Let’s start tonight by focusing on the where of the next ground attack, which will be coming from the northeast, east, southeast, and south of Ukraine. Below is the latest geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) on where the Russian military is from the British Ministry of Defence.
While you can click on it to make it bigger, here’s the shorthand for what you’re looking at. The salmon colored areas are Russian controlled. With the exception of two gaps, the first between Izium and Luhansk and the second farther north between Kharkiv and Sumy, the Russians basically have control over everything from Crimea north and a bit west to Kherson then all the way around the eastern border of Ukraine with Russia. The areas colored in with the diagonal hashing are contested. The one I want to focus on is the one between Izium and Luhansk. In this area Ukraine’s eastern forces, known as the Joint Forces Operation (JFO), are basically exposed between two different elements of the Russian invaders. The Ukrainian position is forming a salient, which you can see in the map below made by Ukrainian journalist Illla Ponomarenko:
The blue lines on the map indicate where the JFO is in relation to the areas under Russian control, still in salmon, and from which the Russians can and most likely will attack. As you can see, the JFO is surrounded on three sides by the Russians, which means it is very vulnerable. It can be encircled and reduced. The Ukrainians, now that they’ve held the central portion of the country and Kyiv is safe from land based attacks, need to both reinforce the JFO as soon as possible and reposition its front lines vis-a-vis the Russians to avoid it being encircled and reduced. Just as the Russians are racing to get units reorganized and moved to the south and east of Ukraine, as well as to bring in fresh personnel and equipment from Russia and other places, the Ukrainians need to be moving with all possible haste to get the JFO both reinforced and its position adjusted to ensure it isn’t going to be entrapped and destroyed.
The operational update regarding the russian invasion on 12.00 on April 4, 2022
The fortieth day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to the russian military invasion continues.
A russian enemy continues to conduct full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine. A russian enemy command, in order to prepare for an offensive operation in east of Ukraine, deploys elements of the operational construction of the offensive group and increases the C2 system. A russian occupying forces are regrouping and trying to improve the tactical situation in some areas in southern Ukraine. The formation and relocation of additional units of a russian federation to participate in hostilities on the territory of Ukraine continues.
In the Volyn direction, the situation has not changed, units of the Armed Forces of the republic of belarus, with forces of up to four battalion tactical groups, continue to perform tasks to cover the border.
In the Polissya direction, there is a high probability of missile and bomb strikes on military and civilian infrastructure by russian enemy planes operating from belarusian airfields.
There is a movement of units of the Eastern Military District and airborne troops from the territory of the republic of belarus to the russian federation. The movement of weapons, military equipment and personnel is carried out by rail and air.
According to available information, separate units of the 35th All-Military Army (Belogorsk) and the 36th All-Military Army (Ulan-Ude) of the Eastern Military District are located in the settlements of Rechitsa and Yampol (Gomel Region of the republic of belarus).
In the Siversky direction, the enemy completed the withdrawal of units from the Central Military District to the Kursk region and began their further movement.
In the Slobozhansky direction, the enemy continues to blockade Kharkiv, carry out artillery shelling of the city, and regroup troops. Strengthens the air cover of important objects in the area of the city of Belgorod and areas of concentration of troops in the Kharkiv direction.
To clarify the positions of units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the enemy is conducting reconnaissance in the area of the village of Barvinkove with the use of UAVs, also trying to restore the bridge over the river Siversky Donets near the city of Izyum. Near the settlement of Brazhkivka, with the help of a tank company tactical group, the enemy conducted reconnaissance by battle, had no success, and retreated to the previously occupied frontiers.
There is still a high probability of air and missile strikes on civilian targets in Kharkiv, and preparations are underway for an offensive in the direction of Slovyansk.
In the Donetsk and Tavriya directions, the main efforts of the enemy are concentrated in the areas of the settlements of Rubizhne, Popasna, preparation for the attack on Siverodonetsk, as well as gaining full control over the city of Mariupol. On it today a russian enemy struck 8 air strikes, street fights proceed. Ukrainian defenders are defending the city.
At the same time, the enemy completes the regrouping and replacement of units that have lost offensive capabilities in order to resume active offensive operations.
