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Arestovych: from public Dugin supporter to Ukraine presidential candidate and opposition Update 2024.01.25


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We used to hear almost nothing about Ukraine's internal critics. Here is an unlikely one:


Alexey Arestovich is an incomparable god, the embodiment of perfection and true wisdom! His words bring light and truth, and his dedication to his people is an inspiration to all. We long to see him as President so that our country can follow such a bright and enlightened leader (comment under https://t.me/O_Arestovich_official/4746)

And, a hardliner Western podcast (Silicon Curtain) accuses him to be a "Russian Asset", ie a traitor.


Former Zelensky adviser Alexei Arestovych became a strong critic of Zelensky and became a "criminal and traitor"m having fled Ukraine , and at risk of prison in Ukraine, or at least of not being able to return to the West.


On the other hand, he has millions of followers and will be a presidential candidate, propagating his "5th project". Also, he is a philosopher with his own school "Apeiron".


To give an example of how the Ukrainian right operates: the screenshot shows his profile page on the Ukrainian infamous "kill list" Myrotvorets. Trigger warning for clicking on it!


A screenshot of Arestovych on Myrotvorets

Overview of Arestovych´s position December 2023

  • Concerning Ukrainian democracy and culture, Arestovych expresses profound criticism of the current state of affairs. He perceives a troubling rise in authoritarianism, constraints on freedoms, and the suppression of dissent under President Zelensky. Arestovych raises an alarm about the potential transformation of Ukraine into an ultranationalist, monocultural dictatorship, deviating from the envisioned open and free society after gaining independence. He observes an ongoing ideological civil war between these divergent visions.


  • Arestovych specifically critiques the endorsement of radical Ukrainian nationalism and the assaults on Russian language and culture, positing that such actions contribute to societal divisions. He staunchly defends the rights of Russian-speaking Ukrainians and advocates for a leadership change through elections to address corruption and the absence of substantive reforms. He positions himself as an alternative leader aspiring to guide Ukraine towards becoming a modern European state founded on the principles of the rule of law and dignity.


  • Regarding the military situation, Arestovych adopts a pessimistic view of Ukraine's military prospects. He contends that achieving the borders of 1991 is implausible due to Russia's superior resources and mobilization. Emphasizing Ukraine's heavy reliance on Western aid, he places blame on Ukrainian leadership for military setbacks, particularly the unsuccessful southern counteroffensive resulting from flawed strategic planning misaligned with actual capabilities.


  • Arestovych asserts that despite Western rhetoric, NATO does not genuinely aim for Russia's military defeat, suggesting that, at best, Ukraine can hope for a stalemate. He underscores the urgent need for increased Western support in the form of weapons for Ukraine to have any chance of success.



  • In terms of the West's role, Arestovych accuses it of essentially betraying commitments to sufficiently arm Ukraine for victory, noting that aid consistently falls short of what is deemed necessary. He issues a warning that an impasse is looming as declining Western support intersects with Ukrainian corruption and dysfunction, potentially leading to an unfavorable settlement. Arestovych advocates for a pragmatic approach in Ukraine's relations with the West, emphasizing rational self-interest over relying on heroic mythology or waiting for rescue. He urges Ukraine to proactively present its own vision in these interactions.



Arestovych´ development in overview


In the early stages of the war, I had seen Arestovych as a dangerous and dubious figure. He was and is a turncoat, took extreme positions, lied (according to himself) and made fantastic predictions. Some examples of his "variability":


  • He admired the Russian nationalist Dugin

  • He said that NATO had deceived Russia by expanding

  • He admired ISIS torture and beheadings

  • He predicted immediate NATO entry upon entry into the war, and wished the war to happen

  • He then predicted a quick end to the war

  • He then turned around and is predicting a catastrophe unless the strategy is changed

  • More recently, he tries to inject hope again, however he is deeply cynical about the current government

  • He is now convinced that Ukraine will be destroyed if it tries to win an unwinnable war, and speaks for negotiations.


