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My War in Ukraine

Uploaded 3/28/2023, approx. 9 minute read

Good day. My name is Sam Vaknin and today a bit of an unusual video, a bit of a confession and a bit of a diatribe combined into a rant in the cloak of vitriomic criticism. Just the kind that YouTube viewers love.

And today I'm going to talk about my war in Ukraine.

You see, yesterday something really unpleasant happened. I cancelled an interview with a journalist. I basically hung up on her. She repeated the feeble-minded Qanara nonsense about thousands of NATO troops who have allegedly died fighting for Ukraine as NATO troops. She also continued to say how Russia's military is well-run, efficient and triumphant and how the West instigated the war in Ukraine for its own ends.

So when I hung up on her, she called my conduct idiotic and blamed me for being a part of the cancel culture. So much for her research skills. I may well be an idiot, that is still debatable, but by no stretch of the imagination do I have anything to do with the abhorrent and obnoxious cancel culture.

Increasingly useful idiots, also known as useful fools, and no, Lenin did not point this phrase. Increasingly useful fools in the West, journalists, businessmen, public intellectuals, academics, politicians and lobbyists, some of them I assume well paid from the coffers of the Kremlin. Some of them are just naive and some of them are conspiracy-minded.

The journalist I spoke to yesterday is a conspiracy theorist, plain, simple and blank, and does nothing I detest more and can stand less than conspiracy theorists, as anyone who has been on this channel for longer than five minutes knows. So these useful fools, they parrot the Kremlin's propaganda bullet points. The global wave of populist, populist, contumacious, anti-authority and self-hating anti-elitism rendered these otherwise visible conspiracy theories and conspiracy theories instant stars.

So nowif you just propagate or promulgate a conspiracy theory, viewership is guaranteed, star status is in the cards and you are on the ascendant. It's all you have to do. Cater to the lowest, most base common denominator, fear, panic, confusion, befuddlement in paranoia.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that the West is blameless. I am not saying that Ukrainians are saints. The West is not blameless, has a lot to answer for.

And Ukrainians, whatever else they may be, they are not saints. Both the West and Ukraine provoked Russia mightily and repeatedly over a decade and more. Poking nucleararmed bears has predictable consequences and the outcomes are neither pleasant nor sustainable as Ukraine is discovering.

The West is fighting a proxy war to the last Ukrainian, to quote Putin, the West is fighting a proxy war to contain the emerging Russia-China axis and its BRICS corollary. I am not naive either. I know there are no saints in this game. Everyone is self-interested and everyone is leveraging and abusing and exploiting everyone.

Ukraine has been less than benevolent with its Russian-speaking minority. I admit to this.

Far-right groups in Ukraine gained too much sway in politics and in its economy, the economy of a corrupt country, a decadent political entity. Both parties to this war committed war crimes.

It's all true. I'm not splitting. I'm not saying Russia is all bad and Ukraine is all good. It is all true.

But there's only one side which committed crimes against humanity. Only one side. There is only one side which started an open, total war.

Stupidly, by the way, granting an ever more united West the perfect pretext to encroach on Russia's borders. Russia is the aggressor in this war against civilians. Period. There's no way to rewrite this or reframe this or lie about this. They started it.

I'm saying Russia and not Putin. I'm saying Russia and not Putin's inner circle because the vast majority of Russians support Putin the same way the vast majority of Germans adored and adulated Adolf Hitler who could do no wrong in their eyes. Yes, the vast majority of Germans were Nazis and the vast majority of Russians are Putinists.

Public intellectuals have an obligation to make sacrifices. Public intellectuals have an obligation to assume personal risks.

When faced with injustice, when confronted with evil, I've gone through the same ordeal in several countries, including North Macedonia, having confronted and criticized two regimes in that country when it was still Republic of Macedonia.

Watch the video about four types of Macedonian public intellectuals.

Go down to the description.


