Levent Gültekin in Tel Aviv for 2015 Victim Blamers Conference

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TEL AVIV – Diken columnist Levent Gültekin is travelling to Tel Aviv to attend the annual Victim Blamers Conference, where he will be presenting his talk “How Kurdish violence is to blame for the deaths of Kurds at the hands of the Turkish state: A lesson in resistance from a non-resister.” Worker’s Spatula sat down with Levent Gültekin to get his perspective.

WS: How’re you enjoying Tel Aviv so far?

LG: It’s very nice, I feel right at home lately, since the AKP has sent a bunch of sycophantic pseudo-humanitarians such as myself to meet with the Israeli state and discuss all their common ground. We all go out for rakı geceleri together after I’m done at the conference and they’re done begging for forgiveness from the Israeli state for the day.

WS: Fascinating. So tell us about your presentation. What’s your angle?

LG: Well, you know, the Victim Blamers Conference is usually full of people from oppressor nations blaming the oppressed nations for their own oppression. As I’m from the oppressed Kurdish nation whenever it’s professionally convenient, I’m talking about how we Kurds are tired of being oppressed by our own bad methods of resistance, which definitely don’t work, and want to choose new methods which, coincidentally, would be more appealing to the state which oppresses us.

WS: Do you think this is a very original approach? I mean, doesn’t Israel employ loads of Arabs with a similar attitude?

LG: Yeah, but how many of them write for trendy websites frequented by tatlısu solcuları like Diken? Huh? NONE.

WS: Who else is presenting at the conference this year?

LG: Well, on the panel with me we have a white liberal from the US who condemns black protesters for “getting out of hand” and some Jewish liberals who “just want peace” but understand the Israeli state is forced to bomb Gaza by the anti-Semitic Arab tradition of resistance.

WS: Sounds like a good place for you.

LG: Oh yes, I’m very happy with it.

WS: Anything you’d like to add before you go?

LG: My message is basically Gandhi’s message. It’s not about Turkey, it’s about human beings: All violence is equally reprehensible, I want peace, and I believe it will be achieved when self-defence is abandoned by those being indiscriminately attacked by the state that we must always be soft on lest we lose our jobs. Basically, love your neighbour.

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Clinton or Sanders – Cuban Revolutionaries Split over Who to Endorse

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HAVANA – What has not been achieved by decades of embargo and open low-intensity warfare might now be happening as an effect of the Democratic primaries. Reports have surfaced on splits within leading ranks of the Communist Party of Cuba over who to endorse in the race.

Raúl Castro made a speech favourable toward Sanders. He stated that he viewed Sanders’s extremely moderate welfare state proposals as a significant upgrade over previous US policy. Further, he stated that in the US context, “nothing could be more revolutionary” than Sanders’s official position that the US should be closer to Cuba on the grounds that it will be more profitable for US capitalists. He concluded by saying: “For decades we did not have to care about who was elected US president and we rightly denounced the whole US ruling class, but now we do have to care and I guess I like Sanders.”

Raúl’s statements prompted a sharp response by his brother Fidel, the maximo leader of the Cuban revolution, and widely regarded as the first modern hipster. In his regular column Reflexiones he wrote: “Raul is still young, but he should actually be aware of what I am going to say. I happen to know a thing or two about US presidents and their relationship to Cuba. And in this upcoming election, I guarantee you that the best choice for the revolution in Cuba is Hillary Clinton. Here is why: First, you want a president who is violently pro-capitalist at home, thereby sharpening the contradictions, and not too hawkish towards us in foreign policy. This is clearly Hillary Clinton and not Sanders. Oh sure, Clinton is an imperialist like the rest of them, but Sanders has to overcompensate on foreign policy, and after what he said about Chavez, I am convinced that he will seek to invade Cuba first thing after being sworn in as president.

“Secondly, We know from history that all US Presidents without a beard were hostile to the Cuban revolution. Which is understandable, considering how formidable our beards were. Just look at pictures of me, or Che, or Camilo Cienfuegos. Hillary is a woman, so she is exempt from that. This is why I am endorsing Clinton. Behind Raúl’s sympathy for Sanders I detect his own ambitions for liberalisation and a moderate welfare state, views which I am sure are closely related to his weak choice of beard. Raul has to grow a beard soon, or it’s all over for Cuba.”