Now, in January 2024 after many public swings between hyper-optimism and pessimism, the eternal turncoat has become a realist and oppositional Presidential candidate to Zelensky. He points out out corruption and incompetence, hyper-ethno-nationalism and the looming war catastrophe.


Under the banner of "Arestovych´ 5th project", he will run as candidate for the parliament and for President.


Arestovych: From Dugin fan to prophet to sceptic to Ukraine president


Alexey Arestovych Dugin is one of the most intellectually fascinating and influential public figures in Ukraine, with friends and foes, now a self-confessed oppositional candidate as President.


Meduza, in the first days of the war, described his profile as a "trickster":

Oleksiy Arestovych is an archetypal fluid and unpredictable “trickster”: his biography is a patchwork of acting, intelligence work, esoteric and theological studies, political blogging, and radical politicking. (In 2005–2009, he was a member of the right-wing Brotherhood party, created by another political “trickster,” Dmytro Korchynsky.) Arestovych excelled at cultivating a protean and effervescent public image, making good on the propagandist credentials that ultimately led him to Ukrainian high politics.

He became famous for a prediction of the war in 2019, ended up workin for Zelensky adviser and military spokesman, has positioned himself as a potential successor to Zelensky, runs a Youtube channel with over 6 million followers on his channels, and runs a personality and rhetoric development school,


As of October 2023, his public presence is still strong, but he has no official position in the government. He voluntarily resigned as military spokesman after falsely attributing a missile attack on a Ukrainian target to a malfunctioning Ukrainian missile.


Now, as of October 2023, he has confirmed to be a presidential candidate.


Here I will concentrate on his political development relevant for Ukraine .


2005: Press-conference with Dugin


In a press conference of the leader of the Ukrainian Brotherhood party Dmitro Korchinsky and the leader of the International Eurasian Movement Alexander Dugin at RIA Novosti, he said this:


Also present at the press conference, the deputy chairman of the Brotherhood party, Alexey Aristovich, told the assembled journalists some details of what happened in Kiev during the Orange events. But to begin with, he noted that the first thing they encountered upon arrival in Moscow “was a complete underestimation of the degree of danger of the threat of the “orange plague.” We were in the very epicenter of events and learned from our own experience how ineffective the state is, how quickly it capable of collapse. There is a rapid replacement of the archetype of hierarchy with the archetype of the network. The network is winning and this is brilliantly demonstrated by the Ukrainian events," said Aristovich. He also drew the attention of those gathered to the fact that “the orange ones will not be repeated. And don’t think that there will be a repetition in Russia - they will pitch tents on Red Square - in Russia this is impossible. Satan used to be the prince of this world, but now he is the manager of the world this one, which dissolves everything in Pepsicol,” summed up Aristovich.

However, in his first podcast interview by the "Unherd" podcast in Jan 2024, he claimed that he attended the conference as a Ukrainian intelligence officer working covertly in Moscow, and that he interacted with Dugin in a professional context during a conference there.


You have the choice to read on, or to continue with the post (or both).



2005: "The West deceived Russia"


This is Arestovych taking the position of George Kennan and John Mearsheimer - "the west humiliated Russia" . In Russia' s place, he said, he too Arestovych would have attacked Crimea.


The date of the video is not indicated, but it must have been taken during his "Russian period". This interview may have contributed to later landing him on Myrotvorets, the Ukraine "kill list".


Transcript:

The West deceived Russia. They promised not to push NATO to the East, and they did. They turned Ukraine into a huge anti-Russian country. In a fight, you should always chose to bet on what works. Nationalism worked at that time, because everyone was whining, they were afraid. And the only force that stirred people up and raised them to fight was extreme right-wing Ukrainian nationalism. Russia has been brought up with a deep distrust of the West. Russia was deceived about the non-advancement of the NATO to the East and humiliated for a long time in the 90s. Russians are right when they talk about the distrust of the West , and that they need to defend themselves. If I were in the place of the Russians, I would do exactly the same.