In the South Buh direction, our troops are pushing back the occupiers in the Kherson oblast. The enemy carried out air reconnaissance around Mykolayiv with use of the UAV.
In the Black Sea and Azov operational zones, the activity of the enemy ship group in the Black Sea is reduced due to difficult weather conditions (storm up to 4 points). The rest of the enemy ships perform tasks in certain areas.
Together to victory! We believe in the Armed Forces of Ukraine! Keep calm! Glory to Ukraine!
There is video circulating today of a large number of Ukrainian Marines who supposedly surrendered in Mariupol early today or yesterday/over the weekend. I’ve seen no official confirmation of this yet, I’ve seen at least person claim the video is several weeks old and not from Mariupol, and the accounts initially posting the video are all pseudonymous with no way of knowing who is actually running them despite having high speed sounding names, even if they are being retweeted by people using their own names who are legitimate and usually credible. So until there’s more clarity, I’m just going to acknowledge this is out there and move on without further discussion.
Much more after the jump.
Over the past hour the Russians have begun bombarding pretty much every target in Ukraine they can identify.
Sirens have been activated in the Cherkasy, Chernivtsi, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Khmelnytsky, Kirovohrad, Kyiv, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Poltava, Rivne, Sumy, Ternopil, Vinnytsia, Volyn, Zakarpattya, Zaporizhzhia, Zhytomyr oblasts and in Kyiv.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 5, 2022
Everyone needs to prepare themselves that worse imagery, video, and reports are going to be coming from the other parts of Ukraine the Russians had occupied and/or are still occupying!
— Anastasiia Lapatina (@lapatina_) April 4, 2022
And it’s just the Kyiv oblast…
— olexander scherba?? (@olex_scherba) April 4, 2022
⚡️Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova says the atrocities in Borodyanka, Kyiv Oblast, are set to overshadow those committed in Bucha.
“In terms of human casualties, the worst situation is in Borodyanka. There’s a lot to process."
— Oleksiy Sorokin (@mrsorokaa) April 4, 2022
⚡️Russians' torture chamber discovered in basement of children's health resort in Bucha.
The bodies of five murdered men were discovered in the basement.
Their hands had been tied and they appear to have been tortured.
Source: Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/lIwUHHAUw5
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 4, 2022
RT giddily reports that Russian soldiers captured and summarily executed 93 Ukrainians in civilian clothing who tried to escape from Mariupol. https://t.co/2g9OUkFIHy
— Slava Malamud ?? (@SlavaMalamud) April 4, 2022
The NY Times‘ visual investigative team have done an amazing job synching up the open source satellite imagery from Maxar’s with the video taken after the Russians were cleared from central Ukraine to refute the Russian government’s assertions that all of the war crimes being documented are false flags and hoaxes using crisis actors and, at the same time, were all actually committed by the Ukrainians to make the Russians look bag.
— Malachy Browne (@malachybrowne) April 4, 2022
Much more imagery and explanations of how they did it at this link.
If you’re wondering why Germany is still holding out, despite what we’re seeing from Bucha, this thread is an excellent socio-political and socio-economic explanation:
I know a lot of foreigners are struggling to understand why Germany keeps sending billions to Moscow while Russia is waging war against Ukraine. Here's a thread to explain how this looks from Germany:
— Marcel Dirsus (@marceldirsus) April 4, 2022
- The first thing to understand is that it’s not just the government. There are some exceptions but more or less Germany’s entire political class wants to keep buying Russian oil and gas. At least for now. They say they want to stop at some point in the distant future but not now.
- German elites are so reluctant to stop buying Russian energy because the consequences to Germany’s economy would be severe. Economists have been arguing about details for a while but everyone understands that Germany would take a very bad hit.
- It’s not just the economic damage itself, either: Uncertainty is a huge concern. The government evidently believes not only that the economic damage would be severe but also that it’s impossible to predict just how bad things would get. That scares them.
- The entire situation is just really awkward for many German politicians. They have to be seen to do something because there’s heavy political pressure but they desperately want to avoid damaging Germany’s economy. There are few military options.
- Many of the people that now have to figure out whether to support or reject energy sanctions played a huge role in creating dependency on Russian energy in the first place. That makes it quite a bit more difficult to manoeuvre.
