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“Go Fuck Yourself” and The World Today

By now, I probably don’t have to tell you about the Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island, who, confronted with a Russian navy ship which demanded their surrender, told the ship to “go fuck yourself” and then died when the ship retaliated. But it is worth noting how the incident is a microcosm of how Russia — and specifically Vladimir Putin — appears to have deeply misread how the Russian invasion of Ukraine was going to proceed. It seems likely (and this is me boiling down the thoughts of people much more familiar with the area than me, I assure you I did not suddenly become an expert on Eastern Europe overnight) Putin thought he was invading a soft target, into which he could quickly install a Russia-friendly government and then withdraw, taking the bits of Ukraine he wanted for Russia as he went.

Instead he looks to be getting a quagmire, in which the leader of Ukraine, assumed to be a callow former comedian who would run at the first chance, is rallying the nation by staying put and encouraging solidarity. The Ukrainians themselves are putting up a fight, and a better one than expected, and the rest of Europe, save a few client states, is now perfectly aware that Russia is in fact back to being an absolute threat, run by an unreasonable person who has removed from his sight anyone who might have told him this invasion was a bad idea. Putin may in fact get what it wants out of Ukraine — Russia probably has the military capability for that — but it’s not going to be clean or easy, and when all of it is done, the only friends Putin and Russia are likely to have are Belarus and the conservative parties of the United States and the United Kingdom.

That may not be enough. The world heard thirteen Ukrainian soldiers tell a Russian warship to go fuck itself; it’s seen the whole of Ukraine, its president down to old ladies in the street, tell the much larger, much more belligerent Russia the same thing. “Go Fuck Yourself” may not have the same ring as “Remember the Alamo,” but it certainly has a bluntness that fits the 21st century, an era that is clearly over decorum. And it makes the point: We see through your bullshit and we know why you’re here and why you’re doing it. And for that, you can go fuck yourself.

The invasion of Ukraine feels like an inflection point, one where we choose who we want to be for the next few years at least. Watch the people, and the organizations, who are defending Russia, Putin and their goals right now. They are the people who have decided that other people don’t matter, and that might, in fact, makes right, and that ends justifies the means, and that as long as you can spin it, then it’s really not so bad. They’ve know what Putin has planned for Ukraine. In it, they see the blueprint for their own plans, in other places, against other people. Not always on the same scale, or with tanks and guns. But always the same dynamic and the same goal: domination.

You may, if you like, choose be on that side of things.

Or you can choose to tell those people to go fuck themselves.

I have a pretty strong feeling most of us have already made our choices on this by this point. But if you haven’t, well. It may be time to think about it.

Update, 2/28: The soldiers apparently not dead, were taken prisoner by the Russians. A better state of affairs, and doesn’t change the defiance of their response.

— JS

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

118 replies on ““Go Fuck Yourself” and The World Today”

Politics post, so Mallet is out and I will be erring on the side of malleting, so please behave and be polite to each other.

Obvious propaganda bots and other trolls will be malleted as soon as I see their nonsense, so if this sounds like you, please don’t bother, we’ll both be happier. If this is not you, don’t respond to the bots and trolls, that’s what they want.

Also, folks, I’m actually having a bit of a vacation for the next couple of days, so if I check in and people are completely losing their shit, I’ll just shut comments down. I’m not spending all my time off babysitting this thread.

Sadly, this is a Rubix Cube with crazy Ivan’s early threat of using nuc’s. The US will spend $ and lives on trumped up evidence to invade a somewhat soft target like Iraq, but not this. A presidential request isn’t needed to declare war. Do you see Mitch McConnell asking Nancy Pelosi for a war declaration? Do you see Europe acting on their own outside of NATO? What’s the quote? “When good men [people] do nothing . . . ” Ukrainians are in for a long and painful endurance test. American Soldiers won’t even be allowed to adopt the rallying cry. Too profane for the gentle folk they protect.

Thank you John. I’m definitely on the side of “go fuck yourselves Russia “ There is definitely a part of me wishing that several hundred M1’s , Leopard 2’s and whatever others MBT’s nato countries are using would roll over the border and teach puotin a lesson. I’m also aware that would probably be catastrophic and lead to a nuclear war . Which I think we can all agree would be a sub par outcome. Still though reducing the Soviet er Russian forces to scrap metal is an attractive idea.

My question is – what do we do now? If the U.S. puts boots on the ground then we’re adding to the quagmire, and if we ram through a UN resolution to get THEM to put boots on the ground we’re handing Putin a very early Christmas present because we look like we did when Bush’s “Coalition of Teh Willing” invaded Iraq!

I will say the smartest move I’ve heard is freezing the corporate and private accounts of Putin and those who are his closest allies – that hurts the people who deserve to be hurt WHERE it will hurt them. It’s such a smart move I think it’s well beyond Biden – anybody else read that and start looking to see where Obama was, because that sounds like the kind of move he’d make?

Sadly, any chance of nuclear nonproliferation that wasn’t killed by the US Iraq war has probably been killed by this. Taiwan and South Korea could probably get nuclear weapons pretty quickly. And unless we can drive Trump and Trumpism to the fringes no one will be able to trust the US nuclear umbrella.

People are dying so that Putin can be the big bare chested man…
So, of course our Spray Tanned former president is telling the world what a genius Putin is, and his ‘base’ is echoing him.
I used to have hope for the future, I really did.

Reminder to Russian soldiers: if by some chance you find yourself accidentally crossing the border to one of the neutral nations (such as Poland), under the Hague convention of 1907 you will be interned until the end of the war. Probably better than standing there being insulted in your own language by somebody that looks like you grandmother and who is also offering you sunflower seeds.

If it does become a quagmire, with a continuing insurgency against the occupation, I’m wondering if it will be like the Spanish Civil War that drew antifascists from all over the world to defend the Spanish Republic.

Though it ultimately failed, because the western democracies did not support it, some great books came out of that crusade.

