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Ukraine 12: When is this an existential threat?


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34 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

PS: your second link doesn't work.

I'm guessing that Kremlin website is no longer accessible outside of Russia, or that it got hacked. Here is another link to an official government source that carries the article, Russian presidential library: https://www.prlib.ru/en/article-vladimir-putin-historical-unity-russians-and-ukrainians

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The Russian massacres?  I think that is what the Russian army does.  Probably did it in Syria.  Almost certainly did it in Chechnya.

Even today, we had this dreadful headline from Mali, which is going to get sadly lost.

Mali troops and suspected Russian fighters accused of massacre

Bucha seems so blatant but as far as I know, a lot of these people were murdered a few weeks ago.  I doubt the Russians expected they would be retreating, so they never thought their deeds would be exposed so clearly.

I wouldn't be surprised if we find more of these massacres if Russia retreat from other areas.  Nobody expected Bucha would be so bad until the town was retaken (AFAICT).

Defining what is rational is a little challenging.  I do generally think Putin is quite rational because you can make bad mistakes even though you are rational.  But his paranoia does undermine that rationality somewhat and I do think his levels of paranoia is quite high.

https://www.slowboring.com/p/ukraine-and-the-end-of-history?s=r

Somebody linked to this article recently.  It was interesting.  At least the parts that are directly about Ukraine, rather than the more philosophical points.

1) It has some good maps that reminded me that Ukraine didn't have a East West divide pre 2014, it was actually a North + West versus South + East divide (but it still refers to a East West divide for simplicity).  The Black Sea coast all falls into the latter.  I thought Russia wanted Odessa because it wanted to connect its territory to Transnistria (and deprive Ukraine of sea access) but traditionally this was Russian affialiated land.  Just adds to Putin's possessiveness.

2) And then the article touches on economics.  I'm not sure is this section as clear cut as the author suggested but there is truth there.

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Poor countries that have deep economic ties to Germany and other Western European countries can get rich as low-cost suppliers of manufactured goods to the richer countries of Europe.

The top export of Poland is car parts (followed by cars), and the top destination is Germany. For Romania, it’s also car parts followed by cars, with Germany as the top destination. Hungary and Slovakia shake things up: there it’s cars followed by car parts, again with Germany as the top destination. Ukraine’s top export is seed oil, and its top trade partner is Russia. And the problem with being part of a Russia-centric economic system is that the Russian economy is based on fossil fuel extraction. Germany’s manufacturing economy can send supply-chain tendrils out to its neighbors, who start out manufacturing the lowest-value components and then move up. But there’s no value chain that Russia can export.

3) And that leads to this...

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The pro-Russian faction lost power in 2014 when it became clear that the bar for being pro-Russian was “voluntarily abandon your best chance for economic development” rather than “have a lot of Russian-language shows on TV.” And that’s because the pro-Russian faction was ultimately controlled by Moscow and did not reflect the interests and aspirations of Russophone Ukrainians.That put the anti-Russian faction in the driver’s seat for years, but they didn’t do a great job of governing the country. That led to Zelenskyy’s landslide win in 2019, where he did much better in the eastern parts of the country than the west. Zelenskyy is a native Russian speaker, and part of his platform was to be more open to negotiating with Russia to end the conflict in Donbas.

This did not work (obviously), but its very failure successfully consolidated Ukrainian identity precisely because Zelenskyy’s policy initially was not seen as coming from a place of hardcore Ukrainian nationalism. 

Very interesting.  Its not unfamiliar but it took a different angle.

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3 hours ago, Winterfell is Burning said:

Putin doesn't believe protests and revolutions can ever be spontaneous, and there's always some shadowy actor orchestrating them (in Ukraine, is the West), that alone is flat-Earth level conspiracy shit. 

I think in general we tend to overestimate Putin. IIRC he wasn't viewed as a very good student, was a forgettable KGB officer and required a whole lot of random ass luck to slowly rise to power. And since he's been in power he hasn't been some three dimensional chess player. Mostly he's banked on other nations not seeing it as worth their time to really interfere in his affairs, and I'm guessing he assumed that same pattern would hold again this time. Whether he was being realistic or not, it's pretty clear he poorly thought this out and yes, relied on some flat-Earth thinking mentality to rationalize how this would play out well for him.

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I must admit I'm getting thoroughly impatient with the analyzing of whether Putin is "rational" or not.  This mass murderer is responsible for countless atrocities, and the Western world is dithering about while he commits more and more heinous acts.  Yes, other countries, mine included, have also committed heinous acts, but this is happening NOW.  The whole situation stinks of appeasement.  What Zelensky needs is air support - NOW.  However it can be arranged, through whatever means available.   He is wiping a democratic country off the map and it must not be allowed to happen.

Our leaders have been running scared from a tyrant who must be stopped.  

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10 hours ago, Gorn said:

I'm guessing that Kremlin website is no longer accessible outside of Russia, or that it got hacked. Here is another link to an official government source that carries the article, Russian presidential library: https://www.prlib.ru/en/article-vladimir-putin-historical-unity-russians-and-ukrainians

Fascinating read (I didn't have time for it last night). This text actually explained the conflict better than anything I'd read up to this point.
The disconnect with the Western perspective is wild, almost scary.
I'm sure everyone here would be quick to dismiss such ideas, yet there's nothing irrational about this text. At its core are different views on time and the individual. They might seem absurd to us, yet I remember reading countless Western texts that held similar views in the 1980s.
I still struggle to admit that's all there is to it! Even though I've recently come to see it's all about time and death, it's still difficult to embrace all the implications. At least now I understand how imperative it is that the West not intervene directly in this war.

