Ukraine Defends Democracy

I happened to wake up at 3AM my time just as Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

The last thread has gotten long and I’m mostly doom-scrolling like the rest of you, so I thought I’d put up some links.

As the invasion was rolling out, President Zelenskyy made a speech, partially in Russian, appealing to the Russian people to stop this attack.

I would like to address the citizens of Russia directly, not as president, but as a citizen of Ukraine, and I address the citizens of Russia as I would the citizens of Ukraine. We share a more than 2000 kilometer border. Your soldiers are stationed all along it, almost two hundred thousand soldiers, and thousands of military vehicles. Your leaders have chosen for them to take a step forward and into the territory of another country. And that single step could be the beginning of a great war on the European continent.

The whole world speaks of what could happen day to day. A cause for war could arise at any moment. Any provocation, any incident, could be the flare of a fire that burns everything.

You have been told that this flame will bring liberation to Ukraine’s people. But the Ukrainian people are free. They remember their own past and will build their own future. They build, they do not destroy, as they themselves have told you day after day on television. The Ukraine in your news and the Ukraine of real life are two entirely different places, and the difference is that the latter is real.

Zelenskyy then said the Ukrainian government would give weapons to anyone wanting to help defend the country.

As the invasion was just beginning, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN raised whether the Russian Federation was ever legally given USSR’s seat on the security council. Then he basically told Russia’s Ambassador to go to hell. “There is no purgatory for war criminals, they go straight to hell ambassador”

Thus far, Republican members of Congress have been far more critical of Putin’s invasion than Tucker and Trump. At least until his next golf outing, that includes key Trump ally Lindsey Graham.

Again, it’s possible that Putin’s invasion will lead to greater solidarity among Europe, NATO, and the US than the division he surely counted on. In fact, both Finland and Sweden will attend an emergency NATO summit tomorrow. Czech President, Miloš Zeman, until days ago viewed as unreasonably friendly to Putin, has called to isolate him.

Another key player will be Erdogan. Shortly before this invasion, Turkey and Ukraine signed a trade pact. Ukraine has asked Turkey to halt warships from transiting the Bosphorous.

Ireland, another neutral country, is backing EU sanctions, which is non-negligible given Russian business presence in Dublin.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has come out with a fairly supportive statement about Russia’s invasion. If Putin can’t keep China on board this invasion would become unsustainable, but thus far he has a green light.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is in Moscow, meeting with Putin today. Putin appears to be trying to put together a BRICS type block against democracy (with Pakistan included).

Within Russia, some celebrities and journalists have already gone on record opposing the attack. Authorities are arresting those who dissent, including Marina Litvinovich after she called for protests.

Zelenskyy just tweeted that Russian occupying forces are trying to seize Chernobyl.


95 replies
  1. harpie says:

    Thanks for this space, Marcy.

    From Marcy’s twitter feed, last night:
    11:57 PM · Feb 23, 2022

    So something interesting that could be developing at the UN: Ukraine appears to be laying the groundwork to challenge whether the Russian Federation is the legitimate successor to the USSR’s seat and veto on the Security Council [THREAD]

    • Rugger9 says:

      The shift to the Russian Federation for the Soviet Union in the Security Council may not have as much traction as the Ukrainian Ambassador hopes. As for permanent members, the last change was for swap Taiwan out for the PRC which for lack of a better phrase recognized the facts on the ground. However, the mechanism is a bit murky to me. Note also that if the RF is not the natural successor to the USSR as well as being in possession of almost all of its nukes, the Ukrainian Ambassador might have to explain what former SSR is the true heir. That, and why nothing was done since the 1989 breakup.

      It’s not that I don’t agree with the idea of booting out the RF from its permanent seat, it is more of a question of how to do it so that the PRC will accept this change because its veto stops the process as well. Recall that the UN was able to officially intervene in Korea as a ‘police action’ because the USSR had walked out of the Security Council and the PRC wasn’t on it then (Chiang Kai-Shek’s Taiwan was) so there was no veto stopping the intervention.

