Russia's invasion of Ukraine is growing in intensity and therefore brutality. One can surmise, and nothing else makes sense, that the Kremlin did indeed plan the invasion of Ukraine as a special military operation and that Putin believed such an action. By way of explanation, the Russian generals, including the head of the Kremlin, imagine by the term war an overwhelming offensive by hundreds of tanks after artillery preparation from thousands of barrels and with the participation of hundreds of combat aircraft, today also using tactical nuclear weapons, i.e. a firestorm that sweeps everything before it, regardless of civilian lives.
So if on the night of the 24th. February 2022, the Russian army undertook a fire raid with missiles on military point targets (and if a civilian object was hit, it was indeed by mistake or missile failure), and then relatively few columns of light vehicles penetrated Ukrainian territory, supplemented by air drops, which were also not extensive, there is no other name for this operation in Russian military terminology than "special military operation" and Putin is angry that the world did not understand his "humanitarianism".
However, this special military operation has failed because its two main assumptions have fallen: that President Zelensky, the 'comedian', will flee and that ethnic Russians will happily side with the occupying forces. The opposite has become true, Zelensky has grown into a world icon of heroic resistance, and ethnic Russians are fighting the invaders as resolutely as ethnic Ukrainians. Otherwise, it would not be possible for the Russian incursion, for example, to still be resisted by the predominantly Russian city of Kharkiv.
The Russian generals have also underestimated the external intelligence support that the Ukrainians are receiving and the shock that the Russian incursion via social media has caused in hitherto pacifist Western Europe. We are literally experiencing a reversal of history, with only the last few Euro-EU strongmen failing to recognise that it was their 'green' policies and the EU's policy of economic interdependence with Russia that prompted Putin to invade. It could be said that the construction of the Nord Stream pipelines was a direct incentive, as it was intended to allow Russia to sell gas to Europe even if Putin turned Ukraine into a desert. It is not without interest that Putin launched the invasion not only after the Winter Olympics were over, but also after he had made sure that Nord Stream 2 would not be put into operation immediately, so it was pointless to wait any longer.
But that is now over and we are now seeing a change in Russian strategy - a special military operation is being replaced by a real war in the Kremlin's terms. Putin seems to have realised, after world public opinion has united against Russia (Putin's allies like North Korea, Cuba and Syria are irrelevant) and even after virtually the whole world has agreed on economic sanctions, that he has burned all bridges behind him and that his life, his bare life, is now on the line.
I don't believe that Putin can be stopped by Russian oligarchs, but the Russian generals are something else. Notice the look on the faces of Russian generals when their faces sometimes flash in the news. Not cheerful, more like desperate. I have no illusions that they are peacemakers or some kind of humanitarians, but they are professionals who can paint a realistic picture, and the moment they assess that Putin's actions are counterproductive, that he is burying the Russian empire instead of founding it, they will remove him. This practice stretches throughout Russian history; for example, of the 12 tsars of the Romanov dynasty (in which Putin looks back), half of them were assassinated.
But this "self-cleansing" may be a long and bloody and cruel road for Ukraine. Russian forces are clearly moving from tactics of strikes on military targets to tactics of large-scale destruction. Raids will intensify, with ever more fighter-bombers, massed artillery and salvo rocket launchers being deployed. Surface attacks will be used to terrorise besieged cities, and such targets as nuclear power stations have already become the object of Russian attacks - with the justified belief that they will not be defended because of the risk of radioactive leakage. By seizing such a source, the Russians will not only deprive the Ukrainians of electricity, but they can start releasing disinformation to the world that the Ukrainians were planning an improvised dirty bomb production there.
I hope that the Ukrainians can withstand even this transformation from a special military operation into an all-out Stalin-style anti-Ukrainian war, but there may be further escalations to come. This is not pleasant to write, but Russia has a large number of tactical missiles with small-caliber nuclear warheads. And nuclear artillery munitions. Watching the news spots, I have several times spotted a self-propelled heavy cannon on a tracked chassis in Russian columns, its long barrel piercing the vehicle both front and rear. These guns are then capable of firing not only conventional ammunition but also nuclear ammunition.
Given the way Putin has behaved so far, it remains an open question whether he will resort to tactical nuclear means after all if he fails to overwhelm the Ukrainian defences, knowing that in the ruins of the cities Ukrainian tankers will turn his tanks one by one into burnt-out wrecks. Although there are strong military arguments against it, because the affected areas would be closed to the Russian army as well, and Putin would become an arch-villain, the world's greatest criminal, even more hated than Hitler. Apparently the Chinese would also have a problem with the use of tactical nuclear weapons and would take their hands off Putin. And he would then have a hard time hiding such a fact even from his own people, since he would have witnesses in the thousands of Russian soldiers.
As I write this, hundreds of analysts in the Pentagon and in NATO command structures are continuously analysing these possibilities, with the benefit of not only satellite imagery, intelligence reports and social media videos, but also reports from observers on the battlefield, as I have no doubt that such observers are present in the Ukrainian army units. They are aware that Putin, who is at an impasse, has only one way out - and that is to drag NATO into the conflict.
What would he gain by doing so? Let us remember that for more than 20 years his propaganda has portrayed NATO as a fascist, aggressive organisation that is only too eager to destroy peaceful Russia. It is about a year since I saw a documentary about life in the Russian town of Yelnya. It featured a schoolgirl who was just preparing to join the Junarmia (Young Army) organisation. It is easy to say, and yet apt, that it is the exact equivalent of the Hitler Youth, again with trumpets, drums, flags and military training. When asked what she thought of Western Europe, this schoolgirl replied that they were all fascists. So those readers who accuse me of brandishing weapons from the comfort of my couch should realize that in the eyes of Russian youth they are fascists like me.