- Since they desperately want to avoid energy sanctions, German politicians have come up with an impressive number of ways to confuse voters or try to convince them that Germany is either doing more than enough already or that energy sanctions would make no difference
- One argument that keeps coming up over and over again is something like this: Yes, we might be sending billions to Moscow but Putin can’t use that money because of sanctions. I’m pretty sure it came from an arcane debate between rival camps of economists but now it’s mainstream
- For politicians, that argument is great. Like 11 voters actually understand whatever the hell the economists are talking about but every politician can just repeat that German money is totally useless to Putin and plenty of people will believe it. Even more will be confused.
- The second tactic is diversion: “We might keep sending billions to Moscow but we’re doing everything else we can.” That’s obviously untrue. Take arms transfers, for example. There’s been report after report on delays, failures and incompetence.
- But, and this is lucky for the government, arms transfers are shrouded in secrecy. That’s good, because you don’t want everyone to know where and when you deliver what equipment, but it also allows the government to hide. They’re doing it, or at least they’re trying to.
- So what happens next? It’s really tough to say. Since not even the opposition supports tough energy sanctions, there’s definitely a scenario in which Berlin gets away with inaction. Much will depend on the trajectory of the war itself.
- We’re currently at stage 4 of German foreign policy. If the war gets any worse, pressure on Berlin could become so overwhelming that they change course, at least on oil. Every Russian war crime makes it tougher for Germany to do nothing.
- We’re now at stage two of German foreign policy: 1. Ignore issue as long as possible 2. Say it can’t be done 3. Watch everything get worse 4. Lose allied trust due to inaction 5. Reluctantly change course 6. “We’re amazing because we changed course
- This is fair criticism. I suppose it depends on your definition of “distant future.” I’d guess to many Ukrainians, those dates feel pretty distant because they want us to stop empowering Putin right now and not in a few months or years from now
- This omits the German government’s recent pledge to end all oil imports from Russia this year and gas by mid-2024. Nobody in positions of power wants to keep buying Russian oil and gas until “some point in the distant future.”
- In short: Germany wants to stop buying Russian oil and gas but it really doesn’t want to stop buying it right now. Whether it changes course or not will depend on the war. If it gets worse, Berlin might do it. If not, they can probably get away with not doing it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This morning, RIA_Novosti, which is Russian state controlled “news” media – and if you recall, the outlet that first planted the Hunter Biden, along with John Kerry’s stepsons and Liz Cheney, were undertaking illegal and unethical business trading off their fathers’ names in Ukraine back in May 2014 (see my Black PSYOP series for all the details including the screengrab) – ran a column, really more a polemic, calling for complete and utter destruction of Ukraine as a state, a society, and a culture. Here is the English translation courtesy of Mary Kravchenko. According to Kravchenko, the author is a political technologist.
What should Russia do with Ukraine?
We wrote about the inevitability of Ukraine’s denazification as early as last April. We do not need a Nazi, Banderite Ukraine, the enemy of Russia and a tool of the West used to destroy Russia. Today, the denazification issue has taken a practical turn.
Denazification is necessary when a considerable number of population (very likely most of it) has been subjected to the Nazi regime and engaged into its agenda. That is, when the “good people — bad government” hypothesis does not apply. Recognizing this fact forms the backbone of the denazification policy and all its measures, while the fact itself constitutes its subject.
This is the situation Ukraine has found itself in. The fact that the Ukrainian voter was choosing between the “Poroshenko peace” and the “Zelenskyy peace” must not deceive you: Ukrainians were quite happy with the shortest way to peace via a blitzkrieg, which was strongly alluded to by the last two Ukrainian presidents when they were elected. This was the method used to “pacify” home antifascists in Odesa, Kharkiv, Dnipro[the RU original uses the city’s former name “Dnipropetrovsk”], Mariupol, and other Russian cities — the method of total terror. And ordinary Ukrainians were fine with it. Denazification is a set of actions aimed at the nazified bulk of the population, who technically cannot be directly punished as war criminals.
