For all the breathless reports of Russia’s war on Ukraine, it is unclear who is gaining advantage. This is in part because both sides are fighting the war with propaganda as well as with missiles, and it is hard to sort out what is real and what is not. Indeed, image and reality may merge, since images often shape what later becomes real. So, for example, the many stories of Ukrainian resistance feed that resistance, while the stories of Russian failures hurt morale.
Heather, I want to celebrate you today, International Women´s Day. You are a national treasure. I am reading this on March 8th. where I live.
Hello from khmelnitsky enroute to Lviv and polish border. Tanya and I are well. Lucky is with his friend Vitalik and happy as can be. Слава Україні.
Get those mig fighters here now. Russians are killing our civilians at a great rate. They must not get supplies and must be driven back from the cities
The NYT photographer who took the photo of the mother and her two children and the family friend who were killed yesterday by mortar fire said today that she watched mortar explosions "walk" down the street to where the people were. That means there was a Russian Forward Observer who had them in sight and was correcting the fire to bring it down on them. Given the range of mortars (which are solely designed for killing/wounding people with shrapnel), he had to be able to see they were civilian non-combatants. Which means the mortaring was deliberate - a war crime.
It's not just the Russian military that is "Potemkin" - the entire country is. That's been true a long time. I remember seeing a Russian ship at sea 60 years ago, the usual Soviet "rust bucket" (they still are today) and I remember thinking to myself, "People who have that little self-respect, that they let their ship go like this - *they* are a threat?"
MoDo actually said something in the Times I agree with (Shocking, I know, but true): Putin is a guy who's five foot six, arguing that he's really five foot eight.
I really look forward to Russia being strangled. Maybe to the point it breaks apart, which is entirely possible.
Let's talk about the elephant in the room (and no, this time I'm not referring to the GOP). Nuclear weapons. There are devices that are labelled "tactical nuclear" weapons. The phrase "tactical nuclear" is certainly an oxymoron since it escalates to strategic nuclear weapons so fast. President Obama went after control of nuclear weapons by controlling the materials needed to make bombs -- uranium and plutonium. That sounds like a very smart idea. We've now had two examples of countries with autocratic narcissistic untrustworthy Presidents with the nuclear button at their fingertips -- the United States and now Russia. Thousands of Ukrainians are being sacrificed to save the world from annihilation. In that rules-based world, one rule needs to be no nukes. After all there is no planet B. We, the People of the World, all of us this time.
I hope somehow we can get MiGs to Ukraine, fast. Thank you Dr. Richardson.
Now that Putin's blatant cruelty and Russia's entrenched corruption are revealed as catastrophic failure, I wonder how our right wing culture will process it? They are so deeply committed to cruelty as strength and so sure that "woke" is weak.
I'm not expecting a broad epiphany but hoping for maybe some confusion and dampening of their momentum. 🙏
Several have mentioned the shattering photograph on the front page of the NYT yesterday. Let's mention the photographer by name: Lynsey Addario. In an interview she said she was 30 ft. away from the mortar blast. Her work, along with every other reporter on the ground, has been as dangerous as it is important. CNN's Clarissa Ward is another woman who raises the bar for all combat journalists.
There is a really interesting magazine published in London, England, called The Economist. Its been published since 1843. The purpose of the magazine is to take part in “a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.”
The current issue is focused on the assault by Russia on Ukraine.
There are repercussions that Putin almost certainly did not factor in. Here is the briefest summary of some.
Moscow-on-Thames/Londongrad is history. Russian money is too hot to handle. The era of Russian money is over.
And then there is Boris Johnson who will not allow any Ukrainian refugees into England unless they can prove they have immediate family already living there.😩
Europe is more unified than its been for many years. “A continent often hobbled by its own propensity to squabble has found a common voice. European institutions more typically absorbed by the harmonization of phone-charger regulations have found themselves plotting the best way to get fighter jets to the Ukrainian air force”
Germany.” A special Sunday session of parliament February 27th started with a tradition-defying standing ovation for the Ukrainian ambassador. By the time Mr. Scholz was done with his speech … defense spending would be quickly raised to NATO’s target of 2% of GDP.” Two new gas-import terminals will be built. “What Olaf Scholz announced was the biggest sea-change of German policy since reunification”
Sweden and Finland are rethinking NATO.
The EU budget will be used to fund weapons purchases for the first time.
Hungary could have derailed EU sanctions with its veto but did not. Plus it is willing to accept war refugees from Ukraine.
Less reliance on Russia meaning more investment in renewable sources of energy, more gas and coal storage facilities, more LNG terminals. Make the EU energy independent.
More and more businesses abandoning Russia.
And this article was just about Europe.
Putin will live to regret his decision.
