February 15, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 9772

Ultraconservative Retired Russian General Opposes War With Ukraine That Will Make Russia And Ukraine Enemies Forever

February 15, 2022
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 9772

The liberal Novaya Gazeta prefaced its interview with retired Colonel General Leonid Ivashov with an apologetic explanation. The editorial board explained that it did not consider Ivashov its hero recalling his conspiracy theory about Jewish influence. Ivashov had blamed Communism on the Jews surrounding Lenin and prominent amongst the Old Bolsheviks. [1]

Ivashov, by the way, has not renounced his conspiracy theories about the Jews. In 2013, he claimed that the Russia arms trade was controlled by the US and Israel.[2] In 2016 he spoke of Jewish hegemony, American imperialism and a third world war.[3] In 2019, he gave a report to the Izborsk Club, where he claimed that the HABAD Hassidic movement ruled both Russia and the United States.[4]

Despite his previous views, Ivashov had recently come out in strong opposition to a war against Ukraine and had become well-known even internationally. Therefore, explained Novaya Gazeta: "We give the floor to Mr. Ivashov, because his position caused a strong public outcry, and the preservation of peace is a common cause. Even for generals."

Youtube video with Ivashov "Both Russia and America are ruled by Habad"(Source:

Interviewed by Varuzhan Sargsyan, Ivashov claimed that a war would result in the death of thousands and would ensure that Ukraine and Russia that shared a common history would be enemies forever.  A similar process was occurring in Belarus thanks to Russia's heavy-handedness. Russia had succeeded in uniting NATO and the EU and bringing them closer to Ukraine's position. He now regretted his opposition to the imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Ivashov did not fear for his safety although he noticed that "some members of society, including war veterans, fell accidentally under a commuter train, died of a heart attack or are in penal colonies under bogus charges."

 The interview with Ivashov follows below:[5]

Leonid Ivashov (Source:

 "If war was to occur, Russia and Ukraine will be enemies forever."

- Let's start with the appeal, which is called an expression of your personal opinion, not  that of OOS. Did you discuss it with anyone and why did you decide to publish it?

- The OOS exists since the early 1990s, we have had troubled relations with the authorities, and in recent years they were putting all sorts of spokes in our wheels. We are always meticulously analyzing the situation in the country and when we sense signs that Russia was preparing to wage war, we held several large meetings, in which our regional branches also participated, in order to reach a common decision via deliberations.

In my reports, I pointed out that there were clear signs of preparations for a major war, which would have dire consequences. People's opinions varied; some, including Colonel Kvachkov, fended me off by saying that it was necessary to build the "Russian world" and liberate primordial Russian lands. They are a little euphoric, they believe that there are supporters awaiting us in Kharkiv and Odessa. However, I believe that many people, especially those who will have lost relatives in the war, will fire upon us. We have excluded many scenarios; the published option was the scenario that we've worked out. Naturally, not everyone agreed with it.

- Have you already felt the heightened attention to yourself?

- Of course, but for me it was surprising. There were calls not only from the Russian media (from liberal to "patriotic" ones), but also from foreign media: the Financial Times. There were calls from the Czech Republic, Holland and other countries. In my opinion such an attention from abroad is due to the fact that Europe doesn't want war at all and wants to stay out of our Slavic squabbles.

- Also, everyone got used to the fact that in Russia it's mostly the liberal, non-systemic opposition that calls for peace, but when a Colonel General does it, it is perceived differently.

- Yes, this comes as a surprise to me, because we have previouslypublished statements in a similar vein, but for some reason they haven't been noticed. Now apparently the sides are truly divided, it's either peace or war. The image of the enemy is already forming in both sides' [consciousness], God forbid a war, [otherwise] we will be enemies forever.

Putin had the possibility of recognizing or annexing the Donbass republics after the referendum, following the Crimea example, but our government's stance is that [Donbass] is part of Ukrainian territory. However, their independence should've been recognized, following the right to self-determination; diplomatic relations should've been established and a security treaty should've been concluded. Naturally, the shot down Malaysian Boeing [Malaysia Airlines Flight 17] is another failure, via which we have alienated the entire world community, although everything was recorded in that case. They [the authorities] should've been honest, "We planned to shoot down an An-26 freighter carrying ordnance and made a mistake", but it didn't happen.

