(Image found here, originally posted here)
I’m sure everyone’s focus is on the 6 January Select Committee’s first televised hearing, so I’m going to try to keep this pretty short tonight.
That said I do want to start with Putin’s remarks at a conference for young Russian entrepreneurs today.
Here is the video I am talking about https://t.co/6YP2BVpaLt 2/5
— Elena Chernenko (@ElenaChernenko) June 9, 2022
- He is assertive, cool-headed and absolutely self confident. And sure of his mission which he finally stated in plain text: “Peter the Great led the Northern War for 21 years. It would seem that he fought with Sweden, captured land… He didn’t capture it, he returned it!” 3/5
- Putin goes on: “When Peter the Great laid the new capital in St. Petersburg, none of the European countries recognized this territory as Russian, everyone recognized it as Swedens. But along with Finno-Ugric peoples Slavs lived ther from ancient times”. 4/5
- And the ending: “The same is true in the western direction, it concerns Narva, his first campaigns. Why did he care to do it? To returned (this land) and strengthen it – that’s what he did… Apparently, it also our destiny to return and strengthen.” 5/5
There’s a couple of things to unpack here. If you click through to the video, or just want to watch the relevant excerpt, which you can find at this tweet, Putin looks well. None of the things that people were pointing to as indicators that he’s quite ill are visible in the video from this appearance. Beyond noting it, I have no idea whether that is or is not indicative of anything.
The second thing, which is more important, is just how divorced from actual, factual reality Putin is. Right now his vaunted “second most powerful military in the world” is struggling to hold its lines in Ukraine. He doesn’t have the capability – other than, perhaps, Sea and Air Power – to do anything to Sweden or any of these other “western” lands he’s referring to. As we’ve been discussing for over three months now, he’s rational, but only within the context of the alternate historical reality he’s bought into and expanded on.
Here’s President Zelenskyy’s address to Ukraine from earlier this evening. Video with subtitles followed by English transcript after the jump.
All our defenders!
I have recently finished a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron. We talked primarily about defense support. Of course, this is a key topic. I informed Emmanuel about the situation on the frontline, about the possible development of confrontation in the coming days and weeks, about the intentions of the Russian occupiers and about our resistance.
Of course, we talked in detail about Ukraine’s European perspective. We are preparing for a response to our application for candidacy.
The issues of security guarantees for Ukraine and for the whole of Europe were also touched upon. I am grateful that we discussed this topic with the President of France. We continue our work.
I also spoke today with the Prime Minister of Montenegro about the path of our countries to the European Union. In fact, we exchanged experience.
We continue very active work in all the countries of the European Union on a daily basis, so that the situation regarding the candidacy for our country is equally perceived there – in the west, in the east, in the north and in the south of the European Union.
Most Europeans support Ukraine’s integration. And if Europeans support it, politicians who are still skeptical in some countries should not oppose themselves to the people, society and the very course of European history.
I addressed the participants of the ministerial meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It is one of the most influential international organizations in the world. They severed ties with Russia. But substantial decisions are also needed – we need concrete pressure on Russia for what it is doing, including the crisis it has provoked in the world food market.
I held a very important meeting with government officials today. Economy, business, jobs. We discussed actions at three levels – what needs to be done right now, what we can do in the near future, no matter how difficult it is, and what we will definitely do after the war.
The first is a program of special grants to support small and medium-sized businesses. What can already provide new jobs and a new tax base.
The second is the development of our security sector in all its aspects. Both now and in the future. It is also a question of jobs, a question of professionalism and technologies. The security sector in Ukraine must become completely different from what it has been all these 30 years. From the state border to every street, to every school, to every infrastructure object – security must be 100% ensured.
And the third aspect is industrial recovery and attracting investment to the state. Localization, industrial parks, support of the state order, attraction of modern technologies to Ukraine. Relevant state programs are being prepared.
There are many discussions in Ukraine today about what the economic policy of the state should be both during the war and when we restore peace. I want to emphasize one detail. And this detail is fundamental. We have to get used to the fact that there can be only two parts of society – those who defend our independence and those who work in a way to ensure that defense. And this is not a question of one or another economic doctrine, not a question of one or another political position. We simply cannot afford to leave the shadow part of economic life in the country.
