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Recommendo: Stephen Kotkin on Putin, Stalin, Hitler, Zelenskyy, and War in Ukraine

Yes, it’s three hours, but it is three hours with a first-rate mind. Kotkin is the distinguished and excellent biographer of Stalin. [I’ve read volume one and was very impressed] He is also a careful and lucid speaker with a lot of knowledge of history skillfully knit with present realities.

Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928
 Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941

Kotkin is also grounded in-depth on the history of Ukraine, Germany, the Soviet Union, Putin, and Russia. I’ve listened to it (some of it twice) and it has informed me and also changed my mind about several subjects. It can play in the background if you like, or you can explore the various subjects at will. Here are the timestamps. They can also be seen by mouse-over at the bottom of the video.

0:00 – Introduction
2:19 – Putin and Stalin
13:09 – Putin vs the West
36:01 – Response to Oliver Stone
47:07 – Russian invasion of Ukraine
1:26:35 – Putin’s plan for the war
1:34:33 – Henry Kissinger
1:40:28 – Nuclear war
1:51:01 – Parallels to World War II
2:13:47 – China
2:21:55 – World War III
2:29:24 – Navalny
2:33:41 – Meaning of life

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mike Austin May 26, 2022, 3:05 PM

    Anyone with even a remote interest in Russian History has heard of Stephen Kotkin. I had no idea of what he thought about the myriad topics mentioned in the outline. I just listened to the first 5 minutes of “Russian Invasion of Ukraine” (47:07). Nothing at all new here. Kotkin simply mouthed the same views on the war as those of Biden, Pelosi, Romney, Hannity, Levin, Schwab, the US neo-cons, the EU, NATO, Soros and all the rest of Globohomo. I was, to be frank, taken aback. So I dug a little. Always ask yourself the question in circumstances such as these: “Cui bono?”

    It turns out that Kotkin is a writer for:

    1. The New Republic
    2. The New Yorker
    3. The Financial Times
    4. The New York Times
    5. The Washington Post
    6. The Wall Street Journal

    Kotkin is also a commentator for:

    1. NPR
    2. BBC

    Now, which side of the political spectrum does every single one of Kotkin’s paymasters reside? Kotkin’s books are published by Penguin Press. Any guess what its views are on the war in Ukraine? Always—always—follow the money.

    Take a look at the editorial reviews on Amazon of Kotkin’s books on Stalin. Look who writes glowingly of these tomes. Yep, neo-cons and his paymasters.

    Is anyone surprised by all this?

    Incidentally, I will listen to the rest of the interview as time allows. And I have read Kotkin’s first two volumes of his planned trilogy on Stalin. These are highly recommended. I await the 3rd.

    • ghostsniper May 26, 2022, 5:42 PM


    • Dirk May 27, 2022, 11:43 AM

      Which is exactly why I could care less what that clown thinks.

      Mike appreciate your investigation into exactly who and what Kotkin really represents.
      Most would be surprised at exactly who and what operates most of these lying pieces of dung.

    • billrla May 27, 2022, 7:14 PM

      Read books by people who were there.

      • Mike Austin May 27, 2022, 7:27 PM

        Always necessary. These are what historians call “primary sources”. If you want to know Caesar, read Cicero. If you want to know the Peloponnesian War, read Thucydides. If you want to know Charlemagne, read Einhard. If you want to know Christ, read the Gospels.

  • ThisIsNotNutella May 26, 2022, 3:51 PM

    The Unflushable Turd out of uncharacteristic deference and politesse will not say the Quiet Part out loud.

    But you all should know it. Kotkin gonna Kotkin on this here topic. I don’t think that’s going Beyond the Pale.

    As for Lizard Friend Lex, YouTube algo decided I needed to see more and more of him doing his big brained shtick in the suit. I put on my Carl Schmitt Pickelhaube and decided otherwise. If I need reptiles on my screen, I go for Peter Thiel and Eric Weinstein gabbing to each other about deep stuff.

  • ThisIsNotNutella May 26, 2022, 5:22 PM

    Gilad Atzmon on Ukraine and Identity Politics + Israel & Zelensky.


    If I have time tonight will watch Kotkin and this video and see who more honestly lays his cards and priors out on the table. I’m betting blind on Atzmon.