So, if Putin were able to drag NATO into the war, his world view would gain credibility. He could say, look, I was right, they have now attacked us. And he might even split the now unified world public opinion and that informal anti-Putin coalition would fall apart. Putin would also save himself from his generals because he would also prove them right.
NATO must therefore not be dragged into the war, because it would take Black Peter out of Putin's hands and escalate the conflict to a world war, probably a nuclear one. NATO must therefore not heed the call for a no-fly zone, because such a thing cannot be bureaucratically imposed, but only enforced by force, that is to say, by a direct clash between the air forces of Russia and NATO.
I am convinced that Putin is so cornered that he wants this confrontation and the associated escalation of the conflict, and the fundamental strategic lesson is that you must not do anything that your adversary wants. This makes me all the more puzzled by the stupidity of journalists, both domestic and foreign, who constantly ask about the no-fly zone at press conferences when, as professionals, they should have known what it would mean. And if the Ukrainian President asks for it, he does so for propaganda reasons, to maintain morale, because it must be clear to him where it would lead. It is obviously a premeditated pressure to get the post-communist states of the Alliance to send him as many Russian-origin aircraft as possible, as soon as possible, from their arsenals.
The only NATO strategy that can succeed and prevent a global nuclear war is to wage a proxy war as the Alliance states are doing - to create a safe haven for Ukrainian women and children and to send their husbands, sons and fathers all the military aid they can. Just not, for God's sake, rusty Strela missiles with leaking batteries, as the Germans have done. Translated by DeepL.com (free version)
Has the war killed green, woke, other pathological leftist movements? Publish: Sun 06 Mar 2022 - 6:22 AM
Website: The Reference Frame Twitter: @lumidek
Some of us already woke to Day Eleven of the War in Ukraine which has already changed the world more than the previous decade did – it partly threw us back to the 1940s or 1950s while the Russians are the new Nazis. Some of you remember that as recently as 12 days ago, things like the Omicron Common Cold, Green Deal, and Social Justice Fights were big topics. What percentage of readers followed these non-stories yesterday?
As musician Remy explained in his remake of Californication, Affluenflammation arises from excessive wealth and boredom. The West was largely inventing these non-problems because it didn't have any real problems and lots of people were simply bored or they (rightfully) felt useless for the society. So they invented and hyped all these fake non-problems and appointed themselves as the chief warriors against these non-problems.
"Climate change" was the dominant fabricated non-problem promoted by these useless people for a few decades, especially roughly from 2005 when this hysteria flooded the "mainstream" outlets. Initially, its main impact was to poison the public discourse, corrupt scientific institutions, and fill them with incompetent or lying crackpots, immoral profit seekers, and unhinged far left activitists who are covered by the umbrella term "climate alarmists". In recent years, this insanity started to impact the real economy. Some energy saving pressures were the beginning; insane promotion of economically ludicrous electric cars were a more expensive recent manifestation of the power that the "climate alarmist" saboteurs had acquired.
The production of electricity was still the most important result of this movement. The most natural way to "decarbonize" the economy would be to switch to nuclear energy but countries like Germany did just the opposite because they don't have any justifiable basis for their messing with the energy industry. They just decide that they hate ABC for ideological reasons and terrorize the companies that do ABC.
Fine. So the solar and wind power were the two most important intermittent sources of energy that were defended instead of the reliable fossil fuel power plants (and instead of the nuclei in countries like Germany). But these intermittent sources of energy aren't good replacements for everything because they are... intermittent. So the actual main trend was to replace high-carbon sources of energy, especially coal, by the lower-carbon sources, especially natural gas. It became a basic slogan that was frequently repeated by managers in utilities companies: we can survive for another decade if we replace these XY coal power plants by natural gas.
You can check various sources to see that in the lab, 1 kWh produced from natural gas produces 0.9 pounds (in the U.S.), just 50% of the emissions than 1 kWh from coal (2.2 pounds, in the U.S.). In this lab sense, natural gas is less "carbon-intensive". However, there are other procedures outside the lab that the real world usage of natural gas and coal require. And those are much more energy-demanding for natural gas. Consequently, the total CO2 emissions per 1 kWh of produced energy are very similar for natural gas and coal. It just doesn't make a detectable difference to switch from coal to gas. The "gas war on coal" has always been meaningless.
Now, we have the war and it's not clear how long time it will take before Russia completely surrenders (and whether nuclear bombing may be avoided). Even if Russia starts to behave seemingly well soon, it will remain untrustworthy and Europeans will feel that 20% of every dollar that they pay to Russia may soon be used against them. Russia will clearly have to be pressured and the boycotts became intense enough so that they are felt by now (if China were persuaded to join some sanctions, that would start to be another level!). Nord Stream 2 was made bankrupt (I have absolutely no reason to celebrate) but I find it likely that very soon, Europe will try hard to get rid of the dependence on the Russian gas that goes through older pipelines.
The funny fact is that Europe does depend on Russia in natural gas; but it doesn't depend on the Russian coal. Coal is almost everywhere, we don't really import much of it, and we don't need to import any coal from Russia. There is also oil; we import it from Russia and the Arabs and Russians are potentially redundant, too – although I believe that we may very well buy lots of "Arab" oil in the future which will be Russian oil re-exported through China and Arabs. If those tricky loops emerge and allow Russia to sell (or buy) almost the same as before, these boycotts become ineffective and should be cancelled.