Of course, I understand that in some of our regions now, any economic activity – official or nonofficial – is a matter of mere survival. But if we talk about the normal, stable and strong life of society, the work of the state, our defense, we must understand: there are those who serve, and there are those who provide with their work those who serve.
So, this is official employment. This is the payment of taxes. This is the maximum expansion of economic opportunities in our country on legal grounds. And this is a complete modernization of state institutions.
Everyone who works in Ukrainian politics, who influences the public debate, should realize that there will be no more shadow in the country.
I am grateful to our communication workers, who today resumed television broadcasting in Kharkiv after the morning shelling literally within a day. Striking at TV centers, destroying communication channels, leaving people in isolation – these are the tactics of the occupiers, which they really cannot do without. Because openness and honesty are also weapons against everything that the Russian state brings.
The frontline situation today is without significant changes. Severodonetsk, Lysychansk and other cities in Donbas, which the occupiers now consider key targets, are holding on. We have a certain positive in the Zaporizhzhia region, where we manage to thwart the plans of the occupiers. We are gradually moving forward in the Kharkiv region, liberating our land. We are keeping defense in the Mykolaiv direction.
I am grateful to all our defenders who made this possible. Thanks to which we have endured 106 days of full-scale war already.
Eternal glory to all who stood up for our state!
Eternal memory to all who died for Ukraine!
Glory to Ukraine!
There is still no new/updated operational update posted at the Ukrainian MOD’s site. Nor was there a DOD backgrounder today.
Here’s the British MOD’s assessment for today:
And here’s their updated map for today:
Again, its a battle of attrition and inches right now.
Here is former NAVDEVGRU Chuck Pfarrer’s updated map and analysis on the battle of Sievierodonetsk:
SVERODONTESK/ 2145 UTC 09 JUN/ Urban lines of contact remain stable. RU continues heavy shelling. Topographic map shows Russian forces are unlikely to undertake flanking operation north of the urban area. /NOTE: New Map projection/ pic.twitter.com/SlhE8aGBjQ
— Chuck Pfarrer (@ChuckPfarrer) June 9, 2022
And here’s an operational update on what is going on in the battle for Sievierodonetsk by Serhei Haday, who is the administrator of the Luhansk regional administration:
russians control most of #Severodonetsk. The industrial zone is under the #Ukrainian army. Fighting continues in the streets. #Lysychansk is under Ukrainian control. Over 90% of the region is temporarily under russian occupation #UkraineRussiaWar video @AFP pic.twitter.com/tByz3X33QM
— Serhiy Hayday (@serhey_hayday) June 9, 2022
At this link you’ll find an interesting thread focusing on why the Donbas campaign is a battle of inches and attrition and not one of more open maneuver. The author has too many quote tweets and links for me to post the first tweet and then copy and paste the rest into a quote box. The bottom line is that neither the Ukrainian nor the Russian forces have the capabilities – in personnel or equipment – to open up the conflict and take advantage of the open, flat terrain.
I’m not looking to go back and revisit my analysis from last Saturday – for obvious reasons – but I think it is important to pay attention to the fact that the Russians are counting on what I forecast as one possible domestic American political outcome in order for them to achieve their strategic objectives:
This compilation of clips explains why the Russians think they're winning and don't need to negotiate. Spoiler: they're waiting for the GOP to prevail in midterms and abandon Ukraine. They're also encouraged by our media coverage—especially Tucker Carlson.https://t.co/h05qK1g2fs pic.twitter.com/XBw1G3VTHY
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) June 9, 2022
I think that’s enough for tonight.
Your daily Patron:
🇺🇦🦮You can't have too much of our #Patron , the rescue dog!
Amazing artwork by the participants of a children's contest launched on June 1st, on occasion of Children Protection Day@SESU_UA #StandWithUkraine #UkrainianArmy #StopRussia pic.twitter.com/LLtkTs2t4p
— U24 (@u24_news) June 10, 2022
Here’s video of Patron playing with a stick:
Дивитись до кінця!!😂 #песпатрон #патрон #патрондснс
I needed the Patron video after this day. Oy gevalt.