  • KCK May 27, 2022, 9:19 AM

    I’m listening to it in segments while working. I like the way he places Stalin in a set of 3 (Mao, Hitler, Stalin), and then a set of: Stalin.

    But don’t worry, Russia’s way better now.

    Will finish today, I hope.

    • Mike Austin May 27, 2022, 6:10 PM

      I don’t worry. Russia is much better now. And so is Ukraine.

  • Gary Foster May 27, 2022, 9:28 AM

    Yet another idealist. His analogies fall apart with the slightest wind. A waste of my time. Its thinking like this that led to war. That war continues.

  • jiminalaska May 27, 2022, 10:11 AM

    Sorry not impressed by Kotkin. “…three hours with a first-rate mind.”, I lasted 36 minutes, gave up seeking any wisdom therein when he compares the Ukraine to a NYC rape ’cause she wore lipstick.

    Thanks for posting the Atzmon link, T’I’N’Nutella, I’ll listen to that & see if I, hopefully, find some rationality to counter the 36 minutes I just sent listening to of fiction far beyond suspension of disbelief.

    I don’t deny that Kotkin may well possess a first rate mind. I feel, for example, that Noam Chomsky, most definitely does. Noam’s opinions regarding linguistics I carefully consider, however his pontifications on politics I, more often than not, take with a grain of salt.

    • Vanderleun May 27, 2022, 11:51 AM

      Horses for courses. I will note however that Chomsky (due to age) has no longer not just left the planet, but now the solar system. On the other hand, Kissinger was opining just today via zoom to the WEF so hope springs eternal.

      Henry Kissinger at Davos: Ukraine should give up territory to Russia to reach peace – PubAffairs Bruxelles

      • Mike Austin May 27, 2022, 1:45 PM

        I must admit that Kissinger’s views surprised me. It seems that all the neo-con war mongers—those who would fight the Russians to the death of the last Ukrainian—are desperately seeking a way to extricate themselves from the mess that they created. All of their assumptions about this war—every single one—were wrong. Their war is lost and Russia is stronger than ever.

        Ukraine was the best equipped and most experienced military in Europe. She had the support of NATO. None of that mattered. Russia steamrolled Ukraine—the largest nation in Europe—in 3 months, thereby writing a new page into the annals of military history.

        The war also showed the world that all those hyped-up “super weapons” of the US military were completely useless where it mattered: upon the field of battle. The US regime was and is what Putin said it was and is, an “Empire of Lies”.

        We are entering new worlds. Expect surprises.

        • billrla May 27, 2022, 7:20 PM

          None of America’s “superweapons” have been used in Ukraine. The stuff we sent to Ukraine (that which actually made it there) is old, old, old. Turkey’s UAVs probably had more impact.

          Ukraine’s troops were far from the best trained and the best equipped. They never had a chance against Russia–which also has a lot of Cold War-era gear.

          Kissinger popped his head up from his belly button because he enjoys being the center of attention. He’s 99 and could just as well be 199.

          • Mike Austin May 27, 2022, 7:42 PM

            Your thoughts are entertaining. Of course both NATO and the US regime claimed otherwise. Are you aware of the performance of the Javelin Anti-tank Guided Missile System in Ukraine? Stop laughing.

            “Ukraine’s troops were far from the best trained and the best equipped. They never had a chance against Russia.” Well, well. Nice to know now. Of course, exactly the opposite was claimed by NATO, the world media and the US. Do you know the definition of “gaslighting”?

            Let us not quibble, ok? Ukraine was defeated. Much of it will be absorbed by Russia. Those US weapons sent to Ukraine had no effect whatsoever except to become absorbed into the Russian Army. NATO and the US went all-out to defeat Russia, using state-of-the-art weapons, economic warfare and world-wide propaganda. And the result was—drum roll please—a massive NATO and US defeat.

            So please inform us of all those US “super secret weapons” that were not used in the Ukraine. Make a list and check it twice.

          • jiminalaska May 27, 2022, 10:06 PM

            Me, I’m only 83, today not at all a bad age to be, but sorry Skippy, Kissinger at 99 is fine, & makes far more sense than thee.

  • Dirk May 27, 2022, 12:47 PM

    Ukraine should have given up land, Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda! Isn’t it interesting exactly who’s giving up Ukrainians land.

    Friends, WWIII is frightfully close,,,,,, the EU the US, desperately need to divert our attention from the obvious!

