked off with the behaviour of North Korea, as can be seen in their voting in the UN, and North Korea is one of their client states. I wouldn't hold that up as an example (though I agree that the "news" companies are far from neutral).

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

                " North Korea is one of their client states."

                No, emphatically not. NK is tolerated by China but that's about it.

                They only got involved in the Korean war when MacArthur directly disobeyed orders and chased NK troops right up to the chinese border instead of standing to at the 50 mile mark. Faced with the NK army crossing into china and the americans on the other side of the river, China felt it had no choice.

                Until fairly recently they allowed it to exist as a useful buffer zone between them and the richness of the south , but china is now rich enough that doesn't matter and the leadership is clearly growing more and more uncomfortable with what's happening there. They're also fully aware that the only reason the USA is present in significant numbers in SK is because of the existence of NK and the fact that the war never actually ended.

                China's cut off oil and electricity supplies to NK for months at a time in the last few years but stopped because it was clear that the elite were simply taking what they wanted and the peasants were getting an even shittier end of the stick than usual.

                NK is a creation of Stalin and the vast majority of their foreign trade and energy supplies go through the 50 mile wide border with Russia. This is still a restricted area on the russian side and you can't get closer than 30 miles without explicit authorisation, but you can rest assured it's one of the most heavily spysat-observed areas on the planet.

                Yes NK is a client state - of Russia. I'm fairly sure that even if China embargoed border trade entirely along with China/USA blockading the ports, Russia would continue to prop them up.

                I'm also fairly sure that one of the main fears China has about NK is millions of NK refugees streaming north if the NK leadership were to implode. That said, should NK actually use their nukes against anyone it's a fair bet that retaliatory strikes would come from them as well as the USA.

                1. Not That Andrew

                  Re: Fact-checking the Norks

                  The Norks were Chinese trained and partly equipped by them, partly by the USSR. Nork air force squadrons trained and equipped by the USSR and China operated from Chinese airbases. MacArthur gave them the excuse to openly put Chinese combat troops on the ground in Korea, but they were deeply involved before then and don't try to deny it.

            2. x 7

              Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

              "Both write completely made-up crap demonizing North Korea and her leader which they pass off as the truth."

              Go, prove it or else be condemned as yet another crap-speaker

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fact-checking, we've heard about it

          I see the pro Putin trolls have been out in force and downvoting anything that is said against the 'dear leader'.

          my other half is Russian and she agrees with everything I said. So does my son-in-law who is from Kiev.

  7. arkhangelsk

    Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

    The hearing was on Sep 1 and now it is Sep 3. It is easily possible for the verdict to be handed down and the site not yet updated (it's not exactly Google Docs where each change is instantly reflected).

    To the essence of the issue, like it or not, Luzgin did fulfill the formal indicia of Article 354.1. He wrote:

    "The A and B jointly invaded C"

    If you don't know what A, B and C are, would you conclude that A & B moved on the same day? At least I would yet in this case it would be a clear untruth.

    "That is, A and B closely collaborated"

    This would be an opinion, and indeed would be against the Nuremberg judgment. However just a statement along these lines is not instant prosecution. Certainly the much more comprehensive Russian Wikipedia articles on the Secret Protocol and invasion of Poland seem healthy as ever - I'll suggest why below.

    "yet for some reason they blame E, who was in a B concentration camp, for declaring G independence."

    From this, I get a picture of E declaring independence while IN the concentration camp, and that's not the truth at all. Bandera announced independence and even said he would help Germany. The Germans decide to transfer and then arrest him anyway, but that doesn't mean Bandera did not intend to help the Germans/Nazis at the moment of his statement.

    So like it or not, the substantive problem here was not even its congruence with the Nuremberg trials, but that the statements simply were misleading. If they were congruent with contemporary theory or even well defended, even if it was a non-Nuremberg position, Luzgin could have claimed the statements were not socially dangerous (Article 14.2) OR if that failed he can claim that his actions were for the socially useful goal (Article 41) of either spreading correct history or inciting academic debate on same.

    Vertinsky should not be blamed for making the correct statement that the above lines do not really represent the "position accepted at international level" unless you want to claim Germany and the USSR attacked Poland on Sep 1 together, as implied by the faulty statement.

    1. P0l0nium

      Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

      "faulty statement."

      This is not a "faulty statement" ... Two parties can "jointly invade" Poland without "simultaneously invading" it.

      And if the secret protocol of the Ribbentrop/Molotov pact isn't "close collaboration" I don;t know what is.

      He missed the bit about the USSR shipping vast quantities of raw materials to Germany in order that they could build the bombs that fell on London.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

        "He missed the bit about the USSR shipping vast quantities of raw materials to Germany in order that they could build the bombs that fell on London."

        the fines for THAT would've cost him an extra few million rubels.

        at least they didn't send him to a gulag...

