Three Things: Part 1 — Cognitive Dissonance and Ukraine

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

I was stitching together three somewhat disparate bits into a narrative only to realize the post was huge and unwieldy. I’ve broken it out into three parts under the Three Things theme. The other two should be done soon.

~ ~ ~

Though NATO and the EU have become more resolved and responsive since active military action began, there’s been anger and frustration expressed about the lack of immediate aid by allies of Ukraine in response to Russia’s invasion.

We have to admit that cognitive dissonance played a role in the lag.

Cognitive dissonance may have been to blame for the low key response to Russia’s previous incursions against Georgia, Crimea, and the quasi-coup of Belarus with Alexander Lukashenko’s sketchy presidential election, as well as the 2014 occupation of Donetsk and Luhansk areas in eastern Ukraine.

For a number of reasons depending on the individuals’ and nation-states’ situations, EU and NATO were uncomfortable confronting the possibility Putin was engaging in colonial expansion.

It didn’t sink into our collective consciousness over more than a decade what Putin was doing with his steady acquisition of control over areas formerly part of the USSR.

Did it take our impeaching a US president because he attempted to extort performance from Ukraine in exchange for military aid? No — that still wasn’t enough for many to see what’s been in front of them for years.

We’re steadily awakening to the challenge Putin has posed but denial clings to us, our eyes resist opening.

It shouldn’t have taken Ukraine’s president Zelenskyy making an impassioned speech to break the torpor, reminding the EU and thereby its NATO members that Ukraine was defending democratic values on Europe’s eastern flank, and that his plea might be the last time they saw him alive.

The implication was not only that Putin wants Zelenskyy dead, but there could be far worse ahead without immediate assistance from the EU neighborhood.

~ ~ ~

Let me share a translation of a tweet thread by Anna Colin Lebedev, lecturer at University of Paris-Nanterre, a specialist in post-Soviet societies. She shared these remarks on February 24 when the invasion began, in which she addresses the drag of cognitive dissonance. (Forgive the wonky formatting, it is as it was entered in Twitter.)

I see on this day at the start of the war that many of us cling to familiar categories. Reassuring, but misleading. We need to shift our interpretive schemas, because the situation requires it. A few quick remarks. 1/11

1. “Putin is crazy.”
Maybe, but it doesn’t matter, because above all we need to understand the internal rationality of his action. We need to understand the extent of his project, to see his salient points (Ukraine, and beyond, the United States, the West) 2/11

We need to realize that the ambition of the project is global, beyond Ukraine.

2. “Isn’t he okay?…”
What the massive attack on Ukraine teaches us is that the most radical scenario, the most improbable, the one we refuse to see… 3/11

… is the one that is likely to be implemented.
Our political cultures have an aversion to radicalism. We don’t believe the worst is possible. On another continent, perhaps, but not here.
Russia still won’t attack US? 4/11

The current Russian power does not reason in terms of costs and benefits. He reasons in terms of a major mission. Even an ultimate mission. Mission requires sacrifice. Even a self-sacrifice. Attacking a NATO country would be suicidal for Putin? 5/11

Let’s not rule it out though. The suicide mission is part of the mental universe of this former KGB officer. Once again: so far, our most doomsday scenarios have come true. 6/11

3. “Attachment to Ukraine”; “Soviet nostalgia”; “willingness to rebuild the USSR”
Warning: smoke screens. Political science teaches us that by using history, we speak above all about the present. To say “Putin wants to rebuild the USSR” is to be reassured. 7/11

Why? Because we imply: “Once the USSR is rebuilt, it will stop. We will be quiet behind our iron curtain. He wants Ukraine? calm.”
You have to listen to Putin. It’s pretty self-explanatory. 8/11

In his speeches he talks about Ukraine, yes. But he talks a lot, a lot, a lot about us. The West. United States. And the European Union, this little subservient to the USA, this little one that doesn’t count and which is a NATO base. The USA is the main adversary. 9/11

But we are the target.
You’re going to say to me: “wait, he’s still not okay?…”
I refer you to point 2.
It is not catastrophic today to consider the worst. It’s realistic. And I say it all the better because I was one of those who temporized. 10/11

There’s a scary little taste of “don’t look up” in the interviews I was able to do today. That explains this thread.
I will return to my job and continue to do what I have done until now: explain, detail, show other angles. 11/11, end

The bit about “don’t look up” will be familiar to those of us who watched the Netflix movie, “Don’t Look Up,” in which experts try to warn the public of an extinction level event but multiple layers of opportunistic predatory delay and denialist disbelief thwart a rational response to save humanity.

One might think this a little throwaway line, “a scary little taste of ‘don’t look up’,” but it should give us pause if Lebedev’s repeated attempts fail to get through to us the ruthlessness of Putin’s decision-making. What are the risks posed by lingering delay, denial, and disbelief?

In short, we should expect Putin to remain singularly focused on his mission.

We should be equally focused on stopping him, and look the up at the bigger picture.

Americans should also snap the fuck out of their somnolent navel gazing and confront Colin Lebedev’s question, “Russia still won’t attack US?”

The truth is that Russia already has attacked the U.S. as well as NATO, repeatedly.

The truth is that we’re still wallowing in cognitive dissonance, unable and/or unwilling to accept what has been limned before us:

2009 — Russian cyberattack on Kyrgyzstan in an attempt to force the country to evict an American military base;

2009-2010 — a program of spies embedded in our population in the event of societal breakdown, which we’ve blown off and normalized as premium cable TV series content, The Americans and “red sparrow” Anna Chapman; Russian hackers attacked Twitter and Facebook in Georgia to celebrate the anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Georgian territory;

2011-2012 — Funding of Russian-sympathetic GOP candidates and electeds by laundered cash donations throught the National Rifle Association, with assistance by Russians Aleksandr Torshin and “red sparrow” Maria Butina.

2012-2015 — Evgeny Buryakov and two other Russian spies gathered intelligence which included information on U.S. sanctions and alternative energy.

2014 — Russian hackers attacked the State Department and White House as well as NATO.

2015 — Russian hackers attacked the Defense Department.

2016 — Russian hackers attacked the Democratic National Committee as part of a program of active measures to subvert the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. Active measures also included divisive tactics on social media at least as early as 2014 intended to increase societal friction based on race and gender.

There are are far more efforts to harass, attack, and manipulate the US and NATO not listed here, including the entirety of Donald Trump’s term in office, and the Brexit referendum resulting in the steady destruction of the UK’s economy along with a breach in EU nations.

Other persons and events which don’t appear to have a direct role but likely fit in some way, like the presence of Leonard Teyf and his wife in North Carolina, should be included in the list, along with the hacking of the RNC’s email which has never been fully accounted for.