"The demands are unworkable"

- How do you imagine a Russo-Ukrainian war?

- It will be a strange war, without any political objectives being identified. I witness the propaganda and our state television presenters beginning to escalate the situation; we have reached the point, when United Russia [hereafter - UR] deputy, Fyodorov openly talks about a nuclear strike against the US.[6]

- Such rhetoric is very much in the spirit of the current government.

- I have worked a lot with Americans, I know how they react to different statements. In the very same Congress there are both lobbyists for the military-industrial complex and lobbyists for an increase in oil and gas prices. When such a statement is made by, for example, [Vladimir] Zhirinovsky, they understand everything and don't consider it an issue. After all the [LDPR] is a small party. In addition, they make their psychotherapeutic evaluation of the "patient" [i.e. of Zhirinovsky]. But when such a statement is made by an UR deputy and later it's not contradicted neither by the party, nor by Peskov, the threat is taken quite seriously there.

The [UR] is the ruling party, so the Americans rightly attribute such words to the president, to the country's leadership… One can't do that. And later Lavrov, during a press conference, announces Russia's three main demands on the Ukrainian issue as take it or leave it. I hear such statements and realize that these demands are unworkable, but then the deputy foreign minister says that there is no choice and the ultimatum must be accepted. In response to the question, "what will happen if they refuse," he answers, "Russia will impose the military-technical argument."

I've checked, who was the last person, speaking in such a manner in Europe. It was Hitler, who putted forward an impossible ultimatum to the very same Danes. We are back in those days.

- It is not only the government's reputation but the nation's as well that suffers from such statements.

- True, however, people say that [the WWII] is not only Hitler's fault, but of the German people too. Thus, all these sanctions don't strike Putin's friends, who already possess billions, but ordinary people. I know by myself that the pensions increase is just a fairy tale, prices are growing much faster.

The Foreign Ministry recently bragged that they had a destination for an export of 200 billion cubic meters of gas, which will become available due to the "Nord Stream" pipeline's blocking. In fact, there is no such destination. Sechin visited "our friends" in China and agreed to sell 10 billion cubic meters of gas (and at a very low price). Thus, will be left with our gas, between Europe, which doesn't need it, and nor China.

- It seems that such harsh statements from Russia only benefit the West.

- Yes, here is our ultimatum, and if you don't like it, then missiles will fly. That's why I said from the very beginning that NATO would invoke Article 51 of the UN Charter concerning the right of member-states to individual or collective self-defense in case of armed attack.

Putin tells them about the alleged 1997 agreements regarding NATO's non-enlargement towards Russia's borders and they respond by saying, "Exclude Belarus and Kazakhstan from the CSTO." Later we again did the job for Joe Biden, as the ultimatums put forward against the backdrop of the troop buildups at the Ukrainian borders prompted his success in uniting the alliance against us.

The second point is that NATO's military bodies, whose stance on Crimea [annexation] was somewhat vague (they simply criticized it), are now stressing that the peninsula and its adjacent waters are part of Ukraine's territory. This, believe me, means a lot.

No matter how much [Petro] Poroshenko and Zelensky have begged for military supplies, they turned them down all these years, however following such statements from Russia, Congress is now allocating money and commits the [US] president to arm the country. There is a steady stream of military planes coming to Ukraine.

- Thus, you have no doubt that in the case of war, NATO countries will support Ukraine?

- I stress again: no country in Europe, not even the Poles, want war. But what did "Putin's friend," Erdogan do? He said that as a NATO member-state he would be on Ukraine's side.

Even the NATO council has made a similar promise to our neighbors, which in turn has changed the situation drastically. Ukraine now has a security guarantee. So far no one is explicitly declaring war on Russia, to avoid encouraging the Ukrainians, but such a scenario is quite possible… or a group of countries will be designated to provide support to Ukraine, because the US and the UK don't like to fight with their own forces. A different option could be chosen, but these sanctions will be brutal for Russia and one can forget about "Nord Stream-2".

