Streetwise Professor

October 1, 2022

Another Anti-Anglo Saxon Jeremiad From a Demented (and Desperate) Dwarf

Filed under: Energy,History,Military,Politics,Russia,Ukraine — cpirrong @ 11:15 am

In an earlier post I said that Putin’s mobilization address was his most unhinged speech ever. That record did not last long: his Friday speech announcing the annexation of four Ukrainian regions was beyond unhinged.

The speech was Castroesque in length. The bulk of it was a jeremiad against the west, and “Anglo-Saxons” in particular. (Apparently he is unaware of American diversity!) He justified his invasion of Ukraine, and the annexations, as a war of survival against a west that is hell bent on subjugating Russia. The speech was a litany of the west’s sins, colonialism and slavery most prominent among them. He conveniently elided over Russia’s imperialism, symbolized today by the disproportionate representation of ethnic groups from Russian republics in those fighting–and dying–in Ukraine, and touted the USSR’s “anti-colonial” record in Africa and elsewhere.

The speech was chock-full of projection, most importantly regarding waging war on civilian populations. There were also the now familiar accusations of Ukrainian Naziism, the betrayal of 1991, and the non-existence of Ukrainian nationhood.

In brief, Putin portrayed the war in Ukraine as an existential conflict waged to defend Russia against Anglo-Saxons attempting to colonize Russia, and to defend the world against such western rapacity. (The reference to the Opium Wars was obviously an attempt to appeal to China, whose ardor for this Ukrainian adventure is obviously waning fast.)

The atmospherics were also bizarre. The images of a dwarfish Putin clasping hands with the hulking mouth breathers leading the sham annexed regions, chanting “Ross-i-ya!” with a demented grin on his face are quite striking–and disturbing. Especially when contrasted to the reality on the ground, where Russian forces continue to reel and rout–the bugout from Izyum being the latest example. “Reservists” are being shoved to the front without even a simulacrum of training, where they will no doubt be slaughtered without changing the battlefield dynamic one iota. Putin is giving no retreat orders and is bossing about formations that have been destroyed or dissolved. Gee, whom does that remind one of?

Tens of thousands of Russian men are fleeing to avoid the press gangs, a visible demonstration of widespread panic. (Kazakhstan–the Russian Canada!) Personal contacts indicate that the panic is widespread even among those who have not fled, but who fear the knock on the door.

The realities of the battlefield and the home front reveal that this is truly an existential conflict–for Putin. He objectively can’t win, but he can’t lose and survive. This creates a tremendous bias towards escalation, with nuclear weapons being his only real escalation option.

There is a considerable debate over whether when push comes to shove Putin will push the button. This is an unanswerable question. Suffice it to say that his Downfall-esque rants in public (one can only imagine what he’s like in private) mean that there is a material probability that he will.

Which poses a grave dilemma to the Anglo-Saxons. (In this respect, Putin is on to something: the continentals are hopelessly ineffectual and along for the ride.) Months ago I wrote that Putin was in zugzwang, i.e., a situation where any move made the situation worse, but one is compelled to move. Well, currently the US is arguably in zugzwang as well. The consequences of letting Putin off the hook or pushing him to the wall are both deeply unsatisfactory.

What is in the US’s opportunity set? The situation on the battlefield does suggest that giving Ukraine a blank weapons check could result in pushing Russia out of most of, and perhaps all, of the occupied portions of the country–including Crimea. But choosing that option is a bet on Putin’s sanity and willingness to go nuclear, and how far up the escalation ladder Putin is willing to go. Conversely, pulling the Ukrainian’s leash will likely result in a continued grinding war with its global and human and economic toll. Brokering a compromise is almost certainly out of the question, given the intransigence of the parties and the completely irreconcilable nature of their demands (though Putin did graciously say that he was willing to accept Ukraine’s capitulation).