        Actually, the early collab between the Nazis and USSR could be a great lesson in history to the Russian people, about trusting foreign dictators to keep their word, dangling a carrot (Poland), manipulation, deceit, then turning against them when they least expected it, and hitting them when their army was 'improperly positioned' for defense against the Axis. Because they were LED to that position, by the Nazis, with their false promises, and we know what happened after that.

        It could work, yeah. Lying about it loses this potential lesson from history. So what if it makes Stalin look like a sucker on a stick. It makes the Nazis look even WORSE.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

          Actually, the early collab between the Nazis and USSR could be a great lesson in history to the Russian people

          More complicated than that. If Hitler did not strike first, Stalin would have attacked him around the winter of 1941.

          That was the real reason why in 2 years between 1939 and 1941 USSR did not build any fortifications anywhere around their new conquests. That was also one of the (carefully erased from history books) reasons for Germans to start planning a war against USSR _BEFORE_ they finished off Britain.

          Anyone who is having any doubts about that should ask himself what exactly were 1000+ aircraft, 2000+ tanks, thousands of support vehicles, and so on (the tally of what Luftwaffe first wave at 4am on June 22nd destroyed is well known) in _NON_ _FORTIFIED_ positions within 300km from the border.

          By the way, a _LOT_ of Russians know about this one. They just do not like talking about it.

          1. JLV Silver badge

            Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

            >Stalin would have attacked him around the winter of 1941.

            No. Read up on the early days of the Barbarossa campaign. The Russians were totally caught with their pants down. It took forever for them to react appropriately to the Nazi attack. Now, I have no doubt that Stalin hadn't suddenly become bosom buddies with Hitler. But his exact long term intents are secrets he took to the grave - maybe he would have screwed Adolf later, but he probably thought he would do it much later, on his terms. In 41 it was all about getting along with the Nazis and avoiding a casus belli.

            To be fair, most of WW2 was won on the Eastern front, with Russian blood. But it was despite, not thanks to, Stalin. Even Stalingrad was a victory despite him - German-based spies, not believed to that date, had told the Kremlin of the coming offensive. And his generals somehow managed to convince dimwit that he could not afford another defense-in-place fiasco with Vyazma-level losses. Hence the tactic of giving ground till Stalingrad where Russian numbers finally counted.

            1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

              Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

              >Stalin would have attacked him around the winter of 1941.

              No. Read up on the early days of the Barbarossa campaign. The Russians were totally caught with their pants down.

              I have read up including a lot of what the Russian historians have written after the wall fell. The fact that Stalin was quite clearly not preparing to keep the peace has been discussed quite openly there.

              The Red Army was caught with pants down all right, EXACTLY BECAUSE it was preparing for an attack and was in a position which they could not defend. If the newly occupied zone was simply garrisoned and the main forces were at their well established fortified pre-1939 positions the whole Barbarossa adventure would have failed miserably despite Stalin decimating most of his experienced and qualified command staff in 1937-1940.

              To break it down in detail:

              1. USSR did not build a single defensive fortification in the 2 years in the occupied ex-Poland, now western Ukraine and Baltic republics. The line of fortifications (it was quite extensive in the area facing Poland) left behind at the old border was left untended too.

              2. What was a one million army doing in peacetime in Ukraine? The total loss to USSR from the Kiev encirclement is 700K+, the overall participating soviet army north of 1M. That is > 80% of USSR "peacetime" army during that period. It was caught with pants down all right, but its pants were down right next to the border. That army was _NOT_ freshly drafted troops either (something even Soviet historians admit). Even if we assume for a moment that it was "freshly drafted", how would a fresh draft be equipped and moved to Ukraine by 7th of July across USSR with the roads it had at that point (beginning of the battle for Kiev). By teleport? It was there and it was preparing for something. What - well that one is fairly obvious.

              3. USSR had 90% of its army fighter aviation within 300 km of the border without trying to prepare defensive positions for any of them. It was sitting on temporary airfields. It did not even have proper AA emplacements on them - the only explanation is that they were considered utterly temporary. This is why the Luftwaffe took it out with ease on the ground.

              4. What was nearly all of Baltic fleet doing in the Riga bay, besides preparing to assist in a ground offensive?

              5. What were all of the few heavy river fleet assets USSR had at the time (the few existing monitor ships as well as torpedo boat squadrons, gunboats, etc) doing way up the Dniestr river past today's Modova? Their "heroic retreat" to Odessa is well documented, but WTF where they doing there in the first place.

              6. What...

              I can continue the list of rhetorical questions for quite a while, but the idea that Hitler attacked "peaceful soviet people" is a piece of preposterous Stalin propaganda. They were the two sides of the same coin - equally psychotic, equally genocidal and equally ready to tear apart any agreement with them and stab you in the back. The sole difference is that Hitler lost and Stalin won the war.