It’s quite clear that pootie is the opposite of trump; instead of “grab’em by the pussy” he sought out the conservative types and chose to “grab’em by the nuts”. ‘Nuts’, in this instance, being a useful word with two appropriate meanings.
It’s almost amusing, given the US obsession over most of my lifetime with claims of any sort of not-right-wing organization being “a tool of the commies”.
A lot of sunlight needs to be shone into the murky world of rich people and right-wing politics.

Enough with the “freezing of assets”! It’s time to confiscate the assets and give them to Ukraine so they can purchase weapons. Freezing assets just tells the oligarchs that they will get the assets back at some future date when the war is over. Once they are taken and spent there is no giving back at a later date.

Do we need troops there? NO!! Ammo, weapons, supplies? Yes!! Deploy the ships out of Diego Garcia and give the Ukrainians all the stuff they need to resist and win. And we need a formal agreement on WHO can join NATO that Russia agrees to. All of this mess could have been avoided had a simply agreement been reached in 90’s.

I posted this on Facebook, but, it’s important to disseminate it widely. There are some generalizations in it, but in context, they make sense:

“The most astonishing thing that has taken place over the last 30 years since the Soviet Union fell is this:
Vladimir Putin is the product of a Communist Dictatorship.
The Right (politically) here and around the world, typically opposed, vociferously, the Communists in the USSR (and around the world).
But, in the past 20 years, Putin has transformed into a right wing strong man and hero, supported by La Pen in France, the right in Italy, GB and the US. (And elsewhere.) A protector of white national identity. Protecting the rights of the white, suppressed, Christian majority in these countries and others.
And, similarly, those left wing or liberal parties and politicians are the ones who are tough against Putin. It is the left, or freedom loving people of the world who oppose aggression and oppression in any form and from any quarter.
This is just astonishing.
Maybe we should tell Republicans, and conservatives everywhere that the year is 1981, Ronald Reagan is president, and the USSR is the evil empire that is threatening the world with Nuclear Annihilation.
Nah, Republicans are a lost cause. They’re just too cough insane to get it.”

Putin made a big mistake not doing this 2 years ago. He now has to contend with Biden who will not let him get away with this.
The President’s response in this has been pitch perfect. It’s nice to see that a grown up is in charge!

Thank you, sir. What I wanted to say, but could not have said as well. I will only add God bless & keep safe the Russians who are protesting Putin’s war publicly as well as the Ukrainians resisting him.

It feels like no matter what, in the long run ukraine will end up stronger for this and Russia will be weaker. Even if Russia succeedes in taking and holding Ukraine for now, they are a strong people who have much experience dealing with occupying forces. This in no way makes this a good thing. It is awful, horrible, and I can not express everything I feel from some of the images and stories coming out. But there is a lot of strong historical data on what happens to occupying forces and the countries that support them.

I especially feel conflicted about “Russian warship go fuck yourself”. On the one hand those soldiers are genuine heroes and bad asses. I can only hope if I was ever put in that position I would respond with that same level of calm, clear headed bravery. On the other hand those are the last words of some poor souls that are no longer with us due to some monsters. I do not know how to balance those conflicting feelings or the best ways to honor them without it turning into something cheaper and takes away from their sacrifice.

So you’ve reached your breaking point? Happens to all of us….

All of us who knew the nazi’s, Trumpists, Putinists, alt-righters, racist cops and supporters, transphobes, COVID denialists and various other scum peddling lies were WRONG, but we were worried about how some of the people being decieved by them might be poor innocent souls we should try to save by staying reasonable…

All of us SNAP at some point.

Mine came reading one of your posts, actually. Remember way back when somebody punched Alex Jones in the face, and the internet reacted by replaying it over eand over again, set to music?

You wrote a piece about finding it funny but still disagreeing it was a good thing to punch the nazi.

I thought: “He’s wrong!” Then, I thought: “Wait a sec, a few months ago I would’ve said the same…”

We simply CAN NOT allow these people to control the world the next generation is gonna have to live in! Most steps are pretty easy, and shit we’re already doing: Vote against those fuckers, and raising our kids to be better people than them.

But if you have to tell a fascist’s tool to go fuck themselves and die? That’s your duty. If you’ve got to personally punch a nazi? That’s your duty.

Last time we let a fascist infestation fester too long it took firebombing cities and dropping nukes to stop it. Unkind words and punches probably won’t do it this time either.

Unfortunately, we seem to live in interesting times again…

“All that’s necessary for the triumph of evil, etc….”

To those who think the U.S. is engaging in a half-assed or insincere effort to counter Putin:

Nuts.

In wartime, you don’t tell opponents what you’re up to.

I can make one very good guess about a concrete and effective assistance being rendered by the U.S. and other NATO countries:

Target identification. Probably using satellite intel.

You don’t have the kind of fire success an under-supplied, technologically inferior force like Ukraine’s, without some pretty jazzy fire control – for which, they don’t have the technology.

NATO does. But no one will confirm that, for obvious reasons. As a speculation, it’s meaningless both in that it will not be confirmed or denied, and that it’s one of those “duh” guesses that even iggerent civvies can make with some pretense of possibility.

There are doubtless dozens or even hundreds of other forms of assistance being quietly and effectively rendered. Without fanfare, without confirmation or denial.

And without the kind of risky and potentially disastrous “boots on the ground” engagement that would escalate the chances of a lunatic with a nuclear arsenal deciding “WTF, why the hell not?”

Do remember that in wartime, the amount of disinformation and misinformation in EVERY communications channel and source multiplies twenty- or fifty-fold by necessity. To deny useful intelligence to adversaries, and to prosecute the information war.

IOW, don’t believe everything you read, don’t assume you know what is, or isn’t, being done.