It is completely obvious by now that Europe actually needs to urgently allow tons of the coal and other "dirty" (which are no longer dirty at all!) sources of energy and it's happening. We would run into blackouts very soon otherwise. See e.g. an article published one hour ago:
Europe obviously can no longer afford this luxury powered by boredom, leftist activist, and "climate change" anti-coal pseudoscience. Maybe the impact may be negligible in North America but Europe simply has to re-elect King Coal to be our king again. With the filters that have been there since the 1990s, there is absolutely nothing wrong about coal. If you don't like nice weather and believe that we need to trace CO2 emissions, well, the world's CO2 emissions may add some 0.01 °C a year, Europe does 8% of it which is 0.0008 °C, and let's say that only an eighth of it, 0.0001 °C per year may be added by the revival of King Coal in Europe.
Now, you may ask. What is worse? Some 0.0001 °C added to the global mean temperature in 2022, or Europe's industrial collapse (or surrender to Russia) in 2022? This is obviously a rhetorical question only. I have always emphasized (well, for 20 years...) that the climate alarmists were filthy lying terrorists because no detectable global man-made problem involving the climate has ever existed. But due to the boredom and corruption, these terrorists have been taking over the media and they brainwashed the public's perception.
But I think that the war has changed that. We are facing rather serious real threats and we need King Coal for us to be resilient. If the threats for EU countries increase further and we really emerge in a quasi-war against Russia officicially (our support for Ukraine is still unofficial or "moral" although Russia threatens many of us every day and increasingly brutally), I will work hard to go after the neck of the climate alarmists who will turn into plain traitors, helping Russia to destroy Europe, I will support death penalty for the climate alarmists, and I think that in the tense conditions, I will have quite some support from others. The same holds for anti-fracking activists. Fracking is obviously a way for Western countries to be less dependent on Russia (and Arabs) and whoever fights against fracking is partly fighting in Putin's Army now.
It's similar with the woke insanity like the identity politics. A far left whackodoodle with the e-mail from a U.S. university claimed that it was "racist" to talk about the Russian national character and its being imprinted genetically. Again, many of these whackodoodles are gradually finding themselves to be warriors on the enemy's side and we need to take this fact into account. For decades, I have been nice to Russians (and I've met many fine or normal Russians) and encouraged everyone to behave to Russians as another nation that may be considered comparable to some typical Western nations (which could have prevented this war but I don't actually believe it now because their barbaric disrespect for Ukrainians' very existence doesn't seem to have much to do with some subtleties in the Westerners' behavior). That is clearly no longer defensible today. I was really wrong about my views how much Russia – and the Russians' prevailing thinking – advanced since the Stalin or Brezhnev years. While lots of Western brands have spread in Russia which became partly capitalist, the progress in their heads seems very small and in many respects, average Russians seem much more evil than they were during Stalin's or Brezhnev's years because they proudly embraced the role of the aggressors.
At any rate, I strongly encourage the far left activists who have been spreading ideologically rooted lies – and sometimes earning money out of them – during the years of excessive wealth, shortage of problems, and boredom to shut their mouth of face dramatic consequences. The war in Ukraine is a catastrophe but it has awaken the West and is in the process of curing some of its diseases as well. Your disgusting leftist movements are dead in Europe (and probably beyond). Get used to it, shut up, or face draconian consequences soon.
And that's the memo.
Aspects of Russians' faith in the Kremlin's unhinged propaganda Publish: Sat 05 Mar 2022 - 8:23 AM
Website: The Reference Frame Twitter: @lumidek
The ongoing war is the most serious and most dangerous conflict in Europe since 1945, the daily war crimes can only be compared to those committed by the likes of Hitler and Stalin. The international public wants a happy end – which apparently requires the death of the deranged dwarf – but there are many reasons to think that even this optimistic scenario wouldn't fix Russia. Maybe it wouldn't even end the war. It's because Putin isn't the "creator" of these crimes. The ugly short botoxed psychopath is just a symbol, a product of his times and the evolution that the attitudes of the bulk of Russians made very likely given the external circumstances. Neither Hitler nor Putin were any ingenious manipulators or strategists; they sucked at logistics and other things. But they had so much power exactly because they perfectly personified the grievances, hatred, and elementary misunderstandings of a huge number of losers in their nations.
Almost all famous enough Western companies have stopped their business in Russia (which is not just a matter of "forced sanctions" let alone "virtue signaling"; Russia has really become dangerous for anyone with at least some human decency); the woke Coke is a truly disgusting counterexample. The Russian bonds' rating fell deep into the junk territory. The Russian central bank lost its access to most of its reserves (which should be used as reparations to Ukraine!) so it cannot prevent the currency from collapsing. So far, the rouble fell from 75 per US dollar a month ago to 124 per dollar now. I think that even this substantial drop understates the unusability of Russia and its economy. The factor of 1.65 isn't a sufficient quantification of how much Russia is doomed. Russia isn't on par with China now because the Chinese may actually use all the Western services and buy the Western products, Russians can't. They can't buy most parts into their own production and other things.
In recent 12 hours or so, Russia completely banned the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Western media companies stopped operating there. While the primary reason is obviously the decision to start the war, the elimination of any meaningful media and social networks in Russia microscopically results from decisions on both sides. The Kremlin doesn't want the truth to be heard by anyone in Russia; and those who are supposed to inform the people don't want to be harassed by the new military dictatorship and they don't want to be seen as allies of the Kremlin which they would unavoidably (at least partly) become after some blackmail.