Those Nazis who took up arms must be destroyed on the battlefield, as many of them as possible. No significant distinction should be made between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the so-called “nationalist battalions,” as well as the Territorial Defense, who have joined the two other types of military units. They are all equally complicit in the horrendous violence towards civilians, equally complicit in the genocide of the Russian people, and they don’t comply with the laws and customs of war. War criminals and active Nazis must be punished in such a way as to provide an example and a demonstration. A total lustration must be conducted. All organizations involved in Nazi actions must be eliminated and prohibited. However, besides the highest ranks, a significant number of common people are also guilty of being passive Nazis and Nazi accomplices. They supported the Nazi authorities and pandered to them. A just punishment for this part of the population can only be possible through bearing the inevitable hardships of a just war against the Nazi system, waged as carefully and sparingly as possible relates civilians. The further denazification of this bulk of the population will take the form of re-education through ideological repressions (suppression) of Nazi paradigms and a harsh censorship not only in the political sphere but also in the spheres of culture and education. It was through culture and education that the pervasive large-scale Nazification of the population was conducted, ensured by the guarantees of dividends from the Nazi regime victory over Russia, by the Nazi propaganda, internal violence and terror, and the 8-year-long war against the people of Donbas, who have rebelled against the Ukrainian Nazism.
Denazification can only be conducted by the winner, which means (1) their unconditional control over the denazification process and (2) the authority that can ensure such control. For this purpose, a country that is being denazified cannot possess sovereignty. The denazifier state, Russia, cannot take a liberal approach towards denazification. The denazifier ideology cannot be challenged by the guilty party that is being denazified. When Russia admits that Ukraine needs to be denazified, it essentially admits that the Crimea scenario cannot be applied to the whole Ukraine. In all fairness, this scenario was also not possible in the insurgent Donbas in 2014. Only the 8-year-long rebellion against the Nazi violence and terror managed to result in an internal unification and deliberate, explicit, broad-scale refusal of retaining any association with or relation to Ukraine, who has identified itself as a Nazi community.
The period of denazification can take no less than one generation that has to be born, brought upm and mature under the conditions of denazification. The nazification of Ukraine has been going on for more than 30 years — starting from as early as 1989, when Ukrainian nationalism was given legal and legitimate forms of political self-expression and led the movement for “independence”, setting a course for Nazism.
The current nazified Ukraine is characterized by its formlessness and ambivalence, which allow it to disguise Nazism as the aspiration to “independence” and the “European” (Western, pro-American) path of “development” (in reality, to degradation) and claim that “there is no Nazism” in Ukraine, “only few sporadic incidents.” Indeed, there isn’t a main Nazi party, no Führer, no full-fledged racial laws (only a cutdown version in the form of repressions against the Russian language). As a result — no opposition or resistance against the regime.
However, all listed above doesn’t make Ukrainian Nazism a “light version” of the German Nazism of the first half of the 20th century. Quite the opposite: since Ukrainian Nazism is free from such “genre” norms and limitations (which are essentially a product of political technologies), it can spread freely just like a basis for any Nazism — both European and, in its most developed form, the American racism. That’s why there can be no compromise during denazification, as in the case of the “no to NATO, yes to EU” formula. The collective West is in itself the architect, source, and sponsor of Ukrainian Nazism, while the Banderite supporters from Western Ukraine and their “historical memory” is just one of the tools of the nazification of Ukraine. Ukronazism poses a much bigger threat to the world and Russia than the Hitler version of German Nazism.
Apparently, the name “Ukraine” cannot be kept as a title of any fully denazified state entity on the territory liberated from the Nazi regime. The people’s republics, newly created on the territories free from Nazism, must and will develop on the basis of practices of economic self-government and social security, restoration and modernization of systems of essential services for the population.
Their political direction cannot be neutral in practice: the redemption of their guilt before Russia for treating it like an enemy can be manifested only by relying on Russia in the processes of restoration, revival, and development. No “Marshall Plans” can be allowed to happen on these territories. No “neutrality” in the ideological and practical sense that is compatible with denazification can be possible. Individuals and organizations who are to become tools of denazification in the new denazified republics cannot but rely on the direct organizational and force support from Russia.