In these efforts there’s a pattern here of increasing intensity, scale, and severity.

If Putin managed to ensure his useful idiot occupied the White House for four years, he surely feels more is within his capability. We would be absolutely blind and foolish to ignore the likelihood Putin will attempt far more against the US, NATO, and other democratic allies.

~ ~ ~

Since I began writing this post, Politico published an interview with former Trump administration Senior Director for Europe and Russia of the National Security Council Fiona Hill. It’s a must-read piece. An expert on Putin, her perspective mirrors Colin Lebedev:

Reynolds: The more we talk, the more we’re using World War II analogies. There are people who are saying we’re on the brink of a World War III.

Hill: We’re already in it. We have been for some time. We keep thinking of World War I, World War II as these huge great big set pieces, but World War II was a consequence of World War I. And we had an interwar period between them. And in a way, we had that again after the Cold War. Many of the things that we’re talking about here have their roots in the carving up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Russian Empire at the end of World War I. At the end of World War II, we had another reconfiguration and some of the issues that we have been dealing with recently go back to that immediate post-war period. We’ve had war in Syria, which is in part the consequence of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, same with Iraq and Kuwait.

All of the conflicts that we’re seeing have roots in those earlier conflicts. We are already in a hot war over Ukraine, which started in 2014. People shouldn’t delude themselves into thinking that we’re just on the brink of something. We’ve been well and truly in it for quite a long period of time.

We have been sleep walking for too long, and now innocents are paying for it with life and limb, facing the monster who blew up apartment buildings killing hundreds of his own countrymen to ensure he was elected to office, who has used both radioactive material and nerve agent to poison foes.

It’s beyond time to wake up.

115 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Thinking of the exchange in comments the other day about a world war in progress. We can’t look at war as solely a traditional kinetic series of events.

    One of the other problems we face is the same one which may have cost the 2016 election, which may have cost many COVID victims.

    Women, especially Black women, warned about Donald Trump in 2016. Women researchers warned in March-April 2020 that COVID was airborne and masks were needed along with ventilation. If they had been heeded many lives would have been saved.

    Women are warning us now we must expect the most radical, the worst from Putin. He pays attention to them even if we don’t; he’s already had one assassinated who criticized him.

    • Eureka says:

      Excellent, Rayne: I’m glad you wrote this and that Fiona Hill spoke as directly as usual. Now perhaps we can call it by its name instead of dancing about.


      Adding: My HPA-axis has been calling it by its name the nearly the whole while (chronically by the time his stooge rose towards the presidency for real). #Cortisol

    • BobCon says:

      I often think of part of the first season of the TV adaptation of Fargo these days. (Eight year old spoilers…)

      Allison Tolman plays the hero, Officer Molly Solverson, who tries to investigate the connection of wimpy Lester Nygaard to multiple murders. She is constantly blocked by her Chief, played by Bob Odenkirk.

      Events spiral out of control, and in the end, Odenkirk confesses to Molly Solverson that he blocked her at every turn because he knew Lester in school, and simply couldn’t accept that the simple world of his childhood turned out to be a place where Lester turned out to be a psychopath.

      One piece of the reason why events spiralled so far is men in charge of institutions have refused to listen to outsiders. They simply cannot accept basic facts that conflict with their romantic preconceiveds, and don’t want to accept the world might change.

      We have too many institutions led by men hopelessly stuck in their childhood who would rather let the bodies pile up than simply let more qualified people take charge and follow the facts.

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        Yes, too many old men think having young men die for them makes them powerful. They love to puff out their chests and make grand speeches about how killing others is what we need to do. I cry for the Ukrainians, but also for Russian cannon fodder — kids like kids everywhere who don’t want anything to do with this war. Russian mothers and Ukrainian mothers are taking the pain and Putin gets an erection (after all, “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac”- Kissinger”)

        I’d like to see more women in politics, but MTG & Boebert come to mind.

        My newest t-shirt:

        • gmoke says:

          “Men fight because war makes them young.”
          Bharati Mukherjee from The Holder of the World

          Even when the people actually fighting are not the men being made young by war. The puffiness of Putin’s face and Hill’s mentioning that he may be taking steroids makes me think that perhaps we have a very reluctantly aging dictator with nuclear weapons undergoing “roid rage.”

          That makes me feel very secure.

    • Badger Robert says:

      War is a continuation of policy by other means. The invasion of Ukraine just makes it more obvious that the other means have been deployed for many years. Fiona Hill’s observations are likely to be durable.

  2. gmoke says:

    The “Don’t Look Up” reference is also apt as there seems to be so little commentary that relates this conflict, which is at least in part an energy war, with climate. I’d like to see the peace movement and the climate movement get together and do positive protest on the energy front through practical work on renewables and energy efficiency so that, finally, the world recognizes that all those fossil fuels should stay in the ground because of their effects on climate and the stupidity at this late date of even partial energy wars.

    But then I’ve been saying and practicing Solar IS Civil Defense for over 20 years now and haven’t seen much effect from those efforts. Yet.

    • Rayne says:

      All that. Co-sign. I’ve long maintained a key reason Putin aimed at the US was the dramatic loss of oil revenues in 2014 because so much went directly into his pocket. We should absolutely pummel him on fossil fuel revenues by liberating the world from its use.

      Likewise we need to free ourselves from economic control by wretches who think nothing of sawing up journalists. Further, we need to ensure we do not merely shift to a new war for resources by locking into cobalt and lithium; we need to invest in development of battery technology based on insanely cheap resources like sodium.

      Meanwhile, antiwar group Code Pink continues to do Putin’s work, demanding no further expansion of NATO. So useless and ineffective.

  3. Anne says:

    Is Putin recreating the USSR or is he being Пётр Великий (Peter the Great)?
    On another note, I’ve always thought that Putin exploits the Orthodox Church as part of his culture war: recreating the good old days before the USSR, acting like a Byzantine emperor or a tsar. Kyiv is full of medieval cathedrals. What’s going to happen when one gets even slightly damaged? There’s going to be the devil to pay in the whole Orthodox world!

    • Peterr says:

      There is more than a little antagonism between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, and it has been there for a long time. Yes, Putin is using the ROC, but in their eyes, they share his desire to dominate Ukraine. I don’t think the ROC would shed too many tears at damage to cathedrals in Kyiv. “If they had bowed to our authority, this never would have happened. They brought it upon themselves.”

      • Anne says:

        When I was traveling in Ukraine some 20 years ago, I saw protests about the church becoming independent from Moscow — autocephalous — that’s all I was able to understand given my limited Russian. Happened in 2019. Since Putin’s culture war leans on history, the Kievan Rus and all that, I would think the average Orthodox Christian would feel the pain no matter what the hierarchy says.
        Remember the cathedral in Cologne, that allied pilots saved from the bombs while leveling everything around it? Who cared whether it was Catholic or Lutheran?