      As for Turkey stopping the transit of warships, the Montreux Convention covers that topic and Russia’s shoreline on the Black Sea means they have far more rights to move ships through than the USA does. As it is the Russian and Soviet Navies would carefully classify their vessels as cruisers to meet the constraints, so while the Turks could delay things by forcing the Russians to argue, only its intervention as a belligerent would close the Straits. However, if closure occurs the Russian campaign would grind to a halt as seen in WW1 with the Russian Empire (something like 90% of its trade was stopped, which cascaded into other shortages).

      Outside of the arms (let’s remember that the Russians aren’t very good on their maintenance among other sins) Putin is in a castle of cards propped up by the successors of Pravda and TASS (which is why he’s been killing inconvenient journalists) and losing here or even an Afghanistan-style quagmire means Putin will be thrown out with much bloodshed I fear.

      On a more general note, Rayne’s comments below are worth reviewing concerning COVID and the Russians who are here. It was (and is) an open secret in FL that the Russian oligarchs would set up houses in the USA for the purposes of giving citizenship to their children (aka the ‘anchor babies’ the RWNM complains about) yet Individual-1 nor DeSantis never looked into it. Hmmm….

      • Rugger9 says:

        If this campaign is not swiftly effective, then mud will become a part of Putin’s problems which will cascade to a quagmire. I wonder how soon Navalny will walk too close to a window. Putin has to win completely and swiftly to avoid backlash from his people.

        Another aspect is what to do about Belarus, since their tinpot dictator has thrown in with Putin. This is the guy who diverted a flight to Minsk with a fake bomb threat to shanghai a critic into his gulag.

        We also have to check in on the home-grown 5th column that is starting CPAC today. Let’s see who says what because while Faux News sounded pro-Putin, they’re not all-in yet though Ingraham and GG were floating some ideas.

  2. harpie says:

    Alexander VINDMAN:
    7:56 AM · Feb 24, 2022

    [THREAD] Russian leaders have zero desire for nuclear war, & they understand that they would inevitably lose in a conventional war. However, Russia excels at compelling the U.S. to self-deter.

    The next tweet is a VIDEO showing:

    Destroyed Russian armor convoy (4 vehicles) of MT-LBs and BMPs, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.

    • earthworm says:

      just hypothesizing here, in a very nasty way —
      what would be effect of UK and US, say, rounding up and deporting Russian residents back to Russia?
      By allowing residency and eventual path to citizenship of Russians, we have allowed Putin to rid himself of those who might undermine him, while at the same time possibly allowing him to insert a fifth column here.

      • Rayne says:

        The UK will not do that so long as Johnson and the Conservative Party are owned by Russian money.

        This is the real Brexit: weakening UK resolve to participate as an effective member of NATO.

      • Rayne says:

        I don’t think Putin’s rejects are here in the US. They’re his foothold. I remain surprised more Illegals haven’t been uncovered, but perhaps thanks to Trump they didn’t need to be decloaked.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Asylum seekers are also covered under the law (currently bowdlerized by SCOTUS rulings) and present a different sort of question to be settled at the Cabinet level. For example, US ships can’t grant asylum, we would grant refuge until the Secretary of State decided the case.

          So, case by case only.

        • Peterr says:

          In the same breath as the Roberts Court formally repudiated Korematsu, they also upheld the Trump travel ban. From the NYT coverage of the travel ban case:

          In a dissent of the travel ban ruling, Justice Sonia Sotomayor offered tepid applause. While the “formal repudiation of a shameful precedent is laudable and long overdue,” she said, it failed to make the court’s decision to uphold the travel ban acceptable or right. She accused the Justice Department and the court’s majority of adopting troubling parallels between the two cases.

          In both cases, she wrote, the court deferred to the Trump administration’s invocation of “an ill-defined national security threat to justify an exclusionary policy of sweeping proportion,” relying on stereotypes about a particular group amid “strong evidence that impermissible hostility and animus motivated the government’s policy.”

          The fallacies in Korematsu were echoed in the travel ban ruling, warned Hiroshi Motomura, a University of California, Los Angeles, law professor who has written extensively about immigration.

          “Overruling Korematsu the way the court did in this case reduces the overruling to symbolism that is so bare that it is deeply troubling, given the parts of the reasoning behind Korematsu that live on in today’s decision: a willingness to paint with a broad brush by nationality, race or religion by claiming national security grounds,” he said.