HCR DOES A GREAT JOB OF UPDATES
"...[I]t is hard to sort out what is real and what is not. Indeed, image and reality may merge, since images often shape what later becomes real."
What I can sort out for now is that your words, Heather, are a guiding light through this unbearable cacophony that is war. Without you unraveling and sifting through the melee of threads, I wouldn't know which realities or images to believe. Of the sheer cruelty of the Russian soldiers, sadly, I have no doubt!
It'll be interesting to see how many of the GOP mafia and their henchmen have availed themselves of Russian coffers ...
When I was referred to LFAA and HCR by a wise and perceptive friend, I realized that HCR and her smart use of SubStack was a game changer in the media world. Then, I found Tim Snyder, and that was further confirmation. When Biden’s grandkids and his people in communications wisely arranged the interview with HCR, and the two of them used the time so wisely, it was the first time that I felt some hope that mainstream media and FOX News might be on their way to the bush leagues. I know it’ll be a long slow journey, but people are going to begin getting their information from forums like this one for fifty bucks a year and not from main stream media outlets trying to sell us crap. We’re witnessing a change in how smart people’s analysis and points of views are distributed and consumed.
“For all the breathless reports of Russia’s war on Ukraine, it is unclear who is gaining advantage.”
“The first casualty of war is the truth.”
Somebody famous said that, and I believe it.
The truth as I see it is that Vladimir Putin has made a series of fatal miscalculations that may well bring him down in the end. The tragedy is in how many will be murdered and displaced in Putin’s struggle to survive.
Give what you can to the people helping Ukrainians.
There is much to be said and Heather says most of it today. If I may be so bold, I have to add that there is some surprise but otherwise not so much. Targetting civilians, that is, terror and indiscriminate use of military assets on nonmilitary targets are classic Russian tactics when the plan doesn't go well. That is precisely what they did in Afghanistan and in the end were driven out with their tails between their legs. One might think they had learned something, but apparently not. So at this point in the war, it's a David and Goliath story. The other kids on the playground see that Goliath isn't much of a tough guy after all and begin to defend themselves.
If this was all there was to it, you can easily predict the result. In this case, Putin's army can do damage for sure, but against a well-prepared, equipped, trained, and motivated foe. It's only a matter of time for Russia to be hung out to dry.
In the case of Russia, however, that becomes the most dangerous situation that could be. Putin has already put his nuclear forces on alert. So the very next concern is how much more can be done without pushing him over the edge. President Biden is balancing on the thinnest of high wires.
UNSPEAKABLE EUROPEAN HUMANITARIAN TRAGEDY
I would hope that there could be a way to save the millions who may starve to death as a result of Putin’s megalomania. Sadly, that would require a Putin 180 degree about face, which is not consonant with his malignant character.
At least 2 million women and children have fled Ukraine and many more are endeavoring to flee amidst fraudulent Russian ‘cease fires.’ As major urban centers are bombarded, civilians are being killed, power and water are cut off, and food for millions is becoming exceedingly scarce.
On a scale of modern callous cruelty, Putin and Hitler rank by far the worst, sharing Stalin’s historical top spot.
Nothing of this humanitarian magnitude since 1945 has occurred in Europe except, perhaps, the draconian relocation of millions of German speakers from Sudetenland and parts of Poland to a devastated Germany. Even then, there was no bombing or shelling and the Allies and international relief groups sought to ameliorate some of the personal hardships.
Not so with Putin, who seemed nonplused, so far, as he kills thousands of civilians, destroys urban centers, and constricts the evacuation of women and children. This. Indeed may be his Gotterdammerung.
Putin can not believe his ridiculous pronouncements that a ‘special military operation’ is simply moving against neo-Nazis and other low lifes in Ukraine. He has escalated to a brutal campaign of destruction that could require a decade-long reconstruction program.
In the interim, what possibilities are there for massive humanitarian relief? Would Putin ever allow the United Nations, the Red Cross, the World Central Kitchen, and others NGOs to initiate a gigantic Berlin-Airlift-operation to save millions from starvation? [Stalin deliberately starved to death 3-6 million Ukrainians in the early 1930s, as he confiscated their grain to pay for machinery for his Five Year Industrial Plan.]
Convicted staffer of Rand Paul - part of Putin wing of GOP?
It would be wonderful if you could start including in your discussions of the Russian invasion the names of the generals directing the fight, the ones taking the fight to the civilian population of Ukraine. IMHO - they need to be made visible to the world at large. Putin, certainly a villain, is no alone.
Let's see & hear the Biden administration get out in front of Republican propaganda in the same way. It's not that difficult to see Republican false flags and attacks coming before they are launched. Nor to do the same with FOX. We could have predicted how Republicans would use, abuse and acuse using covid19. Spread the disease via misinformation, like Russians bomb Ukraine, and blame Democrats for not doing enough. The script for every bad actor is the same.