International reactions to this debate were swift: The US-based part-time Trotskyist Cuba-fetishist party and elderly confused Marxist bridge club known as the Socialist Workers Party issued a statement calling for “understanding between the two factions in Cuba”, and expressing its hope that when “militant feminist activist Hillary Clinton” is inevitably named the Democratic Party’s candidate for 2016, she can name Sanders her vice-presidential candidate and form a “popular front for the liberation of the United States”, supported by all Cuban comrades.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro immediately took to the airwaves to declare his support for Fidel’s support for Hillary: “Clearly, the Venezuelan counter-revolution loves Sanders for his comments on our Comandante. I have no idea what Hillary is going to do, but it can’t be worse for us than Sanders, I suppose. Also, Fidel is probably right about the beard business. We also failed to go beyond a managed capitalism, and neither the Comandante nor I had a beard. I thought the Stalin moustache would cut it, but no. Clearly beards are a must for any Latin American revolutionary.

“Well now the whole thing is falling on our heads. In fact, I suspect that the negative results of the recent elections were a consequence of foreign intervention lead by Sanders. It seems that Raúl wants to join in the international conspiracy against Venezuela. To this I say: ¡Viva Fidel! ¡No Pasarán!”

Evo Morales did not comment on the situation directly, but reportedly sent a package with leaves from an unknown tree to Cuba in order to ease the situation. The Komünist Parti in Turkey issued a statement saying that they would support whatever and whoever the Cuban leadership supports, while they also clarified – in spite of its lack of relationship to the topic at hand – that they were opposed to Pan-Kurdism and Kurdish nationalism in general and that the only way to resolve the Kurdish problem in Turkey was a rallying of Kurdish and Turkish workers together under the revolutionary socialist banner of the KP.

Vladimir Putin assured the Cuban leadership that in the case of a Sanders victory, he would station nuclear missiles in Cuba in order to defend it against potential US aggression.

Humourless Marxist Reviews: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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In collaboration with the comrades at Jacobin, who recently published a piece shattering the widespread misconception that the Star Wars trilogy is a progressive work elucidating the tenets of the Maoist concept of “People’s War”, we at Worker’s Spatula wish to contribute our own critique of Star Wars, a series which unfortunately serves as the primary inspiration for thousands of communist revolutionaries around the world, misleading them in the process.

With the long-awaited third and final instalment of the Star Wars trilogy, we at Worker’s Spatula finally feel confident in assessing George Lucas’s contributions to the proletarian ideology and revolutionary science. We regret to say that despite what may have initially been an earnest effort at promoting communism, his films reveal a mind which is scarcely more revolutionary than George Orwell’s.

Not once in the entire Star Wars trilogy does any character make reference to Marxism-Leninism or dialectical materialism. When Luke’s master, Yoba, dies in the first film, while it is true that the Rebel Alliance hold their fists aloft and praise him as a great revolutionary who has become immortalised in their struggle against fascism, no reference to class is to be found in the Rebels’ ideology.

Much of the trilogy centres around a conflict within “the Force”. The Force is meant to have a “light side” and a “dark side”. Therefore, it is a unity of opposites. Clearly George Lucas is familiar with dialectics, and hopes to foster an understanding of Hegelian thinking among young people. This is an effort to be commended. However, “wise” Jedi figures, supposedly “progressive” within the Star Wars context, understand their relationship to the Force in terms of their own ideas, not material relations. The Jedi preach idealism in its purest: As Obi-Wan Kinobi puts it in the second film: “Fears leads to anger, anger leads to hatred, hatred leads to the dark side.” Where is exploitation in all of this? Where are the class relations? History does not progress by means of ideas, ideas reflect the progress of history! Progressives are therefore judged by their relation to the revolutionary masses, the motive force in history, not bourgeois ideals! Get it together, George Lucas! Are you even a Marxist?!

Remember that scene where Luke blows up the Death Star? Do you remember the part afterwards where Luke mentions that you can’t abolish a thing without abolishing the conditions leading to the arising of the thing? Remember when he talked about the negation of the negation? Neither do we!

