Three Things: The C C D of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

[NB: check the byline as usual, thanks./~Rayne]

This is an opinion piece, no reporting, simply some thoughts which Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have spawned.

It also offers fresh thread space since comments are getting deep below some of the previous threads.

~ 3 ~

Colonialism is alive although not necessarily well, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrates.

When persons of color talk about decolonialism it’s frequently in the context of anti-racism — making a concerted effort to unwind domination and occupation of people, place, and culture which have been suppressed and oppressed by white supremacy and white nationalism.

It’s the reawakening of culture and consciousness like indigenous language and thinking in those places where they have lived and where their people first arose.

Because racism is so often tightly wound with colonialism, it’s easy for white people to believe this is unrelated to them, or worse, reject it as “woke-ism.”

The invasion of Ukraine reminds white people colonialism is ongoing and very much affects people who look like them. It underpins the tensions between Britain, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. It’s part of the conflict between People’s Republic of China and Xinjiang Province, Taiwan, and Hong Kong where different minority ethnic groups have long existed apart from the Han majority in China. It’s at the heart of Israel’s domination and apartheid of Palestine; it still affects entire continents including Africa and South America.

After dizzying waves of political and cultural slicing and dicing across several millennia, Ukraine had its own identity as a sovereign state beginning in the mid-1700s but for a handful of years when it was resorbed into the Russian empire. When the USSR collapsed in 1991, Ukraine emerged again as an autonomous sovereign state. It has since then struggled against various forms of incursion by Russia to maintain its sovereignty while working to establish its autonomous cultural identity (ex. Kyiv not Kiev).

In 2013 Ukraine chose to align itself more fully with Europe, exercising its collective human right of self-determination — a rejection of colonization by any other nation-state. Unfortunately its pro-Russian president obstructed this choice setting off the Euromaidan protests and the Maidan revolution, which in turn may have led to Russia’s incursion and occupation of eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

What we are watching now is the continued effort by Russia’s Putin to destroy Ukraine’s sovereignty and restore its previous identity as a subset of Russia — a colonial force seeking to re-colonize a former colony. It is more than re-colonization, though; it’s an expressed intent to erase people on an individual and national level. A pogrom.

It wouldn’t hurt to pay more attention to how people of color view Russia’s colonialist efforts for this reason. You might try following Terrell Jermaine Starr ( who is currently reporting from Ukraine and Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon ( who has been studying Ukraine.

It’s equally important to reexamine unconscious colonial bias while our heads have been opened to decolonization. Like the words used to explain the Russian invasion compared to other ongoing colonization.

As if the US hadn’t installed a colonial occupation in Iraq during the Bush administration. As if Iraq wasn’t already a civilized nation before the US invasion in 2003. As if Afghanistan hasn’t been occupied by Russia and then the US in our lifetime.

~ 2 ~

Consent is a core component of democracy, autonomy, and sovereignty.

Watch who across the right-wing in the US supports Putin’s invasion. If you look through the lens of respect for affirmative consent, it’s no surprise at all which right-wing extremists support Putin.

They don’t support consent by anyone who isn’t part of their immediate in-group, either.

Which persons reject the autonomy and agency of women and LGBTQ+ people over their own bodies?

Which persons reject the sovereignty of indigenous peoples’ lands, or the true history of colonized and occupied people?

Which persons reject the civil rights of non-whites and others marginalized, including the voting rights of non-whites who elected Joe Biden as president?

The same people who also support Putin’s invasion have no qualms about rejecting the human rights of Ukrainians. They generally have a problem with democracy here or elsewhere, which relies on the consent of the people.

~ 1 ~

DARVO isn’t merely a behavior exhibited by abusive individuals but colonialists and fascists. Stripped to its barest form it’s victim blaming: they made me do it, they were asking for it, so on, while denying responsibility for the abuse.

If you’re familiar with abusive relationships particularly with narcissists, you recognize the behavior. We saw it throughout Trump’s campaign and administration.

A framework developed by psychologist Jennifer Freyd, DARVO means “deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender,” a defensive mechanism used by abusive persons when confronted with their actions.

We saw this with Trump when he accused his rape victim E. Jean Carroll directly and through spokespersons of lying about the attack and attempting to profit off her lawsuit against Trump for defamation, making himself out to be a victim of an opportunist instead of a serial sexual abuser.

Trump scaled up DARVO frequently; one particular attack used repeatedly has been the claim he’s been spied on by Democrats and the previous Obama administration. We all know know that these claims were outright fallacious, while intended to redirect attention from spying done for his benefit like the hacking of the DNC servers in 2016, and yet more redirection from whatever he was doing with classified and top secret material during and after his administration.

Nearly all the GOP and its white evangelical base have employed DARVO by claiming victimhood though it exists in a majority white country with a majority white government established to protect white supremacy and nationalism with preference for Christian fundamentalism.

At scale when aimed at a population, DARVO is a confluence of different propaganda techniques melding the Big Lie and tu quoque fallacy using virtue words and smears to gaslight the population into believing the perpetrator over anyone trying to hold them to account.

This is what Putin has done and is doing with Ukraine; he’s an abusive leader claiming a false victimhood to defend his attack on a sovereign neighbor.

From The Hindu:

Unfazed by tough Western sanctions, President Vladimir Putin said on February 24 that he decided to launch a “special military operation” aimed at the “demilitarisation and denazification” of Ukraine and also bring to justice those who committed numerous crimes against peaceful people, including Russian nationals.

“People’s republics of Donbass approached Russia with a request for help. In connection therewith, I made the decision to hold a special military operation,” Mr. Putin said in a special television address.

He said the goal of the military operation is to “protect the people that are subjected to abuse, genocide from the Kiev regime for eight years, and to this end we will seek to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine and put to justice those that committed numerous bloody crimes against peaceful people, including Russian nationals”. Justice and truth are on Russia’s side, Mr. Putin was quoted as saying by state-run TASS news agency.

We can imagine what Russian state media has been reporting about Ukraine based on this tissue of lies used to create a casus belli.

Julia Ioffe explains what Putin has done but ultimately it’s propaganda.

If anyone was to ask Putin if he is using manufactured excuses for war, he’d deny it.

He’d claim the Ukrainian government is at fault and has started this war.

He’d reverse the victim again as he has already, claiming Russians and Ukraine’s Russian nationals.

He’d claim these false victims have been damaged by Ukraine’s current government.

Deny, attack, reverse victim and offender.

It’s not the first time Putin’s done this and gotten away with it. He may have done this about the 1999 Russian apartment bombings in order to boost his political profile and get himself elected; reporting on this may have been the reason behind Alexander Litvinenko‘s assassination.

What more self-victimization can we expect from Putin as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues?

~ 0 ~

No matter how long this invasion lasts, no matter the costs wreaked by either side, no matter the amount of ginned-up rationalizations for the violence unleashed on Ukraine, Putin has already lost to this man.

I hope he lives to see the last Russian invader leave his country.

260 replies
    • Eureka says:

      I love Terrell Starr’s reporting and unmute whenever he’s on. Ali Velshi (another favorite, thank you, Toronto) had him on MSNBC this am for ex. His whole habitus, voice, perspective — perfect for (but not limited to) this situation.

      He gives a freshness to war reporting, too. When watching you can’t help but think he and his approach, his tone are exactly why we need diverse media: he’s not a detached “talking head.”

        • Rayne says:

          LOL that’s good. I was laughing at photos of him in Ukraine before the invasion when he was touring with Malcolm Nance. He was wearing a red wool coat with a bodacious white fur color, looked like a Santa.