The deterioration has been abrupt when it comes to the full-blown bans on any truth in Russia. The amount of freedom of speech may be shrinking by something like 50% every day these days. People who state elementary facts – such as the fact that Russia has initiated a full-blown war againt 40+ million Ukrainians, with sometimes unprecedented war crimes on a daily basis – face 15 years in prison. This law to murder the truth was approved by the lawmakers unanimously. Some of them may be afraid of existential destruction, others may believe it. At any rate, we are seeing a mass psychosis and while they should be absolutely frustrated by the destroyed future prospects of theirs, most Russians seem to be in some kind of genocidal ecstasy. It is exactly the same ecstasy that some German Nazis had to feel when they were murdering the Jews by thousands. In 1941, did the Nazis believe that they would get away with this for the rest of their lives? Did they care? And what about the Russian war criminals. Do they believe they will get away with it? Will they? Do they care about the outcome at all?
These answers by Russians to the question "What they think about the events in Ukraine" look hopeless, indeed. Basically all of them say the war is great because they are beating the Nazis there.
OK, all the non-negligible social networks, media etc. are banned now (even Telegram which is Russian is heavily restricted and you can't search for the dead Russian soldiers in Ukraine, among other things), the words "war" and "invasion" are banned, and all other things needed to share the information about the war are banned, too. On the other hand, nonsensical statements such as "Russia is liberating Ukraine from Nazis" are mandatory. What's remarkable is the difference: just 10 days ago, Russians had basically the same access to the information websites, social networks etc. as most Westerners have. How is it possible that they ended up being OK with this absolutely insane military dictatorship that produces nothing else than lies, death, and misery?
Even when they had access to almost everything on the Internet, most Russians – especially the older generations – were (and remain) just mindless moronic sheep who consumed everything that the State TV was serving to them. Russians are a TV nation. Russia was always great and the West sucked at everything, was unnecessary, supported Nazis, and so on. The working capitalism is unnecessary as well, of course. While Putin allowed capitalism to work much better than it did in Russia of the 1990s, he has absolutely no relationship to it and is eager to return Russians to the communist misery. But we can keep on asking: Why did the bulk of the older Russian cohorts become mindless sheep like that? We should have a discussion about "nature vs nurture". They have surely been "educated" by the Soviet and some Russian governments to behave in this way, so it has a "nurture" part.
But I think that a sad truth is that most of this tiny value of most Russians as humans – true humans should have some compassion and empathy; and they should also be more capable of manipulating with information than parrots – is due to "nature" instead. And it is because the "nature" has been shaped by a rather drastic selection, especially since the 1917 Bolshevik Coup. Only some 500,000 Soviet citizens have emigrated during the Cold War. The number is so small because it was really hard to escape. Note that 300,000 Czechoslovaks emigrated in 1948-1989 and just in the 9 days, 1.2 million Ukrainians already left their homeland. However, tens of millions of citizens of the Soviet Union have been killed.
And those weren't random people. Most of the murders were done by Stalin (although Lenin could have been more brutal, he just didn't have Stalin's powerful toolkits yet) and it was the people who could use their brains who were the subject of this liquidation campaign. By this selection, a nation greatly dominated by brainless sheep has been created. National characters may be called "stereotypes" but it doesn't change much about the fact that most such stereotypes are damn true, very important, and they usually have some explanation, too. The distributions of various traits are not identical in all nations, not even white nations. The differences are huge and largely follow from the different selection mechanisms in the history.
The Czech nation has also been heavily selected. Since 1620 and then because of events around 1938-1945, 1968, and some others, Czechs were trained by the "overlords" to be a productive, highly flexible (or "always cooperating") nation that doesn't fight. In some respects, it is similar to the selection in Russia. In others, it's different. In the recent century, the selection was more due to emigration than mass murders (only hundreds of people were murdered by the Czechoslovak communists for political reasons) and the Czech nation is a rare example of a nation that was mainly losing the elites (typical emigrants from most other nations are dissatisfied, unsuccessful losers; but in Czechia, it's the successful that often became inconvenient to the "ultimate" rulers because the Czech elites haven't really been in charge for most of the time since 1620). The degree of obedience was much less bloody and this selection and suppression still allowed the Czechs to remain critical thinkers and "rebels" although most of the rebellion has been composed of whining in the pub. But the Czechs are dissatisfied and even the ordinary ones see obviously bad things in front of them; Russians don't complain in the pub and they arguably don't see even the most visible bad things done by the government.
But back to Russia. As you can read, and we could even hear it from some Russian commenters (who were rather quickly turning into former commenters: I banned any repeated promotion of war crimes), it's normal (and, indeed, mandatory) to deny the existence of the war, the fact that tens of millions of civilians are brutally affected by it, that a million is fleeing Ukraine each week, that schools and kindergartens and other civilian objects are shelled, that the Ukrainian brave defense is motivated by a totally legitimate patriotism as well as survival instinct, that the Ukrainians are very successful in the defense and thousands of Russian troops' blood was already absorbed by the Ukrainian soil (the only part of Ukraine that welcomes the Russians, as someone quipped), that most Russian troops feel that they have been duped and deceived etc. And it takes to watch a minute of apocalyptic videos from destroyed Ukrainian towns, or a hundred of photographs, to be sure that what's happening is a monstrosity or a sequence of monstrosities. Even if the targets want to be military targets, there is a lot of collateral damage and even the destroyed "military" objects are objects that the Ukrainians built and paid for, have mostly legitimate purposes (and the ability to defend a country against bloody wars such as the ongoing one is undoubtedly a legitimate purpose), and are integrated into the Ukrainian society.
