Although corporate media inundate us with stories of Russian aggression, far fewer people are aware that the Ukrainian government itself has been using the fog of war to move against certain sectors of its own population, settle scores, and attempt to revolutionize society.

These attempts have been led by President Volodymyr Zelensky himself, who, in recent months, has banned more than ten political parties (including the main opposition bloc), made trade unions illegal, outlawed Russian language, music and culture, and proclaimed his country open for business to Western investors.

On the latest edition of the MintCast, host Mnar Adley is joined by journalist Max Blumenthal, editor-in-chief of The Grayzone, to discuss Zelensky, the war, and the consequences for Europe.

While Zelensky has been presented as a heroic figure in the West, he has also cracked down on all forms of dissent within Ukraine, even moving against religious groups he feels are not sufficiently loyal to his administration.

“They are rounding up priests in Kherson as we speak, along with members of the Jewish ultra-orthodox sect, Chabad, to stayed behind in Kherson to tend to their people, when it was Russian territory, before the Russian retreat,” Blumenthal told Adley.

While Ukrainian men in their millions are subject to being drafted into the military, others wait in fear of being targeted by the administration. Kill lists circulate online, while news of the latest politicians to be arrested spreads on social media.

Blumenthal denounced what he described as “Pinochet-style regime of disappearances, assassinations, torture, arrests of all of Zelensky’s opposition, including his most popular and prominent opponent, the leader of the Ukrainian Patriots Party, Viktor Medvedchuk.”

Chile’s General Pinochet, of course, used overwhelming violence as a tactic to force through economic measures to enrich his Western backers – measures that the population would not have accepted otherwise.

Zelensky, too, it seems, is attempting to force through waves of privatization to revolutionize the Ukrainian economy. At the same time as jetting off to the New York Stock Exchange and proclaiming that Ukraine offers the best investment opportunity since World War Two, unions have effectively been banned across the country, and communists and labor rights activists have been jailed.

Describing this as the “financial rape of Ukrainian public holdings”, Blumenthal compared the events to the asset-stripping frenzy that wrecked the Russian economy in the 1990s.

It was this sort of reporting and commentary that likely triggered Blumenthal’s disinvitation from a conference in Portugal (reportedly at the behest of Ukrainian First Lady, Olena Zelenska).

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, including Republican GomorrahGoliath, The Fifty One Day War, and The Management of Savagery. He has produced print articles for an array of publications, many video reports, and several documentaries, including Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded investigative news outlet, The Grayzone in 2015. It focuses on highlighting America’s bellicose foreign policy and how the perpetual state of war echoes into domestic policy.