Ukraine says that 400,000 citizens have been forcibly taken to Russia.
Russia says the relocated people want to go to Russia.
Okay then, nothing to see here.
This is one of the most horrifying things I have read about the war yet.
Nearly half a million civilians have been taken from Ukraine in this war.
Is there nothing the international community can do about this?
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot anyone can do unless they’re willing to attack Russia. We can protest and accuse Russia of war crimes, but none of those things will have much effect without force to back them up.
What is Russian for Arbeit Macht Frei (hope I spelled that right)?
Gin & Tonic
There is plenty the international community can do. There is a lot less they are willing to do.
I hope there are satellites watching this.
@Gin & Tonic: How long does it take the ICC to make a determination of war crimes that are committed in plain sight?
*intended as an actual question as well as an exclamation of disbelief that this can’t be done immediately.
I presume they are now to be considered hostages.
@WaterGirl: My understanding (which may not be correct) is that the ICC can only bring someone to trial with the approval of the UN Security Council. Guess who holds a veto?
@japa21: Beyond ridiculous.
Then it’s definitely time to undo that based on Russia never having gone to through the process to ascend to the seat that was vacated by the USSR.
@WaterGirl: I think the more important question is whether anyone in Russia cares at all about ICC rulings. Or at least, whether anyone in Russia with any power cares.
Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.
@dmsilev: Are there no teeth in any of our institutions? Not just here but around the world? is it just like in the US, a presumption that there will be no bad actors?
It’s feeling like everywhere I turn, our hands are tied by this rule or that rule that surely made sense when institutions were set up but now there are bad actors at every turn.
This is not directed at any institution, but geez can we not require people and countries to fucking recuse themselves when they are smack dab in the middle of a situation? No, forget “recusing themselves”, that decision needs to not be in their hands.
Gin & Tonic
@WaterGirl: I have no idea about the internal processes of the ICC. But it doesn’t matter, since Russia will tell the ICC to pound sand. As Trump demonstrated so effectively in 2017-2021, a lot of things in the US and the world function only because everyone generally agrees that they should, and if you are willing to say “fuck you” then there’s not much that can be done. Putin knew that before Trump, and is now demonstrating it as well.
Gin & Tonic
I think people in Russia will care about ICC rulings, since being under ICC indictment will affect their ability to travel internationally. What’s the point of having a vast fortune if you can only spend it in Russia and most imports are embargoed?
Delenda est Russia.
At least Russia as we know it.
@SpaceUnit: For me, the question is when the Russian government can be said to have committed genocide.
The Russians appear so incompetent that I am surprised they managed to take so many hostages. That’s a lot to coordinate, even if you are taking shitty care of the people you have captured (which they no doubt are).
@WaterGirl: International organizations basically only have the teeth that their members give them. It’s not like the UN is an actual world government, the ravings of various conspiracy theorists notwithstanding.
Disgusting but unsurprisingly. Unfortunately the forced relocation of populations has been par for the course in Russia from Tsarist times onwards.
@Ohio Mom: Speaking of shitty care, I wonder what the increased number of Covid cases will be?
Judging by the images I’ve seen of Mariupol they’ve already passed that marker.
@SpaceUnit: I agree, but there has to be some sort of declaration.
@Suzanne: I agree with you.
I want never again to actually mean never again. For anyone.
@Suzanne: It’s already being said. It’ll get louder once there’s enough evidence to support it.
Time to reread Gulag Archipelago.
The problem isn’t so much a failure of institutions as an excessive expectation of what any institution can achieve. Institutions are ultimately organizations of people, and they can only ever be as effective as the people who make them. If you turn your institutions over to a bunch of sociopaths, they’re going to fail.
Back in the first week.
@Roger Moore: I’d argue that we’re getting a lot of that effect already thanks to the sanctions that the US, most of Europe, etc. have put in place on a lot of the Russian elite.
Crush Russia’s economy for a generation. Make repatriation of Ukrainian hostages a condition of any lessening of sanctions.
Sadly this could take years.
@WaterGirl: Having been to Dachau, where “NEVER AGAIN” is inscribed in multiple languages…. I agree. I don’t know how we keep missing it.
This should make you question the image of the Russians as completely incompetent. Yes, the Russians didn’t accomplish nearly everything they set out to do, and incompetence is a big explanation for why. But at the same time they’ve managed to conquer a big chunk of Ukrainian territory and threaten several major cities, which says they still have the capability to achieve a lot. And, sadly, kidnapping a bunch of women and children isn’t that big a challenge.