Instead, the official propaganda constantly repeats – and the brainless consumers parrot it – that it is a continuation of the heroic 1941-1945 war on Nazism and some last Nazis who were terrorizing the millions of good civilians in Ukraine are finally being defeated in 2022, and it will surely end with a clear Russian victory (which it simply cannot). The degree of detachment from reality is staggering, also because it's just incredibly childish to think that some people in 2022 are "the same people" as the Nazis who operated up to 1945. These people look like believing that their army is still fighting Rommel near Kiev while Putin just defeated Asterix and Obelix in judo. Needless to say, this fast labeling of any political opponent as a "Nazi" is something that the woke extreme left also did all the time but the woke brigade "cancelled" some 10 professional affiliations of heretics a day, instead of murdering hundreds, pushing 100,000+ to emigration, and flattening several towns per day.
The BBC published a story about Olexandra last night. She lives in Kharkov and her houses were being shelled for a week. She is hiding in the bathroom. You would expect that her mother could be worried about Olexandra. But you would be wrong. The mother believes the military dictatorship's TV instead of her own daughter so she is not afraid of her daughter at all. In fact, she speaks very casually. (Surely a part of the reasons is that Russians just don't think that an individual life is very valuable in general, not even the life of a close relative, as Pavlik Morozov could explain to you; the Soviet Hydra is more important, as I discussed at the beginning of the war.) I think that Olexandra understates how her mother speaks. I think that her mother, like many apologists for the war that I have interacted with, are thrilled and they experience an ecstasy. A genocidal ecstasy. They actually know what is happening and they have actually been dreaming about dozens of Ukrainian towns that are flattened every day. Whether they really believe that this razing only targets "Nazis" is a more difficult question. If a "Nazi" is everyone who is in Ukraine and angered by the ongoing war, then an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians – including ethnic Russians in Ukraine – are Nazis! How could someone fail to figure this simple point out? Are these Russians like Olexandra's mother (and other examples are in the BBC text) really so incredibly dumb, or do they just pretend to be incredibly dumb because this idiotic "nothing to see" support for the war crimes is the ultimate virtue signalling now? I think that even though it is not given much time in the media, they subconsciously know that Russia is causing lots of damage in Ukraine and hurting millions of Ukrainian civilians. But they have been trained to celebrate this destruction as a great and necessary process. If some civilians die, it's an accident and it's a part of the reasons to think that "it is working", and I think that Olexandra's mother would apply this logic even to the death of her own daughters. In this sense, Russians – like other relatively primitive societies – aren't fully human in the Western sense, either.
So the Russian majority has been shaped to be a very low-quality (and currently bloodthirsty) herd by nurture as well as by nature (while the nature was heavily statistically modified especially by Stalin's murders of tens of millions of usually more brainful inhabitants). So the majority had the tendency to say what is mandatory now; and it was "only" made mandatory for everyone once Russia became a military dictatorship. Over 100 million Russians are arguably happy about the ongoing war crimes because they feel important (and they have been programmed to feel important) for 15 minutes (it may be 15 days or 15 weeks this time but Russia could really run out of resources and ability to sustain this insanity for much longer). They are incapable of empathy; and they are incapable of seeing what it means for their future and the future of the hypothetical future generations of Russians.
The decline of Russians towards this lousy herd didn't start on February 24th, 2022. It didn't even start in 2014 let alone 1991. And after all, I didn't quite start in 1917 although that year was very important. This bad evolution of Russia as a herd shows that it is very bad for an individual (or a clique) to get the power to murder tens of millions of people because it is extremely likely that it is the higher-quality and more helpful part that is eliminated while the rubbish and near-rubbish is left (because the people with this incredible power to murder millions always prefer human survivors who resemble domesticated animals). And it is extremely wrong to allow brute force to restrict peaceful information sources because the path towards the military dictatorship that makes absolutely insane lies mandatory is very straightforward, and the lies shaped by the brute force ultimately persuade most of the inhabitants, especially if the inhabitants have the statistical distribution resembling the domesticated animals.
Europe needs to preserve not only its existence but also its humane character Publish: Fri 04 Mar 2022 - 3:11 PM
Website: The Reference Frame Twitter: @lumidek
More than one million Ukrainians have already fled Ukraine since February 24th, the beginning of the hot war. Most of them are crossing the Polish border but others choose other EU borders, the short Slovak one, Romanian one, and more. It is possible that due to the staggering totalitarian terror that is being imposed in Russia – Russians may be sent to jail for 15 years as soon as they mention that Russia is waging a war (a forbidden word!) and similar elementary facts – and because of the looming or expected economic collapse in Russia, many Russians will try to leave, too.
Lots of charities in Europe started to work really intensely and the work is obviously meaningful and not just some kind of virtue signalling. Some brave Ukrainian men left Czechia for fights in Ukraine. In the opposite direction, we've gotten about 40,000 new refugees, the rate is roughly 10,000 per day.
Both Ukrainians and Russians live here and so far they have lived in peace. In the early 1990s, we had slightly Wild West conditions and talked about the Russian-speaking mafia which often included Ukrainians, too. I think that they didn't care about their difference in those times. Police was only partly enforcing justice in this community because it was too dangerous and the problem was sort of isolated from the truly Czech society that the police is primarily protecting. Nevertheless, the crime dropped to tiny values and things have looked peaceful for a decade or two.