Our statement had a single objective – to stop the war, to save us [Russia] from dire consequences. We are already pariahs, even at the Beijing Olympics our team is the only that is performing without a country, an anthem and all the rest.

"I've lost two first-borns, what have I got to fear?!"

- Over the past few days your statement aroused a variety of opinions, and not always gratifying to you. For example, your fellow member of the "Izborsk Club," Alexander Prokhanov, believed that you had simply lost your nerve.

- I have a lot of respect for him, but, in my opinion, he idealizes Putin's character, he is a writer after all, a dreamer.

He simply, based on declared Putin's goals became impressed with him, whereas I, as a military man, am accustomed to evaluating everything according to the results. And with the latter our president has problems. I also supported him at first. During one of the meetings with the officers he even asked me, "What did you think of the Munich speech?" I replied to him, "Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], you dismissed me from military service for such opinions."

However, after giving that great speech in Munich, he appointed [Anatoly] Serdyukov as Minister of Defense, who began wrecking the army. All the [army's] research institutes were closed down, [military] positions were allotted to all sorts. And in the same way the army was destroyed, they are now destroying an education system, by fostering consumers rather than creators.

- You were an original member of the "Izborsk Club," which is known for its pro-government stance. You are still a member.

- No, that's not quite right about being an original member, I'm an ordinary member of the club. Different people meet there including many professionals. True, there are political analysts among them that are obliging to the state authorities, but one can speak out there rather freely. I regularly make reports, which do not coincide with the general position.

- Considering the kind of pressure people who disagree with the government's position are exposed to, do you fear persecution for your statements?

- What have I got to fear? Two first-borns of mine died. And I also know the pain of a commander, when he has to bury soldiers and see their mothers and father facing this tragedy.

And I am puzzled, when people, like [Vladimir] Solovyov, start on these talk shows to tell about some liberated lands, almost about the rebirth of the Soviet Union, but, at the same time, talk of people as if they were something mechanical. Just imagine how many casualties there will be if two regular armies clash. Tens of thousands will die. But all they say on TV is how expensive the coal mined in Donbas is and how much profit awaits them, no one cares about the people.

We are losing allies too; they trumpet everywhere that Belarus is ours. But look at the opinion polls. Now the majority of the country's residents no longer want to live in a single state with Russia.

"We need to forget about war as a means for resolving the issue"

- How do you perceive the ways of the conflict's de-escalation, how the situation could be resolved?

- The main solution is to forget about war as a means for resolving the issue and activate political and diplomatic methods. We need to work more painstakingly with Ukraine, understanding that we share common historical and geopolitical values. The intellectual community should also engage in this issue rather than conduct itself meekly as is presently the case.

- In addition to the repressions against dissenters, the practice of poisoning has also become widespread in recent years.

- Yes, I used to have a negative view of Navalny, considering his opinions, connections and the rest. However, with regards to his activity in exposing corruption, and telling about government brutality, I supported him wholeheartedly. After all there are so many violations in the country, and instead of putting Navalny in jail, [the authorities] should provide him with public support, and draw up a joint plan to fight corruption.

We need to work with the youth, and the today's means of the Russian authorities would make even the Gestapo envy. Passionate, active people are having a hard time at the moment.

This is also true for my colleagues, some members of society, including war veterans, fell accidentally under a commuter train, died of a heart attack or are in penal colonies under bogus charges.


[1] February 12, 2022.

[2], October 2, 2013.


[4], June 19, 2019.

[5] February 12, 2022.

[6] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9739, Russian Duma Member Yevgeny Fyodorov Suggests Nuclear Strike On Nevada: The U.S. Thinks Russia Is Bluffing; Striking U.S. Defense Dept. Facilities With A Ballistic Missile Will Prove Otherwise; We Should Threaten American Territory, Not Ukraine, January 26, 2022.

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