@dmsilev: You somehow lost the “om” in .com – so you’ll want to add that back in before you comment again or that comment will go into moderation, too.
Ms. Deranged in AZ
That number sounds extremely high but what do I know!?. And as disturbing as that is the story about them taking children without their parents and orphans who have no families to Russia. That is horrifying. Because you know damn well they’re going to brainwash those little kids. There’s been a lot in the news lately about the low Russian birth rate and failure to repopulate in addition to the number of covid deaths. So this rounding up of children and sending them to Russia is totally part of the plan and has been from the get-go. I agree with you Watergirl it’s insane that nobody can do anything about this. I don’t normally advocate executing leaders of State but by God someone needs to take Putin out.
I don’t think the problem in Ukraine is an inability to see the problem; it’s a lack of plausible solutions. Seriously, what should we be doing? This is an essential point I find myself making again and again. It’s not enough to bemoan our failures. You need to propose a plausible approach that would let us achieve our goals.
@dmsilev: Apparently 20 more oligarchs will be announced tomorrow as being on the sanctions list.
@WaterGirl: I was wondering what happened. Thanks.
@Ms. Deranged in AZ: The article said that Russia agrees on the number of people, it’s just that Russia says they are there voluntarily.
Maybe some entity could arrange transport out of Russia for anyone who is “voluntarily” there but wants to leave? Remove the fig leaf, at least.
@Roger Moore: It occurs to me that the hostage taking was probably done by the much more capable internal security forces from already secured, or mostly secured, locations.
I suspect such a declaration is forthcoming, perhaps not by the UN but by NATO, the EU, individual heads of state, etc. I just can’t see what difference it will make though.
The world has never been in this position before. We’re in uncharted waters.
@WaterGirl: Good to hear.
Also, hopefully now that spring is here, cutting off Russian gas purchases won’t seem quite so scary…
@WaterGirl: This is a tough one. Democracy is grounded in the idea that people have a right of self-determination. That we the people can get together and decide what powers we will delegate to the government.
In order for that to be valid for us, it needs to be valid for every other country. Russia has the right of self-determination. It is not for us to dictate how their country should operate. As such, there is no governing authority above nations. There is a signaling institution (the UN, etc.) but their ability to act as a policing agency doesn’t exist because policing requires violence, the ability to constrain another country around, what? Who has the authority to tell that country what to do? Nobody.
The problem that comes is when a country imposes on another, like Russia and Ukraine. The only possible remedy is collective violence – a war, or an economic war, or a restricting of participation in the rest of the world (like with North Korea). And understand it’s impossible for the US to wage a war against Russia over Ukraine without Ukrainians dying, so justice may come at a cost even to the victims.
And if you want to recover anyone kidnapped to Russia? You’re either engaging in a war to physically recover them, or an economic or sanctions process to persuade them. But that’s it. Putin tried for crimes? There’s no cop to go in and arrest him. Russia has to decide to do that for themselves.
It’s not a failure of institutions, it’s a necessity of giving people the ability to self-determine. Everything flows from that. And yeah, it has places that can be exploited by parties like Putin. But it’s not worth throwing away just because of him. It’s hard.
@Dangerman: War and disease go together, don’t they, but the news of how the war is going — how far has the Russian army gotten, what help is the west giving, and all the rest — leaves no room for tracking Covid in Ukraine. They are two separate news silos, the pandemic and the war.
@Suzanne: I am especially worried for the women and girls. In a different way than I am worried for the children.
If any good is able to come out of this horrific war, maybe it can be that the world will have faced authoritarianism and stopped it, or at least pushed it back for a generation.
The world has to meet this moment. I am glad we have Joe Biden to help lead us in the right direction. President Zelensky is a gift, as well.
The Russians are exceedingly competent at repression. They have had hundreds of years of practice.
What they are turning out not to be very good at is modern 3-dimentional technological warfare and the logistics to support it. But we knew that already. I doubt there is a single major battle that Russia fought in WW2 (up until the Battle of Berlin when Germany was already defeated) in which they had a lower casualty count than the opponent. The difference between then and today is that Russia no longer has a 10 million man army with millions of troops to spare.
Yeah, I hear you. The answer is: FUCKIFINO. I am so very comfortable declaring my complete lack of expertise in this arena.
@Suzanne: We don’t miss is. Hell, we barely even stop to do it ourselves. You don’t think that Texas and Florida and other GOP legislatures aren’t waging a soft genocide on transgender people? We’ll accept European refugees but not Central American ones? Fuck, we allowed a million Americans to be killed from a disease we could have mitigated to a reasonable degree.