          • Eureka says:

            Yes — memorable buddy film imagery.

            He was on MSNBC again last night but I was Too Online and only caught that he seemed really weary. Now he’s out with his PRESS flack & helmet to follow citizen volunteers.

            I was about to start a philosophical discussion of the discursive/public sphere value of Malcolm Nance’s occasionally-hyperbolic-yet-generally-checks-out language use over these years but will just leave it at recalling Area Substacker as his biggest critic. ASS jumped like a cartoon dog at a steak the *second* Bill Barred the Mueller Report to firm-up _his_ industry of attacking certain _MSM_ for making industry of the Mueller investigation.

            I am dying to know how many of the pertinent substackers’ subscriptions dry up as the sanctions trickle down. I’d like some journalism and percentages, please. /wishlist

            • bmaz says:

              Nance seems like a decent and well intentioned chap, but he truly is a king of hyperbole. Glenn was not wrong about that. I want to see one of these Starr/Nance buddy movie clips. Know of any? (I usually leave the tube on CNN, but do watch MSNBC too. Have Velshi on right now; he is really pretty good).

              • Eureka says:

                No, I don’t have anything bookmarked besides an audio-only Gaslit Nation podcast interview when they were in Lviv []. Sometimes these Patreons have video versions for subscribers, though, so you might want to look into whether that’s applicable here.

                I wonder if they’re producing a film/doc of their travels because this turned into quite a thing trying to find clips with no success, and I may have seen it on broadcast rather than online in the first place. Maybe if you scroll down their media tabs there’s something that doesn’t come up by searching names; I can’t get back far enough to see as twitter only gives me the last several to click through.

                Pretty sure Nance is included in this composite of Starr with the “Santa” coat: looks like him with his smile and white beard & scarf and it seems familiar:

                Strain your eyes at it while you listen to the podcast, I guess?

              • graham firchlis says:

                If you are going to get your message across on the teevee, dribbling out the same old well-chewed bits of cardboard won’t git er done. If only Nance’s “hyperbole” didn’t so clearly presage our emerging reality….

            • Rayne says:

              Oooh, substack revenues…I hadn’t even thought of that. Could explain the faint edge of hysteria detectable among some of the crowd right now.

              • Eureka says:

                Yes, that’s been my angle for awhile now. As a subtler argument to the whole “Putin pays Glenn” thing (which I think is facially false simply because it needn’t be true), I’ve wondered how much RU/foreign cash is propping up that whole cabal via “subscribers” — perhaps not even explicitly known to the stackers, but kind of implied when revenues float with product (maybe for the bigger guns).

                Such could be/have been allowing many of our stateside propagandists to spend all of their time spinning instead of working at other wage-based jobs, especially the lower tiered guys who need income to pay their bills.

                And yep, I also wonder if some of that recent itchiness is because ~ Oh, fuck, gotta pivot my shtick to get a real-paying audience. And Putinism isn’t (paying or) selling rn.

  1. Bschief says:

    Lincoln: “A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth: ‘Stand and deliver, or I will kill you, and then you will be a murderer!’”

  2. Eureka says:

    Was curious how @ Lev Parnas was handling this so took a stroll of his timeline.

    Interesting, he’s getting a lot of “_We_ remember [what you did, Lev]” feedback.

    • Rayne says:

      I’d heard Parnas in an interview — wish I could remember the details but I’ve dropped into so many Twitter Spaces in the last two weeks I’ve lost track. Anyhow, Parnas sounded pretty angry about Putin’s then-anticipated invasion.

      Don’t know how many times this past couple of weeks I also thought about Rudy doing some Giuliani security business in Kharkiv, Ukraine before the quid pro quo. I need to go back and see who he met with.

      • Eureka says:

        LOL I’m glad you said something because it wasn’t even salient to me. I always used to make my ppt slides yellow text on a blue background so that never tripped my sensors.

        • P J Evans says:

          The standard ppt format in my workgroup was bright yellow on royal blue. I hated it – it’s hard to read. Didn’t help that they put way too much text on the slides. (The one show I did, which they edited to their format later, was one or two-sentence text slide, image side. I don’t think it was longer except in number of slides, but it could be run through as fast, as people didn’t need so much time to read the text.)

          • Eureka says:

            Well mine weren’t garish, but cooler/contrast (there are so many hue value-brightness options), in fact made to be easily read with the lights on. So many appreciated that (and remained awake to participate — many college students can’t pass the 15-minutes-of-dark test, being so sleep deprived).

            I am sure you’d have no complaints about them ;)

            Sparse text and bullets make all the difference. And it’s not like they cost money and PITA-tax like real slides, so split-away.

  3. Eureka says:

    And while I’ve got this one, VOA News reporting source says RU tank crews are more dumping gas — rather than running out of it — and abandoning tanks upon learning they’re not Donbas “peacekeepers” & are instead headed to Kyiv. Not for any kind of sympathy but because they don’t want to die (as sitting ducks; javelins…):

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Reading down your Twitter thread a bit I found this from former Ambassador MeFaul:

      Michael McFaul
      · 11h
      Warning, this Telegram channel is disturbing. But for Russian speakers, check it out. It’s clear to me that these captured Russian soldiers in Ukraine have no idea why they are fighting there. Not good for Putin.

        • Eureka says:

          If I did you’d be spammed with snark about Ben Simmons’ mysterious “lack of conditioning oh now it’s a back injury” that’s keeping him off the court. [Nets @ 76ers on March 10th…they can’t play him until after that. Seats are going for 2k anyway. Nets had to come up with a solution after 6ers twitter went nuts at the trade about the impending date.]

          By the time I get around to getting one maybe we’ll know where Carson Wentz next.

          Thank you Molly that sounds consistent with everything else we’re hearing, I’ll take a look.

    • Eureka says:

      This father last saw his son on the 23rd. The son was expected back to Moscow on 25 FEB from his “training exercises” at the border:

      War in Translation: “An interview with the father of a Russian soldier captured in Ukraine (Feb 26, 2022) *Excerpts* from an investigation by the brave @mborzunova of @tvrain, the last remaining independent Russian tv channel (available only online) original: [embedded video with English subtitles; yt link]”
      10:41 AM · Feb 27, 2022

  4. harpie says:

    5:46 AM · Feb 27, 2022 [< This is ET]

    Ukraine has submitted its application against Russia to the ICJ. Russia must be held accountable for manipulating the notion of genocide to justify aggression. We request an urgent decision ordering Russia to cease military activity now and expect trials to start next week. [my emphasis]

    • bmaz says:

      Lol. Keep in mind that the ICJ jurisdiction flows through the UN, and any determination made by it can only be enforced by the UN Security Council. Russia is not only a permanent member of the SC with full veto power, they are currently the head of the SC. So this might provide some good optics, but ultimately means nothing as to enforceability.

      • Peterr says:

        The presidency of the UN Security Council rotates on a monthly basis, and Russia’s leadership of those meetings ends on Tuesday. Taking over on March 1 is the UAE, followed in April by the UK and in May by the US.

        Russia’s veto, of course, is the big obstacle, and that is permanent.

        • bmaz says:

          Yep, Also, I’ve seen people asking if there is some way Russia can be removed as a permanent member, but if there is, I am not aware of it nor heard about it. Seems beyond unlikely.

          • Peterr says:

            The only way that Russia would lose its veto is if the other permanent UNSC members – US, UK, France, and China — gave up their vetoes at the same time.

            “Beyond unlikely” is being generous.