I hate the tendency I see everywhere, to roll anything into the wood chipper that is politics. We stand back at a safe distance while the loud groan of metal teeth chew thru and destroy and we remain unmoved. Each of us is a party to that destruction when we choose finger pointing, name calling, and factionalism. America is divided and remains unbelievably selfish and self obsessed. What I don’t see are Ukrainians arguing over Trump and Biden and whose leadership is to blame for this current mess. You know why? No one cares what political party or ideologies you espouse when gunfire and missiles decide your next 10 seconds of life. Can we stop focusing on politics and deal with the terrible things being done to innocent people? Is it so hard to drop being red or blue and focus on being human? War is war. War is terrible. There doesn’t need to be an argument about anything except stopping it and if we stay in our political corners, time passes, people die, and thousands of irretrievable things are lost. Things like compassion, integrity, humanity. Be grownups everyone. I miss when America used to be a country of adults.

Wouldn’t it be a shame if the NATO force deployed to Eastern Europe parked all their tanks and trucks full of supplies on the border and then went into the nearest town for some R&R, only to come back and find the stuff they’d left had mysteriously disappeared.

Fuck Vladimort and that dorky horse he does his stupid topless photoshoots on.

He’s learning that no plan survives first contract with the enemy and as an “experienced KGB operative” he should have known taking a country wouldn’t be as easy as dosing a political opponent’s underwear in nerve toxin (not that plan panned out for him either).

Someone just needs to put a sniper round in him & be done with it…

Putin and every single one of his conservabot puppets can in deed go fuck themselves.

If there is any humor to be found in this situation, its the fact that the same “people” who spent the last few years slapping anyone to the left of MGT with the label “communist!” are at this very moment yanking their panties down, assuming the “mount me” position and inviting one of the most notorious communist dictators on the planet to come get it.

I guess communism and tyranny are A O K so long as we’re not talking about preventing super-spreading, helping struggling Americans out with stimulus checks and mandating vaccines as schools, summer camps and workplaces have done for decades.
But tell us again

@Rebecca: “can we stop focusing on politics”

Are you under the impression that what is happening in Ukraine is not political? Are you under the impression that WAR is not political?

And This:
“All of us who knew the nazi’s, Trumpists, Putinists, alt-righters, racist cops and supporters, transphobes, COVID denialists and various other scum peddling lies were WRONG, but we were worried about how some of the people being decieved by them might be poor innocent souls we should try to save by staying reasonable…”

Is perhaps one of the best and most on-the-money pieces of text I’ve read today.

What the “let’s all get along and stop finger-pointing” proponents miss by 1000,000 miles is that it is critical to identify and work to undermine the entities who support or would enable the objectively shitty things that are happening at home and abroad.
Part of being an adult (in America or anywhere else) is shaking the stars out of your eyes so you can recognize and therefore neutralize the threats.
The objective reality is that one of the two major political parties in this country is comprised of public, powerful, filthy rich and very and influential figures who have and continue to sing a Communist dictator’s praises.

Please, pretty please don’t mobalize Putin’s victims in some naïve, holier than thou war on partisanship and divisiveness. Quit trying to get racists and antiracists to shake hands and be friends. It’s not happening.

Please stop trying to paint the relatively reasonable of the two major parties as a bunch of narrow-minded, intolerant right fighters who are morally suspect because they won’t handwave shitty behavior for the sake of solidarity. Both sides are most certainly not up to the objectively shitty things that are happening right now.

Mommy and daddy aren’t just fighting; one of them is working actively to destroy the other by burning the family home to the ground with the kids and pets all inside.

As John said, this is a tipping point. Do our respective countries man/woman up and side with Ukraine or go with (to our everlasting shame) “peace in our time”. And it’s that big. I’m not talking war but I am talking that every country needs to sanction Russia completely, all and I mean all trade is cancelled. Russian passports are persona non grata no matter the point of origin and Putin internationally recognised as a war criminal.

The problem is what do you with the Russia friendly countries such as China and strangely enough India? Do we force them to make a choice between Russia and the rest of the world or face sanctions as well?

@just different. Well said indeed! You are right however President Biden has restored NATO and we can see how strong it is as all the members stand up to Russia. As I said before, a grown up is now in charge and Putin will live to regret what he has done on this President’s watch.

On going after Putin’s money harder, it’s a problem. Putin’s money(of which there is a great deal) is hidden in accounts in other countries, held by shell accounts under shell accounts who knows how deep, and likely with a false name at the end of it.
Maybe that can be resolved by some intense investigation and tracking, and freezing any accounts where the ownership is well hidden, since most such accounts are likely being used to evade laws.
On those supporting Putin, opponents should reserve airtime for the next election now, and play ads simply showing the video of them making their pro Putin statements, over and over. Just flood the airtime with video of right wing **** saying how great Putin is.

@ Terry
Thanks for your great piece.
So I’ll just throw in some dis- and mis-information plus some stuff that may actually be happening.
1. Before hostilities commenced several Ukrainian warships equipped with depth charges left the Black Sea. In gangster movie parlance it appears they may be suggesting that it would be terrible if something were to happen to the Nordstream2 gas pipeline.
2. Lithuania and Poland will close their land borders with Kaliningrad (formerly East Prussia) on the pretext of preventing Ukrainian “terrorists” from infiltrating. Pity about everything else that enters and leaves Kaliningrad by land.
3. Britain has been assessing the land holdings of the Russian oligarchs to determine how many refugees could be housed in these properties.
4. NATO and other countries will announce that any Russian ship in their waters will be stopped and searched for military equipment. If any is found the ship and it’s crew will be deemed to be a warship and be interned until the end of hostilities.
5. With Putin’s declaration that Ukraine is part of Russia, Poland will transport refugees from their eastern border up to Kaliningrad and hand over these displaced “Russian” citizens to be cared for by Russia.
6. All these displaced people will be sent equipped with specially modified smartphones so their treatment can be recorded. No-one wants a second Katyn Forest.
7. And other stuff.
8. Something about Chernobyl perhaps.

Chernobyl was an undefended area because if you station troops for any amount of time their chances of cancer go through the roof. The Russians most likely planned that the equivalent of 2-3 years of normal background radiation condensed into a day was a better trade off than going through the front door so to speak.

The trouble is it’s now thought that all the heavy vehicles have stirred up so much of the landscape that the radiation levels have rocketed
And it’s likely the Russian’s resupply route as well.