It’s less direct, but it’s nearly as immoral.
It’s a failure of humanity.
There’s no international institution that has teeth. Sanctions should be racked up, and Putin’s stooges , enablers and useful idiots around the world should made complicit in this crime. This should be thrown in the face of the GQP traitors, the Torys and, all others who have been, and are on his payroll
Putin has, quite incredibly, managed to make his regieme even more toxic to the outside world than before. It will be much harder for Xi and Modi ( to name but 2) to maintain their neutrality in the face of this
@Suzanne: One of the things I always had to remind my staff of – problems aren’t guaranteed to have a solution. This isn’t 3rd grade where every test question has a right answer.
Lots of problems have no good solutions. Sometimes the best you can do is choose the least terrible option, and sometimes the least terrible option is still intolerable. The world is full of Sophie’s choices.
Dorothy A. Winsor
We tried watching the first episode of “Servant of the People” tonight on Netflix. That’s the sitcom Zelenskyy starred in. It didn’t catch our interest, but it was interesting to see him in that totally different world.
On tap for tomorrow:
@Martin: I think Covid has done something to our view of numbers and people.
Like grade inflation x one zillion.
We lose a million people in the US to Covid? ?♀️ Oh, well. We’re only losing a thousand people a day now! Oh, well. 400,000 civilians kidnapped and taken hostage by Russia? Hell, we lost more than twice that to Covid. Oh well, it’s just the old people or the people who were already sick, those are the ones who were dying, they didn’t have that long anyway. Shrug.
I find myself wondering if our society has lost its understanding of the value of life.
Gin & Tonic
@Martin: So how many Ukrainians will you sacrifice for that principle?
@dmsilev: Why the hell would they be announcing that?????
@dmsilev: Guess it is no longer a surprise.
@WaterGirl: I presume the Secret Service and the military and whoever else is involved in security decided it was low-risk to announce it now.
I see the news is from reputable source, and Russian apparently agrees with number, but I have a hard time believing that Russia could coordinate moving that many people. Physically, the transport … the very short timeframe since this movement might have begun … the fact that they don’t seem to have fuel for their war machines but have fuel for buses or vans or whatever? How is this real?
Is it just wishful thinking on my part that a half million people have not been kidnapped in a month?
@Roger Moore: Not to mention, are you willing to kill 400k to get 400k back? How far do you want this organization to go? Will you take necessary steps to punish Russia? Like curtail your travel? Reduce your spending on things? Push for sustainable policies? There’s no easy answer here.
@hotshoe: Unless they have been taken and not transported.
God, the Tiger Team is not the best thing to name our troops.
@Kent: That is a useful distinction, and yes, oppression is a Russian tradition.
This discussion about the limitations of the UN and recognizing that Russia has self-determination even if they don’t use it well, reminds of something that Tony Judt wrote (he was an expert on modern European history) which went something to the effect of, as many shortcomings as the nation-state has, it seems to be the best we can do (that is a terrible butchering of what he said but it is the best my memory can do).
@Kalakal: Unfortunately, Xi and Modi and support Putin, while pretending to be neutral. Birds of a fascist feather.
Baiting the bear? Perhaps Poland is spoiling for a fight. An attack on Polish soil could give them cover to take a more active role in supplying the Ukraine resistance within the Ukrainian borders but without actually taking up actual combat. Meanwhile NATO would be authorized to patrol Polish skies right along the Ukrainian border. It would be an incremental response that ratchets up the threat from the West and yet falls short of a NATO declaration of war.
Obviously, I don’t know. I’m just spitballing here.
@debbie: I don’t think so. Stick with me on this one.
We haven’t figured out what winning at humanity looks like, and I doubt we ever will. We will constantly invent new problems that need to be solved. Lots of things that are unacceptable today were just fine when we were kids. Did we fail at humanity, or were we still working it out? And 50 years on we’ll look back at today and people will wonder how we were so comfortable with a variety of things. You mean you had segregated mens and women sports? How degrading! We don’t know.
Humanity is a process, and we’re seeing that process playing out. 80 years ago this action would have grown into a continental conflict, a much broader war. We’re responding in new ways – sanctions – that wouldn’t have worked then because the things being sanctioned wouldn’t have mattered then.