The administration is clearly leaning towards–but not completely towards–engineering Russian defeat on the battlefield. Most of the American populace is disengaged. The populist right in the US is engaged but stupidly pro-Russian, because (a) Putin criticized the west’s trans obsession, and (b) the enemy of their enemy (the administration) is their friend. With respect to (a) this is beyond bizarre because these passing references were embedded in a speech that damned the entirety of American history in a way that would make Howard Zinn beam: is the PR buying into that now? (It is also stupid because it validates left narratives about them being Russian puppets.)

The populist right also immediately concluded that the US is responsible for the destruction of the Nord Stream I and II pipelines under the Baltic. The fact is we have no facts, other than that the pipelines suffered catastrophic ruptures, possibly the result of deliberate sabotage. Everything else you read is speculation about motive, which only prove whom the speculators hate most. Those who know ain’t talking, and those talking don’t know.

Although I immediately concluded sabotage, there is reason to doubt this too. This is plausible to me, based on my knowledge of natural gas pipelines and Russian incompetence. (Anybody remember the shitshow of the Russian oil pipelines in spring 2019?)

But again–nobody knows nothing beyond the fact that the pipelines are fucked, so speculation is pointless. And depressingly, given the natures of everyone involved, I can’t say there’s anyone I would trust to reveal the facts.

The populist right is annoying, but largely powerless. Even if the Republicans prevail in the upcoming election, the PR will represent a clamorous but ultimately irrelevant force. Meaning that the US will continue to stumble along, mainly in the direction of pushing an increasingly desperate Putin.

Yes, I can see the upside of that. But I also see considerable downside risk, and indeed the risks are asymmetric. Even as things stand now, beyond nuclear weapons Russia’s military capability has proven even more illusory than a Potemkin village of legend. His conventional threat to Nato is demonstrably non-existent. So the upside to the US and Nato of drubbing Putin further is very limited. But the downside of drubbing him could be serious indeed.

So mutual zugzwang is a not unrealistic description of the current situation.

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37 Comments »

  1. Shakepeare, Henry IV

    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep!
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, and so can any man. But will they answer when you call to them?

    The SNAFU in the Russian chain of command encourages me to believe that a nuclear strike command would not be obeyed.
    Cue entrance of men in white coats, stage right. Nurse Ratched steps forward to address the audience…

    Comment by philip — October 1, 2022 @ 12:55 pm

  2. Great analysis, as usual. LawDog has interesting theory on NS1 & 2. Can’t speak to accuracy.

    https://thelawdogfiles.com/2022/09/nordstream.html

    Comment by The Pilot — October 1, 2022 @ 1:39 pm

  3. The situation is so complex and getting even more multidimensional further that what come next is absolute coin toss. 1. After annexation was signed Russia lost small town(Leman) to Ukraine. It’s created tricky dilemma for Putin it’s like he’s retreating from “now Russia” lands. 2. Russia military bloggers and head of Chechnya Kadyrov openly attack army and its top brass. Personally I hope later will create enough pressure for Shoigu to consider a small coup d’etat:)

    Comment by Leenur — October 1, 2022 @ 1:47 pm

  4. Game theory: A single tactical nuke would change very little militarily and would only be used by Russia as a last-ditch means to force a diplomatic resolution. Of course Biden and others have stated (rightly so) that any such use could not go unanswered, so where would this leave Russia? How would they in return respond to a NATO likely conventional strike – some direct action against a NATO target or member state? If so we’d then be deep into Article V territory, with the prospect of a wider conventional conflict, which Russia would continue to lose. So would Putin up the stakes again i.e. nuke a military or other target in Europe?? He must be uncertain how this would play out, fearful it could rapidly spiral out of control with devastating consequences for Russia.

    The attack on NS1 was noteworthy in that it demonstrates that, despite his increasingly unhinged rhetoric, Putin is still wary of doing anything overt or within the territory of a NATO member state. No cyber attacks or fifth column sleepers ready to stir up trouble and sabotage stuff? It’s like he’s squaring up but is unwilling to lay even a finger on us.