          He added, “If the majority really wanted to bury Korematsu, they would have struck down the travel ban.”

          That said, there is no way in hell the Biden administration would consider doing this, as sending back Russians who left the Motherland to get away from Putin could easily end up being the modern equivalent of the US refusing the Jews aboard the MS St. Louis in 1939 permission to enter the US. According to the US Holocaust Museum, 254 of the 937 passengers later died in the Holocaust.

        • Hopeful says:

          I am not sure who has influence on Putin; but I assume he needs the oligarchs lined up behind him.

          I wonder how supportive of Putin they would be if all of their foreign assets were seized/frozen and they were not allowed to travel outside Russia.

        • Rugger9 says:

          That is the idea behind naming them in the sanctions, to split them off from supporting Putin. However the Panama Papers tell us that Putin’s got a lot of wealth squirreled away too. So, if Putin goes into exile, he’ll be all right financially.

          As a separate idea, what about MBS, et al undercutting the oil price rise (which helps Putin’s main export commodity) to starve the beast? Maybe trade exile for oil.

        • Leoghann says:

          MBS might take awhile to act, and there might be dissent. But you may have noticed that we’ve made some major diplomatic moves in Qatar lately. And they have phenomenal natural gas reserves.

        • gmoke says:

          “There are laws for such things, and you cannot simply round them up and put them on a boat this afternoon.”

          Too bad the 1918 Immigration Act which allowed for the deportation of “anarchists” (bye bye Emma Goldman) seems to have been superseded by the 1990 Immigration Act. But we can always reinstate it.

      • HW3 says:

        I think booting Russians would just be an attack on their money laundering, not a flood of ‘dissidents’ back to Russia

  3. klynn says:

    I am keeping my eye on Finland and Sweden. In 1986 I was a UN Security Council intern in Geneva. I had a first person view of Soviet leadership lying about Chernobyl. Thirty six years later, Sweden and Finland suffer agricultural and health impacts rooted in Soviet Russia’s culture of lies. They may have had enough of trying to do the non restrictive diplomatic route.

    Zelenskyy speaking in Russian and appealing to the Russian people was brilliant. Putin is scared of the Russian people rising up. If the streets of cities across Russia were filled with peace protestors, Vlad would be done.

    Additionally, I cannot get past the fact that the world faces a global pandemic and Russia chooses this moment to launch a war. How weak.

    • Rayne says:

      But this is exactly when and why Putin had to move when he did — Russia’s losses to COVID as a percentage of population may have been far greater than those of the U.S., the Sputnik V vaccine has been less effective than other vaccines against Omicron BA.1, and to wait would mean further weakening of his approval among Russians and potential loss of his own troops to COVID. With the more pathogenic BA.2 variant beginning to spread and the ground still frozen, Putin had to move now.

      This is one of the key reasons I wasn’t particularly hepped up about seizing mRNA vaccine intellectual property and sharing it broadly. Without adequate security measures it could have been seized and used on Russian military personnel, leading to an even earlier assault.

      • klynn says:

        My point: Putin sees himself as a strong man. Does a strong man hit when there is suffering, pain and fear? No. A weak man does. I’m addressing the narrative, not the MO of his war strategy.

        Narrative is an important dynamic in Russian culture.

        • Rayne says:

          The true narrative and the MO are the same: Putin has been at risk for quite some time or he wouldn’t have had to jail his opponent Navalny, or encourage suppression of cultural dissidents like Pussy Riot, or increasingly squelch open internet access. He had to move his strongest young people while still healthy into a focused effort aimed outside the country or risk having them turn on him internally.

          He paints the restoration of USSR using tsarist colors while his nation is dying from within due to his economic and political vampirism.

        • Rayne says:

          What’s your point here? I’m fully aware of the numbers. Also fully aware Russia (including population of occupied Crimea) has a population about 43% of the U.S.

      • Leoghann says:

        Sputnik has been far less effective across the board, not just against Omicron. I read a few articles last fall that estimated its general effectiveness as 40%-55%.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        But they continue to show up, which is surprising given the disinformation state there and to me the most promising signal to emerge from this disaster. If young Russians are finally seeing Putin for the reality-divorced megalomaniac he is, there may still be hope.