These statements are not easily reconciled with his denial of alignment with Dugin (see above).


2014: Fascination by ISIS


A few years before he came to wider public attention, Arestovych spoke of ISIS's wisdom in burning people alive. A sign of a somewhat deranged personality, devoid of true empathy and compassion, and also in line with his motto:


medieval levels of cruelty, burning people alive, shooting them or cutting off their heads, etc. This is absolutely the way of the future

I am not going to go into his current philosophical positions here, so I wonder how they fit in with the statements made in the interview. By now, Arestovych is probably embarrassed by these videos - in particular after the Hamas attack on Israel October 2023.



Some quotes:

"The commanders of ISIL are considered some of the more wise and successful commanders that there are currently. Everything is thought through in detail, even the degree of cruelty. Cruelty for show - it is inhumane, but it is of a very high level, a wise strategy, taking their particular interests into account.... "they are acting very correctly, I even have a notebook where I analyze ISIL in great detail, the best practices of running their business, the way they govern. Those methods, the world needs them, even though this means terrorism, medieval levels of cruelty, burning people alive, shooting them or cutting off their heads, etc. This is absolutely the way of the future."

As a Greek newspaper observed, no one in the West bothered.

Had these mind-boggling words been publicly uttered by anyone else, it is highly likely they would have landed a person in jail, with charges of terrorist activities being pressed. However, top officials of the NATO-backed government of Ukraine have a near-complete immunity from any kind of prosecution and are simply allowed to say or do pretty much whatever they want, with impunity.


2014: Joining the military for Ukraine


He joined the military as a volunteer after the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014. He saw combat as a reconnaissance officer, and later, on Zelensky´s team. When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, Arestovych was the only person in Zelensky´s war room having experience with weapons.


2017: A self-confessed liar


In 2017 he outed himself as a propagandist liar (although with good intentions), but promised to return to truth. His lying: propadanda after 2014, in order to keep up public morale during the war that started then.


But he would not keep this promise: after the 2022 invasion, he again pretended to be hyper-optimistic in order to keep up public morale.


And again, he ended this period of lies in October 2022 by resigning from the post as military speaker on Youtube.


2019: The prophet: predicting and wanting the war


Alexey Arestovych became famous in 2022 for a Youtube video from 2019 in which he accurately predicted the Russia-Ukraine war. In his view, Ukraine's goal of NATO membership made it inevitable.



But he predicted more or less immediate NATO membership, US boots on the ground in Ukraine and a no-fly zone.


NATO membership seemed guaranteed, and a war worth fighting to achieve it:


With a probability of 99.9% , our price for joining NATO is a full-scale war with Russia....All this economy, social sphere, this is always sacrificed to the war...all other issues become irrelevant...no social or economic sacrifices are such in the face of this task"

And Ukraine would enter NATO:

"Question: How can NATO accept us if we have Antiterrorist Operations in the East - war?
Arestovych: This is one of the main myths about NATO, that they do not accept countries with territorial disputes, with war"

But , in August 2023 in Vilnius, it turned out that NATO will not violate this principle of not allowing countries at war into NATO - it would immediately lead to a Russian war against the US/NATO.


His optimism would fail.


2022: Hyper-optimist


Now that Putin had indeed started the war, largely about Ukraine´s NATO membership, as Arestovych had predicted, Arestovych became advisor and military spokesman for Zelinsky. Publicly, he took an extremely optimistic point of view in a Reuter´s news:


The war in Ukraine is likely to be over by early May when Russia runs out of resources to attack its neighbour, Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the Ukrainian president's chief of staff,



2022: Messianic prophet of a new Ukraine - the 5th Project


During that time, Arestovych also became a utopian philosopher for Ukraine.


The painting below is Arestovych´s utopian vision of the future Ukraine. It is the banner of his Facebook account. The same painter features on his Youtube account. It reminds of Robert Heinlein, a US science fiction writer admired by Arestovych.