    Re China – their role is critical, given they’ve stated publicly that any use of WMD is unacceptable. I reckon that Putin is possibly more worried about losing them as an ally than he is about the fate of his forces in Ukraine after any NATO intervention.

    Comment by David Mercer — October 1, 2022 @ 4:46 pm

  5. Well, reading about demented dwarfs, count myself so blessed to be able to not have to content with somebody like a Jeremia, but get the Lords pure insights through such an enlightened and intelligent Professor, who also got always all info firsthand about the military successes of blue-yellow color code. Why somebody who quoted from his heart, no fortnight ago, that you’ve got the Germans always either on your throat, or on their knees, would now resort to German terms like Zugzwang isn’t completly clear…but going by the amount and relevance of repressed facts about the Nord Stream incidents, for example, we’d get again to the jurisdiction of a native German speaker, Freud like joy, to look for explanations. But there became something obvious here, how our Prof & Co is thinking about Germany and Russia, hadn’t thought that. And is this also the explanation, why our Prof can be so sure about his version in line with the NATO propaganda, where we earthlings aren’t so sure how to extract some reality from different versions, but a e.g. Col. Douglas McGregor is propably so off that you can’t take his views and info into account? But seems, you all know it all better anyway…

    Comment by Mike — October 2, 2022 @ 7:16 am

  6. Initially, I was against the support of the Ukraine. Why? strategically, it seemed dumb. As the war has worn on and Ukraine proved that it is willing to fight for itself (a crucial difference between them and say, Afghanistan) it seems smarter to support them with weapons.

    I don’t know the calculus of when to actually commit NATO air power. With air power, this is over in a week or two. It seems Putin is trying to encourage it so he can press the nuclear button.

    I also don’t know when Putin might be assassinated from inside. At some point, maybe someone will try it. They did with Hitler.

    Comment by Jeff Carter (@pointsnfigures1) — October 2, 2022 @ 9:16 am

  7. Re the demented Dwarf: true, but it is interesting to define his dementia. To quote a 17(?) Century RO monk,”Russia is the third Rome. There cannot be a fourth.”. This spirit of delusional branches has influenced Russian behavior for centuries. Their one moment of trans or supra national transcendence occurred under the war criminal and child murderer Lenin. This quickly devolved into a not well hidden Russian hegemony.

    It’ interesting that Lenin accused the Georgian Sta!in of being a Great Russian chauvinist. Re the monk’s quote, above, Stalin was hi.self an ex seminarian. Of the RO church, not an autocephalous one.

    Moving from delusions of Grandeur to delusions of adequacy to the eventual realization that they are effed, is going to be painful and it’s be Putin doesn’t seem to be making. He is quoted as saying something like ano world is better than a world without Russia: i.e.Putin. what started as rhetoric is now his mental reality.

    I hope his compatriots and or accomplices kill him before it is too late.

    Comment by Sotosy1 — October 2, 2022 @ 9:38 am

  8. Beliefs, not branches, damnit!

    Comment by Sotosy1 — October 2, 2022 @ 9:40 am

  9. Regarding America’s ‘populist right’ as you call them (too polite by half), perhaps we ought to appeal to their money mindset? I know they constantly bleat on about the cost of the kit being sent to Ukraine (“but what about the water in Flint??!” FFS – it’s not like their/your man Trump couldn’t have fixed this with a signature), but this conflict has been fantastically good business for Uncle Sam. For one thing there’s been an absolute bonanza in military sales – Poland alone is buying 500 (!) HIMARS, Abrams tanks, Patriot, and, I’m just reading, 96 Apaches, which will make it the single largest operator of the type outside of the US, surpassing both Israel and Egypt. Add to that 64 F35s to Finland, 36 of the type to Switzerland, plus goodness knows how much ammunition, small arms, body armour etc etc to European NATO member states. Even beyond Europe the US’s military sales must be booming, particularly given Russia’s kit has been shown to be dogsh*t and unsupportable when western sanctions are in place. And that’s just military sales – add to that LPG shipments plus the associated transport and terminal infrastructure which US downstream companies (Halliburton etc) will presumably be getting a piece of.