              Now, where is my fine for stating the bleeding obvious (and supporting it by historic facts).

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

                re "1. USSR did not build a single defensive fortification in the 2 years in the occupied ex-Poland, now western Ukraine and Baltic republics. The line of fortifications (it was quite extensive in the area facing Poland) left behind at the old border was left untended too."

                The above is incorrect, the Soviets did build defensive fortifications in the occupied ex-Poland and elsewhere. Read on the Molotov line; the work in south-eastern Poland (what is now south-east), i.e. Lubelszczyzna (zamojskie) and further down (przemyskie) began either very late in 1939, or in the spring of 1940. Anecdotally, I remember my granny telling me about "sabotage" in place, something about the artillery pieces not fitting into the bunkers once they were built. More likely too much haste too little attention to detail. You'll also find a German publication dated around 1942-ish, on Soviet fortifications, that included a map of (detected) fortifications (prior to Barbarossa), one copy bangs around Russian websites, another can be found on germandocsinrussia.org (Befestigungen von UdSSR, or something similar)

                btw, something from wikipedia too:

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov_Line

                I can't argue for the broader issue, i.e. whether Hitler executed a pre-emptive strike, i.e. was "forced" to invade, although I'd agree that Stalin was his match as far as visions of world superiority go. There are publications supporting this view (Suvorow and somebody else, more credible), but likewise, I've seen a few respectable historians dismiss such speculation as just that - speculation, based on circumstantial evidence, not a single piece of solid evidence to be found among German documents, and presumably, something pointing directly to intelligence about Soviet intentions to invade. There's _nothing solid_ to support this. While I don't dismiss an idea that Stalin had an intention to invade III Reich and ultimately "liberate" western Europe, I very much doubt Barbarossa caught him in the middle of the preparations. More likely with his pants down as he didn't believe Hitler would be so stupid to wage wars on two fronts again. He might have assumed Germany being German would have learnt from past mistakes and deal with the West first, better still, get stuck there, giving him time to prepare for the swift stab in the back.

              2. JLV Silver badge

                Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

                Stalin, like Hitler, had a fetish for edge-based defense. Their whole idea was to repel enemies on the perimeter and not give one inch of sacred Russian soil. It would therefore make sense to have everyone at the borders. Also it might make sense as well to station lots of troops in Ukraine - Soviet induced famine in the 30s probably meant a certain lack of political enthusiasm by the locals. Maybe - speculation here - even reliable NKVD near Moscow and potentially mutinous troops further away? - he seems to have been a grade 1 paranoid and the 37 purges were recent.

                Stating, as a fact, rather than as a possible, but highly uncertain conjecture, that Russia was planning a 41 invasion, is wrong. 44 or 45? You might be right. 41, no. You can dredge up all the troop positioning info you want, but that remains speculation based on facts that could be interpreted differently. While Soviet historians in the 40s and 50s had plenty of motivation to tweak history and explain away why Uncle Joe could not possibly have been as spectacularly wrong as he was.

                To return to the original article, several prominent members of the French Communist Party got expelled in 39-40 when they spoke against the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact when that became public. And in the interest of evenhandedness towards "nice" countries, wasn't there recently a case of lese majeste in Thailand where the convicted was also prosecuted for citing a recognized historical fact?

                1. Peter2 Silver badge

                  Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

                  Firstly, Stalin's purge of his officer corps was partly because they were pro German and he was worried that they might come marching into Moscow with the Germans if asked to fight them.

                  > "Stalin, like Hitler, had a fetish for edge-based defense"

                  Yes. Just like the French. And the Belgians. And the Dutch. And the Danish. And the Norwegians. And the Greeks. And the Polish. And the Italians. And *have you got the point yet*?

                  The only countries that really did massive properly prepared multi layered defences in WW2 was the UK and Switzerland. The only reason either countries managed this is because of having a couple of years panicking about an intended invasion. The British coasts were massively fortified to the point of insanity first with masses of really heavy more or less static artillery left over from WW1 (see 6", 9.2", 12", 13.5", 15" gun howitzers) and then with minefields, barbed wire and all of the other nasties that could be devised. Pillboxes in defensive lines all across important points went in manned with the Home Guard, however the full set of defences took literially a couple of years to complete and even then the main defences were unquestionably at the coast at likely invasion points.

                  Other nations couldn't manage this since defenses are as a rule insanely expensive and slow to build and it's natural to build up defences strongly where you think your going to need them rather than weakly everywhere.