          • Rugger9 says:

            One of the earlier threads’ commentary touched on Ukraine’s question whether the RF was the USSR’s successor. The swap of permanent UNSC members has been done before (PRC for Nationalist China aka Taiwan) but that was an expression of de facto reality.

            As I noted then, Ukraine would probably have to explain which other former SSR was the USSR’s heir after the RF kept the vast majority of the USSR’s land and nukes, and had been holding votes in the USSR’s seat since 1991 without any challenges including from the Ukraine. The claim won’t really have traction and the PRC won’t go for it either.

            Putting on the tinfoil, I am wondering how long it will be before the PRC goes after Siberia or the section of Russia that borders the DPRK. If Putin is bogged down more than a month, the PRC might try. Look for the propaganda about the Caucasian Russians enslaving the Asians. That will be the ‘tell’ that something is up.

          • rip says:

            Just to posit a possible way for russia to not be on the Security Council – the same way that trump was aiming at: leaving the United Nations.

            Trump’s motivation (other than spurred by external actors/factors) was to allow him to rule as potentate and spoiler.

            Not sure putin’s motivations. In any case in any way. Not sure his therapists know them either.

          • Rugger9 says:

            I don’t think the Saudis will either in any meaningful way. Both are happy the price of oil is over $100 per barrel.

            • Rayne says:

              They already declined to increase oil supply to reduce price when Biden asked them about two weeks ago. As much as I hate the idea, we’re going to have to increase North American production until we can get weaned off.

              I hold Bush/Cheney accountable for this. Not only did we end up with their war-for-oil shit show instead of Gore’s Marshall Plan for energy, we didn’t double down on alternative/green energy transportation during their administration. Bush gave the then-Big Three lip service about battery-powered vehicles while China proceeded to take our outsourced manufacturing and then kick our asses developing EVs.

  5. harpie says:

    Tide changes in GERMANY:
    5:12 AM · Feb 27, 2022

    Olaf Scholz is addressing the Bundestag. He starts: “The 24th February marks a turning-point [literally: Zeitenwende or turning from one epoch to another] in the history of our continent.” Very strong language marking the transformation of [German] foreign policy in last week. [THREAD]

    tl;dr Germany’s foreign policy sacred cows are now a steaming pot of Rindergulasch

  6. Eureka says:

    First oligarch to speak out:

    max seddon: “Billionaire Mikhail Fridman has called the war in Ukraine a “tragedy” and called on the “bloodshed” to end. Fridman – who’s from Lviv, where his parents live – is the first oligarch to speak out. Scoop with @DanielThomasLDN @ArashMassoudi [link]”
    6:38 AM · Feb 27, 2022

    “Fridman didn’t mention Putin by name or blame Russia for starting the war. But his voice matters: he co-owns the largest private bank, biggest supermarket chain, and a major mobile carrier in Russia. His partner Petr Aven was at the oligarch meeting with Putin on Thursday”

    • Eureka says:

      Aven heads Alfa-Bank; Fridman co-founded Alfa-Bank/Group

      The frothers will surely shell a nut out of this, keep them busy for a bit

  7. harpie says:

    Meanwhile, re: BELARUS [via A. Weisburd]
    7:27 AM · Feb 27, 2022

    Belarusian lieutenant colonel addressed the military. “Our boys are now sitting in the woods of Belarus, probably preparing to attack Ukraine. Some won’t come home alive. This is not our war. Find a way not to follow criminal orders. Sometimes saying “no” takes the most courage.” [VIDEO][My emphasis]


  8. harpie says:
    8:40 AM · Feb 27, 2022

    BREAKING: Ukraine confirms peace talks with Russia today.

    During a phone call with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River.
    Lukashenko has taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on Belarusian territory remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation’s travel, talks and return, Zelensky’s office wrote.

    I don’t have a good feeling about this…

    • bmaz says:

      The meeting depends on Belarus for security?? The Belarus that has been collaborating with Putin for the invasion?? Why not do it virtually?

      • Badger Robert says:

        Zelenskyy is unlikely to attend. Other officials will be there for Ukraine. But he could bargain for four way talks in another country with his safe return guaranteed. The time gained could be valuable to the Ukraine as the sanctions begin to take hold.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Lukashenko also needs to suffer precisely because of the willing collaboration off his government and other crimes like diverting that plane to Minsk of a false bomb threat. Zelenskyy is pretty smart, like many good comedians are (remember Al Franken?) and he knows his value.

        I don’t really see Zelenskyy going unless Putin does… to meet in Helsinki at least. Otherwise, it would be seen as Ukraine accepting a subservient role in the USSR, not as a sovereign nation .

      • Rayne says:

        I think the fact all conditions were dropped in a very narrow timespan. Zelenskyy rejected the first offer which required a cease fire on the part of Ukraine.

      • bmaz says:

        Oh, I don’t think he would be, but Putin considers the entire Ukranian government to be targets for kill or capture purposes.

          • Peterr says:

            I think Putin was looking to win some good PR, by having Ukraine reject his offer to negotiate. At first he proposed meeting in Minsk, deep in the center of Belarus, and when the world laughed at that, he tried again with a border location, and Ukraine seems to have surprised him by accepting the offer while at the same time making him look stupid.

            This is not about negotiations. This is a PR stunt and Ukraine called Russia’s bluff to deny them the cheap PR victory Putin was looking for.

            • RWood says:

              The “talks” are to accomplish two goals.

              1. Measure the resolve of the enemy.
              2. Obtain a cease-fire that allows Putin enough time to resupply his forces and position them for the next attack.

              Any PR is just a bonus.

              • bmaz says:

                What a load of crap. What “cease fire”? Are you even paying attention?? This comment is detached from the obvious.

  9. Tom says:

    Just thumbing through Suzanne Massie’s 1980 volume, “Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia” and coming across this passage. “The greatest of the Kievan princes was Yaroslav the Wise … [who] reigned as Grand Prince of Kiev from 1019 to 1054. Under him, the kingdom lived in peace and reached its highest state of splendor.” I recall my old Russian history professor telling me once that Kyiv was known as “The Third Rome”, coming after Constantinople and the original city on the Tiber.

    Massie continues: “Children of Kievan princes married sovereigns or princesses of the ruling houses of England, Germany, France, Sweden, Hungary and Byzantium.” One of Yaroslav’s daughters, Anna, became Queen of France when she married King Henry I in 1051, and “Queen Elizabeth II of England traces her ancestry to Yaroslav through this marriage.”

    I wonder if at some point Putin will begin targeting Ukrainian historical sites, works of art, cultural artifacts, churches or other structural icons as a way of trying to erase Ukrainians’ sense of identity. It would fit in with his whole colonial policy towards Ukraine.

    • Rayne says:

      He may view Ukraine’s cultural wealth as Russian wealth since it has been in possession of both the former Russian empire and the USSR — and why destroy what he could sell.

    • madwand says:

      In 1240 the Russians considered Kyiv to be the mother of all cities. For over 400 years kyivens, descendants of the Rus, Vikings, had grown rich on trade between them and Constantinople and many other locations. As the Mongols had been ravaging the countryside and other Russian cities, Kyiv’s turn was next. Dimitri, the mayor was determined to save this then cosmopolitan city. Many Kyivens thought that by surrendering to the Mongols they would spare the city. The Mongols sent envoys asking them to submit, Dimitri executed them thereby sealing the fate of the city.

      On 6 December 1240 Kyiv was taken street by street. The city that had once ruled Russia was utterly destroyed, all the Byzantine treasures carried away, the tomb of Saints broken open, their bones scattered. The only building remaining was the the cathedral of Saint Sophia, containing the tomb of its builder, Yaroslavl the Wise, the man who had revised and codified Russian laws and established Kyiv as the political and religious capital of Russia.