    @6 Weren’t you the guy who crowed about Russia unveiling its “incontrovertible” biolab evidence come the fall?? I thought at the time: “Why the wait?”.

    There has reportedly already been one assassination attempt, when some motorcylist attempted to attach an limpet device to his car.

    Comment by David Mercer — October 2, 2022 @ 12:31 pm

  10. @DM,

    In the US, the Oresident doesn’t fix local problems “with a signature”; fixing it requires local government to identify the problem, the fix and source of funding. If funding isn’t local, they apply to the state for funding. Usually a grant application, with all the assorted environmental and legal documentation. Washington DC is not London. Sorry, but we reorganized centuries ago, if you remember.

    Comment by The Pilot — October 2, 2022 @ 1:53 pm

  11. Professor,

    Here’s an interesting comment from an Instapundit reader regarding LawDog’s post. He seems pretty well-informed :

    billcat1969 • 29 minutes ago

    Well, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing as they say.. Pipelines like that have been in operation all over the world for decades. They do not need regular inspection and tinkering to remain operational. If they did they would not be economically viable.

    You do run inspections of them regularly with what’s called an inspection pig. Thing is, this pig is propelled by the gas flow in the line, so you cannot run it while shut down. The pipe will be just fine sitting there for months and even years.

    Now, onto the meat. Unlike the author I *do* know a hell of a lot about hydrates. Let’s say it was a pretty significant part of my “Exceptional abilities and achievements” based US permanent residency.
    I also know at least Nord Stream 2 pretty intimately, as I ran the verification simulations for it, and actually had a couple of catastrophic leakage simulations up and running within hours of the news. So, I actually have to keep this pretty general/public knowledge from here on.

    What goes into the pipelines is grid quality gas, that is water has been removed. This is done by a dew pointing process where you use combinations of expansion/cooling and drying chemicals like MEG.

    So the gas is dry, with at most trace amounts of water vapor. But, yes, Russian quality assurance you say. Yes, there’s that, but the Germans sample what they get on their end, and if there were regular severe deviations from spec, there would have been issues we’d heard about. The Germans are not paying for water that also corrode their national gas grid. There’s no processing on the German side, no need, they either send it into their grid or they don’t.

    A pipeline like this will actually hydrate up when it’s flowing, not when it’s just sitting there. There will at most be a little water vapor present. Let’s say it condenses out. This will form small puddles of stagnant water that will collect at low points. These may slowly hydrate up, but when they are that’s it. The really bad hydrate plugs require constant supply of feedstock flowing by a cold spot.

    The ruptures happened around Bornholm, so the deepest and coldest parts of the pipeline are well towards the Russian side by now. That’s where you’d also find the biggest depressions that could theoretically accumulate water. I would not expect a hydrate plug to form in the part of the pipeline that blew up.

    A hydrate plug shooting through a pipe will rupture a pipe when it encounters a bend, yes. This however is a 45″ concrete clad pipeline, there are no sharp bends.

    And funniest of all, we are to find it incredulous that someone deliberately blowing up the pipelines would space them 17 hours apart, but yet totally likely that two different pipelines hydrating up for months through a completely stochastic process should reach blow up hydrate state at almost the exact time. Yeah, no..

    And, as for unilaterally fixing things on your end. The Germans would not kinda notice the pressure dropping like a rock on their end when the hydrate plug disappeared?

    There was no hydrate nor hydrate plug, there was placed explosives.

    Comment by Abbe Faria — October 3, 2022 @ 1:57 am

  12. @Pilot Meh, my point was they/you have 5 years to fix this. And didn’t.