                  1. JLV Silver badge

                    Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

                    I might get the point even better if Belgium and Holland were the size of Russia. Or if Russia didn't beat the crap out of France in 1812 using precisely its size and the opposite of a perimeter defense ; -)

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

                    Firstly, Stalin's purge of his officer corps was partly because they were pro German and he was worried that they might come marching into Moscow with the Germans if asked to fight them.

                    My paternal grandfather was one of those officers "purged" (actually murdered, slowly and cruelly) by the Bolshevik regime. He most assuredly wasn't pro-German; in fact he was just old enough to fight the Germans in WWI. To be sure, my other grandfather was killed by the invading Germans in 1941 - but this at least was in a war.

                    Now if you were to say "because Stalin thought they were pro-German", I might have agreed. Otherwise, this is just a blame-the-victim kind of an excuse for something what cannot be excused and should not be forgotten.

                  3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

                    Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

                    Firstly, Stalin's purge of his officer corps was partly because they were pro German

                    I just choked on my morning coffee, you need to have your brain examined.

                    My great granddad and 90% of the maternal line in my family were marched down the corridor not for being pro-German. They were marched because he still remembered that the homicidal little sh*t was not even participating in the 7of November uprising - he was sent off to satisfy his sadistic urges by beating up the Pravda printing workers so Pravda printed on time. How did gramps know it - he was the only Russian in the gang that cooked that whole madness - the other 5 being 4 Jews and one Armenian. Even cooking the history books and changing them to proclaim that Stalin led the uprising did not help him because the homicidal little sh*t held his grudges for decades and always found a way to "resolve" them. As the other members of the revolutionary committee understood in due course.

                    The army was "purged" because they were loyal to Tuhachevsky and with him unquestionably supported Kirov during the 17th congress and Kirov was elected with more votes than Stalin. In fact, there is a reason to believe that Stalin would not have made it to be re-elected into the Central Committee if the votes were not stuffed by NKVD. Even if that was not the case, Stalin recognized a close call and dealt with him in the only manner he knew and could - the backstabbing homicidal sh*t manner.

                  4. hammarbtyp Silver badge

                    Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

                    Firstly, Stalin's purge of his officer corps was partly because they were pro German and he was worried that they might come marching into Moscow with the Germans if asked to fight them.

                    Or maybe it was because Stalin was a paranoid power mad psychopath who a penchant for conspiracy theories fed by lackeys and a desire to maintain control at all costs?

                    I know, we are splitting hairs here

                2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

                  Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

                  Stating, as a fact, rather than as a possible, but highly uncertain conjecture, that Russia was planning a 41 invasion, is wrong. 44 or 45?

                  You are missing one important point. At that point in Time Zhukov was shovelled out into the far east and Stalin was personally in charge of military planning.

                  If you look at what he did as a military "planner" (quotes intended) he repeatedly ordered attacks from inferior positions, before the forces were ready without proper preparations leading to military disasters:

                  1. Kiev 1941 - he issued the famous no surrender no retreat order resulting in the army staying in the encirclement despite the Kiev tank school commanded by one of the very few remaining Tuhachevsky disciples breaking the encirclement.

                  2. Harkov 1942 - people remember Stalingrad, but they do not remember the disaster which led to Stalingrad when the retarded homicidal monkey ordered an unprepared attack across the whole front "to push the Fascists off the Fatherland soil"

                  3. The whole sorry Finnish war affair.

                  4. The Kerch landing

                  I can continue for a while, but let's put it this way. If it was Zhukov planning it, USSR would have attacked in 1944. Koba - he would have said "Мы Русские" and would have sent off a few millions to die in 1941. 1942 latest.

          2. Potemkine Silver badge

            Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

            If Hitler did not strike first, Stalin would have attacked him around the winter of 1941.

            Speculations.

            That was the real reason why in 2 years between 1939 and 1941 USSR did not build any fortifications anywhere around their new conquests

            Never heard about the Molotov Line?

        2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Stop

          Re; bombastic bob Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

          ".....Actually, the early collab between the Nazis and USSR could be a great lesson in history to the Russian people, about trusting foreign dictators to keep their word....." LOL! Stalin had a track record of screwing over even his supporters outside the Soviet Union. Take the Spanish Civil War, where he deliberately stoked the Spanish Communists and their allies into the ill-fated Popular Front government in the first place, then publicly proclaimed "brotherhood" with the Republicans before stealing the Spanish gold reserves, then abandoned the Republicans after he had used his NKVD to hunt the Republican Trotskyists and Anarchists he saw as a threat to his control of the Soviet Union and his plans for international revolution. And whilst the Soviets made great propaganda about how the Germans were sending troops, tanks and planes to fight for the Spanish rebels, he neglected to mention that it was the Soviet Union that had helped rebuild the Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht in secret in the first place.

          In 1939, even before the end of the fighting in Poland, the NKVD and Gestapo met to discuss who would imprison which "problem Poles" during their joint occupation. The Soviets were already planning the massacre of as many Polish politicians, dignitaries and officers as they could get their hands on.