      The above paraphrased from “The Devils Horsemen” by James Chambers.

      A lot of concern here will the Russians execute the envoys, and failing to get their wishes destroy the cities of Ukraine as the Mongols did in 1240? We are all hoping not but the fact is the more the Ukrainians are successful at resisting and the more sanctions take hold and the more Putin feels driven into a corner the more dangerous he gets. Having just put his nuclear forces on high alert we are all hoping this is just a bluff, it does illustrate Putin’s capacity for engaging at the highest levels of military strategy.

      So the question is will it be like 1240 or will sanity prevail?

    • P J Evans says:

      Massie is correct about the Western connections of Kyiv in that period. (The Kyivan Rus married into a lot of eastern European families, whose descendants also married into western countries – Richilda of Poland married a Spanish king, and they’re ancestors of various rulers of England and France.)

      • Rayne says:

        I imagine Turkey will do whatever Montreux Convention allows. We’re moving rapidly beyond worrying about small ball tit-for-tat.

        It’s time to start thinking about the nukes at Incirlik Air Base.

      • Badger Robert says:

        Norway, Denmark, Italy, Turkey, So, Korea, Japan, with the US and Britain providing the muscle. The blockade just has to be talked about, and the plan has to be big enough and in accord with international admiralty law so that the Russian navy sees it hopeless.
        A good blockade is never challenged. And if it is challenged, a ship is delayed as it is adjudicated and released. Its not that hard to check a manifest and do a quick inspection and release a ship that has no contraband. Its a matter of making a non nuclear escalation.
        Track all Russian naval assets and open communication with them.

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, no. Unless the battleship/destryer you are “blockading” blasts your ass out of the water. People are insane on this stuff, it is nowhere near that simplistic. What, are you Admiral Nimitz or something? Come on, man.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Your process is incoherent and contradictory. You cannot A blockade is an act of war, justifying retaliation. JFK tried to finagle that by calling his action in Cuba a “quarantine,” with limited effect, but with two more nuanced player than Putin. And there was no shooting war just around the be

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Your process is incoherent and contradictory. You cannot operate a blockade “consistent with [peacetime] admiralty law.” A blockade is an act of war, justifying retaliation.

          JFK tried to finagle that by calling his action in Cuba a “quarantine,” with limited effect, but with a much more nuanced player than Putin. And there was no shooting war already going on around the corner.

          Putin would interpret a serious attempt at a blockade as an existential threat to all of Russia and retaliate accordingly.

          • bmaz says:

            “A blockade is an act of war, justifying retaliation.”

            Yes, and by a country with a seriously huge Navy and a madman as a President.

          • Rugger9 says:

            One of the reasons the Soviets greatly expanded their navy in the 60s was precisely because of the humiliation over the USN blockading Cuba. It is a declaration of war to impose one, so let’s not kid ourselves.

            • Troutwaxer says:

              It won’t be a “blockade.” Turkey will “close the strait to military navigation” or some such, except for their own, of course, and ships which are home-ported in the Black Sea. It will be carefully phrased, highly legalistic, and designed to cause the Russians maximal hurt.

                • Troutwaxer says:

                  Fortunately, that’s Turkey’s problem, but they’ve got the right to do it under the Montreux Convention, so it’s hard to call this an act of war, and I doubt anyone will call it out as such, because doing so might help Putin. It’s going to be “An act of war, Mikhail, whatever makes you imagine that?”

      • Rugger9 says:

        I doubt the Turks will fire on the Russians, but I’m sure the Turks have ways to block the straits even if it’s telling them no passage and making the Russians show the ships are part of the Black Seas Fleet. Each one, one by one in their admiralty court. That will take a lot of time.

        Turkey is not yet an active belligerent and as a NATO member I think starting something with with the Turks would be a Rubicon Putin doesn’t want to cross (unless NATO is already engaged). If the Turks decide to block passage, will the Russians fire on the Turks? Let’s remember how long and narrow the Dardenelles are, and I doubt any of the Russian ships would make it past with the range of modern artillery. I have no doubt that after Gallipoli the Turks have planned for someone trying to force the straits. My feel is that the Russians will huff and puff and argue all of the ships coming from the Northern Fleet have been reassigned. One by one.

        As for Incirlik, that base is under direct US/NATO control for exactly the reason noted below. I’m also pretty sure most if not all of the nukes were moved during the ISIS ‘caliphate’ years.

      • pasha says:

        iirc, bosporus and dardanelles are very tricky to navigate and require highly trained turkish pilots. if turkey refuses to supply a pilot, modern ships are likely to run aground or collide with other ships because of currents

    • Eureka says:

      The world is _not having this_. All of this impending-Putin-down-fall content gives me optimistic visions that/how same could happen to Trump (all scales relative; no one’s reacting against Trump like he started a nearly WWIII but he did do a fuckton of stuff to grease the wheels this way).

    • WilliamOckham says:

      Wow, the Montreux convention. That’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time. I had to look that up on Wikipedia, only to discover it doesn’t have much more than I remember from history class [checks notes] 43 years ago…

      It seemed hopelessly out of date back then and it’s twice as old now.

  10. BobCon says:

    The distillation of the role of the controlling DARVO framework is great, and the antidote is exposing it. It can only work in a larger framework that refuses to look seriously at evidence and make informed judgments, which actively deletes history in order to promote certain viewpoints in the name of fairness.

    Which is why I’m nearly sick seeing Thomas Friedman as the lead voice in today’s NY Times Opinion section, full of his usual certainties based not only on no information, but based on decades of bad judgment.

    The Times needs to acknowledge its long role in DARVO, and fix it. Instead we get the moron behind the Friedman Unit given the top pulpit to preach his sermon of erasure.

    • Rayne says:

      Ugh. It’s bad enough they ran an op-ed by a Ukrainian journalist last week who wrote Zelenskyy was over his head. Journalist has since backpedaled but for a paper to run that during tensions running this high is a major lapse in judgment.

      Though now I do now know a Ukrainian journalist whose work I will view with the same skepticism I view much of NYT’s content.

  11. Valley girl says:

    Vile- Putin’s rape joke to Macron

    ~~Just last week, to give one small example, as Putin spoke with Macron, the Russian president casually invoked a Russian rape joke about Sleeping Beauty to explain what he would soon do to Ukraine. Conflating Ukraine and Sleeping Beauty, he gleefully put himself in the role of the rapist: “Whether you like it or not my beauty, you will need to put up with all I do to you.” (It rhymes in Russian.)~~

    • Rayne says:

      Very much reflects Putin’s lack of respect for consent — he literally links violent invasion with intent to occupy with rape.

      The analogy’s also very Eastern and old school; Putin relied on the ancient folk version of Sleeping Beauty rather than the sanitized western Disney version when Beauty is awakened with true love’s kiss. Instead the sleeping princess is raped by the prince and thereby becomes his, occupied by force.

      The question now for the rest of the world: how far can this disrespect go? Will we be forced to fight back if he does the heretofore unthinkable and uses nuclear weapons?

      ADDER: In hindsight I wonder if this “joke” was the trigger for Macron’s move away from his persistence on diplomacy. Does one have a realistic hope of negotiating with a serial rapist?

      • Eureka says:

        He’s put the nuclear deterrent forces on alert / and that’s the corner he’s being backed into unless UKR/Zelenskyy make a deal with him. I think you’re right that concern is escalating.

