May 9, 2022
Two journalists at lenta.ru published over 10 articles critical of the war and the Russian government. The articles were quickly removed — but not before getting archived — and the journalists were fired although the publication claimed that the site had been hacked. One of journalists commented that there had been no hack: they had taken a deliberate decision because their conscience demanded it, and the large audience of the site might at least get a sense that there are many opponents to the war.
Among the titles: “Russia completely destroyed Mariupol”, “Record spending on the military did not help Russia defeat Ukraine”, “Vladimir Putin lied about Russia’s plans in Ukraine”, “Russia abandons the corpses of its soldiers in Ukraine”, “Ministry of Defense lied to relatives of sailors who died on the cruiser ‘Moskva’,” and “The Russian army turned out to be an army of thieves and marauders”.
If you visit the site right now, you will be treated the news of Biden signing the Lend/Lease Act for Ukraine. They emphasize that it was filed with the Senate on January 19, 2022, “before the start of the Russian special operation.” It’s all very ominous and conspiratorial, when the reality is simple — the US had already told everyone about Russia’s invasion plans and had started preparing for what the government knew was coming. There’s nothing odd about that.
The article then warns gravely that Lend/Lease is just credit, which is designed to increase the income of US military corporations, and that it would push Kyiv into a “debt hole” so that future generations will be paying for the arms Ukraine gets today. Then they explain that the USSR was paying for WWII’s lend/lease until 2006, which caused enormous deprivation in the Soviet Union.
I just have to comment on that last bit. The USSR did NOT pay for Lend/Lease, just for a tiny tiny portion of it. Here’s what happened. The US agreed that the USSR would only pay for equipment it retained after the end of the war. In other words, the vast majority of the aid delivered between November 1941 and August 1945 had been spent — and forgiven. It was a grant. The Soviets decided to keep some things and returned others (the latter the Americans duly took possession of and then destroyed in front of the Russians). The USSR made ONE payment, a symbolic one, on that in the 1970s, and that was it.
When the USSR collapsed, the US panicked that its nukes might get “orphaned” and that separatist instability might threaten Europe and Asia. The government was begging for economic help, which the US agreed to provide to help the government. However, under US law, Washington could not provide finance if there were outstanding loans. So they quickly patched up a new agreement under which Moscow would pay a small fraction of the outstanding debt (which was already negligible), and this — in turn — allowed the passage of the new aid package.
The final payment in 2006 refers to the renegotiated amount. The Soviets paid for less than 4% of the lend/lease “loan” overall.
And, to drive the final nail in that particular coffin, Psaki recently said that the US government is considering forgiving all Ukrainian debt to begin with in order to help the country with the reconstruction. Did the Russians also forget about the Marshall Plan? Just like we did Lend/Lease for Ukraine, we are absolutely going to do a Marshall Plan for Ukraine as well.
And that’s the problem with Russian propaganda — as usual, it’s just a bunch of half-truths buried under 6 feet of lies and misinformation. The problem is: reality has a way of asserting itself, as they are finding out right now in Ukraine. This will be no different.