And the US is hardly on the right side of humanity. We often try to be and often succeed, but we’re also the only country to drop nuclear weapons on civilians. Europe thinks were barbarians because we don’t have universal healthcare. China thinks we’re idiots because we haven’t figured out how to deal with Covid and have allowed a million civilians to die. A lot of people think that the very notion of having a border that a person cannot cross is fundamental immoral.
Hopefully the long arc bends toward justice, and it has, but justice is always a moving target, so the arc never actually gets there. We’re getting better, but we’ll always need improvement.
@TonyG: Oh I agree. That’s why I said it will be much harder to maintain the fiction.
I just want to scream. There are evil people in this world. It’s like what we did to thousands of children and families at our border when we separated them and last I knew there were about 1,000 we couldn’t find. What happened to them?
400,000 people? It’s horrific. People need to hang for this cruelty.
The mass kidnapping of children stirred an old memory, the history of the janissaries. Stolen or seized children, raised in another culture to become the elite military force of their ruler. Given Putin’s interest in history (no matter how twisted), this sounds to me like something he’d try. Who knows? The crime is so monstrous it’s impossible to know what’s going on.
International law, in the absence of a real court system that can enforce its judgments, is rather like the Pirates’ Code. Seriously, it is a set of interlocking bilateral, trilateral, multilateral, regional, etc., agreements that sometimes contradict one another and can often only be enforced by sanctions or military action.
@hotshoe: They have plenty of fuel, but they can’t get it to the front lines. Hostages were almost certainly taken from behind the lines, where supply chains aren’t so squeezed.
They’re fucked on the battlefield, so far, so what can they do? They can kidnap people who have the misfortune to be already behind them. There’s a logic there, but it’s the logic of war criminals.
@MomSense: For me its vacillating between rage and sadness, and feeling like I might throw up. It is horrific. This hit me like a ton of bricks.
@Gin & Tonic: I don’t know. We sacrificed a million Americans to covid over that principle and haven’t even slowed down.
Look, we aren’t sacrificing Ukrainians. Putin is. And we don’t have the absolute authority to arbiter how this should go, and thank goodness, because we just had 4 years of rule under a guy who would have made a pile of decisions to make this all WAY worse. If the US can unilaterally decide if people across Europe should die in a nuclear attack, then democracy will end, because we will have ended it.
I agree with how Biden is doing this – collectively with Europe, with the people who will be affected during an escalation. This will be a collective decision. That means it may not be the decision we want or in the manner or timeframe we want it. That’s how it works, for good or bad.
I hope that whatever gets announced by Biden, NATO, G-7, the EU, whoever, whatever ratchets things WAY up, at least by an order of magnitude. Russia needs to get kicked the hell out of everything but the UN, and even there he needs to be booted out of the veto seat. I don’t know how that gets done, but there are a ton of clever people who can surely figure something out. Right?
@Cameron: Well, many of the conscripts are orphans raised as cannon fodder, as well as minorities.
@WaterGirl: As it should. This will never be easy. And if it ever feels easy, you should worry.
Gin & Tonic
@Raven: TIGER is an aerospace acronym. I have no memory of what it stands for but it’s a common phrase for special teams there.
That’s a tremendous number of people – I am having a certain amount of difficulty squaring the kind of logistical incompetence that has been on display elsewhere with moving hundreds of thousands of people all over over Russia.
That doesn’t mean it may not be happening, but there are a lot of private and public eyes on Russia right now and I’m curious to know if they are seeing any thing to corroborate this movement of so many people.
Gin & Tonic
@Martin: Easy for you to say from 8,000 miles away.
What does “never again” mean? If a million Ukrainians die, is that enough to take action? Two million? Ten million?
@Gin & Tonic: How many millions of people should we risk killing in a worldwide or even Europe-wide conflict that could easily result from NATO jumping in? There are no easy answers.
@WaterGirl: Maybe. Remember, the USSR kept their veto the entire time they were toppling governments across Europe. Russia could lose it over a technicality, but it would be because of that. The veto given to the USSR was necessary to get their participation. Same for the US.
This story makes no sense on its face. The Russians wouldn’t be hauling Ukrainian “refugees” into their own cities if they didn’t think they were going to reap an internal propaganda benefit from the stories those grateful refugees told their hosts. Which is not what happens in as hostage situation. And they are not about to build an instant prison camp to house 400,000 civilians.
It sounds like a botched propaganda ploy. An ambiguous exit offer to Ukrainians with wavering loyalties or just exhausted and terrified by war, in expectation that generosity will be repaid with reconsideration of ill-advised Russophobia. It might work for some, but it would be an embarrassment waiting to happen.