        ETA: didn’t see you SL below until after I commented.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          To me, Putin appears to have lost all semblance of any impulse control. Sadly, I have seen a variety of people just before they went ballistic in one way or another. In every instance it resulted in serious emotional, psychological, and financial damage to others. In some circumstances there was also serious physical harm.

          I don’t think we can rely on any kind of rational response from Putin at this point. But I am pretty confident that there are competent people inside and outside of government who have gamed things out in numerous ways. We shall see what happens.

          In the much more minor circumstances that I personally witnessed, the aggressors always had a negative outcome that they failed to anticipate. So, there is that. But those results took a long time. It was all very, very sad.

          • Eureka says:

            Yes it is profoundly sad. I agree, that’s what I meant the other day by saying Putin is decompensating (which presents both danger and opportunity). Like you, I’ve borne witness. […] [!!!] [LOL]. But/and none of those folks had comparable destructive forces in their hands, it only maybe seemed so at the time.

            The only thing I’m ~ counting on is that he’d go cyber before nukes, not only because it seems stepwise but because in actuality cyber might be worse with protracted suffering (and cause trouble parallel to what he imagines as his own suffering).

            If he’s closer to death than “success” and knows it, he’d blaze out in a way to claim the world as his empire but with enough “notice” such that everyone knows. [This presumes he has any autonomy at that point.] [And he already fears someone’s going to kill him before he gets his way: big rooms, long tables, pre-meeting quarantines.] He’s got mommy issues and no sons, so we can’t rely on male primogeniture to save us.

            • madwand says:

              If Putin is considering a first strike using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, or alternately going out in a blaze of glory and taking the rest of the world with it, then I have to believe there are measures in place within Russia to prevent either scenario. We are in the public sphere not aware of these protocols. Putting the power to destroy civilization into a single set of hands has always brought with it the concept what if the mind controlling those hands is unstable? Of course we pioneered all these concepts to include first strike with tactical nukes and even with ballistic missiles. Most recently a US General was quoted as proposing new first strike strategies against adversaries of all types nuke and non nuke. So it’s not surprising these ideas have popped up elsewhere. Only multilateral worldwide disarmament of nuclear weapons has any real value. Until then the world is hostage to a madman armed with nukes.

                • madwand says:

                  Right and the sad truth about weapons systems is that proliferation is the precursor of deployment and actual use. My mind always goes back to the novel and movie “On The Beach” with last scenes the wind blowing in deserted streets and “Waltzing Matilda” playing in the background. They should be showing this again people need to understand, a nuclear exchange will destroy life as we know it.

              • Eureka says:

                Right, and nothing to disagree with. But I think the concern — parallel to Putin’s publicly-known behavior — is that he might have been investing for a long time in circumventing those normal controls [what would those controls have looked like in a pre-meltdown Putinist Russia, anyway?] by shunting away all but the most extraordinarily loyal personnel (read: true believers, and not just sycophants but men perhaps more powerful than he is). He’s not just like an end-times evangelist but is one in ways. I might revise my opinion if someone like Konstantin Malofeev, with whom Putin shares a Russian Orthodox spiritual advisor, made some kind of split (a hypothetical something I would regard with suspicion in any case).

                Let’s hope there is a western-loyal Putin aide who is an even better actor than Zelenskyy by his side.

                I think it was McFaul a few days ago who said that people who know Putin are saying yes, he’d use the nukes, while people who don’t know him are the ones saying he wouldn’t. Then today we have Fiona Hill’s interview in Politico (titled, “Yes, He Would…”). Better to read it than take the tl;dr but as she observes, if he has a weapon he wants to use it. He’s already deployed radioactive polonium (turning Litvinenko into a “human dirty bomb” walking London), besides the Novichok. He’s cool with “cruel and unusual”.

                But to take the spitballing back up to SL’s comment, unexpected things often happen when folks are in narcissistic rage which result in them failing. Given much of the world’s reaction, I’m anticipating the kaput. Just don’t know how much pain there will be in the interim.

              • Eureka says:

                And I have the utmost confidence in Joe Biden (and in our IC, pertinent allies/s’, etc.) wrt this situation. Besides that there are enough people alive who remember each WWII and the Cold War, I’ve had the feeling about Biden since before he announced that this was his (not just self-) appointed-legacy, to repair the western alliance post-(build-up-to-) Trump.

                It’s too long ago now — I don’t remember which ones — but there was always something about the way he spoke at international and/or security conferences that gave me the sense that this was his late-life-stage mission. [And I said this three years ago when he announced.] Wasn’t my fav primary candidate for other reasons but he will be remembered as one of our most heroic presidents. [Seems appropriate to add here a Thank you in advance and godspeed.]

            • Eureka says:

              Meant to add here:

              re lots of folks mentioning how Putin’s head looks puffy like he’s on steroids: they are immunosuppressive, leaving people more vulnerable to infection (i.e. a layer to the COVID/other fear if he’s really on them).

              Putin does have at least two grandsons (per search snippets). I see that as both a potentially good thing and a reason why, besides his age and their apparently young ages, he’s getting all accelerationist with his legacy.

      • Valley girl says:

        That and more:

        ~~After Macron held five hours of talks with the Russian leader in Moscow at opposite ends of a 15-metre table, he told reporters on the return flight that “the tension was palpable”. This was not the same Putin he had last met at the Elysée palace in December 2019, Macron said. ~~
        ~~Following Putin’s speech on Monday, an Elysée official made an unusually bold assessment that the speech was “paranoid”.~~

        • posaune says:

          Putin’s eyes look different to me, dull compared to past years, wandering. He must be tired, of course, but, seems to me he could be medicating.

    • Chirrut Imwe says:

      Shades of Bill Cosby. For those who have Showtime, W. Kamau Bell’s 4-part series “We Need to Talk About Cosby” is worth the time.

    • bmaz says:

      The nukes are always on alert, so this is more interesting as a psychological threat than a real one. I think. Still low on the DEFCON scale.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      From a short-term perspective, a nuclear weapon taking out Kiev would deliver a “win” for Putin. If that’s all he wants, he has no reason to hold back. He would blame the Ukrainians, saying they had detonated one of their own nukes when they realized they couldn’t win against Mother Russia. That all this is madness and lies is unlikely to deter him, given that the whole “adventure” has been badly miscalculated from the start.

      It may also be the case that publicizing the “alert” is intended to put pressure on the “negotiations.”

      • Peterr says:

        Um, Ukraine has no nukes of their own.

        They gave them up as part of the Budapest Memorandum that obligated Russia to recognize Ukraine’s borders.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          I was thinking of Putin’s strategy of using a firehose of lies. For his purposes, it doesn’t matter that Ukraine has no nukes. He would say that NATO secretly imported them. It would be an ironic reflection of Bush’s claims re: Iraq. In fact, a trial version of just that claim was in his speech justifying the invasion. I would be willing to bet that whether or not he actually uses a nuke, if he succeeds in the invasion, he will claim to have found them, or to have found precursor technology (enrichment).

          Apologies for not being more concise in original post, but I was typing while angry, which is almost as bad as driving while drunk.

          NYT report on Putin spreading various conspiracy theories and lies re: WMD in Ukraine.

  12. Chirrut Imwe says:

    Fantastic post, Rayne. I am amazed at how you and others can so clearly synthesize in real-time while so much confusion is swirling in the air. TY

    “The invasion of Ukraine reminds white people colonialism is ongoing and very much affects people who look like them. It underpins the tensions between Britain, Ireland, North Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. It’s part of the conflict between People’s Republic of China and Xinjiang Province, Taiwan, and Hong Kong where different minority ethnic groups have long existed apart from the Han majority in China. It’s at the heart of Israel’s domination and apartheid of Palestine; it still affects entire continents including Africa and South America.”