          Poland in 1939 wasn't the only time Stalin used the World's preoccupation with Nazi Germany to expand his "empire". There was the invasions of the Baltic States, again agreed ahead of time with the Nazis. Indeed, as the records of German-Soviet Axis talks show, Stalin was more than prepared to join the Axis in 1941 as long as Germany would agree which bits of the World would come under Stalin's jackboot. At the same time, Stalin was using Hitler and the Nazis to weaken the other European Imperial powers (France and Britain), his plans being to turn on the Nazis and stab them in the back the moment it best suited Stalin. As it turned out, Hitler was just faster off the mark when he invaded Russia in 1941.

          Stalin then made use of his position as an "ally" to manipulate the Americans into giving him mountains of supplies and later half of Europe. Roosevelt was completely blind to how the Soviets were leading him by the nose, even refusing to recognise Stalin's obvious plans after the Soviet abandonment of the Warsaw Uprising. Approaching Warsaw in 1944, the Soviet Army asked the Polish Underground to rebel against the occupying Nazis, then stopped their advance and let the Germans massacre the Poles, just so Stalin would not have to deal post-War with any "difficult Polish fighters". To compound the Poles' misery, Stalin refused to let the Allies use Russian airbases for supply flights to the Poles (though he had been quite happy when the same bases had been used by American bombers striking Germany). Polish RAF and South African flights to drop supplied to the Polish Underground claimed they were even attacked by Soviet fighters! Despite Churchill's repeated demands that Roosevelt stand up to Stalin, Roosevelt did nothing.

          So, portraying Stalin as "misled" or "taken advantage of" by any Western leader is simply too stupid for wards.

    2. James 51 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

      You are one of Putain's trolls and I claim my five rubles.

    3. Alfred

      Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

      " 'The A and B jointly invaded C'. If you don't know what A, B and C are, would you conclude that A & B moved on the same day? At least I would yet in this case it would be a clear untruth."

      So YOU would be stupid enough to make a false assumption not supported by the data? Is that really your argument? Your own stupidity?

      1. arkhangelsk

        Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

        Wow, Alfred. I never denied that technically speaking, an interpretation of it not being simultaneous is permissible. However, even while a phrase has multiple interpretations, it is undeniable that some interpretations are stronger than others when the sentence is interpreted.

        For example, if I say "A is bigger than B", *technically* I'm still right if A is a billionth larger than B. But that's NOT the image that floats in your brain, is it? You'll probably be thinking A is actually substantively (say at least 25%) larger. Humans interpret wording heuristically, thus not every fringe literal-grammatical possibility will float; and even if it does it won't be dominant.

        And I think it is intellectually dishonest to ignore such realities when analyzing what Luzgin chose to quote into his blog.

        @P0l0nium

        By itself, the secret pact will be an agreement, and even the substantive elements can hardly be called "close". They just agreed on some delineations and materials were sent. "Close"? So when the US and UK trade high-tech stuff to China which gets stuffed into a piece of military equipment this is evidence they are "close collaborating" with China in their plan to threaten the South/East China Sea?

        The base problem of the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty is simply that the Russians after the purges (a self-inflicted wound admittedly), weren't ready for a war and they needed to buy time to fix those problems. I'll also point out that the USSR did give Britain and France a chance to be allies, but those two can't even tell their ally (Poland) that if they expect to be protected, they have to actually let the ally's forces in before the war starts. It is simply infeasible to rush in after the war started and expect good results - as proven next year when the French and Brits rushed in after the attack had already started.

  8. NanoMeter

    Fascism

    It's War is Peace and

    Ignorance is Strength

    and that kind of stuff.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Fascism

      Slightly more complicated.

      Do we like it or not the Nuremberg trials swept under the blanket a lot of Stalin war crimes. Stalin killed hundreds of thousands of jews directly (jews constituted significant proportion of the old Bolshevik guard from the days when you had to read the Das Kapital to become a member and it was not available in Russian), indirectly - as a part of the Collectivisation famine in and associated purges of refuseniks, "voluntary migration" of Jews to the Jewish Soviet republic (to mine uranium and rear Earths under the barrel of an NKVD gun), etc. All of these were blamed on Hitler and co at the Nuremberg trials. They assign any blame for WW2 solely to Hitler and Co - Stalin is "blameless". According to Nuremberg the whole sorry affair with Poland in 1939 did not happen.

      This has the interesting side effect in a country where the Holocaust denial and anti-Nazi glorification laws (similar to the ones Germany and France have) explicitly specify the Nuremberg judgements as a "primary source of truth". Yes - we all know that stuff was swiped under the carpet. No, sorry, you are not allowed to say it - this is against the law as it stands and the law is ass.