@Gin & Tonic: Serious question. If you were a decision-maker here or at least advising the President, what action would you recommend?
I am glad I am not the decider, or even an advisor. I feel so strongly that we need to do more, but I have no idea what or how would be the best way to do it, without making things even worse..
Da PHUCK. ???
trucks, troop transports and railcars going back, in Russian|Soviet tradition, either travel back empty, loaded with loot, or hostages.
Actual refugees are supposed to walk or arrange their own transport.
Gin & Tonic
@Omnes Omnibus: You first. I want all these people scratching their chins and saying “it’s a hard problem” or “well, sovereign nation-states” to give me a number. How many Ukrainians are you willing to see die? Because what I hear is that genocide is acceptable if the perpetrator has nuclear weapons.
About the phrase, “Never Again.”
When I was in my early twenties, I went to see the movie The Killing Fields. As you might remember, it is the story about the Cambodian man who was the photographer for a NYT reporter who had been stationed in Cambodia. I forget what happened to the reporter, I assume he left because it was getting too dangerous.
The bulk of the movie follows the photographer as he crosses Cambodia on foot, trying to get to Thailand and away from the war.
Anyway, there is a scene where he’s leaving a forest and entering into this large clearing, and the clearing is full of human skulls and bones. At that moment, my reaction was, “Oh, this wasn’t just a war that was killing Cambodians, they had a holocaust too.” It was the first moment I realized my people’s experience with genocide was not unique.
In some ways this is a story about how little attention I paid to the news as a youth but the larger idea stands: there have been lots and lots of holocausts, there is probably no time in earth that at least one genocide isn’t happening.
Even right now, there is also what the Chinese are doing to the Uyghurs and what Modi is working himself up to. It’s “Always Again.”
@WaterGirl: Award the seat to Ukraine. Fuck Russia.
@Carlo Graziani: Both Russia and Ukraine appear to be in agreement on the 400,000 number. The disagreement is on whether the Ukrainians “wanted to go to Russia” or were taken against their will.
Serious question. How does that fit with botched propaganda?
Gin & Tonic
@WaterGirl: I would recommend humanitarian aid convoys escorted by close air support and an appropriate number of armored ground units to assure appropriate retaliation if they are fired on. Make it very public, with routes announced, with international inspection of the convoys to see they are carrying food and bandages and diapers and stuff, and drive in from Romania or Poland. If there is a large enough number of these and enough publicity I do not believe Russia will attack them.
@Gin & Tonic: I would cool the hot takes. I really don’t think this story makes any sense at all, as it’s coming to us hot off the chyrons. War often does that. Let’s figure out what actually happened.
Oh, I am very sure we all know what humanity looks like and there’s only one reason it’s subverted over and over again. There are no real consequences when humanity has been brutalized. That is what has to change. Expel Russia from every international and regional organization and don’t let them return until they deserve to.
Gin & Tonic
This thread is not good for my health.
@Gin & Tonic: That may be what you are hearing, but it is not what is being said.
Part of me wants to believe what Putin’s really doing is relocating his loyalists from his stolen territories as he withdraws from Ukraine.
That was some movie.
Uhh… This is really Stalin redux!
@Gin & Tonic: Should China have intervened militarily when the US allowed a million citizens to die from Covid? Did those lives not matter? Was China obligated to act when the US decided that those were acceptable losses so we could keep going to the movies?
Never again means nothing. It never did. It doesn’t even mean anything to Israel who is more than happy to kill Palestinian teenagers. It’s a political slogan at worst and an aspiration at best. But it remains an aspiration for *everyone*. Everyone is struggling to live up to it.
Look, we kill our own. Sometimes systematically, sometimes negligently, often indiscriminately. The US has 160,000 preventable deaths just in hospitals every year. You know, that place that we pretty heavily regulate and entrust to do this right. Why? Mostly to save money. Where’s the never again movement for them? We lose between 10K and 50K Americans every year to the flu, something we have a shot to prevent most of those deaths. Other than feel-good public service advice, we allow that to continue. Where’s their never again movement?
Look, there’s a lot of reasons, all very complicated reasons why this happens, but underlying all of it is that we collectively choose to allow it and we don’t allow the minority to veto the collective. That’s what Jan 6 was about.
Your question isn’t for me, it’s for humanity. In fact, the most direct population its for is the people of Russia. Why do *they* tolerate this? Why do they allow Putin to do this? Willing to bet they would suffer fewer casualties violently overthrowing Putin than Ukraine will suffer.
