Monday, February 2, 2015

Strelkov versus Starikov debate

The Strelkov and Starikov debate (January 22) has attracted (justifiably) new or renewed attention. One reason for this is that the debate has been now rendered into English:

For the record, here are the highlights are posted on my Facebook page on January 24 (the time markers refer to the original recording):

1. Basic difference between Igor Strelkov and Nikolay Starikov: 1) for Strelkov, there is a war going on against the Russians and Russia; avoiding a war that has been unleashed is impossible, no matter what one may wish for unless the wish is capitulation; the war has to be won, there is no other way--by completely defeating the junta; 2) according to Starikov, the war is against the Russian people, but there is no military way for resolving the conflict; Novorossiya needs to receive only as much as aid as necessary for preventing its military defeat; and Russia should try to make Ukraine "unattractive (or uninteresting)" to the US, i.e., by decreasing the importance of gas transition via Ukraine. According to Starikov, Russia should help liberate Ukraine from US control without war.

2. At 0:57 of the debate, Strelkov read Nikolay Starikov's assessment of the situation in Ukraine just about a week before Yanukovich was overthrown, in which Starikov praised Yanukovich's "brilliance," claimed that the Maidan was defeated by the anti-fascist and pro-Russian forces and that Yanukovich clearly had excellent advisers the identity of which would be revealed one day perhaps in his memoirs. 

Strangely, Starikov sounds very familiar to me, like some other eulogists of utter brilliance and the enemy's helplessness with the result of inverting and subverting both the knowledge of the self (indecent flattery and overestimation) and the knowledge of the enemy (consistent distortion and underestimation). 

3. Nikolay Starikov accused Igor Strelkov of saying during their debate that "the Russian troops came to Mariupol" in August of 2014 and that the recording will confirm Starikov's claim (at 30:36, and especially 34:00). Indeed, the recording proves that Starikov made it up, that he lied as in some of the other instances, though this one was the most blatant.

4. In the first 15 minutes of the "match" with Nikolay Starikov, Igor Strelkov said that, in the first phase of the war in Donbass, Surkov's plan was to have Strelkov and his soldiers die in Slavyansk, which would then leave Donetsk exposed and prepared for surrender. Strelkov thwarted this plan by breaking through the encirclement of Slavyansk on July 4. In this way, Strelkov would have been made a "sacrificial lamb." Starikov praised Strelkov's account and called it "sober."

To these FB postings, I would further add here that, at 33:00, Starikov lunges into openly false, ad hominem claims utterly distorting and twisting Strelkov's record and actions as the Defense Minister of the Donetsk People's Republic, including the circumstances of Strelkov's forced departure. Strelkov responds to Starikov's attempt at character assassination at 36:08: "As to [this kind of allegations], I will not comment. They are simply shameful."

52% of viewers declared Strelkov the winner of this debate, 25% sided with Starikov, and the rest voted for a tie. 

While I am completely with the clear majority of the Russians on this--on the side of Strelkov--and for reasons which ought to be quite obvious, others do have their own reasons to side with Starikov and his cunning sophistry.

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