  9. RealityisntReal

    Doesn't surprise me at all. For decades now, in multiple countries (including many supposed democracies with separation of powers - UK, US as two examples) the justice system - instead of being a check on the power of the executive/legislative systems - has become an active supporter of their policies, even when such support violates individual freedom guarantees in multiple national documents. In the US the Supreme Court has routinely gone along with government policies and laws that clearly infringe deeply into rights guaranteed in the Constitution - with various justifications, most of which boil down to the fact that the policies/laws made the governments job easier - totally ignoring the fact that the whole purpose of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution is to make the governments job harder. There have been a few judges who actually supported the Constitution and made decisions against the government, but either at the appeals court level or the Supreme Court their judgements were overturned and the government was again given free reign to abuse it's authority.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      "the whole purpose of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution is to make the governments job harder."

      The entire U.S. Constitution was supposed to do that, limit power etc. not GRANT it. That concept of limiting powers started with the Magna Carta, of course. Or maybe something even earlier?

      I wonder if the Russian Supreme Court is ALSO being used for judicial activism? Probably. It's a standard trick of 'the left' because they can't get what they want through normal legislative means.

      So maybe in THIS case, Pootie's regime is trying to do the same thing [judicial activism] but in a slightly different way?

      it's not like the Russians can't read El Reg (or look up information on the intarwebs) to get the REAL truth, right?

    2. Dave 15

      What do you expect

      Most of the judiciary in western democracies are public school boys from rich parents who probably have some very unnatural personal habits. This means in background and personality they have far more in common with the politicians than the dirty unwashed masses. If choosing the outcome of a question they will tend to go for their mates than the masses

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems like the Russian courts have been taking lessons from SCOTUS.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    they do have a point

    while they did cooperate, it was a joint HUMANITARIAN effort. The Germans intervened to prevent continuous terror of the Polish state and its citizens against the opressed German minority and to introduce minor border changes to the unjust post-WW1 settlements. And the Soviets came in to liberate Belarussian and Ukrainian peasants opressed by the Polish state and the Poles, and yearning to joint the Great Soviet Union. Which they did, in November 1939, if I remember correctly, with something like 95% voting to join. And the generousness of the Soviet Union did not end there, for those voting against were given long, long holidays, paid for by the state. And they were all given German and Russian passes, so that they could move from village to village whenever they would express such extravagant desire! And lifetime citizenship too, which stands to this day (I'm being serious, if you were born, unfortunately, a Pole in the areas that eagerly joined the USSR in 1939, you'll have had both Soviet (now Russian) citizenship for life, AND a place of birth marked in official documents as "Soviet Union".

    I really can't see why people villify that great moment in history, they should be punished. As to Bandera, I can only say that he was a fascist, so all discussion on the subject is pointless.

    And I love Russia and the Greatest Leaders of All, Our Dear President Putin, let his light show the path of the glorious and blind our enemies!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: they do have a point

      Not to mention that the Poles had weapons of mass destruction which could be used within 40mins

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: they do have a point

        while entirely irrelevant to what happened in September 1939, it must be said that Poland, as a state, was not exactly generous to all its minorities, both in the west and in the east. That said, even without this excuse, the war would have broken out. Hitler felt humiliated by the post-WW1 border arrangements, and apparently Stalin personally festered resentment against Poland for the thrashing the Red armies got in 1921.

        Unlike our enlightened time when... uhm... well...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: they do have a point

          So why Ukrainian language survived in the Polish held Western Ukraine while it was completely destroyed in the Soviet held Eastern Ukraine?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All hail

    the new Russia. Same as the old Russia

  13. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

    My mother-in-law is from Poland. Her entire family was put into concentration camps. In the book The Yellow Star there's a photo of her mother from just before she was shot and placed in a mass grave. Her first husband, father and brothers also died there, and she herself has been on death marches. She and her sister managed to survive.

    I'm sure she'd have some rather sharp words about this historical revisionism. She's 97 and her mind isn't as clear as it used to be, but she hasn't forgotten THAT. I sure as Hell am not about to mention it to her.

  14. x 7

    Putin and his asslickers are a bunch of lying cunts

  15. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

    So the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany jointly invaded Poland. But the latter part of the post, did Bandera declare Ukrainian independence while in a German concentration camp? I read here that he declared Ukrainian independence first and only later did the Nazis decide they didn't need his ilk. So that would be inaccurate. It seems harsh and unreasonable to us that he would be convicted on such a small inaccuracy, but there it is.

    Here in Canada we have free speech, yet Holocaust deniers have been convicted of spreading hate. Did any of the cases hinge on such a subtle point of logic? I have not a clue.