All of this metaphysical nonsense could be forgiven if this, the final Star Wars film, the Force Awakens, were at least to contain lengthy sections where workers give speeches about their exploitation and alienation as a result of capitalism. But shockingly, J.J. Abrams neglected to follow any of the suggestions we at Worker’s Spatula sent him in response to the draft script that the studio sent us. Clearly J.J. Abrams lacks class consciousness, and will no longer be invited to Worker’s Spatula’s annual New Year’s party.

Campaign to Free Paul Murphy Gaining Momentum

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DUBLIN – Ever since Worker’s Spatula incorrectly and shamefully implied that there was a shortage of Trotskyist political prisoners in the world, CWI activists have been quick to correct this misconception. A particularly heinous instance of the harsh repression of the Trotskyist movement to be found in many countries is that of Paul Murphy, a member of the Irish CWI affiliate Páirtí Sóisialach or “Socialist Party”.

Paul Murphy was arrested in August during a protest in Dublin’s Jobstown district, at which the Gardaí beat him thoroughly and screamed “that one Gramsci quote” at him repeatedly, in English, Italian, and Irish Gaelic. Such is the brutality of the Stalinist police of Dublin.

The IRSP has issued a statement of solidarity with the still-imprisoned Mr. Murphy, who was charged with ten years in prison for his revolutionary activity. “We too know the brutality of the bourgeois justice system, and we will not rest until Paul Murphy is freed.”

Paul Murphy, who has been tweeting regularly from his cell, informed us that he had been tortured several times by the “fascist Free State authorities”. In one such case, he was forced to stand naked before the other prisoners and state that no Trotskyist group had ever carried out a revolution, anywhere in the world, at any time.

While he disputed claims that the series of bombing attacks against police stations in Dublin were carried out by Páirtí Sóisialach’s alleged armed wing, the Permanent Brigades, he likewise refused to condemn the attacks.

“These attacks must be understood in the context of the violence carried out by the state against socialist groups such as my own. If the state really wants peace, as it claims it does, it will sit down for direct negotiations.”

“While I appreciate all the solidarity I’ve received from the outside, and sure, I’ve made a great sacrifice, the revolution isn’t just one man, and it’s not just in one country. Let’s not forget our comrades in Greece, Xekinima, who we all couldn’t shut up about a few months back. They’re still a viable force in Greek politics and an important player in the coming world revolution. Up the CWI!”

At press time, our Dublin correspondent was unable to hear us over our mobile connection due to the massive crowds pushing against the Dublin Gardaí screaming “FREE PAUL MURPHY!” and “FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!”

Leftist New York Jews Condemn US SWP

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NEW YORK CITY – In response to one Seth Galinsky’s piece in The Militant condemning the BDS movement as indicative of “Jew Hatred” and an attack on “free speech”, assorted red diaper babies in New York City have condemned of the SWP as “Zionists” and “shmendriks”.

“Is this meant to be a joke?” asked Joan Weiss, a member of Jews Say No, an organisation which regularly organises protests to condemn Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people. “I was a Trot back in the day, and we never had a problem with making ‘a pariah of Israel’.”

“They’re Shachtmanites,” retorted her friend and salsa dancing enthusiast Andy Bernstein, who lives with his much younger partner Pablo on the Upper West Side and writes for Socialist Worker. “Shachtmanites wreck everything. They wrecked US Trotskyism and now they want to wreck our solidarity with the Palestinian people! Wreckers!”

“The Militant, they call themselves,” laughed mockingly one Sam Schmidt, RCPUSA activist and Chinese culture expert. “These Trots wouldn’t know militancy if it walked up and introduced itself, selling a copy of Revolution. By the way, check out our latest edition of Revolution!”

Spartacist League activist Ruth Gold refused to condemn the SWP’s stance on Israel and BDS, but insisted we print her correction about our characterisation of the SWP as “Trotskyists”: “I wish you Stalinists would stop calling the SWP Trotskyists. I mean, we don’t consider the UK SWP Trotskyists either, because we are the only real Trotskyists, but the US SWP explicitly rejected Permanent Revolution, making them Stalinists.”