    • Jenny says:

      Two interesting articles with the religious perspective about Putin.

      Putin is ‘making it a religious war’ — Head of U.S. Ukrainian Orthodox Church slams Russian leader, Moscow Patriarch Kirill
      “The responsibility is on him and his soul,” Archbishop Daniel says of the Russian president.

      Saint Vladimir: Is there a religious angle to the invasion of Ukraine?
      One of the theories doing round with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is that Putin wants to revive the grandeur of the Great Russian Empire or the Soviet Union the least. Another theory taking roots is Putin’s quest to re-establish the Russian Orthodox Church.

  4. Eureka says:

    Also this today via Kathleen Belew QRT:

    Kate Hartmann:

    “The Wyoming Senate has voted 16 to 14 to eliminate the U. of Wyoming Gender Studies program. (Bill below). This will not only eliminate not only the gender studies department, but also courses and non-academic programs related to gender. Please re-tweet to amplify and stop this [screenshot; thread]”
    11:18 AM · Feb 28, 2022

  5. Matthew Harris says:

    I consider myself a pretty savvy person. I consider myself pretty aware of how prejudices can affect thinking.

    But I have to admit—after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I realized how many prejudices I had, and how much propaganda I had absorbed second-hand. Because I assumed that Ukraine would be too divided, and with too much corruption and apathy to defend itself effectively. I am glad I was wrong, but it shows how much we can absorb propaganda without realizing it. Where did I get my ideas that Ukraine was “corrupt” and “divided”? Just things that had either been common prejudices, but also things that had been seeded on the internet in various ways.

    And so yes, I did have cognitive dissonance, probably combined with some other prejudices. Two of Ukraine’s Eastern provinces, along with the Crimean peninsula, being occupied didn’t trigger the same “oh fuck” response as if they had marched into Finland. And we are all paying for that now. I mean, to be fair, we have also had lots of other shit to deal with, but this never seemed important as it should have.

    • Rayne says:

      I ask you to continue to interrogate where you came by those biases about Ukraine, because 73% of Ukraine voted for Zelenskyy. If the US voted for a single presidential candidate like that — and one from an ethnic minority (Zelenskyy is Jewish) — what this country could do with such unity would be mind boggling. They were far more united than the US is and has been for decades.

  6. Eureka says:

    “Mama, this is so hard”:

    Vera Bergengruen: “Here’s a transcript of a Russian soldier’s last text messages to his mother that Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN just read out from screenshots at the emergency session of the UN General Assembly [screenshots; thread]”
    11:28 AM · Feb 28, 2022

    His parents wanted to send him a parcel (at “training exercises”). He told his mother, “I just want to hang myself now”.

  7. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Part of the cognitive dissonance has been a failure domestically to understand political developments as essentially Russia v US. I speak especially of the rift in the Republican Party, which is almost invariably portrayed as Trumpers vs never Trumpers. The reason for Liz Cheney’s behavior, for example, is that she understands that the battle is between the state apparatus her father spent his life in and the Russians.

    We also err when we think of the Russian attack as coming solely from “over there” through cyber warfare rather than very much right here through people living among us. Our society is under assault. When I see anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, Proud Boys, attacks on school boards, etc. I think of Russia exerting her destructive influence. I repeat, our society is under direct assault on multiple fronts. Trump is merely one vector. It’s coming from Russia.

  8. gnokgnoh says:

    @DME, this is a fight between Ukraine and Russia, but the role of the US and the EU over the last several years has been key. In 2018, under Poroshenko, Ukraine launched an anti-corruption prosecution department, and in 2019 a High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC) in Kyiv. The court only hears corruption cases that involve government officials and includes 30+ judges. They convicted their first government official in October 2019. A number of government officials are also ex-Soviet oligarchs. I visited the appellate court in Odessa; the chief judge met me in the port on his very large yacht. The only judges willing to sit on the HACC were very young and extremely enthusiastic about cleaning up corruption in the country. They and their families receive 24/7 security protection. The advertising for this court has been minimal, and their website was never put on the Internet. The approval of Western loans and financial support was contingent on the formation of the HACC, among other important anti-corruption steps consistent with a full democracy. You can Google the historical announcements of this court in the press. This is one of many recent provocations that began to reduce the influence of Russia in Ukrainian affairs. Joining the EU or NATO would have only been the capstone of many, many democratizing efforts over the last decade. You only hear the stories in the press about oligarchs and corruption, not about the fundamental reforms in Ukraine.

    This gets me to my main point. I read non-interventionists (Cato, Mearsheimer) writing that we should not have pushed Ukraine to join the EU and NATO. In my view, this is much more about Ukraine’s autonomy and wish to be a fully functioning democracy. Many with whom I worked are now getting bombed or fleeing.

    • Eureka says:

      Oh good lord. If you’re invoking Mearsheimer — just like the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs did yesterday (see via Ioffee below) — I urge you to read Michael McFaul’s thread from February 18, 2022:

      Michael McFaul: “Lots of people in my feed recently keep referencing Professor Mearsheimer as the great explainer of the current Russia-Ukraine conflict. I have some thoughts. THREAD 1/”
      3:25 AM · Feb 18, 2022


      “On Ukraine, I think Mearsheimer is wrong. It is not the US fault that Putin invaded Ukraine in 2014 and might do so again now. We debated these issues in @ForeignAffairs w/ @SSestanovich years ago: Faulty Powers [link] via @ForeignAffairs


      Julia Ioffe: “Congratulations to everyone who made this happen. [QRT MFA Russia, who links, screenshots. and states in part “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault” article by John J. Mearsheimer (@ForeignAffairs, 2014).” ]”

      • Eureka says:

        Subhed of that article, displayed in screenshot: “The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin”

      • gnokgnoh says:

        Eureka, my post only mentioned and did not invoke Mearsheimer. McFaul and Dennis Ross in the thread you link represent current US thinking. Advocating for Ukraine’s autonomy is exactly what Mearsheimer chooses to ignore. The irony is that Ukraine’s efforts to democratize survived, in fact, thrived from 2017-20.

        • Eureka says:

          On first read it seemed of a piece with certain propagandistic views (contextual cue e.g.: Ukraine’s democracy-securing measures as “provocations” — and with Western carrots in the HACC example you gave), like it’s either Ukraine’s fault or the West’s fault rather than Putin’s fault.

          I appreciate your reply, gnokgnok. I found it helpful.