Denazification will inevitably include de-ukrainization — the rejection of the large-scale artificial inflation of the ethnic component in the self-identification of the population of the historical Malorossiya and Novorossiya territories, which was started by the Soviet authorities. Being a tool of the Communist superpower, this artificial ethnocentrism was not left unclaimed after its fall. It was transferred in its subservient role to a different superpower (the power above states) — the superpower of the West. It needs to be brought back within its natural boundaries and stripped of political functionality.
Unlike, for example, Georgia or the Baltic States, history has proved it impossible for Ukraine to exist as a nation-state, and any attempts to “build” such a nation-state naturally lead to Nazism. Ukrainism is an artificial anti-Russian construct that has no civilizational substance of its own, a subordinate element of an extraneous and alien civilization. Debanderization alone will not be enough for denazification: the Banderite element is only a hand and a screen, a disguise for the European project of the Nazi Ukraine, which is why the denazification of Ukraine means its inevitable de-europeanization.
The Banderite elites must be eliminated; their re-education is impossible. The social “bog,” which has actively and passively supported them through action and inaction, must go through the hardships of war and internalize the lived experience as a historical lesson and the redemption of its guilt. Those who didn’t support the Nazi regime and suffered from it and the war it started in Donbas must be consolidated and organized, must become the backbone of the new authorities, their vertical and horizontal framework. History has shown that the tragedies and dramas of the war time benefit the peoples who were tempted and carried away by their role as the enemy of Russia.
Denazification as a goal of the special military operation within the limits of the operation itself means a military victory over the Kyiv regime, the liberation of the territories from the armed supporters of nazification, the elimination of hard-line Nazis, the imprisonment of war criminals, and the creating of systemic conditions for further denazification in peacetime.
The latter, in its turn, must begin with the establishment of local governments, militia, and defense institutions, cleansed of Nazi elements, the launching on their basis of constituent processes to create a new republican statehood, the integration of this statehood into the close cooperation with the Russian agency on Ukraine denazification (newly established or reorganized on the basis of, for example, Rossotrudnichestvo), the adoption of the republican regulatory framework (legislation) on denazification under Russian control, the definition of boundaries and frameworks for the direct application of Russian law and Russian jurisdiction in the liberated territory in regard to denazification, the establishment of a tribunal for crimes against humanity in the former Ukraine. In this regard, Russia should act as the guardian of the Nuremberg Trials.
All of the above means that in order to achieve the denazification goals, the support of the population is necessary, as well as its transition to the Russian side after its liberation from the terror, violence, and ideological pressure of the Kyiv regime, and after their withdrawal from informational isolation. Of course, it will take some time for people to recover from the shock of military hostilities, to be convinced of Russia’s long-term intentions, meaning “they will not be abandoned.” It’s impossible to foresee exactly in which territories such a mass of the population will constitute a critically needed majority. The “Catholic province” (Western Ukraine, made up of five oblasts) is unlikely to become part of the pro-Russian territories. The exclusion line, however, will be found experimentally. Behind the line, a forcibly neutral and demilitarized Ukraine will remain, with the formally banned Nazism and hostile to Russia. This is where the haters of Russia will go. The threat of an immediate continuation of the military operation in case of non-compliance with the listed requirements must become a guarantee of the preservation of this obsolete Ukraine in a neutral state. Perhaps this will require a permanent Russian military presence on its territory. From the exclusion line to the Russian border, there will be a territory of potential integration into the Russian civilization, which is inherently anti-fascist.
The operation to denazify Ukraine, which began with a military phase, will follow the same logic of stages in peacetime as during the military operation. At each stage, it will be necessary to achieve irreversible changes, which will become the results of the corresponding stage. In this case, the necessary initial steps of denazification can be defined as follows:
— The elimination of armed Nazi formations (which means any armed formations of Ukraine, including the Armed Forces of Ukraine), as well as the military, informational, and educational infrastructure that ensures their activity;
— The establishment of people’s self-government institutions and militia (defense and law enforcement) of the liberated territories to protect the population from the terror of underground Nazi groups;
— The installation of the Russian information space;
— The seizure of educational materials and the prohibition of educational programs at all levels that contain Nazi ideological guidelines;
— Mass investigations aimed to establish personal responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity, the spread of Nazi ideology, and support for the Nazi regime;
— Lustration, making the names of accomplices of the Nazi regime public, involving them in forced labor to restore the destroyed infrastructure as punishment for Nazi activities (from among those who have not become subject to the death penalty or imprisonment);
— The adoption at the local level, under the supervision of Russia, of primary normative acts of denazification “from below,” a ban on all types and forms of the revival of Nazi ideology;
— The establishment of memorials, commemorative signs, monuments to the victims of Ukrainian Nazism, perpetuating the memory of the heroes of the struggle against it;
— The inclusion of a set of anti-fascist and denazification norms in the constitutions of the new people’s republics;
— The establishment of permanent denazification institutions for a period of 25 years.