The PFLP has not issued a response to the SWP’s criticisms, much to the surprise of SWP activists. One of their number, Abe Singer, responded: “They like Che Guevara, we like Che Guevara, I’m sure if they came over for a traditional Christmas dinner from Peking Kitchen at my place they would see that there are Jews whose views are just like theirs.”

“Except, you know, we’re more concerned with condemning Hamas than Israel. Except that one part.”

Conference of Anglo Trotskyists on Syria a Huge Hit with Turkish and Kurdish Left

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ISTANBUL – Friday’s “Understanding the Syrian Revolution” conference was a rousing success, with presentations by many Trotskyist organisations from English-speaking countries, and a strong turnout from many left-wing organisations in Istanbul, glad to finally understand the Syrian context thanks to the informed work of the Trotskyists.

An older EMEP member who chose to remain anonymous revealed his impressions to our correspondent: “I had always thought Trotskyists were idiots, but now that I’ve seen the brilliant analysis they do in English-speaking countries, I suddenly see that I’ve been on the wrong path all along. Truly they are right, and the primary contradiction is Assad, and not the jihadists. How could we, from right next to Syria, have been so blind, and the Anglos’ eyes been so wide open? For this I blame Stalin, who I renounce at once, forever.”

The most heated moment came in the form of a debate between the Spartacist League of the UK and the ISO from the US on the subject: “ISIS: Harmless or Heroic?” While both sides agreed that the biggest danger to Syrian civilians was the Assad regime, the ISO’s position was that ISIS didn’t kill so many civilians and would be easily defeated by the famous progressive secular Arab rebels, who were much more powerful on the ground, and therefore needn’t factor into our calculations, whereas the Spartacist position was that ISIS was the only powerful anti-imperialist force on the ground, and would easily wipe out all their rivals, including the regime, rival rebel groups, and the PYD.

The debate ended with the Spartacist representative referring to her counterpart from the ISO as a “CIA agent”, and the ISO representative defended himself by saying that while his position didn’t differ from the CIA’s, the lack of a paycheque from Langley should absolve him of all responsibility. Both sides then took questions, to which they provided generic answers about the need for proletarian revolution.

Around 3 PM, there was deep interest by various Alawite organisations in a presentation by representatives of a small Trotskyist organisation from the US called League for the Revolutionary Party, entitled “Why Salih Muslim is Wrong about Assad.” All Alawites in attendance, who were predominantly affiliated with DHF, ESP, TÖPG, and DHKP-C, listened with keen interest as it was explained to them that it was sectarian to be concerned with the safety of Arab Alawites in Syria, and that real internationalist revolutionaries would support “the secular Syrian Revolution” without resorting to “petty tribalism”.

“The same goes for the Kurds. They need to stop worrying about the balance of the forces or national liberation and stand behind the real democratic forces in Syria.”

“They really opened our eyes,” explained Heval Şoreş, a Kurdish student in attendence. “Before I saw the Australian ‘Socialist Alternative’s talk entitled ‘Kurds Hate Freedom’, I had been blinded by the leadership of the Kurdish movement. Now I understand that I must become a real internationalist revolutionary, like the heroes in London and New York, and not tail behind a dead-end nationalist movement like the one we see in Rojava.”

Fearing that the anti-revisionist hegemony of the Turkish left has been shaken by the masterful propaganda coup by their Trotskyist counterparts, an emergency meeting of various anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist groups in the US was called. So great are the fears of the anti-revisionists that Trotskyist hegemony will be extended from the Anglosphere into Turkey and North Kurdistan, that even hyper-sectarians like the RCPUSA attended and took an active role. At the meeting, they determined that a counter-conference would be held next week in Istanbul, entitled “We are not worthy! We worship you, o Turkish and Kurdish revolutionaries, who carry guns for the revolution! We are unworthy even to kiss your feet!”

Explaining that the situation was dire indeed, and nothing was off the table, a representative of the RCPUSA spoke to our correspondent.