        • gnokgnoh says:

          Eureka, the geo-political framing of a lot of Western historians and thinkers undercuts the reality that Ukraine is an autonomous democratic country under attack. This is professional and personal for me. I have worked with and know many in Ukraine, where they are now, and what they are doing to survive. I would name them here and now, but cannot for their safety. They have names and lives and children and grandchildren. Many that never held a gun are fighting. My heart breaks.

          • klynn says:

            It’s been difficult beyond words. Spent yesterday helping friends at the border. Appreciated your comments gnokgnok.

  9. Peterr says:

    Last night, I reread Khrushchev’s “secret speech” in February 1956 where he formally denounced the Cult of Personality built up by Stalin and the crimes that he engaged in to climb into power and maintain it. Part of his critique was based in casting the Cult of Personality against orthodox socialist/communist doctrine, which doesn’t fit the present moment, but even so, the parallels between Stalin and Putin are stunning.

    The transcript notes in various places that there was “indignation in the hall” as Khrushchev outlined some of Stalin’s crimes. This reflects exactly what Rayne is saying here about cognitive dissonance. “Sure, he was bad, but I couldn’t conceive that he would do X . . .”

    One thing that I have been wondering about is the relationships between Russian and US/NATO military leaders. For some of these folks, they got to know each other with some joint meetings and events when there was more cooperation. Think of astronauts and comsonauts, who spent days, weeks, and months together in training and in space. I can easily imagine some of the western folks reaching out to their Russian counterparts from back in the day, and asking them “What is going on with Putin? Would he really pull out the nukes? I know that you can’t tell me, but I hope that if orders to do so in this current mess come to your on-duty commanders, the military would reject this illegal foolishness and stop it.” Getting Russian generals to ponder that question would be a powerful thing.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      Speaking of Khrushchev, his great granddaughter was on NPR yesterday being brilliant. She’s been calling Putin a nut for 8 years. She was not reassuring. She also stressed how much shame Russians like her are feeling, spoke of how hard Ukraine fought while being devastated in WWII, that Khrushchev had helped build it back, and now a Russian president is destroying it.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        To add to the theme of cognitive dissonance, the interviewer (sorry, I don’t remember who) admitted that Nina Khruschev had been telling her this about Putin for years, but that she had always thought she was exaggerating.

      • timbo says:

        A very timely article. Maybe more folks will read it than would have prior to the invasion of Ukraine.

  10. Badger Robert says:

    Europe is waking up. I wonder about the British. Will they decide the US will not protect them, and that the only real protection is NATO and the success of the EU? That would require an enormous re-evaluation of perspective. I was watching a speech by the Foreign Secretary in parliament. They seem to be having a nightmare, and don’t want to think its real.
    The US is still isolationist with respect to Europe. The US will fight colonial populations, but it thinks wars in Europe are just normal politics. The US will wake up last.
    I think this contest will go on for months and years. The world can probably outlast Putin, but its contingent.

    • timbo says:

      Uh…the US and UK are both members of NATO already, founding members in fact. So it isn’t an either/or proposition like you allude to in your odd questions about what the UK will do here…or in the near to intermediate future with regard to their relations to NATO and the US. If Britain is attacked then NATO will respond in allied defense, and that includes the US already.

  11. Peterr says:

    For most of the Fiona Hill interview, she talks about governments and nations, but near the end she says this about businesses:

    Hill: . . . Right now, everyone who has been doing business in Russia or buying Russian gas and oil has contributed to Putin’s war chest. Our investments are not just boosting business profits, or Russia’s sovereign wealth funds and its longer-term development. They now are literally the fuel for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Reynolds: I gather you think that sanctions leveled by the government are inadequate to address this much larger threat?

    Hill: Absolutely. Sanctions are not going to be enough. You need to have a major international response, where governments decide on their own accord that they can’t do business with Russia for a period of time until this is resolved. We need a temporary suspension of business activity with Russia. Just as we wouldn’t be having a full-blown diplomatic negotiation for anything but a ceasefire and withdrawal while Ukraine is still being actively invaded, so it’s the same thing with business. Right now you’re fueling the invasion of Ukraine. So what we need is a suspension of business activity with Russia until Moscow ceases hostilities and withdraws its troops.

    More and more, those who do business with Putin and Russia have been rethinking those decisions. BP and Shell have announced they are breaking partnership agreements with Russian companies and pulling out. Swiss bankers, famous for their secrecy laws, have said “enough!” as well. International sporting federations have done the same, which also includes breaking sponsorship agreements with Gazprom, Aeroflot, and other Russian companies. Many a wag has noted that if FIFA and Swiss Bankers won’t do business with you, that’s truly stunning as these folks have a long history of doing business with anyone, and that’s absolutely true.

    This isn’t just a military fight, and it’s business decisions like these that will touch the ordinary Russians. Shutting Russia off from Apple Pay had the effect of screwing up the transit system in Moscow, as commuters could not simply wave their phones at a scanner as they went through the turnstiles.

    • Rayne says:

      The businesses pulling out, though, could turn around and do just as businesses did after January 6 — claim they won’t donate to campaigns of perps and then when public outcry has dulled go right back to making donations, ex. Walgreens.

      We need shareholders’ activism to force corporations to exit Russia and stay out of Russia. We need this same activism to force new business models on fossil fuel industry corps as well because they have dragged their feet for more than 30 years.

      Western businesses pulling out leaves Russia vulnerable to India and China, particularly the latter. I can see where this could undermine Putin over the long run should this take years; imagine insisting on a bigger, stronger Russia only to find a steady influx of Chinese in everything Russian.

      • Peterr says:

        At the highest levels of international soccer/football, clubs hire managers from all across the world. The Guardian reports today of one such coach taking a stand in Moscow, making a business decision of his own:

        Lokomotiv Moscow’s manager, Markus Gisdol, has resigned in protest at Russia’s war on Ukraine. The 52-year-old German, who took the job last October, said he was “absolutely convinced” his decision was the right one.

        Gisdol, who had previously spent his whole playing and coaching career in his homeland, most recently with Cologne, had been in charge for 12 matches.

        He told Bild: “Being a football coach is the best job in the world. But I can’t do that job in a country whose leader has invaded another country in the middle of Europe. That does not go together with my values and I have therefore resigned as manager of Lokomotiv Moscow with immediate effect.

        “I can’t stand at the training ground in Moscow and coach the players, ask them to be professional when a few kilometres away there are orders given that brings suffering to the people of a whole country. This is my personal decision and I am absolutely convinced it is the right one.”

        The club, of course, released its own statement, saying Gisdol did not quit but was fired. Kind of hard to justify that on a performance basis, as the team sits 7th in the 16 team Russian Premier League — unless the political pressure to discard a German coach made the performance on the field less important.

        Either way, it’s another business decision that increases the isolation of Russia in a way that cuts through a lot of international politics to touch ordinary Russians.

