Messing with Texas

Those of you with enough morbid curiosity to watch the Kremlin’s bizarro-world reality show in the Donbas might already be familiar with the “American volunteer” who goes by the name of “Texas,” supposedly because he’s from the capital, Austin. I don’t for a second believe this man is “fighting” at all, knowing the nature of pro-Russian propaganda and its habit of using reality TV techniques to create “heroes.”

So who is this American volunteer who so willingly makes himself a mouthpiece in a conflict he clearly does not understand? Well when I first saw him in a video he describes himself as a “Communist,” one with a long history in the movement. He claims he came to Donbas to fight “Nazis,” but if you know your DNR/LNR facts, the rebels have their share of “Nazis.” Not only does he not seem to show the slightest grasp of Communist theory (which only makes him fit in even better with other pro-Russian “Communists”), but my connections in American Communist/Leftist circles haven’t managed to find anyone who knew “Texas” or knew of him. A lot of the language he has used on social media debunks the idea that he was ever a Communist or leftist. For example, in this video, he refers to Obama as a “monkey.”

From the moment I heard of this guy something was very fishy. Turns out I was right. Remember yesterday’s post about how pathetic the Russian “information war” really is? Well here’s another example of how they tried to create another fantasy that quickly unraveled.

“Texas” is in fact Russell Bonner Bentley. Here is his Facebook page, and here is some more info that includes his associations with far rightists such as the German Manuel Ochsenreiter, and everyone’s favorite American Duginite, Mark Sleboda. I’m sure anyone with more knowledge of the European far right can look at those names and find even more fascist friends of the guy who says he came to Donbas to “fight fascists.” Conspiracy theorist Pepe Escobar is there, as is RT Crosstalk host Peter Lavelle.  But it just gets better and better.

Turns out Bentley is a convicted drug dealer/smuggler. Here’s a news story about his sentencing, and here are the court documents. To be totally fair, the drug he was convicted of smuggling was marijuana, so it’s not like he’s Scarface or something. It’s just another example of Russian propaganda making a “hero” out of someone who doesn’t deserve it, and using them to regurgitate their propaganda. This also says a lot about the kind of people who are attracted to the Kremlin’s cause. Put simply- they aren’t exactly winners. Oftentimes these Russophiles support the Kremlin specifically and paradoxically because they benefit from the effects of corruption and degeneracy which Putin’s system maintains. Occasionally you get someone who’s at least clever and senses the government’s willingness to throw money at any foreigner, particularly a Westerner, who is willing to repeat their message. All you have to do is show up and write a few paragraphs, liberally sprinkling in words like geopolitics, neocons, neo-liberal, BRICS, and color revolution. Incidentally, I don’t think Russell is one of those people.

The only thing that really pisses me off about this guy is that he appears in videos and calls himself a Communist. He clearly isn’t a Communist and most likely never was, and yet he had to say that, thus giving ammunition to status-quo supporters who have been working very hard for the past decade or so to equate the far left and far right. Russia, of course, has done a fine job of helping them in that effort as well. If Russell hadn’t made  these claims, I would have dismissed him as another confused American right-winger and I wouldn’t have even cared to learn anything about him.

Sadly for Russell, there’s a lot of rumors flying around that the DNR and LNR are not doing so hot, and might not last to the end of the year. Remember that Russia is basically footing the bill for virtually everything in these quasi-states, and the Kremlin knows that there’s bad economic news on the horizon. Let’s hope that in the event of a collapse, the Russian authorities at least remember to grant “Texas” a Russian visa so he can fly back home to anonymity from Moscow rather than get left behind in Dontesk to explain himself to the Ukrainian authorities.

13 thoughts on “Messing with Texas

  1. Strykr9

    I wouldn’t say that that “Novorossiya” would collapse just yet. Even thought the Russian economy is tanking(it was recently overtaken by Spain in GDP), it is still hobbling along. I think that “Novorossiya” is going to become a slightly better Transnistria.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I doubt it, based on what I’ve heard from some journalists, particularly one I met in Kostiantynivka. I think what’s going on right now is Russia and the rebels trying to figure out how they’re going to get out of this mess without it looking like a defeat. There are supposed to be elections coming up soon, so I’m wondering if they won’t pull something like, “Hey, turns out everyone voted to go back to Ukraine after all! See? DEMOCRACY! Anyway BYE!”

      Also it was strange how Russia started acting cool to the rebels just a bit before these new offensives broke out, as if the rebels were retaliating by saying, “You’d better have our back or we’ll provoke an offensive that will force you to take actions you don’t want to take.”

      Of course so far it’s like reading tea leaves because you can never figure out exactly what these people are trying to do. The consolation is that they can’t seem to figure it out either.

      1. Strykr9

        Yeah ideologically it seems like a mess, but technically it’s hobbling along, just barely. Plus the Debaltseve and Donetsk Airport operations were successful so they’re strategically secure for now.

      2. gbd_crwx

        In the case of the airport, can it really be considered successful, as long as it’s still in the porté of Ukrainian artillery? (I know it’s better than before, from a DPR point of view, but anyway)

      3. Jim Kovpak Post author

        The Ukrainian army was stupid for trying to defend that. They should have destroyed the tarmacs and facilities, abandoned it, and pre-sighted the whole place with their artillery.

      4. gbd_crwx

        Speaking of hobbling along, since Ukraine doesn’t seem to do to well either, as long as you are less worse than Ukraine maybe that will be enough?

      5. Strykr9

        You also have to consider morale. The rebels have been on a winning streak since the Battle of Illovaisk. They’ve basically won every battle since then and I bet they don’t believe the Ukranians can effectively launch an attack.

      6. gbd_crwx

        Well the most recent intense fighting in Marinka surely must be seen as a victory for the Ukrainian government, mustn’t it. But yes I see your point, the government probably don’t have the means to go on the offensive. But as it is, if they didn’t need to worry about defending they probably try to defeat the rebels by starving them out or letting Russia pay the bill.

  2. Armands Bekmanis

    He reminds me of that American – I think American – boxer who`s pro-Russian. He also fancies himself as a communist and retweets various communist slogans. As if Russia has anything to do with it anymore.

    But stories like this only prove one thing – the friends and sympathizers that Russia has abroad are fucked in the head. Thats their crowd, their cheerleaders. You have this lunatic, Depardieu with his manic, suicidal tendencies, people like Sleboda or this Latvian composer –

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      That’s Jeff Monson, the MMA fighter. He actually considers himself an anarchist, and may be a member of the IWW. That’s even more maddening.

      The problem is that these people know nothing about Russian/Soviet/Ukrainian history, and don’t speak either language. They go to one of these countries, have their little romantic traveler experience(sometimes literally), and suddenly they are like clay to be molded by local propagandists.

      One time, before I learned the nature of Russian “Communism,” I was with a group of these “Communists” and I was interviewing one of them- a middle aged woman. At some point in her rant about the forces destroying Russia, she refers to “the Jews,” and her friend says(in Russian of course) “Don’t say that- He won’t understand.” She said it as though I didn’t understand Russian that well, in spite of the fact that she herself should have known that I did.

      You will learn a lot about Russians(and Ukrainians) as a Westerner when they think you don’t speak their language or know their history.

  3. milnewsca

    Great stuff you’re sharing. A quick question: I notice in a number of videos, Texas, as well as some others, always manage to show off a copy of “The Red Army’s Do-it-Yourself, Nazi-Bashing Guerrilla Warfare Manual”. Any insights into that?

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I’m not familiar with that, but it sounds like something they made up recently. If the Red Army rose from the dead tomorrow, all those guys would have to answer to SMERSH.


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