Thank you as always, Adam.
Grumpy Old Railroader
Or as my Great Granny used to say “Lawdy my!”
I’ve noticed the usage of the term “direction” in the Ukrainian MOD updates, in contexts where a more standard English usage would probably be “theatre” or less portentously perhaps “region” if it’s only a few kilometers wide. Now Putin also dropped “direction” in his little history fable. Is it a common Slavic usage, or at least Slavic military jargon that gets transliterated to the English “direction”?
Your statement about Putin being divorced from reality struck a chord. From his alternative reality, he certainly is harming so many people and destroying lives and dreams. I feel an odd parallel after watching the hearings tonight. The insurrectionists were certainly in an alternative reality. They don’t inhabit the same world. The scale of the damage is miniscule in lives and dreams compared to wreckage in Ukraine. But it is so much closer to home. This dichotomy can really destroy our democracy. It is so hard to see where it will all go. But fight, we must.
I saw Putin’s Sweden comments earlier today. As Hank Hill would say, “That boy ain’t right.“
@planetjanet: excellent comment. Too many people divorced from reality in too many places: people in power, like Putin and like Republican officials here, and too many media people promulgating the false reality, and too many citizens in the bubble.
In any event, the expectation that even a mid-term disaster would compel the Administration to “abandon” Ukraine represents a major misunderstanding of the power of the Executive in the United States. There would continue to be significant things that the Administration could continue to do to assist Ukraine with no need to consult Congress, including equipment drawdowns, work through allies, intelligence assistance.
And let us not forget, the Federalist Society fifth column who took over the Supreme Court is the body that formulated the “Unitary Executive” theory which holds that the President is not beholden to Congress if he (they feel the President should be a “He”) doesn’t want to be. If the President now ignores Congress screaming at him to stop transferring weapons to Ukraine, so what? Even if the Supreme Court tells him to stop, so what? They made these rules. Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that the Republican party would lack the Leninist Will to Power to avail themselves of them if they could?
It doesn’t surprise me that Putin is hoping (expecting?) that the midterms will change things, given his success in 2016, but one interesting question is whether his forces have that much time (and remembering that things can be done during the lame duck session, too). I don’t know the answer to that question, but given the level of attrition and the increasing difficulty of resupply for the Russians, it seems like it’s worth considering.
@Omnes Omnibus: There was a useful phrase during the Romney 2012 campaign: “epistemic bubble”. It was the reality-divorced consensus that Romney, Karl Rove, and the coterie of “poll unskewers” (in the last age before polling really went dark, during Nate Silver’s apotheosis) managed somehow to tell themselves stories about living in a country that did not (yet) exist, and sleepwalked into an election so convinced they were going to win that Rove melted down live on Fox News and Romney was forced to hastily improvise a concession speech that he hadn’t even bothered to prepare.
That’s what Putin reminds me of. A guy in an epistemic bubble. It’s a great feeling, like a comforting womb, but a terrible shock when it pops.
@Carlo Graziani: The Great Northern War ended over 300 years ago. And Putin is no Peter. That line of thought is scary.
I’ve been telling people for a while, it doesn’t matter what you think about Ukraine, if you watch Fox News for the next 6 months you’re going to be convinced that the US has no business trying to support the Ukrainian government and people.
Villago Delenda Est
I’ve taken to calling that seditious shit Fuckyo Rose. He should also be reminded of the fates of Julius Streicher and William Joyce. I have an additional proposal for Putin: Russia be reduced to Muscovy and a wall built around it.
@Omnes Omnibus: The fact that Putin is constructing his reality from 300-year old history, badly adapted to modern circumstances, is certainly psychodrama of the highest order. But I am fairly confident that his bubble is due to pop well before November 2022. What he is allowed to do in that worst of Russian winters is anyone’s guess, but I think it doubtful that he will still be exercising autocratic powers by then.
