Crimea, Donbas, Aleppo — crimes of historic proportions


International, More

Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

Russian President Vladimir Putin has achieved his goal. He has entered the history books as a head of state who has committed “crimes of historic proportions.” This is exactly how the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, described the bombing of east Aleppo in Syria. The official did not directly name the country responsible for the actions leading to these crimes. But he urged the major powers of the world to turn over the investigation of the tragedy in Aleppo to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The UN Human Rights Council voted to conduct a special international investigation of the crimes in Aleppo. Russia and its shameless allies voted against it. Because they had no doubts that the bloody footprints would lead investigators to the office of Vladimir Putin.

Actually, such a course of events was not difficult to predict. It was predictable even when the Russian military began the occupation of Ukrainian Crimea on Putin’s direct orders. Putin likes to say that this occupation was “bloodless” even though two Ukrainian soldiers were killed, followed by the murders and torture of Crimean Tatars and other activists. But, of course, this did not impress the world as much as the bombing of Aleppo does now. And Putin became intoxicated with impunity.

Flowers left near the Dutch embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine for victims of Malaysia Airlines MH17. The note says in Russian: "Putin, the world will not forgive you."

Flowers left near the Dutch embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine for victims of Malaysia Airlines MH17. The note says in Russian: “Putin, the world will not forgive you.”

The Donbas war was the next phase in his crimes. Here people were already dying by the hundreds, thousands were left homeless, and millions were forced to flee. But aviation was not used during the conflict and Russian propaganda tried to create the impression of a “civil war” where the Kremlin was acting as the protector of a mythical category of Ukrainian citizens — the Russian-speaking population.

The destruction by the Russian military of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet on territory controlled by Moscow was a serious miscalculation by Putin. However, investigations of these kinds of accidents usually take a very long time. And Putin found the time for a new adventure — the Syrian one.

Many experts in the West now claim that the Russian army in Syria has been more efficient than had been expected at the beginning of the campaign. Perhaps this is the case from the military point of view. In Afghanistan, the armed forces of the Soviet Union were efficient as well. But it is impossible to win when practically the entire nation is fighting against you, and when the army of the dictatorship is unable to overcome its opponents. As a result, several tens of thousands of Soviet soldiers died. And more than a million of Afghans were killed. But the Soviet Union had no other way to save the puppet regime of Babrak Karmal than by carrying out the mass destruction of Afghans. That is why it was Afghanistan and not Hungary or Czechoslovakia, with many fewer victims of the Soviet invasion, that became the grave of the communist regime.

Now the same situation is being repeated in Syria.

Putin has no other way of supporting Bashar al-Assad than by killing hundreds of thousands of Syrians. However, he still will fail to achieve victory; he will simply destroy  people and cities.

But now is not the age of Afghanistan. There are completely different information technologies. There are completely different internet and television capabilities. There is a completely different attitude toward Russia. Putin’s country is not the USSR with its “protection of workers and peasants,” and Moscow will no longer be able to deceive anyone with slogans.

Every day the world can see horrifying images from Aleppo on its TV screens. Images of Putin’s crimes.  Crimes of historic proportions.

Victim of Aleppo bombing, October 12, 2016

Victim of Aleppo bombing, October 12, 2016

But Putin has limited options. He cannot stop the massacre of Syrians because that would condemn Assad’s regime to a quick collapse. He cannot continue the bombing because each new shelling worsens his relationship with the civilized world and creates a gap between that world and Russia. For the time being the pro-Russian lobby in the West can still defend his interests, block the introduction of new sanctions, talk about the need for dialogue. But all this will end soon. Russia’s isolation is a matter of time. And the reason for this isolation is war crimes. Crimes of historic proportions.

The Russian president mistakenly thinks that he will not be held responsible. He will be. The day will come when he and other Russian leaders will be handed over to the International Tribunal by their own countrymen. Putin has simply failed to realize that with his Syrian actions he has crossed the line that separates the politician who seeks to protect his own interest from the common serial killer.




Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Edited by: A. N.

Source: Radio Svoboda

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  1. Avatar Mazepa says:

    Smert mockalyam.

  2. Avatar anonymous says:

    The only path to the ICC is through loss of power of the criminal organization which is Putin and rules Russia. With that loss of power, Putin would be first punished for his crimes by the “new” Russia. The punishment would be execution or life in prison. Putin understands the loss of power will result in punishment in Russia. Putin does not fear the international community. Putin fears punishment in Russia.

  3. Avatar Randolph Carter says:

    If Putin is tried and convicted by the ICC, who would take his place? He is surrounded by rich men who crave power, so his death or detainment might lead to a chaos of power grabs by the various “allies” that he had under him. Could this lead to the splintering of Russia into a number of smaller, antagonistic states like Transnistria?

    Are Russia’s nukes evenly distributed across the country? The thought of one of these thugs getting control over seriously powerful nuclear weapons (or biological agents, thermobaric bombs, etc) is frightening – especially if thug A is hostile towards thug B and decides that he has nothing to lose.

    The other possibility might be that Putin continues to run Russia by proxy (assuming that he is not executed). Many gangsters in the USA (Al Capone, Whitey Bulger) simply continued their empires from jail instead of an office. Good argument for the death penalty, but as I recall, most of the EU nations were anti-death penalty.

    I agree with you about punishment in Russia (he might even get a trial), but who has the power to convene a criminal court and then carry through the trial and sentencing? Personally, I’d like to see him handcuffed and dropped into the middle of Kiev (or Aleppo, or Donbass, or Crimea …) A little “street justice” might be a good thing…

  4. Avatar Matt Franklin says:

    The West, led by obama, enabled this monster. How many more lives will be lost because we trusted a KGB reptile in a suit. Muscovy is, and always has been, the citadel of world terrorism and hubris.

  5. Avatar zorbatheturk says:


    and not least, Serial Killer!

    Vladolf the Putler.