@Rebecca

I agree that we should set aside differences and try to help the Ukrainians. But while I’m willing to do that, the right is actively praising Putin and supporting Russia. Maybe they’re the one you should admonish.

My thoughts and my heart go out to the folks of the Ukraine. Bravo to the soldiers who were brave enough to stand up to the invaders, and a sad acknowledgment for their dignity to their families and friends. They were heroes in that act of defiance, and they’ve paid the price that heroes often do.

Why we, in this enlightened age, can’t simply stop this business of going to war, for whatever reason, remains mystifying to me. Perhaps the name “homo sapiens” is simply a misnomer for this blighted race of creatures.

If you’d like to express your comments to the Russian Embassy, or have any spare sunflower seeds you want to mail,
Embassy: 2650 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007, United States
Phone: +1 202 298 5700

The monitors around Chornobyl* have been showing much higher radiation the last day or so – it’s attributed to the Russian military vehicles stirring up dust, not to them messing with the reactor, which pretty much nobody’s going to do even under orders because the grunt-level soldiers aren’t THAT stupid.

I disagree that they’d have had an easier time 2 years ago. If they’d done it on Trump’s watch, the GOP would have had to be angry at the Commies instead of at Biden, plus we’ve had two years of Covid chaos getting the US ready to not care about other things.

Putin has his money squirreled away around the world, but I suspect that US, UK, German, French, and other intelligence forces haven’t been sitting on their hands the last few years, and know where a lot of it is.

I like just about all of your essays, and have missed your political ones, but as someone who’s been rationing my doses of current news I understand why you’ve cut back on them of late. While I wish that your current essay weren’t so necessary, I’m glad you wrote it and I’m glad to read it. That’s not why I’m writing, though.

There was a rhythm in some of your words, specifically “We see through your bullshit and we know why you’re here,” that struck me as musical. In fact, it reminded me of the Bob Dylan song “Masters of War”, and I found myself composing a verse – eventually I hope to have a whole songful – to that tune. Thank you for the inspiration, and this is that verse:

“We see through your bullshit,
And we know why you’re here,
You’re here to bring ruin,
You’re here to spread fear,
You can’t make us believe
In the lies that you tell,
And you can go fuck yourself all the way down to Hell.”

The British Conservative Party won’t still be a friend to Putin after this. Trumpism and Russian money have corrupted it, but there are still limits to their tolerance of international gangsterism and this is way over those limits.

Re: declaration of war on the part of the US. Yes, Congress could pass a declaration of war at any time if they wanted to, but no US forces would cross any border or engage offensively until and unless the Commander in Chief wants it to happen

And he doesn’t. But I suspect that US
stockpiles of Javelins are crossing the border and are being engaged.

Editorial note: Did you intentionally invert “ends justify the means” to “means justify the ends”? (Which would suggest that the point here is the invading, rather than the conquering, I’d think.)

@TimELiebe: Unfortunately, Russia is not restricted from vetoing UN intervention (as a permanent member of the UNSC) because the document never planned for, well, basically anything that happened after 1950. They’re supposed to abstain from, rather than veto, resolutions for non-military action with themselves as the subject, but they pretty much didn’t, last night. On the other hand, Russia basically can’t do anything about the land border between Ukraine and Poland, because going after Poland would invoke the NATO defense clause, so supplying the Ukrainians materially will at least not be particularly complicated.

The whole thing is a tragedy regardless. The fact that it’s reasonable to consider continuously running full trains to Poland is heartbreaking.

“Putin was hoping that Trump would continue to do his work for him by destroying NATO enough so that he could walk in without firing a shot and install another puppet. This war is yet another shit legacy of MAGA.”

This. Right here. Can you imagine what kind of shitstorm would happen if Dolt45 were still in office?

Instead, they have Tukkker KKKarlson playing on Russian TV, talking about how we should all be supporting Russia’s “peacekeeping efforts.” That’s not quite as bad, I suppose, but terrible in a different way.

Why Carlson et al are still permitted to flap their gums on US television is beyond me. He’s our own Tokyo Rose.

“…when all of it is done, the only friends Putin and Russia are likely to have are Belarus and the conservative parties of the United States and the United Kingdom.”

I’m watching and marvelling at the wingnuts’ pro-Putin performance art and I’m wondering: Is this the rock they finally founder on? As we all know the internet lives forever and their political opponents are already screenshotting and saving every tweet and video for use in this year’s campaigns. I live in a red state and I know too many who voted for Trump at least once, but I don’t see them down with something like this and I don’t see them liking their elected officials siding with Putin no matter how much their Orange God loves him.

Also, in re your note on Caderyn’s comment, I am so confused.

@Dana — anyone whose post contains the sentiment “This post will probably be deleted because reasons” WILL be deleted to keep them happy about being silenced. It also saves the rest of us from wading through garbage…

And–just because no one has brought it up yet (I don’t think)–may I comment that using a Ukrainian version of the Gadsden flag as your illustration for this post is absolutely perfect?

“No one is mentioning Chernobyl.
Which is why I think the situation is more fucked then anyone is letting on.”

Chernobyl is irrelevant, and isn’t the nuclear threat we should be concerned about.

Russia knows how to treat a site like that, would only hurt itself by damaging the site, and Chernobyl doesn’t offer Russia anything it doesn’t already have.

Russia isn’t ISIS, they have actual nuclear weapons, they don’t need to use an old nuclear plant as some kind of dirty bomb.

Here’s a letter to the editor I sent to the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Wednesday evening. It was published in the print edition yesterday morning:

The time has come for Republicans to make a decision. Are you Russians or Americans? With Trump’s praise of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, it is clear that Trump wants to be a dictator like Putin, and that he approves of such strong-arm methods. Trump thinks Putin’s gambit of unilaterally declaring parts of Ukraine “independent” is “wonderful.”

So, Republicans, do you want a Putin-style dictatorship for the U.S.? That is what you are advocating if you support Trump in this. Support for Trump at this time is support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It puts such supporters in direct conflict with American interests and values.