And that, I believe, is what the sanctions will serve to do – to force an answer to that question. The Russian people are going to suffer until Putin is brought to justice. They have the power of self-determination, and they have wielded it poorly, just as we did in 2016.
“Stolen or seized children, raised in another culture to become the elite military force of their ruler. Given Putin’s interest in history (no matter how twisted), this sounds to me like something he’d try …”
That does not sound achievable in his lifetime, but if he begins it as a project now and others continue it once started — ugh, I’m gonna have nightmares.
Not your fault of course. Putin and the Russian population who fanatically follow him — whichever percentage of people that might be — are enough for me to have nightmares every night this past month.
Poland is the coyote that is antagonizing the bear that has its foot stuck in a massive bear trap. While hiding between the legs of an ever bigger bear. I doubt they would be so eager to provoke the Russians if Russia was able to give them their full attention and Poland wasn’t in NATO.
I don’t know that much about Poland, but I suspect there is a big domestic politics issue at play here. Looking and acting tough is usually good politics.
@WaterGirl: There is room for ambiguity, I think. They could “go willingly” at the time, because they are tired, and afraid, and promised an attractive alternative, and perhaps some of them were not completely hostile to Russia initially, and having the living shit bombed out of you can really make your perspective change if you have children to protect, and someone in authority appears to be credibly offering you a good deal.
We are sitting here at our computers, in our heated homes with food-filled fridges, and can’t imagine such a deal being worth it. But those people are fucking scared. The Russians can take advantage of that. Yeah, I can see someone in that situation taking a deal. I’ve never been tested. I don’t know that I wouldn’t.
@Gin & Tonic: How much would it throw off the UF’s current strategy if China changes its mind and starts resupplying the RF?
I wish I had a better answer. Personally, I don’t think that not knowing how to stop a genocide without likely making it worse is different than saying it’s acceptable.
@Gin & Tonic: Is that kind of like what Poland was talking about doing? It kind of seems like it might be. (But maybe without the air support, I don’t think I saw that mentioned.)
@sdhays: All true.
@Dangerman: Can’t recall what TIGER stands for dammit; fairly sure I is either independent or integrated. Nothing else comes back to me.
Oddly, I can recall all about the TIGHAR project. If you’re at all interested in Amelia Earhardt and are open to the idea that she might have landed someplace, that is a fascinating story. Me, I’m fairly sure she landed on the former Gardner Island (I’m not brave enough to spell the new name) but they don’t have 100% percent proof yet.
The Times of Israel at 7:12 pm Thursday
@Kirk Spencer: 100 percent- the current Russian nation state form must be eradicated
@WaterGirl: That is something that should be in the works. Tweaks around the edges, not sure that close air support would make much difference and it wouldn’t really need too many armed guards. If the Russians are going to shoot it up, they will do it either way and a lightly armed convoy is much harder portray as a stealth attack by NATO.
@debbie: I was so young and much more naive when I walked into the theater than when I walked out.
I don’t mean to sound cavalier about what is happening to Ukraine. It makes me sick to my stomach.
There is a mass killer on the loose, he has an army of accomplices and it’s really hard for the rest of the world to figure out what to do without making things worse by starting WW III.
I find the phrase Never Again ironic because it was used very loudly by Meir Kahane. There’s somebody who would have gladly lead a genocide, if only he’d had the means.
FWIW, Adam had a post (yesterday, I believe) in which he stated that Poland’s military is not only much more formidable than most people realize but far more disciplined, professional and organized. He indicated that the Poles would give Russia all the fight it wanted on any given day, at least in terms of conventional warfare.
@Carlo Graziani: Good points on cooling the hot takes! The precedents that Stalin set w/ “problematic” populations, including in Ukraine, just came to mind immediately.
@WaterGirl: Yes, see, this is what I’m saying. This story is senseless. Read it again. It says “The FSB is introducing hundreds of thousands of witnesses to the brutal war carried out by Russia against Ukraine into Russian cities, where they may freely contradict the bullshit accounts of “de-Nazification by the special military operation” pouring from Russian TV sets every evening”.
Something is not right here. This take is too hot.
@Cameron: Turkey took Young Vlad the Impaler and his experience made him a monster … to the Turks..
@Carlo Graziani: In the past both the Tsars and the Communists split people into small groups and forcibly removed them ito remote locations where they would be surrounded by Russians. Children would be educated in Russian, adults would have to speak Russian at work and watch/listen to programmes in Russian. The idea was basically, to decultualise them. Think about the boarding schools native American children were sent to; but on a much grander scale.