Ukrainians work hard. For some reasons, the Russians in Czechia seem rich and are mostly registered as entrepreneurs or at least self-employed people. The hatred between Ukrainians and Russians – and, naturally, especially the new totally understandable hatred of Ukrainians towards Russians – will probably be rather extreme. I think that both groups should understand as quickly as possible that Czechia or other EU member states is not a part of the battlefront (yet) and they are expected to embrace at least the basic rules of decent co-existence.
A scene from the Oscar-winning Czech movie "Kolya". Mr Svěrák is explaining to the Russian boy that we used to hang out both flags because of our gratitude but now the Russian flag is there only due to pressures. Russians are stealing suitcases and territories. But you won't be like that, Kolya, once she gets better, you will go to your aunt. ;-)
So someone's being Russian or Ukrainian is not a reason for an immediate punishment, especially not a punishment by individual people who live on the Czech territory, Czechs, Ukrainians, Russians, or otherwise. Our ombudsman warned against the hostile approach to people according to their nationality; I think it is at least superficially a consensus here. Possible tensions may only be settled according to some laws and these laws apply approximately equally, regardless of the nationality. The advantages that the Ukrainians enjoy right now are humanitarian in its justification.
No EU country has joined the war in any official way although it is not settled yet whether this reticence will turn out to be a wise approach. But this peace and preservation of the basic values, including the right to live and the basic freedom to speech that is also used to discuss these sensitive matters, is a great value and they are among the main reasons why the European civilization needs to be protected. If the European civilization started to resemble Russia where the Parliament unanimously (!) voted to existentially terrorize all people who are against the war (or who point out, using some names that they find, that lots of the Russian blood is being welcomed by the Ukrainian soil), there would be no real point of defending Europe. Europe is only worth defending exactly because it is not another tyranny. If a tyrannical Europe were good enough, we could simply invite the Russian troops to invade all of us.
There have always been various laws that are on the edge of restricting the freedom of speech. I think that treason can't really be legitimately used against people for their statements, especially not when we're out of the war (so far?), but various types of an actual help to an enemy (which might include "talking", but it is not about academic talking, in the sense of the sharing of opinions, it is about "launching some action") might be treason. We have also had the crime of "promoting movements that want to suppress basic human rights" which was a formulation meant to cover proponents of the totalitarian Nazism and communism. In practice, (virtually?) no communist has ever been punished by these laws and the number of Nazis (usually simple skinheads) who were punished for being Nazis was limited and it wasn't existential for them, as far as I know. But aside from these truly political crimes, we have a crime of "approving some other crimes". Maybe I left one or two laws that could be used.
A communist lawmaker who has been notorious for being a young cop with batons beating the students in November 1989 has expressed his surprise that (approximately) his Russian comrades haven't liquidated the fascist scum (Ukranians) much earlier. Police is going after him or investigating him or something like that. It is a borderline suppression suppression of the freedom of speech but it is also clear that he is on the boundary of violating the laws that have some justification. I don't know whether there are other examples.
The media landscape is otherwise vibrant and people offer rather convincing as well as diverse theories about the reasons why this happened, the culprits, what happened in the planning, what is happening on the ground, what is the end game, and what the world will actually look like, along with various interpretations of the national characters of both nations in the war. You must understand that these things aren't really forbidden or restricted because, like the rest of the EU, we are a third party (now). We don't have any formal alliance with either Ukraine or Russia and almost all the asymmetry in the individual Czechs' approach boils down to moral attitudes to the Russian invasion and the Ukrainian defense against it (and of course to some prehistory but the recent 9 days have dramatically made almost all the prehistory irrelevant). While most Czechs thought to be closer to Ukraine before the war, the majority wasn't overwhelming – it almost certainly is overwhelming now – and the war is still an "academic topic". Nevertheless, the war is already affecting us totally profoundly in many ways.
In 2015, we were being led to welcome "refugees" who weren't real refugees, at least a huge majority wasn't. They were economic migrants. And Czechs, like others, really disliked the idea of dramatically changing the racial or religious structure of Czechia. This situation is totally different now. All Ukrainian citizens may be said to be refugees who are genuinely saving their lives or the ability to live under the roof etc. And I think that even the anti-war Russians may be said to be full-blown refugees who are existentially threatened. The new laws in Russia guarantee that.
On our side, both groups are not only genuine refugees but they are pretty much welcome refugees, especially if they want to work. Our companies have pretty much run out of labor force and the unemployment stands at a technical zero and is the lowest in the EU. When they dress and behave a little bit like us, almost all Ukrainians and Russians are considered "people just like us" (I was actually impressed by the nice clothes and other things of the people even in Ukraine... and Russia). The Slavic language family makes the cultural integration much easier.
People who are moving to Europe should understand that they are moving from a part of Eurasia that has seriously broken down; and they are moving to a place where things are still reasonably good or pretty good. This should stop them from trying to impose their ideas about politics and lifestyle on the European societies like ours. Chances are high that your very different opinions about "what is right" are a part of the traits that have caused the deep problems in the lands of the Eastern Slavs.
Even in the most optimistic situation – a de facto Russian surrender during the weekend or an anti-war "regime change" in Moscow, followed by a rather safe return of most Ukrainians to their homes (some of them are gone) – we are entering a rather frustrating and dangerous period of the history. I am afraid that in recent 9 days, Russians as a group have damaged the world by more than their integrated positive contributions to mankind throughout their existence. The task of all good people should be to prove me wrong. Lots of people, not only employees of professional charities, are already doing a lot. Who can pray should pray. God bless Europe, sláva Ukrajině.