    Contrast this with Trump’s callused comments praising Putin for being “pretty smart” in “taking over a country for $2 worth of sanctions.” The rule of law means nothing to these people. Colonialism is part-and-parcel to their world view.

    • Rayne says:

      To Trump it’s simply real estate, not a culture, not a people, not a nation. Just real estate which can be had by using the wealth and lives of other people like the average Russian.

      • P J Evans says:

        I don’t think the former guy even sees people as real until he needs something – or unless they’re part of his family, and that’s less certain.

      • Chirrut Imwe says:

        I suppose stating “Colonialism is part-and-parcel” to Trump’s world view is giving him too much intellectual credit. Blatant disregard for the lives, liberties, and rights of others in this context does show a colonialist-like mind set.

  13. Riktol says:

    “It underpins the tensions between Britain, Ireland, North Ireland, Scotland, and Wales”
    Slight note about your terminology, “north Ireland” is not the same as “Northern Ireland”. The former refers to northern parts of the Republic of Ireland, or northern parts of the island of Ireland. The latter is a country, part of the UK. “Britain” is not a synonym for Great Britain, which is not a synonym for the UK. Because you are talking about constituent parts of the UK, it would probably be best to use “England” instead of “Britain”, and “Northern Ireland” instead of “North Ireland”.

    As an aside, I note that within England there is tension about government spending/investment at the regional level, where the South, especially London and the South East are the beneficiaries at the expense of the North. This tension can’t easily be addressed, because there isn’t a body which represents geographic regions in this manner.

    • Rayne says:

      My bad — this happens when I write too late in the evening. I meant Northern Ireland and I will correct that now. And I really don’t mean the “united” kingdom under the British monarchy when I’m talking about separate cultures and their formerly sovereign nation-states which at various times have been occupied.

      Though seriously, fuck the UK and Britain and England and all of its colonialist identities. They are wholly owned by Putin and his oligarchs when they can’t do jack to respond in tandem with NATO, vacillating under that scrofulous shit gibbon Johnson.

      The inability of members of Parliament to resolve their “tension about government spending/investment” is absurd because their real problem is Brexit which is destroying the economy.

      • Yogarhythms says:

        Excellent. Thank you for your hope honesty and courage. The table you set is fit for appetites hungry for respect and dignity.

      • earthworm says:

        i relish rayne’s posts.
        content, righteous directness, and expert dissection.
        her phraseology, “that scrofulous shit gibbon Johnson,” — oh my –priceless! have had to reread several times for pure (well, impure) enjoyment of the image.
        thank you rayne

  14. harpie says:

    A Team Of American And British Special Forces Veterans Are Preparing To Join Ukraine’s Fight Against Russia The group of 10 NATO-trained war veterans are taking up President Volodymyr Zelensky’s offer for people to join a new unit of foreign fighters for Ukraine. 2/27/22 [30 minutes ago]

    […] The group, composed of six US citizens, three Brits, and a German, are NATO-trained and experienced in close combat and counterterrorism. They want to be among the first to officially join the new International Legion of the Territorial Defense of Ukraine that Zelensky announced on Sunday, according to text messages reviewed by BuzzFeed News. Two former American infantry officers are also making plans to come to Ukraine to provide “leadership” for the group, the Army veteran recruiter said. […]

    • Marinela says:

      Symbolic gestures, but it may be too little, too late.

      Maybe some of the truckers that were “fighting” for freedom, can join them. On a serious note, heard that the truckers that were going to demonstrate in US, are against Putin aggression. Maybe that’s why some of the GOP are talking now against Putin war and why Trump is trying to have it both way.

    • klynn says:

      There is power in the fact that they are responding to Zelenskiy’s request for individuals to come and help. Add in that their responding to step up and help has hit the media, and there is another win.

      This ends up more than a symbolic gesture. It is a tactic.

    • RWood says:

      Those men are what’s known as “Force Multipliers”.

      They train ten people, who each train ten people, and so on until you have turned a population of civilians into soldiers.

  15. Charles Wolf says:

    “We can imagine what Russian state media has been reporting about Ukraine…”

    You don’t need to imagine. RT is a click away and I am afraid they are doing what looks like a comparatively good job reporting on the war. Much of what they are showing lines up well with what the more reliable US and UK journos are reporting.
    Yes, they are pro Rus but their comment sections are full of anti war messages.
    It’s a mixed bag, and it might just be an export version of the NEWS, but it is readable and hands down, RT is way better than the right wing press here.

  16. bmaz says:

    Lol, not positive this is true, but I think so. So, Russian ship really needs some fuel and asks a Georgian oiler for some gas:

    “We refuse to supply your ship. Russian ship, go fuck yourself!” the deputy captain says, invoking the last words of the Ukrainians on Snake Island.
    “Fucking occupants,” says his colleague.”
    “What happens if we run out of fuel?” says Russian ship.
    “Use your oars!”

    Now I do not speak whatever language it is, Russian I suppose, so if somebody does, please confirm. But if this is right, it is totally hilarious.

    • Valley girl says:

      I saw that too, but of course don’t speak the language. But the looks on the faces of two crew members suggest that’s indeed what they said.

    • Eureka says:

      I’m finding myself in the awkward position of enjoying what even might be propaganda (so long as it’s pro-UKR, of course). I love their very very true Gritty spirit (we also have a large Ukrainian population here and friends checking in on their families). Let it be amplified at every opportunity in this context. They need it as does the world facing down Putin.

      I accept that various pro-spirit propaganda got us through, e.g., WWII and I am thankful for that.

    • StringOnAStick says:

      I’ve read that selling off things like fuel happens at every level in the highly corrupted Russian armed forces, so every layer has someone taking a bit to add to their minimal income. Eventually that many mosquitoes can suck a lot of blood out of the host.

      • madwand says:

        We used to trade Sundry packs for helicopter sorties back in the day to resupply companies in the field, or for that matter almost anything the helicopter guys might need. Then when we first arrived in the AO being an airborne unit with few vehicles we went out an “ scrounged up” not stole many vehicles which we re-stenciled with our units nomenclature and covered on our property books as being on loan (which in a real broad sense they were) from other units. Corruption, no just the time honored system of military procurement. :)

  17. Marinela says:

    As far as diplomacy, how far can Biden administration go to label Russia the enemy of US but without declaring war?
    This way all the narratives coming out of the right-wing chambers, Trump, GOP can be seen as adding and abetting an enemy.

    • bmaz says:

      No. Just no, stop trying to make everything treason. That is ridiculous.

      If and when there is a declaration of war or AUMF against Russia, get back to me. Until then just no.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      Oh no, you pressed the “treason” button!

      More seriously, I think you’ve got a point – there are probably some very good ways to exploit the invasion of Ukraine to make the GQP look bad. It would certainly provide some cover for exposing/prosecuting those who’ve taken money from Putin. As Putin looks worse and worse and Ukraine looks better and better, political opportunities will become apparent.

  18. klynn says:

    In relation to your DARVO point (essentially RU disinfo and ecosystems of propaganda) here are some good reads:’s-Disinformation-and-Propaganda-Ecosystem_08-04-20.pdf

    And this thesis does a really great job of addressing context, methods and culture of Russian propaganda and information warfare:

    It is great that Elon Musk gave Ukraine access to Starlink:

    The value of keeping access to communication open is the opportunity it provides to stay ahead of RU Firehose of Falsehoods and one of the pillars of Russian propaganda, victimization, which is fueled by the cultural practice of vranyo (essentially the lie of the lie of the lie). Zelenskiy has amazed me with his efforts to stay ahead of a number of the propaganda attacks. He’s doing a great job disarming disinformation.