    Of course Putin is a jerk and Russia is the scary enemy, but let's not be too proud. Here's an example. The new Canadian government is better than the previous one, but--when is a sacred trust not a sacred trust?

    http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/robyn-urback-after-campaigning-off-the-backs-of-veterans-the-trudeau-government-turns-its-back-to-them

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "Here in Canada we have free speech, yet Holocaust deniers have been convicted of spreading hate. Did any of the cases hinge on such a subtle point of logic? I have not a clue."

      Free speech does not allow you to say anything you want. For God's sake, I thought we'd dealt with this when you were five. It does not allow you to phone up the Prime Minister and threaten to kill him, for example. (Most use saying "Fire!" in a crowded theatre", but threats to kill are also not protected speech.) Free speech is only as far as you are not producing harm in others. Threats to kill, denying the murder of millions of people in an obvious attempt at neo-Nazism, deliberate attempts to induce groundless mass panic; these are all examples of speech that is normally not protected under free-speech provisions in countries' laws.

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        "denying the murder of millions of people in an obvious attempt at neo-Nazism" is perfectly legal in every country that has free speech. If you can't do that, you don't have any free speech at all.

        Popular speech needs no protection. Unpopular speech, particularly political speech, is what the freedom of speech is about.

      2. RealityisntReal

        Sorry, but you are wrong. At least in the US, free speech means free speech. Only speech that directly incites violence, directly threatens another or imminently endangers others is not allowed. Saying something that offends someone or is against what the majority wants/believes is perfectly legal. Your example "denying the murder of millions of people in an obvious attempt at neo-Nazism" is perfectly legal here. Too many countries (UK among them) have infringed on their citizens right to free speech by passing laws that criminalize speech that offends someone - totally ignoring the reality that virtually anyone's spoken opinion will offend someone, somewhere. And the funny thing about those laws is that when they are actually enforced, it is almost always against someone who is voicing an opinion the liberals oppose - never when a liberal says something a conservative finds offensive.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          "these are all examples of speech that is NORMALLY not protected under free-speech provisions in countries' laws."

          "Sorry, but you are wrong. At least in the US, free speech means free speech."

          You says I am wrong, then give one example of a country to prove that these are normally not covered under free-speech provisions. I wonder, if I give two examples of countries where I'm right, that makes you double wrong?

          1. RealityisntReal

            I already gave you one. In the US you can deny the holocaust all you want and the government can't do anything against you. Stating an unpopular opinion or one that is completely wrong is protected speech as long as you are not directly inciting violence or similar exceptions. Your other examples - threats to kill, deliberately attempting to cause panic - those fall under the exceptions and aren't protected, but stating that you don't believe in the holocaust - that is protected speech.

  16. PhilipN Silver badge

    Does any state have the moral high ground?

    Please do tell. Cloud Cuckoo Land is one place I do not need to visit since a lot of us live there already. Any others?

  17. Milton Silver badge

    It never ends well ...

    ... when a government is in effective control of a judiciary. And it never ends well when a government acts as if it believes it can control the real thought and feeling of the citizens. Either it partially succeeds, as in Nazi Germany, and you end up with self-destruction, or it doesn't, as in Russia, where even in the blackest Soviet times the citizenry had deep, dark humour and cynicism about the motivations of government and the "news" it spouted. East German citizens were scared of the Stasi animals—and listened to and even watched West German broadcasts. People may act as if they believe, if you frighten them ... but they do not believe. In China, its Great Firewall leaks like a sieve and, once again, people know the truth in ways that would (in fact, probably do) frighten "leaders" who know that sooner or later, a reckoning will come.

    Putin has strengthened his position through any number of methods of varying brutality and politics, ranging from polonium to crushing Russia's emerging free press, but as this "verdict" shows, absurdity always waits in the wings for comic-opera dictators. Strutting around with your shirt off like a third-rate soap actor only has so much mileage.

    This kind of nonsense may last a while, but Like all such people, he's riding a tiger he dare not dismount, for when he does, voluntarily or otherwise, it will eat him.

  18. MatsSvensson

    In Soviet Russia, *censored* *censored* YOU!

  19. John Deeb

    rear-view mirror morality

    In the rear-view mirror perspective get warped at time.

    Molotov-Ribbentrop including the secret protocol appears as typical eastern-Europe hyper-realistic reaction to the Munich agreements in 1938. The desired "united front" came later when there was willingness to have one as well in the West.

    Putin wrote himself in 2009: "Today we understand that any form of agreement with the Nazi regime was unacceptable from the moral point of view and had no chance of being realised,"

    Rear-view mirror morality. The only available perspective in the West although it's often turned the wrong way, used as looking glass towards anything East.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it really fair to write about "Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea" without also mentioning Georges Clemenceau's very comparable annexation of Alsace-Lorraine after World War I? Crimea had been part of the Russian Empire for a couple of centuries and remained part of Russia until 1954, when it was transferred to Ukraine. There was a vote after the 2014 Western-backed coup in Ukraine, and the people of Crimea overwhelmingly opted to rejoin Russia. Putin and Russia may have issues, but they didn't start the trouble in Ukraine and they didn't "annex" Crimea.