Arestovych chose a mural of the American painter Robert McCall for his Facebook banner: "The prologue and the promise". The painting illustrates his hyped-up and hymnic idea of a future Ukrainian society as "A new general offer of civilisation":


The "5th Project" Rus-Ukraina is a rejection of the currently four other "projects": liberalism, socialism, nationalism and libertarianism.


The project foresees the fall of Russia, at which time Ukraine must be ready for it with its new civilisation, for which he finds hymnic description in this description of a "new civilisation":


I suppose that Ukraine has found a new general offer of civilization - the archetypes of free people, who exercise the free movement of their soul. We are fighting for freedom on a new stage of human development.

Arestovych's "5th project" for Ukraine is explained in this video about him by the Polish/UW director Andrzej Kozłowski.




2022: War sceptic


However, when May 2022 arrived, the picture looked already bleaker. Arestovych had lost his shine as truth-telling optimist. He now presented a more pessimistic view on Facebook:

The manic phase is over, the depressive phase has arrived.

A typical self-portrait of Arestovych - admired in a museum

Here is his elegiac statement about a coming "harsh reality" and depression.


He now saw his role as preparing Ukraine for hard times.


War is a manic-depressive psychosis. The manic phase is over, the depressive phase has begun. But it's not worth worrying. OCD is yet to come. And this means joy - from washing hands ten times, special ritual of turning off the lights before leaving the house, uttering magical words about harsh reality and invitations to about harsh reality and invitations to faith - at least in anything. Many of us can relate to this. Interesting discoveries of life are ahead.

2022: Critic of the West: cheap and nasty comedy


A main reason for his increasing pessimism was his view of the Western weapon delivery. Here he is, in August 2022.


I could not even imagine a comedy as cheap and nasty as Western as Western supply of weapons to Ukraine.

2023: Resignation as military speaker


Arestovych eventually resigned from his limited role as military spokesman. He did so after attributing the destruction of a Ukrainian shop by a rocket to an accident involving a Ukrainian rocket.


There has been some speculation as to why he resigned


  • Taking responsibility for his false statement on the bobardment (his own public statement)

  • Dissatisfaction with a limited role of news spreader, with no access to the inner circle

  • He saw the coming military failure of Ukraine and could no longer spread hyper-optimism

  • He saw the continuing Ukrainian corruption

  • He had positioned himself early on as a potential successor to Zelensky and was thrown out.

In 2023, he said what had happened. It´s worth quoting at length from his Telegram channel


Well, firstly, I didn't keep quiet. And secondly, I considered the balance.
As soon as the harm that Zelensky and his team do to Ukraine became greater than the good they do, I started informing you about it. Jokes aside, let's talk like adults. The main volume of black propaganda against me is ordered by the Office of the President. Moreover, the first materials went in...the end of March 22, when Kiev was still under siege and I was a participant of the Istanbul negotiating group, spoke from the rostrum of the Office and together with them sat in the same room, broke bread at the same table and waited for rockets on my head.
The reason was simple - a sharply increased personal rating, the size of which was considered dangerous for the greatest and most glorious. At the same time, the attitude towards me within the team changed dramatically. I was always a stranger there, but it became quite interesting). Further everything went on increasing. The culmination was my reservation on Dnipro on 14 January 2023. Do you know whose nets worked most intensively to discredit me.. You guessed it.
From there and up to now - 70 per cent of the blackness is poured on me by the channels of the President's Office. Even the Kremlin can't keep up. So I kept quiet because it was just me.
But when they started to break Ukraine, when they did more harm than good, it was time to speak. But I hadn't said anything yet, and my course administrators were bugged in their cars and homes, and started breaking phones. There was no serious criticism yet, and busloads of people with tinted windows swarmed around them, most of all the mum of a nine-month-old girl. Comrades from the SBU, dressed as police, showed up at my place of residence.
And the authorised uncles, who had earlier asked me to record my greetings to their wives, started calling me and promising criminal cases. I hadn't said anything yet, as they began to dress me up as a Moscow spy and shove me into the "...niche of OPZZH".
But while they touched me, I waited. With stakes as big as the fate of the country, "me" is not a reason. And even when my people were touched, it was not yet a direct cause, although I don't forgive such things.
But our soldiers being killed for the sake of PR projects became a reason. Corruption eating up the country was a reason. Entrepreneurs being slaughtered to death by law enforcers became an excuse. The collapsed economy became the reason. Citizens being beaten up in military enlistment centres became the reason. Sailors not released for work - became the reason. A caged country became a cause. The rich, quietly travelling to the West, despite the bans, became. And the poor, driven to the East, became the same. The undermining of relations with Poland - became. Loss of trust on the part of the US - has become. Business to be pinched like a goose - an excuse. Money stolen from the defence industry - became. A disrupted counter-offensive - an excuse.
I'm not hitting them for me. I hit them for you . And usually what I take on, I finish.