      • Peterr says:

        Also, the story I saw at the Guardian about BP and Shell pulling out had the headline “BP and Shell lead rush to exit Russia. There can be no going back.” This story was written by one of their business writers, not a political writer or military writer. One point he made is that while these two companies will lose millions in revenue from this, it’s almost a rounding error to the companies — and the stock market basically approved by not tanking the stock prices. BP and Shell made a business decision that staying involved with Putin and his oil oligarchs was more expensive than dumping the relationships, and their shareholders agreed with them.

        That is a powerful statement, with no mealy mouthed both-sider-ism to it. We. Are. Done.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          I wish I could ascribe such noble impetus to BP and Shell, but keep in mind that they were selling stocks at the front of what anyone would see coming, a major stock crash. Getting out while the getting was not horrible.

          • Peterr says:

            I’m not saying it’s noble. It strikes me as a sober business decision, to say that the ground is shifting and they do NOT want to be on the wrong side of things in the mid- to long-term. BP and Shell know that they have a huge uphill climb because of climate change (either continue fighting the science or moving to some form of energy company rather than extractive fuel company), and to be fighting against world opinion on Ukraine was too much to contemplate.

            That’s not pious morality – that’s a cold business calculation, and they were pushed into it by Putin.

            • Molly Pitcher says:

              Yes, of course you were saying that. My apologies.

              I am in a vile mood, watching that long line of Russian vehicles moving towards Kyiv. All I want to do is hit them with an unlimited supply of stingers. It is such a lost opportunity that is going to cause so much death and destruction to the Ukrainians.

              We are already in a World War. If the economic actions of the allied countries against Russia do not represent an act of War I don’t know what does. They just don’t make a sound louder than the click of a keyboard.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        I wondered how true it is. I don’t do Twitter. She’s a reliable source. People did remark that the GOP official site is still spamming nonsense.

  12. Chirrut Imwe says:

    I wonder how (and how quickly) US-Russia cooperation/control of the ISS will play out over this.

  13. madwand says:

    In the early 90s US businesses and investors fell all over themselves in trying to get into the new Russian Markets. Every corporation that had a flight department took off with executives eager to penetrate the Russian Markets, they were going to bring western technology and know-how to the newly freed Russians. That was the theory, the reality was the Russians picked and chose who they would do business with and for how long and in the end it was the oligarchs who ended up controlling the Russian industries, not the Europeans or the US, with oil being a noted exception. The oligarchs, extractors, are the same bringing their yachts to the Maldives or other friendly nations. The money they used to buy among other things, buildings, overpriced Trump properties, hotels in Panama, cars, airplanes and helicopters was money extracted from the Russian economy and not put back into it, a familiar problem even here in the west.

    So the hope is that sanctions on these guys may slow the Russian advance, but from news this morning the advance is inevitable, even if the timing can not be determined. Yesterday the US said Kyiv would fall within two days. We will see.

    On the table today are calls for additional sanctions on the oil industry and a US and European no-fly zone over Ukraine. It remains to be seen if the Europeans have the will to cut off their oil and gas. As for the no-fly zone, it had to be rejected in earlier strategy conferences, and the impetus for it now is coming from mostly the Ukrainians who see it (rightly) as saving them from a bombing campaign, and throw in a maverick US general or two with the same idea who feel playing chicken with Russians is a good tactic, but comes with inevitable confrontation of US and European AirPower with the Russians, and then all bets may be off as to what comes next. The downside if we don’t is the Ukrainians will not be able to stop the Russians who will surround, starve and then pound to dust important Ukrainian cities. The downside for Putin is he has to occupy Ukraine, and he needs a lot more troops to do that.

    At the moment I don’t see the west having the brass to establish the no-fly zone, or send in troops for that matter. That means Ukraine will fall and we will enter an insurgency phrase of the conflict, where the hope is the insurgency coupled with the deaths of a lot of Russian soldiers will wake up the Russian public and those oligarchs to oppose what is happening in Ukraine. Listening to Julia Ioffe this morning, she expects this is just the beginning, hang on to your seatbelts.

    • Rugger9 says:

      A no-fly zone means having to enforce it with NATO aircraft authorized to fire if necessary to continue their mission. It means risking losses of aircraft and pilots killed and captured. I do not see that step until the 30 NATO nations authorize joining Ukraine’s side as a belligerent. However, Putin may force the issue by attacking the Baltics.

      • madwand says:

        Yep as far as your first three sentences, and it requires an article 5 violation such as the Baltics, he may also force issue by cutting off oil and gas, though I think the bet would be to keep the status quo, he is still focused on taking Ukrainian cities and has announced he will use air power. As long as west doesn’t physically interfere he is cool and that is what he has been betting on all along. The west can change that dynamic but that involves risk, I’m sure they are considering it.

      • Marinela says:

        One of Ukrainian member of congress was urging for the no-fly zone protection on Ukraine.
        She said that you don’t need to shut down planes, magnetic jams, not sure how that works.
        Maybe she has a point there.

        She also said that US went to war for the invasion of Kuwait, even though Kuwait was not part of NATO.

        “NATO members were particularly critical of the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait and by late 1990, the United States had issued an ultimatum to Iraq to withdraw its forces from Kuwait by 15 January 1991 or face war.”

        The difference is Iraq versus Russia, but she made a good point.

          • Molly Pitcher says:

            I hit reply before my name fully filled, I’m sorry you can delete it or add my name, not sure what to do

            [Fixed it. All set. /~Rayne]

        • madwand says:

          A friend of mine told me if you can think of it we probably have it. How or when it can be deployed and how effective it is a totally different question. So there’s hope. In Syria there was a protocol because the airspace was so crowded between our air guys and their air guys. Pilots could even communicate aircraft to aircraft if things got dicey. Headquarters could communicate with headquarters to avoid surprises. However it’s not perfect nothing ever is, anytime you throw a lot of metal into a little airspace mistakes can be made and it’s not the mistakes it’s the consequences that matter.

    • earthworm says:

      “Russian advance cannot be halted:”
      until convoy is completely on Ukrainian soil — are other options then available militarily? (Allies coming to Ukraine’s aid once it does not involve Belarusian territory?)
      How does it work? Does Putin enable the kleptocracy? Or does the kleptocracy enable Putin? If kleptocracy enables Putin, sanctions may have a chance to halt this insanity.