If, as seems likely, Putin follows the Ukraine invasion with an attack on one or more NATO countries, the U.S., as a member of NATO, will be de facto at war with Russia. Support for Trump and Russia at such a time is tantamount to treason.

I mostly agree but I tend to think that you are off the mark a bit about the uk. The conservatives are mad true but not in – quite – that way. The extreme right is more fringe here than in the US and some other places. Plus BY wants to paint himself as Churchill Mk2, and only partly to distract attention from other issues he is facing just now.

Do not blame the Russian people for this. This is what could happen here if Trump was re-elected.

This is Putin and his band of thieves. Russian people are being thrown in jail to protest this action.

I salute Ukraine and wish I knew why nothing more effective isn’t already in place. There is a cloud pipeline called Spirit that does banking across the globe. It needs to be closed to Russia, or they can skirt the sanctions (it might also be a pipeline to their hackers)

Since the Ukrainian president told his citizens to throw Molotov cocktails at the tanks Germany has promised thousands of anti-tank weapons and shiploads of ammunition.

More needs done, maybe some Predator drones smiling down on Russian troops.

I lived in Moscow for most of the several years pre-pandemic and have traveled and taught in Ukraine as well. My Russian friends are deeply ashamed of this war. They don’t want this. My Ukrainian friends are scattered – fleeing cross-country to Lviv, sheltering in the countryside, or taking cover in Kyiv and Odessa. I’ve spent most of the past couple of days either following the news or messaging with Ukrainian friends trying to be supportive. Their bravery is a model for us all. They are fighting for their country and their freedom and the dream of a better life for themselves and their children.

Thanks for speaking out.

Наша дума, наша пісня
Не вмре, не загине…
От де, люде, наша слава,
Слава України!

Recent news is that some Russian banks will be removed from the Swift system, and that’s the system that’s used for international money transfers.

So with no access to the Swift system the banks will be isolated and resort to other means of performing transactions.

I’ll expect the internet to go down in the future too. On ham radio there are now many that just ignores calls from Russia and I have seen on digital modes some messages ranging from offensive to just stating “no acceptance”.

Be aware that China is silently backing Russia at the moment.

Wondering if this might be solved by having an East Ukraine (mainly Russian speakers) and a West Ukraine (mainly Ukrainian speakers)?

https://www.struggle-la-lucha.org/2022/02/24/why-russia-recognized-the-donbass-republics/

Russia’s recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics was greeted with great enthusiasm by Donbass residents, who have lived under eight years of Ukrainian war and sanctions, at the cost of more than 14,000 lives. It was an important, if belated, acknowledgement of their democratic decision in the referendum of May 11, 2014 and the sacrifices they have made to fend off NATO/neo-Nazi encroachment.

I’m honestly not sure why you mentioned the Conservative party of the UK and would like to know your reasoning. The Conservatives are our government right now, and while there are many many things I dislike about Boris Johnson, he is definitely not on Russia’s side in this and neither are his ministers. The sanctions they’ve imposed could go further to my mind, but they have still imposed sanctions. They’re not Trump.

I’m living next door to Ukraine and the past 4 days have been heartbreaking to say the least. My husband is in route to the border right now, to help with transport for the refugees that are leaving Ukraine in the tens of thousands. Women and children only, the men are not allowed to leave the country, they must stay and fight.

I’m so angry! I always thought if/when the war would start, I would be afraid, that I would run. But seeing Russia attack Ukraine on Thursday what I feel the most is anger, deep, incandescent rage. I am too angry to be afraid!

How dares he drag us into war again?! How dares he! We already fought this war once. We know how this ends: with the dictator dead but also with countries devastated and people dead! With children that grow up without their fathers and with pain and misery for an entire generation. Our grandparents fought a war already, we don’t need to be taught this lesson again. I think there’s no adult in Eastern Europe who cannot go back 2 or 3 generation in the family tree and find somebody in their family who died in the war.

I am not a violent person, but Putin I would gladly kill and feel no pang of guilt afterwards.

To paraphrase an episode from ST: Deep Space 9:

Putin can’t defeat Ukrainians; he can only kill them.

Ukrainians can’t kill Putin themselves, but every hour Kyiv doesn’t fall, every day Ukraine is not conquered, is another hour where Putin is defeated in the face of the entire world.

And the western world is finally getting serious about hitting the oligarchs where it really hurts: their bank vaults. Including Putin’s own bank vault.

Putin will be gone by the end of 2022. There is no way the guys around Putin are going to let Russia be blamed for this fiasco. Better to say it was all Putin’s fault, let him carry the can for it, and then re-group. Probably thinking the west will be satisfied with Putin’s defenestration and things will calm down. They might be right about that, too.

But we should be ready that whoever comes out on top will be worse than Putin, and will have a score to settle with Ukraine. It won’t be pretty.

There are layers to this situation.

If Putin wins, then Russia is suddenly a big force to be reckoned with on the world stage…just like in the good ole, bad ole days. And then the entire world has to worry about Putin trying to imitate Mel Brooks in To Be or Not To Be – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64DCO2sI7fI. This is enough of a worry that even small time bullies are worried. The last I heard, Turkey’s Erodrogan is blocking Russian warships to the Black Sea. Could be he’s worried about Putin coming for him next.

Also, if Putin wins, then other tyrants will try the same thing. If Ukraine falls, how long will it be until China goes after Taiwan?

But, from what I’m seeing from exports on the Interwebs – I do not profess to know more or even as much as the people to do this for a living – , if Ukraine doesn’t fall soon, Putin is in trouble. He reportedly has staked everything on a quick victory (can you spell blitzkrieg?)

If Russia (Putin) loses…or if this drags out too long, then Putin appears to be all bark and no bite. Hopefully, this would also make China and others think twice before trying the same tactic. This needs to happen…because this isn’t just Ukraine at risk.

As much as I abhor Boris Johnson and the Conserviative party ( never have, and never will vote for them), I’m pretty sure they don’t like Putin. Emma Welsby (above) put it better than I can, but please edit your post to remove mention of the UK and the Conservatives in the same sentence as the US Republican party, and especially that they’re friends of Putins. You’re wrong, and on this point, ill-informed.