Allowing Russia to make the first strike against NATO may be a big mistake
According to some seemingly official documents, the invasion of Ukraine was approved on January 18th, should have started on February 20th, and ended on March 6th. I think that it would prove that the increased shooting in Donbas which came after the approval was fake, a false flag operation, much like the German false flag operations (Operation Himmler) that preceded the September 1939 attack on Poland. Even if the date "January 18th" were fake, it is pretty clear that this massive war against the country with Europe's 2nd largest country wasn't written down overnight – despite the fact that the omnipresent amateurism may indicate exactly that. Roughly from 1991, Putin wanted something like that and some details may have been added since 2014. I actually thought that the shelling in Donbas was fake well before the war on Ukraine began. It was just too strangely correlated with some strategic mysterious comments by Russian officials. But I didn't want to invent accusations without sufficient evidence. Update: a Russian MP said on TV that the invasion was planned a year ago.
The events were coming extremely quickly from February 24th and people's moods and attitudes were correspondingly quickly changing, too. On Saturday, I still published a peace treaty, apparently thinking that something like that was possible or desirable. I found that naive roughly from Monday, I don't know the exact moment. The Kremlin doesn't want peace or deescalation and couldn't be trusted to guarantee it, anyway.
A further escalation seems increasingly likely. Macron said just that as the main summary of his phone call with Putin. Putin's unchecked power leads to a further escalation much like any unchecked power. When things clearly don't work, the unchecked dictator's attitude is always to double down. Their regime has no checks and balances, tools to reverse or fix mistakes. Any mistake is always interpreted as a success within the error margin, by doubling the stakes and therefore the error margin. Sometimes I think that he really suffers from a terminal illness and wants to take mankind with him. On the other hand, I have encountered numerous Russians that seem to agree with the insane ongoing war crimes.
During the night, Europe's largest nuclear power plant in Enerhodar (next to a reservoir at the Dnieper River) which is named "Zaporozhskaya" (an adjective) after a region whose capital Zaporozhya is some 40 km away, was shot at by the Russians. It produces 6x 0.95 GW (from 6x 3 GW thermal capacity), an impressive 3 times either Czech nuclear power plant (the reactors were turned off, you may imagine the shortage of electricity now). There was a fire of tyres started by the defenders, another fire in a technical or training building started by the Russians, firemen were finally allowed by the Russians to get there, and the fire was extinguished. Some hours later, Russia announced to have taken over the power plant. The Ukrainian staff is allegedly still working there. But the walls of the nuclear power plants were found to be a great spot for the Russian Grad missile launchers. The insanity of all these acts trumps most of the similar movies about ultra-villains. I don't have to explain to you that an attack on a nuclear power plant violates the Geneva Convention without exceptions. It is an act of state terrorism.
Putin has said very clearly that he is ready to do anything to achieve his goals (no one really knows what they are because what he's doing exceeds his modest stated goals roughly by 3 orders of magnitude at this moment) and by now, it seems likely to me. In fact, any Russian military action since February 24th was much more than most of us expected, it was never milder (and even the recognition on February 21st was much more than most of us expected). I think that this escalation which is causing increasing damages will only stop when someone really stops it by effective means and the boycott of Russian cats at an exhibition is not effective enough. Putin doesn't care about the destroyed Russian civilization and his citizens are sheeply and manipulated enough not to be able to do something against this global problem – my great admiration goes to the exceptions such as a boss of RT, Maria Baronova (an ex-dissident who surprisingly could get high in the RT; and a trained chemist), that just resigned for exactly the right reasons. This is not what her ancestors fought for and the Russophobes were largely proven right, she was proven wrong.
So we may have already missed the moment but the evidence just wasn't sufficient that the Western civilization would have to more actively defend itself. The situation seems similar to the beginning of the Second World War. I have written numerous analyses e.g. on Quora concluding that it would have been way better if France and the U.K. and perhaps some allies respected the alliances and fought Nazi Germany in Fall 1938 when Hitler was about to annex the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. The annexation of the Sudetenland gave him a huge extra power which was subtracted from Czechoslovakia, and it also made the rest of Czechia indefensible and that homeland of mine was captured in March 1939 (well, the Slovak side was semi-captured), making Hitler even stronger and the democratic world even weaker. It seems spectacularly clear that the appeasement was wrong and every month of waiting was making things worse. Germany should have been defeated much earlier, perhaps in late 1938. We would have history textbooks with a "Second World War" that would have killed a million people. People would still think it was terrible and no one would know for sure that a much greater number of lives was actually saved. But that statement would be true in this alternative history.
Now, despite the truly crippling sanctions and the shocking underperformance of the Russian infantry, Putin is also getting stronger every day, according to the new rules that he is defining (and which I have predicted many times: it is in the interest of savages who aren't good at the "newest contests" to return the contests in the world to the distant past where they did better). From Monday, it seems reasonable to me to think that a further escalation may be unavoidable and at some moment, the West will have to say "enough" because it will be existentially threatened, too. No one knows who is most threatened in the West: Finland? Sweden? Poland? Turkey? Czechia? Like in 1938, it could be wise to say "enough" as soon as possible. And it may mean to attack Russia before Russia attacks NATO.