So when the war in Ukraine started, I did not renew my appointment as visiting professor of psychology in Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don in Russia. I spent five wonderful years in Southern Federal University and in Rostov.

I was heartbroken to have to give up the whole thing.

Rostov has become a main staging ground for this heartless botched blitzkrieg against a neighboring country.

I could not in good faith even be seen to support Russia.

So I just walked away from this position, a visiting professor of psychology in a prestigious Russian university.

I just walked away because the alternative was to give up on my conscience and to compromise to the point of losing any vestige of self-respect, dignity and identity that I have.

When I was approached by Dr. Rajiv Fernando of Harvard Medical School and by the indomitable and amazing Cherieka Ramirez, I immediately volunteered.

I volunteered to offer my help free of charge to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine and the First Lady of Ukraine.

I was asked to train Ukrainian mental health practitioners on how to treat post-traumatic stress disorderPTSD among raped women, orphaned children and dazed soldiers.

The new products over ravaged Ukraine. Watch an interview that I gave to Newsweek Romania about PTSD among Ukraine's population.

There are two parts. Again, links in the description.


So not only did I resign my position in Southern Federal University in Russia, lost my standing as a visiting professor of psychology, but I immediately volunteered to help Ukraine overtly and openly and in the international media.

My Russian friendsand I have had Russian friends. Russians are very generous and good- hearted. Many of them are wonderful people.

My Russian friendsand Russia is a state. We're not happy with my betrayal when crossing the line over to Ukraine and the West as they have seen it.

A month after the war started in March 2022, I gave an interview to Izvestia.

Izvestia is an informal mouthpiece of the Russian state.

In this interview to a Kremlin organ, to a Kremlin medium, I criticized the way the war was being handled. I called it a war. I predicted a stalemate and I advocated for more limited goals.

In a way, very overtly, I was criticizing Vladimir Putin.

You can read the emails exchanged between myself and Izvestia, setting up the interview, and then you can watch the interview.

And again, the links are here.

As the war and its atrocities progressed, I became way more critical of Putin, calling him a hypochondriac narcissist and a psychopath and a phable, which is, I exposed the clandestine workings of his inner circle as I came to know them in my six years in Russia.

Watch an interview I granted to RTL Hungary.

Again, it's in the description field. There's the English version and the Hungarian version.

So the minute the war started, when I realized that Russia is the aggressor, I left my position, I volunteered to help Ukraine, and I started to criticize Russia in its own media and in foreign media, all over Europe.

For this, I'm probably perceived as a traitor, and I fully expect retaliation.

The United States frames its dissidents and its opponents with allegations of rape and drug trafficking. Ironically, Russia is more nuanced and business- oriented. When not poisoned or short outright, Russia's adversaries are accused of a bewildering array of economic crimes or personal pekadillos. This is known as compromising material.

I know the risks to myself, to my body, to my freedom. You don't oppose Russia in the international arena and you don't conflict, however, indirectly with someone like Putin without realizing that there will be a price to pay.

But I cannot keep silent in good faith. No one can. No one should.

What is happening in Ukraine is plain wrong. It must stop.

Everyone agrees. Even Russia's allies, such as China, Putin made the wrong gamble in his infinite wisdom. He painted himself into a corner.

The defeat in Ukraine spells his demise, political and most probably physical.

Putin is fighting for his survival on the trampled and bloodied bodies of children and women. His acolytes are psychophantic, but they are fickle. His support is highly conjectural and depends on circumstances which are ever shifting and kaleidoscopic.

So Putin is driven to escalate. He's crossing the thin line between geopolitics and evil or possibly genocide. He's already convicted by the International Criminal Court. There's an arrest warrant on his name. He can't travel to 60, 70 percent of the civilized world. His next destination may be Syria in the best of cases.

And here on this thin line between national security, geopolitical goals, safeguarding borders, and an evil, evil, murderous, genocidalpsychopathic war, on this thin lineall of us should stand firm and all of us should exclaim, "No passarane. They shall not pass.".

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