  4. Fraud Guy says:

    I feel now as I did when GWB started his Iraq war; all pretextural warmongering, and everyone but the cheerleaders admitting it.

    • earthworm says:

      this all leads back to GWB & Cheney, in a way.
      by failing to assess what happened to USSR after its Afghan fiasco, and applying that possibility to US, they set in motion what we now experience here in the aftermath of GWoT: a corps of vets who were traumatized and indoctrinated by counter-insurgency ops/officers; loss of national treasure; policy failure to “take care of business” here at home = inevitable rise of an authoritarian such as tfg.
      over-simplification, DUH, but nonetheless exactly what i at the time, predicted would unfold.
      (has been replicated, historically, many times.)

      • Hug h says:

        Couldn’t agree more. Also, few people recognize the degree to which US Financial “engineers” played a role in the re-birth of the Oligarchs and rise of Putin. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union… Wall Street sent its “best people”- Private Equity, Hedge Funds etc. who descended in Gulf Streams for partying and pillaging. Having worked in that world I remember wondering whether our/their long term interests wouldn’t have been far better served with an army of western Constitutional Law experts descending on Moscow.

      • gmoke says:

        Saw the film “The Card Counter” by Paul Schrader this week. It is one of the very rare films I’ve seen which concentrates on the human and generational cost of the torture we committed in Iraq. Schrader is a fearless film-maker.

  5. Rattlemullet says:

    If any man on the worlds stage suffers the emotional fallout from the short man syndrome, Putin exemplifies this mental deficiency. I see Putin used the same WMD as one of the justifications for invading Ukraine. Putin learned that from little boy Bush and his band of war criminals. American stature was forever diminished by Bush and then virtually collapsed after trump. The voiding of the open skies treaty by trump 18 days after his election loss was a great gift to Putin. America failed to hold Bush accountable for his war crimes and I suspect that America will fail to hold trump accountable for his crimes. Almost half of America wants a dictator and our judicial failure to hold our leaders accountable for crimes committed will give the minority permanent rule, hell we are already ruled by a minority. Was 2020 the last free and fair election?

  6. drouse says:

    Came across this which might be something to take into consideration if the campaign turns into a slog with heavy casualties.
    What is happening here is that these are what we would call company grade officers. They are the ones out at the sharp end with their troops and bad morale is just bad for a military org and bad morale in the officer corp can be tragic.

    The website itself mostly covers politics internal to the Federation. For example, it was there that I came across the fact that critics of the government there use the phrase inside the ring-road in exactly the same way we would use inside the Beltway.

      • drouse says:

        Uh, no. I am not talking about mutiny. The linked article concerns officers with bad morale and really don’t want to be there due to ideals belied by the realities of service. An officer with bad morale isn’t a good leader. Shitty leadership tends to produce shitty outcomes.

        • timbo says:

          I try to remember not to conflate reliability with good leadership qualities in an officer. What I mean to say is that what and who a good leader is is relative to the situation, whereas a reliable field officer is someone who will stick to orders and carry out the plan (as ordered) or ‘improvise somewhat’ to make the plan work if they can.

          A good quality reliable officer will get the troops under them to follow along and certainly will be able to project the manner of a good leader. However, an officer who is a good leader and has a “bad attitude” may just not be reliable when it comes to carrying out the plan du jour from HQ. “Loose cannons”, “independent thinkers”, etc, those “less reliable” officers aren’t necessarily bad leaders at all, just not someone you count on to stick to the plan; troops and senior officers alike may love or hate a field officer who is a good leader, depending on circumstances and perceived brilliance. For what “good leadership” is is also subjective and typically different when it comes to the morale of troops under command in trying situations, just as it is different for commanders who expect that field officer to follow the plan (or, surprise, pull a rabbit out of the hat once again).

          A good leader, in a field officer, will be able to get troops to rally or move when the situation is crap, to stand fast or attack when the situation is most likely to result in the most success. And even if that officer has horrible morale, if he’s a good leader, reporting troops will follow orders or do what they can to achieve >that leader’s goalsthose same goals<…or at least the furtherance of that officer's plan. A good leader of troops will inspire loyalty. And if that leader has crappy morale in the face of adversity, the troops under their command may still follow that officer's orders… whatever they may be. And even if that officer is court-martialed later, for maybe having saved his men and not obeyed orders from HQ, that will not change the fact that that officer was a good leader of troops…if those troops continue to believe it.