Some nuclear warheads would be flying and some of them could explode. The Hiroshima bomb destroyed a disk of radius of 2 km from the explosion, and semi-destroyed 3 km away from the explosion. Today's bombs are larger and the distances are roughly tripled (the energy grows with a higher power of the distance, of course). So when a typical bomb lands somewhere, think where it could be if Russia has 6,000 warheads to beat roughly 1 or 2 billion of people, you first get blinded if you look into the insane explosion. The blinding affects people in the radius of 80 km or so and is usually temporary. Heat is generated and there are very annoying temperatures in the radius of 20 km or so. The heat produces a high air pressure that spreads much more slowly and structures in the radius of 6 km or so are completely destroyed. And on top of that, you will get some radioactive dust and sickness for a longer period of time. But note that the next season, plants were growing in Hiroshima just fine, defying cataclysmic predictions, and the area of Chernobyl was recently thriving with wildlife. The animals don't measure the radiation level and they ignore it. They ignore human warnings, too, because they don't understand it. And collectively, they did great! We have to learn something from the boars of Chernobyl if the radiation becomes widespread; it was no rocket science for them to collectively survive. Much of our caution has surely been excessive, by many orders of magnitude. Just 9 days ago, we were obsessed with lowering the Omicron Common Cold infections by 1% by respirators and millions of people were obsessed with even tinier "terrifying problems".
A nuclear exchange is not quite the end of the world although we have been assuming that the two phrases are equivalent for decades. Out of the 6,000+ Russian warheads, many could be eliminated by some targeted bombardment and/or sabotage, some of them would fail because they are Russian products, some of them would be intercepted. So there would probably be fewer than 1,000 blasts. Much of the countryside could survive, along with many people who would hide in the subways etc.
Unlike the weekend, I think that further indications of weakness make it more likely that Putin will escalate things so our declaration – ideally a credible declaration – that we may start to bombard Russia is more likely to deescalate things. But I can't quite guarantee such a things. Not even psychologists can because psychology is far from a controllable let alone deterministic natural science.
Note that this is such a bad outcome that you should forget about the recipes "what to do". There is obviously no algorithm to be completely safe once you expect nuclear bombs near your home. Experts and "experts" still disagree whether, if you see a nuclear mushroom, you should hide to the nearest building or basement; or, as some fancy researchers say, you should run away from the blast as quickly as you can for 30 minutes. I think that it should be left to your immediate decision at that terrible moment. The distance of 7 km from the blast and 10 km from the blast is probably a huge difference when it comes to the doses and other things. You want to be inside and isolated but you prefer hiding places that are further from the blast.
Let me also mention that if a Chernobyl-like catastrophe were launched (by the Chechens? Are they really Chechen savages shooting near this equipment?) in Energodar (and Putin may use the power plant as a weapon or tool of blackmail, he already uses its walls to host the Grad missile launchers), it wouldn't mean the end of Europe. I would expect a Chernobyl times ten. And despite the anti-nuclear propaganda, Chernobyl was largely a "trace effect" for almost all places in Europe. These are terrible things to consider but not the end of the world. I think it is obvious that Western Europeans shouldn't try to evacuate the continent en masse in such a scenario. After all, after some weeks, the radioactive dust would be spread all over the Earth, anyway.
Of course, if it were possible to eliminate the heads behind the ongoing war crimes; and the bulk of Russia's nuclear stockpile by some conventional weapons, it would be vastly preferred over nuclear strikes against Russia. But unless we see sufficiently quickly that someone in Russia wants to stop it and has the capabilities to stop it, it seems increasingly clear to me that if there is any Western civilization left at all, we will have to do it at one moment, anyway. While the current Russian president may be a psychopath, I am afraid that if someone like Shoigu or Medvedev continued to lead the Kremlin after Putin, it wouldn't be much better although there would be a chance.
The Russian Federation is becoming an upsized sibling of the Islamic State – which wasn't too difficult to neutralize, despite the omnipresence of the ISIS in the news for a few years. If you imagine that the Islamic State controlled both Syria (17 million people) and Iraq (40 million), which isn't quite true but it's an OK estimate, it was in charge of 57 million people many of whom really supported it, too. OK, Russia is less than 3 times larger. The Russian Federation is becoming the Islamic State with one e-folding. It has a much better technology than the Islamic State savages but as we are seeing, it is not sensational and it doesn't have many high-quality professionals to work with the technology.
A psychopath that takes over the country with the largest territory and the most extensive nuclear stockpile in the world and starts Hell on Earth is clearly the ultimate black swan event which I didn't expect to live through and neither did most of the people. But the probability was never tiny, especially with the pathologically concentrated power in Russia – which is, just like in the case of Hitler and the humiliation of Germany and Austria after 1918, partly caused by the Soviet loss in the Cold War and the following not-so-prestigious status that Russia has had in the world. The people behind the excessive humiliation of Russia are co-responsible for the ongoing monstrosities but this is not a time to blame someone in the West. So relax, it has been just my consistent opinions for years. Who is the main villain is obvious. The Russophobes have helped to create the monster so they also have a special moral duty to help to terminate it. We may also say that the Russophobes have been proven correct in statements that seem more essential now – and I was wrong about those because I just didn't expect Russia to get this insane.
In the optimistic scenario, the Russian nuclear stockpile has to be overtaken by some Western/international folks. I think it could be a good idea to shrink Russia's territory, expel Russians from some border regions, cut the remaining Russia to several pieces, treat them as occupation zones governed by various countries, and restrict the Russian people's sovereignty over things that are potentially dangerous for other countries or for West-like citizens of Russia. The reparations that will have to be paid by these successors of Russia will obviously be huge.