@Dangerman: Some bad history for that term in the US military. Google “Tiger Force Recon.”
@Omnes Omnibus: I expect some big announcements tomorrow.
Here’s what I am imagining. Poland is ready to do something, and soon, with our without any other country, Biden says hang on, we’ll figure it out together, Biden heads to Europe. Spends a couple of days getting everyone on the same page. Big announcements to come tomorrow, moving off the mark in some big way without doing any of the things Biden thinks would give Putin the cover he wants to make this whole thing bigger so Putin can save face back home.
Totally my imagination, but that’s what I think is likely happening.
@WaterGirl: nah it’s a math vs our capacity problem. Humans are great dealing in small numbers but as the figures grow, we stop processing what that really means. It’s the old Stalin quote “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic…”
@Carlo Graziani: I obviously don’t know, but I waited until it was reported on 4 different news sites before I posted anything.
Any thoughts on why this person in the Ukraine government would go on record with anything this specific if it weren’t so?
@SpaceUnit: In WWII, whenever Polish soldiers were given state of the art equipment, they were absolute terrors on the battlefield, for example, in closing the Falaise Gap.*
*No disrespect intended to our valiant Canadian friends.
Also they despise Putin.
@YY_Sima Qian: Would you consider re-posting your long comment from yesterday evening? I don’t think many people got to read it. It’s a different perspective, maybe not a familiar one to me, but what do I know.
I better sleep.
@WaterGirl: No idea. In these situations I go with (1) 90% of all info in the first 24 hours of any new crisis is likely bullshit, and (2) Truth is the first casualty of war.
With (2), I distrust angels as much as devils.
@Carlo Graziani: Adam’s post is up, and he linked to this tweet:
Enhanced Voting Techniques
I would like to point out the Russians can barely supply their own soldiers so, they can efficiently move a half million people who have been fighting back? That sounds like Russian bullshit to me. And WTF, Putin wants Russian to be more hated the Nazi if it’s true?
@Carlo Graziani: So Ukrainian Ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova is saying it has been verified, and Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmyla Denisova is saying that it has not been verified.
I guess that’s possibly good news.
This wouldn’t be the first thing to be walked back, and it surely won’t be the last.
Sometimes it seems to be a matter of not necessarily truth vs. not truth, but of what information they want released at any point in time.
@WaterGirl: Poland hasn’t indicated they want to join the war. They’re pushing for a humanitarian zone inside of Ukraine and humanitarian corridors, along with more defensive weapons. If there is an announcement expect something along those lines.
@Carlo Graziani: I think you will find Adan’s take on this in tne thread above vindicating.
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: It may not have just been the last month but since they entered that region a few years ago.
I don’t buy that they moved 400,000 people in the last month.
@Martin: I agree.
I wasn’t trying to say that Poland has indicated that they want to join the war. I was thinking more that they were wanting to have a more active humanitarian effort and were willing to take more risks to do that.
It seems very important to President Biden that all the NATO countries and other allies be on the same page. That was the point I was trying to make.
@WaterGirl: I don’t think I’ve expressed my misgivings clearly:
It is entirely possible that those wretched people were offered least-bad deals, which they accepted “voluntarily”, because human endurance has a limit, and most of them were not warriors, and perhaps the deal was made to sound attractive to them. Now they would be pawns in a propaganda war. Which, in a sense, is actually morally worse, or at least more degrading, than the scenarios that we have been contemplating.
Polish military prowess got a bad rap from being victimized by the German blitzkrieg in early WW II (which proceeded to bulldoze much greater military powers later on). However, the winged Hussars stopped the Ottomans at Vienna & owned the battlefield against Germans & Russians at the height of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s power. Even after being carved up by neighboring empires, Hussars became elite calvary of armies across Europe. Shortly after regaining independence post-WW II, the Polish army defeated the Red Army onslaught at the gates of Warsaw and drove it all the way back (though after perhaps foolishly trying to intervene in the Russian Civil War). Exiled Polish pilots performed well in the Battle of Britain, & Polish armed forces in exile performed well in Italy & the Western Front. There is a hallowed military tradition there. However, Poland historically suffered from indefensible borders, sandwiched among greater powers (post-dissolution of the Commonwealth), & often inept (but nevertheless overconfident) political leadership.
