Day 3: Veterans For Peace Russia

Day 3 of our Russia Study Tour included presentations from various individuals and organizations. Vladimir presented on the military treaties, both Russia and US, and focused mainly on the treaties which the US has broken. John Schuhart presented on the history of the JFK assassination and its impacts. Bill Warwick presented on the historical relationship between the US and Russia. Finally, we met with the Veterans For Peace Russia organization and signed a document of friendship with the VFP Maine chapter. After the presentations, many of us traveled to a WW2 Memorial Museum which was quite amazing.

Vladimir explained to us the importance of bilateral treaties between Russia and the US. The US breaking away from these agreements have given the US a military advantage over Russia. He explained the two most important areas of focus, or should I say danger, in the 21st century will be on Missile ‘Defense’ systems (MD) and Space-Based Weapons. US activists and peace organizations avoid discussing MD systems because they don’t contain a nuclear warheads. MD systems are perceived as a ‘defensive’ measure only but Russia correctly views them as a threat. The US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 and now have MD systems surrounding Russia, a clear threat to their national security and a serious provocation. Space-Based Weapons are now a real threat to all nations and steers money in a dangerous direction.

John explained how the assassination of JFK led the US population down a path of polarization and disempowerment. US citizens lost confidence in their government and a culture of fear embarked our minds. Since then the government, mainstream media, and corporations have used fear to control the minds of the US population. Part of this ‘mind control’ is exemplified in today’s Russiagate conspiracy. US culture does not accept any other view and if you begin to question it, you are labeled a Russiabot.

Bill explained the importance of the historical relationship between Russia and the US. We’ve been allies for a long time but that all changed since the origins of the Cold War. This relationship is a very important one and how it evolves during the 21st century will be of huge significance throughout the world.

The VFP Russia chapter showed that they were very dedicated but also explained their perspective of the world. They oppose war very strongly but also have much pride in their nation and culture. This means they will defend it and not allow another nation to destroy them. This might be difficult to understand from a US perspective because Americans from the US don’t really know what’s it’s like to have real threats towards us. There are no foreign military bases, MD systems, foreign troops, or any militaristic force on our borders with weapons pointed at us. Russians do. The organization is trying to work within this contradiction and we have to understand that. For US citizens to expect the Russia people to just lay down without any protective measures is beneficial for the US while also putting Russia at an extreme disadvantage where they can be exploited. Russians know what it’s like to be exploited by the US and Western Corporations, just study their economy in the 1990’s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Suicides spiked, unemployment spiked, corruption spiked, and every other possible measure of society became worse.

Painting of solidarity between a US soldier and Soviet soldier in the WW2 Museum.

Our visit to the WW2 Museum was great. We used the metro to travel which is very simple, clean, and inexpensive. The memorial parks outside the museum were a sight to see and a very comfortable environment.

The museum was a great experience. Unlike most WW2 museums I’ve visited around the world, this one acknowledged the cooperation between all nations who defeated fascism. There were many exhibits about the British and US Armed Forces. The last WW2 Museum I visited in Japan did not mention the Soviets once, despite them contributing the most to the war with 28 million Russians who died compared to the 500,000 Americans who died. The US came into the war very late while the Russians fought the bulk of the war against Nazi Germany. Many academics argue the Japanese surrendered knowing the Soviets were preparing to fight in Asia. After all, the US was conducting fire bombing campaigns for a long time and the Japanese were not surrendering. The US dropped one atomic bomb and the Japanese still did not surrender. The Japanese did surrender though just a few days before the planned Soviet invasion but the US dropped the second atomic bomb beforehand and then took all the credit for winning the entire war. The US education system is obviously biased in teaching this history.

All in all, the day was a learning experience and everyone is enjoying being in Russia. We came here to learn their stories and we are prepared to bring those stories back with us to the US. Peace begins with you and me.

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