@BenA

Johnson gave a peerage to the son of a Russian oligarch who used to be in the KGB. Said son has wealth far beyond what his resume could ever provide.

Johnson might not like Putin, but he loves Putin’s money.

Google “ukrainian road signs changed”. The sailors’ words are now official road directions for the Russians.

Some websites are including a photo, either with an accurate translation, but some with a kid-safe censored version.

@ eridani

When Germany was bombing Britain in 1940 were the bombs made of Russian iron? And the fuel powering the bombers using refined Russian oil? And the aircrew’s food partly made with Russian wheat?

Russia and Nazi Germany were the BFF, … until they weren’t. How far could Germany have got without all that Russian support?

It just seems anomalous for Russia’s Putin to be now claiming others are Nazis. Too much projection methinks.

Aesop told a fable about a wolf and a lamb drinking from a stream. As best I recall from childhood:
Wolf: You are muddying my water!
Lamb: Oh no sir, you are upstream from me.
Wolf: You insulted my last winter!
Lamb: Oh no sir, I am a spring lamb.
Wolf: If it wasn’t you, then it was your father!
—Wolf leaps on lamb, and eats her all up.

Moral: If you are going to write about Why Did Russia Invade Ukraine then you can’t use the words of Vladimir (I am massing troops but won’t invade) Putin.

I roll my eyes at journalists or politicians who blindly repeat what Putin’s alleged reasons, or who misinterpret his “implication” as literal words that he would atom bomb anyone who thwarted him.

While I agree that Johnson and the Tories do not support Putin, I also agree that they have accepted huge amounts of questionable Russian money, both directly and via various contracts from Governement, especially some of the COVID-19 ones, as well as into the fevered London property market. As Jon H said Johnson has given out peerages for the money and that includes to Russian who have bought British citizenship. It’s all about the money with the Tories in power, getting it themselves and getting it for their mates so they’ll have nice high paying jobs to go to when they eventually get chucked out.

Hey guys, like most of you I certainly hope for a quick end to this conflict and that the Ukrainians are successful. I bemoan the militaristic nature of the news lately and that anyone who questions things are being labeled as traitors. This is disgusting and my many years of seeing this happen from Vietnam through now make me realize that both major parties succumb to this behavior. It is clear Putin and Russia should not be invading their neighbor, but it’s also clear that dissent is fine and recall how we all dissented from the Bush era wars. Notably many of the neocon Bush people are now pumping out the rhetoric about this one however they have sickeningly allied themselves with my Democratic Party. Yuck. Let’s not get caught up their authoritarian drumbeat.

What this historically reminds me of is reading James Michener’s The Bridge at Andau. He told how liberal college students in Hungary, living under communist, in 1956 fought the red army. The lesson for me is not their successful tactics of how to stop a tank, but their determination.

I guess folks like us who have never lived under dictatorship may underestimate how brave civilians can be.

Three things to ad:

Among all the stirring and incredible things that have happened among the Ukrainian resistance, the master stroke for me is probably Ukranians making/letting captured Russian soldiers call their mothers and grandmothers. How do you combine being humane, humiliating the enemy and reducing support on the homefront for the invaders.

Second, I would like to see more frequent mention than I’ve seen so far that the first time Trump was impeached it was for withholding military aid to Ukraine because they wouldn’t lie for him.

Third, Africans living in Ukraine are having trouble getting out, and those that do are getting turned away at some fo the borders. It’s worth doing what we can to see that these folks get the same support as other refugees fleeing Ukraine.

The English version says that the Russian Ministry of Defense claims the thirteen were captured, but that there is no confirmation of it. Maybe Russian propaganda garnered from a site that says plainly it’s an unconfirmed claim isn’t quite so persuasive as you think it is.

@eridani
NO. Partitioning a country or countries has not worked at anytime in the last 200 years or so, why exactly do you think that it would work now? A quick refresher
-Germany, partitioned into East (Soviet) and West (NATO) Germany for 40 years. Abject failure, 40 years of Cold War maneuvering, huge cost in reunification, both monetary & political, and that was WITH the Germans doing everything they could to make it work.
-The former Yugoslavia, created & then partitioned into Bosnia, Herzgovina, Montenegro & Croatia. Yeah, that went well.
-The former Czechoslovakia is now the Czech Republic & Slovenia. About the nicest thing you can say is that they didn’t try to murder each other on their way to the exit.
-North and South Korea–after winning their independence from Japan as part of the unconditional surrender after the bombing of Nagasaki & Hiroshima, N & S Korea had a bitter civil war resulting in a permanent DMZ and a country where the citizens starve to death, have no rights, can be disappeared, have 3 generations of family raised in “reeducation camps” and is now a rogue nuclear power ruled by a homicidal nut job. Game of Thrones without the dragons.

Also, why exactly should Ukraine agree to any partition? It’s their homeland, they get to decide for themselves. NOT because they get invaded by another fascist nuclear nut or because it would be more convenient for other countries to pretend that it’s a reasonable solution to a neighboring country’s aggression and ambition.

@David A Moody
The agreement made in the 90s was literally the best possible deal under the circumstances. Gorbachev was the Soviet PM, instituted glasnost, and more importantly, ratcheted down the nuclear proliferation and ended the Cold War with the deal with Reagan and NATO. The former Soviet Union basically let go its satellite countries, including the then East Germany and Poland with the tacit agreement that NATO would not be sitting on the Russian doorstep. The ending of the Cold War was not a mistake, nor was the deal cut then a bad one. The real problem here is that Putin was emboldened by the lack of international response to the military invasion and subsequent annexation of South Ossetia, Georgia & Crimea and the abject ass-kissing by his mentally-deficient orange lapdog.

@Mike Grupa
Confiscating and redistributing confiscated assets violates the rules of engagement. The rule of law is one of the things being fought over in the current conflict. Freezing assets lets people know that if a mistake was made, they will get their stuff back or otherwise be made whole. Confiscating assets is what the Nazis did to the Jews, the Poles, etc. It also creates further instability in the international community, because if your stuff can be stolen whether or not you are guilty, there is less reason to trust the rule of law or abide by international agreements.