    • rip says:

      Absolutely a stunning and moving piece. This accidental president just showed the world what a true leader and patriot should be.

    • klynn says:

      Yep. Lots of eye leakage.

      Putin cannot do anything about individuals standing up. Kind of surprised the whole Catholic church has not taken up Zelenskiy’s invitation due to the historic Catholic Monasteries and Cathedrals. Since Kiev is “the third Rome” maybe Pope Francis might head there and extend the State of the Holy See to St. Michael’s Monastery? I know, crazy but hey, Lent starts soon.

      • bmaz says:

        The Pope has a bad knee and can barely walk; doubt he is going to Ukraine. Not to mention it is dangerous there now!

        • gmoke says:

          Papa Francisco’s jaunt to the Russian embassy seems to have been the first time a Pope has made such a personal visit to the embassy of a country to express his concern. For an old man with bad knees that may be enough.

          • bmaz says:

            It is the bad knee that makes it all the more extraordinary. There are some services he not is even doing, but he did this.

      • Peterr says:

        Yes, that’s crazy.

        The theological politics between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox church, as well as between the various Orthodox churches, are incredibly intertwined and difficult to untangle. The Russian Orthodox Church has long been trying to exert authority over Kyiv, despite the fact that the Ukranian church predates them by centuries. Lots of bad blood, and every pope going back to at least Pope John XXIII has been trying to heal those wounds.

        A move such as the one you suggest would not be a help to Ukraine, but would inflame all kinds of other tensions in ways that would help Putin.

  19. A Better Mitch says:

    Although it seems like ancient history, comments made several days ago by Kenya’s UN ambassador in response to Russia recognizing separatist Republics, struck me then, and still seem relevant to this thread. Historical abuse/ colonization / racism victim proclaims solidarity with Ukr. It’s worth a listen.
    I never heard of Terrel Starr or Kimberly Varnon, but that’s my next stop.
    My uninformed 2 cents regarding Putin’s nuclear posturing- it’s just that. He may be isolated and paranoid, but he’s not that far gone. It’s just another of his scary unhinged seeming tactics.

  20. OldTulsaDude says:

    It is important I would think to realize that without nuclear weapons Russia is no more threat than Spain – and Putin is extremely sensitive of that condition.

  21. gmoke says:

    DARVO is also SOP for addicts. We should all be aware that the business model of late stage capitalism is addiction and Anne Wilson Schaef’s When Society Becomes an Addict taught me long ago many of the skills we need to negotiate such a sick society.

  22. milestogo says:

    I have close family in Russia. I just got off a double encrypted line. It’s heartbreaking to see first hand what opinions develop in an information vacuum or rather in misinformation isolation. A part of a longer conversation, I asked whether the person would recognize what was really happening if they were in Germany in the mid 30s. It really makes one think about how to know truth in the modern world. Russians are an amazing people and if they truly knew what was happening, Putin wouldn’t last a day.

  23. WilliamOckham says:

    government[.]ru is currently down and anonymous is taking credit. The Conti ransomware group is being taken down by an insider pissed off that the group is supporting Putin. Life is strange.

    • Valley girl says:

      Thanks. I was looking for conformation that government[.]ru really was down, as claimed at the Anonymous twitter site.

    • Eureka says:

      Thank you, Jenny.

      There was also a large rally today at Independence Hall in Philadelphia and special observances at many churches; also at the largest Ukrainian school in the country and another rally on Friday, other past events. The area is home to the US’ second-largest Ukrainian [American] population after NYC so there is much advocacy.

      Philadelphia’s Ukrainian Catholic Archbishop asked the city to provide 10k each helmets and bullet-proof vests for Ukraine (via Karen Hua).

      Karen Hua has some videos (the children’s signs don’t say “F Putin”, but ~”Get Out” — good lessons in boundaries, too). Scroll down until you see the beautiful ceiling inside the dome of the church:

      Oh, and the benefit of an oddly-liquor-controlled state: the PA Liquor Control Board just announced it is removing all Russian spirits from the state stores in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

  24. Peterr says:

    Formula 1 canceled the Grand Prix of Russia that was to be held in Sochi, tyring to stay in front of furious drivers who were threatening not to go.

    UEFA pulled the finals of the European soccer championship out of St. Petersburg, relocating them to Paris.

    The International Ski Federation has cancelled 6 upcoming competitions in Russia, after athletes from other countries refused to take part in an event last Friday and forced it to be aborted.

    And then there is FIFA, the folks who run the World Cup. Right now, Russia is scheduled to play in a four-team playoff with Poland, Sweden, and Czechoslovakia. Poland is supposed to play Russia, and their Football Association has instead informed FIFA that there is no way that will happen. The other two teams backed up Poland, and urged FIFA to throw Russia out of the World Cup competition. FIFA’s response was to say “OK, let’s follow the IOC model, and Russia can’t compete as ‘Russia’ but we’ll let them compete as ‘The Football Union of Russia’ instead.” The international football community was not amused, especially these three other teams.

    Says Poland:

    The Polish Football Association inform that as a result of the brutal aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and the war that continues there, we do not see any possibility of competing with the Russian national team in play-off matches for promotion to the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 regardless of the name of the team consisting of Russian footballers and the place of the match.

    In the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which was condemned almost all over the world, this is the only decision we can make. A performance in a match against the Russian national team would be a shameful act not just for our players but for the entire football community, contrary to solidarity with the Ukrainian nation. As football association, we refuse to participate in play-off matches in which the Russian national team appears.

    At the same time, we call on the Fifa authorities to react immediately to the brutal violence that we observe daily on the territory of independent Ukraine. If Fifa’s Human Rights Policy is more than just words on a paper now is the time to put it into practice by excluding the Russian Football Association from the qualifiers for the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

    The Czechs weighed in too:

    In the situation of war in Ukraine, we are not interested in the game of appearances,” he said. “Our position remains unchanged: the national team Polish will NOT play against Russia in the play-off match, regardless of the name of the Russian team.

    England’s Football Association did too:

    Out of solidarity with the Ukraine and to wholeheartedly condemn the atrocities being committed by the Russian leadership, the FA can confirm that we won’t play Russia in any international fixtures for the forseeable future. This includes any potential match at any level of senior, age group or para football.

    That’s the FIFA that soccer/football players around the world know and love. Nothing matters more than keeping the money coming — especially the money coming into the headquarters.

    • drouse says:

      Of course, the FIA being the FIA, made the announcement in the most mealy mouthed way possible. Under current circumstances my aching ass. And then there’s Hass. They hurriedly scrubbed their livery and might be in a financially bad spot. He’s in luck though, Andretti’s looking to buy.

      • bmaz says:

        If you really know FIA, this was actually light speed. And that is above and beyond the fact they did the right thing at all. So I think your comment is a tad off the mark, as are several above.

        • Peterr says:

          There are so many orgs where the athletes are pushing the orgs to move quickly, and that seems to fit here. I was amazed at how fast FIA pulled this race.

          Of course, they are also reeling from the end of last year’s season, with the mess that was the end of the final race. FIA was very very vulnerable to pressure from their drivers, and the drivers pushed that to the max.

          • bmaz says:

            Exactly. It is and it is not the drivers. It is the money. The money spooked them. Remember, F1 is owned by Liberty Media now.