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It's the same twaddle spouted by ethno-nationalists the world over: appeals to past history and culture and language, insistence on brotherhood overriding reality, and so on.

What really matters is what the purpose behind the essay is, and that is obvious: denial of the reality of Ukrainian statehood, justification for annexation of Ukrainian territory, and framing the dispute as a "family matter" to make that international community afraid of supporting Ukraine's right to self-determination. Accepting his framing of the conflict is ceding ground to the aggressor.

It is a dishonest document. Anders Åslund had a solid response to some of the claims, though focuses more on the modern stuff. I'm sure historians can poke holes in some of his other historic claims.

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56 minutes ago, Ran said:

It is a dishonest document.

I'm not sure we should say that. As ridiculous as the arguments may be, they are consistent with what we know of Putin.
Point is, this isn't the work of an irrational madman. Disconnected or deluded, no doubt, but definitely rational, and with a longer memory than most people who would judge him.

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India has made its strongest comments condemning the killing of civilians, though like China they have also put in a, "claims should be investigated" caveat as the vaguest of sops to Putin.

Chinese state media has also started publishing satellite photos showing bodies in Bucha from mid-March and even said this contradicts Russian accounts of the bodies being put there more recently.

It's not much, but for them moving the needle even slightly is significant. China is also showing signs of getting antsy over the building rhetoric and military activity on the Korean Peninsula and might want to not be distracted by events in Russia at the same time (the USA as well for that matter). Exactly how much pressure China can extend on Russia to convince them to end the conflict is unclear; maybe an agreement for China to supply Russia with some raw materials and equipment in return for a ceasefire.

Another round of sanctions hits today and Britain, the USA and the Czech Republic are sending heavier weapons than they have before. Unconfirmed rumours that the Switchblades the USA has sent includes some S-600 models which have never seen combat before and are designed to operate behind enemy lines to target and destroy long-range artillery and missile launchers, as well as the S-300 model which can take out tanks and vehicles (not to be confused with the Russian S-series AA missile launchers).

US and UK military analysis suggests that Russia is rushing forces from other fronts straight into combat without replenishing their numbers or equipment, with predictably disastrous results. Russia might have no choice but to call a full operational pause of up to several weeks before it can properly begin its offensive in the Donbas. If it doesn't, dribbling troops in as they are at the moment is an invitation to get them destroyed piecemeal.

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I was going to deal with the Putin's article, but its not worth time it would take. Instead of pseudohistorical bullshit I got hot news from the frontline of propaganda: a new race of pig was bred in the Ukraine, it was named "Kadyrov" after a famous military commander.

 

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4 hours ago, Rippounet said:

Fascinating read (I didn't have time for it last night). This text actually explained the conflict better than anything I'd read up to this point.
The disconnect with the Western perspective is wild, almost scary.
I'm sure everyone here would be quick to dismiss such ideas, yet there's nothing irrational about this text. At its core are different views on time and the individual. They might seem absurd to us, yet I remember reading countless Western texts that held similar views in the 1980s.
I still struggle to admit that's all there is to it! Even though I've recently come to see it's all about time and death, it's still difficult to embrace all the implications. At least now I understand how imperative it is that the West not intervene directly in this war.

So given what the Russians plan to do you think we should let them do it?  Or do you think providing heavy weapons to Ukrainians isn’t “intervening directly”?

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I am convinced that if the war outlives our solidarity with Ukraine the West will be, at some point, forced to "intervene directly" or to defend itself.

Edit: I am - like Putin - not a historian, just an enthusiast, so like him I could take some books, sit, think and prepare my own article claiming that Ukraine's fate is forever braided with Poland. Some fact bending, misinterpretation, a bit of exaggeration and a bit of underestimation, 3 shameless lies... zounds of historical names and lofty phrases to make it more convincing. 

Of course Ukrainians are closer related to Russians with their ethnical and cultural kinship than to Poles , they also have common experience of spending XX century within the same state, so my task would be more difficult than Putin's and the effect harder to swallow for those who have any idea, but more or less - it would be the same, ideological bs / propaganda to prop up my politics.

Edited by broken one
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2 hours ago, Rippounet said:

I'm not sure we should say that. As ridiculous as the arguments may be, they are consistent with what we know of Putin.
Point is, this isn't the work of an irrational madman. Disconnected or deluded, no doubt, but definitely rational, and with a longer memory than most people who would judge him.

Hold on.  If the losing one term former President who lives in Florida and loves the Russian dictator were to publish an internally consistent non-word salad claim that the US is a white-christian ethnostate and that African-Americans should be thankful they were ripped from their homelands and transported here because of the “opportunities” it gave them you would call such a memorandum… rational?

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41 minutes ago, broken one said:

I was going to deal with the Putin's article, but its not worth time it would take. Instead of pseudohistorical bullshit I got hot news from the frontline of propaganda: a new race of pig was bred in the Ukraine, it was named "Kadyrov" after a famous military commander.

 

I feel that Kadyrov should be a prime military target if he really were in the Ukraine. Stirring trouble in Chechnya sounds like something that Putin should fear. 

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8 minutes ago, kiko said:

I feel that Kadyrov should be a prime military target if he really were in the Ukraine. Stirring trouble in Chechnya sounds like something that Putin should fear. 

He was in Ukraine for maybe a week. He's since been posting social media videos from his palace back in Chechnya, so he didn't hang around for long.

Edited by Werthead
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