@TimELiebe
Putting US boots on the ground would only escalate the situation, not make things better. That said, Germany, Poland, UK, etc. are all NATO allies and Putin can’t exactly squawk about the US trading military goods with its trading partners, in exactly the same was that the US had no right to piss and moan about any trade deals that were internal to the Russian Federation. If the US were to suddenly start shipping planes, bombs, mines, etc. to allied NATO countries, that is fully sanctioned by the NATO treaty and international trade agreements. If Poland or Germany decides to send those weapons to the Ukraine, that’s their business. Something tells me that those Stinger missiles didn’t all come from the German stockpile, or if they did, they are likely being replenished by US stocks even as we speak.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/26/germany-weapons-swft-russia-ukraine/

@Ivor
Can we be crystal clear on who the actual instigator/criminal is here? It’s not Russia or Russians, it’s Putin. Actual Russians are risking everything to speak out against the war on Ukraine and against Putin. Thousands have already been carted off by the Russian police to who knows what fate. Which is why we should not sanction Russia, we should specifically target and sanction PUTIN and his oligarch supporters. Sanctioning Russian hurts the Russian people, who do not seem to want this war at all. The problem is that sanctions, while effective, take time to work and time is the one thing that Ukraine doesn’t have.

As for why India is noticeably quiet, India is bordered on one side by China (Nepal but who are we kidding here) and buffered from Russia only by a plethora of ‘stans–Krygyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikiistan, etc., all of whom are basically client states of Russia. India isn’t a big player in the war games on this planet either. Don’t look for them to kick the hornets’ nest.

I suspect that China is carefully watching the international reaction and waiting for their chance to invade & forcibly annex Taiwan. Unless the rest of the planet cracks down on Putin like the gates of Hell opening wide, you can bet China will wait until the rest of the international community is involved in fighting Putin before moving in on Taiwan.

@Jon H
Russian oligarchs (and wannabes, for that matter) have long hidden their assets in other family members names, usually a child or a younger sibling or a spouse or mistress. It is exactly why the banking sanctions are specifically targeting Putin and his support network.

And everyone needs to remember that PUTIN is the enemy, not RUSSIA.

Even in the depths of the Cold War, there were still Russians who did the right thing at great personal cost.

If anyone has a spare moment, you can write or call your senators and demand humanitarian aid for Ukraine and make plans to take in Ukrainian refugees.

And light a candle in memory of Vasili Arkhipov.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasily_Arkhipov

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/cold-war/vasili-cuban-missile-crisis.html?safari=1

Alexei Besogonov–No, I’m not interested in Russian propaganda. If the Russians really have the men from Snake Island, they can produce them for international authorities. That is how you confirm claims about prisoners.

People pushing sanctions need to seriously go on a search and destro mission against all versions of crypto currency.

Crypto is the best way to avoid sanctions. It should be little surprise that Iran being sanctioned led to Iran being the producer of 5 percent of all bitcoins at one point. When sanctions prohibited the purchase of iranian oil for money, Iran burned the oil to generate electricity and used the electricity to generate crypto coins, which trsnslated into money.

Crypto currency is a tyrant’s wet dream. Crypto currency is also an ecological nightmare, consuming huge amounts of energy to generate and transact coins.

Crypto was briefly a great speculation for folks who had money to lose or for folks who got lucky and also do not understans survivor’s bias. But with the crypto bubble and crash already come and gone, it has lost some of its luster there.

Crypto is a criminal’s dream come true: anonymous cash that can be exchanged over a computer with no centralized bank regulations to track fraud or money laundering or smuggling.

The only other folks who are rabid supporters of crypto are libertarian true believers who believe every conspiracy theory they ever heard about the Fed.

Crypto should be purged from this earth. By its nature, it cannot be stopped, but that doesnt mean we should make it easy for it to exist.

The value of the dollar is regulated by the fed and backed by the government. The value of crypto is whatever people are willing to pay for it. We cant make bad guys stop doing math that is crypto. But we can make good guys stop treating crypto as having any legal value.

If you want sanctions to work any longer, you have to devalue crypto and drive it underground.

@MrMoneyMan
This x 1000.
The US dollar is backed by the full faith and financial might of the US gov’t.Ditto the Euro, GBP, Swiss francs, by their respective governments.

Crypto is backed by ignorant idiots who think they’re a whole lot smarter than they are plus a f*ckton of magical thinking. Yes, crypto is starting to lose its luster but PT Barnum was absolutely correct when he said that there was a sucker born every minute.

Some people must have been born twice.

If you really want to stop Putin and other dictators, don’t buy crypto, don’t sell crypto and don’t accept crypto for any goods and/or services that you supply.

R W G F Y

going to be my favorite tee-shirt

especially once weather is warm enough here in NYC for me to stand outside the Russian Consulate & play “We Ain’t Gonna Take It Anymore” at 297 decibels…

so be really fun watching any videos of me — 60YO, slightly crippled, Jew — being arrested in April by NYPD officers who will realize what a no-win scenario this shitstorm is for them…

as to the people of Russia… they’ve got a rallying cry… Stop Being Stupid

“Can we stop focusing on politics”

It needs to be pointed out that politics is not just “finger pointing, name calling, and factionalism.”

Politics is also a savvy understanding of game theory as it applies to international relations.

Politics knew Nord Stream would give Russia undue influence over Germany, and politics knew that germany would swear it wouldnt because they wanted cheap heat.

Politics should have figured out a source of energy for Germany that would have kept it independent of Russia from the beginning. Probably molten salt thorium reactors.

Politics was Jimmy Carter sending guns to the Mujhadeen to fight the soviets in afghanistan, and getting the soviets bogged down in their own version of vietnam, and hastening the fall of the ussr.

Politics would also have realized that once the soviets pulled out of afghanistan, abandoning afghanistan would lead to war lords, the taliban, al queda, and possibly something terrible like 9/11.