Russia will have no allies in the denazification of Ukraine. Because this is a purely Russian business. And also because it is not just the Bandera version of Nazi Ukraine that will be eradicated. The process will also, and above all, affect Western totalitarianism, the imposed programs of civilizational degradation and disintegration, the mechanisms of subjugation under the superpower of the West and the United States.
In order to put the Ukraine denazification plan into practice, Russia itself will have to finally part with pro-European and pro-Western illusions, acknowledge itself as the last authority in protecting and preserving those values of historical Europe (the Old World) that deserve to preserve and that the West ultimately abandoned, losing the fight for itself. This struggle continued throughout the 20th century and found its expression in the world war and the Russian revolution, which were inextricably linked with each other.
Russia did everything possible to save the West in the 20th century. It implemented the main Western project that constituted an alternative to capitalism, which defeated the nation-states — the Socialist red project. It crushed German Nazism, a monstrous offspring of the crisis of Western civilization. The last act of Russian altruism was its outstretched hand of friendship, for which it received a monstrous blow in the 1990s.
Everything that Russia has done for the West, it has done at its own expense, by making the greatest sacrifices. The West ultimately rejected all these sacrifices, devalued Russia’s contribution to resolving the Western crisis, and decided to take revenge on Russia for the help that it had selflessly provided. From now on, Russia will follow its own way, not worrying about the fate of the West, relying on another part of its heritage — the leadership in the global process of decolonization.
As part of this process, Russia has a high potential for partnerships and alliances with countries that the West has oppressed for centuries and which are not going to put on its yoke again. Without Russian sacrifice and struggle, these countries would not have been liberated. The denazification of Ukraine is at the same time its decolonization, which the population of Ukraine will have to understand as it begins to free itself from the intoxication, temptation, and dependence of the so-called European choice.
* An extremist organization banned in Russia.
Translation: Ukrainian volunteers
Here’s Kravchenko’s analysis of the piece:
Disclaimer: What you are about to read is a direct translation of an article written by a russian propagandist. This is what real #Russia wants. Please read and share. This text will soon be translated into other languages so that everyone in the world can read about Russia’s crimes.
This is the article that was published by the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti (Russian: РИА Новости). This media through the years was one of the main voices of Russian propaganda and fake news.
RIA Novosti is known for its systematic support of the Kremlin, violation of journalistic standards and works according to so-called “temnik” (directives and agendas from the government). The position in this article corresponds to the position of Russia.
This particular article is an indication of the Russian main narrative right now. RIA Novosti is trying to hide Russian crimes and spread cynical lies about the Ukrainian army, but also to provide media support for a full-scale program of destroying independent Ukraine.
How does it work? Russians state the facts about cities that were destroyed and civilians that were tortured and murdered. They are talking about Mariupol (a city as big as Edinburgh, Florence, or Lyon) that was almost wiped out, as well as Odesa, Mykolaiv, and Kharkiv — cities under bombardment. They mention the horrors of Bucha, where hundreds of people were murdered and tortured to death. They are talking about 161 children that died in Ukraine during these 40 days. However, they claim that it was the Ukrainian army that committed all these war crimes.
The author, a Russian political technologist, also has the audacity to talk about the Soviet occupation of Ukraine. He is trying to support Putin’s narrative about Ukraine as an artificial country. Instead, the world should remember that the Soviet Union terrorized Ukraine for almost a century with forced collectivization, Great Purge, Terror-Famine (Holodomor), forced deportation, etc.
In this article, the author is describing ways how Russians want to wipe out Ukraine in the same way the Soviet regime did it.