    This wars over, Russias turned Ukraine into a Wal Mart parking lot.

  • ghostsniper May 27, 2022, 2:19 PM

    Dirk sed: “Friends, WWIII is frightfully close,,,,,,the US, desperately need to divert our attention from the obvious!”
    Correct. On both counts.
    While I remain indifferent to the Ukraine fiasco I am aware of what is really going on, by not taking the easy way out as most others are want to do.

    Yes, Russia is handing Ukraine it’s ass and people that don’t know this don’t matter.
    $40bil US to Ukraine – what does this tell you?
    Correct. YOU don’t matter, and never have, to dark state who have been in control for some time.
    THEY have theirs and they are doing all they can to prevent YOU from having yours. YOU don’t matter.

    Predictions run cheap, but the worst prediction of all is, mid winter, say, Jan 2023, the bottom falls out of the US gov’t fake money train, the banks shut the doors for the last time ever, and in response the dark criminal state pushes the red button sending long dawgz Russia bound. By the end of Feb 2023, a winter right out of the history books with record low temps and gargantuan snowfall even in borderline tropical states, the touch off to the war has almost instantly reduced the population to half and the winter is adding it’s insult. Come summer 2023 there will be a lot fewer of us, fuel of any stripe will be rare, same with food, and the remaining masses will be scrambling for water as municipalities roll under the wave.

    The hostile urban savages will be spidering out into the wastelands plundering all they can on an ever widening radii as rural tribes assemble and minor skirmishes litter the landscape. Long range communications are rare and as far as most are concerned DC is nonexistent.

    You are on your own.

    • Mike Austin May 27, 2022, 4:24 PM

      I would enjoy laughing at those fools who believed what they were told to believe about the Ukraine war, but such merry making rests upon pyramids of Ukrainian corpses. These war mongers imagined Putin as an idiot and murderer, about how Russia had no chance, about how Zelenskyy was another Churchill…and on and on. These vampires were the reason this war lasted as long as it did.

      Will the pro-war fanatics apologize? Of course not. They are as brave and courageous as their paper mache hero Zelenskyy. Expect gaslighting and lies to cover up their gaslighting and lies.

      • ghostsniper May 27, 2022, 5:32 PM

        You know what did it for me? 2 vids, posted right here. One of Putin doing that long walk from his desk to the car. The other was that deranged idiot Zelensky in that pseudoporn vid on youtube. You can’t unsee stuff and seeing is believing. The same is true of the many vids I’ve seen of US politicians doing their best to convince others they are not complete retards and failing miserably. I will give that Zelensky credit, he conned the american policians into giving him more money than they themselves possess.

        If someone asked Putin if he would want to come to the US and be the new prez he’d say, “That shithole? Who in the hell would want to try to rodeo that subhuman clownshow bent on self immolation?” “Just wait a little while and I’ll own all of it anyway.”

        • Mike Austin May 27, 2022, 6:50 PM

          Putin is a leader for the ages. Russia is indeed the “3rd Rome”. Putin defeated NATO and Globohomo on the ground in real time. Everyone knows this—whether or not they will admit what is obvious.

          Of course this war is not over.

  • ThisIsNotNutella May 27, 2022, 4:56 PM

    This morning’s Roon (https://roonlabs.com/) Rotation reminds me that for all his faults, Stalin (for he was like a Refiner’s fire :P) did an excellent job of work on Shostakovich and molded him into his later, greater self. Shostakovich, himself, was unavailable for comment regarding this matter. But that’s no matter.

    • Mike Austin May 27, 2022, 7:08 PM

      Every time I play his “5th Symphony” I am reminded of Stalingrad (1942 – 1943). The 1st movement is breath taking.

      • jiminalaska May 27, 2022, 10:41 PM

        3rd symphony, Erotica, takes me back to Russia. The CD given to me by a now dead friend, Korean heritage, she was born in Aldan (gold mining town, Russia Far East, as Chinese came to our west for the mining money, Koreans went to Russia’s east.) Thanks for reminding me Mike, I just put it it on at glass busting volume right now!

  • GlennDC May 27, 2022, 6:50 PM

    Well, I only lasted 3-4 minutes into the actual interview. The nonsense about the Kremlin and Stalin/Putin/Catherine rooms and offices was too much. Could not turn off my disbelief.