Politics would have seen the post 9/11 US invasion of afghanistan tying itself to a corrupt central government as doomed to fail, and a repeat of our support of a corrupt south vietnamese government.

Politics would have seen obama declaring a red line with russia-supported syria, then assad crossing that red line, and obama doing nothing, as doing nothing but encouraging putin.

And as much as i hope we have been engaged in behind the scenes politics to support Ukraine against a russian invasion, history shows quite often we get it wrong.

We helped saddam in the iran/iraq war, giving them money, training, military intel, targeting, etc. But that was only because our shit-show that was Operation Ajax in 1953 overthrew the modern, democratic, secular government of Iran, installed a dictator for a quarter century, and the backlash created the religious extremisim that brought the ayatollah to power in 1979. Not to mention, our support of Saddam in the 1980’s against Iran is exactly how saddam got those pesky wmd’s in the first place.

What did the world do in response to the russian attack on georgia in 2008? What did the world do in response to the russian attack and annexation of crimean peninsula from ukraine in 2014?

In 2019, Trump’s big “help” for Ukraine was to hold up 400 million in military aid from ukraine unless ukraine would give him some dirt on Joe Biden’s son. Ukraine refused. Trump lost the election. At which point, trump’s pettiness requires that he applaud any attack against ukraine.

Hitler ran roughshod across europe for years and years and the US did little. It wasnt until japan attack pearl harbor that we finally went to war. Maybe this is one invasion too many on putin’s part, and maybe the US has had enough.

Whatever we are doing behind the scenes, i hope to dog that there are a lot of smart, savvy people who are looking at the politics of it all, and figuring out a good and effective response.

To be a bit pedantic:

The gadsen flag in today’s america is actively associated with far right extremism. Quite a few gadsen flags flew at the capitol during the january 6 attempted coup.

Many of those idiot-brownshirts have followed lockstep with trump in praising russia for their invasion of ukraine. Trump probably praised russia for it because trump felt spurned by ukraine when they refused to give him dirt on hunter biden during the election. And trump being a petty sack of shit, will forever begrudge ukraine. And his gadsen-carrying zombies simply do what trump does.

So maybe there is some ironic middle finger to the right wing anti-ukraine zombies, using their flag in a pro-ukraine way. But using the flag unaware of its current meaning might give the zombies an unintended boost.

There is “russian warship, go fuck yourself” imagery not tied to the jan 6 zombie crowd, which might also be an option. Though maybe the others dont tie in so directly to the american revolution, which gave us “give me liberty or give me death”.

@ John Scalzi:

“Or you can choose to tell those people to go fuck themselves.”

Watching GOP wet fart stains full-throatedly praise Putin’s aggression on a sovereign state, while at the same time twisting themselves into pretzels trying to blame the current administration for “not doing enough”, is beyond sickening (albeit expected). Trump’s recent incoherent ramble at the CPAC was just the cherry atop that Deplorable, putrid shit sundae.

GFY adequately summarizes my feelings toward that segment of the US population since 2000 or so, and they have never given me reason to reconsider.

Also thank you (or rather the artist) for reclaiming the Gadsden flag from the obese neo-Nazi cowards who have appropriated it as their symbol.

@ Emma Welsby:

“I’m honestly not sure why you mentioned the Conservative party of the UK and would like to know your reasoning.”

While the rank-and-file Troy voter, and a good number of Tory politicians, oppose Putin’s aggression on Ukraine, there are prominent figures inside the Conservative Party chin-deep in hock to Russian oligarchs. A quick Google search for “Brexit dirty Russian money”, or something similar, will provide plenty of research material.

@ eridani:

“Russia’s recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics was greeted with great enthusiasm by Donbass residents, who have lived under eight years of Ukrainian war and sanctions, at the cost of more than 14,000 lives.”

The irredentist pro-Russian segments of Ukraine’s Donbass region are a result of Russian aggression and land theft in 2014, so any talk about “Ukrainian war and sanctions” is utter nonsense. There’s only one fascist army attacking and murdering civilians in Ukraine today – and it’s not the Ukrainian army.

@ Alexei Besogonov:

“Just a heads up, BBC says that it seems like the soldiers from the Snake island were captured, and not killed”

I get 95% of my daily news from BBC World Service, have been following both their articles and their live updates on the aggression on Ukraine, and can confirm that they never reported this.

Not that it changes anything, even if it were true. But I’d suggest you check your sources more thoroughly before sharing “articles” of this sort.

@Audrey:

“The former Yugoslavia, created & then partitioned”

Please be more cautious when throwing around terms like “partitioned”. It does not apply to the Yugoslavian case, or to the former Czechoslovakia.

Yugoslavia was a country comprising six federal states and two autonomous territories, with clearly defined borders and the right to self-determination enshrined in the national constitution. When it collapsed, it split precisely along those recognized borders, and the former federal states (and later one of the autonomous territories) were recognized as independent nations within those borders under international law. So there was no “partitioning” involved.

Czechoslovakia was also a union of two previously sovereign states, with internationally recognized borders. The Czech Republic and Slovakia (not Slovenia) parted amicably, and today are good neighbors and members of the EU. Again, no partitioning involved.

Why does this matter? Implying “partitioning” where none occurred implies that the newly independent nations have no “history of statehood”, therefore no real autonomy and “right to exist”. Similar to what was implied by Putin in his bizarre, ahistorical rambling on Ukraine’s past. I’m sure this was not your intention.

What the previous poster is suggesting is Ukrainian territory being carved out via armed aggression, violating internationally recognized borders (which Russia itself signed off on), against international law. That would be partition, and, regardless of one’s opinion on it, entirely illegal.

Enough with the “freezing of assets”! It’s time to confiscate the assets and give them to Ukraine so they can purchase weapons. Freezing assets just tells the oligarchs that they will get the assets back at some future date when the war is over. Once they are taken and spent there is no giving back at a later date.

It depends what you want to achieve. If those oligarchs see an upside in getting rid of Putin and ending the war – well, I’d not want to carry his life insurance.

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