Very interesting thread from CM Dougherty.
I also found this twitter thread from Gustav G. Gressel of ECFR informative, though his take is more pessimistic for the Ukrainians in the short term. He expects that the Ukrainian Army will have to withdraw to the Slovyansk-Kramatorsk line, where the Russian Army will again be stopped for some time.
On the subject of Putin’s health, one of the Russian expat analysts warned that Russian intelligence and propaganda have instigated “Putin is very ill/dying” rumors multiple times over the past couple of decades. If I remember right, one of the reasons is to encourage Western powers to think they don’t really need to do anything about him, because he’ll be gone soon anyway.
@Balconesfault: Yeah, but — support for Ukraine is pretty strong even among Republicans in polling, and it’s not like Fox is just now starting with the anti-Ukraine line. So maybe beyond the fabled 27%, that conclusion is not quite so obvious as it seems.
I would suggest that because the RU forces are using Battalion level combined forces “direction” is used, because it’s not an attempted attack on an Army “front”, but instead, a bunch of guys, seeing if they can drive down a road. It’s been a wet spring, so the whole area, off road, is still mud.
@Carlo Graziani: I don’t think Putin’s going anywhere for a while — from what I can tell (and I’m no Kremlinologist), his hold on power is as strong as it ever was. But his musing about leading Russia into another series of grand campaigns against the West a la Peter the Great is pure distilled bugfucknuttery. Literally: “You…and what army?”
I like your counterpoint to Putin’s ‘historical Russia’ argument. Nationalists always argue that they have a divine right to the largest area of land their nation ever controlled.
It seems a lot more reasonable to argue that they have a right to no more than the smallest.
Gin & Tonic
@Carlo Graziani: There are two Ukrainian words that can be translated into English as “direction” – “напрям” and “напрямок.” The difference is subtle, and with the caveat that I am not a linguist or translator, it is primarily relative to motion. Напрямок is used in the physics sense of “vector” – it has a direction and a motion. So if I’m talking about my balcony facing south, I’d use напрям; if I’m talking about driving to Odesa (or the movement of a column of APC’s,) I’d use напрямок. Напрямок is the word used in the UA MOD updates.
@Gin & Tonic:
I am thinking of those arrows you see on military maps as the idea.
@Gin & Tonic: I see. Thanks, that’s good, it’s kind of visual. The vector idea suggests a central map reference point (arbitrary, but let’s say MOD), and then an “area” or “theater” is mapped to a vector from that origin to the place in question. Hence “direction”.
It also suggests a standardized Warsaw Pact staff map reference usage that I’d never heard of before, still vestigial in Ukrainian General Staff usage.
Do you have any thoughts about how, exactly, that might happen? When you’re dealing with an autocrat the rule, “when you go for the king, you’d better not miss,” seems apt. Would anything short of complete removal be possible?
Could only stomach a few seconds of Putin. He does not look well to me, if you compare him to his former self. He is nervously panting and smiling (never used to smile that much), and gesticulating weirdly. Not to say he’s about to drop dead, but he is not his usual self.
@Torrey: All I was suggesting in this context is that Putin is going to find it very difficult to sustain the delusions that support his epistemic bubble through the end of 2022. I would not be surprised if the Russian army were thrown on the defensive in the Donbas or cut off from their forces around Kherson some time this summer, in consequence of Russian exhaustion of manpower and materiel, and of growing Ukrainian strength due to increasingly capable NATO-standard weapons and training. And that may be the least of Putin’s problems, given what I believe is the cataclysm due to enfold Russian civil society in consequence of economic sanctions.
So whatever measures Putin may have to take to hold on to power, I think his cheery optimism about the historic inevitability of the national movement that he believes himself to be spearheading is about to go “poof”. We may learn something interesting about his personal resilience this summer.
@Villago Delenda Est:
I like your ways of thinking. Putin should perhaps review his Russian literature. It was Tolstoy who wrote the short story, “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” I hope that turns out to be an apt metaphor for the Russian attempts in Ukraine.
J R in WV
All of it, Marty~!!~ All of it!!