    Petreaus’s comments must have given Putin food for thought, even if what he described may be far from what is being considered (i.e. our escalation to his escalation). Such a response would well and truly f*ck – and humiliate – Russia in Ukraine and the Black Sea. Sounds like a plan.
    One always looks for signs as to what may be on the table and, aside from a few uncharacteristic USAF movements last week (which may or may not have had something to do with Ian), there’s been precious little of note, which in itself may be noteworthy. This apparent lack of positioning or gearing up may suggest that the US/NATO still thinks Putin is full of sh*t (or chickensh*t). Either way, this must be infuriating for Putin: “Why won’t they take me seriously??!”

    Meanwhile, the Ukes roll inexorably eastwards, and Peskov has some questions as to what proportion of those Oblasts Russia believes it has actually annexed (further consultations are apparently required).

    Comment by David Mercer — October 3, 2022 @ 5:56 am

  13. Ockham’s Razor should be applied here. The most likely possibility for the pipeline ruptures are an industrial accident, and when Ivan has an industrial accident he does not mess about. They have had some doozies. I used to work with the oil and gas types, and pipeline management is both complex and demanding of scrupulous attention to detail and ‘not effing it up’. The Russians have a poor reputation for the former and a stellar reputation for effing things up. What possessed them to leave the pipelines pressurised and without flow for months is unknown, but it was in violation of all ‘pipeline safety 101’ practices. But no flow means no pigs have passed down that line in months. This is very ungood (their words were more vivid and descriptive).

    My old contacts say that their very rough guesstimate is three-quarters on the side of bungling, one quarter someone taking direct action. Their speculation (and I stress both words) is that some bright spark in GAZPROM decided that they had a great chance to make out like bandits on the German gas market once the Germans got close to having no gas left come midwinter. So they speculate that the aforementioned bright sparks decided to slowly depressurise the pipelines from their end, gambling that there were no plugs. The lines were most certainly heavily rimed of course…. and they lost the gamble.

    These contacts are quite experienced in offshore gas operations, but I do stress that this is their speculative assessment. They have seen a lot of oil and gas industrial accidents, and two have long experience in Russia and the Stans, encapsulated by a saying that “if there’s only ten possible ways to entirely eff it up and blow yourself into the middle of next week, a Russian will find an 11th way!”

    Comment by Mark Bailey — October 3, 2022 @ 10:09 pm

  14. “the Ukes roll inexorably eastwards”: it’s a war. It’s best to assume that nothing’s inexorable. As Napoleon and Hitler learned. And, elsewhere, Rommel, Robert E Lee, and Publius Quinctilius Varus. Wellington retreated whenever he thought it wise. The British army on the Western Front retreated in 1918 – was obliged to retreat in 1918 – only to attack again and push the Germans back and back, taking huge numbers captive, until they gave up. Stuff happens.

    Comment by dearieme — October 4, 2022 @ 11:15 am

  15. AIUI Ukraine has numerical and technological superiority over Russia, and probably morale ascendancy as well, because Ukraine’s newbies are volunteers who are winning whereas Russian’s are conscripts and they’re losing. Not sure about the situation in the air. Hence there appears to be a certain amount of borderline hubris / ex ante counting of chickens to the effect that Ukraine’s about to retake the Crimea.

    Does Ukraine’s military actually have any established doctrine for carrying out such offensives, though? It’s sometimes said that WW2 could have ended in 1939 if France had invaded the Rhineland, but this overlooks that France in 1939 had no doctrine, plans or established principles for the invasion and conquest of neighbouring countries. The armed forces were organised to defend France, not launch mechanised assaults to essay the conquest of Germany. Is Ukraine actually equipped to retake the Crimea?

    Comment by Green as Grass — October 6, 2022 @ 3:58 am

  16. I suppose Ukraine could try a siege of Crimea. Destroy the Kerch Strait Bridges, cut off the fresh water, sink any ships bringing in food. But siege warfare is static which would make the Uke army vulnerable to air attack, long range artillery. and tactical nukes. In winter would its logistics hold out?