“We’re all in this together, yeah?” said the RCPUSA representative. “We’ve already booked a ticket to fly Bob Avakian from… wherever he is… we won’t say, but probably the flight is gonna be out of JFK.”

“Besides, we’re sure if we can get some of our people into Gazi Mahallesi, MKP and TKP/ML will reconsider their position on the New Synthesis.”

Louis Proyect Rebuts Tariq Ali’s Fanciful Claims

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NEW YORK – Responding to Tariq Ali’s reference to former French minister for Foreign Affairs Roland Dumas’s claims that the UK had been actively conspiring to overthrow Assad prior to the outbreak of the civil war, self-proclaimed “elderly Marxist with deep aversion to dictatorships, particularly the dictatorship of the proletariat” Louis Proyect laid down the law against tankie conspiracy-mongers like Ali:

“It really disappoints me that Tariq Ali is getting his information from Global Research. He should get his information from unilingual Anglophone New Yorkers like myself. Or the New York Times, who are known throughout the Arab world for their sympathetic and accurate editorial line on all Arab affairs.”

“If he would bother to do his research, Tariq Ali would know that the British government was once very friendly with Assad, just as Patrick Higgins pointed out in his Jacobin piece, which I loved.”

“You will recall that people like Tariq Ali also ignored the close relationship between Saddam Hussein and the US government back in 2003, and filled the internet with unfounded claims about some kind of US invasion of Iraq, which obviously never happened. Fortunately, the Iraqi people’s democratic will shone through the Russia Today-sponsored lies, the dictator was overthrown, and today the only threat to Iraq’s stability is the powerful Trotskyist movement there which is going to build a worker’s state any day now.”

Commenting on Tariq Ali’s view that, caught between the Assad regime and jihadists, whatever small number of moderate rebels there would effectively be forced into joining up with jihadist forces, Louis Proyect issued this masterful rebuttal: “This is not a new claim by Tariq Ali. He said the same thing on Russia Today in 2012. And we can all agree that since 2012, sectarian Islamist forces have not gained strength in Syria.”

The video concludes with Tariq Ali making some claims about funding for jihadist groups in Syria coming from Turkey or GCC states. Clearly this is the end of Tariq Ali’s career, as no leftist can expect to recover from something so embarrassing as accusing regimes with a history of killing Shi’ites and Alawites of sponsoring jihadist groups to kill more Shi’ites and Alawites.

US Anarchists and Liberals Celebrate Murray Bookchin, Leader of the Kurdish People

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NEW YORK – This weekend, at an anarchist collective in Queens known as “the Headquarters”, a free event commemorating Murray Bookchin will reportedly take place. The event is being organised in collaboration with various liberal and anarchist-dominated student groups throughout the tri-state area to express their admiration for the work of Bookchin and their solidarity with the Kurdish struggle which he sacrificed so much to lead.

A statement read:

“Who is Murray Bookchin? He was born to a modest Kurdish family in New York, the son of Russian Kurdish immigrants. Through his sheer love of freedom and force of will, he singlehandedly transformed his party, the PKK, and the entire Kurdish struggle from evil Stalinists to ecological-feminist anarchists. It was Bookchin’s brave efforts that brought the movement to the heights of revolutionary success it enjoys today, and it is safe to say that he is also the individual who did the most in the fight against ISIS. A real American hero, we invite you all to join us in celebrating the life of Murray Bookchin.”

Reactions from Kurdistan ranged from anger to astonishment. KCK co-chair Cemil Bayık sighed when confronted with the statement during an interview with Med-Nûçe TV. He slid forward on his traditional plastic chair and shook his head in despair. “I don’t know why I even bother giving all these interviews if Bookchin’s just going to get all the credit.” he lamented.

Meanwhile, in Wan, a Kurdish activist named Rojda spoke with our correspondent over qaçax çay: “Who? Bûkşîn? Who’s that?”