          All that having been said, I understand your point about shitty outcomes. May there be less shitty outcomes as we all move forward.

  7. Dave Noble says:

    Reported on the news that RU (accidentally?) hit a Turkish warship with a bomb. that is going to put Erdogan in his very own hard place, as he reaps the outcomes of playing NATO off against RU for years now.

    apologies if this is a duplicate post – first one seemed to disappear into the ether.

    • timbo says:

      How is this “stray” bombing putting Erdogan “in his very own place”? It does not appear to have been a warship and there were no announced injuries afaicdiaqs. Do you have a link somewhere indicating that it was a Turkish warship?

      • Dave Noble says:

        Brief sight of a news item . Probably the Daily Mail that source of Kardashian updates

        [FYI – I’ve edited your username to match what you’ve used previously; I suspect you accidentally put your email address in that field and you really don’t need to invite that kind of trouble. /~Rayne]

  8. observiter says:

    I don’t see Putin as a “strongman.” I think he and his associates are thugs, crooks, looters. They’ve drained Russia’s resources and are looking for more. It’s disgusting and disturbing. They who fought against the Nazis are doing the same. I assume Putin’s relatives got a deferment.

    These crooks use the same magician tricks to gain power over countries. Tell the people what they want to hear, blame others for what you are doing, use verbal smoke and mirrors cause no one has time or knowledge to understand or verify.

    Note Putin waited until the Olympics ended.

    I just don’t get the Democratic Party. No handle at all on messaging for decades. It’s as if they don’t even try. It’s beyond me how extreme-right fringe, wacko, scary elements in this country get power of the U.S.

    • Rayne says:

      I just don’t get the Democratic Party.

      Unlike the GOP the Democratic Party represents an extremely broad spectrum of constituents. A unified messaging platform is more difficult when it’s composed of anti-war and war hawks alike. The extreme right obtained power because it’s unified by its authoritarian nature, doubling down on the Overton window over nearly three decades, while weaponizing the freedoms this country was built on like the First Amendment.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      This narrative of Dems as weak on messaging is tiresome. One of the many tragic manifestations of the maldistribution of wealth is the concentration of media ownership in largely plutocratic hands. There is plenty of great messaging by Dems, OAC is brilliant at messaging–that’s why she has been painted as a crazy radical so that she won’t be heard, Over the last two decades that I have been following politics, it has been possible during any crisis to find brilliant speeches by Democratic Congresspeople, brimming with effective and grounded messaging. It’s. not. a. messaging. problem. It’s a promulgation problem. I’m no big fan of the Democratic Party but messaging is not their big issue. In fact, most liberals think the Democrats are a counter to corporate control of government–certainly that gaslighting can be seen as wildly effectual messaging.

  9. T. Wilson says:

    I wonder if China might not begin to feel a little uncomfortable with Putin’s pretext for the invasion, his “recognition” of the independence of Donesk and Luhansk. What if countries started pointing out to Xi that such action sets a precedent for recognizing Taiwan as independent? There would be a much stronger case for that than for the eastern parts of Ukraine.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your second user name; you used “THW” the last time you commented here. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rugger9 says:

      If the rules for despots were the same as for the rest of us, they would. But the PRC’s propaganda machine will justify its Taiwan invasion as a recovery of a renegade province. Neither the PRC nor the Taiwanese government has accepted an independent Taiwan from China, both claiming the right to rule over all China. The Russian Federation on the other hand did recognize Ukraine as independent in 1991 after the USSR broke apart following the fall of the Wall in 1989.

      • THW says:

        I must not have been quite clear. I am well aware that both the PRC and (historically) Taiwan have claimed to be the proper government of all of China, including Taiwan. I was suggesting that a third party might recognize the independence of Taiwan in order to come to Taiwan’s assistance against China’s claim. That is more nearly parallel to what Russia has done in Ukraine. I’m not suggesting that it’s a likely possibility, only that China is very sensitive to claims of legitimacy for Taiwan.