    But this is schoolboy level thinking: what the Ukrainians and Russians each want to achieve I have no idea. Maybe the Ukes just want to be flexible enough to exploit each weakness as it is discovered. Maybe Putin just wants to avoid overthrow or assassination, best achieved (?) by a successful offensive. Who knows?

    Comment by dearieme — October 6, 2022 @ 6:44 am

  17. Putin set the goals of the SMO. The demilitarization of an enormous military, stocked for eight years and restocked feverishly from the bases and warehouses of 30 countries in NATO, is going very well. The Ukies had 750,000 men in trenches and fortified positions and embedded in big cities, shielded by civilians everywhere from Kiev to the smallest settlement in Donbass.Ukraine had a significant air force and stout air defenses with BUKs and S-300s in large numbers.
    The Russians have reduced this order of battle markedly. The navy of Ukraine is gone. It has no functioning naval bases. The Ukie air defenses have been reduced to mobile radars and a few extant S-300s. The most effective air defense they have is the tactic of massing MANPADS and receiving real time alerts from NATO of oncoming Russian jets and helos. This has not stopped the Russian aerospace forces, though it is a hampering defense that has to be recognized as a threat. The Ukie air force is 95% gone, only replenished from NATO with aircraft that stay in the battle for minutes before they are reduced to losses.
    Over 500,000 Ukies are gone, dead and forever off the battlefield. Thousands of mercs have been killed or chased off the battlefield.
    The entire junior officer echelon of Ukraine is gone. US and NATO officers are the tactical commanders, as communications in the battlefield document. American and British voices give the commands. Videos are available as proof.
    Every strategic offensive launched by Kiev (and the NATO command running their military) has been destroyed. The only ground they have gained is ground ceded in order to draw the Ukies into the open or to reposition Russian forces to better lines of defense.
    The Ukies have lost forever Mariupol, Kherson, Melitopol, all of Lugansk, 65% of Donetsk, their access to the sea (except with Russian permission at Odessa), the air space over most of Ukraine, and sovereign control over their utilities and transport systems which exist only as long as the Russians allow. Ukraine is under its 4th total mobilization. By winter’s end it will have lost another 100,000 of their cannon fodder. Likely, too, they will have lost what they hold in Donetsk oblast.
    The Russians have done this while exposing only 15% of their military. It is clear from signs in Chechnya, Kadyrov could gather 100,000 extra men who want to join the Chechen forces from the Caucuses and other brotherly muslim lands.

    Comment by Richard Whitney — October 6, 2022 @ 9:33 am

  18. But what could the point be, Mr Whitney? How would a ruined, depopulated Ukraine be any use to a Russia that is already short of citizens, and particularly Slavic citizens? Why would getting lots of Russians killed to gain this worthless prize make any sense?

    Comment by dearieme — October 6, 2022 @ 4:07 pm

  19. @15
    Wow! I didn’t realise Russia was having a victory even more overwhelming than their special forces at Kiev airport back in February.
    It’s Vova’s birthday, Mr Whitney. What do you suggest as a gift?
    Personally I think a set of speed cameras to slow down those tanks and APCs the Ukes are stealing from the strategically repositioning Russians would be appropriate.