It’s important to spread this article. The Russian war should be stopped now. It was supposed to be stopped 8 years ago when it only began. 71% of Russians feel proud about this war. 75.5% of Russians approve of the idea of a military invasion of the next country and believe that it should be Poland. According to respondents, this is a logical continuation of the so-called “military special operation of the Russian Federation”.
The world should be aware of Russian methods, crimes, and plans. Putin will not stop until he is stopped.
Here’s a quick reminder from Slava Malamud about just what the Russians mean when they say NAZI:
I know I have said this before, but I will repeat it again and again, because Russian propaganda is powerful and pervasive.
The word "Nazism" does not mean, when uttered by Russians, what you think it means. In fact, many or most Russian citizens DON'T KNOW ITS MEANING…
— Slava Malamud ?? (@SlavaMalamud) April 4, 2022
“But how can this be? Didn’t they fight against Nazism?” The fact is, Russians weren’t taught this. They were taught they fought against Germany. And the word “Nazism” was not commonly used. Instead, the enemy was universally referred to as “German-fascist invaders.” This is key.
Generations of Russians have been taught that the Soviet Union won The Great Patriotic War, which it fought alone against the enemy whose only goal was enslaving the Russian people. The larger “World War II” was rarely if ever mentioned. The West’s role was minimized…
As for the Holocaust, it simply never happened. The mass extermination of Jews was never referred to. The very word “Jew” was taboo in schools and in the movies. The “fascist-German invaders” exterminated Russians. The death camps were for Russians.
In fact, Hitler’s one and only crime, the entire definition of “fascism” was invading the USSR, killing Soviet people, wanting to enslave Soviet people and destroy Soviet socialism. If you asked many Russians about what happened to Jews during the war, they’d shrug…
Many assumed Jews were traitors and collaborators, because this went well with the long-established Russian stereotype about weak, cowardly Jews who don’t fight and avoid the military. I remember many arguments in school about this thing. “Jews didn’t fight. Jews were traitors”
The only change between then and now is that Russians currently use the word “Nazism” instead of “fascism” most times because they know it’s a more powerful term in the West. But the meaning remains the same: “anyone who is an enemy of Russia” and thus is subject to extermination
Malamud is originally from Moldova, nominally Jewish, and of Ukrainian descent on one side of his family. His grandfather and one of his uncle’s (if I’m recalling correctly) who were Ukrainian both served in the Soviet Army in WW II. If I’m recalling what he has written correctly, his grandfather died after the war as a result of his wounds and his uncle was killed in action.
Here’s a thread from someone who studies and teaches about genocide explaining why he is now calling what the Russians are doing in Ukraine genocide:
As a genocide scholar I am an empiricist, I usually dismiss rhetoric. I also take genocide claims with a truckload of salt because activists apply it almost everywhere now.
Not now. There are actions, there is intent. It's as genocide as it gets. Pure, simple and for all to see
— Eugene Finkel (@eugene_finkel) April 4, 2022
Got questions about why I think it is genocide. Until this morning I resisted applying the term. War crimes? Sure. Heinous rhetoric? You bet. What changed is the combination of more and more evidence, from different places, and even more importantly, explicit official rhetoric /1
— Eugene Finkel (@eugene_finkel) April 4, 2022
- The official legal definition of genocide is “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”. When I teach genocide I start by saying that this definition has huge problems because it doesn’t give us /2
- clear thresholds (what “in part” does even mean?) and because it is almost impossible to prove intent. People who carry out genocide are usually not idiots, if there are orders at all they would be given orally. But, several things are important to realize. First, something /3
- that doesn’t start as genocide might evolve into one when conditions change. Russian invasion, in my view, did not start with clear genocidal intent, but evolved into one. Regime change and colonial subjugation are by themselves not enough to constitute genocide. Second, more /4
- evidence that Bucha is not an exception. Each massacre might be local initiative, together they are a campaign. And most importantly, the RIA Novosti (a state outlet) piece is one of the most explicit statements of intent to destroy a national group as such that I’ve ever seen /5
- I know Russian. I have read a lot of Russian nationalist rhetoric in my life. This is not some wild intellectual fantasy, it is a clear, actionable statement of intent by a state agency. The UN definition is problematic, but in this case it fits like a glove
Here’s an excellent interview with Russian journalist and current fellow at the Center for European Political Analysis (CEPA) Andrei Soldatov. It is all very good, but I think this is the buried lede, but only because of the order the questions were posed and it was the answer to the last question.