  14. Manwen says:

    Looking at this through the lens of cognitive dissonance is very insightful. I don’t know that my words will add anything to this discussion, but having read this, I feel compelled to share some thoughts.
    Russia has been waging information warfare against democratic governments since the Cold War. In the digital age, their toolbox is so much larger and insidious. It has taken us a long time to recognize how they were weaponizing digital communications. All the while, western investors rationalized their profiteering while strengthening Russia. Continually, capitalists profited. The government and the public supported them. Strengthening ties through sports and economic relationships made us feel better about “westernizing” Russia, while we ignored the ongoing assaults on democracy and the violation of norms of the post-Cold War era.
    The appointment of Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon as Secretary of State, after he negotiated joint ventures with Rosneft on behalf of Exxon. Is the perfect illustration of this cognitive dissonance. Tillerson was well aware of the Putin’s capacity for evil. Greed greases the dissonance and encourages us to believe we can manage the most evil characters. Hill references the historical evidence in her Politico interview:

    “So sadly, we are treading back through old historical patterns that we said that we would never permit to happen again. The other thing to think about in this larger historic context is how much the German business community helped facilitate the rise of Hitler. Right now, everyone who has been doing business in Russia or buying Russian gas and oil has contributed to Putin’s war chest. Our investments are not just boosting business profits, or Russia’s sovereign wealth funds and its longer-term development. They now are literally the fuel for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
    Investors greed, displaced by dissonance, coupled with the highly successful information warfare that, until a few days ago, left Putin with prominent public defenders in the United States. Those defenders seem to be marginalized if not in full retreat at this point, but they made it difficult to generate support for taking action against Russia earlier.
    The West’s oft-repeated argument that integrating the Russian economy into the global economy would incentivize Russia to moderate its behavior has proven wrong for at least a decade. But, until this past week, the view dominated the rationalization of Western powers. On the other side, it seems as though Putin saw it differently. By integrating he was playing to the greed of the Western elites, offering them a lot of carrots while applying his sticks elsewhere. As his sticks became bigger and stronger with western investment, investors continued to reap the benefits and thought they could draw limits on his behavior. Western investors and their political figures miscalculated on the front end, and Putin miscalculated how far the West would allow him to go.
    The very thing Putin used to manipulate them and strengthen himself, the greed of Western investors, he then threatened with the destabilizing assault on a modern European nation. Our insatiable greed and its accompanying dissonance worked in combination with Putin’s maniacal yet deliberate drive to restore Russian empire. In hindsight, all of the suffering, horror and death we are witnessing and Ukrainians are experiencing seems inevitable. I agree 100% with Fiona Hill. World War III is here and has been on-going since before 2015. It is between democracy and authoritarianism. It has not been the set-piece war of I and II vintage. It has been information war globally; isolated warfare regionally. Putin escalated by invading a singular non-NATO/EU European country; we introduced serious economic warfare. Putin threatens to use nukes while escalating his stalled invasion.
    The ongoing struggle between democracy and authoritarianism is, without question, an ongoing international struggle. At some point, democracies have to stand-up to authoritarians or capitulate. We risk nuclear war when we stand up to authoritarians who control nuclear weapons. I assume at this point, that compassionate people on both sides are working to avoid the most horrific outcome. Looking back, this day seems like it was inevitable. It is difficult to see a future where Putin surrenders his dreams of Empire; and, it is difficult to see democracies accepting anymore push back from Putin. It is too destabilizing and threatening to their economic interests. It seems our highest priority is preventing escalation to nuclear conflict.

    • Rugger9 says:

      I saw that as well. The 29 is well suited for this fight, we’ll see if any surplus MIG-29s make it to Ukraine from others. It’s not like NATO would continue with them.

    • Chris Perkins says:

      I think there is confusion on this. If I’m reading the reports right, planes _are_ being given to Ukraine, but no NATO country pilots will fly them or be involved in any sort of No Fly Zone interdiction, etc.

      • timbo says:

        That’s my understanding as well. Basically, that would just mean that the jets would have to be moved to across the Ukrainian frontier for pickup. Either way though, you gotta think that Russia would not be happy about this.

  15. gnokgnoh says:

    Manwen, yes and no. Soviet citizens may have protested under Andropov or Krushchev, but not for long. I read about Russian business owners who are distraught because they are cut off from Western commerce in the last few days. One owner was quoted as saying that they are now very European, you cannot just take that away. It cuts both ways, and many are letting Putin know about it. The comparisons to Western business interests with the Nazis are well-founded, but in general isolation is not the answer, either.

    Except now. Isolation and condemnation are effective measures we can take because the global economy is so interwoven. Putin is old school, I don’t think he prepared his country for the deprivations they must face.

    • Manwen says:

      I had some minor involvement with academic exchanges with Russia both during the Soviet era and after. I do not advocate isolation. Communication and economic interdependence are important. My post describes what I see; it does not prescribe what I think should be.
      Profiting from the relationship led to the rationalizations of Putin’s behavior to the point that political and economic leaders tolerated Putin’s transgression of international norms and basic humanity believing the economic dependence would moderate Putin. Putin thought that he could get away with anything but continually pandering to the greed. Eventually, Putin’s motivations and manipulations of the West would clash when his behavior crossed a threshold that threatened the economic stability of the West. However much I support global economic and cultural interpolation, Western greed and Putin’s manipulation of it, seemed to make an escalated conflict inevitable. While I cannot say we are at Cuban Missile Crisis level as yet, there is a stark difference between 1962 and 2022. Putin is not Kruschev. Kruschev and Kennedy both had a strong desire to avoid nuclear war. When the stakes were clear, Kruschev could find an off-ramp.
      I am less certain that Putin’s personality will allow him to accept less than total domination of Ukraine at this point. And, the economic sanctions on Russia will be very destabilizing and threatening. He may deploy tactical nukes in Ukraine if he feels they are needed. He may threaten the west with nuclear weapons in response to the inevitable economic dislocations and disruptions. We are headed down a road that is somewhat unpredictable because the convergence of Russia’s interdependence with Western economies is clashing with Russia’s attempt to reclaim dominance over Eastern Europe (and beyond according to some). Coupled with Putin’s personality, things seems uniquely dangerous. I am simply agreeing with Rayne that cognitive dissonance played a major role in how we got where we are. The question was when and where would the convergence of competing interests collide. Ukraine now is the answer. The important question now is can we keep it from spinning out of control at a nuclear level. I don’t believe we know the answer because there are few historical parallels to help inform us.

      • Peterr says:

        Putin is more Stalin than Khrushchev. Will it take the death of Putin to have his successor denounce him?

      • hester says:

        Zelenskiy tweeted:

        To the world: what is the point of saying «never again» for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar?

        At least 5 killed. History repeating…

  16. Marinela says:

    Zielinski looks really tired.
    He needs to get some sleep if he is going to lead his country for the upcoming brutal days.
    I hope there are people around him that could nudge him to pace himself.

    So worried he is exerting himself physically and mentally, then you see Putin cowardly in opulent palace with smug on his face.