@Ohio Mom: Yes, it does seem that with one person in Ukraine government saying it did happen and another saying that it can’t be verified… then we don’t know yet whether that is the case or not.
Reason to hope, at least, if not to rejoice.
A standard coach style bus has a capacity of about 55 people. If they moved 400,000 people that would require 7,272 separate bus trips if the buses were filled to capacity. I think people would notice that many buses. That would be a 40 mile long traffic jam of buses. It’s not like passenger trains are running between Mariupol and Russia at the moment.
Russia has stated that they want to “deNazify” Ukraine. In other words, deUkraine Ukraine and turn it into “Little Russia”.
To achieve that you have to remove every Ukrainian nationalist, from teachers, through artists, to Mayors, from Ukraine.
@Carlo Graziani: Or I am just being dense! :-)
I think the article from the Times of Israel suggests that you could be right.
If Mariupol residents were completely cut off from the news, they could have been told anything. For instance, “Ukraine lost the war, we can either shoot you here or you can voluntarily relocate to Russia.” Or “no help is coming, you can stay here and starve or we can give you this great new life in Russia.” Given the choice of survival vs. not, with people potentially lying to you, who knows what choice you would make.
@Jay: I don’t disagree with that. Can you say more about the point you are making? That it’s credible that they would have taken 400,000 people if they could?
@WaterGirl: But it would be hard to move that many people that quickly without it being seen.
Surely it is possible to get some confirmation or disproof of this via satellite image. You can’t hide the mass movement of 400,000 people from machines capable of imagining down to a few feet
@Omnes Omnibus: It’s so hard to know. I, for one, would be happy to find out that this was wrong information being reported everywhere.
What’s the old adage?
Believe only half of what you see and none of what you hear.
When it comes to war, it’s probably worse than that.
Correction, WWI, they also kicked the German Baltic Freikorps out of Poland.
Via KyivIndependent – Ukrinform.ua (Google Translate):
We know VVP’s people lie about everything. We should not take anything they say at face value.
I think it is possible. The Soviet Union/Russia has a long history of forced relocations. They removed over 8 million ethnic Germans over 4 months after the end of WWII.
Most of the transport headed back to Russia and Belarus, are heading back empty, as there is little to loot in the areas of Ukraine they have managed to grab and they are not picking up dead RU bodies. So why not round up all the important Ukrainians at gunpoint the FSB can grab, and ship them to primitive gulags in Russia. You can cram about 120 people into a Graz BAB, under basic tarp covers, that on turn around, can carry 32 MLRS’s. 200 if you are evil.
Then you have the refugees heading in the opposite direction of the shooting, with their own transport or what ever public transport exists.
We know that there are well over 200,000 Ukrainian refugees in the West so far, and that’s a much more difficult journey.
@Carlo Graziani: Your take is very likely valid except for these “refugees” are being moved far away where they will likely have little or no access to media. What might be more important is how they will be fed.
Ms. Deranged in AZ
@WaterGirl: The orphans that were taken are prima facie evidence of war crimes. Children can’t give consent and even the head of an orphanage cannot just say “yep, go ahead and cart them off to Siberia”. Per usual, Putin’s bullshit doesn’t pass even the most feeble sniff test.
It’s been tried before. By the Soviets before and after ww2, the Nazis during ww2. Both efforts failed, not for want of trying or lack of resources. Away back in 1941, the NKVD shot all the political prisoners they could not move when the Germans invaded, which amounted to all the prisoners. Then, of course, the Germans came and started what they regarded as their holy mission. Which amounted to murdering every Jewish person they could, plus intellectuals, priests, Communists and anyone else who might think of resisting in any way, plus a lot of ordinary Ukrainians. There are hundreds upon hundreds of Holocaust sites in Ukraine, including many city and town names in the daily news now. Russian civil war, war with Poland, rebellions, Mongol invasions…
This is so goddamned depressing. More blood on top of centuries of it.
I understand this is the official Twitter account of the Ukraine parliament. Here’s what it says:
Getting past the difference in the numbers, this is still a horrific war crime. One of the conditions of any peace must be their return.
@hotshoe: “Is it just wishful thinking on my part that a half million people have not been kidnapped in a month?”
Nazi Germany was willing to devote scarce resources to the Holocaust up until the end.
работа освобождает according to google translate
@Jay: You are quite right!
I don’t doubt that the Russians are taking Ukrainians to Russia but I doubt that they have managed to move nearly half a million people.
From what I’ve seen so far, logistics doesn’t seem to be a strength of theirs.