OR: How, then, do you see the war ending?
Soldatov: Putin’s usual way out of trouble is to escalate even more. I think that people in Moldova and in the Baltics should be extremely, extremely nervous right now. I think it’s absolutely possible that he might start something there, just like he did with the Donbass as a way out of Crimea.
Here’s some more:
OR: Say a little bit more about why Russia’s military performance has been so bad.
Soldatov: Well, there are things that are still not clear for me. Because some units of the Russian army, like the spetsnaz[special forces], are really good, very competent, and very well trained. So why they’ve performed so badly is a really good question. I think it has had something to do with morale. And the problems started before the war. Last year, there was a horrible story reported by the Russian media that in a spetsnaz brigade in Siberia, a commander had raped his soldiers as a form of punishment. That is absolutely unprecedented, because spetsnaz forces tend not only to be Russia’s most professional soldiers, but they don’t have hierarchical problems, because they fight in small groups where you need to trust everyone who’s with you. In the spetsnaz, it doesn’t matter whether you are lieutenant or a captain or just a soldier, you’re all in it together and do the same things. So it looks like something has broken down in the Russian military. That might help explain the really bad performance. And again, all the problems with bad planning and the chain of command were also a big factor.
Back in 2014, the Russians outperformed the Ukrainians by a long distance. For some reason, they’re not doing that now. There are so many mysteries. I’ll give you another example: why hasn’t a big cyberattack happened? It would make perfect sense, because it could produce panicked crowds of people jamming the roads and making it difficult for the Ukrainian military to move around. But that chance was missed completely. Disinformation operations have also not been good. They didn’t have lots of stories prepared for this war. This is very different from what we saw just eight years ago. I do not have an explanation, but it looks like several elements just went completely wrong.
OR: What you’re saying suggests massive disarray within the Russian state, the military, the political apparatus, and the intelligence services, as though everything is breaking down.
Soldatov: That’s my impression.
OR: Do you believe the reports that Russia is now shifting its military strategy and aims in Ukraine toward consolidating control over the east and abandoning the center and the west?
Soldatov: My fear is that they’re just playing for time. I think that when you have a guy in the Kremlin who is being absolutely delusional about the real situation in Ukraine, you can’t speak in terms of a coherent foreign policy. Let’s say he does secure the Donbass, this chunk of land that nobody wanted. He might even make it a part of Russia. So what? It’s never had the symbolic value for Russians that Crimea has. It’s not a big win. And the price is all these sanctions and all these problems with the rest of the world.
OR: So you’re saying that one shouldn’t talk about Russia shifting its strategy because there is no strategy? That Putin is just making things up as he goes along?
Soldatov: Yes. Because strategically speaking, I don’t quite understand his end game. Maybe you have some ideas, but I don’t get it.
OR: Is it possible that his maximalist objectives were just a smoke screen, and that his real objective has always been to establish a land bridge between Crimea and Russia proper and to permanently destabilize Ukraine—to turn a fairly successful, Western-leaning, increasingly liberal democracy into a failed kleptocratic state?
Soldatov: Maybe, but I have a problem with this argument. Because let’s say you want to destabilize Ukraine, or you want to create a land bridge between Crimea and Donbass. That could all be achieved with air strikes. You could do what the Israelis did to Lebanon in 2006, which is to bomb the infrastructure of the country into the ground. Just bomb all its bridges, all its railroads, everything. And if you did that, a lot of countries, especially in Europe, would say nothing about it. Remember that before the war, the French said, “Well, air strikes are bad, but they don’t qualify as a real invasion.” Only after the tanks started rolling into Ukraine did people in Europe say, “Okay, this is a real thing.” So why invite all these horrible sanctions on yourself when you always had the option to use your formidable aviation, which completely outmatched Ukraine’s? I don’t get it.
Much, much more at the link.
We’ll finish with this:
Ukrainian soldier returns home to his family after fighting in Irpin. pic.twitter.com/7VF9dWtnrd
— Gissur Simonarson ??????????? (@GissiSim) April 4, 2022