    • mospeck says:

      Love the Z man, but don’t forget about Navalny (who my Russian buds from Kharkiv predict will never see the light of day again). Also Protasevich.likely never will either. And the River City Kremlin bottler joes are also in deep trouble. For ex. it is worrisome right now that the PA liquor control board just removed Russian Standard from our state store shelves. This is not only bad for business, bad for them and bad for us, but even if we don’t say it out loud, it means that we must be at least at DEFCON 2. Back in our old halcyon days–hey she wasn’t no Tsar Bomba, but our old Baker she’s alright.
      However now world is changing so wicked fast and spinning underfoot right like a neutron star. And the spooks say that we gotta play by the rules, kinder and gentler, use only teenie tiny 1 ktons with gps lock and 1 meter miss. Like Randy Newman says we don’t want to hurt no kangaroos.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The ever-nimble Boris Johnson, protecting what matters to him and the Tory party. His government’s sanctions against Russian oligarchs may take, “weeks or months” to implement. Critics point out the obvious: the delay would enable sanctions-avoiding asset flight, and allow the City to orchestrate things in the least costly, most profitable way.

    On the immigration side, while his government has promised to open its arms to Ukrainian refugees, the left hand takes away what the right one offers. For one thing, the Home Office insists on building its policy around visas, rather than temporarily waiving them, as have other European countries.

    Entrants must also have a preexisting family member living in the UK, an outcome of explicitly basing this supposed relaxation of immigration policy on “family reunification.” The phrase must burn the tongues of Home Office mandarins, who have built their immigration dikes around demonizing and preventing such reunifications.

    Lastly, the process is supposed to be free. That must be news to immigration officers on the ground, because they are still insisting on charges that could amount to thousands of pounds, money fleeing people rarely have on hand. All in, these appear to be intentional SNAFUs, allowing Johnson and his xenophobic and autocrat-friendly party to benefit from the headlines, while changing fuck all about how they do business.

      • Valley girl says:

        Not sure about the article this comes from, but this is apt:

        ~At least, she would have done if she wasn’t too dim to realise that she had been hopelessly exposed as a dangerously out of touch and inadequate home secretary.~

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Priti Patel is out of touch with her society’s needs, but that’s by design, not out of ignorance or inadequacy. She is one of several senior Tory politicians of South Asian descent, who seem happiest pulling up the ladder after they’ve climbed it. (Clarence Thomas plays much the same role in the US.)

        She is a demon at the Home Office, but she did not invent its intentionally hostile environment. She is perpetuating the cruelty on which Theresa May built her reputation, a cruelty only mildly distinct from that promoted by Enoch Powell in the 1960s.

        The programs she puts in place – like elements of the US safety net – are wallpaper: they are not meant to be accessed by the people who need them. That approach also defines the Tory party’s across-the-board approach to governance, especially including its “response” to Brexit.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Long Tory pedigree of doing such things. Just before WWII, volunteers tried to evacuate Jewish children from Czechoslovakia. Most European and North American governments were not willing to accept any Jewish refugees.

            Banker Sir Nicholas Winton (from a German Jewish family) found homes for about 670 of them in the UK. As part of the deal, the government demanded that each child have a sponsor and post a cash bond (valued today at about US$3600), to be used to pay for their prompt repatriation. Their care while in the UK? Meh.

            The last train carrying about 250 children did not make it out before war was declared. Two of them survived the war.


        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Not much of an exaggeration in that cartoon, except that Priti Patel would renege on any deal she made, such as to get Christmas turkeys slaughtered or seasonal fruit picked. Nor would she expose herself like that: she would use a cutout.

  18. Rugger9 says:

    OT, the J6SC sent out some more subpoenas including for Cleta Mitchell (at the WH) and also others who were on the call list for the J6 sedition. Cleta’s also tight with Ginni Thomas who just happens to by Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife. It’s still way too early with way too little evidence now, but it would be fun to see Justice Thomas impeached because of Ginni’s actions.

    • P J Evans says:

      I’d think the easiest way to handle this is to make it hard for them to go to other ports. Leave them stuck in the Maldives.

  19. Tom says:

    I keep thinking of those videos of captured Russian soldiers, almost all of them saying they were told they were going on a training exercise and then found themselves in a shooting war against their brothers & sisters in Ukraine. How representative these videos are of all Russian POWs I don’t know, but I was struck by how defeated and demoralized they appeared. Imagine their situation, young guys with parents, siblings, girlfriends, maybe wives and children, suddenly finding themselves at risk of death, wounds, or capture on the battlefield without ever having had a chance to say good-bye to their loved ones or to make final arrangements in case they didn’t come back.

    I’ve always understood that an officer’s first responsibility is to the soldiers under their command, but these young Russians seem to have been horribly betrayed by their superiors. I am by no means any kind of authority on the modern Russian army, but it just seems such a cynical and self-defeating manner of treating your troops. Assuming these young guys return home at some point and continue serving in the army, will they ever trust their commanders again? Hasn’t their esprit de corps been effectively killed? Even in civilian life, will they ever feel any commitment to a system that lied to them and clearly saw them as expendable? If they’re lucky enough to see old age, will the war stories they tell their grandchildren be all about how the army screwed them over royally when they were young?

    I’ve read that in Tsarist times funeral services would be held in Russian villages when their young men were dragged off to join the army as they weren’t ever expected to return. And during WWII Russian troops were ordered to clear German minefields by charging right on over them on the principle that a certain number of men were going to be killed or wounded anyway. Doesn’t seem like much has changed, but as I say, I’m no expert.

    Just watching the TV news now and there was brief mention of reports of Russian units surrendering without a fight.

    • Raven Eye says:

      Something you hear hanging around the better officers in the U.S. Army: “Officers eat last”.

      That actually extends a lot farther than chow.

      • Philip Jones says:

        Exactly. It’s said the British orders in WW1 for all things were horses first, men second, officers last. From the least able to independently care for themselves to the most able.

        Including apparently officers’ duty to regularly check the men’s feet for trench foot

        [FYI – this comment edited to consolidate what appeared to be duplicates and an adder./~Rayne]

      • madwand says:

        Eating last applies in a war zone but rarely elsewhere and mostly when hot chow was delivered to a field location, which believe me is a morale maintainer especially in cold climes. Not eating because of not enough chow doesn’t by itself make better officers, it just makes them hungry. However in most cases where chow wasn’t fully available for all, it was shared and then the opposite happened where men took care of their officers. Troops in combat realize quickly the concept of we are all in this together.

        Officers follow two main precepts, accomplish the mission and look after the welfare of your men and when properly taught and executed each depends on the other for successful military operations. What we are hearing and seeing in Ukraine of Russian vehicles being abandoned and troops not even realizing who they are fighting, and more importantly why is a contributing reason the Russian advance has been impeded.