  10. Lilly Hobbs says:

    I wondered whether all this wasn’t supposed to happen 2-1-21, after tfg’s second inauguration. After all that went wrong and the US didn’t leave NATO, there wasn’t time to get the rest of the forces in place before frozen ground turned to mud. He, of necessity, waited. Then, did he figure it would be better to strike while there WAS a pandemic?
    Thank you, Dr. Wheeler, for being someone I can trust on the facts.

  11. Molly Pitcher says:

    Josh Lederman
    Ukraine’s ambassador to the US just told us that a Russian platoon from the 74th Motorized Brigade has surrendered to Ukraine’s forces. She says that the Russian troops apparently had been unaware they were being sent to kill Ukrainians.
    No confirmation yet from Russia’s military

    • Rugger9 says:

      If that is true it’s pretty big news. If Putin can’t even control his army with the political minders / commissars he no doubt has in place he has no hope of winning this war and since protests have already started back in the Motherland I think the Russian Revolution is repeating itself. As Trotsky said of the Czarist army, the soldiers will vote with their feet and that’s bad news for Putin. Don’t expect any official Russian military confirmation.

      • P J Evans says:

        I suspect they were told that Ukrainians would rise up and support the Russians, and it isn’t working out that way.

        • gmoke says:

          I believe Putin made a strategic mistake by saying Ukraine is not a real country. He made it clear to every Ukrainian around the world that this is now an existential if not genocidal conflict. It may have been useful domestically in Russia but it sure as hell told every Ukrainian that it’s either fight or die now.

        • timbo says:

          No kidding. The Ukrainians haven’t forgotten what happened in Ukraine in the 1930s with Stalin’s “modernization initiative”. Millions starved to death, those who resisted collectivization were sent to “colonies” in the east or summarily executed on the spot, over 10 million Ukrainians died, maybe more. Ukrainians know what it means when a big invading power says “you are not a country”…

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’ve been alienated by nakedcapitalism for some time and rarely visit. Today will be my last. It confirmed my view that Yves Smith and her principal commentators have gone full Glenn Greenwald over Ukraine. (He still walks on water there, as do Taibbi and Mate.)

    Critics of Putin have had their brain “addled” by a non-stop stream of Western media. “Putin does not want to occupy Ukraine.” That would be a waste of resources. “All he wants to do” is to “neutralize” a threat on his border. Gives a new meaning to the “conned” portion of “Econned.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      In the site’s zeal to criticize US foreign policy and, say, its abysmal record in the Caribbean and Latin America, it seems convinced that no other state could possibly deserve similar criticism and sustained opposition, especially if it is a traditional enemy of the US. The arguments come perilously close to those made some decades ago in another part of Eastern Europe to legitimize the need for lebensraum.

    • drouse says:

      If you want to get a really good idea of her biases, you only need to read the little snarky comments with the links on the daily link page. Plus, some of the things/people she promotes there. Not only Glenn and Matt, but the usual mad ex-analysts, lots of RT links and some others that are really out there. I made the mistake of clicking on something called the Russian Federation Sitrep and it took me to a out and out propaganda site that had a pronounced “makes way for a glorious new tractor factory” vibe to it.

    • Gee says:

      Same here wrt NakedCapitalism. I used to read it for some of the inside dirt on finance, but then once the Trump years started, the comments were filled with this weird MAGA / “it’s a hoax” vibe. It just snowballed from there, and when the site started veering more into foreign policy and politics it became unreadable. In the same way that Taibbi and Greenwald were interesting during the financial crisis times and related topics, as they went off the deep end with Trump, it appears that NC followed. Or perhaps she led. Or they are just compromised. Taibbi’s connection with Russia looks pretty dicey and makes it seem there is a reason he can’t find any objectivity. As for Greenwald, dude is completely lost.

      • Rayne says:

        Yeah, that…the same pattern with ZeroHedge as well, where reasonable content contrary to conventional economics wisdom built the site’s audience, but at some point deviated strongly from that to something else altogether in opposition to democratic thought.

        Kind of the same with Wikileaks as well, which was supposed to be a repository for all that authority didn’t want the public to see but over time only revealed what some hidden agenda wanted disclosed.

        Long way, too, for Taibbi from ‘Griftopia’ and Greenwald’s ‘How Would a Patriot Act?’. It looks like a pattern.