    1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      So basically you are saying it is OK for any country to invade first, then hold a independence vote when the vote cannot be independently verified?

      Maybe that was Hitlers big mistake. After he had invaded Poland then forced a vote to show how happy the people were

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      There was no "Western backed coup" in Ukraine. There was no coup. I'm not even sure you could call it an uprising, given that the President ran away before any of that could happen. Presumably worried that people might string them up, after ordering snipers to shoot demonstrators (most, but not all, of whom were peaceful).

      France annexing Alsace was totally different. This was part of France seized by Prussia/Germany in 1870 in the previous war - which France took back. You might call it victor's justice - but it wasn't a naked territorial land-grab.

      Crimea is much more complicated, its cession to Ukraine was peaceful, and signed up to again by Russia as part of the agreements that dissolved the USSR. There was a referendum on Ukrainian independence that showed Crimea was, just, in favour of it linky only Wiki I'm afraid.

      It is of course possible that 54% support for being part of Ukraine could collapse to under 10% - and that the polliing taking place under Russian army guns had no effect - or it's possible that this isn't true. Seeing as the vote wasn't even close to free and fair, we'll never know.

      I suspect who started the trouble in Ukraine were the people And various crap and corrupt governments. But Russia certainly did annex Crimea, and certainly did invade Ukraine with regular troops (and deny then admit that fact), as well as supporting an armed civil war - out of what seems to me a fit of pique. Putin even admitted in an interview that the plans to sieze Ukraine were only decided on 2 days before, and not something he'd long planned. This could of course be a lie, but why lie when he could just not say anything? Also formenting a civil war in a neigbouring country with a couple of thousand mile long porous border with your own seems like madness. Not to mention the economic consequences of sanctions, that were pretty much inevitable. And of course the beefing up of NATO defences in Eastern Europe, that were also pretty likely, something that Russia has been saying it doesn't want to happen for years.

      Putin seems to think tactically, rather than strategically. He's willing to break the rules, which gives him an advantage. But on the other hand, his very unpredictability works against him. Russia's economy was in trouble before the crisis, because there's no rule of law - so nobody trusts the place enough to invest or keep their money there. Except to take a risk against the hope of huge profits. Hence most of the Russian elites keep their money abroad, starving the economy of investment. Europeans, who were happy to buy gas from Russia, and thus make Russia a lot of money, are now afraid to rely on them, in case they get cut off in the middle of winter. And so Russia is losing massive market share in a market it could have dominated - to great profit. And are having to ship gas to China at less favourable terms, and build lots of expensive infrastructure to do so.

      Putin is neither innocent, or particularly competent.

  21. DaveDaveDave

    This is bizarre

    What the f--- has the Reg got itself into here? Bandera was a Nazi. Bandera-philes are neo-Nazis. The USSR did not invade Poland when Germany did, they had to finish up another war and didn't get round to even declaring war on Poland until 16 days after Germany invaded, so the Court seems to be right on the history.

    It is unquestionably true that the German attack would not have succeeded as swiftly as it did with Russian help, but that's not the point: an overtly Holocaust-denying blogger has been slapped-down for getting the basic facts wrong.

    1. Potemkine Silver badge
      1. DaveDaveDave

        Re: This is bizarre

        "From what I understand he was rather with Nazis following the principle that the enemies of my enemy are my friends, as did Mannerheim or Bose."

        Not at all. He fell in love with Nazism and embraced it with all the fervour of a convert. A really vile character.

  22. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  23. Dave 15

    Interesting

    Because this brings to light another snippet.

    Most (if not all) UK accounts of the start of the war talk about the GERMANS invading Poland and that Britain declared war on GERMANY because of the invasion. The accounts to not mention Germany AND Russia invading, if they did the conclusions are one of 2:

    a) Britain should have ALSO been at war with Russia because we were signed up to defend Poland against attack, not signed up to protect Poland against Germany but allow anyone else carte blanc

    b) Britain was more afraid of Germany than Russia and was really looking for an excuse.

    1. arctic_haze Silver badge

      Re: Interesting

      Britain actually became close to fighting the Soviet Union when it prepared troops to come to help to the Soviet invaded Finland in the winter of 1939/40.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-British_plans_for_intervention_in_the_Winter_War

      It did not happen only because Norway and Sweden refused transit for the troops. A side effect of that was that Britain had some troops ready for Arctic warfare in 1940 which were sent to Narvik to fight the Germans after they invaded Norway.

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