    Comment by philip — October 6, 2022 @ 4:22 pm

  20. Ah, another dose of the Russian horseshit. How quaint.

    Comment by LL — October 6, 2022 @ 5:00 pm

  21. @SWP…I have read your blog for a long time, and I see many issues as you do. But I demur from your conclusion that Putin is unhinged. He has been speaking clearly and logically about NATO encroachment since at least 2008. Almost no one in the west has been listening. Professor Mearsheimer is an exception.
    Let’s scan the west for unhingedness:
    When Boris Johnson was at Eaton, his teachers wrote of him that the boy felt no link to the network of obligations that decent people felt bound them. Later in life, he lied to colleagues, bosses, his underlings, to wives and various women with whom he concluded affairs, and to his children; to his supporters, opponents, the public, parliament, and to the late Queen. He managed to talk Zelenskyy out of peace negotiations twice.
    Liz Truss, his temporary replacement, is so bad, she is making the UK public long for the Johnson era.
    Would you be proud of Sanna Marin if she were your daughter? Although she has two children, she was pictured in the act with another man at a night club; rendezvoused with an American actor; and threw a party at her official residence, and a recording of said event records the party-goers exclaiming that they are the ‘flour party people’, flour being the euphemism for their favorite drug.
    Kaja Kallas is a legacy ruler. Think royal family. She is a mindless vassal of the EU.
    Ditto for Maia Sandu.
    Ursala van der Leyen’s recent history is fraught with inanity. Could you think of a better way to offend the citizens of an EU founding country than to threaten their election outcome with “We have ways..”? And how ’bout that remark that the RF was taking microchips from dishwashers and refrigerators? How does some NATO officer feel knowing that he is getting his helmet handed to him by borrowed appliance parts?
    Josep Borrell is the High Representative for the EU for Foreign Affairs yet he makes regular utterances threatening war.
    Scholz/Habeck/Baerbock. What a troika! Each has made trips to Algeria, the UAE, OPEC, and Canada, returned to Germany, and triumphantly reported that they had found the energy answer! only to have the visit energy supplier contradict them. German citizens prefer stable order but, even so, will replace this unstable group soon.
    Biden? I can’t number the ways. He is a global embarrassment. Forgotten Afghanistan that fast? And what would you be saying if Putin had raised a crackhead whoremonger deadbeat dad grifter son who can’t find his laptops?
    Kamala Harris? Woke Lloyd ‘Raytheon’ Austin? “Sabotage is an opportunity’ Blinken?
    The leadership roster on January 1, 2022, is being edited, one loser at a time.
    On the contrary, have you ever really watched any speech by Putin, or read the transcripts?
    You can read them here: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts
    Warning: Reading them will contradict the ideas you may have received from the MSM. But who are you going to believe, the MSM or your lying eyes?
    Find his speech at Samarkand, and his spontaneous presser during that event. He details the issues clearly and logically, without notes or emotional outbursts. And at that presser, you will learn something about Ukrainian farmland not widely known.

    Comment by Richard Whitney — October 6, 2022 @ 5:45 pm

  22. Richard

    How many of their critics have Boris Johnson, Sanna Marin, Kaja Kallas and Joe Biden had murdered? How many people have any of them personally murdered?

    This is the problem that Russian trolls simply don’t begin to understand. It simply, genuinely has never occurred to you that sending murderers abroad to kill people with polonium and Novichok might be considered objectionable. Why do decadent westerners keep banging on about all Putin’s unimportant murders of nobodies, when he makes such great, incisive speeches?

    Comment by Green as Grass — October 7, 2022 @ 2:41 am

  23. So now a war of agression started by Putin is being whitewashed by personal shortcomings of Johnson, Truss, von der Layen and others. Well, here is a personal shortcoming of Putin: he had voluntarily gone to serve in KGB. And neve have expressed any reservations about that.

    That’s enough to have him hanged on the spot, just as we woukd hanged on the spot someone who voluntarily had gone to serve in Gestapo. Instead we still treat him as a dignitary, as some kind of equal.

    Comment by LL — October 7, 2022 @ 6:08 am

  24. Man, you yanks are going to be super-impressed when you wake up and see the news about the birthday present the Ukes gave Putin! Outstanding!!

    @Whitney – you may want to find a comfy chair and have a large glass of Scotch in hand before you turn on your TV. It’s a bit of a shocker – those voices in your head are going to go into overdrive.