  13. Philip Jones says:

    I would like to raise the issue of the economic sanctions.There’s obviously a debate about whether they are going far enough and fast enough. Perhaps the answers to two questions might help the debate; I don’t have the answers, but others may very well
    have the insights to help my thinking.

    Firstly, what are President Biden’s and NATO’s real aims and which of the following is realistic?
    Limited withdrawal of Russian forces to the disputed Eastern regions which would remain under Russian sphere of influence (to use a Cold War phrase)? Complete withdrawal? Complete withdrawal and guarantees? Complete Russian economic meltdown? Each of these options would seem to require a different level of pressure.

    Secondly, who are Putin’s constituents that can influence him? What group, or groups, of people or institutions within Russia can exert sufficient pressure for him to change course?
    Russian citizens? Politicians? Security services? The military? Economic institutions? The oligarchs? Only a combination of these groups? Each of these would seem to require a different direction of pressure.
    Reasonable questions?

    • timbo says:

      The #1 goal was stated in Biden’s speech earlier today—official US policy at the moment is [paraphrasing here] “To limit the ability of Russia to wage aggressive war on its neighbors via sanctions. We’ve seen the latest imposed sanctions already have some significant effect on the Russian economy today. We’re looking into even more severe ones in consultation with our NATO allies…”

      Putin’s allies are those who are interested in getting rich at the expense of others without regard to traditional niceties. In general, some of them might actually do better in a democracy and others of them have zero use for democracy or the rule of law. And, of course, since they’re not some sort of monolithic block, different types of pressure and consequence are likely to have differing levels of affection and/or material impact on a case by case basis.

      As to whether those are reasonable questions, I leave that up to you.

  14. Eureka says:

    re >>Zelenskyy then said the Ukrainian government would give weapons to anyone wanting to help defend the country.<<

    May have included (at least) a Brit and an American (heard in background, see replies):

    Nolan Peterson: "Among the Ukrainian defenders of the Hostomel Airport yesterday [Feb. 24] was Jason, a British volunteer. After a hard drink he shared w/me his story & some videos from yesterday’s combat, including this one He said Russian helicopter/warplane attacks were intense “This is fucking war.”
    9:02 PM · Feb 24, 2022

    • harpie says:

      Here’s something, via Helen Kennedy:
      4:08 AM · Feb 25, 2022 [News, politics, current affairs, history and culture from the Visegrad countries.]

      Vitaly Skakun is hailed as a hero after sacrificing his life to blow up the Henichesky Bridge.
      The bridge was mined but a Russian column was advancing and there was no time to detonate it remotely.
      Skakun radioed his unit and told them he would do it manually, saying goodbye.

  15. harpie says:

    bmaz already noted the Nuggets/Kings moment of silence and F1 on twitter, but here’s more about the sports world:
    10:26 AM · Feb 25, 2022

    It’s a small piece of a bigger story, but it looks like Russia is getting shunned in sports. F1 race is off, UCL Final will be moved, Sweden and Poland say they won’t play crucial World Cup qualifiers in Russia, women’s natl team’s place at the Euro championship in question [THREAD]

    The last tweet in that thread for now links to this:
    10:39 AM · Feb 25, 2022

    Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev writes “No war please” on the camera following his advancement to the final in Dubai. [VIDEO]

  16. tc says:

    Marcie just retweeted her post on Mike Ellis and the stolen top secret doc, and comments are closed, so i apologize for being off topic, but the following really jumped out at me

    “had questions about the way that Mr. Ellis had handled our most sensitive intelligence that deals with a foreign actor when he was in the White House”

    This sounds like a mole working in the WH. That seems like a BFD that is not getting much attention, unless Im reading it wrong. I would assume one named Flynn, but it could be any of them from Kellyanne to Nunes/Patel to Complicity Jane (Ivanka).

    I know you dont speculate too much, but Im hoping your next post on the subject might offer some idea why this document would be significant or not or how it could be misused. Surely that was not the only copy of the top secret document, so it couldn’t be for cover up purposes, could it?. What purpose could the trumpkins use it for unless it was dirt on an Obama era foreign actor in the WH? Even then, would anyone in DC be shocked or upset if they found out Rahm, or whoever, was working for Israel?

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