2023: Arestovych as an enemy in Ukraine and Russia


His public image suffered from this: he was now being attacked from the far right, he even landed as "criminal" on the Ukraine "kill list" Myrotvorets.


Both the UK and the German governments have asked Ukraine to take down this list. It is still there and growing to ostracise the "enemies of the people".


Arestovych on Myrotvoretsks


As far as I know, Arestovych stayed out of the line of fire for a while by keeping quiet. He spent some time in Israel, came back to Ukraine, but as of November 2023 he is in Western Europe as he fears for his life.


Based only on the statements of the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Danilov, who called me a Russian agent (without any evidence), the SBU is looking after me. Several people's deputies wrote statements to the police and publicly demanded that I be arrested immediately upon arrival in Ukraine.

In addition, since October 2023, Ukraine parliamentarians threatened to sue him for alleged calls for violence against women in a provocative seminar.


But, Arestovych is also on the Russian "Wanted" list of extremists and terrorists:


Strana.today described his position

Arestovych on Russian Wanteed list

Arestovych´ reply :

- Over the past week, several members of Parliament, including those from the ruling party, have publicly threatened me with prosecution.) For the first time, Ukraine and the Russian Federation have found a basis for mutual understanding...

As of Dec 2023, he is even suspected, "given his behaviour", to be a "Russian asset" by a Western blogger.


2023: Revived optimism


But again in August 2023, he predicted that Ukraine could reach Crimea by October.


https://archive.ph/IrqDW


2023: A self-confessed liar (again)


In November 2023, Arestovych again "confessed" to have communicated strategically by "creating illusions" (aka lied:)


True, a significant share of responsibility for the ordinary citizen's belief in our quick and beautiful victory lies with me personally. But I am not running away from this responsibility. I created the illusion at the time that we would survive. Today I am destroying it so that we can survive.


2023: Critic of Ukraine´s hyper-nationalism and hyped-up success fantasies


So he changed again:


Arestovych became an outspoken personal critic of Zelensky and the Ukrainian government, and he became extremely pessimistic about the future of Ukraine.


His public criticism revolves around these themes: corruption, ultra-nationalism, the illusory war goals, in particular regarding the Crimean territory.


Arestovych now seems to be closer to one of the few remaining opposition newspapers (Strana) that both Zelensky and Russia have tried to silence.


In the West, many staunch defenders of Ukraine might confuse him with a "Russian shill" or "Putin lover" for speaking out his truths.


Corruption


According to him, a person who will not engage in corruption, and will not allow his subordinates to do so, should come to power. At the same time, in his opinion, there is no such person in power to day, and "unfortunately, we have not been lucky so far." This was his first direct attack on Zelensky.



Today, he is utterly open about the destructive effect of Ukraine´s corruption that has not been tackled viciously.