  20. harpie says:

    Via Laura Rozen:
    6:12 PM · Mar 1, 2022

    Reportedly the Chechen assassination squad [“Kadyrov’s elite group”] sent to assassinate Zelenskyy has been eliminated. To think how many times they sent their assassination squads in collaboration w GRU across Europe and nothing was done

    Head of Ukraine’s Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, announced it [screenshot]

    He says they got information from “representatives of the FSB” who don’t want to participate in the war.

  21. Alan Charbonneau says:

    Axios reports that Ukrainians eliminated a Chechen assassination team hunting for Zelensky and his family. The fascinating part was who helped them: “Ukrainian authorities had been tipped off about the plot by members of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) who did not support the war”

    I’m hopefully optimistic that others in the Russian war machine will drag their feet or outright assist the Ukrainians.

    • timbo says:

      Sounds more like propaganda to me. And even if it this is true, does this mean that there are no more assassination squads gunning for Ukraine’s President?

      Governments, especially during times of hostilities are want to put stuff like this out so that there is something to report that isn’t going to endanger ongoing operations. You can bet that Ukraine isn’t going to stop looking for infiltrators simply because of a report like this. Similarly, you have to know that if Russia has sent assassination squads to look for Ukrainian officials and take them out that they aren’t going to stop doing that because of this one announcement, etc.

      • Rayne says:

        Ukraine knows there were Wagner Group personnel sent on a decapitation mission, and there were Russians caught on video changing from uniforms to street clothing.

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        Perhaps, since the Ukrainians mentioned the FSB and not simply “a source”. Still, the heart of it could be true. It’s a certainty that Ukrainian spies are in Russia and a mole or two is plausible, albeit not proof. Putin is said not to trust his own people and there may now be additional basis for that. :)

        I’m probably naive and overly optimistic, but I think that at the least, it’s easy to engage in bureaucratic foot-dragging and some folks in the chain of command will do just such dragging of feet, because the war is hurting Russia.

        • e.a.f. says:

          A few may drag their feet, but if things don’t move fast enough for Putin, they will be “removed”. The war is hurting the Russian people, but it isn’t hurting Putin, except his ego.

  22. Geoguy says:

    OT, today I took a lap through Brooklyn for work. This evening the Coney Island Parachute Jump was lit in the colors of the Flag of Ukraine. I vaguely remembered an association with (Fred) Trump and sure enough, he tried to have it demolished. This is the first para. from an article at titled “Fred Trump’s Coney Island: 50th Anniversary Exhibit”:

    “There was something that separated Fred C. Trump from the average greedy developer. It’s wasn’t the endless scandals that followed his every Coney Island project, and it wasn’t the misappropriation and theft of public funds that seemed to be his business model. Trump’s policy of discrimination in rentals and his political cronyism were just business as usual.”

  23. Marinela says:

    Independent Russian media.
    https :// meduza. io/en

    [FYI – link broken with blank spaces to prevent accidental clickthrough by community members. Use caution whenever visiting sites which may be hosted inside Russia or contain content hosted in Russia because the host could be infected with malware/ransomware. At a minimum, such sites do not comply with EU regulations on privacy. /~Rayne]

    • Marinela says:

      Found the site from a vox interview where they interview meduza. This is why I think is legit. But I understand your concerns. One of the few independent media in Russia. I’ll add link breaks in the future.

  24. harpie says:

    Joshua JAMES: pleading guilty to Sedition

    Marcy [I think this is NEW info]:
    5:33 PM · Mar 2, 2022

    […]He’ll plead to seditious conspiracy (!!!!!!) and obstruction.

    […] “Report to the White House grounds and use force against anyone trying to remove Trump from the White House.”

    He clears his throat before saying, “yes sir.”

    • harpie says:

      Ken Bensinger Thread:

      […] Whoa: James met Stewart Rhodes at a restaurant in Alabama on Jan 8, where the Oath Keepers founder told him to alter his appearance to conceal his physical identity, according to the plea agreement. […]


      Again, this allocution is focused on shoring up the case against Rhodes.

      Whatever he says about Stone is gravy.

    • harpie says:


      Side note here: Judge Mehta, who is presiding over this, is the guy who said it was plausible James and other Oath Keepers entered into a conspiracy with Donald Trump. […]

      6:32 PM · Mar 2, 2022
      Done: he pleads to seditious conspiracy and obstruction.

      Jan 6 can officially be called sedition.


    • harpie says:

      Another thread:

      6:08 PM James confirms that he agreed to take part in a plan developed by Rhodes to use “any means necessary,” up to and including force, to stop the transfer of presidential power on Jan. 6.

      James also confirms that Rhodes instructed him and others to be prepared “as called upon” to “report to the White House grounds” and provide “security” against anyone who tried to remove Trump, including the National Guard.

      […] James confirms that Rhodes asked James to alter his physical appearance to conceal his identity.

      James confirms that at Rhodes’ instruction, he took firearms, weapons, burner phones, tactical gear; Rhodes told him to be prepared to transport and distribute that equipment to others on his instruction and to “be prepared for violence in the event of a civil war.” […]

      Marcy on the WHITE HOUSE bit:

      The most important detail from his statement of offense, as I heard it, is they had a plan to surround the White House, with arms, to ensure no one got to Trump.

  25. e.a.f. says:

    Thank you for writing this article. I’m a tad late to reading, but better late than never. As some have written, we are in a war with Russia/Putin and have been for some time. Its just people didn’t want to recognize it. It has been my observation countries/people do not want to recognize problems, because if they do, they will be expected by others and themselves to deal with the problem.

    Other countries have made great inroads into other countries politics and their citizens buy into it. Some times they use the NRA, and other organizations. Sometimes they use political divides within a party. Canada just went through some one’s idea of an experiment–how fast can you destablize a country. Its been going on in the U.S.A. for a long time as it has been in Europe.

    Any one who thinks Putin was going to stop after Crimea was not being realistic. He won’t be satisfied until he has all of Europe. Figured that out when Paul McCartney and Wings went to Russia and did a concert and when people were seated in swaggered Putin. The first thing which went through my mind was OMG, we are in trouble, if he stays in office. He did, we are.

    The parental units lived in the Netherlands during WWII and I recall hearing adults talk about what went on, when I was a kid, listening in, unknown to them. Then when I was about 12 our Mom told us it could all happen again. Then came the 1970s and watched Pol Pot kill over a million and a half of the population in Cambodia.. I knew my Mom was right. It did happen again and the world just stood by while it happened. We had Rwanda, other “incidents” and mostly the world stood by and watched.

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