        • drouse says:

          It was only light speed because the season starts in just a couple of weeks and they had to head off a driver’s revolt. Vettel made that clear in the interview he did in Barcelona. Even then the FIA couldn’t state the real reason, it was current circumstances. As far as I’m concerned, no credit for being forced into doing the right thing.

  25. Honeybee says:

    Regarding DARVO, I feel so grateful that you elide this type of blind victim-blaming with racism. Wondering if folks here have read scholar Joel Williamson’s sensitive reading of psychological projection by slave owners in his book “Crucible of Race: Black-White Relations in the American South Since Emancipation.” Thanks for this post.

  26. Molly Pitcher says:

    From the ukraine_defence posts on IG, a forceful statement by a 50ish man staring straight into the camera in a blank space speaking Russian [?]:

    “A powerful video to the Belarusian military guards by Lieutenant Colonel of the Belarus Airborne Forces of the reserve Sakhashchik Valery Stepanovich. Today Lukashenka wants to send the Belarusian army to Ukraine.

    (ichardsafin 🇬🇧 / he is saying a lot, so I’ll translate the most important:) “He used to be a high ranked military man in Belarus that took part in some of the most important missions for Belarus back in the days. He signed of four years (or something) when he understood that the government is not right. And now he is talking to the people of Belarus, the military, his former officers, commanders and friends in military. He says that most of them who know him, will say he is a man of honour, and he is asking them to be the same now, as that is how he remember them. The power is in their hands, and that they are in charge of how it will go further now. There is no glory for them in this war, and that do not do the same mistakes the russian officers did by being brainwashed by the Putin propaganda. How will they be able to look in the eyes of the parents who will lose their sons in this war. He ask to stand against this”

    • rip says:

      Thank for that recap and explanation. I had earlier watched his video but didn’t catch the significance of it.

      Lots of these large and small acts of defiance will put the dictator down.

  27. bacchys says:

    Bush’s Blunder (the invasion of Iraq in 2003) was many bad things, but it wasn’t a “colonial occupation” of Iraq. Nor was Afghanistan.

  28. Anne says:

    About Russian news media: I learned this sentence in Russian class in 1965. Here’s a good explanation from the NYT, 1989:

    To the Editor:
    In his Op-Ed article ”China’s Peasants Get the Bad News” (June 19), Harrison E. Salisbury mentions ”the people of Moscow in Stalin’s day who joked that there was no truth in Pravda (the word means truth in Russian) and there was no news in Izvestia (which means news in Russian).”

    The version that I’ve heard reverses things and is, I think, funnier: V Pravde nyet izvestii i v Izvestiakh nyet pravdy (There’s no news in The Truth and no truth in The News). LOUIS JAY HERMAN New York, June 21, 1989

    Another version was explained to me around 1988 by a young rock musician in Leningrad: “The age at which an American kid figures out that Santa Claus is fiction, is the age at which a Russian kid figures out that what they teach in school is all lies.” And the TV etc.
    So, folks, pay no attention to anything on Russian media!

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      The Moscow Cold War sense of humor was quite cynical, and therefore quite funny to me.

      A worker who asks his local party secretary: ”Comrade, what should we do if the Americans launch a nuclear attack?”
      The party secretary replies. ”Put your coat over your head and walk slowly to the cemetery.”
      “Why walk slowly?”
      “So you don’t create a panic.”

  29. Molly Pitcher says:

    Very interesting admission by the deputy dean of world politics at Moscow State University that the invasion of Ukraine was a well known start to the assault on the West. And confirmation that Tucker Carlson is well and truly a tool.

    From the Daily Beast:

    Sanctioned Russian TV Host Cries About Losing His Italian Villa

    …”In fact, experts-in-the-know have been referencing the Kremlin’s secret plans for years. For example, in April of 2021, appearing on Sunday Evening With Vladimir Soloviev, Andrey Sidorov—deputy dean of world politics at Moscow State University—predicted: “Everything will start in Ukraine. We will be forced to step onto the battlefield in a fight for which they think we’re not ready.” The host asked: “A fight against whom?” and Sidorov clarified: “Against the collective West.”

    In 2022, once Russia’s war against Ukraine had fully begun, Sidorov emphasized the importance of choosing the right words during his Friday appearance on Soloviev’s show: “Don’t call it occupation, call it brotherly help.”

    While most in the West are too savvy to take Russian propaganda at face value, Moscow’s experts are grateful to have the ones who broadcast Kremlin-friendly talking points. Referring to Tucker Carlson as “the most popular host in the United States” during Thursday’s segment of The Evening With Vladimir Soloviev, the host complained: “They’re accusing him of being a Russian spy.” Analyst Dmitry Drobnitsky replied: “Well, Tucker is most definitely ours. That’s that.” “

  30. Jenny says:

    “I do not want my picture in your offices: the President is not an icon, an idol or a portrait. Hang your kids’ photos instead, and look at them each time you are making a decision.”
    2019 President Zelensky inaugural address to lawmakers.

    • skua says:

      Phrasing has faint echoes of “Endlösung der Judenfrage”.

      “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question”

        • skua says:

          And compare, “Russia is restoring its historical fullness, gathering the Russian world, the Russian people together – in its entirety of Great Russians, Belarusians and Little Russians.
          If we had abandoned this, if we had allowed the temporary division to take hold for centuries, then we would not only betray the memory of our ancestors, but would also be cursed by our descendants for allowing the disintegration of the Russian land.” – Petr Akopov


          “After World War I, the idea of bringing all European Germans together in a single political entity was shared by many people, including Hitler.” – Wolf Gruner’s The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies

          • NVG says:

            Out of curiosity, is it possible that Russia is looking at Alaska? too

            “..gathering the Russian world, the Russian people together – in its entirety of Great Russians, Belarusians and Little Russians.”

        • skua says:

          Scholar of Hitler’s pre-1940 speeches with solid modern Russian language skills and creative writing flair sought for exciting and fun-filled position with charismatic international figure and his public relations team. In this environment you will excel! No Atlanticists need apply.

  31. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The right wing propaganda machine claims that were Trump in office, Putin would never have invaded Ukraine. LOL

    Based on his well-documented behavior, were Trump in office, he would be endlessly kowtowing to Putin and selling domestic propaganda in his favor. He would be supporting Putin and actively undermining any attempt to find common ground with and support Ukraine via bilateral arrangements or institutional and ad hoc alliances. And there would be no end to right wing shits like Ric Grenell who would happily implement that agenda.

  32. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Putin puppet Belarus has apparently been persuaded to renounce its former commitment to remain “non-nuclear.” Another country discovering what it means to accept that ride on the back of the tiger.

    And yet many otherwise smart people underestimate how desperate aging monarchs are to remain in power and seemingly immortal, and that there is sometimes no limit to how far they would go. Something to consider when deciding how vociferously to oppose the GOP, Trump, and those like De Santis, who would out-Trump Trump in their destructive fascist will to power.

  33. Eureka says:

    Piano collection:

    Boy playing @ Kharkiv hotel:

    About the piece:

    [Phillip Glass bonus: ]

    From Japan, playing a piece by Ukrainian composer in solidarity:

    Bostonian playing the Ukraine national anthem:

    Another pianist @ Kharkiv hotel:

  34. skua says:

    Scholar of Hitler’s pre-1940 speeches with solid modern Russian language skills and creative writing flair sought for exciting and fun-filled position with charismatic international figure and his public relations team. In this environment you will excel! No Atlanticists need apply.

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