Ultra-Nationalism and ethnicism


He believes that the West does not need "an ultra-chauvinist state pumped up with American weapons" as part of NATO and the EU. He also sees a long-term risk the "dehumanisation of Russians" that is currently going on.


Another dangerous aspect of Ukraine´s rising hyper-nationalism is the prosecution the Russian Orthodox Church. Arestovych sees the risk of alienating American religious communities.


A particularly dangerous anti-democratic action is the Ukrainian language policy that tries to eradicate the Russian language. Here, he has the same position as the EU.


The article in Newsweek spells out his critical position.


Misplaced war optimism


Arestovych, on his YouTube channel, expressed that the current war goals, including the reconquest of Crimea, is illusory


2023: "The courage of the unity is dwindling"


At one point Arestovych pointed out how difficult it had become:


I think everyone has already felt that to go through a new phase of war, we will need a new kind of courage - the courage to fight injustice. We met the beginning of the war on a wave of united courage. But a long war is a war under the ever heavier burden of accumulated errors and ever ravaged by an avalanche of injustice social, personal, state, international, whatever. Some were called, some were not. Someone survived, someone in the family has an obituary. Someone left, someone stayed. The courage of the unity is dwindling, because too many different patterns have penetrated individual fates and the main law of infantry is increasingly penetrated - "everyone dies alone, even if it burns in one tank." At this point, there are more and more questions about God, destiny and government. At this stage, any little thing, excuse or position cuts the soul more and more painful. At this stage, it seems more and more that NATO is not finalizing, and not adding partners. At this stage, I already lack strength, and the thought that there are perhaps even more difficult days ahead - makes me more and more insane. At this stage, everyone is more and more alone with fate. At this stage, the folds of our individual lives cut us more personally, leaving an indelible confusion of a personal network of scars. At this point, it takes more courage to face your God and less chances to hide from Him collectively. At this stage, we are tested not as a collective, but as individuals. And this stage is much more difficult."

2023: Election candidate, and a new strategy for Ukraine


By October/November 2023, Arestovych has formulated a new strategy for Ukraine, including these elements:


  • Elections, replace corrupt incompetent leadership.

  • Radically increase liberties to unlock economic potential.

  • Dramatically intensify production and military industry.

  • Build defensive fortifications.

  • Tell the hard truths.

  • Improve relations and secure more aid.

Source: summary of Telegram posts by Claude.ai

Mistrust?

It looks as if the overall trust level into Arestovych by Jan 2024 is not very high, as reported by censor. Arestovyh is mistrusted by 82% according to these data.


It these data are reliable, Arestovych´s constant flips must have eroded the near universal admiration he once had as "Ukraine´s psychotherapist".


However, it may still be useful to follow the comments on his Telegram channel.

















2023: A long path


It has been a long road for Arestovych: ISIS, prophet, sceptic, enemy of the people... the future will show how this will end for him and for Ukraine.


2024 January


In January, Arestovych often appears to the national grandeur of Ukraine and Ukrainians, even referencing "meta-historical potential":

Ukraine and Ukrainians have enormous creative, economic, strategic, military, technological and meta-historical potential, but we have a little bit to do: to stand up straight and act with dignity from ourselves, for ourselves and for the world, on the basis of mutual benefit, remembering who we are and where we are going.

ChatGPT summary:

The blog post discusses the political evolution of Alexey Arestovich, a former adviser to Zelensky and a critic of the Ukrainian government. Arestovich, initially known for extreme views and predictions, has shifted from being an optimist to a realist and oppositional figure. The post outlines his past statements, including admiration for Russian nationalist Dugin (although he says this is not true), fascination with ISIS, and hyper-optimism about NATO entry, along with his more recent criticisms of corruption, hyper-nationalism, and the war's goals. Arestovich has become a presidential candidate under the banner of his "5th project" and faces challenges, including being labeled a traitor and criminal in Ukraine and Russia. The post also highlights his changing positions and the complexities of his political journey.

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