A spokesperson for the UK SWP responded to our correspondent’s request for a comment thus: “See, this is why you can’t trust the Kurds. They were all Stalinists, well, I mean, they’re still all Stalinists, but some kind of mad anarcho-Stalinists. Also, they’re objectively agents of US and Russian imperialism. They’re agents of Russian imperialism because they insist that ISIS, and not Assad, is the primary contradiction in Syria. Ridiculous. They’re agents of US imperialism because they have objectively done nothing to challenge US hegemony. If they were serious, they would read Tony Cliff and Callinicos, cut out all this business of leading the broad Kurdish masses and focus on polite and legal organisation of unionised industrial workers, and of course, declare the primary contradiction in Syria and Turkey to be Islamophobia. Maybe then they could earn our respect, and we might even consider them for IST membership. But in the meantime, I’m sorry, we just don’t take them seriously.”

Responses were also obtained from parties that haven’t lost the plot entirely. Our correspondent in Santiago de Chile enquired with local PC(AC) activists if there was a similar movement to commemorate Bookchin as a revolutionary leader whose work was now manifested in Rojava. “What? No.” snorted one young man with hippie-length hair. “Not that I like our anarchists, but I think they make them a special class of stupid in gringo countries.”

MLPD leader and standing German national weightlifting champion Stefan Engel send us a short message via WhatsApp stating: “ICOR is, as you know, organising solidarity brigades to Kobanê to assist in the reconstruction of the city. I will now propose a motion for sending intellectual solidarity brigades to the US to explain to the people there what’s going on in the world.” He concluded the message by adding 3 beer emojis, which presumably means that he was on or had just completed his third beer.

Britain Proposed “Lord Protector” Model for Syria

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LONDON – Leaked documents from the recent Vienna talks on the future of Syria have shown British negotiators pushed for a radical solution to the conflict.

The files, posted on Wikileaks early Monday, appear to show that Britain had sought answers to Syria’s civil war by looking into its own history.

“What is clearly needed, as shown by recent and historical civil wars, is some form of ‘Lord Protector’ to emerge,” one speech reads.

“We put it to this conference that we should support a leader with strong religious values, support from all classes of society, and who is willing to act nationally and internationally for the good of his people.”

The recourse to history is no new innovation. British diplomats worldwide have long advocated the Northern Ireland solution to the Kurdish issue in Turkey, saying that they believe it is the only way that Protestant and Catholic Kurds will be able to get along in peace.

Similarly, Britain has long been in talks to help democratise Myanmar, though these recently stalled after the King of Holland refused to take part in a plan to take over the country.

The formal diplomatic proposals are accompanied by a series of cryptic margin notes.

Those on one page read as follows: “Execute King, Invade Ireland, Extreme Religion, Defeat Moderates, Ban Christmas.”

However, the delegation’s ultimate proposal appears never to have been made, presumably after the mood of the talks turned against it.

“Hence we propose that this conference do everything possible to support Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” the hastily scribbled-out final conclusion reads.

In its place, the delegation had quickly come up with a paragraph about backing Syria’s “moderates”, with a circled note reading “politically correct bullshit”.

Defence Minister Michael Fallon was barely able to conceal his disappointment this morning, however, telling parliament that the moderate jihadists were “not a New Model Army”, “whereas al-Baghdadi is clearly Cromwell in the flesh.”

Responses were issued by the New Communist Party of Britain and the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist). The NCP argued that the solution lay in the Syrian proletariat “voting Labour everywhere”, and announced that they would engage in a purge of their own members, for tradition’s sake. The CPGB(ML), meanwhile, gave its expected response:

“We couldn’t find a way to get any of the factions in Syria to rhyme with ‘same old story’, or any other dismissive witticism, but naturally whatever the British government proposes is indeed the same old story,” Harpal Brar informed the attentive British masses who hang on his every word. “We call on the British government to support Bashar al-Assad against the menace of British imperialism.”

Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Germany, pointed out the similarity of Brar’s proposed strategy to Syriza’s actual strategy. “Will my brother in good hair also support our struggle against ourselves?” enquired Tsipras in a now publicly available e-mail exchange with Brar.

Brar’s response reads: “Nice try, Yorgo.”

For his part, Vladimir Putin, Tsar of all Russias from Belorussia to Prussia, proposed that Bashar al-Assad step down, to be replaced by Ramzan Kadyrov. Kadyrov’s duties in Chechnya would be taken on by Assad, and Putin himself would “just keep doin’ Putin.”