    Comment by David Mercer — October 8, 2022 @ 2:58 am

  25. “Destroy the Kerch Strait Bridges”: oh well, schoolboys are sometimes right. I had wondered whether, if the Ukes seriously thought they might take Crimea, they’d leave the bridges alone so that the Russian troops had a line of retreat. A different view is to ask who would gain if the Russians lost a convenient line of retreat, so increasing the risk of endless attritional warfare?

    At what point, a schoolboy might wonder, will China suddenly remember that its border with Russia is the consequence of an “unequal treaty” and therefore in urgent need of adjusting?

    Comment by dearieme — October 8, 2022 @ 8:57 am

  26. Being Estonian, I often find it amusing how cretins in the Western part of the world complain about “NATO expansionism” (I don’t count the fuckwits in Russia – I very well appreciate the fact that our interests are diametrically opposed).

    https://estonianworld.com/security/when-putin-couldnt-take-the-truth-spoken-by-lennart-meri/

    Since we regained our independence from an enemy we have been fighting for the best part of the last millennium, our two immediate goals were: join the NATO and join the EU. We achieved both and the effect of the former is now that we are now sending military aid to Ukraine as opposed to fighting on our own doorstep. One would think what the contemporary world would look like if only Ukraine had also fallen victim to NATO expansionism.

    Comment by unnamed — October 8, 2022 @ 9:18 am

  27. What was he thinking of?

    Lovely twin bridges of the famed Kerch Strait!
    Your appearance now doth disintegrate!
    Mighty trucks and trailers will have to wait
    While engineers survey your ghastly fate
    And Mr Putin suffers a great bate!

    Comment by dearieme — October 8, 2022 @ 8:19 pm

  28. ”The Ukies had 750,000 men in trenches”

    And yet the demented dwarf was demented enough to try and defeat them with a much smaller force trained primarily for raping and looting? I suspect putin’s generals would have rather fed-exed him to the Hague had this been anywhere near the truth. Now they’ll have to denazify him on their own.

    Comment by Ivan — October 8, 2022 @ 11:41 pm

  29. @dearieme
    ninety souls were lost in the silvery Tay bridge disaster
    But only three this time, which may or may not make victory faster.

    Comment by philip — October 9, 2022 @ 10:45 am

  30. For those unfamiliar with Scotland’s most famous poet
    https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poem/tay-bridge-disaster/

    Comment by philip — October 9, 2022 @ 10:48 am

  31. poet AND tragedian

    Comment by dearieme — October 10, 2022 @ 7:22 am

  32. @ dearieme

    Cracking bit of forecasting there! And impeccable literary tastes too.

    O majestic bridge crossing the Sea of Azov by road and rail!
    Who could imagine such an epic fail?
    Nobody would normally think of trashing you in case they were sent to jail,
    Yet obviously there was some kind of monster screw up
    Because the Kerch bridge over the silv’ry Azov Sea only went and fucking blew up.
    Smithereens rained down over the heads of Putin
    And his henchmen, as the Ukes put the boot in.

    Comment by Green as Grass — October 11, 2022 @ 3:13 am

  33. Classic stuff

    “Watch: Russian soldier cluelessly ploughs armoured vehicle into clearly visible landmines”
    https://youtu.be/rn1yNPOXPdo

    Comment by Green as Grass — October 14, 2022 @ 3:55 am

  34. Ah, they turned out not to be the old overturned dinner plate trick.

    Comment by dearieme — October 14, 2022 @ 9:18 am

  35. @Green as Grass. I saw that and was incredulous. What possibly could have been going through his mind?

    Comment by cpirrong — October 19, 2022 @ 11:33 am

  36. “What possibly could have been going through his mind?”

    In that photo? His ass.

    Comment by Green as Grass — October 20, 2022 @ 10:48 am

  37. Are we Russians? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02YgzM8xy4A

    Comment by Richard Whitney — October 28, 2022 @ 11:53 am

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